Do LFC need Manchester United?

As the saying goes, ‘football is a funny old game’. I am old enough(just) to remember Liverpool’s domination from the mid 70’s to the late 80’s. It was the time to be decked out in Adidas Trim Trabbs, Gazelles and Samba.

It was a time of cockiness, swaggering superiority and of immense pride when pulling on your LFC top in those heady, early days of the lads holiday in Ibiza.

Identity was everything. We were Scousers, we were football experts, you’ll never beat us so don’t even try.

This tribe mentality was epitomised by humour, cheekiness and toughness . There was no one out there that could touch us.

At this time I was a decent runner and one of my team-mates at Liverpool Harriers was the Son of Jimmy McGregor the then-Utd physio.

Alistair, the Son, was of course Unietd through and through. He was also a great lad and I enjoyed his company. He was a Manc but in all honesty as a teenager I wasn’t really to aware what that meant, or was supposed to mean. At that time to our delight he never had anything to shout about as we dominated English football. Quietly he would sit there on the coach trips up and down the country as we chanted about our success and pull his leg over their lack of it and especially their obsessive desire to reclaim the title that we took for granted. The title that was ours. Sound familiar?

Now this ‘banter’ (I know. Any self respecting Scouser hates the word) was harmless. He laughed but then again there was not a lot more that he could do could he? I just thought that he was another football fan that accepted our superiority.

Now in my innocence I believed that this good natured rivalry was the norm. There was no social media, in fact there was not a lot of media. So you could never sense the hatred that was out there.

I was still young and wet behind the ears when I witnessed first hand the inflatable ‘Shankly ’81’ skeleton in the Anfield Rd end and the barrage of paper aeroplanes flying about the Kop.

Jesus! I didn’t realise we hated them this much? I didn’t realise they hated us that much! I also didn’t realise that other fans could also have a sense of identity and dare I say it defiance and toughness regardless of how tasteless it appeared.

This tribalism descended towards all out warfare with no mediation in site.We hated them and they hated us. That was that. Put it in your DNA. This rivalry has no Good Friday Agreement. Perfectly normal people, many in well respected positions and occupations were often happy to disclose how much they despised one another.

Utd by now also had a tough talking, galvanizing Scot in charge who had made it his life mission to put them back to where he believed they belonged. They also had an ambitious, shrewd and ruthless board who realised that to reach the pinnacle meant bringing down Liverpool and sadly we didn’t see it coming.  We had become complacent.

Now most great sportspeople and sports teams need a rival. McEnroe needed Borg. Coe needed Ovett. Hagler, Hearns, Duran and Leonard all needed each other. I even recall Evander Holyfield telling a reporter that whilst Tyson was incarcerated his own career felt worthless. There was no one to aim at or take delight in beating. Liverpool didn’t see United rearming, or if they did they didn’t take it seriously.

Their domination began by chasing us down and it was only in the midst of this chasing did we begin to battle back. Whether it was too late remains to be seen but the change in the balance of power brought back the fight, the resistance. Houllier brought a few smiles back, not to mention an impressive 6 trophies all before his meltdown. Rafa and Kenny brought the defiance back. The awful Hodgson experiment was a debacle and the BR publicity machine left a few of us a bit uneasy but now, just maybe we have a galvanising influence that can bring back that cheekiness, toughness and swagger and what we crave, the dominance.

Now. If Utd hadn’t had dominated so much. Where would we be now? Would we have got Klopp? Who knows. I believe in fate and sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight.

In my opinion Liverpool need Utd and they need us. We both play in red. We both come from the North West. We have both had triumphs and tragedies and we both understand that football needs to be played a certain way and we have had the mutual heroes who have played it that way. Heroes that still get what it means to pull on that jersey and what that jersey means to us, the supporter.

Argue with an Evertonian and its game on with the wind ups and laughs. ‘Yea ok lad, whatever’. Argue with a Manc and you need to be on your mettle because they can quote success.

The sad thing however is that over the last few years these arguments have involved the tragedies that have befallen the clubs, not the point scoring on trophies won etc. It used to leave me with a great sense of sadness thinking back to when I asked Alistair about how many years had it been since you won anything and then, sitting in a crowd listening to fans seeing who could be the cruelest. Humour was dying.

