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Exclusive w/ LFC blog Empire of the Kop – Nerves ahead of big game, Klopp stirring the pot & Rashford class

We spoke to the editor of Empire of the Kop and Liverpool fan Jordan Chamberlain about Sunday’s trip to Anfield — to get some opposition thoughts ahead of the game.

On top of that, we had Ste Carson from EOTK as a special guest on the Strettycast — which is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and aCast.

The editor of Liverpool’s most popular fan blog is “really nervous” ahead of the game and a lot of that comes down to United being in great form whereas Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t been playing well. A big fall from last season’s standard of performance.

Dale (Stretty News): How are you feeling ahead of kick-off when you assess how both teams have done up until this point?

Jordan (Empire of the Kop): “I’m really, really nervous. Over the past few seasons, I’ve been confident as we’ve been the better side all over the park. But United are in great form and we’re simply not playing well. Thiago’s return though helps massively and I’m hoping he can inject some quality into our final third which has been non-existent since Christmas.”

Dale (SN): It looks like Joel Matip is out — leaving Liverpool with no senior centre-backs for the match. Who is likely to start in defence and are you concerned about the presence of our forward players?

Jordan (EOTK): “Our central defensive issue has been farcical. Two centre-backs out for the season, and Matip can’t play two games in a week. I honestly think if it wasn’t for Jordan Pickford’s assault on van Dijk, Liverpool would be cruising the title right now, but such is football, and such is life. It’ll be either Henderson or Williams. I think he’ll field Hendo in midfield and risk Williams at the back. The young lad did well against Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son back in December, but yes, of course I’m worried!”

Dale (SN): Do you (still) expect Liverpool to defend the title this season?

Jordan (EOTK): “I think it will be a monumental effort considering the form of the sides in Manchester firstly, and our issues with injuries. If Matip stays fit and we go on a run, it’s a possibility – but I’m not confident.”

Dale (SN): Jurgen Klopp has been running his mouth about VAR and decisions going United’s way but like I said on EOTK this week, it goes both ways! Would you agree that the LFC manager is trying to stir the pot with officials, and it’s showing signs of sweating under the collar very early in the season?

Jordan (EOTK): “I think he’s trying to stir the pot, and I’m glad. He’s focussed his anger this season on things he can’t change like schedules and TV companies, when we’ve been getting screwed left, right and centre. (Watch highlights of the Brighton and Everton draws for a reminder.) His dig was subtle, but I’ve no issue with it. He’s far less relaxed than he was last season, but that’s because we were 30 points clear for most of it and there wasn’t much to worry about!”

Dale (SN): How do you see Liverpool approaching the game?

Jordan (EOTK): “As we always do. Liverpool will dominate the ball, play a high-line and hope our persistence overcomes United’s threat on the counter. This has been the way at Anfield every time Solskjaer has visited. It annoys Klopp a little, who wants big clubs to show more ambition, but right now – low blocks are causing Liverpool problems and it would be silly of United to do anything different.”

Dale (SN): Which Liverpool players do you think will cause United most hassle come Sunday?

Jordan (EOTK): “When Sadio Mane is up for it, he’s a nightmare for anyone. AWB is a great one-on-one defender, but Mane is the best one-on-one attacker in the country. What a matchup that is!”
Dale (SN): Same for United — who are you worried about?”

Dale (SN): The same for United — who are you worried about?

Jordan (EOTK): “Rashford is utter class. As a person and a footballer. I also think Cavani on a free was insanely good business – and he could bully Williams. I think a pumped up, manic-pressing Henderson will contain Bruno Fernandes, I hope.” 

Dale (SN): Which trophy is Liverpool’s priority this season?

Jordan (EOTK): “Same as every season: the Premier League.”

Dale (SN): What’s going to happen on Sunday?

Jordan (EOTK): “Liverpool are going to return to form and win by one goal. I just hope afterwards both sides are talking about the football game and not Paul Tierney and his VAR. Too many times this term I’ve just hated watching football matches because of what the game has turned into. I really hope this isn’t going to be one of those occasions.”

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Read more: Luke Chadwick previews Liverpool v Manchester United

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