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newsexclusive danny murphy interview liverpool will be in top 4 haaland will break pl goal scoring record ronaldo will leave man united in january gerrard or alonso could manage liverpool

Exclusive Danny Murphy Interview: Liverpool will be in top 4, Haaland will break PL goal scoring record, Ronaldo will leave Man United in January, Gerrard or Alonso could manage Liverpool

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MOTD pundit, Danny Murphy, spoke exclusively to Fair Betting Sites and is convinced that if Haaland stays in England he will surpass Alan Shearer’s 260 PL goal record.

The ex-Liverpool player is also convinced Liverpool will finish in the top 4 and revealed Trent Alexander-Arnold needs to work on his positional awareness to become a better defender.

Finally, Murphy thinks that Ronaldo won’t be at Manchester United by February.

If you would like to use any quotes, you must credit and link to as the original source. Here are the highlights of the interview.

Highlights Of The Interview

Full transcript

Q: On Match of the Day 2 this Sunday, you said Arsenal won’t be title contenders this year. What transfer business do Arsenal need to do in January to change your mind?

Danny Murphy: There have been so many good performances from Arsenal players this season that so many of them are starting to look really important.

If you look at Saliba at the back, who’s been sensational, and the two young wide lads Martinelli and Saka. Even Partey and Xhaka in the middle of the park are playing at the top of their game.

So, it would be strength in depth in those areas really, I suppose. Jesus is another one, where you’d say if they lost him, could Nketiah come in and lead the line as well as he does, and have that physical presence and that knowhow?

I don’t think it’s necessarily one position. Maybe a couple more reinforcements in January of real experience and quality. The problem, of course, is that you could upset the harmony in the squad by doing that and finding the quality of player that isn’t going to be expected to play every game.

Rotation’s going to be key for Arsenal and they’ve got the European campaign and cup competitions. My feeling is that Man City can rest three or four, maybe even five or six, and still roll over teams.

Now, if you were to say to me, Arsenal weren’t in Europe this season, and they keep their main players fit, then I think it’d be a more realistic comment to say they might push them a little bit, because of the way they’re playing. But City just have that better strength in depth and more so in attacking areas.

City won the league last year without Haaland. In regard to creativity, in attacking areas, I don’t think Arsenal can match them. Also, the experience, you know, they’ve been there for many years now and know how to get through a sticky spell.

City’s sticky spells are generally drawing a couple of games, not losing, but it’s not a derogatory comment to Arsenal. It’s not meant that way. It’s a reality check really. Because although Arsenal’s first 11 is playing well and would give City a game and give anybody a game, let’s make no doubt about that.

As the long season draws on, players come back from the World Cup, injuries, suspensions, those type of things, I just don’t think Arsenal have the strength and depth that City have. I think even the most ecstatic Arsenal fans at the moment probably are watching City and just thinking, whoa, I know Arsenal are ahead of them, which is a credit to them.

When you think about City and what they have on the bench, and even if you look at them beating United, it was a makeshift back four. There was no Dias, no Stones, Walker came off injured. It’s just incredible what they’re doing at the moment at a consistent level.

Q: What do you think’s going wrong with Liverpool’s performances at the moment? What does Klopp need to change?

Danny Murphy: My overriding feeling is they started the season a little bit complacent.

I think the squad doesn’t become bad overnight. You have to remember a couple of months ago they were looking at making history and being the first team to win a quadruple. So you don’t go from that to being a poor squad and poor players.

There’s been a lot of talk about Liverpool’s midfield and reinforcing that, but I’m not convinced that’s the issue. Yes, reinforcement is always nice, but I think the mentality was a little bit off compared to their normal high standards, that relentless energy fitness, that pace they play at. It’s not really been there, and it’s been compounded by a lot of errors.

I mean, a lot of goals that Liverpool are conceding are simple to cut out, but they keep making the same errors and sometimes the manager can do as much as he wants on the training pitch and try and reinforce the same philosophies you’ve had. But if the players are having a bad time and lost a bit of confidence, it’s hard to change momentum when you start badly.

When you have a bad start in the Premier League and the pressure’s on and your game’s not quite there, it’s very hard to turn that around quickly. I just think they’ve set remarkably high standards and they’ve fallen below them. Nobody expected this. I didn’t. I heard at the beginning of the season, all the experts talking about Liverpool falling off a cliff.

