Spyin' Kop - Blackburn Rovers Away - 3 Nov, 2007

Posted by Raul. on November 1, 2007, 06:18:37 AM

Blackburn Rovers are currently having their joint best start to a Premier League season.  Yes, I know about life before 1992, I was born just before that.  Liverpool FC on the other hand, after getting off to a flyer and decimating all that stood before them, well Derby and Tolouse at least, find themselves slightly bemused at the fact that they are 6 points off the pace when a couple of months ago they were making the pace.  Pako, rotation, injuries or just an old fashioned dip in form, who knows?  Anyway, the game at Ewood Park game could be a turning point in our season - or not, as the case may be, respectively.  On the other hand, we may refuse to turn, or be turned and the game might be a dull 0-0 draw.  With the jolly Rovers flying high a point above LFC in the table and us, with a hotly contested and hard fought draw against Wenger's Wonderful Waltzing Wizards behind us last weekend, the teams are quite evenly matched, especially given our injuries and the fact that this is an away game and the fact that our best striker is crocked.

So when these chaps meet these chaps here

a lot will be at stake.

Blackburn Rovers vs Liverpool Football Club
Ewood Park, Blackburn
Capacity: 31,367
17.15 kickoff

Blackburn Rovers
Founded: 1875
Nickname: Rovers


Legal Notice: The sections on history, honours and records have been stolen shamelessly from LFC on Tour's version of this article last season.  Nothing much has changed by for Blackburn Rovers way of history, honours and records since then, other than the fact that the club is a year older than this time last year.

History

Formed by a group of public school old boys in 1875, Blackburn's early history was littered with FA Cup triumphs. It wasn't until 1912 that the First Division title came to Ewood Park for the first time, and Rovers followed up this success with another championship win two years later. Former Blackburn and England favourite Bob Crompton was in charge for the famous FA Cup final victory over Huddersfield in 1928, and the club enjoyed top-flight football until 1936. Blackburn found themselves playing Third Division football in the 1970s before local-boy-made-good Jack Walker transformed the club's fortunes. Walker's financial backing and shrewd appointment of Kenny Dalglish as manager in 1991 resulted in Rovers gaining promotion and becoming founder members of the Premier League in 1992. The club achieved its highest league placing for 80 years in 1994 by finishing runners-up to Manchester United before going one better the following year to clinch the 1995 championship on a nail-biting final day.

Honours

Premier League: 1994-95
League Division 1: 1911-12, 1913-1914
Charity Shield: 1912
FA Cup: 1884,1885,1886,1890,1891,1928
League Cup: 2002

Club Records

Record attendance: 62,255 v Bolton Wanderers, FA Cup 6th round, 2nd March 1929.

Record League win: 9-0 v Middlesbrough, Ewood Park, Division 2, November 6th 1954

Record League Defeat: 0-8 v Arsenal, Division 1, February 25th 1933 and 0-8 v Lincoln City, Division 2, August 29th 1953

Most League appearances: Derek Fazackerley, 593 (+3 sub), 1970/71 to 1986/87

Most consecutive league appearances: Walter Crook, 208 (1934-46)

Most goals scored by a player in a season: Ted Harper, 43, Division 1, 1925/26

2 Useless Factoids


1. Rovers are one of only three teams to be founder members of both the Football League and the Premier League, the other two being Aston Villa and Everton.

2. The club's Latin motto "Arte et labore", which was used by the town council even before the club were formed, literally translated means "by art and by labour". However it is more commonly translated as "by skill and hard work".

Squad

Goalkeepers:
•   1 Brad Friedel
•   31 Peter Enckelman
•   32 Jason Brown
•   33 Frank Fielding
•   34 Gunnar Nielsen

Defenders:
•   13 Zurab Khizanishvili
•   15 Aaron Mokoena
•   16 Stephane Henchoz
•   2 Andre Ooijer
•   20 Bruno Berner
•   25 Andy Taylor
•   26 Eddie Nolan
•   28 Tony Kane
•   29 Martin Olsson
•   3 Stephen Warnock
•   4 Christopher Samba
•   6 Ryan Nelsen

Midfielders:
•   14 Steven Reid
•   19 David Dunn
•   21 Sergio Peter
•   22 Keith Treacy
•   5 Tugay Kerimoglu
•   7 Brett Emerton
•   8 Robbie Savage

Attacking Midfielders:
•   11 David Bentley
•   12 Morten Gamst Pedersen

Strikers:
•   10 Benni McCarthy
•   17 Maceo Rigters
•   27 Matt Derbyshire
•   30 Jason Roberts
•   9 Roque Santa Cruz

Spyin' Kop

My spying took me to RoversTalk - http://www.roverstalk.com/viewforum.php?f=2, where the fine bunch of  Rover the Top, theadore, roversSam, Willy, DunnFC, Head Rover Heels and tomthebodz provided some excellent answers to my searching and original questions.

