Last Updated: 14 June 2023, Author: AceOdds.com
Welcome to our exclusive interview with Didi Hamann, a legend in the annals of Liverpool FC history. Known for his insightful perspectives and razor-sharp analysis, Hamann shares his thoughts on Liverpool's current form and strategies. From identifying key gaps in the team's midfield to scrutinising potential transfer targets and evaluating player performances, Hamann leaves no stone unturned. He even dives into a hot topic - the chances of Liverpool securing a top-four finish this season. Let's delve into the mind of this renowned footballing figure and see what wisdom he has to offer.
Well they probably need two or three because if you look at the midfield now, I think they lack in every department.
Fabinho has been off-colour for the best part of the season. So I think the main thing is a holding midfielder. Because I think once you've got a holding midfielder, then you can build and you can see who else you bring in.
Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott probably never improved as much as they expected them to. You've got Bajcetic as well. So you've got young players, I think what they need is some physicality.
Because when Fabinho first signed. I think he really galvanised that team. Him and Van Dijk gave them defensive stability. So I think a holding midfielder should be priority, then he can see what he gets.
Obviously, Declan Rice is out there, I'm not sure how much he would cost. Whether he's too expensive. But I think that that should be the priority to find a holding midfielder.
And from there you can start building and see what else you need in that midfield. But I think they need two or three players in midfield.
Well he's an option. He wants to leave Munich, but he's hardly played.
When he played he did okay. I'm not sure he's that type of player. I think he's a player who likes to play with the ball. Who likes to get in the box.
I don't think he's that holding player Liverpool is really looking for. But as an option, you probably get him for a reasonable amount of money. He's highly rated in Holland.
So yeah, I think he's an option. But he's certainly not the player which makes the difference for this Liverpool side now. But as an option, as another player to bring in to make competition for places? I think he's an option. Yes.
I'm not too sure. It wouldn't be for me.
I think he's done okay for Chelsea. But I think you need to see that you bring players in to work at first. I'm not saying he's not a worker but obviously he's a flair player, he likes to play with the ball, and I think they've got similar players there the club at the moment.
So I don't really see a need to bring Mason Mount in for that amount of money. I would spend the money for a holding midfielder. I'm sure there's somebody out there, but for that amount of money... if it was half the money, I'd say, yeah. I can see that. But for 60/70 million wouldn't be for me.
Well, you need to see how much money they've got to spend.
If you've got, I don't know, they probably need £200/£250 million in the summer, and I'm not even sure that Klopp will get that amount of money.
Now, if you were to get it, you've got to set half the money away apart for Jude Bellingham. As I said, they probably need five or six players in the summer. So to spend half the money, even more of the budget, on one player, I don't think is a wise move. He's a very talented player. I think he's got a long way to go.
I think it was right. The only question is where did all that talk come from that Liverpool wants him or is in for him or saved the money last season? I'm not sure that it's ever been the case.
But I think if they haven't got the funds, which they haven't, to compete with some of the clubs in England and also in France maybe or Spain, I think it was the right move.
Yeah, huge. We've seen with Diaz that he's making a difference. Jota is back as well for a few weeks now. So I think they missed these players.
And the question will be, has Thiago got the influence when the team is not as dominant as it used to be? But obviously there's a lot of hope that Thiago and Diaz do make a difference now. And certainly Diaz, I'm sure his direct style of play will certainly help Liverpool in the last few games.
I would play Nunez through the middle. I think Nunez is best through the middle, I think he does a job on the side because he's a very willing player, he's a team player, because a lot of centre forwards wouldn't really welcome the idea of playing on the wing or playing out wide.
I'd probably go... obviously Salah one side, Nunez, probably Diaz on the other side with Jota just behind.
Yeah, I think he's doing well.
I think it took a few weeks to find his feet, but this is not unusual. There were a lot of players who took months to adapt and they never adapted and after one or two seasons they left again. But I think after a few weeks he's really come into his own.
