Peter sits down to discuss all thing LFC with Reds fan Craig Houlden…
1. Thanks for joining us pal, how would you sum up Liverpool’s season so far Craig?
Frustrating is probably the first word that comes to mind. Obviously, we’ve all seen the defensive errors that have left us bewildered at times & the fact we didn’t strengthen at centre-back in the summer is almost criminal. I’m right behind the manager, but the frustration I mentioned comes from his apparent stubbornness to address the problem.
The other thing that’s frustrated me & I’m sure many other fans is the injuries to key players. Chelsea won the league last season with a relatively small squad, but Conte was fortunate to avoid serious injuries to his top players. How often has Klopp had the luxury of picking his best 11 this season?
2. Who has been the best performer for Liverpool in your opinion?
It’s most probably the answer most people would give, but it has to be Mo Salah. For him to slot seamlessly into Klopp’s system & to have scored 12 goals already this season is stunning. There was most definitely something for him to prove after his time at Chelsea & so far he’s making a mockery of those that questioned his signing. The fee we paid for him is already looking like a bargain & I can’t wait to see how he gets on for the remainder of the season.
I also want to give a special mention to Alberto Moreno. For him to come back from what seemed like the end of his Liverpool career & to be probably our most consistent defender this season is remarkable. None of us would have seen this turnaround coming & the lad deserves tremendous praise.
3. Which has been the best performance by Liverpool this season?
It’s got to be the 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal back in August. We were without Coutinho who still had his “back injury” & to win in the manner we did was very satisfying indeed. If I remember correctly, Arsenal didn’t even manage a shot on target during the entire game!
There’s always something extra satisfying about beating Arsenal for me & ever since Sanchez chose London over coming to Anfield, that feeling has only intensified. I was hoping Wenger would start him in the game & to see Sanchez looking as disinterested as he did during the game was hilarious.
The last point about the game that game that I wanted to make is about the scoresheet. Seeing the names of Firmino, Salah, Mane & Sturridge below a 4-0 victory against Arsenal almost seemed too perfect!
4. Which has been the worst performance by Liverpool this season?
I know we got battered 5-0 by Manchester City, but for me, the 4-1 defeat to Spurs at Wembley last month was totally unacceptable altogether. I know it’s going to be remembered for the horrendous performance from Lovren, but there were plenty more guilty parties that afternoon.
Kane & Son ripped our defence apart & we just sat back & let it happen. After going 2-0 down we got a lifeline with the Salah goal (what a ball from Hendo by the way) & we still managed to shoot ourselves in the foot. The giving away of that free kick by Emre Can on the stroke of halftime was criminal. Don’t get me wrong, the defending from the free was every bit as frustrating.
We did very little right that afternoon against Spurs & it took me a few days to get over that result.
5. Do you think Klopp will address the defensive problems by making signings in January?
Tough question to answer, there’s absolutely no doubt we badly need to improve the defence but January isn’t Klopp’s favourite time to dip into the market. I think you’d struggle to find a Liverpool supporter who is happy with the current options available, but the decision isn’t down to us.
My heart has me thinking that surely there’s something in place for January & that’s the only reason Klopp didn’t pull the trigger in the summer. If I’m being really honest, I’ve almost convinced myself there’s a deal in place to bring VVD in during the January window. That’s not based on anything other than my blind optimism.
What worries me most is that if the manager doesn’t strengthen in January & results don’t go as we all hope, his stubbornness might well be the very thing that gets some people starting to question his capabilities or suitability for the job. As I’ve previously stated though, I’m 100% behind Klopp.
6. What are your hopes and expectations for the rest of the season?
Realistically I’m hoping for a top-four finish because missing out on Champions League qualification would be a massive setback for the club. Man City look streets ahead of most other teams & after the shaky patch we’ve had, securing Champions League football again would mean a decent season.
Aside from the league, I’d like to see us top our Champions League group & see how far we can go in the competition. We want to see Liverpool playing Europe’s elite & on our day we can compete with anyone. Has anyone checked out flight prices to Kiev?
We’ve all heard the phrase “Liverpool Football Club exists to win trophies” & we are overdue some silverware. If Klopp can mastermind an FA Cup win this season & secure Champions League football, surely we’d all be happy with that?
7. Who would you sell/buy in January to strengthen the squad?
Being honest I wouldn’t sell anyone at all in January. The temptation might be there to sell Emre Can & bring in some money, but unless we convince Leipzig to release Keita earlier, I’d keep him. Coutinho is the other situation we need to keep an eye on, but I’d hope we keep him until the summer. I have no doubt that he will be leaving the club at some point & it’s who we replace him with that I’m interested to see.
Regarding bringing players in, I’d like to see a centre-back brought in the day the damn window opens. VVD is top of the list but I’d also be happy with Gimenez from Atletico. He’s young at 22 years of age but I believe he has all the attributes to be a success in a Klopp team. He also only has 6 months remaining on his current deal, so there may well be a willingness for Atletico to sell.
I also think we need a right back, keeper, central midfielder & another goalkeeper because Mignolet & Karius aren’t up to the job. I’d be happy to see Danny Ward given an extended run though.
January is a tricky window & with it being a World Cup year, I wouldn’t expect much activity. We have to do something at centre back because I can’t afford to smash any more Sky remotes. Up The Reds!
Thanks very much to Peter and FOL for the interview