PREDICTION LEAGUE: Latest League Tables | RULES | Bordeaux Predictions

30 November 2015

Better than Origi? Klopp confirms 'outstanding' Academy record-breaker will 'play' for Liverpool 'if' needed

After Daniel Sturridge's latest injury issues, the striker situation at Anfield is once again under the spotlight, and if Christian Benteke picks up another knock, there are few quality options in the squad to fill the void. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp isn't worried, though, and according to the German boss, Liverpool have the strength in depth to deal with any further injury issues.

When asked about Liverpool's striker options, Klopp brushed off suggestions that the team lacks depth up-front. He told reporters:

"It’s not the most difficult situation at this moment with the strikers. We have Christian, Divock, and Roberto. And if they can’t play, we have young lad, for sure, [Jerome] Sinclair from the U21s who can play".

It's great that Klopp seems to be happy with his options, but Origi is not the solution, and proved that when he deputised for both Benteke and Firmino earlier this season.

After watching him extensively in the youth setup, I'd have Sinclair ahead of Origi in a heartbeat.

In my view, he (arguably) has superior game intelligence, awareness, and finishing, which Jamie Carragher described as 'outstanding'.

Sinclair - who holds the record for Liverpool's youngest ever player - also has a touch of arrogance about his game, which suggests self-confidence, which is what every top striker needs.

Over the summer, Sinclair was reportedly 'in dispute with Liverpool over a new contract', and had 'asked to leave the club', but with Klopp now at the helm, he has every chance of achieving increased game-time.

As for Origi: Did Liverpool really need to buy him? The club should've just saved the money and promoted Sinclair - who is only a year younger than the Belgian - to the first-team squad.

Author: Jaimie K

29 November 2015

LFC Legend insists: Forget Sturridge/Hendo. Liverpool missed 'outstanding' £30m star against Swansea. Agree?

Liverpool started today's game without Henderson, Sturridge, and Sakho in the first XI, but according to Anfield legend Ray Houghton, the Reds missed Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho more than any other player.

Co-commentating today on Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Swansea, Houghton noted:

"Coutinho has been missed today. He’s been outstanding for Liverpool this season, and his absence in the final third is noticeable".

£30m-rated Coutinho is in a rich vein of form at the moment, and prior to his injury, he contributed 4 goals/1 assist in 3 games, which is an excellent creative return.

As such, it's fair to say that Liverpool missed Coutinho today, but his current form is the exception over the last year, not the rule.

Hopefully Coutinho will be able to continue his goalscoring exploits when he returns from injury, which, according to Klopp, will be this week. In his post-match press conference, Liverpool's manager told reporters:

"Philippe has a chance for Wednesday. He had a very intensive session (training) yesterday. We decided three days ago that we didn't want to risk him for Swansea, but now I think he is fit".

In Coutinho's absence, Firmino and Lallana - Liverpool's senior and most expensive attacking midfielders - needed to step-up and make a difference, but both players abjectly failed to do that.

Clearly, it's a mistake to rely on those two players to score/create goals on a regular basis, and in my view, Klopp needs to prioritise in January the signing of an experienced attacking midfielder.

Author: Jaimie K

Liverpool Player Ratings: 55% shocker for 'unplayable' star; £56m-duo fail again; Surprise Man-of-the-match winner?

It wasn't pretty, but Liverpool grabbed a 1-0 victory over Swansea City today, which makes it three wins in a week for Jurgen Klopp's team. With Man United, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs all dropping points this week, Liverpool (fortuitously) capitalised, and the victory moves the Reds up to 6th place in the league, only six points off the top of the table.

Player Ratings

* Mignolet (6): Didn't have a save to make, but still not commanding/vocal enough in the box. Prime example: near the end, Mignolet failed to take control when a floated ball entered the box. He could see everything ahead of him, and should've shouted at Skrtel to leave the ball for him. He didn't, and this lead directly to opposition pressure. Also booked for time-wasting, which is an amateur mistake after the time-wasting incident against Bordeaux.

* Lovren (8.5): Imperious performance, and Liverpool's best defender on the day. More BRICs^ than anyone else; 100% of aerial duels won; 87% of ground duels won; 92% passing accuracy (highest in the team), and even managed a shot on goal. Liverpool kept a clean sheet, so Lovren did his job (ditto the other defenders).

