Spyin' Kop - Blackburn Rovers vs Liverpool - 5th December 2009 - 3pm

Posted by Perkins on December 5, 2009, 12:23:04 AM

Just skimming over last years Spyin’ Kop, you realise what a difference a year makes.  This time last year things were markedly worse for Blackburn Rovers, without a win in nine and fans fearing the worse with Rovers sitting in the bottom three.  The tenure of Ince came to an end soon after the defeat to Liverpool last season, with Allardyce replacing him and guiding Rovers to survival.  This season looks as though Allardyce will guide them to the same position again, along with a semi-final in the League Cup to look forward to.

This time last year, Liverpool travelled to Ewood Park looking to cement their position at the summit of the Premier League whilst this season they are out of the title race and the Champions League before Christmas.  For a multitude of reasons Liverpool looks a shadow of the team last season, with Champions League qualification being the main priority now after a dismal run with one win in eleven games ending hopes of silverware in three competitions.  After the unconvincing but enjoyable win over Everton, Liverpool will be looking to build on successive victories and are unbeaten in five now.  All focus will be on Steven Gerrard this weekend, not only does he join the elite group of players to make five hundred appearances, but Torres is also out.

Rovers will be buoyed by the defeat of Chelsea midweek, and Rovers are becoming increasingly difficult to beat at home under Allardyce, with only two defeats at home since his arrival.  Whilst historically this fixture has yielded a good return for the reds, the performances this season, Manchester United apart, do not inspire confidence in Liverpool repeating their victories of last season.

Thanks to all those at www.BRFCS.com for providing some thoughtful insight, also thanks also to those at www.roverstalk.com who were willing to lend a hand.

Last time we ran this feature, some of your fans were very pessimistic after nine games without a win.  Besides the manager, has anything else changed around club?  Fans perceptions, the board’s plans, etc

Ethiaa - Things have changed but I'm not sure any of it has done a great deal to dispel the pessimism. Who knows what the boards plans are. We are as much in the dark as you chaps and pretty much every other football fan is about the dealings behind closed doors. You'd imagine they are happy to break even and sit mid table for the rest of eternity.

Paul @ BRFCS - I feel fan's expectations have changed significantly in the last 12 months, for the majority simply surviving in the PL is now seen as an achievement and an acceptable ambition. The club have made tremendous, largely successful, efforts, to increase the gate using excellent ST and match bundle initiatives.

Rover the Top - Some fans seem to have given up their ambition very easily given what happened last season. We'd finished 6th, 10th and 7th under Hughes, but now some fans think that's suddenly beyond our reach, and the best we can hope for is just to stay up. The board still seem positive, they're making efforts to boost attendances which appear to be working, and whilst they've been a little more prudent with the budget, they're aiming for a mid-table finish.

Theadore - Different Manager - Same Shit.... or more accurately different equally potent but much less attractive shit

What are your expectations for this season, have they changed since day one?

Grabby Graeme @ BRFCS - Avoiding relegation is always the first thing, but I would expect a mid table finish

Paul @ BRFCS - My early season prediction was to finish 15th / 16th after flirting with relegation. I'll stick with that as I've seen nothing to suggest it will be otherwise
Dangeross - would like to finish mid table but I imagine roughly same outcome as last season. Little improvement from last season.

EnglishChris @ BRFCS - My expectations for this season are the same as day one and that is that we stay in the league and try to finish above the position we did last season. I know that no doubt there are fans out there who think we should be top 10 side as we have been the last few years and we should be up there with Villa or Spurs but that won't happen unless we get money or lucky. However we've struggled a little of late with the lack of funds and to finish this season any higher than last would be good enough for me however if I had my wish It would be a top 10 spot as it would bring in a bit more money for the club.

After browsing your forums it seems that fans are divided over Big Sam, why is that and what is your take on him?

Ethiaa - His football tactics are ugly, lacking in flexibility and invention, and seem based around a complete lack of aspiration when playing anyone he thinks are better than us. I'd rather have stuck with Ince and risked going down. At least he might have learnt the things he needed while BFS seems irrevocably stuck in his 'expert' tactics. Sadly, we knew this would happen when he was appointed.

