23 Jul 2015

80% Hand of Death: How Rodgers ruined £20m Liverpool duo. Benteke next?

In the minds of many Reds fans, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert are failures at Liverpool, and their meagre goals/assist figures at Anfield show that the pair have failed to delivered the goods. Why is that, though? Historically, Lambert, and Balotelli (despite his issues) have shown they can do the business, but under Brendan Rodgers, both players have spectacularly crashed and burned. Rodgers is the common denominator here, and in my view, the manager must take the lion's share of the blame for failing to get the best out of the £20m duo.

Let's look at the facts:

BALOTELLI

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

* Goal/assist every 1.5 games (32 starts)

* Last season at LFC: 4 goals/0 assists in 28 apps.

* Goal/assist every 7 games (14 starts)

* 84% reduction in creative output

* MC/AC/Inter: 88 goals/36 assists (124) in 220 apps

* Goal/assist every 1.7 games

LAMBERT

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

* Goal/assist every 1.5 games (35 starts)

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

* Goal/assist every 7.2 games (12 starts)

* 80% reduction in creative output

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

* Goal/assist every 1.2 games

BALOTELLI/LAMBERT COMBINED (Season pre-LFC)

* 50 goals/assists in 78 apps.

* Goal/assist every 1.5 games.

There's a lot of symmetry in these stats, and it's interesting to note that after scoring/creating the same amount of goals during the 2013-14 season (25 in 39), both Balotelli and Lambert suffered a stunning 80%+ reduction in creative output under Rodgers. A few notes:

* Both Balotelli and Lambert had Premier League experience before signing for Liverpool.

* Both players have scored scored/created goals for every manager under whom they've played, even Balotelli, whose career average prior to Liverpool is one goal/assist every 1.7 games.

* Lambert's record is even better. 183 goals/assists in 229 games is an incredible record at Southampton, and proves that he has the talent to do the business. If a Liverpool striker had that kind of record, he'd be lauded as a Suarez-like goalscoring genius.

* How is it possible for two players with a long record of good creative output (and Premier League experience) to suddenly suffer a gigantic 80% reduction in creative output?

* In my view, the buck stops with Rodgers. The manager is responsible for utilising his squad in the most effective way, and in this case, he presided over a stunning fall from grace for both players.

* In both cases, Rodgers failed to offer either player a consistent chance in the team (Look at the drastic reduction in starting stats for both players), and in Balotelli's case, he constantly played him out of position, which led to inevitable results.


Why did Rodgers sign Balotelli and Lambert in the first place? Their histories show that regular game-time = goals/assists, yet despite the fact Sturridge was injured for most of the season, Rodgers failed to give either player a consistent chance.

Yes, Balotelli and Lambert must take their share of responsibility, but it's hard to build up momentum (and create a successful rapport with team-mates) when they're constantly on the bench, out of the squad, and/or subbed off.

It's not just Balotelli and Lambert - during his 3-year tenure, Rodgers has failed to get the best out of the majority of his signings, with the notable exceptions being Sturridge, and Coutinho.

Additionally, last season, Rodgers failed to get the best out of Lallana, and Markovic, two more of his attacking signings from the summer of 2014.

All of which doesn't bode well for new signing Christian Benteke.

Like Balotelli and Lambert, Benteke is a tall, strong, Premier League-proven striker with an excellent (pre-Liverpool) goals/assists record.

Hopefully, history won't repeat itself, but if it does, there is a clear historical precedent here to suggest that Rodgers will be to blame.

Bottom line: If Rodgers had done his job effectively, and - like ALL their previous managers - got Lambert and Balotelli scoring/assisting on a regular basis, Liverpool might well be in the Champions League right now.

Just 15 more goals/assists (combined) out of Balotelli and Lambert (and a few more from Lallana and Markovic) and Liverpool would be in a much better position right now.

Author: Jaimie K



150 comments:

  1. I'm more of a positive kind of person and like to look at improved creative output of Sturridge, Suarez and Coutinho under Rodgers' guidance....... now I feel much better about the season :)

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  2. Exceptions ,I can't wait for the season to start cheers

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  3. I think that you are looking too far into this. Balotelli has not worked hard enough to *earn* a place in the team and Rodgers is the one that gets a good look at each player in training so who are we to undermine his decision? Rodgers has a right to exclude Balotelli if he sees fit and if Balotelli isn't performing in training and Rodgers still picks him then what example does that set for the other players? I'm not saying that this is the case, but there are other factors in play that we aren't aware of.

