Spyin' Kop - West Brom v Liverpool - 26/9/12 - Capital One Cup

Posted by StevenLFC on September 23, 2012, 08:59:11 PM

West Brom v Liverpool

Wednesday 26th September

Well, after an emotionally charged game on Sunday against Man United for numerous obvious reasons, the attention of Liverpool turns to Wednesday night as Liverpool travel to the Hawthorns for the second time this season to face West Bromich Ablion. This is Liverpool's first game in the competition that they won last year. It looks likely that Rodgers will select a youthful side for the game, similar to the side that defeated Young Boys on Thursday night. Liverpool will hope that they perform much better on this visit to West Brom, having lost 3-0 in the Premier League on their first game of the league season.

Ahead of the game I visited WestBrom.com to get the view of the Baggies' fans ahead of the fixture:

Q1. First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Your club is now managed by our former assistant manager Steve Clarke. There is often a worry when 'number twos' become the main man at a club, there have been many men who have tried it and not many have succeeded. How did you greet the news of Clarke's appointment and has your opinion of him changed since then?

Floydy: Initially I was disappointed given some of the other names we were linked with. However Clarke has since started to demonstrate he is a safe pair of hands who has continued Hodgson's good work by keeping a strong defensive approach but with much quicker break play.

Tipton Baggie 80:  I didn't really know much about Steve Clarke, and as you say, the transition from assistant to manager can be a tough one. However, the way we are set up as a club, with a sporting and technical director and a head coach (as opposed to manager) meant that as long as Steve was an excellent coach, there was a good chance of success. In addition the previous 2 or 3 appointments we have made as a club have been astute ones, so the chairman and sporting and technical director in my experience deserved the benefit of the doubt. So far, so good.

Rubyruby: Felt it was a good appointment at the time purely because of the clubs and players he has worked with as a coach and the length of time he has been in the PL. He has surprised me with his ability in front of the press. The only question mark will be how he deals with things when it goes a bit off track. That hasn't happened yet thankfully!

Huntington Baggie:  At first disappointment, not because of him but because the appointment was anticlimactic compared to the likes of Ranieri and Rangnick. But that lasted about a day then when you go back to it you can see exactly why the decision was made. Remember we wanted a coach, not a manager.

CrazedWBAfan18: Well, at first, I was a little underwhelmed by his lack of frontal roles, as we had been linked with the likes of Ranieri and Rangnick quite heavily; so to get a 'second in command' man didnt greatly fill me with confidence; and the pundits were quick to tip us for relegation afterwards. My opinion has changed of him following the first five games; he is level headed, doesnt hesitate to change things around unlike hodgson and the home results so far have been very good.

2. This Captial One Cup game looks to be an oppertunity for Liverpool to play their younger players. Do you see West Brom doing the same and if so is there any youngsters we should keep an eye out for?

Floydy: Clarke has said that he is taking the cups seriously so I doubt we'll see a team full of youngsters. However George Thorne, Scott Allan, El Ghanassy, James Hurst & Saido Berahino are the best of the group of youngsters who are on the fringes of the first team.

Tipton Baggie 80: I think we'll play a strong team. Steve Clarke has said that he will treat the cup competitions seriously this year, as this is a chance for a club like ourselves to have success. That said, I doubt it will be our first choice 11. You might see Yassine El Ghannassy on the wing, possibly a Craig Dawson in defence, with maybe George Thorne and Saido Berinho on the bench (the last two of which are true products of our academy). All good prospects.

Rubyruby: Think SC wants WBA to push for all the competitions so I expect a strongish side. If he plays him Yassine El Gnassey has great pace and trickery with the ball at his feet.

Huntington Baggie: There shouldn't be many but we have a choice of Saido Berahino, George Thorne, James Hurst and Scott Allan on the peripharies, with Yassine El Ghanassy possibly added to gain PL- like experience being the most likely and the one i want to see.

CrazedWBAfan18: Considering we have our big derby game against Villa next sunday I think at least a few changes will be made. I can see El Ghanassy starting on the wings, who has a lot to prove, otherwise a fair few of our first team regulars couldnt really be called youngsters anymore! I suppose Yacob could start also; an anchor in our defensive midfield.

