View from the Road End: Liverpool vs Man City

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On Monday night Liverpool entertain Manchester City at Anfield, despite losing to West Brom last week the Reds go into this one full of confidence.

Likewise City are full of confidence having hammered Sunderland 5-0 at Eastlands.

We caught up with City member and fan of 14 years Ashley Walton to get his views from the Anfield Road End.

Q. How do you think your season has gone to date and have your expectations changed?

Ash: It’s been an up and down season for us, we had a great start to the season and I would go as far as saying we overachieved in the first ten games. I think the number of transfers we made and the fact we started so well created an anti-climax. After our good start we had some bad results and I think everybody overlooked the fact that the aim was to finish in the top four and not to win the league necessarily.

Q. Who has impressed for you this season and who should Liverpool look out for on Monday night?

Ash: Carlos Tevez is the obvious answer, he is a goal threat and his work rate is first class. Mario Balotelli showed glimpses of his class in the game against Sunderland, there is no doubt he has spades of natural ability but his work rate and motivation can let him down. The other attacking player I would highlight is Adam Johnson. He may not play as Mancini sees him as more of a game changer from the bench rather than a starter but he has potential to be England’s answer to the left wing problem and shouldn’t be a sub. In midfield I am interested to see the battle between Nigel De Jong and Lucas. De Jong has been attacked by the media for his malicious tackling but he is a Dutch international and he can play football it is unfair that he is discredited for some bad tackles he has made.

City of Manchester Stadium Eastlands Manchester City v Liverpool Premier League 23/08/2010 James Milner (Manchester City ) Lucas (Liverpool) Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Q. Which Liverpool players are you worried about facing?

Ash: It is predictable but Luis Suarez. Foreign players normally need time to settle in the Premier League but he has taken it in his stride and is playing fantastic – he tore United’s defence apart almost by himself. I also think despite his fitness issues Andy Carroll is still a threat. He proved for England the other night that he can be in the right place at the right time. I would say he is England’s answer to Didier Drogba in the sense that he is good in the air, both footed and has immense power. As I mentioned before I think the De Jong v Lucas battle will be good. Lucas is a better player than Gareth Barry for me, he is highly underrated and he’s in the Brazil squad frequently. That’s not easy. I think Dirk Kuyt as well, I would take him at City if not for his ability but for his work rate. His kind of work ethic is appreciated at Eastlands and he scores the big goals, a genuine threat.

Q. Have you got any good/bad memories of games between the two sides?

Ash: I can’t remember many good ones but one bad one certainly sticks in the mind. I think it was two or three seasons ago. We were crusing 2-0 at half time in the Eastlands fixture and we came out in the second half and hit the self destruct button. We really shot ourselves in the foot, I think Torres got two and Kuyt got the late winner. Liverpool just have that never say die attitude and that great team spirit means they are never beat.

Q. What kind of line up should we expect to see from City?

Ash: It would be nice to see the same team, formation and approach that we took against Sunderland last week. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening though. Despite the outstanding result against a good quality Sunderland side I think the atmosphere at Anfield will draw Mancini into his conservative Italian approach. By this I mean you will see a 4-5-1 with Silva in behind Tevez.

Q. Predictions for the result?

Ash: Liverpool 1 (Kuyt/Suarez) – Manchester City 3 (Tevez, Balotelli, Yaya Toure)

Q. Finally, where will you by the end of the season?

Ash: I think looking at our games we can really kick on. The main competition for us now is the FA Cup, obviously we want to win that. With regards to the league I think we will finish fourth. United and Arsenal will be the top two and unfortunately I think the title will go to Old Trafford.

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