    The Lambert story is completely different; I agree that it is Rodgers' fault partly because of Rickie's great record in the Premiee League (And Chamionship) but his age might also be a big factor in his decline. Why else would Southampton part with a player with great history at the club, a terrific scoring record and a fan favourite for a meagre £4m?

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  4. Jeez Jamie do you ever get up in the morning and feel happy?

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  5. marios in the fridge but he'll come out hotter than hades!

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  6. Every day, actually. Please stop posting pointless comments like this. If you disagree, post a counter argument.

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  7. Well put...totally agree, Lambert was the kind of player that needed a run of games. Balo has been an impact player in the past for City, i just think he could never get up to the intensity of Rogers style of play. For me, Rogers has never been able to make tactical changes in crucial games when HIS 'plan A' was failing. Not to beat a dead horse, but when we had Suarez he could have played in him in net and still he would of found a way to score. Rogers may be a good tactician when it comes to assigning resources to particular formations, but having to change things up on-the-fly when things arent working- he has seemed totally clueless at times. No more excuses now, a run of bad games until Xmas and Rogers may get his very own hat-trick (of getting the sack). If that happens, lets hope Klopp is still available. ;-)

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  8. Can we really count Suarez ? the guy has always been huge everywhere he played (even with Uruguay he has 43 goals in 82 games which even better record than both CR7 and Messi for their respective country) and i'd say once he settled he seemed more devastating for Barca than he was for Liverpool (he now has an impact on big games which he lacked with Liverpool).

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  9. I'm not looking 'too far' into it at all. It's all right there, and you are ignoring the facts. Why is it that every other manager can get Balotelli scoring/creating a goal every 1.7 games *across his entire career*, but under Rodgers, it drops by 80%? Ditto Lambert.


    That is a huge problem, and rolling out the cliches about Balotelli isn't an answer. Balotelli worked hard enough to be a regular at all his other teams (except when he and Mancini fell out), but at LFC, he's suddenly lazy?


    As for Lambert - he was 31 last season, and still grabbed 25 goals/assists in the Prem, so age is not a factor.

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  10. He wasn't as clinical under Dalglish though

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  11. so by that logic rodgers should be barca manager ,seen as he got suarez to score loads for us aswell.I guarantee you will have little to complain about this year.Maybe you can revisit your favourite topic LUIS ALBERTO.

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  12. Totally agree, that's why I didn't include him in the article. Suarez is a phenomenon (football-wise), and he would've done the business under any manager. His improvement is a natural progression that comes with age and experience. IMO, Rodgers has very little to do with it outside of playing him in almost every game.

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  13. Christ I thought for a minute you were going to say something positive about the team you supposedly support, then again you've got more chance of Balotelli going into double figures next season.

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  14. In Balotelli's own words, he worked harder at Liverpool than at any other club. So...

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  15. ...wow....at last someone who sees logic for logic's sake....

    ...thank you mr half-full.....

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  16. ...so we should by that logic have nigel adkins and/or mario pochettino as our manager....?

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  17. Yes, because that's exactly what I'm arguing. Why don't you drop the pointless, flippant one-liners and try engaging in proper discussion on the issue?

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  18. 33 goals and 22 assists in 69 games all competitions included in the season and half before Rodgers came in is not bad though.
    Sure he was not as clinical but he was younger, coming to a new league.

    Personnaly having Barcelona as a target have made him much more clinical than BR but it's just my opinion.

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  19. This article is an example of simple-stupid logic. It also reveals why Benteke will actually succeed at Liverpool. Sheep mentality. When 90% of a group claims to know the future (and a negative one at that), they usually turn out wrong. So I would say that there is a 90% chance of Benteke succeeding at Liverpool and contributing to the goals at hand.

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  20. Didn't show my post eh, puerile or what.

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  21. ...no thanks... :)

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  22. The only thing that 'puerile' here is you posting comments that have absolutely nothing to do with football. Read the comment policy. If you can't post without sniping, don't bother at all.

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  23. ...oh dear jaimie, removing posts even before they are even born...

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  24. I completely agree that Rodgers has used these players incorrectly, not used them in their best position or under their preferred conditions (i.e. Balotelli wants a strike partner, not be left in his own).
    I think it's the right move for Lambert and Borini to leave, but I would like us to keep Balotelli. I keep thinking about the game against Spurs at the beginning of the season, I thought Sturridge and Balotelli really clicked, and I was excited about how the season might go. Then Sturridge got injured and the rest is history.
    Sturridge can't be relied upon to stay fit for an entire season, so as I see it we have Benteke, Balotelli, Ings and Origi. I feel like Ings will be a super-sub and Origi will probably just play in the cups.
    I expect most of our formations will leave one up top - Benteke on his own - and Balotelli could be an option off the bench to combine with Benteke when we need a goal. Together they might work wonders...

