Spyin' Kop - Blackburn Rovers, December 6th 2008 - 3.00pm (A)

Posted by Perkins on December 3, 2008, 06:21:58 PM



Blackburn Rovers vs Liverpool
Saturday 6th December 2008
Ewood Park
3.00pm




Honours

FA Premier League:
Champions: 1994-95
Runners-up: 1993-94

Division One:
Champions: 1911-12, 1913-14
Runners-up: 2000-01

Division Two:
Champions: 1938-39
Runners-up: 1957-58

Play-Off Winners: 1991-92

Division Three:
Champions: 1974-75
Runners-up: 1979-80

FA Cup:
Winners: 1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891, 1928
Runners-up: 1882, 1960

Football League Cup:
Winners: 2002

Full Members Cup:
Winners 1987

FA Youth Cup:
Winners: 1959
Runners-up: 1998, 2000

Blackburn Rovers welcome Liverpool to Ewood Park having not won in nine Premier League games, and the manager already talking of the support of his chairman.  Ince came to the club to replace the outgoing Mark Hughes, and it is proving to be a tough act to follow.

Mark Hughes who had a knack of finding talent and getting the best from them, this combined with his coaching made the Blackburn team difficult to play against.  The former manager also took the club to two F.A cup semi finals and into the UEFA cup, with regular top-10 finishes.

When Ince came into the job, despite his success in the lower leagues, many thought he would struggle to fill the boots of Hughes and they are sadly being proved right.  The players who left in the summer were not replaced with players of the same calibre, this has brought criticism of Ince’s transfer dealings as his new signing are immediately under scrutiny due to the injury list at the club.  Another criticism levelled at Ince is that the team is shapeless and shipping goals.  This has seen Rovers slip into bottom three and their goal difference is the second worst in the league after West Brom.  The transition at Blackburn is against a backdrop of increased competition (outside the top four), which ultimately means they are unlikely to maintain the progress made under Hughes, at least not this season.  There is a modicum of hope in that Rovers have some important players to return, and stringing a decent run together will propel them up the table.

However, not all is well at Anfield where on Monday they became the first team in history to go top of the league, and be booed off the pitch by their own fans at the final whistle.  The 0-0 draw against West Ham showed a Liverpool team devoid of ideas and again struggling to break down a side that potential champions should be beating.  The anger was simmering from the week before when Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Fulham.  Whether you agree with the concept of jeering your own or not, that show of disapproval and frustration was a sign that this year the fans believe that there is a genuine title challenge, and that the club must capitalise on their rivals dropping points. Not that we had turned into a group of mindless ‘Ingurland’ fans, we hope not anyway.

This Saturday is an opportunity for Liverpool to show conviction, get back to winning ways and add to Blackburn’s misery.  A good performance from Liverpool will go someway towards easing the tension at Anfield.  For Blackburn this is an opportunity to stop the rot, look to towards a way of getting out of the relegation zone and salvaging something from the season.

Thanks to all those at www.BRFCS.com for providing some thoughtful insight, especially Cocker who was extremely helpful, thanks also to those at www.roverstalk.com who were willing to lend a hand.  Apologies if the article paints a bleak picture, I can only work with what I am given by you ;)


What do you think of the new manager? How does he compare to Mark Hughes?


Kamy100 @ brfcs.com - When we appointed Ince I was bit reluctant as felt that Laudrup would be a better choice and we as club couldn't afford to take a risk on such an unproven manager, I was further worried when Ince's coaching team arrived as they seemed to be old and have old coaching philosophy’s. Unfortunately for Rovers my concerns have been proved to be correct, Ince has had a nightmare start and at the moment looks out of his depth. It is hard to compare him to Hughes because over the 4 years he was at Rovers he was superb, very professional and constantly players saying that they were really happy about the training methods etc, he also had the skill of taking players who had fallen out of form at former clubs (i.e. Bentley, McCarthy and Santa Cruz) and getting them to perform at consistently high level.
 
Modes98 @ brfcs.com - Still learning life at the top level and finding it hard to adjust his present ideas. Hughes had a strong team framework, but had come to the end of his life with Rovers; I think we would have had a rough season even with Hughes.

