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This page last updated: 07:39:37

17 Aug 2021 17:52:32
Hi Eds

Any more potential incomings at Leicester in these final two weeks, anybody that Leicester are looking to get over the line?

Also any outgoings that are ongoing? Much appreciated.

{Ed002's Note - Takehiro Tomiyasu (CB) perhaps, Danjuma seems unlikely and Leicester have been offered Coutinho.

Hamza Choudhury (CM) loan wanted by Newcastle.}

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08 Aug 2021 09:59:20
Hi Eds

Any insight into who Leicester are looking at to replace Fofana? Also Any additional incomings in the next three weeks? Thanks.

{Ed002's Note - Ozan Kabak (CB) Leicester see value in the player as cover.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) has been offered to a number of English sides including Leicester. Alternatively Leicester could look to a loan.}

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07 Jul 2021 11:31:59
Gillingham are in talks with experienced defender Sol Bamba.

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Leicester City News 08 Jun 2021
Team Review - Leicester City



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League Position: 5th





Goalkeepers:



Kasper Schmeichel

Danny Ward

Eldin Jakupovic



The weak link of the Leicester team, in my opinion at least. Ward is almost completely untested, Jakupovic is a typical 3rd choice, well over the hill and Schmeichel is not half as good as he thinks he is. Apart from being a ringleader in the player revolts that removed Ranieri and Shakespeare, he has a belief that he is top class at distribution and Schmeichel can concede easy possession trying to make a pass that is beyond him. Added to that Schmeichel's struggles to keep his weight down can often lead to him being sluggish. Until they get a top class goalkeeper to shore things up at the back, they are always going to struggle to hold down a top 4 place.







Defenders:



Caglar Soyuncu

Wesley Fofana

Jonny Evans

Wes Morgan (released)

Luke Thomas

Christian Fuchs (released)

Ricardo Pereira

Timothy Castagne

James Justin



They are looking a bit light at the back, especially at left-back, with only Thomas a specialist in that position in the squad. While the teenager looks good, it is too much to expect him to play every game of the season with a Europa League campaign to consider. Fofana and Evans gives them a solid base in the centre and they have excellent options on the right with Justin (when fit), Pereira and Castagne. I am not as enamoured of Soyuncu as many seem to be, positionally he is extremely suspect and needs guiding through games. It would also be a mistake not to buy a centre-back, as dropping Ndidi into the defence weakens midfield far too much.







Midfielders:



Wilfred Ndidi

Nampalys Mendy

Daniel Amartey

Youri Tielemans

Dennis Praet

Hamza Choudhury

Matty James (released)

Marc Albrighton

Harvey Barnes

James Maddison



They have a very strong central midfield group, though there are worries that Maddison and Choudhury are taking advantage of Rodgers' lack of discipline and leading each other astray. The Foxes can ill afford for their best player, arguably, to be constantly getting into trouble and not maintaining fitness as they struggle without Maddison's creativity. They are also very light on wide players, particularly, again, on the left, with Barnes pretty much their only option.







Forwards:



Cengiz Under

Ayoze Perez

Kelechi Iheanacho

Jamie Vardy



They have two big questions to answer up front. The first is how long can Vardy keep going? At 34 the tank must be running dry now. The second question is Iheanacho's form, is it a flash-in-the-pan or has he finally started to achieve his potential? If it was just a hot streak, and Vardy is on the decline, as it seemed at the end of the season, then they are in trouble as neither Under nor Perez score enough.







Manager: Brendan Rodgers



After winning everything in Scotland with Celtic, admittedly against little to no real opposition, you would have thought Rodgers would have learnt something about how to keep his team going until the season is over. Sadly, while he is a good coach, he has still not learnt that his teams need more discipline and so, in a similar way to Mauricio Pochettino's teams, they usually choke when it matters.







Conclusion:



They have what is acknowledged as a great recruitment system, but they have ended up with lots of holes in the squad. It seems to find lots of central players and right-backs, particularly defensive midfielders, but struggles to find a left-sided player. That desperately needs to be rectified this summer. A lack of discipline coming down from the top is also costing them when it matters. Without stronger leadership, and I am talking about the chairman's close relationship with some of the players as well as Rodgers' style of man-management, there is always going to be a tendency to lose their way when it matters.



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03 Jul 2021 14:32:40
Nonsense. Danny Ward cost £12m when he was bought from Liverpool and has stood in for Kasper many times. He excelled for Wales at the Euros and is definitely primed to take the No1 jersey should Kaspers form slim, or injuries strike.

If anything, Leicester’s weak link is in front of goal. Vardy has another season at the top but he went 26 games without a goal last season, which coincided with Inheanach’s rise to prominence.
‘Nacho is unlikely to reproduce the form of last season but City have no more options. Ayoze Perez was signed as a CF but is generally used as a (ineffective) winger.
Daka has been signed but I doubt he’ll make much of an impact initially. 27 goals in 28 games is incredible, but the Austrian league is not the Prem.
beyond those three there is nothing. City really need a 4th striker and, ideally, it’d be someone oven-ready. There were noises about Danny Ings at one point, but I doubt that somehow!

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24 May 2021 16:28:47
Porto are on the verge of signing experienced Austrian defender Christian Fuchs on a short term deal after he left Leicester.

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24 May 2021 16:27:56
Monaco have surprisingly offered a deal to released Leicester midfielder Matty James.

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03 Jul 2021 14:22:09
No they didn’t.

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23 May 2021 15:58:18
Celtic are set to confirm their new manager this coming week. It is thought retired Leicester defender Wes Morgan is going to come in and be their number two.

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12 May 2021 16:04:51
Leicester have offered goalkeeper Tom Scott and defender Ryan Campbell-Gordon the opportunity to join their reserve teams. Both youngsters have been released by Port Vale over contract disputes and the players are set to sign a one year deal with the under 23 side for the forthcoming season.

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20 Jan 2021 12:58:03
Hello is there anybody here
Just like to say we'll played last night and congrats on going top.

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Leicester City News 10 Dec 2020
A To Z - Leicester City







A is for Arthur



The club's all-time record goalscorer is Arthur Chandler, and his goals fired Leicester to within a point of the league title in 1929. In the early 60's they also had another top goalscorer, Arthur Rowley, whose 434 league goals is an all-time British record. In fact, in their top 10 of record goalscorers, three of them are called Arthur and all three scored more goals for the Foxes than Gary Lineker!







B is for Bible



Leicester were established by a bible class in 1884. It was 21 years after the creation of the Football Association and the founders established a committee, paying 9d to join and a further 9d to buy a football.







C is for Chocolate



Leicester Fosse's strip when they first entered the Football League was chocolate brown and blue halves. Prior to that they wore black tops with a sky-blue sash and long white trousers rather than shorts! It was 1903 before they switched to the colours they are now known for of blue and white.







D is for Doubles



Twice double winning English sides opened the door for Leicester to compete for a trophy. In 1961 they lost the FA Cup final to double winners Tottenham Hotspur, but due to Spurs being in the European Cup instead, they were England's entrants in the European Cup Winners' Cup. In 1971 the Foxes won their only Charity Shield as double winners Arsenal had commitments in European competition and so were unable to compete. Leicester beat the FA Cup runners up, Liverpool, 1-0 with a goal by Steve Whitworth.







E is for Europe



While Leicester City may not have had much European success of their own yet, European football did provide their one and only Charity Shield win. In 1971, as the winners of Division 2, they were invited to play FA Cup runners up Liverpool as double winning Arsenal's European commitments meant they were unable to take part. The Foxes won it 1-0 courtest of a Steve Whitworth goal.







F is for Fosse



Leicester City were initially called Leicester Fosse. That was because of the Fosse Way, an old Roman thoroughfare, that ran from South West to North East England. One of the founders, Frank Gardner, said at the time: "As the Fosse is known throughout the land, so the new club shall be known to the future." Their first match took place just off Fosse Road South against Syston Fosse.







G is for Goals



When you see a goal has been scored by Leicester now, you can be almost certain it has come from the boot of Jamie Vardy, but he is just 4th (currently) on their list of top goalscorers ever. Top is Arthur Chandler with 273, second is Arthur Rowley with 265 and third, quite a way behind those two, is Ernie Hine with 156. Vardy's current total (as of 20th November 2020) of 139 leaves him trailing behind.







H is for Heroes



There is no other word for the 2015-16 season Premier League winning team in Leicester than heroes. So much so that their only Ballon d'Or nominees since the great Gordon Banks, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, received their nominations while playing in that side. Mahrez also won the club's only PFA Player of the Year that season, Vardy the clubs only ever FWA Footballer of the Year. Manager Claudio Ranieri also won the Overall and Premier League LMA Manager of the Year and Best FIFA Men's Coach. The team itself also won the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year and ESPN Team of the Year awards, the only time they have won either award.







I is for Ice Kings



In the 1962-63 season the Foxes' team was dubbed the "Ice Kings" as they led the old First Division through the winter due to excellent form on icy and frozen pitches. They ended the season in 4th. The form was probably due to the management of Matt Gillies, who implemented a system based on the style of play used previously by the great Austrian and Hungarian teams.







J is for Jamie



For years there was only one goalscorer anyone thought of when the name Leicester City was mentioned, arguably he is also the club's most famous supporters, Gary Lineker. Nowadays he has been supplanted in most people's eyes by a new goalscoring icon, Jamie Vardy. Despite coming late to professional sport from the non-league scene, Vardy's exploits make him a legend at Leicester and took him into international football with England. The big question is, at the age of 33, how much more is left in the tank?