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  25. ...I always thought this country (UK) had freedom of speech and expression...polite and non-offensive ( my comments are never either of those)....now I'm realising it doesn't extend to here............

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  26. So basically it's your way or no way, thanks I wont bother again you plastic red.

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  27. But Suarez creative stats more than doubled under Rodgers compared to Dalglish but that doesn't count for some reason

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  28. I really can't believe that's your counter-argument

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  29. Totally agree, have been saying the same for a long time, but it's not just those two. He plays people out of position and the last game just showed how inept he really is, what was it with playing so many midfielder's. He is a stubborn fool and if he doesn't change, we will be where we finished last season no matter what you throw at the club.
    In my opinion he is a very good Youth Coach but in no way is he a good Manager, hope to proved wrong though.

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  30. BR could never develop a world-class player. Flat out impossible, he is only at fault for the failings of individuals and the team in general. Improvement from anyone was only natural progression and hard-work by the player and player alone. BR can't possibly recieve praise.

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  31. innocent ogbonnaya6:39 pm, July 23, 2015

    Jamie K I am amazez Rogers want sacked!He is not a Lfc class of manager.I agree with the above views.There were matches we would have needed Borini pace yet he ignored him.

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  32. innocent ogbonnaya6:42 pm, July 23, 2015

    Sorry.i meant I was amazed Rogers wasn't sacked!There were matches we needed Borini's pace and penetration yet he ignored him.He is not matured for Lfc and that accounted for why we lost the league 2 years ago.

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  33. I have to agree with Jamie.


    It was all for there to see last season. I am confused why people are trying to defend the indefensible.


    From Fans to Pundits, everybody said that with the way we play Balo would struggle and struggle he did.


    Same can be said for a few players.


    What always confused me with Balo is why he never played Borini along side him.


    What ever your thoughts about Borini are, the one thing nobody can deny is his work rate and his sheer determination.


    He would of made an excellent foil for Balo.

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  34. Haha too right Garfield ......... In the words of Kammy "unbelievable Jeff"

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  35. i think your logic suggests LVG is a horrible manager as he cudnt make Di Maria and Falcao play well for him...nd must be blamed for their failure? i know u may that its their first season in England nd need time to acclimatize...but well you have included a 20 year old Markovich in ur analysis, playing his first season in EPL and has blamed Rogers for him too...so its lil biased against rogers i guess...

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  36. Plenty of Balo's goals came from freekics/pens and the majority of his goals were scored early in the season following which he had a long goal drought. So in that case it's not as clear and dry as you make out.
    As for Lambert, he should have been handled better but he was only ever going to be a back up.

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  37. In the same way that Lambert and Balo's declines have come with age, lack of fitness, effort and talent.

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  38. Hit the nail on the head.


    Well said.

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  39. Your missing the point, Both Di Maria and Falcao were played in their best positions.

    Di Maria's form dropped off just after the attempted robbery of his home whilst his wife and kids were there, no real surprise.



    Falcao didn't play awful, he showed all the hallmarks of a player who is coming back from a bad injury and trying to attempted to a new league.


    Markovic's struggles are mostly down to be played as a right wing back.


    Yes he is only 20, Yes it is his first season in the EPL, Yes he is having to adapt living in a Foreign Country, Yes having a 20mil price tag can add additional pressure, so why when you take all of this into account would you play then play him out of position?

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  40. Regarding Lambert I agree with you. His dream move turned out to be a disaster, primarily due to BR...
    However Balotelli has already gone through a very bad spell at milan before he joined us. He's been awful and extremely unenthusastic everytime he played, he missed some absolute sitters. Balotelli is a special guy (to say it in a polite way), IMO you can't really take him as a serious example to back up your point.


    Lambert played a bit part role at Anfield last season and every time he came on the game was as good as over. There's no doubt BR absoutely mismanaged him, didn't let the team play to his strenghts. When Lambert played his first few games for us I felt extremely frustrated, because somehow the likes of Coutinho and Gerrard couldn't realise that Lambert won't even get close to those through balls they were usually serving Sturridge with. BR was totally deluded at the start of last season and Lambert was one of the main victims of that.
    Nonetheless i think that Goals per minute would give a more accurate view of Lambert, as he often didn't have much time to demonstrate his worth.

