LFC NEWS

Liverpool have a new feeder club as perfect FSG transfer scenario will benefit Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 11:30

Liverpool don’t formally have feeder clubs, but it is no secret that FSG have preferred shopping destinations. For a time, it was Southampton, whose blend of individual talent and high-intensity team approach under first Maurichio Pochettino and then Ronald Koeman led to a flurry of transfer activity. More recently, the Red Bull group has been identified as an ideal proving ground for future Jürgen Klopp players.

Since taking over from Michael Edwards, new Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward has shown a strong affinity for the Portuguese league. Having taken the lead on the Luis Díaz transfer, he then made Darwin Núñez his first solo marquee acquisition.

But while Porto and Benfica have seemingly become more viable options when scouting for talent, this is simply a reflection of FSG’s assessment of the strength of the division. There is nothing specific about playing in Portugal which automatically makes a player more suited to Liverpool.

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This gives it a different status to the Red Bull setup. If a player is plying his trade for Salzburg or RB Leipzig, it is effectively a pre-check for Liverpool: there is a good chance that they will possess many of the attributes which Klopp cherishes, with the teams sharing similar broad-brush footballing philosophies. Add to that the youthfulness of the energy drink giant’s conveyor belt of talent, and picking off the cream of the crop is more or less recruitment on easy mode for FSG.

The major risk factor that remains on such transfer deals is trying to anticipate how a player will adapt to the Premier League. Particularly with Salzburg, there is a big step to factor in. Liverpool took that gamble with Takumi Minamino because of the low fee, and the impending 100 per cent profit will vindicate the move, but it was clear that the jump was a massive and difficult one for him to take.

Even with RB Leipzig, there is the dreaded ‘Bundesliga tax’. Chelsea have probably been burned the worst by this with Timo Werner, but Liverpool have felt it to some extent too. At the time the deal was struck, Naby Keïta was set to be the club’s record arrival. He has certainly had his moments at Anfield, and last season was his best campaign, but it is fair to say that he has not fully lived up to his expectations or price tag.

What FSG really needs is a Red Bull team in the Premier League. And while that won’t happen any time soon, they might just have got the next best thing.

Leeds United hired Jesse Marsch in February, and he quickly set about seeking to implement the philosophy he used at first Red Bull Salzburg and then Leipzig. Now overseeing his first transfer window, he is gearing up for an almighty raid on his former clubs.

Brenden Aaronson has already agreed a deal to join directly from Salzburg. According to a report from the Mail, Marsch is far from finished. Mohamed Camara, a teammate of Aaronson’s in Austria, is on the radar as a Kalvin Phillips replacement. Meanwhile, Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig is also wanted at Elland Road.

Aged 21, 22 and 23 respectively, these are players Liverpool would not typically gamble on directly, particularly in the case of the Salzburg personnel. FSG always seek to minimise risk, and predicting how players will adapt from the Austrian Bundesliga is far from an exact science. However, if they can prove themselves in the Premier League, playing an intense brand of football, Klopp could have some ready-made future stars.

After all, Sadio Mané was arguably the start of the Red Bull flirtation at Liverpool, having come through at Salzburg and then proved himself at Southampton. He was the link player between the old and new FSG feeder club of choice. Now, Ward and his team will have a steady conveyor belt of players following the Mané path.

The major problem is that Premier League performance brings with it Premier League prices. If Klopp particularly likes the look of any former Red Bull players at Leeds, the owners will certainly have to cough up. But as FSG proved with Núñez, they are more than ready to do that on the right player. Far more pertinent is the fact that Leeds have one of the league’s smallest wage bills — Liverpool will be able to attract their top talent without breaking their salary structure.

Marsch struggled in his first months in charge at Elland Road, so it could be that the informal development of ‘Red Bull Leeds’ flops. Maybe nobody will catch Klopp’s eye. But in creating a Premier League testing ground for young talents from within the system so admired by FSG, Leeds have undoubtedly handed Liverpool a potential transfer boost.

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Jurgen Klopp “happy” with Liverpool squad – likely no more incomings

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 11:26

Liverpool have added three senior figures to the squad this summer and with Jurgen Klopp “happy” with his squad, further incomings are not expected to be on the horizon.

It’s a line that has become familiar following the arrival of Calvin Ramsay, Liverpool’s third signing of the summer after the additions of Fabio Carvalho and Darwin Nunez.

Liverpool’s business has addressed multiple needs in the squad, leaving Klopp “happy with what he’s got,” according to the Athletic‘s James Pearce.

The response of many to that line by those of a Reds persuasion is, what about a midfielder?

It’s a need that has been said will be addressed next summer, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham readily named as a target that could then become available.

Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni was a target this summer but opted for Real Madrid as his destination of choice, but the Reds were not to be in a €100 million deal race.

 England's substitute Jude Bellingham during the pre-match warm-up before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group I match between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium. England won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 England's substitute Jude Bellingham during the pre-match warm-up before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group I match between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium. England won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The club is not to settle for “second-best or a stop-gap” in their midfield search, leaving the “Anfield hierarchy” to indicate that the trio of signings is “likely to be it in terms of incomings.”

It’s far from unusual for Liverpool to bide their time for the right signing, one needs only to look at the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate as examples.

The caveat to the wait, as always, is that it will only change if “an attractive proposition emerges in the coming weeks.”

The Reds certainly have the bodies in midfield with eight current senior options, while a switch to a 4-2-3-1 would also change how Klopp utlisises his assets in the middle of the park.

It was an area of the pitch that was readily rotated last season across the 63 games and the expectation will be the same for this coming season.

And while their by clamour in some circles for more new faces, Klopp’s previous words on the transfer window will no doubt remain relevant:

“We cannot buy because other teams buy, we cannot buy because everybody wants us to, we can buy if we have the money for it and if we have the need for it.”

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Can Liverpool’s midfield still excel without fresh blood?

the Athletic - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 05:18

The Liverpool squad will report back for the start of pre-season training next Monday. Five days later, they will embark on a week-long tour of the Far East.

Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez, who was signed from Benfica for a fee which could rise to a club-record £85 million, will be the star attraction.

Jurgen Klopp is also relishing the prospect of getting to work with fellow new boys Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay. Carvalho will provide an exciting injection of attacking quality following his £7.7 million move from Fulham, while fellow teenager Ramsey arrived from Aberdeen in a £6.5 million deal. The Scottish full-back will give Klopp high-calibre cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have already left Liverpool, with Neco Williams, who has attracted strong interest from Fulham and Nottingham Forest, set to follow.

The Anfield hierarchy have indicated that’s likely to be it in terms of incomings. Klopp is happy with what he’s got. The club’s priorities in the transfer market have already been addressed by new sporting director Julian Ward.

However, there is one remaining area of the squad that could arguably still do with being strengthened.

A year ago, many supporters were concerned when Georginio Wijnaldum wasn’t replaced following his departure on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. Now, a similar debate is raging about Klopp’s midfield options.

Liverpool’s stance was vindicated last summer as they embarked on a remarkable campaign which saw them win both domestic cups and narrowly miss out on both Premier League and Champions League glory. The question is: can they hit those heights again without some fresh blood in the centre of the park?

For Klopp and Ward, it’s a case of finding the right midfielder at the right price rather than settling for second-best or a stop-gap. As a result, they are prepared to wait until 2023 unless an attractive proposition emerges in the coming weeks.

It’s no secret that Liverpool held a strong interest in Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni but they always knew his preference was to sign for Real Madrid. The €100 million price tag was also prohibitive.

England international Jude Bellingham is admired by Klopp and the club’s recruitment staff, but they know signing him this summer isn’t realistic with Borussia Dortmund having already lost Erling Haaland to Manchester City. Bellingham’s contract runs until 2025.

So where does that leave Liverpool?

Certainly, numbers-wise, Klopp isn’t short. He has eight senior midfielders in Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Thiago, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Carvalho’s long-term future is expected to be in midfield, although initially he’s set to get opportunities further forward. The arrival of Nunez gives Klopp greater freedom to switch to playing 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 at times, having long since favoured a 4-3-3 system. The manager wants an element of unpredictability.

Midfield was the department where Klopp rotated the most during a gruelling season which spanned 63 games in all competitions.

Liverpool midfield

The most common midfield he picked was made up of Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago. They started 11 times together in 2021-22. When fit, they were Klopp’s first-choice unit.

Thiago excelled when he was available and was deservedly named in the PFA Team of the Year, although injuries and illness meant the 31-year-old Spain international was only involved in 25 out of 38 league games.

Fabinho, Henderson and Keita started five times together — the same as the trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Jones. Elliott would have been more heavily involved but for the serious ankle injury he suffered against Leeds United last September. He’s expected to play a much bigger role in 2022-23.

Liverpool

Henderson, who recently turned 32, played more minutes than any other Liverpool midfielder last season. The long-serving captain clocked up 3,869 in all competitions. Fabinho (3,690) was next, followed by Thiago (2,381), Keita (2,083), Jones (1,528), Oxlade-Chamberlain (1,524) and Milner (1,387).

In terms of attacking contributions, Fabinho led the way in terms of goals with eight, while Henderson provided the most assists with six. Thiago and Milner were top in terms of assists per 90 minutes with 0.19.

Earlier this month, Milner signed a new one-year deal to extend his Liverpool career beyond his 37th birthday. He featured in 39 games in 2021-22 (25 as a substitute) and Klopp has made it clear he hasn’t just been retained because of the example he sets in the dressing room.

“A lot is often made of James’ leadership skills and his influence in the dressing room, and of course, that’s correct and justified, but nobody should overlook his quality on the pitch, where he continues to perform to a level that meant we simply couldn’t afford to lose him,” says Klopp. “We had the longest campaign possible last season and Millie only got stronger and better, and more influential as it went on.”

