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#15: The Ring of Fire with Koon

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
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The Ring of Fire with Koon

New signing Harvey Elliot has just made his Liverpool debut this evening as Liverpool lost 3-0 to Napoli in their penultimate pre-season match...

However, with our Brazilian duo of Firmino and Alisson returning to training tomorrow, to discuss this week's action and to look ahead to next weekend's Community Shield Final, the Ring of Fire travels over to Brazil as thrown into the 'Ring of Fire' this week is TIA Forum Member @Koon

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Your TIA Username: Koon
Location :
Brazil

You and Liverpool FC
Favourite Current LFC Player :
Virgil Van Dijk
Favourite all-time LFC Player : Steven Gerrard
Favourite all time Reds match : Liverpool x Milan
Funniest moment following the Reds : Klopp's reaction to Lucas shot

And the rest:
Favourite non-LFC Player : Ronaldinho Gaúcho
Favourite other clubs (if any) : Grêmio
Other sports/hobbies/past times : Playing the guitar, cooking, reading books, watching movies and sleep (a lot)
Non-footballing heroes : Quentin Tarantino, Ayrton Senna, Kotaro Oshio, Jô Soares and Hayao Miyazaki

******

Koon, tell us a little bit about where you live and what is it like to support Liverpool in Brazil?

First of all, I must say thank you very much for inviting me to participate in the Ring of Fire Series.

I live in south of Brazil, in a city called Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul. It's the coldest part in the country and we are going through winter right now. It could go from 3ºC in the winter to 40ºC in the summer, it's crazy.

As for Liverpool, supporting the club in Brazil is... lonely. You won't find red shirts on the streets on match days, but there are a few communities though that usually gather to watch games at some pubs and there are also whatsapp groups to specifically discuss about Liverpool. Sometimes it's tough.

For example, since we are 4 hours behind the British time, most of the games are like 1pm, 4pm, 11am and well, we are working at this time. Fortunatelly for me, I work as a lawyer and most of the time I can rearrange some of my meetings so that I can almost always watch LFC games, but without company. On holidays or weekends though you could easily find Liverpool fans planning gatherings at some places to watch the game.

With all that in mind, It's not that easy finding supporters in real life because the games are not in a good schedule for us, but I can definetely see that there is a lot more people talking about Liverpool. A few days after the CL final I went to the mall and there was this father and his 3~4 year old son, both wearing LFC shirts. I've never seen something like that in a regular day before. Also most of Brazilian LFC fans accounts on Twitter have received a huge rise in followers recently.

With the way Liverpool are doing things, lifting titles, playing exciting football and with a charismatic person like Klopp as our manager, I can only see a rise in the amount of fans in the next years, especially because EPL is the biggest league in the world, there's a lot of eyes on it right now.

I'd say Liverpool are a club that's likable? I've never seen any haters apart from City haters, which is normal with both being the best clubs by far in England at this moment.


Growing up in Brazil, how did you come to support Liverpool?

I'm a Liverpool fan for ~14 years and I can say exaclty when I started supporting the club: the 2005, UCL final, the biggest comeback ever! It was almost like love at first sight.

The way the team managed to comeback, never giving up, with Gerrard pulling the strings. That was unbelievable. Right after that, in 2007~8 Lucas (I'm a Grêmio supporter and Lucas is a Grêmio homegrown boy) went to Liverpool and then Torres showed up and things got crazy. It was magic watching LFC playing football. Then I studied the club's history and became more and more in love.

My early heroes from that time are Hyypia, Alonso, Gerrard and Torres (even though maybe I don't think of Torres as a hero after the way he left the club?). They were all outstanding players, especially Gerrard and Torres. Most of time they were unplayable and they would easily bring victory home in difficult moments with amazing link up plays.

Gerrard is above all, for sure. Complete role model. There's absolutely nothing you could say against him.


Brazil have just won the Copa America Final.... Firmino was not an automatic starter for Brazil in last summer’s World Cup but he came into the Copa America as first-choice centre-forward. Why is this? And how significant a part of Brazil’s journey to the final has Liverpool’s No.9 been?

Bobby is a tricky case, but very easy to explain. Although he is 27 year old, people in Brazil don't know him, his history, his play style.. they know nothing about him because he went to Germany very young (18 years) and played in Brazil for a small club called Figueirense in Brazilian Série B (second division).

