5 Dec 2014

LFC hero blasts: Liverpool should've signed 'brilliant' £12m attacker instead of LFC misfit. Agree?

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol is the latest ex-Red to jump on the 'Balotelli is the the devil' bandwagon, and this week, he's accused Brendan Rodgers of making a huge mistake in signing the Italian striker.

In an interview with TalkSport on Wednesday, Nicol slammed Balotelli for 'making a mockery' of Liverpool, and hinted that Rodgers should dump the Italian for yet another Southampton star. He barked:

“"They spent £16m (€20m) on Balotelli but I would prefer to have signed someone like Shane Long.

"He might not have the same ability or CV, but the fans will love him, [and] he's going to come on to the field and give you everything he has. "


Liverpool scouted Long back in 2011, but Reds hero Phil Thompson doesn't share Nicol's enthusiasm for the Irishman, and when asked last season about the possibility of a move to Anfield, he told reporters:

“Shane Long has had really good spells this year but I think he’s inconsistent as a goalscorer. That may sound daft, though, when he’s had such a purple patch”

It seems that Thommo is right - Long's goalscoring inconsistency is there for all to see this year, and in Henderson, Coutinho, Lallana, and Borini, Liverpool already have enough attacking players who fail to consistently score goals.

According to Southampton boss Ronald Koeman, Long is a 'brilliant' player who is 'always running and working', but he's hardly tearing it up at St. Mary's after his €14m summer transfer.

Despite playing in a confident team that's firing on all cylinders, Long is not that much more effective than Balotelli this season. To date, he has 3 goals/1 assist in 16 apps (all competitions), which is only marginally better than the Italian's 2 goals/0 assists in 14 games. Premier League stats comparison:

* Minutes played: SL 639 | MB 685
* Goals: SL 2 | MB 0
* Assists: SL 0 | MB 0
* Chances Created: SL 9 | MB 7

* Tackles Won: SL 8 (72%) | MB 10 (83%)
* Ground Duels Won: SL 50% | MB 35%
* Aerial Duels Won: SL 57% | MB 17%
* Clearances/Interceptions/Blocks: SL 17 | MB 16
* Recoveries: SL 17 | MB 16

* Passing Accuracy: SL 71% | MB 73%
* Passing Accuracy in Opposition Half: SL 67% | MB 71%

Stats: OPTA

Nicol suggests that Long would be more effective than Balotelli due to his work-rate, but the stats show that there is barely any difference between the two players, either defensively or offensively.

That said, if Rodgers had signed Long instead of Balotelli, I wouldn't have had a problem with it, though I'm sure many fans would've slammed the manager for a perceived lack of ambition.

Author:



61 comments:

  1. Have you got a typo in there Jamie?

    ReplyDelete
  2. FFS Stevie what are you smoking this time!? As Craig Burley would put it, he's pulled another 'Stevie Nicol'

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nichol always makes daft comments, so I'm really not surprised that he rates Shane Long.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No. 31 goals / 1 assist in 16 appearances sounds about right.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The prospect of playing alongside Balotelli would attract more talented players than Shane Long ever will.


    Unlike Long, Balotelli also has a pedigree. He isn't living up to it, whereas Long is close to his natural level.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is why I'd keep Mario. Apart from Gerrard, he's our most talented player

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's not that mate, it's the fact that Long has 31 goals/1 assist in 16 apps, but JK hasn't preferred him to Mario.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah, should be 3 goals/1 assist. My bad!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have always admired Shane Long.

    ReplyDelete
  10. His contract expires in 2017!!! His value is close to 30 million - only Englisg reporters would be this stupid!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. huge fan of this guy, a bit disappointing at the world cup but a great talent. would love to see him in liverpool but doubt we have the money, probably worth more than 25 mill

    ReplyDelete
  12. I reckon Bony is the right man to replace Suarez :
    * Similar goal records at this stage of career
    *Powerful on the ball
    * Has good acceleration and movement
    *Proved his worth in world cup

    ReplyDelete
  13. Inter has a long, long history of letting go the wrong players- just look at any winning team in Italy(tROUGH HISTORY) and you will find former Inter player(s) as star(s). So if they want Lukas for him, take him even if Lukas is player of the month in epl...
    And Kovacic is a hell of a prospect. He had problems in Inter(all players have with so many managers, coaches, new players every window, and owners), and not great WC as a consequence(that and being young), but he has class. 4-2-3-1 would work with him and Can I am sure of it. Him as deep lying would(eventually) work, him as an CM or AM would work. At 10 mill, hell yeah.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How much did Coutinho cost us? He was worth much more... The guy isn't even playing that much there..

