Klopp? Ancelotti? What does the future hold for a club that is entering into a world where a large section of their fans have no recollection of them being anything other than a team battling for fifth? Is it time for Liverpool fans to step into their present situation with honesty?
Liverpool and its fans are living a lie as they continue to think they are guaranteed top four football.
The Liverpool of old is dead. How could a player like Steven Gerrard be so easily culpable for the loss of a title yet still be endeared as one of the top few players in Liverpool history? Gerrard allowed Liverpool and its fans a chance to hold on to their past. The time for that is over.
Liverpool and its fans are living a lie as they continue to think that there is an instant band-aid that will result in an instant title challenge and constant top four football.
No matter who the incoming manager is going to be for the Kopites, the good ship Liverpool has two options for the future.
Option one: Blow the current squad to pieces.
Option two: Decide that they just want ONE title.
For option number one, nearly every player on the current Liverpool roster needs to be sent on their merry way. Lucas has been one knee short of world class for five years, Allen was perfect…for Swansea, Lovren is/was/will be a bust, Skrtel should be called for a penalty during every set-piece, Enrique is broken, Lallana can’t handle any expectations, Milner is a transfer that Liverpool should have made five years ago, and Benteke has only occasionally made us think he isn’t Andy Carroll 2.0.
After that, build solely around the youth on the outside of the defense, Coutinho (if Spain doesn’t come calling), and Sturridge as the experienced member of the attack.
Blow everything apart and build for a squad that competes for constant titles in four/five years. This is the type of thing that could possibly get Liverpool back into contention instead of just hoping to luck into the Europa League. That probably means getting a manager that is merely meant to be a figurehead for two years (until he gets fired), and then have a manager come in to bring the slow build to fruition. Baseball might not be the best comparison for English soccer, but the Chicago Cubs are currently on this exact path (except they are at the tail end…heading towards success).
This would be the best option for long term success as there are proven instances of this working. It isn’t like suffering hasn’t already been occurring in the Liverpool ranks, so what is another four or five years?
If the club is for option number two, then Klopp or Ancelotti (or anyone with a proven track record) would be a good hire. Especially as either of those coaches are probably only looking at Liverpool as a stepping stool to a club that is currently elite (instead of a club merely aspiring to be elite). One summer of ridiculously reckless spending snagging everything world class that isn’t nailed down, bringing in every player that has even ONE good year left in them, and putting every tournament on the back-burner as the reds launch their way to ending their drought.
The obvious downside to this would be the possibility of trashing an entire club and its future for one year of success. There is always the chance that a successful year would allow you to be more marketable to other superstars. It’s always easier to bring in players when your best pitch is something better than “We’ll hope for top four, but we will probably end up stewing in mid-table before making a last-ditch effort for fifth.” Massive risk for a reward that is never guaranteed.
If Liverpool is going to make anything happen, it feels like the moves have to be made sooner rather than later. If the club sits in mediocrity for another few years, the harsh truth of this club’s aspirations might finally need to be realized. Liverpool will be a club that hopes to steal fourth place…but not a club that thinks the top four is guaranteed. The time for change is now…
The future of Liverpool is undetermined…but something will have to be altered to prevent Liverpool fans buying into any more lies.
Fresh off a beatdown of Newcastle United, Manchester City are back on top of the Premier League table heading into the international break. Many will give credit to Agüero for coming into his form and netting 5 goals. But it is time for people to give credit where it’s due. Since joining City in a massive 55 million euro move from German side VFL Wolfsburg, Kevin De Bruyne has been a master class in the midfield. Frankly, it’s time people stop judging Kevin De Bruyne for his massive price tag. The Belgian can flat out play. De Bruyne has been destroying the opposition this season and City are reaping the benefits. His play has City fans and staff hopeful that the title will once again return to the blue side of Manchester.
KDB previously played in the Premiership with Chelsea but was only able to make a total of 3 league appearances under Mourinho. He had a successful loan spell with Werder Bremen and was assured he would be a part of the first team plans. He even opened the season with a goal and an assist in the club’s first Premier League game. But on January 18th 2014, Chelsea then sold De Bruyne to Wolfsburg where he rapidly became a superstar and attracted the attention of clubs like Bayern Munich, PSG, and Manchester City. City were able to pay up and bring the Belgian in to an already impressive squad. His former manager Jose Mourinho has famously called De Bruyne a 60 million euro reject. Mourinho could not see the potential in the youngster and now he may end up eating his words.
