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  1. Saturday Feb 2: L 3 Bournemouth 0. Yes! There you go. The Reds are back. 4-3-3, Bobby and Mo back where they should be and just like that we’re back to the 17/18 team that scared the shit out of everybody. Results wise we’ve been incredible this season, but the performances have generally taken a bit of a dip. If we’re going to stay ahead of City then we need the fire and brimstone, tear your a new arsehole attacking football from last season. This performance was a big step on the road to where we need to be. The opposition has to be taken into account, as Bournemouth aren’t the most difficult side to play football against, but on this form anybody would struggle to deal with us. The front three were dazzling, the full backs were great and the midfield was probably as good as we’ve seen it all season. This was Naby’s best game, Fabinho was terrific and Wijnaldum was the best player on the park. Gini actually had the wildshites in the build up to the game and said he was worried he might shit his shorts during the game. Imagine being able to play as well as that under those circumstances. I won’t even leave the house when I’ve got the shits. When he plays with this freedom to get forward and make runs he’s a brilliant player. His problem is because he’s so good at everything and can adapt his game to do whatever Klopp needs him to, sometimes we don’t see him making those runs. I want to see him given license to do that every game because when we have midfielders breaking beyond the forwards (Ox does this brilliantly and we’ve missed him) it gives us an added dimension and makes the front three even more difficult to handle. If we play like this at Old Trafford then I’ve been worrying over nothing. Sunday Feb 10: Mo has shaved off his beard. Not sure I’m a fan of this as I tend to not like change, and I’m also superstitious. Why risk it now, with so much at stake? I don’t want him turning into ‘Chelsea Mo’ and never scoring any goals. The pictures did make me laugh, as although he’s clean shaven he’s still got a 5 o’clock shadow. Like when Homer gets a shave and within a second or two it grows back. That was the only thing that made me smile today, as Spurs won again and those Chelsea losers let in six at Man City. How the fuck does one of the big teams let in six goals when they have all eleven players on the field? It shouldn’t happen. Ever. It’s Arsenal behaviour that. Chelsea started the season well and Sarri’s methods were being lauded. Seemingly all it took was for opposing teams to stick someone on Jorginho and stop him getting on the ball, and the whole thing fell apart. Doesn’t take much for that squad of players to become disillusioned with a manager’s tactics though does it? And when it happens, they just stop playing. That was a disgrace today and it’s not all Sarri’s fault. He’ll be the one to carry the can though, and those players will all live to kill off another manager in the next year or two. I just hope Reds don’t get disheartened by this result today. Other than goal difference, it doesn’t matter if they won 1-0 or 6-0 as its three points either way. Psychologically it might have an impact as it fuels the whole “oh look how scary Man City are” narrative. To me it changes nothing though. This doesn’t make them any better or worse than we thought. They’re the same team that lost to Newcastle two weeks ago. It says a lot more about Chelsea than it does City. I don’t feel any differently about our title chances today than I did yesterday. City will win most of their games, we knew this. Hopefully they slip up once or twice and then the rest is up to us. This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  2. The New Year brings more opportunities for a crop of Liverpool youngsters to continue to experience first team football while on loan. There were some very impressive performances and exciting progress made by some of the players in the first half of the season, along with some setbacks for others along the way. However you take the good with the bad, and as a developing footballer you are bound to learn plenty of important lessons along your journey. One player who has impressed plenty of observers with his attitude and natural ability is Harry Wilson. In a recent poll run by Ollie Wright from Derby County Blog, two thirds of Rams fans voted to keep Wilson permanently over fellow loanees Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori (both from Chelsea). In part two of our chat with Ollie, we look at the impact Rams manager Frank Lampard has had on Harry's development, and a possible area of his play which the Welsh international can look to improve.... It must have been a relief for all Derby fans that the loan was not cut short in January and Harry is staying with the club for the rest of the season? Had he gone back, there would have been zero chance of Derby replacing him with anybody remotely as good and I honestly think that it would have knackered our season. He’s been absolutely outstanding and what could initially have been written off as a freak run of stunning goals has simply carried on, remorselessly - he leads the Championship with seven goals from outside of the box and in all competitions, he has nine goals from long range, out of a total tally of 12. Harry is arguably in the best form of his senior career. While he showed positive signs in the first half of the season, it is a different thing altogether to do on consistent basis. What do you believe has made him go to this next level? Simply put, the opportunity to play every week in a competitive team was all he ever needed. Frank Lampard has made him a crucial part of Derby’s midfield and he has risen to that responsibility. It’s abundantly clear that he is loving his football, particularly playing alongside the Chelsea loanee Mason Mount - the duo seem to have struck up a close understanding on and off the pitch, sharing digs as well as a central midfield partnership. You mentioned in our previous chat that the League Cup victory against Man United was Harry's standout performance, has he since surpassed that game in your view? It would be difficult for any player to surpass a goal like that. However, the best team performance of the season so far was definitely the 4-1victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in October and Wilson was a huge part of that. The fizzing energy and skill of Derby’s front five was too much for West Brom that evening and while the team’s rich promise has only been seen in fits and starts since then and has been too much to reproduce consistently through a gruelling Championship winter, it’s there - with Wilson clearly integral to the fast, technical, pressing style of play Frank Lampard wants to see. It’s worth pointing out that Derby have played four cup games against Premier League opposition this season - Manchester United away, Chelsea away, Southampton home and away - drawing three times (all 2-2) and losing only once (2-3, at Stamford Bridge), with Wilson having started in three of those games. He missed the home draw with Southampton through injury, but came back to score yet another free kick and then assist Martyn Waghorn’s equalising goal at St Mary’s in the replay. As your own performance level increases, naturally the opposition take a fair bit of extra notice. How has Harry handled that extra physical attention? He is still young and we are yet to find out whether he can weather the physical demands of a 46-game league season, plus cup exploits - including a 100 minutes plus at St Mary's and with the fifth round of the FA Cup yet to come. Still, he’s well on the way to proving his durability, having made 25 starts in all competitions for Derby already, so touch wood, his fitness can be managed through the second half of the season. He’s a marked man and, as such, there are inevitably spells in games where his impact is limited - but he only needs one chance to unleash a left-foot Exocet and the game has turned on its head. Harry was injured for your clash with top of the table Leeds a few weeks ago. Was his absence and subsequent defeat in that game a sign that he has become Derby's most important player this season? There's definitely an argument to say that he has been. He’s one of our key players and match-winners, without question, alongside Mount, the striker Jack Marriott and centre backs Fikayo Tomori and Richard Keogh. Losing any of those players for any length of time would be a huge blow to Derby’s hopes of promotion Have you noticed the impact that Frank Lampard has had on his game as the season progresses and can you discuss some of the things he has altered in Harry's game? I don’t know whether Liverpool expected him to be used as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 system. When he signed, the general expectation was that he would play as a wide forward, but he has proved to be comfortable in the centre and remains just as much of a goal threat, while also putting in more tackles per game than any other regular Rams’ midfielder. He is not a player who is ever going to win much in the air, but he understands that hard graft is not an optional extra - proving that he can flourish in the muck-and-nettles of a Championship midfield battle, for a team who try to play possession football and press the opposition hard when they don’t have it, will be ticking boxes, for Jurgen Klopp’s scouts, I’m sure. While producing a couple of assists in more recent times, Harry has only registered two in the league this season (and one in the FA Cup vs Southampton.) Is playmaking something Harry can look to work on in your view? I tend to look more at ‘key passes’ (shooting chances created) more than assists. An assist, after all, could be a two-yard toe-poke for someone to belt it in from 40 yards, whereas a through ball from heaven could end up being sliced wide - key passes tells you whether a player has been making things happen on a more consistent basis. For key passes, Wilson is Derby’s second highest contributor, with 35, behind Mount (53). He has not been among the top Championship midfielders for this measure, but when you have a shot like Wilson does, you’ve got every right to have a go, instead of looking for a killer pass. 12 goals in 24 appearances is a record most strikers would be pleased with and so it would be churlish to complain about a comparative lack of assists. In terms of the future, you previously spoke about your perfect scenario which sees Harry staying on loan for another season in the likelihood of Derby getting promoted to the Premier League. Knowing Harry's overall feeling for the club, is that a distinct possibility? I would love to think so, but there are a lot of things which would have to fall into place for that to happen. Firstly, we have to fight our way out of the Championship, which we know by now is an incredibly tough task. Secondly, Liverpool would have to be amenable and thirdly, Harry himself would need to weigh up whether it was the right move for him (if he is available again next season, I’m sure there would be no shortage of Premier League, or maybe even Bundesliga suitors). All I can say with certainty at this stage is that he has hugely boosted his reputation and done himself proud with his performances. If he carries on in his current vein of form, he will help to give us a real chance of glory this season. View full article
