Bill Shankly famously said that finishing second is nothing. Even he, though, would have been tempted to revise that statement when discussing this current Liverpool team. Describing this team as failures would be cruel in the extreme.
While the overarching desire is to look back at this past season and mourn the death of another potential title win, the reaction should be the opposite. Liverpool should be celebrating a glorious campaign and the fact that it happened in the first place. Jurgen Klopp’s side have impressed beyond belief over the past year. Suggestions that they have done anything but succeed this season are not worth listening to. Klopp will certainly be sharing that message among his group. Continue reading →
Basking in the glory of the win over Barcelona, it’s fair to say Jurgen Klopp’s standing has been higher. Victory over Messi and co confirmed the Liverpool manager’s status as one of the best in world football.
Look around Europe’s top five leagues, and there is an argument there is nobody better than he. Pep Guardiola is the obvious rival, He continues to shine with Manchester City and is one of the greatest coaches of his generation. Yet, his team are only one point ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League. They lagged far behind them in the Champions League. Klopp has matched and outperformed Guardiola at times this season. The win over Barcelona was another example of the world-class coach he is. Continue reading →
As Lionel Messi carved his way past Liverpool on Wednesday evening, there was little Jurgen Klopp could do but watch and wonder. It was a feeling that was passing its way through his entire team.
The best-laid plans of the German and his team had all failed to help them find their way beyond La Liga’s champions. For much of the game, Liverpool had matched Barcelona, and in some cases, they had bettered them. The difference, though, was Messi.
As has often been the case in the Champions League, the Argentine had decided this would be Barca’s evening. And when he decides that, that is what usually happens. Messi, in such mood, is a force of nature. Some would call him Biblical.
In any other year, Virgil van Dijk would be walking away with the Player of the Year awards. Unfortunately for him this season, Raheem Sterling has gone the extra mile.
While Sterling has had a sensational season on the pitch, playing a pivotal role for Manchester City and becoming their star man under Pep Guardiola, he has also shone off of it. In the face of virulent racism and horrendous abuse, Sterling has stood up and made himself be counted.
He has sparked a fierce and long overdue debate surrounding racism in this country and what needs to be done about it. He is now the poster boy for the movement for change, speaking sense and shaming those who deserve to be. Continue reading →
Ask Jurgen Klopp to choose between winning the Premier League and the Champions League, and he’s unlikely to give you a definitive answer. It’s a decision the Liverpool manager may have to make soon, though.
With the season in its final stages, Liverpool find themselves as serious contenders for both trophies. Their win over Porto over two legs has set up a semi-final meeting with Barcelona. Meanwhile, in the Premier League, they find themselves top of the table, two points clear of Manchester City with four games left to play.
Not since 1984 have they found themselves in this situation. They finished that campaign as English champions and European champions.
Midway through Liverpool’s routine win over Porto on Tuesday evening, Jordan Henderson did something that goes against his nature; he played the ball forward.
That may seem a little bit cruel on the Liverpool captain, but it’s something that he’s needed to add to his game for some time. Deployed in a deeper role for the Reds, and England, Henderson has adapted his game in recent years. Rather than playing as the box-to-box midfielder, he was once was, he’s been asked to sit back and dictate tempo.
That has often led to Henderson playing it safe, preferring to pass the ball backward or sideways and leaving the defense-splitting passes to those in front of him. As a result, criticism has often been forthcoming. Continue reading →
It’s rare that two of the Premier League’s best players in a single position can be found playing on opposite halves of the same city. Yet, for Merseyside that is the case this season. Everton’s Lucas Digne and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson are both staking a claim to be the best left-backs in the division.
On the blue half of the city, there is Digne. The Frenchman arrived from Barcelona in the summer as a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines. That was an unenviable task given the status Baines had built for himself over 11 years at the club. It’s one Digne has completed in just under a year. If you need an example of how good he is, just head to statistics website WhoScored. Continue reading →
By the time the summer transfer window opens, Philippe Coutinho will have been at Barcelona for 19 months. That period has not been a happy one for him at the Nou Camp.
Coutinho’s dream move to Barcelona turned sour quickly, and he has struggled to pick up from that point. The midfielder has never looked at home in Spain. Nor has he looked like he could live up to the expectations placed upon him.
He arrived at the club as a potential long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta, but that was an unrealistic expectation in the first place. Coutinho is not happy nor capable of playing as part of a central three. He has he been a productive player out wide, either.
To paraphrase Jamie Carragher, nobody wants to be a full back. Players like Trent Alexander-Arnold are going a long way to changing that notion. Despite being 20-years-old, the Liverpool full-back is fast on his way to becoming the best in the Premier League.
Since breaking into the team three years ago, Alexander-Arnold has not looked back. The intervening years have seen him develop drastically under Jurgen Klopp’s careful tutelage.
Three years on from his debut he’s the Reds undisputed first choice at right back, and it won’t be long before he holds that status on the international stage as well. This season has been his best so far and feels like a sign of things to come.One goal and six assists in 27 games mean he has matched his total from last season. Continue reading →
Few central defenders keep Robert Lewandowski completely quiet. There’s even fewer who do it in the manner in which Virgil van Dijk did on Wednesday.
Rio Ferdinand may think otherwise, but the evidence has become compelling, Van Dijk is the best central defender in world football. The giant Dutchman is yet to put a foot wrong since arriving at Anfield for a world-record fee.
Plenty raised their eyebrows when Liverpool paid £75 million for his services, questioning whether he was actually good enough to warrant such a fee. The doubts were raised as a result of his nondescript performances for Southampton in the months leading up to the move. Continue reading →