First things first, this was a very difficult decision. I know that apart from two certain players, most people will not agree with the team I have chosen. It took me a good few days of mulling over who should go where and which players should be in there. Trust me, there are many great players left out of this XI but personally I think this is the strongest team chosen. Anyway, to the team!
So the XI is mainly comprised of players who have accomplished great things with Liverpool and have made a long lasting impact. In addition, there are players who have not necessarily won things but have endeared themselves to the fans and fitting in to the moniker of ‘unsung hero’.
Pepe Reina – Goalkeeper
To kick things off is Jose Manuel ‘Pepe’ Reina. At the moment, the last in a long list of brilliant Liverpool goalkeepers. Ever present between the sticks for eight years now, the Spaniard replaced Jerzy Dudek back in 2005 when he was brought in from Villarreal by Rafa Benitez and won a Super Cup and FA Cup in his first season. A fine shot stopper and a penalty- saving specialist, he has kept over 100 clean sheets in over 200 Premier League games for the Reds. In addition, Reina has won three consecutive golden glove awards for Liverpool and made many world class saves along the way. By far the best Liverpool goalkeeper of the Premier League era and one of the world’s best today.
Rob Jones – Right-back
Although his career was unfortunately cut short at the age of 27 due to a persistent knee injury, Rob Jones is a player that many fans would admit they haven’t heard of or if they have, only very briefly. However, throughout the nineties, Rob Jones established himself as Liverpool’s first choice right-back after signing from Fourth Division Crewe for £300,000 in 1991. His debut, against Manchester United consisted of suppressing the threat of a young Ryan Giggs which he did well. In addition, Jones earned a handful of caps for England although he may have earned more had he not been injured during Euro 92. Players such as Steve McManaman and Jamie Carragher noted how well the full-back was going forward while also continuing defensive duties. A regular starter, he was also adaptable, capable of moving over to left-back whenever Jason McAteer was deployed on the right. Due to many injuries and Gerard Houllier wanting end the so called ‘Spice Boys’ culture, Jones was sold to West Ham where his playing career ended. Jones was the unsung hero in a team with many stars but was a mainstay and popular amongst many.
Jamie Carragher – Centre-back
Jamie Carragher, one of the greatest servants of Liverpool Football Club, in addition to being the second longest serving player after Ian Callaghan, he made his 737th and final appearance on the last day of the 2012/13 season. A defender who actually started out as a striker, Carragher proved very versatile during the start of his career, playing mostly as right-back even earning his first club player of the year award in 1999. Although he was a mainstay in the treble-winning side under Houllier, Carragher was rarely played as centre-back until the 2004/05 season and the appointment of Rafa Benitez. This proved successful as Carragher and Sami Hyppia formed a strong defensive line that helped Liverpool win the Champions League and FA Cup. Also, Carragher on many occasions has proved inspiring, the leader with and without Steven Gerrard, his heroics in Istanbul are forever etched in the minds of every Liverpudlian. Although his form dipped slightly later on, Carragher still drew praise with Liverpool legend Tommy Smith stating that Carragher is one of the few players today who could cope back in his era. As a player, Carragher is part of a dying breed. The one club man, his illustrious career came to an end just last season. To play for one team as long as Carragher is a credit to himself and his trophy haul reflects that. Truly the best Liverpool defender for a generation.
Sami Hyypia – Centre-back
‘Big Sami’ is fondly remembered by Liverpool fans for his work rate and presence at the back and also being very intimidating to the opposition. He remained loyal to Liverpool for ten years, forming defensive partnerships with both Stephane Henchoz and Jamie Carragher. Hyypia will go down as a legend and one of the best foreigners to grace the Premier League and no one would think that Sami was plucked from lowly Dutch team Willem II for a paltry £2.6 million. A fee Liverpool legend Ron Yeats couldn’t believe we paid! Even relatively early on in his Liverpool career, the big Finn was entrusted with the captain’s armband whenever Jamie Redknapp or Robbie Fowler couldn’t play and upon their departures, he was made permanent captain. As well as Liverpool captain, Hyypia has captained the Finland national team while also representing his nation over 100 times. In addition, ‘Big Sami’ has been as effective at the opposite end of the field as he has in his own, netting 35 goals. Not a bad return for defender. His most memorable probably being that brilliant volley against Juventus in the quarter final of the Champions League. Many believe, I included that like the Carraghers and Gerrards of this world, Hyypia is the embodiment of Liverpool. Even after he finished playing for Liverpool, he was offered a role on the coaching staff. However Hyypia turned this down and has gone on to have a successful managerial role at Bayer Leverkusen. Hopefully he’ll return one day.
John Arne Riise – Left-back
Although his formed dipped towards the end of his Liverpool career and ultimately cost him his place, the Norwegian will be remembered for that very powerful left strike. Having arrived from Monaco in 2001 for £4 million, Riise quickly established himself as first choice left-back for a number of years. He did swap between defence and midfield, proving capable in both positions and contributing to the win in Istanbul by providing the assist for the first goal in the comeback. Although not as highly regarded as others in this team, he was still a fan favourite. The fans though were not enough to help Riise recover his form and he was sold to Roma in 2008. Although, he never performed consistently, Riise was a great left-back and this was highlighted by Liverpool’s failure to replace him until the arrival of Jose Enrique.
Dirk Kuyt – Right-midfield
“Constantly racing up and down his right flank, making runs, tracking back, harrying opponents and generally battling to create space.” This is just one description of Dirk Kuyt, an engine that just won’t stop, persistent, energetic, the ‘energizer bunny’. He is someone willing to give his all. Initially brought in from Feyenoord by Benitez to partner up with another new signing, Craig Bellamy, Kuyt gradually moved over to playing on the right side with the arrival of Fernando Torres the season after. Although, he lacked pace, Kuyt used his stamina to wear the opposition down and contributed with assists as well as scoring a fair few himself. Kuyt was already a fan favourite but he endeared himself to the Liverpool faithful even more by scoring a hat-trick against fierce rivals Manchester United in 2011. A year later, Kuyt’s six years of hard work finally paid off and he was rewarded with a League Cup victory. Kuyt’ work ethic should’ve won him more but it was not to be. Since then, he has enjoyed another season of football with Fenerbahce.
Steven Gerrard – Centre-midfield
Well this man without a doubt was going to be in the team wasn’t he? Second only to King Kenny in numerous greatest player lists, Gerrard has been described as the ultimate midfielder by many of his peers. From Zinedine Zidane to Pele, Gerrard has been lauded by everybody. Both England and Liverpool captain, Gerrard is the ultimate embodiment of Liverpool. One of his many notable achievements is being the only player to score in a League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup/Europa League, and Champion’s League final. His leadership skills as a captain are unchallenged and Gerrard has won every club honour available to him bar the Premier League title. In addition, he has won numerous individual awards including PFA Player of the Year Award in 2006 after his heroics in the FA Cup final. That’s another thing; Gerrard has proved the difference on many occasions when others have fallen behind. Having made over 600 appearances for Liverpool too, like Carragher, a one club man. Gerrard has the qualities of many of the players in this team and then some. A defensive rock like Carragher when needed, a leader like Hyypia, a great striker of the ball like Riise, as energetic as Kuyt, a midfield lynchpin like Alonso and a goal scorer with the same finishing as strikers, Gerrard can do all of this and in one game too. I know I haven’t spoken much about any particular games, but we all know what he can do. He was number one when starting this team, Captain Fantastic, Stevie G.
