Fans tell FSG to reject Prem ‘legend’

Big Surprise? 75% of fans tell FSG to reject Prem ‘legend’ as next LFC boss

After squandering two vital points at Ludogorets on Wednesday, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers remains under intense pressure, and a long list of managers – including Jurgen Klopp and Rafa Benitez – are reportedly waiting in the wings to replace him. Anfield legend Jamie Carragher is another surprise contender for the LFC job, but what do Reds fans think about that possibility?

According to British bookmakers, Carra – a vociferous critic of LFC’s ongoing defensive deficiencies – is currently 10-1 third-favourite to succeed Rodgers, but a recent poll on the site suggests Liverpool fans are not too enamoured by the idea.

* 15450 fans participated in the poll.
* 75% of participants voted NO to Carra as manager.

Given Carra’s enduring popularity amongst fans, this is a surprising verdict, but, it’s heartening to see that Reds fans are not blinded by reverence to the extent that it damages their ability to see the wood for the trees.

For me, there’s no way Carra should be considered for the Liverpool job, and I’m sure he’d agree. He has an amazing legacy at Anfield, and I’d hate to see that tarnished by an unsuccessful spell in the Liverpool hot-seat.

From a purely practical standpoint, Carra – repeatedly hailed as a ‘legend’ by Rodgers – is not ready for such a huge job; he doesn’t yet have the relevant UEFA coaching qualifications, and there are clearly better, more experienced candidates out there.

Additionally, like Rodgers, Carra arguably doesn’t have the profile to attract big-name players to Anfield, which is something that continues to negatively impact Liverpool’s forward progress. As such, if FSG make a change, international renown/aura must (IMO) be one of the pre-requisite qualities required of the new manager.

It’s probably all moot anyway – things look pretty bleak right now, but it’s still possible for Rodgers to ride out the storm and keep his job. To that end, qualification for the second-phase of the Champions League is absolutely imperative, and could conceivably provide the impetus to shake off the atrocious form and start picking up results.

For Rodgers, though, the alternative is unthinkable. Elimination from the Champions League will knock the stuffing out of the club, and with the (seemingly) fragile mentality of the players, it could send the team into an even more damaging downward spiral.

Courtesy of liverpool-kop

Scholes: Rodgers looks more stressed

Paul Scholes: Rodgers looks more stressed than ever at Liverpool

The Manchester United icon has been discussing the Reds boss.

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes thinks Brendan Rodgers looks ‘more stressed than at any point’ since he became Liverpool boss.

The Reds have struggled considerably this term, recently suffering a run of four straight defeats before a late equaliser consigned them to a 2-2 draw at Ludogorets.

Liverpool can still progress from their Champions League group but the worrying aspect of their troubles is that there appears to be no change week after week.

The Anfield outfit need a revival in fortunes soon and Scholes feels stress is taking its toll on Northern Irishman Rodgers.

“I rate Rodgers as a manager. I liked how his Swansea team played and I think he comes across well in his press conferences. At the moment he looks more stressed out than at any point since he took the job,” the ex-Manchester United midfielder wrote in his column for the Independent and London Evening Standard.

“The expectation at Liverpool got out of control last season and now, when the belief from the fans has been that they should take the next step, the team have been unable to do it.

“I go back to the signings once again. They weren’t good enough. A manager lives and dies by the players he brings in, especially when someone as big as Luis Suarez leaves.”

Liverpool host Stoke City on Saturday afternoon at 3pm, while Manchester United host Hull City.

Honeymoon spell over for faltering Rodgers

THERE is a scene in Being Liverpool, the fly-on-the-wall documentary of Brendan Rodgers’ first three months in charge of the club back in 2012, where Rodgers holds up three envelopes in front of the players, gathered before him, and tells them that the names of three players, who he knows will let Liverpool down in the coming season, are contained inside them.

It’s an unusual, but not unknown coaching trick to encourage players with self-doubt and who might think their names are in the envelope, to pick up their game and prove their manager wrong.

The moment was a rather poor piece of amateur dramatics and the players did not show any particular sign that they feared their names might be inside one of the dreaded paper sheaths.

In the beginning these coaching pearls of wisdom, whispered in Rodgers’ earnest and softly-spoken Antrim accent were an easy target for derision, but the wonders of Liverpool’s performance in last season’s Premier League quickly had many fans and even a few detractors convinced that there was something behind these sullen anecdotes and truisms.

Then along came this season.

First things first, you have to concede that any manager that loses the scoring talent of a player like Luis Suarez would struggle to replicate success.
To then have Suarez’s scoring partner Daniel Sturridge, who combined with the Uruguayan striker to give Liverpool 55 goals last season, out injured for virtually the entire first half of this season would have any manager babbling about bad luck and circumstances.
Then again, it’s not like Rodgers and the Liverpool Transfer Committee didn’t know that Suarez was going.

When Suarez penned his last deal with Liverpool it was clear that if he got them into the Champions League they would not stand in his way for the transfer to Barcelona.
Suarez held up his end of the bargain, so Liverpool had to too.

They had a whole season to find a replacement.

As for Sturridge, many might consider that there’s not much you can do about a player being injured.

But that’s not really applicable here. Brendan Rodgers apparently did not want Sturridge at Liverpool because he knew the injury-prone nature of the striker from his days as an assistant coach with Chelsea.

And so it’s proven to be since he moved to Merseyside.

Great at getting goals, no doubt, but he will invariably spend half the season up on the treatment table.

Rodgers and the Transfer Committee have known this from the start, what has been their solution to it? Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli, who’s extravagance and ill-discipline has made him more famous then the 10 to 16 goals at best he will score for you in a season.

And Rickie Lambert, a hard-working Scouse lad, who probably would die for the club if you asked him, but at 32 is unlikely to rattle the onion bag too often, not that we’d know for sure because he hardly ever gets a game.

It’s been commented on that Suarez may not find his niche in a Barcelona side geared to service the needs of Messi.

And his early games for the Catalan giants lends some credence to the hypothesis.
Suarez has been his usual active and determined self at the Camp Nou, but having the central channels to get behind the defenders denied to him has made him look a paler shade of the brilliant Suarez at Anfield.

And the very same thing may apply to Liverpool’s forward acquisitions. Liverpool, at their best last season, were geared for a high-tempo, counter-attacking, expansive game, which saw fleet-footed Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho hitting the opponent’s defence at pace with the equally nimble Suarez and Sturridge available inside ready to take advantage. Unfortunately, neither Balotelli nor Lambert fits the criteria as replacements. Suarez leaving was always going to prove difficult for Rodgers. The consolation was his £80 million price tag which they would be able to use to find a replacement.

However, the bulk of the money went on shoring up midfield with players like Adam Lallana for £25m, Lazar Markovic £20m and Emre Can £10m. Amazingly, after such an outlay, only Lallana has got any serious game-time and that has only being recently.
Can has had three starts in the league, while £20m man Markovic has had only two starts.
Hardly ringing endorsements for the £30m splashed out them.

To look at it another way, Lucas Leiva, who Liverpool told last summer that he has no future with the club and tried to sell without luck right up to the transfer window shutting, has started as many games as Markovic.

Now it’s hard to tell what Rodgers thinks of Can and Markovic, but it’s hard to build any worthwhile opinion of them when you never see them get a run in the first-team.
Fabio Borini and Glen Johnson were similarly told that their Anfield careers were over yet they too are still are getting games.

