10/31/2014 01:15:00 pm

Lame Excuse: BR explains why he wasted £20m on LFC 'passenger'. Contradiction?

After another ineffective performance against Swansea, Liverpool attacker Lazar Markovic remains under pressure to justify the £20m price tag on his head. Brendan Rodgers is seemingly not worried about the Serb's failure to make an impact at Anfield, and in his press conference today, he wheeled out his trademark excuse for signing under-performing players.

Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool's Premier League game with Newcastle, Rodgers insisted:

"We brought young Markovic in for the longer term. We have confidence he will become a big player for us".

Hmmm. Rodgers said the same thing about Tiago Ilori and Luis Alberto, and look where they are now. The major difference is, however, that neither of those players cost £20m.

Rodgers has also contradicted himself somewhat. When discussing his transfer strategy over the summer, he told reporters:

“Last summer...it was difficult for us to bring in starters. This year...those players coming in need to be capable starters. They have to be to the level that we require to perform”

If Rodgers spends £20m on a player, then it's totally fair to expect that player to make some kind of contribution to the team. Based on Rodgers' comments, it's also fair to assume that he signed Markovic because he believed he'd be a 'capable starter' for LFC.

Predictiably, Rodgers has now changed his tune, and is basically arguing that Markovic is *not* a capable starter, and little should be expected of him until some undetermined point in the future. Well, in my view, this is an unacceptable excuse.

Rodgers knew the importance of building on last season, and instead of spending that £20m on a player 'capable' of making a much-needed impact straight away, he wasted it on Markovic, a player John Aldridge recently described (correctly) as a 'passenger' at LFC.

How many times is Rodgers going to make these mistakes in the transfer market? Calling Markovic a 'waste' of money may not sit will with some LFC fans, but that is the harsh truth right now. At this moment, Liverpool have received zero benefit for that £20m outlay, and that makes it a waste of money. It all boils down to a concept I call 'loss of utility':

* If Rodgers had spent that £20m on the right player, he would be contributing to the cause right now in the form of vital goals/assists.

* Instead, Rodgers bought the wrong player. Consequently, Liverpool have lost the benefit of having the right player in the team.

* The loss of utility becomes more acute the longer Markovic fails to contribute.

* The same concept applies to players like Borini, Aspas, Alberto, Sakho, Moses, Assaidi, Ilori etc. None of these players have made any significant impact at Anfield. Just imagine the benefits to the club if Rodgers had signed the right players...

Every club makes transfer mistakes, and the loss of utility concept applies across the board. However, with Liverpool, the errors are the rule, not the exception, and that is a major ongoing concern. Additionally, wasting transfer funds like this just leads to further expense.

For example, if Markovic, Lallana et al keep failing to consistently contribute, then Liverpool will be forced to spend big bucks on another couple of attacking midfielders, and with Rodgers' record in the transfer market, the cycle of failure will probably continue.

Bottom line: Liverpool should not (IMO) be spending £20m on players 'for the longer term'. When there's so much at stake, that kind of money should only be spent on players capable of making an immediate impact on the team.

Author:

10/31/2014 06:50:00 am

4 big choices for BR; shock start for 'wonderful' star? Is this LFC's XI for Newcastle?

Last weekend, Liverpool wasted a golden opportunity to gain a strong foothold in the Premier League's top four by carelessly dropping home points against a comparatively 'lesser' team. Despite that, the Reds are just three points off third place, and after a morale-boosting victory over Swansea this week, LFC should go into Saturday's game against Newcastle full of confidence.

On the injury front, Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Thursday that Jose Enrique is injured yet again. Sakho, Sturridge, Suso, and Flanagan also remain on the club's injury list.

As I see it, Rodgers has four important decision to make:

* Start Borini? - The Italian grabbed an assist against Swansea, and had an okay game overall, but did he do enough to warrant a start against Newcastle? Probably, but I can't see it happening. Sterling and Gerrard will come back into the team, and the two players most likely to make way are Lucas and Borini. If LFC play a 442 diamond, then Borini has an outside chance of starting, but even then, Rodgers will probably go with Sterling/Baloteli.

It's all moot, though - on Thursday, Rodgers hailed Borini's Swansea performance as 'outstanding', and whenever he heaps praise on someone during a press conference, that player invariably ends up on the bench for the next game. In recent weeks, both Coutinho and Sterling have fallen foul of the Rodgers kiss of death.

* Toure vs. Skrtel - Toure had a solid game against Swansea, and he's more than capable of doing a job against Newcastle. However, in my view, Skrtel has to come back into the team, as he and Lovren as LFC's first-choice defensive partnership. As such, they need to play together as much as possible in order to build up an understanding, and that can't happen if the defence keeps chopping and changing.

* 4231 vs. 442 - LFC fans are crying out for Liverpool to play two up-front, but Rodgers keeps persisting with 4231. It's maddening, but after the Swansea victory, he'll almost certainly stick with it for the Newcastle game, despite the fact that it's not getting the best out of Mario Balotelli.

The Swansea game will also paper over the cracks of the 4231 formation. In Rodgers' eyes, Liverpool won the game, and Balotelli scored, ergo it's working, but in the league, 4231 is a dismal failure so far, and it will be again if it's utilised against Newcastle.

* Allen vs. Can - Emre Can started ahead of Jordan Henderson in last week's 0-0 draw with Hull, but Hendo will inevitably return for the next game, which leaves one space left in midfield. In my view, Allen should get the nod; I still can't see what Can brings to the team, and (for the most part), the same applies to Allen...but the Welsh midfielder's pressing ability will come in handy against Newcastle.

Taking everything into consideration, I'd like to see the following formation for Newcastle:

--------------------- Jones

Manquillo ----- Skrtel ---- Lovren ----- Moreno

---------------------- Allen

-------------- Gerrard ---- Hendo

-------------------- Coutinho

-------------- Sterling -- Balotelli

I doubt Rodgers will go with this, and I have a feeling that Coutinho may well be 'rested' after playing midweek, so I expect to see the following:

--------------------- Mignolet

Johnson -------- Skrtel --- Lovren ----- Moreno

--------------- Gerrard -- Allen

------- Hendo ----- Sterling --- Lallana

------------------ Balotelli

Jordan Rossiter has trained with the first-team this week, so maybe he'll get a place on the bench. Rodgers may even spring a huge surprise and start the 'wonderful' youngster, but it seems unlikely.

Predicting a 1-1 draw, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson insisted that the whole team 'has to play better' to beat Newcastle. He told the BBC:

"Liverpool have had their own problems, which are not over despite the Reds getting out of jail with that late turnaround to beat Swansea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday".

Sorry, but I have a bad feeling about this game. Newcastle are in the midst of three-game winning run; they're at home, and confidence will be sky high...

My prediction: 3-1 to Newcastle.

