Friday, 4 December 2015

Sturridge A Problem Or The Solution

     When Sturridge missed yet another game with a foot injury, I, like almost wverybody else, was incredibly frustrated, I remember some of the goals he scored whilst alongside Suarez, I knew he was good but to be honest I had forgotten how good he was and I think after reading my Twitter timeline so had many others.  Enough is enough, we need to get rid, get what cash we can for him and farm him out, he is no longer worth the wages, we must get rid, he has become a liability were all comments posted by Liverpool fans and you can certainly see why people were this frustrated injury after injury, constant stories that Sturridge has broken down again, returns to the team only to break down again after only a couple of starts and then this time injured before he even got back on he pitch, it did start to feel like we were paying him for nothing.  Then Klopp worked his magic and Sturridge was encouraged back on to the pitch and within a half had two goals and had inspired Liverpool to a 6-1 win away to Southampton and we all remembered why we love him.

      For most of this season we have been lacking in goals, with only Benteke and Coutinho looking to me like they could get a goal, certainly on a regular basis, far to many draws were the outcome of not having a player  who can tuck the ball away on a regular basis.  It took 45 minutes for us to realise what we were missing not only a goalscorer but a player who can create space, who makes intelligent runs, who lifts the rest of the team who can do the simplest yet most difficult task and put the ball in the net, a player who can turn those draws into wins and who could just possibly turn our dreams into reality.

     Nobody single player is more important than any other, but a striker is responsible for scoring goals and if you as a team don't score you don't win its that simple.  I can't think of any championship winning team woo it a top quality striker, without somebody who can turn those draws into wins, who can break the deadlock when it seems the goal is never going to come.  We have strikers and I am reasonably hopeful that Benteke will turn out to be a good signing for us, Ings had looked like he was finding form just before a season ending injury and Origi despite his three goals recently still has a long way to go despite looking like he may have the potential to achieve but not one of them can compete with Sturridge for goal scoring, match wining ability.

     So yes that statement is always there, "if we can keep him fit" Sturridge is the key man to us challenging for and yes we can dream, winning the title. Not a problem, not a waste of money, we should pay anything for a chance, just a chance that our dreams may come true.  So it turns out that Sturridge may be the solution to our problems the solution we have been waiting for.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

We are coming !

Jurgen Klopp has turned us into something special already and we have so much more to come 3-1 away at Chelsea, 4-1 away at Manchester City and now 6-1 away at Southampton, results that have made everybody sit up and take notice, we are in the semi finals of the league cup, have qualified from the group stages in the UEFA league and are only six points of the top of the league and have played everybody, all the top teams away from home, they all need to come to us.  We are coming and they all know it.  

We have achieved this following having a bad enough start to force the sacking of a manager, Klopp has arrived and made an immediate impact but there is so much more to come from him he has only been working with the players for a few weeks as time passes his messages and tactics will develop the team will get better able to respond to difficult situations.  His management style seems to be bringing the best out of the players, he is certainly instilling confidence in them and they want to play for him they want to achieve, just look at the big soft smiles he can get just from giving one of his famous hugs.  Every player seems to have improved since Klopp took over imagine how much he can achieve and where we could be in three months time.  

We still have huge injury issues our squad and team can only get better as players return Sakho, Gomes, Ings all out at the moment with Henderson, Sturridge and Coutinho all just returning now, our squad can only get better.  At the start of the season Henderson, Sturridge and Coutinho were our three most important players, Sakho our best defender, Gomes looks like our best young signing for years and Ings was breaking into the first eleven when his injury cut him down, any other team would have really suffered with there three best players missing, we have gone through this and are still challenging on all fronts, seriously challenging.

Klopp asked the supporters to believe, he has said he felt alone when supporters left early, he has told Sturridge to learn to tell the difference between pain and real pain, he is sorting out the issues at the club we do believe or are starting to we are not so anxious in the ground heads don't go down when the team falls behind and we can see it in the players we are coming from behind and can hold on to leads, supporters are staying in the ground we all want to create an atmosphere to please the manager and within four days of Klopps comment Sturridge was back on the pitch playing and scoring when he had been mostly injured for a year and a half.  The manager gets his own way and his way is working.

When Liverpool beat Chelsea we were told Chelsea were out of form, struggling, players like Costa, Hazzard, Fabregas and Terry were playing badly, it wasn't Liverpool doing well it was Chelsea doing badly.  When we destroyed Man City again City had had an off day, Silva was injured and Aguero was only just returning and unfit so again no credit to Liverpool despite several of our first team players not playing due to injury, then we mullered Southampton a full strength Southampton whilst reintroducing injured players,meeting star players and blooding youngsters and did it at their ground after falling behind after only 41 seconds 

They know we are coming and we are most defiantly a threat, we are on the verge of another serious title challenge and will challenge in the cups, nobody wants to play Liverpool and I don't think anybody is ready for Klopp.  We have to show we can get the big results at home and learn how to break teams down when they come for a draw but would you bet against Klopp sorting this, I wouldn't, he will sort it and we are coming so get ready for exciting times, Liverpool only ever know one way it will be a roller coaster, it will be exciting and it could just end in glory.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

What has Klopp Achieved

From the moment he was linked with us Jurgen Klopp gave us hope but since he arrived what has he achieved?  For me he has achieved more than I dared hope for, not necessarily with the results on the field we possibly wished for more than three draws and a win but under Rodgers we had fallen so far that it appeared there was no hope and in his short time managing our club he has given me it back, he said in his first press conference that he wanted us, the supporters, to believe and in this short time I already do. 

     In his first press conference he spelled out to us what was expected and what he wanted to achieve, it was music to our ears, he had the supporters eating out the palm of his hand almost the moment he walked through the,door, who could not like his personality and enthusiasm.  He has the past achievements, he has the standing in game, he has the reputation now could he prove it at Liverpool.

    His first game against Spurs and a 1-1 draw away from home, a decent result but more importantly we saw what we had been promised, hard work, pressing and a better organised, more compact team, with people playing in their natural positions.  For twenty minutes we looked a class apart but we did appear to tire and allow Spurs back into the game.  In just a few days we had seen a big improvement and a tantalising glimpse of what we could become, a fantastic start.

     Next up Klopps first home game against Rubin Kazan and we saw first hand how well his signing had United the support, we were desperate as supporters for his approval determined to impress with our support, again we looked organised and efficient with again a sensible selection but severely hampered by injuries we struggled to create or score a draw was a disappointing result but we again saw improvement on the field from where we had been under Rodgers

      At home to Southampton in the league and again big injury problems but the players appeared to be responding more understanding as to what was expected more working harder, better organised and one or two on their way back from injury.  Southampton are a strong team but I was still a bit down after a dram fen with injuries but yet again I think we could all see the improvements in the team.

     A first win for Klopp and a clean sheet with a solid defensive performance against Bournmouth in the League Cup better again a bit more going forward but again very compact a higher defensive line, looking more confident, four games and only two conceded not perfect but a huge improvement and now we had the confidence a win brings.  Another step forward and we can now see that when we can get more players back we could start to look like a different proposition.

     Then against Chelsea, the champions of England at their own ground it came together we fell behind after three minutes and in the past under Rodgers I don't doubt that we would have collapsed but under Klopp no such thing we stuck with our plan, we stuck together and after the first ten minutes dominated the rest of the game, now not only looking compact, working hard, closing down, defending strongly, but now we were attacking quicker, more direct and creating chances and by the end of the game scoring goals three of them against an underperforming Chelsea but still Chelsea the champions.

      For me Klopp has achieved so much in a few short weeks we now have a compact, well organised team, who are defending strongly and now look like they can create chances, we now appear to be working on individuals who have been short of form or playing within themselves and getting more out of them, this can only help us get better especially as players, big players, return from injury.

