PREDICTION LEAGUE: Latest League Tables *Updated* 30 Sep 2015 | Rules

09 October 2015

Klopp Revolution: £50m attacker explains why Liverpool fans should be excited. Possible transfer?

Over the last few days, some of the biggest names in German football have lavished praise on new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and according to the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Stefan Effenberg, Joachim Low, and Mats Hummels, Klopp is 'one of the best' managers in Europe, if not the world. Now, Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has joined the chorus of approval for his former boss.

Speaking to reports on Thursday, £50m-rated Lewandowski outlined several things Reds fans can expect during the Klopp regime:

* Promoting from within

"He can spot talent, and he will use talent no matter the age. He has one eye on the academy players, who are good enough for him to use".

* Player improvement

"It doesn’t matter if you are playing at a high level, he [Klopp] will find something that will make you better. He can and does improve the best players in the world".

Lewandowski also provided an example to underline his point about Klopp's alleged king-making abilities:

“Gotze was taken out of the academy as a teenager, because he [Klopp] saw the talent in him. [Now] he is one of the best players in the world, and scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final".

I'm not sure Gotze is one of the 'best players in the world' (!), but Lewandowski's underlying point is clear: Klopp will utilise Liverpool's academy, and with the abundance of talent available, that can only be a good thing.

It should also mean that Joao Carlos Teixeira is finally given a chance to prove himself. Under Rodgers, the Portuguese was granted just eight minutes of pitch time in three years, which is an absolute disgrace.

If, however, Klopp also ignores Teixeira, then I guess his supporters (myself included) will just have to accept that he's simply not as good as his talent suggests (though I doubt that's the reality).

Another of Rodgers' failings is his abject inability to get the best out of attacking players. Bar Sturridge and Suarez, every attacking player has underperformed on Rodgers' watch, and that needs to change.

If Klopp can get the best out of inconsistent players like Coutinho, Lallana, Origi, and even Markovic and Balotelli (if they return), then Liverpool will have some formidable attacking assets at the club.

As for Lewandowksi - he'd be an absolute dream signing for Liverpool, and he's been linked with the club many times in the past. Klopp managed Lewandowski at Dortmund, so there's a pre-existing relationship there, so here's hoping that Klopp will be able to attract the Polish striker to Anfield at some point in the future...

Author: Jaimie K

Great News: Agent confirms 'genius' £41m attacker wants to play for 'Liverpool' not Madrid

Earlier this week, Spanish newspaper Diario Sport claimed that Real Madrid were in contact with the Agent of Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho, but according to the Brazilian's agent, there's no chance of a deal taking place anytime soon.

When asked this week about Coutinho's future, Kia Joorabchian dismissed the current transfer speculation:

"Reports that I have been talking to Real Madrid about Philippe are not true.

"Philippe is extremely happy at Liverpool. His aspirations are to qualify for the Champions League and win a trophy. That is all that he is focussed on, and nothing else.

On the surface, this appears to good news, but in many cases, public comments from agents are not worth the air into which they're uttered.

In this case, Joorabchian is hardly going to admit publicly that he's trying to broker a deal behind Liverpool's back, and Madrid aren't likely to contradict him.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Madrid have instructed Joorabchian to try and persuade £41m-rated Coutinho to quit Anfield.

The Spanish club is notorious for shady transfer practices, and Steven Gerrard confirmed this yet again in his recent autobiography, wherein he explained:

"They [Madrid] wanted me to kick up a war to get out of Liverpool for a certain amount of money, which I wasn't prepared to do. When they're after a player they have the attitude of 'we're Real Madrid, you should fight to come to us".

Coutinho - labelled a 'genius' by John Aldridge - may be happy right now, but there's one specific threat on the horizon with the potential to cause unhappiness: Roberto Firmino.

* Klopp tried to sign Firmino during his Dortmund days, so it's clear he rates the Brazilian attacker.

* Like Coutinho, Firmino's best position is number-10, and if Klopp plays his preferred 4231 formation, there's only room for one number-10.

* Klopp will almost certainly be aware of Coutinho's inconsistency, and he may decide that Firmino is his first-choice for the number-10 role.

* If that's the case, Coutinho will have to make do with a wide role in the team, but given the intense competition for places, there are no guarantees.

Coutinho is an automatic starter at the moment, and if that changes under Klopp, it could push him right into the welcoming arms of Madrid or Barcelona.

