Karius hints at first team place as he rejects the chance to represent Germany at the Olympics

KariusLoris Karius has told of a conversation with Reds boss Jurgun Klopp which resulted in him giving up the opportunity to represent Germany at the Olympic games.

Germany wanted the 23 year old to represent them but this would of resulted in Karius missing the opening two games of the Premier League season.

After a chat with Klopp the German goalkeeper opted to put club before country as he bids to be in the starting eleven for the start of the season.

“I spoke with the manager and we said that it didn’t make sense for me to go to the Olympics as I would miss the first two league games of the season and of course I want to play in them,” Karius explained.

“We agreed together I wouldn’t be going. First I spoke with Jürgen and then together we spoke with the German people who wanted me to go. The priority is the club. It’s more important that I am available for the start of the season.”

Karius played 45 minutes in the Reds preseason 5-0 win over Fleetwood town and Karius is relishing the challenge ahead of him.

He added: “What we talked about stays with us. Of course I know a club like this has more competition.

“It’s a bigger club and better players means more competition, but I am not scared of anything. If I was, I wouldn’t have come here. I have a good feeling.

“I wouldn’t come here to sit on the bench. That doesn’t make sense. I’m not a ‘keeper who hasn’t shown his ability. I’m a good goalkeeper and I’ve shown that a lot.

“I could have stayed at Mainz and played there. If I wasn’t sure I could come and play here this season, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Karius states he is happy to be back in England after having a 5 year stay in Manchester in the youth academy of Manchester City.

“When I left Man City I was still really young and I decided to go somewhere else to get some first-team experience,” he continued.

“I took the step to Mainz. I needed to join a smaller club to get my career going as a young player – I did everything right with that move.

“I had almost three full seasons in the Bundesliga there. I am still young but I’ve played around 100 games in the Bundesliga so I have some experience.

“I thought it was time to take the next step in my career. The opportunity to join Liverpool came up and I thought it was a good next step for me.”

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Dominant young Reds stroll to victory – Liverpool 5 – 0 Fleetwood town

Liverpool strolled to victory over Fleetwood town as Gruic, Woodburn, Lucas and two goals from Firmino secured our second preseason win in a row.

First half team

Karius – 6.0

Just like in the 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers another very assured performance but really not at all tested. Looks good with his feet and his delivery also looks to be a improvement on Mignolets. We need to see how he is at shot stopping and decision making to fully judge him, the upcoming games later on in preseason should test him.

Jon Flanagan – 6.2

Flanagan is easing himself back and hopefully gets a full preseason behind him, tonight he didn’t put a foot wrong and got forward quite a lot. Wasn’t tested massively defensively where he is better so a easy night for the scouse fullback.

Joel Matip – 6.5

Fleetwood didn’t impose themselves on the game so Matip has another game to comfortably bed into the side. Looks like he is extremely composed on the ball as he wasn’t frightened to take a couple of risks he is capable off. Defensively he handled everything but won’t be his most stressful game in a Liverpool shirt.

Dejan Lovren – 6.5

A very similar performance to Matip as these two look like they are building the basis of their relationship on the pitch as they both should start against Arsenal on the opening day. Composed on the ball and defensively sound but wasn’t tested.

Alberto Moreno – 7.5

With no pressure on him defensively he thrives, Fleetwood sat back and didn’t offer a lot going forward so Moreno could do what he does best and he just attacked. Overlapped Mane on the left hand side constantly and troubled their right back for 45 minutes. Got the assist for Grujic after a fantastic ball into the box and was creative as normal. If he can improve defensively he would be a massive player for Liverpool in the future.

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Where do Liverpool still need to strengthen

Liverpool have already added some fresh faces to the club but where do we still need to strengthen and what positions are we possibly to stacked in?

Goalkeepers

Liverpool has goalkeepers a plenty right now, Mignolet and new signing Karius are vying for the first team place with one destined to be sat on the bench. This was a void that Liverpool really needed to improve as Mignolet needed somebody to at least put the pressure on him, or even replace depending on the Liverpool fan that you speak to. Danny Ward, who is the third choice now, has recently signed a new long term deal at Liverpool but will be loaned out to Huddesfield in the championship for the season and Liverpool are heavily rumoured to be signing 39 year old Alex Manninger who would be the third choice for the coming season if signed. This then means that Bogdan has no future at Liverpool despite featuring in the Reds preseason friendly against Tranmere for 45 minutes and has been heavily touted to move to Wigan in the coming days.

