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

Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal: Match Report

Liverpool defeated Champions League rivals Arsenal 3-1 this week thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadie Mané and Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

Manager Jürgen Klopp made one change at the heart of the defence by bringing Ragnar Klavan inplace of Lucas Leiva.

Emre Can continued to start in Liverpool’s midfield in the absence of captain Jordan Henderson also.

From the start Liverpool turned the clock back 2 weeks to the performance against another top six side when we beat Spurs all over the pitch.

Today the first half was exactly that again. Adam Lallana along with Sadio Mané were immense in the first half.

Philippe Couthino and Firmino were on top form and continually found themselves in space between the back lines of the  Arsenal defence causing havoc and being allowed to turn and run at them.

Lallana in particular was all over the pitch harassing and breaking up play and setting Mané and Firmino up with good quality and he was always first when it came to regaining possessio.

The fact that Liverpool went in at the break leading by two goals was the least they deserved such was their dominance and overall play in the first half.

Simon Mignolet had virtually nothing of note to deal with apart from having to come for the couple of floated crosses aimed for Giroud at the back post.

On nine minutes Mignolet kicked long and Firmino went up to challenege for the header and actually won a good flick on that fell to Lallana in alot of space he was able to turn and feed the ball out wide to Sadio Mané. He controlled it and drilled a cross in from the right side low. Couthino missed his chance but with Firmino behind him after following his own move into the box he was able be to control the ball and lift it high up into the net over the desperate lunge from Petr Cech in goals.

A goal produced from great flowing, fast football and movement that left the Arsenal defence looking like they had been nailed to the ground.

The second goal came on 40 mins when James Milner and Georghino Wijnaldum exchanged passes on the left wing to get the ball to the edge of the box and to Firmino. He turned quickly and switched play right across the box with a  clever and quick low pass out wide to the free Mane who was able to drive the ball back across the path of Petr Cech to score.

Half time came with a two goal lead and while Liverpool looked like they would cruise past another top team yet again.

Arsene Wenger looked like he was expecting to be hounded for his decision to leave his best player, Sanchez on the bench for this game.

Sanchez did start the second half in place of Francis Coquelin and immediately he began to have an effect on the game and the confidence of Arsenal.

His presence alone meant that Nathaniel Clyne was not able to bomb forward like he did previously and he was a visible threat on the break with his pace and skill.

After a better start to the second half Arsenal did score on 56 minutes when Danny Welbeck chipped the ball home over the top of a diving Mignolet who came out maybe a bit too early to block a narrow angle shot.

Welbeck had been played in down the side of Clyne by the clever Sanchez and it was a good finish also by the striker.

Arsenal now had a visible lift and they enjoyed more of the ball too than the home team.

Liverpool for their part were able to sit back to an extent and try to pick their times to explode forward and break on an Arsenal side now pushing forward.

Divock Origi came onto the field on 75 minutes to replace the excellent Couthino and was pushed right up top to hold the ball up and try to bring the midfielders into the game again.

He did this to good effect on 81 minutes when he got onto the end of a ball hacked long by Emre Can and was able to draw a foul in doing so.

From the free kick he got his head onto the ball right in the centre of the box only to see his deft flick come back off the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

By now Arsenal had made all their changes available with both Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez on the pitch and were pushing forward, leaving gaps behind in an effort to sneak a point from the game.

This was to lead to Liverpools third and final goal on 90 minutes when Winjaldum got on the end of a good cross from Divock Origi to score from inside the box at the far post having tracked the move well.

Adam Lallana deserves a special mention here as he played the ball out wide to Origi but only after he turned in central field to give Origi the time to get back onside before playing him through. It was class and vision personified.

Emre Can has been the butt of some of my own frustration here recently but today he was excellent all over the pitch in passing and tracking back also.

He was lucky not to see a second yellow also with a foul on Walcott but overall he was on top form.

This win puts Liverpool back up into third  place on the league although it may be only momentarily but it does also show that the upcoming games against Manchester City and Everton will be crucial in efforts to get top four this season.

Out record against top six teams now stand at 9 games played with 19 points taken from those games. By far the best on that mini league and with only Manchester City left to play from that top six group it looks encouraging.

Some of the other top teams have more games to play against their closest rivals and no doubt they will drop points against each other where hopefully we will be able to gain points alongside them.

