Editorials, News — September 10, 2014 20:01

Steve McMahon on Ballotelli : It’s A Fantastic Gamble

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The Asian Kop had the pleasure of catching up with former Liverpool midfield maestro Steve McMahon recently.  McMahon who was Kenny Dalglish’s first signing as Liverpool manager back in 1985 won three league titles and two FA Cups with Liverpool. Steve was an explosive midfielder who entertained fans alike with his spectacular goals, tough tackling and his robust work ethic in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield.


Bob Paisley best described Steve’s influence in the team when he said : “When Steve McMahon plays well, I always think that Liverpool will play well.”

We would like to thank Steve for taking time out from his busy schedule and providing us with his thoughts.

In this exclusive interview, Steve tells us what’s impressed him about Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool…How important Stevie remains to Liverpool…What he makes of the new signings…which youngsters excite him at Liverpool and few words on our latest signing Mario Ballotelli. 

Interview with Steve McMahon

The Asian Kop: How would you assess the start of the season?

Steve McMahon : Well obviously, the City game was disappointing with the result, but 6 points. It was abit of an edgy start against Southampton but Tottenham was a magnificent result.

TAK : What excites you about Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool these days?

Steve McMahon : It’s just the way they play. They seem to not worry about the opposition as much as they use to. So, it’s a case of playing the Liverpool way.

TAK : Do Liverpool remind you of the way you played in the 80’s?

Steve McMahon: A little bit, but the system has changed. They tend to play the one up top, and three in the middle and try and get the wide players involved a lot more. But it certainly got a lot of flair to it.

TAK : What’s most impressed you about Brendan?

Steve McMahon: Well, the style and the way I’ve seen him training, he’s very much hands on in his training methods, he’s very very impressive and with the players off the pitch as well. He knows what he wants and he’s a confident manager.

TAK: What’s Steve McMahon’s assessment of Liverpool’s midfield at the moment? What have you made of the signings of Emre Can and Markovic?

Steve McMahon: Well again, I think he’s buying for the squad and Champions League to strengthen it. You’ve got to give them time. The Liverpool supporters are educated, and they will give them time and they are settling in quite well.

TAK : What have you made of the signing of Mario Ballotelli?

Steve McMahon: It’s a gamble…it’s a fantastic gamble.

TAK: We came very close to the title last season, Brendan has got a very good unit there, a good group of players, and to have a potential disruption, like we had that with Suarez last season…

Steve McMahon : Suarez performed last season, that was the difference. He was the top player and he performed. Whether Ballotelli can perform under pressure, maybe he could do what Suarez did and score 30 goals. If he does that Liverpool will move on.

Ballotelli 1

TAK: What did you make of Mario’s debut at Spurs?

Steve McMahon:  Well, he could have got a couple of goals and he will be disappointed he didn’t get on the score sheet. But he handled the situation well considering it was his first game.

TAK : Going forward Liverpool look great, but we conceded 50 goals last season and we still seem to be nervous at the back. In the Spurs post match interview, Steven Gerrard was very honest when he said ‘The challenge for this team is can we defend better?’  How does Brendan and the team go about addressing this concern and getting it right for the rest of the season?

Steve McMahon: It’s work work work on the training ground and there’s nothing much you can do. I mean you shouldn’t be scoring 2 or 3 goals a game and expecting to cling on. If you score 1 or 2 you should be winning games comfortably. Your defence is just as important as your strikers.

TAK: With senior players like Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Luis Suarez  and Pepe Reina having now left the club. How important will Steven Gerrard’s role be on and off the pitch with settling the new players as well as supporting the younger players who are coming through so strongly at the club?

Steve McMahon: He’s already been a big influence over the past 10 years or so and he will only get stronger in terms of his character. I think a different role, he knows what Liverpool’s all about and he is well established both on and off the pitch. He’s got a lot to offer, he’s still got at least of couple of years at the top. And certainly the system Brendan plays suits him and especially now retiring from international football as well. That will help and give him abit longer in the Premier League.


TAK: Which young players at Liverpool excite you at the moment?

Steve McMahon: Well obviously Sterling is one , Coutinho has come in and he’s done very very well.

TAK: How good can Sterling really go on and become at Liverpool?

Steve McMahon: Well again, his development will depend on how the team develop. If the team are successful then he will obviously become very successful.

TAK: Jordan Henderson has grown over the last few season. What have you made of his time at Liverpool so far?

Steve McMahon: He’s surprised me with the way he has come on. He puts a shift in, he’s very consistent. He’s not a Gerrard, he’s not a Suarez, he gets around the pitch, he runs up and down and gives a lot of energy to the side. His work rate is always there, and he is going to be exceptional for the team.

TAK: Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers were ahead of schedule and overachieved last season with how far they went in the title race. What should we expect from Liverpool this season?

Steve McMahon: Well certainly not the title. They had a free run at it last year. They had no distractions at all. This year they have got plenty of distractions. So it’s going to be a very difficult season for Liverpool to qualify for Champions League, as their main goal again. They got into the Champions League, but now they have to continue and try to get into Champions League through their league position next year.





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