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Cij

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About Cij

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  1. Absolutely days of our lives. Lap it up. Team seemed crackers but Jurgen knows. We are a class act. Whatever about the superstars, the likes of Wijnaldum, Robertson and Henderson have the chutzpah and drive to get us over the line. Mane was sublime, Origi is a stone cold legend, and Shaq was class. I have waited my whole life for a team like this. Magic!
  2. Cij

    Other Football - 2019/20

    Tumescent.
  3. We’re champions of Europe, We’re back up at the top, And it’s all down to one man - his name is Jurgen Klopp, Beat Barca, Bayern, Porto, Spurs, Paris, Napoli, Now you know why Liverpool is the only club for me. Allez, Allez, Allez
  4. You don't need to be clairvoyant to know how this one will go. Jose will set up with a flat back 10 and pad his team out with as many snidey grocks as possible. The first five minutes of the game will see one of his 'forward' players scythe down Mo Salah with a 'clumsy' tackle a la Eto'o on Henderson a few years ago. From there, the fouls will be rotated with a level of even-handedness that Karl Marx could only dream about. Every time they get a throw-in it will appear as though their full-backs are experiencing teething issues on their first day trialing a new set of arms. A number of their forwards will bear the hallmarks of a worrying inner ear infection given their extraordinary lack of balance and susceptibility to gravity any time they get near our box. De Gea will be riddled with indecision about his preferred side of the 6-yard box from which to launch goal kicks into orbit. Lukaku will accidentally land awkwardly on Virgil's ankle after 'contesting' (and losing) one of David's ballooned clearances. Pogba will be lauded repeatedly by the commentary team despite being as useful as a cock flavored lollipop. 'Sign On' will be sung with gusto by the denizens of leafy Longsight and Gorton (and Surrey granted). 'Always The Victim' will also be reprised again and again on the basis that it ABSOLUTELY does not refer to Hillsborough and could never be interpreted as such be any rational member of society. Claims will circulate on social media of phantom graffiti and vandalism in toilets, the entire away end will surreptitously make airplane gestures (which, miraculously, will not be captured by any of the 80,000+ camera phones within the ground), and our supporters will debut the stage version of 'Two Girls, One Cup' to the alleged horror of the spawn of some Manc Orc. In short, I would be extremely pleased with a win.
  5. Cij

    Virgil Van Dijk

    Whilst I would love us to sign Van Dijk there is an argument to be made that we should move on if we can't agree a deal with Southampton this week. He has been injured for six months and has now had a disrupted pre-season so we have not had an opportunity to confirm he is fully recovered. In reality, he won't be match-fit until towards the end of September at the earliest. Lovren and Gomez are currently injured too so there is the possibility that we will be starting the season with Klavan at centre-half with no cover. I appreciate we would be signing him for five years rather than five weeks but I don't want to scupper our chances of competing for the league this year by being held to ransom by Southampton. Despite their claims, Southampton will not be relishing the prospect of a disgruntled captain having to be re-integrated into their squad and the possibility that they never receive similar offers again if it transpires he has lingering issues due to the ankle injury.
  6. Cij

    Summer 2017 Transfer Thread

    It was strange when the Echo ran various pieces following the end of the season detailing how this was going to be the club’s most extravagant Summer window ever and reaming off various high-profile targets. Bragging about how much money we have inevitably results in selling clubs demanding higher prices? The only logical reason for doing this was to convince our key targets that the club is ambitious and on an upward trajectory. Fine, up to a point. Klopp appears to have successfully persuaded a host of excellent players that this is the place to be – Salah, Van Dijk and Keita in particular – and the onus now very much rests on FSG to get these deals over the line or supporters will turn on them. The club’s bombastic leaks understandably created expectation among fans. Kudos for wrapping up Salah but the rest of the omens are not great. FSG clearly baulked at Southampton’s asking price for Van Dijk. Southampton’s top brass employs a tried and tested approach when it comes to selling their top players in order to keep their own fans onside. They portray themselves as reluctant sellers and force the player to demand a transfer, see Fonte, Lallana, Lovren and Wanyama by way of example. A deal is always done but only when the money is produced. The fact that we publicly backed down was ridiculous. FSG have attempted to be cute by cosying up to Van Dijk in order to alienate other suitors and drive the price down. This has understandably irked Southampton. The same strategy seems to have been adopted with Keita. No problem with that once you follow through with a realistic bid but we appear to be operating in a vacuum. I suspect the post-apology hope is that some other club will act as a stalking horse for Van Dijk and we will match any bid that is accepted. My biggest concern is that Van Dijk and Keita have clearly been identified to address very specific weaknesses in our squad. Van Dijk dominates aerially to a virtually unparalleled degree (he is basically twice as effective as Lovren) which should greatly help with our Achilles’ Heel when defending set pieces. Keita has an incredibly well-rounded game and the closest comparison is Thiago Alcantara. Klopp has long been looking to bring in a ball-carrying midfielder who can pass through the lines – like Dahoud and Zielinski – and Keita excels at this as well as the defensive side. ‘Packing’ is the measures in football analytics for players who assist their teams to break through defensive lines by passing or dribbling. Keita appears to be right up there with Kroos and Thiago in this regard and is tailor-made for puncturing through the low-block defences we struggled against last season. It speaks volumes about FSG’s ambition if they fail to wrap up these deals at this point in the team’s development. Klopp secured Champions League by the skin of his teeth with a bare bones squad last season. That simply won’t cut it next year with all our rivals pushing out the boat this Summer. The right signings might actually allow us compete for the league next year. Perhaps FSG are waiting for bids for Sakho, Moreno, Markovic and the like before pressing on with Van Dijk and Keita but if they are not brought in before the end of the window a backlash will inevitably ensue.
  7. Cij

