Date: 18th December 2009 at 1:48am
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WestDerbyRed – from Vital Liverpool answers some questions ahead of the Pompey v Liverpool game this weekend.

Are you happy with how your season is going so far? I would guess no!
Certainly not happy, I have been going to games since the 70/71 season and can’t remember a worse start to a season. We need to find form and fast.

Are the club treating the fans well, or are they fleecing you?
Personally I am in two minds, whether to stay a loyal supporter in the stands and continue to invest in my club, or do I vote with my feet and stay away as I don’t want any more of my money ending up in the hands of Hicks and Gillette? I’m afraid the yanks have us by the short and curlys and they know it. Anyway, it’s a bit late now as I am a season ticket holder.

Who do you think was your best summer signing and why? Although you did not make many did you, so I would guess it must be our boy Glen Johnson?
The jury is still out on that one as we have seen very little of Aquilani, although the signs look promising. Johnson is obviously a very good signing and I’m sure the Pompey faithful would like him back. Many have said he is better going forward than in defence, which is a little unkind as he has played fairly well so far, the O.G vs. Arsenal an exception.

Speaking of Johnson, how is he doing with you lot?
I’m happy with his progress as I think he will give us an extra attacking dimension, which is what we have been used to at Anfield down the years. I hope he is here for the long term so that he can help us win that elusive 19th title.

Could you have done with more arrivals – if so in which areas and maybe even who?
Well, Liverpool have always tried to add quality rather than quantity, a mandate which has perhaps not been possible since the arrival of the yanks. We certainly need another top quality striker to share the weight with Torres, N’gog is coming along nicely and Nemeth, who is on loan at AEK Athens, is a real star of the future. But as we approach a defining moment for the future of the club and manager, I would prefer proven quality like Luis Suarez of Ajax or Wolfsburg’s Dzeko. Madrid’s Van der Vaart would also be the calibre of signing we need. A decent pair of wide men and a quality centre back would see us improve in vital areas. This is largely dependent on Champions League qualification though. What we don’t need is to be linked James Beattie and Scott Parker.

If the banks called in your debts you would be in a worse position, financially at least, than us – is this something you fear given the level of your debt?
Other clubs have a much bigger financial debt than us, including that lot down the M62, yet they are able to survive mostly because they more or less guarantee Champions league football and have a bigger stadium capacity. As long as the debt is serviceable we should be fine, to do that Rafa has to get us back in the top four.

So, go on, who is to blame for the ‘apparent’ mess you are in. Fat Rafa, the owners, both or a variety of things?
I think the owners have created a situation where Rafa is having to fight Utd, Chelsea et al with one arm tied behind his back. United and Chelsea have been able to buy more players in the £20-30m plus sector of the market like Ferdinand, Rooney, Berbatov, Drogba, Essien and Shevchenko while Rafa has had to search the market for cheaper options. The owners have also certainly not helped the atmosphere at the club by offering Rafa’s job to Klinsmann. Rafa himself is certainly not blameless, although he has brought Torres, Alonso, Reina and Mascherano to the club, he has also drafted in Dossena, Babel, Degan and Voronin (both admittedly on a free). Hicks and Gillette are universally hated by the fans of LFC for what they have done to our club. Washing our dirty linen in public was never the Liverpool way and I, like many, won’t be satisfied until they are removed from our club. But it is fair to say that the manager and players are not totally blameless for our current predicament.

What were your expectations, or hopes before the season kicked-off? Have they changed since?
They certainly have, I have seen a few false dawns since our last title win but I genuinely thought we had a great chance to win title number 19 this season. Despite what the press say, the departure of Alonso is not the reason why things have gone wrong, but I feel that the off field problems and uncertainties have led to a collective lack of confidence which we are yet to recover from. I hope we can put a decent run together to force our way back into the top four.

What about Pompey, what do you think we should expect or hope for now?
From an outsiders point of view I thought Paul Hart was unfairly treated, although once Grant had been allowed back at the club Hart must have known his time was up. I think Pompey fans must hope for a period of stability both on and off the pitch, this obviously includes making sure your players get paid and ensuring that you are picking up points off the teams around you in the table. Like our own situation, this will probably only happen after the ownership problems have been resolved.

Steven Gerrard’s a bit of a hypocrite is he not? He bangs on about diving yet he is a serial offender – does this bother you, or is it just ‘part of the game’ these days?
Not sure he has ever ‘banged on’ about diving, but it’s true that it is a part of the game, but not a part that I like. As much as we love Stevie, he has gone down easily on occasions. Having said that every club has at least a couple of players that do it, and if you are a regular at Fratton Park you will know exactly who yours are too.

Who is the real danger man that Pompey need to watch?
The usual suspects really, Torres, Gerrard and on his day Benayoun are all capable of deciding a game on their own. Watch out for our right back he can hit them from distance!

If you could take any Pompey player and put him in your squad – although I doubt you would want any of our ‘superstars’ – who would it be, and why?
I think we have already done that haven’t we? But if I was horribly tortured and ordered to take a Pompey player I would probably go for Younes Kaboul or Tal Ben Haim.(only joking lads)

Is there anyone that you would like to send Pompey’s way? We will ‘begrudgingly’ take Johnson back if you need, Gerrard and Torres would be taken if we ‘had to’…
To be honest I have an entire minibus full of them, and a driver to deliver them to your door….me! You can certainly have Phillip Degan, a Swiss right back that plays so little not even his agent has seen him play, you can also have the ponytailed Andriy Voronin one of the deadliest strikers around (that is if you watch the Bundesliga) I feel at this stage I should limit this list to two players as I feel you have enough of your own problems.

Go on, to be honest I REALLY think you are there for the taking this weekend, but who’s going to win?
Pompey are definitely a different prospect at home and have been unlucky at times, especially away to Chelsea in the last match, but despite our own frailties I think we will shade it 1-2.

Obviously apart from when you play us, good luck from the Anfield faithful for the remainder of the season.

Questions answered by WestDerbyRed from Vital Liverpool.

Look out for my answers arriving on their site any time…

PLAY UP POMPEY!


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