Liverpool

It was another stop-start year for Keita. The Guinea international made some vital contributions, particularly in the second half of the season, but had to settle for a late cameo off the bench in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Keita actually played more in the Premier League in 2021-22 than in any season since 2018-19, but that was still represented only 34.3 per cent of the club’s minutes. He made 14 top-flight starts. That figure would have been slightly higher but for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Liverpool are in the process of trying to agree a new contract with Keita, whose deal runs out next summer. The 27-year-old’s battle to live up to his £52.75 million transfer fee on a regular basis is ongoing but Klopp’s faith in him remains.

Liverpool

One midfielder who could move on this summer is Oxlade-Chamberlain. Liverpool won’t stand in his way if the right opportunity comes up for him to secure regular game time elsewhere. The 28-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, is valued at around £10 million.

Having played just 7.4 per cent of the club’s top-flight minutes in 2020-21, that figure climbed to 23 per cent last season. However, he still hasn’t played more than a third of the minutes for Liverpool in the Premier League since 2019-20.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made 29 appearances in all competitions in 2021-22 (12 as a sub) but fell increasingly out of favour and didn’t feature again following the FA Cup tie win at Nottingham Forest in March. What happens next depends to a large degree on what other options emerge for him. If he starts pre-season brightly, then Oxlade-Chamberlain may decide he’s better off staying put and backing himself to force his way into Klopp’s plans.

If Liverpool don’t sign a midfielder, then many fans will view his potential departure as a risk. Klopp would be heavily reliant on Fabinho, Thiago and Henderson staying injury-free, Keita progressing, Milner continuing to defy the ageing process, as well as Elliott and Jones stepping up and fulfilling their rich potential.

(Top photos: Getty Images)

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Liverpool transfer of 'next Bernardo Silva' makes sense as bid 'expected' for £38m playmaker

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 03:00

Liverpool doing more transfer business this summer is considered unlikely with the club likelier to wait until 2023 before more big moves are made — but nothing can be completely ruled out.

In January, no one expected that the Reds would be busy right until the last few days of the window. They splashed a potential £49m on Luis Díaz and attempted to bring in Fulham starlet Fábio Carvalho — a move that ultimately happened a few months later.

The deal for Díaz came out of the blue even to Liverpool, who had intended on signing the Colombian this summer, but their hand was forced when Tottenham and West Ham entered the picture for the Porto man, and Michael Edwards and Julian Ward pounced.

READ MORE:Cristiano Ronaldo has just proven Liverpool right again as Virgil van Dijk transfer reality clear

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In this transfer window, another few Porto players have been linked with moves to Anfield. Fábio Vieira was a mooted target before he moved to Arsenal for a fee of around £34m, and forward Evanilson has other Premier League interest too.

Attacking midfielder Otávio is the latest name to be linked with a transfer to Liverpool, with Porto said to be anticipating a bid from the Reds this week.

With a £51m release clause, Otávio, who was also linked with Liverpool last summer, is supposedly valued at £38m. Leeds United have made an offer of £26m that was rejected as they prepare to lose Raphinha, while Porto are said, according to the Daily Mirror, to be 'expecting' Liverpool to make an offer within £4m of the player's asking price in the coming days.

Otávio can play off the right-hand side or as a number 10. In a Liverpool team playing 4-3-3, he could also slot in as a more creative option as a number eight.

His numbers are excellent, too. The Portugal international is in the 95th percentile for shot-creating actions compared to other attacking midfielders across Europe's top five leagues.

Meanwhile, he is in the 99th percentile for both pressures and tackles, and the 86th for aerial duels won. In terms of progressive passing, Otávio is in the 92nd percentile, making him a player with incision and quality.

That kind of creativity and ability to pop up all over the field, while also being defensively diligent, is similar almost to Bernardo Silva at Manchester City — his international teammate who has made himself the ultimate, unplayable modern midfielder.

FBref places Otávio most stylistically similar to West Ham's Pablo Fornals — another midfielder in the same relentless but hugely talented mould — but the 27-year-old has much more quality, shown by his 19 goal contributions (five goals and 14 assists), including in the Champions League, last season.

Whether there is any interest in Otávio or not, and whether that potential interest is ever firmed up, remains to be seen. But if, for example, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was moved on this summer, Otávio could be the ideal upgrade.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has just proven Liverpool right again as Virgil van Dijk transfer reality clear

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 01:00

Of all the elite clubs in European football, Liverpool may be the strongest when it comes to recruitment. That’s why there’s a developing tug-of-war over Michael Edwards, who’s recently left his post as the Reds’ sporting director.

A graphic circulated on Twitter last week rammed the point home. Posted by The Sportsman, it displayed the 10 most expensive transfers in Premier League history.

Manchester City man Jack Grealish (£106m) leads the way, followed by Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku (£102m) and Manchester United trio Paul Pogba (£95m), Harry Maguire (£78m), Jadon Sancho (£77m).

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Then it’s Lukaku again, this time his £76m move from Everton to Manchester United in 2017, with Virgil van Dijk (£75m) the only Liverpool representative on the list at number seven. Chelsea duo Kai Havertz and Kepa Arrizabalaga, along with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pépé, round out the list at £72m apiece.

The Sportsman made the case that ‘Van Dijk is the only player worth splashing the cash for here’, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment right now.

In the cases of Grealish, Sancho and Havertz, the jury is admittedly still out. But in truth, they may have already returned their verdicts on Maguire, Pépé and Arrizabalaga.

Pogba, meanwhile, is about to leave English football. Having reached the end of his contract, he’s headed back to Juventus. After six largely unconvincing seasons, he departs United on a free transfer.

Lukaku is also returning to his former Serie A club. But the difference is that he only lasted 12 months at Chelsea, starting just 16 Premier League games and failing to reach double figures for goals. Inter Milan will soon confirm the loan deal.

And now, a year on from his much-heralded arrival for a second stint at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo is looking at possible exit routes.

According to The Athletic, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has discussed a potential transfer to Chelsea with the Blues’ new owner Todd Boehly. Officials at Bayern Munich are believed to have held similar talks.

Ronaldo still has a year left on his United contract but has apparently grown concerned that the Red Devils aren’t matching his ambition.

The 37-year-old’s comeback tour hasn’t been an unmitigated failure. Many have defended the signing on the grounds that Ronaldo top-scored last season with 24 goals, but focusing on that figure alone is reductive. The reality is that he hasn’t improved Manchester United.

He may have cost far less than Pogba and Lukaku (around £20m including add-ons) but it was still a similar deal in that it was seemingly designed to make a statement.

The Pogba and Lukaku signings were a means of resolving unfinished business after they left United and Chelsea as youngsters and flourished elsewhere.

While Ronaldo was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in football history at his peak, it’s hard to argue this was a pure sporting decision from United. It was also driven by the sentiment — the chance to ‘bring him home’ — and the vast marketing potential. With Ronaldo angling for a way out of Juventus and negotiating with Manchester City, they felt they had to act. It was clear at the outset that he would be a passenger out of possession, but that didn’t seem to be a serious consideration.

Liverpool, though, avoid this kind of business. The only real superstar they’ve signed in the Jürgen Klopp era is Thiago, and crucially, he makes them better. Among all the players with at least 10 Premier League starts for the Reds last season, only Luis Díaz could better his points-per-game record.

Michael Edwards, and his successor Julian Ward, have signed players based on their profile rather than their name. Not only is it thrifty — there’s a reason Liverpool only feature once in the top 10 and don’t make the top six — it’s also proven to be much more effective.

Indeed, the Reds will see the Pogba and Lukaku deals, and Ronaldo’s potential exit, as vindication. They simply don’t make these costly mistakes.

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Erling Haaland incites Liverpool transfer warning worth £45m amid fresh Jürgen Klopp challenge

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 22:00

The news in May that Manchester City had signed Erling Haaland was ominous not only for Liverpool, but for the rest of the Premier League too.

“How much better does he make them? A lot!” Jürgen Klopp said in the days after the announcement. “Unfortunately, he's a really good signing.”

But there were crumbs of comfort for the Reds. Believe it or not, the signing has its drawbacks too. For example, City won’t be able to play with the same fluidity as their title-winning 2021/22 side. Their build-up play may actually be easier to defend against.

READ MORE:Jürgen Klopp change can unlock best of true Liverpool playmaker after 'easy' Real Madrid hint

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Beyond that, the £51m signing opened up the possibility of one or two high-profile departures. And sure enough, it emerged on Friday that Arsenal had agreed a £45m deal to sign Gabriel Jesus.

Jesus’ tally of 13 goals last season may seem unspectacular, but it included strikes against RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea and indeed Liverpool. He was a big-game player for Pep Guardiola’s side.

And he also provided 12 assists for the Cityzens last term, a tally bettered only by Kevin de Bruyne (14).

In fact, over the course of his Premier League career to date, he’s scored one or set one up every 103 minutes on average. Even playing for a side as good as City, that’s an impressive record.

Jesus is only 25 years old, yet to reach his absolute peak. In sum, he’s an outstanding forward in his own right, and it’s no wonder that two of last season’s top four in Chelsea and Spurs also expressed an interest.

So while City fans may now be realising that the Haaland deal carries consequences, Jesus’ move might foreshadow a potential problem for Liverpool too.

The Brazilian is, positionally speaking, fairly similar to one of the Reds’ forwards — Diogo Jota. Both are capable of playing through the middle as well as out wide.

And after City swooped for Haaland, Liverpool brought in Darwin Núñez from Benfica. Only 13 months older than the Norwegian, he too is one of Europe’s elite young strikers.

If all goes to plan — and these clubs very rarely miss when it comes to recruitment — then both players will establish themselves as superstar no. 9s for the next 10 years or so.

Jesus seemingly accepted this reality, and chose to pursue a greater role elsewhere. He doesn’t want to end up in Haaland’s shadow, and knows he can do himself justice as the main man at Arsenal.

