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Name Phil Thompson
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc Phil Thompson replaced Hughes as Liverpool captain, serving from 1979 until 1981. He was the captain of the team when they won the league in 1979-80 and when they won the European Cup in 1980-81

Affiliation

Org England National Team
Club as Player Liverpool FC
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2010 05 26 Retrieve

[Former Reds’ skipper Phil Thompson backed the call for the Americans to sell] We’re just in nothingness at the moment, which is a large part of what’s happened since the two Americans have been in charge. We just want some direction. We hear in the press that they (Hicks and Gillett) want between £600m and £800m and then they’re saying it could take two years to happen. My goodness, that gets your heart when you’re reading those things. We want it and we want it like it was yesterday just to move on for a change of ownership. The ownership has to happen to give us some direction, to show something. We’ve had all the promises broken and broken and broken.

We’re in the depths now, we need a little bit of help and if these people have got any sense of pride in what they do as businessmen and what they see happening to Liverpool Football Club then please, [let’s have] a little bit of sanity to move this club forward.

2015 11 10 Retrieve

[on David Beckham] He’s done so much for English football, right up until the very end. The greatest thing about David Beckham is his humility. You talk about role models for kids; he is the best example. It’s been a pleasure to have watched him play for England and top clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. He always played with the same passion that he had when he first arrived on the scene

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Patrick Vieira] Vieira was athletic; he dominated that area and then brought goals into his game

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[on Tony Adams] I was always a great admirer of him. Every time you looked he was always in the right place – he put his body on the line all the time and demanded the same from the rest of his team-mates

2019 11 21 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Liverpool’s rivals are looking for Jurgen Klopp’s side to choke, fail and collapse] I think this team has not only lived with the pressure but the expectancy of what 30 years without winning a title brings. I think nearly every Liverpool fan does not believe they will win the Premier League. They all know there is such a long way to go, so there is still an awful lot to be done. It is everybody else who is saying it is Liverpool’s league. On the flip side, they are hoping that they will choke, fail and collapse, as it will be good to mock Liverpool

Everybody will say that Liverpool should win the title. I still say there is nothing guaranteed. It was a seven-point lead last year but everybody seems to have forgotten that! You have this great Manchester City side chasing them but you also have to point to the young Chelsea side and the emergence of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester team. Liverpool have won 11 and drawn one of their opening 12 Premier League matches, which is amazing, but you would have expected them to be even more points ahead. With the quality of those three teams, you cannot rest on your laurels. A defeat and a couple of draws and that soon gets clawed back. The only good thing is that Liverpool have played all of the big six and Leicester but, before the turnaround of games, City have to play Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester, and come out unscathed. When we get to Christmas, we will know a little bit more

Liverpool need to be focused. As a lot of the games have gone down to the wire this year, they cannot keep getting away with it, in the shape of late goals, some VAR decisions going in their favour, as well as injuries going for them. We have to keep injury-free, keep more focused in games, and start quicker, as we did against City. It is that little bit of luck, at times, the little bit of VAR going in your favour, that could equally go against you. Red cards will be massive too - you only need a red card and then your backs are against the wall, especially against the big boys. But the biggest one of all is injures. It has decimated City’s defence, and if they had everybody fit, they could have been a lot closer to Liverpool

2019 12 20 Retrieve

[Reigning European champions Liverpool routed 3-0 by Flamengo in the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo] Our preparations for the game were atrocious. The feeling among us was that it was a friendly game. We never imagined Flamengo would take it so seriously. We were by far the best team in Europe

We only knew one thing about Flamengo: Zico. He had great technique and was brilliant at free-kicks. After the 90 minutes, I had learned even more about Zico. This Zico is incredible. He is a dream of a player […] He is a monster

2020 01 10 Retrieve

[When asked if he can see Klopp’s side following the lead of an iconic Arsene Wenger team from the past] No I don’t. Hand on heart, I think there will be a hiccup somewhere along the way. Hopefully, it’s not too many games. But it’s hard to see. The Invincibles was quite an astonishing season for them, but they drew a lot more games than what Liverpool are at this moment in time

[When asked if victory over Tottenham on Saturday will have Liverpool believing that they are champions] No we won’t, because Leicester are still there as well. There are still 17 games to go after the Spurs game and Liverpool have to just keep chalking them off, making sure they keep going through this unbeaten. It will be quite astonishing

2020 01 10b Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Jose Mourinho loves nothing better than to upset Liverpool] Jose loves nothing better than to upset Liverpool, Liverpool fans. This will be another opportunity for him. I think it’s one of those big things that deep down, he would really have loved to have managed Liverpool, so when it comes down to it he wants to beat us, and do his utmost to put one over on us.

