29 July 2015

Secret Transfer: Exciting South-American attacker spotted with £54m Liverpool duo. Done Deal already?

LFC: Rise of the Brazilians! With Lucas, Coutinho, and Roberto Firminho** already at the club, Liverpool seem to be on the verge of announcing the signing of yet another Samba star, and photos from Tuesday's training session at Melwood seem to suggest that 18-year old Allan Rodriguez de Souza is already a Reds player.

At the beginning of the month, The Times reported:

"Liverpool hoping to sign Allan Rodrigues de Souza [aka 'Allan'] an 18 year old midfielder, for £500,000 from Brazilian club Internacional.

"[Transfer] Talks to bring the player [Allan] from Porto Alegre to Anfield are under way"

ESPN 'sources' also claimed that Liverpool are chasing Allan, a player Brendan Rodgers is allegedly 'desperate' to sign this summer.

Well, the chase appears to be over.

As the following photo shows, de Souza is already at Anfield, and he's taking part in first-team training sessions:

Some info about Allan:

* Attacking midfielder, who can play centrally, or as a number 10.

* Captain of SC Internacional's U18 team.

* Jan 2015: Featured at the Frenz International Cup (FIC) held in Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, where he reportedly 'impressed' Liverpool coaches.

* Jan 2015: Scored a 40-yard wondergoal for Internacional in the semi-final of the FIC Cup, which sealed the club's advancement to the final.

* After the SF, Allan told Dunia Sukan online: “It will be fatal if we underestimate our opponents. We had very tough matches along the way [and] we will be very serious once on the field.”

* Allan went on to the lead the team to a 3-2 victory over Estudiantes in the final.

As I always say, you can never have enough Brazilians in the team!

After all the fake Brazilians at Anfield over the years (Cavalieri, Doni, Aurelio, and Lucas), it's heartening to see Liverpool are now focused on signing proper Brazilian players, i.e. attackers with genuine skill and crowd-pleasing flair.

Additionally, at the age of 18, it's conceivable that Allan - if he's good enough - may get a few chances in the first team this coming season, though with Coutinho and Firmino as competition, the chances of breaking through seem slim.

** Combined value: £54m (Firmino cost £29m | Coutinho rated at £25m)

Author: Jaimie K

28 July 2015

Legend claims: 'Excellent' Liverpool attacker 'will' quit Anfield 'shortly'. Massive £67m transfer splurge to blame...or Rodgers?

In May, Liverpool legend John Aldridge claimed that Rickie Lambert 'will be leaving Liverpool this summer', and with over a month of thew transfer window remaining, Aldo maintains his view that the 'excellent' striker will be not be an LFC player at the end of the transfer window.

In his column for Sunday World this week, Aldridge claimed:

"Rickie Lambert will be heading out of the club shortly and I feel a bit sorry for him because he was never given a proper chance.

"He would have every right to wonder why Liverpool signed him in the first place"

Predictable Scouse solidarity aside, Aldo is almost certainly right.

With Benteke, Ings, Firmino (combined cost: £67m**) and Origi (signed last summer) now at the club - plus Daniel Sturridge waiting in the wings - the writing is on the wall for Lambert.

He won't be short of offers from interested clubs, though and Leicester City are the latest Premier League team to join the race for Lambert. According to the Daily Mail:

"Leicester City have expressed interest in signing Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert. The 33-year-old is due to speak to West Bromwich Albion this week while Norwich are also keen on the England international".

Liverpool was a 'dream' transfer for Lambert, but the best thing for him to do is leave.

Pulling a Borini and forcing the club to keep him will only sour that dream even further, and lead to even less game-time than last season.

I've made my views on Lambert clear many times, but I reiterate: Brendan Rodgers is mostly to blame for the striker's failure at Anfield, and the stats arguably show that:

* Season pre-LFC: 25 goals/assists in 39 apps

* Goal/assist every 1.5 games (35 starts)

* Last season at LFC: 3 goals/2 assists in 36 apps

* Goal/assist every 7.2 games (12 starts)

* 80% reduction in creative output

* Southampton total: 115 goals/68 assists (183) in 229 apps

* Goal/assist every 1.2 games

Let's not forget that Lambert was an England international at the time he signed for Liverpool, but after a year under Rodgers' fabled tutelage, Lambert's career is in tatters, and he'll probably never play for England again.

As Aldo states, Lambert has every right to wonder why Liverpool signed him in the first place, and it won't surprise me in the slightest to see Lambert score against the Reds next season.

