Liverpool | Anorak - Part 9

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Liverpool football club news, Liverpool transfers, Premier League

Klopp Watch: Liverpool’s new Avram Grant, Sefton Park stalkers and dreaming of Stuttgart

Klopp the Kop


Klopp Watch: Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has been speaking to German newspaper Bild:

“There is no doubt, this is a huge challenge, for me and my coaching team. We knew that full well [when we accepted the job]. Liverpool have not had any success for a long time and they’ve changed the manager all the time. And now they have appointed a German who is no miracle worker. Progress is not possible without a bit of time…

“I spoke to the people in charge of the club at length. [There are no targets for this season], just simply to play football with a recognisable brand…

“Whether there is money to spend in January or not doesn’t interest me. We are only in October and I don’t even know how many games we’ve got until the transfer window opens and therefore we will have a look at the players at our disposal first.”

What about the language?

“We will all have English lessons. I was relieved after the first press conference. I have said some stupid things in my life. But never in English… Did I dream about becoming a Liverpool manager when I was a kid? No, I dreamed about playing for Stuttgart, and that didn’t work out. But I am totally humbled to be here. It is almost a bit bizarre: there have been so many good and successful German managers and yet no one has been here.”

The Mail picks up the story. It also publishes paparazzi photographs of Klopp, his wife, son, son’s girlfriend and dog stood by a wall in Sefton Park. This is the Mail that swore off paparazzi photos after Princess Diana died.  One photo is captioned:

Klopp’s wife Ulla bends down to stroke her pet dog while the Liverpool boss looks on along with his stepson (second left at back) and his girlfriend (third right), his driver (second right) and a club liaison officer (far right)

In another caption, the Mail reads his mind

Klopp will be hoping to be settled in his new apartment before Liverpool’s next match against Tottenham

The Guardian says “Klopp is expected to deliver – and fast“. We hear more from Klopp:

“People should not make me out to be like Jesus, I don’t walk on water.I understand that there are huge expectations surrounding this club, and expectations are important in life, not just football, but I hope no one really thinks I can perform wonders. Of course I cannot. I am not really enjoying all this attention, to be honest. I didn’t ask for it and I am hoping that after the initial big hype we can all cool down a little and get to work.

“I am glad everyone seems happy I am here, but some people seem to think that because Jürgen is here everything will change. I can’t promise that. Some things will change, for sure, and I might be different to other managers in some respects, but we cannot change the whole world in one day. I am sure Liverpool fans are clever enough to understand that we need time. If things need changing I want to do it as soon as possible, but patience is important.”

Paul Wilson adds:

Time is what every manager asks for, with Brendan Rodgers no exception. The trick is to buy it with results, visible improvement and perhaps even silverware. As Klopp attempts to move from trophy manager to manager responsible for trophies, he can be under no illusions that being in charge of Liverpool at the moment is anything other than daunting.

Sky Sports has news of ‘The Normal One’.

Jurgen Klopp had no plans to call himself ‘the Normal One’ before Liverpool unveiling

It too has read the Bild interview:

Speaking to the media for the first time since taking over at Anfield, Klopp was asked about how he compared himself to Jose Mourinho who labelled himself ‘The Special One’ when he became Chelsea manager in 2004.

Klopp delighted reporters with his tongue-in-cheek response, saying: “I’m a very normal guy from the Black Forest. I’m the normal one, maybe.”

But, speaking to German newspaper Bild, Klopp says it was an unplanned remark.

“No, I hadn’t thought about that at all,” Klopp said.

“I was asked and simply answered. Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut – but that is quite difficult at a press conference.”

Not that being the Normal one is original.

The Guardian tells us:

Avram Grant described himself as the “normal” one as he vowed to coach Chelsea in his own way after taking over from ‘the Special One’. Grant was unveiled as first-team coach at Stamford Bridge this evening, taking over from Jose Mourinho following the shock events at the club this week, but he made a less dramatic immediate impact than his predecessor.

More Klopp Watch most days.


Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Klopp joins the transfer committee he hated

Jurgen Klopp news (again). Those experts in the mainstream media had a few words to say about Liverpool’s new manager:

Joe Bernstein, Mail, 27 September:

Jurgen Klopp would demand the end of Liverpool’s transfer committee if he is to succeed Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager.


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Jurgen Klopp join Liverpool. He tells media on October 9,”

“[The transfer committee] was not a problem for 10 seconds. We talked about it. For me it is enough that I have the first and the last words. We only want to discuss about very good players. I’m not a genius, I don’t know more than the rest of the world. I need the people who get the perfect information.”

Well, they did target Luis Suarez…

Posted: 10th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: If Jurgen Klopp is the news Benitez Liverpool will be a lucky flash in the pan

Klopp the Kop


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is just like Rafa Benitez, the Buddha of Anfield who led the Reds to Champions’ League glory. Well so say all the papers.

