Spyin' Kop Man City v Liverpool - January 3rd 2012

Posted by andythecatuk on January 1, 2012, 02:07:03 PM

Spyin’ Kop – Manchester City v Liverpool
Tuesday January 3rd 2012

So after a pleasing result to end 2011 at home, we start 2012 on a high with a fixture away to the Premier League leaders. Man City have turned the Etihad into something of a fortress, having not lost there since the visit of Everton in December 2010, but with the Reds resurgent after a commanding cameo from their talisman against Newcastle, this promises to be an enthralling game.
 I popped over to bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk before Christmas, where I was given a warm welcome and a great deal of help in putting together this Spyin’ Kop. Many thanks to all those who contributed answers below and also to Ric who runs the site.

1.   What have you made of your season so far – did you believe at the beginning of the season you would be where you are now?

Forza Mancini: The season so far has been excellent - top of the table and a 6-1 victory at the swamp is unbelievable. The Champions League campaign was disappointing, but 10 points was a great amount and considering the group we had it was a great effort. Plus, domestically, we are breaking records week in, week out!

Bilboblue: I am loving it, and me being a pessimist, no, though I expected us to be in the top three.

brianisablue: It's been good so far, but as a lifelong blue, I am not so arrogant as to say it's already won. Hoped to be top, didn't dare think it.

kp789: Fantastic start, did not expect we would be top at this stage.

Sleeping Easy: I'm loving every minute of it. I expected us to be up there but not playing as well and in the fashion we have been.

stimo: No to be honest, I didn’t expect to be so dominant and be many pundits favourites for the title so early on.

onceabluealways: Thought we would challenge but not be quite as good as we have been. The season so far has been excellent - some fantastic football.

The Kippaxkid: This is the best season I have ever witnessed and I’m 44 years old. I thought that we would challenge this season but have been stunned at how convincing we have been.

SamTheGuru: I thought we would be there or thereabouts (1st to 3rd) but I didn't think we would be winning so many games. The unbelievable thing is that United are still up with us winning almost as many games. I don't think Spurs will keep up their form for the rest of the season.

2. What was your opinion of the club’s performances in the Champions League – why do you think they were unable to replicate their league form in the competition?

Forza Mancini: As I said before, we were unlucky not to go through; 10 points will take you through 95% of the time. It was just moments in games where we switched off such as Napoli's first goal against us in the 2-1 defeat. The players seemed to lack confidence in the CL games but we went into the competition with little expectation despite the excellent squad we have because of our inexperience. Hopefully we can have a successful go in the Europa this year.

Bilboblue: First time out, trip into the unknown, maybe Mancini was a tad naive thinking we could take domestic tactics into Europe’s elite competition.

brianisablue: The Champions League was always going to be a steep learning curve. We started slowly and in a strong group that proved fatal. But it's not the end of the world and we'll come back stronger for the experience.

kp789: Disappointing but we had the hardest group in a long time. The occasions against teams like Bayern got to us and the speed of Napoli’s counter attack was phenomenal.

Sleeping Easy: Not the best but I’m putting it down to naivety rather than lack of quality and we'll be a different proposition next year when hopefully we'll be in pot 2 and not pot 3, meaning we'll get an 'easier' group.

stimo: Tough group, we underestimated Napoli massively, they were brilliant.

onceabluealways: Thought we were okay but I believe the build up and hype of the first game made the players a bit more nervous and they didn't get off to the start required.

The Kippaxkid: Toughest group and 10 points wasn't a disaster (unlike Utd). We were unlucky away to Bayern but for me we lost it in the opening game to Napoli - far too many nerves that night.

SamTheGuru: We had two clear penalties not given in the first 20 minutes away at Bayern that ultimately affected the result. I also think we were set up wrongly in the away games and that we should have taken the more cautious approach we were taking in the league last year. We should have at least drawn with Napoli away and then there would be no questions going on about our Champions League performances.