Ultimately, given his prodigious goals/assists ratio for Southampton (and uncharacteristic fall from grace at Anfield), it's a little unfair for Lambert to be labelled a 'flop' by fans and the media.

However, that's precisely how he'll go down in Reds' history, which is the final insult for a man who's lifelong dream has turned into a nightmare.

* Firmino: £29m  | Ings: £6m (probable compensation fee) | Benteke: £32.5m (release clause)

survey services

Author: Jaimie K

Next to Sign? Boss confirms 'extraordinary €15m playmaker has 'agreed' transfer to 'great English club'. LFC?

Liverpool are currently linked with a move for allegedly 'extraordinary' Nantes midfielder Jordan Veretout, and according to the club's President, the 22-year old will sign for a Premier League club in the very near future. Could it be LFC?

On Saturday, French newspaper L'Equipe claimed that:

* Liverpool are Spurs are interesting in signing 22-year old Nantes midfielder Jordan Veretout.

* Nantes have received an 'offer' from an un-named English club.

When asked a day later about Liverpool's interest, Nantes President Valdemar Kita told Foot Mercato:

"If he [Veretout] comes to me and he decides to leave, I will not have a choice.

"I will not stop his footballing and economic developments. There already final offers and others will come".

Well, it seems as if Veretout has actually decided to leave. Last night, Kita confirmed:

“I am obliged to give in. He [Veretout] is 22, and has a big future. We've agreed on everything [and] he will play for a great English club.”

Spurs, and Aston Villa are also tracking €15m-rated Veretout, and all three teams can legitimately be described as 'great' English clubs.

In terms of historical success, Liverpool are clearly the 'greatest' of the three, but With Henderson, Milner, Allen, Lucas, Coutinho, Firminho, Ibe, and Lallana in the squad, it's hard to see where Veretout fits in.

Some info about the player:

* Can play as a DM, a box-to-box midfielder, or as a number-10, where he played for much of last season.

* Current contract expires: 2017.

* 2013: Part of France's U-20 World Cup-winning squad.

* 44 apps for various France youth teams.

* 15 goals/23 assists (38) in 142 apps for Nantes (goal/assist every 3.8 games)

* Last season: 7 goals/7assists in 40 apps (goals/assist every 2.8 games)

Liverpool need a DM, so if Rodgers is bringing Veretout in to fill that role, then the transfer makes some kind of sense.

However, Veretout predominantly (and effectively) played as an attacking midfielder last season, and in that position, there's (arguably) far too much competition in the squad.

Do Liverpool need Veretout?

Author: Jaimie K

Done Deal: After Anfield nightmare, 'fantastic' €6m Liverpool outcast completes transfer to Marseille

Earlier this month, Atletico Madrid cancelled Javier Manquillo's 2-year loan deal at Liverpool, and publicly criticised the Reds for failing to offer him the game time 'necessary for the purpose of growth'. From January until the end of last season, €6m-rated Manquillo got just 137 minutes of game time, and after signing for Marseille today, the Spaniard indirectly slammed Brendan Rodgers for leaving him to rot on the sidelines.

On July 8th, a statement on Atletico's official website noted

"Atlético decided that he [Manquillo] would go to Liverpool to enjoy the necessary minutes to continue growing football-wise. However, he has not had all the minutes he and our club consider necessary for that purpose".

After signing a loan deal with Marseille on Monday evening, Manquillo - hailed as 'fantastic' by Reds defender Jose Enrique - told the club's official website:

"I am very happy to sign for a prestigious club like Marseille. At Liverpool, I did not get the necessary game time to help with my growth in football".

Manquillo's disappointment is totally justified. Rodgers' basically ignored him for five months of the season, and his decision to grant him just 137 minutes of football (from January to May) is, quite frankly, inexcusable.

If a Liverpool player suffered a similar fate whilst on-loan, then Rodgers et al would be similarly unimpressed.

And it's not as if Manquillo is a terrible player; in the first half of the season, statistics show that he performed as effectively as any other Liverpool defender, so Rodgers' decision to constantly ignore him is hard to justify.

Manquillo is no world-beater, but I submit that he could've done just as good a job as Emre Can on the right side of Liverpool's defence, especially if - like the German - Rodgers handed him a run of 20+ games in a row.

Can was later found-out at right back, yet despite the obvious warning signs, Rodgers persisted with him, and the club suffered the consequences. Manquillo - who is a dedicated right back, and more defensively solid that Can in that position - should've been given a chance.

