Ask The Oppo! Liverpool V Arsenal

One of my favourite things about this time of the season is that the big games keep rolling around. No time for feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s ‘stand up and be counted’ time. I’ve decided  not to rant on about why our Russian Wonder didn’t start on
Saturday, lets just say I haven’t been that shocked since I went to see the Crying Game (those of a certain age will understand!).

I saw it written in a few places yesterday that the line up the boss put out V Chelsea was a clear indicator that he wants 3rd, a policy I can at least understand if not agree with, so tonight’s game is one he obviously feels is a must win to over take any of those teams who currently lie ahead of us. I’ve been back onto Matt from http://www.thisisanfield.com/ about tonight’s game:

PGL:  So what been happening at Liverpool since we last met?

Matt: Well, quite a lot! Since the game at the Emirates in December we’ve had the whole Keane saga, Rafa’s contract saga, the Rafa vs
Ferguson war of words, the incredible week which saw us destroy Real at home and United away within a few days… Just a typical season really!

PGL: How do fans feel Rafa is dealing with the pressure?

Matt: Mixed opinion but I personally feel he’s doing a great job.  Nothing beats winding up ‘Mr.’ Ferguson and finally someone has the balls to take him on. The original outburst was a bit embarressing but it did take the attention off Gerrard in the immediate aftermath of his arrest.

PGL: Do you think the Fergie Mind Games actually do anything?

Matt: Maybe, maybe not. The mentally stronger players wont get affected but the general feeling within the squad might be.

PGL: The atmosphere at Anfield is revered and I’ve heard many a Gooner wish the Emirates was the same. What makes it so special?

Matt: Depends which game your at! Try sitting through a match against Fulham and its not quite the same! Nah, the stadium is special and that’s largely due to the fact its not a soulless new ground and also the match going support we have.

PGL: Is every game a ‘must win’ for the rest of your season?

Matt: Now, most definitely. We will only win the League if we win every game and the Mancs obviously drop points. It might well come down to the 2 games against you; if we beat you and you beat the Mancs, we’ll win it but anything else and it’s over.

PGL: Walcott is in great form, 3 games in 3 games, how will your side deal with his pace down the flank?

Matt: I expect Aurelio to start, with Riera ahead of him to provide good cover. Our full backs also get good protection from the likes of Mascherano and Alonso covering across.

PGL: With Steve G out of the game are you worried that our boy Cesc may be able control the tempo of the tie?

Matt: The Monster won’t let him!

PGL: Both sides will be chomping at the bit to win this game after both going out of cups to Chelsea. What formation will Rafa use to
try and secure 3 points for your side?

Matt: The 4231/4411 depending if we’re attacking or defending.  Benayou replacing Gerrard with him or Kuyt behind Torres.

PGL: I can’t go without mention that Michael Thomas goal. Has time healed the pain of losing the title in the last minute? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jiBIdtUKhs

Matt: Winning it this year would go a long way to healing a lot of things, that included. The 2001 Cup Final was also rather fulfilling
in that sense.

PGL: And finally what’s your prediction for the game?

Matt: Home win – hopefully! 2-1.

PGL: So there you go my friends, the view from tonight’s enemy.  It’s a game I’m really looking forward too. Our return to Anfield
in our yellow strip 20 years on, it should make for a special atmosphere. It’s a case of two in, Sagna and Eddie and two out, Ade
and RVP. If it was up to me, I’d start Nasri and Theo down the flanks and play Arshavin in behind Eddie with Song and Cesc in the
middle, a formidable formation IMO.

In preparation for tonight’s game I was flicking through some old programmes and stumbled upon this one from the third round of the
Littlewoods cup in 89.

What caught my eye were the comments from ‘the Boss’ George Graham’s comments:

“ I love winners in sports teams and individuals. What separates the consistently successful from the rest is their gut desire to keep on winning”

No matter what AW says, question marks about this team still loom large. If we to Anfield tonight and win, we will be showing that
‘gut desire to keep on winning’ and that’s what I believe will happen. It will be tight… the winner an odd goal… Bring it on!

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