Ask Crouchie! Peter Crouch is back to answer YOUR questions

Ask Crouchie! Peter Crouch is back to answer YOUR questions… on why tough guy Tuchel degraded Hudson-Odoi, how Haaland could kill the title race, and who got the nickname ‘light switch’ at Stoke!

  • Sportsmail‘s resident columnist Peter Crouch is back to answer your questions 
  • It was another week of drama, as Thomas Tuchel showed he’s a tough guy
  • Liverpool flopped again, and Peter explains the reasons behind their slump
  • West Ham, however, are flying and have a real star in their midst in Declan Rice 
  • Plus we saw another masterclass from Erling Haaland in the Bundesliga 

Another weekend of drama and another full inbox for PETER CROUCH to wade through. 

We’ve seen Callum Hudson-Odoi ruthlessly brought off by Thomas Tuchel, and another Erling Haaland masterclass. 

Lots for Sportsmail’s resident columnist to digest, from empty stadiums to a potential player of the year, but the first place to start is Anfield…

Peter Crouch answers more of your questions, including one about Thomas Tuchel (right)

Dean Gilchrist via Twitter

I’ll start by asking a question of my own, Dean: is the derby the only match where Liverpool haven’t turned up? I would have to say no. They have been well off the pace recently but, to be honest, I’ve thought back to the start of the season and there were warning signs then.

I just feel there has been a big drop and the balance of the team has completely gone. No Virgil van Dijk has led to no Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield; those two players provide so much and without them orchestrating things, Liverpool have lost their way.

This is not something I ever expected to write up but they really do have it all to do if they want to finish in the top four. I don’t want to look at the derby, though, without giving Everton due credit because they played really well.

So many players made that result possible — Jordan Pickford was outstanding in goal, I loved the way Seamus Coleman kept Andy Robertson in check and Mason Holgate was brilliant. He needs to be mentioned, he’s different class and is going to be a top player.

Liverpool are lacking balance, and the absence of Virgil van Dijk is being felt

What did you make of Thomas Tuchel’s decision to take off Callum Hudson-Odoi? Did you ever play in a game where a substitute was subbed?

Joe Byrne via email

I have, Joe. I’ve seen it happen a few times. The one I remember most vividly was when I was playing for Stoke. We’d just been relegated and were playing Bristol City away on a Saturday afternoon. Charlie Adam came on in the 42nd minute but was taken off in the 70th minute.

Charlie was fuming about it all and I won’t say that we helped his mood. As he had come on and then went off again, we started to call him ‘light switch’! That poor lad has had to cope with some big nicknames but that might have been the hardest to accept!

Listen, it’s awful for the player involved. Fortunately I never experienced it but I can imagine, from what I know of the game, that Hudson-Odoi will have people in his camp telling him that Tuchel was a disgrace and disrespectful. It is the ultimate humiliation for a player, it’s very degrading.

I can look at it another way, however, and it is striking that Tuchel has shown he is not to be messed around with; he is not afraid to make big decisions. Jose Mourinho used to do it and Tuchel wants to show who is boss.

Crouch was never subbed as a sub like Callum Hudson-Odoi, but he saw it happen at Stoke

How impressed have you been with Ilkay Gundogan? Are there any other players who have stepped up so much?

Jade Craddock via email

He’s been brilliant, Jade. If Manchester City become champions — actually, I should probably say ‘when’ not ‘if’ — there is an argument for Gundogan being named Player of the Year. You have to remember they have played almost all this season without a recognised striker.

Gundogan, however, has stepped up and taken his performances up by several notches. It says a lot about his influence that he has outshone Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, who have been outstanding for City for the last few years.

I love Gundogan’s attitude and he’s improving all the time.

There’s an argument for Ilkay Gundogan being named Player of the Year if City win it all

I was intrigued to hear you say before Liverpool v Leipzig that you don’t think Mo Salah has been given the respect he deserves. Can you explain?

Ian Smith via email

Nice to hear from you, Ian, and I am happy to explain. I feel there is an expectancy with Salah that he will score 30 goals a season, as if it is just a run-of-the-mill achievement. I know he has won a lot of individual awards but I’m not sure he is widely appreciated — even by Liverpool fans.

Let me put it like this: people still talk about Ian St John with great respect and reverence.

Everyone knows he was the man who scored the goal that won Liverpool their first FA Cup and he is spoken of with great fondness, 56 years on.

He gave Liverpool a decade of unbelievable service.

Liverpool fans seem yet to take to Mo Salah like they did with Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres

Salah’s goal in Leipzig last week took him level with St John in the all-time scoring charts.

He’s got to that level in just over three seasons. I find that absolutely staggering but it’s not as if we make a big fuss of what he has done.

I don’t feel he’s been loved by supporters in the way they were besotted with Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres yet he’s won all there is to win and outscored both.

I don’t know whether it’s because Salah is just ruthlessly efficient but my gut feeling is that he deserves a bit more respect.

How much do you want to see Erling Haaland in the Premier League? Which club would suit him best?

Matt Wilkie via email

I can’t get enough of this fella, Matt. What a player we are watching. He’s 20 and he is running over the top of grown men. He is so physically strong, he’s got such exhilarating pace and can score with either foot or his head.

He is the player I want to see more than anyone in the Premier League. To give you an idea of how highly I rate him, I will put it in these terms: if Manchester City buy him, they win the title next year. If Liverpool buy him, they win the title. If Manchester United buy him, they’ll be right there.

My worry would be that if he ended up going to City, following in the footsteps of his Dad, Alfie, then everyone else would need to give up. He’s an incredible player and if you added him to a team that is already close to being the best in Europe, that would be it.

Erling Haaland would make all the difference at any of the big Premier League clubs

Do you think having no crowds at games is helping some teams and hindering others?

Andi Commons via Twitter

It really is, Andi. I’ve been saying this for a long time. Nobody is suffering quite like Liverpool and the Merseyside derby is a different occasion in front of a full house at Anfield. Liverpool feed off the energy in the stadium and they have lost that spark.

On the other hand, it is definitely helping others. West Ham had a difficult start to the season but they have recovered. Their crowd can be unforgiving but they have not had to deal with that added pressure. Equally, I think Newcastle are escaping at the minute. That stadium would be toxic now.

The Merseyside derby is a completely different occasion in front of a full house at Anfield

My team Norwich are looking good. Do you think we can hold on to manager Daniel Farke?

Ken Cope via email

It is looking good, Ken, and I believe Daniel Farke will stay. He’s been brilliant for my old club and I don’t think they will make the mistakes they made in the Premier League last season, provided they finish the job and get promoted again.

You cannot underestimate what an achievement it would be to bounce straight back as champions. You need a solid dressing room to thrive in the Championship, you need good professionals who can cope with the relentless demands. Norwich have done that and are thriving.

Norwich are doing well in the Championship, and Crouch believes Daniel Farke will stay

What do you think about Manchester United using Jesse Lingard in a swap deal to get Declan Rice from West Ham?

DialloTime via Twitter

I love Declan Rice, DialloTime. I have got a few friends who are West Ham fans and they want the club to break the bank, make him club captain and do all that it takes to keep him there for the next 15 years. He’s a brilliant player and could play for any of the top sides.

Your suggestion makes sense for United. Lingard needs to get away as his time at Old Trafford is up, while Rice is the kind of player United need to add. Would West Ham do that deal? I’m not so sure. We’ll see what happens.

Until next week, stay safe and well. 

West Ham might want to keep Jesse Lingard but swapping Declan Rice is probably off the table

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