This is all ancient history now, though. When all is said and done, it's no great loss, but if given a proper chance, Manquillo - labelled (unfairly IMO) as 'poor' by Jamie Redknapp - may have developed into a solid squad player for Liverpool.

Instead, amongst some fans and the media, Manquillo will probably go down as another transfer flop, but the real blame lies with Rodgers, who has once again maintained his pitiful 100% failure rate in the loan market.

It'll be interesting to see how Manquillo performs at Marseille. In many cases, overseas players who leave Anfield generally fail to make an impression elsewhere, but perhaps the Spaniard will buck the trend...?

Author: Jaimie K

27 July 2015

Record-Breaker: Liverpool fighting to sign £15m attacking 'phenomenon'. Offer submitted already by Bayern

In 2014, French attacker Kingsley Coman confirmed that he'd rejected a transfer to Liverpool, but after a year of struggling for game time at Juventus, it appears that Reds are back in for the talented 19-year old star.

According to TalkSport:

"Liverpool are battling Arsenal and Bayern Munich to sign Juventus youngster Kingsley Coman...who has grown frustrated at his lack of playing time in Turin".

Liverpool were last linked with Coman during the summer of 2014, and after signing for Juventus, he told French newspaper L'Equipe:

"Juventus has a history with French players. Then there was Arsenal, Liverpool, Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Bordeaux".

Clearly, Coman is yet another young player who saw the bright lights of one of Europe's biggest clubs, and put that ahead of his own personal development needs.

Some info about Coman:

* Attacking midfielder, who can play on left, as a number 10, or as a second striker.

* 20 apps for Juve over the past season (1 goals/2 assists)

* 36 apps for various France youth teams.

* Current deal expires in 2019.

* Feb 2013: Broke Nicolas Anelka's record to become the youngest player in Paris Saint-Germain's history (16 years, 8 months and 4 days).

* Jul 2015: Bayern Munich reportedly made a £15m offer for Coman, which was summarily dismissed by Juve.

* Dec 2014: Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri raved: "Coman is a future phenomenon. He is very young, and has huge room for improvement, but he is ready for the football that counts"

To me, this feels like another Lazar Markovic situation.

Prior to his Anfield move, Markovic had a (comparatively) poor goals/assists ratio at Benfica, and it's the same for Coman at Juve.

Additionally, with Jordon Ibe in the team, the vacancy for teenage attacking midfielder is already filled.

As such, where is the sense in signing yet another teenager, especially when Ibe will already be competing with Markovic, Firmino, Lallana, Origi, and Coutinho for a place in the starting line-up?

If Liverpool are to sign another attacking midfielder, it should (IMO) be a proven, experienced player, and the consistently prolific Andriy Yarmolenko is my personal choice.

Author: Jaimie K

Mega-Fail: How Rodgers' mismanagement of the 'new Deco' has cost Liverpool £20m+

Last summer, Spanish attacker Suso had a good pre-season for Liverpool, and scored two goals in the measly 148 minutes of football that Brendan Rodgers deigned to grant him. Despite his good form, the manager totally ignored Suso during the first half of the season, and it came as no surprise when the Spaniard jumped ship for AC Milan during the January 2015 transfer window. Clearly, it simply didn't matter how well Suso performed - Rodgers didn't rate him, and this summer, history is repeating itself with Joao Carlos Teixeira.

Consider the following:

* Teixiera grabbed two assists in 45 minutes of football during Liverpool's first pre-season game against Thai All Stars.

* A laudable effort, and it's hard to see what else he could've done to stake his claim for further pitch time during the tour.

* Did Rodgers reward Teixeira for his effective performance? NO. He inexplicably ignored the Portuguese attacker for the next three games.

When Rodgers failed to start Teixeira for the Brisbane Roar game, I highlighted it on the site, and predicted that he'd spend the rest of the tour being ignored.

Of course, I was shouted down by raving Rodgers apologists, but as predicted, Rodgers dumped Teixeira from the team, and robbed him of the chance to build upon his excellent performance in the first game.

Oh wait - I forgot: Rodgers played Teixeira in an open training session match against Felda United in front of 5000 fans. My bad. Bravo!

For the last two (stupidly non-competitive) pre-season games, Firmino, Coutinho, and Benteke will come into the squad, so it's doubtful that Teixeira will make another significant appearance during the current pre-season schedule.

In my view, Rodgers' treatment of Teixeira - nicknamed the 'new Deco - is unfair, and leaves a lot to be desired:

* In what universe is it good man-management to drop and then ignore a player who grabbed two assists in the opening game of the pre-season tour?

