14 Feb 2015

Confirmed line-up vs. Palace: €20m star dropped; big boost for Liverpool as Sturridge starts again

Despite scoring one of the most important goals of Liverpool's season, Brendan Rodgers has dumped Mario Balotelli back on the bench for tonight's FA Cup clash with Crystal Palace.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Skrtel, Can, Sakho, Allen, Henderson, Moreno, Markovic, Coutinho, Lallana, Sturridge

SUBS: Ward, Johnson, Lovren, Lambert, Manquillo, Borini, Balotelli

PALACE: Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Souare, Bolasie, Ledley, Ward, Gayle, Chamakh, Campbell.

* In my view, dropping Balotelli is poor man-management. With Sterling our injured, Rodgers had a great opportunity to show some faith in the striker and help him build some momentum; instead, he's probably demotivated the Italian even more.

* What if Balotelli comes on today and scores again? Will Rodgers drop him for the next game, too?

* Manquillo is back in the squad once again after missing out for the last few games.

* It seems that Glen Johnson's time as an automatic starter is finally over; Markovic is preferred as right wing-back, and to be honest, he's not even that effective in the role.

* Sturridge starts his second game in a row, which is a massive boost for the Reds.

Probable formation:

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

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

Markovic ------- Hendo --- Allen ------ Moreno

--------------- Lallana -- Coutinho

------------------ Sturridge

My prediction: 1-1

Author:



203 comments:

  1. Liverpool have £20m plus players on the bench every week - I think some new headlines are in order. The team shape should not be changed for Ballotelli.

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  2. Balo can become like David Fairclough - our new ' Super Sub ' come on score , receive all the adulation and skulk off

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  3. Bolasie the thorn in the Anfield side. We hate him. I think markovic is in their to counter his pace and if he switches flank Moreno should be able to match this lads pace.

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  4. Rodgers misses a trick by not playing Balo and Lovren. People are forgetting both Gerrard and Lucas are out injured. If Can stays in defence, Allen comes to midfield which instantly weakens us. Today was the perfect game for Lovren to get confidence and Balo to shine with Sturridge. Rodgers definitely missed a trick. We all know Coutinho tends to fade sometimes so why did we not rest him and keep him fresh for the later games. This might definitely backfire.

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  5. Perfect opportunity to get Balotelli and Sturridge to form a partnership especially when Balotelli scored in the last game. Allen and Hendo in central midfield? Does not seem right.

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  6. 1-1??? Lallana and Coutinho starting with Sturridge up top puts all my doubts to bed. Liverpool to win by 2 or more goals.

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  7. You do know that we are playing at Selhurst Park?

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  8. Lovren lallana and balotelli should be starting today.... rodgers team selection is giving me headache. Does he even know what rotation is?

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  9. That too before Southampton, Besiktas and City. Can and Hendo with Lovren in defence is much better than an Allen and hendo midfield.

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  10. looking forward to seeing the trio also

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  11. This is a make or break game for him. Tom Werner did mention how disappointed FSG would be if we did not win the FA Cup.

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  12. I thought Tom Werner had taken charge of this one ?

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  13. For the time being maintaining a strong defence is important hence no Lovren. Also a game for cool heads hence no Balotelli, If required Can could be moved into midfield during the game but for me this is a good staring line up

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  14. Sh^t I thought it was quiet at Anfield

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  15. I think Dann and Hangelaand both standing at 6ft 5inches could struggle with our movement and pace today if we get it right and pull them about.

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  16. A strong defence could have been maintained with Lovren in it. Instead, now we have a much weaker midfield which compromises the team.

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  17. Lovren in defence would be hope over experience. Maybe one day but not this match

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  18. If Rodgers doesn't start to rotate the team we will see quite a lot of players getting injured in the next weeks... Seriously what's the sense of buying so many players and then don't using them? Lovren manquillo lambert etc are all decent players when used correctly

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  19. Clearly he does not trust the player you have mentioned otherwise they would be starting today. Rodgers on the other hand cannot afford to lose this match...

