We need to sign Higuain or Cavani

Liverpool need to sign Gonzalo Higuain or Edinson Cavani, says Reds legend

Liverpool have to sign a striker of the calibre of Edinson Cavani or Gonzalo Higuain in January, according to Phil Thompson.

Brendan Rodgers has been without injury-ravaged Daniel Sturridge for eight of 11 Premier League games this season, whilst £16m signing Mario Balotelli has struggled to find form.

You have to look for a proven one. You have to convince them to come to this football club

Phil Thompson

Liverpool were linked with a move for Diego Costa in 2013 before the Spain striker joined Chelsea in the summer, scoring an impressive 10 goals in nine games for the league leaders.

And former Reds centre-half Thompson is urging the Liverpool owners to back their manager in his pursuit of a proven goal-scorer.

“They’ve only put their hand in the pocket for £20m-£25m. So I’d like to think the money is there and they have to trust to Brendan,” Thompson told Sky Sports News.

“But they have to try sign the likes of Higuain, Cavani or Lavezzi. Some of the players who aren’t particularly happy from what we read in the papers. Convince them to come to Liverpool.

“Don’t forget Liverpool were after Costa the year before, and because we didn’t trump up £25m, it didn’t happen. They are the type of players you have to convince to come in January.”

Thompson continued: “You have to pay that money and the salary. Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero have proven a hit. Without those players, those three teams would be nowhere near as good.

“You have to look for a proven one. You have to convince them to come to this football club.”

Who should Liverpool try to sign?

A real transfer blunder

Liverpool’s Failure To Move For Midfield Genius Was Brendan Rodgers’ Biggest Transfer Blunder – Opinion

Xabi Alonso Bayern Munich

Liverpool didn’t even try to sign Xabi Alonso, a mistake which may prove terminal to their hopes of trophies this year.

Xabi Alonso has just revealed that, contrary to the rumours, Liverpool did not ever make a bid for him this summer.

This is surely the biggest mistake (and there’s some competition) of Liverpool’s disastrous summer.

While there’s no guarantee that Alonso would have made the switch an Anfield – and it would have been hard for him to resist the lure of Bayern – failing to even make an approach for the midfielder is unforgivable.

Rodger’s self-belief and faith in his players is admirable, but in this case misplaced. Joe Allen is just not a midfielder who can control a game in the Bernabeu, nor is Lucas Leiva.

Alonso, on the other hand, has been doing it for years.

The end-to-end, gung-ho style that Liverpool played last year was all very well in the Premier League, but that style doesn’t cut it in the Champions League, where the ability to control the game is vital. There’s nobody better in Europe at controlling games from the middle than Alonso, and his form at Bayern has reminded us all of that.

He has a ridiculous average of 115 passes per game, with a success rate of 90.1%. This Liverpool side are young and talented, but lack experience. Alonso would have given them what they’re lacking in the middle, and there’s no way they would be struggling as they are if they had the Basque midfielder’s nous in the middle.

Forget the flops that Rodgers did sign, it’s the ones that got away that he should be blamed for…

Courtesy of caughtoffside

 

There were NO offers from Liverpool

BAYERN MUNICH star Xabi Alonso has revealed that he received no offers from Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United after leaving Real Madrid during the summer.

xabi alonso

The former Spain international completed a shock move to Pep Guardiola’s side late in the transfer window after seeing Carlo Ancelotti sign Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez following the World Cup in Brazil.

Injuries to key men including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez have enabled Alonso to produce his scintillating best from a deep position in midfield, with the playmaker helping Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga.

And speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail‘s Jamie Carragher, Alonso admitted that Liverpool made no contact with him before completing a switch to the Allianz Arena.

He said: “No, [there were no offers from England], I only had this option.

“This might be my last experience in football. I cam from my hometown team, Real Sociedad, to the best team in England [Liverpool]; to the best team in Spain to the best team in Germany.

Given the fact that Alonso is pure class and proving it now with Bayern, I have to ask the question why didn’t Rodgers at least make an enquiry for this proven world class player being just exactly what Liverpool needed?

All of Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool injuries

SHOCKING GRAPHIC! All of Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool injuries

Daniel Sturridge has suffered 13 injuries since joining Liverpool

Poor, old Daniel Sturridge. Just when it looked like the Liverpool hitman was finally on course to make his much anticipated (and desperately needed) Anfield return, the club confirm that he has suffered a fresh set-back that could see him sidelined for another six weeks.

So far this season, Sturridge has made only three appearances in all competitions – the last of which came in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham back in August. Since then a succession of strains, tears and pulls have seen him in and out of the treatment room, while on the pitch Brendan Rodgers’ men have struggled to regularly find the net.

His latest set-back has prompted the club to look at the player’s complete medical history to see if they can figure out just why Sturridge has become so injury prone. talkSPORT have decided to take a look as well, and the results are pretty shocking.

Since joining Liverpool in January 2013, Sturridge has suffered 13 different injuries, limiting him to just 52 of the 81 matches the Redmen have played in that period. Below is his injury breakdown.

Source: physioroom.com

Liverpool have NOT approached Lille

Liverpool have NOT approached Lille over early switch for Divock Origi in January

Liverpool have yet to open negotiations with Lille striker Divock Origi over an early transfer but his father Mike said: ‘It’s difficult to say “no” against a team like Liverpool.’The club agreed to sign Origi for £10m last summer on the grounds that he remained at Lille for another season on loan while they searched for a replacement.

However, continued injury to Daniel Sturridge and the poor form of Mario Balotelli has prompted a re-think in recent weeks as Liverpool assess their options.

