Well Wembley

Well ,Wembley here we go again, And even though it’s been a little while since the last one it should be a great day out for the club and the fans, Win or lose, But hopefully a great win for the man himself Jürgen Klopp. Well you never know, with the Premiership in the bag, the Thursday cup done and dusted all we need now is the Champions League next season beating Barcelona in the final 5-0, with Sturridge scoring the lot……well we can only hope.

As a club, the pinnacle of any teams achievements must be to win the Champions League…or is it ?  Take English teams for example, Would the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool rather win the Premiership or the mega bucks Champions League ?…….BUT, which is harder?

The long haul of the Premiership with the amount of games, Saturday or Sunday and midweek games too certainly takes it toll even on the fittest of players, and add to that the FA and League cup it certainly is a long season… in fact probably too long without a Midwinter break these days.
Obviously, the Champions League is only played on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and isn’t a long competition, but there is the travelling involved, So that’s a negative, but on the plus side games are not played every week and players do get time to recover unlike the English Premier League. The Champions League obviously has more talented players in it, So as a spectacle is better to watch, even with the constant diving and play acting going on which will always be a part of European football….and the Premiership.

Most English teams I think, would rather win their own league as in the Premier League , but that may be different for the likes of, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern, or Italian teams who would rather win the Champions League than their own domestic League

On the Liverpool front we still haven’t managed to win the Premiership…yet, But surely Klopp would want to conquer Europe ahead of winning the Premier Leagur just for starters, obviously there’s plenty of time to win the Premiership….lol

So yes, probably, The Premiership is harder to win than the Champions League, But it would be great to have a choice wouldn’t it ? Our time will come soon, and to be honest it’s about time we had another trophy, Anyone will do for starters though starting on Sunday at Wembley the second best Stadium in the world…..

What will Joel Matip bring to Liverpool FC?

With Liverpool having secured the services of Joel Matip, there has been discussion about what he can bring to the club. Firstly, he is a tall, athletic centre back who has made over two hundred appearances for Schalke 04.
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This means that he is fairly experienced in a European league, especially for a 24 year old. His main assets are concentration, tackling and ball interception, as well as providing a dangerous threat from offensive set pieces (whoscored, 2016.) There has been speculation about both his role and salary; it was reported by BILD (2016) that he would be on a contract worth £5.4m a year plus a £4m signing on fee. Whether these are accurate figures or not is debatable, however it would suggest that Matip is a big part of Jürgen KIopp’s plans.

Matip began his career at Weitmar 45, until VfL Bochum scouted and signed him in 1997. He played in the youth leagues in his time at VfL Bochum, where his performances were noticed by one of the top clubs in Germany, Schalke 04. He continued his development for many years at Schalke, until making his first professional appearance in 2009. It is worth noting that he made his Bundesliga debut against European powerhouses, Bayern Munich, in 2009. He scored a decisive goal in this game and was awarded Man of the Match. This exemplifies his talent and illustrates a fearless attitude and determination to be successful. He has enjoyed a good ratio of goal scoring success for a centre back, 17 goals in 181 appearances (approximately one goal in 10.6 games).

Matip is a German-born Cameroonian footballer, who can play as a centre back or as a defensive central midfielder. The versatility of him will have attracted the attention of Jürgen Klopp, as he will fit into a range of tactical systems. Liverpool’s have lacked defensive organisation, leadership and the ability to defend set pieces this season. The team also lacks height at the back. Joel Matip is 6’4ft and it is hoped that he can improve Liverpool’s fortunes in all of these aspects. Liverpool fought off competition for his signature, both from England and Germany. Jürgen Klopp has stated that it was a signing hand-picked by him and I believe his presence is a key factor in attracting him to the club.
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I believe Joel Matip has the potential to be not just regular in the Liverpool defence, but a leader with star quality. If the fans are patient with his adaption process, he could turn out to be a very smart transfer move by the club, especially on a free transfer.

The Youth Of Today

Well, we go again into Europe on a Thurday night, shame it is not the Champions League, But hey, beggars can not be choosers. All very good experience for those players who have not played in this competition before, And it’s not as easy as people make out. With some very good teams left in, and the Champions League drop outs of course,  It will take some winning, Even with all our experience.

Should Jürgen Klopp continue to play the younger players in the cup games, or stick to experience ? This is always a tricky one as teams in the past have been crucified by the media and fans for fielding under strength teams who have gone out of cup competitions to lower league competitors, and therefore not giving  fans the chance to see their heroes.