     In a sort time Klopp appears to have united the manager, staff, players and supporters and we all know what happens when we achieve this, nothing can stop us.  Klopp asked us to believe and I think that now we are all believers.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

So Much For Klopp To Do

 I am fully behind Klopp, I believe he is the man to take us back to the top. I thought it was time for Rodgers to go and I thought Klopp was the ideal replacement, although I never really thought for a minute that we would get him.  Klopp will obviously need time, we have fallen a long way, but we need to be patient we have one of the very best managers or coach in the world we will improve.  Having said all that I have some concerns that I hope Klopp will address in time.


      Firstly and most importantly several of our first team regulars are simply not good enough, we have been poor in the transfer market and in my opinion we need to recoup some money by getting rid of players who should not be part of the squad never mind the first eleven.  My mane concerns are Mignolet,  Lovren, Lallana, Bogdan and Skrtel, but we also have Balotelli out on loan.  There are several other players such as Can, Moreno, Origi and Markovic who have received criticism but as yet are young and in with a good chance of making it so I would hope that coaching is the solution for these players, I am also concerned by Milner but again I'm prepared to give him a bit of time.  This is a minimum of five players that need changing just to have players of the required minimum standard never mind anything extra that our new manager requires already looking like wholesale changes for an unhealthy third year.

    My second concern is injuries, not that we are having so many or that some of the injuries probably more than our share are long term this is just bad luck, every team goes through unlucky periods.  I'm more concerned about the apparent lack of knowledge, skill or expertise in the club we continuously seem to be unable to diagnose problems or how serious they are and are left with statements such as Firmino appears to have damaged his back, We think Lovren has picked up an injury, Henderson has done something to his foot.  We should be able to say more than I think and we will know more after a scan these are multi million pound talents, no wonder they all head of to America for treatment as soon as they get a chance it appears that at the club, we haven't got a clue.  Players are out for too long Sturridge has now missed three games with what we were told was a very minor knock when he comes back he will only play a few minutes for a couple of games meaning he will have realistically missed at least five games, Benteke and Henderson we were told only had minor knocks yet have been missing for weeks, these are all players we need on the pitch, not forced back early but fit and playing.

     My third concern is around the coaching at the club and I am hoping that bringing in Klopp will already have solved this but for me with the notable exception of Suarez and possibly Henderson every player we sign appears to go on a downward trajectory they simply get worse year on year until we eventually sell them.  I accept that the Liverpool shirt is a heavy one and some transfers just fail but everybody?  The latest two players who we signed in the summer and who have played just about every game are Milner and Clyne and in my opinion both fit into this pattern so far in that Milner has just failed to show the quality he did at City, running ability yes but quality not yet.  Clyne was setting the league alight whilst at Southampton but like Lallana and Lovren before him has not looked anything like that standard with Liverpool and is now starting with the individual errors that will start to knock his confidence.  I hope that Klopp and his team can reverse this very worrying trend on the training pitch.

    Lastly I'm concerned about us the supporters we have gone to sleep, perhaps battered into submission by Rodgers' teams but Klopp has asked to us to believe because he knows that once we do we can and will give the players the confidence they need and then we will truly be the twelfth man that they need.  We need to change the atmosphere in the ground from one of worry and doubt to one of belief and celebration.

     Klopp and his team can turn things around but it's going to take time we are a long, long way from the team we want and deserve but at least now are taking steps, baby steps yes, but steps in the correct direction.


Friday, 9 October 2015

The Normal One

For most of his time at Liverpool I fully supported Rodgers, I wasn't against his appointment and liked what he did and the style of play he implemented and then of course there was that season and we all owe him a huge thanks for making us dream, we were so close, and he lifted us all.  But then things started to go wrong, one or two strange transfer decisions, some bad team selections and formations and some poor tactics led to some embarrassing results and then for me the worst thing was he refused to change and couldn't stop the slide.  So in the end it was time to go, perhaps even past the time but Rodgers leafs with my thanks and best wishes I really do hope he goes on and achieves.

Then Klopp arrived.  When we were linked I couldn't believe it he seemed the perfect man for the job but he wouldn't consider us, would he?  I wanted him everybody in the world can see that Klopp and Liverpool are a perfect match, but there was no way our owners would get Klopp.  Then the news was breaking that we had approached, that we were in talks and all of a sudden I'm looking at Twitter every two seconds I'm plotting planes from Germany on my computer and he's here, he's our manager.  Almost before we knew it Liverpool have appointed a world class manager but on top of that we have one with personality and charm the man who is a perfect fit for Liverpool.

I not only wanted a good manager, I wanted one who understands our club, one who shares the passion with our supporters, who can walk the walk and go toe to toe with the other big managers in the country, who will fight for Liverpool, they need to have a proven track record , they need to be able to develop players, to buy players in he transfer market who can reach the very top, to attract those players to a club who has fallen from grace a little and to do all this whilst under pressure to win not just games but the biggest trophies available.  Is there a manager in the world who can do all this, yes, just one Jurgen Klopp he certainly has the passion and the charm we have seen that in his time in Germany and already in his first interview and press conference for Liverpool.  Proven track record, check, the man has achieved in Germany whilst taking on Munich one of the world giants.  Can he develop players and work in the transfer market, of course he can look at the players he took to Dortmund and then coached to become some of the bigger names in world football, if I was a Liverpool player I would be very excited at what he can do for me.  It's a big job at Liverpool, no doubt, but it was at Dortmund we a very similar clubs and they were in a very similar position anybody want to bet he can't do it again.

Klopp has spoken about a restart at Liverpool, the passion he will I still into players and the team, promising full throttle football 
again that's what we wanted to hear a very impressive man who has spoken so much sense in his first press conference that if there were any doubters surely their minds have been changed already.  He has asked the supporters to turn from doubters into believers.  I believe, just watch us go, they are all looking over their shoulders and they are scared, Anfield will soon be rocking again under "the normal one"


Friday, 25 September 2015

Bad Timing Stevie

I love Steven Gerrard, he has been the best thing to happen to Liverpool football club for decades at least since 1977 and I must admit that he has done enough in his time at Liverpool to have earned the right to say what he wants but with all this publicity around his latest book I find myself wishing he wouldn't.
It's the wrong time from the clubs point of view to be releasing a book, there is far to much negativity around , things are not going well on or off the field, we can't put together a string of results and things are certainly not all pulling in the same direction off the field, the manager is under real threat, pressure from all angles, yet Gerrard chooses now to release the book, OK, he may have had no choice these things are planned in advance but we have had these problems for months now I'm just saying it could have come at a better time for the clubs point of view, however, from the publishers point of view, now, with all the turmoil at the club could perhaps be the bigger money making opportunity, I would expect our former Captain to put the club before a few extra quid.
I don't see why Gerrard has done this book at all, especially now.  He doesn't need the money I'm sure, he has done two books already surely a few more years is the correct time for another book when his playing career is over.  Things at Liverpool are to fresh, comments, stories and gossip can only hurt the club and despite our constant need for this type of gossip it can only cause more negativity amongst the fan base.
The press find enough reasons to slag Liverpool, our manager, our players and us the supporters without somebody of the standing Gerrard giving them the bullets to fire.  Gerrard has expressed a desire to one day return to the club and I'm more than happy with this idea, but he needs to keep the club at the centre of everything not hang us out to dry for a few bits of gossip in the Daily Mail and for a few quid from a book that will, let's face it, be only read by Liverpool Fans and journalists.


