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Klopp Must Strengthen Squad

24 Dec


Liverpool are sitting in a terrific position in the Premier League this Christmas, the Reds are currently second with only Chelsea above them.

Not many Liverpool supporters would’ve expected their team to be in such a strong position at this stage of the season, but the men from Anfield have been in superb form for the first half of this season, with only losses to Burnley and Bournemouth spoiling an almost perfect start to their campaign.

But the season is a long one and there is still a lot of games to play, and with the top of the league being so tightly bunched, the Reds need to maintain their good form.

A major concern going into the second half of the season is the strength of Liverpool’s squad, a few weeks ago it looked as strong as we’ve seen in a number of seasons, with players like Daniel Sturridge, Wijnaldum, Alberto Moreno, Divock Origi, Ragnar Klavan all sitting on the substitutes bench for the 6-1 home win over Watford.

Now Jurgen Klopp’s squad is looking stretched after key players picking up injuries in recent weeks, injuries to Joel Matip, Daniel Sturridge, Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho have forced the German to select a number of youngsters into his substitutes.

The 3-0 away win at Middlesbrough had a very inexperienced looking substitutes bench with Ovie Ejaria, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and Kevin Stewart all selected.

With the greatest of respect to all of these players, they don’t have the experience required to get Liverpool into the top four, never mind challenge for the Premier League title when Klopp needs to make a change in the latter stages of a match.

Klopp has been reluctant in his use of these youngsters in the games when they have been included, usually waiting to the final few minutes to bring any of them on.

Basically Liverpool need to strengthen their squad this January transfer window or possibly see another great opportunity for a successful season slip away.

It is true that Liverpool don’t have as many games to play this season with no participation in European football being a blessing in disguise regarding their Premier League ambitions, but unless they get lucky on the injury front then they will struggle to maintain their form.

Lady luck hasn’t shone too kindly on the Reds regarding injuries in recent seasons and it would be a mistake to rely on key players staying fit again, especially with players like Sturridge.

Mane is another key player that will be missed at the start of the New Year, so hopefully Klopp brings in some more quality in January to help his squad push on in the Premier League race.





Liverpool’s Battle Of The Keepers

16 Dec


Liverpool’s goalkeeping position has been a much publicised problem position, probably since former keeper Pepe Reina left the club.

Simon Mignolet took over from the much respected Spanish keeper, and has had a tough time winning the Anfield faithful over, and things haven’t been looking good regarding his future at Liverpool since Klopp signed Loris Karius in the summer.

Mignolet started the season in fine form and was very unlucky to lose his place in the team when Karius recovered from his broken hand injury he sustained in pre-season.

Obviously Klopp prefers Karius and thinks he will eventually prove an upgrade on Mignolet, but he hasn’t looked convincing since he took over from the Belgian.

Karius hasn’t looked confident between the sticks and Klopp made the decision to bring back Mignolet for the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough this week, after Karius received a lot of criticism for his performances in his last two games that saw Liverpool drop five points against Bournemouth and West Ham.

Credit must go to Mignolet after the disappointment of losing his place to Karius, but he has said all the right things when interviewed and worked hard at training and he’s really been the complete professional regarding his situation.

Many players find it hard to come to terms with losing their place and look for a move elsewhere or are not prepared to work as hard as they did when in the team, but that can’t be said for Mignolet and he was rewarded with another chance this week as Klopp decided to take Karius out of the team after enduring such a difficult time.

Mignolet’s performance against Middlesbrough was almost perfect the other night, he looked so much more commanding than we’ve seen him previously, by coming out and catching crosses, and he was more eager to release the ball to start attacks.

More importantly Mignolet made a couple of crucial saves in the first half that gave Liverpool the platform to go on and win convincingly.

It looks like the competition for the goalkeeping spot has helped Mignolet, can Karius respond to the challenge ?


Should Klopp Stick With Karius ?

7 Dec

Should Klopp Stick With Karius ?

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius was a target for some severe criticism after the Reds threw away a two goal lead in the last 15 minutes to lose 4-3 to Bournemouth last Sunday.

The Reds’ stopper was at fault with two of the four goals and didn’t look convincing all day, and this isn’t the first time that he has struggled.

After Liverpool’s 2-1 win away to Swansea City earlier this season Karius looked extremely nervy and I honestly thought that Klopp should have brought Simon Mignolet back for the next game because it was against Manchester United, but the German stuck by his summer signing and he got away with it, not because Karius had a brilliant game, but mostly because United came to Anfield with no ambition to attack.