And in Johnson’s case, quite a few.

Borini getting a chance seems fair, his loan periods and injuries meant that he never got a fair crack at the whip and at least deserves a run in the team, especially alongside Balotelli if possible.

Harder to explain is Glen Johnson, who was strangely moved from his familiar right-full position across to left-full for the Crystal Palace game. Replacing the recently bought £12m Alberto Moreno, who has been the only shining light in a deplorable back-line again this season.

That Johnson still manages to pull rank over Javier Manquillo on the right and now Moreno on the left is staggering considering the number of errors he commits on weekly basis.

Harshest of all for Rodgers has been the acquisition Dejan Lovren for £20m. Impressive and assured in Southampton, his move to Liverpool has seen all confidence drain from his game as he regularly finds it difficult to judge the flight of the ball, the player he’s marking or his place on the field.

His fall in form has been so dramatic it has Liverpool fans even demanding a recall of Kolo Touré.

To complicate this further, neither Lovren nor his central defensive partner, Martin Skrtel, have any faith in their goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, resulting in them having a meltdown in confidence every time a ball is steered anywhere near the goal.

All these problems can and need to be addressed but the elephant in the changing room is Steven Gerrard and his role as a defensive midfielder.

In Sunday’s defeat to Crystal Palace, Gerrard was the highest paid spectator at Selhurst Park as he watched wave after wave of Palace attacks drive by him.
Contrary to many beliefs, this has been the way for the past few years. Only Jordan Henderson usually did the covering for him. When Henderson couldn’t do it, the side leaked goals. But it didn’t matter so much when Suarez would just go up and score another goal anyway.

The acid test now facing Rodgers will be how he deals with telling a living legend in the club that he no longer will be automatically on the team-sheet for every match.
No doubt it’s a tough call but it’s been crying out since he took over at the club.
Failure to address this may see Rodgers himself served with an envelope from Boston containing his name, and a P45.

Brendan is handling it fine

Joe Allen: ‘Brendan Rodgers has backing of all Liverpool players’

Joe Allen has rallied behind under-fire manager Brendan Rodgers following the Reds’ midweek 2-2 draw with Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League.

Allen told Sky Sports News: “Brendan is handling it fine. He wouldn’t be Liverpool manager if he couldn’t handle it. He has the backing of all the players and he knows that.

I think the question to Joe Allen should be “Are you lot good enough to play for Liverpool?”

I think I know the answer to that one!

The Manager Question

LIVERPOOL: THE MANAGER QUESTION
European Football - UEFA Champions League - Group B - PFC Ludogorets Razgrad v Liverpool FC

THE genie is out of the bottle now, and he won’t be corked back in before the season’s out, writes LIAM BLAKE.  Selhurst Park proved a watershed for a second successive season, if for very different reasons.  Even before the surrender in the rain the odd – and occasionally very odd — rumour was bubbling to the surface during the barren patch of the international break.  We all read them even if we don’t believe them, but a few closet Beniteztas‘ pulses might have quickened when they read FSG may have learnt from the folly of their ways and decided to sound out Rafa on the prospect of a sequel.

Now the Klopp quotes are being dusted down and re-run as if fresh from the German’s mouth. “I’ve always wanted to manage in England one day” plus another debacle for Rodgers = a story, 2+2=53, etc. He’d be an odd target in any case given his Dortmund side are, domestically at least, in the midst of a similar downward trajectory to Rodgers’ Liverpool.

Nevertheless, the odds on him managing in England next season — or even sooner — have shortened, though it may be Wenger who’s looking over his shoulder more nervously than Rodgers. But the Liverpool manager’s comments in the wake of this latest Premier League defeat — the latest in a sequence, but the first to which no positive spin whatever could possibly stick — suggested he knew the question was now out there, and dropping the ball in Bulgaria ensured it’s not going away.

It’s almost offensively banal to question the manager of the year’s position — inasmuch as it’s possible to be offended by football fluff — or to suggest it’s seriously under review by his employers. It most certainly isn’t — FSG, for one thing, know they are themselves complicit to a degree, having established a Soviet-style committee for the overseeing of transfer activity. Rodgers holds the rubber stamp, although the far away look in his eye whenever Balotelli is under discussion suggests there might be another hand held firmly over his. Anyone old enough to remember a Paisley side languishing in 10th one December in the 80s might simply chuckle, though they’d surely acknowledge a vintage mid-winter charge to the summit is now as likely as Lovren scoring a hat trick of rabonas.

However, scoff as we may, this is the way of things. Rodgers is young – young enough to have his career cut down in its prime like so many before him — and his tacit acknowledgement of the change in the weather says he knows it.  However calm the club remain, the storm will rage without.  In football these days, the tail now wags the dog.

Whatever the failings of a collective approach to transfer policy, it will be one man alone who’s vindicated or hung out to dry. It can be the only narrative — unless the board are palpably incompetent — and while FSG can just about claim to be still riding the learning curve, they are not that. But when Rodgers has rebuilt the squad in his own image to the tune of over half a dozen new signings in a summer, then those players too must fall under scrutiny.

Taken individually, none of those players can be dismissed as an outright failure and even those perilously close could each be deemed unfortunate in some respect or other. Manquillo shows promise; for a player of his age and in at the Premier League deep end he shows aggression, tenacity and enterprise. He’s prone to error and sometimes bullied but it would be a remarkable 20-year-old import who could claim to be a fully-formed full back in the English top flight.

Markovic has shown on occasion, and in particular at the Bernabeu, the potential to be rapier-like in attack but, like Manquillo, needs nurture not pressure. And while Lallana’s quality is beyond doubt, you suspect he needs a more settled situation in which to thrive. Can and Moreno will prosper, there is little doubt. Rodgers must hope they do so under his management. You wonder how Lambert has been traininghave merited so few starts given the struggles of those ahead of him. He can lumber, but has now at least a brace of deftly taken goals to his name. Remarkably, that in itself is an achievement this season. Balotelli is the signing who spawned a thousand pieces but deserves in the end to be judged in the company of a strike partner at least. When that may happen is a concern in itself. Which leaves us with Lovren.

It Must Be Lovren seemed an auspicious moniker for my fantasy football team back in August, and even now you couldn’t argue that Rodgers signed a bad player on the basis of his time with Southampton. But his deterioration has been painful to behold. There’s been the occasional rumble that he has communication difficulties with his full backs. Perhaps ‘come back’ might be the first thing he wants to say to them, as their forward movement can expose the centre halves. Rodgers’ preferred style of play may in itself lay him bare.

I suspect that Lovren, like Balotelli in attack, is becoming the lightning rod for criticism of the defence. Now the scapegoat, he could hardly be blamed for failing to stand up to Costa, a man who has simply brooked no opposition from anyone in his path. The abject dereliction of duty in the face of set pieces has been a collective failure, a breakdown of the system, and Lovren cannot be held to account alone. If he was to be the glue, Rodgers’ voice on the pitch, then Rodgers must look to himself. A considerable percentage of transfers will always fail, even Alex Ferguson’s list of no-marks would run to a page, and if the signings Rodgers made in the summer aren’t entirely without quality then, worryingly, questions must be asked of him.

