InterviewAndy Robertson: Let's make it a special return to Anfield
Liverpool must now build on the Boxing Day victory at Aston Villa when they return to Anfield for the first time in seven weeks, detailed Andy Robertson.
Having signed off for the World Cup break with a home win over Southampton, the Reds resumed their Premier League campaign by beating Villa 3-1.
Robertson was delighted Jürgen Klopp’s men were able to carry over their league form with a hard-fought result on the road in which he became the defender with the most assists in the Premier League era.
But, speaking post-match, the Scotland captain underscored the need for that victory to now be built on when Liverpool stride back out on their own turf against Leicester City on Friday night.
“We’ve started off well [in the league] in terms of we’ve picked up where we left off and got three points, which was so important,” Robertson told Liverpoolfc.com.
Inside Villa: Behind the scenes of the Boxing Day win
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“[Next] we are back in front of our home fans and I’m sure they are itching to get back to Anfield and we will need their support. It’s a real intense period of time.
“Usually when you come back from a pre-season you kind of get eased into the Premier League but not this time, it’s every three and four days. We will need their support to create a special atmosphere against a Leicester team that picked up before the break as well.
“We don’t have much time to waste. We know our start has not been as good as we wanted and we have to start closing the gap. We have done that [at Villa]. We’ve closed the gap a little bit.
“We need to focus on ourselves game by game and we just need to keep on picking up three points and let’s see where we end up.”
Robertson increased his Premier League assist total to 54 in the fifth minute of Monday’s clash with Villa.
Positioned in the right channel following a corner, the left-back moved onto a sublime, flicked pass in behind by Trent Alexander-Arnold and squared across the area for Mohamed Salah to convert.
The No.26 took pride in the personal achievement, though expects his friend on the opposite flank to compete for that record sooner than later.
“You are up against some unbelievable players from the Premier League but obviously I’m out on my own just now and I’ve managed to go ahead of Leighton Baines, who always had fantastic numbers,” said Robertson.
“But there’s a certain somebody quite close behind me [Alexander-Arnold on 45] and he’s got a lot more years on his side unfortunately! I’m sure he will overtake it but I’m happy to be there just now and happy to contribute.
“It was an unbelievable ball from Trent. Sometimes they are more important than the actual assist. The ball to me was unbelievable and I just saw Mo across the front and it was a perfect start.”
Liverpool subsequently moved into a two-goal lead through a Virgil van Dijk effort, but that advantage was halved in the second period by Ollie Watkins.
Three points were secured, however, when Academy graduate Stefan Bajcetic stepped off the bench and kept his cool with a finish from inside the Villa box.
The goalscorer was then joined on the pitch by another youngster in the squad as Ben Doak – a fellow Scot of Robertson’s – made his first appearance in the Premier League.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Robertson said of Bajcetic. “He’s got a huge future ahead of him, lots of potential. He was unbelievable.
“When he came on he broke up the play, that’s what he’s probably well known for, not quite his goalscoring, but it was a massive goal for us. I’m so happy for him and young Ben.
“I’ve got a soft spot for young Ben for obvious reasons. When he came on I was just buzzing for him. For such a young age he’s been unbelievable since he’s come into the squad, no fear, trying to dribble past all of us, keeping us young and keeping us fresh. We saw that.
“Fair play to all the young lads, they all step up and we’ve got some brilliant ones around us. It’s important we try to help them, they are the future and I think they both showed our future is pretty bright.”