The Telegraph:

The similarities between Benitez’s appointment and Klopp’s are striking.


Both left their home country having built their reputation slaying their nation’s financial superpowers with clubs of far less resources, utilising the qualities of players they improved rather than paid a fortune for.

In other words Liverpool have invested in a known winner.

Like Benitez, Klopp won two domestic titles before deciding to fulfil the ambition of taking on a Premier League giant in need of revival. He left Borussia Dortmund on his own terms with an emotional goodbye, echoing Benitez’s farewell to Valencia eleven years ago.

Uncanny. It’s almost as if Liverpool have a plan: hire a foreign manager whose made it.

No, says the Metro. This is fate.

Rafael Benitez was the last manager to lead the club to any sort of success and there are spooky similarities between the start of his reign and the start of Klopp’s.

Go on, Will Giles:

Klopp signed his three-year contract in the sixth boardroom of the appropriately named Hope Street Hotel – which is exactly the same place where Benitez signed his in June 2004.


But it doesn’t stop there – Benitez’s first league game in charge of Liverpool was Tottenham away. Klopp’s first game in charge? Tottenham away.

The game ended 1-1.

Benitez also managed to win the Champions League in his first season and while Klopp won’t be able to replicate that success straight away, you can’t deny that the omens look good.

You can. But the Daily Mirror can’t.

The eerie fact that suggests Jurgen Klopp could be as successful at Liverpool as Rafa Benitez

Klopp has promised a trophy within four years at Anfield – but could one arrive even sooner now we’ve discovered this omen?

Good if it does because he’s only on a three-year deal.

Klopp promised a trophy within four years to the Anfield faithful and maybe that’s because he knows his arrival at the club has more than a hint of Rafa Benitez’s. Because Klopp signed his mega-bucks Liverpool contract in the very same room that Benitez did way back in 2004. Both put pen to paper in the sixth boardroom of the Hope Street Hotel.


Oh, good grief.

Benitez won the Champions League in his first season at Liverpool and the FA Cup a year later. He remained a massively popular figure despite no league titles.

Not massively popular with everyone, though. In 2010, with four years of his five-year contract to run, Rafa was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club.

Good lucky, Jurgen. You’re gonna need it.


Posted: 9th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: how much Klopp is now earning at Anfield

Liverpool have appointed affable German Jurgen Klopp and the papers agree that he’s terrific.

But what’s he earning at Liverpool?

Daily TelegraphKlopp signed a three year deal worth £7 million a season.

The Times: £25m for three seasons.




But it’s just £6m for the migrant worker the Mail:




In Bild it’s €10 million-a-year. That’s around £7.4m a season.

But it’s down to £5m in the BBC:


Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 13.37.54


Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Money, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Klopp joined a week ago but signs tomorrow

Jurgen Klopp has agreed a three-year deal to manage Liverpool FC. If it goes well, chances are he’ll be offered the Arsenal job. Only joking. It’ll be Chelsea. That for later.

Of course, readers of some other newspapers were told Klopp had agreed to join Liverpool well before the club made their announcement this afternoon – and some before the German had even spoken with the club.

October 7: Daily Express


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October 6, Daily Star

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October 4, The Metro


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September 29, The Week

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Such are the facts.




Posted: 8th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Shankly and the transfer committee bought winners, Brendan Rodgers picked the dross

Much has been written about Liverpool FC’s Transfer Committee. The group that signed Luis Suarez also signed Mario Balotelli. They don’t always get it right. But can it be an excuse for Brendan Rodgers’ failure at Anfield?

Guardian, July 2014: “Liverpool transfer failings suggest Luis Suárez won’t be adequately replaced”

…many of the targets identified by Rodgers and “the team” have proven to be high-level talents – the only problem is that they’ve done so at other clubs. Liverpool wanted Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but he joined Borussia Dortmund, they also wanted Willian and Mohamed Salah, but they joined Chelsea, while a move last summer for Diego Costa, who has just joined the Stamford Bridge club from Atlético Madrid on the back of finishing as top scorer for the La Liga champions, also came to nothing.

The committee is good at talent spotting, then. They also wanted Alexis Sanchez, but he rejected Liverpool and chose Arsenal.

Daily Mail, July 2014: “Liverpool buying big to replace Luis Suarez would go against the club’s principles and Brendan Rodgers’ instinct”


So where would you start? You have been thrust into the role of Liverpool manager and your first task is to fill the void created by Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona… How about Karim Benzema, then? …He would cost in the region of £50m and demand huge wages but money isn’t an object for you, so why not? If Benzema isn’t for you, what about Marco Reus from Borussia Dortmund? Yours for £45m. When he recovers from the ankle ligament damage that cost him a place in Germany’s World Cup winning-squad, there is no doubt he deserves a place in European football’s ‘A’ list.