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  41. 'Diminishing talent' - based on what? As for fitness, that's Rodgers' responsibility. They were both fit and talented enough in 2013-14 to grab 25 goals/assists apiece, and start most games.


    Now, we're expected to believe that in the space of a few months, both players are not longer fit enough or talented enough to get the job done?


    Give me a break.

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  42. Jaimie: If you had done his job effectively, and - like ALL their previous managers - got Lambert and Balotelli scoring/assisting on a regular basis, Liverpool might well be in the Champions League right now.


    Rodgers: I honestly don't know what you're talking about!

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  43. Agreed... but didnt LVG played whole of united out of position one time or the other and the players stepped up too...so u have to adapt...(not entirely defending rogers..but its a two way street) ....but balotelli not scoring from empty net and not pressing wouldn't have made things easier for rogers i guess...nd yep his 25 goal assists included lots of penalties and set pieces nd if he wud hav been so maverick we wudnt hav got him for 16 mil...however, Lambert should have been given a longer consistent run...

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  44. Absolutely no argument that BR is at least partly culpable for these players drop in performance but we should be equally clear that Balo in particular did have his chances and failed repeatedly, to tuck them away. Obviously stats don't tell that part of the story.
    Also someone recently described Lambert as looking like he was carry a spare tyre and I think that's a valid point, he did look like he was running through treacle most of the time.
    Another factor which none of us really know is under what conditions these players were signed, perhaps they knew in advance that they were expected to adapt to new roles.
    As I say, yes BR got a fair amount wrong but as is usually the case it isn't necessarily as clear cut as the stats make it look, only IMO of course :-)

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  45. actually Balo is an age that is generally seen as the prime for footballers. Balotelli is a different story tho, he's just not doing his business at the moment, and mainly he has himself to blame for that

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  46. Sorry, but this is just incorrect, and is another example of someone perpetuating a fan-created myth.

    * Only 6 of Balotelli's 96 career goals have come from direct free kicks, which equates to only 6% of goals.

    * Across his career, Balotellu averages 2.5 penalty goals a season, which equates to 23 of his 96 goals across 9 years. That is not 'plenty' by any stretch of the imagination, and still leaves 73 goals - ie the MAJORITY - scored in open play.

    Gerrard scored significantly more penalties than Balotelli - Do you denigrate his goalscoring stats in the same way?

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  47. That was in his AC Milan spell where he started acting like a lord.

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  48. Where do you get your stats Jamie? Are they freely available as I'd be very interested in Balo's ratio of penalties and free kicks for the season before he joined us rather than his whole career.
    Seems a bit lazy to ask you for them but I'm struggling to find them via Google.

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  49. It'd probably be more like:

    JK: "If you had done your job effectively, and - like ALL their previous managers - got Lambert and Balotelli scoring/assisting on a regular basis - Liverpool might well be in the Champions League right now".



    *Rodgers turns toward Liverpool's PRESS OFFICER*

    Rodgers: "Can we get security in there, please?"

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  50. So Rodgers basically is Sepp Blatter of LFC ;-) ?

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  51. Jaimie just another example how stats can look from another perspective

    - Lambert PL only

    Season pre-LFC: 25 goals/assists in 39 apps [2813 minutes played]

    * Goal/assist every 1.5 games (32 starts) OR goal/assist every 117 minutes

    Last season at LFC: 4 goals/0 assists in 28 apps [839 minutes played]

    * Goal/assist every 7 games (14 starts) OR goal/assist every 2

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  52. Balo: 30 goals in 54 matches at AC Milan, including 10 penalty and 5 free-kicks


    http://forzaitalianfootball.com/2014/08/mario-balotelli-at-ac-milan-hype-vs-reality/

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  53. I use various sources (for cross-checking purposes), but this is a good one: http://www.statbunker.com/players/getPlayerStats?player_id=24033

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  54. In terms of general improvement reckon we could add Hendo to that list as well :-)

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  55. I saw at least 5 of those in that season. Though my opinion is widely recognized as bull so...

