It is all just getting more and more ridiculous by the day, isn’t it? With every minute of football, another player seems to turn up with a sick note. Mohamed Salah becomes the latest player, as of the time of writing, to be unavailable for selection after testing positive for COVID-19 (albeit somewhat self-inflicted), joining the entire Liverpool first choice defence on the sidelines.
At this point, one could easily mistake Liverpool’s injury list for the 25-man squad list instead. The Reds have lost 15 injuries lasting 10 days or more, only bested by fellow title rivals Manchester City (16).
The majority of Liverpool’s injuries have seen six different centre back partnerships feature in just eight Premier League games, with Fabinho coming in from midfield and youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips being called into action as well.
Are Our Players Made of Glass?
Football calendar-wise, Project Restart seems like an eternity ago. After early precautions during the onset of the pandemic, it seems that the international footballing world has acted in an entirely opposite direction to the earlier mantra of “Life is more important than football”. Just like COVID-19, football shows no signs of slowing down. Liverpool have played 13 competitive games in only 7 weeks, which is almost two games per week of club football.
In addition to that, international football is still being played at a high intensity schedule, compounding an already punishing fitness schedule for elite level footballers.
A quick look at the graph by SkySports above will show that this schedule isn’t just affecting teams in European competition. The likes of Burnley, Everton, Leicester City and Newcastle United have not been spared either.
The footballing schedule right now just isn’t made for the human body, let alone the likes of injury-prone individuals like Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, despite Liverpool’s best efforts to manage their fitness.
Freak injuries have also been a major factor in some big misses this season, as seen with Alisson and Joe Gomez. While horror tackles on two of our key players by players of (veritably) the third-best team on Merseyside, has derailed an otherwise perfectly sensible fitness plan to navigate a truly mad season.
I hate international breaks, and I have never hated it more than now. The phrase itself is an oxymoron. It is hardly ever a break for anyone other than the fans. Even then, fans and club officials sweat every minute of this “break” thinking about whether their players will return from duty in one piece. Perhaps it is a “break” - less in the “rest” sense; but more of a torturous “relationship break” where your partner has a fling with their abusive ex and comes back with an STD.
In the current climate, this metaphor is scarily (albeit inappropriately) apt. You can almost always expect yet another positive case or two after every single international break. It just doesn’t make sense for anyone to be traveling for the next 6 months, let alone footballers navigating a schedule to make up for lost time. At this rate, I would be surprised if there is anyone left to compete in the World Cup or Euro’s, with all the serious injuries piling up.
I struggle to find any reason or logic that justifies the continued madness of putting the health and fitness of footballers at risk for the petty greed of a few.
As many on Twitter have eloquently put it, “Just bin if off already”.
Despite all the madness, Liverpool still sit 1 point off the summit of the Premier League and currently top Champions League Group D after a perfect start. This has relatively been a miraculous start to the season, and Jurgen Klopp’s Reds can rightly call themselves ‘mentality monsters’. It is still a wonder that having played against all teams in Group D, the Reds are still yet to concede in the Champions League this season, while set against the narrative of a defensive crisis.
The Brazilian defensive colossus Fabinho is expected to return after the international break to bolster the Reds’ defence, and barring any fresh injury concerns, should look to partner Joel Matip in yet another new centre back pairing against Leicester City. In any case, the injuries of this season have given us a glimpse of the future in Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, who have both answered the call and come through with flying colours.
Neco Williams remains a strong option, despite the opinions of some on here. He adds squad depth, and would play a critical squad role as James Milner’s deputy in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s absence.
So should we just null and void it?
International football? An unequivocal YES.
League football? It can still be workable provided players and staff are allowed the right to exercise control over their fitness schedules. But in the meantime if things continue as it is, we may face a suspension of all football as we know it.
As things stand, we still have a long and tough campaign ahead, and the lads will be needing our support. No matter who Jurgen Klopp puts in the starting line-up week-after-week, you can be sure the mentality monsters will be giving it their all in a red shirt.
Written by @Joetgw
Internationals need to go!
All transfers in football are a calculated risk, months of scouting and research into a player’s strengths, weaknesses can all be rendered pointless if a player doesn’t settle, or cannot handle the wider style of their new league or fails to adapt to the culture of their new home.
Sometimes the stars need to align for a transfer to pay off for all parties, and past examples of this can be seen throughout football, i.e Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, Dider Drogba at Chelsea, and Thierry Henry at Arsenal. All had wildly successful careers, Ronaldo now in his mid-30’s, is still one of the best players on the planet, but when it comes to the Premier League, one player stands out, Mohamed Salah.
Before all of his success at Liverpool, Salah, while at FC Basel in 2014 turned down the chance to join the Merseyside club, opting instead to head south to join Chelsea Salah was limited to just 13 first team appearances, scoring only two goals. After that unsuccessful stint Salah joined Fiorentina on loan in the 2015 January transfer window, scoring 2 goals in 16 games for the club, from there it was onto Rome for Salah first on loan, before joining permanently ahead of the 2016/17 season.
After a successful spell in the Italian capital Salah got his chance to return to England when Liverpool came calling, he joined the club for a reported £34 million in the summer of 2017.
Branded as a Chelsea flop by rivals, and seen as a back up to Sadio Mane by some unconvinced Liverpool fans, no-one could have predicted the numbers Salah would go on to produce.
From his first goal away to Watford on the first day of the season Salah set about changing opinions of him a record setting 32 Premier League goals, 10 assists and a grand total of 44 goals in all competitions gave Salah 54 goal contributions in his first season, only bettered by the freakish Lionel Messi.
Performing at this level drew comparisons to other plays and again raised more questions about Salah, “Is he a one season wonder?”, “Is he as good as sterling?” “Can he do it in a big game?” crowed his critics.
Salah’s numbers are more impressive given the fact that he is not an out-and-out striker, and when compared to the best strikers in the world Salah still comes out on top. Tottenham Hotspur captain, and goal scoring talisman Harry Kane is without a doubt a world class striker and scores all types of goals, but since Salah joined the league Kane has notched 70 goals and 15 assists in 99 games 85 goal contributions. Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero in that same time has played 84 games scoring 54 goals, and supplying 17 assists.
Salah has outdone them both with 79 goals, and 28 assists in 114 games, You have to take into account that Kane and Aguero both have had injuries in that time, but that is another part of Salah’s game, his ability to remain fit is second to none.
Salah has recently scored his 100th goal for Liverpool, achieving this in 159 games, 3rd fastest in the club’s history also winning the Champions League, Premier League, FIFA world club cup and UEFA super cup along the way. Even this season Salah is among the pace-setters - with a hattrick on the opening day, a brace against Aston Villa and a stunning volley against current league leaders Everton, Salah sits on 6 goals in the Premier League - only Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7) has more.
Not bad for a “Chelsea flop” or a “one season wonder”.
The stars really did align for Liverpool and Mohamed Salah, With no unrealistic expectations, a group of team mates all about to peak, the best manager on the planet to motivate him, and a fan base ready to crown him the Egyptian King.
Salah has the ability to take over games, he can dominate a defender, he is always stronger, he is always faster, and he is always smarter. Supremely confident about his ability he always backs himself to score, Andat times he can be greedy, but all great forwards are.After breaking the record for most goals in a 38-game season, when asked if he can do it again he smiled and said “Don’t worry I will.”
Salah has games where he has been anonymous but as many defenders will admit, that itself, is enough. Being the threat he is draws defenders to him creating space for another of Liverpool’s fearsome front three to do serious damage.
Salah has been likened and compared to many players in his time at Liverpool but the truth is no player is like Salah, He scores every type of goal that an out-and-out striker does, and on top of the assists a top winger gets, the mere sight of him changes how opposition sides set up defend.
How do you stop this guy who is faster, stronger, and smarter than most regular players? No one has been able to answer that question yet, and hopefully no answer is found from a Liverpool perspective.
So who is Mohammed Salah? Is he a Chelsea flop? Definitely not, is he a one season wonder? No chance, is he the most impactful all-round winger the Premier League has ever seen? In my opinion yes, very much so.
Who is Mohammed Salah?
He is the Egyptian King, Liverpool’s talisman, and we are lucky to have him.
Written by @Castiet
**Catch our Pods From The Kop - WiKOPedia, Mohamed Salah Special "100 Up"
Is Our Squad Good Enough? The Verdict on Our Summer Transfer Window
It’s definitely been one of the most unusual transfer windows in years. Despite the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020-21 summer transfer window defied all predictions and expectations, as Premier League clubs combined to spend a whopping £1.25bn on 107 permanent signings, according to SkySports. In context, that is almost equal to the 2018 figures (£1.27bn), and £150m shy of last summer's total (£1.40bn).
As real life football increasingly imitates art (FIFA), it is easy to look at our neighbours and think of the grass as greener, but it is important that we retain the sense that transfer windows exist to provide “solutions”. These solutions must be in direct response to the “questions” raised. So what were some of the often-raised questions Liverpool needed to address prior to the opening of the window?
- Do we have enough cover for our back line?
- Is the quality on the bench good enough to challenge for our front three?
- Is the midfield capable of breaking down stubborn defences?
- Is Adrian an adequate cover for Alisson?
- How should we handle expiring player contracts?
- How should we manage youth development?
This is how Jurgen Klopp and Co. have attempted to answer these questions:
Youth players included, Liverpool have reportedly signed 4 players, sold 11 players, and loaned out 6 players - amounting to a reported £48.2m net spend (£81.7m spent, £33.5m received), second lowest among the Top 6, with only Manchester United having a lower net spend of £36.4m.
Barring any other changes in the additional domestic window between Premier League and EFL clubs from October 5-16, this would be our squad going into the season. A bigger question remains: How good was our transfer window business?
Expiring Contracts and Youth Development
The answers to the aforementioned six questions should get us somewhere closer to the truth. Questions #5 and #6 have never seemed too difficult for Jurgen Klopp, Michael Edwards, and Co. to answer - we seem to always be able to offload our fringe players at value with ease, and allowing players like Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana to leave on a free to seek pastures anew. All of our outgoings were sensible and calculated moves to balance between the needs of the squad, and player development - YES, even the somewhat controversial departures of promising starlets Ki-Jana Hoever and Rhian Brewster on permanent deals.
Add to that the emergence of promising youth players such as Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Rhys and Neco Williams to the senior squad, it looks promising for years to come.
Forward Line and Midfield
Questions #2 and #3 had straightforward and simple answers, as evidenced in the arrivals of Diogo Jota and the much-heralded Thiago Alcantara. Diogo Jota comes and joins a now-integrated Takumi Minamino, and Xherdan Shaqiri (when fit) as quality cover for the front three, not forgetting a certain Champions League hero who scored from a “corner taken quickly”; while Thiago Alcantara has already shown his quality as a maestro capable of dominating the midfield, adding to an already crowded area which sees Gini Wijnaldum and Marko Grujic staying on for at least half of the season. It goes without saying that these two summer signings are undoubtedly the toast of the bunch.
Trouble at the Back?
A somewhat tricky question (#1) to answer is whether or not we have sufficient cover for our backline. The purchase of Kostas Tsimikas has ensured that Andy Robertson has not only quality cover, but a potential competitor; while on the other side Trent Alexander-Arnold will be covered by Neco Williams and the evergreen James Milner.
The centre back position however has been much-questioned by the fanbase. Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are probably the most injury-prone of the backline, and we always look like a Virgil van Dijk injury away from utter defensive collapse. Ironically the sale of Dejan Lovren has received criticism for this reason, even though many do not seem to rate the 31-year old Croatian.
But Jurgen Klopp appears to have faith that Fabinho could be a versatile option as cover, therein simultaneously providing a two-fold solution by opening up another central midfield slot if and when Fabinho drops into the defence. Fortunately Fabinho himself has repaid his manager’s faith, with outstanding performances in the backline - including a man-of-the-match display that saw the Brazilian shut out the highly-rated Timo Werner. Additionally, the emergence of Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio provide optimism for the future.
The Adrian Question
Now to address the elephant in the room: #4 Is Adrian an adequate cover for Alisson? The surrounding noise that has been gathering around this question perhaps hit a crescendo in the wake of a humiliating 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa. Some quarters have even started clamouring for the return of Loris Karius, which is honestly too late, as he himself sealed a permanent move to Union Berlin in the transfer window.
At risk of this turning into an Adrian discussion, it is best that we focus on the facts. Realistically, Alisson is expected to start 90% of all first team games, whenever available. Only a training ground freak accident currently keeps the Brazilian No. 1 out of the team. There is understandable concern as to how this impacts the games for the coming 4-6 weeks, but the season is a marathon and not a sprint. Adrian, while not being the best backup ‘keeper there is, is not as bad as many make him out to be. With decent defensive cover he has proven to be able to perform adequately. We don’t even have to look back as far as the beginning of last season - the Spaniard turned in a decent performance against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup not too long ago.
Being the passionate Reds we are, it is easy to succumb to myopia and panic. COVID-19 has not exactly done us any favours as well in that regard. But Jurgen Klopp has built the squad for a time such as this. If you sit back and take a look at the squad we have assembled as a whole, you will find that there is reason to be optimistic about the season.
Many of the questions raised about the team last season have been answered. Whether we will like those answers or not, the squad that this was already a squad that won the Premier League last season by a whopping 18 points, averaged around 96 points over the past two seasons, and won all the major trophies up for grabs. Imagine adding the likes of Tsimikas, Jota and Thiago to that all-conquering team. Now if that isn’t a mouth-watering prospect, I don’t know what is.
Written by @joetgw
Great article. Well done.
Really appreciate the feedback Phil! I had a lot of fun writing this one. Thanks for the kind words YNWA
Really enjoyed reading that! New writer? Hope to read plenty more from you! Stick with a Anfield Echo, Brilliant site 👍🏻
After signing Thiago in what has been one of Liverpool biggest signings to date, however only a day later they purchased one of their most unexpected signings to date, in Portuguese winger Diogo Jota. Having made 3 appearances already for the reds, Jota has had an admirable start for Klopp’s side, scoring against Arsenal in a 3-1 win at Anfield, but how exactly did Jota’s career start, and how has he got to this point; playing for the Premier League champions.
Bursting on to the scene at 17
At just 8 years old, Diogo Jota joined Portuguese side Gondomar’s youth academy, for who he played 8 of his most formative years as a young footballer.
Jota started his first team career at Portuguese side FC Paços de Ferreira, joining their youth academy at age 16. After impressing the coaches at an early age, Diogo broke through to the first team only a year later at the start of the 14/15 season.
He made his first appearance in Portugal’s first division in February 2015, coming on as a substitute, and it wasn’t long until he scored his first goals in the league after scoring a brace in a 3-2 win in May. At just 17 years of age, Jota became his clubs youngest ever league goal scorer.
In the summer after this breakthrough season, Jota penned a new 5 year deal to see him at the club until 2020, however after scoring 12 goals with 8 assists and impressing for the second season in a row, Spanish giants Atletico Madrid snapped up the young winger right away in March 2016.
Back home and other loans
Simeone’s Atletico didn’t have much playing time to offer to Jota, so as soon as he joined the side they sent him out on a one year loan to Porto, one of the biggest clubs in his home country, which was also the place of his birth.
Jota played his first ever champions league games for Porto, scoring against unexpected premier league champions Leicester in a 5-0 win against Claudio Ranieri’s side. Unfortunately Porto and Jota were knocked out by a strong Juventus side in the round of 16.
Jota made 30 appearances for Porto in the league, with 15 starts leading to 8 goals. 3 of these goals came in the first half of a match against Nacional. This was Jota’s first professional hat-trick of his career.
Even after impressing in Portugal, Simeone still had no plans for Diogo, so the winger was allowed out on loan to Wolves, who at the time were in the Championship.
Jota was introduced at the start of Wolves’ Portuguese dynasty, which saw them bring top level Portuguese players to the second level of English football.
Players like Ruben Neves playing alongside Jota helped Wolves’ gain what they were aiming for; Premier League football. Wolves’ walked the championship in 17/18, staying at the top of the table from November up until the final day. Jota made a serious impact at the Wolverhampton side, scoring 17 goals in 44 league matches, gathering 6 assists as well.
This success at Wolves’ saw the 21 year old get snapped up by the side that summer, for a fee of around £12mil. Jota was eager to carry on his form into the premier league to add to Wolves’ success.
Important goals in important matches, premier league football and an international trophy
Wolves were now in the almighty first division of English football, playing against English giants of football. Wolves made something almost of an immediate drawing against Manchester City and Everton in two of their first games in the premier league games, and then going on an unbeaten streak of 6 games drawing against Manchester United in the process. However, Jota failed to make any goal contributions until match day 15 when he scored against Chelsea in a 2-1 win against the former premier league champions.
Jota’s biggest games of the season came a against Leicester in the league, and United in the FA cup. Jota put 3 goals past Leicester in the premier league at the Molineux. This 4-3 win gave Wolves the momentum to take a top half finish, a feat which they would’ve snapped at at the start of the season considering they had only just been promoted.
In the quarter finals of the FA cup, Jota scored against United at home to take Wolves’ to an FA cup semi final. The goal has been hailed as one of his best, driving it past Luke shaw and finishing with his weaker foot past David De Gea to secure a match at Wembley. Wolves unfortunately failed to beat Watford in the semi-finals, but this may not have been so bad as Watford were battered 6-0 in the final by Pep’s Manchester City.
Wolves finished 7th, an unbelievable finish for a fresh side in the league as they secured European play-off football. Jota finished the season with 9 goals and 5 assists in 33 premier league appearances. These stats saw Diogo selected for the first time in 2019 for the first UEFA nations league tournament. Diogo Jota sat on the bench as Portugal beat Netherlands 1-0 to win the first ever nations league trophy.
In Jota’s final season at Wolves, he impressed the most with his return to European football in the Europa league. Scoring important goals in group stage games, including a second half hat-trick after coming on as a substitute and scoring within 72 seconds of being on the pitch in a 4-0 win against Besiktas. Wolves’ made it to the quarter finals of the competition, losing out against the Seville side that went on to win the cup.
Wolves’ capitalised on poor seasons from Arsenal and Tottenham to improve on their league finish from the season before, finishing at 6th in the table. Jota scored 7 goals and bagged 1 assist in a season that was dominated by Liverpool, but hindered massively by the coronavirus pandemic. Jota’s time at Wolves’ came to an end when Liverpool bought him on the 19th of September for a fee of around £40mil.
What the future holds
Diogo Jota is still a very young player, at age 23 he could have atleast a decade left of his playing career at top level, that is if he can avoid injury. He’s already made a great start to his Liverpool career and hopefully for him and for the reds, it can only get better from here. Klopp needed cover on the wing, and the Portuguese man will provide just that, aswell as a decent option to use for cup matches and winnable cup games against smaller team like FC Midtjylland.
Written By @DannyLeeYNWA
Liverpool pretty much broke the internet when they ended the summer-long transfer by completing Thiago’s move to Anfield.
After starring in Sunday’s game, our new number six displayed his experience, talent and flair in the midfield. But how exactly did the former Bayern magician end up at Jürgen Klopp’s champions side? We take a look at the 29 year old’s illustrious career and journey that has brought him to the Anfield faithful.
