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Ignoring Striking Problem Coming Back To Haunt Liverpool

19 Nov

Ignoring Striking Problem Coming Back To Haunt Liverpool

 

Liverpool supporters were looking forward to another exciting season after manager Brendan Rodgers transformed the Reds last season into the most exciting team to watch in the Premiership, but more importantly into title challengers again.

 

Ultimately Rodgers’ men fell at the final hurdle in the race for the Premiership after being pipped by Manchester City, but the transformation in such a short space of time was quite remarkable from the season before that resulted in Liverpool failing to qualify for European competition.

 

Expectation levels have been raised after last season’s heroics and the return of Champions League nights at Anfield has also been a welcome return for Reds’ supporters.

 

Supporters were also buoyed by the amount of money spent in the summer as Rodgers strengthened his squad despite the loss of Luis Suarez.

 

But although Rodgers added strikers Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli to his squad, they have not come close to replacing Suarez.

 

Rodgers still has the other half of the famous S.A.S. strikeforce in Daniel Sturridge but he has been unavailable for most of the season through injury and the news that he could be out until Christmas is a hammer blow as the Reds boss sees his team struggle for goals.

 

It was a big mistake by Liverpool to rely on Sturridge with his already poor injury record and they had to buy a top class striker in the summer to provide an attacking threat after losing such a great player like Suarez.

 

Rumours circulated during the summer that Liverpool were after Sanchez, Falcao, Cavani, Reus, Remy but in the end they only signed Lambert and Balotelli, whom not many clubs would touch with a barge pole in a massive gamble that so far looks like being a massive failure.

 

Rodgers has to try and keep Liverpool in the hunt in the league until January and then spend big on a striker or last season will count for nothing and the Liverpool boss will be lucky to keep his job.

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Reds’ Summer Signings Report Card

17 Nov

Reds’ Summer Signings Report Card

 

Liverpool spent well over £100 million in the summer as Brendan Rodgers tried to strengthen his squad to take his team to the next level, but things haven’t worked out as well as planned.

 

Here’s my analysis of Rodgers’ signings so far –

 

Alberto Moreno – The Spanish left-back has probably settled in the best at Anfield out of Rodgers’ summer signings and has become a regular in Liverpool’s defence. Moreno likes to bomb forward and his pace helps him out defensively as well. Looks like a good signing and will improve with age and games.

7/10

 

Mario Balotelli – I think the controversial striker was a panic buy by Rodgers and so far the gamble hasn’t paid off. But in fairness to the Italian international, Rodgers insistence in playing Balotelli is a lone-striker is not helping his cause and maybe Daniel Sturridge’s return from injury could be just what he needs. The jury is still out on Balotelli.

 

4/10

 

Adam Lallana – Rodgers spent £25 million on the Southampton captain but injury in pre-season hasn’t helped his cause as he settles into life at Anfield. Lallana is a very talented player but at the moment it looks like Rodgers is unsure of how to get the best out of him. There is a lot more to come from Lallana and he will prove to be a good signing.

 

6/10

 

Dejan Lovren – Is possibly the most disappointing of Rodgers’ signings as he tries to justify his huge transfer fee by playing him regularly in Liverpool’s defence. He needs to turn things around quickly or Rodgers will run out of patience.

 

2/10

 

Emre Can – Like Lallana injuries have set him back but in recent weeks he has shown what he will bring to the team. Looks to be a promising signing and will add strength and power to Liverpool’s midfield that has been lacking in recent years.

 

6/10

 

Rickie Lambert – A strange signing by Rodgers but even stranger why the Reds’ boss doesn’t give the big striker a chance. Doesn’t suit Rodgers’ style of play, looks to be a waste of money.

 

2/10

 

Javier Manquillo – On loan at the moment but featured regularly in the right-back berth due to Johnson and Flanagan’s injuries but his industrious performances have warranted a regular place in the team and supporters have appreciated his efforts. His move to Anfield could become permanent if he keeps up his form.

 

7/10

 

Lazar Markovic – Rodgers paid a lot of money for the youngster with a big reputation, but so far looks to be waste of money other than a few glimpses against Real Madrid the other week. Markovic Needs to start proving his worth.

 

2/10

 

Positives For Liverpool After Real Madrid Defeat

6 Nov

Positives For Liverpool After Real Madrid Defeat

 

Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League again, but Brendan Rodgers’ much criticised team selection could provide a few positives for Liverpool in the future. The Reds’ boss decided to rest a number of first team regulars for the clash with the Champions League holders, and many supporters feared an embarrassing defeat, but the makeshift team produced a hard-working, disciplined performance that filled most supporters with pride with their gutsy effort.

 

Rodgers obviously showed a lot of faith in his fringe players by selecting them for such a tough game and although I didn’t agree with his team selection, he can take many positives from the performance.

 

Kolo Toure has struggled during many of his appearances for the Reds with some high profile mistakes, but the experienced defender showed what he is capable with a commanding game at the centre of Liverpool’s defence and his organisational skills were impressive as he constantly barked the orders to keep his defence tight. Toure deserves to keep his place in the team after this performance.

 

Lucas is another player that has struggled to feature this season and injuries looked to have taken their toll on the Brazilian midfielder, but his display in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield proves that he is still an important player and he is the best defensive midfielder at the club.

 

Two other player that are worth a mention are Emre Can and Lazar Markovic, the pair have suffered injury problems since arriving at Anfield and have struggled to show what they are capable of, but against Madrid Can produced a strong performance in midfield and Markovic made some penetrating runs with pace and confidence that impressed and the two players must have impressed their manager.