Q3. You've already played and beaten us this season, what did you make of the performance of both sides in that game?

Floydy: I thought we played well. First half was pretty even but the game opened up after Gera's goal. I thought your "big names" didn't influence the game enough. Suarez looked dangerous but his finishing let him down. I thought the best team on the day won.

Tipton Baggie 80: I thought we were fluid, strong and deserved the 3 points. As ever the point was laboured that Liverpool didn't play well, but little credit was given to us performing. Experience has taught us that if you're not from the north west or London you get little media credit / attention.

Rubyruby: Think LFC have a lot to do to get back to where they believe they should be. I thought they played good football as they always do but at the moment I dont see a lot of goal threat. That to me is Rogers biggest issue. WBA have been building from a much smaller expectation for the past 4/5 seasons and our continental football set up has paid handsome dividends bringing in quality players for little or no money. Claudio Jacob this season a free transfer who has improved us again. On the day we just carried a greater goal threat.

Huntington Baggie: Started very even in the First Half then Gera turned up with his goal and bar a ten minute period at the start of the 2nd half 'Pool just fell apart and the expensive,experienced players I.E. Gerrard weren't really doing anything.

CrazedWBAfan18: We rode our luck a bit at times. Decisions favoured us with two penalties and a red card that could be argued were a little soft, but then again your chances werent taken, and you were punished for it.

Q4. The season is still in its early stages, but which of your players have stood out in terms of positive performances? Also, have any of them concerned you?

Floydy: No real worries at the moment. Reid got injured and Billy Jones has deputised at RB for the last two games and has probably been our week link in these games. I was disappointed with Odemwingie due to his petulant sending off at Fulham as he is always likely to crop up with a goal. Olsson and MacAuley have had good seasons so far. New signings Lukaku and Yacob have immediately made a positive impact. Although I'm not Long's biggest fan, he has worked hard and looked bright during our opening games.

Tipton Baggie 80: Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea has bags of potential (as the player bought to replace Didier Drogba you would expect that). In addition Claudio Yacob (a new signing) has been a revelation in the defensive midfielder role. Jonas Olsson has been as strong as ever in defence, but for me the stand out player has been James Morrison, who is just consistently good. We have a good side / squad now and are more than up to premiership standards.

Rubyruby: Hard to be negative about any of our players after our best ever PL start. But on the upside defensively we look immense at the moment so I would have to pick out the four guys who protect the middle of the pitch as the bedrock of our team. Ollson McCauley Mulumbu and Jacob.

Huntington Baggie: It's a team game, overall the team either plays well (Everton, Tottenham) or bad (Fulham) but Long, Morrison, Lukaku and the back pairing of McAuley and Olsson have been steadfast as always. The only concern is 2nd Left back Billy Jones but if that's the only bad point we aren't doing bad.

CrazedWBAfan18: Brunt has looked a little disappointing again to be honest; off the boil with his deliveries and passing. Our injuries with Reid are concerning, as Billy Jones isn't our strongest defender and is still adjusting to the premier league. However, Morrison once again looks a very bright prospect, can produce some vicious shots and general good play.

Q5. You made a few additions in the summer, were you happy with them at the time? Has your opinion differed since then?

Floydy: I think our summer signings have been very shrewd. Foster for £3.5m, Yacob on a free and Lukaku on loan were great signings. All have positively impacted the team. We have yet to really see what Popov, El Ghanassy and Rosenberg have bought to the squad due to limited opportunities so far.

Tipton Baggie 80: Apart from Yassine El Ghannassy (who hasn't really featured), Romelu Lukaku on loan, and Claudio Yacob (all of which I have mentioned), the star signing for us in my opinion was Ben Foster on a permanent contract. A top quality goalkeeper earns you so many points throughout a season, and that is exactly what Ben is. He'd be England's back up for Joe Hart if he hadn't declared he was withdrawing from international football.

Rubyruby: No very happy with all our additions although we have yet to see Rosenberg a senior international and El Gnassey a young player who looks to have PL potential.

Huntington Baggie: Simple answer, yes I'm happy and noIi have not changed my opinion.

