Opinion

Liverpool FC comment, analysis and opinion from our team of writers here at This Is Anfield.
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 23, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the second goal against Burton Albion with team-mate Adam Lallana during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at the Pirelli Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neil Poole provides the good, the bad, and also how useful Tuesday's 5-0 win at Burton Albion in the League Cup could prove in...
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 23, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Burton Albion during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at the Pirelli Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool eased past Burton Albion in the League Cup, restoring some pride and confidence after their miserable display at Burnley. Burton Albion 0-5 Liverpool League Cup,...

Liverpool produced a hugely comfortable performance as they defeated League Cup second-round opponents Burton Albion 5-0 on Tuesday night. Burton Albion 0-5 Liverpool League Cup -...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2015: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp and Mamadou Sakho after the goal-less draw with Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Kloppaganda)

The shock news that Jurgen Klopp is considering sending Mamadou Sakho out on loan this month is a decision that makes little sense for...
SANTA CLARA, USA - Saturday, July 30, 2016: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the first goal against AC Milan during the International Champions Cup 2016 game on day ten of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Levi's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We take a look at how Jurgen Klopp could deploy his Liverpool side for the League Cup clash with Burton Albion. The Reds turn their...
Burton Albion’s Lloyd Dyer (right) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at the City Ground, Nottingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Forest. Photo credit should read: Jon Buckle/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Liverpool’s League Cup campaign kicks off on Tuesday evening as they travel to the Pirelli Stadium to face newly promoted Championship side, Burton Albion. Burton...

Liverpool's League Cup second-round clash with Burton Albion provides Jurgen Klopp with the opportunity to shuffle his pack. The Reds were drawn against Nigel Clough's...
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 20, 2016: Liverpool's Ragnar Klavan and Georginio Wijnaldum applauded fans at the end of the game against Burnley in the FA Premier League match at Turf Moore. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