K is for King Power



It was 2010 when King Power owner Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club from Milan Mandaric, with it then in the Championship. Sadly he died in a helicopter accident alongside four others outside the club's stadium in 2018 but the club's ownership remains in the hands of his family, with his son Khun Aiyawatt the current chairman.







L is for Lineker



Gary Winston Lineker is arguably the club's most famous ever youth product, due to both his exploits with England and his later career in broadcasting. Lineker was with Leicester from 1978 until 1985, when he signed for reigning champions Everton. He hung his boots up after scoring 48 goals in 80 appearances with England.







M is for Midland



The newly formed Leicester Fosse club joined the Midland League in 1891 before being elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894.







N is for Nine



When the club founders set up Leicester Fosse, they formed a committee and paid 9d each upon entry and a further 9d to buy a football.







O is for O'Neill



Martin O'Neill established his reputation as a manager with a spell at Leicester City in the late 1990s. O'Neill led Leicester to four consecutive top-10 finishes and twice into qualification for the UEFA Cup as well as a League Cup win.







P is for Problems



In October 2002 Leicester went into administration following their relegation from the Premier League, though they still managed to get back up into the Prem at the end of that season.







Q is for Quit



The club's motto is "Foxes Never Quit" which is written above the player's tunnel entrance.







R is for Ranieri



The man who led them to their one and only, so far, league title was Italian Claudio Ranieri. They were rated by the bookies as 5000/1 against to win the Premier League before that 2015/16 season kicked off.







S is for School



The founders were a group of former pupils of Wyggeston School, then a grammar school for boys but now a sixth form college in Leicester.







T is for Thailand



The club is owned by a consortium led by the Thai owner of the King Power Group. The Asian Football Investments consortium which owns the club (which former owner Milan Mandaric is an investor in) is based in Thailand. The club's main shirt sponsors are the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the sleeve sponsor is a Vietnamese beer producer called Bia Saigon, which is owned by ThaiBev, which is based in, yes you guessed it, Thailand.







U is for Unbelievables



The Leicester team which won the 2015/16 Premier League title is often known as 'The Unbelievables'. It was the highest odds winner in sports for most bookmakers, as they were a team that had only narrowly avoided relegation the previous season. Their fans are still celebrating the title now!







V is for Victoria



The club's first settled venue for matches was Victoria Park, which they used between 1884 and 1887 before a move to Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground.. Unfortunately for the then Leicester Fosse team, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club outbid them in 1888 and they were forced into a shortlived return to Victoria Park.







W is for Walnut



The club's longlasting and famous Filbert Street home stadium was originally known as the Walnut Street Ground. They moved there in October 1891 and stayed there until 2002, when they moved to their new purpose-built stadium, which they still inhabit.







X is for Xenocracy



Leicester have been run by foreign owners since 2007 when Milan Mandaric bought the club from the consortium, led by Foxes' legend Gary Lineker, which had saved it from administration in 2002.







Y is for Yagiment



There must have been a huge sense of excitement around the club in 1981 when manager Jock Wallace announced that Johan Cruyff was close to signing for the Foxes. However it had been a ploy by the Scotsman, trying to force Cruyff's hand while in negotiations which had initially seemed promising, but were now looking like a forlorn hope. Wallace's side were bottom of the old First Division and Wallace believed that bringing in Johan Cruyff, even at the age of 33 after a couple of years playing in the United States, would save the club from relegation. Cruyff instead for signed for Spanish club Levante who sweetened their offer with (reportedly) up to 50% of gate money.







Z is for Zagorakis



As well as winning 120 caps for his country, Theodoros Zagorakis also played for Leicester City between July 1997 and July 2000, when he left for AEK Athens on a free transfer. The midfielder, who is now retired and president of PAOK Salonika, managed 59 games after eventually making his debut under Martin O'Neill in February 1998.







To read the previous A To Z: ChievoVerona click here.

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Leicester City News 08 Dec 2020
Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers A Liverpool Perspective









Another of those excellent performances that seem to be dragged out of the depths when things are looking bleak. Though it must be said that the game was a fairly even contest, except for Wolves looking a little on the toothless side without a genuine striker to play through. It is beginning to feel like Klopp could put almost any combination of 11 players out and they would be a match for anyone.







Wolverhampton Wanderers





Wolves started well, with a clear gameplan, but they are not adapting all that well to a back four and it is causing them problems. Adding that to no Raul Jiminez up top and the loss of the outball to Docherty that was so important to their play and it is quite a worrying time for Wolves in their quest for regular European football. The lack of any creativity and forward running from their midfield means all the attacking impetus comes entirely from wide areas and is much easier to defend now that they no longer have the aerial prowess of Jiminez or Doherty's late runs into the box. Adding that to their struggles defensively with a back four and this looks like a season of transition to a style that suits the players they do have.



Coady's mistake and later dive were turning points in the match, as the first Liverpool goal made Wolves look ragged in their attempts to get back into the match and the dive drove Liverpool onto really put this game beyond doubt. However, there really was little to show Wolves had any cutting edge. Traore did what he always does as a starter, has a couple of flashes of brilliance before putting the ball into an area miles away from any of his teammates (often row z of the stand) and generally offers very little. They really need Silva to find his feet fast.







Liverpool





Klopp - he always finds a way. I cannot remember a single game under Klopp, even last season when the title was won, where the players have not tried. There were a few games last season where you could see they were still mentally celebrating the title, but none where they were not trying to win. It is such a rare skill that he has to get players to give their all for him and to stand together when all is going wrong. This season has been one of remarkable management from Klopp and cemented him as one of the all-time greats. 65 unbeaten at home and scoring in 40 games in a row at home in the Premier League is an incredible achievement, especially when you consider the difficulties of this unusual season. I doubt anyone else could have reached this level.





Kelleher - or should that be Kellher? Whichever of the guys (as there is a team of kit men these days) was responsible for the error must be embarrassed by that bless him! Kelleher looks assured, confident and comfortable with the ball on either foot. The worry is that he looks far too good to be a back up and you have to wonder how long will he be willing to be an understudy. That is something for another day though, as he is still young enough to work with Alisson and learn from him in training. In this game Kelleher did well dealing with the balls played into the box and made one good save too. He is looking impressive.





Williams - after a bad start, with another silly foul and booking early on, he grew into the game and played well, even at the start of the second half when Traore was shifted over to try and attack him. Admittedly he was given a lot of protection by the midfield, Wijnaldum in particular, but it would have been easy for him to fall to pieces after that early error. It looks like he can learn, but now Williams just needs to not put himself into trouble in the first place.





Matip - he is looking like the rust is falling away and his all-round game was much more like the Matip of last season. Plus he scored a towering header. Now he just needs to stay fit!





Fabinho - early on he made the error of selling himself in the challenge against Traore, though at least he did it away from the box, but after that he was once again excellent. It is easy to forget that he is playing out of position.





Robertson - another outstanding performance from Robertson. This season he has been immense and Tsimikas must be wondering how on earth he will ever get a run of games. There were times last season when he looked a little tired, this season, even when carrying knocks, he just looks tireless. Robertson has also stepped up his overall game, his link up play in particular is excellent this season. He and Mane work together so well.





Jones - a very disciplined performance from what is still an inexperienced youngster. Jones showed that he is capable of making things happen in attacking areas but that he can also provide protection to the defence. I was very impressed with his work when Wolves had the ball.





Wijnaldum - started off in the holding role, then switched to the right and gave Williams excellent protection. He looked like a player playing for a new deal and was right at the top of his game and he scored, something he does need to do more of. Especially goals that good, as it was a fantastic team move with a great finish to cap it off. It was one of his better games for Liverpool. It was also interesting that he was the one given the armband when Henderson went off.





Henderson - had an excellent game and was once again the driving force the team needed. The team might not win every game when he plays, but you know that he will never allow them to turn one in the way some other teams do. After Leicester City's title win, for example, you could see half the players thought they had done all they needed to and would barely break sweat. That will never happen while Henderson is the captain, he would not allow it.





Mane - at times his footwork was sensational. Semedo was being torn apart. It is the first time this season that Mane looked to be hitting top form. You always know when he is doing well because you actually feel sorry for his opponent as they are being made to look silly. His link up play with Robertson is particularly good.





Firmino - finally hitting form, with a couple of lovely nutmegs thrown in for good measure. It has been a difficult season for him but even on a bad day he makes the team play better. On a day like this, Firmino runs the game and brings everyone into play.





Salah - looked sharp, scored and got an assist with a lovely ball into the box for Matip's header. You have to give him credit for being there to score from Coady's mistake as well, many forwards, particularly wide ones, would have given up and not been there to pick it up. Not Salah, he was there to put pressure on Coady and hoping to force an error.





Alexander-Arnold - replaced Williams in the 68th minute. So good to see him back and delivering a beautiful ball in for the final goal. It was like the icing on the best birthday cake ever.





Jota - came on for Firmino in the 73rd minute. The game was pretty much over, but he looked determined to put it beyond doubt and worked hard to try and get involved.





Keita - gave Henderson the chance to have a rest in the 81st minute. He joined a game that was done, so it is impossible to really judge his performance.

