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05 September 2015

Carra raves: £25m 'genius' is Liverpool's 'best player' by a 'long way'. Agree...?

Earlier this week, ex-Red Luis Suarez named Philippe Coutinho as his 'favourite player' in the Premier League, which, by extension, basically means that Suarez believes that the Brazilian is Liverpool's best player. Many fans will undoubtedly agree with the Uruguayan's assessment, including Reds legend Jamie Carragher, who insists that Coutinho is head and shoulders above any other player at Anfield.

Speaking to Sky Sports this week, Carra raved:

"It [Coutinho's suspension) is a massive blow - he's Liverpool's best player by a long way.

"He wasn't at his best [at West Ham] but every time the ball comes to him you think something could happen. He's going to be a massive miss".

Is £25m-rated Coutinho Liverpool's best player? Even with his inconsistency, Coutinho is right up there, but selecting the Brazilian is merely an indictment of the overall lack of attacking quality in Liverpool's squad.

Sturridge aside, who else is there in the current team capable of exciting the fans the same way Heighway, Dalglish, Fowler, Beardsley, Barnes, McManaman, Torres, and Suarez did in the past?

James Milner 'aint it, that's for sure.

On the subject of Suarez - back in August 2013, Kolo Toure dismissed suggestions that the £65m striker was Liverpool's best player, and - like Carra - he anointed Coutinho as the King of Anfield. The Ivorian explained:

"I had one session with him [Luis Suarez] and I was all over him. Coutinho is the best player here, I think. I call him ‘my player’. He’s going to be massive this year"

I have a feeling that if Kolo Toure actually played against Suarez in a competitive game then it would be the other way round: the Uruguayan would be 'all over' him.

That season, Suarez smashed in 44 goals/assists in 39 games, whilst Coutinho contributed 13 goals/assists in 39 apps. I think it's clear which player went on to be 'massive' that year (!)

Is Coutinho - a genius with the ball according to John Aldridge - 'Liverpool's best player by a long way'?

In my view, a fully-fit Daniel Sturridge is LFC's best attacking player. When he's firing on all cylinders, no one else in the Reds squad can touch him when it comes to consistency, and prolificity.

Sadly, though, Liverpool may already have seen the best of Sturridge.

Author: Jaimie K

Transfer Travesties: How Liverpool lost £46.4m on catastrophic double-deal. Worst transfers ever?

In the summer of 2013, Liverpool sold Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing for a combined total of £21m, which amounted to an incredible £34m loss in just two years. This is an astounding figure, and is indicative of the transfer negligence that continues to haunt the club, but a closer look at the figures reveals an even more damaging financial reality.

The ruinous purchase of Andy Carroll is undoubtedly one of the worst transfers ever perpetrated by a Liverpool manager, and to this day, it's impossible to understand the thought-process behind the decision to splurge £35m on a player of such (glaringly obvious) limited ability.

Add Downing into the equation - a player who went an entire season without a single league goal or assist - and the catastrophic mismanagement of the club's transfer funds is even more painfully clear.

Consider the following:

Click image to enlarge

£3m per goal? £7290 for every minute of pitch time? 61% combined loss on original transfer fees? Whatever way you slice it, Liverpool made a staggering financial loss on Downing and Carroll, and in my view, the following were culpable (in order of blameworthiness):


The group were new to British football, and they clearly trusted the judgment of Dalglish and Comolli. After all, if they couldn't trust one of game's greatest and most experienced legends, who could they trust?

However, this doesn't absolve FSG of overall responsibility. Henry et al made the funds available, and signed the cheques, and even without knowledge of football, anyone with rudimentary insight or intelligence should've seen the sheer folly in spending £35m on an unproven striker with only 6 months top-flight experience.

Kenny Dalglish

The King will always be a Liverpool legend, but the sad truth is that during his second spell in charge, he made some lamentable mistakes in the transfer market.

I still find it incredible (and tragically ironic) that Dalglish - one of the biggest proponents of the 'Liverpool Way' of playing football - brought to Anfield a player who represents the utter antithesis of that approach.

I also can't understand how Dalglish could've legitimately believed that a lolloping, technically bereft lummox like Carroll could've taken Liverpool forward. Prior to the transfer, Dalglish must've surely seen this widely available scouting footage of Carroll?

 photo ball-horse.gif

Damien Comolli

The Frenchman identified transfer targets, but he had no power to actually make decisions and/or individually sign anyone. FSG and Dalglish ultimately made the decisions, which is why they must take the lion's share of the blame for this particular transfer catastrophe.

