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  1. Arsenal produced a sorry performance in losing 1-0 at West Ham. Lifeless, turgid, shite. The exact type of performance they became synonymous with under Wenger. It’s too soon to be making any kind of judgement on Emery and his methods, but that stink is clearly going to take a long time (and a lot of money) to clear. There’s nothing surprising about it. The sixth best squad in the country will most likely finish sixth now that United have cut loose the massive dead weight that was slowing them down. Arsenal are where they should be but the gap between them and the top four is now huge in terms of player quality. They need to spend big but Kroenke isn’t going to do that. In fact, the suggestion this month is that they’re only able to bring anyone in if it’s a loan deal. Ouch. Arsenal never lose at West Ham though and the manner of this defeat prompted me to have a little look at Arsenal Fan TV for the first time this season. Great stuff. DT is still the same angry, aggressive, arrogant knobhead, only instead of leading a “Wenger Out” campaign he’s now urging his fellow fans to target the owners by not buying anything inside the Emirates. He’s not wrong to be fair to him like. Most expensive tickets in the league and they’re talking about only being able to sign loan players? The price you pay for giving Ozil nearly half a million a week to sit in the stands I guess. Amusingly, DT did acknowledge that little Ty is one of the biggest problems as he is single handedly keeping them in business with all the shit he buys in the club shop. Troopz, meanwhile, was understandably kicking off over the fact that his club are paying shite players crazy salaries, and pointed out that Carl Jenkinson is on 65k a week. Fucking hell, that’s mad. What are they smoking down there at the Emirates? I always used to get Jenkinson confused with Callum Chambers, as I’m sure some of you must also. Here’s a little trick I use to tell the difference; Chambers is the shit one, and Jenkinson is the REALLY shit one. Kind of like how it used to be with James McCarthy / James McArthur, until they confused the issue by switching roles. Meanwhile, I had no idea Samir Nasri was back in the Premier League, but if you’d asked me to name the top three most likely landing spots for him, West Ham would have been one, two and three on the list. The most West Ham signing ever that is. The Hammers have improved steadily under Pellegrini but they might be about to lose Arnautovic to China. Initially I was appalled at the notion he’d walk away from a top league to go and play over there. In theory I’m against any player still in his prime doing that, but the more I think about it the more I reckon he’d be stupid not to. This isn’t like Oscar or that other Brazilian midfielder (his name escapes me for now) who left Chelsea to chase the money. Arnautovic isn’t at Chelsea. He’s not challenging for major honours. He’s at West Ham. Before that he was at Stoke. It doesn’t look like any of the top teams want him so if he can quadruple his wages by going to China then good luck to him I guess. He’d be a loss to the Premier League as he’s a really good player, but West Ham will no doubt already have a replacement lined up. What’s David Trezeguet up to these days? Or Stephane Guivarch? Besides, Arnautovic can always return there for one last big pay day when he’s in his mid-30s. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that PL Round Ups are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  2. James Milner is someone who does not hand out praise lightly, so when he does give a endorsement, you have to sit up and take note.The evergreen utility who is in the frame to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back for the next few weeks, believes that goalkeeper Alisson has been the most consistent player for the Reds this season.While in the past it may have been a easy choice to pinpoint a specific individual, this season has seen a number of players worthy of high praise.Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum and prior to his injury Joe Gomez all make compelling cases, but Milner has a valid reason for choosing the Brazilian.Metro reports Milner as saying:"It’s hard to pick out one player because everyone in the squad has done so well, not just the 11 who are starting." I think maybe one you could select is Alisson. "Coming to a new league is never easy. ‘It’s a new lifestyle and you are also getting used to the weather and things like that, but he’s been unbelievable: from how he is around the place, to how good he is on the pitch with his feet and with the saves he makes." Goalkeeping is arguably the most scrutinised position on the pitch.A midfielder may consistently turn over possession with loose passes, or a striker may miss a hatful of chances, but one mistake from the man between the sticks and you can bet it will a main point of discussion the next day.Knowing the expectation would be placed on him would be high due to the transfer fee paid to Roma in the summer, the 26 year-old has not let him be affected by it in the slightest.Even when he has made a error such as against Leicester or Man United, Alisson has completely eradicated it from his mind and moved onto the next passage of play.13 clean sheets from 22 league appearances is a superb record, and is also a indication of the overall improvement of the defensive unit as a whole. Comparing that with the previous two seasons, the Reds kept just 29 clean sheets during that span (17 in 2017/18 and 12 in 2016/7).Milner continued his effusive praise of Alisson."He’s been unbelievable for us this season so far and I believe that he’ll be a massive, massive player for us going forward."This topic leads on to a further question. Who do the fans think has been the best player during this campaign.Do you agree with James Milner, or is there another player who has caught your eye? View full article
