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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.

 

Papers Making Mountains Out Of Molehills Regarding Balotelli

6 Oct

Papers Making Mountains Out Of Molehills Regarding Balotelli

 

Certain tabloids are highlighting Mario Balotelli’s relegation to the substitute’s bench for Liverpool’s win over West Brom on Saturday. The Italian was replaced by Rickie Lambert in the Reds’ attack and Balotelli’s exclusion inspired experts to write about Brendan Rodgers not being satisfied with the Italian’s attitude.

 

Rodgers has admitted to taking a gamble on Balotelli and he has struggled to find the back of the net with his new team and after starting on the bench in Saturday’s win, maybe the Reds’ boss is giving the Italian international a reality check that he needs to do more for his new team or he will be replaced.

 

Balotelli’s performance in the defeat by Basel last Wednesday was loudly criticised and Rodgers was probably making a statement to his new signing that there are no superstars at Anfield and there are no ‘egos’ in his team.

 

I don’t think Rodgers is making a ‘park your ego or your out’ message to Balotelli, I think he was making a clever managerial decision to give the Italian a wake-up call.

 

Rodgers has improved so many players at Anfield during his time and he will be patient and work with Balotelli to mould him into a Liverpool player by using his own methods.

 

There is no way that Rodgers is sick of Balotelli and threatening to show him the Anfield exit already, it’s just the tabloids stirring things up as per usual.

 

Liverpool Show Why They Are Still Title Contenders

1 Sep

Liverpool Show Why They Are Still Title Contenders

 

Liverpool were given a reality check last week as they suffered a 3-1 loss to Premiership champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, The Reds produced a good performance but were undone with City’s ruthless and clinical finishing.

 

Another away fixture, this time to White Hart Lane to face a Spurs side that had made a good start to the season would be another test for Brendan Rodgers’ men.

 

It was very important for Liverpool to take a positive result away from London after last week’s loss and they did just that. Liverpool produced a performance similar to many witnessed last season as they convincingly beat Spurs 3-0.

 

Rodgers was forced into making a couple of changes to his defence with injuries to Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson, so he brought in Sakho and new signing Manquillo in to shore up his defence.

 

All eyes were on new signing Mario Balotelli as he made his debut for Liverpool with the unfortunate Coutinho relegated to the bench.

 

Liverpool won the game convincingly despite so many changes as they played with a high-tempo pressing game that forced Spurs into errors and Liverpool’s defence looked more solid under pressure with industrious full-backs Manquillo and Moreno complimenting Sakho and Lovren.

 

Liverpool looked a threat every time they went forward with Sterling, Sturridge and Balotelli being supported by the energetic Allen and Henderson that resulted in a 3-0 result through goals from Sterling, Gerrard (penalty) and a superb individual goal by Moreno.

 

Liverpool proved they still have the credentials to be title challengers with this performance against Spurs.

Agger Set To Leave Liverpool

29 Jul

Agger Set To Leave Liverpool

 

Liverpool’s signing of Southampton defender Dejan Lovren could spell the end of Daniel Agger’s career at Anfield. The Lovren announcement coincided with several Agger stories relating to the Dane leaving the Reds.

 

Agger did not appear at the team’s training session ahead of Sunday’s friendly in Chicago, and rumour has it that he’d sustained an injury resulting in him being sent home to recuperate at Melwood.

 

The news of Agger leaving Liverpool’s tour of America has triggered speculation that Barcelona are about to raid the Reds for the second time this summer, this time for Agger as they seek to strengthen their defence.

 

It is believed that the Catalan giants are ready to bid £12 million for the Reds’ defender as they hope to bring one more defender to the club after signing Valencia’s Jeremy Mathieu.

 

Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is also a huge fan of the Denmark international and believes he has the abilities to succeed at the Camp Nou.

 

Agger has constantly been linked with a move away from Anfield after struggling to feature in Liverpool’s defence last season and Lovren’s arrival could result in the Dane finally leaving.

 

I hope Agger stays at Anfield but I think his days are numbered.

 

Don’t Listen To The Bookies

18 Jul

Don’t Listen To The Bookies

 

Brendan Rodgers believes his side will still be in the title mix despite losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona in a deal worth around £70 million.

 

The Reds confirmed on Friday that they had reached an agreement for the sale of the controversial Uruguayan, after accepting an offer for the striker.

 

Rodgers has already taken steps to deal with life after the departure of the PFA and FWA Player of the Year by splashing out on Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can and Benfica winger Lazar Markovic to bring them to Anfield.