* Skrtel (8): One weak header into danger, and a yellow card, but apart from that, another classy defensive performance. 89% passing accuracy, which is unsurprising considering Skrtel is so comfortable in possession (an underrated aspect of his game). Made more forward passes (52) than any other LFC player, and didn't lose possession once.

* Moreno (6): Defensively solid, and 7 tackles, the most of all the defenders. Didn't offer much going forward, though, and almost 60% of his passes were backwards. Retained possession well, and didn't lose the ball, which is always a positive.

* Clyne (7): An effective outlet on the right, and always eager to get forward. 88% passing accuracy overall, but like Moreno, end product continues to be lacking in the final third. Two key passes in the game, neither of which came to anything.

* Can (6): When he keeps it simple, Can is effective. Unfortunately, he's a legend in his own mind, and constantly tries ill-advised Hollywood long-balls/pointless tricks, which almost always lead to loss of possession. Prime example: midway through the second half, Can dawdled on the ball in the centre-circle (another issue: not fast enough in possession), and after a needless drag-back, he got hassled off the ball, which led to a dangerous counter-attack. Played more long balls (14) than anyone else (most of which were inaccurate) Defensively sound; made one excellent recovery tackle, and deserves credit for his part in the clean sheet, but overall, he doesn't influence the game enough.

* Milner (6.5): Hard-working performance, but that's not enough. Gave the ball away 5 times (only one less than Firmino), and 50% of his passes were backwards. Defensively sound (like Can), but ineffective in the final third, with no key passes, 1 shot on goal, and only 1 successful cross out of 7 (i.e. a cross that actually went to a Liverpool player). Kept his composure well for the penalty.

* Lallana (5): Continues to be a passenger. Liverpool are winning in spite of Lallana, not because of him. Gave the ball away four times, created one half-chance in 90 minutes. 77% passing accuracy, and regularly misplaced passes. One incident in the final five minutes summed up Lallana: received the ball on the left in an attacking area; did two pointless step-overs, and then passed straight to a Swansea player. Lallana hasn't scored a league goal in 10 hours of football this season, and he has only TWO since December 2014. Not good enough.

Firmino (5): Another poor performance from Firmino. Gave the ball away more than anyone else, and had the second worst passing accuracy (66%). Only 15 of his 48 passes overall came in the final third of the field, and 8 of those were backwards. Firmino doesn't seem to have a handle on his specific role in the team, and the blame for that has to fall on Klopp. Perhaps he should just be utilised as a striker full-time?

* Ibe (6): Continues to be painfully predictable in possession (i.e cutting inside much of the time), which makes him easy to defend against. Tries hard, and is full of attacking purpose, but his touch let him down on several occasions, and overhit passes wasted promising attacking positions. Like all of Liverpool's attacking midfielders, end product in the final third needs to improve drastically.

* Benteke (4.5): Atrocious performance from the striker Gerrard hailed as 'unplayable'. Pitiful 55% passing accuracy, which is simply unacceptable for an elite international-class striker. Didn't win a single aerial duel, either, which is hard to understand given the fact he's 6'4. Constantly fell over and/or got outmuscled on the ball, which draws unflattering comparison to Andy Carroll. Arguably Benteke's worst game in a Liverpool shirt, but the Belgian is proven quality, and he can and will do better.

LFC Man of the Match: Lovren. I'm surprise he's being ignored in the MotM conversation. Solid as a rock, and the stats backs this up.

Stats: OPTA

Prediction League:

First goalscorer: Milner. Subbed off first: Firmino. Team passing accuracy: 82%. Updated tables will be posted later today.

^ BRICs = Blocks, recoveries, interceptions, and clearances.

* Firmino + Lallana: Combined cost = £56m.

Author: Jaimie K

Confirmed Liverpool Team: Massive injury blow for 'sensational' attacker; Klopp springs double-surprise with Hendo/Sturridge inclusion

Adam Lallana and Emre Can return to the starting line-up for this afternoon's Premier League clash with Swansea, and the big news is that Philippe Coutinho is not in the match-day squad, which suggests that his injury is a little more serious than expected.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Milner, Lallana, Ibe, Firmino, Benteke

SUBS: Bogdan, Toure, Henderson, Sturridge, Allen, Origi, Randall

SWANSEA: Fabianski, Naughton, Bartley, Williams (c), Taylor, Britton, Ki Sung-Yueng, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Ayew, Éder.

