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[Archived] Rovers Vs Liverpool 10/04/12 Preview


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Rovers versus Liverpool is one of the games in the Premier League calendar I've always looked forward to over the years. Despite consistently underperforming in the league for nearly two-decades now, save a couple of seasons, Liverpool’s decorated history still gives them an aura of power which allows them to still be considered an elite club. Our clubs are also currently tied together by a wonderful part of both our histories – Kenny Dalglish. His presence in the opposition dugout gives the game a little bit of extra spice, with Kenny still widely revered across the Rovers fanbase for his successes in 1994/95. That season, at Ewood, we bested Liverpool 3-2 in a thrilling match won by Chris Sutton and ultimately won the title at Anfield later in the season despite losing. The stakes this season are just as high, albeit it for very different reasons.

Our record against Liverpool at Ewood in the last 5 seasons reads as W2 D2 L1. Overall, pretty good. Our only loss came under the clueless Paul Ince. Interestingly, one of our two wins came under Steve Kean. It is perhaps the only match we’ve played under Steve Kean that has left me truly elated at the end. We beat Liverpool 3-1, playing fast, exciting football and putting the final nail in the coffin of former Rovers boss Roy Hodgson, who was sacked after this match. The happiness would be short-lived, however, as this match proved to be one of many false dawns in Kean’s tenure and we ended up limping to survival on the final day of the season.

Our game against Liverpool earlier this season was the start of a slight turnaround for the club. We went from being absolutely awful to almost acceptable. Coming off the back of two crushing defeats at home to Bolton and West Brom, it looked like the trip to Anfield was going to be a humiliating one. However, a young and injury-hit Rovers side put in a spirited performance and got a deserved 1-1 draw. We then went to Old Trafford and beat United 3-2, giving hope to a situation that had looked utterly hopeless. Somehow, despite the handicap of Venky’s and Steve Kean, we’re still in contention to stay in the division. Losing to WBA has put a massive dent in our hopes of staying up, but as long as the teams around us lose we’re still in with a slight chance of clawing our way out of trouble. The bottom five are all horrific, and we could still scrape out of the relegation zone despite the shameful state of our club and the idiot in charge.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have their own issues. The return of Kenny Dalglish was hailed by the scousers as a masterstroke and Kenny’s messiah-like status amongst the fans of the club means he rarely gets blamed for anything that happens. Even now some Liverpool fans are blaming Roy Hodgson for their problems. There was a lot of scepticism outside of Liverpool as to whether a man out of the game for so many years with a distinctly average managerial record after 1995 could make Liverpool a force again... and suffice to say Kenny’s return to Liverpool hasn’t been overly successful. They scraped the Carling Cup after narrowly beating Cardiff on penalties but their league form has been mediocre at best. A recent run of 6 losses in 8 games has left the Anfield faithful restless and increasingly frustrated. Dalglish has spent nearly £100m and a Carling Cup trophy simply isn’t enough to justify that kind of expenditure. Kenny looks unwell in interviews and is rude and abrasive towards reporters. There is concern over his health and one has to wonder whether the stress of the job will cause him to depart at the end of the season. Regardless, Liverpool will come to Ewood desperate to end the league season on a high and build morale going into their FA Cup semi-final.

As for my prediction for this match... honestly, it’s tough to call. I would never predict us to win with the walking-disaster that is Steve Kean in charge of things, but Liverpool are in very bad form. We have a well-earned reputation of giving ailing teams a boost by letting them beat us, but Liverpool themselves have a reputation for failing to beat struggling teams so the scales in that sense are somewhat balanced. We’re no longer in a position where we can afford to drop points – especially at home. Winning our remaining home games will be vital to us staying up; even draws at this point don’t do us a whole lot of good – though most of us would probably take a draw if offered at the start of the match.

Based on current form of all the ‘big teams’ in the league Liverpool are probably the ones we’d want to face right now. Another advantage to facing Liverpool is that their firepower up-front is limited and often ineffective. They have no real danger striker – Suarez is a good player but no goalscorer, Kuyt works hard but again, far from prolific. Andy Carroll is a less talented Duncan Ferguson and Craig Bellamy is usually played on the wing and doesn’t normally start. Liverpool struggle to score when the pressure is on and find it difficult to break down resolute resistance.

