#ComeOnJason – McAteer urged to ‘make the video’

Jason McAteer, former Liverpool and Ireland player, was nicknamed ‘Trigger’ during his playing days and he doesn’t seem to be in any rush to rid himself of the tag.

His nickname is a reference to the character ‘Trigger’ from Only Fools and Horses, a man who wasn’t at the top of the league table for intelligence, and Jason has admitted in the past he had done enough to earn the title for himself.

One example was the time he was with his teammates ordering pizza: “They asked if I wanted a whole pizza cut into four or eight and I said four because I’d never eat all of it,” Jason recalls.

 

Was he really as daft as he seemed to be? Maybe not: “In football, everyone gets an image and I always found that by having this slightly dim-witted one I could get away with murder.

“It also helped me play more matches – managers mostly saw me as a happy-go-lucky person and wouldn’t bother me. Because I didn’t mind where I played, I’d never be an issue when they were worrying about team selection.”

So if it was all a bit of an act he’d have no problem with something as simple as, say, recording a quick video message on his phone, would he?

He would.

Jason is taking part in a special golf and football event in Dubai next month along with some other former Liverpool players, Didi Hamann, Robbie Fowler and John Aldridge. One of the event’s sponsors, Dubai Eye 103.8, thought it would be good if Jason could record a very short video clip on his phone to help promote the event.

“Yes I’ll do it,” he said.

Four months later, and despite regular nagging from his agent, there is still no video.

Four months!

jason-video-stl1This isn’t a case of trying to programme a VHS video recorder to tape Coronation Street or trying to work out which items count as part of the Meal Deal down the supermarket. You just press record on your phone camera, basically.

Even five-year-old April and seven-year-old Sam – Jason’s agent’s kids – managed to do a video.

So did Robbie Fowler, Darren Gough, Didi Hamann, Ronnie Irani, Kevin Keegan, Ruud Gullit, Marcel Desailly, Míchel Salgado and a bar full of people at Carragher’s Bar New York.

But Jason couldn’t manage it.

The only way anyone can see Jason recording the video now is if as many people as possible show him just how easy it is.

Record a quick clip of you, with your mates if you like, urging Jason to record the video. The funnier the better but, as Jason keeps being told, it doesn’t have to be spectacular.

When you’ve done it upload it to social media with the hashtag #ComeOnJason and maybe he’ll finally record one himself.

#ComeOnJason

More info: https://5times.co.uk/comeonjason

Game: Transfer Trail

Some people are lucky enough to be off work now that Christmas is approaching. Slightly less lucky but still doing well out of the deal are those who are in work but able to basically sit around and do nothing until the clock hits 5pm. If only.

Then again, some people are currently fighting over parking spaces and bread in their local supermarket thanks to the impending doom of the one day a year where some shops are shut. We’d rather just keep working.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 15.26.39If you’re off, sciving, recovering from supermarket fights or reading this next July why not take five and have a go at this little game, developed by twentysix digital.

It’s all for fun, no prizes – other than the prize that is showing off to other people with your in-depth knowledge of the transfer merry go round.

You’re against the clock in this one, trying to identify which player matches the ‘transfer trail’ being shown to you. You’ll see the trail bounce from club to club, up and down the country and around the world and eventually you’ll work out who it is. If not you can guess – guess wrong and you lose 5 points.

For example, if Jamie Carragher was the answer you’d see the thing start at Liverpool, his first club, and then bounce to his next club which was of course…

Bad example.

Anyway – play, have fun, and don’t forget, your local off licence is probably open on Christmas Day anyway.

 


 

LFC agree deal for first Klopp signing – but there might just be a snag

The first transfer of the Jürgen Klopp era looks to have hit a snag – the player’s dad doesn’t want him to leave his current club and claims he has a trick up his sleeve to prevent it happening.

The player is Marko Grujic and the deal Liverpool are trying to get done would see cash-strapped Red Star Belgrade pocket €6m now (around £4.3m) but keep the player until the end of the season. Liverpool would pay €7m (£5.1m) for the player, with Red Star Belgrade giving the Anfield side €1m of it back immediately as a loan fee.

There is also a 10% sell-on clause which would benefit the Serbian side should the Reds cash in on the youngster at a later date.

Marko’s dad Goran, however, is unhappy about where the deal leaves his son and the pressure he claims the teenager has been put under to sign up for the move.

