25 Oct 2013

LFC outcast confirms: I rejected Arsenal to 'sign for Liverpool'. Wasted by BR...?

In January, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers did a Rafa Benitez and dumped a player less than six months after joining the club. Now back at Borussia Dortmund, Nuri Sahin suffered the same ignominious fate as Robbie Keane, and in both instances, the Reds ended up wasting significant amounts of money. The Turkish midfielder had plenty of transfer options prior to his Anfield move, and now, Sahin has confirmed for the first time that he specifically rejected a move to Arsenal to join Liverpool.

Speaking to UEFA.com this week, Sahin - who made just 12 appearances for the club - revealed that he almost joined Arsenal three times in the past, adding:

"Last summer we spoke with Arsenal, but in the end I signed for Liverpool."

"My time at Liverpool was a good time for me, to be part of a great club with such a great history and great players. The club took care of me and my family; I am full of respect for Liverpool."

Sahin seemingly holds no hard feelings towards the club for dumping him after such a short space of time, but this is just another symptom of (arguably) the most serious problem of Brendan Rodgers' reign: constantly utilising players in the wrong position, and therefore needlessly wasting transfer funds.

Rodgers is obsessed with player 'flexibility' and this has blighted his reign at the club. In this case, the manager tried to use Sahin as a number ten, which is clearly not his position, so is it any wonder he struggled to fit in?

Early in Sahin's loan spell, Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp - - who guided the club to consecutive Bundesliga titles - criticised Rodgers for wasting Sahin's talent. He told ESPN

"Nuri is a great player. I don't know what Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers plans to do with him, but fielding him in the number ten position is not the best solution in my opinion"

Having managed Sahin successfully in the past, Klopp clearly knows what he's talking about. Indeed, it's slightly worrying that Rodgers - a coach with 20 years experience (as he likes to remind everyone) - repeatedly played Sahin out of position, even though he must've known that his natural position is deep-lying midfielder. I still can't get my head around it:

- Why sign Sahin just to consistently play him out position?
- Did BR even have a plan, or did he just sign Sahin because he's a 'name' player?
- Was Sahin's purchase a panic-buy?
- When Sahin joined LFC, he described himself thus:

"I am a central midfielder who loves to have the ball. I'm not the type of player who dribbles past three or four players and then shoots at goal. I'm more of a tactical and technical player. I like to organise, I love it when my team is tactically at a very high level, can play one or two-touch and play football"

This sounds like the archetypal Brendan Rodgers player, yet for some reason, he didn't fit in at LFC. I've raised this issue before and I will keep banging the same drum: a pattern is emerging of Rodgers:

* Wasting money on players LFC don't actually need (Allen, Borini, Sahin, Ilori etc)
* Buying decent players then playing them out of position (Toure, Moses, Borini, Aspas etc)
* Failing to buy players for specific roles (DM; LW; RW) and using other players there.

The Reds have got away with it so far, and are doing well in the league this season, but the Newcastle draw shows just how much work still needs to be done. 352 should be scrapped IMO. Victor Moses is not a number ten, and never will be, but due to poor transfer planning, there's no one else to cover Coutinho in that formation, and with the Brazilian returning, Moses will almost certainly be consigned to the bench (which I doubt he'll be happy with).



  1. He had spent 15 million on Joe Allen who plays in same position as Sahin

  2. In recent years players in all positions have developed better ball skills and the very best players show ability beyond that normally required of their position. I can see therefore why BR might be wanting to take that a step further and develop players' skills and their ability to play different roles within a team. That said, if you are going to do that, you need to buy the right kind of player and perhaps also be prepared to accept that in some cases certain roles in the team are still better carried out by specialists. I agree BR has not always got it right but as you note despite that we are not doing too badly.

  3. He was a deep lying play maker which actually was a competition for Lucas playing in front of the defense rather than doing the creative play making job which he was appointed at LFC.

    Yes, he was wasted here because he's doing quite good at BVB if you look at their matches now.

  4. Think this is more than a little bit harsh. For starters you say that playing players out of position has 'blighted' Rodgers' time at liverpool, yet we've improved vastly since he took over as coach, our league position both last season and now this proves that, and our results since January have been more than likely past even the most optimistic LFC fan's expectations, so what exactly has it blighted? Surely these results show he's done well with the resources he's been given/ inherited (i'm talking both players & transfer budgets here)?