  3. James Milner is someone who does not hand out praise lightly, so when he does give a endorsement, you have to sit up and take note.The evergreen utility who is in the frame to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back for the next few weeks, believes that goalkeeper Alisson has been the most consistent player for the Reds this season.While in the past it may have been a easy choice to pinpoint a specific individual, this season has seen a number of players worthy of high praise.Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum and prior to his injury Joe Gomez all make compelling cases, but Milner has a valid reason for choosing the Brazilian.Metro reports Milner as saying:"It’s hard to pick out one player because everyone in the squad has done so well, not just the 11 who are starting." I think maybe one you could select is Alisson. "Coming to a new league is never easy. ‘It’s a new lifestyle and you are also getting used to the weather and things like that, but he’s been unbelievable: from how he is around the place, to how good he is on the pitch with his feet and with the saves he makes." Goalkeeping is arguably the most scrutinised position on the pitch.A midfielder may consistently turn over possession with loose passes, or a striker may miss a hatful of chances, but one mistake from the man between the sticks and you can bet it will a main point of discussion the next day.Knowing the expectation would be placed on him would be high due to the transfer fee paid to Roma in the summer, the 26 year-old has not let him be affected by it in the slightest.Even when he has made a error such as against Leicester or Man United, Alisson has completely eradicated it from his mind and moved onto the next passage of play.13 clean sheets from 22 league appearances is a superb record, and is also a indication of the overall improvement of the defensive unit as a whole. Comparing that with the previous two seasons, the Reds kept just 29 clean sheets during that span (17 in 2017/18 and 12 in 2016/7).Milner continued his effusive praise of Alisson."He’s been unbelievable for us this season so far and I believe that he’ll be a massive, massive player for us going forward."This topic leads on to a further question. Who do the fans think has been the best player during this campaign.Do you agree with James Milner, or is there another player who has caught your eye?
  4. When you think of guile and grace as a midfielder, one name that personally comes to mind is Xabi Alonso. To this day, Xabi remains in my top three all-time favourite Liverpool players for many of the qualities that will be discussed in this piece.Signed for a absolute snip at £10.7 million from Real Sociedad at the start of Rafa Benitez's tenure in the summer of 2004, the Spaniard's arrival in England was at the peak of a pre-eminent era for central midfielders in the Premier League. He joined the likes of Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Claude Makalele while having a pretty handy teammate in Steven Gerrard. Alonso displayed a point of difference to some of his contemporaries. While the English game was largely built on power, pace and work ethic, Alonso's brought a high level of technical skill to the forefront. The Liverpool midfield of the mid 2000s had a terrific blend. Didi Hamman and Mo Sissoko were the glue, Gerrard the talismanic figure, Luis Garcia the crafty X factor, while Alonso was the player who made the team tick. When he played well, more often than not Liverpool were on the winning side.Creating goals was the main strength of Alonso's game, however when he put the ball in the back in the net himself, he did it in style with some substance attached for good measure. Some examples included a superb free kick which helped turn round a two goal deficit against Fulham, finishing off a terrific flowing team move with aplomb against the Gunners (both were in his first few months at the club), along with scoring the vital equaliser in the Champions League final against AC Milan later that season. However it is a goal in the early part of the 2006/7 season which underlined Alonso's brilliant game sense, vision and technical quality in the one passage of play. The Reds had made a pretty miserable start to the new campaign, claiming four points from as many games which included losses to Chelsea and a galling 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.Having scored just two goals in those four games, the Reds were desperate to kick start their season. Newcastle were the opponents for the midweek game and summer signing Dirk Kurt opened his account for his new club in the first half which was Liverpool's first goal in over 300 minutes. Alonso was at the heart of the move, playing a defence splitting ball to Steve Finnan who crossed it to the Dutchman who scored with a sliding finish.With the pressure of scoring finally off their shoulders, the confidence began to grow with the home side looking to double their lead. Their opponents were offering little threat going forward and it became a matter of when Liverpool would double their lead. Step forward the Spanish maestro.With Newcastle looking to produce a rare attack, Alonso took the ball from the feet of Charles N'Zogbia and while assessing what options were able on the counter attack, saw Magpies goalkeeper Steve Harper off his line.Alonso had a history of scoring from his own half, having done so in the third round of the FA Cup in the previous season against Luton. While that strike had a slight sense of good fortune as it took a few bobbles before going into the empty net, on this occasion he struck the ball with venom from 70 yards, taking one bounce before lodging in the back of the net giving a backpedalling Harper no chance. Anfield broke into a rapturous cheers as Alonso leaped into the arms of Pepe Reina with the goal helping secure a second home win of the season. Many players have tried to follow Alonso's lead and it can look quite ugly if not executed correctly. The ability of the Spaniard to assess the situation and get his technique right was simply sublime. In all, Alonso made 143 appearances for the Reds over five seasons contributing 15 goals. He played for the club in a time where the record in Europe was top class, but unfortunately could not find the consistency needed across a domestic