The comparison to Spurs’ mass influx and subsequent clusterbomb of problems in the void left by a world beater became a wretched cliche for a time. The problem with cliches, however, is that they tend to contain a germ of inconvenient truth. Like children in need of routine in which to thrive, new signings require stability in order to find their feet. It’s been called ‘transition’ for a while now but that’s fast becoming a euphemism for turbulence, and players of potential but little more are apt to lose their way in the woods when they should be bedding down.

A draw away from home in midweek was once the bread and butter of progress in Europe, a solid step along the way. But after Ludogrets the sense of an opportunity missed was cloying. While progress remains in our hands, a confident Basel side will share that thought and will come to Anfield knowing exactly what they have to do. Rodgers may claim we control our own destiny, but could say so with greater authority if his side could control a game. Fear was the killer, and a row of bottles kicked aloft in frustration by a young manager spoke volumes. The changes he eventually made were a product not of his caution but that of his players. Evidently there’s a gulf between what he’s asking for and what he’s getting at the moment. The players appear to know it, but seem trapped within the pattern — a good start, a platform built and then eroded by an anxiety that’s endemic and from which no player seems immune. Last season was the last word in proactivity, this year’s model is cautious and reactionary, nursing a lead against a demonstrably weaker side by lying ever deeper and playing almost as if the pass back to keeper were still an option.

We, too, know what Rodgers wants; but it’s his capacity to get it that’s at issue. He’s very much the modern manager, a visionary and technician unshakable in his belief that a mode of play rooted in Spain can flourish here. But it’s a style of play that unravels without confidence and while the squad knuckles down Rodgers must find the old school motivator within him. I’m reminded of Peter Cook’s legendary creation Alan Latchley, a fictional manager and composite of every cliche there was, and aired only once on Clive Anderson Talks Back. Everything Alan stood for in management could be distilled into one word — BELIEF.  There’s no way of measuring it, you can’t put a stat to it – in fact, you don’t need to, because we have none – but the legend that was Latchley was right. And Rodgers must find a way to transmit it, fast.

After two weeks at the drawing board, no one could be blamed for scratching their heads after everything the grim weather brought in South London and Bulgaria, but it’s the hot heads who set the temperature when the phones are ringing off the hook on the late night call-ins.  Well, them and a legendary goalkeeper who seems intent on forgetting that in today’s game he’d never have got to be a legendary keeper.  There are, it seems, supporters — and I use the word in its loosest possible sense here — who perversely would rather see their side exit at the group stage than go through, presumably fearing further embarrassment. For these people there is only their own personal disappointment; there is nothing else and they cannot see beyond it.

Even those inclined to take a longer view still point to a lack of defensive cohesion that has been a hallmark of Rodgers’ regime. Clean sheets have never been the norm, it cannot be the primary function of the attack to bail out their defence. From the outset, leadership has come and gone, leaving the impression of a side lacking in backbone. Rodgers might look here to Benitez, a man whose name he was understandably in a rush to forget as he took the reins. The Spaniard’s side, driven in its prime incarnation by the storied ‘best midfield in the world’, was packed from back to front with fighters – men, to put it bluntly. Carragher, Hyypia, Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt, Torres in his prime — all were physical and vocal, not players you would wish to face. Rodgers lost Carragher earlier than he would have wished, and now has the unhappy distinction of being the Liverpool manager charged with getting the most out of what football is left in Gerrard. He had Suarez, a leader by example in one respect — though who could have followed? – and a liability otherwise, but a freak force of nature. Now there is a slightness to his elite squad of greenhorns that opponents can simply smell.

While the callers panic, the great silent majority look on in bemusement but might reflect that all is not lost. The games are coming like a torrent now, and the season is threatening to run away like horses over the hill. Amid the tumult, it’s the easiest thing to forget that things change. It seems pat, but they do, and often quickly. I never thought I’d suggest that anyone look to Alan Pardew and Newcastle, but it’s proof that you can pull out of a tailspin. Any manager can resist change, fearful of the admission of error. Pardew has answered the question for now and his old friend Rodgers can, too. He can adapt, but he needs to listen.

 

Courtesy of AnfieldWrap

Keep Making The Same Mistakes

Liverpool And Rodgers Keep Making The Same Mistakes

Again we conspire to undo ourselves. It was nearly ordinary. Nearly grim and gritty. Nearly a start.

Nearly the ‘our season starts here’ statement that Brendan gave to Sky before the game. Our season starts here? It’s nearly bloody December. Couldn’t we have started it in August like every other bugger?

Still, I would have taken our season starting here, would have taken a gritty, fortuitous 2-1 victory in a bitterly cold Bulgaria, if it had actually happened. Instead we decided to swerve the ordinary, the mundane, the routine and spectacularly shoot ourselves in the foot.

I love those moments when Sky’s commentators tell you that you’re watching a compelling, engrossing game when you know for a fact that what you can see is turgid rubbish. The only thing more absurd than this is your manager telling you that your team were outstanding when you know for AN ABSOLUTE FACT that they weren’t. Don’t try to kid us Brendan, we’re not soft. That owl-faced idiot tried to kid us about performances, we thought you were above that.

Liverpool were ordinary tonight. And that’s okay, ordinary works sometimes. Ordinary works when you’re winning 2-1 and you don’t fall back into your shell and try and protect a lead that you know your players are not capable of protecting.

Liverpool were second best for long spells. Again, okay if you’re winning the game. Having less possession and less shots than a team that probably cost less than our makeshift left-back is okay, is acceptable, can be lived with IF YOU WIN THE GAME. Otherwise? No, not really.

Liverpool didn’t threaten. Liverpool conceded. Two minutes into a must win-game and Liverpool have conceded. Liverpool are one nil down to a team we’ve never heard of and it’s all our own fault. Again.

Changes. We wanted changes. And we got them. We wanted Lucas in as a defensive midfielder. We got him. Not for Gerrard as we wanted, who was simply pushed forward to a position where he was slightly less anonymous than he’s recently been. It’s a start but he doesn’t need a start, he needs a rest.

We wanted Kolo in for Dejan. We got it. Unfortunately we got the Kolo that reminded us why he was dropped last season rather than the one that played against Madrid. Tonight’s Kolo was the Kolo that gave the ball away for the first goal with a hurried clearance. Obviously the fact that Simon MIgnolet is currently unable to catch a ball doesn’t help, but Kolo doesn’t need to hit that ball.

Obviously he wasn’t the worst defender on the pitch. In a back four that contains Glen Johnson there can only be one winner of that competition. Glen was Glen again. Glen was very Glen. Glen was behind Ludogorets second goal. But so was Brendan.

Brendan needs to stand up and take the blame for the dropped points. Needs to accept that it’s his fault, needs to accept that he allowed his team to sit back and defend a 2-1 lead, needs to accept that he’s the only man in the world that thought that we could do that particular job.

More…

Watch ‘New Gerrard’ Wanted By Liverpool And Manchester United

He needs to accept that when the game was crying out for fresh legs, he ignored the fact. When it was absolutely 100% crystal clear that the 34-year old Gerrard was tiring behind the tiring 32-year old Lambert and that what was needed was a set of younger, fresher legs, he pulled the threatening Sterling and put in his place the left-back that should have started the game to cover the right-back that he’d chosen to play the position. And the reason for pulling Raheem? He ‘had a sore tummy’. Cheers Brendan, as if the Bluenoses needed more ammunition.

