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Steve Nicol
Gender Male
Ethnic Scottish
Job Scottish Footballer
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Affiliation

Org Scotland National Team
Club as Player Liverpool FC
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2016 02 18 Retrieve

[on Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United] Physically, he could outmuscle you, he could outplay you, his positional sense was fantastic. What a player

2016 02 19 Retrieve

[on Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United] This is a guy you just don’t want to play against: big and strong, there was only one winner in a 50-50. But the guy could play as well, he could pass the ball, he was a danger in the opposition penalty box as well. You need a football brain more than anything else when you play at center-back, and this guy had brains and brawn

2019 07 02 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Liverpool should be open to the idea of re-signing Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona] You’re always looking for more goalscorers. Somebody like a Coutinho I think would be ideal for Liverpool. You’ve got a front three right now in Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah who are fantastic. But they need a break, they need to be able to step off the field to keep themselves fresh for the challenge ahead. Now, I threw in Coutinho’s name there, the problem is could they afford him? Would they pay £100m for him? But I’ll tell you what, if they did, what an option that would be

I don’t believe he’s worth what Barcelona paid for him. I certainly believe he’s worth upwards of £90m. This is a guy who’s proven in the Premier League. This is a guy, right now, who’s being criticised but this guy who’s been criticised carries the hopes of Brazil in the Copa America right now. He’s the go-to guy for creation and for goals. So, when you buy Coutinho, yes, you’re buying a guy who’s been criticised at Barcelona recently, but you’re buying quality. Of course Liverpool need to strengthen, they need strength in depth and when I say depth, they need real quality. That’s what Coutinho would give them

2019 07 15 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol believes Adam Lallana, an England international playmaker, has not lived up to expectations and could be moved out of Anfield this summer] I think it’s pretty clear the odd man out in that lot is Lallana. At his best he can give you a little sparkle. Unfortunately, in his time at Liverpool, he’s not really been at his best very often. So right now, for me, he is the one completely on the out

When he got his injury, he was arguably one of Liverpool’s best players at the time. It’s an interesting time to see whether he can recover completely from his injury and can he recover the form that he was showing?

The form he was showing was not the form of Arsenal. This was not the Ox of Arsenal, this was a completely transformed player. At Arsenal he looked one-dimensional, the Ox, but when he came to Liverpool all of a sudden he did all types of different things

2019 07 16 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Philippe Coutinho would be a perfect addition for Liverpool] I’ve been banging on and complaining about re-signing Divock Origi because the levels drop when he’s on the pitch. Somebody like Coutinho would be perfect. The ideal situation for Liverpool is to have four guys - Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Coutinho. Then you’ve got to pick three of them. Coutinho, he did previously play as one of the three, so he could play there. It’s ideal for Liverpool to have somebody who - if they weren’t starting - could be brought on and the levels don’t drop

[Champions League-winning hero Origi has been tied to fresh terms] Right now I’m not concerned, no, I’m not. Had everybody else gone out and been spending money and bringing in players left, right and centre then, yes [I would have been concerned]. Then my argument would be ‘hold on, everybody else is going and strengthening’ but the truth is they’re not. Right now, because of where Liverpool are, it’s not a case of going out and just signing anybody. They have to be careful, they have to make sure they sign the right ones. Now I will say that I think they’ve made a bad start by re-signing Divock Origi. But I guess there will be a time where they do need numbers in the League Cup, your FA Cup. But no, I’m not panicking yet

2019 07 18 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Liverpool should be looking to lure Ryan Sessegnon away from Fulham] Still a teenager. Well he [wouldn’t be] starting, he’s pushing. He’s there to push and he’s there to make the 11 that start better. He’s still a teenager, still has a lot to learn. But, what, in two or three years time, he’s pushing Robertson or anybody else down that left-hand side

2019 09 30 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Jurgen Klopp needs to do something with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane] I wouldn’t say it’s a concern, I would say maybe I think Klopp needs to try and do something with particularly Salah and Mane. Going forward, they lose the ball too often. It’s one thing to try and go at defenders quickly and try to break quickly. But it’s another thing to do it in some sort of … it’s like manic the way they do it. If they can just slow it down a little bit, take a little bit more time and think about it a little more then I think the goals will start coming more for those two, if they do that

