WITH the Main Stand redevelopment ongoing the Reds face their second consecutive away game, as they travel to Turf Moor to meet newly-promoted Burnley. We spoke to Natalie Bromley of the No Nay Never podcast to gauge the opposition opinion ahead of Saturday’s game.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do.
I am a full time corporate lawyer and a part-time poker player. I got my first season ticket at Burnley when I was nine years of age, and I am the founding member of the Sam Vokes fan club.
No Nay Never is an independent Burnley Football Club Podcast run by fans, for fans. During the season we record a weekly podcast that includes match analysis and previews, Tweet of the Week, predictions and the occasional club interview.
On to the football. What is the feeling like amongst Burnley fans?
The general feeling is that this is the season that we *should* stay up. This is our third season in the Premier League, and the money earned in the last two promotion campaigns has been spent on the financial security of the club and the training infrastructure. With a healthy balance sheet and the increased television revenue, many fans felt that this summer we should invest in the squad to really try and stay up.
Sadly this hasn’t happened so far, and we are being told that the club is still struggling to compete in the transfer market. Our chances of avoiding relegation rest on us being able to sign at least two or three more midfielders – that is our problem area. We have been buoyed by the arrival of Steven Defour from Anderlecht but if that is our only signing then I fear for our chances of survival.
What can travelling Liverpool supporters expect from the town?
A traditional, authentic mill town that has the club at its very heart. If you are born and raised in Burnley then you are Claret. You won’t see a Manchester United or Liverpool shirt in Burnley town centre. Good pubs around the town that serve proper ale – a select few away fan friendly venues, though – and the greatest chippy ever right outside the ground.
And what should we expect from the team on the pitch?
A graft. We looked composed and confident in the opening game against Swansea, but struggled to create anything from midfield. I expect that will improve against Liverpool, but our strategy starts with our back five.
Vokes and Andre Gray upfront are both strong, physical strikers and I expect them both to have a couple of chances each throughout the game. Watch out for the long ball that Gray runs on to and a text-book Vokes header across the goal, and into the keeper’s far post.
Who do you think is the Red’s biggest threat?
Philippe Coutinho. My God.
What do you make of the current Liverpool side?
Terrifying? No, in all seriousness you have a great squad with some real superstars in it. It is a very large squad, though, which gives Jürgen Klopp a headache in terms of his selections and how he keeps everyone happy. Saying that, what a luxury to soften the blow of Sadio Mane’s injury by bringing in the likes of Lazar Markovic or Adam Lallana.
Klopp’s recent comments about having “too many strikers” intrigued me (but if he’s struggling then feel free to send Danny Ings home). The squad doesn’t seem to have that many out-and-out strikers in it so I do wonder whether he would prefer to work with a more streamlined squad, with quality over quantity.
And what do you make of Klopp?
What a guy. I have never seen such an animated array of facial expressions in my life. He’s cleary an intelligent manager and I have been impressed with his ability to react to games and make positive changes. Sean Dyche has noted this week that he is aware of Klopp’s very direct style of play, with a fast tempo. That style of football excites fans and I can understand why he is so popular.
What are your thoughts on the business done by both clubs so far this summer?
I have commented on Burnley’s transfer window above. We need more if we have any chance of survival. Defour was joined by Nick Pope and Johann Gudmundsson, from relegated Charlton, as permanent signings and we, of course, took Jon Flanagan from Liverpool on a season-long loan. He’s a fantastic talent who we are very fortunate to have. We promise to look after him!
Liverpool’s stand out signing is clearly that of Sadio Mane. There has seemed to be a lot more going out than coming in – perhaps indicative of Klopp’s desire to put his own stamp on the squad – but you have managed to retain the primary talent in your side.
Where do you see both teams finishing this season?
I have Liverpool for fourth. I think you will take advantage of the lack of European football and really push for a strong league position.
Where we finish is completely dependant on what happens in the transfer window over the next week or so. I am going to be positive and say 17th. On goal difference. Which we will take right now.
Finally, give us a score prediction for Saturday?
2-0 home win. Got to back your own boys, right?
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All the best, Natalie. Good luck for the season – hope you stay up.