Tag Archives: Brendan Rodger

In Liverpool’s Defence

3 Oct

In Liverpool’s Defence

Brendan Rodgers has strengthened Liverpool’s defence with the summer signings of Tiago Ilori, Kolo Toure, Aly Sissokho and Mamadou Sakho. Liverpool have looked more solid at the back this season as a result of their signings.

Liverpool have had to do quite a bit of defending in games this season and they have coped pretty well with only leaking four goals in six league games. Brendan Rodgers now has the option to change his defensive formation which he has done already this season.

Rodgers played four centre backs in defence against Southampton the other week and he has also played just two centre backs and three centre backs in certain games to combat the opposition threat.

The injury to Daniel Agger forced Rodgers to change his centre of defence but it gave Skrtel a chance to re-establish himself in the team and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands with commanding performances.

Sakho has also been given the opportunity to get a run of games and he is looking better with every game and is looking to be a great signing.

With competition for places in the centre of Liverpool’s defence so tough now, it’s going to be difficult for Agger to return to the line-up.

Glen Johnson’s injury has created a problem on the right side of Liverpool defence and Andre Wisdom deputised initially but he did struggle especially in the Swansea game but more recently Toure has been installed at right back and as Martin Kelly has continued to struggle for fitness after recovering from his long term injury, Toure has looked far more solid although not in the same bracket as Johnson as an attacking right-back.

Jose Enrique has been selected as the regular left-back for Liverpool this season and this is a position that Liverpool are short of options for. Injuries to Sissokho, Agger and Glen Johnson have left Rodgers with little alternative but to play Enrique although the Spaniard has problems with his knees too. Rodgers tried to rest Enrique against Southampton by using Sakho at left-back but Liverpool’s new signing looked out of place on the left and was wary of venturing forward.

Liverpool’s defence looks far more capable of dealing with high balls with Sakho, Toure and Skrtel very strong in the air, where in the past Liverpool have struggled against teams who like to play the ball up to a big physical striker.

Liverpool have lost a couple of goals from corner kicks this season, one against Southampton and the other against Manchester United but I think overall Liverpool’s defence will lose far fewer goals from those situations this season.

A defence is vitally important for any team to be successful and Brendan Rodgers is now beginning to build his own team the way he wants it with each passing transfer window and Liverpool’s defence is the latest department of the team to be transformed under Rodgers.

If there is criticism then it must be the left-back position as I’m not convinced Enrique is good enough. Yes, he is very quick and strong but he is prone to giving the ball way dangerously in his own half mostly caused by his reluctance to use his right foot. Enrique likes to get forward and his industry gets him to dangerous attacking positions but far too often he is wasteful when in a good position.

Cissokho might be the man to fill the left-back role in the future but his unfortunate injury has prevented us from seeing his talent.

Liverpool’s defence has been complimented superbly this season by new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who has been very impressive in his short spell between the sticks. Mignolet is a great shot stopper and very commanding when coming off his line, Mignolet is also very vocal and constantly instructing his defence. A good goalkeeper also gives his defence confidence and you can see this with Mignolet at Liverpool.

Liverpool have a good base to build on success with their solid defence this season and it will be interesting to see how successful Liverpool can be as the season unfolds.

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Big Decisions For Rodgers

15 Sep

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

 

Big Decisions For Rodgers

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has some big decisions to make over the coming weeks as he looks to ensure Liverpool’s good start to the season continues. Daniel Sturridge has grabbed all the headlines but Liverpool’s resurgence has been built on their defensive foundations with the Reds having kept eight clean sheets in their last ten league matches.

 

New Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has yet to concede a league goal and he has showed impressive form in this young season highlighted by his match winning penalty save in the final moments of the match against Stoke. But the Belgian is the first to acknowledge that he has benefited from the efforts of those in front of him.

 

Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Jose Enrique snuffed out the threat of Stoke and Aston Villa before Martin Skrtel deputised for the injured Toure in a the hard-fought victory over Manchester United.

 

However, with Glen Johnson sidelined for around 5 weeks with an ankle injury picked up during the victory over Manchester United, Brendan Rodgers will have to replace the England right-back who has started the season so brightly.

 

Martin Kelly is still struggling to find his match fitness after such a long injury lay-off, so the right-back position appears to be a two-way battle between Toure and Andre Wisdom.

