Free Friday: Lovren The Bouncer, Big Time Behaviour and All About Alisson

Free Friday: Lovren The Bouncer, Big Time Behaviour and All About Alisson
July 20, 2018 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday


This week’s posts selected by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

The idea of this round-up is to give you all some idea of the range of debate on the site. If you’d like to be part of our troll-free community, there’s a ‘Subscribe’ tab at the very bottom of the page. 

1 – Slick Mud appeals for some context after Lovren’s apprehending of the on-field protest during the Final:

Best moment of the final: Kylian Mbappe high-fiving Pussy Riot’s protest against klepto-dictator Putin.
Worst: Dejan Lovren aggressive behavior towards the activists.

Come on man. Cut Dejan some slack. Please.

M’bappe was only happy to see them because if I am not mistaken France was leading. Any interruptions might be a welcome.

Lovren was definitely incensed because his team is behind. In. A. World. Cup. Final.

Some understanding and context please. After all the wars, migration and reintegration etc that Lovren had to go through, reaching the World Cup Final is the last thing he has had to dream of.

2 – Mark Cohen on Liverpool’s growth in the transfer market:

There is something truly big-time about FSG’s behaviour over the last season and a bit in respect of transfers.

This Allison thing wouldn’t surprise me at all, given how we’ve moved in market over last year:

Keita – Big time Transfer

VVD – Massive transfer

Fabinho – Under the radar big-time too

Fekir – Under the radar and only halted by the club for good reason.

It would appear FSG had a basic but transparent financial blueprint:

  1. Stabilize the club financially
  2. Grow Revenues in accordance with global stature
  3. Once revenues in line with size of club – act accordingly

What I mean is, many Liverpool fans still exist in this state-of-mind that, whilst we are a big club, we are not a huge club considering the likes of City and Chelsea (and that’s before we consider mega-giants United), but this is no longer fact.

A cursory view of transfermrkt’s squads valued today tells us a truly remarkable (albeit subjective) valuation – Liverpool’s squad is more valuable than United’s. (

Yes, we are a little ways behind Chelsea and quite some way behind City, but we are going forward with our squad building whereas Chelsea are likely to lose two of their most valuable assets.

Bottom line is, when your squad is valued at 850m euro, and you are still likely to buy a little more – you are an absolute giant, in any sense of the word.

Its taken some time, but FSG really have placed the club in a long term position to challenge for the biggest prizes year in and year out. The icing on top is that they have one of the world’s great managers in charge to oversee this – match made in heaven.

3 – MikeH talking about the Fekir situation:

With Fekir, negligence has to cover 2 aspects. Firstly, negligently overpaying when you’re aware of a serious injury. That could obviously be remedied through a change in price/structure etc.

The second is more serious. Paying up for a player key to your strategy knowing he has a serious issue and then seeing his knee blow up a week later. That is terrible decision making and not remedied at all by payment terms in any way.

Just my opinion but if we retain an interest then we’re likely to wait a year. We’d buy someone else now and revisit Fekir as a squad option in a years time. Spending a lot less on a squad option that could be brilliant makes more sense than making a suspect player a key part of our attacking play. Imagine the meltdown if it went wrong quickly.

Its really tough. I’d imagine Klopp and the player are gutted. Klopp clearly invests emotionally in players we want, its why we are attracting top players. As a business decision though there isn’t really much to think about.

4 – Daniel Rhodes on Alisson and Karius:

Going back over Alisson’s games since January, and then comparing to Karius – the Brazilian made more mistakes. Not necessarily just on the ball errors, but also dropped crosses and fumbled shots that went straight to the opposition (vs Barcelona); and then against us was he suspect on the Wijnaldum header in the second leg? Plus I counted another couple in the first leg at Anfield. However, for context, he also made seven saves in that game, and seven versus Barcelona, and then ELEVEN according to Wyscout when Roma played Napoli (and lost 4-2).

I hope folk don’t expect zero errors!

Crucially though, he’s an upgrade on the ball, saving shots at a pretty incredible rate and I’d say similar to Karius on crosses.

And considering the German only made those recorded errors after being elbowed and later being diagnosed with concussion, it’s very harsh to judge him for the CL final performance. My guess is Klopp was looking to upgrade all along?!

5 – Jeff on Liverpool’s changed transfer market operations in recent times:

I have  no idea if in fact Alisson does comes to Liverpool but it does seem almost certain nor today can I say if he comes he will be a success. What pleases me about not only the possibility that Alisson will be coming to Liverpool but also the arrivals of any number of players starting with Mane and going to the present with Fabinho is that there has been a sea change in Liverpool. First, the talent scouts and talent evalutors and the transfer committee are identifying top end talent. Second, Jurgen Klopp makes it clear that Liverpool will only bring in players that he rates even if in the case of Salah they are a fourth choice. Third, the club in finding the money to bring in the players the talent people rate and Klopp wants. Fourth, Klopp and the coaches know how to coach up the players that Liverpool bring in from the transfer world. Fifth, the players that Liverpool are bringing in are better players for Liverpool than they were from their previous clubs. To me no reasonable person can ask more and every Liverpool supporter should be pleased with how Liverpool are operating in the transfer market. Simply put, we are returning to the Liverpool of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

6 – Mobykidz on the new “old” Liverpool:

WELCOME back to the new “old” Liverpool FC. A self-confident, aggressive and decisive organisation both on and off the pitch. Whilst its behaviour is more in keeping with that of a “galactico” club its core values of respect, honesty, integrity and much more reflect a path that is not at odds with FSG’s attempt to buy what it takes to get to the Premier League summit. I read this morning some football watchers were bemoaning Klopp’s huge outlay, like its coming out of their own pocket! They claim he is like every other “cheque book manager” out there. Well firstly football clubs deal with reality unlike these rent-a-quid pundits, the worst to be found working for Ne*s Corp. But as much as they are entitled to air their views, often in mediums that lack usual sensibilities, we know differently based on analysis and common sense. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester Utd each have an identity forged on recent success. Only the latter can compete with us on sharing the deliciousness of a past passage rich in triumphs, even if we have won it five times. But the idea FSG and Klopp are betraying this false principle on spending money is a media invention.