    LFC Accounts 2015/16

    I avoided getting bogged down in departures / loans as we are not privy to the details of any contribution to the wages of players sold or on loan. I was actually nerdy enough to work out the cost of wages for departing players between the start of the club's financial year and their date of disposal but only really wanted to provide a rough explanation for the £42m increase in wages. I believe that agent's fees are amortised as 'signing on fees' under the admin heading in the accounts. The FA disclosed that our payments to agents in the 5-month period from October 2015 to February 2016 totaled £6.6m so we can extrapolate that out to around £15m over the financial year.
  8. Cij

    LFC Accounts 2015/16

    The £42m wage bill increase in the most recent accounts really surprised me so I have done a ‘back of a cigarette box’ calculation to see how it has arisen. It goes without saying that the figures won't be entirely accurate as they are not in the public domain but I have done my best to piece it together from the available information. The most obvious category was new signings and the acquisitions of Benteke, Firmino, Clyne, Milner, Ings, Gomez, Bogdan, Grujic, Caulker, Allan and the full time arrival of Origi from Lille will have added slightly north of £26m to the wage bill. We also handed out a lot of new contracts / pay rises in 2015/16 – Coutinho, Henderson, Skrtel, Sakho, Mignolet, Flanagan, Smith, Ibe, Brannagan, Ojo – which when added to Sturridge’s bumper deal in October 2014 would have given an uplift in the order of £11m. Klopp replaced Rodgers in October 2015 and was joined by his backroom team of Buvac and Krawietz. Rodgers’ and his entourage were paid £15.7m by way of ‘redundancy and associated costs’, which are listed separately in the accounts. However, Klopp is reportedly on up to £7m p/a (including bonuses) so it seems reasonable to allow £3m for himself and his team for October 2015 – May 2016. The final £2m appears to relate to the club employing 70 new staff between Commercial / Admin and Ground Staff. At an average salary of £28.5k that seems about right. The upshot of all this activity is that LFC had a wages to turnover ratio of 69% in 2015/16. The Board will not be too worried about that as the new Premier League deal and revamped Main Stand will increase revenues by up to £70m next season. Last Summer’s signing of Mane, Wijnaldum Matip & Co. will have added approximately £21m to the wage bill over the course of their first year, which will probably be pushed up to £25m by the time Lovren and Lallana’s new deals are included. About £18m in wages has already been clawed back by the departure of Skrtel, Allen, Benteke, Illori, Ibe and the rest. My best guess is that LFC's wages to turnover ratio is currently in the ballpark of 60% and we will try to offload Lucas, Sturridge, Manniger, Moreno, Sakho, Wisdom, Flanagan, Bogdan, Ings, Markovic, and possibly Can to free up a further £550k a week in wages for new signings. On that basis, Klopp could make six £90k a week signings this Summer and we’d still end up with a wages to turnover ratio of a very healthy 60%. I suspect Klopp was well aware there would be limited funds to spend in his first few transfer windows (as the club had to fund the Rodgers' payoff etc.) and he used that time to assess the squad thoroughly. He has made a conscious decision to freeze out Sakho, Moreno, Markovic,and Sturridge; presumably to encourage them to move on and provide him with the resources to shape the squad in his own image. I know this stuff bores a lot of people to tears but it actually does provide some insight into what is actually achievable. With Champions League qualification, I would expect the club to spend up to £90m this Summer.
  9. Cij