Verdict: Liverpool has plenty of options in this position but with the departures of Ward and Bogdan a third choice could be important to get wrapped up.

Full backs

This is a position where Liverpool does need to strengthen as the lack of depth in these positions is risky to say the least going into the upcoming season. Nathaniel Clyne was signed last summer and he made the most appearances of any Liverpool player last season making over 50 appearances in his debut season due to the lack of options to even rest him. He had a fantastic season but we were lucky he never got injured last season as Randall would of had to come in if that was the case. Flanagan is back now and hopefully gets a full preseason of playing football as he has been badly missed and he would fill the void of being clyne’s understudy if he can stay fit. On the left side of the defence we have the much criticised Alberto Moreno who hasn’t massively impressed since signing two years ago, his attacking prowess is unquestionable as he was by the far the most creative full back in the Premier league last season but it is his defensive work where he is often found out of position and lacking the intelligence to play this position as he is caught out on a consistent basis. His tackling is rash, he often loses out to stronger players but he does have the pace to help him out at times. If Klopp can curb his erratic defending there is no doubting he would be a fantastic first choice it’s just whether Moreno can learn to defend better. With Moreno’s understudy being either Flanagan, again, or Brad Smith the options in this position is not that strong. Brad Smith is very similar to Moreno where he is very good offensively but his positioning and overall defending is poor.

Verdict: I’m overall happy with the two first choices in Clyne and Moreno, but we at least need another good left back to be able to challenge Moreno on the left side. Flanagan is a very good understudy for Clyne providing he can keep himself fit this season.

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Transfer rumours: West Brom ‘express interest’ in Liverpool striker Christian Benteke

Is a exit on the cards for Christian Benteke?

Is a exit on the cards for Christian Benteke?

West Brom could offer Liverpool striker Christian Benteke an escape route this summer, with West Brom boss Tony Pulis said to hold an interest in the Belgium.

Benteke looks certain to leave Liverpool this summer after struggling to fit in under Jurgen Klopp and falling behind Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and even midfielder Roberto Fermino in the pecking order to play up front.

With Danny Ings set to return in pre-season he’s expected to jump ahead of Benteke in the pecking order as well. So Benteke is on the fringes of the Reds team and as one of the biggest earners in the side Klopp is expected to move him on this summer.

Tony Pulis is set to fund a move for the 25 year old Belgium by selling Saido Berahino, who is valued at around 22 million and has been linked with Tottenham and Stoke City.

Berahino was left on the fringes of the West Brom squad earlier in the season due to his attitude but he has recently been getting back into the side but many think this is so other teams won’t be put off to sign him.

The Englishman is a off the shoulder striker and doesn’t really suit Tony Pulis style of play and has struggled to make a impression this season even when he has played. Pulis prefers to utilise stron, lone centre forward which Benteke, like current West Brom strikers Saloman Rondon and former Red Rickie Lambert, would fit perfectly.

Benteke proved during his time at Aston Villa that he is utilised best in a team that play with more of a direct approach to the game. Having scored 49 goals in 101 games for Villa Benteke was a success in similar direct approach that both teams like to play.

Benteke is expected to play our remaining games in the Premier League when he returns to full fitness but only due to the injury to Divock Origi. The Belgiums last start came in February’s FA Cup fourth round loss to West Ham.

Benteke told reporters during a international break that he would never have signed if he wasn’t going to be first choice.

West Brom will face a fight to sign the Big Belgium though as Juventus, Atletico Madrid and West Ham have all been heavily linked and whether West Brom will pay half of the 32million fee Liverpool paid for him is another question.

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Udinese confirm Liverpool’s interest in midfielder Piotr Zielenski

Could we see Zielenski move to Liverpool in the summer?

Could we see Zielenski move to Liverpool in the summer?

Liverpool manager Klopp and other members of Liverpool’s transfer committee have been watching and monitoring the progress of the 21 year old, whom is currently at Serie A side empoli on loan for the season.

It was only last month that the player himself came out and said he would love to play alongside Liverpool playmaker Phillipe Coutinho, before going on to then confirm rumours linking him with a move to Anfield.