Thiago Alcântara do Nascimento was born in April 1991, in Italy. He was born into a footballing world, as his Dad was Brazillian national team player Mazinho. Thiago’s father won the 1994 World Cup when his eldest son was just three years old, so it's fair to say he experienced footballing success through his father at a very young age.
Just one year later at four years old, Thiago spent a year at Flamengo’s academy, before moving to Spain with his father to play for two Spanish clubs from the ages of five to ten. As a 10 year old, Thiago returned to Flamengo until he was a teenager. It was then that the 14 year old was beckoned to Barcelona, to be a part of the famous ‘la masia’, Barcelona’s successful youth academy that had produced world-beaters like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Carlos Puyol.
Now playing under one of the most famous teams in the world, Thiago was determined to make it at Barcelona. At 18, Thiago was subbed on in a 2-1 loss against RCD Mallorca, in a season where Barca had already clinched the title. This same season Barcelona won the champions league, beating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome, however Thiago was too young to make an appearance, and did not receive a winners medal.
In the 2009-10 season, Thiago scored his first goal for the first team, after coming on as a substitute for Yaya Touré in a 4-0 win against Santander. He ended the 2010-11 title winning season with 17 starts with 3 goals and 3 assists, and was left on the bench as Pep Guardiola won his second champions league as manager of the Catalan side, winning 3-1 against Manchester United at Wembley.
Thiago was now becoming a much more regular player for Guardiola’s side, starting their first match of the 2011-12 season in an El Clásico game. Barcelona found themselves in a tense battle for the title that season, losing out to arch-rivals Real Madrid by 9 points, while Thiago made 27 appearances in the league. Guardiola’s men also lost out in the champions league to winners Chelsea in the semi-finals, leading to a generally disappointing season in terms of silverware, and Guardiola’s departure via a sabbatical.
Thiago’s final season at Barcelona in 2013 the Spaniard made another 27 league appearances to help his side win another La Liga title, however again they were knocked out of the tournament by the eventual winners, Bayern Munich, in the semi finals. A few months after these 4-0 and 0-3 losses in the semi finals against the Bavarian team, it was announced that Guardiola was going to take over at Bayern. Guardiola was certain of one thing when he took over, he wanted Thiago again.
Throughout his Barcelona career, Thiago won 1 champions league, 4 La Liga titles, 1 UEFA super cup, 1 club world cup, 2 Copa Del Reys and 2 Spanish Supercopas.
Guardiola got his wish, and Thiago was signed from Barcelona for around 25 million euros. A fee that was substantially lower than the 22-year old’s release clause, unfortunately for Barcelona they did not meet a clause in his contract that stated if he wasn’t played enough then his release clause would be significantly lower.
It was at Bayern where Thiago’s flair really blossomed, however his first few seasons in Germany were no walk in the park. Thiago’s first season started off as admirable as he could have hoped for, scoring in Bayern’s club world cup final, scoring a breathtaking scissor kick goal and breaking a bundesliga record for touches in one game, with 184. However in February, just before winning his first Bundesliga, Thiago suffered a devastating knee injury that saw him miss over a year of football.
Thiago returned to football 13 months later to make 13 appearances, including 4 appearances in the champions league, being a part of a second leg comeback against Porto in the quarter finals, while also playing in both semi-final legs against former club Barcelona in which Bayern lost 5-3 on aggregate. Despite the injury and losing to his former club, Thiago picked up his second league title in just two seasons at his new club, encouraging him to extend his contract for another four years.
Thiago’s next five seasons at Bayern were of domestic domination. Winning a domestic double in 15/16, a title in 16/17, another in 17/18, another domestic double in 18/19 and an impressive treble in 19/20 to cap off a career in the Bundesliga filled with trophies and impressive performances. Perhaps one of his most noteworthy moments during this time was against Barcelona in the UCL 19/20 quarter-finals, where he dominated the midfield against his former club, annihilating them 8-2 in a game that was unfortunately in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus.
Thiago won the treble during suspicions about his future, with rumours starting to circle about a potential move away from a club at which he had won seven consecutive titles. These rumours claimed Thiago was looking for a ‘new challenge’, suggesting he wouldn’t make a return to Barcelona and could perhaps have been thinking of playing in England, a thought which we now know was true. Thiago only had a year left on his contract, meaning Bayern had to look to sell or risk losing him for free after the 20/21 season.
Thiago won 1 UCL, 7 Bundesligas, 1 Club World Cup, 4 German Cups, 3 German Super Cups and 1 UEFA Super cup while at Bayern, but he left all of that behind to join Klopp’s title-winning Liverpool side. For a price of £27million, it seems nothing but a steal for a player with the best european experience you can get, with more than a few years left in his prime. Now is the time for Thiago to take the next big steps in what will be a career to remember.
Written by @DannyLeeYNWA
Liverpool's Club Captain, Jordan Henderson, is in the prime of his career. And it’s turning out to be an incredible career for both club and his country, England. Henderson led Liverpool to the English Premier League (EPL) title after a being denied it for an agonizing 30-year wait. He became the first captain of the club to lift the EPL trophy since Scotsman and club legend Alan Hansen. The 2019/2020 football season was a trophy-laden one for Henderson and his Redmen with the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup glory, all added to the club’s trophy cabinet. In addition, the former Sunderland man and England Under-21 Captain was also shortlisted for the prestigious "player of the year" title. Not even the great Steven Gerrard can stake claim to this level of success during his illustrious career with the Merseyside giants.
Henderson’s Liverpool career didn’t start off that well for him and that’s what this article is about. A relentless, hard tackling, hardworking and inspirational presence, the mercurial midfielder gleefully lifted those aforementioned four major trophies with his trademark 'Hendo shuffle' – already an internet favorite meme -- fashion in the space of a little over a year to stake claim to add his name alongside former Liverpool greats like Gerrard, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen. Added to this, he is the only player to skipper the Reds to these world beating titles, further cementing his legend status. Having joined Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard on the illustrious list of Liverpool’s European Cup-winning captains in June 2019, Henderson went from strength to strength in 2019-20. But in 2011 after he was signed by then LFC manager, Kenny Dalglish, Henderson struggled to fit into the club. During his first 5 years with the club, Henderson had come close to leaving Anfield largely as a result of unconvincing performances, fan fallout, and likely a lack of self-confidence. To add to his personal woes, rival club gaffer Alex Ferguson club mocked his running style claimed he would never last at Liverpool nor the England setup. “Against that we noticed that Henderson runs from his knees, with a straight back, while the modern footballer runs from his hips. We thought his gait might cause him problems later in his career, “claimed Ferguson. Moreover, whenever the club struggled – and there were certainly enough times it did inauspiciously did – Henderson was the usual fall guy or scapegoat and have everything blamed on him.
Dalglish, the manager who saw something in him and signed him, was sacked only a few months after Henderson’s arrival on Merseyside and incoming manager Brendan Rodgers wanted to rebuild the club with his own players and did not appear to rate, the now Reds captain, highly. Rodgers even tried to sell their young midfielder to Fulham or in an exchange for American Clint Dempsey. Henderson vetoed the deal and had a heart-to-heart talk with Rodgers and wanted to stay on and prove his worth. Coming in to, at the time, a very powerful Liverpool side from his boyhood club was always going to be a challenge and it showed in the first few years as Henderson struggled mightily. But he certainly had the right mentality in terms of how hard he was willing to work. No one knew it at the time, but Henderson showed remarkable leadership capabilities and it showed in his resilience, adaptability, and flexibility. He played mostly on the left side of a 4-4-2 diamond for Rodgers, played in all four midfield positions, the playmaker role, and also had a few stints at right back. His versatility was clear and evident and soon he won over the Liverpool faithful. As the years wore on, he improved both on and off the field. Even a serious knee and heal injury did not dissuade him. His hard work, doggedness, and strong will and mentality was starting to be noticed by his teammates, his captain and the club’s management. This is fair play to him because a lot of players would have just laid low or merely walked on and left.
Despite these early hardships, Henderson’s standing at Anfield was highlighted when he became the club’s vice-captain in September 2014 before he then took the armband on a permanent basis in July 2015 following Gerrard’s departure to the LA Galaxy. A club known largely for having local Liverpool players as fan favorites that rose eventually to superstar and or legendary status, Henderson was an outcast or considered “not-one-of-us.” Certainly anyone that young coming from Sunderland where he was captain at only 19 and who had come with high expectations surely felt a huge and heavy burden to handle. And to make things even more challenging, he was understudy to Anfield’s great leader and talisman Gerrard. A massively influential figure in current gaffer, Jürgen Klopp’s side, Henderson blossomed both at the club level and for his country. He narrowly missed being named England captain as the honor went to Tottenham’s Harry Kane but still had the occasion to be the vice-captain. Of course, he became the leader of the first Liverpool team to be crowned World champions in 2019, Henderson’s individual endeavors both on and off the pitch were recognized as he was named the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year. To capstone a now illustrious career, during the historic 2019-20 season, Henderson passed the 350-appearance mark for the club. In a recent poll conducted by@Anfield_Echo ,Henderson received votes just shy of Gerrard and Dalglish as Liverpool’s most admired captain of all time. This is an honor even Henderson himself would appreciate and revel in given the long list of other former Reds captains from Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Ian Rush, Hansen and Souness. Henderson was also voted second to Steven Gerrard as Liverpool's best PL captain.
In the last two seasons, never mind his lifting of almost all of the major honors in club football, Henderson’s leadership skills seems to be what sets him apart from the other captains. In every match in which he featured, Henderson always gives his best. He is seen defending, attacking, defense-splitting passing and the odd unbelievable long-distance goal. He always appears to be in full control of the midfield with tireless running, high pressing, and crunching tackles even Souness would have been proud of.
In addition, he exudes a Gerrard-like passion for Anfield and is always pushing the team to win – especially in comeback wins. He can be seen on the field as a calming influence and telegraphs his Manager Klopp’s messages to the team on the field. His listening skills are of a high caliber and is always in communications with the bench coaches – particularly Klopp. He knows how to delegate and translate his Manager’s wishes to the team with a high degree of success.
Jordan Henderson clearly knows he is not the most technically gifted player in the Liverpool squad. He’s played with stalwarts like Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, and Dirk Kuyt and currently leads a team with global giants Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, and Alison Becker in it. This does not dissuade him nor should it for any leader. He knows that to be a complete player, he needs to draw on traits beyond technical skills and Henderson has done this masterfully. His steady improvement from his arrival at Liverpool to his exploits for England and to the two halves preceding the famous “shuffle,” Henderson is always improving – before, during, and after each match. On the field, many of Henderson’s teammates are already captains for their countries or came in to Liverpool as captains at the former clubs like Adam Lallana (Southampton) – who is a close friend of Henderson’s – Salah (Egypt), Mane (Senegal), Andrew Robertson (Scotland) and Virgil Van Dyke (The Netherlands). Van Dyke, who is the club’s current vice-caption, is seen by many Liverpool fans as a better captain candidate than Henderson himself.
Now having become the first Liverpool captain in 30 years to win the challenging but highly coveted EPL title, the Henderson haters appear to have receded into the murky shadows and it is no wonder his good friend and teammate Robertson said this about him. “He represents us all,” said the Scot of his teammate. “He is so consistent, he drives us on in training every single day. The guy has been unbelievable this season. He deserves Player of the Year in my opinion, with what he has done and how he has driven our team to success, ‘the Scottish captain went on to say about Henderson.
A quite apt way to chronicle or talk about Henderson’s Fall and then Rise might be analogous to that of the famous club he represents. In an uncanny way, Henderson’s progression has been nearly identical to that of Liverpool’s own struggles. He was far from the finished product when he arrived with a youthful look and a clumsy was about him. But in just taking a look at what he and Liverpool have become and accomplished together after almost a decade of spirit and hard graft is truly remarkable. No one expected this of Henderson. If someone had asked 9 years ago or even 3 years ago whether he would accomplish all of these accolades and achievements for his club and for himself, no one would have believed it. Fifty years from now, when another “greatest ever” poll is conducted about who the best Liverpool players were -- surely a long list of luminaires – Henderson’s name will undoubtedly be found near the top of that list and for good reason.
Written by Dr.Kop
With only a few weeks of the transfer window left, the executives at Liverpool will be weighing up what actions to take to provide the fans with a good enough transfer window that could support the title defence this season. The media have mentioned names like Harry Wilson, Rhian Brewster and Marko Grujić as possible outgoing players, but one name that may also be being considered is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The 27 year old has been at the club for 3 years now, yet has never held a solid place in the first teams. Will The Ox be used to free space for Thiago Alcântara or will he remain a part of Klopp’s plans? This article will take a look at some factors that the board may be considering about his future at the club.
Versatility and Squad Depth
A big reason to keep Alex at the club is his versatility. Klopp has been known to prefer playing The Ox as part of the three in midfield, but since his playing days at Arsenal he has been known to play a multitude of positions thanks to his great physical qualities. Klopp has used Alex on both wings at times, meaning Alex’s ability to play in different positions aswell as both sides of the pitch allows the first 11 to have much greater squad depth, as he can provide cover for the likes of Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita etc. while also providing cover for Mane and Salah when they need a rest. However, with Minamino’s improved form in pre-season and Origi’s ability to play out on the left, cover for the front three is getting stronger, and with the possibility of Thiago coming in at midfield, (paired with rumours of Wijnaldum willing to stay at the club) Klopp is spoilt for choice in midfield. This could see Alex struggling to find his way back into the team, increasing the possibility of him being sold.
Liverpool have already offloaded one injury prone player in Lallana this summer, an unfortunate trait for players who can be so classy when fit, but one that Lallana and Alex have in common. Every Liverpool fans remember that knock The Ox picked up against Roma in the 17/18 champions league semi-final, a cruciate ligament rupture which put him on the sidelines for almost a year. Alex also picked up two injuries in both the 18/19 season and 19/20. This is a problem he also had at his previous club, Arsenal, where he had 11 different injuries in six years. It seems harsh to evaluate a player with a factor they can’t control but at the end of the day Klopp will want players that can play week in week out no matter what. Klopp's style needs players to be as fit as they can be at all times, especially in his midfielders so that they can press for the ball for more than 90 minutes, and if Alex can’t avoid these injury problems then maybe a different playing style at another club would suit him better.
This record-breaking Liverpool squad is not only immensely good at playing football, but the group of players seem to get on like a house on fire. With big personalities such as Virgil, Mané and Milner it makes it clear that to be successful at Liverpool you don’t only have to be a great player, you need to be a great person aswell. Alex’s personality seems to do a lot for his reputation within the club. We’ve seen how well he gets on with younger players, especially Rhian Brewster, and we’ve seen how marketable his personality is in the kit launch videos over the last two seasons. Transfer windows can’t affect a team’s morale severely every year, with outgoings seemingly more disruptive. If Alex were to leave the club who’s to say members of the team won’t feel disappointed, after all the resilience Alex has shown throughout his career is extremely commendable. Injury after injury, The Ox has come out the other end mentally and physically stronger, making him worthy of his nickname.
Keep or sell?
Wijnaldum’s contract saga may be coming to an end, and the Thiago saga may be about to start. Keita is finding his feet in the first team and Hendo is completely irreplaceable. These are all factors that may lead to the demise of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Liverpool career. With premier league club Wolves rumoured to be close to making an offer for the central midfielder, it may be wise to let Alex leave for more first team minutes, as if Thiago did come in to the squad we would see even less room for the 27 year old at the club. However, due to Alex’s respected personality and resilience, the decision on his future will be a hard one to make. He still has plenty of years left in him if he can avoid further injuries, but any more time left out of the squad may frustrate both the board and the player himself which would increase the possibility of a move. Wolves bid is expected to be just below £20m, which could be important funds to bring highly sought-after midfielder Thiago into the club.
written by @DannyLeeYNWA
Tough one. I am a big fan of Ox, he appears to bring so much to the dressing room and is liked by staff and fellow players. Undoubted ability something a little different. Injuries are a concern which makes it a tough call. Thiago is mentioned, but he has a horrible transfer record too. So right now, I would say keep. Tough call
Just after 7pm on Monday the 10th of August, Liverpool announced the signing of 24 year old Greek left back Kostas Tsimikas for just under £12 million from Olympiakos. Liverpool fans were delighted with the signing, partly due to how starved we have been of transfers over the last two years, but also because we knew we had an exciting new prospect arriving at the club that would provide a good backup to Robertson. There didn’t seem to be any suggestion amongst Liverpool fans that Klopp’s 23rd first team signing wouldn’t work out, and this is because of one simple fact. Klopp has very rarely gotten any transfers at Liverpool wrong, and even of the less successful transfers, he has made them all better players than when they arrived.
In this article I will rank all 22 of Klopp’s previous signings, based on their effect on the team, important moments, cost of transfer to the club, and in some cases from the club.
21: Alex Manninger and Andy Lonergan
Manninger was previously at Augsburg and Lonergan was previously at Middlesbrough
Both departed at the end of their contracts
The first ranking on this list is a joint one due to the fact neither of the signings ever played competitively for Liverpool. Manninger was signed in Klopp’s First summer, seemingly to have an experienced keeper in the background to help work with Mignolet and other new signing Karius, whilst Lonergan was signed as an emergency keeper when Alisson was already injured and Adrian became an injury doubt after the European Super cup game against Chelsea. Whilst both signings had a purpose and seemingly fulfilled them, the fact that neither of them ever played for Liverpool puts them dead last. Both were released after a single season with the reds.
20: Loris Karius
£4.75 million from Mainz 05
Having been subjected to Brad Jones and Adam Bogdan as the only back up to Mignolet for several years, fans were delighted when it was announced we were signing a new young keeper that would directly challenge Mignolet for the starting spot. On paper Karius ticked all the right boxes; young, the first German signing under Klopp, highly respected and well thought of across Germany, and coming from one of Klopp’s former teams. However, things didn’t work out that easily. It took Karius a while to become the first choice at Liverpool, and even when he did he lost it again soon after due to two poor performances, including the 4-3 loss to Bournemouth for which Karius was responsible for the final goal. He did regain his first choice spot, and was the first choice for the majority of his second season, which ended in pretty disastrous circumstances for the German. The Champions League final in Kiev was supposed to be the game Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool announced they were here to the footballing world, the kind of game that could result in players like Karius being recognised for their footballing ability by everyone. Instead the night ended with Karius in tears, his footballing career, not just his Liverpool career, in tatters. Two huge mistakes, rolling the ball into Benzema’s path and letting what was nothing more than a hopeful punt from Bale straight through his arms meant that Liverpool had lost 3-1 and Madrid were European Champions for an impressive thirteenth time. It was revealed in the days that followed that Karius had received a concussion in a clash with Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, but the damage had been done. Death threats from one of the more idiotic portions of our fan base will have done nothing to help Karius in the situation he was in. It seemed like despite his disastrous mistakes, Karius was going to be retained as the first-choice keeper for the upcoming season, until a friendly against Tranmere Rovers. Coming on at half time to play in the preseason friendly, Karius made a huge mistake of spilling an easy to catch, straight at him, free kick. The spilled ball was then converted and let Tranmere back into the game. It seemed like that was enough to convince Klopp another keeper was needed, and so Alisson was signed from Roma. Karius seemed to take the signing poorly, publicly complaining that he hadn’t been consulted on the signing of a new keeper. We haven’t seen Karius in a Liverpool shirt since, due to a two year loan spell with Besiktas in Turkey where he put in some impressive performances, whilst also being prone to a few big mistakes. He has since had the loan contract cancelled, due to issues with Besiktas paying his wages. Ultimately an unfortunate story of what could have been, and one of the few Klopp signings that didn’t go to plan.
