I’m moving house so will have no wifi for a couple of days.
Hope to be back with the news and critique of LFC on Friday!
You can always converse by commenting!
I’m moving house so will have no wifi for a couple of days.
Hope to be back with the news and critique of LFC on Friday!
You can always converse by commenting!
Registering is back up and running. You will be able to comment once registered.
Please be patient as I have to approve each registration due to an overload of spamming idiots.
One simple rule – NO PROFANITIES
Yes we are back but don’t think you will hear pretty little sound bites telling you how good Liverpool Football Club is.
What you will read in these columns are the real issues and what is wrong with the club and how it can be put right.
If you cannot take criticism about the manager, the owners, the players or indeed the club then do a runner and go cover the cracks elsewhere.
We need to stop kissing the ass’s of the people that run our club and start being more critical of the continual overload of bad judgements that has got us where we are today otherwise it’s more of the same for the foreseable future. That is unless you are satisfied with watching the likes of Spurs rise above us!
Liverpool expect Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne to put pen to paper on a five-year contract when he returns from his holiday.
Though he has signed for a Premier League rival, the Brazil international will have plenty of support as he gets used to life at Anfield, promises the Chelsea forward.
The 26-year-old is ready to do what he can for his colleague, whom he expects to prove a fine signing for Brendan Rodgers’s side. Willian said: “He’s a great player. He knows how to score. He’s strong. Obviously, British football is played differently. It’s very quick and aggressive and it is tough to adapt there but he has everything in order to make that change. As far as I’m concerned – and other players like Philippe Coutinho, who will also play with him, we will try to help him with his transition to Liverpool.”
Barcelona legend Ronaldinho says it will be ‘impossible’ for Liverpool’s strikers not to score goals next season with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in a new-look midfield
Most Liverpool fans won’t have a clue who Joe Gomez really is beyond the conjecture and speculation. As a Charlton fan, I see him as one of the country’s best young defenders worth much more than the mooted £3.5m…
The first time I saw Joe Gomez, I literally couldn’t believe my eyes.
I recognised him from the numerous articles in the Charlton programme and from the wide-eyed youth team reports that obsessives had delivered back to the club forum.
I knew this 17-year-old was our next great hope. But what I couldn’t understand about this huge, hulking figure waiting for a train at London Bridge was how he could be just 17 years old.
Shaking his hand and congratulating him on recently winning the European Championships with the England u-17s, I – 24 years old and well over six foot – somehow felt like the little boy in the shadow of a guy born in 1997.
I’m sure a few Championship attackers went through something similar last season. Having to check with their manager ‘which one’s the kid again?’ – unable to accept the defender giving them such a hiding was just over half their age.
But it’s not just Gomez’s advanced physique that belies his years. In his first (and only) season of first-team football at The Valley the defender slotted in with ease. There were no moments of uncertain jangly knees, nor hands plastered to forehead after a harsh lesson learned. Cool and certain with a smart playing style, it quickly became apparent that having the inexperienced youngster in our back four was no hindrance.
Gomez featured at centre-back and right-back for Charlton, he’s more suited to the former position but featured more prominently in a wide position. He was excellent in both, and his above-par technical ability for a player his age suggests he’d be more than comfortable in midfield.
No wonder Liverpool are interested. He passes all the basic requirements for a young modern defender: Big and strong? Yes to both. Fast? Very. More comfortable picking a pass than punting it into Row Z? You bet.
His first league start came against Derby, at right-back. This was early in the season, against a team who had only just missed out on promotion months before. Charlton won, left-winger Simon Dawkins was hauled off after an hour (his replacement Jonny Russell fared no better) and a low-key but perfectly crafted star was born in South London
Moving away from home for the first time and joining a club like Liverpool is bound to burden the teenager with challenges he’s never faced before. I don’t like to admit it, but there aren’t many tests left for him at Charlton – he’s passed them all.
Charlton’s coaches were smart enough not to burden a developing player with first team football every week, but Gomez still made enough appearances (21) last season to easily pick up the club’s young player of the year award and to be nominated for the Championship “Apprentice of the Year” award. It’s no small thing that at a club which has recently produced a number of England youth level internationals into the first team (Jordan Cousins, Diego Poyet, Jonjo Shelvey, Carl Jenkinson) Gomez is widely considered to be the best.
The Catford-born, Lewisham-schooled kid progressed through the Charlton academy during one of its most fertile periods. So many trophies have been won at youth level in recent years, so many professional contracts signed, but through it all Gomez has been the crown jewel.
Not long after first playing for the under-18 side when he was 13, Gomez’s name begun to appear in connection with bigger clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool. Before making his first team debut at 17, Gomez guided the u-18s to back-to-back league titles to add to his England honours.
Yet even after years of speculation, if Gomez is about to trade Charlton for Liverpool now it feels far too soon for Charlton fans who have only have a handful of games to remember. And, if the rumoured £3.5m fee is correct, we’ve not got anywhere near enough in return. But he knows what he’s doing. By all accounts the committed Christian is as smart and a considerate young footballer as you’ll find.