And don't forget, it's not easy to come into a team that's not really functioning. They had a lot of problems, Liverpool, a lot of injuries. Things didn't really go too well.
And for a new player to come in, young player to make the difference straight away is not an easy thing to do, I think. Yeah, if you look at his overall performance since he joined, I think he's done really well.
Well, at least they won their game because after very good performances in the past, they had a setback straight away.
So it wasn't a good performance or the best performance against Forest. All that matters at this stage of the season, you've got to win these games. And they've got a toughie against West Ham during the week.
Now, I can't see it. I hope they can. But even if they win all the games from now, that might not be enough. And obviously, to win the last, well, they've won two now. To win the last nine games would be a huge achievement.
I know they've done it in the past, but they've probably been in a different vein of form, so I can't really see it because, as I said, even if they win all the games, that might not be enough.
Well, we need to see. Obviously at some stage, there's a lot of fans now who are not happy with where it's been going, but I think it was always clear that it will be the case when you play five or six years of seasons on top of your game. There'll be a dip coming.
Then on top, you've lost Mane, you've had quite a few injuries. They probably should have brought a couple of players in, at least, in the last two seasons when players wanted to join Liverpool.
I look at Camavinga and Tchouaméni, I think one of these two players, they had to try their utmost to sign them. They didn't, for whatever reason, because the funds weren't there or they didn't want to.
And yeah, you need to see what happens in the summer now I think they need five or six players and if they do bring them in, that takes time as well. So I don't expect Liverpool to hit the ground running next season because if you look at the competition, I don't think there's a guarantee of finishing the top four next season because City and Arsenal are 20 odd points away, I think it'll be very hard to catch them.
Chelsea will come good at some stage again, United kind of turn the corner under Ten Hag and I don't think Newcastle will go away either. So you've got five teams already, not to mention Brighton, Villa, who are doing brilliant under the Emery.
So I think it won't be straightforward next season if people think, oh, we bring Mount or maybe Rice, or bring this player in Gravenberch. We've got these players, when these players come into a settled side, it takes time to adapt. Some may come from abroad. You have to bring all these players together and form a team.
So I don't think they'll hit the ground running, and I think fans have to remember that. And what happens if they don't start the season? Well, we'll see.
Yeah, well, I think the reason new signings didn't get straight into the team was because the team was so brilliant.
If you look at the team in the last four or five years, what they've done, amassing over 90 points, I think three seasons in the last five or six in the Premier League, getting to three Champions League finals.
Now, if you come into that club, into that side, it's very hard to replace one of them, because these guys were pretty much with Real Madrid and City, the benchmark over the last five or six seasons.
If the team doesn't do so well, then obviously it's easier to get in the team. And I think that's the reason they do get in the team early, and people expect them to make a difference straight away.
And I think sometimes the manager probably had to bring the people in or the players earlier than he wanted to, because in a perfect scenario, you give him three, four appearances off the bench and then you throw them in. But they didn't have that time because the team just didn't perform.
Well, I think it will be unfair on Real Madrid to call it theirs to lose.
I've been well impressed, I've got to say. I was at the game in Munich and I felt they always had one or two gears more if they needed to. They really played within themselves, they did what they had to do. And yeah, I think they're probably favourites against Madrid.
I think whoever goes into the final from that tie will be strong favourites against one of the Milan sides. But I've got to say, I've been well impressed with City over the two leg.
But Real are the holders, they are going strong, even though they've got a few aging players in the side but time seems to stand still for these guys.
It'll be two tremendous games, and whoever goes into the final from the tie, I think will be strong favourites. But I was well impressed by City, I've got to say.
Ferguson oversaw 25 or 30 years and obviously, this is a different time now.
I don't think we see a manager at a big club for longer than... obviously Pep is there a long time and so is Klopp. I think that's very unusual for managers at very successful clubs.
I think it'll be a tremendous achievement. I don't like to compare achievements from different times and eras. If they were to win it, it would be exceptional, would it put it on the same level? I'm not too sure.