    ReplyDelete
  15. Why would we sign a schlong?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Swansea would have asked double for Bony compared to what we paid for Balotelli and Bony quite simply is not worth that much.


    Balotelli is a square peg in a round hole unless he is partnered with another striker.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aerial Duels Won: MB 17%

    says it all for me. this wont get any better with another stiker... balotelli lacks the brain

    ReplyDelete
  18. We should have never signed Balotelli, I said this from the start!

    ReplyDelete
  19. yes i know

    i wanted him to move to LFC, but watching him running around the pitch like a headless chicken makes me so angry every time

    ReplyDelete
  20. It is Rodgers asking him to run around like a headless chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  21. don't think so... As i said balotelli lacks a football brain, he's like a giant baby with immensive potential but playing football for the first time ever. Everything apart of his first touch is awful and if Balotelli doesn't even know where a striker has to stand and what is offside, BR can't be blamed for that

    ReplyDelete
  22. comment waiting to be aproved, for whatever reason

    ReplyDelete
  23. that's basically what i was trying to say before my comment was waiting to be aproved.
    You can't really fault BR for Balotelli, who doesn't know tactics

    ReplyDelete
  24. Mario more talented than Sterling? No way

    ReplyDelete
  25. Shane Long....dear god...

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is stupid. So Inter would drop the price on one of their brightest talents so they can pay for Lucas and Borini? Why would they not just offer us Kovacic for those two PLUS 10 million?

    ReplyDelete
  27. We haven't seen the best of Balo... in theory he should do well with Sturra up front. although i disagree with 1 stat conclusion there 3 gls/1assist arguably twice as good as 3 goals/1assist!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thing is, with those stats, nobody is of the view that Shane Long is out of form, but Balotelli, with similar stats, is definitely not firing on all cylinders. Balotelli's ceiling is much, much higher.


    I'm still happy we've signed Balotelli as I've been a fan of his since his Inter days and I hope he finds some form for us.


    As for Nicol's argument that "the fans would love him", I'm not sure what research he's basing that on or how many people he interviewed to come to that conclusion. For one, I don't love Balotelli as a Liverpool player any less than I would Long as a Liverpool player.


    These sweeping, unquantified/unquantifiable statements by pundits are misleading.

    ReplyDelete
  29. In terms of ball skills and finishing, Balotelli is most definitely better than Sterling at this stage.

    ReplyDelete
  30. From an ability and fitness point of view, I see no reason for Lucas' time at Anfield being up. It would simply be that Brendan Rodgers and/or Ian Ayre doesn't want him on the payroll anymore. Wouldn't be the first time we let go of a good player before they're finished.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Good video. His ball skills aren't that impressive, but what I like is his size, strength, and desire to beat the first guy off the dribble. He looks like PC with the big difference being PC gets bounced off the ball by bigger challengers and this guy bounces the challengers away. Seems like he has an agressiveness that PC lacks...and if he can make that sap Palacio look good then he has some talent.

    ReplyDelete
  32. You think Lucas should be a first-team regular?

    ReplyDelete
  33. I disagree. I think we have seen the best of Balotelli.

    ReplyDelete
  34. What kind of team talk is that? It's a poultry tactic.

    ReplyDelete
  35. hope he turns out like Countinho

    ReplyDelete
  36. It is difficult to compare players we have signed and who are not setting the world alight (just yet) with other players at other clubs who we might or might not have signed Our players may come good as they and the team settle and the players they are being compared with might be five minute wonders. And just because we were linked with certain players by the press it does not mean they would necessarily have signed for us or if they did sign for us that they would fit in and perform as they have at another club.



    When we sign a player I like to point out all of the positives they could bring to the team and then sound a note of caution about the size of the fee and the possible effect that the pressure of playing for a big club like Liverpool might have on their performance. If they are a success I can then point to the positives I identified earlier and credit the player for his skill and brilliance. However, If they fail to make an immediate positive impact I can always point to the reservations I had identified and put all of the blame on the manager

    ReplyDelete
  37. Balotelli's been scrutinized more than any player I can remember in any sport.


    It's as though pundits are actively searching for a reason to knock him, and it can be very frustrating because I feel he's gotten a raw deal here. From the outside looking in, he's been isolated up top (not suited to his strengths), and he's looked a bit lost at times.


