Monthly Archives: April 2016

Transfer rumours: West Brom ‘express interest’ in Liverpool striker Christian Benteke

Is a exit on the cards for Christian Benteke?

Is a exit on the cards for Christian Benteke?

West Brom could offer Liverpool striker Christian Benteke an escape route this summer, with West Brom boss Tony Pulis said to hold an interest in the Belgium.

Benteke looks certain to leave Liverpool this summer after struggling to fit in under Jurgen Klopp and falling behind Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and even midfielder Roberto Fermino in the pecking order to play up front.

With Danny Ings set to return in pre-season he’s expected to jump ahead of Benteke in the pecking order as well. So Benteke is on the fringes of the Reds team and as one of the biggest earners in the side Klopp is expected to move him on this summer.

Tony Pulis is set to fund a move for the 25 year old Belgium by selling Saido Berahino, who is valued at around 22 million and has been linked with Tottenham and Stoke City.

Berahino was left on the fringes of the West Brom squad earlier in the season due to his attitude but he has recently been getting back into the side but many think this is so other teams won’t be put off to sign him.

The Englishman is a off the shoulder striker and doesn’t really suit Tony Pulis style of play and has struggled to make a impression this season even when he has played. Pulis prefers to utilise stron, lone centre forward which Benteke, like current West Brom strikers Saloman Rondon and former Red Rickie Lambert, would fit perfectly.

Benteke proved during his time at Aston Villa that he is utilised best in a team that play with more of a direct approach to the game. Having scored 49 goals in 101 games for Villa Benteke was a success in similar direct approach that both teams like to play.

Benteke is expected to play our remaining games in the Premier League when he returns to full fitness but only due to the injury to Divock Origi. The Belgiums last start came in February’s FA Cup fourth round loss to West Ham.

Benteke told reporters during a international break that he would never have signed if he wasn’t going to be first choice.

West Brom will face a fight to sign the Big Belgium though as Juventus, Atletico Madrid and West Ham have all been heavily linked and whether West Brom will pay half of the 32million fee Liverpool paid for him is another question.

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Udinese confirm Liverpool’s interest in midfielder Piotr Zielenski

Could we see Zielenski move to Liverpool in the summer?

Could we see Zielenski move to Liverpool in the summer?

Liverpool manager Klopp and other members of Liverpool’s transfer committee have been watching and monitoring the progress of the 21 year old, whom is currently at Serie A side empoli on loan for the season.

It was only last month that the player himself came out and said he would love to play alongside Liverpool playmaker Phillipe Coutinho, before going on to then confirm rumours linking him with a move to Anfield.

‘There is a lot of truth in rumours about Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp is interested in me, we had some talks,’ Zielinski told Polish outlet Sportowe Fakty.

An d now, Udinese Sporting Director Cristiano Giaretta has stated the Reds hold concrete interest in the Polish international, but they could face a bidding war Zielinski’s signature.

‘There is interest from Liverpool and it is concrete interest,’ Cristiano Giaretta told Italian radio station Radio Punto Zero.

‘He is doing very well and has the eyes of the Premier League on him’.

Zielenski is a more of a holding midfielder and could strengthen a position Liverpool are particular weak in depth with, the 21 year old has 4 goals and 6 assists to his name this season as well as making 13 international appearances for Poland already.

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James Milner proving his ‘boring’ critics wrong

When Liverpool brought James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City in the summer many people’s eyebrows were raised, including some Liverpool supporters as well. Many people thought Liverpool were signing a player that works hard, versatile and a professional player but questions were asked if he had the end product required to be a success at Liverpool, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Most Liverpool supporters, including me, thought that he would be a shrewd signing as we needed the experience in our team and Milner has that in abundance during his time at Leeds, Swindon, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City, but he has been more than just a experienced player he has taken over the mantle as one of the main leaders in the dressing room and on the pitch. Brendan Rodgers gave the vice captaincy to Milner when he was signed and it has proved to be a good decision from our former manager. With Jordan Henderson been missing for the majority of the season Milner has been our main captain this season and has rarely missed a game this season.

It was claimed when we signed Milner that he would only sign for the club if he were to be played in central midfield, but since Klopp has taken over he has mainly played on the right or the left of the three advanced midfielders that play behind the striker and this is the position where he has blossomed, His work rate is utilised well on the wing as he tracks back and helps out his fullback as well as producing some fantastic balls into the box and letting the fullbacks overlap him with the 30 year old providing good cover. This is where he has mainly featured but he has also played in the centre of midfield like he did against Everton and Borussia Dortmund recently. With Henderson’s and Can’s injury this is the position where he will likely most be utilised now. Klopp also played Milner right back in one game this season and he showed how versatile he is by putting in a good shift at right back and further showing how useful to Klopp he is.

