Following our interview with a Bundesliga journalist being cancelled after finding out his links with the S*n, journalist of the Liverpool Echo newspaper and Twitter legend James Pearce stepped in! So we had a chat about the club:
With the recent reports, do you expect Liverpool to continue to monitor the Götze situation and make a move in the future, despite his metabolic condition?
I think a lot would have to happen for Gotze to end up at Liverpool this summer. Klopp and the player remain in contact but clearly Gotze’s focus at the moment is on getting his illness under control. No-one knows how long that will take. Even if he gets back playing and if Dortmund decide to sell him in the summer both the fee and the wages would have to be at a level where Liverpool thought they weren’t taking too much of a risk.
With Julian Brandt seemingly high on Klopp’s transfer list, do you think it’s safe to say he is Liverpool’s number 1 summer target or are there other names higher on the list?
I’m not sure if he’s the No 1 target but he’s certainly very high up on Klopp’s summer shopping list. Klopp wanted to buy him in January but Leverkusen were adamant that he wasn’t for sale. Klopp rates Brandt very highly and Liverpool will certainly go all out to get him this summer.
Sakho has been performing at a high level for Crystal Palace whilst we’ve been relatively poor in defence. Do you think that Klopp has closed the door on a return or is there still hope for the president of the Liverpool country?
I think that door is closed. I know that publicly Klopp said he would assess it come the end of the season but I think that was mainly to try to protect his value. The relationship between Klopp and Sakho completely broke down. I’d be amazed if the damage was repaired.
Name a 5-a-side team made up of just football journalists! Does our big man Tony Barrett make the cut?
Tricky one. Based on the games we’ve had against LFC backroom staff and legends at Melwood over the years, I’d have Vinny O’Connor from Sky in goal. I saw him save a penalty from Aldo once. Barrett’s got dodgy knees but I’d give him a cortisone to get him through it and play him at the back. I’d weaken the team by picking myself up front and find room for Neil Jones from the Echo and Paul Joyce from the Times.
Klopp reverted to a back 3 during the game against Leicester, do you expect him to use this again to start a game or was it merely an emergency option?
I think that was an emergency option. He only seems to go to three at the back when things are going badly wrong and he feels the need to change it. Klopp is very much a 4-3-3 man. I can’t see him playing three at the back regularly.
With Sturridge likely off in the summer and Liverpool short of forward options, do you think Klopp will move for a similar style striker or a more traditional target man?
Klopp will certainly have to spend big on a striker. Sturridge will have to be replaced with a 20-goal plus a season frontman. It’s more likely to be an all-action grafter like Firmino than a traditional target man. Liverpool had a target man in Benteke and Klopp hardly played him.
Jurgen Klopp has said he wants to bring in top talent this summer. If the club fails to qualify for champions league next season is top talent still feasible?
Getting in the top four is massive for Liverpool. It will have a big impact on the money available and the calibre of players they can attract. Klopp has got pulling power but the bottom line is that players want to be in the Champions League. If they don’t make the top four then they will have to lower their sights.
Do you think that the anger towards FSG coming from some fans is justified, or more of a knee jerk reaction to poor form?
FSG aren’t perfect, they’ve made some mistakes. And I understand the frustration over how this season went off the rails due to a lack of depth which should have been addressed in the transfer market. But some of the anger is ridiculous. Both publicly and privately, Klopp is adamant that he’s had all the financial backing and support he’s asked for from FSG. If Klopp wasn’t happy, people would know about it.
In your years of LFC reporting, have you ever not been allowed to report and had to keep secret for some time?
There are lots of things you get told in confidence by contacts. Sometimes you are able to put that information into your own words, other times you need to sit on it for days, weeks or months. But nobody from the club or the ownership has ever asked me to write any particular piece, either for or against anything. In terms of my bosses at the ECHO, I get a lot of freedom to write what I want.
Do you expect Klopp to favour the Bundesliga when signing players this summer?
Yes, I’d imagine so. He certainly did last season. It’s a market he knows very well.
On Twitter you’ve received a somewhat minor ‘celebrity status’. Has it ever translated to real life? Ever had people stopping you, asking for pictures and autographs? If so, ever imagined your career in journalism turning out this way?
Yes, it does happen occasionally – despite me not even being Z list! Obviously, with social media, LFC TV and video on the ECHO site every day, Reds supporters get to know your face. People who come up to me in the street tend to be a lot more polite and friendly than some of the ‘feedback’ I get on social media.
And finally, on a more serious note, do you choose red sauce or brown sauce on your sausage sandwich?
Got to be brown. In fact it’s got to be HP. I love the stuff. It’s a must with a full English breakfast. It’s also quality with a roast dinner.