HJK Helsinki & Swindon Town: The lowdown on Liverpool’s weekend opponents

Jul 29, 2015

By Henry Jackson

Liverpool face HJK Helsinki and Swindon Town in pre-season friendlies this weekend, so Henry Jackson takes a closer look at the Reds’ upcoming opponents.

HELSINKI, FINLAND - Friday, October 9, 2009: Wales' players during training at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group 4 match against Finland. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The start of the 2015/16 Premier League season edges ever closer, and Liverpool’s two final pre-season games take place this coming weekend.

First up are HJK Helsinki on Saturday, at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, before facing Swindon Town at the County Ground less than 24 hours later.

While plenty of focus will be on how Brendan Rodgers rotates his squad during these two quickfire clashes, what about the opposition?

Here is a look at both:

HJK Helsinki


Helsinki’s man in charge is Mika Lehkosuo; a man who enjoyed great success with the Finnish club as a player between 1993 and 2002.

The 45-year-old former midfielder took charge of the Veikkausliiga club in 2014, having been in charge of the youth team prior to that.

continue reading here : http://www.thisisanfield.com/2015/07/hjk-helsinki-swindon-town-lowdown-liverpools-next-2-opponents/

Posted in International / friendly, Opinions, Others, Recent Posts, Tour 2015 | Leave a comment

Liverpool Summer Holiday: Holland – Not Just Windmills and Clogs


First, check out the other Liverpool FC Summer Holiday pieces – in Brazil (by James Nalton) and in Italy (by Srikanth Bala).

Close friends and people who generally read my tweets know that I’m an avid fan of the Eredivisie and the Netherlands national team. It may not be the most competitive league out there, but it is certainly one of the places where young players develop some of the most crucial aspects of their game.

Continuing on with the Summer Holiday series, here are two players from the Eredivisie that could be potentially useful for the Reds be it now, or in the (near) future.

Summer Holiday Holland

The Valiant Joël Veltman

When it comes to Dutch defenders at Ajax, the go-to player is definitely their former player and current youth coach Jaap Stam – the ferocious defender who left such a huge mark on Sir Alex Ferguson. Then you have the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, and Toby Alderweireld who have all left the Eredivisie for greener pastures in the Premier League and La Liga.

Unlike all of the aforementioned centre-backs, Joël Veltman has simply been hiding in the shadows, waiting for his chance to step out and shine. Despite breaking into the Oranje at a tender age of 20, the 23-year-old still has not attracted as much attention as his predecessors. Even today, Niklas Moisander attracted more interest before his move to Sampdoria.

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/15715/liverpool-summer-holiday-holland-not-just-windmills-clogs.html

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Main Stand’s Naming Rights: Good or Bad?


It’s clearly a good thing, who are we kidding?

Rumours broke in the media that Liverpool were looking to sell the naming rights for the new stand that’s under construction. You’d assume this would be a positive and fans would react accordingly so but apparently it’s “small time”, “plastic” and “beneath a club with such history”. No, really, people actually said those things. Just search Twitter. I even seen someone say we should keep 96 seats empty in memory of Hillsborough. The sentiment is a nice idea.

Main Stand Naming

Is a fear of change really holding these people back? Is it pride? Is it that it’d mean the gap between Liverpool and their rivals in terms of sponsorship would decrease so these fans would have one less excuse when listing reasons as to why Liverpool can’t compete?

I, for one, can’t understand how selling the naming rights to one stand would be a negative. A single stand. It’s not like they’re renaming the stadium, FSG have made it clear they don’t want to rename Anfield, for now. It’s like somebody offering you ludicrous amounts of money to put their company name on the bumper of your car.

“No thanks, my car has history and I laughed at , no, I ridiculed other people who had company names on their cars. I said they were ruining football with money and called them plastics whilst I moaned about them having more money than I had which lead to them improving their car. They may have more money than me but I had the moral high ground so, you know, I win.”

That’s the logic, right?

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/15705/main-stands-naming-rights-good-bad.html

Posted in Anfield redevelopment, Opinions, Others, Recent Posts | Leave a comment

Milner & Henderson: Is It Enough?


Jordan Henderson and James Milner present an odd little puzzle for Liverpool’s midfield.  In many ways, their playing style is very similar.  Both are big runners that have a sort of “engine” quality to them.  Though Milner floated from position to position at Manchester City, Henderson has predominantly played that box-to-box central midfielder role at Liverpool.  Now that they’re to be the new midfield pairing (?) in Anfield, we need to take a look at a few things: how they’ve played for England when together, what’s required for Milner and Henderson to be a successful partnership in the 2015/16 season, and what clubs to model Liverpool’s midfield after.



