PREDICTION LEAGUE: Latest League Tables | RULES | Bordeaux Predictions

26 November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Probable formation:

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


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

Author: Jaimie K

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

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

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

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

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

* 27 goals/assists in 21 games.

* Goal/assist every 65 minutes.

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

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

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

Coincidence? I think not.

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

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

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

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

Author: Jaimie K

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Jaimie K

Dream Transfer: Klopp wants to sign 'unique' £64m attacker for Liverpool; contact made in 2014

Liverpool are once again being linked with a move for Real Madrid star Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez (aka Isco), and new reports this week suggest that the 'unique' attacker is desperate to quit the Bernabeu.

According to German newspaper SportBild this week:

"Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are interested in signing Isco, who has already informed Madrid that he wants to leave the club".

Liverpool have been linked with Isco several times in the past:

July 2014: Mundo Deportivo claimed: "Liverpool [are] favorites to Isco".

Sep 2014: The Independent reported that Liverpool were planning a 'January offer' for Isco.

Nov 2014: The Daily Express claimed: "Liverpool [have been] informed that £64m will be enough to secure [Isco's] signature"

For the right price, Isco is a good option, but £60m+? You're having a laugh.

Isco is a talented player, and his creative return is good (46 goals/assists in 123 apps/one every 176 mins), but it's not £60m-good.

The high press is a key part of Jurgen Klopp's philosophy, and Isco would fit right in at Anfield. In a recent interview, the Spaniard explained how he'd adapted his game to fit that type of football:

“I took an important step when it came to regaining possession. I've had to do that to have a place in the [Madrid] team. I try to help by running and working. I became a more complete player. But I don’t want to talk so much about myself.”

If Liverpool sign Isco, he's be competing with Lallana, Firmino, and Coutinho for a place in the attack, and of the three, Lallana is the obvious candidate to make way.

Isco or Lallana? Please, it's an absolute no-brainer. Under Klopp, I have no doubt that Isco would have a significantly greater impact on Liverpool than Lallana, who has scored just one league goal since late-December 2014, and contributed only two assists in the last 33 hours of league football.

One thing's for sure - Reds fans would love to see Isco at Anfield. Last season, I conducted a site poll asking fans if Liverpool should sign Isco, and a whopping 78% of voters selected were in favour of the deal.

A good option for the right price?

Author: Jaimie K

25 November 2015

Dissed: Anfield hero blasts 'brilliant' £10m Liverpool star and claims he's worse than unknown Canadian

Anfield legend Bruce Grobbelaar is a frequent critic of Simon Mignolet, and despite being asked by the club to stop slamming the Belgian in public, Grobbelaar has delivered his most withering assessment yet of Liverpool's much-maligned goalkeeper.

Last summer, Grobbelaar insisted that Mignolet is 'not the best all-round keeper', and offered the following four reasons why he needs to be replaced:

* Doesn't 'play out from the back' effectively

* 'Not commanding enough' in the penalty box.

* Positioning at free kicks is 'not right'.

* Concedes too many goals.

Grobbelaar further explained:

“A keeper should never be beaten – as he [Mignolet] has been – by a header from three yards out. Compare that to the number of goals Cech has conceded and that tells you the difference. The keeper coach has to work him harder."

When asked this week about 'brilliant' Mignolet, Grobbelaar scathed:

“[A top goalkeeper must be] good with his feet and and command [his] area. I’ve got a goalkeeper in Canada, a 24-year-old, who does this better than Mignolet does is just as good of a shotstopper. He is more of a package than Mignolet”.

Grobbelaar is currently the goalkeeping coach for Ottawa Fury F.C. (in the North American Soccer League), and he must be referring to Canadian 'stopper Marcel Debellis, who is the only 24-year old 'keeper on Ottawa's books. Debellis' description on the Ottawa Fury website:

"Spent 2008 with Benfica's U19 squad. Four years developing his game in Italy with Trento Calcio and Vincenza Calcio. Split the 2012/2013 season between Italian Fourth Division club AC Bellaria and Serie B side Ascoli".

At the age of 24, Debellis has made just ONE senior professional appearance, and is currently Fury's second choice goalkeeper. Perhaps Jurgen Klopp should sign him ;-)

Grobbelaar is entitled to his opinion, but with the greatest respect, I sincerely doubt that Klopp will be scouring the North American Soccer League (NASL) for potential recruits (!)

