Manchester United

Transfer rumours

In recent weeks, we have been involved in many transfer stories and I am going to look at some of them and the likelihood of it happening.

Possibly one of the biggest names linked with Liverpool is one of Barcelona’s Brazilians Dani Alves. Dani Alves has had little news on his contract, which, expires at the end of the season, and he is still yet to be approached by the club. For me this is an unlikely transfer in consideration of all the clubs. Liverpool have employed a youth policy that is taken very seriously, so the chances of them signing a 31 year old are not very high. Also Barcelona are unlikely to leave it too much longer before offering a new contract that will probably be a one year extension. Possibly the biggest factor Dani Alves’ close friend who he plays with for club and country will have a role to play in getting him to stay.

Another potential transfer that has been spoken about recently is Miralem Pjanic. AS Roma have already said they will not part easily with the much coveted midfielder because he has been so impressive since his move in 2011. According to reports, coming from Italy Pjanic would be prepared to make the move to England providing the club could agree the transfer fee. Liverpool is believed to be leading the race now with speculation that a bid of £37 million is on the table. Having heard the reports and understanding Liverpool’s need to sign a player of significance in absence of Steven Gerrard this is a likely transfer.

For the final part of my transfer round up, the out of form, Radamel Falcao has been highly linked with the reds having turned us down last summer. This is coming on the back of his lack of games at United where he has struggled for goals. Last summer we almost signed him with United coming in last minute to lure him away. This is a transfer that I would very much like to see happen, because of what he would add to the team in goals and experience. This year we have lacked that clinical lead striker that we had last year in Luis Suarez but with the creativity in the team we could spark a resurgence to goal scoring normality for the Columbian next year.

That has been my transfer round up which, I hope you all have enjoyed. The next post will be about players and positions where I feel the club could do with strengthening and building on.

5 points behind

Having disappointingly lost to United are we down and out of those teams competing for the top four? Some people think that our chances have disappeared as quickly as Steven Gerrard did on Sunday. Others including myself see this as an opportunit to complete another miraculous comeback. More recently we have been under dogs when it comes to challenging for the title but, we sure gave everyone a scare last year only losing out by 2 points. Perhaps this is another chance to cause an upset and seriously mount a challenge on the top four.

It was inevitably that we would face defeat again by the end of the season, so you could say it is better to get it out of the way now and go on another push towards the summit. Yesterday told us a lot of things about the team. Firstly and most importantly we need to start games far better than we have in recent weeks. In these sort of games you expect the opening 30 minutes to be hotly contested conceding possession consistently but, we got dominated against United. What was even stranger about this is that we are known for our possession game, whereas you expect United to attack down the wings at pace. Another thing yesterday told us that we need to be more adaptable during the game, Emre Can was against Fellani all game and had a torrid time of it, struggling in the aerial battles. This could have been easily resolved by sticking Skrtel on him, who is far more competent in the air. It has been further cemented into my mind that Raheem Sterling has some attitude problems. He is the sort of player you hope to be watching in the future in a red shirt scoring 30 or 40 goals a season which, is realistic having watched his development in to a senior key player. When played out of position you do not see the same desire to play for the team whereas, when he is playing further forward. This lack of effort suggests to me he is definitely not worth more than £100,000 a week on performances like that against United.

For me and many of us optimistic fans this will be an uphill struggle to overturn the 5 point deficit; that is the gap between us and the prize of Champions League football. Knowing what we are capable as a side I know we can grow stronger with the remaining 8 games. Most importantly though, we will be looking for other teams to do us a favour and get victories against United who still have to play; Arsenal, Chelsea and City.

Liverpool showing their resilience

As everbody knew going to the Liberty stadium was not going to be a formality and it was far from it in the end. Having been totally dominated in the first half it came as a surprise the teams went into the changing rooms with the scores level. On a number of occassions Mignolet made some outsatnding saves to thwart the Swansea attack. Going into half time with either side yet registering on the scoreboard Gary Monk will have been the happiest of the two managers. Brendan Rodgers will have had a lot to say to get his team up and ready for the second half where they couldn’t play much worse.

As you would expect Liverpool were better in the second half where Joe Allen was particularly impressive with his tackling and moving of the ball. Liverpool were always going to have some form of pressure at one point and after a clever flick from sturridge for Henderson to run onto we were presented with it. The Swansea defender beat Henderson to the ball but, the path the defender decided to take clearing the ball was in line with Henderson. This lead to a deflection that looped the goalkeeper leaving him stranded and Liverpool one goal to the good. Taking the lead afforded Liverpool the opportunity to sit back and counter with devastating affect. Daniel Sturridge struck the post late on to give the Swans a late shock.

