11/20/2014 04:04:00 pm

Next LFC Manager? - 'Fantastic' Prem boss now shock 2nd favourite to replace BR

Rafa Benitez, Laurent Blanc, and Jurgen Klopp are the current bookie favourites to replace beleaguered Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, but a new name has entered the fray, and it's the most surprising (and improbable) candidate yet.

According to leading bookmaker Bet Victor, Harry Redknapp is now 8-1 second-favourite to succeed Rodgers at Anfield.

Redknapp is definitely a shock candidate, but this is not the first time he's been linked with the Liverpool job. In 2010, the Reds allegedly pursued him to replace Rafa Benitez, and 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.

As for the possibility of replacing Rodgers - forget it. Jamie Redknapp will undoubtedly approve (!), but I suspect that the majority of Liverpool fans will never accept Redknapp as a long-term option. For a start, like Guus Hiddink, 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.

Steven Gerrard would probably approve of the deal - after all, when Benitez left, LFC's captain pushed hard for an English manager, with Alan Curbishley reportedly his preferred choice, so it's reasonable to assume that he'd push for Redknapp, too.

One LFC player who'd welcome Redknapp with open arms is Glen Johnson. In a recent interview, Johnson hailed his former boss for 'rescuing' him from Chelsea, and helping his development as a young player. He also slammed reports that Redknapp could be the next Premier League manager to lose his job:

“It’s not nice to see anyone lose their job. He [Redknapp] been a fantastic manager for years and if someone is going to get them [QPR] out of trouble, it will be him. I don’t know what sacking him would achieve.”

I really like Redknapp - he's a straight-talking, down-to-earth, no-BS kind of guy, with great 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.

Never gets old ;-)


11/20/2014 05:50:00 am

Benitez vs. Klopp: Who should replace BR? LFC fans give their verdict & the winner is....

When it rains, it pours. Daniel Sturridge's latest injury setback means that the pressure on Brendan Rodgers is set to intensify, and with Liverpool's attacking players abjectly failing to score goals, it's conceivable that Rodgers' Anfield reign could come to an end sooner rather than later. In my view, the manager doesn't deserve to be replaced mid-season, but in the ruthless world of football, there's every chance it will happen. If FSG give Rodgers the red-card, who should replace him?

According to UK Bookmakers, there are currently five leading candidates to replace Rodgers:

* Rafa Benitez
* Jurgen Klopp
* Laurent Blanc
* Martin O'Neill
* Roberto Martinez

Earlier this week, I conducted a poll on the site asking which of the above managers is the best choice to replace Rodgers:

* 16730 visitors (approx) participated in the poll (which is still ongoing)
* 50% chose Benitez; 45% chose Klopp

 photo ScreenShot2014-11-19at215220_zpsff8ceedf.png

Clearly, Benitez still retains an incredible level of support amongst Liverpool fans, and whilst the speculation over Rodgers job continues, the Spaniard will almost certainly remain the fans' number one choice to take over.

Given a straight choice between Klopp and Benitez, I'd take Klopp, but despite his success with Borussia Dortmund, there are no guarantees that he'll be able to replicate his success in the Premier League.

And please, for the love of God, enough with the calls for Guus Hiddink. Every time there's speculation over the Liverpool job, fans suggest the Dutchman for the role, but for me, it makes no sense to make that appointment.

Hiddink is 68! He's clearly far too old to be anything but a short-term stop-gap, and he hasn't managed a club side (full-time) for over 8 years. FSG appointed Rodgers with the (obvious) goal of building a long-term legacy at Anfield, and if he is replaced, the next manager should be given a similar brief, and that means appointing someone much younger than Hiddink (!)


11/19/2014 11:10:00 pm

LFC offer £10m star £6m deal after BR calls him 'one of the best in the world'. Mistake?

With his stubborn refusal to play two strikers, and a damaging allegiance to the failing 4231 formation, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is making costly mistakes this season, and his decision this week to offer Glen Johnson a new contract is yet another example of how LFC's manager is increasingly out of touch with the prevailing views of the club's fanbase.

According to the Daily Mail this week:

* Liverpool have offered Johnson a new two-year contract worth £60k a week (£6.2m over two years).

* Johnson is 'reluctant' to accept the reduced offer.

On one level, it's good that the club is trying to reduce the wage bill, but the key question is why offer Johnson a new deal at all?

* Johnson is - and always has been - a defensive liability, and offers next-to-nothing as an attacking force.

* His overall performance has incrementally regressed over the last couple of years, and this season, he's barely making an impact in his primary defensive role. For example, Johnson has completed only 9 successful tackles all season, which is barely one per game. Is that worth £60k a week?

* Johnson is a key part of one of LFC's worst defences in years, not only this season, but last season, too.

* Rodgers signed Manquillo and Moreno over the summer, so Johnson is not even needed at Anfield anymore.

* Roma are reportedly willing to match Johnson's ridiculous £120k a week wages, so why not just let him leave already?