  3. It’s become a running joke that next year is always Liverpool’s year but there is a growing sense of optimism surrounding Anfield under the tenure of Jurgen Klopp, who has developed one of the best attacks in the Premier League. Klopp has brought Champions League football back to Merseyside, has redeveloped an exciting side in the wake of losing stars like Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho and, crucially, has younger players waiting to take the mantle. The balance of attacking class with a composed defence hasn’t quite been achieved yet but strides have been made, following the club-record addition of Virgil Van Dijk in January, but a side boasting experience and youth has assembled to provide an assault for glory. Whilst Manchester City may remain favourites to continue their dominance from this season, Liverpool are certainly in the discussion- and their long wait for league glory could be around the corner. Finding the balance With 61 goals this season, only Manchester City have found the net more times than Klopp’s side and Liverpool have a devastating attacking line wth the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino consistently proving to be a thorn in the side of opposition defences. The issue though has been at the other end of the field, where Liverpool have conceded 31 goals. On the Premier League’s top six, that’s by far the worst defensive record- conceding seven more than Tottenham in fifth, who have the second-worst defence in the top contingent of clubs. Since the turn of the year, Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets in the Premier League and they came in routine victories over struggling Huddersfield Town and Southampton. Then there’s also the small matter of surprise losses, which include a 1-0 defeat to Swansea and a 3-2 loss to West Brom in the FA Cup. Klopp has restored the attacking threat and has given Liverpool a new deadly front-line, which brings back memories of the Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge’s successes under Brendan Rodgers, but work is needed at the back. A crucial summer With work to be done on the squad, Klopp will continue his efforts from recent windows after landing Van Dijk in January and bringing Andrew Robertson to Anfield last summer- both of whom have become crucial members of the squad. Klopp is likely to focus on his defence again in the close season, potentially signing a new right-back due to ongoing concerns regarding Nathaniel Clyne’s consistency, whilst he may also look to land a new first-choice goalkeeper and an elite defensive partner for Van Dijk. One significant piece of recruitment has already been secured though, with Naby Keita set to move to Merseyside from RB Leipzig. A deal was agreed last summer and he may prove to be a key missing piece of Klopp’s puzzle. With Keita joining a midfield that already includes English trio Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson, Liverpool will have the depth required to battle on all fronts- and that will be crucial. Consistency issues As mentioned briefly earlier, Liverpool have struggled to secure regular form. The turn of the year has seen them enjoy a thrilling victory over Manchester City and a drubbing of Porto in the Champions League but, accompanied by losses to Swansea and West Brom, there’s still work to do. Liverpool learned from their unsuccessful title charge under Rodgers that slipping up against the smaller sides, as they did in the run-in against Crystal Palace, can prove to be the downfall at the business end of the season- and they’ll need to remove this problem from their game if they’re to end their long wait for Premier League glory. Manchester City haven’t always been at their best this season but Guardiola’s side have managed to grind out significant results on days where they struggled, which is something that Liverpool have failed to do in recent campaigns. Now boasting impressive depth, Liverpool can build towards those performances next season and their array of talent will be able to put in decent performances across all competitions, including the Champions League. What’s in their way? The biggest hurdle to overcome is of course Manchester City, who have been by far and away the best side in England this season and show no signs of stopping- so they’ll be expected to retain their crown next year. On top of this, Manchester United are likely to throw money at their squad again in an attempt to get back to the top and there’s also likely to be a response from Chelsea and Arsenal, both of whom have reasons to be disappointed by their seasons. Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, have shown in recent years they’re now well established amongst the Premier League’s elite and it leaves six sides with genuine hopes of success- and Liverpool still have to prove their capable of leading the way.
  4. Continuing the series looking at the Liverpool youngsters who are aiming to become household names in the years ahead, we look at Doncaster Rovers loanee Herbie Kane. It is fair to say that the 19yo midfielder has made quite an impression on the Rovers faithful with a number of their passionate supporters stating he is already one of the top players in League One. Doncaster season ticket holders Mark Railton, Scott Hibbett, George Kefali and James Carlyle shared their views on the encouraging progress that the youngster has made at their club so far. TLW’s Jason Harris asks the questions… What were your first impressions of Herbie Kane when he arrived at the club? MR- I wasn't sure if (Doncaster manager) Grant McCann had done the right thing in taking a chance on a young midfielder for such a tough division, especially when a lot of teams go for big strong central midfielders. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily he slotted in and for me he would now be the first name on the team sheet every week. He has been outstanding since arriving and if he could add goals to his game he would be the best player in the division. Have you seen steady improvements in his game from the early part of the season to now, and if so what are they? MR- His ability to hang onto the ball in tight situations. He never flaps and always seems to wriggle free and release his pass. Think since he has come in, he has grown in stature and confidence and has now got the belief that he can do anything he wants when in possession of the ball. He’s also not shy at putting his foot in either. What is the one key part of Herbie's game that you really like? SH - He always seems to have so much time, he is always wanting the ball in tight spaces or with the opposition on his back and for someone at such a young age, that is impressive. He rarely gives the ball away and is not afraid to put his foot in and win back possession for the team. So far this season he is the leading player in that category in League One. GK- I just love how technical he is. He’s a standout player in this league for how quickly he can make a decision to pass or dribble on, his quick feet and determination really don’t get the credit they deserve. MR- His calmness in possession of the ball. Herbie never panics and 90% of the time makes the right decision. In your opinion, what is the one main improvement he can make? SH- Herbie is not fully-grown yet so he has the opportunity to grow a few more inches in the next year. Like most players who make it at the top level, it's pace that they need. While Herbie is certainly not you would define as slow, if he can add an extra yard, it will be very handy. What he lacks in pure speed, he makes up for with his ability to shield the ball which was very similar to (former Man Utd junior) Richie Wellens when we had him in a couple of stints a few years back. I think those players who are nurtured at top clubs learn to do that well - learn to use it and shield the ball under pressure. Those qualities really stand out with players who drop down from the Premier League into the Championship or League 1. JC- The one improvement he can make is probably scoring more goals. He just needs to keep doing what he is doing. Keep progressing and working hard because it is showing in his performances that he is working hard on the training field. I have no doubt at all if he continues this he will make it into Liverpool’s first team. Is there a performance by Herbie that stands out for you so far this season? JC- I think the first few performances took everyone by surprise as we weren’t expecting him to be that good and now the performances he puts in are fantastic. However, even though we lost to Sunderland 1-0, he controlled the game for me. We all know what Lee Cattermole is like, and Herbie had him in his pocket all game. You would have thought Herbie was the experienced pro and not Lee. GK- His standout performance