But lets forget about that bit.

Utd fear Liverpool becoming once again the dominant force in England (Ferguson has actually reiterated this of late) and Liverpool fear Utd continuing where they left off under Ferguson and hence the melting pot simmers. There will never be a truce.

Similarity breeds contempt and this is what drives the rivalry. We need each other. For me the season would lose its appeal if they were nowhere to be seen. I could take them being crap but I don’t think I could take them being anywhere other than in the premier league.

The week before we play them my nerves are on edge. Its a mixture of excitement that we may beat them and dread that they may do us. We need to be the ones planting the flag, not fighting for it back.

As a Liverpool supporter I do not want a manager or players who cozy up to Utd ala Hodgson. For God’s sake man, you sat next and joked with Fergie!  We need our tribe and our leaders to understand what it means to beat them, on how it shapes the following week and I’m sure their die hard fans feels the same.

I feel that not only have Utd failed to adequately replace Ferguson but in not having players such as Scholes, Neville and Giggs coming through, players that knew what it meant to beat Liverpool they will continue to ‘struggle’ as with LVG and it appears Jose as they just don’t have that vibe. Its becoming one game amongst many.

Liverpool on the other hand are now playing under a leader that gets it. They have players who are buying in. Players who want to fight for the club’s reputation. Look at Coutinho’s reaction after the recent 0-0 draw at Anfield. He was devastated.

So maybe the cyclical nature of football is finally swaying back towards us, the true Reds and maybe, just maybe they are now going to have to play catch up to us again. Who knows. I’ll never like them. I’ll never want to be like them but I’ll always respect what they as a club have done and just like Muhammad Ali acknowledged Ken Norton following his shock win over the champ by stating that he had taught him a lesson and made him sit up and realise there’s work to be done Utd will always keep us on our toes.

Written by @redwazza1

 

Is It Time For Liverpool To Sell Clyne?

Transfer rumours have been bubbling recently on social media that Manchester City would take Nathaniel Clyne for a fee in the region of £35m, and possibly Barcelona are putting in an audacious £20m bid.

Not only did the news itself spark a tumour in me, the behaviour of some Liverpool fans on Twitter implying that letting Clyne go for £35m to City is beyond the pale.

The statistics never lie. Since Brendan Rodgers’ rare shrewdness in the transfer market which saw him snap up Clyne from Southampton in 2015, Clyne has only made 2 defensive errors in all competitions since – making him a model for consistency & favoured as one of the best RBs in the Premier League. I despised the board (and Rodgers’) approach to signing players with a sizeable budget, but you have to credit him for pushing a move through the committee for Clyne.

Not only can Clyne defend in a versatile manner, he’s also dangerous offensively with his crosses & wide threat. Let’s not forget that before we captured him, we endured painful years of Glen Johnson (who only impressed in his cameo season & the 13-14 title push), who was woefully inconsistent – he seemed incompetent with defending, whereas Clyne offers balance on the flanks.

If you don’t believe that Clyne isn’t as good as Johnson offensively, take a look at Clyne’s chance creation and % of duels won. Clyne won 54% of aerial duels, and created 24 chances compared to Johnson’s 18. Clyne can be better going forward, but he a solid & consistent performer who cannot be overlooked.

Not to mention Clyne’s composure, positioning & tracking back is better significantly than Johnson’s erratic antics at the back.

 More worryingly, if he is sold, how are we going to replace him? It definitely will not be as easy to replace him as it was Johnson – Clyne is only 25 years of age, which is fairly young – having made the right-back spot his own, I cannot see anybody else filling the void he leaves.

Clyne is no Steve Finnan by any means, but we lack first-teamers capable of challenging the Englishman to a first team spot regularly. We have the exciting potential of Joe Gomez (who was out for most of last season, but returned from injury), but he is still a little raw for me, and needs time to adapt to his surroundings, having finally combated his injury.

