Jürgen Klopp On “Serious Pain” and Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge - Getty

Liverpool’s manager says the striker must be aware of the difference between pain and serious pain after the striker’s latest injury setback.

Isaac Newton’s relatively obscure Fourth Law of Motion states that if Daniel Sturridge is moving towards a return to regular playing time, there will also be an injury moving directly towards him arriving just in time to ensure he never steps foot on the pitch.

Sturridge—the most talented striker at the club—is injured. Again. The striker was ruled out of Thursday’s victory over Bordeaux with a foot injury. With Daniel Sturridge, injuries and niggles seem to keep on coming. For Klopp, however, there is some learning to do when it comes to managing pain.

The situation is Daniel was very often injured in the last few months, and maybe years, so it is normal when you get back in training usually it is not the quality, but you need training. Your body has to learn to adapt to new intensities of training and in this time you have to learn what is serious pain and what is only pain. When Daniel comes back after this long break you would train five weeks in a row and play only in friendly games. That would be the best, but of course we know the world is not perfect so we have to try the best and the quickest.It is a really long period so now we have to stay patient I am sorry to say. I’m sorry for you, sorry for me, sorry for him.

We’re all sorry and probably more than a little frustrated at the moment, but it’s important to remember that the player isn’t suffering injuries on purpose or part of some shady scheme to hamper Liverpool’s prospects. Sturridge has missed an incredible 68 games for Liverpool and played in 70 games, underlining the need for depth up front.

Liverpool will hope that this latest setback is just part of the recovery process as Klopp pointed out, but there may be a possibility that Sturridge’s problems with injuries aren’t just physical. It’s difficult to say either way without intimate knowledge of the situation, but hopefully the scans will bring good news so that Sturridge can be available for action relatively soon.

Liverpool FC need a striker

Despite spending in excess of £50m (or over £60m, depending on which reports you believe) to land Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino to bolster their attacking ranks over the summer, Liverpool have been poor in front of goal. Nobody really needed statistics to prove that statement, but OuLaLa.com have been on the prowl, and have discovered that the Reds are officially THE WORST side in front of goal in the Premier League after 12 games.

Shot Conversion Rate

184 shots and just 13 goals gives us a conversion rate of only 7.1%, putting us directly below Watford and Aston Villa… both of whom operate on a fraction of the budget being slashed around at Anfield.  Okay, the 10 goals of Jurgen Klopp’s reign in all competitions from 122 shots boosts this rating to 8.2% of late, but even that it a cause for concern, and looking to the top of this ‘division’ could be the answer.

Already linked with Liverpool, Jamie Vardy is currently banging the goals in for the most prolific side in Premier League, with 12 all told for Leicester.

The top-scoring striker from the best team in front of the net? Makes sense, doesn’t it?

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.

Europe’s most expensive football squads revealed

A new study has revealed the most expensive squads across Europe’s top five leagues and one of the eye-catching statistics is the fact Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool squad cost more than German champions and European titans Bayern Munich, according to the Football Observatory. 

The Reds splashed out a hefty amount of money this summer with eight players coming to Anfield in the form of Christian Benteke, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.

Meanwhile, Bayern were also busy with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal amongst those to come in, but it seems as though the Bavarian giants could do with giving Rodgers some advice on how to conduct shrewd transfer business.

The aforementioned study reveals that Liverpool’s squad costs €344 million – the fourth most expensive in the Premier League – whilst Bayern’s is €337 million – the most in Germany, but seven million less than the Reds.

Football Squads

Meanwhile, the study also confirms – not much of a surprise – that Manchester City have assembled the most expensive squad in England, after bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne this summer.

Rafa Benitez will have to cope with severe pressure this season after it was also revealed his squad is nearly €200 million more than rivals Barcelona, whilst the gulf in class is evident in Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s closest rivals Monaco have a squad which is nearly €400 million cheaper.

Top 20 most expensive squads in Europe:

1. Real Madrid (€587m)
2. Manchester City (€560m)
3. Manchester United (€533m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain (€525m)
5. Chelsea (€407m)
6. Barcelona (€396m)
7. Liverpool (€344m)
8. Bayern Munich (€337m)
9. Arsenal (€305m)
10. Juventus (€301m)
11. Tottenham Hotspur (€231m)
12. Valencia (€226m)
13. Inter Milan (€212m)
14. Napoli (€185m)
15. Southampton (€182m)
16. Atlético Madrid (€180m)
17. Wolfsburg (€163m)
18. AS Roma (€160m
19. Newcastle United (€157m)
20. AS Monaco (€152m)

Liverpool FC: Christian Benteke’s a great buy

I think Christian Benteke could prove to be a great buy for Liverpool FC.

Benteke signing

Benteke was the ninth-highest scorer in the Premier League last season with 13 goals, despite the injury which saw him miss out on the World Cup restricting him to just 26 starts.

The Belgian has come up against Liverpool on six occasions since making the switch to England, earning two wins and one draw. Incredibly, he has scored five goals against the Reds during those games.

The 24-year-old is already established on the international stage, having scored seven times in 24 appearances for the Belgium national team since making his bow against Bulgaria in May 2010.

Christian Benteke scores his first goal for Liverpool with a stunning volley against Swindon Town in a pre-season friendly:

[youtube id=”wSw5v4BehDI” width=”580″ height=”337″]

Prior to joining Aston Villa, Benteke represented Standard Liege and Genk during the early stages of his career and also enjoyed loan spells with Kortrijk and Mechelen, all in his homeland.

Benteke's volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare
Benteke’s volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare

After completing his move to Anfield, Benteke told Liverpoolfc.com:

“I’m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian [Ayre] and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here.  It’s hard to show your emotion when you’ve just come from doing something [like this] but of course I am very happy.”

