Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool

Are we on our way to glory with Brendan Rodgers? It doesn't feel that way at the moment.  Rodgers for me was the right man for the job I believe that he was the correct appointment.  Things are going wrong and we are seeing the faults in our manager but despite this I, as yet, don't think it's time he was replaced.  I believe he can turn this around, i believe he has earned a bit of credit with the fabulous job he did last season and i don't believe we can attract anybody any better, there are people out there but Klopp, who is the man who I would want to bring in is not leaving Dortmund to come to us, we no longer can pick and choose who we want, our club is no longer of that standing.

So if we accept that Rodgers is staying, what do Liverpool as a club do to make things better, to help the manager?  Firstly things will get better, Rodgers is still inexperienced as a manager at this level and he should learn and grow with time, he needs to accept that he has been wrong on some issues and show a willingness to change, people are saying he has become to stubborn especially with regards to team selection, if this is true he needs to change he can be wrong and he has shown he can, last year he was praised for his willingness to change and learn.  Alongside this I think there is an issue with some players who were perhaps purchased on the say so of the transfer committee.  Rodgers needs to pick the team on merit he said he would and at the minute he is obviously not and yes that includes dropping Gerrard if he does not deserve a place in the team.   
Brendan has also refused to work with a director of football, I think that FSG should tell him that he is going to work with somebody and bring in somebody at this level allowing Rodgers to do what he does best, coach.  His record of buying players is starting to look bad and some of the players he has said he wanted just make me cringe.  Similar should be done with the coaching staff I think he needs more help and advice, a bigger team bring in a team of top people around Rodgers, he would still be the man in charge, still have the final say but at the moment our team seems to consist of Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh, good people i'm sure, but are they the best available? Is this team big enough? I don't think so, keep Pascoe and Marsh but bring in a Goalkeeping Coach, a defensive coach and an assistant as well get the top people because at the minute almost without exception our players are getting worse as time goes on.

Finally Brendan needs to get back on form, at the moment he looks defeated, down, depressed even and I can understand why but we need the old arrogance back.  He needs to grow a pair, make the big decisions, make the changes and get the players playing again they need to believe in him again before its to late.  The club and the manager don't have long before it will be to late and we have no option to look for that new manager you can't live on a good season for ever.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Match Review - Crystal Palace

This hurts, we are not only losing we are getting humiliated, slaughtered by teams we should be picking up three points against, player for player we are better than Crystal Palace but they beat us with relative ease, they bullied us, found and exploited weaknesses in our formations and tactics and left us almost out for the count with players looking shell shocked and totally out of ideas.  Yet again we had players running in to each other, Mignolet unable to find the pitch with a free kick, time and again players falling over, time and again players out of position not just by a few yards but almost the length of the pitch.  We just appear to have no idea as to what we are doing, with almost the whole team totally out of form to the point where we cant complete a simple forward pass so as a result we pass it backwards and sideways until we eventually lose the ball never threatening the opponents.

We started well and were in front after only ninety seconds when Lallana found Lambert, a link up we have been waiting for, with a glorious pass, Lambert produced an excellent first touch and finish to grab his first goal for the club and hopefully remove that huge weight he has had on his shoulders since the day he arrived.  That was as good as it got, we are so far out of form that  its not true, something is badly wrong, we couldn't cope with Crystal Palace on the break, Crystal Palace.  We never looked like scoring a second and every player, with the exception of Coutinho looked, to me, seriously out of form and confidence.  I don't not what to say anymore, we a bad really bad and nothing much appears to be changing we are just banging our heads against that wall game after game.

Before the match the talk was over team selection would we play two up and why in Gods name are we still picking Lovren, Johnson and Gerrard and leaving players who have played well recently on the bench.  These three are in my opinion the worst offenders.  They are not bad players, I have seen them all play well, very well, but this season at least they have all been consistently terrible, there are many possible reasons as to why, but the underlying problem is that they are getting picked when at the moment they are not the best people for the jobs they are getting asked to do.  We need to ask why we are consistently picking players in such terrible form.  I suspect it is reputation in the case of two and money spent in the case of the other, neither are reasons to pick players, we were promised teams would be picked on merit and its not happening, we are making the same mistakes week after week, game after game and it has cost us our league season and within a few days, if we don't change, will have cost us our run in the Champions League.

I'm incredibly frustrated, I'm writing the same thing every week and we are not changing anything, it's getting harder and harder to keep faith in a manager that doesn't seem to have any of the answers. 