this season has to be Chorley away in the FA Cup 1st round. Bagging the only 2 goals of the game, including a peach from outside the box to save our managers arse in all fairness. That and he drew a very nasty foul which led to an opposition red card which I still can’t believe wasn’t given as a penalty but a free kick. Who does he link up well with in the Rovers team, and do you think his presence has made you a better team this season? GK- I think there’s no doubt that Kane’s presence has sparked something in everyone else and as a central playmaker he’s at the heart of most of our play. With being so technically gifted, he’s exactly what we need to play possession football. He links up well with both (Thomas) Rowe and (Ben) Whiteman beside him in the midfield in passing and movement along the pitch. How do you think Grant McCann has worked with Herbie so far this season? GK- Grant McCann seems to praise him a lot and I believe he would be interested in a season long loan extension for Herbie too. Taking the first step into professional ranks can be difficult for any youngster, so what do you think makes Doncaster a good club for players from Premier League youth academies to spend time at. JC- I think if you look at other professionals who have been here in their younger days and you look at them now, they have all gone on to play at a higher level. Jordan Mutch, he was on loan here and he ended up playing for Crystal Palace and QPR in the Premier League. The majority of the time when people leave our club, it is for better things. Richie Wellens, he left to join Leicester, George Friend left to join Middlesbrough, James Husband came through our youth team, he went to Norwich. So I think it does show we treat our younger players well and hopefully put them in good stead for their careers. View full article
  5. If there a player who knows a fair bit about putting the ball in the back of the net it is Michael Owen. While his departure from Anfield and future career path was contentious to say the least, what can't be denied was the impact he had at the club, scoring at a ratio better than one goal every two games for the club across all competitions during his eight season spell.The former England international has identified an area of the squad which he thinks Jurgen Klopp will look to strengthen in the summer.That is the role of back-up to the superstar front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.When you get three players with such natural talent who play in the same frontline you normally find that ego comes to play.But the sense of joy that they have playing together is clear to see, and the fact that they are such a close unit is just as much a strength as their overall consistent output. However, it is fair to say that if any of that trio is missing for a period of time, the drop off is pretty stark.The current duo of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi and previously Dom Solanke and Danny Ings have had some opportunities to show their worth over the past couple of years.While each have had 'moments', there is nothing to say that they can provide that on a consistent basis.Owen says that a world class forward is not required in this situation, but someone who can play a solid role brought the season.The Mirror reported Owen as saying:"I mean, where do you go? How do you go and target someone, and they say ‘am I going to start?’ and you have to say 'no, Salah will start or Mane will start.“You can’t go and get an absolute top player, unless they only have a couple of years left in their career."Or you go and buy the next young thing and maybe bleed him in for a year or so. "To go and get someone in the guts of their career, at 24 or 25, that’s so hard, and that’s the only player that can really improve teams like this one.“I know it’s a dream for everyone (to sign world-class players) but it’s so hard to improve your team if you are in the top six, unless you’re not happy with one of your players and you look to replace them. "But Liverpool have a great front three, and so if they’re going to buy, it would more likely be one of the options I mentioned.” Jurgen Klopp has a number of exciting prospects in the academy ranks such as Rhian Brewster, Liam Millar, Bobby Duncan, Paul Glatzel and Glen McAuley who will develop naturally over time. Most, if not all will spend time away from the club to hone their skills in the same way that Harry Wilson and Herbie Kane are presently doing. On their return, the hope will be that they will be able to hit the ground running and make a strong impact for the first team. Ben Woodburn would have been a perfect candidate for this role, but sadly his career has stagnated somewhat over the past year and it remains to be seen which direction he will go from here.But Owen raises a fair point where you need one or two players who will accept a secondary role in this current Liverpool set-up, and be able to have a knack of producing when the opportunity arises.Depth is becoming a ever increasing factor in the modern game, and Klopp would love the luxury to rest Bobby, Sadio and Mo from time to time and be sure that their replacement can fill in adequately.Lets hope that we can identity some candidates in the months ahead.
  6. If Liverpool fans are looking to follow the progress of a rival player with a sense of fondness in their heart, they shouldn't look further than Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser.The Scottish winger has made his choice of who he would like to see lift the title this season, and he has voted in favour of the Reds.The Liverpool Echo reported Fraser as saying:" I just like watching good football, and I like the way Liverpool play. "They’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and with the players they’ve got, they’ll do it, I think. They only got beaten in one game, and you know what it’s like, people say they’re under pressure.They’re not, are they? Everyone gets beaten, and they’re still at the top of the league. I just think it was a little blip. I’ve got nothing to do with it, but I would like to see them win the league". Fraser's teammate Steve Cook was also glowing in his admiration, and this time it was the fans which won his praise." You could see that the crowd were going to play a major part in the game. I haven’t quite heard an atmosphere like it today, especially when they scored."The Liverpool fans got behind their team. I’m sure they’re going to play a huge part from now until the end of the season.”Cook, the Cherries veteran who played a starring role in Bournemouth's stunning 4-3 victory against the Reds at the Vitality stadium in 2016, also passed comment on the form of Klopp's men which also impressed him greatly. “The way they attack is really difficult to defend against. They don’t really give you much chance to get your game going, its really tough to play against."On this showing, it’s hard to see Liverpool dropping too many points again. But this is why everyone loves this league, because you never know what you’re going to get."If they go on to win the league, I’m sure they’ll fully deserve to do it.”While there is sure to be a certain group of individuals who couldn't bear to see us raise the trophy come the end of the season, it's great to hear the thoughts of two current professionals who are not afraid in saying they think on the matter. Fair play to them.
  7. For those who have been around Football long enough, they would have heard plenty of tales of the weird and wonderful variety. This latest story comfortably fits into the former category. Gini Wijnaldum has been one of the most consistent members of Liverpool's starting lineup throughout the season and his absence from a knee injury was most certainly felt during the Reds 1-1 draw against West Ham on Monday night.The Dutchman was scheduled to return for the crucial clash against Bournemouth on Saturday and while he produced his standard performance which included a sublime goal (just his second in the league this season), on the face of things, all what was not what it seemed.Sky Sports reported Wijnaldum as saying:"Thursday night I had a tablet from the doctor for my knee. It was a tablet that could induce stomach pains. I took it and I had a pain and thought it was from the tablet. In the end I was vomiting and everyone was a little bit scared."I didn't train on Friday and I didn't sleep at the hotel either because they thought I might infect other players."The manager called me and said 'Do you think you can play?' I said I was as positive as I can. "In the morning I was still weak and had diarrhoea. The tablets helped a lot but even at half-time I had to run off to get to the toilet. I was like 'Oh no!'. "I ran inside and I managed to control it!"That was undoubtedly a relief for all concerned.Wijnaldum knew the importance of Saturday's result especially on the back of dropped points against Leicester and West Ham.While frustrated with those results, the affable 28 year-old took a glass half full approach to the season as a whole."We had two draws in a row and that didn't feel that good. But if we had been told that at the beginning (of the season) you will have this kind of points (65) everyone would have taken it."It could be better but we must appreciate where we stand, you can see the improvement. "You could see at the beginning of the season we improved. We just have to keep it going." While there is a school of thought that Liverpool should drop their interest in progressing to the latter stages of the Champions League to focus fully on their quest to win the league, Wijnaldum believes they can battle on two fronts."We have to see how it is going to work. I think we can play both. You never know but a lot of times it goes well."Last season the Champions League went well and we dropped a lot of points in the league. But I don't think it was because of the Champions League."For now, a bit of rest and recuperation is in order for the squad as they head to Spain for a training camp this week, before facing Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last 16 clash at Anfield next Tuesday.