Divock Origi in action for French side Lille in a Ligue 1 game against Saint Etienne

Divock Origi in action for French side Lille in a Ligue 1 game against Saint Etienne

The Belgian forward vies for the ball with Wales defender James Chester (right) during the Euro qualifier

The Belgian forward vies for the ball with Wales defender James Chester (right) during the Euro qualifier

The current trio of Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are without a Premier League goal between them so far this season.

Lille are understood to be willing to listen if Liverpool put more money, around £5m, on the table in January.

The French side have considered Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore as a possible replacement for Origi.

Liverpool it seems are reluctant to splash the cash (again)

Yet another one

Yet another player added to the list of falling out with Brendan Rodgers.

Martin Kelly gave an interview this week in which he hinted that all was not right with his relationship with Rodgers.

I don’t know who is right but we are continually being told about how good the managers man management skills are yet the list continues to grow with discontented players?

Confused!

Top 6 social media clubs

Fans on social media? Talksport totted up the numbers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and, er, Google+ to find out which are the top six clubs in the world ….

1. Barcelona – 106,196,544 fans on social media

2. Real Madrid – 103,474,442

3. Man United – 71,524,249

4. Chelsea – 50,502,029

5. Arsenal – 40,233,307

6. Liverpool – 32,452,662

Well for a club that wins nought, 6th is pretty good

No end in sight for toiling Liverpool

Things have got gone well for Liverpool so far this season and Alex Johnson doesn’t see that it is going to get better at any time soon.

The end of this international break should have signalled the start of a period of recovery for Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have got a decent run of fixtures approaching, starting at Crystal Palace on Sunday, and the Anfield boss would have been expecting an upturn in fortunes.

Every Premier League manager waits patiently on their stars to return from international duty unscathed. More than ever with this window signalling a period of hibernation until the spring for internationals.

For Rodgers, disaster struck with a player right under his nose at Melwood. The loss of Daniel Sturridge for another six-week layoff is a crushing blow for the Reds.

Mario Balotelli returned from the Italian camp nursing a hamstring injury meaning Rodgers could be down to the bare bones for the trip to Palace.

Will Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert be afforded the chance to prove their worth?

Rodgers may have his hand forced, but arguably he could do worse than allowing that duo the chance to impress.

Borini showed at the end of last season that he is capable at this level. The 23-year-old played a crucial role in helping Sunderland secure their top-flight status – scoring three times in four games as Gus Poyet’s side made an unlikely escape.

His opportunities have been limited at Anfield but much less would be expected of him in comparison with the circus that follows compatriot Balotelli’s every move.

Lambert, on the other hand, is a proven Premier League goalscorer. The England international has started only once in the league this season and has failed to hit the net in that or his eight appearances from the bench.

In the two seasons prior to this at Southampton, though, Lambert helped himself to 28 league goals making him by far and away the most prolific scorer Rodgers can call upon right now.

Rodgers saw fit to give the St Mary’s club £4m this summer to secure his services and the Northern Irishman must now trust his own judgement.

Many will speculate that Balotelli was not Rodgers’ desired choice as the transfer window neared its conclusion but Lambert surely was the manager’s pick.

Whatever it was he saw in the striker, Rodgers will have to rely on Lambert in the short term.

After Palace, Liverpool face Stoke, Leicester and Sunderland in the league. With respect, Lambert should fancy his chances against such opposition.

Balotelli has misfired consistently and whether Rodgers truly believes the Italian will turn it around is open to considerable debate.

Starting Lambert may necessitate Liverpool to alter their style of play somewhat but given the paucity of goals this season, it looks to be worth trying in the vain hope they can keep their season alive into the January transfer window.

 

Growing Increasingly Precarious

Brendan Rodgers’ Position at Liverpool Is Growing Increasingly Precarious

Brendan Rodgers' Position at Liverpool Is Growing Increasingly Precarious

In the summer of 2013, Tottenham Hotspur accepted the desire of the Premier League’s player of the year to move to Spain and set about reinvesting Gareth Bale’s €100 million transfer fee in an aggressive overhaul of their squad.

Joe Lewis, Tottenham’s absentee-landlord owner, set his coach, Andre Villas-Boas, a target of converting this unprecedented spend into an unprecedented Premier League title.

Repeatedly overruled by chairman Daniel Levy on recruitment strategy, by the season’s third month Villas-Boas had decided it would be his last at the club. By December, with his rebuilt team eight points off the league leaders in seventh position, the Portuguese was gone anyway.

In the summer of 2014, Liverpool finally accepted the desire of the Premier League’s player of the year to move to Spain and set about reinvesting his €81 million transfer fee in an aggressive overhaul of their squad. After finishing second with Suarez in his team, the talk was of Brendan Rodgers converting this unprecedented spend into an unprecedented Premier League title.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Unlike Villas-Boas, Rodgers—who’d just been rewarded with an improved four-year contract—was allowed to drive Liverpool’s recruitment strategy. By November his rebuilt team had been ejected from title contention, 15 points off the league leaders in an embarrassing 11th position.

In contrast to his unorthodox former Chelsea colleague, Rodgers certainly has not concluded that Anfield is the wrong place for him to be employed. Yet the assumption that the Northern Irishman will survive his own summer of aspirant spending is a questionable one.

While it proved easy to get carried away by Liverpool’s achievements of taking Manchester City and Chelsea to the wire last May, the fashionable attribution of that success to Rodgers’ management was ill-considered. No Suarez, no goals. No Luis, less energy, little leadership. The analysis of a coach’s effectiveness should always be more nuanced than his team’s haul of points.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Lurking in the background is Rodgers’ little-known history with his principal employer. In the summer of 2012, when John W. Henry was considering the appointment of the second manager of Fenway Sports Group’s () stewardship of Liverpool, his preferred choice was Roberto Martinez. That Rodgers changed the American’s mind came down to a stellar presentation on how the coach wanted the club to be run.

