Under the Radar – Not all about the money.
In the modern world of football we are presently seeing ludicrous fees being bandied about for players. Soon there will be a 9 figure player on the move. 9 FIGURES! What is the world coming to? All that for a player they allowed to leave for just 800k 4 years ago. I could rant on just about the Pogba deal and how it embodies all that is wrong with the world today. Previously, Madrid and Barcelona have splashed out eye watering fees for the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and our very own Luis Suarez, however, these players were all recognized as being the top of the pile. Pogba, good player and may also continue to improve, but I would still rate Toni Kroos, Modric, Vidal and Emre Can :cheers: ahead of him right now and part of the reasoning to being a 100 million player is being the very best in your position! I could rant on but I digress.
Each summer we wait for the new signings that are going to propel us to the next level, and pundits and fans alike claim each needs them to improve upon the season before. Ah logic you may say, a team couldn’t possibly improve from the season before without new players surely? Well that is the point, in the main no, but that isn’t to say that players already at the club will not be the break out stars of the new campaign, particularly players in a very young side that are on an upward trajectory.
Now there was no doubt we had gaps in the side that needed filling to allow Klopp to implement his style, the famous genggenpressing covered in a previous article and that also a number of players of peak year age are patently not good enough. We covered the new signings also previously, I sincerely hope you have been keeping up with the articles as there appears to be links everywhere! So now that Klopp has done that and brought some excellent players into the club and all at young ages with the exceptions of Manninger (3rd choice Keeper) and a CB seen as cover only, although his performances have been better than Lovren during pre season and offers a calm presence to the Keystone Kops of last season. We would appear to be expecting young players already at the club to not break out and grab the team and the season by the scruff of the neck. Let’s us look at the names:
Coutinho, Firmino, Can, Origi and what appears to be a fully fit Sturridge. 5 players who have shown top talent and glimpses of being able to reach world class. Firmino has now had a season in a new league that he took time to settle into, a top talent with a filthy range of skills and scores goals, a player who works hard from the front and can do it all. No reason why he couldn’t set the league on fire this season with goals from all angles and provide the link between midfield and attack.
Coutinho is the player everybody talks about as being our best player, and I couldn’t disagree but his talent has been inconsistent. Well that is to be expected given that he only recently turned 24. Year on year he has raised his game and maintained it longer and longer, this is his season to really break onto the world stage and push on. This summer he shone in a poor Brazilian team in the Copa and has been excellent in pre season. We should fully expect him to be the one to guide this team forward and if he does then he could be subject of the same insane offers we have seen already this summer.
Emre Can is a wonderful player who is mature beyond his years in a very difficult position nowadays in Centre Midfield. He has it all, size, strength, power, skill, poise and tactical awareness and played well for Germany against a Paul Pogba midfield in the Euro’s. People also still forget he’s only 22!. After playing everywhere but in goal under BR he settled wonderfully under Klopp and we were shown how important Klopp viewed him when rushing him back from injury at the end of the season. Fully expect him to be the platform from which we play and also pray he doesn’t get injured.
Origi makes me question my marriage. This kid could be extra special. He improves day by day and like Emre Can is a real physical specimen that fits into a Klopp system. The fact that he has wonderful feet and appears to be a natural goalscorer – well, that simply means he is set to become a player to focus your team on. There is so much attacking flair within the side now that if he fires then there is no reason why he couldn’t lead the scoring charts, plus the competition with Sturridge just to get a game can only benefit the club. If both hit form and score goals and push each other on then the only way is up for us.
Which obviously leads me on to Danny Sturridge. Not a youngster per se anymore but the injuries of the last two years have meant we have forgotten how devastating he can be on his day. The trouble is ensuring that day is matchday. His pace may have diminished these days but his movement remains excellent and could be the key in tight games. This is his first pre-season ever at the club and he has remained fit throughout it (touch wood). If that means his fitness is greatly improved and he can close down from the front then we may have our Christmas present early. One of the most natural finishers I have ever seen, probably somewhere between Rush and Fowler but we have not seen it on a consistent basis due to the kryptonite he seems to carry in his glove compartment. Stay fit for most of the season and top 4 is on.
For the first time in a long time we have squad with real depth (except LB) and will mean for a strong bench to help in tight spots. We have bought astutely without the marquee signing that can only really be achieved with Champions League football and have a nucleus of players around that could potentially make world class level, and that is without mentioning solid performers who may surprise and step up in Henderson, Lallana and Ings or the even younger youngsters of Ojo and Ejaria who have improved greatly just in pre-season.
This is a real season of intent for us. Klopp has been bullish and isn’t hiding behind any excuses and it is obvious that he doesn’t expect the players to either. He wants them to take responsibility on the pitch and step up when needed, like he has done as the manager. He is leading by example and inspiring those behind him to jump out of the trenches and follow him into battle, he did it with the fans last season and has done it with the club as a whole. The next step is to convince the players, they have to believe in him and themselves, they have to grasp the here and now, there is no tomorrow. Klopp hasn’t hidden like previous managers he has put himself up there to be shot at, and that can only force the players to no longer accept playing second fiddle to anyone. Stand up lads, fight on the front foot, and take us to where we belong.
Written by Si Dixon