Others would have to be considered. Why not Radamel Falcao, a striker who deserves to be playing in front of a bigger, more passionate crowd than Monaco’s? Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Germain, maybe? Angel Di Maria, or even Mario Balotelli?

Were Liverpool to land any of the aforementioned players, the news would be huge, the fee would be massive but, more than anything, the deal would represent a shift in a policy that goes back to the days of Bill Shankly. Liverpool, in the main, do not raid big clubs to sign big names – they identify talent and turn them into stars.

The committee is upholding Liverpool traditions.

Indy, October 2014: “Brendan Rodgers is being let down by the Liverpool ‘transfer committee’ – only two of 23 players signed since 2012 have been successes”

Which two?

The ‘transfer committee’, an idea of Fenway Sports Group, includes chief executive, Ian Ayre, Michael Edwards, the head of analysis and the head of recruitment, Dave Fallows. Rodgers has final say on signings…

Rodgers has seen 23 new players arrive either permanently or on loan at Anfield in his spell in charge and, at a quick count, only two of those have proved themselves to be truly successful under the Northern Irishman.

Those two are Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho…

They are top players. But did Rodgers want them?

Liverpool Echo: October 2015: “Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool FC transfer committee: a source of constant friction”

Rodgers was the driving force behind signing the likes of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Danny Ings, James Milner and Christian Benteke, while the other members of the committee championed the suitability of players such as Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Sakho, Emre Can, Moreno, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino

No. The committee picked the two winners.

Daily Mirror, October 2015:

So Liverpool ‘s mysterious transfer committee has finally suffered its first casualty.

Although it says it all about FSG’s strategy that one of the six members has only gone because they have sacked Brendan Rodgers.

The committee was responsible for turning FSG’s misguided ‘Moneyball’ theory into practice in the transfer market.

Headed by the FSG’s powerful president Mike Gordon, who sacked Rodgers by trans-Atlantic phone call yesterday, it now comprises chief executive Ian Ayre, director of scouting Dave Fallows, chief scout Barry Hunter and director of performance ‘stats guy’ Michael Edwards.

Their brief is to find undervalued talent, preferably young or Bosman signings, for the coach to nurture.

But Rodgers wanted Sakho, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, right. The Echo told us he did.

He didn’t want Mamadou Sakho or Iago Aspas or Luis Alberto.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Liverpool: Klopp and Fowler are the dream team

klopp liverpool


Franz Beckenbauer says Liverpool must got for Jürgen Klopp as Brendan Rodgers’ replacement. Says Beckenbauer:

“He is fantastic. He is one of the best coaches I know in the whole world, and he was really a milestone for Borussia Dortmund. He took over the club and made them into a world-class team. If Liverpool has the chance to sign Jürgen Klopp then they should do it. He likes to talk. There are not many coaches left in the world that like to talk so much to the players but he is one of them. Liverpool is also one of the biggest clubs in the world, so Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp is definitely a good combination. He is also a winner.”

Why would Beckenbauer, a stalwart at Bayern Munich, be praising Klopp? This is what Klopp had to say about Bayern:

“Bayern go about football in the same way that the Chinese go about industry. They look at what the others are doing, and then they copy it with other people and more money.”

Meanwhile, Robbie Fower, the former Liverpool ‘God’, wants to be part of the new regime. He says:

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested. If a new manager comes in I’d love to be part of the backroom staff. Liverpool is a massive part of my life; if that was to be the case then I would absolutely love that. My personal view on Klopp is that he is a very good manager. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him, but looking at it from the outside I was impressed with his performances over in Germany with Dortmund. I like what I see.”

When at Dortmund, Klopp set out his vision for gegenpressing – the way his teams hunt the ball in groups:

“The fans should not only recognise us from our black-and-yellow shirts. Even if we were playing in red, everyone in the stadium should think: ‘Woah! That can only be Dortmund’.”

Liverpool soon-to-be-twinned with Dortmund. Sounds exciting.

Posted: 6th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Rodgers was a ‘bizarre genius’ with great teeth

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.46.01Pundit Watch: The Daily Mail’s Adrian Durham has bene talking about Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers’ sacking.

October 6 2015: “Brendan Rodgers was too much like David Brent to succeed at Liverpool… it was three years of excuses, blame-shifting and bizarre motivation techniques”

The joke went round some weeks ago that the most significant improvement Brendan Rodgers has made since he arrived at Liverpool is to his teeth.

December 2, 2014:

The critics have put last season’s massive improvement down to Luis Suarez. There have been plenty of teams who have had a special player who didn’t achieve what Liverpool did last season (look at Spurs with Gareth Bale as a recent example). It was so much more than that, and Rodgers deserves his share of the credit for taking a team from a bang average seventh-place finish in 2012-13, to within a whisker of the title last season.