* How is this supposed to motivate Teixeira, and how does this treatment jive with Rodgers' (false) reputation for developing young players at Anfield?

* Why wouldn't Rodgers give Teixeira more game time? Is this the best way to handle one of the club's brightest attacking talents?

* Wht kind of message does this send to the rest of Liverpool's academy youngsters?

Rodgers' treatment of Suso and Teixeira is hardly surprising, though. Only British academy youngsters get a proper chance at Anfield.

Indeed, in the entire history of Liverpool FC, no young, foreign, attacking player has ever made it through the youth system to become a regular in the first team, and Rodgers is perpetuating this negative trend.

To underline the point: over the last 3 years, Rodgers has granted Teixeira a mere 8 minutes of (competitive) first-team game time, which is pathetic, and makes a mockery of the myth that he gives young players a chance at Anfield.

If Rodgers rated Teixeira, he'd be getting the same level of game time as Ibe, and Gomez, both of whom are - quelle surprise - British.

What I don't understand is this: why not simply promote Teixeira to the first team instead of needlessly spending £20m on Lazar Markovic?

The Serb made 30+ appearances last season, and Teixeira's would've really benefited from that level of game time. It's not like he could've done any worse, is it?

Plus, Liverpool would be £20m richer right now.

In an interview last week, Teixiera made it clear that he's desperate for a chance this coming season, but it isn't going to happen.

It's over for Teixeira at Anfield, he just doesn't know it yet.

Author: Jaimie K

26 July 2015

New Transfer? Liverpool chase 'extraordinary' playmaker who's worth '€100m'. Offer submitted already by English club. LFC?

Liverpool have signed a whole host of players this summer, and the club now appears to oversubscribed in the central midfield department. This isn't deterring Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, though, who is reportedly in the market for yet another central midfielder.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe this weekend:

* Liverpool are Spurs are interesting in signing 22-year old Nantes midfielder Jordan Veretout.

* Nantes have received an 'offer' from an un-named English club.

Some info about Veretout:

* Can play as a DM, a box-to-box midfielder, or as a number-10, where he played for much of last season.

* Current contract expires: 2017.

* 2013: Part of France's U-20 World Cup-winning squad.

* 44 apps for various France youth teams.

* 15 goals/23 assists (38) in 142 apps for Nantes (goal/assist every 3.8 games)

* Last season: 7 goals/7assists in 40 apps (goals/assist every 2.8 games)

Nantes President Valdemar Kita is determined to keep hold of Vertout. In December, he told Presse Ocean:

"He [Veretout] will not leave. Obviously, if you offer me €100 million, I will think twice"

In early July, Kita reiterated his stance once again:

"There is no question of Veretout leaving. He is extraordinary, and he told us that he wants to stay. There's no chance".

When asked last night about Liverpool's interest, however, Kita seemed resigned to the possibility of Veretout leaving the club. He told Foot Mercato:

"If he [Veretout] comes to me and he decides to leave, I will not have a choice. I will not stop his footballing and economic developments. There already final offers and others will come".

With Henderson, Milner, Allen, Lucas, Coutinho, Firminho, and Lallana, where does Veretout fit in?

Unless, he has the supreme self-confidence to go to a new league/country, and immediately force his way into the first team, (and push more established players down the pecking order), then the Veretout will be swallowed up by Liverpool's squad.

That is an unlikely scenario, though, and it rarely happens at Liverpool. Coutinho is the only attacking player and/or midfielder in recent years who's been able to do that.

Additionally, Liverpool's record with France-based players is patchy at best, with Ligue One being a barren hunting ground over the years.

In any event, if Liverpool are to sign another midfielder, then surely the cash should go towards a dedicated, top-quality defensive midfielder.

That kind of player is (arguably) far more necessary than another Mr Versatile.

In my view, the club needs more positional specialists, especially in midfield, not more players whowho can play ten different positions.

Author: Jaimie K

Done Deal: 'Exceptional' £21m attacker who's 'ideal' for 'Liverpool' signs 4-year contract with Arsenal. Phew!

Over the last year, a series of disturbing stories have linked perpetually injured England attacker Theo Walcott with a transfer to Anfield. I've argued many times that a deal for Walcott makes no sense whatsoever, and is tantamount to transfer negligence, and Roberto Firmino is an infinitely preferable option. Thankfully, though, there appears to be no chance of a deal as Walcott has now committed his (almost certain to be) injury-ravaged future to Arsenal. Hoorah!