Alas, Rodgers seems to rate Johnson highly, and he confirmed this in a recent interview, when he told reporters:

"We want to keep Glen here, and we feel that he has still got good years ahead of him. He's one of the best full-backs in the world. His [contract] will be a priority for us, especially if he continues in the form that he's in".

The fact that Rodgers genuinely believes that Johnson is 'outstanding' and 'one of the best full-backs in the world' says it all, really, and seriously calls into question his judgement on players.

Rodgers may rate Johnson, but LFC fans clearly do not share the same enthusiasm. I recently conducted a site poll asking fans whether Liverpool should keep or sell Johnson:

* 17450 (approx) people voted.
* A whopping 84% of participants voted for LFC to dump Johnson.

The good news is that £10m-rated Johnson is apparently 'reluctant' to accept the offer, which suggests that - like Rodgers - he has inflated view of his ability to make a difference for Liverpool FC.

On a related note: why is he 'reluctant' to accept a deal that will pay him £6.2m over two years? Once again, greed reigns supreme, and if Johnson really had any affection for LFC, he'd accept the deal and be grateful for it.


11/19/2014 07:22:00 pm

New Striker: BR to make fresh bid for €20m 'menace' who broke Belgian transfer record

Liverpool are reportedly planning a substantial offer for Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who plays alongside recent Reds signing Lazar Markovic for the Serbia national team.

According to Portuguese newspaper A Bola today:

* Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle, and AC Milan are all interested in signing Mitrovic in January.

* The Belgian club is willing to listen to offers.

Liverpool were linked with Mitrovic over the summer, and at the time, his Agent, Nenad Jestrovic, confirmed that the Reds made an offer. He told reporters:

"Liverpool were willing to pay €13m for him [Mitrovic]; Rubin even offered €20m, but Anderlecht didn’t want to hear about a transfer. He is still young and will have a lot of opportunities to leave in the future. I’m sure that price will be even higher when he moves somewhere else."

Some info about Mitrovic:

* 18 goals in 32 appearances for Partizan Belgrade.
* 1 goal in 6 apps for the Serbia national team.
* 11 goals in 21 apps for various Serbia youth teams.
* Two league title medals (for Partizan and Anderlecht)
* Most expensive transfer in Anderlecht's history.
* 2013: UEFA Under-19 Championship winner.
* 9 goals/2 assists in 20 apps this season.

Former Liverpool attacker Milan Jovanovic insists that Mitrovic is destined for great things, and in a recent interview, he raved:

"He [Mitrovic] is a real top finisher – a menace in the box, and he's built for the top"

Urgh. Not another young, inexperienced player with the potential to come good at some undetermined point in the future. You only need to look at the impact of similarly-aged players like Lazar Markovic, Luis Alberto, Fabio Borini et to see that this is a bad idea.

Granted, Daniel Sturridge's injury problems becoming increasingly acute, and a new striker in January is arguably Liverpool's biggest priority, but after the utter failure of most of Rodgers' signings in the 18-22 range, Mitrovic is not the answer, especially if - as his Agent suggests - the price will become exorbitant.

Additionally, if Liverpool sign Mitrovic, where does that leave Divock Origi, who is the same age? Can the team support both strikers? If, hypothetically, Mitrovic coes in and does well, I can definitely see Origi going back out on loan next summer.

If FSG are mad enough to give Rodgers more money, then signing Mitrovic for €20m+ will (IMO) be tantamount to negligence. The pressure is well and truly on for Liverpool's boss to get it right in the transfer market, and gambling big bucks on a 20-year old striker is arguably unwise at this stage.


11/19/2014 01:30:00 pm

Replace Sturridge? - BR fighting to sign €15m goal-machine who 'can play for LFC'.

When it comes to scoring goals, Liverpool are in dire straights at the moment, and Daniel Sturridge's latest injury means that the Reds go into one of the most important periods of the season without a regular goalscorer in the squad. Clearly, Brendan Rodgers needs to solve this particular ASAP, and French star André-Pierre Gignac is the latest striker linked with a move to Anfield.

According to the Daily Express today:

"Arsenal and Liverpool are ready to battle Dynamo Moscow for the signing of Marseille's Andre-Pierre Gignac in January".

In September, Gignac's agent, Christopher Hutteau, insisted that the striker is capable of succeeding at a 'big club', and specifically name-checked Liverpool as a possible destination. He told French newspaper L'Equipe:

"This is a striker with a relatively atypical profile, responsive to the physical challenge. He can play for Arsenal or Liverpool, no problem. For me, it is between €12million (£9.5m) and €15million (£11m)."

Some info about Gignac:

* 4 goals in 17 games for the France national team.
* Marseille: 64 goals/13 assists in 162 apps.
* Toulouse: 42 goals/11 assists in 118 apps.
* Lorient: 11 goals/6 assists in 51 apps.
* TOTALS: 117 goals/30 assists in 331 apps.
* Goal every 2.8 games.
* Goal/assist every 2.2 games.

QPR midfielder Joey Barton played alongside Gignac at Marseille, and when asked about the striker, he raved:

"He's one of our most important players. He's like Ibrahimovic at Paris Saint-Germain. He can score from anywhere".