On the opposite, people know Gabriel Jesus, who's played for Palmeiras, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil. He won titles, he is a very humble and nice kid. Came from a poor family and he simply loves his mom, most of his goal celebrations are in her name. That's beautiful, intoxicating and people like that.

The last piece of the puzzle is Tite, Brazil's manager. He is a very conservative manager. He plays only one setup and he rarely changes his players. He also has his favorites from his previous club (Corinthians), like Paulinho (ex-Barcelona player), Fagner, Renato Augusto, Cássio and so on. Those players are ok, most really above avarage if you think about Brazilian division (Série A), but we are talking about the National Team, World Cup, it's a whole different level. And that's where Tite failed hard.

Gabriel Jesus was playing really well before World Cup, scoring lots of goals, undisputable number number 1 striker. But at the World Cup he felt hard the weight of all the expectation created around him. He was wearing the number 9 shirt, it's a huge responsibility. We have come from big strikers like Ronaldo, Romário and I could even talk about Adriano who was an amazing player too (depression got the best out of him, though).

The problem here is that Tite is very conservative, so he chose to keep Gabriel Jesus as his number 9 throughout the entire World Cup instead of playing Firmino. "It was a mistake", according to Tite's own words later, since Jesus scored zero goals in the competition. People started mocking Jesus, saying that he should not be the striker, but the defensive midfielder since he was only useful defensively.

After the World Cup, Firmino was given the chance to become Brazil's new number 9 and he's done a fine job, imo. At Copa América, Tite has found a way of using both Firmino as a striker and Jesus as a right winger. Firmino was good mostly for the entire Copa América, Jesus also had some really good games.

There was a lot of pressure on Tite because there are no good national teams in South America at this moment. Argentina and Uruguay are the ones to fear usually, but the Argentinian manager is horrible (Dybala was on the bench 99% of the time, Messi was lost...) and Uruguay are reaching a point where they need to renew their squad. Tite had to win, otherwise he could have been fired.




As far as i know Alisson played every minute of Brazil’s Copa America campaign, how did he perform? Also how important to Tite’s side is the defensive security that the Liverpool goalkeeper provides?

Yes, you are right!

If I'm being honest, I'd say he had very little to do apart from the final match against Peru. Brazil dominated all games so we really didn't need him at Copa América, but in the final he made two great saves when needed and guaranteed us the championship.

He is simply amazing, either for Brazil or Liverpool. There was a little bit of a discussion about who should be the starter a few months ago, Alisson or Ederson, but at this point he is totally the number one. He is very vocal on the pitch, helps the defence playing from the back and stuff like that. That was his main job at Copa América.

Brazil have a (usually) good defensive system, that's part of Tite's style, and it's usually centered around good players (Alisson, Daniel Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Filipe Luis/Marcelo/Alex Sandro + Casemiro playing DM), so the keepers don't get very exposed.

Alisson is the one Tite will keep as number one as long as he is Brazil's manager (conservative, remember?). He was good at WC and after that there weren't that many hardships so he could show up.


Liverpool midfield general Fabinho enjoyed a stellar second-half to his debut season at Anfield... However he was left out of Brazil’s squad for this summer’s Copa America - why?

Because Tite is crazy

As I said before, Tite is a very conservative manager. He likes winning games 1x0, he likes to stick to one formation only, he doesn't like to change players. He was also with the rope around his neck. What do a manager with that much pressure and style look for? Experience.

Fernandinho was at 2014 and 2018 WC (in 2018, Tite was the manager already). In the most shameful result in history of football, we were trashed 7x1 against Germany and Fernandinho was awful. In 2018, he was there, score an own goal and we were eliminated against Belgium . But he is an experienced player who plays very well for his team, so Tite chose him.

Tite was heavily criticised because for that. We are trying to bring new players since we have very old ones in the squad who maybe won't make it to 2022: Thiago Silva (34), Miranda (34), Daniel Alves (36), Filipe Luis (33), Marcelo (31), Willian (30). Then why would you chose Fernandinho (33) instead of Fabinho (25), with both playing at the same level and also keeping in mind Fernandinho's poor history for Brazil?

From now on, I bet Fabinho will be called instead of Fernandinho since the storm has passed.

There's a new wave of talented players coming: Militão, Renan Lodi (my bet here), Arthur, Paquetá, Everton, Vinícius Jr. Neres, Richarlison and many more!

As a Grêmio fan, I can't help it but tell you guys to remember these names: Matheus Henrique and Jean Pyerre. Grêmio have given Tite Arthur and Everton already, now it's the time for new lads .