While Rodgers interviewed phenomenally well, it is said that his actions once in were not as appealing to Henry. Liverpool’s new manager wanted three of his predecessor’s headline signings—Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson—out of his squad. The manner in which he pushed £35 million record signing Carroll toward a hugely expensive season loan switch to West Ham United went down particularly badly.

According to well-informed sources, Henry has been talked down from dismissing Rodgers on at least two occasions. Both occurred last season, and while it’s not clear exactly what prompted Henry to pursue replacing Rodgers, I can reveal the two men who saved him.

Chief executive Ian and -shareholder chairman Tom Werner have stood behind Rodgers, but the manager’s hold on the position has at times been less secure than it appeared. Ultimately, ‘s lead decision maker will determine how long it lasts.

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Ian Ayre (left) and Tom Werner (right) flank Rodgers on his appointment

Rodgers’ new contract should not be regarded as a guarantee of tenure at a club that demonstrated its attitude to written agreements in a brazen refusal to honour Suarez’s release clause in 2013, as per Goal.

Speaking earlier this month, Rodgers recognised that the quality of his decision making will determine his future at the club, as per the Guardian:

You have to be bold enough to make the decisions as a manager and that is why you are paid the money you are. If you make more wrong ones than right ones you will be out of work, it’s as simple as that.

When purchased Liverpool their target was for the club to be qualified for the Champions League from the 2015/16 season onwards. Though Rodgers was at the helm when that aim was met a year early, the implications of a failure to repeat are already writ large in his approach to this season’s campaign. Resting players at Real Madrid in preparation for a Premier League visit from Chelsea was an act of self-preservation.

“It’s a different club and different vision we have here, at Liverpool there’s a strategy behind what we are doing,” said Rodgers of his club’s grand summer spend a few months back, as per Sky Sports (h/t ESPN).

If that different club keeps dropping points regardless of Rodgers’ teams, tactics and questionable signings (read my piece on Mario Balotelli here), he can expect Liverpool’s to deliver exactly the same denouement as at White Hart Lane.

Duncan Castles writes for Sunday TimesSports Illustrated Champions magazine and others. A respected figure with an inside track, he has built a reputation for breaking transfer stories.

Courtesy of bleacherreport

Third lost all confidence in Rodger

A third of Liverpool fans have lost all confidence in Rodgers since September slide

FourFourTwo and Forza Football have surveyed 200,000 fans of Premier League clubs to gauge their confidence in their team’s manager, players and chairman/owner. Here, Nick Harper picks through the findings to see how Liverpool fans’ mood has changed over the season…

For a team that had just run Manchester City close for the Premier League title, managed by a man so special he had a massive portrait of himself installed in his hallway at home, this season should have seen Liverpool in ebullient mood. But then the summer happened, Luis Suarez bit himself off to Barcelona and all Liverpool’s hopes and expectations were duly downgraded.

Heading into the new season, Liverpool fans’ confidence in their squad sat at a realistic 81%. Their confidence in the manager, Brendan Rodgers sat at 87%, which is harsh given his performance the previous campaign but understandable given the loss of Suarez.

Those figures initially climbed as high as 88% for the squad and 90% for Rodgers, until Aston Villa arrived at Anfield, helped themselves to all three points and Liverpool rapidly unravelled.

As it currently stands, with the club 11th in the table and danger man Daniel Sturridge out for possibly ever, confidence in Rodgers is down to 62%, but the real blame lies with his squad – confidence amongst fans that they are fit to mount a title charge has dropped to a season (so far) low of just 47%.

Of course it was never going to be easy to repeat last season’s heroics, but it was never meant to be this hard.

Is Daniel Sturridge becoming a bit part player?

The question has to be asked. While he plays he performs but while he’s benched he’s no good to anyone!

I know how good Studge is for the Reds but can we seriously build a future team around him? Yes he may well come back and show how good a player he is but we all bight our nails in anticipation of the next injury.

It is becoming obvious that we can only use Daniel Sturridge on a part time basis and with that knowledge he really cannot be our No1 goalscorer. Rodgers must secure the services of a top striker that can be relied upon not to break down every other match. Studge was good while it lasted but he must be placed into the ‘backup’ striker roll.

The problem is that I have no confidence in either FSG to sanction such a move nor do I trust Rodgers record to find a top striker.

We all know that he will either use loanees or buy a cheap knockdown version. We do of course have this Origi guy at Lille but firstly they wont let him go and even if that happened, my guess is that he has been overhyped by the press thus heaping too much pressure on the youngster.

So where does that leave us? three words – Balotelli, Lambert, Borini

Arsenal to make enticing offer

Arsenal are set to force interest in Liverpool target Isco despite his intentions to remain at Real Madrid by preparing a huge £40million offer to try and lure him to England.

Liverpool made inquiries regarding the 22-year-old’s availability during the summer but Carlo Ancelotti ruled out the possibility of him leaving.

Arsene Wenger is said to have access to a budget of £40million in order to try and convince the La Liga giants to part ways with the attacking midfielder.

As money talks, Arsenal believe a generous offer could just do the trick.

Ahh just like Liverpool- NOT!

The Preferred Center-Back Pairing?

