How many of Liverpool’s first eleven need changing in the summer?


Neil Poole ponders the question: To what extent does Liverpool’s first eleven need changing in the summer?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 26, 2015: Liverpool's players line up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against FC Girondins de Bordeaux at Anfield. Back row L-R: Kolo Toure, Christian Benteke, Dejan Lovren, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne. Front row L-R: Jordon Ibe, Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva, James Milner, Joe Allen. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)




‘Three year plan.’

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‘Five year plan.’

The mere mention of these phrases uttered in connection to Liverpool FC’s medium-term future evokes sheer dread. My inner-child’s large, blue, melancholic eyes flood with tears. He stares up at me and begs, “Please Big Neil, no…not again.”

Yeah, well do one Little Neil! I’m ready to throw out the baby out with the bathwater. I’ll pay the price of time and the excruciating prospect of rebuilding a team in a new manager’s image. Only because it’s Klopp though. I’ll also pay for the mattress too so the baby has a soft landing.

As you see later on, I’m going to be really nice about binning loads of our players off.

Divisive Players

The aftermath of Liverpool’s 3-3 draw on Wednesday night was a strange one and was a microcosm of the effect of the majority of Liverpool’s players on fans. Indeed, it also demonstrates why a substantial number of these players need to be replaced, not in their entirety but certainly as regular starters.

I’ve spoken to about ten people now (in person) who went to the game, and assessments of nearly all players’ performances have varied wildly. So much so that only two players received a unanimous verdict:

Firmino was universally lauded as excellent and delivered his best performance of the season. Unfortunately, little did he know as he pulled off shirt to celebrate the first of his two goals that Simon Mignolet was digging his fingers into the Anfield turf at the other end ready to pull the carpet from under his performance.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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To be fair, everyone I know thought Mignolet was amazeballs…, no sorry, drop the ‘amaze’ bit.
Bloody hell Simon, there’s me telling everyone you’re nowhere near as bad as people make out and you do that to me. Klopp may be defending him and fair play. But if Jurgen was an Italian, 19th century puppet-boy inflicted with awkward, guilt-induced, face-erections when telling porky pies, he could currently poke your eye out from Melwood.

That’s where the consensus stops though. Can, Moreno, Sakho, Lallana, Ibe…you name them and I’ve heard diametrically opposed views about every other player who started against Arsenal in our midweek fixture.

Football players will always split opinions. That’s normal. And you’ll always get the odd dissenter who’ll revel in telling you Messi’s not all that. However, like a working class Tory, disguised as turkey voting for Christmas you’ll always have people who wallow in choosing to be wrong. But, on the whole, when players are clearly very good people tend not to argue.

Non-Divisive Players

The Liverpool side of the 2008/09 season is a case in point. Arguably, the best Liverpool ‘team’ of the last twenty five years, they were not subject to mass debate – schoolboy joke alert! No one argued vociferously over the credentials of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Pepe Reina.

MADRID, SPAIN - Wednesday, February 25, 2009: Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League First Knock-Out Round against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Back row L-R goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Albert Riera, Martin Skrtel, Dirk Kuyt, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres. Front row L-R: Alvaro Arbeloa, Jamie Carragher, Yossi Benayoun, Fabio Aurelio and Javier Mascherano. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Why? It’s simple: When a player is very good, they are quite blatantly very good. I don’t mean potentially very good. I don’t mean show flashes of being very good. I don’t mean very good before they came to Liverpool when they played for another team. I don’t mean very good if everyone else plays to his strengths. I don’t mean very good for three games and then very bad for the next three. I mean…just…very good.

It brings a tear to my eye to think what that team could do in this league right now. The footballing Gods conspired to chauffeur them to the party seven years too early.

Even bad players can unite the supporters. Never have I felt so part of the Liverpool family as when I attended a candle-lit vigil of one hundred thousand Reds on the banks of the Mersey back in the Hodgson months and we embarked on a marathon pinching session to ensure that it was true: Paul Konchesky was actually a Liverpool player. Those were the days.

Supporting Roles

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The very fact this team drives chasms through the spectrum of opinions indicates exactly what most of them are right now; not terrible; not great. In short, a cast of supporting players you could rationally argue have a place in the squad or could ‘do a job’ in the first eleven.

If you choose to listen, you’ll find plenty of supporters who could a put coherent and rational counter argument to your own on almost any current Liverpool player. You still might not agree with them but you can at least understand their argument.

European Football - UEFA Europa League - Group Stage Group B - Liverpool FC v FC Girondins de Bordeaux

Sakho, Moreno, Can, Milner, Lallana, Benteke, Firmino and Skrtel seem to bear the brunt of these arguments. But increasingly, and in my own experience Ibe, Clyne and Henderson are being entered into these discussions too.

Now listen, stop staring at your Emre Can tattoo and shaking with anger for a minute because you think I’m saying he’ll never be a great Liverpool player. I’m not. So move away from the caps lock. Move away from the caps lock. The likelihood is I’m not disparaging your favourite Liverpool player at all. There’s mitigating circumstances why the majority of players wouldn’t command a starting place if we had a crop of very good or great players around them.

The Current Players

Can, Moreno and Ibe have youth on their side and bags of potential you can’t simply discard. But we shouldn’t be relying on these players week-in, week out and they need space to develop. They need to be allowed to be inconsistent without the glare of such an intensive spotlight. It would benefit them if we relied on them less at this stage in their careers.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - Thursday, September 17, 2015: Liverpool's captain Mamadou Sakho walks out to face FC Girondins de Bordeaux during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I’m a big fan of Sakho, but Sturridge’s injury record has somewhat overshadowed the Frenchman’s and there should questions over whether he can be relied on as a first choice centre-back. Again, there is a place for him, but should we build the defence around him?

Firmino is new to the league and although underwhelming for much of the season, it would be criminal to not allow him time to bed in. His induction into the league would be eased if there were other fit and proven strikers who fit into our style of play, and we weren’t so desperately in need of him to hit the ground running this season.

Benteke isn’t a bad player. He could potentially be a useful, and very expensive impact player off the bench; the fulcrum of the elusive plan B. But it’s difficult to see how he can establish himself in the team next season except in bespoke matches that play to his strengths.

Milner, Lallana and even Henderson are the runners and the meat and potatoes in the team with the occasional flourish of creativity, with an eye for a pass or cross, but should ultimately be the sixth, seventh or eighth names on the team sheet. Throw Clyne into the mix too, minus the sparks of creativity, for another ‘solid’ and useful performer.

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2015: Liverpool's dejected players James Milner, Martin Skrtel, Lucas Leiva and Dejan Lovren after the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United during the Premier League match at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And then we have Skrtel and Lucas. Our longest serving players, simultaneously capable of man-of-the-match displays and flurries of good runs of form that render them good options to have in the squad in the minds of many. But on the other hand, they’re inextricably linked with a sustained period of little success and with a list of errors burnt into the brains of those who don’t rate them.

It’s a Liverpool team of never-ending pros and cons.


These players are not bad. They’re decent. But there has slowly been a lowering of expectations at our football club for years now and it’s time to stand back and ask the question: when did it become acceptable for the height of Liverpool’s ambitions to be a ‘decent’ team?

Pick your best current Liverpool player. Does he get in that 2008/09 team’s first eleven? Yes? Fair enough.

Pick your second best current Liverpool player. Does he get in? Keep going. I’ll be gobsmacked if you make it past a third name.

Then bear in mind, that 08/09 team, as great as it was, didn’t win a thing. You’d struggle to get more than three players in a team that for all its merits won nothing. It brings the current readiness of this crop of players into sharp focus. I’m setting the benchmark as a team who didn’t win anything, and this current one still isn’t fit to tie their shoelaces. Harsh I know. But I want Liverpool Football Club to be better than decent.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and players thanking supporters after the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

It’s important to point out many of these players could easily do a job and play a part in title-chasing side, even a title-winning side. But crucially, only if they made up less than half of the team. It’s a team made up of too many individuals who currently need to be carried in some way with not enough players left to do the carrying.

This team does not need to be overhauled in its entirety but Klopp needs to make significant changes in the summer. Four or five could have a place in the starting eleven. A handful more would make able squad players. The rest can be binned off.

I’ll let you decide who falls into which category and what the right mix is…

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  1. A good, thought-provoking article. It’s sometimes difficult to decide whether a particular player will end up in a successful side (title winning ?) or be a vaulable part of the squad. Much easier to decide on a player needing to be gone (Balotelli). For me:

    New 1,
    Clyne, New 2, Sakho, Moreno
    Can, Henderson
    New 3, Firmino, Coutinho
    New 4

    But there are many scenarioes: I cannot see Mignolet ever convincing me he is New 1, Ward has a chance but it’s too far in the distance. Horn is a better bet I think.

    New 2 may be Matip or even Gomez but almost certainly not Lovren but he may well be a valuable squad player.

    Can and Henderson are the future but can Grujic push one of them further forward ? Allen may be a valuable deputy but I can’t see him displacing either of them.

    New 3 is probably a quick, incisive, goal-scoring winger: Yarmolenko ? Markovic ? Ibe ? Goetze ? Ings ?

    New 4 is Sturridge, if only he was fit. in reality it’s probably Lacazette with Sturridge and Benteke in the squad.

    I guess this is why despite the set-backs we all love to look forward and dream !

  2. Benteke, Joe Allen, mignolet, lallana for me need to make way probably make £37 million out of these transfers

    • I think you’re hedging on the low side and we’d comfortably make a lot more than that for those four. I would add Skrtel to that pile also though, to allow a completely new spine to start the new season however

      I’d expect +£50m for the lot, regardless of our criticism’s of them, they are still good players that are better than most of their counterparts in the league. And fortunately there are other clubs in the Premier League that love to waste money as much as LFC does!

        • the first one he missed the header and tried to play the foul instead of the whistle
          the corner he was not tight enough if he had been tight he could not have squeezed it in

          • Oh, come on!

            He was clearly shaken by the clash with Giroud for the first one. If anything both Toure and Migs should have done better, but it was really great play by Arsenal.

            For the corner, yeah he could be tighter, but then there could be someone on the posts too, Migs could have reacted better and the ball should not have come as far anyway. You can blame anyone for that.

            You are as usual just after Sakho for no good reason other than being a Manc.

          • Right. BT commentators laughed. So that is your level of assessment then?

            That would explain this bit before the Arsenal game:
            ‘Lallana as been decent for weeks comparing him to firmino is an injustice.’

            You are so clueless you wouldn’t recognize a turkey if it sat roasted on your plate – not to mention someone who actually is a good football player.

          • At the first one he should’ve stayed down, even if the ref doesn’t follow the rules I think he let the play go on because only Giroud fell down. Wasn’t smart and obviously dizzy he did shte. The second goal was criminal defending, should’ve never been positioned on the outside of Giroud, no matter how smart he did it.

          • Criminal defending? Dude everyone was decieved by the inward facing cross…including Lallana, who was actually the main culprit. It was Lallana’s responsibility to take care of that first and foremost. After it passes him, what can Sakho do about Giroud’s outstretched leg apart from say foul him? Not to mention that all of this happens in the space of less than half a second so there’s really no time to react, if you’re positioned poorly you’re gonna get punished. I think everyone misjudged the cross to begin with, like they were expecting it to go outwards rather than inwards…big mistake that to go on assumptions and we paid dearly for it.

