They say 9 months is a long time, and they’re right….
You can go from a wild night out to becoming a parent in nine months.
You can also go from Brendan Rodgers to Jurgen Klopp in nine months.
Both are life-changing experiences….
So after the roller-coaster that has been the 2015/2016 season, here are the Player Ratings for the season as a whole, for every player who ‘regularly’ appeared (and who I care enough about to review). I’m not going to cover every player who wore the LFC shirt this season as you’d still be reading this blog half way through next season, and that would just be daft.
I hope you enjoy this Season Review, and that you’ve enjoyed the individual player ratings over the course of the season. Let me know, as I’m not sure if I’ll continue with them next season. Time is money my friends, and I’m bloody skint. Heh.
When your marriage is in trouble due to the unacceptable actions of your other half, you typically do all you can to save it. Counselling is a popular option, and it can be helpful. Your partner may go from 7-nights-a-week out of their box on smack to just 4-nights-a-week, for example. It’s a substantial improvement…but it’s still not really good enough.
This analogy of sorts brings me to Simon ‘Migs’ Mignolet. He has improved, it must be said…but it’s still not really good enough.
The fact that the first transfer of the summer may well be a new goalkeeper arriving at Melwood speaks volumes. In fact Klopp may well be turning it up to 11, just so Migs can get the hint. The writing is on the wall. The Dear John letter is in the post. Every other cliché you can think of also applies.
Will Migs leave? Possibly, but I suspect he’ll ‘stay and fight for his place’. He’ll come for the challenge, miss it, flap wildly and lose. Standard.
My player review for Adam from the Watford game at Vicarage Road sums up his whole LFC career nicely, if I may say so myself:
The girl next door. She’s gorgeous. I mean truly, sensationally, your-heart-skips-a-beat-whenever-you-see-her, jaw-droppingly sexy. You love her. You covet her. You cannot stop thinking about her. Alas, she is always in demand, and always has a boyfriend. They’re all assholes too. Real bad bastards. You know they’re wrong for her, and you know that ‘you’ are the one, if only you got a chance. Just one chance….and then it happens. She has a huge row with the latest bastard on the block, and she comes to you for solace, comfort and a shoulder to cry on. This is it…the chance to be the man of her dreams. She runs towards you, tears streaming down her cheeks. You run to her, arms open, ready to give her everything she has been missing (emotionally, you pervert). Just as she is about to fall into your arms to be yours forever, you trip over your untied shoelace and nut her square in the mush. Claret everywhere. She’s unconscious, carted off to hospital, and her face needs reconstructive surgery. She’ll never look the same again. You’ve f*cked it, mate. You’ve ruined it forever. It’s over.
That’s Adam Bogdan, that is.
Congratulations Adam, you are the winner of the worst Liverpool goalkeeper in Premier League history, and that has some stiff competition…
Hauled back from Scotland as the full horror of ‘Adam Bogdan’ was revealed, Danny had to wait for his chance, but when it came he took it well.
Terms like ‘Solid’, ‘Dependable’, ‘Not Adam Bogdan’ can all be applied to Danny Ward, and all are complimentary. Did he do enough to force his way into ‘1st Choice Keeper Next Season’ territory? Nah….
If Migs stays, Danny will be 3rd choice once more behind Migs and Loris Karius (by all accounts). Having had a taste of 1st team action with Liverpool, and following an impressive spell in Scotland, you suspect Danny will be on his travels once more next season, and that’s probably the right thing for him.
Mr. Dependable. Mr. Solid. Mr. Patsy Clyne.
A strong first season that promises improvement. His attacking play down the right flank seemed to improve as the season wore on, and if this progress continues, he’ll be a fine asset. His defensive work is decent, although he is clearly vulnerable in the air due to his stature, or lack of it.
His competition next season should come from the Scouse Cafu and Joe Gomez. One is a local hero while the other has the physical stature that may well be desired in defence by Jurgen Klopp who must be frustrated at the constant concession of set-piece goals.
As with all of the players this summer, a significant and constant improvement must be expected and demanded to hold onto their first team place. Come August, this will, for the first time, be a true ‘Klopp Team’.
Harsh? Bite me.
I saw nothing to suggest that Randall will be the next big thing or even force his way into the first team. Could be loaned out, or could spend the season in the U-21’s ready to be called upon in the event of an emergency.
Maybe we should put him behind glass? In case of emergency?
The return to action of The Scouse Cafu brought a tear to a glass eye earlier this season, following a horrendous injury crisis threatened to derail what was a promising career.