I just don't see how a balanced Liverpool team can consistently accommodate both Coutinho and Firmino. With both in the team, one or the other will constantly be played out of position, and that's not an effective long-term strategy.

Example formation:

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

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

----- Sturridge - Coutinho -- Firmino

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

A strong team, but is everyone playing in their most effective positions?

Author: Jaimie K

08 October 2015

Klopp vs. Rodgers: 3-year stats comparison. Who's the best? Surprise results reveal disappointing reality

It's official: Jurgen Klopp is Liverpool's new manager, and for the first time in months (if not years), there's a genuine sense of joy and excitement amongst the fanbase. The prevailing view seems to be that Klopp is a massive upgrade on Brendan Rodgers, but is that really true?

Earlier this evening, Liverpool released the following statement on the club's official website:

"Liverpool Football Club are delighted to announce Jürgen Klopp has been appointed as the club's new manager.

"The German coach has signed a deal to take the helm at the Reds and will be presented at a press conference at Anfield on Friday morning".

The club also confirmed changes to the backroom staff:

"Sean O'Driscoll, Gary McAllister, Glen Driscoll and Chris Davies have left their respective first-team roles at the club.

"McAllister will remain with the club, albeit in a different role, not connected to first-team duties".

"The Scot has accepted an ambassadorial position, which will allow the club to benefit from his strong connection and affinity with the supporters".

Klopp is a welcome addition to the pantheon of Liverpool managers, but how does he compare to Rodgers?

As I do with every managerial chance, I've compiled a stats analysis comparing old (Rodgers) and new (Klopp) on the following basis:

- Performance over the last 3 completed seasons.

- League, and all competitions.

* I've chosen the the last three completed seasons as the comparison timeframe because that's how long Rodgers managed Liverpool FC.

* In my view, it's a fair comparison, as it takes into account current and most recent managerial performance.

* Klopp won two Bundesliga titles at Dortmund, but that was three years ago. As such, those achievements are largely irrelevant now in the context of current and recent performance.

RODGERS vs. KLOPP: 2012-2015

Key Points

* In all competitions, Klopp has a higher overall win percentage (55%), and his teams scored more goals, and conceded slightly fewer goals per game.

* Defensive issues plagued Rodgers' reign, but Klopp's figures with Dortmund are not much better. In the league, for example, Rodgers' teams achieved significantly more clean sheets overall.

* On average, Klopp's teams conceded the same number of goals per game over the three-year period. Given Liverpool's perennial defensive problems, that is arguably a cause for concern.

* In both the league, and all competitions, Rodgers achieved a higher unbeaten ratio than Klopp, but both managers also lost the same number of games (League, and all competitions).

* In terms of league position, Klopp's overall performance is superior (two 2nd place finishes, to Rodgers' one), but he only outperformed Rodgers in one of the three years (2012-13).

* When all is said and done, Klopp's overall results (in some categories) are only marginally superior to Rodgers, and the difference is not really statistically significant.

Like Rodgers, Klopp's teams clearly have defensive issues. Rodgers is slated for failing to address Liverpool's defence, but Klopp achieved practically the same record over the last three years. As such, Reds fans may be in for a rude awakening if they expect the German to come in and transform the club's defence.

Ultimately, I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but the plain fact is this: when it comes to performance over the last three years, there's not much difference between Klopp and Rodgers, though some fans make it sound like the German is ten levels above Liverpool's deposed manager.

Hopefully, though, there will be a major difference over the next three years.

Author: Jaimie K

Massive Boost: Great news for Klopp/Liverpool as 'superb' £22m attacker is likely to miss LFC/Spurs game

If all goes well, Jurgen Klopp will be unveiled as Liverpool's new boss this week, and he'll need to swiftly turn his attention to the Premier League, as the Reds face a tricky away game at Spurs after the international break. Tottenham's form is just as erratic as Liverpool's this season, but new signing Heung-min Son has hit the ground running, and is a genuine match-winner for the London club. A fully-fit Son is a player to be feared, but luckily, it seems that the South Korean star will not be fit enough to face Reds.

Son - who cost Spurs £22m - sustained a foot injury during Spurs' recent 4-1 demolition of Man City, and according to the Evening Standard this week:

"Heung-min Son is unlikely to be risked in Tottenham’s game against Liverpool. The South Korea forward was ruled out for 'a few weeks' by Mauricio Pochettino [who] is cautious about bringing back players too quickly from injury".

