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.

IMG_20170623_125804

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.

cms-image-000044155.jpg

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.

JS118858356_Rex-Features_Liverpool-v-Southampton-EFL-Cup-Anfield-Liverpool-UK-25-Jan-2017-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqqVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8

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.

19429856_1621130581252278_7378277321472535937_n.jpg

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.

CHEARSsalah_3105423.jpg

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?

Liverpools-Trent-Alexander-Arnold

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.

ad_227550907

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.

taa

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.

JS119011079.jpg

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? 

Nathaniel-Clyne-699549.jpg

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

“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?

james-milner-liverpool-football_3793915

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.

Liverpools-James-Milner-in-action-with-Chelseas-NGolo-Kante

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.

655233224-manchester-city-v-liverpool-premier-league_jpg.jpg

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.

Posted in Football, premier league

Why Liverpool Must Keep Hold Of Emre Can

With just a year remaining on his contract and no real sign of progression in contract talks, Liverpool must tie Emre Can to a new deal, now.

The powerful German midfielder has been a key asset to the Reds’ midfield this season and it’s imperative they don’t lose him.

At just 23, he still has bags of potential, despite already showing his array of qualities. To sell him would be a catastrophic error considering the fact that he is likely to only improve as time advances.

Can has scored five league goals this campaign just gone, with his goal against Watford winning the goal of the season award, in what was a sublime piece of skill.

Emre-Can-goal-vs-Watford.jpg

After being subject to mass criticism in the first few months of the season, Can proved the doubters wrong and was instrumental for the side in the latter stages.

Since his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014, the German international has morphed into a key figure at Anfield. Losing him would result in a lack of solidity in the midfield- with other Liverpool midfielders not possessing the same stature and physique that Can bolsters.

The dynamism and energy of Can makes him unique. Coutinho, Firmino, and Lallana all possess an abundance of flair, which enables them to dazzle opponents and weave their magic. Whereas, Can holds something incomparable. He is able to drive at defences, but can also carry out the nitty- gritty defensive duties.

In a press conference last month, ahead of the Southampton game at Anfield, Klopp said the following :

“There’s no secret of how much I like Emre- and how much he likes the club too. It is two partners with big respect for each other.

“We are in talks with him, but there is no pressure for him.

“If we can keep good players that makes sense for good development and he is one of those good players.”

But, since this statement of intent to secure his services by Klopp, there has been no further news and it has been reported that Juventus are keeping tabs on Can.

As his contract runs down, the likelihood of him departing surges upwards. The Reds must seriously weigh up their options and negotiate a deal, or otherwise face losing him.

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in Football, premier league

Sense Of Déjà vu For Reds Following Van Dijk Transfer Collapse- Top 5 Missed Transfers

There is an air of familiarity in the news of the Virgil Van Dijk transfer deal falling short of the mark, it is a trip down memory lane for many Reds fans, as they recall all the signings that should’ve and could’ve been.

Liverpool FC released the following statement tonight regarding Van Dijk  :

“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.

We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player. ”

But, just who else have the Reds missed out on over the years?

Here are the top five recent players that got away:

 

1. Dele Alli- January 2015

Alli, who is now one of the hottest prospects in the Premier League was playing at League One side MK Dons, just three years ago. Hard to believe, yes.

mk-dons-dele-alli-518032

Manager at the time, Brendan Rodgers, was keen on the English youngster and went as far as to arrange a meeting for Alli to meet his childhood hero , Steven Gerrard, who was to be leaving his beloved club that season ( 2014/15), Alli was seen as the long term replacement.

Alli, who was a boyhood Liverpool fan, went to Liverpool to hold talks, and after being told Gerrard was going to be present, he arrived to find that this wasn’t the case. It was reported that Gerrard was asleep at the time he was supposed to be meeting the young English midfielder.

As talks progressed, negotiations hit a brick wall over wage demands, with Liverpool only willing to offer a youth team wage of around £4,000.