Analyzing Who Should Be The Preferred Center-Back Pairing For Liverpool

skrtel 600x414 Analyzing Who Should Be The Preferred Center Back Pairing For Liverpool

Liverpool Football Club have not had a great season so far. Not their worst, but far worse than last season. The club have plenty of time, and a top 4 finish is a reasonable hope if the Reds can work out some of the kinks. Liverpool’s toothless attack is one of the biggest issues right now, but a deeper and deadlier problem is the defense. All season (similar to the previous one), the Reds have been a comedic shambles at the back. Brendan Rodgers has been rotating all four spots and the lack of rapport amongst the players is horrible. Liverpool’s defense needs some grounding, leadership, and organization.

The Options

The Standby:

Martin Skrtel. Skrtel has been with the club since the Rafael Benitez years, and has enjoyed many solid seasons at the heart of the club’s defense. Nearly frozen out early in Rodgers’ reign, the big Slovakian center-back worked his way back into team and has been reliable ever since. Some fans may have wished for his exit rather than Daniel Agger’s, but many appreciate the hard work he’s put in over the years. Skrtel is a goal threat (though occasionally at both ends), is good in the air, and has a knack for the shirt pulling that sets opposition fans and journalists alight with anger. Those same shirt pulling techniques, however, can be one of the player’s biggest weaknesses when the referee chooses to punish him. The stats show that he won nearly 70% of aerial duels last season in the Premier League (he played every single match for the Reds), but his interceptions and ground tackling were quite average. Skrtel tends to find himself out of position, and finds himself between in the wrong position during one-on-one situations.

The New Guy:

Dejan Lovren. The Croatian center-back came over from Southampton last summer with a high reputation and matching price tag. His overall defensive score per 90 minutes was substantially higher than Martin Skrtel’s last season, and his interceptions and tackles won metrics (per 90 minutes) were around 50% higher than Skrtel’s. He played a huge part in Southampton’s epic run last season, even scoring a winning goal against Liverpool early in the season. But all the hype quickly faded once the season started for Lovren at Liverpool, and while he leads the team in a number of defensive stats, he’s made an average of .36 defensive errors per 90 minutes in his 11 starts thus far. Last season, this stat was .03 over 31 matches. An incredible leap, which can at least (in part) go down to the growing pains of a new team. Lovren’s overall defensive score has been the highest amongst Liverpool’s center backs this season, and his tackles and interceptions on the ground have been relatively solid. He hasn’t been exceptional in the air and this is clearly one of his weak points.

The New-ish Guy:

Mamadou Sakho. Sakho is a strange case for Liverpool fans, because we really don’t get the sense that we’ve seen what he can do yet. A highly regarded defender for French giant PSG, Sakho was a fan favorite and captained the side at the ripe age of 21. Fans will have seen those performances, as well as his important role in the French national team, and wonder when they will see that when he’s wearing a red shirt. In the 20 Premier League matches he played in last season, Sakho’s stats are woefully average, falling below Martin Skrtel in a number of them. Sakho isn’t particularly great at any specific defensive trait, but the few performances he’s had this season have shown glimpses of his vision, leadership, and eye for a pass. If there’s something that Liverpool’s center backs are particularly bad at, it’s passing out of defense, so fostering Sakho’s skill in that area of the game would be huge for the club’s mindset. But Sakho’s biggest problem is that it’s those “almost” qualities that most fans see in him. He doesn’t seem like he should be a starter for the club, but it’s kind of obvious that he has more potential than the others. Rodgers needs to stop treating the player like a child, and start figuring out how to unlock Sakho’s potential.

The Old, Old Guy:

Kolo Toure. Few players live in the limbo that Kolo Toure has created for himself. After kicking off last season with some stellar performances that instantly earned him cult status with the fans, Toure made a number of massive errors that technically cost Liverpool the title. I say technically, because the points tally was so close, but there were lots of mistakes made and surely another player would have found a way to screw it up. But Toure is a very experienced player with a number of trophies to his name, and a number of his performances have been inspiring and solid. There’s a constant harping on about the back four needing leadership and experience after Jamie Carragher retired, and Toure was indeed brought in for that purpose. Sure, he’s made a number of mistakes, but performances like that at Real Madrid show that he can still excel in a number of areas. He’s no longer the best in the air, though he’s fairly solid and an imposing figure that defends set pieces quite well. Toure reads the game as well as ever, and his interception statistics show him as one of the best at the club in that area. What Toure obviously needs is a quick defender that’s good in the air that communicates well with him and the rest of the back four.

The Decision

So which players should be partnered at the heart of Liverpool’s defense?

Stats-based:

Soccer doesn’t have a perfect way of rating players, as no stat perfectly captures how “good” a player is, and personal observation has no concrete basis to it. But both sides help, and stats are a great place to start. So if we look purely at the important defensive stats (defensive score, tackles won, interceptions, defensive errors, all per/90 mins) over the last 18 months or so, we can get an idea of who should be the best defenders at Liverpool. Last season, Lovren led in total defense, interceptions and least defensive errors. Skrtel led the club in aerial duels won, while Toure led in tackles won. This season’s stats are more or less the same, over 11 Premier League matches and four Champions League fixtures. And so looking at stats, the two best central defenders at Liverpool are Skrtel and Lovren. This may be precisely why Brendan Rodgers persists with their partnership: both have the ability to be solid, reliable defenders. But the stats leave a lot to be desired and reading between the lines might be the key to unlocking the right combo here.

