Friday Sep 5Posted by: Aymon Bertah  Comments Off

Why Sterling is one of Liverpool’s key players

At only 19 years of age Raheem Sterling has proven why he is one of the best teenagers of the modern day. He has appeared in the World Cup and becoming one of England’s star players often outplaying English compatriot Wayne Rooney.

Raheem Sterling’s performances for both England and Liverpool are receiving several plaudits due to his ability to open up defences with his shear pace. Already notching up 2 goals in 3 matches for Liverpool he has become a focal part of the Liverpool squad and at times being the best player on the pitch. Sterling started the season off well scoring the first of two Liverpool goals in a 2-1 win over Southampton, he was able to run onto a left-footed Henderson ball and slot it past Fraser Forster into the bottom right corner. Throughout the match he was menacing and was at several instances getting into scoring opportunities. For his performance he received Man of the Match, he and Sturridge were praised by Rodgers saying “Those boys did that last year so I don’t think they’re stepping up, I think they’re continuing at the level they were at last season,”. 

After the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona Liverpool were in need of striking power. After a solid 9 goals last season from Sterling, he looks to better that and hopefully score over 10-15 goals. His performance against Manchester City was overshadowed due to the poor performances from Liverpool as a team which made it extremely hard for the team to work together. Sterling at some stages played quite well but not enough to create any chances to break through the defence of City. Out of the Liverpool teams performance he was one of the players to show any glimpse of good football.

After the 3-1 loss, Liverpool fought back from this tough circumstance with a 3-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Raheem Sterling again was on the score sheet in the eighth minute slotting home another Jordan Henderson pass. He has been noted to be at the right place at the right time. With the arrival of Mario Balotelli it allows Sterling to play in the number 10 role sitting behind Sturridge and Balotelli which means that Sterling doesn’t get lost sitting on the wing. Though Sterling played outstanding throughout the match there were often times where he could have played an easier ball or chose a different option, nonetheless Sterling is still growing and improving and noted to be the fastest developing English player. He was awarded the Man of the Match for the second time this season which is a confidence booster for the young player.

One main thing that Sterling should work on is shooting with the left foot, it was evident in the Tottenham game where he was dribbling through the box and came one on one with Hugo Lloris. He didn’t know what to do, where he should of shot with his left foot. It ended up being an easy save for Lloris with a soft effort from Sterling.

With continued progression throughout the season with added experience being in the Champions League i’m sure Raheem Sterling will become a focal part of the Liverpool setup and hopefully continues to stay on with the club.

Please follow me on Twitter @AymonBertah

 

Thursday Sep 4Posted by: Aymon Bertah  Comments Off

Liverpool confirm 2014/15 Squad

Liverpool has officially confirmed their squad to be competing in the English Premier League. Here is the squad explained.

 

Due to the closing of the Transfer Window, every team is required to submit a 25-man squad. Though this is the case there are several rulings, which alleviate this rule, which can be quite helpful. However a maximum of 17 players can be named in this squad who are not ‘Home-Grown’ (be registered with a club within the FA or the Welsh FA for around 3 years before they are 21 years of age).

 

Due to Liverpool’s youthful squad it is extremely helpful because a player under the age of 21 does not need to be registered by the club and can be called up to the first team if required.

 

The squad, which was released by Brendan Rodgers, is listed below:

 

Note that a home-grown player has (HG) and an Under 21 player has (U-21).

 

Goalkeepers:

 

Simon Mignolet

Brad Jones (HG)

 

Defenders:

 

Martin Skrtel

Dejan Lovren

Alberto Moreno

Javier Manquillo (U-21)

Mamadou Sakho

Jon Flanagan (U-21)

Jose Enrique

Kolo Toure

Glen Johnson (HG)

 

Midfielders:

 

Steven Gerrard (HG)

Jordan Henderson (HG)

Raheem Sterling (U-21)

Emre Can (U-21)

Philippe Coutinho

Lazar Markovic (U-21)

Joe Allen (HG)

Adam Lallana (HG)

Lucas Leiva

Suso (U-21)

 

Strikers:

 

Daniel Sturridge (HG)

Mario Balotelli

Fabio Borini (HG)

Rickie Lambert (HG)

 

The next time that this team can be altered is the 1st of January 2015, which is the start of the next transfer window. With this said any free transfers who are signed are able to be registered outside of these dates as they do not belong to a club. Victor Valdes who has been heavily linked to Liverpool comes under this field of players after being released by Barcelona and is able to be added if signed by the club.

 

If you think that Rodgers should have included or excluded a player please comment or tweet me.

