5 Feb 2016

Liverpool XI vs. Sunderland: 8 big changes? Drop £44m duo? Surprise starts for Teixeira/Brannagan?

After 16 Premier League games in charge, Jurgen Klopp's league record leaves a lot to be desired. The Reds lost again on Tuesday, which is the 10th league game LFC have failed to win under Klopp. Clearly, the Reds need to get back to winning ways against Sunderland, and given the fact that Sam Allardyce's team are in the relegation zone - and Liverpool are at home - anything but a win is surely unacceptable...right?

Klopp's Prem record so far:

* P16 W6 D4 L6 F22 A24. Win Ratio = 37%

* Failed to win: 10 games (63%). Failed to score: 6 games.

* Points-per-game: 1.38 (BR this season: 1.50)

* When Rodgers left, Liverpool were 3 points off fourth place. After 16 games under Klopp, the team is now 11 points away.

Whatever the reasons/excuses, this is simply not good enough for a manager many proclaim to be one of the best in the world.

Many will agree that Klopp is, overall, a better, more successful/experienced manager than Rodgers, so given the increase in managerial quality, he should be able to get more out of the current squad of players.

Spin it all you like, but Klopp needs to do better, starting today against Sunderland, and for me, that means he has to stop making the mistake that led to Rodgers' downfall: Blind faith in underperforming players (Lallana, Mignolet, Can, Sakho etc). The merit system needs to be employed, and with that in mind, I'd select the following team for tomorrow's game:

------------------ Ward
Flanagan -- Caulker -- Lovren --- Smith
------ Milner --- Allen -- Brannagan
----------- Ibe/Ojo - Teixeira
---------------- Firmino

* Who cares if the team is filled with young players - there's little chance of making fourth place anyway, so what's the difference?

* Sakho needs to be benched. In the last 10 games he's played, Liverpool have conceded 18 goals, and lost SIX times. Conversely, the Reds have conceded 10 goals in Lovren's last 10 games, and lost only 3 games.

* Lallana and Can do not deserve to be anywhere near the first-team right now. Can should be benched until he curbs his ego and learns some discipline on the field, and Lallana abjectly fails to contribute game-in, game-out (two league goals in 13 months. 'Nuff said).

* Clyne and Moreno have abominable end product in the final third, and defensively, neither is excelling at the moment. Liverpool have other options, so why not use them?

* As confirmed by Klopp, Henderson is playing with heel pain, which is clearly affecting his ability to influence games. He's probably making his injury worse too, and it's irresponsible (IMO) to play him more than once a week.


You have until Saturday 3pm (GMT) to participate.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer.

* 20 Points: Liverpool player with the highest percentage of forward passes. (Mignolet excluded). A player can have the highest number of FPs, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has the highest percentage. Example:

- Milner makes 80 passes overall, and 40 are forward = 50% of total passes FPs.

- Lovren makes 120 passes overall and 50 are forward = 41% of total passes are FPs.

* 30 Points: Liverpool player with the most touches of the ball. Extra 50 bonus points on offer for anyone who can predict the exact number of touches)

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + goalscorer + forward passes (Possible points total: 120)

* The 'Glengarry Glen Ross' Mega-Bonus: 100 points for Perfect score + forward passes + touches (Possible points total: 200)

Author: Jaimie K


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