This article first appeared in the Liverpool Echo on February 9th 2017
1. Well February didn’t start any better than January ended for Liverpool – what do you think went wrong at Hull?
(Sean) It looked like we had turned the corner with a more recognisable performance against Chelsea but the Hull game showed we’d made no real progress.
Hull set up similar to Wolves, Swansea and Southampton with two banks of four, looking to expose us on the counter or to take advantage of our inability to defend set-pieces. Mignolet proved the tactics to be spot on.
We looked a little devoid of attacking fluidity with Hull happy for us to have the lion’s share of possession without us creating any real clear cut chances and that’s pretty much been the story of this slump we’re are currently enduring.
Is it down to fatigue in the squad or a systematic problem? It’s hard to say but I’m hoping Klopp will have learned from not bolstering the squad issues in the January window.
2. Mignolet was back in the news for another error. Should Klopp stick with him nonetheless, for this season at least?
(Andy) – I don’t think so. He got back in purely by fluke because Karius brought so much pressure upon himself. We have seen this sort of thing from Mignolet too often its never going to change.
Karius needs to be put back in and told to let his performances do the talking. Give him until the end of the season and evaluate what needs to be done in the summer goalkeeper wise.
3. At the other end Liverpool’s lack of goals is now becoming a real worry, with just six in nine. What’s caused that in your view and how would you seek to solve it?
Sadio Mane of Liverpool with Harry Maguire of Hull City during the Premier League match at KCOM Stadium on February 4, 2017 (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
(Andy) – At one stage we were creating 30 plus chances in a game and converting maybe two or three, sometimes more. Teams are now limiting us to less chances so we just have to be more clinical.
Our set piece conversion ratio is also pretty poor. With 10 -15 corners we should really be more threatening. We are more likely to concede from our own set pieces than score!
Maybe its time to let teams come onto us more and use our pace and ruthlessness on the counter. Easier said than done but we’ve gone from a deadly team on the counter to one with 85% possession in some games.
4. Do you conform in any way to the theory that Liverpool’s players could be tired due to the way they approach games in Klopp’s set-up?
When we played one game a week for the majority of the season we could cope with the physically taxing style of play. With a few injuries the squad began to look bare and eventually Klopp’s preferred style seemed to have disappeared from our game and with that the results started to show.
No more winning the ball high up the pitch or forcing opposition teams to give up possession or make mistakes, we became very pedestrian and easy to play against.
With most of the team back to fitness and the fixtures becoming more sparse hopefully we’ll see the return to form which made us a very formidable outfit in the opening of the season.
5. The Reds dropped out of the top four for the first time since September. Are you confident they can get back in there and who’s most vulnerable to dropping out?
(Andy) – When you look at the top six now you wonder who’s expense we are capable of getting a Champions League spot.
Right now Chelsea and Spurs are nailed on in my opinion. United are looking good too. So it could be between us, Arsenal and City for the last one I feel right now.
With the return of Champions League we’ve a great opportunity to capitalise. Arsenal looked very soft against Chelsea by comparison to us and are due a bad run. We can only hope Pep’s city continue to struggle to find consistency.
6. Private emails lodged in court from John Henry and FSG relating to buying Liverpool have created a few headlines this week. Were you surprised at the language used or is this simply how businessman approach a deal? Have you any concerns over the owners?
(Andy) – Absolutely nothing new in them as far as I’m concerned. People are a bit naive if they believe an investor/owner is going to talk about us any differently before making that commitment.
FSG have given me more reason to trust them than not to if you manage to blank out anything you’ve heard purely based on speculation.
March will be raise interesting questions when the 2016 financial highlights are released. Its a blank canvas now in FSG’s tenure because for the first time last year we showed profit and debt cleared
I think we need to see our wage structure changed and start being more competitive.
Klopp doesn’t want greedy players but we need to remove any doubt from a players mind the right place for them is Anfield under Klopp.
7. Any other business?
(Andy) – Safe standing. Its a good time to discuss making blocks 104, 105 and 106 in the Kop safe standing.
The atmosphere seems to be suffering. Even Klopp has got bored with the rally calls to make more noise.
We should need no invitations. Liverpool needs to lead the charge in having legislation changed to allow this system. For all the extra attendees the Main Stand has added the corporate sections have sucked some of the atmosphere out.
I understand how sensitive this topic is but I rarely hear anyone who is opposed really able to articulate their objections. Its a very interesting debate