November 4, 2014: “Liverpool’s sluggish start to the season should not overshadow Brendan Rodgers’ outstanding achievements last term”

I’m amazed how quickly some people have forgotten how brilliantly Rodgers did with Liverpool last season.

September 9, 2014: “Brendan Rodgers’ man-management has transformed Jordan Henderson into a vital player for club and country”

…under Rodgers he has become a brilliant midfield player who can control a game, keep the ball and use it with intelligence and quality.

March 4, 2014:

Tactical genius. That’s what Brendan Rodgers is. …

A lot of managers have been praised this season for showing tactical prowess but none can top what Rodgers has done. He’s changed formation from game to game and during matches. But more impressive than that, he’s devised a system to allow good players to flourish and enjoy their football.

Bizarre, indeed.

Posted: 6th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Harry Redknapp hopes Milner settles in England and rewrites history for Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodger is out of a job at Liverpool. And here’s Harry Redknapp to explain all. The headline makes his case:

Harry Redknapp: Brendan Rodgers should not have been sacked by Liverpool – he is a victim of modern football

By modern football, presumably, Redknapp means the Premier League, which has not not exactly proved un-lucrative for him and his. Rodgers lasted 3 years and 2 months in the Liverpool manager’s chair.

Before him, the Liverpool’s manager’s job was not exactly a role for life:

George Patterson: 1 June 1915 – 14 December 1919
David Ashworth England: December 1919 – February 1923
Matt McQueen: 1February 1923 – February 1928 229
George Patterson: March 1928 – August 1936
George Kay:  August 1936 – January 1951
Don Welsh: March 1951 – May 1956
Phil Taylor: May 1956 – November 1959
Bill Shankly: December 1959 – July 1974
Bob Paisley: August 1974 – July 1983
Joe Fagan: July 1983 – May 1985
Kenny Dalglish: May 1985 – February 1991
Ronnie Moran: February 1991 – April 1991
Graeme Souness: April 1991 – January 1994
Roy Evans: January 1994 – November 1998
Evans & Gérard Houllier: July 1998 – November 1998
Gérard Houllier: 16 July 1998 – May 2004

Rodgers fits a patten, no? So what was “modern’ about his removal?

I feel desperately sorry for Brendan, it is too soon for him to be sacked after eight games, but it does seem to have been coming for weeks. For me, though, he has taken the blame for other people at Liverpool.

He was not sacked after eight weeks. He was sacked after threes years and two months.

In the modern game, it never seems to be the manager who signs the players, it’s just the manager who takes the blame when things don’t work out. It happens all the time and it is exasperating sometimes.

In the good old days, the Government had a say in who played. In 1922 the State-imposed maximum wage for a player set at £8 a week (£6 in the summer), plus a loyalty bonus of £650 after five years. The maximum wage was abolished in 1961.

Managers don’t have the same say on transfers that they used to, but they are still expected to take the blame if the new signings don’t work out. They have these transfer committees, but it’s only the manager who sticks his head above the parapet and he’s the one who gets shot at. The other lot just stay in the background, out of sight, but they have huge power. The only time you ever hear from them is when one of the players signed becomes a huge success.

Redknapp would, of course, never get praise for someone else’s work.

I don’t think Brendan has signed those new players at Liverpool. They’ve brought in players from Brazil and I don’t think he will have known much about them.

Let’s look at Liverpool’s Brazilian players.

Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira joined from German side Hoffenheim

Lucas Leivia joined from Brazilian club Grêmio in 2007

Philippe Coutinho joined from Italy’s Internazionale

If Rodgers doesn’t know much about players in other top European league’s, you should worry.

Redknapp concludes:

I don’t think Brendan deserved to go so soon into the season. I think they’ve got a wonderful chance of finishing in the top four this season… The thing that will frustrate him is that those new players may well go on to benefit the next manager. They will settle in England and they will get used to the Premier League.

Last summer, Rodgers signed:

James Milner – Man City – Free
Danny Ings – Burnley – Tribunal
Adam Bogdan – Bolton – Free
Joe Gomez – Charlton – £3.5m
Roberto Firmino – Hoffenheim – £29m
Nathaniel Clyne – Southampton – £12.5m

Let’s hop Milner and the other migrant workers settle in England.

This, of course, is the same Redknapp who told Telegraph readers in September 2015:

I don’t fancy Liverpool at all. I think it’s the worst Liverpool team I have seen in years. They look bang average. They are lucky to have any points. Bournemouth should have beaten them, they got a wonder goal at Stoke. Okay, they played all right first-half at Arsenal. I think they will do well to finish in the top five. I am not with Liverpool at all this year.

Modern football eh, full of overpaid pundits.

Posted: 5th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Vale Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers’ top 10 quotes

brendan rodgers quotes


Liverpool have sacked Brendan Rodgers, the man who liked to talk in parables. He’s was much the Jesus of middle-management-style football coaching. Here were his greatest hits…

1. ”It was a perfect away performance, apart from the first 10 minutes.”

