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Everton v Liverpool: Blogger Q&A

We cross the park to talk to the enemy about Sunday's big game

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

We've heard plenty from worried Evertonians ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby but what about from those loveable reds? We spoke to Zach from SBNation sister site The Liverpool Offisde about the big match.

A big thank you to Zach for taking the time out to answer questions and don't forget to check out their site to hear things from a Red perspective.

Liverpool's struggles this season are confusing, considering how many chances they're creating in front of goal. Is finishing the main culprit?

As we saw in the Europa League clash this week, finishing is definitely a culprit, but it’s not the only one. Too often we’ve seen poor shot selection, as was the case in the "win" over Carlisle United in the League Cup. In that match, Liverpool took 58 shots, but only 6 were on target, leading to a grand total of 1 (one) goal. Against a League 2 side. At home. With an unnecessarily strong starting XI. If you really want to see Everything Wrong With Liverpool, I'd suggest watching that match. It also doubles as a great cure for insomnia.

A great deal of the shots we’ve taken so far have been low-percentage shots, particularly with Philippe Coutinho suddenly thinking he can always beat the keeper from 25+ yards out. In the process, he has seemed to have forgotten how "pass," which is why we started loving him in the first place.

TL;DR: We desperately missed the clinical Daniel Sturridge. We’re glad he’s back, and we hope not to break him again.

Just about every fan has an opinion on what Brendan Rodgers needs to do to arrest the slump. What can he do that he hasn't already tried?

For many fans, the thing he needs to try first is leaving. Truth be told, Rodgers can be held directly responsible for our terrible form dating back to the United clash last spring, largely due to his baffling personnel choices and poor tactics. He’s made some really head-scratching decisions recently: loaning Markovic and Ilori, starting Lovren over Sakho, and continually playing one isolated striker instead of two. Perhaps Rodgers does actually read the comment section of TLO, because he has started to make some of these changes over the last couple of weeks.

One idea that he hasn’t tried is returning to the 4-D-2 system that worked so well in 2013-14. Yeah, we don’t have Suarez these days*, but it seems worth a punt, especially considering the number of central playmakers we have in the squad.

*Have you heard about Suarez's departure? It's clearly not a well-known fact since the commentators feel the need to discuss it every single match.

Squad size doesn't seem to be an issue for Liverpool. How do you feel about the business done during the summer transfer window?

As previously mentioned, many fans are baffled by the loans of Markovic and Ilori, both of whom would be highly useful to the club right about now. Luck and/or divine intervention kept Lucas and Sakho at the club, despite Rodgers seeming to want both of them gone. Otherwise, most supporters are pretty happy about the new arrivals. Benteke is a very talented striker (despite concerns over price tag and fit, but hey, it’s not my money), Firmino is one of the most exciting players to arrive in the last several years, Clyne is roughly a million times better than Glen Johnson, Milner on a free was a shrewd piece of business, and Ings has genuinely turned some heads at Anfield. Many are calling him the second-coming of Dirk Kuyt. Obviously, we’re not happy about the way the Sterling transfer went down, but that’s the way the world works these days.

Jordan Ibe and Joe Gomez have been seeing some time in the first team. How is the youth setup looking? Any other youngsters we might be seeing soon?

This summer, many supporters deluded themselves into thinking Ibe was just as good as Sterling. He is not. Despite impressing in the latter part of the season last year, he’s failed to make an impact this season. Gomez put in a couple of surprisingly good shifts, but he’s generally not quite up to Premier League snuff yet. In two Europa League appearances and one cameo against Arsenal, Jordan Rossiter has been very impressive at defensive mid. Fans are also clamouring to see Joao Carlos Teixara, but he can’t seem to get a look in at the moment.

No derby conversation is replete without talking about Steven Gerrard. What changes (if anything) in the Reds' first derby since 2001 without him?

Oh man, you just had to go and make me really sad, didn’t you? Veteran Scousers on either side make this clash a special one, so Gerrard not being there is a blow whether you love him or hate him. However, it’s still the Derby, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Hopefully it’ll still be an intense 90 minutes without the long-time skipper.

Injuries to key players have depleted both sides. Does Rodgers play it safe on Sunday, or do you think he's going to live and die by the sword of attacking football?

Rodgers is at a point where a poor result against Everton could be the end of his tenure at Anfield. If Liverpool look like the same drab, boring side that fails to create goals, a loss or a draw could result in an uncomfortable phone call from Boston. So I think Rodgers needs to go out swinging if he has any hopes of staying on for much longer. I’d expect to see an Ings-Sturridge partnership, which has shown some promise in their limited time together.