Callum Huckle is one of the younger generation of Liverpool supporters, born too late to remember the glory days of the seventies, but old enough to celebrate the 2005 EUFA Cup win with a soaking. An admirer of tactical developments within the game, he sees good things in both Brendan Rodgers and Jordan Henderson and is confident that even if we send out eleven items of assorted seaside paraphernalia, Liverpool will be far too strong to ever feel threatened by the boys from Wearside.
M. Salut put the usual assortment of questions to him.
Salut! Sunderland: What a result at Old Trafford. The Sturridge dive marred it a bit for me, and I was delighted to see the penalty missed, but you looked good in all positions, How has Rodgers achieved it?
Callum: Obviously I can’t officially condone any of Sturridge’s behaviour but seeing as we won in United’s back yard and Vidic got sent off I may just have to look the other way this time! Rodgers started out with a pretty rigid system and philosophy concerned with keeping possession at all costs and I think the reason we’ve come so far, this season especially, is that he’s shown a good level of pragmatism. He now knows that possession isn’t the best option against every opponent and a prime example is the sublime counter-attacking football we used to beat Arsenal 5 – 1.
And did Jordan Henderson have to win you over or did you always see his worth?
He did have to win me over, yes. However I never really thought Dalglish was correct in deploying him out wide on the right, it felt like a bit of a waste and I think it’s a shame he never got more playing time in the middle in his first season. Now though I couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made and a lot of credit has to go to Rodgers as well for trying so hard with him.
Unlike Sturridge, Suarez stayed up when in the past he’d have gone down. Is he a reformed man?
I don’t particularly think so, he’s still going to try and win at all costs that’s just his nature but it’s nice to see him trying to atone a little. Staying up does need to be a bigger part of his game as he’s clearly one of the worlds best on the ball and lying down for no reason won’t help him score.
Let us put you straight on the spot: what will be the top four in order?
Conservative estimate is Chelsea, Man City, Us, Arsenal.. Third and missing the qualifying round would be unbelievable!
And who – he said, asking for trouble – is going down?
Fulham and Cardiff – just don’t see anything about them that makes me think they’ll up. Norwich is my shout for third as their run in is just unbelievably hard and if they don’t get any points before then they’ll be toast! (Answered before Saturday’s capitulation – ed.)
Any happy, sad, amusing memories of past encounters between our clubs?
It has to be Beachball-gate! Now it’s passed and doesn’t matter so much you can’t help but laugh at it.
Any thoughts on Sunderland, the club, the fans, the region?
Not to grovel too much but you guys easily get my pick over Newcastle. Pardew is a nightmare and I love what Poyet is doing with the team at the moment, nice to see Borini get a run of games. I have one Newcastle friend and his face the last few times you’ve beaten them, especially the 3 – 0s at their place has been absolutely priceless!
Is Brendan Rodgers the man to restore Liverpool to past glory and how happy are now you with the ownership status?
So far there is just so little to complain about with Rodgers that I don’t see why he can’t. He learns from his mistakes very well and seems committed to improving individuals as well as the whole team. Can’t fault the ownership either, handled Suarez expertly and the direction our finances are going in is a huge boost.
Plenty to choose from but who is or are the greatest player/s you have seen in Liverpool colours (or wish you’d seen)?
Had the pleasure of meeting John Aldridge and Jason McAteer at a legends evening the other night and they were fantastic – wish I was a little older and could have experienced the glory days in full swing.
And who should have been allowed nowhere Anfield?
Roy Hodgson. Shouldn’t have been let anywhere near the England setup either!
Your own highs and lows as a supporter? I suspect Istanbul may figure in your reply.
I was on holiday in America for Istanbul and I remember jumping in the pool fully clothed when my Dad told me what happened. Low point has got to be when I saw a ‘Liverpool will be relegated this season’ facebook page a few years back – the future didn’t look very bright at all.
Which aspect of the modern game appals you most – and does anything inspire you?
Inspiration? – I think it’s got to be getting into football tactics and coaching more as Tiki-Taka has developed – seeing all the ways coaches have tried to counter it and then seeing people completely out do it with new styles like Bayern did last year. I take a lot of inspiration from seeing relatively young coaches like Rodgers, Klopp and Villas-Boas doing fantastic work right at the top. Just as a disclaimer I think Spurs were definitely wrong to sack AVB.
Brazil: getting excited or not too bothered?
Getting massively excited, every four years I’ve learnt more about the game and players and then seeing all the best talent come together in one place is amazing. Would love to see Spain go to South America and dominate.
Will you be there for our game? What will be the score?
I won’t unfortunately but I’ll be watching it after work. With the utmost respect I’m going to go for a 3 or 4 – 1; we’re just playing too well at the moment and we don’t have anything else to go for but the title.
Tell me something about yourself: who you are, what you do, your reasons for and history of supporting Liverpool.
I’m a supporter from Bristol in England and have been since about 7. I’m a student at the moment so mooching off the government. Michael Owen is the player that originally got me into Liverpool so it’s been a shame to see him fall from grace – I just tell people it was Gerrard now.
Interview – Colin Randall