Xabi Alonso – Centre-midfield
I think it’s safe to say the departure of Xabi Alonso in 2009 contributed heavily to Liverpool’s form over recent years and the impact of that highlights how much of a pivotal player Alonso was to Liverpool. Alonso was part of the ‘Spanish revolution’ started by new manager Rafael Benitez when he signed him in 2004 along with fellow Spaniards, Luis Garcia, Josemi and Antonio Nunez. Known for his possession play and wonderful vision, Alonso was able to keep the ball long enough and well enough to provide assists from deep in his own half. With all this combined, Alonso has scored many spectacular goals, two games stand out however; one against Newcastle in the league and the other, a year before against Luton in Liverpool’s victorious FA Cup campaign. Towards the end of his Liverpool career however, Alonso fell out of favour with Liverpool boss Benitez, who was courting Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry. Alonso eventually grew tired and Real Madrid offered £30 million for his services. After 210 appearances for Liverpool, the Spaniard sadly departed. He hasn’t looked back though, forming part of the title winning Madrid side. Forever loved by the fans, Alonso has flirted with the possibility of returning either as a player or maybe a manager?
Steve McManaman – Left-midfield
Probably one of, if not the best Liverpool player of the nineties, I simply didn’t know which position to put him in! However, he’s in a position in which he started his career – on the wing. Known for his mazy runs and versatility around the pitch, combined with the ability to pop up with goals from anywhere, McManaman was highly coveted during his time at Liverpool and was one the most important players in a team that came painfully close to winning the league and that won the FA Cup League Cup in 1992 and ‘95 respectively. He did replicate this form for England at Euro 96 but not to the extent of his club form. His link up play with fellow scouser, Robbie Fowler gave Liverpool fans some positives in an otherwise disappointing baron spell. Ultimately it seemed as though McManaman wanted to run his contract down and try pastures new. "This was a big, major important contract and if I were to sign for Liverpool, a 3, 4, 5 year deal, it would’ve taken me into my early thirties and I don’t think I’d have played abroad then," However, his decision proved successful and McManaman went on to win numerous trophies with Real Madrid. "And it was something that if I didn’t do now, at 35, 36 I’d look back and would’ve regretted it I think and I don’t want that to happen."
Robbie Fowler – Centre-forward
The most prolific Liverpool striker since Ian Rush and the fourth highest scorer in Premier League history, ‘God’ is his nickname and scoring a lot of goals his game. Robbie Fowler has broken many records since pulling on a Liverpool shirt all the back in 1992. Quickest player to score a Premier League hat-trick (4 minutes 33 seconds), voted PFA Young Player of the Year in successive seasons (1995 & 1996), he also remains the only player to have scored 30 plus goals in his first three full seasons in England scoring 98 goals with a total of 116 in 3 and a half years, something not even equalled in other top leagues. He was a natural finisher, ‘The Toxteth Predator’. He knew where the goal was and scored in many famous games, namely his debut, numerous hat –tricks and the two 4-3 games against Newcastle. Fowler was also part of the treble winning side of 2001 but only featured sparsely. That’s where things started to turn, with Gerard Houllier preferring Michael Owen and Emile Heskey up front. Also, there was a widely reported bust up with assistant manager Phil Thompson that didn’t help. Fowler’s appearances began to decrease and soon it looked as though he would be leaving. The transfer finally occurred, with ‘God’ completing a £12 million switch to Leeds, much to the dismay of fans and Fowler himself. He claimed that he was forced out by management. Fowler continued with Leeds and then Manchester City where he was reunited with Steve McManaman until finally the day came when Fowler returned back to Liverpool in 2006. Although not as successful as his first spell at the club, Fowler contributed mostly in cup campaigns and ended on a high note. All in all, the best Liverpool striker of the Premier League era with 183 goals in 369 games.
Fernando Torres – Striker
Controversial choice I know, even I had my doubts. However, the quickest Liverpool player to 50 goals ahead of Rush, Fowler and co. is no mean feat. And hey, at least we made a tidy profit on the Spaniard. Torres was also the first player since Fowler to score over 20 league goals in a season. In his second season also, he was named third in the World Player of Year, falling short only to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Torres made such an impact that only a year and a half into his Anfield career, The Times named him as one of Liverpool’s top 50 players. Torres continued putting the goals away, even though Liverpool finished a disappointing 7th in 2010. It was next season when new manager Roy Hodgson came in that Torres began to lack performance and it showed. His final goal came against Wolves in 4-1 win. After that, the transfer that has tarnished his reputation was forced though on the final day with Chelsea securing his services for £50 million.
So that’s my Premier League XI. In case anyone was wondering, my substitutes are Jerzy Dudek, Steve Finnan, Daniel Agger, Ian Rush, Dietmar Hamann, Luis Suarez and Michael Owen.
Agree? Disagree? Tweet me and comment your XI!
Chris McConville - @McConville
Design by @Dianqamajaya
Quick, unpredictable; underrated. Three words that spring to mind when I think of Liverpool's new attacker Iago Aspas. The Spanish forward has been compared to Messi and linked with Luis Suarez's creative playing style, yet his passion and drive for his football gives him the certain edge that turned the heads of certain Red's scouts. So, is he the no.9 we've been waiting for?
A consistent bright spot for Celta Vigo this year, Aspas comes to Merseyside with 12 goals in 36 games. His assists and goals have all been game changers, in particularly his set up for the goal (Last game of the season) that kept the club in the La Liga. His goals to games may not be anything outstanding but with creative players like Gerrard, Coutinho and Suarez around him, I wouldn't be surprised to see him involved in around 20 goals next season (a big ask but never say never!).
Now, onto what he could bring to Liverpool. Firstly, I cannot stress to you enough how fantastic his positioning is. He just seems to be in the right place at the right time, all the time. His eye for goal and his creativity blend well with this knack for positioning, which adds to how wonderful he is in the counter-attack and, importantly, he isn't greedy on the counter. Watching him slot through balls into the feet of Krohn-Dehli and laying balls off to De Lucas was refreshing in the La Liga, but behind the creativity, which leads to my next point, is Aspas' dribbling.
Think of Suarez-type dribbling, on top of Messi-type ability to get past a man and you've got Aspas, obviously not that good, just the style is similar. The only downside: his ball control, luckily were not Stoke and won't be rugby punting it up field anytime soon. His dribbling is a hit with the Celta fans as his adrenaline is always fuelled around the Balaídos and his sudden surge forward really makes the best of defenders (namely Ramos, Piqué) think. What comes next in his path forward is always exciting and there is no wonder he has been involved in 51% of Celta Vigo's goals. Likely the most influential player of the season.. In a relegation-threatened club.