  8. Liverpool returned to winning ways with a impressive 3-0 win against Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.First half goals by Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum was followed by a Mo Salah strike three minutes into the second half.Bournemouth missing the creative touches of David Brooks and strike power of Callum Wilson had no answer and fell to yet another away day defeat which is their eighth in succession.While the win was more than welcome especially after two frustrating draws, another pleasing factor of the victory was the game of Naby Keita.The performances of the Guinea international who turns 24 today (Happy birthday Naby) has been a major talking point throughout the season.While fellow midfield summer signings in Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri have shown encouraging signs, Keita has never really settled as he has battled niggling injuries and inconsistent performances.Jurgen Klopp has pleaded for patience in regards to the £50 million signing saying that he will come good in time.One player who knows all about adapting to a new club and having to be patient is Andy Robertson as he was in the same boat last season.The Scottish captain who on Saturday registered his 11th assist since debuting for the Reds (most of any defender during that span) was very impressed with the performance of Keita and told the Official site that he can gain a lot from that as we move into the crucial last couple of months."I thought that Naby was excellent. He has taken a wee bit of time to settle in but today was probably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt. I’m sure he can take a lot of confidence from that, which he will."He’s young and he’s had to take time. But if you look at all of us, Fabinho had to take time, me, Chambo. There’s a kind of pattern emerging that you need to settle in and you need to learn the way to play and things like that."I think everyone forgets how young Naby is, he’s only a young boy. I thought today he was a different class. I’m sure his confidence will be sky high after today.”"He’s a fantastic player and the more he shows it the more people will start talking about him. In terms of the victory, Robertson said it was pretty much a complete performance, goals from the front line and midfield, and the defence keeping things tight at the back.The left-back also says that every win in the division should be savoured."In this league it is so hard to win games and you have to work for every inch that you get. And you have to work for every goal that you score, and thankfully we did that today."Bournemouth, two games ago, beat Chelsea 4-0. So, they are having a good season, they have a good team and a good manager. But, overall, I thought we deserved the win and we deserved the clean sheet, and it probably could have been more.While winning is obviously vital when aiming for a league title, the other thing you need is the supporters to drive you on during games.Robertson was glowing in his appreciation of the Anfield crowd on Saturday."It was brilliant. The fans got behind us, they were in nice and early and they got behind us from the first whistle. It always makes a difference."But we know we have to put on a performance to match that. We need to put in a performance to get the fans onside; to win our tackles, to score goals, to create chances. "That’s the only way you are going to get fans off their seats and that’s in any league at any time.The squad now heads off to a warm weather camp in Spain for a few days, before a massive stretch of games starting with the first leg of the last 16 Champions League clash against Bayern Munich a week on Tuesday.
  9. Jurgen Klopp has urged his players and the supporters to focus what is ahead of them and forget what has gone before as Liverpool aim to get back on the winning track against Bournemouth at Anfield today.Plenty has been made of the Reds inability to win their last two fixtures against Leicester and West Ham, while their main rivals Man City have made the most of that mini blip and climbed back to the top of the table albeit having played a game more.You would expect a sense of trepidation and panic to creep into the mind of a manager in this kind of situation, however you get a sense that Klopp is loving the challenge.The Liverpool Echo reported Klopp as saying:“The reality is that if you want to be champions of the league, you have to fight until the last matchday. "That is completely normal and what we have to do."To be in that fight is very positive – a big achievement – and we have to make sure the people see that again on Saturday.“We have no influence if people want to be overly critical. We can not change that immediately. What is on offer is a tight race until the last matchday."Make yourself ready. Fasten the seatbelts and let’s go.” The German is fully aware that the current narrative for his side is one of lost opportunities.However, he has been around long enough to know he can't change what people think.“For us, I did not see what they all say they can see in our faces."When I talked to the referee after the game (at West Ham) they said now he is nervous.' I did not think it but I cannot change it."There was never a guarantee this season. People always wanted the biggest gap in the world, pretty much, 25 points, whatever, and then only three games to go. That’s nice, but it’s not the reality."The two clashes against the Foxes and Hammers have seen Liverpool lack any kind of fluency in a attacking sense, while the defence which had previously been the strength this season, has started to look a bit vulnerable under pressure.Klopp knows they have to improve their game once again if they want to realise their title dream this season but maintains there were mitigating reasons behind the sluggish displays. “We are very critical. In the outside world, we can never use any real explanations because it’s then always used as being an excuse."But internally, we have to talk about why it was a bit more difficult. It’s not cool if we cannot train with the team we want to play."We still should have performed better, especially in the Leicester game. The pitch didn’t help. Nobody has to write that any more. It’s just a fact. It made the game really difficult."West Ham was always a tough place to go and a few other teams realised that already. "Getting a point there, and having more chances, stuff like that, which nobody even thinks after the game, it’s like you have to dominate them constantly and they are not allowed to have anything."That’s the situation we are in, but that’s not a problem. We expect ourselves to do better. We are not blind to our problems, but it’s not as serious as people make it. That’s the truth.”There is a view that injuries to members of the back four have contributed the team conceding five goals in the past three games, but the manager was not using that as a excuse.“It is never cool if you have to change but the goals we conceded were not because of the changes to the last line."If you look at the goals and make the analysis, the goal against West Ham and Leicester had nothing to do with the last line. That is the 100% truth."The goals against Palace, maybe, we had to change a lot in the game and had a red card. It is always better if you can keep seven or eight players always playing and change three or four and keep it like this."As Klopp says, when expectations are raised, more questions follow when things don't go to plan.The best way to answer that is to claim the three points in the fixtures ahead.And that is what the Reds aim to do.
  10. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes a offside goal which was not seen by the linesman played on the mind of referee Kevin Friend leading to some odd officiating in the second half in the Reds' 1-1 draw against West Ham on Monday night.Sadio Mane scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute, his third in as many matches and his first league goal away from home since September 1st against Leicester.However, that lead only lasted six minutes when Felipe Anderson and Michail Antonio combined to take advantage of a flat footed Liverpool defence which saw the winger break away into some open space and slide the ball home for the equaliser.The 28 year-old has been a real talisman for the Hammers against Liverpool with the strike being his fourth in just five meetings against the Reds, by far his best return against any top flight club.However it was the Mane goal which sparked all the conversation post match, with James Milner appearing to be in a offside position in the lead-up to the opener.It was something that Klopp was made aware of after the game and he had a theory that the referee found out about it during the break.Sky Sports reported the manager as saying.This explains a little bit the second half, because I think the referee knew at half-time." He knew it for sure at half-time, and then you saw a lot of strange situations. "They were not decisive but just rhythm breakers. That obviously didn't help us."If I've made a mistake in the first half, I don't want to open the gap even more as a human being."The 1-1 draw was the second successive time that Liverpool had been held in a weekOn the face of it, the result against a mid table team is a very average result for a club in Liverpool's current position While most would have banked on a comfortable away win, there were some setbacks which caused Klopp to re-jig his line-up on the eve of the game.Captain Jordan Henderson (muscular injury )and Gini Wijnaldum (knee)were late withdrawals, while Milner had not trained for four days due to a virus.It led to a very rare start for Adam Lallana in midfield where he was joined by Naby Keita and Fabinho. Klopp said it was hardly the preparation that the team needed heading into the clash."Last night we trained and after we had to change three positions.""It's just a fact, it's not an excuse. The preparation for the game was far from being perfect and we still got a point."Klopp has been steadfast in keeping everyone on a even keel and maintaining the positive mindset up which served the team so well in the first half of the game.It is message which Milner, who is undoubtedly the 'wise old head' of the squad having been in this situation in his time with Man City is a believer in, saying that the result was ' a point gained.'For his part Klopp knows the performance was well below par, and well is aware that we have reached a part of the season where the spotlight will be shone fairly and squarely on his players.believes they can overcome their small blip in the weeks ahead."We have to accept that [the pressure]. We have to perform better. That's all I'm interested in and concerned about.A couple of players didn't play at the highest level tonight, but it's happened before and it'll happen again. "We will deal with that."As for the accusation by West Ham captain Mark Noble that Liverpool were scared by West Ham, the manager had the perfect response."It was just a normal away game. I don’t know him [Noble] really well so I don’t know why he speaks about us after a game like that."I wish for West Ham fans that Mark Noble and his team would scare more teams and not only us tonight.Time to look ahead to a massive game against Bournemouth on Saturday.