It's not just the financial loss that stings; it's the loss of utility to the club. If the £55m outlay on Downing and Carroll had been spent *wisely* (i.e. on 2-3 players capable of making a consistent impact), then it's probable that the Reds would've performed better in the league.

Did Liverpool learn anything from these epic transfer crimes? Of course not! The club is still wasting money hand over foot, and by the end of Rodgers' reign, it's possible that he'll go down in history as the most wasteful manager in LFC history.

No matter how much money he wastes, though, it's doubtful that Rodgers will make a worse transfer than Andy Carroll.

Verdict: Catastrophic Transfer Fail

Author: Jaimie K

Legend blasts: £6m LFC star is 'average' and Liverpool don't 'need him'. Harsh or fair?

After a protracted transfer from Burnley, Summer signing Danny Ings is already struggling for first-team football at Anfield, and Arsenal legend John Hartson is convinced that Brendan Rodgers has made yet another error in the transfer market.

In a Friday interview with Talksport on Friday, Hartson argued that Ings is an unnecessary purchase. He explained:

"Look at Liverpool: how much did they really need Danny Ings? What’s the point? Ings hasn’t kicked a ball for Liverpool.

"Arsene Wenger doesn’t work like that. He protects the club’s money. He doesn’t just waste money on bang average players".

Ings - who will reportedly end up costing Liverpool £6m - has been granted only 30 minutes of pitch-time so far this season, which is totally different from last season, when he played practically every game for Burnley.

This is what happens, though, when barely established young players move to big clubs before they've achieved anything significant in the game.

Liverpool is a hard club to turn down, but Benteke and Sturridge in the squad, Ings will struggle for regular game-time this season, and that will probably stunt his development.

Granted, Sturridge is injury prone, and there's a strong chance he'll get injured again at some point this season, but even if that happens, Rodgers rarely play two up-front, so either way, Ings still faces a season of bench duty.

Hartson is harsh with his assessment, though. Ings is not 'average' - he's a proven Premier League goalscorer, although his figures for last season are not that great:

* 11 goals/ 4 assists in 37 apps (goal/assist every 2.4 games)

* Goal every 282 minutes.

Did Liverpool need Ings? The club certainly needed new striker to replace Lamber, Borini, and Balotelli, all three of whom have now left the club.

In terms of ability to make an impact for Liverpool under Rodgers, Ings is arguably an upgrade on Lambortelli, but it remains to be seen whether he'll get the chance to consistently prove that this year.

In my view, Ings made a mistake signing for Liverpool. He'll toil away for a couple of years, getting games every now and again, but ultimately, he'll get fed up with being a bit-part player and leave.

If Ings - described by Jamie Redknapp as 'fantastic' - gets a chance against Manchester United, he has to grab it with both hands, and really stake his claim for a place in the team.

That means scoring at least one goal, which should (in theory) ensure that he stays in the team. That's not how Rodgers works, though, and even if Ings grabs a brace, I'm sure he'll end up back on the bench.

After all, Rodgers has to accommodate James Milner, and nothing - absolute nothing - can be allowed to get in the way of that...

Author: Jaimie K

04 September 2015

Carra raves: £300k-a-week superstar can be best 'of all time'. Better than Gerrard?

For the first time in its history, the Wales national team is on the brink of qualifying for the European Championships, and after his vital winning goal against Cyrus last night, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher is convinced that Bale is close to becoming one of then 'great British players of all time'.

Reacting to Bale's thunderous winning goal, Carra explained:

"He [Bale] has already achieved an awful lot, but if they [Wales] qualify when other great Welsh players could never achieve it. [then that] shows the accomplishment.

"If he [Bale] could be successful in terms of winning titles & the CL [with a Prem club] we could be putting him right at the top of list of great British players"

Carra is spot on here (IMO). Bale - reportedly on £300k-a-week - is already one of the great British players of modern times, but if he continues his achievements over the next five years, the sky is the limit.

Bale is definitely a 'world-class' player already, though, and he fits my personal definitely of the concept, even though he plays for one of the world's inferior international teams.

When assessing 'World Class' ability, the only fair way to judge is to apply - where possible - objective criteria.

The subjective formula is basically: 'I see, therefore he is World Class', but that arguably has no meaning unless the label can be persuasively justified with objective facts.

As such, before a player can be deemed 'world-class', he/she must:

* Have a Specific, Measurable Impact (SMI) - at all three levels of football, which are: Domestic (national leagues); European (Champions League/Europa League, or worldwide equivalent); World (International - qualifying and/or tournaments).

* Pushes his/her team to relative success at all three levels.

