How Jurgen Klopp can take Liverpool forward next season

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As the curtains came down in Switzerland and as the Liverpool manager embarked on the journey home with his team one thing was confirmed.  His team has many lapses and may not really move on in the manner expected without proper changes.

Change is vital in nearly every sector. Even gambling sites, some of which are listed in this portal, have had to make small changes including allowing players to play bingo games for free. This small change helped them become the best bingo sites for gamers looking for risk free bingo gaming experience.

Going back to the Liverpool case, some players have underperformed all season and Klopp needs to cut them off from the team if he is to take Liverpool forward in the coming season.

Defensive changes

Alberto Moreno’s lapses in concentration can no longer be condoned. At least one top level left back needs to be integrated into the squad.

Martin Skrtel for his part has the looks you would want from a starting centre back but he hasn’t been fit for much of this season. When he played, he was part of some of the most surprising Liverpool defeats. It is time to move on for him.

Kolo Toure was great on the night in Switzerland but at 35 years of age, the club needs to be moving away from him. Nothing epitomises the failings in Liverpool’s defence more than the fact that Kolo Toure is still in consideration for a new contract.

Simon Mignolet has divided the Kop for a while and he recently signed a new 5-year deal.  Whilst it is still difficult to say if he is good enough or not, one thing we definitely know is that he needs some serious competition. The signing of Loris Karius from Mainz may be all that is required to solidify the goalkeeping department.

Midfield changes

Emre Can and James Milner are great workhorses but they come up short in games at critical moments.  In Switzerland for instance, they needed to control pace and stifle Sevilla’s momentum after the equaliser. They failed to do so of course.  A further confirmation of the failure to control games is the fact that Liverpool threw away leads (in some cases two goal leads) up to four times since the turn of 2016.

Tactical changes

Klopp isn’t blameless even though he has brought lots of positives since arrival at Anfield.  His in-game management hasn’t been at the best level most of the time.  Most of the talk would be about him focusing on why he has lost 5 finals in a row but his in-game management deserves more self-reflection.  Against Sevilla, bringing in Lucas may have helped stifle Sevilla. Jordan Henderson is no Steven Gerrard but bringing him on earlier may have helped calm the team in the midst of the Sevilla onslaught.

Klopp’s first season wasn’t a disaster given that two final appearances seemed farfetched with Brendan Rodgers in charge last October. However, these changes must be initiated to ensure it won’t be sideways movement for Liverpool come next season.

 

Liverpool’s hopes of turning “distraction” into Champions League ticket dashed

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When Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Europa League, many of their fans saw the competition as a distraction because they were hoping the Reds would be focussing on another attempt at a Premier League title or at least a top four finish. The league season didn’t work out that way and long before it ended Liverpool’s online sportsbook soccer odds of winning the league title were non-existent and the Europa League was considered Liverpool’s golden ticket to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Sadly that ticket ultimately went to Sevilla, Liverpool’s amazing adventure in the Europa League coming to an end against the second Spanish side they faced in consecutive ties of the UEFA competition.

In the semi-final of the Europa League, team manager Jürgen Klopp spoke about his team’s strong chances of advancing to the final but also cautioned that the players and fans not to get too far ahead of themselves because the team faced a tough test against Villarreal. That seemed to be proved right when the Reds came home from Spain with a 1-0 deficit. A week later, under the Anfield floodlights, Liverpool put on a display that banished any concerns they might not make the final, a 3-0 win booking them their place in Basel 3-1 on aggregate.

In the quarter-finals, Liverpool pulled off one of the most thrilling comebacks in the tournament’s history against Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund, who had a big aggregate lead – including the advantage of away goals – at one point during the second leg of the tie. The Reds mounted a furious comeback in the second half of the game against Dortmund, and eventually won the game 4-3, and advanced to the semis with a 5-4 aggregate win.

