“The name’s Gerrard, Jordan Gerrard,” also known as “The American Gerrard!” You know about the “Welsh Pirlo”, you’ve seen the “Egyptian Messi”, but you never knew about the American Gerrard! When the American Scouser needed a transfer expert I was there to smash it in from long range with an absolute belter. What a hit son, what a hit!
Since it is Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., I tried to keep this week’s article short but sweet. I am, after all a “Laborer” and enjoy this much needed Holiday. Watching Liverpool’s 7-2 thrashing of Blackpool was a great way to start the three day weekend. Although I will admit that first half definitely gave me some food for thought.
Can I say once again how good Curtis Jones looks? I might be a bit biased towards the Scouser but he is looking more and more a proper first team player. He looks full of energy and determination like he really wants to be there fighting for his place. He has to be giving Jurgen Klopp a bit of selection headache after some of his preseason performances.
It was nice to see Joel Matip back out on the field after a period on the sideline with injury. Despite opening his Liverpool scoring account Harvey Elliot will not be cutting his hair regardless of what Milner tells you. Preseason friendlies do not count towards haircut bets… but don’t tell that to Divock Origi.
As always the transfer rumors continue their trek across the country from coast to coast. But like Forest Gump running through crap in the road, the stories keep going and shit happens.
Chelsea and Manchester city are on course to buy an entire new eleven combined but like Momma always says, “Stupid is as stupid does,”
Will Liverpool remain quiet in the transfer window or is “life really like a box of chocolates, we never know what [we]’re gonna get” ?
With a few rumored exits, it is no surprise Liverpool are still being linked with players through out Europe. Only time will tell if this summer’s box of chocolates contain caramel and cream… or the remainders of a case licked clean.
This week the Messi madness comes to an end for now, Gini reacts to the Barcelona links and we review a few new players potentially targeted by the Reds. I have got a shrimpin’ boat’s worth of rumors, so strap on your army helmet and tell Lt. Dan it’s time to read The American Gerrard!
Messi not Moving
After a week of dominating the football headlines, the Lionel Messi saga came to an anticlimactic end… for now. Many reporters and transfer rumormongers were expecting Lionel Messi to sign for Manchester City after he dropped a bomb on Barcelona, announcing his intention to leave the club. When Leo finally realized that he would not be able to leave for free and no one could afford his ridiculous buyout clause, he agreed to remain at Barcelona for another season. I just want to remind everyone while the world was panicked over the future of Messi, I was one of the few writers saying he would end up staying at Barcelona. Boo yah – putting that one on the resume!
People said it would be awkward when Coutinho returned after Bayern spanked Barca. Messi has it way worse. Imagine the team tension when your Messiah (pun intended) deserts you, claiming you are not good enough, only to return because the price was too high. Like Bob Barker told Happy Gilmore, “The Price is Wrong Bitch!”
You can pretty much assume he will be heading to Manchester City at the end of this season. We better win the league now while we still can. Honestly, I will risk upsetting the “G.O.A.T.” faithful and say I think by the time Messi joins Man City it will be a move to sell jerseys and not a huge upgrade for our Premier League rivals – in fact, it might actually be a setback for City. If Messi is too old for the Premier League but has a contract where he must play every game, it may piss off the good players on his team and possibly hamper the team’s performances. (Full disclosure – I am already planning the league title three-peat for Liverpool, we just need to win this one first.)
An Eye on Ajer
Ever since the departure of the dreaded Dejan Lovren, Liverpool fans have been crying out for Klopp to sign another first team center back. Of course, any player signed will most likely end up forth choice behind Big Virg, Gomez and Matip, but that has not stopped the Reds from being linked with an assortment of defensive options.
One realistic option being mentioned is 22-year-old Norwegian center back Kristoffer Ajer. Ajer currently plays for Scottish Champions Celtic F.C. After their elimination from this season’s Champions League playoff, Ajer’s representatives inquired about a potential price if Ajer were to leave. Celtic revealed they would be ready to part with the promising young defender if the right price was on offer which is believed to be $27 million.