The reality was that everybody thought it’d be Liverpool vs City again, going for the title head-to-head, and now that looks like it’s not going to happen. I think there’s a reset button that’s probably been hard with Jurgen Klopp. I think he’s probably on top of the players making sure they’re at it more. And I think the last couple of weeks have been better, but just conceding a lot of silly goals. Brighton was a good example of that.

Liverpool could have been at their best and still had problems against that Arsenal side, the way they’re playing. But even if you break down the goals, especially the second one, it was pretty easily avoidable. I think they’ll push on; I think they’ll start getting results again.

I mean, injuries don’t help, of course. Diaz got a knock yesterday and so did Trent, but I would still have Liverpool in the top four. Liverpool are still more than capable of going on a run and winning six or seven games, I’ve got no doubt about that. You don’t just become a bad team overnight.

There’s also talk about Mane leaving, I get that. He is a tremendous player and he was arguably my favourite player at Liverpool in terms of effectiveness and his impact on all the players around him. But Diaz’s numbers have been really good, he’s a good player. For me, it’s a mentality thing.

On Klopp, he can’t change his philosophy and his way of managing that’s given so much success overnight. For me, it’s just about being on top of players, reinforcing the messages and making sure they’re training at a high level because performances don’t improve unless your training is at it. There’s a lot of honest players in that squad to look at themselves, and I’m concerned, but I’m not worried. The cream always rises to the top.

Q: What is your top 4 prediction?

Danny Murphy: 1st-City, 2nd-Arsenal, 3rd-Chelsea, 4th-Liverpool.

Liverpool will finish 4th. On Klopp, he can’t change his philosophy and his way of managing that’s given so much success overnight. For me, it’s just about being on top of players, reinforcing the messages and making sure they’re training at a high level because performances don’t improve unless your training is at it. There’s a lot of honest players in that squad to look at themselves, and I’m concerned, but I’m not worried. The cream always rises to the top.”

Q: Could you see Steven Gerrard or Xabi Alonso becoming Liverpool manager one day?

Danny Murphy: Absolutely, yeah.

I don’t think either of them have probably done just enough yet to warrant that. I don’t think there’s a Liverpool fan on the planet, irrelevant of the start of the season, that would be even thinking about a possible change with Klopp. I don’t see that at all.

I think it’s a big couple of seasons for Stevie at Villa to show his credentials, implement his style. It’s been a little bit up and down for him at Villa. He’d probably be the first to say that, so we’ll have to wait and see.

I think Alonso’s more in the infancy of his managerial career. So, you know, that’s a hard one to anticipate. I know he had a good first win, but in terms of their stature amongst Liverpool supporters and the legacy they’ve left, it would be silly not to think that one of them could be in the dugout at Anfield one day.

Q: What do you think, defensively, is something that Trent Alexander-Arnold needs to work on in the short-term?

Danny Murphy: I would say positional.

You can talk about one-on-one defending and being a bit more aware of danger, things like that. But the best defenders in the Premier League, the best defenders in Europe, do all have tremendous positional awareness. They put themselves in positions where it’s hard for them to be isolated.

I suppose the decision making on when to get back in, when to go forward, when to stay high, where to be when the ball is on the other side of the pitch. Sometimes he’s getting caught ahead of the play and having to make huge recovery runs to try and get back in. I don’t think it is just one thing.

Having a bit more awareness and in terms of his positional play and giving himself more of a chance to be successful in his defending rather than having to recover and be proactive to be a bit more reactive.

Q: Do you think Erik ten Hag was wrong to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting line-up against Everton?

Danny Murphy: Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.

You can’t say he was wrong because he came off the bench with a point to prove and scored the winner. Ten Hag would probably say he was right.

I think it’s hard for any footballer that has been a regular player to reach near the end of their career and start being a squad player. I think that’s immensely difficult.

And for someone like him, who has achieved so much and done so much, it must be 10 times worse now. You sometimes have to take your medicine and think, you know what, they’re winning games – I get it. It’s keeping the same team, but then last week he didn’t put him on. I know he gave his reasons, but he didn’t put him on when they’re losing the game and then he didn’t start him against Everton.

He must be thinking his times up there. I feel for him a bit because you do want to play every game and he’s earned the right to play. He’s earned the right to finish his career in somebody’s starting 11. So that begs the question of why they kept him.

The irony being with Martial’s injury and Rashford being picked on the left ahead of Sancho, then maybe he’ll start the next game. I’d be surprised if he didn’t, so he’s probably going to get a little run in the team. The focus for Ronaldo will be to keep himself right and sharp, ready for the World Cup because he’s obviously still a major player for Portugal. He’s probably going to get his head down until then.

