Spyin' Kop - Liverpool v Newcastle United - 4/11/12

Posted by StevenLFC on November 1, 2012, 11:20:46 AM

Liverpool v Newcastle United
Sunday 4th November

Kick Off: 4pm

Liverpool head into Sunday's game at home to Newcastle United on the back of a defeat to Swansea in the League Cup, which ended our four game unbeaten run. Last season's corresponding fixture ended 3-1 in Liverpool's favour, and we'd all like a repeat of that result.

Ahead of the game, I asked a few Toon fans from two forums - http://www.nufc-forum.com & http://www.toontastic.net.

I must admit, some of the responses weren't great (in terms of language and mindless abuse) so I have left some out as I wanted this piece to cause lively debate rather than pointless name-calling which happened last year when DutchRed did a Spyin' Kop with Newcastle fans. Please remember that I asked for opinions, so if you disagree, that's fine, but if you do disagree, please do so constructively.


Both our clubs have had problems with owners in recent times, and I know Mike Ashley was a hugely unpopular figure not so long ago? Has the recent success of your side since promotion meant that the ill feeling towards him has somewhat diminished?

GeordieDaz:Short answer is yes, long answer is he's not forgiven. He's done a lot of crap since he took over; sacking of Keegan and resulting tribunal in which it came out he lied to the fans, relegation, sacking of Hughton, stadium naming righs etc etc, but he's ran the club very well since we got promoted and financially last season we pretty much broke even and that's without any Euro comps monies, so he's now doing a good job, lets just say he's on the right road.

St1pe: Ashley still takes risks. I understand we have a business model to become self-sufficient and that is all well and good but this summer we were 3/4 players, particularly defenders or defensive cover, away from having a very good squad of players. We didn't invest in available players that wanted to joing like Debuchy, or go for Douglas who looked to be there for the taking. We've since suffered injuries at the back and it has cost us dearly in the first few games. I do recognise what he has done for us financially though, he also has seemed to learn from his cock-ups. I don't believe he really cares for the club but he does about money and for him to make money we need to be doing well. A strange sort of win-win situation.

The Fish: I think it's fair to say that Mike Ashley the man will never be liked on Tyneside, Mike Ashley the businessman has certainly built a sustainable model for success. Trust and support the excellent Graham Carr, provide funds for players within the pre-determined parameters, never buy for the sake of it. The downside is that limiting the flexibility of Pardew and Carr to fatten out the squad leads to losing ground because of injuries as we've seen so far this season. In short, Ashley may very well have brought actual stability to the club, but he is still a c***.

St James Park? Sports Direct Arena, Wonga etc? What's going on with the name of such an iconic football stadium and how concerning has that whole issue been to fans? Do you care what the stadium is called or do you look more towards the finances that naming rights brings?

GeordieDaz: It's a major thing, our stadium is important to us, we're one of the only clubs that has it's stadium right in its city centre and it's been there for a long long time, any other name just felt dirty and wrong. I thought Sports Direct was bad....then Wonga came along.....but those guys did an astute PR move and gave the name back to the fans (clever bar stewards).

St1pe: I don't really want to get into this too much. No Newcastle fan has ever regarded the stadium as anything other than St James' Park, but it was a nice gesture from Wonga to officially re-name it that.

The Fish: It was galling to have our history put up for sale, and that nobody took the opportunity to pay to rename the ground shows how toxic that decision would have been. Just for the record, Ashley renamed it, but didn't actually pay a penny towards that rebranding. If Ashley had bought and built a 70k all seater Uber-stadium he can call it whatever he likes. Mind you, nobody called it Sports Direct other than mackems and sad bastards looking for a bite. The money from Wonga is no different to the money from Northern Rock or Emirates or Tombola. There aren't any "nice" companies willing to throw money at a football club these days.

Alan Pardew, he was brought in to replace the popular Chris Hughton and like Mike Ashley, he seemed to be unpopular. From the outside looking in, he seems to have done well. What are your opinions of him now, and how would you describe your style of play?

GeordieDaz: We all loved Hughton, no one wanted him sacked. Pardew was unpopular for two reasons, 1) no one wanted Hughton sacked, 2) Pardew was a bosom casino buddy of Ashley, so it seemed as though a popular manager was sacked to bring in a "yes" man for Ashley, but no one can knock what Pardew has done, 5th last season and into Europe, this season currently 10th and top of our Europa group (and we've yet to field out first XI). Our style of play could be better, we have the creative players to do it and when we play 4-3-3 and use Cabaye and HBA effectively it shows, but Pardew keeps adopting a 4-4-2 and plays hoof ball which annoys a lot of fans.

