How have Liverpool’s last five managers first full season in charge gone?

Gérard Houllier (1999-2004)

After being joint manager alongside Roy Evans in 1998-99 Houllier’s first full season in charge was a massive improvement on the seventh place finish that Liverpool managed the previous season. The season was up and down as the players had to adapt to Houllier’s playing style and a number of decent first team signings made fans optimistic before the season. However four losses in the first ten games didn’t make for good reading for the fans as Liverpool sat in a mediocre eleventh place. Early domestic cup exits at the hands of Blackburn and Southampton meant Liverpool could focus on the league and everything was seemingly going well with the team in second place after 32 games. At the end of the season inexplicably the team suffered a five game streak without a win which took them from second to fourth, which made them qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Honours

FA Cup

2x League Cup

FA Community Shield

UEFA Cup

UEFA Super Cup

Rafa Benítez (2004-2010)

This is probably Liverpool’s best season in the last 20 years, despite an average showing in the league. Come December the season didn’t look to be anything special, until the 8th when a special moment in Anfields history lead to the greatest Champions League final of all time, more on that later. The special moment which I am speaking of is two goals in the last ten minutes of our games against Olympiacos, the second being an absolute screamer from our very own Steven Gerrard. With the team finishing fifth in the league all hope rested on our cup runs, a home defeat to Burnley in the FA Cup wasn’t enjoyable viewing. However the League Cup and Champions League were more pleasant, withLiverpool facing off against Chelsea in the final, a game which we looked to be winning until Gerrard placed a header into his own net. Meaning we had to settle for the runners-up medal. We met with Chelsea again the semi-final of the Champions League, with Luis Garcia scoring the only goal over two legs, which 100% crossed the line.

What happened in the final will go down in history, 3-0 down at half time, one week after my 9th birthday I was in tears at half time. Little did I know what would occur in the second half, all I know is it was glorious. 3-3 at full time and heroics from Jerzy Dudek brought the CL trophy back to Anfield for the fifth time. Despite the league, this season can only go down as a success.

Honours

FA Cup

FA Community Shield

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Super Cup

Roy Hodgson (2010-2011)

After an extremely successful tenure as manager of Fulham, Hodgson was brought to Anfield. This move can only be described as a mistake.  In the relegation zone after nine games is abysmal for Liverpool, knocked out of the League Cup at home by Northampton town, scraping past Sparta Prague in the Europa League and sat in twelfth in the League Hodgson’s short term as manager of Liverpool was cut short.

Honours

N/A

Kenny Dalglish (2011-2012)

After taking over from Hodgson the previous season Dalglish had a full summer to implement his own playing style and bring in his own players (it is worth noting that both Ibe and Ojo were signed when he was manager). As has been the case for most seasons in the last ten years the showing in the league was average, at best. However Dalglish is the only manager from our last three who has managed to bring any silverware to Anfield. As well as finishing as the runner-up in the FA Cup, although I still think Andy Carroll’s header went over the line, which would have took the game to extra-tim.

Honours

League Cup

Brendan Rodgers (2012-2015)

When Dalglish was sacked I have to admit I was shocked, having won a trophy and there were some promising parts in the league. But it happened and at the time I was very optimistic and I was looking forward to seeing how we would perform under Rodgers, given how well his Swansea team had played. But, once more an average 7th place finish in the league (the highest position we reached during the season was 6th) and early exits in both domestic competitions as well as the Europa League meant this could only be seen as a season of transition. The following season was much happier viewing despite the extremely depressing end.

Honours

N/A


Klopp’s first full season has just begun, let’s hope he becomes an Anfield hero. Only time will tell.

Written by @LiamGrimshaw

The Curious Case of Daniel Sturridge

What now for Sturridge? Daniel Sturridge was arguably the best signing made by Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers. I agree the list of successful Rodgers signings is not a long one, but Sturridge undoubtedly is a player that has proven to be a success.

Sturridge was something of a journeyman when we signed him for £12M from Chelsea in January 2013.