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Leicester City News 29 Nov 2020
By The Numbers - Part 3: Leicester City





185 The Foxes new training facility is being built on a 185-acre site. All of Leicester's teams will be based on the site which previously housed Park Hill Golf Club.





11 This is Leicester's 11th time in the top flight of the English leagues.





1884 Leicester City was launched in 1884, beginning life as Leicester Fosse, named after the famous Fosse Way road that runs nearby.





4 They have reached the FA Cup final four times in their history but never actually won it.





2010 Leicester were bought by a Thai consortium led by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who became chairman the following year.





1891 Leicester moved to their Filbert Street home, where they spent the next 111 years.





1919 Following the end of World War 1, Leicester Fosse were stricken with financial problems and were taken over by a new company 'Leicester City Football Club'.





7 The Foxes have won the English second tier a record 7 times under its various names.





3 The League Cup has made its way back to Leicester 3 times.





2002 Relegation in 2002 was followed by a period in administration.





41 Leicester City have had 41 different managers so far.





78,000,000 The record transfer fee received by the Foxes was £78m for Harry Maguire from Manchester United on 5th August 2019.





40,500,000 The highest fee ever paid was a little over half of that received for Maguire when Youri Tielemans made his loan move into a permanent one from AS Monaco in 8th July 2019.





1 The Foxes have one Charity Shield in their trophy cabinet from 1971.





222 Muzzy Izzet holds the record for the most appearances in the Premier League for Leicester with 222. Though England striker Jamie Vardy is fast closing in on the record with 219 as of 26th November 2020.





110 Speaking of Vardy, his fairytale story shows no sign of coming to an end yet, he is probably the club's best-ever player and the club's top scorer ever in the Premier League with 111 goals as of 26th November 2020. Second is Riyad Mahrez, who has 39.





34 The club record for assists in the Premier League is held by Steve Guppy, with 34 which no doubt all came from his excellent crosses. Vardy is once again second in this with 30 as of 26th November 2020.





90 The most Premier League wins is surprisingly not held by Vardy, but instead Kasper Schmeichel, who has won 91 games while in the Leicester side. Vardy is close behind with 90 though as of 26th November 2020.





600 Graham Cross is the man with the most appearances in a Foxes' shirt with 600 made between 1961 and 1975.





414 While Muzzy Izzet may (just) hold the record for the most appearances in the Premier League, he is a long way behind the overall club record for top tier appearances. Though many do not realise league football actually did begin before the creation of the Premier 'Greed Is God' League in 1992, Graham Cross set the club record for top flight appearances in the 1960s and 1970s.





528 The overall league appearance record was set a few years earlier than that by Adam Black in the period between the two world wars with 528. The Scot made 557 appearances overall to sit second in that particular club record.





59 Graham Cross is again the man when it comes to appearances. His FA Cup appearance record is 59, with no one else even coming close to reaching 50 in the FA Cup so far in a Leicester shirt, it looks like it will be a record he will hold for a very long time to come!





40 For once Cross has a peer, when it comes to League Cup appearances Steve Walsh has made the same number. Walsh played for the club between 1986 and 2000, in a time when it seemed like they were always in the running to win the League Cup in its various guises.





61 In the 1991-92 season Gary Mills set a club record by making 61 appearances in total. 46 in the league, 3 in the play-offs, 2 in the FA Cup, 4 in the League Cup and 6 in the Full Members Cup.





331 Surprisingly, considering the number of games he played for the Foxes, Graham Cross is beaten to the consecutive appearance record by Mark Wallington. Between 1975 and 1982 Wallington did not miss a single match!





19 The longest spell at the club very nearly reached 20 years, as Sep Smith was on Leicester's books between 1929 and 1949 for a total of 19 years and 249 days.





15 The Foxes youngest ever player was Ashley Chambers, who made his debut in a match against Blackpool in 2005 aged just 15 years and 203 days old.





43 Mark Schwarzer was nearly three times as old as the youngest ever player when he faced Hull City in 2015 aged 43 years and 21 days old.

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Leicester City News 23 Nov 2020
Liverpool v Leicester City A Liverpool Perspective







Once again Liverpool faced Leicester at a time that really was not good for Liverpool with all their injuries and missing Mo Salah. Once again Liverpool made the Foxes look second rate, which they clearly are not. It must be pointed out that Leicester were fairly badly hit by injury, though they did still have most of their first choice players to choose from, only Ndidi, Soyuncu and one of Pereira or Castagne would most likely fit into the team. What it showed is that Leicester are still missing a lot of pieces from a championship-winning side, in a normal year, as they have not replaced Chilwell effectively.



It was an exceptional performance that showed that Klopp's talk of 'mentality monsters' is true. The more things go against them, the more they step up and the better they play. Lose 3-0 to Barcelona and no Salah for the second leg? No problem, even when Robertson goes off injured. This was a similar level of performance. It was dominant and demoralising for Leicester, just like last Christmas (how many of you are now hearing the Wham! song go round in their head now?!?) when a jetlagged Liverpool team destroyed the then second-placed Foxes.



It was the kind of performance that champions need to produce on a regular basis, if they are to hold onto the title. However, there is still a long way to go this season and, with yet another injury to contend with, there is only so much that can be done to patch the team. Wins like this will go a long way towards covering up for any injury problems as this was the kind of result that puts fear into future opponents. Just when there is a sight of a chink in the armour, the team goes and does this.



This is the way to go about building the kind of feeling of invulnerability that Liverpool had in the 80s, which saw them pick up their last league title until Klopp, even when the team was not really good enough to deserve it. It creates an aura that sees a number of opponents expect to lose and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when their heads drop at the slightest setback. It is just one game though and that must be remembered.









Leicester City





They just had no answer to Liverpool's pressing and their attempts to drop off and draw the defence out did create a few moments for Vardy to counter, but the pressure on the ball made most of the balls inaccurate. They were not given time and space at all, mistakes were forced out of them and that increased the pressure as they were once again trying to chase shadows.



Tactically Rodgers made a huge mistake, he left Firmino free to go where he wanted. No doubt he had been looking at the stats, which suggest Firmino is not performing and never looked any deeper to see why it was so. Every game has seen opponents try and shut him down, to work on keeping the ball away from him as much as possible and ensuring Firmino never got any time and space when he did actually get on the ball. Every game until now, that is. As usual, when given time and space Firmino's link up play lifts Liverpool and allows them to play the way they want to.



It is the same as ever with Rodgers, he just has not quite got the tactical nous when it matters. The Foxes could really do with looking at getting someone in to analyse opponents and how to neutralise them and get at them. I am not sure who is doing that for them at the moment, but it is clear that they are getting it wrong far too often. It led to them falling away last season and it could well do the same again this season if they are not careful. I am not meaning just prior to matches, but someone to be there during the game to give Rodgers help when changes are needed mid-game. Someone within his close staff that he will listen to.



There were a couple of good signs for Leicester to get comfort from, Schmeichel played well but his distribution under pressure was poor. Fofana was excellent on the ball but his defending was rash, a real show of inexperience as he constantly sold himself trying to win a ball he was never going to get to. They also did get chances to launch a counter, but made a mess of the passes under pressure.







Liverpool





Klopp - what can you say? Once again Klopp has dragged a performance out of a Liverpool team that made it look like it was a first-choice team firing on all cylinders. The squad is so well coached and drilled that they can just be shuffled around to suit need on the day and it all works like a well-oiled machine. 64 unbeaten at home in the league in a row tells its own story. The one thing that does need working on is corners, the delivery was poor except for two or three good balls. Considering two of the goals came from those few good corners, it would be worth trying to ensure the frequency of good deliveries increases.





Alisson - when called upon, he was there. His quick feet and excellent starting position made a big difference to the game. It made it that much more difficult for Leicester to put a ball in behind the defence as he condensed the space available. Made an excellent double stop at one point, though Vardy should really have been flagged offside.





Milner - was brilliant at right-back, playing some excellent, incisive passes and winning the battle there with Barnes. Just when you think you are getting a handle on where his best position is, Milner puts in a performance like that and you wonder if just maybe this is where he would have been best all along. When he moved into midfield, he was just as good. He must be a dream for Klopp to work with.





Matip - started the game looking a bit rusty and allowed himself to be dragged into midfield leaving a gap in behind a few times. In the second half, whether by instruction or he was finally waking up, he dropped off with a runner, rather than chasing into their half trying to win the ball, and saw out the danger. Though, just as I was noting it down he then went and gave away a needless corner with a mistake! I do think it is rustiness though, his passing is not quite there and nor is his touch, two parts of the game he normally excels in, I expect them to come back as he shakes off the rust with a run of games.





Fabinho - an excellent game, Vardy barely got in the game and that was in large part due to him. The few times Matip got drawn out of position, he was always there to cover. He has slotted in as a centre-back like he was born to play there. At times he had that imperious quality of van Dijk at his best.





Robertson - absolutely outstanding again. Poor Tsimikas is really going to struggle to get a run of games with Robertson in this form. His link up and partnership with Mane works so well and his delivery for Firmino's goal was a great cross. It was noticeable that in the warm up he and Milner were the two doing all the talking, they were clearly talking through what everyone needed to go and getting them fired up. He is having the season of his life.