campaign.Xabi's departure from the club was much like Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in that it left a sour taste and still does to this day. There was a lot of speculation that Alonso was offput by Benitez's pursuit of Aston Villa's Gareth Barry in the summer of 2008 which ended up being a fruitless chase.There was also a wide held belief that the friction between the pair began a few months prior when Alonso missed the second leg of a Champions League quarter final clash against Inter Milan to be at the birth of his son. According to Alonso, he offered to fly out to Milan after the birth but it was refused by the manager. Alonso ended up staying for the 08/09 season, but soon after he departed to join Real Madrid.Whatever the reason, his unfortunate departure was widely felt from the fans to the players itself. Gerrard openly admitted he was devastated when Alonso left, a player who he described as the best midfielder he played with.What is a known fact is that Alonso left a indelible mark on the club, and as fans can be extremely thankful for his contribution. View full article
  5. When you think of guile and grace as a midfielder, one name that personally comes to mind is Xabi Alonso. To this day, Xabi remains in my top three all-time favourite Liverpool players for many of the qualities that will be discussed in this piece.Signed for a absolute snip at £10.7 million from Real Sociedad at the start of Rafa Benitez's tenure in the summer of 2004, the Spaniard's arrival in England was at the peak of a pre-eminent era for central midfielders in the Premier League. He joined the likes of Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Claude Makalele while having a pretty handy teammate in Steven Gerrard. Alonso displayed a point of difference to some of his contemporaries. While the English game was largely built on power, pace and work ethic, Alonso's brought a high level of technical skill to the forefront. The Liverpool midfield of the mid 2000s had a terrific blend. Didi Hamman and Mo Sissoko were the glue, Gerrard the talismanic figure, Luis Garcia the crafty X factor, while Alonso was the player who made the team tick. When he played well, more often than not Liverpool were on the winning side.Creating goals was the main strength of Alonso's game, however when he put the ball in the back in the net himself, he did it in style with some substance attached for good measure. Some examples included a superb free kick which helped turn round a two goal deficit against Fulham, finishing off a terrific flowing team move with aplomb against the Gunners (both were in his first few months at the club), along with scoring the vital equaliser in the Champions League final against AC Milan later that season. However it is a goal in the early part of the 2006/7 season which underlined Alonso's brilliant game sense, vision and technical quality in the one passage of play. The Reds had made a pretty miserable start to the new campaign, claiming four points from as many games which included losses to Chelsea and a galling 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.Having scored just two goals in those four games, the Reds were desperate to kick start their season. Newcastle were the opponents for the midweek game and summer signing Dirk Kurt opened his account for his new club in the first half which was Liverpool's first goal in over 300 minutes. Alonso was at the heart of the move, playing a defence splitting ball to Steve Finnan who crossed it to the Dutchman who scored with a sliding finish.With the pressure of scoring finally off their shoulders, the confidence began to grow with the home side looking to double their lead. Their opponents were offering little threat going forward and it became a matter of when Liverpool would double their lead. Step forward the Spanish maestro.With Newcastle looking to produce a rare attack, Alonso took the ball from the feet of Charles N'Zogbia and while assessing what options were able on the counter attack, saw Magpies goalkeeper Steve Harper off his line.Alonso had a history of scoring from his own half, having done so in the third round of the FA Cup in the previous season against Luton. While that strike had a slight sense of good fortune as it took a few bobbles before going into the empty net, on this occasion he struck the ball with venom from 70 yards, taking one bounce before lodging in the back of the net giving a backpedalling Harper no chance. Anfield broke into a rapturous cheers as Alonso leaped into the arms of Pepe Reina with the goal helping secure a second home win of the season. Many players have tried to follow Alonso's lead and it can look quite ugly if not executed correctly. The ability of the Spaniard to assess the situation and get his technique right was simply sublime. In all, Alonso made 143 appearances for the Reds over five seasons contributing 15 goals. He played for the club in a time where the record in Europe was top class, but unfortunately could not find the consistency needed across a domestic campaign.Xabi's departure from the club was much like Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in that it left a sour taste and still does to this day. There was a lot of speculation that Alonso was offput by Benitez's pursuit of Aston Villa's Gareth Barry in the summer of 2008 which ended up being a fruitless chase.There was also a wide held belief that the friction between the pair began a few months prior when Alonso missed the second leg of a Champions League quarter final clash against Inter Milan to be at the birth of his son. According to Alonso, he offered to fly out to Milan after the birth but it was refused by the manager. Alonso ended up staying for the 08/09 season, but soon after he departed to join Real Madrid.Whatever the reason, his unfortunate departure was widely felt from the fans to the players itself. Gerrard openly admitted he was devastated when Alonso left, a player who he described as the best midfielder he played with.What is a known fact is that Alonso left a indelible mark on the club, and as fans can be extremely thankful for his contribution.
