Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.

Riding The Roller Coaster

 Posted by on February 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Feb 192013

Consistently inconsistent.

It’s something you hear a lot of in sports. Sometimes it’s just members of the media and people like me who have too much time on their hands and not enough things to write. But in the case of Liverpool’s 2012-13 season it’s pretty darn accurate.

Saturday’s 5-0 win over Swansea was just their second over a team in the top half of the table this season. It also came on the heels of a 2-0 defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia in the first leg of their Round of 32 Europa League match. Luis Suarez (who had another fantastic performance Sunday) went into Sunday having scored 13 of his league goals against clubs in the bottom half and just four against those who reside in the top half. Manager Brendan Rodgers seems to be doing the exact opposite of Kenny Dalglish last season. The latter’s team struggled against the bottom dwellers and thrived against the top while the former continues to beat up said dwellers and struggled against his toughest competition. It’s a testament to their two styles really. Dalglish was all about motivating his players properly but had no sense of tactics while Brendan Rodgers is on the brink of a significant culture shift at Anfield in terms of his tactics, but fails to get the best of his players in the most crucial of matches.

You could even extend the analogy to a fringe player like Jose Enrique. The Spanish left back scored on Sunday, but has been wildly inconsistent this season and has led some to believe he needs replacing. Daniel Sturridge got off to a hot start but has since cooled. Philippe Coutinho scored a clever goal in his first league start, but obviously more time will be needed to evaluate him.

And with all of that being said, Liverpool STILL find themselves just nine points away from a Top 4 finish. Hell, even in the Europa League group stage their results were inconsistent and they managed to advance on a tiebreaker. It’s absolutely maddening trying to figure out if they are any good. And we probably won’t for the rest of the season. If they make a run and finish Top 4, we’ll all say they’re not THAT good and if they stumble and finish 8th or 9th we’ll scratch our heads and wonder how they wound up there.

So don’t expect to find out any more about this team for the rest of the season. And if you think you know one way or the other…just know that you’re wrong.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Feb 052013

Doesn’t matter how hard I try

Half the words don’t mean a thing

And I know that I won’t be satisfied

There’s a lot of happiness out there among Liverpool supporters after several 2-2 draws with Arsenal and Manchester City. But much like this song’s lyrics, I feel nothing but teenage angst right now.

Both matches were very entertaining. For the first time, we saw Liverpool carry out Brendan Rodgers’ true vision. They possessed the ball with short, smart passes. They moved the ball forward with pace and zeal. Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez looked like they were capable of great things. And mixed in there was some throwback Captain Fantastic as well. Everything was coming together. Life as a Liverpool supporter was great.

And then leads were squandered. The back line faltered. Pepe Reina briefly lost his mind. Just like that, six points became just two. Had Liverpool won both matches and all other results remained the same, the Reds would be just five points out of a Champions League spot.

Now that deficit is nine.

This is why I can’t get as excited as most fans. Yes, it was great to see Liverpool take the fight to Arsenal and Manchester City. They played two of their best matches of the season. And yet that still was not enough to get the job done. If the goal is in fact a Top 4 finish (and it should be) then results like these last two cannot be considered acceptable. And yes, it is okay to have such high expectations. We’ve seen what this team is capable of. Now it’s time to start capitalizing on the team’s good form and grab as many points as possible.

In my last post I spoke at length about how Luis Suarez could depart for Bayern Munich this summer. Regardless of who could be purchased for such a transfer fee, losing Suarez would be a huge step back. Suddenly the expectations cannot and should not be Top 4. They become Top 8 as was the case this season.

I’m not all “gloom and doom” though. I look at the schedule and I see a lot of winnable matches the rest of the way and very few that are cause for concern. Daniel Sturridge isn’t wrong when he says making up nine points isn’t impossible.

But it’s a much more difficult task than it could have been with two wins instead of two draws.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Jan 312013

A lot has been made about Liverpool’s newest signing, Philippe Coutinho, selecting the No.10 jersey.