If you bear that in mind, selling Clyne for £20-35m to Barcelona or Manchester City, it can be billed as a disaster – the only other RBs at Liverpool are youngsters, but experience really is needed from Liverpool if they want to challenge for the Premier League title & even win it for the first time since 1990. Naivety is a flawed policy in football. I obviously stand by Klopp in giving opportunities to the young players (we nearly won the 13-14 league with local lad Jon Flanagan at the back), but the league is getting tougher & tougher – experience is key for Liverpool to be challengers.

Clyne stood out as one of Liverpool’s best defender last season, and he’s getting better and better & better as we go on to win games. If he’s sold, I will still have faith in Jürgen Klopp to replace him, but Clyne is going nowhere unless Klopp thinks he is surplus in requirements to the team – the German clearly hasn’t shown inclination in trying to offload Stockwell-born defender.

The stock narrative of the media, though, is to obviously take transfer rumours out of context, so don’t get too apprehensive if you see any reports of Clyne wanting to move clubs.

Written by @SteLindellLFC

Why offload Daniel Sturridge and weaken the squad?

Daniel Sturridge’s midweek double against Spurs gave Jürgen Klopp a timely reminder, if one was needed, of what he brings to the table.

Sturridge produced 2 cool, clinical finishes and was only denied a deserved hat trick by a combination of Vorm and the crossbar.

His previous Anfield start was an altogether different story as he struggled to impose himself against Mourinho’s back six, often cutting an isolated figure. There’s a school of thought that Sturridge is unsuited to Klopp’s incessant, high-energy style of football, and a system that sees the front players constantly interchanging. It’s hard to disagree with that view at times.

Certainly, the Reds’ two below par league performances this season, away at Burnley and at home to the Mancs, both saw Sturridge start. There’s little doubt he does his best work in the opposition’s penalty box.

Klopp’s system only really allows for one “traditional” centre forward , and if you’d asked who those were at the start of the season, most people would have came up with the names of Origi, Ings and Sturridge. Yet Roberto Firmino is ahead of all 3 at present, and deservedly so. As for the other 3 “forward” positions – Mane, Coutinho and Lallana have made them their own, with the team virtually picking itself at the moment.

The days of Liverpool pinning their hopes on Daniel Sturridge are over, but that’s as much a compliment to the squad Klopp is building and the system he is implementing as it is a reflection on the direction Sturridge’s career is heading. It’s a far cry from 2 years ago when the Reds, in the wake of Luis Suarez’s departure, looked to Sturridge to fill that gigantic void. When it became apparent that his body (and mind?) wasn’t up to it, the Brendan Rodgers era quickly unraveled.

In the wake of the United game, a quick glance at social media saw plenty of obituaries being written about Sturridge’s Liverpool career. But along with Origi and Ings he gives us strength in depth, and a quick look at the history books tells you not having that will ultimately prove damaging.

In 2008-2009, Fernando Torres was Liverpool’s only recognised senior striker once the Robbie Keane experiment was abandoned. Dirk Kuyt had long since been converted into a right sided midfielder, while David Ngog was a long way off being capable of filling Torres’s boots. Torres didn’t score a league goal at Anfield until January, yet the Reds amassed 86 points and lost just twice all season. Who knows whether having other attacking options would have helped us secure those extra 4 points needed to snatch the title from the Mancs. Peter Crouch, anyone?

By the closing weeks of 2013-2014, the team (Suarez and Sturridge included) had little left in the tank following a Herculean effort that took us to the brink of the title. That we turned to Iago Aspas and Victor Moses in an attempt to rescue the Chelsea and Palace games says it all.

Yet this current squad has an embarrassment of riches in the forward positions, and Sturridge is integral to that. He’s got experience of being in a title race and, let’s not forget, still had one of the best goals to games ratio of any Liverpool striker, ever. His performance against Spurs proved yet again he’s the best finisher we’ve got and that his best days are far from behind him. His injury record, another constant subject of debate, has also noticeably improved since Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers.

With Sadio Mane off to the African Nations Cup in the new year, there’ll be one starting place definitely up for grabs, and there are bound to be injuries and suspensions. Origi was the perfect foil for Sturridge against Tottenham as the 2 of them ran an admittedly inexperienced Spurs defence ragged. I can think of worse “back up” forward lines!

