Posted in Football, premier league

Is this the most underappreciated Liverpool side ever?

18 games unbeaten- the club’s longest streak without tasting defeat in over a decade, into the last sixteen of the Champions League and emphatically ending Manchester City’s domestic dominance by halting their 30 game unbeaten run in supreme fashion- it’s a good time to be a Reds supporter.

Not so long ago, the talk of the town was that Liverpool were amidst a crisis, having been on the receiving end of two humbling humiliations at the hands of Man City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The feel-good factor is back at Anfield, though, with brighter days seemingly on the horizon.

Having said that, there has been a dark cloud hanging over Anfield, as The ‘Fab Four’ lost arguably its star member, though, the now thunderous three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were able to fill the void of Coutinho effectively.

Beating the champions-elect without the samba star and the world’s most expensive defender, Virgil van Dijk, is no walk in the park and is testament to the Reds’ ruthlessness .

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are often the team to thrive in a baptism of fire , play how no other side would dare to, and defy the odds. A Sunday night under the lights at Anfield against the league leaders had all the makings of a fine contest.

Pep Guardiola’s men were put to the sword by Liverpool; beaten at their own game.

The Reds simply did what no other side imagined was possible.

Championship duo Wolves and Bristol City are the only other sides to give their all in order to thwart the Citizens, but Klopp’s troops were the ones who rallied together to execute the masterplan to overthrow Guardiola’s gladiators.

Relentless gegenpressing forced City into committing numerous errors, which they ordinarily wouldn’t make. ‘ The invincibles’  were being made to look anything but that, as Mohamed Salah slammed home from distance to make it 4-1 in the 68th minute. Aside from a lapse in concentration as proceedings drew to a close, this was a performance of the highest calibre from Liverpool.

Yet there are still many who doubt both Klopp as a manager and Liverpool as a team.

But why?

The defence is still an issue, yes, but it has certainly improved and the acquisition of Van Dijk exemplifies the problem has been recognised and is well on its way to a state of solidity.

People will point to games that the Reds have failed to win, such as home games to West Brom, Burnley and Everton, where they dominated for the majority but failed to find a breakthrough. This, however, has not defined Liverpool’s season and since the 4-1 debacle against Tottenham in October, Klopp’s men have turned a corner.

This was a defining moment.

At times, the personnel that Liverpool operate with have been criticised. Roberto Firmino is allegedly not a striker who will net 20 goals a season, despite the fact he currently has 17 to his name and we’re only in January.

The Brazilian contributes so much more to the team than what meets the eye, but it is merely acknowledged and his efforts go unnoticed for the most part. Firmino is a work-horse, a key player who drives the Liverpool press and contributes his fair share of goals too. It is a rare occurrence to even hear the former Hoffenheim man’s name mentioned when discussing the best forwards in the league.

Scorer of Liverpool’s first goal on Sunday, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain is another player who has been significantly overlooked; even before he first put on the famous Red shirt. His £35 million fee was laughed at and ridiculed, though, it seems unlikely that these doubts still remain. Admittedly, Chamberlain took perhaps a little longer than expected to hit the ground running, but now it seems as if he’s destined for greatness.

If you cast your minds back to this time last year, that’s enough in itself to demonstrate how far this Liverpool side has come in such a short space of time.

The Reds were eliminated from both the FA Cup and EFL Cup by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton respectively , beaten at Anfield by Swansea City for the first time ever, and ended January without victory, with the exception of an unimpressive third round FA Cup replay win at  League Two Plymouth Argyle.

There have been no New Year woes this campaign, though, as Liverpool have upped the ante and taken no prisoners. The shackles have been removed and there is no holding back the rampant Reds now.

Part of the reason for the resurgence this year  is due to the improved squad depth that Klopp has at his disposal. Each signing since last year has added undoubted quality and  a new dimension to the side. Gone are the days of looking aimlessly to the bench in the slight hope that they would bring about a change in fortunes.

Nobody could have possibility imagined that Salah would be such an unprecedented success, or even that Andrew Robertson would enjoy such a sharp rise to prominence. The flying Scotsman has enjoyed a  dazzling start to life in L4 in recent weeks; his tenacious attitude certainly fits the bill with Klopp.

