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Joe Fagan: “We shall respect them, but we are going to win here…”

Joe Fagan’s team talk before our 1984 European Final remains relevant in current times as Roma players share their views on our upcoming Champions League semi-final at Anfield

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Joe Fagan’s name is not heard often enough among supporters, when managers from our glory days are discussed and; as he was a rather unassuming and uncomplicated man, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. But, he was a treble winning manager; his achievement at that time was unprecedented as he guided Liverpool to the European Cup, the League Championship and the League Cup during his first season at the helm. He had worked with Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley from December 1959 and became assistant manager to Paisley after Shankly retired in 1974 and went on to take over as manager after Paisley retired in 1983.

On Friday, Liverpool CEO, Peter Moore, with the assistance of the Fagan Family shared the late Joe Fagan’s pre-match team talk before Liverpool’s Champions League victory over AS Roma in 1984.

Here’s the transcript of the talk:

Conti goes to the left, the right and also end up in centre forward position. Don’t forget if he is in our way close up on him - he can do a bit. Don’t give free kicks away outside the box - you know how good they are at falling down. We are not going man to man Falcao. But the nearest man pick him up quick.
We shall respect them but we are going to win here. Let them do all the worrying about us. We are as good as them if not better. All this shit talked about a good match is not on. We are going for the ball nothing else- get it first then let’s play our natural game. Same formation that brought us to the final. Kenny (Dalglish) and Craig (Johnston) in the deep-lying wide forward position- ready to get it off their midfield men then strike quickly.
All the best- let’s do ‘em!!
Don’t forget - move don’t stand. Goalkeeper (theirs) - can’t hold a shot - parries the ball.

What Roma Had to Say

AS Roma players have been quite open about their feelings leading up to Tuesday. Roma midfielder, the 29 year old Belgian international, Radja Nainggolan admitted to Belgian publication HLN, that drawing Liverpool was definitely not what the team had been hoping for, but that he is looking forward to seeing Mohamed Salah again, saying;

I wasn’t happy with the draw, because in my view Liverpool were the toughest team out of the three. It’s not that they have more quality than Real Madrid or Bayern, but they put a lot of hard work in and have nothing to lose.
Real and Bayern might’ve underestimated Roma, but Liverpool are warriors, a bit like us.
It’ll be nice to see Momo again, we had a good rapport. He’s a good guy, sweet and respectful, as well as being an excellent player. I am not surprised by his success at Liverpool, as he always had the quality.
The only difference now is perhaps he’s got more opportunities and also learned to keep a cool head in front of goal. I’m a fan of his.

On the flip side perhaps, Kostas Manolas, Roma defender, who was one of the goal scorers as Roma overcame their 4 – 1 deficit to defeat Barcelona in Rome 3 – 0, had this to say about Tuesday night’s clash:

We won’t man-mark Salah, because we stopped Barcelona and Leo Messi with teamwork, so we can stop Salah the same way. It won’t be easy, of course, but we are ready. Our belief this season comes from the philosophy of football that the Coach gives us. Roma must never change their way of thinking, no matter the opponent. Di Francesco is a very European Coach, he always asks us to dominate the game with pressing and intensity. It’s also true that we ought to have another six or seven points in Serie A, but when we play in the Champions League, it does bring something more out of us.

It’s evident that Roma are worrying about playing us at Anfield on Tuesday night, under the lights... We are as good as them. No, scratch that! I, believe that we are better. After all, WE have Mohamed Salah now.
Bring on Tuesday night, get in! And in the words, of Smokin’ Joe Fagan, Let’s do ‘em!!

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