January Transfer Woes

It’s that time of year again, the January damaged window is now open. All Liverpool fans will no doubt have their own views on which new faces they would like to see in a red shirt by the end of next month.

But based on today’s squad, a lot of people are asking the question ‘what do we really need?’.

I personally agree with Klopp’s philosophy of only buying players for the medium to long term and not just for the rest of this season but if someone can come in to do both – then it’s a no-brainer if it enhances our chances of winning the league in May.

Goalkeeper – Those who know me know that I am not Mignolet’s biggest fan. That being said, Karius has yet to convince me either and I am still struggling to work out an attribute that he has. 

It would be wrong to write him off long term though given he is still young and relatively new to the league. Realistically, who would be available in January that would improve us in this area? 

I think the only goalies out there that would be an improvement on our current crop won’t be available so we will have to wait until the Summer to strengthen our goalkeeping department. I don’t think Joe Hart is the answer. 

If I could be allowed to dream, I would love us to snap up AC Milan’s excellent 17 year old keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma who seems to have everything you need to be a top goalie. 

For people who’ve not seen him play and wonder why I’m suggesting a keeper of such a young age, take some time out to watch Milan next time they play. We’d have to join a very long queue though if he was up for grabs!

Defence – If you’d have asked most Reds back in August were we needed to strengthen most across the back four, the resounding answer would have been left back!. What a masterstroke it’s been by Klopp to put Milner in there. 

Long term, we do need a natural quality left back but I would argue with anyone that Milner has been the most consistent player in that position in the Premier League this season. With Moreno as back up and Joe Gomez recovering well by all accounts, I think we will be fine in that position for the next 5 months.

Since the start of the year, it’s become apparent that Sakho has no future at the club and given we only have 3 first choice natural centre half’s currently available, I think this is one of 2 areas we definitely need to strengthen in.

I’d love to see Van Dijk sign but obviously we won’t be the only team looking to bring him in. Recent rumours suggest Chelsea and City are most likely to win the battle for his signature so if it’s not to be Van Dijk, who else could we go for? 


I can’t think of anyone who would be available in January so here’s hoping Klopp and his scouts have got another Matip or Klavan up their sleeves.

Central Midfield – This is one area where I feel we are comfortable in for the rest of the season. Given Klopp only tends to play what you would call 2 orthodox central midfielders, I think we have adequate quality and cover in this position with Henderson, Wijnaldum and Can – with the likes of Kevin Stewart and Marco Grujic providing further cover if needed.

They are all still fairly young and will only get better so unless we get the opportunity to sign a real Rolls Royce player in this position next summer, this is one area I feel is way down our priority list.

 Attacking midfielders / wingers / Strikers – Along with central defence, this is another area that we definitely need to strengthen in and I’m confident that we will. It seems mad to suggest this given we are the top scorers in the league.

I’ve every confidence that Klopp has always had a plan for when Mané jet’s off to Gabon for the African Cup of Nations. When we bought him, we knew he would not be about in January so I would expect a plan has always been in place to cover him with someone else from the squad. 

But given Ojo has struggled for fitness due to injuries, and with Ings being ruled out for the season, Klopp’s original Plan B may already have been scuppered.

We’ve seen recently with Coutinho’s and Sturridge’s injuries how thin on the ground we are in terms of first choice players for the 4 attacking positions so I feel we need 1 more player in the attacking positions regardless of the Mané situation.

Whilst it’s vital that we plug this gap for the remainder of the season, this needs to be balanced with bringing in the right type of player who can complement the system. 

A dream signing for me would be Julian Brandt from Leverkusen. He reminds me of De Bruyne. He’s a creative force and can play anywhere across the front 4 and gets more than an equal fair share of Goals and Assists. He can run all day as well and has all the attributes needed to fit Klopp’s vision for the club. It’s unlikely that Leverkusen will let him go mid-season though and any move for him may have to wait until the summer.

The more realistic signing is the Dutch Winger that we’ve been linked with. Quincy Promes possesses a lot of the qualities Klopp looks for in an attacking player and given that he currently ply’s his trade at Spartak Moscow, it seems that it may be easier to secure his services than it will be to get someone like Brandt.

If the summer signings are anything to go by, I’m confident that Jurgen will make the right decisions needed to take the team and the club further forward. Bring on 2017! Let’s hope this is finally our year!

Written by @mark_curriemmc

Liverpool V Manchester City Preview 

Somehow I doubt this is going to be a scoreless draw.

As we head into the New Year’s Eve game, fans of both Liverpool and Manchester City will probably feel optimistic and nervous in equal measure.
From a Man City perspective, this is simply a must win game – we lose and we’ll probably be 10 points behind Chelsea afterwards.

I suspect that need for a win also applies to Liverpool.

