1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. You may have to login or register before you can post and view our exclusive members only forums.
    To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
    Dismiss Notice
Why Not Register?

It only takes a few minutes to register on SixCrazyMinutes

Click Here

The Athletic - LFC related articles

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by Hass, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    I've got a subscription to theAthletic and they have some pretty good writers covering lfc with articles on a daily basis so I thought I'd create this thread and post up the articles.
     
    Frogfish, SummerOnions and King Binny like this.
  2. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    The rise of Harvey Elliott. Liverpool's little diamond

    Real Madrid rolled out the red carpet for Harvey Elliott.

    There was a tour of the Bernabeu and their training ground complex as they sought to convince the youngest player to play in the Premier League to move to the Spanish capital last summer.

    When they reached Sergio Ramos’ shirt, hanging up on the wall, Real’s charm offensive included an offer to arrange for the talented teenager to meet their long-serving captain.

    “No, it’s OK, thanks,” Elliott replied. “I don’t like him after what he did to Mo Salah.”

    It wasn’t the response his stunned hosts were expecting. A lifelong Liverpool fan, Elliott was in Kiev with his dad Scott a year earlier when Ramos cynically took Salah out of the 2018 Champions League final by dumping him on his shoulder. An audience with Ramos was never going to be a deal-clincher for Elliott.

    [https://cdn]

    Elliott in front of his father, Scott, in Kiev before the 2018 Champions League final. Photo used with permission of the Elliott family.

    Elliott had an array of top European clubs looking to secure his services after deciding to reject Fulham’s offer of a scholarship. As well as Real Madrid, there was interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal among others.

    However, when Liverpool made their move while he was on a family holiday in Portugal following his GCSE exams, it proved to be a game-changer. “It took me by surprise. I didn’t think it was true,” Elliott has admitted.

    There were more lucrative proposals on the table but the emotional pull of Anfield was huge. There was the cautionary tale of Norwegian youngster Martin Odegaard, who turned down Liverpool to go to Real Madrid at the age of 16 in 2015 but has made just one appearance for them in La Liga since (he has, however, thrived on loan at Real Sociedad.) When they weighed everything up, it was felt that Melwood would be the best place for his development given Jurgen Klopp’s track record of putting his faith in youth.

    A year on, it has proved to be a shrewd move for all parties. Elliott, who has already made seven senior appearances for Liverpool, has flourished on Merseyside, endearing himself to supporters and enhancing his status as one of the most gifted English players of his generation.

    “An exceptional talent and a nice kid as well,” said Klopp. “It’s easy to be convinced about Harvey when you see him in training. He could have gone pretty much everywhere but he wanted to be part of Liverpool.”

    Having turned 17 in April, he’s set to sign a three-year professional contract over the coming weeks. A tribunal has yet to decide on his transfer fee, with Fulham understood to be seeking around £7 million in compensation.

    This is the story of his journey to Anfield and why Liverpool are so convinced he has all the attributes required to help keep the trophies rolling in.

    It’s a precious family photo from Harvey Elliott’s first visit to Anfield. There he is sat on the Kop, holding up his Liverpool scarf with a big grin on his face. He was just three years old when his dad Scott, a lifelong fan, took him to the Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa in August 2006. Mark Gonzalez came off the bench on his debut to score a dramatic late winner.

    [https://cdn]

    (Photo: The Elliott family)

    A love affair with Liverpool was underway as he gabbled excitedly about the atmosphere all the way home to Surrey. Shortly after, on a day out to Brighton Pier, his family first noticed his natural ability with a ball at his feet. One stall was offering prizes for kicking footballs through holes carved out in a wooden wall. The small boy’s accuracy was such that he walked away clutching a giant teddy.

    Born in Chertsey, Elliott trained with Fulham but left at the age of eight to join the youth ranks at Queens Park Rangers. Speak to those coaches who worked with him and the same words keep on cropping up — driven, focused, dedicated, humble and gifted. He grew up idolising Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

    There was never any danger of Elliott getting too big for his boots. During one game for QPR’s under-10s away to Tottenham, he scored nine and set up the other one in a 10-1 win. When he got in the car to go home, his dad wanted to talk about his role in Tottenham’s consolation goal after his son had allowed their winger to get in behind him.

    “When I first watched Harvey in a game he did OK but the next day in training he blew me away with his talent,” says Scott Chickelday, his under-11s manager at QPR, who now delivers specialist attacking coaching sessions for Elite Player UK. “He had been stuck out on the left but I decided to start playing him through the middle and he really blossomed. You can never be too sure at that age whether they will go on to make it but he had all the tools.

    “He was rapid, had an unbelievable touch and he had an end product in the final third. He trained how he played. He had the mentality to be a professional footballer. He was one of the quietest of the group but very respectful and a lovely kid.

    “I remember one under-11s game against Chelsea at Cobham. We used to get beat by Chelsea all the time because they were always so strong. We were 4-1 down. I wasn’t happy at half-time and Harvey gave me that kind of look that says, ‘OK, I’ll show you’. He came to life, scored a hat-trick and we fought back to draw 4-4.

    “That’s Harvey all over. He was unbelievable in that second half. It was like something out of a film.”

    Elliott left QPR at the age of 11 and returned to Fulham’s academy. He attended Coombe Boys’ School, next to the London club’s Motspur Park training ground. Brothers Ryan and Steven Sessegnon also studied there.

    After completing his homework, Elliott would go to training in the evenings, then do extra work back in the family garden using cones and ladders he had laid out, sometimes persevering until it was pitch black.

    When some coaches questioned whether he would be able to cover enough ground on a full-size pitch, his response was to go away and work on explosive training as he started doing hill climbs to build up his strength and stamina.

    By the age of 14, he was playing under-18s football for Fulham and holding his own physically. He was selected to represent England Under-15s and has been part of the international set-up ever since.

    In September 2018, at the age of 15 years and 174 days, he became Fulham’s youngest ever first-team player and the youngest in the history of the League Cup when he came off the bench to make his senior debut for the closing nine minutes of a 3-1 win over Millwall.

    [https://cdn]

    (Photo: Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    He had sat an exam at school earlier that day and, on his return to the classroom the following morning, he was given an ovation by his fellow pupils. He had travelled home from The Den after the match with his dad on the train.

    “This kid shows the personality,” remarked then-Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who had been taken aback by Elliott’s impact after he had been invited to train with the senior players during an international training camp in Spain. “He says, ‘I want to show you I am a very good player’. I say, ‘OK if you can show me, I’ll give you this opportunity’.”

    “Fearless” was the assessment of Fulham academy director Huw Jennings, who spoke about his “Messi-like style”.

    In May 2019, there was another slice of history for Elliott, who became the youngest player ever to play in the Premier League. He was 16 years and 30 days when he featured against Wolverhampton Wanderers and there was another outing against Newcastle United the following week.

    Fulham captain Tom Cairney described him as “a sensation” and his self-confidence as “frightening”. By then, Scott Parker was his manager and Fulham were desperately trying to convince the youngster to sign a scholarship. But with the club heading for the Championship and Europe’s elite circling, they were fighting a losing battle. Fulham were devastated to lose him.

    Harvey Elliott’s first training session at Melwood last July certainly raised eyebrows. The collective response among the senior professionals was “wow”.

    Assistant manager Pep Lijnders recalls sitting down with Klopp to discuss the previous hour. “We were like, ‘OK, that’s quite impressive for a 16-year-old’,” laughs the Dutchman. “When we do the counter-press rondo you see straight away if a player can handle the speed and the decision-making because there’s such a small space in which to play our game.

    “What a surprise he was when he came for the first sessions. Some players, they play as if they are already, say, 28 or 29. He’s a player who sees so much around him before things happen. Everyone sees what a great player he is but behind that player is a great human being and a great addition to our squad. He’s our little diamond of the team.”

    Given his age and profile, Liverpool have kept Elliott away from the glare of the media but after he turned 17 in April they sanctioned an LFCTV interview with him, which was conducted by Lijnders.

    “I used to get smashed around a bit but you learn from it,” Elliot said. “I had to move the ball quick, I had to have the next pass in my mind before I got the ball. I had to make sure my touch was good. That helped me a lot.”

    Like Salah, Elliott favours playing wide on the right and cutting inside on to his left foot. “Mo is the King,” he said. “Going up against him in training I learn a lot of things. I idolise him a lot. Even in the gym, he helps and tells me to do higher weights to push myself even more. He’s a really big influence on the young players.”

    [https://cdn]

    Elliott at Melwood on May 20 (Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

    Earning the respect of ultra-pro James Milner isn’t easy but Elliott has managed it, not only with the ability he’s shown but with his professionalism and the manner in which he has conducted himself.