As for Grobbelaar - in my view, the club should respect the right of ex-players (and fans) to voice their opinions. There's nothing wrong with fair, specific criticism, and if Liverpool's pampered, mollycoddled playboys can't hack it, they can quit and let others (with stronger mentalities) come in and take their place.

Author: Jaimie K

LFC-Lineup vs. Bordeaux: 'Amazing' attacker finally starts? Forgotten man returns? Surprise start for Bogdan? [Prediction League]

Reds fans are on a high after the Liverpool's recent 4-1 annihilation of Manchester City, and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that the positive momentum continues at Anfield on Thursday, when LFC face Bordeaux in a crucial Europa League tie.

Pre-match news:

* Henderson, Sakho, Flanagan, Gomez, and Ings are all out injured.

* On Wednesday afternoon, Klopp confirmed that Sturridge is getting 'closer' to full fitness, and suggested that he may feature against Bordeaux.

* Klopp also confirmed that Benteke is in 'good shape' ahead of the game, and that Martin Skrtel is a 'doubt' due to illness.

* Coutinho only suffered a 'minor' hamstring injury against City, but it's doubtful he'll be ready for tomorrow's game.

Should Sturridge start? That's the big question ahead of the Bordeaux game, and with Coutinho almost certainly out, there's obviously an opportunity there for the 'amazing' striker to come into the team.

Possible lineup:

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

With Sturridge:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Toure --- Lovren -- Moreno
------- Milner - Lucas -- Allen
----------- Lallana - Firmino
---------------- Sturridge

* Klopp probably planned to rest Lucas for this game, but since the Brazilian is suspended for Sunday, he'll probably start.

* Allen is Liverpool's forgotten man in the league. He's been an unused sub for the last four games, so it's about time for him to be given a run-out.

* One of either Can or Milner may be rested, and my choice is Can.

* I'd rather not see Lallana in the starting lineup at all, but with the absence of Coutinho, it's a certainty.

* If Skrtel misses out, it's important to keep the rest of the defensive unit together (for stability etc).

My preferred lineup:

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


You have until Thursday 7.45PM (GMT) to make your predictions.

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

* 30 Points: Number of LFC shots on target.

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + first goalscorer + shots on goal

My prediction: 2-1 Liverpool. Firmino first goalscorer. 9 shots on target.

Author: Jaimie K

Klopp to Sign? Liverpool chase 'strong' €18m star who wants €46k-a-week. Contact made already

Liverpool continue to be linked with a move for Inter Milan outcast Andrea Ranocchia, though new reports today suggest that the Reds face a batter to sign the Italian defender.

In October, Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato claimed that Liverpool 'contacted' Inter to enquire about a deal, and according to reports today:

* Liverpool still want to sign Ranocchia during the January transfer window.

* Sporting Lisbon and Sevilla have also joined the race for the 27-year old, who is 'likely to leave'.

* Ranocchia - hailed by Italy boss Antonio Conte as 'strong player - allegedly wants a €2.4m-a-year salary (€46k-a-week).

* Liverpool have contacted Inter to discuss a possible deal for Ranocchia, who is 'likely to leave' the club.

Some info about Ranocchia:

* 6'5 central defender, who cost Inter €18m, and captained the club last season.

* According to German newspaper Bild, Klopp was 'keen' to sign Ranocchia for Dortmund.

* This season: Granted only 208 minutes of pitch time (averaging 20 mins per game), and has started only one match.

* Hasn't been injured since 2012, and has missed only 8 games through injury since 2011.

* ESPN's assessment of Ranocchia's 2014-15 performance: "Huge questions over his capabilities. Often guilty of mistakes that cost points. Decision making is a major weakness. [Often] panicked into giving the ball away or misjudging a situation, which resulted in dropped points. Biggest enemy is his own mind as he does not trust himself".

Yikes. Mistakes that lead to opposition goals? Bad decision-making? Misjudging situations, and giving the ball away? Mentally suspect? Ranocchia sounds like Dejan Lovren MK 2, and the last thing Liverpool need is another error-prone defender who can't handle the pressure.

