Collymore’s column: Alejandro Garnacho has the world at his feet and Mason Mount to Liverpool is on!

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In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including Alejandro Garnacho’s bright future, a look ahead to Liverpool vs Manchester United on Sunday and Mason Mount’s rumoured switch to Anfield.


Alejandro Garnacho… what a player!

Alejandro Garnacho scored a beautiful goal against West Ham in the FA Cup earlier in the week and although his strike didn’t end up being the game’s winning goal, it certainly had that feel to it.

I really like him. He’s aggressive and technically, he’s really sound. He’s a very raw young lad, so Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United will have to afford him a lot of patience. Look how long it’s taken Marcus Rashford to develop into the player he is today for example, it won’t happen overnight for Garnacho but the future is really bright for him. He’s got the world at his feet.

The most important thing for him over the next few years will be having his game time properly managed and there’s no manager better for that than Ten Hag. The player himself probably won’t be aware, but I guarantee you Ten Hag and his coaching staff will already have a plan in place for the youngster. They’d have had conversations about giving him minutes in this game, withdrawing him for that game etc. and that kind of management will serve him very well because long gone are the days of just chucking a player in and expecting them to play 20 or 25 games.

The demands of footballers these days are a lot higher, especially in the day and age of social media. Garnacho will see both the hype and the criticism he’s receiving online and it’s the club’s job to protect him from that as much as possible. Sir Alex Ferguson was an expert at that when it came to young, raw players. Wayne Rooney was a perfect example – Ferguson shielded him as much as possible and made sure his focus was where it needed to be and I expect Ten Hag to take a similar approach with Garnacho.

It’s worth noting as well – I think the way Mikel Arteta has developed Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka has been admirable. I actually expect Manchester United to draw inspiration from the way the Gunners have handled their young and exciting stars. Arsenal’s development system seems to be the blueprint for how to do it right so big credit to them and Arteta for that.

Points to be shared this weekend at Anfield…

The feature Premier League game this weekend is of course Liverpool hosting Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

I’ve been involved in and watched so many of these games to be weary of expecting a spectacle. I’m not saying it won’t be a good game, but I’m not expecting a goal-fest. There’s too much pride at stake. Manchester United haven’t won at Anfield in their last six visits and Liverpool will be determined not to lose that stat on Sunday.

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I’m sure both sides will have their share of chances, but ultimately, I expect them to cancel each other out. I think Ten Hag and Jurgen Klopp will be very cautious when it comes to over-committing players in the opposition’s final third so it may come down to a moment of magic, or individual brilliance.

I could be wrong, but my prediction for the game is a very hard-fought score draw – I’m going with 1-1. I think both sides would be happy with that before moving on to the next one.

Mason Mount to Liverpool…

I’ve been told by two very reliable people, one of which being a person who knows Mason Mount personally, that his rumoured move to Liverpool this summer is very much on!

It’s already being discussed within both clubs. There is a lot still to decide though, particularly at Chelsea. There will be a lot of outgoings and probably some more incomings so a lot will depend on what the club decides to do but the fact they’re already talking about the possibility of letting Mount go says a lot.

As for the type of player Mount is, I think he’d fit in really well at Liverpool. He’s a high-energy, high-work-rate midfielder that can play anywhere on the left side of a central three. He’s also an England international with plenty of experience winning silverware, including the Champions League. He has a really good relationship with both Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham too, which I know is a big plus for Liverpool.

Mount is also in the age category that Liverpool are really lacking in. We know they’ve got a lot of experienced players, but most are past their peak, and then at the other end of the spectrum, they’ve got young stars, such as Stefan Bajectic, so for Mount, at the age of 24, to come in, he’s the perfect profile.

Let’s not forget as well, his deal with Chelsea runs out in less than 18 months’ time, so if he’s determined he’s not going to sign a contract extension, Chelsea will have to sell him or they’ll lose him for free and his profile is too good to let that happen, so for Liverpool, he’s a genuinely attainable target.

The only thing, in my opinion, that may prevent this deal from happening is the fact Mount is one of Chelsea’s own. They could prioritise ensuring he stays because it’s never a good look for a club to lose a player that’s been with them their whole career, from the youth academy upwards.

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