[Nicol has also admitted to seeing Joel Matip as a flaw in Liverpool’s system] That [understanding with Van Dijk] comes with time. They’ve, not just the start of the season but the end of last season, spent a lot of time playing together. Again, Matip, I think if there was a flaw in the back it would be around the Matip area, but the last couple of weeks he’s been fantastic. So yeah at the back that’s a real good partnership right now

[Van Dijk and Matip helped Liverpool to another clean sheet in their latest outing] It shows a strength. As we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, Chelsea last weekend and Sheffield United this weekend, they haven’t been at their best. But do you know what, sometimes you’ve got to dig it out and dig the result out and that’s what pretty much they’ve ended up doing both weekends. If you can win a game by a street and score loads of goals and play silky soccer, then that’s fantastic. But sometimes you’ve got to fight it and tough it out, and they did it

2019 10 21 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were way short of the mark against Manchester United] Whenever Salah comes out for whatever reason and you’ve got [Divock] Origi coming in, the drop-off is very big. Sometimes you can get away with it if you have Firmino and Mane at their best. But Firmino and Mane were way short of the mark. We all talk about Firmino and how he ties everything together, but everything fell apart when the ball went near him. Look, not a good day, but they definitely missed Salah

[After being quizzed on the absence of a two-time Golden Boot winner] Mo was not ready, that’s how it is. He couldn’t train with the team; I don’t know where it came from that everybody said he will play. There was pretty much no chance, maybe for Wednesday, we have to see

2019 11 15 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Jadon Sancho would be crazy to consider a move to Manchester United] I think he’s crazy if he goes to Man Utd. We’re talking about he’s struggling in a team that’s struggling (Dortmund) - Man Utd are going to be struggling for a couple of seasons, so I would stay away from there

Well, if I was advising him, let me put it that way, I would like to see him at Liverpool. I think he would be fantastic. If he could get his head round playing second fiddle to Mane and Salah, then that would be huge for Liverpool in my opinion. They could save the legs of both of those two and kind of swap the three of them in and out. But he’s not going to do that, he’s going to go somewhere to play. So I think Liverpool’s out

[Nicol also feels that fierce competition for places at City makes a retracing of Sancho’s steps to Manchester unlikely] Man City, if he wants to play, a kind of a similar scenario to Liverpool. It would be great for him to be there, he’s going to win things as he would at Liverpool, but he’s probably not going to play as much as he wants. So I think that rules them out

2019 11 21 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol urges Liverpool to raid Mourinho’s Tottenham for Harry Kane & Heung-min Son as former Red talks dream transfers] I was thinking about [Kane] Would I have Harry Kane or would I have [Roberto] Firmino? That’s a tough question that isn’t it. Given the choice, I’d rather have my centre-forward be a goalscorer, so I would have to go with Kane. It’s a tough one. Who else would you take right now? [Jan] Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are having a shocker. You’re not having Davinson Sanchez, you’re not having Juan Foyth. [Son] would be fantastic to be able to … listen, put it this way, no offence to Divock Origi but I would prefer to bring Son on than Divock Origi. I’m not a huge fan of Lucas Moura.

2020 01 03 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Sadio Mane to Real Madrid remains a possibility] When it comes to Real Madrid, anything’s possible. Players when they’re linked with Real Madrid, their eyes light up. The question is - what’s this guy all about? If he’s thinking about his career on the field of play, he’s staying with Liverpool because Liverpool will win the Premier League title this year and could do for some years to come.

They’re certainly going to be challenging in the Champions League. If that’s what he’s all about then he stays, but if it’s the whole ‘Real Madrid thing’ then it’s possible. If they, as they normally do when they want something, come up with the money, I don’t think this is beyond the realm of possibility. It’s not happening in the summer but after that I wouldn’t count it out

2020 01 07 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Liverpool agreeing to part with Georginio Wijnaldum would make no sense whatsoever] The suggestion is that they’re not going to offer him a new contract. That makes no sense whatsoever. He’s been a huge part of the success of Liverpool over the last 18 months to two years. I would suggest this is absolutely crazy.

