Liverpool: Brendan’s Bright Young Things

Josh Dishman looks at Liverpool’s second half of the season revival, and the impact of a young squad

“You can’t win anything with kids” goes the much-maligned and oft-repeated Alan Hansen missive that preceded Manchester United’s league and cup double in 1996. And whilst it is common knowledge that Brendan Rodgers has yet to win a trophy as a senior manager, his youth policy at Liverpool is threatening to make a mockery of Hansen’s theory once more.

The recent promotion of 19 year-old winger Jordon Ibe to the starting XI has attracted a blaze of publicity, yet youth courses throughout Rodgers’ side. The average age of the starting XI that defeated top four rivals Southampton last weekend was 23.4 years, and Liverpool’s title chase last season was executed by a team with an average age of just 23.22 years – the youngest side in the Premier League.

And whilst Rodgers and Liverpool could find themselves trophy-less again in May, the future does indeed augur well for the Redmen. Established key players Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge are all 25 or under (as is Mr. Balotelli), and have blossomed under the extra responsibility heaped on them after the departure of a certain Uruguayan star (no, not Sebastian Coates). Continue reading

Is this the Year of Bayern Munich?

xkj121-223-2013-000000-high-jpg

The False Nine‘s David Dodds previews the Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Juventus, with a focus on the formidable German side…

It’s the 87th minute, and you’re level with the only team who have beaten you in the league this season. The 1-1 scoreline doesn’t look like it’s going to budge. Then, a stroke of genius. Not a sudden moment of inspiration by a striker, not a visionary defence-splitting pass by a playmaker, and not an unexpected and overdue header from a goal-shy tall and gritty centre back. In fact, if we’re to believe Bastian Schweinsteiger, then the genius was cultivated off the field. Continue reading