Recognised as a young player with lots of ability, his temperament was often questioned. Talk of attitude problems in training was rumoured to be the reason why he failed to find first team football at Manchester City or Chelsea.

His brief stint at Bolton on loan however, appeared to show a player with all the skills in his locker to make it at Premier League level. His move to Liverpool was widely seen as being his last chance to make it at a top club & for ‘only’ £12M it was a gamble that the Reds were rightly prepared to take.

Sturridge settled in immediately, scoring on his debut and collecting 11 goals in 16 appearances for the Reds. The following season, he formed a formidable partnership with Luis Suarez being the spearhead of a drive towards our closest title challenge for years. Suarez and Sturridge were the top 2 goal scorers in the Premier League that year.

For all the success on the field a niggling doubt still remained. Suarez was easily the main man at the club, the Kop favourite, but it was obvious to fans that the two of them were never best friends. The difference for me was Luis put all his efforts into ensuring the team won, you got the impression with Sturridge it was more for personal glory.

Watching from the Kop we would often witness him throw his arms in the air towards his ‘family box’ in the Centenary Stand when he never received a pass from Suarez. It came across to me as disrespectful towards Luis, a sign of ‘I told you so’ to his family and maybe a touch of envy towards the adulation Luis received. This was overlooked by fans as that season Sturridge scored an amazing 24 goals in 33 games.

The following summer saw the departure of fans favourite Suarez to Barcelona. This presented Sturridge with the opportunity to step up. He was now the main man. The script was written – The fans would look to him and he could receive the adulation he appeared to crave.

The club recognised this too, offering him an impressive & expensive new contract as they sought to confirm his status as their ‘pin up boy’.

Time for Daniel to kick on.

It never happened though. Sturridge suffered a series of injuries meaning he only played 12 league games that season, and a total of 18 in all competitions. He scored just 5 goals that season. Sturridge spent more time seeing specialist in America than he did on the pitch.

Fans began to question his desire. Carragher and others questioned his willingness to play through the pain barrier; to play with the little niggles. Suarez was a player who was kicked throughout a game, but never missed a game through injury. His desire & appetite for the game meant he would play through the pain to contribute to the team. Sturridge appears to be missing this quality.

That season was a write off, his absence contributing to a poor season for the Reds, but with the start of the 2015/16 season we were optimistic to see Daniel return to his previous fitness levels. Sadly the season was stop/start for him with potentially his absence being a major part of the downfall of Rodgers.

He finished the season having played just 14 league games, 25 games in total but scoring an impressive 13 goals.

With Klopps arrival, Sturridge appears to have dropped further down the pecking order. Suddenly, from being England & Liverpools main striker, he was being overlooked for the likes of  Divock Origi & Danny Ings. Often Klopp even preferred to play with no recognised striker in the team, leaving Daniel on the bench…………….. or the treatment table. Klopp publicly speaking about issues in his ‘head’ never helped the fans suspicions towards Daniel (though Klopp later apologised for how this came across)

Sturridges stats are exceptional for the club. 55 goals in 94 games show what a natural finisher he is – but his appearances are for too inconsistent to build a team or playing style around him.

Sturridges every move is now being watched, every comment scrutinised, every facial expression dissected. Making comments about where he is asked to play is analysed by fans to support or slate him, depending on your view point. Interestingly, Origi was brought off the bench against Spurs ahead of Sturridge. The cameras immediately panned to catch the reaction of Sturridge, who was sat there almost expressionless. He must be have been wondering what he has to do to break back into the team, having scored twice after being brought on as a sub against Burton Albion. Now, he was behind Origi for Liverpool, and potentially Rashford for England. The conversation he had with Rose after the game would have been an interesting one to hear!

Once again, this has been construed as he was upset to be overlooked. Compounded by Sturridge eventually getting involved in the action with 5 minutes to go.

From my point of view, Sturridge appears to be a man unhappy at the club. Where has the Daniel Sturridge smile gone? Where is that dance? (Ok, if you do find it please leave it where it is).