Relative Success: OAL and SMI

* What is the the team's Optimum Achievement Level (OAL) in a given competition? In other words, considering the overall quality of players available, and relative strength of other teams, what is the absolute best the team can realistically expect to achieve?

* Causation: The player's causal contribution to his team's OAL. To what extend did the player in question help the team to meet its OAL? But for the player under consideration, would the team still have achieved its OAL?

* SMI at all three levels is required. Two out of three is not good enough.

* A variety of objective, position-specific criteria should be used when assessing the SMI of players. For example, for attacking players: Goals; assists; conversion rate; key passes; shot-assists; passing accuracy etc. For defenders: goals conceded; blocks; aerial duels won; tackle success rate etc.

* A player's individual SMI is all important. How far did the player contribute to the team achieving its OAL? If you remove the player's SMI from the equation, would the team still achieve its OAL? If so, then that player is probably not world class. Truly world class players are absolutely integral to their team's success, to the extent that, without that player, the team would not achieve its OAL.

Gareth Bale: World-Class?

Bale easily fulfills the above criteria:

* SMI at Domestic Level | SPURS: 74 goals/assists in 146 games; 2x Player of the Year awards; integral to Spurs' qualification for the Champions League. MADRID: 53 goals/assists in 60 games.

* SMI at European level | SPURS: 22 goals/assists in 28 CL/UEFA apps. MADRID: 13 goals/assists in 22 CL apps. 10 goals/assists in 12 CL games in 2013/14 (plus a goal in the final) = integral to Madrid's CL win.

* SMI at International level | 18 goals in 51 games (13 in World-Cup/Euro qualification). Scored 5 of Wales' 9 goals in the current qualification campaign.

* Wales OAL: Since Wales have never qualified for the European Championships (and last qualified for the World Cup in 1958), the team's OAL is (arguably) qualifying for a major tournament. Wales are on the brink of achieving that. Without Bale's goals and assists, Wales wouldn't be top of their group, and would already be out of contention. As such, it's fair to say that Bale has played an integral role in helping Wales achieve its OAL.

With all this in mind, Bale is clearly 'world-class', even though he'll probably never get to play in the latter stages of a major tournament. In this respect, he's very similar to Kenny Dalglish, another world-class player whose goals and assists in qualification were integral to helping a Scotland (another small international team) qualify for major tournaments (World Cup: 1978 and 1982).

Some may disagree, but in the context of the definition outlined above, Bale is the UK's only (currently active) world-class player.

Author: Jaimie K

Play Him? 'Concerned' Legend insists Liverpool must unleash 'terrific' £6m attacker vs. Man-Utd

Four games into the new season, and Danny Ings is largely being ignored by Brendan Rodgers. Despite Liverpool's pitiful lack of goals, Ings has been granted just 30 minutes of pitch-time, and Liverpool legend John Aldridge has called for the £6m^ summer signing to start the Reds' next game against Manchester United.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this week, Aldo revealed that he is 'concerned' the Rodgers is 'not playing to Christian Benteke's strengths'.

Aldo also argued that 'terrific' Ings is the right player to operate alongside the Belgian striker for next week's crunch clash at Old Trafford. He explained:

"[Ings] is the perfect man to play alongside Benteke against United. With Coutinho suspended, there's a space that needs filling, and Ings should be the one to come in the replace him. Rodgers could...put him up top along with Benteke, or even in behind".

This makes a lot of sense, and it's the obvious way to proceed, which is why it probably won't happen.

I have no doubt that, if fit, Rodgers will play Lallana ahead of Ings, and he'll probably persist with the failed strategy of playing Benteke up-front on his own.

Rodgers did this all last season with Balotelli, and Lambert, and he's too stubborn to change things now, especially with his overt favouritism towards underwhelming players like Lallana.

Ings is one option, but Joao Carloss Teixiera is another, and with Coutinho suspended, now is the perfect time to give the Portuguese attacker a well-earned chance in the first team.

It's even possible to fit both Ings and Teixeira in the same team:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Lovren - Skrtel ------- Gomez
--------------- Lucas
------- Henderson - Milner
------------- Teixeira
------- Ings
-------------- Benteke

Granted, Rodgers will almost certainly select Firmino over Teixeira, but neither player is experienced in the Premier League, so it won't (IMO) be a huge risk to play Teixeira.

