Fan Focus: Liverpool (H) Pre-Match Views

Carroll scratches his head, as does our Liverpool fan Sam about the lanky striker's transfer.

Well it's the first time we've had to do one of these in our new home, so if you're new to us - welcome, if you're hardcore and been here since the off - you know the drill.

We contact a member of the opposition fanbase every week and get their pre and post match opinion on the game. That is when they aren't in a huff with us following a bad result, not that I want to name names on those who never got back... *cough* Arsenal *cough* Blackpool...

But anyway, that's all in the past, and now on to the present day. We have from SB Nations Liverpool blog "Anfield Asylum" the one and only, Mr Sam Fels.

Sam's been kind enough to give us his opinions on Liverpool, Dalglish, Carroll and the game on Sunday, so check it out!...

So, Liverpool. Fernando Torres is gone, two younger strikers are in tow, and you're flying up the league (much to my chagrin) Don't you just wish Roy Hodgson had been given a little bit more time?

Sam Fels: Oh for sure, and so does my therapist. Let's be clear here, there is a scenario In which Roy  is a good manager, such as keeping a lower club afloat. But his cautious approach to everything was not suited to a club that still has big ambitions (whether they're realistic or not). I always said that during  a match, Roy looked and coached as if he were about to, or just did shit himself. But he did give us Meireles, so we're appreciative of that.

I say chagrin as with our own recent faltering, you're right back in the mix for a Europa League place, which we previously held hope of getting when it was down to us, Spurs and Bolton. Do you think you'll get into Europe through the league?

SF: Yes, and I still hold the fantasy of taking a run to fourth. Both Spurs and City come to Anfield, where we've been impressive, and other than that our only tough match is away to Arsenal, and you never know what we'll get from them. With nine league games left, you could argue we'll win seven or eight.

To the striking situation - Torres out, Carroll & Suarez in looks good business so far with the Spaniards recent troubles at Chelsea?

SF: I don't put too much stock in Torres's form recently, I'm sure he'll be the hellspawn he was next season when Drogba clears out. But he didn't want to be here, and you can't have that. And Suarez, while not the lethal finisher (yet) that Torres is, his all around game looks more complete. Ask the United defense. So we may be at a push. Carroll still has a lot to prove to me, but obviously he needs a lot of time.

Carroll the most expensive of the two. It might be the Anti-Newcastle in me, but I still scratch my head at living in a world where Andy Carroll is the 8th most expensive signing in football history. Convince me it's good business?

SF: I can't. I was shocked when I saw it. Obviously, there's a British Tax in any transfer, that goes up when he's 21, and it gets doubled when it's deadline day and you need anyone. In reality, he's probably $20 million, and that's being kind. I just have to reserve judgement, he's only had two sub appearances. But he's more than a battering ram, and at 21 could develop into a real weapon. But we can't judge the transfer for a couple years.

Suarez comes face to face with a Ghanaian trio of Gyan, Mensah & Muntari this weekend looking for World Cup revenge. Do you think Suarez will be able to get back on the team bus without crutches after the final whistle?

SF: Judging by how Sunderland usually play, probably not. But they have to catch him first, and United couldn't.

Focussing more on the game itself, it could be a crucial one for both our clubs as we see who has the mettle to stay in contention for a Europa League push. How do you see things going on Sunday?

SF: Games after Europa league always make me urpy, especially away at a place that's tough to get points out of under normal circumstances. With Sunderland's current form, I see a real slog. In a good sense, Suarez won't have played on Thursday so maybe his livlieness gets us the points. But it won't be easy on the eye.

Steven Gerrard will sit this one out with injury - How much of a loss?

SF: Obviously, his potential to win a match is always something you miss. But I've had a strange feeling about Gerrard this season. Meireles has taken his attacking midfield role, and deeper in midfield Gerrard is less effective. He was wonderful there against Scum, when he was reserved, did the running, and eschewed the Hollywood ball he only completes like 10% of the time. But too often this season that's what we've seen, and other than the Napoli match I struggle to think of a game he's won like he used to do all the time. And that was from the position that Meireles now holds. Still, we don't have anyone near his calibre to replace him, so it hurts.

Kenny seems to like to chop and change his line-ups, can you second guess his starting XI on Sunday for us?

SF: Oh good lord. I'll try: Reina - Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Wilson? - Cole, Lucas, Meireles, Maxi - Kuyt, Suarez would be my guess, but do not quote me on this.

Who from Sunderland do you think will give Liverpool the most problems?

SF: Gyan makes me itchy, but I'm a Yank and still have nightmares about the World Cup second round.

And in reverse of that, who should we be paying extra close attention to?

SF: South bound Suarez. His movement is genius, he's fearless, and he already probably has the best touch on the team by a mile.

Last but not least, give us your prediction for the game...

SF: 0-0 torture sounds about right.

Thanks very much, and looking forward to catching up with you after the game for part two of Fan Focus!

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