          • As should have Lallana, it was really his responsibility since the first man is supposed to take care of those angles.

          • Yeah, three men making a mistake is a goal. People blaming just migs are on some sort of agenda. He didn’t do great, but come on, two people making huge effups in front of him was something special.

            Maybe we suffer from overconcentration at set pieces? The stifling kind of pressure?

          • Personally I can see where it comes from given his track record of being poor in those situations…it’s definitely a larger problem that needs to be ironed out. Seems like a lack of communication, organization as a whole is still a problem.

          • He just got beat at the first post and not the first time he made a booboo this season. Saw Leno missing a backpass rolling it into the goal in a Bundesliga summary.

            I really think Migs doesn’t make a whole lot more booboos then the rest. For some reason he just gets more attention when he does.

          • Haven’t seen highlights yet but Llloris’ booboos this season have been far less frequent compared to Migs. Even the Newcastle one you mentioned earlier I couldn’t see a lot wrong with that…it wasn’t a definitive mistake…Migs’ mistakes were so bad even the commentators and pundits called him out on it..and you generally have to do something really bad to be called out in that case.

      • Actually, it was Lallana who was at fault for the corner goal kick being conceded the most. It was his responsibility as the first man to guard that angle. Should never have gone past him to begin with.

    • Lallana is often the only one making runs into the box … helped Firmino v. Arsenal but yes he needs to show more and has this season to do it.

      • He’s an ok player if your club is looking to stay mid table, if we want to push higher up the league, he either has to dramatically improve or we upgrade. Couts in my opinion can’t be a 1 in 7 game wonder for much longer as well.

  3. If we were to qualify for champions league, lallana and benteke would be good squad/ impact players still, though they aren’t at first team standard

  4. For me the only players that i think are nailed on are; Hendo/Can/Couts/Firmino and a fit Sturrdige. I think lovren, sahko, clyne, moreno, allen, ibe, lallana all still have this season to prove themselves, the rest are squad players at best. and then there is the bin; Enrique, . I desperately think we need a new keeper, and forward. Excited to see what Grujic brings to the table.

      • to be fair Clyne was close to making the nailed on cut, he has been our most consistent defender this season.

        • 2nd half against Arsenal he showed a commendable urgency too, frequently cutting infield to try to create something. Think he has not even shown his full value yet.

    • Many fans forget that Clyne is as new as Firmino in Liverpool team just bcos he has been solid at defence but still feel not good enough. He will come more good next season, he has done a very good job so far and not a bad buy in my opinion.

  5. great read as always Neil the lowering of expectations is the major problem we have not signed a player since torres that all the big clubs wanted
    Yes we signed suarez but not with a lot of competition

  6. Good article. I hate that you just made me imagine the 08/09 team with Coutinho on the left though, damn you. I think it’s important that we don’t have another summer overhaul and discount next season as another building year. This will probably be the case but I’d rather 1/2 amazing players come in in key positions to help take pressure off our youth with potential.

  7. Great read.

    Something else that would be nice would be players that stay fit. After 21 PL games this season the average amount of games played by a ‘first choice’ player is 13.2 games, or about 60% of games. Sums were a bit basic but that’s the ballpark figure. So we’ve been playing on average at 60% capacity (of our best team) this season due to injury. That’s not even taking into account the squad players like Ings, Origi,or Gomez etc. That’s first teamers.

    One of Luis’ great attributes that was overshadowed by his brilliance was his ability to not get injured (or the fact that he wouldn’t accept it when it happened).

    He has been out injured 2 weeks in total since the start of the 13/14 season. I know he’s had a few enforced breaks too but the point kind of stands anyway.

    As we transition to the new levels of fitness under Kloppo this will change hopefully.

  8. Wow, this kind of topic is sure to invite a lot of nonsense and very little sense.
    It’s actually hard to give an answer to a question put like that, mainly because we don’t even know who constitutes the “first eleven” at the moment.
    But here’s my view.
    We need a new goalkeeper. As much as I still don’t think Mignolet is as bad as he is made out here, he’s not good enough if we intend to push for the title anytime in the next few years. Arsenal did some very shrewd business when they replaced a solid Wojciech Szczesny with the world-class Petr Cech.

    We need a reliable CB. Some of ours have been over-criticized, some over-praised, but I think the truth is, not one of them is as reliable and consistent as we need at least one to be.
    I was sure we needed an upgrade on Lucas as a true DM, but Can (and Lucas himself) is slowly proving otherwise. But we do need another attacking midfielder, a wide AM, a winger if you will. If the likes of Marco Reus, Leroy Sane are out of our reach, I suggest giving Markovi? a proper chance.
    And last of all, a lot depends on this next comeback of Sturridge. If he continues to be available for around 10% of the games, I think we should go all out for Lacazette.

    • The elephant in the room is that we are missing Sturridge, everything else pales by comparison. Either get him going again or find somebody as good … that will not be easy!

      • Precisely. And when he acts on that anticipation, Cech displays full dominance in his box. In my opinion, he’s way above Curtois and De Gea in that aspect. Only Buffon does it as good as Cech.
        As for Sturridge, I think Lacazette can do it. He’s not having a great season at Lyon, but I think that can only work his price down a bit, and his still a class player.

        • 100% we should go all out for Lacazette, reports of him suffering from a back injury for most of the first half of the season. He had hamstring problem for quite a few weeks at the start too. Looks fine now tho, moving well and playing more games. Might be wise to see how he goes for the rest of the season, hence a possible Shane Long stop gap. He’s a top ST and he’s been talking about wanting to go to a English CL team in the summer so that could make it tricky for us. Anyway I would do everything to try and buy him asap.

          • I agree Sturridge is definitely better. It looks like he gets to the end of the season, but considering what happened to him last season time is running out for him at Liverpool.

          • To me it is like … with Klopp, we have half a chance to get top 4. With Klopp + Studge, we could get the lot. He is the one world beater we have. Maybe I am too wishful, but I so much want to see him back, Suddenly we would freak out all opponents. I think he is that good. Let’s hope the delayed pre-season goes well :)

          • He is that good. But if a team comes along with around £20M then we will probably let him go. His fitness is too unreliable.

          • It’s hard to admit and i don’t like saying it (because he’s a class act as a person and as a top player): If we had another 25+ goal a season ST i would keep Sturridge. Because we don’t and how much his repeated injures cost LFC it’s almost time to move on. Klopp will be thinking the same. 80% of Liverpool fans WON’T like it at all, i understand that, but i trust Klopp to make the right choice and put the club first. It’s a saddening situation that’s for sure.

          • Am with you. Can you imagine where we would be now with a regularly fit Studge . Am pretty sure top clubs would be looking at him. Personally I am really hoping Klop will get to the bottom of his niggles, he’s young enough and good enough to still win us trophies.
            Can see him playing a major part at the business end of the season, eg, hopefully cup finals, then fans will plead for him to stay.

          • A fit and on form Sturridge could walk into any team in world football – he is that good.
            Someone posted on here the other day about him and Firmino playing together would be a nightmare for any opponent and I strongly agree with that.
            If Klopp can have a fully fit squad at his disposal, with the players we have just now, he’ll take us places.

          • what i would give for that. unfortunately as history has shown, when a player is injury prone they just are. i hoped and prayed fabio aurelio would be cured of his ills, but it never happened. I’m sure the gooners do the same with wilshere. such a pity. honestly if Ings had got done in i think he would have exploded this season once Klopp arrived.

          • he is that good, and he’s down right entertaining as well. gutted he’s so injury prone b/c hes one of those players who could be world class and wouldn’t bugger off to a City of Chelsea given his history.

          • Agree Steve, shame we have not had Studge, but I say let’s be patient with him, these fans who say sell , are off their rocker.

          • For me Sturridge is more skillful, can create by himself and better at beating a man then scoring. Lacazette is more of a in the box finisher who has skill but is much more reliant on others to pass it to him when he takes up goal scoring positions.

          • Lacazette is quick with a low center of gravity, he works hard, battles for the ball, runs in behind, works the channels like crazy compared to Benteke. Most of the time when he gets a good chance in the box he put’s it away clinically. He’s out of form and had a few injuries this season so is off the boil right now.

          • Too bad he is having a bit of a dip (Lacazette)
            If we re new interest really hope the dip is temporary?
            Cheekily would swop Belgian for Belgian with Goodison ?

      • I would still keep Sturridge. We are going to ship out Balotelli and in his place we can get someone else. We should not forget that we have Ings and Origi along with Benteke as well.

        • I’m actually putting hopes on Klopp transforming Balotelli back to the beast he used to be. If someone offers more than 20 million for Sturridge, I say we should sell him. However, I doubt anyone willing to pay that amount of money on a striker so injury prone.

    • I think the nail-in-the-head phrase is ‘world class’. A team going for the title should be able to draw on the services of 2-3 truly world class players, able to consistently deliver over periods of time. Looking at our squad at the moment, I doubt we have that many players who can do that.

          • Sad as it is they have more chance than we have and seem to be sustaining the challenge with players that cost peanuts. Puts the rest of the premier into perspective that it isnt all about the money. Even if they dont win they deserve the plaudits for still being up there. Where is our challenge after a 300+ million outlay.

          • They look to have eased off. Did their relegation battles at the start of the season. And now will coast along picking up what they can. Smart!
            Title contenders? I doubt it……

      • Actually, most teams do not play a genuine DM and still get on well. We just need two good box-to-box style CM who can defend well when we don’t have the ball and provide good support to the front line when we are attacking. Henderson and Can are great candidates for that midfield two.

        • I agree, very few teams have DMs in a conventional sense these days but I think Can loses the ball quite a lot. He has shown improvement under Klopp and if this continues then we don’t need one but I think there should be a midfielder who keeps possession, launches intelligent passes AND is good at tackling, in our sights.

    • I have to disagree on the part where you say we do not need a DM anymore. Can is starting to show his prowess and he is working pretty dam well together with Henderson and something we can build on for the future. But at times we will need to play a 3 man midfield and with Lucas we are struggling time after time playing stronger and faster midfielders (West Ham and Newcastle). He will need to be replaced, he does not got the legs anymore.

      I like the guy, but for us to progress and actually have a class midfield we need a new midfielders. Something like this would work perfect: DM: Granit xhaka/Rossiter, 2 cm positions: Henderson/Emre Can/ Grujic/Allen/Milner.

      Allen can be sold as well or we can move Milner fulltime out of the midfield position. Having those 6 players fighting for the 3 midfield positions sounds pretty dam tasty.

      Indeed we need a new GK, DM and winger as our main 3 needs. The winger needs to bring speed, movement and be able to play around the front 3. Markovic will surely get his chance next year, but still i reckon we need to look at another winger, hopefully Sane. But i reckon City will go for him.

      For CB hopefully we go for Matip and sign him up. As he is free and a good CB.

      • You forget about the striker. If you have no consistent striker who plays at least a 7/10 in every game and not injury prone, forget about scoring goals and winning the game.