Author:

10/30/2014 11:00:00 pm

Dream Deal: LFC hot favourites to sign 'amazing' €40m genius who wants LFC move

Like Fabio Borini, and Brendan Rodgers' hubris, the Marco Reus transfer rumour just refuses to go away, and new reports claim that Liverpool are edging ever closer to sealing a deal for the 'Amazing' German maestro.

Earlier this month, reports claimed that:

* Reus is Brendan Rodgers' top target for the January transfer window.

* Liverpool plan to offer him a 5-year deal worth €1m a month.

* Reus apparently wants the move, and all LFC need to do is agree a fee with Dortmund.

According to new reports today:

* Reus has abandoned contract talks with Borussia Dortmund.
* Liverpool are 'leading the race' to sign the German.
* Dortmund will accept a bid of £32m (€40m).
* Reus wants £180k a week to sign for the club.

If Dortmund want £32m, then that suggest the club is willing to sell in January. Reus has a £25m buyout clause in his contract, so if the German giants want to maximise their income, then it makes sense to sell him during the next transfer window. Plus, £180k broadly corresponds to the €1m a month Liverpool have allegedly offered Reus.

Whether it's January or the summer, Reus seems certain leave Dortmund sooner rather than later, and when asked recently about the attacker's future, Sporting Director Michael Zorc told reporters:

"There are many clubs, even outside of Germany, interested in Marco. We will continue discussions, and then we'll see if we can achieve a positive result"

LFC legend Jamie Carragher is a fan of Reus, and when asked last month about the possibility of the German coming to Anfield, he enthused:

“I’d love LFC to sign Reus. [He's a ] great player, and would be one of the best players in the Premier League.”

Imagine if Liverpool had signed Reus instead of Markovic over the summer. The Serb cost £20m - which basically corresponds to the German's buyout clause - and I have no doubt he would've come straight into the team and made an immediate impact.

Reus's stats this season certainly suggest that would be the case. Unlike Markovic and Lallana, the German is doing the business on a regular basis, and so far, he's grabbed 6 goals/assists in 7 games for Dortmund, which is a great return.

Is a player like Reus a major priority for the January transfer window? A prolific striker is arguably more imperative at this stage, but it all depends on what happens over the next few months. It's possible that Balotelli will become a prolific goalscorer for Liverpool, and if that happens, the need for another striker may not be as acute.

Similarly, if Markovic and Lallana start contributing goals/assists on a regular basis (along with Hendo and Sterling), then Reus may not even be needed. That said, there are certain top-class players that just have to be signed when available, and Reus certainly fits the bill.

Author:

10/30/2014 06:30:00 pm

Photo Proof: 'Wonderful' LFC starlet trains with Sterling. Shock debut vs. Newcastle?

In September, Liverpool starlet Jordan Rossiter scored on his competitive debut for the club, prompting Reds boss Brendan Rodgers - in typical hyperbolic fashion - to describe his performance as 'wonderful'. Well, after making the bench for Tuesday's Carling Cup victory over Swansea, it looks like the promising midfielder could be about to get a taste of Premier League action.

As the following picture shows, 17-year old Rossiter is currently training with the first-team squad, which suggest that he could be in line for a place on the bench against Newcastle this Saturday:



Rossiter is very highly rated at Anfield, and a whole host of current and ex-Reds have praised the youngster's talent. When asked last season who is the 'brightest prospect at LFC's Academy', John Aldridge told the official LFC site:

"I like [Jordan] Rossiter. When he was 15 he was playing for the U18s, which is a tremendous accolade for the lad. He’s a great talent"

Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler also believes the youngster has the potential to develop into the club's new talisman. He recently tweeted:

"A young lad is just about to come on for a few mins for Liverpool in [the] Nextgen - Jordan Rossiter. Big shout, but potentially a young Stevie G. He's a very good player"

Jamie Carragher is also a fan:

"I like the look of him [Rossiter]. He's got a bit of character and steel that me and Stevie have had. He's not shy, will put himself about and clearly is a good footballer".

After Rossiter's debut goal last month, Kolo Toure raved:

“Jordan Rossiter is a great player. I really like this boy. He scored a great goal and showed the strength of Liverpool Football Club. Every day when he comes to training he gives 100%. When you play with young players like that you enjoy it."

The hype machine just keeps on rolling. Rossiter is 17, and he's already being hailed like he's some kind of footballing legend. Keep this up, and it won't be long before he's pulling a Sterling, and demanding £100K a week just to stay at Anfield.

Author:

10/30/2014 01:50:00 pm

'I'm pleased, but...': Time for BR to replace Markovic with €18m outcast who's desperate to stay at Liverpool?

After being ignored by Brendan Rodgers for most of the season, Liverpool misfit Fabio Borini played a major part in the Reds' Capital One Cup victory over Swansea City, but has he done enough to retain his place for Saturday's trip to Newcastle United?

Reflecting on his role in LFC's dramatic victory over Swansea, €18m-rated Borini hailed the 'magnificent' performance of his team-mates, adding:

"I'm very pleased with my performance - not just for the assist, but for my performance after a long time not playing. We showed that we can play as a team."

Against Swansea, Borini - recently hailed by by Gus Poyet as a 'perfect professional' - played out wide in a 4231 formation, which (IMO) is a total waste of his talents. Yes, he can 'do a job' in that role, but he's not a long-term solution for that position, and after spending £120 over the summer, Rodgers should not have tp put square pegs in round holes.

That said, I'd take Borini over Markovic in a 4231 formation. The Serb struggled against Swansea, and Borini looks sharper and more capable of making an impact.

It's all moot, though. With Sterling and Gerrard to come back into the team at the weekend, it's unlikely that Borini will retain his place in the starting line-up. Coutinho also played well against Swansea, and he will almost certainly keep his place, but the Italian should, at the very least, be included on the bench.

Of course, it's possible that Rodgers may play 2 up front against Newcastle, and if that's the case, Borini deserves the nod ahead of Lambert to partner Balotelli. The problem is, though, that in a 442, Sterling is likely to be preferred up front, so there'll be no room for Borini:

-------------------- Jones

Manquillo ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ------ Moreno

------------------- Lucas

------------ Gerrard -- Hendo

------------------ Coutinho

----------- Sterling -- Balotelli

The only way Borini can make this line-up is if Coutinho drops to the bench, and Sterling takes the number 10 role, but that shouldn't even be a possibility. Liverpool are a far better team with Coutinho on the field, though there's scope for for Borini to replace the Brazilian at some stage during the game, which will allow the following:

-------------------- Jones

Manquillo ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ------ Moreno

------------------- Lucas

------------ Gerrard -- Hendo

------------------ Sterling

----------- Borini -- Balotelli

Don't hold your breath, though. Brendan Rodgers seems obsessed with 4231 at the moment, which means Borini will be back to warming the bench this weekend. That probably won't dampen the Italian's desire to succeed at Anfield, though. Indeed, when asked this week about the possibility of a January transfer, Borini's agent told reporters:

"Fabio is not distressed in Liverpool and indeed he is working twice as hard to convince the coach to give him a chance. He knows Liverpool is one of the most important clubs in the world and that the competition is great"

Borini's steadfast refusal to accept defeat is admirable, but whether it makes any difference remains to be seen.

