Sterling to reject new deal?


Several papers are today reporting that Raheem Sterling is set to reject Liverpool’s initial contract offer after talks opened last week.

sterling1[1]The 17-year-old winger has 18 months left on his current deal – worth £2,000 a week plus bonuses.

The Independent claim the Reds have offered in the region of £20,000 per week, but Sterling’s representatives have made it clear that such an offer is unacceptable and believe he deserves closer to £50,000 per week.

Sterling has been a revelation since breaking into the Liverpool first team – and a string of solid performances earned him a recent call up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Let’s just hope that recent successes haven’t gone to his head and the youngster is able to negotiate a deal with the club that suits both parties.

Bitter about Twitter


I am sure many of us have a Twitter account and use it to vent/rant/praise/argue with United fans (a personal fave) and I am sure we follow the Redmen who have Twitter accounts. I have always been a fan of this until recently, there was one occasion at the start of the season where we had just been played off the park and Jonjo Shelvey – rather than apologising for the awful display – took to Twitter to inform us all how he, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling were really looking forward to heading off to the England U21 camp. Not the slightest sign of a care that we had just been outplayed and totally outclassed, at home, by an Arsenal side under as much scrutiny as ourselves or any sign of apologising to the fans who have worked hard to earn the ticket money for that week’s A class game.


I now log on to my own Twitter page (@CeriCollins) and see he is at it again. A picture taking the mick out of Adam Morgan’s attire a few hours after what is probably the worst Liverpool performance I have seen in many a season. I am sure the disgruntled – and probably knackered – travelling Kop are overjoyed to see this on their long flight home. Just what you need after the trouble of travelling to a freezing cold Russia – your (supposedly) senior midfielder in that game you have just witnessed, joking that his young team-mate wears crap clothes. No apology or thank you to those on the way home, no “We will bounce back Sunday” words of encouragement for us to show that it does matter to them that they have lost this game and that we are now in a difficult position in this group, but that one of the teenagers playing for Liverpool in Europe has a dodgy outfit. Sorry, but it is difficult to get behind that.

The young and inexperienced Reds had a massive opportunity to show Brendan what they were capable of last night and they did…. not a damn thing. Suso, when he came on did very well and showed some flashes of a hungry-to-win young man. The “fighting for a place” attitudes voiced by Henderson, Downing and Joe Cole were really not backed up, and in truth they were probably the worst players in purple last night. There seems to be an attitude amongst some of these young players that they are already world beaters because they wear the Red shirt. Not the case sorry fellas. Jonjo’s second touch, 7 times out of ten, is a tackle and the argument that.. “he gets in to good positions” aspect of his game is all well and good but if you can’t finish, it is a futile exercise and quite frankly, embarrassing, see Newcastle game last week and the final ball last night any time he got near the box. We also won’t mention the free kick he hit that was closer to going for a throw in than in the goal but I am sure Adam Morgan’s “gear” choice is again more important than getting his head on the game for Sunday which, I am sure he will feature in as BR sees something in him I, and a lot of other fans I have spoken to, do not.

This is not a personal attack on the young players as it is not only them taking to the internet to voice what they consider humour and in-jokes amongst each other. To his credit Suso was very quick to go online, thank fans for the support and affirm his focus on the next game. Jose Enrique taking the proverbial Michael out of Jon Flanagan this morning was also a highlight. Flanagan was another player that was dreadful last night. The lad’s confidence may have been shaken in the light of being relegated to the u21s and reserves for a period, but again, he had an opportunity to shine last night and he did the exact opposite.

Lucas, Brad Jones, Luis Suarez and Suso are regular tweeters, and in all fairness their posts are – more often than not – about how grateful they are for support and how they are feeling about a game they have featured in (or not in poor Lucas’ case) so there is an argument that, if used for the right reasons, these accounts are a great avenue for us as fans to get the slightest bit of personal contact with our boys.

We as Reds fans are very forgiving and going in to the next game I am sure this feeling of disappointment and frustration at the attitude of our heroes will be gone, but as long as their Twitter accounts are used for this type of immature and frankly thoughtless posts, there may be an air of resentment towards them, and rightly so. They are paid to represent the best club in the world and they need to remember where they are.

Anzhi 1 – 0 Liverpool


By AmericanKopite, 08-11-2012, 20:18:43

Bad luck for the traveling Kop as they say our boys go down 1-nil in Moscow to Group A leaders Anzhi.

Brendan Rodgers had rested almost all his regular starters for the weekend clash against Chelsea, so this mostly youthful side captained by Jamie Carragher faced an uphill challenge against a team who hasn’t lost a single European game at home this year.

The first European away loss for our side started as a strong 45 minutes with the defence holding strong despite strong runs by Traore and Eto’o.