 

The Reds started their pre-season fixtures with a 2-1 defeat to Brondby in Denmark as Rodgers played a lot of his youngsters with many of his experienced players still on holiday through their participation in this summer’s World Cup.

 

After the game Rodgers spoke about Suarez by explaining:

 

“The sale of Suarez does not lessen our ambition. We thank Luis for his contribution here but we move on, looking for the right players. We’ll go and do our best. Our best last year nearly won us the title.”

 

Rodgers seems full of confidence ahead of the new season despite losing Suarez but I see the bookmakers don’t agree with the Liverpool manager’s optimism as they rate them as much as 10/1 to win the Premiership with Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all ahead of them in the betting.

 

I’m quite surprised they can make Manchester United third favourites for the title after finishing seventh last season, maybe they think they can do a Liverpool this season.

 

I think I’ll be taking a punt on Liverpool’s generous odds.

Mascherano Would Be Perfect For Liverpool

3 Jun

Mascherano Would Be Perfect For Liverpool

 

Liverpool target Javier Mascherano could have his future decided imminently with his agent due to meet Barcelona bosses. The former Red hinted after Barca’s failed La Liga tilt that he could quit the Nou Camp and this news has interested his former club as well as Napoli, where Rafa Benitez, his former Liverpool boss, is now in charge.

 

According to reports from Italy, the Argentina international’s agent Walter Tamer is in Barcelona and due to meet with new manager Luis Enrique and sporting director Andoni Zubizerreta.

 

Reports suggest that Barca are thought to be ready to offer Mascherano, who turns 30 this weekend, a one-year extension.

 

But if this offer doesn’t satisfy the former West Ham player then it could open the door for Napoli and Liverpool.

 

Barcelona have wasted one of the game’s best defensive midfielders by playing him in the centre of defence for a number of years and at only 30 years of age he still has a number of good years left in him.

 

Although Mascherano left Liverpool in disappointing fashion I’m sure he would be welcomed back at Anfield by the supporters after he has stated on a number of occasions his feelings for the club.

 

A new defensive midfielder is high on Brendan Rodgers’ list and Mascherano would be the perfect man to protect Liverpool’s vulnerable defence and he would be the perfect foil for Gerrard in the centre of midfield.

 

The thought of Mascherano and Gerrard reunited in Liverpool’s midfield is an exciting though. Can it happen ?

Liverpool’s Owners Must Back Rodgers

8 May

Liverpool’s Owners Must Back Rodgers

 

Liverpool’s amazing season has saw them challenge for this season’s Premiership title, but whatever happens in the closing stages of the season, the Reds must build on their success and add to their squad in the summer.

 

Premiership rivals Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs will all improve their squads and next season will pose a formidable challenge for Liverpool to stay at the top of the Premiership and also compete in the Champions League.

 

Brendan Rodgers deserves great credit for improving his team, considering he hasn’t made any major signings since he signed Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho.

 

Liverpool have missed out on a few transfer targets in the last couple of transfer windows for one reason or another but this summer they need to get their targets and the owners need to back Rodgers financially if he is to get the players he needs to improve his team even more.

 

Champions League qualification should give Liverpool an advantage to attract more talent to the club but money talks and the owners need to show their commitment to their manager by giving him the funds to buy players.

 

Expectations will be raised next season too, rather than the hope supporters started this season with and that can add a different kind of pressure to the team. But the future is looking a lot brighter than it did a year ago and everybody is excited about where the club is going under the leadership of Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers Not Questioning Integrity

29 Dec

Rodgers Not Questioning Integrity

 

Brendan Rodgers insists his remarks about referee Lee Mason after Liverpool’s loss to Manchester City were not meant as an attack on the official’s integrity. Rodgers questioned the appointment of a Greater Manchester referee to the Reds’ clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

 

Rodgers was understandably frustrated after losing to City in a game where his team deserved to take something from after a terrific performance.

 

Rodgers claimed that he was trying to make a valid point and did not intend to slight Mason.

 

Rodgers said “In terms of geography, I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees. I fully understand the job. It was more than logical (as a comment) in terms of having a referee from that part of the world refereeing a game in Manchester.”

 

Rodgers added that “I wouldn’t expect Mike Dean, from the Wirral, has refereed many games for Liverpool over the years.”

 

Rodgers explained his frustration over referee Lee Mason’s performance by saying “I think it was continuous throughout the game – the decision-making being poor. I think there was evidence of that.”

