If you missed part 1, you can catch it here.
Usually it doesn’t take much for John Aldridge to become animated when talking about Liverpool Football Club, but this particular interview is taking place just hours after Liverpool blew any hopes of a top four finish with a listless display at home to West Brom so you could forgive Aldridge for being downbeat and cynical regarding the club at the moment.
However, the more he speaks about his beloved side, the more he portrays a sense of hope and confidence for the club’s future despite its current problems. First though, a little perspective about the here and now.
“I think one thing we have to do as supporters is to our lower expectations just a little. It’s hard because of where we have been in the past and when we get a couple of results such as those against Manchester City and Arsenal, people get excited and fall back into that mindset of thinking we can be a top four club again right now. Realistically though, it’ll take a little time.
“We know we should be better than what we are and we’ve been saying that for some time now. The squad we have should be doing better at the moment in my opinion, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Brendan has to make sure he gets the right level of players in over the next few transfer windows and get his philosophy over.”
Understandably, given the nature of the defeat to West Brom and the poor league position, Rodgers is facing criticism again, but Aldridge is resistant to place too much blame on the manager just yet:
“We have to stay loyal to him, he’s only been here a few months and we must remember that he’s very young and still learning himself at this stage. In life you are always learning and it’s no different for players or managers. He needs time, it’s as simple as that.”
One cause for optimism of late has been the form of Jordan Henderson whose Liverpool career seemed all but over last summer when he was offered to Fulham as part of a move for Clint Dempsey. Aldridge is cautiously optimistic that Henderson can follow in the footsteps of another Liverpool midfielder and come full circle from boo boy to fan favourite.
“Since he’s been at the club he’s been frustrating, Jordan. He seems to be slowly improving but he can’t think he’s made it yet. I think there is much more to come from him. It’s helped with him playing more centrally, even when he starts on the left he’s still inside a lot and that’s his best position. He’s got the fans onside just like Lucas did and that can only be good for him. Last season he took a lot of stick so it’s positive that he’s winning people over now. Stewart Downing was in a similar position as well but to be fair to them both, they are doing a lot better now. For whatever reason it took them a year and a half at the club to really to settle in.”
“It’s a mental thing. Of course it is. Let’s be honest, technically we knew they weren’t mugs when they arrived here, they we’re both talented lads. We’ve seen Downing do well for England and be exceptional at Villa. Sometimes though, when you’re playing for the likes of Aston Villa or Middlesbrough, the pressure just isn’t there like it is at Liverpool. The expectation levels at this club are much higher. Confidence and having your head sorted is hugely important and at least now they seem to be overcoming those mental issues and performing well.”
Over the past few seasons Liverpool have often been accused of lacking a goal scorer and who better to comment on the art of goal scoring than Aldridge who bemoaned the lack of out-and-out finishers in the game these days:
“Players who just score goals these days seem to have become almost obsolete. There are still a few about like Javier Hernandez at Manchester United, but they are few and far between. Hernandez is a tremendous goal scorer, I love watching him play. He gets on the end of things but he can also do other bits and bobs in areas of the pitch, what an option he is for United even if he’s coming off the bench. You have to say though that there is a lack of them [goal scorers] in today’s game.
“We have a young lad in [Adam] Morgan and I think he has a chance to make it, he’s exactly the same kind of player that I was. He’s always sniffing around for chances and is a natural finisher. Having said that though, with so many teams playing just one out and out striker these days, managers now tend to try and get forwards who can be more involved outside the box. To be fair to Daniel Sturridge he’s been getting a few taps-ins for us and that’s helped, but you could see against West Brom how much we lacked a finisher without him in the side. Right now the out-and-out finisher seems to be going the way of the dodo and it’s a real shame.”
Before our time was up with Aldo we wanted to get his views on the recently exposed match fixing scandal that has broken. Despite Liverpool’s opponents Debrecen being accused in regards to their match against the Reds, Aldridge remains dumbfounded at the notion of games being fixed.
“I have never been approached or heard of anyone doing it throughout my career. Of course there are one or two games that have been questionable over the years with strange decisions and such but I find it hard to fathom that it goes on. As a player, getting involved in that sort of thing or to even have the thought cross your mind is just something I can’t come to terms with. The whole thing is just very shocking to me.”
We would like to thank John Aldridge and Barclays for allowing us to speak to the legend himself and we would like to remind you that if you wish to meet John and find out more about Barclays new ‘Pingit’ app, Aldo will be at Anfield from 12.30pm this Sunday, ahead of the Swansea game to interact with supporters.
“John Aldridge is an ambassador for Barclays ‘Don’t pass it, ping it’ campaign. Pingit is revolutionary technology developed by Barclays which allows people to transfer money to each other using their mobile phone. Users do not need to be a Barclays customer. For more info go to www.barclays.co.uk.”