You may be asking that this is what Liverpool fans expected when we signed Milner but he does all of the above and this season alone he has shown how, even at 30, he has learned so much this season especially from Jurgen Klopp who has given Milner an extra edge this season.

The England international has 7 goals in all competitions this season for the Reds and 5 goals coming in the Premier League. Milner scored just 18 goals in 203 appearances for Man City, with 8 of them coming in his last season. His career best goal tally came when he was at Aston in the 2009-10 season and he scored 12 goals in all competitions so he has proven in his career that he has never been a goal scorer but in the last two season he has improved this side of his game and has shown a real maturity to his game to still be improved certain aspects of his game.

James Milner has silenced his doubters

James Milner has silenced his doubters

It’s his creative statistics where he has impressed this season the most. Since the turn of the year he has assisted 11 goals in all competitions, that’s three more than the much praised Payet, four more than the impressive Spurs midfielder Alli, five more than Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Spurs midfielder Christian Erikson and a huge nine more than the alleged assist king Mesut Ozil. I am not saying he is more creative than these kinds of players but it shows how good he has been for Liverpool this season to be above those kind of players.  Only two players have more assists than James Milner now, Mesut Ozil with 18 and Christian Erikson with 12, and he has more assists than the likes of Payet and De Bruyne.

Milner has created more chances and has played more key passes than our more recognized creative players in the side Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Fermino, having played less than Fermino but more than Coutinho, Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and even Christian Benteke earlier in the season have all benefited from MIlners crosses from open play and has given Liverpool another option to score goals rather than be playing the ball through the centre so it gives the Reds another dimension and makes us less predictable to play against.

Milner had a ‘boring’ reputation when he signed for Liverpool, where there is even a twitter account called ‘boring James Milner’. He is quickly losing this reputation as he has become a vital part of the Liverpool side but one thing most Liverpool fans agree on are his corners need improvement as it is ‘boring’ to see every Liverpool corner hit the first man or be played short but he has shown he likes to prove his doubters wrong and hopefully he can keep up this form for the rest of the season.

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Liverpool fearing the worst over Emre Can injury

Emre Can faces a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage

Emre Can faces a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage

According to the Liverpool Echo Liverpool are growing increasingly concerned that German midfielder Emre Can could miss the remainder of the season after he picked up a ankle injury in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The Liveprool Echo believe that the club is fearing the worst ahead of a scan for the 22-year-old, who will face a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage which could make him a doubt for Germany’s Euro campaign.

Can was seen on the pitch celebrating Liverpool’s win after the final whistle, but he was seen wearing a protecting boot on his injured ankle.

Can will join the likes of fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson and Cristian Benteke in the treatment room, as well as long term absentees Danny Ings and Joe Gomez who have missed the majority of the season.

The German was already sidelined for the match with Bournemouth on Sunday as he serves the second of his two match suspension, but he’s looking increasingly unlikely to feature in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday as well.

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Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund(5-4 Liverpool agg) – One of the greatest European games in history as Liverpool perform heroic comeback

Mignolet – 7.1

Mignolet could not do anything for any of the goals, but made a great save to deny Augabamayang but the ball fell to Mkhitiaryan for a tap in. Composed throughout the night as he keeps up his steady performances recently.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6.7

Clyne was up against one of the best wingers in the world in Marco Reus and struggled to deal with Reus’s runs at times in the game, as proved when he was out of position for Reus to make the score 3-1 after Hummel’s great pass. Grew into the game though and was a good outlet on the right hand side.

Mamadou Sakho – 7.2

A dreadful start to the game for both central defenders as Dortmund took a early 2-0 lead, Sakho was extremely out of position for Dormund’s second goal as he couldn’t intercept the pass, but he made a heroic tackle to deny Augabamayang from scoring and making it 3-0. Showed great guts to carry on going through the game and made some crucial interceptions and tackles, as well as making the score 3-3 on the night after drifting into acres of space in the Dortmund penalty box but he took his header well and kept it low, really becoming a Kop fan favourite right now.

