Middlesbrough Message Board
Juan Manuel Iturbe .. currently on loan at Hellas Verona from Porto.. I feel very strongly about this one, and this player having seen him frequently in Serie A, he's dynamite! Check out his footage.. I'm sure he will look great in Chelsea blue on their bench next season, or on loan with the other 19 players..
Fortunately, what we haven't spent in 2/4 windows, due to whoever's idiocy, will be available (in context), and Rodgers has proven an ability to spot talent and get the best..
This said, like I mentioned above, I think we'll be in a great position to recruit 1-2 really top notch players, or that BR has really fancied, and then add a few more very good bodies from a very talented pool. (Menez, Tello etc etc)
Rodgers has alot more deadwood to ship out, which should allow for funds. Reina, Cissokho, Jones, Aspas, Moses, Toure all outski.. Not to mention, we'll have Suso, Borini and ILori back, who have all really been superb on their loan spells at top level competitions. They've really impressed..
Regards to Ayre, he's made himself the world's greatest "yes man", and they pay him enough to do several jobs. I'd read, and who knows if it's true, that he earns in excess of 1M pounds per year!
As for the negotiating, it's routinely said that he's the last man standing in these failed deals, and I guess you could look at it like he's accidentally saved FSG millions at the expense of making Rodgers work alot harder, and making him look better as a manager.
Just think how Dempsey may have helped last season early doors without any other striker, even if only 3-4 goals, yet Rodgers had the team flying upwards at the end of the season, and look at where we are, what he's accomplished since December, without adding Konoplyanak or another wide attacking threat that he's wanted.
Ayre's ineptitude / idiocy (my strong opinion) is making them look genius, but BR too! There cannot be any screw ups this summer, when clearly everyone in the top 5, Utd, Evt and even Newcastle will be strengthening big time!
2 of the biggest problems we've had in signing our targets this season, both in the summer and in January, not including the UCL factor, because Spuds have the same issue, are: too many LFC related "transfer experts" publicizing everything, and then just not getting them done (Ayre).
We've got guys like Tony Barrett, Paul Tompkins, Duncan Castles etc., who all spend their lives devoted to writing articles and scouring the world to publish who we're after, where Rodgers has been, where our scouts (Barry Hunter) are, and it really makes it a piece of cake for others. Without it being the 30-40M range and obvious, do we ever really know what Chelsea/City/Spuds are up to? All have signed some nice players, without the media hype: Nastasic/Bantaleb..
And, when we finally get to the dinner table, we (Ian Ayre) can't seem to figure out which is the knife, and which is the fork, and someone comes and takes his dinner away as it's getting cold. Mohammed Salah wanted to come to LFC even as Chelsea came in with a bid and terms, and he stated, it just took us too long. Konoplyanka was a sealed deal, and like Dempsey, we waited until the 23rd hour and the owner pulled the plug because he didn't need the money.
Because of FSG, other clubs are now respecting us more as far as the fees go, we're no longer getting fleeced for 25M for 8M players, BUT, they don't take our negotiations seriously, so that is our frustration along with Rodgers. This cannot happen any longer this summer, with or without UCL.
There will be a BASKET full of top notch players available this summer, particularly of the "very good" calibre, who didn't make a top top world cup squad like a Tello w/ Spain etc., and we should be locking those players up, hand over fist by need.
Hi Pady & Colyn,
Paddy, def wasn't suggesting you were a naysayer mate, actually don't remember seeing many posts from you over the past, and you seem to be a very reaslistic and positive person like myself, and same said for Colyn & Loki, wherever he is..
We had, and I know Colyn would recall, as I constantly debated to exhaustion, a brigade of folks who were never going to give Brendan 5 games in charge, just "because", and because he replaced Kenny.. Some of the leaps to criticism or points at faults, were borderline lunacy.. IE- Carroll adapting to our existing system and scoring 20-25 goals.
