I agree with your list although I do feel that Shelvey & Coates deserve another look (esp Coates who’s barely played since we signed him). I really do think with time and experience Coates will come good for us. Skrtel really does my head in. He complains that he’s been dropped from the team & he doesn’t understand why, then when he’s given the chance to prove Rodgers wrong we have a result like today’s. Quite frankly with all his moaning and nothing to back it up, he can go. Assaidi is a strange one but if we can get the people you’ve listed then I’m all for him going. I’ve never been high on Spearing and Carroll so I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if they went.
Realistically I can see us getting De Vrij, Ince & Gameiro. Another LB & DM would be nice too. I don’t think we’re gonna get Ben Arfa or Eriksen though but if we got them I’d be delighted.
On Andy Carroll: I have had conversations and good communication with Andy right the way through the summer. I have spoken with all the players and made them aware of where I felt they stood within the group. Andy wanted this to be a season where he was going to be playing regularly, and obviously I couldn’t guarantee that. He’s got the chance to go and play and demonstrate his qualities. It allows us to move on and then we’ll assess it over the course of the season. He wants game time. He’s a good guy, has worked well in training, but I can only pick 11 players and I’ve got some wonderful talents here like Luis Suarez.
On other transfers: We need cover and other players to come in to help the group, so I hope over the course of the next 24 hours that can happen. That could only have been the case to let Andy out, otherwise we’d be short of numbers. We’ve had one or two enquiries, so I am just waiting. Obviously my concentration today was on the game, so I’ll get an update later from Ian Ayre, our managing director who has worked tirelessly over the course of this transfer window to manage deals both in and out.
On Samed Yesil: He had a terrific tournament at the U17 World Cup and we hope that over the next couple of years, we’ll see how he comes along. He’s a goalscorer, he comes in with good pedigree and I hope we can see him develop and progress through to the first team.
On the result against Hearts: If I’m being honest, I thought we were a wee bit wasteful. We created chances and could have put the game to bed a lot earlier, but the most important thing was to get through and we did that.From the way I was seeing it, it looked as though it was only a matter of time before we would get a goal. You’ve got to keep the faith. Teams come here and it’s a big motivation for them to play at Anfield. That’s when we’ve got to be patient and keep the faith. Unfortunately we conceded, but the reaction was very, very good and I’m pleased for the players. We didn’t lose the game, which was important for our mentality, and we’re into the group stages which is great. The base I have here is hard work and integrity. The players have been absolutely magnificent since I came in and given me everything. As each day goes on, we’re getting closer as a group and that spirit really took us through Sunday’s game [against Manchester City] and tonight. It was very, very important that when we went 1-0 behind, we never got disappointed. We came back and Luis probably took his most difficult chance with a wonderful run and finish. But like I said, we probably could have put the game to bed a little bit earlier.
On Pepe’s error: Pepe has been brilliant since I came here. He will be a pivotal part of how we work. He’s been excellent off the field and is a really good guy. He understands the ideology of what we’re trying to do. Unfortunately for goalkeepers, they [mistakes] are part and parcel of the game. There is no blame attached. Sometimes when they make a mistake, it leads to a goal, but if an outfield player makes a mistake they’ve got their mates to help them recover. We know it happens sometimes, but we move on.
On Adam Morgan and Raheem Sterling: I felt it was only going to be a matter of time [before we scored]. Adam Morgan did very well - a young, local boy getting his opportunity - and then when Raheem Sterling came on I thought he was dynamic and very impressive.
I can’t fault Andy Carroll for his commitment or his attitude. He wanted to try and fight for his place at Liverpool and it wasn’t his fault that he was hampered by such a big price tag. On the other hand, his last Anfield goal was against Manchester City over a year ago. That just isn’t good enough for a Liverpool No9. And with the game that Brendan Rodgers is trying to make the team play, you always knew that Carroll would be surplus to requirements. I know a lot of people were going on about a Plan B. My only doubt over Carroll being our plan B was: a Plan B usually gets 5-10 minutes on the pitch. In those minutes he has to make the best of his chances. Carroll needs 3, 4 or 5 chances before he scores which you can’t have in a Plan B. I really do wish him all the best because his attitude has always been right for the club but I do think he needed to go especially with the system we now have in place.
As for other transfers, I heard Fernando Llorente was one of our targets and someone said to me: why let Carroll go only to go buy a better version of him i.e. another big man? My answer to that was Athletic Bilbao’s way of play was similar to what we’re trying to do and Llorente thrived on it. He may be a big man but he’s clinical and he’s a whole lot more agile than Carroll so if this rumour is true, I’ll be delighted.
I’m not keen on Sturridge. He has all the right attributes but he is extremely selfish (and not a Suarez sort of selfish where he can create chances for himself). He isn’t a team player and he seems to only look out for himself so I wouldn’t want him at the club.
Walcott would be a good signing (although I heard he’s signed a short-term contract with Arsenal) because apart from Sterling, we’re seriously lacking pace up front and you need pace to stretch the field for our strikers to break into the spaces left behind by the wingers or wide forwards.
Dempsey, I’m indifferent about. He’d be good for us commercially (in the US) but other than that, I’ve never watched him closely before so I couldn’t tell what he’d bring to the club that isn’t already there.
And I really don’t know if we’ll do any business tomorrow. I know Rodgers has stated that they’re working on a few things but we’ll see. All I know is that it’s going to be nuts with all the last minute deals coming through and I hope we get the right pieces for the team.