Sakho celebrates leveling the game on the night

Sakho celebrates leveling the game on the night

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Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City: Player ratings – Reds run riot as Klopp rings the changes

Simon Mignolet – 7.3

Mignolet has looked a lot more assured recently and put in another good display here. Couldn’t do anything for the goal but did make one outstanding save to prevent another set play goal to be conceded.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7.0

Clyne had another good performance and has become a beacon of consistency for Liverpool this season. Defended solidly and provided a good outlet down the right.

Martin Skrtel – 6.6

A much more assured performance from the Slovakian international after his shambolic display against Southampton the last time he played. Gave away the free kick which lead to Stoke’s equaliser, but this was a much better performance from Skrtel.

Kolo Toure – 6.5

Had a couple of shaky moments at the back but overall had a good game. Toure has had a good season and whenever he has had the chance to step up he has put in good performances consistently.

Alberto Moreno – 8.1

Moreno’s good form continues as he was solid defensively all game and scored a cracker of a goal, which has been coming for him this season. Provided a great asset down the left hand side and was always running the flank.

Moreno celebrates his goal vs Stoke

Moreno celebrates his goal vs Stoke

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Jordan Henderson to miss the rest of the season

Henderson set to miss 6-8 weeks

Henderson set to miss 6-8 weeks

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will miss the rest of the season after he sustained a knee injury in the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund and he is also a doubt for England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The midfielder damaged ligaments in his knee and will be out for between 6-8 weeks.

England boss Roy Hodgson has reiterated the fact that he is reluctant to take players to Euro 2016 if they are not fully match fit.

“I wouldn’t be happy to really take players with us in the hope that they will become fit during the tournament,” he has said.

Henderson has been plagued with injuries all season and is already playing through a heel injury which he picked up earlier on in the season which made him miss two months.

Henderson has made just 15 appearances in the Premier League this season, which is rare for Henderson who has barely had any injuries before this season.

This is a huge blow for Liverpool as we have a shortage of quality in the midfield, even with Henderson playing poorly this season he will be a big miss. Other players will get a opportunity though as Emre Can is set to miss the next two Premier League games through suspension, Lucas still has a injury and now Henderson is injured so Allen, Milner and Stewart will all potentially be given opportunities in this position in the next few games.

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YNWA before Dortmund vs Liverpool – Goosebumps

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Divock Origi – ‘People forget I’m 20 but I have everything here to become a big player’

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

The 20 year old Belgium was preferred to Daniel Sturridge for the first leg with Borussia Dortmund, and he repaid his managers faith by scoring a crucial away goal.

It wasn’t just the fact that he scored but he put in a massive performance emphasising what Klopp wants in a striker, his movement and pace caused Dortmund problems all game but he also showcased the other part of his game which is he has gained a lot, which is his strength that he has gained recently and he used this to bring the midfielders into play.

Origi’s only real problem right now is the fact that he has scored just 6 goals this season in 28 appearances, with three of these coming against Southampton in the Capital One Cup, albeit most of his appearances have come from the bench.

He knows he has to improve but he needs time to develop into a accomplished striker for the Reds.

I have learned a lot, I’ve adapted a lot. I’m still young, only 20 and people sometimes forget that,” he said.

“I’m grateful to be at this big club, where people believe in me and everything is here for me to become a big player, which is my aim.

“I’m happy that I’m making these steps and hopefully that continues.

“It was playing a big team and as the striker I had a big responsibility [against Dortmund] but I felt the support of everybody from the coach to my team-mates and the fans.

“Everyone tried to help me as much as possible and it showed in my performance.

“You can feel the support and it gives me a boost. It does make a difference to experience that.

“Everyone said I should play to my qualities, which is getting in behind the defenders and taking them on one-on-one and of course, importantly, scoring.

“We worked a lot tactically and he (Klopp) knows my qualities and told me just to use them.

“I’m very happy that I could do this.”

Asked about who the favourites are of the tie going into the second leg at Anfield, Origi reiterated what Klopp said in his press conference which was that there are no favourites and the tie is evenly balanced.

“For me, there’s no favourites,” added Origi, who could make way for Sturridge to return against Stoke on Sunday.

“We are a good team and they are a good team. We have to show on the pitch we are capable of doing good things and we have to finish it off at Anfield.

“We have to be confident and if we are at 100 per cent, we will go through.”

 

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Europa league quarter final first leg – Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund – Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet – 7.2

Mignolet had one outstanding save to make which was to deny Marco Reus in the first half, but other than this save the rest he had to make were simple shots which he handled well. He handled set pieces well by punching and catching them, but there were two heart in mouth moments when he turned Aubameyang not once but twice which was risky.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6.4

Not Clyne’s best game in a red shirt but he was solid. He got forward on the right giving us a outlet on the right hand side when lallana cut inside but he was caught out of position a couple of times and gave the ball away needlessly at times. May not have been his best game but even then he is solid.