I recently read somewhere he wants the number nine of Liverpool, which of course has been almost unfilled since Torres's departure. This is typical attitude of Aspas, cocky, confident and optimistic which bodes well for his on-pitch performance. Whether he is successful as Fernando Torres or a flop such as Antonio Nunez, is yet to be seen. However, through performances last season I see him being extremely influential, Michu-Swansea influential, and I think everyone wants him to be a success. He may well even be the beginning of a new-era Spanish Armada, with plenty other Spanish names being linked, like Luis Alberto and Sergi Canos.
His runs remind me of Torres of old, he is not bad at heading (at 5ft 9 inches), his left foot is magical, his movement is unthinkable, his vision is great, his passion is unprecedented, yet he is not highly thought of yet. Time and time again I read "Liverpool will love Aspas," but I will add to that, "Aspas will love Liverpool."
Clever thinking from Rodgers and his scouting community, it's not quite £2m but at £7.7m LFC have struck a delicious bargain. I can fault him for few things, head butting Carlos Machena tops the list, I would also question whether he lives up to the physical demands of the Premier League or not, but the Anfield faithful will be hoping for an instant impact from a player who will already know what the true honour, meaning and pride to wear such a shirt that has the Liverbird on.
It may sound like I am giving an over praising view on the player but I am only giving him the credit he deserves but doesn't get as regularly such as a bench player like Gonzalo Higuain.
Finally, Is he the player LFC need? Certainly. He will be involved in the build up play, the counter, the passing, set pieces, and individual brilliance. I see him fit to replace Stewart Downing on the wing and you will almost always be able to count on him to be involved in the goals that didn't come for us last season. Helping draws into wins will be the words from the boss. If Brendan gives him the opportunity, Anfield, be prepared to sing: "I see you baby, Iago Aspas, Iago Aspas!"
Written by Charlie.
Follow him on twitter @NewEraComps
The Club & The fans
It is a known fact that Liverpool and Manchester United have always had a fierce rivalry. As a Man Utd fan, I particularly enjoy these fired up occasions, usually full of controversy. You can always count on the controversy in these derby games.
I may have been too young to watch the ‘mighty’ Liverpool teams in their prime, mostly in the 80’s, but from what I have heard, they were something else. This is what Liverpool football club represents to me. A history of a club full of passion. Full of glory. Full of trophies. Nowadays, you’ll see ‘kids banging on about boring Liverpool jokes about their ‘history and living in the past’ but what they fail to see is how Liverpool were and are one of the most successful football teams this country has ever seen (obviously being a United fan, I have to keep United on-par with Liverpool!). 18 Premier League titles and 5 European Cups, the record speaks for itself. The fans are another thing. To me, they are one of the best parts of the club. Liverpool fans should be proud to call themselves fans through the wonderful support that they get home and away every game, to the tune of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. The support makes the team what it is.
Another thing is how Liverpool and Man Utd link together for me, and this is through tragedy. When Manchester United suffered from the infamous Munich Air Disaster of 1958, one club stepped forth to help United complete their season – this was Liverpool. They offered 6 first team players to assist their north-west rivals. This, to me, is what the rivalry is all about. Football, but the respect of two great football clubs that will continue throughout. How, on the remembrance day for the Munich Air Disaster, Liverpool posted a picture of remembrance to the victims, and how United respected the 96 on their day too?
As we all know, Liverpool have been in a downward spiral the last few years, and the last time they really challenged would be 2009. The team under managerial powers of Hodgson, Daglish etc, haven’t helped much either and it seems now, under Brendan Rodgers – their fortunes are starting to change.
Firstly, they have a brilliant attack. Despite the speculation surrounding Luis Suarez’ future, the frontline of Coutinho – who is a little genius alongside Sturridge and Suarez is a very good one. Borini is bound to contribute himself too, aged only 21 and blighted by injuried, he will eventually prove what he is worth.
Liverpool are still able to attract Europe’s stars, even if they aren’t in the Champions League (or even the Europa League this time!). Henrik Mkhitaryan, Christian Eriksen, Aubyamyang, Aspas and Llori are names being thrown around by the British media for Liverpool – and these are all very capable players able to perform at the top level. A front line starring Sturridge, Aspas (possibly even another £30m striker?) by investing the £40-odd-million from the sale of Luis Suarez should do them the world of good.
At the bottom is how I think Liverpool's line up could be.
Written By Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter @OleOleUnited
How I think Liverpool could line-up next season:
When Kenny Dalglish was sacked this time last year, I felt “We had better show some real progress to justify that decision!” So at the end of this season, I am left to wonder if that really has been accomplished.
We finished seventh in the league, which is technically an improvement over last season’s eight place finish. So does that settle it? Really that is only a marginal improvement – and maybe none at all when you consider we were in two cup finals last year, winning one.
On goal difference this season we were #5 (+28) in the Premier League. Often that’s a good indicator. The other 4 finished top 4. Not too long ago we were ruing missed chances, hitting woodwork, bemoaning opposition keepers, etc. Now we’re scoring goals. We set a Liverpool record for most away goals scored in a Premier League season.
It’s a lot to ask of Brendan Rodgers to do better than Kenny Dalglish in his first season at the club. But based on goals scored, goal difference, points, and final league position, he did. We also had the second most clean sheets, I believe.
I was one who firmly believed Kenny deserved at least one more season. But as soon as Brendan was appointed, I threw all my support behind him. Dalglish even asked us to do as much.
We are a much younger squad now. I loved Bellamy, Maxi, and Kuyt. But Sturridge, Coutinho, and Allen are about 10 years younger.
And Rodgers has handled the young players very well. He’s given debuts to Adam Morgan, Connor Coady, Jerome Sinclair, and Joran Ibe – which will encourage them to break through to the first team. He featured Suso, Sterling, and Wisdom a lot in the first half of the season. Then we signed them to new contracts, and Rodgers is now making them work their way back into the team. I feel that is man management. Show them what they can be, then make sure they know they still have to fight for it.
The summer signings were made with little time for the new regime to properly scout. Borini, Allen, and Assaidi are all yet to be proven. But frankly, they have all looked like they have potential. I think it is way too soon to write off Joe Allen like some are doing.
Suarez, Agger, Skrtel, and Lucas all extended their contracts with the club recently – solidifying a good mix of experience and youth.
Then the January window proved to be a really productive time: Coutinho and Sturridge have made a HUGE impact. Daniel has 11 goals in 15 games, and was the fastest to 10 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League era. The summer signings were rushed, but in January we had more time. Hopefully that shows what our scouts can do over the upcoming transfer window.
Downing, Henderson, and Enrique have all improved this season under the coaching of Brendan Rodgers. Jordan Henderson attempted 96 passes (the most of any player) on the final game, completing 92% of them.