Liverpool showed their resilience all game pressing the ball, tackling players and holding out for a result that perhaps on the balance should have been a draw. This reilience was not a part of the side that came second last year with the idea that if you score one we’ll score two. The distinct change in identity has meant that Liverpool are more defensively independent and are able to cope with an onslaught and come away with 3 points. With Manchester United on Sunday the Reds will be feeling a lot better about the game in Anfield where they can move one point clear of their rivals with a win.

Race for the top four

The days of top four certainty are over for English clubs. The top four that was once Arsenal, Chelsea, LIverpool and Manchester United has disspated with the demise of Liverpool and United. This year we have seen the resurgence of both sides wanting to be included in Europes elite competition. This year deciding who will be in the top four will not be a formality, with even Arsenal in doubt having been there every year under Arsene Wenger. For me there are five teams in contention with Chelsea and City having already secured their position fighting it out for the league title. What makes the battle for Champions league even more interesting is that 5 points splits the teams. I’ll not go into definitive positions but who’s in and who’s not getting the much coverted Champions League football.

Arsenal and Liverpool for me will be the teams that find themselves in the top four come the end of the season. Unfortuantely that means Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham will miss out and I’ll tell you why. Manchester United have been performing poorly all season but, have found themslves in and amongst the race for European football. In my opinion their luck is about to run out and rightly so, no team deserves to be this high up the table having yet to turn up properly. As for Southampton they began the season fantasically but, have began to peter off now. Most likely due to the volume of games and players tiring as Southampton lack a depth in squad. Tottenham have been fortuante enough to find themselves a goal machine in Harry Kane who has been superb all year. Had they put him in the team earlier in the season perhaps, they would be far closer to securing a second stint in the Champions League.

Arsenal under Wenger have never failed to secure a top four finish and this experience will help them as the games are closing in on single figures. Wenger has come under a lot of scrutiny since the defeat to Monaco but, going out of the Champions League next week might help their league objective. Liverpool are the form side in the whole of Europe, yet to taste defeat since the turn of the year in the league. The change in formation implemented by Brendan Rodgers has rejuvenated this squad who are aiming towards the heights of last year.

If you feel like the top four will look any different to how I have suggested it will, comment down below the team that will, who they’re replacing and why.

Liverpool vs Ludogrets Preview

As it always is the first night of Champions League football is an exciting but, important time for clubs it helps them get underway with the competition and settles the nerves. It is an especially special occasion for any concerned with Liverpool because it’s the clubs return after a five year gap which can only make the atmosphere in Anfield tonight more intense. For Liverpool fans there is nothing like a european night at Anfield anywhere in the world, the stands will be rocking. What most fans including myself will be looking forward to is when we sing You’ll Never Walk Alone because as a Liverpool player if that doesn’t get you fired up nothing will.

Liverpool will be hoping to get off to a good start and set a fast tempo today because as we all saw last season they could win games in the first 20 minutes if the pressing and passing were on point. Mario Balotelli will obviously play a large role in the team today with the absence of Daniel Sturridge but, more so because of his european and international experience.

Ludogrets will face a harsh time tonight if they are sluggish to close down and stop Liverpool having most of the possession as it is becoming more important to break up the play and stop any rhythm and momentum they may have. Due to how unknown Ludogrets are Liverpool may be in for a surprise but who can tell as european nights do often throw up the odd anomaly of games.

Frankly, Liverpool should walk away with all 3 points and be topping the group on goal difference, as Madrid face a tough task in the form of Basel who have shown their resilience against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

Should he stay or Should he go

After the events that took place during the Italy, Uruguay group stage match in this year’s world cup there has been some serious doubt about the future of Luis Suarez at Liverpool next season. After all, of the controversy since his arrival at Anfield Luis Suarez has only just managed to get Liverpool supporters back on side after what has been nothing less than a world class performance from start to finish last season.

The issues are not with his footballing ability for which he is one of the best players in the world at the moment but, with his stupid shenanigans that see him suspended for large periods of time. Luis Suarez has been banned in the last 4 years for 34 games without ever picking up a red card which, is a staggering fact showing how bad his antics can be. Firstly, Liverpool supported him through the racism case, then there was the bite on Ivanovic and now Cheillini is it time we said goodbye?