Monday, 21 September 2015

Rodgers -Time To Go

I've been pro Rodgers, incredibly so, when he first signed a I thought he as a good appointment, through his first season I wanted to give him time, I was to put up with some of the embarrassing comments, if I'm honest I quite liked them, it kept us in the news and in general he was positive. Through the Suarez era I gave Rodgers credit for developing the team, after all finishing second in the league couldn't be down to just one exceptional player.  That summer I remember some of the papers just starting to hint that Rodgers himself may have got the attention of some of The biggest clubs in Europe and I didn't want him to leave, I was gutted at just the thought.  I like the majority of his signings, still do, I also liked the players who we didn't get, at least we tried or were linked to some of the better players around.  Even last season despite starting to get frustrated I was still prepared to give him a chance, the question is now, has he used that chance up.
In my opinion that chance had gone at the end of last season, we threw away a cup semi against Villa and then gave up on the season, culminating in an embarrassing run of results that itself culminated in that humiliating afternoon in Stoke, a day no Liverpool supporter can forget no matter how much we try.  I wanted him to go over the summer but he didn't and then this season started and ŵe found ourselves making the same old mistakes, no improvement, no change apart from our club appears to have declined even further as we face yet another season in transition.
The biggest crime in my eyes is Rodgers refusal to change, learn or adapt, we are playing formations that simply don't work for us, I don't know why they don't work, I suspect it's a combination between the players don't suite the particular formation and the manager doesn't really understand them, but whatever the reason they work on occasion for other clubs but not for us, not at the moment, not with these players, we need two strikers it seems obvious but Rodgers will hardly ever change.  Every time we play two up we seem to be more exciting, more fluent, more creative, score more goals and get better results but then despite this we almost always switch back to one up and create less (usually nothing) play less creatively, quickly lose confidence, start to panic at the back and quickly start to concede goals, stop scoring and inevitably start to lose games.  Everybody would then revert to the more positive approach, there is nothing wrong with trying something, it didn't work so go back to then method that works, not Rodgers we play the same formation that doesn't work, or a variation of it for over a year, dropping points and loosing confidence as we go.  Through the summer we buy players, more players who suite a formation with to up, we are all excited up to the point the games start and we are unbelievably still trying the same flawed formation and tactics.
Rodgers again show stubbornness over individual players, Lovren as bought by Rodgers and at the time I didn't think he was a bad signing, but since he has been playing he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not good enough for Liverpool with weekly performances that are at time laughable and individual errors that have cost us points almost on a weekly basis yet all the time we have Sakho sitting on the bench, definitely the best defender at the club and one of the best in the country, but week after week Lovren is preferred.  He should have been moved on not entrusted as our starting centre half, yes we paid a lot of money, just admit we got it wrong and move on.
Rodgers third mistake is to continuously play players out of position normally in an attempt to force everybody into his flawed formation but he has destroyed the confidence of some excellent young players Moreno, Markovic, Can, Sterling, Ibe, Milner and Henderson are all first team players who have regularly been played out of position so much that it has effected their confidence, badly, again costing the team points.
I don't know what goes on behind closed doors but almost everybody who does mentions how badly Rodgers handles some players, again in my opinion destroying confidence and costing the team.
It has now got to the point where, in my opinion, it has gone to far, even if he can turn things around we will always be waiting for the next change of formation the players will never getback that confidence whilst playing under him the damage has been done and it s nobodies fault but Rodgers, he has failed to learn, adapt or change and it has cost us, big time, we have m to dropped to become a mid table club and Rodgers appears happy with this, it's time for a change, we need somebody who will allow our squad to play or even help them to perform rather than appearing to hinder them.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Rodgers Man Management !

Is Brendan Rodgers correct with the way he is handling certain players.  Many people have expressed an opinion that he has thrown players under the bus, almost for no reason, but possibly to cover for his and the teams own shortcomings, I disagree and I'm going to look at four players who have at various times suffered under Rodgers, Balotelli, Borini, Enrique and Mignolet.

Firstly Mignolet who is different to the others he is currently in favour but  he was dropped from the team and told he would be playing no part for a considerable time, looking for all the world like a scapegoat for the terrible results that the team had shown up to that point.  Brad Jones was his replacement who despite being a lovely bloke just isn't a capable goalkeeper he showed us this in that first game at Manchester comically diving out of the way of shots, but still Rodgers kept his word Jones was in, Mignolet out.  Was this bad man management, I don't think so, thinking back Mignolet was seriously out of form, there were huge in takes of breath from the whole of Anfield any time the ball went anywhere near him, constantly criticised by fans, commentators and media he looked a broken man, many were shouting for him to be replaced in the January.  A few weeks out the team and if the press are to be believed after a talking to from the wife he returned to the team with a string of good performances a far better and more confident keeper than ever before.  So good, in fact, that some were telling us that he was our player of the year by the end of the season.  With hindsight granted, but this has been proven as good man management a player who looked broken has been taken away from the limelight and come back stronger and better, but this is partly at least down to Mignolet himself a bad attitude or a petulant strop and I'm sure he wouldn't have made it back in to the first team.

Borini is different again he really wants to make it at Liverpool, he works hard displays a good attitude, says all the right things, the top and bottom of it is he is just not good enough.  I think he will be a perfectly decent forward for somebody just in my opinion not a team with top four ambitions, I believe that the manager has told him this. Last year we were offered around £14 million pounds by Sunderland and he basically refused to go, this has cost us as we will not get that sort of offer again, I know he has a contract but as the manager of the club what options does Rodgers have he is not going to make the bench we have numerous forwards higher than him in the pecking order, the club need him off the wage bill and anything we can get for him in the bank, Rodgers needs to get rid, hopefully in an amicable manner but if not, we still need to get rid.

Enrique is almost the opposite of Borini poor attitude, doesn't appear to have the intelligence to say anything right and appears to spend all his time on social media making inane comments and as far as I can see has no interest in playing football, why would we want to keep him.  He also is refusing to leave appearing to wanting to see out his contract claiming his huge wages for doing very little.  Again what options does the manager have. For me he has made the correct decision.

Balotelli, what can I say, so many seem to think he should be given another chance and I just can't see it, yes he is a Liverpool player and when he is on the pitch I will support him but in my opinion he shouldn't get anywhere near a Liverpool shirt again.  Firstly despite him being a risk worth taking it has turned out that he simply isn't good enough his record not only at Livrpool but at is other clubs and in the international arena show that, he can take a penalty and score an occasional spectacular goal but for me that's it.  Reports from Melwood tell us that he is poor in training, worse is a bad influence on others, talking over coaches, refusing to listen or take instructions, bringing friends who also disrupt sessions, continuously missing sessions due to "colds" all unacceptable.  Again I can't see that Rodgers has any other option than to keep him away from the first team players and try to get him out of the club.

Many people feel that Rodgers should treat the above players differently but I just can't see how, if Rodgers had been replaced in the summer and many peoples favourite Klopp was now the manager I can't imagine for one second that he would reward this type of behaviour and give Balotelli a place in the first team, especially with his goal scoring record at the club, or that Enrique would be rewarded for his time on social media with a place on the bench or that he would pick players who are just not good enough because they say the right things, what he would possibly do is reward players who having been dropped go away, improve and come back stronger and better, in fact you could say he would do just what Rodgers has done.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