2. “I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope.”

3. On Luis Suarez: “He is a real warrior of spirit.”

4. “My biggest mentor is myself because I’ve had to study, so that’s been my biggest influence.”

5. “I am not a power freak.” (We think the lady doth protest too much!)

6. “I started coaching for one reason and that was to make a difference for people, not just as footballers but as human beings.”

7. “When we have the football, everybody’s a player.”

8. “You train dogs, I like to educate players.”

9. ‘I think there’s three players who will let us down this year — the cause, the fight, everything – and I have written them down already in these three envelopes. Make sure you are not in one of the envelopes.”

10.”I use a quote with the players,“Per aspera ad astra”, which is Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars’.”


Posted: 5th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers sacked, moves one step closer to England job

No sooner had his Liverpool side drawn 1-1 against Everton in this afternoon’s Merseyside derby than Brendan Rodgers found himself out of a job.

According to the BBC, the decision to can Rodgers was made by the Liverpool higher-ups at 18:30 BST, just hours after full-time.

Announcing the news via a joint statement on the official Liverpool website, owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said:

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment.

All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game.

Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch. Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it.

The latest from the club’s owners is that they are hoping to appoint a new manager – and Jurgen Klopp is runaway favourite to take the gig – in a “decisive and timely manner”.

And here’s us thinking Brendan, for all his many and obvious flaws, wasn’t doing too bad a job at Anfield.

Ruthless business.

And how about Rodgers for England? He’d be good. He has vision.

Posted: 4th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers would make a great England manager

Liverpool are looking limp under Brendan Rodgers. Jurgen Klopp is the media’s favourite to take over should Rodgers get the boot. In the Times Matt Dickinson asks readers to pause and remember that Rodgers is no fool. A talented manager, which Rodgers certainly is, does not become rubbish.

There may be fun to be had with @DeludedBrendan and the mocking tweets but, beyond the David Brent gags, the Rodgers who emerges from Gerrard’s book deserves to be taken seriously; a sharp tactician, a strong communicator, an astute improver of players.

Sometimes he can get a little carried away and, as Gerrard notes, he is ambitious perhaps to the point of ruthlessness. But there emerges a portrait of an upwardly mobile manager who, if unwanted by Liverpool at the end of this season, would be very welcome in an England tracksuit as the successor to Roy Hodgson.

Rodgers for England? You hear it and it makes sense.

…Rodgers is the one with top-level coaching and managerial experience, a record of improving young players, especially English ones. Or, as he once said in one of those quotes that seem to polarise opinion: “My life’s work has been trying to show that British players can play.”

Dickinson quotes from Gerrard’s book:

Read Gerrard recount in compelling detail about when he went to see Rodgers because he felt off-form and could not fathom the problem. The speed with which his manager came back with detailed analysis about a lack of head movement, and how it was affecting the tempo of the captain’s passing game, is striking. There are plenty of stories from Gerrard of Rodgers’ ability to motivate as well as innovate. The book is littered with lines like “the training sessions were among the best I had ever experienced while his man-management was excellent, generous and imaginative”; “it needed a bold appointment from the owners — and I think they got it right with Brendan”; “Brendan came across as a nice man, and a good person, from the start”; “a very human man-manager”.

Of course, there is some blunt criticism, too; a dubious signing or two and, most notably, a critique of that fateful, gung-ho approach against Chelsea with the title at stake fuelled by “an overconfidence in Brendan’s team talks” and not recognising the need to temper his boldness.

Jason Burt has also talked of Rodgers being the ideal England candidate:

The FA needs direction, maybe even an evangelical approach. It intends to keep Hodgson in place until the completion of the 2016 European Championship when his contract expires, when he will be close to celebrating his 69th birthday. He is likely to go then, so the clock is ticking as regards his successor. The answer seems clear: it should be Brendan Rodgers…

Here is a man who clearly has “ that vision thing”. Not just in an identifiable and entertaining modern style of play – you could put his Liverpool team in any colour shirt and they would be recognisably Liverpool – but in developing players as people. He has both a “holistic” approach, to borrow Manchester City’s phrase, and a much deeper sense of pastoral care and social responsibility.

It does not matter that Rodgers comes from Northern Ireland. The FA should read his words and call him, to discover if he would want to be involved in finding “that vision thing”. Hodgson should welcome his input. It would not undermine him.

And then there is Steven Gerrard, who says:

“The way he [Rodgers] plays would suit England. He would improve the possession football you need at international level. His man management is brilliant. At tournaments, in the heat, it is absolute torture and we need to keep the ball better. If you want someone who would get the team playing and the players would enjoy working with, it would be Brendan.”

Rodgers for England. It makes sense.

