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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.

 

Moreno Is Not First Choice Left-Back

27 Jul

Moreno Is Not First Choice Left-Back

 

Liverpool had problems at both full-back positions last season and the addition of Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton is certainly an upgrade from Glen Johnson for the right-back berth, but many people believe that Alberto Moreno will be the man to fill the left-back berth.

I’m not so sure, for the amount of money spent on Moreno last summer, so far the money hasn’t been justified. The Spanish full-back has pace and started last season impressively but as the season progressed he looked vulnerable defensively and was guilty of defensive errors that led to opposition goals.

Moreno’s pace should also provide more for the Reds in the attacking third, but he offers very little despite getting into attacking areas as he regularly fails to find an end product.

Liverpool have signed Joe Gomez this summer and manager Brendan Rodgers has used the 18-year-old at left-back in the club’s recent tour and he has impressed.

Like Moreno he has pace but although it is only pre-season Gomez has been one of the stand-out players in Liverpool’s tour and his pace to get forward but also help defensively has caught the eye playing on the left side of defence.

Gomez has looked very comfortable in possession and used the ball well in attacking positions and although he hasn’t been playing against the strongest of opponents, early impressions of the youngster make him a serious candidate for the left-back spot.

I’d like to see Rodgers start Gomez against Stoke City instead of Moreno to see how he copes with the Premier League because I think he is good enough.

 

Encouraging Signs For Liverpool

26 Jul

Encouraging Signs For Liverpool

 

After missing out on a top four place last season, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers can’t afford to miss out again or he will be looking for another job. The Reds’ boss has been busy in the transfer market again this summer and he will be hoping that his new recruits will do better.

The biggest problem for Liverpool last season was scoring goals and with the arrivals of Danny Ings, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi Liverpool have more striking options.

It remains to be seen if last season’s striking failures Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert will remain at the club for the new season, but if they do move on to pastures new Brendan Rodgers should still be happy with his striking options.

Daniel Sturridge should hopefully come back fitter next season and play a major role in Liverpool’s strikeforce too.

I think Rodgers will just play the one striker despite his striking options because he has so many attacking midfielders in his squad.

Rodgers has to fit players like new signing Firmino, Coutinho, Lallana, Ibe and Markovic into his eleven and he will be reluctant to play a front two.

The pressure is on Benteke to hit the ground running after his big money move to Anfield and Rodgers will be hoping he can find the back of the net regularly.

Clyne, Gomez and Milner have also looked good in pre-season after making the switch to Liverpool and although it is early days there is encouraging signs for Rodgers ahead of the new season.

 

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