He looks like someone who feels he should be starting every game, and his absences should be accommodated. He looks like a man who no longer feels loved where he is at.

These situations are often difficult to retrieve, and I’m not convinced Klopp is too keen to repair the damage. There is even talk that FSG are keen to remove his large salary from the wage bill, but would Klopp allow them to dictate his team selections? I doubt it!

A prolific centre forward is something every club (including Liverpool) crave, yet this one appears to be heading towards the exit door and most fans seem unconcerned, myself included.

Something about Daniel Sturridge & Liverpool is not fitting at the moment. Maybe it’s best for both parties that they divorce amicably.

A great player, but one who is too injury prone to rely upon.

Written by @lebigmc5times

Raheem Sterling’s Exit

Two things got me thinking and therefore prompted this article. The first was Raheem Sterling’s new found form under Pep Guardiola. The second thing was the interview doing the rounds in Simon Hughes’ new book, Ring of Fire, by Fernando Torres.

During his last season at Anfield and ever since, Raheem Sterling has been largely despised by Liverpool supporters. The general consensus of the youngster was that, despite his outrageous interview stating otherwise, he was a ‘money-grabbing 20 year old’ who wasn’t willing to put a shift in and turned his back on a club he owed so much to. Turning down a reported £100,000 a week deal, co-inciding with Liverpool’s decline towards the end of that campaign, sealed Sterling’s fate with Liverpool fans.

‘Snake’ is the word generally used, and there is no doubt Reds’ fans were disappointed he chose to jump ship so early. Many Liverpool fans took pleasure in his poor form last year, although it appears he could finally live up to his potential under Pep Guardiola.

Initially, it was easy to dismiss his exit as poor advice from his clown of an agent Aidy Ward and Champions League Football, understandably, turning Sterling’s head. However, comments made by Fernando Torres in Simon Hughes’ Ring of Fire really have to make you wonder is all as it seems behind the scenes at Liverpool. To quote Torres:

They wanted to bring in young players, to build something new. I was thinking to myself: this takes time to work. It takes two, three, four maybe even ten years. I didn’t have that time. I was 27 years old. I did not have time to wait. I wanted to win. Here we are five years later and they are still trying to build – around the same position in the league as we left. It was presented as if I was a traitor. It was not like this in the discussion. Liverpool could not admit they were doing something wrong with the whole team. They had to find a guilty one.”

 Torres’ comments suggest two things which are worrying for the club going forward under FSG ownership.

The first aspect of it is in the first half of the quote. FSG probably think that their transfer strategy is fool proof and will pay dividends in time. However, professional sportsmen have short careers and the better ones are not willing to wait for a project – they can simply move to a finished article. Under FSG stewardship, we’ve had Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling all leave for big money. All have gone on to play Champions League Football and compete for major honours whilst LFC have finished anywhere between 5th and 8th more often than not. Maybe it’s time for FSG to rethink the project, or get help from exterior sources (Everbright Group for a start) to raise the funds to compete and keep hold of our star assets.

The second comment that sparks thought is the line It was presented as if I was a traitor”. This seems to suggest, according to Torres,  that the club were happy to hang anyone out to dry who wasn’t willing to wait the time it takes for the project to work, detracting attention from themselves. One has to wonder that in summer, if Philipe Coutinho is next to follow out the door, will attention turn to FSG and the merits of their footballing strategy?

Written by @JackMitchell5

Liverpool And Spurs Play Out A Draw

TEAM NEWS

After defeat to Burnley last weekend and the win at Burton Albion midweek, Liverpool fans got the chance to Joel Matip in action in the Premier League. Klopp will be hoping that he will be able to form a decent partnership alongside Dejan Lovren. He impressed me in his last outing at Burton, but the step up in class of opponent today and having to marshall Harry Kane will tell us something of his ability.

The midfield of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Georginio Winjaldum will have to be at it from the start up against a  very combative and impressive midfield of Spurs with Deli Ali coming back into the team.