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  20. Were facing Southampton besiktas and city in a few days after. They will also be disappointed if we lose to them. BR bought those players so you should expect them to know how to use them

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  21. Balotelli had a long run of games and was crap. Scoring one tap in is not enough to merit your place back in a team who is in good form and play much better without you.
    I think you're being a lite harsh on Markovic. I think he's done admirably at WB and has been our best player on a couple of occasions in that position and considering his age and the fact it's a new position for him I think he's done well. As for Glen Johnson... May his exile last an eternity

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  22. He can only start with 11 players for goodness sake

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  23. I am just saying that Rodgers obviously has to go with his strongest team. A loss today is the end of the road when looking at Werner's comments.

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  24. unfortunately Manquillo offers us nothing in this formation unless he plays as a third center back whereas our willingness to sell Lambert says evertything. I think Lovren is being protected from Bolasie Cambell and Gayles pace (im banging on about it :) ).

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  25. I think rodgers is using the same team every week without even thinking about rotation... This will come back to haunt us at some point, with so many players in need for a rest.

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  26. Neither can I; I've put all my savings on Liverpool to win 3-1, with Balo to score first. Oh...shit.......

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  27. And the starting eleven and who and when substituted is key in a cup match

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  28. BR decided to go for depth in summer, he should use those players now. No excuses

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  29. BR's only hope is to ask the Pope for divine intervention

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  30. You won't see that pound again

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  31. He proved earlier on in the season that he likes to pick a side and flog it t death earlier on in the season when we were playing with the wrong formation and personnel. WELL he's doing exactly the same thing now when we're winning. He doesn't use his squad as well as Ferguson but then neither does Mourinho. They see the squad as a first 11 and the back up team which is wrong. This doesnt promote competition in the slightest.

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  32. The Pope was most probably drooling over the fake tan of Rodgers chic mate.

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  33. You really think that if we qualify for the champions league and don't win the FA Cup Rodgers will be sacked? That's just desperate, wishful thinking really.

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  34. True, bloody BR. Why isn't Ibe playing?

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  35. I prefer him getting it wrong when we keep winning though

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  36. Well I do not believe Rodgers is going to be here next season in any case. Does not change me supporting the LFC.

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  37. At some point when our key players are burned out and need a rest but BR will again choose to start then we will struggle

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  38. They get a good rest when they are injured though

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  39. Not to worry, the International break is coming up, and our players never get injured during that.

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  40. so do race horses :D

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  41. See there is always a light at the end of the tunnel even if it is an inter city 125 heading towards you at breakneck speed

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  42. But he is dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn't . Our back 3 are settled and playing with confidence and Migno's form has a lot to do with this .... If we lose everyone will then criticise him for the change . We all know how important this one is and we all want to do it for Stevie ....
    Up and at em !

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  43. i hope Hodgson finally gives Sterling and Sturridge a start ;-)

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  44. this could be the sentence zaf iqbal said to FSG before he got fired

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  45. Im just pointing out the type of manager BR is. Hodgson was the same and actually labelled certain players squad players.

    I actually think Skrtel has been immense since his switch into a back three ( watch him screw up now!) which in some way also backs up Ballotelli's claims that he plays better with a partner. Just because a player plays in a certain position the conditions still have to be right.

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  46. Can's hair don't look as fancy as usual - I'm afraid this could unsettle the teams overall performance...

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  47. Bloody hell they've got the lone ranger playing for them !

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  48. Can sleeping

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  49. he can do a job there but I feel he'd be better in a four. He gets exposed by movement.

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  50. knew it! damn you Can's stylist!

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  51. Nice play between Migs and Skrtel... It was a like watching the chuckle brothers

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  52. Since we don't have Lucas we're starting to concede again.

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  53. Sturridge looks well short so far

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  54. yes he can do a job there, he's indeed very important for the build up play from our defence but CDM is clearly his best role... but skrtel failed too

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  55. Skrtel was at fault but it was a skrtel-esque howler more a misjudgment. Emre can is a box to box for me. Power pace technique and skill with a wonderful range of passing.