    Goalimpact - LFC Scouting

    The following table lists the Top 50 most influential players in the world in December 2016. It shouldn't be read literally; Gotze is obviously not better than Messi. The point though is that Dortmund's level drops off more without Gotze than Barca's without Messi. The GI equation also happens to be a pretty good barometer of the best players and when supplemented by scouting should help to sort the wheat from the chaff. All I am trying to illustrate is how 'Moneyball' actually works in practice. This type of information is what is informing Michael Edward's decisions on our transfer targets. Rank Player Team Goalimpact Player Age PeakGI Nationality Previous Rank 1 Mario Götze Borussia Dortmund 216,51 24,50 221,74 Deutschland 3 2 Thomas Müller Bayern München 212,59 27,25 215,05 Deutschland 1 3 Busquets FC Barcelona 207,43 28,42 212,11 Spanien 10 4 Lionel Messi FC Barcelona 203,50 29,42 209,97 Argentinien, Spanien 8 5 Piqué FC Barcelona 199,92 29,83 207,05 Spanien 15 6 Pedro Chelsea FC 199,34 29,33 205,66 Spanien 11 7 Manuel Neuer Bayern München 198,81 30,67 210,94 Deutschland 9 8 Toni Kroos Real Madrid 197,03 26,92 198,87 Deutschland 20 9 Karim Benzema Real Madrid 195,17 28,92 200,82 Frankreich 5 10 Mesut Özil Arsenal FC 193,66 28,17 197,91 Deutschland 2 11 Cesc Fàbregas Chelsea FC 193,65 29,58 200,36 Spanien 6 12 Robert Lewandowski Bayern München 193,29 28,25 197,79 Polen 4 13 David Alaba Bayern München 192,70 24,42 198,13 Österreich 42 14 Marcelo Real Madrid 192,14 28,58 197,12 Brasilien 14 15 Theo Walcott Arsenal FC 192,10 27,75 195,56 England, Barbados 7 16 James Rodríguez Real Madrid 192,00 25,42 194,12 Kolumbien 46 17 Thiago Bayern München 191,19 25,67 192,43 Spanien, Brasilien 172 18 Martin Hinteregger FC Augsburg 190,77 24,25 196,92 Österreich 24 19 Neymar FC Barcelona 190,51 24,83 194,61 Brasilien 47 20 Víctor Valdés Middlesbrough FC 190,20 34,92 199,67 Spanien 31 21 Toby Alderweireld Tottenham Hotspur 189,54 27,75 193,07 Belgien 13 22 Jérôme Boateng Bayern München 189,53 28,25 193,97 Deutschland 52 23 Mats Hummels Bayern München 188,09 28,00 192,04 Deutschland 18 24 Holger Badstuber Bayern München 186,01 27,75 189,48 Deutschland 175 25 Kevin Kampl Bayer Leverkusen 184,73 26,17 185,02 Slowenien, Deutschland 29 26 Gianluigi Buffon Juventus 184,24 38,83 184,61 Italien 102 27 Bartra Borussia Dortmund 184,10 25,92 184,51 Spanien 246 28 Dani Carvajal Real Madrid 183,88 24,92 187,74 Spanien 221 29 Koke Atletico Madrid 183,69 24,92 187,52 Spanien 198 30 Ángel Di María Paris Saint-Germain 183,49 28,83 188,87 Argentinien 40 31 Eden Hazard Chelsea FC 183,46 25,92 183,80 Belgien 41 32 Iker Casillas FC Porto 183,16 35,50 191,28 Spanien 55 33 Yaroslav Rakitskiy Shakhtar Donetsk 182,95 27,33 185,63 Ukraine 54 34 Gregory van der Wiel Fenerbahce 182,88 28,83 188,32 Niederlande, Curaçao 44 35 Henrikh Mkhitaryan Manchester United 182,71 27,83 186,47 Armenien 35 36 Alex Teixeira Jiangsu Sainty 182,54 26,92 184,36 Brasilien 264 37 Luis Suárez FC Barcelona 182,02 29,83 189,19 Uruguay 59 38 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 181,92 31,83 200,52 Portugal 17 39 Siem de Jong PSV Eindhoven 181,08 27,83 184,80 Niederlande 75 40 İlkay Gündoğan Manchester City 180,64 26,08 180,86 Deutschland 150 41 Xherdan Shaqiri Stoke City 180,58 25,17 183,56 Schweiz 284 42 Arturo Vidal Bayern München 180,57 29,50 187,19 Chile 23 43 Petr Čech Arsenal FC 180,11 34,50 189,85 Tschechien 32 44 Luuk de Jong PSV Eindhoven 179,64 26,25 180,18 Niederlande 130 45 Jeremain Lens Fenerbahce 179,12 29,00 184,88 Niederlande, Suriname 43 46 André Ramalho 1. FSV Mainz 05 178,82 24,83 183,03 Brasilien 259 47 Bastian Schweinsteiger Manchester United 178,74 32,33 199,90 Deutschland 25 48 Isco Real Madrid 178,35 24,58 183,17 Spanien 302 49 Marcel Schmelzer Borussia Dortmund 178,22 28,83 183,71 Deutschland 100 50 Stefan Ilsanker RB Leipzig 178,13 27,58 181,24 Österreich 12
  10. Cij