  11. While every league game Liverpool plays from now until the end of the season will be dissected to the nth degree by fans and pundits alike, don't expect Jurgen Klopp to be overwhelmed by the scenario that lies ahead.The passion of Klopp is undoubtedly infectious during the 90 minutes of action, however he is someone who takes a more measured approach away from the gaze of the bright lights.The German has been through his share of title challenges in the Bundesliga when he was manager at Borussia Dortmund and knows exactly what to expect.The Mirror reported Klopp as saying:“I am not a nervous person, so I was never nervous ­before the first title in (2010/11)."That’s how it is. Yes, experience showed me that the way I did it in the past worked. So, I didn’t change.While Klopp admitted that there will be some tense moments along the way which is only natural for a side aiming to win their first league title in nearly three decades, he said keeping things in perspective was always important."People are in a little bit of doubt about this and that, and I understand — we were not champions for 29 years. No one thinks like that at City, but it’s a different ­situation."The people are really desperate. Is that positive? They really want it, with all they have. "But there are no guarantees and, again, I am not a nervous person." Klopp also said that this current squad has dealt with pressure situations in the recent past."Yes, there is pressure. There was pressure last year, a lot of pressure when we played Manchester City away in the quarter-finals of the Champions League — and we dealt with it."Will there be nervous ­moments? Yes, for sure. But don’t make them bigger than they are, because there were nervous situations last year, two years three years ago."Klopp says that the players know the situation and they are mature enough to be focused on the task at hand."We are first in the table. What do we talk about? We don’t have to come in to work every day and point at the table.“We want to finish the season as well as possible – and it looks like we could do ­something special. But, of course, we don’t talk about it. It makes no sense."A marathon runner in April doesn’t talk or think in the race he is running now about the Olympic Games because he has to run this step by step. Win that race. "Try with ­everything you have, and then we will see. Stay healthy, stay fit. Try as hard as possible and then a big smile afterwards."We all have to work very hard to win one Premier League game – and that is what we have to do 14 times.”Wise words from a wise man.
  12. The path to Premier League glory had a untimely obstacle placed in front of it with Jurgen Klopp confirming that central defender Joe Gomez will be out for a lot longer than first thought.The England international had been in career best form during the first few months of the season, teaming up with Virgil Van Dijk to form a formidable partnership at the heart of the Liverpool defence.Gomez has had to overcome some real obstacles in terms of injuries at his time with the club, and the youngster found himself back on the treatment table in early December when he suffered a hairline leg fracture against Burnley after a challenge from Clarets defender Ben Mee.While initial hopes were that the 21 year-old would be out for six weeks, with the injury refusing to heal accordingly, that timeline has since blown out to such a extent where it is unknown when he will play next.When questioned on the issue at press conferences during the past month, Klopp has been particularly guarded about the status of Gomez, basically giving the obligatory answer 'no' when asked if his return was on the horizon.However that changed on Friday when the German was pressed on the issue once again, this time giving a gloomy outlook on his prospects for a return in the near future. The Mirror reported Klopp as saying:" It is about the healing, and we will see how exactly we will do it." Does he need an operation? “I don’t know. We will see. It is possible, probably." It is not exactly going how we want, he needs more time. We will see exactly how we do it. There were different moments we thought we could do this or that and then it was not exactly how we thought (it would be).“It will take time. We cannot say more. But the Bayern game is not a realistic target, no. After that, any time, you will see.”If that wasn't a blow in itself, news came to light that Dejan Lovren had aggravated a hamstring injury that he sustained in the third round of the FA Cup, while Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss the game against West Ham on Monday night as he is still recovering from a knee injury.Lovren was on the bench for the clash against Leicester in midweek, but was a unused substitute.With the news of the injury setbacks to two of our central defenders, it means that the role of Joel Matip has grown in extra importance.Prone to the odd injury at the best of times, it is vitally important the Cameroon international stays fit in the foreseeable future to partner Van Dijk.Failing that, it will be down to a temporary fix such as Fabinho, but the downside to that is you are depriving yourself a midfielder who is growing in confidence in the role that he was brought to the club to do.The discussion about whether we should have reinforced our stocks in January will naturally come to the fore after these setbacks along with the decision to send Nathaniel Clyne on loan to Bournemouth.However we cannot afford to look back and dwell on what could have been done , instead it's time to focus on who is available and the task at hand.As it has been said time and time again, the next three months will be akin to torture.But if we do win the the title come May, overcoming these little obstacles put in our way will make the victory all the more special.
  13. tlw content

    Wijnaldum: Every point is valuable

    Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum is refusing to be too downhearted about the 1-1 draw against Leicester saying every point collected throughout the season is well earned.Despite not picking up the three points against the Foxes, Liverpool managed to extend their lead to five points atop the Premier League table.The narrative leading into this clash on Wednesday evening was how victory for the Red would allow them to have a real mental edge in the title race against Man City who unexpectedly lost to Newcastle the previous evening.While naturally disappointed with the result, Wijnaldum was looking to stay positive, knowing that there were plenty of further challenges ahead.The Official site reported Wijnaldum as saying:" We could’ve created a gap of seven points. "At the end it’s five but of course we are disappointed that we couldn’t make it seven." I think we had a good start, we scored quick [and] after that we had a lot of possession. We didn’t create a lot of chances after that, but it was good. They had one chance with the header of Maddison, but the second chance was a goal from them.I think everyone was thinking about the seven because it was possible and it didn’t happen. Everyone is disappointed, but I think five points is also good. "Every point that you can collect is good.”The midfielder was unable to put a real finger on why the team were not able to build on their one goal advantage after the Sadio Mane strike after three minutes." It’s difficult to say - we tried everything to push to score a second goal but it didn’t work out, they got better in the first half after 30 minutes and I think that’s why they created the chance with Maddison, but also because we lost a lot of balls trying to play football.“It was difficult on this pitch, but at the end [of the first half] we gave away a free-kick and they scored."It’s always tough when you have to play when it just snowed, but it’s two teams that have to deal with it so you can’t complain about it or use it as an excuse." With that game now done and dusted, Wijnaldum is looking ahead to the next challenge against West Ham on Monday night."We’ll try to collect the three points against West Ham. It’s going to be difficult, but so is every game in the Premier League.”In the position that we are in at the moment, that is the only thing you can do.Don't dwell on the past, and look forward to the next challenge.
  14. Jurgen Klopp has bemoaned some non-decisions by referee Martin Atkinson, but in the main says he couldn't complain about the overall result against Leicester City which finished in a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday evening.Naturally on a high after their main title rivals Man City lost to Newcastle the previous evening, the Reds got off to the dream start when Sadio Mane scored the opening goal within three minutes in snowy conditions.Harry McGuire pegged back the home team on the stroke of half time sidefooting the ball past Alisson after a looping header by Ben Chilwell from outside the box seeming to catch the Reds defenders off-guard.While there were a few half chances in the second half, Klopp admitted that the result was a fair one. Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying: "They had chances and so it's of course absolutely OK the 1-1."However Klopp says that his side could have been awarded a penalty or two throughout the ninety minutes, along with a red card for McGuire for a deliberate foul on Sadio Mane. "Even when I think everybody agrees that there could have been a penalty, maybe should have been one.I don't know why it was no penalty and then we have the situation with Maguire."It's now the second time in a game where a striker from my team, somebody brings him down at the halfway line and we treat it like it is I don't know where." He would not have been alone through [on goal] because Mohamed Salah would have been around him. "It's a two-versus [Kasper] Schmeichel situation, if that's not a real chance and goalscoring situation then I don't know." But again, Leicester had chances and they had nothing to do with the situation around that.‘ It’s a ref thing and we now have to accept the result, which is no problem."Despite not getting the three points which would have seen the lead return to seven points, Klopp was still content with where his side sat at the end of the evening."We have a point more than before."That's not exactly what we wanted to have but still everything is fine."I know at the moment I don't think anybody further was injured, which helps us obviously a lot and now we have a few days to prepare against West Ham and then Bournemouth and we go again and all that stuff."That's what we're doing, not counting points and hoping for gaps between us and other teams We have to win our football games."That didn't happen tonight and so we are not happy about that. "I don't see it like we've dropped points. It would have been easy for Klopp to dwell on the negatives of dropping two points at home in the midst of a title race.But just like he has been through the campaign, the German is looking to keep things on a level footing, not getting too high when we win or too low when the the three points are not secured. "We take what we get and tonight it's a point and it's more than we had before the game so that's fine. Is it that I'm now overly happy? No, of course not, we wanted to win that game." We all knew there were going to be plenty of twists and turns in the last few months of the season, and this is just the start of it.Buckle up, because it's sure going to be a bumpy ride.