  6. Report by Dave Usher One of the biggest wins of the season under the circumstances. A nice four or five goal stroll would have been preferable of course, but it was somewhat fitting that we did it this way, as we are where we are this season based on this kind of ultra professional, ballsy win. Losing against City shouldn’t have had any negative impact on the confidence of the players as it was a tight game that could have gone either way. In isolation that loss wasn’t going to do too much damage to our title chances either, providing of course that we just picked right up where we’d left off before that defeat. This game was huge in terms of that. It was as big a test as we've had all season. Anything other than three points would have been utterly soul destroying and probably season changing. We can’t give City any encouragement as they’re capable of going unbeaten between now and the end of the season. So are we though. You can’t always smack lesser teams about and on those difficult days when it becomes a slog, the only thing that counts is winning. We’ve had loads of these grind it out wins and it must be doing City’s head in. When we were chasing them it was their close wins that got to me more than the beatdowns. They’ll have hated this, as right until the very end there was the hope for them that we might drop points. But we didn’t drop points. We did what we’ve done all season and took care of business. We haven’t had to do it like this very often in recent weeks but earlier in the season these kind of wins were becoming the norm. We’re becoming machine-like and it’s great. More often than not you’ll beat the weaker sides with plenty to spare, but not always. Sometimes it’s tight and tense. Teams that don’t win the title can usually point to these scrappy games as the reason why. It’s so easy to drop points in these games but so far we’ve got a 100% record against sides outside of the top five. Incredible. To do that you can’t afford any mistakes at the back and you have to find a way to get the breakthrough at the other end. Brighton didn’t have a single shot on target (and they only had a couple off target) and although we only managed the one goal when you defend like we do now, that’s usually enough. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to saying that after all these years of keystone cops defending and 4-3 wins, but this is where we are now. Big Virgil has transformed the culture. It’s all about the clean sheets. The big man was imperious again in this game. Fabinho did well alongside him too, but Virgil is so good, so dominant and so much of a leader that Klopp could have probably dragged someone out of the away end and Van Dijk would have been able to carry them through the game. That’s doing Fabinho a bit of a dis-service, but you get the point. Seeing him yelling and pointing and making sure everyone is doing their jobs just makes you feel safe, doesn't it? The game is in the balance, but you think "it's fine, Virgil's got this". This is just a teaser, click here to view the full report Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  7. Saturday Jan 5: Lots of interesting bits from Klopp’s pre-Wolves presser today. The 16 year old Dutch kid might play against Wolves, as might Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho, who is a target for his former club Sporting Lisbon apparently. We might need him on Monday though because we’ve got no back up right back after Clyne was allowed to join Bournemouth on loan. Something doesn’t really add up here. Clyne apparently asked to leave, but why would he want out when there’s a chance of him playing a role in a title win and / or Champions League success? Ok, he’s not first choice, but he started against United and he’s been on the bench ever since. He’s not a million miles away from getting a game. Trent could get injured, Gomez is regularly injured, and Clyne might even be next in line at left back. He’s giving that up to go and play for Bournemouth? It’s not even a World Cup or Euros year, so it’s not like he needs to worry about an England spot. Just seems weird to me, but then Clyne’s entire situation for the past couple of years has been weird. There was barely ever any updates on when he’d be fit again after his back injury, and when was the last time he did any kind of interview with the TV channel? Usually injured players are on there all the time, hell, Ox is on there more than Peter McDowell, but Clyne has been nowhere to be seen. Like I say, just a very odd situation. He’ll be joined at Bournemouth by Dom Solanke, who made a permanent move there for £19m. Michael Edwards drives a harder bargain that Daniel Levy these days. Credit where it's due, we do great when it comes to bringing in big money for players we don’t want. I like Solanke though, he’ll be a good player for someone but it's been clear for a while it wouldn’t be for us. Just not a great fit for how we play. Klopp basically said we needed to do right by him and let him leave because if you want to attract young players to the club you have to show them that they’ll either get a chance or they’ll be allowed to move on. Keeping hold of Solanke would have served no purpose at this point. £19m though? Bournemouth are great aren’t they? Other snippets from today were that Moreno and Mignolet will both start in Monday night’s upcoming defeat at Wolves. Moreno is “an unbelievably professional person” apparently, and as for Mignolet, well Klopp said “I could write a book of all the good things I could say about Simon”. Yeah, and it’d be in the fiction aisle, amirite? Sunday Jan 6: Fulham want Origi and we want £25m. Neither is happening and here’s why: Fulham have got Mitrovic, Shurrle and Sessegnon, so they’re fine up top. They need defenders, not a centre forward. And as for us, well we’ve just sold Solanke so why would we let Origi go as well? Unless we’re bringing someone in of course, or promoting a kid. Bobby Duncan is making big progress but fuck knows where Rhian Brewster is. He was meant to be back in November and there’s still no sign of him and as far as I’m aware there’s been no updates. He’ll be at Bournemouth before we know it. It’s easy to say Clyne, Solanke and Origi are all expendable and won’t be missed, but I don’t like the idea of us coming out of a transfer window significantly weaker than when we went into it, especially when there’s so much at stake in the next five months. Mind you, I'm still pissed we sold arl Ragnar in the summer. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that 'The Week that Was' is only available to TLW website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first, registration is FREE) and can be purchased here.