Friday, 21 November 2014

Right Here, Right Now

Teams have had problems with injuries and loss of form before and it will happen again, what you do is battle through and with a bit of luck come out stronger.  Liverpool are suffering mainly with poor form but we have had our share of injuries.  We shouldn't use injuries as an excuse nor lack of form, we should stick together and battle through, we will come out the other end.  I have heard and scene Liverpool supporters blaming anybody and anything, it doesn't matter what anybody says Sturridge can do nothing about his injuries, he is not getting them on purpose and i'm absolutely sure that both he and the clubs medical team are doing everything possible to get him fit, so stop with the ridiculous comments, it's not his fault, or Brendan Rodgers or FSG's fault that he is injured he will get back as soon as he can.  

Whilst i'm on a rant can we please stop with the criticism of the club and Rodgers over the new signings.  The vast majority of people said, in the summer that we had had a good window, many claiming it was the best window ever and now almost universally people are saying that it was a terrible window, you cant have it both ways its easy with hindsight and thats one thing the manager or transfer committee doesn't have.  We are not in a position to pick and choose the biggest names in world football not everybody wants to play for us and we cant afford some so we do the best we can at the time, not every player will be an instant success or even a success at all, constant moaning and criticism does't help we as supporters need to support.  We can challenge and we can question but please make sure we always support the team and all of the players.

Why, because I believe the next few games are the make and break for our season, we have four league games and two Champions league fixtures before we play Manchester United in December and they are all games we can, even should win. Win them and we will probably be top four and through to the knock out stage of the Champions League drop points and we will be out of Europe and in real problems in the league.  Now is the time for unconditional support everybody one hundred percent behind the players, manager and team no matter who is picked, now is the time to line the streets for the team bus, now is the time to will the team back in to form, right here, right now.

The time to question players is later, we can't do anything until January, people will be working behind the scenes but nothing apart from speculation can happen now so we go with what we have.  Players may be out of form or some may simply be not good enough but the one thing we know we have is world class support, we have to admit we have been a bit out of form recently so lets forget the negativity and effect things positively, perhaps we can make a difference.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Players Liverpool Should Target In January

Players that Liverpool should target in January

Kevin De Bruyne - Wolfsburg 

With creativity lacking in the final third  Liverpool could do worst than grabbing the young Belgian international. Part of the new wave of top-class Belgian players, De Bruyne, 23, is getting it done at the top level. A shining light for the Red Devils in Brazil during the World Cup he has shown no sign of letting up in the Bundesliga. While playing at Wolfsburg this year he has already accumulated 9 assists. 4 more than his nearest competitor. De Bruyne is quick and decisive on the ball, giving defenders no time to think. There are no wasted movements in his play, very effective and efficient. Whether he would be available in January I don't know but being valued at £16 million by transfermarkt.com, Liverpool have spent much more on much less. 

Virgil Van Dyke - Celtic 

Everyone knows the difficulties Liverpool have had at the back, Virgil Van Dyke is a strong and commanding centre back. Van Dyke who is part of a disappointing Celtic team that missed out on the Champions League, has been vocal about wanting to move on. He even went AWOL toward the end of the summer window. Transfermarkt.com have him valued at £4 million. I'm my opinion he is very undervalued. I know that Celtic would bite your hand off for around £6 or £7 million. Van Dyke, 23, is on the fringes of the Dutch national team and a move to the Premier league maybe the stepping stone into that squad. Young, physical and needing more of a challenge than the Scottish Premiership can offer, he would fit in as an ample back-up for now and become a long term replacement in the future. Even if he doesn't work out the £7 million invested would be spare change compared to what Liverpool have been spending on centre backs. 

Xherdan Shaqiri - Bayern Munich

Another player that is 23. Another player valued at £16 million by transfermarkt.com, but Shaqiri is not another player. He is someone who is quick and technically gifted. As shown during the World Cup for Switzerland. Frustrated by the lack of playing time in Munich, Shaqiri is reported as wanting out and is looking for a new challenge. Heavily pursued by Liverpool during the summer the two sides just couldn't agree a fee. After the first half of the season Shaqiri could look at Liverpool as his way out of a stale situation. A player that Liverpool could use now and for the near further with a massive ceiling on his potential isn't so much of a gamble. He can play out right and he is capable of running I behind defenses. Something Liverpool has on the left with Sterling but not so much on the right hand side. Again like I said before Liverpool have spent much more on much less, even if his price was to rise above the £20 million mark Liverpool would still see him as an asset to the squad

Alan Bruce 

Player Profile - Lucas Leiva


Lucas began his career at Gremio in Brazil as a box to box midfield player and was immediately a huge success winning rave reviews, he was the youngest player to win the Bola de Oura (Golden Ball) awarded to the best player in the Campeonato Brasileiro, previously won by names such as Zico, Falcao, Romario, Kaka and Tevez.  This early form won him many admirers across Europe with offers coming in from many top Spanish clubs and Inter for his services but it was Liverpool who won his signature signing him on 13th May 2007 for a transfer fee of six million pounds.