He’s not going to be Ten Hag’s first choice when everyone’s fit, and I think we can see that. So, I think in January he’ll be looking at finding a solution to his lack of game time. I’d be amazed to see him there in February. I think it’s a mature conversation between player and manager and then the club making the decision.

There’s a commercial aspect to this. Of course, there’s always financial repercussions and stuff like that, so they’re always taken into consideration. But if I was Ronaldo though, and you’re not first choice, I’d be sitting down with Ten Hag and going, ‘Look, you know, I’ll give it my all till January, I’ve got the World Cup but do me a favour, speak to upstairs and let me go and play’.

The only way I can see that not happening is if he stays in the team and has a run now where he just scores an unbelievable amount of goals, but it’s unlikely. I can’t see Ronaldo being a mainstay in Ten Hag’s team.

The reality is when you’re looking longer term, which he has to, because he’s got to start thinking about the next window, the next season and the type of players he wants to bring in. Then keeping Ronaldo around could be problematic. You don’t want a player like that questioning you, being agitated on the training pitch, being a problem around the place. And actually, that’s not a Ronaldo thing. That’s any senior player who’s feeling like he’s hard done by, he’s gonna provoke.

I’ve done it myself. You get agitated, you get frustrated with the manager, so you provoke him, and you make problems for him and you undermine him because that’s what you do. Just because you’re angry. It’s selfish and egotistical, but that’s the way it is.

Q: Do you think Antony looks the real deal, is he worth the price tag?

Danny Murphy: Yeah, he looks fearless and calm in front of goal.

Got a bit about him, a bit of swagger. Some of the goals he’s scored are amazing. He’s a real talent. Whether he is worth that price tag, time will tell and it’s hard to say a player’s worth X amount when he’s been there five minutes, but they had to pay what they had to pay to get him out the door.

Ten Hag obviously trusts him. The fans are already on side, it’ll give him a platform to go and do what he does, which is score goals. So far so good with Antony. I think it’s an area where United needed competition.

Especially because of Sancho not hitting the heights he did at Dortmund, Rashford has been a bit up and down. Antony’s still a young boy but it seems to be a good bit of business. But in terms of value of the amount, we’ll have to wait and see.

Q: What did you make of Casemiro’s first Premier League start?

Danny Murphy: I thought he did brilliantly to overcome the early mistake. He’s a player who knows what he is. I think a lot of players who, at that age come from big clubs, you can tell they’ve got a real understanding of what they’re good at and what they’re not very comfortable doing what they do.

He didn’t panic. He just kept doing the things he knows he’s good at. His stats were tremendous yesterday, and he was first or second in nearly all the different areas of United players. He nearly got himself on the score sheet which is an area of his game that we didn’t see too much of in Madrid because of Kroos and Modric playing more ahead of him if you like.

He must be really reassuring to play with because generally he is very good on the ball. He’s brilliant at being in the right place at the right time to break up play. He gets in and helps his centre-backs and did that on a few occasions in the second-half when Everton were pushing on.

There were a couple of times in the game where he made mistakes, but it’s his first start away at Everton. Give him a few games just to get up to speed. But in terms of his experience, ability, the impact on the team, the calmness he brings, he’s going to be a huge player for United.

Q: Liverpool vs City next weekend, 2-2 last season, how do you think the game plays out this time around?

Danny Murphy: Liverpool will probably go a goal down and then they’ll fight like mad!

I don’t think too many people expect Liverpool to beat City at the moment. I think that normally this game is played under the magnifying glass of a title decider with huge pressure. That’s not the case.

Jurgen Klopp’s already verbalised the fact that the title is out of the question. In a way, this is a great opportunity for Liverpool with fans behind them to put in a really good performance and cause a shock without the pressure of having to.

If they don’t win, Klopp continues, and the questions keep getting asked. It’s a big game, but not in the same way it’s been pressurised in seasons before. Whereas if they lose, they could lose the title. So, in a way, going into this game with a mentality of, ‘nobody expects us to beat them,’ whereas in the past it’s been a 50-50 game.

I know it was a friendly, but Liverpool beat them earlier this season in the Charity Shield and actually played really well on the day. It’s not helpful having injuries, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if Liverpool gets something out of the game.