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  56. What a load of pointless negative drivel

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  57. Interesting piece if it gets through..




    http://forzaitalianfootball.com/2014/08/mario-balotelli-at-ac-milan-hype-vs-reality/

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  58. Balo: 30 goals in 54 matches at AC Milan, including 10 penalty and 5 free-kick

    http://forzaitalianfootball.com/2014/08/mario-balotelli-at-ac-milan-hype-vs-reality/

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  59. "Rodgers basically is Sepp Blatter of LFC" you wish;-)

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  60. So he was 31 when he grabbed 25 goals/ assists in one season, so does that mean it is improbable to decline? Liverpool's training regime is much more demanding and intense than Southamptons- because Rodgers *needs* all of his strikers to be fit to press- so it must have taken a toll on his body.

    Balotelli doesn't press regularly. Fact. If he does not fit into the system and he can't be played in a front two then what alternative does Rodgers have? It *is* Brendan's fault for not trying to find an adequate partner when he was signed because you can't play Balotelli up front with Lambert because neither have the pace to truly thrive in our team or press efficiently. The less said about Borini the better because his problem is talent, not his attitude to his football.

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  61. With respect, I'm struggling to see your point. It shows what I've outlined: a decline in goals/assists under Rodgers.

    Plus, why should it be Prem only - didn't Lambert feature in other games, too?

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  62. You're right case, his penalty/free kick ratio significantly increased from City to Milan.

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  63. Description fro Italians:

    Ten of those goals were scored from the penalty spot and five of them came from direct free-kicks. To go into more depth, six of those penalties accounted for his 12 Serie A goals in the 2012-13 season and four of those free-kicks were part of his 14-goal haul in the last year’s campaign.

    If you were take away those goals from dead-ball situations, Balotelli scored only 15 goals from open-play in 54 games. Those statistics do not look as impressive for someone who played as the main centre-forward for one of Italy’s biggest clubs.



    I might add- started like a thunder ended up a drizzle..

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  64. How do you know that 'Liverpool's training regime is much more demanding and intense than Southampton's'? That is pure unbacked supposition.

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  65. It is Balo in Milan period..

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  66. Well it's not a 80% reduction, you're making the situation look worse

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  67. how do you do that.. Sadly I am serious...

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  68. It's shows that on a goals per minute basis (Which gives a better perspective than goals per game because it takes into account getting subbed on/ off etc.). In this case, Lambert has not decreased significantly and is performing at the same level- goals and assists- wise- as his Soton days.

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  69. Up there are his pen/fk stats...

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  70. What does this prove? What about Balotelli's whole career, or is he defined by just one season?

    In the last two season, over 90% of Gerrard's goals have come from free kicks and penalties - do you define his entire career by just those seasons?

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  71. How about at some point you stop with the incessant need to whine and give some of us what we want. Try giving us a update on the current team and their pre-season tour, how the new signings are doing, how last years signings are doing, is the team meshing well. Enough with your usual drivel.

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  72. In simple terms, based on the fact they were both bl&&dy useless ;-)
    More reasonably though, in Lamberts case age seems a fair thing to mention and I'm not sure if I'd blame BR for him carrying an extra stone or two, relative to the previous season. Even Gerrard who'd we probably all put in the consummate professional bracket wasn't getting any slimmer the last season or two; you can't fight time.
    And with Balo missing the sort of chances he did I also think in his case you can reasonably say his talents haven't been what we expected.
    Players don't maintain peak performance levels indefinitely and sometimes they just fall of a cliff - Torres being a case in point.
    Maybe we simply bought at the wrong time.

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  73. Well if you look at the style that Rodgers tries to implement it is pressing the opposition. Soton never pressed that much and played mainly possession play so Lambert didn't slow down the counter attacks too much.

    Another example is Lallana. He was fine before he came to Liverpool but now his body has taken a big hit because even though he is fit he has been riddled with injuries. His quality is there (although he does take too many touches) and he showed it at Soton without many injuries, if any, and now is a constantly injured.

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  74. Look, as much as I do not rate BR as a manager, I think he is a great coach.


    He helped Suarez to develop into the player he is today.



    He helped Sterling to become the 45mil player that City think he is.


    He help Couthino to develop into a better player.


    I actually believe BR is a fantastic coach, however there is a world of difference between being a great coach and a great manager

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  75. It doesn't show that at all.

    A goal/assist every 209 mins is a 45% reduction from one every 117 mins.

    And, as the article notes, overall, going from 25 goals/assists to only 5 is a reduction of 80%.

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  76. That was my recollection and I think the season immediately before we signed him is a far better period to use in gauging where he was at in terms of number of goals scored and more importantly, how they were scored.

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  77. But how far is the reduction on a goals per minute basis? That gives a much better perspective.

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  78. I disagree.


    As I have said below, I think BR is a fantastic coach, however their is a world of difference between being a Fantastic coach and a Fantastic Manager.


