Inside Anfield

Friday 9 November 2018 10:01

The Anfield Wrap has been nominated in the Fan Media of the Year category at the upcoming Footballer Supporters' Federation awards. We caught up with Editor Josh Sexton, who assesses where this Liverpool side ranks for him, and what he's expecting from Sunday's match with Fulham. 

Unbeaten and two points off the top of the Premier League table – as good a start as you could’ve hoped for?

Context is a funny thing for Liverpool supporters at the moment. The cold, hard facts suggest a flying start to the season, but the truth is that The Reds haven't been at their best on anything like a frequent enough basis. It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason behind that, but we're all living in hope that we can start to build up the kind of consistency in performance that Manchester City are attaining. The main thing is we have kept in touch with City so far, which I'm sure will be a frustration for Pep Guardiola and co given we haven't been at our best. As long as the results keep coming, the performances should follow.

Where does this current Liverpool team rank compared to recent years?

Despite the groans about performances, the balance of the side is the best it has been for years and the strength in depth is there, which should make us real contenders for honours. It's probably the strongest we've been since the sides under Rafael Benitez in 2007/08 and 2008/09, which had solid foundations as well as the attacking talents of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. The 2013/14 side offered up so much entertainment but left a lot to be desired at the back, so this side probably ranks just ahead of them.

What do you make of your title chances?

I make a lot of our chances of mounting a sustained push for the title, but Manchester City look pretty unstoppable right now. There's every chance we could surpass our record points total for a Premier League season and still fall short, but I'm clinging onto the fact that both City and Chelsea have dropped points to sides outside the top six, which we haven't - as yet!

What went wrong against Red Star on Tuesday?

How much time have you got?! We started too slowly against a side full of aggression with a point to prove. The midfield lacked creativity and the game almost completely passed them by. The front three never got it going despite the changes at half-time. All round it was probably Liverpool's worst performance since losing 1-0 away to Swansea City back in January.

Who have been Liverpool’s best performers so far this season?

Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk have had a massive influence on our defensive solidity, but our best player of the season so far is somebody a little less obvious - and who cost a lot less! Joe Gomez has barely had a chance in his favoured centre-back role since he signed from Charlton for £6m, and injury problems meant it took a while for him to get a chance once Jürgen Klopp took over. Last season he was mostly played at right back, losing out to Trent Alexander-Arnold towards the back end of it, but this season he has been a colossus at centre half. Van Dijk has been afforded much of the credit for that, but Gomez deserve his plaudits also. He's quick, strong, composed, good with the ball at his feet and in the air, so has all the ingredients to be the perfect option in the centre of defence for years to come.

Have you seen much of Fulham?

I think I've only watched two full Fulham games this season, against Arsenal and Huddersfield. Any other time has been via Match Of The Day, which is always hard to take anything from without regurgitating exactly what the pundits say. From what I have seen, it's hard to really judge but on paper it should be the kind of game Liverpool should be looking to find their stride in - with the utmost respect to the Whites!

Which of our players do you think could cause you problems?

I'm a really big fan of Ryan Sessegnon from what I saw of him in the Championship last season. He'd have to be a consideration (as much as anybody else in the team), along with André Schürrle who has a goal in him.

What sort of match are you expecting on Sunday?

As I said before, it should be a game Liverpool are looking to win comfortably. We've not conceded many this season and Fulham have conceded the most in the league so, although it won't be as straightforward as that, you'd expect Liverpool to pick up three points.

Can you recommend a decent away pub for Fulham fans to get a pre-match pint?

It's a tough one being an early kick off. My best advice would be to come the night before and take in a Saturday night in Liverpool city centre if possible. If not, then The Sandon or The Flat Iron aren't necessarily "away fan pubs" but they're accommodating of travelling supporters. Neither are far from the away end.

Congratulations on the nomination for Fan Media of the Year – how much of a labour of love is your podcast?

I joined The Anfield Wrap in August 2016 and it has come a long way since then. It started off in 2011 as a few supporters recording one free podcast a week in Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, and now it's a full-time job for 10 people with an office, audio and video studios on Liverpool's waterfront. It wouldn't have been possible without the help of those who have been involved in any aspect of the journey; from the lads who quit their jobs to take it full time in 2015, to the hundreds of contributors down the years who have given up their own time to come and talk on podcasts. We're proud to be recognised for all the hard work!

What score prediction are you going for?

I'm hoping it will be a much more comfortable 90 minutes than Tuesday evening, so I'm going to go with a 2-0 Liverpool win. We've been very hard to break down at home - the goal conceded against Cardiff being the first time we'd conceded in the league at Anfield since February - which should provide us with a solid foundation, but I expect Fulham to defend resolutely and, since we aren't at our attacking best, I can't see there being a glut of goals.

Related Content