Football: Reds' top-four rush on the cards, says McAllister

ST VIDEO: CHUA SIANG YEE
ST VIDEO: CHUA SIANG YEE
Former Liverpool footballer Ian Rush (left) celebrating with Gary McAllister after converting his first penalty against RoboKeeper at LFC World yesterday. His second shot was saved and his third sailed over the bar.
Former Liverpool footballer Ian Rush (left) celebrating with Gary McAllister after converting his first penalty against RoboKeeper at LFC World yesterday. His second shot was saved and his third sailed over the bar.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Liverpool have found the energy and purpose to erase memories of last season, says veteran

The great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said: "If you are first, you are first. If you are second, you are nothing."

That line probably sums up the the ethos of Liverpool, who, with 18 league titles and five European Cups, are one of English football's most successful clubs.

It is also why, said former Reds star Gary McAllister, the team are playing with renewed vigour this year, after a lacklustre 2015-2016 season, when they reached two Cup finals - only to fall at the final hurdle each time.

Jurgen Klopp's men fell 1-3 to Sevilla in the Europa League final and lost on penalties to Manchester City in the League Cup final.

McAllister, 51, told The Straits Times: "The thing is, the boys want to put right what happened last season, losing in two Cup finals.

"They're playing with a great deal of intensity, pressing and forcing the opposition to make mistakes.

FOCUSED ON THEIR TASK

They're playing good attacking football, playing with confidence. I'd say top three or four is a certainty, given their form.

GARY McALLISTER, former Liverpool midfielder, reading the on-field signs.

"They're playing good attacking football, playing with confidence. I'd say top three or four is a certainty, given their form."

They are certainly flying high in the Premier League this season, where, after 10 games, they are level on points (23) with leaders City.

More than that, the Reds are thrilling fans with a brand of football that is pleasing to the eye, one characterised by clever movement, sharp passing and lightning-quick counter attacks.

With City, they are joint top-scorers in the league with 24 goals.

Even Alex Ferguson, former manager of arch-rivals Manchester United, has hailed the current team and labelled them title contenders.

McAllister, part of the Liverpool team that won five trophies in 2001, added: "They're playing with great skill. Some of the little combinations to create chances and some of the movements in forward areas have been really, really special.

"Even if you are a neutral, you've got to enjoy watching the way they're playing this season."

One thing is for sure. After an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions, a feel-good atmosphere has enveloped Anfield, from the dressing room to the dugout and the stands.

Luis Garcia, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, said: "It's all about the confidence. You can see it on (the faces of) players, the coach and the supporters.

"Results are coming and you can tell the team are looking forward to every weekend."

McAllister said: "I get to Anfield early on match days. Thousands of people are there hours before the game. There is loads of positivity."

The duo, along with former Liverpool striker Ian Rush, are in town for LFC World, an exhibition which aims to bring the club closer to its fans from around the world.

Located at Suntec City's West Atrium, the exhibits include autographed Liverpool jerseys and the fabled Champions League trophy, which Liverpool got to keep after winning the competition for the fifth time in 2005.

Fans can also take a virtual tour of Anfield by slipping on virtual reality glasses, or test their penalty-taking skills against a robot goalkeeper. The exhibition ends on Sunday, the same day Liverpool try to extend their unbeaten run in a home clash against Watford.

Spaniard Garcia said: "The most important thing is to get the three points and continue to be at the top of the table."

After a few near misses, the Anfield faithful will be wary of counting their chickens before they hatch. But it would take a brave soul to bet against them finishing with nothing this season.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Reds' top-four rush on cards: McAllister'. Print Edition | Subscribe