This season we won 16 league games compared to 14 a year ago. We drew on 13 occasions this season, versus 10 last year. So of course that means we had fewer league losses – 9 this season compared to 14 from the 2011-2012 year. That all totals to a net +9 improvement in points. Only 3 teams scored more goals, and 4 conceded fewer than Liverpool.
In the world rankings last year, Liverpool were ranked 57th. Now, we are ranked #24.
Surely that is progress.
U18s season review.
As the U18s season is over, it's time to make a small season review. I've seen many people who have said this season has gone bad. Yeah, you can say it wasn't that good as we expected better at the start of the season but there have been a lot of injured players and Steve Cooper had to use a lot of players from the youth levels.
There were plenty of games this seasons. Our league (in the new system) begun on the 18th August, away against Wolves and finished on the 4th May away at Sunderland. That's almost one year - 24 league matches, 6 on Al Kass, 6 in the FA Youth Cup.
National Group 3 (First phase of the season)
We didn't proceed into the Elite Group and finished 4th in the first stage of the season. In the national group 3, where we won 4, drew 2 and lost 6 matches. Crystal Palace, Fulham and Chelsea finished above us. Our offensive power was really impressive, we managed to score 27 goals in 12 games. The only time we didn't score was against Man City (third match of the season). On the other hand, our defence wasn't the best. We conceded 26 times and that's a really horrible number.
Group 1 (Second phase of the season)
I'd say, the 2nd phase of the league was quite inessential. Without the key players like Jones, Dunn or Peterson we used our lads from U17s/U16s like Ryan Kent, Harry Wilson, Louis Robles or Sheyi Ojo. This part of the season wasn't that bad. Teams like Stoke (Oldest team from the U18s league) and Spurs (One of the best non-elite group team) were much better and had more experienced teams than our young side. I would say during this part, we were preparing them for next season and I also think we were more focused on the FA Youth Cup than on the league.
We finished 4th again, Stoke, Spurs and Sunderland finished above us. We won 4 games, drew 3 and lost 5.
Also, The Fulham U18s are playing in the U18s Premier League Final. We beat them 3-1 back in September when Sinclair, Peterson and Baio scored. Our injury problems weren't as bad as they were now.
The FA Youth Cup
Probably the only competition where we had out best players on the pitch. Fulton – McLaughlin, Jones, Heaton, Maguire – Lussey, Rossiter, Dunn, Ibe, Trickett-Smith – Sinclair. Also Peterson, Brannagan, Brewitt and Baio were usually on the bench. We were outstanding for the first four rounds (Swindon, Histon, Leeds and Hull). Then we faced Chelsea, in the Semi-Final, and that was end of our FA Youth cup trip. We were very unlucky because a lot of our youngsters were injured. Brad Smith, regularly in the U21s team, could play left-back instead of Maguire. Also Marc Pelosi and Raheem Sterling were both able to play for U18s. The same for Samed Yesil. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying players that played in both legs weren't good enough but maybe with Pelosi/Sterling/Yesil we could have won the game. Jack Dunn was definitely the player of the season for the FA Youth Cup for me, scored six goals in seven games, played an important role throughout the games.
One of the biggest positive this season was how we treated and developed the players. When Sinclair was on international duty, Steve Cooper used to play Peterson as a false num. 9, which definitely helped him to develope his attacking and shooting abilities. He became more of a compact player. The same as Yalany Baio primary a defensive midfielder but when McLaughlin was not able to play for the U18s, Yalany played as a right back and he has improved his defending a lot!
Using players from the youth levels like Corey Whelan, Adam Phillips or the others worth to be mentioned.. They have gained a lot experience at their age, which is so important, especially if you're a young player.
We really had a huge problems with defending set-pieces this season. The same for the first team and the U21s. The U18s had a huge problem defending corners and free-kicks, especially against strong teams like Fulham, Stoke etc. I know it's a process of developing but this area is something what we really have to work on. There were also many mistakes in terms of tactics but that's not a question for me so yes, defending was the biggest problem and the negative side of this season. With the defenders like Jones/Cleary/Maguire/Brewitt/Heaton you just can't conceded 44 goals in 24 games. Just NO.
Player of the season:
Even though Jerome Sinclair finished off as our U18s best goalscorer with 12 goals to his name (League + FA Youth Cup). My player of the season is Daniel Trickett-Smith. This was his first season at LFC and he already played a crucial role in our midfield. An attacking midfielder finding the net nine times (League + FA youth Cup) and he finished this season as the second top goal scorer alongside Kris Peterson. Only Sinclair scored more.
The biggest disappointment:
I don't think there is anyone who deserves this 'title'. Obviously there were players that didn't impress but it's only the U18s, they'll get chances next season to show if they are good enough.
Without a doubt Ryan Fulton. This man was definitely the best goalkeeper this season [For the Academy]. He was outstanding, making crucial saves that won us games.
After Fulton I think it should be Alex O'Hanlon who has been in great form recently (at the end of the season). He's had more time on the pitch recently and scored 3 goals in his last 4 games.
What to expect next?
Well that's a really great question. We can expect that Jordan Lussey, Kris Peterson, Jack Dunn, Jordon Ibe and Lloyd Jones will be regularly in the U21s squad so there is a good chance the young lads from the U17s/U16s, like Ryan Kent, Harry Wilson, Adam Phillips and Louis Robles, will play for U18s week by week.
It should be interesting to see what our starting XI will be, here's my prediction. Fulton – Whelan, Cleary, Brewitt, Maguire/Hart – Rossiter, Brannagan/Phillips, Trickett-Smith – Ojo, Kent, Sinclair/Wilson/Robles
Players that I am really looking forward to seeing are Trickett-Smith, Ojo, Rossiter, Kent and Wilson. Big season ahead all of them!
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it!
- Jakub Landa
Follow me on twitter @KubasLFC
As promised a little more of an extended article on a few issues. Firstly, I'd like to say thank you to those of you who read my last article and your comments have been taken into account here. Secondly, the comments I've received have changed the purpose of this blog slightly. I'm now going to look at a few players in a little more detail but also answer the debate that arose from my last article; Xabi Alonso.
You may not agree with me, that's fine but as I've always tried to do; I'll explain my thinking. I write these articles to get my point across and to explain why I think what I do and hopefully that comes across; Football is an emotive sport, especially when you support a club like Liverpool. These articles though, I always try to remove the emotive side of my thinking and deal with the hard facts about the club, management team and the squad. I mention this, respectfully, with reference to the Xabi Alonso debate. I won't be making 'but he's Liverpool through and through' remarks, I'll be viewing Xabi as if his name was Player A and his attributes were being looked at in the light of the squad's needs. If you don't wish for that, I apologise but that is how I believe these issues should be dealt with.
As promised, I'm going to address Joe Allen & Fabio Borini.