We’re both lagging behind league leaders Chelsea – us by seven points, ‘Pool by six – and if either team loses it will result in a significant dent in our title hopes.

I make no bones about it: I am extremely nervous about this game.

I’m nervous about our defence, big time.

Guardiola has played some superb football, especially in the first few games of the season, but we went on a brutal run in November and early December and the changes in our defence contributed massively to that slump.

Even now, with three league wins in a row having scored seven and conceded just one. our defence still look dodgy.

Pep has a habit of playing Kolarov as a centre half and if that happens on Saturday, we will likely be in real trouble – especially if Stones is absent.

The idea of our probable back four of Sagna, Otamendi, Kolarov and Clichy against Liverpool’s fluid front three frankly frightens me. And then there is Claudio Bravo. Hmmm.

But enough of the negatives. City have, perversely, plenty to be optimistic about for the game.

Liverpool’s defence looks to be shaky as well and your keeper problem is nearly, nearly, as bad as ours.

And what an attack we have.

Aguero is thankfully back. Sterling – the player you love to hate – is in fine form and will be eager to wind you up by scoring at the Kop end.

Then we have the wonder that is Kevin de Bruyne – not to mention David Silva.

So, nervously, I say bring it on.

It will probably be one of those games that we watch from behind a cushion.

Anything could happen. Try to enjoy it – I know I won’t.

Score Prediction: Liverpool 2-4 Manchester City

Written by @mickthehack

The race continues, and Liverpool F.C. is in it big time

OK. In his post-match interview after the Stoke City game at Anfield (27 December 2016), Jürgen Klopp said: ‘This is not the moment the season is decided … we will have to fight for each point … it’s still open, and we’re still in the race which is good.’

Well, all this might be correct, but we have seen one thing being a big deal in the period from Christmas to February, and that is some few clubs will drop a few too many points to be considered real title challengers by the middle of February, even if they were by the time of Boxing Day.

This article will be my personal attempt to sum things up for each of the top 6 clubs at the moment, while I hope Liverpool will be dropping fewer points than Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester United in the course of the next one and a half month of Premier League action.

Let’s take a look at the Premier League fixtures coming up then.

Manchester United have home games against Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Hull and Watford coming up now. Away games in the same period (31 December 2016 – 11 February 2017): West Ham, Stoke and Leicester. Not too hard, but with every chance to drop some points.

Tottenham Hotspur have home games against Chelsea, West Brom and Middlebrough. Their away games will be against Watford, Manchester City, Sunderland and Liverpool.

This looks slightly more difficult than what can be said about Man United’s upcoming fixtures. Spurs might drop quite a few points now and be on their way out of the league title race by mid February?

Arsenal have home games against Crystal Palace, Burnley, Watford and Hull coming up now, and will play Bournemouth, Swansea and Chelsea away.

I would easily regard Arsenal’s next few games the easiest of the top 6 fixture lists, and they will most probably remain in the race until at least 13 February and a little bit longer.

Manchester City have home games against Burnley, Spurs and Swansea coming up. Their next few away games will be against Liverpool, Everton, West Ham and Bournemouth.

This fixture list looks tough on Man City fans, and I would say quite a few points are there for their opposition sides to steal away from them. Then again, manager Pep Guardiola will always be well prepared, as always.


Liverpool have home games against Manchester City, Swansea, Chelsea and Spurs coming up.

Only Swansea can really be said to be ‘easy’ although who knows what might happen with a defense like ours?

That’s always the serious question, isn’t it? Liverpool’s next away games in this period are against Sunderland, Manchester United and Hull.

As things stand, I know we are heading into a key period of the 2016/17 season now. I have no doubt about this. Our schedule is very tough and we must be at our best not to drop too many points in this period.

Other clubs’ fans will want to think Liverpool will drop many, many points now. Let’s all hope these other clubs fans are terribly wrong about their wishes and hopes against us, as we know we can beat anyone any day!

Chelsea have home games against Stoke, Hull and Arsenal coming up now, and they also   got games against Tottenham, Leicester, Liverpool and Burnley away.

Chelsea’s schedule isn’t easy at all, but Antonio Conte’s new Chelsea is in deadly form now. Then again, does anything last forever?

Of course it could, but I spy a few possible points dropped in local derbies against Arsenal and Spurs here, then they are also going to play both Liverpool and Burnley away. Yes, I mention Burnley here, because they are extremely hard to beat at Turf Moor.

Okay, there you have it. I’ve got it, you’ve got it. If you don’t agree with me when I say the next few games constitute a key period of the current Premier League season, I certainly am not to blame. I only  say it’s now or never right now. We will need to fight for almost each and every point in the next seven Premier League matches, and then also be a little bit lucky.

If we are, we will all be very happy by 13 February 2017. If not, well, I know what.

Do you?