Nonetheless, I think we all had our doubts this season despite our early and continued good start, that sometimes we were winning too ugly, and struggling vs better sides. Now, while we still may lose a few to Chelsea and City, I / we expect to play them full of confidence, score goals, entertain, and put them to the ultimate test, while outperforming teams who've outspent us.
The prospects next year of a full adapted, mature, in form - Suarez-Sturridge-Sterling, and some new faces like Roberto Firmino and Yehven Konoplyanka, with another midfielder, CB and proper full backs, makes you wonder just how high Brendan and his tactics / methods could take us!! Like he said after Soton.. it's great that we can dream!
Since we've got 10 to go, with a 2 week break in between our next match, and there's no way to predict how the ensuing 10 will go, nor would I for being superstitious/karma reasons, despite our 9 game unbeaten streak, I figured why not look back at the final 10 of last season, to show how far we've come as team and our progress into this term..
Clearly, we're very much an in form team in the league, Europe, and on the rise, much to the dismay of all of the dearly departed naysayers of Brendan who used to grace the message board, and I hope are still somehow able to read this. Perhaps if we win the league, we'll splash the cash on bringing back Andy Carroll and Charles Adam.
Last 38 Matches:
-Points: 79 (74 would be the EPL record to not qualify)
-Goals Scored: 91
-Goals Allowed: 45
- Goal Difference: +46
-Win Percentage: 61 %
These are pretty astonishing numbers, and I think United won the league last year with something like 83 points or so? Again, these aren't going to equal how we finish our last 10, but I thought it was a very fair correlation and representation, considering we're 18-5-5, clearly getting better and rising all the time, and continuing to prove everyone wrong, even ourselves. In the same period Man City are: 26-4-8 (82 Points), Chelsea: 25-9-4 (85 points), Arsenal: 26-7-5 (85 points)
I think regardless if they make Europa or not, they're going to have a monumental task ahead of them next year. The performances show that these current players are just so ordinary, and average, that perhaps Fergie was that much of a genius, or knew it was time to jump ship.
I actually hope that Moyes stays on, more than them missing/making Europa, because they need to ship out about 8-9 players, and bring in that many, and without paying insanely over the odds like they did for Mata, who really doesn't fit, they can't get that many more of his caliber or better. Pair that with the 500M+ debt the Glazers have on the club, without European money coming in, but the expectations of winning the league and 2 cups under Moysie, and it looks beautiful to me..
I'd expect City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Us, Spuds, Bitters and young Southampton to all get much, much better. Just think, Fergie mocked Jordan and Sturridge in his book, yet Smalling, Jones, Evans and Cleverley all look abysmal, with Rvp, Evra, Rio, Chich, Young, Nani all headed out.. Maybe Scholes and Giggs can catch a 3rd wind?
Albeit, doesn't mean too much because it's not really apples to apples.. Thought it was interesting nonetheless..
After the first 64 games in charge of LFC
Won 32 32
Drawn 18 13
Lost 14 19
GF 137 84
GA 75 58
GD +62 +26
Points 114 109
I didn't realize Clattenburg was a non favorite..? I remember him giving us a contentious goal under the Hodgson reign of terror, where Kuyt & Torres took a dead ball and walked it into the net.. I don't remember any bad ones. Dunno.. different strokes.. I find that I like him because of his age, he keeps up with the pace, he engages the players and managers, and when he is involved in a flash point, he faces up to the clubs and FA.. I think I'd like to throw young Michael Oliver in there.. I think he's very good..
Either way, that was a penalty 10/10 times, and there's no way for me to prove this, but top dollar, says if it was us at Old Trafford, the call would have gone in Shrek's favor (or Young/Nani/Januzaj etc)
Like I was saying previously, refs should be there to have a stamp on the game by the rules, and never by the outcome. That's the standard we have in the states, and the reason so many things can be viewed on replay or a challenge. Granted a PK is a judgment or perception, but that was an egregious call, that anyone up above could have spoken to Webb right in his hearing aid about.. Clear as day
I read an article that said he's "escaped" (not sure the person who shared, had the right to use that word) sanction / demotion, and will obviously be in the top flight this weekend. Regardless of whether Suarez embellishes or not (and he does far too much still), a penalty, is a penalty, even if there was one called 10 mins earlier..
