Instagrams chosen XI from 1985

As a Liverpool fan. I have seen many players come and go since I started to support Liverpool.

So I took to Instagram to to see what their thoughts where and who should make the top XI which included seven substititutes, a manager and a captain.

So of course I started with the goal keeper

The Best Of The Rest

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Author: Mikey O’Brien  


Some Liverpol supporters have gotten frustrated with the club’s failure to sign marquee players in the transfer market. Mikey O’Brien gives us some players from the Premier League outside the Top 7 – and who he thinks will suit the Reds.

I know a lot of Liverpool fans have grown tired of our tendency to shop from other Premier League teams lower down the table than ourselves. On many occasions in the past, we’ve signed the supposedly better players from lesser sides hoping that the extra quality we’d be able to put around them would take their game to a new level, often to no avail.

Whilst no new signings are guaranteed to succeed regardless of where they’re brought in from, in the last 5-6 years we’ve seen the likes of Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke predictably fail, whilst the likes of Joe Allen, Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren have been far from outright successes.

Despite such an approach perhaps representing a lack of ambition and to a certain extent, lazy scouting, in certain instances buying domestically has its benefits, with arguably our 2 best signings of last summer coming from Southampton and Newcastle; Henderson, Lallana and Clyne have all made significant positive contributions since joining the club too.

For each of the positions which most fans seem to agree need strengthening in the forthcoming window, i’ve chosen 1 player from a club outside the EPL’s top 7 who could add something to our squad for next season. Here are my selections for GK, CB and LB.

GK – Jack Butland – Stoke

It’s fair to say I wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice as far as this position is concerned, but Butland is an exceptionally gifted young player.

My major concern with regards to Butland is that he’s been out injured for 51 weeks, meaning he certainly wouldn’t be joining in ideal circumstances. Unlike with outfielders it’s difficult to ease goalkeepers back into the fold as consistency between the sticks is vital. With so much at stake in each of Liverpool’s league games, perhaps it would be better for Butland to prove his fitness and get back up to speed playing for a Stoke side who, with all due respect, are destined for a mid-table finish.

I’d still be more willing to take a gamble on Butland’s physical state than go for the some of the other players people will likely point towards, though. Ability and profile wise, he’s the stand-out. We’re the smallest side in the league along with Man City, so having a 6”5 goalkeeper who’s shown he can dominate his penalty area would help compensate when teams target our lack of aerial prowess from open play and set pieces. Butland is also, like Karius, a natural at coming off his line and acting as a sweeper keeper, if anything showing an over eagerness to rush out, and he’s a very adept shot stopper.

I can’t help but feel that the likes of Sunderland’s much talked about Jordan Pickford and Burnley’s Tom Heaton are made to look better than they really are as they’re peppered with shots every game, giving them more opportunities to make spectacular, Match of the Day worthy saves. I have doubts as to whether or not Pickford, who’s only 6”1, would be able to deal with the crosses that teams frequently put in against us, and there’s not much evidence to suggest that either are quick off their line or can distribute effectively.

Let’s not forget that Mignolet, like Pickford, looked good playing for the Black Cats prior to signing for us, but since 2013 his all round ability has been shown up as he’s been asked to do a wider variety of things.

Arguably the best goalkeeper outside of the top 7 is Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, but again he’s 6”1, and thus perhaps not the type of keeper we’re in need of. At 30, he’s tried and tested, and rather than signing a keeper just 1 year older than Karius, someone more experienced to give the German time to adapt before becoming our number 1 may make more sense. Butland is hardly error prone though, and Karius and Butland competing for both a short and long term place would be intriguing to witness.

CB – Ben Gibson – Middlesbrough

It would be too obvious to say Virgil van Dijk, without doubt the player most worth pursuing if we were actually restricted to targeting players plying their trade in England (and Swansea). Keeping hold of Mamadou Sakho when his loan spell at Crystal Palace comes to an end in May also doesn’t count for the purposes of this article, despite my eagerness to see him and Klopp settle their differences this summer.

