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Phil Neal exclusive: Gerrard best ever captain

lfchistory met briefly with Phil Neal. We asked him about the current state of affairs. Neal promised a detailed interview on lfchistory about his career with Liverpool in a not too distant future. Here are Neal’s views on the current squad: 

The team has got to be improved. Steven Gerrard said it recently. It’s not good enough for Liverpool Football Club. I have heard that from every manager I’ve played under. Every skipper has said it sooner or later as every team has one disaster in the year. I think that is the right attitude by Steven Gerrard. He could be the best captain ever of Liverpool Football Club. I think I am a great assessor of good captains. I’ve played under several. Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Graeme Souness. But he needs to be lifting trophies.

I would like five or six players in the modern day squad who could give me seven out of ten every week. Steady Eddies. The Phil Neals, Steven Gerrards, Jamie Carraghers. We have to get back this solidness at the back of giving nothing away. I like the partnership of Henchoz and Hyypia. That’s a positive. Kirkland has been a bit prone to injury. Riise needs to kick up a gear. He needs to shoot again, hit the target more often. He’s got great legs and he might be just the person we need on the left hand side that allows Kewell to go more forward.

I don’t know what’s our best team. That’s the worrying situation. You can complain about Heskey, Cheyrou etc. We have to support them in a way. We have to play in a more attacking vein. In the derby game we battered Everton. In the last 20 minutes it was more like the old team. So they can do it, they can put people under constant pressure. But I would like to see Gerard Houllier and his team go to win more games other than survive more games. We can pass our history away now. It’s been 14 years since we won the championship. It comes to the stage where we’ve got to do for today. I hope the future holds Michael Owen. I hope and pray they can snatch 4th place this year. It might secure even a short-term contract with Michael Owen. If it does I will be quite happy but I would hate our club to be fighting for 4th place by November 2004.

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