The Curious Case Of Jordan Henderson 

Six years ago today, we signed a fresh faced, 20 year old Jordan Henderson signed for Liverpool FC as a talented, yet raw midfielder from Sunderland.

To call the following 2 years ‘difficult’ would be an understatement. From adjusting to a massive club like Liverpool, to trying to find his ideal position of winger, or central attacking midfielder, or defensive mid, confusion and debate followed Henderson wherever he went.

In my opinion, the turning point came in December 2013 where Liverpool faced Spurs. The Reds had already lost a few games that first half-season, but were still near the top of the table. Suarez had finished his ban and there was something in the air signalling that Liverpool were on the cusp of something special. 

Jordan Henderson turned in a brilliant performance, smashing Tottenham 0-5 at White Hart Lane.

The game is most remembered however for 2 things, 1) Suarez scoring twice and 2) “Oh fuck off, even Flanagan scored” – being the famous tweet from a disgruntled Spurs fan. 

What the rest of us saw, however, was the emergence of who would be our future captain. This image below somewhat personifies to me Henderson holding up his fist in defiance of his critics over recent years. It was his declaration of “I deserve to be here”.

With Steven Gerrard leaving the club at the end of the 14/15 season, the club announced on July 2015 that Jordan Henderson would be appointed the new club captain. 

Despite being critical in one of our most exciting season to date in 13/14, he was still met with criticism over his ability to lead our club. 

I was privileged to witness the new captain in the flesh during the LFC Tour of Queensland and South Australia in 2015, and what I saw was a man who was a born leader. The players all have huge respect for him. He was front and centre of everything from training, to media events, to public events… he is the man. He didn’t shy away from any engagement, question, or ask of the club from a commercial perspective. 

When it came to game-time, he was leading out the players to warm up, rallying them for a ‘meaningless’ pre-season game on the other side of the world and commanding the club from the front. 

The 15/16 season started fairly terribly to say the last, with Rodgers surviving only 8 games before being replaced by Klopp. The spotlight was once again on Henderson. Would Klopp retain him? He had his critics with some saying that Klopp would certainly see him surplus to requirements and take the captaincy off him at the minimum.

To the surprise of some, Klopp came out in equal defiance and stated that Jordan is the club captain and would stay as such. For the following games, Klopp kept his word and stuck by Henderson, making him an integral part of the play, albeit in a more reserved position on the pitch.  

For years, Jordan’s primary asset was seen as his ability to run all game, harass the opposition, win the ball back and launch attacks. Klopp had different plans. He wanted to use Henderson’s game intelligence and turn him into a defensive midfielder/quarter-back to run games.  

Henderson’s first season was met with mixed results and form, but overall, he kept a solid fan base that valued what he brought to the squad.

The 16/17 year came about, and after a few heel injuries and mixed form, Henderson declared that this was the season where he would need to ‘prove himself again’ to the fans, and he certainly did that. 

By Christmas 2016, Liverpool had the deadliest attack in the land, much due to the passing range and vision of Jordan Henderson, keeping the ball moving and feeding the likes of Lallana, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho. Henderson’s passing stats were in Europe’s elite, completing the 4th most passes of any playing in their continent.

 In contrast to this, Henderson’s main club ‘rival’ for his position, Emre Can, was badly off form. This only further led to fans being in awe of the captain’s rise in stature. 

Then disaster struck.

In February 2017, after a torrid month of average results for the club, Henderson succumbed to another foot/heel injury, which at the time seemed only minor in nature. Emre Can was forced (despite also having his own calf injuries) to cover for Henderson and slowly grew into that role. 

By April, Klopp was stating that Henderson was due for a return, only for his absence to be widely reported by journalists. What was going on? Some, including myself, were worried that Sir Alex Ferguson’s original concerned about Henderson’s running style were coming to fruition. 

Klopp stated in late April that Henderson “look healthy, but can’t play football”, only to add to the speculation around his future.

So where does that leave the Liverpool captain? What could have been of this season if he was healthy throughout? With an out-of-form/Injured Emre Can in our squad and only Lucas as additional cover, our 4th place finish this season could have been seriously in doubt if Henderson wasn’t available for the first half of the season.

We are now in the quandary of Emre Can yet to sign a contract extension, and no definitive news that Henderson’s heel injury is permanently fixed. Where does that leave our club? Do we actively search for a full-time defensive midfielder, giving them some level of assurances that they’ll play the majority of the season even if Henderson/Can are fit, or do we stick with our current team members?

Let me know your thoughts, what should the club do? Buy another player as a full-time defensive mid, or feel that Emre/Jordan with Lucas as backup is enough?  

Written by Nish Veer (@PodcastingCouch)

One To Worry About

At the start of the season if you were to ask me if Simon Mignolet would be Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper I probably would have asked you what are you smoking.

Mignolet’s career at Liverpool is littered with mistakes, his inability to clear crosses and make simple mistakes have cost Liverpool time and time again. When the 2015/2016 season finished, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp wasted no time in bringing in a new goalkeeper and declared he was his new number one. 

