The Gamer: Liverpool Slam the Hammers, and a Very Super Sunday

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Photo: Reuters

There was a moment, after Michail Antonio had pulled one back for West Ham just before the hour mark to make it 3-1, when you could have been forgiven for thinking Liverpool were on the brink of yet another preposterous, mind-melting collapse—the sort that, under Jurgen Klopp’s mostly brilliant reign, has too often marred what should have been a glorious victory for the Reds and their legions of followers.
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The Gamer: Southampton 0-2 Liverpool

Southampton v Liverpool - Premier League

Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have had a tendency to start games slowly at times. Unlike his predecessor’s sides—which at their very best would attack the opposition from the opening kick with a furious, face-melting tenacity—Klopp’s teams have often lacked such intensity, instead needing to settle into games before eventually bringing the noise. Usually, the noise arrives; other times, especially against inferior opposition, Liverpool will find themselves struggling against a deep-lying, tight-packed defense for their opening breakthrough. While that breakthrough does indeed arise more often than not, one doesn’t have to look back far to see instances in which it doesn’t, with the Reds forced to make do with a shared point—or worse. Continue reading

The Gamer: Reds Edge Eagles at Anfield, Chelsea Stun Spurs and Barca Finally Win a Game

Liverpool_Crystal_Palace_Propaganda

Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

In the 73rd minute, not long after the travelling Crystal Palace support had serenaded Jordan Henderson with chants of “You’re just a shit Steven Gerrard,” Sadio Mane broke a scoreless deadlock that had no business being a scoreless deadlock, giving Liverpool the advantage. Jurgen Klopp had made five changes from the side that beat Hoffenheim away in Europe four days earlier, and still Liverpool were the demonstrably better football team; they had outshot Palace 23-4 by the time it was all over, with 13 efforts on target to Palace’s solitary one. On the day’s evidence, Palace fans would have a shit Jordan Henderson patrolling their midfield in a heartbeat. Continue reading

The Gamer: Six Down, A Way to Go in the Premier League

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Photo: AFP

The first six weeks of the Premier League season have come and gone in a blur, taking nearly a sixth of the long and arduous campaign with them. Already, the table has taken a specific shape — and unlike last season, when a league deprived of any legitimately top-tier quality sides provided the vacuum for Leicester City’s unforgettable triumph, the moneyed hegemony that has traditionally dominated English football has already assumed its place at the top. Continue reading

Slovakia 0-1 England: Get Thee Behind Me, Hodgson

Slovakia v England - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group F

Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

The notion of “character” as an imperative characteristic in a successful soccer team has taken outsized importance in the contemporary dialogue that surrounds the sport these days. In post-match interviews after a hard-fought result, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers would often note that his side had displayed character. By the end of Rodgers’ reign at Anfield, fans on Twitter and observers in the media had adopted the term as a stick to beat Rodgers and his team with — right up to the point when a sequence of relinquished 1-0 leads, apparently indicative of a flaw in that character, led to him losing his job last October. Continue reading

The Gamer: Citius, Altius, Fortius

(Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

On a weekend that saw league football commence in Spain and Italy and witnessed the Premier League in full, unpredictable swing, the football that mattered was played on an entirely different continent. Brazil, to be exact — the spiritual home of the very concept of the beautiful game, where the eyes of the world have been fixated over the past two weeks during the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. Continue reading

Euro 2016: Welcome to the Terrordome

Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Saturday was undoubtedly overshadowed by the terrible scenes in Marseille’s Old Port and, later, the famed Stade Velodrome itself — an all-too-vivid reminder that the violent elements of European football’s past are far from condemned to the pages of history.

But as for the football itself, the second day of the 2016 European Championship was nothing short of compelling, and offered hope that what some have predicted will be a bloated tournament, diluted of quality and sure to skew toward staid and defensive tactics, could prove anything but. Continue reading

What’s Next For Joe Gomez

Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Originally published on The Anfield Wrap.

So this is what potential looks like — 6-feet-2-inches and still growing at 18 years old, a slender frame packed with deceptive strength and a startling turn of pace. Liverpool went out this summer and got themselves one of the most sought-after young English defenders in recent years, a teenager coveted by Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund and who knows how many other top-flight European clubs. Continue reading

Christian Benteke: Can Villa’s Thriller Be Liverpool’s Love?

Photo: PA Images

Photo: Nick Potts/PA Images

Originally published on The Anfield Wrap.

Christian Benteke’s move to Liverpool is all but sealed, with Brendan Rodgers finally landing a player who, by many accounts, he’s coveted for years. After a dreadful season featuring an anemic attack unrecognizable from the Luis Suarez-led unit that once dominated the Premier League, Rodgers has signed a player he believes will get his team back among the goals — and all for a cool £32.5 million. Continue reading