  15. Jurgen Klopp believes the continued good form of his side has played a part in the discussion that Mo Salah goes down too easily in the box to win penalties.The age-old topic of diving reared its head again during the festive period when Mo Salah won a couple of penalties against Newcastle and Arsenal.He subsequently won a penalty another in the game against Brighton in the middle of January which Seagulls manager Chris Hughton was in full agreement with.However the discussion reached its crescendo during the last league game against Crystal Palace when Salah again went down in the box but no penalty was given by referee Jon Moss.The critics from far and wide had their pitchforks out demanding that Salah change his ways as it wasn't a 'good 'look' and that the German should have a word to him to cut it out of his game.Klopp has played a pretty straight bat to all the background noise throughout the season surrounding his team and the title race. But when it comes to this issue, it appears he has had enough, and has a interesting theory about why it has gathered steam of late.Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:" This (the Palace game) is the first situation where he went down without [a penalty] and you speak about all the other situations as well?"The other situations there is nothing to talk about - it is a penalty, done. If this is the first then why do we talk about?"There are other situations, much more obvious situations, that we don't talk about and nobody is talking about because it's not [Manchester] City, it's not [Manchester] United, it's not Liverpool, it's not Arsenal or it's not Chelsea. All the others can do it from time to time and nobody really talks about it. It's all fine. Klopp was adamant his star has done nothing wrong and you suspect nothing will change his opinion on the matter"All the penalties against him [Salah] were penalties but people handle it like it was halfway diving - it was not. We don't need blood for a foul in football. That's all I will say about it. No, I didn't speak to him about it."Klopp had certainly done his homework on the issue, citing a player who the Reds will face in tonight's game against Leicester."Did anyone talk to Jamie Vardy when, I forget the opponent [Southampton], everybody saw, you remember the situation?" "That was proper... he jumped in. "Is Jamie a bad person because of that? I don't say now he is a diver. That is another situation."You have them in the back, you are there, you feel something, do you have to go down? Probably not. "I don't have to speak to players about obvious things. He knows that. Don't go down in situations like that."There aren't many people in world football who are an advocate for blatant diving. Sure, some players will go down when they feel some contact more than others would but that is more to do with their instinct than out and out cheating.What we do know by now is that Mo lets his football do the talking. He is not someone that looks to spark controversy by doing or saying the wrong thing. In fact you hear very little from him at all, and that's more than OK as his performances speak for themselves.However with all the outcry of his 'supposed 'theatrics' in recent times, don't expect the Egyptian King to get too many decisions go his way in the next period of time.The good thing is, this will blow over in time and the usual suspects will have another target to pick on.It is just another obstacle to overcome in this remarkable season.
  16. 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 sign up here. 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. This post is Sponsored content. +18 responsible gaming.
  17. Report by Dave Usher Hey look, the Red Arrows are back! It’s been a while but their return couldn’t have been more timely. It was a must win game but we also needed a performance to lift flagging morale and to blow up the tiresome “they’re bottling it” narrative. If one defeat all season is classed as “bottling it”, I’ll have that every year. That being said, we all know that our form hasn’t been good for a little while now and even when we were winning every game it wasn’t always dazzling. This, however, was dazzling. This was the football I remember from last season when we were blowing teams away. Speed, skill, speed, intensity, speed. Did I mention speed? How satisfying was it seeing those lightning quick counter attacks from opposing corner kicks? That’s one of my favourite things in football; seeing us clear a corner and then everyone going “chaaaaaaarrrggge!” Even Virgil was right up there in the box for one of them late on. Exhilerrating. I don’t care that it was ‘only Bournemouth’ and that their style of play suits us. That helped, obviously, but it wasn’t the reason we looked so good. To me it feels as though Klopp did some soul searching after Leicester and West Ham, and at the end of it he went back to the tried and trusted. Back to what he knows works; 4-3-3 with Bobby in the middle and Mo on the right. I don’t know why he has veered away from it for so much of this season, particularly as the 4-2-3-1 has never really looked that convincing. In flashes it’s been good and it helped get us to the top of the table so there is that, but we’ve never looked as fluent playing that way as we did when we were running roughshod on all of Europe last season. I guess despite the results there’s been a part of me this season that has kept thinking about the blistering football we saw for much of the previous campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I like how we’re winning more games than last year, but the performances have rarely been as thrilling as much of what we were treated to a year ago. This felt like a return to that. It’s only one game though, so we’ll see. This is just a teaser, click 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.
  18. Watford edged the Z-Cars derby thanks to an Andre Gray strike. My boy Troy's pre-match pleas fell on deaf ears as loads of fans brought rubber snakes with them to show what they think of Marco Ssssssilva. Or should that be $ilva? Either way, they think he’s a twat. There was all sorts of aggro after the game too as Everton fans reportedly began attacking Watford fans as they came out of the stadium. There's two sides to every story of course, but let's just say that Watford aren't exactly known for the reputation of their 'firm'. Probably Millwall's fault though. The goal came from a corner that shouldn’t have been given, which just makes it all the more amusing. The ref should have known that wasn't a corner as Pickford was never going to get a touch on that shot. Not with those little arms. Zouma was sent off after the final whistle for getting in the refs face to complain about it. That derby game really did do irreparable damage to this Everton team. Only for the fact they’d picked up a fair few points earlier in the season, they’d be in the relegation mix right now as they’re free falling. The countdown to the second coming of the Moyesiah is well under way now. This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  19. If there a player who knows a fair bit about putting the ball in the back of the net it is Michael Owen. While his departure from Anfield and future career path was contentious to say the least, what can't be denied was the impact he had at the club, scoring at a ratio better than one goal every two games for the club across all competitions during his eight season spell.The former England international has identified an area of the squad which he thinks Jurgen Klopp will look to strengthen in the summer.That is the role of back-up to the superstar front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.When you get three players with such natural talent who play in the same frontline you normally find that ego comes to play.But the sense of joy that they have playing together is clear to see, and the fact that they are such a close unit is just as much a strength as their overall consistent output. However, it is fair to say that if any of that trio is missing for a period of time, the drop off is pretty stark.The current duo of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi and previously Dom Solanke and Danny Ings have had some opportunities to show their worth over the past couple of years.While each have had 'moments', there is nothing to say that they can provide that on a consistent basis.Owen says that a world class forward is not required in this situation, but someone who can play a solid role brought the season.The Mirror reported Owen as saying:"I mean, where do you go? How do you go and target someone, and they say ‘am I going to start?’ and you have to say 'no, Salah will start or Mane will start.“You can’t go and get an absolute top player, unless they only have a couple of years left in their career."Or you go and buy the next young thing and maybe bleed him in for a year or so. "To go and get someone in the guts of their career, at 24 or 25, that’s so hard, and that’s the only player that can really improve teams like this one.“I know it’s a dream for everyone (to sign world-class players) but it’s so hard to improve your team if you are in the top six, unless you’re not happy with one of your players and you look to replace them. "But Liverpool have a great front three, and so if they’re going to buy, it would more likely be one of the options I mentioned.” Jurgen Klopp has a number of exciting prospects in the academy ranks such as Rhian Brewster, Liam Millar, Bobby Duncan, Paul Glatzel and Glen McAuley who will develop naturally over time. Most, if not all will spend time away from the club to hone their skills in the same way that Harry Wilson and Herbie Kane are presently doing. On their return, the hope will be that they will be able to hit the ground running and make a strong impact for the first team. Ben Woodburn would have been a perfect candidate for this role, but sadly his career has stagnated somewhat over the past year and it remains to be seen which direction he will go from here.But Owen raises a fair point where you need one or two players who will accept a secondary role in this current Liverpool set-up, and be able to have a knack of producing when the opportunity arises.Depth is becoming a ever increasing factor in the modern game, and Klopp would love the luxury to rest Bobby, Sadio and Mo from time to time and be sure that their replacement can fill in adequately.Lets hope that we can identity some candidates in the months ahead. View full article