If you’re going to let him leave, that means you’re going to have to bring someone in better than him which is great news for Liverpool fans. If you’re bringing in someone better than him then yes please, thank you very much. But you’re also going to give him a contract because you’re not going to let him go for free because he’s definitely going to bring in money from 90 per cent of the teams in the world. Will he leave? I don’t think he’s leaving anytime soon

2020 01 27 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol urges James Maddison to hold out for a switch to either Liverpool or Manchester City] Under normal circumstances this would be kind of a no brainer, somebody like him, playing at a provincial side shall we call them in Leicester City. The big guns of Manchester United come calling for you and it’s only a matter of, can the two clubs sort it out financially? That’s what used to happen.

The bottom line is, is it going to benefit this guy going to United right now? I don’t think it would. I think it would help him to keep playing in the way he has at Leicester. The way Leicester play suits his game and in fact the way they play is a lot closer to what the likes of City and Liverpool do, than what the likes of United do. I’d suggest if I’m him, I hang around and wait. Wait for a Liverpool or a Manchester City. Because right now, going to Man United, I think is pulling people under. I think for his game, it’s not going to help him going to Man United.

If Paul Pogba can go to Man United and his game suffers, with the experience he has, why wouldn’t it happen to James Maddison?

2020 02 10 Retrieve

[Nicol expects Lallana will end up staying at Liverpool] I’m not so sure. As a player you want to play but I think he seems to me he’s in a stage where ‘I like being at Liverpool, I enjoy being at Liverpool, it’s a great place to be, I’m playing some games, I’m having fun. Do I want to leave Liverpool and go somewhere just to play, where it could be hard work and not enjoyable?’. So I don’t think this guy’s going to leave and it’s good for Liverpool that he doesn’t leave because he’s a great squad player. I don’t think he’s going anywhere

[Nicol said when discussing Klopp’s creative options] I think it’s pretty clear the odd man out in that lot is Lallana. At his best he can give you a little sparkle. Unfortunately, in his time at Liverpool, he’s not really been at his best very often. So right now, for me, he is the one completely on the out.

2020 03 13 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Adrian showed why you spend £65m on a goalkeeper] Do you know what? If anybody ever questions why you spend £65 million on a goalkeeper, you just saw it. Liverpool were 2-0 up in the tie in extra-time. They’re through, if they don’t lose a goal, they’re through. So yes, they could have finished it off earlier, but the fact is they lost the game because of the goalie. They’re through at 2-0, we keep going back to the same thing, they’re through at 2-0. Without the goalkeeper giving the first goal away, Liverpool go through.

Atletico Madrid, other than the first minute of the game, never looked like scoring, never got near the goal, absolutely nowhere near it, complete and utter dominance, complete and utter total control [but] because one guy then gets involved and makes a mess of it, that’s why they’re out. You cannot look at it any other way. We can complain about missed chances - the fact is they were through with a clean sheet and the goalkeeper for the second time in three years has blown it for them

2020 03 14 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol says Mohamed Salah is the most frustrating player in the Premier League] Winning is the deodorant of the game, it covers all bad smells. Winning covers a lot of bad things. You can say it with Salah. Salah’s form this season, is there a guy that frustrates you more in the Premier League or anywhere else with the things he does in a game? Then all of a sudden he will produce something. So you could say the same about him as well. But again, he plays every game and why? Because they win

2020 03 17 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Mane out? Only if Werner comes in] That’s only any good if you bring in Timo Werner. Unfortunately there aren’t many [players like Werner] around. What if Werner wants to go elsewhere? The way it’s being talked about is if it’s done. ‘Timo Werner says he wants to go, so it’s done’. Guess what, there was a guy called Kylian Mbappe who told everyone he wanted to go to Real Madrid, he ended up at PSG

2020 03 27 Retrieve

[Liverpool legend Steve Nicol criticises Rio Ferdinand for saying Premier League season should be voided] Why [void the season]? The way [Ferdinand] was talking, it was all about the safety of the players

Well, the players aren’t training, they’re not together, the teams aren’t together. When they do start playing again and are together, then they’ll be no risk to the players.