Ferguson won it with two different teams, he won it in '99 and then '07/08 when he pretty much changed half the team or the whole team. That, again, is an achievement in itself, but I wouldn't like to compare it.
But if they were to win it, I've got to say, it would be a tremendous achievement for City.
No, I'm a bit more positive now, I've got to say!
Because the team is playing successful football and they're going strong in three competitions. But then again, I've got to say, what really impressed me most probably about City in the game against Munich was the defence. The way they defend at the moment.
Obviously Haaland can make the difference going forward, we all know. I wouldn't say the jury is still out because they're going strong, but obviously this is probably the sternest test against Madrid now.
Whether they function with him in the side, whether they can knock Real Madrid out of the competition, but I really think what sets them apart from other teams at the moment is their defence. If I look at Dias and Stones, the way they defend has been exceptional. I think their defence is brilliant.
And everybody in the team is obviously working for the team. They look a very tight outfit at the moment. So, yeah, I'm more positive now when it comes to the whole Haaland discussion, but let's see what happens in the next six weeks.
Yeah, they had a rough couple of months or three months!
Yeah, they sacked the goalkeeping coach. Obviously Neuer got injured in the winter after the World Cup. New manager coming in. Yeah, they are point ahead now.
Disastrous game again from Bayern Munich at Mainz at the weekend, lost the game. There's five games left. Dortmund is ahead and I think for the first time in years, they really believe they can win it.
They may have to win the last five games Dortmund, they may not, because the way Munich's going, there's still a chance they could drop points. But I think this year Dortmund will win the league.
Yes, that's where it all started. Yes, that's fair.
Well, I think if you look at Liverpool this season, they all look a bit drained.
They look physically and mentally, they find it hard this year to reach the standard they did over the last five or six season. And as I said, I think it's just normal when you are on top of your game for so long that, at some stage, you've got a dip. And I think it's the same with Mane.
I think he's pretty similar to the Liverpool team. I think he lacks something, then he obviously gets injured, he misses out on the World Cup, which would have been a huge thing for him to represent his country at the World Cup. And then he came back after the World Cup and then the team didn't play well and then he couldn't get straight into the team.
Yeah, it's a bit stop-start and then obviously there was the incident where he punched another player a couple of weeks ago, so things haven't really been smooth and straightforward for him.
And if we trust reports coming out of the camp, out of Munich, he's most likely to leave the club in the summer.
So it's hard to say. When they first signed him, I thought, what a brilliant signing. But hindsight is a beautiful thing. It looks like a bit of a misunderstanding.
Well, you can only make a decision at the time. And at the time they had their reasons.
They had a nine-point lead on Dortmund going into the second half of the season, after the World Cup. Six, seven, eight weeks later, they were a point behind Dortmund, so Dortmund made up ten points on them.
I know they've had a perfect record in the Champions League, but the board had their reasons.
Looking back now, you've got to say I don't think it could have been worse with the old manager because Nagelsmann lost three games in 37 games, Tuchel lost three in seven, and I'm not sure where they're going from here because the whole club is in turmoil at the moment.
At the time, they had their reasons and I understood, I was probably with them. But they've made a decision, with hindsight, you've got to say, it obviously didn't work out as they wished.
Well, I think there's a big question mark if they don't win the league, because if you bring a manager, you want him to make things better straight away, and obviously for the next months, 18 months, 24 months.
But he took over, got knocked out the German Cup, got knocked out the Champions League, and if they were to lose the Bundesliga title as well, or not win the Bundesliga title, because obviously they hadn't won it when he took over, I think there'll be a big discussion whether he's the right man to move forward into next season.
So will he be the better manager? I don't know. There were a lot of issues off the field with Nagelsmann, which obviously led to the decision to change the manager. But I think we've got to wait. What happens in the next five or six weeks? I think the jury is still out there.
If they don't win the Bundesliga title, I think there certainly will be a discussion whether this man is the right man to lead them into next season.