3.   Who have been the players in the squad that you have been most impressed with this season and why?

Forza Mancini: David Silva, obviously, the guy is the best player in England for me. Lescott has being a rock at the back and Balotelli, Aguero & Dzeko have being in fine form. Stealing Clichy from you looks to be a great deal, he has been really good and his pace offers us something Kolarov lacks. Oh, not forgetting Micah Richards, how is he not playing for England? No doubt all of you on RAWK will disagree, but he is definitely better than Glen Johnson.

Bilboblue: Hart – for obvious reasons. Clichy - slotted in extremely well. Barry - unsung battler. Silva - you know why. Balotelli - just because it's him. Aguero - ditto Clichy.

brianisablue: All of them have gelled and become more of a team. Particularly pleased for the way Lescott has performed when many were doubting him - solid defender and looking composed.

kp789: Silva, he is something else. Kompany, consistent as always. Balotelli, starting to mature and show just some of his ability. Richards, starting to prove why he should be the first choice England right back.

Sleeping Easy: There are the obvious ones but there are also the unsung heroes such as Lescott, Milner and Barry who've all been brilliant this season.

stimo: I’d say Silva but that’s a cliché, so I'll say James Milner. He struggled to make an impact last year but has been one of our best players this season - his work rate is absolutely phenomenal.

onceabluealways: Hart – consistency. Barry / Milner- wasn't sure they would rise to the situation, but haven't had a bad game. All the strikers -thought they would take longer to settle. Silva – has been even better than I expected.

The Kippaxkid:  Most of the squad have pushed on from last year. The FA Cup victory has given us that winning mentality and the likes of Silva, Dzeko, Balotelli, Hart and Kompany to name a few have got the taste and want more.

SamTheGuru: I am not going to say Silva as it was evident what he was capable of last season. This is a hard question because almost every player has come with a hefty price tag, so you would expect a certain level from them. I suppose it will have to be Zabaleta. I thought at the beginning of the season that he would be no longer good enough for us but every game he plays for us he just proves me wrong - an absolutely brilliant squad player.

4.   And are there any who you think have not been pulling their weight?

Forza Mancini: Well, I suppose you could say Tevez. Yaya has disappointed me at times this season but wouldn't say it was down to his effort, just struggling for form at times - he is still a key player for us.

Bilboblue: Kolarov - too laid back.

brianisablue: Carlos Tevez springs to mind.

kp789: No-one springs to mind, which is a first for supporting City.

Sleeping Easy: There's Tevez of course but apart from that no one really. Nasri hasn't been at his best but that’s down to setting such high standards whilst at Arsenal and it'll all come good in time for him.

stimo: Kolo Toure (up until the game against Arsenal) was not impressing anybody, but he was mega against the tarquins. Other than that I can't really say, Nasri has been disappointing, but only a fool would write him off now.

onceabluealways: Nasri - but he may still be settling in. He has recently started playing better, so I hope it continues.

The Kippaxkid: I have been a little disappointed with Nasri but he may be like Milner. Milner had a mediocre first season but has been sensational this one. Kolarov is great going forward, but lacks the defensive nous for an international defender.

SamTheGuru: Nasri. He is not performing up to the standards you would expect of a £20m+ player but hopefully that will change in time as he learns to blend with the other players in the squad.

5.    Do you feel there are areas of the squad that need strengthening and are you expecting there to be much transfer activity in January at City? If so, which players do you think, (or would you like to see), will be coming in or going out?

Forza Mancini: Tevez will go and I think we could do with replacing him, but not a big name - just someone experienced who can do a job off the bench or in the Cup games against lower league sides. However, I don't think we need to strengthen anywhere and can't see us signing any big names, and rightly so. If were to sign someone for big money, an out and out winger wouldn't go amiss.

Bilboblue: Not any in particular, although as we will be f*cking Tevez off, maybe another striker.

brianisablue: City will always be linked with big names but maybe it's time to consolidate and give some of the younger players their chance too. The squad looks as strong as any in the Prem and stronger than most.

kp789: World class centre back to partner Kompany, although I am not too disappointed with Lescott and Toure. Wouldn’t mind Messi if he fancies a change of scenery.

