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Q&A inför Wolves hemma

En fantastisk ligasäsong går i morgon in i sin sista omgång. Det mesta är egentligen avgjort, vi vet vilka som åker ur, vi vet vilka som når Champions League, men vi vet fortfarande inte vilka som kommer att bli mästare. Om Manchester City vinner borta mot Brighton kommer de att stå som segrare, men skulle de tappa poäng och vi vinna vår match är det Jordan Henderson som får lyfta bucklan. För vår del är det Wolverhampton som står för motståndet, en av de bästa nykomlingarna de senaste åren, och deras facit mot topplagen den här säsongen är minst sagt imponerande. Det kommer således inte bli någon enkel match på Anfield i morgon. The Old Gold and Black(@TheOldGold1877) driver en youtubekanal kring om våra motståndare, men idag gästar han oss för att berätta om laget:

1. Your first season back in the Premier League is about to end, how has it been? Are you satisfied with the teams performances?
The first season back has exceeded expectations by a long way. Although lots of fans were confident that we would be able to compete, not many thought that we’d finish in 7th (the best of the rest). Not only our league position but the way we have played as been superb- particularly against the top 6; and it is, annoyingly, the performances against the bottom 6 which has held us back this season.

2. Have the way you play changed anything from last year when you played in the championship?
Initially we didn’t. Nuno was quite stubborn for the first few months of the season: picking the same team, same formation and making the same substitutions. This lasted until November when we went through a difficult run. We then changed to play 2 up front rather than 3 and put an extra man in midfield. The extra man being Leander Dendoncker. The form we have shown since his inclusion in late December would have seen us pushing for a top 4 space! But the fundamentals of Nuno’s footballing philosophy have largely stayed the same. We look to play of the break and enjoy defending.

3. What are your thoughts on next season? Where do you think you need to strenghten to get even closer to the top?
The main issue for us, particularly later on in the season, is the lack of depth in the squad. We’ve only used 19 players this season (joint lowest ever in the Premier League with Liverpool) so if we were to be competing in a European competition next year, we would need about 4 or 5 extra squad players. I think we need a quick centre-back, a wing back and a top striker. With the backing of the owners and the squad that we already have, I genuinely think we could break into the top 6 next year. It’ll be a very interesting summer- I can’t wait!

4. Who is your player of season?
So many to choose from! Conor Coady has played every minute, and although I’m sure he’d rather be wearing red on Sunday, he’ll be trying his utmost to keep you out. Diogo Jota has been unstoppable in the second half of the season and I think he’s got a chance of being one of the best players in the league next year. Matt Doherty has been adapted really well to the Premier League and has scored and assisted so many goals this season. I could go through most of our squad and make an argument for each of them; but there is one man who stands out above the rest: Joao Moutinho. An absolute gem of a player. How we only played £5million for him, I don’t know. He’s so good at winning the ball back, distributing and edging us up the pitch; the highlight of his season has got to be the FA Cup game against Manchester United, he lead the team through some tough periods and ultimately helped win the tie.

5. What are your best and worst memories from this season?
The best moments from this season have come against the top teams. Beating Spurs at Wembley, United twice, drawing to City, beating Chelsea, beating Arsenal and maybe we can add one more scalp to that list before the final whistle blows on Sunday. Another special moment was the last minute win against Leicester back in January: 4-3 with Jota grabbing Wolves’ first Premier League hat trick! The worst moments have to be the defeats against Huddersfield. Nuno had never had a team do the double over him for Wolves…until Huddersfield! I don’t know what it is, and I’m not sure the players or manager knows either but we just can’t beat teams that don’t want to play football.

6. How do you think you will lineup at Anfield and what kind of game do you expect?
As our season is over, we may see some changes and see some players be given some minutes as a reward for patience or hard work on the training pitch. It could also be the chance for a couple to play for their futures (Costa, Cavalerio and Traore). I don’t think it will be a team full of U23 players but we saw a heavily changed team for our last game of last season, which we lost. We saw Nuno bring on some younger players for the final seconds against Fulham (Kilman and Norris) but I do expect Nuno to respect the importance of the fixture and the competition. We won’t come to lie down, we’ll make things difficult and frustrate. I’m anticipating a really exciting afternoon!

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