Cocker @ brfcs.com - I personally am all for giving the guy a chance but when he starts playing Warnock and Derbyshire in midfield it doesn't make me to happy. The signing of Andrews was a waste of money as far as I can tell - not because of Andrews himself but because I feel the money should have been spent in other areas - on a winger or right back


Theadore @ roverstalk.com
- Very different so far... Hughes started by sorting out the defence and turning us briefly (and unfairly) into one of the most reviled squads in the league, Ince has tried to build on the good football we've been playing under Hughes... however taking over a relatively successful club is different from taking over a mess so time will tell.


What do you think of the transfers over the summer, and of the rumours of people (Santa Cruz) leaving in the next transfer window?


Theadore - Can't see Santa Cruz leaving unless it is to one of the top 4, who don't need him. Was a little disappointed with our dealings this summer, although little could have been done to stop the players who left leaving I don't think we did enough to replace them.

Rover The Top @ Rovers talk - I'm bored of the rumours about Santa Cruz. The club say he's not for sale, we rejected bids during the summer for him, the player showed he was happy to stay by signing a new contract, he's said he's happy to stay, and even his agents have said all the rumours are rubbish and he wants to stay. That situation may change if someone makes a ridiculous offer in the transfer window - but until then, the media are just stirring things up by making up that the player is unhappy.

As for the rest of our transfer business - Bentley is an idiot, I still believe that another year with us would have cemented his place in the England team and won him a move to a CL club. Instead he talked himself into a corner and looks a prat. We've also lost the best 'keeper in the league, but I can understand him wanting one last pay day. And out of the new signings, I'm impressed by Villanueva and Andrews. The rest still need to prove themselves for me, and I can't understand why we've bothered bringing in Fowler.

Cocker - Well with any club there will always be rumours and especially with a 'small club' like ours our best players will always be linked with a move away. You will be hard pushed to find a Blackburn fan who doesn't like Santa however the guy does seem to pick up a few injuries so it may be no bad thing taking 18m (give or take) for him.

WOLVERINE @ brfcs.com - Our incoming players have been dire - Andrews, Grella, Bunn, Fowler. Robinson doesn't exactly fill you with confidence and we are yet to see the best of Villanueva. Simpson on the other hand has been quite solid. Losing Friedel and Bentley was always going to be difficult to recover from and should we lose Warnock and Santa Cruz our season will be as good as over.


How has the season been shaping up so far?


Cocker - Well this year is a strange one indeed. Your getting all of the teams that came up winning/drawing games you would expect them to lose and so this is making the league very tight. Everyone in the bottom needs to be sweating a little come Xmas I think.

Kamy100 - It has been a disaster, from being a top half team for the last few seasons we are now struggling, more worryingly Ince doesn't seem to have a clue as to how to stop the slide, the team is very easy to break down and players are being played out of position. Just at this moment the outlook is not positive and are in for a real battle to preserve Premier League status.

Willy @ Rovers talk: Not very well. Some promising signs but pretty much what I expected. I didn't think for a minute we'd pick up where Hughes left off.
Rover the Top @ Rovers talk:  Results have pretty much gone as expected, we've drawn a few we thought we should have won, but won a couple that we didn't think we would. And we're having another good run in the LC.

WOLVERINE - Started off ok, but we are losing shape and focus in the league. Ince relies too much on squad players. We need a good midfielder badly.


What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?


Modes98 - This was always a building season with the new boss, it won't be pleasant but something that happens in football. Anything above 14th and I'll be satisfied, assuming he can build on it next year.

Willy - Not really. I said I'd be happy with a top-10 finish, I suppose they've changed in the sense that I'd be happy with 12th or 13th now.

Kamy100 - Unfortunately a relegation battle, yes they have changed from day one, I knew it would be transitional season with all the upheaval over the summer, however I thought we would steer clear of relegation worries.

Cocker - As soon as Ince took over all I could think was "please keep us in the league - that’s all" To be honest though that’s all I think every year (that and I hope Burnley don’t come up)


Where do you see the club's future?


Kamy100 - Ince needs to get a grip of the situation and get the team back to basics or we are in real trouble. Off the pitch we don't have that much money and I know that the Walker Trust is looking to sell the club, however this has been going for 12 months and nothing has happened yet. The squad needs investment in January but I think that won't happen due to lack of funds.

Cocker - Well hopefully in the Premier League. Many people will say Europe but with a good few clubs with a bit of money (and more fashionable to go to than us) I think if we stay in the Premier League for the next 10 years its a good thing.

Modes98 - Honestly, outside of the Premier League, we aren't a club who will sell our souls to foreign investment and that will mean we will be outside of the spending power needed to stay up.


