28 Apr 2015

Liverpool lineup vs. Hull: BR to dump £62m trio? Surprise changes ahead?

In Monday's pre-Hull press conference, Brendan Rodgers confirmed that the five remaining league games are must-win encounters for Liverpool, and with Manchester United slipping-up against Everton on Sunday, the Reds retain a slim mathematical chance of gatecrashing the top-four party. In order to do that, though, nothing short of a victory against Hull is acceptable. Can Liverpool do it?

On paper, this should be a resounding victory for LFC, but as the bore-draw with West Brom showed, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted in the Premier League.

Team news:

* Sturridge is definitely out for this game, as are Lucas and Sakho.

* Lallana made his return against West Brom, and should be fit for the Hull game (though given he's another regular sicknote, nothing is guaranteed)

When it comes to team selection, I'm sure many fans feel as exasperated as I do with Rodgers' inexplicable inability to learn from his glaring and obvious mistakes. Against West Brom, he once again played Gerrard in central midfield, and utilised Balotelli as (ostensibly) a lone striker.

This 'strategy' has resulted in total and complete and utter failure for Liverpool, yet Rodgers persists with a regressive system that derailed the first half of the season, and destroyed the club's chances of mounting a genuine challenge for the Premier League.

* If Rodgers's simply can't see the Balotelli/Gerrard positional-problem, then he's asleep at the wheel, and it's tantamount to managerial negligence.

* If he sees the problem, yet persists because he doesn't know how to fix it, then it's also negligence, and it's proof that he's not fit for purpose.

* If Rodgers sticks those positions out of stubbornness and/or zeal to prove some personal point, then he's basically sabotaging Liverpool's season.

In all cases, it's (arguably) negligence, especially at the business end of the season.

Gerrard started the last game, and given his fitness issues, Rodgers may decide to rest him for Hull, which would (IMO) be a good idea. Without Gerrard, I'd like to see the following team:

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

--------- Can ------- Skrtel --------- Lovren

--- Johnson ---- Hendo --- Allen ---- Moreno (if fit)

-------------- Coutinho - Ibe

------------------- Sterling

If Rodgers plays Gerrard:

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

--------- Can ------- Skrtel --------- Lovren

--- Johnson ---- Hendo --- Allen ---- Moreno (if fit)

-------------- Coutinho - Gerrard

------------------- Sterling

Balotelli, Lallana, and Markovic (combined cost: £62m) should be on the bench, as their presence on the field makes little difference to Liverpool's ability to win games.

On a related note, Some Liverpool fans are planning to boycott the Hull game as a protest against extortionate ticket prices, and Reds legend John Aldridge totally supports that action. In his Monday column for the Liverpool Echo, he argued:

"Good on the Liverpool supporters, I say. Ticket prices have long been getting out of hand, and it is about time supporters made a stand against this. The fleecing of fans cannot be allowed to continue"

Amen to that. I've regularly highlighted how football fans are continually fleeced by their clubs, and by the Premier League, but like lemmings, they continue to pay hand over fist for shirts, tickets, and anything else.

It's one of the reasons I no longer go to games, or pay for Sky Sports. It's a matter of principle: I'm a fan of Liverpool, but the Reds are also part of the giant Premier League rip-off, and I refuse to be fleeced.

I also cannot stomach the thought of contributing to the salaries of grossly overpaid mercenaries like Raheem Sterling, and in my view, it would be hypocritical of me to criticise Sterling et al for fleecing the club whilst being part of the problem myself.

The only way things will change is if fans boycott games and merchandise *en-masse*, and this is a positive step in the right direction.



  1. Exactly. I actually don't have issue with Jaimie's general thoughts but he often uses the word 'negligence' and it really winds me up as it's just so ridiculously over the top (and inflammatory). Was all I was attempting to get across in my initial comment!

  2. Just to add Logan, although a lot disagree with you on wanting shot of Brendan asap, please don't think it is just for the sake of argument, or personal, or some kind of mass delusion.
    If your prophecy of how another season with BR in charge fulfils itself I'll be massively disappointed but I WILL(and likely many others) certainly say to you that you were right.
    Let's hope we give Hull a dam good thrashing tonight. Any prediction Jamie?

  3. UTD has been poor this season and the wheels have come off at City.

    These teams will be better next season, will be able to offer CL football etc.