It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that Jonjo Shelvey had opened up Anzhi’s midfield with lovely touches and a cool pass to Adam Morgan, who’s shot didn’t trouble Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov. The next few minutes we dominated by Liverpool, but it was until a rare 29th minute substitution by Anzhi that saw their side take control for the rest of the half.

Brad Jones made himself a household name with excellent saves all throughout the night including the save of the game in the 36th minute when Samuel Eto’o raced around Andre Wisdom to fire a laser at Brad Jones, but the Australian international made his intentions known with a brilliant save.

The match leveled out in terms of dominance for the rest of the half until ten seconds before the whistle a lapse in Liverpool’s defence saw Lacina Traore in open space with Jones off his line and all that was left to do was a cool chip over Jones to make the score 1-nil just moments before the halftime whistle.

Possession became the name of the game as it was all Liverpool in the early moments of the second half, but poor runs and a great defence didn’t allow the visitors to capitalize but for one shining moment when young Adam Morgan took an awkwardly angled shot that spun off course for a goal kick.

Liverpool first two changes came in the 61st minute when Dani Pacheco and Suso came on to replace Adam Morgan and Connor Coady, respectively.

The attack-minded changes by Brendan Rodgers showed and Liverpool was off to the races with Jamie Carragher pressing forward in the late 69th minute.

Joe Cole who hasn’t made himself heard at all this year had a chance in the 76th minute, but to no avail, and it would be his last touch of the match as he would shortly come off for Ousamma Assaidi.

Up until the 80th minute it was all Anzhi, but the pressure was on for the home side with Liverpool putting 5 men in the attacking third for the rest of the match.

Pressure, pressure, pressure, and nothing to come of it but one free kick in the 87th minute from Jonjo Shelvey that did nothing to trouble the man between the sticks.

The final whistle came just four minutes after the home side was delighted to keep their perfect record and go top of Group A with Udinese looking to join them level on seven points.

The only bookings of the match came in the 33rd and 38th minute for Jonjo Shelvey and Jon Flanagan who were carded for a dive late in the match and an elbow thrown.

The reds will make a journey to London on Sunday to visit 2nd place Chelsea, and then it’s back to Anfield to host Wigan athletic on Saturday, the 17th. The next European match will be at home that following Thursday the 22nd and Liverpool will try to go back to top of the group and move on in Europe.

Until then, YNWA.


Shelvey & Sterling get England call-up


Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling have been called up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the friendly match against Sweden in Stockholm next Wednesday.


The pair were brought into the senior England set-up for the first time earlier this season and Shelvey made his international debut as a substitute in the 5-0 win over San Marino in October.

20-year-old Shelvey is currently in Moscow preparing for Liverpool’s Europa League tie against Anzhi tonight, whilst Sterling has been rested by Brendan Rodgers and has not travelled to Russia.

Steven Gerrard is set to make his 100th appearance for the Three Lions, following on from his landmark 600th outing for the Reds on Sunday.

The other Liverpool player named in Hodgson’s 23-man squad is full-back Glen Johnson.

Patience is the key to success


A lot has been said about Brendan Rodgers this week via various media outlets following last weeks home defeat to Swansea, and the 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United. Most of this has been negative and I think it is very early days to judge our new leader, especially when there are a number of players at the club that he does not want as part of his plans. Some forums are saying he is not ready for a job like Liverpool whilst others are saying he doesn’t have a Plan B when things are not going right. I sort of agree with the latter however, we will benefit from this in the future once the Ulsterman has his own squad.

It may be naive from Rodgers to only pay the ‘tiki taka’ way however, as proven with Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea last season, if you start changing the style you have, you can start to get very confused which results in fans and the media questioning you even more.

Rodgers is sticking to his vision and if he is given time, I believe that vision will pay off and bring more success to our great football club. Brendan is our 4th manager in as many years and this is not stability that Liverpool Football Club is used too. Okay, people may say that Roy Hodgson was never given enough time in the job however it was clear after the first few games under Hodgson’s tenure that the club had made a massive mistake. Hodgson was too cautious and negative to be a Liverpool manager. The job is all about taking risks, which Rodgers has achieved by bringing through youngsters and playing the way he wants too with, arguably, a mediocre squad.

The fans understand what he is trying to do and have built a solid early relationship with him; they never took to Hodgson and vice versa. It was clear Hodgson did not really have a plan as to what he wanted to achieve and build at Anfield. Rodgers has. Kenny Dalglish steadied the ship after Hodgson’s dismissal and now we need to get back to basics by giving a manager time and the chance to succeed. There needs to be some stability with regards to the manager’s position.

There is so much pressure on the club to get back in to the Champions League (which we all want) however it is going to take time and stability is needed whilst we make our way back to Europe’s premier competition.

When Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez took over at Anfield, the club were in similar positions as to when Rodgers took over. Maybe more similar under Houllier than Benitez. Both were given time to get their own squads in and implement their styles. I know we won the European Cup in Rafa’s first season, as well as The Treble early into Houllier’s reign, however both were still given time and we benefited from that as a football club.

We cannot keep chopping and changing and we have to make sure Rodgers is given time, and I’m convinced this time next year we will be in a more healthy position and on the right road to where we want to be. That is competing for trophies on a domestic and European scale. The reality is, at the moment, we are where we are and there is no quick fix unless you have the spending power of Chelsea and Manchester City. That’s why I believe in our current position; we need to back the manager and we will be rewarded. Remember, patience is the key to success.

Rodgers rests stars for Russia trip


Brendan Rodgers has left Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin, Raheem Sterling, Glen Johnson, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Jose Enrique out of the travelling party to face Anzhi in Russia tomorrow.

With a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea looming on Sunday, Rodgers has decided to rest most of his key men for round four of the Europa League group games.

Provisional squad: Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Robinson, Shelvey, Henderson, Cole, Downing, Yesil, Assaidi, Gulacsi, Ward, Flanagan, Sama, Wilson, Coady, Suso, Morgan.

Gerrard: “I would like to play for Mourinho”

Gerrard: "I would like to play for Mourinho"

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has spoken of his respect for Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and has admitted that he would like to play for him one day.

The Portuguese manager nearly made that happen in 2005 when he came very close to prising Gerrard away from Liverpool down to Chelsea, but the Reds legend rejected that move at the last minute.

Gerrard still regards Mourinho as the best manager around after years of success with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and now Spanish champions Real Madrid.

“I would like to play for Mourinho, the Special One,” Gerrard said.

Gerrard has reaffirmed his commitment to the Reds though, having nearly linked up with Mourinho on three occasions.

On Chelsea’s initial move for him in 2005, he said: “Liverpool weren’t really challenging at the time, so there was something to think about.”

“But I ended up saying ‘no’ and a year later I said ‘no’ again. But he came back when he arrived at Real Madrid two years ago.”

“I look at some players who get interest from clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona and they cause absolute wars to get out and get there.”

“But that has never been me and, again, it just wasn’t going to happen.”

Reds braced for Premier League hearing

Liverpool braced for Premier League hearing

Liverpool are braced for a Premier League hearing following a complaint that the club illegally approached Clint Dempsey during last summer’s transfer window. The complaint was originally made by Dempsey’s former club Fulham in July following comments from Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

Dempsey ended up opting for a move to White Hart Lane after Tottenham entered the running late in the transfer window, but Rodgers made no secret of his admiration for the American forward and it was believed until the last minute that a move to Anfield was on the cards.

Fulham believe that these comments constituted an illegal approach, and made a complaint to the Premier League. Despite the potential transfer to Liverpool collapsing they did not drop their complaint, and the Telegraph reports that the Craven Cottage club is ‘intent on calling Liverpool to account’.

The Reds could be hit with a fine or points deduction if they are unable to defend the charge, though any points deduction would be likely to be suspended.

Owen sticks his oar in – again

Owen sticks his oar in - again

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has defended Fabricio Coloccini after the Newcastle player was sent off in the 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

Coloccini was shown the red card for a late challenge on Luis Suarez in the closing minutes of the game, with replays showing that – although there was minimal contact – the defender’s foot was high.

Owen – who has played for both Newcastle and Liverpool in his career, and is now contracted to Stoke City – believes the sending off was unjustified, as Coloccini tried to pull out of the challenge. And the former Kop hero – who has done little to endear himself to LFC fans since leaving the club – was quick to have his say on Twitter.

“Not having that at all. He didn’t touch him and to say there was intent is laughable,” Owen tweeted.

“Let me tell you, he kicks a moving ball a thousand times a day and doesn’t miss it once. If he wanted to connect with a standing leg then he wouldn’t of missed.

“He pulls out at the last minute and doesn’t touch him. Not having that’s a red at all.”

This is not the first time Owen has attempted to stick the boot in on his former employers, perhaps though with no league starts or goals since joining Stoke he should be focusing on what is left of his own career

Goal scoring issues

goal scoring issues

So we reach 10 games into the season, a quarter of the season has flown by already and it sees us return with a meagre 11 points. We have not even posted three victories from those 10 games which is a disappointing return considering the opposition we have faced along the way. Of those teams we only have amassed more points so far than four of them:-

Sunderland (9pts)
Norwich (10pts)
Stoke (9pts)
Reading (5pts)

We have played six of those 10 games at home. A return of six points from a possible 18 in the fortress Anfield proves a little fine tuning is certainly required for an upturn in fortune.