Who do you think is your most important player(s)?


Modes98 - Santa Cruz is the obvious choice, but Samba is also vital to our success.

Rover The Top – Roque Santa Cruz. Predictable, I guess.

Willy - All of them are important really, but I suppose Santa Cruz, Warnock and Nelsen would be the standout ones.


Your worst player(s)?


Modes98 - At the start of the season I would have said Keith Andrews but he has proven his worth in recent weeks. Aaron Mokoena takes the prize.

Cocker - I really don't like Mokoena (The Axe). I really don't think he adds anything to the team when he comes on. It feels like we are down to 10 men at times (the opinion on this will be like marmite - 50% will agree and 50% wont)

Rover The Top – Robbie Fowler

Willy - I don't think we really have any particularly bad players. Pedersen has been off form for a long time, but he's still quality

WOLVERINE - Andrews tries his best, while McCarthy looks lazy. It would be between those two for me. If the question had been most pointless players, the list would have been longer!


Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs?


Willy - Anfield '95. We all know what happened that day and do I disagree with it? Hell no.

Cocker - Well obviously the meeting in 94/95 was a fond memory even though we lost that match but I remember a couple of seasons ago (cant remember the exact season) when Cisse was well offside and a ball was played through to him but he left it for your runner and you scored - I was extremely angered by that at the time.

WOLVERINE - No Rovers fan will forget winning the title at Anfield. Seeing the Liverpool fans wearing Rovers tops because they didn't wand Man U to get it will stay with me forever - thanks lads!!! Hopefully this year it will be our turn to support you and stop them getting it! Good luck with that!


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


Theadore - Don't really follow the reserves, but i'm hearing good things about Alan Judge who is knocking on the door of the team

WOLVERINE - Perhaps Keith Treacy. Otherwise watch Villanueva. If he comes good you will all know about him!

Cocker - We have this lad called Keith Treacy who plays left wing. Since Ince took over he has had a little run of first team games and likes to go forward. Nothing to scream from the rooftops but he is a good lad to bring in if Pedersen has turned into his Nemesis Gamst

Modes98 - Keith Treacy is the highest rated academy player since Duff but he hasn't yet shown his true potential. Martin Olsson is the biggy, a great buy from Hughes a few years back, he now looks a very good left back.
Further from that Tony Kane is a future rovers right back.


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


Modes98 - Traditional 4-4-2, Robinson, Simpson, Samba, Ooijer, Olsson, Emerton, Andrews, Grella, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy

Cocker - Robinson Olsen/Nelson/Samba/Oojer Pedersen/Warnock/Grella/Emerton McCarthy/Santa (I don’t like that midfield one bit)

Theadore - 11 players no doubt... if we can get them fit. I'd like to see us start with villeneva behind a loan striker... we will almost certainly not play 2 strikers against a top 4 club, but playing 3 central midfielders is crowded and ineffectual.


Where do you expect Blackburn and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?


Theadore - Top and Bottom - Surely Do. In seriousness I think Liverpool will finish 2nd... I don't know why, but I'm almost certain

Kamy100 - We will do well to finish 15th. Liverpool I think have the potential to be champions this season, they have developed the ability this season to play badly but still get the result, this has been missing in previous seasons.

Modes98 - Liverpool to fade away from the title race but pick up 3rd.
Blackburn 12th

WOLVERINE - About 16 places apart at this rate.

Cocker - I think if Tinkerman Rafa leaves the team the same every week and doesn't start 'resting' Gerrard and Torres you definitely have a chance of title push but I have a feeling you will end up third Behind Man U with Chelsea winning it.


Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?


Cocker - Gerrard - the guy is a machine. I hate to use the term but if your under it he will grab everyone by the scruff of the neck and get something out of the game - its rare that I have seen him play bad.

Kamy100 - Gerrard - He is the complete midfielder and player as far as I am concerned. He plays with passions for Liverpool and is the one player who can do that something special and also can drive the team forward to victory, it is a crying shame that successive national managers haven't been able to get him to perform like that for England.

WOLVERINE – Always Gerrard.


Care to predict the score?


Willy - You'll win, we'll lose. Can't predict a score, really. Maybe we can score a goal if we kick the ball anywhere near your 18 yard box.

Cocker - I would think you will get this one 0-1 with Torres or Gerrard bagging.

WOLVERINE - 3-0 to the Pool.

Theadore - Draw... we can be one of those thorns in the side bottom half teams ;) 

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