Son has grabbed three goals in four games for Spurs, so this is great news for Liverpool, who are desperate for points after slipping to tenth place in the Premier League table.

Son - hailed by Franz Beckenbauer as a 'superb player' - had the chance to join Liverpool, but according to the Evening Standard , he rejected the opportunity:

"Son resisted overtures from City [and] Liverpool. Son’s camp have carefully mapped out his career and they consider Tottenham, a club where the forward is likely to play most weeks, a better option than Liverpool".

Son's decision makes sense: his top priority is playing time, and he's more likely to get regular games at Spurs than Liverpool or Manchester City, both of whom have bigger squads than Spurs.

Additionally, attacking players rarely thrived under Brendan Rodgers, and that may have factored into his decision. Under Rodgers' management, many of Liverpool's forward players regressed, and failed to reach/maintain, a consistent level of performance.

It's a shame that deal failed. Unlike Coutinho, Lallana, Firmino et al, Son is a tall, strong attacker, which is something Liverpool desperately need.

Rodgers favoured smaller, mobile attackers with a low centre of gravity (I love talking about Rodgers in the past tense!), and as a result, the Reds now lack variety in attack, which partly explains the team's creative paucity this season.

On form, Son and Christian Eriksen (another player Liverpool pursued for years) are a potentially devastating attacking duo, and if they click together (over a season), Spurs will become a serious threat to Liverpool's chances of finishing in the top five.

It's vitally important that Liverpool capitalise on Son's absence and get get a win against Spurs. After a poor start to the season, the Reds are already playing catch-up, and if results go the wrong way, the club will end up languishing in the bottom half of the table.

Hardly the ideal start to the Jurgen Klopp era...

Author: Jaimie K

07 October 2015

It's Over: After talks with FSG, 'amazing' boss rejects Liverpool job. Bad News?

Along with Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti is one of the favourites to succeed Rodgers at Anfield, but it appears that the Italian is no longer in the running for the job.

'Amazing' Ancelotti remains second favourite to replace Rodgers, and the Reds held talks with the Italian over the possibility of becoming Liverpool's new manager.

Additionally, on Tuesday, the Daily Mail, claimed:

"Carlo Ancelotti is also in the frame [for the Liverpool job].

"He has flown in from Italy [and] is willing to talk [with Liverpool].

When asked today about the Liverpool job, Ancelotti appeared to close the door on the possibility. He told reporters:

“I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion, but I want to take my time to rest. Next season I am ready.”

Klopp is clearly Liverpool's first choice, and I suspect that if the Ancelotti was being pursued with the same zeal as the German, he'd have a different view about getting back into the game.

It's a shame, as it's doubtful that Liverpool will ever get another chance to appoint Ancelotti. When he returns, the Italian will inevitably get a job with one of the world's top clubs, and after a few years, he'll almost certainly get a crack at the national team.

Managing Italy is Ancelotti's ultimate ambition, and he confirmed this a few months ago:

"My dream is to coach the Italian national team. I hope in the future to realise it, because I'd like to win a World Cup with Italy."

Liverpool had one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take...OUR FREEDOM!

Sorry, I got sidetracked :-)

I'll start again: Liverpool had one chance to grab one of the most successful managers of the modern era, and in the words of Lt. Moe Tilden:

Klopp seems nailed-on, and he is also a superb choice, but what if the deal fails at the eleventh hour? Liverpool need Klopp more than he needs LFC, and despite all the hype, there's still a chance that something may go wrong.

If, horror of horrors, that happens, what is Liverpool's plan B? The next three favourites are Klinnsman, De Boer, and Mazzarri, and of those three, De Boer is arguably the best option.

Here's hoping nothing goes wrong, but even if Klopp is appointed, there's a worry that Bayern Munich will eventually poach him once Pepe Guardiola moves on.

Like most fans, I'm excited about the prospect of Klopp at Anfield, but I can't shake the feeling that Liverpool is merely a placeholder until the Bayern job becomes available.

Author: Jaimie K

Game On: World Cup winner confirms Liverpool are in 'talks' with 'extraordinary' boss

According to media reports, Jurgen Klopp is due on Merseyside this week to discuss the possibility of replacing Brendan Rodgers at Anfield. There's no official confirmation of that from any credible source, but one of the world's top managers has now revealed that the rumours are true.

When asked today about the Liverpool speculation, Germany boss Joachim Low hailed Klopp as 'extraordinary', and confirmed:

"I’m not party to negotiations but I do know talks are taking place. There are comparisons between Dortmund and Liverpool...and if they can work it out, he can be a great addition.”