To read the full interview with Christian, click here.

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.”

 

Gerrard becomes Liverpool FC penalty king

Steven Gerrard penalty record

As Steven Gerrard netted from the spot to become Liverpool’s all-time penalty king during the 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Jan Molby watched on with self-confessed mixed emotions.

The former Reds midfielder was on media duty at White Hart Lane, enjoying a prime viewing position to see the side’s No.8 successfully stroke home a spot-kick – his 43rd for the club.

Before Gerrard became a feared foe from 12 yards, Molby himself had previously held the record, but ‘the Great Dane’ takes solace from the fact that it was the captain reaching the milestone.

“A player like me wasn’t renowned for being a goalscorer so I never had too many records but it was nice to have held that for a while.  In a way it was a little bit sad, but if a record is going to go and it’s gone to one of Liverpool’s all-time greatest ever players, then I can live with it.  Steven has worked on penalties over the years and when he takes one now you always expect him to score.  He strikes the ball really well and he puts the ball into the corners.  He is an inspirational player for Liverpool and remains a big part of the team. In my opinion, there are not that many players left in football today that can lift one team. He can.”

Asked to describe the art of taking the perfect penalty, Molby assessed that each player will have his own individual style of seeking to beat the goalkeeper – not least his own approach.  He continued:

“People have their own technique and how they want to approach a penalty. Some people make up their mind early and stick to that when they run up, but my style was slightly different.  I believe there are three things that are important when you take a penalty, which is the ball, the goalkeeper and the goal.  I used to wait for the goalkeeper to make his move and then put the ball the other way. If the goalkeeper didn’t move I would always try to put the ball low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right.”

For the second season running at White Hart Lane, Liverpool were clinical throughout and eased to victory via a strike by Raheem Sterling, Gerrard’s penalty and an Alberto Moreno stunner.

Liverpool FC: Champions League group announced

Champions League group V

Liverpool will kick off their 2014-15 Champions League campaign by welcoming Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad to Anfield on Tuesday September 16.  The Reds end a five-year absence from the elite European tournament with a home fixture against a team that they have never previously met competitively.

The Reds were pitted against the holders of the competition in Thursday’s draw in Monaco, and they’ll also face trips to Switzerland and Bulgaria.  Madrid, who claimed their 10th European Cup with victory over city rivals Atletico in Lisbon earlier this year, last locked horns with Liverpool back in the 2008-09 campaign.  The teams met at the last 16 stage and after Yossi Benayoun’s late header secured a famous 1-0 first-leg win at the Bernabeu, the Reds ran riot in the return at Anfield – powering to a 4-0 triumph in front of the Kop.  The only other competitive game between the teams came in the 1981 final in Paris when Alan Kennedy’s goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bob Paisley’s team.

Liverpool also have recent history with Basel after they were pitted against each other in the Champions League first group stage in 2002-03.  The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield, while the Reds came from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3 at St-Jakob Park.  Basel have won the Swiss league title five times in a row.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have never faced Champions League newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad previously.  The Bulgarian title holders secured their place in the competition in incredible circumstances against Steaua Bucharest in the play-offs.  After trailing by a goal from the first leg in Romania, Wanderson netted a last-minute volley to force extra time in Razgrad.  However, they were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off in the 119th minute.  It meant centre-back Cosmin Moti was required to go in goal for the penalty shootout – and he emerged the hero, sensationally saving two spot kicks to ensure Ludogorets progressed 6-5 on penalties.

2014-15 Champions League fixtures

September 16 – Ludogorets Razgrad (H)
October 1 – FC Basel (A)
October 22 – Real Madrid (H)
November 4 – Real Madrid (A)
November 26 – Ludogorets Razgrad (A)
December 9 – FC Basel (H)

LFC: Reina joins Bayern Munich

Pepe Reina

Liverpool have confirmed Pepe Reina has completed a transfer to Bayern Munich.

The goalkeeper has signed a permanent deal with the German club, bringing his eight-year spell at Anfield to an end.

Reina moved to Merseyside from Villarreal in the summer of 2005 and made an immediate impact, helping the Reds achieve a club record 11 successive clean sheets in all competitions.

Indeed, his maiden season would end in glory as Liverpool defeated West Ham United on penalties in the FA Cup final in Cardiff, with the Spaniard saving three of the Hammers’ four spot kicks in the shoot-out.

In April 2007, Reina’s shut-out against Blackburn Rovers meant he’d kept 28 clean sheets in his first 50 league games – setting another club record.

His penalty-saving prowess was evident once again one month later as he helped the Reds edge out Chelsea in a dramatic Champions League semi-final victory at Anfield.

In 2008, Reina claimed the Barclays Golden Glove award for a third successive campaign, while in 2009-10 he was voted as Liverpool’s Player of the Season by supporters.

The 31-year-old added one further accolade to his collection, picking up a winners’ medal as the Reds beat Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final in February 2012.

In total, Reina made 394 appearances for the club before spending the 2013-14 season on loan at Italian side Napoli.

Everyone at Liverpool FC would like to wish Pepe all the best for the future.

Rickie Lambert fails with his first spot-kick for Liverpool

Rickie Lambert - photo

Rickie Lambert, the man who never missed a penalty for Southampton FC, failed with his first spot-kick for Liverpool last night.

The striker converted all 34 of his competitive spot-kicks during his remarkable five years at St Mary’s.  But he failed to score his first penalty for Liverpool when he saw his effort during last night’s 2-0 friendly win over AC Milan saved by Christian Abbiati.

The Reds still won 2-0 in Charlotte, America, with goals from Joe Allen and Suso.