Winning 2-1, clearly needing a third, we retreat. Bad idea. From the second that we conceded the corner, everybody watching knew that there was only one outcome. As expected, Glen Johnson failed to jump at a corner. Mignolet is nowhere, the defence is static, a simple flick on undoes us again. And Glen Johnson fails to jump. Again. It’s as though the term ‘defensive coach’ has been rubbed out of every coaching manual that Brendan owns.

Positives? Yeah, some. A lucky first goal. I’ll take a lucky, comedy, first goal. I like seeing the opposition defend more ineptly than we do, particularly when the opposition defence probably cost less than my car.

There were chances for a third. Lambert was unlucky to see his diving header hit a defender’s heel and Sterling should have scored a third. Sterling though? Seems to be playing himself back into a bit of form. After being extremely flat compared to his form in the second half of last season he started to look like he was coming back to life last night; bit of urgency, bit of trickery.

The fact that our second goal was of the type we scored so effortlessly in that magnificent January to April madness – winning the ball with intensity, breaking with speed, sweeping the ball in for Henderson to convert quite immaculately – gives hope that the talent to do that is still within us, sleeping, waiting for a chance to awaken.

And the result changes nothing. If we’d won last night we’d still have to beat Basel to qualify for the knockout stages. We didn’t win and we still have to beat Basel to qualify for the knockout changes.

We need one win. The only problem is that we can’t guarantee this team being up for getting that win any longer. One win though. One win puts us in the last 16. Two wins and a draw in our group puts us in the last 16 of the Champions League.

And if anybody thinks that we honestly deserve to be in the last 16 – in the best 16 teams in Europe – then they’re kidding themselves.

 Courtesy of  sabotagetimes

53 Brilliant Bill Shankly Quotes To Inspire

53 Brilliant Bill Shankly Quotes To Inspire The Current Liverpool Team

With Brendan Rodgers seemingly unable to turn Liverpool’s poor form around, perhaps the words of the great Bill Shankly will prove more inspiring.

53 Brilliant Bill Shankly Quotes To Inspire The Current Liverpool Team

53. ”For a player to be good enough to play for Liverpool, he must be prepared to run through a brick wall for me then come out fighting on the other side.”

52. “Aim for the sky and you’ll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you’ll stay on the floor.”

51. On awaiting Everton’s arrival for a game at Anfield, Shankly gave some toilet rolls to the doorman: “Give them these when they arrive. They’ll need them.”

50. “I’m just one of the people who stands on the Kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It’s a kind of marriage of people who like each other.”

49. ”If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be.”

48. When Tommy Smith complained about his injured knee: “What do you mean YOUR knee? It’s Liverpool’s knee!”

47. To his players after failing to sign Lou Macari: “I only wanted him for the reserves anyway.”

46. “The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.”

45. ”At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. 
Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.”

44. “A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.”

43. After a defeated Liverpool were met by thousands on returning from their 1971 FA Cup semi-final defeat: “Chairman Mao has never seen a greater show of red strength.”

42. To Alan Ball when he joined Everton: “Don’t worry, Alan. At least you’ll be able to play close to a great team.”

41. “My idea was to build Liverpool into a bastion of invincibility. Had Napoleon had that idea he would have conquered the world. I wanted Liverpool to be untouchable. My idea was to build Liverpool up and up until eventually everyone would have to submit and give in.”

40. “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.”

39. “We murdered them 0-0.”

38. ’”If you can’t make decisions in life, you’re a bloody menace. You’d be better becoming an MP.”

37. On the Anfield pitch: “It’s great grass at Anfield, professional grass.”

36. When asked what he doesn’t like about football: “The end of the season.”

35. “If Everton were playing at the bottom of the garden, I’d pull the curtains.”

34. To a journalist suggesting Liverpool were in difficulties: “Ay, here we are with problems at the top of the league.”

33. ”A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.”

32. ”Of course I didn’t take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was her birthday. Would I have got married in the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves.”

31. On Ron Yeats: “With him in defence, we could play Arthur Askey in goal.”

30. “I’ve been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job.”

29. ”If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.”

28. When asked by a Liverpudlian barber if he wanted ‘anything off the top?’: “Yeah, Everton.”

27. “I’m a people’s man. Only the people matter.”

26. On being told a player had ‘football in his blood’: You may be right, but it hasn’t reached his legs yet.”

25. “A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing.”

24. “I never drop players, I only make changes.”

23. On Tommy Smith: “If he isn’t named Footballer of the Year, football should be stopped and the men who picked any other player should be sent to the Kremlin.”

22. “I was the best manager in Britain because I was never devious or cheated anyone. I’d break my wife’s legs if I played against her, but I’d never cheat her.”

21. At the funeral of Dixie Dean: “I know this is a sad occasion, but I think that Dixie would be amazed to know that even in death he could draw a bigger crowd to Goodison than Everton on a Saturday afternoon.”

20. To Ian St John: “If you’re not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we’ll discuss your options afterwards.”

19. On leaving Liverpool: “It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair. That’s the way it felt.”

18. “The difference between Everton and the Queen Mary is that Everton carry more passengers.”

17. “Fire in your belly comes from pride and passion in wearing the red shirt. We don’t need to motivate players because each of them is responsible for the performance of the team as a whole. The status of Liverpool’s players keeps them motivated.”

16. After a 0-0 draw at Anfield: “What can you do playing against 11 goalposts?”

15. ”Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple.”

14. To Tommy Smith: “You son, could start a riot in a graveyard.”

13. “In my time at Liverpool we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside,
Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves.”

12. “Pressure is working down the pit. Pressure is having no work at all. Pressure is trying to escape relegation on 50 shillings a week. Pressure is not the European Cup or the Championship or the Cup Final. That’s the reward.”

11. When asked where he really lived, after he put ‘Anfield’ on the address of a hotel registration form: “”in Liverpool there is only one address that matters and that is where I live.”

10. When told he had never experienced playing in a derby: “Nonsense! I’ve kicked every ball, headed out every cross. I once scored a hat-trick. One was lucky, but the others were great goals.”

9. To a Liverpool trainee: “The problem with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head.”

8. On the ‘This is Anfield’ plaque: ”It’s there to remind our lads who they’re playing for, and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against.”

7. “The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life.”

6. “I was only in the game for the love of football – and I wanted to bring back happiness to the people of Liverpool.”

5. ”Although I’m a Scot, I’d be proud to be called a Scouser.”

4. “I always look in the Sunday paper to see where Everton are in the league – starting, of course, from the bottom up.”

3. After beating Everton in the 1971 cup semi-final: “Sickness would not have kept me away from this one. If I’d been dead, I would have had them bring the casket to the ground, prop it up in the stands and cut a hole in the lid.”

2. “Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say ‘We’re Liverpool’.”

1. “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Are Liverpool becoming another Arsenal?

When Brendan Rodgers first became Liverpool boss two-and-a-half-years ago, although results were inconsistent, his progressive, possession-based philosophy was continually praised.

It was viewed as modern and vibrant yet befitting of the club’s ancient values – reminiscent of the definitive give-and-go’s of the 1970s and 1980s – but this season it’s manifested into something dangerously dogmatic.

Unless Rodgers accepts his Liverpool side must begin taking a more balanced approach, the Reds will soon be walking in the footsteps of another top Premier League club forever shackled by their own philosophy – Arsenal.