According to The Mirror today:

"Theo Walcott has agreed a new contract at Arsenal until 2019. Talks between the player and his representatives ended successfully, and the deal will put his salary [at] £100,000 a week [£21m over 4-years]".

Liverpool were last linked with 'exceptional' Walcott in March, and at the time, Reds legend Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports:

“Liverpool have looked at signing Walcott in the past. If he was available then I’m sure any Liverpool fan, player or manager would love to see him at the club. He's an ideal signing for the club."

Carra is entitled to his opinion, but he's totally wrong with the contention that 'any Liverpool fan would love to see him at the club. I recently conducted a poll on the site asking if Liverpool should sign Walcott, and the results were emphatic:

 photo Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 21.17.34_zpsteys4phq.png

As the polls shows, there are lots of Liverpool fans who have serious reservations about Walcott, mainly due to his absolutely horrific injury history, which is worth highlighting once again:

* 15 separate injuries since 2008.

* 646 days on the sidelines as a result.

* 128 games missed as a result of injury. 128 games!

* Misses an average of 21 games every single season.

* 2014: Spent 10 months of the year out injured.

Walcott is one of the most injured players in Europe (!) His record makes Daniel Sturridge look indestructible, to it's mystifying why Carra ignores the injury history in his assessment of the England man's suitability for Anfield.

Walcott is a good player, but what difference does it make if he's constantly injured?

Granted, there's every possibility that me may now stay fit for the rest of his career, but is worth taking that kind of risk? No chance. History suggests that Walcott will almost certainly pick up more injuries in the future, and luckily, it'll be Arsenal suffering the consequences, and not Liverpool.

Bullet dodged, though it's sobering to think that Rodgers - if given the slightest encouragement from Arsenal or Walcott - probably would've jumped at the chance to complete the deal, irrespective of the injury history.

Armour-piercing bullet-dodged (IMO).

Author: Jaimie K

Legend blasts: 'Nervous' £20m Liverpool star 'always makes a mistake' and is 'error-prone'. Sell?

After a nightmare debut season, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is on borrowed time at Anfield, and he'll have to exponentially improve this year to avoid perennial bench duty. Unfortunately, Lovren hasn't looked convincing during pre-season, and Reds legend Mark Lawrenson has warned the the £20m signing that he needs improve ASAP.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this weekend, Lawro blasted Lovren looking 'nervous and error-prone', and argued that he 'doesn't seem to have improved much'. He explained:

"Worryingly, he [Lovren] always makes a mistake during the course of a match. The goal against the Malaysia XI was an example of this.

"Rather than attack the ball, he held off and waited to see what would happen, and the striker produced a fine finish. If you’re an opposition manager, you’d be telling your striker to be aware Lovren can blunder at any time".

For me, the most concerning thing about Lovren is that he's failing to convince against staggeringly inferior opposition.

If Lovren can't put in confident, commanding performances against a Malaysia XI, how is he going to fare against the top-teams in the league?

Well, after last season's evidence, the answer to that is already obvious, and with that in mind, it's no surprise that Liverpool seem to be in the market for another centre-back.

Lawro insists that he still thinks that Lovren will 'come good', and I felt the same at the end of last season, but after more shaky performances in pre-season, it's probably time to start accepting that the Croatian is not the long-term solution for Liverpool.

With very few exceptions Liverpool's most successful and enduring centre-halves (i.e. Yeats, Smith, Hughes, Hansen, Lawrenson, Thompson, Gillespie, Hyypia, Henchoz, Carra etc) have settled-into their roles quickly, and gone on to become defensive stalwarts for the club.

The likes of Wright, Skrtel and Agger took a little bit of time, but neither looked as error prone and defensively suspect as Lovren, who - right now - belongs in the same bracket as Kvarme, Ruddock (Lots of heart, and a bit of a cult hero, but not the greatest defender!) Dicks, and Babb.

Way back in October, Jamie Carragher claimed, that Lovren had made Liverpool 'look worse defensively', and soon after, John Aldridge urged Rodgers to consider the 'radical solution' of dumping the 'disappointing' centre-back in the January transfer window.

Has anything really changed since then?

With so many tough games in the first few months of the season, Liverpool can't afford to start slowly, and in my view, there's no way Lovren is ready to be trusted as part of the club's first-choice central defensive partnership.

Whether he'll ever be ready is debatable, but one thing is (arguably) clear: If Liverpool sell Lovren tomorrow, it won't make a blind bit of difference to the club's forward progress.