The strength in depth in this Liverpool side is as impressive as any in the past decade.

The 2013/14 campaign was the closest the side has come to reaching the holy grail of English football in recent years, as Brendan Rodgers’ men fought to the hilt, only to fall at the final hurdle. However, this current side have one more point now than the breathtaking ‘SAS’ infused side had at the same stage after 23 matches played.

Not only does the current points tally beat 2013/14, but 47 points is also the second highest total the Reds have possessed in the past ten seasons  and is just shy of the best figure reached in the 2008/09 campaign(48).

Of course, there are differences between the sides in year’s gone by. Roberto Firmino is no Luis Suarez and no midfielder will ever live up to the heights that Steven Gerrard reached, but a new era is being witnessed; an era filled with great expectations but endless possibilities.

There have been various misconceptions about this Liverpool side, but the biggest of all has been people’s inability to recognise the quality that runs deep within this team.

Klopp’s Anfield tenure has been a work in progress, however, the job was never going to be a quick fix.  His authority and decision- making has been disputed on various occasions, but the German who still firmly holds his Liverpool blueprint plan may be on the cusp of greatness.

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, premier league, Uncategorized

Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal:  Ruthless Reds Remind Wenger Of His Spineless Squad

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool blew Arsenal away, as the German’s ‘ heavy metal football’ dumbfounded and dismantled a lacklustre Arsene Wenger side.

Liverpool fans basked in glory as they arose to applaud their sides mesmeric performance, on a warm summers afternoon at Anfield. Conversely, Arsenal fans headed early for the exit doors as they had endured more than enough horror for one day, in what was a game that brought back many familiar feelings for the travelling supporters.

Want-away forward Alexis Sanchez made his first appearance of the season for the Gunners, but there was no place for fellow South American, Philippe Coutinho, who is also trying to engineer a move away from Merseyside to Barcelona.

There was a shock selection in the form of Loris Karius in goal for the Reds, in place of Simon Mignolet, with no real reason as to why the Belgian was randomly dropped emerging. Although, Karius had very little to do all afternoon.

If ever there was such a thing as a one sided game, this was it.

From the get go, Klopp’s side were emphatic. The attacking trident of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane proved all too much for a broken backline of Arsenal.

The scoring was opened by Roberto Firmino, who nodded home 17 minutes in.

Youngster, Joe Gomez, floated a ball into the box, where the Brazilian forward was on hand to convert.  His downward header generated enough power to bounce upwards and out of the reach of Petr Cech in goal.

Moments Later, Jordan Henderson scuppered a chance which would have made it 2-0. His one on one effort dragged wide of the post, though.  This came shortly after a glaring opportunity for Salah to fire home.

Five minutes before half time the inevitable second arrived.  Star man, Sadio Mane, curled in a superb effort.

On his Premier League debut last year for Liverpool in a 4-3 win at the Emirates, he carved apart the Arsenal defence; today was no different.

Jetting down the left hand flank, the Senegalese international left Rob Holding for dead, cut inside onto his favoured right foot and fired into the right hand corner.

Wenger’s side barely mustered any real effort at goal, and were spectators for the entirety of the game- allowing the Reds to walk all over them.

They finally had a chance to  create a good opportunity when they won a corner ten minutes into the second half,  which also allowed them to target and exploit Liverpool’s biggest weakness; set pieces, as they’ve shown countless times how they struggle to defend from these situations.

However, the resulting corner led to a goal for the home side, something which summed up Arsenal’s day perfectly.

As the ball bounced out of the box and towards  Hector Bellerin, Salah pounced, and sprinted the length of the pitch where he then finished expertly.

Bellerin and Francis Coquelin charged back frantically, but could only watch on as the Egyptian bagged his second Premier League goal for the Reds.

A despondent Alexis Sanchez slumped to the ground in despair.  There was to be further misery for his side.

In an attempt to try and salvage at least one goal back, Wenger deployed strikers Olivier Giroud and record signing Alexandre Lacazette. Liverpool also brought on a striker of their own, in Daniel Sturridge.