The problem comes again with the Henderson-Milner axis. Rodgers is seemingly hellbent on playing Milner in every single game, but if he was more flexible, the following team could be fielded:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Lovren - Skrtel ------- Gomez
--------------- Lucas
------- Henderson - Teixeira
------------- Firmino
------- Ings
-------------- Benteke

This can still work is Henderson is still injured for the United game:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Lovren - Skrtel ------- Gomez
--------------- Lucas
------- Milner ---- Teixeira
------------- Firmino
------- Ings
------------- Benteke

None of these line-ups solve one of this season's most glaring problems: a fatal lack of width. There's always the option of switching to 352 (which Rodgers did, to little effect, against West Ham), and in that scenario, I'd like to see the following team:

--------------- Mignolet
Gomez ---------- Skrtel ------- Lovren
---------- Lucas ---- Henderson
Clyne -------- Teixeira ------ Moreno
------- Firmino (or Ings)
------------- Benteke

If everyone is fit, though, Rodgers will probably play this team:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Lovren - Skrtel ------- Gomez
------------ Can --- Milner
-------------- Henderson
----------- Lallana -- Firmino
---------------- Benteke

Distinctly uninspiring.

^probable compensation fee according to the Liverpool Echo

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Author: Jaimie K

'What a load of boll*cks': Prem legend blasts Rodgers for refusing to admit Benteke offside

After four Premier League games, Liverpool have seven points from a possible twelve, and it's fair to say that poor refereeing is the main reason the Reds are currently languishing near the relegation zone. If not for some incompetent decision-making, the Reds might only have one point from twelve, and Christian Benteke's offside goal against Bournemouth is undoubtedly one of the season's most glaring mistakes. After the game, Brendan Rodgers glossed over the offside nature of the goal, and this enraged ex-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who criticised Rodgers this week for allegedly feigning ignorance.

When asked after the game for his view on the offside goal, Rodgers defiantly told reporters:

"One, I haven't seen the replay [for Benteke's goal] yet, and two: it's a goal".

At a Virgin Media event this week, Redknapp - who is currently on a break from football management - publicly slammed Rodgers for refusing to accept the truth. He raged:

"Brendan come on last week, and what a load of bollocks. They said to him ‘what about the offside goal’, and he said ‘I didn’t see it yet’. Do me a favour. Why can’t he say ‘Yeah, we got away with it there, but it evens out over the season’."

Redknapp is entitled to his opinion, but the way he phrased his view here is belittling, and (arguably) unprofessional. Calling Rodgers' view 'a load of bollocks' in public is out of order, and betrays a lack of respect for the man.

In an ideal world, Rodgers should've been up-front about the decision, but to be fair, very few managers admit to things like this in public. Plus, it's entirely possible that Rodgers was telling the truth about not seeing the replay.

Redknapp is really Liverpool's case this week, and in the same exchange, he scathed:

"It’s the worst Liverpool team I’ve seen in years. They look bang average. Bournemouth should’ve beat them, they got a last minute wonder goal at Stoke. They’ll do well to finish in the top five. They look a badly balanced team. They’re lucky to have any points".

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Redknapp here. This *is* the worst Liverpool team in years.

In the last 7-8 years, Players like Carra, Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano, Alonso, Hyypia, and Suarez have graced the team, so there's no way (IMO) that the current team can be superior to any team including those (now departed) players.

Redknapp is also right about Liverpool being 'lucky to have any points'. As noted earlier, if not for poor refereeing, Liverpool could be near the relegation zone right now:

* Current points total: 7

* Remove Benteke's offside goal = 2 points dropped (Win becomes a draw)

* Allow Ramsey's goal for Arsenal = 1 point dropped (Draw becomes a defeat)

* Revised Total: 4 points out of 12, and a drop to 16th in the league.

Things can only get better...right?

Author: Jaimie K

I'm Back: 'Extraordinary' £16m Liverpool outcast subtly slams LFC fans/pundits after 3 goals/assists on Milan debut

Earlier this week, AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani claimed that on-loan Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is a 'radically changed' man, and hailed his positive attitude since returning to the club. Well, it appears that the extra training session at Milan appear to be paying off as Balotelli has scored on his (second) debut for Milan tonight.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani praised Balotelli's 'extraordinary attitude', and further enthused:

"He [Balotelli] is the first to arrive [a training] and the last to leave. He's probably realised that this is his last chance and I'm sure he won't waste it. His technical ability has never been in question"

Well, Balotelli took only three minutes to score on his return to action for Milan.

* 3 Minutes: The Italian hammered a 20-yards shot into the back of the net (his first goal in six months).

* 23 minutes: later, Balotelli created Milan's second goal for Andrea Poli.

