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About Phoebus

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  1. alladinsane, I like your thinking, but I just don't see how we can logically sign a player for 26m pounds to provide impetus to another player. I get the Lovren signing, because it's seemed as if either Agger, Skrtel, or both might get the axe since for some time now. I even get the (prospective) Moreno signing because there's no guarantee that Jose Enrique won't get hurt again. My hope is that we'll see more instances of a system that accommodates Lallana on the left (whether in the midfield line or as a winger) and Coutinho around where a 10 classically plays.
  2. Phoebus

    Bunch of 5s: Players who need a big pre-season

    Flanagan shouldn't have anything to prove. He proved all he needed to last season - and playing on the wrong side of the field, at that. If anything, Johnson should get used to the bench and having to prove he should start ahead of Flano. Allen... I wish him all the best, but he just hasn't been consistent, has he? He's missed so many crucial chances to score when it mattered, and he caps great starts to his games with poor overall performance. The dynamism he brings to the field almost always is replaced by lateral and backwards passes that don't help anyone else. Emre Can, on the other hand, hasn't just looked good - he's looked like he's ready to own one of those three aforementioned midfield spots. Enrique is just fine by me. Bringing Moreno in will be nice for depth, for insurance, and for competition. But seriously, I struggle to think of a Premier League left back who was meaningfully better than Jose (insofar as our style of game goes) in 2012-13. His only statistical superiors were in established top sides; I'd argue they didn't necessarily possess superior ability so much as superior teammates. Rodgers needs fullbacks who can support the wingers and midfielders in pressing forward, creating situations, and making good passes.
  3. I don't dispute the reality that Stevie paints... I'm just, well, not sure that players like Suarez have the right priorities in order. Barcelona will never be Suarez's team. Unless Messi suffers from a catastrophic decline in form, there's no way Suarez will become the focal point of Barcelona's offense. His situation might have been easier if he was able to play as well from the right wing as he does from the left wing (and that's assuming he'd be willing to do what Sturridge had been willing to do for him this past year and a half), but he only did so situationally at Liverpool. Suarez, in all likelihood may not even become second fiddle to Messi. Barcelona spent only slightly less money to get Neymar, and he's clearly a focal point for the future. More importantly, unlike Suarez, Neymar's position doesn't conflict with Messi's - it supplements it. Suarez doesn't even have youth on his side - he's five months older than Messi, and five years older than Neymar. He's in his prime of course, but the point is that - unless Messi gets hurt or inexplicably declines in form - Barcelona will never be Suarez's team. Hence why I don't necessarily get Suarez's priorities. I'm sure he'll get to lift trophies in Spain. With luck, he might also get to lift European trophies as well. Any talk about him being one of the top three strikers in the world will disappear, though. He will become a supporting asset for the man already considered by many (by most?) to be the greatest active player, period. Staying with Liverpool offered no guarantees, but it would have been a massive statement in terms of where the club was and what its aspirations were. I genuinely don't think Alexis would blow off Liverpool had Suarez stayed. At that point, knowing that getting a high-caliber centre-back and left-back was going to happen anyways, you're really just one marquee midfielder signing from vying for any trophy. More importantly, anything that this club would have achieved afterwards would have had Suarez's stamp on it far more than anything he gets at Camp Nou. Sure, we'd all have been in seventh heaven over Stevie finally lifting the League trophy, but does anyone doubt #19 would have been directly tied with Suarez? This would have been *his* club in a way that only two or three other players have known in England during this century.
  4. Phoebus

    Should Glen Johnson get a new contract?