    • I agree with everything you said here. Makovic certainly deserves a chance, I think he could be the key player and I am sure Firminho would shine playing along side him rather than Benteke who offers no options. Lucas can be great but is often a liability especially when we are defending a narrow lead. (which is always, as we are not scoring enough goals) He gives away too many needless free kicks in dangerous areas and is often close to a red card.

  9. Here’s a left field choice for someone to be replaced.


    He’s way too inconsistent and injured, too wasteful and looks disinterested.


    • We need to get those shot statistics up though. If we win the statistics battle, the result doesn’t matter right?

    • i agree he has been inconsistent, but he still has the magic though, how many players in the PL can unlock a defense like him, maybe 5?

      • I’m not seeing much unlocking from him this season.

        Only a lot of hit and hope.

        He’s been here how long now the great prospect…?

        • Mentality counts for a lot. I know they are not fashionable players, but Hendo, Allen, dare I say Lucas… they understand what is needed in a given EPL situation better than most.

    • I said this a few weeks ago and got told that if we sold him we’d be fighting for relegation.
      A good player, I’d like him to stay but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he left.

      • I was the one who said that. Looking at Klopps transfer system, it is highly unlikely we get a player like Gotze for 30-40 or even 50 mil players type even in the summer. So, why in the heck would you wanna get rid of Coutinho instead of Lallana, Milner, Allen, or even the much praised Firmino who is far more inconsistent imo. Firmino before arsenal game most fans already wanted to let him go, yet, he came back with a 2 goal game and everyone is praising him again. no patience and judgement many fans here.
        Also Sturridge is far more a lost cause than Coutinho.

        • So, looking at Klopps very successful transfer system, why do we need a 40 or 50 million pound player?
          Also, I asked you this last time, where have I stated I want Coutinho gone?
          One last thing, you say for Coutinho to stay above Firmino because he has been poor (in his first season with us, plus he’s outshone Coutinho in my opinion) and then you hark on about no patience and judgement!! That is what you are doing! You say Firmino is much praised, then in the same sentence, finish off with “most fans already wanted to let him go”. Which was it?!

          • More like BVB’s Director of football very successful transfer system, not Klopp. As for 30 or 40-50 mil players like Debruyne, Sterling, Martial, Sanchez etc, WHY DO YOU THINK we dont need it ? You clearly mentioned that Coutinho has to go, so go figure. I said no patience and judgement bcos many fans here said they want Firmino gone before the arsenal game, and after 1 good game are now praising him beyong the sky. Same goes for Coutinho, over slate him when bad and praise him like a greek god when in good form.useless. why do we need to rid them (Coutinho and firmino) before far less talented lallana, milner, allen etc ?

          • Please show me where I said that I want rid of Coutinho. I have said he is replaceable. I have asked you 3 times now and you’re still to show me.
            Only De Bruyne and Sanchez have shown there worth. Sterling, maybe in 3 or 4 years, Marital, not at all.
            You were the only that said about Klopps transfer record, now your saying it’s nothing to do with him to try and prove your point! I am aware he had a DoF, I am also aware that he had input into it.
            You contradict yourself so many times that I’m struggling to fit everything in.

          • Stop putting words in my mouth, ur sounding like Dereksmith. U clearly said Coutinho needs to go. To find it, review ur comments in the thread and if you cant find it, then u have already edited or erased it.
            I didnt say Klopp had nothing to do with his transfer success. I said it had more to do with Zorc’s contribution. U are the one contradicting urself.
            I also asked you 3 or more times why u think Coutinho is more repleacable than Lallana, Milner , Allen etc ?

          • Wow! I have never said once that I want Coutinho gone, when a post has been edited, it says so, I have edited nothing or deleted anything.
            I have stated that Allen needs to leave for the good of his career (check out today’s post regarding him). I have also stated that Milner needs to leave as he is no more than a squad player on massive, massive wages. I have also stated that Lallana, although I was happy with his purchase (albeit overpriced, which he can’t be blamed for)it hasn’t worked out for him and it would be best for his career if he moved onto somewhere that he can be the main man again.
            Now, Coutinho, although he is a decent player, he is far from world class. He is massively inconsistent, he currently seems uninterested and bored. I believe his head has been turned by the interest of Barcelona and he’s also probably had his agent in his ear looking for a nice pay day. I believe that if we don’t get Champions League then he’ll be gone in the summer.
            Do I want him to go? If he can become more consistent and less frustrating, no, I want him to stay.
            Is he replaceable if he does go? Yes. There are plenty of attacking midfielders out who are at his level or above. We already have 1 in the squad in Firmino. He just needs time to adjust to the league.
            Nothing I have ever said about Coutinho says “I want him gone”. It says he is replaceable and we won’t suffer if he does. Much better players have gone in the past and much better players will go in the future.

          • Whatever man, i am not going to go into this anymore. I did it once with 2 idiots like Dereksmith and angryklopp and i wont do it again. Every man to his own opinion i guess.

        • That we would be fighting relegation if Coutinho left is a MASSIVE stretch.

          Coutinho is an immensely talented player, but his production does not match up to his promise at present – we’re still dealing with potential rather than a finished article with him atm. Hopefully, with time and his side and better players around him, he will realise that potential at LFC sometime in the near future.

          • Yeah, it may be a bit stretched i admit, but stretched to make my point that we really should not get rid of him , not now when we are so void of good players atm. Lets hope he and firmino can find consistent form in the near future.

    • bit early i´d say, as is the whole discussion, though i´m pleasantly surprised how good the views are, no pandas wanting to change all eleven, plus bench, plus staff and sell the academy. Klopp will be at Anfield for 100 days tomorrow, i think there´s more time needed to evaluate. tendencies are there but for the final verdicts it seems to early. but maybe i´m the soft one :)

    • I’ll keep saying that the problem is that he is being played out of position as a wide forward. He doesn’t have the pace or goalscoring instinct (i.e. get in the box enough) to be play in that position for me, but could finally deliver on his potential if deployed in a deeper role more consistently

      • Funny you say that, because under Rodgers too, he had a bigger impact on games starting on the left. Still does. Personally, I would stick him on the right to stop him shooting all the effin time.

    • Coutinho is inconsistent but even on his bad day he is not a bad player but yeah little wasteful. But he is 23 and we have klopp so ain’t going anywhere and he will get better.

          • No, Lallana is really consistent in his work ethic. He’ll run and work for the team. When Coutinho goes missing he really goes missing.

          • Yet Lallana offers ZERO ASSISTS or Goals as a CAM….

            Yes his tracking and defensive effort is monumental but as a CAM your primary job is to score or assist…

          • 1 assist mate. 1 asisst from a CAM.

            How many has tadic got and he cost half the money we paid for lallana?!

          • Never stated we should sell him. I think him and Milner are incredible players off the bench and for cup games – 110% players who give everything.

            But we need a bit ore quality on the wings. Look what Delefau has bought to everton.

          • Firmino on a bad day vs lallana on a good day is lallana being better. He contributes a lot in the nitty gritty stuff and although it doesn’t translate into many assists/goals we have looked so much worse with him out of the side. I wouldn’t hastily replace him because I think he’s essential for the high press. You would need to replace him with someone similar but with more end product (maybe Oscar?)

            Firmino on a good day vs lallana on a good day is probably firmino though.

        • I think we all love Philippe? But he has to get mentally stronger, lose the pout, trust his fellow conspirators even Benteke, then we will see his best and hope we can hold on to him.

          • Whats your point?
            Obviously villa and Southampton were at never at par with lfc in terms of quality players. So if a player at lfc is voted player of the year its much better than star player of villa or Southampton.

          • That is my point. The statement needs context. Southampton with Lallana as a star player weren’t much worse than Liverpool with Coutinho as it’s star man.

            Just saying a player is the best of a “bad lot” doesn’t mean much, particularly if said player isn’t dragging the test of the team to another level along with him

          • We know couts is no suarez now but he is ain’t lallana for that matter. He is somewhere in between and this team has far greater problems than pointing it to couts.

          • I’m not blaming Coutinho for the failings of this team. I’m just pointing out the fact that he does have a long way to go in order to deserve the over-the-top plaudits that so many are giving him

    • Couts looks like he wants to be somewhere else. I love the guy and his talent, but not essential to our progress. Bash me if you like :) but I think getting Sturridge fit is the biggest project we have.

    • Yano what I’ll agree with that. Would you take £40m from Barca for an inconsistent, wasteful player who looks quite disinterested and reunite Kloppo with Mario Gotze for £30m? That’s focusing on Coutinho’s flaws and perhaps too harshly, but I know I would.

    • When he’s good we over praise him.
      When he’s bad we over blame him.
      Emotions and Football one hell of a match.
      My vote is to keep him.

    • No brainer to keep him. Overall i would have him over Lallana all day long. He’s a bit out of form at the moment but when all are playing well he’s at the top of the list. You’ve opened a can of worms here.

    • Agree. Though he is a top quality attacking midfielder but sometimes looks hard to combine with for teammates… That said, he can decide a game on his day.

    • Love him as a provider, detest his attitude to always go for it himself.
      The man never looks happy, he is carrying the world, no need Phillip, Leave Klopp to develop him, not the finished article, definitely do not sell.

  10. Firmino has had 2.5 good games and now everyone is saying he is good enough. He may come good enough but he needs to play with some consistently for at least a little while longer for me.

      • Easier on the eye but benteke has won more points.

        Both have been poor really. Both will probably come good next season I think.

          • I hope he does, I think the majority of players should get 2 seasons in case we miss gems of players after they’ve settled.

            Unless you’re Adam bogdan

          • No thanks.

            If Ben gets another chance it means we WONT be signing another striker this summer unless studge or ben are sold…

            I would rather ADMIT we made a MASSIVE mistake and sell – even in Jan.
            Beharino could do a better job than him. Or wait for Lacazette in the summer.

          • Beharinho is a fair weather striker and lacazettes form has dipped alarmingly this season, and the prem is harder than ligue 1 . It would be an expensive gamble.

          • Fair weather striker?

            20 goals at 21 in the EPL. People are saying Kane is worth 60M.

            20M for a striker who scored 20 goals in a Tony Pulis team is not a gamble IMO. Watch Tottenham or Chelsea get him and we will be like dam not again..

            Lacazette form is worrying to be honest would love a Griezman or Aub – world class strikers with PACE.
            Even if they cost 60M would be well spent.

          • It’s how uninterested he is, it’s how he throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants, it’s how I’ve seen him pull out of heading in a goal because he doesn’t want to head the ball.

            Little things like that

          • To be fair suarez did the same thing.

            Unfortunately when the owners go back on their promise then modern day players act like children

          • Ah but the difference is Suarez then put in his best season ever for us. Berihano is just playing badly.

          • Difference was stevie intervened and it was arsenal bidding where we all knew suarez only wanted barca or Madrid.

            Beharino knows his best is only good enough for the likes of Tottenham Liverpool Chelsea.

            He had his dream move to Tottenham that was promised to him taken away.

            Imagine if we refused to sell suarez to barca? He would have sulked.

    • I think no one here is doubting Firmino’s capability and potential but we all know that he lacks consistency right now and that too big time. We have all seen his ‘A’ game and that’s lip smackingly good but I would rather have his ‘B’ game in all matches than ‘A’ game in 2 matches and ‘D’ game in other 10

      My personal opinion is his second season would be way way way better than this one which actually excites me coz what we have seen in flashes is something that we have been missing in our starting XI since a certain No 7 left.