Grujic Senior claims Red Star are trying to “destroy” his son: “I won’t allow them to destroy my boy – I’m speaking about people who are in charge of the club.”

Goran is unhappy that the powers-that-be are using his son as a quick fix for their financial problems: “Everyone turned their back on them, as they’ve spent all the money the club has had, and they see a solution in Marko’s transfer. That’s why there’s so much pressure on him.”

The 19-year-old now finds himself fielding constant phone calls urging him to sign whilst reading claims in local media about how important he is going to be to Liverpool.

“Ten times per day they are calling him by phone, urging him to sign a contract,” Goran says.

“There are stories in Serbian media, like ‘Gerrard’s No.8 is waiting for him,’ or ‘Klopp called him by phone,’ and ‘millions here, millions there’.

He could switch off his phone and avoid reading the papers, but the club are relentless according to Goran: “There’s also pressure in Red Star’s dressing room, as it seems that they convinced players, who are waiting for their salaries, that their payments depend on Marko’s transfer.”

In Goran’s eyes the idea his son is being lined up to take Steven Gerrard’s shirt doesn’t marry up too well with the fact he wouldn’t actually be arriving at Anfield for another six months.

“I mean, which club is willing to pay six million euros, and then to say: ‘Look, kid, come when you want?’

“Nope. If Liverpool FC is seriously counting on him, they’ll tell him: ‘Start of training camp in January is on this day, at that hour, we’re expecting you.’ And, what kind of combination is that?

“The club is paying seven million euros for him, but then leave him on loan and that loan costs one million?

“Really, I’m starting to think I should call the police to tell them everything about this pressure.”

Marko’s dad believes he still holds the trump card when it comes to blocking the deal: “All I can say is that the passports are with me, and I can guarantee that Marko is not leaving, he’s not going anywhere.”

There’s also a question for Grujic Senior about the rush to get the deal done. He believes if the club hold on to the summer they will get perhaps double the fee for him.

“He became world champion, he’s on his way to win a title with Red Star, it’s logical that his price will be bigger in summer 2016, but there are so many people who want this transfer to go earlier to get money.

“All of this is packaged as a beautiful strawberries and cream for Marko because he was still a child. But the reality is different.”

It seems Grujic’s anger is aimed square at the club’s hierarchy and not the manager: “I know that coach Miodrag Bozovic has respect for my son, but I told director Zvezdan Terzic openly: ‘Leave my kid alone!’

“As for Liverpool’s offer, I’m sure there will be bigger [offers] than this one. Let him win the title with Red Star first.”

Meanwhile Red Star Belgrade have officially confirmed their acceptance of Liverpool’s offer and have gone as far as explaining the reasons behind their willingness to do business. As Grujic suspects – and of course unsurprisingly – the deal has been done for financial reasons from Red Star’s point of view.

The Serbian side’s statement explained: “In the last 10 days we have received three formal offers for the transfer of our player Marko Grujic.

“From Anderlecht £1.45m, Stuttgart £3.6m and from Liverpool we received an offer worth £5m and 10 per cent of the next transfer.

“All at Red Star sincerely want Marko Grujic to stay for the next 10 years, but the financial situation of our club dictates the adoption of a different decision.

“The board considered the offer and unanimously accepted the offer of the English giants.

“Liverpool will pay the money immediately and the player will stay at Red Star until July.”

The club’s statement acknowledged the concerns of Marko’s dad and suggests that the six month return loan deal was done with that in mind.

“We wanted to respect the desire of the player’s father,” they said. “Marko Grujic will remain at our club until next summer. We agreed to pay Liverpool £730,000 for this six month loan.”

As for claims they are ‘destroying’ a young career, Red Star claim that the move to “giants” Liverpool will give the teenager an opportunity for a successful career.

“Marko Grujic should continue to develop at one of the biggest clubs in the world, the club that is probably the dream of every player on the planet.

“We are convinced, just like the people from Liverpool, that Marko Grujic has the quality to play at a big club and make a great career in England.”

How much they truly believe that is of course open to speculation and Red Star admit that they were in no position to wait any longer for the fee in any case.

“The most important fact,” their statement said: “Red Star needs £4.4m now more than £11.7m next summer, due to financial problems.”

In the meantime Liverpool fans are waiting to hear if any deals will be done to bring players into Jürgen Klopp’s squad immediately. An already thin squad has been hit by injuries recently and the manager’s options to address the slide of the past few games are limited.

