Liverpool FC: One year on

Philippe Coutinho is mobbed after scoring Liverpool’s second goal at Derby. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
Philippe Coutinho is mobbed after scoring Liverpool’s second goal at Derby. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

A year is a long time in the world of football.  It was only a year ago that the team was playing so poorly that Brendan Rodgers lost his job.

Jürgen Klopp has brought a different style of football – more entertaining and effective style of football – not always needing to pass the ball into the back of the net.  As an example, last season from the 9th August when the Premier League season began to when Liverpool completed their 3rd round League Cup match against Carlisle, the team only scored six goals in all competitions.  Compare that to the 19 goals that Liverpool have scored in one less game so far this season – and that’s including the awful goalless game against Burnley.

And at the opposite end of the pitch in 2015 we were leaking goals: three against West Ham, and three against Manchester United.  This season we see a much-improved Lovren, and exciting performances from Matip and the steady hand of Klavan.

The new look team has got off to a strong start, the goals are flying in, and in these early days, Klopp’s Reds aren’t a team you’d want to bet against.  There’s no telling what the future will hold for Liverpool, but a look back at the recent past can give us hope for brighter days ahead.

Liverpool FC confirm Jürgen Klopp appointment

Jurgen Klopp LFC

Liverpool’s leadership have acted swiftly to appoint Jürgen Klopp as Brendan Rodgers’ successor as manager.

Liverpool Football Club have confirmed the appointment of Jürgen Norbert Klopp as Liverpool manager. A one-club man as a player, Klopp showed his talents at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund with a tactical system based on gegenpressing, fast breaks, and exciting football. Željko Buvač and Peter Krawietz are expected to join Klopp as part of new coaching team at Anfield after letting Gary McAllister, Sean O’Driscoll, Chris Davies, and Glen Driscoll go. McAllister, however, will remain with the club in an ambassadorial position.

The 48-year-old agreed a three-year contract to succeed Brendan Rodgers in the dugout in his first coaching position outside of his native Germany. He has been the overwhelming fan-favourite for the job since the summer and brings hope of a revival at Anfield. FSG have lived up to promises of acting “in a decisive and timely manner” to secure the services of one of football’s most sought-after managers. Within a week of sacking Rodgers, Liverpool have one of the most exciting figures in the game as a replacement.

After a disappointing campaign, the former Borussia Dortmund head coach left his role at the North Rhine-Westphalia club in the summer to take a sabbatical after 14 years of coaching without a break. He also spent his entire playing career at Mainz 05 before succeeding Eckhard Krautzun in the dugout. After making history with Mainz by steering them to a first Bundesliga appearance, Klopp resigned after failing to achieve promotion.

The footballing philosophy, charisma, and bright mind displayed during Klopp’s tenure at Mainz 05 was rewarded with a position immediately after officially departing a club where he spent 21 years as player and head coach. Thomas Doll’s struggles at Borussia Dortmund created an opening, and the Stuttgart native enhanced his reputation in his second coaching job by winning two Bundesliga titles, destroying Bayern Munich to win the club’s third DFB-Pokal, and reaching the club’s second-ever Champions League final.

Jürgen Klopp becomes Liverpool’s twentieth full-time manager. Liverpool is only the third club to be associated with Klopp in a senior playing and coaching career that began in 1989.

Klopp’s first game will be at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur after the international break.

Brendan Rodgers sacked as Liverpool FC manager

Brendan Rodgers - 1

A draw with Everton wasn’t enough to save Brendan Rodgers, as with the arrival of the October international break FSG have acted quickly to end Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at the club.

The Merseyside derby at Goodison Park was to be Brendan Rodgers’ last game at the club after FSG released a statement that confirmed the club had parted way with the former Swansea City manager. On the official site, the three main figures at FSG jointly shared the following:

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment.

All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game.

Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch. Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it.

The search for a new manager is underway and we hope to make an appointment in a decisive and timely manner.