Keita - started off with a weak challenge, but then grew into the game and was much better on the ball than usual, closer to the Keita we hoped for. He did play one particular nice ball down the side to Mane which completely took Fofana out of the game. Still not doing his job well off the ball though, a lazy foul after being caught out of position is not something to be lauded, though it is an improvement. In the past he would have not even bothered to commit the foul, so it is a step forward, but there is a lot of potential to get better. The big problem is that, as usual, he is unable to stay fit. In a season like this one that is a problem as there are just too many players with similar problems in the squad. Unless he starts to do more when he is fit, to earn his place, there is little point having such a financial drain at the club.





Wijnaldum - played the deeper role, which is not really his ideal role, but it was a case of needs must. Despite playing out of position, he stepped up and put in a very good performance. Together with Jones, in particular, he shut down the Foxes midfield and forced Leicester to look longer than they wanted. When Leicester shifted to a back four, he was forced to do a bit more defensive work, but he did it very well and gradually took back control of the midfield.





Jones - involved from start to finish at both ends of the pitch. Showed good movement, worked back well to help break up attacks and was generally very good on the ball. A very impressive game from him.





Jota - tied Fuchs up in knots and had the Austrian looking leggy by the end of the first five minutes. Some of his movement was exceptional and he linked up really well. I have never been convinced by him playing from the right in the past, but he showed he can play there and play it to a very high level. I can think of no higher compliment than that he made sure we did not miss Salah. Evans was almost constantly being dragged across to cover and Jota fully deserved his goal. Arguably the best player on the pitch and yet another goal to make it 8 in 12 games (4 in 7 in the Premier League) is making it impossible to leave him out.





Firmino - played really well, his press was back and he was everywhere linking up the play. It did seem like he was cursed not to score until it finally went in for him. You have to give him plaudits for his persistence, it would have been easy to just give up trying and look for the pass. Leicester will be rueing giving him so much time and space.





Mane - absolutely destroyed Fofana time and time again. The Leicester defender ended up making desperate lunges to try and cut off the ball, rather than just trying to deal with Mane after he got it. It was clear that Fofana knew Mane had the beating of him and was just avoiding a head-to-head with him at all costs. His link up with Robertson is particularly good.





N. Williams - replaced the injured (again) Keita in the 54th minute. Fine going forward but worried me when in the defensive third as he dithered on the ball and allowed Leicester to close off the options. It was clear they realised he was a weak link and targeted him for a full press. He got away with it, but he needs to be more decisive and move it forward more quickly when deep in his own half. Better to just put it in behind them and allow the team to push up, rather than dally and allow them to apply a press when back there.





Minamino - came on late in place of Jota. The game was petering out and, while he worked hard he was unable to make an impression in the short time he had.





Origi - was brought on to replace Mane in the 89th minute as half of a double-substitution along with Minamino. Barely got into the game.

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Leicester City News 10 Nov 2020
Manchester City v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective







Unusually in this period of football with no fans in grounds, this was a high-intensity match in the first half, but it was clear that the players had nothing left for the second half. What was an exciting game of two sluggers throwing everything at each other looking for a knockout blow petered out into two worn out leg weary fighters at the end of a fight who have punched themselves out. By the end it was looking like both teams had settled for the point.



The two penalties were always going to be given, a handball is always subjective and Gomez did pull his hand away but, though it was smashed at him, there was a bit of distance which meant the referee was always going to give a penalty. Harsh? Definitely, but there are a lot of those given, so it is no surprise. The other one was a foul, though it must be said I have seen a few of those missed by the officials in recent months. Even with the arrival of VAR, they are still incompetent and clueless about the game.



Overall it was a fairly even game, though I feel that Liverpool shaded it, that could just be my personal bias at play, so I would not put much store in that feeling. The surprising thing was the lack of clear cut chances, there was nothing like as many as you would expect in a game between two teams with such potent goalscoring threats.







Manchester City





I have to say City disappointed me, they look a shadow of the team they were, for me that is mainly down to the loss of David Silva. With him in the side they kept good possession, moving the ball around quickly but without turning it over. Without him they struggle to keep hold of the ball for extended periods and that is no doubt contributing to the rise in goals against them. One of the main ways a Guardiola side defends is by keeping the ball for lengthy periods, moving the opponents around. When the opposition does get the ball, they are often needing a breather after chasing after it for 10 minutes and so unable to mount a meaningful attack.



They finally have a defence worthy of the name, something that has taken Pep a lot longer to sort out than it should have, but their midfield and attack now look weaker than they have been in a long, long time. It feels like a team in transition, something which is incredible when you consider how much money has been spent in the last few years. Maybe even more incredible is that this is a squad that is still fully capable of winning the league and arguably the strongest in the Premier League!



The other big question, I suppose, is whether Jesus meant the touch for the goal? His reply when asked after the match was that of a player that did not mean to do it and I do feel that there was no way he meant the ball to end up where it did. However, in my opinion, that just shows good instincts and reactions to reach the ball first and put it away. In other words, whether he meant it or not, it was a great striker's goal.







Liverpool





Klopp - it is probably harsh to criticise him, I fully understood why he chose the team he did, but I think he needs to start looking at rotation of the front 3, rather than just removing a midfielder. It did work, particularly in the first half, to a large degree, but it requires so much more work and meant players were playing out of position. It might well be that he just did not want to take the risk of one holding when Fabinho is out, as none of the rest of the team can cover defensively to his level.





Alisson - a good performance from the Brazilian, he exudes calm, even when rushing 40 yards out of the box to head a ball clear. His decisiveness is very important to a team with aspirations of retaining the title.





Alexander-Arnold - once again not at his scintillating best, but clearly it was fatigue as he pulled up in the second half with an injury. Losing him for a lengthy time would be a huge blow, not just is he a great player, but even when not playing well he draws the focus of the opponent's defence too him.





Matip - he just looked like a player coming back off a long injury, extremely rusty, slow to react and in need of games. So, despite his passing being absolutely abysmal, I am not too worried as we know he can do so much better once he gets going. The only real worry is keeping him fit.





Gomez - a decent performance from Gomez, but only decent, still a way off his best, but that could be down to playing alongside a different partner again, one who was way off the pace. One thing that has impressed me is his willingness to look for those diagonal balls van Dijk specialised in. Like van Dijk, they do not always come off, but it shows he is looking to change the point of attack and about how to create, rather than just making the easy pass sideways or backwards. If there was one major criticism of him when he was playing well, is that tendency to take the easy pass too often. Both Matip and van Dijk have the vision to look for the more incisive pass, Fabinho was often dropped back when chasing a game as he can too. It is a big bonus if Gomez adds it to his armoury as well.





Robertson - just about the only player that looks to be unaffected by the lack of a pre-season, he has been on it since the season started and is still playing really well. His link up with Mane is exceptional. But, he does tend to stand off a bit much and allow crosses.





Henderson - not his most effective game, struggled to establish control of the midfield as City outnumbered Liverpool massively in that area. Had a quiet second half.





Wijnaldum - struggled after a really good start, looking really leggy and was unable to make any of his bursts forward from midfield. Looks in need of a rest by the way he faded as the game went on.





Jota - he is allowed a poor game after his recent performances, but this was particularly poor. I do have one major worry with him, his game seems to consist of him creating chances for himself, when at his best. I really cannot remember him playing anyone else in or doing anything to help build an attack. That might be due to still learning how to work with the others, but it is a real worry as he becomes little more than a hindrance when not playing well. It is something I would like to see him work on as, for all the criticism of Salah being greedy, Salah and Mane contribute heavily when not playing well. I really do not think playing on the right suits him and he very rarely offers width out there, usually coming in far too early and so giving time for the defence to adjust and leave no gap for the Liverpool right-back to attack.





Salah - his touch was off and he looked out on his feet at the end, but he never stops going at the opposition, or gives them a moment's peace. He also keeps running at teams in the box which caused the penalty award, plus he is clinical with putting them in the back of the net.





Firmino - started well but also faded out of the game. It was telling that after he went off Liverpool created almost nothing and struggled badly to keep any control of the ball. Even an out of form Firmino is key to the way Liverpool play and Klopp needs to find someone else who can provide something similar in the middle. Really needs to make more of his chances, especially when breaking through against just the keeper, though Ederson did do very well.





Mane - looked much more like his old self but he did allow Walker far too much space to get forward. If the system is going to play with the four forwards in it, the wider ones have to be more diligent about keeping the opposing full-backs pressed back.





Shaqiri - came on for Firmino in the 59th minute. After a number of good performances in midfield, Klopp decided to stick with his system and bring him on to play on the left. A mistake in my eyes as we needed his vision and range of passing in the centre without Firmino there. He struggled to get into the game.





Milner - replaced the injured Alexander-Arnold in the 63rd minute. As usual he came in and gave a no-nonsense all-action performance. Milner really is the man that can, no matter where he is asked to play, he just can do it.

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Leicester City News 02 Nov 2020
Liverpool v West Ham United A Liverpool Perspective







It was not a great watch, but once again Liverpool ground out a win when it mattered. Despite all the talk of how they are not playing as well as last season, they spent most of last season doing exactly this and the media and pundits saying they were not playing as well as the previous season. It is reminiscent of the 1980s, when Liverpool would just grind their opponents down, tiring them out by moving the ball around until gaps appeared late in the game. It was only when there was an early breakthrough that Liverpool would be able to rip teams apart, as opponents would otherwise sit in and leave no gaps for Liverpool to use.