19: Steven Caulker
Loan signing from Queens Park Rangers
Steven Caulker is one of those players people forget ever played for Liverpool, especially under Klopp. Capped once by England, the ex-QPR man arrived at Liverpool in Klopp’s first window, January 2016. He was signed amidst an injury crisis for Liverpool, where Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel were facing several weeks out, and Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure were carrying knocks as well. Klopp was so unsure of the fitness of the others he even recalled Tiago Ilori in the same window. The deal for Caulker was one few could have predicted, with Liverpool being linked with players like Neven Subotic, who had played under Klopp at Dortmund, and Joel Matip, who would sign for the reds the following summer. Caulker had spent the first half of the season on loan at Southampton, with his last game for them coming in a 6-1 loss to Liverpool in the league Cup. Caulker’s time at Liverpool was not a disaster, but by no means was a success. All four of his appearances for Liverpool came in the January, and three of them were as a substitute emergency striker. He started one game as a centre back and completed the 90 minutes in a 0-0 FA Cup match against West Ham. Whilst it was not a memorable time at Liverpool by any means, if he was to be remembered for one thing it should be that provided the assist for Adam Lallana’s 95th minute winner in the dramatic 5-4 win against Norwich.
18: Sepp Van Den Berg
£1.4 million from PEC Zwolle
When Liverpool made an approach for the young Dutch centre back, he initially thought that it was some kind of joke. Arriving as one of the four signings made in the summer of 2019 after Liverpool won the Champions League, it was initially thought that he would play some kind of role in the first team squad, and whilst he did make his debut and play, it was only four times, and in games where Klopp rested the first team. Courted by European giants such as Ajax and Bayern Munich, it was seen as quite the capture. In the four games he has played for the reds, he played 90 minutes against Villa, Arsenal, and Shrewsbury, as well as a brief introduction against MK Dons. In those games he looked promising and his talent is there for all to see, but also showed that he is still just a youngster, and isn’t yet ready to fill in as Lovren’s replacement in the first team, but is one to watch for the future.
17: Marko Grujic
£5.1 million from Red Star Belgrade
Marko Grujic was signed on the 6th of January 2016 as Klopp’s first signing, after calls from Jurgen and a personal visit from former Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvaĉ convinced the player to join them rather than Chelsea or Inter Milan. He was then loaned back to Red Star Belgrade for the rest of the season where he won the SuperLiga. In the four and a half years that have passed since his signing, it is fair to say that things haven’t gone the way Grujic or Klopp would have wanted to go. With just 14 appearances for the reds in that time, there are questions being asked of Grujic’s future at the club. He has had loan spells with Cardiff and Hertha Berlin, the latter of which he has spent two years with and really impressed, with the manager saying he was the best midfielder they had had in the last twenty years. It has seen his value rise and attract the interest of some of Europe’s other big teams, such as Napoli and Dortmund. A tall, strong midfielder who is good in the tackle, Grujic could potentially add bite that sometimes is missing from Liverpool’s midfield, or be a strong back-up option to Fabinho. There is still enough time for Grujic to turn things around and become a successful signing, but at 24 he will now want to be playing regularly and be considering his options carefully. With strong rumours of Thiago Alcantara joining the club in this transfer window as well, there may not be room in the squad for Grujic, meaning either another loan spell, or possibly Liverpool cashing in on the Serbian midfielder.
16: Takumi Minamino
£7.25 million from Red Bull Salzburg
The most recent signing on this list, Takumi Minamino is the first Japanese player to play for Liverpool. Signed in January after impressive performances against the Reds in the Champions League group stage, he made his debut playing against Everton in a 1-0 win in the FA Cup. Like Mane and Keita before him, Minamino is a player that had had a lot of Europe’s big teams scouting him as he progressed at Salzburg, and if he turns out to be half the player Mane is, £7.25 million will be an absolute steal. Initially looking like he might not be strong enough for the Premier League, since the restart he has begun to look like the player who caused us so much trouble in the Champions League. With 14 appearances to his name in a Liverpool shirt, he’ll be hoping to be able to score early next season to grab his first goal for the club, but it is obvious from the way he has improved his strength, and the intelligent way he dribbles and presses, constantly being a threat, that he is a Klopp type of player. The current issue is that I don’t think Klopp knows where to play him currently. His attempts to play him upfront in a Firmino role have seemed less than successful, with him unable to perform in the same way Firmino does yet, and finds himself marked out of the game too easily. His natural position, attacking midfielder, is one that is rarely utilised in Klopp’s formations at Liverpool, and central midfield seems to pull him too far back to have an influence. However, Minamino has shown he has the desire and work rate that he can make it work, and we know that Klopp has the tactical understanding to be able to find the position that will allow Minamino to come good. His first goal in a Liverpool shirt came against Arsenal in the Community Shield, and was one of the few Liverpool players to seem to have fresh ideas and desire to want to break Arsenal down. This needs to translate into the coming season, and he needs to be able to do it against the more physically imposing sides.
15: Harvey Elliott
Estimated £7 million tribunal fee from Fulham
The youngest player to ever play in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, joined Liverpool last summer. Signing for Liverpool despite interest from PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, he was immediately greeted warmly by Liverpool fans, despite his questionable hair style. A boyhood Liverpool fan who seems to have an unbelievable amount of potential, he was always going to be a hit with the fans, especially when he cost only half a million pounds more than Liverpool received from Rangers for Ryan Kent. His debut game for Liverpool was in the Carabao Cup, where he became the youngest player to start a competitive game for the club. He went on to play a further 7 times this season for Liverpool, always looking like a constant threat with bundles of confidence. In a similar fashion to Van Den Berg and Minamino, it is obvious to see that Liverpool have a quality player on their hands, if he can kick on and develop in the right way. He ranks higher on this list than the other two based on the obvious potential he has to really be a top player. A first goal for the club early next season would be a huge boost to him going forward.
14: Dominic Solanke
Estimated £3 million tribunal fee from Chelsea
Sold to Bournemouth for £19 million
When it was announced that Solanke was joining Liverpool, most fans would have had Daniel Sturridge in their minds. A lethal striker, unappreciated by Chelsea, who could be able to become an instant fan favourite with plenty of goals was the player these fans thought they were getting. Style wise, he seemed like a similar type of striker to Lewandowski, another player who had become the world class striker we know today under Klopp at Dortmund. Solanke getting the Golden Ball award at the Under 20 World Cup did nothing to stifle the excitement around his arrival. The player that arrived and played in a Liverpool shirt however, was completely different from the expectations that Liverpool fans had. In his lone full season with the reds, Solanke played 21 times in the league. However, 16 of those appearances were off the bench. It wasn’t until the final day of the season that he scored, in a 4-0 win over Brighton. The following season saw the return of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi from loan and so Solanke only managed to get into the match squad once, as an unused substitute in a League Cup game against his former club. In early January 2019, he signed for Bournemouth for what seemed like a massive fee for a player with one Premier League goal to his name. Following in the footsteps of Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith as player moving from Liverpool to Bournemouth for seemingly more than they are worth, it was a deal many Liverpool fans were happy with, and continue to be with him only scoring 3 times in the season and a half he has been with Bournemouth. It is the large fee that we received for Solanke that puts him higher up on this list than some others. With Bournemouth’s relegation to the Championship, there is still a chance for Solanke to turn his career around and become the player he was expected to be.
13: Ragnar Klavan
£4 million from Augsburg
Sold to Cagliari for £2 million
One of my favourite players to play for Liverpool, is Ragnar Klavan. Signed for a low fee from Augsburg in Germany to ensure that Liverpool still had a more experienced defender around the club following the departure of Skrtel and Toure, Klavan proved consistently over a two year period that he was a reliable option to have around. Making his debut starting against Arsenal in the first game of the 2016-17 season, he impressed as a strong, powerful defender. A man of the match performance in a 1-0 win over Everton is always a massive positive for any Liverpool player as well. In January 2018 he became the first Estonian player to ever score in the Premier League, with the only other Estonian to play in the Premier League being goalkeeper Mart Poom. His goal came in the form of a last minute winner against Burnley. The arrival of Virgil Van Dijk in that January window meant that opportunities for Klavan to play became far scarcer, and so when the summer window came along and Klavan received bids from teams across Europe with the promise of more first team football, he departed Anfield to head to Italy. Never a player that was expected to last for years and years, nor play a massive role in the first team, Klavan did manage to endear himself to Liverpool fans quickly and the Estonian prince is still remembered fondly.
Free signing from West Ham
When Liverpool signed Alisson in the summer of 2018, it was originally Mignolet that was going to be allowed to leave in pursuit of first team football, but after Karius was loaned out to Besiktas, the Belgian had to stay as Alisson’s deputy. Then last summer he received an offer from back home, Club Brugge. The promise of returning home for first team football with a Champions League winners medal around his neck was enough for Mignolet and so he informed Klopp he was leaving. This left Liverpool short on goalkeepers. Alisson was the obvious first choice but Karius was still on loan at Besiktas and it wasn’t thought that he would return, and youth prospect Caoimhin Kelleher, whilst highly thought of, wouldn’t be ready for an extended period in the First team if an injury did occur to Alisson over the course of the season. Enter Spanish keeper Adrian. The Spaniard had just been released by West Ham after a six stay in the capital, where he made 125 league appearances for the club. Having played his whole career with no major honours, the Spaniard was more than happy to sign for the European champions as a back, knowing he’ll at least get the cup games to play for such a historic club. However, he made his debut for Liverpool far sooner than expected. On the opening game of the season against Norwich, Alisson took a kick out and fell to the floor, looking behind him as he thought someone had thrown something at him. He was unable to continue and in the 39th minute of the game, Adrian came on to make his debut with Liverpool winning 4-1. After the game it was revealed that Alisson had suffered a calf injury that would see him out until October time, meaning that until his return, Adrian would be starting for Liverpool. Fans were worried about this, it had looked like this might just be the year Liverpool finally won that elusive title and all of a sudden they were without their first choice keeper, one who was of enormous quality and class and gave Liverpool an advantage by being far and away the best keeper in the division. These fears were alleviate slightly in the next game, the European Super Cup game against Chelsea. The game finished 2-2 with Chelsea equalising through controversial circumstances where Tammy Abraham threw himself to the floor under no contact. Just desserts were given however, when Abraham took the last penalty, Adrian removed those fears with a save that won Liverpool the first of three trophies they would pickup that season. It alleviated the fears enough that even in the next game when Adrian gifted Danny Ings a goal in a 2-1 win over Southampton, fans were still comfortable enough with him in goal. Adrian then went on to make his Champions League debut in the game against Napoli, where Adrian received praise for his general performance and one save in particular despite the 2-0 loss. When Alisson returned from injury he was also returned to his perch as the number one keeper with Adrian playing the occasional cup game. Then in early March, Alisson picked up another injury, ruling him out of a league game against Bournemouth, and the second leg at Anfield against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Liverpool were 1-0 down from the first leg and knew that an Atletico goal would mean Liverpool would need to score three on the night. It was one of the best team performances Liverpool had put in all season. They were superior to Atletico in every way except one; goalkeeping. Whilst Oblak seemed at times like a near impenetrable wall for Atletico, single handily keeping his side in the tie, Adrian was responsible for a Liverpool collapse. The game was in extra time, Firmino had just scored his first Anfield goal of the season to put Liverpool 2-1 up and give them the edge in the tie. Then a misplaced pass from Alisson saw it all come crashing down. Liverpool lost on the night 3-2, and 4-2 on aggregate, with Adrian taking all the blame from the media and fans for the disappointing night for the defending champions. That was the last time Adrian has played for Liverpool. With Karius having returned from his loan with Besiktas recently, and Kelleher being rated so highly by the goalkeeping coaches, will Adrian still have the second choice spot for definite this season? Will Jurgen go with one of the two men that cost him another Champions League medal, or does he go with a young talent who himself needs to win fans back over?
11: Xherdan Shaqiri
£12.75 million from Stoke City
Sometimes you see a player playing for another team and you just get this feeling about them. You just know they will end up playing for Liverpool. It might not be this transfer window, or even the next. You just know, one day, they will walk out in front of the Kop wearing Liverpool red. I’ve had this feeling about a few players down the years, but I was never as sure about any of them as I was Xherdan Shaqiri.Having been seriously linked with Liverpool when he was leaving Bayern Munich to sign for Inter Milan, it was no surprise that he was again strongly linked when he was leaving Stoke City after their relegation in 2018. When he was then announced, Liverpool fans were delighted. Liverpool had been crying out for a winger who could serve as adequate backup to Mane and Salah, as seen in the Champions League final against Real Madrid when Salah had to be replaced due to injury and Liverpool had a choice of Ings, Solanke, or Lallana to bring on. A player like Shaqiri could have made the difference on a night like that. He would even offer a different option for Liverpool to use that they hadn’t had since Coutinho had left. If any Liverpool fans had had any doubts about the Swiss winger, they quickly evaporated in a friendly against Manchester United. Liverpool won the friendly 4-1, with Shaqiri scoring a very impressive bicycle kick. Once the season was underway, Shaqiri made his first start in a 3-0 win against Southampton where he looked very dangerous throughout and earned the man of the match award. Shaqiri had two occasions that season where he did enough to install himself as a hero to the Anfield faithful. The first came in December, in a game against Man. United again. It was 1-1 when Shaqiri was introduced into the game. He went on to score twice and Liverpool won 3-1, beating United in the league for the first time since 2014. Shaqiri also started in the historical 4-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League semi final leg at Anfield, where he assisted Wijnaldum with a perfectly weighted cross for the equaliser. He was linked with a move away from Anfield but insisted he would be staying to fight for his place. It was then a difficult year for Shaqiri, who had persistent injury problems that kept him out of the squad for most of the year. He did however score in the 5-2 win over Everton, and so with goals against two of Liverpool’s biggest rivals and a big performance in one of Anfield’s most historic nights, he will always be looked at fondly by Liverpool fans, and not just for jokes about the size of his calves. Shaqiri has a choice this summer, with Lazio, a club where he would easily be the first choice winger, pushing to sign him. He could also stay, and fight for his place in the team, trying for as injury free a season as possible. The second seems the most likely at the minute, especially with so much financial uncertainty for football teams at the minute, so Liverpool won’t want to lose a player of the quality of Shaqiri with no guarantee of someone of that quality coming in to replace him. However, if he stays, Liverpool will need him to be more consistently available for the squad, and really help them push on.
10: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
£35 million from Arsenal
When signing for a new club, one of the things you can do to make yourself instantly liked is sign from a rival, and reject another rival. This is exactly what the player referred to as the Ox did. Leaving Arsenal, the team he had spent almost his whole career at was something he wanted to do, unhappy with the desire of his teammates, and with the way he was being utilised as a right wing back, rather than on the wing or in the centre of midfield as he would have preferred. Once considered one of England’s hottest youth prospects, Ox had a few teams to choose from, but the two biggest and most likely to sign him were Chelsea and Liverpool. Chelsea agreed a fee with Arsenal before Liverpool did, but he rejected the chance to join Chelsea in favour of playing under Klopp, and so he could play in his preferred position of central midfield, as opposed to right wing back as Chelsea wanted. He signed for Liverpool with many people suggesting that Liverpool had overspent on what looked like just a bench player. He made his first appearance for Liverpool coming on as a substitute in a 5-0 humbling defeat against Man City. It took a while for Ox to get going for Liverpool, but when he did he became an instrumental part of the Liverpool side for the second half of the season. He was a huge part of why Liverpool were able to beat Man City in both the games at Anfield in the league and the Champions League, scoring in both fixtures. It looked like he had cemented his place in Liverpool’s first team until disaster struck. In the First leg of the Champions League semi-final against Roma, Ox suffered ligament damage in his knee during a tough tackle. The injury saw him miss the next 366 days, until his return in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield. That summer he signed a contract extension until 2024 and was used throughout the season in a rotation capacity. He started in the Club World Cup final against Flamengo, until he was forced off due to injury. He scored four goals throughout the title winning season, and also started in the second leg against Atletico Madrid, where he was one of the best players on the pitch, really helping Liverpool maintain a fast paced attacking tempo, which they lost when he substituted off. This however can’t be seen as the reason for the unfortunate score line that night. Having picked up another injury on his knee this week that will see him miss the rest of preseason, and means he will take a while to be match fit again for Liverpool and brings his injury record to six separate injuries since joining three years ago. This record is poor and shows that, whilst he has the ability to be extremely important to Liverpool’s side and attacking play, he can’t be seen as a reliable option for the first team. There is still another four years on his contract for this to change, but unless he becomes more reliable, the Ox may find himself slipping further and further down the pecking order with Keita’s improved appearances for the team and the emergence of young scouse talent Curtis Jones.
9: Naby Keita
£52 million from Red Bull Leipzig
Signing for Liverpool comes with pressure, it’s guaranteed. Signing for Liverpool for a big money fee increases that pressure. Signing for Liverpool and taking on possibly their greatest legends number, the first to wear it since he left, also increases the pressure. Having all that, and having had you pick of top clubs across Europe, and an extra year playing for your former club with Liverpool fans watching your top performances, will mean that when you finally arrive on the pitch in front of the Kop wearing the famous red shirt, the pressure that you will face to be successful will be huge. Keita faced all of this after agreeing to sign for Liverpool just less than a year before he would join. When he arrived he made his debut in Liverpool’s first game of the season against West Ham. It seemed initially like Keita was coping well with the expectation and performed well on his debut. Good driving forward from midfield, close ball control, and playing a part in Salah’s goal on the day meant Liverpool were excited about the players future. However, Keita struggled to maintain that throughout the season, struggling to fully adapt to the Premier League, and struggling to maintain any level of fitness needed for a consistent run of games in the first team. His first goal for the club didn’t come until the April, where he scored an equalising goal against Southampton in a 3-1 win, before starting and scoring again in the following game against Porto in the Champions League quarter final. His second season didn’t see him improve in terms of fitness, with his first start in the league not coming until early December in a win against Bournemouth. He then played in the following game in the Champions League against one of his former clubs, Red Bull Salzburg, scoring again. His excellent form also saw him start in the Club World cup semi-final against Moterrey where he scored the opener, but just as it looked like everything was clicking into place for the midfielder, he picks up another injury in early January. He had been announced on the team sheet to start against Sheffield United, but picked up an injury in the warm-up and had to be withdrawn. After the unscheduled break in the middle of the season, Keita came back looking like a different player, like the player Liverpool had signed at Leipzig. The question hangs about of whether this is the Keita we will see from now on, the Keita that will be a starter in the first team every week, or if he’ll have another season hampered with injuries, stopping him from progressing and Liverpool seeing him as a reliable option to have in the squad. His introduction into the Community Shield game against Arsenal showed the influence that Keita could have on this Liverpool team, coming on and disrupting the way Arsenal were defending by running between the lines, showing that he is a must start for Liverpool with his drive to drag the team forward, however, he needs to ensure he does this on a consistent basis.