CrazedWBAfan18: Yeah, Dan Ashworth invested very shrewdly by getting Lukaku on loan especially. He's a very exciting prospect, and I feel El Ghanassy has a lot to prove.

Q6. With all due respect, I see West Brom as a 'middle of the road' kind of side. In that respect it can be difficult for opposition fans to know what Baggies fans would class as a successful season, would you care to explain what you would class as success this year?

Floydy: At the beginning of the season, I'd have said not getting relegated. Having seen our start, i think with the squad we have we have enough for another mid table finish and a decent a cup run.

Tipton Baggie 80: Success for us would be consolidation / improvement on the last two seasons (where we finished 11th and 10th) and a successful cup run in one of the competitions (so here's hoping we beat you Wednesday!). Would be nice to get a bit of recognition but I won't hold my breath.

Rubyruby: Survival in a word. After seasons of Boing Boinging its really good to see us starting to look at home in the PL but you cant get complacent when your wage bill is the second smallest in the division. I think most Baggie fans think that this squad has the talent to be mid table and take a run at the cups though.

Huntington Baggie: With all due respect I think your in the same boat and Spurs have taken your place. I'll be happy with mid table with an aim at over 50 points.

CrazedWBAfan18: A good cup run, and top 10 finish would do me very well.

Q7. Although you've had a very good start, I can't see West Brom winning the league! Having said that, do the cups become more important to your club? I ask because I often see some managers rest players in the cup, even though they offer the only realistic chance of silverware.

Floydy: I think the cups will become increasingly important as we cement our status as a PL club. As you note this will be our best chance of silverware. Clarke has stated he will take the cups seriously. Although I don't expect the same 11 to start against Liverpool as started Saturday's game against Reading, I do think we'll put out a strong 11.

Tipton Baggie 80: With all due respect, I can't see Liverpool winning the league either! The difference between our clubs however, appears to me to be that of expectation - in so much that we are fairly realistic in ours. So whilst a cup run for us would be a bonus on the main aim of finishing in the middle of the league table, for you is more of a necessity to appease fans if you finish (as I suspect you will) also in the middle of the league table.

Rubyruby: I think the cups are very important to SC. He is a winner with both Chelsea and LFC so he has that mentality. They still have to come second to PL survival though......its the cash isnt it!

Huntington Baggie: Clarke has said he wants a go at the cups so I'd think he'd play a team strong enough to at least compete with the team in front of him.

CrazedWBAfan18: I like to think so, a lot of teams these days outside the top 5/6, silverware and a European push is the best we can hope for.

Q8. Care to predict the score?

Floydy: 2-1 To the Albion as I feel we'll put out a strongish 11 where Liverpool will play some squad players. Morale at the Albion is high after a good start to the season.

Tipton Baggie 80: 2-1 West Brom (ever the optimist)

Rubyruby: I think this will be tight but I expect goals. A 2-2 wouldnt surprise me with penos to decide it.

Huntington Baggie: 2-1 To Albion (of course) but may be a draw and a replay at anfield after a score draw (i'll go 1-1) Edit by StevenLFC: A draw means pens not a replay!

CrazedWBAfan18: 1-1 up to full time, we nick a winner in extra time.

Q9. What about your predictions for both clubs for the rest of the season?

Floydy: Liverpool; Finish between 6th and 9th with at least one decent cup run, possibly winning one again.... Rodgers to be sacked and then come to Albion and make a success of himself again. Boing Boing   
Tipton Baggie 80: I'm going to say 9th in the league for us, with a quarter final in one of the cups. I'll say 8th in the league for youresleves, not sure how you'll fare in cup competitions.

Rubyruby: I expect both clubs to finish mid table but over the course of the full season I would expect LFC to overtake us and finish 2 or 3 places above us. I think its entirely possible for either club to go a long way in a cup. LFC proved that last year!

Huntington Baggie: Both in around the 8/9/10/11 place mark, and you sack Rodgers and buy Clarke for ridiculous money, we get Rodgers for free and make a tidy profit and the cycle continues!

CrazedWBAfan18: Steady Eddy for both, think you'll be top 10; 8th or 9th, but no better.

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