Rodgers can’t have any complaints after being strongly supported in the summer after a disastrous end to last season. The problem was that his signings in the summer and tactical preparations in pre-season didn’t make sense with the formation deployed over the past few weeks. He was given a chance to right the wrongs of last season but needed to start quickly. That didn’t happen and FSG have acted promptly.

For 18 months, Rodgers brought exciting football and the most credible title challenge in a generation. That work fell apart after August last year, but FSG acted before the October international break to presumably give the club enough time to appoint a new manager. It’s a shame that Rodgers couldn’t make it work at a club that gave him a platform to learn, develop, and display his credentials. He tried his best, though.

Hopefully Liverpool can appoint Carlo Ancelotti or Jürgen Klopp before another team has the sense to do so.

Liverpool FC: Raheem Sterling negotiations need to be done in private

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling is being much maligned for his refusal to sign a new contract with Liverpool – some of that criticism is fair, some of it isn’t.  The big issue for me though is that all this should not be taking place in the media in public.

Whilst I think a £100,000 a week contract is more than fair for a player of his ability and potential I can see there are two key issues at play.

  • Firstly the potential to win trophies and play in the Champions League football is key to any young footballer.  Once again Liverpool have failed to qualify for the Champions League – to not have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world is going to be frustrating for Sterling.  Liverpool haven’t won a trophy since 2012, when they beat Cardiff on penalties to win the League Cup.
  • Secondly, Liverpool Football Club seem to have once again chosen the wrong time for contract negotiations.  Sterling, in an interview with the BBC, claimed his future could have been resolved after last season’s title challenge.  He said: “If, at that point in time, I was offered a contract, I most definitely would have signed straight away and probably for far less money than is being said now. I think the timing was a bit off.”

Negotiations are negotiations – people say all kinds of things in those meetings to get that compromise that everyone is happy with.  But the problem is that currently these thoughts and comments are being made in the press, in front of all of the Liverpool fans.  This is what has really led to their criticism of Sterling.  It’s little wonder that he received a mixed reception at Liverpool’s end-of-season awards ceremony when he collected the young player of the year prize to a combination of boos, heckling and some applause.

I think Jamie Carragher is completely right to tell Sterling to “keep your mouth shut” and “get on with playing football”.  He said on Sky’s Monday Night Football:

“For a 20-year-old kid to be taking on Liverpool Football Club over a contract. To the pit of my stomach that just winds me up, it angers me.

The lad is from London and he obviously wants to go back home. It might not be about money. It may be about trophies or playing in the Champions League. If it’s about trophies, Liverpool had a chance for a trophy this year, in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Aston Villa. Where was Sterling? If you want trophies, they don’t get given to you, you have to earn them, you have to play well in big games. What did Liverpool do in the Champions League? Nothing. What did Sterling do? Nothing.

To do what he’s done now. There’s nothing worse than that. You keep your mouth shut – get on with playing football.”

 

Rodgers: Suarez sent message of support

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers revealed how he received a text message from Luis Suarez on Sunday morning wishing his former club all the best for their first game of the new season against Southampton.

 Ahead of Liverpool’s 2-1 opening-weekend victory over the Saints, the Uruguayan, who joined Barcelona earlier this summer after three and a half years at Anfield, sent his support to his ex-colleagues.

Rodgers explained the gesture to reporters in his post-match press conference following the clash, during which he also reiterated his desire to add another striker to the Reds ranks before the close of the transfer window.

When asked how he felt Liverpool would fare without Suarez this season, the boss said:

“Our ambitions here at Liverpool, they have to be bigger than one player – I’ve said that repeatedly. Big clubs will lose players. Our ambition is bigger than Luis.  He sent us a lovely text this morning wishing us all the best and that [he hopes] we start strong. It was a great gesture.  He’s a friend of Liverpool now. But we look forward. We’re bigger than any one single player.  I do still think we want another striker. It’s something we’ll look at, but it’ll depend on the availability of one. We’ll search for that through until the end of the window.  But you see the players and the quality we have. The fluency will come and today was about the win – and we got the win.”

Asked if he responded to the text message from Suarez, Rodgers replied:

“I did, yes. He’s a good boy, but he’s gone. His heart is with Liverpool and he’ll always be Liverpool. It was a lovely touch.”