What an excellent season you lot are having - a point ahead of us at the moment. What are the main reasons for your success so far?

Rover the Top: We're a bloody good side.

theadore: We had a good team from last year, and stuck with it. Hughes hasn’t been afraid to drop players that needed to be dropped and has kept form players in the side. We have been quite lucky with injuries this far… but a couple have been absorbed well.

roversSam: I think the main reason would be consistancy, unlike our opponents this coming Saturday, our manager has picked his best 11 each week. This has led to big partnerships building up e.g Santa-Cruz and McCarthy.

Willy:  Hughes' tactics and getting the best out of the players we have.

DunnFC:  A mix between good management and having some of the injured players back, also the signing of Roque.

Head Rover Heels:  Superb team ethic, and a manager who knows how to get the players not only playing for each other, but maintaining healthy competition for places within the squad. When you can drop a champions league winner for a progressing youngster, and force him to up his game in order to get the shirt back you know you're onto a good thing.

tomthebodz:  Mark Hughes, Chris Samba and Santa Cruz

Given your start, what are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

RTT: My expectations are that we'll keep going strong - it's no fluke that we're where we are, and I've maintained since the start of the season that we'll be pushing hard for Europe and possibly a top 4 finish.

theadore: Not really… I’d take huge odds only on a top 4, uefa is a realistic goal and I would be disappointed if we missed out… felt the same at the start of the season.

roversSam: I'm hoping that given our recent form we can challenge for a top 4 spot. This year seems to be the one where one of the top 4 spots can be taken.

Willy: Sure, they have changed. I didn't expect Santa Cruz to settle quite so well and I wrote him off when we first got him but he's turned out to be exceptional. I said top 6 (in hope) at the beginning of the year, now I'd say top 4 (still in hope) at the time of writing.

DunnFC: We've always aimed for Europe and that maintains.

Head Rover Heels: European qualification - No change really, but my hope of it coming to fruition is growing daily.

Tomthebodz: Originally a push for Europe, Now a push for Champions League.

What do you think of Liverpool's season to date? Many of us can't make much sense of it...


RTT: Personally, I can't understand why Benitez believes squad rotation is the way forward - every side that has won the PL has had a core first team with strong backup.

theadore: Your likely European exit wouldn’t be so worrying if it was backed up by a stronger showing in the league…. But it’s a long season and you’re not quite out of anything yet. Your main worry is that again Benitez has managed to make some world class strikers play very ordinary.

roversSam: They are unbeaten in the league and have some very good individual players. They are missing Daniel Agger badly and need him to replace Hyypia. Liverpool lack consistency in their team though and in each game it takes a while for each player to get used to the new formation and different players around them.

Willy: Silly squad rotation and the "resting" of key players for no reason doesn't help. Even though you have some quality midfielders (Alonso, Mascherano) you still seem to rely on Gerrard too heavily.

DunnFC: It was a good start but no offence you've been very disappointing recently and Arsenal should have won on Sunday. Raffa imo sold and bought the wrong players.

Head Rover Heels: Good start, but then tinkering lost you momentum. I had you as a good shout for topping the table this year, but you've missed your chance to take a good lead now. Those results at Birmingham and Pompey could prove very costly.

Tomthebodz: To be honest I have been slightly disappointed with Torres but apart from that your doing alright.


Who do you think is your most important player(s) and where does Liverpool old boy Stephen Warnock fit into that analysis?


RTT: Warnock's good, but if your left back's your best player, you've got problems.  Another former Liverpool player, Brad Friedel, has been superb for years. Chris Samba is fast becoming one of the best centre-halves in the country, and Ryan Nelsen already is. David Bentley is probably the classiest of our midfielders, and Santa Cruz and McCarthy are starting to form a lethal partnership up front.

theadore: Two strong centre backs and a mercurial keeper plays a big part in our success. Chris Samba especially is starting to attract the plaudits he has deserved for a long while. Warnock wasn’t a key signing… but he was definitely the answer to a very problematic position for us last season, and a first team standard player.

roversSam: The most important player in my opinion would be Christopher Samba. We will need someone of his presence in the back 4. Samba is also known to score a goal as well. A fans favourite who is still improving. Friedal is also a very important player for us, 2002 goalkeeper of the year and one of Souness' good signings.