The problem is, aside from any conspiracies, no ref in the EPL (maybe any league) wants to make that particular call, again, in that match. My personal 2 favorite refs are Mark Clattenburg and Phil Dowd.. I think Clattenburg, who's been in the middle of many on the field disputes, has the stones to make that call, and maybe Atkinson, who is the red card king.
Webb didn't have the balls, nor do 16/17 others.. In the NFL, the biggest, or smallest of Referee makes the call 10/10 times if they see it, because it's a penalty, it's the rules, and they don't care about any "repercussions" .. I think that's a stigma, EPL refs worry..
One of the main reason (amongst many) I'm Rodgers fan, and remember such absurd flack he got here, early doors last year by our dearly departed, is that he's very good at this gamesmanship with being extremely stoic, quiet and an ace poker face. He was so often criticized for saying little, and positive things..
Sometimes I think he's about to crack a smile and it never comes, so I'm all for this, and why I never even make score predictions.. very superstitious and not into the talking.. "Walk the Walk"
On another note, I'm scratching my head wondering if BR rotates some tomorrow @ Emirates, despite saying he can field the strongest team he wants, minus Glenda Enrique and Sakho..
I'll guess: Migs, Flanny, Skrtel, Agger, Aly - Allen - Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Suarez, Sturridge. 4-1-2-3.. Subs: Moses, Aspas, Texeira/Gerrard
Definitely a bit of gamesmanship from the Spending One, though he is friends with Rodgers, and he's always had respect and admiration for our club with Rafa out of the picture.
That said, I think he's trying to put a little pressure on us, while he and Rodgers both try to take it off them each respectively, and that is a sign of respect and a bit of fear, especially knowing they will have to come to Anfield for a result, and his Stoke / West Ham like tactics won't scare us much.
As for the finish, we could still very well finish 5th, as it seems Spuds are destined to never lose again, and each week it seems their playing a team from the 2nd division, so our home game vs. the lilly whites will be massive. That said, I agree, third should be the target, because avoiding the very, very early season jitters (IF we're there) of the qualifying, is a bit nervy and tricky, especially since Ayre will have his thumb up his #$%$ with 5 players wanting to join our team in time. 3rd would be ideal, but who's to say 2nd isn't impossible..!!
Roll on til Swansea!! (@Southampton is gonna be a BIT@CH!!)
I don't really mean I don't care in such a malaise or in that context, because I know I'll be watching and wanting to win at all costs, and can almost foresee one of those disappointing 2-0 drab losses at the Emirates, like our league game there, and I think Rodgers will definitely rotate some with the finish line in a sprinters distance. But I'd want the win!
A win would surprise me, and I'd take it, but not at the expense of any issues or god forbid a bad result vs Swans at home. Mind you after that, we go to Southampton, our team/hourse of horrors, and sadly, I expect nothing there. Just being honest, maybe 1 pt.
I suppose the good thing about this Arsenal game is, we can bring in some quality players who are on the mend, or on the periphery to match what Arsenal may do, with Bayern Munich looming.
Just a guess, Kelly & Glenda runouts at RB, Agger, Allen, Aspas, Moses, Ibe, then perhaps Jordan, Suarez and maybe Skrtel as the leaders and top quality.
Btw, Joao Texiera is the lad. We bought him from Sporting last season after he tore us up in the Nexgen tournament, and he's compared to Deco.. He showed some class in his 10 minutes.. doesn't say much for Aspas or Moses, whereas I think Alberto just needs to bulk up and adapt.