Liverpool FC: Winning in Style

Brendan Rodgers - 1

With Manchester City failing to beat Sunderland Liverpool’s title dream is getting closer to reality with every passing day.

The Reds have some tricky must win fixtures ahead starting with Norwich, a home fixture against Chelsea, away to Crystal Palace and wrapping the season up with Newcastle United at Anfield.

Even though winning is all that matters during this stage of the season Rodgers wants his players to play the best football and remember the class and traditions of the club as they bid to win a 19th top-flight crown:

We will try to do it in the right way – I take great pride in winning in the most sporting way we can.  If you look at us we are top of the Premier League and we are top of the Fair Play League. We don’t surround referees. We want to win, but it shows you a mark of our behaviour.  They are the values of this club. It’s a club that has won many trophies in the past but had the humility and the class. One word I always had in my mind when I joined Liverpool is ‘class.’ So that is important to me – that those values are restored.  I believe you can’t affect refereeing decisions. Absolutely. There will be little bits of luck that go for and against you but I like to think as a sporting team and a team that’s trying to work well we’ve got our rewards this year.

With topping the Fair Play league and playing some of the finest football whilst scoring 100 plus goals Liverpool are worthy winner of the Premier league medal if they manage to pass the next four hurdles.

Liverpool FC: Triple injury boost

Brendan Rodgers

Ahead of the Fixture against Crystal palace Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers has given an update on team news and the fitness of Glen Johnson, Philippe Coutinho, Aly Cissokho, Joe Allen and Sebastian Coates.

Fullback Johnson has been on out nursing an ankle sprain that he picked up against Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester United while Cissokho and Allen got injured against Notts County in the Capital one cup.  Rodgers said:

“Glen’s out on the field and hopefully after the international break he’ll be ready to come back into the squad.  We’re okay. Aly Cissokho has trained over the course of the last week or so, so I think after the international break he’ll be fine and fit. Joe Allen likewise – he should be ready for the Newcastle game.”

Rodgers also mentioned that is should not be too much longer after that until we see the return of Coutinho. So for now it looks like Liverpool will have Johnson, Cissokho and Allen returning after the international break.

“Obviously Sebastian Coates will be that bit longer and has a bit more to do yet, but apart from that we’re getting back to our numbers now.”

Liverpool’s new 3-5-2 formation looks tailor made for the retuning Johnson and Coutinho as Johnson can make full use of his attacking talents playing as a wing back and Coutinho, playing behind the front two can provide even more ammunition for Sturridge and Suarez .

Liverpool still need to sort their midfield problems as both Lucas and Gerrard being very similar in their playing styles these days is one of the main reasons the Reds are finding it hard to keep the ball. With Allen and Coutinho returning soon let’s hope Rodgers can find the best midfield combination.

Who would be your best midfield combination?

LFC: Liverpool beat Manchester United!

Three games in, nine points earned and the Reds sit at the top of the Barclays Premier League table life doesn’t get much better than this.

Ex Everton manager David Moyes’s first visit to Anfield with Manchester United ended in defeat on Sunday after in form Striker and birthday boy Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool a fantastic start, heading past the united keeper during the 4th minute mark.

Liverpool had to bring back Martin Skrtel to pair up with Daniel Agger after the injury to Kolo Toure and what a change that turned out be as both Skrtel and Agger hardly gave a yard of space to the Dutchmen Robin Van Persie.

The last time Liverpool started a Premier League season with three consecutive wins was back in 1994/95 but Boss Rodgers urged the fans and the players to not get carried away insisting there is still a lot of hard work to do:

“It’s another step [forward] for us. I mentioned in the press the other day, since we last played Manchester United in January, we had both played 18 league games and there were only two points difference.  Today was another indicator that the winning mentality we’re growing and evolving all the time in the group is becoming stronger. You could see from the reaction that the togetherness is very good and that is going to be important for us this year.  We drew too many of the big games last year and we lost home and away to Manchester United, so today was another step to show we’re going in the right direction – but there’s still a long way to go.”