De Bruyne has featured in 7 matches for City so far this season and has scored in 4 goals and assisted 3 times. Against Newcastle United, KDB scored a wonder strike as well as assisting Agüero twice in his personal onslaught of goals. It was no doubt one of the highest points of an early season for the club and De Bruyne. But what has led to KDB becoming such a crucial player for City? City fans should be thanking one unsung hero for the Belgian superstar joining the club.
Belgian teammate and City captain Vincent Kompany courted De Bruyne to City in the midst of all the transfer madness that was ongoing. De Bruyne listened ultimately to the big man’s pitch and is starting almost every match for City. De Bruyne is becoming more and more important to City due to his incredible vision and skill to thread the needle on his passes. It’s something marvelous to watch him possess the ball while attacking with the City forces. He will collect the ball then quickly look up, make a decision in that split second head turn, and place a perfect pass at the feet of Agüero or Navas. David Silva has famously been the facilitator in the City squad, but it seems to be time to let KDB run the show in the midfield. Pellegrini has used De Bruyne on each wing as well as well as the midfield while City’s rotation of position confuses opposing defenders.
De Bruyne is only 24 years old and has several young players around him that will hope to make the City future even brighter. De Bruyne could very well be one of the best players in the world by the end of the season. De Bruyne has been on a rampage and has all City fans chanting his name each and every match. Watch for De Bruyne to keep up this form for the foreseeable future.
In one of the most odd transfer stories in recent history, Fabian Delph now finds himself part of something that will certainly go down in transfer lore. The move will see the England international suiting up for Manchester City in the upcoming season, and a positive step for a player whose potential seems to be growing with each positive performance.
With what started as a full-on story about a player finally saying no to the money bags over at the Etihad and choosing constant first-team football instead of joining a ridiculous wealth of the midfield for City has now turned on its head. While some would not have understood why Delph would stay with Aston Villa over the Champions League football and title chase over with Manchester City, Delph did not have to make this move to achieve notoriety. Delph is starting to become a regular on the English first team, his stock is on the rise, and his position as a midfield engine is something that every major European player is in the market for.
However, the lure of the blue moon turned out to be just too much for Delph.
With a transfer fee of $11 million, Delph’s move has a lot of positive upside for the Citizens. A relatively cheap move for the blue side of Manchester, Delph could command a similar amount on the transfer market (if not more) even if City choose to hold onto their newest midfielder until after he turns 30…a financially viable move. Delph also helps a glory-hunting team like City to bring in another British player to satisfy the league requirements on home grown players as James Milner departs for Liverpool. Also, at 25, Delph still has plenty of time at the height of his game and even 2 or 3 years where he can grow into his prime.
For Delph, the benefits are obvious. Trading up big-time in nearly every single aspect, the move to Manchester City is not surprising. The battle for getting into the Europa League is over, and the Champions League appearances are going to start racking up. While Villa were within touching distance of a medal at the end of last season, Delph will now find himself involved in possibilities for winner’s medals around nearly every turn. The only worry will be getting his time on the pitch with so many other midfield options for his new club.
Only time will tell who is the ultimate winner in this transfer, but all of the initial signs seem to point towards City gaining a rising star and Delph making a big leap up in the food chain.
Who do you think wins in this transfer? Should Delph have stayed with Aston Villa?
If you’ve been paying any attention to the Summer transfer buzz, you’ll know that David De Gea has apparently been on the brink of a blockbuster move to Real Madrid for weeks. If the Spanish keeper does leave Manchester United, the Red Devils will lose their two-time player of the season, and many fans are worried that Ed Woodward and Louis Van Gaal won’t be able to find an able replacement for the 24-year-old. As much as I would hate to see De Gea leave Old Trafford, I do believe that there are goalies on the market that may be able to partially fill the void left between the pipes, and here they are.