Ben Gibson would be a decent acquisition, though, and whether we like to admit it or not, acquiring the Middlesbrough man is a far more realistic prospect than seeing either van Dijk or Sakho pull on an LFC shirt in 2017/18.

Trying to select a CB from teams between 8th and 20th is especially difficult as the sides that are relatively solid, e.g. West Brom, tend to sit quite deep, playing a direct or counter attacking brand of football. Their centre backs have protection in front of them and from their full backs either side, and would be horribly exposed if put in our team. On the other hand, the ones that try to play expansively, in a style more comparable to that which Jurgen Klopp implements, the likes of Bournemouth, Swansea and West Ham for example, concede an absolute bucketload. West Ham’s Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna possess all the physical attributes you could ask for but are too rash and often lose concentration.

Gibson, however, whilst playing for a defensive minded Middlesbrough outfit, has shown throughout this season, and perhaps with greater certainty than our current crop of central defenders, that he can perform the basics of defending consistently and reliably, making no defensive errors of note this season. Our centre backs have shown a tendency to make a hash of situations unrelated to the high line they find themselves in.

Middlesbrough’s backline has chopped and changed too, with Gibson having to play alongside 3 different partners so far this campaign, and whilst Aitor Karanka set his teams up incredibly negatively, the likes of Bernardo, Barragan and Fabio are hardly defensive rocks, in fact appearing suspect to say the least whenever I’ve watched them. Clayton and Forshaw are also naturally more forward thinking midfielders, so Gibson has still had to take on a lot of defensive responsibility, lead, and has been the key to Middlesbrough boasting a better defensive record than both Liverpool and Arsenal so far this season.

Also, whilst he may not have had the chance to properly demonstrate his pace and his ability to defend in space, putting him in the same boat as the likes of Burnley’s Michael Keane, one stand out quality that Gibson possesses is his composure/ability with the ball at his feet. He rarely looses possession, even when put under real pressure, passing progressively, and is adept at striding out of defence and into the midfield. He’s only 6’1, however, and i’m adamant that we should be looking to add height to our team rather than take it away, but at just 24 and being left footed, he’d make a better buy than any of the alternatives.

LB – Ryan Bertrand – Southampton

This was a pretty easy one.

Bertrand plays for a Southampton side who’ve shown their defensive capabilities against Liverpool 3 times this season, not conceding a single goal across 270 minutes of football, as well as in a number of other matches. He’s played a significant part in them boasting the second best defensive record of all the teams under consideration here. He rarely gets caught out positionally when asked to play more conservatively, and is a lot quicker and more energetic than our current left back James Milner, allowing him to recover when players do get in behind down his side. He’s exceptional at dealing with one on ones too.

Southampton certainly aren’t a team that always sit back, and he’s shown his attacking prowess on multiple occasions this campaign and in recent years. For example, he was one of the stand out performers in Southampton’s recent League Cup final, causing Man Utd no end of problems as he continuously looked to overlap and provide width as Nathan Redmond cut infield. He’s provided the same number of assists as Milner and Clyne combined (5) in the EPL this season, despite playing 9 less games than them both, and has scored 2 goals from open play, with Milner and Clyne managing 0 apiece.

Aaron Cresswell, his injury troubles aside, is a good player too, but again, at 5”7 he’s lacking in the heigh department, and Andrew Robertson looks talented but we need reliability. Also, if we’re still worried about players not being able to make the step up and handle the pressure that comes with playing for a club like Liverpool, it’s worth noting that Bertrand started in and won a Champions League final with Chelsea against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, coming up against a right hand side of Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm. Doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Written by Mikey O’Brien (@MikeyO_BrienLFC)

Match Preview – Manchester City vs Liverpool

With ten games remaining of the season, one can easily call the two next games those that provide Liverpoolwith the toughest opposition. First up Manchester City at Etihad, then next up Everton at Anfield. 

Manchester City has lots of more games behind them this season, doing fairly well in domestic cup tournaments and taken part in the Champions League, where AS Monaco just defeated them 3-1 at Stade Louis II in Monaco on Wednesday.