8: Joel Matip
Free signing from Schalke 04
My love for Joel Matip is already known based off of my previous article, and I stand by the fact I think he is truly Liverpool’s most underrated player, and deserves far more praise than he receives. On a free signing from Germany, the Cameroonian has proven himself to be a more than capable third choice centre back and often is fighting for the second spot when he gets a run of games. He is a strong, dominating centre back that would start at every other club in the Premier League due to his ability at reading the game and his ability to pull out Messi-esque runs from the centre of defence to drive Liverpool forward when nothing seems available in the midfield or on the wings. He doesn’t rank higher due to him not cementing himself as a guaranteed starter, despite his obvious talents that many other teams across the league would look enviously at.
7: Fabinho Tavares
£39 million from AS Monaco
Whilst there are some players that you always have a feeling will play for Liverpool, there are others that you are so sure will transfer to rivals that it takes you by surprise when they transfer to you club. The signing of Fabinho was one that definitely fell into the latter category, and that wasn’t the only reason his signing was a surprise. Rivals Manchester United had been the favourites to sign Fabinho for the past two windows, and it had been expected that he would finally make the move in the summer of 2018.Liverpool were also in the market for a defensive midfielder, and were strongly linked with Jorginho, who was at that point still at Napoli. Then the rumours linking Liverpool to Fabinho started. The news that Liverpool were interested broke early evening. Within two hours, it was announced that he was a Liverpool player. In todays transfer market where deals seem to rumble on for weeks and weeks, it was an extremely nice surprise for Liverpool fans, and a prime example of how Liverpool prefer to do their business. The signing of Fabinho took place in order to replace the outgoing Emre Can, who was heading to Juventus on a free transfer. It was a deal that many fans were worried about, as Can had become quite an important player for the reds. However, the arrival of Fabinho meant that Can wasn’t missed at all. He didn’t make his debut until he came on as a substitute against PSG in the Champions League group stage game at Anfield in the September, and then still waited over a month until his league debut, in a game versus Huddersfield. This was done as part of Klopp’s tactic in making sure that players are fully blended into the team and are fully up to playing in the high intensity system. After that game against Huddersfield Fabinho was included in the team more and more, including in the 3-1 win over Man United, where he provided a sublime assist for Sadio Mane to score the first goal of the game. It was that game that really allowed Liverpool fans see just how good Fabinho was. A strong player who can read the game perfectly to put in crucial interceptions and tackles, as well as having excellent technique with his range of passing and ability to be untroubled by opposition when on the ball. Fabinho continued this throughout the remainder of his debut season, showing that he truly is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, also playing the full 90 minutes in the Champions League final, winning his first trophy for the club. He started his second season in much the same way he finished his first, with strong defensive performances that allow the two central midfielders ahead of him to worry less about the defensive side of the game. He received commendations in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Tottenham in the league for his stellar performance, and then scored the opener in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Man City with a thunderous effort that no keeper could have saved. He did then pick up an injury in a Champions League game against Napoli that kept him out of the team until the start of the new year, but the player that came back didn’t look the same as before, and seemed to struggle with the intensity. Whilst it was just the player still returning to full match fitness, it did lead to some of the reactionary fans to suggest thatLiverpool needed a new defensive midfielder, or that Fabinho wasn’t as good as we had thought he was. This was disproved when he returned after the unscheduled break, and looked just as good as he had before his injury. With Fernandinho approaching the age of international retirement, the starting position in the Brazil squad will be Fabinho’s to lose. Already an extremely accomplished player, with two different top divisions, and a champions league medal, there’s an opportunity for Fabinho to go on and become one of the most accomplished defensive midfielders ever. He’s already shown how amazing he is, and he will only get better.
6: Georginio Wijnaldum
£25 million from Newcastle
With all the current talk around signings and contracts, it seems like a lot of fans have forgotten just how important Gini Wijnaldum has been for this Liverpool team. Signed in Klopp’s first summer window from recently relegated side Newcastle, Wijnaldum has become absolutely essential to the style of play that Klopp has implemented at Liverpool. When he first signed, the message Liverpool fans were given by Newcastle fans is that we had one hell of a player when we’re at home, but don’t expect anything away from home. Gini has been essential to the success of this Liverpool team, showing exactly the level of pressing that Klopp wants, as well as being essential to the speed of Liverpool’s transition that gives them the advantage over the majority of the teams they play. But more than that, Wijnaldum has consistently proven that he is a big game player. In his first season at Liverpoolhe scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Man City, the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea and the final goal in a 3-1 win over Arsenal. He also scored the opening goal in the win over Middlesbrough on the final day of the season to secure Champions League qualification. This carried on into the next season where he scored a crucial away goal in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma to help ensure Liverpool got into the final. The highlight of his Liverpool career on the pitch came in the following season in the second leg against Barcelona at Anfield. Wijnaldum had started the previous leg attempting to replicate Roberto Firmino’s role at Liverpool by playing as a striker. He seemed to be able to replicate some of the movements of the Brazilian, but struggled to have the same link up play with the wingers, as well as seeming to lack any goal threat. For the second leg, where Liverpool would need to overcome a 3 goal deficit, Wijnaldum started on the bench. He was only introduced at half time, with the score 3-1 on aggregate, due to an injury to Robertson that pushed Milner into left back. Wijnaldum came on and within 12 minutes on the pitch, had scored twice to bring the score on aggregate to 3-3. Liverpool won outright 4-3, progressed onto the final and won their sixth European title. And they had Gini Wijnaldum to thank for it. There was a chance that he may have scored another vitally important Champions League goal this season, when he scored the equaliser against Atletico Madrid in the second leg, but ultimately it wasn’t to be. However, in present day, Wijnaldum has one season left at Liverpool on his contract, and doesn’t seem to have any inclination to sign a new deal. It also appears like Liverpool are unwilling to offer a new deal, and may allow him to leave due to interest from Barcelona, with interest in Spanish midfielder Thiago as his replacement. If Wijnaldum is no longer fully committed to the club, which is the impression he gave in the Community Shield game against Arsenal, then he shouldn’t be kept just for his contribution in seasons past, but his influence on the team shouldn’t be disregarded just for the hope of a new signing.
5: Andy Robertson
£8 million from Hull City
Left back is a position Liverpool struggled in for years. John Arne Riise and Fabio Aurelio being the only two to particularly stand out in the last 15 years or so, apart from Andy Robertson. Numerous players have been bought in down the years to try and fill the gap, and none seemed quite able to make the position their own. Jose Enrique was far too injury prone, Alberto Moreno seemed to lose his head whenever he ever needed to defend, Aly Cissokho, only a loan signing, lost his place to a young Jon Flanagan in a title push, and the less said about Paul Konchesky, the better. Then came Andy Robertson. In the last competitive game of the 2015-16 season, Liverpool had lost 3-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League cup final. Much of the blame on the night went to former Sevilla man Alberto Moreno, who was responsible for at least two of the goals on the night. It was obvious that someone else was needed at left back as Moreno couldn’t be trusted. The following season Milner filled in as the left back, and surprised everyone with the standard he was able to play at in that position. He was far more reliable for the defensive side of the game and wasn’t caught massively out of position, but it was still obvious at times that he wasn’t a left back. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when Liverpool announced the signing of a new left back. However, numerous people had an issue with the signing. He arrived from recently relegated Hull, and had done nothing to stand out and get a move to a team challenging for top 4. He was arriving for a low fee and rivals Man City had just spent £50 million on Benjamin Mendy. Liverpool had been linked with most of the left backs across Europe, in particular Jonas Hector who had been part of Germany’s World Cup winning squad the year before. Then Andy was signed for £8 million, whilst Kevin Stewart went the other way for around the same fee. Fans were initially sceptical of the signing, especially when he was unable to quite take the starting spot from Moreno, who had started the season strongly with the best run of form in his Liverpool career. Then in December Moreno suffered an injury that allowed Robertson to finally have a run of games, and Moreno was unable to reclaim his spot in the starting line-up. He truly began to be commended and loved by Liverpool fans when, in the 4-3 win over Man City in January, he was seen pressing the entire City back line in a single piece of play, showing that he had fully taken on Klopp’s intense gegenpress philosophy. He scored his first goal for the club in the 4-0 win over Brighton in the last league game of his debut season. His role in the team became even more important this year when he spent around three months of the season not training and playing with a knock, just because Liverpool had no other cover in the position. His competition with Liverpool’s other starting fullback, Trent Alexander Arnold, of who can get the most assists shows his competitive spirit, as well as his importance to the attacking style of play being utilised as well. His place in the team also had a massive historic importance to Liverpool, with them having never won the league without a Scotsman in the team, and Robertson was there to ensure this continued. He did come under some criticism from rival fans for appearing to have a cocky attitude, particularly after his interaction with Messi in the Champions League semi-final. However, it was exactly the kind of behaviour that they would have praised from someone like Sergio Ramos or Cristiano Ronaldo. The fact remains, Liverpool have someone who is probably the best left back in the game at the minute, able to attack to great effect like Marcelo or Alphonso Davies, whilst also never shirking his defensive duties in the way some of the others do. His being at Liverpool means that new signing Tsimikas will have a real tough battle ahead if he wants to become a starter for Liverpool.
4: Sadio Mane
£34 million from Southampton
When Liverpool signed Sadio Mane from Southampton, fierce rivals Man United signed Henrikh Mkhytarian from Klopp’s former team; Dortmund, for what was near enough the same amount. United fans spent the summer laughing at Liverpool fans, claiming that they had signed the better player, and Liverpool had been ripped off for a player that United had decided wouldn’t be worth what Southampton wanted the summer before. This only lasted until the season started. Mkhytarian had moments of quality at United, and at his following club Arsenal as well. There is definitely a good player there, but Sadio Mane came into Liverpool and within three games was Liverpool’s most important player. An incredible solo goal on his debut against Arsenal was just the start for the Senegalese super star, who used his incredible pace and trickery to cut in from the right and help penetrate teams in a way Liverpool had been unable to for some time. His importance to the team that season was reflected when Liverpool had a massive dip in form when Mane went away to the AFCON, and suddenly seemed incapable of scoring. He also missed the tail end of the season, and Klopp was forced to alter Liverpool’s style of play due to his absence. When Salah came in the following season, Mane seemed to be forgotten about slightly due to the impressive goal tally that Salah had, as well as having to adjust to a new position on the left, the opposite side to where he had played his whole career up to that point. All of Liverpool’s dynamic front three has something about them. Firmino is the centre point, and the reason the system works going forward, and Salah has an uncanny ability to score and assist, no matter if he’s playing well or not. What Mane has is the ability to strike fear into the opposition. Salah and Firmino do have games where they don’t play well and don’t look like they’retrying enough. Even when Mane doesn’t play well, you can tell that he is giving absolutely everything for the shirt. He never stops running, never stops trying, and is always capable of breaking in behind teams on his own. His importance to Liverpool is tremendous, and they never quite look the same without him. He was the only one of Liverpool’s starting front three to start in the second leg against Barcelona, and that led to him being marked more heavily by Barcelona for fear of what he might do to them if allowed space and time, freeing up Origi and Shaqiri more, to great effect. Despite not scoring that night, the unbelievable result that was achieved wouldn’t have been possible without him, and I have no doubt that he was a big part of why Jordi Alba was so worried and scared at half time that he was crying in the dressing room at half time. He also played a big role in both of Liverpool’s recent Champions League finals in recent years, scoring the equaliser in the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, and then crossing the ball into Sissoko’s arm in the 2-0 win over Spurs. Personally I hope that Sadio remains at Liverpool for the rest of his career, partly for the fear he strikes into other teams, and also so we will never have to experience that fear again from another team.
3: Alisson Becker
£65 million from Roma
I spoke previously about left back being a problem area for Liverpool, but Liverpool’s troubles in that department are nothing compared to their troubles with goalkeepers. Before Alisson it had been decades since Liverpool had had a genuinely world class player between the sticks. Even the ones that are remembered fondly for their exploits for the Reds, such as Pepe Reina, or Jerzy Dudek, struggled massively at times. The last six keepers that Liverpool had signed before Alisson that had played a part in the first team; Loris Karius, Simon Mignolet, Adam Bogdan, Danny Ward, Brad Jones, and Doni, were all disappointments in some way or another. When Alisson was signed, the two goalkeepers already at the club in the first team were Mignolet, who was a capable shot stopper but seemed to struggle beyond that, and Karius, who had just cost Liverpool dearly in the Champions League final. Alisson was signed, and immediately fans were excited. Having played against him when he was at Roma in the Champions League semi-final, Liverpool already knew they were getting a fantastic keeper. To join Liverpool as the most expensive keeper of all time, he rejected advances from Napoli and Chelsea, helping enormously in making a positive impression on Liverpool fans. The fee for Alisson was then beaten a short time later by Chelsea, who signed Spanish keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who I think its fair to say hasn’t had the same level of fortune at his new club as Alisson did. The signing of Alisson has been a huge boost to Liverpool’s back line. In times gone by there would be so much pressure on the defence not to allow the opposition to get a shot away, with no-one having any confidence that it would be saved. Alisson stops all that, with safe assured hands, fantastic reflexes, and excellent distribution skills. There are two stand out moments from Alisson’s two seasons at the club that show how Liverpool have a special goalkeeper. The first came in a Champions League group stage game against Napoli. Liverpool needed to win. Anything else and the previous years finalists would have crashed out in the group stages. Liverpool were leading 1-0 right into the 92nd minute, when a long punt forward found its way to Milik on the edge of the six yard box. He shot low and hard at point blank range. Any other goalkeeper Liverpool had had in the last twenty years and it was a goal for Napoli and Liverpool would be out. But Liverpool had Alisson Becker in goal, who saved it and made sure Liverpool won the game 1-0. Liverpool then went on to win the Champions League, and that save is regarded as one of the defining moments of that campaign. The other moment that stands out from Alisson’s time at Liverpool is in the 2-0 win over Man United this season. A quality, reassuring performance all game from the Brazilian, but it was his contributions to the other end that caught the eye. Well into stoppage time it was still 1-0 to Liverpool, and United had sent everyone bar De Gea forward in the hope of stopping a Liverpool win. Alisson gets the ball safely in his gloves and looks up. He spots Salah completely unmarked near the half-way line and sends the ball forwards. If it had been Mignolet, or Karius, chances are that the ball played would have been a hopeful punt forward that Salah would have to work hard to get to and create a chance out of. But the ball Alisson played forward was directly into Salah’s path, and made it really easy for Salah to keep running at speed, and stay ahead of the extremely speedy Dan James, and slide the ball into the net for Liverpool to win 2-0. These are just two of the many moments that could have been chosen to show how important Alisson is to Liverpool, and why he is, in my opinion, the third best signing Klopp has made.
2: Mohammed Salah
£36 million from Roma
Liverpool very nearly signed Mo Salah in the January of 2013 from Basel. Bigged upas the “Egyptian Messi”, due to their similar dribbling styles, Liverpool fans were very excited to be close to signing the speedy youngster. The player was desperate to come to Liverpool, and very nearly did, except Liverpool were refusing to pay the full £11 million fee that the Swiss side wanted, whereas Chelsea were not. Chelsea signed him, seemingly almost just to spite Liverpool, and Liverpool were left looking around for a different young speedy winger to sign. Salah never truly got going at Chelsea, and Liverpool’s back-up option, Lazar Markovic, also struggled enormously for the Reds. Salah left Chelsea on loan to Fiorentina and then joined Roma permanently. He seemed to put any negative experiences behind him and showed once again why he was regarded so highly, becoming an extremely speedy hitman for both the Italian sides. Then Liverpool came back in for him in 2017, this time under manager Jurgen Klopp. They signed him for £36 million and he became Liverpool’s record signing, finally replacing the disappointing signing that had been Andy Carroll. It was a move highly questioned by pundits and rival fans, who claimed that if he couldn’t make it at Chelsea, why would he be able to make it now at Liverpool, in what looked on paper like a weaker side. One BBC journalist in particular, Mina Rzouki, claimed that much like Juan Cuadrado who had been at Chelsea the year before, and had had a disappointing time in England, they both “lacked the footballing intelligence” to succeed in England. Unfortunately for her, every time Salah scored that season, she was tagged in thousands of tweets from Liverpool fans laughing at her proclamation. Even more unfortunately for her, that was a lot. In his first 47 games for Liverpool, Salah scored 43 goals. It was something that I did think anyone saw coming, and Salah burst onto the footballing stage in a brand new way. He absolutely terrorised defences that season, and broke the goal scoring record for the Premier League, by claiming 33 goals in a single season. Of all the players that started the Champions League final in Kyiv against Madrid, he looked the most dangerous. The Madrid defence, full of seasoned winners, looked terrified of him. Which is perhaps why Madrid captain Sergio Ramos targeted him, and had Salah’s arm wrapped in his as they grappled to the ground. Salah came out of the challenge in bad shape, and was obviously in a significant amount of pain. He attempted to carry on, but was forced off with what was revealed to be a dislocated shoulder in tears. Liverpool lost the game, and despite his unbelievable season, Salah finished it trophyless. He signed a new deal that summer regardless to help stave off interest from some of footballs global heavyweights. The following season was an odd one to describe for Salah. It was obvious that he wasn’t quite the same player who had broken record after record the previous season, and did even go through a goal drought, which he broke when he scored his 50th league goal in a 3-1 win over Southampton. Salah was described by fans as a one season wonder, but despite this he was still Liverpool’s top goal scorer and was a joint winner of the Golden Boot in the Premier League. He even scored the opening goal with a penalty in the Champions League final victory over Tottenham. The season just gone was a much more consistent one for Salah. His goal scoring antics in his first season at Liverpool have meant that in every game he plays, he is closely marked by 2-3 players at all times in a bid to stop him scoring. Considering that then, when we know he scores so regularly for Liverpool really shows why he has top be considered one of the top signings Liverpool have made under Klopp. He recently broke two records for Liverpool, Becoming the first player since Michael Owen to score 20 or more goals in three consecutive seasons, as well as having the highest goal count of any player in their first 100 games for the club with 70. With so many records, goals, and becoming such an amazing, world class player, there can’t be anyone able to beat him for best signing can there?
