Brad Friedel exclusive: Alisson could be the Premier League’s greatest keeper ever
“Alison is way up there. People could think he’s the best of all time and have an argument for him. Others may think it’s Schmeichel, Seaman, or Van der Sar: they’re all in the conversation, and it comes down to who you like. But I would not argue against someone thinking he is the best ever.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Alisson is better than Ederson but the City stopper is fun to watch
“They’re different keepers and I would put Alisson ahead slightly, but someone could sit next to me and argue the other way.
Ederson is better with his feet. He’s special with his feet, superb. Alisson is probably a touch better with shot-stopping overall. They’re the same on crosses and one-on-ones.
Maybe Alisson is a larger figure and has a bigger presence but with Ederson I turn on the TV to be entertained by a goalkeeper and it’s not often you can say that. I like watching goalkeepers, don’t get me wrong, but I turn on the TV wanting the ball to go to his feet. I want to see how composed he is. I want to see him hit a seventy-yard pass on a dime. He’s fun to watch.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Villa’s Martinez is a stand-out keeper because he has more to do
“I think Martinez at Villa is really good and two years ago in particular, Villa had a really good season. But they don’t have the budget of the big clubs and so he’s exposed a bit more. He isn’t ‘let down’ so to speak but he definitely has worked more than other keepers.
This happens. I had a couple of seasons with Blackburn where we were really good but we weren’t as strong as Arsenal or Manchester United or Chelsea. So in those games I had a bit more to do. That doesn’t mean our team was bad.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Liverpool are so close to being great title winners
“The Premier League title is hard to win, especially when you’re going up against a team like Manchester City who are managed by Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers of all time. Then you also have Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United that are incredible clubs with big, big budgets as well. Then you also have the nature of the Premier League, where you can lose to the team on the bottom on any given day – it’s the most competitive league in the world.
So I wouldn’t say it would be a let down if Liverpool don’t win it this season but of course they will really, really want to lift that trophy. They’re so close and they’re so good.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Liverpool need to strengthen in midfield and Klopp knows this
“If Liverpool went through the whole season with no injuries and no suspensions in midfield then they’ll be okay. But that usually doesn’t happen.
Now that Mane is out and Nunez is in, I think Jurgen Klopp and his staff will be focusing on midfield, that’s where they’ll be looking but it will take a special player to come in, because he will have to be better than what they have or younger with the potential of being better.
I don’t think Jurgen Klopp will need the fans or me to tell him that. I think that’s a fair assessment of where things are. If they ensure a season like a couple of years ago where their midfield is depleted like their defense was, then it will be hard for them. Then again, the same would be true of Manchester City or Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Klopp and Guardiola are both equally incredible
“Pep and Klopp are level. They’ve both had different scenarios to deal with. Just because you have more money that doesn’t mean it’s always necessarily easier. If you purchase the wrong player with the wrong attitude and they’re on even more money, then you have more of a problem.
I think Jurgen Klopp had a little bit more rebuilding to do, concerning the whole structure of the club. But Pep structures his team almost on a weekly basis.
I think both are level and it’s similar to the Alisson/Ederson debate where you could debate for Pep or for Klopp all day long and nobody would be wrong.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Gerrard was a leader from the get-go
“When Steven Gerrard was a teenager he was a leader by example on the field. Then I left and played against him many times and he became a very vocal leader on the field, as he matured and got better and better in his own game. I think Gerrard Houllier had a lot to do with that, molding him into not just a great player but a great person of football.
When he was young it was obvious he had what it took to become a great player. Then he became an on-field general, so to speak, so yes, as the years went on you could tell that he had the makings of a very good manager.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Villa are right to financially back Gerrard, a future great manager
“Top six would be tough for Villa, with all the quality teams in the Premier League. Top ten is achievable. I don’t know what the remit is from the board but he is the type of manager to financially back, and give him the tools to succeed. I think he has the makings of one of the very best managers. Players really enjoy playing for him.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Spurs and Conte are fun to watch
“Success for Spurs over the next few years is to continue getting into the Champions League. If they can have that one remarkable season where they win the league because everything falls into place then that would be incredible. The club is that desperate to win a trophy that I don’t think it matters if it’s the League Cup, or FA Cup, or Premier League.
The job that Conte has done since he’s come in has been fun to watch. A lot of it is defensive but tactically his teams are set up so well and the players are behind him. The effort that they put out is tremendous and what he got out of Son this past year is remarkable.
They have so far got some business done early, which is not something Spurs usually do and this reflects a good relationship between the sporting director, Conte and the board.
So the signs look good but it’s essential they stay in the top four because that gives them a budget to build.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Spurs are close to competing at the very top
“I think defensively Spurs need to shore up a little bit in order to be competing at the very top. They have goals in the team. Bissouma is a very good signing because he can help with the defensive side. He’s very strong and energetic and has a good range of passes.
They need to concede less when it comes down to it but they’re not far off.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Quiet leader Hugo Lloris is incredible for Spurs
“Lloris has had an incredible career and has been at Tottenham for over ten years now. I think people around the game respect him highly. He is very calm, reliable and consistent, a good team-mate and quiet leader. He’s humble and you know exactly what you’re going to get with Hugo.
He has played in some of the very biggest games, both in club football and internationally, so you have an unflapable goalkeeper who occasionally pulls off a spectacular save. If he does make a mistake he’s experienced enough and has the mentality to deal with it very well.”
Brad Friedel exclusive: Ramsdale can claim England jersey but first must be first choice at Arsenal
“If Aaron Ramsdale beats out Matt Turner and is the number one at Arsenal, he has an opportunity to claim the number one spot for England. If he’s number two at the Emirates, then it’s Pickford’s.”