 

Please follow me on Twitter: @AymonBertah

Wednesday Sep 3Posted by: Aymon Bertah  Comments Off

Assessing Liverpool’s Transfer Signings

By @AymonBertah

With Transfer Deadline Day finished we now assess the Liverpool signings for the coming Premier League Season.

Brendan Rodgers has welcomed nine new signings in the 2014 Summer  transfer window with a total of 116 Pounds being spent. With the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona for 75 million pounds, Liverpool were faced with a tough situation to regain such a dominant player. Suarez helped the club to second place in the Premier League notching up a staggering 31 goals in 33 games.

Rickie Lambert was the first signing for Liverpool, signed from Southampton for 4 million pounds just before England traveled to Brazil to compete in the World Cup. This signing was always seen as a backup to strengthen Liverpool’s scoring options and add depth to a depleted squad which was at some stages struggling to place first team players in the starting XI. Lambert managed to score 13 goals over the period of last season and for a fee of 4 million pounds is quite a bargain considering his scoring abilities. Though he is 32 years of age Lambert was a Liverpool academy player and will try to prove his quality for his boyhood club.

The next Liverpool signing Adam Lallana was another Southampton player for a debated fee of 25 million pounds. Many pundits and supporters have stated that even though he was a brilliant player the transfer fee was overpriced. So considering the fee he would have to prove himself on the field to win over the negative supporters who were against the signing. With nine goals and six assists for Southampton last season he would need to replicate this form to have a positive Liverpool career.
Emre Can the third signing of the Summer who was purchased from Bayer Leverkusen for 9.75 million pounds was to strengthen the midfield and hopefully in the future to replace Steven Gerrard in the deep lying play-making role. Bayern Munich who had a buy-back clause for the player were interested in re-signing the player and were linked with blocking the transfer. Rodgers felt that his strength and skill needed to be applied to the squad due to the fact that it was lacking throughout the previous season. Though he isn’t an out and out left back he is able to play in the position if needed which adds versatility to the position which was extremely vulnerable.

Benfica’s promising winger Lazar Markovic was eyed by Rodgers due to the performances he made throughout Europe and domestically which helped Benfica win the Portuguese league and also reach the Europa League final which he was suspended for. With the departure of Suarez the attacking positions needed to be reinforced and the acquisition of Markovic who is only 20 years of age is not only for the present but for the future years as well. His speed and skill which often opened up the defence struck Rodgers and pushed him into paying 20 million pounds for the young prodigy.
After long periods of speculation Dejan Lovren became the third Liverpool signing from Southampton for a fee around 20 million pounds. He was seen as a perfect player to improve the defensive issues that Liverpool faced last season which led to 53 goals being conceded. There were some problems with the transfer though due to the fact that Sakho and Daniel Agger who recently left for Brondby, were left footed which is unstable to have as centre backs. At the start of the season Sakho was pushed to the bench which left Martin Skrtel and Lovren partnering up and there were several positives out of the performances.

Divock Origi who had a spectacular stint at the 2014 World Cup was the next signing for the Premier League runners up. Being 19 years of age he was seen as a player who could impact straight away for the Merseyside club, but as part of the negotiations he had to be sent back to LOSC Lille for one season. 10 million pounds was spent in bringing the young prospect to the club but due to Tottenham and Arsenal showing interest Liverpool had to send him back to his club so that they were able to acquire such a promising player. Rodgers will continuously keep in touch with the player to see how his development goes and I’m sure Rodgers will watch him play against Everton in the Europa League if possible.

Javier Manquillo was then signed from Atletico Madrid on a two-year loan deal with a buyout clause of around 6-8.5 million pounds. Due to a string of poor performances by Glen Johnson and an injury to Jon Flanagan, Liverpool were in need of a new right back to fill the void.  Though he had only made six appearances for Atletico his performances against Southampton and Tottenham have proven why he is able to start for Liverpool. Through the experience that Liverpool will give to the player over the two year spell, it seems as if he will fit nicely into the setup and become a strong force at the back due to his pace which suits Liverpool’s style.

Alberto Moreno another Spanish player who was also linked to joining Real Madrid signed for a fee of 12 million pounds including add ons which could increase to 20 million. Slotting into the left back position looks to be a very good signing by Rodgers as Liverpool’s most vulnerable position last season was the left back spot which was due to injury’s and poor performances. Jon Flanagan a usual right back had to fill this void and actually played very good football including a spectacular goal against Arsenal in a 5-1 thrashing. His first match against Manchester City showed some positives even though he contributed to the first City goal, and showed that he had to get used to the fast paced English football. His development was shown though when he scored a brilliant goal against Tottenham which started at halfway and also proving his defensive abilities.