* 63 minutes: Balotelli won Milan a penalty

Granted, it's only a friendly, but it's still a goal and two assists, and bodes well for Balotelli's chances of making an impact in competitive games for Milan.

As a comparison: Liverpool have scored two measly goals in 360 minutes this season, but Balotelli has contributed to three goals in 90 minutes.

Obviously, I'm not directly comparing Premier League quality with a friendly game, I just find it amusing.

After the game, Balotelli sent a message to his many Liverpool detractors, who regularly claim that he is lazy on the pitch. He toldreporters:

"I have always been in good shape and put in the maximum effort like everyone. I am happy to have scored a goal and provided an assist. I wanted to win this game, because I don’t like losing.”

Balotelli in Numbers

* 52 weeks as a Liverpool player.

* £16m Transfer fee.

* £110k-a-week salary (£5.7m over 52 weeks)

* £21.7m total cost to Liverpool(£16m transfer fee + £5.7m salary)

* 28 appearances overall.

* 4 goals/assists in 38 appearances (4 goals/0 assists).

* 1503 minutes played for LFC (Average 53 mins per game).

* £5.4m cost-per-goal.

* £14400 earned for every per minute of pitch time.

Ouch! This is even worse value than Fabio Borini, who cost Liverpool £10k-per-minute of pitch time.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will be hoping and praying that Balotelli maintains his form for the rest of the season. He's in the shop window, and if the Italian performs well, Liverpool might be able to claw back a decent transfer fee.

As noted many times, though, I don't blame Balotelli for his failure at Anfield; I blame Rodgers, who repeatedly played him out of position, and utterly failed to play to the Italian's undoubted strengths.

Author: Jaimie K

03 September 2015

Transfer Travesties: How Liverpool could've signed 'world-class' £90m superstar who wanted LFC transfer

Liverpool have missed out on some fantastic players over the years, and in this new series, I'll be looking at a selection of some of biggest transfer fails in LFC's history. First, I'll start with possibly the biggest travesty of them all: Liverpool's failure to sign Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's no secret that Liverpool wanted to sign 'world-class' Ronaldo (who - according to CIES - is currently worth £90m), and there's plenty of evidence to back this up:


* June 2003: After the Toulon Tournament, Ronaldo (who was 19 at the time) heard of Liverpool's interested, and publicly exhorted the club to make him an offer. He told reporters:

"Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream to represent a club of such traditions. I hope they make an offer. My way of playing can be reconciled in the Premiership. If a player has quality then he can play anywhere"

* Aug 2003: The BBC reported: "Liverpool have been linked with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who was watched by Liverpool at the Toulon tournament this summer".

* Aug 2003: Liverpool failed to follow up their interest, and Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in a £12m deal.

* Oct 2005: Liverpool legend Phil Thompson confirmed that Liverpool wanted Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United. In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Thommo noted:

"One star who got away was Cristiano Ronaldo. I met [Ronaldo's] agent...who wanted £1m tax free per year. I said: 'The boy is only 18. That is a massive problem,'.

"I mentioned it to Gerard [Houllier]. He said: 'I will ask Rick.' We had just signed Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec...and we would have had anarchy if the other players found out how much we were considering paying".

* Oct 2010: Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier confirmed Thompson's account, and revealed that salary issues were the main reason the Reds failed to sign Ronaldo. He recollected:

"We [Liverpool] went for him, but we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted. Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson, 'You have to sign him'. But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room"

So there you have: the best player on the planet (arguably) wanted to join Liverpool, and the club could've signed him, but ultimately decided against it. The rest, as they say, is history. There's a very specific precedent set here, though, that persists to this day. The pattern is obvious:

* A player publicly expresses interest in signing for Liverpool (Ronaldo, Konoplyanka, Shaqiri etc) and/or reveals he's a Liverpool fan (Ayew, Turan, and many more)

* Liverpool are repeatedly linked with said player.

* Liverpool drag their heels, and/or try and lowball the selling club, and the player ends up signing for someone else.

Sound familiar? Meanwhile, Liverpool waste hundreds of millions on dross, which leads to an abject failure to win the league for 25 years (and counting).

The galling thing is that less than a year later, Liverpool spent £14.5m on Djibril Cisse, money which could've been used to fund Ronaldo's transfer and contract.

Verdict: Catastrophic transfer Fail.

Author: Jaimie K

'He's Immense': Redknapp hails 'outstanding' £15m Liverpool target who hates Suarez because of his 'superior manner'

During the 2012-13 season, Liverpool were constantly linked with a move for Swansea star Ashley Williams, and speculation arose again April 2015, with The Mirror claiming that Liverpool were considering a 'fresh move' for Williams this summer. Obviously, the Reds didn't follow up their interest, but ex-LFC midfielder Jamie Redknapp insists that top clubs have missed out on one of the Premier League's best defenders.