Both sides have struggled this season for precisely the same reasons, although materialising in slightly different ways. Arsenal’s 62% possession average is the highest in the league and Liverpool aren’t far behind on 57%, whilst they boast 86% and 84% passing accuracies respectively. As a consequence, the Gunners rank second and the Reds fourth in terms of chances created this season.

Yet, football is decided by a side’s efficiency to score goals – not domination of the ball. You can have the ball for 30 seconds and still win a football match; you can have the ball for a whole 90 minutes (plus stoppage time) and still draw 0-0.

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Liverpool can both be accused of overlooking their defensive problems. Manchester United’s second goal against the Gunners at the weekend – a counter-attack involving just a handful of passes as pushed up full-backs left Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta as the only men behind the ball – was all too predictable, as was Ludogrets’ last-minute equaliser from a converted corner against the Reds yesterday evening, marking the 13t goal they’ve conceded from set pieces since the summer.

Not that Rodgers has ignored Liverpool’s defensive weaknesses in the same manner that’s turned so many supporters against Arsene Wenger in recent years. He somehow allowed Arsenal to enter the season with one defender less than last year, whereas the Liverpool boss has spent around £57million to bring six new defenders to Anfield since taking the hotseat in summer 2012 – not to mention an extra £10million on holding midfielder Emre Can. To claim he’s not at least attempted to rebuild the Reds from the back would be folly.

Yet, when all have struggled to prove good value for money – except perhaps Kolo Toure, who arrived on a free transfer – you have to start considering the nature of Rodgers’ philosophy and whether he’s beginning to echo Wenger’s worryingly idealistic approach.

For example, Rodgers insists upon the Reds playing out of the back as much as possible, even with impending danger looming on his defenders. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that – just ask Barcelona – but Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel all give the aura of centre-halves continually battling against the unrealistic demands of Rodgers’ possession football.

It’s no coincidence that Liverpool’s backline takes far more risks than the vast majority of its Premier League counterparts and the Reds have inflicted upon themselves the second-most errors leading to goals since the start of 2014 with 18, only trumped by the ever-self destructive Tottenham with 23. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal are third at 13.

Likewise, consider the style of team Liverpool have come unstuck against this season; Aston Villa, West Ham, QPR, Hull, Newcastle, Chelsea and Crystal Palace. All direct, well-organised and physical sides – the phrase ‘a rainy Wednesday night in Stoke’ – who, incidentally, Liverpool face on Saturday – quickly comes to mind.

These are the rough-n-ready calibre of opposition that have haunted the Gunners for years and one can see them troubling also Liverpool for the campaigns to come. Much like Arsenal, Liverpool currently lack the height and athleticism throughout their midfield and attack to deal with this type of opponent, with both managers clearly preferring the more diminutive, technical variety of player.

In foreign top flights, La Liga for instance, such imbalances would be overlooked. But we’re talking about primary requisites of the Premier League here; Liverpool will never be able to grind out wins against the division’s rank and file sides or compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea without having a more complete, better-rounded starting Xi that can win games in more than one way. Vigilantly keeping hold of the ball has rendered Liverpool and Arsenal both worryingly one-dimensional this season.

Fortunately for Rodgers, Arsenal provide the perfect template of where Liverpool are heading under his current philosophy.

They should serve as enough warning for the Ulsterman to accept the Reds can’t get by on possession football alone; it was all well and good when Liverpool were enjoying their best form for nearly a decade last season, but when momentum alone isn’t attaining positive results, we need to see a different, grittier and more direct side to the Anfield game.

The prevailing concern however, is that in direct parody of Wenger, Rodgers would rather live and die by his own ideals than adapt to their limitations.

 Courtesy of  footballfancast

Rodgers must have courage to drop players

A strange thing happened during the international break.

I kind of enjoyed it. Not for the games themselves, as I find most international friendlies and qualifiers boring to the extreme. It was nice because it gave me a break.

A break from the relentless misery that we’ve had to experience this season as Liverpool fans since the win over Spurs. Some might say it happened a long time ago, but I came to a realisation on Sunday; being a Liverpool supporter has stopped being fun. When last season I would look forward to the next game when we’d inevitably hand out beatings on a regular basis, this season has become a long slog that we haven’t experienced since the dark days of Roy Hodgson.

There are myriad of things that Brendan Rodgers must do to get things back on track, too many to list here. But there is one thing that he can do immediately to improve matters.

There are at least three players who played against Crystal Palace who absolutely need to be dropped if our form is to have any chance of improving.

The first is Steven Gerrard. It breaks my heart to say it, but our captain no longer merits a place in this team. Rodgers tried turning Captain Fantastic into our defensive midfielder when he realised he didn’t have the legs to play further forward anymore, no matter what system he played him in. A year later and he seems to have lost any bit of mobility he once had.

He’s slow on the ball, allowing the opposition to easily dispossess him and is always out of position. By the time Gerrard gets back to where he should have been, the opposition forwards are already one on one with our defenders. It was sad watching him against Chelsea; he was always two yards behind the Chelsea players whenever they approached goal.

He’s proved time and time again this year that he is utterly incapable of protecting our defence. It used to be that he provided some attacking worth with his “hollywood balls” and set piece abilities, but those have both gone as well. Honestly, I would rather have Lucas in front of our defence; he’s not much quicker but at least he’s positionally savvy.

Speaking of our defence, Dejan Lovren needs to be dropped. The only reason he’s playing ahead of Kolo Toure is because he cost £20m. He makes the same mistakes every single game and shows no signs of learning, whether it’s a poor clearance, a botched tackle or just simply giving the ball away in a dangerous position. There’s no sign of that commanding presence we expected; instead he just messes everything up. It’s come to the point when the rare occasion he does something right is considered a highlight.

I’d much rather have Sakho ahead of him, but for whatever reason Rodgers doesn’t seem to like him (he’d never have bought Lovren otherwise). Now that he’s back from injury, he needs to be given a look in. Surely he can’t do any worse?

Finally, we turn to Glen Johnson.

Glen fucking Johnson.

Why is he in this team? The man has produced only two decent performances since his form spiralled at the end of Rodgers’ first season. We now have three full-backs better than him: Moreno, Manquillo and Flanagan, though granted the latter is injured. I can only assume Moreno was being rested for Ludogorets, because I can’t think of a single reason that Johnson deserves to be in the team ahead of him.

Johnson has gone from just being incompetent to completely lacking effort as well. For Palace’s second goal, the attacker rushed past him with the ball and he just… gave up. Ambled back toward his goal. Didn’t even break into a light jog. No attempt at tracking back whatsoever. I assumed that Johnson had become lax due to a lack of competition since he signed. Now we have two new fullbacks capable of doing better than him, and still he cannot up his game.

He used to offer something going forward, but now even that threat has disappeared. The sooner he’s moved on, the better.

It’s not the sole answer to our problems. But you have to wonder, how much longer can these guys continue being awful before they pay the price?

Hopefully, not long now.

 

Courtesy of live4liverpool

Bobbly!

Rodgers excuse for Mignolets blunder and the teams late collapse

“The pitch was difficult for players and the goalkeepers, and it was especially bobbly around the 18-yard box. The players showed character to come back and not let it affect them.”

Come back Carra!