With 10 goals/1 assist in 13 games this season, Gignac has continued where he left off last season, when he grabbed an impressive 27 goals/assists in 39 appearances.

That said, there's a world of difference between scoring goals in Ligue One, and regularly hitting the back of the net in the Premier League, and despite his stats, it's a huge gamble (IMO) to spend €15m on Gignac. Plus, at the age of 29, it's highly doubtful he's a long-term solution.

Given his abject performance in the transfer market over the last two years, Rodgers needs to get it right during the January window; if he gets it wrong again, it will almost certainly cost him his job.

Of course, this presupposes that FSG will give Rodgers money to spend in January, and after wasting £120m over the summer, there's certainly no guarantee of that.


11/19/2014 06:10:00 am

Molby warns: 'Desperate' LFC 'have to start' £29m star against Crystal Palace. Agree?

After four defeats in the last six games, Liverpool desperately need a victory over Crystal Palace this weekend to get the clubs season back on track, and Reds legend Jan Molby insists that there is one surefire way to increase LFC's chances of winning the game.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this week, Molby warned that Liverpool are 'desperate for form', noting:

"Liverpool have to start Daniel Sturridge at Crystal Palace. Some people are urging the Reds to take caution after he only returned to full training this week, but Liverpool need him back in the side".

According to Molby, playing Sturridge will:

* Lift the Liverpool players.
* Make Palace slightly uneasy.
* Present a different challenge for Palace.
* Bring pace and sharpness to the team.

Alas, Sturridge is injured again, but the basic point still stands: when Sturridge is fit, Liverpool need him back ASAP, as the club's record without £29m-rated striker is terrible:

* Played: 14
* Won: 4
* Lost: 7
* Drew: 3
* Goal scored: 14
* Won only 2 out of 7 Prem games.
* Failed to win 71% of games.

When Sturridge finally returns it will be a massive boost, but given the utter failure of Balotelli, Borini, Lallana, Henderson, Sterling, and Lambert to chip-in with goals, there will be intolerable pressure on the striker to deliver the goods.

Like with Dejan Lovren, Fans will unreasonably expect Sturridge to come back and immediately rescue Liverpool's season, and that's almost certainly not going to happen.

Additionally, after missing so many games, Sturridge will need time to regain proper match-fitness, and it's also possible that he may subconsciously hold back a little for fear of incurring another injury.

Sturridge is obviously desperate to return, and if asked, he'll probably say he's ready to play. However, Rodgers shouldn't just take his word for it; all players want to play, and even if they're not 100%, they'll tell the manager they're fine. With that in mind, Sturridge should only play if the medical team signs off on his return.

Clearly, when Sturridge nears fitness again, Rodgers will have a big decision to make, and if he gets it wrong and rushes Sturridge back before he's ready, it could further derail Liverpool's season.

As such, it's imperative that the manager errs on the side of caution, and in this instance, it's arguably much better to take a short-term hit for a long-term gain

Whatever happens, Liverpool still need to figure out a way to consistently win without Sturridge. It's ridiculous that the loss of one player can lead to the collapse of the team, but that's the reality right now, and the fault for that lies squarely with Rodgers.

survey solution


11/18/2014 10:30:00 pm

Lallana admits: 'Amazing' World Cup legend is 'my idol' and I 'watch clips' of him all the time

Liverpool attacker Adam Lallana is currently struggling to make an impact at Anfield, and with only one goal/no assists in 12 games, his creative contribution so far is, quite frankly, not good enough. Lallana clearly needs some inspiration, and who better to inspire him than one of the greatest players in football history?

In an interview with the official Liverpool FC website this week, Lallana - who cost Liverpool are whopping £26m over the summer - revealed:

"My idol growing up was former Real great [Zinedine] Zidane.

"I watched a lot of him growing up. The way he plays. Even now, he's a coach at Real but I still go back and watch those clips."

Ah, Zidane - what an amazing footballer. He made the game look so easy, and always seemed to have much more time than anyone else on the ball, but that was the genius of the player. If Lallana is still watching clips of the great man - hailed by Mourinho last month as 'amazing' and a 'one-off' - then hopefully it'll have an impact on his form for Liverpool.

Earlier this week, I argued that Lallana still has a small-club mentality, which is impeding his ability to make a difference at Liverpool, and here's yet another comment from his latest interview that (IMO) confirms this:

"In our wildest dreams both of us wouldn't have imagined we'd both be playing for Liverpool. Rickie would echo what I'm saying, I'm sure"

Lallana needs to snap out of this way of thinking. He sounds like some starry-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears teenager who can't believe his luck. This is not some romantic football fairytale, though - it's LFC's future, and the honeymoon is well and truly over.

The tiresome, counter-productive 'aw shucks, am I really here' routine needs to go. Liverpool paid £26m for Lallana - he needs to man-up, and start displaying a strong enough mentality to rise above the pressure/expectation and do the business.

On an unrelated note, Lallana also hailed the the large number of homegrown players at Anfield. He raved:

"One thing that's great about Liverpool is our core of English players. I think we'll grow together as a group for England. It's refreshing to see because a lot of people talk about the amount of foreign players playing in the Premier League. It is healthy to see".