 

Toure has played there in the past and it would be a clever way of accommodating the return from injury of the Ivorian as it would be harsh to drop Skrtel after his man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United.

 

Rodgers has to choose between the experience of Toure and the athleticism of Wisdom, who did nothing wrong when he came on against United but struggled against Notts County and the pre-season match against Celtic.

 

The other dilemma for Rodgers is how to find a place in the team for Mamadou Sakho. Liverpool’s form means there is no pressure on Rodgers to throw the big French centre-back straight into action. Sakho is still working on his fitness since arriving at Anfield so it would be a surprise if he featured against Swansea.

 

But over the coming weeks Sakho will be staking a claim for a place in Liverpool’s defence and there is no way the Reds paid £15 million for him to warm the bench. You only pay that kind of money for a starter but who will make way for Sakho ? Not Agger, that’s for sure, as long as he stays fit Agger’s name will be one of the first names on the team sheet.

 

One solution to Rodgers’ defensive dilemma would be to switch to playing three at the back, which Rodgers tried at times last season.

 

But now Rodgers has the players capable of making 3-5-2 a viable option. A back three of Agger, Sakho alongside Toure or Skrtel , could be installed with Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson as wing-backs. Until Johnson is fit, Jordan Henderson would be an alternative on the right.

 

That would allow Rodgers to play Coutinho in the central role where he’s at his best in front of Gerrard and Lucas. Sturridge would then lead the line alongside Victor Moses or Aspas until Luis Suarez has served his ban.

 

There is now plenty of options for Rodgers with his summer signings but he has to make some big decisions regarding his team over the coming weeks to ensure his team continue their good start to the season.

 

 

 

 

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Sturridge Couldn’t Be Risked

14 Sep

Sturridge Couldn’t Be Risked

 

Daniel Sturridge missed England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine with a thigh problem sustained in Liverpool’s win over Manchester United but he could be fit for Liverpool’s trip to Swansea on Monday night after returning to training on Friday.

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed claims that Sturridge took the easy option to miss England’s matches by claiming that it was the FA doctors who made the decision on his fitness.

 

Rodgers stated that “Daniel was disappointed to miss England,” and said “medical experts made the decision. They deemed him not fit enough.” Rodgers also highlighted the fact that with Liverpool’s match not being played until Monday night has given Sturridge a better chance of being fit.

 

Sturridge and Rodgers should not be questioned regarding his absence from England’s matches because he made it clear that he had played against Manchester United while struggling with an injury and his injury should not be risked by playing for England.

 

People seem to forget that it was while playing for England at the end of last season that he picked up an injury which prevented him from taking part in most of Liverpool’s pre-season. Sturridge only appeared for 45 minutes against Celtic in Liverpool’s final pre-season game before Liverpool’s season started.

 

Sturridge has played in Liverpool’s first three league games of the season and is still playing catch up regarding his fitness after being injured for most of the summer. Liverpool have to protect their player from further injury after just coming back to fitness.

 

It is true what Rodgers says that with Liverpool playing on the Monday gives Sturridge more time to recover from his injury. Sturridge reported for England duty and he was assessed by England’s doctors so to question his commitment to his country is a joke.

 

There are times when it does look very suspicious when players pull out of international games only to be fit the following Saturday for their club’s fixture, but it is ridiculous to question Sturridge.

 

England will reap the rewards of an improving Sturridge in the coming months and years, but to possibly cause further injury to him when he is carrying an injury would have stupid. The English FA realised this and made the right decision but there is always some people out there who want to question a player’s commitment.

 

 

 

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Smells Like Team Spirit

11 Sep

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

 

Smells Like Team Spirit

 

Bill Shankly’s 100th anniversary of his birth has recently been celebrated by Liverpool Football Club and it is a tribute to Liverpool’s greatest manager that Liverpool are playing with a hunger and passion that he demanded from his players.

 

Shankly demanded 100% from his players and current manager Brendan Rodgers has his players singing off the same hymn sheet as Bill Shankly’s men.

 

Brendan Rodgers has taken over Liverpool with a few similar circumstances that Shankly faced. OK, so Liverpool are not in the second division and Anfield is not the “biggest toilet in Liverpool” anymore,  but Anfield Stadium is in need of modernisation and Liverpool have fallen from grace in recent years after the disastrous ownership of Gillett and Hicks and Liverpool’s current American owners are striving to bring back the glory days.

