Tag Archives: Champions League

Will Liverpool make it unbeaten?

As of their recent fixture against Sheffield United, Liverpool completed a full calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League and with performances like Thursday’s, their run looks set to continue.

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A fimilar image; Liverpool’s front three celebrate another Premier League goal.

Nothing but admiration is what has to been given to Liverpool’s perfomances of late, whether it has been a goal fest as such against Mersyside neighbours Everton or a 1-0 against a valiant Wolverhampton. Liverpool’s football has been mature and is evidence of 4 years of Jurgen Klopp’s management and timely building of what can be suggested to be a world class team.

The front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah have been poignant to the Red’s success in front of goal but this season, but its been clear the rest of the team are just as important. Working from the back, Virgil Van Dijk has been at the heart of their defence. Advantageous to the team, Van Dijk’s height to reach defensive headers and composure when passing out from the back under pressure, is a massive part of his game and why he is a world renowned defender.

What is particular about the Liverpool team is their knowledge of spatial awareness with passes and even clearances nearly always find man in red helping to maximise possession. Aswell, as passing their way through teams, Liverpool boast the talent of their two first choice full backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Their crosses into the penalty area have become staple to the team’s goal scoring opportunities with both players continuing to rack up their personal assists.

It can be argued Liverpool’s success has been formulated from all aspects of their play and management and a new culture brought in by Klopp since his arrival. This season has also seen them be able to cope with absentees of Lovren and Matip in defence due quality in the depths of their sqaud. Which can be contrasted to league rivals Manchester City who have not had an as simple season as reigning champions. Aymeric Laporte’s injury early in the season has made him exempt for the majority of City’s games and their results show they have not been able to cope as well as the City fans would have wanted. Consequently seeing them fall further and further behind League leaders Liverpool.

There is a feeling this is already Liverpool’s year and 13 points ahead it is difficult to see where 4 defeats would come from, even if Liverpool are prevented of an invincible title its hard to see them not lifting the Premier League trophy come spring.

Who is Takumi Minamino and how will he fit in at Liverpool?

Takumi Minamino made history this week when he became Liverpool’s first Japanese signing in their history. 

The reds bought Minamino from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg for just £7.25 million.

This is widely considered a bargain in today’s transfer market and he will arrive on Merseyside when the January transfer window officially opens on January 1st2020.

This in mind, 24/7 Football has decided to take a look at who he is and what he will bring to the Premier League leaders.

When did Liverpool become aware of Minamino

The Japanese international is just the latest Liverpool signing in recent times to have worked with high profile German coach Ralf Rangnick, the current RB Salzburg head of sport and development.

Rangnick had a hand in the development of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who had both played for the Austrian club.

The Merseyside club first became aware of Minamino’s talents when he played against them in the Group Stage in the Champions League this season, the reds full back Andy Robertson said:

“It was difficult to play against RB Salzburg full stop, but I thought he was their main man,” the Scottish international told the Liverpool Echo.

Robertson continued:

“He was the one, especially at Anfield, who caused us problems.

“When we went 3-0 up, he started to dictate the game. He started to run at us a wee bit and he got a goal and an assist.”

RB Salzburg would end up losing that game 4-3 but came back from 3-0 down in impressive fashion with the Japanese international very much at the heart of the Austrian club’s impressive showing.

Previous clubs and current form this season

Minamino began his career in the J League for Cerezo Osaka and became the league’s youngest ever scorer at the age of 18 back in 2013. In that season he was awarded the J League Rookie of the year prize.

In 2015 Minamino moved to RB Salzburg and has also been involved in more goals than any other player in the Austrian Bundesliga since his making his debut for the club.

During this campaign so far, Minamino has managed five goals and six assists in just 11 appearances this season despite having problems with injury.

While in the Champions League group stage he scored two goals and provided three assists, including scoring against Liverpool at Anfield.

Finally for his international side Japan, he has maintained his impressive form by scoring 11 goals in 22 games.

What is his best position?

Positionally Minamino is very adaptable however his regular position tends to be on the right wing.

The new Liverpool man has also played in an attacking midfield role, where he particularly impressed against Jurgen Klopp’s team in Austria.

Tom Middler, the host of the other Bundesliga podcast that is devoted to the Austrian league said:

“He naturally fits the three-up front style that Klopp plays.  He could be good cover for somebody like Roberto Firmino.”