Lucas made is debut for the club in November 2007 when the then manager Rafa Benitez gave him his opportunity, scoring his first goal on 27th January 2008, a fine curler into the top corner against Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup, making him the first Brazilian to score for Liverpool.

Initially Lucas struggled to force is way into the first team, he was competing against Mascherano, Alonso and Gerrard for a place in the "best midfield in the world" but was winning constant praise from his manager and colleagues with Benitez saying "people don't know just how good Lucas is" and when he did play he was always impressive with supporters and media singing his praises such as following the 5-1 win ver Newcastle United in December 2008 and the 4-1 win over Manchester United in March.

By 2010 Lucas had forced his way into the team with some fine performances, his new standing at the club was underlined when he was made captain for a pre season friendly against Grasshopper and signing a new long term contract in March. By 2011 Lucas was one of the first names on the team sheet and was a vital cog in the Liverpool midfield, but unfortunately in December during a League Cup tie against Chelsea he suffered a serious injury when he damaged an anterior cruciate ligament in a challenge with Juan Mata, leaving him out of action for the rest of the season.  Further injuries and lay offs on his return held him back further.

On his long awaited return to the team many felt that Lucas has struggled to regain his pre injury form, lacking a yard of pace and not appearing to have the mobility of before and once again Lucas is struggling to regain a regular place in the starting team.

Recently he has received criticism for his performances but i think that we need to remember that he has had terrible luck with injuries that appear to have taken the edge off his game, he was developing into a world class midfielder and he become a key player in our midfield, but he has been held back badly by terrible injuries.  Lucas has been a good player for Liverpool but it is a case of what might have been.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

5 Things Rodgers Should Do Over The Break

5 Things Rodgers Should Do Over The Break


If any of you are familiar with my Liverpool YouTube channel, you would know that I like to give the viewer a list of 5 things you need to know. This is constant on my preview views before games and I use a slight variation for my review videos. In the review videos I go over 5 things we learned from the match. So over the International Break I think there are 5 things Brendan Rodgers should do over the break


January Transfers


With many of the 8 new signing struggling to fit in many can concede that FSG, the transfer committee nor Brendan Rodgers will really be doing a whole bunch of business in the window. Who they may buy will either be players for the future, like the Norwegian wonder-kid Martin Odegaard, or older more established players. Brendan Rodgers should be targeting on two main areas that need help, the attacking third and the centre of defence. During the summer the mission was to add depth. The midfield benefitted the most from this tactic with players like Can, Markovic and Lallana bring more options to certain positions. The centre of defence has been a huge talking point around the Premier League. With the lack of leadership and suitablereplacements when injures hit, buying another centre back could only help. For myself 21 year old Frenchman Raphael Varane would be an ideal candidate. Young with the potential to be sold on at a profit would please FSG and skilled enough to help the team straight away would satisfy Brendan Rodgers. Reports suggest that Real Madrid may let him leave for around £19 million. The problem upfront is a little harder to fix. With an investment of £10 million already made in Origi it would be hard to bring in someone else for the long term to lead the line. Thats why  bea player like Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich would be ideal. Genuine player that can play out wide but also has the talent and skill to cut inside and attack directly with bags of pace. He was heavily linked with Liverpool before, during and after the World Cup but nothing came of it in the summer. Reports do suggest though that Shaqiri is growing frustrated with the lack of first team action.


Balotelli and Sturridge


Both players haven't been on the same pitch as each other since August. Now with Sturridgereturning to first team training it could not be stressed enough how dependant Liverpool are on this partnership working. Everything looked well as Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-0 away from home. Sturrigde and Balotelli looked to create for one another which had the Anfield faithful hopeful that Liverpool were on track to challenge again this year for the League. Then injury struck Sturridge twice setting the partnership and Liverpool well behind. But through the stormmany fans have been holding to the hope that Balotelli,with a dynamic partner like Sturridge will again be hitting top form. So for Rodgers its his mission to make sure he sets his team up to utilise their strengths as much as possible over the coming fixtures.


The Back Four


Its clear to see that Liverpool's back four have been anything but solid this year. With the full back positions pretty certain at this moment with Manquillo and Moreno, the best two centre backs at the club are currently an unknown. Sakho returned to training allowing Brendan to run the rule over the four candidates. Kolo showed his leadership against Swansea and in Madrid which has had many fans, including me, singing his praises and wanting him in the team. Sakho has been in the newspapers promising his leadership and after 11 league games Lovren and Skrtel have shown us everything we need to know about that partnership. Over time they may come good and bond together to become a defencive wall but at the moment many Liverpool fans see it is time for some new ideas.