Given Low's position in German football, it's highly likely that he'll know what's happening with Klopp.

Low is not the only German who is convinced that Klopp is the right choice for Liverpool. Over the last couple of days, big names in German football have been falling over themselves to hail the ex-Dortmund manager:

Franz Beckenbauer

“He [Klopp] is fantastic [and] one of the best coaches in the world. He made Dortmund into a world-class team, and if Liverpool has the chance to sign Jurgen Klopp then they should do it".

Mats Hummels

"There’s no doubt he’s a fantastic coach and clubs like Liverpool naturally come into the equation. He eats, lives, breathes and thinks football and is a fantastic addition to any team".

Ilkay Gundogan

"I think Klopp would be a great fit at many clubs and I believe also at Liverpool. It's something I can see happening. I think Klopp is capable of helping many top clubs in the world."

Stefan Effenberg

"He [Klopp] gave me this answer a couple of weeks ago:'I'm ready for a team that's not on the highest level, to build something up'. This could be Liverpool, right?. Liverpool is...pretty much the same as Dortmund. The fans stay behind the club and this is what Jurgen Klopp likes and needs".

Hans-Joachim Watzke (Dortmund CEO)

"I don't know if he goes to Liverpool but the club who gets him gets a very good manager. He can do every job, and Liverpool is very similar to Borussia Dortmund. He makes every player better, you can be sure".

Christophe Daum

"A character like Jurgen would fit in really well at Anfield. I know he's regarded very highly in England and is on the wishlist of many clubs."

Sounds good to me!

Bayern Munich legend Oliver Kahn sounded a note of caution, though:

"The question is always a bit about the language barrier. I'd trust him [Klopp] to have no big problem with English, but as far as motivating a team goes, there are subtleties, and whether he has those subtleties remains to be seen."

If the alleged 'language barrier' means that Klopp avoids excessive use of hollow, empty adjectives like 'outstanding', and 'sensational', then that will be terrific, brilliant, amazing, and wonderful news.

It's barely an issue, though. As this interview shows, Klopp will have no problem whatsoever communicating with Liverpool's players:

Author: Jaimie K

LFC Mega-Deal? Euro-giants in contact with 'sensational' €55m Liverpool star. Klopp's first sale?

And so it begins. In his new autobiography, Reds legend Steven Gerrard predicts that Liverpool will lose Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona or Real Madrid 'in a 'few seasons', but the campaign to nab the Brazilian has already started, and new reports suggest Los Blancos are actively trying to sign LFC's most exciting player.

According to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport this week:

* Coutinho's agent has discussed a possible transfer with Real Madrid.

* The Spanish giants considered making a bid over the summer, but decided to hold off for now.

I've already accepted that Coutinho will leave Anfield sooner rather than later. Even with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, the chance to play alongside the likes of Ronaldo et al is too enticing to pass up.

Barcelona are also interested in signing 'sensational' Coutinho, and if both clubs come calling, then it's hard to see Coutinho staying at Anfield.

And who can blame him? The Liverpool squad is filled with dross, and the unbalanced team is not set-up to get the best out of Coutinho.

I've highlighted Coutinho's inconsistency many times, but as Ronaldinho stated in May:

"Playing with great players makes you better, I know that. Not only would he win trophies with Barcelona, but playing with Neymar, Messi, Suarez, Iniesta, is going to make him a better player".

In my view, Coutinho's inconsistency is partly down to playing with comparatively inferior players. Sturridge aside, very few Liverpool players are on the same wavelength as the Brazilian, and that is bound to have an impact.

Irrespective of the reasons why, when it comes to the crunch, Coutinho's goals/assist ratio for Liverpool is simply not good enough, and minutes per goal/assist ratio amongst is significantly worse than comparable players (i.e. Silva, Hazard, Sanchez etc).

That said, Coutinho also cost significantly less than many of his expensive contemporaries, and overall, he is superb value for money.

According to the CIES Football Observatory, Coutinho is worth €55m, and if Real or Barca offer that kind of money, then Liverpool will be mad to turn it down, especially with Firmino in the squad.

On the subject of Barcelona, the Guardian claims:

"Barcelona have spoken to some of Coutinho's representatives and he is 'more than willing' to wear the Barcelona shirt".

Losing Coutinho will be a blow, but the positive thing is that - assuming Jurgen Klopp arrives - fans will not have to worry about transfer funds being wasted on average, overpriced British players.

