What is the position of Steve Clarke at this moment of time?
Steve’s still at the club. There’s no change there. Steve’s on holiday. There’s no plans to move that along unless it’s a discussion we have later on with Steve about how he feels about Kenny. But he’s on holiday. So there’s no change at all.
I know you have a vast experience of Liverpool and that’ you’re a huge Liverpool fan. Who will advise the owners about where to go for the next manager? Would you be involved in that?
Yes of course. It’s a good question because I had quite a lot of texts and emails myself and I bumped into some fans this morning on my way to work. I think people would be way off the mark to assume that John Henry and Tom Werner are sat with a list just making a choice on their won. They’ve engaged discussion and the services of some very, very talented and knowledgeable people from within the football industry. And you don’t get to where John’s got to and where Tom’s got to in their careers without taking the best possible advice for big and important decisions. So it stands to reason that they would absolutely and will absolutely do that in this process. We’ll balance all the different things: what does the club need? What do they see in the plan? What does the plan say we’re looking for? And taking the best possible advice from those qualified to give it to find the best result.
You know Liverpool. You know what is needed here. What is needed for the next manager to come in?
I think the most important thing is that John has said a couple of times that we have a long-term plan for this football club to restore it to where it should be in European and English football. SO it needs somebody that fits with all of the parts of that plan. It’s not a plan that we’re going to roll out publicly and tell everybody the detail of but this idea that there’s some kind of turmoil going on here because we’re making changes (is not true). To implement a plan and to achieve a plan you have to change. There’s certainly no crisis or turmoil here. There are difficult decisions to be made and there are difficult things to be managed but they’re being managed. And just as much as we’ve had a short period of people leaving the club, we’re going through a period, very quickly, of people arriving at the club and that will be exciting and interesting and then it will be all about taking that plan forward and delivering a result. So it will take somebody that fits within that plan that can deliver that part of the overall way forward for Liverpool Football Club.
Do you have a list of names? Have you spoken to people?
We haven’t spoken to people yet but we’ve just started to bring together that list. I think it goes without saying that the respect everyone has here for Kenny Dalglish would mean that we certainly would not have considered or spoken to anyone before Kenny’s departure yesterday. So work in earnest starts today. We had a call last night and talked through some of that, based on the advice that had been taken but it starts very much today.
Are you looking for a particular type of person? A particular age of person? A young manager? Older manager?
No I don’t think you set that type of criteria. You wouldn’t rule somebody out because of any of those reasons. It’s about finding the person to do the job that we expect, in the form we expect it to be done. It’s too early to start setting criteria and throwing names about - we’ll leave everybody else to do that and it’s all part of the game, isn’t it?
You’ve seen the list though, I’m sure. Martinez, Andre Villas Boas, are all these people the sort of people you are looking at?
Everybody has a chance. Just like everything, we have to be inclusive and open and honest. You would listen and consider the values of anyone but, in reality, I think we would narrow down pretty quickly on a shortlist of people that fit the profile and the bill of what we expect to happen.
We had a fan say the problem with Kenny is that you should never go back. Then we said, ‘who do you want for the next manager?’ And he said, ‘Rafa Benitez’. Is that something you may not go to? And I’m not specifically talking about Rafa, but going back again (in general). Is that era over at Liverpool do you think?
I think in any decision the most important thing is that you have a plan. It’s not about blindly weaving around trying to make decisions - this is a very, very focused team of people with a plan. For that reason, we will define what we are looking for and you shouldn’t include or dismiss anyone on that basis. As long as we know where we’re headed and what we’re looking for and what we need to achieve, we will get through the mire of everybody trying to suggest it being this person or that person, going backwards and forwards. It’s really just about focus now. What do we need? What’s the criteria? Who are the people available for that opportunity? Who are the people out there that fit that bill? And go and do the job and get a new manager into Liverpool and move forward.
I guess now it’s just about timescale? Have you put one on it at all?
You can’t put a time scale on because there could be all sorts of issues that might add to time around it and you want to be absolutely certain that you get the right person. You don’t want to create a time pressure. But we’re all conscious of the fact that we have a summer to go in and a transfer window to operate in and we have a team to bring back together and start winning matches next season. So that will dictate some of it but we certainly won’t dive in just because of time.
It was a fantastic goal and he showed great technique. Sebastian has come in this year. He hasn’t been in the starting line-up probably as often as he would like but we can see his progress and we can see he is adapting to the game over here. Any time he has been asked to play in the team he has done great and it’s just a shame for him, on the night he scores such a great goal, that will probably be forgotten a little bit because of the result. I haven’t seen him try that in training and it was a bit of a shock to everybody, but it was great technique and I was really pleased for the boy.
It’s finely balanced. We have to approach the game positively and our mentality has to be to win the game, which would guarantee that we’re in the final. We have to be positive, we have to approach the game with a positive mentality. City will come here and know they have to score a goal - and a goal for them puts the tie level. They don’t need to come and be too cavalier, they’ll come and play their normal game. They’re a top team at the top of the division, have had a great season and we respect them a lot. But for us it is more about our own state of mind and mentality - and it will be to go out and win the game.
Everybody here knows the qualities of Maxi. He’s been unfortunate this year that he’s not had an extended run in the team, but what it does say about him is that he is a complete professional. When you’re not in the team, it’s difficult to come in every day, work hard and be prepared for your chance. Maxi has worked hard every day in training. Not just Maxi, but all the squad of players - they’ve worked hard in training, they wait for their chance. When Maxi went in, he did a fantastic job for us.
We had a great angle from the bench because we were sitting right behind the flight of the ball. As soon as he did the nutmeg on the defender and curled it, you could tell it was always going to end up in the back of the net. Most of us were up celebrating. The actual shot, the way it curled away, made it impossible for the goalkeeper to get a touch on it. The little bit of skill was fantastic and the shot was even better.