Playing at Anfield is hard and City haven’t done brilliantly there in the past, let’s be honest. It’s not a ground they’ve won at regularly. And if anything, they’ve had some of their worst games there. I’m hopeful that it can be a really good reaction from Liverpool. They’re going to have to play well.

Q: Do you think Haaland could pass Alan Shearer’s 260 Premier League goals?

Danny Murphy: If Pep left, then other clubs are always going to want him.

He’s still so young, but if he stays in this country for his career, yes he can. How can you say anything else? It’d be hard for Kane to get there, but he’s still got the possibility. Haaland is doing things at such a young age that we’ve seen very few players do. Even when you look at the goals he’s scored in the Champions League at his age, compared to Ronaldo, Messi, and Mbappe, it’s frightening statistics.

The only thing that would stop him continually scoring goals is injury. He’s got all the attributes needed to keep scoring all types of goals, and he’s in a team that creates unbelievable amounts of chances. If he stays in this country, he’ll break it but we don’t know whether he will.

If five years in, six years in he’s getting 30 goals a season, or 35 goals a season, all of a sudden you start talking about it realistically. But you know what football is like. In two or three years if Pep hasn’t signed the contract and it’s not comfortable there, if he doesn’t like the new coach, he could be gone.

Q: What do you think is going on for Mohamed Salah at the moment?

Danny Murphy: Inevitably the run of form would drop when the team’s not playing well and they’re on the back foot more.

They’re conceding more goals. They’re not on top of teams as they have been in the past. They’re not creating as many chances.

Do I worry about Salah? No, I think he’s just going through one of those spells. Some people will argue that it’s transferred from the end of last season to this, but I still see someone who is sharp and getting in good positions. He’s causing problems still and people like Salah are goal scorers who continually break records and prove people wrong.

Michael Owen is more of a striker and Salah is a wide player but there was a particular time when Michael, I think he went nine, maybe ten games without a goal, and he got a hat-trick away at Man City, ironically, many moons ago, and he went on a goal scoring run after that and I think he actually ended up winning the Ballon d’Or that year, but it started with nine, maybe 10 games without a goal.

I wouldn’t even be concerned with Salah. He’s just got that much quality. He’ll go on a run soon where he’ll score loads. When the team pick up a little bit and confidence picks up, he’ll start scoring goals. He keeps himself super fit. I know he’s got a good appetite to break records and do things at Liverpool. He signed a new deal and he’s content. Liverpool aren’t dominating games the same way, but he’ll be back.

Q: Do you think that this is Newcastle’s year to mount that top four challenge? Do you think it’s too early?

Danny Murphy: It’s too early.

I think they’ve done tremendously well. I think Eddie Howe’s done a brilliant job. He’s moved them forward more quickly than I thought he would. Made some really clever signings. They’ve got a great future ahead of them with the funds they’ve got behind them. They’re not rushing in and doing it stupidly.

Realistically as a Newcastle fan, it’s nice to dream, but they’ll get there. But it’s not going to be this season. This is a good challenge for them. I mean, what’s really impressive about Newcastle is that they’ve got the joint best defensive record in the league. And for a long time, obviously that wasn’t the case.

Newcastle were conceding a lot of goals. So, Howe’s addressed that, which has given them a really good platform to go and cause teams problems. And arguably some of the draws they’ve had, they should have won. I have nothing but admiration for the job Eddie Howe has done.

I think this is a huge test this weekend against Manchester United. United bouncing back after the City defeat with a win at Everton. If Newcastle were to come through this and get a result at Old Trafford that would really give them a boost and that would give them belief that they could maybe finish in a top eight or top seven position by going to United and winning it. I’m fascinated by that game.

I think it’s two teams who are evolving and two managers who are in the infancy of their jobs, trying to stamp their authority on the teams. I actually fancy United, only because they’ve got that crowd right behind them again now and there’s real hope there again. But I don’t think it’ll be easy game. I think it’ll be tight.

Q: If Anthony Martial is fit, do you think he starts ahead of Ronaldo?

Danny Murphy: I don’t think if you’re coming off that early, you’re going to be fit for the game after, I’d be absolutely amazed if he started.

I think that that selection headache will look after itself. I think even if he did recover in time, you’re not going to be able to train for a few days anyway, whatever the injury is. So, it would make sense to keep Ronaldo and he’s just scored the winner. If Ronaldo wasn’t starting next week, I’d find that strange.

Q: Do you see both Fulham and Bournemouth staying up this season?