Joe Allen is a player whom I can understand the criticism around. Although, it is an interesting correlation of shoulder injury (playing through pain) and dip in form. How strange. So I'm going to deal with what Joe Allen ACTUALLY does in the system and not merely sit here and defend him from criticism as he was poor. Joe Allen isn't a player who will play long balls or burst past defenders and slot one in from 30 yards...I'm seriously getting deja vu writing this (Henderson article: Click Here
)...but he is not the same as Henderson. Allen does a similar role but he will actively drop deep and attempt to be available for short passes from the centre back or Lucas, he then swivels and looks who is the best person for a nice 10 yard pass. He'll then linger behind that person as they move forward with the ball....essentially making himself an easy and safe pass. The reason why this is so effective and needed is that it allows Liverpool to play a theoretical 'high line' as the full backs push on and the centre backs come up. Allen then slots in to a space that ensures he can pass the ball to either side of the pitch easily, helping to spread the play.
It's not a complicated idea, nor is it something that will get you going 'Oh my god, what a....' but it's required. It's also difficult, to always be available for a pass and to always know where your next pass is going to be but also when we don't have the ball to know when to press and when to drop. Unlike Henderson, he doesn't link up play up the field, but will consistently stay just behind the play to be that nice easy pass to start an attack again. He recycles attacks which for a formation and philosophy that is possession based, is key. It truly is.
This pressing issue has been something I've seen a few people on twitter comment on. I came across an excellent picture that was taken from Melwood about this, which sadly I cannot seem to find for you all. The simple idea is a subjective pressing technique, dependent on the player and the situation. If you're alone then your aim to slow the play down so that the rest of your team can get back in formation or aid the pressing. If you are not alone, you do one of two things; you either press the man (like Jordan Henderson) or you press a zone of space (Joe Allen). Pressing space results in risky passes or like most teams have done...long humps up the pitch. This then results in the potential taking of possession and we can get passing. If I find the picture again, I'll post it on here as it truly is a superb representation and explanation of a complicated idea, which is deserving of it's own article rather than just a paragraph in this one.
Joe Allen is a good player at what he does and he fits our system extremely well, he can play it....he did it at Swansea and knows how to do it at Liverpool. Obviously. Give him time to show his attributes after he comes back from the shoulder surgery. I believe the doubters will be proven wrong.
The next aim of some unfair criticism for me, is Fabio Borini. Fabio has sadly been injured for most of the season and it's not been a comfortable settling in process for him. He struggled to find a home in Liverpool and hence struggled to settle in the City, although he has since found a place to live...that affects footballers just like it would affect me or you or even the guy whose staring at you at the moment...what?
On to the player, the on-pitch Fabio Borini. For those who say he doesn't fit the system, please read this particular part of the article carefully. Borini can play on either wing superbly, he is naturally quick and his movement out on the wings is fantastic...you're probably saying, but Adam...he's been injured large amounts of this season, how do you know? I have watched some Serie A also...youtube is incredible resource. On the wing, he will come inside and then spread wide on counter-attacks. A superb use of his abilities, he is a quick young man. Fabio Borini though, he knows where he needs to be, whether he's playing centrally or out wide. Before his injury, regardless of his goal scoring stats, he was in the correct positions. I know it's a cliche that "he's in the right positions to score goals" but it is true....he was getting into the spaces to score goals but being unlucky with his finishing. Phillipe Coutinho will be a superb player for Borini, as he can thread a needle through a needle whilst threading a ball through the eye of another needle. Possibly with his eyes shut at the same time....I'm using all my cliches. Sorry, the boys passing is quality.
Borini will fair better next season, the first season pressure will be off and I believe the Kop will see a young, determined young man who has a point to prove. He is a good finisher Borini, purely because of the positions that he gets himself into. The one area that has to be considered about Borini, much like Rooney, he is streaky. He'll hit a purple patch and then a drought, that will occur but must be accepted. He is a confidence player and a goal can change it all around for him. My confusion as to why he has been criticised is merely based around the fact that, Borini is a squad player. He is an option, obviously Suarez and Sturridge are top dogs but Borini is an option for rotation or off the bench. He's a good passer for a forward, a good crosser for a central striker and will work his socks off...another cliche I know...I don't understand how he's been criticised for his output this season. It's not really been a season at all for the young ma...hang on...young man. He's 22. Twenty Two. That's 10+10+2....ok, ok you're getting my point. He is a young player, who will improve. Get off his back, if you were on his back...if you weren't then please do not jump on Borini's back. Give him time.
Now....onto the contentious part of this article and also from your comments, tweets and general opinions from my last article; the area where many people agreed and many disagreed. Xabi Alonso.
Before I start, I love Xabi Alonso. I really do. I got his name on my shirts, I pretended to play like him when I was younger...so nobody can level that accusation at me. This is football, it's romantic and emotive but it's also a sport that deals in hard facts. Take away the name for this, Xabi is now Player A.
Player A is playing for a club in the Champions League at this time. There has been a rumour linking him with Liverpool, although not really from any where that is reliable/usually truthful about these links. Ultimately, the link has been pushed by the fans of Liverpool whom wish to see Player A at the club and not really that many reliable sources. Just being honest. Player A is a highly paid player who will be 32 next season and may/may not be available in the summer.
Player A is not a fast player and occupies a central midfield role. Player A is well known for his passing ability and how he spreads the ball from side to side. Although Liverpool do not currently play a system that would utilise Player A's passing style adequately and also have many players whom play in the same role as Player A. Player A's lack of pace would also be detrimental to the overall style of the team as he is not well known for his pressing ability, hence why he has always played with a committed defensive midfielder next to him. Liverpool do not play a system that would allow a committed defensive midfielder who would pick up the defensive work of Player A. Liverpool also have Steven Gerrard whom would be misplaced by the return of this player, or the talented Lucas whom fills a defensive minded midfield role who presses well. One of these players would have to be benched for Player A's role to be taken up in the midfield. This would effect the overall style of play that Brendan has been trying to achieve.
Player A being a central midfielder is also in an area where Liverpool do not need players. Liverpool have limited funds and must look to strengthen areas of the squad that are in need of more depth or quality.
Take away the name, the reality is simple. This link has been driven by the romance of such a move and return. This link has been strengthened by Liverpool accounts on Twitter talking about how it would be great to have him back and the possibilities and mindless conversations about his contract situation. I don't believe there is much foundation to the reports, I'm sorry but I really don't. If Xabi was to come back home to Liverpool, I'd be happy but I'd be annoyed as that is not the area that we need to strengthen.
No player is bigger than Liverpool Football Club. If we buy Xabi back over purchasing the players in areas that we need to improve/reinforce then I'll be genuinely annoyed and disappointed. Buying Xabi back would be nothing more than a publicity stunt for me. We don't need a player like Xabi, he is quality but his attributes aren't the ones we're after. I also believe that you'll see him sign a new contract at Real Madrid after 'the special one' has left.
It's romantic. It'd be lovely. Princesses leave with Princes in fairy tales and I believe that this is what that move is. A fairy tale, as it'd be nice but ultimately, it's not a reality (or a football necessity.)
I'm expecting the comments from people to disagree, I truly am. So I'm going to pre-empt your comments; He doesn't fit the system. Not athletic enough to press. Too expensive on wages. No resale value. Won't utilise his attributes. Don't need more midfielders.