Daniel Sturridge may not be first choice in this current Liverpool side, but for me that shouldn’t mean that his Anfield career is written off every time he has a bad game. Who knows how vital a fresh and raring to go Daniel Sturridge could prove to be at the business end of this current season if we can build on our excellent start.

Selling him would only weaken the squad, and why would Klopp want to do that? I think we’d be mad to consider offloading him in January.

Written by @pilnick_jimmy

Starting XI v Crystal Palace – who needs to be dropped, who needs to start, things to look out for

Following their exploits in the EFL Cup on Tuesday against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool return to Premier League action at their least favourite hunting ground, Selhurst Park.

They will face a Crystal Palace who have suffered back-to-back defeats against struggling sides in West Ham & Leicester – but the Eagles will be looking to cast that aside against a Liverpool side who have only won once in the Premiership at Selhurst Park.

The Reds’ only victory in the Premiership against them was in March, when Christian Benteke (then-Liverpool striker, now at Palace) converted a late but controversial penalty, that riled Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew.

But the hosts will face an uphill task if they want to defeat a Liverpool side unbeaten in 9 league games – which was extended to 10 when they deservedly defeated Tottenham 2-1 in the EFL Cup at Anfield. Tuesday’s game was no more than an exercise for Jürgen Klopp, who kept faith with a propitious crop of young players – a few even may have been staked a claim for a start against the Eagles.

So who should be given an opportunity against Crystal Palace on Sautrday evening? I’m going to start off with the key players.

Key Players

James Milner. His replacement on Tuesday, the much-maligned Alberto Moreno, in fairness was a solid alternative for his compatriot. However, Milner has been functioning effectively as a left-back, can convert penalties & looks a threat with his crossing too.

Georginio Wijnaldum. Wijnaldum has been integral to the “Gegenpressing” philosophy that the Reds have adopted this season under Jurgen Klopp, and made a vital contribution to our 2-1 win against Spurs in midweek, assisting Sturridge with a perfect through-ball for Daniel’s second. He provides the balance & proficiency in being on the same wavelength as the game flow.

Jordan Henderson. Henderson provides good service for attackers, and always is a threat with his accurate & glossy passing. Silenced the English who jumped on the “We don’t want Henderson as captain” bandwagon.

Daniel Sturridge. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sturridge this season myself – having not scored a league goal this season. I even implied on Twitter that he isn’t a Klopp player, having struggled to win with the German manager. It was a debate that divided opinion, but then everyone’s views on Sturridge polarised for the good – the Englishman netted a brace to ensure Liverpool’s progress in the EFL Cup, and looked lively through. A start will give him a chance to open his league account for the season, as well as increasing his confidence further. He had more opportunities against Spurs, but couldn’t put them away. If he is less profligate on the day & starts, he is clearly trying to make a statement of intent.

Roberto Firmino. He hasn’t scored every game/regularly, but he is still a bright spark in the team – he’s made up for his lack of goals with assists. His vision for the first goal was superb, and if he starts, he & Henderson could be key to providing good balls for wingers such as Mane, Coutinho & attacking-minded players like Lallana.

Sadio Mané. Offers direct pace & threat on the right wing, and contributes a lot of goals. Expect him to give Ward a tough time.

What is needed?

Physicality & pace. The likes of Benteke pose problems with their pace & physicality in the box – Liverpool not need worry about that though, and Joel Matip’s height & physical prowess can eliminate Benteke’s ability to tower ahead of defenders for a header.

Pacey, sharp defending. They have skillful & fast defenders who can shoot past you in an instant – Wilfried Zaha & Andros Townsend are examples of those. Sharp defending is needed by Nathaniel Clyne & James Milner. The only thing that concerns me is Milner’s lack of pace which could allow Wilfried Zaha to be more potent attacking-wise on the left. Clyne is known for his awareness and composure as well as consistency.

Starting XI (4-3-3):

screenshot_87

In case you can’t be arsed reading my reasoning for selection, the team is unchanged from the 2-1 win against West Brom last week, expect Wijnadum is coming in for Emre Can.