Another good win but a frustrating display also when you take into account the fact we were so poor last time out against a weaker side.

The Jeckel and Hyde performances still exist but this was good today and hopefully the next few big games will be just what we need to blow out those cob webs and get back to form.

Written by @StephenKimg75

Fans scattered fume

In recent weeks it has come back to the fore for many Liverpool fans having gone away for a couple of months previously yet we all know it’s just there lurking under the skin. 

What am I talking about?

That fans fume that we see so regular now regarding Liverpool.

It includes everything from performance and trips to La Manga to the owners and the manager and everytthing in between.

I don’t follow other clubs on twitter so I can’t say with 100% absolution but to me it seems that there is a pocket of fans that always seem to come out after a poor defeat or lack of a signing to vent their anger then disappear again just as quickly when the team is doing well.

In recent weeks the main topic of fans ire has been the lack of signings in the transfer window. 

This has gotten to such a point that the manager must have felt it necessary to put himself in the firing line by answering questions about missed targets etc during press conferences. 

Something which he usually would not talk about.

We all know the players that were linked but what didn’t get enough attention also is the fact that those players either decided to move else where or the manager decided not to go through with the transfer.

Jürgen Klopp has himself indicated that one of our recent top targets that ended up at PSG was more interested in how much money a club could offer him.

Did this appease our fans? For some it did not. The same player went on to score a couple of goals lately and all  we have to listen to know is “how good would he have been at Liverpool if only FSG  had  spent the cash”.

No mention in those rants is given to the fact that Klopp pulled the plug on the player essentially because he felt he was greedy and not focused enough on his football and career.

That’s just one example.

Next is the ire directed at some of the players we do have. Dejan Lovren for example has been the butt of many jokes and alot or criticism lately until he got injured. 

Now those same fans seem to forget they wanted him sold at the start of this season as they are now lauding his expected return from injury just in time to kick Lucas out of the team.

He’s back in training but I didn’t expect him to play against Arsenal last weekend as Jürgen Klopp usually likes to make sure players are 100% before throwing them back in. As it turned out, Lovren made the bench.

Lucas got alot of stick after the Leicester game and now we have to put up with people talking about Lovren return like it’s a new signing or something. 

I’ve never seen Lovren to be as bad as some on here do but neither do I think he’s gotten a whole lot better while he’s been out injured either.

Next we have the FSG OUT brigade. 

I’m not telling anyone that they are not entitled to their own opinions on this matter. 

What I am saying is to be very careful what you wish for in this regard also. 

A few seasons ago we all seen what happened with Chelsea and Manchester City when they sold up to big money. 

We delighted in the teasing of them losing their souls as as club and selling out. 

Plastics the name being thrown around all too often. 

We at Liverpool would never sell out or lose our identity in the way we judged them to have done. 

Move on a few seasons now and  my time line seems to be full of anti FSG accounts and supporters. 

More and more calling for big investors from China and the Middle East to come and “save” our club from these dangerous Americans we have.

Like I said everyone entitled to their opinion but please make up your mind on this and try to stick to it for more than 3 seasons.

Do we really want someone to walk it Anfield from China, throw a billion squid on the table and start changing managers every other season and buy players that come for the money and  stay a while then go without a fleeting look in the rear view mirror??

Do we want those aging mercanaries of players to come to Liverpool for a last big pay day and Swan around the pitch not giving a shit?

FSG have a plan in place. Jürgen Klopp knew this when he took the job on. 

He is aware of the direction the club wants to go and he’s decided it suits him and he suits us enough to go along with it.

He has taken control of the much maligned transfer committee. The same committee that was being blamed under the previous manager for most of the club’s problems.

He has decided what players he will go after and if after he speaks to them he decided not to go ahead he didn’t. 

He has come out again this week to talk about transfer targets and even gone so far as to explain that not once since his arrival at Liverpool has he ever been told that a player he has spoken about is too expensive.

Jürgen Klopp is the only man available in football right now that suits our club and is capable of working for the good of it along with both owners and supporters. 

He sees both sides of the debate but he is also very much his own man and won’t be bullied into buying players just to appease fans.

This has to be applauded and cherished because the flip side of that coin is a manager that would spend money willy nilly buy the wrong players, get sacked and leave the club in as big a mess as when he started. 

I don’t think anyone wants that either.