Author:

10/30/2014 07:20:00 am

Redknapp: £19m LFC target is a 'powerhouse' who 'bullies' defenders. Sign in Jan?

With Liverpool's strikers struggling to fill the Luis Suarez-sized hole at Anfield, the Reds are once again being linked with a January move for unplayable' Swansea City star Wilfried Bony, and Jamie Redknapp is the latest ex-Red to hail the powerful Ivorian striker.

According to reports this week, Liverpool will 'consider' a move for Bony if the club 'fails to lure [Saido] Berahino in the winter transfer window".

Earlier this week, ex-Swansea star Ian Walsh claimed that Liverpool made a 'big mistake' signing Mario Balotelli ahead of £19m-rated Bony, and in his Tuesday column for the Daily Mail, Rednapp outlined the striker's main qualities. He enthused:

"Bony is a powerhouse. Monk has kept the passing philosophy and Bony fits in with that, but provides strength too. He bullies defenders, loves a shot [and] it's no surprise to see him score in his last three Premier League outings".

Despite his obvious (and consistent) quality, some LFC fans still retain irrational antipathy/indifference towards Bony, and baulk at the possibility of LFC signing him.

Well, I've argued many times that LFC should sign Bony. He'd be a great signing, for the following reasons:

* After proving his quality in Holland, Bony has done the same in England, and his creative stats prove this:

- Swansea Totals: 40 goals/assists in 59 apps.
- Goal/Assist every 1.4 games.
- League only: 28 goals/assists in 43 apps.
- Goal/assist every 1.5 games.

A striker's primary role is to score/create goals. On that basis, Bony is one of the best strikers in English football, whether fans choose to accept it or not.

* Like Suarez, Bony is a man of steel, and is seemingly impervious to injury. Whenever I've watched him play, the Ivorian's amazing body strength is clearly evident, and with Daniel Sturridge susceptible to regular injuries, it's beneficial to have robust players in the squad.

* According to Swansea boss Gary Monk, Bony has a fierce desire to improve and win. In a recent interview, he enthused: "He [Bony] is a proper professional. He's not the sort of player to take it easy. Every single day he pushes himself and everyone around him. The more players like that you have in your squad, the better you're going to be.". Sounds familiar? I can think of another recent LFC player who constantly pushed for the best, and always demanded 110% effort and commitment.

Alas, Liverpool may have missed the boat. Earlier this month, Bony suggested that he's happy at Swansea, and seemingly ruled out the possibility of leaving. He told Jeune Afrique:

"If I wanted to go, I would have done, but there has never been anything other than speculation re Monaco, Liverpool or Tottenham. I’m fine in Swansea. It is even possible that I extend my contract"

I'd take Bony over Balotelli, Lambert, and Borini every day of the week.

surveys & polls


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10/29/2014 11:30:00 pm

Transfer Shock: Aldo hints at 'radical' early exit for £20m LFC 'disappointment'. Gone in Jan?

Liverpool's dramatic victory over Swansea last night is a massive boost for the club, and although £20m summer signing Dejan Lovren scored the winning goal, he made yet another costly mistake during the game, and Reds legend John Aldridge is not impressed.

The criticism of Lovren seems to be intensifying this month. In a recent column for the Daily Mail, Reds legend jamie Carragher blasted the Croatian for making Liverpool 'look worse defensively than they did last season', and soon after, Aldridge told the Liverpool Daily Post:

"Signing him [Lovren] was supposed to tighten things up at the back but at the moment it looks like we’ll concede 50 league goals again. The way he dives in has to be a concern"

Aldo is back on Lovren's case this week, and in his most recent column, he scathed:

"Lovren is the biggest disappointment so far. He is not doing the job he was bought to do [and] it’s so worrying that it is already reaching a point where I wonder if Brendan is considering a radical solution".

For me, the criticism is harsh, and a little over the top, but when it comes to Swansea's goal against LFC last night, it's hard to disagree with elements of what Aldo and Carra are arguing.

Marvin Emnes' striker pretty horrific from a defensive point of view:



* Lovren is supposed to be marking Emnes, and he tracks him (somewhat) across the box before the ball is dellivered.

* Despite following Emnes' movement, Lovren doesn't get tight, and leaves the attacker acres of space to pick his spot.

* There's no urgency from Lovren here; by the time he starts to react, the ball is already in the back of the net.

* What makes the goal worse is that Lovren could see everything developing in front of him, and he still didn't react quickly or effectively enough.

Prior to signing Lovren, I argued that he'd be under the most intense pressure, and that's exactly what's happening. After last season's defensive shambles, everyone expected the Croatian to come in and change everything overnight, but that hasn't happened, and he's consequently getting more criticism than is warranted.

That said, it's hard to deny that he's made quite a few mistakes since arriving at Anfield, and if he can't handle the pressure or the expectation, then that's a problem. Aldo suggests a 'radical' solution, but I can't see Rodgers dumping Lovren in January, which is the most radical solution available.

The only other option is to drop Lovren for an extended period, but after making him the club's most expensive defender in LFC history, it's unlikely Rodgers will go that way, especially as it will, by extension, make him look bad.

For me, the best thing to do is to just play LFC's first-choice defensive unit as much as possible (i.e. Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno) and allow them to build up a successful rhythm/rapport. Chopping and changing things all the time is a recipe for disaster, and last season proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The strange thing is that Lovren looks incredibly solid 90% of the time - he does a lot of things well, but he's just prone to lapses of concentration, which didn't happen last season. Clearly, he's having problems adapting to LFC, but if the error-issue can be rectified, Liverpool will undoubtedly reap the benefits.

What can't keep happening is Liverpool spending huge amounts of money on defenders every season. In the last year, the club has splurged almost £60m on defensive players, so throwing money at the problem is clearly not the answer (unless, of course, LFC sell one or two defenders first)

Rodgers' defensive coaching is (arguably) a major part of the problem. The manager is developing a reputation for turning good defenders into chumps. Sakho plays well for France; Lovren performs imperiously for Croatia, and did a a great job at Southampton, but at Liverpool, both players are seemingly incapable of reaching the same level.

Why?

The common denominator is Rodgers and his coaching team, and if Liverpool are to have any chance of making the top four this season, something needs to change.

Perhaps the solution is bringing in a defensive coach (like Carra, for example, who wants the job), but whatever happens, the defensive mistakes/inability to defend set-pieces/balls into the box etc must stop before the the club's entire season ends up in the toilet.

