Monday, 17 August 2015

Rodgers Man Management !

Is Brendan Rodgers correct with the way he is handling certain players.  Many people have expressed an opinion that he has thrown players under the bus, almost for no reason, but possibly to cover for his and the teams own shortcomings, I disagree and I'm going to look at four players who have at various times suffered under Rodgers, Balotelli, Borini, Enrique and Mignolet.

Firstly Mignolet who is different to the others he is currently in favour but  he was dropped from the team and told he would be playing no part for a considerable time, looking for all the world like a scapegoat for the terrible results that the team had shown up to that point.  Brad Jones was his replacement who despite being a lovely bloke just isn't a capable goalkeeper he showed us this in that first game at Manchester comically diving out of the way of shots, but still Rodgers kept his word Jones was in, Mignolet out.  Was this bad man management, I don't think so, thinking back Mignolet was seriously out of form, there were huge in takes of breath from the whole of Anfield any time the ball went anywhere near him, constantly criticised by fans, commentators and media he looked a broken man, many were shouting for him to be replaced in the January.  A few weeks out the team and if the press are to be believed after a talking to from the wife he returned to the team with a string of good performances a far better and more confident keeper than ever before.  So good, in fact, that some were telling us that he was our player of the year by the end of the season.  With hindsight granted, but this has been proven as good man management a player who looked broken has been taken away from the limelight and come back stronger and better, but this is partly at least down to Mignolet himself a bad attitude or a petulant strop and I'm sure he wouldn't have made it back in to the first team.

Borini is different again he really wants to make it at Liverpool, he works hard displays a good attitude, says all the right things, the top and bottom of it is he is just not good enough.  I think he will be a perfectly decent forward for somebody just in my opinion not a team with top four ambitions, I believe that the manager has told him this. Last year we were offered around £14 million pounds by Sunderland and he basically refused to go, this has cost us as we will not get that sort of offer again, I know he has a contract but as the manager of the club what options does Rodgers have he is not going to make the bench we have numerous forwards higher than him in the pecking order, the club need him off the wage bill and anything we can get for him in the bank, Rodgers needs to get rid, hopefully in an amicable manner but if not, we still need to get rid.

Enrique is almost the opposite of Borini poor attitude, doesn't appear to have the intelligence to say anything right and appears to spend all his time on social media making inane comments and as far as I can see has no interest in playing football, why would we want to keep him.  He also is refusing to leave appearing to wanting to see out his contract claiming his huge wages for doing very little.  Again what options does the manager have. For me he has made the correct decision.

Balotelli, what can I say, so many seem to think he should be given another chance and I just can't see it, yes he is a Liverpool player and when he is on the pitch I will support him but in my opinion he shouldn't get anywhere near a Liverpool shirt again.  Firstly despite him being a risk worth taking it has turned out that he simply isn't good enough his record not only at Livrpool but at is other clubs and in the international arena show that, he can take a penalty and score an occasional spectacular goal but for me that's it.  Reports from Melwood tell us that he is poor in training, worse is a bad influence on others, talking over coaches, refusing to listen or take instructions, bringing friends who also disrupt sessions, continuously missing sessions due to "colds" all unacceptable.  Again I can't see that Rodgers has any other option than to keep him away from the first team players and try to get him out of the club.

Many people feel that Rodgers should treat the above players differently but I just can't see how, if Rodgers had been replaced in the summer and many peoples favourite Klopp was now the manager I can't imagine for one second that he would reward this type of behaviour and give Balotelli a place in the first team, especially with his goal scoring record at the club, or that Enrique would be rewarded for his time on social media with a place on the bench or that he would pick players who are just not good enough because they say the right things, what he would possibly do is reward players who having been dropped go away, improve and come back stronger and better, in fact you could say he would do just what Rodgers has done.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

That's A Big Big Win

That's a big win, that was my thought on the final whistle and still is now for so many reasons.
We finished last season in chaos and had to face the humiliation of that final day result and when the fixtures computer sent us back there for the very first fixture of the new season, I was concerned.  Stoke is a hard enough place to get anything from, our record there is terrible and they well, really well at their ground against everybody, add to this the extra pressure from that result last year, the worries, the concerns that the players must of had and you can see why I think we were all concerned.
Stoke are simply a horrible team to play.  I hear people tell me how they have changed styles, "that's not them anymore", "they like to get the ball down and play", " under Hughes they are different" but I saw different very physical all over the pitch, dirty even, huge long balls to the head of Walters throughout the game who played on Gomez trying to intimidate him throughout the match.  A big reliance on set plays that were again pumped into the box and so on for me not much has changed.  Not a criticism, all legitimate tactics to win a Premier League game, but horrible to play against and not the new Stoke we have been fed by the media.  Liverpool had to stand up to the physicality, win individual battles, stay organised and strong at the back and hope the extra class would tell, they achieved all this and that is a credit to all the players.
Our manager, and players were under huge pressure to get a result following last seasons result at Stoke, the general failure to perform last year in particular in the run in, the pressure on the manager due to this failure last season and many fans belief that he should have been replaced, I'm certain that the manager has been put under extra pressure from the owners  they have spent money they have given him the support in every way and I believe that they will expect a better level of performance for everybody.
The fixtures computer has given us a tough start to the season with a string of very difficult away games, to pick up points and stay in the race is going to be very difficult, extra pressure on everybody, again I'm not sure the manager will survive a poor start to the season with the expectations the owners must now have.
All the above combined made this fixture in my eyes before the game almost impossible, probably the worst possible opening day fixture we could have had and I think if before the game we were offered a draw we would have taken it, beyond any doubt. But we did better far better than that.
if we are honest it was a dog of a game it had to be we had to dog it out it's Stoke and they are horrible, we had to try and be strong, solid, compact we couldn't take another defeat like last year and we had to get something from the game to keep fans and owners happy or jobs may be at stake even this early,mother pressure would certainly been added to my media and the support, but we dodged it out well defenders did ok when last year they would have crumbled new full backs did very well under pressure midfield players covered huge amounts of ground and forwards battled and tried to find space with little quality service and then our quality told one moment of pure magic and we had the three points.  We have players who can do that.