    Goalimpact - LFC Scouting

    That isn't quite how to read it Strontium. GI shows the relative benefit over the alternative; so the numbers show that Mignolet was significantly better than the alternatives (Brad Jones / Danny Ward) but his development has under-performed what was expected of him. He should have reached 166 but only managed 144 at his peak. He is basically a CL quality keeper but not an elite one. Sakho and Henderson were two of our best performers and have reached their potential. They are both CL level footballers which strikes me as correct. Pity about the drugs and messing from Mamadou but there you go. There is a reason why Klopp has kept Lucas and this is perhaps explained by these figures. He is not our best player but has a positive impact when he plays and is therefore reliable. That particular chart omits Lovren - who is rated slightly worse than Sakho - and Coutinho.
  11. Cij

    Goalimpact - LFC Scouting

    This was the GI Rankings of our squad in January 2016. Despite being based on an equation, it strikes me as a pretty accurate assessment. We only had 8 players with a GI Rank above 130, which definitely wasn't sufficient for CL qualification. Benteke is a slightly above average Premier League footballer at best and was never worth £32.5m. Caulker was not of Premier League standard, making him a pointless signing. Joe Allen was Champions League level, as was illustrated by his performance for Wales in the Summer. However, his injury record made him a bit of liability and not worth persevering with. Ibe was just about Premier League level and there was virtually no prospect of him mirroring Sterling's development. Firmino has actually bucked the trend this season and performed above expectations so his GI has been adjusted accordingly this season - he is now of CL standard. The surprising one for me was Clyne. I always rated him as a more than decent PL full back but perhaps I overvalue his contribution based on some of the shit we have had to endure over the years!
  12. Cij

    Goalimpact - LFC Scouting

    I agree and hope an algorithm like this is simply used to identify players worth a further look by scouts or to rule out targets which are 'overvalued' by the management team / scouts (it could have eliminated Benteke and Carroll as potential signings for example) as part of a multi-stage process.
  13. Cij