Liverpool have lost five league games already, and are languishing in mid-table obscurity, so the British core to the team is definitely not contributing anything 'healthy' or 'refreshing' right now. In fact, I'd argue that the disproportionate number of British players in the team is the main reason the Reds are struggling.

Again, it's a mentality issue: you just have to compare the tough, winning approach and absolute self-belief of Luis Suarez to the tentative, 'Anfield tourist' mentality of Lallana to see the reason why Liverpool are failing to hit the heights this season.


11/18/2014 09:10:00 pm

Breaking News: Injury disaster as £29m LFC star 'limps' out of training. Scan results expected 'tomorrow'

More bad news for Liverpool FC tonight - with Daniel Sturridge only a few days away from a probable comeback, the fragile striker has picked up yet another injury, which probably means he'll miss this weekend's Premie League clash with Crystal Palace.

A few minutes ago, the Liverpool Echo reported:

"Daniel Sturridge's hopes of a comeback dashed by new thigh injury.

"It's the same thigh that kept him out earlier this season. Limped out of training session. Scan results expected tomorrow".

This comes as absolutely no surprise - £29m-rated Sturridge is injury prone; he is the new Daniel Agger, and this is the TENTH injury of his short Liverpool career.

I argued last week that Liverpool may ultimately have to consider replacing him, and I maintain that view. Sturridge is an amazing striker, but he is unreliable, and this may have a knock-on impact on his future LFC career:

* If the regular injuries continue, LFC may be forced to sign another, more reliable striker, which could lead to Sturridge falling down the pecking order. Given his superb goals/assists rate, I'd hate to see that happen, but the team has to come first, and if Sturridge can't remain consistently fit, then the issue should be addressed.

* It's hard to build a team around a player who is constantly injured, and if Sturridge is not careful, he could go the same way as Agger, who was gradually phased out of the team. Granted, the Dane's form is one of the reasons he's no longer at the club, but his atrocious injury record is another major reason.

* The club may also decide to cash-in on Sturridge at some point to take advantage of his high transfer value, rather than watching his value decline as a result of repeated injuries.

Again, Agger is a good comparison here. In August 2012, Liverpool rejected a £20m bid from Man City, which the club obviously should've accepted. Fast-forward two years, and Liverpool scraped in a paltry £3m for the defender, which represents a major retrospective financial loss.

As such, the club surely has to learn from the Agger situation, and Sturridge could ultimately become a victim of a more prudent and pre-emptive approach to transfers relating to injured-plagued players.

There's no room for sentiment: Rodgers relied on Sturridge this season, and look what happened; Liverpool are in 11th place in the league, and in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification.

The problem needs to be solved, and if that means signing another first-choice striker (who moves ahead of Sturridge in the striker hierarchy), then so be it.


11/18/2014 05:15:00 pm

Done Deal? LFC close to signing 'incredible' €20m Barca star. Ayre flew out to Spain in December 2013 to negotiate

Liverpool are once again being linked with a move for Barcelona star Martin Montoya, who came close to signing for the Reds during the summer transfer window.

According to reports today:

* Liverpool are on the verge of sealing a January deal for Montoya.

* Brendan Rodgers is confident of signing the Spaniard ahead of Inter Milan.

* Montoya will allegedly cost £8m.

The story so far:

MAY 2013: Spanish newspaper Spanish newspaper Sport alleged that Liverpool had 'enquired about the status of Montoya' and claimed that Brendan Rogers is a big fan of the Barca player'.

SEP 2013: Montoya's agent, Jose Maria Orobitg, told FCInterNews: "The renewal [of Montoya's contract] has not yet arrived. Inter Milan, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool are interested"

DEC 2013: The Guardian claimed: "Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona over the transfer of Martín Montoya. Managing director, Ian Ayre, met Barcelona officials in Catalunya [last] Thursday to discuss a possible fee".

Montoya's new long-term deal with Barca contains a €20m buyout clause, but reports this week claim that he could be allowed to leave for £8m, which seems rather improbable.

That said, Montoya - described by former Barca boss Tito Villanova as 'an incredible player'- is clearly fourth-choice right-back at Barcelona, and according to Spanish newspaper Sport, the the Spaniard is desperate to quit the club. A recent article claimed:

"The straw that broke the camel's back for Montoya was the match against Almeria, where Adriano was chosen for right side of the back four. Montoya felt 'humiliated' according to the his representatives, who have decided to look elsewhere"

It looks increasingly likely that Glen Johnson will leave Liverpool sooner rather than later, and if the Reds sign Montoya, the right-back position will be well and truly covered, with Montoya, Manquillo, and Flanagan all competing for a place in the team.


11/18/2014 06:02:00 am

Next LFC Boss? 'Inspiring' manager hints that he wants the Liverpool job. BR beware?

Reports this week claim that FSG are currently 'assessing' Brendan Rodgers' position at Liverpool, and although the story smacks of opportunist media scaremongering, at least one of the alleged favourites for the job has hinted that a move to Liverpool is an attractive proposition.