Written by @magneleokarlsen

Team Of The Year

As 2016 finally is brought to a close, I’ve indulged myself into my Liverpool Team Of The Year..

GK: Simon Mignolet

Mignolet secures a place between the sticks in my team. He hasn’t been the most convincing of goalkeepers alongside fellow competitor Loris Karius, but considering the Belgian has played more games this year & Karius has been making repeated errors at times, Mignolet gets his place

RB: Nathaniel Clyne

Really easy choice. Clyne doesn’t have a fierce competitor for right-back, with Joe Gomez’s injury presenting Clyne with the opportunity for consistent first-team football. Also, Clyne has been a model of consistency, in what has been a porous Liverpool defence.

Trent Alexander Arnold has put in some pleasing shifts in the EFL Cup for the Reds, but due to Clyne’s appearances & consistency, it’s a no-brainer for me.

CB: Joel Matip

Despite only being signed by Klopp in the summer, Matip walks his way into my Liverpool side of the year. His physicality, composure & mature performances have aided the Reds on several occasions.

Kolo Toure had been a composed & solid influence at the back, but he cannot quite pip Matip to my side. Some would probably opt for Lovren instead of Matip, due to Lovren’s improvement under Klopp – but performance & statistics wins Matip my position.

Well in, Joel.

CB: Mamadou Sakho

This is a slightly controversial choice to be making. Mamadou Sakho had gained cult status with Liverpool supporters following consistent performances under Jurgen Klopp, and his goal against Dortmund in the quarter-final, which went a huge way to ensuring Liverpool got all the way to the Europa League Final.

Since then, however, the Frenchman has fallen out of favour with not only manager, but also the majority of the fanbase. From his suspension over alleged drug taking by FIFA to the Snapchat outburst at Jurgen Klopp, he hasn’t endeared himself since.

Regardless though, I’m prioritising performances etc over off the field happenings.

LB: James Milner

Bit of a strange choice. Milner actually played as a central midfielder last season, and began to improve there, at the eve of the year. However, the underwhelming Alberto Moreno’s performances were criminal, especially at the backend of last season, and the first game of the campaign.

This led to Jurgen Klopp deciding to give Milner a makeshift role at left-back. Whilst many questioned this decision, it has payed dividends, as Milner remains a consistent performer. 

He may lack pace where the left wing back position is concerned, but it’s no brainer; considering the latter’s reliability.

CM: Jordan Henderson

Easy choice. Henderson had endured a difficult season in 2015/16 [due to injuries] – which blighted his first season as captain, filling in boots for Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. 

He will have to go a long long way to pip Gerrard of being the best servant to the captaincy role, in a long, long time – but he has showed remarkable development under Klopp this season.

The 25-yard stunner at Chelsea certainly was a highlight, but his statistics from earlier in the season showed him being the best passer in the league – so much for the ones preaching about his ‘sidewards passing’. 

According to Squawka, he has a pass accuracy of 87% – his long range passing too, is simply superb.

It’s not just his passing though – his capacity to play in the deeper role has aided the Reds in finding midfield balance.

CM: Emre Can

As much as I love Gini Wijnaldum, I’m afraid Emre Can nicks it ahead of him. Can was one of the most improved players from last season – he was often played at right-back or centre-back at Brendan Rodgers, and usually impressed – albeit looked rusty on some occasions.


When Klopp took over – he looked on another level. He produced some superb performances, led by example – no-nonsense, composed, infectious energy levels; which played a massive part in our run to the Europa League final last term.

Can too, this season – has been brilliant. Wijnaldum has got the nod ahead of him, but Can has showed that he can lead at centre-back & right-back, and in the deeper midfield positions. 

Now he’s playing in a more advanced midfield role under Klopp this season, his press & work-rate is very impressive.

CM: Adam Lallana

Another player reborn in October 2015. He looked like a disappointing buy from Rodgers in the summer of 2014, a summer which saw the mass exodus of many players to Liverpool – few of which delivered.

Lallana though, looked like a completely different player when Klopp was hired last year. He divulged the reasoning of why we paid £25m for him – he gave a new dimension of creativity to the midfield. 

He featured intermittently in the heart of the midfield, as his most effective performances came when the 4-4-1-1 formation was deployed. He was not only able to play in the centre of midfield at times, but he produced some good performances on the right wing, notably against City (H) last year.

He’s chipped in with goals & assists this season, and his vibrant attacking play has been devastating at times. Is it possible to leave him out?

RW: Sadio Mané 

Not even a difficult choice. The Senegalese has lit up Anfield with his electrifying pace, which has left opposition defenders petrified, and is also the Reds’ top scorer.

Mane is also one that will suit Klopp’s tactical vision, as he can play down the centre by drifting infield, creating space for other attackers to run behind [e.g Firmino against Leicester].  