    Milner trod a similar path and is something of a mentor for him. At the age of 16, Milner was playing Premier League football for Leeds United — five months before Elliott was even born.

    “Millie is such a big aspect for the team,” said Elliott. “He’s always giving us tips. He’s always motivating us and wanting us to be the best we can be.”

    Elliott took his Liverpool bow in front of 65,000 in last July’s friendly against Napoli in Edinburgh and also featured against Lyon in Geneva. At 5ft 7in and with a low centre of gravity, he whetted fans’ appetites with two highly promising cameos as he proved to be a creative force.

    His entire family moved from Surrey to a house in south Liverpool to help him settle in. He lives with dad Scott, mum Janine, sister Daniella and brother Harrison. French bulldog puppy Paisley is a recent addition, named after the legendary Liverpool manager.

    Training at Melwood has been an education for him. He has a close relationship with elite development coach Vitor Matos, who arrived from Porto last October and works specifically with the youngsters, and has regularly dropped down to the under-23s squad at Kirkby in order to get game-time. He scored twice and provided four assists in 12 Premier League 2 appearances in 2019-20, to which he added a goal and five assists in seven UEFA Youth League matches.

    Neil Critchley was Liverpool Under-23s boss before leaving to take over at Blackpool in March. “The first time I met Harvey was before our EFL Trophy game at Oldham last August,” Critchley tells The Athletic. “He scored and was excellent that night.

    “He was great to work with and I really enjoyed getting to know him. He listens and he wants to learn. I know he has really impressed all the staff at Melwood.

    “He’s got a lot of confidence in his own ability, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s no arrogance about him, either on or off the pitch. He’s very level-headed. He’s got a very good family around him and that’s important for any young player. Whenever he dropped down from Melwood to come to the academy, his attitude was always spot on.

    “His best quality — and this might sound daft — is his love of the game. He comes alive when he’s got a ball at his feet.

    “He’s quick and he’s skilful but he doesn’t shirk the hard work. He’s the kind of kid who gives everything for the team, whether he’s playing in front of a full house at Anfield or a few hundred at Kirkby.

    “One of his great strengths is his receiving skills, how he takes possession of the ball. The way he sees the game, his intelligence is well beyond his years. When you’ve got that mix of ability, character and work ethic, it’s a great combination.”

    In September, aged 16 years and 174 days, he became the youngest player to start a game for Liverpool when Klopp gave him his debut in the Carabao Cup tie at MK Dons. He should have capped a lively display with a goal but struck the underside of the bar.

    A home debut followed in the next round against Arsenal. It’s a night he will never forget as a much-changed line-up fought back to draw 5-5 in a thriller before going through on penalties.

    By then, Elliott had served a 14-day ban imposed by the FA for using offensive language in a social media video mocking Harry Kane. A private Snapchat message filmed during the Champions League final against Tottenham in June 2019, when he was still a Fulham player, had been leaked into the public domain the following month.

    Elliott issued an apology and accepted the subsequent charge, which included attending an educational course at Wembley. Given his age and the genuine remorse he showed, Klopp regarded it as a stupid mistake and decided that a warning rather than internal disciplinary action was required. Captain Jordan Henderson spoke to him about the responsibilities and the scrutiny that comes with representing a club of Liverpool’s stature and his behaviour since has been impeccable.

    Polite and respectful, he’s a popular figure with long-serving Melwood canteen staff Carole and Caroline. He often sits in there and chats with fellow youngsters Curtis Jones and Neco Williams. The trio has grown close over the course of this season.

    Having played in Liverpool’s youngest-ever starting line-up when they were beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in December, Elliott was flown out to Qatar to be part of the squad that won the FIFA Club World Cup. His cherished winners’ medal sits alongside the one from the UEFA Super Cup when he was also an unused substitute.

    There was a brief Premier League debut for Liverpool when he replaced Salah in stoppage time against Sheffield United at Anfield in January. But the FA Cup provided a platform for him to further enhance his reputation as he helped a young side beat Everton before getting past Shrewsbury Town at the second attempt. Critchley was in charge for that replay against the League One outfit with Klopp and his senior professionals away during the Premier League’s inaugural winter break.

    [https://cdn]

    Elliott replaces Salah against Sheffield United at Anfield in January (Photo: Alex Livesey/Danehouse/Getty Images)

    “Harvey may be young but holding his own physically isn’t a problem for him,” Critchley says. “I think what’s helped him is playing a lot of street football and playing a lot of games against older lads. He keeps the ball close to his body. He gets his fair share of whacks but it doesn’t knock him out of his stride. Growing up, I think he was used to getting a kicking. It’s stood him in good stead.

    “He’s got a real ‘I’ll show you’ type attitude. He doesn’t get rattled easily. He picks himself up and goes again. That’s the best way to respond to a defender who is roughing you up. He’s so good in the one v one.

    “I think he’s got a big future in the game. He couldn’t be at a better place to keep learning and continue his development, considering the senior players around him at Liverpool and playing for a manager who gives youngsters opportunities and believes in them. His mindset and mentality set him apart. He’s humble and thankful for what he’s got.”

    In terms of showing his individual brilliance, there’s been nothing better than the stunning bicycle kick he scored from a corner for the under-23s against Wolves in late January. In his last game before the lockdown, he contributed a hat-trick of assists in the rout of Sunderland in the Premier League Cup.

    “It’s weird seeing myself on the game,” Elliott recently told Rio Ferdinand after comprehensively beating the former England defender in a FIFA 20 match broadcast online by Copa90 Football. “I think my rating is a bit low though,” he joked. The smart money suggests it will keep climbing.

    Elliott would have been leading the charge for England in the Under-17 European Championship in Estonia in May but that tournament was shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    With Liverpool on the brink of clinching the Premier League title, he’s expected to get more senior experience before the end of the season. Klopp sees him having a bigger role to play in 2020-21, with no loan spell on the cards.

    On his return home from training at Melwood each day, Elliott still heads out into his back garden to keep practising. He’s driven by a burning desire to become one of the best in Europe. He will need to stay injury-free and enjoy some luck along the way but the signs are promising and he’s in safe hands.

    “Jurgen is any player’s dream to play under,” Elliott says. “He dishes the jokes out but when it’s serious and we need to focus, he brings the best out of everyone.

    “I strive to be like a Steven Gerrard. I just want to be as big a legend as him. I want to win everything with this amazing club.”

    It’s a lofty ambition but then again Elliott has already made a habit of rewriting the record books.
     
    refugee and Insignificance like this.
  3. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Van Dijk and Wijnaldum behind Liverpool's tribute to George Floyd

    It was the brainchild of Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum.

    Third and fourth-in-command respectively in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool squad, the Dutch players are on the captain’s committee at Melwood with skipper Jordan Henderson and vice-captain James Milner.

    Having been deeply affected by the death of George Floyd, an African American in police custody in Minneapolis, and the protests against racism which have followed across the United States, Van Dijk and Wijnaldum suggested a collective show of solidarity before Monday’s training session at Anfield. Their team-mates backed them to the hilt.

    The outcome was a powerful image in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been beamed across the globe. Twenty-nine Liverpool players positioned themselves around the centre circle on a glorious summer afternoon each with their right knee on the turf.

    Once the session was complete, they each posted the photograph on their social media channels with the caption: Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter

    Van Dijk and Wijnaldum were inspired by what they had witnessed in the Bundesliga at the weekend and the emotive words of young Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who is currently on loan at Swansea City, as well as other sports stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams.

    Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho unveiled a “Justice for George Floyd” t-shirt after scoring in their win over Paderborn, while Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram celebrated his goal against Union Berlin by taking a knee.

    Brewster, who has previously spoken about the sickening racist abuse he suffered playing youth football, tweeted: “This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up.

    “Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real-life and everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years and generations, we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard yet the pain continues.

    “We’ve all been shown films like Roots, we’ve all seen films like Boyz in the Hood where this reality is covered and showcased. Yet we are still living these movies in real life. In 2020, today this goes beyond just #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, we need justice for us as human beings. We don’t want special privilege. A level playing field is all we have been crying for, forever. Hear us. #BlackLivesMatter”

    Van Dijk and Wijnaldum felt that the best way in which the Liverpool squad could show their support was as one voice, one unified force. Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff stepped aside while the photo was taken by the club photographer from the Main Stand.

    Monday’s session was the first time that the players had stepped foot on to the Anfield pitch since the Champions League defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid on March 11.

    They restarted contact training at Melwood last Thursday but social distancing and hygiene protocols remain in place, with a one-way system in operation at the training ground and temperature checks on arrival.

