Season Prediction #3 | The Anfield Wrap

WE are already eight in. Now for another four. Trevor Downey, me, Juliet Jacques on Norwich and John Gibbons.

 

Trevor Downey

 

What do Liverpool still need to do before the window closes?

Buy a first-team-ready left back and a defensive midfielder. Squad depth is passable in most other areas but those two are glaring, yawning gaps that need filling. Love Enrique, the dozy twonk, but the lad’s a worry and Lucas may or may not become Lucas again. Address those areas and we’re sound until January.

 

Which Liverpool player are you most looking forward to watching?

Kolo! I have a feeling he’s going to be immense. He’s clearly got some technique, a bit of recovery speed and he’s made-up to be a starter for the club. Clearly Phil Coutinho is the best thing about watching Liverpool at the moment, and I will probably watch him more on replay, but Kolo has cult-hero stamped all over him — and I love a cult hero, me.

 

What amusement arcade game do you excel at?

I was handy at GORF (rich man’s Space Invaders) but I once had a crowd of fifty watching me beat the tar out of the game at Time Crisis. Younger, simpler, happier days, before bloody on-line FIFA took over my life – I’m rubbish, but hooked. It’s a tragic scene.

 

How many points and what position do you think Liverpool will finish with?

I’m a bit twitchy about these types of things, based as they are on a tremendous amount of un-knowables. As a result, my reaction is to go with a kind of negative marking system, but I’m going to temper that by being vaguely optimistic.  Balance! Over the course of the season I’ve picked out 8 potential/likely defeats and eight potential/likely draws. This would result in dropping 40 of the 114 points available, for a 74 point finish — enough for fourth place last season. That’s science, that.

Whose back are you getting on early?

I have this feeling it’ll be Enrique. It’s just the bovine, slack-jawed inertia of the man at times. It jars totally with his more swashbuckling moments and it means he’s a great laugh and that, but…yeah, I’ll be digging José out, I fear.

What are your drinking plans before the first game of the season?

I’ll be taking it very easy before the game as I’ve a lot on with work and family stuff. I’m also doing the training thing five times a week, ahead of a biathlon thingy. After the game, however, I’m on the Guinness with a relish if we win. I’ve banned solo home-drinking so that means no booze if we lose. It’s a catchy, if depressing refrain for the new season.

 

Who do you think will win the league?

With Mourinho back and the squad they’ve got, Chelsea are clear favourites. Clearly, I”d prefer to see Pellegrini and City beat them to it but I doubt they will. Also, with Arsenal being Arsenal and United taking a punt on David ‘You don’t need trophies to be a winner, but he is a winner’ Moyes, I can’t see past Citeh or Chelsea.

 

Who do you think will go down?

I know who I hope will go down! I have no love for Stoke City. None. And despite the new tiki-taka Mark Hughes era about to be embarked upon, I think they might struggle. Fulham too. Realistically, the new teams will all find it tough as well — so between those five for me.

 

Who is your favourite player Martin O’Neill has ever managed?

 I was quite a fan of Muzzy Izzet, primarily because he was called Muzzy Izzet, but the less impressively monikered Henrik Larsson was a class player, which he showed even more definitively when he escaped O’ Neill.

 

Make three predictions across the league season.

 1) Mark Hughes will refuse to shake someone’s hand.

2) Colin Pascoe will not wear big-boy trousers.

3) There will be manufactured needle on Sky between Carra and Neville.

 

What are you least looking forward to this season?

Michael Owen in the commentary box — what a terrible man, he’s become. More priggish and boring than The Alans and Lawro, more self-regarding than Andy Gray and less fun than a colonoscopy. Still, a good lad if your shinpads are out of coverage.

 

You are DJing to a wedding crowd. The couple are 28. What song are you dropping at around 11pm to make it go right off?

True story. I did just that (well, she was 28) and a back-to-back of The Who’s My Generation and A-Punk by Vampire Weekend nearly caused several coronaries and resulted in at least one post-set fevered coupling — I’m told.

 

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Seeing how wrong all of my predictions were at the end of it, having my first post-victory pint on one of the all-too-rare trips to Liverpool, talking immense amounts of semi-erudite guff about footy, hearing new songs emerging — especially the REALLY shit ones. And Kolo. I’m looking forward to Kolo.

 

Neil Atkinson

 

What do Liverpool still need to do before the window closes?

Add a top quality centre back, top quality wide player or centre forward, make Suarez stay, find an alternative option to Enrique and get a keeper for the bench. I remain confident four of these five will occur.

 

Which Liverpool player are you most looking forward to watching?