Chelsea’s Drogba: Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher is ‘most difficult’ I ever faced

Drogba and Carragher were at their peaks in the Premier League during the same time span, with the Chelsea forward excelling between 2004 and 2010.

For the Liverpool man, who always favoured reading the game over his evident lack of pace, a late progression into one of England’s best central defenders coincided with a bad period for the team he was vice captain for. Despite never winning the Premier League, Carragher is still considered one of the best defenders to ever grace the top flight, and he is now offering his wealth of advice to Sky Sports, with whom he acts as a top quality analyst.

With frequent explorations into Europe, Drogba faced many of the world’s top central defenders during his first spell with the Blues, but he still considers Carragher to be the best he faced, claiming his aggression made him a hard opponent – but one who was always fair.

Speaking to the official Chelsea website, the 36-year-old said: “I would say Jamie Carragher was the most difficult one in terms of aggression, but he was always fair.”

How we need a back four made up of Jamie Carragher’s!

An Open Letter To Brendan Rodgers

An Open Letter To Brendan Rodgers From A Liverpool Fan

Rodgers

Hello, Mr. Rodgers,

I hope this letter finds you in the best of health. First off, I would like to say how much things have improved since you took over as manager. Last season, there was a distinct identity to the team, the players seemed incredibly motivated and the football was, at times, simply mesmerizing. To think we came so close to winning the title after many years in the wilderness is testament to your abilities as a manager to get the most out of a talented bunch of players.

It is so refreshing to see managers keep faith in their young players, and in doing so with Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, you have, in all likelihood, set the two on their way to greatness in professional football. Henderson looks a completely different player, and Sterling is well on his way to becoming a superstar, if he isn’t already one.

But that is all in the past. And in the ever-changing world of football, nobody remembers the past. It’s where you are now that matters. And right now, Liverpool are in big trouble. Which brings me to my point.

It pains me, and millions of other fans I’m sure, to see a team devoid of any passion, motivation and identity on the field. Results have never been the criteria for judging a team’s quality. You win some, you lose some as the saying goes. But there is a big difference between having the desire to win and simply letting things drift. The Liverpool team at the moment falls firmly in the latter camp.

What has happened at Anfield? How does a team go from being a nightmare to play against, to playing as if caught in a nightmare, all in the span of a few months? Why do the players, who only months ago were playing as if their lives depended on scoring goals, now seem completely uninterested in doing what they are paid to do?

People point to Suarez leaving as being the reason for Liverpool’s fall from grace. But I don’t buy that argument. Surely the departure of Suarez can’t have anything to do with Glen Johnson’s failings as a defender? Surely the saale of perhaps the best striker to don the Red shirt after Robbie Fowler cannot have impacted Simon Mignolet to such an extent that he has forgotten the basic tenets of goalkeeping?

No, those are simply easy excuses and lazy journalism, if we are to be honest. The problem runs much deeper. Forgive me for saying this, but I sense the players simply do not have any faith in your methods or philosophy. Sure, there are some players who will stand by you no matter what, for these players value the sacred jersey they wear and the institution they represent.

And why Mario Balotelli? Why would you choose to bring in a player who has a history of being difficult on and off the field, being far too mercurial to be trusted with anything and who simply has never found a place in football by virtue of being, well, himself?

Why did it take you till late November to give Rickie Lambert a chance to feed off his friend and team-mate Adam Lallana? Surely you should have exploited the pair’s camaraderie on the pitch to good effect, instead of simply handing Balotelli chance after chance to let his team down, while Lambert was allowed to rot on the bench?

And to say nothing of your sound bytes would be an oversight. Time and again, there has been a huge disconnect between your words and your actions this season. Playing the fringe players against Real Madrid was the beginning of a masterstroke – a clear communication that complacency and poor performances would not be tolerated. I was thrilled to see those who started against Madrid giving it their all, even though the result was a foregone conclusion.

But then the masterstroke ended up being a huge blunder when you fielded the same under-performers for the next game against Newcastle! In doing so, you alienated your squad players and rewarded the poor performers with yet another chance – in this case, two wrongs make a bigger wrong.

Your words have come back to bite you, haven’t they? After spending obscene amounts of money in the transfer window, isn’t a team expected to compete for the title, according to you? Well, the title is already gone, and if our team’s fortunes do not improve soon, I fear the last Champions League spot may also be out of our reach.

Please do not let that happen. Do not let this great institution drop out of the most prestigious club competition in Europe. It has taken us a long time to get back in, and I’m not sure many fans have the patience to do it all over again. Do not tarnish your legacy of taking this team to the cusp of the Premier League title. Let last season not be a flash in the pan.

In difficult times, it is important to be united. Come what may, you need to bring your team together and make them play as a unit, and not as a disinterested bunch of schoolboys. It’s still only November, and the road to May is long.

Yours sincerely,

A Liverpool fan.

P.S: Steven Gerrard should not be playing as a defensive midfielder. Anywhere else on the pitch is fine, but stop making him look like a fool by playing him in front of the defense.

Ancelotti: “Basel played with more heart than Liverpool”

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti believes Basel are a better team than Liverpool, after his side beat the Swiss team 1-0 at St. Jakob Park.

Ancelotti feels Basel are in better shape and will get the required result at Anfield that would see them join Real in the knockout stages.

“I think Basel are currently better than Liverpool,” the Real Madrid manager said, via Goal. “I see a small advantage for Basel for the last round.” Basel played with a lot of heart. They showed an intense game and were able to put us under pressure in the second half.”

What has gone wrong at Anfield?

Liverpool: What has gone wrong at Anfield?

Rickie Lambert Liverpool: What has gone wrong at Anfield?

Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have made a poor start to the season following their massive summer outlay and the departure of their charismatic forward, Luis Suarez. The reds slumped to their 6th defeat in just 12 league games, after a shocking performance at Selhurst Park.

While an inspiring 3-1 victory will provide much hope for Neil Warnock and a struggling Crystal Palace side, Liverpool’s season went from bad to worse. Football is a results business and so far the manager has failed to deliver.

There has been plenty of discussion about how Liverpool have replicated their shocking plunge into mediocrity, following a stellar season where they challenged for the title and missed out narrowly, just like in 2009. Speculation is rife that the manager is under the scanner and a couple of bad results could well be the end of Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool.

It is sometimes unfair to hold the manager responsible for everything that is wrong at a club. There are several off the pitch issues that could influence a bad set of results. Unsettling atmosphere around the club, unhappy dressing room are few reasons that often influence the on-pitch events as well. However in Liverpool’s case, the manager and the players have always spoken about the unity and affection within the group and how there’s a genuinely good atmosphere at the club, from top to bottom.

So what went wrong?

Here at Soccerlens we pick out the two main reasons for Liverpool’s poor start to the season and discuss the possible solutions.

Tactics & Personnel

For most part of this season, Liverpool have gone for a rigid 4-2-3-1, as opposed to the diamond that earned great rewards for the reds last season. Switching from a winning formula is never a wise decision, but injuries have often been the reason why Brendan Rodgers has had to shuffle his tactics.

Injury to key player and the best striker at the club, Daniel Sturridge has meant that the manager has not got his preferred choices to play a two striker formation. The other strikers at the club, Borini and Lambert have failed to convince the manager, despite Borini putting in an impressive display alongside Mario Balotelli and Lambert putting in a couple of good substitute performances against Southampton and Manchester City.