Spurs then came in and swooped Alli from under the grasp of the Reds, for £5 million.  It became clear that Tottenham were willing to meet the required player demands that Liverpool were not.

The two time consecutive winner of PFA young player of the year award is flourishing at Spurs and has proved to be a colossal loss for the Merseyside team.

3F8A23A700000578-4437980-image-m-22_1492983832832.jpg

2. Alexis Sanchez- July 2014

With talisman Luis Suarez on the way out of Anfield and Barcelona being the likely destination, Liverpool tried to use this to their advantage in a ploy to use Suarez as part of a swap plus cash deal.

The Reds were demanding Alexis Sanchez as well as around £30 million for the Catalan side to obtain the Uruguayan forward.

Suarez departed Anfield, but there was no arrival at Anfield in the shape of Sanchez.

This is because Arsenal won the race for the Chilean, spending £35 million to bring him to the Emirates.

gun__1405066205_sanchez17a

It has been suggested that the deal was never probable due to the fact that Sanchez favoured moving to the area of London as opposed to anywhere else.

The Arsenal forward has since gone on to be one of the best players in the Premier League, scoring an impressive 53 goals in 103 games in all competitions for the Gunners.

3. Willian- August 2013 :

Willian, who was at Anzhi Makhachkala of  the Russian League in 2013, was tipped to join Liverpool in a £30 million move.

The deal was reportedly agreed and all details finalised. However, out of nowhere it became apparent that Spurs was going to be his preferred choice of destination, similarly to Sanchez, opting for a move to the capital.

The Brazilian flew to London for his medical and final agreements, but then as Spurs themselves did, Chelsea came in at the last minute to throw their plan into jeopardy in what was a drastic, last minute U-turn which saw him move to the  Blues.

willian_chelsea-425193.jpg

Roman Abramovich, made a personal call to fellow Russian, Suleyman Kerimov, the Anzhi owner which saw him seal the deal.

Willian has been a key player at Chelsea over the past four years and would have been a terrific addition to the Liverpool squad should the deal have materialised.

 

4. Diego Costa – July 2014

Another current Chelsea player who could well have ended up at Anfield, is Diego Costa.

The Reds made a £21 million bid at the start of August 2013, which was the required amount to trigger the release clause in his contract at Atletico Madrid.

The deal failed though, as Costa signed a new contract at Atletico shortly after this.

However, he then went on to sign for Chelsea a year later.

cosra

It is reported that Jose Mourinho, the then Blues manager, scuppered Liverpool’s deal for Costa a year in advance, by ringing Costa and persuading him to wait a year and then sign for Chelsea.

He did just that, and since then has netted 52 Premier League goals.

Liverpool have lacked an out and out striker ever since Luis Suarez fled to Barcelona, Costa would have been an ideal replacement.

5. Christian Eriksen – August 2013

Eriksen, joined Spurs in an £11.5 million deal in 2013, but Liverpool were long term admirers of the Danish midfielder.

The Reds declared their interest for the former Ajax man in January 2012, but Eriksen himself said that the transfer was “not on the cards”.

article-2301262-15AAE439000005DC-824_468x367

Liverpool came back hunting the following year in 2013, in the summer window.

However, they faced stiff competition from Spurs, who proved problematic on a number of occasions for the Reds in transfer dealings with the likes of Dele Alli, Clint Dempsey, Hugo Lloris, and Christian Eriksen all snubbing a move to Merseyside in favour of the Lilywhites.

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini flew to Amsterdam to negotiate with Ajax and the move paid off.

Eriksen said: “It really impressed me that they wanted it so badly and wanted to do it so quickly”

In the end, he chose White Hart Lane as his destination and it was another missed opportunity for the Reds.

article-2407480-1B8AA298000005DC-181_634x430

Eriksen has shown on countless occasions his range of talent whilst in the Premier League, and leaves Liverpool fans only able to imagine ‘what if’.