St1pe: Pardew has done a fantastic job so far, given what we achieved last season. I've said it many times before but I think with time Hughton would have done the same. Or at the very least, we would have progressed under Hughton. This season our playstyle has been utterly painful yet we still seem to create and score goals out of seeminly nothing. We've been poor with the ball and we're playing a dated formation that none of the successful clubs adopt. In fact I can only think of the Bordeaux home game that we actually controlled.

The Fish: I think for me it was actually a case of being worried about the upheaval more than anything. Carrol going, Hughton going, Pardew not exactly a dazzling name to ease the fears. But to be fair to him he's not only maintained the spirit that Hughton benefited from, but he's managed a few egos and built a very very good first team. I also enjoy his press conferences, some of them will no doubt infuriate our opposition, but when we've been lucky (which we have often this season) he's held his hands up. Our style of play? It depends, sometimes we play with awful thoughtless predictable direct shite, other times the passing and movement have been a genuine pleasure to watch. When key players are on song it's eye-poppingly good football. This season it's not really clicked yet, but I still think we'll finish around 7th/8th.

Let's talk transfers. After a few years of your club having a bit of a nightmare when it came to transfers, you seemed to have done really well in recent years by acquiring very good players for seemingly small fees. Who takes the credit for this and are you worried that some of your players may leave if some Champions League clubs come knocking?

GeordieDaz: Ashley for buying, Pardew for choosing the right people from the list and Graham Carr for making the list, our recent buys are really good, Tiote, Cabaye, Ba, Cisse, HBA, no offence pal but compared to yours of Carroll, Henderson and Adam 

St1pe: I think a club like ours always has to be concerned about losing the best players but the owner seems to have a good system of getting players on longer contracts meaning we don't lose anyone on the cheap. Apart from my answer to question 1 our transfer dealings have been top notch, no complaints about he players we've brought in at all.

The Fish: Majority of the credit (if not all) has to go to Graham Carr. We're realistic, if a massive club comes knocking for Tiote he'll go. However, I think we've made it clear that if we sell it'll be for a big big fee. Ba has that release clause that everyone talks about, but as yet nobody has activated it. In our favour we have European football this term and a squad good enough to get into Europe next year as well. We've got 50k fans turning up and vociferously supporting their side. There seems to be a good atmosphere in the changing room as well. My point is that it can't just be a Champions League side, it'd have to be a massive club.

How would you describe your season so far? Has it met expectations?

St1pe: Hampered with injuries, suspensions and lacking depth/quality in certain areas. We're trying to accommodate both Ba and Cisse up front and it's having a detrimental effect. Expectations are high-ish from certain quarters but I'd hope to be in and around the top 8 and challenge for another Europa League spot. I don't think we will though.

The Fish: Season is very frustrating so far. Injuries to key players have prevented the 1st team finding any kind of rhythm. As Pardew has said, we've had 3 or 4 good halfs so far. We're yet to get into our stride. However, we've not lost any games I'd expected to win, so yeah, I'd say the season isn't matching my hopes, but it is meeting expectations.

Speaking of expectations, what where yours for this season? Did your success last year possibly make expectations a bit too high amongst the Geordie faithful?

GeordieDaz: No one had high expectations, yes we punched above our weight last season, but this "deluded" tag that has followed us around is unfair, relegation saw to that, I'd be over the moon with top 7 and a Europa spot, hell, I'd be happy with top 10.

St1pe: I think every fan base has a vocal minority of supports that expects too much. I suppose as a Liverpool fan you will be well aware of that though. I just wish we'd play a little better because at the minute we aren't a great deal of fun to watch.

The Fish: Hah! This old chestnut. The Geordie faithful aren't the stereotyped gurning oik, mumbling at the camera from behind David Craig. Last season was amazing, but nobody expected us to leap from promoted to 5th in 2 seasons. Were we to repeat the heroics of 11/12 maybe we should raise our expectations, but I don't think we will. I'd wager the majority of the Newcastle fans would hope for finishing somewhere around the same as last, but given last season was a perfect storm for us, I'd imagine most would predict/expect 8/10th

I'd like to ask you some questions about Liverpool if I may. What are your thoughts on our new manager Brendan Rodgers, the style of play he is trying to implement at Anfield and how Liverpool have started this season?

GeordieDaz: Not a fan of him mate, his "style" of play at Swansea was pass, pass some more, pass a bit more and then pass again....and all this across either the back or the middle, we played them last seaosn and they had over 70% possession and we beat them.