No wonder Roberto Mancini has banished Ranocchia to the sidelines; if he can't handle it at Inter, how is he going to succeed at Liverpool, where pressure/expectation is (arguably) significantly more intense?

Author: Jaimie K

Klopp confirms: £50m-duo fit for Bordeaux; outstanding' Liverpool star may miss out because he's 'ill'

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has provided an injury update ahead of Thursday Europa League clash with Bordeaux at Anfield.

Speaking to reports this afternoon, Klopp revealed a mix of good news and bad newsL:

"Daniel [Sturridge] is closer. My decision on him you will see tomorrow. The most important thing is that he can train without problems.

"He has trained 7 or 8 times in a row. Longest period since I've been here. Benteke also in very good shape. Martin Skrtel is a doubt for the game due to illness"**

That's good news about Sturridge, but given his susceptibility to injury, it's still a good idea to keep him on the bench.

Sturridge is not match-fit, and with Benteke and Firmino in the squad, there's no need to rush things.

It looks like 'outstanding' Skrtel will miss out on the game, but given the opposition - and home advantage - it's a loss that Liverpool can deal with.

Kolo Toure can deputise, and Emre Can can also fill in a centre-back if necessary.

That said, for the sake of building rapport, rhythm, and understanding, I hope Skrtel makes it; in theory, the more he and Lovren play together, the better their partnership will become.

It's especially important (IMO) for Lovren to be involved in a stable defensive unit.

** Benteke: Cost £32m | Sturridge: £18m-rated.

Author: Jaimie K

24 November 2015

Anfield-bound? Liverpool chase 'exciting' €30m attacker who idolises 'Ronaldinho' and wants transfer to a 'big' club

Liverpool and Tottenham have gone head-to-head on transfers many times over the years, and new reports this week suggest that the Premier League rivals are preparing for another battle during the January transfer window.

According to the Daily Express:

* Liverpool and Spurs are both keen on signing 'exciting' Lille attacker Sofiane Boufal.

* Both clubs have 'watched' the 22-year old winger this season.

When asked in October about a move abroad, Boufal told France Football:

"I plan to go later in my career to a big European club that will play hopefully in the Champions League, in order to continue my progression".

Some info about Boufal:

* Right winger, who can also play on the left, and as a number-10.

* This season: 4 goals in 12 apps (Goal/assist every 268 mins).

* Career total: 23 goals/assists in 80 apps (One every 231 mins)

* Lille recently slapped a €30m price tag on Boufal.

* Nicknamed 'the new Hazard' (just like every other promising Ligue One attacker).

* On his role models: "My biggest inspiration is Ronaldinho. For me, he is the best player of all time".

* Lille lynchpin Florent Balmont's assessment: "He has a good mentality [but] picks up too many yellow cards [5 in 9 games). He must follow the example of Eden Hazard, who took a lot of hits but got up right away. Boufal works defensively but can still do better."

Perhaps I'm missing something, but why is Boufal supposedly worth €30m?

It'll be a travesty if Liverpool end up with this guy and not a player like, say, Andriy Yarmolenko, who has averaged 20-25+ goals/assists every season for the last SIX years.

Author: Jaimie K

Double-Boost: 'Liverpool' reveal great news about 'sensational' attacker; £25m LFC star confirms injury breakthrough

With Daniel Sturridge on the brink of a return, and Roberto Firmino sustaining his fitness, things are finally starting to look a little more positive on the injury front, and it looks like another of Liverpool's key players is on the verge of making a comeback.

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

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

There's also positive news about 'sensational' attacker Philippe Coutinho:

"Liverpool have told Sky Sports that he [Coutinho] could recover in time for Swansea".

A double-dose of good news! The question is, who will make way for £25m-rated Henderson? According to ex-Red Neil Mellor:

"Emre Can’s place could be most at risk when he [Henderson] is back fit".

I know this will come as a big surprise to many, but rather shockingly, I agree that Can is the obvious choice to make way:

* Under Klopp, Lucas is one Liverpool's most effective players, and he performs a very specific (and important) role in the team. Can is not a DM, and he shouldn't be shoehorned into the role at the expense of Lucas, who is a dedicated DM.