We haven’t seen anything like the Flano of 2013/2014 since his return, but we got a glimpse of it in the home game to Manchester City, when he strode onto the Anfield pitch, picked up Raheem Sterling, put him in his pocket, and has kept him there ever since. Rumour has it that Roy Hodgson had to call Flano to ask him to release Raheem for England duty.
He’s signed a new contract, and more than anybody else in the squad, the upcoming pre-season is going to be absolutely crucial for him to show Klopp what he’s all about. If I were him, I’d be in the gym throughout the summer holidays before pre-season begins, because you get the feeling that 2016/2017 will be a make or break year at the very top level for Jon Flanagan. Good luck mate.
A laughing stock in August. A hero in May. Quite the transformation. I told you nine months was a long time….
Jurgen will be bringing in defensive reinforcements this summer (and indeed already has), as defensive improvement must be the top priority. Since the start of the year, Liverpool have been among the top scorers in the Premier League, so logically if they can stop them going in the other end, everything should be sweet. Ah, if only football was that simple.
Anyway, with the ‘whoopsy’ from Sakho, the ‘age’ of KOLO and the ‘Skrtel-ness’ of Skrtel, Dejan Lovren arguably finished the season as the lynch-pin of the Liverpool defence. You’d have been sectioned had you even suggested that last summer.
Joel Matip is on the way. Joe Gomez is on the way back. The competition will be fierce.
BRING. IT. ON.
KOLO…KOLO KOLO…KOLO KOLO…KOLO PLEASE DON’T GO GO….
KOLO…KOLO KOLO…KOLO KOLO…KOLO PLEASE DON’T GO GO…
Repeat ad infinitum.
A leader, something we have very few of. Should he be released, it will be a definite gamble by Jurgen. Keeping KOLO in the squad is a safe bet.
Martin Skrtel’s LFC career officially passed away (not peacefully, it was a bloodbath) at Vicarage Road last December, as Ideon Ighalo and Troy Deeney outfought, out-muscled and bullied Martin Skrtel into waving the white flag.
Some say he’s been a loyal servant to Liverpool Football Club. Well, some might say Liverpool Football Club have been a loyal employer to Martin Skrtel.
Let’s just say that the time has come to say goodbye.
The elephant in the room. Which is ironic as we’re only in this situation because he wanted to be smaller than an elephant…a lot smaller.
If it’s a 6-month ban to next October, will he be welcomed back with open arms? How are we all feeling about his ‘mistake’? Was it a mistake? Was it a cynical ploy to mask something else? Should he be welcomed back as soon as he’s available and we’ll forget all about it? He’s a fine defender, of that there’s no doubt. But truth be told he’s let the club down, very very badly.
If his ban extends into 2018, the decision is made in any case. He can’t be sold, he can’t be played. He should be stuck in the canteen to serve the players every day….although if there’s an alarming weight loss among the squad….yeah, forget that idea.
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mamadou?
N/R/D – No Rating Deserved
You wake up on Christmas morning, and you daren’t open your eyes, lest you be disappointed. You make your way downstairs, crack open the living room door, and there he is….
You can’t believe it. It’s all your dreams come true. This beautiful bouncy ball of energy greets you with licks and slobber. He’s fantastic. He’s a bundle of energy, full of fun and mischief and curiosity. You instantly fall in love.
Then he pisses on the floor, shits on the rug and chews up your PS4 controller. You start having second thoughts. You’re not sure if this is what you really wanted.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s Bertie Moreno.
Started strongly when presented with his opportunity, but you wonder whether he would have gotten anywhere near the first team if it weren’t for the paucity of options at left back available to Klopp.
His form tailed off as the season wore on, culminating in a silly red card against Swansea, where his lack of experience and nous was ruthlessly exposed.
Another player who is sure to fall down the pecking order as new players arrive and others return from injury. He can’t argue that he didn’t get a chance to impress this season, the simple fact is that he didn’t take his chance.
Did I mention yet that nine months is a long time? Well it is you know…
Joe made 7 appearances at the start of the season following his summer arrival and instantly impressed, in spite of the fact that he was playing in a Brendan Rodgers side bereft of belief (in themselves and the
spoofer, sorry, gaffer).
As mentioned earlier, Joe has the physical stature now so in demand in modern football, and showed enough in his early season form that he’s certainly one for the future. His return from his season-ending injury means that he too has a big pre-season ahead of him to impress Jurgen Klopp and prove to him that he should be in the first team shake up next season.
Recruited by Brendan to play in central midfield, and finished the season playing in central midfield in a major European final.