    Most of Liverpool’s training will continue to take place at Melwood but further sessions at Anfield will be factored into the schedule to help prepare the players for playing games behind closed doors.

    The Premier League leaders’ first game back after the restart is against Everton on the weekend of June 20/21 and Liverpool are waiting to discover whether that fixture will be moved away from Goodison Park. Mark Roberts, the national lead for football policing and deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire police, wants the club’s away games against Everton, Manchester City and Newcastle United, as well as any home match which could see Klopp’s side clinch the club’s first title for 30 years, moved to a neutral venue.

    However, Liverpool oppose that plan and are confident that fans would adhere to pleas not to congregate outside the stadium. The final decision will be made by the local safety advisory group.

    “I heard there is some talk (about neutral venues),” Klopp told BeIN Sports. “I’m pretty sure we can solve the situation here in Liverpool. I heard a really good phrase — we have the best home fans in the world and now we need the best stay-at-home fans in the world.”

    (Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
     
    refugee and Insignificance like this.
  4. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Liverpool's chances of winning title on Merseyside raised by neutral venue confusion

    Other contributors: James Pearce, Patrick Boyland and Laurie Whitwell

    The prospect of all remaining Premier League matches being concluded as home and away fixtures has increased amid confusion over why neutral venues were ever proposed and uncertainty about who would ultimately make that decision.

    Police guidance originally suggested up to six matches — Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle United, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool, Everton v Liverpool and the game in which Liverpool could secure the title — would be played at alternative venues on the recommendation of the head of United Kingdom’s Football Policing Unit, Mark Roberts.

    Last Friday, the Premier League reaffirmed its commitment to fixtures going ahead as planned, albeit without fans, just hours after a statement from Roberts said a “consensus” had been reached about using neutral venues. The Athletic has since learned of the lack of support for his plan among associated powers as well as those with influence inside football.

    This has improved the chances of neutral venues only being used as a contingency. An agreement on this measure is likely to be reached between clubs at a Premier League meeting on Thursday.

    This heightens the chances of Liverpool securing their first league title in 30 years on Merseyside, with their next two scheduled games set to be at Goodison Park and then Anfield against Crystal Palace.

    However, if the region then sees a spike in coronavirus cases, then Liverpool — or Everton — may be forced to finish their seasons away from home on health grounds.

    Several sources have criticised Roberts, a deputy chief constable with South Yorkshire Police, for taking a public order approach to a decision they believe should be based on public health grounds.

    And some of those clubs whose games were listed to be moved to neutral venues have told The Athletic of their confusion, with one club saying there is a “misalignment” between regional forces and the guidance clubs were given.

    The proposal was also contradicted by regional police forces in Merseyside, Manchester and West Yorkshire, who all said they were willing to police the listed games in their areas.

    Geoff Pearson, a senior lecturer in law at Manchester University, who also acts as a researcher on policing and football crowds, has been “unconvinced” by the rationale behind neutral venues on the basis of disorder. He believes it “fundamentally misunderstands football fan culture” but most importantly, any decision relating to fans “should be discussed and decided at a local level because they appreciate the geography and trends of the area best”.

    Owen West, a retired police chief superintendent, head of specialist operations and an expert of progressive policing, described the neutral venues plans as based on “a fictional non-evidenced risk of disorder and hooliganism”. He suggested that thinking on the issue “is stuck in the pre-pandemic era… an idea based on the tired old narrative that fans are a problem to be managed as opposed to an asset to work alongside”.

    The Premier League has since asked clubs to ensure they secure certificates from Safety Advisory Groups to ensure the games can go ahead.

    Initially, this presented a challenge as some experts believe the relevant legislation, the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, only applies to events where spectators are present.

    But on Monday, the regulatory body responsible for compliance with that act, The Sports Grounds and Safety Authority, released fresh guidance suggesting that “general safety certificates” would “still be in scope”, as they also cover areas around the grounds.

    However, some clubs are still waiting for confirmation as to who is responsible for safety certificate applications should they be forced to play away from their own stadiums, as well as who ultimately makes the decision to move a game to a neutral venue.

    Some experts believe any decisions about where and when to stage games should be made by the regional committees guiding the public health response to the coronavirus, but it now appears the Sports Grounds and Safety Authority has been backed by the government to lead this process.

    The organisation said yesterday that it “is advising local authorities on key safety considerations”, before reminding that “the local safety advisory group… is the best forum to assess risks based on the latest intelligence and consider appropriate mitigations”.

    The Athletic understands that Liverpool are determined to proceed with games at Anfield — with the support of their local safety advisory group, which includes representatives from the local police forces, ambulance and fire services as well as supporters’ groups. A source described this as a “moral obligation”. Figures inside Liverpool’s commercial department have also raised concerns about the potential impact of not being able to fulfil advertising commitments at neutral venues.

    [https://cdn]

    Liverpool trained at Anfield on Monday and hope to completed their scheduled games there (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

    This issue could be taken away from them to some degree should the title be sealed at Goodison Park. Though the Merseyside derby was earmarked for neutral venue status, Everton yesterday requested that Liverpool City Council’s safety advisory group meet at the earliest opportunity. That will happen early next week because this week is fully booked.

    The group will be chaired by councillor Wendy Simon, deputy to the mayor Joe Anderson who last month called for an end to the Premier League season because of health risks, though he has since claimed that he is open to “collaboration” in attempts to find solutions.

    The government has informed local authorities like Liverpool City Council that it will provide biometric data and other evidence to help inform the decision-making process. Among its deliberations will be the ramifications of defeat for Manchester City when they face Arsenal in the curtain-raiser for Project Restart, an outcome that would hand Liverpool the chance of title glory at Goodison the following weekend.

    Most of the focus, indeed, will fall on Liverpool where sources inside Merseyside Police admitted to The Athletic that, while they have no concerns about “crime and disorder” in relation to Liverpool or Everton home fixtures, there is some apprehension about how the force would handle the reaction if and when Liverpool win the league. Street celebrations are not illegal and ultimately, there is nothing to stop fans from gathering — just as there was nothing forces in other parts of the country could do to prevent thousands of sun worshippers planting themselves on beaches last weekend.

    Neutral stadia proposals were first floated six weeks ago when the Premier League first met with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Britain was in the midst of a full lockdown at that point and attitudes have changed a lot since. The Premier League feared not being able to restart the 2019-20 season, which could have led to it being declared null and void.

    This explains why there was a willingness to come up with solutions that could oppose any suggestion that the season was finished. This was why St George’s Park was put forward as a venue, along with a host of arenas in the West Midlands to reduce travel and the risk of coronavirus transmission.

    Having convinced the DCMS that football had an immediate future, it was established by the game’s broadcasters that St George’s Park was not a suitable venue and this led to other radical solutions, such as the idea that every club should play each of their games on neutral ground.

    This was when the police became involved. It remained a period where lockdown was in force and the police immediately outlined their concerns about what might happen if football returned. Aside from health risks, the Premier League was also told of reservations relating to public disorder.

    As it became clearer that restrictions would be lifted at the start of June, the Premier League placed more responsibility on the clubs. It was up to them to establish safety certificates, with the Premier League reminding them of the consequences of failed fixtures, which include fines and docked points. Those clubs unable to gain a certificate were reassured by the Premier League that it would find them a neutral venue.

    Roberts decided to act, writing to all of the police forces about his concerns. Each force responded in different ways, the most emphatic of which was the Metropolitan Police — an organisation that serves five Premier League clubs and seven in the Football League. The Met told the Premier League that it possessed the resources to police any football match and this explains why no London fixtures were named on the high-risk list last week.

    There have since been a number of suggestions about why Manchester City and Newcastle United were placed on the list released by Roberts, along with Manchester United and Sheffield United.

    A spokesperson on behalf of South Yorkshire Police would not confirm or deny suggestions that Newcastle’s trip to the Etihad represented a risk because of supposed intelligence around a proposed protest against regimes in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. Newcastle’s home game against Liverpool was also reported as being at risk due to the possibility of fans celebrating the end of the Mike Ashley era. It is also believed that judgments around Sheffield United’s trip to Old Trafford were partly based on the number of arrests made in the same fixture 13 years ago.

    For the time being, it feels as though the whole of football is trying to get up to speed with events going on around them. Peter Houghton, the director of operations at the Football Safety Officers Association says that consultation with members over the last few months has been poor but this is partly because a lot of them (especially in the EFL) were furloughed and didn’t have access to work emails while football’s authorities attempted to launch Project Restart.

    This, Houghton says, has left the organisation feeling like they are in a “relay race where nobody wants to pick up the baton — and to make matters worse, our members are on the last leg and we’re up against Usain Bolt”.