How do the youth players get the experience of first team games if they are never played ? Things have definitely changed over the years, We still have the Academy of course, but at one time Liverpool would have a reserve team where players would bide their time until good enough to play for the first team. No matter how long it took, They also had a Liverpool A team, And a Liverpool B team, but them days are long gone.

An idea the F.A. could consider could be the introduction of the League Cup becoming  a competition where teams can only play five or six first team players, with the rest being made up of youth team players, this would give the experienced players the chance to play with younger and inexperienced youth players at first team level,  this would work very well. At Liverpool and other teams on both levels, and for a more exciting competition.

It will be interesting to see which team Jürgen Klopp puts out for the League Cup Final against Manchester City. As he used many inexperienced players in some of the games who did extremely well, does he give them the chance of playing at Wembley, or go with experience, No matter what he does the fans trust him, And he can take the flak whatever the result.

We knows Jürgen is not a fan of loaning players out to other clubs, We need them at Anfield fighting for their places. Whether it be for the Academy or the first team, it is good for the club and it is definitely good for the players, These are the future of the club and should be treated as such.

Augsburg vs Liverpool – Preview

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp makes his return to Germany as his side face Augsburg in the Europa League Round of 32, live on BT Sport.

Jürgen Klopp’s men head into the European clash in Germany looking to build on their impressive 6-0 win against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool have been very inconsistent this season, but with striker Daniel Sturridge back available for selection following his latest spell on the sidelines, Liverpool will be full of confidence heading into Thursday’s game against German side FC Augsburg.

Augsburg are having a poor Bundesliga campaign as they lost 3-1 at home against league leaders FC Bayern Munich this weekend, and only six points above the relegation zone.

Key facts:

FC Augsburg have qualified for the knockout stage in what is their first ever European campaign.

Liverpool have been eliminated at the last 32 stage in each of their last two Europa League seasons, losing to Zenit St Petersburg in 2012-13 and  Besiktas on penalties last year (2014-15).

Liverpool topped group B being unbeaten (W2 D4). Only Napoli, Lazio and Schalke have managed to do so.

Liverpool have won only once away against German sides in European competition (D6 L5), though this was their last trip in March 2005, where they beat Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of the Champions League before lifting the trophy that year.

Team news:

Liverpool fear that young midfielder Kevin Stewart is facing an extended spell on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage.

Stewart won’t travel to Germany with Jurgen Klopp’s squad on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League clash with Augsburg.

Adam Lallana will also miss the game due to an ongoing calf problem, but Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva is available after overcoming his minor hamstring problem that ruled him out of the trip to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to feature after coming through his first Premier League start since October. He scored his  third goal of the season on Sunday against Villa, and is set to lead the line on Thursday evening.

Origi and Coutinho also available for the trip to Augsburg.

I think Liverpool will be too strong for Augsburg on Thursday. Liverpool have their two best players back on the pitch in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.

Just look at the first goal on Sunday against Aston Villa. Coutinho cross, Sturridge scored. First chance Liverpool had during the game, first goal. They make the difference. They are both top, top players, and they’ll make the difference on Thursday night. They give Liverpool a fear factor.

You could say that Klopp’s knowledge of Augsburg is an advantage to Liverpool, but they know all about him and his style of play too.

Jürgen Klopp won five of his eight Bundesliga games against Augsburg, drawing two and losing one. This defeat came in his last meeting against them in February 2015. Raul Bobadilla scored the only goal that day.

Liverpool only won two of their six group games in their Europa League group, Klopp has a talented squad, but very inconsistent.

However, I think the Reds will win the game on Thursday night. Augsburg are not in good form, and with Liverpool full of confidence after Sunday’s ruthless performance, they’ll be fancying their chances, especially with Coutinho and Sturride in the side.

I don’t think Klopp will make any changes to the side that beat Villa on Sunday. I’m predicting an unchanged team.

Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Emre Can, Henderson, Milner, Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge.

Fancy a bet? Philippe Coutinho to score and Liverpool to win @ 5/1 with Paddy Power. Great offer.

Preview written by @dug_8.

What A Week.

Well what a week it’s been, the great walk out at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp losing his appendix as well as his glasses, West Ham scoring in the last minute in the F.A. Cup, it’s certainly not dull being a Liverpool fan, and we would not want it any other way, would we?

Despite the results, Klopp is still the best man for the job, and even though it is not going all his way in the league the man is not afraid to play the youngsters in the cup games, and is quite prepared to take the flak when things go wrong without blaming everyone else, unlike some Premier League managers.