The very last signing by Brendan Rodgers was an extremely surprising acquisition. Mario Balotelli from AC Milan for 16 million pounds, has gotten into all sorts of trouble over time which several people though Liverpool would not take due to the problems Luis Suarez caused. Wearing his famous number 45 jersey his performance against Tottenham had several positives even though it looked as if he did not bring his shooting boots. Rodgers stated that he was always in the right places before being substituted in the 61st minute. It looked as if in the third minute he got off to a strong start when he headed the ball to the bottom right corner but to be denied by Hugo Lloris. Several pundits have stated that it is a gamble for Liverpool to take but Rodgers is willing to put in effort to form a great player. Though Balotelli is not a like for like swap with Suarez his ability mixed with Sturridge and Sterling will help Liverpool recuperate the loss of Suarez’s striking power.

With the nine signings by Brendan Rodgers it has been a very successful transfer window. Strengthening the team due to the loss of Luis Suarez for 75 million pounds, he has also looked to youth to do this with the majority of the signings being under 25 years of age which has meant that Liverpool are looking into the future while having a stable squad in the present. Looking at the signings the Liverpool squad seems much stronger than the side which finished second and looks like a side which could push for the top 4 and also progress throughout the Champions League.

Wednesday Sep 3Posted by: Ben Green  Comments Off

LFC EPL Game 3: Five lessons learned

Liverpool returned swiftly to winning ways on Sunday with a comprehensive 0-3 win away to Tottenham Hotspur following their defeat to Champions Manchester City last Monday.

With another three points in the bag and the Premiership 2014/15 season still in it’s infancy, what did we learn about the boys in Red from L4? Check out below for the LFC File summary.

1) Liverpool are not going to repeat the failings of their Spurs – After bringing in nine new faces over the summer, Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that he does have an eye for a player. The back line is still not quite firing in all cylinders but considering three of the four defenders on duty on Sunday, one has to be optimistic. Dejan Lovren, Javi Manquillo and Alberto Moreno all had good games for the Reds and the mistakes that led to the heavy defeat to Man City have been noted and addressed. The clean sheet was a real plus in the circumstances.

2) Moreno can finish – There is no way any sane human could fail to mention Liverpool’s third goal on Sunday. His constant pressing to win the ball followed by his assault on the Tottenham goal. Allied with the confidence to go for it when he had a sniff of goal showed us first hand why Brendan Rodgers had the faith to splash out the reported £12m fee for the 22 year-old. What a gem Moreno is? After his howler that led to one of the Manchester City goals last week, the 22 year-old Spaniard was clearly determined to put that behind him and put in improved performance over what was already a good debut barring the mistake.

3) Mario Balotelli can’t finish – For now at least. The last addition to Rodgers’ revamped squad showed glimpses of what we’ve come to expect, although his finishing was dreadful to say the least, especially shooting wide with the goal to his mercy. The manager was seen laughing it off, but I’m not so sure he’d have seen the funny side had the score been reversed at the time. What was pleasing to see was that Balotelli could be found defending corners and tracking back in keeping with the side’s high tempo pressing approach. Personally, I get the impression that despite the assertion that the Italian is in the Last Chance Saloon with Liverpool, he really does want to do well at Liverpool and this is a plus for him, the club and us fans.

4) Steven Gerrard can’t boss a game anymore – I was surprised how poorly the Liverpool Captain played against Spurs. Move after move broke down when he was called on to participate, and many of his once trademark trans-field passes found opposition players instead of his own. It saddens me to say that the 34 year-old from Whiston is far closer to the end of his days than the beginning. Dare I say it, but Gerrard is now a squad player at best and that’s being generous. Given his current position, he makes for a weak link in front of the back four where the team can least afford any errors and this has to be a worry for Rodgers. However, to his credit he did put the penalty away and for this he deserves credit.

5) Raheem Sterling has come of age – Even with his 19 tender years, the England international is now beginning to show his immense promise both tactically and technically. His first goal, then followed by one of the greatest goals that never was demonstrate the boy – barring some work on his left footed finishing – has arrived and he has already become a vital piece of Rodgers’ puzzle. The maturity shown by him, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen is most welcome by the team and supporters alike and this is shaking up to be a formidable side.

Those were the standout players for me on Sunday. Positively and negatively. Liverpool will host Aston Villa this weekend and with The Villans unbeaten thus far this campaign, Rodgers’ charges will be required to put in another good shift in order to (potentially) cement a place in the top three or four. The Anfield squad is looking more complete now and with Adam Lallana also back in contention for a place, things are looking up. With the exception of Philippe Coutinho all of the players have stepped up to the mark and are standing up to be counted. Currently the team is in good shape and going forward. The future is looking bright, the future is Liverpool FC.