Georginio Wijnaldum arrived at Liverpool amid suggestions from Newcastle fans of sustained poor form away from home, and this was evidenced in Saturday's defeat...
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 20, 2016: Liverpool's Manager Jürgen Klopp shouts to his players during the FA Premier League match at Turf Moore. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp blamed Saturday’s shock yet somehow inevitable defeat on poor decision making. He was right, though many of the calls were his own. ...
Less than 24 hours after Liverpool FC Chairman Tom Werner had reiterated that Liverpool FC were not for sale, but that the club’s parent Fenway Sports Group remain open to the idea of selling a minority share in the club, both Sky Sports and the Financial Times reported that a joint approach by the Chinese firm Everbright Limited and PCP Capital Partners for investment was being taken seriously. Operating as an investment partnership in seeking an acquisition of a “substantial stake”, Everbright and PCP Capital Partners are in turn being advised by Silk Road Finance. Liverpool FC, meanwhile, have reportedly turned to American investment bank Allen & Co for advice on any prospective deal. Club Chief Executive Ian Ayre has refused to comment, noting only that a bid has not been received, and that there is no “ongoing” investment discussion of any kind. That carefully worded denial, indicating the absence of a formal bid or active investment discussions does not, however, negate the possibility that an approach has been made, that an initial discussion at the very least has taken place, or that such an approach is being taken seriously. With the alleged interested parties openly named, and one key individual having had significant previous dealings in the football industry and Liverpool FC, it is worth considering who these parties are in more detail. Who are Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners? In 2006 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s sovereign wealth fund Dubai International Capital (DIC) failed in its attempt to purchase the club from David Moores, with Liverpool FC fan Sameer Al Ansari driving the bid, and which resulted in the subsequent sale to Tom Hicks and George Gillett. As financial problems began to engulf the club a year later, Sheikh Mohammed appointed Staveley to lead an attempt to purchase Gillett’s 50% stake, with an option of one percent to be sold to Hicks, a plan which was ultimately blocked by the Texan. That deal would have led to Staveley taking a seat on the board at Anfield. Based in Dubai, with a multi-million pound Park Lane townhouse her English residence, a result of her renowned deal-making ability and “doing anything for a client”, Staveley runs the financial advisory firm PCP Capital Partners. Acting on behalf of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, she saw through the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour, having earlier helped steer the multi-billion bailout of Barclays Bank by the ruling families of both Qatar and Abu Dhabi, and the Qatari state’s sovereign wealth fund. While refusing to disclose the details of their relationship or provide any further information on the man himself, Staveley has said that the one man to whom she owes the most is Sheikh Mansour. Who are Everbright? Headed by Shuangning Tang, who previously served as the Director-General of a division of the People’s Bank of China, the republic’s central bank, and then as the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese banking industry’s regulatory commission, China Everbright Limited is a Hong Kong stock market-listed financial services and investment company. Operating under the auspices of the unlisted parent company China Everbright Group, the state-owned enterprise supervised by the Chinese government’s state council, which has assets under management of $405bn (USD) and revenues of roughly $33 billion, China Everbright Limited has seen reasonable growth in gross and net incomes in the past year, with the latest accounts showing revenue and net income of approximately £210m and £507m. With the Chinese government engaged in a new round of crushing dissent in the country, in a nation in which human rights abuses are rife, any investment may raise questions of reputation laundering, much as the respected international body, Human Rights Watch, aired concerns that the Abu Dhabi government was exploiting Manchester City as a “branding vehicle”. Who are Silk Road Finance? Established in 2015, Silk Road Finance is an Asian investment group whose name derives from the ancient network of trade routes connecting West to East. Invoking Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure programme which included a plan for a “New Silk Road” network, they provided significant funding in the first phase of investment. Directors include John Thornton, the former Goldman Sachs President who during his stint at the investment bank significantly enhanced the firm’s reach in the continent, and upon retirement became an academic at a leading Chinese university, while retaining an advisory position at Goldman on China-related issues. Who are Allen & Co? Allen & Co are described as a “boutique investment bank”, which simply put means an investment bank which specialises in one or more areas of traditional investment banking. In this particular instance the family-run business is known for its work with media, digital and entertainment companies, and played a major part in the initial start marketing listings (IPO) of such companies as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pandora, and Zynga, while also working on Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp, and securing funding for Airbnb and Dropbox. It’s also known for helping businesses find strategic business partners, investors, or even outright buyers, adding its own investment where appropriate to do so. Deliberately eschewing publicity, the firm does not maintain a website and steers clear from issuing press releases, with one of the very limited exceptions being its annual retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, which John W. Henry and Linda Pizzuti have attended on a number of occasions, including in July this year. Henry and FSG have a long-standing relationship with Allen & Co, and subsequently the appointment of the firm as an advisor could simply be a preliminary step, rather than the New York-based company already playing an active role in a negotiation for the sale of a stake. What’s at stake? In July last year, Liverpool FC Director Mike Gordon raised eyebrows when he used the words “outright investment” as regards the prospective sale and bundling of naming rights and other opportunities in the club. Ian Ayre later clarified those remarks to mean that the club would not consider equity investment – the sale of a minority stake in the club – in isolation, but only as part of a strategic partnership. This was effectively re-confirmed by Tom Werner in the 19 August interview, that with the “right partner” and under the “right conditions” the club could look at a “small investment”. With talk in the Financial Times of interest in a “substantial” and “large stake”, there would appear to be a conflict between the club and the possible outside investor, but semantically at least a minority investment of 10% is still technically substantial. That 10% share could, for example, provide the level of funding required to see through the planned redevelopment of the ground through to fruition including the second phase of the Anfield Road stand, while avoiding impairing financing for players and enhancing the overall value of the football club, a win-win scenario for all stakeholders. It’s important to note that a valuation for/the price paid for more than 50% of a business will normally be higher than that for the equivalent, proportionate minority share. This is because there is frequently a discount attached to buying minority stakes, due to the investor having a lack of control – the value of control is a key factor in determining overall value. A 10% share in Liverpool FC could mean, for example, the inability to control the financial direction of the organisation, how it runs its day-to-day operations, how many much it pays to its players, and of course, while it may result in an executive board position, without significant changes to the voting power and structure, would almost inevitably see the individual board member being out-voted by existing executives where there is conflict in a particular vote. In short, the greater the inability to exert influence or fend off “oppression” from the majority, and the greater the financial disadvantage to the minority investor, such as not receiving the same proportional return on investment, the greater the discount will be. As a result, while Liverpool FC’s current overall value may be in excess of £1 billion, a minority share of 10% could result in the club receiving a sum of £70-£80m. It’s also crucial to repeat Ian Ayre’s and Tom Werner’s words, that regardless of the value of a minority share, such a sale will not take place in isolation, but only as part of a strategic partnership. That partnership could entail opportunities in China. It might mean separate naming rights for the Main Stand for which additional monies would be received. The Anfield Road redevelopment may be integral, or perhaps there’s a new training ground combining the senior squad, the academy and the women’s team. It could be some or none of these things, but what is certain is that investment will not happen without a strategic opportunity being pursued.