Koon, looking at today's match where Liverpool have just lost 3-0 to Napoli in their penultimate pre-season friendly, what three things did you learn from the match...

1 - We need to learn how to play football without our front three, and that's a very hard task.

Yes, we all know about Barcelona, but that's Champions League, two games where anything could happen. Premier League is different, you need players delivering every single week. It's not easy.

Obviously it will be very rare watching a Liverpool game without at least one of Firmino, Mané or Salah, but it might happen. Playing the same 4-3-3 and expect other players to emulate what they do might be too much for our backups. The way Firmino, Salah and Mané work is very unique, so we need to find another style. Maybe a more creative and offensive midfield? Maybe instead of inside forwards we could use wingers? A poacher (Origi)? A change in system (4-2-3-1, 4-4-2)?

Today it was a very difficult game, mostly because of us. Ox, Origi and Gini were poor upfront because we need the pace Salah and Mané have, we need Firmino's off ball movement and link up play... and we don't have it. It's not a tragedy, it's not alarming, but we need to find a better way of winning more comfortably with other players. We can play almost the same way with at least one of our front, but without all three, we must find solutions.

2 - We need our fullbacks to their fullest.

Even though it's a friendly, I think without Arnold and Robertson playing close to their top form we would have struggled even with Salah, Mané and Firmino. They are vital, they are our playmakers and you can't play football withouth playmakers. Today, Arnold had a very rough time against Insigne and offensively he couldn't find anything. Robertson was a little bit better, but not too much. They need to step up because they are not your regulars 6/10 fullbacks, they are your 9/10 fulbacks, a vital piece in creating scoring chances.

3 - I hope Ox will be great... in the midfield.

Today I think he was our poorest player on the pitch. Missing passes, first touch, speed, creativity... everything. But he played as a winger and the best Ox is not a winger, is a central midfielder. He has speed, control, technique and even a little bit of playmaking skills we need so much from our midfielders. Maybe Keita could do that, but today I'd bet my money on Ox. I have big hopes that Klopp didn't go for a creative midfielder this window because he is confident he can bring Ox back to his prime. He could be a key element for us in the near future, it's just a matter of using him the best way possible.




Looking ahead, in your opinion what would be a successful 2019/20 season for Liverpool?

Well, I think the first answer to this question would be "silverware", but maybe we shouldn't judge a successful season or not based on trophies only.

My goals for the 2019/20 season should be a) develop the youngsters who will be staying in the first squad (I don't know who exaclty besides Brewster, but maybe Elliott, Hoever, Larouci/Lewis, van den Berg and so on), b) bring Ox and Gomez back to their level showed last season, c) play football at least on the same level as last season and d) challenge for trophies.

I'd feel very happy, for example, if we were once again able to challenge City in the Premier League raising 90+ points or playing a third consecutive Champions League final. It would be an amazing achievement. We have only two big trophies (I really don't care too much for the domestic cups or World Club Cup) for Liverpool and there are lots of clubs out there trying too, and some of them are pretty good.

Sometimes great teams or great managers won't become champions in a season, but we should always aim for consistency. If we become a solid club we will always be challenging for trophies and we will be closer to winning them. I'm tired of having great success in a season and then place 8th in the league next season. We should always be very close to the top and sometimes you can have a successful season even without trophies.

Of course there's also a big issue, which is Klopp's contract. I don't think he will sign a new deal, so we might not have much time left with him and he's done an amazing job. That guy and this squad deserve more than a Champions League. We have the tools necessary to bring silverware home, even though some people think we should have done more this summer (I'm one of those poeple, too).

Ideally, we should get the most out of Klopp's presence and win a big trophie (Premier League or Champions League) every single season for the next three years, but that's something very difficult to achieve. The only thing I want is that we keep trying, we keep being menacing, keep developing and stay as close as possible to the top. This way, in my opinion, I'd judge season in 2019/20 as successful and we would have big chances of lifting trophies in the following years.


Alot can change in the space of seven days, however, looking ahead to next Sunday's Community Shield Final against Manchester City, detail how would you like Jurgen Klopp to set up his team, formation and tactics against Manchester City?

Well, from what I know, we won't have Mané but might have Salah, Firmino and Alisson, who are back from tomorrow, maybe? So I will work with this possibility, even though Klopp might not start with them.