    (Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
     
  5. Mors

    Mors Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    11,612
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Trophy Points:
    605
    They got any inside info on transfers? Apart the junk 'we might sign werner, we might not' that everyone else is peddling?
     
  6. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Sign Werner for £50m? It's not that simple and Liverpool won't gamble

    It was never going to be a busy summer for Liverpool in the transfer market.

    With Jurgen Klopp’s side on the brink of adding the Premier League title to the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup they had won over the previous 12 months, only fine-tuning rather than a major shopping spree was anticipated.

    The vast majority of the club’s key personnel are yet to reach their peak and, with the notable exception of midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, they are all tied down to long-term deals. Klopp had penned his own contract extension back in December, enthused by the belief that everything was in place to keep the good times rolling at Anfield.

    As thoughts turned to planning for the 2020-21 season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions with sporting director Michael Edwards and the club’s recruitment staff centred on bolstering their attacking options. High-calibre back-up for the established front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino was on the agenda.

    That need was intensified by the announcement that the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon would be moved from June to January next year. A fuming Klopp labelled that decision “a catastrophe” for Liverpool as he pondered the grim prospect of losing Salah, Mane and midfielder Naby Keita for up to six weeks at a crucial period of the campaign.

    Shortly before the shutdown, it appeared that Liverpool were closing in on the perfect solution. Timo Werner ticked all the boxes — quick, direct and prolific. An established Germany international, he had scored 21 goals and provided seven assists in 25 Bundesliga matches in 2019-20. He had been on Liverpool’s radar since his days at Stuttgart in 2015 and was viewed as an ideal fit stylistically.

    Publicly, as the speculation increased, the RB Leipzig frontman spoke about his pride at being linked with a move to Anfield and labelled Klopp “the best coach in the world”. Privately, he made it clear that despite interest from Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea, Liverpool was his destination of choice. He wasn’t put off by the fact that there would be no guarantees about his place in the pecking order. The pulling power of Klopp was a big factor.

    With a release clause of €60 million (£53.7 million), which can be triggered in June, it looked like a no-brainer for Liverpool — a shrewd investment and the kind of deal that made sense for all parties.

    However, that was before all the upheaval caused by COVID-19. Now the landscape has been transformed. Uncertainty reigns. Werner’s future is in the balance.

    Senior Anfield sources insist Liverpool are unlikely to make any major signings this summer. They point to the huge financial impact of the crisis and the fact that as things stand they don’t even know either when the transfer window will open or when next season will start.

    “Our revenues have been shut off yet our outgoings remain,” wrote chief executive Peter Moore in an open letter to fans after Liverpool reversed their decision to furlough hundreds of staff last month. He also warned about the prospect of “unprecedented operating losses” for a club whose annual wage bill stands at £310 million.

    Owners Fenway Sports Group don’t take money out of the club but they expect it to live within its means. Their success has been based on sustained growth across all areas. That has been halted by circumstances beyond their control. A massive drop in cash coming in inevitably means that less can be reinvested.

    Although their latest accounts showed a pre-tax profit of £42 million and record revenues of £533 million, club officials point to the fact that those figures are already a year old and only provide a snapshot.

    The full cost of the current crisis remains unclear but it’s escalating by the week.

    Match-day revenue is currently worth £84 million to Liverpool per season but there’s a fear that matches will have to be played behind closed doors well into 2021. Liverpool will refund fans with tickets for their remaining games this season and they have placed their season ticket renewal process on hold. Every home game played without fans will leave a shortfall in excess of £3 million.

    Media revenue, which stood at £261 million for Liverpool in 2018-19, will be severely hit by the rebates being demanded by domestic and international broadcasters.

    And then you have got the commercial revenue, which had leaped by 22 per cent to £188 million for 2018-19 under the guidance of managing director Billy Hogan. Liverpool’s club shops would have expected record sales in the wake of being crowned Premier League champions. Instead, they have been locked up for the past two months.

    One of the big attractions of the new five-year kit deal signed with Nike, which officially starts next month, was that its value would keep rising.

    Liverpool accepted a relatively low base fee of £30 million per season (the current deal with New Balance is worth £40 million) on the basis that they would also bank 20 per cent of all net sales of merchandise.

    Nike have vowed to get LFC goods into around 6,000 stores globally — roughly double the current number. But Liverpool are reliant on people feeling safe enough to go shopping again over the coming months as well as having the disposable income to do so in a tough economic climate.

    Doubts also surround instalments due to be paid by the club’s army of global sponsors given that in the absence of football Liverpool have been unable to fulfil their side of the bargain in terms of exposure.

    As for pre-season, the continued absence of supporters from stadiums will cost the club millions of pounds. Before the pandemic, Liverpool had decided to stay in Europe for the first time in a decade and play a series of lucrative matches across the continent against elite opposition. However, those plans have since been torn up.

    Moore and Hogan were among more than a dozen executive club staff who voluntarily took a 25 per cent pay cut early on in the crisis.

    Work on the new training complex at Kirkby has now fully restarted after being shut down for six weeks by contractors McLaughlin & Harvey due to social distancing guidelines. The £50 million cost is being spread across three financial years.

    The £60 million redevelopment of the Anfield Road stand was recently placed on hold for 12 months and won’t now be completed until at least the summer of 2023.

    This is the backdrop to all the talk about Werner and the club’s transfer activity this summer.

    Another factor to consider is the impact of COVID-19 on potential outgoings from Klopp’s squad.

    Liverpool had slapped a €30 million (£26.7 million) price tag on Xherdan Shaqiri, having turned down loan interest from Sevilla and Roma back in January. That valuation looked optimistic at the time given the Swiss attacker’s injury woes and now it appears fanciful.

    Bumper offers were expected for winger Harry Wilson and midfielder Marko Grujic, currently on loan at Bournemouth and Hertha Berlin respectively. Pocketing £40 million for the pair would have realistic before the shutdown but not any more.

    Liverpool must decide whether to accept lower fees for those on the fringes or keep hold of them until the market recovers somewhat.

    Loris Karius is for sale after cancelling his loan contract with Besiktas and Liverpool will attempt to find a new club for him before pre-season begins. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne will both leave as free agents but talented youngsters Curtis Jones and Neco Williams are rated highly and tipped to step up in their absence.

    The lack of natural cover for left-back Andy Robertson is often flagged as a weakness in the squad but vice-captain James Milner can deputise there and academy graduates Adam Lewis and Yasser Larouci are also options.

    So what about Werner? As The Athletic revealed last weekend, he wants to either join Liverpool this summer or stay at Leipzig and revisit the matter in 2021.

    Much will hinge on what happens with the Premier League’s “Project Restart” and what kind of outlay the Anfield hierarchy believe can be justified when things are clearer regarding next season.

    Will Leipzig be prepared to compromise and accept less than €60 million in the knowledge that Werner’s release clause drops to €40 million next June?

    Relations between the two clubs are good following the transfer of Keita. Back in the summer of 2017, Edwards saw off competition for the Guinea international’s signature by agreeing a deal 12 months in advance, which saw Liverpool pay a premium on top of his release clause.

    Waiting a season for Werner in a similar fashion would certainly be deemed more palatable if January’s Africa Cup of Nations is called off and Liverpool don’t have to battle on without Salah and Mane mid-season. That’s a distinct possibility, with four rounds of qualifiers for the tournament still to be played due to all the postponements.

    Klopp does have options with his front line. More will be expected from Takumi Minamino after a tricky period of adaptation following his £7.25 million move from Salzburg in January. Divock Origi will hope to kick on and Shaqiri may even decide to stick around.

    The Liverpool manager has high hopes for teenager Harvey Elliott, who has enjoyed an excellent debut season at the club after signing from Fulham. Jones is another gifted attacker and Rhian Brewster has impressed on loan at Swansea City.

    Klopp’s pursuit of Virgil van Dijk showed he’s prepared to bide his time to get his man rather than shift to a Plan B.

    Some Premier League clubs may decide to gamble in this summer’s transfer market regardless but Liverpool won’t be one of them. They aren’t one of those playing catch-up.

    Too much is up in the air for them to commit to anything. Werner will have to wait until there’s some clarity.

    (Photo: Jan Woitas/Pool via Getty Images)
     
  7. manwithnoname

    manwithnoname Bravo old man. Bravo. Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    38,568
    Likes Received:
    11,577
    Trophy Points:
    1,765
    Location:
    Various
    We've spent fuck all in the past few windows. FSG need to give Klopp some serious cash to spend, and spending £50m or whatever it takes IS very simple.
     
