Q&AIn conversation with Alisson and Fabinho ahead of Liverpool v Nottingham Forest
Replicating the intensity and quality that saw off Leeds United is Liverpool's aim when they face Nottingham Forest at Anfield this weekend, Alisson Becker and Fabinho both stressed.
The benchmark has been set, according to the Brazilian duo, after the Reds' clinical and dominant display at Elland Road on Monday night that produced a 6-1 victory in the Premier League.
Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Forest, Liverpoolfc.com sat down with Alisson and Fabinho at the AXA Training Centre to reflect on the team's last outing and preview the upcoming one.
Read on for a transcript of our conversation...
Inside Elland Road: A new look at 6-1 win over Leeds
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Did that feel like a classic Liverpool performance at Leeds with the hunger and quality on display?
Alisson: I agree with that. We played a really good game. I think we did something that we were looking for – that was being consistent defensively and being aggressive on the pitch in the right way, with the ball as well. All the goals that we scored were because we created the chances that we had. It wasn't a gift from the opponent, we had to work hard for that. We did that and [it] being away from home was something important as well. We just have to use this performance now for the next game.
Fab, the manager highlighted just how good the counter-pressing was in that game. Did it feel like everything was clicking as it should?
Fabinho: Yes, and on the pitch it just feels good when you see everybody going in the same direction, everybody reacting. You saw that we recovered the ball much more in our offensive [area] of the pitch. I think our first two goals were after counter-presses and we took the ball and with the quality that we have we scored the goals. I think this is one of the important points of this team.
And with the intensity that we play, the reaction must be there, the counter-press must be there. This is one of the biggest reasons why we won the game. And then with the ball, I think we were really good as well. We were patient in some moments when we couldn't find space but we kept the ball, we kept passing and then we found a good pass, the good choice. When you play like this, you can win, you can score goals. It's always nice to win in the way that we won.
You've been joined in the midfield by Trent Alexander-Arnold for quite a bit of the last two games. What have you made of him combining those roles and do you think it suits his qualities?
Fabinho: Trent is somebody really good on the ball, with his quality of pass and finding players in behind. We can really use this. In this position, of course he will have less time to think but I think he's a little bit used to being in this position. Even when he played right-back, he likes to drop a little bit and go to the middle. We can really use his quality of pass. In the last game, he gave two assists and was really good – not just with his passing but his reaction was good as well. I think in the Academy he played as a midfielder, so he knows a little bit about this role and it was not hard for him.
It's also worth noting that he's not forgetting about his defensive work either. He's slotting back into that right-back role whenever you don't have the ball...
Alisson: Yeah. This game was a really good example of that – the way that we react. Not only Trent going from the midfield and then going to the side, but other players knowing that we need to have a good reaction on the counter-press or getting back to their position, buying time. We dealt really well with the chances that the opponent had for counter-attacks – we stopped them so often in the game. As Fab said, this always gives you a good feeling on the pitch. That's something that we want to keep with us.
Cody Gakpo was saying straight after Leeds that the focus was on winning the next one. Is that really how quickly you began looking to this Forest game?
Alisson: Football is quick! We have a different opponent now in front of us. They have their goals, they need to reach their targets. We have ours as well. We come from a game where we found our way back and they come from a game they lost. They want to show a response, for sure, for their supporters, for themselves. But we are focused on things that we need to do and prepare as best as we can to get on the pitch. It's a home game, it's always good to play [there], to have your supporters there helping you. I hope Anfield will be on fire on Saturday afternoon.
Has the standard been set now for the rest of the season? You have to reproduce that most recent display now, starting on Saturday...
Fabinho: Yes. I think in this moment of the season it's really important to win the games. But I think the way we played against Leeds is something that we have to take and try to do in the next games as well. We really enjoyed it on the pitch [at Leeds], our fans enjoyed as well the way we played. So yes, we will try to get better, of course, and to keep playing good football with intensity, with really good reactions. That's what we have to do.