  8. The Reds have been flying since the start of the season; only suffering their first league defeat of the campaign against Manchester City on the 3rd January. Bookmakers have recently installed the Klopp’s men as the outright favourites for the Premier League title, but could there still be room for improvement? If you take one look at some betting companies’ transfer specials, you will see straight away that Liverpool are the favourites to sign various players. Including long-term Summer target Nabil Fekir. But which areas should Liverpool be looking to add further depth too? It’s hard to believe the Reds should be looking to add further quality to their side after a near perfect start to the season, but the FA Cup defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers highlights that there is certain areas for improvement. Manchester City excel when it comes to squad depth as they have an embarrassment of riches to come off the bench; something that Reds don’t have. Although Daniel Sturridge has proven to be a good back-up to the irresistible front three, he isn’t of the same quality as City’s Gabriel Jesus. Needless to say, neither is Divock Origi. The fact that Sturridge was relegated with West Bromwich Albion last season, just highlights his short comings. Granted he wasn’t fully fit for much of the second half of last season, but he didn’t make the impact that he, Klopp or West Brom was hoping for. A second striker would be hard to find. Especially when you think that they would need to be persuaded to play second fiddle to Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. Jurgen Klopp would be sure to make a move should the right player become available, but the German has also proved to be shrewd in his transfer business since arrive at Liverpool. Klopp doesn’t spend big money unless it can be justified. The purchases of Virgil Van Dijk and Alison just prove this. These two signings were massive money signings but were undoubtedly needed, just looking at the Red’s defensive record this season highlights their importance. Another area in which Klopp may look to add depth is within the attacking midfield positions. He has already stated his disappointment with Naby Keita and his ability to transition to life in the Premier League. Klopp said: “I spoke to him. [With] Naby everything is fine. I am completely happy with him. Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes. Is he exactly the player in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he is still adapting - that is how it is" With that being said, Keita has shown glimpses of his best but with this being Liverpool’s best chance at the Premier League title, chances can’t be taken. Liverpool have missed that creative guile since Phillipe Coutinho moved to Barcelona last year. Hence why the club were so invested in bringing in Fekir from Lyon over the summer. However, the sum likely to convince the French club to sell their prized asset may differ from the price that Liverpool are willing to pay. Klopp may look elsewhere for a player that matches this description, with Aaron Ramsey also muted as a possible target; however, it looks likely that the Welshman will join Juventus in the summer instead of remaining in the Premier League. Defensive options are another area where the Reds may look to strengthen. The favourite according to bookmakers for this position is Burnley’s English international James Tarkowski. The 26-year-old has struggled this season, but last season’s performances saw him called up to the England set up prior to the World Cup. Burnley’s £50 million price tag may however put potential suitors off the defender. The January market is a tough window to make your mark, with prices even more inflated than in the summer, but should Liverpool identify a target that could win them their maiden Premier League title; you will be sure that the board would do everything possible to make that move happen.
  9. tlw content

    Has Klopp Identified a Missing Link?

    Liverpool are entering one of the most important periods in the club’s history. This proud team has a stack of trophies to its name but the lack of a top flight title in the Premier League era remains an elusive piece in the Anfield jigsaw. The side returns from FA Cup duty with a four point lead over Manchester City who are their only genuine challengers at the top. With the transfer window open once more, the obvious question is whether manager Jurgen Klopp sticks with the squad that has taken him this far or whether he takes a gamble on a new addition in the hope of boosting that title challenge. If the answer is yes then the next question is who? Here are some names being touted around the gossip columns as the window drags on. Abdulkadir Omur It’s ridiculous to start a sentence with the words ‘if the gossip columns are to be believed’ as clearly they rarely get it right. However, the links with Trabzonspor’s Abdulkadir Omur have been active since the start of the week and talk of a £27m bid has gathered momentum. The 19 year old has been described as the ‘Turkish Messi’ in places but bare stats don’t quite back that statement up. There is additional talk of Newcastle getting involved with the winger and that may be a more likely scenario. He may be one for the future but this seems an unlikely link for now. Timo Werner At 22, Timo Werner is far more of a finished article and at a reported transfer fee of £36 million, he represents something of a bargain in the modern era. After a slow start as a teenager at Stuttgart, the German international flourished at RB Leipzig where he comfortably averages more than a goal every other game in all competitions. Anyone looking for football bets offers may now consider Liverpool, the new favourites, as the right punt for the 2018/19 title and, of course, there is Mo Salah banging in the goals with the same regularity that saw him capture the Golden Boot in 2017/18. There is that scoring support from just behind the striker too but could Klopp look back to the classic Suarez and Sturridge partnership and decide that another out-and-out goal scorer is needed in January? Nicolo Barella Another up and coming youngster believed to be on Liverpool’s radar is Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella. There are fewer rumours in this respect but like Abdulkadir Omur, he’s one for the future at best. At the age of 21, Barella is developing nicely with the Serie A side and is thought to be under the radar of a number of top European scouts. Napoli, Roma, both Milan clubs and, inevitably, Chelsea have been mentioned along the way so there is plenty of competition if this link is to be believed. It’s worth noting that he has already made four appearances for the full Italian national side so would command a high fee. That might not deter a club who is happy to either park a player or send them out on loan but at Liverpool, there is seemingly no immediate need. January is traditionally a quieter time for transfer gossip but it’s particularly slow where Liverpool are concerned this time around. That’s understandable given the team’s position at the top of the table but Jurgen Klopp still faces a tricky decision. Does he make a new signing and risk unsettling the balance of a successful team or does he stick with his current squad and keep faith in those who are targeting that first Premier League trophy?