‘There is a lot of truth in rumours about Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp is interested in me, we had some talks,’ Zielinski told Polish outlet Sportowe Fakty.

An d now, Udinese Sporting Director Cristiano Giaretta has stated the Reds hold concrete interest in the Polish international, but they could face a bidding war Zielinski’s signature.

‘There is interest from Liverpool and it is concrete interest,’ Cristiano Giaretta told Italian radio station Radio Punto Zero.

‘He is doing very well and has the eyes of the Premier League on him’.

Zielenski is a more of a holding midfielder and could strengthen a position Liverpool are particular weak in depth with, the 21 year old has 4 goals and 6 assists to his name this season as well as making 13 international appearances for Poland already.

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James Milner proving his ‘boring’ critics wrong

When Liverpool brought James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City in the summer many people’s eyebrows were raised, including some Liverpool supporters as well. Many people thought Liverpool were signing a player that works hard, versatile and a professional player but questions were asked if he had the end product required to be a success at Liverpool, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Most Liverpool supporters, including me, thought that he would be a shrewd signing as we needed the experience in our team and Milner has that in abundance during his time at Leeds, Swindon, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City, but he has been more than just a experienced player he has taken over the mantle as one of the main leaders in the dressing room and on the pitch. Brendan Rodgers gave the vice captaincy to Milner when he was signed and it has proved to be a good decision from our former manager. With Jordan Henderson been missing for the majority of the season Milner has been our main captain this season and has rarely missed a game this season.

It was claimed when we signed Milner that he would only sign for the club if he were to be played in central midfield, but since Klopp has taken over he has mainly played on the right or the left of the three advanced midfielders that play behind the striker and this is the position where he has blossomed, His work rate is utilised well on the wing as he tracks back and helps out his fullback as well as producing some fantastic balls into the box and letting the fullbacks overlap him with the 30 year old providing good cover. This is where he has mainly featured but he has also played in the centre of midfield like he did against Everton and Borussia Dortmund recently. With Henderson’s and Can’s injury this is the position where he will likely most be utilised now. Klopp also played Milner right back in one game this season and he showed how versatile he is by putting in a good shift at right back and further showing how useful to Klopp he is.

You may be asking that this is what Liverpool fans expected when we signed Milner but he does all of the above and this season alone he has shown how, even at 30, he has learned so much this season especially from Jurgen Klopp who has given Milner an extra edge this season.

The England international has 7 goals in all competitions this season for the Reds and 5 goals coming in the Premier League. Milner scored just 18 goals in 203 appearances for Man City, with 8 of them coming in his last season. His career best goal tally came when he was at Aston in the 2009-10 season and he scored 12 goals in all competitions so he has proven in his career that he has never been a goal scorer but in the last two season he has improved this side of his game and has shown a real maturity to his game to still be improved certain aspects of his game.

James Milner has silenced his doubters

James Milner has silenced his doubters

It’s his creative statistics where he has impressed this season the most. Since the turn of the year he has assisted 11 goals in all competitions, that’s three more than the much praised Payet, four more than the impressive Spurs midfielder Alli, five more than Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Spurs midfielder Christian Erikson and a huge nine more than the alleged assist king Mesut Ozil. I am not saying he is more creative than these kinds of players but it shows how good he has been for Liverpool this season to be above those kind of players.  Only two players have more assists than James Milner now, Mesut Ozil with 18 and Christian Erikson with 12, and he has more assists than the likes of Payet and De Bruyne.

Milner has created more chances and has played more key passes than our more recognized creative players in the side Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Fermino, having played less than Fermino but more than Coutinho, Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and even Christian Benteke earlier in the season have all benefited from MIlners crosses from open play and has given Liverpool another option to score goals rather than be playing the ball through the centre so it gives the Reds another dimension and makes us less predictable to play against.

Milner had a ‘boring’ reputation when he signed for Liverpool, where there is even a twitter account called ‘boring James Milner’. He is quickly losing this reputation as he has become a vital part of the Liverpool side but one thing most Liverpool fans agree on are his corners need improvement as it is ‘boring’ to see every Liverpool corner hit the first man or be played short but he has shown he likes to prove his doubters wrong and hopefully he can keep up this form for the rest of the season.

