Hari Sethi looks into a difficult season for Daniel Sturridge, and asks whether he can be relied upon to be Liverpool’s main man next season…
Wheeling away to celebrate scoring the winner against Southampton on the opening day of the season, Daniel Sturridge could’ve been forgiven for allowing himself to daydream of the year that lay ahead.
Though Anfield still bore the emotional wounds of last season’s ultimately futile title charge and the departure of the club’s talismanic number seven, for the other half of Liverpool’s prolific ‘SAS’, this was to be a season of opportunity, a season as the main man. Yet with just seven games of their Premier League campaign left and with a top four finish seeming increasingly improbable, Sturridge has made just 11 appearances for the Reds, scoring four goals in the process.
For a player who signed a five year, £150k a week contract in October and the only recognized striker who possesses the physical traits to excel within Rodgers’ desired style of play, things haven’t gone well. This has been a disastrous season for Sturridge and one that casts doubt over his role in the side going forward. Continue reading →
Joe Devine returns to discuss five things that may or may not have happened in the FA Cup this weekend…
1. Bradford’s Pitch Has More Craters Than Moon
According to reports, the Valley Parade pitch has more craters in it than the surface of the moon. Reading manager and amateur astronomer Steve Clarke told reporters on Saturday morning “I’ve had a look at the pitch, and, I’m not a moon ‘expert’, but I’m probably a moon ‘specialist’, and I think there’s more craters here.” Concerned for his players, Steve Clarke requested the assistance of fellow moon fan Nigel Pearson. After a short examination of the pitch, Nigel told reporters “I can look after myself”, before donning his NASA cap and sprinting off into a nearby growth of bushes.
2. Brendan Rogers Officially Bad Again
After a lengthy spell of being good, and a brief spell of being “Jesus” good, Brendan Rogers has reportedly become bad once again. Initial speculation came during Liverpool’s match up with Blackburn on Sunday, and the first confirmation came upon the final whistle. Our reporter spoke to some Liverpool fans outside Anfield after the game, here’s what they had to say: “I don’t know why he’s gone bad again. He was good for a while, then he was really good and we were thinking ‘oh wow, he’s Jesus good’, you know? But now he just seems to have gone bad again and I’m worried about when he might be getting good again, you know?”Continue reading →
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 →
Joe Devine returns to look at 5 things that may or may not have happened over the recent Premier League game week…
1. Liverpool Regain Identity
In the midsts of the celebrations after Liverpool’s jubilant 0-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday, Brendan Rogers revealed that the club have finally “regained” their identity”. Liverpool fans will be pleased to hear that control of the club has returned to the right hands, though some might be confused as to why they knew nothing of the fraud in the first place. Few details have been revealed as to who may have stolen the Merseyside club’s identity, though early reports are suggesting that North Korea might be involved. Life-long Steven Gerrard fan Kim Jong-Un was rumoured to have offered the Liverpool captain a lucrative offer to coach Pyongyang F.C. The offer was declined and some tabloid journalists have speculated that the recent identity theft might be an act of furious revenge. The broadsheets pooh-pooh this theory, however, and according to The Guardian “£117m worth of average players collected over the summer clearly suggests that this identity theft might well have been going on for longer than most initially imagined”.
2. Wenger Disgusted With Lack of Possession
Despite leaving the Etihad on Sunday with 3 points after their 0-2 victory over Champions Manchester City, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger privately bemoaned his players’ lack of possession and attacking flair. In a dressing room speech in which the Frenchman told his players he’d rather “be a dead donkey than kick a dead donkey”, Arsene Wenger allegedly beat Santi Carzorla furiously around the back of the head before storming out chanting Kant’s Principles of Aesthetic Excellence. The False Nine newsroom is reliably informed that “heads will roll” should Arsenal defy their aesthetic responsibilities in the name of winning ever again. Continue reading →
Joe Devinelooks back at the Premier League matchweek that was…
1. Brendan Rodgers lost grip on reality
Sadly for Liverpool fans, it seems that paragon Brendan Rodgers finally lost his grip on reality. A giddy mess at the end of last season, Rodgers’ “couldn’t believe his luck” attitude quickly evaporated as the team got off to a bad start in the 2014/15 season. With an ever increasing run of bad results, Rodgers’ traditional gritty realism has been replaced with a dejected, fancicful spool. Most recently Rogers began discussing folklore at a press conference then reportedly ran off into the woods and hasn’t been seen since. Fingers crossed he gets back in time for Sunday’s United game, as it looks like they’ll be needing all kinds of fairytale luck to get anything from that.
2. Man City opened new ‘Bond villain’ complex
Billed as a ‘training complex’, Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour this week opened the club’s new ‘Bond Villain’ like headquarters in Manchester. Built on a site previously housing a chemical plant, the complex includes a state of the art armoury, a handful of wild sharks and a whole office dedicated to skirting financial fair play rules. Alongside a number of useful facilities, the first team players also have access to a new simulator designed to aid their bid for better contracts. The bill for this centre came to £200m, but it’s already paying dividends. Manchester City Council haven’t been this happy John Lennon died. Continue reading →
James Dutton looks at Sam Allardyce’s return to form and the struggle of other Premier League managers to adapt…
“There are two types of coaches. There’s coaches like me who weigh up the opposition and ask the team to adjust. Fergie was similar. Jose is similar. Then there’s Arsène, who won’t adjust. There’s Brendan, who looks like he won’t adjust. There’s Manuel Pellegrini, who looks like he won’t adjust, even in the Champions League.
“Their philosophy is different to ours. Ours is more about who are we playing against. Their philosophy is more, ‘We always play this way’, and they won’t change, they carry doing on the same thing. That’s why you can beat them.”
Sam Allardyce, October 2014
Sam Allardyce is no stranger to talking up his own abilities; in a fairer world where ‘good football men’ are rewarded for their determination, passion and persistence he would be the man sending Cristiano Ronaldo out every week to break record after record in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Instead he’s leading the Andy Carroll renaissance and has propelled West Ham United to third place in the league amidst their best ever start to a Premier League season. Continue reading →