    I think his "lack of effort" has been completely overblown. Has he been perfect? Absolutely not.


    Once Sturridge comes back, I think it will make Mario better. I still believe Mario can be a good contributor for LFC. But the manager needs to put him in a position to succeed via the strategy.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  39. It is true that Balo has been scrutinized way more than any player but this same scrutiny has lead to an increase in the number of apologists for him. The fact is that Balotelli has been under par and Lambert has done a much better job and should continue to do so. I want Balo to succeed but as of now, we need to play the best players and he is not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It is true that Balo has been scrutinized way more than any player but this same scrutiny has lead to an increase in the number of apologists for him. The fact is that Balotelli has been under par and Lambert has done a much better job and should continue to do so. I want Balo to succeed but as of now, we need to play the best players and he is not one of them..

    ReplyDelete
  41. I happen to agree with you. If our strategy is to play one striker up top, then we shouldn't play Balotelli.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Shane Long is NOT brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  43. While your point is rhetorically effective, the answer is clearly that Balotelli is out of form finishing-wise. That doesn't diminish his talent. His finishing history dated beyond the last four months.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I don't see why not. He does everything a good defensive midfielder does and he does it well. Consistency can only be achieved with a run of games in a semi-stable team. He's got a similar skill-set to Busquets and pre the ACL injury, there was genuine debate about which was better in the role.


    My ideal scenario would be the club bringing in another good defensive midfielder and letting the two battle it out for that spot. At the moment, if Lucas gets injured, we're left with Can, who is probably more effective when given more freedom to join the attack (basing this on what I've seen when he was in Germany - not sure what his orders are with Liverpool).


    Lucas is a bit under-rated when it comes to starting attacks from deep. He doesn't launch mortars like Stevie G, but he gets the team moving forward with shorter passes, acting as the foundation for the attackers to build on. I rather like this style of play. We have enough other players, like Henderson lately, who can play the longer passes on the odd occasion. So yeah I'd like to see Lucas given a shot as the main defensive midfielder for the next few years, plus genuine competition (my pick would be De Rossi or Nainggolan, but fat chance) brought in.


    Sorry, I'm not sure why I'm typing such long comments today.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I wouldn't say his father is being irresponsible. Loads of players have been helped immeasurably by an early move. Loads have been held back. There is an awful lot of luck involved with youth development. A lot of it is timing and most of it can only be properly evaluated in hindsight.

    His father is minted, or so I'm told, so I doubt money is a major motivating factor.

    I'd be surprised if we got him anyway. Our youth coaching has undergone some major changes in the past couple of years and lacks the pedigree and stability of the likes of Real, Bayern and of course, Ajax.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Also, I don't think that not being guaranteed a first-team spot means a player's time is up, besides probably for goalkeepers.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Seen wot Balo said 'jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew'- not surprising he's in trouble

    ReplyDelete
  48. Homeless shelters the world over are populated by unmotivated talent. Talent alone won't get you far. Balo was the most over-hyped, under-achieved player on the planet...now that the hype has evaporated, all that remains is his Andy Carroll-like talent. He is not even close to being the best player on our team.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I would disagree with that on almost every level. You're entitled to your opinion though

    ReplyDelete
  50. Furthermore, often the argument is made with the assumption that this player would have the same level of success if LFC signed him instead.


    It's a pretty far-reaching assumption.

    ReplyDelete
  51. As is your good self.

    ReplyDelete
  52. He rarely lives up to it.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I didn't say he is the best player. And who is to say he has been unmotivated at Liverpool? To say he has the same talent as Andy Carroll is a massive insult.

    ReplyDelete
  54. You dreaming Coutinho not anywhere near the ability of Kovacic - Inter 5 league title in last 10 years and 1 CL title - Liverpool 25 years and counting....

    ReplyDelete
  55. He is not going for anywhere near 10 million relax - plus Liverpool have alraedy spent 120 million in the last year and got nowhere.

    ReplyDelete
  56. ...to Andy? AC scored twice today and assisted on the 3rd. He did more in one match than Balo has done all season...and I am no AC fan.

    ReplyDelete
  57. For a striker finishing is the primary talent. Thus Balo's talent is zero.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I have a feeeling BR isnt too fond of the Ibe fella just like Suso

    ReplyDelete
  59. Orme please watch one or two games before commenting - Coutinho was a reserve player at best - Kovacic is going to be a far better player than Coutinho will ever be - good luck with the Shaqiri transfer by the way....

    ReplyDelete