He can’t say he hasn’t had his chances…but I’m going to say that he hasn’t taken them….
Don’t get me wrong, he finished the season strongly with numerous mature displays and quality assists as the team surged into the Europa League final. However when push comes to shove, he’s not good enough at the top level to play in central midfield, as shown in Basel.
I’ve been wondering all season whether he’ll be a certain starter next season, and I’m still none the wiser. What I am happy to say is that you’d struggle to find a better squad player anywhere. He can cover numerous positions, and allied to his experience, he’s going to be a valuable asset for Klopp next season.
Of course I could be under-valuing him and he could be named skipper for next season.
A breakthrough season for ‘Jackie’ as he finally cemented his place in central midfield and showed that he’s clearly the future of the club in this position.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that he be made the new Captain of Liverpool Football Club. He’s clearly the first choice in his position, he’s got the passion and dynamism required for the role, he’s German which means that he’s in a good position to carry out the gaffers wishes on the field (including certain German nuances that others may miss)…you know it makes sense.
Captain. Leader. Lege…..Gotcha…..
The decision to make Jordan Henderson Captain was very much a Brendan Rodgers decision – an ‘optics’ move in light of his improvement since Brendan tried to shift him onto Fulham.
To be fair to Jordan his form improved and he was an integral cog in the team, but Brendan has moved on, and so has this team.
While Jurgen has been in charge since last October, he was always walking in another man’s shoes in a sense. Right now though he’s kicked off those shoes and is lacing up a pair of German Doc Marten Boots, ready to take names and kick arses. Finally Jurgen gets to put his own stamp on not just the XI he puts on the pitch, but the whole club.
Captain will be one of those decision that may not seem like a big deal, but will very much indicate where Jurgen’s thoughts are for the future. I’ll be stunned should Jordan Henderson remain Captain next season. I suspect Jordan Henderson will be too. I’ve heard whispers of a move for Jordan and as Jurgen moulds the squad in his preferred image, that might make sense.
Hendo has got the energy required for a Klopp team, but the quality is still a question mark. Time will tell…
Another loyal servant who had his bags packed last summer, ready for an extended holiday in Turkey, before circumstances required his immediate attention and inclusion in the team.
He’s been used frequently by Klopp with 40 appearances in total, 11 as a substitute. He could well be another of those experienced players that could be of value in the dressing room, but I’m not sure how ‘rousing’ his dressing room speeches are….
If this is the end of the line for Lucas, I doff my cap to him. He’s overcome numerous situations where managers have doubted him or where his body betrayed him, and come back with grit and determination each time. Some teams get Brazilians like Neymar, Ronaldinho or Ronaldo. We got Lucas, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
The Lord Joe Allen:
There once was a man who told people how things should be, how there are golden rules for all, how if they listened to him everything would be much better.
He was scorned and shunned. He only had 12 mates who believed him. Most called him names.
His name is Joe Allen.
Who did you think I was talking about? Joe kept telling us that if he was played, if he was entrusted with a role in the first XI, everything would be fine. Every time he got a chance, he demonstrated his abilities. In the background, he healed Ings, Gomez and Flanagan.
However he’s about to be betrayed by
Judas Iscariot Ian Ayre, and a new contract will not be forthcoming. He shall be crucified, enduring unimaginable agony by being sent to Swansea. We shall all benefit from his time with us, as he has sacrificed himself for us.
May he rest in peace.
Just the 8 appearances this season (4 as sub), but he’s shown enough in his ability on the ball, his eye for a pass, his diminutive stature, to show that he’s clearly ‘mini-Coutinho’.
In case we lose Philippe (and let’s face it, he could fall down the back of the couch when Jurgen’s not paying attention), then we have Brannagan to come in.
There have been rumours of interest from Barcelona for his services. That’s enough for me to demand that he’s kept in the first-team squad and given chances next season. How about a Brannagan-led assault on the League Cup next season?
One of the kids who got his first chance in the FA Cup campaign and impressed sufficiently to warrant inclusion in the starting line-up for SIX league matches.
Basically he’s the top graduate from the LFC School this season. He’s done enough to demonstrate that if Lucas were to leave, he could be the young player to step up into his role, on the bench. High praise indeed.
Your worldy at Stoke gave us a stiffy,
Your worldy at Old Trafford was ever so tricky,
If you can do a worldy every week from now on,
You can do what you like with my mickey.
Considering how turbulent his first season at Anfield has been, he deserves immense credit for producing double figures in both goals and assists. Some of his skill takes the breath away (Bobby Soldado, you ok hun?), and assuming that he kicks on, next season could see him delivering something very special.