It didn’t take long for one of these substitutions to make their mark on the game. After three minutes of entering the pitch Sturridge made it 4-0 to Liverpool.

An inch perfect, arrowing cross on the left wing from Salah flew straight into the path of Sturridge, who was poised and ready to capitalise.

He bundled in from close range in what was their second headed goal of the day, as well as Sturridge’s 100th career goal in football.

It was a day of almighty lows for the Gunners, but as they stared in the face of adversity, there was an air of familiarity to it which only made matters worse.

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal ( X2)

Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal

And now : Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal.

Fans of the club have somewhat become accustomed to heavy margin defeats, where there has been a major gulf in class between Arsenal and their opposition.

As soon as the team concedes one their heads drop, and they never recover.

There was not one point in the match where Arsene Wenger’s men looked threatening, but most worryingly of all- the players didn’t even seem bothered by the carnage that was unfolding around them.

The North London side had 0 attempts on target all match- a frightening statistic.

Wenger himself, has come under plenty of criticism of late, with plenty calling for him to leave the club. But, what about the players who showed no desire, hunger, or passion?

Arsenal’s midfield three of Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, and Mesut Ozil were diabolical throughout, Ozil in particular.

Things were that bad that when the German was in possession of the ball, it came as a surprise that he was still playing.

There is no leadership or team spirit in a side that were once the ‘Invincibles’ of the league. One things for sure, they are anything but that now.

The Reds, on the other hand, were spectacular.

Going forward, there aren’t many better in the league. The blistering pace of Salah and Mane is proving too much for defenders already. Firmino has also taken well to his new, more advanced role.

The midfield was another flawless department. Georginio Wijnaldum had the best game in his Liverpool tenure- making Xhaka amongst others fall to the ground hopelessly in an attempt to take the ball off him, as he brushed them aside as if they weren’t even there. Likewise, Emre Can was remarkable- his power and bundles of energy were instrumental.

Liverpool proved there is life after Philippe Coutinho as they waltzed to a comfortable win without him, which would have been even greater had it not been for Cech in goal, who thwarted Salah amongst others on numerous occasions.

For Liverpool, it’s just more of the same going forward. For Arsenal, it’s more of a how can we go forward from this?

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, Uncategorized

Dominic Solanke: Part To Play This Season? 

There may be a lot more to be seen of Dominic Solanke for Liverpool, than people may have first envisaged.

The 19-year-old English striker who moved from Chelsea in July for a reported £3 million, has hit the ground running and looks to be a clinical finisher.

In pre season he has scored three times in eight games, as well as playing his hand in two goals, a fairly respectable return for someone so young.

His power and physique make him effective both charging though on goal and aerially .

His first goal for the Reds was a low driven effort, which sailed into the bottom left corner against Crystal Palace in the Premier League Asia Trophy- which Liverpool went on to win.

His second came in the form of a towering header against Wigan. Likewise, his third was engineered in the air, as he nodded past Athletico Bilbao’s keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, in Jürgen Klopp’s side 3-1 win at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland.

One man these promising performances  spells trouble for is Divock Origi.

The young Belgian striker has struggled for form lately and looks somewhat rusty in front of goal.

Last season, with Daniel Sturridge ruled out through injury, and setbacks in midfield prominent, Origi was given a run of games to show his ability.

He went on a streak of scoring in four consecutive  league matches, but struggled to maintain this.
He then couldn’t find his shooting boots, as he then went ten games without a goal and found it challenging to sustain good form.

He became very inconsistent.

With Daniel Sturridge being a very unpredictable player in regards to injuries, Solanke may be called upon to deliver the goods.

Sturridge looked set to be back to his best recently, after battling injuries which have blighted his Liverpool career.

But, after scoring against Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup semi final in pre season, he injured himself yet again.

It is hard to predict how frequently he will appear in a Red shirt this season due to the randomness of his reoccurring troubles.

If Sturridge is out injured for a lengthy time, as he has been for the last couple of seasons, Liverpool don’t really have any other out and out striker; other than Origi and Solanke.

The only other alternative being Danny Ings, who too has had awful injury issues since his arrival from Burnley two years ago and thus has barely featured.