    Secondly, and specifically concerning Sahin. He'd just come off the back of a lengthy spell with injuries & obviously was taking a while to regain his best form. He barely played at Real Madrid after these injuries & also barely played in the half season back with Dortmund after being with us, again suggesting his form still wasn't up to scratch, right up until this season. He probably also suffered with the fact Lucas got injured so early on. With him being the water carrier of the team, allowing the technical players like sahin to do their thing, and hendo being out of favour, it was fairly obvious that Rodgers would go with Gerrard & Allen, two safe players he trusted playing deeper protecting the defense, during that period. Once Lucas was back, Rodgers obviously decided he was happy to let go of Sahin, who was seemingly still out of form, in favour of saving wages to put into the coutinho & sturridge deals. Now surely given the option to do this again, the majority of LFC fans would prefer to see the same thing done again?

    As for playing other players out of position too, I would refer back to how much we've improved, and continue to, to saying that this can't have had too much of an adverse effect on us. Same goes for the 3-5-2 formation- pretty sure that since this formation has been played we've won every game except for the newcastle draw (not including the Man U carling cup loss- a one off cup game), so it can't be that bad, and Sakho seems very at home with it after a v.shaky start in a 4-4-2. I would agree with you about Moses, again there's logic behind this, with Coutinho out, he either had a choice of Gerrard who's playing well deep, Moses who's got experience, and who started well in an LFC shirt, in the Prem or Alberto, who's young with no Prem experience. Fairly safe bet Moses would get the nod.

  5. Sell Suarez and bring El Sharavi and a central midfielder for that money.

  6. Clear, precise, and true

  7. Sahin threw his toys out of the cot because he was being played out of position.

    Did anyone see Henderson crying when being played at RB, RWB, AM, LM DM etc?

    Sahin is too much of a pretty boy and his 'it is about me attitude' stinks. Maybe things would have worked out for Sahin at LFC if he had the same attitude as Henderson?

  8. How exactly did Sahin 'throw his toys out of his cot'. Give me one example of how this manifested itself during his time at LFC.

    And re his alleged attitude; where is the proof for this?

    Just because a player doesn't have a problem playing out position doesn't make the manager's decision correct. Rodgers got it wrong, and wasted a talented player, just like he got it wrong with Allen, Borini, Aspas et al.

  9. Very good points.

    * I agree that LFC have improved under Rodgers, and I'm behind him 100%, but last season could've been better all round without the transfer mistakes in the summer. LFC didn't Allen, or a striker who would always be played out wide. BR's transfer business that summer was a disaster, and LFC paid the price for it until the end of January.

    * BR's reign is blighted because:

    - He's wasted big money on players the club didn't need.

    - If that money (40m+) had been used wisely, on players LFC actually needed, the club may be further along right now.

    - Ultimately, it's the loss of utility that's the problem.

    * If Rodgers was always going to go with Gerrard and Allen, or Lucas/Gerrard, why bring in Sahin at all! He's a deep-lying midfielder; if BR's plan was to always play him as a number 10, why not just bring in a dedicated number 10 instead of wasting time and money on a player the club doesn't need?

    * How could Sahin build up great form playing in an unfamiliar role? You don't just play a completely different role and excel; you need time/games to gel with new team-mates etc.

    * Yes, LFC has improved, but the current league position flatters the team, and the points total is just papering over the cracks. The Newcastle game showed that, as does the repeated failure to perform in the second half of games. Using players out of position will come home to roost as some stage.

    * There may be logic behind playing Moses as a No 10, but that's not the point. My point is we don't have a dedicated replacement for Coutinho in that role; someone who's used to playing there, and that affects the team. Moses hasn't score/created in 5/6 games in that role. If LFC had someone there who's a specialist, he probably would've contributed by now.

  10. "I did not fail at Liverpool," Sahin said. "Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a '10'. But I do not play behind the forwards. I spoke with him and asked him why I was playing there. It is not my real position.

    "The boss could not answer me... Still, I am not sorry about it. To play in the red jersey and be in Anfield is something marvellous. Maybe if I had not gone there I would not have been able to return to Borussia Dortmund. For that, I am happy. But I have left Brendan Rodgers, thanks be to God."

    That is what Sahin said and clearly shows that he had a problem with where he was playing otherwise he would have kept his mouth shut and got on with with things.