That's A Big Big Win

That's a big win, that was my thought on the final whistle and still is now for so many reasons.
We finished last season in chaos and had to face the humiliation of that final day result and when the fixtures computer sent us back there for the very first fixture of the new season, I was concerned.  Stoke is a hard enough place to get anything from, our record there is terrible and they well, really well at their ground against everybody, add to this the extra pressure from that result last year, the worries, the concerns that the players must of had and you can see why I think we were all concerned.
Stoke are simply a horrible team to play.  I hear people tell me how they have changed styles, "that's not them anymore", "they like to get the ball down and play", " under Hughes they are different" but I saw different very physical all over the pitch, dirty even, huge long balls to the head of Walters throughout the game who played on Gomez trying to intimidate him throughout the match.  A big reliance on set plays that were again pumped into the box and so on for me not much has changed.  Not a criticism, all legitimate tactics to win a Premier League game, but horrible to play against and not the new Stoke we have been fed by the media.  Liverpool had to stand up to the physicality, win individual battles, stay organised and strong at the back and hope the extra class would tell, they achieved all this and that is a credit to all the players.
Our manager, and players were under huge pressure to get a result following last seasons result at Stoke, the general failure to perform last year in particular in the run in, the pressure on the manager due to this failure last season and many fans belief that he should have been replaced, I'm certain that the manager has been put under extra pressure from the owners  they have spent money they have given him the support in every way and I believe that they will expect a better level of performance for everybody.
The fixtures computer has given us a tough start to the season with a string of very difficult away games, to pick up points and stay in the race is going to be very difficult, extra pressure on everybody, again I'm not sure the manager will survive a poor start to the season with the expectations the owners must now have.
All the above combined made this fixture in my eyes before the game almost impossible, probably the worst possible opening day fixture we could have had and I think if before the game we were offered a draw we would have taken it, beyond any doubt. But we did better far better than that.
if we are honest it was a dog of a game it had to be we had to dog it out it's Stoke and they are horrible, we had to try and be strong, solid, compact we couldn't take another defeat like last year and we had to get something from the game to keep fans and owners happy or jobs may be at stake even this early,mother pressure would certainly been added to my media and the support, but we dodged it out well defenders did ok when last year they would have crumbled new full backs did very well under pressure midfield players covered huge amounts of ground and forwards battled and tried to find space with little quality service and then our quality told one moment of pure magic and we had the three points.  We have players who can do that.


Because of the reasons listed above this game was hugely difficult and Liverpool overcame them all and won they got the three points and that could be huge, we will gain confidence, we will get belief the support will remain optimistic and positive, at least for one more week, a little of the pressure on the manager has been lifted, new players get more time to settle, to show us what they can do and perhaps most importantly we have a start, just a hint of momentum.  


It meant a lot to everybody players, supporters, management and I sure owners you could tell by the players passion on scoring the goal and the away end went off, but let's keep our feet on the ground Bournmouth next and  three more points badly needed.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Liverpool FC. A Good Summer ?

Obviously, as last season finished and we moved into the summer, I, like just about every other Liverpool supporter was down, a poor season had ended in a disastrous run of results culminating in in the humiliating, slaughtering we received at the hands of Stoke City.  I found myself wanting a scapegoat and it was the manager that I was looking at, especially as it looked like Klopp may have been available to us.  But as the summer has worn on I have come back round to supporting the manager and thinking that the owners have done the correct thing in putting their faith in him.  We got our scapegoats when Marsh and Pascoe didn't have contracts renewed and we settled down to a few weeks of nothing from the club everything went quiet, not a dicky bird. Perhaps another good decision, no controversy,moving the supporters a chance to breath, calm down and everybody get their heads in a better place.  It worked for me by now I was ready to give our manager another chance.

New coaches were eventually announced over the summer with Sean O'Driscoll appointed as Assistant Manager, Pepijn Lijnders promoted to First Team Development Coach and Gary McAllister appointed as First Team Coach, not the big name appointments or ex players many wanted but for me decent enough and the people that the manager wanted so if we are backing him we may as well fully back him so we will see but at have every confidence that they will at least move us forward.

As the new signings started to come through early on in the window initially I was a little underwhelmed Ings, Bogdan and Milner were not the exciting signings I had been dreaming about but on thinking about they all appear to be an improvement and made our squad stronger not exciting but functional.  Joe Gomez was signed shortly afterwards from Charlton again at the time I didn't really know who he was so great a young player that we thought was good but ho hum another run of the mill signing.  Then the news. broke we were getting Firmino, now this was the signing I wanted, a marquee signing at least and I player I had watched and like very exciting and on top of that it appeared to be winding up other clubs supporters that we had got him, Twitter was full of happy reds for a change.  Clyne followed shortly afterwards another big name signing who other clubs reportedly wanted and a player who I believe is absolute quality, it finally looks like Liverpool have got their act together in the transfer market, business don early and getting our targets rather than loosing out to our rivals.  The Benteke deal had been rumbling on all summer with rumours about just about every striker in Europe going on but I think we all knew it was always going to be Benteke.  Many argue that we have paid to much, some that he won't fit our style, some that he simply isn't good enough. I disagree, I think he is a quality player who will fit our style of play and who will score goals he did cost a lot but to be honest I don't care, I don't look at the price I only care that we have another quality player.  Liverpool have also signed to or three quality youngsters who I know nothing about other than what I have read but I am pleased that we are looking worldwide to develop our academy teams I think it can only help, the more quality at the club, regardless of age, the better.

Our tour, not sure what to think, we travelled to far to be good for the players, we made millions of pounds and that can only be good, we played weaker teams don't know if that's good or bad, not much of a challenge but do we really want to be challenged pre-season and wins bring confidence no matter who you are playing.  Anyway I'm not going to go through game by game but I will go through the things that have stuck in my mind or that I will take away from the tour. Firstly, our fans worldwide are superb I love watching  full grounds belting out You'll Never Walk Alone thousands of miles from Liverpool and the players must love it as well.  Playing wise Milner is going to be a huge player this year, far from the run of the mill signing i though he was earlier in the summer, Gomez has looked like a star very time I have seen him early I know but he could be a player.  Our manager seems to still prefer Lovren to Sakho and if this is the case I believe it will be a huge mistake we will have to wait and see. Ings runs lots, hope he can score lots to.  Been a little disappointed in Clyne but I am still certain he will do very well for us and just recently Firmino looked good, I think we all knew he would and Benteke started well a few more like that and everybody will be happy.  We have some very talented youngsters Chirivella, Rossiter, aren't and Ojo joining Gomez in impressing hugely.

My thoughts are that we have had a very good summer, lots of change but all positive, you are never sure until the season starts and we certainly have a tough start but there couldn't be a better way of putting last year behind us than a win at Stoke.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Big Ben.

Is Benteke the man for the job, 32 million pounds would suggest our manager and owners believe he is.  Nobody can say the manager didn't get the backing of the owners, Benteke was his man and they got him he cost plenty but the owners backed the manager and got him the man he wanted.


Many will argue that he cost to much for me the cost is irrelevant, the owners are the people that worry about money not the supporters or manager I only worry about the team and the players the manager brings in and in this case I think we have a good player who will benefit the team.  The stats show that Benteke scores goals over the last three years only Suarez, Van Persie and and Aguero scoring more and Rooney less, put an average value on these players and I think it will show that he is a bargain.  Lukaku is a similar player representing the same international team with a far worse statistical record and moved last year (before the new TV deal money) for a similar wage again suggesting we have a good deal.  I agree that there are foreign players who may be available for less money but there are also arguments against them, the biggest name players will not sign for us, we are not in that league, yet, not able to attract the big names and I would also argue that players in this league would cost more than Benteke.  There are exciting players available in the next group down.  I can feel people screaming Lacazette at me, there have been plenty rumours that he is available for a little less than thirty million and I must admit is the signing i wanted but again I feel that we will struggle to attract him from a club who have made the champions league and also when everybody in the world has been linked with him.  Having said that i have to admit that I hadn't heard of him 18 months ago and without any great knowledge feel he like many players he would be a risk have I fallen into the trap of mistaking foreign and good,  There is a lot say for proven premier league and Benteke is that.

Many are worried that Liverpool have just bought a target man and this will result in is changing styles to just booting the ball up to him and that Benteke can only play in this style.  It's true that he is a big man, he is good in the air and certainly has plenty of physicality but that's not it, he has everything else as well, he has pace, he has technical ability and he can score, all types of goals from all areas, he can play in several formations but importantly I don't think we will change anything he does have the strength and ability to hold the ball up that we need but he also has the technical ability to join in with a move and the pace, power and finishing ability to get in the end of moves, in our team I believe he has the ability to become an all round striker to be feared after all he has achieved everything so far in a struggling Villa team.