He will no doubt be a big miss as he sets off to Gabon for the African Cup Of Nations next month – £35m well spent. Not bad at all.

CF: Roberto Firmino

Unlike my other picks, this one was a really difficult one. As we have such a rich squad depth, we have a plethora of attackers to rely on. Divock Origi was one of the finest breakaway stars last season, and has impressed this season too – scoring vital goals, in the wake of Philippe Coutinho’s absence through injury. 

Sturridge scored some vital goals in Europe last season – but on the basis that he hasn’t hit the ground running yet this season in the league, I’m going to go with Roberto Firmino.

Some have labelled his running as a stumbling block, but he has started to improve the tactical side of his game. Mané’s signing was a blessing in disguise for him, as he can now drift in the centre, make runs behind opposition defenders & contribute goals. 

It’s not just the goals through, his workrate, assists & involvement in goals has been fruitful. Has proved to be another revelation this season.

LW: Philippe Coutinho

No doubt. Coutinho did have consistency problems last season – and admittedly, there was substantial hype from Liverpool supporters. But this season, he has justified all of that excitement.

The Brazilian just looks like he’s blessed with IMMENSE creativity. His skills, showboating etc has been a joy to watch, as he leaves defenders on their backsides. Some have billed him as a ‘long range shot merchant’, but that tag can finally be forgotten about, as the Brazilian has began to show there’s more to his game than just screamers.

Don’t get me wrong, he can be frustrating on the odd day, but his contribution to our superb start to this season just can’t be overlooked. His injury appeared to be a big miss, but the team have already discovered a winning formulae without him.

When he returns, expect damage limitation, at its most exciting.

Written by @SteLindellLFC

 

Liverpool’s worst signings – of the 21st century

Supporting Liverpool, especially during transfer windows at times, can bring emotions of disappointment & hype.

We hear a report of a marquee signing potentially signing for the club, but in the end, it never materalises! The never-ending talk & saga can be difficult to contend with, especially when it’s regarding other clubs being able to attract big names.

Liverpool have been mocked in the last 3-4 years by rival supporters, for only being able to attract over-hyped players to Anfield, for extortionate prices, whilst other clubs are able to spend large sums on marquee players who claim to be dedicated to that club – that was discussed in an article a couple of months ago. Klopp played down rumours of Liverpool being a ‘selling club’ – and those days appear to be well and truly over.

The likes of Michael Owen, Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez & Fernando Torres etc all left Liverpool due to casting doubt over the club’s ambition and hopes to win that coveted title – and what would have really been the killer blow for the club, above all – would’ve been the sale of Steven Gerrard to Chelsea, in 2004/2005.

Anyway, enough talk about selling, time to humiliate myself by looking back at the worst Liverpool signings of the 21st century…

12. Bruno Cheyrou

Signed in the summer of 2002 along with fellow flops El Hadji Diouf & Salif Diao, the Frenchman completely flattered to deceive during his spell at Anfield. Gerard Houllier dubbed Cheyrou as the “new Zidane”, but this tag proved to be one that Houllier would rather look back on as ignominy.

He had impressed at Lille prior to his move, even scoring against Manchester United in the Champions League; many supporters were hoping he would add that extra creativity needed to our midfield, but he only found the net once in his debut season – that was in the Champions League against Spartak Moscow at Anfield.

Cheyrou was eventually deemed surplus to Rafa Benitez’s requirements in the 2004-2005 season, resulting in him being loaned to French clubs, before making a permanent move to Rennes in 2006.

He lacked pace, physicality, creativity, poor work-rate, and in general, he just seemed like an ordinary player from the moment he arrived Merseyside. A let-down.

Highlight? He produced some decent performances during the 2003-2004 season – his highlight probably being scoring the winning goal at Stamford Bridge in January 2004.

11. Salif Diao

Diao was another who endured a miss-and-hit career at LFC. Gerard Houllier appeared to alienate Diao too, when he arrived in May 2002, suggesting he could be “the next Viera”. Sure, he also caught the eye with Senegal in the 2002 World Cup during the summer, but he was unable to replicate that quality amongst the likes of young talents such as Steven Gerrard – who was left distinctly unimpressed by the Senegalese’s quality:

With Salif, I knew after a week of training that he wasn’t going to be good enough.

Houllier often used Diao out of his preferred position at defensive midfield – with the Frenchman preferring to use him at CB. This, arguably, hindered his progress, as the Senegalese hinted;

Houllier has changed his tactics and uses one ball-winner in midfield. It’s fair to say this has been a blow to my chances.

He managed three goals for Liverpool, with only one coming in the league, against Leeds United in October 2002.

But, he then demonstrated he wasn’t good enough, even in his preferred position at DM – under Benitez he put in several poor displays which saw him fall down the pecking order, to regulars such as Xabi Alonso.

