Is Klopp Taking A Risk With Keeper Rotation?

13 Sep

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Loris Karius will start in goal against Sevilla tonight in the Champions League.

The decision to select the German is a bit of a surprise considering Mignolet has hardly put a foot wrong since his return to the team last season, despite him conceding 5 goals against Manchester City last Saturday.

In fairness to the Belgian, he could hardly be blamed for the goals conceded and actually did very well to keep the score down.

Reports suggested last week that Klopp wants to use Karius as his goalkeeper for Champions League games despite naming Mignolet as his number 1.

Barcelona have used a goalkeeper rotation system to great effect in recent seasons and it looks like Klopp wants to do the same.

But is it the right thing to do at Liverpool?

Personally I don’t agree with it, and I certainly don’t feel the time is right to introduce it with Liverpool’s worrying problem of conceding far too many goals since the start of this season.

Both Mignolet and Karius are struggling to convince people that they are good enough to keep goal at a club like Liverpool, although, as I said earlier that Mignolet hasn’t done much wrong since returning to the side last season.

But Karius has looked far from convincing since his arrival on Merseyside after producing a string of nervy performances between the sticks last season that resulted in Mignolet’s return to the team.

Klopp made a surprising selection by selecting Karius for Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal earlier this season, but although the German had very little to do, he did looked far from confident and was almost dispossessed with the ball at his feet on numerous occasions.

Karius doesn’t fill me with confidence at the moment, although after being a Klopp signing he could still prove to be a great keeper.

But with Liverpool’s defensive problems I think Klopp needs to select a settled defence, and especially a regular goalkeeper, and I don’t think chopping and changing his keeper is a good thing.

Liverpool supporters love being back in the Champions League and want the team to do well and I think I’m not alone in thinking that Klopp’s decision to select Karius is too big a risk to take for such a big game.

 

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Mane’s Red Card Ends 50/50 Challenges In Football

12 Sep

Football is becoming less and less of a contact sport, and in my opinion the decision by referee Jon Moss to send off Sade Mane in Liverpool’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City on Saturday was the wrong decision.

The red card has caused a very big debate with opinions divided, but I was incensed and enraged at the time by the referee’s decision to show Mane a red card resulting in me throwing my TV remote control and smashing it into pieces in a fit of rage.

I couldn’t believe it and I still think its a ridiculous decision despite all the debates I’ve listened to.

I can understand that in theory by the letter of the law, Jon Moss made the correct decision, but a referee has to look at the incident and not just make a decision based on his book of law or every time a player raises their foot they will be sent off.

The overhead kick could be a thing of the past.

Mane’s sending off sparked a need for consistency in football after a series of similar incidents in one weekend alone that resulted in players not being punished as severely as the Liverpool player.

Winston Reid’s last night, Matt Ritchie’s challenge on Swansea’s Alfie Mawson were two incidents highlighted, and just two minutes before Mane’s sending off, he was also the victim of a high challenge, when Jesus appeared to kick him in the head as he tried to head the ball clear resulting in Jon Moss giving Liverpool a free-kick without showing a card for the incident.

Mane’s challenge on Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson was a 50/50 challenge with the City goalkeeper getting to the ball a fraction before Mane unfortunately resulting in a nasty injury for the keeper.

But the ball was there to go for and be won, many people are saying Mane was going in dangerously with his feet high, but wasn’t Ederson going in dangerously too? Racing out from his goal at great pace head first, recklessly? Personally I’d say he was being very brave to come and challenge, resulting in the keeper sustaining a sore one was just an unfortunate collision that can happen in a contact sport when two players are going for a ball.

You know by the reaction of a crowd and players if they feel a sending off should occur after a serious incident, and in Mane’s case nobody was expecting to see a red, but after all the slow-motions replays and stills of the incident more people have decided to back the referee’s decision to send off Mane, but you can make most challenges look nasty if you analyse them in the same way.

You can analyse every challenge to death but a referee gets one look at an incident and has to make a decision and although I respect the decision made by Jon Moss I still think it was wrong and I reckon 9 times out of 10 a similar challenge escapes a red card.

Anyway, on to more serious matters, I’ve had no way of switching on my TV after smashing my remote on Saturday so I’m off to the shops to get a new one before Wednesday’s match with Seville.

But I will be putting my remote well out of reach just in case there’s another dodgy refereeing decision.