This was no ordinary goalkeeper, Klopp brought in, he was voted the second best goalkeeper in Germany by his peers last season,  finishing behind Manuel Neuer, which in itself is nothing to be ashamed of.

All was set for the new season, Mignolet had been ousted by a new younger contender and the centre of defence had been improved with the capture of Jöel Matip. As we all know though, football is a funny old game. 

The young contender to date has turned out to be the second coming of Mignolet and if tings don’t improve for him, his career at Anfield could be over, before it even starts.  

Loris Karius, hasn’t set the Premier Legaue alight. He has fallen in to the Mignolet bracket of not being able to do the simple things right and because of this some fans have doubted his ability and his longevity at Liverpool. 

Karius’s case isn’t being helped by the fact that young Welsh goalkeeper Danny Ward has done so well at Huddersfield this season. Ward is undoubtedly one for the future, a goalkeeper who has impressed no matter where he’s gone. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s pushing for the number in spot at Liverpool.

Some will say, Ward isn’t just ready to challenge but, being close to the same age as Karius, it’s only a matter of time before he’s given his chance to impress.  

With Ward in such fine form, Karius, for me is the one with the most to lose. This off season, he has to somehow recapture the form that saw him get a move to Liverpool last season. 

He needs to show Klopp that he has the ability to permentally keep Mignolet on the Liverpool bench, if not he could find himself been the one on loan next season with Ward and Mignolet fighting it out for the number one jersey at Liverpool. 

If not, I would like to see Ward move to a Premier League club on loan next season. My club of preference would be Newcastle United, simply because of the Rafa Benitez effect.  He’s the one manager in the league I trust to bring Ward on to the next level. 

Written by @TheMoanyOne

Lucas Levia To Testimonial Or Not

Lucas Levia – be objective, there’s four words I just can’t do. Over the last week or so a question has been asked on social media; does Lucas Levia deserve a testimonial match at the end of this season. Surprisingly the simple answer is yes.

Why? Well it’s simple, he’s been at the club 10 years and has played under 5 managers with somewhat distinction, has never sullied the name of the club and most importantly of all, the club owes it to him.

I’m having none of the whole he’s not good enough for a testimonial match, bullshit, the facts are simple;

  1. He’s played at Liverpool for 10 years
  2. Since 2007 he has played to date 342 games for Liverpool FC
  3. He has played (fooled) arguably two of the greatest managers to ever manage Liverpool in to thinking he is a professional footballer
  4. While the fans might not like him, he’s highly respected by his peers

If Lucas stays at Liverpool next season, he will be in his 11th season at Liverpool having signed from Grēmio in 2007, so technically he falls in to the category of having a testimonial and if he’s sold (please god) in the summer, after 10 years service at the club, I still think he deserves a testimonial.

I hear you say John Barnes was 10 years at the club and didn’t get one, same with Sami Hyypia, what’s so different about Lucas. Nothing. There’s nothing different about him. Nothing special at all. The fact that he’s still a Liverpool player baffles me. 

The only difference between Lucas, Barnes and Hyypia is this, of Lucas stays for an extra 365 days at Liverpool he’d have stayed 365 days longer than either Barnes or Hyypia and would be more deserving than them of a testimonial. 

Look I’m not going to pretend Lucas is world class, we, as fans all know how bad a player Lucas is, on his worst days, it’s like Liverpool are playing against 12 men. At his best, Lucas doesn’t commit a stupid foul that leads to a goal. 

I’m not one for normally slating players, but Lucas, for me should have been sold ahead of the likes of Javier Mascherano, Momo Sissoko and Xabi Alonso, 3 players that fortified the Liverpool midfield in the last 10 years. 

In saying all that, 342 games at the one club is an impressive stat for any player, not many players in the modern Premier League era amass that many games for one club, let alone stay with one for 10 years.
In the time Lucas has spent at Liverpool, only 2 players have been longer servants at the club than him and both those players are from Liverpool.

You can argue that Lucas’s time at Liverpool hasn’t been a success, but is that down to Lucas or the players around him? After all, he can only play with what’s beside him. 

He’s not the type of player to go on a mazy run and beat 5 or 6 players but he’s finished second in the Premier League twice, being to a Europa League final, won a domestic trophy and visited Wembley on a few occasions.

For a player of Lucas’s calibre, I think looking back at that, he’s done very well for himself. He’s also played with some of the worlds best players while at Liverpool.

While Lucas is no world beater, apart from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, has any other Liverpool player served the club with such distinction over the last 10 years?  

If there is let me know because they are few and far between, and this is the main reason I’d like to see Lucas get a much deserved testimonial. 

Written by @TheMoanyOne 

What A Man, Mamadou Is.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, actually it’s been a while since I’ve written about Liverpool full stop. 

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/mamadou-sakho-previous-handshake-celebrations-12936570

Unfortunately life has gotten in my way and the site has suffered because of it. I’ve tried to get articles from people but if I’m not bothered with it this weather, why should anyone else be.