The fact that a £20m signing won't be missed is a staggering indictment of the club's transfer policy, but it is what it is, and perhaps now is the right time for the club to cut its losses?


Author: Jaimie K

25 July 2015

Surprise Result? 51% of fans want 'incredible' Spaniard at Liverpool next season (Local poll)

Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno is currently linked with a surprise summer move to Roma, but what do fans think about the possibility of the Reds dumping the Spaniard after just one season at Anfield?

According to a recent exclusive in CalcioMercato:

* Roma boss Walter Sabatini flew to England last week with the dual goal of signing both Edin Dzeko and Alberto Moreno.

* Sabatini planned a meeting with Liverpool to discuss the possibility of a transfer.

* Liverpool are allegedly willing to sell for €15m, but Roma believe that a deal can be struck for €12m.

Over the last week, 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.

Interesting results. 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.

That's hardly surprising - one great goal aside, Moreno - who, according to ex-Red Neil Mello, has 'incredible energy' - did little to distinguish himself last season, and like Glen Johnson, the Spaniard is prone to costly errors that lead directly to opposition goals.

As such, if the chance arises, I'd have no problem with Liverpool selling Moreno, for the following reasons:

* Premier League: 4 errors that led directly to opposition goals, including one on his debut against Manchester City, which helped condemn the Reds to a 3-1 defeat.

* Failed to record a single assist in 28 league games.

* Atrocious performance in the 6-1 defeat against Stoke, which prompted Rodgers to remove him at half-time.

Rodgers is already dropping hints that Moreno could be relegated to bench duty this season. After Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Brisbane Roar, he told reporters:

"I’ve seen him [Gomez] at centre-half and at right-back, but I wanted to see him at left-back, and I thought he was outstanding. Seeing him play at left-back for the first time, he looked...a really good footballer".

The Agent of Lucas Digne has also confirmed this week that Liverpool 'are tracking' the 21-year old left-back, and if that's true, then it shows that Brendan Rodgers is also not convinced that Moreno is the answer.

Left-back is clearly not a priority position to fill, though. Moreno is young, and may improve this season, and there are several other players at the club capable of filling-in.

The time to look at a change is (arguably) January - if Moreno is still making mistakes by, then it'll be clear that he isn't improving. Until then, there are other areas of the team in greater need of reinforcement.

Author: Jaimie K

Allen-Killer? Liverpool chase 'terrific' £16m powerhouse who 'had contact' with LFC. Transfer priority?

Last season, ex-Red Danny Murphy urged Liverpool to sign Newcastle star Moussa Sissoko, and new reports this weekend suggest that Brendan Rodgers is once again interested in signing the combative midfielder.

According to Foot Mercato today:

* Liverpool are interested in signing Sissoko, who is allegedly available for £16m.

* Spurs are currently favourites to seal the deal, and have already submitted a bid.

In an interview this week, Sissoko hinted that a move may be on the cards. He told reporters:

“With a year until the Euros, I shouldn’t change club, but I want to play for one of the biggest clubs...in the Champions League, which we don’t have at Newcastle.

"One day or another, my time will come. But in any case I see myself staying in England."

When asked in January who Liverpool should sign to replace Steven Gerrard, Murphy told the Daily Star:

“Moussa Sissoko and Morgan Schneiderlin are the two players Liverpool should go for. Sissoko is a box-to-box midfielder, who has looked absolutely terrific since going centrally".

Schneiderlin is off the table now, but Sissoko is still a possibility, and if Rodgers had made different choices in 2012, the Frenchman would already be a Liverpool player.

I argued repeatedly for LFC to sign Sissoko, and prior to his move to Newcastle, the France international was heavily linked with a move to Anfield:

Jul 2011: Sissoko revealed that he was flattered to be linked with Liverpool.

Apr 2012: Speaking to reporters after Toulouse's defeat to Montpellier, Sissoko told reporters: "I've had contact with English clubs, notably Liverpool"

Aug 2012: Sissoko issued a 'come and get me' plea to Premier League clubs: "I want to grow, and the English Premier league attracts me first. My profile might interest some clubs, but if I want to leave Téfécé I know I still have to work for it"

Sissoko cost Newcastle United a sickening £2.2m. The same summer, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Michu, who ultimately signed for Swansea in £2m deal.