Can he fit in with the flair players we already have? Coutinho and Firmino are going to be important and once Sturridge returns we have an array of attacking players can Benteke fit in?  In my opinion without a doubt he can with these for players fit and firing not many will be able to stop us different styles of player yes but in my opinion compatible.

In my opinion a good buy, not without risk but every chance of becoming a vital player for us over the coming years and I certainly believe that he has goals in him and goals win games.


Monday, 27 July 2015

Summer Signings

First of all I need to state that I am normally optimistic, I usually like signings and find it hard to find fault in what we do, last year for example I was happy with the business we had done by the time the season had started, over the season I was proven wrong with Lambert, Balotelli and Lovren failing to produce throughout the season and Markovic, Manquillo and Moreno,  failing in many fans eyes.  Despite this I'm still going to put on record my thoughts about this summers signings.

Once again I'm optimistic and like the signings, I feel that we have bought several players who can and will go straight in to the first eleven and that everybody is an improvement on last season.

Firstly the most controversial, Benteke, I like him, he seems to have the lot, pace, power, movement, physicality, finishing, technique, arial ability, proven Premier League record what more could we want.  Granted he is expensive and everybody is a risk but strikers are expensive no matter who you buy and I would argue that attackers with a comparable record go for similar money if not more, Lukaku would be a good example.  We as Liverpool fans often fall into the trap of wanting a foreign sounding name that we no little about rather than players we know are good and who can achieve.  There are other good strikers out there, possibly cheaper but we have a very good striker on our hands and that's what we were demanding at the start of the window.

Firmino, an excellent player and the marque signing that we have all been shouting for.  I'm very excited by Firmino several people were talking about him last summer and because of this I have watched him play and thought he was out of our reach and that he would be going to one of the big names for huge money, delighted that we got him and I am certain that he will be a huge success.

Ings a good young player he stands a chance, had a lot of work to do and needs to develop but in my opinion will be more effective than Borini, Lambert or for that matter Balotelli so an improvement in the squad so this makes me happy.

Clyne, again I have high hopes widely touted as the best right back in the country and he chose to sign for us over some of our competitors so that's good and a definite improvement over Johnson so yet again our squad gets stronger.  

Bogdan, not overly impressed I have to admit, we wanted a new reserve keeper and we got one and he without doubt is an improvement over Jones so at least he represents a step forward if only a small one.

Milner to be honest originally I wasn't to bothered by this signing but I have since changed my mind and now believe he will be a huge player for us over the coming season.  Several things have changed my mind, better people than me have been singing his praises, City were desperate to keep him offering lots of money, he seems to have bought into the Liverpool project and finally and most importantly his performances in pre season have been excellent.n I again believe he has improved our squad from last season with a 29 year old Milner looking stronger than a 34 year old Gerard.

Gomez didn't know anything about this lad but he has been the shining light of pre season with some exceptional performances, yes I know it's only pre season and the opposition weren't all that but that's all I have to go on and by God the lad looks exciting.

We have also signed a couple of youth team players that those who are in the know seem to be excited about so that also looks good and if we continue to support and develop our young players as we have been uni believe we will continue to be able to sign the best young talent from around the world and this can only help the first team.

So, overall I'm delighted and excited about the season ahead, with new coaches in place I hope some work gets done on defending and set plays at both ends and we could achieve anything, let's hope for exciting times ahead.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

What Changes?

What changes are needed at Liverpool Football Club?  First and foremost we must look at the playing staff, some of what we have is simply not good enough and some are leaving the club anyway.  Wholesale changes are probably not a good thing as evidenced by this season but we have let our club deteriorate so far that we probably do need to do it again.  Personally I agree with arguments I have heard about buying strikers with our money as the most important problem area that needs solving but it could also be argued that we will need, starting at the back a reserve keeper cover at left back, two right backs, a central defender, a defensive midfield or two plus a box to box type and possibly three strikers.  Current rumours suggest that we are looking at a goalkeeper with Timo Horn of Cologne reportedly a target, Montoya a possibility at right back several midfielders have been linked with James Milner looking likely, and with Ings and Origi likely to arrive up front we already have 5 people coming in and I suggest this is still not enough we are looking for the marquee signing up front probably a further player in midfield and a centre half, to many changes but necessary especially as we need to get rid of so many players Enrique, Johnson, Aspas,Coates, Alberto, Lambert, Borini, Balotelli and Brad Jones make it eight in and nine out but we also have Gerrard leaving, probably Toure, possibly Lucas and huge doubts over Sterling all this amounts to huge changes in the playing staff and problems ahead for the manager.

Or possibly not for the manager as I think it's time for changes in the structure of the club with a Director of Football or similar to. E appointed to work with the manager, I don't know who as I don't know enough about the people who fill these roles but there is so much to do at Liverpool that I believe it is far to much for the manager alone to deal with, this summer we must get the majority of transfers right as well as bringing on the players from last year in my opinion broadly speaking our current manager is very good at developing players not so good at identifying targets and when we do identify targets the club is terrible at bringing them in.

Do we need a new manager? Has he simply made to many mistakes? To stubborn? Probably to all of the above but I also can't forget what we achieved under Rodgers last year so to be honest I'm on the fence I wouldn't be to upset either way but I do believe we should be looking at options, I would be disappointed in our owners if we weren't at least sounding out Klopp, a top manager who is available and on the face of it seems perfect for us.  If an improvement on what we have becomes available and wants to come then surely we should go for it, we can never turn down an improvement.

Whoever is in charge next season they need more help, more better coaches.  I do believe that Rodgers is a good coach but nobody can do it alone I would like to see a far bigger team of experienced coaches along with former players etc working under the manager.  I simply believe that more people are better, with more people you can do more its that simple and we have plenty to do.

So for me new players, new director of football, new coaches and possibly a new manager not much left to change but I honestly believe we need it we are in danger of falling even further away from the top table and need to reverse this fall now bringing in a couple of free transfers and hoping for the best will simply not do, big changes needed at Liverpool now.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Contracts, Banners and Rodgers Out

Firstly let me state my position.  I think it is probably time for a new manager, for me Rodgers has made to many mistakes, is a little to stubborn and the results of the first team have not been good enough over the whole season culminating in is, in all probability, missing out on qualification for the Champions League. I also think that £100,000 per week is enough for Sterling but I don't really care If we pay him more, I believe he is a good player I want him to stay at the club and would be gutted if he signed for any of our rivals.

Now bearing this in mind I absolute agree that people are allowed to disagree with me they are allowed to voice their opinions especially fans of the club people who have invested so much into the club are allowed, in fact should be encouraged to voice their opinions but surely we need to think a bit before doing so, surely we shouldn't be doing so to the detriment of the team or individuals or to put it another way don't act like a twat, don't engage in twatish behaviour.

Liverpool fans support the manager and the team no matter what you can voice an opinion but always support those representing us the manager and the players on the pitch, booing the team or manager can only have a negative effect on their performance so counts as twatish behaviour, same goes for Rodgers out banners or hand written signs in biro on a bit of paper both twatish, we all know things are not going well, so do our owners, so there is no need to tell them and destroying any confidence we have in the process.  Anybody who pays all that money to protest at the expense of team they claim to support is twat in my book

Shouting abuse at an individual because he dared to hold out for a bit more money is another example of twatish behaviour disagree with it, that's fine, but don't go out of your way to try and put him off his game he still gets his money and probably his pay rise or move we just get a poor performance and possibly a poor result.  Support players,money play for Liverpool, they are our players and we are all supporters.

Flying a plane over our ground with a banner on it is the ultimate twatish behaviour, I never thought I would see the day when we as Liverpool fans stooped this low, we all know Manchester United fans are generally twats but at the weekend we proved that we can lower ourselves to their levels.  A group of fans felt that it was appropriate to speak for all of us and what they said was look at us we are Twats.