Liverpool fans, I know right now you’re not particularly fussed. I know you’re frustrated with FSG’s buy-young and cheap Moneyball-lite philosophy. An 18-year-old defender from Charlton is hardly going to send a yellow-tied Jim White into spasms on Sky Sports News. But believe me when I say that in this transfer you’re getting one of the very best young defenders in the country. Just like Gomez himself, it could be bigger than you first thought.
Sorry about tge downtime guys but still waiting for friggin BT to install broadband. Hopefully this bleedin week!
Keep checking and thanks for your patience
This season (16041 acc passes ) Liverpool made 519 less accurate passes than last season ( 16560 acc passes).
Raheem Sterling vs Stewart Downing; and Liverpool ace still rejects £100,000-per-week
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling is refusing a big money deal to stay at the club, but his performances do not out-do West Ham star Stewart Downing.
Liverpool contract rebel Raheem Sterling is refusing to sign a new £100,000 per week deal, report the BBC, even though his performances compare with former Kop flop Stewart Downing.Downing has rebuilt his career at West Ham after his woeful spell at Anfield, and his performances this season match up well with Sterling, a regular pick for Roy Hodgson’s England side.
The pair have the same number of combined goals and assists this season in the Premier League with 14, with Sterling scoring 7 and providing 7, Downing netting 6 and assisting 8.
Hammers winger Downing also creates a higher number of chances per game, at 2.3 per match on average opposed to the Liverpool ace’s 2.14.
Sterling is far more prolific in terms of dribbles per game, but Downing’s crossing accuracy and passing accuracy win out in both of those categories.
Sterling has the undoubted potential, at just 20-years-old, to go on and become twice the player Downing has been over the course of his career, but right now he is not there yet.
TSM report that Downing earns £50,000 per week at West Ham, having taken a cut of £80,000 per week which he was earning at Anfield.
The problem many, including Jamie Carragher who spoke last week to SkySports, have with Sterling’s handling of his contractual situation, is that he is too young and has not achieved enough in the game to begin making big demands and start turning down huge salary offers from Liverpool.
If the winger can begin substantially outperforming Downing and elevate his game to the next level, then his moans Liverpool are not competing for trophies and matching his standard of play may begin to elicit more sympathy.
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling drama is a sign of deeper problems with the club
How long ago it all seems now. Along with Luis Suárez and Daniel Sterling, Raheem Sterling, then only 19 years old, was vaunted as one of the attacking trident of “S’s” as Liverpool came so close to ending its long title drought. Young, fast and English, Sterling seemed to epitomize the impact manager Brendan Rodgers could have on youthful, technical players, even ones with lifestyle choices and attitudes that could be called into question.
Fast forward 12 months and the English Premier League has ended with a player who is out of form, booed by his own fans and taking unauthorized media interviews amid accusations of being greedy. His representation will seemingly do whatever it takes to get their client away from the club.
It appears that Liverpool’s official stance remains that, despite negotiations over a new deal lurking during the last half of the season, there will now be no further contract talks. The player will be expected to fulfill his remaining two years. But I’d still sell him this summer, and I’m sure for the right price, the club will do the same. Even to Manchester United if they offer ridiculous money.
However, those fans expressing rage at Sterling and his agent should think a little more deeply, because the fall from grace speaks ominously about the direction Liverpool is heading. Players want to play with the best players, in the best competitions, for the best managers and make as much money as possible. As of right now, of those four things, only the money is potentially available from Liverpool. And there’s probably a lot more on offer from other clubs.
From Sterling (and his agent’s) perspective, his stock has never been higher. He’s shown what he can do playing with world-class players. He is unsullied by failures of his own making or failing to live up the hype (he was even younger at the World Cup, and this season can hardly be blamed on a 20-year-old). He has two years left on his contract when the potential of his ability is still to be fully tapped. Now is the time for his club to maximize the cashing in value.
And for Sterling, now is the time to push for that move to Bayern, United, Chelsea, Madrid – swap in the club from your rumor of choice. Another season playing like he has over the last six months and Sterling’s chance to make a big move will drift away.
Does his desire to move reflect badly on Liverpool’s current status in the game? No doubt. Does it reflect how far away the club is from the current elite? Definitely. Is Sterling worth fighting for when Luis Suárez was let go with barely a whimper? Not a chance.
Better players have left Liverpool and will again in the future. The real questions to be asked are whether Liverpool, on an infrastructure level — from player scouting, recruitment and team management — is best equipped to reinvest the money it’d get in return, combined with whatever Fenway Sports Group will throw into the pot.
It may sting fans’ pride that, for a second successive season, a star player wants to leave. Contrast it with the emotion and timing of Steven Gerrard’s departure and it should hurt. But what hurts me more is that there’s only so many times a club can come back from such tough times before the decline becomes permanent.
There isn’t a summer that goes by without Liverpool facing some kind of major trauma. With the season ending limply and a review in Boston to come, the next few weeks will be no different. The outcome is will determine the long-term future of the club.
Toure signs new Liverpool deal
Defenders Kolo Toure and Andre Wisdom have signed contract extensions to remain at Liverpool.
Defenders Kolo Toure and Andre Wisdom have signed contract extensions to remain at Liverpool.
The 34-year-old Toure has agreed a one-year deal, according to reports, while Wisdom has signed a “long-term” contract, the Reds have announced.