* The absense of 'sensational' Coutinho's is a blow, and the onus is now on Firmino and Lallana to step-up and make the difference.

* Great to see Henderson and Sturridge on the bench, which is a nice surprise for fans.

* Given the personnel, it looks like Klopp may revert to a 4321, with Milner and Can in midfield.

* The other option is to play Lallana in central midfield, but I can't see that happening.

* It's surprising to see Joe Allen ignored, especially since his inclusion means Klopp can play 4321.

* On Friday, Klopp questioned whether Benteke is 'capable' of playing 3 games in two days; well, it seems that the manager has decided to take the risk.

Probable formation:

------------ Mignolet
Clyne -- Skrtel --- Lovren -- Moreno
--------- Milner - Can
--- Ibe ----- Firmino -- Lallana
------------- Benteke

Predicting a 2-0 victory for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"Liverpool have got momentum at the moment, which is a massive thing in football. There is suddenly competition for places all over the team - even up front - and they are starting to look stronger in all areas".

Author: Jaimie K

28 November 2015

Transfer Alert: Liverpool handed great chance to sign €22m Madrid 'phenomenon'. Offer made in the summer

Over the summer, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Real Madrid 'phenomenon' Denis Cheryshev, and after being totally ignored by Rafa Benitez, the Russian winger is desperate to quit the Bernabeu in January. Could this be a a renewed transfer opportunity for Liverpool?

Recent transfer timeline:

Aug 2015: The Telegraph claimed that Liverpool were planning a €22m offer for Cheryshev.

Aug 2015: Marca claimed that the Reds had already put in an offer for the Russian winger.

Sep 2015: Cheryshev revealed his frustration: "Benitez hasn't explained why he didn't pick me. It's an unpleasant situation, but I'll keep working hard."

Since that time, Chershev has played just 58 minutes of football, and according to Marca:

* 'Unhappy' Cheryshev is desperate to leave Madrid on loan in January as he doesn't want to 'sit around collecting a pay cheque without contributing'.

* Liverpool, Everton, and Villareal are monitoring Chershev's situation.

Some info about Cheryshev:

* Left-winger, who spent last season on loan at Villareal.

* 5 injuries in the last two years (39 games missed): 3x hamstring, plus a serious muscle injury (out for 122 days), and a fractured toe.

* Made only one senior appearance for Madrid before being farmed out on loan.

* 2014-15: 7 goals/11 assists in 40 games for Villareal (Goal/assist every 2.2 games)

* 7 apps for the Russia national team.

* According to Mundo Deportivo: "Cheryshev is powerful, super-fast, and is one of Villareal's most dangerous attackers".

Cheryshev's goals/assists ratio is creditable, but his recent injury history is a massive concern; the last thing Liverpool need is another player who regularly suffers niggling injury issues.

That said, a loan deal is a no-risk proposition, and with Euro 2016 on the horizon, Cheryshev will be desperate to prove himself, which will almost certainly mean 100% effort on the pitch.

Liverpool need wide players; Cheryshev wants out. A no-brainer transfer?

Author: Jaimie K

€35m Mega-Deal? 'New Ronaldo' reacts to Liverpool 'rumours' and confirms transfer is a no-go

Speculation linking Inter Milan star Mauro Icardi with a move to Anfield has intensified over the last two weeks, but after new developments this week, Liverpool seemingly have little chance of sealing a January deal for the coveted Argentine striker.

Milan recently slapped a €35m transfer fee on Icardi, and according to Calcio Mercato last week:

* Klopp is determined to sign Icardi, and is not 'giving up' on securing a transfer.

* The Reds are planning to make a move during the upcoming transfer window.

In February, Icardi admitted that he is 'honoured' to be linked with a move to Anfield, but when asked again on Friday about Liverpool's interest, he told Tutto Mercato:

"I'm aware of the [Liverpool] rumours, but...I'm staying, as I did last year. I'm the captain and I can not give up the team"

Roberto Mancini has clearly played a blinder here. The shrewd decision to make Icardi Inter's captain has seemingly secured the Argentine's future, and it'll now be much harder for Liverpool to steal him away.