 

Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and even Tottenham Hotspur have overtaken Liverpool nowadays and Rodgers has the tough task of bridging the gap that has widened between these clubs to make Liverpool a top four club again.

 

Liverpool can’t compete in the transfer market against these clubs until they get back into the Champions League and Liverpool have had to alter their strategy and buy young players with potential or players like Sturridge who need the chance to prove themselves.

 

Liverpool’s new transfer policy has impressed so far with players like Coutinho, Sturridge and also free transfer, experienced defender Toure coming in who brings great experience alongside Liverpool’s youngsters. Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers cleverly reduced the wage bill along with bringing in new faces.

 

Moving high earners like Carroll, Downing and Reina during the summer was a clever piece of business although Liverpool still paid big money for players they felt would take the team forward under Rodgers’ plans. Signing Mignolet and Sakho did cost a lot of money but Liverpool have learned their lessons from the past days of overspending on Carroll, Downing and Henderson.

 

Shankly moved many players on who he knew were not good enough to play in the Red shirt and shaped his team with his own signings and Rodgers is doing the same with his team.

 

Like Shankly Brendan Rodgers had a difficult start to his career at Anfield by only winning two of his first ten league games in charge. But over the course of last season Liverpool have showed signs of improvement and now with this summer’s transfer dealings Liverpool look to have a stronger squad with players that Brendan Rodgers wants in his team. The mix of youth and experience looks like the perfect combination along with the emergence of youngsters breaking into the first team from the youth set-up.

 

Liverpool have enjoyed their best start to a season in many years and although only three games in Liverpool find themselves top of the league with three wins in three games. But the victories have shown how the team is growing under Brendan Rodgers with some great football being played in the Stoke and Villa wins and many goalscoring opportunities being created. Then there has been the steely determination shown and great desire to battle for the victory when under pressure witnessed in the Manchester United game and also in the second half of the Aston Villa victory.

 

There have been some tremendous examples of commitment shown already in this young  season  highlighted by Gerrard flying into tackles against United and the crunching challenge by Glen Johnson on United’s Patrice Evra which led to Liverpool’s right-back having to leave the field, Sturridge played the ninety minutes against Manchester United with an injury and his determination to play paid off as he proved to be the difference on the day with the only goal of the game. This is only a few examples of commitment that Liverpool players are showing under Brendan Rodgers’ leadership but it shows how much the players are playing for their manager.

 

In similar games Liverpool would have lost goals and drew or lost these type of closely contested matches but there is a collective will to win within this group of Liverpool players Rodgers’ has assembled. This group of players are showing the type of determination and spirit that Bill Shankly installed in his team and this quality is vital in any successful team.

 

You can have the best players on the planet but without “team spirit” you won’t win anything and Liverpool seem to be heading in the right direction with a talented young squad complimented by a determined attitude that Bill Shankly would have been proud of.

 

 

 

 

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Liverpool’s Destroyer

29 Aug

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

Liverpool’s Destroyer

Lucas Leiva made his Liverpool debut 6 years ago and it is amazing how his reputation has changed since his first appearance in a Red shirt. Lucas has been one of the most criticised Liverpool players in recent years, and I was one of his biggest critics. I thought Lucas was the worst Brazilian player I had ever seen, and the worst Liverpool player since Traore.

I used to think that he was too slow and too small and couldn’t tackle a fish supper but how wrong I was with my judgement. He has transformed into Liverpool’s most improved player, and I now rate Lucas as Liverpool’s most important player.

Liverpool lost a lot of talent in recent years with players of the calibre of Xabi Alonso and Mascherano leaving Anfield in recent, many people wondered if Lucas was ready to become a regular in Liverpool’s midfield after a much criticised beginning to life at Anfield. But he got his chance to play regularly in Liverpool’s midfield early in the 2110-11 season when Mascherano left for Barcelona. Mascherano was terrific in the holding midfield role and it was a big task for Lucas to step in and replace him.

Lucas made steady progress that season as a holding midfielder and after a brilliant start to the following season his season was cruelly ended by injury at Stamford Bridge when Liverpool beat Chelsea in the quarter-final of the League Cup. Lucas suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee which kept him out until the start of the 2012-13 season.

