With Liverpool’s incredible season finishing off with the Premier League trophy and an unbroken record of points tally, we sat down and talked to one of football’s most renowned journalists: Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) from the Sunday World & Independent Ie. We talk about many important topics involving transfers, the Liverpool squad and its weaknesses, his experiences in journalism and much more.
Kevin is based in London and covers Football all around England, as well as Tennis and different other topics for all the prestigious outlets & newspapers that he writes for.
[All quotes are retrieved from the LFC Transfer Room Podcast] – Listen HERE
1. Do you think this is the strongest Liverpool team in history?
“For a lot of Liverpool fans this is the best team they have ever seen… this is clearly the best team they had under Klopp. He swept into the club, everyone was doubting wether he was going to be a winner after he lost all those finals at the start. He’s 100% proven he is the right man. The key to his success story is the way that he and particularly the fans have gotten behind Klopp. There was always doubts over Rodgers and even Benitez even though he was this sort of spiritual hero who had the mystical changing room chat at half time in Istanbul which I think its been well blown out of proportion. The minute Klopp came in Liverpool fans realized they had something really special here. They won the league so comfortably and made everybody else look silly!”
2. Who do you think is the best manager in the Premier League Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola?
“It’s an interesting debate because Klopp has clearly improved so many players at Liverpool but you can say the same about Guardiola… Pep’s record confirms that he has won a lot more than Klopp for different reasons. He was at clubs that basically had everything in their favor to win anyway, even if he wasn’t there but he is clearly a great manager. I personally prefer Klopp in terms of personality and character that he has. I think both are the two best managers in the world.”
I think the club has backed Klopp perfectly, one issue I have with FSG & Liverpool is the spending they put in is all money that is coming from transfers. They [Liverpool] are 14th in the Premier League on net spend over the past 5 years. So what we got here is a manager massively over achieving, a club absolutely nailing it on transfers and at the end you got a perfect formula that is working for everybody.”
3. What is your take on Liverpool’s approach in the transfer market?
“… If we look at last year’s Champions League final, Liverpool and Tottenham are two clubs that are run on a similar kind of budget, they hang out to their players, they give them good contracts and don’t sign too many more players unless they absolutely have to. The Van Dijk transfer was never going to happen until the Coutinho deal became inevitable. Once the money for Coutinho came in, then they started looking at Van Dijk and Alisson, up to then they weren’t actually going to do that, and if you look at the Coutinho money it almost equates to same amount of money that they paid for Van Dijk and Alisson. So there is an example of how they do their business.”
… Imagine if Man City had sign Van Dijk as they could’ve done back in the day and what difference it would’ve made, would Liverpool have won the league this year? Not too sure they would. It just shows you how important it is to be able to compete in the transfer market, and Liverpool by pulling out of the Timo Werner deal a few weeks ago they’ve proven they can’t compete in the transfer market, because if they had the money for that deal I’m sure they would’ve done it.”
4. Do you think it was a mistake to not sign Timo Werner?
“I think it was a mistake to not sign Werner, clearly FSG thought they have Minamino & Origi, they don’t need a sixth striker, the fact that AFCON is now canceled this year is a big help… You look at Firmino and I know how important he is to the team and how he makes everything better, but he hasn’t scored a goal at Anfield this season. I think Werner could’ve been that guy to take Liverpool to another level… So I think it wouldve been a good investment, so yes, I think it was a mistake and it might be one that comes back and haunt Liverpool.”
5. Talk to us about the famous Virgil van Dijk transfer and what was your take on it?
“I think the truth was that Southampton would’ve been open to selling Van Dijk, but the issue was that Liverpool had a meeting with him and his advisors that Southampton wasn’t too happy about. If that meeting hadn’t happen I’m pretty sure he would’ve joined in the Summer of 2017… in early November I was even told that they didn’t want to sell him because of what happened with the meeting, but then Southampton wanted 75M but Liverpool said no, then all of the sudden at the start of December the deal was done! What happened clearly was that the Coutinho money was coming in, they thought ‘We are going to sign Van Dijk to placate the fans who were obviously worried that they were selling Coutinho’ and that is how the whole deal came about.”
Exclusive – Liverpool finally make a breakthrough in their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk…the Christmas gift all Reds fans were hoping for @sundayworld https://t.co/iX9cFIqDBG #LFC #MCFC pic.twitter.com/TmR8Si0EJF— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) December 23, 2017
6. Who is the best player at Liverpool?
“…At the back you have to say Van Dijk has transformed the team, he’s made every defender look good around him. So the best player I have to say is Van Dijk, but I love watching Mané at his best”
7. Who should win the POTY – De Bruyne or Henderson?
“I would like to see Jordan Henderson win the POTY. There is a lot of talk that the award is going to Kevin De Bruyne.. last two years Man City have won the league and Salah and Van Dijk have won the award, and this could be the year that Liverpool win the league and De Bruyne wins the POTY award, but I personally would like to see Henderson win it.”
8. If Van Dijk didn’t join Liverpool, who do you think the Reds wouldve signed for centre-back?
“I don’t know, Van Dijk was so far ahead from what Klopp wanted, Liverpool went all out to get him, they even waited a year for him… Maybe someone like Toby Alderweireld from Tottenham who was coming to an end of his contract, think even Man United went for him, that’s a big powerful central defender, really experienced, that played for a good international side, he would’ve been somebody that Liverpool could’ve gone for, but there is only one Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool got him.”
9. What is your take on the Thiago Alcantara links?
“Thiago was an interesting one, if someone of that quality was available I think Liverpool should be going for him, but it sounds like they are not gonna go for him. You have to remember is not just a transfer fee, if he is available for 30M that looks like a good deal but his wages would be massive, agents would be involved and want a good pay off because he is approaching his last year of contract, so when you do one of these deals it is massive to put it all together.”
10. If there was one player that could come to Liverpool this summer, who do you think it could be?
“The one player that we heard a few weeks ago was that Philippe Coutinho is available for a loan deal of 9M for one year, a lot of Liverpool fans were not too happy with the way he left, but at 9M for one year would you not take Philippe Coutinho? I think he is a brilliant player and if Liverpool could get him back to his best, he clearly loves the club he just got seduced by the Barcelona option, he would be the greatest signing. If it’s true and we are told is true that he really wants to come back to Liverpool and he has even made efforts to try and get the deal done in a way, and do the one year at Liverpool, why would you not bring a player proven quality like that? I think he is the one player Liverpool could get and would potentially fit into their budget. So I think is a good player that Liverpool could go for and someone they could actually get.”
Philippe Coutinho has made a personal plea to LFC manager Jurgen Klopp in a bid to engineer his return to Anfield even of it means taking a pay cut to seal his return (@RealKevinPalmer)— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) June 13, 2020
Edited by: Dann I (@DannLFCTR)