    We are on 58 points this season compared to 74 last season after 33 matches. This is after spending £117m at the start of the season.

    Last season Rodgers said

    "I don't think there is pressure on ourselves, only what we have from within. Look at Tottenham ... [when] you spend over £100m you'd expect to be challenging for the league.

    Now what has he got to say about that?

    Where have we improved when UTD have been mediocre this season and the wheels have come off at City. Again we are on 58 points this season. How is that good enough when looking at what Rodgers has spent over the last 3 seasons?

    After 33 games in 2012/13 his first season the table looked like this
    P33, W13, D11, L9, F59, A40. PTS50

    This season
    P33, W17, D7, L9, F47, A36. PTS58

    How can Rodgers justify that he deserves another season? Is the improvement over 3 years good enough?

  4. The writing is on the wall. FSG will not accept excuses.

    When Rodgers is sacked at the end of the season what will you have to say then?

  5. Fair point Jasper, some of the descriptors used in some of the articles do get my goat at times and occasionally I bite, so I understand where your coming from.
    I feel it's all in the name of generating discussion though and the size of the readership and amount of posts suggests it's a winning formula, so all's fair in love and footie forums I guess.
    I'm dam sure some of the stuff I write grates at times though too, so I guess we're all equal on that front.
    I think you nailed it re Brendan though.

  6. If that were to happen then my response would depend entirely on who they replaced him with.
    Surely to provide a response now without that information would be foolish at best?

  7. Why would it be foolish to provide a response. You would have to accept the appointment of the new manager irrespective of who it is would you not?

    You clearly want Rodgers to have another season so when he is sacked at the end of the season, how will you react at that point when you hear the headline news, "Rogders sacked".

  8. Ok, firstly, yes I would like for Brendan to have another season, my tipping point would not extend beyond that season though and if we again under-achieved I would join yourself in wanting change.
    Secondly, yes I would accept and 100% support, whomever was given the job (unless they re-appointed Woy)
    Simply though we differ in our predictions of what FSG will do, I believe that they will keep Brendan.

    On the basis of debating things which didn't/haven't happened, let me ask you a question, where do you think we would of finished if we had of signed Sanchez?

  9. With Man United slipping up against Everton dropping two points against frigging West Brom just after being kicked out of the FA cup by Villa is even more of a disgrace.The next five were a must win but so were the previous two. We could have been within two points of them if we win tonight's game. With them still having to play Arsenal that would have been a good position. But alas, Rodgers super summer buys failed us again and only a fool will believe we will still qualify for the CL right now. And need I remind you, I was the guy who said we would win the title last year right after Christmas. :-) It just won't happen for us this year.

  10. I think you meant carbon copy. Is it fair to accuse him of being stubborn and at the same time berate him for changing and not having a settled style of play?

  11. In lieu of your reply, I will expand my thoughts on the Sanchez question:
    Sanchez was our number one target, Sanchez has hit the ground running in the premier league and in all competitions has made 37 appearances scoring 21 goals and making 9 assists. There is no reason to assume he wouldn't have performed equally well if not better for us.
    If that had happened - Liverpool are now in the top four, possibly (along with our defensive improvements) now challenging for the title and almost certainly have progressed further in the cups. - Everyone, including yourself are happy campers.
    Your reply likely - Rodgers cannot attract that level of player, I believe there are players out there, that would jump at the chance to come to Liverpool to make a name for themselves and made an attractive enough financial offer, I think it matters little who the manager is.
    Do we need to improve our transfer window tactics - without a doubt. In that respect I'm all for the club bringing in new faces to help Brendan get the right players.

  12. I'd try Coutinho deep with Henderson and Gerrard in front of him. If Coutinho can find space between midfield and defense for Gerrard and Henderson to burst into, that will push them back. With Can next to him and Johnson on the right side of a three man defense and Ibe as RWB.



  13. that would be a reasonable point if it didn't ignore the season in between.
    and before you trit out the Suarez thing, two points:
    Kenny had Suarez too and scored just 47 goals in his last season.
    BR was the one who got the best out of Suarez. But he also got the best out of Sturridge, Gerrard and even Skrtyl. Difficult if you're clueless. if it was just a matter of having Suarez Kenny would have done much better

  14. you're not known for being in any way optimistic are you? let's see...