When asked over the weekend about his future at Napoli, Benitez made it clear yet again (albeit indirectly) that he'd love a return to Liverpool. He told CalcioMercato:

“My family is distant, my wife and my two daughters live in Liverpool.

"It’s the first time that they are not with me and it’s not easy. De Laurentiis knows very well how important the value of the family is.”

"De Laurentiis needs to guarantee the future of the club aside from me".

The fact that Benitez wants to return to Liverpool at some point is beyond dispute. Last season, he emphatically told reporters:

"I know I will return to Liverpool as coach one day, almost certainly. What I don’t know is when but my wife and children still live there, so I will be back".

With the reference to his family, this statement mirrors the Spaniard's latest comments on the subject, and if Brendan Rodgers gets the red card, Benitez will - quite rightly - be a major contender for the job.

I strongly advocated Benitez's departure in 2009, and I maintain it was the right decision to move him on at that time. However, five years have passed, which is plenty of time to reflect on his initial six-year tenure, and given his nature, I'm sure Benitez has exhaustively analysed where he went wrong.

As such, he'd probably make a better Liverpool manager now, and despite being one of his biggest detractors, I'd absolutely support Benitez's return to Anfield.

In my view, football opinions should not be inflexible to the point of extreme intransigence; people change, learn, and, most importantly, grow, and with his experiences over the last five years, Benitez remains an ideal candidate for the Liverpool job.

Additionally, given his love for the club, and deep connection with the fanbase, FSG will know that Benitez is capable of picking up the pieces very quickly, which may be necessary if - heaven forbid - Rodgers gets sacked in the new year.

Just to clarify: I am not stating the Benitez is my choice to take over from Rodgers; I'm merely saying that if Rodgers loses his job, I'm not averse to FSG giving him another chance in the Anfield hot-seat.

Benitez - described by Gary Monk in September as an 'inspiring' manager - has unfinished business at Liverpool, and he is destined to return at some stage, and to paraphrase Stanley Kowalski: LFC and Benitez have had this date with each other since the beginning...

survey tool


11/17/2014 11:15:00 pm

'I'm impressed': Redknapp raves over £15m star LFC tried to sign in €40m double-deal

Over the summer, Liverpool were linked with a £40m double swoop for Southampton stars Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne. Lallana signed for LFC, but Clyne stayed at St. Marys, and according to former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp, the talented right-back is one of the Premier League's best performers this season.

In May, The Mirror claimed:

"Liverpool [are] keen on Nathaniel Clyne, who is valued by the Saints at £15 million.

"Rodgers believes Clyne would fit in well at Anfield because of his pace and attacking style".

In a recent column for Sky Sports, Redknapp enthused:

"I’ve been really impressed with him [Clyne] this season. He’s athletic, technically good and he’s benefitting from playing in a Southampton team which is riding the crest of a wave. Clyne is showing plenty of promise and he’ll learn an awful lot from Ronald Koeman".

When asked last month about Clyne's form, Koeman paid him the ultimate compliment, when he told reporters:

"Clyne is one of the best right full-backs that I've had in my teams during the last 15 years. That means a lot because I like to play with offensive right and left full-backs and he has those qualities, he's fast and gives good crosses".

The Premier League's big guns poached Southampton's supposed top-stars over the summer, but the hilarious irony is that the Saints are second in the table, whilst Liverpool and Manchester United are struggling to avoid mid-table obscurity.

Southampton's defence, in particular, is thriving without Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, and Calum Chambers, and in comparison to Man United, Liverpool, and Arsenal, Ronald Koeman's team is on a totally different defensive level:

* Played: SFC 11 | LFC 11 | MUFC 11 | AFC 11
* Goals Conceded: SFC 5 | LFC 15 | MUFC 14 | AFC 13
* Ave Conceded per game: SFC 0.4 | LFC 1.3 | MUFC 1.2 | AFC 1.1
* Clean Sheets: SFC 7 | LFC 2 | MUFC 3 | AFC 3

5 goals conceded in 11 games? That stat makes a complete mockery of Liverpool's leaky defence, and Clyne - described this week as 'top class' by Adam Lallana - is clearly a major part of why Southampton are so defensively solid this season. Indeed, the youngster is currently the Premier League's top-tackler, with 55 successful tackles in 11 games.

As a comparison, Glen Johnson has managed a pitiful 9 successful tackles all season. Of course, Wanyama and Schneiderlin offer super protection in front of the back four, and that is another area in which LFC are seriously lacking this season.

Clearly, Liverpool bought the wrong Southampton defender over the summer. It'll come as no surprise to see Clyne linked with the Reds again at some point over the next year, but right now, there is absolutely no incentive for him to leave St. Mary's.


11/17/2014 06:37:00 pm

'The Monkey' to Anfield? - Liverpool pushing to sign 'important' €9m Uruguay legend to replace Johnson

Liverpool are reportedly considering a January move for Benfica defender Maxi Pereira, who is currently stalling on signing a new deal with the Portuguese giants.

