Dave Davis spoke to Matt Smith to get his views on how Liverpool are progressing and their chances of success in the Champions League this season.
Matt is a BT Sport presenter with a long and distinguished career in sports media. You may have seen him presenting European football coverage recently, but what you might not know is he’s a Red! We caught up with him for a quick Q&A about Liverpool.
How would you view Liverpool’s season so far?
A season of progress so far. The squad has more depth and overall quality I think, which is some achievement when you factor in the departure of Coutinho.
Which members of our squad have stood out for you this season?
Van Dijk and Robertson are valuable and much-needed defenders, plus both bring calmness at the back. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a versatile and improving player. Solanke has the makings of a fine frontman. What can you say about Salah?
There’s still a mixed reaction to Jürgen Klopp from many parts of the media. How do you regard the manager’s time at the club?
I am not aware of a mixed reaction to the manager in the media. He is turning LFC back into a top 4 team at least, and a contender in Europe. They have been a long way from that at times in the last decade or so.
The draw for the Champions League isn’t far away and we know you’ll hold a massive interest in that. Is there any club you like to see the reds avoid/draw?
In the last 8, the quality jumps up. Clearly, Sevilla and Roma are 2 you’d hope to draw, if only because the alternatives are the European elite right now. LFC have earned the right to be there though.
Virgil Van Dijk has been excellent so far, yet the fee grabs the headlines still. How do you view his signing?
Transfer fees are astronomical in the PL now. He looks a bargain to me though, as he fills a big gap in many ways. Does he make LFC significantly better? Then he will pay the fee back.
The World Cup is around the corner, but most Reds will be focused on our summer transfer business. Who would you like to see come in?
Keita is coming. I would like to see another midfielder who can screen the back 4 and more options in the front 3 or 4. The GK situation is up in the air at the moment.
As someone involved in interviewing and discussing managers/players after the game, does anything surprise you anymore?
Not really. Players and managers are people like you and me, but with extraordinary gifts. The biggest, these days, may be the ability to produce, consistently, under intense pressure. Liverpool are definitely a more consistent team than a year or 2 back. That’s a very good sign.
If we look at your Twitter, it seems you travel more than Judith Chalmers. Is that a part of your role you enjoy?
Yes. I studied languages at University and have always loved seeing the world. I miss my family at times but it’s not a job you can moan about too much!
Finally, everything goes to plan for the next five years. How does it pan out from a career perspective?
Not sure I have a plan! Keep doing what I enjoy and hope they don’t find out I have been blagging it all these years!