Djibril Cisse Opinions

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On Liverpool

 

Liverpool seem to be in a three-horse race for fourth place. After the win against Man Utd, do you back the Reds to claim it?

It will be hard for them. If they play at the level that they should, they can make a surprise comeback. It will be hard but not impossible.

 

If Liverpool secure top 4 at the end of the season, is that a testament to Jurgen Klopp’s skill as a manager? Or should he, and the team, have done better?

It’s a bit of both. If they finish in the top 4, it will show their mental strength. However, for the players and squad we have - Top 4 is not enough for the fans, the team or the manager and Liverpool should have done better.

 

What will it take for Liverpool to produce the comeback at the Bernabeu in the second leg of their Champions League tie? What’s your prediction?

The Champions League is a special competition in which Liverpool have produced some crazy moments - particularly the 2005 final. The club has a special relationship with the competition and with serious comebacks. It will be a tough game because Real Madrid are the best team in Europe. But Liverpool have a lot of quality, Mo Salah is on fire at the moment, Darwin Nunez is starting to be the top scorer that we needed and defensively we are getting better, so I ask, Why not?

 

In 2005, you were a crucial part of the famous night in Istanbul. What advice would you give to Klopp and his players ahead of the Real Madrid game?

I don’t think I’m the one to give them advice! But I would say that Liverpool need to be strong and not concede early - but also score early. They need to be patient and not rush their football. As a collective, they need to be strong.

 

What’s your verdict on Gakpo and Nunez? Both had good games against Man Utd

I followed Gakpo during the World Cup and I like him a lot. He is really effective and scores goals, creates assists and is a real team player. He and Darwin are both doing well. Then you have Mo Salah- who will always be ‘’MO SALAH!’’ To be honest, I think something is possible in terms of a comeback at Real Madrid, anything is possible with Liverpool. It is impossible to say something isn’t possible for Liverpool because they have made some serious comebacks in the past.

 

What is your prediction for Liverpool’s clash against Bournemouth at the weekend?

I see Liverpool winning 3-1 against Bournemouth. Salah will score for sure, Gakpo will score and I think a midfielder will score- maybe Jordan Henderson!

 

What are your thoughts about Roberto Firmino leaving in the summer? Are Liverpool risking another Sadio Mane scenario?

Roberto Firmino has been in the club for a while now and as of late he hasn’t been playing regularly. I can understand his frustrations because he is a player that wants to play all the time as a top player.

With the young players in the club, maybe he feels that he isn’t going to play as much. It is a difficult situation for him, but from his point of view it is the right decision. As a fan, I like his mentality and playing style. It will be a loss for Liverpool but a player like him needs to play every game.

 

Is there anyone who springs to mind as an ideal replacement?

I want to see Kylian Mbappe at Liverpool. I think it is a perfect match and league for him. Look at what Mo Salah is achieving at the moment - he could achieve the same things. Top clubs need top players, so I would love to see Mbappe there - but I know a lot of clubs want him.

 

Mason Mount has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal, would he be a good signing?

Mason Mount is a good young player with a bright future ahead of him. He will be good at any club that he joins.

 

Harry Kane has been linked with a move to Man Utd. Do you think Liverpool should beat them to the punch?

Liverpool shouldn’t go for Harry Kane, they have enough strikers. I wouldn’t want to create another Chelsea situation in which we sign a lot of players where nobody plays and nobody produces. I don’t think it’s a priority for Liverpool to sign Harry Kane.

 

Should Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool sign him, do you think the winner for his signature could win the league?

Harry Kane is a top striker who will do well wherever he goes. Having a top striker doesn’t guarantee you the league. It’s a well organised and strong team that wins the league, not just one player.

He is a top player but he would not be enough to guarantee winning the league.

 

You have previously expressed a desire for Kylian Mbappe to join Liverpool. If they could afford it, would he be tempted by Anfield?

Kylian Mbappe will feel at home and loved at Liverpool. He will also produce great football. I believe it's either his mum or another member of his family that loves Liverpool and it would be great to see him join.

 

If the Mbappe transfer was to go ahead, who would be better in the Premier League, Mbappe or Erling Haaland?

Mbappe and Erling Haaland are two very different players so it is hard to decide. What I do know is that there will be a lot of goals from the pair of them and it will be interesting to see.


Nostalgia Questions

 

What was your relationship with Jamie Carragher like?

My relationship with Jamie Carragher was good. When I arrived, it was both him and Steven Gerrard who made me feel very welcome. I don't remember any bad situations with him. He was a great and friendly guy.

 

Who was the greatest player you ever played with?

When you are lucky enough to play with Zidane- I think it’s a no-brainer. Zidane was the best player in the world and of all time for me personally. It was really special to share the pitch with him.

 

Who was the greatest player at Liverpool?

Liverpool were a strong team and collective and many players come to mind. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher were our leaders, Xabi Alonso and Sami Hyppia were also very important. If I had to name one, it would be Steven Gerrard.

 

How much would Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso be worth in today’s market?

Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso should be worth a lot of money. They were top quality players and were top class in terms of mentality and the football they played. I would say anywhere between £90-100M.

 

How much do you think you would have been worth in today’s market?