What are the odds on Coutinho actually leaving, though? If you are looking to place a bet on that, or on any of Liverpool's upcoming matches, we’d suggest picking a site from this page.

Author: Jaimie K

Trouble Ahead? Klopp wanted 'unplayable' Liverpool star at Dortmund. Now, the problem is fitting him in

Ex-Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp remains the hot favourite to succeed Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, and his appointment is sure to be a massive boost for everyone at the club, including Christian Benteke, a player Klopp seemingly admired during his time at BVB.

On Tuesday evening, the Daily Mail claimed:

"Klopp considered signing [Benteke] for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2013, when [BVB] were replacing Robert Lewandowski".

This appears to be true. In May 2013, Benteke's agent, Eric Kismet, told ESPN:

"I am aware of the Dortmund representation at Villa Park for the Chelsea match, but Christian is still a Villa player and nothing has changed on that point".

If Klopp tried to sign Benteke - who Steven Gerrard claims is 'unplayable' - then there's a good chance that the Belgian will feature heavily in the German's plans, but it may not be as easy as that:

* Based on his time at Dortmund, Klopp's favoured formation is 4231, which means that there's only room for one striker in the starting line-up.

* It's possible to play a second striker just behind the main striker (ostensibly as a number-10), but neither Benteke, nor Sturridge - Liverpool's two main forwards - have experience of playing that role.

* Additionally, using Benteke or Sturridge in a deeper role (as part of the attacking three) will mean that one of either Coutinho, Firmino, or Lallana, will regularly miss out.

* Of the two, Sturridge is more suited to the role. Example formation:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ------ Skrtel - Sakho ---- Moreno
------------ Milner - Hendo
--- Coutinho -- Sturridge ---- Firmino
---------------- Benteke

It's a possibility, but Sturridge is most effective as a central striker, and there's no sense in playing Liverpool's most prolific goalscorer out of position.

Playing Benteke as a number-10 is (or should be) a non-starter, and when both are fit, Sturridge should undoubtedly be Liverpool's number-one striker.

If Klopp agrees - and continues to play 4231 - then Benteke may find himself stuck on the bench for most of the season. Unless, of course, Liverpool's manager-elect decides change his approach, and utilises a system that fits the squad.

A potential solution is the 4132 formation, which Klopp occasionally utilised at Dortmund:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ------ Skrtel - Sakho ---- Moreno
----------------- Milner
--- Hendo ------ Coutinho ---- Firmino
----------- Benteke -- Sturridge

In this scenario, Milner is a defensive-midfielder, and I sincerely hope that Klopp converts him to that role full-time. This particular formation lacks width, and Henderson is out of position, but:

* Ibe and Origi can alternate with Firmino.

* Hendo can also play centrally, with Coutinho coming in from the left.

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ------ Skrtel - Sakho ---- Moreno
----------------- Milner
--- Ibe ------- Henderson -- Coutinho
----------- Benteke -- Sturridge

Liverpool have plenty of options, and quite a few quality players, and if Klopp gets them firing on all cylinders, a Champions League place is an achievable goal.

Whatever happens, I sincerely hope that Klopp sticks to his footballing philosophy, and doesn't betray his long-held principles, which is (arguably) one of the things that derailed Brendan Rodgers.

Author: Jaimie K

06 October 2015

First Signing? 'Extraordinary' £15m Dortmund star keen to follow Jurgen Klopp to Liverpool

Speculation linking Jurgen Klopp with the Liverpool job is at fever pitch right now, and if the German boss signs on the dotted line, the Reds will inevitably be linked with many of Borussia Dortmund's first-team squad. It's already happening, and according to reports in Italy today, Dortmund defender Neven Subotic is keeping a close eye on events at Anfield.

According to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato:

* Subotic is 'waiting to see' if Klopp ends up at Liverpool.

* If Klopp takes the job, Subotic could follow his old boss to Anfield.

Subotic followed Klopp from Mainz to Dortmund, and it's not inconceivable to think that a reunion could be on the cards.

The 26-year old Serb is definitely interested in a move to the Premier League, and he confirmed this in April, when he told Kicker magazine:

"I can imagine playing in a league someday which rates physical football. The game in England is tougher, more aggressive and more physical, and as a centre-back I don't want to fear just touching an opponent".