Mamadou Sakho from Paris Saint-Germain, Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon and Victor Moses from Chelsea were all present at the stands watching the game and the Boss confirmed the signings will be announced tomorrow:

“We hope they can be completed. I don’t think there will be any confirmation until tomorrow.  We need that depth and we need more numbers.  The players that we want, if we can get them over the line, are all quality players and will really help us going forward.”

What did everyone think of the fantastic performance? Will there be another surprise signing on deadline day?

Liverpool FC: ‘Pepe Reina not for sale’

Pepe Reina

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has denied reports suggesting shot stopper Pepe Reina will leave the club at the end of the season and insisted Reina will not be leaving the club this summer.

There were suggestions earlier this season that Rodgers was looking to sell Reina with the 30-year old constantly linked with a £10m move to Barcelona.  Rodgers said:

“It’s that silly season now that starts up all the rumors and what not but Pepe’s not for sale.  He’s got three years left on his contract here, he’s happy and obviously there’s speculation but it’s not worth commenting on.”

Liverpool FC: Steven Gerrard set to pen new deal

Steven Gerrard 1

According to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool have opened talks with club captain Steven Gerrard over a contract-extension.

The England skipper expects to pen a new deal over the next few months, with his current contract expiring at the end of the 2013/14 season.  He said:

“They want me to extend, I want to extend, so it’s just a matter of time really.  How long for I’m not too sure yet. That’s under discussion at the moment. But it will get sorted one way or another in the summer.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has also confirmed that talks have taken place with midfielder, stating:

“Stevie and I went out for something to eat a couple of weeks back and had a good chat about plans and whatnot.  I have been ever so pleased with Stevie this year. For me as a manager, to have a captain like that has been brilliant. He’s certainly one I would envisage to be here for a good few years yet.”

Liverpool fans will be hoping that their talisman in Steven Gerrard will stay at the club for the years to come having notched up 9 goals and 9 assists in England’s top-flight this season – proving yet still to be one of the best in the business, all at the ripe age of 32.

Rodgers plays down Philippe Coutinho praise

Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers has played down growing hype surrounding Liverpool ‘s new Number 10 Philippe Coutinho, after the Brazilian starred in a 6-0 win at Newcastle United.

Coutinho was in sensational form when Liverpool ripped Newcastle apart , a 6-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday. Coutinho has become a regular since arriving from Inter Milan for £8 million in January.  We build up players in the country and put them on a pedestal and then quickly nail them down.

“He’s had an outstanding performance and people can see why we brought him in.  He’s 20 years of age and fits the culture of what we’re trying to do here.  He’s technically strong and he’s a very humble boy.  He works hard, you can see the effort in his game, the pressure, the intensity, so he fits in really well, but there’s a long way to go.  If you look at the stats you’ll see I haven’t eased him in gently. He’s played nearly every game.”

How do you rate Coutinho’s performance against Newcastle last weekend. Was he the man of the match? Is he the best signing Rodgers has made for Liverpool?

Liverpool FC: Carragher to extend contract?

Jamie Carragher

Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers says he will hold talks with Jamie Carragher before the end of current Barclays Premier League season in an attempt to persuade the Liverpool defender to resign a new contract and postpone his retirement.

Carragher announced that he would retire from professional football back in February after struggling to break into the first-team earlier in the season.

However, the 35 year old has been a regular in Rodgers’ starting XI in the second half of the campaign, producing a string of impressive performances alongside Daniel Agger.

“He’s been fantastic and I do [believe he could play next season]. Him and I communicate a lot and he’s obviously got something in his mind.  Him and I will sit down between now and the end of the season anyway and we’ll see where it goes. If he does go, I will certainly miss him because he’s been brilliant for me in my time there, going in as a manager of a club of that size.  He’s shown great respect and really helped me and the other guys. The thing for now is to keep performing the way he is until the end of the season and between then and now him and I will chat and we’ll take it from there.”

Share your opinions? Do you think Jamie Carragher should extend his contract and play the next season for the Reds?