I'd go with: Alisson; Arnold, Matip, Virgil and Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson and Gini; Origi, Salah and Firmino (4-3-3)

The retrospect shows that City should try to find way of stopping us, but we need a strong and imposing midfield. We feel comfortable playing against them, so just do the old gegenpressing, explore the gaps they leave (especially behind the fullbacks) and score a goal as soon as possible. We should suffocate them with unrelentless pressing until we score and I think it will be easier than normal because it's the start of the season and they will make mistakes trying to play from behind like they usually do. We must seize this opportunity.

Even with 1x0 we should still press. If we score a second goal, then we start playing for counter-attacks. If they start getting their chances, just play narrow, a little bit deeper and wait for the right opportunity to counter-attack because it will happen.

Of course, we gotta be extra careful to help Arnold against (probably) Sané/Sterling because it's always a very difficult matchup. Gini/Henderson is the one to help him since I don't think Salah should play too much deeper because we don't have Mané and need pace to counter-attack.

Kevin de Bruyne will also create a few chances for them, but we must minimize that by not giving him too much time to think on the ball. As for the rest of them, I don't think there will be too much of a threat as long as we control KDB and Sterling/Sané.

It's the start of the season I think a team like ours has the upper hand against the likes of City, who try to control matches and don't play very direct football. As long as we have pressing, a strong midfield and a fast counter-attack with Salah, we will be victorious.


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The 'Ring of Fire' - a weekly feature on the This Is Anfield forums.

Many thanks to @Koon for taking part this week and for taking the time to answer the questions, thanks mate!
 
Last edited:

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Ad-free Member
Joined
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Messages
1,521

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Ad-free Member
Joined
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Messages
1,521
Thanks again Koon, really enjoyed that especially the Brazilian Copa America Analysis... So many more questions I could have asked from Gremio star Everton Soares to Dani Alvez to Coutinho!!!

Here's a question for ye's all.... Only Eight Brazilian players have made a competitive appearance for the Liverpool first team down through the years... Can you name all 8 without checking the spoiler underneath!!

Fabio Aurelio, Alisson Becker, Diego Cavalieri, Philippe Coutinho, Alexander Doni, Roberto Firmino, Lucas Leiva, Fabinho.
 

William Clarke

REDSHIRT ~ I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
2,263
Thanks again Koon, really enjoyed that especially the Brazilian Copa America Analysis... So many more questions I could have asked from Gremio star Everton Soares to Dani Alvez to Coutinho!!!

Here's a question for ye's all.... Only Eight Brazilian players have made a competitive appearance for the Liverpool first team down through the years... Can you name all 8 without checking the spoiler underneath!!

Fabio Aurelio, Alisson Becker, Diego Cavalieri, Philippe Coutinho, Alexander Doni, Roberto Firmino, Lucas Leiva, Fabinho.
Many congrats on another great Ring of Fire. Well done @Broomy and @Koon for an good and interesting read.

p.s. I had forgotten Cavalieri and Doni, so no prize for me. Cheers lads.
 

auzziez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2013
Messages
1,398
Thanks again Koon, really enjoyed that especially the Brazilian Copa America Analysis... So many more questions I could have asked from Gremio star Everton Soares to Dani Alvez to Coutinho!!!

Here's a question for ye's all.... Only Eight Brazilian players have made a competitive appearance for the Liverpool first team down through the years... Can you name all 8 without checking the spoiler underneath!!

Fabio Aurelio, Alisson Becker, Diego Cavalieri, Philippe Coutinho, Alexander Doni, Roberto Firmino, Lucas Leiva, Fabinho.
Can only think of Firmino, Allison, Fabinho, Coutinho, Lucas and Aurelio.
Can't remember the other two but got a gut feeling they must have been with us in the last decade or so. Which makes me feel even worse why I cannot recollect those two
 

Koon

Very bad englando. I'm so sorry.
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
407
First of all, I must thank @Broomy for inviting me. It was an amazing experience, I'm really, really glad!
Secondly, thank all of you guys who took some time to read it. Talking about Liverpool and Brazil is a great passion of mine and doing something like that to people oversea is even greater.

Top stuff, as always. Thanks again, gents.

@Koon - I know that you would let Stevie G control the music if he ever comes to your house.
He could even have my house, it would still be worth it. I'd be the happiest homeless in the world lol


Great fun and very insightful, @Koon! I saw Brazil playing Cameroon, Russia, and the US at the 94 World Cup. Tremendous experience!
Oh, that World Cup, I bet it must have been amazing! I was 4 years old, but I still can remember my parents celebrating after Baggio's penalty miss lol