Playing as a lone striker, Mario Balotelli has found himself isolated and away from the goal more often and has failed to live up to the expectations at Anfield.

MarioBalotelliLiverpoolVSwanseaoct2014 large Liverpool: What has gone wrong at Anfield?
ADVERTISEMENT

Another new signing, Dejan Lovren has been an utter disappointment for the Reds so far. The Croatian joined the reds following an impressive season with Southampton, but the big money move is looking like a shocking piece of business with every passing day, as the former Lyon centre back has been at fault for several goals this season and has made at least one crucial error in every single game he has started.

Liverpool have had one of the worst defenses in the league so far and Lovren has been a big reason for that. While it is true that his partners in crime, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson haven’t been putting in the best of performances either, the Croatian has comfortably managed to outweigh his teammates’ mistakes. It is clear that the defensive setup needs new faces, but that might not be possible this season. In which case, bringing in the likes of Sakho and Toure would be a good move.

Deploying the players in an unfamiliar tactical role has been another issue this season. It is no secret that Mario Balotelli has played his best football alongside another forward and every time he has started a game with Borini or Sturridge, the Italian has looked far more comfortable and effective. While Borini and Lambert are not the ideal choices for the manager, they are decent options and ones the manager should be looking to use, to get the best out of the enigmatic Italian, at least until Sturridge is back.

gerrard 723 Liverpool: What has gone wrong at Anfield?

Captain and club legend, Steven Gerrard has been a victim of this issue as well. The former England international has been one of Liverpool’s worst performers this season and such is his performance level, that retirement suggestions have been doing the rounds as well.

For what it’s worth, the Liverpool captain is still one of the best players at the club, but has been used in an improper role. Lack of positional sense and tactical intelligence required for his current role, has meant that Gerrard has often left the Liverpool defense exposed, while playing as a defensive midfielder.

He showed glimpses of his old self against West Brom as played with a bit more freedom in the second half. It is understandable that the manager has not had the chance to play Gerrard with more freedom, because of injuries to Allen and Can, but the reluctance to sign a proper defensive midfielder is concerning as the position remains the number one weakness for the reds.

Transfers

Brendan Rodgers has bought 25 players for £212,380,000 since joining the reds from Swansea. The northern Irish man has been shockingly poor in the market so far with only two of those 25 players proving to be a success (Sturridge and Coutinho). While the likes of Moreno and Can have shown encouraging signs, they are yet to bed in properly and might go on to become very important players for the club.

Having sold their best player, Luis Suarez for a club record value of 75 million, the reds had the chance to build the squad with the best of resources. However, the 100 million plus spent on the players this summer has brought nothing but misery as the reds struggle to put in a single convincing performance since Tottenham away.

121539 Liverpool: What has gone wrong at Anfield?

The transfer strategy at Liverpool has been confusing since day one. But what has been clear is that the manager likes to work in a comfort zone and prefers to sign players that he knows well. There has been suggestions of the transfer committee and the manager working together to draw up a list of targets, but the likes of Borini, Lallana etc indicate a willingness to sign players that have been followed closely in the domestic league. Whatever the case, the procedure has been an absolute failure so far.

As stated above, it is still unclear as to how the manager and the committee work and therefore it is tough to single out a culprit when it comes to transfers. But appointing a director of football and limiting the transfer related responsibilities of the manager/committee would be a good start. Brendan Rodgers has always shown how good a coach he is and it is time the owners took decisions that allows the manager to focus on his strengths and bring in others who could sort out his weaknesses.

 

Courtesy of Soccerlens

Rodgers mocked Kolo

Rodgers, in the Reds last Champions League game against Real Madrid he switched things up bringing in Ivorian Kolo Toure. The 33 year-old came in to play his first game of the season, and it was a huge surprise to many other than the player himself.

Toure, who used to play for Arsenal, rose to the occasion and took the game to forwards Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Madrid front line struggling to break through.

It was a real captain like performance from Toure, as he lead from the back producing clearances and blocks throughout the whole 90 minutes. He hasn’t featured for the club since that display and results haven’t improved, with the club losing three league games on the bounce.

What happens next is bordering on insanity as Toure was well and duly dropped for the next game.

If players show an vast improvement what must they think if they are ignored?

Red Sox spending though the roof

The owners of Liverpool, John W Henry and his Fenway Sports Group, have proven their mighty financial clout by splashing $180m on their baseball franchise the Boston Red Sox, reports Bloomberg. This is on top of their pre season spend.

The Red Sox have been struggling badly, finishing last in the American League East Division – with a record of 71 wins and 91 losses. (Yes, that’s really how many games they play in a season!)

Top Free agents Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have been signed for the mammoth fees, both of whom have won the prestigious World Series before.

It’s pretty unclear as to what the spending means for Liverpool. The optimistic among us may choose to see that FSG were happy to shell out big cash to improve a struggling team, whereas the pessimistic might see the spending as in indication of our owner’s priorities.

Liverpool refuse to use the facilities

Liverpool arrive in Bulgaria ‘in a bad mood’, refuse to use facilities provided

The Bulgarian press have been quite excited in the build up to Liverpool arriving in the country for a match against Ludogorets. The Bulgarian club have impressed in the competition not least on Merseyside and the arrival of huge European teams in Sofia is one which has brought excitement.

However, there appears to be something of a disappointment following Liverpool’s arrival. Bulgarian newspaper Pressa say they arrived ‘in a bad mood’ and had little attention for fans who had been waiting outside the team hotel to welcome them. Steven Gerrard was the most popular, with supporters chanting his name, but surprisingly Kolo Toure had what Pressa call ‘a serious fan group’.

There’s also disappointment that Liverpool have chosen not to train and use facilities provided in Bulgaria, instead going through a session on Merseyside before they left for the airport. It’s more common for teams to train at the stadium of their opponents but when Liverpool travelled to face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, their session was watched by journalists and Spanish newspaper Marca were able to get their predicted team absolutely spot on, even though there were many changes to the normal Liverpool line up.

Small groups of Liverpool fans have been arriving in Bulgaria, in higher spirits than the players, and Pressa have welcomed them to the country.

Grobbelaar: Mignolet A Worse keeper Than Dracula

Liverpool Legend Bruce Grobbelaar: Simon Mignolet Is A Worse Goalkeeper Than Dracula

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar has given a brutal analysis of under-fire Reds stopper Simon Mignolet, claiming Dracula comes out of his coffin more often than the Belgian international comes off his line.

Mignolet has yet to win over the Anfield support following several high-profile mistakes between the sticks since he joined from Sunderland in 2013.

Some fans believe the 26-year-old simply isn’t good enough and it would appear Grobbelaar is in agreement, after he bizarrely claimed that Count Dracula would prove a better keeper.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the South African who made 440 appearances and won six league titles and one European Cup for Liverpool, said:

“He doesn’t command his area.

“I’ve likened Mignolet to worse than Dracula,

“At least Dracula comes out of his coffin now and then. He seems to stay on his line and that’s it.

“That whole area, not just the six-yard area, is the goalkeeper’s.”

Did You Know!

Serghio Aguero was a Liverpool fan, Aguero revealed he wanted to leave Independiente for Merseyside not Madrid.

“I have been a Liverpool fan for as long as I can remember and it would be a dream to play there.

“I watched their Champions League final and celebrated every goal as if it was for Independiente.”

