Liverpool Q&A with Anfield Asylum

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Javier Hernandez of Manchester United (14) celebrates with team mates as he scores their third goal with a header during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ahead of this Saturday's Premier League match-up between Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, and the rest of Manchester United and a Liverpool squad led by a finally fit Steven Gerrard and just returned Luis Suarez, we took your questions to our sister site, Anfield Asylum. Adam/Bromantic did an excellent job of answering them yet again. In case you missed it the first two times it was posted, check out his answers from January here. Hopefully Alex Ferguson has the lads ready to play and we see some football like the last 30 mins versus Chelsea.

Also, check out Rory's answers to their questions on the Liverpool blog. They include some thought provoking questions like, "How old does a Man U player have to be to get a "y" at the end of their name like Giggsy, Scholesy or Cleverley?" I can't make stuff like that up. Rory did his best but we have to be fair, its not like they gave him filet mignon to cook with.

How confident are you of getting a result at OT?
I guess it depends on what you consider a result. To me, a point away in a game like this is a fantastic result. The games are always so dicey and unpredictable that I would nearly always take that if offered before the game. I think we could nick a point. Taking three seems a bit more unlikely though, especially if Carroll starts as this changes the whole approach Liverpool take to the game.

How do you think Kenny will set out his side? It is believed he set out his side with three CB's, but changed when we only used Danny Welbeck up top on his lonesome?
I think he will be more traditional this time since I fully expect Rooney to feature this go around. The line up we used against Tottenham proved fairly effective. It was essentially a 4-3-3 and it did very well at keeping Spurs pinned deep.

How much money will you put on Andy Carroll to score? (Considering how much you put on will be how much you lose? :D)
It depends, is it your money or my money? If it is my money, I would bet against it. If it is yours, then I'd bet the farm and we can split the profits if it comes good.


What are your impressions of your Coates, your young south American defender?
Coates has looked good in the few starts he has had. He did well in the air, as a man of his size should, and looked a relatively calm defender most of the time. I should temper that a bit because he has also made a few rash challenges, but overall he filled in quite nicely. I guess it is typical young inexperience stuff. Considering how young he is, he looks to be a good buy as Liverpool look to the future. He should be maturing right about the time Skrtel and Agger go on the decline. I wouldn't want him to play in this game though, I don't think he is quite ready for that, but I am optimistic for his future.

What is the consensus on Daglish's future? Obviously there was a honeymoon period at the end of last season where they played quite well to finish the season. But this season has been very up and down (although that's not the first time

for 'pool), with success so far in the FA and League cups, but poor results in the league and some questionable purchases and tactics. Does he have your support into next season no matter what, or does he need to bring home a trophy or turn things around and reach fourth place?
Good question. For me, I am satisfied with what he has done. A piece of silverware will go along way to solidifying his future, even if it is only the Carling Cup. I think that a lot of it is simply that the Prem is just completely different and all around tougher this year. His purchases haven't been 100% stellar, but then again, who's are? He hit homeruns with Enrique and Bellamy, Henderson looks ok for the future, Adam is hit or miss and Carroll...well needs no explanation. I also blame some of that on Comolli as it appears he has a lot of say in the transfers.
I don't think he needs a trophy, but he does need European Football badly. Liverpool need to attract top talent in order to round out the roster to finally make a title run. I don't see that happening if we can't get CL footy. A trophy will do for me this year, but if that is all we get, then he will have immense pressure next year.

Do you anticipate Luis Suarez starting? There's the issue of his fitness and there's the obvious issue of exposing him in front on a likely vitriol Old Trafford crowd? Could Andy Carroll's recent improved form allow for Suarez to still come off the bench with

Steven Gerrard playing in ‘the hole'?
His fitness is an issue I suppose, but I think the month off was fantastic for him. He had been going full tilt for over a year and I am sure his body needed the break. He claims the boos and jeers will only spur him on, but that is easy to say until you hit the pitch. I would love to see Gerrard in the hole like he played with Torres during his most successful year playing with Suarez. Tactically, I think that would be Liverpool's best attacking formation, especially if Kenny could afford to put Bellamy up top as well. As for Carroll's recent run of form, well it is a very short run so far, about 2.1 games and the last game he was only average (which is a huge step up from before). I don't think it would be best to play him up top though against Uni

ted. I would rather see Suarez get 60' and Carroll come on until the end instead of the opposite. Obviously you guys know what Suarez can do, even if he isn't scoring since you guys were on the receiving end of it last year with Kuyt's hatrick.

What is the health status of Jose Enrique? If he's out, is Glen Johnson at left-back and Martin Kelly at right-back for sure selection choices?
The latest I have heard is that he is going to be in team that travels to OT. If he doesn't start, then I expect Kelly at RB and Johnson on the left. Johnson had a terrific game against Tottenham on Monday while playing on the left. Hopefully he can build on it. Kelly was pretty good as well, although I hope he worked on his crossing a bit in training. For me, Kelly is nearly as good a Johnson. I think you'll see him starting for England at RB in a few years if he keeps going the way he is. I am pretty sure his preferred position is actually in the center of the backline, but he plays very well out right so I'd keep him there.


How is Jamie Carragher - when healthy - handling the issue of being second-choice these days behind Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger? I'd sure love to see him in a holding-role again on Saturday in trying to track Wayne Rooney :)
So far he seems to be handling it professionally. He had to know it was coming and I am glad Kenny isn't pulling a Rafa by tinkering with lineups that are clearly working. I am very glad that Spearing will be available this weekend too. I am sure you'd love for Scholes to try to show Carra how to play a holding mid role again, but i think Spearing will do quite well if he can keep calm and play with his head and not his heart. He is great cover for Lucas and I have been really impressed with him both this year and last year. It should make the midfield battle much more interesting this time around.

What is your prediction for selection choices in midfield and attack? - there seems to be a plethora of difficult choices between Jay Spearing, Charlie Adam, Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Suarez, Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy, Stewart Downing, Suarez, and Carroll. Speaking (or writing) of Bellamay, since he started on Monday, do you a

nticipate him being rested for Saturday's match or will he start? He seems to have a good understanding with Carroll. Finally, what is your preferred starting XI at Old Trafford?
This is a tough prediction, but unfortunately I think that Kenny will start Carroll, maybe with Bellamy. Bringing Suarez in off the bench will only mean he will get an insanely loud booing at his introduction, but I still think Kenny may hold him back a bit. I think you'll see Kuyt on the right, mainly for his workrate in tracking back which is important in games against the top sides and Downing on the left if Bellamy plays up top. Bellamy will have had nearly a weeks rest so his knees should be ok. What I don't want to see is Carroll as a lone striker. That seems to change the style of Liverpool's play to the "hoof and hope." It hasn't worked well all season.
My preferred XI are in a 4-1-2-3:
Johnson-Skrtel-Agger-Enrique
Spearing
Gerrard-Downing
Kuyt-Suarez-Bellamy
For me it is defensive enough to deal with threats, should clog the midfield and still offer ample attacking threat. Kuyt, Stevie and

Bellamy work very hard at tracking back so I don't think it would leave us too vulnerable and Downing is significantly better when played on the left. I suppose you could call it a straight 4-3-3, but I would want Gerrard and Downing applying pressure on the United defense, especially Evra given his recent form.

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