According to Portuguese newspaper A Bola today:

* Liverpool are 'monitoring' 30-year old Pereira.

* Brendan Rodgers is impressed with Pereiera's huge international experience with Uruguay, and sees the right-back as a potential replacement for Glen Johnson.

The story is front page news in Portugal:

 photo ScreenShot2014-11-17at150400_zps72f42696.png

Some info about €9m-rated Pereira:

* 301 appearances for Benfica.
* Rarely injured, and averages 38 apps per season.
* 95 apps for the Uruguay national team.
* Winner of 8 major trophies with Benfica.
* 2011: Helped Uruguay win the Copa America.
* Rather dubiously nicknamed 'El Mono' (The Monkey)

Pereira - who Jorge Jesus describes as one of Benfica's most 'important' players - is in the same position as Glen Johnson: his current contract expires next summer, which means he can sign a pre-contract agreement with another club during the January transfer window.

Plus, like Javier Manquillo at Liverpool, Benfica appear to have already signed Pereira's long-term replacement, with 23-year old Luis Felipe arriving at the club over the summer.

That said, the Uruguayan's place is not immediately under threat as Benfica sent Felipe on loan for the season just one month after he signed for the club (!)

Pereira has incredible experience, but I don't see the logic in swapping-out one 30-year old for another. Granted, there is an obvious saving to be made on wages, but when it comes to the future, Pereira - like Johnson - is not a long-term solution.


11/17/2014 02:32:00 pm

Revealed: The two shock favourites to replace Rodgers at Anfield. Major surprise?

Spurious 'reports' over the weekend claim that FSG are on the verge of sacking Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, and whilst this is almost certainly opportunist nonsense, it's always interesting to see who is allegedly in the running the replace the LFC's manager.

According to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato:

* FSG are currently 'assessing' Rodgers' position.

* The group is 'unhappy' with Rodgers' summer transfer business.

* Rodgers' job is 'hanging in the balance'.

I personally don't believe this story for a second, but if Rodgers' job does come under threat, then his abject performance in the transfer market (highlighted here many times) will undoubtedly be one of the reasons.

So, if Rodgers gets the bullet, who is in line to replace him? According to the latest UK betting odds, the following five managers are all 6-1 joint favourites to succeed Rodgers:

* Rafa Benitez.
* Laurent Blanc.
* Jurgen Klopp.
* Martin O'Neill.
* Roberto Martinez.

If and when the time comes, Benitez is an obvious choice. Things ended badly for the Spaniard at Anfield, but I believe he's destined for a return to Anfield at some stage.

I was never Benitez's biggest fan (!) but five years have passed since he left Liverpool, and all the experiences he's had in that meantime have probably made him a better manager. If/when the time comes, I wouldn't be averse to his re-appointment.

Blanc and Klopp are interesting options, but quite why either would leave their respective clubs is anyone's guess. PSG are riding high at the moment, and Dortmund may be struggling in the Bundesliga, but Klopp has built the German club into a genuine European force, and there's still work to be done.

As for surprise candidates Martin O'Neill and Roberto Martinez - forget it. The time to get O'Neill was ten years ago, and at the time, I argued long and hard for his appointment ahead of Benitez. His time has passed now, though.

Martinez is progressive, exciting manager with a big future, and he's done a great job at Everton, but after Rodgers - a similarly low-key, inexperienced manager - I sincerely doubt that Liverpool fans will be happy with his appointment.

It's all moot, though. Rodgers is under pressure, but I don't believe his job is under immediate threat. Of course, things change quickly in football, and FSG will be disturbed by Liverpool's poor performance this season, and the utter failure of Rodgers' signings to make any kind of consistent impact.

As such, if result continue to get worse, and the Reds are still languishing in mid-table obscurity in January, then Rodgers will only have himself to blame if FSG start looking for a potential replacement.

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11/17/2014 10:35:00 am

Sell? Euro Giants to offer 'priority' star £6m-a-year to quit LFC. 84% of fans want him gone

These days, Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson is one of the most maligned players at Anfield, and despite his protestations to the contrary, his defensive frailty continues to be a problem for the team. Things are changing, though. The arrival of Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo means that Johnson's status as an automatic first-teamer is now over, and it seems as if he's slowly realising that his time Liverpool is coming to an end.

Johnson has been persistently inked with a move to Serie A, and according to the Daily Mail today:

* Roma are 'confident' of signing Glen Johnson in January.

* The Serie A club believe Johnson has 'more to offer' than Ashley Cole.
* Roma are 'happy' to pay Johnson's £120k-a week (£6.2m per year) wages.

In September, Johnson made it clear that leaving Anfield is a possibility, when he told the Liverpool Echo:

"In January, I could talk to other clubs, but I'll worry about that when January comes. There are no talks going on with the club [Liverpool] at the moment"

£10m-rated Johnson's current contract ends next summer, and if the Reds don't sell in January, he'll be able to leave for free at the end of the season. As such, selling him in January make sense, even if it is for a nominal fee.