We all know the youngsters are the future of the club, and Jürgen obviously thinks they are good enough and that is all that matters. With some of the senior players maybe on their way out of Anfield at the end of the season it makes sense to plan ahead, and that is a sign of a great manager, which he obvious is.

The  Champions League spot now is surely out of our grasp with our inability to pick up points at home due to the lack of goals scored, and in fact we have played better away this season, which doesn’t make sense, but football is a funny old game as they say.

We did not go mad in the transfer window, but Klopp is a clever manager and is again thinking ahead to the summer when lots more players will be available than in the winter transfer window, and it will be very interesting to see who is going to come to Anfield next season, and despite not being in the Champions League unless we win the Europa league of course, it’s Jürgen Klopp who is the attraction and not just the club.

The Premier League has been disappointing for us this season with the injuries, and rumours surrounding FSG certainly hasn’t helped the manager who is trying to do the best he can under the circumstances.
We do have the Europa League and a Wembley final to look forward to, so the season is not a complete washout.

Here’s to the rest of the season and hopefully we will get some silverware to go with the rest of the cups and trophies we’ve won over the years, and it’s long overdue, but if anyone can do it Jürgen can.

West Ham United -V- Liverpool Preview

The two clubs drew 0-0 in their first meeting at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp made ten changes to the side, but I expect a stronger side to start at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

The winners of the replay will visit Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round on Sunday 21 February.

Jürgen Klopp is set to take charge after missing Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland with appendicitis.

Team news:

Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge are all set to return to the squad after recovering from injuries.

Young midfielder Cameron Brannagan will miss the game due to illness.

Dejan Lovren and Joe Allen are both set to miss the game due to injury. They are yet to discover the full extent of the problems they sustained against Sunderland.

Match facts via BBC Sport.

West Ham are yet to beat Liverpool in seven FA Cup meetings (D3 L4), with the most recent encounter prior to the 0-0 draw at Anfield coming in the 2006 final, when the Reds won on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
However, the Hammers have won three of their last five meetings with Liverpool, including two league victories this season – a 3-0 win at Anfield back in August and a 2-0 victory at home in January.
Liverpool are yet to score in three matches in all competitions against West Ham this season (270 minutes), while the Hammers are looking to keep a fourth clean sheet against the Reds for the first time in a single campaign.
West Ham have lost just one of their last 10 FA Cup games at home (W5 D4) – a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in January 2010.

I expect Jürgen Klopp to play a mixture of youth and experience. I think he will start the likes of Brad Smith, Stewart, Teixeira and Ibe, along with senior players such as captain Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Christian Benteke.

I would like to see goalkeeper Danny Ward get a start ahead of Simon Mignolet. I think Ward deserves a chance after Mignolet’s recent performances.

I’d also like to see Daniel Sturridge feature tomorrow night. Liverpool have certainly missed his goals this season, and hopefully he’ll help us progress into the next round of the competition.

You just don’t know what you’ll get with both sides. West Ham and Liverpool have both been inconsistent this season. It’s a tricky game to predict, but I’m going for a 1-1 draw. Penalties to be required.

My predicted lineup: Ward, Clyne, Caulker, Toure, Smith, Stewart, Can, Henderson, Teixeira, Ibe, Benteke.

Fancy a bet: Sign up with Coral and get either West Ham or Liverpool to win @ 12/1. New customers only.

Liverpool Always Running But Never At The Races

Nowadays we love a good stat. I say ‘we’ and ‘love’ as a loose term. It seems more and more that those that broadcast, write about, talk about and tweet about football, have a specific requirement to get as many statistics into the medium within which they operate. Whether it’s Monday night football, match reviews in the guardian, or just an ITK spewing the latest piece of fresh bullshit “sure to send shockwaves through the whole WORLD!” Stats appear to back up the points made.

I personally don’t mind the odd statistic. It adds something to how we experience the game. Knowing the in’s and out’s of tactical decisions, and the effect certain alterations can have on a game can be satisfying and help most of us watching to better understand the game we love. It does also, and rather unfortunately, lead to throngs of idiots suddenly having hundreds of opinions on something that would have previously gone unnoticed, “that right backs shite, they’ve had 23% of their possession down their left compared to only 20% on the right! Get him off!” You get the picture.