Manchester City will be meeting Liverpool with lots of tred legs at Etihad. I believe there will be some rotating by the Man City manager Pep Guardiola for this game, Yaya Touré and Pablo Zabaleta probably starting this game and then maybe also Kelechi Iheanacho and/or Jesus Navas starting as the Champions League game against the French Ligue 1 leaders Monaco Wednesday evening was quite a hard test for lots of City players. 

Gabriel Jesus is still injured, as for the rest of the squad there are no injuries to talk of. 

In that sense, things are looking better for Liverpool as well. Dejan Lovren is match fit now, as is Marko Grujic. 

What is clear is, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge are injured and will not play the next game at Etihad. I am along with some famous pundits also wondering what is going on with Nathaniel Clyne and Philippe Coutinho who both seem to be out of form. 

Could this provide the likes of Trent Alexander Arnold and Sheyi Ojo with an opportunity? I don’t think so, but it is fair enough to ask the question. 

Klopp shall have to be worried about minor injuries up front, too. Both Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi has picked up small injuries. Firmino has been training just a little and will probably start the game at Etihad. 

Both Liverpool and Man City has experienced lots of problems in the defence this season. 

I believe we are going to witness a game in which both Guardiola and Klopp will urge their players to put a lot of pressure on the opposition defence, as this area is the weakness of both teams. 

This game will be a high intensity affair. Manchester City has a lot of tired legs after Wednesday evening’smatch in Monaco while Liverpool has had time to train and relax. 

Head-To-Head: Previous meetings 

Liverpool beat Manchester City 1-0 at Anfield earlier on this season (31 December 2016)

We met with Man City three times in the 2015/16 season, losing the League Cup final at Wembley on penalties after a 1-1 draw. In the league, however, we won 3-0 at Anfield and 4-1 at Etihad. 

2014/15 results: Man City 3-1 Liverpool (Etihad), Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City (Anfield) 

Predicted starting line-ups

Manchester City: Caballero – Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendy, Clichy – Touré, Silva – Sterling, De Bruyne, Sané – Agüero 

Liverpool: Mignolet – Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner – Can – Lallana, Wijnaldum – Mané, Firmino, Coutinho 

What to expect or hope for

This will be a great match. I believe we’re going to see lots of chances created in front of both goals at Etihad. 

Then, who knows what might be the outcome after 90 minutes? Win, lose or draw? Hard to tell, but we certainly all hope for a good game and a victory. 

Because of Manchester City’s loss at Stade Louis II Wednesday evening, I believe Guardiola is going to be worried about the fitness of an ageing Man City squad, and consequently do a bit of rotation now. This should give Liverpool an advantage. 

I believe Liverpool is going to win this game at Etihad. I however do not believe Klopp is going to say anything like «Boom!!!» in his post-match press conference, though. 

Written by @magneleokarlsen

Liverpool Limp Home Against Burnley

Liverpool welcomed Burnley to Anfield and the team showed just one change from that last time out against Arsenal, Divock Origi started in the place of the injured Roberto Firmino in Liverpools attack.

Burnley were widely tipped to come to Anfield and drop deep all game causing Liverpool the usual problem of trying to break down a stubborn and compact defence.

But they did the opposite of that. They started the game brightly and from the first minute they were pushing numbers high up on the Liverpool defence.

They were visibly trying to get Andre Gray on the inside channels to use his pace against James Milner and it was working from early on.

They took the lead on 6 minutes when Lowton produced an excellent cross from deep on the right side to find Barnes at the far post who was able to stroke the ball into the goal from just a few yards out.

A fine goal but questions have to be asked about the positioning of both Ragner Klavan and Joël Matip who both had chances clear the ball but both players failed this simple task.

The goal was a dagger to the home team and although Sadio Mané did wriggle free and produce a fine cross from the end link only a few minutes later it was too high for Origi to get his head onto.

