Liverpool and Arsenal have both brought during exciting new strikers in the closing days of the transfer window. Both Balotteli and Welbeck cost £16m and the ESPN FC team debate which deal represents better value for money.
Who is the hip-hop mastermind at Liverpool Football Club? Watch and find out…
Every season there is always that one week which either makes or breaks Arsenal’s bid for silverware, it seems it is finally upon us.
Arsenal play their next three fixtures – which include todays 5th round FA Cup game against Liverpool and a last 16 Champions League match with holders Bayern Munich – at home at the Emirates.
The above graphic, produced by The Sunday Times, shows just how abysmal the Gunners record is against the Premier League’s biggest clubs.
There is a growing trend amongst Premier League top sides that they all need a chief craftsman in the middle to carve out opportunities out of the oblivion. Luka Modric and Cesc Fabregas were proof that so-called lightweight midfielders could deal with the physical demands of one of the world’s toughest leagues. Whether that was enough encouragement to persuade some of Premier League’s new crop of playmakers to apply their trade in England is another story, however still a strong possibility.
As EPL waves goodbye to their favoured box-to-box midfielders with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard reaching the swansong of their footballing careers, they are being taken over by the technicalities and quick-witted David Silva’s, Juan Mata’s, Shinji Kagawa’s and Santi Carzorla’s of the world.
Whilst Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Jordan Henderson maybe England’s latest contigence of central midfielders, all players mentioned have neglected the kick and rush football formerly accommodated to English football, which has been inspired by global greats; Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Andrea Pirlo.
One player that has appeared to have adapted quicker than most to the physical demands of the Premier League is Liverpool’s latest addition Philippe Coutinho. There were initial cries that Coutinho would struggle to pick up the pace in England’s premier league. Since those cries the majestic Brazilian has impressively become a focal point in Liverpool’s attack during his first few games at Anfield.
Similar to another young player in the Premier League Eden Hazard, Coutinho was already a continental name and identified as being a potential world class footballer. Ideally both players come under the category of being modernised playmakers, meaning that they can be utilised on either flank as well as being applied in their obvious favoured position of playing behind the front man.
The shaggy haired Brazilian, typical of his nationality has the flair to excite and influence most games. Furthermore he brings a wealth of intelligence, skill and speed, adding a great deal of creativity to Brendan Rodgers already revamped Liverpool side.
A player for the future they say? Nah Coutinho can do the job and surge Liverpool back to the top four summit that has over-sighted Gerrard, Suarez and co for some time.
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)
Many have cited to criticise the man at the helm of the Anfield faithful, however I applaud his courage and desire in his attempts to take Liverpool to the next level, albeit through his very own philosophy. Many will observe the table and see that Liverpool lie close within a relegation battle, if your mind is that premature of course. What I have done is watch Liverpool closely this season, let’s not forget this is a side that has already faced the top three clubs of last season, at home? Yes, however still three of the toughest games that they will face all season. This Liverpool unit is a team that will take a while to gel; the saying states “wine gets better with time”, maybe the same could be said for Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers has assembled a side for the future, already introducing the likes of Raheem Sterling and Suso something that I could not see Kenny Dalglish doing during his second tenure at Liverpool. His philosophies are likened to that of Sir Alex Ferguson’s when he introduced his famous ‘Fergie Fledgings’, remember how they turned out? The unanimous departure of Andy Carroll demonstrated Rodgers desire to keep his football firmly on the ground and get rid of that kick and rush football formerly seen at Anfield for many years. This enables his side to revolve around Suarez, of whom I believe is attempting to adopt the role of a false 9, similar to Wayne Rooney’s adaption of the role seen in the 2009-2010 campaign, which saw him net 34 goals during that season.
Their League Cup performance was a glance into the future and they performed admirably against an organised West Brom side, goals from Nuri Sahin were good enough to send Liverpool into the 4th round of the Capital One Cup. Even teenager Jerome Sinclair came on to become Liverpool’s youngest ever player, could you imagine previous managers such as Rafa Benitez or King Kenny doing such a thing?
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)