The atmosphere inside our ground has become toxic, we are traditionally seen as the twelfth man, not anymore I doubt we are helping and I believe that now our own support is actually hindering the team. So please remember you prime role as a supporter is to support the team, have opinions and voice them but no matter what support the team, remember we tell our players and manager before every game that they will never walk alone, let's make sure we keep this promise, let's find the twats me tell them to behave, you can normally spot them by the half no half scarfs another thing that must go, but that's for another day

Monday, 6 April 2015


I'm a fan, so if somebody offered me five quid a week to be a Liverpool player I'd snap their hand off and I would bloody well find a way to make it work but it's different for footballers it's their career, their job, they have dedicated their lives to football and they don't owe anybody any loyalty, or do they?
Firstly, Raheem Stirling, or his agent, is entitled to ask for anything he wants and he is entitled to negotiate for a figure higher than is first offered, it's standard negotiating technique, nobody takes the first offer.  We would all do the same in our work especially if we were being headhunted by all our employers competitors, I know I would.
Stirling does not owe us any loyalty, yes he has been given his chance by the club but I am pretty sure that he would have made his way in to most teams match day squads by now, he's a good player, he would have made it without us.  In fact he has propped us up over the last year so is the reverse not true, is it not Liverpool who owe him.  When we bought him, I'll say that again bought him, we were not responsible for all his development we paid him very very well he chose to come to Liverpool because they offered the best financial package.  Is it any surprise then that he is considering leaving because he can get a better financial package at another club.
What have we given Stirling, as a club we have pushed him to almost breaking point, we have been prepared to risk his career overplaying him, risking injury when everybody, yes everybody was aware it was a risk.  Recently he has been played out of position surely taking some of the enjoy,net out of the game for him, yes I expect him to be professional and yes this shows his versatility but he would argue that proven professionalism and versatility are good reasons to pay him more others in the squad are getting far more than him and have proven to be the opposite.  Have the supporters shown him much of the support and loyalty we talk about, I don't believe we have, I don't hear his name ringing around the ground, he doesn't even have a song and when he has done what we would all do in trying to negotiate a pay rise some of the support enough to be heard have turned against him, abuse that he must hear, not the best way to persuade somebody to sign on the dotted line.
Is he being greedy, let's consider £150,000 per week ridiculous amount I know but less than half of what some of the best players in the world are earning.  Stirling is not in that bracket of player, but he has the potential, he is one of the best young players in the world we have all being claiming that for at least a year.  Now if he was to sign for five years he would obviously be signing his next contract after this one when he was twenty five if we were to give him a similar pay rise to this ridiculous one we are talking about now that would be around £270,000 for a player at his very peak still short by a considerable way of what the worlds top players are getting now and in five  years they will have probably moved on and be earning more.  So realistically if he is at the level we all say he is even £150,000 puts him way behind the game so from his point of view he should be getting north of that.
Liverpool recently have had a policy of buying younger players with he ambition of turning them into the best in the world, not a bad policy and if we haven't got the money or the ability to attract the worlds best then a policy I can get behind.  But, if this works and players like Sterling, Ibe, Can, Markovic, Ojo, Moreno and Coutinho are to develop we are going to have to pay top money to keep them and if we don't keep them we will remain a mid table team with no ambition starting again every few years.
So my argument is yes negotiate to the best for the club that you can but pay the players the money I want the best players at Liverpool I am already sick of loosing players to those who will pay the money, Liverpool should not be a selling club

Monday, 23 February 2015

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

Whilst like almost everybody else I think rotation, used correctly, is vital, sometimes I think it  is getting out of hand and dare I say ridiculous again with our supporters appearing to jump on a bandwagon and start shouting their mouths off before engaging the brain and thinking about what they are saying or asking for.

Firstly let me say that i agree with most it is absolutely imperative that we rest players so that we don't ruin careers like we have done in the past with the likes of Owen through over playing but also so that out team doesn't suffer in the hear and now suffering with unnecessary injuries or loss of form through tiredness both of which could cost us points.

Having said that I have listened to one recent podcast that during the course of their show called for all ten of our outfield players to be rested or rotated for an important league fixture and this is silly, taking things to extremes again.  Obviously all ten can't be replaced while we still field a strong enough team and whilst I agree that tired players need to be given a week off occasionally we have to look at it from the perspective of the whole team and who we can afford to drop and who we need for that particular fixture as well as who is available to come in and replace those we are resting, if we don't have replacements fit and available then players can't be rested they are just going to have to tough it out.

Form is an important consideration, if a player is in top form banging in the goals every week, for me it is not the time to rest him, let him play, let the team get the benefits and rest him when there is the inevitable dip.  By the nature of it his form will drop off when he tires and that is surely the time to drop or rest somebody not when they are in the middle of a hot streak.  At Liverpool we always seem to want to protect players for the later, that never seems to come.  When is the big game that we are resting or wanting to rest all these players for?  We have calls to rest players in the League Cup semi finals, in the FA Cup, in the UEFA cup in the Champions League and in big six point League fixtures exactly what are we saving them for, there is nothing left, they will all be nice and fresh for their summer holidays.

The opposite is also true a player struggling with form should be the one who is dropped or rested and given a chance to recover, poor form will inevitably be a symptom of tiredness so this would be the ideal time to take somebody out of the team but hen our manager does this we seem to criticise claiming he has chucked players under the bus and we should be supporting them.  Rodgers does take players out of the team when they appear to be suffering and when he brings them back it appears to work Sterling last season was dropped, Mignolet this season was dropped or rested and now looks like a star, Lovren, Balotelli, Sakho, Can, Lucas, Markovic, Lallana, Moreno, Sterling all possiby first eleven have had time out of the team and when they have come back have looked stronger with possibly only Sterling not showing terrible form before he was rested, when you add to this list the players who have been injured Sturridge, Gerrard, Johnson, Allan and those such as Lambert, Enrique and Manquillo who were possibly always just cover we are changing or rotating our team a lot.

 For me Rodgers is taking people out of the team and when they come back their form has been good so we are resting players and now at the end of the season when the fixture list is becoming more of a problem and every game seems to be a six pointer we should be seeing the benefits, we should be able to play our strongest team more often then rest players over the summer it's what Rodgers does look at our record in his previous seasons we finish strong look at the evidence players have been taking out of the team and have come back stronger and better.  So please trust our manager in this at least he appears to know what he is doing.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Cup Competions