      • Firmino needs a partner. Coutinho did that v. City, and Lallana v. Arsenal. I really really really want to see what Firmino + Sturridge can become.

        • We thought the same post ManC match too but it didn’t pan out that way. Did it?
          Consistency and bringing his top game against small clubs/opponents are something that he need to work on.

          • I’m not saying everything will be magically better now…if anything his poor/mediocre ineffective play has been more consistent since his arrival out here. That City game was fantastic in terms of movement, something he’s been able to replicate in other matches as well thankfully…but his finishing even in that game left a lot to be desired. This match though he brought it, both goals were top quality.

            So I meant kickstarter in that context..but you’re right, he’s gonna have to atleast bring it every match now..opposition tactics and other extenuating factors and circumstances would mean he would not be able to replicate that performance every match, but here’s hoping for some kind of consistency.

    • Firmino has been doing a lot better than most people think. Once the team starts to settle and he really finds his feet, everyone will see all his qualities clearly.

        • Ah, glanced over it. It was a goal as a striker for the Brazil team. So as a striker he’s even more prolific for us. Keep him there.

          • Haha. In the games he’s scored he’s done well, but it’s the other ones where he can’t make a pass 5 yards or he loses the ball or his first touch escapes him.

            We’ll see though.

          • Usually he played with Benteke. They don’t seem to have a great connection. Firmino could be one of our go-to guys.

          • I think that is the key to Firminho… He fades when he is played with Benteke…. the doesn’t get the return balls, and Benteke does not run into the channels.

    • He is our best striking option we have atm.

      Would love to see Kloppo try this out though:

      Hendo Can Milner/Lallana
      ——- Cou
      –Studge — Firmino.

      SIGH it does require Studge to actually be fit..

  11. The team needs a new spine in order to overcome the mental fragility that has been built into the team over the last few years – a new keeper, centre-back and holding midfielder would give the team a backbone on which to build sustainable, long-term success.

    Aside from that, a new pacey wide-forward is the other priority. I think the rest of the current squad will look much improved and fit for purpose with those holes filled adequately.

    • Klopp is providing a bit of spine :) Let’s see how we do v. Manure. Hoping that we at least have a respectable season (CL would be a bonus) but just wait for next time, onwards and upwards, I believe :)

      • tbh I worry about Man U more tan most games, because as sh! te as they can, they always get themselves up against us and Arsenal

  12. I agree with this article. Only the other day I was making a similar point to a friend.
    The team of 08 09 had an amazing spine and it fell down on the positions around the spine.
    Currently, we do not have the spine but probably would have better options in the other positions.

  13. Our weakest link is Lallana, who is not even remotely good enough, at anything, the guy defines being a waste of a shirt. 1 league goal and 2 assists in 40 odd games, dating back over a year. He’s 28 in 3 months, it’s time to cut out losses and move on.

    It has gotten to a point where I’d rather play Allen as a 10 over him. Much more effective on the ball (better passer, doesn’t give it away and recycles it better) and more of a goal threat than Lallana has been in the past 2 seasons.

    Anyone over Lallana in that front 3 and we’ll see a massive improvement. It’s no hyperbole to say that a training cone couldn’t be much worse on the ball, statistically speaking.

    • Pfff … all the reply you deserve. Where do you get such animus towards our better performers? Some problems in your personal life? Please deal with it in private with your shrink.

      • Are you mad you can’t belittle the facts I’ve just laid on a plate there for you mate? 1 league goal in 2015 from a player who’s played in a front 3 is beyond unacceptable. Your denial won’t change that. Not to mention the fact Lallana doesn’t do anything else other than run about like a headless chicken, dwell in possession, not see a pass and then give it away cheaply. He’s rubbish.

  14. ‘Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Pepe Reina.’

    The only player of these that came into the team as an established star player with huge expectations was Nando. Mostly they became very good playing for LFC, over time.

    We can always sign the odd big name, but to make a team that is world class, you simply need more. The mistake since 08/09 season was of course there were no contingency plan when all these players trickled out. Much of this because of financial restraints at the time. Now, when a core like that is not replaced successfully as they leave, it takes time to rebuild it. We’re not that far off.

    Our current best XI (my opinion)
    Clyne, Skrtel/Lovren, Sakho, Moreno
    Lallana, Hendo, Can, Coutinho
    Sturridge, Firmino

    (don’t think there’s much between Skrtel/Lovren all in all – Lovren might edge it because he is younger).

    I concede we have some issues with fitness and quite possibly should look at our central defense. Other than that, and giving these players another complete season together, that is going to be one strong team. I can assure you that, if they keep fit, all of Clyne, Moreno, Hendo, Can, Coutinho, Sturridge and Firmino would be very attractive to the bigger clubs over the next couple of years.

    Even better, I believe we have quite a few fringe/youth players that will make ‘very good’ as well.

    The future is not as bleak as many fans seems to believe.

    • Bigger clubs???? OMG what? heheh … I agree with you brother, we gonna kick some assenals, it will take time but we are not that far off :)

      • Yeah, I know! Sounds weird, but unfortunately I am afraid we need to be realistic not being the biggest at the moment …

  15. Neil I don’t know where you got the 5 buzzwords at the top of the article, but my favourite one from Klopp is”development season”. Doubt there will be a lot of change, I expect the meat and potatoes players will stay coz we need them, and the potential stars will progress. It really does not need much more to be a team that doesn’t only have the potential, but actually does get the wins needed to take the lot.

  16. All we need really are first team players, FIFA and Football manager have convinced me that the following would be perfect for us…

    GK – Butland, Horn, Trapp, Karius, Ter Stegen
    CB – Howedes, Hummels, Matip, Umtiti, I.Martinez
    LB – R.Rodriguez, Robertson, Gaya
    CAM/CM/CDM – Xhaka, Rakitic, Eriksen, Gotze, Pjanic, Gonalons, Bender,Gundogan, Alli
    LM/RM – Yarmolenko, Volland, Sane, Keita, Bellarabi, Forsberg
    ST – Lacazette, Icardi, Fekir, Berahino, Alcacer, Batshuayi

    -first team GK for obvious reasons

    -new CB is inevitable

    -Moreno is a decent attacking fullback, but we need someone who is consistent and reliable in both attack and defence

    -Henderson to me is our only reliable and consistent CM, Coutinho overrated? (save that for another day) but all other CM’s are far too unreliable to be first team regulars

    -Ibe cant cover both wings all on his own

    -no explanation necessary for our s*** show of a strikeforce, although Ings and Origi look promising,we need a first team striker who is fit, firing and suits our style of play

    • “..FIFA and Football manager have convinced me that the following would be perfect for us..”
      not having a pop at you but expertise from watching real football maybe better?
      just kidding, for the next war i´d like to see Masterchief, Iron Man and Captain America fighting for us too…;P

  17. I was looking at the team sheet of man u, arsenal, chelsea, city, even tottenham and realised that good technical quality is seriously missing from our team. Top4/5 have proven technically good talents with them and while liverpool have really really average players. Klopp is actually fighting with sticks and stones here. Am very much conviced that we have to improve in terms of quality players. Like wide players, left back, DM, CBs, GKs are very direly needed to be upgraded.

    • With respect, bollocks :) We have plenty of quality but too many missing through injury :( 2-3 good signings in summer and we will be kicking a$$ looking for a title.

  18. for me can moreno clyne hendo coutinho are nailed on starters in this team ( u can add a fit sturridge to that list) the rest are average and lallana is average at best 0 goals 3 assists from a player of 25m pounds and please give me a break dont give me that “he is good off the ball,workrate” argument again.Ibe can become the next sterling if he keeps performing the way he did at stoke.

    • Maybe you need to watch a little closer and actually analyse what happens in a game? I mean the whole game not just the highlights. Ibe was crap as usual but I hope he has improvement coming, just needs to understand the game better first :)

  19. We need some good CBs. Get rid of Milner, surplus to requirement. Lallana has to go. Ibe needs playing time, Championship club would be good for him. Firmino will come good. Coutinho has to stay. Benteke needs to go. Keep Sturridge as a luxury player until his contract winds down or he wants a move. Always good when back if back. We need a specialist DM. Allen has something under Klopp others don’t have. I would keep him, under Klopp Allen brings creativity which we have little of week in week out. Origi and Ings aren’t good enough for Liverpool to push forward. They are just OK but we need special to push forward so with Benteke, Origi, Ings gone and Sturridge a luxury we need better forwards.
    SO lets keep Ings and Sturridge. Get rid of Milner, Benteke and Origi. Keep Toure and Lovren but get rid of Sakho and Skrtel. Lucas’s time has passed but if he wants to stay as back-up all the good, so 2 CBs, 2 FWs, 1 DM in.

      • how so Steven? In the summer we need to let bodies go and bodies in. we can’t keep players forever.
        My suggestion is very normal, around 5/6 out and 4/5 in, how is hat unrealistic. Not to mention I didn’t mention ANY names coming in. So technically they could be ALL frees, yet you are stating $1,000,000,000, where does that come from?
        Finally Barca? why asking for bodies to come in at summer makes that over ambitions?

  20. We are comparing then and now. Back then we had 5 world class players. Reina, Torres, Gerrard, Alonso and Mascherano. They were all world class at that point. Even Carra would have been knocking on the door. So almost 6. When you have that level of player it brings on all the other players to raise their game.
    Since Gerrard left last season (even though he was in decline) we dont have anyone in the team who feels like a big draw to the club. These players in the team may grow over time. But right now who is world class?
    We are crying out for a superstar. We didnt realise how lucky we were the day Torres left and Suarez entered.
    I have great faith in Klopp and dont wish to sound negative. To prove my point I would ask anyone to go onto youtube and watch any of the big CL games in the Benitez era or almost any of the league games from 13/14. Do we not want to see stuff like this again??

  21. Just for the hell of it I’m going to fast forward two or three years (or a few transfer windows) Without naming individuals which only opens up another dozen or so debates, I can see three or four maybe of the current team still being in our best starting eleven, maybe another five or six still being in the squad and the rest being moved on. That assumes of course that over the next two or three years we add at least seven or eight players of a better quality than we already have, I also believe that the introduction of better players with improve everyone else who survives the next few windows. Suarez improved almost everyone single handed and I can think of several players we have that will benefit from having better players around them..

    • I dare to say, Suarez improved even Messi’s game ))).
      Of course he would’ve improved all our average players in his time at our Club. I agree with your comment though ;)

      • I quite agree on Suarez improving Messi’s game. Messi has become a much more complete player since goals are not his sole responsibility. He’s displaying far more creativity and football intelligence, not just speed and skillful feet.

    • given that 2-3 yr span i could see some of the players that are momentarily not rated worthy or inconsistent or having to make do with “just” playing against Exeter progressing and some even into that elusive “world class” standard. that´s why i think it´s early days to tell now but surely some tendencies are surfacing, not saying that they still stand the next time we make that comparison. although the influx you perfectly showcased with Suarez is a factor that would make Klopp´s efforts easier, surely faster and durable.

