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    Hey guys, I'm thinking of putting Firmino in my fantasy team. He came off at 65th minute against Everton; is he injured?!
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    (Original post by Butternuts96)
    Hey guys, I'm thinking of putting Firmino in my fantasy team. He came off at 65th minute against Everton; is he injured?!
    As far as I'm aware, no. Just wasn't in the game as much as Coutinho or Lallana


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    Borussia Dortmund and Germany World Cup-winning defender Mats Hummels says he is losing sleep over his future.

    Hummels, 27, still has another season left on his contract but has been linked with several clubs.

    Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool are all reportedly interested.

    "It's been taking me at least half an hour extra to fall asleep for several weeks now because this is such a big issue for me," said Hummels.

    Hummels has secured two Bundesliga titles since joining Dortmund permanently from Bayern Munich in 2009 after an initial loan move.

    He played in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil when Germany defeated Argentina 1-0.

    His father and agent, Hermann Hummels, says a return to Bayern is not out of the question.

    "Mats is facing an enormously important decision in his career, in his life," he added.

    "If he were to leave Dortmund, then he could only go to five or six top clubs, and of course Bayern are one of them."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36104368

    Can't really see us pursuing him since we've signed Matip and another CB is probably lower priority. Bet he ends up at Man City..
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    Can see him going to City, Kompany is injury prone and needs to be replaced and Demichelis is ****.
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    Milner has 7 assists in his last 4 games..
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    (Original post by samir12)
    Can see him going to City, Kompany is injury prone and needs to be replaced and Demichelis is ****.
    Paper talk is that Guardiola wants Laporte at Man City. Not many quality CBs around when you consider Stones being touted at 40mil..

    (Original post by cBay)
    Milner has 7 assists in his last 4 games..
    Now we just need someone else to take corners and roll the ball to him to cross. How is it that his corners are so bad but some of his other crossing has been sensational?
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    Any news on Origi's injury?
    I can only assume he's out for the rest of the season
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    I'm convinced we'll see the Bournemouth team against Newcastle, with a view to take Sturridge off after 60/70. If Sturridge plays both Newcastle and Villarreal, there's no way I'd be playing him against Swansea. If Benteke is recovered, I'd deploy him at the Liberty.

    I imagine we'll see a changed back four and goalkeeper this weekend, probably with Lucas and either Milner or Lallana retained.
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    Origi out for 4-6 weeks.

    Guess he could be back just in time for the Euros.
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    (Original post by Zerforax)
    Origi out for 4-6 weeks.

    Guess he could be back just in time for the Euros.
    Makes predicting our sides for the remaining fixtures fairly straightforward: Sturridge starts against Villarreal in both legs, and then we use Benteke (if fit) or Firmino up top against Swansea, given the fact we're playing them at noon on the Sunday following our trip to Spain if I recall correctly.

    That's a quick, quick turnaround and - despite his form - I don't want Sturridge starting four matches on the bounce. As Klopp said, let's use him sparingly. Let's not squeeze the orange dry.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Makes predicting our sides for the remaining fixtures fairly straightforward: Sturridge starts against Villarreal in both legs, and then we use Benteke (if fit) or Firmino up top against Swansea, given the fact we're playing them at noon on the Sunday following our trip to Spain if I recall correctly.

    That's a quick, quick turnaround and - despite his form - I don't want Sturridge starting four matches on the bounce. As Klopp said, let's use him sparingly. Let's not squeeze the orange dry.
    I think I'd play Firmino up front against Newcastle at the weekend.. he seems to need to find some form. I'd be resting Sturridge though. I guess we could give them both 45 minutes?

    I think Sturridge will definitely be rested against Swansea though.

    Sturridge finally starting to look very sharp and hungry too so maybe he'll want to play more.
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    (Original post by Zerforax)
    I think I'd play Firmino up front against Newcastle at the weekend.. he seems to need to find some form. I'd be resting Sturridge though. I guess we could give them both 45 minutes?

    I think Sturridge will definitely be rested against Swansea though.

    Sturridge finally starting to look very sharp and hungry too so maybe he'll want to play more.
    For Newcastle, I'd go with the back five we saw at Bournemouth, and then Allen, Milner, Stewart with Ibe, Ojo and Firmino in front.