At the moment there is a definite blueprint for the opposition to use against Liverpool, which does stifle the team, but has not actually managed to stop them. It is based around a deep-lying midfielder man-marking Firmino and leaving the central defenders free to stay in position. No longer is Firmino's movement able to pull the centre-backs out of place and leave gaps for Salah and Mane to exploit. It does mean the opposition tend to be less able to build any attacks of their own or controlled possession, but it also makes it more difficult for Liverpool to create meaningful attacks.



In fact, that was a big worry, that Liverpool had such difficulty creating anything, the ball movement was too slow in the first half and a lot of the players looked jaded at times, from both sides. Liverpool did improve in the second half, moving the ball with more purpose and reaped the benefits. There is a real issue with crosses though, they are never shut down. West Ham were able to put crosses in any time they got forward, without anyone doing a thing to stop them. That does need to be looked at when facing teams such as the Hammers.







West Ham United





Moyes once again showed why he has never won at Anfield, his attitude is too negative going into the game. Yes they were missing their main man up front in Antonio, but they were in good form and full of confidence coming into the match, but he still set up to try and avoid defeat. They did defend well and made Liverpool work for the win, but it was never really in doubt, in my opinion. Moyes is like Hodgson, extremely limited, it is difficult to see the promised Champions League football coming with him in charge as too many points will get dropped playing for a draw.



They are well organised and will get crosses into the box every chance they get, but the Hammers look toothless without Antonio and that is a real worry. Especially when you consider that he tends to miss chunks of every season through injury. They really need to find an alternative for those games he is unavailable for, which is clearly not Haller as a loan forward. It is not his game. The few times I saw him play before he moved to West Ham, he was actually playing more of a numer 10 role, behind a poacher (I think it was Jovic if I remember correctly but I am probably wrong on that one as my memory is very vague on this). Maybe it is time for Haller to be used once more in a deeper role, while someone else covers the Antonio role?







Liverpool





Klopp - Once more Klopp found a way to win with his substitutions once more proving to be crucial. It is a far cry from his early days with Liverpool when most of the criticism surrounded his use (or lack of) substitutions. Now he has the players to come on and change the game he is doing so regularly.





Alisson - A fairly quiet game for Alisson. Had little chance with the goal, was not really tested other than that, other than maybe could have been a bit more forceful when crosses came in. Maybe.





Alexander-Arnold - Played well though I do wish he would have done more to stop the crosses from coming in. There were far too many balls coming in to the box and that is always dangerous. It only takes a slip or mistake and it is a good chance for the opposition, as we saw. He needs to close down the wide men properly and give them less space. The rest of his defensive game has come on in leaps and bounds, that is the one outstanding weak spot left in his game. Though it must be said on the goal he dropped far too early and deep, while the rest held the line, the key issue with that was that he then never dealt with the runner and allowed a cross to come in far too easily. Alexander-Arnold has to shut that player out if he is going to choose to abandon the defensive line.





Phillips - The debutant was clearly being targeted by Haller, who tried to use his strength and height to bully the new boy but, apart from one or two headers, Phillips got the better of their battle. He was also very good at attacking the set-pieces and crosses coming into the box. A very impressive first game.





Gomez - Unfortunately for him, his day will be remembered for one poorly directed header that Fornals scored from. It is a shame because overall he was very good, apart from a few over-hit passes out from the back.





Robertson - Like Trent, he was not dealing with crosses. His game overall was once again really good, but you have to deal better with widemen when playing against a team managed by the likes of Moyes. His tactical plan always heavily favours getting the ball into the box and it is never a good idea to make it easy for his players to do so!





Henderson - While he is not getting to play in his best role at the moment, his importance to the team cannot be overstated. When Klopp talked about 'mentality monsters', he was describing Henderson, whose leadership makes so much difference. An excellent player, but it his leadership and the way he inspires the rest that makes him particularly key to results like this.





Wijnaldum - Had a really good game, covered so much ground and was one of the few on the pitch that did not look to be slowing down after an hour. He has impressed in the last couple, as others are fading due to the amount of football they are playing, he has come in and looked fresh and fired up. Well as fired up as Gini Wijnaldum can look.





Jones - Jones struggled to get into the game and is far too slow to close down to allow a press to work properly with him in the team. While he does lack a little in the physical department, it is mentally that he is struggling. He is still learning the role and that shows as he is reacting late to the triggers.





Salah - Had an excellent game overall, chasing back, constantly moving the defenders around and trying to make something happen, though his game will be remembered for one moment, just like Gomez. It was soft, he did go down far too easily, but it was a foul. I am not sure what the answer is to all the players doing this, I hate to see them make the most of contact but it is just as frustrating to see them fouled and the ref ignore it because the player did not go to ground.





Firmino - Had Soucek closely monitoring him throughout the game and so found it difficult to get involved and had a quiet game. A couple of nice moments but not much else. However, what he is doing is tying down one of the Hammers best players for most of the game, so it was not a wasted afternoon.





Mane - At times was shockingly bad, repeatedly gave the ball away early on. He did pick up his game as the match went on thankfully and got better and better as the game went on.





Jota - replaced Firmino in the 70th minute. The arrival of him and Shaqiri changed the game and lifted the momentum of the game. His first goal was sadly ruled out by VAR for a foul by Mane that was difficult to see. So much for clear and obvious! Jota certainly never let it phase him and he just put it in the back of the net again for the winner. His contribution has been growing each time he plays.





Shaqiri - came on for Jones at the same time as Jota. It really seems like Shaqiri has figured out exactly how to be a Klopp player now. Gone is the sometimes lazy player that turned out for the likes of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Stoke City at times, instead there is the Switzerland international that gives his all and works hard for the team. What has never been in doubt is his ability and he once again proved it with a delicious ball for Jota's winner. He just needs to stay fit and continue to work hard and he will be in line for a lot more game time this season.





Milner - took the place of Salah in the 90th minute as Klopp looked to see out the game. Only came on to close things out, but managed to put himself about and get involved in the few minutes he was on the pitch.

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Leicester City News 26 Oct 2020
Liverpool v Sheffield United A Liverpool Perspective







Not the best watch and again marred by a VAR controversy, this season is really sapping my love for the game right out of me. Personally I do not believe it was even a foul, though Fabinho took a big risk by attempting the tackle, it looked an excellent tackle to me. I am not sure that I want to watch a contact sport where any contact is deemed to be a foul! Putting that aside, there is no way that VAR could reliably judge whether the contact was in or outside of the box, so why did they rule on it? They constantly miss clear and obvious mistakes (just watch Harry Maguire bearhug Cesar Azpilicueta in the Man Utd box earlier in the day for one such blatant error), yet now they feel they should rule on marginal decisions. I just have no words that can be printed!



At least it was just one moment in this match, which is an improvement on some of the others I have seen recently. There were other moments it could have stepped in and made rulings, but decided they were not clear and obvious errors. It just showed how inconsistent the use of VAR is. I do not understand why the referee is no longer using the monitor to have a look, rather than just trusting the judgement of the idiot 300 miles away in Stockley Park. These judgement calls should be made by the referee on the pitch, VAR's job should just be to spot incidents he might have missed and bring them to his attention or to bring up footage on close calls so that he can look at it and make the decision.







Sheffield United





They looked like the Blades from last season from the kick off. They ran themselves into the ground in the first half, pressing hard and leaving no space for Liverpool to play. Of all the teams in the Prem, it is difficult to begrudge Sheff Utd a bit of luck with decisions, as they have been one of the clubs that have most suffered at the hands of the ineptitude of officials. Though I doubt I would be saying that had they held on to win! They do still have issues up front, Brewster has not settled in properly and is struggling to link up, he was also playing far too deep, so that most of the time it was McBurnie who was chasing the loose balls, rather than the much quicker Brewster.



They did tire in the second half and could not maintain their press, which led to the game getting away from them. Their big worry has not yet been solved, nor did there look to be any signs that Brewster could be the answer to their goalscoring problems just yet, so this could be a long, hard season for them. One player who did stand out for them was Ampadu, he was regularly in position to break up play in the defensive midfield role and did really well.



What I like most about them is that they never stop trying to attack. When they get the ball, they go forward and look to score. If they can get Brewster firing, they should get themselves out of danger quite easily.







Liverpool





Klopp - I am not convinced he picked the right system to begin the game, it is more suited to playing against a team that utilises the low block and is happy to sit deep and defend. Despite being in poor form, Sheff Utd were certainly not happy to just sit back and look to snatch a goal on the break. In the second half Klopp's half-time tactical changes and the Blades' tiring legs combined to give Liverpool a bit more control over the game. I would like to know the thinking behind the in-swinging corners, as it was clearly a planned tactic, with every corner seeing the opposite full-back go over to swing it in. Possibly because their goalkeeper is seen a weak link, but the deliveries failed to really put him under any pressure.





Alisson - looked very rusty but still pulled off a decent save or two. He did nearly get caught napping, taking too long to clear the ball but that just woke him up and Alisson made sure to kick the ball long before he could be closed down again.





Alexander-Arnold - a superb free kick right at the start seemed to set the tone for him and he was much more like his old self. Defended well and provided a good bit of attacking threat too.