I think I may be old fashioned but I love the cup competitions, all of them.  I get frustrated when i hear our supporters say that they don't want us to progress or don't want us to qualify for the Europa Cup because the extra games could possibly effect us, i just don't get it, surely the aim of the club, for all of us, is to be successful, to win trophies, nothing else matters other than putting trophies in the cabinet so why do we not want to progress in competitions or qualify for others.  Like everybody else I would prefer us to qualify for the Champions League but if we fail I would rather be in the Europa Cup than nothing at all.  This season I was gutted when we failed to qualify for the later stage of the Champions League and i'm certainly jealous that we wont be playing in the big fixtures and earning the big money later in the season, but i am looking forward to playing Besiktas and hopefully progressing further in the competition why shouldn't we try to win it and the other domestic cups for that matter, i'm proud of our history and everything we have won and want more.
There are lots of reasons other than just the glory that we should want to progress in every competition.  Firstly the money, i know the big money is in the Champions League but there is revenue to be gained in every competition gate receipts, television money and prize money, sponsorship, more coverage means more endorsements and we need all the money we can get to invest in players everybody does so why not try to earn some perhaps it is just a drop in the ocean but every little helps and I don't thin we can turn it down.
Any extra fixtures during the season gives the manager the option to introduce some young players to the first team squad or team.  If players are to move through from the youth teams they need to be given a chance at some point, recently we have seen Stirling, Ibe, Flannagan, Rossiter, Williams, Sinclair all be given a chance to develop both themselves and raise their profiles and value if it wasn't for the cup competitions i'm certain they wouldn't be as far along in their development as they are now and would almost certainly have to be out loans to get any experience at all.
We have a first eleven at the club or perhaps fourteen or fifteen players that are regularly used by the manager there are plenty of others who need minutes on the pitch.  We all want and can see the benefits of a strong squad but its no good if the players in this squad never get on the pitch or have no experience of playing for Liverpool they need to be ready when they are needed, this season players like Can, Markovic, Moreno and Manquillo all new to Liverpool needed to be given time on the pitch and we are now getting the benefits of seeing these very young players settle in and starting to produce.  We also have older more experienced players such as Lambert, Balotelli, Enrique and Allen who all need minutes we can't just continuously leave them out doing nothing but training then expect them to produce when suddenly thrust into the team.  The cups are important to give people chances and experience.
Most important of all though is the glory, we have a huge history and the cups are a big part of that and to keep our status in the game we need to pick up trophies we need to have Wembley appearances, we need the big games that bring out the passion in the support, we need the cups and we are Liverpool we should be trying to win and compete in every game, in every competition and this year in particular Gerrard leading the team out at Wembley in his last game for the club and then holding up the FA Cup as his last action as our captain would be a fantastic moment in our history.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Talking Rubbish

I have commented before about the issues I have with commentators and media forming incorrect opinions on players and then repeating these opinions over and over with others jumping on board until they become fact, the best or worst recent example is that Sakho cant pass everybody without exception on television was constantly telling us that Sakho cant pass and is a liability to the Liverpool team, to the point where our own fans started repeating this lie on Twitter and I actually believed it effected the player with his confidence levels dropping.  This has now been mostly corrected with many appreciating his ability and he is been classed as a ball playing defender, but we still have to listen to Michael Owen spouting the same old rubbish.  How can somebody be given a job as an expert when they are so often wrong?
This bad enough but we are now getting so many, in my opinion, daft comments made by so many people not only in the mainstream media and television commentators but also from our own fans via fanzines, podcasts and blogs that it is spoiling my enjoyment of articles and shows.
Some recent examples include television experts and commentators getting the wrong player, not just the pronunciation, the actual wrong player this happens every game when surely a major part of a commentators role is learning who the players are.  The so called experts on the television on all channels regularly are unable to tell what position on the field a player is playing or even the formation a team is using not just a little wrong or a small mistake but totally and obviously wrong.  Worse comes after the game when we here interviewers refusing to challenge managers and players on stupid comments, "you didn't see it, why the fuck not, you were three yards away and your the bloody coach, your paid to watch the bloody game" should be heard more often.
Over the years we have all grown used to lazy, repetitive, boring journalism from the mainstream especially the television they are to worried about loosing their privileged position rather than do their jobs but I didn't expect it from Liverpool fans.  I need to point out that everybody has an opinion and a right to voice it, this is not what i'm going on about its the contradictions and inaccuracies.  I recently heard the same person on a podcast say "Gerrard is vital to the team, he should be found a place" and then within 90 seconds "Gerrard is regularly off the pace, its time for him to be used from the bench as an impact sub".  When picking prospective teams i've heard on podcasts people name fourteen players as definite starters who we couldn't consider dropping and they haven't even included a keeper simply ridiculous this is not a difference of opinion its people being wrong we cant pick that many players so why say it.
We all have different opinions thats why i read and listen and i appreciate all the work that goes into producing podcasts and blogs but please don't just jump on bandwagons and please think before you speak we can only have eleven players on the pitch no matter how much we would want more.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I hate Chelsea !

I hate Chelsea, the manager, the fans, the plastic flags, the people payed to wave flags, the team, the players, everything, but I have to admit they are good at winning football matches, I hate the horrible, snide way they go about winning them, but they do win.  When the draw was made for the semi final there was no doubt that I was worried Chelsea are a very tough nut to crack and I doubted that we had enough to progress.  But then came the first leg and we out played them our new system worked and we had the better of the game, of course Chelsea got a snide, half dive penalty and the game finished 1-1 but we were the better team, despite what Mourinho claimed.  That result, however, left us needing a win at Stamford Bridge to go through, very difficult but this time I felt we were in with a chance, we could produce the same performance again.

We did produce the performance, especially in the first half but some exceptional goalkeeping kept us out with Moreno, Coutinho and Sterling all forcing excellent saves, in the second half we seemed to run out of steam, every one of our players left nothing on the pitch and worked themselves to a stand still, we had to to keep Chelsea out, they are an exceptional team with great individuals.  The injury to Sakho really cost us and was the beginning of the end, he had been imperious at the back for Liverpool.  Before the game, during the warm up he had been holding his back and it looked to me like he had played with an injury that had simply got to much Johnson replaced him and we immediately struggled and with Balotelli taking to the pitch shortly afterwards and producing nothing we were in trouble.  We did manage to hold on until the end of normal time with most of the credit going to Mignolet for a couple of really good stops.

In extra time Liverpool looked exhausted Lucas especially looked out on his feet and it was Lucas who gave away the free kick, admittedly following a terrible ball from Balotelli, that led to the goal, poor marking, again, allowed a free header and the goal.  Lambert took to the field at half time in the extra period and produced nothing with Liverpool unable to create anything in this period of the game Chelsea we simply to strong.  We did have one glorious chance to take the game to penalties when some excellent wing play from Sterling found Henderson in the box but he put his header wide when it seemed a goal was certain.

For me today we played very well up to the point where we became tired, and Sakho became injured.  The subs let us down Johnson, Balotelli and Lambert gave us nothing as has been the case from these three all season,  The manager had little choice as to what to do, I know Lallana was on the bench but when you need a goal you turn to your strikers and ours aren't good enough, I think we all know where any money needs to be spent and I could name three players who for me are not earning their wages and I would have absolutely no problems if they left the club.   

Now this may sound like sour grapes but i don't really care.  The tactics employed by Chelsea as a team and by individual players are a disgrace and i don't know how they get away with it.  We saw Costa clearly and purposefully stamp on players not once but twice.  He also had a run in with Gerrard where he pushed is head into the Liverpool captains face, three times was accused of diving by the referee and as normal spent most of his time with his hands in the faces of Liverpool defenders enough to be sent off three times if you include a yellow for diving four times in one game and unbelievably Mourinho defends this so I assume that this behaviour is encouraged by his manager this is how he is told to play by Chelsea.  If Suarez, whilst he was at Liverpool had acted in the same manner he would have been all over the front pages of the papers, had questions asked in parliament and would have been banned for most of the season, Costa picked up a yellow card eventually.

Further we see Mourinho at half time challenging the referee, putting pressure on for the decisions to be made in favour of his team, blatant cheating, this is not allowed, when he is caught by the fourth official what happens?  No action, he is simply warned that the cameras are on him and he skulks away behind a crowd of players, cheating but no action taken by the officials, again.

We watch Hazard, a wonderful footballer, or could be if he stands on his feet diving time and time again, any action taken by the referee? of course not, Mourinho has already put the pressure on in the press and as we have seen in person so nothing gets done, again

We see John Terry smash through the back of Sterling in an obvious attempt to slow him down, a reducer, any action taken, nope, again, in fact later in the game when Ivanovic hacks down the same player we actually do see a yellow card for the Chelsea player followed by a warm handshake between player and ref.

Despite this when Liverpool foul, which they did, almost the whole Chelsea team would surround the referee requesting a booking, i'm certain this is an instruction, they do this to put pressure on the referee.  Mourinho is the same, in the ear of the officials on the side lines continuously, in fact he missed his teams goal still moaning for a card to be given to Lucas several minutes after the foul.