Despite this, Rovers have a knack for conceding copious amounts of goals. When you view of goals against column it seems a little ironic to call our back-four a defence. Statistically we’re only behind Wolves (70 conceded) in goals conceded this year. For those of you who have lost count or stopped checking, we’ve currently conceded 67 goals in 32 games. Until a few weeks ago we hadn’t been able to keep a clean sheet, our worst run without a clean sheet in the Premier League ever. Kean has broken a number of records similar to this since he’s been here. Just to further prove how bad we’ve been defensively – out of 32 games we have conceded two or more goals in 25 of them. I don’t think I need to point out how embarrassing that statistic is and an indication of why we are where we are. The introduction of Eric Black has been perceived by some as a move that’s tightened our defence, but in reality out of the last 9 premier league games we’ve conceded 2 or more goals in 6 of them, including our 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal and our recent 3-0 loss to West Brom. We may have scraped a few more points but make no mistake about it, we are still very poor defensively and Eric Black has not made any noticeable difference to our major problem of conceding goal after goal.

Steve Kean had noticed this problem as early as December, and frequently talked about “closing the back door”. What he meant by this is unclear, to me at least, because he and/or Venky’s (essentially the same thing) have done the opposite of what any sane person would do to achieve the goal of conceding less goals. Our most experienced defenders have either been frozen out or sold – including both our team and club captain. Whilst one can make an argument for Samba agitating to leave, the departure of Ryan Nelsen on a free transfer despite his contract still being in-force boggles the mind. Droopy gratefully snatched Nelsen as soon as he became available – good enough for Tottenham, but not for us. Kean also emphatically stated Chris Samba was going nowhere multiple times – but forgot to mention that excluded bids from clubs in Russia. An easy mistake to make if you’re a buffoon or a lying cretin, I suppose.

In the meantime our wonderful, dignified manager had the brilliant idea of playing Morten Gamst Pedersen at left-back. That didn’t go too well. We’ve also brought in QPR reserve Bradley Orr (who, to his credit, has performed better than expected). Our central-defensive does not fill many with confidence, either. Grant Hanley has improved immensely from earlier in the season when others, including myself, had all but written him off. I will hold my hands up and say I appear to have been wrong, as Grant has come on leaps-and-bounds since December, however he is still young and would benefit hugely from playing beside an experienced and talented centre-back.

Unfortunately his partner is the ever-increasing liability known as Scott Dann. This fella makes one yearn for the days of Lorenzo Amoruso. Kean’s ‘marquee’ 7.5m signing has been a huge disappointment and both looks like he doesn’t want to be here or deserve to be here. Aside from bursting a testicle Dann’s season thus far has been largely forgettable. When not arguing with fans outside the stadium Dann can be seen wandering hopelessly out of position on the pitch and gifting the opposition goals. He looks a shadow of the player that seemed so good at Birmingham. I hope the ITK’ers are right for once and Dann’s transfer fee is mostly on the “never never” because if not we have been well and truly mugged. One of the few positives of going down would be that Scott Dann would probably leave the club – though the Championship is more his level, so whether there will be any premier league suitors remains to be seen. He also may not want to leave his foster father Steve Kean, who made no secret of the fact he worked with Dann at illustrious Coventry.

It would be remiss of me to place the blame solely on the defence for our wretched rearguard displays, though. Their job is made a lot harder by a midfield that often fails to track back or gives the ball away, though it’s been a few games since Gamst has made a pass directly to the opposition in a threatening area so fingers crossed he’s learned not to do that. Tactically we’re also often a mess and Kean fails to substitute tiring players as of late or leaves his changes too late, adding to our defensive issues. Making good (or any) substitutions and ensuring your team do not concede horrendous amounts of goals are evidently not criteria necessary to become Manager of the Year, mind, so why should Kean pay any attention to such things?

Based on the above I think we’ll lose 3-1, continuing our trend of conceding an average of roughly 2 goals a game and plunging us further into the mire whilst releasing a little bit of the pressure on King Kenny. Scoring first in this game is crucial – if we score I think Liverpool will start to panic a little and struggle to score. We may sneak a 1-0 or even grab a second if we hit them on the break. If they score first I don’t see us coming back and I believe this is the more likely scenario. Our threat as always will come from the Yak and Hoilett, and if any of N’Zonzi, Pedersen, or Martin Olsson decide to perform we could have a genuine chance at beating a dispirited and fragile Liverpool team.