Well, the supervisory board, I think they meet in May. Obviously every position is questioned now and they look into everything.
I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he will lose his job. And obviously there's a director of football in Hasan Salihamidžić now. I think they want to wait for these next five or six games. I think it also depends on what happens.
If they were to win the league, maybe the decision might be a different one. But yeah, I think at the moment anything is possible come May.
I can't see it. I saw some of the odds the other day. I think Germany, some of them got them down as joint-favourites. I can't see it.
I think we lack in most departments. Our defence is okay, midfield is okay. Going forward, we haven't got a centre forward. We've got decent wingers. So I think we lack in every department.
If you compare the German team to France's, to England's, to Spain's, I think we are far behind.
I don't think home advantage can make up such a big difference in quality and in class. And the other thing is that the German national team disappointed in the last three tournaments. They got knocked out of two World Cups in the first round.
So I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that the whole country is behind the team. They've got a lot of work to do.
They had a disastrous game against Belgium a few weeks ago where they should have been four or five down at halftime. In the end, they were lucky to just lose 3-2.
No, I don't think we stand a chance, or I don't think we are contenders. I think semifinal will be a great achievement, but I think the last eight or the last 16 is more likely.
No, I think we just haven't got that many players to pick from.
There's less and less German players in the Bundesliga. Not too many players play abroad, which is always a good thing for a national team when they get experience in Spain, England, wherever.
The one player I think I hang our hopes on is Florian Wirtz from Leverkusen? He missed the World Cup with a cruciate ligament injury.
He's back now, he's playing well. He's one of the reasons that Leverkusen is going great guns in the Europa League semifinals. Still have an outside chance.
He's the reason that Leverkusen is going well. Yeah, he's a player I hang my hopes on. Let's hope he stays fit and then hopefully he can move the team forward.
But one player, or a young player, is very hard to carry one team or a whole nation.
Well, I didn't think he was after the World Cup. He hung onto his job for whatever reason.
You look at America, you look at the Netherlands, you look at so many different countries, not as big a football nation as Germany. And some of these guys stepped down straight after the last game. They said, my job is done, we failed, I'm done.
He didn't. The board, for some reason, decided that he's the right man to move forward and carry us forward. I don't think he's the right man because they failed miserably at the World Cup and I'm not sure why it would be any different in 12/14 months time.
I don't think they're dead and buried. If they beat City, they're in the driving seat again.
Obviously they must avoid defeat now to have any chance. I think if they lose, I think that's pretty much it. Even if they get a draw, I think there's a chance with the games coming up for City, with the Champions League and with the FA cup final, I still think there's a chance that City will drop points, but they have to avoid defeat.
And obviously it's a shame, because a few weeks ago it looked like if they were to beat City, they'll pretty much seal in the Premier League title up. But if you look at the games, there's reasons why they didn't win them.
West Ham you can drop points, obviously the disappointing one was Southampton. That's one game they probably should have won and psychologically it would have been a big thing because to go into a game knowing avoiding defeat keeps you in the driving seat is a huge thing.
Now to go to the Etihad now, knowing that to give yourself the best possible chance, you need to win, psychologically is a big thing.
So, yeah, it's all to play for. I wouldn't say their hopes are dead and buried. It's still in their own hands if they were to beat City, but at the moment, it doesn't look too likely.
They just have to see where they want to go because people talk about Nagelsmann going there and I wouldn't see any reason for him to go there because where is he going to go? They won't finish in the top four. I think for them to finish in the top four next season will be like winning the title for some other teams.
In Kane you've got a player who I think is gone past 30 or will go past 30 soon, so he may have one, two, three years left. Maybe the club wants to sell him. I don't think he's the type of player who scores goals when he's 34, 35 like Lewandowski does, because I think he hasn't got the physique of Lewandowski.
Son has gone off the boil, Kulusevski, they were the best front three for a few weeks or not long ago. But at the moment nothing seems to work and yeah, I think they need major reinvestment. Whether the chairman has the money or gives the money, I'm not too sure.