  22. The absolute core of the team that I would keep is something like:
    GK: Migs – Ward
    RB: Clyne – Flanno
    CB: Sakho, Lovren, Gomez,
    LB: Moreno
    CM: Hendo, Can, Milner
    AM: Coutinho, Allen
    ST: Firmino, Sturridge, Origi, Ings, Benteke
    RW: Ibe

    So that leaves out Bogdan, Skrtel, Kolo, Lucas, Lallana, Wisdom, Illori, and Caulker. I’ve not set my heart on selling Lallana, Wisdom and Caulker, the rest can be off by tomorrow.

    Let’s assume we get Matip I think we’re ok in the CB department allthough one extra couldn’t hurt, that could be Wisdom.

    We need to add a CDM that can be that absolute powerhouse in defense and also does a bit in attack or general football play. The likes of Matic, though hard to come by these days.

    In CM we also have Grujic next year and the CDM should be able to play in a 2-man midfield as well. So that should be okay.

    CAM is a spot where we’re lacking a genuine distributer of the ball, a Sneijder type of guy. Seeing the recent cameos of Allen I think he can play a part there. Adds to midfield and to attack. He’s too lightweight to be an out an out midfielder in the EPL but can do some good stuff as a 10. Obviously Coutinho is the main man there, even though he needs to learn a thing or two. Firmino and Lallana can do a job so that’s ok.

    On the wings we’ve got absolutely nothing. Milner and Lallana are not wingers, they’re mobile players who can do what you ask of them. But nothing a real wingattacker does. All the big prizewinning sides have them, pacey players with a goalthreat. From Pedro and Messi to Robben and Ribery via Hazard and Willian to Costa etc. We’ve got nothing and this should be the absolute pinnacle of our moneyburning. Goetze and Yarmolenko, Reus.. big threats to everyone. Get them. Ibe, Ojo, Kent and Canos can be the backups.

    The striking department is well sorted. We’ve got a host of high quality strikers. Firmino has been really only good there so I keep him on as a striker, maybe even our main man. Sturridge is.. well, the glass goalmachine and then there’s Origi and Ings. Benteke to bring on and break open games as he did against Arsenal. He can work from there.

    So.. a big CDM and two big Wingattackers and we’re good to go.

    • When you mentioned allen as a number 10 just made me laugh mate!!he’s not a number 10,he’s a squad player at best!!you can’t sell cualker,becuase he is a loanie! !Don’t think that we will buy him,he’s just a short term fix!!and why will you sell lucas?I’d rather have him as a squad player then allen!!

      • He’s obviously not the starter for the number 10 role, but if you analyze him and you watch what he does best that’s what a playmaking number 10 does. A real Sneijder like distributor. Surely he doesn’t have the shooting ability, but he’s reasonable clinical in front of goal. When he gets in the box he’s dangerous. Look at his Swansea stats, 4 goals and 2 assists with 1.1 keypass per game as a semi attacking midfielder. The times he played for us there he’s been really good. He’s one of the few smart players we have. Boxed in between many players he finds a solution. We’ve been using him reasonable wrong or not very effective as a CM.

        Caulker yeah obviously. He’s got 6 months to prove himself. Didn’t do anything wrong at his debut, placed his headers well and created enough havoc to give Benteke room enough to get the assist off.

    • Good, but how far are you looking ahead? Next season? There are a few wild cards like Allan & Awoniyi that could be nothing or could be world beaters, but 2-3 years away. It’s a decent squad even now but needs an injection of magic … Sturridge is when fit, maybe Can and/or Firmino might be. Just need the one to make it all gel, another Suarez :-P

  23. Imagine there’s no injuries and all these fully fit …

    Clyne Lovren Sakho Smith
    Can Hendo
    Origi Firmino Ings

    Bench: Mignolet Lucas Moreno Coutinho Lallana Milner Allen

    Not such a bad squad, could beat anyone.
    PS Smith ahead of Moreno coz I am an aussie ;)
    And Gomez should maybe be there somewhere.

    • Lets think of best case scenario with the possibilities of injury to any and every player available. You have no cover for Lovren and Sakho two consistently injured players, while Origi, Firmino and Sturridge DO NOT track back meaning you have no protection for your full backs. just saying

  24. Perhaps the problem is we try and sign too many players a year? Last two summers we have bought large quantities of squad players to improve the squad rather than making 2-3 quality additions that would probably have kept us in contention post-2013/14. I’d say we should keep the bulk of our current squad and try and sign a top CB, CM and striker to boost the first XI

    • 4 players each window.

      This next window – a young german GK <10M – who will challenge flappy bird.
      RCB – Matip we have seemed to have agreed to .

      Go out and buy a world class CM and Striker.
      Bender, Gundogen or Xhaka
      Lacazette, Aub (No Griezman unless AM appeal their ban )

      • Please stop with this Lacazette nonsense. He is dreadful, scored 3 goals in the last 2 seasons again top 6 Ligue 1 sides. Auba and Griezmann would be a dream though.

        • If he’s a flat track bully that would be fine by me. In 13/14 we were killing the “lesser” sides and got tons of points from doing that. If he helped us flat track bully into 4th that would be called progress.

          • Look at the difference in quality between the leagues, Monaco is on the same level as Watford or Bournemouth.

          • Didn’t stop them from developing Martial or Kondogbia and some big teams are looking at the kid Kylian Mbappe Lottin. Also i bet Leicester didn’t have to fight hard to sign Kanté. Just because it’s not a great league and goes under the radar it offers great playing time for young players to develop and they are all the better for it.

  25. Lets state the obvious first:

    New GK – everyone in the world except FSG see this.

    RCB – Skrtel and Kolo are not good enough.
    Sahko is injury prone so can’t really be SPINE.
    Lovren is who I would make long term LCB. Matip is right footed and so is Caulker – hopefully either of those players fill this gap.

    LB – Moreno – still can’t defend, always caught out and his shot is actually 9/10 quite bad. Cresswell would be an upgrade and hes not a world class LB yet.

    DM – Can has been great but still is young and naive. Hendo has been fantastic since hes been back but we need real quality in the middle in case anything happens to either of these 2. Allen, Milner and Lucas are not good enough.
    Gundogen, Bender or Xhaka would be perfect. Still undecided on Neves.

    Here is where it gets interesting – we bought a CAM every single window yet we still lacking a CONSISTENT one?!
    Would still keep Cou at 10 if he has movement in front of him.

    LW and RW lacking massively. Milner is solid 6/10 at best. No goal threat. Lallana is poor in possesion. Only LFC buy a CAM who doesn’t score or assist.

    Striker – first things first Big Ben should be sold. Doesn’t fit expensive plan B at best.

    I genuinely believe Studge is world class problem is fitness.

    If he plays LESS than 10 games between now and end of the season AND he still makes imself available for ENGLAND then we have to sell and move on.
    I would rather we SELL both him and Benteke and buy 1 World class striker in Aub.

    7 positions… Bodgers spent 300M on what again?!

  26. It’s simple,we need a goal keeper,centre half,midfielder,and a goal machine upfront,whether it’s as a creater or a scorer,so it could be an CAM,winger or a forward with movement!!four players…but it has to be four players that can walk straight into our first team!!

    I think we should start by getting rid of some dead wood!bodgan should go f##k himself,I don’t want him near a red shirt!!skrtl and toure should go,aswell as Enrique and wisdom!!in return we should go for either Ter Stegan,Leno or Butland,and demote migs to the backup keeper!!we should sign matip on a free,which will be the replacement of toure,which is cool,becuase toure is on some hectic wages,so that will cover matip’s wages,so we get an younger and better player for free!!skrtl,wisdom and Enrique’s wages left behind aswell as transfer fee’s received should be pointed towards a transfer for an absolute world class right sided centre half!!klopp’s German pulling power might get us hummels or howedes,but honestly,marquinos or Lapporte would do me justice!!gomez and flanno can play on both fullbacks,so they will be perfect backups to Clyne and Moreno!

    As for the midfield,we should look to get rid of either allen or lucas,preferably allen,and go all out for xhaka!!he’s tall,is a great passer,physical,he’s a good defender,and has great technical ability,would be perfect for the PL,and would fit in nicely with hendo and can in a trio!!

    The world class forward I’m looking for can be one of three really…either a CAM that is a good creater,a player that can unlock defences with ease,like ozil or fabregas of last season!!gotze obviously fits the bill,while lallana will be the victim and should be going the other way!!the second option can be a pacey winger,that can score, cross and create!!again it should be a world class player,and reus would be amazing,I would get a wet dream if he joins us,I don’t mind his injury record,becuase when he play he’ll make a difference,but he is very unrealistic,but who knows,if we get CL klopp might persuade him!if he joins,markovic will unfortunately have to go,which is a shame!!if we go for an option upfront,he has to be a player that can run in behind the defences,and atleast have movement!!Aubumeyang or lacazette would be great options!!sturridge then has to pack his bags and move on,that is if we get a buyer for him!!the reason I chose him over benteke,is because benteke offers us a plan b,a player we can kick the ball long to at the end of the game,when our legs tire!!hes a great impact sub,a rather expensive one that is…

  27. henderson as liverpool captain and millner as second in command. theres a place to begin with questioning some aspects of our quality.

    • Glory hunter? Start supporting Barca who have Iniesta and Messi as cap and vice respectively, hope thats good enough quality for you.

      • glory hunter. nope mate. fifty year old lifelong liverpool. long time used to real quality captains at our club not young hopefuls who go missing when it counts, and whats barcelona got to do with anything? hows yer breakfast?

        • I apologize but every Liverpool fan who bashes Hendo for his lack of quality has either got sky high expectations or can’t see the work and effort he puts in a red shirt.

          • thanks for that. what i was trying to say was that hendo is too young to be in such a precious position as our main man, he is a huge engine and fantastic talent but the responsibilty of being our captain, jesus. thats a big call, have a great weekend mate and we all know how we want it to end on sunday afternoon, come on you reds.

          • Well Gerrard was 23 when he displaced Hyppia as captain sooo….I mean, I’m not comparing Gerrard to Hendo. Gerrard could take the game by the horns and win it for us but I do think Hendo is deserving of the armband. He is always vocal pushing his team on and goes the extra mile when all those around him get more tired. Not to mention he actually plays well. He puts in great passes(long balls too!), gets assists, and pops up with the occasional goal. That’s something called “leading by example” if I’m not mistaken.
            I do agree that we may have screwed up with giving Milner vice captaincy. Lot of other players better suited than he is.

