We @theshanklyway18 are proud to start a new piece on the blog. The fan interview. For our very first interview today, we are pleased to talk with Twitter royalty Jay Riley @Jay_78_. If anyone follws Jay on Twitter, you’ll know he’s a no nonsense talker when it comes to Liverpool. He speaks his mind and doesn’t take crap off the Twitter trolls. Today we speak to him about where in his opinion things went wrong for Brendan Rodgers, the arrival of Klopp, transfer targets and the season ahead.
We started off asking Jay about Brendan Rodgers and when things started to go.pear shaped for him. “The summer of 2014, we lost our talisman, Luis Suarez and instead of buying a replacement with a similar type of profile, we chose to go down the route of signing eight new players, with the biggest name being Mario Balotelli, which proved to be a disaster, as he’s nothing like what Suarez was. Trying to bed eight new players into the squad was always going to be difficult and he struggled to find the correct formula in the 2014/2015 season. He also played numerous players out of position, square pegs/round holes term. And in April time, there was major signs of unrest in the camp, particularly after a pitiful display at Wembley in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup against Aston Villa. It then went from bad to worse, with shocking displays against Hull away, Crystal Palace at home and then the massacre we suffered at Stoke on the final day of last season. All sure signs of losing the dressing room.”
Speaking about the mighty Jürgen Klopp, Jay said “Klopp has brought back the feel good factor around the club, amongst players and fans. He has great charisma and has energized things. Initially the performance levels were mainly about work ethic and pressing. But as we’ve now seen with two fantastic away wins against Chelsea and Manchester City, we’ve started to score goals now too and deserving our wins at difficult places to go. We are suited to playing away from home with the personnel we have at our disposal in Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, who are all quality footballers. But we do have to rectify the home form still, as its not been great and there’s that extra added pressure it seems aswell from the Anfield faithful, if things don’t click into place early on. It doesn’t help though that team sit deep and the onus is on us to break them down and the lack of pace in our side other than Alberto Moreno and Jordan Ibe, is a bit of a concern regarding that. But Klopp’s infectious personality has certainly given everyone a huge lift and people are enjoying their football again, both players and fans. Allowed to express themselves and not be stifled”.
Like the rest of us Jay isn’t getting too carried away with expectations for the rest of the season “There’s no reason why we can’t finish in the Top four. We’ve just been to the Champions and won three one, also beaten the team that most would class as favourites for the title this season, Manchester City, four one aswell on their own patch. So there’s evidence that we can beat anyone and anywhere also. All the bigger teams have to come to Anfield at the turn of the year, hopefully by then we will have improved our home form and have made it a formidable place to visit, which should enable us to march up the table. We’re not really too far away now, its really tight and there’s nothing much to split seven or eight clubs at the top of the table. Its vital for us to keep Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke fit though, as ultimately we’ve coped quite well without both at times, but it’s always better to have a focal point and goalscoring striker to your attack, rather than be over reliant on attacking midfielders to score most of the goals”.
With Jürgen Klopp at the helm, Liverpool are going to be linked with every half decent player in the Bundesliga. I asked Jay where does he think Liverpool need to strengthen and who would he like to see come in. “I’m not really saying about who I’d like in January, as Liverpool work within certain guidelines when it comes to signing players. But realistic targets are a pacy wide forward, a cultural midfielder and a goalkeeper. Its still unclear whether we will dip into the transfer market in January though. Although what is certain is that Klopp really likes Leroy Sané of Schalke. He’s a quick player who would add the element of pace to the side that we sometimes lack in attacking areas. I think Klopp will also look to upgrade the goalkeeping department too, as Simon Mignolet has many flaws to his all round ability, mainly distribution and commanding of his area. Loris Karius & Timo Horn, German Keepers have been looked at, but maybe a decision will be made to wait until the summer to make that change between the sticks. Ilkay Gundogan is another player we like for centre midfielder, but he is a player who’s more likely to be a summer target than January.