Burnley almost doubled their lead on 20 minutes when a similar move this time from the left side seen Barnes volley a low cross just wide only for it to be judged offside anyway. 

The signs were there all the way through the first half.

Adam Lallana and Philippe Couthino were poor in midfield and Emre Can was looking lost again while having to spread himself across the centre of the park.

Just as it looked that the crowd would no doubt be booing this pathetic performance at half time Gini Winjaldum popped up in a crowded box to score a goal right on the stroke of half time.

The first good passing move ended with Origi crossing the ball into the box and while Winjaldum attempted an audacious flick first time that didn’t come off the ball did drop kindly for him to pick his spot and fire the ball past the diving goalkeeper.

Liverpool were level at half time having been absolutely brutal again against a team they should be beating easily.

The team appeared for the second half with no changes and the game appeared to be going the same way as the first half did.

No passing no penetration and no high tempo that we usually need to produce a winning performance.

The game stumbled along until the 61st minute when Ben Woodburn came on to replace the virtually invisible Couthino and just as everyone was welcoming young Wooburn into the fray Origi played a square ball to Emre Can from a throw in.

He simply turned pushed the ball out from under his feet and from about 25 yards out shot low and and hard beating the goalkeeper down to his left side to score a great goal and give us the lead in a game we badly needed to win. 

Although Can seemed to be letting this game pass him by again this was a big contribution from him and seemed to catch everyone off guard with his intentions as he was not closed down in time.

It with truely  a goal out of nothing.

For the next ten minutes or so Divock Origi seemed to come to life as he was chasing down and closing players and being more industrious in his work rate. 

It looks as if he was relieved not to be the one to make way when Woodburn came on instead it was Couthino. Maybe the managers faith in him spurred him on.

But it didn’t last too long either.

He didn’t offer alot today yet again and seems to be estranged to the type of system the manager wants to play and what he’s expected to do for us.

Simon Mignolet had to come out of his goal in the closing 25 minutes of this game several times to punch away long deep balls played into the Liverpool box. Most from free kicks that the Burnley goalkeeper would come out to punt long and high.

Mignolet did well and looked commanding when called upon for his part.

Burnley pushed hard for the last of this game to no avail but it did give the chance for the home team to catch them on the break with the pace of Mane in particular.

It almost paid off too on 88 minuted when Can broke up play and pushed a ball up for Mané only for the goalkeeper to deny him the killer goal. It was the type of chance he was craving all game too.

As the game looked over a last half chance fell to Lowton in the box as he tried to take an early shot on after after bouncing ball in the box fell nice for him only he didn’t let it drop enough after and hooked it high over the cross bar.

This was a messy win for Liverpool. They were not at their best by any means today yet it’s a win we need to start getting more of.

The dirty messy wins which we normally don’t get are just as important as the high flying eye catching wins. More so.

We seen games before were we would waste chance after chance, play great passing football yet not get the points. This was the opposite of that today and part of me is happy about it more so than I should be given the performance.

Next up is a big game against Man City away and we all know we will be up for that game and probably play a lot better than we did against Burnley.

Firmino was missed today if only for his work rate in harassing a defence never mind his ability to set up chances for others. Hopefully he will be back next week.

Written by @StephenKing75

Gracias, Senor Alonso

This article has really pushed me to the brink.

On Thursday morning, it was announced Liverpool legend Xabi Alonso would be retiring at the end of the season with Bayern Munich. The news sent most supporters on social media into a state of paralysis, including me.

Just stop and think about the Spaniard’s tremendous services to not just Liverpool FC, but far beyond that.

The 2004/05 season marked the beginning of Alonso’s illustrious career. Yes, before then he’d been at Real Sociedad – but no clubs around the world had really recognised the potential in him then.

Rafael Benitez’s arrival at the Anfield helm in June 2004 marked the start of a new era on Merseyside. Out went Gerard Houllier – the man renowned for his close relationship with the players. In came the ‘frosty’ Spaniard.