Opinion-based:

In terms of the intangibles mentioned above, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho have a much better “feel” to their game than the other two. But both have made mistakes in their few appearances this season (and last), and Sakho specifically has had injuries and other off-pitch problems. But when I look at the stats and combine that with my own observation of the players’ play and their intangibles, I think the best combo is Toure and Lovren. Out of these four players, Toure and Lovren theoretically complement each other the most. Lovren wins the tackles on the ground and is able to come out of defense to pass and clean up a little more, leaving Toure to marshal him and the fullbacks. Both of these defenders make mistakes when forced to play their weak traits, but they could make up for each other’s weaknesses when played together. Both are solid leaders, but Toure’s experience and presence surely makes him the leader at the back. Neither are extremely good in the air, but both are fairly solid and Lovren is at least above average. In the end, the goal is to have a central defensive partnership that plays well together and complements each other. I think these two do that and would be the best for this season. Skrtel is great for backup and can be called in when playing against particularly tall strikers. Sakho should get playing time on occasion and Rodgers should figure out how to groom him into the talent he can become in the next few seasons. He has the potential to be a better version of Kolo Toure in the future and the club must preserve and nurture that.

Courtesy of worldsoccertalk

Liverpool plan second approach

Liverpool plan second approach to bring back Lille loanee

Liverpool will try and negotiate with Lille once again in order to bring back Divock Origi despite the fact that he still has six months left on his current loan deal in hopes of replacing an injury struck Daniel Sturridge.

The 19-year-old completed his move to Anfield in the summer but Brendan Rodgers decided to loan him to the Belgian side in order for him to continue his development.

However, after the Reds latest injury blow with Sturridge revealed to be out until 2015 as well as the club being unable to find the back of the net on several occasions, they are said to be considering the return of Origi in January.

The Belgium starlet has already netted three goals in eight starts for his side this season as Lille have made it clear that they wish to keep him for the full course of his loan.

Despite the additions of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert in the summer, Rodgers’ side are still unable to replicate their lethal striking form from the previous season.

Benitez vs. Klopp

Benitez vs. Klopp: Who should replace BR? LFC fans give their verdict & the winner is….

When it rains, it pours. Daniel Sturridge’s latest injury setback means that the pressure on Brendan Rodgers is set to intensify, and with Liverpool’s attacking players abjectly failing to score goals, it’s conceivable that Rodgers’ Anfield reign could come to an end sooner rather than later. In my view, the manager doesn’t deserve to be replaced mid-season, but in the ruthless world of football, there’s every chance it will happen. If FSG give Rodgers the red-card, who should replace him?

According to UK Bookmakers, there are currently five leading candidates to replace Rodgers:

* Rafa Benitez
* Jurgen Klopp
* Laurent Blanc
* Martin O’Neill
* Roberto Martinez

Earlier this week, I conducted a poll on the site asking which of the above managers is the best choice to replace Rodgers:

* 50% chose Benitez; 45% chose Klopp

 photo ScreenShot2014-11-19at215220_zpsff8ceedf.png

Clearly, Benitez still retains an incredible level of support amongst Liverpool fans, and whilst the speculation over Rodgers job continues, the Spaniard will almost certainly remain the fans’ number one choice to take over.

Given a straight choice between Klopp and Benitez, I’d take Klopp, but despite his success with Borussia Dortmund, there are no guarantees that he’ll be able to replicate his success in the Premier League.

And please, for the love of God, enough with the calls for Guus Hiddink. Every time there’s speculation over the Liverpool job, fans suggest the Dutchman for the role, but for me, it makes no sense to make that appointment.

Hiddink is 68! He’s clearly far too old to be anything but a short-term stop-gap, and he hasn’t managed a club side (full-time) for over 8 years. FSG appointed Rodgers with the (obvious) goal of building a long-term legacy at Anfield, and if he is replaced, the next manager should be given a similar brief, and that means appointing someone much younger than Hiddink (!)

Courtesy of liverpool-kop

Oh no, not again

Liverpool eye new transfer raid on Southampton for Nathaniel Clyne

Liverpool ready to raid Southampton AGAIN for 'priority' Clyne

Liverpool want to bring in Nathaniel Clyne (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool are readying a new raid on Southampton for England international Nathaniel Clyne – after making signing a new right-back a ‘priority’.

Clyne, 23, has been one of the stars of the Premier League season so far, with a string of impressive performances for the Saints.

It’s not gone unnoticed by Reds scouts, and now the Daily Telegraph reports Liverpool are eyeing up a deal in the January transfer window.

Southampton are willing to offer Clyne a new contract to try to convince the player to stay, but Liverpool have made signing a right-back a ‘priority’ and the former Crystal Palace man looks to be their top target.

If a deal could be done, he would likely be first-choice at Anfield, with Glen Johnson looking set to leave for Roma.

Lets rename our club – Southpool or Liverhampton

Popularity in the states

This is how many times each Premier League club has been shown live on American TV;

12 Liverpool

11 Manchester United

11 Chelsea

10 Manchester City

9 Arsenal

8 Tottenham

7 QPR

7 Aston Villa

6 Leicester

5 Stoke

5 Newcastle United

5 West Ham

5 Swansea

5 Everton

4 West Brom

4 Crystal Palace

3 Burnley

3 Hull

3 Southampton

2 Sunderland

Bottom half of the table Liverpool have had every single game shown prominently, while second in the table Southampton barely have been shown – strange.

A plea to Rodgers

I know Jordan Henderson is injured and has a chance of playing but please please can you leave him out of Sunday’s team!

Give others a chance and let us see just how much influence this guy actually has had. Even move Gerrard forward and bring in Lucas to do Stevies job.

I am crying out loud for some inventiveness in our midfield instead of this sideways movement that Henderson is at the heart of.