Lucas’ bad luck continued when he suffered another injury in Liverpool’s second League match of the season against Premiership Champions Manchester City when he injured his thigh in the warm-up prior to kick-off. This injury kept him out for a further 3 months. But once again Lucas showed what a fighter he is by recovering from a serious injury not once but twice to return to Liverpool’s midfield.

Lucas came back into the team and played regularly last season notching up 31 appearances in total as his fitness and form improved with games. Liverpool’s form in the last 2 season has been highly influenced by Lucas’ appearances.

In 2011-12 Liverpool finished a lowly 8th position in the Premiership and I believe a large part of their problem was the absence of Lucas from the team from November until the end of the season. Whereas Liverpool had a terrible start to last season winning only 2 of their first 10 League games again in Lucas’ 3 month absence.

But when Lucas returned to the team in a regular basis Liverpool’s form and results improved, highlighted by an end of season run of only 1 defeat in the last 13 games.

Lucas has become so important to the Liverpool team in the holding midfield role and he has become one of the best in the Premiership in that role. The loss of midfield talent in recent years has given Lucas the chance to establish himself in the Liverpool midfield and he has grabbed the chance with both hands.

It is no secret that Lucas has endured some tough times in his Liverpool career, a young player moving to a different country to one of the biggest football teams in the world to apply his trade could not have been easy, but his treatment from some sections of the Liverpool support made it much more difficult, where many players would have struggled under that kind of pressure. But Lucas proved that he is a fighter both on and off the park as he fought and established a regular place in Liverpool’s midfield.

But the way Lucas has worked at his game by keeping his head down and improved his game has to be applauded. Lucas has worked on his strength and is very rarely knocked off the ball now as he appeared light weight in his younger days, and his reading of the game is a great attribute as he senses the danger of opposition attacks very early. Lucas covers every blade of grass during games and he rarely gives the ball away when in possession.

It has been obvious to notice Lucas’ value to Liverpool for his unfortunate absence through injury as no player has replaced him as effectively. Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard have all recently tried to replace the Brazilian, but none have filled the role as well as results have proved.

Liverpool lost a lot of goals in the first part of last season when Lucas was out injured but their goals conceded improved greatly on Lucas’ return as he offers his defence superb protection.

Even in the first 2 games of the season Lucas’ statistics are impressive as Liverpool recorded 2 wins in their first 2 games along with 2 clean sheets.

Against Stoke Lucas attempted 74 passes with a conversion rate of 86.5% and he made 8 tackles winning 75% of them.

In Saturday’s game at Aston Villa Lucas made 5 tackles winning 60% of them and he also attempted 77 passes (more than any other Liverpool player) completing 90.9% them.

Statistics are not everything but they do prove how involved Lucas is in Liverpool’s midfield, his tackling and passing statistics are impressive and he is such a valuable part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans.

The holding midfield role is such an important position in the modern game with wing-backs pushing so high up the park in many games the holding midfielder has a lot of covering to do especially against the counter-attack to protect the centre-backs, and Lucas is excelling in this position as Liverpool’s destroyer.

Lucas is now 26 years old and is very experienced at Liverpool having played over 200 games for the first team and I can see him being a future Liverpool captain through his service at Anfield and also by his good organisational skills as he has grown in confidence over the years and looks a perfect candidate.

It is hard to believe Lucas made his debut for Liverpool 6 years ago and I hope he plays at least another 6 years for Liverpool. It’s funny how time can change your opinion of a player.

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Liverpool’s Expectations

16 Aug

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

 

Liverpool’s Expectations

 

As another new season gets under way, every supporter gets excited about their team’s hopes for the new season, Liverpool supporters are no different. Liverpool had a horrendous start to last season’s campaign with only 2 wins in their first 10 games, and it left them well off the pace in the race for a top 4 place. Liverpool had a good finish to the season with only 1 defeat in their last 13 games, but the damage was done at the start of the season.

 

In fairness to Liverpool last season was a transitional period with Brendan Rodgers taking over from Kenny Dalglish and Rodgers needed time to implement his footballing style of play to his players, but this season there is no excuse, the players are now familiar with Rodger’s ideas and need to move the club forward.