In the same interview, Subotic - - hailed by Klopp for his 'extraordinary' performances - blasted players who engage in play-acting and cheating, the risible euphimism for which is 'gamesmanship'. He scathed:

"How can I do my work when my opponent starts crying without contact? Diving annoy me, I think that's cheating. I just don't like it when an attacker is going at one kilometre an hour and flies like he's been hit by a car."

A refreshing point of view, which mirrors my own, but if £15m-rated Subotic thinks that the Premier League is a paragon of fair play, then he's in for a rude awakening.

Diving and cheating is as prevalent in England as it is anywhere else, and some of the game's biggest divers ply their trade in the Prem (i.e. Rooney, Young, and even some Liverpool players, who shall remain nameless).

In any event, this deal is (or should be) a non-starter for one simple reason: Subotic is far too injury prone for the rough and tumble of the Premier League:

* 11 injuries in the last four years, including a cruciate ligament injury.

* 331 days on the sidelines (78 games missed).

* Made only two appearances this season as a result of a persistent back problem.

Liverpool need to improve defensively, but the new manager (whoever that may be) should be able to create a solid defensive unit with the central defenders already at the club, all of whom are experienced internationals.

The transfer market doesn't open for another three months, so the new manager will have to choice but to get the club's current defenders firing on all cylinders.

Author: Jaimie K

Contact Made: After Klopp, Liverpool approach 'world-class' £75k-a-week superstar who wants Anfield 'opportunity'

Liverpool are expected to appoint a new manager this week, and the current favourites remain Jurgen Klopp, and Carlo Ancelotti. A new manager inevitably means changes to the coaching set-up, and new reports suggest that one of the Reds' greatest ever players is in the frame for a shock return to Anfield.

According to TalkSport pundit (and ex-Red) Stan Collymore::

"Steven Gerrard has been sounded out to be a part of the new manager’s set up".

'World-class' Gerrard definitely wants a return to Anfield at some point, and he confirmed his in May, when he told The Guardian:

“I hope to get the opportunity to come back and serve the club again one day. I feel that I can make a contribution in some role in the future.”

That's all well and good, but Gerrard returning to assist Klopp, or Ancelotti? This is (surely) wishful thinking in the extreme:

* Gerrard has just moved his family to the USA, and after such a huge undertaking, it'll be unfair (and arguably selfish) to put his family through the stress of another transatlantic relocation.

* Gerrard is only three months into an 18-month contract, and if he jumps ship now, it will arguably tarnish his reputation.

* LA Galaxy don't have to let Gerrard leave; the club can force him to see out his contract, and if the former Liverpool captain kicks up a fuss, then it'll reflect badly on him, not Galaxy.

* Prior to his move to LA, Gerrard claimed that he wants to 'keep playing every week in the final few years' of his career, but returning to Liverpool now will almost certainly mean the end of his playing career.

* Is Gerrard willing to end his days as a player when he obviously still has so much to offer? Doubtful.

Anything is possible in football, and money talks, but in my view, Gerrard should see out his contract at Galaxy, and forget about returning to Liverpool right now.

If the Reds are to appoint to an ex-player to assist Klopp, then there are plenty of excellent candidates available, including Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler, Dietmar Hamann, and, of course, Gary McAllister, who is already at the club.

Right now, Liverpool can survive without Gerrard, but he loves playing the role of Liverpool's saviour, and if offered, the opportunity may be hard to resist.

Gerrard - who earns £75k-a-week at LA Galaxy - only has one playing career, and that is much shorter that the (potentially) long coaching/managerial career ahead. As such, if he stops playing now to answer Liverpool's SOS, he'll probably regret it in the future.

Author: Jaimie K

Anfield Excitement: 'Amazing' legend who managed Zidane/Ronaldo flies-in for Liverpool talks. Forget Klopp?

In the wake of Brendan Rodgers' departure from Anfield, Jurgen Klopp appears to be the overwhelming favourite to become Liverpool's new manager, but is there a possibility that FSG may ultimately unveil a different manager?

On Monday evening, The Telegraph claimed:

"Liverpool plan to confirm Jürgen Klopp’s appointment as manager by the end of the week after the German coach indicated he will accept the club’s offer to move to Anfield".

According to the Daily Mail, though:

"Carlo Ancelotti is also in the frame [for the Liverpool job]. He has flown in from Italy [and] is willing to talk [with Liverpool].

If Ancelotti is in the country, then Liverpool surely have to talk with him, even if Klopp is the preferred choice?