One of the most-sounded shouts for Henderson and Milner in Liverpool’s midfield is their playing time for England.  Both players have found their way into the national side several times.  Milner, being older, has registered more caps (54) than Henderson (22), but their debuts were just over a year apart.  Milner was called up for the first time in February 2009, but didn’t see the pitch until after the World Cup that year in August.  Henderson’s first call to the England side in November 2010 earned him a start with Milner, though he was subbed off in the 49th minute.

Looking at that alone, it would appear that nearly five years on Henderson and Milner have been playing together for a while now.  The minutes they might have earned as a midfield pairing would make this upcoming season look a little more promising, no?  But, a closer inspection of England’s last five years with the two box-to-box midfielders in the same side provides an alternative reality.

continue reading here : http://eplindex.com/69702/milner-henderson-enough.html




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Good Signings but Where is the Defensive Plan?


Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and the returning Divock Origi have all been added to the squad this summer in quick time. Great credit must go to the club for quickly bringing in their chosen targets. Whilst many will debate on whether these signings represent good business, the club have certainly backed Brendan Rodgers with his objectives.

Good Signings

The names above cry out goals. Goals from headers, goals from sublime skill, goals from pace, goals from hard work – goals, goals and more goals! That’s exactly what the fanbase and importantly Rodgers craved. Rodgers recently said:

“A few years ago we needed to improve our goal tally and we did that. I feel it was the same this summer.”

“It was just clear we needed to score more goals, but I wouldn’t want that to be taken as that the other side isn’t important. I believe that our defensive organisation is critical to allow our talents to flourish. We were down on our goals. Overall it is the balance we need to improve offensively and defensively and the players that will contribute to both.”

So we are all ready to go now? Or are we?…

Rodgers importantly mentioned that the defensive side of things are also very important and that we needed to improve. The table below shows the number of goals we have conceded over the last three seasons and our ranking in the league based on number of goals conceded.

Goals conceded Ranking
2014/15 48 8th
2013/14 50 8th
2012/13 43 5th

The ranking illustrates how poor defensively Liverpool have been in Rodgers’ tenure with a large number of goals conceded. Unless Liverpool score a significant number of goals like they did in the 2013/14 season they will continue to suffer in the league – as shown in the 2012/13 and 2014/15 seasons.

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/15725/good-signings-defensive-plan.html

Posted in Opinions, Others, Player watch, Referee, Tactics | Leave a comment

Are Liverpool in a Perpetual State of Transition?


Evolution is inevitable. In football and in everyday life you change to adapt. So what’s the difference between transition as a club and evolving? Why are some teams praised for adapting whilst others use being in transition as an excuse?

Since Brendan Rodgers took the helm of Liverpool FC it feels like ‘Liverpool are in transition’ is one of the most overused sentences for fans and pundits alike. Many pin this on Brendan Rodgers, others like to associate the blame to FSG when playing the hot potato blame game.

Is anyone at fault though? Is it just an excuse or is there some substance to the whole transitional argument?  I look at the various seasons under Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool Transition

The possession phase

If you look at year one of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool then obviously he’s had to clear house and remove the deadwood. All managers go through this phase. He took over a side that had finished 8th and scored total of 47 league goals. Changes were necessary.  This arrived in a turnover of players and a completely different playing style.

Incoming players –

Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Oussama Assaidi and Nuri Sahin arrived in the summer with both Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge joining the club in January.

Outgoing players –

Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Alberto Aquilani, Craig Bellamy, Charlie Adam and Joe Cole left permanently with Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll leaing on loan.

continue reading here : http://anfieldindex.com/15703/liverpool-perpetual-state-transition.html

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Andre Wisdom set for season-long loan move to Norwich City

on Jul 28, 2015

Liverpool full-back Andre Wisdom will make a season-long loan move to Norwich City in 2015/16, according to the Guardian’s Andy Hunter.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Liverpool's Andre Wisdom in action against Brondby IF during a preseason friendly match at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 22-year-old’s Anfield future has been called into question in recent weeks, and having spent last season at West Brom, he looks set for another stint away from Merseyside.

Hunter, one of the most reliable journalists for Liverpool-related news, took to his twitter account (@AHunterGuardian) on Tuesday afternoon to confirm the news.

He claims a deal involving Wisdom and last season’s Championship play-off winners should be completed in the new few days, with Liverpool receiving a £1.25 million loan fee for the versatile defender.

continue reading here : http://www.thisisanfield.com/2015/07/andre-wisdom-set-season-long-loan-move-norwich-city/

Posted in Loan watch, Opinions, Others, Player watch, Recent Posts | Leave a comment