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View from the opposition: Liverpool blogger explains early poor form, facing United and FSG

Manchester United take on Liverpool in a game that could really go either way because both teams have started the new season appalling.

The Scousers have one point from two games, whereas United are stuck on 0. How depressing.

Monday night is a huge game for both teams at Old Trafford, a fixture Manchester United lost 5-0 last season, but we must show up on Monday night. There’s a new manager in town with fresh ideas and it would be nice to see the players fight for the shirt.

I caught up with Farrell Keeling, the editor of Empire of the Kop, to get some perspective on all things Liverpool ahead of the game.

Check out his responses to our Q&A below:

Dale: It’s been a slow start to the season for Liverpool too. What do you put your form down to?

Farrell: “Liverpool’s early poor form in the league comes as both surprising and unsurprising after a thrilling performance against incumbent champions Manchester City in the Community Shield. History tells us we shouldn’t put much stock into what is effectively an extension of the pre-season, though anyone who watched the tie will tell you it was anything but a friendly between the top two sides in England.

“Fulham was a deserved draw after the players appeared to visit Craven Cottage with the idea that three points would be handed to them on a silver platter – an unacceptable outing as Jurgen Klopp made abundantly clear afterwards. A similar result against Crystal Palace can only be put down to a lack of lethality up front as we created plenty of chances to put the game to bed in the first half-hour of action. It’s worth noting that Liverpool do have a whole host of injuries to contend with too – including the loss of Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara and Ibrahima Konate, amongst others.”

Dale: Are you expecting anything different from the United side you faced last season?

Farrell: “A bit more fight for starters. There have been suggestions already that Erik ten Hag will go for a more aggressive strategy against Liverpool. If I were a United fan, I’d be demanding it after suffering a 5-0 home defeat last season! If you can get a good start against Jurgen Klopp’s men and get the crowd going, that may be your best chance of getting a result.”

Dale: Happy with Liverpool’s business this summer?

Farrell: “For the most part – absolutely! Liverpool have addressed key areas in the squad, bringing in a replacement for Sadio Mane (who had converted to a striker in the second-half of our prior campaign) in Darwin Nunez, cover for the right-back spot in Calvin Ramsey and a versatile option in Fabio Carvalho capable of playing on both the left-flank of a front-three and in the midfield. We’re a midfielder away from a perfect window in my eyes (otherwise I feel we’re leaving ourselves with a lot to do in the next summer window) but it’s been a very good start to life as sporting director from Julian Ward.”

Dale: We hate our parasite owners. Tell us about the relationship Liverpool fans have with FSG?

Farrell: “If we’re judging by what goes on social media, it would seem fans are polarised into two separate camps – the ‘Top Reds’ who allegedly see no fault with FSG and the ‘Bottom Reds’ who despise our American owners and see fault with everything. I personally think this categorisation is reductive and ignores the middle ground occupied by the vast majority of reasonable Liverpool fans who recognise that FSG are far from infallible (see attempts to gain entry into the ill-fated European Super League, furloughing non-playing staff at the club, etc) but critically acknowledge they’ve done a lot of good for the club (expanding the stadium (a promise unfulfilled by Tom Hicks and George Gillett), building a sustainable transfer model fit for purpose, ratifying a supporters’ board, etc).”

Dale: What are your expectations for the season ahead?

Farrell: “Hopefully, some instant improvement as far as a result is concerned on Monday! Beyond that point, whilst I’d love to see Liverpool challenge on all fronts again this term, I reckon our focus will rest on the title and the Champions League come the latter half of the campaign. Let’s not forget that the last time we lost in the final of the Champions League, we won it the next year – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a repeat of that achievement. Beyond that, I’m ignoring all the doom and gloom around our title hopes and expecting us to challenge Manchester City for the honour… it’s far too early for me to give a clear prediction on that front but I’m hopeful.”

Dale: Finally, we’ll get your scoreline prediction.

Farrell: “2-1 Liverpool. Mo Salah and Luis Diaz to get the goals on our end. I can’t see United not scoring though.”

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