A statement on liverpoolfc.com read: “Liverpool FC are pleased to announce Kolo Toure has signed an extension to his contract with the club.
“The centre-back will remain with the Reds after putting pen to paper on the new deal.”
Former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Toure made 21 appearances in all competitions during the recently completed 2014/15 season, while Wisdom has made 22 first-team appearances since making his debut in September 2012.
Wisdom made 24 Premier League appearances on loan at West Brom this season.
Well that’s our defence sorted for next season!
Sterling departure a reflection of lack of ambition at Anfield
Just as the curtains were set to close on this Premier League season, Aidy Ward aka Raheem Sterling’s agent, came out in a bizarre rant this week to slay the club saying “£900k-a-week would not keep him at Anfield”.Anfield’s metronomic Ian Ayre cancelled the contract talks today, yet Rodgers showed how a good communication “technician” he is by saying that Raheem is happy at Anfield and that their relationship is unharmed, without forgetting to add that the kid has “character”.
So, Liverpool are battling hard to save some dignity after losing a piece of their soul this week, by mishandling the Stevie G situation and forcing Mr Liverpool out of Liverpool.
Where does this leave us?
Apparently, there are two explanations for this situation:
In his famous interview with the BBC, the 20-year old said that he wants to win trophies that he wants to play at the highest level and carve his name in golden letters just like Liverpool legends before him.
It is not wrong to admit after Gerrard’s farewell last week that the irrefutable loyalty shown by the likes of the Zanetti’s, Maldini’s and Totti’s of this world are now almost extinct.
Yet the Anfield faithful are hoping that this Raheem uprising will lead the owners to rethink their strategies and start working on “achieving potential”.
The Liverpool family would have understood the concepts of “potential” and “future” three years ago. But after so much money down the drain and three seasons without a trophy and on top of that a manager that has recruited unspectacularly to say the least during his tenure, it’s safe to say patience on Merseyside is growing thin!
Liverpool needs winners, Raheem is a winner and with the loss of so many winners since Sterling was promoted to the first team, he has every right to question the plans of the club.
Apparently, the ball is in your court Mr. Henry, it is up to you to show the Kop that you’ve got the “character”.
The trouble with Liverpool? Very little is won by the sheer power of romance
BY WILL MAGEE
Liverpool is a romantic club. There’s no two ways about it. Its history needs no introduction. The club’s honours are almost beyond counting. Some of the greatest managers, players and teams to have graced the English game have done so sporting the Liver bird crest. To this day, there is not a set of fans beyond Merseyside who do not feel a little pang of inadequacy as they hear the choruses of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ rise up at Anfield, or as they watch the Kop stand in fiery red as one. The club is a beautiful bastion of football folklore, a fierce and loyal community too. True romantic seeks football club, must pride itself on multiple European titles? Liverpool’s the one for you.
The things is, romance comes with its own problems. Liverpool seem to be having some romantic problems right now. No, I don’t mean that John W. Henry hasn’t been on a Tinder date for months. Nor do I mean that the players are having to smash Cialis at an inhuman rate – even if many of them are suffering from performance issues. Rather, the problem for Liverpool is that romance alone does not win football matches. A team cannot rely on the force of romantic narrative for success.
Take Steven Gerrard’s final match at Anfield. Gerrard’s career – from Liverpool lad to local hero, one-club man and team talisman for nearly two decades – might well be the ultimate in dreamy, starry-eyed tales from the Kop. He fully deserved a rich send off on his final appearance for the Reds and, in a ceremonial sense, he got one. Mass mosaics were raised, flags and banners were flown, while he stepped out onto the Anfield turf fringed by a guard of honour, high-fiving magnanimous Crystal Palace players as he went. After that, his teammates put in a slow and complacent performance against the notoriously energetic Eagles. Accordingly, the side were stuffed three-one at home.
The complacent play didn’t smack of nervousness on the big occasion. It felt more like the players, surrounded by all the dreamy fanfare of Gerrard’s farewell, thought that they were owed a win – a fitting end to their captain’s fairytale. With their opponents showing such a sense of entitlement, it was little wonder Palace played entirely without pressure. The result was that Gerrard’s tale trailed off rather sadly.
Unfortunately for those Liverpool supporters who wanted to see a club hero given an appropriate send off on the pitch, the players – Gerrard perhaps included – were stargazing wistfully at the very time when they were meant to be playing some decent football. There was a sense of déjà vu in all this, of course. The whole thing felt like a re-enactment of their FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa, a game in which the narrative laziness of Steven Gerrard’s ideal birthday was met with some actual on-field endeavour from their opponents.
The same romantic problem could be identified in the narrow miss that was last season’s title tilt. Though it has become fashionable – and indeed facile – to attribute their late ceding of top spot to Gerrard’s infamous slip against Chelsea, there is a far bigger picture behind that individual mistake. With Liverpool going sixteen matches unbeaten from January onward, pundits, ex-professionals and journalists everywhere heralded the sentimental value of what would surely be the club’s first league title for over two decades; this was to be Gerrard’s long-awaited Premier League crown, Brendan Rodgers’ initiation into the pantheon of managerial deities and Liverpool’s return to the halcyon days of 70s and 80s supremacy. Players and manager alike seemed to take it as written. Their set up for that third-last game against Chelsea was naïve – romantic, even. They lost, too open from the start. A prosaic draw would have kept things in their hands.