Similarly, it feels unlikely that Jota will accept playing second fiddle to Núñez, or indeed Luis Díaz.

After scoring 34 goals in his first 84 appearances for Liverpool — one every 154 minutes — he too will know that he’s good enough to be starting week-in, week-out for an elite side.

Even after the departure of Sadio Mané, Klopp retains some enviable attacking depth, but with that luxury comes challenges.

The gap between Núñez and Jota is perhaps slightly smaller than the gap between Jesus and Haaland, with the Uruguayan a little less polished than the Norwegian at this stage.

But after a potential club-record outlay, the long-term expectation is that Núñez will very much make the centre-forward role his own.

How, then, does Klopp manage Jota? Well, he has to be true to form. Opportunities will inevitably arise for the 25-year-old through rotation, and if he demonstrates that he’s in a better vein of form than Núñez or Díaz, it should then be his place to lose.

If there’s genuine competition, then Jota will be more inclined to stay, but if he feels he’s a mere back-up player, then he might have his head turned by what would surely be a lengthy queue of suitors. Maintaining a meritocracy is key, and Pep Guardiola will be aware of that too.

Núñez’s arrival symbolically lays down the gauntlet for Jota, who knows he must improve. But it also poses a challenge for Klopp, who will want to hold onto a ruthlessly effective forward option.

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Ranking Michael Edwards’ top 20 deals for Liverpool FC

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 18:00

As Michael Edwards bids farewell to Liverpool, we look back on some of the remarkable transfer deals he oversaw during his time as the club’s sporting director.

For years, Liverpool’s player was recruitment extremely hit and miss, with no obvious strategy.

And one year after Jurgen Klopp‘s appointment, Edwards, having already been at the club as technical director, was officially appointed sporting director.

When it was made official, Klopp said “it was no secret” that he enjoyed working together with a figure in this role, having done so with great success at Borussia Dortmund.

Edwards’ work was truly transformative. It was his transfer business, alongside Klopp’s work on the pitch, that has brought the glory days back to Liverpool.

Here, we rank his top 20 transfer deals as Liverpool’s sporting director.

20. Making money on Bobby Duncan

 Liverpool's Bobby Duncan during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Bobby Duncan during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bobby Duncan – To Fiorentina – £1.8m

In one of the most bizarre transfer sagas in Liverpool’s recent history, Edwards managed to convince Fiorentina to sign Duncan, who pushed for a move away from the club in 2019.

Duncan’s representative, Saif Rubie, had claimed the club were “mentally bullying” the young striker. Liverpool dismissed Rubie’s accusations as “unfounded,” but claims Duncan was suffering with mental health issues were taken seriously.

The young striker failed to impress in Italy and is now on the books at Derby County, who are also now keen to move him on.

19. Bringing the ‘Greek Scouser’ to Anfield

 Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kostas Tsimikas – From Olympiakos – £11.75m

In the summer of 2020, Edwards and his team prioritised the signing of a left-back to ease the burden on Andy Robertson.

There were reported to have been attempts to sign Jamal Lewis from Norwich City, but it was Tsimikas who eventually arrived, after an impressive domestic and European campaign with Olympiakos.

‘The Greek Scouser’ or ‘The Scouser Greek’ as he prefers to be known, since scoring the winning penalty in the 2022 FA Cup final, has fully embraced his role as Robertson’s deputy and would be an excellent first-choice option for pretty much any other club in Europe.

18. Making decent return on Camacho

 Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio Comunale di Frattamaggiore. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio Comunale di Frattamaggiore. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rafael Camacho – To Sporting CP – £5m rising to £7m

Portuguese wideman Camacho, who joined the Reds’ youth ranks from Man City in 2016, was, by all means, a talented young player, and made two first-team appearances at right-back in 2018/19.

He was, however, reluctant to play in that position in the long term, and refused to sign a new contract with the Reds.

One year before his deal expired, Edwards struck an agreement with Sporting that would see Camacho return to his homeland for a fee in the region of £7m. It also included a 20 percent sell-on clause and a buy-back option.

To date, Camacho has only made 26 appearances for the Portuguese outfit and was loaned out to both Rio Ave and Belenenses in 2021/22, with another temporary move expected for 2022/23.

17. Double money on Minamino

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Takumi Minamino – From Red Bull Salzburg – £7.25m

Signing Minamino for a fee as little as £7.25m was a no-brainer. Much was made of the fact Liverpool had swooped in for him after his impressive Champions League showing for Salzburg in 2019, but the Reds had already done the groundwork on a deal before then.

Indeed, reports suggested that while other clubs – such as Man United – showed interest, they didn’t know about the Japenese’s release clause, which the Reds took advantage of.

Minamino never nailed down a regular first-team spot, but in truth, many didn’t really expect him to. He scored some vital goals in 2021/22 and was the club’s top scorer in the FA Cup and League Cup.

Now, Minamino is to join Monaco for a reported fee of £15.4m, meaning the Reds have more than doubled their money. Smart business indeed.

16. Waiting for Konate

 Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates his side's fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates his side's fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ibrahima Konate – From RB Leipzig – £36m

One of the hallmarks of Edwards’ Liverpool business has been waiting for the right player. In 2020/21, when the Reds suffered a defensive injury crisis, many wanted to see the club spend big on a centre-back midway through the season.

In reality, Liverpool would have known exactly the centre-back they wanted. Konate was that player but was unavailable in the January transfer window.

The Reds were prepared to bide their time, paying the Frenchman’s £36m release clause the following summer. After an impressive first season, there’s every chance it will go on to become one of the best signings of the Edwards era.

15. Gazumping Tottenham for Diaz

 Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Luis Diaz – From FC Porto – £50m

If ever there was a move to signify the power of Liverpool FC in 2022, this was it. Edwards had reportedly identified Diaz as a top target for the summer 2022 transfer window, so when Tottenham ramped up their efforts to sign him in January, the Reds swooped in, leaving Daniel Levy completely helpless.

Julian Ward, Edwards’ replacement as sporting director, is said to have been the key negotiator in the deal to bring Diaz to Anfield, with Edwards slowly beginning to hand over the baton, with a view to leaving in the summer.

Diaz hit the ground running, and then some, and could be a main figurehead in this Liverpool team for years to come. Savvy moves once more.

14. Signing world-class midfielder for fraction of real value

 Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool poses for a photo with their Playstation player of the match award after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield on April 27, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool poses for a photo with their Playstation player of the match award after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield on April 27, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Thiago – From Bayern Munich – £25m

In many ways, Liverpool’s decision to sign Thiago went against the grain of the typical Edwards signing. At 29, the midfield maestro was very much at the peak of his powers when the Reds came calling.

The Spaniard had been expected to sign a new deal with Bayern, where he won the Champions League in his final season but was enticed by the idea of a new challenge under Klopp.

With a year left on his contract, Liverpool were able to secure Thiago‘s services for £25m, probably about a third of his market value – not to mention that included an initial outlay of just £5m!

13. Collecting £12.5m for a back-up goalkeeper

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward in the rain during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, the 231st Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward in the rain during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, the 231st Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Ward – To Leicester City – £12.5m

In the summer of 2018, Liverpool’s goalkeeping options were as messy as they’d ever been. Loris Karius had just cost the Reds the Champions League with two dreadful errors, Simon Mignolet was in and out of the team and Ward was another who had failed to convince.

As the season approached, reports emerged suggesting Ward was in line for a chance as Liverpool’s No. 1, but with Alisson joining shortly afterwards, that may well have been a ploy to attract interest.

Indeed, Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City came calling. Edwards negotiated an excellent deal worth £12.5m and a 20 percent sell-on clause. Ward has played second fiddle to the Foxes’ first-choice option Kasper Schmeichel ever since.

12. Banking £20m for a player with 2 serious knee injuries

 Liverpool's Danny Ings during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Danny Ings during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Ings – To Southampton – £20m (Loan with obligation)

Ings arrived at Liverpool under Rodgers, costing the Reds an initial £6.5m after a tribunal, but his time at Anfield was hampered by two serious knee injuries.

Klopp was an admirer of his work-ethic and finishing ability, but he was never expected to become a regular starter.

In the summer of 2018, Southampton came calling, with Edwards negotiating an initial loan deal that would result in a £20m permanent move the following year.

11. A cut price deal for future gem

 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates with a smoke bomb after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates with a smoke bomb after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Harvey Elliott – From Fulham – £4.3m

As the youngest player in Premier League history, Europe’s elite were on guard when it emerged Harvey Elliott had rejected a new contract with Fulham in 2019.

It soon became clear, though, that Liverpool was the only place Elliott wanted to be, having come from a family of lifelong Reds.

Edwards used that to the club’s advantage and fought off interest from the likes of Real Madrid. The Reds would end up paying just £4.3m for Elliott after a tribunal, a steal for a midfielder who looks set to light up Anfield for years to come.

10. The Jota/Hoever trade off

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal\ during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal\ during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Diogo Jota – From Wolves – £45m
Ki-Jana Hoever – To Wolves – £13.5m

Some eyebrows were raised when it emerged the Reds had put together a deal worth £45m for Jota, a player who showed glimpses of immense talent at Wolves but never really on a consistent basis.

In typical Edwards fashion, the deal was done totally under the radar. There were no competitors for Jota’s signature and the forward has been a revelation since his arrival at Anfield.

Hoever, a youngster who had shown promise, but was unlikely to emerge as a first-team player, was an added sweetener.

The Dutchman arrived from Ajax for £90,000 in 2018 and ended up leaving in a deal that could end up costing Wolves £13.5m. Edwards at his best.

9. Selling Red without topflight appearance for £23.5m

 Liverpool's substitute Rhian Brewster during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

 Liverpool's substitute Rhian Brewster during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

Rhian Brewster – To Sheffield United – £23.5m

By all accounts, Brewster looked a Premier League star in the making when he was rising through Liverpool’s academy ranks. Injury halted his progress, but a successful loan with Swansea City meant he was a man in demand in the summer of 2020.

Sheffield United, who had enjoyed an excellent first season in the Premier League with Chris Wilder, made Brewster their top target.

Edwards drove a hard bargain and ended up securing a deal worth £23.5m for the striker, the Blades’ club-record signing, with Liverpool retaining a buy-back option for the next three seasons.

In what was a dismal season for the Blades, Brewster failed to score a single goal in his first campaign with the club and is now plying his trade with them in the Championship.

8. Lifting spirits with elite signing after Real heartbreak

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho – From Monaco – £43.7m

When Liverpool were beaten in horrible fashion in the 2018 Champions League final, everyone needed a lift. Days later, Fabinho was doing the Melwood lean, the top-class holding midfielder Klopp’s team needed.

The Brazilian would go on to play a key role in the Reds sealing European redemption one year later, before lifting the Premier League, Club World Cup, Super Cup, League Cup and FA Cup in the years to come.

A surprise signing at the time that now sees £43.7m look a snip.

7. Landing £26m for a Klopp outcast

 Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Derby County during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Derby County during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mamadou Sakho – To Crystal Palace – £26m

Having made 80 appearances over his first three campaigns at Liverpool, Sakho was exiled by Klopp following a series of transgressions towards the end of 2015/16.

After an initial loan move to Selhurst Park, Edwards negotiated a £26m permanent switch.

Sakho spent four seasons in South London before returning to his homeland with Montpellier in 2021.

6. Signing the best goalkeeper on the planet

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates his side's fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates his side's fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson – From Roma – £65m

Alisson was another player Edwards and Klopp believed was worth the wait, and they were absolutely right. Having initially been priced out of a deal by Roma, Liverpool pounced when it emerged the Brazilian would be available for £65m.

At the time it was a world-record fee for a goalkeeper, but he’s been worth every penny and more.

The best goalkeeper on the planet plays for Liverpool and it’s all thanks to Edwards.

5. Making a £14m profit on Solanke

 Liverpool's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dominic Solanke – From Chelsea – £5m
To Bournemouth – £19m
Profit: £14m

Having been a prolific goalscorer for Chelsea at youth level, Dominic Solanke was an intriguing addition to Klopp’s ranks when he arrived in 2017.

He would end up costing the Reds around £5m after a tribunal, with Edwards knowing there was every chance the club would make a profit on the Englishman should he not fulfil his potential.

That would prove to be the case, with Bournemouth agreeing to pay around £19m to secure Solanke’s services in January 2019.

Another Edwards masterstroke, especially when you consider who then arrived for less than that figure!

4. Signing the world’s best defender

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk – From Southampton – £75m

The signing that transformed Klopp’s Liverpool team. While outsiders scoffed at the £75m fee Liverpool paid to secure Van Dijk, Edwards was in no doubt that this was good business for the club. How right he was, too.

Having tried and failed to sign the Dutchman in the summer of 2017, Liverpool were prepared to bide their time to acquire their number one target. He was certainly worth the wait.

Van Dijk has been integral to all of Liverpool’s success in recent years and remains the most complete defender in the game.

3. Signing Salah for half the price of Maguire

 Wednesday December 1, 2021.

 Wednesday December 1, 2021.

Mohamed Salah – From Roma – £36.9m

Another signing everyone questioned and another Edwards got absolutely spot on. Klopp has developed Salah into one of the very best players on the planet, something nobody saw coming when he arrived at Anfield in 2017.

The Egyptian will go down as one of the very best goalscorers in the club’s history. Edwards saw something in Salah that simply nobody else did, and for that, Liverpool fans will be eternally grateful.

2. Effectively swapping Stewart for Robertson

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 240th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 240th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson – From Hull City – £8m
Kevin Stewart – To Hull City – £4m rising to £8m

Many were underwhelmed when it emerged that the club had identified Robertson as the left-back they wanted to compete with Alberto Moreno in 2017.

Yet again, Edwards had seen potential in the Scotsman that nobody else had picked up on. The Scotsman has since developed into the best left-back in the world during his time at Anfield.

The remarkable deal that saw Robertson arrive at the club makes this one even better. Edwards got a deal wrapped up for £8m, with inexperienced midfielder Kevin Stewart moving in the other direction for a similar figure. Crazily good business.

1. Transforming club with sale of Coutinho

 Liverpool's captain Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's captain Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Philippe Coutinho – To Barcelona – £142m

Nobody wanted to see Philippe Coutinho leave Liverpool, Edwards included, so when Barcelona made him their No. 1 target in January 2018, the Reds’ sporting director ensured he negotiated a package that would ultimately turn the sale of the club’s best player into an overwhelming positive.

Coutinho left for £142m, money which paid for the game-changing signings of both Alisson and Van Dijk. The Brazilian’s time at Camp Nou couldn’t have gone worse, reflected by the fact he is now playing for Aston Villa and Barcelona are completely crippled.

Edwards also negotiated a clause into the deal that stopped Barca from poaching any more of Liverpool’s players for three years, with Roberto Firmino believed to be of interest at the time.

A transfer that ruined Barcelona and brought the glory days back to Liverpool.

And a few that didn’t make the cut

 Liverpool's Jordon Ibe looks dejected after the 1-1 draw with FC Girondins de Bordeaux the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jordon Ibe looks dejected after the 1-1 draw with FC Girondins de Bordeaux the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s worth pointing out that, while Edwards wasn’t officially made sporting director until November 2016, he will have played a key role in the business done during the 2016 summer transfer window, in his role as technical director.

Edwards will have played a part in the deals that saw Bournemouth spend a whopping £21m on Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith, with Crystal Palace splashing £32m on Christian Benteke and Joe Allen sold to Stoke City for £15m in the same window.

Joel Matip arrived on a free transfer (surely one of the best Bosman in football history?), while Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum would go on to become two of the club’s modern-day greats.

Here’s to you, Michael Edwards. The man who helped take Liverpool back to the very top.

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Liverpool may already have 'amazing' solution to a big Jürgen Klopp midfield problem

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 15:00

Liverpool’s incoming business may be done, but they won’t be withdrawing from the transfer market entirely. There are still plenty of exits that need to be arranged.

Most of these will be loan moves for young players. Already, goalkeeper Jakub Ojrzyński, right-back Conor Bradley, centre-half Billy Koumetio and left-back Adam Lewis have made temporary switches.

Liverpool’s director of loan management, David Woodfine, will now turn his attention to a group of players that includes Rhys Williams, Jake Cain, Sepp van den Berg, Owen Beck, Paul Glatzel and Leighton Clarkson (as per Neil Jones).

READ MORE:Thiago Alcântara has just proven Jürgen Klopp right again and Liverpool should be excited

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah can engineer perfect Liverpool goodbye as Man City should be worried by one change

Clarkson will certainly be hoping for an upturn in fortunes on his next assignment. Last season, he secured a dream stint with Blackburn Rovers, the club he supported as a child, but it didn’t go to plan.

After starting three of the first five matches for which he was available, he would register just four more appearances before the turn of the year. Between October 23 and December 29, Clarkson was an unused substitute in 11 out of 12 Championship matches. After handing him just 328 minutes of football, they cut the loan short in January.

The fact that Rovers took that decision for themselves seems damning. But it’s important to consider Tony Mowbray’s parting words.

“I want to put on record that this lad is an amazing footballer,” he enthused. “What a talent.”

Indeed, one of the reasons that Clarkson struggled for game time was that Mowbray switched from a 4-3-3 formation to a 5-2-3, which of course meant there was one fewer place in the midfield.

And another was that Blackburn were flying. Mowbray didn’t want to change a winning formula and disrupt his side’s promotion push.

"He’s come at a time when our team is functioning and he understands," the former Rovers manager explained. "I haven’t been able to give him the game-time."

Both Liverpool and the player himself will have been left disappointed. But the Reds have reason to persist with Clarkson.

The current squad is still short of a back-up for Fabinho. Jordan Henderson can fill in there, but he’s effectively a no.8 doing a job as a no.6.

Fabinho’s most important attribute is perhaps his ability to sustain attacks through ball-winning. He’s a reasonably good passer, but it isn’t a particularly big part of his game.

So Liverpool can either support the Brazilian with a player who’s a close stylistic match, or they can look to someone with a contrasting skillset, enabling them to be more flexible.

And Clarkson, who stands at just 5ft 7in, is a different brand of no.6. He’s won praise chiefly for his constructive, rather than destructive, abilities.

“An amazing footballer who sees all the pictures, all the patterns,” was Mowbray’s review. “You talk about Harvey Elliott, he’s got all those qualities, weight of pass, brilliant finishing.”

Clarkson had already left Liverpool fans impressed with his distribution when he made his Champions League debut in a group game against Midtjylland in December 2020. He’s shown that he’s capable of picking out line-breaking balls.

Across 73 games for Liverpool at youth level, he’s scored 10 goals and provided 18 assists. That means he’s setting one up every four games on average, again highlighting his penchant for penetrative passes.

While fellow midfield prospect Tyler Morton has often played as a no. 8 at academy level, Clarkson has started 69 out of 82 recorded matches as a defensive midfielder, making those numbers all the more impressive.

For reference, Fabinho has only managed eight assists in 169 games for Liverpool, one every 21 matches. Clarkson, overall, is more similar to Thiago, who teed up five goals last season.

Still only 21, he shouldn't be written off just yet. He deserves an opportunity to prove himself, and the hope will be that his upcoming loan gives him that platform.

Clarkson, capped six times by England at U20 level, has plenty of potential. And he also has qualities that could make him a real asset for this Liverpool team if his development accelerates.

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Jordan Henderson attributes Liverpool turning point to Brendan Rodgers’ forgotten man

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 13:44

Jordan Henderson has not experienced a smooth journey to the top and he has credited one of Brendan Rodgers’ forgotten men for helping him find “who I was in myself.”

It’s been more than 11 years since Henderson signed for Liverpool, kickstarting a career at Anfield that has seen doubts and questions thrown his way, all of which he has answered.

It has not made for a smooth journey throughout his 449-game Anfield career, with his early days shaking his confidence and leading to him seeking out renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.

Peters was turned to by Brendan Rodgers in 2012, with the Liverpool manager an advocate of the mental strength of not only an individual player but the collective.

And after struggling to lay down a marker and seeing himself considered as potential transfer bait in exchange for Fulham‘s Clint Dempsey, Henderson sought out Peters and the help he could provide.

In a new documentary entitled ‘Jordan Henderson is Never Done‘, Henderson explains what led him to Peters and the significant influence it had on his career moving forward.

“Looking back now, when I was 20, 21, I was very, very introverted,” Henderson explained.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I wouldn’t want to speak to many people about things and wanted to deal with a lot on my own and sort things out by myself really, that’s the way I always wanted to work.

“I ended up speaking to Steve Peters, who came into the club out of the blue when Brendan was there.

“He [Peters] basically had a meeting with all of the players and said ‘I’m here if anyone needs to speak about anything’ and said he could help, maybe not with football, but with how players feel in general and morale.

“I couldn’t really lose anything and I didn’t feel great so it was worth a shot and worth speaking to him.

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“From that moment, I feel as though that really helped me find who I was in myself.

“For me, it was a big moment in my career that I met Steve and he gave me the right tools to use and the right mentality to use to get myself out of a mindset where I wasn’t feeling as confident as I was before I came to the club.”

It’s an honest admission from Henderson, who has been an advocate for mental health and well-being for some time, and whose first step in opening up set him on course for a different trajectory.

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Jürgen Klopp has already outlined Liverpool midfield transfer plan as two solutions identified

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 13:00

The 2022 summer transfer window only opened on 10 June but just nine days later, having announced right-back Calvin Ramsay as their third signing of the summer, Liverpool indicated that their business was done.

The club have decided not to sign an established central midfield option this summer, a stance that has split opinion among supporters. There are some who feel that this is Liverpool’s main area of weakness compared to their rivals, especially Manchester City.

And shortcomings in that department, both in terms of fitness and quality, were arguably an important factor in most of the 10 Premier League games the Reds failed to win last season.

READ MORE:Thiago Alcântara has just proven Jürgen Klopp right again and Liverpool should be excited

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah can engineer perfect Liverpool goodbye as Man City should be worried by one change

It seems that Liverpool might be taking too great a risk by delaying their next marquee midfield addition for another 12 months.

On paper, of course, Jürgen Klopp has an abundance of options. With Fábio Carvalho arriving from Fulham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now expected to stay, there are nine in total. That’s theoretically enough to fill out three separate midfields.

But is it merely an illusion of depth? After all, four of the players are injury-prone, to varying degrees, a few are ageing, and the young trio of Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are still relatively unproven.

Liverpool believe that their veteran options still have plenty more to give, and that they can stave off significant injury issues through appropriate load management. But, beyond that, the success of their transfer gamble also relies on Elliott and Jones taking the next step.

Both players are regarded as an important part of the club’s future. During Liverpool’s lap of honour following their final-day home clash against Wolves, Klopp told the duo that ‘this is only the start’.

“Yes,” they replied, “with us on the pitch.”

That air of confidence has been a defining feature of many of Elliott’s performances to date. It’s worth remembering just how impressive he was in the right central midfield role in the early part of the 2021/22 campaign.

Against Burnley and Chelsea, Elliott was truly one of Liverpool’s stand-out performers. He didn’t look remotely out of place in one of the best teams in the world, and that is the mark of a special talent.

It seemed significant that Klopp selected him ahead of captain Jordan Henderson against Leeds United. One wonders just how much football Elliott would have played had he not sustained a distressing injury that day.

He didn’t make his comeback until early February and given the severity of the injury, it wasn’t a surprise that his involvement was limited before the end of the campaign.

Still, those performances at the start of the season had reinforced what most Reds already believed — Elliott is one of the brightest young talents in the country. And he should be about to get even better.

And then there’s Jones. It’s easy to forget that he’s only 21 years old, perhaps because he’s already played 74 games for Liverpool’s first team.

It’s probably fair to say that, right now, Elliott looks more likely to be a future starter at Anfield, while question marks still hover over his teammate.

The biggest, by far, is consistency. Klopp said, delicately, last September that this was ‘maybe sometimes a little bit the issue’. He would issue a similar challenge ahead of the clash with Southampton with May, perhaps indicating that Jones has somewhat stagnated.

It’s rare that Klopp publicly points out flaws in his senior players. Constructive criticism is typically reserved for raw youngsters, and that’s still how Jones is regarded despite being three-quarters of the way to a century of appearances. “I think he’s now old enough to keep that moment going,” Klopp tellingly says.

By electing not to sign another midfielder this summer, Liverpool are backing him to find that consistency. Neither a loan nor a permanent exit is on the table for now, but that stance could conceivably be different next summer if he doesn’t seize the opportunity before him.

Some fans will be frustrated by the club’s reluctance to upgrade their midfield, at least this year. But the club won’t see it that way. Yes, they’ve signed Carvalho, but on top of that, they also believe that Elliott and Jones will be better players next season, that they’ll be ready to play more minutes, not simply as cover, but as effective weapons in their own right.

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Liverpool duo assist with England’s perfect record as shot at final awaits

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 12:43

While the majority of Liverpool players enjoy the final days of their summer break, an academy trio are now hoping to turn England’s perfect U19s Euros start into a place in the final.

It’s been a rare summer without a senior international competition but the under-19s European Championship is in full swing, with three Liverpool representatives in the England squad.

It has been an impressive tournament to date for the Young Lions, who progressed to the semi-final with a game to spare and in doing so, booked their place in the U20 World Cup in 2023.

And on Saturday evening, England turned out for their final group game with both Jarell Quansah and Luke Chambers named in the starting XI against Israel, earning another clean sheet and win.

Chambers was making his first start of the competition at left-back while Quansah remained as the right-sided centre-back, on a night that was under doubt due to a deluge of rain.

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The Young Lions again struck early to take ascendency, with a poor clearance from the goalkeeper allowing Alfie Devine to feed Man City‘s Liam Delap for the opener after just six minutes.

The 1-0 scoreline would remain after the final whistle despite a number of chances to add to the tally, ensuring England kept a perfect record with their third clean sheet and victory.

With Quansah having featured for 180 minutes prior to the final group game, he was asked to play just 45 minutes on Saturday after being substituted at halftime, while Chambers played the full 90.

The centre-back made a notable covering run behind Chambers early in the first half, ensuring his counterpart was kept wide and left with nothing but a wild shot over the bar, in another impressive defensive display.

Harvey Davies, meanwhile, remained out of the matchday squad for the third time with both Matthew Cox and Teddy Sharman-Lowe ahead in the pecking order.

What comes next?

 England's Jarell Quansah during an Under-18 international friendly match between Wales and England at Leckwith Stadium. England won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 England's Jarell Quansah during an Under-18 international friendly match between Wales and England at Leckwith Stadium. England won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

England are now in the semi-finals of the competition and are to meet Italy on Tuesday, June 28, while France and Israel contest the other match later the same day.

A win will put the Young Lions in contention for the trophy with the final to take place on Friday, July 1 – England would be fighting for a record 11th U19 European Championship title.

And Quansah is to remain at the heart of manager Ian Foster’s defence as they push, first, for a final place.

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Liverpool transfer confirmed for 15-year-old with first-team experience

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 11:40

Liverpool’s youth recruitment continues with Irish teenager Trent Kone-Doherty, with Derry City’s under-17s manager confirming his imminent summer move.

The Reds’ recruitment drive for the academy has taken a more localised approach following Brexit, with restrictions now firmly in place regarding youth signings.

Overseas players under the age of 18 can no longer be acquired and this has seen the likes of Kaide Gordon, Bobby Clark and Ben Doak all land at Liverpool since the start of 2021.

And Kone-Doherty was touted as the next in line earlier this year, and the exciting winger, capable of playing on the left and right, is now to officially join the club in July.

He is currently just 15 years of age but will be 16 by the time he arrives at Anfield, for what is expected to demand a compensation fee in the region of £150,000.

The move has been confirmed by Derry City’s under-17s manager, Gerald Boyle, who heaped praise on the 15-year-old, who is listed as a member of their first team and made his senior debut, off the bench, earlier this year.

“Trent certainly does have all the attributes to do well,” Boyle told the Derry Journal.

 Liverpool's Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Leeds United AFC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. Leeds United won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Leeds United AFC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. Leeds United won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I think it’s going to become more and more rare that the top clubs in England are coming to these shores looking for players.

“Trent has that ‘x-factor, he’s got something special. His one-on-one ability is excellent. He has got serious, serious pace but the biggest thing about him is that he has a brilliant attitude.

“He is so receptive to information, he wants to learn all the time and he’s a great team-mate as well.

“Those qualities, as well as his physical and technical abilities, will take him a long way because he’s a great kid to work with and, as I said, he wants to learn and get better. Hopefully, that takes him a long, long way in the game.

“Of course, it’s going to be tough. The Premier League is a tough environment but you know what, Trent has got a really, really good chance because he has got that something special.

“Liverpool, in particular, go for quality over quantity, they don’t go for big numbers at their academy.

“It’s a credit to everybody who has worked with Trent down the years from his boys club coaches and to every coach that has had him at Derry City, they have all helped him on that journey to get to Liverpool.

“Obviously there’s a lot of natural ability and his family will also have put in a lot of work with him as well.”

With Derry straddling the Irish border as part of Northern Ireland, the restrictions post-Brexit do not interfere with the deal.

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Thiago Alcântara has just proven Jürgen Klopp right again and Liverpool should be excited

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 11:30

Jordan Henderson has been such an important part of Liverpool’s midfield over the last decade. The current Liverpool captain has often been much-maligned during his time at the club.

There’s nothing fancy to Henderson’s game — he keeps things nice and simple — but the appreciation for the English midfielder within Liverpool is massive.

And this was reflected very recently when Thiago Alcântara lavished Henderson with praise in a 36-minute documentary co-produced by Liverpool and Nike.

“He’s one of the best players, midfield players I’ve ever played with in my life,” said Thiago of Henderson. “I’m proud to be a part of his team and happy to play alongside him.”

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Asked what Henderson brings to the table, Thiago said: “I think Jordan has great character that teaches us that nothing is guaranteed, that we have to fight for everything and have to give our best as possible.

“He’s a player that from the moment you arrive, he helps you get settled, helps you feel at home. And then on the pitch, he helps you stay alert and concentrated on the game.”

When one considers the calibre of player Thiago has played alongside during his spells with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, not to mention playing for the Spanish national side, his praise for Henderson is very high indeed.

Thiago’s praise echoes what Jürgen Klopp has repeatedly said of the 32-year-old down the years, with Klopp saying last November: "Hendo is essential to all the things we’ve achieved in the last three years. He had no point to prove.

"If anybody thinks he didn’t play good last season [2020-21] or whatever, he was injured in the last part of the season and was very unlucky before that. He helped us in three different positions pretty much which was very tough.

“We need players like him, and especially him, at the club in the long term because these boys, the qualities of them, the mindset of them, the attitude of them, they set standards for all the rest.”

Since Gini Wijnaldum left the club a year ago, there’s been constant speculation that the club would sign a new midfielder, and that Henderson would be the eventual one to be relegated to the bench in order to make room for the new recruit, with Thiago and Fabinho pretty much guaranteed starting positions when fit.

Yet question marks have been asked of Henderson before. There was scrutiny surrounding his place in the team and his future at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, and Henderson answered those critics by winning the Football Writers Assocation’s Player of the Year award. That is just one example of many where the Liverpool captained has bounced back.

Jordan Henderson is cherished at Liverpool (Image: Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With talk growing that Klopp may alter formation and go towards a 4-2-3-1 system due to the talent he now has at his disposal, Henderson again may be the one who many would think will be dropped. Yet he has proven people wrong once before, and will likely be able to do it again.

And even if he doesn’t start as much as in this new theoretical system, it could still bring the best out of him by virtue of not having to play every match, as he did in the first half of last season when injuries robbed Klopp of the likes of Thiago, Naby Keïta, Harvey Elliott and Fabinho for a few games.

If Thiago and Fabinho are the automatic first-choice picks for Klopp, Henderson is third, and if he is fresher, then that’s only a good thing for Liverpool and Klopp.

He’s already been written off before, but it would be foolish to do it again — if anything, what comes after criticism of Henderson is something very exciting. Thiago and Klopp know what he brings to the team, and you can’t get higher praise than that.

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Liverpool could finally sign 2020 FSG transfer target as part of Jürgen Klopp system change

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 03:00

In the summer of 2020, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Timo Werner. In fact, it wasn’t just that the club were linked with a move for the then-Red Bull Leipzig forward, it’s believed that FSG made a concrete effort to bring the German to Anfield.

In the end, Werner decided to opt for a move to Chelsea. How much was down to him and how much was down to RB Leipzig, we may never know for sure: the FSG offer would have come in installments, much in the same way that Liverpool only ended up paying an initial £4m up front for Diogo Jota.

But whether it was a deliberate decision or not, the move backfired on the player spectacularly, as he became just the latest in a long line of strikers to flounder at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea paid around £47m to bring Werner to London, but the goals, which were so bountiful in the Bundesliga, vanished upon arrival at Stamford Bridge. Jota, meanwhile, flourished under the watchful eye of Jürgen Klopp.

READ MORE:Diogo Jota experiment could evolve one of Jürgen Klopp's best stars amid fresh Liverpool dilemma

READ MORE:Liverpool transfer stance provides new hope FSG can find Mohamed Salah contract resolution

In his two years at Chelsea, Werner has netted 23 times and provided 21 assists in 89 games for The Blues. The fact that he’s so nearly provided more assists than scored goals for Chelsea tells its own story: Werner has morphed into a workhorse forward who works hard for the team but rarely scores.

Werner’s failure to light up was the chief reason Chelsea paid £97m to bring Romelu Lukaku back to London, and we all know how that has worked out.

Now it seems that even with Lukaku going back to Inter, Chelsea remain intent on getting rid of Werner too. According to website Football Insider, Liverpool are once again interested in bringing Werner to Anfield, and it’s likely that he won’t spurn them for a second time.

It’s believed that a deal could be done in the region of £30m. With Liverpool flush with cash from the sale of Sadio Mané, not to mention the imminent departure of Takumi Minamino for around £15m, FSG would have little problem offering that kind of money.

But the real question is, do they need Werner now?

Werner is still only 26, and still has time to develop as a player. At Chelsea, he was used more as a willing runner than a centre-forward. A lot of his best work came outside the box rather than inside it.

If Klopp is to remain implementing the 4-3-3 system next season, then it’s difficult to see where Werner would fit in, given the signing of Darwin Núñez. However, should Klopp pivot to a new formation, a 4-2-3-1, for example, then there might just be room for Werner in the new-look Liverpool set up.

Werner could lead the line when Núñez was absent, or else occupy one of the attacking positions behind the Uruguayan. An attacking department containing Werner, Nunez, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Luis Díaz and Mohamed Salah, all interchanging for four positions, would represent a nice headache for Klopp to have.

Even if Chelsea were open to selling Werner to Liverpool, it’s difficult to see a deal happening, considering there are other areas of the squad that need fixing, like midfield.

Yet if a deal could be done at a relatively low cost, it could be worth a shot, and we could finally see Werner in a Liverpool shirt. It would not be the first time FSG have waited for their man, and it tends to end well.

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Liverpool transfer stance provides new hope FSG can find Mohamed Salah contract resolution

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 01:00

After news of Liverpool's acquisition of Darwin Núñez sparked excitement throughout Merseyside, FSG were quick to follow up with the addition of Calvin Ramsay. But it was soon suggested that the Scot would be the club's last signing of the summer. That left opinions split between fans, with Manchester City's continued business providing reason for concern over June.

Pep Guardiola is now reported to be close to landing Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, and while that's not a signing that Liverpool would be too concerned about, the £42m move is a reminder of the difference in financial power that the two Premier League title contenders have at their disposal.

But FSG surely wouldn't have made the decision to close the transfer window early without confidence in the resolution of a contract situation that has circled around Jürgen Klopp over the last season.

READ MORE: Liverpool just got huge Jude Bellingham transfer boost as Man City help 2023 plans come together

READ MORE: Diogo Jota experiment could evolve one of Jürgen Klopp's best stars amid fresh Liverpool dilemma

Clarity over the future of Mohamed Salah is something that Liverpool need more than ever after Sadio Mané's switch to Bayern Munich. Klopp's evolution of the forward line is quickly taking shape, and with no signing planned despite 19-year-old Harvey Elliott being second-in-line to Salah, FSG must be confident of getting a deal over the line for the Egypt international.

It seems as though the Reds had made it clear this summer that if they were going to sign a midfielder, it was only going to be Aurélien Tchouaméni or Jude Bellingham. There is no denying the excitement those prospective signings bring, but there can be no guarantees of Bellingham's future being pre-written in red. Meanwhile, Tchouaméni is bound for Real Madrid. Should Liverpool deliver on securing a midfielder next summer, that would still do little to solve a glaring gap on the right wing for Klopp.

That indicates that FSG aren't looking to replace Salah next season, with talks set to continue over a new deal in the coming weeks. Previously, replacements have typically been signed well in advance: Diogo Jota came in ahead of time with a view to ultimately inheriting a front-three berth, while Ibrahima Konaté is currently serving an apprenticeship of sorts. A scramble for a right-winger next summer would be uncharacteristic.

Salah has been a crucial star in Klopp's side since he arrived, and a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the squad would be deserved — though a compromise must be reached over a figure that does not impact the wage structure severely. FSG and Liverpool are said to have reached their ceiling in terms of the offer extended to the 30-year-old, but perhaps they are confident of his stance softening.

Salah's value to the club is indispensable, despite some suggesting that a player's importance to a club is only reflected through the size of the salary offer. A new deal what would see him propelled to a status as one of the leaders in the team would remind him of the appreciation which he wouldn't be guaranteed elsewhere.

As potential cover options in Raphinha and Antony continue to be linked with Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, it looks as though FSG are unflustered by other team's moves in the transfer market — a sign that they think Salah will sign renew his terms at Anfield. And with Roberto Firmino also in the final 12 months of his contract, there is no better way to secure the future of the club than by securing a deal for Salah before the season starts, locking in a player who has become one of the most iconic pieces of Klopp's era.

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Diogo Jota experiment could evolve one of Jürgen Klopp's best stars amid fresh Liverpool dilemma

Liverpool.com - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 22:00

A dynamic Liverpool attack that has evolved through the signing of Darwin Núñez could see Jürgen Klopp deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation more often next season, but the Reds need more long-term solutions if it is going to be a system that becomes the new norm. Roberto Firmino is the strongest candidate to feature in the number 10 role, but with just one year remaining on his contract, Klopp must find a new option next season.

That player could be Diogo Jota. Just 25 years old, there is still time for Jota to adapt his game in a way that would benefit him in terms of his link-up play. That factor has perhaps been his biggest criticism since joining the club from Wolves. For a player that has been unstoppable in front of goal, scoring 20 goals last season, his assist tally has left a glaring area of improvement.

As highlighted by FBref, Jota registered 5.5 expected assists (xA) in 35 Premier League games in the last Premier League campaign. It's not a bad tally at all, particularly considering his game time fell short of the nailed-on starters, but it's less than half as many as Trent Alexander-Arnold, and similarly far off Salah. Coupled with a pass accuracy of just 75 per cent, it is clear why there is a degree of concern.

READ MORE:Liverpool have replaced Sadio Mané as Jürgen Klopp makes big call on Real Madrid transfer plan

READ MORE:Liverpool beat Man City on eight counts to prove Jürgen Klopp still has huge Premier League edge

Away from the numbers, the problem is clearer. Jota's ability to link play can be seen to falter through times where there is slight hesitation on passes that players like Firmino or Thiago Alcântara would find consistently. If the Portugal international is able to make strides in that area of his game during the pre-season, his evolution could see him close in on world class status.

Alexander-Arnold has looked to benefit from maintaining sharpness throughout the off-season in the past, as well as being willing to experiment with new forms of training. The Liverpool right-back worked on his vision last year, and it was clear that his focus eventually paid dividends when looking at some of the passes he was able to produce consistently — most notably with his outside of the foot effort against Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

For Jota, it's clear which area of his game he must improve this summer. The best way for Klopp to allow him to do that could be by giving him regular game time in the number 10 role — even if that is during pre-season friendlies.

The 4-2-3-1 system is likely to be unleashed next month as Liverpool begin to introduce Núñez to heavy-metal football, and it is vital that Klopp ensures there is as much time dedicated to helping players evolve as there is to developing chemistry in different areas of the pitch.

Chemistry will be particularly important for Mohamed Salah and Luis Díaz, who could both see their roles change slightly with the introduction of the Uruguay international. That's particularly true for Salah, who enjoys working shots inside the box on his left foot — though Núñez's presence alone will force full-backs to be isolated against the Liverpool duo, which can only be a good thing. The 4-2-3-1 system is the best way of drilling this new dynamic over pre-season, and Jota's introduction into the number 10 role could provide Klopp with a new weapon.

Jota's more central role for Portugal at Euro 2020 saw his directness craft frequent chances, with the 25-year-old's incisive runs too difficult to mark for defenders. In moments where Jota failed to cut the ball back at the right time, Cristiano Ronaldo's frustration mimicked those of Liverpool fans at times last season.

But given that Jota has always been a player who has solely focused on scoring goals, cutting in from the left flank as well as playing a direct striker role, it is no surprise that it is a matter of a lack of experience rather than potential. With experience in the 10, he could soon develop to Firmino's level. Even if Klopp does not end up going with the 4-2-3-1 on a permanent basis, using the Portugal star in a more withdrawn role now can only make him a more complete striker for the future.

In many ways, Firmino and Jota create the perfect blend of a player that would be considered among the best in the world if they could merge some of their best qualities together. But there is no time like the present for Jota, who must find the missing string to his bow next season.

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Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool – Luis Suarez, empty envelopes & late-night tactics

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 18:00
Brendan Rodgers oversaw his first pre-season as Liverpool boss 10 years ago this month. Aaron Cutler looks back on what followed…

It is now 10 years since Brendan Rodgers led his first training session as Liverpool manager.

That’s significant, if not a little scary.

Plenty has happened in the proceeding decade, to the extent that the Northern Irishman’s tenure is often forgotten. Indeed, he will forever be known as the man before the man.

Finding consensus on Rodgers’ reign is like finding an honest Conservative minister. From day one he split opinion, with doubters vocal even with his side on the brink of an unlikely title.

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Much of that comes down to image. A self-styled ‘modern coach’, the then-39-year-old was unveiled at Anfield amid much talk of ‘philosophy’ and ‘ideology’.

In this respect, he failed to read the room.

Preaching the virtues of possession football to Liverpool supporters is like instructing Paul McCartney on how to write a hit song.

Kopites had revelled in the success of the Shankly and Paisley eras. Last time we checked, neither were the result of route one tactics.

 Liverpool's new manager Brendan Rodgers next to managing director Ian Ayre (L) and chairman Tom Werner (R) during a photocall to announce him as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club at Anfield. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's new manager Brendan Rodgers next to managing director Ian Ayre (L) and chairman Tom Werner (R) during a photocall to announce him as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club at Anfield. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

Simply put, Scousers do not suffer fools. There would be no reinvention of the wheel in their eyes.

A famed 180-page dossier, said to have sealed his appointment, only served to heighten the feeling he was a sporting salesman. Rodgers’ penchant for soundbites may have wooed the impressionable, but irritated old-timers.

Add this to the fact he was replacing an icon in Kenny Dalglish, and you can begin to understand some of that early apathy.

Being: Liverpool

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Raheem Sterling during the Football League Cup 4th Round match against Swansea City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Raheem Sterling during the Football League Cup 4th Round match against Swansea City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Admittedly, the incoming boss was hardly helped by a prior commitment to filming a behind-the-scenes documentary across what would be his maiden pre-season.

Another manager, with a trophy-laden CV, might have put a stop to that. Dare we say his successor would have.

Yet Rodgers – at that point – had no real track record to speak of. And having been parachuted into the hot seat of a footballing behemoth, he was in no position to give ultimatums.

Unfortunately, ‘access all areas’ meant exactly that, including footage of some cringeworthy material and team talks; none more so than that based around envelopes…

This earned Rodgers comparisons to David Brent. A likeable figure, but somewhat of a parody.

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and manager Brendan Rodgers during a training session at the Harvard Stadium fields ahead of the pre-season match against AS Roma during the club's North American pre-season tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and manager Brendan Rodgers during a training session at the Harvard Stadium fields ahead of the pre-season match against AS Roma during the club's North American pre-season tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was against this backdrop that the Reds entered a transitional season.

Rodgers was true to his word and attempted to implement a passing style that meant playing out from the back.

It’s fair to say this took some time.

Liverpool failed to win any of their first five league games and were trounced 3-0 away to West Brom on the opening day.

Before a long-awaited win at Norwich, meanwhile, came a haphazard end to the transfer window.

It’s since emerged that Rodgers angered his bosses by bemoaning a lack of signings in forward positions, having been offered the chance to retain Andy Carroll.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and substitute Andy Carroll during the Premiership match against Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and substitute Andy Carroll during the Premiership match against Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Looking back, this was perhaps the first evidence of self-preservation, something that would become a regular occurrence.

On the pitch the Reds gradually improved, but it was only in January, when both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho joined, that a hint of what was to come came to the fore.

And this brings Rodgers’ much-talked-of philosophy into sharp focus.

Come the end of that season, the Reds had evolved into a counter-attacking side. The slow, considered buildup was replaced with faster transitions, often launched by the now-deep-lying Steven Gerrard.

It could be argued personnel forced the manager’s hand in that regard.

Indeed, it’s long been speculated he was personally against the Sturridge signing. Yet the old adage says you work with the tools you’re given…

And the ability to adapt is surely the sign of a good manager.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Managing Director Ian Ayre during a press conference at the Plaza Athenee Hotel ahead of their preseason friendly match against Thailand. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Managing Director Ian Ayre during a press conference at the Plaza Athenee Hotel ahead of their preseason friendly match against Thailand. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nonetheless, it made a bit of a mockery of the seminars we’d listened to in every press conference for six months.

Regardless Liverpool ended the campaign strongly. The 3-2 defeat of Spurs at Anfield in March signalled the first significant victory of the Rodgers era. Up to that point the Reds had failed to beat any of the established ‘big six’.

They ended the season unbeaten in eight and full of attacking impetus.

2013/14

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premiership match against Newcastle United at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premiership match against Newcastle United at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Heading into the exhilarating but ultimately heartbreaking 2013/14 season, Rodgers had shown his ability to harness momentum. It remains his best trait to this day.

Suddenly the curious and downright bizarre experiments that defined his early months were abandoned.

Rodgers – for a while at least – put aside the ego that would force him to display ingenuity at every turn. There would be no more Stewart Downing at left-back, for example.

Instead, he rode the wave.

Around 15 players were entrusted to go the distance, building on the confidence and energy that stemmed from three consecutive 1-0 wins at the start of the campaign.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester United from the penalty spot with team-mate Luis Suarez during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester United from the penalty spot with team-mate Luis Suarez during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Led by the spectacular Luis Suarez and talismanic Gerrard, the Reds found themselves in an unlikely title challenge. They were flawed but relentless, shipping 50 goals but scoring 101.

When it clicked, they were simply devastating, as Spurs (5-0), Everton (4-0) and Arsenal (5-1) found to their cost.

By this point, Rodgers’ dossier had been set alight, along with the rest of Premier League. There was no philosophy on display – how could there be when you concede so frequently?

The only commitment was to the utter chaos that might just deliver a 19th title.

It so nearly did.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We all know how that run-in concluded and though nobody would admit it, we feared it would never be as good again.

That near-miss also served to heighten expectations. A serious title assault might have been expected in year four or five.

Rodgers now had to repeat the formula – without his best player.

The fall

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match against Everton at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match against Everton at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers’ biggest critics attribute the thrilling 2013/14 season to Suarez alone.

Granted, he was playing football from another planet and drove an imperfect team to the brink of the Holy Grail. But even the best need an environment in which to flourish.

The Uruguayan never hit those heights under Dalglish.

Rodgers also did a good job of reintegrating his star player following a very public exile for attempting to engineer a move away. That’s good management, however you dress it up.

The naysayers point to the following year as proof Suarez made Rodgers. What they forget is he lost not one but two strikers, with Sturridge consigned to the treatment table for pretty much the duration.

Ironically this forced him to revert to type and overthink everything.

 Lazar Markovic, Javier Manquillo, Lucas Leiva, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Lazar Markovic, Javier Manquillo, Lucas Leiva, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We were told (by the man himself, obviously) about late nights at the kitchen table devising a 3-5-2 system. We saw Emre Can at centre-back, Rickie Lambert used as a target man and even Brad Jones between the sticks.

He found that all-important momentum mid-season, leading to a run of 12 games unbeaten.

But as good as Rodgers is at riding a wave, he struggles to arrest a decline. That began with a fatal defeat at home to Man United and culminated in a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Stoke.

In hindsight that really should have marked the end.

 Stoke City supporters with banners 'Brendan Rodgers confidence to manage Barcelona skills to manage Accrington Stanley' and 'One small slip for Stevie, one giant laugh for mankind' during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Stoke City supporters with banners 'Brendan Rodgers confidence to manage Barcelona skills to manage Accrington Stanley' and 'One small slip for Stevie, one giant laugh for mankind' during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For whatever reason, he was allowed to limp on for another five months, in which time his paranoia came to the fore in press conferences.

Admittedly, he wasn’t the first Liverpool manager to suffer that fate. Gerard Houllier also began to distrust everyone with a media badge. The pressures of the job will do that to you.

Rodgers’ legacy

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers winks at a fan before watching his side beat Aston Villa 3-2 during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers winks at a fan before watching his side beat Aston Villa 3-2 during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

So, 10 years on from his first training session, how is Rodgers viewed now by supporters?

Well, the reception he’s afforded whenever he returns with Leicester tells a story. It’s one of polite applause.

He was a decent manager boasting a 51.20 percent win ratio. That puts him above the likes of Roy Hodgson (41.94%) and Graeme Souness (42.04%) but below Roy Evans (51.77%) and Houllier (52.12%).

On reflection, you’d say that’s just about right.

Numbers, however, never tell the whole story. He came within a slip of being immortalised yet in many ways contributed to his own demise.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and assistant manager Colin Pascoe before a preseason friendly match against Brøndby IF at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and assistant manager Colin Pascoe before a preseason friendly match against Brøndby IF at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Did he get the Liverpool job too early? Perhaps. Would he be reconsidered in the future? Unlikely.

His biggest critics point to his decision to walk out on Celtic with a historic treble-treble in sight as proof his priority has been and always will be Brendan Rodgers.

In that respect, he was never right for our club.

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Mané leaves LFC a legend

LFC Globe - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 16:43

June 22nd was a bittersweet day for Liverpool supporters worldwide as legendary Senegalese striker Sadio Mané officially signed with German powerhouse FC Bayern Munich. The 3-year deal is worth a reported £27.5 million base salary, but Mané could earn as much as £35.1 million if he reaches incentives.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp did not mince words when speaking to reporters about the transfer.

“It’s a big moment. There is no point in anyone trying to pretend otherwise,” Klopp said. “One of Liverpool’s greatest-ever players is leaving and we must acknowledge how significant this is.”

Photo by SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images

There is definitely no denying the impact Mané has made during his 6-year stay at Anfield. Since coming over from in 2016, he has made 269 appearances for the Reds, scoring 120 goals across all competitions. During those 6 seasons, Mané was a central figure in Liverpool winning several major competitions including a Champions League title, and an EPL Title. He was also vital in Liverpool lifting the , the , the Super Cup, and , not to mention his exploits on the international stage for his home nation of Senegal.

Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

“He leaves with our gratitude and our love,” Klopp said. “He leaves with his status among the greats guaranteed. And yes, he leaves in a moment where he is one of the best players in world football. But we must not dwell on what we now lose, instead of celebrating what we were privileged to have. The goals he scored, the trophies he won, a legend for sure, but also a modern-day Liverpool icon.”

After the transfer was announced, Mané shared a message for Reds supporters via social media.

“Hi dear fans,” Mané said via Instagram. “It is difficult to find the right words for this. I just want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart. I am so pleased to have been a very small part of the incredible success we have had together over the past 6 years. You were always there in the good times and the bad. I will never forget this. Thank you again. You never walk alone.”

Former Liverpool teammate, Mo Salah, expressed well wishes for Mané on Instagram.

“It’s been quite a ride!” he said. “Thank you for all the good times and I wish you the best in your new adventure. You will be missed by all.”

Even though Mané will no longer be taking the pitch for the Reds, it is safe to say he is beloved by supporters and teammates alike and that his status as a Liverpool legend is secure.

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Liverpool beat Man City on eight counts to prove Jürgen Klopp still has huge Premier League edge

Liverpool.com - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 16:00

As the Premier League season nears amid an early start for the 2022/23 campaign, all eyes will be on whether Jürgen Klopp's squad has evolved enough to secure the Premier League title. It is two years to the day since Liverpool broke their league title drought, with the Reds falling cruelly short on two occasions in recent times.

The approach could be slightly different this year, after Sadio Mané headed off in search of a new challenge with Bayern Munich. Takumi Minamino looks to be on his way too, while Origi will officially depart at the end of the month upon the expiry of his contract.

READ MORE: Liverpool just got huge Jude Bellingham transfer boost as Man City help 2023 plans come together

READ MORE:Liverpool could take control of Mohamed Salah contract future with brutal Sadio Mané reminder

But FSG have made additions too, with potential record signing Darwin Núñez the headline amid deals for Calvin Ramsay and Fábio Carvalho. Probably the best number nine of Klopp's tenure, he could herald a new tactical setup. When considering the signings made so far across the Premier League, how does Liverpool's squad compare in the league's best XI?

GK: Alisson

A case could be made that Alisson is the best in the world between the sticks. The Brazilian goalkeeper has won games on his own since joining the club, and his rate of stopping one-versus-one situations has helped Liverpool stay in matches. While Édouard Mendy deserves a mention for his performances last season, Alisson is currently the best in the Premier League.

LB: Andy Robertson

Manchester City's João Cancelo provided strong competition for Robertson last year as a name for the best left-back in England's top flight, but the Scotland captain's consistency and production was unmatched by anyone in that position.

LCB: Virgil van Dijk

The best centre-back in the world. So good that rival fans are willing to wait weeks to celebrate a player finally dribbling by him.

RCB: Joël Matip

Matip is turning out to be one of the best free transfers in Liverpool's history, with the 30-year-old consistently delivering and turning the corner with his match availability last season. Some may argue a case for the likes of Rúben Dias, but the Manchester City man looked exposed at times when playing a high line last season, while Ibrahima Konaté stood out brightest in the clashes between Liverpool and the Citizens.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

The most productive right-back in the world. Trent Alexander-Arnold sets the standards for players in his position, and he will be crucial to the Reds' success in a season where he will be helping the development of Calvin Ramsay.

CDM: Fabinho

Fabinho has cemented vital importance in the spine of Klopp's team with performances that have seen him regarded as one of the best number sixes in football.

LCM: Thiago

Thiago answered every doubter he ever had in the Premier League with his performance at Anfield against Manchester United, and he is Klopp's most important piece, given that he is almost impossible to replace in the midfield three.

RCM: Kevin De Bruyne

The difference-maker in the league title race last season was Kevin De Bruyne. Liverpool's strongest options in this position will continue to be a rotation between Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta.

LW: Son Heung-min

Luis Díaz looks set to be one of the best wingers in the league next season, and there isn't too much of a gap between him and Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min. Díaz has proven that he can compete against any side — particularly relishing the big games after showing himself to be a star player in Liverpool's cup finals last season. Even so, the Spurs man edges it for now.

ST: Erling Haaland

The race for the Golden Boot next season will likely see Haaland and Harry Kane challenging the Liverpool duo of Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah. Haaland's pace and performances in the Bundesliga make him the best number nine in the league, though whether or not he can adapt to Manchester City's style without disrupting them is another question.

Of course, given that Pep Guardiola's side dominate the vast majority of their games, the Norway international will be given plenty of service, but his reputation as the best number nine could fade if Núñez makes a fast start to life at Anfield.

RW: Mohamed Salah

Salah has led the way in world football from the right flank in recent seasons, and it will be a matter of whether he can maintain form amid current contract negotiation distractions. With Núñez a focal point in the box next season, many of Salah's goals could come from his typical cut inside and left-foot finish, though that technique did seem to have faltered last season from the standards witnessed earlier on in his Liverpool career.

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Referee chief Mike Riley to depart in huge shakeup for Premier League

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 14:51

The Premier League‘s head of referees Mike Riley has stepped down from his position after reports of a number of top-flight clubs criticising his performance.

At the beginning of June, the Telegraph‘s Sam Wallace revealed that Premier League clubs were “pushing for change” in the refereeing setup after “too many mistakes.”

This included the introduction and use of VAR in the English top flight, while the overcomplication of rules and a perceived lack of accountability among referees are clear issues, too.

Now, Riley has vacated his role as general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), as confirmed by BBC Sport.

The 53-year-old said: “Now is the right time to plan for the future and allow the new leadership team to build on the strong foundations that we have in place.”

That new-look leadership group is expected to include Howard Webb, the former referee who is currently general manager of the Professional Referee Organization in the United States.

According to the Mail, the PGMOL are now “aiming to appoint a chief refereeing officer, in charge of developing match officials, and a chief operating officer, who will manage the organisation.”

Riley’s exit comes following the retirement of four of the most experienced and high-profile referees in England.

Mike Dean, Martin Atkinson, Jon Moss and, most recently, Kevin Friend, have all confirmed they will be vacating their jobs, though most are in line for positions within the PGMOL.

The departure of Riley could be considered a step forward for refereeing in England, with the state of officials at the highest level certainly questionable in recent years.

Whether it prompts major change, however – at least for the better – remains to be seen.

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