Diao was released on loan to Birmingham City for the remainder of the 2004/2005 season, eventually joining Portsmouth on a permanent basis.

Positive? We only paid 4 odd million for him!

10. Fernando Morientes

This was a deal that excited a lot of Liverpool supporters back then. Rafael Benitez pushed a deal through for Morientes in January 2005, which was seen as a coup for the Reds at only £6.5 million. Morientes, at the time, was nearing 100 goals for Real Madrid, so it was easy to see why LFC fans were so enthralled by the raid from La Liga.

However, despite the excitement following the done deal, Morientes never looked like justifying the optimism Liverpool fans divulged – he only managed three goals in his debut season, and was cup-tied for the Reds’ Champions League games on their road to a historical triumph in Istanbul.

The following season, he scored nine goals – but his form in the league was poor. He only managed five goals in the Premier League itself – and it was clear that he wouldn’t be a part of Benitez’s plans for the 2006/2007 season. He was sold to Valencia in May 2006, as the likes of Peter Crouch began to break into the side.

Highlight? Netting in the 2005 League Cup Final

9. Antonio Nunez

Nunez was Benitez’s second signing in charge of Liverpool – but he rarely featured in the side. Benitez signed the young midfielder [used as a full-back, however] in August 2004, which came part of a deal which saw Josemi arrive at Anfield too, with Owen leaving for Real Madrid in part exchange.

But unfortunately, for the Spaniard, he injured himself in his first day of training at Liverpool, and was out of action in all competitions for three months.

When he did feature, he often went very quiet.

Nunez, however, did score in the 2005 Carling Cup final against Chelsea, which Liverpool lost 3-2 in Cardiff. This made him the only player in LFC history to have scored his only goal for the club in a major cup final!

He had a Champions League medal to show for his efforts, but otherwise – it was a disappointing spell for Nunez, who was simply never cut out to the pace of English football.

Highlight? Scoring against Chelsea in the League Cup Final.

8. Josemi

Josemi was Benitez’s first ever signing at Liverpool in 2004 – and he was also part of that swap deal involving Michael Owen, signing for £2m.

He managed more Premier League starts than Nunez in his debut season [15], but he was sent off against Fulham in a 4-2 away win in October 2004 – this ban lead to Steve Finnan establishing himself as a regular starter at right-back.

He also made seven appearances during Liverpool’s memorable 2004-2005 Champions League campaign, but eventually was not included in the substitutes bench. His lack of starts under Benitez lead to him wanting to leave Anfield in December 2005. Contributed little.

Highlight? His Luis Garcia-esque hair. Only accolade I can think of.

7. Jan Kromkamp

Signed in January 2006 for Josemi, who went to Villarreal.

He was unable to get any starting time, usually restricted to substitute appearances. He only made 14 appearances, and he looked like an imposter of Dirk Kuyt’s hair. All you need to know.

Highlight? Making the bench for the FA Cup Final in 2006.

6. Andriy Voronin

Resembled My Little Pony – Voronin was signed in February 2007 by Benitez, who was given more funding power by the Yanks at the time – pushing through deals for Ryan Babel, Yossi Benayoun & Fernando Torres.

Voronin was viewed as somebody who could bolster Liverpool’s attacking options, but he contributed nothing of note. He managed a measly 6 goals in 27 appearances, and was subsequently sent on loan by Benitez for the 2008-2009 season to Hertha BSC.

When he returned in 2009/2010 following his loan spell, he looked like a League 2 player. That’s all you need to know. He managed 0 goals in his last season.

Highlight? Scoring in a Champions League qualifier.

5. Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane arrived for odd £19m (+1.3m in performance based compensation) in the summer of 2008 – hopes were high. Having hit the ground with strike partner Dimitar Berbatov at Spurs, LFC fans were hoping he could be integral to LFC’s title success in May.

Unfortunately, the Irishman proved to be a huge waste of money, like his predacessor Voronin. He had a lean time for goals in his first few months, and bagged his first in all comps in October 2008, first in the league coming in November 2008 against West Brom – otherwise, he was on a hiding to nothing. Keane managed 5 goals in the Premier League, and two in Europe. He was a player devoid of confidence.

It wasn’t his dedication that let the side down, or work rate  he struggled to settle at a club like Liverpool that had such stark expectations under Rafa Benitez. In the transfer window, he eventually was reunited with Spurs in January 2009.

Highlight? Scoring against Arsenal in December 2008 away – a goal that helped us maintain in the title race.

4. Alberto Aquilani.

Some would put Alberto Aquilani ahead of Andy Caroll in my worst transfers list, but I was actually a fan of Aquilani.