The arrival of Benitez also inspired the signings of Djbril Cisse, Antonio Nunez, Josemi, Luis Garcia followed by Xabi Alonso. There were some doubts about whether he could complement a midfield boasting Steven Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Dietmar Hamann and Harry Kewell.

But those who doubted him from the first minute have been left looking as idiots. He immediately gained an impression as a midfield maestro who could create defence splitting passes – and his aptitude for the game was second to none.

He made an impressive 32 appearances in his first season despite suffering a broken ankle – and arguably his most vital contribution for the club came in the 2005 Champions League final, where his penalty brought the Reds on terms.

As the Latinamerican influence growed on the side, so did the midifeld. Liverpool went from a midfield that once had Salf Diao in it – to boasting one of the best spines in Europe in 2006-2009.

His presence in midfield inspired confidence in the likes of Momo Sissoko and Javier Mascherano – with the latter often involved in unheralded work in a deeper role. His service too, was top-drawer. He created a plethora of chances and goals for the likes of Peter Crouch, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard (who featured behind Torres under Benitez) and Ryan Babel.

Not only did he have all these midfield qualities that made him world-class, but also had plenty of trophies to show for it. He may have only won 4 at Liverpool, but during his career at Real Madrid and Bayern, he has a remarkable glut of success both internationally and at club level. Here are ALL of them:

  • FA Community Shield: 2006
  • UEFA Champions League: 2004–05
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2005
  • La Liga: 2011–12
  • Copa del Rey: 2010–11, 2013–14
  • Supercopa de España: 2012
  • UEFA Champions League: 2013–14
  • Bundesliga: 2014–15, 2015–16
  • DFB-Pokal: 2015–16
  • DFL-Supercup: 2016
  • FIFA World Cup: 2010
  • UEFA European Championship: 2008, 2012
  • Spanish Player of the Year: 2003
  • Premier League Goal of the Month: November 2004
  • FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2011, 2012
  • La Liga Best Midfielder: 2012
  • UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
  • UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: 2013-14
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit: 2011

That’s world class for you. If Alonso was Paul Pogba’s age with that many honours when he came to Liverpool, he’d have been worth at least £110m in today’s market.

Unfortunately, good things come to a (stupid) end as they say. In 2008, Benitez attempted to erase his genius from 4 years ago when he tried to force the Spaniard out of the club in exchange for Gareth Barry. Consequently, it made Alonso unsettled – despite coming a fingertip’s length to a title in 2008/09, he left the club.

And who can blame him? I’d have been pissed if I were in his shoes. Don’t listen to the 1 in 1,000,000 cynics who say that he left for the money. Steven Gerrard, in his biography, openly stated that he loved the club, players and fans; it was his strained relations with the manager which lead to his eventual move in August 2009.

It was no surprise that a decline then followed since. Benitez’s puzzling replacement in Alberto Aquilani then lead to a 7th place finish in 2009/10 – since Xabi’s departure, we’ve only won one trophy. How we’ve missed his influence since.

I mean, what’s not to like about him? He’s unbelievably sexy. If your missus doesn’t want to sh*g him, she’s got a chip on her shoulder!

My favourite picture of all always has to be these two. Because it just symbolises his affection for Liverpool. Nobody sees him as a dishonest and backstabbing traitor to the club – because he always put Liverpool Football Club before anybody/anything else. He is not the type of player who would hand in a transfer request. His deep bonds with the city remain intact – and the love story from the fans continue.

What would complete a compelling combination behind the scenes at Liverpool would be Alonso coming in to help coach with Jurgen Klopp. He has experience of European & foreign football, which could come in handy for next season potentially. Sentiment can easily get in the way, but every single Reds supporter would die to see Gerrard, Alonso and Klopp lift that Premier League trophy – even if it’s not in the coveted LFC shirt.

There is nothing that cannot be a possibility if he comes to unite with the club once more behind the scenes following his departure. It’d definitely be welcomed – and I can see him playing a pivotal role in Jurgen Klopp’s exciting plans to develop this exciting project next season.