Prior to their quarter-final match with Dortmund, Liverpool had knocked off Premier League rivals Manchester United out of Europe with a 3-1 aggregate win in the Round of 16. With the convincing wins against Manchester United and Dortmund, Liverpool fans are excited about their chances of making winning the tournament and qualifying for the Champions League.

Despite his joy about the way his team fought back against Dortmund, Klopp was hoping the comeback wouldn’t be wasted by losing to Villarreal in the semis. He was worried that some of his players might have been overconfident heading into the tied and warned them about the consequences.

Klopp told his players that despite Villarreal being fourth in the Spanish League, they were a very tough side capable of defeating any of the best teams in Europe having already knocked Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen out and easily dispatching Sparta Prague in the quarters.

Despite Klopp’s cautious optimism, Liverpool were favoured to win the tie against Villarreal, and to advance to last week’s Europa League Final, a prediction that turned out to be true. A win in Basel in the final would have earned them that spot in the Champions League next year and would have allowed them to commence the battle to win their sixth Champions League title. That battle will now have to wait.

The game against Sevilla proved to be one game too far, one half too far even, with Liverpool certainly dominating proceedings and looking well in control when the two sides went into the dressing rooms after the first 45 minutes. A Daniel Sturridge goal was the difference between the English and Spanish teams by that point and the Reds fans that made up the majority of the crowd were full of confidence.

Sadly for Liverpool the confidence was obliterated after less than 20 seconds of the restart, Sevilla catching Klopp’s side cold and grabbing an equaliser the Reds never recovered from. There was a great deal of controversy about some of the decisions made by the officials during the game, including an assistant seemingly changing his mind about an offside call, but Klopp’s men showed none of the determination for a comeback that had got them past Dortmund a couple of rounds before.

A competition originally seen a distraction had become far, far, more and with just 45 minutes of a marathon season left it looked like Liverpool were heading into next season’s Champions League. In the end it wasn’t to be, but it’s safe to say that the Reds’ adventure should make more teams take the competition seriously in future.

Five Liverpool Transfer Rumours

Every day brings with it a new transfer rumour. With Liverpool doing better than ever this season, it’s natural that the Anfield rumour mill is working overtime. Here are five transfer rumours that have been making the rounds lately.

1. Joe Allen

First and foremost, fans want to know what’s going to happen with Joe Allen. With the Liverpool midfielder’s contract expiring at the end of this season, there have been rumours that he may be transferring elsewhere. The contract was originally signed in 2012 when he transferred from Swansea for £15million. However, his Europa League performances over the past few weeks may have secured his chances of a contract extension, according to Jurgen Klopp.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Wikimedia Commons

 

Clearly the uncertainty of his future at Anfield hasn’t distracted Allen from getting the job done. With Jordan Henderson’s knee injury taking him out of the limelight, Allen has had a chance to shine. On the heels of their victory against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool squares off against Villarreal on April 28. This will be the first time that the two teams play competitively, with some giving Liverpool the edge and others giving it to Villarreal. Sites like Betsafe slightly favour Villarreal in terms of odds, but could Allen help drive Liverpool to another win?

2. Ryan Sessegnon

He may only be 15, but Ryan Sessegnon has made a splash as captain of Fulham’s under-16 squad. Both Liverpool and Arsenal plan to duke it out for Sessegnon, who is already considered to be one of the country’s most exciting talents. Compared by some to a young Gareth Bale, Sessegnon is classed as a defender. Arsenal has already tried and failed to snare Sessegnon, as a trade for Serge Gnabry until the end of the season. However, Fulham wouldn’t agree to the deal, deeming Sessegnon too valuable. It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will be able to make it work this time, or if Liverpool will be able to outbid them.

