InterviewAndy Robertson on role tweaks, Villa challenge and Anfield farewells

By Chris Shaw


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Andy Robertson is happily adapting to a tweaked role as he aims to help Liverpool continue their winning streak when they host Aston Villa in the final Anfield game of this season.

The Reds host Unai Emery’s in-form Villans on Saturday with the target of an eighth Premier League victory in a row to maintain pressure in the race for Champions League qualification.

It will be an emotional afternoon in L4, too, with Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to bid farewell ahead of their departures from the club this summer.

Firmino, Keita, Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave LFC this summer

AnnouncementFirmino, Keita, Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave LFC this summerLiverpool FC can confirm Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will leave the club upon the expiry of their contracts this summer. sat down with Robertson at the AXA Training Centre to assess the objectives this weekend and the excellent form that has brought Jürgen Klopp’s team back into contention for a top-four finish.

The No.26 also discussed how his own duties within the side have been adapted as a result of the change of overall system deployed, and more…

On the positive feeling generated by the Reds’ seven-game winning run…

Yeah, we’ve obviously found a bit of form, we’ve found a bit of consistency. The end of the season is usually a welcome thing but when you’re picking up results like we are… obviously people can say we wish we’d done it earlier and things like that, which of course we do. But it will stand us in good stead for next season. Hopefully we keep the momentum going for the last two games and as long as we finish the season strongly then of course we’ll look back on it still with disappointment and things like that but it gives us something to build on next season and it gives us the confidence and things like that to go and try to do it again next season with what we’ve done maybe in the last four or five years and not this season. That’s got to be the aim. But we know we’ve got two massive games still to go and we’re still pushing, we’re still putting pressure on the teams above. We have to try to continue to do that and let’s see where we get next Sunday.

On the satisfaction of three consecutive clean sheets in addition to the victories…

Wins are the most important but when you follow that up with clean sheets as well… Ali has certainly been a lot happier the last couple of weeks walking about here! And so [are] we all. As defenders we love keeping clean sheets and we know if we do that and do our job then we’ve got players up front that can hurt teams and can turn one point into three. We have to try to continue that and we have to try to keep them out. When Ali has had to make saves he has made them obviously, but I think in the last couple of games we have probably limited their chances; sometimes this season we have made Ali do far too much work. It’s pleasing for all of us. We all work hard to defend properly and we have been certainly doing that a lot better in this little run. And we have to continue to do that and then that has to be the platform for next season.

On how the team’s recent system tweak has altered his own position…


Yeah, it’s different, maybe a little bit more conservative. Obviously previously maybe we’re used to being more high and wide and offering runs in behind and kind of things like that, but we have obviously tweaked the system a little bit and sometimes you have to make sacrifices and you have to adapt your role a little bit, and I think I’ve managed to do that. It’s been a kind of back three as such and then Trent going in next to Fabinho. As long as the team is winning then everything is fine – that’s the most important thing.

Of course, I still try to get involved in attacks, I still want to overlap my winger and things like that but I just need to pick and choose my moments. I think as the games have gone on I’ve got better at picking and choosing the moments, I’ve adapted to the role a lot better. It’s just trying to use that and whatever system we play next season or if we have a couple of systems we can play then it’s about finding yourself within that and bringing the best out of you. There’s probably two different sides of my game depending on what formation we play. But I feel as if I have adapted well to it and, like I said, as long as we keep on winning and we keep progressing as a team then I’ll happily be doing that job.

On Liverpool’s position in the table and whether there’s less pressure when you’re chasing teams above rather than being chased…

It’s in their hands and for them it’s in their hands and if they win their games then we can’t do anything about it. I’d much rather be in that position. We’ve spoke about it in seasons gone by in terms of when we were chasing Man City for titles, I think always when you’re the team with more points and things like that, it’s always a better position to be in. I don’t think anyone saw six weeks ago that we would even be in with a chance of Champions League football, people were talking that we might not even make Europe. So the fact that we’ve secured European football was the first task we wanted to do because it meant we’d won more games than not in that small period.

But we’ve given ourselves a chance and all we can do is keep winning our games. And at the end of the day that might not be enough, which will be disappointing – disappointing as a squad, disappointing as a club and we know the fans will be disappointed. Unfortunately it’s out of our hands; we’ve got two games left and the other teams have got three. It’s out of our hands and we can’t do much about it, we have to win our two games and hope that that’s enough. And if it’s not we have to deal with the consequences. But, like I said, I think the last six to eight weeks have given us a building block to move on from next season, to have different formations, to have different ways of playing and being able to put a good run together like that can stand us in good stead for next season to achieve what we want to achieve.

On the challenge expected against Villa at Anfield on Saturday…

Villa are a fantastic team, a fantastic manager, we know that – the game we played against them on Boxing Day was incredibly tough. Obviously one of my close friends, John McGinn, plays with them and I know how confident they are just now in terms of the way they are playing for their European push. Probably in the situation they were in before Emery came in probably a lot of people didn’t expect that either. They will be highly motivated to try to get into Europe, of course they will be. It’s going to be a tough task but we have to focus on the 90 minutes.

Inside Training: Rondos, goals and more as Reds prepare for Villa

VideoInside Training: Rondos, goals and more as Reds prepare for VillaGet a close-up look at Liverpool's Wednesday session in a new edition of Inside Training on LFCTV GO.

Saturday will be emotional for different ways. You mentioned Bobby but also the three other lads that have had a huge impact on us as a team and as a football club. We’re saying goodbye to four legends within their own right, in different ways and different stories. But we all have to put that to one side, we have to focus on getting the three points because we know it’s going to be an incredibly tough game. We have to be at our best to get anything off Aston Villa because they’re high in confidence after obviously beating Tottenham. So we have to fully focus on that in the 90 minutes. Hopefully we can get the three points that we desperately need and then after that we can say bye to the players properly.



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