Liverpool Pre-Game Special

Last updated : 27 April 2007 By Jim Bonner

Fratton Faithful has teamed up with the official site of Liverpool FC and the people at Liverpool fansite; Red and White Kop for a special feature leading up to tomorrow's kick-off. This article features a Q & A with some of the moderators of Red and White Kop and in return I've answered their questions and those answers can be viewed here. In addition, the feature with Liverpool's official site can be seen here.

So I'd now like to introduce you to Matt, Steve, Christine and Barney from as they answer the following questions:

1) The FA Cup Semi-Final 1992 at Highbury. Do
Liverpool fans think they deserved to win or do you think you got a bit lucky?

Matt: It is a truth universally acknowledged that in any contest of
footballing skills the team representing Liverpool deserves to win.
However credit to your mob, we still had a decent side at that point
and you took us all the way.

Steve: To be honest I think most fans have forgotten about the game or
came along post-Sky. As for those that were there there's many still
unaware that Barnes' free-kick hit the post and it was Whelan who
popped in the rebound, such were the premature celebrations as the
ball curled towards the goal.

Christine: I don't remember the game, I'm old enough to remember it
but I struggle with games from little more than a year ago so fifteen
year is a bit of a stretch when you've got a memory like mine.

Barney: Nah we deserved it, as you had the horrible John Beresford and
the ludicrously over-rated Darren Anderton.

2) I've visited Anfield twice since we've been in the Premiership and was disappointed with the so-called "famous" atmosphere. Why do the home fans only seem to make noise when the big clubs visit?

Matt: So many factors, loss of standing, change in social makeup of
the crowd, daft kickoff times etc. On the big occasions there's really
nowhere comes close but far too often it's an embarrassment. We've
been at or near the top for a long time now so maybe complacency is
the biggest factor.

Steve: Fans are spoilt with too many big games over the years in
Europe etc so it's hard to get up for all the games. Portsmouth fans
would be the same in a similar position.

Christine: You haven't sampled the 'famous' atmosphere, it's not an
every week occurrence and with all due respect its not something that
goes hand in hand with a Portsmouth visit. Its not just an opposition
thing, its also the game its self and what's riding on it, champions
league games have been great of late....

Barney: Depends on the opposition and the occasion really. If Pompey
came for a FA Cup semi or something, you'd defo notice a difference
Maybe if we got a bell-ringer eh?

3) Are you happy with the way your season has gone? Many people (including myself) had you down as genuine title contenders this season but it hasn't happened.

Matt: I never thought we'd win it this year, so the disappointment
wasn't too bad. Conversely I never expected to be out of it within a
couple of months of the season starting. Going out in both cups in 3
days was tough to take. The European progress has been great. It could
still be a glorious season but with the strong finish it's been ok

Steve: Very disappointing in the league because of the appalling start
away from home. We had a tough start in terms of fixtures and played
pretty well without scoring the goals - those defeats sapped
confidence and we struggled to get out of the rut. It didn't help that
many of the established players were suffering a World Cup hangover.

Christine: No not at all, extremely disappointed with our league
campaign, didn't have us down as winning it but being out of the game
by October is disgraceful.

Barney: n the League definitely not happy, although I think there was
a "World Cup" effect, plus having six new first teamers to integrate.
Also having had no Kewell all season and then losing Garcia, we lack
real creativity up front, which has since fallen to the wings to
deliver, which to be fair to Pennant, he has been lately and has
looked like the player Rafa wanted. On the left Gonzalez has been
plagued with injuries which haven't allowed him to have any decent run
of games, but when he has played he has shown glimpses of what Benitez
promised from him, and he's young and in his first season. Aurelio was
just beginning to find his feet with a couple of fantastic games
before his injury. People have hammered Riise all season, but it
remains a fact that he is one of our best (statistically) back four.

4) Will you win it 6 times in Athens, Greece?

Matt: Of course, without question, hopefully, please?

Steve: We've got a decent chance. Any club who gets this far has to
fancy their chances and Europe does tend to bring the best out of us.

Christine: Who Knows? We have as good a chance as any.

Barney: Yes.

5) Who do you have the bigger rivalry with? Manchester United, Chelsea or Everton?

Matt: Everton are the oldest rivals, they've not been a player since
the 80's though and the mancs are our natural competitors for the
biggest prizes. Chelsea aren't really on the horizon compared to
either of those.

Steve: Chelsea is barely a microdot on the map of rivalries compared
to the fraternal rivalry with Everton and the geographical rivalry
with the Mancs. Of the two it has to be the People's Supermarket.

Christine: Forget Chelsea, it's an insult to the other two that their
name ever appears on the list. Everton and Man U both huge rivalries
for different reasons.