What happened in their subsequent game against Palace was the most unforgiving of reminders that the Premier League does not oblige romance for its own sake. This season’s brief foray into the Champions League fell similarly flat. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter how much commentators talk up the club’s great European nights, or how much the club “belongs”. If you can’t do it on a cold night against Ludogorets, get ready for a terrifying Europa League away day in Istanbul. They’re throwing red-hot fireworks at you? Sorry, but that’s what you get for believing your own historical hype.
If a fresh season without Champions League football – and without Gerrard himself – seems a dispiriting prospect for the support, it’s the fault of those in the dressing room who’ve relied wholly on the right of romance to get the club by. Ironically enough, were they really paying attention, the example of the club’s melt-your-heart greats might show them the way forward. Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and the rest were the pin-up boys of their day, and all of them knew how romantic it was to play for Liverpool. They were also all elbows, thumps and gritty commitment, and all of them knew how to bring the club true success – not by depending on its inherent romance, but by harnessing their own ferocious determination to win.
Ronaldinho thinks Philippe Coutinho and Barcelona are a perfect fit
Footballing legend Ronaldinho has offered an opinion many Liverpool fans will hope will be ignored, claiming that Philippe Coutinho would be a perfect fit for Barcelona.
The young Brazilian might not yet be in the same stratosphere as he elder compatriot but he’s certainly been impressing over the past two seasons under Brendan Rodgers.
This year he contributed five goals and five assists during the course of 34 Premier League appearances for the Reds, and his overall performance level was well above average.
In order to reflect this he was voted the club’s player of the season and also made it into the PFA Team of the Year, being the only Liverpool player to do so. As a result, and possibly due to the fact Liverpool won’t be appearing in the Champions League next year, transfer gossip is sure to arrive at Coutinho’s door, with Ronaldinho somewhat leading the charge.
“He has had a fantastic season – he has been one of the best midfield players in Europe – and when you think he has been playing in a team that has not been performing well that is an even bigger achievement,” Ronaldinho said, as per the Daily Mail.
“I can’t speak for him and I can’t speak for Barcelona – but I know what Barcelona look for in a player and he has all those qualities.
“After all those years at the club Xavi has left and Iniestia is now in his 30’s – they will need to address that. That is why I think Barcelona and Coutinho would be the perfect fit.
“Playing with great players makes you better, I know that. Not only would he win trophies with Barcelona, but playing with Neymar, Messi, Suarez, Iniesta, is going to make him a better player.”
Heir to the throne?
With the iconic Xavi finally departing Barca this summer Ronaldinho’s claims might not be all that far-fetched. The Catalan giants have talented midfielders in abundance, that can’t be disputed, but all the same they’ll want to ensure a player who will leave the legacy Xavi will is replaced by a natural heir.
The young Coutinho could well be that man given how effortlessly he’s coordinated forages in the final third for Liverpool under Rodgers.
Not only did the Brazilian enjoy a great relationship with Luis Suarez, who of course has become the scourge of La Liga with Barcelona since his move to the Nou Camp last summer, but it could be said that he’s still developing, meaning we’ve yet to see his best.
Listening to the maestro
On top of that there’s few better to listen to when discussing Barcelona suitability than Ronaldinho, who shot to superstardom after moving there himself back in 2003.
The samba king spent five glittering years in Catalonia before leaving for AC Milan in 2008, but he’s remembered as one of Barca’s greatest ever players and knows better than most what it takes to cut the mustard with the Blaugrana.
Naturally with the future of Raheem Sterling currently up in the air, and Steven Gerrard destined for LA Galaxy, Rodgers will want to guard against any other midfielder leaving in any case. That’s particularly key when it comes to Coutinho who, as already discussed, is a key Anfield asset.
Would Rodgers ever consider selling Coutinho? Can you really stave off the advances of Barcelona?
Is Rodgers’ Liverpool A Jigsaw Undone?
Jack Stevens on an Anfield reign that’s seen more ups than downs but might now have run its course.
Whilst planes flying with messages across the Anfield airways may have you thinking Liverpool fans are a fickle bunch that want their manager Brendan Rodgers to leave and stay, it’s a much more split situation than it seems. With many feeling that with the high amount of money that the club have spent, a fifth place finish is underwhelming, and many who feel that he deserves credit for even getting the red side of Merseyside back into the chasing pack for Champions League qualification and possibly even title challenging territory. To really consider either Rodgers in or out its important to remember just how poorly the club did in the few years before Rodgers and after Benitez, a period that many fans wish to forget.
