Pre-season tours have become typical for Premier League teams in recent times, and Liverpool’s tour to America this year pits them against some of Europe’s best. Liverpool are competing in a mini tournament, hosted by Guiness, which includes Olympiacos, AC Milan and Manchester City.
This particular tour excites me, as for once Liverpool will be facing top European teams, instead of weak teams that have become custom during pre-season. As we all know, Liverpool will be competing in the Champions League this season, so this tournament will give the side valuable experience of playing away from England against other European sides.
Being in the wilderness for several years, a match against Olympiacos will bring back sweet memories of Steven Gerrard’s last gasp winner. But, it is the ties against Manchester City and AC Milan, which will truly test the young Liverpool side. As mentioned in the title, Liverpool will have to beat these teams not only for confidence, but to show that Liverpool mean business when they return to Champions League football. While playing AC Milan, who have declined of late, will also be a marker of how far Liverpool have come recently. Beating these teams, including the fixture against Roma, will be very important if Liverpool want to hit the ground running in the Premier League and in Europe. Of course, pre-season is predominantly about fitness, but Rodgers will surely want to get one over on City and Roma, who they could potentially face this year.
This tour will catch the imagination of Liverpool fans, who will be itching to see how the new recruits gel with the squad, and what is better than seeing them do this in a highly competitive tour to America? These games should be watched closely to see what level the team is at currently – especially with the outgoing of Luis Suarez.
The new FIFA rankings came out today and good old Roy Hodgson managed to steer England down to 20th. Of course this is due to the Three Lions’ disastrous World Cup campaign in which England was only able to collect one point and didn’t make it out of the group stage.
We know Roy Hodgson well, under him we were looking at the abyss of Championship football had F.S.G. not sent him packing. However, it baffles me that the F.A. and London based news media still think that he is some kind of football god. How could he still keep his job after such mediocrity it baffles me. The good news for Liverpool is that all our players returned home early and are now ready for the pre-season friendlies.
Now Brendan Rodgers needs to work on the lads and make sure that whatever Roy thought them they forget. Maybe something like the neuralyzer from “Men In Black”.
Steven Gerrard tells STR how he learned to play football & improve his game. In this inspiring interview Stevie G also gives tips to make you a better football player.
Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert and Lazar Markovic would represent a strong forward line for any premier league side but if anyone thinks that Liverpool have already replaced Luis Suarez they would be completely wrong.
The Reds are as high as 11.50 with Matchbook to win the Premier League in 2014-15 but somehow, they have to cover for an outgoing striker who at one stage last season was averaging more than a goal a game. Here are five potential candidates for Brendan Rodgers to consider.
- Wilfried Bony
Ivorian Bony was linked with a number of top six clubs last year but while others were hesitant, Swansea took the gamble and a record of 17 goals in 34 games suggests that the punt paid off.
With better service, Bony should be able to improve on that ratio and could thrive by playing alongside Sturridge next season.
- Alexandre Lacazette
There are rumours suggesting that Rodgers may have given up his pursuit of Bony and switched his attention to 23 year old Lyon centre forward Lacazette. The Frenchman has two full international caps to his name and while some may have dubbed him the ‘New Zlatan’, the stats don’t quite add up at the moment.
Admittedly, Lacazette is occasionally deployed on the wing and maybe that versatility will appeal to the manager but a return of 24 goals in 106 league games for Lyon indicates that he’s not quite ready to make the step up.
- Karim Benzema
At one stage, French international Benzema was in the running for the 2014 Golden Boot in Brazil but his record dipped as his side struggled towards the end of their campaign. It’s thought that the forward will be made available by Real Madrid this summer but the fee involved could be in the region of £30m
That may still represent less of a gamble than an approach for Bony but his goals to game ratio at the Bernabeu is a shade below one in two.
- Miroslav Klose
German international and World Cup winner Klose was linked with most of the top half of the English Premier League before he joined Lazio in 2011. Since then, the striker has found the net 35 times in 80 league games in Serie A and it’s claimed that at this stage of his career, he may be looking for one final challenge.
At 36, any fix in the Liverpool front line would be a temporary one but we will be linked with worse strikers than Miroslav Klose in the coming weeks.
- Radamel Falcao
Despite spending just one season in Monaco, it’s thought that Colombian international Falcao could be available this summer. Perhaps he is finding Ligue I just a little too easy – an accusation levelled at the competition by his compatriot James Rodriguez.
A fee in excess of £52m is likely to be required in order to prise Falcao away from France but it may take that sort of figure to find an adequate replacement for the departed Suarez.