  10. James Milner has expressed a level of disappointment following Liverpool's defeat to Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday night.The veteran midfielder is renowned for calling it as he sees it. While there were a number of senior players rested for the game, and a theory that this defeat would aid Liverpool in terms of their league and European campaigns, Milner was having none of that.ESPN reported the vice-captain as saying:"I think when you're a team like us, with the players we have, you want to win every single game." In the league [we are in a good position], yeah, but obviously that's not what we've thinking about. "We want to progress in every game we play -- whether it's the Champions League, League Cup or the Premier League."Newcastle legend and current BBC pundit Alan Shearer was one of the critics of Jurgen Klopp's mass rotations for the game, calling it a "gamble" and saying " he was brought up watching Liverpool try to win every trophy and why should that change now." After having a season where everything was seemingly going to script, Liverpool have lost two games in a row for the first time in this campaign.While it is hardly what you call a full blown crisis, Milner knows it is important to get back to winning ways as soon as possible to prevent a level of doubt creeping into the ranks."You're never going to go a full season without having blips."I think at the start of this season we weren't playing our best but we were getting results."Back-to-back defeats now, which really isn't good enough for us, but you have blips in a season. "It's not about having those blips, they're expected and no team goes throughout a season without having them, it's how you respond and how you bounce back."Milner has been around long enough to assess a character of a squad and believes this team is made of the right qualities to turn things around.However he says actions not words, is what will get the job done."I think you've seen the character in the squad in the last few years and the players we have to know we will bounce back. "We have to show that, though it's easy saying it in an interview, we have to do it on the pitch at the weekend." Another ability of the veteran is being able to identity a talent, especially having been in the same position as Ki-Jana Hoever 16 years ago.He has seen enough from the 16 year-old Dutch defender to know he will be some sort of player in the future."Ki coming on after a minute and playing like he did [was] absolutely outstanding."He's going to be a top, top player. You can see that straight away -- his temperament, he's comfortable on the ball."Seeing someone like Milner give Hoever a big tick of approval would do wonders to the confidence of the kid.There is clearly a lot to look forward to in terms of the current senior squad, and as we saw on Monday night, there is a fair bit more to like as we cast a eye to the future. View full article
  11. James Milner has expressed a level of disappointment following Liverpool's defeat to Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday night.The veteran midfielder is renowned for calling it as he sees it. While there were a number of senior players rested for the game, and a theory that this defeat would aid Liverpool in terms of their league and European campaigns, Milner was having none of that.ESPN reported the vice-captain as saying:"I think when you're a team like us, with the players we have, you want to win every single game." In the league [we are in a good position], yeah, but obviously that's not what we've thinking about. "We want to progress in every game we play -- whether it's the Champions League, League Cup or the Premier League."Newcastle legend and current BBC pundit Alan Shearer was one of the critics of Jurgen Klopp's mass rotations for the game, calling it a "gamble" and saying " he was brought up watching Liverpool try to win every trophy and why should that change now." After having a season where everything was seemingly going to script, Liverpool have lost two games in a row for the first time in this campaign.While it is hardly what you call a full blown crisis, Milner knows it is important to get back to winning ways as soon as possible to prevent a level of doubt creeping into the ranks."You're never going to go a full season without having blips."I think at the start of this season we weren't playing our best but we were getting results."Back-to-back defeats now, which really isn't good enough for us, but you have blips in a season. "It's not about having those blips, they're expected and no team goes throughout a season without having them, it's how you respond and how you bounce back."Milner has been around long enough to assess a character of a squad and believes this team is made of the right qualities to turn things around.However he says actions not words, is what will get the job done."I think you've seen the character in the squad in the last few years and the players we have to know we will bounce back. "We have to show that, though it's easy saying it in an interview, we have to do it on the pitch at the weekend." Another ability of the veteran is being able to identity a talent, especially having been in the same position as Ki-Jana Hoever 16 years ago.He has seen enough from the 16 year-old Dutch defender to know he will be some sort of player in the future."Ki coming on after a minute and playing like he did [was] absolutely outstanding."He's going to be a top, top player. You can see that straight away -- his temperament, he's comfortable on the ball."Seeing someone like Milner give Hoever a big tick of approval would do wonders to the confidence of the kid.There is clearly a lot to look forward to in terms of the current senior squad, and as we saw on Monday night, there is a fair bit more to like as we cast a eye to the future.