Another Liverpool rebuff

Liverpool transfer setback! Bony signs new Swansea deal

Swansea striker Wilfried Bony has agreed a new one-year contract extension - ending talk of a possible Liverpool move

Swansea striker Wilfried Bony has agreed a new one-year contract extension – ending talk of a possible Liverpool move.

The Ivorian will now stay at the South Wales club until the summer of 2018.

Bony joined the Swans in 2013 and hit 25 goals in his first season at the Liberty Stadium.

Liverpool had been linked with a January transfer window move for the 25-year-old, following their recent injury problems, but Brendan Rodgers appears to have missed out on his man.

“It’s great news for the club,” said Swansea chief Garry Monk. “I’ve spoken a lot about what Bony has brought to the club not just on the pitch but off it as well.

“These types of players are ones that we do our best to keep at the club for a long time. But it’s also important that we see commitment from that player towards the club, his team-mates and the fans.

“Bony has shown that he is very committed to this club by signing an extension here.

“When we talk about the future and progressing it can’t be just talk – there has to be commitment from myself, the players and the club,” Monk added. “Bony has bought into the direction the club wants to take. He is a big player for us so to tie down his future is fantastic news for everyone connected with the club.

“I’m sure the fans will be more than happy with the extension. For them to see a big player, who they have a lot of affection for, tie down his future with their club is something they will thoroughly enjoy hearing about.”

Toure could miss a month

Toure books place at Africa Cup of Nations

Toure books place at Africa Cup of Nations

Kolo Toure was celebrating on Wednesday after Ivory Coast secured a place at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

The Elephants were held to a 0-0 draw by Cameroon in their sixth and final Group C qualifying fixture – but the point earned was enough to clinch them a place at the finals.

Cameroon topped the group with 14 points, Ivory Coast finished second with 10, DR Congo third with nine and Sierra Leone bottom with a single point.

Toure’s side went in search of a victory at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Wednesday, despite needing only a point to progress from the qualifiers.

In the 57th minute, the encounter came to life. Gervinho ran through on goal and was floored by Stephane M’bia. The Cameroon man was dismissed with a second yellow card before Yaya Toure’s resulting free-kick was cleared off the line.

Gervinho threatened again shortly after, combining with Salomon Kalou and firing straight at Fabrice Ondoa. Minutes later a goal-line scramble ensued, with Cameroon eventually managing to clear the danger.

As the clock ticked down, Toure ensured his side maintained their clean sheet and when the final whistle blew, Ivory Coast had the requisite draw to book their place at next year’s tournament.

I have said many times in the past about signing international African players. Liverpool could lose the services of Toure or any other African player for a month. I really do think it is against the clubs progress to sign these players.

How Luis Suarez Ruined Liverpool

How Luis Suarez Ruined Liverpool and Could Cost Brendan Rodgers His Job

Suarez Talk

Uruguayan goal machine’s actions should lead to rightful resentment but former Anfield hero appears to have escaped the ire of his former supporters.

As crazy as it may seem, there is growing pressure on Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers after his side’s indifferent start to the current campaign.

The Northern Irishman helped his side to a superb, and wholly unexpected, runners-up finish last season which in turn resulted in a welcome return to the Champions League.Then over the summer an incident occurred that essentially set back Liverpool’s progress in a split-second.

Luis Suarez Uruguay Giorgio Chiellini Italy

That incident, in case you haven’t already guessed, occurred on June 24th at the Arena das Dunas.

This was the moment Luis Suarez elected to bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini which in turn led to a domino effect of events that has potentially put back Liverpool’s progress a fair few years.

For some reason Suarez has, on the whole, escaped censure and a fan backlash for his actions, actions which essentially meant Liverpool had little option other than to cash-in on their prized asset.

One could of course argue that the funds from the sale of Suarez haven’t been invested all that wisely but again this would be something of a moot point had Suarez not attacked Chiellini.

On the whole Suarez treated Liverpool Football Club fairly poorly throughout his three and a half year stint on Merseyside, damaging the club’s reputation with his actions on the field of play from alleged racist attacks to his incessant diving, not to mention his previous biting antics.

Suarez had attempted to force Liverpool into selling him on an earlier occasion but having helped his side to secure that all important top four finish all seemed hunky dory and no doubt Rodgers was ready to plan for an exciting 2014/15 season with the former Ajax man as part of his plans.

Brendan Rodgers Luis Suarez Liverpool

Liverpool had backed Suarez to the hilt, even at the cost to their moral standing in the game, and what reward did they receive for their loyalty?

They were backed into a corner over the summer and forced to sell their best player and put the club back to square one.

Even if Liverpool hadn’t cashed in on Suarez it’s likely Rodgers would’ve enjoyed a big transfer fund injection following their return to football’s top table.

Those funds would then have been used liberally to help compliment Suarez’s presence and repair prospective ‘problem areas’.

However what occurred following Suarez’s sale was a kind of ‘free for all’ scatter-gun approach that resulted in a series of desperate captures that may well have been designed to strengthen the club but have up until now almost universally failed to impress.

Brendan Rodgers went from a summer of looking to bring in intelligent additions to boost the quality of his squad, in pursuit of much needed strength in depth, to attempting to replace the irreplaceable.

Luis Suarez Barcelona

Suarez got what he wanted. One imagines since day one the striker had been looking to use Liverpool as a spring board to a ‘bigger’ move and helpfully his actions during the World Cup made that move a reality.

Conspiracy theorists could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the ‘bite’ was a convenient act that certainly ‘did the trick’.

Whilst there is no denying that Suarez gave his all when in a Liverpool shirt, and produced a series of superb displays during his time at the club, it does seem as though he has somehow ‘got away’ with it.

