April 20, 2021

Man Utd

News

Peter Crouch on why Liverpool can’t score at home, and why Steven Gerrard should be patient

7 min read

Variety is the spice of Peter Crouch‘s mailbox this week after another action-packed round of Premier League action.

And topics for Sportsmail’s columnist to dissect include hero status for a former team-mate, rule tweaks and histrionics. 

The place to start, though, has to be the Manchester derby…

Sportsmail's resident columnist Peter Crouch is back to answer your questions this week..

It was another horrid weekend for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Peter Crouch answers more of your questions as part of a weekly series here for Sportsmail

Is it too late for Manchester United to challenge for the title?

Mark McCart via Twitter

I’m afraid so, Mark. I know there are 10 games remaining but I really don’t see Manchester City dropping 11 points in that time. The one thing Sunday’s result has provided, however, is the sense that we might get a race. A City win would have finished interest in who wins the title for good.

But just because I don’t see United becoming champions doesn’t mean I won’t acknowledge the excellence of their efforts against City. What a performance! It was brilliant and they were the better side, something you don’t always say when City are involved.

The game plan that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hatched was perfect and he deserves full credit.

They sat back, soaked up the pressure and killed City when the opportunity arose. It was a far cry from a couple of weeks ago — I watched the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace and they were terrible.

United have been so inconsistent and that makes me doubt whether they will be able to properly challenge City next season.

But I am prepared to admit that this display really opened my eyes. It was a big, big improvement on much of what I had seen before.

Manchester United enjoyed a statement win at rivals City on Sunday in the Premier League

Manchester United enjoyed a statement win at rivals City on Sunday in the Premier League

Tell me why Liverpool can’t score a goal at home… is it more than confidence?

David Randles via Twitter

This is one of the greatest mysteries of all time, David. I watched Liverpool on Sunday and couldn’t believe I predicted in November this team would retain the title. They had played so professionally and with such class against Manchester City that day, I couldn’t see how they would be stopped.

What I see in front of me now bears no resemblance. Mohamed Salah is the only forward who looks like he will score and even against Fulham his opportunities were few and far between. Teams have found a way of playing against them, especially at Anfield.

I have mentioned injuries on this page but the attacking threat has fallen down because of what has happened in the middle of the pitch. Without Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, they don’t press as high, the full backs don’t get forward and the defence is vulnerable.

When you have that mixture, it leads to confidence draining. When you don’t have confidence, you don’t want to shoot as often and you snatch at chances. It’s a horrible cycle to be in and how Jurgen Klopp needs it to snap.

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates had another disaster against Fulham at Anfield

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates had another disaster against Fulham at Anfield

Should Steven Gerrard take a Premier League job or wait until Jurgen Klopp stands down at Liverpool?

Big Al via Twitter

You know what, Big Al? I found myself wishing I was a footballer again on Sunday when I saw the footage of Stevie celebrating with his players on Saturday, after they had beaten St Mirren. They are the moments it is all about — being together, reflecting on something magnificent.

And what Stevie has done in Glasgow is magnificent. I don’t want anyone to argue with me about the quality of Scottish football. Rangers have been outstanding and their record of 77 goals and nine conceded is outstanding. Even if Celtic had been in form, they couldn’t have lived with that.

There is no reason for Stevie to take a job in the Premier League now. He can stay at Rangers and keep driving them forward — I’m really interested to see how they will do against a Slavia Prague team I rate in the Europa League — and keep winning. He is going to be Liverpool manager one day — we all know that — but there is no reason to leave Rangers now. I’m absolutely delighted for him. I hope — and I believe — this will be the first of many trophies.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard finally got to celebrate winning the Scottish Premiership

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard finally got to celebrate winning the Scottish Premiership

Do you believe a loan deal to Brighton for Mason Greenwood would be good for both clubs?

Ruben Modare via email

Not really, Ruben. I can see where you are coming from in terms of Brighton needing a good young striker to add to their team but I just don’t see the mileage in Greenwood leaving Old Trafford for a temporary switch.

Greenwood is one of the outstanding young English footballers. He might not always start for United but he is always in the squad and it’s clear he’s got a manager who loves him.

With that support, he would back himself to stay at the club and get into the team full time. He is in the right place.

Teenager Mason Greenwood has a big future ahead of him at Manchester United

Teenager Mason Greenwood has a big future ahead of him at Manchester United

What did you make of Alexandre Lacazette screaming at Burnley?

Steven Milton via email

It certainly raised eyebrows, Steven! I never did it myself — good God, I would never have lived with myself — but I do know why players do it. Those who scream get more free-kicks than those who keep their mouths shut. It might not seem fair but that’s a way of getting the referee’s attention.

I played with a few screamers in my time. The best example I remember came from my time at Liverpool. We lost 6-3 to Arsenal in a League Cup tie in January 2007. After 11 minutes, Mark Gonzalez — a winger who played for Chile — went down with the biggest scream I had heard.

He had gas and air on the pitch and his knee was put in a brace. He was replaced by Luis Garcia, who sadly also ended up leaving the pitch on a stretcher after damaging his cruciate ligament. Luis looked in some discomfort but he never said a word, really.

A couple of days later, I reported to Melwood and when I went into the gym, who was there only Gonzalez, doing squats with a 80kg bar. It was either the greatest recovery since Lazarus or the effects of the tackle that forced him off were not so harsh!

Alexandre Lacazette was heard loudly screaming after going down at Turf Moor on Saturday

Alexandre Lacazette was heard loudly screaming after going down at Turf Moor on Saturday

Should a ‘green card’ and a 15-minute sin bin be introduced for players who are caught diving?

Jamie Barrow via Twitter

I don’t like that idea, sorry, Jamie. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to rules and the more we have tinkered with them in recent years, the worse the game has become. With VAR — and I am no fan, as you will know — we can easily identify who has dived.

Highlighting what they have done is shame enough for them and, if my experiences are anything to go by, their managers won’t be afraid to pull them up on it. Let’s leave the cards at red and yellow and keep things that way.

Are training ground bust-ups really as frequent as managers and pundits suggest?

Oliver Laurence via email

They are, Oliver. I know you will be referring to what happened at Newcastle last week, with Matt Ritchie and Steve Bruce. I don’t have a problem with altercations at training grounds. There is a lot of testosterone in the air in sessions and one challenge can spark a squabble.

What I do have a problem with, as a former player, is when word of squabbles starts seeping out. That is a big, big issue and it never ends well.

If a manager and a player argue, it usually means one — or both — will not be at the club for much longer. Leaking those stories tells you there are problems.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was involved in a training ground bust-up with Matt Ritchie

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was involved in a training ground bust-up with Matt Ritchie

What are your thoughts on Scott Parker’s coat?

Chris Roberts via Twitter

Scott has always loved his clothes, Chris. He’s a smart lad but I’m not sure I’d back him on the colour of that jacket. Dear me. I think there has been an error on this occasion. I see he has said he’s got to keep it for luck now and that is not unusual.

There was a time at Portsmouth when we got on a bit of a run and Harry Redknapp was superstitious about the tie he was wearing.

I don’t suppose you think there is anything wrong with wearing the same tie week after week and, normally, you’d be right.

Harry’s tie, though, had pictures of his dogs imposed all over them! You would not win any prizes for fashion but we won a few games with it.

On that note, that’s it for this week — until next time, stay safe and well.

Scott Parker opted for some bold attire on the touchline at Anfield on Sunday afternoon

Scott Parker opted for some bold attire on the touchline at Anfield on Sunday afternoon

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