Best Formation


Many say the Diamond midfield is when Liverpool are at their best. Rodgers at this moment, with his injury plagued team, has seeit best to either go with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. This has left many a pundit questioning what is the best formation for Liverpool. Now with Sturridge back in the fold the Kop may see a more settled and cohesive formation, that would play to Liverpool's strengths rather than at the moment hiding their weaknesses




Finally, for a team that is suppose to be built on giving young players a chance to develop and grow, allowing one to leave for nothing should be a cardinal sin. Suso who spent last year away on loan at Almeria is currently rehabbing a groin injury. There has been a lot of talk of the young Spaniard moving to AC Milan either in January or for a free in the summer. Suso possessesmany skills that would be extremely beneficial to Liverpool. his ability to play in a striking role,lying deeper in midfield or out wide gives Rodgers possibilities during a game to change things around. He is a bigger asset to the club than the potential transfer fee would be.


Rodgers has a lot to think about over this break, with a small faction of the support already calling for his head, this next group of games will really decide what way Liverpool's season is going to go.


Alan Bruce


Monday, 10 November 2014

Brendan Rodgers - Now or Never

It's now or never Brendan Rodgers, it's time to make big decisions and it is going to make or break your Liverpool career.  We have bought players for the future and with the excellent players coming through and the young players in our first team squad we look ok into the future but now, our current team, i'm not so sure, i'm not prepared to right us off but things need to change and they need to change now or we are in big trouble.  The Champions League as we know brings huge amounts of money in, vital if we plan on growing our team and squad, we do have young players coming through but we will need to compliment them with others if we are to challenge at the very top and we need the Champions League money to fund this, the money now is good, next season it doubles and we simply cant afford not to have our slice, miss out and we instantly fall too far behind the clubs who do qualify.  We have had a terrible start, don't put your head in the sand, its bad, really bad, worse than under Roy, we are playing poorly, really poorly but there is hope in that so are others, we have played this bad and we are not out of it, not yet, but Rodgers needs to step up prove he is the man for the job and drag this club and team up the league, kicking and screaming if he has to.  I think he has it in him, I don't agree that last year was lucky and he just blagged it, he can take the bull by the horns and take this club in to a bright future, but things need to change and they need to change now.

Rodgers needs to make decisions to change things and if necessary admit he has been wrong, we know that he is relatively inexperienced at the very top level but one of the things that impressed me about him last season was the willingness to change, to admit he had been wrong, to develop his and the teams thinking.

Rodgers needs to make decisions about the defence, i believe he needs to bring in a coach to concentrate specifically in this area, this is a tough decision for him to make but it needs to be done, we need to develop all aspects of our club coaching included.  I believe we need to admit it when we have made a mistake in the transfer market, we will always make mistakes but at the moment we are compounding them by playing players that we spent a lot of money on purely because we spent a lot of money on them.  Nobody can feel Lovren deserves a starting place purely on his performances, we have better defenders at the club and the decision needs to be made to play them no matter how much we paid for Lovren, its tough to admit you were wrong but at times it needs to be done, now is one of those times.  It's not the end for Lovren, I think he just needs to step back be taken out of the team rebuild his confidence and be better prepared for the first team at Liverpool when he gets another chance.

Tough decisions need to  be made in midfield.  Our captain and vice captain are playing badly and as with the defence I cant see why they are getting picked.  With Henderson it just appears to be a lack of form and with his attitude i'm sure his form will return sooner rather than later but it still needs a decision do we play him or not.  With Gerrard i fear it is more serious, I'm no longer sure that he can hold down a place in the team every week or twice a week for ninety minutes he is looking slow both on and and off the ball, he is picked out by most opponents as a weakness and thats a shame, Rodgers needs to decide what to do with him or make the big ballsy decision and ask him, no tell him to step back, just a little. 

Further up the field, in attack, we have similar problems to in defence with Sturridge injured we have three forwards who a third of the way through the league season have failed to score a goal or get an assist between them.  I don't claim to know what to do about it, but we need to do something, decisions have to be made, do we get rid and try again, do we bring in a coach here to help or is it something else, I don't know, but with stats like that something obviously needs to happen and it needs to happen soon.

The formation we are using isn't working, we can all see it, most of our players appear uncomfortable with it, players are been put in to positions they are not comfortable in or where they are unable to produce their best, Sterling is not a right winger, Gerrard is not a defensive midfielder, Markovic is not a winger, Balotelli is not a loan striker, Borini is not a wide man and so on.  I have been going on in the past about playing the diamond but i'm no coach this may not be the solution but i do believe the key is a formation that suites our players, two up front, Sterling through the middle or on the left, Gerrard where he can damage teams and so on, I don't know what this formation is but simply playing a formation that we know for a fact doesn't work is certainly not the solution.  Rodgers needs to make the decision to change, it was certainly worth a go trying the 4-2-3-1 but it doesn't work, not for us, it's time, way past time actually to make the decision to change try something else.