  8. LeTallecWiz

    LeTallecWiz Mo(ssa)d Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    59,286
    Likes Received:
    9,714
    Trophy Points:
    1,970
    Thanks @Hass for sharing the articles!
     
    Hass likes this.
  9. Mors

    Mors Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    11,612
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Trophy Points:
    605
    Are we trying to turn into Spurs? I understand that Covid will make some impact, but I thought the vast majority of our income didn't come from match day revenue.
    If we don't invest in the squad, and others do (I'm looking at cheaty, Utd, Chelsea that can spend massively if they want) we could lose our inertia.
    We don't need huge numbers of players, but we defo need 2 or 3.
     
  10. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    The inside story of how Chelsea landed Werner
    [​IMG]
    By Liam Twomey, David Ornstein and more 1h ago[​IMG] 53 [​IMG]
    Other contributors: James Pearce, Simon Johnson, Raphael Honigstein.
    Less than three weeks ago, Timo Werner’s mind was in Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp had won him over, making clear his admiration and convincing him over the course of two meetings and several WhatsApp chats that Anfield would be the best fit for the striker. It seemed an inevitable move.
    Chelsea’s success in convincing one of Europe’s most prolific goalscorers to instead pick west London owes much to the speed with which they moved when opportunity presented itself, as well as to owner Roman Abramovich’s willingness to spend what others would not.
    Thursday’s rapid developments were no ploy to flush out an eleventh-hour bid from the Premier League leaders. Chelsea will finalise a €60 million (£54 million) deal to sign Werner from RB Leipzig next week, having agreed to match the release clause in his contract and add him to a dynamic young squad already set to be bolstered by the arrival of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax this summer.
    Chelsea’s big push was the culmination of 10 dramatic days that completely upended Werner’s vision for his future. But how did this happen?

    For much of this season, Plan A for Werner had been Liverpool, while Plan B had been one more season with RB Leipzig. But as the June 15 deadline for the release clause in his contract began to loom, Werner grew anxious. By the time the Bundesliga season ended he wanted to be able to browse potential properties in Merseyside and go on holiday with his future settled. Above all he did not want a repeat of last summer, when he said his goodbyes to RB Leipzig ahead of a move to Bayern Munich, only for the deal to collapse.
    Werner set Liverpool a separate deadline to make a final decision on whether they were prepared to meet his release clause. Klopp consulted with Fenway Sports Group, then called the striker to explain why the move would not happen. Sources have told The Athletic that the Liverpool manager insisted the reasoning was purely financial, rather than any negative reflection on the player or his proposed role in Klopp’s squad. Werner accepted the explanation and the two men remain on good terms.
    FSG do not take money out of Liverpool, but they do expect the club to live within its means. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the message coming from the highest levels at Anfield has been that there will be no major signings in the coming transfer window. The wage bill stands at £310 million and when the club reversed its decision to furlough staff in April, chief executive Peter Moore warned of “unprecedented operating losses” as a result of the pandemic.
    When contacted by The Athletic, Liverpool insisted the decision to pass on Werner was not a financial one. It would, however, have been a vast outlay for a player who would have started his Anfield career as a substitute. Klopp can currently field arguably the most devastating front three in world football, and Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are all in their prime years.
    His plan had been to ease Werner into the team around January 2021, when Africa Cup of Nations commitments were scheduled to occupy both Mane and Salah for up to six weeks. But with that competition increasingly likely to be pushed back to 2022 as football’s schedule adapts to the effects of COVID-19, the need for such expensive and high-calibre squad cover next season is lessened.
    Liverpool’s withdrawal opened the door for other suitors. Werner’s representatives re-opened talks with Manchester United and Chelsea; both clubs had made their interest known earlier in the season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had met the striker in Berlin in February, shortly before a meeting with Klopp. United, however, made it clear they would only be willing to meet the release clause if they found a buyer for Paul Pogba.
    Chelsea presented no such stipulations. Marina Granovskaia indicated they would meet the release clause in full, and Frank Lampard called Werner to explain how he would fit into the club’s broader plans for the future. Over the course of two lengthy phone conversations, the striker warmed to the appeal of working under another admiring coach and joining a promising young squad.
    COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented any Chelsea officials from flying to Germany to conduct the negotiations in person. Granovskaia handled discussions remotely while enlisting the services of Luxembourg-based lawyer Dr Michael Becker – who once represented Michael Ballack and often works with the club on transfer business in Germany. Werner cannot travel either due to hygiene rules set by the DFL, but there were no practical impediments to the deal.
    RB Leipzig initially supported Werner’s plan to either join Liverpool this summer or stay in Germany for another year, though were mindful of the fact that Werner’s release clause dropped to €40 million next summer and €25 million in 2022. However, Financial Fair Play became a bigger consideration in recent weeks and The Athletic understands the club recently explained that to Werner who, though disappointed, understood he would have to leave for the good of the club; since promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016 Leipzig’s net spend according to Transfermarkt is €137.2 million, bigger even than Bayern Munich (€117.5 million).
    Losing his top scorer stings for RB Leipzig’s highly-regarded young coach Julian Nagelsmann, who played an instrumental role in convincing Werner to sign a new contract after Bayern dropped their interest in the summer of 2019. But there was always a recognition that the presence of a release clause in his new deal made this scenario likely, and the club’s stance towards a sale hardened their striker’s resolve to seek out alternative Premier League destinations when Liverpool withdrew.

    Werner formally agreed to join Chelsea on Thursday afternoon, with news of his decision leaking out shortly afterwards. Sources have told The Athletic that Antonio Rudiger, who played alongside the striker at youth and senior level at Stuttgart and remains his teammate in the Germany squad, was particularly excited by the prospect of welcoming his friend to Stamford Bridge.
    All parties expect to complete the deal next week, as only relatively minor details remain to be resolved. One is the precise payment plan; there is a suggestion that two-thirds of the transfer fee will be transferred in this window, with the rest to follow in January. Another is length of contract; Chelsea are understood to want at least a five-year deal. Werner’s salary will increase year-on-year as the contract progresses, and is expected to reach in the region of £9 million per year (a little more than £170,000 per week) plus bonuses.
    It is a big victory for Lampard, who publicly stressed the need to add more goals to his squad in January. He didn’t get his wish then, but next season he will be able to call upon a scorer coveted by Europe’s elite; for context, sources told The Athletic that Liverpool’s recruitment staff, widely regarded as among the very best in world football, rated Werner more highly than either Jadon Sancho or Kai Havertz due to his combination of lightning speed and positional versatility.
    Lampard also liked Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, primarily because of his proven track record as a prolific goalscorer in the Premier League. So too did technical and performance advisor Petr Cech, who formed a very positive impression of the Gabon international’s personality and professionalism in the 18 months they spent as team-mates at the Emirates Stadium. Interest was shown in January but it was late in the window, Barcelona were also in the picture and Arsenal were unwilling to sell.
    Aubameyang, however, is 31 in June. Werner, seven years his junior, is a cleaner fit for the squad that Lampard is building around a hugely talented batch of Chelsea academy graduates. He is also very similar in skill set to Dries Mertens, another prolific veteran who continued to draw admiring glances from Stamford Bridge until he committed to a new three-year contract with Napoli in May.
    Werner’s arrival presents a challenge to Tammy Abraham, who remains the only one of Lampard’s home-grown core yet to commit to a long-term extension. Despite being very capable of carrying a goal threat from the left flank, 27 of the Germany international’s 35 starts and 24 of his 29 goals for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season have come as a central striker.
    But if Chelsea truly aspire to be elite contenders again, Lampard knows he must be able to call upon attacking firepower to match the very best. The acquisitions of Ziyech and Werner have emphatically addressed his squad’s most pressing need weeks before the transfer window officially opens.
     
  11. manwithnoname

    manwithnoname Bravo old man. Bravo. Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    38,568
    Likes Received:
    11,577
    Trophy Points:
    1,765
    Location:
    Various
    Fucking depressing. Fuck FSG
     
  12. JurgenKlopp

    JurgenKlopp Very Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,392
    Likes Received:
    883
    Trophy Points:
    420
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Anfield
    Brendon banned,what for?
     
  13. The Nomad

    The Nomad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    11,253
    Likes Received:
    1,370
    Trophy Points:
    580
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    See general chat.

    In short. Persistent name calling.
     
  14. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    The city of Liverpool and an awkward conversation about racism

    If you want to understand how police brutality affects more than just the victim’s mindset and is the “real disease” as Raheem Sterling says it is, listen to the story of Jimi Jagne and see how it extends into the lives of others.

    His father had arrived in Liverpool as a seafarer from The Gambia, his mother’s roots were a mix of Chinese and Irish Catholic. His grandmother spent her whole life in the city’s Chinatown, sleeping next to an oil picture of St Partick propped on her bedside table next to tea lights.