For some, Lloris is the ideal replacement for De Gea. He is a proven Premier League winner with Tottenham. There would be no learning curve to the English game because he’s been in the thick of it for the past three seasons, and he has star power. The French international has played in World Cup and European Championships so he is no stranger to the big stage and high expectations. However, with all of these positive attribute comes a very high price. Some papers have reported that it would take as much as £25 million to even tempt Tottenham into letting their star keeper leave White Hart Lane. Depending on how much United get from their expected sale of De Gea, this price could be very affordable, but having already spent a big chunk of change to bring in Memphis Depay this window, I’m hesitant to believe United will spend so much two summers in a row.
Having played under Van Gaal already for the Dutch national team, Cillessen seems like a logical signing for the Red Devils. The 26-year-old already knows how the United manager operates and has shown that he can thrive under Van Gaal’s system. There are a couple big problems though, the Ajax keeper just recently signed a contract extension that keeps him at the club until 2018 and it doesn’t look like manager Frank De Boer has any interest in letting his goalie leave. Even if Cillessen did move to Old Trafford, he would have to quickly adapt to the highly physical nature of the Premier League, and David De Gea showed just how tough a transition that can be on a keeper. While Cillessen may come at a somewhat cheaper price than Lloris, I think that if United are going to spend big on a goalie they should spend the money on one that already knows the English game.
It seems like a lot of United fans have forgotten that we have two Spanish international goalies on the squad right now. Sitting behind De Gea is former Barcelona shot stopper Víctor Valdés and that’s a pretty impressive name to have as your backup. Valdés helped his former employers to six La Liga titles, two Copa Del Ray championships, and three, yes three, Champions League titles. There are no other goalies on the market that can post that type of résumé. Best of all, he’s already on the team so it’s not going to take some astronomical fee to sign him. The Spanish keeper played just one full game for United last season against Hull City, but during that match he showed fans that he still has some gas left in the tank. While he may not be able to replicate the miraculous saves De Gea made last season, I don’t know any other keeper in the world can, and Valdés provides priceless experience to a squad looking to regain their winning ways.
In conclusion, yes I will be a very sad man if David De Gea decides to follow the route of Cristiano Ronaldo and leave for Madrid, but I also believe that there are several viable options to replace him, and one of those is already on the squad.
It is now as unofficially official as you can get. Manchester United has won the Memphis Depay Sweepstakes. The Dutch winger has come to terms and will move to Old Trafford this summer. PSV will receive somewhere in the realm of 22 million pounds for their young star. PSV has even confirmed the move on their official team twitter page, putting rest any worry that this was just a rumor.
Depay will have a cast of characters who he already knows when he arrives in Manchester. Louis van Gaal was his national team manager, putting him on the World Cup team this past summer. Robin van Persie and Daley Blind are a couple players who have already played and trained with Depay. It is not simply a “good ol’ boys” reunion, as Depay has some major skills, and even some time to develop.
Memphis Depay is only 21 years old, but already has a couple successful pro seasons under his belt. He is the leading scorer in the Eredivise this season, and has already participated in the Champions League and the Europa League. He captured the Eredivisie title with PSV this season, and the U-17 Euro Championship in 2011, so he knows how to win at a high level.
Manchester United won the battle for Depay’s services over a host of other giant European clubs. PSG was rumored to be interested in the winger, while Liverpool emerged as an early leader. When Manchester United had announced they had gotten Depay, multiple fans had taken to social media to rub it into the faces of their Liverpool rivals. It is one of the bigger competitions for a player between the two in a long time.
With Depay coming in as a forward, it is interesting to see what happens with the other attacking options at Manchester United. Chicharito is on loan at Real Madrid, but is scheduled to return to Old Trafford this summer. There are rumors of him wanting a full-time move to Spain, so this might be a way to help that move. Nani is another winger, and has been on loan at Sporting CP. He too is scheduled to return, but Louis van Gaal hasn’t mentioned a word about him. Robin van Persie is getting up there in age, and won’t be around forever. This might be a time to move the striker while he still has value.
Man United has the option to buy Radamel Falcao at the end of the season, which is completely up in the air. Injuries and poor form have hindered the Colombian all season, all with a massive salary. He simply hasn’t performed up to expectations, and with a young forward added to the equation, it will be hard to justify either keeping or buying Falcao. Needless to say, United has a stockpile of talent at forward, and will likely be looking to unload some salaries this offseason.