Liverpool couldn’t afford to start this game on the slow and allow Spurs to dominate in the middle from the off. Otherwise it will be hugely difficult to see us getting anything from the game.

Sadio Mané, Phillipe Couthino and Roberto Firmino are our options up top obviously with runners from midfield intended to overlap and get into the box. Daniel Sturridge can feel hard done by not getting a start here. Jürgen Klopp likes his mobile front partnerships and it seems Sturridge has alot to do to in order to blend into this formation that we are seeing more and more often now.

Divock Origi makes the bench also with Sturridge so no recognised centre forward, a strategy that is sure to bring criticism from certain quarters of fans and media alike should we not get the result today.

REVIEW

First after pressing high and winning the ball back a quick through pass takes Firmino in to the box with goal at his mercy and he decides to square the ball to the free Couthino who shoots low but has his shot saved. Should have been a goal without queation. Vorm on goal gets plaudits but surely was a disgusting miss from Phillipe Couthino that should have had us 1 up.

Secondly after last week’s game in which two penalties were awarded under new guidelines to penalise holding and pulling in the box, it came as all the more surprising that having witnessed such an example of this from Jan Vertonghen on Joel Matip in the box while waiting for a corner, the referee Bobby Madley decided to merely stop the game and issue a warning. Surely consistency from a  referee would have resulted in a penalty. Not to be this time.

In a half that developed well for Liverpool in terms of possession, pressing and movement, it was no surprise to anyone that we were ahead at the break as James Milner converts a penalty awarded after Eric Lamela clipped the heels of Firmino while running along the end line just inside the box.

A well deserved lead at the half but really should have been more so dominant was our midfield and defending from the front every time.

After no changes at half time Tottenham eventually started to gain some of the control of midfield but still not enough to prevent the constant threat of Mané and Co on the attack. Sadio Mané being a constant thorn in their side all day with his availability to take the ball forward and provide for others. Although being cautioned himself he had to walk a fine line for the last half hour of the game.

Chances to extend the lead came and went with Vorm on the front foot all day long to cut out the ball over the top for the pace of Mané. Doing so at least three times in this game effectively.

A quick break from midfield saw Adam Lallana played in down the left behind the full back who provides a sweet cross for Mané to slot into goal from 2 yards out. A good finish only to be disallowed for an offside given against Lallana on the far side just as he was played through. A very tight decision it has to be said.

As the second goal never came Liverpool were always going to get a little nervy and sure enough Tottenham found a way to punish the Reds. A ball played down the side of James Milner who was out of position enough to get caught out was crossed to the back post where ot found the onrushing Danny Rose free to somewhat awkwardly shoot past the oncoming Simon Mignolet’s outstretched hands.

A goal that seen both full backs caught out of position, particularly Nathaniel Clyne who got attracted to the centre for the cross leaving Rose free.

Although having made a clever save from an Alderwield header from a corner previously to me Simon Mignolet should have done better here when rushing out he hesitated as we’ve seen before also turning his face away from the ultimate soft shot of Rose.It was yet again a very preventable goal to concede in a game which we virtually dominated from stay to finish.

Divock Origi did make an appearance from the bench again this time to replace the somewhat ineffective Couthino and in doing so resigned Daniel Sturridge to a very late appearance from the bench also. Both changes were in vain as the both teams seemed to have decided to take a draw and fight another day.

Before this game I would have taken a point away at a team that for long periods last season challenged for the title only to run out of steam late on. But having seen us dominate in all the important sectors in this game for such a long time, it was disappointing to see such a hugely impressive performance get the obvious 3 points the team deserved.

Individual errors again cost us but on a positive note the defence does look a whole lot better with Matip in there and indeed resulting in Harry Kane being taken off. The performance of our midfield that kept Wanyama, Ali and Co shackled for long periods was encouraging also as was the by now inevitable constant threat of Mané and Co up front.

On we go now to our first home game of the season against last seasons surprise champions and with the extra excitement of the new stand being open it all adds up to another exciting day in prospect for a team starting to find its feet again.The vocal support at Anfield will be tremendous for Klopps team and the sense of occasion while surely provide for another game full of chances and hopefully a little more improvement again.