Adios Xabi. Gracias para todo. Simpere en nuestros corazones. Nunca caminaras solo. You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Centre Backs To Consider

Despite our offensive struggles since the turn of the year, failing to break down low block sides that give us little space to operate in, there’s no doubt that our defence is the area of our team that needs most significant improvement heading into next season and beyond. 

A solid base to work from is crucial, and would give us a better chance of picking up results and points in games in which the attack is not clicking.

For the last 5 seasons we’ve simply conceded too many goals too consistently to compete at the top end of the table, being exposed on the counter attack and dominated in the air, not to mention gifting our opposition goals with comical individual errors. 

 A number of the defenders currently at the club have proven on many occasions that they cannot play in the tactical system that Jürgen Klopp implements and that they don’t possess the general quality required. 

Joël Matip impressed hugely towards the beginning of the season, and despite being largely poor since his injury, his place in the team is secure. Finding him a partner this summer has to be a priority.

Virgil Van Dijk is the player everybody talks about, and for obvious reasons, given the immense quality he’s displayed in his 2 years at Southampton. 

To put it bluntly, though, we have little to no chance of signing the Dutchman. He’ll likely cost around £50m, and Manchester Utd, Manchester City and Chelsea will all be in for him when the transfer window re-opens in June. 

I’ve seen few alternatives linked by papers or even mentioned by fans, so here I’ve had a look at 3 players I think Liverpool should be targeting.

Kalidou Koulibaly

This lad is a tank.

Despite not pulling up any trees in his first season at Napoli, the 25 year old Senegalese international has quickly risen to prominence under the management of Maurizio Sarri, attracting the interest of Arsenal last summer, as well as Chelsea, who supposedly tabled a hefty bid for the player before resigning David Luiz.  

Despite being 6”2, an average height for a centre back, he’s particularly imposing physically, with his strength and aggression being the most notable facets of his game. 

The power that he possesses is something we seriously lack, resulting in us being bullied by centre forwards such as Fernando Llorente, Salomon Rondon and Olivier Giroud in the recent past, not to mention the havoc that the limited Marouane Fellaini has managed to cause in several previous meetings with Manchester United. 

We wouldn’t be so soft with Koulibaly in the lineup, as despite not being exceptional in the air (though by no means is he poor), he would at least challenge and make life uncomfortable for opposition forwards, knocking taller players off balance and preventing them from making clean contact; this would make a change from the often passive marking we see from our backline.  

Statistically he performs well, making more tackles than Matip, Lovren, Klavan and Lucas with 2.2 per game in all competitions, Lovren and Klavan being the closest with 1.4 each. 

Koulibaly has actually made an even more impressive 2.9 tackles per game in the Champions League this campaign, demonstrating his ability to perform on the big stage against top players. 

His positioning and reading of the game is impressive too, completing 2.2 interceptions per game this season, again more than any of the players we currently have to choose from, demonstrating his tendency to defend on the front foot, suitable for the high press.  

Much like the ostracised Mamadou Sakho, he is an astute and progressive passer of the ball as well, despite a rather ungainly appearance. 

He also possesses the ability to maraud up the pitch, last season completing a remarkable 88% of 17 attempted take ons, whilst this season he has completed 0.4 dribbles per game, twice as many as Matip, who most would consider to be a very accomplished ball carrier. 

Lovren is limited in possession, and having two centre backs that can bypass opposition players next year could prove invaluable against sides that sit deep as others are draw out of position to close down.  

My only concern over Koulibaly is his capacity to randomly switch off and make costly errors in games despite playing to an otherwise high standard, again like Sakho to an extent. 

He’s made more errors leading to goals (2) so far this season than Matip (0), Lovren (1), Klavan (1) and Lucas (1). 

He has played more games than the aforementioned quartet though, and the latter 3 certainly have gotten away with a number of howlers.

Presnel Kimpembe

Presnel Kimpembe is a 21 year old French centre back who plays for PSG. 