I always said, and knew that would be a very tough game, especially after the spirited performance they put in at Old Trafford a few days before. I didn't see the whole match, but was kept in the loop, until I was able to get home just after Coutinho scored, and basically saw out the final 16", and I just felt our goal was coming, and it did through Danny's pk.
From what I gathered, and what I saw in the final 16-18", Fulham did play really well, and it was a fairly wide open game, with our opponent's new best weapon, Kolo, opening the account with that beautiful clearance.. He's done an admirable job aside Skrtel, but he's not very graceful, and if Agger is fit to last 90, I think Swansea is the place to do the switch, and see if we can get a solid back 4, and really go from strength to strength. And, again, while I didn't see the entire match, I personally have to say, Aly Cissokho, has looked like a brand new man at LB the past 2 matches. He was really getting stuck in on challenges and marking well vs Arsenal, and I saw him look very composed in more challenges and on the ball late on at Craven.
Back to the point, we need to show more mental strength and grit from the get go in away games, because that's one that could have cost us dearly, especially since Spurs are never losing another game ever again. But, I just felt that what I saw, with our possession, and constant probing of their box, our goal would come in similar fashion to a typical "Fergie time" goal, only maybe this is the beginning of Rodgers time!
3 more points in the bag, another goal to our GD, and let's put Swans to the sword.. I honestly don't care about Arsenal.. well I say that now, and I'll take a win, but league is my gig baby!
I always air on the side of caution, no matter what my gut tells me, (which did tell me we'd beat Arsenal 3-2), so I believe there's no such thing as an easy match.. Oldham in 2 consecutive seasons, Bournemouth, home to Villa. @ WBA as our prime examples, but that said, outside of the 1 goal scored at Brum, we are a nearly unstoppable force on attack, and actually the league's #1 form scoring team, and amongst top 5 (if not 3) in Europe. We must go into Craven Cottage with that same intensity and cohesion, playing hard, smart and having fun, which is something I can't remember seeing in many a year.
Fulham are a wounded animal, playing for their lives at home, so they'll be desperate to get something from this game which means we could come out and put them to the sword early, or catch them on the counters. We'll have the benefit of all that hard, exhausting, desperate and tireless work they put in for 95" at Old Toilet, so that plays into our hands..
At this point, Rodgers has his tactics mastered, full belief in his players/selections, and they in him, so it all comes down to mentality, which I think we can all agree, is strongly setting in from BR down, but the players have to show it. We're unbeaten in 6, and need these 3 points, so I expect nothing less than an effort similar to Evt / Ars..
I hate to minimize the cup match, but I think we'd all agree, league and top 4/3 (which is a true target) are the absolute number 1 priority, and key to getting back to the top of England/Europe, so I'm solely focused, and thinking BR is too, on Fulham midweek and then Swansea. Those have to be 6 points, so if we get anything at Arsenal, then we can discuss the cup, but for me, league all the way.
Don't want to go to Emirates and get hammered, but, if we need to make changes, to keep fit and healthy for the following weekend vs Swans at home, followed by a fixture I cringe over.. our trip to St. Mary's, then so be it. If we can get 7/9, or god forbid 9/9, I'd forfeit to let Arsenal have that W, so they can get smashed by City, Chelsea etc.. Not to mention, more fixture congestion for them, which could benefit us..
Anyways, that was a F#c,King AWESOME result at Anfield today, and I can't remember a team ripping apart another top team so quickly like that, in god knows how long. We well and truly could have had 10 goals! So, let's enjoy it and kick on at Fulham now.. no banana peels!
Sorry lads, I've been a bit in limbo lately, with some things to tend to, but I see I haven't missed too much, aside from what I presume are follow ups on our supposed Konoplyanka failure.. Oh well.. Over and done with. Sterling is really playing great, Coutinho seems to show up in the big games, Suarez and Sturridge (WBA aside) are thriving in the new/true 4-3-3, popping up everywhere, and we're getting bodies back defensively..