Although Liverpool’s name will always be one of the biggest in England, and even Europe, between 2009/2010 to 2012/2013, which includes Rodgers first season at the club, they finished in the top 6 once. A period of massive disappointment for the team, which saw their smaller local, rivals Everton finish above them two seasons in a row, something that hadn’t happened for over fifty years before this. The managerial position through this period switched several times, going from someone who had achieved success at the club but had burnt himself out in the process similar to Klopp at Dortmund in Rafa Benitez. A manager who achieved one of the great premier league relegation escapes but found the Reds a step to far in Roy Hodgson. This before going back to the manager who last brought the club league dominance they had only dreamt of replicating now in the Premier League era with Kenny Dalglish, the clubs player-manager in the late 1980’s. Whilst many remember Kenny’s return to the Kop negatively due to poor league finishes, it is fair to recognize him as the manager to really begin using the illustrious academy at Liverpool by turning to players like Martin Kelly, Jon Flanagan and Jay Spearing rather then splashing out on big names, something that all the clubs around him were doing with the new wealth of Manchester City and Tottenham.
During this time, Brendan Rodgers after a spell of working under Jose Mourinho, had achieved true success at Swansea, by getting them into the top flight of English football for the first time in any welsh clubs history since the Premier Leagues establishment. In the clubs first season of Premier League football, they received plaudits up and down the country for their continental possession style of play, whilst still getting solid results and finishing the season in 11th place. This not only brought in neutral support for the club, but also Rodgers as a manager, who many felt was ready for a move to a bigger club, which he found at the beginning of the 2012/2013 season when he became Liverpool manager.
One of the first things Rodgers did at the club, was begin to build a British spine around star player Luis Suarez in the likes of striking partner Daniel Sturridge, young midfielder Jordan Henderson and several of the players from the clubs academy, similarly to what Dalglish did at the club. One of the players he brought through was Raheem Sterling, a troubled 17-year-old wildcard of a winger who had joined the academy from QPR the previous season. When Sterling first started breaking into the first team for Liverpool in the early stages of the 2012/2013 season, he was a breathe of fresh air to the fans who for years before hadn’t been used to the exciting wing play that a majority of Premier League clubs has enjoyed. Whilst rivals Chelsea were going abroad for exhilarating entertainers such as Eden Hazard, the previous succession of Liverpool managers decided to stick to what they knew and buy predominantly tried and trusted English wide midfielders in Stewart Downing and Joe Cole, whose best years were already behind them at this time which proved on the pitch. Rodgers had become one of the most popular managers in Britain thanks to the patient passing style he had installed at Swansea, which was boosted with out and out wingers in Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair, a sign of what was to come at Liverpool.
During Rodgers first pre-season at the club, a short documentary series was made in America entitled ‘Being Liverpool’ in which the club were followed behind the scenes on their pre season in North America in July 2012. This was where most fans had their first encounter with Sterling, as Rodgers on the show verbally disciplined the player for talking out of line, Sterling responded with almost child like obedience and worked on his attitude over the tour, enough to work his way into the first team plans of Rodgers.
Sterling started the season fitting in perfectly to the role Dyer played at Swansea, as the man to press the opposition’s defense onto the back foot with quick paced counter attacking football. It was this free-flowing football at times that Rodgers implemented into the players to a mild degree of success for Liverpool up until his second season in charge, in which all the pieces of the jigsaw seemed to mount themselves into place with a real title challenge on the cards for the first time in 6 years. This mostly thanks to the form of Suarez, Sterling and Liverpool’s team spirit pushing the club to a second place finish due to a ‘slip’ in form in the final few fixtures of the season.
After losing some big players over the course of this season, whether it was from selling them on, or to losing them to injury, or even some older players in the squad just not having the ability anymore, the Anfield club slumped back down into a disappointing 6th place finish. This wasn’t helped by a poor end of season run that eliminated any real title challenge or even a whimper for Champions League qualification, capitalized by a shocking 6-1 loss away at Stoke on the final day. But it wasn’t just this loss of form that damaged Rodgers, its also been a loss of the dressing room in some parts, which is ultimately personified by the Raheem Sterling contract situation, a similar affair to Robin Van Persie leaving Arsenal back in 2012. With Sterling’s contract up in just two years time, he has now come out and announced that he wont be signing a new deal, even if its close to a million pounds a week. This is a complete transition from the brash young winger who Rodgers seemed to have complete obedience from in 2013.
With this coming at a time of uncertainty for Rodgers as Liverpool manager, will it end up being the player that he gave an opportunity to and ended up making into the superstar he is today, who ends up proving to the board that the Northern Irishman has lost the dressing room to such an extent that he needs to be removed as manager, or will Brendan be given one more season to prove that he is still the same manager who for the first time in years made the neutral support Liverpool.
John Aldridge: Liverpool FC need leaders and winners – but from where?
Anfield goalscoring legend pulls no punches on his former side after the Reds capitulation against Stoke City at the weekend
Adam Lallana is dejected as Stoke City rack up the goals at the weekend.
Another Monday morning, another of those horrible sinking feelings.
Another inquest into another dreadful day for Liverpool Football Club.
I have to hold my hands up here, I didn’t see the Stoke game. I was playing in a charity game over in Ireland with a few Reds old boys, so I had to miss it.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones!
I have to admit, I didn’t fancy us going into the game. Myself, John Wark and Ronnie Whelan were looking at the team when it landed, and it didn’t fill us with confidence at all.
It looked like a team without presence all over the pitch, a team without a threat. Our fears were proved correct, sadly.