To end the preview here’s a quick Q&A with my pal Sean, a life-long Liverpool fan and paid-up member of the Cult of Kenny:

Q: Despite having a legend and fan-favourite as manager, and despite a massive summer spending spree, Liverpool are struggling in the league. Why has this season gone wrong for Liverpool?

A: I’m not sure it has gone wrong! We won the carling cup and have beaten some of the big teams this season. We’re in transition and next season we’ll be much stronger. Remember we have been without Gerrard for most of the campaign and had Suarez banned for a stretch too.

Q: With the money Dalglish has spent, do you not think you should be performing better in the league?

A: Of course, but blaming Kenny is ridiculous. He’s still fixing the mess left behind by the previous owners and manager. The project is a work in progress and I think our successes this year in the cups will be replicated next season in the league.

Q: Surely you have to admit to being disappointed at the money spent on players like Henderson, Carroll, Downing?

A: We may have overspent a little but these are mostly young players, they’ll get better. You can’t judge them on one season. If we’re in the same position next season then it will be time to panic. I admit I was expecting a little more from them but remember we got £50m for Torres, so Kenny’s net spend isn’t as bad as the media makes out.

Q: Do you think the Suarez incident had a hand in derailing your season? And if so, who’s to blame for that?

A: He’s a key player for us so yes it has had an impact! I thought his treatment by the media and the FA was a disgrace, but I expected no less from the Ferguson Association.

Q: So Suarez is not to blame at all? Or Kenny for the t-shirt stunt?

A: Kenny has nothing to apologise for!! If we want to show our support to a player why shouldn’t we? Innocent until proven guilty, and I still don’t think Suarez was guilty!! Suarez deserves a little bit of blame but he clearly didn’t realise what he was saying was derogatory. Evra’s a little wind up merchant and I can’t believe he was considered a credible witness. It was one man’s word against another and they took Evra’s word, that’s all. The ban was a joke.

Q: Okay, moving onto Rovers – what’s your perception of the club at the moment?

A: A total mess. Your owners don’t seem to know what they are doing. I feel sorry for Steve Kean though.

Q: Why?

A: Venkys have hung him out to dry!! He’s had his team sold without his consent, faced abuse from the fans and still managed to pick up points and do a good job in the circumstances. I don’t agree with the manager of the year stuff but he doesn’t deserve the anger aimed at him.

Q: I strongly disagree with that, but alright. Your picks for relegation this season?

A: Wigan, QPR, Wolves. You’ll stay up.

Q: Onto the match. Which Liverpool players should we be worried about?

A: Gerrard and Suarez, but that goes without saying! I really like Maxi but Kenny doesn’t seem to have much confidence in him so I doubt he’ll play. Carroll has to come good at some point... right?

Q: If he’s going to come good, it’ll be against us. Who do you see as Rovers danger men?

A: Hoilett, obviously. I’ll be watching him closely as we’ve been linked with him! The Yak’s been good for you this season and I’m always wary of Pedersen’s set-pieces.

Q: I wouldn’t worry too much. Score prediction?

A: Really difficult. I think we’ll sneak it 1-0, Skrtel will keep Yakubu quiet. Hoilett could cause us problems and Pepe’s suspension is a worry but I’ve got a good feeling about this one, sorry!

Q: Fair enough. Good luck, thanks for your time.

A: No problem. Hope your lot stay up – it wouldn’t feel right without you in the division.

Keep in mind he answered these questions before our latest humiliating defeat. In honour of Sean, I’ll close this with a GIF that makes me chuckle despite the shambles our club is in.


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Judging from today's performance I'd be amazed if we manage to get a draw against Liverpool.

I'll make one request to Kean - that for once he instructs his team not to sit back and to attack the opposition from the start.

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5-0 loss with Carroll getting a brace. K*** to bemoan our lack of luck after testing Doni on four occasions without scoring. "We'll take the many positives from this match, such as getting into the opposition's half on several occasions and having the ball 35% of the match, and move on to the next one. It's time to start picking up points and get some positive results."

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Think Rovers will huff and puff for 80 minutes and then concede a late goal ala last Monday night. 0-1 to Liverpool.