And yeah, Conte probably said the right things. I'm not sure whether you should say them as a Premier League club manager, but I think what he said, he wasn't wrong.
Not really. I think Roy, there's probably not many more experienced than him. He knows what to do, he knows his job and that's why he's in the game for the best part of thirty or forty years.
I was a little bit surprised if Patrick Viera didn't really get more out of the team because I think Patrick will turn into a very good manager. It's a shame that it didn't really work out towards the end at Crystal Palace.
But if you look at the team, they've got so many interesting players. Hugely talented side, and I'm not too surprised because Roy is like life insurance. If you don't know what to do, he's a man.
Well, I think for Southampton it was a hammer blow against Arsenal. Obviously they probably didn't expect to get something out of the game. But if you're winning 3-1 with, I don't know, five or eight or ten minutes to go, you've got to win that game.
They probably need another last seven games. They probably need another, I don't know, at least twelve points. I can't see them getting them.
I think Forrest will go down, I think Southampton will go down and then I fear for Leeds. I think Leeds will be the third one.
Just about, yeah and Leicester had a big result the weekend. I just think they've got enough quality to really do it, so, yeah, I think Leeds might bite the dust.
Well, the most influential is probably Trapattoni, because I had it when I was 19/20.
I made my debut under Franz Beckenbauer in '94, and then in the summer '94, Trapattoni came and he was there for two years. He came back a year after for another season.
He worked tirelessly with the young players, when it comes to positioning, when it comes to improving certain things, the weaker faults. He spent hours and hours, he stayed behind with four or five young players when all the more experienced older players were well gone.
We were still out on the training pitch and nothing was too much for him. Trapattoni was a huge influence in my career.
It was great. Rafa was a genius when it comes to tactics and the way he improved the team defensively. We've always been a good team defensively, but I think he took us to another level.
And obviously, it's possible to win the Champions League with a team that's only six, seven or eight best, you can't win the Premier League with it, but he managed to do it. And Rafa was great.
I think he really took that club and the team to another level. Took them to another Champions League final a couple of years later, winning the FA Cup, close to winning the league, unfortunately, he didn't. But, yeah, Rafa was brilliant.
I didn't know what to think!
I thought, it's not the best time to come on. Because I thought when he first told me, I'm coming on, I thought, well, what can I do now?
But with every minute of warming up, hearing the fans still singing, still being there for us and behind us. With every minute, my mood and my thinking changed a little bit.
And by the time the second half started, I thought, they scored three in the first half, why can't we score three in the second half? It's unlikely, but if we get one, I was pretty sure we get a second one.
And obviously, to be level after 60 minutes, it's not what I expected. But yeah, as I said, sometimes you have to self-reflect, and the 10 minutes warming up made a huge difference.
I went from, "I think we are done here", to "let's give it a go, we might have a chance".
Well, in Germany, when it comes to the football, it's a bit more showy. They have singers before the cup final, they have certain things.
In England. It's about football. In England, people go to their seats at ten-to-three or five-to-three, and they leave at ten-to-five.
In Germany, people are there an hour before and they stay after and they celebrate with the fans. It's more... I don't want to say a show, but it's different.
In England it's purely about football. That's how I like it. People come and then you give them a clap after the game, whether you won or lost, and off you go. That's it.
In terms of punditry, I think that in England, the managers and I think the people in charge of football clubs, they're a bit more relaxed when it comes to when pundits say things.
In Germany, when you do say something, people feel personally attacked or sometimes I think they take it too serious. They do their job, we do our job. But I think overall, I think in England, people are a bit more relaxed when it comes to these things.
I'd probably pick... I won't pick Carragher.
I'd have Mehmet Scholl in there. He's going to be in there.
One player's got to be in there is Elano from Manchester City. Elano's gotta be in.
Play Steven Gerrard up top.
And then we need two defenders or one midfielder...
I'd pick Xabi Alonso.
And then at the back we play Sami Hyypiä.