Origi, like Solanke is still young, but the new man seems to have an old head on young shoulders- his maturity on the pitch, seemingly impressive.

The Reds do not tend to play with an actual striker under Klopp, with Roberto Firmino preferred as the false nine. Should Liverpool choose to play a striker, he looks to be more suitable than Origi.

Solanke recently won the World Cup with the England Under 20’s side, as well as collecting the Golden Ball award, which is presented to the best player in the tournament.

Players who have won this previously, include: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Paul Pogba.

These two accolades exemplify he can be a lot more than just a bench player and also conveys how lucky Liverpool are and conversely, how foolish Chelsea were to dispose of him.

The young Englishman won Chelsea academy player of the year 2014/15 as well as England Youth Player of The Year 2015.

He has enjoyed great success with a team that has been the most successful of its kind in the last few years- with Chelseas youngsters winning numerous titles.

The Chelsea team he was the figurehead in, won back to back FA Youth Cups in 2013/14 and 2014/15 and were victorious in the UEFA Youth League (2014/15).

His goal scoring numbers at youth level speak for themselves.

In the 2013/14 season, he scored 20 goals in 25 games for Chelsea Under 18’s. The following season, he netted a stupendous 41 times.

He also had a spell at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland,  (2015/16 campaign) a club Chelsea ship players on loan to frequently.

Adapting well to a league many English players may struggle in, a key indicator of the talent bursting out of Solanke, with most youth players finding their way with teams in the lower divisions of English football.

Solanke ended the season with 7 goals in 25 appearances, just three behind the top scorer.

This daring year away, shows he is up to challenges and is willing to work hard to play- as he took a leap of faith to a unknown league, which is something Klopp probably saw in him.

Although he may not play much in the league, I believe that starts in competitions such as the FA and Carabao cup should be imperative. He has the ability to fire Liverpool to the latter stages.

What is admirable about the Reds is that in a transfer market of madness, where everyone is now worth £40 million plus, where you have to spend big if you want to compete- Klopp has opted for young, homegrown talent.

This is something that has become a rarity in the game, with an influx of foreign players gracing the Premier League each season.

Klopp has put his trust in a player who isn’t a big name, but doesn’t need to be, just because he doesn’t have a huge price tag slapped on him, it still makes it a fantastic acquisition.

As he still has age on his side, the striker will continue to develop and morph into an even stronger player.

But, the early signs are exciting for Liverpool and it looks to be a piece of shrewd business by Klopp.

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, Uncategorized

Neymar’s Record Move : The Right Decision?

Neymar has joined Paris Saint Germain in a word record £198 million move.

This astronomical fee has obliterated the current highest fee, which was Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester United of £89 million, by over £100 million.

The Brazilian has left the Nou Camp after four years , where he scored 110 goals and grabbed 69 assists.

It’s reported that he will be receiving a weekly wage of near to £600,000.

There are a few oddities about this transfer in my view:

1. Leaving Barcelona alone: 

The fact the Brazilian international is fleeing one of the greatest teams you can ever play for, to join PSG, by no means a poor side, but neither a side of the same class and heritage as the Catalan outfit is puzzling.  Gary Linekar recently tweeted about the record move and summed it up perfectly ” oh Neymar, any move from Barcelona is a step in the wrong direction”.

Neymar is leaving behind Messi and Suarez to team up with Edison Cavani and Lucas Moura- in anyone’s eyes; this is a major downgrade. At a time where he is at the peak of his powers, it begs the question of why you would risk it all and move to a league of a lower quality and into the unknown?

2. Trophies: 

Having won eight trophies in his four years at Barca, it’s evident that his time has been greatly successful. If it’s trophies he is leaving for, it remains a mystery as to why the French side would better his chances of this,given the fact in the past five seasons, Barca have won:  La Liga three times, three Copa del Reyes, two Spanish Supercups, one UEFA Supercup,  a FIFA Club World Cup and a Champions League for good measure.

Ligue 1 is not fiercely competitive, therefore PSG are usually favourites for the league, but can Neymar really win the Champions League at the Parc de Princes?

3. MSN : 

Neymar was a prominent figure of the deadly ‘MSN’ trident, of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.

