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  1. Wezza

    Top 10 Football Books

    It’s a hard read as El Rojo says above, but definitely worth a read. I’d like to think there are things in place that would support the mental health side of things these days, but feel there is still a long way to go.
  2. Wezza

    *Shakes head* Everton again.

    I must admit I’ve never seen Kean play, but find it a bit odd that Juve seemed more than happy to bomb out a 19 year old Italian International and absolutely nobody else was interested.
  3. Wezza

    *Shakes head* Everton again.

    Seems to me he is just pulling names out of a hat!
  4. Wezza

    Alisson Becker

    This was apparently what Jurgen was sent when he messaged Alisson to ask him if he was ok, what a guy!
  5. Wezza

    *Shakes head* Everton again.

    And they won the transfer window. Good times for the blooos.
  6. Wezza

    Summer 2019 Transfer Thread

    Not miserable at all, Strauss talks a lot of sense, and always have, and that makes total sense. Never stop trying to improve. I read this article yesterday which basically says the same thing. F365 Says: Klopp’s motivational powers facing new Liverpool test Certain trophies are gateways to greater achievements. Part of the League Cup’s struggle for relevance, for instance, involves promising to propel clubs towards something more meaningful. It’s Brian Clough’s Anglo-Scottish Cup theory: the virtues of getting to like the taste of champagne. But what happens when there isn’t another rung on the ladder. If, instead of enticing a player with the tease of more success, the top of the podium is actually the summit. That is what the Champions League represents in European club football and, consequently, that is the challenge now facing Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. Klopp might argue that the Premier League is the higher peak and that, because of Manchester City’s various advantages, winning it would be the more significant achievement. Perhaps he would be right, but it would be very difficult to convince any player that a European Cup wasn’t the pinnacle of his career. Particularly at Liverpool, particularly where that trophy is treated with such reverence. Dealing with the after-shocks of success is very difficult, mainly because they’re almost impossible to foresee. There are the general ailments, such as falling motivation and swelling egos, but neither seem particularly relevant to this Liverpool side. One of Klopp’s great triumphs has actually been to construct a squad free of those latent tensions. He’s made stars, certainly, and there a few brighter and bigger in the game than Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk, but there’s no suggestion of any problematic swagger heading his way. Instead, the threat to Liverpool’s further progress is more generalised, and involves a call-back to Klopp’s earlier career and the seasons which followed his 2012 league and cup double with Borussia Dortmund. The arcs he has presided over at both clubs are very similar. Both were obviously instructed by his style of play and the way footballers react to it, but the atmosphere in which that growth occurred is almost identical. Dortmund, to the empowering soundtrack of their fanatical Yellow Wall. Liverpool, with the energy of a febrile Anfield. The dynamic between the coach and players justifies comparison too. In each case, the internal atmosphere has been depicted in the same way, in almost fraternal tones. Klopp has an authoritarian side to his personality, he has an edge to him, but his squad – now, as before – respond to him as they would a father. That’s a rather trite analogy, but it’s accurate: they play as if seeking his approval, desperate not to disappoint him and running until he allows them to stop. In 2012, the 5-2 thrashing of Bayern Munich in the Pokal final began a period of slow decline at Dortmund. A year later, after a thrilling run through the knockout rounds, they reached the Champions League final. Nevertheless, they fell 25 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga that year and finished 19 points back twelve months later. Klopp’s end at the Westfalenstadion is associated with the disastrous 2014-15 campaign, but it’s clear that something had changed long before the bottom eventually fell out. And much of what changed was beyond his control. Mario Gotze slunk away to the Allianz Arena on a Bosman. Robert Lewandowski followed him a year later. Dortmund were also beset by a long injury list at precisely the moment that Pep Guardiola strode into town to take control in Munich. But there’s a good chapter in Raphael Hongstein’s book, Bring The Noise, about Dortmund’s own decline and the aspects which were under their control. Neven Subotic had been brought to Dortmund from Mainz, Klopp’s previous club, and he observed the differences post-2012. “When you get the feeling as a player that you’ve already achieved something, that you have a bit of experience, you suddenly don’t want to say yes to everything anymore. I guess that’s human nature.” It’s easy to be overly interpretive and view all of Dortmund’s troubles through that