To be honest, his main role next season (as it was this season) is to take the focus off Philippe Coutinho and ensure that teams have more than one or two threats to worry about. Should our opponents be facing a quartet of Sturridge, Coutinho, Firmino and Gotze next season, then they’re going to have a very big problem.
Here’s an interesting one.
A player who Klopp seems to adore but who seems to deliver less than Coutinho/Firmino in terms of goals/assists, but is a first choice for every big game. Obviously his work rate is key, however….
Should Gotze arrive, who makes way? Based on the oily Nivea love that Klopp seems to have for Adam, is it Coutinho? Firmino? Surely not…..
Considering Liverpool face 38 league games as well as a League / FA Cup run (and that’s it), the ‘rotation’ requirement will be minimal. Will we really be arguing about who should start for LFC next season – Lallana or a World Cup Winning Goalscorer?
I can only hope…
A season that promised so much delivered so little, then ended with so much promise…
Football can be a cruel, teasing mistress.
A cracking solo goal against a West Brom side wearing flip-flops aside, Jordon disappointed for the most part.
But did you know…..Jordon made only TWO less appearances than Philippe Coutinho this season. No, seriously. 41 (including sub appearances) v 43 (including sub appearances). While this may be impressive, his lack of contribution in terms of goals/assists is only highlighted in this case. A total of 4 goals scored in 41 appearances when you’re an attacking player is poor.
Jordon is yet another ‘judgement call’ we’re going to have to trust Klopp with. He’d fetch a decent fee on the market for his pure potential alone. He could also go out on another loan, but surely he’s getting to the point of his career with Liverpool where he either has it or not?
Watch this space…
I’m on record on this blog as referring to Sheyi Ojo as ‘the new John Barnes’.
I’ve had time to reflect and I’d like to clarify what I meant:
Sheyi Ojo is the new John Barnes.
Clear? Good. Skill, Pace, Ability To Beat People, A Cross That Makes Dracula Cry. He’s got it all. Bring on next season and bring on Sheyi Ojo. He could be saving us £40,000,000.
19 starts. 6 appearances from the bench.
Let’s assume he gets an injury-free season next year, and plays 38 league games. Let’s apply those stats….I reckon next season Daniel Sturridge will score 23 league goals minimum. Kane got 25 this season. Vardy 24. Aguero 24. So we should sell him, right? He’s going to break down injured again, right?
Why? What the F*CK are you talking about?
Yes, he’s had injury problems. Yes he’s missed a lot of football. Yet he’s been fit now for about 3 months, played lots of games, and he’s still fit, so y’know….
Build the team around him. Supplement the forward line with players to help him. Buy a worthy back-up just in case of course. But I’ll tell you what….if a fully fit Daniel Sturridge played for Arsenal next season, they’d win the league. Guaranteed.
I haven’t mentioned in a while how long nine months really is, have I? It’s a long time…a really long time…
9 months ago Divock Origi was named in the ‘Worst Ligue 1 XI Of The Season’ or as they say in France “Merde XI De France” (probably).
The man has been transformed, both in terms of reputation and physicality. Have you seen him recently? He’s a BEAST. He must have put on 10lbs of muscle at least.
I can’t wait to see how he develops next season and I suspect Klopp can’t either. Origi & Sturridge could be the new Sutton & Shearer / Fowler & Collymore.
He came on/started. He ran around a bit. He earned obscene amounts of money.
If I win the lottery I’m going to offer £20,000,000 and make him play in my back garden for the next three years. I’d be doing LFC a favour.
No, seriously, nine months is a LONG time….
Three goals in nine appearances (5 starts) saw Danny Ings get off to a flier for his new club and his first step up to the top level. Then injury struck a cruel blow.
However Danny is back, and Klopp has been impressed enough to say so in public.
Sturridge/Origi/Ings will be our three main strikers next season. We may seek a fourth (Shane Long) considering we only have domestic duty next season, so no need to load the squad with strikers who won’t have 60+ games to share.
We haven’t seen enough of Danny to make a judgement, but I’m looking forward to the chance.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp:
I could write for another 3,000 words right now, but I’ve decided not to.
He chose to manage us when he could have had any other job in world football if he was willing to wait.
I love him. I adore him. I trust him.
Bring on next season.
Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne). I’m also regularly contributing to ByTheMinSport.com. Finally I’m a co-host for the best weekly Premier League Podcast in the whole world – @ByTheMinEPL Podcast, which can be found on the website. If you’ve read this far, pat yourself on the back.