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Football Insights - Neil Mellor

Football Insights - Neil Mellor

Just the two games to go in the Premier League season and despite Liverpool already being crowned champions, Jurgen Klopp will still be demanding a strong finish to the season from his team. Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of FA Cup finalists Chelsea, a team currently in third and looking to hold off Leicester and Manchester United in their bid to secure Champions League football. Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor spoke exclusively to Genting Casino ahead of the game and you can watch Neil and former Chelsea defender as they preview some of the big games in week 37 of the Premier League.


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What will it feel like for the players to lift the trophy at Anfield?

Lifting the trophy will feel a bit strange because Liverpool have been crowned Champions for a few weeks now. The club has a strong connection with the supporters and you’d want the the supporters to be there and that's why it will feel a little bit different. It will be a great feeling for them to lift the trophy but strange without the fans being there. 

How do you feel about Liverpool losing out on points to Arsenal?

Liverpool played very well, but they lost the game from a couple of mistakes which they were punished for. Liverpool didn’t take the chances that they created and it was disappointing to lose the game, but looking at the position that Liverpool are in, it’s very difficult to criticize this group of players for what they’ve achieved this season, delivering the Premier League title for the first time in 30 years. As disappointing as it is now for Liverpool fans, it’s difficult to see them losing the appreciation for what this group has achieved. 

Will losing points mean more emphasis on winning the remaining games for Liverpool?

It would be good to win the last couple of games, but Liverpool have delivered this season and they will be delighted with what they have set out to achieve this season.  The 100-point record can’t be beaten now so Liverpool will just enjoy these next couple of games try and win. There's no pressure to be unbeaten all season or to try and get the points record because they have achieved what they wanted to. 

Do you think Liverpool will bring more players into the squad in the summer?

Liverpool will be linked with a lot of players but it will be up to Jurgen Klopp and the personality he wants to come to the club. Liverpool aren’t desperate for any player in any position and they are really strong within their squad. They may need some numbers with a couple of players leaving but it’d be interesting to see which type of player Klopp chooses.  

The good thing for Liverpool is now that they are World Champions, Premier League Champions and still European champions, as things stand, they can attract pretty much any player. That is the big difference from when Jurgen Klopp came in a few years ago, Liverpool can now attract the top players so if there are players that Jurgen is going to want to go and get, the club will back him.

Do Wednesday evening's issue in defence mean that Liverpool need to strengthen at the back?

Liverpool have the best goalkeeper in the world and the best centre back in the world. So there's no real concerns about the defensive areas as mistakes haven't happened often this season. The fact that Liverpool have won the Premier League means that perhaps the levels of concentration have slightly dropped, so it's understandable. There are no concerns for Liverpool in the back, but they may well strengthen the squad in there – but there's no glaring concern for Liverpool defensively.

Who would you like to see in Liverpool's squad next season?

If it were possible, I’d like to say Robert Lewandowski, I think he’s the best striker in world football at the moment. And I think Mbappe is going to be world class footballer in years to come. When I look at Liverpool, they have a really settled team unit at the moment and they don’t want to unsettle it by bringing in certain personalities and I think Liverpool have to be careful. 

I’m sure the fans will they want their own individual superstar but Klopp hasn't been able to get the superstar - he has turned players into superstars Mane and Salah, so we may see another player like this.

Next season, do you think will Liverpool look to break Man City's record?

Liverpool’s aim will be to win the Premier League title again, regardless of how many points it takes. Last season Liverpool got 97 and didn't win the Premier League, they’re on 93 at the moment and have won the league so it will be trying to win the Premier League title again. 

I’m sure the battle on field will be even more intensified as Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City will want to get involved so it will be a good battle again next year, but it will just be about winning the Premier League and points total will be a plus.

How big is Trent Alexander Arnold's potential? Will he always play at right back or can you see him being a midfielder? 

Trent Alexander-Arnold is 21 and one of the most creative players in the Premier League at right back, he has experience with two Premier League title chases, two Champions League finals, he’s won the Super Cup and won the World Cup and he’s only 21. 

He’s very talented and creative and capable of playing in a different position, potentially in midfield, but when you are producing the sort of quality at right back, there’s no reason to change it. 

I think he's made himself one of the best right backs of world football, and is still very, very young at 21. So I see no reason why you would want to change that but he's capable, because he’s a very clever player.

What does this title win mean in the context of Liverpool’s history?

The Premier League title win has been greeted with extreme joy in Merseyside. It's been a long way as many supporters have never seen Liverpool win a title in the last 30 years. Liverpool have won a couple of European Cups since that last one but this is going to be enjoyed and appreciated. 

Liverpool want to build on that and hopefully challenge for a few years to come. It will be celebrated, albeit differently because of the rules we have in place due to lockdown and no fans inside stadiums, but this is a massive achievement for this group of players. It's nice for Liverpool supporters to see the football club challenging for the best trophies again.

Do you think the squad as it stands is capable of doing a Premier League and Champions League double?

The Premier League and Champions League double is so hard to achieve with the amount of money in the game and the amount of teams challenging to win both domestically and across Europe.

Liverpool will fight for it, they’ll need all their key players fit, but there will be a big battle for teams across the Premier League and Europe next season. 

With the FFP ban being lifted, could Man City be a stronger contender next season?

I think now that Manchester City know that they are going to be in Europe next season the uncertainty about their players potentially leaving will go away.  The potential to attract more players to Manchester City will only enhance their determination to try and win back the Premier League title. 

It will be a good battle again and I’m sure they’ll look to close this huge gap. The fact that they are able to play in Europe and the FFP ban has been taken away will help Manchester City to try and reclaim their title.

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V: 1.14.1 All rights reserved. August 2021
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