Tom Cavilla.

Posted in England, Football, premier league

Why Klopp Must Bring Back The Glory Days

Carling Cup 2012, the last piece of silverware the Reds have managed to get their hands on.

carling.jpg

Five years without a trophy, for a team who has five Champions League’s alone, is not the required level the club should be at, especially considering the dizzy heights achieved in the past.

Two clubs who have endured rather torrid seasons are Arsenal and Manchester United, yet; they both ended the season with silverware- something Liverpool failed to do.

Having missed out on the Champions league, both clubs made it imperative that the least they could achieve was winning at least one trophy.

The Gunners added another FA Cup to their collection, to make them the most successful team in the competition’s history.

Whereas, Man United managed to prize two trophies. The first being the Capital One Cup, which was followed up by success in Stockholm,  as they won the Europa League.

Despite playing the superior football over the two clubs this season and finishing in the top four, is a trophy-less season with Champions League more of a success than a Europe-free but trophy winning campaign?

Success of clubs is almost always defined by silverware. So what does that say about the Reds after a dry spell filled with disappointment, disbelief, and discomfort?

Liverpool have been close on many occasions in recent times in finding success, but no one remembers second place.

Three months on from defeating Cardiff City on penalties in the Capital One Cup final 2012, the Reds had the chance to add an eighth FA Cup to the club’s history.  The final ended in pain however, as Chelsea defeated King Kenny’s Reds 2-1, a game in which Andy Carroll had a late effort scrambled off the line, which would have seen the match head into extra time.

2012/13 saw two fourth round exits in both cups. League One Oldham shocked the country as they won 3-2, in what was a day to forget.  Similarly, Swansea were 3-1 winners at Anfield in the Carling Cup. There was further cup disappointment to follow this too as the Reds crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg.

Two Luis Suarez free kick goals at Anfield were not enough to see Liverpool advance to the round of 16, as the tie ended 3-3, with Zenit progressing on away goals.

The 2013/14 season will forever be remembered as the ‘nearly, but not quite season’ more than any other.  This was the year where the mid table side from the previous campaign turned Premier League title chasers.

I am sure no Liverpool fan needs reminding of the heartbreak endured, the Premier League trophy so nearly etched in the Reds’ history. This wasn’t the way things turned out however.

With a five point lead installed with three games to go, few could see room for the celebrations to be put on hold.  But, the inability to see out games and lack of concentration cost Brendan Rodgers’ side dearly.

The infamous ‘slip’, paired with ‘Crystanbul’, two things with the capacity to make supporters of the club feel uneasy, as they relive the unforgiving nature of the league.

remembering-crystanbul-through-the-eyes-of-a-palace-fan-body-image-1493992262.jpg

The SAS were firing on all cylinders, penetrating defence’s week in, week out.  Perhaps, one of the most enjoyable times to ever watch Liverpool play.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this was the best chance the club has had to bring the Premier League to Anfield, but a season filled with highs, ended with harrowing lows as Manchester City swooped from behind to claim the title.

The following season, (2014/15) Luis Suarez left for bigger things as Barcelona came calling, which meant there was to be no such title challenge this time around.  But, there were two semi-final appearances for the club, in the FA and Capital One Cup.

In what was Steven Gerrard’s last season at the club, the Reds were hoping to go out in style, leaving the skipper with a parting gift, the only thing the team could present Gerrard with were two cup departures.

Goals from Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph for Aston Villa cancelled out an early Philippe Coutinho goal and sent the Reds packing in the FA cup.

Aston-Villa-Stuns-Liverpool-Meets-Arsenal-In-Finals-759x422

Similarly, in the Capital One cup, Liverpool fell at the crucial moment at the hands of Chelsea.  A Branislav Ivanovic extra time winner the difference between the two sides over the two legs, following a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Last season, (15/16) the campaign in which Jürgen Klopp was brought to the club, following Rodgers’ departure, was so nearly the perfect beginning for the German.