Football has changed over time. The way you buy and sell players has completely changed. I don’t know and wouldn’t want to know, but if I had to put a figure on it, I would be worth between £60-90M. It may not be the right price, but it is the market price.

 

What was your relationship like with Peter Crouch? It’s often said strikers competing for the same spots can suffer in their personal relationships?

Both me and Peter Crouch were strikers, but we often played together. We were two different players. My quality was the pace and finding gaps on the pitch and Crouch was the tall target man.

He was still technically gifted and very skilful. He’s a top guy, we never really had any issues and he was never a rival for me. He was a teammate. Sometimes I played, sometimes he played. There was no rivalry.

 

Steven Finnan is often hailed by teammates for being one of the most underrated players they played with. Do you agree with that?

Steven Finnan was definitely underrated. He was also very quiet, didn’t make any noise but in training and in matches, he was producing and was really good. However, his shy personality didn’t help him.

If he was more loud and confrontational, he would have had a better career and more respect. But he was a terrific player.

 

Without your horrific injuries, do you think your Premier League career would have gone in a different direction?

When you are off the pitch with injury for six months. It has been a long time. I assume that I would probably score more goals, help the team and win more trophies. Without the injuries, my career would have been different.

 

You often hail Steven Gerrard’s half time talk in the 2005 Champions League Final as the reason you won it. What was your relationship like with Stevie G in your playing days?

When I arrived, he played a really important role. As a captain, he helped me a lot and tried his best to make me feel like a valued member of the club. I really like the guy and we stay in contact from time to time. He was and is still a great guy and we have a good relationship.

 

Given how you bravely overcame injury twice, what advice would you give to Luiz Diaz who is currently slowly coming back to the line-up?

I would advise Luiz Diaz to be strong. It’s a mental game and your body is going to recover anyway. It’s the way you think and the way you approach things. Always be positive, have a positive mind and follow the instructions. Even if you feel that you are ok, you must listen to the medical staff. He should never give up either.

 

In terms of Liverpool’s midfield crisis, would you like to see the likes of Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice at the club?

Declan Rice is a top player who could bring something to the squad. However in the midfield I do like Jordan Henderson and wouldn’t want to rule him out. Perhaps Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson could be a serious partnership.


On Sunderland/QPR

 

You previously praised Roy Keane as a manager. What made him so good?

Roy Keane as a human being was very different from what everyone says about him - in terms of him being angry and screaming all the time. He was actually really calm.

He was a fair manager, if you were a better player than another in your position you would be playing instead of them. It was a short period of time, but I really liked him.

 

You recalled a time when he screamed at you at half-time, then you scored, and thanked him. Were there any other stories like that?

At Sunderland, I remember we were playing in a cup game against a lower division side and he had rested me because of a bigger game at the weekend. We were losing 1-0 at half time and in the dressing room, he went mad! He was kicking and throwing everything in the changing room, it was really funny.

We luckily won the match in the end. But that was the part of Roy that I really liked. He was fair but he could be mad at the same time - just like me! That’s why I like him

 

Could he manage Manchester United in the future?

I think he can manage them for sure. He knows the club, the city and everything by heart. He knows everything there. He is a club legend who captained the team. He would be a perfect match.

 

Wayne Rooney said in an interview he felt Man City’s Title winning victory over QPR was suspicious. Did you find that insulting?

I understand why Wayne Rooney would question City’s comeback against QPR that day. It was strange. Though, it was up to Manchester United to win the league during the season and if they left it until the last day, that is not our fault. I like Rooney and feel his pain, but it wasn’t up to us. They should have secured the win early on.

For us, we were winning 1-0 and then we conceded a red card. We then conceded a goal in the last second, but trust me I was in the squad and no-one said ‘’Let’s lose the game for Manchester City,’’ I would have never let that happen. I love football too much and I am a professional 

 

What was it like playing with Joey Barton?

I definitely heard about Joey Barton and his reputation, but I didn’t want to base my judgement on other people’s opinions, I wanted to see for myself.

To be honest, it went really well. He was cool with me, we didn’t really have any arguments between us. We were honest with each other. If he screamed at me over a mistake I would take it and vice versa. He later signed with Marseille and that’s where I am from. I heard the same thing from them about Joey. He was a really humble guy.

 

You have expressed an interest in a comeback to football to reach 100 Ligue 1 goals, which team would you play for and why?

When you are a striker and goalscorer you are obsessed with scoring goals, especially when you are so close to such a milestone. It haunts you a little bit. Is it going to happen?

I don’t think so, I don't think the clubs are willing to do it. I don’t understand because there is no money involved, I've said I will play for free. This is just to reach a milestone that is very important to me, but I don't think any clubs want to hear it.

 

What do you think you can give to those clubs now?

I can share my experience in the changing rooms and help the young guys try and improve and deal with situations on the pitch. I could help not only on the pitch but in the changing room too.

 

Are there any players from the 2005 squad that could play in the current team?

It’s different eras so it’s always hard to compare. I think players like Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyppia could all play now 

 

What about Mo Salah, could he have played back then?

I think Mo Salah could definitely have played in that squad.

 

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V: 1.24.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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