With Manquillo, Moreno, and Flanagan in the squad, Johnson is no longer needed at Anfield, and Liverpool should push hard to seal the deal, especially since Roma are allegedly willing to take on his ridiculous wages.

Don't hold your breath, though. Rodgers seems to rate Johnson, and it's unlikely he'll sell a player of his experience halfway through a Champions League campaign, and leave the club with three young, inexperienced full-backs.

Indeed, only a few months ago, Rodgers hailed Johnson as 'one of the best full-backs in the world', and insisted he wants to keep him at the club. He told reporters:

"We want to keep Glen here, and we feel that he has still got good years ahead of him. His [contract] will be a priority for us, especially if he continues in the form that he's in".

Rodgers may rate Johnson, but LFC fans clearly don't. I recently conducting a site poll asking fans whether Liverpool should keep or sell Johnson:

* 17450 (approx) people voted.
* A whopping 84% of participants voted for LFC to dump Johnson.

That is an emphatic vote of no-confidence, and with his ongoing propensity for defensive errors, it's unlikely Johnson will ever regain the goodwill of the fans.


11/17/2014 06:17:00 am

'I like him': Souness hails 'workaholic' £15m star who can leave for 65% discount. Sign?

Over the summer, Liverpool were regularly linked with a move for Manchester City star James Milner, a player who seems to be very popular amongst ex-Reds.

LFC continued to be linked with Milner right up to October, when Sky Sports claimed:

* Liverpool, Everton, and Arsenal remain 'interested' in Milner.

* Man City value him at £15m, but are willing to accept £5m (a 65% discount).

Analysing the England team ahead of Tuesday's clash with Scotland, Souness raved:

"I really like him [Milner]. He’d be one of the first on the team sheet for me — both at Man City and with England. He’s improved greatly in his time at City. Apart from being a workaholic, he’s now added quality to his game"

Fellow Scot Gary Gillespie is also a fan, and when asked last month about Liverpool's alleged interest in Milner, Gillespie enthused:

"He [Milner] is a manager's dream. He doesn't upset the apple cart, and you know what you're going to get. He doesn't really catch the eye, but he works his socks off, and doesn't get the rewards he deserves".

Milner's current contract expires next summer, which means that he's free in January to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club, and if Liverpool were interested once, it's conceivable that Brendan Rodgers may go back in for him during the January transfer window.

Would that be a good idea, though?

Milner is the archetypal British player: full of running; endless stamina; good at tackling, tracking back etc, but short on genuine guile and skill. He is a steady, reliable payer, but his pedestrian brand of huff-and-puff football is definitely not going to take Liverpool to the next level. Milner's creative stats over the last 4 years:

* 2014-15: 1 goals/2 assists in 13 apps (so far)
* 2013-14: 2 goals/15 assists in 44 apps.
* 2012-13: 4 goals/7 assists in 35 apps.
* 2011-12: 3 goals/5 assists in 37 apps.
* 2010-11: 3 goals/8 assists in 42 apps
* TOTALS: 12 goals/35 assists in 158 apps
* Goal every 13 apps | Assist every 4.5 apps.

Wit the greatest respect, the likes of Milner, Allen, Lambert, and Lallana will not win the league for Liverpool. Teams composed of 80%+ Brits in the starting line-up very rarely win the top trophies, and the Reds have more than enough British players in the squad.

The proof is in the pudding: Just look at the club's results this season - the team is stacked with Brits, but Liverpool are currently languishing in 11th place in the league.

If Liverpool do sign Milner, though, Coutinho and Lallana will arguably be under most threat. The England midfielder can play left, right, or central, and he's no real threat to Sterling, Henderson, or Gerrard.

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11/16/2014 05:22:00 pm

Goal Machine: LFC fighting to sign 'extraordinary' star who smashed 47 goals in one year

In October, the Agent of Lazio starlet Keita Balde Diao - a former Barcelona youth player - confirmed that Brendan Rodgers actively tried to sign the striker over the summer, and new reports suggest that Liverpool and Arsenal are planning new bids for the attacker during the January transfer window.

In September, Balde's agent, Anglo Cascella, told reporters:

"Liverpool and Juventus made a €20m million offer for Keita last summer, but Lazio always rejected their offers".

According to reports in Italy and the UK today:

* Arsenal and Liverpool will allegedly battle to sign Balde.
* Lazio are willing to sell, but only if offers reach the €30m mark.

Liverpool have been linked with Balde several times over the last year:

SEP 2013: The Daily Mail reported that Liverpool's scouts watched the 18-year old in his debut in Lazio's 1-0 win over Legia Warsaw in the Europa League.

FEB 2014: Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato reported that the Reds were still monitoring the player.

MAR 2014: The Mirror claimed that Liverpool scouts continued to check on Balde, and his Agent insisted that the transfer fee 'cannot be less than €15m"

Some facts about Keita:

* Kicked out of Barca at 15 for playing a prank on a tour of Qatar.
* 2010-11: Scored 47 goals in one season for UE Cornellà's youth team.
* Rejected the chance to return to Barcelona.
* Currently contracted to Lazio until June 2017.
* Last season: 8 goals/9 assists in 27 apps for Lazio.
* 5 goals/assists in 8 Europa League games.