    There's another angle to this that the article didn't consider: What if Johnson was never going to get a new contract, regardless? Think about it for a second. Regardless of the possibility that he was going to gain his form back, Glen is 29. By the time THIS contract runs out, he'll be almost 31. He's not going to get any faster or more explosive off the line, and that's precisely what Rodgers wants for this team. Chelsea, City, and Arsenal all carry fullbacks in their late 20s or 30-31 years of age, but I would be shocked if the first two don't shop for replacements for Ivanovic and Kolarov the second they start looking for a step. The difference between us and them, though, is that the traditional contract negotiation period for Johnson is now, and that we no longer operate with anything approaching the luxury of those two clubs. Here's the way I see this going. Glen will be given every opportunity to succeed these last ten games because he's still Rodger's second-best fullback right now. Come the end of the season, he's probably going to get an honest appraisal from Rodgers, which will probably be that the club is looking to get younger, that by necessity he will be sharing starting opportunities with someone like Flanagan, Kelly, another Academy product, or a new transfer. Glen will then have three choices: 1. He could sign for a smaller salary 2. He could leave; this would gain Liverpool a handsome enough sum, but he would almost certainly not be earning £100k/week anymore. 3. He could stay under his current contract, but would probably face hardball from the club
  5. I think a big part of us reaching our goals this year comes down to not just developing the winning quality you speak of - grinding out wins - but also the developing the younger players into dependable winners. Raheem Sterling has had 22 starts thus far. Of those, 18 were legitimate features - with at least a half hour of football to show. He's averaged a goal and an assist for every three or four those games, meaning he's on pace to finish with eight or nine goals and just as many assists. I can only think of six or so others in the same position (hybrid left winger/right winger) in the entire League who boast comparable statistics. Only a couple have better numbers than Sterling, and of those only Oxlade-Chamberlain is of comparable age. The scary thing is, Sterling could be even better! He should have had at least another two goals, which could in turn have easily affected our table position right now. The same thing goes with Jordan Henderson. It's been known since the beginning of the season that a lot was going to come down to how well he developed as a player. We needed him to become pivotal for the team. He has the energy, he has the talent, and he in many ways has absolutely been the engine for the squad. But the same nerves that can get Sterling at the worst of times can get to him as well: poor control, errant passes, and a finishing quality that elicits cheers from opposing stands. Hendo sits at three goals, but he easily could have bagged a half dozen or more by now. Coutinho, likewise, could be sitting at five goals. If only he'd handled the ball a touch better when it counted: when facing the goal. Grinding out wins absolutely is important. I don't mean to contest that point. Chelsea has shown how important that trait is all season long: it's how they're currently sitting at the top. We're in an interesting position, though. We have the League's third youngest squad (before Sterling and Sturridge hit their birthday marks recently, we were second youngest). We're also sitting four points clear of the top after finishing last season at 7th place. We easily - easily! - could have been sitting joint second at this moment, a mere point from the lead. In short, we're in the process of taking a shortcut to greatness. "Grinding out wins" is something I liken to what Mourinho teams are able to do (with loads of proven quality and depth) and what Ferguson teams were able to do ("Fergie Time", etc.). It's managing to find a goal where there seemed to be none. We don't necessarily have a problem finding goals, though. Our biggest obstacle is the youth that comes attached with all our promise. It's getting Sterling and Coutinho to poke the ball a little more calmly and gracefully when Suarez serves one up for them on a plate. it's getting Hendo to nail that curler like he did today, instead of sending it to the stands. Since this season started, our style of play hasn't truly changed. Nor has our philosophy. Our defending has gotten clumsier, but our attacking has gotten better. Stevie, Luis (So what if he's only scored once since Villa? He's gotten six assists in that time!), and Daniel have been consistent all season long. Jordan, Philipe, and Raheem have done almost all of their work since December, though. And if they'd settled in just a little earlier, well, we already covered that. Statistically speaking, this squad will only get better. There will still be a few question marks (depth behind Lucas, Glen and Martin's respective fates), but the odds of Coutinho, Henderson, and Sterling regressing are low, and it would be almost as disappointing if they just stayed where they are now. Rodgers has to do everything to make that development happen now, though, when it matters. He needs to figure out how to get that ninth or tenth goal/assist as opposed to the projected eight out of Raheem this season, not next. It could mean everything.
  6. Phoebus

    Gerrard: It was only a matter of time for Joao

    I wouldn't start him against Arsenal, but I would certainly have him on deck as a substitute. I was impressed by what I saw, though it goes without saying that you can't see nearly enough in just ten minutes - half of which was injury time wherein we weren't even trying to attack. It would be a shame, though, if he didn't get a solid look in our games against Swans, Sunderland, or Cardiff (assuming he maintains form in training and we maintain pace in our quest for "just the top four").
  7. Phoebus

    Featured: Rodgers backing for struggling Aspas

    I have nothing against Aspas, but right now it's difficult to see how loaning out Borini and bringing him in (for another 8m pounds) was sound strategy. If thrifty transactions is the name of the game, then the scouting needs to be on its game. Sturridge and Coutinho were obviously good buys; where Fabio and Iago are concerned, though, we're minus almost 20m pounds. There is such a thing as trying so hard to save money that you end up wasting more through 2-3 cheap but failed transfers than you would have had you brought the right high-priced player.