prism. That’s the ‘swaggering ego’ fallacy that implies that their players stopped running, stopped working and refused to listen. It’s not the case and that’s made very clear. Instead, the decline to which Subotic was alluding was less conscious, almost an involuntary reaction to having become a player in possession of certain medals. And he’s right: it is human nature. When someone achieves something significant, their desire to chase accomplishment recedes. In Liverpool’s situation, the threat that poses is obvious. One of the reasons why Subotic’s diagnosis feels so believable, is because of how Dortmund had been constructed and the manner in which they fell apart. The emotions of winning the Champions League will provide added motivation for Jürgen Klopp & his players in 2019-20. They were a powerful side who sought to athletically dominate opponents and run them into oblivion. But they were also built on an accuracy which, when their throttle wasn’t completely open, didn’t exist in quite the same way. Their timing gradually became more askew and their vulnerabilities began to reveal themselves; it was a major difference, but probably with tiny, seemingly incidental declines as its cause. Liverpool are a similar side now. They’re much more gifted and complete, their squad is deeper too, but their dependencies are the same and any calming of their wild energy would likely have a comparable effect. It wouldn’t necessarily present as sluggishness or complacency, but in mistakes, missed passes and runs ending too soon. The kind of imperfections which don’t create crisis, but which end with points slipping away without anyone really knowing why. It’s difficult for them, too, because the Premier League is all that’s left to conquer, and that’s a competition dominated by a club playing the sport almost under different rules. Some very significant ones, according to UEFA. So there’s an asterisk there, a pre-determined way of explaining second place. Added to which, Liverpool are in possession of the trophy that Manchester City desire the most, which creates a very odd dynamic within their rivalry. Where does the energy for a chase come from if, as in this situation, the team doing the chasing already has their own emblem of superiority? There is nothing greater than the European Cup. The competition’s history has given it an eternal primacy which even the Premier League’s wealth can’t challenge. But this is not a doom prophecy for Liverpool’s 2019-20 season. Rather it’s a point of interest. Clubs able to boast dynastic success engender so much respect precisely because it’s so difficult to achieve. The reasons for that admiration are the very same which threaten Liverpool’s further progress. The point, then, isn’t to claim that Klopp is incapable of maintaining their momentum, it’s to describe the fascination in discovering whether he can. How much did he learn from his last trip to altitude?
  7. F365 Says: Rhian Brewster is Liverpool’s Firmino-in-waiting… “We brought them in already, only you don’t realise it,” beamed Jurgen Klopp when asked about the possibility of Liverpool making new signings this summer. It’s a question he will be asked regularly in the coming weeks and you get the impression the answer will be similar each time; one which refers to a number of Liverpool players who missed much of last season through injury but are now back in the fold. It’s normal for a player coming back from a long-term absence to be described as ‘like a new signing’. But this might not wash with many fans who recognise the need for strength in depth as they look to build on a campaign that was successful but still saw them fall short of Manchester City in the Premier League. They do have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Joe Gomez coming back to full fitness in time for the new season, but there is another new face yet to make a senior appearance who might genuinely fit the ‘like a new signing’ tag. In January 2017 Klopp spoke of a “special kid” in the Liverpool academy but refused to name names so as not to put pressure on the youngster. The ‘special kid’ is thought to have been Rhian Brewster, the forward who moved from Chelsea to Liverpool aged 15. Today Klopp is not so coy when discussing the talented attacker, who is now 19 years old and ready for the first team. When asked if Brewster’s pre-season performances needed to be played down, he replied: “Why should I play it down? I saw a really good game and Rhian is a fantastic player. That is the only thing I want to talk about.” If Brewster is going to feature in the first team this season he will have to deal with the pressure of turning out for the European champions, and the Premier League’s last hope when it comes to challenging Manchester City’s dominance. This is Klopp preparing his young player for that pressure by bigging up his pre-season displays, even if they were only against Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City. But as long as he puts in a shift, Brewster may not be under too much pressure to hit the back of the net as often as other strikers in the league. This is because the centre-forward role at Liverpool is very