In his first season, he guided the Reds to two finals. The first of which was the Capital One Cup final.

The desired outcome was not achieved, as Manchester City defeated the Reds on penalties in what was a nail-biting affair.

city.JPG

Klopp was dealing with a never-ending fixture list thanks to being in the Europa League, a gruelling competition which demands dedication and determination to succeed. In order to achieve this prerequisite, Klopp abandoned the league as the Reds progressed further and further in Europe.

They found themselves into the Europa League final, facing Spanish side, Sevilla. It was no easy ride getting to this point; games along the way included a round of 16 clash against bitter rivals, Manchester United, a breath-taking quarter final against Dortmund, as well as a dramatic semi-final triumph against Villarreal.

As the Reds ended the season in an underwhelming eight position, winning the Europa League was the only way of gaining Champions League qualification. Meaning that the season was hanging in the balance, a win in the final the only option to make the season as a success.

The final started superbly, Daniel Sturridge’s curling effort put Klopp’s side one goal to the good ten minutes before half time. But, a second half collapse saw the game end 3-1.

So, it was another season of wishful thinking for future seasons to come, as fans were left to wallow in self-pity as they saw their beloved club stoop to new lows.

p03vkptx

This year, was Klopp’s first full season in charge, and there were many noticeable improvements this time around.

The acquisition of Sadio Mane proved to be instrumental in the success of the team, as his blistering pace frightened opposition defenders. Reds’ fans were given a glance of just how good he can be on the first day of the season when Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates.

The attacking trident of Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Coutinho was proving to be pivotal in the way the season panned out. The clinical nature of the trio often bailed out the less reliable backline.

Pose.jpg

There was talk of another title challenge, similar to that of the 2013/14 season when the Merseyside club found themselves top at the start of November, following a 6-1 drubbing of Watford.

This faded after a horrific January, which saw the Reds collect just one win out of nine games.

They did manage to go on to secure top four this season, after a final day win against Middlesbrough.  Only the second time Liverpool have secured Champions League in the last nine seasons.

A real transformation was observed by supporters of the club this campaign, conversely, it was the same old story in regards to finding silverware.

An embarrassing fourth round defeat at home to Championship side, Wolves, ended FA Cup dreams. In the other domestic cup, it was Southampton who ended the EFL Cup journey.  A dismal two legged affair, where Liverpool had little to offer allowing the Saints to go marching on.

Klopp must find a way to balance the league and cups effectively, in order to obtain a solid finish in the table, but also achieve great things domestically.

It has been far too long without a trophy, for a club that prides itself on its rich heritage.

To fit back into the tag of ‘Europe’s elite’ the Reds must start adding silverware to their name. Winning just one trophy could spark the beginning of another era of dominance.

Liverpool suffered a period of decline from 2010 until 2016, but things are on the up. Klopp is most certainly the right man for the job and is building the start of something special, but what the club needs right now is a taste of the success of old, to remind the fans just how it feels.

The glory days could well be on their way back at Anfield.

Only time will tell.

Tom Cavilla

Posted in England, Football, premier league

FA Cup Final: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea- Gunners Claim Record 13th FA Cup

Arsenal were worthy victors as they defeated their London rivals, Chelsea, to claim a record thirteenth FA cup, more than any other club.  This trophy also makes Wenger the most successful manager in FA cup history , with this being his seventh triumph as manager of the Gunners.

Arsenal started the game brightly and took the lead within five minutes. However, the decision for the goal to stand was highly contested. The chance was originally flagged for offside, but then following discussions amongst the referee and linesman, was given.