St1pe: I personally think that style of progressive football could be the future of the Premier League. Maybe not as rigorous as Rodgers applies it but over the next few years possession football will be more important than it has been. I certainly wish we had more of a game plan for when we had the ball.

The Fish: Brendan Rodgers is a decent manager, but right now, Liverpool is a poisoned chalice. The style he's trying to implement is all well and good if you've a clinical striker or two. Given 80% of your goals have come via Suarez one worries what'll happen if he's injured for any length of time. Personally I think his tactics are best defeated by strong, clinical sides. When we played Swansea last season I think they had over 75% posession, completed 90% of their passes, created 15 chances and lost 2-0. Buy a finisher to benefit from Suarezs obvious quality and you'll see a marked improvement in your results. Mind you, you've had a tough start, Both Manchester sides, Arsenal and your derby in the first 9 games is rough in anyone's book. You need Rodgers to have a plan B until you have the players for his plan A.

Andy Carroll, you sold him when he was riding the crest of a wave. After a poor start at Anfield, he seemed to finish last season strongly, and he played well for England in the summer. How do you feel Liverpool handled the situation with Andy, and what were your thoughts in the summer when he was linked with a return to Newcastle?

GeordieDaz: Love the guy, the reason he was booed so much at St James' last season is that he broke our hearts when he left, he left for money when we wouldn't match his wage demands 2 months after he'd signed a new contract with us, leaves a bitter taste, but yes, I'd welcome him back, he's class, how Rodgers let him go out on loan as he couldn't fit him into his style of play is just crazy, it's Rodgers failing as a manager, not Carroll's as a player.

St1pe: I still love Carroll and would have him back in a second. He wasn't given a fair crack at Liverpool but in the system that Rodgers plays I doubt you would ever have seen him for the player he is.

The Fish: Could never understand why Liverpool would swap Torres for Carroll and Suarez and then not play to their strengths? I don't get the impression the Liverpool fans ever really took to Carroll either. Then for Rodgers to basically say he wasn't wanted and loan him out to the new Rugby team Fat Sam is managing in London is just bonkers. I can only assume it was non-football reasons, yet he seems to have found his feet again and will no doubt go and score 10-15 goals or so this term. This of course is made more remarkable by your profligacy up front this season. Would I have taken Carroll back on loan or at the cut-price we were rumoured to offer? Course I would. He's still a very good striker and everyone wants a local boy to do well. Would he necessarily get in the side? Not sure at the moment.

Seeing as you got the better end of the Carroll transfer, how about repaying the favour? Fancy buying Joe Cole? In fact, can I pay you guys to take him off our hands?

GeordieDaz: Carroll goes out on loan and he brings back Cole? ??? ?? says it all to me.

St1pe: After seeing him last night (against Swansea) hell no! 

The Fish: He's another one I can't see why he failed at Anfield? Clearly a talented footballer, and did well when he went on loan to Lille he was enjoying his football and playing well (by all accounts). I'd happily have Joe Cole on loan.

Let's concentrate on the game itself now. Are there any of our players that worry you ahead of Sunday's game?

GeordieDaz: A few

St1pe: Suarez. Like everyone other than the Liverpool supporters I hate him. Sadly he is also a fantastic footballer.

The Fish: You could play 11 goats and you'll still win. It's us, it's you, in the league, at Anfield. Suarez may be a horrible little shit, but he's a very good footballer and will no doubt score a brace, that said Gerrard loves a goal against us and I'd be entirely unsurprised to see a goal from whomever is your worst performing player that's inexplicably still getting picked.

How do you see the game panning out?

GeordieDaz: Depends on what formation we use, 4-3-3 and we can be dangerous, however he'll play 4-4-2 and we'll get beat.

St1pe: A comfortable Liverpool win 

The Fish: You'll dominate possession and we'll get to the 70th minute without really looking troubled, then some piece of magic will unlock us, then you'll get another as we chase the game.

What side would you expect Alan Pardew to pick for the game?

GeordieDaz: Krul, Simpson, STaylor, Colo, Santon, HBA, Perch, Cabaye, Jonas, BA, Cisse

St1pe: 4-4-2 Cisse and Shola up front. Lots of aimless punts and hoping Ben Arfa does something amazing.

The Fish:

Depends if Ba is fit, but I'd be surprised if it were anything but a 442

Simpson Taylor Colo Santon
HBA Perch Cabaye Jonas
Shola/Ba Cisse

Finally, fancy making a prediction?

GeordieDaz: If we play 4-4-2 we'll lose 2-1. If we play 4-3-3 and attack you...who knows?

St1pe: 3-1 loss.

The Fish: 2-0.

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