In his column for the Daily Mail, Redknapp raved:

"Ashley Williams has been outstanding. He is immense and plenty of clubs would love to have him".

Ironically, even with Williams' alleged 'outstanding' form, Swansea have conceded more goals than Liverpool this season, and have only one clean sheet in four games. Despite this, Swansea are ahead of the Reds in the league.

When asked about Liverpool's interest during the 2013-14 season, Williams told Wales Online:

“It is always nice to hear people say nice things about you, and a lot of people have been talking and saying good things. It just means I’m probably doing my job right and I try to keep working hard".

Soon after, Rickie Lambert - who played alongside Williams at Stockport County - revealed that he tried to get Williams to spill the beans on the potential Liverpool deal:

"I asked him [Williams]: ‘Are you going to Liverpool?' Ash wouldn’t tell me. He has done magnificently over the last few years and would be a great signing for Liverpool”

Lambert is not the only one who thinks Williams would be a great buy for Liverpool:

* In February 2014, Joe Allen told the Daily Mail: "Ashley [Williams] has got a lot of experience at a high level, and I’m sure he'd be comfortable at an even higher level"

* Ian Rush is also in favour of the deal: "To get Williams would be great. At the right price Swansea would let him go, and he would be good for Liverpool with his experience."

* Jan Molby concurs with Rushie: "He [Williams] looks better this season than he did last. He’s assured, even when he’s being put under pressure. He can play and he can graft. You don’t get many centre backs like that".

Given his antipathy towards Luis Suarez, though, it's hardly surprising that Williams' proposed move to Anfield fell through. In his book, 'My Premier League Diary' (Published on the 14th November 2013), Williams:

* Admitted that he 'truly dislikes' Suarez.

* Ridiculed his 'shocking' diving.

* Accused the Uruguayan of treating Swansea with 'utter contempt'.

* He also wrote: "I don't like the bloke [Suarez]. I don't like his superior manner. Basically, I have no time for the guy at all."

Well, Suarez is no longer at Liverpool, so if Liverpool were to go back in for Williams, that's one less barrier in the way of a transfer.

Dejan Lovren has done well in three out of four games this season, but if his form nosedives, Liverpool may need to bring in a new central defender during the January transfer window.

Is Williams - valued by Swansea in the £15m range - a viable option, and is he mentally tough enough to deal with the pressure that comes with playing for Liverpool?

Author: Jaimie K

Liverpool Nightmare: £58m-duo out of Man United. 'Unplayable' £32m star could also miss the game

After the humiliating 3-0 home defeat to West Ham (the first time that's happened in 50 years), Liverpool need to bounce back against Manchester United at Old Trafford next week, and failure to get a result will inevitably heap even more pressure on Reds boss Brendan Rodgers. To beat United, Liverpool will need the club's top attacking players stand up and be counted, but Coutinho is suspended, and it appears that two of LFC's most important attackers are also in danger of missing the game.

Over the last week, Daniel Sturridge has been doing individual fitness work at Melwood, but according to The Mirror:

"Daniel Sturridge is unable to rejoin first-team training until the end of the week at the earliest and that rules him OUT of a return against Manchester United".

To add insult to injury, Christian Benteke has picked up a thigh injury, which means he may join Sturridge and Coutinho on the sidelines for the Man United game.

Announcing Benteke's injury, Belgium boss Marc Wilmots told ESPN:

"The medical team will see how the injury develops. If he doesn't train because he feels discomfort again, he won't play on Thursday. There are enough replacements."

Thigh strains can take a while to fully heal, and according to Four Four Two magazine's injury clinic:

"A small strain (grade one): seven to 10 days [on the sidelines). If the fibres are more damaged (grade two)...expect 2-8 weeks. A grade three thigh strain is very serious, with a treatment time of 8-weeks or more".

If Benteke is out for '7-10 days' over the international period, then he won't be able to training properly, which almost certainly means he won't make the Man United game.

It's even more of a worry given the Belgian's injury history. Over the last two completed seasons:

* 214 days out injured.

* 20 games missed overall.

Hopefully, Benteke - hailed by Steven Gerrard as 'unplayable - won't play tonight, and he'll take the extra time to heal properly. If, however, he plays on Sunday, there's a chance that the injury will reoccur, which will almost certainly rule him out of Man United.

