Category Archives: Liverpool

Liverpool Need To Beat Chelsea Tonight To Kickstart New Era

Their achievement in the Premier League last year was enough to show that Brendan Rodgers’ side has potential to grow, but a win in the Capital One Cup would give his team a platform on which to build.

Rodgers has a lot to be credited with in his time at the Anfield club, not least the development of the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson. Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan were also key players last season as the Reds pushed for the Premier League title, missing out only in the last three games of the season.

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How Liverpool Boss Rodgers Has Let Down £16m Mario Balotelli

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has today clarified to the press that his recent comments about Mario Balotelli were not to be taken as a sign that the player is set to leave the Anfield club during the January transfer window.

He had to clarify that that was “not the case at all”.

“It’s been a difficult period for him but he’s a good boy.”

How has their relationship deteriorated to the point that any comment on the part of Rodgers about Balotelli is so heavily interpreted by the media?

In part, it is because of the genuine lack of opportunities provided to the Italian international since his move towards the end of the summer transfer window.

The striker has not started a league match since the 8th of November, nearly three months ago, despite a significant striking crisis that has seen Raheem Sterling fill in as an auxiliary forward.

While this could have just been an attempt to take a poorly performing forward out of the firing line, it would not provide Balotelli with much confidence about his place in the side.

In fact, two years ago I wrote about how Manchester City also failed Balotelli, in part because of Roberto Mancini’s unwillingness to give him an extended run in the team in his preferred position. Liverpool have done the same, and Rodgers has never been particularly praising of the £16 million man since he signed. There is little reason to believe, either in Rodgers’ public declarations or in his actions as manager, that Balotelli is a player he believes in.

It could come down to the way the Reds operate, with a transfer committee, of which Rodgers is a member, having a significant say over the business done by the club. If Balotelli was a preferred signing of that group but not Rodgers, he could be using his exclusion as an example to the others.

Is that sensible? Not really. Balotelli is, at the very least, a good player – you don’t reach the level of the game he has played at without a modicum of talent. Take individual examples as well, and it’s clear that whenever he has had a spot of momentum, club managers have not trusted him enough to give him a run. He was barely involved after his exploits at Euro 2012, when a great individual display eliminated Germany.

There should also be a level of pragmatism on Rodgers’ part. His side need goals, as evidenced by the 0-0 draw against Bolton on Saturday, and Balotelli, of the three strikers available to him, represents the best option. Neither Fabio Borini nor Rickie Lambert have shown anything that makes them better than Balotelli this season.

By getting to this point, Rodgers has let Balotelli down. There is no guarantee that they will improve in the second half of the season, although Sturridge’s return will be a boost. Now is the time for Rodgers to put his faith behind the former AC Milan man, give him a real run between now and the last day of the campaign, and see if he can recapture some of the brilliance that created a level of excitement when Balotelli first arrived at Melwood this summer.

Why Switching Lambert For Origi For Liverpool Would Be An Error

The summer is a time of renewed hope, the death of winter and the beginning of a new period of life.
It is in this climate that football is at its most beautiful, and summer footballers are born.
Summer footballers are unique, limited in the impact that they can have. While a player may usually peak over several seasons, the very nature of international tournaments means that the peak for a summer footballer happens rapidly.
Who can forget Andrei Arshavin’s star turn at Euro 2008, never to be repeated after his move to Arsenal.
A more contemporary example is Bryan Ruiz at this summer’s World Cup, a player who has now settled into mediocrity in the Championship. He starred on the world’s stage as Costa Rica made a surprise run to the knockout stages.

As a result, it’s something of a surprise to see Liverpool pushing so hard to complete Divock Origi’s move in this transfer window, in the hope that he can improve their season.

In fact, The Sun are today running a story that Origi will be signed if the Reds can move Rickie Lambert on.

This strikes me as a bit of a mistake, especially after Lambert’s fine goal against Aston Villa yesterday, which wrapped up an excellent 2-0 win for Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Origi, by comparison, has been struggling this season, not following up his form from Brazil well, like many before him. As Lille have faltered, so has the Belgian international, scoring only 3 goals in the 17 games that he has played in Ligue 1 this season. At the World Cup, he bagged one goal in only 246 minutes of football, which translates to about a goal every three full games, a far superior record.

The forward’s form has been so poor that he has only played from the start in one of Lille’s last four matches, and did not play at all in 50 percent of those games.

This is not the sort of player that a manager should recall from loan early in order to improve the outcome of a season, especially since it would be placing undue pressure onto such young shoulders.

Lambert has not been on top of his game since moving from Southampton, but his form has improved somewhat as the season has gone on. His long range strike yesterday was a classic example of the England international’s technical brilliance that belies a player of his side – slotted from distance into the bottom left corner, Brad Guzan was left with no chance of saving the shot.

Letting Lambert go at this point strikes me as a bad idea. He’s finally getting better, and fitting into Rodgers’ side when called upon. The 19 year old cannot be guaranteed to reach the heights that saw Liverpool lay out £10 million for him, and it would be better if he recaptured his form in the relatively less intense atmosphere of Ligue 1, rather than being relied upon in a potential Champions League push for Liverpool, one which could ruin his confidence.

All in all, the switch outlined in The Sun makes very little sense.