It's a shame as Icardi is clearly a top-class player. Last season, he contributed 36 goals/assists in 48 games (one every 107 mins), and if a British striker did that at the age of 22, he'd be deified by the media, and heralded as the second coming of Thierry Henry.

This season, Icardi - who, according to his agent, 'has the talent to become to new Ronaldo' - has captained inter to the top of Serie A, which is a significant achievement considering the club finished 8th in the league last year (32 points off top spot).

Is Icardi worth €35m? Well, if Anthony Martial is worth £58m, then Icardi - who has vastly superior creative output - is a comparative bargain.

That said, Jurgen Klopp rarely pays marquee fees for players, and I doubt he'll start now when he can probably unearth a similarly effective player for one-fifth of the price.

Author: Jaimie K

Liverpool-XI vs. Swansea: Klopp reveals bad news double-whammy; Drop £36m-duo? Surprise start for Randall?

On Thursday, Liverpool laboured to victory over Bordeaux, and whilst the team secured a vital Europa League points, it's clear that club's home form remains a concern. Swansea come to Anfield on Sunday, and if Liverpool put in another Crystal palace-esque performance, Gary Monk's team is more than capable of capitalising.

Pre-Match news:

* Sturridge is definitely out of the game after sustaining yet another injury. In his pre-match press conference, Klopp claimed the issue is 'not serious', but that's what he said about Sturridge's last injury, and he ended up being out for a a further four weeks.

* Klopp also questioned whether Benteke is 'capable' of paying two games in three days, which suggests he might be on the bench. He also confirmed that Henderson has made a 'big step' forward this week, but hinted that the Swansea game may be a little too soon for a comeback.

* Lucas is suspended for the game after picking up a 5th yellow card against Manchester City.

* After missing the Bordeaux game, Skrtel trained on Friday, which suggests he'll come back into the starting line-up.

I'd like to see the following lineup:

-------------- Bogdan
Randall - Skrtel -- Lovren -- Moreno
--- Milner ---- Allen -- Can
----------- Ibe ---- Coutinho
-------------- Firmino

* After his Man City heroics, Firmino regressed against Bordeaux. He barely made any impact on the game, and gave the ball away TEN times, which is unacceptable for a £29m player. Benteke needs a rest, so move Firmino up-front.

* Can and Lallana played poorly when they came on against Bordeaux. Klopp clearly wanted more control of the game, but those two made zero difference. Additionally, despite only being on the field for 23 and 16 mins respectively, Can (67%) and Lallana (50%) ended the game with the worst passing accuracy in the team.

* If it was down to me, Can would stay on the bench, but with Lucas out, he'll almost certainly play.

* Mignolet needs to be dropped! His amateur errors destabilised the defence, and cost Liverpool a goal. There surely have to be consequences for making such errors? If not, what's the point of having a back-up 'keeper?

* Clyne has played more minutes than anyone this season, and to avoid burnout, he's due a rest.


You have until 4.10PM (GMT) to make your predictions. The league tables will be updated after the Swansea game (and will incorporate the bordeaux results). Just to clarify: Anyone who predicted that Sturridge would get injured after '0' games will get the 50-point bonus (please post a link to your prediction in this thread as proof. Thanks!) For this game:

* 20 Points: First goalscorer (Can be for either team).

* 30 Points: First Liverpool player to be subbed-off.

* 40 Points: The team's overall collective passing accuracy.

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + first goalscorer + first played subbed off (Possible points total: 130)

* Yippee Ki-Yay Mega-Bonus: 100 points for Perfect score + first goalscorer + first played subbed off + passing accuracy (Possible points total: 230)

My prediction: 2-2. Ayew first goalscorer. Benteke subbed off first. 82% passing accuracy *UPDATED* @ 15:34

Author: Jaimie K

Gerrard: Forget Can - Liverpool should've signed 'sensational' £10m powerhouse to replace me

Throughout 2014, Liverpool were regularly linked with England U21 midfielder Dele Alli, who ultimately rejected Anfield to sign for Spurs. At one point, Brendan Rodgers made a personal scouting trip to watch £10m-rated Alli, and according to Anfield legend Steven Gerrard, the Reds made a huge mistake in failing to sign the young midfielder.