A front three that terrorised defences in their four year history.

His move poses questions as to whether NCL ( Neymar, Cavani, Lucas) will be as successful; with the answer to that being pretty straight forward. Why would you sacrifice that connection you had created over four years for something that does not even compare?

Neymar is surrounding himself with weaker players, which is likely to make life more difficult for the Brazilian. Combined, the attacking trident netted 250 times in 299 games in all competitions, as well as collecting 116 assists amongst them. Neymar contributed 59 goals and 30 assists in his 97 games played.

4. Shining star: 

It’s alleged that one of the main reasons for the switch to Les Parisians is to enable the 25 year old to escape from Messi’s shadow.

The Argentine of course, is Barcelona’s all time greatest player and many put forward the case that he’s the best we’ve ever seen. I think it’s fair to say this took its toll on Neymar, a player who has adored being the player whose name is herrolded in the terraces.

At previous club Santos, he was the star figure, at an early age he was catching all the headlines, which saw him make the switch to Catalonia aged 21.

To begin with, these were his idols that he was playing with; Neymar described in a video he made talking about leaving the Nou Camp. But as time progressed, it is quite feasible that Neymar became tiresome of the great Lionel robbing him of all his glory; be it through individual awards, or even through the fans affection for the forward.

It’s reported that the mesmerising 6-1 victory over PSG, ironically, was the game where Neymar threw the towel in. He put in a man of the match display, scoring two and setting up the historic wining goal for Sergi Roberto, to send Barca through to the quarter finals of last seasons Champions league – but, it was Messi who grabbed the ‘hero’ status for the remarkable turnaround- despite doing less.

Neymar has also been the figurehead for the Brazil national team since he announced his name on the big stage. The 2014 World Cup in his country was seen as the chance for the youngster to bring home international glory- he could not carry the weight of a country’s expectations on his broad shoulders however; as Brazil were sent packing; courtesy of a 7-1 hammering by Germany in the semi finals.

So, It’s interesting that he wants to again be the centre of attention, having struggled to transform Brazil. Perhaps he wants to prove people wrong and show he is capable of leading the way.

5. Ballon D’or :

Neymar himself, has made his desire to win the Ballon D’or no secret to the world- it has proved quite a challenging task however. This is because he has been up against two of the best footballers of all time for the last 4 years, two players who show no signs of slowing down anytime soon and ending their inhuman goal scoring talents.

It seems highly unlikely that anyone else will get their hands on Europe’s top prize whilst Ronaldo and Messi are still playing.

The Brazilian has seen PSG as an escape route, presenting him with the chance to elevate his game to the next level. Playing alongside Messi and Suarez has been brilliant for his development, but he now wants to grab the limelight and become the ‘Greatest’.

It seems that the only way he thinks this is possible is to play in a team where he can again be the key man and carry the team; allowing him to bag all the goals and assists.

But, how many players have we seen win the Ballon D’or that have been playing in the French league? No matter what he achieves there, this move has seriously deprived his chances of this illustrious trophy; simply due to the quality of the league and what can be achieved there.

6. Money : 

The ludicrous sums of money that are involved in the transfer have become the norm in the game now- but these figures have taken money to a new level of obscenity.

It’s reported that Neymar will earn:
Year: £30,992,000

Month: £2,384,000

Week: £596,000

Day: £85,142

Hour: £3,547

Minute: £59
Many people are questioning Neymar’s morals – and claiming money is the only reason he is leaving. Will the never ending supplies of cash go to his head and affect his performance on the pitch?

 Why the move makes sense: 

1. Brazilian connection: 

Neymar will join four of his other Brazilian team mates in : Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura, and Dani Alves; who he played alongside at Barcelona . This is likely to ease the settling in side of things which could see him kickstart his career in the French capital effectively. As he’s also played with them for the national side, they will have good chemistry and understanding of each other which will work to his strengths.

2. Messi :

Although I believe ‘ MSN’ was the perfect attacking threesome and he is foolish to dispose of this, at 25 years old he is just reaching the optimum point for growth in his glittering career. He has seen the writings on the wall, and recognises that Messi will always be the king of Catalonia for as long as he’s alive, even after he retires.

