Archive for August, 2017

The Blog #1

On Friday night I watched Liverpool Under 23’s play away at Swansea at the Welsh clubs academy.  It was pouring with rain and the pitch looked a bit like it was set on a school playing field.  The Liverpool side was something of an assortment of players who’d been on loan last season but had returned but will probably be back on loan soon – either that or they will find a new club before the Transfer window is slammed shut.  Other had been upgraded from the Under 18’s and can be listed as ‘prospects’ – at least for now.  There was also Danny Ings.  Ings was returning after another long layoff and this was his first bit of action since last November.

Contrast the Ings situation with what else went on Around The Fields of Anfield Road on Friday.  It was the eve of the new season and we all knew about the Barça bids for Coutinho and the players desire to go to Cataluña.  The club had said no deal regardless but then Coutinho who was reported as being unfit for duty because of a bad back announced to the world he wanted a transfer and emailed the club requesting one.  Meanwhile his family [allegedly] said Liverpool don’t let players go amicably and cited Luis Suárez and Steven Gerrard.  It was all well and good them telling us how Coutinho loved the fans and the club but handing in – or emailing – a transfer request of the eve of the season smacked of someone who couldn’t give a toss about the fans or the club.

There can be no doubt as soon as the Neymar business began Coutinho would be earmarked by Barça as one possible replacement.  Players don’t have loyalty in great abundance these days although there may be a few still dotted around.  Neymar wasn’t considering the Barça position when he made it clear he was off and Coutinho isn’t in the slightest way bothered about what happens next at Liverpool if, and more likely when, he goes.  If this had occurred in May or June, our club could have got someone lined up but twenty four hours before the opening game and a crucial early season period coming up hasn’t left the club with many options but to try and stall things.  He’s not only upset the fans, he’s disrupted the club and possibly even the dressing room although his teammates usually know what’s going on anyway, maybe even before the club.

Jürgen has surely got enough on his plate trying to sort out the messed up defensive situations that should have been sorted a long time ago without having to think about who’s left in the market place to replace Coutinho?  As for the player if he does have any feelings for the club and the fans he would at least give us another year but I suppose his bank balance would be better if he went to Spain.  Barcelona’s always going to be a Champions League club but are they moving forward at the moment or slipping a bit further behind Real Madrid?  If they see Coutinho as the player who can get them going again then we know how much they got for Neymar so maybe we should be asking for nearly all their money from that deal for his replacement?  For Liverpool to find a suitable replacement at short notice won’t be cheap either.

Mind you, the club spent a good deal of time on Thursday telling us we’ve now got a shirt sleeve sponsor so goody goody.

Meanwhile after suffering the torment of another defensive nightmare I thought back to Danny Ings on Friday and what a contrast in attitudes.

 

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Watford 3 Liverpool 3

A banquet at one end, a dog’s dinner at the other.  There will be many descriptions of our opening day show but they will just about all focus on the same issues that dogged us from Brendan Rodger’s time to now.  If Jürgen is happy with his defensive options maybe we should ask if he’s happy with his defensive coaches.  Someone somewhere is getting something wrong.  Even allowing for the fact the third Watford goal shouldn’t have been given, the ball should have been dealt with just like the one for the first goal should and maybe even the second as well.  Somebody commented last week about an air of anxiety around our support whenever the opposition have a corner and it’s true but not just when the opposition have a corner, it’s when they get into our half.

On the other hand Salah and Firmino looked good, Manè did as well.  Going forward we look like we could be a goal scoring machine but how many will we need to ensure we can finish with three points?

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Liverpool 3 Bilbao 1

The sun shone in Dublin, Jurgen sounded happy, the 51,000 crowd sounded happy and the two second half goals that clinched the win made everybody watching on telly happy. Woodburn and Solanke could cause a few defences problems in a season or two…god knows how much they’ll be worth then? A Firmino pen gave us the lead but the old issues at the back still look cause for concern and you’ll need a lot of paper to cover those cracks!!!!

 

Liverpool 1 Atletico Madrid 1 [Lost on pens]

I didn’t take the penalty shoot out loss against Atlético as a defeat I saw it as a run out for those on the fringe.  Playing two games in the space of a day wasn’t a good idea and it was pedestrian stuff most of the time.  Jürgen keeps saying we should defend better and about a million or more Reds agree.   You’re talking to the converted, don’t tell us, tell them.

 

Bayern Munich 0 Liverpool 3

It’s hard to believe we went to the Allianz Arena and strolled to a three-nil win over the might of Bayern Munich.  Hard to believe but that’s what we did.  It’s still pick and mix time for teams in these pre-season games but when I looked at our starting eleven, especially the attacking players ours didn’t look bad.  Naturally when I viewed the back line and goalkeeper there was some trepidation but after it was over I couldn’t help but think why has it taken Alberto Moreno so long to actually look like a footballer?  Trent Alexander-Arnold [TAA] has a few defensive limitations but he was basically a kid coping with international footballers and not looking too fazed by it all.  If only he had a Carra there helping him with his education?  Maybe it was because we had Henderson and Can as a bit of a shield but Matip and Lovren didn’t do a bad job against players that have struck fear into many over the past few seasons.  We picked holes in Bayern’s defence and the margin of victory was justified.  Sad that Sturridge picked up a niggle type injury and he won’t be around tonight for the game against Atlético – it must have hurt he didn’t do his dance after scoring.  I still believe we need a good full back and central defender but that’s down to the club but last night in Munich it was our football that lit up the skies after the thunderstorm.

Hertha Berlin 0 Liverpool 3

Friendly matches can sometimes be deceiving but there were signs again against Hertha Berlin that Liverpool have an abundance of attacking options the like of which we haven’t seen for many a year. The Germans had a decent season last time around but it’s hard to gauge what level they are currently at but nevertheless in the first half, in fact for an hour Liverpool looked a class above them and the three goal margin after that time could well have been doubled. Solanke scored again and if nothing else he seems to know where he should be when in and around the penalty area. Wijnaldum got on the score sheet even though we weren’t playing around the fields of Anfield Road but the icing on the top of a delicious cake was the third goal scored by Mohamed Salah.  It must have had just about everybody of the red persuasion purring. The Coutinho pass and then the finish – look it was a friendly but class is class. Salah does look value for money but defenders in the Premier Division can be a bit brutal so we shall have to wait and see. However, the Brazilian Magician and our new recruit almost seem telepathic. All that remains is to see is if the club can hold their nerve as the drumbeats from Barça get ever louder. Robertson did a decent job on his first appearance and although it’s not a hard task, he does look a better bet than Moreno. When I looked at the defensive line-up I admit to having a cringe or two but we got away with it and Gomez didn’t do a bad job. However I thought Matip looked ill at ease at times and this is an area that should have been sorted by now. We can’t go into the new campaign with Lovren, Matip and Klavan as our choice of central defenders. No doubt Bayern will be a different quality; it’s their ground, their competition and we should learn a lot more from the games in Munich than we have done anywhere so far.