Rodgers has to make these decisions, it's make or break and nows the time, I have faith in our players, I have faith in the manager, we know the manager can motivate, we know he can coach, we know he can develop players, I think he can pull it off tactically, I think he can do it all, but can he admit he has been wrong can he make the decisions he needs to to take us to the very top.  I believe thats the difference between success and failure for Rodgers.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Match Review Chelsea

No threat from the striker, let a goal in from a set play, formation did not provide any support for our striker.  I feel like i am saying the same thing over and over again but this time I think we played better not great yet, definitely  not great but better.  Today we were beaten by a better team, they simply have better players than us, ok maybe not better but definitely playing better at the moment and certainly playing better as a team.

Liverpool were better today but individuals in the team are playing poorly, Gerrard, Henderson, Lovren and Balotelli in my opinion were below the standard that i expect of them today but for different reasons, others had varying levels of games but I am going to look at the four named players in an attempt to identify some of the problems with our team.

Lovren in my opinion is simply not good enough, we have given him enough time and I believe we have better defenders at the club, he could need more time to settle and I hate to criticise Liverpool players, I certainly hope I am wrong but he is making mistakes every game that are costing us goals and points, his distribution is very poor, he is lacking pace his physicality is poor he seems to be bullied by anybody who has any strength or power, he looks weak in the air for somebody of his size and we are not getting the leadership and organisation we were promised.  All of this may get better with time but we cant afford to keep a player in the team that is costing us points on a regular basis.  I believe that Rodgers is picking him purely because he wanted him in the first place and the heavy price tag, time to admit you were wrong before its to late.

Gerrard seems off the pace this year, a little pressure from opponents and he is out of the game, he still has obvious qualities but i think everything is to slow from him and this is effecting the tempo of the team we look slow and ponderous, i don't know the reasons why it could be anything, it could be that time is catching up with him and he just simply isn't the player he was, even last season, it could be tiredness he has played a lot this year and could need a break, maybe coming from the bench, it could be that other teams have simply worked him out in this new deeper role, if so change it, it could be that he is suffering a hangover from last season and that slip, its got to be hard to pick yourself up following such disappointment, is motivation a problem for him this season?  Whatever the issue i'm not sure that playing him week in week out is the solution

Henderson seems to be out of form plain and simple, he looks to be struggling to effect games certainly to the level of last season in fact at times he looks to be struggling to get into games at all and when he does he seems to be slowing things down, playing backwards and sideways, playing safe.  The work rate is still there but I would like to see a more positive forward thinking Henderson.

Balotelli In my opinion is doing ok, the workrate is there, it seems obvious that the weaknesses that have been pointed out are getting worked on and improvements made but, simply put, he is not scoring goals and this is not good enough.  It may be more of a problem with the team we are not creating and everybody knows that Balotelli works better with a partner rather than as a loan striker.  The formation needs to change so we can get two strikers into the team to give Balotelli the support he needs and also allow more creative play.

Lots of problems and thats just some of them I noticed from todays game, but I also noticed that there were improvements some individuals Coutinho, Can, Moreno and Mignolet seemed to be playing themselves into good form, we did manage to apply good pressure on the ball, we did defend better in the last two games than most of the rest of the season, we scored a goal and did create a couple of other chances so again better.  we now need to win some games, put a run together before its to late.  There are signs we are getting it together, just hope it happens soon. 


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Kenny Dalglish - Player Profile

Kenny Dalglish is believed by many to be the greatest player ever to play for Liverpool he has been christened King Kenny by the Kop and has managed the club twice including leading the club and the city through the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Dalglish joined Liverpool in 1977 from Glasgow Celtic for a then British record transfer fee of £440,000, he was signed as a replacement for club hero Kevin Keegan who had left to join Hamburg that summer.  What an investment that was probably the best money the club has ever spent.  During his time with Liverpool Dalglish won six championships, two FA cups, four League Cups, seven Charity Shields, three European Cups and one European Super Cup as a manager he won three more Championship, two more FA Cups and four more Charity shields and then in his second spell as manager won yet another league cup and reached a further FA Cup final a remarkable run of success that not many in world football can match.

Dalglish had plenty of ability and shone out as a star in an exceptional team scoring and creating goals but also always played with a smile and his dry sense of humour always shone through in television interviews.  Despite his ability and image any of his colleagues will tell you that Dalglish was no push over, he could put his foot in when he needed to and certainly let defenders know they were in a game, defenders always knew when kenny was on the pitch.

