Spyin' Kop - Reading vs Liverpool

Posted by StevenLFC on April 11, 2013, 11:59:14 AM

Well, it's been a funny old season in terms of fixtures. We seem to have played all of the top teams in quick succession, and we're currently in the middle of a run of fixtures against clubs doing their upmost to stay in the division. The latest of these teams is Reading. They currently sit in last place in the league, eight points from safety. It looks all but certain they'll be playing Championship football next season, but Liverpool can't afford to take them lightly.

Before the game, I headed to Hob Nob Anyone - a Reading FC forum to get the views of some Royals fans ahead of the game.


1. Sorry to bring it up, but Reading currently sit bottom of the league, 8 points from safety. Is that gap too big to overcome?

SCIAG: Yes. I think most fans have accepted that we're down since we lost to Wigan.

Elm Park Kid: Yes - we will be lucky to get another win this season.

RoyalinBracknell: Yep. I'm not sure exactly when the final nail occurred. I still felt if we could have beaten Southampton we might have had a slight chance. But there's no way back now. We'll probably finish bottom.

2. The Powers that Be at Reading decided to make a change at replace Brian McDermott with Nigel Adkins. What did you think of McDermott's reign,was the change justified and are you happy with the decision to pick Adkins?

SCIAG: McDermott was brilliant for two and a half years. He rebuilt us after Rodgers, he got us to a playoff final, and he got us promoted. Unfortunately, he made a lot of mistakes in the Premier League, mostly team selection but also tactical- the number of points we dropped from winning positions before Christmas is staggering. I would have liked us to stick with him even though he wasn't doing well just because he has achieved so much. Given that we sacked him, Adkins is probably the best external appointment we could have made.

Elm Park Kid: I have conflicting opinions about McDermott. On one hand I disagreed with most of his choices as manager, from signings to team selection to tactics. However you can't deny his record and the way he went about building an actual team rather than a collection of players. Many fans, included myself, loved Brian fro the the way he conducted himself and his commitment to the team. At the very least he deserved the opportunity to see out the season, just out of basic respect to him. For me the season was over the day he left. Adkins was the best possible replacement (realistically).

RoyalinBracknell: McDermott was brilliant for his first 2 and a half years. Represented our club brilliantly and took the players further than they had a right to go - he's my favourite ever Reading manager. I still can't quite make my mind up on his sacking. It's been an awful season with everyone pretty much out of their depth for a lot of it. But in the long-term I think McDermott will get another crack at the Premier League with someone. I think we need to change our style of play and whether McDermott could do that I don't know. Given we needed a new manager, I think Adkins was a great appointment and I'm looking forward to seeing how we progress under him in the long-term.
3. It has been a difficult season for Reading, but which of your players have impressed you the most, and has anyone not lived up to your expectations?

SCIAG: Adrian Mariappa and Jobi McAnuff have been consistent performers. We've also seen good performances from Alex McCarthy, Alex Pearce, Jimmy Kebe and Adam Le Fondre, but for various reasons (injuries, tactics, McDermott) they haven't played as regularly as we'd like. I've been disappointed by Kaspars Gorkss, Shaun Cummings and Chris Gunter, none of whom have remotely made the step up. Danny Guthrie also hasn't performed as well as I'd hoped after seeing him in pre-season.

Elm Park Kid: Hal Robson Kanu has played well in some games but disappeared from others. Mariappa has steadily improved and I thought that Pog, despite his lack of goals, worked hard in many games. McAnuff as club captain has had a lot of attention and unfortunately he hasn't been good enough. Jay Tabb was absolutely awful whilst he was here - regardless of how much he ran he is not a championship standard player, let alone Premiership.

RoyalinBracknell: Robson-Kanu has been our most improved player in my opinion - fair play to the guy. Shorey was excellent at periods in the first half of the season which slightly surprised me. Le Fondre has scored some good goals and Mariappa looks a good long-term signing - but most of our signings didn't sufficiently improve the squad. That's been the biggest disappointment really, coupled with a few of our better players last year (Gorkks/Federici/Roberts) struggling to immediately reach the same performance level for whatever reason.