I’ll admit the Italian was out of his depth at the club, but it didn’t help that he bought at a time the club were still dwelling on the baffling departure of midfield maestro Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. Days after the Alonso transfer, Aquilani signed in August 2009. He was carrying an injury in his first few days at the club, which again, hindered his progress

Some people saw him as potentially a signing that could fill the void that deep-lying midfielder Alonso left, but Aquilani was more of a dynamic-attacking midfielder than a defensive/holding one.

He was limited to substitute appearances due to his injuries, but when he did come on, he usually showed neat touches on the ball, and could even defend when relied on at times.

But, he was usually seen as an average midfielder by a lot of LFC supporter, due to suffering from injuries regularly, which limited his potential & game-time too. He was eventually loaned to Juventus & Milan, so that he was provided with an opportunity to regain his match fitness & confidence.

He did train with LFC’s pre-season side in the summer of 2012, but he left to Fiorentina eventually in 2012 – after flattering to deceive after a disappointing spell littered with injury – thus we didn’t see much of him.

Highlight: The MOTM performance against Portsmouth in March 2010

 

3. Andy Carroll.

Due to the astronomical £35m we spent on the Gateshead-born striker in 2011.

Some will argue £30m for a striker who scored 31 goals in 80 games is good enough, but considering his injury record, maybe it wasn’t the wisest move to sign him [Aquilani ring any bells?]

When he arrived, he was carrying an injury sustained at Newcastle, which meant he had to wait for his debut. He eventually scored his first goal(s) for the club in April 2011, in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Man City at Anfield. He looked like a great buy then.

But the following season, he struggled for goals – he had to wait until October for his first in the league, and only managed a measly 4 goals in 35 appearances; an extremely unfulfilling return for a player who had been valued highly as one of the deadliest in the league.

Don’t get me wrong – he did score a few important goals every now and then. For example, he was instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the FA Cup Final, where he scored the winner for the Reds against Everton in the semi-final derby. Jamie Carragher valued the goal as £35m itself. He even netted in the final, which Liverpool lost 2-1 to Chelsea. He almost grabbed an equaliser that would’ve taken the game to extra time, only to be denied by the linesman’s decision to conlcude that Carroll’s header did not cross the line.

Otherwise though, it wasn’t a spell Liverpool fans will remember fondly – whilst other rival supporters will greet it with glee.

Highlight? The header that clinched victory for Liverpool at Wembley against local rivals Everton in the FA Cup semi-final.

2. Paul Konchesky

If anyone compounded Roy Hodgson’s dismal spell at Liverpool, it was left-back Paul Konchesky.

Yep, that’s right. The Hodgson we know – the one that branded a 1-0 win away at Bolton in 2010 a ‘famous result’, and the man who thought he was on level terms with Sir Alex Ferguson’s silverware [yep, that was hard to write].

When Roy brought this annihilation of a defender in August 2010, I always knew he would have problems settling in at a club like Liverpool – only Hodgson can understand why he came to the conclusion of deciding to purchase a player that was better with his hair than feet.

Konchesky may have won the Goal Of The Month award in January 2009, but that’s as good as it got for him in his career.

Konchesky was simply an embarrassment to this club, he was costing us points, day in, day out. It got to the stage when our own fans were CHEERING when he was substituted off against Wolves in December 2010. That said it all, and that pretty much put an end to his LFC career.

Oh, and not to mention the ‘Scouse Scum’ remark his mother made on Facebook.

Highlight? Having better hair than feet, and resembling the look of a football steward.

1. El Hadji Diouf

This was a no brainer. El Hadji Diouf was always at the top of my list, before I even started writing this article.

This deal was finalised in June 2002 for £10m, when manager Gerard Houllier had a split choice between either deciding to make Nicholas Anelka’s move to Liverpool permanent, or signing Diouf as a replacement for Anelka, and letting Anelka go in part exchange.

Every Liverpool player & supporter back then wanted Anelka’s move to be made permanent, but Houllier baffled everyone by instead choosing to take Diouf on, by signing the Senegalese in early June of 2002.

Steven Gerrard, in one of his biographies, stated that Anelka was the better option, due to the fact that he had made himself a favourite with the fans. And it wasn’t difficult to see why – the previous season, Anelka had made a contribution to Liverpool’s title charge which saw them finish 2nd.

But it appeared that Houllier’s decision to sign Diouf as based on him impressing in the 2002 World Cup for Senegal – but that proved to be, again, as good as it got for the greedy, snobby & lazy Diouf we began accustomed to seeing at the club from day 1.

It wasn’t just his attitude that ensured he became far from the cult hero status he thought he was at – it was his work rate & ability. Despite impressing early on in the season, Diouf didn’t score a league goal from August to March, which came against Bolton.

He again, divulged his bad boy image to the world in Parkhead in March 2003, when he spat at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup match – this was a stint that still casts over his disgraced & dark career, and that was the point when Liverpool fans began to feel disillusioned with the striker.