The young Brazilian playmaker is the closest thing the Reds have had to a true “No.10″ in their ranks. Although he’s only 20 years of age and has yet to prove himself on a big stage, Coutinho is exactly the sort of player who can provide a spark to Liverpool’s attack.

With Steven Gerrard biding his time until retirement, Liverpool have been searching for a new midfielder who can pull the strings up top. Luis Suarez has had to resort to feats of incredible skill and majesty to carry Liverpool’s offense. Coutinho can make his life a lot easier and he’s also the perfect fit for Brendan Rodgers’ long term vision.

But before we go praising the youngster, let’s not forget a few things. First and foremost, Wednesday’s match against Arsenal showed us that Liverpool’s greatest need is in fact a world class defender, whether it’s on the left side of the back line or somewhere in the middle. Jose Enrique isn’t terrible, but he doesn’t always inspire confidence either. Andre Wisdom is not a natural fullback and even the once reliable combination of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel seems capable of faltering at any moment. And speaking of Arsenal, they seem to have snatched up the best left back available in Malaga’s Nacho Monreal.

With Coutinho’s signing and Jordan Henderson’s rise in form, we can bypass the midfield and go straight to the top. While Luis Suarez is going to benefit greatly from Coutinho’s signing, he is also Liverpool’s second greatest concern. Bayern Munich’s new manager Pep Guardiola reportedly has a strong desire to sign Suarez this summer, to the tune of 30-40 million Euros. And it’s not just the price tag that Suarez will find appealing. Mario Gomez is inconsistent and Mario Mandzuckic has underwhelmed since arriving in Munich after a solid Euro 2012 outing. Suarez is the perfect compliment to Bayern’s stacked midfield. Guardiola would give him license to roam freely and feed off the service of guys like Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Tomas Muller.

Liverpool supporters should prepare themselves for the very real possibility that their only goal scoring threat could be gone in six months.

Yes, Daniel Sturridge is waiting in the wings but without Suarez to push him you worry he become too complacent. Sturridge’s biggest issue has always been his attitude and his second biggest issue is his selfish tendencies when he has the ball within 20 yards of goal. Even if Coutinho turns out to be the next Kaka, the idea of Sturridge being the No.1 striker is less than thrilling. Of course, if Suarez does in fact depart, there will be plenty of cash on hand to splash on another world class goalscorer if John Henry and Co. can be smart.

Hopefully we’ll get a good look at Coutinho in Sunday’s match against Manchester City. A win would allow Liverpool fans to hold onto hope and dream of a Top 4 finish. Just take a look at the remaining schedule. But said fans must also remain guarded. A new “No.10″ is nothing without someone to finish everything off.

Identity Crisis

 Posted by on January 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Jan 242013

It’s not a pun, but it still feels good to write a cliche headline again.

So last week it was announced Pep Guardiola will take over as Bayern Munich’s new manager this summer. Several days later the rumors started to fly that Luis Suarez was high on the former Barcelona manager’s wishlist.

Suarez has never complained publicly about much of anything during his time at Anfield. Despite his unsavory (and not entirely undeserved) reputation, the Uruguayan forward has always worked hard and produced goals regularly for a club so desperately in need of offense on a regular basis. Even the most stubborn of haters can’t deny that Suarez is currently one of the world’s finest players. There’s no reason to think he’s unhappy with Liverpool.

But it’s hard to tune out completely when you hear talk of a transfer fee upward of 40 million.

No one can definitively say right that whether or not Pep wants Suarez with him at Bayern to the extent that he’d pay 40 million of any currency. But if that is the case and such an offer were to come through, Liverpool would be foolish not to at least listen. The mere thought of things playing out like that has led me to wonder just how far Liverpool’s stature in the international community has fallen. They’ve seen numerous world class players depart over the last few years for places like Barcelona (Javier Mascherano), Real Madrid (Xabi Alonso), and Chelsea (Fernando Torres). Steven Gerrard is the last remnant of the group that captured our hearts in Istanbul in 2005.

