Liverpool set for a quiet summer – Midfielders

Jurgen Klopp

Today, we continue our look at the Liverpool squad and just how well-equipped the Merseyside club is to launch another title challenge in 2019/20.

Yesterday, we examined the defensive area of the squad. Now it’s time to look at the midfielders at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal.

Midfielders

Fabinho – after a very gradual introduction to first-team football in England, Fabinho has gone on to prove himself to be a top-level defensive midfielder who was pivotal in The Reds’ Champions League success this season. Continue reading

Liverpool set for a quiet summer – Goalkeepers and Defenders

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool fans everywhere will be excited about what the 2019/20 campaign has in store for them.

The Reds battled with Manchester City for the Premier League title right up until the final day of the season. In the end, they fell just one point short of Pep Guardiola’s sky-blue machine.

In Europe, Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp tasted success, however. Klopp’s men beat Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side 2-0 in Madrid to lift the club’s sixth European Cup trophy. Continue reading

Juventus are not at the level to get Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp

KLOPP(1)

Juventus reportedly would like Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to take over the side next season after the old lady sacked Massimo Allegri last week, but it seems like Juventus are sprinting before they can walk.

Klopp himself was asked if the story was true to which he replied ”bull****”. But went on to say that he loves Italy and follows Serie A. While the story of Klopp going to Juventus might be simply fabrication, even if it was true one must understand that Juventus simply are not in that position to lure Klopp away.

If anybody thought that way then they do not understand the power and awe that Klopp holds at Liverpool. Despite not winning a trophy at the club yet the club and fans love him for his brand of attacking football and never say die attitude. For this alone he is the perfect manager for Liverpool. And at Liverpool he is more than just the boss, at Juventus he would be seen as just another.

But even if Klopp did want to leave which is far from the truth why would he leave an exciting team like Liverpool who would have appeared in back to back Champions League finals just to go to Juventus who have not won the competition since 1996? True the club will be outstanding favourites to win another Serie A title next season but it will be their 9th in a row if they do so. That is a fantastic achievement but at the same time Klopp will understand that he would be leaving the most competitive league in Europe in the Premier League.

Juventus are a fantastic club with massive potential who have incredible match winning players and of course have Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks. But at the same time they are not on that ‘winning’ level of Liverpool at this time. A decade ago it may have made more sense if Klopp had made the switch, now it seems to make very little sense.

At Liverpool there is the chase and desire to win their first league title since 1990, it would of course mean so much more than winning a 9th league title in a row and so even if the story was true Klopp would not be leaving Liverpool to join Juventus. Indeed one could see Klopp at the Reds for the next 10 years or so, as he tries to go down as one of the clubs best loved managers. He is on the right road.

Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Alisson

Alisson-diving(1)

Though Liverpool did not win the league in the end it was by the narrowest of margins and while the whole team shined in their respective positions, a lot has to be owed to goalkeeper Alisson who kept the Reds in contention right up to the final 70 minutes of the league season.

Jurgen Klopp spent almost £67m on the Brazilian shot stopper which for a small time became the world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. It was broken by Chelsea when they signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71m. However it was Alisson that emerged from the Premier League season as the best goalkeeper in England if not Europe.

Liverpool were attracted to the services of Alisson after they met his then side Roma in last seasons Champions League semi-finals. Ironically Liverpool put 7 goals past the Romans, but Klopp could see the wider picture which included Alisson keeping 22 clean sheets for Roma that season in Serie A.

Alisson’s competitive debut started off in style as he kept a clean sheet in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of West Ham. Alisson would go on to play every league game of the campaign for Liverpool which was by far their most successful season since winning the league title in 1990.

As far as clean sheets were concerned Alisson did not concede in goal for Liverpool’s first three games of the season. Overall he helped keep 21 clean sheets for the Reds in a remarkable season that saw Liverpool reach 97 points and lose just 1 game and still not win the league. However his 21 clean sheets was the best record in the league with Manchester City’s Ederson coming in 2nd with 20.

Alisson did not pick up any players of the month awards but these are usually given to strikers and this was the case again this season when 8 of the 9 awards went to forwards. The only exception being Virgil van Dijk, Alisson’s Liverpool teammate.

With 22 goals conceded Liverpool shipped the least amount of goals in the league beating eventual champions Manchester City by one goal. And in the Champions League, Alisson has played every game so far, with the final coming up against Tottenham on Saturday. He was able to keep a further 2 clean sheets from 6 group games played. In the knock out stages he kept clean sheets in the home games v Bayern Munich, Porto and Barcelona.

For all leagues in European Fantasy Football goalkeepers Alisson is ranked as number 1 and earned 136 points over the season. He finished 6 points clear of Manchester City’s Ederson. His discipline was also very good with just 1 yellow card shown during the whole season. At this time Alisson is valued at 10m to bring into your team. It is inevitable that the Brazilian will be at Liverpool for many more years and he has proved this season that he is amongst the world’s finest goalkeepers.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best Premier League Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now!

 

 

 

Why Liverpool need to spend this summer

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool transfer window

After the season Liverpool had the temptation will be for everyone to sit back and admire their work. That temptation will only increase should they taste success in the Champions League final against Tottenham.

And few could blame them for doing so. A record points haul, the most managed by any team to finish second no less, one defeat all season and several individual awards all tell the tale of an incredible campaign. They also show that this Liverpool squad is one that doesn’t need significant work anymore.

For the first time in Jurgen Klopp’s reign, there is little improvement to be made. This is a squad full of talent and showed it last season. Continue reading

No shame in second for Liverpool

Liverpool second Premier League Klopp Van Dijk Robertson Salah Mane

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

Liverpool must continue on their path of relentless improvement

In any other season, with the exception of last season, Liverpool would have been champions. In fact, had they registered their tally of 97 points in any other Premier League campaign besides the last two, Jurgen Klopp’s side would have been the strongest in the history of the division, at least numerically.