As such, for Liverpool's sake, Benteke should just sit out the rest of the entire international break, but given Belgium's intense competition up-front, I'm sure he's eager to solidify a position in the team.

Can Liverpool beat Man United without Benteke (cost: £32.5m, Coutinho (CIES valuation: £40m) and Sturridge (CIES valuation: £18m)

Food for thought: Both Liverpool goals this season have been scored by...Benteke and Coutinho.

Author: Jaimie K

Anfield Outcast: Liverpool tried to sell 'incredible' £12m star on transfer deadline-day. Irresponsible?

In the latter stages of the summer transfer window, Barcelona were regularly linked with an improbable move for £12m Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno, and although the Reds are woefully short of cover at left-back, Brendan Rodgers reportedly tried to scrap the Spaniard before the transfer window closed.

According to the Daily Express:

* Liverpool offered Moreno to Real Madrid on transfer deadline day.

* Rafa Benitez was initially 'keen' on Moreno as a direct replacement for Fabio Coentrao.

* Benitez ultimately 'opted out' of a deal.

If this is true, then it explains why Moreno is being ignored for a starting place in favour of 18-year old Joe Gomez.

Liverpool desperately needed a new left-back this summer. Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson grees, and in a recent column for the Liverpool Echo, he urged Brendan Rodgers to relegate Moreno to the bench:

"Since the New Year, he [Moreno] has been really struggling for form. It all fell apart in the second half of the season. Worryingly, quite often he has looked a little boy lost in the big games"

Moreno doesn't appear to be very popular with the fanbase, either. Last month, I ran a poll on the site asking fans whether Liverpool should sell Moreno:

* 49% of fans votes YES to a sale.

* A slim majority of 51% voted NO to a deal.

Fans are split right down the middle, which (arguably) shows that there's no great confidence in Moreno as Liverpool's long-term option at left-back.

Moreno - who, according to ex-Red Neil Mellor has 'incredible' energy' - may have issues defensively, but selling him during the summer would've been a tad irresponsible:

* Liverpool are weak at left-back, and there's a real dearth of experience in the position.

* Gomez is playing out of position; Enrique is out of the picture, which leaves Moreno as the only dedicated left-sided full-back in the first team squad.

* If Liverpool sold Moreno, there'd basically be no cover, and it's hard to see how that makes any kind of logical football sense.

As such, it's probably a good thing that the deal failed. Plus, there may be a silver lining: Liverpool need attacking width in the team, and Moreno is able to provide that. If he's not going to play at left-back, then play him as an wide-man.

The Spaniard has shown his attacking effectiveness in spells, and if he's converted into an attacking midfielder, there's still a chance he won't turn out to be another Rodgers transfer flop.

Author: Jaimie K

Transfer Insanity: Wenger confirms 'unstoppable' 11-goal striker cost '€80m'. Fifth most expensive deal in history

On Monday, reports in France claimed that Manchester United had paid a whopping €80m transfer fee ('with bonuses') for Monaco striker Anthony Martial, and according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, that unbelievable figure is totally correct.

Announcing the deal, French newspaper L'Equipe claimed:

"Monaco have accepted a Manchester United bid of €80m [£58m] (with bonuses) for the transfer of striker Anthony Martial. Monaco refused offers of €50m and €70 m before accepting the incredible [€80m] offer".

L'Equipe's front page on Tuesday:

Speaking to BeIN Sports, Wenger - who won the title with Monaco in 1987 - poured mild scorn on the deal:

"Monaco...sold [Anthony] Martial to Manchester United for €80m, I've heard. Martial scored 11 goals in the French championship - that sums it up well. Martial is a huge talent, but the investment is huge too".

Wenger spent 7-years at Monaco's manager, and given his ties to football in France, it's reasonable to assume that the Gunners boss has the contacts to know what really went down with the Martial deal.

He doesn't mention anything about add-ons, but even if the deal is 'with bonuses' (which probably means add-ons), it's s significantly more than the £36m transfer fee being reported by some media outlets.

As a comparison, it's like Liverpool paying €80m plus add-ons for Divock Origi, who - like Martial - is 19 years old, and spent last season in the French league.

Liverpool are lamentably wasteful with transfer funds, but there'd be blood on the streets if Rodgers, FSG, and the infernal transfer committee ever sanctioned such an insane deal.

A few further points:

* Martial is he 5th most expensive transfer of all time, with only Neymar, Suarez, Ronaldo, and Bale costing more.

* Martial cost Monaco €5m in 2013, which means the French club will ultimately make a 1500% profit.

* Liverpool have that beat, though. The Reds paid £500k for Sterling back in 2010, and the £49m sale fee = 9700% profit.