Anyways back to this topic. The one, the only Mamadou Sakho. 

Liverpool lost to Crystal Palace last weekend 2-1, thanks to in part, mistakes by Dejan Lovren, Natanial Clyne and James Milner but all the mistakes were forgotten thanks to Sakho

I love Sakho, both as a player and as a person. He always seems to want to do the right thing, but at times, it seems he try’s to hard and it backfires on him.

If he leaves Liverpool this summer, his career at Liverpool will be remembered as a failure, a failed drugs test, an embarrassing trip to America and a hand gesture with ex Liverpool striker Christian Benteke has all sullied the career of for me Liverpool’s best centre back in the last 10 years.

Like many Liverpool fans I was hoping for a Joël Matip and Mamadou Sakho centre back partnership this season. 

Both players are big and strong and capable of playing from the back. Something it seemed Jürgen Klopp expected from all his players but especially from his back four. 

Alas, it never happened. Sakho failed a drugs test after the Manchester United quarter final win in last years Europa League and immediately withdrew himself from contention as a Liverpool player while his B sample was being tested, for me that was the right thing to do. 

As the sample fiasco raged on, it turned out that Sakho was innocent. He hadn’t failed a drugs test and UEFA were wrong.
Sakho, who was recovering from a hamstring injury accompanied Klopp and the Liverpool first team on their role season tour of America. 

All was looking well for Sakho, he was back where he belonged and it looked as if Liverpool finally had two quality centre backs and with Loris Karius in goal the holes of previous years looked plugged.

Then, Alcatraz happened and Sakho shot himself in the foot. His childish and immature behaviour has become too much for Klopp and Sakho was banished home to Liverpool to work on his fitness in the gym alongside Mario Ballotelli.

Banished to the U-23’s for the first half of this season, Sakho, worked hard, helped the management and the coaches with the young players and led by example.

It had it seemed learned from his mistakes in the summer and instead of being the class clown, he focused on his football. 

With injuries to Lovren, Matip and Ragnar Klaven, it was scripted that Sakho would come back in to the team and save the day but Klopp had different plans. He drafted in Lucas and the rest as they say is history. 

Back to last weekends defeat. Liverpool’s fragile mentality against the lesser teams and Palace in fairness made them pay for their frailty. 

Benteke came back to haunt Liverpool scoring 2 goals but it was his celebration alongside Sakho that irked a lot of the Liverpool faithful.

Many called Sakho out for it and Liverpool fans being Liverpool fans resorted to abusing the player.

In my opinion Sakho did nothing wrong. Whilst he is still technically a Liverpool player, he is currently on loan with Palace. Liverpool still hold his registration but he is currently contracted to Palace. His team scored an important equaliser and he celebrated, its as simple as that. 

I’m not arsed by it, some said it showed defiance to Liverpool and was disrespectful to both Jürgen Klopp and the Liverpool fan base I don’t think so. For me it would have been worse if he didn’t celebrate it. 

What Klopp has to decide on now is this, does he forgive Sakho for what happened last season and let things lie or does he blow £50 million on Virgil Van Dijk? For me I hope it’s the first one but my gut says it’s the latter.


Written by @TheMoanyOne

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 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

What’s Going On Emre Can

Note; this article was written before Can’s dominant display against Arsenal, but content of article should be considered in relation to games before Arsenal. 

Emre Can, the mere mention of his name causes a divide amongst the Liverpool fan base. Those who like him, will defend him staunchly, while those who don’t rate him will stick the knife in at any given opportunity.

Can over the last 6 months has regressed. Gone is the player who tore Villareal apart in last seasons Europa League and what’s replaced that Can, is a player who is more reminiscent of Alberto Moreno’s horror show against Sevilla. 

Where has it gone wrong for Can?

Has the added pressure of trying to retain his place ahead of Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum caused him to doubt himself or is there something the fans aren’t being told by the club. 

We know that Can this season has been plauged injuries and as yet, the club are yet to find a cause for these injuries. This is something Jürgen Klopp eluded to recently. 

As a young professional footballer, this thought must be nawing in Can’s head and could be another reason why his head has dropped so spectacularly this season.

 

For me though I think there’s a simpler reason. He’s been overplayed. While on a podcast a few weeks ago with @PodcastingCouch, I mentioned the amount of football Can has played since he signed with the club.

I’m not talking about football with Liverpool, I’m talking about football with Germany. 

Since Can signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2014, since then he has played in a summer competition in  both 2015 and 2016.

No other Liverpool player has played as much football as Can over the last 3 years and for me this is the reason why his performances are beginning to suffer this season.

His body is wrecked, and if your body isn’t functioning correctly then your mind won’t either. 

Can needs a long rest and hopefully this summer he gets the time off he needs to fully recouperate and be back for pre season 100% ready to reclaim his place in the Liverpool team. 

Written by @TheMoanyOne