Barcelona and other large clubs in Europe are not helping Liverpool decide by beginning talks with them when the verdict is still out on whether as a club we want him to stay or not. Liverpool has done the right thing in putting a price on his head if any team wants to see him leave Anfield. £80 million is an extraordinary amount to pay for a player but it would not be the first or the last when you look at Real Madrid’s willingness to throw their cash about.

Despite all of the wrong doings and headline writing he does Liverpool would sorely miss our best player. Luis Suarez is not just a name on the team sheet he is our talisman, playmaker everything goes through him, which says a lot when you have a player like Steven Gerrard in your team. Luis Suarez was the first Liverpool player to score 30 or more in the Barclays premier league a feat that meant he surpassed Robbie Fowler’s club record of 28 in a season.

If you were to take away, all of the Suarez’s goals and assists, then the club will have finished beneath Manchester United seeing us finish in 9th showing how important one player can be. The old saying one man does not make you a team is starting to dissolve because the year before Robin Van Persie won the league for United, which would be difficult to dispute.

So Liverpool have two choices, support Suarez completely and trust this will never happen again and see that he continues to score goals at the tremendous rate he does or sell him and replace him with as close a replacement we can which might mean bidding for Sanchez or Falcao who are equally potent.

One Game at a Time

It has been on all of our minds what does Liverpool need to do to take the clubs first ever premier league title ending the drought of 24 years without a league title.  Interview afetr interview with Liverpool players and manager alike have all said they are taking one game at a time a cliche in world football. Often we hear managers and players saying this as an excuse not to loom forward as not too put pressure on themselves relieving it from those competing against them.

This mantra has seen Liverpool regain the top spot in the premier league where they rightfully deserve to be since the turn of the year being undeafted in the league. In that time they have faced many a good team namely; Arsenal, Southampton, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs winning them all convincingly but before and after each game the mantra remained one game at a time which is becoming quite the footballing philosophy around Anfield. What this mantra means for the players; they really have one thing to look forward to not “oh we have Spurs next week” but ” we are paying Sunderland today and our main priority is the 3 points here today” this philosophy has seen the side look a lot more convincing against the smaller league side and most importantly the recently promoted sides that in previous years we have struggled greatly against. Liverpool have dispatched the majority of the smaller sides a part from the obvious hiccup against Hull City (a newlty promoted side).

Looking at only the immediate future and focussing on the next game has ensured that anything else going on outside of the club is not a distraction like the dubious claims of Jose Mourinho. Without the distractions of last years incident involving Luis’ and his ban we have remained quite quiet in terms of on and off field antics meaning there has been no particular emphasis on our players. Surprisingly the media have left Liverpool to their own devise this season without the usual speculation of our best players leaving and ownership changes. The stability of the side and club could stem from the calmness of the backroom staff who work with the players everday on and off the pitch ensuring happiness in all aspects of their life. Raheem Sterling is one who springs to mind when talking of a calming factor, as he has thanked and praised Rodgers for his help settling hiom into the side this season allowing him to express himself more freely.

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich 1st Leg preview

Tuesday night football returns showcasing some of the greatest talents from Europe’s finest leagues.  

Tonight features the resurgent Manchester United on the back of a 4-1 win who play host to the current holders and possibly the greatest side on the planet at the moment Bayern Munich

Manchester United

Manchester United have looked an improved side, this shows positivity going into a titan game against Bayern munich who have gone from strength to strength under Pep. Wayne Rooney has been in good goalscoring form scoring 4 in 3 games including that screamer against West Ham. All the supporters will be looking for a confident performance showing Bayern they won’t get it their own way. United have ectremely poor against big teams this year the most recent examples being Liverpool and Manchester City who both comfortable won 3-0. With the Moyes fan club showing signs of tiredness this will be the biggest test he faces to see if he really is the chosen one to take United into a new age without Sir Alex Ferguson.

Bayern Munich

Bayern have recently secured the Bundesliga title a week earlier than the previous year still being undefated and drawing only twice. Pep has turned Bayern into a fully functional machine featuring various dynamics and avenues of creating chances that have surpassed their own extremely high standards. Munich will be no pushover bearing in mind the desire they shown in the group stage to retain the Champions legaue against the odds with Real Madrid heating things up.

In all honesty, I can only see one outcome a Bayern win and anything else would be a shock result. I expect Bayern to have a comfortable 3-0 win with United putting up little resistance