You can always sign him on FIFA or Football Manager but reality....Xabi Alonso to Liverpool isn't going to happen and nor should it. For Liverpool and also for Xabi.
Sorry to come at this in such an objective manner and you may think I'm being cold-hearted but Liverpool Football Club will be around after Xabi has retired, after you've retired and I've retired and hopefully popped my blogs. We should be buying for the future, not to reminisce about a past great.
That's the truth. A Difficult Truth.
Andy Carroll, even the name brings up smirks and laughter to the faces of all football fans, including reds – not through hatred of the player but for the unfortunate price that has been on his shoulders since the day he signed for Liverpool, 11th January 2011. £35 million was the price we paid for “Big Andy” and it has haunted us ever since, some even argue that it cost Kenny Dalglish his job as manager of Liverpool Football Club. Andy Carroll had an average time at Liverpool, he certainly didn’t live up to his ridiculous £35 million price tag, but he did have his moments such as scoring a winning goal in the semi-final of the 2012 FA cup against Liverpool’s local rivals, Everton.
Fast forward to April 2013, with the season coming to an end and Andy Carroll having spent the season on loan at West Ham United, the question looms, do Liverpool keep Andy Carroll or sell him? There are strong rumours that Andy’s former club, Newcastle United are interested in the 6”3 Jordie and also West Ham United. West Ham United’s current manager Sam-Allardyce, was recently asked during a press conference whether or not he would be interesting in retaining the services of Andy Carroll next season, he replied by saying “Yes. We will look at the end of the season and we will see what negotiations can be done.” Andy Carroll’s season at West Ham has been mainly spent in the treatment room, however has still managed score 5 goals in the 17 appearances he has made for the Hammers. Since his return from injury he has managed to score 4 goals in 7 games, including an impressive brace against West Brom last weekend (30/03/13).
With the Andy Carroll-argument, there are two main sets of fans that believe two separate things, one set have dismissed Andy Carroll as a Liverpool player already, yet some people still want to give him a chance to prove himself. As somebody who is on the fence, if you will, for this particular topic, I’ll be looking at both sets of arguments and coming to a conclusion on what I feel the best thing Liverpool could do with Andy Carroll is.
Let’s be honest, we all know we overpaid for Andy Carroll, it’s a common known fact in football, similar to how it’s a fact that Mario Balotelli doesn’t miss penalties…I’m starting to sound like a ‘funny football’ Facebook page, aren’t I? Getting back on topic, we overpaid for him, yes, that doesn’t mean as soon as we have the chance to sell him, we should. We should be looking to utilise his abilities, mainly his size and strength. Liverpool have been poor at set plays this season, whether it be attacking or defending them. As my Dad loves to point out, every single set piece we are involved in we lack height “I’d feel so much safer with Andy Carroll in there” is becoming somewhat of a catchphrase of his. Similar to Emille Heskey during his spell at Liverpool, (I’m about to say something positive about Heskey, does that make up for sound liking a ‘funny football’ Facebook page, earlier? I think so.) Anyway, Heskey was known for heading the ball out for opposition’s set pieces, this is actually one of the main reasons he was played so often he would dominate in the air, this is something that Andy Carroll would bring to a vulnerable Liverpool, ariel dominance. Even if he doesn’t win the header, he still makes his presence known in the box, which makes the defenders think and worry – Who are defenders going to more worried about scoring from a set piece, a 6”3 strong as bull centre forward or 5 foot 7, Philippe Coutinho? Traditionally, the biggest defenders marks the biggest attacker, let’s say that Liverpool have a corner kick, the manager of the opposing side will order his biggest defender to mark our biggest attacker, let’s say Martin Skrtel – If we have Andy Carroll in there, the biggest/best defender now marks Andy Carroll instead of Martin Skrtel, so the 2nd biggest/best defender now marks him and so on - it’s like a domino effect. I feel this could be a big factor to Andy Carroll becoming successful at Liverpool, if he gets the chance that is. Speaking of getting the chance to prove yourself at Liverpool, I don’t think Andy Carroll had enough chances to prove himself under Kenny Dalglish or even Brendan Rodgers, come on, Rodgers sent Andy Carroll on loan even though we only had 2 recognisable strikers in our senior squad. Yes, I understand the fact that we were destined to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham, who in fact ended up leaving them to join Tottenham Hotspurs, as they were willing to offer more money for him than we were. Until January, when we signed Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, from Chelsea and Inter Milan, respectively, we were very short on attacking options. We had Luis Suarez, our talisman, who had held our head above water all season and our new signing, Fabio Borini, as our two senior strikers in the entire squad, you cannot expect a side to live up to expectations if they are without more than 2 attacking options. This wasn’t helped at all, with the poor start to the season that Steven Gerrard had made. You may disagree with me and by all means do so; I just don’t think that captain fantastic had a good start to the season, which hindered more responsibility on to the back of Luis Suarez. You aren’t telling me that we didn’t need another striker at the begging of the season? You cannot argue that Liverpool were better off having Andy Carroll at West Ham United than at Liverpool throughout the start of the season? Yes, I understand wages were a bit of a problem, before you tell me so. There was one game, Vs West Ham at the begging of December that sticks out to me, when we played Jonjo Shelvey as ‘false 9’. A 20 year old midfielder playing as the pin point of our attack, that is rather ridiculous, you must admit.
There’s been a fairly common theme to a many of the, let’s say lower sides that we have lost to this year, whether it be Aston Villa, Oldham Athletic or Stoke City we have lost because of the physical nature of one of their players, or the side we were facing. We made Matt Smith, Oldham Athletic’s center forward look like Radamel Falcao, now I am not blaming that shambolic performance on the fact that Andy Carroll wasn’t playing, but as I mentioned earlier, the domino effect when it comes to set plays could have had a major part in how the game turned out. My final point on this matter is about two different players to Andy Carroll, but who are very similar, not in size or playing style, but circumstances – Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing. They both came to Liverpool in the summer of 2011, under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish for a hefty sum of money; reports suggest that Liverpool paid Sunderland £16 million for Jordan Henderson and £18 million to Aston Villa for Stewart Downing. These two players were both overpriced and they too have suffered from this huge price tag that they simply couldn’t live up to on the pitch, people expected too much from both of them because of the price tag – They both got a lot of negative comments made about them and have both had chances to leave the football club altogether. Let’s move on to the current 2012/2013 season and the majority of fans are calling for Jordan Henderson, me included, to start each and every game, he has impressed me every time he plays, his energy and commitment has always been second to none, but this season on top of vastly improving his range of passing his work rate have improved even more and that is showing on the pitch. Stewart Downing, since being told he could leave around the November, early December time, has arguably been one of our most consistent players, he has even added a goal or two to his name and many are saying he deserves and England call up. Who’s to say that a similar turn around wouldn’t happen with Andy Carroll?