I'm loath to make this next point because it'll make me feel sick, but the reality is this: Liverpool could've had Michu and Sissoko for a combined total of £4.4m. Instead, the club, in its infinite wisdom, decided that £26m on Joe Allen and Fabio Borini represented better value for money.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury! I implore you: Michu and Sissoko or Allen and Borini? It's an absolute no-brainer; and in the history of no-brainers, this is the most obvious no-brainer of them all...except, of course, in the minds of those who (seemingly) have no-brain (for transfers).

But I digress...

£16m? At first glance, that seems a bit steep, but comparatively speaking, it's probably a fair fee for an experienced, international, who's Premier League-proven, and rarely injured. Right now, though, Liverpool are oversubscribed in the central midfield department, and if he signs, Sissoko may struggle for game time at Anfield.

Milner and Henderson will almost certainly play most games; Joe Allen is in-talks over a new deal, and if Lucas stays, Sissoko will face unhealthy competition for a place in the team, which isn't conducive to his stated goal of making the France team for the Euros.

Additionally, Sissoko states that he wants to play in the Champions League, which immediately seems to rule out a move to Anfield.

To be honest, I'd rather have Sissoko than James Milner, but Brendan Rodgers is a Milner fan-boy, and I can't see the Sissoko displacing the Englishman in the team.

Asier Illarramendi is reportedly available for a similar price - given the choice, which of the two is the better deal for Liverpool?

Author: Jaimie K

24 July 2015

Mega-Deal: Liverpool make stunning £46m offer for 'amazing' attacker. Club will accept the offer

The Marco Reus rumours simply refuse to die! Liverpool continue to be linked with an improbable move for the amazing German maestro, and new reports today suggest that are close to agreeing a deal with LFC.

On Wednesday, Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri claimed:

"Liverpool's contact with Reus [is] true [but] Still no bid. Reus apparently more keen on Real Madrid, but Liverpool have been working intensely on [the transfer]".

According to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato today:

* Liverpool have made a £46m offer for Reus.

* Dortmund are 'ready to accept' the offer.

If Liverpool somehow contrive to sign Reus, it will be Liverpool's most significant signing in years.

However, if it comes down to a direct choice between Anfield and the Bernabeu, there's (probably) only going to be one winner.

I'd love to see Reus at Anfield, but fantasy needs to be set aside for reality, and the brutal truth is this:

Reus is far too injury prone, and signing him is a tremendous risk. Not to belabour the point, but consider the following:

* 20 separate injuries in the last four seasons (259 days on the sidelines)

* 2013-14: SEVEN injuries during the season (Muscle problems/pulls, and torn ankle ligaments).

* 2014-15: SIX injuries in one season (Again, mainly muscle problems and ankle issues)

* Career total: 25 injuries since the 2010-11 season (Averages approx 5 injuries every year)

Reus probably won't last five minutes in the overly physical Premier League, and there's no point spending big bucks on a player who'll spend most of his time on the bench.

Additionally, Liverpool have far too many sick-notes in the squad already, and spending £46m on one of Europe's most injured players is (arguably) irresponsible in the extreme.

With that in mind, I really doubt the veracity of this story; with the ongoing Sturridge fiasco, I just can't believe that Rodgers is interesting in signing another player who spends most of his time on the sidelines.

Plus, it seems unlikely that FSG will give Rodgers another £46m after already backing him to the hilt in this summer's transfer market.

That said, Reus's creative return is, admittedly, formidable:

* 53 goals/45 assists (98) in 122 games for Dortmund.

* Goal/assist every 1.2 games.

Clearly, when he's fit, Reus is a goal-creating machine, which probably explains why he's one of Europe's most coveted players. Is that return enticing nough to ignore his injury history, though?

Author: Jaimie K

I love LFC: 'Irreplaceable' £29m attacker reveals he's 'fond of Liverpool'. Transfer of the summer?

After lots of high profile transfer fails in the recent past, it's still a little hard to believe that Liverpool actually managed to sign Roberto Firmino, and if he reproduces his Hoffenheim form at Anfield, Reds fans are in for an exciting season of entertaining football. Firmino seems genuinely happy to be at Liverpool, and in his first official interview today, the £29m Brazilian maestro made some revealing comments about his hopes and expectations for the future.

On his affinity for LFC:

"I've been watching Liverpool recently as I knew the club were interested in signing me. I feel very fond of Liverpool. It's the first big club I will play for."

On what fans can expect from him:

"I'm a player who works hard and who's constantly looking to support my teammates on the pitch. I'm a player with an attitude and who knows how to play a tactical role with the team"

On adapting to English football:

"German football is very similar, maybe just a little less tough than English football. I'm confident I'll be just fine here".