As a manager Dalglish won the clubs first double in his first season as manager, in fact he was a player manager even scoring the goal that won the league himself before going on and having a very successful spell as manager.  In 1989 Dalglish was manager of the club through and after the Hillsborough disaster and we couldn't have asked for a better man.  He led the club with great dignity through the worst time.  Kenny and his wife along with many of the players attended many of the funerals and supported the families through unimaginably terrible times and the stress on the man was there for all to see, the club and the city owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dalglish for what he did at this time.  Dalglish resigned from the club in 1991 stating it was the stress of the job, he returned to management in 1995 to win the League with Blackburn in 1995 ironically at Anfield. He later managed Newcastle finishing second in League and runner up in the FA Cup before returning to manage Liverpool in 2011, again when we needed him he was there.  At the time our club was in a state following our owners taking us to the brink of extinction and the disastrous management of Roy Hodgson.  Kenny stabilised the club even winning some silverware in to the bargain.

Arguably the greatest player and over two periods one of the best managers to have been at our club we can only be thankful that in 1977 he chose to join us.


Real Madrid - Pride In Defeat

Before the game all the talk was about team selection, rumours on the internet were confirmed when the team was announced with Gerrard, Balotelli, Johnson, Henderson, Lovren, Coutinho and Sterling all dropped from the starting eleven.  If all these players were rested for a game of this magnitude ahead of the Chelsea game in the league on Saturday it looked like Rodgers had given up against Madrid and totally disrespected the supporters who had travelled, at great expense, to support the team.  It was also a big risk if we were to go down heavily in Madrid and still didn't get a good result at the weekend you could see Rodgers coming under pressure form the owners, the support as well as from the players.  I don't think its acceptable for a Liverpool manager to concede defeat before a game, ever, under any circumstances, but Rodgers claimed in an interview before the game that this is not what he had done he "fielded a strong team" full of internationals that was capable of getting a result, a big risk from Rodgers especially as one or two are starting to question him.

We lost the game 1-0 to a Benzema goal following a cross from the impressive Marcelo and Madrid deserved to win, they put us under pressure for periods of the game and forced a couple of decent saves out of Mignolet, who had a good game.  But Madrid are the best team in the world at the minute and there was no shame for Liverpool in this result with many of the replacement players doing very, very well.  

Manquillo came in at right back and was very good, put under pressure all game by Isco and Marcello he more than held his own and found time to join Liverpool attacks giving an outlet on the right hand side an impressive performance.  Toure was the other defender who came in and to be honest showed how bad Lovren is a solid, strong performance against the most dangerous forward line in the world.

In midfield Lucas did what he normally does, win tackles and break up play and pass the ball safely but Can was exceptional he covered lots of ground got in the faces of Madrid and passed the ball very well also making several aggressive forward runs with the ball I was very impressed, Markovic was another who came in to the team and I thought he also had a good game running with the ball well and helping out in the right back area when needed, he couldn't create anything but still looked bright.

In the striker role Borini ran himself to a stand still for the team, he also couldn't create anything but his performance was a positive as was that of the whole team.  This was a good performance and Rodgers has got some selection headaches ahead of the game at the weekend.

The team played very well, we played with high energy and tempo for the whole game, we pressurised Madrid well and they didn't like it and when we got the ball we passed it well showing good composure on the ball, we did get forward especially for periods in the second half and we did force Madrid in to defending well.  Varane and Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence were excellent, if the Madrid defence was as weak as we were told before the game we would have got a result, but it wasn't true at times they were   imperious and kept Liverpool at mostly arms length.

We lost the game yes, but this was a huge improvement from the performance levels we have been seeing recently, really huge.  All of the players who came in to the team impressed, they have given Rodgers a big problem ahead of the weekend, one of those good problems, the reason we bought all those players, the reason we improved our squad and this is the first time he has genuinely had this kind of problem, its a good problem to have but it still needs solving.  If he gets it right this could be the turning point in our season we are looking for and his big gamble payed off if he doesn't and we struggle to qualify from the group of the Champions League and our league form doesn't improve Rodgers will have questions to answer.

In Madrid the supporters also hit top form, despite the changes to the team they could be heard loud and proud before during and after the game, this is the type of support the team needs, we don't always agree with the team selection, the team doesn't always play well and we can't win every game but we must support the team and manager.

Well done everybody in Madrid, we lost but its perhaps the most positive i have felt after a defeat ever, so lets keep that level of performance both on and off the field and take our team forward


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Gerrard - To sign or not to sign

Should our Captain and club legend Gerrard be given a new contract keeping him at our club beyond the end of the season or has the time come to allow him to leave.  For me it depends on many questions that need to be answered.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, does he want to stay? I'm sure he does, but is he prepared to miss out on playing time? Is he prepared to spend time on the bench possibly being used as an impact sub?  I think it's time for Gerrard to consider these options, if he chooses to remain at Liverpool he may have to take a step back and have a look at his role going in to the future.  He still has the ability but can he do it for ninety minutes, twice a week, I doubt it.