1: Virgil Van Dijk
£75 million from Southampton
There would only ever be one man to beat Salah on a list like this. Virgil Van Dijk. I’ll be honest, there is nothing I can say about this man and the way he plays football that hasn’t been said before by someone. He’s even been complimented on the way he smells by Troy Deeney. The man is easily the best defender in the world at the minute, as well as being a real contender for the best centre back to play in the Premier League. The only player I’d say was close to comparison with Van Dijk would be Rio Ferdinand, due to their ability to just be excellent at every aspect of being a defender. The difference for me, that makes Van Dijk stand out more than Ferdinand, is that Van Dijk does it all effortlessly, and even looks annoyed if he ever has to put some real effort into defending. Liverpool chased Van Dijk during the summer of 2017, and he was ready to join the Reds. Due to the amount of players Liverpool had signed from Southampton, the price for him was steep at £75 million, a record for defender. This didn’t put Liverpool off signing him, and so Southampton threatened to report Liverpool for illegally tapping up their player. This caused Liverpool to back right off. Other clubs in England were extremely interested in the Dutchman, but because Liverpool were prepared to pay £75 million for him, Southampton stuck to their price tag. This meant that only really Chelsea, City, and United could afford to sign him. City were the favourites to sign him, but were unwilling to give him a guaranteed starting position, wanting him to be third choice behind Otamendi and Stones (Try not to laugh too much when reading that sentence). The message from Liverpool was clear though, wait for us and you will be our starting centre back and we will pay the money for you. Van Dijk did wait for Liverpool, even giving up an easy Premier League winners medal to join Liverpool instead of Man City who were running away with the league. The fee was laughed at by rival fans, who couldn’t believe Liverpool would spend so much on him. But the fee proved to be an absolute bargain. He joined and was an instant success. He scored the winner in a cup game against Everton on his debut, instantly making him worth every penny to Liverpool fans. He brought a calmness and resilience to the Liverpool back line that hadn’t been seen since the days of Alan Hansen. Any player that plays alongside him looks far better than they ever have before, even the erratic Dejan Lovren enjoyed a boost in form next to him. With Van Dijk and Gomez, Liverpool know that the next 4-5 years are sorted in the centre of defence, and none of what Liverpool have achieved over the last few seasons would have been possible without the signing of Virgil Van Dijk, making him the best signing under Jurgen Klopp, and definitely a contender for one of Liverpool’s greatest ever signings.
Those are my thoughts, how do you rank Klopp's first 22?
Written by @Finnb1227
Great read 👍
In a recent article, Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba, was named the best African player to have ever played in the English Premier League (EPL) by a panel of sports experts from the BBC World Service. While it is unlikely no one who avidly watches the EPL will doubt or dispute the former Ivory Coast striker’s top spot as the best player from his continent in this poll, there are many notable stars that could have staked claim to that crown. Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast/Manchester City), Michael Essien (Ghana/Chelsea, Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool), and Nwankwo Kanu(Nigeria/Arsenal) easily come to mind. Arguably two of the greatest African players ever to play on the world stage — George Weah (Liberia/Chelsea - on loan from AC Milan) and Samuel Eto’o(Cameroon/Chelsea) could have made the top grade in this poll had their EPL stints been longer. Eto’o, by the way, is generally considered the best ever footballer to come out of the continent which routinely unveils such top talent. His accomplishments as a prolific goal scorer and playmaker at Barcelona FC and for his country, Cameroon, are fabled and legendary.
Liverpool Football Club (LFC), too, has seen its share of global megastars from the African continent. Most recently the aforementioned Salah along with Sadio Mané (Senegal), Joel Matip (Cameroon), and Naby Keita (Guinea) currently grace Anfield. Former Arsenal greats, Kolo Touré (Ivory Coast) and Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), the elder brother of Yaya and another popular choice for best African player ever, also had a key role for the Reds but came to Merseyside much later in his career. Other recent notable African players with a big impact and a lasting Reds legacy include Momo Sissoko (Mali) and Charles Itandje (Cameroon).
“Didier was an iconic player for Chelsea and for the Premier League,” Drogba’s manager at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho once claimed. He went on the say this about his talisman striker: “Drogba is the kind of guy that is so loyal, that he never forgot that I took him from Marseille to Chelsea. So when I took him to Chelsea I remember clearly [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovic was asking me ‘Who? Who do you want for the striker?’ Big names in Europe at the time, but I said ‘Drogba, Mr. Abramovic, pay and don’t speak.” Of course, Drogba went on to legendary status not only in London and Africa, but also on the world stage. His exploits for club and country are remarkable and will be remembered for a very long time.
So, what are the attributes, accomplishments or qualifications that should constitute “best player” status? Most of the players who typically make the short list in such “greatest” polls are strikers or midfielders who score a plethora of goals or dazzle the viewers with their God-given skills in passing (Y. Touré) shooting (Essien), dribbling (Kanu) or heading and for flair (Drogba, Adebayor). It is somewhat curious why few defenders ever make these lists, say, Rigobert Song (Ivory Coast) or Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal). That said, it is also the off-field endeavors that define and complete these players. Their impact on the communities they represent - at their club or their country - in social responsibility or other charitable causes - likely also further establish or cement that “best player” status. LFC’s Salah and Mané routinely have massive cultural impacts beyond their club and country into society and social media. Salah is already an historic figure and global icon in his country and, of course on the African continent and he is also revered in the Muslim community globally. He has, among other altruistic endeavors, built a hospital and numerous charitable foundations in Egypt. Many African footballers have done important work outside of the game to help their respective homelands. For example, in 2007, Drogba, too, set up the Didier Drogba Foundation, and then proclaimed the first project would be to set up a hospital in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast. This facility is now being used to treat coronavirus patients and is one of key hospitals in that city being used as a center for COVID-19 treatment. Added to their on-field prowess these community-driven selfless players known for giving back or paying forward will be always be considered legends especially by the grateful humans who benefit from their kindness and deep-pockets.
In light of this, I recently polled a group of over 800 Liverpool supporters - whose ages range from 15 to 81 - on who their pick might be for best African player that played or plays for LFC. Liverpool Football Club has a deep and rich heritage of impactful African players through the years from Anfield’s dynamic court jester, Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe) to despised prodigal son, El Hadji Diouf (Senegal). In between, the club has trotted out LFC Legends player and regular participant in the “Old Boys” outings, Salif Diao(Senegal), commanding defensive stalwart, Rigobert Song (Cameroon), unforgettable Istanbul hero, DjimiTraore (Mali), goalkeeping sensation from a long time ago, Arthur Riley (South Africa) and Anfield cult hero, Titi Camara (Guinea).
The poll I conducted caveated the players listed were only those who represented or represents their country from Africa and not African players playing for another country like, say, Christian Bentéké who is from Zaire but plays for his adopted country Belgium. The poll takers came from 26 different countries, 60% male/40% female, and have supported the club for at least one year. Here are the results of the Top 5 “Best Ever Liverpool players from Africa.”
Number 5 (4% of votes)
Mohammad Sissoko (Mali)
Midfielder general, Sissoko, was a formidable player for the club and displayed a larger-then-life presence on and off the field. Quick, combative, and physically strong Sissoko mirrored LFC legend Graeme Souness as a no-nonsense defensive maestro who exhibited tenacious ball winning crunching tackles that made him a fearsome player for Anfield opponents. He made 34 official appearances for Mali, and has scored 2 goals plus 87 appearances for the Reds. Sissoko recently retired from football and is an activist fighting for racial equality. He recently called out French doctors accused of racism against people of African descent who contracted COVID-19.
Number 4 (7% of votes)
Berry “Nivvy” Nieuwenhuys (South Africa)
Flying winger, Nivvy, played on both flanks and bagged 79 goals in his 14 years for the Reds. He was also known for his speedy pace and his ability to take on defenders and cut into the box. He had a powerful shot and was also adept at heading and scored many of his goals from that technique. For a player from the 30s and 40s, Nivvy, remarkably and routinely tallied double figures in goals scored in six consecutive seasons for the Reds. He fought for the Allies in the Second World War and served in the Royal Air Force.
Number 3 (8% of votes)
Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe)
Grobbelaar made 628 appearances between the sticks for LFC and played in both the EPL and the First Division that preceded it. Like several Liverpool ‘keepers (David James and Jerzy Dudek come to mind) Grobbelaar's early days as the established No.1 were strewn with errors, howlers, and gaffes. It is notable, however, that he played under three of Liverpool's greatest managers; Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, and Kenny Dalglish. He was famous for a gymnastic-like agilityand an unflappable confidence. Grobbelaar, also known as "Brucie", was voted in as No.17 in a poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop conducted in 2006 by the club. After his playing career, Grobbelaar went on to coach youth football in his home country of Zimbabwe.
Number 2 (26% of Votes)
Sadio Mané (Senegal)
Fast making a worldwide reputation as a fleet-footed, creative, feared playmaker and goal scorer, Mané signed with the Reds in 2016 and helped them reach back-to-back UEFA Champions League Finals in 2018 and 2019, winning the latter. He was also the EPL’s joint-top goal scorer in the 2018–19 season. It is sometimes overlooked that Mané finished fourth for the Ballon d'Or and fifth for The Best FIFA Men's Player award. Mané is revered back in his hometown of Bambali in Senegal whose residents are grateful for the footballer’s investment in underprivileged communities by building new schools, and hospitals there.
Number 1 (47% of Votes)
Mohammad Salah (Egypt)
In his three years as a Liverpool player, the “Egyptian King” has reached a level of superstardom with record after record including player of the year and top EPL goal scorer in the 2019/2019 season with 51 Survey after survey and poll after poll, Mo is always seen as the top vote getter for this category. If his exploits continue at this blistering pace for LFC, he will end up with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen in the top echelons of the club’s history. Like his strike LFC partner Mané, Salah is also committed to improving the lives of people in his hometown. In 2018, he oversaw the construction of a medical center and a school for girls in his hometown. This is significant as such a development that will help local girls get easy access to education.
The current Liverpool squad has several players from Africa in addition to the ones already mentioned including Joel Matip (Cameroon) and Yasser Larouchi(Algeria). Past players from the African continent include Sean Dundee (South Africa), Oussama Assaidi(Morocco), Nabil El Zhar (Morrocco) and Victor Moses (Nigeria). Who knows, perhaps the club will add one of Sadio Mané’s closest friends, the hotly-pursued Ismaila Sarr (Senegal). I, for one, relish the opportunity to continue enjoy watching these amazing players showcase their skills and talent in the famous red shirt on the hallowed grounds at Anfield Road. From LFC’s incredible teams of the 70s and 80s through to the highly-talented EPL winning team in the 2019/2020 season (after a 30-year drought in the tournament), the club has always had world-class players from around the globe and many have gone on to club legends and heroes in LFC’s storied history. Football is truly a global sport and, from China to Africa to the Americas, to play for the club in front of the Anfield fans is something to aim for. Clearly, the continent of Africa has provided the red side of Merseyside with some truly outstanding players over the years and, of course, as testament to the results of this survey, even today. Let’s hope that this trend continues and we also get to see stars emerge from the other large continent also beginning with the letter “A.” Get in there Takumi Minamino!
Written by Dr. Kop
Liverpool’s transfer windows are seemingly reliant on a sell to buy basis, and the club will be weighing up different options to bring funds in for the summer. With Lallana's departure freeing up some wages, and Dejan Lovren’s £11m transfer, the club have only been supplied with a small amount of profit this summer. Tsimikas’ arrival has made a significant dent in the transfer budget, who carried a fee of £11.75m. The club now faces the issue of deciding what departures can be made to provide funds for potential additions to the squad, and as the Thiago saga is starting to drive fans crazy, finding the funds is incredibly important. One Liverpool player that has been on other clubs’ radar is Belgian striker Divock Origi. Aston Villa are rumoured to be interested in Liverpool’s number 27, but should the club keep or sell a player that has a strong foothold in Klopp’s Liverpool legacy? Let’s weigh it up ourselves.
It’s clear that Divock is happy being a back-up for the front three, he’s obviously not the first name on the team sheet however he is always prepared for stepping in when he is needed, whether it be a cup game with youth players or allowing Mane or Firmino to rest against a lower level league team. In fact, Origi made 28 appearances during the 19/20 league season, and only 7 of these were starts. He has an average minutes per game of 27 minutes, meaning he is a popular substitute choice for Klopp, however this lack of starting games will give the board a bit of a headache this summer window, while they consider if his lack of starts means the club can afford to sell him to bring someone else in. In order to answer this question the club must consider what other attacking backup they have to offer.
Is Origi the best attacking backup?
At this current moment, Liverpool’s attacking backup is better than usual after the return of Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster from their loan deals. As well as these two, Klopp has Minamino, Shaqiri and Harvey Elliott to provide cover, aswell as Origi, but how does the big Belgian striker compare statistically to these players? Origi had a scoring frequency of 186 minutes last season, which was second only to Brewster out of all the options, who scored every 167 minutes. However he did this for Swansea in the championship, and started 13 more games than divock. For average match ratings, again Origi (with an average SofaScore rating of 6.75) is only beaten by both recent loanee’s Brewster (7.00) and Wilson (6.86). In fact, across the board on most stats this is the case, with Origi showing he was in fact Liverpool’s highest performing backup player during the title-winning premier league season. However due to the inconclusive future of Brewster, he could be battling for minutes with the young striker who proved himself to be a better goal scorer while out on loan.
Keep or Sell?
The decision to keep Origi or sell him to afford new additions to the squad relies heavily on Klopp’s plans for youngster Rhian Brewster. If Brewster is to stay and fight for a place in the team, then Origi will find himself with significantly less minutes in order to unlock Rhian’s promise and potential. If this were to happen then it would make sense to sell Origi for his valuation of around £20m in order to fund Transfer list wishes like Ismaïla Sarr or Thiago Alcântara. However, it has been heavily rumoured that Klopp is looking to send Brewster out on loan to another premier league team in order to pick up more top level experience before he is given a proper chance in the first team.
If both Brewster and Origi were to be unavailable for this upcoming season then Liverpool’s backup for Firmino relies solely on Minamino. This lack of squad depth could be detrimental to the title defence, especially when you consider City’s immense attacking depth. So if Brewster were to go out on loan again, it makes sense to keep Origi in the squad. n conclusion, Origi’s two goals against Barcelona have cemented his place in Liverpool’s folklore forever, but his stats prove he wouldn’t be hard to replace and I’m sure leaving Liverpool for some first team experience could be a positive move for the 25 year old Belgian.
Written by @DannyLeeYNWA
Breaking! Liverpool will not be offering Deal to Wijnaldum
A lot has been speculated in recent weeks concerning Gini Wijnaldum, the Dutchman has only 12 months remaining on his contract with seemingly no solution being in sight.
I have written since July regarding Liverpool's interest in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, also advising that certain issues would need resolving for that deal to come to fruition.
Liverpool are heavily stocked in the midfield area, funds are thin and naturally, and surprisingly overlooked, have a fine line that is being walked with regards to the Home grown quota.
This very evening, I have received a very interesting email, one of which meshes everything I have been writing.... Liverpool have taken the decision not to renew Gini Wijnaldums contract.
It is my understanding contract talks took place a good number of months ago, however, whilst there was still a professional commitment on both sides, nothing had been agreed. No further talks have since taken place and, to reiterate, no further talks will he sought by Liverpool.
Klopp, In his pre community shield press conference, was asked on the current situation regarding the midfielders contract to which he replied "That's an open contract situation so we don't talk about that. It's between us and the player."
Again, to reiterate, I have tonight been advised that a decision has been made to NOT offer a new deal and the club will look to cash in on the midfielder, thus opening up space and potentially funds for a replacement.
Pending any change of heart, it looks like Wijnaldums time could be coming to a close.
More as I get it
Written by Lorenzo K
I have followed this and have to say that you have been incredible. Also, you give the impression there is no bias towards LFC, even having a pop a Klopps conduct at points. You have been brilliant
Liverpudlian starlet, Curtis Jones, recently signed a new professional contract with Liverpool Football Club. Following a successful senior team debut in the COVID-impacted 19/20 Premier League season which saw the young teen make history to be the youngest player to captain the Reds in the FA Cup and also scored the tournament’s goal of the year. Jones has swapped the number 48 shirt for 17 for this upcoming season. No doubt, this is a clear indication of his deserved rise up the ranks. He is, without a doubt, one of the players to watch in the upcoming season.
Having grown up in the center of Liverpool, Jones joined Liverpool at the age of 9. After making his U23s debut in January 2018, Jones signed his first professional contract one month later. He was named in Liverpool's squad for the Premier League match against Everton on 7 April 2018 and was included on the substitutes’ bench without making an appearance. He featured prominently for Liverpool during pre-season ahead of the 2018–19 season and his manager, Jürgen Klopp, was effusive in lavishing praise on his mobility, passing vision, shooting and dribbling skills. Jones made his first team debut on 7 January 2019, in the FA Cup third round against Wolves.
The 19-year-old also broke into the senior team in 2019/20 and impressed in his six Premier League appearances. The local lad exudes a high level of confidence and skill on the ball which netted him three times in all competitions, including a maiden top-flight goal in a 2-0 home win against Premier League rivals Aston Villa. Jones rise and background reminds me of the early days of Liverpool’s immense success in the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. For me, growing up in the seventies and basking in the glory of the clubs’ winning ways, it was football, music, school, football, football and more football growing up. I was extremely fortunate that I fell in love with a team in a handsome all-red kit that played an easy-on-the-eye style of football unique to the top flight of the game across the world. I would argue that for any young boy growing up post-World War II in and around Liverpool or from around the globe knew this very well. It’s in the DNAof the club. This DNA always used to include a high dose of Scouser talent. The intent of this article is to set the stage for what I believe will be the break-out year for the latest legend-in-the-making, Curtis Jones.
Here are 5 reasons we should watch him closely this season.
Scouser Talent Pool
There were several local-born players that had huge impacts on the club during those glory decades but over the last 10 or so years, that was a missing component for the Reds. In fact, in March of 2015 the departure of Steven Gerrard to the Los Angeles Galaxy meantLiverpool did not field a local-born player for the first time in their Premier League history and for the first time since they beat Everton 3-1 at Wembley stadium almost 30 years earlier. After Steve Gerrard’s move to managementand Jamie Carragher’s player-to-pundit trasntion, no Liverpool-born players have really made their mark at Anfield. There is one rather bright and shining exception to this and that is the mercurial play of Trent Alexander-Arnold – who has already established himself as a starter and world-class player for the Reds as well as for England. While there have always been promising young Scousers knocking on the Shankly gates, only a handful have made it. Yes, there have been larger-than-life heroes such as William ‘Dixie’ Dean and ‘Dashing’ Dave Hickson and, of course ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish, it’s the Scousers who have really been the foundational hallmark of the club. We only need to examine the impact Bill Shankly on the psyche of the city of Liverpool and the generation that came after him. The Scouser born and bred talent typically go on to achieve greatness in the game. We have been fortunate and it’s been humbling to watch the likes of Michael Own, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Terry McDermott, StaveMcManaman, Steve McMahon, and Phil Thompson ply their trade for the Reds and reach legendary heights in doing so. So, will Jones follow in their footstoes or will he go by another route that was taken by the likes of promising younglings Yan Danda, Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Conor Coady and many others? Or, will he follow in the fleet footsteps of Alexander-Arnold and, dare I say, the large shoes of consummate Scouser Gerrard?