On the other hand, there are many different reasons why Liverpool should sell Andy Carroll. A lot of fans want to avoid the fact that we paid £35 million for someone who has failed to impress in his time at Liverpool. All Liverpool fans are quite disgraced by the fact we thought this was a good business move, the purchases of the likes of Michu, for Swansea for £2 million add to this frustration. The fact that clubs sign players who have a bigger impact for them for such little prices, than £35 million Andy Carroll has made for us adds to the fire, so to speak. When you sign a player for £35 million, a transfer fee that still stands as Liverpool’s biggest ever purchase and the biggest fee ever paid for a British born player, you expect more than a couple of goals here or there, you want that player to win games for you week in and week out. Liverpool fans want to see the back of him Andy Carroll, not just for personal reasons, or even for pride of the club, it’s got a lot to do with money. As much as some traditional football fans dislike this side of the game, it’s around and it is staying – money. Money is everything in football, the owners are there to make money and as much as players beg you to believe them that they are moving to a different club for “new experiences” or “to win more trophies” (I’m thinking of you, Fernando) we all know that a lot of players leave the clubs in which they were adored to earn more money. Back to my point, we want to sell Andy Carroll to get a small proportion of the £35 million we spend on him back, we are looking to get at least £15 for him. More than just the transfer fee, we want him off of the wage bill – He’s rumoured to be on between: £70k - £90k per week. If we could offload Andy Carroll for £18 million and we could use that money to reinvest in players, players that Rodgers wants to buy players who suit our system. It’s obvious that Andy Carroll doesn’t suit our patient passing style of play, he wants to be fighting for long balls and knocking them on for players running beyond him, that’s not how we play football – We are not Stoke City. A big factor in Rodgers’ system is the way we close down our opposition, as soon as we lose the ball our players are straight at the opposition trying to win the ball up, doing this for 90 minutes is tiring, could Andy be up for that? I don’t think so. If he did stay with Liverpool, would he play? We have Daniel Sturridge, who may I add has started extremely well for Liverpool since he arrived in January from Chelsea, as striker. Daniel Sturridge suits our system perfectly, unlike Carroll. Brendan Rodgers’ also likes to have versatile players. This season we have seen this; Luis Suarez, by trade a striker, has played on the left wing, right wing and attacking midfield, Jose Enrique normally a left back had a brief spell at left wing, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have both played at left and right back, respectively, need I go on? Andy Carroll can play one position and one position only, as a striker. If he was to stay he would more than likely be on the bench, do we really want a man who we could sell for £18 million and who is earning £80 k per week, to be sat on the bench? No. We want to be spending that money on new exciting players who will strengthen then team and suit our system.
As of tonight (03/04/13) the Daily Mail have written an article on how Brendan Rodgers is willing to let Andy Carroll stay next season if he understands that he will only be a squad man, a player who will not start week-in and week-out. Whether a young man such as Andy Carroll, who wants to force himself back into the England squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup, will be happy not playing every week is yet to be seen. Though, recently it seems as if under Roy Hodgson, you don’t have to play every week for your club to start for England. All in all, if we can get a good price for Andy Carroll, I do believe we should sell him. He won’t start for us,he doesn’t suit our system and it would be better for him and us if we let him go. However, we do need to make sure if we are going to sell him, we don’t do it on transfer deadline day; we don’t want a repeat of January 2011…
Kenny Keeton, 16. (@KennyKLfc)
Whilst the Liverpool squad is taking shape nicely, there are still a number of areas that need to be added to. Whether that is in terms of a player needed to go straight into the first team, or a player to just add a bit of extra depth in a certain position, the squad is definitely not complete. A budget of £20 million has been quoted in the press, plus whatever we get from selling Andy Carroll I’m guessing, so Rodgers will need to be wise with what he spends the money on. Below are the areas that I believe are the priorities:
I wrote a blog about the need for a new centre back about a week ago, as I believe it is the most important area in need of strengthening. With Jamie Carragher retiring and Martin Skrtel not looking like the player he used to be, a first team centre back is needed. Unless Skrtel can recapture his form from last year that is. The defending this season has not been up to standard a lot of the time, which can be attributed to the new style of play that has been brought in by Rodgers. However, there are still big mistakes being made almost a season later, so there must be a bigger problem. A centre back that can play in our style would be a massive benefit to our Champions League hopes. Ashley Willliams, Stefan De Vrij and Benedikt Howedes are names that have been mentioned, but Toby Alderweireld would be my preference. I also believe Sebastian Coates should also get a chance to prove he can be a first team player.
The Southampton game was a prime example of why the defensive midfield is so important. Without Lucas in there, Joe Allen was completely over run and our defence was left far too exposed a number of times. Lucas is definitely good enough to be our first choice defensive midfielder; his partnership alongside Gerrard has been very effective. However, if Lucas was to pick up an injury, we would have no-one to cover his role. Joe Allen just isn’t cut out for the defensive midfield role, so a backup is definitely needed. Rumours of a deal to sign Malaga’s Manuel Iturra on a free transfer emerged, but nothing has been said of the deal recently. Iturra would be a very good back up to Lucas, as would someone like Claudio Yacob of West Brom.
The left back spot is a strange position for me. I would happily keep Jose Enrique as the first choice left back for next season, but I also feel that we could improve on him without spending a huge amount. Enrique looked to be on the way out of Liverpool in the first few months of this season, but has since impressed Rodgers after a period playing at left wing that gave him a new lease of life. Enrique brings a bit of variation to Liverpool’s play, with his ability to pick out Suarez with a long ball over the top of the defence, as we saw for Suarez’s great goal against Newcastle. He has also shown to be a very good attacking threat around the opposition’s penalty box, nicking a few goals for himself this season. So it is a difficult decision on whether to sign someone to replace him in the starting line up, or get a back up player for him. If we want to sign an improvement, Fabio Coentrao may be a possibility, or Davide Santon may be a good option. If we want a cover player, resigning Insua would be a great option in my opinion.
The right wing may also be a position that people believe needs strengthening. With Stewart Downing in the form of his Liverpool career, as well as Sterling and Suso progressing well, I believe it is not as urgent a matter as the previously mentioned positions. Also, Pepe Reina is a good enough keeper, and Brad Jones an adequate back up, to ease any worries about our goalkeeping situation that people may have.
With Liverpool not having a budget like Chelsea or Manchester City, Brendan Rodgers will need to prioritise where he spends his money. A centre back, as well as a back up left back and defensive midfielder, would be where I would look to spend most money, but Rodgers may also think that right wing and the goalkeeper position are also in need of additions.
Is it working off the pitch rather than on it?
When Brendan Rodgers took over Liverpool FC it is fair to say we were in a less than happy place in every aspect of the club - league position was poor, results and performances were lacklustre and some of the players we had didn’t look like the types of players that we needed at the club.
Brendan Rodgers being a young manager, had no fear when taking on such a big job at such a prestigious club like Liverpool and straight away he set about making the changes that he believed would take the club back to the dizzying heights of the footballing world – where he and everyone involved with the club believed we should be.
As a young manager, Rodgers has learnt from only the best during his short managerial career to date.