Author:

10/29/2014 07:03:00 pm

Agent Confirms: Liverpool want 'incredible' star with amazing stats to replace £9m misfit. Sign?

After the apparent collapse of LFC's move for Victor Valdes, the Reds are back in the market for a new goalkeeper, and the Agent of FC Cologne star Timo Horn has confirmed that Liverpool are interesting in signing the 21-year old German 'keeper'.

According to the Liverpool Echo this week, and German football magazine Kicker, Horn is one of five goalkeepers Liverpool 'could target' during the January transfer window.

When specifically asked today about Liverpool's interest, Horn's agent Volker Struth told Kicker:

"It's just normal that the youngest Bundesliga keeper is monitored by clubs abroad"

Some info about Horn:

* 6'4 goalkeeper in his third season at FC Cologne.
* 27 apps for various German youth teams.
* Conceded only 7 goals in 9 games this season, equalling Bayern's 50 year record.
* Helped Cologne set a new goals-conceded record for a newly promoted team.
* 6 clean sheets in 10 games overall this season.
* Recently went 365 minutes without conceding a goal.
* Tuesday: Saved 2 penalties against MSV Duisburg.
* Current contract expires in 2016.

Horn may be only 21, but his goalkeeping stats are stunning:

* Last season: Conceded only 20 goals in 35 games for Cologne.
* That's only 1 goal conceded every 1.75 games.
* Achieved 18 clean sheets along the way (over 50% of games)
* Overall (last season and current) - 27 goals conceded in last 45 apps.
* 26 clean sheets overall.

26 clean sheets in 45 games? That's a clean sheet in in almost 60% of games, which is amazing, especially for a 21-year old goalkeeper.

Cologne are understandably desperate to keep hold of Horn (!), however, and are currently working on a new deal for the youngster. This week, Sporting director Jorg Schmadkte told reporters:

"We are in good talks [with Horn] and hope to reach an agreement before the winter break,"

Cologne boss Peter Stoger is also hopeful Horn will sign a new deal. In September he enthused:

"He [Horn] does an incredible job. I would be happy if he stays, it would be a good platform for him to develop."

Of all the goalkeepers linked with Liverpool recently, none have such fantastic goals conceded/clean sheets stats. One thing's for sure, Horn is light-years ahead of Mignolet when it comes to performing his primary role, which is stopping goals form being scored.

I've checked the stats of Europe's top goalkeepers, and the only one who comes close to Horn this season is Manuel Neuer: 4 goals conceded in 13 games; 7 clean sheets. Neuer is arguably the world's best, though, and he's more experienced, so he should be achieving those kind of figures.

Worth a bid?



Author:

10/29/2014 03:48:00 pm

Yes Please: 'Incredible' £25m Barca star puts in transfer request. 80% of fans want him. Sign?

Liverpool continue to be linked with a January move for Barcelona star Pedro, and it seems that 27-year old attacker is taking steps to force his way out of the Nou Camp, which is potentially great news for the Reds (and Arsenal, who are also interested).

Over the summer, Liverpool were constantly linked with a move for Pedro, and reports earlier this month claimed that Barcelona are willing to sell for £25m.

Well, according to reports in Spain today:

* Pedro has handed in a transfer request to Barcelona.
* He is determined to quit Barca in January.

This follows a report in September, which claimed that Pedro - who has only completed one 90 minute game so far this season - is 'keen to listen to offers' from Liverpool and Arsenal.

When asked in September about his future, the 27-year old - known as 'the silent superstar' by Barca fans (on account of his humble demeanour) - told reporters:

“It’s difficult [at Barca]. All I want to do is work hard. It’s difficult to get into the starting 11 because I’m competing with the best forwards in the world but I’m fighting for my place every day"

What would Pedro - recently described as 'incredible' by Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque - bring to the Liverpool team? In a recent interview, the forward outlined what he perceives his role to be for Barcelona. He told reporters:

"My job in the team is to free up space on the pitch for my teammates, to build moves, to turn certain episodes into goalscoring chances or to get assists for teammates in better positions. These are my responsibilities during the game. Everything I do must benefit the team."

Despite the ridiculous competition at Barca for attacking places, Pedro's stats over the last few years are very good:

2013-14: 20 goals/10 assists in 52 apps.
2012-13: 10 goals/7 assists in 48 apps.
2011-12: 13 goals/6 assists in 51 apps.
2010-11: 22 goals/8 assists in 52 apps.
2009-10: 22 goals/4 assists in 50 apps.

Liverpool fans certainly hold Pedro in high regard. Prior to the Adam Lallana signing, I asked fans who they'd rather see LFC sign this summer: Pedro or Lallana.

* 17100 visitors (approx) participated in the poll.
* A gigantic 80% of voters chose Pedro over Lallana.

That's a quite staggering vote of confidence in Pedro, but it's hardly surprising given the Spaniard's experience and pedigree. I also voted in favour of Pedro, for the following reasons:

* Pedro has consistent experience at the highest levels of the game, including copious European/international experience.

* He's played alongside some of the world's best players for years, including Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta.

* The Spaniard is a winner; he's won practically every trophy in the game, and that kind of experience could be invaluable for Liverpool. The Reds lacked experience in the final stages of last season, and that arguably contributed to losing the title.

* Pedro is the kind of player who'll come in and give the entire club a lift. He's a marquee signing with an aura about him.

After Rodgers' huge transfer spending over the summer, I can't see FSG handing over another €25m in the January transfer window, especially if the club's erratic form continues for the next two months.

From a business point of view, FSG are entitled to expect a manifest return on the £120m+ spent this year, and if Rodgers can't make it work with all the new signings he's brought in, then from a business perspective, it doesn't make financial sense to give him more money.

Then again, it all depends on where the club is in January. If Liverpool are well off the pace, and Champions League qualification is in doubt, then that's yet another reason to be cautious with transfer funds. Conversely, if the Reds are right up there challenging, another top signing may just be the positive push needed to solidify LFC's position.

If cash is made available, is buying Pedro the best use of that money?



Author:

10/29/2014 05:30:00 am

Axe Him: Aldo tells BR to replace €20m LFC 'maverick' with £4m star. Madness?

Hours before Liverpool's last-gasp victory over Swansea, Reds legend John Aldridge called for Brendan Rodgers to drop Mario Balotelli for a few games, but after the Italian's vital game-levelling goal against the Swans, it's arguably the wrong time to take him 'out of the firing line'.

In his Tuesday column for the Liverpool Echo, Aldo argued that Balotelli is 'desperately short of confidence'; 'struggling to handle the pressure' of playing for Liverpool, and suggested the following solution to LFC's goalscoring woes:

"I'd take Balotelli out of the firing line. Sometimes you have to take someone out of the fold for a few games, so I’d play Lambert [up front] until Daniel Sturridge is fit enough to return. In the meantime you could always bring Balotelli off the bench".