Interest from a Chinese investment group in purchasing a stake in Liverpool FC appears to have substance, with FSG open to the idea of...
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.

Neil Poole reflects on defeat at Burnley, attempting to find the positives and negatives from what was an entirely disappointing but also predictable performance. The...
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 20, 2016: Andre Gray scores for Burnley during the FA Premier League match at Turf Moore. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

If Liverpool were majestic at times versus Arsenal last weekend then we witnessed their ability to be moronic at a forgettable Turf Moor on...
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 20, 2016: Liverpool's Manager Jürgen Klopp shouts to his players during the FA Premier League match at Turf Moore. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

James Nalton was at Turf Moor to see if anything could be learnt from this defeat against newly promoted Burnley. Burnley 2-0 Liverpool Premier League, Turf...
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.

A woeful Liverpool were beaten 2-0 at Burnley on Saturday afternoon. We assess the performance of each Reds player at Turf Moor. Burnley 2-0 Liverpool Premier...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 9, 2016: Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match at Upton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A year after arriving as Liverpool's second most expensive signing, Christian Benteke departs for a similar fee, joining Crystal Palace for an initial £27...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne celebrate the 4-3 victory over Arsenal after the FA Premier League match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We look at how Jurgen Klopp could line up his Liverpool team as the Reds look to build on their winning Premier League start...
Ragnar Klavan 3

In many ways, the signing of Ragnar Klavan was old-fashioned in its nature, but while it may have been a move instigated by Jurgen...

With Sadio Mane sidelined with a shoulder injury for Saturday's clash against Burnley, we take a look at three attacking options for Liverpool in...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the third goal against Arsenal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool's thrilling 4-3 win over Arsenal was a great way to start the 2016/17 campaign, but there is so much more to come under...

With Jurgen Klopp seemingly set on developing Alberto Moreno as his left-back, comparisons can be drawn with Borussia Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer. Moreno has faced calls...
Alberto Moreno vs. Tranmere Rovers. Credit: Propaganda

Alberto Moreno once again did his best to show Jurgen Klopp he is not worth persevering with against Arsenal on Sunday, as the vultures...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Arsenal's Rob Holding during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Following an impressive full debut for Sadio Mane against Arsenal, we select 10 Liverpool players who shone on their first Reds outing. Having arrived from...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool players celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Arsenal with manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Football writer and author Jonathan Wilson joins This Is Anfield to analyse the Reds' opening day performance and Jurgen Klopp's tactics against Arsenal. Where to...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the second goal against Arsenal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Welcome back Premier League and welcome back Liverpool. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a ride. After a match involving seven...
Picture by: Nigel French / EMPICS Sport Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho (second right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates

In the first of his regular post-match pieces this season, Neil Poole takes a look at the bigger picture surrounding Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool. “Pick the...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool players celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Arsenal with manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool opened their Premier League campaign in thrilling fashion, claiming a memorable 4-3 victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Theo Walcott’s strike, a minute...
LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the third goal against Arsenal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Two outstanding individual goals added some shine to a crazy game at the Emirates Stadium, where any notion of defending was left on the...
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger and Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Liverpool kicking off the new Premier League campaign at the Emirates Stadium, we take a look at how Jurgen Klopp’s first XI of...
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 24, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Daniel Sturridge during a press conference ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 1st Leg match against FC Augsburg. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The last time Liverpool didn't have a European competition to contend with, they almost won the league. Heading into the 2016/17 season, fans will...

With the start of the Premier League season this weekend, we bring you up to speed with what's new in the top-flight for 2016/17. Euro...