Where is it going wrong for Liverpool?

Still suffering a hangover from Liverpool’s 3-1 capitulation at the hands of West Ham, I’ve found myself reading many tweets about where things have gone wrong. Fingers are being pointed at individual players and even at a manager who was so correctly lauded last season. To make things worse, the Super Sunday game has started with Manchester United’s ‘Van Gaalacticos’ looking like a top class team again. How have things turned so bad, so quickly?

The answer is simple really, it starts with the sale of Luis Suarez and ends with the current squad. Losing Suarez was a catastrophic blow to the Reds and many fans brushed it off as if it wouldn’t matter. ‘We managed without Owen, Torres etc.’ Maybe that was the case in some respects, but the reality is we have never had a player as gifted as Suarez in the Premier League era.

What has become crystal clear to me is we aren’t just missing his goals, but his ability to keep the opposition occupied for an entire 90 minutes. Forget about the bans, how often was Suarez injured? Never. He was vital to our success and we were naive to think we could replace his influence with a deeper squad.

The theory was that we couldn’t necessarily replace his goals, so we will strengthen our defence to compensate a little. So far it’s not working. There isn’t a single member of our defensive unit that inspires confidence defensively and the time it takes for them to improve is going to cost us dearly. In the meantime, we haven’t got the firepower available to out score opponents like we did last season.

I’m not here to criticise Rodgers in any way, I feel sorry for him, because fans are already getting on his back. I’m also not pointing out individual players because at this stage I feel that is unfair. Replacing Suarez is an impossible job, but I would have preferred to see the likes of Di Maria, Falcao or Sanchez come in as a direct replacement. Again, the reality is Liverpool have never been able to sign players of that proven quality.

The flip side of all this is we do have a deeper squad full of potential, but that means that we as fans have got to settle for a battle to get back into the top 4 rather than a title challenge. Anything else will be a bonus. A Suarez inspired Liverpool overachieved last season and this has distorted the expectations of many Liverpool fans. We have to accept we are still building. Our financial position doesn’t allow us to go head to head with United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal. It is something we are working towards and our stadium development will help towards that goal. What we must not do is lose patience with Rodgers and start abusing individual players. We need to stick together because we are in for a bumpy ride.



Competition Time

We all love free stuff right? Course we do! So here is a fantastic competition that is sure to excite you.

If like us you have spent many an hour in front of LMA Manager, Championship Manager or Football Manager you will know the feeling and emotional roller coaster that comes with playing those games. Well author Chris Darwen has taken that one step further and written a diary based around his fictional manager Johnny Cooper, all based on his experience of Championship Manager. In celebration of his forthcoming second book “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Second Season Syndrome (according to Champ Man)”, he is giving people the chance to win a signed paperback of his debut ” Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Story of Mansfield Town FC 99/00 (according to Championship Manager)”.

All you have to do is email; johnnycooper@chrisdarwen.com with the answer to the following question:
Who ends the 99/00 season as Johnny Coopers top scorer?
The competition ends on Friday October 3rd and the winner will be announced afterwards.

You can purchase a copy of “Johnny Coper, Championship Manager: The Story of Mansfield Town 99/00 (according to Championship. Manager) from here.
Good Luck


5 Reasons Why… Liverpool should still be considered as a ‘work in progress’ team

Ok, Liverpool may have finished second last season with only 2 points separating them from champions Manchester City. However, it is pretty much a consensus among everybody that it was more about them overachieving and getting a bit lucky while other teams were underachieving or in transition.
So come season 2014/2015, how should we consider Liverpool? Work in progress or finished product with enhancement to be made? My opinion? The former.

1/ One player… Luis Suarez
A lot has already been said about the 3 biting incidents in which Suarez was involved and there is no doubt that this kind of action has to be banned from the football world. However, one cannot deny the enormous talent that this player has. Liverpool will greatly miss Suarez and I’m not talking only about his 30+ goals. He has this ability to create something from nothing and also the capacity to drag defenders towards him and thus creating more space for his teammates.