That’ll give him another opportunity this weekend. What will he do? How will he set up? Has he got the players to defend deep? Has he got the players to attack? This is a Spurs side who are expected to win games playing a certain way, but sometimes Jose would rather sit back and hit on the counter-attack, and have a low block

Greatness comes from doing this on a regular basis. Klopp’s broken that duck and it just happened to be against Tottenham, who they play this weekend. You look at what Liverpool did last season, getting 97 points and not even winning the title, we didn’t do anything like that to win the league. But if this team are going to be one of the greats, and bring it back after 30 years of hurt, it’ll be a most wonderful thing - but then they need to keep on doing it.

Everyone always says ‘back in the heyday’, but no, we didn’t do that. This team is quite extraordinary. The clean sheets they’re keeping, the goals they’re scoring, everything. There’s so many good things about this team and they just have to keep the focus now. But it’s not done. No trophy has ever been given out at the beginning of January

2020 01 30 Retrieve

[How Liverpool missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo to Man Utd explained] He was being touted around everyone. Tony Henry, the former Man City midfielder, was working for (agent) Paul Stretford, who was tasked by Jorge Mendes to drum up interest in England. They were desperate to get Ronaldo out of Sporting and invited me over for a game. I was told the fee was £4 million but they explained that it could be paid over the course of a four-year contract so essentially it was £1 million per year.

I asked what kind of salary he would want and they said it was £1 million per year after tax. That was a lot for an 18-year-old kid but they said that was negotiable. It was a Sunday and I explained to them that I needed to go back to Liverpool and speak to Gerard Houllier and see what we could do. I fed all the information back to Gerard, who said he would speak to [chief executive] Rick Parry.

Lo and behold, the following week I’m at Melwood when the yellow ticker on Sky Sports News says, ‘Manchester United sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting for £12.2 million.’ I couldn’t believe my eyes. How had the fee gone up from £4 million to £12.2 million in a few days? Gerard asked me to phone Tony to find out what had gone on. Tony told me that when he’d got off the plane on the Monday he had got a call to say he was off the deal. It was down to Stretford and Mendes instead. It was astonishing that the fee trebled. He was clearly a big talent but no one could have predicted back then how great he was going to be

[Thompson has also revealed that Liverpool were considering a move for Chelsea stalwart John Terry before the arrival of Roman Abramovich’s billions at Stamford Bridge] Chelsea were in financial trouble at the time and John hadn’t signed a new contract. Gerard said to me, ‘What do you think?’ I said he would be perfect. John was still only a young lad but he was fantastic. He wasn’t blessed with great pace but he read the game so well and was clearly going to be a top centre-half. After the game Gerard had a quiet word with John and asked if he’d like to play for Liverpool. The response was positive.

Gerard sent [director of scouting] Alex Miller to get his agent’s details and he came back from the players’ lounge with John’s mobile number. Then a few weeks later Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and suddenly they had all this money. John and Frank Lampard both got big new contracts

2020 02 18 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Sadio Mane is as important as Mohamed Salah when it comes to attacking inspiration] With him being out for a while, he has become as important as Mohamed Salah in terms of goalscoring this season. He has been nothing short of top class so you want him to be available. You could have seen him being on the bench with the Champions League game coming up on Tuesday, but whether we would have been winning or losing, he would have been coming on to gain the relative game time. How fresh he looked will have warmed the heart of every Liverpool fan and probably the most of his team-mates too. He had this energy in his legs, which was an added bonus to Liverpool winning the game