Written by Stephen King (@StephenKing75)

Criticism – Jürgen Klopp’s latest new experience in life

Never in his adult life has Jürgen Klopp had to deal with the fact of being criticised by someone of any importance to his working life trade and business.

The football player Jürgen Klopp was never really rated as anything else than a decent player who could do his job okay, but he only played for a Bundesliga 2 club, Mainz 05, from 1990 to 2001. As time went on Jürgen Klopp was to become a natural leader within the group of players and also in the club’s offices where coaches and other leading staff members would sit and think and make their decisions, as it is done in any business, big or small.

Klopp swiftly became the new manager of Mainz 05 in February 2001, and did really well. He got the club promoted to Bundesliga 1 for the first time ever in the history of the club, and got them qualified for the 2005 / 06 UEFA Cup. That season the club was relegated from Bundesliga 1. He failed to win promotion straight away, and resigned from his job at the end of the 2007 / 08 season. Jürgen Klopp finished with a record of 109 wins, 78 draws and 83 losses.

Klopp was soon back in the job though after he resigned when he was approached by Borussia Dortmund. He signed a two year contract with a big German club that was struggling as they endured a mid-table period of mediocrisy. Klopp became an instant success in Dortmund, just like Jørn Andersen did in Mainz as he got Klopp’s old club promoted to Bundesliga 1 at the end of the one season he was in charge of Mainz as coach and manager. Andersen was all of a sudden sacked by Mainz 05 just before the Bundesliga 1 season was to kick off, and Thomas Tuchel took over his job. Jørn Andersen’s Mainz 05 story only goes to show instant success is worth nothing if you’re not all that popular.

Jürgen Klopp was always an extremely popular person, and became even more popular as Borussia Dortmund won the German league title in 2010 / 11 and then went on to win the German league and cup double in 2011 / 12 under Klopp’s managerial leadership. In May 2013, Klopp’s club finished as runners up in Bundesliga 1 and also lost the Champions League final against big rival German club Bayern München. Finishing second in the league, Borussia Dortmund lost the German cup final in May 2014. Klopp decided to resign from his job in Dortmund at the end of a 2014 /15 campaign which saw the club finishing seventh in the league and also losing the cup final to Wolfsburg. He finished with a Burussia Dortmund record of 179 wins, 69 draws, and 70 losses.

After a few months on vacation, Klopp was installed as Liverpool’s manager on 8 October 2015, as he replaced Brendan Rodgers who had recently been sacked. His first season in charge at Anfield was a very good season, especially when we knew the club he inherited was a club in lack of any big stars, and he was also installed to replace a manager who had made the club’s new signings in the previous months. Liverpool finished eighth in the Premier League, but reached two cup finals. Liverpool lost the League Cup final at Wembley on penalties, Manchester City winning the match and taking the trophy home. Liverpool lost the Europa League final in Basel, Sevilla winning the match 3-1.

As I write the date is the 24th of August 2016. Throughout the entire summer, Jürgen Klopp has been expected to sign a new left back. It looks as if he wants no other left back than Leicester’s Ben Chilwell, who has signed a new long term contract at King Power Stadium. He has failed to sign a new left back, even though every fan of the club feels there is an urgent need for a new player in that position; either a first class left back with a good record from before or a really good back up player for the ever-erratic Alberto Moreno who is indeed Liverpool’s only left back. Jürgen Klopp has been urged to sign a new left back by the likes of Jamie Carragher, John Arne Riise and John Aldridge over the past few months since that very important match in Basel was lost in May in part due to errors made by Alberto Moreno.