4. I'd like to get your thoughts on Liverpool before we look ahead to the game itself, if you don't mind. What have your thought of us this season?

SCIAG: You've wasted a lot of money without making much progress for the second season in a row. However, I have a feeling that you're about to turn the corner.

Elm Park Kid: I haven't watched Liverpool that much this season, but it appears that you still have too many poor players for a 'top' team. When Lucas is your best central midfielder you know you're in trouble. Also you should have 'retired' Jamie Carragher about 5 seasons ago. Some of your youngsters look promising but without a core of quality to play around they are going to struggle.

RoyalinBracknell: Think you've done pretty well recently. At times you seemed a little lightweight before Christmas but I think signing Sturridge and Coutinho have given you that extra attacking edge and made you less reliant on Suarez. I think if you can keep hold of your best players this summer and add a few you'll have a very good season next year.

5. Brendan Rodgers had a brief spell at your club, what are your thoughts on him? Do you think he can be successful at Liverpool?

SCIAG: Rodgers was utterly terrible for us. I think he's learned from his plethora of mistakes though. I'm not sure he's really Liverpool quality but I think he could probably get you challenging for the Champions League again, with time.

Elm Park Kid: I wasn't really following Reading at that time - went to a few games but not enough to have an opinion. The league position when he left spoke for itself though.

RoyalinBracknell: Really wasn't a fan of him to be honest. It was always going to be difficult replacing Coppell - 2009 is the worst year as a Reading supporter that I can remember really in recent times. (Though 2013 could yet go close!) Tried to get our players to play a system they weren't really suited to and didn't show enough pragmatism (which Adkins has already demonstrated.) Plus he just didn't really come across well in the media - I found it hard to warm to the guy. But you can't fault his achievements with Swansea and Liverpool - I think he'll do well for you, although don't know if he'll take you to the very top level.

6. Which of our payers have impressed your this season?

SCIAG: Obviously Suarez. I've also been impressed with Glen Johnson, and Steven Gerrard has rediscovered his best form. I think Coutinho and Sturridge are good signings.

Elm Park Kid: Suárez obviously. Just pure class. Also I've always like Glen Johnson and have thought that if he could only improve his shooting by 10-20% he would be an awesome goal scoring full back.

RoyalinBracknell: Suarez, top class player - Think Coutinho and Sturridge were good signings, and Sterling impressed me early on though seems to have faded a bit recently.

7. Looking at the game itself, how do you see Reading lining up? To have any realistic chance of survival I'm guessing you have to get three points from the game. Can you see Reading looking to attack Liverpool, and if so, are you confident you can do what AstonVilla couldn't and stop us hitting you on the break?

SCIAG: Federici/McCarthy; Gunter, Morrison, Mariappa, Kelly; Robson-Kanu, Leigertwood, Guthrie, Karacan, McAnuff; Le FondreWe're not trying to stay up, as evidenced by us not playing anyone who is out of contract (Pearce, Shorey, Harte) or that we're looking to sell (Pogrebnyak). We'll probably approach you sensibly.We concede most of our goals on the counter attack.

Elm Park Kid: Adkins is a defensive style manager, so i'm fully expecting that same 4-5-1 line up as one saturday - though maybe with pog upfront rather than Le Fondre.

RoyalinBracknell: It's difficult to predict the team even as a Reading fan, as Adkins has changed it around so far! I think he'll go something like Federici, Gunter, Shorey, Morrisson, Mariappa, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Akpan, Guthrie, Pogrebnyak - even if we do win I think we're down. We'll probably try to continue increasing our possession of the ball and if you try and pass it round at the back attempting to press you higher up the pitch.

8. Finally, care to predict the score?

SCIAG: You'll win 3-0. Though I hope we win 3-0.

Elm Park Kid: 2-4 Liverpool.

RoyalinBracknell: Reasonably close but ultimately a win for Liverpool. 2-1 to you.

Well, that's all folks. Some good answers for you to discuss. I got plenty of responses to my questions, you can read them all here:


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