He’s very highly rated in France and across Europe, having drawn particular praise following his impressive display on his Champions League debut against Barcelona last month, as PSG demolished the Spanish champions 4-0 at home in the first leg of their last 16 tie. 

PSG opted not to buy a new CB in the summer of 2016 despite the departure of Brazilian David Luiz, who joined Chelsea in a £30m deal, speaking volumes about the trust that manager Unai Emery has in his abilities, especially given the tendency of captain Thiago Silva to pick up injuries and miss key matches.  

Like Koulibaly, Kimpembe is 6”2 and left footed, which is by no means an essential or decisive characteristic but the balance either would provide, particularly when playing out from the back, could be of benefit. 

Perhaps the most notable strength that Kimpembe possesses is his ability with the ball at his feet. He’s averaged an impressive 93.4% passing accuracy this season, despite attempting more long balls than all of our centre backs bar Lovren, and has averaged 0.8 successful dribbles when he’s taken to the field, twice as many as Koulibaly and thus four times as many as Matip. 

It is worth noting the relative lack of pressure he’s put under in Ligue 1, though he was equally as expansive against Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world at winning the ball back high up the pitch.

Of course, most Liverpool fans are probably more interested in his defensive prowess, and are probably keen to depart from the Brendan Rodgers approach of buying centre backs according to their ability as footballers rather than their ability to keep the ball out of our net. 

Kimpembe, though, has conceded just 8 goals this season in the 20 appearances he’s made in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet against arguably the best strike force in the history of football. 

Alongside another young player in Marquinhos, and in a game where PSG certainly didn’t sit back, Kimpembe held his own and looked assured. 

On average, he’s been dribbled past just 0.2 times per game, half the rate of Lucas and Klavan and nearly a quarter that of Lovren (0.7) , demonstrating his ability to defend one on one, vital for us given the number of times our centre backs are left isolated.

For me his age is the only off-putting factor, as we’re crying out for reliability and leadership, though given the players we’ve gone after in the past, his youthfulness may make him a more realistic FSG buy. 

One general grievance I’ve had with our transfer activities in the past, though, is that despite a dedication to buying young players with potential who we believe will develop into top class players, we rarely buy the best and most highly rated youngsters around. 

The likes of Tiago Ilori and Luis Alberto, for example, were unknowns, Ilori being on the fringes of the Sporting Lisbon team and Alberto plying his trade in the Spanish second division. 

There are few better centre backs right now at Kimpembe’s age, so if we opt to sign someone with little experience who we have long term plans for, then at least make it be him.

John Brooks

Brooks is probably the least well known of the 3 players I’ve mentioned, but he could well be the ideal fit for our team. 

The American has been a key player this season for German Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin, a side on course for the their best league finish since 2009 following a turbulent decade for the club and currently firmly in the race for Champions League qualification. 

He was also his country’s star player as the USA reached the semi-finals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. 

Brooks is 6”4, so partnering him with 6”5 Matip would give us the tallest centre back pairing in the Premier League. 

Given the relative lack of height throughout the rest of our first team, (Clyne, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Moreno, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Coutinho and Mané are all 5”9 or under!) and our subsequent inability to deal with set pieces, this would be of massive help. 

He would also be extremely effective in helping to counteract the long ball, a tactic sides are using with increasing regularity against us, as it allows them to bypass the pressing of our forwards and midfielders but also because it inexplicably seems to cause mass panic and confusion in and around our penalty area.  

I’m also not just assuming that him being tall would ease the chaos, as Brooks puts his height to good use that’s for sure. 

He’s won a remarkable 70% of his aerial duels this season, significantly better than Klavan with 49%, Lucas with 50%, and Lovren, who’s best attribute is probably his heading ability, with 64%. 

And make no mistake, the Bundesliga has its fair share of powerful target men, most notably the likes of Anthony Modeste, Sandro Wagner and Alexander Meier, and centre backs such as 6”7 Jannik Vestergaard who he would’ve had the pleasure of marking at corners and for free kicks, meaning Brooks wouldn’t face a particularly sterner challenge if he were to make the move to England.  

