Q&A with David Lynch -Talks Joe Gomez,Alisson,Henderson and more.
Adrian had the chance to interview Liverpool Correspondent David Lynch ( @LynchStandard ) for the Anfield Press website.
What have you made of Joe Gomez’s performance at centre back? and do you think he has solidified his place at centre back now over Lovren?
David: Like everyone else, I’ve been hugely impressed with Joe Gomez’s performances so far this season. You see a lot of young centre-halves start getting senior games at full-back and never quite make the transition to their natural position (think Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly) but Gomez has really seized the opportunity that Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip’s injuries provided.
It probably helps that he has Virgil van Dijk alongside him, talking him through things, but I actually thought Gomez was the more impressive of the two in the win at Leicester before the international break. It’s important to remember that he’s still only 21 and, in all likelihood, he’s going to make a catastrophic mistake at some point because that’s the nature of the position and being a young player, but hopefully he’s earned enough credit already for fans to let the odd error slide.
As for Lovren, it’s hard to imagine him getting back into the first-choice starting XI at the moment. We saw it last year with Trent Alexander-Arnold nailing down the right-back position as his own during Gomez’s absence through injury – Jurgen Klopp won’t take players out if they are doing well. That said, Lovren should still get plenty of games during the busy period that’s approaching, it’s just he might have to make do with appearing in the League Cup for now.
Alisson has said he likes to take risks upon himself, after the mistakes against Leicester, do you think he will still try to take on risks?
David: We spoke to Joe Gomez in the mixed zone after the Leicester City game and he said he hopes that Alisson stays true to himself and keeps taking risks and I totally agree with that assessment. At the end of the day, the Brazilian’s ability with the ball at his feet is part of the reason Liverpool spent what was then a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.
He might need to pick his moments more wisely and make exceptions for pitches as dry as the one at the King Power Stadium that day, but it would make no sense for him to now become a goalkeeper who clears his lines at the first opportunity. Once his disappointment over the goal subsided, I’m sure Klopp thought as much, too.
Jordan Henderson has just signed a new contract with the Reds and from looking over social media, there has been mixed views over this. Do you think Henderson signing a contract for Liverpool is a good thing?
David: The way the Jordan Henderson news was received on social media is probably a decent example of why it’s not the best platform for nuanced debate. You seem to have two distinct love/hate camps on there going at each others’ throats constantly, but that’s probably just the perception rather than the reality. For example, I tweeted about finding some of the hate Henderson generates baffling, and was swarmed with replies from people who seemed to be knocking down an argument I hadn’t made about him being the greatest midfielder ever to walk out at Anfield.
We’re all guilty of doing that at times but, as ever, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. The way I see it, if Naby Keita and Fabinho live up to expectations, Henderson may not be in the starting XI by the end of this season.
But he played a prominent role in a team that reached the Champions League final and secured a top-four finish last season, so to suggest he isn’t good enough to play a squad role this time around seems utterly ridiculous to me and it seems Jurgen Klopp agrees, too. He’s also a brilliant example for the younger players, a great captain, loves the club, and is someone who you don’t feel would sulk if he is rotated in and out the team – why wouldn’t you want someone like that around?
4/4 wins so far for the Reds, our best start to the season in a long time, do you think this is one of best chances to win the league since the 2013/14 season?
David: I’ll start by saying I think this is the best squad – on paper at least – that Liverpool have had since I can remember watching them (I’m 29, by the way). It probably is their best chance to win it since 2013-14 for that reason but, if I’m being completely honest, I’m still quite skeptical about their chances just because of what they’re up against. Liverpool proved three times last season that they have nothing to fear coming up against Manchester City in a straight shootout, but unfortunately that doesn’t have much to do with how league titles are won.
City were absolutely incredible en route to getting 100 points last year but that achievement owed a lot to them having possibly the strongest squad we’ve ever seen in the Premier League era. They’ve just lost Kevin De Bruyne to injury for two/three months but does anyone really expect them to miss a beat when they’ve got Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez waiting in the wings? Personally, I find it hard to imagine Liverpool can match them over nine months, especially when the fixtures start to pile up – though it’d be great to be wrong!
Can the Reds win silverware this season?
David: As I said above, I think the Premier League might be a step too far, but there’s still a chance they can bring in other silverware this season. Nobody will want to come up against Liverpool in the Champions League this year and I can’t see any reason why they won’t go deep in the competition again; with a bit more luck in the final they might even win it! In terms of the domestic cups, if there’s a chance any run takes away from a potential title challenge/Champions League journey, then I’d imagine most fans would be happy to sacrifice them but, if you don’t then bring home the Premier League or Champions League, you’re looking at another trophy less season.
The ideal is probably getting through to the latter stages of the League/FA Cup using a heavily rotated side and then bringing in the big guns to hopefully get a trophy on the honours board. You do wonder if, say, getting over the line in the Carabao Cup in February could help in terms of winning bigger and better things further down the line, though that didn’t seem to help the Kenny Dalglish-managed team of 2011.
Lastly, Adam Lallana, do you think he still has the quality to provide as suitable backup for Liverpool?
David: You worry for Adam Lallana’s long-term prospects at Liverpool if he keeps picking up injuries. When fit, he’s a real favourite of the manager, but he seemingly can’t be relied upon at the moment to feature consistently.
Lallana being two-footed and his knowledge of the press make him a really useful member of the squad but he’s now going to miss a period featuring seven games in 23 days – the sort of run you need to lean on your squad for. Lallana has just two years remaining on his contract and so Liverpool will need to make a decision on his future at the end of this season. How that goes probably depends on how many games he clocks up between now and May so it’s absolutely vital for his Anfield career that he stays fit once he’s back from this groin niggle.
Thanks to David for taking his time to answer these for the AnfieldPress website.