  28. We need to get Carra back as a defence coach or even hyppia some of the defence think there pele and can skin players from defence and create when there job is simple tackle block and or clear dont be a hero my two cents for today sorry :-)

  29. Absolutely spot on.
    As highlighted in the article, we simply don’t have enough quality to get past the “decent” team category at the minute.
    The comparison to the 08/09 team perfectly explains that even our current team is 7 or 8 players behind that team selection, maybe even more.
    How can we expect to progress when we’re carrying players, who should be excelling us even further into a title chase, or a little bit of silverware from a cup run. To be honest i’m sick of hearing the words transition and “they need time”, yes that can apply to the likes of Firmino, but others are just simply under performing far too much to represent Liverpool.
    We need to face facts, hopefully Klopp will address what need to happen, Sturridge cannot be relied on, Benteke doesn’t fit the part, a new keeper is needed, but instead of going into a transfer market and buying people who “may fit the bill” or “have potential” let’s go out and buy someone who we know will do a job.
    This year was the perfect opportunity to close some ground between the other sides, everyone else has drastically under performed, but unfortunately and in classic Liverpool style we couldn’t capitalize and remain consistently inconsistent.
    Hopefully we’ll take the 3 points off the Manc scum this weekend, that will certainly give us a lift, but we need to address the bigger picture and start to be a bit more ruthless. YNWA…

  30. I didn’t read the article as much as scan it, mainly because I want to say what I think, and not be swayed by good arguments one way or another…

    Ming has to go….. Nothing more to say on that.
    Lovren and Skrtel both need to be moved on.. Skrtel because he seems to be getting more prone to massive mistakes, and Lovren because he openly admitted to playing harder for Klopp, which in turn infers he didn’t try as he might for Brendan… That sort of personality has no place at this club…
    Benteke and Sturridge nedd to be moved on… Benteke, because he was never and never will be able to play they way we want or need at LFC. Sturridge doesn’t really need an explanation does he?

    I would probably throw Bogdan and Milner into the hat too, if anyone will take them.

    I’ll read the article now.

    • Woah I think that’s a harsh criticism on lovren. He’s just talking about leadership and inspiration. You can give your all to a manager/leader/superior and then once they’re replaced give that extra 10% because of their charisma and leadership abilities. All the players are giving more under klopp. You’d have to get rid of them all.

      • B u ll… I’m not really annoyed so much that he says that, more that he believes it to be true, rather than he was just c r a p under Rodgers.

        • I think under Rodgers, he was at an all time low with his confidence so even when he wanted to do better for Rodgers, he couldn’t because his lack of confidence led to individual mistakes which broke him. I also doubt he didn’t want to fight for Rodgers as he was fielded ahead of Sakho countless times when he didn’t deserve to so hardly any motive to “slack” off.

          Imagine saying you’re working harder than ever for the manager when you’re playing bad then you lose the game for your team the next day. No going back from that. Of course now when his confidence is as high as ever, he will say these kind of things. Plus it’s a common thing for players to “fight harder” under the new manager because they want to leave a good impression and be in their future plans for the team.

          Before Klopp, the likes of Lovren, Skrtel, Migs, Lallana, and even Moreno looked to be on borrowed time so they knew they had to play now better than they ever did if they want a chance to play under Klopp long term. Some of these players such as Lovren, Lallana, and Moreno seem to have taken this opportunity with both hands.

          • Don’t try and patronise me, I see what he said, and it annoys me, which ever way you take it, for me, it annoyed me, and leaves me with a poor opinion of the man. But you should be feeling bad for ever doubting his obvious talents over the last 18 months, he said so, because he played two games well, or more likely, not badly.

          • Not trying to patronize you mate, just stating my opinion on the matter. I only wanted to give you another angle of looking at it and see if you agreed or not :)

            I actually never doubted Lovren’s talents. Even when he played averagely(no mistakes but nothing great either kind of performance) in the past, I looked at it as a step in the right direction for him while others saw it as “a waste of 20 mil spent by LFC”. My main argument though was about his confidence during Rodgers time and now with Klopp. Confidence can affect how you play whether you are the best in the world, a regular player, or just plain bad. Just take Vincent Kompany of last season. We all know he is a world class defender but that season, he had no confidence therefore he played badly for long periods of time. Another example is Leicester City this season(plus second-half of last season). They don’t have the most amazing players but their confidence as a team is through the roof and results show that.
            Lovren is a great talent for sure. He just needed some adjusting with his confidence and now he is playing well.

          • Wooh! hang on mate… don’t get all carried away, Lovren has played well in two/three games, so turning round and saying I never doubted him is hilariously funny, Even if it was five or ten games, still doesn’t qualify him as anything other than lucky, lucky he’s hitting a purple patch, and lucky some about deem this little run of form as adequate, and somehow excuses the joke that has been the last eighteen months… Blaming confidence is a huge kop out if you ask me…., turned up low on confidence then did he? It’s the only explanation if we are to go with the whole confidence excuse… But he didn’t did he…His head was already here, and he couldn’t wait to get started.. Fact is, he was out of his depth, and it clearly showed.. I don’t care what anyone says, 18 months of dross, is 18 months to get over whatever niggling doubt(s) he may have had…. Turning it around now because of Klopp, and his subsequent words, tell me all I need to know… He either can’t hack it when we really need him, or he chooses to play badly because he didn’t like Brendan, but likes Klopp… You play for the club and the fans, not the manager. Face it, Lovren is a poor excuse/replacement for Agger and as a LFC defender.

          • Not sure where you got the idea that I “turned around” and said I never doubted him. He has the talent and the ability to be a top defender. That’s is why we decided he was right for us.

            He didn’t arrive low on confidence, you’re right on that. His poor performances that followed is what caused his low confidence(defending errors which lead to goals, missing penalty at Besiktas, etc…). However, blaming confidence as you say shouldn’t happen at a big club or it should happen to a certain point(take Kompany as an example).

            Also the fact that Lovren played badly for almost 18 months is another matter entirely. It isn’t easy to forget 18 months of poor performances because that is pretty much an entire season there in which we couldn’t rely on him to provide stable defending which cost us in our pursuit of trophies and getting CL. Now though, he has started to show why we payed 20 mil for him. Yes it is still early to deem him LFC material as its only been around 2 months of good form for him; but it is a good stepping stone towards becoming LFC material.

            If he didn’t want to fight for Rodgers but wants to for Klopp then yeah that’s a bad attitude to have but I’m not fully convinced that’s the case here. I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt that he, like many others in our team, wants to force himself in Klopp’s plans.

          • Doidn’t say it shouldn’t happen at a big club, i said it can’t be used as an excuse… That aside, I’m glad we agree…He is still early in his revival to be deemed a changed man, but if he can try and sting the rest of the season together, I will be willing to change my opinion of his qualities and whether or not, he has positive ones.

    • I’ve stopped reading at the Messi is god part, mainly because I am that dissenter, Messi is great because he has the full backing of the worlds media sucking him dry while telling you he’s great, all the while, a player like Suarez is dissmissed by the world media, even though he managed to help make a very very average side amazing… When Messi can do that, I will change my mind about him. Until then, he’s just another great player at a massively great club full of great players.. ie. nowt special.

    • Hahahaha Lovren needs to move on because of his attitude… Dont look in the past, he is tough, good leader, good defender and shown character to rise above all the critics. He is one of the players we must keep!

    • Lovren seems to have turned a corner..don’t go much by the interviews, every player have their own set weaknesses…if it was mental with Lovren then that means it’s something that can be controlled.

      • Or something that can be as flighty as his mood, at the moment it’s good, but what happens when he has a bad game again?

  31. .Nice! Brutal, as in destroys all hope for the season brutal but still true.

    The 08/09 squad:
    Clyne for me gets in as we only had one capable/fit FB so he can go it at LB when Aurelio pulled something
    Hendo gets in ahead of Sissoko (the song still works as well) and defo ahead of Plesis (he played right? once maybe? CL,PSV?) and Spearing
    Now the maybe’s: if Coutinho was consistant he’d get in ahead of Babbel and that little, fat Egyptian lad, maybe Morrocan, even Mexican maybe and Pennant (did we still have Pennant?). Same for Firmino if the performance against Arsenal is his actual level, maybe ahead of Riera or even Bennayoun (ok too far). And a fit Sturridge is a no brainer only Torres surpassing him.

    Our current team: we have to upgrade on Mignolet regardless of how good he is better is out there that can be got.
    We need another LB, granted Smith has looked ok for cover but if we want to aim higher is he then good enough? I don’t know so maybe thats harsh
    We need something different in CM, no idea what that is.. Creative, defensive, attacking, not a clue
    Another goal getting winger, who that is I don’t know.
    And the striker situation will clear up over time so can’t judge that now. Origi could return and be important, Benteke might attack the front post (where all our crosses go) and Sturridge….Oh and Ings, legend!

  32. Now, if we want to have a decent debate on that issue, we need to look at it in a sane manner. Let’s not forget that Torres was out for most of the season…part of the reason we didn’t win the league, and SG was our top scorer.

    Let’s take a snap shot view of the first league match after the 3rd round FA cup match, and compare the teams at that point in time. That was away to stoke and a 0-0 draw….after the famous “Rafa Rants about Fergie” incident…. The only difference is that we are still in the League cup while back then we were out, while we are and were still in europe. Here goes:

    Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Benayoun (Babel 76), Leiva Lucas, Mascherano, Riera (Torres 60), Gerrard, Kuyt.
    Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Keane, Plessis, El Zhar, Torres, Babel..

    Compared to

    22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 4 K Touré, 17 Sakho, 18 Moreno, 14 Henderson, 23 Can (Allen – 82′ ),7 Milner (Benteke – 66′ ), 33 Ibe, 11 Firmino , 20 Lallana (Caulker – 88′ )
    Substitutes: 9 Benteke, 19 Caulker, 21 Lucas, 24 Allen, 44 Smith, 52 Ward, 53 J. Teixeira

    Both games were drawn. So, my 18 from the combination of those two teams at that point in time, given injuries and the rest, would be:

    Reina – Clyne, Carragher, Hyppia, Moreno – Mascherano – Henderson, Can – Gerrard, Firmino – Kuyt.
    Subs: Mignolet, Arbeloa, Sakho, Lucas, Benayoun, Keane, Torres

    Clyne offers more in attack, Arbeloa covers for both LB and RB, Sakho covers CB and can cover LB if need be, Moreno more consistent play time than Aurelio despite the latter’s dead ball skills. Masch on Defensive mid, Can and hendo to do the donkey work, Lucas to cover for any one of them, SG and Firmino behind Kuyt. Benayoun Torres and Keane to bring creativity after 60 mins if still needing a goal. I’m not sure you can get better than that.

    Considering that Agger and Alonso were out at that stage of the season, while Lovren, Sturridge and Coutinho are out now, as far as established consistently performing stars available go, that’s the best team for the 2nd week of January 2009 and 2016 combined. I cant wait to hear your thoughts

  33. I do enjoy your articles Neil I must say.

    For me, we need a keeper, centre back, striker who isn’t Christian Benteke and perhaps a winger.

    Firmino is a deeper-lying forward not an AM in my opinion. Sure we’d all love to making the hole his own causing havoc behind Sturridge but lets face it Sturridge is broken. For that reason we need an accomplished striker who can run the channels for the other 30 games of the season; Lacazette has just announced his intention to move to the Prem and we’d get him a hell of a lot cheaper now than we could have before.
    I really hope that Klopp does think that Mignolet is absolute garbage and he’s just trying to keep his confidence up until we bin him off; we can’t be any better than mid table with a keeper like that and I’d be worried if he didn’t know that. Sign a proven first choice keeper and have Ward as #2, playing cup games and the odd league game, he’s a cracking keeper, I haven’t seen one so well-rounded at that age for years and we should give him every chance to succeed.
    We’re crying out for a top right-sided center half as Martin Skrtel is up there with the biggest frauds I have ever seen. How he’s stole a living at a big club for EIGHT YEARS and now five managers is simply a joke. Worth adding however that Lovren has very much impressed me next to Sakho, but we need another option in that department as recent events have proved. Howedes, Sakho, Lovren, Gomez and Ilori sounds alright doesn’t it?