 

Brendan Rodgers has had time to shape his team by bringing in his own players now, with Mignolet, Alberto, Aspas and Toure arriving this summer along with Sturridge and Coutinho in January. Rodgers has moved a lot of players out that he didn’t think would take Liverpool forward, like Carroll, Downing and Reina to name a few. Rodgers has also been shrewd in reducing the wage bill with his transfer dealings.

 

It is difficult to judge how well Liverpool will do this season until the transfer window shuts at the end of the month. The conclusion of the Suarez saga will have a huge say on Liverpool’s chances this season, there is also the chance that Brendan Rodger’s might add to his squad.

 

At the moment Liverpool look very young in squad members with only Toure, Gerrard, Johnson, Agger, Enrique, Lucas and Suarez as what you can call experienced players. Liverpool are asking a lot of their youngsters to step up to the plate in a very tough league, and I fear this could hamper their bid for a top four finish.

 

Brendan Rodgers is certainly putting a lot of faith in his youngsters and it will be interesting to see if they can rise to the challenge.

 

I think Liverpool have a class keeper in Mignolet, although I was sad to see Reina leave. I am a bit worried about Liverpool’s defence because I feel that is a department where you need experience, yes Toure has experience, and Agger and Johnson and Enrique, but if we get injuries then we have a problem. But then again we have Kelly back from injury and Wisdom did a good job last season too, Skrtel is experienced but has been out of sorts recently and hopefully he can find his form again, but Coates looks too slow and Sama has no experience to step up when needed. Flanagan is another option who could do a job at full-back.

 

Midfield looks really strong with Lucas, Gerrard and Coutinho being my pick to start every week, but we also have Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Alberto and the young Jordan Ibe will be a name to watch this season.

 

I don’t think Liverpool have enough up front even with the likes of Borini, Sturridge, Aspas and hopefully Suarez, I would like to see Adam Morgan feature more too this season as he looks like the poacher Liverpool have been looking for.

 

So overall I think Liverpool look vulnerable at the back, very strong in midfield and ok up front if we keep Suarez, but if we lose him then I wouldn’t want to rely on Sturridge as our main striker because I fear he is a player who picks up injuries.

 

Looking towards where Liverpool will finish this season, then I will have to say 6th behind Chelsea as League winners, then Manchester City, United, Spurs and Arsenal. But if we keep Suarez then I think his goals could take us to 4th.

 

Let the season begin.

 

YNWA

 

 

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Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

8 Aug

Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool continued their pre-season in good form with a comfortable win in Oslo against Valerenga. Much of the talk surrounding Liverpool at the moment is about want away striker Luis Suarez, but the speculation didn’t affect Liverpool’s performance as they won through goals from Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly and Raheem Sterling. The match was watched by Liverpool’s Principal owner John W Henry for the first time in 13 months.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers started the match with some of his squad players against Valerenga with Brad Jones starting in goal with a team of Alberto, Aspas, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Spearing, Allen, Flanagan, Ibe and Wisdom in front of him.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool struggled the last time they travelled to this part of the world when they required two late goals from Daniel Agger to salvage a draw. Liverpool enjoyed a far more comfortable match this time around as they dictated play.

 

Liverpool went close in the opening stages with Joe Allen and Jordan Ibe having efforts. Meanwhile Aspas was becoming a constant menace to the Norwegian defence and was twice denied by good goalkeeping from Valerenga’s Kongshavn.

 

But it was Aspas who influenced the opening goal for Liverpool on the half hour mark when he struck the frame of the goal with an effort before Luis Alberto drilled into the Valerenga net from 20 yards.

 

Liverpool were in total control but were surprisingly pegged back when Gonzalez headed an in-swinging corner past Brad Jones to give the Norwegians parity.

 

Liverpool responded with Aspas scoring his fourth goal of pre-season as he showed good movement to finish from Downing’s cross.

 

Brendan Rodgers made 10 changes to his personnel for the start of the second half Assaidi and Sterling providing the pace down the flanks. Liverpool extended their lead in the 54th minute when Valerenga struggled to deal with a corner that landed in the centre of the penalty box which invited Martin Kelly to force the ball over the line to make the score 3-1.

 

Within 60 seconds Kolo Toure thumped a header against the bar from a set-piece as Liverpool continued to pressure the hosts. Borini went equally close to scoring when he pounced on a loose ball before rounding the keeper but his effort rolled all the way along the line but refused to hit the net.