Stevie G comparisons
I don’t need to go into Steven Gerrard’s illustrious career and to compare Curtis Jones to the legendary number 8, would be near blasphemy, unthinkable, and diabolic, it is no doubt that Jones’ skillful play on the field has got Premier League talent scouts in Europe and opportunistic player agents drooling. I am not alone. Many have started to make these comparisons. Jones’ being handed the number 17 shirt has fueled hopes and expectations from Liverpool fans that Jones can follow in the footsteps of Gerrard. They also are anxiously anticipating this will become a reality now that the club has not only trusted the teen with the Anfield icon's old number for next season, he has played in the last several games of the Championship-winning Premier Leaguer season and has already played extensively in the first two pre-season scrimmages. One of Gerrard's memorable moments wearing number 17 saw him smash in a trademark thunderbolt against Everton in a 2001 FA Cup clash, celebrating by storming down the Goodison Park touchline and cupping his ear towards seething rival fans. This is an image the Red and Blue sides of Merseyside have implanted in their collective brains for dramatically vastly different reasons. Jones' first meeting with the Toffees will also live long in Reds fans' memories, as the midfielder confidently engineered a mouth-watering game-winning curler in the top-right-hand-corner of the goal to hand a largely teenybopper Liverpool side the FA Cup third-round and, in the process, further embarrassing a stunned full-strength Everton. I am sure Stevie G was watching on in sheer admiration. It was no surprise that one month later, Jones wore the captain’s armband as Liverpool's youngest ever starting line-up beat Shrewsbury 1-0 in the same tournament.
While gaffer Klopp has a long and storied history of ‘king making’ with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reuss, Mario Goetze and Trent Alexander-Arnold, he still offers a word of caution to Jones’ rise to the higher echelons of the game. But while acknowledging Jones’ obvious talent, Klopp has warned that there is still a long way to go in his quest to carve out a successful top-level career with the Reds. “He has to adapt to the group; the group have adapted already to him, he was in last year together with Rafa Camacho, another really young boy,” the Reds’ boss recently told Liverpoolfc.com. “They are different and the two boys before that came up like this were Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn. How they came in, they were really role models - not shy, but looking around, ‘What can I say?’ Curtis is different, Rafa is different.” Klopp went on to say in that interview and also in other settings after crucial matches about Jones’ level of maturity and confidence. I argue that I have not seen this level of confidence and fearlessness since the young number 17 Steven Gerrard laced up for the Reds. Klopp summed this up best: “Curtis is a proper Scouser - I don’t know if I have the right words, but he is not shy to say a few things and probably that’s a surprise for one or two players! It’s easy, he accepts the rules of the group, (and) there is no doubt about that. The dynamics between Jones and Klopp will be watched closely and the diehard Liverpool supporters around the globe will be hoping for a result that will last in the lore of the club and manager’s storied pasts.
Potential England call up
This week, Nico Williams was called up to the senior Wales’ side to join fellow Liverpool teammate, Harry Wilson who has established himself as a mainstay for his country having played in the last Europeans Championships. Williams’ stellar play in the closing matches of the 19/20 Premier League season earned him the call up. So, will Jones make the same grade and join fellow youngsters Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Mason Mount and force his way onto the national setup for the Three Lions? There has been a recent burst of new starlets vying for starting positions for their national teams and we see that across the world on nearly every national tram. If Jones’ style of play is any indication, it is primed for the modern game. Today’s game is about speed, intelligence, confidence, strength combined with Brazilian finesse and creativity in passing, shooting, movement, and dribbling. Jones turned heads with a remarkable goal -- and nothing was as more was more evident -- than his FA Cup heroics against Aston Villa.
Keeping up with the “Joneses”
How Curtis Jones will fare playing with, staying in stride with, and seamlessly supporting the free-flowing attacking flair of Liverpool’s front dynamic three – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohammad Salah, will be something that a lot people will be specifically watching for during the upcoming Premier League season. Jones, himself, is cautiously optimistic and, once again showcasing his lofty but humble confidence level. “It's been an unbelievable experience so far,” he recently told a TV crew. “This is my boyhood club and playing for Liverpool means everything. For me, this is a dream. I'm just going out there trying to impress and doing the best I can. I'm listening to everything the manager has been saying and trying to put that into practice.” Nothing will be more powerful statement or stamp of authority than to link up with the aforementioned trio and provide the club with a level of ‘creative maestro’ missing since the departure of the magnificent playmaker Phillippe Coutinho. The question will be asked: can Joins consistently stay on par with the terrific talented threesome?
The 20/21 Premier Leaguer season will start with a historical trip to newly-promoted Leeds United – in itself a match of high proportions that will no doubt bring back memories of bruising past battles for both clubs – and will see the Reds defend their title for the first time in decades. While there is so much to watch for, anticipate, drool over, and expect from this hugely-talented side this season and there are many players to ogle including new- signing Kostas Tsimikas among others, it is the early days of the Curtis Jones story that will be most scrutinized. It remains to be seen whether his first full season as a regular on the senior side and coming off a trophy-laden and honor filled debut season whether the young man charts a ‘Gerrardesque’ rise to legend or fall short of expectations. I, for one, have seen enough of him to bet all my money on Red.
Written by Dr. Kop (@Ranjitnair_phD )
Love this! Thank you 👍🏻
Liverpool complete signing of German youth international from Hoffenheim
Liverpool have completed the signing of 16-year-old German youth international Melkamu Frauendorf.
The attacking midfielder has signed a scholarship agreement at Anfield, prior to a Professional deal being signed when he turns 17.
The German star recently raised eyebrows when his Instagram bio was changed to relflect his association with Liverpool.
Hoffenheim will be loathed to lose the youngster with the club predicting a particularly bright future and there were suggestions he could well be training with the first team very soon.
Liverpool have seemingly stolen a March on a number of suitors, with Chelsea and Manchester City said to be keen to recruit him.
Frauendorf was born in Ethiopia but represents Germany, with six caps to his name at Under-15 and Under-16 levels.
Written by Max
For weeks now, there have been numerous reports linking Liverpool football club with Bayern Munich's midfield orchestrator, Thiago Alcantara.
I had given a relatively detailed article with regards to this back in early July, I managed to speak with a number of previous contacts and now friends and got a good briefing of where things were.
As the media are playing a back and forth, European Journalists vs Uk based, I have decided to go and give an account of where things stand.
Liverpool Football club, or more accurately, Jurgen Klopp does want Thiago Alcantara.
Firstly, it is important to clarify, Thiago is very much a Klopp pick, other bodies within the club are lesser enthused at any potential deal, primarily due to reservations around age, injury record and resale potential.
Klopp, though, has seemingly spoken directly with the player and the player has had his head turned and is very much invested in the prospect of moving to Liverpool this summer.
Now, things are never straight forward within the transfer market, however this has been further complicated with Bayern Munich being incredibly unhappy due to their suspicions of the player being "tapped up".
This has left Liverpool in a precarious position, not currently in a position to simply "pay a fee" they have seemingly unsettled a player that was all set to finalise an extension with the German Giants.
Liverpool are hamstrung financially this year, Covid19 impact being one part of the issue. Sales are very much integral to any potential incoming deals. Liverpool will utilise the entirety of generated funds to strengthen the squad, less 20-25%.
Now, with all the aforementioned considered, Liverpool HAVE now registered their interest with Bayern Munich and talks are very much expected to take place over the coming days/weeks. Much work is underway at Anfield to generate funds with ample interest in players such as Grujic,Wilson, Karius to name but a few.
I very much expect a few outgoings to be finalised relatively shortly, Klopp has been running the customary rule over his squad in Austria, however , work is very much underway to generate some much needed funds.
With a well populated midfield, Liverpool will need to make some space, simply adding players is not viable and they will be mindful of the current issues with the HG contingent.
For what it is worth, I would be extremely surprised should Thiago not end up at Anfield, however Manchester City and PSG have held talks with Bayern Munich but are yet to follow that up, so Liverpool need to be mindful of other interest.
This is very much expected to get rolling.
I am very much open to questions on this, so feel free to ask in the comments section.
Written by Lorenzo K
Man knows many things. Plz make this happen. Thiago Red. YNWA
Having been in the Boardroom at some of the most admired multinational companies during my business career, I’ve had the good fortune to have been in the throngs of discussing and opining on strategic global initiatives and implementing business planning. All companies or organizations strategize or have strategic plans in place. Some just do it better than others. However, one thing is clear: Good strategy is about getting results. This article is about Liverpool Football Club’s (LFC) player transfer strategy.
You can have the best, coolest, seemingly innovative plans and tactics but it is always the ensuing results that matter most. Just ask the owners of Manchester City. While it is unclear what the club’s true transfer strategy is, popular opinion suggests that it is about assembling the world’s best players in each position at any cost, having a deep bench of players from that same world-class pool, pay them well, and hire a coach that can keep these multimillionaires with lofty egos in check and playing well together. That’s not a bad strategy, in fact. Real Madrid still employ that approach, starting with their “Galacticos” modus operandi. Others too have tried that approach with some success but not a sustained, stead, long-term path of results-oriented success. Getting results translates into winning the Premier League or the Champions League title. While Manchester City have had successes with the former but have yet to win the latter with their deep-pocket owners. Even with this level of success, getting results is great but getting sustained results over a stretchof time is really what the desired outcome is.
So, what about LFC? We only need to look at the merry-go-round of managers who have been unceremoniously sacked as a results of not getting results. This is certainly the case with the world’s top clubs. Liverpool FC are no exceptions to this phenomenon that has been rampant in the English Premier League for a good two decades now. “Win or out you go” is the prevailing adage. The club has seen its share of the revolving door of players and those in management positons. But that came to a welcome and abrupt stop in October of 2015 when Jürgen Klopp came to town. He was the owners’ dream manager – the one that they’ve been strategizing about and the one that had a vision that aligned with their own as well as the collective vision of those millions around the world who all know the strategy very well. It all starts with culture and ends in desired results.
Liverpool’s player transfer strategy keeps in line with the strategies of the world’s most successful organizations in any industry. From, technology to automobile manufacturing to the entertainment world, companies has figured out the link between culture, vision, alignment and execution. For LFC, the culture is clear. I write about this in an article titled the Liverpool Way. Everyone who knows anything about the Red side of Merseyside, know what this culture is all about. It revolvesaround history, story, legend, legends, community and, yes, teamwork or brotherhood. The latter point about teamwork and unity is also about keeping the best players on the team from leaving for greener pastures or better opportunities to secure medals. This was the case with Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling. The most ambitious players all want to leave a legacy on the game and also have unlimited success along with a long career, exemplary pay, and sustained good health. That said, those players could or may have stayed at Liverpool had there been this alignment mentioned earlier. Culture, Vision, Alignment, Execution. For Liverpool, it started with the need to hang on to the best and have long careers at the club like the illustrious greats of the past – Rush, Dalglish, Gerrard, and Carragher come to mind immediately. To keep them, they had to buy in to the vison and the culture. This was the fundamental basis of the transfer strategy the club was seeking: retain the best and the brightest.
Klopp's assistant Pep Lijnders in a recent interview suggested the club have now instilled that culture and bridged the gap for the current crop of stars on the team want to stay as winning begets winning. He explained that Liverpool had reestablished the culture they had in the yesteryears and modernized it for the contemporary footballer. In addition, since Klopp arrived, Liverpool have won four trophies including the world’s most coveted two – the 2019 Champions League win and the 2020 Premier League tile. Lijnders said have now ascended to the level (or perch) of an elite-level side whose brightest stars want to stay at the club for their prime years. And he said how that re-think came about in the summer of 2018 as Liverpool embarked on the biggest spending summer in their history as they brought Naby Keita, Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri to the club for a combined sum of just £170m.
To put everything into perspective, integrating culture then connecting it to the vision, getting everybody singing from the same playbook and, finally, implementing the player movement strategy flawlessly is what LFC have done in the last 5 years. It started with Brendon Rodgers but the owners knew that when Klopp became available, he himself was the missing piece to capstone their vision. They found the leadership needed to ensure that the four-pronged strategy worked. The conductor of the orchestra was in place and creating a familiar symphony that LFC fans all around knew too well and have long yearned to be ringing in their ears began to materialize in the winter of 2016. In addition, maestro Klopp is a player’s manager – a true man of men. He had done it at Borussia Dortmund and brought that leadership style to Anfield. It was about the team and always about the team. It was about the supporters and always about the supporters. He brought a collective spirit of team mentality, playing to ones’ strengths, confidence, encouragement and creativity. Anyone who’s ever played the game will know that there is nothing better than all these attributes coming together even during a pick-up match. LFC’s transfer strategy revolved around this premise: come to LFC, lift your game to even higher levels, have a lot of fun in a climate of teamwork and brotherhood and, of course, win trophies and medals along the way.
While this strategic approach appears to be quite obvious ad simple to some, it needs to be well-executed. Incoming players know the history and lore of the club and are well-aware of the legends that have worn the famous red shirt. Those that didn’t, were given a lesson in history and a tour of the landscape, which was all part of the strategy. While clubs always have to be wary of a player’s financial market value and expected salary demands and even though these can be negotiated, at the end of the day, pay and fees alone does not mean that player will perform as expected. Just ask Arsenal and Manchester United regarding Mezut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez respectively. More needs to be done. After the financials are settled, it’s then about buy-in to the visions and strategy. But executing it with alignment from all ranks f the club is vital for success. It appears that LFC have found the magic sauce for this. LFC’srecent winning ways means they are much wealthier and, yes, the COVID19 scourge has dampened or tempered that financial excitement somewhat.
That said, it is not out of bounds to suggest that the club’s American owners could afford to bring any player to the red part of Merseyside. I think they just couldn’t be bothered with that. For the club, it’s really about a way of life fueled by a storied winning history. It had its sight of this for the nearly thirty years but this was not lots on the current ownership brass at the club. They arrived at the club having a clear long-term vision, a deep respect and understanding of the clubs’ past, history, and culture. They merely had to integrate that with all key constituents and stakeholders from the supporters to the club ambassadors and to its operations. Klopp knows how to run a well-oiled machine and literally said so on his October 2015 press conference when he was introduced as the new gaffer. “I am the Normal One,” he said that afternoon. “I was a very average player, became a manager in Germany at a special club, Mainz, then I had a great opportunity to take Dortmund, a special club for seven years.” He added “when I left Dortmund, my last sentence was it is not so important what people think when you come in, it is more important what they think when you leave. Please give us time to work on it. If you want, this could be a really special day.” Later in the press conference, he all but promised winning ways for the club in four years. He got that result.
The most famed Liverpool teams of the past all had a legendary manager at the helm of a powerful machine steering and guiding it to success. Shankly’s famous words “a lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are” comes to mind.” He uncooked those minds in his players and had them believe in themselves. Klopp is no different. On that first day of his new job, he went on the say, “It is the intensity of the football, of how the people live football in Liverpool, all the Liverpool fans around the world. It is not a normal club, it is a special club. I had two very special clubs with Mainz and Dortmund. It is the perfect next step for me to be here and try and help.” His “help” came in the form of executing and aligning a football team management including transfer strategy that was always about a Liverpool vision encompassed by a glorious shroud of Reds culture.
Finally, the Reds' successful use of statistics to drive transfer decisions has been endorsed by the man who pioneered such an approach in American baseball. LFC’s shrewd transfer policy has been praised by creator of the ‘Moneyball’ recruitment strategy. Former baseball executive of the Oakland Athletics Billy Beane’s pioneering use of sabremetrics - the empirical analysis of baseball statistics to decide recruitment decisions - enabled him to achieve unpresented success in seeking out talent, integrating them into the organization, and expecting them to deliver results. All this was accomplished without thebenefit of deep financial resources unlike many of his rivals. The Reds have a smaller transfer budget than many of their rivals but have managed to outperform them all over the past two years, winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, World Club Cup and now the Premier League.
Like Beane, Klopp and company deployed a transfer strategy did not involve spending much money but, rather, what predictive data gave them insight into extracting the maximum value from what was spent. Unlike their rivals, LFC seemingly have masterfully executed this. While the club has, indeed, invested heavily, the £36M signing of Mohamed Salah or the £75M) acquisition of Virgil van Dijk are examples of signings that have proven to be great value given the impact they have had on the side, despite being perceived as lavish transfers at the time. Even an underrated and largely unknown Andrew Robertson was signed for £10M and the player has far exceeded expectations. That said, LFC’s crystal “money” ball of data may have given them an insight into Robertson’s capabilities.
Ultimately LFC are striving to source, seek, interview and recruit undervalued assets and hope that the player value would eventually continue to increase. Here is an example of the player transfer strategy aligning with the business or financial vision for the club. At LFC, a great example is Salah. They spent about £40M on him from AS Roma, which is still a hefty amount. At the time, people thought that was too much for a so-called underachiever who flopped at Chelsea Football Club. However, Salah is forging a remarkable legendary status at LFC and it is clear he was worth far more than what was paid to get him. This is also a great example of exploiting a data advantage - spending a lot of money, but getting far more value out of it than what people expect.
LFC’s transfer brains trust or transfer committee, consisting of Klopp, sporting director Michael Edwards, members of the scouting team and specific club executives. Early in Klopp’s reign, this committee was ridiculed and certainly lambasted on social media never mind from the club’s bitter rivals. But they had the last laugh or, perhaps, it was a rational decision-making approach they were focused on. In the modern world we live in today, there is access to more data that was ever imagined or imaginable. It’s this data that is gleaned by the transfer committee and specific players shortlisted for key open positons.
"While I am thousands of miles from Anfield and have never been linked with or work for LFC, I’d like to believe with my business background and also someone with a long and deep-rooted love for the Reds, I think I speak from a lace of knowledge. It’s quite obvious LFC have created a very collaborative process driven by data and information, and they have a savvy leadership-focused people manager in Klopp who is seamlessly involved in that process. None appreciate “buying” trophies like some clubs have (and in some cases get away with it), but it’s the goal of every sports team: to do what LFC has done. LFC has developed an envious alignment of culture, history, process alignment all strategically woven together and driven by data, collaboration, and information. Nobody is ridiculing it now, are they? There will be several new players coming this summer – Kostas Tsimikas is the first newbie --- and like him, all of the transfers-in will be based on this proven strategy. So, don’t expect us to buy Killian Mbappe but rather the next Roberto Firmino.
Written by Dr. Kop ( @RanjitNair_phD)
Wonderfully thought out. I very much enjoyed reading this before it was published. It made me enjoy my gin all that much more. I look forward to the next article. Well done
Top article ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
With the transfer window open, Fans, as always, will have compiled their “want list” in terms of who they would like to see brought in to reinforce the squad.
Par for the course, rumours are rife, Liverpool are seemingly linked with players across the globe. Media very much tap into the anticipation of supporters, they start filtering in stories of interest in players and then, low and behold, “transfer fee’s” start to get bandied about. Thiago would prove a fair example.. A world class player, yes, with a less than favourable injury record, but an incredible player nonetheless.
We have seen a ball park figure of €30m being suggested as the magic number for a deal to be concluded and as the title of this article suggests, it is largely greeted with shouts of “Just pay the Fee”!
I know! you could argue that he is of such a Calibre that even with his injury record and the fact he has only 10 months of his deal remaining, it is a no brainier!
I am not here to colour view, I am not telling you what is good value and what is not, but with the window open, I figured it could be useful to assess the actual cost of a transfer.