There’s ten games to go. Listen, if we were only ten games in, I would have absolutely no problem with voiding the season

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Mythbuster: Ferguson knocked Liverpool ‘right off their f*cking perch’] The last time we won the league (1989-90), we were in decline from the team the year before. There’s no way we played half as well or with the same passion or commitment that year. That’s when [the decline] started.

[The Hillsborough tragedy, the 1989 stadium crush which had claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, had affected the players deeply, far more than they were willing to admit, even to themselves] Three years of being unable to focus properly. Three years of playing in a bubble. Three years on autopilot. It was hard to realise that was the case at the time. Impossible, in fact. Trying, and failing, to deal with the aftermath was obviously having an effect but nobody knew how to properly cope with it

2020 04 11 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Mane’s great but Barnes was better] I’d have to say no. I think Sadio Mane is lucky the way Liverpool play. His job is pretty much to stay on one half of the field. Yes, he does come back and help out defensively every now and again, but generally he’s told to stay in the attacking half of the field and go at defenders. Now Barnesy, with the ball at his feet dribbling, at his best, was better than Mane. Unfortunately for Barnesy he had to do a lot more work in a game because one of his responsibilities was to defend, to get back behind the ball and be in a defensive position. As great as Sadio Mane is, John Barnes is one of the best players I have ever played with - and I’ve played with a lot of good players at Liverpool. Barnesy was absolutely fantastic, unplayable sometimes - actually, most of the time until he unfortunately tore his Achilles and that curtailed him a little. Before that, absolute lights out

2020 05 02 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol admits Naby Keita may have failed to live up to expectations at Liverpool] Yes I think it is [early to call Keita a flop]. I think because of the strength in depth Klopp’s got in the middle of the midfield, when Naby Keita initially came in and didn’t settle very quickly, then you don’t play him because you can play other players. Certain teams can bring a player in and even though they’re not hitting the heights they thought, they have to stick with him and they have to give them time. So I think Naby Keita, yes he hasn’t lived up to what we thought he could be just yet, I think he still can, but he will certainly need more time. So I’m not ready to call him a flop yet

[Nicol hopes the Reds can get over the line by finishing their schedule] No I don’t [think Liverpool should be awarded the title]. I think when everybody’s clear to start playing then you see out the season, that’s always been my stance. And actually, regardless of Liverpool, I think it’s even more important for the relegation battles because if you’re going to decide to give the title to Liverpool then clearly you’re going to decide who comes up, who comes down, and the reasons behind that, which is never going to work. So personally I wouldn’t give it to Liverpool, I think you see the season out, considering there’s what, nine, 10 games of the season left.

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Liverpool urged to land Werner over Koulibaly as Nicol looks for attack to be prioritised] Listen, if I had a wish list then I would wish to have Koulibaly alongside Van Dijk. But if you’re saying I can only have one choice, I’m going to go with Timo Werner. I think the front three need a lot more rotation than the backline. The way Liverpool play, the way that front three presses when they play together, eventually it’s going to catch up with them. They’ve been unbelievable for the last 18 months but you cannot keep that up for six, seven years. You need a break. I think defensively [Joe] Gomez has done enough to make Klopp be comfortable. He’s not Koulibaly but I’ll tell you what, he’s not far off it. So if it’s a choice between the two, I’m going to edge it towards Timo Werner

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol believes the Reds should prioritise the signing of Werner ahead of a play for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly] Listen, if I had a wish list then I would wish to have Koulibaly alongside Van Dijk. But if you’re saying I can only have one choice, I’m going to go with Timo Werner. I think the front three need a lot more rotation than the backline. The way Liverpool play, the way that front three presses when they play together, eventually it’s going to catch up with them. They’ve been unbelievable for the last 18 months but you cannot keep that up for six, seven years. You need a break. I think defensively [Joe] Gomez has done enough to make Klopp be comfortable. He’s not Koulibaly but I’ll tell you what, he’s not far off it. So if it’s a choice between the two, I’m going to edge it towards Timo Werner

