Fear The Wall was kind enough to sit down with The Liverpool Offside for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview covering at least a few of the bases ahead of today's mouthwatering Europa league clash at Anfield between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
The Liverpool Offside: The 1-1 first leg, with Liverpool nabbing an away goal, has been hailed by Redkind as an excellent result. On the flip side of that, how was the 1-1 home draw taken by Dortmund's faithful?
Fear The Wall: Not super well. Things, in general, have been going very well this calendar year for the club, and BVB fans expected Liverpool to be an easier foe than Spurs, who were dispatched pretty easily. Most are still pretty confident that the 2nd leg won't be a big deal, but I'm not so confident.
TLO: With caution like that, someone might mistake you for a Liverpool fan! Who were you most impressed with from the Liverpool side, and how do you see Tuchel adjusting to that man in the return?
FTW: Origi. He may have not been Pool's best player, but I really never thought of him as a first team player when I watched him earlier in the year. Liverpool has a pretty deep roster of forwards with him, Firmino, Benteke, Sturridge, and Ings (even though he's hurt).
TLO: Dortmund lived up to billing with their expansive game. The defensive line set up just behind the semi-circle, the pressing line right in our defensive midfield grill, and they used the full width of the pitch to attack Liverpool's left and right flanks nearly equally (36% and 33%, respectively).
What, if anything, changes about that approach away from home, and having seen Liverpool's hand a bit?
FTW: Well, with Gundogan back in we are going to play a lot more through the middle away at Liverpool. Other than that, expect a more aggressive press, as many of our players are very well rested after not playing much against hated rivals Schalke over the weekend, whom we only tied (grumbles evoked).
The players were very disappointed in themselves and are going to want to make a statement at Liverpool to show that resting against Schalke was the right descion. Also, funny how both our teams hated rivals wear blue right?
TLO: Well, really, Manchester United have only rarely donned a blue alternate kit. Never really suited them. Oh, right. Everton. It can be easy to forget they exist sometimes. In any case, the midfield trio of Emre Can, James Milner, and Joe Allen provided a solid foundation for Liverpool's second half, and there is every chance they start the game at Anfield.
Do you think Tuchel looks to counter that trio with a specific adjustment, will he merely give his lads a second honest chance at the same matchups they had in the first leg, or will he look to bypass it altogether via wide options?
FTW: Well with Gundogan and Weigl now pairing in the midfield, TT will probably not change much else. Durm will probably not play after not playing well in the last few fixtures, and picking up a slight knock against Schalke. I'd expect to see either Sahin or Kagawa take his place.
TLO: Weidenfeller had a pretty strong first leg, while also taking a serious pop to the face in the first half. Is he ok, and what is expected from him in the return?
FTW: Well, since TT has obviously prioritized this game I'd actually expect our first choice keeper Roman Burki to be starting at GK despite that he usually doesn't in the cups. And Weidenfeller is fine, he's one tough SOB.
TLO: The Lovren-Sakho partnership put down about as good of a central defensive performance in that first leg as Liverpool have had all season. Are you confident, worried, or 50/50 with Auba's getting a second bite at that apple?
FTW: I think that Auba is pretty good at handling any CB pairing on a given day. If Reus and Mkhitaryan can cause chaos on the wing, and Gundogan and Kagawa can cause trouble in the midfield, I think that Auba will be able to take control of the space a few times in the game.
Its nearly impossible to prevent Auba from getting lots of chances, it's whether those CBs and Migs can stop them when they come.
TLO: But that's not what we wanted you to say, though.
TLO: Is Marco Reus going to stay in Clyne's pocket for the entire 180 minutes of this tie?
FTW: Reus is another one of the players rested this past weekend so I'd expect him to be much more explosive this week. The players now know that this is their best shot at getting silverware this season and they will try to play at their peak to get there. Clyne's gotta get tired eventually, right?
TLO: Ah, see, you've fallen victim to one of the classic blunders: never trust an alien to get tired when terrestrial silverware is on the line.
TLO: Seventeen-year-old United States international Christian Pulisic has been added to the never ending list of BuLi starlets that Klopp is supposedly interested. Perhaps justifiably, as he put in a refined, professional performance for one so young coming into such an intense situation. What is it that makes him special, and has he earned a start at Anfield?
FTW: He was the best player on the field for the entire first half of a huge derby away at the age of 17, (so) he's very good. We saw runs and tricks we haven't seen him use at the senior level yet against very tough opponents. He probably won't start against Liverpool, but if the game is going well, and Reus needs to sub off, he'd be the first choice sub there.
ALSO NO ONE BELIEVE THOSE SILLY PULISIC TO LIVERPOOL RUMORS, HE HAS NO CONNECTION TO THEM HE CAME AFTER KLOPP AND HE'S OUR ULTRA LIGHT BEAM NOT YOURS.
TLO: Divock wants to know if Sven can come out and play?
FTW: We'll see. He usually plays when a CB is hurt so we'll see how Sokratis and Hummels are feeling before game time.
TLO: Remember that time, though, when he was all running across Pisczczek to receive the ball--oh man--and then was all SKKKKRRRRRRRTTTTTTTTT!!!!!! to get that one shot in though? Do you remember?
TLO: Score prediction?
FTW: 2-1 to the black and yellows. Good luck! YNWA!