Sleeping Easy: Sort of depends on the outgoings. If Kolo decides to leave then we'll need a CB, could possibly go for a 4th striker although not a necessity. Rumour is of De Rossi though.
stimo: Tevez obviously should be going in January. I think if any signings are made, they will be defensive minded ones. Cahill or Thiago Silva have been touted as potential targets.

onceabluealways: Think we may need a Yaya replacement for ACON but i don't expect many.

The Kippaxkid: Our squad is almost complete. You need FOUR strikers and one of ours is AWOL (c*nt). Once rid maybe Cavanni to complete the set.

SamTheGuru: We don't have anybody in the team who can play the same role for us as Yaya Touré does. I would like to see De Rossi come in as personally I think we are quite weak in the central midfield department.

6.    Carlos Tevez – have your views changed since the initial incident? Do you agree with Mancini that it is best all round for the club for him to go in January, or would you like to see him return and recapture the form he was showing last season and earn his massive wages?

Forza Mancini: To put it simply, Tevez can f*ck off. I’ve backed Mancini since day one and always will.

Bilboblue: He can f*ck off and disappear for all I care. When he signed for us, we NEEDED him, he has served his purpose.

brianisablue: The man is history, and rightly so. Thanks for the memories now f*ck off.

kp789: Massively, I used to have major respect for the guy, but he has just spat in the face of the club. No way back for him.

Sleeping Easy: Can't wait for him to leave. I appreciate what he's done for the club but all he's done since has ruined it and it'd be best for all parties if he leaves and the sooner the better.

stimo: Want him out of the club as soon as possible, nothing but trouble. This would usually be seen as ‘typical City’ to have our best player f*ck us off or act like a baby, but he’s shown at nearly every club he's been at what a little sh*t he can be.

onceabluealways: Loved what he did but his attitude stinks - he can go f*ck himself.

The Kippaxkid: Tevez could have been a legend at City but chose instead to listen to the snake that is his agent. Every Blue supported Mancini and we still do. Tevez will soon be gone and soon forgotten, unlike Mancini.

SamTheGuru: I don't want to see him in a City shirt ever again. He always has and always will be all about himself.

7.   And what about the other headline maker at City – your views on Mario?

Forza Mancini: Oh, Super Mario - the guy is quality! A player who is in great form and finally starting to show his potential. If he carries on the way he is going, then I can see him becoming Europe's number one striker - I honestly rate him that highly. For all his flaws, his ability on the pitch more than makes up for it.

Bilboblue: Absolute diamond, crowd-pleaser, nearly every other Premier League team’s forums have threads on him with 80%+ of fans saying they love him, that tells you all you need to know!

brianisablue: Top bloke, real character, witty, charming, enigmatic and love him to bits.

kp789: Legend, most entertaining player of all time and he is a very good player too, not even shown half of what he is capable of.

Sleeping Easy: He's definitely a crowd favourite. Not just for his off the field stuff, he's really starting to show how good a player he is. Fans of other clubs love him too because he's a character in football at a time when everyone else seems to be boring.

stimo: Favourite player, on and off the pitch, he is absolutely colossal.

onceabluealways: Love him, and he's just getting better.

The Kippaxkid: What can you say that hasn't already been said? Crazy guy with an abundance of talent.

SamTheGuru: He is an extremely intelligent player who often doesn't get the credit on the field that he deserves. He has scored a lot of important goals for us and it was his performance that was the catalyst for the 6-1 mauling at the swamp. There is also a complete myth that he doesn't work hard for the team, because he does. I only hope that he will stay with us for 5 years because he really does have the potential to be a world beater.