Well, if tonight proved anything it's that Lambert is not a credible goalscoring solution for Liverpool. Overall, the £4m striker had an indifferent match, and failed to effect the game in any meaningful way, and to be brutally honest, that's the story of his season so far.

For me, the prospect of having to rely on Lambert in the Premier League is, quite frankly, frightening. From Lambert to Suarez in a few short months; talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous (!) Even with Balotelli misfiring, I'd still play him - and Borini - ahead of Lambert ever day of the week.

I do't begrudge Lambert his move to LFC, but as Rodgers reiterated last week, he is a back-up player, and that's the way it should remain. Of course, if, at some point, Lambert starts scoring goals, then things might change, but until then, there's no way (IMO) that he should get the nod over Balotelli.

The only striker at the club who should start ahead of 'maverick' Balotelli is Daniel Sturridge, and when LFC's number one striker is finally fit again, that will probably happen on a regular basis.

Author:

10/29/2014 12:15:00 am

Urgent Deal: BR wants 'incredible' €8m star who 'dreams' of LFC transfer. Sign ASAP?

Over the summer, long-time Liverpool target Guillermo Ochoa delivered a goalkeeping masterclass during the World Cup, and after the tournament, Malaga snapped him up on a three-year deal. The 'extraordinary' Mexican is yet to make an appearance for the La Liga club, though, and reports in Italy this week suggest that the Reds are about to reignite interest in the talented stopper..

Liverpool were last linked with Ochoa in July, and according to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato, Brendan Rodgers sees the Mexican 'keeper as an alternative to Victor Valdes, and is planning to make an offer in January.

€8m-rated Ochoa is clearly an excellent' keeper, which probably explains why Liverpool have tracked him for the last two years. The story so far:

JAN 2013: Liverpool made a €6m bid for Ochoa, and in an interview at the time, the 27-year old stopper told Reporters: "My agent had contact with Liverpool, and I hope this summer there will be some offers. There is no doubt, though, that this one of the dreams I've have had since I came to Europe".

MAR 2013: Ochoa told Mediotiempo: "There is interest from Liverpool, but I have to let things happen. I feel very good, in the professional and sporting way. Physically, I am also very well"

APR 2014: Eurosport claimed that the Reds are still monitoring Ochoa, with a view to signing him this summer.

APR 2014: When asked about Liverpool's interest, Ochoa told Todomercadoweb.es: "I have several offers from different countries, and I am willing to listen to all the offers. My agent is dealing with everything and I do not exclude a future in Italy or England."

When asked recently about Ochoa's permanent bench-status, Malaga’s general director Vicente Casado suggested that the club may consider selling Ochoa during the January transfer window. He told Mediotiempo:

“We still think Guillermo will fight (for his place) in every training session and then we’ll see in December. Memo has incredible ability, but Kameni does too. The thing is that we have two great goalkeepers.”

Ochoa remains confident, however, that his chance will come. He told reporters recently:

"I am confident in myself and I will play soon. I'm not just here to play in the Cups,"

Ochoa - voted Ajaccio's Player of the Season for 2012-13 - has a flamboyant public persona, but according to the people that work with him, the Mexican's humility is what makes him popular in the dressing room. In April, Ajaccio defender Arnaud Maire explained his appeal:

"He [Ochoa] is quite a simple person and he's actually quite subdued, strangely enough. I think he's someone who shines through his performances rather than his role off the pitch"

The club's goalkeeping coach Thierry Deb├Ęs added:

"He's well liked because he is extremely humble. He's a superstar in his country, but when he arrived he just kept his head down and worked hard."

If there's a genuine chance of signing Ochoa, then surely it's a no-brainer?

* The Reds' prior interest is factual (why would Ochoa publicly lie?)
* Liverpool tried to sign him in the past.
* Ochoa is a free-agent, and LFC can sign him on a free transfer.
* He dreams of playing for LFC, so it's basically a done deal if LFC pursue it.

Despite being linked with some big clubs over the last few years, Europe's big guns don't ever seem to follow through with their interest, which is strange considering Ochoa has proven his talent time and time again.

Liverpool urgently need a quality goalkeeper to challenge and/or replace Mignolet. Worth a bid to test Malaga's resolve?

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10/28/2014 07:18:00 pm

Confirmed XI vs. Swansea: £52m trio dropped; surprise start for £11m misfit; formation fail possible?

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has named an interesting team for tonight's Capital One clash with Swansea City, and it looks like he's finally set to abandon his preference for playing one-up front.

FULL TEAM: Jones, Manquillo, Toure, Lovren, Johnson, Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho, Markovic, Lambert, Borini

SUBS: Mignolet, Moreno, Skrtel, Lallana, Can, Rossiter, Balotelli

* In an earlier post, I argued for Jones to start ahead of Mignolet, and it's good to see LFC's number 2 get a run out. Plus, if he plays well, he should keep his place for the next league game.

* Sterling and Gerrard are rested, which is also a good move, especially after both recently featured in 3 games in 6 days.

* I personally don't see the point in resting Moreno. It's not like he plays every game; why not just keep him in the team to build up fitness, and get used to playing British football?

* If Toure plays well, Skrtel could find himself battling to get back into the team for Saturday. That said, after Liverpool's clean sheet on Saturday, it's a little harsh to leave Skrtel out. Perhaps Rodgers is just resting him...?

* The inclusion of two strikers suggests that Rodgers may go with a 442 diamond, but unless Coutinho plays in midfield, Rodgers hasn't selected the players to make that work. As such, it unfortunately looks like we'll see a 4231, with Borini played out of position on the wing:

------------------- Jones

Manquillo ----- Toure --- Lovren ----- Johnson

---------------- Hendo -- Lucas

----- Borini ------- Coutinho -------- Markovic

------------------- Lambert

For me, if Rodgers goes this way, it's a total waste of time. 4231 has utterly failed so far this season, and if you're going to play Borini, then give the guy a chance and play him in his preferred position. Another possible formation:

------------------- Jones

Manquillo ----- Toure --- Lovren ----- Johnson

------------------- Lucas

--------------- Hendo -- Coutinho

------------------ Markovic

-------------Borini -------- Lambert

It's possible, but it's not really a balanced set-up. Coutinho in midfield is not the best use of his talents, and Markovic is untested at number 10 (for LFC).

Overall, there are three nice surprises: Jones in goal; Borini starting; Coutinho and Markovic in the same team, but I still feel a little nervous about the game.

My prediction: 2-2

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10/28/2014 04:38:00 pm

Play Me Now: £20m LFC 'passenger' begs BR to 'play' him vs. Swansea. Dump Coutinho?

Liverpool face Swansea City in the pointless waste of time known as the Capital One Cup this evening, and struggling Reds attacker Lazar Markovic is desperate to play, and has publicly pleaded with LFC boss Brendan Rodgers to start him in tonight's game.