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Liverpool fearing the worst over Emre Can injury

Emre Can faces a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage

Emre Can faces a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage

According to the Liverpool Echo Liverpool are growing increasingly concerned that German midfielder Emre Can could miss the remainder of the season after he picked up a ankle injury in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The Liveprool Echo believe that the club is fearing the worst ahead of a scan for the 22-year-old, who will face a agonizing wait to see if he has suffered ligament damage which could make him a doubt for Germany’s Euro campaign.

Can was seen on the pitch celebrating Liverpool’s win after the final whistle, but he was seen wearing a protecting boot on his injured ankle.

Can will join the likes of fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson and Cristian Benteke in the treatment room, as well as long term absentees Danny Ings and Joe Gomez who have missed the majority of the season.

The German was already sidelined for the match with Bournemouth on Sunday as he serves the second of his two match suspension, but he’s looking increasingly unlikely to feature in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday as well.

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Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund(5-4 Liverpool agg) – One of the greatest European games in history as Liverpool perform heroic comeback

Mignolet – 7.1

Mignolet could not do anything for any of the goals, but made a great save to deny Augabamayang but the ball fell to Mkhitiaryan for a tap in. Composed throughout the night as he keeps up his steady performances recently.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6.7

Clyne was up against one of the best wingers in the world in Marco Reus and struggled to deal with Reus’s runs at times in the game, as proved when he was out of position for Reus to make the score 3-1 after Hummel’s great pass. Grew into the game though and was a good outlet on the right hand side.

Mamadou Sakho – 7.2

A dreadful start to the game for both central defenders as Dortmund took a early 2-0 lead, Sakho was extremely out of position for Dormund’s second goal as he couldn’t intercept the pass, but he made a heroic tackle to deny Augabamayang from scoring and making it 3-0. Showed great guts to carry on going through the game and made some crucial interceptions and tackles, as well as making the score 3-3 on the night after drifting into acres of space in the Dortmund penalty box but he took his header well and kept it low, really becoming a Kop fan favourite right now.

Sakho celebrates leveling the game on the night

Sakho celebrates leveling the game on the night

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Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City: Player ratings – Reds run riot as Klopp rings the changes

Simon Mignolet – 7.3

Mignolet has looked a lot more assured recently and put in another good display here. Couldn’t do anything for the goal but did make one outstanding save to prevent another set play goal to be conceded.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7.0

Clyne had another good performance and has become a beacon of consistency for Liverpool this season. Defended solidly and provided a good outlet down the right.

Martin Skrtel – 6.6

A much more assured performance from the Slovakian international after his shambolic display against Southampton the last time he played. Gave away the free kick which lead to Stoke’s equaliser, but this was a much better performance from Skrtel.

Kolo Toure – 6.5

Had a couple of shaky moments at the back but overall had a good game. Toure has had a good season and whenever he has had the chance to step up he has put in good performances consistently.

Alberto Moreno – 8.1

Moreno’s good form continues as he was solid defensively all game and scored a cracker of a goal, which has been coming for him this season. Provided a great asset down the left hand side and was always running the flank.

Moreno celebrates his goal vs Stoke

Moreno celebrates his goal vs Stoke

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Jordan Henderson to miss the rest of the season

Henderson set to miss 6-8 weeks

Henderson set to miss 6-8 weeks

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will miss the rest of the season after he sustained a knee injury in the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund and he is also a doubt for England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The midfielder damaged ligaments in his knee and will be out for between 6-8 weeks.

England boss Roy Hodgson has reiterated the fact that he is reluctant to take players to Euro 2016 if they are not fully match fit.

“I wouldn’t be happy to really take players with us in the hope that they will become fit during the tournament,” he has said.

Henderson has been plagued with injuries all season and is already playing through a heel injury which he picked up earlier on in the season which made him miss two months.

Henderson has made just 15 appearances in the Premier League this season, which is rare for Henderson who has barely had any injuries before this season.

This is a huge blow for Liverpool as we have a shortage of quality in the midfield, even with Henderson playing poorly this season he will be a big miss. Other players will get a opportunity though as Emre Can is set to miss the next two Premier League games through suspension, Lucas still has a injury and now Henderson is injured so Allen, Milner and Stewart will all potentially be given opportunities in this position in the next few games.

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