* I'm no fan of James Friggin' Milner, but given the choice, I'd rather have him in midfield than Can. Milner is more experienced; has better passing accuracy in the final third; scores/creates more goals, and creates significantly more chances (27 vs. 13)

Possible line-up with Hendo back (using currently available players, and Klopp's 4321 formation):

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ---- Moreno
------- Hendo - Lucas - Milner
---------- Firmino - Coutinho
-------------- Sturridge

That said, if Klopp sticks with Firmino up-front, then it's possible to include Can and Hendo in the same team:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ---- Moreno
------- Hendo - Lucas - Can
---------- Milner - Coutinho
-------------- Firmino

And yes, I'd rather have Milner in the team than Lallana (for the same reasons cited above), but to be honest, it's like having to decide between having a broken arm and a broken leg.

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Author: Jaimie K

LK Prediction League: Game 19 (Man City 1-4 Liverpool) - League Tables

After a disappointing home defeat to Crystal Palace, Liverpool bounced back in exciting style with a superb 4-1 victory over Manchester City, and consequently moved up to 9th place in the Premier League.

Manchester City Results

* PS: None.

* CR1: Vinnie, Coodakay, flatjoe, colonel cocknocker, Case

* CR2: Nick87, wallacelallace, tigger1703, Razen, Loganlfc, lfcjai, Dave, Jensen Huddleston, Salim, Linu, Stipe, Bruce G, Demon Knight, US_red, SidLFC, Timp, LFCNYC74, romper, Durban Red, DAROVAR, Y.O

* First Goalscorer [20 Bonus Points]: No one.

* Lost Possession [20 Bonus Points]: KloppSpunk, tigger1703, patrick ferrell, StuartC, Syed Faraaz, lfcjai, DanDifiknow, roncalifornia, Glen, Jensen Huddleston, Toni ¤ 911, Ahverruz Maritz, Demon Knight, Francisco Mambela, gilstrap, Trigger, patrick ferrell, El Magicoo, Donkey Kong, LFCNYC74, DBM, romper, tartan360, laramonet

* Coutinho lost possession the most (4 times overall).***


If you spot any errors/omissions etc, please leave a comment below. If you're unsure of the rules and/or want a refresher, please go HERE.







*** Loss of Possession Stats (OPTA)

Author: Jaimie K

Contact Made: Klopp determined to sign 'excellent' €20m attacker ASAP. Official Liverpool offer expected

With speculation continuing to mount, Empoli attacker Riccardo Saponara is seemingly emerging as a major transfer target for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

Earlier this month, Italian newspaper Tutto Sport claimed that Klopp wants to sign €20m-rated Saponara, and according to Italian newspaper La Nazione this week:

* Liverpool are 'poised' to make a bid for 23-year old Saponara.

* The Reds are 'in contact' with Empoli, and Klopp is determined to complete a deal during the January transfer window.

When asked recently about Saponara, Empoli Chief Fabrizio Corsi told reporters:

“We’re not talking about the transfer market [as it could] destabilise the team."

Saponara himself has also dismissed the possibility of January move:

"I am honoured by the interest, but I don’t think anything will happen in January”.

Some info about Saponara, described last season as an 'excellent player' by Filip Inzagi:

* 54 goals/assists in 121 apps for Empoli (One every 157 mins)

* 26 games for various Italy youth teams, but is yet to play for the senior international team.

* This season: 8 goals/assists in 11 games (One every 120 mins)

* 5 injuries in the last two seasons (85 days out/12 games missed).

* Jul 2014: Confirmed his favourite position: “As a winger I am very happy. I have the chance to touch the ball more often and play facing our opponents’ goal".

* July 2013: Saponara revealed that he uses a 'mental coach' (arguably a giant red flag): "I had a mental block that stopped me from playing well. Roberto Civitarese [the mental coach] taught me to focus on my work, and express myself 100% without worries. We see each other every two weeks".

Thanks but no thanks. The very best players don't need a 'mental coach' to fulfill their potential; players like, say, Luis Suarez have 100% belief in their own ability, and the self-confidence to make it happen on the field.

Liverpool have bought too many mentally weak small-club players over the years, and paid the price, so in my view, the Reds should steer clear of Saponaro.

If Klopp wants a winger, the best option remains Andriy Yarmolenko, who has 17 goals/assists in 18 games already this season (one every 95 minutes).