In goal, you have Loris Karius. He’s taken scrutiny from parts of the Liverpool fanbase following some jittery moments in the commencement to his Liverpool career. However, I believe he needs time – it’s easy for it to escape people’s mind that he’s a young keeper, and is adapting to a different backline to the one he was a part of in the Bundesliga. But it is worrying, in some aspects that he’s making identical mistakes.

The backline to stay unchanged from the one that beat West Brom last week in the league – Lovren & Joel Matip’s CB partnership has been billed as “outstanding” by manager Jurgen Klopp, and indeed it is. Matip’s physicality has proved key for Liverpool, especially against WBA last week.

The midfield is tweaked slightly, with Georginio Wijnaldum coming in for Emre Can, who was favoured in midfield. Wijnaldum is key for getting Liverpool’s midfield balance right, and he can read the well brilliantly to. His aptitude to break the game up is second to none.

The front three has little change – despite implying Sturridge may be a key player, in my team he will have to settle for a place on the bench. Firmino seems to be adapting seamlessly to the 4-3-3 system, but that doesn’t change the fact that I believe Sturridge is one of our, if not the best, finishers.

Sadio Mane, who bagged a fantastic goal last time out in the Premier League, continues on the right with Coutinho, who also scored a fine individual goal last weekend, on the left.

Substitutes to consist of the likes of Divock Origi, Simon Mignolet, Grujic & Sturridge.

Prediction

Games like these may sound irrelevant, but they are actually big in their magnitude. It’s not because this is a “smaller team” and you need to be picking points up against this level of opposition, but it’s about exorcising the demons once and for all.

Liverpool did that for the first time in the league in March last season, but you can’t be a one hit wonder. The mark of champions’ menality is not letting physcological blows & the past get to you during occassions like this. Klopp, for example, after the Capital One Cup final defeat against Manchester City last season, said “‘You have to feel a defeat, you can’t say it wasn’t important because it was. If my press officer would allow me to say s***, I’d say s***. That’s normal, but only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat.”

Obviously you cannot underestimate certain defeats, but you have to pick yourself up – we did that last season. We need to start doing that again at Selhurst Park, to banish the idea that we can’t win often there, and also the idea it is a fortress.

Can we do that? I’m confident we can. We’re in sublime form, unbeaten in 9, in the league & we are the second highest scorers. Also, considering the fact that Palace have lost their last 2 against struggling opposition, we should be able to capitalise on their low confidence. 

Oh, and Alan Pardew’s comparison of us being similar to the Rodgers era annoyed me – we need to show him we have more threat to offer than the one Rodgers’ side produced against Alan Pardew at Palace when we lost 3-1 at home in Gerrard’s emotional & final home game for us.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool (Firmino (2) & Sturridge)

Written by Stephen Lindell

 

Premier League fixtures for Top 7 teams compared

Let’s take a brief look at our next eight Premier League games, and compare the opposition teams of ours with those of the other real and not-so-real title contenders: the current Premier League Top 7.

To start with, let me say this is looking very good. Liverpool’s next eight fixtures look much less difficult than those of Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester United. In this period (week 9 – week 17), we only meet with one Top 7 team, and that is Everton at Goodison Park, to be played Monday evening 19 December 2016. The Reds are up against West Brom (home), Crystal Palace (away), Watford (home), Southampton (away), Sunderland (home), Bournemouth (away), West Ham (home), and Middlesbrough (away) before we have the derby game coming up in the end, just before Christmas.

Ranked just below us in terms of the amount of Top 7 teams the different Top 7 teams are going to face before Christmas, we find Manchester City who is due to meet with two of them: Chelsea and Arsenal, both at Etihad, but they are also going to meet holding champions Leicester at King Power Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur is coming up against three other Top 7 teams in the coming weeks: Arsenal at Emirates, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and Manchester United at Old Trafford. Spurs are also up against West Ham (a tough London derby) and holding champions Leicester in the weeks ahead.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester United are due to meet four other Top 7 teams in the next eight weeks, all of them. Let’s call that a tough schedule.