In an interview with BT Sport this week, Gerrard explained:

"I was disappointed Liverpool didn't sign him [Alli], especially with me coming to the end. I could see [him] playing for Liverpool for 10 or 15 years."

Prior to his £5m Spurs move, a move to Liverpool seemed nailed on. Indeed, at one point, Alli - hailed by former boss Karl Robinson as 'sensational' - claimed to be a 'Liverpool fan', and admitted that Gerrard 'was a big influence' on him.

Alli's fan-status made no difference to his decision, however, as he specifically rejected a move to Anfield. He recently told the Liverpool Echo:

“I didn’t feel Liverpool was the right move. I wanted to stay at MK a bit longer to get some more first-team experience”.

Gerrard's comments also (indirectly) suggest that he sees Alli as a more viable replacement for him than Emre Can. If that's not the case, why is he 'disappointed' that Liverpool failed to seal the deal when he was 'coming to the end'? At that point, the Reds already had Can in the squad.

Emre Can is similar to Alli in some ways (position/height etc), and statistically, there's not much difference between the two (in the Premier League):

* Can wins a slightly higher percentage of tackles, aerial/ground duels; has higher passing accuracy, and has created a couple more chances (13 vs. 12, though Can has played 150 minutes more than Alli).

* Alli is more effective going forward (more goals; better shooting accuracy; more shots on target etc), and is also slightly ahead on blocks, recoveries, interceptions, and clearances (BRICs).

Like Can, Alli is a little overrated, and in my view, Liverpool can do better than both of them. One thing's for sure: neither player (from what I've seen) is capable of emulating Steven Gerrard.

online surveys

Author: Jaimie K

27 November 2015

Yes Please: Liverpool favourites to sign 'world-class' £16m attacker who 'dreams' of Anfield

Self-confessed Liverpool fan Andre Ayew is reportedly on Jurgen Klopp's transfer wish-list, and despite Gary Monk's recent dismissal of the rumours, Ayew - hailed by Ghana boss Kwesi Appiah as a'world-class' attacker - has dropped yet another hint this week that he's looking for a way out of Swansea.

Last month, Ayew admitted that he isn't 'ruling out' a move to Liverpool in the near future, and according to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato

* Liverpool are favourites to sign Ayew, who is open to leaving Swansea in January.

* It's possible that deal may be concluded in the 'coming weeks'.

When asked on Thursday whether he's planning a move to a bigger club, Ayew told RMC:

"Swansea gave me everything that I wanted. Now, I am ambitious and we will see what happens."

Ayew - whose Swansea deal is reportedly worth £16m over 4 years - is definitely a Liverpool fan, and he confirmed this once again in April:

"I've supported them [Liverpool] for 20 years. My dream is to play in the Premier League, but it's true that I'm a Liverpool fan".

With 8 goals/assists in 14 games (one every 142 mins) Ayew has started well in the Premier League, but the acid test is how well he performs over an entire season. Over the years, many players have burned brightly in the first few months of the season, only to fizzle out and struggle thereafter.

Last month, Gary Monk admitted that Ayew's 'boyhood dream' is to play for Liverpool, so if the Reds go in with a decent offer in January, the club will almost certainly sell, especially given the potentially humungous profit margin.

Liverpool's chances of signing Ayew will also increase if - as expected - Monk gets the bullet at some point over the next two months. Potential line-up with Ayew in the team:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Sakho --- Moreno
----------- Lucas -- Hendo
--- Coutino -- Firmino --- Ayew
-------------- Benteke

Reds fans will get to run the rule over the 25-year old this weekend when Swansea come to Anfield. Hopefully, he won't put his (possible) future club to the sword (!)

Author: Jaimie K

Anfield Update: Liverpool close to paying record transfer fee for 'terrific' attacker. PFCC decision soon

The Danny Ings transfer saga rolls on, and new reports this week suggest that Liverpool may have to pay much more than £6m for the 'terrific' 22-year old striker.

Nearly five months after signing Ings, Liverpool have failed to agreed a transfer fee with Burnley, and unless an agreement is reached ASAP, the issue will be decided by the Professional Football Compensation Committee (PFCC).