Dejan Lovren – 8.5

I found it difficult to pick who was better out of Lovren and Sakho in this game but I will give it Lovren as he was calmer at the back and he lead the back four excellently. Made a crucial block to deny Aubameyang in the first half and he has been a revelation since Klopp took over.

Lovren's impressive stats vs Dormund

Lovren’s impressive stats vs Dormund

Mamadou Sakho – 8.3

Sakho and Lovren are building a very good partnership at the back now and Klopp clearly now knows his best back four. Sakho had a torrid time in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham at the weekend but he made up for it here. If Sakho can add more consistency to his game he can potentially be a world class centre back for us as when he’s on his game he wins everything but then he has games like the ones he had against Tottenham and Watford, but he has been consistently fantastic in the Europa League.

Sakho's impressive stats vs Dortmund

Sakho’s impressive stats vs Dortmund

Alberto Moreno – 7.6

One of Moreno’s best games in a Red shirt, not for the attacking prowess he holds but for some solid defending which is something you don’t say too much about Moreno. He used his speed to cut out a lot of moments and provided an outlet with Coutinho on the left hand side where them two have built a good understanding of each other.

Emre Can – 6.9

Got booked unfortunately very early but that did not stop him from putting in some crucial tackles. Certainly not his best game for us but he worked tirelessly and won a lot of tackles that a lot of players wouldn’t make if they were on a yellow card so early on. Didn’t do an awful lot in the final third but he was crucial in our own half.

Jordan Henderson – 6.3

This could potentially be the last time that we see Henderson in a Liverpool shirt this season as he got a potentially serious knee injury in the first half. He hasn’t been the same player since picking up that heel injury which he has been playing through all season. He put in the work in the first half but lacked any kind of quality in the first half but did get the assist for the crucial Divock Origi away goal after a clever layoff.

James Milner – 7.8

Milner had a really good game and worked tirelessly all game proving what a good free transfer he has been. He did lose the ball a lot in the first half but just his work rate trumped that. He became the captain for the second half and helped calm things down when Dortmund scored so early in the second half.

Adam Lallana – 6.8

Lallana didn’t show the best of his attacking game in yesterday’s game but he did have a couple of neat turns and touches. He worked his socks off though as he normally does and was just the player we needed for a game like this where work rate was so vital.

Phillipe Coutinho – 7.3

Had another good game as his recent sparking form continues, he was denied scoring by two good saves from Weidenfeller and Coutinho helped out Moreno a lot to defend on the left flank. He has built up a good understanding with Moreno and it has really helped Coutinho that we have two strikers who like to run in behind in Sturridge and Origi.

Divock Origi – 8.6 MOTM

Eyebrows were raised when the Young Belgium was selected over Daniel Sturridge, but Origi took this opportunity splendidly. This was more of a tactical change from Klopp as he fancied Origi’s raw pace, workrate and strength over Sturridges finishing prowess. On another day Origi could of had a hattrick today, he led the line brilliantly as he brought our midfielders into play with his holdup play and then he has the other aspect of his game which is the pace which we exploited as we looked to play balls over the top of their two cbs. He took his goal fantastically, albeit it caught a deflection but he should of had a second on the stroke of half time as he missed a glorious one on one opportunity which he put straight at the goalkeeper.

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

Subs

Joe Allen 6.7 (Jordan Henderson 45)

Joe Allen came on at half time and just slotted in seamlessly, he won a lot of tackles and just his pressing caused Dortmund to give the ball away a lot. He could get a lot more game time coming up with Lucas still injured, Henderson possibly injured for a while and Can suspended for the next two Premier League games.

Roberto Firmino 6.2 (Adam Lallana 78)

Firmino was always likely to not make this match due to the thigh injury he picked up which made him miss the international break and our game with Tottenham. He pressed well when he came on but expect him to start in a week’s time at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge 6.1 (Divock Origi 84)

It was a surprise to a lot of people that Sturridge was dropped for such a big game but Klopp fancied a fully rested Origi and his workrate. He had one fantastic run when he came on as he took the ball passed two Drotmund players but it came to nothing. Expect Sturridge to start against Stoke at the weekend but after this performance by Origi and Sturridge’s recent performances expect Origi to start in a week’s time again.

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