2/ Transfer window has been crazy
This off-season, Brendan Rodgers and his backroom staff have not been slacking…. There has been no less than 8 new recruits and 1 loan in together with 6 transfers out and 10 loans out. No wonder that with the exit of such an influential player like Suarez, LFC had to look for players who could not only compensate on the goal scoring chart but also on creating goal scoring opportunities for others.
So the main question here is… Can BR pull all the new and ‘old’ players together and maintain their good flowing kind of play or will they encounter the same problem that Spurs did last season? With the selling of their main guy, namely Gareth Bale, Spurs could not make all their recruits (transfer fee of over £110M) play together as a team, which resulted in an average season.

3/ Which formation/Who to play
As mentioned above, no more than 9 players joined the team this off season. 3 of them are defensive players (RB, LB and CB) while all the other 6 are attacking players (still keeping in mind that 1 of them – Origi – has been loaned out). So, that’s 5 players to try fit in the team to compensate Suarez’s absence. 4 games already in the regular season and it seems that Brendan is still trying to juggle having a solid but creative midfield and a very attacking front 2 or 3. Now with Sturridge’s injury while on international duties, it seems like Balotelli will be leading the attack alone with 2 attacking midfielders by his side (Sterling & Lallana), an advanced playmaker (Coutinho), a solid holding/box to box midfield (Henderson) and a ‘quarterback’ in StevieG.


4/ Young and inexperienced squad
If one has a look at the starting XI that Brendan fielding during the weekend against Aston Villa and their respective age, it was as follows:
– Mignolet – 26
– Manquillo – 20
– Lovren – 29
– Sakho – 24
– Moreno – 22
– Gerrard – 34
– Henderson – 24
– Coutinho – 22
– Lallana – 26
– Makhovic – 20
– Balotelli – 24
That’s an average age of 24 – a team which include the aging StevieG at 34 years old. Youth is not necessarily a bad thing but what is missing there is the experience. Not as much as the experience of playing in the EPL but of playing up to 3 games a week and playing for a ‘bigger’ team – no disrespect to other teams there.


5/Champions League back to Anfield!
While all the LFC fans (me included) are thrilled about having mid-week Champions League games back to Anfield again, there is some uncertainty as to how LFC will deal with the extra set of games. Last time LFC was in CL was back in 2009 when they were eliminated at the group stages. Since then, LFC only had to deal with the EPL and the domestic cups. This has given them more time during the week to prepare for the weekend games. Now with CL back in town, it is still to be seen how LFC will deal with it. Yes, they have improved their squad numbers but most players have little to no CL experience. Also, one has to remember that injuries are like the lottery and at everybody’s doorstep.


LFC still has some way to go before being able to compete with Manchester City and Chelsea for the title but no doubt that they have enough quality in the squad to finish in the top 4 again this season.

Cheers for reading and as always, comments and reactions are greatly appreciated.

5 Reasons Why……. This Transfer Window was the best for a while.

Continuing our look at 5 reasons why…..
Our 5 today comes from SiRZ owner Ryan and he explains why the last transfer window was the best one for the Premier League in a long while.

1/ We had top quality players coming in

The first reason this window was better than any other was the simple fact we had quality players join the ranks of the Premier League. Di Maria, Falcao, Diego Costa, Sanchez, Mangala, Cabella & returns for Balotelli & Fabregas all go to show that despite recent claims, the Premier League is where all the top players want to ply their trade. Infact of the top 3 World Players of the Year only one hasn’t graced the League and that’s Messi, who it would take a lot to persuade him away from his beloved Barcelona.

Diego Costa has adapted well to the Premier League.

2/ The Premier League now has the 3 most natural strikers in the game today.