For me, Firmino - described as 'irreplaceable' by Hoffenheim boss Markus Gisdol - is Liverpool's best transfer of the summer, and I can't wait to see him playing alongside Coutinho and Benteke.

Reds legend Jamie Carragher doesn't seem to be that enamoured, though. In his column for the Daily Mail this week, he noted:

"Firmino could well be another Suarez; he could also be another Alberto Aquilani"

The only way Firmino can be 'another Alberto Aquilani' is if he's perpetually injured, and never fit enough to make an actual difference on the field.

Given the Brazilian's excellent transfer history (only 9 days missed in the last four seasons), the probability of that happening is slim.

Much will depend, of course, on how Rodgers utilises Firmino. It's imperative that the manager figures out Firmino's best position ASAP, and based on his recent history, wide left, or the number-10 role are his most effective positions, especially at Hoffenheim.

I personally want to see the likes of Coutinho and Firmino sticking with one position for the majority of the season. There's no need for 'versatility' in attack - Liverpool need aces in their places, and constantly chopping and changing positions is counter-productive as it disrupts momentum/rhythm.

For me, Liverpool's best line-ups (using current players) are as follows:

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

Clyne ------- Skrtel -- Sakho ----- Moreno

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

---------- Milner ------ Hendo

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

---------------------------- Firmino

--------------- Benteke


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

Clyne ------- Skrtel -- Sakho ----- Moreno

---------- Milner ------ Hendo

--- Ibe ------- Coutinho --- Firmino

--------------- Benteke

Using a 343:

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

------- Can ----- Skrtel ------ Sakho

-- Clyne --- Milner -- Hendo --- Moreno

--------- Coutinho --- Firmino

--------------- Benteke

Last season, Markovic, Sterling, Ibe, and Lallana suffered from being played out position, and if Firmino ever ends up playing as a wing-back, then Rodgers should be sacked on the spot for gross negligence.

Author: Jaimie K

23 July 2015

Finally: Liverpool near transfer agreement for 'outstanding' €18m attacker. Agent confirms transfer is imminent

Fabio Borini continues to be a dead man walking at Anfield, and the arrival of Danny Ings, Divock Origi, and Christian Benteke will surely (and finally) kill-off the Italian's non-existent Liverpool career. Despite his Anfield failure, Borini will not be short of offers, and his agent has now confirmed that an exit from Anfield is imminent.

When asked this week about Borini's future, the Italian's agent, Marco di Marchi, told Radio Blu:

"We have spoken with Fiorentina. There are other offers [and] Borini will choose the most pleasant destination. He wants a major project, its Italy or abroad"

Borini - hailed by Rodgers in October for his 'outstanding' performance against Swansea - is a bona-fide transfer flop, and any striker with a modicum of talent is an upgrade on the Italian. However, as Liverpool discovered last summer, getting him out of the club is easier said that done.

In July 2014, De Marchi confirmed that Sunderland's put in an offer for Borini:

"Sunderland has made ​​an important offer of 18 million Euros, but Fabio wants to stay there [at Anfield]"

Gustavo Poyet - who described the 22-year old as 'perfect' for Sunderland - then confirmed that Sunderland were interested:

"I would love to [sign Borini]. We agreed a price with Liverpool and we flew to America [for Liverpool's pre-season tour] and he didn't come".

To be honest, Borini's reluctance to leave last summer is perfectly understandable.

With the greatest respect, Sunderland would've been a massive step-down from Liverpool, and with the carrot of Champions League football at Anfield, the Italian obviously didn't want to miss out.

Perhaps Borini - in his infinite delusion - genuinely believed he'd get an extended run in the team, but realistically, he must've surely known that his Anfield career ended long ago, and that he'll never be more than a benchwarmer at the club.

It's also fair to say that Brendan Rodgers played a major part in Borini's failure to establish himself at Anfield. Like Balotelli, and Lambert, the striker barely played in his first and third seasons, and when he did, Rodgers invariably played him out of position.

With the influx of new players this season, it'll be madness for Borini to reject the chance of a move away. That said, his current deal expires in 2017, and he could conceivably choose to just run down his contract and collect a fat salary for the next two seasons.

On a related note: why on earth did Liverpool give Borini a 5-year deal back in 2012? Deals of that length should be reserved for experienced players who are likely to have a major impact on the team, not comparatively untested young players who've achieved nothing in the game.

All the signs are looking good, though, and with any luck, Borini will be gone by the end of the transfer window.

Author: Jaimie K