Soccer Laduma were present at an event hosted by the Cape Town Official Liverpool Supporters Club on Saturday, where Liverpool CEO Peter Moore discussed the influence of Jurgen Klopp, the club's success on the pitch, and whether or not Steven Gerrard will be making a return.
Liverpool CEO Peter Moore was in Cape Town on Saturday, where he delivered a presentation on the Reds' growth in recent years, and held a question and answer session with members of the Cape Town Official Liverpool Supporters Club. Here is what he had to say...
...on taking up the job as Liverpool's CEO
Having previously worked with companies such as Reebok, Electronic Arts and Sega, Moore was appointed Liverpool CEO in 2017, and he reveals that it was the only job that could have brought him back to the United Kingdom.
"I was born in Liverpool, moved to North Wales with my dad who owned a club and eventually moved to America to play and coach football. I was a PE teacher in the UK but wanted to do something more and I got a little taste for the United States when I went over in the '70s. I moved there permanently in 1980 and never, ever, ever thought I'd come back to the UK. There was only one job that could do that, and that's the job I have right now."
...on the strength of Liverpool's academy
Moore reveals how Liverpool currently have 180 players contracted to the club's academy, and that the success of the youth structures was evident during the recent 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round replay victory over Shrewsbury Town.
"That show [against Shrewsbury] is the power of what the academy system is able to do. In a world of football where players are going for £50, £100, £150 and, in some instances, £200 million, to be able to bring players through like Trent Alexander-Arnold, or a Curtis Jones and behind that a Harvey Elliott, is great. This is not only developing talent, it's going to save us a load of money. It means you don't [always] have to go out into the marketplace.
"You hear the song 'the Scouser in our team' and it's incredibly important to the 'ecosystem' of the team that is Liverpool Football Club that we do have Liverpudlians playing for the team. Trent's currently that one, and it's not so long ago that Carra [Jamie Carragher], Steven Gerrard and before that Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman – we had this non-stop flow of Liverpudlians. Liverpool now have the difficulty in this high-end football world to make sure that you have home-grown talent and the [new] academy system and this facility which opens in July is absolutely world-class."
...on Liverpool's business model
Moore believes that Liverpool's business model is unique in a world of football where commercialisation of the sport is occurring on a global scale.
"... We have to go up against clubs that have different funding models, and I'm not going to get into who, or what those funding models are, but one thing that we take great pride in at the football club, as Fenway Sports Group that is, is that we're absolutely self-sustaining. We make our money, we spend our money. Goalkeepers and centre-backs really aren't cheap anymore and in the perspective of what it costs, let's not forget that everybody looks at transfer fees [but] we still have to pay these guys as well, which is in the hundreds of millions of pounds a year. So, as a self-sustaining club that works very diligently to stay within the grounds of what's known as Financial Fair Play, we take great pride in that."
...on the role of analytics and signing Mohamed Salah
Liverpool signed Mohamed Salah from AS Roma in 2017 and the Egyptian star has become one of the club's key players. Moore reveals how important the role of data analytics was in identifying the 27-year-old as a viable option for the club.
"Mo is a great story. He came in from Roma and that was the sports analytics team that spotted him. Obviously, people see him from Chelsea – remember, he was a Chelsea player – and [Jose] Mourinho didn't rate him and they let him go. He went on to Fiorentina and ended up at Roma, but there was something, analytically, that our sports science team saw in him and they kept popping his name to the top of the list.
...on adapting to Philippe Coutinho's departure
Coutinho was one of Liverpool's star players when he left the club to join FC Barcelona midway through the 2017/18 campaign, and Moore reveals how the Reds had to adapt following his departure.
"When Philippe Coutinho left there was a change, not only to the structure of the team but to the way we played football. If you recall, when he left two years ago, then it was a complete change of style of play and we [hardly] lost a game over the balance of the season. No disrespect to Philippe but he had a different style of play...The money came in and the money we got from Barcelona then helped fund Alisson Becker."
...on returning to the top of English football
Moore reveals that no matter where he goes in the world he is greeted by Liverpool fans and that the club's famous past and its present success have now combined to put the 18-time league champions back at the top of English football.
"... If you go seven or eight years ago you would see a lot of Manchester United shirts coming off the [Sir Alex] Ferguson era. Right now, young people are coming through watching the Premier League on television and the team that is catching their eye is Liverpool. The players that are catching their eye is Bobby Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Gini Wijnaldum, even Jordan Henderson now with his leadership and his captainship. Players like Fabinho coming through, likeable players like Naby Keita...The best two fullbacks in the world in Trent and Robbo [Andrew Robertson]...
"So, what you've now got is this perfect storm of success on the field and a platform of history that is unrivalled. You cannot buy history. There are a lot of clubs that are very successful right now that do not have a global fanbase and no matter what they win, how many competitions they enter or how many goals they win by, it will be decades after decades before they have the basis or platform that Liverpool has. We treasure that history and we nurture that history."
...On Jurgen Klopp
In response to a question about the cultural change brought about following Jurgen Klopp's appointment as club manager in 2016, Moore reveals that there are two sides to the popular German manager.
"I think what you see what Jurgen Klopp on the television – a lot of managers, what they are like in front of the cameras or when they're being interviewed, they're different than in real life. Well, that's not the case with Jurgen Klopp. The situation with Jurgen is that you've got a German manager that has all the Germanic tendencies of detail, of focus, of looking at the opposition in an incredibly analytical way.
"What he's done in the four years is rebuild his coaching squad [but] more importantly to invest in sports science and a completely different structure... What Jurgen is able to do is bring in some of the world's best – a head of nutrition, Mona Nemmer, he acquired from Bayern Munich. We have a throw-in coach, Thomas Gronnemark, right!? So, Jurgen, in a classic Germanic way said, 'there's probably 25 throw-ins a game. That's our possession. How do we get better at throw-ins? How do we teach our players to throw the ball immediately into the feet? How do you analyze the best option?', so that level of detail."
"The flip side of who he is, is one of the more gregarious human beings you'll ever meet. So you have this unique and very different combo [to what you would] see in most human beings. Left side of the brain, analytical in that Germanic way. But he's a liberal, left-winger in the right side of his brain, where everybody gets a hug, everybody gets a pat on the back of the head, everybody gets a whisper. He's incredibly tactile and, as I say, he's incredibly gregarious..."
...on bringing former captain Steven Gerrard back to the club
A recent discussion spread across social media after it was suggested that Steven Gerrard should be brought back to Liverpool to lift the Premier League trophy, but Moore gives a tongue-in-cheek response to why such an eventuality is impossible.
"Let me explain what would have to happen. So the question is, 'can we bring Steven Gerrard back to get a Premier League medal?' and the question I ask you is: which player do you want to cut from the squad to make that happen? If you haven't noticed, he's the employee of a different football club at the same time as well.
"Look, we all love Stevie G and we're all very proud of him for his managerial career, but I keep seeing this 'bring him in on a five-day contract so he can win a medal' [but] it just doesn't happen that way. Chemistry in a dressing room is important. Can you imagine that? That you have to cut a player, to say 'you're not going to get a medal'? It's not like they're handing these things out to everybody, you've got a squad, right? And thirdly, you can't add a player to a squad once it's locked. Other than that, it's really possible."
Soccer Laduma would like to thank the Cape Town Official Liverpool Supporters Club for extending an invitation to attend the presentation and Q & A with Liverpool CEO Peter Moore.