Tag Archives: Patrice Evra

Underrated Glen Johnson

12 Sep

Underrated  Glen Johnson

Liverpool and England right back Glen Johnson has made tremendous progress during his time at Anfield but still doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Johnson seems to be one of those players that is overlooked regarding his performances, probably because he is so consistent.

Johnson has been an England and Liverpool regular and now at the age of 29 both England and Liverpool are seeing the best of him. Johnson is quick and dangerous going forward and weighs in with a few goals from his attacking exploits.

Johnson had been criticised for his defending in the past but not so much nowadays. His defending is first class and not many attackers get behind him. Johnson makes last ditch tackles to prevent the opposition scoring on countless occasions and he recently picked up an injury after applying a full blooded, bone crunching tackle on Manchester United’s Patrice Evra which unfortunately will keep him out for several weeks of action.

You don’t realise how much you miss someone until their unavailable and Liverpool will appreciate this with Johnson’s injury. The obvious replacement for Johnson will be Andre Wisdom but he still lacks experience and it was recently rumoured that he might have went out on loan to another club to gain the necessary experience until Sebastian Coates suffered a season ending injury.

Martin Kelly is still recovering from his long term injury as he struggles for match fitness and so Liverpool could find Johnson’s injury a real problem.

Johnson’s versatility has also seen him play at left back where he has displayed just as much consistency as on the right. Johnson’s experience is valuable to the younger players coming through too and there will be a lack of experience down the right side of Liverpool’s defence in the coming weeks that could pose a problem.

I was never that keen on Johnson’s arrival to Anfield and the expensive price tag didn’t help on my assumption. But it is never a player’s fault that a club is prepared to pay “silly” money for them, but it can cause problems of expectancy from supporters.

I thought Johnson was poor at defending and never created enough going forward but during his Anfield career I have been proved wrong and appreciate him now as a top class defender. But Johnson still doesn’t receive the recognition his talent deserves and it is about time he was appreciated.

Probably Glen Johnson likes it the way the spotlight is never on him as he continues quietly performing consistently for club and country. It’s just a shame he will need to wait a few weeks to continue his tremendous form.

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Smells Like Team Spirit

11 Sep

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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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