Mamadou Sakho made his return from injury on Sunday but was clearly some way short of being ready. His return was enforced, however, due to the lengthy injury Dejan Lovren picked up the week before. Their fellow centre-back Martin Skrtel was himself injured during the game, the hamstring and tendon problem likely to see him miss six weeks of action.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was also missing on Sunday due to injury and the Reds have further long-term injury absentees at the back in the shape of Joe Gomez and John Flanagan.

Further up the field vice-captain James Milner missed out on Sunday due to a calf strain, with striker Danny Ings out for the season and no sign of Daniel Sturridge coming back from his latest injury.

Aside from the injuries are the questions about quality, with former players amongst those calling for reinforcements to be brought in next month.

Pulis on “spin” and “facts”

Tony Pulis seems a touch unhappy at comments Jurgen Klopp made after the two sides – and to a certain extent the two managers – clashed on Sunday.

The two bosses didn’t quite get on like a house on fire during the game and when it was over Klopp decided not to shake Pulis’s hand.

Football seems more upset with non-handshakes than it is with tackles that risk causing serious injury to an opponent – regardless of whether they get the ball or not – but football these days seems to be followed by a lot of angry and grumpy people.

The reason most kids who are into football would rather have a kick around in the park than sit in and swat up for a maths test is because football is fun. Or at least it is until it gets into the hands of adults, usually.

In the hands of adults it’s a way of making money and one way to make money is to survive in a certain division, or in a certain zone of that division, and rake in a share of the cash that comes in to a team regardless of entertainment value.

Klopp got annoyed on Sunday, before turning his annoyance into determination to get the crowd up for a thrilling finale which almost brought Liverpool three points. He was annoyed at the way West Brom play football, and the Anfield faithful can sympathise with him having had to put up with over the years from Pulis’s Stoke sides.

Pulis is very good at what he does, something ex-Red John Aldridge described as ‘anti-football’ earlier this week, and seemed put out that Klopp criticised him for it.

Discussing Klopp’s reaction on Sunday, Pulis said: “I think it was disappointing but he’s got his opinions and he can say what he wants.

“We apologise we actually played three longer passes in 99 minutes than Liverpool did in that game.

“As a football club we apologise to Liverpool for playing three longer passes.”

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For people who live by stats it probably sounds very revealing, but for those who watch the game as well as pouring over the facts and figures not all long passes are what people tend to mean by ‘the long ball’. Pulis, of course, knows this but feels the need to put a bit of spin on it in defence of his brand of survival soccer.

“Everything you hear and everything talked about today there’s always a bit of spin on it,” he admitted, before going on to essentially say that low budget means low quality football.

“If I had a team that was worth £200 million playing against a team that was worth less than £20 million and we never won that game I’d be doing my best to divert it away from the fact that I had 10 times more value on the pitch than my opposition number had and couldn’t win the game,” he said.

Funnily enough, if one of the teams in the top half of the table made enquiries to West Brom about, say, Rondon and Berehino this January, it’s unlikely they’d get a figure back below £20m for the two of them, let alone the whole squad. But, as Pulis says, “there’s always a bit of spin” in things these days.

“I’m just stating the facts. Forget all the spin, that’s the facts,” he claimed.

Different managers bring different kind of qualities to the job, there are managers good at managing the so-called ‘big’ clubs and dealing with their so-called ‘superstars’, managers good at getting out of relegation battles, or getting promoted, or treading water in the middle of the table to keep the coffers full for the owners.

Pulis is highly-rated by many in the game but has yet to have a chance to prove himself at a club with genuine ambition and so his standard brand of football is accepted. It must be wonderful having to sit and watch it every week.

Football doesn’t dish points out for entertainment, it doesn’t really share TV money out based on it either, other than a relatively small increase based on how many times a side actually gets shown on TV, so Pulis is well within his rights to play the way he does.

Stats on time-wasting might be interesting because that is something his players are always very well-drilled at, turning the retrieving of a ball into an art form only matched by the attention to detail they give to placing it down on the ground for the restart.

Pulis continued: “I don’t know the fella, I don’t want to say anything else. They were the facts.”

The fact is that it must take an amazing amount of dedication and a serious lack of ambition to watch that kind of football week in and week out, not to mention to play that way. Some of the players will be happy to play that way but you can’t help think that one or two wish they could just play football.