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  56. Starting to create the chances

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  57. migs must be on the heavy bags after training.... punching the lace of the ball

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  58. thought it was Timmy Mallet! Mallets mallet oh those were the days..... say blahhhhh

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  59. I really don't understand refs these days, it's like they are doing there best to be as shit as possible

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  60. clear penalty for me

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  61. It was a clear pen to anybody who has eyes

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  62. can is indeed playing like a box to box defender today ;-)

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  63. Markovic reminds so much of Garica. So much talent but is so frustrating

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  64. Fantastic save from Migs... another mistake from skrtel

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  65. He's 20 years old.

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  66. mignolet in form is as good as any other keeper in the PL

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  67. I feel like we will get a goal if they make a mistake and not from our quality. We have so many midfielders passing the ball around their box and only one person (sturridge) making the runs in.

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  68. Skrtel not on the same wavelength, Markovic one dimensional as it gets, Coutinho ineffective, Sturridge giving away stupid balls, Hendo looking sloppy, Moreno needs to shout louder and Lallana frustrating.
    Migs looking good and Can's been our best midfielder.
    Balotelli on for Coutinho.

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  69. Or for Allen .... need someone else for them to mark to give Studge more chance . Raheem or Ibe would be ideal in this one . Got to be careful not to get done on the counter again ...

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  70. Your point? He has a lot of talent but can be very frustrating..

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  71. I think we are playing well. We just need a break or a moment of magic . Sturridge is making a difference and was unlucky with the pen

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  72. i want that eagle to go for Joe Allen

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  73. Obviously my point is that it's pointless getting frustrated, because he's a developing player. Just enjoy his talent.

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  74. Balo for Marko? I don't get it, Marko was making good runs, something Balo lacks. Maybe move Sturridge out wide?

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  75. Sturrrridge you beauty!!!!!!!!!!!

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  76. Be a different game now !

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  77. love the celebration! nice goal!

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  78. Migno punch drunk .....

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  79. This is why I was happy when palace started to press more.

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  80. How long have we waited for Ballo and Studge together !!!!!!

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  81. i think balotelli knows now how it feels if you perform for liverpool. that smile said it all

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  82. Looks like a cracked rib for Sakho. He's probably my favourite LFC player right now. Hope it's nothing too serious.

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  83. Might only be bruised

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  84. Hope he stays on but he doesn't look too good at the moment

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  85. Hopefully back on ...

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  86. It is a good looking line-up, yes.

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  87. Typical Pardew tactics.. hit deck everytime a player comes anywhere near you

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  88. Panicky defending again :-(

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  89. Brendan got lucky scarf on again - Christmas pressy from GF

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  90. No more set pieces pleeeeeeeese

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  91. Our midfield has gone awol again

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  92. Got to keep possession now see it out !

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  93. I really really hope this summer he gets a real defensive midfielder because we so need one

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  94. Yeah they're not at the races. A bit of naivety out there -- this is cup football against underdogs with some quality players. You don't take your foot off the gas...

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  95. Couthino and Allen have done zero this half

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  96. That part of our game is sadly lacking at the moment ..... need to be able to get and keep control

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  97. Sturridge for Lambert and Lovern for couthino

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  98. Yeah agreed. Need a proper midfield boss. Hopefully Emre will do that for us in the last 15 mins.

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  99. Hopefully one that has a better goal average than lucas, ~1 goal in 200 games

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  100. By jove they r doing it :-)

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  101. Not wrong there TOP priority and a quality striker

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  102. I have no problem with Lucas goal record or generally with him, it just he is our only true defensive midfielder

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  103. Looked... so... gooooood!

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  104. has allen ever done anything?

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  105. Erm... hmm....

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  106. Cmon Lambo - your turn now

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  107. Difficult game dodgy defending today but Migno stepped up again thankfully and we got the goals - well done lads

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  108. Skrtel is hands down our dumbest player.