The issue is the current hierarchy of media darlings is about to get a rude awakening. Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Tottenham all sit snuggly within the Ne*s Corp family. You may have noticed a pattern pre-season in two or three narratives currently doing the rounds. The first in on Shaqiri’s departure from Stoke – the Neville brothers’ criticisms, Charlie Adams on TalkSp*rt yesterday and numerous others. Now I’d be the first one to criticise the Swiss international but the level of vitriol is verging on abusive. Adams didn’t exactly cover himself in glory last season – no one at Stoke did. But statistics point to the fact Shaqiri did indeed try and to say he ‘should have kept Stoke up last season’ is a lazy man’s excuse so not to focus on the feeble efforts of two British Managers – Mark Hughes and latterly Paul Lambert in keeping them up.

The second narrative, as mentioned, is Klopp becoming a big spender and betraying some lofty principle. The reason is simple – Liverpool are not Ne*s Corp’s friendly in the same way the Manchester and some London clubs are. We NEVER will be. That is not compatible with their business model, which is a frightening prospect – to have a Liverpool FC coming up the rails with speed and money ready to undermine that model. I would carefully watch how Ne*s Corps competitors start to court us. Imagine Liverpool winning the title and Ne*s Corps “leading” title not at that press conference. You will have also noticed the deluge of BBC Salford stories on Manchester Utd – in fact yesterday their top story (on their international version) was an interview with Zlatan talking up Paul Pogba. The day before it was Mourinho headlining on Pogba again. Our pursuit of Alisson was relegated much further down – until Roma’s transfer supremo defended the sale. Again, there are plenty of organisations heavily invested in the status quo – in particular in BBC Salford. [Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory!]

As a LFC fan of 35 plus years it’s been more pain than joy. If we are to be successful our huge investment in human capital is necessary. We need the tools to make our ascent to the summit stick. We are not betraying any principles. We are respecting the mountain in front of us and the climb richer clubs have made. That does not imply we have become them. Because at the core of this magnificent club, behind all those trophies, is knowing the fabric that makes up our own rich tapestry. At a club like Liverpool you have to learn to succeed – which without a Russian oligarch, Oil-rich Gulf state or being saddled with massive debt – it is a far more difficult and painful journey. But that is exactly how this club and city has been built and rebuilt in the past, present and likely the future. Through a difficult journey built on hope and hard work that has generated enough revenue to invest in big players. In relative terms we’re paying transfer fees that are close to yesteryear – the difference is the strategic intent behind that. Klopp is not a cheque book manager. He is merely spending the profit of the club’s and his hard work in the past several years and not the oil, gas or debt revenue of oligarchs. In my footballing soul success matters – but it’s a sweeter success if built in the Liverpool way. For me that “way” is like a passage of rites we needed to go through.

Ultimately our motivations revolve around future successes. Klopp’s work is to deliver the quality to make that happen. He does not want to spend any more time acclimatising at Premier League’s base camp. He has had three seasons watching clubs reach the summit. His philosophy is about winning not enduring. With FSG there was never a “Robin Hood” principle behind our succeeding. Who wants to be a one season wonder where our XI or squad could never sustain a climb again and again without favourable conditions. The Alisson transfer is the culmination of that hard work. And massive credit must go to the management side of the club. We’ve not won anything yet. But unlike Manchester Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea we look like pace setters now. And hopefully that will translate itself into our pursuit of Manchester City next season.

The start of next season is the intersecting point of many journeys. FSG. Michael Edwards. Klopp. Players. Coaches. Systems. Staff. Stadium, LFC Family, etc. Buying Alisson has been a difficult process for most LFC fans. I wrote a while back Klopp never faced such a quandary at Dortmund, inheriting Roman Weidenfeller. His loyalty to Mignolet and Karius was commendable but sometimes you have to take a risk the other way. When Klopp was in Germany he said the following:

We have a bow and arrow. The problem is Bayern have a bazooka – but then Robin Hood was successful.”

The problem is Klopp is facing three clubs bigger than Bayern and two like Dortmund in his pursuit of success. Ranieri was a modern-day Robin Hood. Klopp is not. Alisson’s signing is the culmination of the German’s own transition from Bow to Bazooka. But that’s not the real story here. It’s finding a way to come first. And for the first time in nearly 30 years I feel this really might…sorry…will be our year.

Some excited ramblings from the sub-continent…

Articles published on The Tomkins Times this week:

Sunday July 15th:

Shaqiri? I’d Rather Have Shakira!, by Paul Tomkins.

Monday July 16th:

A Final Fekir Alternative: Part 2, by Daniel Rhodes.

Wednesday July 18th:

Alisson: Is Our Aim True? The Stats Have Their Say …, by Andrew Beasley.

Thursday July 19th: 

Liverpool’s Crazy Spending? The Reds’ New Elite Goalkeeper and the Challenges He and LFC Face by Paul Tomkins

Friday July 20th:

Claim, Save & Catch: In-Depth Video Analysis of Liverpool’s Alisson Becker by Daniel Rhodes