  12. Report by Dave Usher First off, I really wanted us to win this game. Not because I’m arsed about the FA Cup this year, but because I just wanted us to win. I always want us to win and it would have been a real positive to win a game without hardly any of the regulars. Additionally it would have given us another opportunity to play some of the kids in the next round. Because make no mistake, I wouldn’t have wanted any of the starters playing. Not while we’re still in a title race. But we didn’t win and the truth is I won’t lose a second’s sleep over not being in the next round. Some will call that disrespecting the FA Cup or being a sky generation fan. That’s fine. Call it what you like. Presumably those who were so desperate to win the FA Cup feel Jurgen should have taken it more seriously and gone with a stronger side? Is he disrespecting the cup too? Personally I’d call it prioritising and being sensible, and if I were to criticise him for his selection (which I’m not) it’s that he didn’t go far enough and it cost us a starter for the weekend. In fairness to Klopp his options for resting players were limited due to injuries to both of the under 23s most experienced centre backs, and had Masterson and/or Phillips been fit then certainly Lovren and perhaps even Fabinho would have been given the night off too. Not everyone will agree with him but as far as I’m concerned his approach to the game was fully vindicated based on what happened with Lovren, who limped off with a hamstring injury after two minutes. Klopp didn’t want to play him but felt like he had no choice, and now he’s injured. Yeah, joke all you like about how “it’s only Lovren” or “at least it wasn’t anyone important” but we’re down to the bare bones at that position and this shows exactly why I didn’t want any first team players involved in the cup. Not this year. When one day we finally get that monkey off our backs and win the league, that changes everything, but now? This year? We’re better off out of it, with Klopp able to take his squad away for some warm weather training to prepare for league games while City and Spurs juggle cup commitments. Of course we need to win something but we’re in an exceptional situation here. We couldn’t be in a better position at this stage of the season to win the title, and we’re still in the Champions League. If ‘taking the cup seriously’ puts that even the tiniest bit at risk then for me it’s not worth it. This is only a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  13. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his team selection for the third round FA Cup clash against Wolves which the Reds lost 2-1 at Molineux on Monday night.Dejan Lovren and James Milner were the only starters to keep their place from the game against Man City last Thursday.However the Croatian only lasted six minutes before having to be helped off with a Hamstring injury.That gave the opportunity for 16 year-old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever to come on and make his senior debut.The teenage defender became the youngest Liverpool player to play in the FA Cup and third youngest to debut overall for the Reds (16 years 354 days).It has been a rapid rise for Hoever who joined the club from Ajax in the Summer and has won rave reviews when playing for the U18s and U23s.The manager said that Lovren wasn't scheduled to start this contest after having a extremely heavy workload over the past three weeks. However, due to the central defensive options being scarce at this time, Klopp had to go with the Croatian while central midfielder Fabinho was redeployed as a makeshift central defender for the evening.It is a position that the Brazilian may well have to occupy for the upcoming few games starting with Brighton on Saturday.Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:"Dejan was not in the plans."He should have been only on the bench. But what happened and we had to change again."Dejan has played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks. Pretty much all the games. That was why he wasn't [going to be] involved here and then he gets injured."I am not sure what you would have said if I had started with Fabinho and Ki-Jana [Hoever] from the start. Maybe a few smart people would have said I didn't respect the competition."I changed a lot because I thought we had to not because I wanted to. "The problem was that we played a similar line-up in three tough games, so it was clear we had to change." Klopp was impressed with the composed debut of Hoever, and said in the kind of situation that he was faced with on Monday night, the age of a player doesn't come into the equation."It doesn’t make sense to bring in a 16-year-old boy from the start. You don’t bring him, you wait until he is completely ready, but he came on and did well." That’s how it sometimes starts - when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are. Raul Jimenez put the home team in front on 37 minutes, but Divock Origi replied six minutes after the interval with a pin-point strike that split two defenders and gave goalkeeper John Ruddy no chance.Liverpool only held parity for four minutes however, when the talented Ruben Neves was given time and space to fire home a rocket from 30 yards.Klopp brought on Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino for the last 20 minutes, but it was to no avail as the Midlands side knocked the Reds out of the competition for the second time in two years.Some traditionalists may bemoan the lost opportunity to still be in the running for the FA Cup, however the bigger picture aspect has to come into the discussion.Klopp has shown he is willing to prioritise something for the greater gain of the club, as shown in the earlier part of his tenure, and again last season.While ultimate success hasn't materialised yet, but we also haven't been in this position of strength for a long time.All things considered, a couple of exciting prospects got a true taste of senior football and some fringe players got a run-out.We move forward. Onwards to Brighton. View full article