Following the incident, he didn’t score a single goal [not even competitively!] from the end of the 2002-2003 season and the whole of 2003-2004.

The positive that can be taken from this is that when Rafa Benitez arrived at Liverpool, he didn’t want to include Diouf in his plans, loaning him out to Bolton Wanderers.

Since then, he’s aimed digs at Jamie Carragher & Steven Gerrard – accusing Gerrard of being racist, and his deluded digs at his former team-mates, claiming his quality on the pitch shined through. He insisted on Gerrard being a ‘nothing player’ – yep, that’s right. The player who was won every competitive trophy there is to be, bar the Premier League. What did Diouf have to show for his spell? A League Cup final he played no part in, and a spit at a fan. Well done, El Hadji.

Here’s a quote that Diouf one said to a French magazine;

The difference between Jamie and me is that I am a world-class player and he is a s***. The type of s*** that writes a book and mentions me all the time. Me, in my book, he does not warrant oe phrase: he’s a f****** loser.

Let me just remind you. Jamie Carragher scored more goals than El Hadji Diouf at LFC. That’s not even counting own goals [Diouf struck three times in 55 outings in the league for Liverpool, while Carragher managed four in his 508 games.] All you need to know.

Before you open your mouth Diouf, take a look at these ‘world class’ statistics.

screenshot-2016-12-23-at-18-51-27

Highlight? Spitting at a fan, showing how low he really was. Get in the fucking bin.

Written by @SteLindellLFC

Liverpool Ease Past Stoke

Liverpool came back from a shock John Walters goal tonight at Anfield to beat Stoke City 4-1 thanks to goals from Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, an own goal from Gianelli Imbula and a first Premeir League since last April for Daniel Sturridge. 

Stoke city arrived at Anfield lying in 12th place in the Premier League, but having a poor record at Anfield, indeed never beating the home team at home in the top flight.
Mark Hughes decided to try to bully the Liverpool defence by bringing back Peter Crouch and playing him alongside John Walters in front of a five man Stoke midfield. 

Obviously long high balls and crosses were going to be the order of the day along with deploying a three man defence, hoping to push Liverpool out wide and deny them the space in around the box.

Liverpool started the game well on the front foot and seeing alot of the ball for the first ten minutes. Stoke were finding it hard enough to keep the ball when they did get hold of it.

On ten minutes Simon Mignolet had to come out and claim a cross into the box meant for the head of Peter Crouch denying the former Liverpool player an early attack on goal.

But Stoke did find the combination they were looking for just one minute later when, after recycling the ball back out wide to Erik Pieter who’s cross picked out John Walters at the first post who headed well past the diving Simon Mignolet. 

The goalkeeper did get a glove to the ball and maybe should have done better to prevent Stoke taking an early lead. 

Stoke now looked to push home an advantage they had with a second goal and were getting alot of the ball and were pushing hard for that goal.

On 17 minutes Joe Allen got on the end of a bouncing ball in the box that Liverpool failed to deal with. He got his shot off across Simon Mignolet who stuck out advantage cross leg to make advantage cross good stop and luckily the ball went wide enough not to fall to the feet of the waiting Peter Crouch who would have had an easy tap in.

A crucial point in the game seemed to waken the home team up and from there on they took charge of the game until the end which resulted in a 4-1 home win.

On 23 minutes Roberto Firmino had a shot cleared off the stoke line by Peter Crouch.


 On 34 minutes  Origi held the ball up in midfield and passes it out wide to Sadio Mané who was able to drive in to the Stoke penalty area and pick out a pass to the feet of Adam Lallana who at the second attempt drove the ball low and the hard into the goal to level the game up.

From this point on Liverpool took charge and with over 80% possession in those last ten minutes before half time the second goal always looked like coming.

It did on 43 minutes when James Milner slide a ball to the feet of Roberto Firminho just inside the box and as Milner went for the return Firmino was able to turn and shoot across the goalie to give Liverpool a half time lead they would never look like losing.

The second half was dominated by the home team to the extent that manager Jürgen Klopp was able to take off some players early to rest them ahead of a hectic schedule leading in to the new year.

On 59 mins Liverpool scored again albeit  an own goal forced by the presence of Mané in the centre waiting to tap in a low cross from Origi.

On 68 minutes Lallana and Origi were replaced by Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge and less than a minute later while Ryan Shawcross received a ball he turned to play it back to his goalie, Daniel Sturridge got himself in to a position to intercept the back pass. From here he made it look ever so easy to go already round the goalie and score into the empty net to seal another win and 3 vital points.

Sturridge deadly dangerous as usual.

Having already got scored 4 goals, fans might have imagined that Liverpool would shit up shop and see out the win but the team kept coming forward now looking for more goals. Sturridge’s goals was Liverpool’s 100th goal scored under Klopp. 

