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Liverpool - Going back to the past

Started on 21 October 2012 by Jamesg237
Latest Reply on 9 April 2014 by PC Plod
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A Visit to the Theatre of Dreams

Liverpool have somewhat exceeded expectations of everyone related to football. At the beginning of the season the media touted them to finish in a Europa League place (5th) but instead Liverpool have gone from strength to strength ever since their win against Manchester United. Despite a blip against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea a few matches back they now find themselves 1 point ahead of the Premier League holders Manchester United; although Manchester United do have one game in hand over the Merseyside club. This match is being called “The Title Decider”. Nobody seems to be taking any notice of United having a game in hand but instead it is felt that if Liverpool get a win at Old Trafford that they will continue this unbeaten run to secure the Premier League title for the first time in 22 years.

Match Information and Build Up

We have received the team news for the two teams and there are a couple of surprises from James Gallagher the Liverpool manager.

Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to go with the same 4-4-2 formation that his team started with in the first game against the two sides. United will be looking to use the pace of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia which means Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique will have a tough match ahead of them.
The Liverpool manager has surprised a lot of people with his choice. Charlie Adam has not been a regular for Liverpool this season but he has been trusted to control the middle of the pitch with the support of Lucas Leiva. Steven Gerrard who has had an indifferent season so far has been placed out on the wing but it would not be surprising if Liverpool looked to swap him and Eden Hazard, who has been a revelation since he joined the team, to give Gerrard more control over the game. Raheem Sterling, who was only registered with the team a week ago has been given a game against the teams arch rivals. It will be interesting to see how the youngster handles the pressure and I am sure it will be an interesting battle between himself and Chris Smalling.

Kick off time: 19:30
Stadium: Old Trafford
Weather: Cloudy, drizzle, 3 degrees Celsius
Key Players:
Manchester United: Wayne Rooney
Liverpool: Daniel Agger

The Match

Post match Conference: The Liverpool manager described the match as a drab one between two teams which simply cancelled each other out. He could not single out a player, on both teams, which grabbed his opportunity to win the game for their team. James Gallagher had been impressed with his teams work in the tackle and how they handled the late onslaught by the Manchester United side. Due to the match being a stalemate it is very hard to determine which of these two teams will finish champions. I think this will become a lot clearer when more games have been played.

Performance Rating:

Inside Melwood Training Academy

We are very lucky to have been given a look in Melwood Training centre where the Liverpool team train. Cameras are rarely allowed inside the Academy but we have been given special permission by the club. At the beginning of the season James Gallagher decided it was time for a chance at the Academy and released, by mutual agreement, a number of the Liverpool staff. Gallagher started as he meant to go on by quickly replacing some of them with his own staff who he is said to have known well before he got the Liverpool job.

Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke was one of the members of staff that the Liverpool manager was looking to retain after the departure of Kenny Dalglish. Steven Clarke is seen as an expert in defending which may be one of the reasons behind Liverpool’s solid defence performances; at this point in the season the team have only let in 14 goals in 25 games which is an impressive feat for any team (only Manchester United have a better goal difference).

Ray Clemence

The Liverpool fans were singing the managers praises when he decided to obtain the services of the Liverpool legend, Ray Clemence. Clemence has come in to support Mark Morris and John Achterberg who were part of the goalkeeping coaching team that Gallagher retained for this season. Clemence is coming in with a wealth of experience and this wisdom has been parted onto Pepe Reina and Doni the two Liverpool goalkeepers. Reina has been putting in a number of solid performances and is having one of his best seasons for the club; Reina has thanked Clemence for his support and has said he has learnt a lot from the Liverpool legend.

Training Regime

It is very rare that Premier League teams give an insight to their training regime but the Liverpool management have agreed to do this. They feel that the team is performing very well and that this is down to the impressive training schedules and coaching staff that they have at the club. Tom Werner the Liverpool Chairman and John Henry the clubs owner is said to be contemplating improving the training facilities and also putting big investment into the youth facilities. They have expressed this keenness due to them seeing what is being achieved by young players such as Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling.

The final 5...

Liverpool at the beginning of the season were not given a chance in the Premier League. The media had predicted that they would finish 5th and they even felt that that would be unlikely. Liverpool had surprised everyone by asking Kenny Dalglish to step aside to make for James Gallagher, a relatively unknown manager, who had had no past experience of managing at any level. A somewhat risky move by the directors and owners of Liverpool but that faith in James seems to have paid off.