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Liverpool legend Nicol refutes big billing] I think it’s very difficult to turn around and say he’s the best centre-back ever in the Premier League history because the problem is right now he’s current and that’s what Kompany’s focusing on. I think the other thing you have to remember is that it was such an obvious problem Liverpool had, it was such a gaping hole in the back, the reason they couldn’t get across the line is because they were losing goals. The best guy around in the Premier League at Southampton was Van Dijk and he’s come in and he has been superb. He right now, no question, is the top centre-back in world football, never mind just in the Premier League. It’s a short space at the very top with Liverpool, two seasons, so I’m not quite ready to say he’s the best one ever. He’s certainly up there in the argument but just a little early for me to be throwing that sort of accolade around

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Liverpool can get Haaland if they are Europe’s top team] In five years time we don’t know who is going to be top of the tree. Whoever it is, that’s the move for him because what he has shown us up until now is he looks like the real deal. He is like the heir to the throne of the best forward in the world and that means you play for the best team. Hopefully it is Liverpool in four or five years, I don’t know if they can sustain what they are doing now. He will go to the very top team

It would be great for Man Utd but I don’t think it would be particularly great for Haaland. I think that’s ultimately why he didn’t go. If the situation at Manchester United had been 10 or 15 years ago where they were top of the league and in the Champions League then it would have been a tougher decision. I think where United are right now and where Haaland and Dortmund are, it was kind of the perfect fit. It was a smart move

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Van Dijk could beat up anybody, including Drogba] Well I’m interested to know which part of his game he’s not happy with because if you’re looking for a physical battle, are you telling me that Van Dijk couldn’t beat anybody up physically? Even Drogba? It would be great to watch but don’t tell me that Drogba would walk all over him physically. Pace-wise I don’t remember seeing anybody, whether it’s the Premier League or the Champions League, running past this guy. So that’s not a problem. Can he pass the ball? Yes, he can pass the ball. I’d love to know which part of Van Dijk’s game he thinks would be susceptible to any of these strikers that he was talking about

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Henderson’s made more of an impact than Alonso] Well you have to say that Henderson’s been more effective because Liverpool have won the Champions League and he’s pushed them, he’s one of the main reasons why they’re going to win the Premier League. As great a footballer as Alonso was, I think the influence that Henderson has had on this team has been bigger than Alonso had. Listen, as football players, Alonso’s a better technician than Jordan Henderson. I don’t think that’s in question. So it becomes the biggest impact and I think no doubt Henderson’s made a bigger impact in this Liverpool side than Alonso did for the team he played for.

2020 06 13 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Landing Philippe Coutinho in a cut-price deal would be a no-brainer for Liverpool] Absolutely. Why wouldn’t you? I can’t think of one reason why you wouldn’t. The only place he’s excelled at is Liverpool. The place loves him, he loves the place. Can you imagine adding Coutinho to a squad that, right now are still champions of Europe even though they’re out of this year’s competition, and are going to win the Premier League? You’re going to add a player with the ability of Coutinho, who is going to come in and be in the same situation as a Timo Werner for example, where he is there to fight to get in the starting XI. If it’s cut-price, yeah. Listen, this guy’s making over £13m clear a year. He’s going to have to take a hit. The price to buy him is going to have to take a hit but if the money’s right, [it’s an] absolute no-brainer. If the money’s right, this would be absolutely fantastic for Liverpool

I’d take him - for the right price. When he last was at Liverpool, he didn’t only play wide in a front three, he played wide as one of three in the middle of the park. Do I think he could do that today? No. He just seems to have completely lost his way. I didn’t expect him to be able to do it at Liverpool, and he did, which was fantastic. But he seems to have lost his way. If he was to come back to Liverpool, it would take some time to get back in the swing of the Premier League.

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[Steve Nicol says Liverpool making a mistake missing out on Werner] I think it is [a mistake], yes. Regardless of how good you are, you have to make sure you stay where you are at the very least. That means you need competition for places. No question, Werner would have given the front three - as great as they are and have been - it would have kept them on their toes. The front three of Liverpool can now breathe a little easier. I think Liverpool have slipped up here. Saying that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Werner had something to do with this. At the end of the day, if you want to go somewhere you can make it happen. It looks to me like Werner has changed his mind.