Alexis Sanchez, who was lingering on the edge of the penalty area,  took down the ball in an unorthodox manner, which looked to be a hand ball, this was not given though, and Sanchez ran through on goal, skipping by the offside  Aaron Ramsey; and slotted past Thibaut Courtois who could not keep the effort out.

sanchez.jpg

Eyebrows were raised in regards to the way in which Sanchez controlled the ball, as well as passing his offside teammate, Ramsey, who many argued was interfering with play despite not touching the ball. The goal remained, however.

810127_1

After this, Chelsea found it difficult to get back into the game and Antonio Conte’s side appeared disorganised and depleted.

A Mesut Ozil chance was cleared off the line by Gary Cahill in the 16th minute of the tie.

Shortly after this, Wenger’s side almost doubled their lead again, when Danny Welbeck’s header from a corner crashed onto the post, and the follow up from Ramsey, who was stood just inches from the goal, went wide and brushed the post on its way.

Chelsea failed to muster any notable chances, and Arsenal were looking by far the better side approaching halftime.

In the second half, the dominance Arsenal showed, resumed.

A glorious chance presented itself when Hector Bellerin broke down the right hand flank at speed; with players arriving in the penalty area.

The Spaniard failed to pick out one of his teammates, in what looked like a certain goal with Chelsea’s defence nowhere to be seen.  But, Cesar Azpilicueta managed to track back brilliantly to block the cross and defuse the situation.

The Blues finally salvaged a chance minutes after this, a cross was sent into the box by Azpilicueta for one of his team-mates to attack, this was headed clear by Rob Holding however, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

In the 59th minute, Danny Welbeck made a surging run down the left hand wing, only to be wiped out by Nigerian international, Victor Moses, which resulted in a yellow card being brandished.  This would go on to cost Chelsea later in the match.

Pedro, unleashed a shot which drifted just wide of the left post , the effort at goal was agonisingly close, but Chelsea still could not breach the makeshift Arsenal defence, which was missing the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscienly, and Gabriel.

As Conte’s side continued their search of an equaliser, their quest was monumentally halted as Victor Moses saw red.

Making his way into the box, he flopped to the ground dramatically and decided his own fate by this senseless action. A second yellow card for Moses spelled the end of the afternoon for the full back.

moses.jpg

However, this did not stop the rest of the Chelsea team pressing onwards.

Diego Costa found the back of the net in the 76th minute to make it honours even.

Willian’s ball into the box was chested down brilliantly by the Spanish international, whose shot found its way home through a deflection off Per Mertesacker.

costa.jpg

Just two minutes later though, Arsenal re-captured the lead.

A threaded through ball by Sanchez made its way to substitute, Olivier Giroud, on the left hand flank , who sumptuously picked out the incoming run of Ramsey.

Kante was uncharacteristically unbeknownst to the run of the Welshman, similarly, David Luiz was also oblivious. The former Cardiff City man headed the ball into the roof of the net.

rambo.jpg

This marked Ramsey’s second FA cup final goal, after netting previously against Hull in the 2014 final.

A match saving moment followed with four minutes to play.

David Ospina denied Costa , who fired straight at the Colombian from close range.

Following this, Arsenal fought back with an attack of their own, with only a couple of minutes to play in the match.

Ozil led a three on three attack, but decided to go solo, and after cleverly selling Azpilicueta with a fake shot, he set his sights on goal.

His effort smacked onto the right hand post, with teammates Giroud and Sanchez left frustrated in the box.

In the end, triumphant Arsenal were the real deal in all departments. They bossed the midfield all game, with Granit Xhaka playing particularly well.  Youngster, Holding, played superbly in what was a big moment for the former Bolton defender, and Sanchez and Ozil displayed just how damaging they can be.

The oozing class of Chelsea was nowhere to be seen as Conte’s eleven looked a shadow of the destructible, untouchable force they have been for the duration of the Premier League season.

If this is to be Arsene Wenger’s final match in charge of the Gunners, it’s safe to say, it is a fitting way for him to say goodbye.

Walking out of the game- a winner

Tom Cavilla.