Chelsea won this semi final because they had the stronger squad, we were not able to replace tired players with equal quality when we needed to at the end of the game and Chelsea could, on this occasion they were to strong, but i am proud of the Liverpool team we did well pushed them to the very limit, you can see by the tactics they had to employ to beat us.  We have shown that we are good enough to compete with the best teams in the country so for that well done.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Not all bad against Bolton

The FA Cup, in fact all the cup competitions are important to me, I think it is maybe an age thing but I always see the FA Cup as a major competition and one that Liverpool should take very seriously.  Having said that the league is important as well and players sometimes need a rest, we as a club need to find the best times to give players a game off and in the case of some give them minutes on the pitch or valuable experience to younger members of the squad, so when the team for this one showed that several changes had been made I was not too disappointed.  I possibly didn't agree with some of the players who had come in to the team I would rather some younger ones got a chance but players certainly needed resting and one or two coming back from injuries needed game time.

As is always the case in cup matches the opponents especially if they are from lower leagues, along with their supporters come fired up and Bolton were no exception, they started the quicker and for the first few minutes they were asking questions of the Liverpool defence.  Recently however, our defence has looked stronger and today with Sakho taking the lead we held out when a few weeks ago we would possibly have conceded, we have been struggling against strong powerfully forward lines, set plays and teams who put our defence under pressure, Heskey is certainly strong and powerful, they definitely put, or tried to put us under pressure and they had the set plays. Today we came through it relatively comfortably and after around ten minutes or so were starting to create. 

Bolton defended with a high line allowing the pace of Sterling to be a problem, we were finding it easy to play him in behind the defence but not so easy to get up and support him meaning that the Bolton defence despite being stretched to the limit at times always managed to block him out even if at times they had to resort to giving away free kicks.

In the second half we pushed up more ourselves, making it easier to get support to Sterling and making us more of a threat.  Liverpool looked very dangerous right up to the final ball or shot that, time and again was blocked out by the narrow Bolton three man central defence, Bolton gave us the wings and blocked out the middle and we failed to find a way through. The creativity was there the finishing was missing and despite several superb saves by the keeper we today missed a natural striker and in my opinion shows why we should be spending money in this area, we missed Sturridge desperately, yes he is due back but we need cover, he needs help, Sturridge will not be able to do it on his own.

Only one goal conceded in the last four games is a definite improvement, especially from where we were.  We look solid at the back for me with teams now not creating any chances against us, many not even getting any shots, even Mignolet appears to have recovered his form, coming off his line more, appearing to have more confidence and controlling his box better.  He still has problems with distribution but even this is improving, we still have a lot if work to do but at least we can see things moving in the correct direction.

Against Bolton I thought we played OK, probably deserved the win but we're lacking in front of goal and with our decisions around the box.  A great performance from Bolton defence and keeper foiled us but we are still in the hat for the next round so not all bad.


Friday, 23 January 2015

Weren't We Good

Before the game against Chelsea I was worried.  We are getting better, players and formations are developing but Chelsea are good, they have strength in every position, experienced players at the top of their game all over the pitch and on top of that they are bloody horrible, nasty, cynical, devious players with the the most horrible, devious, cynical, nasty bastard in charge, I bloody well hate Chelsea and everything they stand for.  But it has to be said that they win football games and that's why I was worried, I simply couldn't see a way we could get the result, surely they would be able to find a way through our defence, find the weaknesses in our formation, expose our wing backs, surely they would dominate the midfield and I couldn't see how we could get the goals against their defence and the quality Matic.

From the start we more than matched them, for me with none of the above coming to pass.  I'm hearing what people are saying, that early on Chelsea despite not threatening were controlling the game, not for me, in fact the opposite, they were struggling to control the game, the pressure we were putting on was starting to produce errors.  They were not in control, they were on the edge, they couldn't create, neither could we, but we were certainly not controlled.

Next came the penalty for Chelsea, again I'm hearing most people say that this was a penalty, again I disagree, for me Hazard dived into Can, if you watch the replays he is on his way down before the contact, not just fractionally but definitely on his way down, another example of cynical, nasty Chelsea football that has at least been halve earned by the managers comments in the media over the last week or two.

From the goal onwards Liverpool dominated playing some exciting quality football that deserved far more than the single goal, we should of but more importantly could of won.  What we did do is show that our players are equally as good as those of Chelsea and proved to people like me that had concerns before the game that we were wrong, we can control teams as good as Chelsea, we can compete at this level.  Chelsea never looked like scoring again, in fact only managed one more shot during the entire game, whilst we peppered their goal with efforts, teams the quality of Chelsea don't get hammered, 
they don't give up loads of clear cut chances, ever, but we did well and on another day would have got a couple more goals, a fabulous display.

At half time pundits criticised Can for his performance, again I disagree, I have already covered the penalty, and apart from that I thought he put in a very good performance against some of the world's best talent, as did our other defenders.  Lucas was superb and Henderson once again showed that he has the character to be the captain of our club, I loved watching him put Costa in his place, but for me the most pleasing aspect was seeing partnerships starting to develop all over the field, down the left Sakho and Moreno are looking good, as are Can and Markovic on the other wing so much so that we now longer have to concentrate every one of our attacks down the left, Henderson and Lucas dominated midfield and look at the quality of the names they were up against, Sterling and Coutinho also looked to be enjoying playing together more, regularly waltzing through the Chelsea team with today only the final ball missing.

The crowd also appeared to be back on form, quality support with good humour, that's how it's done Chelsea.  Hopefully all of this has given us the confidence to move on, it has me, I now can't wait for the second leg, we have a chance, I can now see how we get the win, well done Liverpool.


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Player Profile - John Barnes


John Barnes was born in Jamaica on the 7th of November 1963 and moved to Liverpool from Watford for a transfer fee of £900,000 on the 9th June 1987 in my opinion one of the best signings made by the then manager Kenny Dalglish, forming one of the most formidable attacking line ups the club has ever seen, with Beardsley, Aldridge, Rush and Houghton.  Barnes made his Liverpool debut on 15th August against Arsenal at Highbury setting up a goal in a 2-1 win, he scored his first goal a month later on the 12th September in a 2-0 win over Oxford United at Anfield.

In his first season Barnes and Liverpool lifted the championship trophy and we're only denied a double as they lost the FA Cup final due to some very strange refereeing and a missed penalty, despite these achievements it is probably his performance on the clubs Cup Final song, the Anfield Wrap that he is best remembered for, all round a fabulous first season.  He was voted PFA Player of the year and won rave reviews from everybody with Bobby Robson claiming he was as good as George Best at his peak.

Barnes would win another title and two FA Cups whilst at Liverpool but many felt that due to the European ban following Hysel Barnes and his team missed out on further glory in Europe, they were certainly good enough to challenge the very best.

During his time at Liverpool Barnes suffered at the hands of racists and it is a testament to the man that he always handled his with grace and dignity generally making opposing fans eat their words with his performances on the pitch.  The Everton Chairman at the time Philips Carter disowned a section of their own fans following them abusing Barnes during the Derby.

Following the Hillsborough disaster Barnes along with the manager Kenny Dalglish at his team mate's attended many funerals and visited the injured in hospital even pulling out of an England game in order to fulfil these duties for which we all owe a debt of gratitude.

In 1992 Barnes picked up a severe achilles injury not only forcing him out of that seasons FA Cup final but causing him problems with his acceleration, he was never the same player again.  He played in for Liverpool in a deeper midfield position that after a poor start he did master but we never again sawn him gliding through opposition defences.

On 13 August 1997 and after 10 years and 407 games for Liverpool Barnes was given a free transfer joining Newcastle United.  A true Liverpool legend and a player who I am delighted to say I saw play and was one of the best I have ever seen.