3. Theo Walcott

This certainly isn’t the first time that Theo Walcott has been linked to Liverpool, and it probably isn’t the last if things don’t pan out. For example, just last summer there were speculations that he would be part of a swap with Brendan Rodgers. At that time, Walcott had caught Liverpool’s eye as a potential striker, for scoring the opening goal against Aston Villa in the FA Cup final. According to recent reports, he’s now been linked once more with Liverpool. The Star on Sunday claimed that Klopp may be interested in making a play for Walcott, with rumours that the England international player is feeling antsy and on the hunt for new opportunities.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Flickr

4. Mario Götze

Bayern Munich forward Mario Götze is rumoured to be more than interested in reuniting with Jurgen Klopp, who he has worked with before at Dortmund. Chief executive officer of Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has stated in a recent interview that he is willing to sit down and work with Götze and discuss his future at the end of the season. This has added credibility to the possibility of a transfer to Liverpool. Klopp has already been painted as quite confident that Liverpool will be able to sign Götze, who has been marked as a high priority for transfer. Just 23 years old, Götze is ready for a change as he has only made 12 appearances at Bayern Munich this season and is hungry for a higher profile role. By the end of the season, he’ll only have a year left on his Bayern contract and Liverpool hope to get a good deal for the transfer as a result. Naturally, Arsenal have also got their eye on World Cup winner Götze, but Klopp’s history with the player gives Liverpool a leg up in negotiations.

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Image Source: By Steindy/Wikimedia Commons

5. Marc Andre ter Stegen

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is being pursued by a number of teams, particularly Manchester City and Liverpool. Online reports say that he’s restless and looking for new opportunities, having made only a handful of La Liga appearances this season. According to rumours, Liverpool are prepared to double his salary to £110,000 a week, which would make him the fourth highest paid player on the team. Barcelona would also demand a sizeable sum for the transfer, to the tune of £30million, according to Squawka. Ter Stegen has been the subject of Liverpool transfer rumours since October, but at the moment it seems that Manchester City may be winning out.

Top Five Liverpool Kits

By Andrew Moody
May 9th 2016

With the Jurgen Klopp era now starting to take effect at Anfield, Liverpool’s new kit for the 2016/17 campaign by American manufacturer New Balance was leaked ahead of the intended launch on the 9th of May. The reveal of the new Liverpool shirt is always much anticipated amongst the Kop and the forthcoming season’s release is no exception, adding to an impressive portfolio of classic designs in years gone by.

Following this announcement, I have decided to take a nostalgic look at both past and present football kits that have become etched in the hearts of many Liverpool supporters, either through their classic appearance or because of an affinity that has been attached following one of the club’s many memorable achievements in its illustrious history. Here are my top five.

1. 2004/05

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One word. Istanbul. The kit that sparked the greatest comeback in European Cup history. From its simplistic and smart design to the famous red Liver Bird that has been incorporated into the crest, this shirt more than any symbolises the prestige and will to win attached with this great football club.

2. 1983/1984

From a visual perspective, the white stripes balance off against the scarlet red perfectly. This kit would not look out of place in the modern game and the subtle dashes of red around the v-neck collar and sleeve hems add a touch of panache to what is considered the greatest team to embellish the hallowed turf of Anfield. Pure class.

3. 1965/66

Without doubt, this iconic old-school strip, typically worn with long-sleeves remains a pivotal part of Bill Shankly’s legacy. It was in 1964 that their dynamic leader made the decision for Liverpool to switch to an all red kit which has now become synonymous with the club. Shankly believed that the introduction of the all crimson apparel had a huge psychological affect on everyone connected with the club. “You know something… tonight I went out onto Anfield and for the first time there was a glow like a fire was burning,” claimed Shankly.

4. 1988/1989

This sweet offering was the first Liverpool shirt to be sponsored by domestic applier manufacturer Candy and always divides opinions amongst the Anfield faithful. The traditional three stripes of Adidas adorn the shoulder and complement the stylish white collar. Cult-heros such as Ian Rush and Peter Beardsley have graced this particular number on their back – surely that is enough to silence the doubters?