It's probable that Ancelotti flew in specifically to speak with the Reds, and if that's the case, then it'll be hugely remiss of the club to pass on the opportunity to meet with the Italian.

* If Ancelotti wants the job, then FSG are faced with the very real prospect of rejecting the services of one of the game's most successful managers. Do Liverpool really want to be the club that rejected Carlo Ancelotti?

* The Italian is a bonafide managerial heavyweight, and it's not often that Liverpool have the chance to appoint such an internationally renowned boss.

* Klopp is clearly great manager in his own right, but he is younger, and will undoubtedly have opportunities in the future to pursue the Liverpool job.

* Given Ancelotti's age, this is arguably Liverpool's last chance chance to have one of the world's greatest managers at the helm.

* Ancelotti also has the added advantage of Premier League experience.

I have to be honest, given the choice today, I'd take Ancelotti. This is a guy who has successfully managed the likes of Ronaldo, Pirlo, Maldini, Nesta, Cafu, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and Zidane, and - like Bob Paisley - has won three European Cups (five, if you included trophies as a player).

As such, I find it inconceivable that a club in Liverpool's position (i.e. on a downward spiral to mediocrity and irrelevance) can reject Ancelotti - who, according to Cristiano Ronaldo, is an 'amazing' manager - if he's available, and wants the job.

Like Mourinho, he basically guarantees trophies, and will be able to attract the elite of European football. Unlike the Portuguese, though, Ancelotti is a class act, and perfectly embodies the spirit and humble philosophy of Liverpool FC.

Of course, I see the arguments against Ancelotti:

* A hired gun, who goes into a club, spends shedloads of money, wins a couple of trophies, then leaves.

* Doesn't really build anything for the long-term (i.e. youth system) and would probably stay at Anfield for only 2-3 years (since 2009, hasn't managed any team for longer than two years).

But still, this is Carlo Ancelotti, and a manager of his stature will put Liverpool back on the map immediately.

How do you reject one of the greatest managers in the modern game?

online polls

Author: Jaimie K

Bad News: 'Sensational' £41m Liverpool star suffers injury blow and is 'unfit' for international duty

Liverpool's players are dropping like flies at the moment, and after Danny Ings' injury against Everton, one of the club's most important players has now joined LFC's growing injury list.

'Sensational' Reds attacker Philippe Coutinho has pulled out of the Brazil squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Chile.

The Liverpool Echo reports:

"The problem for Coutinho is a groin issue [and] it is unclear how long he will be unavailable for. He’s unfit for international duty, and Liverpool, as yet, have put no timeframe on his recovery".

Liverpool's current injury list:

* Benteke (£32m)

* Firmino (£29m)

* Henderson (£20m)

* Flanagan

* Toure

* Lovren (£20m)

* Ings (£6m)

According to Physio Advisor:

"With appropriate management, patients with minor groin strains can usually recover in one to three weeks. With larger tears, recovery may take four to six weeks or longer, depending on the severity".

Thankfully, the international break means that Coutinho has two weeks recovery time, and if it's only a grade one strain, he should be fit for the Spurs game (which should be the first game of the new manager's reign).

£41m-rated Coutinho is an important player for Liverpool, but his inconsistency is maddening, and his ineffective performance against Everton is the latest example of that.

If Coutinho doesn't make it back for Spurs, then Joao Carlos Teixeira is an obvious replacement. With Rodgers now gone, Jurgen Klopp (or whoever FSG appoint) will hopefully give Teixeira a chance to prove himself in the first team.

Author: Jaimie K

Done Deal: 'World-class' boss will be Liverpool's new manager. Offer accepted. Announcement Friday

Who will FSG appoint as Liverpool's next manager? German boss Jurgen Klopp is the current bookmakers' favourite, and it appears that the worst kept secret in football is about to become a reality.

According to The Telegraph:

* Klopp has informed Liverpool that he will 'accept the club’s offer to move to Anfield', and FSG will appoint him on a three-year deal 'by the end of the week'.

* Negotiations are expected to be completed 'over the next few days', with Klopp expected on Merseyside 'in the next 48 hours for further negotiations'.

* Klopp allegedly has 'no qualms about working within the existing club structure', and he will be allowed to hire his own backroom team. The announcement will be made on Friday.

Klopp - recently hailed as a 'world-class' manager by Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan - is clearly a great choice, but there are a few issues to consider.