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  109. One of the only times BR can actually use the word "resillience"

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  110. Another victory... wasn't pretty but a good win none the less

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  111. But I expect he'll say outstanding

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  112. outstanding resilience

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  113. I kind of lost it when Moreno joined in on Sturridge's dance...so much that it's my new facebook cover photo.

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  114. Keep it secret -- keep it safe.

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  115. Oh god. That sh!te again. So soon?

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  116. Very close but through which is all that matters.

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  117. keep what sec- HAVE YOU BEEN EAVESDROPPING?!

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  118. Just today, don't know what he drank last night.

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  119. He's always dumb. Martin 'Pippin' Skrtel.

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  120. I get what you mean but Robo is right. Few players are consistent at that age.

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  121. I thought it was pretty. We had good ball possession throughout the match. Needed to be a bit more clinical in the final third, that's it. Great to see us winning without the likes of Gerrard, Sterling, and Lucas. Allen cannot do DM's role as good as Lucas despite being more mobile. He also cannot do the job of Henderson as effectively. I think it will be difficult for him to stay at Liverpool and stagnate. He will/should move on this summer IMO. One of the things I was worried about today was that we didn't have any midfielder on the bench. We are very thin at that department. Need to buy a DM and box to box Henderson-esque player this summer. Balotelli looked happy and played well, Lallana had his moment too. Coutinho definitely needs to be more consistent with his performances.

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  122. Skrtel and Agger were always my favourite. I still hate BR for Agger's departure. Anyway, what's done is done.

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  123. Not this again with Agger... I really want to know why you have BR for Agger leaving.

    Most people loved Agger but sentiment gets you nowhere. Agger could not cope with the physical aspect of Premier League Football, something he admitted himself after he left.

    He is struggling with injuries even now and he is playing in a league made up mostly of part timers.

    Yes he was a great player and I believed he really did love playing for Liverpool but he had a terrible injury record and struggled to play more then a few games in a run, you can not build a defence using a player with his problems.

    Please explain what you wanted BR to do?

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  124. One defeat now in 16 looking good ...

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  125. I know mate. Pure, unadulterated tedium.

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  126. Better team won and we should have had a defo pen

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  127. Good times all round. Win, Sturridge scores, Mignolet plays well and Balo makes a quantifiable positive impact, and even smiles repeatedly. Good times all round.

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  128. Yes it should be kept safe for posterity........ or even longer

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  129. Any truth in rumours that Raheem is being benched till he signs new contract ?

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  130. I felt Agger was more than capable of playing in EPL. He rejected City once followed by the YNWA tattoo. He was also under the Barca radar for the long time. So the remark that he wasn't upto the EPL standard or league's physical standard is not something I would agree too.
    .
    However, injuries played a huge part in the consistency of his presence in the team. Injuries couldn't let him fulfil his full potential but he was still a very good player and good enough for Liverpool IMO. i would still take Agger over Lovren any day. Agger also said that BR was the reason he decided to leave Liverpool. And the reason he is playing in the inferior league is because he wanted to go back to his hometown and not because the lack of options.
    .
    I will always be his fan and IMO he departed Liverpool a bit too early.

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  131. With Besiktas on Thursday and Southamton on Sunday I don't see as poor man management if Balotelli starts on Thursday.

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  132. It would be poor man management if Balo doesn't start. Liverpool need to take it easy on Sturridge. He will be under immense pressure without Sterling and he should be given some rest during cup games, especially home fixtures.

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  133. Dude.. Agger admitted himself he could no longer cope with he physical demands. How can you say you do not agree with something that the player himself said.

    Why do you think that no club actually made an offer for him. Why do you think we accepted a token payment from brondby so he could finish his career where he stared.

    If he had other offers from any top club do you think we would of accepted so little for him?

    Of course not because there were no other official offers for him.

    If anything you should be saying that was a nice move by BR to allow Agger to move on instead of rotting on the bench with no hope of ever getting into the team.

    Agger knew that BR or any other manager in a top league would play him because his injury record was terrible and you can not build a defence using a player who will miss at least half the season through injury.