8.   Only fair that having mentioned your headline acts, I allow you to give me your take on the Luis Suarez situation?

Forza Mancini:  I cannot stand him. Excluding people playing for the rags and Joey Barton, he is probably my least favourite player in the Prem. His constant diving just infuriates me. He is a cheat. I don't think he is racist but I think whatever he said to Evra was done to wind him up. Have to admit though, one of the best strikers in the league on his day, and if he wasn't such a knob head wouldn't mind having him at City.

Bilboblue: Class player, but a cheating **** hate him with a passion.

brianisablue: Did he really verbally abuse Evra? Not all bad then.

kp789: Can’t stand the bloke. He is a cheat in the first instance, but there is no place for racism in our society. The guy is a moron.

Sleeping Easy:  Racism can never be tolerated so if the FA have evidence that he did racially abuse Evra then he deserves the ban. Even better that he'll miss the games against us. ;)

stimo: I find it hard to see how they've proved he made a racist remark, but if he did then he deserves his punishment, if not more.

onceabluealways: Will be good for us if he misses the eight games. Personally I think the FA should tell us on what evidence he is being charged with - that would decide what my opinion was.

The Kippaxkid:  If, as the FA have judged, he is a racist then he deserves everything he gets. However, if he was goaded by Evra and responded in anger does that make him racist?

SamTheGuru: I am absolutely delighted it looks like he is going to miss most of the games against us in January. As for the situation itself, there is obviously evidence to suggest the actions he is being accused of, and I don't quite understand how Liverpool are taking such a strong defensive stance - to me this sends out the wrong message.

9.   At the time of writing you are two points clear with fixtures against Stoke, West Brom and Sunderland to come before our game.  Your nearest league rivals play Fulham, Wigan and Blackburn. Where do you expect to be by the time we play?

Forza Mancini: First. I think we will win against Stoke and West Brom but possibly draw with Sunderland, leaving us top regardless of the rags results.

Bilboblue: Where we are now.

brianisablue: Top.

kp789: Still top, with a few points in hand.

Sleeping Easy: I think both clubs will win all three games so I don’t expect any change in the situation.

stimo: Still two points clear.

onceabluealways: Same as now, but with a bigger gap to third place.

The Kippaxkid:  Hopefully where we are but five points clear. I can see Fulham causing an upset.

SamTheGuru: I expect us both to pick up nine points each and not much to have changed.

10.   If you had to pick just one – beating us over two legs to reach a Wembley final in the League Cup or winning your 3rd round FA Cup tie against your ‘slightly quieter recently’ neighbours – which would you opt for?

Forza Mancini: Tough one. Beat you in the Carling Cup and realistically we have won it. But for United to beat us in any game hurts so much more. Would have to go with my heart rather than my head and pick the FA Cup game, losing to the rags hurts too much!

Bilboblue: Both ;o)

brianisablue: Beating United is always a good feeling, but so is winning trophies now that we have the taste. Totally unfair question.

kp789: I think we can do both, although the FA Cup is much more important. The fact it is against the blokes from outside of town makes it a bit spicier.

Sleeping Easy: Tough question, after getting to the Semi's it makes me really want the Cup but after the FA Cup win last year I've grown attached to it. Couldn't decide - good job we've got the squad to do both.  :P

stimo: Beating United obviously.

onceabluealways: Very difficult - beating you as I believe the winners of the tie will win the Cup.

The Kippaxkid:  Tough one. A Cup Final (only our 2nd in 31 years) or beating the Rags in the 3rd round of the FA Cup? I would take the League Cup only if we were guaranteed to win it, otherwise it would be to keep the neighbours quiet again.

SamTheGuru: Ouch - now that is a good question. I think I will have to say the League Cup semi final as ultimately there is an extremely high chance it will lead to a trophy. Forget United!

11.   Are there any members of the current LFC squad that you would like to see playing at City?

Forza Mancini: As said before if Suarez wasn't such a cheat I would love to have him here. Spearing looks good and maybe in a few years he will be a great player. You have players like Reina and Skrtel who are really good but wouldn't see them making our team. Gerrard if he can get back from injury is always a big game player and he could do a job for us.