It already had one in Sergio Aguero. But now with Diego Costa and Falcao joining Chelsea and. Manchester United respectively, we have the three top goal scorers who will hopefully lead their forward lines and continue to build on their own personal reputations. Certainly with Diego Costa already looking settled in front of the Chelsea creative machine he looks like he could be the missing part of their puzzle. Also with Liverpool acquiring Balotelli and Welbeck moving to Arsenal, those two will be worth keeping eyes on as they have have a natural ability to find the back of the net when played down the middle.

Aguero carries the weight of the City fans on his shoulders in what they hope will be a title winning year.

3/ Liverpool got rid of their albatross.

Come on I did well to get three without mentioning the obvious. Luis Suarez has finally got his gnashers out of Anfield and although now FIFA got bitch slapped down by CAS they could have got a bit more for him, I think every Liverpool fan will be happy that he and the circus his actions attract has finally departed. He had some excellent solo match winning performances for Liverpool but often his actions were overshadowed by his cannibal routine, now hopefully every football fan will sit and enjoy the smooth counter attacking football Liverpool play and if not there’s still Mario who can cause us some amusement.

Its the guy banned from football playing for his new team that was banned from signing players!

4/ Some English players got some great moves.

Micah Richards must have been fucking annoyed being at Manchester City, A product of their youth academy and once thought to be the next big defender for club and country and rightly so. He found himself marginalised and under utilised by City and despite a few injury concerns never got the game time he deserved. Now with a loan move to Fiorentina he should hopefully get a lot more time on the pitch and show City where they fucked up. Another good move was for Danny Welbeck aka Dat Guy, his desire to play and his bulldog chasing the ball mentality often meant he was played out of position at Manchester United so never lived up to the hype surrounding him. Hopefully Arsene Wenger will play him down the middle and let Dat Guy score a him 10 or so goals this year, my only concern with that is Arsenal still don’t have a guaranteed 20 goal a season scorer which the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all posses. Elsewhere Thomas Ince made a clever move to Hull who have altered their play in the last two seasons to utilise wide men. Ashley Cole finally fucked off although unfortunately it was only to Italy, but it means we don’t have to watch him on a weekly basis unless we choose to. Frank Lampard proved he still needed to improve his bank balance to single handily keep Greggs afloat with a move first to the MLS and then to Manchester City on loan. and Manchester United finally cut their losses on “The Next Paul Scholes” Tom Cleverley and allowed him to join Villa on loan until his contract expires in the summer.

Thomas Ince should settle right in under Steve Bruces watchful eye.

5/ Transfer Deadline Day was brilliant as always.

Jim White, Purple Dildos, Fuck Her Right In the Pussy chants, Jason Bent doing an Odemwingie, Fans turning up at other teams grounds and ‘Arry blanking an interview in the car I love he randomness of Deadline Day, roll on January!

Evertons new signing is a massive one.

Agree or Disagree? Get in touch the normal ways on social media or commenting on the article we read them all.


5 Reasons Why………….Manchester United Will Be Back Sooner Than You Think

1/ Goals, lots of them. United now boast a trio of supreme goalscorers in Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao. Between them they have scored hundreds of goals. Add into the mix goals from elsewhere and it all adds up to a team that will be hard to stop. Angel Di Maria and Juan Mata will create and score plenty between them too, making United’s attack the most frightening in the league. They may find though that attack will have to be the best form of defence.


2/ Confident Leadership is something that didn’t exist during the David Moyes era. He repeatedly missed out on his key targets with players like Cesc Fabregas turning him down, resulting in him paying over the odds for a familiar player in Fellaini. New manager Louis Van Gaal started slowly, but eventually picked up not one, but two marquee signings. The Dutchman’s reputation has played a massive part in his summer window successes and it’s clear that he is now calling the shots.


3/ Tom Cleverley is no longer the new Paul Scholes.

4/ Old Trafford can become a fortress again. If LVG can put together a team that is as fearful on grass as it is on paper, then Old Trafford will be a place teams are petrified of playing at once again. He must bring back the fear factor if United are to bounce back.