Trying to out do him is an impossible task. I think Neymar realised this, and thus took a leap of faith to join a team where he can be “the man”. This transfer has presented him with this opportunity.

3. New Challenge: 

Having won everything there is to win at Barca, Neymar felt like he was ready for a new opening. He understands that PSG is not the same team, and his chances of winning as much are restricted- but this is what he has said he is craving, “a new challenge”- to stimulate him to be hungry for success.

The move will be life changing for him and will certainly test his abilities in the highest way possible. Can he rise up to this, though?

To Conclude: 

This transfer comes across as step backwards in terms of his footballing career.

If his reason for switching allegiances is to emulate Messi and Ronaldo, which it appears as he described his situation as “needing a new challenge”- in order to take him to the next level- it could prove strenuous.

He felt like he had achieved everything possible at Barca, so as a human; needed to present himself with new goals to remain hungry for success. PSG are capable of winning trophies, but not in the same manner as Barcelona.

He won’t be surrounded by the same quality of players, will have to adjust to the league, adapt his playing style, and attempt to be the driving force in the side.

Barcelona’s famous mantra  ” Mes que un club” – more than just a club, shines through. They only want players who are committed to the cause, who feel a bond with the ‘Boixos Nois’- the Barcelona fans who run the show in the stands, through non stop chanting,  who know and love the Barca way of playing- elegant but deadly, will not be fazed by this.

They appear to have put him behind them, as they prepare to fill the void of the tricky. winger. Barca have been linked with the likes of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala, Borussia Dortmund’s; Ousmane Dembele and  Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho as potential suitors for the role.

It is a “challenge” that Neymar has asked for, however I believe he may have got himself in for something much more than that.


Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, premier league

5 Reasons Why Mohamed Salah Will Be A Success At Liverpool.

Yesterday afternoon, Liverpool announced the  reported £34.3 million signing of Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian winger has been a heavily sought after player for the Reds and has been a transfer on the cards since 2013.

In 2014, Liverpool tabled a bid for Salah, however Chelsea swooped in to scupper any potential transfer to Anfield.

Three years on, and the Reds finally have their man. Here are five reasons why he will prove to be a terrific acquisition:

1. Experience :

When the Reds first tried to lure the Egyptian to Merseyside, he was only 21 years old. In a way, this transfer collapse may have worked out well in the long run. This is because, Salah has since gone on to play for Chelsea, Fiorentina, and Roma.

In doing this, he has undoubtedly become a more well-rounded player, which is what Liverpool need; someone with experience and can deliver when needed.

In recent times, the club have created a habit of purchasing  young players for the future, this is an exception- with Salah most certainly being a purchase ready to be deployed into action, now.

He also has Champions League experience, something Liverpool will require for the upcoming campaign.

2. Squad Depth :

As Liverpool reached the grueling winter fixtures last season, with key players injured, as well as Sadio Mane jetting off to the African Cup of Nations, it was clear that there was a lack of quality options in the side.

Mane was the player leading the Reds’ attack, causing havoc each time he set off down the wings. However, as soon as he departed for the month of January, Liverpool came crashing down from the upper echelons of the league.

The team were unable to play the same dynamic and deadly football that they were previously playing.

But, adding players such as Salah who are highly skilled, like Mane, will only bolster attacking options if the team is blighted by injuries, or when squad rotation is surplus to requirements.

Although it is highly unlikely that Salah will be a sporadic team player, it still adds a touch of solidity to the side that was left exposed when key figures were out of the side.

3. Attacking Force :

In his two seasons with Roma, Salah scored 34 league goals, as well as providing 24 assists. He is a lethal player, with pace in abundance.

The Reds already formed a formidable attacking trio in Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Philippe Coutinho last season, and the addition of Salah simply increases the level of talent to a new level.

Reds fans have been salivating at the prospect of having the pace of Mane and Salah on the wings next season- a duo that would be enough to frighten the life out of any Premier League defence.

4. Versatility :

Salah himself, has stated that he is comfortable to play wherever he is needed, whether that is left-wing or right wing. Of course, it was Mane who occupied the right sided position for the Reds last season, which is also the preferred place of Salah.