“We’ve got a big game Saturday,” Pulis added, “A game that we think will be more difficult than the Liverpool game.”

West Brom play Bournemouth on Saturday.

What does the January transfer window have in store for Liverpool?

Liverpool may still have three games remaining in their hectic Christmas schedule, but Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly have one eye on the upcoming January transfer window as he aims to stamp his own authority at Anfield.

There is no question that the former Borussia Dortmund manager has made a big impact since arriving at Liverpool, but the recent defeat at Newcastle and disappointing home draw against West Brom may be timely reminders that fans should keep their feet on the ground as there is plenty of work still to be done. Liverpool have, however, put themselves in a good position to challenge for a top six finish as they currently sit ninth in the Premier League table, just two points behind Crystal Palace and Tottenham, with strong performances seeing their odds of finishing higher up the table reduced on Betway.

 

january-window-arc2a-1

Strengthening the squad in January may be the perfect tonic for Klopp to not only reshape the team to suit his philosophies and style of play, but also cater for the number of injuries that Liverpool have suffered. Dejan Lovren is the latest to find himself on the sidelines with what appears to be a serious knee injury, and while everyone connected with the club hopes he enjoys a speed recovery, it leaves Liverpool relatively short of options in defence.

The same could be said in attack, with Daniel Sturridge’s persistent injury problems and Danny Ings sidelined for the rest of the season leaving Klopp with Christian Benteke and Divock Origi as his only striking options. It remains to be seen whether the board will provide Klopp with the finances he desires to make significant moves in the transfer window, but if his track record at Dortmund is anything to go by, then Liverpool could find themselves in extremely shrewd hands.

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Kevin Grosskreutz

Deciphering fact from fiction is always the name of the game when it comes to any transfer window, and while Liverpool are naturally linked with a whole host of top quality players across Europe, time will tell as to who Klopp will target in January. One player who looks almost certain to arrive at Anfield is Kevin Grosskreutz, who worked under Klopp at Dortmund but has seen his summer move to Galatasaray fall flat. The 27-year-old, who can play in a number of positions, has not played a single game for the Turkish side and would jump at the chance of a reunion with his former boss.

He could be joined at Liverpool by Stefan Kiessling who has given strong indications that he may have to seek new pastures away from Bayer Leverkusen after seeing first-team opportunities limited in recent weeks. Signing a 31-year-old with an excellent goal-scoring record would be an indication that the safe money is on Klopp to bring the glory days back to Liverpool, and although Betway give the Reds an outside shot at the title at 16/1, success in the Europa League and FA Cup is not beyond the realms of possibility. Their chances could be significantly boosted if rumours of moves for Jack Butland and Lucas Moura come to fruition, but as both would command considerable transfer fees and would not necessarily leave their current employers,

Neven Subotic

Neven Subotic

Liverpool fans may have one eye on the January transfer activity themselves following the revelation that Klopp has not only failed to rule out a potential raid on former employers Borussia Dortmund, but CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has given the green light for him to speak to any player he wishes to bring to Anfield. It has sparked considerable excitement that the likes of Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus could be Liverpool players at some point in the future, with Subotic the most likely to leave Dortmund as he has barely played under Thomas Tuchel.

However, the January window could also be a period when Klopp has to consider keeping hold of his best players, with Philippe Coutinho the most likely to come under the spotlight. Real Madrid and Barcelona have been credited with strong interest in the Brazilian maestro, and although Liverpool may be focused on who could be arriving, keeping a player of Coutinho’s quality at the club has to be valued as imperative.

 

COMPETITION: Win 2 tickets to LFC v WBA at Anfield

Fancy seeing a match at Anfield? Enter our competition and you and a friend could be at the game this weekend.

It’s back to the Premier League again on Sunday at Anfield as Liverpool play host to West Brom – and you could be there.

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The Reds will be looking to put last Sunday’s defeat away to Newcastle behind them and get back to winning ways in the league.

With a number of players rested for the trip to Sion – Liverpool of course already through to the Europa League group stages – Jurgen Klopp’s side will be raring to go and will need the crowd behind them.

This is your chance to be part of that crowd!

If you’ve already got a ticket why not enter anyway? If you win you could always help a mate out!

Entry is free and all you have to do is answer the very easy question (there’s even a clue on this page), add your details and send it to us.

Competition closes at 5pm GMT Friday 11th December 2016. Terms and conditions apply, which you must accept to enter the competition.

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Pics: Anfield Road