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My Interview for a Spurs Blog……

I was recently asked if I would be interviewed for a Spurs blog for the upcoming game on Sunday – for those of you interested he is what I said……. Full blogging will return when I am back from Florida…… Thanks to Dom at What a Fantastic Run (www.whatafantasticrun.com) for the questions…. WFR: Welcome to What a Fantastic Run, Could you introduce yourself to our readers? (name, age, occupation and all the other interesting stuff) My name is Spencer Gower I am 38 years young and am a Chartered Surveyor. I am married to Alex and have an 8 month old son William and a 13 year old son Raihan from a previous marriage. I am currently on holiday in Florida WFR: How did you land up supporting Liverpool? I have been supporting Liverpool for 33 years and ended up supporting them due to my uncle who unfortunately died in his early 20′s. He was a mad Liverpool fan who persuaded me to support the reds whilst my mother was trying to get me to support her team Manchester United. I definitely made the right choice!!! WFR: Well, where do we start with Liverpool this year? Who in your eyes  is at fault for your poor start to the season? Hmmm – where do we start….. I have blogged about the issues this season (www.spencergower.co.uk) and the main reason in my opinion is Roy Hodgson. Yes the ownership situation was a factor but I believe that those issues shouldn’t have affected the players who are on huge salaries and are paid to do a job regardless of who the owners are. If the players were not getting paid then yes this would have been a major issue. The fact is that situation was never even close. Roy Hodgson is a nice guy who has done reasonably well in his career but right from the start I wasn’t convinced by his appointment (‘mixed feelings’ on my blog). It has become clear over recent weeks that he is trying to imprint his ‘Fulham’ style on Liverpool and what he needs to understand is that we are not Fulham we are Liverpool FC. He doesn’t have a plan B when things go wrong. Tactically he is very poor.  The thing that has concerned me most Liverpool fans this season is the performances as a whole. We have been poor, very poor in fact and that is me being kind as a Liverpool fan. Our football has been similar to what Fulham played last season with the midfield being bypassed in exchange for hoofing from the back hoping that Torres will get on the end of it. Until Hodgson realises that he is dealing with much better players than he has ever been used too and that they like to play football in a certain way then our performances will continue to be mediocre. Can I put it like this – if Rafa was still in charge then do you think he would still be in charge now or would the media be as kind as they are being to Roy? So in conclusion and in my opinion Roy and his tactics are mostly to blame for the poor start to the season. WFR: There has been a lot of talk and accusations about Torres. Is it that he doesn’t want to be there or is he just out of form? The talk as you have put it has all been media talk – Its only a few months since the media were hyping him up and saying he was going to sign for Chelsea or Man City but ever since he came out at the start of the season and committed himself to Liverpool the media have changed towards him. Yes he has been out of form but the media have forgotten that he had an operation before the world cup and shouldn’t have gone really. He also hasn’t had a summer break for the past 3 years because Spain have been in various tournaments. He has also suffered this season from the type of football we have been playing and Roy using him as a lone striker and hoofing into the channels. Torres is a player that needs service to feet or in front of him. I would be very frustrated if I was him too. I think you have seen in the last 3-4 games he is starting to get himself back to full fitness and his goals against Chelsea prove he is still world class. WFR: I think Spurs fans owe Liverpool a huge thank you for pipping us  to Joe Cole – I am sure if he had signed for us we would not of bought Van Der Vaart. How has he been getting on? Joe Cole was viewed and still is viewed as an exciting signing for Liverpool – he was unfortunate in getting sent off in the first game of the season against Arsenal and then picking up an injury and he has also tried to hard to impress which has also hampered his game. Roy has also used him in the wrong position in my opinion – he didn’t like being used on the left at Chelsea and Roy said he would use in in the ‘hole’ behind Torres which is his best position. But he has played the majority of the games on the left and the way we have played he hasn’t been able to get on the ball too often. I still think he will come good for us. Remember Harry took a pop at Joe because he signed for us and not Spurs…… WFR: This next question consists of just two words. Feel free to expand  as much as you like……Robbie Keane? Robbie Keane…… I thought at the time he was a good signing and would have worked well with Torres. I also think his signing was an ‘owners’ signing and therefore became political and that’s why Rafa didn’t use him as much as he would have done before selling him back to Spurs in the January window. Its a shame because I think he would have been good for Liverpool used in the right way. The one thing that makes me laugh however is that Rafa got slated by the media and ex players for not playing Robbie but Harry, who has done the same and even loaned him out, doesn’t get a mention. WFR: We are nearing the crucial Christmas period, what are your expectations for Liverpool this season? I wrote a blog at the beginning of the season ‘Only time will tell’ which highlighted my expectations for the season. I am a passionate fan but also a realistic one and I try to air balanced views. My expectations this season were low in comparison to previous seasons and I was hoping that we could try and sneak a top 4 place but also know this would be much harder because of Spurs and Man City now in the frame. A good UEFA and FA Cup run would be the best I would expect this season unfortunately….. WFR: What are your general thoughts on Tottenham? I think Spurs have improved dramatically under Harry but in honest they should have given the money he has spent over the last few seasons. They play some really good football and the signing of Van Der Varrt will prove to be the best signing of all. I like Bale since he has moved into a midfield position and this is where I would like to see Glen Johnson play for us too as I believe he would be more effective going forward. I still think Harry needs to come to terms with playing CL midweek then PL on the Saturday as teams will always struggle after a CL game which has been the case this season. This is where the benefit of having a large squad comes into play. WFR: If you could pick a player from Tottenham’s past or present team  to play for Liverpool who would it be? From the past it would have to be Glen Hoddle – absolute quality and would have fitted into the Liverpool team in that era perfectly. Today would be Van Der Varrt as he is the type of player Liverpool are missing and in truth have missed since Alonso left a couple of seasons back. WFR: And finally, give us a score prediction…. Hahaha – my heart says we sneak a 2-1 win but my head says a 2-1 win to Spurs…… From my point of view it will be a difficult game for Liverpool and unless we improved dramatically away from home then realistically I can only see one outcome and that is a spurs win – and I hate admitting that!!