Let’s not forget Liverpool have already beaten Arsenal and Chelsea away this season, as well as getting a draw against Tottenham away. Last Monday we played Manchester United at Anfeld – a goalless draw it seemed like José Mourinho was more than satisfied with. Jürgen Klopp was less than satisfied, he would have much preferred a victory and looked abit annoyed when he talked about his players’ lack of consentration in the first half. I believe he felt we should have scored a goal or two in the first half, if not for all that sloppy passing of the ball we saw.

Daniel Sturridge was like crucified on Twitter during that first half. It was said he was lousy, but he never really got a decent pass to work with, and that was what Klopp was hinting at, not Sturridge’s lack of shots, because there was none. Twitter fans went retard, but what can a striker do when the ball never arrives inside the box? Even if Sturridge had been Rush or Fowler, there is no way he could have scored against Manchester United this Monday. There will certainly be a lot of training taking place at Melwood in the coming weeks on what to do when a very good opposition team parks the bus at Anfield. Where to run, how to pass, how to press, how to challenge. Sturridge will be getting more good balls to work with in the next few weeks, there can be no doubt about that.

So what do we make of the control minded, bus parking Manchester United boss? Is Mourinho’s new-look Man United a team that settles for away draws against teams like Chelsea, Swansea, Everton, Crystal Palace and West Brom, while hoping for a goal to win these games by one goal to none?

And what if Mourinho’s United are beaten by Arsenal at Old Trafford, because Arséne Wenger’s attacking force of Sanchez, Özil, Ramsey and Giroud cannot be stopped at all times? It shall be interesting to watch. And how about Tottenham at Old Trafford. Spurs does have fine attacking players like Dele Alli, Son Heoung-Min, Erik Lamela, and Harry Kane who can cause havoc against any team, home or away. Also at Old Trafford.

I am confident Liverpool will be right up there in the Top 3 by Christmas. Jürgen Klopp has a very good squad now, and he also makes it clear that training is all-important to him. When ever he feels a need to say what needs to be said, he does so. And he did so after the Manchester United game that ended with a goalless draw. We should have scored a goal or two. Sloppy passing and a lack of determination in the attacking play, especially so in the first half, made him look a little distressed as he admitted he wasn’t satisfied with what he had seen. The attacking mistakes he had in mind Monday evening after that game are being addressed in training right now, and they will repeatedly be addressed. Two or three times every day apart from match day. It is just a question of time – or should I say moments – before Daniel Sturridge starts scoring goals again. In the first half, and not as he comes on as a second half substitute.

Written by @magneleokarlsen

 

 

Behind Enemy Lines: Crystal Palace v Liverpool (@tavsan96)

It has been a mixed start to the season for the Eagles with a mixed bag of form either side of the international breaks since the start of the season.
The start of the season offered early defeats to Tony Pulis’ West Brom as well as Tottenham, who have been in unbeatable form in the Premier League so far this season; it then offered a run of form that saw us go unbeaten for five league games with only two draws against Bournemouth and Everton. However, of recent times, we have seen defeats to West Ham and Leicester City – both teams that have been struggling this season in the league.
The last two games have seen defensive errors at the forefront of the blame in defeat with the attacking players also leaving it until it’s too late to turn their potential into an actual product with a barrage on goal seen in the last ten minutes of the game, clearly visible to see against Leicester at the King Power Stadium. On Saturday, Scott Dann is set to return to the starting line-up, something that should give the team a massive boost with the player being missed massively in the last two games which he has missed out due to injury. The defender has been in great form when he has been on the pitch this season so it will be interesting to see if he can bounce right back into that on his return, possibly a goal on the cards?
A number of players have the potential to be danger men with Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke being the stand out candidates although the form of Wilfried Zaha recently throws him into the mix, with the player quite easily being recognised as the man of the match from the game against Leicester by the Palace contingent after a number of skilful runs against the defenders into the area, as well as his crosses.
Townsend hasn’t had a poor game in Palace colours yet and has impressed since pre-season, a player that is yet to reach his full potential yet. He has been the ideal replacement for Yannick Bolasie who joined Everton in the summer and a winger I look forward to watching week in and week out – he will definitely be a threat to the Liverpool defence at Selhurst Park, a man who is tough to keep quiet.
Let me talk about the player, I guess many Liverpool fans will be interested to hear about… Christian Benteke. He joined us in the summer, it was a long wait for him to sign but he did eventually after the two clubs agreed a fee and I think for the money we paid, he will pay that back as so far he has showed some great potential and execution with the style in which Alan Pardew chooses to play – so in all honesty, we couldn’t have signed a better player who is suited to us. He was our player of the month for September and I believe he may sneak a cheeky header in on Saturday.
How will Liverpool do this season?
Liverpool have looked strong this season and the potential their showing so far puts them as potential title candidates for me at this early stage. Jurgen Klopp has done a good job in his time at the club and it has grown from strength to strength, it’s something from the outside which is really exciting to see. A top three finish is more than capable for the side that is currently doing the business.
How will Palace do this season?
Palace are known for their mixed seasons in the Premier League with last season seeing us reach the final of the FA Cup, which I felt impacted on our league form. This season, I think we will have another season in the middle of the table but have the potential to push further into the top half with good performances and sequences of results.
Predicted Palace Line-Up:
 screenshot-2016-10-26-at-14-18-49
Prediction:
Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool.

