Liverpool FC: Philippe Coutinho signs new 5-year deal

Brilliant news this morning from Liverpool FC – just days after opening fresh contract negotiation talks with Philippe Coutinho the talented 24-year old Brazilian has put pen to paper.

Coutinho’s new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2022, and will reportedly make him the highest-paid player at the club, bringing in around £150,000 per week. It’s nearly twice as much as he was making on his previous contract, one which he extended just last February.  From the club’s perspective, the news is even better, as the new contract does not include a release clause.

Coutinho explained:

“I am very happy to sign a new contract here.  It is a club that I am very grateful to and this shows my happiness here. I will work much harder to repay the belief shown in me.

“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me. It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day. I am very thankful to this football club for everything.”

Securing Coutinho’s services until 2022 is a major boost for Jurgen Klopp and a ringing endorsement of the direction the club is heading in with the German at the helm.  He has blossomed into arguably the club’s biggest asset and the new deal reflects both his importance and influence.

Rooney nominates Klopp for Award, snubs Mourinho

The stars were out on Monday night for the inaugural The Best FIFA Awards™ in Zurich, the first since the global body announced the end of its six-year association with France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or last December.

The Awards are voted for by fans alongside selected journalists, national team coaches and captains.  Unsurprisingly Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Men’s Player of the Year, while Claudio Ranieri’s historic climb to the summit of the Premier League with Leicester City last term saw him take home Best Men’s Manager.

However, a breakdown of the voting revealed that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, as captain of the England national squad, named Jürgen Klopp, manager of bitter rivals Liverpool on his list of coach of the year, snubbing his own boss in José Mourinho in the process.

These votes tend to be largely symbolic in nature, often with people voting for their teammates and fellow countrymen, for example, Wales manager Chris Coleman nominating Gareth Bale for Player of the Year.  It is therefore some surprise that the former Evertonian moved beyond the enduring enmity between these two arch-rival clubs, let alone what it will do to Mourinho’s frail ego.

Bournemouth deserved their win over Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, showed true class by praising Bournemouth following their victory over Liverpool.

After the match Klopp could be seen congratulating the Bournemouth coaching staff and players. He was full of praise for the tenacity shown by the Cherries, and thought the win was completely deserved.

“I think for a long part of the game we were the better side and we would have deserved to win, but in the decisive moment we gave the game away to Bournemouth. We opened the door and they ran through with all their heads.”

Losing a game that your side led twice by two goals is not a good feeling, but Klopp saw what all of us saw: a side that just wasn’t playing, first at 2-0 up, and again at 3-1 up. Even before our opening scores, he wasn’t happy with the passing and movement of the squad, but he thinks this could prove an important lesson going forward.

“Of course it can [help]. No way is without rocks and stones. All the time you have to jump over hurdles and things like this. I didn’t need this today. But now we have it and we strike back.”

A big part of Jürgen’s personality is his deep love for football. You might even call him a football romantic. This was what led him to take the reins of Liverpool, and today, to appreciate what Bournemouth did to his side in the closing stages of the match.

“Oh, I like these stories in football. I like it more when I’m involved in the positive side, and I even can respect it when I’m involved on the other side. Jordan Ibe as a little bit of the game changer. When he came in he did really well. He’s still a little bit our boy even if he’s a Bournemouth player now. Of course I can give credit for it, that’s not problem.”

Very classy from the Liverpool boss. I certainly think that Liverpool have no reason to panic after seeing their 15-game unbeaten run end at Bournemouth – the key is the work done on the training ground this week.

Carragher Has “Great Hope” for Liverpool Title Challenge

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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s performances in the opening 10 Premier League games have created ‘great hope’ for the remainder of the season.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
2 Manchester City 11 7 3 1 25 10 15 24
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 23 10 13 23
4 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 24 13 11 23
5 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 5 0 14 5 9 20
6 Everton 11 5 3 3 15 12 3 18

The Reds legend was encouraged by the manner with which Jürgen Klopp’s side claimed a 4-2 victory from a tricky contest at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That win – the team’s seventh of the campaign – ensured Carragher’s former club maintained pace with leaders Arsenal and Manchester City on 23 points.

The ex-Red and Sky pundit thinks Liverpool are positioned to turn a lack of European football to their advantage.

Having overcome one of their biggest bogey teams last weekend and level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal with a quarter of the season gone, Liverpool look genuine title contenders. There’s a long way to go, and a lot can change, but at the start of November the Reds are one of the frontrunners.

Given their difficult start to the season—playing all of August away from home and facing Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, and Chelsea before the end of September—that’s not something even the club’s most hopeful fans were expecting when the season started, and Jamie Carragher thinks that’s a huge mark in their favour.

On Monday Night Football Carragher said:

“They had a tough start so to now be so close to the top of the table gives you great hope going forward.  I think with the start Liverpool had, if someone had said they’d be around the top four, a couple of points off, I think most Liverpool fans would have been delighted.”

The delight wouldn’t have been with just being near the top four. Instead, it would have been for navigating a difficult start and being well positioned to push on as the season wore on given their advantage of not being in Europe this season, an advantage they used to good effect during their 2013-14 title challenge.

“I go back to that season with Brendan Rodgers.  That’s what nearly took Liverpool to the title—that extra energy, intensity, closing people down, fast football. Against Crystal Palace, the defence wasn’t great, but their intensity and the way they closed people down was reminiscent of a couple of years ago.”

True as that may be, a second half push still requires a strong foundation.  Despite the difficult start Liverpool are positioned well and with a good squad to move forwards with.