    Fergie was a Great Manager (yeah I hate saying that) however he knew his limitations and made sure he hired Great Coaches.


    BR would make a great first team coach and that is the problem

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  79. Slow news day? Worried about your click thru numbers hitting your advertising revenues? No problems just dig out some stats, feed them to the Rodgers Out brigade, bingo problem sorted.
    Move along there's nothing (of any merit)to see here!

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  80. Is baloteli defined by one season? You mean one under BR and one and a half in Milan? It is about decline- you started the topic, and that decline started before- that's what this proves.


    And no I don't define SG's entire career by those stats, what a silly question...

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  81. True, it may be argued he may have lost that hunger he had in him a few years back and now waits for easy opportunities. his statistics at Milan are even less impressive considering he was the absolute main man and Icon of the club.

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  82. Like football. Love life. It's that simple.

    I'm a huge fan of Bill Shankly, but this comment is as damaging as it is ridiculous:

    "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that"

    Lots of fans by into this ethos, and that's the first step to becoming consumed.


    It's perfectly possible to be a passionate fan and not buy into the quasi-religious idolatry of football.

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  83. But if you don't boy the new LFC-Kit every year you're not a true supporter, didn't you know that?

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  84. Why, then, do you seemingly define Balotelli's career by 1.5 seasons, and ignore the rest of his career. Seems like doubt-standards to me.

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  85. As i have said before it seems when they do well it's down to the players but when they do badly it's Rodgers' fault.


    It will be interesting to see what happens to Lambert and Butlertelli when they move on

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  86. the problem is life does happens once!
    but we go into each season of football hoping we do one better and progress and that's what makes us continue and hope. Life, on the other hand does not provide a chance to make up for the lost time, well at least more often than not...

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  87. The beano hahaha and that's a joke jk before you delete it

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  88. Rodgers gets credit for lots of things, including getting Liverpool to 2nd place; presiding over the superb performances of Sturridge, Coutinho, and to an extent, Suarez; bringing several young players into the team etc.

    He also gets fair criticism for a number of things, including the failure to performs of most of his signings.

    What you've suggested is a totally inaccurate generalisation.

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  89. Stats and bias aside orme Rodgers has got nothing out of his signings bar tino in patches and Mr glass when fit ,that leaves about 180m of failures or at the very least underperforming players ........that's fact

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  90. I already updated it, I couldn't find the stats for all competitions at first

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  91. Impossible, a player's improvement has nothing to do with Rodgers, he can only ruin careers :)

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  92. Not so much bull sh??? As horse sh??

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  93. Is that your counter-argument?

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  94. Exactly ghost. Its hard to gauge a lot of Rodgers signings as he adopts a kamikaze style of integration which derails there form,play well he sub's you score he drops you and that's without playing you in the wrong position or side of the pitch

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  95. The point is that stats can be seen from different perspectives.

    Backing your statements with stats is a good thing, but you often tend to only include those stats on your articles that support your opinion.

    Goals per X minutes is much more accurate than goals per games, but you didn't use them because they don't highlight your point that much

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  96. or he realized his limitations and is now bringing in coaches to help escalate him as a manager. i do agree for the most part with what you say but we are looking in wonder at the changes in the staff this year, it could be the right move and hopefully it is. However, it could mark him forever as the first team coach as you have stated.


    which to be honest is a job i would absolutely love.

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  97. from what i have read, balotelli's father has been in bad condition for awhile and it could have played a major role with him and all of his illness last year. balotelli has always been recognized as someone who has to his head mentally right in order to produce. to be honest i didn't get the sense that Rodgers disliked or had any issues with Balo, for what I saw Balo was working hard and trying to adapt to what was being asked of him, i think he was making good strides and then all of sudden he was at home sick. and yes i think there was something going on to where he was excused because he was always posting about not feeling up to it and wishing he was playing with his boys but was still watching and yelling in support. the illness to his father could play a major factor both mentally and physically

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  98. another comment lost to mystical comment garbage disposal.

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  99. Are you saying football and life are separate, next you will be saying there is no father christmass

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  100. Maybe he was overtrained and knackered hahaha

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  101. He gets up and meditates at 4 am each day for one hour then drinks his own urine ,,,,

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  102. Ghost of Suarez8:55 pm, July 23, 2015

    Hold on.....He played him as wing back, and he is a winger. He didn't play him at centre half, and Markovic playing there contributed to our best run of the season Jan -March.