Fabinho - looked like a makeshift centre-back here. Apart from the bad clearance which led to him rashly challenging and giving the opportunity to Sheffield United to take the lead, his overall game was not as good as it has been. Positionally he struggled, he never gave himself enough space when faced up with Burke, which saw the Scottish forward just run round him easily. It just shows you can only get away with playing a player out of position for so long before someone figures out how to take advantage. It did lead to our defending seeming a bit panicked at times but Gomez did ensure to be on the cover as much as possible.





Gomez - played well, covering for Fabinho as much as he could, though it was not that easy as Sheff Utd play two up top, so he mostly had to worry about his own man. Never really got many chances to get on the ball and play out from the back, but did play one magnificent van Dijk-esque diagonal ball to the right flank.





Robertson - he has started the season like a house on fire and is still playing well. My worry is that he will run out of steam with the games coming so thick and fast.





Henderson - had a decent first half, but struggled to cope with the numbers running at him from the Sheff Utd side. In the second half he took charge of the midfield and played a lot like the Henderson we saw last season.





Wijnaldum - like Henderson he struggled a little in the first half but as the game went on he got better and better. Some of his forward runs in the second half were lungbusting, right up until the final seconds. His stamina and workrate was exceptional.





Jota - he works hard, keeps going and is always a pest for the opposition, his goal was well taken too. However his runs are still too often tripping over teammates. It is going to take some time for them all to understand each other, especially if they are playing in an unfamiliar set up as they were in this match. There is enough to suggest he will be a good fit in the team when he does develop an understanding, though he does need to take less touches at times.





Salah - if he could have added a goal, or final pass when the chance came, his performance would have been excellent. As it was Sheffield United did very well against him, constantly ensuring there were always extra men there to cover any breakthrough he did make. Such a shame that his beautiful goal was disallowed.





Firmino - could not get into the game in the first half, mostly due to Ampadu being right on him, though he did finally get his Anfield goal. In the second half he got on the ball and made things happen, which resulted in a much improved half for Liverpool as well. It is worrying how reliant Liverpool are on him for creativity.





Mane - while he never got a goal himself, he was a constant source of menace and movement. The Blades really could not get to grips with him at all.





Minamino - replaced Firmino in the 83rd minute. Worked hard but never really got into the match as the Blades lifted their game to try and snatch an equaliser. He was more involved in helping the defence than he was in getting on the ball and making stuff happen.





Milner - took the place of Jota in a double substitution with Minamino. Despite coming on late, he was immediately heavily involved and, as usual, was here, there and everywhere breaking up play and creating too.

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Leicester City News 23 Oct 2020
Everton v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective







Disappointingly this is a game that will not be remembered for the match itself, the brilliance of Thiago or Everton's drive and desire to fight back twice after going behind. Instead it will be remembered for a number of terrible refereeing and VAR errors, which resulted in the wrong decisions on far too many occasions for a game with the amount of technology available to the officials. There are no excuses that can be given for the mistakes as they were blatantly incorrect and if they are unable to see these things then we have to question their fitness to be match officials.



Aside from that, it was a good match, marred by a long term injury suffered by Virgil van Dijk, between two teams that are more closely matched than they have been in recent years. In fact, in my opinion, there are only three things that are stopping Everton from having an 11 that are capable of challenging right at the top (though their lack of squad depth is a problem). One is central midfield, Andre Gomes is lacking the quality and mobility of a top class player, which was starkly shown up in comparison to Thiago Alcantara opposing him.



Their second issue is the pure laziness of James Rodriguez, which left them wide open all game to attacks down their right, particularly once Coleman went off injured. If he continues to saunter around doing nothing to help the team defensively, the opposition will figure them out and they will be in trouble. The final one is the obvious one, the goalkeeper, whose only saves were at the perfect height for a goalkeeper, rather than being truly great saves, because he is not capable of greatness.







Everton





Well organised and competitive, overly so at times but it was a derby and they have always had a tendency to devolve that way as the moment affects players, Everton are a totally different proposition from recent years. They have two-thirds of an excellent midfield, a goalscorer up top who is exceptional in the air and the creativity to find that goalscorer in dangerous areas. Unfortunately their defence is simply not up to scratch, only Digne looks good enough for the long term if they are going to become a regular Champions League team fixture.



In that arena they will find James will be well suited, with his ridiculous antics which nearly cost his team a goal at one point when he was writhing around on the floor in 'agony' despite barely being touched. His constant play-acting is simply embarrassing and his laziness is shocking. A couple of good passes over 90 minutes do not make up for his complete lack of effort. Teams will learn how to play him in the Prem and he will be a hindrance, as you cannot afford to carry someone in a normal league season.



They did have a lot of luck in terms of decisions going their way, a very dubious offside followed by a terrible bit of officiating to not send off Pickford for a clear red card offence changed the game just as they were under the cosh. It does seem odd that an assault is ignored and they profit from that but it is the way it is with the terrible state of refereeing in the English leagues. They took advantage of the psychological hit Liverpool took losing van Dijk and got themselves back into the game, showing a good mentality.



Then there was the last gasp goal being chalked off, for what was clearly a wrongly awarded offside that saved them from a defeat. Those are the kinds of things that have to go for you if you are to have a season better than you could have hoped for. Luck like that can lead to title challenges if they continue throughout the season. They do not quite yet have all the quality needed to sustain a title challenge without a fair chunk of luck, but you can see the building blocks are in place for a future one.







Liverpool





Klopp - a difficult game for Klopp. His team were beginning to establish control when hit by the van Dijk injury and that not only knocked Liverpool back mentally, it also lifted Everton and gave them belief. It was only bad decisions that stopped it being another win for the Reds, so it is difficult to fault his tactics or gameplan.





Adrian - struggling for confidence and it shows in his decision-making, which is all over the shop at the moment. He just needs to settle down and relax, while Liverpool fans need to stop expecting him to be a top class goalkeeper and remember he is just a back-up.





Alexander-Arnold - playing much more within himself than usual, but I think in this game it was a tactical choice to hold him back as there was so much space to attack Everton down the opposite flank. With him still coming back to full sharpness after an injury and no pre-season, the lack of time between matches to train properly is showing. He looks way off full sharpness and it is going to take longer than usual to get him up to speed as there is so much recovery after matches to be done. The team is barely getting to train together at the moment, unlike a normal season. It is going to be about patience each time a player picks up an injury this season, as they are all going to struggle to get back up to speed, without picking up more injuries.





Matip - surprisingly for him, as he is normally excellent in this aspect of the game, his passing was off and he was giving the ball away very cheaply. I think it was probably just rustiness, as he is (as always it seems) just coming back from an injury. Which will not be helped by him picking up another injury in this match. In the main he did not look too far off his best though, it was just his passing which let him down really.





van Dijk - according to a few Everton fans, he had been trying to end other players' careers from the kick off and so reaped what he sowed when he was injured. However, I have watched it over and over, right up until his injury, and I saw nothing. There were 3 moments, which they seem to be referring to. The first he went into the back of James, nothing serious, nothing particularly different from anything any centre-back does, certainly nothing dangerous about it, though James' reaction did suggest van Dijk had run him through with a pitch fork. The second was a collision, again with James, where van Dijk did turn his shoulder into it, as any intelligent player would do, to protect themselves. James was unable to do so, through no fault of his own, and the pair ran into each other. Something that happens all over the pitch many times a match. Again nothing serious, but James reacted as if Virgil had shanked him, then shot him and possibly stamped on him afterwards, judging by the screams, the rolling around etc. The final one was on Calvert-Lewin, which has been described as cutting him in half by one poster on the Everton site. Except all that happened is that van Dijk got tight to the Everton forward and then reached his leg around him and toed the ball away. The ref gave them all as free kicks, though Calvert-Lewin seemed as surprised as anyone to get the decision in his favour. I can only think those couple of Everton fans are so desperate to justify Pickford's actions that they are deluding themselves in order to do so.



As for his performance, he was not on the pitch long enough to really judge him, though it did look like he was fired up. It is a big shame about the injury, but I think people are getting too carried away with it, there is no way Pickford has the intelligence to be sly enough to deliberately set out to injury Virgil. It was reckless and dangerous and a red, but no more than that. People need to move on and stop wasting their time on bitterness.





Robertson - once again he was excellent, absolutely marauding down the left flank using the space James cannot be bothered to track back into. I have to say that I think that Robertson has been Liverpool's best player overall at the start of the season. Which makes it all the more galling that he should have been red carded for a kick out. That was silly and could have seen us in real trouble in that match.





Henderson - I do worry for what would have happened in this match if Henderson was not on the pitch when van Dijk went off. It clearly gave Everton such a lift, while knocking Liverpool for six, and they needed his leadership. Luckily he was there and he was able to help the team through it, then get them going again to retake the lead after Everton equalised. Then did it again when the Blues equalised a second time, driving the team on and even managed to score right at the end. Sadly it was disallowed for a non-existent offside but that is no fault of the player's. Liverpool are a better side with Henderson in the middle.





Fabinho - a good game, though one aspect of his game, that creativity and pinpoint passing was a little subdued, probably due to Thiago being there to take over the mantle.





Thiago - if there was one game that I would have expected him to struggle in, it would have been this one, as the Derby is the match that gives players like him no time to breath, let alone create anything. Obviously no one told Thiago that, as he was on a completely different level from everyone else on the pitch. It was not just his brilliance on the ball either, it was his workrate, his tracking back and winning the ball back, his pressing and the way he could hold on to it under pressure. Sometimes you just have to applaud a performance and not even try to pick holes in it. This was definitely one of those times. Such a shame he got injured by a nasty tackle, which saw Richarlison quite rightly sent off. Thiago has almost done enough to pay off his transfer fee already and he has only played one and a half games!