This Liverpool team is made of different stuff. Everybody thinks it will be all-out attack. There have been plenty of games where Jurgen Klopp and his staff have sussed out a team and set up their shape to engage at just over halfway. Liverpool could go for it and press quite high or they could sit in and draw them in because of their reputation, looking to hit them on the counter. Overall, it is a really intriguing match. Liverpool cannot play any other way than to attack at the return leg at Anfield

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Jordan Henderson’s leadership skills are proving to be a big miss for Liverpool] The last two games have shown the importance of Jordan Henderson to this side. Not only what he brings as a midfield player, but he would have been demanding a lot more from the players on the pitch, talking to them controlling them, and asking more from their performances. He is the leader and has the presence on the pitch so Liverpool are missing him at the minute.

I think everybody who watched the game [at Watford] could see Liverpool were not at it, and it was complacency. It is not having a go - it is just saying that all of these top teams go into these games and are a bit blasé about it, especially at this time of year when these clubs at the bottom of the league are fighting for their lives

Since the winter break, Liverpool have not been great at all. The words on the lips of a lot of Liverpool fans was that they have been waiting for this to happen. Against Norwich, it was not great, but they won. The game against West Ham was not good, but they just won again. Maybe a lot of fans felt they got away with it in those games, but then you revert to the fact that this is how teams win the league, winning when you are not playing well. You are always worried that there is one of those results around the corner

2020 03 14 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Extremely hard to say Liverpool aren’t champions] There’s still ramifications even if you do that. What do you do with the teams in the Champions League positions? Because Leicester City are quite healthily in third, they’d be extremely worried if you went to the teams that finished in the top four last season. There are still going to be problems. It won’t just end with it being null and void. It’s an extremely serious and unprecedented situation. But it’s not like Liverpool are two points clear, they’re 25 points clear and we’re three-quarters of the way through the season. It would be extremely hard to say Liverpool aren’t champions

I would think so. I think they’re just giving themselves breathing time and it’s very difficult to see it get up and running then. They’ll be having meetings and every day it will change. I’m watching Sky News every day and it’s changing by the hour. Things are changing all the time. Playing behind closed doors is a contentious issue. I believe football is nothing without the fans, it’s a fans game and I like to think it could resume and the fixtures will be completed. As Jurgen Klopp said there are bigger issues to be concerned about but it would be good to get the fixtures completed because there’s so many issues to be decided

2020 03 16 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Liverpool need a player like Coutinho to unlock defences] I don’t think the Philippe Coutinho one would ever come off again, to get him back, but it’s that sort of player that we actually need to unlock packed defences

I still think we need another striker and maybe a little bit more back-up for Andy Robertson. We’re not too bad at centre-back, and I would like to think we are well blessed in midfield

2020 04 14 Retrieve

[Reds urged to re-sign ‘creative genius’] They are probably looking at that creative midfield player. Would you take Coutinho back? I would, in a heartbeat. I think he’s a creative genius. You look back at his Liverpool career and he was absolutely terrific. He’s not too old and I still think he could come back. It probably won’t happen but it’s that creative player just off the front three that would probably just tip the balance

[Thompson went on to express his belief that Liverpool could also benefit from adding another left-back to their ranks to provide cover for Andrew Robertson] There’s some players who probably want to be playing more football who will move on this summer. Then you think about who could strengthen our core squad. I’d like to see a left-back come in. That would help out Andy Robertson if he misses a few games because there’s such a toll on him at the minute

You look back at his Liverpool career and he was absolutely terrific. He’s not too old and I still think he could come back. It probably won’t happen but it’s that creative player just off the front three that would probably just tip the balance

2020 04 15 Retrieve

[What are the memories that spring to mind when you think of that game at Carrow Road in February 1980?] The 5-3 win at Norwich is a match that will always stick in my mind. David [Fairclough] scored a hattrick and of course Justin Fashanu got that unbelievable goal for Norwich

I can remember watching a daytime football show on television one day before the match, something like Football Focus, Saint and Greavsie or whatever it was in those days.

They did an interview feature on the show with Justin Fashanu, who was in a gym knocking seven bells out of a punch bag and with sweat pouring off him.

