Archive for December, 2012
Jose Enrique returns to the starting XI while Allen & Sterling get the much needed rest and will start on the bench.
Starting XI : Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Shelvey; Suso, Downing, Suárez.
Subs : Jones, Carragher, Wisdom, Henderson, Sahin, Sterling, Allen.
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Steven Gerrard has been Liverpool captain for many years and will no doubt continue to be an excellent skipper until he finally hangs up his boots and takes his place on the Kop. This piece isn’t with the intention of removing him immediately or even in the next couple of years but to look at other potential leaders within the current squad. I’ve drawn up a list of 5 and would be interested to see what you guys and girls think too.
Dainel Agger, first and foremost an excellent defender, for me he’s up there with the likes of Kompany and Vidic when it comes to the Premier Leagues elite performers at centre back. He is currently enjoying his 7th season in the red of Liverpool and provided he can stay fit is a constant for Liverpool, an integral part of our strongest starting 11. Currently he takes the Danish captains armband following in the footsteps of Danish greats; Peter Schmeichel and Michael Laudrup. He put in some excellent performances during the recent European Championships, most notably a Man Of The Match performance against the Dutch. At 28, he’s coming into the prime of his playing career and has shown great loyalty to Liverpool when other offers have most certainly been tempting. His ability to read the game and lead from the back remind me of a former Scandinavian skipper that patrolled the back line in the most professional of manners at Anfield. He’s a great role model for youth players because of the standards he sets, and lets face it, ruddy cool and I almost forgot to mention that he has a great taste in tattoos!
Currently Pepe has been taking stick from certain sections of the LFC family. He’s had to watch all of his Spanish amigos move on since the Rafa revolution, his loyalty much like Aggers has been tested with bids from rival clubs from England and a far. Taking all of that into account he’s still here, he enjoys playing for Liverpool and he’ll know better than anyone that he can do even better. Under Brendan Rodgers, Reina has been able to show off his ability on the deck, he’s not just a goalkeeper that posses great reflexes but his distribution and calmness in possession is taken for granted by many fans I feel. I can’t name many other goalkeepers in the league, in fact the world that look as comfortable has him when receiving a back-pass. Pepe is currently 3rd vice in the skipper stakes, Rodgers said of him not long after he joined the club, “He is a great man and has been a wonderful player for me in this short period of time, on and off the field”. The boss likes him, which although it seems obvious, is vital for a goalkeeper. Rumours have you believe that Reina may be leaving Merseyside, for me, I just can’t see it. For now at least, he’s our No.1.
Who’d have thought 4 years ago this man would be in contention to become the next captain of Liverpool Football Club. Sadly for Lucas recent injuries have put is career on hold, not only with Liverpool but also with his national side Brazil, a side that in 2011 he was putting his mark onto with some great performances. He controls our midfield superbly on his day and has an underrated passing range that he know doubt picked up in part from Xabi Alonso. Although different to Xabi in many way his ability to protect the defence and stop attacks before they start in an effort to set up our own shouldn’t be scoffed at. A thinker, someone that sees danger before others, he’s a reliable rock that players around him look to when their backs are up against it. His credentials? A former captain of the Brazilian U20 squad which won the South American Youth Championship and Brazil have a tradition of winning that let me tell you. He shows leadership on and off the field and from what I read is extremely well liked around the club. To use a Rodgersism, he has the quality to lead, Steven Gerrard has made the point that the best way to be a captain is to lead by example, I think Lucas has taken this on board, he has got his head down and worked his way to where he is now single handedly. He’s a credit to the club.
A controversial character but don’t for a second let that disguise the fact that at 22 he was named club captain of Ajax, and is been touted by Uruguayan journalists as the natural successor of Diego Lugano has the national team captain. He clearly has shown the characteristics to be a leader, for Suarez it may be that it’s his desire and determination along with a never quit attitude which is the example he commands from his team mates. His on field antics haven’t exactly made him the most popular player with your generic football fan, but no matter how they feel personally about the player the one thing you hear from even the most anti Liverpool/Suarez fan is that his quality isn’t matched by many in the world game. Some managers are firmly of the belief that your captain should be your best player, while that may be an outdated way of thinking, he’s the one others look up to. Suarez is certainly Liverpool’s talisman at the moment and in the current state I don’t see many coming in that will better his performance levels.
Wait, stop, think before you scroll down to the comments section or twitter to tell me how stupid I’m being. When appointing a captain you look for four key traits; leadership, motivation, work ethic, application. Consider Jordan Henderson the wildcard of the piece, England U21′s captain, and a good one at that. However bad you think he might be, he was twice voted Sunderland’s Young Player of the Year, as well as been voted OUR Young Player of the Year last term. I understand some fans won’t ever be convinced by him, ‘a waste of money’, ‘offers nothing’ etc etc. That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. Motivation for me doesn’t only cover geeing up the people around you but self motivation is equally as important. In his early twenties Henderson has taken stick from all four sides of the ground he calls home, he’s never moaned, he’s not publicly disagreed with the management, he’s said he’ll work hard to prove people wrong. THAT is the attitude I want from not just a captain but ANY player that dons the Liverbird upon their chest. Lets not put Henderson at the front of the queue but in 3/4 years time, he’s certainly our ‘wildcard’ option.
So there are some of the contenders, who do you think should follow Captain Fantastic?
My choice: Providing he’s still at the club and our ambitions continue to match his, Luis Suarez.
As always, if you’d like to dicuss it more with me, follow me on twitter @DoctorBenjy
Kick off 17:30
- Liverpool were left stunned by Aston Villa in their last game, coming away on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. A consolation goal from captain Steven Gerrard was little more than that as Liverpool were left outclassed by Villa.
