LFCTV Interview: Brendan Rodgers
We have an exclusive pre-season interview today on LFCTV with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Following Liverpool's 2nd-placed finish in the Premier League last season, LFCTV presenter Claire Rourke will find out from Rodgers what his targets are and what he expects to happen during the upcoming season, as well as the club's activity regarding the summer transfer window.
Question: Liverpool were agonizingly close to a first Premier League title last season, but a few unfortunate results during the last few games saw Manchester City lift the title instead. Why do you think Liverpool couldn't go all the way?
Brendan Rodgers: I can't really answer questions like that, on how we didn't manage to go till the very end. One thing is for certain though, we played very well throughout the entire season and I believe it was down to purely being unlucky that we couldn't hang on and grab that league title. If I had to say, I feel that Jordan Henderson's red card was very impactful. I think I've said somewhere before that he was the most improved player in the Premier League and I stand by that opinion, he was great for us and not being able to have him in the team for the last few games hurt us badly.
Question: Do you think the team can go that one step higher for next season and win the league?
BR: Yes, I think we can go on to win the league this season. We have tasted the success of making the Champions League and now we want to improve on last season and go on to win the Premier League.
Question: Who in your opinion are some of the more vital players for a league title push in the squad?
BR: I don't like to single out individuals for being particularly good or bad. I suppose the only one I can name is Steven Gerrard, captain fantastic himself. He's such a leader, on and off the pitch, and can always inspire the other boys to do better than they're currently doing. That's a very important quality to have as a captain, in my opinion.
Question: There are a lot of rumors that Liverpool's star man Luis Suarez is going to leave by the end of the transfer window, with clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid showing interest. Can we have some of your thoughts on the Suarez situation? Do you think you keep him with the club?
BR: I don't want to comment on something like that. Ultimately we will all know if Luis stays or goes. But of course, I want to keep him. He's a terrific player.
Luis Suarez might leave Liverpool for Barcelona or Real Madrid in the transfer window
Question: Are there any positions you are looking to strengthen?
BR: Positions to strengthen... Yes, some of our priorities are a striker as well as a left-back.
Question: Continuing on with questions about the transfer market, Pepe Reina has returned on loan from Napoli - do you see any place for him on the team or will he be moved away on a permanent deal?
BR: We will have to see about that. I think both Simon Mignolet and Pepe are top, top goalkeepers and keeping the two of them is very possible. I think he did well at Napoli. We will review the club's and his own personal interests before deciding if he will be moving on or not.
Pepe Reina might not be a Liverpool player by the end of August
Question: Moving on to pre-season, is there anything you have planned?
BR: We have been invited to a Friendly Cup tournament in Italy so I suppose that is where we will be heading for the pre-season.
Question: Good luck! Will your full squad be available?
BR: Yes, I have everyone available, they've all had their holidays and are raring to go. We will be flying out sometime next week.
Question: Alright, is there anything you would like to say to the fans before we end this interview?
BR: Hm... Well, nothing much else except keep supporting the team. We want to finally bring the title back home to where it belongs next season, and we are definitely going to be up there. There's also the Champions League to play in so yes, I hope the fans can keep cheering Liverpool on, although I doubt I even have to ask. Here's to the fans, you'll never walk alone!
A very interesting talk with the Reds boss, where he expanded on his ambitions for the team next season as well as delving further into the topic of potential departures from the club. It remains to be seen what Liverpool will do in the transfer window, but Rodgers will hope to at least be able to keep Suarez, arguably the club's star player after scoring a grand number of 31 goals last season.