Speaking to the official LFC website today, Markovic made it clear that he's hoping to play a significant role this evening. He noted:

"I have to play well and in doing so earn a place in the team.

"Hopefully the Swansea game is an opportunity for me to show what I can do.

"I still have the same drive and motivation"


Markovic started the third round tie against Middlesbrough, so it's likely he'll get the nod tonight, too, probably ahead of Coutinho. That said, the Serb made little impact in the last round, and is yet to score or create a goal in seven appearances for the club.

Many fans - myself included - feel that Liverpool massively overpaid for Markovic, and Reds legend John Aldridge has gone one further, and suggested that the Serb is a 'passenger' at Anfield. In a recent column for Sunday World, Aldo barked:

"Lazar Markovic must do a whole lot better. This kid came with a big reputation, but he has looked out of his depth at Liverpool so far this season. You can’t afford to be carrying players and Markovic is a passenger".

£20m is a lot of money for a 20-year old, and to be fair, it's not Markovic's fault he has that price tag on his head. However, when a club spends £20m on a single player, then it's perfectly fair for fans to have a legitimate expectation that said player is capable of going straight into the team and making a difference.

The manager creates that expectation by spending a massive amount of money, and in this case, it's down to Rodgers to ensure that any £20m players coming into the club are equipped to meet the inevitable expectation. As such, irrespective of age, 'one for the future' is not an excuse that can credibly be used for any player signed for £20m+.

Of course, a little perspective is needed. Markovic basically missed LFC's entire pre-season schedule with injury, so he's already behind the rest of the squad. He has an legitimate excuse for (comparatively) under-performing, and should only really be judged once he's properly up to speed.

The fact is, though, at this stage, Liverpool have received zero benefit for the £20m outlay on Markovic, and Rodgers - not the player - has to take the lion's share of responsibility. No one twisted Rodgers' arm to spend £62m on Markovic, Balotelli, and Lallana; he chose those players, and so far, they've weighed in with two measly goals between them.

That's £31m per goal so far, which is terrible, and deserving of criticism.

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10/28/2014 02:00:00 pm

Legend blasts: LFC made 'big mistake' not signing 'unplayable' £19m star. Sign in January?

When it comes to LFC talking points, Mario Balotelli continues to be polarise fans, pundits, manager, and ex-players alike, and ahead of Liverpool's Capital One Cup game with Swansea tonight, Swans legend Ian Walsh has argued that the Reds made a 'big mistake' choosing Balotelli over Wilfried Bony.

Over the summer, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Bony, and even late into the transfer window, regular reports from a variety of sources claimed that the Ivorian was Liverpool's top target.

Indeed, in mid-August The Mirror claimed that:

* Bony was Rodgers' top transfer target, and LFC's boss pushed hard for the signing.

* BR was happy to meet Swansea's £19m valuation, a fee that is enshrined in his contract.

* Bony was keen to sign for Liverpool, whilst another source recently claimed he was 'desperate' to join the Reds.

For whatever reason, the deal didn't materialise, and speaking to the BBC today, Walsh argued:

"It's a big mistake. Bony is on the upward trend and for me there would only be one choice. They are both quality players but Wilfried Bony has shown his character"

Walsh also outlined the major difference between Balotelli and Bony:

"The biggest part of his game is not his skill or his finishing ability, but his want. His desire to be in the right place at the right time and to keep scoring goals."

I agree with Walsh here. I argued in favour if signing Bony, but there was/is a discernible level of antipathy from Reds fans towards the striker. However, there are number of positives to consider:

* First and foremost, 'unplayable' Bony's stats for Swansea in his first season are excellent:

- Overall: 27 goals/6 assists in 50 apps.
- Goal/Assist every 1.5 games.
- League only: 16 goals/4 assists in 27 starts.
- Goal/assist every 1.3 starts.

* The Ivorian basically carried on where he left off in 2012-13, when he proved himself to be a goal-machine for Vitesse Arnhem:

- 31 goals/8 assists in 30 league games.
- Goal every 85 minutes.
- Goal/Assist every 67 minutes.

* No settling-in time required. Should be able to hit the ground running.
* Should score more at LFC as he'll be playing with better players.

* According to Swansea boss Gary Monk: "He [Bony] is a proper professional. He's not the sort of player to take it easy. Every single day he pushes himself and everyone around him. The more players like that you have in your squad, the better you're going to be."

Bony sounds similar Luis Suarez in his approach to the game: constantly pushing for the best, and always demanding 110% effort and commitment.

Additionally, like Suarez, he is a man of steel, and is seemingly impervious to injury. Whenever I've watched him play, the Ivorian's amazing body strength is clearly evident, and with Daniel Sturridge susceptible to regular injuries, it would've been beneficial to have another solid unit in the team.

In terms of effort and desire on the pitch, Bony and Balotelli are poles apart, and I'm sure the same fans who rubbished the idea of signing the Ivorian, are now wishing Rodgers had chosen him instead.

With 6 goals/assists in 10 appearances so far, Bony is also massively outperforming Balotelli this season, and if both players start tonight, it will be interesting to see who fares best.

As much as I hate to say it, my money is on Bony.

Author:

10/28/2014 10:43:00 am

LFC XI vs. SC: 'Wonderful' star to replace Gerrard? Another double-surprise from BR?

After winning two games in a row (albeit with the help of two own goals), Liverpool failed over the weekend to build on that momentum, and with another important league game on Saturday, a good performance against Swansea City will be good preparation for (hopefully) getting back on track in the league.

Swansea boss Gary Monk will almost certainly name his strongest available team, but it's likely that Brendan Rodgers will shake the team up a bit.

After playing three games in six days, Gerrard will hopefully be rested, along with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Dejan Lovren, and possibly even Jordan Henderson.

That said, Sterling started the last Capital One Cup game against Middlesbrough, so it's possible he may feature again tonight, along with several up-and-coming youngsters, specifically 'wonderful' midfielder Jordan Rossiter, who scored in the last round.

My preferred team for tonight:

------------------ Jones

Manquillo ---- Skrtel - Lovren ------ Moreno

------------------ Lucas

---------- Rossiter -- Hendo

------ Lallana ---------- Markovic

----------------- Lambert

* Give Brad Jones a run out already! Does Mignolet really have to play this game? What is the point of having a back-up goalkeeper if he never plays?

* With LFC's ongoing defensive woes, it's imperative (IMO) that the first choice defensive unit plays together as much as possible, in a bid to build up rhythm and understanding. I doubt both Skrtel and Lovren will play, though, which opens a possibility for Toure to come in and stake a claim.

* Henderson was 'rested' on Saturday, so no need to keep him on the bench again, especially with Gerrard almost certain to be missing.

* Suso is (presumably) still injured, but if he wasn't, I'd like to see him in the starting line-up.