Some people might be wondering where Memphis will fit into Louis van Gaal’s system. He uses his right foot primarily, and has been used as an inverted winger most of the time. He loves to cut to his right and give his powerful right foot a chance to do some major damage. He also has a bit of a reputation when it comes to having the ball. He has a much higher rate of shooting the ball compared to assists, otherwise known as being selfish, or being a “ball hog” if you will. It has worked out so far, so there is hope that it will continue to work out at Manchester United.
There was so much optimism on the blue side of Liverpool after last season. Roberto Martinez had led Everton to an astonishing fifth place finish, and qualified his side for the Europa League. The offseason only served to fuel the fire of enthusiasm that Everton supporters had as the club managed to sign their top striker Romelu Lukaku on a permanent deal from Chelsea, while also bringing in the highly-touted Christian Atsu on loan and fending off interests from Manchester City for their star midfielder Ross Barkley.
Everything seemed to be in place for a historic season this campaign. It did not take long for the Merseyside club to come crashing back down reality. The first game of their Premier League campaign saw newly promoted Leicester City hold the Blues to a draw. This was followed by a disappointing draw to Arsenal where Everton relinquished a 2-0 lead in the final ten minutes of play. The disappointment would follow into the next fixture as Chelsea battered Everton 6-3 at Goodison Park. It was not until the fourth game of the season that Roberto Martinez finally tasted victory.
So far, the longest streak of wins that Everton have been able to string together is a measly two games. Barkley and Lukaku seem unable to rediscover the form that made them one of the most feared young tandems in the league. Tim Howard was forced to miss an extended run of games through injury, and even before the injury the veteran goalkeeper was not his usual self, allowing 41 goals from just 21 games. At the halfway point of the season, Everton sat 12th in the table five points out of the relegation zone, and had been knocked out of the FA Cup by West Ham United.
Since then, Everton haven’t looked any better domestically. The team has dropped down two places in the table and hover only six points away from playing in the Championship next season. Their Spanish manager went as far to say the team’s current situation is a relegation battle. The increased number of games from European competition seems to have taken away from the team’s domestic performances with the short recovery time between games and long travel days taking their tolls on the players. Out of the eight Europa League matches played, Everton have only won the following domestic game twice.
The one bright spot for Everton this season, however, has been the Europa League. Where they lack in the Premier League, they thrive in Europe. No team has scored more than once against the Blues, and only two teams have managed to score while at Goodison Park. Lukaku has managed to put away six goals in only eight matches (compare that to his seven goals in 28 league games). On three separate occasions Everton have won by three goals, with one of those victories coming away to BSC Young Boys in their Round of 32 matchup.
The Blues have conquered the likes of Kevin De Bruyne’s Wolfsburg and Divock Origi’s OSC Lille on their way to the competition’s Round of 16 where they will face Dynamo Kiev. The Ukrainian side currently sit atop the Ukrainian Premier League and have lost only twice during their Europa League campaign, but are yet to face any elite European sides in the competition. Everton will be the biggest test, by far, for Kiev and will provide two difficult games for Roberto Martinez to plan for.
Kiev will travel to Goodison Park today to take on the last English side left in the tournament, and have been uplifted by the news that striker Andriy Yarmolenko has had his suspension reduced and will be available for both games against Everton. Yarmolenko is the club’s top European scorer with three goals and will surely test Howard and the Everton backline who have allowed seven goals over their last four games.
If Everton hope to advance into the quarterfinals, they will have to rediscover their scoring touch. Lukaku and Co. has been held scoreless for the last 228 minutes of play. However, in their last fixture against Young Boys, Everton managed to put away seven goals in the two game span. With this being the club’s only realistic opportunity of winning any silverware this season, I fully expect Roberto Martinez’s men to play their best soccer against Kyiv and continue their fine European form. Prediction: Everton 2-0 Kyiv.
Just when we thought that Manchester United and the England national team were descending into an irrecoverable nosedive, their captain Wayne Rooney has almost singlehandedly willed his squads to get back on track. On top of that, Wazza has put up some pretty awesome individual accomplishments as well, winning his 100th cap for England in a Euro Qualifier against Slovenia. He is only 3 goals away from Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 49, while Peter Shilton’s 125 caps are also within reach for Rooney. All the while, Rooney has captained these sides to important victories in the last month.