This could mean that Salah will switch to the left hand side, leaving Mane on the opposite flank.

No matter where he plays,  it is probable that the Egyptian will still cause danger. But, it is a great advantage to have a player like this, who is adjustable to whatever will work best for the team.  It also means that if Mane is injured at some stage, Salah can then switch back to the right, or vice versa.

5. Point To Prove:

Having sealed the deal to Chelsea back in 2014 for £12 million, this was the start of a new beginning for Salah, however things did not pan out in the way he may have envisaged.

The  forward made just 13 Premier League appearances in two seasons at the club, in what was a disappointing and underwhelming move.

Salah’s game time was severely limited by manager, Jose Mourinho, who was said to be the reason for Salah picking Chelsea over Liverpool in the 2013 transfer saga, when he was still at Swiss club, Basel.

Liverpool failed to match Chelsea’s offer, but Salah exclusively  revealed that Mourinho was the overriding factor as to why he switched and didn’t hold out for another offer from Brendan Rodgers.

Midway through his second season at Stamford Bridge, he was loaned out to Serie A otufit, Fiorentina, and would not return back to London.

Salah himself, has issued a warning to Chelsea that he is back,  and hoping to pick up on unfinished business in the Premier League.

He said :

“Yes, always [I have a point to prove]. Even if I see myself playing very well in one thing, I try to improve to do it better and better. I always think about the small details because I need to improve more and more.

‘I was here [in England] and I have experience. I like to play here in the Premier League. I’m happy to be back and I’m excited.”


Tom Cavilla.

Posted in England, Football, premier league

Trent Alexander-Arnold: Can The Youngster Become Liverpool’s First Choice Right Back?

After an impressive breakthrough season, could Trent Alexander Arnold challenge Nathaniel Clyne for the right back position next campaign?

Trent, who has come through Liverpool’s academy and has been at the club since 2004, was born in West Derby, Liverpool, home of the Reds’ training ground, Melwood. He has impressed in the cameo appearances made this year.

At such a tender age of 18, he has excess potential. His age is somewhat surprising, given the maturity of his performances for the Reds.

His first team debut came in the EFL Cup fourth round clash against Spurs in October.

Following this, Trent played in the next EFL Cup match, which was a quarter final tie against Leeds.

The youngster grabbed his first assist for the club, setting up Divock Origi for the opening goal of the evening, as well as earning himself the man of the match award for a faultless game.

His Premier League debut shortly followed this, as things just kept progressing for the local lad. This came in a 3-0 over Middlesbrough in December, and saw Trent come on towards the latter stages of the game.

This wouldn’t compare to his first full league start though.

Up until this point, it had been fairly routine for the academy player, but this was monumentally transformed as he was presented a first full league start, away to bitter rivals, Manchester United.

With injuries eating away at his side, Klopp had to take a leap of faith and trust the 18 year old to deliver.

Deliver, he did.

A 1-1 draw the end outcome did not reflect the true result. Liverpool were almightily unlucky not to come away with all three points. It ended honours even, with a sense of disappointment lingering. This feeling of ‘we maybe could have done more’ was not applicable to Trent, however.

He was thrown into the deep end, but he did not drown amidst the pressure, instead; rising to the challenge set upon him. He tamed the Manchester United attack for the most part of the game, only for the home side to score late on and put a damper on things. Nonetheless, it was still a terrific full debut.

Despite playing for the first team- making seven league appearances, Trent mainly featured for the Under 23’s side, where he played brilliantly.

In the final game of the season, he scored a splendid outside of the foot goal in what was a finish any striker would be proud of. This came against rivals, Everton, a team he also faced up against for the first team, he entered the fray late on in Liverpool’s comfortable 3-1 win back in April.

Whenever he has played for the first team, whether it be starting or coming on from off the bench, he has shown how talented he is. His standard of crossing is impressive for such a youthful player. Any opportunity presented by Jürgen Klopp, he has grabbed with both hands.

It’s clear he also possesses hunger and desire. In a recent exclusive interview, Trent described how he wouldn’t be satisfied with himself until he captains the Reds. This is a real statement of intent,  bold and ambitious words for a player who looks destined for the big time.