  15. I really didn't understand the logic with saying the top 4 was over then. Odds are it's over now (especially after the draw on Saturday)... but why essentially give up with 7 games to go.

    It wasn't just that he changed things too late... it was that there were simple changes that anyone could see. e.g. Why would he play Balotelli up top by himself? And he still did it again this past weekend!

  16. the £120m had to do a lot more than just find a replacement for suarez and you are well aware of that fact.

  17. Hey now... let's not let facts get in the way of a good perspective!

  18. A lot of people in Australia dont have pay TV either thats mainly because we have a real dislike for Rupert Murdoch,, but with our free to air coverage here poor for a lot of sports we take it or leave it.
    I dont know anything about sky sports in Europe.

  19. Just trying to work out whether it's the manager, or the players to blame according to Lord Loges

  20. How is BR stating the obvious "We miss Suarez's goals" an excuse?

    We have scored less this year than we scored last year, and that difference can be applied very simply to the amount of goals that Suarez provided last year.

    That's not an excuse or some sort of way of forgiving a result.

    The club (including Rodgers) did not adequately replace Suarez with the 120m, whether by singular player or a group of players.

  21. Yet when fergie or mourinho said exactly the same it was lauded as brilliant mind games.....

  22. ---------------------Mignolet------------------
    I know Markovic has fallen from favour and also Moreno not too great recently but I still think they have the potential to get the job done against Hull (Appreciate Hull are fighting for their place in the League)
    To me the above is a team full of energy and pace, with all our creative players at the sharp end.
    I would give the front three a certain amount of freedom to interchange positions and probably look to bring Lallana and/or Gerrard on later in the game depending on how it was going.

  23. Great name!

  24. Scary enough, I think the ultimate cause of Kenny's downfall was the woodwork.

    Didn't we set a record for hitting the post more times than any team in premiere league history?

  25. Thanks, I may progress it to Case Closed at some point.

  26. This is how I picture RAY:

  27. That's because no one really believed what they were saying due to the talent of their rosters. Fergie and Mourinho's teams were closer to top 4 and fans knew it. I consider it more "tongue in cheek" than "mind games".

    In this case, based upon the results of losing to Utd and Arsenal in consecutive weeks, combined with the current level of talent on our roster, people were inclined to believe that Liverpool's top 4 hopes were about done. Rodgers just reinforced that thinking.

    And as I said immediately after the Arsenal game and Rodgers' comments, all Rodgers had to say was something along the lines of "If we keep playing like this, we won't make top 4. However, if we start playing better and control our own results, we'll at least give ourselves a shot to contend for a spot". Or something along those lines. But that's not what he said.

  28. I actually picture RAY as the original owner of "Ray's Original Pizza" in NYC, and he's quite unhappy about all the impostors claiming their the original Ray, and it's subsequently transcended itself to other areas of his life, namely this Liverpool discussion site.

  29. I agree. but him not being too clever at press conferences does not make him a poor manager as some are claiming

  30. Now that's someone I would trust to be me Lawyer!

  31. Great post Mike, I really must make myself an account to access the up-vote feature, same for Jaspers posts, all very good.

  32. No... it just means he says stupid things in the heat of the moment.

    Forgivable. But still stupid.

  33. So are you saying it was not possible for Rodgers to get another player to fill the void with the amount of money that was made available?

  34. I would like to see a Case Well and Truly Put to Bed at some point before Case Closed.

  35. Case Dismissed?

  36. It was certainly possible. The club (including Rodgers) failed in this regard to find the right player(s). And it's come back to haunt us this season.

    "The club (including Rodgers) did not adequately replace Suarez with the 120m, whether by singular player or a group of players."


  38. Agreed.
    Some may consider it unforgivable however

  39. Case out of ideas2:32 pm, April 28, 2015

    I think you're ahead of me on the good name selections front Bob, I go about it the same way as I approach fishing, try plenty of casts and occasionally get lucky.
    I'm greatly looking forward to your pre-season decision re Logan still and as I said the other day - "In Bob we trust" ;-)

  40. Thank you
    I think you'll be a welcome addition to our community

  41. What fact? Suarez left. Rodger did not find a player to fill the void.

    Instead he raided Southampton with £50m for players who have not made any measurable impact on our season.

    Lovren and Lambert have had 2300 EPL minutes between them this season and down the pecking order. Lovren is only playing because Sakho is injured. Lambert is a forgotten man. Lallana has played less EPL minutes than Lovren.