    Alternatively, if Klopp wants to rest Milner after the hard yards he's put in recently, I'd deploy Lallana instead of Ibe/Ojo to give us that added experience there, and maybe use Lucas in the centre of midfield instead of Milner with Kolo partnering somebody else (anybody other than Skrtel, who I never want to see again) in the heart of the defence.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    For Newcastle, I'd go with the back five we saw at Bournemouth, and then Allen, Milner, Stewart with Ibe, Ojo and Firmino in front.

    Alternatively, if Klopp wants to rest Milner after the hard yards he's put in recently, I'd deploy Lallana instead of Ibe/Ojo to give us that added experience there, and maybe use Lucas in the centre of midfield instead of Milner with Kolo partnering somebody else (anybody other than Skrtel, who I never want to see again) in the heart of the defence.
    Caulker?

    I guess Klopp and the staff will have a lot more data on who needs a rest and who has the best recovery.

    Crazy to think that apart from that really bad 45 minutes against Southampton, we've actually been in great form since losing the League Cup final. 7 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss. Those 3 draws including Dortmund away, Man Utd away to knock them out of the EL and Spurs.
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    (Original post by Zerforax)
    I guess Klopp and the staff will have a lot more data on who needs a rest and who has the best recovery.
    Yeah, of course. It's easy for me to decide who we play while sat on my arse in the office at work - but obviously Klopp and his team will witness the players on the grass for days at a time, so he'll have the best judgement.

    I wish we'd played Everton and beaten them that convincingly and then had to go to Villarreal next. Newcastle presents an intriguing roadblock.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Yeah, of course. It's easy for me to decide who we play while sat on my arse in the office at work - but obviously Klopp and his team will witness the players on the grass for days at a time, so he'll have the best judgement.

    I wish we'd played Everton and beaten them that convincingly and then had to go to Villarreal next. Newcastle presents an intriguing roadblock.
    You'd think the players would be on a high from knocking out Man Utd, Dortmund and now thrashing Everton. It's not like those playing Villarreal will be the same guys who play Newcastle on the whole.

    If they play like they did against Bournemouth then we should win?
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    BENITEZ’S LIVERPOOL – THE BEST OF TIMES; THE WORST OF TIMES

    RAFAEL Benitez and Jürgen Klopp are cut from the same cloth. Both are football obsessives; passion at their managerial core, but pragmatism at the root of their approach.

    As Liverpool embark on a new era under the open, charismatic extrovert Klopp, the more guarded Benitez is in the throes of a Newcastle relegation battle that sees him return to Anfield on Saturday.

    Amid the euphoria of the German’s embryonic management, symbolised by last week’s Europa League victory over the might of Borussia Dortmund, it would be easy to forget the level to which Liverpool aspired under their former tutor.

    When Rafa parted company with Liverpool in the summer of 2010, the esteemed writer Dion Fanning commented that within six months the Benitez era would look like a Golden Age. Roy Hodgson gave immediate credence to his claim, but six years on, and before Klopp has the opportunity to work his magic on a higher plane, Benitez’s Anfield term deserves due recognition.

    His first return in 2013, in the implausible guise of Chelsea interim manager, went largely unrecognised by the Kop. It wasn’t solely his association with a bitter, modern-day Reds’ rival that muted his reception then. Benitez always divided opinion and had critics throughout his management of Liverpool.

    Now though, with the passage of a further three years, and Liverpool craving a return to the European elite under Klopp, it is important to remember that such aspiration is defined in the modern era by Rafa’s record in the Champions League.

    Sadly, throughout his time at Anfield, and staining his reputation among some of our own fans, Rafa was judged by the high standards he set in Europe and ultimately defined by his failure to win the English League Championship. This is nonsense of course. Fancy winning the European Cup and becoming perennial challengers for a repeat success, yet hearing Liverpool supporters moan: “Yeah but he’ll never win a league.”