That may prove costly for Liverpool, and according to the Daily Mail today:

"Liverpool could be forced to pay a tribunal record of over £10m for Danny Ings...if interest from other clubs can be 'substantiated'. Spurs were willing to pay between £10m and £12m for Ings and that could prove decisive".

Is Ings worth £10m? Talented British players often sell for grossly inflated transfer fees, so by comparison, he's arguably a bargain at that price.

Plus, if Ings ultimately fails at Anfield, the worst case scenario is that Liverpool will make their money back (or close to it), so the risk is minimal (as compared to, say, £20m on Lazar Markovic).

That said, I personally don't rate Ings as highly as some fans. He grabbed only 11 goals in 37 games for Burnley last season, and Jamie Vardy has already beaten that in just 14 games this year (and he also plays alongside comparatively inferior players).

Ings is a good squad player to have, though, and that's probably his future. The presence of Benteke and Sturridge (if he ever manages to get fit) will severely curtail Ings' opportunities at Anfield, and like almost every Liverpool manager stretching back to Shankly, Klopp will inevitably bring in a top striker at some point, which will limit his chances even further.

Unfortunately for Ings, his Anfield future looks a little bleak right now, but he's living the dream at one of the biggest clubs in the world, so maybe he'll be content to be a squad player?

Of course, there's always a possibility that on his return, Ings will become an unstoppable goal-machine and keep every other striker out of the team, but I can't see that happening.

Author: Jaimie K

Klopp warns: 'Unplayable' £140k-a-week Liverpool star may miss Swansea City game because of fitness concerns

Last night, Christian Benteke scored another top quality goal for Liverpool, and after 13 appearances, he has now weighed in with a creditable 7 goals/assists (one every 125 minutes). Clearly, when he's fully match-fit, Benteke is capable of being a major asset for the club, but according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, the £32m summer signing may have to sit out this weekend's game with Swansea City.

When asked about Benteke's fitness today, Klopp told reporters:

"I don’t know whether Christian is capable of playing two games in three days. We have to see, and then decide".

Although I personally never like to see strikers benched after scoring a goal, the responsible move here is to start Benteke on the bench this Sunday, and use him as an impact sub.

If he was more robust, there'd be no problem with starting Benteke, but as Klopp suggests, there's a question mark over his ability to play two full games in three days.

In any event, Firmino has proven that he can play up-front effectively, so there's no real problem with resting Benteke against Swansea.

Benteke [Salary: £140k-a-week] has come in for some criticism for his performance against Bordeaux, and whilst it's true that he wasted several golden opportunities, and gave the ball away several times, the bottom line is this:

Benteke's primary role in the team is to score and create goals, and he did that.

* Scored the winning goal, which secured qualification to the next round.

* Had a goal disallowed, and won Liverpool a penalty (although, in my view, he deserves zero credit for that embarrassing piece of gamesmanship).

In my view, Benteke is doing very well for LFC so far. His hold up play is second-to-none, and he's contributing a goal/assist every 125 mins. As a comparison, consider the stats of Premier League strikers who've been fit for the wholse season so far:

* Kane: Goal/assist every 144 mins.

* Rooney: Goal/assist every 208 mins.

* Costa: Goal/assist every 203 mins.

* Pelle: Goal/assist every 132 mins.

* Giroud: Goal/assist every 123 mins.

* Sanchez: Goal/assist every 108 mins.

* Lukaku: Goal/assist every 97 mins.

* Aguero: Goal/assist every 84 mins.

* Vardy: Goal/assist every 80 mins.

Despite settling into a new club, undergoing the disruption of early-season managerial change, *and* suffering from two injuries, Benteke is clearly holding his own.

Once he gets up to full match-fitness, I full expect Benteke - described by Steven Gerrard as 'unplayable at times' - to kick on and improve his goals/assists ratio.

Author: Jaimie K

26 November 2015

Confirmed Teams: £36m-duo dropped; Nightmare as 'amazing' Liverpool star suffers last-minute injury 'problem'

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has named a very strong team for tonight's Europa League clash with Bordeaux, and the big news (again) is that 'amazing' Reds striker Daniel Sturridge has suffered yet *another* injury.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno, Lucas, Allen, Milner, Ibe, Firmino, Benteke

SUBS: Bogdan, Lallana, Can, Origi, Skrtel, Brannagan, Randall

* According The Times: "Daniel Sturridge is out of Liverpool's Europa League group game against Bordeaux due to a foot problem".

