Category: Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge: Staying At Anfield Is Best Option

There is no doubting the talent and skill that Daniel Sturridge possesses. He is simply a sublime player of enormous goal scoring threat, power and potency. Whilst once again he finds himself at a big club and on the fringes of selection, this time things seem rather different. With rumours of a January exit beginning to swirl, it is pertinent for all concerned to take a more realistic look at exactly where he stands with Liverpool. Both now and in the medium term.

It can be difficult to get a true read on a player’s commitment to his career and to a club. A history blighted by injuries and thus limited game time means that Sturridge is in the unfortunate position where he is continually questioned over both work ethic and willingness to fulfil his obvious potential. Yet that he remains in Jurgen Klopp’s plans, albeit mostly in the cups and off the bench right now, surely hints that Sturridge does in fact have the temperament and mentality required. Klopp is in a similar mould to Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs in that if you don’t put in the requisite work both on and off the pitch, then you simply won’t feature in the first team at all.

As so eloquently and accurately pointed out by This Is Anfield, Sturridge has shown in his glimpses of playing time that he still has an important role to play. Without the current treadmill of European competition, and with Liverpool in such a rich vein of goal scoring form, he simply needs to bide his time and continue impacting proceedings when given the chance. Of course since he now finds himself in a rare period of full health, it must be frustrating to not feature consistently in the starting eleven. But there will indeed come a time when this changes, and he will surely start games in the very near future. In the interim it remains a key role off the bench that Sturridge is performing right now. What a luxury to have a player of his ability come on and impact proceedings. Especially in the (currently rare) event that the Reds are unable to find a way through on goal. It’s a frightening prospect for opponents.

The question must be asked as to what Sturridge could achieve by moving clubs, that he cannot do so at Liverpool. Or in fact, what harm moving to another club could cause, and what he may miss out on during what threatens to be another exciting period in the club’s illustrious history.  It looks likely that Liverpool will be competing in the Champions League next year, and it is also probable that one or two members of the squad will become injured this season. If either of those things occur, Sturridge is first in line to start. He would start at almost any other Premier League club of course, and again it simply comes back to the extreme quality of the dynamic attacking unit at Anfield that means he is not in the eleven right at this moment. At 27, he could now go one of two ways; assuming he is finally able to stay fit then he can form a key component of the push for success at Anfield.

The alternative is that Sturridge does indeed move on once more. Instead of fighting for a berth in a strong Liverpool side and potentially going on to play Champions League within the next twelve months. With no shortage of suitors, there are ample options both locally and abroad. But the likelihood is that this would mean a step down in status if he wishes to remain in the Premier League. Unless either Arsenal or Tottenham were to come in for him, and there is no guarantee they would, then Champions League football is unlikely to be an option. It’s a conundrum that really does not seem a conundrum at all; stay and fight for a place and success at Liverpool or head into the unknown or to a club with lesser prospects.

Contrary to reports in The Mirror suggesting that Sturridge is not wanted by Liverpool, he is in fact still very much required. The ball appears to be in his court, with apparent options of the likes of West Ham or Stoke. But this, and missing out on potential success, does not seem the right move at the current point in his career. Whilst his game time would no doubt be increased immediately, and he could certainly improve the fortunes of both clubs, the position that his current club finds itself in surely is motivation to remain and be a part of something great. Sometimes it’s necessary to look at the bigger picture, and for both Sturridge and Liverpool that picture does not even look too far away.

Premier League: Top 4 Contenders Reviewed

Can we rule out Chelsea after the efforts (or lack thereof) in recent weeks and particularly on Saturday? Is the top 4 set just 6 weeks into the season? We take a look at each of the current team’s chances of reaching the Champions League next term. Note to clubs: You need ten points minimum to qualify for our analysis after match day 6, and conveniently that is a top 8.

Manchester City – Current Position: 1st
Don’t they start seasons well? Reminiscent of last year, but seem to have a fair bit more about them this time around. Look the real deal, and it’s disingenuous to include them in discussions about the top 4 when it seems they will win the league comfortably. Kevin de Bruyne’s injury on the weekend may hamper them for games against Tottenham and Everton, but Pep Guardiola has flagged Raheem Sterling as the man to step up. And with 4 goals in 6 games so far, you wouldn’t put it past him. If Vincent Kompany can stay injury-free, and Sergio Aguero continue scoring for fun, it’s a matter of how far City. Predicted Finish: 1st.

Tottenham – Current Position: 2nd
The only other undefeated team, and despite a slow start with two draws in three games to open the season. Certainly have added more depth this season. The risk is that Champions League football is too draining, but maintain current form and they are every chance of pushing City next weekend, as well as throughout the season. Don’t rely on one or two players anymore and have barely missed a beat since Harry Kane’s unfortunate injury. The next few weeks will be crucial if they hope to hang to both the unbeaten streak and top 4 chances. Predicted Finish: 4th.

Arsenal – Current Position: 3rd
A 3-0 belting of London rivals Chelsea on Saturday was quite the statement. Any questions over Arsene Wenger have been put to bed, at least for the time being. Shkodran Mustafi looks a class defender and forms a back pair with Koscielny that the Gunners have been desperate for. Shouldn’t concede as they have in the past if these two stay on the pitch. At times they looked far too good for the Premier League at the weekend, let alone too good for Chelsea. Maintain their best form and a top 2 finish beckons. Predicted Finish: 2nd.

Liverpool – Current Position: 4th
With so many goal scoring options and Jurgen Klopp at the helm, it’s been a sight to behold with Liverpool in full flight. Save for a poor loss at Burnley, they have been nothing short of electrifying in the front half. Yet the defence and consistency appears the difference between a potential top 4 finish and just missing. We think they have too many threats up front though, and that this will cover for any failings at the back. Predicted Finish: 3rd.