But Gerrard is growing old and weary. Luis Suarez has become the only other truly world class player to populate this new Liverpool squad trying to form a new identity under Brendan Rodgers. That identity is starting to take shape on the field. But what about off of it? Are Liverpool still one of the premier destinations in Europe? Or are they falling by the wayside? The answer will reveal itself if Bayern come calling for Suarez this summer.

It’s somewhat appropriate timing for such a question given the latest deals completed in the last week or so. Swansea City locked up their diamond-in-the-rough strike Michu to a new four year contract. Newcastle United continue to pillage the youth ranks in France. Queens Park Rangers are trying to spend their way out of relegation with the purchase of Loic Remy. Tottenham have snatched up Germany U-21 captain Lewis Holtby, who will join Spurs in the summer. Most recently we’ve seen Southampton defeat Liverpool head-to-head for the services of Vegard Forren and the Saints are reportedly about to outbid the Reds for Inter Milan maestro Philippe Coutinho. Oh, and I’m just now mentioning the Clint Dempsey fiasco.

If Suarez is sold this summer, is anyone convinced about the remaining talent at Liverpool going forward? Do we trust in Daniel Sturridge, Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson, and Fabio Borini to lead the charge back to European glory? I, for one, do not. If the goal is to ultimately get back to competing in the Champions League, then Suarez’s departure would make that task seem almost impossible.  I’m not convinced Brendan Rodgers and John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group can come together and spend a significant transfer fee properly. I’m still not convinced Sturridge is worth 12 million pounds and he definitely can’t be the one who takes the torch from Gerrard.

But at this point everything is just speculation. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Suarez will stay and continue to try and carry this new Liverpool squad back to European competition. If does go, however, expect Liverpool to take a huge step back in terms of quality on the field and stature off it. A step so large, they may never be able to recover from it.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”


Jury Still Out On Sturridge

 Posted by on January 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Jan 162013

He has said all the right things. He has scored twice in his first two appearances.

But I’m still not convinced Daniel Sturridge is a long term solution for Liverpool’s woes.

First he scored against Mansfield in an early round FA Cup match. Yes, it was away from Anfield but that’s hardly a true “test” of his ability. Jonjo Shelvey set him up brilliantly and I would EXPECT a player of lesser skill to finish that particular chance. He also had another one on one with Mansfield’s keeper later on, only to take way too much time deciding what to do and ultimately fluff his chance.

Then came his performance in the second half of a match at Old Trafford. Certainly a bigger stage for the young striker to shine. But once again Sturridge scored a goal that any halfway decent striker should score. Steven Gerrard did all the hard work and Sturridge simply buried the rebound.

It’s still too early to form an opinion about Sturridge’s fit at Anfield, but I did not like what I saw in the second half of that Manchester United match. When Sturridge came on, Liverpool seemed to lose their shape. Everyone ahead of the back four seemed to drift in and out of various positions. Not only did the team’s shape look poor, but there were several occasions where Sturridge showed us why Manchester City and Chelsea gave up on him by demonstrating his propensity to keep his head down and look for his own shot when it’s not there. This would be a problem on any team, but it’s an especially large problem for Liverpool because Luis Suarez needs to have the ball at his feet as much as possible in order to be successful. Sturridge, on the other hand, needs a lot of service. Despite the results, I’d rather have the former scenario.

Yes, Liverpool have had issues scoring, but when Suarez is the focal point of the attack everyone’s role is that much more defined. The team is able to hold its shape much better and the attack looks more fluid. Liverpool need an attacking player to complement Suarez; not clash with him. Fabio Borini struggled early in the season, but he’s on his way back to being 100% healthy and I still think he’d be a better option. He can play on the wing in Rodgers’ 4-3-3 and complement Suarez much better than Sturridge can. If the ManU game showed us anything, it’s that Sturridge and Suarez (at first glance) appear unable to co-exist on the field at the same time.