On the game against Manchester City: We’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. But for us it won’t be for the want of trying. The players here have got a great focus and an incredible attitude. They are very determined and have a real drive to make the supporters proud. So we’ll certainly be fighting and hopefully that will be the case come the end of the season. We know that if we are going to have any sort of success this year, we’ve got to make sure we can win as a many of our home games as we possibly can. Manchester City are the benchmark, they are the champions and it’s going to be a really difficult game. But my players are really focused and looking forward to the game. Anfield is somewhere we want to make sure is a real fortress and there’s no better game to start working towards that than against the champions It’s going to be a wonderful occasion. It’s a really special feeling when you are driving to Anfield for the game, so I’m really looking forward to it and I hope we can get the right result.
On the squad: I don’t think you really see it until after the first 10 games. The transfer window shuts and the squad calms down. Everybody focuses and they know exactly where they are at. Everybody gets a chance to get up and running. But you can’t wait for 10 games - for me it’s always important to win the next game. After West Brom we were disappointed but we focused on the next game and that was Hearts - which we won.
On City: Man City will have the belief. And I think we’ll see that even more so this year. When you become a champion, it gives you that wee bit more confidence and that allowed them to come from 2-1 down to go on and get the win against Southampton. I went to the game last week and it was a very close match. Reading were also terrific during the week against Chelsea, so every game at this level is very difficult. It’s great credit to Southampton in coming to the champions for their first game in the top flight and playing so well. I did it last year with Swansea and I found how difficult that can be. Southampton stayed in the game right through and that’s great credit to them. We know City have qualities but I am concentrating more on my own squad and looking more at the world-class players that I have. We know it’s going to be a good game for us. We have to be at our best and that’s all we ever ask. If we lose a game we just hope that the other team has had to be at their best to win. Last weekend, we could of had that day 1,000 times over and it couldn’t have worked out any worse for us in every sort of way.
On Andy Carroll: We’re hoping he will be fine to join in training tomorrow. It was too much of a risk (to play him against Hearts). He was due to play in the game but unfortunately for him, a scan showed that he has a slight movement in his hamstring. We’re hoping he’ll be available at the weekend. He’s a good guy and there’s been plenty of speculation over him this summer but both him and I have great communication. He’s worked hard and he’s been fighting away to be in the squad. So hopefully he’ll be fit for tomorrow and available for the weekend.
On Andy Carroll: Andy was due to start but he had a slight twinge in his hamstring and he had a scan on it. It didn’t show a tear, he just has a slight disruption. We tried to give him 48 hours. He travelled up here, he trained yesterday and it was still a bit tight. The medical advice was that it was still too much of a risk for him to play. It was unfortunate because he has worked well and he was desperate to play. Hopefully missing the game tonight will allow him to be fit and recover for the weekend.
On the result against Hearts: It was a good win for us. In the first half we showed some good moments. But I think there was a problem with our positioning. If you are going to have good possession you’ve got to have good positioning on the pitch and I don’t think they had that in the first half. Second half we were much better. There was good tactical discipline in the team, we worked the ball better from side to side to try and penetrate and that led to the goal which was a well-worked move. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do but I was delighted for the players tonight. I thought the commitment was great and when they got the positioning right in the second half, I thought they were excellent at times. It was great for me to see some of the players who haven’t been playing as much and some of the young talents as well. It gave us a chance to experiment with Downing in the left back position for half an hour or so. We had another clean sheet as well which was important. I thought we arrived in some dangerous areas tonight but we didn’t get that crucial touch in the final third. It was a tough game, Hearts are an excellent side. And they started the season well. The atmosphere was fantastic and it was good to get a win in a European game and now we hope to finish it in the second leg.
Another game, another step to where Rodgers wants the team to be. This time around we faced up to Sami Hyypia’s Leverkusen.
Joe Allen also showed up at sat with some of the players who hadn’t been called up to the team today.
Starting line-up: Reina, Kelly, Coates, Carragher, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Shelvey, Downing, Suarez, Sterling.
We started the first half really well and it paid off when Raheem Sterling cut in from the left and passed two defenders before curling his shot into the corner of the net.
It was a really well taken goal and surely signs of things to come from Raheem.
We continued to press the German team really well and we passed the ball around the pitch really well. As the half progressed, Luis Suarez has brought down at the edge of the box. Downing shaped up to shoot from the free-kick but he slipped into Luis instead. Suarez control let him down just at the last moment but the clearance reached Lucas for an easy tap in to give Liverpool their 2nd goal of the game.
He doesn’t score many does he? No wonder he looked so delighted!
We continued to play really well and keep the ball. The possession stats for the first half read 66% Liverpool - 33% Leverkusen. The key here though is that we used the ball really well and we moved it quickly to let players break into space and try to shoot towards goal which they did as much as they could.
The second half brought 5 changes as Henderson, Adam, Spearing, Robinson and Carroll checked in for Gerrard, Lucas, Enrique, Downing and Suarez. The style definitely changed with these players and we looked slower even though we still kept possession.
Carroll really stepped up though and tried to prove his worth to the team by banging in a goal with his left foot to give Liverpool a 3-0 lead.
He was guilty for the giving Leverkusen the only goal of the game as he tried an extravagant pass that didn’t come off and left his defense scrambling before the Leverkusen player curled the ball past Pepe Reina.
Overall, the team that played the first half were fantastic and I can’t wait to see more from them. Based on the second half, I feel that Adam (who gave the ball away and whose every set piece delivery) was terrible and Spearing (who’s passing wasn’t at all dynamic) could be leaving the club by the end of August. Today’s game also showed we desperately need another winger.
MOTM: I’d give it to Raheem as he looked dangerous every time he was on the ball and he got a goal for himself.
These are the players called up for their national teams in the upcoming friendlies:
Slovakia: Martin Skrtel
Denmark: Daniel Agger
England: Andy Carroll
Wales: Joe Allen
Welcome back Luis!
Welcome back too Seba!