It’s entirely plausible that the sale of Suarez could in the long, or short, term cost Rodgers his job which could spark another cycle of poor managerial appointments and thus continue the club’s lengthy domestic title drought.

The full ramifications of that sale haven’t yet been fully felt and one wonders quite where Liverpool would have been five years down the road if they had kept hold of Luis Suarez.

 
 Courtesy of caughtoffside

Sturridge setback – New year!

Daniel Sturridge injury latest: Liverpool striker feared to be out until the New Year

Daniel Sturridge is feared to be out of the Liverpool side until the New Year, following his latest injury setback.

The 25-year-old suffered a thigh strain in training on Tuesday and though the club have not yet confirmed the seriousness of the condition, it is believed that he will not play any further part this calendar year in attempts to help Liverpool recover from a stuttering start to the season. His absence during the entirety of December would come as a heavy blow to manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side face a visit to Manchester United and Arsenal at home, seven days later.

The forward has been sidelined for ten weeks now and his season has lurched from one in jury setback to another. First he suffered a thigh problem while training for England at the start of September, leading Rodgers to express frustration over Roy Hodgson apparently disregarding the player’s request not to take part in training. That injury kept him out for nearly six weeks before the player injured his calf in the warm-up to his first session back, ending hopes that he would be fit for the visit to Queens Park Rangers.

Rodgers had harboured high hopes that Sturridge would be available to play for Liverpool at Crystal Palace on Sunday. The player’s suggestion earlier this month that he may be suffering from a genetic weakness has only heightened anxieties.

If Liverpool confirm the new, extended lay-off, they will be looking to Mario Balotelli to begin delivering, though he returns to Melwood after a difficult international break which saw Italy manager Antonio Conte insisting that will not be able to change Balotelli and casting doubts over his future in the national side.

Antonio Conte (left) and Mario Balotelli during Italy training last week

Antonio Conte (left) and Mario Balotelli during Italy training last week Conte handed the Liverpool striker a first call up to the national team since succeeding Cesare Prandelli, but saw the striker sustain a hamstring injury that made him unavailable for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia. “I’m not so arrogant as to claim that I’m different from the great coaches, but the past tells us that they failed to change Balotelli,” Conte said. “It’ll be up to the player, but I don’t have much time and I need certain things.”Sturridge’s last start – in the 3-0 win at Tottenham on August 31- seems a distant memory in a season which Liverpool have scored a mere 14 goals and seem a shadow of last season’s attacking side. Rodgers wanted Sturridge fit for Liverpool’s match at PFC Ludogorets in Sofia next Wednesday. The side need a win to maintain any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Emre Can – No regrets

Emre Can on choosing Liverpool transfer over Bayern Munich: I have no regrets

The German under-21 international moved to Merseyside from Bayer Leverkusen last summer despite his former club having a buy-back option

No regrets: Can is expecting Liverpool to improve as the season progresses

Emre Can claims he has no regrets over snubbing Bayern Munich to join Liverpool.

Can turned down the chance to return to Bayern when he signed for the Reds from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for £9.7million.

The Bundesliga giants had a buy-back clause, which would have been kicked in next summer, but the midfielder chose to move to Anfield rather than wait.

His first few months at Liverpool have been hampered by injuries, while the Reds’ form has nosedived.

Yet the German Under-21 international says he still believes his move will work out in the long run.

“Any move is a risk,” said Can. “Nothing is guaranteed in football. I could have stayed at Bayer Leverkusen and eventually gone back to Bayern Munich.

“But at this stage Liverpool seemed the right thing to do.

“The manager was very important because I could see he believed in me straight away.”

Emre Can of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal

Celebration: Can leaps with joy after his goal against Chelsea

Can has forced his way into Brendan Rodgers’ side in recent weeks and impressed in the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea.

And the 20-year-old feels his patience and hard work is being rewarded.

“I never thought being a Liverpool player would be easy,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“This club has a worldwide reputation and is expected to achieve positive results. You know about the pressure.

“I arrived, then had a few injuries on the pre-season tour. I returned to the team then got injured on international duty.

“This was a frustration because the team had just beaten Tottenham and I felt very positive.

“Playing well helps a player settle most. Instead when you are injured, you can only play catch-up.

“But in terms of fitness, I feel close to where I want to be now. I want to help the team improve its results.

“We know if we perform to our maximum we can achieve good results.”

Emre Can

 

Further Questions Over Summer Spending

Daniel Sturridge Injury Further Questions Liverpool’s Summer Spending

Daniel Sturridge Injury Further Questions Liverpool's Summer Spending

Daniel Sturridge’s latest injury setback is another huge blow to Liverpool’s already disappointing season.

Sturridge “suffered another thigh injury at Melwood and could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines as a consequence,” according to The Guardian’s Andy Hunter.

Having already missed 14 games in all competitions, Brendan Rodgers’ hopes of getting his side’s season back on track have taken another huge blow.

Incredibly, Liverpool have played eight Premier League games without Sturridge—picking up just eight points in those games, scoring only eight goals in the process. To say Liverpool miss the 25-year-old up front is a huge understatement.

With Premier League games against Crystal Palace, Stoke, Leicester and Sunderland up next, plus the crucial two final Champions League games against Ludogorets and FC Basel, Sturridge’s return would have seen some optimism that Liverpool could turn their season around.

This latest setback has certainly reduced the likelihood of such an upturn in performances and results materialising.

Indeed, most Liverpool fans will be fearing more games featuring Mario Balotelli cutting an isolated figure up front as Rodgers persists with the 4-2-3-1 formation. Liverpool’s problems wouldn’t have been solved by Sturridge’s injury, but they would have been sizeably improved.