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  103. Agree, the age was really relating to lambo, as you say Balo just hasn't performed :)

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  104. Ghost of Suarez9:01 pm, July 23, 2015

    Balotelli success during his career to date has all been with a mobile strike partner in a two, and he was bought to play with Studge on that basis. When Studge got injured we had no mobile strike partner for him, Lambert was too slow and was only intended to be used as sub in most games, and let's be blunt as soon as he squared that ball when in on goal against City it became clear the pressure of playing for his home town club was gonna be too much for him. When Rodgers settled on the
    3-4-3 formation Mario had to adapt and couldn't so then he disappeared from the team. His failure was dictated by circumstance and lack of adaptability.

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  105. Well here's another generalisation - the criticisms significantly outweigh the praise

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  106. Absolutely no argument that BR is at least partly culpable for these players drop in performance but we should be equally clear that Balo in particular did have his chances and repeatedly failed to tuck them away. Obviously stats don't tell that part of the story.

    Also someone recently described Lambert as looking like he was carrying a spare tyre and I think that's a valid point, he did look like he was running through treacle most of the time.

    Another factor which none of us really know is under what conditions these players were signed, perhaps they knew in advance that they were expected to adapt to new roles.

    As I say, yes BR got a fair amount wrong but as is usually the case it isn't necessarily as clear cut as the stats make it look. Only IMO of course :)

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  107. So you are saying the wing back position is the same as a winger.. okay...

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  108. Ghost of Suarez9:18 pm, July 23, 2015

    No but it is still mainly an attacking position, just with a little more defensive responsibility. He wasn't being asked to outmuscle Christian Benteke at a corner. Players in the modern age are tried out in all sorts of positions as youth team players and all players are taught to defend from the front and track back. if you are a top prospect who doesn't have the tactical nous to adjust from wide right to right wing back I don't thing you would be a top prospect.

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  109. Ghost of Suarez9:24 pm, July 23, 2015

    Nobody takes Alan Shearer's pens out of his goalscoring record when they discuss it do they?

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  110. Balotelli thus far has had a much shorter career than Gerrard. He hasn't earned the same amount of credit points as Gerrard has.

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  111. We bought balotelli when he was already in a drought spell, and it is still continuing. BR didn't suddenly turn him into a lazy, effortless player who doesn't know what offside is...

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  112. I wouldn't take too much notice Orme; Jamie once auditioned for a job in TV advertising and he clearly takes the game very seriously:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MusyO7J2inM

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  113. Bookmarked, thanks :)

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  114. I'm pretty sure they're there somewhere, but that site seemed like it wanted to make you work a bit to get at them.
    Anyway even without checking I think we all agree it was probably 90%+ from pens and perhaps 8% to 10% free kicks ;-)

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  115. Stevie judged by penalty and free kicks iis a nonsense and you know it. A striker judged by that and tap ins vs actual goals is not.

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  116. Some believe that life happens more than once

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  117. So you're saying Balo got the credit when the other striker was doing all the work? Yeah that is consistent. As soon as Balo didn't have a harder worker setting him up, he couldn't handle being alone. Once again...over rated.

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  118. Nobody needed to. Shearer's effort and work rate has never been called into question and I don't believe I ever saw Shearer doing tv commercials in a hot tub either.

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  119. Well what I am saying is Balo hasn't got the intelligent movement to play up front alone.....it isn't actually his work rate as people commonly say, his opta stats show he runs around a lot and covers ground but guess it's more around his decision making on when and where to run and press. He has talent and physical attributes to do it you would think but never done it before. I still think he would be a damn effective player with the right partner, about the only time we were able to partner him with Studge (v. Spurs) they looked damn effective and Balo was unlucky not get 3 that day.

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  120. Yeah I mean I wasn't comparing the two as players but what I was trying to say is we correctly include penalties as part of any other strikers goal stats so that shouldn't be in any different for Mario, even though some might not like him much

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  121. Every team that ever employed Balo has sold him for a loss except Inter#1...never mind his performance. If he requires a second striker to be productive then one can make an argument he is holding the other striker back. LFC will only be the latest to dump him at the soonest opportunity. I hardly think BR can be held accountable for Balo's performances. Balo apparently needs a nanny then?

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  122. Theycallmemrburt11:58 pm, July 23, 2015

    agreed. In the future I think Rodgers will be a superb number 2.

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  123. Sure doesn't support any "world-class" adjectives does it?

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  124. Put it in the books!