Barney: Everton ahead of United on purely geographic terms. Chelsea
are nothing. Notts Forest were bigger rivals to us than them, and look
at them now.

6) Who should Rafa Benitez sign in the summer to challenge for the
Premiership next season?

Matt: We have 2 problems and they're interlinked. We don't put enough
chances away and occasionally we struggle to break down determined
defences. They're the kind of problems that are most expensive to
solve and that's probably why we're a step behind the likes of Chelsea
and United. We need our own Ronaldo, Drogba, Robben or Rooney. We're
probably one chance taking striker and one man beating attacking
midfielder short of a challenge. The names in the frame are Villa,
Eto, Bent and Simao, Alves and even Pederson at Blackburn. I'm
confident Benitez can get the right combination given the support.

Steve: A world class striker with pace who can bag us over 20 league
goals a season.

Christine: No idea.

Barney: A seriously good attacking, creative midfielder. Kaka or
someone like him, or hell, even Ronaldinho, although brilliant, he's a
bit too much of an individual for me. Sure he'd love it at Liverpool
though :-)) I'm sure Rafa will be looking at a top striker as well

7) Are there any Pompey players you'd want Benitez to sign in the summer?

Matt: I like Gary O Neil and we were linked with him for a bit. Seems
flexible, skillful and determined. Would love to have seen Taylor
score those goals in a red shirt but unconvinced by his defending.
Cambell remains quality but would only be cover in our defence.

Steve: Could always find a home for Matty Taylor. Kranjcar is another
who you think might kick on with better players around him.

Christine: No

Barney: No ta.

8) David James has just broke the Premiership clean sheet record. How is he regarded by Liverpool fans?

Matt: An enigma wrapped in a mystery. All the tools to be the worlds
best and on his day he can be. Should have been our keeper for 10
years or more but broke under the pressure of succeeding Bruce and
Clem. I've always liked him although was the right decision to let him
go. A better keeper than Robinson but perhaps a marked man amongst the
fleet st sharks.

Steve: As a keeper who cost us the title. We were on a great run of
form and charging towards the title until he started to drop crosses
for no explicable reason. Seems to have got his head together over the
last few years, improving his concentration, and his form this season
is streets ahead of Paul Robinson.

Christine: Indifferent really, was 'OK' at times but then shite at
other times, too much computer games and not enough dedication.

Barney: A space cadet. Great on his day, but I rememeber the day it
started, Charlton away he went to collect a routine ball and spilled
it, and a legend was born. Fantastic artist, they used to publish his
caricatures in The Kop (Liverpool fan paper). And the less said about
the haircuts/modelling, the better.

9) Who has been your best player this season?

Matt: Early season he was shocking but since then Carragher has
dropped right back into delivering superb performances week in and
week out. The heart of the team.

Steve: Steve Finnan has been a model of consistency all year and would
take the award from me. Elsewhere the usual suspects such as Gerrard
and Carragher have been joined in reaching a consistently high level
by newer players such as Reina and Agger.

Christine: Carragher, wasn't his normal self for a few games early on
but no big deal. Agger has had a good year for us also.

Barney: Agger. A revelation this season, although we'd seen a bit of
Agger last season, he's managed to displace Sami from the CB spot and
at 22 years of age he'll surely be there for another ten years. I
don't like to pick out individuals really. As long as they give an
expected 100% then fine by me. I realised years ago that we'll never
have a team of players who never make mistakes and put in a 10/10
every week. But nor will anyone else.

10) Who has been your worst player this season?

Matt: Unfortunately bar a great game against Barca, Momo Sissoko is
struggling with his form. He'll come good though, he's only 22.

Steve: The left side of the team - Riise/Aurelio/Gonzalez. Due to a
mixture of injuries and lack of form it's been our achilles heel all

Christine: Can't really name one, we've had a few average players and
some of our 'big guns' haven't performed but I wouldn't single anyone
out as worst player.

Barney: I dunno. Win as a team, lose as a team.

11) What do you think the score will be at Fratton Park this Saturday?

Matt: We'll be in holiday mode but still a decent proposition. 1-1 and
no tackling.

Steve: A fairly entertaining but light on tackling 1-1.

Christine: Not sure, we've got a big week ahead of us and with
champions league football already guaranteed, could be one of them
bore draws.

Barney: 2-0 us.

12) And finally... you're allowed to gunge one football player Noel's House Party style. Who would you pick?

Matt: Jens Lehman, just for his reaction...

Steve: It's got to be Gary Neville hasn't it?

Christine: Only one? Can we pay for more goes?
Hmmm Big 'blue shite' Dunk

Barney: Robben. Cause he'd probably cry...

Thanks very much to you guys for answering these questions. I hope you enjoy the game tomorrow, just not too much!