Okay, so let’s start with the Transfer Fee. Often perceived as the big number and the only number the majority factor in when hearing of a quoted figure, so what else? Okay…
Once the fee is agreed, clubs have to consider the Levy applied by the local FA, in England this is 5% applied.
Tax due on the transfer fee – typically this will be VAT at least some or all of which should be reclaimable, rates, of course, vary across Europe.
Agent fees – This could be to one or more agent(s)
Taxes due on the Agent fees – Typically this would be calculated at local rate however,is not reclaimable.
Tax due on the Intermediary fees –VAT at the local rate (Intermediary Place of Work)– Again, not reclaimable.
Signing on fee to the player ( If the player is VAT registered, this could include non reclaimable VAT too)
VAT on legal fees - reclaimable
Moving/relocation costs for the player + VAT involved.
Paying up insurance costs to the selling club - this however is rare.
So, taking into account the details as listed above, you can see when we all scream “Just pay the Fee” it is often with a lack of understanding as to the hidden costs involved.
That’s from a buying perspective, what about if we are selling a player, what are the costs involved?
Typically, if the player is under 24 and moving between different Football associations, a contribution paid to his previous clubs, for his training - this is 5% of the transfer fee received (apportioned 5% of the contribution for each year from the season of his 12th birthday to the season of his 15th birthday and 10% of the contribution for each season from his 16th to 23rd birthdays). This would typically be recoverable.
If the player moves to a higher category club (all clubs being categorised 1 to 4) Training Compensation is due for the period of age 12 to 21. Compensation is due to all clubs when the player turns from amateur to professional and beyond, only when he moves from his final training club to another club.
The initial training compensation is based on training costs associated with Category 4 clubs. Subsequent figures are typically agreed between the clubs involved or if that fails, by tribunal.
This is would be considered as recoverable.
All monies owed to the player, if he did not request a transfer, would be 5% of the transfer fee received.
All monies owed to the player in terms of his contract, by way of any outstanding wages owed. This does not include any future wages or, indeed, bonuses.
Any Monies that are contractually due to a previous club in the event they were agreed with their previous club.
So, as you can see…. there are a lot of things to consider, we as supporters, put a lot of focus on the big figure, the transfer fee, but when all things considered, there is a significant additional outlay.
In order to politely reiterate the point, I am not here to try and colour your view, we all love to see quality join the club, but if you see the club failing to “Just pay the fee’ it might serve well to consider what the Fee actually represents.
Spot on this. Very insightful.
Who Can Cut It?
We take a look at wide men that could be available this window and whether they could make the grade at Anfield.
If Sadio Mane wants Ismalia Sarr and rates him as the next, well..... Sadio Mane, then we need to take a look at what this young 22 year old from Senegalcan offer our team. With a said Transfer value between £35-45m floating around, for a player who has just faced relegation with Watford and with clubs struggling financially, it might be worth testing Watford’s resolve and hoping Sarr can push through a transfer, if he really wants to come to Anfield. All this aside, the question is... do we need an Ismalia Sarr who is most likely to start every Premier / Champions league game on the bench and a player knowing it would take an awful lot to displace our current front three. We take a look at three front men who are highly valued and seemingly making waves for their respective clubs.
Ismalia Sarr, Wilfred Zaha and Adama Traore. In attack, if we focus on goals and chances, then Sarr is definitely appears to represent value for money, especially playing almost 10 games less than the other two. Zaha has shown he can play with both feet and enjoys shooting when given the opportunity. Klopp is a huge believer of having team players and comparing stats, although Zaha has more passes and a completion rate above 81%. Traore is right in there with the number of crosses and though balls he’s provided his team mates and exceeds the other two. As well as being a team player, it is vital in this Liverpool team that you show a strong defensive work ethic, otherwise you’ll definitely be getting it in the ear by Virgil. Sarr and Zaha have both made 18 interceptions and Zaha has made the most tackles of the three. Traore, however, is ahead in clearances made, headed clearances and aerial battles won.
Sarr has conceded the least fouls and both he and Traore have only received one yellow card each. Traore has been caught offside less times than Sarr and Zaha which makes him quite effective knowing he can time his runs well.
Zaha has still not hit his peak and Sarr and Traore are still developing. All three have a similar price range and if we are looking for an impact player to break into our starting lineup, than Zaha could arguably be the right pick, as next season is where we will see the best in him. If we need an impact player coming off the bench than Traore could be our guy however suggested figures involved would render it unlikely. Or, if we loing at a player who would develop over time due to his young age and could end up being a Klopp-type player, then Sarr just could be our man.
Who do you think would make the cut?
Written By Jags @jag1e
Zara? 😂😂😂 Trick pony. Give me Sarr- klopp will make him a worldie
Kostas Tsimikas Q&A with
Yesterday saw Liverpool complete their first transfer of the summer. This came by way of Greek Left Back, Kostas Tsimikas. We took some time out with @choria80 to get to know a little more about our number 21.
Q) To your understanding, what is the cost and structure of this deal and potential add-on’s?
GC) Sources in UK insist for a 13m. euros deal between the clubs. In Greece other sources insist for a 16.5m. euros deal plus 20% sell on clause
Q) Liverpool is considered very unique as a City and as a club, how well do you feel the player will embrace it?
GC) Yes, Tsimikas is aware of everything. He knows how important is the club for many people, the history of the club and of course everybody knows what Liverpool Football Club is for world football.
He knows the connection between the City & the club and he wants to be a part of the club.
Q) There has been lots of interest from elsewhere, how close did any deal come with another club?
GC) Well, there were plenty of clubs who made an offer or interested in Tsimikas. Napoli and Nice made offers, there was interest from LCFC, Sevilla, Lokomotiv Moscow & Chelsea was recently mentioned.
Q) Tsimikas was linked with moves for a higher fee previously, can you explain the how a deal was found for the fees you have advised?
GC) I think it was more as a rumor. Here in Greece, we knew that a deal for Tsimikas would be found for for the figure Liverpool paid.
Q) Liverpool fans will have invested much time in getting to know Tsimikas, the player. Can you tell us a bit about the person?
GC) He is a hard worker, he loves training & he respects but is not a big media guy. He has only one thing on his mind: football. He wants to listen to his manager and I think is the player that Klopp wants to have because of his mentality.
Q) Tsimikas becomes only the second Greek player to player for Liverpool, the first being Sotirios Kyrgiakos, how will this move be received back in his homeland?
GC) It's massive here in Greece. It’s a big issue everybody speaks about that. First issue in all Greek sports media and media groups generally are following this transfer. Liverpool Football Club has many many fans here in Greece, also Klopp has many fans here in Greece.
Q) What does he bring to this Liverpool team?
GC) He is a modern LB. Fast, reliable in offense and defense. A lot of similarities with Robertson’s game (of course not at the same level) but a really good player with good crosses and he can play really well at the top level. He faced Tottenham, Arsenal, Wolves, Bayern Munich this season successfully.
Q) Andrew Robertson is arguably the best Left Back in Europe currently, does Tsimikas merely provide cover or is he a realistic challenger for that position?
GC) Both. Of course, he is not at the same level. Robertson is the best LB in the world but Tsimikas under Klopp will be much better player, he will improve his skills and im sure we will see a player that Liverpool fans want to have in their club.
Q) With 3 International Caps, are there any concerns in Greece with the prospect of him moving to Liverpool and playing significantly less football?
GC) I think no. A player who is member of Liverpool Football Club will be definitely a starter in Greek National Team.
Q) How highly rated is he in Greece?
GC) Really, high. Great player for the level of Greek football. Everybody believed in him. Olympiacos gave him the opportunity, he grabbed the opportunity and we knew that we had a player that one day will make the step up. And he did to the biggest club in the world.
Q) Liverpool as a club and as a fan base have huge expectations, does Tsimikas have the mentality to deal with expectations?
GC) I think yes. He knows in which club he will play. History, fans trophies. Here in Greece we have a big Liverpool fans database. He knows for sure in which club he will play and that the expectations are really high for everyone.
Q) Many players have a nicknames, does he have one, if so what and why?
GC) "Tsimi"was his nickname till now. I heard something about the "Greek Lion" but I am not sure about that.
We wish to extend our thanks to Giannis for taking time out to speak with us.
Written by Jay
Could be another shrewd signing by LFC and Klopp. I’m sure Robbo will be the first one to welcome him. That’s the Liverpool Way.
I watch this player each week. He will be big loss to Olympiacos and it’s people. He leaves with love from all of us. Tsimi we love you
He'll be a great signing for sure.
Welcome Tsimi. Thanks for the info 👍
In Context - Joel Matip
Despite the countless upsides to playing for Liverpool, there can also be downsides. These can be anything from struggling with the pressure of playing for the most successful team in England and one of Europe’s all time giants, to a player never truly getting the appreciation that their footballing ability deserves.
Bobby Firmino was recognised early on by Liverpool fans as a player of enormous quality and potential (especially when Klopp came in). His work rate, movement, and ability on the ball mean he is one of the most important players on the pitch whenever he is on it, and Liverpool look lost going forward without him, as seen in the European Super cup game against Chelsea, and the 2-0 win over Villa at Anfield. Yet despite this, he is never shown the respect and appreciation he deserves from rival fans, just because his goal scoring numbers are low.
Mohammed Salah, who has the most goal contributions of any player in the premier league since he joined, is regarded by rival fans as a one season wonder who throws himself to the ground anytime he’s in the box
Jordan Henderson is still seen by rival fans (and up until recently, a large portion of Liverpool fans) as too slow and defensive, only ever passing back, despite easily being the best English midfielder currently playing. Then there is Steven Gerrard. The man may just be the best English midfielder there has ever been, but has his career boiled down to one unfortunate moment 6 years ago by rival fans who have only recently started comparing him to an ex-United midfielder who wasn’t even trusted to start the Champions League final for his side.
Possibly the most underrated Liverpool player currently at the club, by our own and rival fans, is Joel Matip. James Milner is regarded by most as Liverpool’s greatest ever free signing, and rightly so, but I believe that Joel Matip shouldn’t be far behind him on that list. Arriving on a free from Schalke 04 during Klopp’s first summer at the club, Matip has gone on to cement himself as one of the most reliable centre backs in the league. Tall, strong, dominating in the air, good passer of the ball, and capable of mazey runs from the centre of defence that would impress even Messi, Joel Matip is a fantastic option for the club to have.
Typically playing as third choice behind Van Dijk and Gomez, despite the fact that he would be at least second choice at every other club in the premier league, Matip has proven again and again that he is perfectly able to fill in, whether its to rest one of the other centre backs, to help defend a slight lead in the final minutes of a game, or even for a longer period such as when Gomez broke his leg against Burnley last season. After Gomez broke his leg, Matip became the second choice behind Van Dijk and so was starting almost every game and stepped into the team with ease, with no dip in the team’s form.
The only loss we had that season in the league came in a game where Lovren played instead of Matip due to injury. There was no change in the defensive performances of the team in the transition between Matip and Gomez, with Matip performing just as consistently, meaning that even when Gomez returned from injury, Matip retained his spot until injury ruled him out the following season. Matip’srun in the team coincided with Liverpool’s strong run of form in the Champions League, where he made strong appearances even without the ever reliable Van Dijk next to him, such as the first leg against Bayern at Anfield, where he was partnered with Fabinho in the centre of defence. It finished goalless, with Bayern seemingly scared to attack Liverpool due to their effectiveness in the transition, but with Fabinho slightly out of sorts in an unfamiliar position, Matip had to ensure he was on top of his game. The game finished goalless at Anfield, before the 3-1 win against Bayern in the second leg at the Alianz Arena, where Matip did unfortunately score an own goal (although there was very little he could do about it).
He was also part of the team that performed one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history against Barcelona, as well as starting in the Champions League final. Having missed the previous year against Real Madrid with Lovren playing alongside Van Dijk, it would have been massive for the Cameroonian centre back to start in the final. But of course he did more than just start the game, he impressed by helping Liverpool keep a clean sheet in what would have been the biggest game of his career, as well as getting the assist for Divock Origi’s goal which made it 2-0 late on. Joel Matip left the Wanda Metropolitano with a winners medal and as one of the players that will forever be remembered by Liverpool fans for the winning the first of hopefully many trophies under Jurgen Klopp.
Joel Matip was the first signing Klopp made for the first team when he arrived. Klopp’s first window saw the arrivals of Marko Grujic and Kamil Grabara, as well as Steven Caulker on loan, but none of these were signed to have an immediate and lasting effect on the first team. Sadio Mane also arrived from Southampton prior to Joel Matips arrival, but the deal for Matip had been completed earlier, due to his contract at Schalke ending. Matip had spent 16 years at Schalke, playing 194 games for the German team. His very first game for Schalke in the Bundesliga was against Bayern Munich in November 2009, where Matip scored the game tying goal and was given the man of the match, a debut most lads in Germany could only dream of.
Matip was born in Bochum, Germany to a German mother, and a Cameroonian father. Much like his older brother Marvin Matip, Joel decided to play internationally for the nationality of his father. He made his international debut in a friendly match against Italy in March 2010. He then went on to play for Cameroon in both the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He played twice fir Cameroon in Brazil in 2014, and scored the only goal of the tournament for his team against the hosts in a 4-1 loss. Joel Matip attempted to retire from international football whilst still at Schalke in 2016, but didn’t do it in a way that was recognised by FIFA, and so was thought to still be eligible to play for Cameroon. This is why he was called up to play in the AFCON in January 2017. This is why he couldn’t play for Liverpool whilst the AFCON was ongoing until it had all been sorted out. During this time Matip missed several games he would have started in, including a 1-1 draw with Man United. We’ll never know for certain if Matips presence would have changed the course of the game, but I for one would have preferred to have him in the defence ahead of either of the other centre backs we played, Lovren and Klavan. Recently, the Cameroon national team had a change of management, with the new manager saying that he would welcome back Joel Matip, and other retired Cameroonian centre Nicolas NKoulou, into the international setup with open arms, but won’t go chasing them.
This transfer window is looking increasingly important for Liverpool, having won the two biggest trophies in football over the last two years and therefore would want to continue on this upward trajectory, paired with a lack of transfers last summer, as well as the way title rivals Man. City and Chelsea are spending money this summer to try and bridge the gap that appeared last summer. Lovren’sdeparture to Zenit St. Petersburg also leaves a centre back shaped hole in the squad that many different names have been rumoured to have been chosen to fill, especially with the absence of an obvious choice coming through the youth systems to replace him. However, I believe that whomever Liverpool pursue in the window, the club will know that with Van Dijk, Gomez, and Matip, they already have three experienced, high quality centre backs, and so a younger centre back to build his way into the side through the years would make more sense.
written by Finn (@finnb1227)
Awesome article, raised some great points. Well done 😁
Great read. 👍
Liverpool liked with £35m Bournemouth star
Liverpool have been linked with a £35m move for Bournemouth’s young midfielder David Brooks. The 23 year old left-footed Welshman, who has an attacking mindset, has had a really solid season despite Bournemouth’s relegation and here are his stats for the 19/20 season.
Brooks has made 8 starts and coming on once as a substitute where he scored his only goal in the 2-1 loss to Man City. At 0.7 shots per game and a pass succession rate of 73.9% creating 0.7 key passes on average, it shows there is promise in this youngster who could turn out to be an effective substitute. Brooks has dribbled passed his opponents an average of 1.3 times per game. Although he hasn’t registered an assist, he has an average of 0.7 crosses per game and 0.4 through balls, whilst not amazing, it's worth considering he hasn’t completed a single game of 90 mins in his 9 games.
With Brooks' style of play, he poses is a real threat on the counter attack and his skillset and trickery means he has a higher chance of being fouled.Perhaps an area to work on is he doesn’t like to go in for a tackle and when he does he gives an average 0.4 fouls per game.
The question now crosses our mind, do these stats warrant a £35m price tag? Why would Liverpool even consider it? Firstly, we need to remember that Brooks was injured in a pre-season friendly game (2019) against Brentford. An ankle injury that not only sidelined him till mid-October but had to have a second operation in December which would side-line him until March. The lockdown situation did not help after being out for almost 8 months.! so let's turn to his 2018/19 season stats. Brooks made 30 appearances and found the back of the net 7 times. He had a 49% shooting accuracy and hit the woodwork twice. The stats don’t stop there, with 5 assists and 855 passes with an average of 28.5 passes per game, providing 16 through balls and 21 accurate long balls, it highlights that he is a player that can only get better. He made over 38 tackles with a success rate of 68% and supported his defence blocking 8 shots, making 24 interceptions, 22 clearances which included 2 headed clearances and 115 recoveries.
It is likely worth discarding his stats for last season due to his severe injury and really consider whether he can fit into Klopp’s style of play. One thing is for sure, he would make an impactful substitute and could fit nicely into our early domestic cup games but does his price tag match the potential he has in a star-studded Liverpool team?
Written by Kabir Jagwani ( @jag1e )
Well done good read
Robbo Vs Lewis - Numbers of the fallen Full Backs
One thing we definitely know about Norwich City is that when it comes down to the transfer market, they play excruciating hard-ball and relegation or not, they won’t just hand you their players for peanuts. They have a string of young talent with the likes of Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendia that could end up being fought over by many Premier League clubs and would make great additions, but highlighted as an ideal squad player who has the potential to make his name in a red jersey is left back Jamal Lewis
Liverpool are seeking cover at left back for Andy Robertson to take the pressure off and to avoid relying on James Milner playing out of position, as versatile as he may be. Jamal Lewis, 22, a young and rising talent has been all over the papers this week, which included a rejected bid of £10m fwhich has got people talking about Liverpool’s latest target. Man City have spent £376m on defenders since the arrival of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp £88m, with £75m on the world’s greatest defender, the man on form and on fiy-ah, Virgil Van Dijk.
Liverpool managed to obtain Andy Robertson for a then bargain price of £8m from relegated Hull City and manager Klopp is hoping once again to grab himself a summer bargain. I took the liberty to compare the stats of Robertson and Lewis but in a slightly different manner. I would use Lewis’ last year stats with his current team Norwich city (who have just been relegated) and compare that with Andy Robertson’s last year with Hull City (2016/17) when they were also relegated and see how our two boys compare before Klopp worked his magic on Robbo.
The stats below highlight both players in defence and attack for their respective clubs. We can clearly see that Robertson was already miles ahead of Lewis 3 years ago, although two years older l, in all areas except 6, especially in the number of duels won against his opponent.
If we are paying Norwich more than we had paid Hull back then, then the only reason would be because of the current transfer market prices and nothing more. A fair estimate, in my opinion, would be £10m plus Yasser Larouci or £15m max. £20m, for me, would definitely be out of the question, especially for a player who will be playing in the championship next season and isn’t as good as a young Andy Roberston.
Written by Kabir Jagwani ( @Jag1e )
Nice one. Shame the transfer never came off.
Stade De Reims interested in Yasser Larouci
The French outfit have joined Brentford and Leeds As a possible destination for the Youngster
French side, Stade De Reims are said to be interested in taking Liverpool Youngster Yasser Larouci to Ligue 1.