Of course, it’s only been two matches. As the second half of the season unfolds we’ll learn more, but for the time being I’m still not impressed with the man who consumed 90% of Liverpool’s January transfer budget.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone”

Round Hole, Square Peg

 Posted by on January 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Jan 032013

After all that I work I may or may not have put into compiling a list of forward targets for Liverpool, they go and sign Daniel Sturridge right out of the gate!

None of the details were officially revealed, but the young English striker will join Liverpool immediately and was in the stands for Wednesday’s thrashing of Sunderland. Sturridge first broke onto the scene as a teenager at Manchester City, but failed to make a lasting impression. From there he went on to underwhelm at Chelsea; a team also desperately seeking the services of a true forward.

Sturridge is certainly a big name and he’s still very young so he has time on his side. But if he wasn’t good enough for City or Chelsea, then why would he be good enough for Liverpool? The young striker has a history of taking one too many difficult shots and no one has ever accused him of being a great teammate. He’s always played in a traditional striker role and he hasn’t even been able to catch Demba Ba in terms of league goals in the past 365 days.

All of these are reasons why John Henry and Co. have once again gotten things all wrong in the transfer window. Assuming Sturridge cost more than 10 million pounds (and let’s be honest, he did) this was not a great move financially either. Henry capped off a massive fire sale last summer by failing to secure the services of Clint Dempsey on Deadline Day after Andy Carroll had been sent to Upton Park on loan for the season. All of that on top of the Charlie Adam/Andy Carroll/Stewart Downing/Jordan Henderson mess and Liverpool have had a disastrous two years in the transfer market. So how did their new, financially wary owner(s) react? By immediately splashing a bunch of cash on a big name signing 48 hours after the window opened.

Then there’s the question of how he will fit in with the team on the field. Yes, only Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have scored more than one league goal this season. But there are tons of cheaper options out there at striker who would probably fit in with this team better. My opinion of Sturridge is that he has the same selfish, score at all costs mentality as Suarez but with none of the Uruguayan’s natural ability. The former wishes he could shoot from the same kind of angles as the latter. Sturridge cannot create on his own like Suarez; he requires a lot of service. Brendan Rodgers may want to pass the ball into the net, but at some point a striker has to be able to EFFECTIVELY get his own shot off.

So no, I’m not thrilled with this particular signing. Sturridge has burned a lot of bridges and this is last opportunity to make a big impression at a big club. There’s a reason he’s in such a position and it isn’t a good one. Brendan Rodgers is finally getting this squad to come together at the right time and Sturridge can just as easily mess all of it up in a heart.

But here’s hoping I’m wrong!


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

New Year, New Help

 Posted by on December 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Dec 312012

If you’re looking for a realistic list, you’re probably in the wrong place.

There will be no mention of Daniel Sturridge or big name pipe dreams like Fernando Llorente and Arda Turan. I have not considered how well these players would fit into Brendan Rodgers’ 4-3-3 “tiki taka” style attack.

These are simply players who fit Liverpool’s greatest need: scoring.

They also have one other thing in common: They shouldn’t break the bank for John Henry And Co.

Heung-Min Son

In 16 Bundesliga appearances (15 starts), the 20 year old South Korean striker has six goals on 24 shots for Hamburg. If nothing else, Son has been consistently accurate. Of those 24 shots, 11 have been on goal (roughly 50%) and of those 11, six (slightly above 50%) have ended up in the back of the net.

Tim Matavz

Napoli failed to reel in the 23 year old Slovenian striker this time last year and now he is the subject of rumors involving Wolverhampton Wanderers. In 11 league matches for PSV Eindhoven this season (five starts, six substitutions) Matavz has scored seven goals. His league form has transferred over to international duty as well. Matavz has started in four Slovenia World Cup qualifiers in 2012-13 and scored twice. He has recorded 8 shots for his home country and four have been on target with two winding up in the back of the net.