    Aged 12, he was walking home from school to the Liverpool 8 area of Toxteth. Beside him were the grand townhouses of Upper Duke Street, where some of Liverpool’s slave traders once lived hundreds of years earlier.

    That was when an Austin Allegro police car crawled up next to him. He was wearing his school uniform and had a Gola kitbag slung over his shoulder with a load of exercise books inside as well as a PE kit.

    An officer wound down the window and asked forcefully, “Where do you think you’re going?”

    Jagne was just going home.

    “Get in the fucking car,” came the order.

    Jagne was a good pupil. He thought about going to university. He’d never had any trouble with the police. He started to cry, asking the officers where they were taking him. They drove past the street he lived on, Windsor Avenue, and carried on, beyond the police station.

    The drive towards Speke on the edge of the city seemed to take forever. That was where he was dragged out of the car by his blazer and thrown into a puddle on a patch of wasteland. The driver opened his bag and threw the contents into the mud.

    Threats were made about what would happen if he ever stole from anyone. He’d never done that before. “We’ll come back for you…”

    Then they left him, miles from Liverpool 8. It took three hours to walk back, eventually returning in the dark. Jagne’s mother died several years later not knowing what had happened that afternoon and her son took the punishments that came his way for being so late and in such a state.

    Five years later, the Toxteth riots happened.

    Like everyone else in Liverpool 8, Jagne does not call them the “riots”.

    They were, instead, an “uprising” — a consequence of police brutality across decades and Liverpool’s high unemployment rate (in 1981, the highest in the country).

    Even if you were white, the chances of getting a job were reduced if you lived in Liverpool 8. Employers would see your address before they saw your face and Liverpool 8 was the city’s ghetto.

    It suited the British government of the era to describe the uproar as “race riots” because it drove attention away from one of the country’s most crippling recessions. Unemployment had made everything worse, sharpening tensions.

    When Leroy Cooper, a 20-year-old photography student, went to have a look at what was happening on the corner of Selbourne Street and Granby Street after hearing about the “police being at it again”, he quickly found himself in the back of a van. He became the first of 500 people to be arrested in the area across a month of violent disturbances in July 1981.

    By then, Jimi Jagne was 17 and politicised by his experiences as a child. He had since begun to understand the impact of stop and search laws, believing that police had identified black youths as criminals in the making. Police officers, he thought, were a “threat to the existence of our community”. At best, a black man might attempt to resist arrest and end up in the hospital. At worst, he might end up in jail. Where would that leave his education? If he had children, where would that leave them? “He becomes a black criminal, stigmatised forever.”

    Howard Gayle, whose brother owned a convenience store at the end of Beaconsfield Street where Jagne now lives, would also have been present in 1981 and “most certainly involved” in the riots had he not been on holiday in Portugal. His father came from Sierra Leone and his mother’s background was in Ghana.

    Five months earlier, Gayle had become the first black player to feature in Liverpool’s first team. His ascendancy, it would seem, was welcome progress. However, Gayle was treated with a mix of caution and suspicion at Anfield. He came on for the injured Kenny Dalglish nine minutes into Liverpool’s 1981 European Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich. He was playing well but received a yellow card. Manager Bob Paisley decided he could not risk playing extra time with 10 men, so Gayle suffered the ignominy of being substituted as a substitute. Ultimately, Paisley did not trust him to keep his cool when it mattered, concluding that he was a hot-head who reacted to provocation.

    Gayle returned from Portugal as a European Cup winner after Liverpool defeated Real Madrid in the final in Paris. Toxteth was still smouldering when pre-season started. Paisley asked him to leave the area and find somewhere calmer to live. Gayle knew that would look like a rejection to his friends and family. Much of his childhood had been spent in Norris Green, a predominantly white council estate with high crime levels. He had suffered racism there, as well as sexual abuse at the hands of a school teacher. He felt more comfortable in Liverpool 8. So he put off moving as long as he could despite Paisley’s insistence, knowing it might affect his pathway into the first team. And when he did finally move, it was to Mossley Hill, only a few miles away. None of this impressed Paisley.

    Gayle left Liverpool in 1983 and went on to have a decent career. He showed his talent at Birmingham City, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers but none of those teams was anywhere near the levels of Liverpool. This might suggest that the decision-makers were right about him all along. Yet he still wonders whether his chances at Anfield would have improved had he been white, like the rest of the squad. As far as he was aware, nobody else was asked to abandon the place from where they came.

    It had been an era of domestic and European dominance at Liverpool. The success was largely explained by the strength of the characters in the dressing room. The put-downs were so bad that Ian Rush considered leaving before he became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

    Gayle had faced racism all of his life. Some team-mates at Liverpool still use ugly language, claiming Gayle “has a chip on his shoulder”, and this stems from the fact he was prepared to confront racism, as he did when it came from former captain Tommy Smith.

    His experience had taught him that the only way to deal with it was to meet it head-on. There was a difference between the standard sort of stuff that came his way and what Smith was saying. Allowing such “banter” to pass would be a betrayal of his pride but it would also potentially allow other competing for places with him to gain an advantage.

    Because of race, he felt he was never allowed to embrace who he really was.

    Like Jimi Jagne, Gayle felt as if the system had set him up for failure.

    There has been an uncomfortable conversation over the last 24 hours about Liverpool’s identity. This follows Bristol protestors toppling the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader. If symbolic gestures were to be replicated on Merseyside, it would be difficult to know where to start considering the number of buildings and public spaces founded on the same blood money.

    The council has since said it will do more to inform people about the grim past, with plaques placed at landmarks detailing the city’s history.

    Football has a role to play within this educational framework. More recent history proves its potential for positive impact. Progress has been made. At the end of 2019, reported cases of Islamophobia in Liverpool were down for the second year in a row thanks, it is believed, to the success of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane with Liverpool.

    Yet some truths seem to go unnoticed despite their significance. Since Gayle left Liverpool, only two black players from the city have represented either Liverpool or Everton more than 100 times. The first was Victor Anichebe, who was born in Nigeria before moving to Crosby, which is at the opposite end of the city from Liverpool 8 (economically as well as geographically).

    The other is Trent Alexander-Arnold who, like Anichebe, was educated in Crosby but was brought up in West Derby, close to Liverpool’s training ground.

    Between Gayle and Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool careers of Tony Warner, Jon Otsemobor and Lee Peltier amounted to just 10 first-team games. Considering that the passion for football in Liverpool extends into its ethnic communities, it seems unusual that including Warner, Otsemobor and Peltier, only seven Liverpool-born black players in the four decades since Gayle have managed more than 100 appearances in the Football League. Toxteth-born Neil Danns has spent the bulk of his career outside the north-west but he is currently playing for Tranmere Rovers. At 35, he is 28 games short of 600 matches. The other three (Michael Ihiekwe, Clayton MacDonald and Hope Akpan) only passed the century milestone in recent times.

    Under academy manager Alex Inglethorpe, Liverpool are trying harder to find talent in areas of the city that have long felt ignored. Yet the sore reality is that racial segregation remains in Liverpool and it is rarely talked about. Liverpool 8 is separated from the fringes of the city centre only by Upper Parliament Street, the scene of the most intense conflict in 1981. Yet it continues to feel disconnected. It is a totally different place, an ethnic jumble of identities.

    Gayle once told me that he feels uncomfortable walking around the business district which lies a couple of miles away beyond Exchange Flags, the square where slave traders did some of their worst work. He questions why he sees few black faces in this part of the city, the one which helps drive its economy — and the one whose money-making effects are least felt in Liverpool 8.

    Gayle was close to giving up on the club he loves because of the way it handled Luis Suarez when he was found guilty of using racist language towards Patrice Evra. Actor Louis Emerick was one person who did not see a way back and stopped writing a column in Liverpool’s match-day programme.

    This serves as a reminder that football cannot simply encourage players to speak less, then react to racism flashpoints by asking them to take a knee.

    Perhaps the game also needs to recognise that some players might hold views not fit for broadcast. Only then can we start the process of re-educating those in the sport with the greatest influence.
     