 

It is encouraging to take so many positives from players performances in a defeat and Brendan Rodgers must have learned a lot from a few players.

 

 

Should Suarez Be On Ballon d’Or Shortlist ?

28 Oct

Should Suarez Be On Ballon d’Or Shortlist ?

 

Five Barclays Premier League stars and one Brit – Gareth Bale – have been named on FIFA’s 23-man shortlist for the 2014 Ballon d’Or.

 

Current holder Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time winner Lionel Messi are again favourites for the prestigious award, but there is no place on the shortlist for former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who has just finished serving a four month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during this summer’s World Cup.

 

It seems remarkable that one unsavoury moment of madness from the controversial but very talented Uruguayan striker has prevented him from challenging for football’s top individual honour.

 

The biting incident was condoned by the footballing public witnessed on the World’s greatest stage, but Suarez has served his time for his punishment and it should not detract from the amazing season he produced at club level for his former team Liverpool.

 

Suarez finished top scorer in arguably the toughest league in the World, the Premiership despite missing the start of the season due to serving the end of a 10 game ban.

 

The Uruguayan’s 31 goal haul almost took Liverpool to their first title win in 20 years and his form lit up the Premiership with some amazing play and goals.

 

FIFA have a got it wrong by not selecting Suarez on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or because his tremendous season should not be overshadowed by his much publicised biting incident.

 

Will Rodgers Splash The Cash For West Brom Striker ?

27 Oct

Will Rodgers Splash The Cash For West Brom Striker ?

 

Reports at the weekend are suggesting that Liverpool are considering a January move for West Brom striker Saido Berahino. The England Under 21 international starlet has already been targeted by Tottenham Hotspur and there has been a £15 million offer mooted by the north London club.

 

The offer was well below the Baggies’ valuation and it is believed that Liverpool may have to pay in excess of £25 million to land the striker, in what could see a bidding war with Spurs.

 

The form of Balotelli is prompting the Reds into making a move for another striker even if they can’t offload the Italian in January.

 

I believe Liverpool need to add another quality striker to their squad regardless of Balotelli’s situation because they can’t depend on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge.

 

The England striker’s injury worries have been a major blow for Liverpool this season and manager Brendan Rodgers has been left with few options in the striking department.

 

Berahino looks to be a very good striker and one that would suit Liverpool’s style of play but I can’t see the Reds paying that kind of money after spending so much in the summer.

 

But Rodgers must bring in another striker in January if Liverpool are to challenge for a top four place that is so important after qualifying for the Champions League last season.

 

 

 

Four Key Points from Liverpool’s Draw With Hull

26 Oct

Four Key Points From Liverpool’s Draw With Hull

 

Liverpool completed another difficult week to their season with a disappointing scoreless draw against Steve Bruce’s Hull City to follow up their hammering by the European Champions Real Madrid last Wednesday.

 

Here are four key points we can take from Liverpool’s draw against Hull City:

 

  1. Mario Balotelli – The Italian striker is low on confidence, highlighted by his missed opportunity in the final minute that could have made him a hero, and the style of play Rodgers is playing is not suiting the former Manchester City striker. Balotelli worked hard against Hull but didn’t start to look threatening until Rickie Lambert came on in the second half to support him. Rodgers has to play Balotelli with a strike-partner and hopefully the Reds’ boss realises this after seeing the Italian and Lambert combine against Hull.
  2. Best Team – Rodgers must select his best team unless he is forced into making changes because he needs to get some consistency and fluency in his team’s play and the constant changes are having a negative effect. Rodgers made three changes for the game against Hull and Henderson’s energy was sorely missed.
  3. Coutinho – Must play more often, the little Brazilian is such a clever player that can open up a defence and Liverpool rarely threatened Hull’s defence until Coutinho’s introduction. Rodgers is trying to fit the likes of Markovic and Lallana into his team but he needs to play Coutinho more often.
  4. Glen Johnson – With Manquillo coming in for the England defender, it looks like the writing is on the wall for Johnson and he could be on the way out of Anfield soon.

Rodgers Should Bring Carragher Back To Sort Out Defence

24 Oct

Rodgers Should Bring Carragher Back To Sort Out Defence

 

Liverpool continue to have defensive problems despite bringing in two new full-backs and a centre half in the summer. Dejan Lovren was heralded as a leader that could martial the Reds defence and prevent Rodgers’ defence from conceding too many goals, but the goals are still being leaked at the back and this is bigger concern than last season because Liverpool are struggling to score goals with Luis Suarez no longer at Anfield and Daniel Sturridge constantly injured.

 

Sturridge and Suarez helped paper over the cracks with their goals but ultimately Liverpool’s defensive record cost them the Premiership title. Rodgers tried to explain the defensive problems at a recent press conference when he said:

 

“Our problem and the issue we have which we need to find the solution for is our lack of coaching time. Take this week, we played Wednesday night , the players physically recover on Thursday, and that leaves us with only a short period of time on the training field before we’ve got the game on Saturday.”

 

Rodgers excuse doesn’t make sense when his side only played one game-a-week last season and Liverpool still conceded too many goals and he had all week to coach his players.

 

Rodgers needs to have a serious look at his current defensive coaching methods because it is not working and maybe he should ask Jamie Carragher to come back as a coach, to coach the defence, because the former Liverpool defender has been sorely missed since retiring and I think he would be the best man to sort out the Reds’ defensive problems.

 

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