- Gerrard has once again been proving this season that he is the complete midfielder, having delivered 63 crosses (highest among all midfielders), completed 513 passes in the opposition half (5th among midfielders), winning 69.7% of tackles and getting 61.5% of shots on target.
- Saying that, Liverpool did not give Villa an easy ride, and Bradley Guzan put in the busiest goalkeeping performance of the season, being forced in to 16 saves by Liverpool during the game.
- Joe Allen moved up to top spot in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this week after 6.86 miles against Villa took his total for the season to 108.19. Goalscorer Steven Gerrard also moved up to fourth with his tally now at 105.55 miles.
- Jonjo Shelvey had another two efforts at goal without scoring against Villa, taking him clear at the top of the rankings for most shots without a goal. Shelvey has now had 22 shots without a goal, with 63.6% on target, and 888sport.com has him as their second favourite for first goalscorer at 7/2.
- Stewart Downing is looking likely to leave Liverpool in January after being given permission to do so by Brendan Rodgers. Downing is without a goal or assist in 504 minutes this season, but he is not the only Liverpool player needing a change in fortune. Joe Allen has played more minutes than any other midfielder without a goal or assist with 1606 minutes, and Jesus Fernandez Saez has the same title among the strikers with 441 minutes played without a goal or assist.
- Fulham lost out to West London neighbours QPR in their last game, with a late goal by Mladen Petric not enough to earn them a point.
- Petric’s goal moves him closer to the leagues most lethal goalscorers. His 6th goal of the season means Petric averages a goal every 121 minutes this season, just behind Javier Hernandez who has scored one every 87.8 minutes and Edin Dzeko who has scored one every 106.5 minutes. Petric is an industry best price of 10/3 with 888sport.com to score any time against Liverpool.
- Liverpool will need to be at their best to get past the tacking skills of Fulham. Sascha Reither has the cleanest tackling rate in the league, making 42 tackles and giving away just 6 fouls, a rate of one foul every 7 tackles attempted. Reither also wins 78.5% of the tackles he attempts, meaning Stevie Gerrard may struggle to win the dangerous free kick opportunities he thrives on.
- Steve Sidwell will also give Liverpool limited time on the ball, having won more tackles than any other player this season with 51 tackles won, from 90 attempted.
Ian Rush was the guest of honour as the Supporters Club on the island of Gozo unveiled a statue of the late Bill Shankly. This ceremony was part of the club’s 15th anniversary celebrations. If you visit Malta, you really have to check out the Supporters Club in Gozo. Their museum is probably the largest outside Anfield with lots of Liverpool F.C. memorabilia, they even have a replica of the Shankly Gates right outside. So what is next for their club? Knowing their president Charlie Farrugia he will probably not think twice of a full blown Anfield Stadium replica :-)
More information on the club can be found on their Facebook Page
UEFA Europa League
Liverpool will face another Russian trip as they will face Zenit St. Petersburg in the round of 32 of the Europa League.
Should the Reds overcome the Russians they will face the winner of Basel – Dnipro from Ukraine.
By Arun Nair – (@Nair_39)
Liverpool are close to finalising deals to sign Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge and Blackpool’s Tom Ince in January, according to numerous media outlets and sources close to the club. The duo are expected to complete their moves within the first two weeks of the transfer window, while Brendan Rodgers will hope they provide added firepower to his side’s profligate attack.
Sturridge, 23, is expected to cost the club around £12million, after Liverpool reportedly failed to land the Chelsea forward on loan in the summer, with a weekly wage of £60,000. The English striker has tried in vain to break into the Chelsea first team, never trully cementing a key role in the starting eleven despite allegedly having an inflated value of his own importance to the side, and often operating from the right wing to accomodate the likes of former Blues Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, or allow Chelsea’s continued persistence with struggling former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
His goals tally at Chelsea is decent, if unspectacular, notching 15 goals since the start of 2011-12 over 52 appearances. The forward has all the attributes to succeed, with pace, finishing prowess and excellent technical ability – something that will have piqued Rodgers’ interest, but inconsistency has plagued Sturridge throughout his career. Fortunately, he has youth on his side, as well as undoubtedly possessing supreme confidence in his own abilities, bordering dangerously towards arrogance. Rodgers will hope to be able to get the best out of Sturridge’s mercurial talent.
Ince, the 20 year old son of former England star Paul Ince, has excelled in the Championship, rising in prominence this year after scoring 13 goals in 21 appearances for Blackpool this season. If the move goes ahead, Ince will find himself in familiar surroundings at Anfield; He came through the Academy before leaving Liverpool just 16 months ago for a nominal compensation fee after rejecting the offer of a new contract with the Reds in order to further his fledgling career, having made just one substitute appearance in the League Cup during his spell at Liverpool.
The risky, and brave, career move seems to have paid off, with his performances for the Seasiders attracting the interest of his former employers. The move will ensure eyebrows are raised as Liverpool are set to pay around £4-6million for a player that was on their books little over a year ago, but it is unlikely that Ince would have progressed as far if he had stayed at the club. Rodgers will seemingly continue to place faith in youth as already this season, with Raheem Sterling becoming a regular starter while Andre Wisdom and Suso have also featured.
What do you think of these signings? Both represent risks, as Sturridge has falttered to decieve at times with Ince lacks experience at Premiership level. However, Rodgers believes that the duo can bring much-needed goals and support to the Reds attack as Liverpool look to launch an assault on the top four. Do you think these signings will be successful? Please leave your comments below.
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