* What a ridiculous state of affairs. It appears that Sturridge has suffered another training ground injury, and who knows how long he'll be out this time.

* Seriously, it's time to sell and move on. Sturridge is a top-class goalscorer, but he is simply incapable of sustaining his fitness.

* Good to see Lallana and Can on the bench [combined cost: £36m]. To be honest, it's a surprise given Coutinho's absence, but I'll take it! Hopefully, the team will perform exceptionally well, and Lallana's bench berth will become permanent.

* Probable formation:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne -- Lovren --- Toure ----Moreno
----Milner ---- Lucas ----- Allen
--------- Ibe -------- Firmino
-------------- Benteke


Please do not post predictions here; post them on the pre-match thread, HERE. Good luck!

Author: Jaimie K

Klopp raves: €27m goal-machine who rejected Liverpool is an 'incredible' player. Try again?

In August, the The Independent claimed that Borussia Dortmund had 'accepted' a £15m Liverpool bid for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who rejected a move to Anfield back in 2013. At that time, the presence of Jurgen Klopp swung things in Dortmund's favour, and it's clear that Klopp still holds the Armenian in very high regard.

In a new interview that appears in the newly-released ebook 'Reading The Game', Klopp raved:

"There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the most talented players in the world. He possesses an incredible combination of speed and technique. There’s very, very few you can say that about".

Mkhitaryan - who cost Dortmund €27m - didn't live up to this lofty billing last season, but this year, he's on fire for Dortmund:

* 27 goals/assists in 21 games.

* Goal/assist every 65 minutes.

Absolutely stunning contribution so far, and seeing these figures merely underlines the comparatively abject underperformance of Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, and Milner.

Klopp may have signed 'unbelievable' Mkhitaryan, but he didn't get the best out of him, and it could be argued that the German's incessant demand for physically draining running/pressing actually *restricted* Mkhitaryan's ability to perform.

Excessive injury problems were a key feature of Klopp's reign at Dortmund, and Mkhitaryan - who had a superb injury record prior to his move - also succumbed to a series of issues that disrupted his momentum.

Coincidence? I think not.

In a recent interview, Mkhitaryan specifically praised current Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel for unleashing his potential, and seemed to suggest that he'd had more influence on his performance than Klopp:

"[Thomas] Tuchel has influenced me positively and I want to prove to everyone that I am a good player. I want to make the BVB fans happy. I never felt that it was a mistake to come here".

Dortmund recently branded the Liverpool transfer rumours as nonsense, but given Klopp's obvious admiration, the Reds are bound to be linked with Mkhitaryan once again at some point.

27 goals/assists in 21 games? Why can't any of Liverpool's attacking midfielders ever achieve stats like that?

Author: Jaimie K

Shock Return? 'Dominant' £25m Liverpool star trains with Lovren after injury nightmare [Photo-Proof]

Earlier this week, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson confirmed that he's 'not to far away' from a first-team return, and if Wednesday's training photos are anything to go by, it looks like Hendo's may be in contention to feature against Bordeaux tonight.

When asked on Monday about his recovery, Henderson told Sky Sports:

"I'm getting there. This is one of the longest periods of time I've been out. I'm not too far away".

Henderson - hailed by Michael Owen as a 'dominant' midfielder - has been back in first-team training for over a week now, and in Wednesday's training session, he took part in the full range of training activities.

As the pictures below show, it looks like Henderson's broken foot is fully healed:

£25m-rated Henderson is not fully match-fit, but is there still a chance that he might feature against Bordeaux, or even start the game?

In his press conference, Klopp specifically ruled certain players out of the Bordeaux match (Sakho, for example), but he didn't mention Henderson, so there's always a possibility. Hendo will inarguably improve the team.

Potential Bordeaux line-up with Liverpool's captain in the mix:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Lovren -- Toure ---- Moreno
--------- Hendo - Lucas --- Allen
------------- Ibe ---- Firmino
---------------- Benteke

I have a feeling that Henderson will make the bench for this game.

Author: Jaimie K