The American is again a left footed and thus left sided player, and as he’s quick for a centre half he should, as with Koulibaly and Kimpembe, be able to handle being part of a high line next to Matip. 

He reads the game well, like Koulibaly making more interceptions per match this season than any of our current crop, and with 2.8 he’s actually made a good few more than the Senegalese man too, with Koulibaly averaging 2.2 as mentioned above. 

Also having more tackles per game than our 4 current options, he’s been instrumental in Hertha boasting the 3rd best defensive record in Germany so far this campaign, conceding less than the likes of Dortmund and 13 fewer than Bayer Leverkusen, who a centre back very popular amongst Liverpool fans, Jonathan Tah, features regularly for (not to say Tah’s a poor player or at fault of course, as in fact I agree that he is another player we ought to consider). 

Another factor that works in Brooks’ favour is the fact that he speaks English. Communication between a back line is vital, so not having to learn the language could contribute to more instant success. Of course, though, this is no guarantee.

Written by @MickeyO_BrienLFC

Liverpool post Arsenal fixtures – the next seven games

The Liverpool team of 2017 has – everyone must admit this – been a health risk to watch for every real Liverpool fan ever since New Year’s Eve. A team that looked so good before and during Christmas has been in shambles since the turn of the year.

We as fans don’t exactly know what to expect no more. We beat a top Premier League team one week, then suddenly lose to the likes of Swansea, Hull, and Leicester.

We have just beaten Arsenal this last Saturday and I’m only happy we will play at Anfield when we meet Burnley (who of course defeated us at Turf Moor early on this season).
I’m also happy to know players like Henderson, Lallana and Milner have all expressed their concerns about the shape of things since the Christmas period. It has really been one big embarrassment both for Liverpooll fans and players, hasn’t it?

Okay, let’s have a look at the fixtures list. What have we got? What can we expect?
We have these seven games to play next:
12 March: Liverpool vs Burnley

19 March: Manchester City vs Liverpool

1 April: Liverpool vs Everton

5 April: Liverpool vs Bournemouth

8 April: Stoke vs Liverpool

16 April: West Bromwich vs Liverpool

23 April: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

What to expect?

Ha! The Arsenal Fan TV guy Robbie dubbed the Liverpool vs Arsenal “the bipolar derby” in the build-up for the game done together with Redmen TV.
So very true. Bipolar!

That’s what we as Liverpool fans have become accustomed to endure since New Year’s eve. As I said, if we were to meet Burnley away now, I’d be psychologically ready for another lowly team demolishing us at home. As the game is to be played at Anfield I assume confidence we will win, but I do not know we will.
After Burnley, Man City at the Ethiad. More confident of a victory there. Much more, as this squad of bipolar Liverpool players seem to always turn up against strong sides like this. I guess one should call Everton “strong” as well, ad expect us to beat the Merseyside rivals of ours at Anfield Saturday the 1st of April.

Four days later we’ve got Bournemouth at Anfield. Bournemouth managed to get a draw at Old Trafford on Saturday. That’s well done. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth simply mustn’t be underestimated. We cannot take them lightly. Not at all. Not ever!

Stoke is a team that is always difficult to meet at Britannia Stadium. They are not in the best form, but can beat anyone at home. We must keep our heads up when we meet them. No doubt about that, is there?
West Brom away? Who knows what to expect? At the moment all I can hope for is a good spell of results coming up now making the Liverpool squad confident enough to – well, to all of a sudden lose sight of one another in Birmingham! Whoever knows? I don’t.

Jordan Henderson had better arrange secret team meetings before both the Stoke and West Brom games take place.
23 April: Crystal Palace at Anfield.

We know we must make Anfield become a fortress, and make sure not to drop points in front of Scouse fans again this season, at least not in ways that make a world of Liverpool fans embarrassed.
Good luck to the spectators, to the players, to the training staff, to the manager. – And my simple advice is: Keep yer heads up and prove yourselves on the pitch! Always!

Written by @MagneLeoKarlsen