* If Klopp is happy to work 'within the existing structure', then it opens up the possibility of further transfer mistakes. If Rodgers' reign proved anything, it's that the committee structre is an ineffective, bureaucratic system, which engenders rank profligacy, transfer negligence, and a lack of clarity/accountability.

* Over the summer, Liverpool made significant changes to the club's backroom staff, and the same thing is inevitably going to happen again. Klopp will (rightly) bring his own assistant (and possibly first-team coach), and that means it'll be curtains for Gary McAllister and Sean O'Driscoll.

* Rodgers dumped key members of the backroom staff over the summer, and making drastic changes again (first-team coach etc) may have a negative impact on the current squad. Even with the excitement of a new manager, there may be a knock-on negative impact whilst everyone adjusts. If Liverpool are to qualify for the Champions League this season, then the last thing the club needs is hangover from more coaching changes.

* Klopp is obviously proven in the Bundesliga, but to date, Dortmund is his only high-profile managerial role, and compared to, say, Carlo Ancelotti, he is comparatively inexperienced at the highest level.

* Dortmund suffered a stunning fall from grace last season, and spent much of the year around the relegation zone. It's a major blot on Klopp's otherwise distinguished Bundesliga career, and I sincerely hope that - prior to appointment - FSG conduct proper due diligence and thoroughly investigate why things failed so spectacularly.

Personally, I'm sick of the Transfer Committee approach, and if Klopp is willing to accept it as-is, then it opens up the disappointing possibility that he'll turn out to be another yes-man.

Hopefully, that won't be the case.

Author: Jaimie K

05 October 2015

Next to Leave? 'Sensational' £41m Liverpool star reacts to transfer speculation; confirms he's 'focused' on LFC

In his new autobiography, Reds legend Steven Gerrard predicts that Liverpool will lose Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in a 'few seasons', and with the likes of Ronaldinho, and Luis Suarez consistently massaging Coutinho's ego, it's surely only a matter of time before he ends up at the Nou Camp. Last week, Neymar became the latest Barca star to praise the coveted Brazilian, but Coutinho insists that he isn't affected by subtle attempts to tap him up.

In September, Neymar told ESPN:

"I see many Brazilian players with quality, But one that I like and I think could play here is Coutinho. He has the style of Barcelona."

There seems to be a concerted effort to get £41m-rated Coutinho to quit Anfield. Other recent examples:

* May 2015: Ronaldinho told the Daily Mail: "I know what Barcelona look for in a player and he [Coutinho] has those qualities. Barcelona and Coutinho would be the perfect fit".

* Aug 2015: When asked to name his favourite Premier League player, Suarez told UEFA officials:

"My favourite player at the moment in the Premier League is [Liverpool attacker] Philippe Coutinho".

* Sep 2015: David Luiz mused: "The best need to be playing with the best. If Liverpool don’t qualify for the Champions League, I am sure he [Coutinho] will be the most in demand player in Europe".

Reacting to Neymar's comments this week, Coutinho admitted it's 'nice' to be linked with Barcelona, but insisted he's 'totally focused on Liverpool', adding:

"I heard what Neymar said but I want to do well with Liverpool. I'm focused on Liverpool to help them do good things on the pitch".

This is nice to hear, but what else is Coutinho going to say in public?

The probability is that leaving Liverpool is already on Coutinho's mind. Indeed, when asked recently about life on Merseyside, Coutinho admitted that he's not a fan of British food, and made it clear that he hates the weather.

"It's hard. I'm still not totally used to it, and every time it's cold, it's really tough. I'm making do as best I can."

This may seem like an innocuous comment, but if thing don't improve at Anfield, this seemingly minor issue will become one of a number of major reasons to leave the club.

Like Mascherano, Alonso, Torres, and Suarez, Coutinho - described by Brendan Rodgers as 'sensational - will only 'make do' for a certain period of time before he gets fed up and quits the club,

With Rodgers now gone, the chances of keeping Coutinho long-term can only increase, but even with a top-class manager at the helm (i.e. Klopp, Ancelotti, or even Frank De Boer), the lure of the Nou Camp may ultimately prove to be too strong.

Mark my words: transfer speculation will intensify in December and January, and when the summer comes, Coutinho will be the big transfer story of the window, just like Sterling in the summer window.

Unlike Sterling, though, Coutinho will conduct himself with dignity and humility, just as he always has at Liverpool.

It's Luis Suarez all over again: Coutinho will stay to help the club qualify for the Champions League, and then leave.

Author: Jaimie K