  20. If Liverpool fans are looking to follow the progress of a rival player with a sense of fondness in their heart, they shouldn't look further than Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser.The Scottish winger has made his choice of who he would like to see lift the title this season, and he has voted in favour of the Reds.The Liverpool Echo reported Fraser as saying:" I just like watching good football, and I like the way Liverpool play. "They’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and with the players they’ve got, they’ll do it, I think. They only got beaten in one game, and you know what it’s like, people say they’re under pressure.They’re not, are they? Everyone gets beaten, and they’re still at the top of the league. I just think it was a little blip. I’ve got nothing to do with it, but I would like to see them win the league". Fraser's teammate Steve Cook was also glowing in his admiration, and this time it was the fans which won his praise." You could see that the crowd were going to play a major part in the game. I haven’t quite heard an atmosphere like it today, especially when they scored."The Liverpool fans got behind their team. I’m sure they’re going to play a huge part from now until the end of the season.”Cook, the Cherries veteran who played a starring role in Bournemouth's stunning 4-3 victory against the Reds at the Vitality stadium in 2016, also passed comment on the form of Klopp's men which also impressed him greatly. “The way they attack is really difficult to defend against. They don’t really give you much chance to get your game going, its really tough to play against."On this showing, it’s hard to see Liverpool dropping too many points again. But this is why everyone loves this league, because you never know what you’re going to get."If they go on to win the league, I’m sure they’ll fully deserve to do it.”While there is sure to be a certain group of individuals who couldn't bear to see us raise the trophy come the end of the season, it's great to hear the thoughts of two current professionals who are not afraid in saying they think on the matter. Fair play to them. View full article
  21. Saturday Feb 2: Gomez is having an op. There’s no timescale on his return but he is expected to play again this season. Yeah, heard that before so I’ll take it with a pinch of salt. What the fuck has gone on here? History repeating itself, that’s what. Last season he got injured, it was mis-diagnosed and it caused him to miss the run to the Champions League Final and also robbed him of a place at the World Cup. Same thing has happened here. He was meant to be back already, but someone got it wrong and now he’s having a fucking operation and we’re stuck with Big Bird from Sesame Street playing alongside Van Dijk because of course Lovren is injured again too. We’ll be playing against Bayern Munich with Big Bird and Fabinho in the middle of the back four. Can’t wait. Sunday Feb 3: City cruise to a 3-1 win against Arsenal. Can’t say I’m shocked by the scoreline but I didn’t expect Arsenal to be as bad as they were. I thought they’d have a go but that their awful defending would prove their undoing. I was half right. Their defending was staggeringly shit but they didn’t even have a go. No shots in the second half. Fucking shitbags. Don’t expect Chelsea to do anything next week either, or Spurs when they go there. If City drop points it will be to someone you least expect it to be. They’ll be zoned in against Chelsea and Spurs. Chelsea got beat 4-0 at Bournemouth last week and the players have quit on Sarri. On paper Spurs could give City a game, but on grass they never do. Bad day all around really as United won as well. Nine wins from ten for the Goblin now, but one man isn’t impressed as Paul Ince says “I could have done what Solskjaer has done”. Yeah, course you could. Fucking hell. Solskjaer might’t be the greatest tactical manager in the world and what he’s done there might just be as straightforward as simply playing the best players in their best positions and allowing them to express themselves, but you know what Solskjaer is not doing? He’s not stood on the touchline with a little notepad, writing the word “SHOOT!” on it. So pipe down, guv’nor. Over the pond tonight we saw the worst Superbowl in living memory as the hated Patriots won again. Their opponents were the Stan Kroenke owned LA Rams, who thoroughly embarrassed themselves with a pitiful showing. Kroenke should be used to such gutless displays though as he also owns Arsenal. Worse than the Patriots winning was having to see Harry Kane’s slobbering gob on TV. He was over there watching the game, and of course he’s a Patriots fan. I’d have been staggered if he wasn’t, the front running, glory hunting twat. The only surprise is he din’t somehow end up on the field claiming the MVP award. Southgate was there too, as was… wait for it…. David Moyes. Ok, time out here. The Superbowl is always referred to as ‘the greatest show on earth’ and tickets for it are like gold dust. You generally have to be a somebody to go to a Superbowl. At least that’s how it used to be. Letting that deadbeat Moyes in there changes everything. It’s lost all credibility. This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  22. For those who have been around Football long enough, they would have heard plenty of tales of the weird and wonderful variety. This latest story comfortably fits into the former category. Gini Wijnaldum has been one of the most consistent members of Liverpool's starting lineup throughout the season and his absence from a knee injury was most certainly felt during the Reds 1-1 draw against West Ham on Monday night.The Dutchman was scheduled to return for the crucial clash against Bournemouth on Saturday and while he produced his standard performance which included a sublime goal (just his second in the league this season), on the face of things, all what was not what it seemed.Sky Sports reported Wijnaldum as saying:"Thursday night I had a tablet from the doctor for my knee. It was a tablet that could induce stomach pains. I took it and I had a pain and thought it was from the tablet. In the end I was vomiting and everyone was a little bit scared."I didn't train on Friday and I didn't sleep at the hotel either because they thought I might infect other players."The manager called me and said 'Do you think you can play?' I said I was as positive as I can. "In the morning I was still weak and had diarrhoea. The tablets helped a lot but even at half-time I had to run off to get to the toilet. I was like 'Oh no!'. "I ran inside and I managed to control it!"That was undoubtedly a relief for all concerned.Wijnaldum knew the importance of Saturday's result especially on the back of dropped points against Leicester and West Ham.While frustrated with those results, the affable 28 year-old took a glass half full approach to the season as a whole."We had two draws in a row and that didn't feel that good. But if we had been told that at the beginning (of the season) you will have this kind of points (65) everyone would have taken it."It could be better but we must appreciate where we stand, you can see the improvement. "You could see at the beginning of the season we improved. We just have to keep it going." While there is a school of thought that Liverpool should drop their interest in progressing to the latter stages of the Champions League to focus fully on their quest to win the league, Wijnaldum believes they can battle on two fronts."We have to see how it is going to work. I think we can play both. You never know but a lot of times it goes well."Last season the Champions League went well and we dropped a lot of points in the league. But I don't think it was because of the Champions League."For now, a bit of rest and recuperation is in order for the squad as they head to Spain for a training camp this week, before facing Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last 16 clash at Anfield next Tuesday. View full article
  23. Remember what I said last week about not wanting Newcastle to go down because they beat City? Yeah, forget that. I take it all back after watching them hand Spurs three points late on at Wembley. They gave it a good go for a long time and yes, it might seem harsh holding it against the entire club when it was just one howler from the goalkeeper that lost them the game, but tough shit. It’s a team game, so I’ve had one of my trademark changes of heart and now I’m back to wanting them to go down. It could happen too, they’re only a couple of points ahead of the drop zone. Spurs are really doing my head in now. They just won’t die. They’re like Michael Myers. When we got to nine points ahead that was it, they were out of it and there was even a lot of talk that they might struggle to hold onto a top four spot with the injuries they had to their forwards. They lost a couple of cup games which added to the ‘Spurs are fucked’ narrative, but then I look out the window and there they are stood there in their fucking stupid hockey mask after they dug in and found a way to keep scraping wins in the league. They briefly even went above City this week, which is good in one way, because fuck Man City, but bad in another because it keeps them right on our heels. The sooner Jamie Lee-Curtis shows up and finally finishes these fuckers off for good the better. And if she could take care of City for us as well that would be nice. A couple of weeks ago Chelsea would have been fancying their chances of catching Spurs, but then the arse fell out of them completely and all of a sudden there was talk that Sarri might be in trouble. They