Still, it’s one thing to think you might get beat, but quite another to lose 6-1. At Stoke City.
I came off the pitch at the charity match and someone said it was 5-0 at half-time. I thought they were taking the mick.
Liverpool Football Club do not lose games in this manner, by that kind of scoreline. It just doesn’t happen.
I can remember the game against Aston Villa in 1976, when we lost 5-1. I listened to it on the radio, and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Sunday, well, it’s probably an even bigger shock.
I’m sure all Liverpool fans are feeling the same this morning. They’ll be walking round in a daze, they won’t want to read the papers, they won’t want to put Sky Sports News on.
It’s a feeling we’ve had too often this season, but this is a new low, by anyone’s standards.
What happens next, who knows? We just have to get behind the club, the players and manager, and keep supporting through thick and thin.
Brendan Rodgers looked shot to bits after the game on Sunday, and I’m not surprised. In his worst nightmares, he won’t have expected that kind of performance, that kind of result.
He will be hurting as bad as anyone, make no mistake about that. He knows that is not acceptable for the club, and it will be tearing him up.
I hope it’s tearing his players up too. They have got to wait two months before they get a chance to get it out of their systems.If they have any pride in themselves, any pride in their profession, then they will be stewing on this for weeks, months even. They have to bear it, learn from it and come back fighting. It’s as simple as that.
We are in a massive predicament, as a club, this summer. There is a lot of work to do, and I fear we are heading towards another of those transitional periods, which is not good at all.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again; we need at least two massive signings this summer.
We need leaders, we need goalscorers and we need big characters, winners. Will we get them? I’m not sure. Are you?
That we finished this season with a goal difference of +4 tells its own story. How bad is that, when we think of last season and the football we played?!
We need to forget signing young players for the future this summer. We need to get out there and fix the problems. We can’t have another day like that, ever.
Liverpool FC: A few bad decisions away from mid-table mediocrity
Almost 10 years to the day since Liverpool’s remarkable Champions League final win over AC Milan, another significant result has etched itself in the memory of every Liverpool fan – but for all the wrong reasons, writes Andrew Ronan.
If the win over Milan made the Reds dream again, the embarrassing and spineless defeat at Stoke on Sunday reminded everyone of the waking nightmare that Liverpool currently finds itself in.
Had we sneaked away from the Britannia with a draw, or worst case, defeat by an odd goal, the season could be quietly stored away as a case of learn from experience. However, Stoke’s six goal rout means Liverpool’s rehabilitation must begin immediately. And no one is safe.
Brendan Rodgers recently spoke in huge percentages when asked if he would be still at Anfield next season. Now, though, as he admitted after the Stoke game, he knows his job is on the line. When it became apparent that Liverpool wouldn’t clinch a Champions League spot, Rodgers pointed to the fact that his side had been robbed of a natural goalscorer all season; what with Daniel Sturridge being made of glass and Mario Balotelli not cutting it. Those facts were rather convenient for Rodgers, but now they won’t wash.
They won’t wash with the fans, or the clubs owners who will demand reasons as to why the Reds took just eight points from their last nine games. For Rodgers, the inquest will begin when he meets FSG’s main man at Anfield, Mike Gordon, at the end of season review which is scheduled to take place over the coming weeks. It may not be a case of a nice lunch and pleasant chat either.
Kenny Dalglish lost his job in 2012 following a similar end of season review. If FSG can easily dismiss a club icon like Dalglish, they won’t think twice when it comes to Brendan Rodgers.
How, though, will Rodgers put his side of the argument across? The lack of a goalscorer will surely be one of his main points. Will he argue that a number of the players brought in last summer weren’t what he wanted? Given the shadiness of Liverpool’s transfer committee, there could be more than Mario Balotelli when it comes to players that Rodgers had forced upon him.
We know who is on the transfer committee and roughly how it works but – who exactly is in charge? If the buck doesn’t stop with Rodgers when it comes to transfers, he can’t be blamed for arguing that the influence of others – others who arguably have less football knowledge than him – has played a part in a poor season.
If Rodgers is dissatisfied with the transfer committee, though, does he have the balls to tell the owners that he wants complete control over transfers or he’ll walk?
Then again, can he be so brazen with owners who will be pondering if they can trust their manager with their money? Raheem Sterling looks like he won’t be wearing a Liverpool shirt next season, so the inevitable large sum of money from his sale will be used to buy players, but will the owners take the chance on Rodgers using that £40 million or so plus additional funds to boost the squad?
More so, do they want to carry on with a manager who more and more made some baffling decisions as the season wore on?
Rodgers’ tinkering with formations and who to play up front didn’t do Liverpool any favours, and may not do him any favours when FSG are looking for answers. The passionless display at Wembley against Aston Villa and those in the last seven or eight games must be taken into account, too.
If Rodgers were to go, who would the owners entrust with that kind of money? Rafa Benitez, obviously, has been touted, along with Jurgan Klopp. Benitez and Klopp, though, are hard-headed men, and they may not find the idea of having to pander to a transfer committee enticing.