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Excited but Realistic…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 09-08-2011

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So here we are on the eve of another season in the Premier League and in stark contrast to last season it is one that as a Liverpool fan am looking forward too greatly.

Cast your mind back 12 months and look at how during this time the club has changed. I for one wrote this time last year that only time would tell if Hodgson was the right man to take us forward and sadly by the time it was proved he wasn’t the season was basically over as far as competitions were concerned. Add to that the board room troubles that had the club on it’s knees these were times that none of us wanted to see at our club.

So here we are 12 months on with new owners, financial stability, money for new players and more importantly a new manager in Kenny Dalglish. The combination of all these factors have enabled Liverpool Football Club to move forward in a way that no one could ever have imagined and so far it would be hard to argue against it all being positive.

So as as fans what can we expect this season?

The thing I have found with my time on Twitter and writing this blog is that some fans can have unrealistic views on where the club should/will finish at the end of the season and last season I received tweets from fans that were expecting big things after the signings of Joe Cole and Raul Mirelies even predicting finishing as champions! But with clubs like Man City, Spurs and Chelsea all spending much more than us last season we were always at best looking at a top 4 finish and that in my opinion was always going to be difficult based on the previous season under Rafa Benitez. So after a dreadful first half of the season the 6th place finish that was finally achieved was in all honesty better than we all hoped.

Should we expect better this season?

During the close season the management team of Dalglish and Cammoli have brought in good quality players such as Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing and as I’m writing Jose Enrique all who have good Premier League experience and all who should offer something that has been lacking during previous years.

Having been one of Stewart Downings fiercest critics over the years I have to admit that his time at Aston Villa has matured him into a good reliable and consistent performer who I believe will not only benefit the team as a whole but also benefit Andy Carroll immensely by hopefully providing numerous opportunities for him.

Charlie Adam is another player I am happy is at Liverpool as he proved last season that he can be influential, creative and score goals from midfield which is also something that has been missing from previous seasons, albeit under Kenny’s style of play last season goals from midfield became a more regular occurrence. I believe he will also provide us with other alternatives for set pieces and free kicks, taking the pressure of our captain.

I have to admit I don’t know too much about Jordan Henderson but he was obviously well respected at Sunderland and can only be a good prospect for the immediate future for Liverpool. As with many Liverpool fans I am very keen to see what he will offer Liverpool this season and hope that he will be a great success and with Kenny’s backing I am confident he will be.

This is the season that I believe we will see the Carroll – Suarez partnership blossom into the kind of strike partnership that will cause defences many problems and provide the return of goals that we are all expecting. Suarez has already proven that he is a major threat in the Premier League by being at times unplayable and a nightmare for defenders. Carroll seems to have recovered from his injury problems of last season and has started to look a real threat during pre season and I believe the midfield that Kenny has assembled will not only score goals but also create goals for him and I am very much looking forward to seeing this develop during the season.

However a slight concern I do have is in the defence.

The one thing I am hoping for this season is that Daniel Agger can stay fit. He is a defender in the Hansen mould that provides calmness across the back four and can start attacks from defence and when he plays the team look a far better and balanced side. I am concerned however that we could be left short in terms of centre backs as in my opinion I cannot see Jamie Carragher being the main stay of our defence during this coming season. I fear that he will struggle against teams when we are away from home who play with quick attacking players.
In my opinion we need a full time pairing of Agger and another proven Premier League defender, such as Gary Cahill, with Jamie being good quality cover in case of injuries. I don’t believe that Skrtle and Kyrgiakos are good enough cover as pre-season has shown us leaking too many goals against far weaker teams we will be facing in the Premier League.
Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to the club over many years and still has a lot to offer but I fear that his best is now past him and that we should now be concentrating on developing a new centre back partnership that can be the mainstay for the next 5 years.

I am not trying to be critical for the sake of being critical I just have concerns that unless the defence is strengthened this could be the main weakness of the team this season. I am confident the team will score plenty of goals this season and as Liverpool fans that is what we want to see but I don’t want to see us compared to the Newcastle team of 1996 who scored goals for fun but couldn’t stop leaking them which in the end cost them the league title that season.

I also need to remember the position of the club 12 months ago compared to today and be grateful to the new owners because under FSG the club has already progressed further than any of us could have imagined and therefore are we in a position to really criticise at all?

As fans we all have our own opinions of how the team should be improved and the players we want to see come in, but I for one believe that this is the best squad of players the club has had for 20 years.

I cannot remember looking forward to a season as much as I am looking forward to this one and believe that a top 4 finish is well within the teams grasp even though in my opinion I don’t think we will win the league. So for me this season is all about excitement but staying realistic…….

YNWA

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