    Our season would have been no different if these player did not sign but maybe signing a striker able to fill in for Suarez our season might be different.

  42. I wouldn't be so sure I did try it before and was starting to get on my own nerves. Enjoy reading the forum though.

  43. But who has the final say of who joins?

  44. Just to throw my prediction out there (we are still doing that, right?):

    A hard fought 1-2 win, with a heavy dose of grumbling afterward - including statements along the lines of Rodgers Out, Rodgers is out of his depth, and Square Pegs Round Holes.

  45. For the sake of clarity:
    the "fact" to which I was referring was that the £120m involved addressing a number of weaknesses in our squad since the previous season was one which consisted entirely of domestic competitions- we were not equipped to take on a CL campaign even if we had signed a good Suarez replacement.
    We needed defenders, and attacking midfielders, even if Suarez had stayed.
    There's a good case for saying the wrong people were bought but none for insinuating that we could splash £70m or more on a direct replacement . Players in that bracket wouldn't have come to us on the strength of 1 good season CL or not

  46. BR may lose his job this summer. If he does, he will have to admit he made mistakes and FSG may
    well decide to sack him for them. If we get someone like Ancelotti- no contest. Someone like Klopp- fine, but the
    likes of Rafa and De Boer- Not sure we will be better off long term., though
    rafa would likely give us a better cup win ratio.

    However- BR is NOWHERE NEAR as bad as some are making out. Just
    look at our league position when he joined. 8th with 52 points all season.
    We never finished less than 9 points ahead of that, and have reached as high as
    32points ahead. This year we are already 6 ahead of that total with 15 more to
    play for


    63pts 58pts 52pts 61pts
    84pts 58-73pts points total has grown

    7th 6th 8th 7th 2nd 5th/6th? Position has improved

    61 59 47
    71 101 55? More
    goals scored

    26 15 7 28
    51 ? Goal
    difference increased

    By any objective measure, Rodgers has considerably improved
    our club’s results. We are not where we want to be, but disliking the man’s
    manner or tendency to self promote and exaggerate our performances should be
    way down the list of priorities. Would anybody swap the current squad for any
    in the last 6 years?

  47. When FSG is going to dump our Manager? In last 3 years, BR had only 2 success - his team played exciting, attractive football (however, it had a recurrence impact of previous 2 Managers - Woy & KK, whose style, with due respect was a bit .....) & the 2nd success was the purchase of Sturridge & Coutinho. OK, I take finishing 2nd also a success (though, a better Manager won't have slipped like that - losing home to a under strength Chelsa, when you needed a draw & blowing a 3-0 lead in last 15 minutes).

    I don't see any established player outside UK (or aspirated top class young talent like Leccazzette, Deapey, Griezzmann, Kongdogbia....) joining us to play under a nobody Brit.

  48. But would Suso have done any worse than Lallana? Kelly done worse than Lovren? Ibe was sent on loan and brought back in January, would he have done worse than Markovic?

    We have spent money on players this season which have had little or no impact on our season. The only player we can really write home about is Can.

    But I guess you will disagree!

  49. I think ultimately yes, both lallana and Lovren will prove to be better than the players you mention.
    Perhaps though, they are only individual parts of the machine and this summer will see us/Brendan get the last couple of 'parts' we need, different ways of looking at things I guess.

  50. In my view Ibe needed to go on loan to develop to the player he is now ie capable of playing 1st team football. to have put him in without that would have been premature and we are now reaping the rewards though he still has a long way to go
    Kelly had been a perpetual sicknote and has not pulled up any trees at Palace. I would prefer Lovren who has now started to settle.
    likewise Suso has played one good game then disappeared back into obscurity. Markovic will walk all over him.
    regardless, if we had an extra £40m plus balo's fee to spend on a striker, who do you think we should have bought at that time who would come?

  51. Sanchez would of been a great signing and our chances would have been that much better to finish top 4 or put in another title challenge. He did not come but it does not mean we had to sign Balotelli.

    We are in this situation because of whom? Who should take the blame?

  52. Is EVERYTHING BR's fault in your view?

  53. I hope you don't mind and many apologies in advance if you think I'm taking a huge liberty, but I'm just going to edit your post slightly:
    People, have a real dislike for Rupert Murdoch.