Benitez, in particular, is nothing short of a control freak when it comes to transfers. One of the reasons he left Valencia for Anfield was down to transfer policy meddling at the Mestalla, and, of course, he loved a scrap with Tom Hicks and George Gillett during their disastrous tenure at Liverpool. Benitez loves Liverpool, though, and would find it hard to turn down the chance of returning to Anfield – even with Real Madrid sizing him up as their new manager.
If there is to be a change in manager, there needs to be a change in transfer policy, too. The tried and tested method of buying players with potential must be replaced by an aggressive policy which sees top players come in. If a player is undecided whether to join Liverpool because they aren’t in the Champions League, the owners need to take that extra step and offer better wages and bonuses than other clubs.
FSG have no choice, really. Well paid, top players are what make teams great – as Liverpool saw with just one top class Uruguayan not long ago. Average wages on average players is what makes mid-table clubs what they are.
Frighteningly for Liverpool, they are just a few more bad decisions away from slipping into mid-table mediocrity.
9 things Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers probably wishes he never said
That moment you realise you have done the exact thing you said you were never going to do…
Rarely has a manager ever been so willing to cultivate an ethereal messiah-like status as Brendan Rodgers.
Klopp – he is not, Mourinho – he ain’t, but the Liverpool manager has placed himself somewhere along the spectrum between back page rent-a-quote and football philosopher.
It’s something that’s beginning to get him into a little bit of hot water.
Here are some infamous quotes he’s probably trying to forget about this week…
Jurgen Klopp: “I learned everything, everything that I am as a coach, [from] Arrigo Sacchi”
No prizes for guessing which manager Liverpool fans are calling to have in place this morning.
(Possession: Stoke – 45%; Liverpool – 55%. Score: 6-1)
Liverpool 0-0 Hull – (66% possession for Liverpool)
Newcastle 1-0 Liverpool – (65% possession for Liverpool)
Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa – (75% possession for Liverpool)
Brendan Rodgers has taken Liverpool to a new low, he should do the decent thing and resign rather than insult the club
By Adrian Durham for MailOnline
Why hasn’t Brendan Rodgers done the decent thing and offered to resign? It is disrespectful to Liverpool fans and an insult to the rich history of a great football club.
Liverpool losing 6-1 at Stoke City was a game changer. It could well become the career-defining result for Rodgers. It is a result and performance which means Rodgers is under obligation to at least say to the board that he will step down.
Now you might have heard about it being the biggest defeat since the great Bill Shankly oversaw a 7-2 reverse against Tottenham in 1963. You might think I should have called for Shankly to go. Firstly, I wasn’t born when that happened. Secondly, times were very different then: Liverpool had only just been promoted to the top flight, Spurs were at the peak of their powers having won the double in 1961 and the FA Cup again in 1962 and when they thrashed Liverpool they were on their way to second place in the top flight.
Brendan Rodgers is under increasing pressure after Liverpool’s 6-1 defeat by Stoke on Sunday
On top of that the craziness of the fixture list back then meant that Shankly’s 7-2 defeat came just three days after Liverpool had beaten Bill Nicholson’s side 5-2 at Anfield. Liverpool even managed to squeeze in a 1-0 victory over Matt Busby’s Manchester United in between the Spurs double header (incredible as it might seem now, it was commonplace to play three games in four days back then). Shankly had built up enough credit in the bank by the time that 7-2 hammering happened.
For Rodgers, judgement is very different. You can talk about transfer committees being a problem or the shortcomings of owners, but only one man was responsible for the shambolic garbage from the away side at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.
Stoke were brilliant – but that’s no surprise. They’ve been playing some great stuff all season. Arsenal were blitzed in the first half there in December, so Rodgers should have known what could happen. Stoke tore Liverpool to shreds with some scintillating football to bring their season to a spectacular climax.
Stoke ran riot on Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium in a 6-1 victory in the final game of the season
Steven Gerrard’s era at Liverpool ended in a humiliating defeat a week after a loss to Crystal Palace at Anfield
Stoke’s brilliance is only part of the story, though. Liverpool’s embarrassing ineptitude is worthy of serious attention, and could well see change at Anfield. Only one man at Liverpool mismanaged the Raheem Sterling situation so badly the fans now hate this young player.
Only one man thought it was a good idea to leave Sterling, still one of Liverpool’s most threatening players, out of the starting line-up. Only one man thought it was better to leave Sterling on the bench for 90 minutes.
Only one man underestimated Stoke. Only one man underestimated Marko Arnautovic.
Only one man stood there doing nothing while Liverpool went 3-0 down after half an hour, and then watched as Stoke added more goals at will.
Rodgers watches his Liverpool team fall to a 6-1 defeat by Stoke to round off a disappointing campaign
Raheem Sterling (right) was left on the bench after his latest contract row with the club
He prepared and picked the team for that game. He mismanaged the team badly. Rodgers has taken Liverpool to a new low. His post-match comment that he would go if the owners wanted him to go sounded like a manager desperate for the sack.
But the truth is that Liverpool have such a rich history that when you manage the team so badly that you suffer a 6-1 thrashing at Stoke, you should offer your resignation.
Rodgers impressed many when Liverpool came within a whisker of winning the title. He signed Philippe Coutinho, he nurtured and developed players like Sterling, he made Jordan Henderson better. There are positives you can highlight from Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool, but not enough, and there is nothing on his CV to suggest he is going to restore the glory.