got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 5-0 romp over Huddersfield in which Higuain bagged his first goals since his loan move from Serie A. Hazard got a couple too, and David Luiz wrapped it up late on with a deflected header. As I’ve said, I’m curious to see how Higuain does over here as it’s always been my suspicion that he’d flop massively if he ever moved to the Premier League. Taking over the cursed Chelsea number nine shirt only added to that feeling, and these two goals do nothing yet to make me change my mind. Why? Because it was Huddersfield. Even slumping Everton beat Huddersfield. There’s no real achievement in Chelsea hammering Huddersfield and it proves nothing about whether they’re back on track or not. The Terriers are game and they’ll try their best, but they pose no threat whatsoeve, which makes them a pushover. It’s like going into the boxing ring against an opponent with no arms. He’s ducking and weaving and he’s brave as fuck, but he’s got no arms so you can just throw everything at him knowing you aren’t going to get hit and that eventually you’ll just beat the shit out of him. So as of now, I’m still saying Higuain is a fraud and I challenge him to prove me wrong this weekend against City. If Chelsea beat City I promise to listen to Madness songs in the car all next week, and I really fucking hate Madness. Those irritating baggy trousered Chelsea pricks did their best to single handedly ruin the 80s. This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  24. Liverpool returned to winning ways with a impressive 3-0 win against Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.First half goals by Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum was followed by a Mo Salah strike three minutes into the second half.Bournemouth missing the creative touches of David Brooks and strike power of Callum Wilson had no answer and fell to yet another away day defeat which is their eighth in succession.While the win was more than welcome especially after two frustrating draws, another pleasing factor of the victory was the game of Naby Keita.The performances of the Guinea international who turns 24 today (Happy birthday Naby) has been a major talking point throughout the season.While fellow midfield summer signings in Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri have shown encouraging signs, Keita has never really settled as he has battled niggling injuries and inconsistent performances.Jurgen Klopp has pleaded for patience in regards to the £50 million signing saying that he will come good in time.One player who knows all about adapting to a new club and having to be patient is Andy Robertson as he was in the same boat last season.The Scottish captain who on Saturday registered his 11th assist since debuting for the Reds (most of any defender during that span) was very impressed with the performance of Keita and told the Official site that he can gain a lot from that as we move into the crucial last couple of months."I thought that Naby was excellent. He has taken a wee bit of time to settle in but today was probably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt. I’m sure he can take a lot of confidence from that, which he will."He’s young and he’s had to take time. But if you look at all of us, Fabinho had to take time, me, Chambo. There’s a kind of pattern emerging that you need to settle in and you need to learn the way to play and things like that."I think everyone forgets how young Naby is, he’s only a young boy. I thought today he was a different class. I’m sure his confidence will be sky high after today.”"He’s a fantastic player and the more he shows it the more people will start talking about him. In terms of the victory, Robertson said it was pretty much a complete performance, goals from the front line and midfield, and the defence keeping things tight at the back.The left-back also says that every win in the division should be savoured."In this league it is so hard to win games and you have to work for every inch that you get. And you have to work for every goal that you score, and thankfully we did that today."Bournemouth, two games ago, beat Chelsea 4-0. So, they are having a good season, they have a good team and a good manager. But, overall, I thought we deserved the win and we deserved the clean sheet, and it probably could have been more.While winning is obviously vital when aiming for a league title, the other thing you need is the supporters to drive you on during games.Robertson was glowing in his appreciation of the Anfield crowd on Saturday."It was brilliant. The fans got behind us, they were in nice and early and they got behind us from the first whistle. It always makes a difference."But we know we have to put on a performance to match that. We need to put in a performance to get the fans onside; to win our tackles, to score goals, to create chances. "That’s the only way you are going to get fans off their seats and that’s in any league at any time.The squad now heads off to a warm weather camp in Spain for a few days, before a massive stretch of games starting with the first leg of the last 16 Champions League clash against Bayern Munich a week on Tuesday. View full article
  25. There have been many players who have walked through the doors of Melwood over the years with a high level of natural talent, but I dare say there have been few who compare to the professionalism of James Milner. I will freely admit that to not being overcome with joy when the Yorkshireman arrived at the club in the summer of 2015 from Man City. It was not a matter of disrespect, as you have to tip your hat to someone who had stayed at the top level of English Football for well over a decade. The concern was more to do with the way that the team was progressing on and off the pitch. At that point of time there was a lack of direction in regards to our transfer policy, from the obsession over Southampton players, to signing centre-forwards for £30million while maintaining that identifying young players was the top priority. So basically it was a muddled mess and with the 'retirement' of the talismanic figure of Steven Gerrard, his replacement in the heart of midfield seemed a bit underwhelming and so it proved in a difficult first season for Milner individually and the Reds as a whole. Milner is one of those players that in cricketing terms you would say is an all-rounder, good at a lot of aspects but just missing that key ingredient that truly makes them world class. These types of players are regularly used by managers as 'Mr fix-its" and this was likely one of the reasons why the former English international was moved into the troublesome left-back position at the start his second season at the club to replace the error-prone Alberto Moreno. It was a role which Milner certainly did not personally enjoy, and at times his defending was not out of the coaching manual, a key element to his game is his superior fitness and workrate so those two factors were pivotal as he looked to cover up any technical deficiencies. Despite moving back to his preferred area of the pitch at the start of last season, there was a sense that the veteran would have his work cut out to get his place back in the starting midfield, especially as there was more competition for places since he last played in that position. There was also a thought that Jordan Henderson and Milner were too similar and with the former being the club captain, it appeared like Milner could be on the outer. But once again he found a way to adapt and found a niche role in the Champions League where he was a creative presence breaking the single-season assist record in the competition for assists with eight, along with hounding the life out of key opposition playmakers such as Kevin De Bruyne in the quarter-final clash against City. Milner is the true definition of the 'thinking mans footballer' always looking to find ways to improve his game and it is a key reason why he remains a first-team regular at a top club into his 30s while a number of his contemporaries from the early to mid part of the last decade have gone off either into retirement or chased the big coin in the US and China. The true beauty about a player like Milner is the type of impact he has on the rest of the squad. The vice-captain will demand the same professionalism from his teammates that he produces on the pitch and that is why Klopp has been staunch in his support of him even through some difficult moments in his Reds career. More than willing to ‘put his foot in’ when required, Milner cops just as much as he receives but true to the man, he never makes a fuss and gets back up on his feet as he looks to win the ball back for the team again. With the summer additions of Naby Keita, Fabinho and the fit-again Adam Lallana, spots in the midfield were going to be more intense than it had been for many seasons and Milner was seen by many to be a casualty. However the start of this season has once again shown the resolute nature of the 32-year-old as he has produced a couple of quality all-round performances and it is clear that Milner will be a key figure for the 2018/9 season. With the added midfield depth that Klopp has at its disposal, he will be able to rest the veteran on occasions but when the big games come around you just know he will be one of the first names on the team sheet. If we are able to put together a consistent title challenge this season, Milner’s experience in that situation courtesy of his success at City will come in all the more valuable. The personal reservations over the signing of Milner are certainly a thing of the past and have been replaced by a feeling of comfort knowing exactly what you are going to get from the veteran. Whether called upon to fill a role in a problematic position, produce a rugged challenge to win the ball back for the team or to score a pivotal penalty, Milner is the man to deliver. That is why come rain, hail or shine, James Milner is a man for all seasons. Jason Harris @JayHarry80 Click here to view the article
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