  15. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Exclusive: Southampton lined up to host Merseyside derby if game is moved
    [​IMG]
    By Simon Hughes, Matt Slater and more Jun 9, 2020[​IMG] 18 [​IMG]
    Other contributor: James Pearce
    The Merseyside derby could be played at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium if the fixture does not receive the necessary safety certificate to be held at Goodison Park a week on Sunday, The Athletic can reveal.
    The Premier League has also earmarked Wembley, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Leicester’s King Power Stadium as potential neutral venues should any of the rescheduled 92 games have to be moved from their regular home grounds due to health and safety concerns.
    Police guidance originally suggested six games — Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle United, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool, Everton v Liverpool and any game in which Liverpool could secure the title — would need to be played at alternative grounds.
    However, clubs last week unanimously agreed that neutral venues should only be used as a contingency and since then the Premier League has been drawing up plans, likely to be ratified at the latest shareholders meeting on Thursday.
    Logistical considerations have been at the forefront of conversations and it is thought that it would be easier and safer for both Liverpool and Everton squads to fly to Southampton rather than drive to Leicester or, indeed, travel by train to London.
    That raises the prospect of former Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk and his Liverpool team-mates winning the Premier League at St Mary’s.
    Of the 92 fixtures released after last week’s meeting, only Liverpool’s games against Everton and Manchester City were marked as games that may need to be moved to neutral grounds.
    Despite this, the chances of the game going ahead at Goodison Park increased on Sunday when the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson exclusively told The Athletic that the fixture had his backing.
    A safety advisory group will meet on Wednesday morning via Zoom before deciding whether to recommend a licence for the Goodison fixture.
    The group will be chaired by councillor Wendy Simon, deputy to mayor Anderson. It will also include representatives from the local police, ambulance and fire services, as well as supporters’ groups from both clubs.
    Though there now appears to be a willingness on Merseyside for the derby to take place as scheduled originally, there are some concerns about the coronavirus R rate in the region.
    On Sunday, it was confirmed that one study in the north-west had revealed the rate of infection had tipped over 1.
    The conversation about Premier League fixtures have switched over the past fortnight from concerns about crime and order — which it was feared might be posed should large groups of fans gather — to public health.
    Merseyside’s force confirmed last week they are not worried about policing ahead of the derby, which could see Liverpool clinch their first league title since 1990.
    It remains unclear whether the organisation feels the same way about matters of public health and the potential impact of gatherings during a pandemic.
    There is a small chance the authorities could delay any decision until next week when the consequences from any result will become clearer.
    Should Manchester City beat Arsenal on the first night of Project Restart, it will be impossible for Liverpool to end their 30-year wait at Goodison Park four days later, meaning there will be less riding on a match that already holds great local significance.
     
  16. Mors

    Mors Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    11,612
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Trophy Points:
    605
    The daily fail is running with that expect story today, so either the Athletic runs just generic stories, or, the likes of the daily fail are stealing their shit and reporting it as their own. I'd guess the latter.
     
  17. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Controlled aggression, collective defence. Why Liverpool are the cleanest team in the Premier League.

    It was once used by some as a stick to beat Jurgen Klopp with.

    During his first two full seasons at Anfield, Liverpool finished top of the Premier League Fair Play table but won nothing else. They were a long way off the summit in the standings that truly matter — 17 points behind champions Chelsea in 2016-17 and 25 adrift of Manchester City a year later.

    “Too nice,” was a regular complaint. The argument went that a more combative, spiky, cynical edge would be required if Liverpool were going to progress to the next level and become serious contenders for the top-flight crown.

    Yet the exhilarating rise of Klopp’s side to the brink of ending the club’s 30-year wait for the title hasn’t been accompanied by greater transgressions. Having taken 179 points out of a possible 201 since the start of the 2018-19 season, they remain the cleanest team in the Premier League and are on course to top the Fair Play table for the fourth successive season.

    Liverpool have accumulated just 26 yellow cards and one red in their 29 league matches so far, and even that solitary dismissal was for Alisson’s rush of blood which saw the goalkeeper handle the ball outside the box during November’s home win over Brighton. Leicester City (30 yellows, one red) have the next-best disciplinary record. At the other end of the table, Arsenal and Tottenham have collected 62 yellows and three reds apiece.

    Klopp’s men have also conceded fewer fouls (242) than any other Premier League team. Southampton lead the way on 355, followed by Watford (350) and Everton (346).

    The amount of possession Liverpool enjoy is undoubtedly a factor. They have had an average of 63 per cent in league games this season — only Manchester City (66 per cent) have had more. Of course, the more ball you have, the less chance there is of conceding fouls and picking up cards.

    However, it goes much deeper than that. After all, Pep Guardiola’s side have had 49 yellows and three red cards (two of them for a second booking) and conceded 283 fouls.

    It comes down to the culture that Klopp and his coaching staff have created at Melwood. There’s a strong tactical element behind those numbers but it’s also about the discipline the manager has instilled in the squad and the character of a group of players who are able to keep their heads in high-pressure situations.

    [https://cdn]

    Pep Lijnders, Liverpool’s assistant manager, never subscribed to the idea that topping the Fair Play table is those early years of Klopp’s reign was somehow a sign of weakness. Liverpool had finished ninth in the Fair Play table in 2014-15 and were seventh in 2015-16.

    “It’s how Johan Cruyff said it: you are stupid until you are a genius,” Lijnders tells The Athletic.

    “That’s exactly how it is. What other people thought was a problem is, for us, the solution. Time is many times the only enemy when you approach the game honestly.”

    Of the 26 yellows Liverpool have collected in the Premier League so far this season, none have been for showing dissent towards officials.

    Twenty-one have been for fouls and the vast majority have been committed in the middle third of the field. Three have been for time-wasting by Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane late on in matches when Liverpool have been winning narrowly.

    Mohamed Salah was booked for taking his shirt off after scoring to wrap up victory over Manchester United at Anfield while Mane was penalised for simulation away to Aston Villa. Replays showed there was contact from Frederic Guilbert but Mane did go down theatrically in the penalty box.

    Fabinho leads the way for Liverpool with five yellows, followed by Alexander-Arnold on four and James Milner and Joe Gomez on three.

    Mane (38) has conceded more fouls than any Liverpool player this season, followed by Jordan Henderson (26) and Roberto Firmino (24). Remarkably, frontman Firmino, who so often sets the tone for Klopp’s side with his work rate and intensity, has given away 119 free kicks in the Premier League over the past three seasons but has been booked just once — for taking his shirt off after scoring in a thrilling 4-3 win over Manchester City in January 2018.

    Mane is consistently the most-fouled Liverpool player — 33 times already this season and 147 times in total over the past three seasons. Over the same period, Salah has been fouled 76 times.

    Given Liverpool’s high-pressing game and the manner in which they swarm over opponents, it’s a remarkable stat that they concede an average of just eight fouls per Premier League match. Based on the percentage of opposition turnovers ending in a foul, Klopp’s side have the best record in the top flight with just four per cent. Arsenal are at the other end on eight per cent.

    The reason? Preparation, organisation, structure and timing. Liverpool hunt in packs. You don’t need to be launching yourself into challenges if you are shutting down space, blocking passing lanes and forcing your opponents to panic and cough up possession.

    “We train always in the same intensity as the gamell; same concentration and tempo. This is the secret of training in my opinion,” Lijnders told The Athletic earlier this season.

    “I think our main strength is that we’re always together. By that, I mean on the pitch: the distances, the organisation, the way we are. That’s the only way to be an aggressive, pressing team. If the distances and the organisation are not right, you have no chance.

    “That’s where we’ve made the biggest improvement. Wherever the game is on the pitch, we are there together. A compact team, an intense team, both on and off the ball. Jurgen talks about the principle that everyone is responsible for everything. It’s easy to say. It’s harder to put it into practice on the pitch for 95 minutes but that’s what these players have been doing a lot.”

    Klopp often speaks to his squad before matches about producing shows of “controlled aggression”.

    “I understand aggressiveness in only one way: being prepared to hurt yourself, not someone else,” he says.“It’s a ball we fight for and not a bone. We always want to be very aggressive in the best football way.”

    Klopp doesn’t tolerate indiscipline. Behind that beaming smile, there’s a ruthless streak. Just ask defender Mamadou Sakho, who was sent home from the pre-season tour of America in disgrace in 2016 after repeatedly breaking the rules with his attitude and poor timekeeping. He never played for the club again.

    The manager’s messages are always reiterated by captain Henderson and vice-captain James Milner — two model professionals, who command the respect of their peers and ensure that nobody steps out of line. Milner is in charge of the dressing room fines.

    “There’s a lot of responsibility on the boys themselves. A person who doesn’t want to feel needed; I cannot help,” Klopp told The Athletic in November.

    “If you play in the first XI and it’s, ‘Yeah!’ or if you don’t play and it’s, ‘Oh, you can all fuck off’, then you cannot exist in this kind of environment. It’s not possible.”

    Psychology is an important part of it. Klopp has described his players as “mentality monsters” and there’s no question that resilience helps their decision-making on the field. Rarely do they lose their rag.