* In the last round, Rodgers sprung a surprise by including Rossiter in the starting line-up, and Williams on the bench, so maybe he'll do the same for tonight's game, and include another couple of young players in the squad?

* This is the ideal competition for Lambert to get starts, but perhaps it's a good idea to play Balotelli? He needs a goal, and if he scores tonight, it will be a big confidence boost ahead of the Newcastle game this weekend.

On the subject of Balotelli - Reds legend Jamie Carragher argues that the Italian should start alongside Lambert. Speaking to Sky Sports on Monday night, he explained:

“I would [start Lambert], it doesn’t necessarily mean you take Balotelli out of the team. I think they’ve linked up together [against Hull] and it’s an extra goal threat and you’re getting two strikers on the pitch.”

With Balotelli:

------------------ Jones

Manquillo ---- Skrtel - Lovren ---- Moreno

------------------ Lucas

---------- Rossiter -- Hendo

---------------- Lallana

---------- Lambert -- Balotelli

Swansea are no pushovers, and even though their form at the moment is not the greatest, Monk's team is playing well, and it will be a strong test for the Reds.

I have to admit, I don't feel confident about the game. My prediction: 2-2

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10/27/2014 11:27:00 pm

Conflict of Interest: Is this strange situation the reason BR refuses to drop Gerrard...?

Steven Gerrard is undroppable. Based on his appearance record under Brendan Rodgers, there's no other conclusion to be drawn. It doesn't matter what the circumstance, 34 years old or not, the captain is guaranteed to start every game. This season, Gerrard has played every minute of every game, including a recent stint of three games in SIX days. Conversely, much young players like Sterling, Coutinho, and Lallana are regularly left on the sidelines, irrespective of performance. Is Rodgers just reckless with the management of Gerrard's fitness, or is there something else at play here.

Well, consider the following: according to reports today:

* Rodgers is currently renting Gerrard's £3m marital home.
* This means that Gerrard is basically Rodgers' landlord (!)

Maybe it's me, but this just doesn't sit well. Rodgers is supposed to be an authority figure over Gerrard, yet he's in a quasi-subordinate business relationship with him off the field. Is this not a conflict of interest?

I'm not for one minute suggesting that this is the case, but if Gerrard is Rodgers' landlord, then it's possible that this may have a subconscious impact on their relationship. It's also slightly worrying (to me) that they have the kind of 'matey' relationship whereby Rodgers feels comfortable renting a property from Gerrard.

What happened to maintaining professional distance? Can you imagine Alex Ferguson renting a house from Wayne Rooney?! No, neither can I.

Just turn it around for a second: imagine renting your house to your boss - I'm sure that would be weird for a lot of people. It would be for me, too. If I had a boss, that is, which I don't. But I digress...

As noted above, Gerrard just completed three games in six days, and when it comes to effective fitness management, that is (arguably) suspect management. What makes it even harder to understand is that Rodgers dropped/rested Jordan Henderson against QPR. Surely, it should been Gerrard on the bench, and Hendo starting?

If the aim is to prolong Gerrard's career, how does it make any sense to play a 34 year old 3 times in 6 days? Rodgers goes on and on about the importance of the squad, but it doesn't seem to matter where the captain is concerned. I'm not suggesting Gerrard needs to be dropped right now, but he should be rested occasionally like everyone else.

The crux of the issue is this: how can Rodgers be objective about Gerrard's role in the team when he is a tenant in one of the captain's houses? How can the manager retain the requisite managerial authority when one of the players is his landlord (!)

Yes, they're both professionals, but in my view, these are legitimate questions.

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10/27/2014 09:30:00 pm

Confirmed: 'Unbelievable' £20m star has 'spoken' with BR about LFC transfer. Try & sign?

New QPR goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has explained why he rejected a transfer deadline day move to Liverpool, and it seems that Brendan Rodgers' powers of persuasion leave a lot to be desired.

Liverpool were linked with McCarthy during the summer 2013 transfer window, and earlier this week, the 24-year old revealed that Brendan Rodgers made a last-ditch attempt to sign him.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend, McCarthy insisted that has no regrets about rejecting the Reds this summer, and also revealed that Rodgers just couldn't persuade him to sign for Liverpool. He explained:

"Harry was a big part of me coming here. The things he said to me swayed my decision. I'd spoken to both managers [Rodgers and Redknapp], but everything the gaffer here said to me I liked, and that's why I'm here now"

Rodgers worked with McCarthy during his ill-fated six-month stint as Reading manager in 2009, and after he watched the 23-year old thwart Liverpool in April 2013, he hailed the 'keeper's performance as 'absolutely staggering', adding:

"That's arguably the best goalkeeping performance I've ever seen. He [McCarthy] has all the attributes to be a top, top keeper - he makes unbelievable saves, is good on his feet and is very calm and assured despite being very young"

After these comments, I predicted that McCarthy would become a transfer target for Liverpool, and that's exactly what happened (though based on Rodgers' eulogy, it's hardly a leap to draw that conclusion!)

Pepe Reina was also impressed with McCarthy's performance, and after the game, the Spaniard swapped shirts with him, after offered some words of encouragement. In his post-match interview, McCarthy revealed what Reina said. He told reporters:

"He [Reina] just said 'well played', and said he didn't know how I made some of those saves. It's nice for someone of his ability to say things like that"

QPR have not disclosed McCarthy's transfer fee, but Reading defender Jem Karacen believes that he is worth big bucks. Last season, he toldthe Daily Mail:

"He's amazing. [He is worth] around 15 to £20million. You see how much young English players go for - there are some crazy sums out there. I don't see why he shouldn't be in that bracket."

The ironic thing here is that given Liverpool's receding faith in Simon Mignolet, McCarthy may have actually played quite a lot at Anfield. If he'd come in and taken his chance, then he might've relegated Mignolet to the bench.

I can understand McCarthy's reluctance to take the chance, though. He probably sees the situation at Liverpool as similar to Man City last season: Manuel Pellegrini dropped Joe Hart for a while, and Costel Pantilimon came in for a few games, ostensibly to give Hart a kick up the backside. Soon enough, though, Hart regained his place, and has stayed there ever since.

Perhaps Rodgers plans to do the same thing after signing a new 'keeper: drop Mignolet for a few games; hope the experience will spur him on the greater heights, then ultimately bring him back into the team as the club's number one.

With this stratefy, Liverpool will find it hard to sign another goalkeeper. In my view, no top class 'keeper is likely to come in just to provide competition (i.e. no real chance of becoming no 1 - just in the squad to make Mignolet feel under threat).

Rodgers will have to convince any incoming player that there's a genuine chance of dislodging Mignolet, otherwise the club might as well just stick with Brad Jones.

Perhaps there's still a chance to sign McCarthy at some point in the future? If he's ambitious, I doubt he'll want to spend the best years of his career at QPR, and if the Hoops get relegated this season, Liverpool will be presented with a golden opportunity to sign the 6'5 stopper.