Chris Wood

Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem possible as Wood is reportedly on his way to Leicester City once the window opens. But he’s been consistently accurate thus far for Millwall. More importantly, however, Wood scored 15 league goals after I signed him at the start of 2012 in my Football Manager 13 (mobile) campaign.

Gary Hooper

Celtic’s No.88 has scored eight goals in 16 league appearances (15 starts) to go along with three assists. The 24 year old English striker also scored twice in five appearances (four starts) in Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign. Of these four players, Hooper is attracting the most interest from big name clubs and may be the most difficult (a.k.a. expensive) to obtain.

Although it remains to be seen how much money Brendan Rodgers will have available to him, the Welshman will almost certainly need to purchase at least one forward/striker strictly for the sake of having enough bodies to put out on the field. Despite the roller coaster ride Liverpool have taken their fans on these past few weeks, the Reds are within striking distance of a Top 4 spot if they can just add a second dependable goal scorer.

If you ask me to pick just one of these players, I would have to go with Matavz. While Gary Hooper is arguably the most talented of the four, Matavz may be the best value pickup.


What’s Next For Raheem Sterling?

 Posted by on December 23, 2012 at 11:22 am  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Dec 232012

Youth has been served!

(Had to get a bad pun in here somewhere…)

Raheem Sterling and Liverpool have agreed to a new, five year deal for the talented young winger’s services. For a while it looked like the teenager might test the transfer waters during the January transfer window. Brendan Rodgers had almost made it a routine each week to say he was confident the youngster would sign, despite no whispers of any progress on a deal.

But now it’s official and although football contracts are hardly binding, it would appear Sterling is staying at Anfield for the time being. So what’s next for the youngster? It’s difficult to project the career path of any player, much less one who is still in his teenage years. Sterling has had a breakout season and appears to be a good fit for what Brendan Rodgers wants to do long term. Although he’s still a bit immature, the young winger should be able to grow up under the tutelage of Rodgers.

And he’ll need to do so if Liverpool are to have any hope going forward.

The Reds have been searching for a new talisman for several years now. Steven Gerrard continues to slowly wither under the power of time. Liverpool need a new superstar who can take up his mantle and lead the next generation of great Liverpool players. There’s no reason why it can’t be Sterling. It doesn’t  need to happen right away, but hopefully over the next few years Sterling can pick up where Gerrard leaves off.

And in the meantime the young man will need an appropriate nickname is he’s going to be the next “Captain Fantastic”. My early favorite is “Raheem The Dream Sterling”. Yes, American basketball fans will recognize that I stole this from former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon but we’ll just keep that between us until I can come up with a better one.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”



Dec 032012

Day and night (what, what)
I toss and turn, I keep stressing my mind, mind (what, what)
I look for peace but see I don’t attain (what, what)

Day ‘N Nite-Kid Cudi

Maybe switching up music genres will help Liverpool string together a pair of positive results.

Last week the Reds fell behind early against Tottenham and never caught up. In a rare mid-week league fixture, Liverpool conceded early twice and needed a Gareth Bale own goal just to avoid being on the wrong end of a clean sheet. The Reds then took on EPL newcomers Southampton and earned three points behind a Daniel Agger first half goal.

One step forward and two steps back.

With each passing day it becomes more and more difficult for me to get excited about the future. Last week we heard rumors of signing Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott. This week Brendan Rodgers is calling Raheem Sterling “foolish” if he chooses not to sign a new extension at Anfield. Even the staunchest of Brendan Rodgers supporters have to be wondering what the future will bring. For all the fanfare surrounding his new style and approach to Liverpool Football Club, the team still looks largely like the one Kenny Dalglish put together last season. Luis Suarez has 10 league goals this season. Nobody else has more than one. The Reds continue to fail to put away scoring chances. Many (including Rodgers himself) will lay the blame for the Tottenham loss on referee Phil Dowd. I don’t buy it. Liverpool simply were not good enough. They did get the win on Saturday, but against a top flight newcomer you would have to expect a bit more than a Daniel Agger header to save you.

