4 Dec 2013

'He will go' - BR confirms €8m LFC star will leave Anfield in January to 'get experience'.

With few exceptions, Liverpool's summer signings have - so far - failed to make much of an impact at Anfield. In some cases, it's the players themselves who haven't taken their chances, but when it comes to Tiago Ilori, it's a different story. Four months into the season, and the youngster is nowhere near the first team, and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has explained why the Portuguese defender is not getting any chances.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Rodgers argued that 'Centre-halves are very hard to get' and explained that signing Ilori 'was about looking after the future of the club'. He added:

"Young players need time in that area. He [Ilori] was one that became available. He wasn't overly-priced. He will have six months to adapt and then he will go out and get experience.

"Hopefully in the future, maybe long after I am gone, he can prove to be a talent. That is the responsibility of myself and the club going forward to nurture it"

That makes perfect sense, and it's clearly a good strategy for LFC's future; it does, however, pose a couple questions:

* Prior to signing, was Ilori warned that he is 'one for the future', and wouldn't get any first team experience this season?

* Was he told that he'd be sent out on loan 'to get experience' after six months at the club?

If all of this was explained before signing, then fair enough - Ilori can have no complaints, but if Rodgers didn't explain all this prior to concluding the deal, then that poses a problem. After all, Ilori is 20 (21 in February 2014), not some green 17-year old, and with players younger than him already in the first team, he'll probably be wondering why he's being held back.

I'd be surprised if Rodgers outlined the plans above before concluding the deal. If he had, I doubt Ilori would've chosen Liverpool. Indeed, the player's own comments seem to contradict the notion that he was told beforehand that playing-time would severely restricted. Discussing his move to LFC in September, Ilori told the official Liverpool FC Website:

"It feels great being a Liverpool player - coming to the Premier League has always been a dream for me. I'm going to try and achieve everything I can. I want to play as much as possible and we'll see what the future holds. I will give my all and try my best to help the team."

Clearly, he is referring to the first-team here.

It could be argued that Ilori is the author of his own misfortune. Prior to signing, he knew that Agger and Skrtel were staying, and he also knew that Toure and Sakho were joining him at Anfield. With four top class international players in his position, how did he expect to get game-time?

Irrespective of Rodgers' plans, Ilori cost €8m, and given the Reds' immediate goals (getting back into the Champions League), that money - along with the £16m+ spent on Alberto and Aspas - would arguably have been better spent on one or two established, proven first-team players.

I don't see the point in spending €8m on a player who may come good 'long after' Rodgers has left the club. The manager claims it's 'hard' to find centre-backs, but (IMO), that just isn't true. It's hard of you leave it to the last minute like Rodgers (who knew that Carra would retire for a whole YEAR before it actually happened), but good planning and scouting should make the process pretty straightforward.

Given his comments, I find it hard to believe that Ilori is satisfied with his Anfield experience so far, and if he's farmed out on loan in January, which appears to be the plan, he could conceivably grow disillusioned.

Portuguese newspaper Super Deporte recently claimed that Valencia are considering a loan deal for Ilori. Would a move to La Liga be a good thing for him...?



  1. I cant imagine Ilori came to Liverpool thinking he would be getting straight in the first team. Defenders always seem to take a little more time to settle, a young defender is a lot more vulnerable to a loss in confidence (IMO) because if they make a mistake, chances are goals will be conceded.
    Plus you don't see many young defenders join teams, and go straight in to the first team.
    I think these things would have been outlined when joining.
    You say when he says "I want to play as much as possible" That he is clearly referring to the first team. I don't see how he is "clearly" referring to the first team. He may be, but he may also just be referring to playing in general, or playing for Liverpool in general. It is certainly not clear what he is referring to.

  2. I think it's clear because in the same sentence he also says 'I want to help the team as much as possible'. I doubt he's referring to the reserve team here.

  3. Sometimes or very often I dont understand these managers, I remember sterling was given a chance when he was 16 or 17, ilori is 20 cant rodgers give him 10 mins just 10mins man cmon whats wrong with this guy, same for texeira the boy playing great every week still no first team football, its rodgers second season and he made some significant errors very stupid moves at times, weird line ups, not giving some youths what they deserve, playing defensive most of times when were 1-0 up etc. Not saying he should go right now but I wouldnt carry on with him after the seasons finished unless he wins fa cup and finishes 4th.

  4. To be honest, this was his first interview? Of course he is going to say stuff like this.
    Its all the same.
    I love the team, its a great club, I want to win trophies, I want to help the team, I want to do well. No one ever says anything different.
    Agree to disagree I guess.

  5. I am afraid that I cannot take Rodgers seriously. the game against Hull was embarrassing to those of us who were there. No intensity whatsoever. Why the changes. I believe it reflected Rodgers over confidence. All we needed to do was to turn up and they would roll over. yet this guy never takes personal responsibility. apart from Countinho and sturridge his buys have ranged from garbage to unproven. I despair for the future while he is around

  6. You skipped a line in your Rodgers quote Jamie. Quite an important one..

    "He wasn't overly-priced. I see the price that is quoted (£7million) and it is nowhere near the mark to be honest."