German football expert, Raphael Honigstein said:

“I was probably expecting Liverpool to make a move for Leipzig’s Timo Werner.  Minamino is a lot cheaper but also perhaps has more value in terms of improvement and the places he can go.

“Again, Liverpool have learned as a club that you don’t buy the finished article for £100 million.”

 Summary

 If Minamino proves to be even half as good as the likes of Mane then Klopp would certainly be onto another winner.  

 The Premier league leaders will hope that the Japanese international will help ease the burden on the front three and give them another much needed attacking option. 

 

 

Liverpool to battle Flamengo in the Club World Cup final

The European Champions escaped a close semi-final match in the Club World Cup against Liga MX side Monterrey in Qatar, ultimately needing a stoppage-time winner from substitute Roberto Firmino for the 2-1 victory.

 Liverpool had several key players either unable to play or started on the bench for the match, especially in the center of the defense. The situation was so complicated that midfielder Jordan Henderson had to fill in the void due to Virgil van Dijk (illness), Dejan Lovren (injured), and Joel Matip (injured) not able to suit up for the squad.

The current Premier League leaders got off to a quick start after Naby Keita scored in the 12th-minute, courtesy of an outstanding reverse pass from Mohamed Salah. It was a short lead, however, as Rogelio Funes Mori scored two minutes later for the recent winners of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Reds were able to squeeze out a narrow victory after Firmino, who only entered the match in the 85th-minute, scored the late goal, causing the side to head into the finals of the competition.

In the finals, Liverpool will face off against Brazilian Série A side Flamengo. They will face off against a familiar opponent in Filipe Luis, who played for the likes of Atlético Madrid and Chelsea before making the move to his home country this season.

The two sides will play on Saturday, the first time they both play against each other in a tournament match since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, where Flamengo defeated Liverpool 3-0 in Tokyo.

Amazon prime: a new era for football broadcasting?

As Amazon Prime Video broadcast their first Premier League games this week, is this a preview of things to come?

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Not your usual delivery! Amazon take on new Premier League broadcasting deal.

In an agreed 3 year deal, Amazon are set to start out their football broadcasting career with December’s fixtures. This strategic deal comes with aim of the company to see an influx of new customers during the busiest time of the year. For the already members of Amazon Prime, they will benefit from watching for free whereas new customers can enjoy a free trial, with follow up prices at the beginning of permament membership set to increase. A free trial period is a risk taken by operators at Amazon in hope that people will follow up their subscriptions.

If this is the way football media is heading, the effects could be very damaging in terms of reducing live match day attendances. As the variety of subscription services are increasing, it is likely football fans will already subscribe to at least one of the major sports broadcasters in Sky Sports, BT Sport or now Amazon. Alongside the current expense of travelling to away games especially, could this be another factor to prevent football fans from travelling away?

If this is to be the case, in the next ten years there could be rapid change in how the game operates. Football’s commercialisation is continually on the up rise – meaning football clubs always have to look to protect themselves financially. This could mean in future they take broadcasting opportunities into their own hands. Could it be that the clubs themselves start up subscription services such as those of MUFC TV and LFC TV? These already offer some game footage and insider viewing for their subscribers. For supporters this could become a choice between your traditional season ticket or a digital season ticket for home viewing.

Despite this, it is unlikely clubs will endeavour to claim tv rights from the broadcasters just yet, so for now it seems it shall be them battling it out for top spot of football television.

Zlatan Ibrahimović set to return to A.C. Milan

After starring for the MLS’ LA Galaxy for the past two seasons, Zlatan Ibrahimović has reportedly agreed to a principle deal, returning to A.C. Milan for at least until the end of this season.

Ibrahimović, who scored 42 goals in 61 appearances for the Serie A side from 2010 to 2012, will be brought in for some much-needed assistance as Stefano Pioli’s Milan are currently in 11th place in the league with a record of 5-2-7. The Lion has several years of Serie A experience under his belt, playing for the likes of Juventus (2004 to 2006), Inter Milan (2006 to 2009), as well as Milan. 

However, critics wonder if Ibrahimović, 38, will be able to play at a high level in one of the top leagues in the world. Even though the Swedish international played a pivotal role for the Galaxy as he accumulated 52 goals in 56 appearances for the club, the North American league is considered a place where Europe’s biggest stars come to retire. 

This move back to the San Siro will be a huge step in Ibrahimović’s career to see if he still has the ability to play a top-level league. Do you think he will shine again in Italy?