Salah - a really good performance by Salah, put in some really hard yards working back covering, as well as causing so many problems up front. Took his goal really well too. His movement causes so many problems for defenders. Probably should have scored more though and did try to force a pass at times, when it was not on.





Firmino - desperately needs to score in a Liverpool shirt to get himself up and running. His link up play is there, the little flicks, the beautiful pieces of control, the twists and turns are all working, but he is trying far too hard when in the box. The header, in particular, showed a player that was being too careful, attempting to place the ball right in the corner, rather than just getting it on target.





Mane - did some really good things in this game, as well as opening the scoring. I do worry about his tendency to go down softly at time, it is something I do not like, though he is nowhere near as bad as some, it is still not needed. It must be so frustrating for him, I do get that, he gets kicked all over the pitch and does not get a foul because he stays on his feet. The answer to that problem is not to then go down under little challenge because you have lost the ball though. In fact that is more likely to make referees think twice about giving you genuine free-kicks!





Gomez - replaced the injured van Dijk in the 11th minute. Took a while to get up to speed on his weaker side, but did not do too bad overall. Perhaps could have done more on Calvert-Lewin's headed goal, but as Calvert-Lewin is one of the few attackers that can consistently beat van Dijk in an aerial battle, I think it is probably harsh to blame him for that goal. Calvert-Lewin is probably the best around right now at getting on the end of crosses.





Jota - came on in the 78th minute in place of Firmino. His running causes the opposition lots of problems, but he does have a tendency to run into teammates too. Jota really needs to build up an understanding with the rest of the frontline, as it is happening every time that he is either tripping over one of the other forwards or they are tripping over him. He is exciting to watch though, has the look of the type of player who can become a fan favourite.





Wijnaldum - in the 90th+1 minute he came off the bench to replace Fabinho. Just did not have time to really make a mark on the game.

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Leicester City News 29 Sep 2020
Liverpool v Arsenal A Liverpool Perspective







A very one-sided match, with a result that massively flattered Arsenal.







Arsenal





Arteta has clearly inherited the arrogance of Pep and the ridiculous tinkering as well. Arsenal were utterly dreadful and Arteta, despite the bizarre media love-in with him, has to take the full blame as it was all his fault. Everything he did, from tactics to team selection was frankly shockingly bad. The problem with criticising it is where do you start?



I think I will start with the team selection. I get he has decided to bomb out Ozil, and he is clearly far too stubborn to admit it is a mistake, but that is no excuse for shoehorning players into positions that the club has very good players available for. You have Gabriel, a left-footed centre-back, who has played quite well so far this season, why drop him and play Tierney there? Especially when it means that you pick a right-footed central midfielder as left-wing-back to compound the error. It is not like Arteta does not have options, he has Saka, Tierney and Kolasinac who can play that role and will actually provide some much-needed width.



The commentary were constantly trying to claim the use of Maitland-Niles there was to allow Tierney to play an overlapping centre-back role, like Sheffield United do. That seems to miss the point that the Blades keep their wing-backs wide and the overlapping centre-backs are there to create an overload in wide areas, not to allow the wing-backs to drift inside and clog up the middle with excess bodies. What they have done is create a weakness to be exploited by opponents instead, as they are wide open down the flank.



What on earth possessed Arteta to pair Elneny and Xhaka in the centre? That was just begging to be attacked, the pair play with all the finesse and mobility of a 50 year old docker who has smoked 60 a day for the last 40 years and still plays in big, heavy hobnail boots. They were always going to get overrun and they just ended up dropping deeper and deeper to try and block the Liverpool midfield from running in behind them. They were then getting in the way of the defence and not offering any option for a pass. With neither of them possessing the ability to pick a quick forward pass over the top, it invited pressure.



I know Ceballos is powder puff, but when your tactics are based around quick counters from deep then you have to pick players who can actually play that way. Elneny can barely pass water, let alone the ball more than 5 yards and Xhaka is just too slow of thought to pick the quick pass over the top. Again it just invites a more complete press as there is no fear of the press being broken. You are just asking for trouble against a team that is so good at the press.



Added to that, why on earth would you instruct your players to play out from the back constantly? It was clear the players themselves were unhappy with it, both Holding and Tierney were terrified of getting the ball and knew that, even if they got the chance to look up, there would be no pass available to them. At what point does a manager look at it and say this is not working, it is time to try something else? Personally I would have thought that any analyst worth his salt should have been telling Arteta before the game even kicked off that to try it was idiotic. Yet he persisted with it for 90 minutes and it constantly cost them possession.



As a young manager, you expect Arteta to make mistakes, but you also expect them to be learning experiences and for him to make changes during the game to attempt to improve things. The fact he was quite happy to persist with a tactic that was blatantly not working is a major worry.







Liverpool





Klopp - I doubt Klopp has had many easier nights to be honest. Arteta played straight into his hands with the set up, even when Arsenal opened the scoring it never felt like Liverpool were in any trouble. Sure enough they were soon level again and all Klopp had to do was keep them doing what they were doing.





Alisson - had one of the easiest nights ever, though he will be disappointed with himself for not saving the mishit shot by Lacazette. He made it up for it afterwards, even if most of the attacks were offside. He did have a fair few kicks of the ball, as Liverpool tried to draw Arsenal out, but it was fairly routine stuff.





Alexander-Arnold - not quite at his extraordinary best, but still came away with yet another assist. Klopp was worried enough about him in the first half to ask the medical staff if he was OK, after a couple of misplaced passes. Alexander-Arnold gave the thumbs up to say he was fine, but it does suggest he was carrying some sort of minor problem, which is a worry for the future. His game did pick up after that and he was as good as ever, but it is interesting that Alexander-Arnold is so good that Klopp worries about him when he misplaces a couple of passes!





Gomez - a really good game for him, he shut Aubameyang out of the game pretty much. He fits so well with van Dijk, they are an excellent pairing. His pace comes in particularly useful in games like this and it ensured that Arsenal had no easy out ball over the top. The Arsenal forwards were not able to wait and outsprint him like they normally would, which meant they were caught offside trying to get the jump on Gomez and van Dijk. With no runners from midfield, as it was too deep, Liverpool were able to push right up when they lost the ball and crush the life out of the game.





van Dijk - back to something near his brilliant best. Not just defensively but some of his passing was incredible. Nice to see him get within range and try a shot as well.





Robertson - made a mistake which Arsenal scored from, ten minutes later he had scored to make up for it. That sums up Robertson, he is not perfect, he does make the odd mistake from time to time, but he works incredibly hard to make up for it. His mentality is that of a true champion, Robertson just keeps on going no matter what.





Keita - a better performance, but still not exactly impressive. He is still a little slow on the press, but at least he is pressing now. Still a little weak in the challenge but it is a step forward that he did not pull out of any. A five out of ten performance, which is a massive improvement over recently but I do have reservations about his partnership with Wijnaldum, which I will explain in his review.





Fabinho - it's Fabinho being Fabinho. He does what he does and he does it brilliantly well.





Wijnaldum - I was thinking how subdued a performance it was from Wijnaldum right up until the moment Milner replaced Keita, then it was like he was unleashed. It is clear that he plays within himself and does not get forward as he can when paired with Keita. Whether that is a tactical instruction to allow Keita to make the forward runs or whether that is just that Wijnaldum does not trust Keita to track back I am not sure. It is very clear that it held Wijnaldum back in this match. It is not necessarily a bad thing, if Keita performs well it would be a good thing to free him up a bit from defensive duties. The problem is that Keita is not yet doing enough to justify it.





Salah - such a quality forward, poor Tierney will have had nightmares after this game. Salah tied him up in knots at times and never gave him a moment's peace when he got on the ball. All that was missing was a goal and maybe that moment when he took the ball on as Jota was coming on to it he could have been more decisive. He dithered when his touch was not perfect and Jota did too, so it gave the defence a chance to clear. Salah was excellent though.





Firmino - a couple of loose passes but he was at the heart of pretty much everything good Liverpool did, as usual. He was the one receiving the brilliant ball on the right from Virgil, killing it on the run, then playing it back before making the run to pull the Arsenal players away to create space for Alexander-Arnold to saunter into and cross to Robertson for the second. His movement is exceptional, it pulls defenders all over the park and leaves them constantly having to think about what they are doing.





Mane - the best player on the pitch. I do think the right decision was made about him catching Tierney with his arm, a yellow was correct and I would have been gutted if it was a red, but that could have led to a completely different game. I am just glad the ref felt the same as me! It must be said that Holding defended really well, but still Mane tortured him. He is incredible right now.





Milner - came on in the stead of Keita on 79 minutes. He came in and closed out the game while freeing up Wijnaldum to get forward more. Liverpool will miss him so much when he goes.





Jota - brought on in place of Mane after 80 minutes. Worked hard and got his reward in the end. Showed some good stuff but needs to learn when to release the ball when he runs with it.





Minamino - replaced Firmino on 90 minutes. Never had time to really show anything.

