Today, AW and the boys travel up to Anfield for the first times since Andrey Arshavin struck 4 goals last season. With the ‘kids’ being brought in for Arsenal’s UCL game in Greece on Wednesday, the first teamers had a deserved break ahead of this must win game. Liverpool have been well below media and Reds supporters expectations this season, especially at Anfield, where they’ve already dropped some valuable points and have some what fallen out of the title race.
Today we speak to ‘Kop’ regular Daniel Whiteley who resides from Warrington, shows his feelings regarding Liverpool’s season, the amount of quality in the Arsenal side, and Arshavin’s quad last season…
Alright Dan, what’s going on with Liverpool this season then?
Well, I think we’ve been alright in parts, but on the whole, we’ve not been good enough. For everyone 2-0 win against United, their has been a 3-1 defeat to Fulham. Inconsistent if anything.
Is Rafael Benitez the man to steer you forward?
I personally still have confidence in him, although that’s not the view everyone has. I think given some serious investment and a decent transfer budget, we’ll be doing a lot better. Losing Xabi Alonso was a massive blow for us, he was the man pulling all the strings, and was our secret weapon.
As you know, he’s come under a lot of criticism lately, deserved?
In some parts, yes. But I feel it has been a media snow storm. I agree that some of his tactics are questionable, but you can’t question what the man has won. Two Champions League finals in three years is more then most other clubs can dream of.
How do you feel new boy Alberto Aquliani will fit in? No one seems to of had the opportunity to see his talent’s.
Well we’ve seen fleeting glances of him this season, obviously he has been hampered by his injury. That has stopped him in settling into the side, but once giving match practice, he’ll do very well. Any club will miss Xabi Alonso, but I feel Alberto has what it takes to step into his shoes.
With you unfortunately crashing out of the Champions League group stages, you surely must be seen as favorites for the Europa League, is this a trophy that appeals to you Dan?
Definitely appeals to me, any silverware will be nice. But let’s not forget there our some very strong teams left it in, including Juventus, Wolfsburg, Marseille and Roma. If we are to win it, then it wont be easy. But we can be counted among the favorites.
So, what if Gerrard and Torres are both unavailable? Quite a few pundits and supporters have labeled you as a two man team. What are your feeling’s regarding this? Unfair?
I think it’s incredibly unfair. For instance, we’ve got players like, Jamie Carragher, Yossi Beneyoun, Javier Mascerano and a world class shot stopper in Pepe Reina. To call us a two man will be doing all these players a disservice.
Well, I personally have always rated Dirk Kuyt, despite much criticism from the media and Liverpool supporters. How’s he been this season?
Dirk’s been his usual self. Picked up a few points and I feel the team would be a lot weaker without him. His work rate has been second to none over the past two seasons and he is the type of man you wish to see in a Liverpool shirt.
We’ve had some lively encounters over the years, whats been your favorite?
I feel the 4-4 last season takes a lot of beating, it had everything. Everything you want from a top flight clash, a fantastic advert for English football. On a winning note, the 2-1 where Neil Mellor scored in the last minute will always stay in my mind.
Over the years, what Arsenal players have you always been impressed with?
Obviously Thierry Henry goes without saying. While I was massive admirer of Dennis Bergkamp in his prime. From the current crop, I’d love to see Andrey Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas pull on a Reds shirt. Top quality.
With it 18-18 between near rival’s Manchester United in league titles. How do you feel you’d react if United were to grab their 19th?
I hate to say it, but I’ve never been such a Chelsea fan. I’m hoping it would be us to claim the 19th title, but with all our problems this season, I’d rather see it go to Stamford Bridge.
Not the Arsenal then, Dan?
Well with the players you’ve got there, you’ve definitely got the ability to launch a title bid in the future. But right now I feel you lack a top class striker. If you had somebody to stick the ball in the back of the net, then you’d be a serious title contender.
Hope you’re right, mate.
Just want to thank you for your time, Dan and all the best in the remainder of the season. Got a prediction?
I’d normally go for a Liverpool, but with the season we’re having, I’d not put any money on it. I’ll say 2-2. Thanks.