Larouci, whilst not requesting a move, has advised he is not going to pen fresh terms at Anfield which has triggered interest from the likes of Brentford and Leads with Reims now throwing their hat into the ring.
Stade De Reims are looking increasingly likely to lose Hassane Kamara this window which has hastened their search for a LWB with Larouci thought to be under consideration.
The Ligue 1 side will face competition from the likes of Leeds and Brentford. Brentford are looking for a player that can cover the entire left side of the pitch, which sees Larouci tick all the boxes.
Larouci, who was born in Algeria, joined Liverpool from French club Le Havre in 2017 as a winger, before switching to left-back.
Well thought of at Melwood, Liverpool were keen to agree new terms with the player, however, Larouci has hit a point in his career where he feels game time is imperative and Liverpool are seeming unable to offer any such guarantees. Liverpool, who have arguably the finest Left back in Europe are looking to further bolster their ranks in that area and are currently in Neqotiations with Norwich City over Jamal Lewis. With this in mind, the door to the first team appears a tough one to open for Larouci and he will seemingly have plenty of options prior to the new season.
Written by Jay
👍 I wonder where he will go.
Jamal Lewis "Desperate" for Liverpool Move
Norwich and Liverpool remain some distance apart in valuation
Norwich City Left Back Jamal Lewis is desperate for a move to Liverpool Football Club.
The Norther Ireland international is subject of Negotiations between Norwich and Liverpool with both parties some distance apart in their valuations.
Liverpool are said to be offering a fee of around £8m with an additional £2m in add-on's, Norwich, however, are said to want double that figure.
Negotiations look set to rumble on with the belief Norwich will show some leeway with the fee as the window ticks on. Norwich have already got a replacement in Sam McCallum who signed from Coventry City for £2.5m.
There we initial concerns that Lewis would have reservations over a move to Anfield to serve as an understudy to Andrew Robertson, having just established himself as a regular premier league starter, however, it's believed that the 22 year old would be happy to join under these conditions initially.
There are no shortage of admirers for Lewis and it remains to be seen as to whether any of those clubs firm up their interest with a bid. Liverpool, meanwhile, remain firmly in the driving seat and remain in talks with Norwich.
Written by Jay
It wasn't to be. Good article though.
Ismaila Sarr Fee advised by Agent
Watford star, Ismaila Sarr is a wanted man. The Senegalese International, having recently been relegated with his club has had more than his fair share of adoring glances from Premier League clubs and those overseas.
It had been reported earlier today by the Watford Observer that Liverpool were amongst 3 clubs from the Premier League to make enquiries. On that basis, we did some digging.
Liverpool HAVE seemingly made contact with the representatives of the player, however, no contact has been made at this point with Watford.
Wolves have made tentative enquiries, largely as a contingency in the event Adama Traore were to leave. Thirdly, as reported, Crystal Palace have made an enquiry as they see him as a potential replacement for Wilf Zaha, although, it's understood he would not be their first choice replacement.
Now, it has been advised that the Representatives of Sarr have indicated that it will take a fee of £36 million to entice Watford to sell, although this could be a reduced sum in the event favourable add-on's were to be included.
It remains to be seen as to whether Liverpool follow up their interest, however will likely be mindful of blocking the progress of youngsters such as Harvey Elliott.
It's all very interesting, could be worth keeping your eye on.
Written By LK
Let's hope this one happens would be a good addition. Nice piece too
It's hard to know where Klopp intends Minamino and Elliott to play exactly or in what kind of system they would play in. So I wouldn't think Sarr was competition for either. Sarr, I like but I think it's a horses for courses buy. To be rotated with Mane, Salah type positions. It frees Origi from the left (which I'm sure he'll be happy with). I think it gives Klopp more options on what system he wants to employ by buying Sarr - he's a player that would fit in his tried and tested better than (Origi, Ox or Mina as LW/RW). With a different system, Sarr wouldn't be preferred.
The Liverpool Way: Klopp’s Magic Carpet
From Shankly to Paisley to Fagan to Dalglish and now to Klopp, one critical element is clear and present - the Liverpool Way. We could argue that this modus operandi began well before Shanks took the reins at Anfield. After all, there were so many household names and league titles then. However, it was during his leadership that the put the Club on the football map and transformed it to the legendary status it has had today and has held for decades.
The Liverpool Way began during Shankly’s reign in the form of leadership principles, tactics, and approaches. Most of this came directly from the gaffer just like it is today with Jürgen Klopp - the current manager who has led the club to four trophies in 12 months. Klopp, most likely the Premier League Manager of the Year for bringing to Anfield Liverpool’s first top flight league title in 30 years, has unsurprisingly been compared to Shankly. It is quite uncanny that Klopp. Much like Shankly, has an incredible ability to communicate and lead by example. In his very first presser, he talked about this magic way about Liverpool, invoked the lore of Anfield’s heroes of the past almost guaranteed that there will be silverware within four years. He accomplished it as much in less than five years. Most striking is how Klopp’s leadership style has been vividly and visibly valuable in the difficult circumstances surrounding the Reds’ long wait to get over the line to secure their first league title in 30 years.
2020 has been quite a strange year to say the least. It’s been quite trying for all of humankind and the sports industry is no exception to the challenges. COVID-19 certainly had a major impact in the race for the league title. High flying Liverpool had to win only two more matches to claim the spoils and end the 30-year wait. But it did not come easy. Stopping and them restarting in a quite dramatically different way for all the clubs in the league likely was not easy. Liverpool were champions-elect long before the season was shut down in March for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Klopp even admitted that he held deep concerns about the threats made by some to “null and void” the campaign. Even in this stark reality of getting ever so close to the title yet having the season voided would have been yet another heartbreak for the club. Some may have even called it a curse. Even the Club’s owners were no strangers to a mythically curse of the Bambino (Babe Ruth of arch-rivals the New York Yankees supposedly cast this damming curse) that prevented the Boston Red Sox baseball cub from missing out on a World Series title for decades. Klopp, however, in his usual measured and down-to-earth tone and demeanor posited if stopping the season “helps one individual stay healthy, we do it no questions asked.” Club legend Jamie Carragher even accentuated this leadership style suggesting Klopp never said anything that crossed the line. “He always nails what needs to be said and how people are feeling,” Carragher effused. Shankly was exactly the same way and always had a way with words. It is no surprise that his quotes are often used in leadership terms in every walk of work and life. For example, Shankly famously once said, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”
Like Shanks, Klopp as well as Paisley and Dalglish held a strong belief that football and, of course on-the-pitch preparation during trainings should be simple, team-focused, and, above all, enjoyable. All of the elite gaffers preached that the collective force of the team was always more powerful than the individual. There’s a saying – likely etched in red and gold on that magic carpet –no one is ever above the club. Shankly was the first to emphasize this and successful Liverpool managers and teams always lived by this creed. It was the blue-collar working man philosophy that Shanks endeared and instilled into is teams. Coming from a community of miners, this man’s man outlook on life carried over to his teams and the local Liverpool community embraced it welcomingly. Klopp and Shankly didn’t have time for slackers and selected his teams based on their training performance. No one was above the Club.
It was a true people-oriented culture that both Shankly and Klopp espoused. Klopp had a similar upbringing and approach. His political view, for example, was all about the people and the reverence for the individual. “I'm on the left, of course. More left than middle. I believe in the welfare state. I'm not privately insured. I would never vote for a party because they promised to lower the top tax rate. My political understanding is this: if I am doing well, I want others to do well, too, “he said in response to a question from a reporter about his thoughts on the Brexit vote. Klopp’s success never was important to him rather it was the accolades and accomplishments of the team that mattered more. Both Shankly and Klopp both were about the team, the people, the Liverpool FC staff, the local community and the Liverpool Way. Shankly would demand a player on his team help the man next to him on and off the pitch. It was just that simple. In helping the other, Shankly emphasized that his player stand on his own two feet for the Liverpool cause. Shanks once stated that “The socialism I believe in is not really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day.” It is no wonder, Liverpool supporters all around the globe claim that Jürgen Klopp is the reincarnation of Bill Shankly.
If Shankly had been alive during the tragedy of the 96 lots souls at Hillsborough, there is no doubt the sad events of that tragic day would have been unbearable for him. The morning after the great 2019/2020 league title triumph and the lifting of the trophy, the Club placed the shining trophy at the foot of the memorial to honor the 96 surrounding by fresh flowers. Every one of those heroes would have been proud. It was not lots on Klopp nor any Liverpool supporter that the Club clinched the title in the 96th minute against Crystal Palace and lifted the trophy minutes after defeating Chelsea to amass 96 points for the season. It was personal, emotional, and it was fitting and cosmic as it’s the Liverpool Way.
Both Klopp and Shankly would stress the importance of the full squad being the team – mot juts the eleven on the pitch or the eighteen named for match day. “We don’t have eleven players here,” Shankly would often say….we have twenty.” Klopp also is the same way – or rather, he espouses the Liverpool Way. You see, that’s the key thing: every member of the squad assembled during training had a role to play. After all, the Liverpool team tom play that weekend against any opposition needed to be strong. Every member worked hard to make each other better – and ready for that challenge. The reserve team -- particularly the young up-and-comers -- was there to have an education: to enable them players to learn and embrace to the Liverpool way.
Shanks, Paisley, Dalglish and Klopp all had an uncanny passion for football They lived football 24 hours a day, with the only other passion in his life being family -- and that family included the people, the supporters, the community and the fans who adore the team from every corner of the world. This global awareness was not lost on these men. This fiery passion shone through from the first day each one of them walked onto the arena called Anfield. The Liverpool Way would not approve of any other method or emotion. From Shankly to Klopp, this in this passion was ever-present on the touchline for each and every match the team played. It was an all-consuming passion and determination that set the standards for Liverpool FC that still holds good to this day. It is no surprise that both Shanks and Klopp also played the game this way during their playing career and brought the same ethos into their managerial days.
The Liverpool Way is not lost on the Clubs supporters anywhere in the world. There is a semblance of mythology or magic in this. Fans around the globe can clearly see this Way and can understand and comprehend how the approach works. Certainly, they saw that the Way had been lost during the dark days of the club when the League tile eluded it for three decades. Liverpool Football Club is famous – as are many other football clubs – for their songs. One song, in particular encapsulates this Liverpool way and Jürgen Klopp, like his illustrious predecessors knows this well. “Fields of Anfield Road” is the song. The song honors this Liverpool Way and the managers that led the club to glory. This is the magic carpet that Klopp embraced, rode, and led the Club to an amazing, unforgettable, and record-breaking season in 2020. This line in the song’s lyrics say it all…..“And the Redmen they are still playing the same way.
Written by Dr.Kop
Top article this. Thanks
This is great! Thank you! Much thought has gone into it.
Adam Lallana Set for Brighton Move.
Liverpool man, Adam Lallana, has agreed a move to Brighton and Hove Albion. The Premier League winner has agreed terms on a 3 Year deal at the Amex stadium to work alongside Graham Potter.
Lallana was subject of long term interest from Leicester City, with former boss Brendan Rodgers keen to add him to the ranks, however, it is thought the club had concerns over costs when measured against his age. With Leicester seeemingly dallying over terms to be offered, Brighton have come in with a superb package for the player, whilst seeing he will be central to club's visions moving forward.
The 32 year old midfielder, who grew up an Everton Supporter, has just ended his most rewarding 13 months, picking up European cup, World cup, Super cup and Premier League winners medals with Liverpool.
Lallana's attitude both on and off the pitch were huge factors for Brighton and reason enough to see Technical Director, Dan Ashworth pull out all the stops to get their man, with Lallana believed to be very excited by the move.
Signed in 2014 for a fee of £25 million, this move brings to a close a 6 year stay on Merseyside with the player believed to have already cleared his Locker at Melwood.
We wish Adam all the very best in his future endeavours with Brighton and Hove Albion. Lallana leaves a champion, and with all his application and dedication to the club, he has guaranteed that He Will Never Walk Alone.
Written by Jay
Nice to see Lallana written about. Well done.
A long, long wait - Finally Champions Again!
Yesterday’s Premier League trophy presentation in an almost empty Anfield, was the crowing of the Kings of English football. In keeping with the King theme, it was only right and proper to see Sir Kenny Dalglish included in the presentation party.
We have known for months that our 19th league championship was on its way, before the season was justly and understandably delayed whilst the world came to terms with Covid virus. Thankfully, we found a way to finish the season.
So where does it rank in all of our trophy winning accomplishments? Well for me it sits at the top of the list. Why? Well, for me the football landscape has changed so much and is barely recognisable from the days when sporting prowess was priority and business and finance were very much secondary. In today's modern world, players will choose the ‘bright lights of London’ over Northern destinations and money speaks volumes and often takes precedent over medals. 1990 and all of that that way seems light years ago.
The project of turning ‘doubters into believer’s’ under the intense, watchful eye of Jurgen Klopp has delivered big time. It would have been easy to come away from the Champions League Final loss to Real Madrid and wallow in self pity, but not a chance of that under Klopp, “We are Liverpool" he sung in the early hours of the morning following that defeat, our manager is arguably the most philosophical of all. Equally if you accrue 97 points you expect to be league champions but alas that wasn't to be. But again Klopp set about using disappointment to create ‘mentality monsters' and the remit was to ‘go again' in 2019/20. And didn’t they just!.
The response to missing out so cruelly wasn't to throw money at the squad. A decision that was often criticised by fans desperate to go one better next time round. The manager threw down the challenge to largely the same squad to see just how resilient they were
What we did see was a Liverpool side that cleverly used VAR by trusting that those marginal offsideswould be picked up at Stockley Park, and with that trust in mind we pushed our back four up twenty yards The result of this allowing the back four to join in the possession play, with Van Dijk in particular using a wide range of passing to go direct when necessary. Or just nullify or take the sting out of our opponents. For me this has been a tactical masterstroke.
This season has a shown level of consistency that, prior to lockdown, we had never seen the likes of before.With inner belief and desire to go one better Liverpool set about their opponents week in week out. I haveoften sat and watched games with Leicester away being the best example of how we overwhelm teams and force them to abandon their own game plans and spend the remainder of the game trying repel wave after wave of Liverpool attacks. At times games resemble those attack vs defence training drills. That is testament to just how well drilled we are and how effective our system is.
Once again this season Alisson and the back four have been formidable. Van Dijk has again delivered the ‘calm as you like' performances we have become accustomed to. But special praise goes to Alexander-Arnold who over the last two seasons has no equal in terms of assists and that’s saying something considering the quality of attacking players in our league and the not so small matter of him being a right back. This young man is going to rival the likes of Gerrard etc as one of our very best, so sit back and enjoy this generational talent.
Our midfield is often the subject of many social media debates, the reality is without the industrious nature of it our system fails. Henderson and Wijnaldum do so much off the ball and fill in the spaces our full backs vacate when bombing on creating goals. Ably assisted by the model pro Milner, the ever improving Keita and the energy of Oxlade-Chamberlain this area of the team is crucial for us. We have a disciplined and physical midfield that wins us many of our matches if you want to beat Liverpool you have to overcome our midfield. Easier said than done.
What can you say about the front three that hasn't already been said? Both Salah and Mane continue to score their goals and Salah may this season join an elite club of Liverpool players who have scored twenty or more league goals for three consecutive seasons. His left sided team mate is one of the favourites for the coveted Player If The Year honour and you couldn't argue that Mane would be anything over than a worthy winner of that award. And finally Bobby Firmino who hasn't enjoyed a free scoring season, but is a man adored and recognised by all reds fans for his work ethic and his unselfishness. It is his intelligence that creates openings for his team mates. We mustn't forget he is the catalyst for our press and counter press. Personally, I wouldn’t swap him for anyone.
Our first XI picks itself but when called upon Milner, Matip and the emerging Curtis Jones and the othershave not let anyone down.
So it's been two seasons of winning trophies for the reds now and despite some indifferent performances since we have come back from lockdown you can rest assured that there will motivation and desire in abundance next season.
The old adage that good sides win the league, but great sides retain them is without doubt the challenge laid out in front of this team 20/21.
We may lose and add one or two over the course of the next transfer window. But unlike years gone by, we won't be pinning our hopes on new signings to make us great once more. We are already great, and the incoming challenge of our closest rivals will decide exactly just how good this can be when compared to Liverpool teams of years gone by. I do believe it’s harder to win the league now than it was thirty years ago, so they are well on their way.
Written by @StePlunk
Great Read. CHAMPIONS!
Brilliant read Ste! One of the few people I enjoy speaking to about football and Liverpool FC. Couldn’t of said it any better 👍🏻
Wow! This pretty much sums it all up! There wasn’t a dry eye on the red half of Merseyside. Thanks for this, brought back those raw emotions of last night! YNWA
Liverpool Sign Mateusz Musialowski
Liverpool have an agreement to sign 16 year old Polish starlet, Mateusz Musialowski.
the forward has been plying his trade with Polish fourth tier side SMS Łódź. Musialowski is widely regarded in his homeland as one of the most talented individuals developed in recent years.
The Pole has represented his country at U17 level and has accrued 130 goals in 80 appearances for his club.
The skilful forward has signed scholarship terms with Liverpool with a Professional deal provisionally agreed for when he turns 17 on October the 16th.
written by Jay
Thanks for the info. Didnt know much about this signing.
Oh Ffs! Seriously?! This will make all the difference!
What now for Divock Origi?
Divock Origi, a name chanted from the terraces on many occasion for providing some magical moments in times of need for Liverpool.
The Belgian has become something of a cult figure on Merseyside, strengthened further by his huge goal in the Champions League final last year to seal Liverpool's 6th European cup triumph. For many players, such achievements will have cemented them in the first team most weeks, however for Divock, it is different. He is part of a team that is exceptional by any standards, a frontline that any club in Europe would be delighted to field, Origi instead finds himself very much on the periphery of things at Anfield with fresh debate as to whether he provides sufficient cover for any of the front 3.
So what now for the Champions league winner? at 25, Origi will surely be looking at his career prospects. As things stand, he is very unlikely to dislodge any of the current front 3 and he is now beyond the point of being considered a prospect. A Belgian International and a reputation forged whilst representing his country at a World Cup, is it time to consider a move in order to cement his first team place? prior interest from Wolves amounted to nothing, but it has been suggested interest remains, clubs in Europe would surely also consider him a fantastic option. Or, does Divock stick around at Anfield and accept his role as a player to be called upon as/when or if required?
A player blessed with good pace and trickery, Origi has all the tools to be a top player, however at Liverpool he has failed to make that step up to being a regular for Liverpool. It would be foolish to suggest this is based purely on his ability, it is worth reiterating that he is up against, arguably, the finest forward line in football currently. Jamie Carragher, whilst speaking with Sky Sports, again suggested that the drop off is sizeable when any of the front the 3 are missing and feels that Origi is not good enough to fill any void, a casing argument may be, where do you find sufficient cover in the current economical climate?
The question remains, is it stick or twist for Origi? The club seemingly have no immediate plans to move the forward on , however the player himself may well have to ask himself that question for the sake of his career development.
Origi has become a cult hero, legend in his own right amongst fans, however, should he stay or go? let us know in the comments section.
Interesting read. Exactly what will we do with him?.
Sell. We need better!
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