Coutinho and Suarez are obvious and correct shouts but the thing I am most looking forward to seeing is our substitutions. Whoever they may be. I’m not messing around with this. We should now have options to change a game. I share and understand the growing frustration at the business so far this window. We still need to add those first team players mentioned above. But we’ve done some solid business that should lead to greater options combined with the improvements in Wisdom, Ibe and Sterling. I expect to be seeing a lot of substitutions this season with Liverpool this season and for them to matter either to the final scoreline or to the development of footballers.

 

What amusement arcade game do you excel at?

I am the King of Air Hockey. Completely.

 

How many points and what position do you think Liverpool will finish with?

69 / 5th. Bastard.

First nine for Liverpool are massive. Stupidly so. It is wrecking my head.

 

Whose back are you getting on early?

The vice captain. Big time. Unless he plays like he is facing a former teammate every week. Hope the status galvanizes him to show that focus and aggression.

 

What are your drinking plans before the first game of the season?

Steve Graves said to me he fancies “Three pints and a whisky” before the opener. I will fall in with that. Seems proportionate to the occasion and its timing. Though last time we did a prematch power crawl of five and a double whiskey (and a pint at half time) he concussed himself on a lamppost coming out of the ground. Liverpool won 3-0. Halcyon days. More of that this season.

 

Who do you think will win the league?

Manchester City.

 

Who do you think will go down?

Palace. What? Three? Oh OK. It is tough this season. Palace, Newcastle and perhaps Fulham. Fancy Hull to start strongly and get dragged in but have just enough on the board.

 

Who is your favourite player Martin O’Neill has ever managed?

Ian Marshall. By a mile. I loved his winter goal run every year when he’d go from centre back/bench to centre forward, bang them in, get shattered and return to centre back/bench. I think centre backs suddenly starting games up front is possibly the thing I miss most from football’s development. Consider this – Liverpool have an injury crisis ravaging through centre forwards – who would you rather see lead the line? Toure, Henderson or Johnson. Yep. And you know Glen Johnson is your second choice.

 

Make three predictions across the league season.

Southampton will oscillate between doing very well and very badly.

Evertonians will be happier in themselves.

Swansea/Cardiff will kick off as close as possible to 10:45 am, scientifically proven to be the most police friendly time to start a football match.

 

What are you least looking forward to this season?

Context. The process that creates context. Handwringing post context. The cost.

 

You are DJing to a wedding crowd. The couple are 28. What song are you dropping at around 11pm to make it go right off?

 Gold Digger.

 

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Liverpool winning a home game 12-0. Going to be magnificent. I am building all my Saturdays around this perhaps occurring. I make no plans especially not on October 5th, November 9th, December 21st and January 1st. Keep those dates free. When the 12-0 hits, find me. I’ll give you a kiss and a cuddle.

 

Juliet Jacques (on Norwich)

 

What do Norwich still need to do before the window closes?

I’m tempted to say nothing. It’s been a brilliant summer, with Hughton looking like he’s building his own team, which will hopefully play less conservatively than last year. We’ve signed the best striker from the Scottish League, two Dutch internationals (with a couple of caps), a Sweden midfielder and an exciting young winger from Birmingham, so it’s like supporting Sheffield Wednesday in 1997. What could possibly go wrong?

If we need anything else, perhaps it’s a more creative midfielder – someone who can pick a pass. Otherwise, the squad looks strong.

 

Which Norwich player are you most looking forward to watching?

Ricky van Wolfswinkel – our new record signing, and possibly the most ambitious we’ve ever made. His link-up with Leroy Fer will be worth watching, I reckon.

 

What amusement arcade game do you excel at?

Bomb Jack.

 

How many points and what position do you think Norwich will finish with?

48 points, 10th place.

 

Whose back are you getting on early?

Nobody! One of the joys of our rapid rise is that there has been no-one in the squad who I don’t like for years. In the late 2000s, we could put out whole teams of players I didn’t care about or actively disliked. (Particularly under Glenn Roeder, when most of the team was borrowed anyway.)

 

What are your drinking plans before the first game of the season?

I’m missing our first match for a conference, so I’ll be sober. Before the Southampton game, however, I’ll catch up with my friends in Norwich at The King’s Arms – our favourite pub.

 

Who do you think will win the league?

Manchester City.

 

Who do you think will go down?

Crystal Palace, Hull City Tigers and Sunderland.

 

Who is your favourite player Martin O’Neill has ever managed?