Gerrard – thanks but no thanks

Steven Gerrard seems to have indicated that his days across the pond at LA Galaxy are drawing to a close.

His Instagram post (in which he states what a honour it has been to represent the club) seems to have created more of a response this side of the Atlantic than the other. Some Liverpool fans have gone into overdrive about what this means to Liverpool.

A return of Steven Gerrard as a player? For some, Steven is the greatest player to have ever worn the red shirt. However, since his departure the team have moved on and look a much better outfit than the last team he played in.

Klopp has created a hard working and talented side, qualities that certainly can be used to describe Steven Gerrard, but is this really what could be expected of him at the age of 36? Introducing him back into the squad I fear would be a backwards step, damaging both his legacy and the team.

Sadly, for those who believe he could still do a job for the team are struggling to accept the realities of time.

So if not a player, then surely we could use him as a coach? Gerrard could be a great influence on younger players at the club; he has ‘been there & got the T-shirt’. Having made over 500 appearances for the club his experience could be invaluable to their development. Gerrard would be a major asset to the development of the younger players, but will this satisfy Gerrard? Being out of the 1st team limelight is not be something he’d want.

So, maybe a role with the 1st team could be the solution? Klopp has stated that Gerrard would always be very welcome back at the club. The general feeling seems to be that Gerrards involvement with the 1st team would inspire them onto glory. That his standing as player and a ‘living legend’ could only be a good thing for the team.

In an ideal world I’m in agreement with this, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
The team is currently sitting joint top of the league, the feel good factor has returned to the club, the team is playing a style of football that is exciting the fans whilst installing fear in the opposition.
The reality of it is though; we will hit a bad patch. We will lose a game. We will play poorly at some stage during the season. At this point some of our fan base will look towards Gerrard. His mere presence at the club will become a distraction, a potentially divisive distraction.


Gerrard leaving LA Galaxy appears to have presented Liverpool with an unnecessary problem.

Big personalities in the back ground of a club are rarely a successful combination for either the individual or the club.
Liverpool during the 70’s & 80’s had a hard nosed approach to allowing legends to stay within the club, they simply didn’t. Even Shankly wasn’t allowed to cast his shadow over the club once he’d moved on, to the point where Shankly commented that he felt more welcome at Everton watching them train that at Liverpool. The only occasion I can recall some success where a big personality was loitering was when Paisley mentored Dalglish during his early months of management.

This worked because people knew that Paisley was too old to take the club forward whereas Kenny was the future. That isn’t the case with Gerrard & Klopp.
I’m sorry to say, but I can’t see how bringing Gerrard back into the club now would be of benefit to anyone in the long term. The reality of it is that this is one of those ‘hard nosed business’ decisions and say “Thanks but no thanks Steven” – maybe one day in the future, but not for me at this point.

Written by @lebigmc5times