It isn’t all gloom and doom though. Saturday saw the return of Lucas after a three month absence due to a thigh injury. The Brazilian holding midfielder showed off his value right away as the Reds looked much better on the defensive side of things. I doubt anyone can question the value of Lucas after his performance Saturday. The upcoming schedule also brings a bit of holiday cheer as the Reds prepare to travel to Udinese for their last group match in Europa League play before a trip to London to take on West Ham in league play. After that Aston Villa comes to town so there are opportunities in league play to climb the table. Currently Liverpool sit second in their Europa League group, but they haven’t locked up a spot in the next round just yet.

Kid Cudi has some solid songs with motivational lyrics. Let’s hope the Reds are extra fired up for the next 10 days or so. They’ll need to take full advantage of their next two league opponents if they want to make a statement about their intentions for the second half of the season. They’ll also need to continue to search for someone other than Luis Suarez who can consistently finish chances and show that their days of offensive ineptitude are dead and gone.

In the meantime Liverpool fans must continue to avoid pulling all their hair out in frustration.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Nov 252012

“But where were they going without ever knowing the way?”


Fastball-The Way

That’s right, the Liverpool Song Of The Week now comes with a link to the actual song! Special thanks to my wonderful girlfriend for showing me how to not screw it up!

And now for an explanation…

Liverpool were held to a scoreless draw against Swansea in Wales over the weekend. It was a fairly typical Liverpool result: lots of possession and no goals to show for it. Steven Gerrard was especially listless in the attack. Whether it was his own doing or his position on the field, the Liverpool captain continued to show signs that old age are constantly slowing him down. This shouldn’t come as news to anyone, least of all the club’s most loyal supporters. However, it does present a good opportunity to discuss the direction in which are headed in now that their iconic captain is headed towards the retirement sunset.

Perhaps it’s not coincidence that Ian Darke and Steve McManaman (of the USA ESPN broadcast) brought up some of the latest transfer rumors surrounding the Reds during the Swansea match on Saturday. Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea has been brought up quite a bit regarding the January transfer window and now there are rumors of Arsenal’s unhappy winger Theo Walcott joining Brendan Rodgers’ squad next summer.

What do these two players have in common? Both seem to be incredibly with their current situations. Both are attacking players who have a tendency to want the ball to themselves. And finally, both figure to be very expensive purchases. Let’s skip the unhappiness issue and go straight for their selfish tendencies on the attack. Brendan Rodgers’ style of play has absolutely no room for selfish players. It is designed to get everyone involved and give just about anyone the opportunity to score. Sturridge in particular has shown a strong tendency to want to ignore his teammates in an effort to get his own shot off.

But even more disconcerting than the selfish tendencies of both players is their projected price tags. We all saw Brendan Rodgers get an unexpected freeze on his spending account, even after Andy Carroll went on loan to West Ham. We also heard John Henry speak as if Liverpool will be a team that will be relying upon their younger, homegrown talent in the future rather than proven star power. And on top of all that, two weeks ago the general manager of the Boston Red Sox (Henry’s other major league investment) publicly stated his team would be big spenders in their off-season this winter; which I believe is a hint that there won’t be much money for Liverpool in January. There have also been rumors of a 100 million pound move to Manchester City for Luis Suarez; the one man saving Liverpool from relegation.

Of course a lot of this is heresy and conjecture. We are dealing in ghost whispers. None of this is concrete. But it does cause me to raise my eyebrows a bit. And it makes the future even more cloudy. In the meantime, Liverpool are stuck in the bottom half of the table and continue to struggle to string together the wins that are necessary to place them in contention for another Europa League spot.

So for now the question remains: Where are Liverpool headed? Only time (and the upcoming January transfer window) will tell.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”