In addition to talking with Anfield Asylum yesterday, the fine folks here at RBM had a chance to talk with the fantastic Liverpool Offside writers for a little question and answer time. Here are Noel's answers to my questions, and head over to Liverpool Offside for my answers to their questions right here. Later today we will have our customary preview of this seasons first Merseyside Derby, Q&A is after the jump.
RBM: After the first few weeks of the season how are you feeling about Liverpool this year?
LO: Better than after the first few weeks of last season, but worse than heading into the final few weeks of it. There's no doubting that the squad and style of play look vastly superior to what was on display under Roy Hodgson, but after the way the team came on after Kenny Dalglish took charge it's also safe to say the club hasn't so far hit the kind of heights fans had been hoping for. It's also hard not to wonder at times if the new owners and coaching staff trying to stamp their identity on the squad has led to a few cases of trying to fix things that weren't broken. Still, it's hard to complain too much when this time last year there was a justified fear of bankruptcy and relegation. Which reminds me: Say hello to Bill Kenwright for me.
RBM: What does Everton need to do to deliver a righteous beating to Liverpool this time around?
LO: Play three in midfield, put pressure on Charlie Adam, and hope that Steven Gerrard isn't fit to start. That last bit might sound conceited, but until Gerrard's two recent cameos as he's worked his way back to fitness saw a return to the 4-2-3-1, Dalglish has mostly stuck with a 4-2-2-2 set up that's had a lot of trouble matching uptempo midfield trios. Part of this is the simple numbers game; part of it is that Charlie Adam needs time to pick a pass and when pressured the cracks begin to show. It also doesn't help that he doesn't have a strong defensive game. Even if Gerrard does start, though, the most obvious weak link is a flustered Charlie Adam.
RBM: What does Liverpool need to do if they want to get 3 points from this match?
LO: Put aside talk of new players needing to adjust or get up to speed and just start the proven, derby-tested options that have spent the start of the season sitting on the bench to the puzzlement of many.
RBM: Are we going to get a chance to laugh at Steven Gerrard's groin as he limps off the pitch?
LO: That probably depends on if he limps off the pitch or not.
RBM: What is the biggest thing you are going to be looking for out of this match?
LO: I'll be waiting for Marouane Fellaini to try and break Luis Suarez' ankle and celebrate by lifting his shirt to reveal an, "I'm heading to Chelsea, bitches!" message. And I'll be hoping for three points going to Liverpool.
RBM: Who is the one player that needs to perform if Liverpool is going to do well on Saturday?
LO: Lucas. He almost always steps it up for the big games, but he's been left without much support in the early going this season and if Everton comes out flying he may have to put in one of the best performances of his career to keep Liverpool balanced. There's also a good chance that he'll be primarily responsible for keeping tabs on Tim Cahill, at least if Moyes decides to go with an actual striker on Saturday and allows the Aussie to drop between the lines.
RBM: Who is the one player Liverpool needs to account for if they want to stop Everton?
LO: Is picking Tim Cahill too obvious? And either way, can I still make jokes about Joseph Yobo rhyming with hobo even though he's out on loan this year?
RBM: What is your prediction for the match?
LO: One side will score more than the other. Unless it's a draw. Then all bets are off.