Karius hasn’t really been tested all that much since taking over from Mignolet, and I would say that his best performance so far was in the 6-1 win over Watford a few weeks ago, where he made a few decent saves.

But in fairness, apart from Sunday’s last 15 minutes, Liverpool’s defence has protected the young keeper pretty well.

It is still very early in the young German’s Liverpool career, but so far I don’t see him being an upgrade on Mignolet.

Karius does look better than Belgian stopper at kicking, but he doesn’t look any better at dealing with crosses, and so far, he doesn’t look as good a shot-stopper, so should Klopp stick with his first-choice keeper?

I think Klopp will stick with him after signing him in the summer, and I don’t think it would be right to drop him next week against West Ham, but he needs to start showing why Klopp wanted to bring him to Anfield or it could severely damage Liverpool’s ambitions for the rest of the season.

Mignolet started the season in decent form and he has been very unlucky being dropped for Karius.

Klopp obviously thinks that Mignolet won’t improve any more, and that Karius will grow to be the keeper he wants, but Liverpool are in such a strong position in the league at the moment and they need a strong keeper, and at the moment I would pick Mignolet on current form.

Hopefully Karius starts showing us why Klopp signed him soon because Liverpool can’t wait too long if they are to challenge for honours this season.


Injuries Give Others Opportunities And Origi Could Benefit

15 Oct

Injuries Give Others Opportunities And Origi Could Benefit

Liverpool supporters are buzzing ahead of Saturday’s trip to London as the Reds face Tottenham Hotspur in Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge. But although the German is only a few days in charge he has already had some sobering news regarding two of his players sustaining season ending injuries.

Joe Gomez has looked a good addition with some impressive performances earlier in the season but the news that he has ruptured his cruciate ligament is a real blow for the youngster and limits Klopp’s defensive options.

As if the youngster’s injury wasn’t a big enough injury blow Klopp will also have to do without the services of striker Danny Ings too after the forward injuring his anterior cruciate ligament in training yesterday.

Ings has impressed in recent weeks and scored in the 1-1 draw with Everton before the international break and his energetic style of play looked to be ideal for Klopp’s pressing game.

But injuries are part of football and Klopp must and will deal with the disappointment of losing two squad members but injuries give others opportunities and suddenly Divock Origi in particular is looking like a very important player for Liverpool with Klopp only having two fit recognised strikers available for the trip to Spurs at the weekend.

Origi and Sturridge are the only two forwards available with Christian Benteke still unavailable through injury.

Ings injury could just be the break Origi needs to make his mark at Anfield.


2 Wins From 2 Games Is All That Matters

18 Aug

2 Wins From 2 Games Is All That Matters


Liverpool scraped past Premier League newcomers Bournemouth on Monday night thanks to a first-half Christian Benteke goal. The Premier League new boys were no push overs as many Liverpool supporters turning up for their favourites’ first home game of the season anticipated.


In fact Liverpool were extremely grateful for referee Craig Pawson getting the game’s two major decisions wrong. Bournemouth’s Tommy Elphick headed past Simon Mignolet from a corner early in the first-half but his effort was harshly ruled out for apparently fouling Dejan Lovren.


But to rub salt into the wound Liverpool’s winning goal by Benteke was allowed to stand despite Philippe Coutinho clearly being in an offside position and attempting to make contact with the ball prior to Benteke netting.


Two wins out of two games to start the season is the most important thing for Liverpool despite the Reds struggling to find their best form but two clean sheets is encouraging after much criticism of their defence during the last couple of seasons.


Brendan Rodgers deciding to play a back four is making Liverpool look more solid defensively but the new signings of Clyne and Gomez are playing a massive part in the defensive improvement with their natural defensive play and pace helping their two centre halves.


The disappointing thing for Liverpool supporters has been the lack of attacking play despite the talented players included in their eleven. Coutinho is the one player that is creating chances for the Reds and Benteke has the look of being a great signing and his first Anfield goal will only help his confidence.


It is still early in the season and tougher tests will come and next week will be Liverpool’s first real examination at Arsenal but you would expect Liverpool to improve with their attacking play with each passing game as their new players begin to gel.


However Liverpool play this season the most important thing is finding a way to win and in the first two games they have did that so we shouldn’t be too critical of their performances this early in the season.


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.

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.



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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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