Topman @ BRFCS - I respect the manager, even if I don't always agree with his decisions. Sam hasn't got the easiest job on his hands, since he's had to work on a tight budget and works for a selling club. He's very stubborn and methodical, which irritates many supporters on here and I understand their concerns about the tactics sometimes, but his personality must be taken with a pinch of salt. Any manager worth his salt carries a certain sense of hubris. My main criticism of him is that I'd like him to be a little more adventurous in our play (which worked against Portsmouth, and recently Chelsea in the cup) and to desist with certain passengers in our team.

Paul @ BRFCS - I've never been keen on Allardyce as a personality but I couldn't, as some do, care less that he managed Bolton or be concerned by their style of football. What worries me is the attitude he brings to Rovers. Allardyce asked the board to look initiatives to fill the ground, the board responded. To keep the ground full we have to play decent football, this isn't happening. Yes we have a decent home record but the football is poor and that record has been won against teams we should be beating. Allardyce, and this is not his fault, plays percentage football and is a product of what the PL has become - a money mad scramble for survival

Mr. E @ BRFCS - In terms of minimum expectations he has delivered, and he has shown some good vision in the transfer market, but it seems like he has so far been unable to install a winning mentality in the team, or at least one that doesn't give up when things get tough. In any case, he still has time to improve.

It is fair to say that both clubs have shared a good relationship in recent years, so what did you make of the ‘hand gestures’ last season?

Theadore - The stupidest row in football.... wouldn't have happened if we were actually out to win the game.

Rover the Top - I think any manager who signals 'game over' before the final whistle deserves to get bitten in the ass over it. However, Allardyce put out a weak side with no ambition to win the game, so I don't know what he was upset about. The sad part about it from a Blackburn fan's point of view was that Benitez was right.

Blue blood @ BRFCS - A pretty poor do all round really. Disrespectful of Benitez to do it, stupid of Sam to complain about it

Baz @ BRFCS - It was dismissive, but to be fair Rafa was right it was game over early in the first-half, and that concerned me more. As for the Big Sam / AF love-in it’s a bit sickening.

As a club that once lifted the Premier League title, were do you see the future of the club?

Rover the Top - We're a distance from the PL title now, it's really no more relevant than our other league titles and FA Cup wins. But we do have a rich history; we've been a top flight club for much of it. We were a major player in the development of the game and we have a trophy list most clubs would be envious of - I don't think we get the respect we deserve at times. I don't see us as challenging for the league any time soon, but we should be able to stay mid table. And we've always got a chance in one of the cups if the top clubs screw up, as they occasionally do.

Grabby Graeme @ BRFCS - Don’t think we will hit them heights again unless some serious money is put in, under Hughes we did punch above our weight and it was a good time to be a Rovers supporter, at the moment it's mid table and anything better is a bonus.

Mr. E @ BRFCS - If the current formula of foreign billionaires buying teams from large cities doesn't undergo a drastic change, it is inevitable that we will eventually be relegated and slip down the football leagues. It's sad, but it's getting harder and harder to compete and we can not do it forever.

Iamarover - Depressingly, hovering around midtable for years to come, barring any relegations.

Last time we ran this feature, Liverpool were flying and mounting a serious title challenge, things are somewhat different this season, where do you place the blame?

Ethiaa - You squad is simply a bit weak when you have players missing compared with the other sides around you. You're lacking strikers obviously and look weak at left back to me. Who is to blame for those problems you will probably know more about than me? I hope you turn it around though, I enjoy nothing more than a night out in a Manchester pub watching Liverpool win.
Theadore - Has to be round the neck of the manager - I think he has dug himself a bit of a hole with some bad purchases and belligerence. Hounding Alonso out was madness and there is just a lack of quality outside the core of your team that is worrying (that isn't to say we wouldn't snap your arm off if we were offered some of these 'poor' players

EnglishChris @ BRFCS - I'd put it down to the way Rafa went about with the whole Alonso thing he should have never of said that he wanted to sell him to buy Gareth Barry because that gave Alonso the feeling of not being wanted at Liverpool so when the Barry deal went south and he left for City I think Alonso thought if he's not wanted hear by Liverpool then he could go to Madrid were he knew they wanted his services. You also sold that defender Arbeloa to Madrid which I think was a mistake yes I know he had a fight with Carragher at the back end of last season but you must admit he wasn't a bad player and he would have been good cover had a player been injured this season. You sold Crouch and Keane( who wasn't given much of a chance I thought, didn't help that he was given that now curse number on his shirt though) but I do think either one of those two would help you out right now with El Niño out. For me I think you need a new owner with money to help you build your team up, although I'm not sure about Dubai though there market is on the way out lol.