Because of the reasons listed above this game was hugely difficult and Liverpool overcame them all and won they got the three points and that could be huge, we will gain confidence, we will get belief the support will remain optimistic and positive, at least for one more week, a little of the pressure on the manager has been lifted, new players get more time to settle, to show us what they can do and perhaps most importantly we have a start, just a hint of momentum.  


It meant a lot to everybody players, supporters, management and I sure owners you could tell by the players passion on scoring the goal and the away end went off, but let's keep our feet on the ground Bournmouth next and  three more points badly needed.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Liverpool FC. A Good Summer ?

Obviously, as last season finished and we moved into the summer, I, like just about every other Liverpool supporter was down, a poor season had ended in a disastrous run of results culminating in in the humiliating, slaughtering we received at the hands of Stoke City.  I found myself wanting a scapegoat and it was the manager that I was looking at, especially as it looked like Klopp may have been available to us.  But as the summer has worn on I have come back round to supporting the manager and thinking that the owners have done the correct thing in putting their faith in him.  We got our scapegoats when Marsh and Pascoe didn't have contracts renewed and we settled down to a few weeks of nothing from the club everything went quiet, not a dicky bird. Perhaps another good decision, no controversy,moving the supporters a chance to breath, calm down and everybody get their heads in a better place.  It worked for me by now I was ready to give our manager another chance.

New coaches were eventually announced over the summer with Sean O'Driscoll appointed as Assistant Manager, Pepijn Lijnders promoted to First Team Development Coach and Gary McAllister appointed as First Team Coach, not the big name appointments or ex players many wanted but for me decent enough and the people that the manager wanted so if we are backing him we may as well fully back him so we will see but at have every confidence that they will at least move us forward.

As the new signings started to come through early on in the window initially I was a little underwhelmed Ings, Bogdan and Milner were not the exciting signings I had been dreaming about but on thinking about they all appear to be an improvement and made our squad stronger not exciting but functional.  Joe Gomez was signed shortly afterwards from Charlton again at the time I didn't really know who he was so great a young player that we thought was good but ho hum another run of the mill signing.  Then the news. broke we were getting Firmino, now this was the signing I wanted, a marquee signing at least and I player I had watched and like very exciting and on top of that it appeared to be winding up other clubs supporters that we had got him, Twitter was full of happy reds for a change.  Clyne followed shortly afterwards another big name signing who other clubs reportedly wanted and a player who I believe is absolute quality, it finally looks like Liverpool have got their act together in the transfer market, business don early and getting our targets rather than loosing out to our rivals.  The Benteke deal had been rumbling on all summer with rumours about just about every striker in Europe going on but I think we all knew it was always going to be Benteke.  Many argue that we have paid to much, some that he won't fit our style, some that he simply isn't good enough. I disagree, I think he is a quality player who will fit our style of play and who will score goals he did cost a lot but to be honest I don't care, I don't look at the price I only care that we have another quality player.  Liverpool have also signed to or three quality youngsters who I know nothing about other than what I have read but I am pleased that we are looking worldwide to develop our academy teams I think it can only help, the more quality at the club, regardless of age, the better.

Our tour, not sure what to think, we travelled to far to be good for the players, we made millions of pounds and that can only be good, we played weaker teams don't know if that's good or bad, not much of a challenge but do we really want to be challenged pre-season and wins bring confidence no matter who you are playing.  Anyway I'm not going to go through game by game but I will go through the things that have stuck in my mind or that I will take away from the tour. Firstly, our fans worldwide are superb I love watching  full grounds belting out You'll Never Walk Alone thousands of miles from Liverpool and the players must love it as well.  Playing wise Milner is going to be a huge player this year, far from the run of the mill signing i though he was earlier in the summer, Gomez has looked like a star very time I have seen him early I know but he could be a player.  Our manager seems to still prefer Lovren to Sakho and if this is the case I believe it will be a huge mistake we will have to wait and see. Ings runs lots, hope he can score lots to.  Been a little disappointed in Clyne but I am still certain he will do very well for us and just recently Firmino looked good, I think we all knew he would and Benteke started well a few more like that and everybody will be happy.  We have some very talented youngsters Chirivella, Rossiter, aren't and Ojo joining Gomez in impressing hugely.

My thoughts are that we have had a very good summer, lots of change but all positive, you are never sure until the season starts and we certainly have a tough start but there couldn't be a better way of putting last year behind us than a win at Stoke.