This is not bad for a defender being linked with a number of clubs, including A.C. Milan, West Ham and West Brom Albion. Ok – those do not actually sound like the best clubs with which to be linked, but I can remember another certain center back who came from Celtic and spent some time at a mid table club before becoming the World’s Best Defender™.
Ajer is already a massive player, standing at a towering 6’6″. He is able to play as both a centerback and as a defensive midfielder. Ajer was originally a midfielder at the youth level, and possesses great skill on the ball. Former Liverpool and Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was the first to notice Ajer’s potential as a central defender and converted the player with positive results. Ajer has gone on to make 131 appearances for Celtic. Last season he managed 22 clean sheets in 57 appearances.
He is even a Liverpool fan already: Ajer recently revealed his dream was to play for Liverpool and walk out at Anfield to the fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.
It is worth mentioning that his former boss Brendan Rodgers is interested in a reunion with the man whom he made a defender. Leicester might actually be a more likely place to get first team football on a regular basis. Despite some promising performances, there are still a few rough edges with Ajer’s game. He is a bit clumsy in the box at times, lacks the positional awareness of an experienced defender and has a tendency to grab opponent’s shirts, leading to fouls.
Gini Barca Weenie?
Since the appointment of Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, rumors have circulated about Georginio Wijnaldum and a possible move to join the Catalan club. Many believe Gini has stalled on a contract in hopes to help make a move to Barcelona more likely. It is believed Gini is seeking to be reunited with his former international coach in his new job at Barcelona. Koeman is believed to have the Barca board’s backing as well as main man Messi, as he begins a rebuild of the aging football giant’s senior squad and adds needed reinforcements.
Through out the contract situation with Liverpool, Gini has maintained a reluctance to address rumors of a move away. When asked about the Barcelona links during a press conference ahead of Holland’s match against Poland, Gini told reporters:
“ It’s a rumor, I have nothing to say about it.”
Despite many reports of Liverpool and Barcelona agreeing a fee of $20 million, reliable Liverpool correspondent James Pearce states no contact has been made with either the player nor Liverpool. And new stories are complicating the situation even more: the latest rumors emerging are that Barcelona may decide to go for Thiago Alcantara instead of Gini. Thiago played for the club for many years before making the switch to Bayern in search for a new challenge. A return to his homeland in Spain may suit Thiago for the final years in his prime. There is even talks that could blow everyone out of the water with Gini potentially signing a new contract after all. After all, he has never said he wants to leave. Not yet anyways. The worse case scenario Barca signs them both and Liverpool are left with nothing to show for it. Or maybe not…
Thiago Plan B
With several clubs recently joining the race for Thiago Alcantara, Liverpool may need to look elsewhere in case Georginio Wijnaldum leaves. 90Min are reporting Liverpool could be considering Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, who currently plays for Italian side Inter Milan. In 165 Serie A appearances Brozovic has 18 goals and 21 assists, and can play with both feet.
A rumored on-and-off target of the club for many years, Liverpool seem to get linked with him every summer but nothing ever materializes. Could this year be any different? Probably not. If you believe the Thiago to Liverpool rumors, or at least Liverpool’s supposed interest, then you have probably heard Liverpool currently do not want to meet Bayern’s asking price. They apparently cannot afford it – do any of us really know?
Brozovic is considered a cheaper option, with lower wages and most likely a lower price tag. Brozovic has even been described as a someone who plays in a style similar to Thiago but he’s about two years younger. He plays in the same positions as Thiago. He is basically the poor man’s Thiago, but you didn’t hear that from me.
Here is where it gets even more confusing: Bayern see Brozovic as the perfect replacement if Thiago leaves. They have even inquired about his availability according to the Mirror and Sport1. Transfermarkt values Brozovic at $55 million, so it is not clear to me why some of these reporters think Brozovic is a cheaper alternative to Thiago.
At a younger age he may represent a better value over time but Bayern are reported to only want $40 million for Thiago. Perhaps the pandemic’s effect on Serie A finances could leave Inter in a position where they would be willing to accept less then Brozovic’s estimated value. Personally, I think this is just the yearly Liverpool link with Brozovic, and nothing more.