5. 1997/98

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Liverpool stuck with this shirt for two seasons with its classic collar look embodying Roy Evans’ fearless side who were arguably one of the Premier League’s most exciting and aesthetically pleasing team of the 1990s. This kit signified the emergence of a young Michael Owen who went on to form a compelling strike partnership with Anfield hero Robbie Fowler. However despite this trophy-less period, the Carlsberg era would experience glory on the biggest stage further down the line.

2016/17

How does Liverpool’s new kit stand up to these timeless pieces of attire with its definitive yellow lettering and flashes of gold across the neck and sleeve lines? If you haven’t seen it yet then there are photos of it at the UKSoccershop blog. I suspect the minimalistic; one button style will cause a difference of opinion amongst supporters, especially as it bears a strong resemblance to the home kit donned by arch-rivals Manchester United last season. Where does the 2016/16 design rank in your favourite Liverpool kits of all-time?

 

Can Daniel Sturridge be Liverpool’s Main Man?

Online Soccer Betting enthusiasts believe that Liverpool’s chances of success probably rest on the shoulders of Daniel Sturridge. With Divock Origi sidelined, Sturridge might be the hand that pushes Jurgen Klopp’s side through to Europa League victory.

The Liverpool striker’s confidence was most likely boosted by the two goals he scored a mere seven minutes after coming off the bench during the game with a clearly hapless Everton.

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Running swiftly between defenders before neatly putting the ball into the net, Sturridge’s fiftieth goal in sixty-nine starts for the Reds bodes well for his future with Liverpool; though, whether he can shrug off the words of Sportsmail’s Jamie Carragher remains to be seen.

Following Liverpool’s 4-0 win, Carragher’s salient comments, while appreciating his skill, encouraged Sturridge to question why he wasn’t in the first team. Could the fact that he isn’t playing stumble the soccer star’s belief in his abilities, especially considering the fact that Klopp has overlooked Sturridge ahead of three crucial games in three weeks, this including the game against Borussia Dortmund.

Divock Origi might have struggled under Brendan Rodgers but Klopp’s tutelage has allowed the young player to flourish and this has been to Sturridge’s detriment.

The England International probably didn’t think he would be spending so much time on the bench. With Origi out of the picture, sidelined after Ramiro Funes Mori’s horrendous tackle, Sturridge finally has the opportunity he has been starving for to finally shine.

Take into account Christian Benteke’s absence and there is nothing stopping Sturridge from finally stretching his legs. If Sturridge is half the player people believe him to be, then he will take Carragher’s words to heart and seize this opportunity ahead of the European Championship in France.

Once heralded as England’s top player, Sturridge cannot afford to not show up during matches, especially considering Klopp’s determination to maintain his rather stubborn stance regarding the striker.

The manager was quick to temper the hopes of Sturridge fans, assuring them that he had no intention of throwing Sturridge onto the pitch every single week, not with the fragility he seems to perceive in the player.

Admitting that Sturridge is indeed in great shape, Klopp doesn’t seem to believe in Sturridge’s ability play from the first to the last minute in every game, insisting on several occasions that he would do what he thought best for each game, which clearly means using Sturridge in the smallest doses possible.

One cannot deny the fact that Sturridge is clearly facing trying times. He is obviously desperate to make his mark at Liverpool, but whether he can wiggle free of Klopp’s doubts remains to be seen.

Sturridge has been keen to emphasize his minutes-per-goal ratio. Scoring every 101 minutes he plays this season (which is thirty minutes less than Origi, Benteke, and the rest), Sturridge believes Klopp should make more frequent use of his skills.

Klopp doesn’t have nearly as many options as he seems to believe. Liverpool is no longer pushing the Brazilian Roberto Firmino forward, and for good reason. Considering all the complaints he has raised about players that simply do not fit Liverpool’s invigorating style until Danny Ings returns, Klopp might have no other choice but to rely on Sturridge to give Liverpool the firepower it needs to finish in the top six, possibly even winning the Europa trophy in the process.

