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.

Liverpool FC sign Loris Karius from FSV Mainz

Liverpool today officially completed the signing of FSV Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius in a bargain £4.7M deal.

Having already secured the services of Joel Matip and Marko Grujic for next season, Liverpool have today completed the signing of Loris Karius after the club triggered his £4.7M release clause. The goalkeeper will officially become a Liverpool player at the start of next month, and the club have officially announced his signing today.

With Matip a free transfer and Grujic signed in Janaury before being loaned straight back to Red Star Belgrade, Karius is the first paid transfer of the summer for Liverpool, and given his low release clause it’s quite the bargain for a player voted second best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season by his peers. The only shot stopper rated higher was Manuel Neuer.

Loris Karius

Karius will arrive at Liverpool expecting to become the starting goalkeeper, and he will look to use that as a platform to succeed Neuer as Germany’s goalkeeper following the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The only question is how long it takes him to become Liverpool’s starter, which could be complicated by rumours he will be called up to Germany’s Olympic squad.

If so, it would mean he will miss his first pre-season with the Reds, potentially allowing Mignolet to hold on to the number one job for at least a little while longer. Karius spent two and a half seasons with Manchester City, leaving him six months shy of being eligible to count as homegrown. He started 36 games for FSV Mainz last season and recorded ten clean sheets.

In total, the 22-year-old has made 96 senior appearances for Mainz since he moved there from City in January of 2013. Though he has yet to make a single senior appearance for the German team, he has represented his country at every youth level, and getting him signed quickly was a priority for Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool’s staff following the end of the season.

Jürgen Klopp said:

“I am really pleased that we were able to move so quickly to get him and that Loris has shown such a desire to come to Liverpool with a lot of other clubs interested in him.  I know he will add to the quality we have in this position and I look forward to working with him and all our players when we return for pre-season.”

5 Liverpool Players named in England Euro 2016 squad

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has proven his fitness enough to be named in the provisional Euro 2016 squad for England along with Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and Daniel Sturrige.

With just two days to go until the Europa League final, Liverpool’s season isn’t over just yet. For most of the clubs in Europe’s big leagues, though, Sunday marked the end of another campaign. Juventus ran away in Italy, Barcelona defended their La Liga title, Bayern Munich did what was expected of them, and Leicester City did what nobody had expected until recently.

And so, with seasons ending around the continent, the attention for many turns to France and the 2016 Euros. Roy Hodgson has named five Liverpool players to his provisional England squad—including Jordan Henderson, who had been a slight fitness doubt for the Euros before returning from injury on Sunday.

He joins a quartet of Liverpool players in Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and Daniel Sturridge. If fit, all will be expected to play major roles for the Three Lions at the Euros, and England’s squad looks to be one with some potential.

 

The England Squad in full:

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

‘This Is Anfield’ sign removed after last match of season

Following last night’s dramatic 1-1 draw against Chelsea, Liverpool’s maintenance and ground crews began packing up shop ahead of the completion of the main stand renovation this summer. Christian Benteke’s late header would be the last roar heard at Anfield for this season, as this was the last competitive match to be held there until August.

This is Anfield sign taken down

As soon as the last patron left for the evening, the staff started preparing for the next stage in Anfield’s overhaul. The most notable thing to be taken down was the famous ‘This Is Anfield’ sign that greets the players as they walk down the tunnel onto the pitch.

This sign has become iconic and a momento of good luck for players as they walk out to battle an opponent. It could almost be described as the heart of Anfield. Without it up, it’s almost as if the stadium has lost its heart. At least for the time being. Now we wait for work to be completed on the new main stand and for life—and the sign—to be pumped back into Anfield when Liverpool return for another season in a few months.