* Taking out QPR's 20% sell-on fee, the total amount Liverpool will receive from the Sterling transfer is £39.2m, which is still a profit of 7700%.

Liverpool face Man United in ten days, and it'll be interesting to see the €80m man in action.

According to France U21 boss Pierre Mankowski, Martial is 'unstoppable', and if he's up against the ever-accommodating Dejan Lovren, he'll probably score a hat-trick.

Author: Jaimie K

02 September 2015

'There was contact': Boss confirms 'Liverpool' tried to sign €4m midfielder this week

On Tuesday, reports in Italy claimed that Liverpool made a last-gasp attempt to sign Dynamo Kiev attacker Andriy Yarmolenko, and according to Avellino President, Walter Taccone, the Ukrainian is not the only player Brendan Rodgers tried to bring in at the death.

Speaking to Sportchannel214 last night, Taccone confirmed that Liverpool tried to sign Anderlecht midfielder Samuel Bastien. He noted:

"Bastien has signed for Avellino...despite the lure of clubs such as Barcelona, ​​Seville and Liverpool.

"There was contact with these clubs, but he decided to come to Avellino".

Some info about Bastien:

* 18-year old defensive midfielder, who can also play further forward.

* May 2014: Signed 3-year deal with Anderlecht.

* 13 appearances for Belgium's u19 team.

* On loan at Avellino, and his contract contains a €4m option buy for next summer.

* 1 senior appearance for Anderlecht.

* Liverpool have reportedly been tracking Bastien since January.

* Aug 28: The Daily Mail reported Liverpool's interest in Bastien: "Liverpool are keen on [signing] Anderlecht's teenage midfielder Samuel Bastien".

I guess Liverpool fans were wrong: Brendan Rodgers is prioritising the recruitment of a dedicated defensive midfielder.

The proof is in the pudding: Rodgers has been chasing Bastien - one of the most coveted unknown midfielders in Europe - since January, and if the Reds had sealed the deal, I'm sure he would've transformed the team.

Clearly, the pursuit of such a promising player (with one senior game to his name) is proof-positive that Rodgers sees the importance of having a top-class DM in the squad.

Author: Jaimie K

'I Love LFC': Legendary boss confirms he'd 'like to manage' Liverpool. Rodgers beware?

Back in November 2014, when Brendan Rodgers was under severe pressure after a poor start to the season, several managers were alleged favourites to replace him at Anfield, including Rafa Benitez, Laurent Blanc, and Jurgen Klopp. At one point, Harry Redknapp became 8-1 second favourite to succeed Rodgers, and now, the ex-Spurs boss has publicly confirmed that managing Liverpool is his dream appointment.

At a Virgin Media event on Tuesday, Redknapp - who is currently on a break from football management - enthused:

"I love Liverpool football club. If you said to me ‘what team would I like to manage in this country’ it’d be Liverpool, any day of the week".

Redknapp at Anfield? It sounds improbable, but back in 2010, the Reds allegedly pursued him to replace Rafa Benitez. At the time, Sky Sports reported:

"Liverpool are planning a shock move for Harry Redknapp. The Spurs boss has emerged as a leading contender for the Reds hierarchy as they aim to bring stability back to Merseyside".

In hindsight, Redknapp probably would've been a better option than Roy Hodgson, but whether he'd have lasted any longer is debatable.

Rodgers recently presided over the club's first 3-0 home defeat in fifty years, and if results continue to nosedive, fans will inevitably call for managerial change (some have already reached that stage), and Redknapp's name will probably arise again.

If FSG decide to scrap Rodgers, is Redknapp a viable option to replace him? Not chance (IMO).

Jamie Redknapp will undoubtedly approve of the appointment (!), but I suspect that the majority of Liverpool fans will never accept Redknapp as a long-term option.

Like Guus Hiddink - another oft-mentioned candidate - Redknapp is too old; and when it comes to tactical acumen (especially in Europe), it's doubtful that he's a significant upgrade on Rodgers.

I like Redknapp - he's a straight-talking, down-to-earth, no-BS kind of guy, with good man-management skills, and renowned ability in the transfer market. Ten years ago, he would've been a decent option, but time waits for no man, and Redknapp's time has passed.

A Redknapp-managed Liverpool is an intriguing proposition, though, and it's interesting to think about what that would like. Stranger things have happened, and right now, Redknapp is at 33-1 to replace Rodgers.

'No wonder he's in the f***ing reserves'. Never gets old ;-)

It'll be interesting to see the result of this poll:

online polls

Author: Jaimie K