Do the club want him? Almost certainly, but I believe that they also see a change in role for him, certainly in his time spent on the pitch, he simply cant go on for ever, nobody can and I think with this in mind FSG may be looking to cut his wages possibly hugely.  I can see the argument, less importance to the team equals less money, Gerrard cant have as much influence on the pitch as he once did so does he deserve the same money as he was earning in his pomp?  Probably not but this is going to be hard for hime to take, many mistake salary with standing and he will perhaps feel he deserves more for his loyalty and deserved standing within the club.

What are the options open to him?  He can of course stay at Liverpool he will of course be offered some sort of contract extension, I believe it will be a one year extension with a reduced salary, but he can sign it and stay.  He has the option of joining another club in the Premier League, it is rumoured that Manchester City would be interested in signing him as a replacement for Lampard and i'm sure plenty of other premier league clubs would like to have him in their squads even if only to say that he played for them.  I can't see him playing for another team, I cant imagine him running out against us or hearing other supporters sing his name and i really don't think he would consider this option he does have a love for our club and a loyalty to the supporters.  Can he join another club in Europe?  Yes he can, but can he join one with a high enough standing in the game, one where he can win something, possibly, he has a big enough name but will he get a regular first team start in such a team, at Bayern or Madrid or Barcelona I doubt it so he may as well stop where he is rather than rot on the bench at another club.  Leaving the third and most possible option, America.  New York are also rumoured to be interested.  He undoubtably would be an important player for them and they could and would pay the money he is used to.  New York would allow him to extend his career and earning potential for a few more years and I think would be an attractive place to work and live.  I think this is a viable option.

I had hoped that Gerrard would see out his career at Liverpool and I would hate to see him leave to join one of our competitors either in this country or abroad.  But, if we cant give him what he wants then New York seems to be a viable option, but whatever he chooses he has earned our thanks, support and best wishes and in any case he has a job to do over the next few months, we still need our captain.


Monday, 3 November 2014

We Are Liverpool

Tomorrow night Liverpool travel to Madrid, to play Real, the Champions of Europe in their own back yard and for the first time in my life I can't see a way how we can win.  There was a time, not so long ago, when no matter who we were playing there was always a chance, we always travelled with hope in our hearts, after all we are Liverpool.

We are Liverpool, five times champions, one of the biggest teams on the continent.  We have the best supporters in the world, worth a goal in any situation, we have more European experience than any other club in the country, we have quality players, we have a never say die attitude, we are never beaten, the games never over, just ask Milan.  We are Liverpool 

So with all of this why am I pessimistic ahead of Tuesdays game?  To be honest I think the club have forgotten, not that they are Liverpool I think they are more than aware, the shirt is heavy and it's weighing some down, more that we have forgotten how to be Liverpool.  I would like to see players play the game with style and confidence, arrogance even, no matter who you put front of them we can score, we can win, We are Liverpool.  The manager needs to empower the team to play confident attacking football, we seem more concerned about the opposition than about what we are doing, we need to turn the tables, let's make them worry about us, we are Liverpool.  One or two individuals need reminding that at Liverpool we fight, heads down isn't acceptable if you make a mistake or are having a poor game you lift your head up stick your chest out and get on with it, you tough it out as an individual and a team because, we are Liverpool.  When things aren't going well, if we fall behind we don't go into our shells we fight harder until the very last kick, until the referee blows the final whistle because we are Liverpool and we as supporters make sure this happens, we sing, we shout, we scream we don't accept second best we given the players the confidence and the support they need even when things aren't going well to look teams like Madrid in the eyes and say we are Liverpool and we are coming for you.

The red shirts were designed to make us look like giants and for decades we have strode around Europe playing like giants sometimes on paper outclassed but we always remembered who we are, we are Liverpool and we will find a way, just show one sign of weakness, one chink in the armour and we will be all over it.  So don't be afraid, support the team, empower the team and maybe just maybe we will remember that we are Liverpool, the best football team in the land. 


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Match Review - Newcastle United

I'm very down about the performance of the team and the results that the performances are leading to, I seem to be writing the same think after most games, Im hearing other people saying the same things on podcasts about our club and seeing other people write about the same things in blogs, fanzines and in the mainstream media everybody is saying the same but our club, players and management can't see it or will not do anything about it, it is quickly getting to the stage where it has cost us our season and before long it will start costing people their future at our club and their jobs, it has to, I don't want to challenge the managers position but if he continues with his head in the sand and not doing anything about our current predicament then we have to at least ask the question what he is doing?