Liverpool failed to act on these words when he became available.

Heard it all now

Well we heard it from the horses mouth ….

Brendan Rodgers “We are not looking to bring any players in the January windoww”

Well if that doesn’t sway all you positive believers nothing will. If ever a team needed an injection, its Liverpool. I don’t blame Rodgers for that statement. Its obviously coming from the top and only rubber stamps my previous article on FSG in it for profit only.

Our club is literally being used as a money machine by American capitalists and nobody seems to care?

Liverpool not looking to sign any new players

Liverpool not looking to sign any new players in January despite poor form, reveals Kop boss Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he currently has no interest in signing players in January, despite the club’s poor form.

Last season’s Premier League runners-up spent £113million in the summer but many of the new players have failed to settle. And Rodgers believes the focus should be on recreating the spirit of last season, rather further squad additions.

‘It (buying new players) is not something I am looking at,’ the 41-year-old said. ‘After the weekend, the focus was not to dwell on that. We have to learn from that and try and get a result here.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he has no interest in signing players in January

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he has no interest in signing players in January

‘I just need to get us back to a level of confidence that allows you to perform. Losing can be the making of you. You learn from it. That is what we are aiming to do.’

Rodgers’ side was characterised last season by the intensity of their play, but that seems to have disappeared, and the former Swansea boss is intent on regaining that confidence.

‘When you don’t have so much coaching time, it is mostly psychological what you are trying to achieve. If we focus on that too much there is no way we could play to our level.

Rodgers and striker Rickie Lambert were speaking to the press ahead of their Champions League clash

Rodgers and striker Rickie Lambert were speaking to the press ahead of their Champions League clash

Rodgers said he had a good relationship with the club’s owners and they had been very supportive of him

‘We need to make sure the training ground is a happy place to be. We have lost more than we would have liked. But the next game is an opportunity. You try to affect the players in a positive way.

‘Sometimes it just takes a game, an action to change a season for you. We have to believe that can happen. We haven’t been anywhere near our levels. But you can never give up.

‘We have to believe that the honesty of the group will get us the results and that is what we will keep working towards.’

There had been suggestions that the relationship between Rodgers and the club’s American ownership has been tested by the side’s recent poor form. Rodgers, though, refuted such claims.

the Liverpool squad train at Melwood ahead of their match against Ludogorets on Wednesday

the Liverpool squad train at Melwood ahead of their match against Ludogorets on Wednesday

Rodgers said he is focussed on recreating the harmony and spirit of last season 

Rodgers said he is focussed on recreating the harmony and spirit of last season

He said: ‘I haven’t spoken to them as of yet. I have had a few messages. But they have always been supportive of me.

‘They were a big reason why I came here. My focus is just on getting Liverpool to win games and I know that is what will make them most happy.’

Liverpool face Bulgarian side Ludogorets on Wednesday and Rodgers claimed there was no complacency in his side ahead of the clash.

‘This is the same as any of the others,’ he said. ‘We give Ludo a great respect. They have surprised a lot of people. They are technically a very good side. We just decided to stay at home. It gave the players a chance to recover.’

Stubborn Rodgers must learn

So, a mere three months into the season and Brendan Rodgers heads the list of potential managerial causalities in the Premier League. It’s a fairly esteemed list. Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger will vouch for that. But Rodgers, the man that led Liverpool to their most successful Premier League campaign, the man that came oh so close to the title, the man that made the supporters dream again. So, where do I stand on it?

Football - Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Without suggesting the talk of the chop is a huge overreaction (it isn’t), I think it’s entirely premature. Rodgers has earned the love of the Anfield faithful, the sensible of those anyway, and this love will at least allow him the opportunity to dig his club out of the hole he is very much partly accountable for.

I’m not trying to whittle through an infinite list of everything wrong at the club, but Rodgers’ failure, acceptance, ignorance and stubbornness are all features of a number of the problems. We should have learned in the summer of ’09 that such almost-successful title hunts need to be built on, not just fondly recalled.

Fernando Torres’ downfall, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano out of the door – few teams would do well to build upon that. Losing Luis Suarez wasn’t a mistake. Who is to stand in the way of the world’s greatest striker fulfilling a childhood dream and joining a powerhouse of the modern game.

The mistake, as everyone knows, was not using the funds – the sufficient funds – wisely. Selling your best player is a step backwards, replacing him to a decent standard (with more than one name) goes some way to recovering your position.

Mario Balotelli is not the answer and never was – isn’t hindsight a great thing. Fabio Borini is far too average for a club like Liverpool and the Rickie Lambert deal was less fairytale stuff, more wicked witch of the west.

Letting a forward like Loic Remy slip through our fingers when the deal was tied up, not pursuing a genuine Premier League handful like Wilfried Bony when it made perfect sense. But then how much of that is Rodgers’ fault?

This is where supporters (including myself) feel left in the dark. What is this ‘committee’ we hear of every time a transfer window looms? Who is really involved in identifying targets, and, vitally, who gets the final say-so? John W Henry? Someone else? I’m not sure.

Our second best player is injured, and has been all season. We knew of the risks that came with Daniel Sturridge and while they held out for a while it has all caught up with us now. Sturridge being made of glass should not have final say over a Liverpool season, and the England international’s injury should not explain why we have already lost six Premier League games.

It should certainly not explain why the defence is – if anything – worse (if possible) than last season. The defence, that part of the team that hangs back, just in front of the goalkeeper, and tries to stop opposition attackers having attempts on goal. That part that cost us a league title. For all of you too young to remember Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher..

Dejan Lovren is clearly not as bad a defender as he has been this season. The stats are cataclysmic, his errors leading to oppositions chances and goals are nightmarish. His clumsiness, lack of presence (physical and mental) and general vulnerability are so concerning. Yet is he un-droppable? Because (whoever) at the club spent £20m on him. Replacing Daniel Agger for pittance, I may add.

Yannick Bolasie was the last Premier League ‘star’ with an ounce of pace to run rings around Steven Gerrard. Last season was something of a swansong in that role but both the skipper and Rodgers are lying to themselves and in utter denial that the team can function in this formation – with this personnel.

As to why Glen Johnson remains in the team with the glimpse of positivity of Javier Manquilo and Alberto Moreno around. Well…

None of these basic squad issues were addressed. Players bought were all of a decent standard, but were they right?

As I mentioned earlier, Rodgers deserves time. No one has doubted he is fighting for his job – the guy has admitted that himself. But how long will he get if he insists going with the current personnel in the current systems, formations and ideologies? That is beyond me.

But a fifth consecutive defeat in Bulgaria against Ludogorets on Wednesday will see Liverpool crashing out of the prestigious Champions League at the first hurdle. The competition worked so hard to redeem, gone, with barely an iota to saver.

Confidence is, of course, low. But these are the times when all top bosses earn their bread, if Brendan Rodgers can mix things up, forge some new ideas into his predictable squad and withstand a fifth defeat on the bounce for the first time since 1953 – all is not lost for him.

The nature of the league this season means that, sensationally, Liverpool aren’t exactly a million miles (in terms of points) away from *some* targets. A run of decent results will make addressing the table slightly more bearable.

But sticking with a team so bereft of confidence, ideas and leadership could be Rodgers’ undoing – you get the feeling we will soon get to see what the Liverpool chief is really made of.