Posted: 2nd, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Liverpool balls: football genius picks Neymar over Ings

Banteriser Jimmy Bullard has a plan to make Liverpool great. Jimmy, last seen being irritating (surely, engaging in hilarious bantz – ed) in the I’m A Celebrity jungle has been talking to the Express.

Bullard has been hired by Ladbrokes Rugby’s ‘Who’s Got The Balls’ campaign, a truly dire marketing strategy in which punters are invited to see if Bullard or Austin Healey (Strictly Come Dancing, Hole In The Wall, The Weakest Link, Pointless Celebrities and more) can decide “once and for all” if celebrity footballers or rugby players are tougher.

One test of fortitude would be to see how long anyone can spend in room with Bullard before begging for mercy. But while Ladbroke’s make ready the punishment room, Bullard turns his mind to Liverpool.

“They haven’t bought enough. They bought ok, but Roberto Firmino has not produced. They got rid of top quality and they haven’t got that back. With the likes of Suarez going and not getting world quality, for me as a fan I want to see a world-class striker join. I wanted to see a Neymar or someone to replace Suarez. They took a risk with signing Danny Ings from Burnley.”

But Neymar! Had only Brendan Rogers the wit to have bought Brazil’s brightest star from Barcelona.

Posted: 1st, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Liverpool: Klopp says ‘come and get me’ but only if you change

klopp liverpool


Is the next Liverpool manager to be Jurgen Klopp? If it is then changes will need to be made says the Daily Mail:

Klopp will only take Liverpool job if transfer committee is scrapped

Joe Bernstein writes:

Jurgen Klopp would demand the end of Liverpool’s transfer committee if he is to succeed Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager.

That’s not exactly new news is it. Back in May, the Metro said the same thing:

The German would demand FSG remove the current four-man committee that decide which players Liverpool decide to buy or sell, leaving Klopp himself to have more influence on the club’s transfer targets.

But is that even correct? In August Klopp said he wasn’t keen on doing transfers:


“The Premier League is very exciting. And we do not only think about the top four because there are some other great clubs below them. In Germany there is a clear separation between manager and sporting director and I think in principle this is very good. Jürgen does not like to speak to players’ agents or to carry out a transfer. So we have to see which is the most useful arrangement.”

But none of it matters because Liverpool don’t want Klopp. talkSport told us that:

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Such are the facts in the mainstream media.


Posted: 28th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: Rodgers senses ‘hysteria’, 33 new players and Manchester United move miles ahead

The Sunday Times says “Liverpool as far from the top as they’ve ever been”. Is Brendan Rodgers’ side that bad?

Jonathan Northcroft:

Rodgers surely also knew, from last year, that when you churn playing staff in the summer it is hard to find consistency. His latest spree, featuring eight arrivals, was lauded by supporters seeking change — but after 33 signings, for £292m, in three years, is it not stability that Liverpool need?

Recruitment defines most reigns. It is likely to do so with Rodgers. The 33 have been an unbalanced crew, including five No 10s, 10 strikers and only two wingers…

There is another five-year anniversary approaching, of John W Henry’s takeover in 2010. The pledge was “to first focus on stability rather than change”. Can Rodgers weather trouble and finally get a restless club to settle?

Another noble Henry 2010 objective was to “return Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successfully competing for and winning trophies”. But look through the squad. How many would get in the first teams of Liverpool’s rivals in England — let alone Europe?

Look at the economics: in 2010, Liverpool’s wage bill topped Arsenal’s and was just £10m behind United’s and £12m behind Manchester City’s. Now it’s £71.5m behind United’s, £62.5m behind City’s, £23m behind Arsenal’s. Liverpool have never seemed further from Henry’s goal and for reasons neither he nor Rodgers fully control.

Says Rodgers:

“There’s a hysteria around the club. We’ve lost fewer games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in all competitions – two. It’s a huge club, a worldwide, iconic club, so the scrutiny on it is huge. It doesn’t affect us. We’re working hard and trying to integrate players back into the team….There is a group of people that don’t want me here. Myself and the players stay very calm and work very hard.”

But it’s about belief. City and Arsenal have lost in the Champions’ League. Can Liverpool even get there?



Posted: 27th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Transfer Balls: Chelsea will lose Eden to Real Madrid and Barcelona want Coutinho from Liverpool

The Premier League bloats whilst La Liga gloats. News via the Sunday Times is that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho are “wanted in Spain”. That pretty much means Real Madrid and Barcelona are eyeing the players.

Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, says Hazard is the man to ignite Real. The 24-year-old is the current Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. He’s the best the PL has to offer. But the feeling is that should Real come knocking Hazard will want out of Stamford Bridge.

Coutinho, Liverpool’s club’s sole representative in the PFA Team of the Year, is being watched by Barcelona. Surely the Nou Camp holds more attraction than being the brightest light in a Brendan Rodger’s team that seems to make it up as it goes along.


