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Glen Johnson on Liverpool’s greatest Premier League player: “I’d have to go with Luis Suarez”

Glen Johnson believes Luis Suarez is the best Liverpool player of the PL era.
Glen Johnson believes Luis Suarez is the best Liverpool player of the PL era.

A sensational individual effort against Manchester City has intensified the debate regarding where Mohamed Salah ranks amongst Liverpool’s greatest players of all-time. 

The club’s former right-back Glen Johnson played with the likes of Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard during his time at Anfield, so BettingOdds.com caught up with Glen to find out who he believes is the best Liverpool player of the Premier League era. 

We also got the chance to pick his brain regarding whether he believes that Chelsea are the favourites for the Premier League title, his thoughts on the rumours linking his old teammate Philippe Coutinho with a return to England and his reaction to his former manager Claudio Raneri being named the new manager of Watford.

After Sunday's game between Liverpool and Manchester City, all the pundits on Sky Sports agreed that Liverpool should consider themselves fortunate to have come away from the fixture with a point and that Manchester City are now the side to beat this season in the Premier League title. You’ve backed Chelsea for the title every time we’ve spoken to you, but have City’s recent performances away at Stamford Bridge and Anfield swayed your opinion?

 

“I’ve always backed Chelsea for the title this season and I’m not going to change that mindset so early on in the season. It’s not that I believe that Chelsea are going to completely dominate the league this season because they, as well as Manchester City and Liverpool, are three fantastic teams. Earlier on in the season I believed that Chelsea had more going in their favour, but then you watch that second-half between Liverpool and Manchester City then you wouldn’t be surprised if any of those two sides won the Premier League either. 

“Manchester City are obviously great but sometimes I watch them and they’re missing a gap in that number nine role. Sometimes their players are so good that it allows them to get away with it, but in the big games that missing forward could mean all the difference. However City’s squad is so strong that they can deal with a lot of situations that are thrown their way.”

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Mohamed Salah on Sunday scored his 101st Premier League goal for Liverpool, a week after he became the fastest Liverpool player ever to reach 100 league goals. Where for you personally does he rank amongst the club’s best players in the Premier League era?

“What he’s achieved has been amazing and I don’t think anybody could have envisioned that from his days at Chelsea. Mohamed Salah is unbelievable and he’s right up there amongst the best Liverpool players to have played in the Premier League. I played with Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, so it’s hard for me to look past players such as them, but if you have any of those players playing in your team then you’re doing something right. Mo deserves all the credit he’s getting as he’s a goal machine and he works his socks off. He’s bounced back really well from his time at Chelsea so he deserves all the credit that comes his way.

“If I had to choose who Liverpool’s best player of the Premier League era is then I’d have to go with Luis Suarez. The reason why is because I knew him and I knew what he was capable of doing. Unfortunately I only get to see Mohammed Salah at the weekend like everybody else. I don’t know what he’s like in training, but from what I see during his games then I imagine he’s an absolute workhorse.”

 

You recently stated in an interview that your former teammate Philippe Coutinho could have been the best player in the world. Now he is being linked with a January return to the Premier League with either Arsenal or Tottenham. After being left out in the cold by Barcelona for the past year, how much do you think that would limit his impact if he was to join one of those two sides in the January window?

“The thing with Phil is that he needs to get playing again. He has the ability to do whatever he wants, but people wrongly assume that a great player going to a big club is going to just work instantly. He’s struggled with a couple of injuries whilst at Barcelona too, but I do think if a Premier League side could sign him then I would highly recommend it because this guy can play and he would be an unbelievable asset. 

“He’s linked with the two big North London clubs and if he was to go to one of them then I’d say Tottenham if I’m being honest. Philippe knows that he’s not in a great position at the moment and if he was to go to an Arsenal side who are struggling, then that could affect him even more. Arsenal obviously have some very good players, but they’re so far away from the top four which is evident from their performances that they can’t afford to have a luxury player such as Philippe Coutinho. You need to build the foundations of a team before you can start prioritising the signing of a number ten. In general, Tottenham are going in a better direction than Arsenal.

“Philippe absolutely has the ability and character to do great things, he just needs a bit of luck. Hopefully his body can put a run of 15 games together so he can get some momentum. When he’s playing under a manager that believes in him, then you will get the best out of him. He’s still young, has bags of experience and you don’t become a bad player overnight, so I think as long as he gets a chance to play then I believe he’ll become a fantastic player for someone again.”

Today's Football Tips

Kai Havertz was instructed by his manager this weekend to ‘give Chelsea more’. Considering the impressive performances of Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi this weekend against Southampton, where do Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic come for you in the Chelsea pecking order if you were to pick your desired front three? Do you believe any of them don’t have a future at Chelsea?

“I do believe they all have a future. Assuming everyone’s fit, then I would be picking [Hakim] Ziyech and [Christian] Pulisic. I think they’ve got a lot more to offer than Hudson-Odoi. Like I say, if everyone’s fit, they are the two that I would start, with Romelu Lukaku. You’re not going to come up against front three’s better than that.

“I think Kai Havertz is obviously a good player but I think sometimes in this league he can slow it down too much. 

“It’s good to see Timo Werner perform well, he works his socks off and he hasn’t had much luck, but it’s good to see him bounce back and get a couple of goals. 

“But it’s Ziyech and Pulisic for me.”

 

And finally, your old Chelsea gaffer Claudio Ranieri has been announced as the new manager of Watford. Would you advise any manager against taking the Watford job considering how prone the club are to not giving managers time? And, in Ranieri, what type of gaffer are they getting?

“Other than Chelsea, Watford’s a pretty hot managerial seat isn’t it?! And Watford’s next ten fixtures are awful. They’re literally playing all the top teams in England. Ranieri won’t have an easy start to be sure. They could easily lose their next five games.

“Ranieri himself is a fantastic bloke, a fantastic manager, who knows the Premier League very well. I felt for Xisco Muñoz for getting the sack so soon, but it’s probably not to do with performances, it’s more to do with the fact that when managers like Ranieri become available to keep you in the league, those moments don’t happen very often, so it was too good for them to turn down, I guess. I do feel for the old manager though.”

 

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