 

 

Not Many Teams Will Go To Anfield And Play Like Hoffenheim

25 Aug

Liverpool stormed into the group stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night after blitzing Hoffenheim at Anfield in the first twenty minutes to take an unassailable 3-0 lead before eventually running out 4-2 winners on the night and an aggregate 6-3 win.

It was an impressive start by Liverpool that overwhelmed the Germans, a high tempo pressing game combined with some superb passing and movement put the tie to bed inside the first twenty minutes.

But Hoffenheim helped Liverpool with their tactics, they continued to play with a high defensive line at Anfield, tactical suicide against a Liverpool side with so much pace in attack.

Mane, Salah and Firmino enjoyed the space given to get behind the German’s defence on numerous occasions, Hoffenheim’s tactics certainly helped the game become an entertaining spectacle with their own intentions of attack that caused Liverpool more than a few problems.

But how many teams are going to come to Anfield this season and play with the tactics Hoffenhiem deployed ?

Not many, it doesn’t matter if Liverpool are playing in Europe or in the Premier League, not many teams are going to make the game as open as Hoffenheim did the other night.

Teams will come to Anfield and sit deep like Crystal Palace did last Saturday and try to frustrate Liverpool’s attack and try and hit on the break like we saw many times last season, and apart from Liverpool counter-attacking, Mane and Salah’s pace will be nullified with little space to work in.

Can, Wijnaldum and even Henderson were all pushing forward against Hoffenheim but Liverpool were still vulnerable when they lost possession with too many men forward and it didn’t help with Moreno ignorant to the fact that he is a left-back.

It is a totally different game when teams come and park the bus and Liverpool’s midfield of Can, Wijnaldum and Henderson don’t have the creativity to unlock well disciplined, deep-lying defences.

This is why Liverpool must hold on to Coutinho now because it is too late in the transfer window to find a replacement, he is the only player that can open up packed defences with his ability.

Liverpool will destroy teams that come to Anfield with the same approach as Hoffenheim but don’t expect to see too many being brave enough.

FSG’s Most Important 2 Weeks 

19 Aug

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are heading into arguably their most important 2 weeks in charge of the Anfield club.

With only a League Cup win to celebrate during their reign of one of Europe’s most successful clubs, the pressure is on Liverpool’s American owners to take the club to the next level.

Supporters are losing patience despite the club’s improvement both on and off the park.

Anfield’s impressive new main stand is an excellent addition to Liverpool’s famous ground allowing more speactators to support the team as well as providing extra revenue.

On the field, FSG made an excellent signing by capturing Jurgen Klopp to take charge of the team, when many clubs in Europe were showing an interest in the German.

Klopp led Liverpool to a top 4 place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification.

But Liverpool supporters have been left frustrated this summer with few additions to Klopp’s threadbare squad and with the return of European football to Anfield this season, the worry is that the squad will struggle with the extra games.

The improvements in the last season raised expectations that FSG would take Liverpool to the next level this summer and make them genuine challengers both in the Premier League and in Europe.

But apart from the few signings made at this time of writing, the most important issue for FSG looks like maintaining the sevices of their star player Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool’s owners seem intent on keeping Coutinho but whether he stays or goes, it pains me to say that there are more important issues needing resolved that will require FSG spending money and bringing in quality players.

Another centre back remains a priority for Liverpool’s defence and a holding midfielder but with time running out this transfer window, it is looking less likely of happening.

If Coutinho finally leaves for Barcelona, then Liverpool will need a player similar to his style too, so it will be interesting to see how the next 2 weeks pan-out regarding Liverpool’s transfer window, but if Coutinho leaves and nobody is signed then FSG will need to answer a lot of questions from the fans because they have been starved of success for too long.

Liverpool’s Problems Are A Worry

17 Aug

Liverpool’s season has already started with a 3-3 draw away to Watford and a 2-1 win away to Hoffenheim in the first-leg of their Champions League qualifier, and from a Liverpool supporter’s point of view, there are many problems that are still to be solved.

It has been a quiet summer regarding transfer activity, where the need to strengthen Liverpool’s squad looked obvious with the extra games they will have to play this season with the inclusion of European competition.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has added Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke to his squad this summer, but his squad still looks a bit threadbare.

Liverpool have already picked up a few injuries before the season kicked-off, with Nathaniel Clyne, Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana amongst the more notable casualties.

The likely departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona will leave a massive void because he is one of the few players in Liverpool’s squad that can provide the creativity and defence splitting passes.