    Granted he probably still cost a few million up front but most of that quoted figure is most likely potential add ons. I guess we will have to wait for the financial statement to figure out what we have actually spent.

    Anyway, he's clearly a talented defender but he probably needs to bulk up at some point to cope with the demands of English football. More importantly though he also needs experience, like any young centre half, and that only comes with games. Chasing the CL we can't afford to risk it, hopefully 6 months at a decent level (la liga would be good - send him off to join suso!) could only help him.

  7. I feel we need to farm out a load of players on load. Sterling/Alberto/ibe/ and more. It's good for the development.
    On another note I can see this one happening. Just a rummer I'm starting myself. Berbatov to LFC in January? I know he is lazy but when he is on form he is a great goal scorer. What you think Jamie?

  8. The only thing that's a little irksome from the comments is "hopefully in the future, maybe long after I am gone, he can prove himself..."
    Catch 22, if they can't prove themselves, they won't play. If they don't play they don't develop, can't prove themselves.
    Hopefully these "young" prospects of 20 -21 yrs, only need 6 months - 1 year to prove themselves. Regardlass out of principal, if you spend millions on a player, they should get a first team shot within 6 months or so, otherwise how can you justify this spending? Me thinks that there is a little too much emphasis on "developing" youngsters to sell on - i.e. make money from prospects. This is fine, but priority should be should be on improving the first team, which in turn will raise the clubs stature, and attract the best youngsters.
    In other news, from the LFC website there is a strong hint that Alberto and Aspas will start, good news.

  9. Rodgers has lost it - DONTGIVE HIM NEWCOTRACT

  10. We needed one kick which we got in our last match. Still a very long season to go but we desperately need to win in next 2 matches otherwise we'll have very difficult time in qualifying for champs league.

  11. Yeah, we're a whole point behind Man City and they've got nowhere near our spending power.
    Even worse than that, we're THREE whole points behind Chelsea, they've got far less than us too!
    Only being ahead of Man Utd Spurs and Everton is scandalous.
    Open and shut case, let's change the manager. THere's so many great ones out there just looking for work.
    Let's see, there's .....err.....hmmm
    Top comment Ray.

  12. yeah youre so right mate - i hate him because we lost, hes the worst manager on earth - i loved him before the hull game - but i hate him now...

  13. Please don't harass Allen any more, I am tired of it, he is a very talented guy. The day Lucas Leiva goes away will be the day Liverpool will be back to glory days, mark my words! Horrible player in one of the most critical positions in the team, and yet after every game he gets loads of praise for his "donkey work". Absolutely lame, physically weak, tactically terrible, he made 5 unnecessary tackles in dangerous positions vs Everton, and, of course eventually we conceded from one of those...He is always on the wrong side of the oposition player, and when defence does it's job (they force opposition player to lose the control of the ball) he runs in and instead of dispossessing the player easily and set us on counter attack, he clears the ball, hitting the roof of anfield stadium LOL, and he gets the applause. Henderson would be miles better solution in that position, and I think he is an average player, zero capability for attack, but anything is better than the 'ALMIGHTY' brasilian...Now be free to call me a football ignorant for insulting sacred Leiva, but it hurts me to watch some people wearing red :(

  14. Sounds like Coates all over

  15. I think part of the problem this season is being knocked out of the league cup early, I seriously feel that these guys would have played in that competition, with out this we only have league football and I am sure we can guess that you can not excuse mistakes in this competition from squad members if you want to keep your job, ,hence you pick more experienced players - that said less spoke about the Hull game the better for

  16. It seems like this deal isn't the best right now, but for all we know, next year he could have been the hottest defensive prospect on the planet.
    We'll have to wait and see whether he was worth getting before anyone else could.
    Also, Rodgers has disputed the widely circulated fee, suggesting that it is either less or heavily based on incentives. Since we weren't in dire need of defenders when we got him (especially with Sakho coming in at the same time) I can't imagine we spent all that time haggling only to pay on Sporting's terms. One would think that the deal we ended up with was decent.

  17. These are the opinon pieces I hate. 'If' he was told then algoods but 'if' he wasnt then blah blah blah for another page....

  18. Was including Eriksen. So just over £40m.

  19. There you go again!! picking holes in Liverpool can't you say anything positive we won 5-0 FFS who cares about Spurs let Spurs worry about Spurs and bollocks to the comparisons

  20. Correction 5-1 (haven't had my caffeine yet), regardless your depressing meaningless comparisons to Spurs are still bollocks!!

  21. You'd think Spurs going by the author of this story's opinions!!

  22. The part of that quote that I find strange is 'maybe long after I'm gone'? The lad is 21, so I would expect he'd get a chance in the next couple of years. Is BR not planning on hanging around? Has he got one eye on the free spending Spurs job? Does he see LFC as just another rung up the ladder?

  23. Should we sack Rodgers and appoint dalglish again? Get a grip people!!!