Peter get`s the views of our regular writer Craig Hegarty
Were you surprised to see such a strong line-up against Porto?
I wasn’t really surprised to be honest. When you make wholesale changes to the team it disrupts momentum, confidence and organisation. For this reason I think it was important to only change a few players. With so many important games coming up I think it’s important we keep our major players sharp. It was nice be able to give players like Mo & VVD a rest – but to be honest the game was such that there was very little intensity in it so it was really just about minutes for certain players. However, if you change too much it can be difficult to find rhythm in the play, so I think on the whole most fans were happy with the line-up. One thing I didn’t understand was bringing Mo on for 15 minutes, for me it wouldn’t matter if he had scored 4 goals, if he had of got injured in that time there would have been uproar. I think we have to keep certain players in our side or we lose our identity and style of play.
The game was a dead rubber anyway but what did you make of the performance knowing we had that in mind?
Last night was about seeing the players attitude and commitment, we knew we were going through so it was important not to be complacent. Some of the lads who came in would have been playing for their places, not only for now but for the future. That being said, the score line reflected the performance and the game. Both sides were fully aware of the situation, there was no way Porto were ever going to overturn the deficit so for them I think it was about keeping it tight in the second leg and playing for pride, another 5-0 drubbing would have been bad for the rest of their season. There were a few good performers, Moreno & Gomez were good as was Milly. The performance lacked intensity though but I think we knew it would. It was good to get Lallana some playing time again, but to be honest I can’t see him featuring for us, or certainly starting the rest of the season unless we get struck with a spate of injuries.
What team would you want in the quarterfinal draw?
Personally I don’t care. I fancy our chances over two legs against anyone. Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of drawing English teams in the competition so I would like to avoid them, I have a feeling we might end up against Barca. Ideally I’d love to get Bayern or Madrid. The whole point of the Champions League is to face the best teams in Europe so it’s about time we get a big European team back at Anfield! We certainly don’t fear anyone.
What would be your starting line-up at Old Trafford on Saturday?
It’s hard to predict certain positions. I think most of our team picks itself right now with Karius, Robertson, VVD, Lovren, TAA as the back 5. I don’t think that will change, neither will the front three of Mane, Bobby & Mo. It’s in the middle I think we might see a change, Can & Hendo will most likely start. I’d probably start Oxlade-Chamberlain in there with him for his energy and ability to drive with the ball – but if Gini is fit we know how he performs in the big games & Milly is playing really well at the minute; so it’ll be interesting to see. I certainly don’t think there will be any surprises anyway & I just have a feeling Ox will get the nod.
Give us your Man United v Liverpool score prediction please?
I hate United, but I love playing United. I’m nervous already and its only Wednesday. I think we know how Jose will have his team set up – they certainly won’t go toe to toe with us but Sanchez will be vital to their play so it’s important we neutralise his threat as best as we can. If we can do that well, I think we’ll nick it 2-1 with goals from Lovren & Mane.