Liverpool fans don’t need another message of consolation reminding them of just how unfortunate they were to finish such an astonishing season second to Manchester City. There has been enough of those over the past couple days. This doesn’t help to ease the pain in any way.

jurgen-klopp-liverpool-southampton_3368627

The Anfield side must use that pain to continue to improve, though. Of course, they still have a Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur to look forward to, but when that matter has been settled and pre-season begins again there will be no doubting Liverpool’s aim for the campaign ahead – win the Premier League title.

Last year, they identified deficiencies in their squad, in goals, at centre back and in the centre of midfield, and so Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho were all swiftly signed for something close to a combined £200 million. All three players have since delivered on their promise, even if Fabinho took a little longer to find his feet at his new club.

It’s this sort of ruthless drive that will be required again this summer if Liverpool are to draw Manchester City in at the top of the English game. They could still use another centre back, for instance, so they aren’t so reliant on Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren when Joe Gomez isn’t available. Matthijs de Ligt has been linked, with the Dutchman certainly fitting the bill of a signing that screams ambition. The Ajax teenager might, however, be an unrealistic target with Barcelona expected to complete a deal soon.

Depth is also required in the attacking third. Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge have performed adequately enough in the recent absence of Roberto Firmino, but there has been an element of fluke to their goals. Liverpool must look to add depth, perhaps in the form of someone like Thorgan Hazard or Timo Werner, not just to provide options, but to press existing attackers to new levels. Liverpool’s season might have ended in disappointment, but they must use that to go even further next season.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

Money wasn’t key to Manchester City’s title win over Liverpool- Pep Guardiola was

pep(1)

Congratulations to Manchester City for winning back to back titles for the first time in the history of the club. They were tested until the very final moments of the season over 9 long months and this title win will be extra special given just how strong Liverpool were.

City needed to win their last 14 games in a row which is a staggering achievement to fend off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team and finished with 98 points, the records and plaudits will keep on coming for a very special side.

Of course money has changed the club from a side who just a decade ago were struggling in the lower leagues, being the reliable other half of Manchester who would gain promotion only to fight relegation season after season. An odd victory over a top 4 side was deemed as the best it could get once upon a time for City. So since the cash injection earlier this decade, the trophies have followed.

However this season and the way that City won it was down to Pep Guardiola’s guidance. Yes it is easy to criticise him, he seems to only go to the biggest clubs with the largest wallets. But to win this season and take the title from the hands of Liverpool (remember at the turn of the year Liverpool,had a 7 point advantage) to do that was down to skilful man management. This is where Guardiola earned his money this season.

It is obvious that Guardiola sits one on one with his players and has turned many of them from very good players to world class ones. Look at how Raheem Sterling has come on in the past 18 months, the change has been massive. And not only does Guardiola make players better, he shares what Arsene Wenger did when he first came to Arsenal in that he impacts players personal lives too, from dieting to their psychological positive input. It means that when City were under pressure to win games, they just kept on rolling out the wins, whatever Liverpool can do we can do just that little better, that was the message here.

For Liverpool you wonder what will happen next, 29 years for a title now and when you finish on 97 points and have lost just 1 game the whole season which was against City, you wonder what else you have to do to get that title. Most seasons that points haul would have easily have been enough to win the title. Next season how do Liverpool approach it, more of the same, but they have such a great rival to contend with.

The good news for the Reds is that they have the Champions League final against Tottenham as a consolation. Surely it would be unthinkable to have Liverpool end the season with nothing again after their heroics over the past year, but you never know.

Jurgen Klopp has eradicated Liverpool’s inferiority complex

What value can be put on belief? It is one of those great sporting intangibles, along with team spirit and character, but anyone who doubted its worth at the elite level of football had their views challenged by what happened at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Statistics tell the tale of a game Liverpool deserved to win. They had more shots than Barcelona on the night and claimed a greater share of the territory despite the Catalans boasting a larger share of the possession. But what Jurgen Klopp’s side did on Tuesday night cannot be quantified in such a way. It was down to something else. Something that’s a bit more difficult to grasp.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Barcelona Champions League

For years, decades even, this great intangible seemed to be against Liverpool. Even when Anfield bore witness to great teams, like the ones assembled by Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers, there was a gnawing sense of fatalism that all to frequently seeped into the players on the pitch. Their challenges almost always ended in glorious failure.

Of course, might contest that Liverpool’s recent successes have come as the result of a never say die attitude – see Istanbul and that Steven Gerrard stunner against West Ham in the FA Cup final. But even in these moments, Liverpool possessed an inferiority complex. If anything, these comebacks only served to accentuate further their complex. They saw themselves as underdogs.

There was something different about Liverpool’s Champions League semi final turnaround against Barcelona, though. Klopp’s men felt slighted by the heavy defeat suffered in the first leg. They believed themselves to be Barca’s equals and that shone through in the way they took the game to the Catalans on Tuesday night.

In the context of this season’s Premier League title race, Liverpool are still underdogs. They have pulled off countless comebacks, scoring several late goals to keep themselves within touching distance of Manchester City at the top of the table. With just one game left, Liverpool are just one City slip up away from being crowned English champions for the first time in a generation.

Liverpool already have a Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur to look forward to. In that game, they will be favourites. In years gone by, that might have posed them a problem, given their inferiority complex. Under Klopp, however, Liverpool have eradicated that mindset.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

Barcelona victory proves Klopp status among football’s best

 Jurgen Klopp Liverpool

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