Posted: 27th, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: since March Rodgers’ Reds haven’t beaten a team higher than 16th in the Premier League

Liverpool are not all that good. For a club that has spent vast sums of cash, Brendan Rodgers team are pretty dire. The current league positions of the past five team Liverpool FC have defeated since mid-March are:

Bournemouth – 16th (and they were very, very lucky to beat them)

Stoke – 17th

Aston Villa – 18th

Newcastle – 19th

QPR – relegated.

Surely Brendan Rodgers is doomed.

Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comments (4)

Liverpool balls: Rodgers gets the ‘axe’ and refuses to ‘quit’

Is Brendan Rodgers heading out of Liverpool FC? The Sun and the Daily Mirror each have a take on the story.

David Maddock, the Daily Mirror, September 25:

The Liverpool manager retains the support of his club’s American owners, for now. The 42-year-old is pragmatic enough to know the backing that came – surprisingly strongly – from the other side of the Atlantic this week will not endure unless there is a seismic shift in performance 

Ken Lawrence, The Sun, September 25:

His [Rodgers] language — in terms of what he says as well as his body — suggests he now thinks it inevitable Fenway Sports Group will get rid of him. Rodgers might have been referring to a statement prepared AFTER the American owners had ended his three–year tenure when he declared: “I know I’ve given it everything.”

And in a second story also from September 25 by Ken Lawrence:

BRENDAN RODGERS’ biggest fight is against the enemy within — not the critics determined to see him sacked. They say you never walk alone at Anfield but the Liverpool boss is becoming isolated from his Fenway Sports Group employers. Ahead of tomorrow’s must–win clash at home to struggling Aston Villa, the sound of silence from principle owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner is deafening.

Have Fenway Sports Group backed him or not? The Mirror says ‘yes’ the Sun says ‘no’.

One day on and the Mirror declares that “defiant” Rodgers “shrugs off critics”:


Or as the Sun puts it – Rodgers “looks resigned to the Liverpool axe”:


Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 06.36.56


Rodgers is defiant and resigned?

Such are the facts.


Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Liverpool balls: Ings and Coutinho in a Daily Mail hit and glum

You know the routine: the Daily Mail buys some paparazzi photos and then creates a story around them. It’s got some photos of Liverpool footballers driving into the club’s training complex. The man with the long lens gives the Mail a scoop:

Glum-looking Liverpool players check in for training ahead of Carlisle clash as pressure continues to mount on Brendan Rodgers

Photos are captioned:

Liverpool striker Danny Ings, who scored against Norwich, doesn’t look too pleased as he turns up for training

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 23rd, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp is ‘waiting for Bayern Munich’ who aren’t waiting for him

Jurgen Klopp would be a good fit for Liverpool. But the Daily Mail says the German is “ready to snub Premier League to replace Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich”. To which you have to wonder, are Bayern Munich ready for Klopp, who managed rivals Borussia Dortmund and has stated a desire to look for a “project“.

Sami Mokbel has the news for Daily Mail readers:

Jurgen Klopp wants to ascertain his chances of landing the Bayern Munich job before considering a switch to England.

Says who?

Sources claim Klopp is actively plotting his next move and is keeping his options open knowing the managerial landscape will change over the weeks and months of the season.

How can he actively plot anything in the knowledge things change? Is Mokbel seriously suggesting Bayern will sack Guardiola – and that the Spaniard will be sacked before the Liverpool board calls time on Brendan Rodgers time at Anfield?

But it is understood Klopp is keen to discover where he stands in Bayern’s list of potential replacements for Pep Guardiola before making a decision on his future.

Go that? If Klopp is at, say, number, 3 on that list, say, will he sit tight and wait? What about number 2, or number 9 or number 312? What is his plot?

Mokbel than gets to the only fact of his entire article:

Guardiola’s long-term future is unclear with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

PS: Back in April 2015, Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern’s honorary president told Sky Germany:

“Of course I could imagine Klopp as Guardiola’s successor. When I was president, we often talked about Klopp and believe he would fit very well at Bayern. Klopp is definitely an option at Bayern. The question is, how long Guardiola will be in Munich. I hope for a long time, but Klopp would be considered….

“I can’t imagine Guardiola would leave in 2016. He likes Munich. He has had success with the team and he knows that he can succeed in the future. He has everything he wants.”

To which Klopp said: “I couldn’t care less what is said about me.”




Posted: 17th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Liverpool: El-Hadji Diouf says Stephen Gerrard ‘doesn’t like black people’

El-Hadji Diouf has snapped back at Steven Gerrard in the wake of comments the former Liverpool captain made in his new autobiography about the gob-happy Senegalese forward and his general conduct during his ill-fated stint at Anfield.

For the unaware, Gerrard accused ex-teammate Diouf of having “no real interest in football” and “caring nothing for Liverpool” in his latest tome, My Story, also adding that the way Diouf spat a “huge globule of gunky phlegm” at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup match in 2003 summed up his “contemptuous and spiteful demeanour”.