Willy: Warnock is a good player and is consistently okay. As for most important, got to be most of the first XI... Friedel, Nelsen, Samba, Bentley, Santa Cruz, McCarthy....

DunnFC: Why on earth did you get rid of him? Hes a very good player and is awesome going forward, thanks for him  Our most important player/s is Nelsen and the big guy Samba.

Head Rover Heels: Our defence has been outstanding, RSC has settled in unbelievably well, but the cap for "most important" has to fall with Friedel - True legend. Warnock has done his job well since coming here - fitted right in, and has to go down as yet another Hughes bargain. He wasn't getting much game time at your place, so a great result all round i guess (absolute steal though)

Tomthebodz: Warnock is a great left back. However I think that McCarthy and Santa Cruz and Samba are our best players.

Your worst player(s)?
RTT:Um, er, umm... Peter Enckelman? 

theadore: Hard to say when you are constantly exceeding fans expectations… personally I still wince everytime Aaron Mokoena gets the ball, despite recent good form.

roversSam: The Axe-Aaron Mokeona- Need I say anymore.

Willy: Don't have any.

DunnFC: We dont have a bad player but weve got Mokoena......

Head Rover Heels: Difficult really - we don't as such have a public enemy number one. MGO is off form at the moment, but it doesn't make him a bad player. I'd have to pick on one of the youth team i think, but that'd be a bit harsh.

Tomthebodz: Mokoena but he has not been as bad this year so far.

Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs - good bad or ugly?

RTT:Winning the league at Anfield is an obvious one, but:

Good - Nathan Blake scoring the winner to knock you out the FA Cup after we'd been relegated to D1.
Bad - A last minute own goal equaliser by Mark Atkins in another FA Cup game about ten years earlier, pre-Jack Walker. You won the replay 3-0. 
Ugly: Lucas Neill's moronic actions after breaking Carragher's leg.

theadore: The first game I saw between us was watching bottom of the table rovers beat you at Ewood 3-0… that is pretty memorable, turned our whole season around that year.

roversSam: Last year was very good, both games. Nearly winning at Anfield and then the 1-0 win at Ewood. A horrible game to watch though as we were pegged back in our half throughout but a good result.

Willy: Title win at Anfield is the obvious. As for good, how about the 3-0 drubbing we're gonna give you next time out. 

DunnFC: Last season on boxing day, what a win! Fowler and cisse when they cheated us out of a deserved point, two years ago.

Head Rover Heels: Gotta stick with the obvious - A certain bizarre game where Livepool supporters were booing their own side for scoring, and where all Rovers were cheering like madmen at a loss.

Tomthebodz: Boxing Day last year when my Liverpool fan Uncle was round for lunch. Fowler and Cisse when they cheated us out of a draw two years ago.

As away fans, how do you view us?

RTT: :? From my seat in the home stand?

theadore: In profile from about 55 yards away.

(couple of witty answers there lads)

roversSam: Liverpool fans tend to be very passionate about their team, I like them.

Willy: With a little more respect that many others. When your lot mixed with ours to sing anti-United songs on the last day of '95 season, that was class.

DunnFC: Can be noisy, sometimes quiet but i hate it when you sing Liverpool its just so dull! also i hate it when you sing 5x and say every year its your turn to win the league, no offence but your along way off.

Head Rover Heels: A faithful and expectant bunch, pretty friendly before the match and if you win. Have to agree with DunnFC though, that "Liv-er-pool, Liv-er-pool" (repeat ad-nauseum) chant is just mind numbing. It's made me cheer an Arsenal goal before now, simply because it shut the pub full of Scousers up. You've got so many good songs in your repertoire, and the best known football song in the world -Why you keep resorting to that hideous thing i've no idea. It's the equivalent of every single one of us turning up with a little drum.

Tomthebodz:  No real opinion about this.

Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

RTT: We've got a few lads who are on the fringes of the first team, but Matt Derbyshire's the only one whose broken through. and I think everyone knows about him now.

theadore: We’ve used less players this season than everyone else in the Premier League… so I wouldn’t think there will be any suprises. Matt Derbyshire if he still counts as young is the best and most likely to play. Has made an impact this season if mainly from the bench.

roversSam: Maceo Rigters and Matty Derbyshire- Two great attacking threats with the potential to push into the team.

Willy: Derbyshire, you will probably know. Sergio Peter looks okay. Martin Olsson at left back looks a good prospect.

DunnFC: No not really, we've got the young lad Treacy but hes yet to make his debut, looks ok though.

Head Rover Heels: None that will make the squad for this game - You'll already know Derbyshire. Ones for the next couple of years are definitely Treacy and Olssen.

Tomthebodz: Treacy, Sergio Peter possibly and Eddie Nolan saw him play for Ireland U21s the other week and he looked alright, Andy Taylor a good prospect at Left Back.

What sort of line-up will be put out against us?

RTT: One goalkeeper, ten outfield players. We might try to sneak another out there, but the ref won't let us...  I think we'll stick with the same 4-4-2 team that's been winning, although Savage appears to have knackered his knee. Hughes sometimes changes tactics to counter the opposition, or catch them by surprise, but since no one knows who Benitez will pick, I think we'll just stick to our gameplan.

theadore: Same again…. Maybe Nelsen in.

roversSam: 4-4-2
Friedal-Warnock-Samba-Nelson-Emerton-Dunn-Mokoena-Tugay-Bentley-Santa Cruz-McCarthy

Willy:  A strong one.

DunnFC:  A balanced side who play good football, please ignore the liar Wenger.

Head Rover Heels: I think we'll be a bit defensive, (Mokoena in the middle holding things up - Not placards or prompt cards, before the sarcasm police jump on me) and use the wings to whip crosses in behind your (noticably slow) weakened defence.

Tomthebodz:  Probably the same team as we did this weekend.


Do you have any new/favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?


RTT:  Dunno, can never work out the words myself...

theadore: Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom (repeat ad nauseum)

Willy: Nah, we have crappy songs.

DunnFC:  You'd be lucky to hear fans in the Jack Walker its so quiet at times but the bburn end normally have some good ones. Lets all do the Samba is good.

Head Rover Heels: Well, the drummer certainly needs an explanation, but i'm damned if i know what it is.

Tomthebodz: SantaCruz is coming to town.

Where do you expect Rovers and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League this season?

RTT: In Rovers' case, I think we look in good shape, and if we can avoid injuries, I don't see why our form should change. Liverpool need to start converting draws into victories, you're keeping the points total ticking over without challenging at the top. There doesn't seem to be much between 3rd and 7th to me, so I think both clubs will end up around there.

theadore: 3rd and 4th… why not.

roversSam: Liverpool 3rd-Blackburn 5th/6th

Willy: I expect you'll finish 4th and we'll be right behind you or if luck goes our way, we may even take it from you.

DunnFC:  liverpool 4th and us 6th.

Head Rover Heels: Liverpool 3rd and us 6th.

Tomthebodz: Liverpool 4th and us 5th.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most? Looks like we are going to have a fair few players out injured...

RTT Jermaine Pennant, but only when he's behind the wheel of a car.  :missus

theadore: That’s ok… when the chips are down you might as well only field 1 player… if you take the lead your goals will come from anyone on the pitch… if you’re behind a certain should-be England captain will take care of it.

roversSam: Stevie Gerrard- I just hope Friedal wears good support for his wrists on Saturday as Gerrard can really strike the ball.

Willy: Gerrard, Torres, Alonso.

DunnFC: We've got injuries too and its tough but its a chance to see what the others and your manager are made of.
Head Rover Heels Well, normally, I'd have said Torres, Alonso, Gerrard. Looks like it's just Mr Liverpool really. Still, that can be enough.

tomthebodz: I have to say that I am relieved that Alonso and Torres are injured, apart from them Gerrard is always a threat.

Care to predict the score?


RTT No, I'm superstitious about such things.

theadore: 1-1

roversSam:  2-1 to the Rovers

Willy: Close game... 2-1 either way.

DunnFC: I hope a 1-0 to us but I wouldn't mind a 0-0, it will be close probably.

Head Rover Heels: Definitely close, I'll settle for a 1-1.

Tomthebodz: 1-0 to us, I hope although I'd be happy with a draw.

Thanks again lads.

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