Last season we hit the woodwork a number of times and missed so many chances to prove that the problem was a little more deep rooted than just bad luck. We amassed just 27 points at home all season a return that shows little immediate signs of improving this term

Of the 13 goals scored in the league this season we have just seen five different goal scorers Suarez (8), Gerrard (2), Skrtel, Sahin and Sterling. Last season when goal scoring and finishing off teams proved an issue we ended the season sharing goals between 13 players with goals coming from:

Suarez (11)
Bellamy (6)
Gerrard (5)
Rodriguez (4)
Carroll (4)
Kuyt (2)
Henderson (2)
Skrtel (2)
Adam (2)
Johnson (1)
Agger (1)
Coates (1)
Shelvey (1)

I think we have a different issue this year; we are missing the likes of Carroll, Kuyt, Bellamy and even Rodriguez. Despite their limited playing time you always felt they may grab us a goal. They have all moved on and not been replaced in terms of the goals they can bring to a side.

It is far too early to judge Borini yet, although he doesn’t look as if he will make a huge dent into that tally, Joe Allen certainly won’t and Suso and Sterling are probably going to be players that won’t start every week at present as they are still plying their trade. So although hopeful they will add to the total, I am certainly not expecting a glut of goals from them.

How does our goals record compare to the top scoring sides in the league this season?

Manchester United (25 goals -13 different goal scorers)
Chelsea (22 goals-10 different goal scorers)
Fulham (22 goals-9 different goal scorers)
Everton (19 goals-8 different goal scorers)
Man City (18 goals-9 different goal scorers)

Before we plough into the issue of who is to blame and point fingers at the owners for not strengthening, Brendan Rogers for not replacing or Kenny Dalglish for wasting money on inferior players (three of the arguments I have picked up from individual papers today) let’s focus on where we maybe going wrong and where can we put it right?

Watching the Newcastle game yesterday I thought I would analyse a bit of our attacking play to see if I could shine an insight into how we can improve this goal scoring issue to get us further up the league and a few more points in the bag. On the overview of yesterday’s game I hear the same moans and groans – we dominated the game, if we had a goal scorer we would have won the game. Our approach play was positive although our goal actually came from a long pass where Suarez got between two defenders to apply a clinical finish. Let us have a look at a few statistics and compare the first half to the second (which is in brackets)

Left Central Right
Entries into the final third
8 (13)
4 (5)
6 (9)
5 (6)
2 (4)
Chances created
0 (1)
1 (3)
2 (3)
4 (4)
1 (0)
0 (1)
0 (1)
0 (2)
1 (4)
0 (3)
1 (2)
1 (3)
Ball out of play/dispossessed
3 (3)
2 (0)
2 (0)

If you pick up the papers this morning you will see that we had 20 shots with 12 shots on target, although apart from the Suarez goal I cannot recall Tim Kruhl having many other serious saves to make. There was the miss from Shelvey and a couple of efforts from Suarez but that apart, has Kruhl pulled off a number of world class saves to keep Newcastle in the game? Simple answer no. I looked at our ability to get into the final third and create chances as I feel the 12 shots on target does not tell the full story.

We have entered into the final third a total of 45 times throughout the game when we are looking in wide areas how many times we got a cross into the box

Entries into final third

The table shows that we were more successful down the left where Raheem Sterling is more of an orthodox winger who will get crosses into the box. For all these crosses our chance creation percentage was poor, too many crosses were cleared, blocked, dispossessed or went out of play.

What does this tell us?

• The qualities of our crosses were poor?
• We lack confidence in the final third
• We do not have enough options in the box

I think all of these three possibilities are true. Firstly we do not reach the intended targets when we get into the final third. We do lack belief in the final third. We do not get enough players into the box giving us another option. When Newcastle scored they had three options to pick out in the box giving our defenders decisions to make. When we got into their box we did not commit enough options. Far too often we do not make it easy enough for our attackers giving them a number of different options. This involves midfielders getting into the box as well as attackers, something we are absent of doing so far. I think when we address this situation more goals will be scored and more points gained. Until then though if you’re looking to place a first goalscorer bet then it looks like there’s only one man who could get you a return from your money – Luis Suarez. For now it seems as though you might as well put all your money into a slots machine if you were thinking about betting on someone else, you’d probably get a better return. Standing only one goal behind Robin Van Persie on top scorers for the league (and way ahead of Fernando Torres), the bookies are giving pretty good odds on him to take the Golden Boot this season. And let’s not forget to keep a mental note on the ‘offside’ winner in the derby a couple of weeks back. You won’t have to contend with bad linesmen at the slots and with a huge array of different games you can always find something to suit your mood at Lucky Nugget – either stick with football in the slots game “Game on” or go for something completely different and try your skills at a card game such as poker or Blackjack.