Gerrard writes:

A few people have since asked me if I saw any comparison between Diouf and Mario Balotelli – and I’ve always said no. I’ve got respect for Balotelli; I’ve got none for Diouf.

Well, it looks like things are about to get unnecessarily ugly, with Diouf responding to Gerrard’s criticism by making some potentially serious allegations to Portuguese radio station Radio Future Média:

We all saw how he made life difficult for Mario Balotelli at Liverpool. I warned him. Liverpool isn’t a team that accepts black people unless they are English. It’s common knowledge. Gerrard has never liked black people. When I was at Liverpool, I showed him I was black, that I wasn’t English, but that I’m no pushover. All the time I was there, he never dared looked me in the eye.

With the accusations of racism out of the way, Diouf went on to suggest that Gerrard is simply jealous of his glorious achievements:

Gerrard is just jealous. What I have done in football, he did not. When I came to Liverpool, I came up with the status of boss and he lives there. I am respected in world football, the greatest football experts have appointed me among the seven best players in the World Cup, the top 100 players of the century.

Everywhere I go out of my country, they worship me. Wherever he goes outside his city of Liverpool, he will be insulted.

Feel free to make your own minds up people.

We’re just not feeling up to getting involved with this one.

Posted: 15th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Liverpool balls: Rafa Benitez has Steven Gerrard’s number in phone call spat

Debrecen v Liverpool - UEFA Champions LeagueSteven Gerrard has told us about his gashed penis, how he bleeds Liverpool red and “hates” Manchester United. Now Gerrard uses his new book to reveal his thoughts on former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

“I can pick up the phone and speak to all of my previous Liverpool managers, except for Rafa. It’s a shame because we shared the biggest night of our careers – the 2005 Champions League victory in Istanbul – yet there is no bond between us.”

Benitez, now manager of Real Madrid, has responded:

“I have read the quotes and I believe he is wrong because what we have to do is enjoy. And out of the respect that I have for Stevie and for the value and appreciation I have for him, and for Liverpool and the supporters I think it’s best to just let it pass.”

That’s a dignified response from a man who has thrived in the hotbed of top-flight football management – and whose family still live in the Liverpool area.

But Rafa had one more thing to say:

“He has brought out a book and now I’m the Real Madrid manager, that sells.”

Wonder what Rafa will have to say when his own book hits the shelves?


Posted: 15th, September 2015 | In: Books, Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: Klopp wants the job if Rodgers is sacked

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 09.42.57Is Jurgen Klopp heading to Liverpool? German nespaper Bild says the former Borussia Dortmund manager is interested in replacing the verbose and smug Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.

Under Rodgers, Liverpool are directionless and uninspiring. What is the plan? What is the pattern? Rodgers is operating under a cloud. The fans are losing their faith in the manager. There is a sense that he will leave sooner rather than later.

Klopp actually says nothing to Bild. But his ‘friends’ do. The affable German has already rejected the chance to manage Zenit St. Petersburg and Olympique Marseille. Liverpool would be a great fit.

Posted: 15th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (5)

Liverpool balls: Norwich City are always rubbish in the dial-in Premier League

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 15.24.48


The Premier League is a predictable, dull affair. Take former Liverpool player Danny Murphy talking about the Reds to the BBC:

This is a big season for Liverpool and for Rodgers…

It’s a big season for every club.

The fixture list has not been kind to Rodgers with trips to Emirates Stadium and Old Trafford in Liverpool’s first five games but now they have two home games against Norwich and Aston Villa.

Every team plays every other team home and away.

It is never quite as easy as it looks on paper, but two home games against teams in the bottom half of the table are exactly what Liverpool need and I think they will go for the jugular against Norwich – look to dominate and score goals.

Danny, this is the League table:

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 15.21.52


Norwich are above Liverpool.

Sad that the Premier League is such a procession of the richest clubs rising to the top that teams like Norwich and their accomplishments can be so easily dismissed.


Posted: 14th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Liverpool balls: Stephen Gerrard gets a gash on his penis in Bournemouth

Nice tackle

Nice tackle


In today’s extract from Stephen Gerrard autobiography, the Daily Mail shares this anecdote with readers:

“The magic of the FA Cup was bloodied on the day my penis was cut and then stitched shut on an unromantic afternoon in Bournemouth last year. It was eye-watering. I tried to close down a winger to block his cross but felt a stinging in my privates. I thought, ‘S*** — that doesn’t feel right!’ It was stinging like f***. The gash looked pretty bad, right across the middle. There was plenty of blood. I needed four stitches and the lads were absolutely p*ssing themselves. You can imagine the jokes about inches and stitches and my future performances at home.”

File under: ball control.

Posted: 13th, September 2015 | In: Books, Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment