Naby Keita - The Two in One Midfielder

Naby Keita - The Two in One Midfielder

In the summer of 2012, Brendan Rodgers brought a player to Liverpool who remains the signing that has excited me the most in recent years when first announced. It was only a loan signing, but when Nuri Sahin arrived at Anfield, I was beside myself with joy. Here finally was the player in central midfield Liverpool had been crying out for since Xabi Alonso left. The three interim years had seen barren service for the players further up field. In …
Do I Trust My Eyes or Stats When Assessing a Football Player?

Do I Trust My Eyes or Stats When Assessing a Football Player?

Towards the end of last season, I came across the CIES Football Observatory’s rankings of the best players from the top 5 leagues in Europe. Dejan Lovren was rated the ninth-best centre-back in Europe, only behind Nicolas Otamendi in the Premier League. I wasn’t too far from putting my head through a wall when I read that. Similarly, Manchester City fans would have been bemused to see Otamendi at fourth in the list. I could see how Lovren made the …
Liverpool Will Chart New Course With £150m Spending Spree

Liverpool Will Chart New Course With £150m Spending Spree

In my last piece, I made a case for Liverpool Football Club’s American owner, Fenway Sports Group (FSG). I believe that they’ve been good, solid owners who have taken a long-term view towards the revival of this proud, once hugely successful club. A lot of people underestimate just how precariously close the club was to going under when they took over in 2010. In Spain, they talk about how Barcelona and Real Madrid do not worry about carrying the huge …
The Verdict on FSG as Liverpool Owners

The Verdict on FSG as Liverpool Owners

So, it is finally over. The wait for Liverpool’s ‘first’ signing in the transfer season. The recruitment of Mohamed Salah has been announced. I say first given the underwhelming response to Dominic Solanke’s impending arrival from Chelsea for a fee that could be only £3 million. In the latest annual report, the directors at the club stressed on the four key elements of the club’s strategy. The first one is to improve football performance through a positive playing style and …
Arsene Wenger in and as The Count of Monte Cristo

Arsene Wenger in and as The Count of Monte Cristo

On May 26th, Arsene Wenger bared his soul to the world. “I believe there's a difference between being criticized and being treated in a way that human beings don't deserve. The lack of respect from some has been a disgrace and I will never accept that. I will never forget it. The behavior of some people during the season, that is what hurts me most.” For a person who had spoken a couple of years back of having learnt to …
The Next Step in the Jurgen Klopp Project at Liverpool

The Next Step in the Jurgen Klopp Project at Liverpool

In his first press conference as Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp mentioned that history wasn’t something that one carries in their backpack, when asked about the long title drought at the club. His comment suggested that he wasn’t going to be weighed down by the expectations at Liverpool, but was however quick to add that he did not want to wait another 20 years. What made me do a double take was what followed. “If we sit here in four years …
Daniel Sturridge - The Nearly Man at the Nearly Club

Daniel Sturridge - The Nearly Man at the Nearly Club

There was once a player named Daniel Sturridge. Three years ago, he was one half of an SAS strike force with Luis Suarez at Liverpool FC. The British Special Forces reference, coined by the British media during the 2013-14 season, was well earned. Suarez and Sturridge terrorized countless defenses, successfully bombarding opposition goalmouths time and again that season. The team scored more than a 100 goals in the league, and he ended a bitter sweet season as a runner up, …
Liverpool's Lovren-Sized Problems

Liverpool's Lovren-Sized Problems

In the aftermath of Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield, Sam Allardyce spoke about exposing their opponent’s weaknesses “time and time again”. He went on to elaborate on what those weaknesses were as if he were a college professor introducing a new concept to students, while the reality was that his audience had been aware of it since pre-school. Liverpool have a problem with crosses and set pieces, and the whole world knows about it. The stats bear …
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