Lazio midfielder Gianmarco Falasca is a fan of Keita, and believes he's destined for great things. In December, he told LazioNews:

"Keita is an extraordinary talent. When he works, you can see he is quiet and he is really strong"

Former Lazio coach Edy Reja is also quietly confident that Keita can develop into a top class player. In a recent interview with Rai Sport, he enthused:

"I knew about Keita’s talent two years ago, he is a player who has continued to grow. If he can maintain the right level of humility and work hard, even defensively, he can do very well.”

It's unclear whether LFC made the offer before or after signing Divock Origi, but in my view, it doesn't make sense to bring in Balde with the similarly-aged Belgian striker already in the squad. Plus, both are similar players, in that they're big, strong, powerful attackers, though Balde can also play on the left-wing.

In any event, €30m? That's a ridiculously inflated transfer fee, and there's no way (IMO) that Liverpool should pay anything close to that amount.


11/16/2014 06:32:00 am

Top Target: Liverpool desperate to sign 'explosive' €6m Brazilian to replace struggling LFC star

With the Victor Valdes deal dead in the water, Liverpool continue to be linked with a move for Fiorentina goalkeeper Norberto Murara Neto, aka 'Neto'.

According to the Daily Mail this weekend:

"Liverpool are interested in bringing in Fiorentina stopper Neto, who is top of Brendan Rodgers' [transfer] list"

This follows a report in The Mirror last month, which claimed that:

* Rodgers is 'frantically' searching for a replacement for Mignolet.

* Liverpool are planning to make a move for 'Neto'.

* The Brazilian is allegedly willing to accept £20,000-per-week and could be available at a bargain price.

When asked recently about his future, €6m-rated Neto seemed to rule out a move away from Serie A. He told reporters:

"I am not thinking about the renewal. I’m just concentrating on my work and being in good form. The club would like me to renew straight away but we haven’t reached an agreement yet. Fiorentina remains my first choice.”

Neto's Stats:

* 2014-15: Played 11
* Goals conceded: 10 (1 every 1.1 games)
* Clean Sheets: 5

* 2013-14: Played 49
* Goals conceded: 51 (1 every 1.04 games)
* Clean Sheets: 16 (1 every 3 games)

* TOTALS: (Fiorentina) - Played 70
* Goals conceded: 72
* Clean Sheets: 25 (1 every 2.8 games)

Neto's clean sheet record is quite impressive, but over his career, his goals-conceded per-game ratio is not the greatest. However, last season, he conceded fewer goals (51 in 49 games) than Mignolet (53 in 40 games), so at a basic level, the Brazilian is clearly an upgrade.

Former Fiorentina goalkeeper Sébastien Frey certainly believes that Neto is a top-class 'keeper. In an interview earlier this year, he raved:

“I trained for a few months with Neto and he his is naturally explosive, and I think the Italian school helped him grow even more. He can become one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A.”

Is Neto the answer, or should Liverpool try and sign a proven, world-class goalkeeper (like Iker Casillas, for example, who is currently being linked with a move to Anfield)?


11/15/2014 10:25:00 pm

Shock Transfer: BR to make £25m offer for World Cup-winning 'dream' attacker

Liverpool are reportedly considering a massive January bid for 'dynamic' Chelsea star Andre Schurrle, who is allegedly on the verge of being scrapped by Jose Mourinho.

According to reports today:

* Liverpool are planning to make a £25m bid for Schurrle during the January transfer window.

* Tottenham are also preparing an offer for the Germany international.

* Mourinho is allegedly 'running out of patience' with Schurrle, and will let him leave in January.

Mourinho recently criticised Schurrle in public for failing to impress against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup. After the game, Mourinho barked:

"I love problems of choices, and it is easy to choose my team for Saturday"

When asked specifically if Schurrle had disappointed him, the Portuguese replied: ‘Yes.’

As proven in the past with Juan Mata, and David Luiz, Mourinho has no problem dumping big-money players if he feels they're not contributing effectively to the cause, and Chelsea's large squad of quality players, Schurrle could easily slip into the 'surplus to requirements' category.

Schurrle's creative contribution for Chelsea is not going to sway Mourinho, either. Since arriving last summer, he's weighed in with only 11 goals and 3 assists in 54 apps, which is pretty dismal, though he's grabbed 17 goals in 43 games for Germany, which shows that the German has the ability to cut it on the highest stage.

Mourinho may not rate Schurrle at the moment, but Reds legend Jamie Carragher is a fan, and in a recent interview, he enthused:

"He [Schurrle] reminds me of Dirk Kuyt, he's a managers dream. He can play left, right, centre, and always puts a shift in. You know what you will get. Is he the greatest technically? Probably not, but he [offers] graft and grit in there."

Urgh. For the love of God, no more technically bereft grafters, please! For £25m, Liverpool should sign someone far more prolific than Schurrle, and the only German player in that price range LFC should be considering is Marco Reus.

Roberto Firmino is another good option, and he is valued at significantly less than £25m.