Spyin' Kop Southampton preview

Posted by Armin on January 19, 2005, 11:40:43 AM

After a week which most Liverpool supporters would prefer to forget perhaps the best tonic for wounded pride is another game.  It might also put our season in some form of perspective, for our next opponents have not been having a good time of it.  Liverpool are off to the South coast to the St Mary's stadium and a Southampton team that are perilously close to the bottom of the league. 

An injury to Kevin Phillips and the recent sale of Beattie has weakened the side and Harry Redknapp must surely be hoping to bring in more players to strengthen an injury depleted squad.  Nigel Quashie has already followed his former manager from Portsmouth, another controversial move between two bitter rivals.

Liverpool will also have to cope with a lengthy injury list.  Steven Gerrard is out of the game with a groin injury and yesterdays display doesn't bode well for a midfield shorn of Alonso and Gerrard.  Jamie Redknapp is sure to want to put in a good display against his old side, lets hope that our players can step up to the task.

For our match preview this week we asked Keith from www.saintsforever.com for his thoughts on the two respective sides.  RAWK would like to thank him for taking the time to give us a different perspective on the upcoming match.

On with the questions:

RAWK: How is the season shaping up?

Keith: We are 2nd from bottom. We've won two games all season. It's only because the promoted sides are so crap that we've not been cut adrift already. We've seen some truly woeful football. So all in all, a f**king terrible season.


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

Keith: All that matters now is finishing 4th from bottom.  At the start of the
season, I thought we'd be comfortable mid table.  That position is like the holy grail right now. 14 months ago we were 4th in the league, we've fallen a very long way and many fans can't deal with it.


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

Keith:  Antti Niemi normally wins us about 10 points a season with his saves,but even he's been unable to stop everything that's been thrown his way so far this season.  Kevin Phillips is on form right now and given the
right service is still a top striker.  The bad news for us (good news for you) is that both are now injured.  Jamie Redknapp looks a good buy though.


RAWK: Your worst player(s)?

Keith: We've had many players who last season were doing fine, have just been awful this season. That's been our biggest problem.  Strachan could get ordinary players to play above themselves. Four managers in a year means those same players have been confused, disheartened and some have bottled it too.  We have missed Michael Svensson in defence a helluva
lot though.


RAWK: What should we (travelling fans) expect in the way of atmosphere, singing and what do you expect from the Liverpool support? How do we compare to rival away fans?

Keith: Atmosphere at recent games hasn't been up to the usual pretty good St Mary's standard.  We were used to relegation scraps at the Dell, but now at St Mary's there is a lot of nervous newcomers who hinder the
atmosphere, not help it.    Most of the "singers" are in the Northam
stand to the right of where the Liverpool fans sit. 

You obviously always sell out your allocation, but have not been the
noisiest visitors in recent years.  I find these days that very few away
sets of supporters really stand out, most tend to be much of a muchness
and fine when their team is winning, but quiet when they are losing.
Think it's the general "new breed" of football fans. (I'm a late 70's
and 80's man myself)

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

Keith: Our U18 academy side is the best in the country. Last season they won the Premiership Academy title. This season they have played 18 games and won 17 of them.   Its one of the few bright spots at Saints right now and hopefully many of the talented kids will come through in the first
team in the next year.  Dexter Blackstock and Martin Cranie have already
made debuts and done well, but Redknapp prefers to go with experience
considering our league position.

RAWK: Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between us?

Keith: Lots of memories as even through your glory years, your visits to the
south coast often resulted in Saints wins.  I can remember Nick Holmes
hammering a shot in from 35 yards to win a game against you 3-2.  Also
remember Danny Wallace scoring an overhead kick past Brucie that later
won the goal of the season.  I remember a 4-1 victory when you had
previously started the season unbeaten in 89. Saints played four up
front (Le Tiss, Shearer, Rod Wallace & Rideout... what a forward line!).
The most memorable moment was a game we actually lost to you 2-1.  The
goal Saints scored was the best goal I've ever seen.  A 15 one-touch
passing move involving Ball, Keegan and Armstrong ended up with Micky
Channon smashing the ball in.  Best goal ever, but it's hardly ever
shown on telly, which is a shame.


RAWK: What do you make of Harry Redknapp moving from your bitter rivals?  Is he the right man to  keep you in the top division?

Keith: I think he's the right man, he has the experience and gets the best out of players. He's not high on coaching, but players like him and we
needed someone with a big character at the club.  The fact he moved from
Pompey doesn't matter to me.  Makes Pompey fans (skates) as bitter as
hell, if its possible for a Pompey fan to be more bitter than he already
is.

RAWK: What sort of line-up will Harry put out against us?

Keith: Good question, with us being linked to every tom, dick and harry right now, we could have two or three new faces by Saturday.  If everyone is fit, I expect it might be:

Niemi
Dodd, Lundekvam, Davenport, Higginbotham
Prutton, Quashie, Redknapp, Svensson
Phillips & Crouch.

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

Keith: "Oh when the Saints" just about covers it.  Do wish you lot would stop singing it.  I expect some highly original teenage Saints fans will sign
"sign on" to you at some point. It was funny once... but that was in 1983.

RAWK: Where do you expect Saints and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Keith: You will finish 4th. We will finish 4th from bottom.

RAWK: Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Keith: Steven Gerrard.  He is your team.

RAWK: And your feelings on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool. Rafa Benitez himself and our new recruits?

Keith: Still got a lot of work before you can break into the top three and I'm
not sure you ever will considering their spending power.  Often seems
you wait for something to happen instead of making it happen. You can
bully teams once in front, but get frustrated against teams that sit
deep.  I'm not convinced that Spanish players have the necessary heart
for full blooded English football.


RAWK: Care to predict the score?

Keith: Saints need the win desperately. We have to win.  2-1 to Saints.

Thanks once again to Keith for what I'm sure you'll agree are an excellent set of answers.  We'd like to wish him and his side all the best (after our game obviously).  Lets hope that Benitez can draw the right reaction from his team to yesterdays lamentable display :-\


(C) RAWK 2005

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