Klopp seems to be playing the “I’m acting like I don’t know” game, only to start playing the “I’m acting like I know it all” game next morning. I wonder if manager Klopp ever reads a newspaper like Liverpool Echo and asks himself a question like A year from now what will I wish I had done today? Like, the moment after he has read another column written by a former player like John Aldridge or a regular sports journalist’s article where a player like Jamie Carragher or John Arne Riise is cited as talking about one specific position on the field that needs to be addressed and a new player for that same position be signed as soon as possible. The left back position. I wonder what Klopp’s thoughts came down to when he read what Stan Collymore had written in an online column for BoyleSports, in which he says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is almost above criticism, then asks a few questions he knows he will probably not be given answers to.

Is the cult of manager so strong at certain clubs that we all have to blindly wait for Liverpool to show the consistency under a highly-paid, long-contract manager?” Collymore writes.

“I want Liverpool to do well, and I get very excited when Gegenpressing works, but let’s be honest, in the Bundesliga or La Liga it’s in a league where you can roll over teams by just working hard. This is the Premier League, every team does that as a given. Some progress at LFC, but they remind me of Newcastle 1995-96. Great going forward, all over the place going back. As I and the Geordies know all too well, that won’t win you leagues, and in Klopp they have invested in a man to deliver that, not just a smiling ‘everything will be okay tomorrow’ manager.”

What’s more, Stan Collymore also asks good questions about the tactical and inspirational prowess of the manager when he continues.

I thought against Burnley the Reds showed little real confidence, tempo, pace or belief that Mourinho’s United did for example or Pep’s City. Both of those teams played with the kind of swagger you’d expect from title contenders, but Liverpool just passed the ball from side to side, back to front, without urgency or pace which was supposed to be the hallmark of the Gegenpressing manager. But most aren’t his team Stan, he’s not been there long etc etc’. Neither has Mourinho, Pep and certainly neither was Claudio Ranieri last season. Patience is fine and I’m an advocate of a proper well thought plan but in all honesty, Plan B. What is it?”

Collymore is concerned about the left back position, thinking James Milner can hardly be the best thinkable back up option in that posision on the field, and adds the sale of Christian Benteke as a thing to worry about, plus the fact that Daniel Sturridge might become unsettled at Anfield as Klopp keeps having the striker sitting beside him or behind him on the substitutes bench. Might I myself add another mystery that plenty of fans have been left in confusion and a certain amount of belief stress over: Mamadou Sakho – arguably Liverpool’s very best centre back – being offered to other clubs on a loan deal! One with a time limit, okay, but what can one say about such a thing when the opening two matches of this season has already given all of us every proof needed that a solid and good defender like Mamadou Sakho is very needed at Melwood and Anfield now, and not out on a loan deal? What’s going on? Is Sakho eventually for sale? Has Sakho fallen out with the manager in a very bad way now? Yes, we know he was sent home to Liverpool early as the squad of players was in the USA to train and socialize amongst themselves. Is Klopp now about to allow French defender Mamadou Sakho to leave on a loan deal in order to set an example and play out “The Authoritarian” role to a full 100 per cent or would it be no more than 90 per cent? What’s up? Anything? Nothing? What do we know for certain? Not much. Nothing at all, really.

Jürgen Klopp is certainly playing the secrecy game. He plays that game as he is playing the press conference game every now and then. He says some few things and then leaves a lot to be guessed by those listening to him. And there are millions and millions of those.

It certainly seems as if Klopp has lost some confidence in Alberto Moreno, as he now starts games with the right footed midfielder James Milner in the left back position instead of him. I’ve always believed a proper left back would be signed by the end of August, but Klopp insists this is not going to happen. I can only say I hope Klopp’s stubborn attitude on this little issue will not cost us too many Premier League points, although I know it will cost us quite a few.

Klopp may call himself The Normal One, while he is in fact “The Gambler” or some actor in a famous Spaghetti Western movie called “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”, who knows what? I truly like and respect this new manager of ours. He’s a jo
ker, a tough man with a no nonsense attitude, and then also a great player whenever he meets with members of the press.

Klopp wasn’t joking when he simply told that journalist from that “news source” that he didn’t talk to anyone employed by that publication anymore. He simply played that writer out of context.