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  125. So really Balo is a cripple that can't perform without the crutch of a second striker? Put Borini in that situation and the Greek chorus for his immediate benching would commence. Why does this guy get a pass?

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  126. Clearly not. He should be able to adapt to role as lone striker and the fact he couldn't is his fault not Rodgers, but he is still and extremely effective forward if you have the right partner for him

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  127. That's not too far from saying Migs would a better keeper if he just had somebody helping him.

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  128. buck stops with rogers!!!! what an easy statement to make

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  129. Coutinho needs a clever, mobile striker to be productive. Does that mean he's holding the team back? Cavani needs good midfielders to be productive. Does that mean he's holding the team back?

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  130. Or Gerrard, for that matter.

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  131. Agreed, Chirag should have intervened here;-)

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  132. You'd be transfer listed and made to look like you're forcing your way out against the club's will, JK.

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  133. The opposite of Tevez, in other words.

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  134. Don't believe Couts needs this to move the ball around and Cavani doesn't need much when he's on the ball. My point is Balo apologists make excuses for a player who should perform well no matter what if he is as good as they believe he is. BR realizes Balo is a bigger liability than he is an asset. That's why Balo doesn't play. End of.

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  135. Think you're doing yourself a bit of a disservice there mate :-)

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  136. Think you're doing yourself a bit of disservice there mate and if we're ranking opinions by using the old sh!tometer then mine is going to probably be around the Pigeon mark so really, I would think Bull would be quite high up the scale anyway :-)

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  137. Thank you. I argue this all the time and nobody comments back. Players out of position is the most common argument used to slate Rodgers. But, when he started doing exactly that, we started winning.

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  138. If you can't see the difference between Alan Sheerer and Mario, than...

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  139. I thought Lallana should be replaced because he wasn't 'consistent enough'. But now it is actually Rodgers' fault, for a change.

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  140. During his period at AC Milan 15 goals came from direct freekicks/penalities. And he scored 15 goals in 54 matches in open play while playing for AC Milan,



    As for 23/96 that is roughly a quarter and indeed plenty.
    Also if 6 of his goals came from direct free kicks then at MOST 67 of his goals came from open play but even that figure is inflated because it doesn't take into account goals from corners (which aren't open play goals) nor goals that he scored from somebody else delivering a free kick (which again aren't open play).


    As for Gerrard he was our designated penalty/free kick taker which directly relates to my point about Balo, that being Balo wasn't our designated PK/FK taker, which amongst other things was going to reduce his output.


    I see you also didn't address his goal drought, which was heavily commented on throughout the media. The last goal he scored for Milan was on 19th April 14 (against a weak Livorno) before that he last scored on the 29th March (against Chievo).


    Anything else?

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  141. I'll put it to you this way... Rodgers likes his strikers to press high up on the ball.


    Everyone knows that Balotelli is not a hyperactive striker. Some define it as laziness (and they probably have a point), but regardless of what it's defined as, we all knew that Balotelli would not be running around chasing the ball the entire game. That's not to absolve him of anything. It's merely a fact. So to expect him to change that would be foolish.


    At the same time, there is no denying that he does possess talent. And considering that Sturridge was injured for most of last season, Balotelli became our most talented available striker.


    When taking into account that his strength does not exist as a lone striker in a high pressing system, logic would dictate two things:


    1. He shouldn't be playing if that system is what Rodgers requires. It's much more suited to Borini (or as Rodgers later adjusted... to Sterling).


    2. If he is playing and Rodgers demands that system, he should have another player up top with him that is going to cut the attacking half in half so that he won't have to cover as much ground alone.


    It's not about giving a guy a pass. It's about the fact that we knew what he was when he got here. He's not a workhorse by any stretch. To expect him to change is one thing. But to try and realize it's not working, that's where I have an issue with Rodgers specifically. He persisted playing Mario alone up top for the better part of 3 months. It didn't work.

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  142. Good points all. I just believe if he were any other striker people wouldn't make excuses for him. And they are just excuses for lackluster, unprofessional performances. I believe BR knew it and didn't want him. I don't believe Balo should get a pass.

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  143. Pandle,
    You are so correct. I don't understand how anyone can defend Balo. He never worked, rarely hustled, was lazy with the ball and almost never won the ball back because he was too busy scowling at the guy who beat the ball away from him.....all that for 16m. BR and co clearly Fuc&ed up signing him. It was, as most people on this site said last year, a desperation signing pure and simple..............

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  144. comparing Henderson and Carlos Texeira, do you thing texeira is better if given the opportunity?

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