KevieG - The Liverpool Way Jump to content


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About KevieG

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  • Birthday 05/04/1977

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  1. KevieG

    Euro 2020(21)

    Always a strong chance it would go this way. Arguably the diving-ist front line in history with Kane, Sterling and Grealish.
  2. KevieG

    Euro 2020(21)

    Great start from England fans booing the Croatia anthem, top top pashun
  3. Least worst result. Fuck man city. Hope Guardialo is hurting. Next season please.
  4. Fair fucks to crackle, doing his job almost to perfection. Throwing the Leicester game to deny us while still in with a shout of winning it. Starting a run of shit form. Then sits frozen to his chair with a bemused look on his face in a European final. Keep it up lad. Give this man a big fat contract and another 500 million to set on fire.
  5. We didn't play great in last 8/9 games but dug it out. Crowds back, players back and hopefully 2/3 big signings and let's forget this weird behind closed doors season ever existed. Pity about Leicester but hopefully Lineker is upset about it.
  6. KevieG

    Nathaniel Phillips

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out. With a grin, Nat Phillips says that he hasn’t seen much footage of Jürgen Klopp, the player, but he does know that his manager sees a lot of himself in him. In the same way that Klopp was the ugly duckling who became enough of a swan to ascend from amateur level to fan favourite at Mainz, so Phillips is transforming similarly — only at a significantly higher level. The unruffled, unpassable player who shut out Karim Benzema and Real Madrid on Tuesday, in another man-of-the-match performance since improbably materialising in Klopp’s team, is the same one Liverpool had decided to sell in October. Yet Klopp is almost as pleased as Phillips to have been proved wrong. “We’ve always got on really well,” Phillips says. “I think we’re quite similar as people, quite similar in sense of humour and I know I’m not the most pleasing on the eye — when you compare me to someone like Virgil [van Dijk] and how cool and calm he looks. “By all accounts from the manager, he was the same. I’ve heard him describe himself as having a first division brain but third division feet and I think that’s where he draws the similarities. And I think it gives him joy to see someone like me succeed.” When you talk in depth with Phillips, you have no problem understanding how this 24-year-old has been able to switch from Klopp’s fifth or sixth-choice centre back to Champions League quarter-final starter. It’s not what most fixate on — the imposing physique and “traditional” centre back skills. Rather it’s the few inches between his ears, a mentality and intelligence that make him very much suited to modern defending. Just listen to him talking about the improvements he made between his first and second leg performances against Real. “I watch clips on strikers before every game and knew Benzema was going to be involved in the link-up play but take very few touches, and the most difficult aspect would be keeping track of his movement around the box. With him, that’s what I concentrated on. I think I did all right. “The area I could have done better in the first leg was the ball over the top to Vinícius [Júnior, who went on to score]. I watched it back and I was half a second too late when I realised I needed to drop. In the second leg, I was alert to it, and as soon as their centre backs got time on the ball to pick their heads up, we dropped to be in position to defend him.” He says that ability to step quickly up through the levels “is nothing too complicated or obscure, it’s just learning from your mistakes and identifying the areas where you need to do better”. He is not thinking about having never played top-flight football until October, or the alternative path he would be on had a move to Swansea City materialised before Liverpool’s centre-half injuries brought him into Klopp’s plans. “I’ve been so focused on making sure I perform well and learning the areas that I need to learn in that I’ve not really taken a step back and looked at things. I’m still sort of living in the moment and concentrating on doing my job,” he says. Too low-key to be on Twitter (“I don’t think I’ve got anything that interesting to say, to be tweeting,” he says, in a laconic Lancashire drawl), he knows nonetheless that he is celebrated — especially on social media — as some kind of fairytale. “It’s hard to ignore, but you don’t want to buy into that narrative because you’re putting yourself down and saying, ‘At some point this little fairy story will stop.’ I don’t think that’s going to be the case. It’s my career and I want to continue to build on it. Once you’ve proven you’re capable at a certain level, those are the standards you need to replicate and improve on. That’s how I’m approaching this. It would be stupid to attain a certain level and then tell yourself it’s a one-off.” Phillips was promoted to Liverpool’s first-team squad three years ago, amid injuries to senior defenders, and says wryly, “I went up initially just to be a mannequin, for shape drills.” He was scared of Klopp for a couple of sessions, then relaxed and they clicked. “What impressed him was [my] training and my ability to take information on board and learn.” That’s no surprise. Part of the reason for Phillips being a late bloomer is that he did not go full-time at the Bolton Wanderers academy, where his dad Jimmy was academy manager, because he was committed to his education. He went to Bolton Grammar and achieved four A stars and five As at GCSEs, then two As and a B at A Levels, where he studied maths, geography and economics. He