McAllister: People are taking notice of “exciting” Liverpool

Gary McAllister on Henderson’s new role, the Lucas-Mignolet mix-up and the exciting football we’re seeing from the current Liverpool side.

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Former Reds midfielder Gary McAllister says there’s an exciting season ahead for Liverpool fans and that Jürgen Klopp and his team are really beginning to grab people’s attention.

Speaking on the 5Times Podcast this week, McAllister said if Liverpool continue to play the way they have been, especially in front of the now larger-capacity Anfield crowd, the fear factor will be back for opposition sides and the Reds should be able to start racking the points up.

“It’s about winning games,” he said.

“If you win games and gather momentum then opposing teams come there a little bit fearful and, if you play like we did, other teams are watching these games.

“There’s so many opportunities to see the goals and the highlights of games and I think people are starting to take notice of Jürgen and our team.”

Liverpool did concede one goal against Leicester and McAllister believes there isn’t a great deal that manager Klopp can do to mitigate against that.

“It was another unforced error,” he said. “It’s one of those things that managers can’t really put in the equation when they’re setting up the tactics for the game, it was an individual error from a very experienced international footballer.”

Chris Kirkland told 5Times that the goalkeeper should never have put Lucas into that position, Gary Mac agrees: “There’s nobody more than me that likes to see it played from the back, this is the big topic recently, but playing from the back doesn’t mean you’re passing balls across your six-yard box, that’s just poor play.”

London - meet Smicer Fowler McallisterThe hero of Liverpool’s 2001 treble-winning season says that playing out from the back isn’t an issue in itself, the issue is when players don’t take the current situation into account.

“It’s about decision making,” he said.

“Yes, when it’s on, get the ball down and make passes from the goalkeeper into midfield, into full-backs, into centre-backs – but it’s getting the decision right.

“There are times when teams cotton on, they close you down and you’ve got to go long to your strikers.

“It’s not bad play when you hit a long pass!”

The ex-Reds midfielder, who London Reds can meet in person and see live on stage on December 8th, with Robbie Fowler and Vladimir Smicer, also shared his views on Jordan Henderson’s new role in Klopp’s side.

Is the Reds skipper ready to play that deeper role? “I think he can adapt,” McAllister said, “And I don’t think he’s forced just to sit there.

“Yes, he’s been asked to play in a slightly different role – and probably the deeper of the midfield players – but I think when Emre Can gets back in the team he might just take that role and just allow Jordan to get a wee bit further forward.

“In general I think his job at the moment, the way the team’s shaping up, is to sit there in front of the two centre-halves.

“I don’t think Jürgen looks up and thinks ‘Make no mistake, you cannot go beyond the ball.’

“I think at times, when Jordan’s joining in the play and takes the ball forward, I still think he’s got a bit of licence to get in the box and try and nick a goal.”

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Successful Liverpool sides in the past haven’t always relied on the front men for goals and the threat from midfield was present throughout the 70s and 80s, does Gary think there’ll be more goals coming from midfield this season? “I think so,” he said.

“We’ve now played Arsenal, Spurs and the Champions Leicester. Three of those games at times we’ve looked pretty unplayable.

“Whether it’s the midfielders coming from deep and getting beyond the front guys: Mané, Firmino, Coutinho – and Sturridge at the weekend – it’s looking exciting.

“There’s loads of little formations and shapes that the manager can use. The whole squad’s going to play a part.

“Some of the combinations, at the weekend at times there were four, five, six getting in the box and it’s exciting football.

“I think one thing’s for certain, I think it’s going to be exciting watching Liverpool this season.”

See Gary McAllister live on stage in London with 2001 Treble Season colleagues Robbie Fowler and Vladimir Smicer on December 8th  >>

Download the podcast, free of charge as always, hosted by Neil Mellor – this week’s guests also include John Aldridge, Chris Kirkland and Rickie Lambert >>