    One last thing, why the f have we never signed Andriy Yarmolenko?

  34. get rid of


    im sure we can make a decent amount of money from selling these guys, and some would be a buy 1 get 1 free!

  35. The easy list;

    Balotelli, Luis Alberto, Yesil, Wisdom, Vigouroux, Bogdán, Mignolet, Enrique and Touré are all in the list of ‘easy’ names to pitch for a move out. The last 2 are soon out of contract anyway.

    The if an upgrade becomes available list;

    Lallana, Benteke (future completely up in the air), Lucas, Allen, Sturridge (if he can’t prove his fitness), Škrtel (best years in the past).

  36. The funny thing is, if you are really really honest with yourself I do not think any of the current team will get into that team. However if you ask me if there are any that you will want as backup, then there are about 6, maybe 7 players that I will use.
    This is also the crux of the situation. Brilliant backup players, not brilliant first team players on a consistent basis.

  37. The premier league has changed so much in quality since 08/09 that I think it’s difficult to compare the two sides, the 08/09 side is comfortably better than any of the top teams in the league at the moment and our team doesn’t need to be that good to get where we want to be in the short term i.e. top four.

    I still believe we’re 3 positions away from being a top four side, especially given that all the players are still adapting to the way Klopp plays and that we have a lot of young players who are only going to improve (coutinho, can, hendo’s only 25, clyne, moreno, joe gomez, origi, firmino, ibe etc.). Btw those positions are: a top goalkeeper, a top centre back, and a fit sturridge/a top striker.

    Also, can we stop saying hendo is just a runner without much quality – he got 9 assists last season, same as a certain eden hazard (who was actually amazing last season). He’s great in centre mid and one of our most consistent performers. Yes he’s not gerrard but not many people are. For me, with the squad fully fit, he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.

  38. Gk – (Get a new one. This is the one area i just can’t agree with Klopp) , Ward
    CB- Matip ( hope the pre agreement is true), Sakho, Lovren , Gomez,
    RB- Clyne, Flano
    LB- Moreno, NEW LB
    DM- NEW DM, Lucas,
    CM- Hendo, Can, Milner
    AM- Coutinho, Firmino
    LW- NEW LW, Markovic
    RW- NEW RW, Ibe
    ST- NEW ST, Benteke, Ings, Origi.
    (Get rid of the rest, including never reliable Sturridge, Skrtel, Migs and the rest.)
    (Also get a real upgrade on the new players bought, not same old mediocre player like overpaid lallana level.)

  39. First 11 for 2016-2017 (Attacking 4-3-3):
    New Goalkeeper (ter Stegen?)
    Clyne Matip Sahko Moreno
    Henderson Can Coutinho
    Firmino New Striker (PEA or Lacazette) New Wide Player (Reus, Gotze?)
    That side could take the EPL…equal parts steel, skill, and guile.
    Love the silly season…

  40. For the record, we lost Alonso the next season (Hyypia was allowed to leave) and tumbled to 7th with virtually the same squad. Crashed out of the CL Group stages, too. The dark ages continued until 13/14. That’s quite a bit of time in global football terms.

    Great first 11, but very little squad depth and it showed very quickly.

    The time to cement our place at the elite level was summer 2014. Instead, we invested/gambled/cluttered the squad with young potential with resale value. Add some key injuries to the spine of the team – Sturridge-Lucas-Sakho-Flanagan – and the results were as inevitable as they were catastrophic. But at least Mario Balotelli is still on the books.

    We have loads of players that are not nearly as rubbish as people make out, but they require some elite talent on the pitch to bring their own levels up. That includes Coutinho.

    Look at the the levels of other midfield players rise when Henderson is in the side. Or the other attackers when Sturridge is fit. I don’t think we need to rubbish the entire squad. We need to bring in those few elite level players that will raise the game of the collective. Which is what happened in 13/14.

    Had we spent an extra 10-12M to sign Sanchez, a single player, our fortunes last season would have been dramatically different in both the CL and the league. We need to bring that level of player to the squad.

    • It wouldn’t have mattered if we through more money at Sanchez, his then girlfriend wanted to live in Landan town and not Liverpool. We should have gone all out for someone else in that bracket though!

      • As I understand it, a transfer occurs when three parties agree: the player, the club he is contracted to, and the club willing to contract him.

        Because of his status within the club, Barcelona were willing to allow Sanchez to choose his destination because the difference in fees was nominal. If we were to offer an extra 10-12M (i.e. 15M more than Arsenal), we could have forced their hand – particularly as we still had Suarez on our books.

        That money meant that we would be one less 15M player (or two 7.5M players), but the effect of his side in our starting 11 would have been well worth it.

        But, say they still put their foot down, there was still plenty of elite talent floating around that summer for 40M. How much could we recoup from the added money made from the additional rounds of CL football? From making top 4?

        • That’s not how it works…you can’t force a player to join your club against his own wishes by trying to broker a deal with the parent club. As for elite talent, we did try and ask around for Falcao(look how that turned out for United) and Cavani..the club wanted to find an adequate replacement to Suarez but couldn’t because world class talent was still not giving us much time of day. With that being said, we could have done a hell of a lot better than Balotelli, Lallana and Markovic as attacking talent.

        • We didn’t necessarily have to add an extra 15 mil to force Barca’s hand. Barca agreed with the deal we had in mind. Sanchez however did not.
          We could have tried adding an extra 50-75k to the contract offer for Sanchez. Maybe his then-girlfriend would have liked that more than London ;)

  41. Thanks Neil…opinion pieces can easily be dull and raise the heckles of large swathes of the audience, but when you build in plenty of humour and caveats to “not have a thrombo”, it makes for a cracking read!!

    The only other point I would mention, to really add perspective, is that the season in question was prior to the FFP regulations and that the team we amassed then, nearly ended up bankrupting the club…still what a team…

  42. This isnt difficult to answer because there is no consistent first eleven so we have to take into consideration that all players are 100% fit and then it is possible to answer. From the squad we have at the moment starting from the back
    Mignolet. Unfortunately
    Clyne skrtel sakho moreno
    Henderson. Can
    Coutinho. Firmino
    Move the midfield to suit the oppostion but id say thats the best 11 we can put out.

  43. For me, this was always the draw of Klopp more than any other aspect. When Rodgers had Suarez and Sturridge both fit, we were scintillating. But we couldn’t keep Luis and Rodgers couldn’t replace him. With time, we would expect Klopp to get better results from the same players based on his history – but because of who he is, what we really want is to attract the very top level of talent. It’s that draw that makes him such a big hit, and we won’t see that impact for a window or two.

  44. Too many of them. We have a squad full of squad players and not enough quality in the first 11. We keep signing players from mid/lower table EPL teams and weaker foreign leagues. We can’t get into the top 4 with that sort of foolish strategy and hopefully FSG wake up to that fact now.

    We need a few high quality signings to improve the team and also take some pressure off the rest of the players a bit. We don’t need 11 big money world class stars but we need 2-3 really top players who can be the difference between winning and not winning.

    The 2013/2014 team had plenty of flaws and average players, but having 3 really good players (Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard) helped balance those flaws out. Crucially, those players also made the “lesser” players jobs on the pitch a lot easier.

    • On the flip side, those “lesser” players (Coutinho, Sterling, Henderson, etc.) were well-suited to getting the most out of the elite players. So, it becomes a bit philosophical about the talent of individual players in isolation or in relation to a coherent whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

      Gerrard, who could make a case for our player of the season above Suarez, was fairly useless without the right players up front. at the same time, we saw Suarez continually frustrated by Dalglish’s approach. Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll left him merely an excellent player, as opposed to the third best player on the planet.

      Without a doubt, we need some truly elite players, but I completely agree with you that many of the players in the squad have a significantly higher ceiling when they play with such players around them.

  45. Wow, what a well written article, well done Neil! Sums up everything I feel about our current squad. I was fortunate enough to grow up watching the teams of the 70’s and 80’s(I was spoiled I know) and Neil hit it on the head, our expectations at LFC have gradually dropped to being decent, what happened to second is nothing? YNWA

  46. We need a top drawer stud in front of the back four (and one who can do more going forward). Add such a player to our best 9 outfield players (excluding Sturridge for obvious reasons) and we’d be contending. No use wasting more money on centre backs – get in a keeper and a top notch defensive midfielder and all will be good.

  47. Thanks for taking the time to read everyone – a bit lengthy I know! Lots of good points in the comments too. Sound.

  48. To answer the original question asked here…in simple terms 3-4 need replacing. In the long term, ofcourse you can say more. GK, Center forward, a proper experienced winger and perhaps even some one in Defensive MF or central defense.

    However, skimming thru parts of the article and reading other sections of it, it’s pretty clear Niel is talking about something larger – like title-winning leagues, average vs world class players and all of that. To be honest I’m really tired of these kind of discussions because the majority always tends to say “whole squad needs replacing” and things of that nature…we’re not a giant European force any longer and we don’t have a sugar daddy handing out blank cheques either…so there’s no way of getting those said “world class” players in bundles. Our best chance of winning the title is by nurturing our own/scouting for potential world class players who can then get the most of out of the “average” players with the right tactics in mind. SaSaS + Gerrard are obviously being missed greatly now but that’s one way to get the most out of your team. Benitez genuinely had a great eye for quality players and on paper atleast we had that world class MF that was considered one of the best in Europe. Doubt we’ll be seeing something like that though.

    Which leads us to the manager effect which IMO is our only real has to be a team greater than the sum of it’s parts. In isolation, all players can look mediocre, but put together in the team with the right tactics and chemistry in mind, the league title is very much achievable. Then there’s also the little part about the coach actually training the player to be a better player himself? That’s a big part of their job description – to help the players achieve heights they didn’t know they could accomplish. Can’t help but look at Fergie winning all those titles over the years…you look at their team, it was never that talented in a complete sense. But he managed to get the most out of the team and the player in question…Nicky Butt, the Neville brothers, John O Shea, Wes Brown, Evans, Carrick, Da Silva brothers – the list is endless. Would you call any of these players world class? No..but Fergie knew how to use them..he never compromised when it came to center forwards, almost always had 4 of them.

  49. I am convince that Mr Poole have been reading some of my postings, i got ridicule on here for saying the exact things, that this article alluded to, only because fans grown accustom to mediocrity, 90% of this squad is only good enough to be role players, definitely not starters.

  50. How many staring 11 need changing? I would be thinking 4.

    I think we surely need an upgrade in the GK department. Be that a completely new signing or giving ward a run. I have not seen anything of him so have no basis for judgement there. I do know he is still young but from reading plenty of comments and articles he could well be the answer. What I do know though is that we need some security at the back in the vein of rein.

    CB is the next upgrade I would go for. If the Matip stories are true and he signs he may be the answer. Hopefully he is the new hyppia.