  11. These comments were made after he left, so why does it matter? Plus, his comments are perfectly fair: if you're played out of position, you're entitled to note that. Doesn't mean he has an attitude problem. Henderson has also stated several times that he prefers to play in the centre. Does that mean he has an attitude problem too?

    Ultimately, what Sahin says is correct: Rodgers set him up to fail by playing him in the wrong position.

  12. Henderson has not moaned about where he has been asked to play. That is the difference.

    Sahin left because he was not willing to be a team player. If Henderson is asked to play CB then he will say Yes Sir. Sahin will ask why. Spot the difference?

  13. Hold on folks, I have to quote the article here "was Sahin's purchase a panic-buy"?

    He was on loan, there was no actual "transfer fee"......

  14. There is no difference. It's just semantics. Hendo has been asked in the past where he prefers to play. He's said CM, and explained why. Using your logic, that is also moaning. Sahin was asked if he 'failed' at LFC. He replied with good grace and magnanimity. That is not moaning in the slightest. I'm sure Henderson has discussed his position with Rodgers too. Additionally, Sahin actually played out of position in every game, so that shows that he was willing to do it.

  15. Cheers for the response.

    Generally I can see where you're coming from in terms of the Allen & Borini transfers, but think maybe we just have different views on judging transfers as a whole. Whereas I think you tend to analyse transfers individually on their impact, I would always try and look at how they're effecting the whole team's performance as part of the squad. For example when Lucas did get injured early last season, Allen came in & and played deeper with Gerrard to fill the gap, and did extremely well for the first three months, therefore Allen, regardless of his loss of form after helped the team through this period and so was not a waste of a transfer. He also showed enough potential in my eyes to say that if he gets over his injury he'll be very useful to the squad.

    I also genuinely think, had the injury not have happened with Lucas' steady protection to the back line, you would have seen more rotation game to game with Rodgers being given more license for risk in the remaining midfield spots. Risk being playing a player with inexperience in the prem and coming back from injury (sahin), and helping him back to form, and so things may have ended differently. So I don't believe he was always intent on Allen/ Gerrard/ Lucas, his hand was just forced by circumstance, and it led to his plan changing with Sahin becoming surplus.

    As for Borini, whilst he's had little impact on the first team as yet, he still may end up coming good as a squad player. He still gets regular goals for the Italian U21 side, so he can't be that bad. At present would give you that, it looks like that one won't work out, but had Suarez got injured first half of last season he would still have been a fairly decent back up (better than nothing at least!). So even in not playing he had a role in the squad.

    Bottom line, for me although not all Rodgers transfers have come off completely as yet, and including him missing out on Mik, Willian etc who both could have filled that No.10 role, as well as others (so he did try to fill that position- hopefully he will succeed in Jan), no manager is perfect, and whilst I'm not daft enough to think we'll retain our current league position, something drastic would have to happen for us to not improve from last season which is all you can really ask for. And for me, as far as transfers go, in the big picture, Rodgers' (and his staff) work in that area, in tandem with that on the training ground, has on the whole helped significantly towards this, hence why I think the word 'blighted' is extremely harsh at the moment.

    Just my opinion though!

  16. But why was the loan cancelled? Did Sahin leave at his will or did Rodgers tell him to go?

    You are trying to aim blame at Rodgers for Sahin's loan not working out when it is the player who is saying "But I do not play behind the forwards".

    That is a clear statement that he does not and will not play there and we all know no matter who the manager, Mourinho, Ferguson, Moyes, Wenger and and and... The manager tells the player what to do, not the other way around.

  17. There was a loan fee but thankfully there was no transfer fee otherwise we would have had a unhappy player on massive wages!

  18. I refuse to believe any of this story.

    Arsenal were in the Champions League, as were Real Madrid. I've heard it on good authority at every opportunity that players at Champions League clubs will only move to other Champions League clubs. Liverpool were not a Champions League club so Sahin must have been blackmailed into signing for the club...

  19. rodgers is out to get lfc relegated

    aspas,borini,assiadi,coutinho,allen ,sahin ,alberto and iloris
    all look like massive let downs
    only sturridge,toure and mignolet look like decent signings
    sakho looks really inconsistent there was not even a reason to buy him with agger there

  20. As long as Gerrard is fit, any other player that comes in will be on the bench. I wish BR would be decisive enough to drop the skipper once in a while or use him as a sub, allowing other players get a chance to play. Everyone knows that Gerrard does not have the legs. If we have younger players, why not use them?!