Starting with Manchester United, it was looking like the Red Devils were destined for another season without European competition. It began with early season struggles, hitting its peak with Rooney’s red card against West Ham in September, ruling him out for all the club’s October fixtures. He was notably rusty for the first match back against Manchester City, a 0-1 loss, but bounced back against Crystal Palace and Arsenal. He scored on a breakaway against Arsenal, which would prove to be the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory. The win and three points lifted United to 4th place in the Premier League.
Looking forward, Manchester United has some excellent opportunities to pick up points before the end of 2014. The next three matches are against Hull City, Stoke City, and Southampton, all teams that United can pick up points from. Above all, the club is beginning begin to play well, starting with their captain. With van Persie struggling, and Falcao being injured, Louis van Gaal will need Rooney to continue his inspiring play.
As for the England national team, things were looking pretty grim during the World Cup. Many were calling for Roy Hodgson to be sacked, claiming he was too old and not adapting to the new styles brought by South American players. Then Hodgson named Wayne Rooney captain, and the Three Lions have rattled off 6 straight wins. Rooney got his 100th cap in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia, scoring a goal in the process as well. Three days later he scored a brace against Scotland in a friendly. On top of all of that good news, England are tops in the Group E table with the maximum 12 points. While there are 6 match days to still be played, a six point cushion is pretty substantial at any stage.
Any rumors about sacking Roy Hodgson have been squashed, and Rooney with the captain’s armband seems to be working out pretty well. England are hoping that Wazza can continue his goal scoring streak all the way to next year, as the next time the Three Lions play is at the end of March 2015. If England are going to continue their success and qualify for Euro 2016, Rooney will be a major piece to the puzzle.
Maybe the break from international play will be good for Rooney, as he can concentrate on getting Manchester United some much needed points to ascend on the table. Teetering on the line between Champions League and Europa League is not a place that Red Devils supporters would like to be, but it is a welcome change from 7th place and being left out of European competition entirely. These past couple weeks have really been a pivotal stretch, while it seems United have turned the proverbial corner to success.
We would be remiss if we did not highlight some of the individual accomplishments of Wayne Rooney. He is now one of only 9 Englishmen in history to gain 100 caps for their national team. Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard are still playing, but have retired from international football with 107, 114, and 106 caps respectively. He joins Sir Bobby Charlton as the only forwards in the century cap list, while the all-time leader Peter Shilton is the only goalkeeper on the list. Bending legend David Beckham is second on the list with 115 caps over a 14-year span. As of today, he is 24 caps behind Peter Shilton, and 3 goals behind Sir Charlton.
There are questions as to whether Rooney will be able to eclipse both the caps and goalscoring records before his international career is over. We have a few numbers that might clear the picture. Despite 2014 not officially being complete, the English national team does not have any fixtures scheduled for the rest of the year. That means that Rooney will finish 2014 with 8 goals in 13 appearances. He had 6 goals in 10 appearances during 2013. His career average goals per appearance is .4554, roughly meaning he scores in just under half of the matches he plays. His 2013-14 average is .6086, which is considerably better than his career average.
Barring injury, Rooney will likely captain England through Euro 2016, assuming they qualify. England have 9 scheduled fixtures in 2015 between Euro qualifying and friendlies. Even with his career average, it is likely that Rooney will either tie or better Sir Charlton’s goalscoring record in 2015. There is no way he catches Peter Shilton’s cap record in 2015, but 9 more appearances would put Rooney in 4th place with 110 caps. 2016 would have friendlies, Euro 2016 competition, and probably some 2018 World Cup qualification. In 2012, England played 13 fixtures after advancing to the quarterfinals of Euro 2012. Another 13 matches in 2016 would put Rooney within spitting distance of Sir Charlton.
It is no sure thing that Rooney will play in every England match, but it is more likely now that Hodgson has made him captain. At age 29, Wazza still has plenty of good football left in him, injuries and age may slow him down. For now, we will say that the goal scoring record is probable, while the caps record is possible.
For all the debate about Rooney as a captain and a footballer, 100 caps for your country is an amazing achievement. We give two thumbs up and a standing ovation to Wazza, and wish him all the best in the years to come.