Everton – Current Position: 5th
Potentially the biggest manager move in the off-season was Ronald Koeman coming in at Everton. What an effect he has had, turning a talented yet severely underperforming Everton squad into one that now actually plays. Came back to Earth on the weekend, and may not quite have the depth of talent to finish in the four. But they’re a massive threat, and will push hard at least for a Europa League return. Predicted Finish: 7th

Manchester United – Current Position: 6th
It was back to the Manchester United of old on the weekend. Consistency is an issue though, not to mention what Mourinho will do with Rooney. Half an hour of football produced in the first half on Saturday was the best we’ve witnessed in 12 months. At their best, and with such weapons of Ibra and Rashford up front, they could be unstoppable. At their best, they can rival the best of Arsenal and Liverpool. But the soft underbelly remains. We think they might just miss the 4. Predicted Finish: 5th.

Crystal Palace – Current Position: 7th
Another strong start to the season for Alan Pardew’s men with ten points. Three wins in a row will prove crucial as we’ve seen what happens when Palace or Pardew teams get on a poor run. Should definitely avoid relegation, and aim for a top half finish. The Townsend and Benteke combination will be crucial for goals, if they can develop an understanding then the bottom three will be out of the equation. Predicted Finish: 11th

Chelsea – Current Position: 8th
From what we’ve seen so far, Conte’s Chelsea is not too much better than the Mourinho/Hiddink’s equivalent. It’s hard to see them making up enough ground to finish in the top four, when it had seemed a possibility early. Glimpses of improvement early have been replaced by a shocking performance against a rampant Arsenal. Until the Blues bring in defensive reinforcements, it seems impossible for them to challenge for anything other than the Europa League. Predicted Finish: 6th

Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool Through in League Cup

English League Cup Third Round, Tuesday Night Review:

A second half brace from summer signing Lucas Perez has eased Arsenal through to the next round of the League Cup away at Nottingham Forest. Another Granit Xhaka long-range strike opened the scoring for the Gunners with his second goal in consecutive games, making it a day to saviour for new signings. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished off Forest to make it 4-0 in stoppage time and a resounding victory. Arsenal made sweeping changes to the side that defeated Hull 4-1 at the weekend, yet were barely troubled as their young side proved utterly dominant.

Liverpool comfortably accounted for Derby County 3-0 at the iPro Stadium with goals from defender Ragnar Klavan, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi. Estonian Klavan poked home his first goal for the Reds from a corner, becoming Liverpool’s 10th scorer in all competitions this season. Coutinho and Roberto Firming combined to make it 2-0 soon after the interval, with Origi finishing things off in the 54th minute with the electric Coutinho this time laying off an assist.

At the King Power Stadium, Chelsea came from 0-2 behind against Premier League Champions Leicester to record a 4-2 victory. Down at the half thanks to two goals from Shinji Okazaki, Antonio Conte’s did manage to pull one back through Gary Cahill’s header just before the break. Cesar Azpilicueta drew Chelsea level within 5 minutes of the restart, and it remained 2-2 until the Foxes’ Martin Wasilewski was sent off on 89 minutes. With extra time needed, Cesc Fabregas proved the hero as he scored twice in three minutes to send his team through to the fourth round.

Amongst other Premier League clubs, Bournemouth failed to overcome Preston North End, going down 2-3 in extra time thanks to a hat trick from Simon Makienok. Everton’s powerful start to their season could not be transferred to the cup as they were beaten at home 0-2 by recently relegated Norwich City.

A series of Football League teams also faced off, with Ex-Bournemouth midlfielder Matt Ritchie and Youan Gouffran each scoring to send Newcastle through over Wolverhampton Wanderers, A single late goal Leeds United’s Chris Wood saw them through over lowly Blackburn Rovers, with Reading holding off Brighton 2-1.

The League Cup continues on Wednesday night with the remainder of Premier League clubs featuring. Southampton face Cystal Palace and Stoke host Hull City in seemingly the most even fixtures, with high-flying Man City also heading to Swansea. Manchester United, West Ham, Tottenham and Sunderland round out the top division teams seeking to move through to the fourth round.

Liverpool vs Spurs

 Barclays Premier league is back with a bang. This big match of this weekend was between Title challenging Tottenham and Liverpool who are looking for a top 4 spot this season. It was such an entertaining match with both teams creating some great chances but it ended 1-1 at Anfield.

Tottenham, who were looking to close the gap between them and 1st place Leicester city to make the title race more interesting. They were confident for a win and went with full strength against Liverpool who are looking for a top 4 finish and have gained form in recent matches aided by the arrival of Sturridge in the team after a long awaited injury.

Both teams started the first half with a fury of attacks on either end but both keepers made some brilliant saves to keep the score and 0-0. Sturridge, Coutinho and Lallana had some great chances to open the scoring but Lloris had some other ideas and made exceptional saves including a one-one-one save of Sturridge.

In 2nd half, both still teams looking for an opener, created chances but failed to convert them into goals. It was the Brazilian youngster Philippe Coutinho with a stunning strike, set by Sturridge to give Liverpool a lead un 51st minute. This lead didn’t last long as Harry Kane scored another beautiful goal to level things up for Spurs. It was a result of wonderful play by Erikson to keep the ball in play and then crossing into the box where Harry Kane turns like Hurricane and smashes it into the far post.

The game ended 1-1 after an entertaining end to end match. Tottenham will now have to wait for Leicester match to see where they stand in the title race as they are currently 4 points behind them.

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