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.

 

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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.

 

Liverpool vs Bordeaux – Betting Preview

Liverpool make their return to European action on Thursday evening, knowing that a win over visiting Bordeaux would seal their place in the last 32 of the competition with a game to spare. Boss Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to get the job done as quickly as possible, with a trip away to FC Sion still to come on match day six. Here we have a full match and betting preview for you.

Match preview

A victory would present Klopp with the opportunity to rest a number of first team players for the trip to Switzerland on December 10th – an opportunity the German will be hoping to take advantage of, given the high intensity football and work rate he demands from his team.

Ultimately, finishing second in the Europa League isn’t the same damning prospect as ending runners-up in the Champions League group stage. The level of ability between sides in first and second in Europe’s secondary club competition isn’t too dissimilar truth be told, although finishing top of a group will never do a team any harm.

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After arguably the Reds’ best performance of the season away to Manchester City, it will be interesting to see what sort of side Jurgen Klopp selects for Thursday’s Anfield clash. The likes of Joe Allen, Jordon Ibe and Kolo Toure are all likely to be rotated into the starting line-up, as is Christian Benteke, who appeared in the last 15 minutes of Liverpool’s win at the Etihad Stadium.

Daniel Sturridge will again be involved in the match day squad, but a start may come too soon for the 26-year-old England international. Divock Origi has been taken out of the firing line in recent weeks, after struggling to make an impact as the spearhead of the Liverpool attack, but the return of Europa League football presents an opportunity to bring the Belgian back into the fold.

The question now lies as to who Klopp withdraws from the starting eleven on Thursday. Neither Philippe Coutinho nor Roberto Firmino were involved for Brazil in the most recent international break and both look refreshed from not doing so, although a minor strain picked up by Coutinho means he is likely to miss this match. Adam Lallana featured in both of England’s friendlies against Spain and France, and may be afforded the opportunity to take a break after playing a lot of football in the previous month.

Bordeaux’s away record in Ligue 1 has been pretty dismal in recent times, and haven’t won on the road in France’s top flight since March. In the Europa League, they have drawn three and lost 1-0 at home to Sion, with a defeat at Anfield sealing their exit from the competition.

The monotonous 1-1 draw away in France did however prove their ability to grind out results, with the Reds needing to cut out the mistakes from their last fixture with the French side.

Klopp is keen to continue the momentum at Anfield and victory over Bordeaux on Thursday certainly wouldn’t harm their cause. He has made no secret of his desire to have success in the competition this season, feeling that winning breeds confidence, rather than having a detrimental effect on their league form with the Thursday/Sunday routine.

Betting predictions

With Liverpool flying and a much stronger squad to pick from a win is definitely on the cards. At 4/9 though there isn’t much value in this bet. However with Bordeaux’s poor away record I can see Liverpool winning this by 2. Our free football tip is Liverpool -1 at 6/5

Liverpool Dreaming: What Can Still Happen in the last two thirds of the Season?

First, it was the Klopp hype train, now it’s the injury crisis: after 12 weeks, Liverpool have ten players out and a hope to get into the top four by the end of the season. Is qualifying for the Champions League still a possibility, or shall we abandon all hope? Well, you could probably get at least ten different answers to this, and here’s one of them.

If we look at the odds, the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet predicts that Liverpool have a decent chance at being one of the best four teams. However, that would be quite a climb up from the current tenth position and a seven-point difference to make up for. Still, Man City are only ahead by nine points, so things are not looking too bleak, right?

It kind of depends on how you look at things. The one hurdle that could prevent Liverpool from having a truly successful Premier League season is the fact that there are simply too many goals conceded and too few goals scored. The team have allowed their opponents to get the ball into the net 14 times and only repaid the favour on 13 occasions – now that’s got to change.

CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL - Premier League 2015/2016 (Pic: Supplied)

Boxing Day is now just six games away and by that time it’s usually clear how the season is going to conclude – or at least you can make a proper guess that’s not just wishful thinking. While the first game is going to be a tough cookie with the Reds having to best Man City tomorrow, there are going to be a few meetings where their chances look a whole lot better.

And then there’s also Klopp to consider. It’s already quite clear that his methods are starting to change the squad, and his enthusiasm is infectious. He’s got quite a talented bunch on his hands, and if there’s one man that can mould them to be the best players they can be, it’s Klopp. The role he’s playing is definitely not small – and if he didn’t have to deal with so many injuries, it would be even bigger.

Of course, the January transfer window will open up the possibility of acquiring new (and hopefully healthy) players, but that is not something exclusive to Liverpool. Chelsea for one do not look even remotely dangerous now, but whether you like it or not, they can still shape up and they’ve got the advantage of a bigger budget that’s going to come in handy after New Year’s.

On the other hand, there’s no good reason for Chelsea playing as horribly as they are now – their squad is top-class, really. If they continue to be the underwhelming defending champions that they currently are, it’s going to be a big help for Liverpool in the quest of getting to the top end of the table.

Then there’s Arsenal and both of the Manchester clubs to think of – they’re bound to be trouble. Tottenham are pretty beatable though and while they can turn out to be Liverpool’s main contender for the fourth position, it’s something that can be done. West Ham and Leicester City? They can be better than anyone on their best day, and just as easily lose to anyone, too.

There’s one thing that’s quite clear – Liverpool are not likely to end the title drought this season. The coach hasn’t had enough time, the squad has faced too many injuries, the attack isn’t good enough and the defence isn’t either, and lastly, it’s not like the other teams are not actively trying to win, too.

But that doesn’t mean that the team can’t be worthy contenders and finish at the top end of the table. We could see that the squad can score these crucial goals, too – just think of the game against Chelsea! So, can Liverpool actually finish in the top four and then have a blast of a season next year? It is something that’s very likely, and isn’t down to pure luck. Rebuilding the team will take time, but this is the first stepping stone that we can realistically hope for.

COMPETITION: Where will the goals go in?

Shirts, gift vouchers and computer games are up for grabs in our competition ahead of the Reds’ visit to Chelsea this weekend.

Liverpool have played 15 games so far this season in all competitions and to say that scoring goals hasn’t been a strong point would be about as big an understatement as “Liverpool missed Luis Suarez when he left” or “Fernando Torres was better for Liverpool than he was for Chelsea.”

Liverpool have been hopeless in front of goal.

The 3-2 win over Aston Villa was the only game in the Premier League, Europa League or League Cup so far this campaign that saw Liverpool score more than one goal. Obviously we don’t count the penalty shoot out goals against Carlisle, but if you include the last three games of last season that’s 17 out of 18 games where Liverpool have been unable to bag as many as two goals.

Is the Chelsea the game the one where the floodgates finally open?

If it is you might just be in for a bonanza of prizes in our competition (open to UK residents only).

Here’s Asmir Begović, standing in front of his goal at Stamford Bridge, plastic flags to his right, shaking in fear (probably) at the thought of facing a Liverpool side who can’t stop scoring. We hope.

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You’ll see six squares in the goal, six places where his clean sheet can be messed up.

Pick a square and tell us which one you’ve chosen below in the comments. It’s first come first served for each square, if your square is one that ruins the Chelsea keeper’s day you could be in for a prize.

For every goal Liverpool score this weekend we are giving a prize away – up to a maximum of five goals! If Liverpool score more than five goals you’ll have enough celebrating to do anyway.

If more than one goal is scored in your square, your reward gets better.

To give you even more chance of winning it also applies to Simon Mignolet’s goal – which of course we don’t want to see breached – so should Chelsea get a consolation past him and it lands on your square you’re in for a prize.