Banned for the first five games of the season and seen as a piece that was teetering on the edge of being more “problem” than “solution” for Liverpool, Luis Suarez seemed destined to depart his English club for greener/Champions League pastures at the end of the 2013/14 season. With the attitude of the whiny Uruguayan during the summer having most speculating that his performances for Liverpool would be poor, it seemed unlikely that Suarez would be seeing Champions League football provided by Liverpool and his sale would be forced through.
Now, thirty goals and an impressive number of assists later, Suarez has been the catalyst that has pushed Liverpool back into the competition that Anfield demands and actually has Liverpool fans hoping (albeit hoping that City stumbles more than Liverpool succeeds) for a possible Premier League title. His work effort as a striker is second to none and he is, easily, the hardest attacker for Premier League defenses to keep track of for 90 minutes. While Sturridge and other Liverpool attackers have also been finding the back of the net with impressive regularity, it takes very little courage to say that Sturridge and the others would probably have their goal totals slashed in half without teams having to also focus on El Pistolero and without Suarez providing them with so many promising chances.
While there have been other impressive players in the Premier League this season, Suarez would probably be flirting with 40 league goals this season if he had not been absent for the first five matches of the season. It is also difficult to add-in the club’s accomplishments with a player when deciding who should win this award, but Liverpool’s jump from the second-best club in their own city to one of the best clubs in all of England (maybe even Europe?) this season has to be attributed to the other-worldly level play of Suarez. Considering the amount of goals that Liverpool have allowed this season, they would probably be battling for Europa League spots (at best) if Suarez was not playing at this level.
If his conduct remains as impressive as it has been this season and he keeps up any semblance of the form he is currently in, he has the ability to become one of the greatest players that Liverpool (and even England) will have ever seen. The only thing that should scare Liverpool fans would be that his stellar play will have caught the interest of clubs with the resources available to tempt the sale of Suarez. Still, from that perspective, Suarez’s play this season (and his new contract) will have increased his transfer fee by incredible amounts. If Liverpool are to experience any type of CL success and remain in Champions League contention next season, the Uruguayan forward will be absolutely pivotal.
In parting, if Suarez is not (at least) on the shortlist for the upcoming Ballon D’Or…then somebody has messed up. If the striker is able to carry his form into Brazil this summer, underestimating Uruguay would be at your own peril. Suarez deserved this award, and he has made it where Liverpool deserves Champions League football. Impressive for a man that was only seen as a cannibal and racist around one year ago…very impressive…
Any follower of the MLS post-season will be well aware of how Clint Dempsey and the Sounders made their exit at the hands of their most hated rival and really looked like they had been run off the pitch by a team without a true high-dollar star. Considering how much work the Sounders obviously need in the off-season in order to justify the money placed in their squad and in order to reward one of the greatest fan bases in the world, it is surprising that Dempsey would choose to head back across the pond…the biggest question now becomes: will this work?
For Fulham, the Cottagers need some serious help. Their defense is positively porous and their attack sputters if Berbatov is unable to find the back of the net. Martin Jol, the manager the last time Deuce found himself in Fulham, has already been sent packing and Dempsey will have to try and become a big part of Rene Muelensteen’s plans. If Dempsey is able to swing back to the stage where he became a household name and save Fulham from relegation, he might get a boost similar to what we would see when Landon Donovan returned from his time with Everton. Considering they are currently heading for relegation, Fulham has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this move.
For Dempsey, it is a chance to return to form. His time in MLS definitely started with more of a whimper than a roar and the Sounders would love for their big money asset to return to his defense-terrorizing ways. This move allows Dempsey to jump back into one of the most intense leagues in the world and face competition that will push his game to a completely different level. In reality, this move should please USMNT fans more than any other. The last thing the U.S. needs heading into their difficult group would be a sub-par Deuce. If Dempsey jets off to Brazil after a big impact at Fulham that carries over into the early MLS season, he will be a force at the World Cup. Considering the man is making BANK in Seattle, this move is a no-brainer for Dempsey.
The only downside for any of the parties involved with this loan would be if Dempsey flops. Considering the talent he has and how badly I (and any other USMNT supporter) want him to succeed, that seems unlikely. However, this is football..and anything (absolutely anything) can happen. Will Dempsey return to Fulham as a savior or will he leave England with his ex-club going down in flames? LET’S WATCH!