    During their training camp in Evian, France last summer, Klopp brought in German surfer Sebastian Steudtner to talk to the squad about managing stress and dealing with panic. Over the course of this record-breaking season, the players have worked closely with sports psychologist Lee Richardson and have been impressed by his contribution.

    Having Virgil van Dijk, the finest defender in world football, certainly helps to keep Liverpool’s foul and yellow card count down with his composure and capacity to read the game so well. He’s conceded just 10 free-kicks in the Premier League this season and has been booked once — for dragging down Anwar El Ghazi to halt a counter-attack at Villa Park in November.

    Fans roar their approval at the sight of Van Dijk making a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle or Henderson tracking back to snuff out danger when Liverpool have been left exposed but for Lijnders, it is the team’s ability to keep such scenarios to a minimum which has been crucial to their success. It comes back to the structure and playing as a unit.

    “We want a team fully concentrated in playing the game our way,” he adds.

    “One of Jurgen principles is that we want to be aggressive but legally aggressive, and here lies the key in our approach to win the ball back.

    “Good defending is associated with tackling and heading but for us, it means avoiding certain situations. For example, good individual defending means a lot of bad collective defending beforehand.

    “Good collective defending gives us the chance to be on time. Most yellow and red cards come from being too late. The key is to be on time, so you have to start earlier and that’s only possible with good organisation and distances.”

    Liverpool’s playing style has certainly evolved under Klopp. They have become less gung-ho and take fewer risks. Over the past two seasons, they have played with much greater control. With experience and maturity, they have also become more streetwise in terms of their game-management.

    They aren’t paragons of virtue. At times, they have dabbled in the dark arts to get over the line — taking the sting out of proceedings by slowing games down at every turn when in front. It’s a similar story on the touchline, where Klopp isn’t averse to venting his spleen at the officials.

    When needs must, Liverpool can be cynical — Fabinho’s late booking at Stamford Bridge in September for hauling down Michy Batshuayi when Chelsea were bursting away in search of an equaliser is the perfect example; Milner’s three yellows in the league this season have all been for similar offences.

    Occasionally, the rules of the game have been bent and broken to get the job done but for the most part, Klopp’s men have operated firmly within them.

    Not since Manchester United in 2002-03 have the champions of England also finished top of the Fair Play table.

    The two rarely go together but Klopp has turned Liverpool into champions-elect without having to compromise on the principles he holds dear.

    (Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)
     
    Mamma Mia likes this.
  18. Mors

    Mors Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    11,612
    Likes Received:
    1,605
    Trophy Points:
    605
    @Hass Do you have access to this one? I'd love to know why we're having to give them money back, and it seems we've got to give them even more back from this season if we go past the middle of July playing games. I don't understand how our club would have signed up to a deal, where if something out of their hands pauses the season for a couple of months, we could be on the hook for a 50-100mill loss.
     
  19. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Hi mate

    I have a paid subscription to theAthletic mate. Just posting the lfc only related articles.

    I assume the way the tv contracts are written is why there's a refund due. From what I can tell Sky and BT are due a domestic refund but they've accepted this deferred to next year so it won't hit the club's to hard this year but who knows what will happen next season.

    I believe the international media partners are requesting money back, I dnt believe they've negotiated a deferral.
     
  20. Hass

    Hass Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,663
    Likes Received:
    902
    Trophy Points:
    545
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    nglethorpe: ‘Neco will put pressure on Trent, I’ve got no doubt about that’

    Part 1

    By James Pearce Jun 13, 2020[​IMG] 38 [​IMG]
    Melwood and Anfield are once again hives of activity. The Premier League season is set to resume this week with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on the brink of clinching the club’s first domestic title for 30 years. Excitement abounds.
    However, seven miles away from where Klopp is fine-tuning preparations for next Sunday’s Merseyside derby, the gates of the Kirkby academy remain closed. The pitches are pristine but lifeless. At the far end of the site, work by contractors McLaughlin & Harvey is now back up to speed on the new £50 million training complex after a six-week shutdown. The pandemic means the senior squad’s move across from Melwood, initially scheduled for early July, has been delayed.
    Former England full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been using the academy facilities for his personal fitness programme ahead of leaving Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the month. But for the club’s 170 youngsters, from under-nines through to under-23s, and all the staff at Kirkby, the wait goes on — three months after all academy football was suspended.
    “I didn’t need this period to remind me how much I love going to the academy and working with all the kids and the staff and how grateful I am, but it has certainly brought all of that home,” Liverpool’s academy director Alex Inglethorpe tells The Athletic. “You have to put it into context. It’s been a difficult time for everyone and there are people far worse off. But on a personal level, I’ve really missed seeing the kids, having that daily interaction and doing the things I really enjoy doing which add real value to my life.
    “It can’t come back quickly enough.”
    Discussions are ongoing but the hope is that the under-18 and under-23 squads will be given the green light to return to Kirkby at some point in July to train initially in small groups. The other age groups will follow at a later date, with academy games not expected to start again until September.
    “What we have learned about this situation is that the landscape changes on a weekly if not daily basis,” Inglethorpe says. “Paramount in our thinking is that players and staff have to be safe. I think we’ll have a better idea once the Premier League is back up and running and grassroots football is able to resume and the education system becomes something like it was. Then we’ll find our rightful place in all that, in terms of going back. We’re hoping it’s not too far away.”
    During an exclusive interview with The Athletic, Inglethorpe talks about the impact of this global health crisis on academy football and what the fallout means for the club’s youngsters going forward.
    He also reflects on a season that has showcased the exciting talent emerging from Kirkby with several players forcing their way into Klopp’s first-team plans.

    For Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams, Caoimhin Kelleher, Yasser Larouci, Ki-Jana Hoever, Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain, the show goes on.
    Hoever and Clarkson both scored in Liverpool’s 6-0 rout of Championship side Blackburn Rovers in a friendly at Anfield on Thursday – the first runout for Klopp’s men since their Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid on March 11.
    Jones, Elliott and Williams will be at the front of the queue when Klopp dishes out game time with one eye on the future in Liverpool’s remaining Premier League matches once the title has been secured. The new rule permitting the use of up to five substitutes per game should benefit them. There’s also a school of thought that playing behind closed doors will feel more normal for those teenagers, considering most academy matches take place in front of largely empty stands.
    “True, but I do think there’s a counter-argument,” Inglethorpe says. “Usually, when you play at Anfield, you have the crowd right behind you and that’s massive, especially for the younger players. That’s something that you can’t underestimate, not having that sheer force of people wanting you to do well and succeed. I know they will miss that, but they are ready and I believe in them.

    Inglethorpe addresses his players after they won the FA Youth Cup in 2019 (Photo: Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
    “They have all spent time at Melwood and they know what it’s like to train in a senior environment. They want to experience that buzz of playing for that meaningful three points. You can’t pick and choose when your chance comes. That’s the beauty of football. It might be in unfamiliar circumstances, like Premier League football behind closed doors. One thing we try to teach our young players is the ability to adapt to different situations. Whenever your chance comes along, you have to be ready to take it.”
    Beyond this season, the financial repercussions of COVID-19 are likely to mean that many top-flight clubs increasingly look to their youth ranks for solutions to first-team issues rather than splashing out big money on transfers. Liverpool recently took the decision not to pursue a £54 million deal for RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. The German, a long-term target, is on his way to Chelsea instead.
    “We won’t really know until we’ve come through the other side of it exactly where academies sit, but the logical conclusion is that youngsters will have slightly more opportunities than they have done across the game,” Inglethorpe says. “You recognise that perhaps clubs will be holding smaller squad sizes and they will recognise the value of younger players filling that void.
    “Below the Premier League, none of us will really know the full extent of the damage the pandemic has had on the Football League until such times as all those clubs come back and we see what their season looks like. Up until now, they have been protected through the government furlough scheme. But I would expect there to be more loan opportunities for young players going forward.”
    Liverpool have handed out 20 senior debuts to academy youngsters in the 2019-20 season so far. And that figure doesn’t include Elliott, the youngest Premier League player in history, who went straight to Melwood and stayed there after signing from Fulham last summer. It’s a remarkable number which was inflated significantly by the fixture clash in December between the Carabao Cup tie with Aston Villa and the Club World Cup in Qatar which led to Klopp effectively fielding a youth team at Villa Park.
    Reputations have been considerably enhanced. Not least by the Carabao Cup win over Arsenal on penalties after a 5-5 thriller, as well as the FA Cup triumphs over Everton and Shrewsbury Town, the latter during the Premier League’s inaugural winter break when Klopp made a stand and decided not to involve any of the club’s senior professionals.
     
    momoWASboss likes this.

Share This Page