Rodgers was praised for almost guiding Liverpool to the title last year but he has had three trophyless years
One League Cup in nine years is not good enough. Putting those amazing fans through a 6-1 humiliation at Stoke is totally unacceptable.
What a shocking way to mark the end of the Steven Gerrard era. And as the last hero of Liverpool Football Club leaves, it feels like it’s time to start again.
When you are in charge of a great club like Liverpool, you have to put that club first. Unfortunately for Rodgers that means he’s reached the end of the Anfield road.
His spell in charge started with a 3-0 battering at West Brom. It should end with a 6-1 defeat at Stoke.
Liverpool man Jose Enrique takes the michael out of the Chelsea fans on Instagram
Liverpool full back Jose Enrique took to Instagram late on Monday night to mock the Chelsea fans.Runaway league winners Chelsea yesterday celebrated their league and cup double with a victory parade through the streets of West London.
The 70,000 fans who showed up looked a little sparse and Jose Enrique took the opportunity to compare the Chelsea fans to his own Liverpool fans.
He re-posted a picture on his Instagram comparing Chelsea’s victory parade to one held by Liverpool FC.
Time for Liverpool to Win With Kids
The fuss surrounding Raheem Sterling continues, with owners Fenway Sports Group stating they intend to hold the 20 year-old to his contract, and Brendan Rodgers blaming the youngster’s agent Aidy Ward blah, blah, blah. But hold on, Isn’t this what FSG and John W. Henry wanted?
It’s been well publicised that the Boston-based outfit shy away from buying established and proven talent in preference of developing potential. Well, this being the case, welcome home, Mr. Henry. Be careful what you wish for. The fact is, whilst this may be an attractive approach, it is fraught with Risk. A more than suitable example being the situation now playing out with Sterling. The reality is that heads of young talent are easily turned when agents, press and player alike begin to believe in their own legend before they even have one to speak of. Realistically, the only thing the club can and should do with Sterling is to sell him and I fail to see why FSG are making the noises they are.
There is often a huge risk to development – whether in football or any other industry, and more often than not, the finished product may not yield the rewards expected, if at all it ever gets that far. In the young Jamaica born forward this is the opposite. This is a player the club bought for £600k five years ago – probably around £5m now with add-ons – and is potentially worth around 50 times that if current figures are to be believed. Is he the finished article? Many would say, “No”. In terms of John W. Henry’s transfer “strategy”, is this not one of the inevitable risks that need to be accepted? The answer is undoubtedly, “Yes”. A 500% profit would justify their approach and one can’t ask for a better return that!
Let’s not fool ourselves. LFC is a business after all. The player should be sold forthwith so the investment in development can be monetised and further continued. There is also the matter of stadium development to pay for which can’t be ignored. The £115m loan needs to be repaied somehow.
What’s also worth mentioning is that the FSG strategy is no more than a numbers game. As, quite rightly, pointed out by fellow Empire of the Kop writer Jordan Harris, Liverpool right now, are sitting on an embarrassment of riches in terms of young talent. There are currently at least six young players who have at least the same, if not more potential than Sterling and I’d be hard pressed to believe that they’re all going to get ahead of themselves and demand a move to “…A bigger club…” for “…Purely footballing reasons…” or whatever drivel they serve up as justification. And for those six, there is probably another six or seven we could all mention who have high potential to make the first team in the short to medium term.
I can only agree with FSG if they take it one step further. The funds raised from those such as Sterling, should be used to support a marquee signing or two of concrete, recognised and proven quality. This is a must. Rodgers should be encouraged to purchase a top quality striker to compliment Daniel Sturridge when he returns from fitness, and a proven central midfielder. If not, then Liverpool may as well change it’s name to LFC Eindhoven akin to another great football club renown for developing players and then selling them on without any concrete achievement or “kicking on” to that next level despite sitting on what one would suspect to be a humungous pile of cash.
Players will come and go. Some are sold but also some will stay and this is why we need not cry over any spilt Sterling (or milk to use the correct phrasing). We move on. The Liverpool FC website lists 42 players as being in their first team squad. It’s time these players are given a fair and proper chance to progress if the FSG strategy is to succeed. Next season the likes of Divock Origi, Jerome Sinclair, Andre Wisdom, Jordon Ibe and Joao Teixeira and the numerous others should all be either brought back from loan and/or given the chance to continue their development in the first team. A loan is good to a point but I’d argue that loaning a player out to a lower level team is just as likely to harm their development as they get accustomed to a lesser standard of football.
Many LFC fans tend to give me stick for this, but the reality is that most of the greatest teams on this planet, the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus and, even though it burns me to say it, Manchester United have all been successful on the back of having four, five or more home grown and developed players, complemented with the best players. No great player was born 25 years old and had no need to move to a bigger club etc. They have all needed to develop and get their chance. Some move on to do that, some stay. Big deal. It’s certainly not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination.
Liverpool are in a good place. They have a good base of young players with which to progress. The manager has a chance to bring in one or two top quality players over the close season and start again next year. We can only support that and see where the club is this time next year.
Follow me on Twitter: @MrBenGreen