With his playing career cut short by injury, Brendan Rodgers decided that coaching was the way for him to go and set about it by learning from the likes of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, where he also spent time with Kenny Dalglish’s former right hand man Steve Clarke.
Once he had been with Mourinho, Rodgers went on to manage Watford, Reading and Swansea, the latter being where he was most successful with two consecutive promotions – including being the first Welsh team to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Brendan Rodgers has a great belief of how the football should be played, tiki-taka is they style he loves to watch and the style he likes his teams to adopt.
When moving to Liverpool, Brendan brought this style to the club in the hope that it would not only help the team to win games and trophies, but that the short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels and keeping possession would be enjoyed by Liverpool’s hard-core fan base – pleasing them and making him at hit at a club where the fans can be hard to please.
Along with tiki-taka, Brendan’s other philosophies seem relatively simple and easy to implement. The Northern Irishman likes his team to play out from the back, including the goal-keeper and defenders in the movement and he likes to start the defending from the front with the strikers – tactics that will help the game to flow and help maintain a team’s possession.
But are these philosophies really working at Liverpool FC? Is the Brendan Rodgers effect taking over everything at Liverpool FC?
Off the pitch, Brendan Rodgers has had a massive impact on the club and the players.
Since joining the club several months ago Rodgers impact on the players has been clear to see. Firstly, the amount of players he has influenced to sign new, long-term contracts at the club is impressive – including the likes of Martin Skrtel, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling, Suso, Martin Kelly and Luis Suarez to name a few. Now, these players may have signed purely because they love the club but they may also have signed after talking to Rodgers and hearing his plans to take the club back to the top and liking what was being said. He has also signed big players like Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho who have come in and shown just why Rodgers put his faith in them and brought them to Merseyside.
Brendan Rodgers biggest effect has to have been on our youngsters who have been getting the chance to show their first team credentials and learn by training with the first team day in day out.
Not only has the Northern Irishman had great success with the players off the pitch but also with integrating Liverpool FC into the community so it is seen as a visible presence around the city of Liverpool. Liverpool FC has always been one for getting involved with community project but since Brendan Rodgers took over, the club has been seen more visibly by the Merseyside community. This was shown when Rodgers took his first team players down to the academy in Kirkby to do a session with the young recruits. Rodgers stated how he had wanted to do this for a while, would be doing it again and thought that Liverpool FC being involved in the community was extremely important.
Rodgers has also given a new lease of life to Liverpool players who looked like they may be heading out the LFC exit door by guiding them and working hard with them to show them that they can do it – and now the team and fans are able to see the real qualities of Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique.
With all the work the new manager is doing off the pitch, the future is looking exceptionally bright for all involved with the club – his faith in youngsters and views on how the first team can help at the academy certainly seem that Liverpool with flourish with talent in years to come.
With his of pitch work being so effective, why has it been so difficult to see the on pitch effects over the course of the season?
At times this season, the tiki-taka style of football has given Liverpool fans something great to watch when they go the game and has gained the club some valuable wins. But on the flip side we have also seen our performances not given the credit they deserve and not gain the results they should have done.
Our inconsistency in all competitions, especially the Premier League has left fans wondering if Brendan Rodgers really is the right man for the job and if Liverpool really can adopt his philosophies and become that force they once were in English and European football.
You only have to look at the performances and results in the Wigan, Tottenham and Southampton games, among others, to realise that sometimes everything is working and sometimes it isn’t. But does that mean that the Brendan Rodgers effect is only able to work on Liverpool FC off the pitch and not on it?
In the end, it is extremely clear how good Brendan Rodgers has been for Liverpool FC in just a short space of time.
His off pitch approaches have worked wonders with the players, the club and the community as a whole.
But the effect of his footballing philosophies on the pitch may take a little time to bear fruit. If fans are watching the games then they can clearly see how the tiki-taka style is perfect for the reds and if the fans can be patient enough with both manager and players then it seems to me that with a few new additions in the summer and time to look over the 2012-13 season – the club can iron out the inconsistencies that have cost them and become that force the fans once knew and loved so much.
Also on the plus side, it seems like Anfield is already beginning to become Fortress Anfield once more…exciting times are ahead for the Merseyside reds.
After Luis Suarez's 21st minute goal in the 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, the Uruguayan hit 50 goals for the club since his arrival over two years ago. In this article, the final part of my series, I am going to do a countdown from 50 to 1, in order of quality. Here's Part Three, the top ten:
10. Luis Suarez vs Norwich, Premier League, 29th September 2012
And it's yet another goal against Norwich. This goal secured his hat trick at Carrow Road. Suarez recieved the ball from Nuri Sahin, and on the edge of the box, unleashed a curling, brilliant effort which ended in the bottom corner.
9. Luis Suarez vs Udinese, Europa League Group Stage, 4th October 2012
It's such a shame that Liverpool lost this game, because this goal from Luis Suarez was worthy of winning any game. 3-1 down and in desperate need of something, Suarez stepped up to take the free kick, and hit it perfectly into the roof of the net, to reduce the arrears.
8. Luis Suarez vs Sunderland, Premier League, 20th March 2011
It's really difficult to explain just how good this goal is. Suarez managed to generate an angle that wasn't there and looked impossible, and his second Liverpool goal was up there with his best.
7. Luis Suarez vs Manchester City, Premier League, 26th August 2012
This was Suarez's first goal of the season, and he started as he meant to go on, with a magnificent free kick. The bend and power he generated was unreal, and it started Suarez's burst of free kicks this season.
6. Luis Suarez vs Hearts, Europa League Qualifier, 30th August 2012
This goal sent Liverpool into the group stages of the Europa League, and it was worthy of doing so. The scintillating run, the beating of markers, the humiliation of the defence, and then the finish. Just brilliant.
5. Luis Suarez vs Stoke City, FA Cup Quarter Final, 18th March 2012
There's only Luis Suarez you'd be expecting to score a goal like this. The run, and then the hit, beautifully controlled, and placed magnificently in the bottom corner - a stroke of brilliance.
4. Luis Suarez vs Zenit st Petersburg, Europa League Round of 32, 21st February 2013
Yet another Luis Suarez free kick - and this one's the best. After Joe Allen put the Reds 2-1 up, they still needed two more. They only got one, but this goal was good enough for two. A piece of magic as Suarez curls the free kick into the top corner, and shows why the Kop love him.
3. Luis Suarez vs Stoke City, Carling Cup 4th Round, 26th October 2011
Oh wow. This is just incredible. Suarez nutmegs one defender, then moves to the edge of the box, and powers a curling, bending shot which caught everyone by surprise to level the game in this Carling Cup tie.
2. Luis Suarez vs Newcastle United, Premier League, 4th November 2012
The fact that this goal isn't number one on the list is simply down to Suarez being brilliant. This goal though - this is on another level. Jose Enrique's guided pass from the halfway line was controlled unbelievably by Suarez, who then took to beating Coloccini and rounding Tim Krul to finish. Perfect.
1. Luis Suarez vs Norwich City, Premier League, 28th April 2012