 

 

Man United break another record… their squad is worth 100% more than Liverpool’s

CIES Football Observatory revealing that they have the most valuable squad of players in world football.

cies-football-squads

As their research into Europe’s top five leagues shows, Man United’s first-team squad cost €718m (£628m) to assemble, putting them ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Interestingly, Liverpool’s €356m (£311m) is less than half of Man United’s outlay, while title-winning Leicester have a squad worth just 18% of the Manchester rivals’ ranks.

Liverpool face Tottenham in EFL Cup Fourth Round

 

efl-cup

Jürgen Klopp says he is already looking forward to Liverpool’s EFL Cup meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield next month after the sides were paired in the fourth-round draw.

The Reds are set to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s team for a place in the semi-finals of a competition they have won on a record eight occasions as a round packed with mouthwatering ties is played out.

Klopp admits to raising a smile when he saw Liverpool’s Premier League rivals paired with each other prior to his team coming out of the hat, though he remains excited by the prospect of a headline clash with Spurs.

And he believes the fixture is a good opportunity for his players and the club’s supporters to create a big atmosphere in the absence of European football this term:

“It’s exciting. It’s the first draw I watched live because I saw the game before.  I was waiting for the draw and then saw West Ham – Chelsea, a little smile to be honest; then Manchester United – City, oh nice, another smile; then a freeze in my face because we got Tottenham! But it’s good. I think it’s a big boost for the competition.

“When I came here I had to explain why we field strong line-ups and now in the competition it looks like a semi-final each game.

“It’s a big opportunity for all the teams, they all try to go through and you can see this with the line-ups. That’s pretty exciting. I am happy about playing at home.

“When we cannot have European nights, let’s take what we can get. It will be fantastic and I am really looking forward to it.”

 

The two sides have faced each other already this season, playing out a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in a match in which the Reds had a slight advantage on balance of play.

 

 

Liverpool have confirmed their EFL Cup fourth-round tie with Tottenham Hotspur will be played on Tuesday October 25 at 7.45pm.  The pairing of a number of the remaining bigger clubs this time around means that at least a few lower league sides should make it through to the quarter-finals in November. The EFL Cup then takes a break for December before the remaining teams face a two-legged semi-final in January.

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.

Sad to see Joe Allen leave Liverpool FC

I was sad to read that that Liverpool and Wales midfielder Joe Allen has transferred to Stoke City, with £11M guaranteed up front plus a further £2M in add-ons.

Allen joined Liverpool in 2012 from Swansea in a £15M move, the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield, but injuries and an inability to ever really find his best position at his new club led to a situation where Allen became something of a utility part in the squad.

That role continued under Jürgen Klopp last season, though Allen increasingly impressed when played either as a driving eight in a three-man midfield or when he was pushed into the attacking support band as a ten. He then shone for Wales in that kind of a role at the Euros.

Joe Allen LFC

I was keen for the player to stay, and Klopp admitted that all things being equal he’d want to keep Allen around. All things, though, weren’t equal. The player had just one year left to go in his deal and wanted to be assured of significant playing time.

Liverpool couldn’t offer that, and didn’t want to lose him on a free. And if he wasn’t going to be a starter as the club looked to reshape itself in Klopp’s image, Liverpool also wanted to bring in—and give playing time to—players who would be around beyond the coming season.

He now will head to an increasingly ambitious Stoke City project, joining players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic, and Giannelli Imbula in a side that seeks to entertain and to play up-tempo attacking football. Quite the change from Stoke in years past.

Liverpool FC 2016/17 Away Kit

The new Liverpool FC away kit for 2016-2017 has been released.

This year, New Balance dipped back into the black well for the away kit, a trend that is becoming increasingly common, not just for Liverpool, but for many other squads. The design is very reminiscent of Adidas’s last away effort in 2011/12, which was dark grey with silver lettering and red accents.

The new Liverpool 2016-17 Away Shirt combines the main color black with silver logos and applications, one of Liverpool’s most renowned away kit colors. It has a unique constructed collar and features four red lines on each side of the shirt.

The inside of the new Liverpool 16-17 Away Kit reads “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool,” a famous quote by former manager Bill Shakily.  The Liverpool 2016-2017 Away Kit is combined with black shorts and black socks, creating a strong look for Merseyside club.

This is the new Liverpool 2016-17 goalkeeper away jersey.

Based on the same template as other New Balance 2016-2017 goalkeeper jerseys, the Liverpool 16-17 goalkeeper away shirt is orange with black and white trim.

What do you think of the new Liverpool 2016-2017 Away Kit? Let me know in the comments below.

 

James Milner makes UEFA list of top 5 players at Euro

UEFA have announced a list of top players appearing at Euro 2016 this summer in France.  The list includes the ever dependable James Milner.

Even Liverpool fans would be surprised that Milner made it onto the list, let alone earning the fourth or fifth spot (depending on which UEFA-sanctioned version of the list you choose to believe). Milner had a very strong second half to the season, but in a gathering of Europe’s best players at a single tournament, you would have expected to see Toni Kroos, Paul Pogba, and others ahead of Milner.

UEFA was quick to point out that the ranking is the result of lots of very official sounding science, should you not be sure of their methods.

The UEFA EURO 2016 Player Barometer is tracking players’ form in the build-up to and during the tournament. The Barometer runs official player statistics through a specially-designed algorithm to create rankings based on player performances.

Player data from qualifying formed the initial basis for the rankings, which have taken into account performances for club and country from 1 January 2016. This gives a unique and comprehensive evaluation of players’ form when UEFA EURO 2016 kicks off, after which the Barometer will track which players are excelling in the tournament itself.

Regardless of how they arrived at the rankings, it’s a nice boost for Milner ahead of his representing England in his fourth major tournament and second European Championships. Whether he stays on the list will depend on how much of his Liverpool form he can bring to Roy Hodgson’s squad, but by the time the tournament starts, UEFA’s ranking list is likely to be the furthest thing from his mind.