10/27/2014 06:46:00 pm

[Guest Post] Forget the negativity: BR is still the right man for LFC...right?

[Guest Post] After Liverpool’s comparatively poor start to the season, the dissatisfaction surrounding the club is rampant, with the last two results sending the doom and gloom merchants in a frenzy of negativity. Calls for Brendan Rodgers to be sacked are abundant on most LFC related sites/forums, but according to site regular FdotM, Rodgers is still the right man to lead the Reds.

At the time of writing, Liverpool have only won 4 out of 9 league games, and conceded 12 goals along the way.

A predictable defeat to Manchester City was quickly rectified by a promising performance at White Hart Lane, and like most fans, I thought this would be a galvanising victory. Unfortunately, the dreaded international brake came and disrupted our flow.

Unlike last season, a major issues is that we are losing while playing badly. Early last year, we racked up a few early results playing poorly but we got the 3 points, even without Suarez in the team. This time, Liverpool can't call on the genius of Suarez, so what now? Is our form just an early season blip or is there a real cause for concern? Below are some of my opinions:

Real Madrid

I honestly don’t know what fans were expecting from this game, but one thing was clear: Real Madrid’s squad is filled with world class players, including one of the best players to ever grace the game, Cristiano Ronaldo. Simply comparing their attack to our defence was enough to numb down my expectations, so when they scored I wasn’t too hurt, and fully expected it.

Make no mistake, Liverpool were taught a footballing lessons from one of the best teams in the world. Funny thing is, last season we were in that bracket, now it seems like a distant memory. Liverpool were simply outplayed by an amazing team with an amazing manager.

Balotelli Shirt-Swap

It was a very silly thing to do when losing 3-0 down, but Brendan has done the right thing by speaking to him privately like he did with the culprits last season. It’s done, so let’s move on.

LFC Fans

Most fans, like me, were very pleased with our signings this season. Having had a look at some past posts from this website and others it’s easy to see the majority of them were very happy and impressed with how aggressive Liverpool were in their transfer dealings.

It’s these same fans that are now questioning why Rodgers’ signings. How quickly we forget. Most football fans are hypocritical by nature, but having a balanced view of certain things can help greatly. Negativity spreads like wildfire and at the moment there’s plenty of it. Perspective is a good thing to ponder over in times like these when the team is not hitting the high gears. But of course, perspective has a limit.

Quality and Quantity of Signings

On a personal level, I was happy with the signings we made, particularly Lovren, Can, Lallana & Lambert. Excited about Moreno and cautiously pleased with Balotelli and Markovic. The main concern that I had was that we made quite a number of signings and these were always going to take time to gel. Tottenham last season came to mind, but unlike Spurs, we made 4 singings with Premier League experience.

The new lads. When they do adapt we will be much better, for now we just have to wait for that game when they “click”. So far it has not happened yet, and the Tottenham victory was clearly a false dawn.

Balotelli

I had a slight smile on my face but was very cautious about this one. Balotelli is a player that may score a hat-trick and look disinterested at the same time, Liverpool fans want to see his effort and commitment. So far I have seen very little of him, but I think he will get better once Sturridge partners him up front.

The only issue I have with Balotelli is that he was a better player when he was 17 than he is now. He has become slow and lacking creativity, with most of his goals in Italy coming from penalties and free kicks. There’s something lacking in his game. He lacks movement, tactical awareness, clinical finishing. He does not use his strength to his advantage and generally looks uninterested. He has shown flashes of effort but not enough.

Markovic

I was content with this signing but not the amount we spent on him. He is a decent player but that’s all he has ever been since he broke into the Serbia national team. At Benfica, he showed flashes of his potential but even at that level he had many average games so the amount we played for him was a very concerning.

As we all know, he is not performing well at the moment, he seems scared to attack the ball, rather he chooses the easier option and we’ve seen this quite a few times already this season. He is a left winger so playing him on the right will impact his performance somewhat. I am confident he will improve but not sure he will become a world class player that we all hope he will become.

What also concerns me is Rodgers reluctance to spent the Markovic £20M on an experienced, first-team quality attacking mid/winger? Loads of class players come to mind.

Lovren

I was over the moon with this signing. The price was too expensive but I thought we were really getting a good defender. I still think so. But you can’t solve your defence in just a few games. I just don’t know what has gone wrong with him. Is it the weight of the shirt? High expectation from the fans? Players around him?
One this is for sure, he is not performing near enough to this capacity and the 12 goals conceded in league shows that. Must improve.

Lambert

I was excited because everyone, including himself, knew he was coming in as a backup. And keeping in mind the level of his performance and creative output for Southampton in the Premier League I was very happy to having him on board in that capacity. Low wages, short contract, proven goal scorer, Liverpudlian and Liverpool fan. What else do you want?

Well, playing for Liverpool is much more pressurized than playing for Soto. He mentioned about not being match fit but as a football player it’s his job to be fit, it’s not like he has been injured. Very disappointed so far.

Emre Can

Has not played enough to make my mind up but so far his performances has been like the team, average I expect him to improve as he has the potential to do so. Suggestion: Why not playing him at CB? He has played this position numerous times for Germany and both Bayern. Surely it’s worth a shot in the Capital One cup?

Manquilo & Moreno

The Spanish duo havr settled in nicely, and their performances have been better than most players in the team. Still very inexperienced though, and they’re both prone to lapses of concentration. I definitely prefer Manquilo over Johnson.

Lallana

Unfortunate to be injured so early on, but has slowly picked up form. We paid way over the odds for hi, but he is one of our better performers.

Overall

On paper these signings look good, but Rodgers needs to take some responsibility for some of the poor singings he has made:

* We haven’t replaced Suarez despite knowing he was going to leave for a while.
* We haven’t bought a readymade replacement for the ageing Steven Gerrard
* We haven’t improved our keeper situation
* We wasted money on unnecessary singings/squad players
* BR still does not know our best squad and tactics
* Defending set pieces is still an issue which has not been rectified.

We’ve definitely been unfortunate with injuries, but so has Arsenal and United. BR had the summer to rectify this situation and he is struggling to justify some of this signings. Do I still support the gaffer Absolutely, and mark my words, we will hit a good run of form at some point this season.

Despite the poor performances this season, we are still joint 4th in the table, and the further positive is that all teams are dropping points and we haven’t even picked up form. Prior to the West Brom game, we won two games in row, and wins cure negativity.

Another slight positive is that winning against Basel at home and Ludogorets away will see us quality for the next stage o the Champions League.

In conclusion, please numb your expectations. Last season was amazing but this is a new season. The team is struggling and they need your support. BR has made some bad choices but I also believe he is a big part of the reason why we were so good last season.

Of course having a world-class player like Suarez and a top class player like Sturridge helped, but BR can fix our problems, I truly believe that.

Onwards and Upwards.

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