Football Insights – Neil Mellor
Liverpool look to edge closer to a first Premier League title in 25-years when they take on Merseyside rivals Everton in Sunday’s big Premier League clash. Former Liverpool player Neil Mellor took time out to chat exclusively to GentingBet ahead of the clash and you can also see the former Premier League star in action with Everton’s Kevin Campbell as they preview some of the big games this weekend in the Premier League.
How big is the anticipation around Liverpool winning the league, given that the season has had a 100 day pause?
There is a huge level of appreciation for what this group of Liverpool players has achieved this season. The break isn’t ideal, but it has really just delayed what everybody now knows is inevitable. These last few remaining games will excite the city and it’s a chance for all Liverpool fans to celebrate what the team has achieved.
How satisfying would it be for Liverpool to clinch the title at the Etihad Stadium, particularly after the heartbreak of the final day, last season?
Liverpool won’t really care where they win the title given how long they have waited for it. Ideally, they’d want to win it at Anfield in front of a packed out Kop but we know that can’t happen. Liverpool will just want to get it done against Crystal Palace if they can – it is more important to close it out early than it is to win it in a particular stadium or city.
How disappointing is that Liverpool won't be able to lift the Premier League trophy in front of a packed at Anfield?
It is such a shame for the players and the managers, but that’s just the situation. When you think of the performances and the nights that this Liverpool team have given their fans in the last 2 years, they have lots of great nights to draw that the fans will have really enjoyed.
They’ll remember the Champions League Final in Madrid and I’m confident that when it’s safe to do so, the club will find a way for the fans and players to come together and for the Anfield faithful to show their appreciation of the players. But as disappointing as it is, people recognise we are in the midst of a global pandemic and difficult decisions need to be made.
So where do you think Liverpool needs to strengthen in the close season if they're to retain their next title?
Liverpool’s starting 11 is incredibly strong, so you are probably looking more at supplementing the squad that truly dislodging a starter. Timo Werner was linked but he has now signed for Chelsea.
Liverpool with the exception of Van Dijk and Alisson, haven’t spent massively on transfer fees. If they are recruiting from a position as reigning Premier League champions that is really powerful. If I was to pinpoint one area, it might be to get a bit of back-up in the final third so they aren’t always relying on Firmino, Salah and Mane.
Liverpool have been linked with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Adama Traore and Kalidou Koulibaly. Can you see any of these deals happening?
It’s exciting to see Liverpool linked with them as they are all excellent players. Koulibaly is one of the best centre-backs in world football. I think the club has shown they will back Klopp – so if he really feels one of these players will improve the team and squad, I’d expect them to back him in the market this summer. You are talking big money for all of them but with Van Dijk and Alisson, the club have proved they are willing to back the manager if he believes certain signings are critical.
There is speculation that Philippe Coutinho is willing to take a pay cut to secure a move back to Liverpool. Can you see this move materialising at all?
Liverpool haven’t missed Coutinho anywhere near as much as they expected to, which is a huge credit to the squad that was left behind. It says everything about where Liverpool are at that he’s willing to come back and would walk away from Barcelona, where he’s had a difficult time. It’s a credit to the group that he wants to come back and whilst he is an excellent player, he probably wants Liverpool more than they need him at the minute which says everything