5/ A season out of Europe may be exactly what United need to revitalize themselves. Liverpool had an excellent season without the distraction of European football for the first time in years and the same thing could work for the Red Devils. However, another season out of Europe, with the money they’ve already spent could prove disastrous financially.


How can you solve a problem with Di Maria?

Now please keep reading as the headline is meant to be a pun, but overall it holds a bigger question. Manchester United limped to a lucky draw away against Sunderland after a defeat in the opening game of the season at home to Swansea and it just seems like last seasons form is turning into the regular rather than a one off.

Watching both games United the stark truth is that the players who have played have simply lost confidence in their ability. The passing lacks zip and creativity, the defence is lacking a leader (which is something needed if van Gaal is to continue with the 5-3-2 formation he has used so far) & the midfield is not the creative hub it should be. Now with Di Maria all bit assured to be coming to Old Trafford he can certainly help with the creativity side but what else do the red half of Manchester need? I recently had a conversation with Adamdellboy and said to him at the time United were completing the paperwork for Di Maria hand Real a blank cheque and say ” we also want Varane and Xabi Alonso”. Whilst Adam said that I was dreaming those two players typify the type of players United need.
Varane is the young defensive star who seems to read the game better than players 10 years his senior, he also posses unbelievable strength and has a decent lick of pace. Whilst Xabi Alonso would provide the calming control & passing range that someone like Tom Cleverley could only dream of.

Manchester United will also have new boy Rojo available for the trip to Turf Moor as well as hopefully Di Maria they need to get a grip with this new formation and fast. Rafeal should be looking at coming back into the starting lineup fairly soon having picked up an injury in preseason and van Gaal should be looking at Ajax defender Daley Blind before the window slams shut next Monday. For me looking at the players who may be on their way out Wellbeck seems to have his card marked, Cleverley should have gone last season, Felliani will be spared this window as he is injured but must go in January, also either or maybe both Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia should leave as neither have been anywhere near the level required since their injuries and there are plenty of younger players in the reserve teams that van Gaal should have a look at.

But all that is in an ideal world and football can be anything less than ideal, van Gaal needs to get his philosophy across and also get some of the players in and out that will fit what he needs otherwise it may be a long season for Manchester United and their fans.

Agree or disagree? Let us know the usual ways.


Premier League Week One Review

The Barclays Premier league was back with a bang this weekend, but what have we discovered about the 20 teams involved at this early stage?

We have to start at Old Trafford where the Van Gaal era was expected to start with a comfortable win for Manchester United. Someone clearly forgot to give Swansea a copy of the script, as they created history by walking away with all 3 points. For United it proved that their problems under Moyes very much still exist and more worrying was Van Gaal’s Plan B to hoof it to Fellaini, just like his predecessor’s Plan A!!!

Liverpool laboured to a 2-1 win against an impressive Southampton side who look like they may prove their doubters wrong this season. The Reds appeared to struggle adapting their game without the irreplaceable Luis Suarez, but Kopites will point to the fact their team lost this very same fixture last season. Raheem Sterling was the standout performer for Liverpool and at just 19, this kid is capable of being on of the very best.

Arsenal and Spurs both left it late to secure wins against two sides set to struggle this season in my opinion. Palace are running out of time to find a new manager, whilst West Ham are one of the favourites to be the next team looking for a new manager!!! I’ll be stunned if Big Sam makes it to January. As for the Gunners, although they weren’t at their best, the squad looks quality and they will have an exciting season ahead. Spurs will have to make do with battling for a Europa League spot.

Everton and Leicester played out an entertaining 2-2 draw which could prove to be a decent result for the Toffees as Leicester have an outstanding home record. The two other promoted sides were both defeated on the opening weekend, with Burnley falling 3-1 at home to an imposing Chelsea side. New signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas appear to have settled quickly and the Londoners have to be considered favourites for the title. Despite encouraging signs, Burnley lack the quality to survive this season. QPR will be disappointed to lose a winnable home game against Hull and they will have to improve dramatically if they want to remain in the top flight.