Summer Spending

What Sturridge’s latest injury, and his injury record in general, does highlight even more is the club’s summer spending strategy.

Incredibly, this is the 13th injury the former Chelsea forward has suffered since moving to Merseyside less than two years ago, as per PhysioRoom.com.

Liverpool have placed far too much reliance upon such an injury-prone player—and it is proving to be their undoing.

Sturridge has a history of injury problems, dating back through his career with Chelsea, Bolton and Manchester City—this isn’t like he has suffered an unlucky leg break to keep him out long-term, he’s suffered really what his injury history would predict.

To lose a player of Luis Suarez’s calibre, then place so much reliance upon Sturridge, was an extremely risky strategy.

Having spent over £100 million, Rodgers failed to bring in a proven goalscorer to share the burden with Sturridge and reduce his side’s reliance upon him.

Whether it’s Rodgers’ decision to go with such a risky strategy, or the club’s via the transfer committee, nobody really knows, but it’s becoming clear that such a huge mistake in the transfer market could cost somebody their job.

The last time Liverpool went on such a spending spree, under the guidance of then-manager Kenny Dalglish and former director of football Damien Comolli, both were sacked within months and a process of removing the purchases made was hastened.

Transfer Policy

As previously explained, Liverpool’s transfer policy was under the microscope after their disappointing start to the season and failure for any of the eight new signings to impress sufficiently.

Effectively, Liverpool have the team from last season, minus Suarez. And many of their star performers last season have struggled to find form.

A lack of proven quality has been a huge hindrance, especially with the demands of Champions League football restricting Rodgers’ time working with new signings on the training pitch.

The opportunity to build on Champions League qualification already looks to have slipped away, and instead Liverpool will be back to square one—and then some, given the increased revenue the competition will provide clubs in it next season.

People may point to Suarez’s departure, but Liverpool were either naive to think he would stay at the club, or naive to think they had the Alexis Sanchez deal tied up if he did go. Instead, they went after Loic Remy, then somehow ended up with Balotelli. That doesn’t appear to be a well-planned transfer strategy.

Liverpool gambled on Balotelli, and they gambled on Sturridge’s fitness. Neither has paid off. It will probably cost somebody their job—whether that’s Rodgers or somebody on the transfer committee, only time will tell.

Johnson accepts Roma transfer

Glen Johnson accepts Roma transfer after rejecting new Liverpool contract

Johnson rejects new Liverpool contract to accept Roma transfer

Glen Johnson has rejected the offer of a new two-year contract at Liverpool to agree terms with Italian side Roma, according to reports.

Johnson, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was offered a new deal by Liverpool this week, which included a 50% pay cut.

And despite the Reds being hopeful of securing the 30-year-old’s services, it’s now claimed that Johnson has rejected that to agree terms on a switch to Roma.

The deal would start in January, with Roma ready to pay a nominal fee to get him out of Anfield as soon as possible.

Manu’s bid will be accepted for Shaqiri

Bayern Munich make it known Manchester United bid will be accepted for Liverpool longtime target

Earlier today we covered a Bild article on Xherdan Shaqiri and his desire to move away from Bayern Munich. German newspaper Bild were putting the situation from Bayern Munich’s point of view and the club had made it known that if someone matches Liverpool’s bid from last summer of €20m, then the Bundesliga champions would accept that.

It was always claimed that Pep Guardiola was prepared to let Shaqiri go because he didn’t think the Swiss international was clever enough to play in his Spanish system at Bayern Munich.

The Shaqiri claims circulating were always going to lead to rumours linking nearly every top English club with him. The Daily Express didn’t disappoint and they’ve claimed ‘Man Utd beating Liverpool to Xherdan Shaqiri with £18m bid – MANCHESTER UNITED are winning the race to sign Liverpool target and Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri.’

Given what Bild say Bayern Munich have made known, £18m is literally more than enough. In fact it’s €2.5m more than enough. The Manchester United bid mentioned by The Daily Express would be accepted by Bayern Munich, according to Bild.

Liverpool stunned by new Sturridge injury blow

Liverpool have been rocked by a fresh injury blow to Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool have been rocked by a fresh injury blow to Daniel Sturridge.

The 25-year-old is understood to have been forced out of training with a thigh problem on Monday and there are fears he could be sidelined for a further two to three weeks.

Sturridge has not played for the Reds since August 31, after which he injured his thigh on England duty.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had earmarked Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace for a potential return but he now looks likely to have to reschedule those plans.

FSG could cut back on their planned expansion

Liverpool could stop Anfield rebuild at 55,000 over fears it won’t sell out bigger stadium

Liverpool could cut back on their planned expansion of Anfield over fears the 55,000 capacity once phase one is complete will not sell out if the club misses out on Champions League football.

The club believes the expansion of the Main Stand, which features extended corporate facilities, is the most important aspect of the Anfield redevelopment and it will wait to extend the Anfield Road stand  because it is unsure if it will sell out with the expanded capacity.

With building work close to beginning on the Main Stand that will take the Anfield capacity to 55,000, thoughts will soon start to turn to the expansion of the Anfield Road end, but the building of this stand is by no means 100% certain.

The owners will look to see whether there are compelling financial benefits to carrying out this build. The second phase of work is not dependant on the club remaining in the Champions League every season, but on whether or not the club sells out a 55,000 stadium once the Main Stand is completed.

The move would make financial sense for the club, which is also reportedly considering moving the tunnel to the halfway line and will ask the Premier League to play the first game of the 2015/16 season away from home to allow work to be completed.

What do you think? Is this prudent planning by Liverpool or a lack of ambition?