Lose this and we realisticly can only win 2 more games this season when we really need to win 3. Away games to Spurs, Chelsea and even Swansea will obliterate BRFC in this current run of form.

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Thanks for the preview! Sad to see your friend is another one of the great unwashed taken in by Kean's violins.

As for the match itself: A clash of the giant disappointments. One managed by a clueless Glaswegian and the other managed by Steve Kean. With the way both clubs are going, I really couldn't call it. Whatever happens, you can be guaranteed of two things: 1. We won't keep a clean sheet and 2. Kean will still be manager. I can't wait for the end of season DVD.

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just waiting for roversmum coming out post-3/0-result telling us all we should believe in balaji-cock! mmm wonder what went on in pune babe?

When you've sobered up, I think a number of people will be looking for an apology from you.

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I suspect they will be disappointed. The bloke is the biggest WUM on here.

Being a WUM is bad enough but lurid suggestions about people is a step too far. Needs to apologise to Roversmum at the very least.

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Being a WUM is bad enough but lurid suggestions about people is a step too far. Needs to apologise to Roversmum at the very least.

I realised once i typed WUM that it didn't represent what i meant. Is troll better? I'm not sure. The bloke comes on here looking for a fight or argument with people. Believe me.

You're absolutely right, he does owe an apology. Not that one will be forthcoming. And it does seem strange to pick a fight with a member named 'Roversmum'. Ignoring the fact she is always a curteous, respectful and interesting poster, the fact he chose to insult someone with a very obviously female username kind of shows the substance of the man don't you think?

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Liverpool are atrocious at the minute. If we can't get something against this lot at home then forget it. Their midfield is astonishingly average. Henderson, Downing and Carroll are pathetic and Gerrard is losing his influence. We could win this but I dont hold out a great deal of hope. Despite this probably being the poorest Liverpool team to ever grace the premier league, only Hoilett would get a game for them.

As far as the selling of defenders, Samba refused to play or train so I dont blame the management for selling him. Its the selling of Nelsen which might really hurt. Selling either of Nelly or Samba could have made sense with Hanley starting to adapt to the division, but to sell both gives us a massive problem if we get hit by injuries.

I can see us scoring enough goals to get out of this mess, I just can't see us keeping enough out at the other end. Having to score at least twice a game to get even close to one point will be our downfall. In the cold light of day, only Hoilett, Yak, Robbo and Nzonzi could be classified as premiership quality. The rest is upper championship material. Expecting a novice manager to keep us in the league with that squad is ridiculous. Shambolic.

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I fear for us on Tuesday.

We all know what usually happens when any striker or team going through a lean spell come up against Rovers.

Kenny will not want to go into Saturday's semi on a lean run of form. Confidence is everything and you can't turn form or results on like a tap.

Additionally, match is being beamed world wide and Kenny knows that even his position is under scrutiny from their owners.

I expect Bellamy to tear us to shreds and Carroll to net at least a brace. Liverpool will have players busting a gut for a semi-final place.

Folk thinking that we are playing Liverpool at the right time are more deluded than Kean.

Liverpool to win by at least two clear goals and in a canter.

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Huge Huge game for us. It is almost do or die as I can't see us getting anything from our remaining away games.

Players need to show some passion. commitment and fight, if we can do that then with a little bit of luck we can get a result against Liverpool side who aren't that great. First goal will be crucial on Tuesday.

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Huge Huge game for us. It is almost do or die as I can't see us getting anything from our remaining away games.

Players need to show some passion. commitment and fight, if we can do that then with a little bit of luck we can get a result against Liverpool side who aren't that great. First goal will be crucial on Tuesday.

There in lies the problem. How on earth could a professional footballer not possess the fundamental basics

of passion, commitment and fight to start with?

I'm tired of the spin, the shocking performance and the woeful excuses with references to irrelevant post match stats. We lost AGAIN. Does it matter why? Who gives a

toss what the other managers say about how we played. They have the 3 points they can be an smug and condescending as they like.

We are an inept team with players who are of an unacceptable standard for a Premier League side. The 4 midfielders who played on Saturday should be in front of

a judge for impersonating professional footballers. Our slow, technically deficient, uninterested, uncommitted and

unimaginative midfield doesn't help our defending or assist the attack. What on earth are they doing?

As for Scott Dann. I'd rather have Darren Peacock...and he was dire.

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