    He worked against a backdrop of the Hicks and Gillett chaos and was labelled divisive for having the temerity to challenge the wrongdoing of such poisonous ownership. An insane, obsessive media relentlessly targeted his personality and methods with the remarkable consequence of turning some Liverpudlians into Evertonians. Well, they sounded like Evertonians; constantly sticking the knife into a Liverpool manager who wore the Liver Bird with more pride than anyone in living memory.

    The more you look back at that period of 2007-2010, the above-mentioned American bandits a conduit to an Anfield civil war, the more crackers it is. Everyone should have been behind the man jousting with the jarg custodians; exposing them for their grand larceny, and yet thousands pulled in the opposite direction. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Wisdom was in short supply and foolishness ultimately derailed what could have become a dynasty.

    Of course, the majority of us loved Rafa and still do. It is an interesting comparison with the unconditional acclaim afforded to the demonstrative Klopp. The German’s gymnastic touchline antics couldn’t be in starker contrast to the studied, note-taking conservatism of Benitez.

    Klopp too has more of a sledgehammer approach in the media and his obvious comedy value leaves little to the imagination, whereas Benitez was the master of the veiled quip and half-smile.

    Sometimes, those of us who analysed and became experts in Rafa’s demeanour felt we were in on a ruse or party to a special secret, and how we lapped it up.

    I refused to admit it at the time, but when Rafa veered from his witty, ambiguous little digs at opponents for whom we shared a loathing, and belched out his prepared list of “Facts” against Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, I winced a little. Though I agreed 100% with everything he said, he misjudged two things – the venom of a media that loathed him and an ungenerous, lemon-sucking faction of Liverpool’s support intent on self-harm.

    That Benitez’s class of 2009 were never crowned champions is a tragedy in itself; that it was mired in the media storm which had “Rafa’s Rant” at its eye only adding to the pain. To have beaten United home and away and still miss out with 86 points was heartbreaking. It was the supreme irony, that up against title rivals boasting an attacking arsenal of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez, it should be Federico Macheda who struck a dagger to our hearts.

    It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

    This is sounding too much like a lament. Let’s redress the balance.

    The reality is that 2009 was the culmination of Rafa Benitez’s sterling, albeit vain effort to advance Liverpool domestically and win a League Championship. That the focus; the desire of the fans to end that long drought shifted so quickly from immediate success in Europe tells its own story.

    The European itch; 21 years between a fourth and fifth European Cup, was quickly scratched. It is so easy to dismiss, but Rafa Benitez crowned Liverpool FC Champions of Europe in his first season. Defeating the best Juventus, Chelsea and AC Milan sides in generation was a miracle bigger than Istanbul itself. As I say, easy to dismiss.

    Paradoxically, that was start for Rafa but also the beginning of the end. An exalted standard had been hoisted, but his detractors were also set fair. A myth that Benitez favoured and prioritised European success was propagated by more continental success. For the fans though, one European adventure merged with another over several seasons.

    We never did “win it six times” but there was belief in the fans bravado to “bring on your Internazionale” and when we asked “Barcelona, Real Madrid who yer tryin’ to kid” it was a genuine question. All were vanquished as the “famous European nights” at Anfield were brought to a new generation.

    The results are in the record books. But it’s the nights we remember. Dion Fanning was probably referring to this and the echelon of competition when referring to a Benitez Golden Age. Two trophies, with an FA Cup on the heels of a Champions League, don’t really justice to the Rafa era. We need to picture him sat Buddha-like on the touchline against Chelsea in 2007. We must conjure him, contrary in his tracksuit, at Newcastle, “focused on training and coaching my team.”

    Remember the sheer spite of the man picking an unchanged team when he was due to rotate for a hundredth game in a row. Revel in his feuds with the assorted gobshites of the League Managers Association. Recall his mastery of David Moyes and José Mourinho, his contempt for Alex Ferguson and his hatred of Sam Allardyce. And then wonder why some of our own thought this was a bad thing?

    Weirdos.

    I’m still not sure where it all went wrong. The words rotation and zonal marking still give me the creeps. I remember being pinned in corners and against walls and fireplaces by people foaming at the mouth telling me why Benitez “has got to go”. Liverpool fans they were, or so they thought. It was idiocy of the highest order. How else do you explain the Plaza Mayor in Madrid buzzing with the rumour that Rafael Benitez had been sacked – hours before his team slayed Real Madrid on its own Bernabeu turf?