Bilboblue: A fit Steven Gerrard.

brianisablue: No.

kp789: Reina would make a decent back up keeper. ;) Wouldnt mind Kuyt, he always seems to score against us and is a decent impact player.

Sleeping Easy: Luis Suarez is a top player but he's just one of the players everyone loves to hate and as we’re already blessed with world class strikers, it’s going to have to be a no.

stimo: Suarez, even though I hate him more than I hated Ronaldo.

onceabluealways: Agger would be a good addition.

The Kippaxkid:  I like Suarez but he is a cheating c**t and is not any better than who we already have. Other than that, no, I am happy with the squad we currently have.

SamTheGuru: The only one I would probably take right now is Lucas. I think he would fit perfectly into our style of play.

12.   Last time we met in the league at Anfield, it was a relatively even affair – (apart from Joe Hart keeping you in it at the death! )  – what do you think will be the score at your place and who will get the goals?

Forza Mancini: The game at Anfield wasn't good for the nerves but I think we deserved a point. Our goal was slightly fortuitous but we gifted you yours. Barring that though have to admit you edged it and if anything you did probably deserve all three. Balotelli should never have being sent off though, a yellow card for his first foul then a second yellow for an accidental 'elbow'. In my opinion, he only got sent off because he’s Mario Balotelli.

Bilboblue: 2-0 or 2-1 City. Dzeko and Aguero.

brianisablue: 2-0 City. Aguero and Silva.

kp789: I think we will win. It was a very strange game at your place - a draw was probably the right result though. Although it was an own goal by Lescott for yours, there were plenty of opportunities that you might have taken. Having the best keeper in the league did help our cause though. I think we will win 1-0 or 2-0 at our place - Aguero and Silva the scorers.

Sleeping Easy: Going off our home record I think 3-1. Aguero(2),Balotelli,Downing.

stimo: 3-0, Aguero (2), Nasri.

onceabluealways: Depends on the team both managers pick, so can't really say.

The Kippaxkid:   The Etihad had become a bit of a fortress and therefore can’t see us losing. I think it will be 1-1 or 1-0 to City.

SamTheGuru: A 1-0 open affair -similar to the game against Arsenal. Aguero with the goal. :)

13.   And finally, where do you think City and Liverpool will be at the end of the season in all competitions?

Forza Mancini: Premier League – going to be optimistic and go for top spot; we certainly have the squad for it. FA Cup - if we can beat the rags then no reason why we can't win it, so I reckon we will go all the way to the final if we beat them. Carling Cup - to be honest I'm not too confident. If you are without Suarez then I think we will just edge both games but if you have him, then it’s up for grabs. Liverpool are just one or two more signings away (mainly a top centre back like Samba and a right midfielder or proven striker to compliment Suarez) from re-establishing yourselves as a top four side, and maybe even a title push. I’ve always said that if City don't win the league then, realistically, I would want Liverpool to win it to shut the rags up.

Bilboblue: 1st or 2nd for us, 6th for Liverpool.

brianisablue: City will have won the domestic treble - well a man can dream, and Liverpool will be in the top six and moaning about all the extra fixtures that the Europa League entails.

kp789: I think we can win the league although I’m still pessimistic. As a City fan we are used to being let down. Liverpool will probably end up 4th/5th .

Sleeping Easy: City Champions, Liverpool 6th.

stimo: City top two. Liverpool will finish 5th, or 4th and will be an exciting battle with spurs for 4th

onceabluealways: City - league champions, anything else a bonus.
Liverpool - at the beginning of the season I thought you would get 4th - now I think 5th, and the League Cup if you beat us.

The Kippaxkid: City Champions, Liverpool 6th .

SamTheGuru: City - League Cup, Premier League.
Liverpool - unfortunately, I can't see you picking up anything this year unless you beat us in the League Cup. I have a feeling Arsenal will win the F.A. Cup this year.

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