But can he push Clyne out of the side? 

Clyne himself, has even realised the talent of Trent and is evidently wary of his position:

“He’s such a young lad and he’s full of confidence, you can see on the pitch that nothing fazes him. You can see he’s definitely talented and he’s got a real bright future ahead of him”

Clyne has been one of the Reds’ most consistent performers since his arrival at the start of the 2015/16 season.

His pace up and down the flanks, critical, and defensive duties; equally as imperative to the side.

The former Southampton man’s biggest danger for opposition teams is his ability to get forward and join the attack. His downfall however, can be his level of defending at times- finding himself astray from the blistering attacks of opponents due to his advanced positioning, which sees him surge forward habitually.

Although Clyne has more experience to go by,  Klopp may test out Trent on a more regular basis next season. This may just be what the former Southampton player needs; competition.

Having had no one to challenge him for the role, he may step up his game in order to secure his name in the staring eleven.

Trent has also shown that full back is not the only area he can occupy. He has played in the centre of midfield for the Under 23’s, on a number of occasions- could this be a potential avenue to explore?

The Reds look set for a prosperous future with the talent rising through the ranks, Trent is undoubtedly one of those who could go on to achieve great things at the club.

Only time will tell.

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, premier league

James Milner: Unsung Hero- Will He Remain In Klopp’s Plans?

Mr Versatile, James Milner, has proven his worth for the Reds this season on numerous occasions, but does he receive the credit he truly deserves?

Milner, who has been at the Reds for almost two years, was initially brought to the club to fill the void of  club legend, Steven Gerrard ; in the centre of midfield.

However, this role was altered in an unorthodox manner, with the former Man City player transferring to a left back role.

This change took effect back in August last year, as it became evident that Alberto Moreno was not in Jürgen Klopp’s plans, ceasing to be the preferred left back candidate.

At all his previous clubs, Milner has always played in midfield, whether it be in the middle of the park or the flanks. This change to defence was quite surprising, especially given he hadn’t played at full back prior to this.

He has taken to this role superbly, however, looking equally at home in defence.

Despite a downfall for the Englishman being his lack of pace, he certainly makes up for this with his relentless effort and energy, vigorous pressing , as well as his excellent delivery; crossing wise.

Milner has exemplified just how much of a jack of all trades he really is.

His regressive move to the back line hasn’t stopped him contributing goals to the team either. The vice captain of the club has bagged seven goals this campaign (16/17) with  six coming from the penalty spot. Not to mention his four assists.

He has stepped up to the plate whenever needed most, the only time he failed to convert a spot kick was against Southampton at home in a 0-0 draw.

The Saints’ unsaintly distraction tactics appeared to rub off on Milner as he ran up nervously to take the penalty and consequently missed- which was very out of character.

This was Milner’s first spot kick miss since joining the Reds in 2015,  and ended his 100% penalty conversion rate; which stood at ten penalties scored from ten attempts.

Whilst certain players’ enthusiasm and desire is questionable at certain times, that is not the case with Milner. His work ethic is extremely refreshing to watch and he is not one to moan or dispute decisions made by Klopp, illustrated by his willingness to switch to left back without any questions asked.

Although Milner has carried out a fine job in his new role, will there be room for him next season?

Liverpool’s intention to recruit an actual left back has become evident, pursuing the likes of Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand, and Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy.

But what does this mean for Milner?

The Reds’ jam packed midfield which contains: Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Lucas, leaves little room for the workaholic, Milner. This is compounded by the fact that summer signings in midfield are also very probable- limiting his chances even further.

As vice captain, it is clear he possesses valuable traits which benefit the team, but it proves challenging to determine who would be removed from the squad to cater for his relocation in the heart of the side.

Will he take up more of a sporadic role? Or will he be left on the bench frequently, with the potential to come on and change the game?

Depriving Milner of minutes next season could potentially spell the end of his Liverpool career, as he may wish to play a more instrumental role elsewhere.

The Reds would be very foolish to dispose of a player of Milner’s calibre, Klopp must find a way of squeezing him into his plans, because it is clear; he still has plenty to offer.

Tom Cavilla.