 

Borini was again cursing his luck as he struck the crossbar from 20 yards with 15 minutes remaining but Liverpool did manage another goal in the closing moments with Sterling scoring and giving Liverpool a 4-1 win in their 6th straight success.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool performed well creating a lot of chances in their trip to Oslo as the team look in good shape for the new season. Rodgers managed to give most players a run out and that is very important in pre-season. Liverpool are playing with confidence and players like Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen are feeding of this with fine performances. Aspas played very well once again and he is finding the net in a regular basis. With one more friendly to play, the signs are looking good for the start of the season.

 

 

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Preston 0-4 Liverpool Match Report

14 Jul

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Preston 0-4 Liverpool

 

Liverpool started their pre-season with a trip to Preston to contest the Shankly Shield in commemoration of the great man who served both clubs and who was born 100 years ago this year.

 

Debutant Apas scored on his debut for Liverpool as the Reds eased to a comfortable 4-0 win at Deepdale. Philippe Coutinho started the scoring after converting a penalty before Jordan Ibe scored his first senior goal for the Reds, Raheem Sterling netted the other Liverpool goal.

The Match

 

Brendan Rodgers tried to give as many players some match practice in Liverpool’s first pre-season match for the new season. New signings Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet , Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas all featured for the Reds. Daniel Agger was installed as captain for the day with Steven Gerrard not featuring and with Jamie Carragher’s retirement from football.

 

Daniel Agger was the first player to test the Preston keeper Rudd, with a stinging 30 yard effort Rudd could only parry, before the Preston defence quickly cleared to clear the danger.

 

Liverpool dominated possession in the early stages and their constant pressure paid dividends when Coutinho robbed Preston’s John Welsh of possession on the edge of his own area before pulling the Brazilian to the ground resulting in a penalty. Coutinho casually converted the spot-kick into the corner sending Rudd the wrong way in the process.

 

A period of possession football from Liverpool came after the goal with neither keeper having much to do until Liverpool stepped up the tempo with Flanagan bursting into the Preston half after intercepting a Preston pass before sending Borini clear, but the Italian lacked composure and slipped his effort wide of the post with only Rudd to beat.

 

A minute later young Jordan Ibe proved to be more ruthless when he skipped inside from the left flank before rifling an unstoppable low effort past Rudd at his near post. The goal capped a fine first half performance from the youngster as he tormented the Preston right-back.

 

The second half brought wholesale changes to both sides, with Aspas and Alberto pulling on the Red shirt for the first time.

 

Sterling replaced Ibe on the left flank to mark his comeback after a long-term injury. The winger looked keen to impress as he burst down the left flank before forcing his way into the Preston box before curling a stike towards the far corner, but replacement Preston keeper Stuckmann managed to divert the ball away to safety.

 

Sterling’s enthusiasm was rewarded with 25 minutes remaining when a rapid exchange of passes on the half-way line sliced open the Preston defence and sent Sterling one-on-one with the keeper. Sterling showed great composure to round Stuckmann before sliding the ball into the empty net.

 

A fine Liverpool performance was capped by debutant Aspas curling a 25 yard effort past Stuckmann in a pleasing day for Brendan Rodgers.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool impressed against Preston in their first pre-season match at Deepdale. I liked the way the players showed hunger to press the opposition and look for the ball. OK Preston are not the greatest of teams but it was a decent workout and was a good fixture for debutants Alberto, Mignolet, Toure and Aspas to settle into the Liverpool team. The players that impressed for me were Jordan Ibe who looked a threat down the left flank and scored a great goal which will do his confidence no harm. Coutinho just looks better with every game and pulled the strings against inferior opposition, took his penalty clinically. Stewart Downing looked lively when he came on for the second half and Raheem Sterling was very impressive as he looked to go past the Preston full-back at every opportunity, a great goal by Sterling too as he showed great confidence in his cool finish. Debutant Aspas showed some clever touches and looks a tricky player as he created Sterling’s goal before scoring a fine goal himself. I think the best moment of the day for me was the introduction of Martin Kelly with 10 minutes to go as he made his comeback from long-term injury, he has been so unlucky with injuries in recent years and his return is like a new signing for Liverpool. Overall it was a good workout for Brendan Rodgers’ side and I’m sure the manager will be happy with his team’s performance.

 

 

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