Brilliant to watch and those goals also being widely spread all over the team which is great to see.

The response yet again was good to see going a goal down the team didn’t panic and kept playing to the system now drilled into them and that paid off in the end big time.

Being able to rest a couple of players today taking them off early and with Joël Matip likely to come back for the next game the leagues top scorers now look forward to hosting Manchester City at Anfield next in what is sure to be a big test for both sides and probably a telling one also.

The win pushes Liverpool back above Manchester City and keeps them in contact with leaders Chelsea. A win next City would be the perfect start to 2017 for the Reds.

Written By @StephenKing75

 

LFC v Mark Hughes

Blackburn Rovers

It feels like Mark Hughes the manager has been around forever! After managing Wales to within a whisker of qualifying for Euro 2004, his first job in club management came in the 04-05 season at Blackburn where he succeeded Newcastle-bound Graeme Souness.

Soon after Hughes’ appointment, the Reds travelled to Ewood Park and the game will be remembered more for Djibril Cisse suffering a broken leg than the 2-2 scoreline. It was a case of lightning striking twice, with Jamie Carragher having suffered the same fate at the same venue a year earlier.

Games against Hughes’ Blackburn sides were often tight, physical affairs. The return at Anfield finished 0-0, the Reds completed a league double with a pair of 1-0 wins in 05-06, Blackburn took 4 points off us in 06-07, while we did likewise in 07-08, drawing 0-0 at Ewood Park before running out 3-1 winners at Anfield; the Reds goals that day came from that fearsome attacking threesome of Gerrard, Torres and, er, Andriy Voronin!

Man City

Hughes succeeded Sven Goran Eriksson at City in the summer of 2008, shortly before the influx of middle eastern cash that propelled them into the position they find themselves in today. According to Wiki, City paid Blackburn world record compensation to secure Hughes’ services, proof indeed that the world had gone mad!

The Reds had enjoyed a promising start to the 2008-09 season when we travelled to the Manchester Commonwealth Games stadium in the October, but we found ourselves 2-0 down at half time. The City fans, rather optimistically, told us they were going to “sign Torres” but we could “keep Dirk Kuyt.” If Torres going on to score twice to level the scores wasn’t punishment enough for such premature gloating, Kuyt’s injury time winner rammed those words well and truly back down Mancunian throats as the Reds completed a remarkable comeback.

The return game came 3 games before the CL trip to Real Madrid and we had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw, one of several damaging Anfield setbacks that season. City also left L4 with a point the following season in a 2-2 draw in November 2009, but with their league position falling well below their newfound lofty expectations, Hughes was sacked shortly afterwards and replaced by Roberto Manchini.

Fulham

Hughes managed Fulham during the 2010-2011 season, a vacancy that arose as a result of Liverpool’s ludicrous decision to give the manager’s job to Roy Hodgson.

But by the the time the two sides met in the league, Hodgson had already been put out of his misery and replaced by Kenny Dalglish. The Reds ran out 1-0 winners in late January in what was Fernando Torres’ final appearance for Liverpool, while we put on an attacking masterclass at Craven Cottage in May to secure a 5-2 win; Maxi Rodriguez bagged a hat trick and Luis Suarez was unstoppable.

QPR

Hughes took over at Loftus Road in January 2012, succeeding Neil Warnock (I won’t use the popular anagram of his name with this being a family friendly site!)

The Reds only faced QPR once during Hughes’ spell in charge, and the less said about it the better. We had led 2-0 in the second half, including the most unlikely of “goal of the season” contenders from Sebastian Coates, before a late capitulation and a Jamie Mackie hat-trick saw Rangers run out 3-2 winners.

Stoke City

Hughes replaced Tony Pulis prior to the 2013-2014 season, and as fate would have it his first game in charge was at Anfield. A Daniel Sturridge goal gave us a 1-0 win, but that only tells half the story as Simon Mignolet saved a late penalty from Wirral-born bluenose pantomime villain Jonathan Walters to secure the points.

The return game epitomised that crazy season as the Reds won 5-3, and in general our record against Hughes’ Stoke is far better it was against Pulis’ Stoke. We’ve won 5 out of 6 in the league and last season edged a tense League Cup semi final on penalties, although Stoke’s second leg win was our last defeat at Anfield.

The one anomaly came on the final day of the 14-15 season as we suffered one of our most embarrassing defeats of this era in Steven Gerrard’s final appearance in a Liverpool shirt.

Stoke have lost all 3 league visits to Anfield under Hughes and with the Reds playing after their rivals yet again in this round of fixtures, a win is essential to keep up the pressure on Chelsea and maintain the gap on the sides below us.

Written by @Pilnick_Jimmy