Liverpool has managed to qualify for the Champions League which has exceeded everyone’s expectations. This will be a nice change for the club and their fans as Liverpool have been absent from European competition this season. They are also currently sitting in 2nd place on the same number of points as Manchester United. United had had a game in hand but had failed to capitalise on this chance to pull three points ahead of their neighbours and rivals. This season has come down to the final 5 games for both clubs and it is one Manchester United will be looking on with optimism.

Liverpool has got the tougher end to the season. Liverpool failed to beat both Manchester City and Chelsea earlier in the season; Manchester United will be looking to both their rivals to put a dint in James Gallagher’s chance of a league title in his first ever year of management. It doesn’t help Liverpool that they have to play an FA Cup replay in and amongst these final 5 matches as they had to come from behind to draw with Tottenham in the first tie. If they do manage to beat Tottenham at the second time of asking any further matches will add to the strenuous run of games Liverpool are going to encounter. The Liverpool manager has spoke of confidence in his team to produce some good performances and get the results that his side need to push for the title.

The matches are much more favourable to Manchester United and they are expected to dismiss these teams with no issue. With the team being out of all cup competitions (they narrowly lost to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on penalties) this is the only title they have to focus on. This surely means that Sir Alex Ferguson will be making sure his team put 100% into every game and he can afford to play his strongest side every match.

The Matches

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Match 4

Match 5

Liverpool win the Premier League

Despite all the critics, disharmony in the dressing room, a couple blips in tactical decisions Liverpool have managed to pull off an historic title win. With Manchester United’s failing to beat already relegated Wigan (who was sat in 19th place) all that Liverpool had to do was win their last two matches, which they did so confidently. Tottenham had beaten a below par and young Liverpool team 6-3 in the FA Cup 6th Round only the week before their meeting. It was clear from the under strength team that Gallagher put out that his aim was to win the title, which has he managed to do. Liverpool will now be looking to go from strength to strength and challenge for the title again next year but they will also have to take into consideration their re-entry into the Champions League competition, which I am sure they will be taking very seriously.

How has he done it?

A lot of people connected with football simply have the question on their lips, how has James Gallagher, who has never managed a football team before at any level, managed to guide Liverpool to their first title win in 12 years? This question could not be answered by you or I so we are going to go straight over to the press conference at Anfield.

The Guardian: The title was a close-run thing and nobody was quite sure of the destination of the trophy until today. Did you ever doubt you would finish as champions?
James Gallagher: There were a few moments where it looked like it was going to slip away from us, absolutely.

KiCK! Magazine: Congratulations, you’ve sealed the Premier Division Title. How does this moment feel?
James Gallagher: I’m absolutely delighted, everyone has worked so hard to bring the title home and we’ve done it.

KiCK! Magazine: In what was labelled as the biggest match of Liverpool’s season, your team certainly lived up to the pre-match billing? You must be delighted with the result?
James Gallagher: It’s a brilliant feeling, everyone has worked so hard and they’re getting the rewards right now.

The Daily Post: Another clean sheet for the side today and it is now 335 minutes since Jose Pepe Reina last conceded. How much of that is down to your goalkeeper’s performances?
James Gallagher: Reina is a top quality goalkeeper. It makes such a different to a side knowing they can rely on the man between the sticks.

The Guardian: The match wrapped up the English Premier Division for your side. How do you reflect on the season as a whole?
James Gallagher: I think we can look back with a lot of pride; some excellent results and performances give us a good platform for next season. How did you rate the clash as a final match?
James Gallagher: It was a pretty special way to end the season.

Leandro Damiao’s hat-trick was undoubtedly the key factor in your win today. What did you make of his performance?
James Gallagher: It was absolutely tremendous and that is reflected in the goals he scored.

BBC Radio 5 live: You will be closely watched during the off-season as people gauge whether you can defend your crown. Do you feel you’ll be up there again next season?
James Gallagher: We have to build on this triumph, work hard and make sure we are challenging again next year


Tension over a new contract

Despite bringing the Premier Division title back to Anfield the Liverpool board of directors and owners seem to have stalled on offering their manager a new contract. James Gallagher was only offered and initial one year deal at the beginning of last season and he is reportedly eager to sign on for a longer period of time. James has already shared with fans that he is wanting to make new signings with the transfer window being open but he is willing to wait for the board to offer him a deal instead of him requesting a new contract.