Patience is a word thrown about about lot but these days it’s not understood much and Klopp needs his time to do his work.

He taken part in changing the club from the inside out from team and backroom staff to training facilities etc. 

He’s here for the long haul and speaks about the club with such passion regularly that we seem to miss it at times.

For now FSG are the only players in town.

I hope our fan base doesn’t become the laughing stock like some other high profiles club have become and I never want to hear Liverpool being accused of selling out for trophies and being called plastics. 

We do it our way as we always have done. To lead is not always to be popular but it does take the  right men at the right time to make the hard decisions and to also have a tough skin to take the criticism also.

I welcome a manager and owners that don’t pander to the here and now brigade and have a vision for the club and are willing to stick it out to see it through.

Through good times and bad we hold our heads up high and remember we are Liverpool Football Club.

We win and loose but we never give up and give in.

Written by @StephenKing75

Filling The Midfield Void

On the Monday afternoon, ahead of Liverpool’s trip to managerless Leicester, news broke through that midfielder Jordan Henderson would be unavailable to face the Foxes at the King Power Stadium.

It definitely came as a shock to many Liverpool supporters in dismay, and rightly so. I think Henderson has been the midfield jigsaw for us, and will definitely be a big loss in the wake of his absence.

It’s a familiar feeling for Reds fans – being deprived of our key players. 

When Sadio Mané travelled to the African Cup Of Nations in January, Liverpool’s dismal form saw them bow out of both the EFL Cup and the FA Cup; manager Jürgen Klopp was also left with the unforgiving fact that his side’s title wait would stretch for the 27th year in succession.

And, lo, Liverpool comfortably lost 3-1 away at Leicester – and they looked like a side near the relegation zone. 

The midfield was overran easily by the duo of Drinkwater and Ndidi. Emre Can deputised for the absent Henderson; yes I know how I’ve been speaking about how he could potentially revive himself, but he was easily and horribly exposed against Leicester.

The ‘Fearless Foxes’ of last season were back. The dynamic quartet of Mahrez, Albrighton, Okazaki & Vardy absolutely tormented Liverpool’s defence with simple balls over the top which caused problems coupled with their pace. 

We lacked the missing jigsaw in the midfield that could run, cover plenty of kilometres etc. I feel slightly sorry for Can though.

It just underlined the lack of depth in the middle of the park – having Kevin Stewart, Lucas Leiva and Emre Can as contingency players in a deeper role just says it all really. 

A defensive midfield player must be a priority in the summer for Jürgen Klopp if Liverpool are to mount a serious title challenge next term.

I’ve spoken about Radja Nainggolan and why he’d be the perfect fit for Liverpool – at the moment what’s lacking is a mobile central midfielder that can attack & defend. Grujic is currently out with injury, so we need a better depth for next season.

In my opinion, Klopp should change to a back three system from next season – it’ll give Can the opportunity to hopefully feature in a CB role, where he thrives in.

However, in that respect, the German turned in a terrific and composed performance in his new No.6 role against Arsenal. 

He may have found it a lot easier than he did against Leicester as Arsenal’s defenders were a lot deeper as opposed to trying to win aerial duels, but you cannot take anything away from his performance.

In spite of the win at Anfield, I don’t want to see us persist with this system or this personnel for coming games.

Why? Well, looking at our fixture list, we only play one side in the top 6 at the moment. 

That’s Man City away. Our 4-3-3 system clearly doesn’t work against sides outside the top 6 – so I’d preferably love to see us switch to a 3-5-2 where wing-backs are needed against Burnley. 

Hopefully we can see Mané take on more of a centre forward role like he did with Southampton. Our malaise still coexists in the side.


The 3-5-2 [as depicted above] would still mean we had a similar midfield bar Lallana wouldn’t be in the side – but his recent performances suggest that he deserves a starting berth in the side. 

This formation allows us to be more compact in the middle of the park, thus not allowing those sides any space in the heart of the midfield. It can create lots of angles for offensive passing too.

An ideal summer would see us lining up in this formation next season;


With Nainggolan in the side, we’d have a lot more mobility in midfield, and consequently, can defend counter attacks as well as create goals from them. 

As for Can, I think he’s better suited to maybe a deeper role at CB – he flourished there under Brendan Rodgers, and hopefully he can form a more rigid backline next season. The midfield three is to stay the same though.

Written by @SteLindellLFC