You still work for The S*n, right? That’s it, you can listen and you can write what you want. That’s how it is.”

I honestly don’t believe we’re ever going to hear Jürgen Klopp talking to a person working for that publication ever again. That’s how this whole thing was played out two weeks ago, after Liverpool played a friendly at Wembley and defeated a star-studded Barcelona side in front of an audience of 90.000 supporters. Simple matter. Good. And with this guy – a big star German manager – you either play alongside him or you do not play at all.

By now he is a Premier League manager, and he has become that after playing for Mainz, taking a coaching course and getting a diploma when he was still an active player, then played the manager role in Mainz for seven years, in Dortmund for seven years and have recently signed a new contract in Liverpool that might have him stay in the city for seven years all in all. If not even longer than that? Klopp knows his contract can be terminated at the owners’ will, so he also knows he needs to get some serious success to his name in Liverpool as soon as he possibly can, and he will do it his way. His way is the only way he knows, and he will stick to what he knows best and has brought him success from before. But yes, he must also listen to people who know other things than he does. Klopp will not be truly satisfied with a top four finish in the Premier League this season unless we do very well otherwise, winning a cup trophy, and to the very least challenge for the Premier League title until the season is just about to come to an end. It’s just a game, we all know that, but yes: it is serious business, too.

As of August 24, 2016 Klopp’s record as a Liverpool manager stands at 55 games played, 25 wins, 17 draws, and 13 losses. Win percentage: 48.7

I’m guessing Jürgen Klopp’s most important philosophy always placed at rest in his mind is something in the line of a statement such as those who work hard, shall achieve their goal.

While others who dream shall achieve nothing. I certainly don’t know, I’m left guessing. I haven’t talked to him myself and heard him speak his mind to me, so what can I do? Well, I am allowed to be guessing. I believe the man himself – Herr Klopp – will want me to do so, just like he wants every fan to do the same. He is really something. Maybe he should be called The Enigmatic One?

Written by Magne Leonard Karlsen @magneleokarlsen

Why Keeping Lucas Leiva Makes Sense

Three things in life are certain. Tax, death and Lucas Leiva will stay at Anfield after looking destined to leave the club in the summer window. It looks now as if Jurgen Klopp has decided that Lucas is worth keeping around, and the news hasn’t pleased many.

There are few players who have split opinion more than the Brazilian in their time at Anfield. A simple Twitter search of ‘Lucas #LFC’ will tell you that. The majority of the Liverpool fan base, rather unsurprisingly, aren’t happy with the decision to keep the Brazilian around. Whilst the majority seem to think that Lucas is no longer good enough to be a part of the squad, there is the odd fan who believes he can still do a job at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp is obviously in the latter category.

Proving people wrong is nothing new to Lucas. Despite the fact he will be remembered when he finally does leave as a very good servant for us, he has had some immensely difficult times. When he first signed, it was clear for all to see that he struggled to adapt to English football. In hindsight, this was probably foreseeable. A Brazilian young midfielder from Gremio was probably never going to hit the ground running straight away. That didn’t stop Lucas taking heavy stick initially in his Anfield career from large parts of the Liverpool fan base (me included).

A turning point for Lucas was the 2009/10 season. After struggling for the previous two years and being in and out the side, Lucas was consistently in the side and began to find his feet. The sale of Xabi Alonso and the injury prone Alberto Aquilani meant the Reds’ midfield options were bare, and Lucas made 50 appearances that campaign as a result. Lucas carried this form on into the 2010/11 season, a turbulent season for Liverpool. Lucas was ever present in a poor Roy Hodgson and an exciting looking Kenny Dalglish side, notching up 47 appearances and winning the player of the season award.

Lucas started the following campaign, like Liverpool, looking good. He was making Charlie Adam look like a footballer and was really looking like the quality holding midfield player Liverpool had missed since Javier Mascherano’s departure. Unfortunately, disaster struck that year for Lucas. After just 15 appearances, Lucas suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, ruling him out of the season. Liverpool never seemed to come back from this, with Jay Spearing the only alternative in midfield for struggling side that finished 8th.