Red Bull Gives You Wingers
RB Salzburg have quicky become known as a place for undiscovered talents. Their scouting game is on point: over the years they have signed and sold many talented players who eventually played for Liverpool. We all know Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino are all players who have featured in a Red Bull kit. The latest sensation being linked with an adventure to Anfield is Salzburg winger Patson Daka. Zambian News outlet Far Post claim Liverpool are the favorites to sign Daka.
You will remember Daka as the player who slotted twice against Liverpool in the recent friendly against Salzburg. He is a promising player from the African nation of Zambia. Patson Daka won the Young African player of the year award in 2017, and although he has improved over the last three years, he has remained under the radar with most of the focus having been on Erling Haaland. After Haaland left for German side Borussia Dortmund, Daka stepped out of the shadows, scoring an impressive 27 goals and 9 assists in 54 appearances for RB Salzburg.
At 21 years old Daka has become a wanted man, with interest credited from the Bundesliga and across the Premier League. RB Leipzig, Salzburg’s sister club, are believed to be interested in signing Daka as a replacement for Timo Werner. Transfermarkt value Daka at around $24 million. Could his performance against Liverpool be the catalyst to inspire FSG to make a move? He could represent a cheaper alternative to rumored Liverpool target Ismaila Sarr, who is believed to be valued at $40 million.
Twitter sources claim Liverpool recently created a special analytical task force dedicated to scouting the Austrian Leagues. They also have a good business relationship with the Red Bull ownership, purchasing promising players like Minamino on the cheap.
At this time there is really no credible evidence of Liverpool’s interest in Patson Daka. Typically rumors that originate from a player’s home country tend to be speculative at most. Unfortunately, he most likely will end up at Leipzig, since Red Bull owns both clubs.
Chronic Fatigue Season
The season begins in little under a week. This will be the first ever season Liverpool attempt to defend a Premier League title. According to Jurgen Klopp:
“…We will not defend the title or whatever next year, we will attack the next one..”
..but with a limited preseason and less time between matches in the upcoming season, will Liverpool be ready to attack the next title? Typically the break between seasons lasts several months – players receive much-needed time off and return for a grueling preseason. This year, due to the pandemic, there were only five weeks between the final day of the Premier League season and the Community Shield. Then, a number of players left to join their national teams and will only return a few days before the start of the season next weekend.
It sounds to me like we are going to have some tired players this year. You may argue the players sat around doing nothing while the league was postponed, but regardless we have all had to become “mentality monsters” to survive this new normal. Facing the pandemic and the possibility of having the season made void could certainly wear down a person psychologically. Besides, I want to believe the players were keeping fit working out on their private indoor football fields located in the west wing of their castles.
Recently while talking to the official Liverpool website, LFC defender Joe Gomez spoke highly of Jurgen Klopp’s methods for getting the squad prepped for the new season.
“More than anything, the gaffer instills in us that it’s a mental battle more than physical half the time, so we’ll be ready and we have a squad full of quality to rotate when needs be,”
“The main thing is, mentally we are ready to go. And I think everyone is hungrier than ever.”
According to reports Liverpool have told all suitors to wait until October after the start of the season to make an offer for Harry Wilson or Marko Grujic. This could be true about a number of fridge players including Xherdan Shaqiri, Ben Woodburn and Divock Origi.
Maybe Klopp is hanging onto these players to ensure Liverpool have enough squad members to survive what may be a season filled with fatigue induced injuries. Liverpool have been known to face an injury pile up every season around January. Having extra players who already know the system might be smarter then buying someone new, especially with how long Klopp takes to blood new players.
Earlier in the summer Klopp described the end of the extended season as a sort of preseason for Liverpool. Perhaps some of the club’s lack luster performances after securing the title were a coy plan by Jurgen Klopp to reduce fatigue and keep the squad ready to battle the big boys for another Premier League title.
I’m Jordan Gerrard and as always, I thank you for reading!