    Rafa Benitez was a Liverpool manager who most of us got but some of us didn’t. In some ways, given the turbulence of the times, he was the only man capable of steering the club through a unique period. Always driven by passion, he remained on the one hand sanguine and on the other committed, when so many times it would have been easy to walk away.

    Rafa set the bar high for the modern Liverpool. It was his ultimate undoing but it’s a standard we now aspire to under a new hero.

    On Saturday, the old guy breezes back in. It would be nice to take him by surprise with a welcome that brings a tear to his eye.
    http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/2016/0...orst-of-times/

    Pretty much spot on imo.
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    Good news Klopp has said that Toure's future lies at Anfield if he wants it. He's clearly an infectious character, capable of uniting a dressing room and bringing a wealth of experience into games like Bournemouth, where he's guiding our younger lads through a match.

    I think a key thing he gives us in the back line is constant communication. If you actually watch him closely, against teams like Bournemouth and hopefully this weekend against Newcastle, he is constantly on at his teammates. He's talking to them, he's coaching them. It's great for their development - players like Smith, Randall et al - and it's a throwback to that period where Gary McAllister came in and helped Gerrard progress so much.

    I also think that we need a fourth choice centre-back like Toure. He won't kick up a fuss, he won't negatively impact morale. He'll be happy in that role, whereas somebody like Skrtel - who clearly hasn't got the quality any more regardless - probably wants to play every week, given the fact he's that bit younger than Kolo and used to being a starter at Anfield anyway.

    Four centre backs of Lovren, Sakho, Matip and Toure - with Ilori and Gomez to boot - next season? I'd be happy with that.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Good news Klopp has said that Toure's future lies at Anfield if he wants it. He's clearly an infectious character, capable of uniting a dressing room and bringing a wealth of experience into games like Bournemouth, where he's guiding our younger lads through a match.

    I think a key thing he gives us in the back line is constant communication. If you actually watch him closely, against teams like Bournemouth and hopefully this weekend against Newcastle, he is constantly on at his teammates. He's talking to them, he's coaching them. It's great for their development - players like Smith, Randall et al - and it's a throwback to that period where Gary McAllister came in and helped Gerrard progress so much.

    I also think that we need a fourth choice centre-back like Toure. He won't kick up a fuss, he won't negatively impact morale. He'll be happy in that role, whereas somebody like Skrtel - who clearly hasn't got the quality any more regardless - probably wants to play every week, given the fact he's that bit younger than Kolo and used to being a starter at Anfield anyway.

    Four centre backs of Lovren, Sakho, Matip and Toure - with Ilori and Gomez to boot - next season? I'd be happy with that.
    I completely agree - Toure is awesome.
    His quality may be lacking a little bit he always tries his hardest and his experience can be invaluable as you highlighted.

    He's good for morale too - I love to see players like him and Allen in memes and things like that
    He's a funny guy; players and fans alike love to have him around and I'd take him every day of the week ahead of Skrtel.

    As for Klopp, I'm extremely optimistic about next season. It's not just that we're playing better and winning games, he's so happy when doing so. Yeah he can shout on the sidelines when we're struggling but he's just showing his passion. Things like his reaction to Lucas' shot are exactly what I want to see and you'd never see anything like that from Rodgers.

    Klopp won't buy somebody for the hell of it - he showed this in January when he didn't make any desperate signings. His decision paid off and suddenly we have a whole host of players who have massively improved - some of which wouldn't have had a chance had we bought in January.
    All in all, with exactly the same players, Klopp has developed a much better side and that's a real testament to his quality as a manager. Our chemistry is unreal right now and suddenly we find ourselves with a great CB pairing and are scoring for fun. Who knew that would happen this season?

    One cup final, one cup semi-final and a potential 5th placed finish in the league after spending nothing? That's actually ridiculous. Liverpool Football Club are going places with this man. As if it wasn't obvious already...
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    Love how "potential 5th placed finish" is a great thing
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    (Original post by difeo)
    Love how "potential 5th placed finish" is a great thing
    All about context my little friend
 
 
 
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