O’Neill had a brief spell managing Norwich in 1995, but left after a few months as he couldn’t work with our chairman. So he managed plenty of my favourites – especially Darren Eadie – but I’d have to say Paul Lambert at Celtic. The three years under Lambert were the most thrilling I’ve had supporting Norwich, and he always said that O’Neill taught him a lot.

 

Make three predictions across the league season.

Chelsea to finish second, Manchester United to come third and Tottenham fourth.

Crystal Palace to make a number of “intriguing” European and South American signings, none of which really work. (I still reckon Iván Kaviedes has another innings in him.)

Luis Suárez to stay at Liverpool after discovering that no Champions League club thinks he’s worth the hassle, struggling to win back the Anfield faithful before his hat-trick at Carrow Road convinces them to get behind him.

 

What are you least looking forward to this season?

The grim inevitabilities that come with Premier League status: reprehensible human beings scoring against us; attempting to eke out 0-0 draws on freezing afternoons in provincial towns and cities in an (often futile) effort to edge one point closer to survival; having to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning because Sky Sports have decided that our home game against Stoke should be broadcast at 8.30am; spending a fortune on going to matches that “we’ve got no chance of winning” and then getting battered by a group of players joylessly assembled by some foreign plutocrat with nothing better to do with the oil money.

 

You are DJing to a wedding crowd. The couple are 28. What song are you dropping at around 11pm to make it go right off?

I used to DJ in Brighton clubs and pubs and had to stop after realising that nobody came out on a Saturday night to listen to Lesson No. 1 for Electric Guitar by Glenn Branca. With that in mind, I’m going for Lesson No. 1 for Electric Guitar by Glenn Branca. (At this point, I should mention that nobody has ever asked me to DJ at their wedding.)

 

What are you most looking forward to this season?

The social side of football: the drinking, the reminiscing, and all the laughing at everything. Oh – and spending a fortune on going to matches that “we’ve got no chance of winning” and then winning them. It still happens!

 

John Gibbons

 

What do Liverpool still need to do before the window closes?

We look an attacking player short, but I think we will get one in. We could also do with a centre half, but we might have to wait until January for that one.

Looks like we are getting a left back too, which is good.

 

Which Liverpool player are you most looking forward to watching?

Luis Suarez

 

What amusement arcade game do you excel at?

I’m pretty good at the Kentucky Derby. I keep my head whilst others (Steve Graves) lose theirs.

 

How many points and what position do you think Liverpool will finish with?

It depends massively on what we and others do between now and the end of the window, but I will go for 71 and 5th

 

Whose back are you getting on early?

Well I try not to get on anyone’s, but Joe Allen may frustrate me if he carries on last seasons form whilst keeping Henderson out the team. Enrique has a tendency to make me pull my hair out too.

 

What are your drinking plans before the first game of the season?

Planning a reasonably large Friday actually, so it will probably just be one in The Solly in an attempt to sooth a hangover.

 

Who do you think will win the league?

Well Man City have the best squad. So them

 

Who do you think will go down?

I haven’t followed every clubs in and outs, but generally it looks a decent league this season, with a fair few clubs like Norwich, Sunderland, hipsters dream Southampton and Cardiff seemingly spending well.

I can’t see Palace staying up, and I think Hull will struggle too. The third one is much harder to pick. So let’s just say Everton.

 

Who is your favourite player Martin O’Neill has ever managed?

Well its Henrik Larsson. Although I suspect you wanted me to be a bit more creative than that. Steve Guppy reminds me of a simpler time when having a left foot and being able to trudge up and down would get you in the England squad, and I reckon Chris Sutton could be a great pint.

 

Make three predictions across the league season.

Man United will come third

Cardiff will do really well at home

A new defensive midfielder will do really well and loads of Liverpool fans will moan we didn’t buy him

 

What are you least looking forward to this season?

I could do without Rafa doing really well or really badly at Napoli because of both ends of the spectrum. Him just doing alright would be utopia. Apart from that I am pretty upbeat about eveything really. Until we draw with Stoke

 

You are DJing to a wedding crowd. The couple are 28. What song are you dropping at around 11pm to make it go right off?

Ooh what time is the bar? I’m going to say midnight. In which case its Starships by Nicki Minaj. As long as I haven’t got all excited and played it at 8 o’clock.

 

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Loads actually. The unpredictability of the league. The fact that loads of really good players have gone to clubs outside the top 6/7 (Bony to Swansea, Medel to Cardiff,  van Wolfswinkel and Fer to Norwich, for example) should mean that everyone has a bit more of a go and the league is more exciting. I think one team could really surprise everyone. And Fulham have got Berbatov and Taarabt up front!!

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