Summer Transfer Window

It is going to be an interesting summer transfer window for all teams but none more so than Liverpool. James Gallagher, despite not having signed a new contract, is eager to make a start on signing new players. The transfer window has already seen Craig Bellamy leave the club for Fulham in a £1.2million deal. Doni, the Brazilian goalkeeper, has been in talks with Real Madrid but the club were not willing to pay them the wages the goalkeeper was demanding. He had requested Liverpool continue to pay part of his wage for the upcoming season but the The Reds refused so Doni is still yet to move on. Since this event Doni has left for Southampton for £1million. Jay Spearing, who spent last season on Blackpool, has moved onto a new venture at West Ham United. Liverpool will reportedly receive £1million for the youngster. Charlie Adam, despite scoring a couple of key goals for Liverpool last season has been sold to Southampton for £4million. Liverpool will also have to pay Charlie £3.3k a week until the end of the season; it is guessed that the £4million transfer fee will cover this with no financial issues.

Soon as Alberto Aquilani came back to Melwood to start the pre-season training with Liverpool was he sent back to AC Milan on a season long loan. Milan will also have the option to sign the player for £4.2million at any point during the season. With both Glen Johnson and Andre Wisdom putting in good performances last season at right back it was felt that John Flanagan would not be able to force himself into the starting 11. This has resulted in John being sent on loan to Aston Villa for a season long loan but Liverpool have assured Flanagan that he does have a long future at the club. Joe Cole who spent a season in France has been loaned out to Napoli for the duration of his season. James Gallagher had looked to move Cole on permanently but Napoli were unwilling to commit to this kind of deal.
With competition being so tough with the new signings the club has made, the club have felt it is necessary to keep Suso playing first team football. The decision has been made to offload Suso for a season long loan to Coventry City who are an affiliate club to Liverpool. Coventry are not required to give Suso game time but with his growing ability the midlands club would be daft to not be playing him week in week out.

Alex Smithies

Liverpool have already made a good start in the transfer window and secured the signing of Alex Smithies from Huddersfield in a £1million deal. Alex is said to be delighted with the move and that it was too good to be turned down. Alex will spend the season learning from Pepe Reina who had a brilliant season last season. It will not be long however, once Pepe Reina gets older, that Smithies will take up the reins and he is not being deterred from aiming to claim the number 1 goalkeeper shirt.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool has continued the spending that the Liverpool manager started when he first joined the club. With the departure of Craig Bellamy and with the Liverpool manager still looking to offload Stewart Downing the manager has decided that the team need more width so have looked at Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV in a £10.5million deal. He is a versatilise player who can play in a variety of attacking positions. Georginio is wanting to make an immediate impact at his new club and has warned Afellay and Hazard that he will be putting up a fight for their starting 11 positions.

Carlos Fierro

This deal had been completed at the beginning of last season but Liverpool had to wait until the player was off an age that he could leave his current club. The youngster is eager to get started but it is rumoured that he may have to wait his turn with Suarez starting off pre-season in scintillating form. It is probably more likely to see Fierro in a reserves shirt more often than a first team shirt this coming season.

Douglas Costa

The Liverpool manager seems to have continued his revamping of the Liverpool midfield with the signing of Douglas Costa from Shakhtar for the fee of £13million. With the player being of the young age of 21 years old he is seen as a player for the future. The player is seen as a nippy midfield player with brilliant dribbling technique and he managed to get himself 11 goals last season. It is going to be interesting to see if the Liverpool manager throws him straight into the team during pre-season. There is a lot of competition now for places in the Liverpool midfield but Costa seems determined to put his stamp on the club and claim a regular starting place.


Liverpool has signed yet another young midfielder which is creating an excited buzz around Anfield. Rafinha was playing for Barcelona B team and it was felt it was going to be unlikely to be playing for the first team in the upcoming season. Liverpool has managed to obtain the versatile player for the small fee of £1.4million. At the young age of 19 the Liverpool manager has already shared with the player that he is unlikely to see any first team action this season and will spend his first season in Merseyside in the reserves to gain experience in the English game.

Transfer Window Summary
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