Two Liverpool targets fail to impress as Germany crash out and Brazil progress

27 June 2018

Rumoured Liverpool target Timo Werner was one of many dreadful performers as holders Germany crashed out of the World Cup.


Wednesday saw Groups E and F decided, as we edge closer to the knockout stages.

In the afternoon action, Germany were stunned by South Korea, while Sweden thumped much-fancied Mexico. The evening entertainment saw Brazil and Switzerland reach the last 16.

It means Brazil will play Mexico in the last 16, and Switzerland vs. Sweden means one of the smaller European sides will be in the quarter-finals.

 

The Good

In truth, this wasn’t a day littered with greatness, but Germany vs. South Korea was another thrilling contest in an ever-enjoyable tournament.

The world champions were woeful, but that didn’t prevent the game being full of drama, with big chances missed at either end as Joachim Low’s side desperately searched for a winner.

It was the Koreans who netted twice in the dying seconds, with Tottenham‘s Son Heung-min tapping into an empty net when Manuel Neuer was in the other half to make it 2-0.

South Korea’s win may have ultimately been meaningless in terms of progressing, but their delightful celebrations showed exactly what it meant to them.

Sweden also deserve a mention, having turned up when they needed to, comprehensively seeing off a Mexico side with a new legion of followers.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 3, 2018: Brazil's Philippe Coutinho Correia during an international friendly between Brazil and Croatia at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho‘s assist for Paulinho was pretty sublime too, as he continues to be Brazil’s talisman this summer.

 

The Bad

In 2010, German dismantled England in South Africa and looked a young, fresh side with a massive future ahead of them.

Fast forward eight years and a vast chunk of those individuals have laboured throughout the World Cup and were deservedly knocked out on Wednesday.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Sunday, June 17, 2018: Germany's head coach Joachim Low before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group F match between Germany and Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whether it be Mats Hummels at the back, Sami Khedira in midfield or Mesut Ozil a little further up the pitch, they cut an ageing outfit who peaked four years ago in Brazil.

Perhaps their poorest player against South Korea was 22-year-old Werner, though, who has had a wretched tournament.

Liverpool fans won’t have been impressed, following reports linking him with a summer move to Anfield, with the striker offering almost nothing.

Every touch looked indecisive, every key decision was rash and he spent far too much time running down blind alleys and lacking guile.

Werner is undoubtedly a good player, as he has shown at RB Leipzig, but there is no doubt that his stock has fallen after a drab World Cup.

Roberto Firmino, who incidentally played no part in Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Serbia, will not be losing any sleep!

Firmino’s international team-mate Alisson, one of Liverpool main summer transfer targets, again failed to convince for his country.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 3, 2018: Brazil's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during an international friendly between Brazil and Croatia at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One tame attempt at a punch so nearly allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic to equalise and he also misjudged a looping cross soon after.

If it had been Loris Karius doing the same, the knives would be out.

 

The Dwindling Liverpool Involvement

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Sunday, June 17, 2018: Egypt's Mohamed Salah walks off dejected as his side lose 3-1 during the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group A match between Russia and Egypt at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were a total of eight Liverpool players at the World Cup at the start of the tournament, but Wednesday saw that number cut again.

Marko Grujic‘s Serbia bowed out after failing to get the better of the Brazilians and he joins Mohamed Salah on the list of those eliminated.

Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet are guaranteed to be in the last 16, but Sadio Mane‘s fate is still up in the air.

 

Thursday’s Matches

England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the International Friendly match at Elland Road, Leeds

Henderson is back in action on Thursday as England take on Belgium in a battle to finish top of Group G—the Liverpool captain though is expected to be rested and Eric Dier start in his place.

Alexander-Arnold could well get his competitive debut, as Gareth Southgate freshens up his side.

In Group H there is plenty to play for, with Colombia requiring a win against Mane’s Senegal to reach the last 16.

Japan face Poland, knowing that three points will guarantee qualification to the knockout stages and probably top spot.

Japan vs. Poland (Group H) – 3pm – BBC Two
Prediction: 1-1

Senegal vs. Colombia (Group H) – 3pm – BBC One
Prediction: 0-2

England vs. Belgium (Group G) – 7pm – ITV
Prediction: 1-1

Panama vs. Tunisia (Group G) – 7pm – ITV
Prediction: 0-1

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