    Goalimpact - LFC Scouting

    Just my own views Woolster. When you check the players in which the usual reliable sources have confirmed we hold an interest, they all have a high GI rating. I can't state as a fact LFC use Goalimpact specifically but there is too much of a correlation for the club not to be employing a very similar algorithm. It is definitely much closer to the truth than the simplistic term 'Moneyball'. Your point on Swansea makes sense as Llorente and Narsingh are both signings who chime with this sort of approach.
  14. ‘Moneyball’ is just a media buzzword and what Liverpool actually appear to be using to evaluate potential transfers is an algorithm known as ‘Goalimpact’, which was created around 2004 by a German physicist. It statistically measures the extent to which a player has contributed to the goal difference per minute of his team. The basic stats that Match of the Day, Sky and WhoScored focus upon - such as tackles, completed passes, goals and assists – play no part in the formula. They have little value as they are so subjective; why should a player be penalised if a teammate fails to control an excellent pass or misses a sitter laid on a plate? Instead, Goalimpact (“GI”) employs a mathematical equation to evaluate how much more likely a team is to win if an individual is selected in the team (and the impact that player will have upon the club’s points total at the end of the season if he plays every game). Players with a current GI rating of around 110 are Premier League quality, 130 is Champions League level and 170+ is elite. Basically, Goalimpact ascribes a numeric value to reflect the ‘influence’ that a specific player has on the goals scored and conceded by his team while he is on the pitch. It also predicts what his peak GI Rating will be at age 26. The more games played by a player during their career, the more accurate the GI rating. Wijnaldum is a perfect illustration of the model in action. I could not fathom why the club pursued him out of all the options available until I learned he was ranked 17th in the world on the GI index in April 2015 (182). Liverpool fans endlessly debate what exactly he brings to the table but there is pretty much universal agreement he offers more than Emre Can and the team performs significantly better with him in it. GI does not explain precisely why a team is more or less successful whenever a particular player is included but does objectively determine the extent to which the team’s performance is affected. It therefore provides a much better insight into actions which are difficult to quantify like positioning, marking, tracking, and creation of space than traditional ‘on the ball’ statistics. Our best performers this season on a GI basis have been Mane, Henderson, Wijnaldum and Lallana. The fact that two are new signings is probably no coincidence. FSG infamously favour a statistical approach to player trading and it is little wonder they like GI as a metric. The creator, Jorg Seidel, recently selected groups of young players using his algorithm and benchmarked their increases in value against the Transfermarkt website to show its predictive capabilities. The returns on investment ranged from 67% to 145%; this is the prism through which investors like FSG determine value. It allows them to clinically evaluate whether a player has conformed to expectations and added to the performance of the team. Until I stumbled across GI I could not work out the common thread between our recent transfer targets; Konoplyanka (c. 138 when we were linked), Gotze (200), Draxler (), Dembele, Teixeira, Brandt. Their backgrounds and career achievements are so disparate that it seemed impossible to draw any comparison. However, they all have excellent GI rankings. In fact, Brandt and Gotze’s ratings are staggeringly high and it is therefore little wonder they attracted our attention. Sadio Mane’s GI rank is 177 and that is the territory Brandt is currently projected to reach. Goalimpact is by no means a secret in the football world and goes a long way towards explaining why our targets so often mirror Dortmund and Spurs; similar tools are being used to inform decisions on transfers at various clubs around Europe. Wolfsburg, Southampton and the Red Bull clubs have used this approach to excellent effect. Don’t be surprised to see us linked to Martin Hinteregger (Augsburg @ 190), Ilsanker (178), Werner, Keita, Sabitzer (Red Bull Leipzig), Kolasinac (Schalke) or Brandt (Leverkusen @ 142 presently) this Summer. The full GI Index is a closely guarded secret but the Hamburg-based company that produces it periodically releases limited information through Twitter and its website. I have no doubt that the GI Index rankings from 20 – 300 would provide a very clear picture of our targets over coming transfer windows if you focused on players under 26. TL;DR Goalimpact is how we scout players. If a player linked to us does not have a GI rating of 120+ we probably are not buying him – certainly not for any serious money. We need an average GI in excess of 135 to have a good shout of Champions’ League qualification.
  15. Cij

    FSG are not shit

    Forward: Lacazette, Belotti (Torino), Icardi, Andre Silva (Porto), Berardi (Sassuolo), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Dolberg (Ajax) Winger: Lemar (Monaco), Forsberg (RB Leipzig), Insigne (Napoli), Salah (Roma), Brandt, Promes, Larsson (Heerenveen) Midfielder: Dahoud, Naby Keita (RB Leipzig), Tolisso (Lyon), Pellegrini (Sassuolo) Defensive Midfield: Bakayoko (Monaco), Geis (Schalke), Danillo (Porto) These are the players under 26 from across Europe who have been putting in performances which merit attention and are at clubs likely to do business with us at the right price. We need a centre forward, winger and possibly two midfielders to add depth next season if we have any ambitions of challenging for the league or sustaining a run in Europe. The problem is I have little faith in FSG’s willingness or ability to attract the type of players required. This Summer is key for FSG; they need to back the manager after a number of lean transfer windows or the supporters will turn on them. Quality upgrades on Sturridge, Ings, Lucas and Stewart alone would transform the squad. This season has shown that our first XI can compete with the best in the league but we lack the depth required to sustain a title run. Klopp is clearly an excellent manager who can develop players and make his team more than the sum of its parts. The onus is therefore on FSG to back him with the necessary tools. He has provided an excellent return overall for FSG on the deals he has made so far and I can’t see supporters exercising much forbearance if his efforts to improve us are hamstrung by the owners’ parsimony. All the indications are that FSG are positioning for a sale as their efforts have been directed towards maximising profits for the past few seasons. I really hope our ambitions as supporters are not thwarted by their pursuit of their own financial agenda. Chasing ‘value’ by triggering low release clauses and picking up Bosman signings is simply not going to allow us best our competitors when they can spend like drunken sailors.
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