Jurgen Klopp churned out the dreaded quote earlier this summer about Liverpool’s stars who are returning from injury can be like new signings for the club.
Much of the LFC fanbase seemed to go into meltdown on social media. Fans were calling for FSG’s heads, claiming the club is in the best financial state it’s ever been in and, therefore, need to be splashing the cash to keep pace with Premier League champions Manchester City.
Well, what if Klopp is right? What if, just for a few minutes, we take a step back and consider what he was saying and who he was saying it about? Continue reading →
England produced one of the biggest surprises of the international week by coming from a goal down to beat Croatia 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday.
It looked as though the Three Lions were going to be relegated when they trailed with 12 minutes to go, but late goals from Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane ensured that Gareth Southgate’s side qualified for next summer’s Nations League semi-finals.
Liverpool’s surprise defeat to Swansea City on Monday night has, for the first time, exemplified that life without the playmaking exploits of Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho may not be plain sailing for the Merseysiders.
Although Klopp still has possession of a number of top names for the forward positions, it is difficult to point to one that has the specific skillset of the little magician during the build-up of attacking movements – especially his consistency when it comes to creating goal scoring opportunities for either himself or his team mates.
Whilst Mo Salah has contributed 18 goals and six assists on his way to 100 points thus far across the season, the loss of such a talented player during a pivotal period of the season represents a significant blow for the side – especially with their rivals either retaining or quickly replacing their star performers. Continue reading →
Leicester City’s recent form has been abysmal and they face a crucial ten days that will give us a better idea of where they really are at the moment. The reigning Premier League champions face Millwall in the FA Cup this weekend, followed up by a Champions League match against an in-form Sevilla side, and to top it all off they have to Liverpool next weekend as they resume their ‘defence’ of the Premier League.
It took Leicester City two attempts to overcome Derby County in the last round of the FA Cup, and even then they needed goals in extra time from Ndidi and Gray to secure their place in the next round and a tie against Millwall. The London side easily disposed of Bournemouth in the last round, running out 3-0 winners at the New Den and they will fancy their chances of an upset here. The League One side are in top form at the moment and are unbeaten in their last twelve matches with eight wins and four draws.
After the FA Cup tie, Leicester make the trip to Spain to take on a Sevilla side who are currently sitting 3rd in La Liga. Leicester’s away form has been nothing short of atrocious and they have still to win on the road in the Premier League this season. They lost 5-0 to Porto in the group stages of the Champions League although to be fair, they had already qualified from their group. Unless they are at the very top of their game and return to the form that saw them win the Premier League with relative ease last season, Sevilla will dismantle them with ease, and another heavy defeat may well be on the cards.
The final game in this crucial trio of games they face a Liverpool side who returned to form last weekend with an impressive 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur with a double from Sadio Mane. Liverpool have already thrashed Leicester 4-1 this season at home with Firminho, Mane and Lallana all scoring and a defeat here could see the champions fall into the relegation zone for the first time this season, depending on results elsewhere.
So, realistically, by Monday of next week, Leicester City could be out of the FA Cup, The Champions League and in the relegation zone of the Premier League. Has there ever been a turnaround of events like this in football?
Reports from the England camp are raising suspicions that Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana could be in the starting eleven to face Russia on Saturday, relegating Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy to the bench. England manager Roy Hodgson has been reticent to start with two strikers in a central role due to the strain in puts on the midfield, and it may see him instead utilising Vardy as an impact player against Russia.
England are desperate to get off to a winning start in their first Euro 2016 clash, Hodgson may be putting his head over his and supporters’ hearts by opting for a more pragmatic lineup. Adam Lallana is a favourite of Hodgson’s due to his outstanding awareness and ball retention. He doesn’t have the athleticism of Vardy, but is a hard-worker and will be more disciplined in a wider role than the Leicester man.
With the highly-attacking fullback Kyle Walker expected to start at right-back, England will need somebody industrious who is willing to cover in defence, and Lallana has certainly had more practice in the role than Vardy has for England. It’s a potential decision that will turn the heat on Hodgson should it backfire, but the reasons behind Lallana’s inclusion are solid. Vardy being an impact player is still a role in the squad, and something that might benefit his particular skill set.
The Three Lions boss has faced calls to start Tottenham’s Harry Kane alongside Vardy up front, while Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney plays just in behind the duo, but the chemistry wasn’t present when used against Australia. It’s likely to see Hodgson adopting a more well-known formation to avoid any unnecessary gambles. England could name a number of combinations of personnel to earn a win against Russia this weekend, so Hodgson might argue he doesn’t need to have his two best strikers on the pitch from the off.
Jamie Vardy boasts excessive pace and work rate, and would certainly be effective harming tiring defences late in the game. Even if only given 20-30 minutes in the second-half, he could really hurt teams if they are giving him the ball at every opportunity. England’s starting eleven will be full of attacking players all across the park, so a more disciplined and patient player like Adam Lallana will be important to help keep the side’s balance.
Who will get the nod against Russia on Saturday? Will it be Lallana over Vardy?