Om vi är i ett läge där vi måste vinna våra matcher för att hänga med i toppstriden, så är helgens motståndare, Swansea, i ett stort poängbehov i botten av tabellen. Det har stormat en del i klubben sedan vi mötte dem sist, bland annat har de hunnit med två managerbyten. En som som följt det här noga är Guto Llewelyn(@GutoLlewelyn) från podcasten The JackCast, som även tidigare berättat om klubben här på Totaal Liverpool. I den här omgångens Q&A berättar han om hans klubb gått igenom i år:
1. You´ve changed manager twice since we last met, what went wrong with Bradley and what are your thoughts on your new manager?
Bradley was a disaster from start to finish. He should never have been appointed in the first place, his CV would not have even been considered by most Premier League clubs and in truth he was only appointed due to his contacts with the new American owners at Swansea. Bradley made drastic changes to the team each week and never looked like he knew what he was doing. It always felt like he was guessing his way through the job, hoping something would eventually work. We conceded three goals per game on average under Bradley, a statistic which will always get you relegated. He was not helped by the lack of quality in the squad but Bradley was in no way good enough to be a Premier League manager. Paul Clement has since been appointed and he feels like a more traditional Swansea appointment. He has worked with some of the world’s best players but has very little managerial experience. I am hopeful that he is the right man to start rebuilding the club but nobody expects him to keep us up. He will really be judged in the Championship next year.
2. Swansea is fighting for relegation this season, what do you think is most important to do to stay clear?
It will be extremely difficult for Swansea to stay up this season. The biggest problem is in defence. We have conceded more goals than any other team in the league this season, and we make games very easy for the opposition. If we are to have any chance of surviving this season, Clement has to find a way of making us tougher to beat. We also have a lack of quality on the wings and to a lesser extent in central midfield, but the main problem is our awful defence.
3. What are the main reasons that you´re in this situation, after being a solid premier league team for few seasons?
We had the perfect club but our old owners lost focus and decided they wanted to sell. They concentrated far too much on selling the club rather than running it effectively. Over the summer the club desperately needed to strengthen the squad but instead, the entire focus was on the American takeover, resulting in chaos. Over the past 18 months the club has searched for short-term options, rather than concentrating on the long term, this is why we have changed managers so many times and acted with such desperation in the transfer market. The club is now in a chaotic position, fans are angry and everything needs to be rebuilt.
4. Which players are your key players in this situation?
Gylfi Sigurdsson is undoubtedly our best player. He is an incredible footballer who does not deserve to be playing in such a terrible team. Not only is he an intelligent footballer and a great creative player, he also works harder than anybody else in the team. However over recent games he has started to look tired and probably needs a rest. Unfortunately his set piece deliveries are so vital, he has to play even though he is tired. The other key player is Fernando Llorente, who has scored six goals so far this season. In addition to his goals, his strength and hold-up play is very good.
5. Will it be a busy transfer window or do you think you will work with the current squad?
We have already signed Luciano Narsingh from PSV. He is inconsistent but has far more quality than our current wingers. We are also set to sign Martin Olsson, who Swedish readers will know very well. Left-back has been a problem position since the departure of Ben Davies in 2014, and hopefully Olsson will give us more attacking threat down the left wing too. The other player rumoured to be arriving is Tom Carroll from Spurs, but many fans feel we need a tougher midfielder who can offer more protection for the defence. We seriously need an authoritative centre-back and if we do not buy one, we will go down.
6. Liverpool have been struggling a bit lately, after being top of the table earlier this season, where do you think we will be at the end of the season?
Liverpool should get a Champions League spot but the race for the top four is so competitive this season, they need to find their rhythm again quickly to keep up with everybody else. Liverpool have been fantastic to watch this season, and even without Mané, Liverpool’s attack should score easily against Swansea. I still feel Liverpool’s defence is a big problem. A few people have suggested Klopp’s high-energy approach has left Liverpool looking tired, and that certainly looks to be the case. Liverpool should beat Swansea very comfortably, but the real test will come against the other teams chasing the top 4. I hope they get a Champions League spot because they are so positive and entertaining. Finishing 5th or 6th would be a failure after such a bright start to the campaign, but I think Liverpool will eventually finish 3rd.
I hope this weekend will not be my last visit to Anfield as a Swansea fan, but I fear it probably will be.