    Clearly a striker is next. Ideally Sturridge is the preferred option but if that is not to be then we need to seriously need to look for something in that dynamic mould.

    The last one really depends on the formation used. 433 I would go for a new DM in either form of Alonso/mascherano. 4251 I would suggest a new AM to replace Adam Llalana. A Reus that is not injury prone would suffice. Those gotze rumors are fierce tasty.

  51. Mr. Neil Poole does have a point. Out of all those players from 08/09(taking into account starting eleven only),there are maybe at best 3 players that are replaceable.
    I’d say a fit Sturridge would be able to partner Torres(Replace Riera), Coutinho gets the slight nod ahead of Benayoun(Add some consistency to Couts and he can confidently displace Benayoun), and Sakho for Skrtel(he was pretty good back then but quality wise, I think Sakho is better).
    Let’s not forget that Gerrard was also in that team(he isn’t in the picture) so add him in there and we might not even be able to add 3 players into that starting eleven.
    However this isn’t to say we need wholesale changes. There are about 3-4 players per match that you can say don’t show enough to merit a starting position. Some of those have good talent and quality but fail to show it on a regular basis(give the benefit of the doubt to those younger ones like Ibe, Moreno, Coutinho, Firmino, etc..) while others….well, just look at Mignolet.
    I’d say we need 3-4 world class signings to replace those usual culprits and then we can build on from there. Those 3-4 world class players plus our other good influential players(Hendo, Can, Sakho, to name some) can be relied upon to get the results when it matters. This way you get around 6-8 very good players that can carry the team instead of 6-8 that need carrying.
    Also regarding the world class signings, you’re probably going to ask how will we get them without CL or “sugar daddies”. Well we can get them. It will be much harder for sure but I think many of these players would relish the opportunity to work under Klopp. Just ask yourself, would the likes of Willian, Sanchez, and Costa rejected us with Klopp at the helm? Maybe they still would have but odds are they would have agreed to join.

  52. the question depends on what is the club’s ambition? participate in PL as we have done for last 61 years in the top division, then this team is good enough. To win it, practically almost everybody except Coutinho, Henderson and in current form Lovren. But first and foremost any upgrade of Mignolet and Lallana in their respective position would do wonders.

  53. Just ask the morons to look at Ozil. He was pretty average last season and look at him now. Every good player needs to adapt and I can see Firmino adapting to the PL.

  54. Good article neil sometimes I agree somtimes I dont,but on this occasion I do,if we can get 4/5 new players an with klopp at the helm we can challenge for the title,dont need a complere overhaul just a good tweaking here an there,I think b4 klopp took the job he told them wat he needed an wanted an to ve fair to fsg I dont think they will renage otherwise he wouldnt have came to lfc.I understand r fans frustration with the past lot of years but with this manager we can go places,just look wat he has done with these players although not spectacular but some good work so with some more signings my mood gets better an better

    • This post doesn’t need a complete overhaul. A few more actual words and a bit of punctuation would just about do it….

  55. The only two, I could honestly see getting into that side are Clyne and Moreno. Henderson, Coutinho would probably be excellent from the bench. Would include Sturridge on that bench, but he never plays enough.

  56. Keeper, winger, striker, DM. Also we really need a set piece wizard. As bad as we are at defending set pieces, we’re pretty rubbish at the other end too!

  57. Exactly, and to a certain extent this applies to Benteke too. If Klopp himself gets rid of him,i am fine with it, if not, why not atleast give him another season to prove himself. Btw, this dosent mean i dont want a new striker, but surely, even if we get a new striker, there is no guarentee he will hit the ground running from day 1, so surely there is room for Benteke, ings, origi in the squad with the new striker . I just dont get fans who overslate our own players when out of form and overpraise them when they see 1 or 2 good game.

  58. I feel at the moment if Klopp played the diamond we would be playing really well. Firmino and Benteke with Lallana behind, Can, Hendo and Milner and Coutinho comes in when he is available and Lallana replaces Milner.

    Any thoughts if bothered?

  59. I reckon Sturridge will get a whole pre-season so maybe we do not expect him until February. He declared himself fit on Boxing Day so I say 6-8 weeks from then

  60. Oh well, trust the club website to pick out the man who needs the arm round his shoulder and a tickle of the ba lls to cheer him up with a meaningless award….. Don’t recall ever being asked by the club for my vote on the matter….

    Mine would have been Benteke in case you were wondering….

  61. I would change mignolet, bogdan, moreno, toure(old) ,skretel, Lucas, origi (effort but no goal as a striker),lallana,ibe(doesn’t know how to cross for a winger, selfishness, no end product,brainless),Allen.
    Maybe coutinho also,5 in 40 match player.
    I’m sure Liverpool with klopp can have better players than those above in every position,

      • Yes moreno, I think smith will overtake him if given the same playing time. Every match we can see klopp barking at him

        • Moreno has about the same number of caps for Spain as Smith does for Australia.

          Not only is the quality and depth of the Spanish team vastly superior to that of Australia, but to even get a look in at Left Back at present means competing with the LB’s of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea, among others.

          Nobody likes losing to Man Utd but have a beer instead of exhausting yourself with knee jerk reactions.

  62. Sell mignolet and all of our centre backs except Sakho.

    Bring in Varane, Godin, Der Stergen, Reus, Gotze and higuain.

  63. Moreno brainless, lallana brainless/gutless, coutinho one dimensional, mignolet the opposition favorite buffo_n/joker/saviour.
    Only those four for me, rest r OK.

  64. Liverpool have brought in every position except a proper world class DM for I don’t know how many years. Liverpool thinks Lucas or can or Allen are good enough n this is where every manager will suffer n lose their job unknowingly if this is not addressed.

  65. SKRTEL- he doesn’t fancy a fight against physical teams

    SAKHO- doesn’t fancy a fight, never looked assured in possession of the ball

    BENTEKE- Not just good enough

    MILNER- Not good enough

    LALLANA- Terrible conversion rate. That wouldn’t get you the title, no way. There are players out there that do all the hard work and still know how to use the ball when they get it and can score a goal too. Eriksen, Alli, Lamella, Martial, Sanchez,De Bryne, Miralas, Barkley, Arnatovic,Okazaki, Payet…….a long list. We deserve better.

    LUCAS- I don’t consider him a top DM, doesn’t compete with Can/Henderson for the shirt.

    MIGNOLET- I don’t think he’s a bad GK, I just think we need an upgrade.

    • So are you suggesting that the most important attribute for a central defender is to fancy a fight???

      Sakho’s pass completion statistics during his Liverpool career are superior to any other central defender, including the stylish in possession Daniel Agger, we have had in he premier league era as far as I am aware (approx. 90% over first two seasons). He plays positive passes too.

      He is physically powerful, reads the play as well or better than our other defenders and when he is fit he is clearly our best central defender.

      Get over his unusual gait. He is not Djimi Traore mk II.

      His ideal partner is probably a quick but I don’t think he is as slow as Sami Hyypiä who was a fine defender for the club.

      I see also that you have pointed out that Lallana is not of comparable standard as a footballer to Sanchez and De Bruyne. Well done.

      • In the EPL right now you just have to fancy a fight as a CB. You have little control over that. We are conceding from set pieces for a reason, we have lost to smaller team predictably for a reason. If you take away the bias and look at it from a neutral point of view you’d realize almost all the teams above us have stronger CBs.
        I’m not totally in support of the call for a new striker suggestion that most fans isolate the problem as. Once again, your AMs have to be scoring to go top nowadays. Carragher just summarized Lallana’s liverpool career.
        Also if Klopp doesn’t buy new attackers I still won’t fancy it next season cos the ones we have are poor. Klopp didn’t manufacture a Reus, he bought one and few other players he had in dortmund.
        The players are not doing a lot to help themselves either.

        • “The players are not helping themselves either.”

          That type of in depth analysis is reminiscent of Jack Lusby.

          Paolo Maldini, perhaps the greatest defender in the modern era, once said that if he had to make a tackle he had already made a mistake.

          You may notice with age and experience that central defenders tend to mature later than other outfield players. They often play deeper into their 30’s also.

          Without going into copious detail the reason is that it is a difficult position to play & more than any other position, it is the one where experience is of greatest value. Why is this so?

          The reason is that there is a great deal more to being an excellent defender than simply being up for the fight…

          Lallana was a terrible signing. Of the most recent batches of disappointments he is perhaps the most disappointing.

          Your comments regarding Sanchez, De Bruyne and Reus are totally irrelevant and incredibly naive. If you hadn’t noticed players of this ilk are not interested in joining LFC at present. Barcelona accepted an offer to include Sanchez in the Suarez deal, the player chose not to join.

          As for Klopp at Dortmund, of course he didn’t “manufacture” Reus or others. What he did, Reus being one of the most extravagant of his signings but still a valid example, was sign promising young players who had not yet become prohibitively expensive and developed them.

          Lewandowski, Gundogan, Hummels, Piszczek, Kagawa, Subotic etc all bought relatively cheaply and groomed together properly.

          I am not alone in thinking Sakho is a good defender, he is no Maldini or Cannavaro, and my belief has nothing to do with bias.

          The squad is poorly balanced, it needs height, pace, width, a goalkeeper and ideally a finisher or two that fits in with the pressing system. Origi has promise, as do some of the others.

          Football Manager 2015 and the real world just aren’t quite the same…

          • I have not asked Klopp to sign Sanchez or De Bryne. I am just pointing out the importance and effectiveness of decent AMs rather than clamoring for a CF.

            I know Klopp has an eye for good talents. I am simply hoping that he replaces our poor AMs rather than sign a striker and expect him to score all the goals which is what most fans are asking for.

            If Liverpool swapped Benteke for Giroud, we will still remain in mid-table. Since we are unlinkely to get a Suarez or a Torres then strengthen the midfield.

            Also, I don’t play football manager, I don’t have that time. You have picked the wrong person for that comment.

          • Those who do play the game are able to compare data for the attributes of their team’s personnel against data for every other teams personnel, thus instantaneously determining which players are, and are not, good enough based on broad generalisations about the values of those attributes in certain positions.

            Seemed like a cogent simile at the time for some reason? I am still well behind on pointless comparison at least.

            I am not aware of anybody suggesting a Benteke / Giroud swap, although I would take either over Torres nowadays.

            Most fans, by any rational definition of the term “most”, are asking, begging, preying for a goalkeeper by the way.

  66. To be honest i have mixed feelings in regards to the current sqad. Mignolet was a decent keeper when we first signed him but unreliable centre backs have shot his confidence to pieces. I am not convinced with Sakho ( i know he’s not in the pic above) his turn recovery is poor, his,distribution not great and he has no pace, nothing there that suggests he’s an 18m defender upgrade needed. Lovren has potential but needs a leader to direct him,as does Clyne. Allan gets plenty of time on the pitch but you hardly know he’s on it half the time. Morena good going forward but leaves space behind him, again needs direction. Skirtel’s saving grace is that he chips in with the odd goal but again is not great at set pieces. Defense is our Achilles heel and i wonder what they are doing on the training ground as this has been happening since 2012. I am not particularly worried about us in the forward positions, Ibe has potential, and Firmino looks like he can be a great player, but unless Klopp addresses the defensive issues then top four will be out of reach again.

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