Elsewhere Aston Villa recorded a rare away win at Stoke, whilst relegation candidates West Brom and Sunderland slugged it out to a 2-2 draw. The reigning champions Man City won comfortably at Newcastle despite not being at their best, an ominous sign for the rest of the chasing pack.

For all of the great goals and action, the undoubted highlight of the weekend was the introduction of the vanishing foam. My guess is the refs haven’t had enough practice with it yet…….




Our Premier League Predictions


Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Arsenal
3. Man United
4. Man City

Bottom 3

18. WBA
19. Leicester City
20. Burnley

Player to watch: Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard will be top stars this season. Keep an eye on Remy Cabella at Newcastle as a surprise hit.

Young player: A trio of Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and Lazar Markovic would terrify teams. Looking forward to see if Suso can make an impact too. Elsewhere, can Danny Ings score at the top level?

Top scorer: Diego Costa


Ryan Howe

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester United
3. Arsenal
4. Manchester City

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Burnley
20. Leicester

Player to watch: Juan Mata. He is going to be at the hub of everything creative and will have a big bearing on Uniteds season. Or Bojan

Young Player: Ryan Bertrand. Just think this May be the season he kicks on.

Top Scorer: Romelu Lukaku


Ross Jones

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Arsenal
4. Man United

Bottom 3

18. Burnley
19. Aston Villa
20. Leicester

Player To Watch – Eden Hazard – will be decided whether he becomes world class this season.

Young Player – Jordan Ibe – If he gets a chance could be a sprightly show like Sterling for Liverpool.

Top Scorer – Mame Diouf / Bojan Krcic – 35 goals each.


Jade Li

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Man city
3. Liverpool
4. Arsenal

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Leicester
20. Burnley

Player to watch: Coutinho

Top scorer: Aguero

Young player: Coutinho



Pete Walton

Top 4

1. Man City
2. Chelsea
3.  Man United
4. Liverpool

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Southampton
20. Leicester

Player to watch: Going to go with Mata especially under Van Gaal going to be interesting to see him develop this season.

Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero

Young player: Mangala



So what do you think? Agree with us on anything? Or are we barking up the wrong tree? Let us know via our usual lines.


Blackpool FC – Glad All Over?

“It will absolutely change the club forever if we go up. It can’t fail to”
— Karl Oyston talks to the Gazette on June 15 2010, nine days before Pool win promotion to the Premier League.

On a searing hot day at the home of English football, Blackpool FC achieved the impossible in earning promotion to the Premier League with a 3-2 victory over Cardiff City. I was there that day and there were many who were so drained physically and emotionally, that they literally couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was a truly glorious moment to be a Blackpool fan and they quite rightly sang about it being the best trip they’ve ever been on. How times can change…..


Fast forward to Saturday 19th July 2014 and Blackpool have just played their first preseason friendly match, having cancelled a tour to Spain due to insufficient squad numbers. This is the starting lineup:

Blackpool’s current plight has been well documented on social media, with support flooding in from supporters around the country for the beleaguered Seasiders. This is a team that earned many admirers during their season in the Premier League due to their incredible attacking spirit and ability to entertain. They almost pulled of an even bigger shock as they were only relegated on the last day of the season, also the only time they were in the bottom three all season. This was all despite the likes of Alan Hansen tipping them to only get 10 points.

So where did it all go wrong? The villain of the piece appears to be club owner Karl Oyston, who many Blackpool fans will tell you is notoriously tightfisted. Blackpool achieved their recent success in spite of his actions, but now the ugly side of Oyston’s ownership is starting to rear it’s head. Fans will talk of the missing £90m of which little, if any was reinvested back into the club. A promised new training ground has yet to materialise and the temporary stand required to fit Premier League regulations is more permanent than ever.