I can remember being on the team bus to Norwich and Alan Hansen [Thompson’s centre-back partner] was looking at me and I was looking at him.

Justin had a fantastic physique for a footballer and I really didn’t relish coming up against him. I can remember saying to Alan, ‘You can mark him today!’

2020 04 17 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Sterling’s association with Liverpool is over] I think the time for a return has gone. I still felt he had a lot to do when he left Liverpool. I thought he was a good young player whose finishing could be better, and he’s become a great player. I would think that when Pep Guardiola leaves Manchester City, Sterling will move on. The way Raheem is, Real Madrid, Juventus or Barcelona – one of those super-clubs – will tempt him

2020 04 25 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Timo Werner is capable of challenging Liverpool’s front three for a regular spot in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI] I think he’ll give a realistic challenge to the front three. Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino - they look as though they’re set. We do have Divock Origi but I think everybody realises that he’s more of an impact player, for sort of the last 15, 20 minutes - but that’s not really good enough.

We do need somebody a little bit better. Some people will say ‘Will Werner get in and will he want to come to Liverpool?’. I think he would and I think he does.

You look at Manchester City, they’ve got two top-class players in every position. That is what Liverpool need and I think Werner would help to give us that. With the lure of Jurgen Klopp, I think that would tick the box for him, and I think he would be a fantastic signing. Something that we do actually need.

]</b>Thompson went on to express his belief that Liverpool could also use a creative player to sit in behind Firmino and an extra right-back, while highlighting the lack of experience within Klopp’s ranks in back-up positions]</b> I think we do need a back-up for Andy Robertson. He does play a lot of games. Neco Williams, at right-back, I do see him being able to cover for Trent [Alexander-Arnold], but I think at left-back - [Yasser] Larouci, the young lad we have is a really good player, but I think we need someone a bit more experienced

And I do think we need a bit of a creative player. I know they’re talking about Adam Lallana going, but he is that sort of player. If you go back five years you’d be looking to bring Lallana in. He’s the creative one in that hole behind Bobby Firmino, and I think that is an important place we can look to strengthen

2020 06 16 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Liverpool & Klopp should’ve taken risk & signed Chelsea-bound Werner] I think you should always try and improve. When you’re on the up, when you’re playing well, that is when you should look to back it up. I would have loved to have seen him come but Liverpool have not done that, they’re looking at it and it’s probably costing too much. Timo Werner will be going, ‘Maybe I might not get in there’ and maybe [Jurgen] Klopp is thinking, ‘We can’t afford to have somebody for that price just sitting on the bench’. He’ll [Werner] be alright for three or four years and I would have taken that risk. If he wanted to come I think you have to improve your team when you’re on top and he would have improved us

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Phil Thompson says Liverpool’s title-winning exploits have allowed them to silence critics who have ‘taken the Michael’ for 30 years with the former Reds skipper seeing the Anfield giants firmly ‘back on our perch’] We are back on our perch. It has been a long time coming, I won’t use the expletive that came before it but we are back. It’s been a long, long time. It has been a generation, 30 years, and yes, we have had the Champions League, which has been fantastic. But Liverpool has always been out of the league championship, the Premier League, and we have not been able to get our hands on it. It has been a burden to everybody. A lot of managers have had to carry it and to Jurgen Klopp and the players, congratulations, I thank you so much because it has been hard. They have been an absolute pleasure to watch and I have to congratulate them. I have four boys and I have been desperate to watch them win the Premier League title, it has been the Holy Grail and we have done it

We’ve been successful with trophies, we have won in the past and it has been wonderful. But as the years have gone by, Gerard Houllier came second, Rafa [Benitez] came second, Brendan [Rodgers] came second. There have been some really good teams, but not as good as this one. This team has deserved it - 97 points last year and they didn’t bring it home. There are a lot of people who were giggling and thinking ‘you are not going to get that chance again’. So to go and compete with this Manchester City team is absolutely wonderful. Those young people who have not had that opportunity and those other fans who have taken the Michael out of Liverpool Football Club because we hadn’t won the Premier League…we have done it! If this team stays together, which I think it will, they will be a hell of a team to beat next year