Danny Murphy: I’ll be perfectly honest with you, it’s always stupid doing predictions before the season starts and the window closes, but I didn’t fancy either to stay up and I’ve been proved wrong.

Fulham have done some great business. Pereira’s been sensational since he’s come in and I’ve watched Palhinha a lot. I was surprised there weren’t other takers for him. I really like Palhinha and I think some of the other players who’ve been at Fulham for a while from their previous experiences in the Premier League have improved.

We have to give Marco Silva credit because I think one thing I noticed, they’ve been very adaptable in the games I’ve seen. The Liverpool game was a great example of them. They went from a possession-based, dominating teams in the Championship to being more pragmatic. Not worrying about looking good on the eye and trying to dominate the ball against better opposition. They went direct against Liverpool, caused them all sorts of problems, won second balls.

They were tenacious, they’ve adapted their game. I could go through more games because I’ve seen them a lot and I think the manager deserves great credit. He’s obviously learned from his experiences in the Premier League before.  Do I think both can stay up? Yes.

Q: Do you think Gary O’Neill deserves the full-time job at Bournemouth?

Danny Murphy: In some ways yes, because he’s done amazingly well in a short space of time.

I’d like to see him do it, but if I didn’t know him and I wasn’t being biased, I’d say no.  And the reason I’d say no is because the season is long and experience is crucial in a Premier League job because he’s learning on the job week to week at the moment, and we’re yet to see how he reacts, or the team reacts when it goes wrong.

There’s no exact science to picking the right manager in the Premier League, there’s no exact formula. If there was, everyone would use it. There’s always a risk element involved. If I was the owner or the person in charge there now, I’d be saying, carry on doing what you are.

Q: What do you make of England’s Euro 2024 qualifying group?

Danny Murphy: It’s nice to watch group games or qualifiers that actually have some jeopardy for a change!

You want to roll over every team and make it easy, so we know we’re there, but it gets boring when you’re in a really poor group. I’m quite excited by it.

If you were to choose a game to watch, it wouldn’t be against the Italians generally because they tend to stifle and play in a pragmatic way. It will be interesting and, and especially with the fact we’ve played them recently and not beaten them on three occasions.

Ukraine on their day can cause a problem, but we should have too much for them and North Macedonia. It’s not a scary group and the Italians are beatable, but I suppose it’s not even worth thinking about till the World Cup’s done because if we were to have a terrific World Cup, it could go really well. If it goes really badly, then we could be looking at a whole new management team.

So, it’s a bit far down the line to start really analysing and thinking. They’re all games that you’d watch with more interest than a San Marino if you like. We’ve been very fortunate in groups gone by where we’ve not really even had one team in there that gives us a challenge. This one is interesting.

Q: What is your starting 11 for the World Cup?

Danny Murphy: I would play four at the back.

Personally, I’d play a 4-3-3. Teams that play five at the back in the World Cup, generally don’t win with the exception of Brazil in 2002.

I’d definitely go with Pickford in goal, I think he’s been great with how far he has come in the last 18 months. Brilliant credit to him. Reece James at right back for me. Walker’s injured and he’s a phenomenal player, but at the moment, Reece James, in terms of his all round game.

I would have Chilwell at left back. I like Shaw and I know he is the favourite ahead of Chilwell, but I think Chilwell has more in his locker going forward and making things happen.

My centre-halves would be Stones and Tomori. Take out Maguire. Tomori has been tremendous, and he won the league with AC Milan.

In midfield I’d go with Declan Rice, Bellingham, and, and Mason. Rice as the holding midfielder and have Mount and Bellingham ahead, because Mount will get back and help Rice and so will Bellingham. I think sometimes with Mount, when he plays out wide, you lose his industry in the middle and he’s got that wonderful tenacity without the ball and his creativity with it.

I would have Foden on the right, Sterling on the left, and Harry Kane up front.

My game changer would be Maddison. I think he needs to go {to the World Cup}.

GK: Pickford

RB: James CB: Stones CB: Tomori LB: Pickford

CM: Rice CM: Bellingham CM: Mount

RW: Foden ST: Kane LW: Sterling

Game changer: Maddiison

Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon

Liam is the Head of Sports PR for Betting Sites. He has over 10 years experience in Digital Marketing & PR, working in TV & Entertainment, Fashion, Technology, Sports & Betting. An avid Arsenal supporter, Liam keeps up to date with all things Football but loves everything Sports related. A number of Liam's Betting Sites interview & data stories have been covered on news sites including; The Sun, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror & Sportsbible.