Liverpool’s defence is still a major worry and the three goals conceded against Watford proved that there are still defensive problems and they were quite fortunate to only concede one goal in Germany on Tuesday night.

Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk has been talked about all summer as the man to solve Liverpool’s defensive problems but it doesn’t look like he will be coming to Anfield and unless they sign another centre-back then their defensive woes will continue.

Alberto Moreno’s return to left-back doesn’t fill supporters with much confidence either, and surely Andy Robertson will get his chance at left-back sooner rather than later.

Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are all good players in their own right but the evidence of their performances playing together in Liverpool’s first two games is worrying, the midfield didn’t look balanced with that trio.

Surely it is Klopp’s decision to go into the new season with the squad he has, but you can’t help thinking that his hands may be tied by his American owners regarding the lack of spending.

Time will tell if Liverpool’s squad is strong enough to challenge in the both the Premier League and Europe this season.

Liverpool Must Not Fail In Top 4 Quest

26 Apr

Liverpool’s disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend was a major blow to their hopes of finishing the season in the Premier League’s top four.

Former Reds striker Christian Benteke scored both goals that earned the visitors the three points after Philippe Coutinho’s spectacular free-kick had opened the scoring for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Liverpool still have four fixtures left to play but the defeat gave encouragement to top four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal, both can now overtake the Reds if they win their games in hand.

With injuries piling up and confidence taking a knock after last weekend’s defeat, it is paramount that Liverpool finish the season in the top four to mark a significant improvement under Klopp, and put Liverpool back in the Champions League where they need to be.

Champions League qualification would help Liverpool attract players to come to Anfield, and also give the club more money to invest in players.

If Liverpool miss out on the top four, then they will have to negotiate playing in the Europa League, and that competition is really a millstone round a team’s neck with Thursday and Sunday fixtures and the amount of extra games providing a serious problem for mounting a challenge in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s disappointing league position last season was partly down to their adventures in the Europa League.

Losing the Europa League final to Seville that would’ve meant qualification into this season’s Champions League was a major disappointment, and Liverpool can’t afford to let this season’s tremendous opportunity slip away again.

Liverpool’s mounting injury list a real concern, and many people expected Klopp to add a few players in the January transfer window to strengthen the squad for the final few months of the season, and now with players like Sturridge, Lallana, Mane and Henderson all injured, the squad is really stretched.

Hopefully the lack of transfer activity in January’s transfer window doesn’t prove costly and Liverpool can somehow stumble over the finish line in the race for a top four spot.

Liverpool Must Beat Bogey Teams To Clinch Top Four Spot

14 Apr

Liverpool have six games left to play this season and they are all very important if they are to achieve their goal of finishing in the top four.

It is vital for the Reds to get back into Europe’s elite competition and with six games to play, they are all basically all cup finals with little room for error with Manchester United only six points behind them, with two games in hand.

Arsenal are nine points behind with two games in hand and also remain a threat. The advantage for Liverpool is that although they have played more games than the rest, they have the points in the bag with their rivals playing catch up, they also still have to play Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United before the end of the season.

United have a tough fixture at home to Chelsea this Sunday before facing local rivals Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal before the end of the season.

Liverpool have arguably the easier fixtures remaining until the end of the season with no games against any of the Premier League’s top six sides left to play, but they still have to play a few teams that have caused the Reds problems in recent times.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are away to West Brom this weekend and they haven’t won at the Hawthorns since the 2011-12 season and Sunday will be a very difficult test for Liverpool against a physical team that will pressure their defence at every opportunity with high balls into the box.

Crystal Palace at home are next, and they are another team that has caused problems in recent years, and their form has improved since Sam Allardyce took over as manager and they will provide another tough test for the Reds.

Watford away follows the Palace game and fresh in the memory is Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat from last season and Klopp’s men will know they are in for a tough game at Vicarage Road.

Liverpool’s second last game of the season is away to West Ham, the Hammers did the league double over the Anfield side last season, and although they have not had as good a season as last, they will hope to continue their recent good record against the Reds.

Middlesbrough should know their fate by the time they come to Anfield on the last game of the season, and hopefully Liverpool will know they are guaranteed a top four spot before this game.

It is going to be a very nervy end to the season for Liverpool and their supporters with so many fixtures to play against teams that have caused them problems, but fingers crossed they achieve their goal and are back playing in the Champions League next season.

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