Real Cup hopes hit by second successive defeat
BARCELONA Real Madrid lost 2-1 at home to Celta Vigo in their Spanish King's Cup quarter-final first leg on Wednesday to slump to their second defeat in a row following a record winning streak.
Nina Kauser – The Nina Kauser Show, Anfield Index Podcast "I would have felt more confident about playing West Ham this Sunday if the capitulation against Bournemouth hadn't happened.
"It feels like the end of the world when you lose a game of that magnitude because on paper we are the better side – we don’t lose to teams like Burnley and Bournemouth.
"West Ham are very resilient on their day and in recent years we haven’t had much joy against them. If they are going to turn their luck around it will probably be against us.
"I am going to go for a 3-1 win – I’d love a clean sheet but just taking three points at home is the most important thing.
"Maybe this will be a bit of wake-up call for the players – Jurgen Klopp doesn’t strike me as a man who doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He was absolutely livid at the lack of the response from the team last weekend.
"I’m not talking us up as title contenders because I still haven’t got over what happened in 2013 so I take each game as it comes.
"If Dimi Payet isn’t on his game then we’re in with a chance but West Ham are a very big and physical side and if Andy Carroll does play – and of course we know what he is all about – the aerial threat they will pose from set pieces in particular could be devastating.
"Klopp must stick with goalkeeper Loris Karius now because, if not, it could have a huge impact on his development at Liverpool. It’s a confidence-based position and we need to stand by him. He looks much better with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren in front of him.
"When we put Lucas, who is naturally a centre-midfielder, and Lovren, who is by no means a leader, together, it creates panic in the back four. That shaky defence doesn't help Karius.
"My standout player this season is Joel Matip. For so long Liverpool fans have been moaning about the defence and then we brought in Joel Matip on a free transfer. We all assumed he would be the third choice but he’s walked into the first team.
"Matip has leadership qualities that we haven't seen since Jamie Carragher or Daniel Agger. He's held Lovren's hand and made him into a better player and he's also a threat in the opposition's penalty area. He was such a massive miss last weekend so I hope he'll be fit for Sunday."Scott Cole - West Ham Supporters Club"After the last two fixtures (losing 4-1 to Manchester United and 5-1 to Arsenal), you can imagine that most supporters are not looking forward to this weekend's match against Liverpool.
"We are expecting a backlash after their result against Bournemouth but just hoping our team will turn up.
"We have looked very poor this season with the majority of our key players not performing. The manager told the press that the team is not enthusiastic enough in training so we are hoping for some sort of reaction from the players.
"West Ham need to pick up wins, and fast, so that we can avoid a miserable Christmas run. I think I speak for many of our supporters in saying we are not looking forward to this fixture after many weekends of disappointment and anger this season.
"If this was last season I would have gone for a cheeky win but with the way we are defending the best we can hope for is a draw. My heart says 2-2 but my head is saying Liverpool will win 3–1.
"Slaven Bilic is a top manager but it's time for him to toughen up and start being more hands on in training to turn this team around.
"I think the general opinion amongst our fans is that we should give him until Christmas. If he can come through with some wins then the board must fully support him in the transfer window and let go of the large amount of deadwood we have.
"The board has not helped by doing terrible business in the summer transfer window. So many of the players we have purchased have been woeful panic buys. The likes of Zaza, Calleri, Tore, Nordtveit, Arbeloa and Feghouli are not been good enough for the Premier League.
"I think we overachieved last season, you would have to mad to say otherwise. There was a lot of underachieving last season throughout the bigger clubs in the league that allowed teams like ourselves to finish a lot higher than we normally would.
"Dimitri Payet took us to another level, which shows when all the cogs are working we can beat anyone - we just have a lot of broken or misfiring cogs this year sadly.
"My star of the season would be Pedro Obiang, who's our most under-rated player. When on form he provides the rock to support the backline and I am pleased Bilic has finally given him a run."
(reporting by Claire Bloomfield, editing by neil Robinson)
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