Iamarover - You only seem to have a few players who get your goals, and they keep getting injured.

Paul @ BRFCS - Benitez. You'll win never win the league while this man is your manager. In public he treats the media, and therefore the fans he is talking to, like school children. If this is the public image I hate to think what happens behind closed doors. In Benitez you have a manger who blames everyone except himself for the team's shortcomings on the pitch. It's always someone else's fault. The sooner you get rid of him the better for Liverpool FC. I hope you do because I'd far sooner see LFC win the league than the other contenders.

Mr. E @ BRFCS - Honestly? Benitez. He has gotten rid of many class strikers and replaced them with Voronin. Liverpool look unbeatable with Gerrard and Torres playing, but have a very weak plan B.

Who is your best player?

Blue blood @ BRFCS - Dunn in terms of ability, Emerton in terms of consistency

Rover the Top - David Dunn

Melison24 @ BRFCS - Chris Samba for me. Class defender and can put pressure on the opposition defence at set-pieces. A class act.

Who is your worst player?

Mr. E @ BRFCS - El-Hadji Diouf. He looks like he tries, but is lacking any and all footballing quality.

EnglishChris @ BRFCS - For me so far has to be Keith Andrews, mainly because I don't really rate the guy that much. He doesn't have enough good games in my book; Robbie Savage was sometimes like him as he wouldn't always have good games either but right now I'd rather have Savage than Andrews. I'll annoy loads by saying that about Savage but that's what I thought of him.

Rover the Top - Keith Andrews, Vince Grella, El Hadji Diouf.

Any up and coming young players we should know about?

Dangeross - Hoilett is supposed to be an excellent prospect but he will be leaving in January and I imagine he will not be involved in this encounter.

- Steven Nzonzi is very good, our other star youngster Junior Hoilett is set to leave for Germany on a Bosman. Oh and Michel Salgado.

Theadore - Phil Jones in defence looks the part - although he is still a little way off

Ethiaa - Hoilett is our main prospect. Who knows for how long?

Besides Gerrard and Torres the obvious choices, any other Liverpool players you fear or would want in your side?

Dangeross - Benayoun and Carragher. I would Carragher playing for England. Need some aggression injected into national side.

EnglishChris @ BRFCS - Yossi Benayoun is in my book a really decent player I've seen him play a few times and I like the way he plays I wouldn't mind him in are team.

Paul @ BRFCS - I doubt we'd argue about any of them coming to Ewood. I'd settle for Kuyt right now

Neekoy @ BRFCS - There is none that I fear but Mascha in our midfield would make a difference and Babel up front in his proper position.

What do you think Liverpool will take from this season?

Topman @ BRFCS - Fourth place and possibly the Europa Cup.

Ethiaa - Europa league qualification - you might even win it too. I do hope you get top 4 though but it's not quite looking like it at the moment.

Rover the Top - A change of manager.

Grabbi Graeme - Unless they get a good run in the F.A. Cup they cant take much from this season, but a top 4 finish is a must if Benitez wants to keep his job

Neekoy @ BRFCS - Not much to be honest, I don't think they will finish in the top four which will be a disaster.

Who do you think will win the league?

Neekoy @ BRFCS – Chelsea

Ethiaa - Chelsea

Topman @ BRFCS - Chelsea or United. Look at me putting my neck on the block

Care to predict a result?

Jamesb – Rovers – Mad – 23 - Blackburn Rovers 0v4 Liverpool - Same as last time as I feel we have Liverpool at the wrong time

Philipl @ BRFCS - Best chance for Rovers to notch a win against Liverpool in quite a while- I think we start favourites

Dangeross - Liverpool win 2 – 0

Ethiaa - A draw. 1-1

Grabby Graeme @ BRFCS - Depends who is playing for you. If Torres plays then he will give our defence a torrid time although can’t see him playing the full 90 due to his recent injury, it could be a tight game so going for the draw.

Baz @ BRFCS - You'll sit back for the first 20 mins or so and try to fathom out our tactics, then realise we don’t have anything other than a long ball / set piece / David Dunn. Then you will waltz through our non-existent midfield and score with a long range effort. Then do it again. Then you will have a game of keep ball whilst Keith Andrews points at your midfielders instead of tackling them.

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