 

Rodgers may be charged by the FA as they look for an explanation into the Liverpool manager’s comments but Rodgers has every right to feel frustrated over Mason’s poor performance which contributed to Liverpool’s defeat.

 

Brendan Rodgers is right to defend his team and his club when he feels a referee has performed poorly and not protected his players and made so many bad decisions during a game.

 

The biggest decision that went against Rodgers’ team was Sterling’s goal in the first half that was ruled out wrongly for offside.

 

But Rodgers also felt that his players were not receiving enough protection from some of the City players’ challenges, Suarez got some rough treatment from Kompany and Lescott and this angered Rodgers because they mostly escaped punishment and ironically Suarez received a yellow card late in the match which looked extremely harsh.

 

It wouldn’t surprise me if the FA charge Rodgers for his comments as they have been heavy handed in recent times with their punishments relating to Liverpool Football Club’s misdemeanours.

 

In my opinion Rodgers’ comments are hardly equal to some of Sir Alex Ferguson’s regular rants at officials that seemed to go mostly unpunished. But there are rules for some and rules for others.

Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool Match Report

5 Nov

                            Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool suffered their second league defeat of the season as they went down 2-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates in this top of the table clash, Liverpool could have went top with a win but the loss now leaves them five points behind the Gunners.

 

Goals from Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey separated the teams in a match that Arsenal won convincingly.

 

                             The Team

 

The pre-match team news confirmed that Liverpool were without the services of Glen Johnson due to illness and Jon Flanagan would deputise for the England right-back. Flanagan had not featured in Liverpool’s first team since the FA Cup tie against Mansfield back in January. Meanwhile, fit-again Philippe Coutinho was named on the substitutes’ bench.

 

The eleven that started for Liverpool at the Emirates were Mignolet, Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Cissokho, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

 

                            The Match

 

The game got underway with Arsenal creating the first effort through Tomas Rosicky firing a shot across the face of goal which was palmed wide by Mignolet.

 

At the other end Jordan Henderson surged into the Arsenal penalty box before miscuing his shot. Liverpool started the game positively and pressed high up the park.

 

However, Arsenal took the lead in the 19th minute when Sagna burst down the right flank before crossing onto the head of Cazorla who headed onto the post before firing the rebound past Mignolet.

 

Liverpool almost mustered a swift riposte, but Toure’s downward header was blocked by Szczesny, though the flag was raised for offside in any case.

 

Liverpool were left frustrated when they tried to take a quick free-kick which ended up in the Arsenal net only to be brought back as the referee wanted to book Sagna for the foul.

 

But Arsenal stepped up a gear after taking the lead as Liverpool tried to stay in the game and Mignolet had to react quickly to get down to save Ramsey’s drive after a one-two with Rosicky.

 

Liverpool went in at the break a goal behind and Brendan Rodgers made an attacking substitution for the second half by introducing Coutinho for Cissokho.

 

Liverpool went close early in the second half when Suarez raced clear behind the Arsenal defence before toe-poking off target. Then, moments later the Uruguayan found space in a dangerous position before crossing to the back post finding Henderson but the midfielder volleyed over.

 

A slack pass from Toure to Skrtel was seized upon by Giroud but the striker’s chipped effort found the side netting to the relief of Brendan Rodgers.

 

However, Arsenal didn’t have long to wait until they claimed their second goal, when Ramsey connected with a half-volley from 20 yards that looped over Mignolet in the 59th minute.

 

Victor Moses replaced Flanagan as Liverpool tried to salvage something from the game, and they almost found a lifeline when Suarez fired in a low drive with the outside-of-the-foot but his effort struck the base of the post.

 

Liverpool continued until the very end to get something from the game and Suarez should have scored in the dying moments but his side-footed effort went wide as Arsenal held on to stay top of the league.

 

                                          Summary

 

Liverpool were dealt a blow with the loss of Glen Johnson before kick-off and I was surprised that Rodgers chose Flanagan to deputise in such a big game, but in fairness Flanagan had a good game and didn’t let anyone down.

 

I thought Liverpool started well until Arsenal took the lead and then Arsenal were the better team and dominated the midfield. Despite Arsenal’s domination Liverpool had some really good chances and the quick free-kick being brought back was a poor decision by the referee.

 

Coutinho looked sharp when he came on for the second half and became very involved in trying to bring Liverpool back into the game, unfortunately his passing was just a little off.

 

Liverpool showed tremendous attitude by trying to salvage something from the game right until the final whistle but on the day they were second best to an impressive side.

 

 

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