  14. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his team selection for the third round FA Cup clash against Wolves which the Reds lost 2-1 at Molineux on Monday night.Dejan Lovren and James Milner were the only starters to keep their place from the game against Man City last Thursday.However the Croatian only lasted six minutes before having to be helped off with a Hamstring injury.That gave the opportunity for 16 year-old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever to come on and make his senior debut.The teenage defender became the youngest Liverpool player to play in the FA Cup and third youngest to debut overall for the Reds (16 years 354 days).It has been a rapid rise for Hoever who joined the club from Ajax in the Summer and has won rave reviews when playing for the U18s and U23s.The manager said that Lovren wasn't scheduled to start this contest after having a extremely heavy workload over the past three weeks. However, due to the central defensive options being scarce at this time, Klopp had to go with the Croatian while central midfielder Fabinho was redeployed as a makeshift central defender for the evening.It is a position that the Brazilian may well have to occupy for the upcoming few games starting with Brighton on Saturday. The Reds are heavy favourites to win that fixture, and if you fancy a flutter then why not take advantage of a Bet 365 sign up. Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:"Dejan was not in the plans."He should have been only on the bench. But what happened and we had to change again."Dejan has played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks. Pretty much all the games. That was why he wasn't [going to be] involved here and then he gets injured."I am not sure what you would have said if I had started with Fabinho and Ki-Jana [Hoever] from the start. Maybe a few smart people would have said I didn't respect the competition."I changed a lot because I thought we had to not because I wanted to. "The problem was that we played a similar line-up in three tough games, so it was clear we had to change." Klopp was impressed with the composed debut of Hoever, and said in the kind of situation that he was faced with on Monday night, the age of a player doesn't come into the equation."It doesn’t make sense to bring in a 16-year-old boy from the start. You don’t bring him, you wait until he is completely ready, but he came on and did well." That’s how it sometimes starts - when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are. Raul Jimenez put the home team in front on 37 minutes, but Divock Origi replied six minutes after the interval with a pin-point strike that split two defenders and gave goalkeeper John Ruddy no chance.Liverpool only held parity for four minutes however, when the talented Ruben Neves was given time and space to fire home a rocket from 30 yards.Klopp brought on Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino for the last 20 minutes, but it was to no avail as the Midlands side knocked the Reds out of the competition for the second time in two years.Some traditionalists may bemoan the lost opportunity to still be in the running for the FA Cup, however the bigger picture aspect has to come into the discussion.Klopp has shown he is willing to prioritise something for the greater gain of the club, as shown in the earlier part of his tenure, and again last season.While ultimate success hasn't materialised yet, but we also haven't been in this position of strength for a long time.All things considered, a couple of exciting prospects got a true taste of senior football and some fringe players got a run-out.We move forward. Onwards to Brighton.
  15. Jurgen Klopp has given summer signing Naby Keita his full support despite a frustrating first few months for the midfielder at Anfield.The Guinea international was signed in summer of 2017 from RB Leipzig for around £50million, but it was agreed by both parties to keep the 23 year-old in Germany for another season.The reports on Keita were glowing, as he looked to have the kind of energy and all-round ability that Liverpool's midfield quite often lacked in the critical moments.Naturally, the expectation levels were very high when he finally arrived on Merseyside for the current season.However as we have seen time and time again, adjusting to the Premier League does not happen overnight.Keita started four of the first five league games and was solid in his performance.Since then, niggling injuries and consistent performances from other midfielders, has seen Keita confined to a bit-part role, therefore lacking the kind of continuity he would have liked to start his Liverpool career.Keita had to bide his time on the substitutes bench during the busy festive period, but Klopp said there was nothing sinister behind that decision.He also had no doubt that the best of Keita is not far away.Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:"No. That is sometimes how it is. I spoke to him. [With] Naby everything is fine. I am completely happy with him."Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes."Is he exactly the player in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he is still adapting - that is how it is"Despite the slowish start, Keita has had his games where his potential has shone through, most recently against Burnley in early December where he was one of the standout players on the pitch. Klopp said the injuries and a tactical change has not helped the midfielder."Everybody saw, not only at the beginning of the season, how brilliantly he played in the first part. Tottenham [away] was a fantastic game from him without thinking too much."Then we made a change around pre-[Manchester] City game. The boys have to deal with it and then a little injury here, little injury there."There was no reason - just because other boys were in good shape as well. It was a bit about positioning and system - that is how football decisions are"It was kind of a little setback but he is a fantastic player and I am really happy to have him here. I am really looking forward to our common future."You see every day, wow, there is so much to come and so much influence he can have on each game. That's all good."There is really no doubt about the boy, he is an outstanding player."The spotlight on Keita has shone a bit brighter of late due to the impressive recent form from fellow new signings Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.What Keita needs more than anything is minutes under his belt, and that is why the FA Cup has come round at the perfect time for a player in his position.While it has been a difficult beginning to his Liverpool career, there is little doubt Keita will become a valuable player in the years ahead and as fans, we can look forward to seeing him grow. View full article
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