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  134. Balo certainly looked as tho he is enjoying it at the moment- nice smile ! Oh and Brendan looks happier these days also .

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  135. Yes, a nasty combination of sore pride, an aching banksac, and strained agent. Poor kid.

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  136. Well he's been on his hols

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  137. Ah so - and he has to carry on wearing that lucky scarf ...

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  138. In all honesty I would not be disappointed if he didn't sign and we sold him in the summer.

    Regardless if he signs he ieems to be the type of player who will always be angling foe a move else where

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  139. All true but that is what being a fan is all about

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  140. Totally and like I said, I loved Agger but it was time for him to move on. If Agger didn't have his injury problems and BR got rid I would be bloody fuming

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  141. depends on the money we get and with whom we will replace him. but let's say if we get 40m from real and sign lacazette for ~35 I wouldn't be too dissapointed

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  142. I can remember stories about offers for Barnes every time his contract came up for renewal and he did OK for Liverpool

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  143. I'd be bloody over the moon if that was to happen

    Personally I think Ibe will be a much better player when hits 20 then what sterling is now.

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  144. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcifYcHpIkw

    This explains it all.

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  145. I agree that he admitted himself about not coping up with the physical demand anymore. But later he also said that BR was also one of the reason.

    Everything else you said about not having offers and stuff is incorrect IMO. Liverpool let him go to his hometown for a nominal fee because Liverpool ia Liverpool. We respect emotional decisions.

    Read the full article.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/11065462/Daniel-Agger-joins-Brondby-from-Liverpool-and-says-he-could-no-longer-cope-with-Premier-League-demands.html

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  146. There is a massive difference between offers for a player and a player dragging put his contract out of sheer greed, especially when they have recently signed an improved contract not so long ago and has done nothing in between

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  147. Fair enough but what did you want BR to do with a player who could no longer cope and has a terrible injury record.

    BR could not use him to build a defence with. Agger could only ever be used as backup and the odd cup game.

    So why keep a player who would never be happy with that?

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  148. Is that the right thing to do? Can't force somebody to sign a contract.

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  149. Everyone being a bit harsh with Allen, I thought this was his stand out performance.

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  150. I am not saying that we should have built the defense around him. I said he still could contribute enough. He had the quality, leadership (captain candidate) and he loved the club. I mean how many players rejects the likes of city and big money move to stay at non-champions league club? Whenever he was fit, he performed well regularly. As i said, Agger could have stayed and we could have saved on the likes of Toure and Lovren. Anyway, these are just my opinions. This discussion won't change anything, lets agree to disagree.


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/11112829/Agger-I-left-Liverpool-because-of-Rodgers.html

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  151. Not sure if its called forcing. Also, I don't believe one bit of this rumor. Its very very unlike Liverpool.

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  152. Arsenal next, Semi or Final? We are bound to meet them.

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  153. Mate by the time he left he wasn't the player he had been. He had never been fast but he had become slow and hadn't gotten his head around the change of position this meantime would have to take. The only thing he had going for him was a good relationship with Skrtel. Agger was the boss and the two knew how to play with each other. But when you see him get skinned by second rate players you know he wasn't the same player. What he was and qho he rejected became meaningless (from a football perspective) who he was and how he played (and how often he didn't play) were more important. Manager let's player who is far past his best shouldn't be an issue.

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  154. He definitely stood out from the rest.

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  155. Give him a break, he did his job tonight. Didn't give the ball away and didn't get pushed off it. He did a job for the team tonight which he normally struggles ti do.

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  156. That's his role. Not sure if I would call it a standout performance.

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  157. I'm saying that because he didn't make the usual c*ck up's. For him, it was a stand out performance.

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  158. I would be gutted. He is one of the best young talents in tje world and has potential to be world class. I can't say I am sure of that with anyone else barring maybe Can at a push. We need ALL the good players we can have.

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  159. He played well. He has his limitations, but he's also had injury troubles and has lost form. This happens. He's a good player and played well in this game.