Follow me on Twitter: @Mrbengreen

 

And who wouldn’t bet on Liverpool? Check out www.bonuscorner.com which gives a nice compilation of all bonuses offered by betting sites.

 

Tuesday Sep 2Posted by: James Nelson  Comments Off

We’re In Good Shape Now

It may just be me and my quirky ways, but when the summer transfer window shuts I can’t help but look through the Liverpool team full of new names and faces, and missing a few old ones, and imagine what I would have thought if you’d shown me that squad at the start of the window. The absence of Luis Suarez would jump out straight away, but in his place Mario Balotelli would have me rubbing my eyes with disbelief. I’d also be wondering if Southampton put some sort of special ‘everything must go’ offer on their key players, while noticing Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic and thinking that we’d recruited some of Europe’s top young talent as well.

The transfer window ‘slammed’ shut yesterday, though for Liverpool it was more a case of being closed quietly without so much of a shrug of the shoulders from our side. We got our business done early and left ourselves with minimal stress for transfer deadline day; putting ourselves in the ideal situation of being ready to act if a good opportunity reared its head, but otherwise being very content with the state of our squad.

A couple of players were given the opportunity to leave on loan to get more football elsewhere, with Sebastian Coates going to Sunderland, and Oussama Assaidi heading back to Stoke. Earlier in the summer it seemed the latter would be leaving on a permanent deal, but he couldn’t agree personal terms. Though with Stoke now paying 100% of his wages to get him there, and him seemingly happy to remain on this wage, it seems odd that the original move broke down. We missed out on a reported £7m transfer fee, and Assaidi once again will have a season of uncertainty as to where he will be in the long term.

Perhaps the biggest talking point for us was whether or not Fabio Borini would still be a Liverpool player this season. An offer came in from QPR for the Italian, but he too couldn’t agree a wage and the deal fell through. Having already rejected a move to Sunderland, it was clear that Borini wasn’t in any hurry to leave Liverpool, but the lure of London life could potentially have been a factor. But the 90k a week wage he was asking for was never going to happen, and he seems to have priced himself out of the move.

It’s a strange situation, as you could either look at it as incredible dedication and belief from Borini that he will force himself into the Liverpool team, or on the other hand he is deluding himself and is happy to pick up his weekly wage here knowing he will play very little football. There were whispers that he may be holding off leaving just now in the hope he gets a move back to Italy soon, which may not be far off the truth.

From our point of view, it’s a shame to miss out on the high transfer fee that either Sunderland or QPR had offered for him, as we are now unlikely to receive such an offer in the future, with teams knowing he’s dispensable here, and him being unlikely to feature much this season to retain that value. But what we are left with is a player to bulk up the squad a bit, who will be ready and waiting in the case of any injuries, and now with a point to prove. Or if we do fine on the injury front, he has no right to complain about lack of first team football.

For some players, a manager will go out of his way to fit them onto the bench and give them a few minutes here and there, to keep them a happy member of the squad. Much the same way someone like Rickie Lambert knows he isn’t part of our first eleven, but he’s always in and around the squad and has got a couple of cameos off the bench. But by rejecting two moves away from the club, Borini can’t have any grievances if he is furthest down the pecking order, and only featuring when we are absolutely down to our bare bones as a team. In that sense, he’s not a bad player to have around just in case of any injury/suspension emergencies.

Earlier in the window we’d seen the likes of Pepe Reina, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly, and Daniel Agger leave, but none of those players would have been significant parts of our squad this season, so it was best all-around that they moved on and we trimmed the wage bill. Aspas will likely leave permanently next summer, but the other trio all leave on good terms as far as I’m concerned, and I wish them all the best.

Therefore the only departure that changed things for us this season was Luis Suarez. While no one can claim that Mario Balotelli will come in and do more for us than the Uruguayan would, he is probably the best possible striker we could have realistically got in this summer, and it brought a smile to my face to see Arsenal spend the same amount of money on Danny Welbeck as we did on Balotelli, only reinforcing what a fantastic deal we got for the Italian. The rest of the £75m we received from Barcelona has been used to assemble a significantly stronger squad than that of last season, meaning that, as tricky a summer it seemed we were facing, there’s absolutely no Luis Suarez-shaped hole in our squad. And we can take that as a very successful transfer window indeed.

By James Nelson (@_James_Nelson_)

Monday Sep 1Posted by: Antoine Zammit  Comments Off

VIDEO : Raheem Sterling vs Spurs (By @MostarLFC)