That said, because of the 2 points dropped at WBA, which obviously could have been dusted with another goal, and avoidance of a terrible error by both Mignolet for the distribution, and Kolo for the pass, this has put IMMENSE pressure on the Arsenal match..
I guess, it should never be said there's not pressure on this fixture, and especially with our impeccable home record and showings, but, is this truly our biggest game since 2008/2009? I know it won't be the decider, esp since Villa/WBA could have sent us flying, BUT I don't think I was out of diapers the last time we beat the Goons at Anfield, and surprisingly, aside from the back to back at City / Chelski & destruction of Evt., we've not shown a 110% all around vs a team we need to..
The pics at Melwood suggest the boys were having fun, and a blast, which does speak volumes to me because I really think they believe in themselves and Rodgers, so it gives me great confidence, rather than stone faces and uptight, but will it translate at Anfield? I never make predictions, so not even giving my gut feeling for being superstitious.. Curious on your thoughts, if you're still reading..
Won't happen, he just scored a hattrick midweek for Barcelona in their cup match, and 2 assists yesterday. They'll give him just enough PT to satisfy him until the summer, then the dogs will fight it out..
Seems it's Konoplyanka or bust.. media says 5.5 year deal agreed, Rodgers said nothing. Even he and his father have said it's done.. Ayre missing in action riding his motorcycle somewhere in Kiev..
Well, that was bang on as far as lineup and performance! I didn't imagine that scoreline in my wildest dreams, and I'd say it was at least equal to, if not better than our performance at Spuds. I might only say better because we didn't have Allen or Lucas here, and Gerrard/Henderson were immense in the defensive midfield, and Kolo really played well next to Skrtel for once.
Now that we've got ourselves sorted with this existing crop of players, and in this 4-3-3 interchangeable lineup, where you can't even tell who's playing wide or central, we need to take this performance right on the bus to West Brom, grab another 3 points, and coming flying high into Anfield vs Arsenal, who we haven't beaten at home probably since before I was born..
IF, we can bag 6/6, we've got some favorable fixtures to come afterwards, and can really push on to 3rd spot, especially if you look at Arsenal's murder that is a schedule in Feb..
And Mr. Konoplyanka seems to be our main, and likely target as of every source on god's green earth, 15M.. Until Chelsea or Spurs offer 16M, and a10k more in wages. He is dynamite as far as pace, dribbling and finishing. Let's see..
We really don't have too many options with all of the injuries at this point, although they have quite a fare share too, but ironically a bigger/deeper squad than us. Just goes to show how pathetic Ayre is at his job, and how embarrassed I am by FSG, after the endorsements / belief I've given them. Hopefully you won't hold it against me, and know if I was owner, I'd literally put every last dime into the club..
Damned If I know what to do at the fullback spot, but I'll give it this guess, and make this choice only because Oviedo is out, and I think Coleman is doubtful, causing less trouble on that side.
Jones, Moses, Alberto, Aspas, Sama, Allen, Kelly
I'd want this to shape up like a very, very disciplined 4-3-3 with both Gerrard and Henderson shielding the back 4, and choosing spots carefully to roam, with Coutinho dropping to pick the ball up, and run with it, or spray it wide, OR a very tight 4-2-3-1, which based on what I said above is basically the same, only more suited for the counter. I'm not really sure BR trusts Kelly for some reason, and Cissokho isn't very good, so I know Flannagan will be in there somewhere.
As for the bench, we're without Agger, Sakho, Enrique and Glenda, so Sama, Smith & Rossiter are the only other choices I'm aware of besides Kelly or Cissokho to be on the bench, and while I want to see Ibe in there, Allen doesn't seem fit to start, so he gets on the bench with us having enough offense.
Ya know, I look at the team, and aside from not being in love with Kolo and our back 4 as a whole, and I think, jeez, that starting front 6, really isn't anything to sneeze at, especially if they click on all cylinders, yet, we all have this sinking feeling. It's hard to explain, but this is huge, and we need 11 hero's tomorrow, and 10/10 from everyone!