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  160. Your not the only one. On TIA they show fans reactions from twitter. Many mention Allen. I didn't see the game so can't say myself bit I know for a fact there is a willful blindness to anything good Allen does from some sections.

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  161. He did his job and spread the ball around with an assurance he was bought for.

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  162. Again, my boss never calls me a stand out performer when i am just doing my job. Even if I didn't do it properly before because that's what is expected of me at the very minimum. We need to save such appreciation for some other time. However, you are right that we should give him a break when he does his job.

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  163. I didn't try to suggest he was THE stand out performer, I'm just saying , for him , it was one of his better games.

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  164. One of his better games, yes. But he still has some way to go to reach the level of Lucas or Henderson...or even Can lateky. I think he should leave in summer for his own good.

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  165. Agree he is not probably ever going to reach the standard we expect at LFC on a consistent basis but I have to give him credit today. Let's hope he takes this forward and the penny has dropped. Maybe we will get the money back we paid for him.

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  166. Just realised that a broken humerus might be a career-threatening injury to a comedian.

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  167. I hope it's not true. Although the Liverpool hierarchy have a ruthless streak, as Reina, Agger, Downing et al might attest to (feels weird to put Downing with the other two).


    Just feel that even if he doesn't renew, Sterling is not in breach of his current contract, so why shouldn't he play?

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  168. Good game, better result. Brendan's meeting with the pope obviously did the trick as Lazarus Gayle didn't do his usual number on us.

    Wasn't sure about the 'Sturridge dance' at first but loving this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQqwvlPT46E

    The more beer you drink, the better it gets. I've nearly nailed it now, will get new coffee table in the morning. Like to see the whole team joining in by end of season and the fans... Come on Logan, do the dance, do the bloody dance!

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  169. Probably a little bit of man management by Brendan.......

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  170. Well we won today without him and Sturridge is getting up to speed , Balo shaping up and Ibe on a roll . BR's hand at the moment is strong ... not sure what we are offering him now but it's deal or no deal time and he's most likely been told that ....
    I really hope we can keep him but no one player and/or his agent is bigger than LFC and no doubt Brendan has made him aware of this !

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  171. He was on huge wages as well...

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  172. hes neat and tidy and recycles the ball but for 15m you need more than that

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  173. Short of a catastrophic collapse, you can't honestly think Rodgers is going to get sacked. I read one of your posts earlier where you were calling this a "make or break" game for Rodgers. Delusional is one of your favourite ways to describe all us fans that don't hate our club. Well you should apply it to yourself if you honestly believe Rodgers job is under imminent threat. Anyway we won... Again... Any words of praise for the team?

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  174. I heard he once made a mean lasagne

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  175. In the end we have to forget how much a player cost. He wasn't value for money. I think most agree. But he has been with us a couple of years now so lets just judge him on his games. He has been poor recently but I thought his cameo against Everton was good and today people are saying he played well. I'm a credit where it's due man.

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  176. Someone, get me my staff

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  177. *scuttles into a nearby cave* (on all fours, because I only have femurs)

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  178. Lol, now you're getting carried away

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  179. As for midfield depth, that's most probably the reason why Rodgers was in Rome. Just a quick holiday? Pshh. Yes, he may have been sightseeing at the Vatican, but when you're there for a few days, surely there's quite a bit of downtime?

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  180. "Might definitely" is a contradiction in terms

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  181. Fans drive me up the wall when, two and a half years later, they continue to insist on evaluating the player based on an arbitrary amount of money that was determined by two teams at the time. It's done, the fee is paid, it's over, get on with you lives. If we're going to chew out the player for not being worth something then evaluate him against his salary, that at least is an ongoing thing and if he's not earning his pay then fair enough, lets have a go at him for that. The fee was something that he had no control over and in reality is completely irrelevant.

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  182. Is praise and admiration a limited resource? If people want to appreciate a player it's hardly a problem that needs to be solved. Sometimes I get the feeling you're not happy unless you have something to complain about. Personally I'd rather be the kind of person who enjoys a game of football and has positive feelings in the discussion afterwards.

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