Despite Lucas never really reaching the heights of his form in that campaign, every manager the Reds have had since have seen enough from him to keep him. And it hasn’t always been a popular choice. Lucas has predominantly been a squad player since, not reaching 40 appearances since that 2010/11 season.

Last year was a bizarre year for Lucas. The Brazilian made 38 appearances, the most he has made since the 2010/11 season, yet he was never really considered first choice for Jürgen Klopp. Despite starting in midfield in the impressive wins over Manchester City and Chelsea away early on in the Klopp reign, Lucas eventually lost his place to the more mobile and skilful Emre Can. Injuries meant Lucas found a new role in the side, with the Brazilian ending up at centre half for a spell. Lucas performed admirably and was positionally excellent, especially in the away FA cup tie against West Ham and in the League Cup final.

Something in Lucas’ performances last year has convinced Jürgen Klopp he’s worth keeping around. So what are the reasons behind this? Firstly, his experience in a very young Liverpool squad is essential. Lucas has big game experience. Lucas has Liverpool Football Club big game experience. The 4-1 win at Old Trafford, the 2-0 win against United at Anfield in 2009, The Uefa Cup quarter final win against Benfica in 2010, countless derby wins, the run in during the magical 2013/14 season, the league cup semi final victory against Stoke and the League Cup final in the same year. Lucas started in almost all of these memorable nights, and has the big game experience many of our current squad lack. Anyone who makes over 200 appearances for Liverpool and 24 for Brazil has to be equipped with mental toughness. The Reds have massively missed the experience of Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard since their departures, so any experience the club has they will hopefully hold on to.

Another bonus for Lucas is his versatility. Due to his new found centre back role, Lucas can now cover the midfield and the back four. Many dispute that he isn’t good enough for either of these roles due to his lack of pace, but critics aren’t new to Lucas. When he gets a run in the side, he improves game by game and is more than capable to do a job when required. Solid performances in midfield in wins at Chelsea and City, and in defence thwarting Sergio Aguero in the League Cup final, support this claim. I have no doubts that had he been in the side against Burnley, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum will not have looked so hopeless on the day.

So there it is, Lucas isn’t a super star, or necessarily a fan favourite (nothing new), but he will do a solid job when required for the Reds this season. I don’t think anyone can dispute that the current squad can’t afford to lose a holding midfielder with big game, international experience. Especially one who loves the club. So lets get behind him.

Written by @JackMichell5

Shaky Start To The Season

Well, you win one and lose one and fans and rivals alike begin the banter.”

The 2016/2017 Premier League started off a bit well I must say for Liverpool with an intriguing and jaw-dropping win over the red rivals from London in a not so convincing scoreline of four goals to three. The players showed great spirits by coming hard at Arsenal after being a goal down and increasing the lead by quite a small margin until Arsene Wengers Gunners reduced the deficit to a single goal. Exceptional performances from the tricky Brazilians (Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino) and the newcomers (Sadio Mané, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragner Klavan) ensured the Red Army bagged the first three points of the season at the Emirates.

However, the taste in the mouths of the fans changed from sweet to bitter after losing by two unanswered goals to Premier League new boys Burnley in a game which was dominated by Liverpool. A second consecutive away game this season against Spurs due to ongoing work at Anfield is surely a big consideration on the lips of many fans and pundits alike.

However, other schools of thought suggest the passionate Klopp has no “PLAN B” and that resulted in Liverpool’s fruitless dominance against Burnley. Klopp himself did mention that the loss in his view was mostly as a result of “poor decision-making by the players” but has assured all that he will not cave into any panic buys because the players would come around.

Generally a team’s recent form is judged by it’s five most recent matches. There have been only 2 matches played; thirty six more of them to go. A fifty percent win rate in two matches is not so bad. The Red Army will certainly bounce back much stronger. The Burton Albion game was just a mere formality.

Long Live Liverpool!!!!

Written by Adam Yidana (@1realdeezyblud)