 

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The prizes:

  • If one goal lands in your square you will receive: A £10 Amazon Voucher
  • If two goals land in your square you will win: Football Manager 2016 on Pre Order! Release date November
  • Three goals or more in your square and you will get: A Liverpool Football Club Shirt (take your pick of the Home/Away/Third shirts)

The booby prize:

If the game ends goalless, the first person to comment wins the following prize.

  • Danny Dyer’s Funniest Football Foul-Ups on DVD

Sorry, but that’s how it’s got to be. Maybe it’s not too bad, with the sound down.

 

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Have a go below in the comments. Make sure you use a valid email address otherwise we won’t be able to get hold of you if you win. If you’ve not commented before your comment might not appear straight away but it will be logged with the correct date and time and will appear as such when we approve it.

Good luck!

 

Competition sponsored by Paddy Power.

Rules

  • Each player is only allowed one square, no multiples
  • Entries will not be accepted from blog owner, contributor or employees of Paddy Power
  • Squares will be allocated to the first 6 people to comment on available squares
  • The BBC’s definition of which square the ball went into is final, this can be found on BBC Football news www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/results
  • Prizes are subject to availability
  • Only one prize per square
  • Only the first 5 goals are counted
  • UK entries only
  • If the match score is 0-0 the first to comment on the original post will win the booby prize, a Danny Dyer Football Foul-Ups DVD

 

 

The transfer rumours continue unabated

The transfer rumour mill remains in motion and when it comes to Liverpool it appears the club’s longest-serving player, Lucas Leiva, will be on the move. The Brazilian has lost Brendan Rodgers’ favour and there are plenty of names mentioned as replacements, although in time the manager and the fans may well kick themselves over the ones who got away.

Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi is among them, the former Real Sociedad man having been linked with leaving Santiago Bernabeu for the majority of his two years in the capital. Illarra never really had the trust of Carlo Ancelotti and though his successor, Rafa Benitez, has made encouraging noises about the 25-year-old’s future, the £15m reportedly on offer from Anfield could see the club’s decision-makers usher him out the door.

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If Illarra did swap Madrid for Merseyside it would take the transfer fees paid for him in his short career to around the £40m mark, Madrid having paid roughly the equivalent of £23m for him in 2013. Illarra’s far cheaper in EuroFantasyLeague, however, at 2.5m a fraction of the 100m budget you receive in the fantasy football game to build a 14-man squad from the continent’s top leagues, with a limit of three players from any one team.

Lucas, 5m in EFL and said to be an £8m target for Juventus and Milan, has been a Liverpool player since a 2007 move from Gremio and, following the recent retirement of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard’s move to LA Galaxy, no one has been at Liverpool longer. The 28-year-old has seen managers come and go – signed by Rafa Benitez, he survived Roy Hodgson’s brief reign and the return of Kenny Dalglish, and it appeared he was part of the furniture under Rodgers. But no more, Rodgers is looking for something different in his midfield.

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Both Lucas and Illarra offer tidy work in possession and a diligent presence in defence, but the late decision to overhaul the midfield does raise questions, and reveals some missed opportunities. Rodgers has left it until the final weeks of the transfer window to try and move Lucas out, if reports are to be believed, and runs the risk of having a disgruntled player on his books if no move materialises, Lucas allegedly told he’ll be no better than fifth choice. As he approaches 30, Lucas will want to play as much as possible but that doesn’t appear to be an option at his current club.

The £15m it would apparently take to get Illarra is more than twice the amount Sevilla paid Stoke City for Steven N’Zonzi, a midfielder with Premier League experience and a physical presence Liverpool lack. Rodgers has a collection of energetic but small midfield players and Illarra would be another one; N’Zonzi would have offered something different while still possessing the technical ability Rodgers craves. At 2m, N’Zonzi would also be a smart signing for an EFL team, an important cog in what promises to be a successful Sevilla side.

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