“Blackpool are the only team I can remember actually, who won that lottery (Promotion to the Premier League) and said you know what? We’re not giving our manager a rise, we’re not putting the wages up, we’ll just trouser the money and go back down.”
— Former Liverpool MD Christian Purslow discussing newly promoted clubs on 5 Live – 2nd September 2013

“If you look at it, all that is different now from when I arrived are some sprinklers for the pitch”
— Ian Holloway talks to the Blackpool Gazette, April 1st 2013.

Blackpool fans have grown used to broken promises, but their dramatic nosedive during last season meant closer scrutiny of the owner’s actions and it continues to go downhill. Today the club has just 8 professionals, no goalkeeper, no reserve team and a new manager who is threatening to quit before the season even begins. Their title winning youth team has been completely released, furthering the lack of an actual playing squad.


Many former players have weighed in on Twitter, with much of it directed at Karl Oyston himself. Yet despite all this, Blackpool supporters remain loyal to the club, with a reported 8000 season tickets sold(approx 50% of stadium capacity). I was present at all of the games last season, where frustration often turned into threatening violence, it was a truly toxic atmosphere and I don’t want to experience that again. Unless a massive change happens, I’m afraid Blackpool are going to be in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

“I look back at what we achieved at Blackpool and wonder if there’s a legacy. Has it been built on? At the moment I look back and there isn’t one.”
— Former ‘Pool man Gary Taylor-Fletcher talks to the Gazette on the 25th September, 2013.


England – heroic failure is no longer an option

When your best result in a World Cup is a 0-0 draw against an already qualified Costa Rica, you know you’ve fucked up massively. Let’s not sugar coat it, England’s performance in Brazil was nothing short of shambolic.

On the face of it, we could make the excuse that we were in a Group of Death with Uruguay and Italy being formidable opponents. In all honesty, the Italians came into the tournament on the back of a 7 game winless run and were eliminated without much fuss along with England. The Uruguayans were there for the taking, but a barely fit Luis Suarez was allowed to sink his gnashers into both Italy and England. As for Costa Rica, the opportunity to prove a point was clearly lost on the players that faced them in our final group game. Contrast that with the footballing powerhouses Bosnia, who pulled off a 3-1 win when they were already dumped out.


There were many fingers pointed throughout the tournament at individual players, but the truth is collectively the team were very poor. From the minute they stepped on the pitch, they failed to show any passion during the anthems and matched this limp effort on the pitch too. Having enjoyed the best season from Liverpool in a long time, I was shocked to see several of the key players from that team looking lost and restricted.

Roy Hodgson seems to have coached the free flowing attacking football style from these players and several others as we were barely able to mount an offensive spell of play at times. Sure we had our moments, but it was never sustained and we never looked secure defensively at any time. Even the weather was kind at times and this didn’t seem to help the team play at a high enough tempo. It’s even more frustrating when you see relative footballing minnows such as Nigeria, Chile and Colombia advance playing exciting attacking football.

We put our stars on a pedestal, but the truth is we seriously lack truly world class players. We don’t have a magical talent that can win a game on his own or play a spellbinding pass. I’ve heard many say we have the players, but if that is really the case, why is it that none of the England players ply their trade at a top foreign club? The answer is simple, our players are just not good enough. Are Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill top level centre backs? Not a chance, we left our best defender John Terry at home. Are Baines and Johnson able to cope defensively against the better sides? Again, not a chance. United fans may plead the case for Rooney, Arsenal fans for Wilshere and Liverpool fans for Sturridge, but the reality is none of these players would get into a Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich side.



So where are the positives? I’m genuinely not sure. We were banging on about the young players such as Sterling, Barkley and Shaw, but they had little impact on the tournament. Will they be able to impact on future tournaments with Roy Hodgson still in charge? My biggest fear is that nations who were nowhere on the footballing map 10 years ago are growing stronger, whilst England are growing weaker. If we can’t solve our problems, even simple qualification for the major tournaments may prove to be out of reach for our nation’s ‘finest.’