Again against Newcastle we only played one up front, the wrong formation, I know I'm not a professional coach and Rodgers knows more than me but everything points to two up being the better option, all our strikers stats show they are better with a partner all our midfielders are better through central positions rather than stuck put wide with the possible exception of Lallana (making me ask the question are we just playing this formation to justify buying Lallana for such a huge sum, one mistake covered by another?).  We all can see that as soon as we get a second striker on the field the team look more of a threat, you can tell the crowd come alive and the stats prove it, we win games and score goals with two strikers we don't with one.  We must at least ask the question why we are continually playing a formation that doesn't work when we have the ability and players to play one that does.

Again against Newcastle we conceded a goal from shambolic, lazy defending with an individual error and again we have to say that this has been going on for to long, we can all see it, we must ask the question why nothing is getting done about, again everybody can see the problems they have been there for over a year and almost everybody has made the suggestion about bringing in help, a defensive coach, but the people at the club can't see it or again won't do anything about it so we see a young defender making the same mistake over and over again, it's not good enough, this mistake from the same player has already cost us a goal this season a possible four points lost already from just this mistake from this player and he is one of the better ones.

Gerrard appears to be getting played in almost every game for the full ninety minutes, now against Newcastle he was probably our best player but we must ask the question how to best use him, he has been poor this season and again we are just burying our heads, doing nothing about a serious problem and hoping for the best.  Sterling is in a poor run of form over the last few games, he needs a rest, we all know it, so why is he not getting one? We bought a squad to allow us to rest players why are we not doing it?

We are not, as a club, criticising the form or abilities of any of the new signings, almost without exception they appear to be terrible and we need to ask why, why have we spent 20 million on a defender who looks out of his depth, is he that bad? How can we help him improve? Why aren't we doing it? In Balotelli, Markovic, Lambert and Borini we have around £50 million pound of striker (yes Markovic is a striker we need to ask why he isn't used in this position) we are a quarter of the way through the league season and they don't have a league goal or assist between them, four strikers 49 million pounds and nothing, why? absolutely terrible at least ask the questions Why? Are they good enough? Are we buying the right type of player? How can we help them? 

Against Newcastle we looked slow, lethargic without ideas, we had plenty of the ball but it was at the back in front of the defence, sideways and backwards passing, no penetration absolutely non, in the entire game I can't remember a single chance.  We handled Newcastle relatively well at the back but occasionally an individual error would lead to a period of panic and eventually the goal came from one such error.  I believe the way we played and it's not the first time we have been this bad this season is becoming the norm and is caused by us not asking or certainly not finding the answers to the questions above, we have no confidence, the majority of the team is out of form and we look to be totally out of ideas on and off the pitch.

As supporters I believe we have a right to ask the questions and even criticise in fact I think it is a necessity that we do so, but our primary role is to support the team, the manager and the individual players, ask the questions but don't destroy players or the teams confidence our primary role is to do the opposite and that's support, lift them, help them achieve, we are all disappointed, angry even at what's happening on the field but all we can do is support our team.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Player Profile - Martin Skrtel


Martin Skrtel is a Slovakian national born on 15th December 1984, he is currently the captain of the Slovakian national team and has been named Slovakian player of the year four times.  He joined Liverpool from Zenit Saint Petersburg in January 2008 when manager Rafa Bentley paid £6.5 million for his services.
Skrtel made his debut against non league Havent & Waterlooville in the FA Cup and looked very nervous, he gave away a corner that saw Liverpool fall a goal behind and also in a mix up and scramble that saw them concede a second goal, Liverpool did go on and win the game but many supporters were left unsure about their new centre half, but a string of solid league performances including being voted man of the match against Chelsea and Everton soon put minds at rest.  Apart from injuries Skrtel has been a regular starter for Liverpool ever since and on 10th April 2012 he captained Liverpool for the first time leading the team to a 3-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers.
Skrtel has proved his ability to several managers and has always been picked as a regular starter, solid strong and aggressive he remains an important part of the Liverpool defence.  Skrtel has developed himself into a real goal scoring threat especially from set plays where his movement and power in the air can cause any team problems.
Several times during his time with the club he has been linked with moves away from Liverpool, often to top European Clubs but has never left, either through choice or through managers refusing to let him go.  He is now one of the clubs longest serving players and is as such is highly respected.  Recently Skrtel along with the rest of the Liverpool defence have come in for criticism following a string of poor performances causing the team to concede a high number of goals but in general this is down to formations and an attacking style leaving defenders exposed and under pressure rather than poor performances from defenders.  Skrtel is the managers preferred option on the right side of defence and he obviously believes that his experience and ability can once again see Liverpool through.