Author: Jaimie K

Legend insists: 'Amazing' £18m star should not play for Liverpool again until he's 'raring to go'

With Daniel Sturridge's notorious unreliability, Liverpool need to find a way to consistently win games without him, and with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, there are encouraging signs that the Reds are well on the way to achieving that vital goal. Many fans expected Sturridge to play some part in the Man City game at the weekend, but the £18m-rated striker never made it off the bench, and according to Reds legend John Aldridge, shackling Sturridge was the right decision.

In his Monday column for the Liverpool Echo, Aldo explained:

"I was glad he [Klopp] didn’t bring on Daniel Sturridge [At Man City] because he really needs to be in the traps and raring to go before using him".

I totally agree with this. Prior to the game, I argued that Sturridge should be used as an impact sub for the next 2-3 months, and I maintain that view.

In fact, as long as Liverpool are winning games, there's no real need to start him at all.

Whether fans like it or not, Liverpool need to start planning for life without Sturridge *now*, as he is clearly not going to be a long-term solution for the club.

That may sound harsh, but retaining fitness is a skill, just like any other, and if Sturridge - hailed by Lucas for his 'amazing' ability' - can't stay fit for more than a few games a time, then the team has to to come first.

If recent results suggest anything, it's that the days of being damagingly reliant on Sturridge are (thankfully) close to being over.

feedback surveys

Author: Jaimie K

'The Jewel' to Anfield? €10m sensation who's 'like David Silva' confirms Liverpool transfer interest

Liverpool are currently linked with a move for West Ham sensation Manuel Lanzini, and with the January transfer just around the corner, the Argentine attacker has confirmed the Reds' interest in a deal.

Last week, the Daily Express claimed:

"Jurgen Klopp [has] asked for regular updates on how his [Lanzini's] situation and long-term future is developing".

When asked on Sunday about LFC's interest, Lanzini told ESPN:

"It's an absolute honour that a team like Liverpool has put an eye on me, but at moment I am focused on [West Ham]. The club wants me to stay. I am fine here".

Liverpool may covet Lanzini, but according to Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan:

"We have an unbreakable option, so any other team's interest is irrelevant. Manuel has been a fantastic signing for the club".

An 'unbreakable option'? Like most contractual details in football, such a clause is barely worth the paper on which it's printed.

Unfortunately, players hold all the power these days (just ask Rafa Benitez), and if Lanzini wants to leave, he'll leave.

Some info about Lanzini:

* Nicknamed 'The Jewel'.

* West Ham Stats: 6 goals/assists in 11 apps (1 every 145 mins).

* Contract with Al-Jazira contains a €10m buyout clause.

* Jul 2015: West Ham boss Slaven Bilic compared Lanzini to one of the Premier League's top attackers: "You have playmakers between the lines like Silva [and] he [Lanzini] is like him. He can play in all positions behind the strikers".

* Oct 2015: Bilic raved: "He is a phenomenal player, who is very comfortable on the ball, no matter where he is and gives everything in every training session".

So let's get this straight:

* Lanzini - a player with practically zero top-level experience, arrives from the Arabian Gulf League (!), and immediately hits the ground running with 6 goals/assists in 11 games.

* Conversely, Adam Lallana - a £26m Premier League-experienced international - has scored only one league goal since late-December 2014, and contributed only two assists in the last 33 hours of league football.

How is this possible? I just don't get it. Some fans think I'm too harsh on Lallana, but it's time for people to WAKE UP and stop enabling his under-performance.

All I've ever expected of Lallana - or indeed any experienced attacking player - is the contribution of goals/assists on a reasonably consistent basis. This is not an unreasonable expectation!

Despite his creative decrepitude, Lallana is - according to his enabling apologists - a vital player for Liverpool, and an immovable cornerstone of Jurgen Klopp's 'gegenpressing' system (Yes, because Klopp's entire plan would fail without Lallana's genius).

Oh, I forgot - Lallana is a hard-worker, who's good at as running, and pressing, both of which are far more important for an attacking player than actually *scoring* or *creating* goals on a regular basis.

Give me a break. I'd take Lanzini - someone who actually *does his job* - over Lallana's huff-and-puff mediocrity any day of the week.

Author: Jaimie K