Stats do definitely have a place in the game, to an extent. When we can see where our threat comes from and where we need to focus defensively can help, certainly from the analytical point of view of the manager and his team. As fans watching we also get a kick out of knowing we’ve bossed a game and had three times as many shots on target as them, more possession and all that. Where it gets ridiculous is when Sky or BT are rounding up how a half panned out before the ads. They go on about how many chances created each team has had, how many corners each team had, as mentioned before where on the pitch each team has had most of its possession, how many offsides there’s been, and the rest like it is some powerful revelation they have made for us. The only result of this seems to be to tell the fans who or what to fume over during the fifteen minute break, and then all over again once the ninety minutes are up.

Like I say, stats have a place in the game, but there is a limit. One stat that seems to be everyone’s flavour of the month is running stats. Whether you prefer miles or kilometres there is a figure provided for you. Apparently everyone at the Premier League, Sky and BT got Fitbits for their birthday and now everyone is obsessed with how much running, to the metre, each player and team is doing each game. Klopp even made reference to it recently after the Stoke game, the one that went on for ever and ever and ever. The figure he brandished was that Liverpool had collectively run 156 kilometres. What does that really mean? As a stand alone figure it sounds like a lot sure, but what does that stat really say? Klopp’s implication was that in that game Liverpool had made a supreme effort and deserved their passage to the final. The last part I think we all agree on, overall Liverpool were definitely good value for their Wembley appearance. The idea that Liverpool deserved to win just because they ran four marathons between them is what I take issue with.

Let me state that for the record I am Jürgen Klopp’s biggest fan, that man has access to all my earthly possessions 24/7 should he so wish. In no way am I saying that Klopp is wrong to praise our players for running themselves into the ground to get to Wembley, we all would wouldn’t we? There is an unfortunate side affect to this though, and that is we completely skip past the fact that Liverpool were abject in the majority of the other stat worthy areas because we got what we wanted in the end. Just. It is all well and good running all over the place and covering the whole pitch fourty times over, but what good is all that running with no end product?

Yes it is a good thing that our players cover more ground than other teams, but when that is all we have, it becomes an issue. If the amount of grass step on over the course of ninety minutes was held in the highest regard we would still have a two horse race Ballon D’or, except it would be between James Milner and Dirk Kuyt every year! It’s the bits in both boxes that define success.

The Reds need to change this. Working hard is great and that is part of our game that should not be compromised. However we must start to work smarter, applying this energy in key areas, and at key times. There have been three games this season where we have been at our most deadly – Manchester City away, Chelsea away and Southampton away. In these games a key feature of our play was to pick our moments, work smarter both off and on the ball, about using our brains about when and who to press, when to bomb forward, when to sit tight and when to open play up. These games were a joy to watch, not just because of the scoreline, (although who doesn’t love shouting “fuuuuuck off Chelsea FC!” whenever there is a chance to do so?) but because of the way the reds played – fluid, incisive, vibrant, and exciting! Liverpool had 42% of the ball against City and yet that was arguably our best performance since Suarez left us (I promised I wouldn’t cry…). The key to that game was working smarter.

There is hope though. There are signs. Despite the apparent lack of brains we have with some members of our team (without naming any Alberto Moreno’s) we do have smart intelligent footballers who know how to work smart, using their energy appropriately, and they have shown this either at previous clubs or at times playing with us. The driving factor for optimism, as always, is our manager and his team, one of whom actually nicknamed “the brain”. Liverpool are in need of a rethink and a reshuffle (again…) but with Klopp at the helm we have a man with previous. Klopps Dortmund teams were famed for the high press, but it wasn’t a case of just running faster and further than the teams they came up against. They knew exactly how and when to use the ball and were devastating when they needed to be. Klopp has a job on his hands of course, but he is well equipped, and well prepared. It is also worthy of note that despite the disbelief I myself and plenty of other Reds still carry about the matter, he actually wants to do it! He chose to manage us! He could realistically have gone anywhere in Europe, but he came to us. This alone means that we have more than a fighting chance of not just turning up to the races, but winning it once again one day.

Stats can be misleading, but they do have a place. Here are some stats for you. In their last three games, Liverpool had more possession than the other team, but scored zerovand conceded three. They have though, created more chances than all but Manchester City in this years Premier League. Liverpool are on track for their lowest goals scored in the Premier League era. Liverpool have also covered more distance than any other team in the league since Klopp took over. These on their own are meaningless. Anyone who is “unjustly” beaten someone at FIFA will tell you (and the excuse-monger they played against) that there is only one stat that matters in a game of football. With Klopp in charge, we just need a few cogs to fall into place, a few tweaks to the lineup, and to work a bit smarter, and great things can happen.

Let’s quit being also rans. Let us turn up and win the race. Up the Reds.