had his eye on university and a degree in geography with economics: “I thought those were going to be topical, with the way the world is having to adapt to climate change.” This put questions in some coaches’ minds that contributed to other academy players being ahead of him and, amid cost-cutting after a takeover, he was among a number of young pros released in 2016, at 19. A now-famous part of the Phillips story is how he accepted a scholarship at the University of North Carolina before Liverpool — tipped off by the former Bolton coach Andy Hughes — offered a trial. He won a two-year contract, signed on the very day of the flight booked to take him to the United States, where his plan was, while gaining his college degree, to get drafted for Major League Soccer. He did not play a single minute for Liverpool Under-23 until after Christmas of his first season. After he broke into the team he suffered a stress fracture in his back that ruined the next season. Though last season he excelled for Stuttgart in Bundesliga 2 (returning fluent in German), “it was decided I was going to be sold and that’s why I wasn’t included in the Champions League squad. I would literally go out at training and think, ‘This could be my last day at Liverpool, I’ve got to enjoy it.’ ” In a funny way, that proved key. “It took the pressure off,” Phillips says. “I wasn’t playing at training to impress or get into the team, I was playing for my enjoyment and maybe trying things where I wasn’t afraid of getting a bollocking if it didn’t work out.” Like smashing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané? “No,” he says, laughing. “But in the passing drills I was properly wrapping my passes or making them with my laces. Having the confidence to shell it or drag it or slice it, and they were coming off.” It enabled him to show his ability on the ball — perhaps the one area where Klopp had doubts about his game. Of his debut, against West Ham United, he says, “I kept my passes and stuff in possession simple because I didn’t want to do anything to put myself under any pressure.” But, he says, “as I’ve played more games, gained more confidence and probably gained more expectation from the rest of the team, the coaches and myself, I’ve been more adventurous”. His past two games showcased the evolution: against Aston Villa, Phillips had Liverpool’s best passing figures and against Real was playing smart, penetrative balls down the middle of the pitch, of which Van Dijk would have been proud. It comes back to his intelligence and learning ability. “It’s something I’ve got better at, decision-making, being able to spot when it’s on and knowing when to do it. That comes from game exposure as well, and beginning to spot situations. “With Real Madrid, the way they played was quite man-orientated and the way Benzema pressed was about cutting [out] the switch [of play]. As soon as one of us got it, he would always try to split us. So as a centre back in that situation you don’t really have any pressure [on the ball] and can play the pass through the lines.” Klopp joked yesterday that Phillips “has probably the best heading stats in the history of the Premier League,” and he’s not far wrong. But it’s the smarts and improving feet that look ready to sustain a top-flight career that once looked unlikely. Can that be at Liverpool? Would his target, if we spoke again in a year’s time, to still be in or at least around Klopp’s first XI? “I think, currently, yeah,” Phillips says. “Because it’s such a huge club, capable of huge success, and that’s a level you dream to reach.” He says his role model is not a great star but Rob Holding, a former team-mate for Bolton Under-23, who surprised many by going to Arsenal and, amid many big signings and silkier or more glamourous rivals, staying in the first team. “I’m aware Liverpool have three centre backs [Van Dijk, Joël Matip and Joe Gomez] who are ahead of me in the pecking order all injured, so when those circumstances change mine are likely to change also, but for me to strive [to be a long-term Liverpool starter] is going to bring the best out of me and I’m only going to benefit from setting that as an ambition,” he says. “But you know it’s impossible to say where I’m going to end up. Because throughout my whole career so far, I don’t think you could predict anything.”
  7. KevieG

    Thiago Alcantara

    Those little shimmies are a thing of beauty.
  8. KevieG

    Other football - 2020/21

    Google define Sportswashing
  9. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Glimpses of the mentality monsters against a bent ref, and all manner of scumbag behaviour over the last two weeks from Utd and their fans
  10. Limitations or not, and they are overstated IMO, but Nat is a proper character
  11. Great response since going 1 down. Fuck these counts. Drive it on now, stay on the front foot and finish it. Then someone do Fernandez ankle properly
  12. Bobby is taking the piss with that early effort. It's a disgrace
  13. Day before Europa final. Fuck these cunts at this stage.
  14. KevieG

    Other football - 2020/21

    They've effectively thrown a game here with champions league qualifications riding on it. Not just for us either. I could be wrong but did all that Champions League Earn It bollox only happen a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure we'll have the two Garys fuming later at the gall of disrespecting the sanctity of competition.
  15. Van Djik injury, no question. I firmly believe that was the catalyst for everything else that happened since. The two other sicknote centre halves predictably couldn't stay fit without him, the midfield got pulled back to cover as the club played aren't we so clever, and unbalanced the whole team. And all our momentum and form changed.