Peter sits down and discusses Liverpool`s season with Dan Vanderkamp.
PP: How would you sum up Liverpools season so far?
DV: Underwhelming. It’s really the only word for it. The season started with so much promise – especially beating Arsenal the way we did. We looked dynamite and sure to be in a title race. It’s no coincidence that Sadio Mane getting sent off in the City game pretty much started a bit of a lull for us in terms of results and it’s evident he is crucial to the team and when he is not there we lack that “bite” we have when he plays. The flip side is, I don’t think we are anywhere near as bad as some fans have made out. We have had a bit of a rough patch (as will 95% of teams at some point) and the best is definitely still yet to come when we have a full squad and are firing on all cylinders. We aren’t a million miles away from the top 3/4 and once we string some results together and get a little bit luckier with injuries I still believe we can put up some kind of challenge – especially if Man City have a dip in form at some stage.
PP: Who has been Liverpool’s best performer this season?
DV: Mo Salah. The frightening thing about Salah is that although is scoring for fun – he could very, very easily have scored double the amount he has. He has missed a ton of clear cut chances – and as time goes on and he gets more comfortable and more of an understanding with his teammates they will also start going in. 40 million pounds – what a signing he has been. I have to give a notable mention to Alberto Moreno too, he has been a model of consistency and I am delighted he has been called up to the Spain squad. I was his biggest critic last season and I am more than happy to be proved wrong.
PP: Which has been the best Liverpool performance this season?
DV:4-0 Arsenal (H). It’s not the scoreline that impressed me, it was the manner of it. We beat them with an anger. Dominated them, beat them up, made them look like a pub team. I don’t think I have ever seen an Arsene Wenger side get beat that way. It was *literally* football porn. I also think that’s why the fans have been so gloomy since because of the promise we showed in that game has not been repeated in the league since. I think I have watched that game back three times now though… it was an absolute football clinic.
PP: Which has been the worst Liverpool performance this season?
DV: I know most will say away at Spurs, but to me that game consisted of us not actually playing that bad and individual mistakes absolutely killing us. (The usual suspects at fault again) I am going to say Man City away, (5-0). Again, it’s not the scoreline it’s the manner of the defeat. I remember we should have been ahead when Aguero scored…we were actually playing quite well. Sadio got sent off (Dubiously – in my opinion – but that’s an argument for another day) and we fell to shit. There was no leadership, no fight, no balls. I was disgusted after it.
PP: Do you think Klopp will address the defensive problems by making signings in January?
DV: He has to. There is no situation that is good enough, that if on February 1st Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are our first choice centre backs. If that is the case then the window has been a failure. I say that specifically because there is a chance that he signs both Virgil Van Dijk and Stefan De Vrij in January to join in the summer. Micheal Edwards to get Van Dijk in. The player put himself on a plate for us all summer, even after a serious act of incompetence from a senior figure at LFC cost him the move in the first place. The issue is bigger than signing one centre back, but it will go a long way in alleviating the individual errors Lovren makes and if it is Virgil, he will add leadership to a squad crying out for a true leader.
PP: What are your hopes and expectations for the rest of the season?
DV: At this point, just put up a fight. Nothing less than top 4 is acceptable and we should go all out to win the Champions League. People might laugh at that but we have been given a favourable group and will qualify with relative ease considering it’s Europe’s premier competition. With some shrewd signings in January and a bit of luck with injuries we can beat any anyone in Europe with Mane, Firmino and Salah supported by Coutinho. Anyone. Once that defence get’s sorted we have a real, real shot. Klopp is a big game manager (Okay, this season has not been the best but his record against top sides speaks for itself) and if the fans get behind the team then I foresee a good run in Europe. See you lads in Kiev.
PP: Who would you sell/buy in January to strengthen the squad?
DV: I have been vocal in saying the defence has not been good enough, and we need to sort that out as I have said above. What we need after that is a real bastard of a midfielder. Someone like William Carvalho from Sporting. He would cost around 40 million pounds but he would transform our midfield from getting bullied every week to bullying other teams in the middle of the park. We need more nutcases in the first team squad, It’s a huge problem since Luis Suarez left. Keita is one, and adding Carvalho to patrol the area in front of the back 4 could make us a real force in my opinion. If we can get someone like that in I would let Emre go in January so it’s on our terms. If Sturridge doesn’t start firing an all cylinders when he’s given a chance I would dip into the market for a striker too. Someone mentioned to me that we scouted Moussa Dembele from Celtic – and he would be my choice. Attainable in January and would score goals for fun with the assists the 3 beside and behind could give him.