specific and very, well, Roberto Firmino. There are few if any players in world football who could replicate the Brazilian’s role for Liverpool, so it makes complete sense that Klopp has chosen to mould a promising young player waiting for a first-team chance rather than trawl the transfer market for a player who might be a bit like Firmno, but not quite. And Brewster has had some time to work on this. Tactics in Liverpool’s youth and reserve sides mirror those in the first team, so for around three years he has been training to become the next Firmino. In April 2017 Klopp said: “Rhian has made outstanding steps in the last few months. Because of the talent group training once a week in Melwood with Pep Lijnders, I can see them. “I’ve known him for probably more than a year. A wonderful skilled boy, real striker, good finisher, fantastic work ethic, and all that stuff,” enthused the Liverpool manager. The ‘talent group’ is exactly that – a selection of talented academy players invited to integrate with the first team. There was no doubt that Brewster was good enough for this group, and the club now have no doubts that he can make the next step. The work ethic is also key, and by “all that stuff”, Klopp basically means the Firmino stuff. Firmino accepts that he has to work for the team and allow players like Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to push forward in Liverpool’s 4-3-3, which becomes more of a 4-4-2 diamond in attack with Firmino combining the roles of attacking midfielder and striker. It’s no coincidence that Salah and Mane tied for most goals in the Premier League last season; Firmino ploughs furrows and they reap the rewards. Brewster will have to do the same, dropping deep to link play, working hard in defence, knowing when and where to press, and being versatile enough to operate in multiple positions if needed. The trade-off is that regular goals are not expected, although they are of course nice and opportunities will arise to score them once the heavy lifting has been done. It could be the ideal situation for a young player to walk into: the pressure is off as long as you work hard and understand the tactics. Born in London, Brewster moved north as he didn’t see a path to the first team at Chelsea. At Liverpool the opportunity is there, but you have to be good and you have to fit Klopp’s plan. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gomez are the most recent success stories, and they have paved a way for academy players such as Brewster and young new signings such as centre-back Sepp van den Berg. Liverpool fans still recognise the need for a new attacking signing for the first team – someone who can play wide and centrally, someone with pace, and someone who can step in should the unthinkable happen and one of Salah or Mane pick up an injury. Given the amount of football the pair have played during the past few years (Mane’s summer break is yet to begin as he’s still with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations) they will definitely need a rest at some point in the new campaign. That pacy, inventive, back-up wide forward doesn’t exist in Liverpool’s current squad – unless they suddenly decide Harry Wilson is good enough – so it’s here they’ll need an actual new signing rather than ‘like a new signing’. But when it comes to their Firmino alternative they might just have a homegrown, home-made solution, and Klopp has already spoken of his plans for the teenager. “Rhian Brewster is a top striker,” said the German. “He has an important role this year, but how important? It depends on him, and we’ll see. He has to play different positions because the centre is OK, wing is possible, and then we will see how we can line up. There will be opportunities for him, I’m really sure.” Many before Brewster have been given chances and failed, but thanks to the work of Klopp and Lijnders – and the links between first team and academy – young players are now better prepared to bridge the gap to the elite. Brewster already has Champions League and (U-17) World Cup medals, but the biggest honour yet would be for him to don the red shirt and make his first senior appearance for Liverpool. https://www.football365.com/news/f365-says-rhian-brewster-is-liverpools-firmino-in-waiting
  8. Wezza

    *Shakes head* Everton again.

    Under Everton rules, England haven’t just won the cricket World Cup because they lost a few games along the way.
  9. Wezza

    Tranmere (A) Friendly, 11/7/19

    Was worrying about this game, but calm returned once I saw that Stig had started the match thread.
  10. Wezza

    Football managers who managed rival clubs

    Owen Coyle - Burnley, Bolton and Blackburn. Presumably liked where he lived?
  11. Wezza

    Football managers who managed rival clubs

    Leonardo Araujo - Inter and Milan
  12. Wezza

    *Shakes head* Everton again.

    I think it is fair to say that they are so obsessed with what we are doing, they forget about everybody else, with the exception being when everybody else plays us.
  13. Wezza

    Summer 2019 Transfer Thread

    I’m thinking that Arnautovic is not the sort of character we would want in the dressing room.