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Leicester City News 28 Sep 2020
Partnerships 1: Steve Bruce & Gary Pallister





There have been many great partnerships in sport, where the total of the partnership adds up to far more than the sum of its parts. In the case of Bruce and Pallister (or Dolly and Daisy as Alex Ferguson once called them), it is fair to say Manchester United have had better individual centre-backs, but the two of them together were arguably the best centre-back pairing the club have ever had.



When Alex Ferguson arrived at United as a virtually unknown quantity it was not in a good place. While they were known for good football, they had been mired in mediocrity in terms of results for a long time. Worse there was a real problem amongst the playing staff, who seemed happy with their mediocre results so long as they could get hammered in the pub. Captain Bryan Robson would hold a players' 'meeting' on Tuesdays, which meant all day in the pub getting smashed.



Ferguson decided to weed out the drinking culture and bring in more professional players. One of the early arrivals in 1988 was a little known English centre back from Norwich City who had an aversion to the number 5, due to having scored a number of own goals while wearing it. Bruce had struggled to find a club after leaving school, being rejected by a number of professional clubs before Gillingham offered him a contract. After proving himself at the Gills he had moved on to Norwich and was just about to turn 27 when Ferguson stepped in to get him.



Man Utd agreed to pay a fee of around £825,000 for the centre-back, despite having doubts about fitness. Bruce only found out about the worries over his fitness when Ferguson picked him up at the airport to take him to his medical and kept asking him what was up with his knee. It was only then that Bruce discovered that he had a knee problem which was recorded in his medical records. Bruce himself believes he would not have passed a modern medical due to the problem.



Now he just needed a partner at the back, someone Ferguson felt he could rely on and he turned his sights on Gary Pallister, who was already capped by England, even continuing to be chosen while playing in the 2nd Division with Middlesbrough. Pallister was highly rated and Boro were not going to let him go cheap, even though they had only given Billingham Town, his first club, a set of strips in return for his signature. In the end, it was 1989 before United could finally get Pallister, after a fall-out with temperamental boss Bruce Rioch saw him lose his Boro and England place. Pallister was so intent on moving that he hired his first agent to ensure a deal was done with someone.



First to move for him was Liverpool, but Boro's asking price saw them walk away and leave the door open for Man Utd to step in. As Pallister recalls: "I met my agent at the hotel which was a 15-minute drive away from where I lived. I said I'd follow him in my car. My agent was driving in front of me in his big Rolls-Royce and we came into the car park. My agent went inside the hotel to see that everyone was there and Bruce Rioch said if that ****** walks in here the deal's off. So I had to sit in the car park for something like seven hours while they haggled this deal through. There were no mobile phones back then, so there wasn't a lot to do. I just sat there twirling my fingers, hoping for the best. Intermittently the gaffer (Alex Ferguson) would come out and say, 'we've gone up to £1.8m and they're still saying no....We've got up to £1.9m, up to £2m and they're still saying no'. Eventually at about three in the morning they came out and said 'the deal's been done; £2.3m'. He said 'you've got to go to the restaurant and sort out your personal details'. I went up there and sat with the gaffer and Maurice Watkins and the gaffer went 'that's what Bryan Robson is getting; that's what you're getting'. I just said OK, and it's only lately that I've found out Robbo was on a lot more, so the gaffer did me out of a few quid! He had to get a little bit of money back because they were never going to be prepared to pay £2.3m, but that's what it took. That's where the name 'Cash' came from, that Archie Knox so aptly named me."



That fee was big money for the time, in fact it broke the record for highest fee paid between two British clubs and was the second highest fee ever paid by a British club, beaten only by Ian Rush's transfer back to Liverpool from Juventus. At the time, Ferguson was under severe pressure and Pallister's arrival was not immediately successful. Ferguson was worried about his new signing's lack of physical strength and, after popping round to his house one day to find him sat around munching chocolate bars and crisps, the centre-back was put on a weight-training regime to build his strength up.



As the season went on the Bruce and Pallister partnership began to show signs it was coming together, despite United's lowly finish of 13th in the league they won the FA Cup after Mark Robins' (in)famous goal in the 3rd round was reported to have saved Ferguson's job. Pallister went on to win the Matt Busby Player of the Year award and he, Bruce and Man Utd as a whole went from strength to strength. The next year, 1990/91, was livened up once more by good cup runs, this time the Red Devils reached the final of both the League Cup and Cup Winners Cup. They lost in the League Cup final to Sheffield Wednesday, managed by Ferguson's predecessor Ron Atkinson, but they beat Barcelona in the Cup Winners' Cup final in Rotterdam.



1991/92 saw United make a good start and were on a 12-match unbeaten run before Wednesday beat them 3-2. In the previous 12 games they had only conceded 4 goals. A win over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup final was followed 8 days later by Forest getting revenge in the league at Old Trafford and that launched a run of poor results culminating in a 2-0 defeat at Anfield which gave the league title to Leeds United. Despite failing to win the final title before the Premier League era began, Pallister won the PFA Player of the Year award, in appreciation for just how well he, and Bruce, had defended that season.



Despite a determination to not let the title slip this time around, Man Utd got off to a slow start to the Premier League, in fact they sat bottom after the first two matches following defeats in both. Ferguson kept faith in his defence and they helped the team rise up the table as the season went on, then last year's champions Leeds made the fatal error of selling them Eric Cantona in November. This was their year and they lifted the league title with a game to spare, leaving just one final, meaningless game for United to play at home in front of 40,000 celebrating fans against Blackburn Rovers. With Pallister having failed to score all season he was given the chance to take a free kick on the edge of Rovers' box and duly placed it in the bottom corner to send the fans wild. United had won on the back of a strong defence, conceding just 31 goals in 42 league matches.



That season Robson had begun to really suffer through injury, missing large chunks of the season and so Bruce had shared the captaincy with him, even being jointly given the league trophy at the end of the season. It was time for change and, after the season Bruce was in for a surprise: "I got a phone call from Sir Alex one afternoon. 'Are you in the house? Can I call in and have a cup of tea?', he said. We were wondering what was wrong and why he wanted to come to the house, because that was unprecedented. We sat down over a cup of tea and a biscuit and he said he wanted me to be the new captain of Manchester United. He asked me what I thought, and I was like 'absolutely, bring it on'."



Roy Keane arrived to replace Robson in the heart of midfield and United cruised through the season winning the league and FA Cup double, making Bruce the first Englishman to captain a club to the domestic double. United lost just 4 times in the league and Pallister was present for 60 of the club's 62 competitive matches that season. The only blip was the defeat to old nemesis Ron Atkinson and his Aston Villa team in the League Cup final.



Bruce had begun to pick up injuries and Ferguson signed David May from Blackburn in the summer of 1994 as the end was in sight for Bruce as first choice. The 1994/95 season was affected by the change in rules in European competitions, limiting teams to just 3 foreigners and that led to struggles with Ferguson having to make difficult choices as players like Keane, Peter Schmeichel, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Irwin and Mark Hughes, not to mention flying winger Andrei Kanchelskis, were all classed as foreigners in the Champions League. That was the reason Bruce said made him turn down an approach from Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton to play for Ireland. His place in the Red Devils line-up would have been in jeopardy if he had nailed his colours to Ireland's mast as he would then have become classed as a foreigner too.



While Europe was tough, Barcelona handing them a 4-0 hammering when Schmeichel was one of the foreigners who had to sit out the game, domestic football saw United chasing another double. Andy Cole arrived in January to give the side a lift but Cantona's 8 month ban for his 'kung-fu kick' at Crystal Palace caused enough disruption for Blackburn to pip them to the league title and Everton to beat them in the FA Cup final.



The 1995-96 season was to be Bruce's final one in the colours of Man Utd, though Ferguson wanted to hold onto him, convincing Bruce to reject 3 different offers of a manager's job over the course of the season. Little wonder Ferguson wanted to keep him as United went undefeated in the first 10 games, though they did struggle in the run up to Christmas, failing to get a win in 5 matches, which allowed Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United team to go 10 points clear at the top. Bruce's value was clear though as he missed the game against Tottenham Hotspur, where United were given a 4-1 hammering at White Hart Lane. Bruce's replacement was on-loan French centre-back William Prunier and he was, to be polite, dreadful.



Despite the famous 'grey kit' 3-1 defeat to Southampton, where Ferguson made the team change kit at half-time, United went on a run and won a second domestic double in 1995/96. Bruce made just 30 appearances over the course of the season, due to injuries, and missed the FA Cup final. Cantona tried to get Bruce to go up and collect the trophy but he declined. Ferguson tried to persuade Bruce to stay another year, but Bruce was 36 now and decided it was time to change, moving to Birmingham City. Pallister only stayed a couple more years himself, before he returned to Middlesbrough, United actually making a profit as Boro paid £2.5m to bring the veteran defender back.



Bruce and Pallister were the first choice pairing who helped Ferguson launch a lengthy period of domestic dominance for Man Utd in their 7 years as the rocks at the back. They won 3 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, the League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup together. 317 matches saw just 282 goals conceded in that time, 180 were won and just 55 times they were defeated, with 133 clean sheets. They will quite rightly go down in history as one of the best centre-back pairings of all-time in the English game.

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Leicester City News 26 Sep 2020
Lincoln City v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective







It was such a shame that no fans could be there for this match, as Lincoln really needed their support last night. They needed that lift of having their fans driving them on to turn this into a contest, especially after the first goal. As it was, they looked a team which failed to match up to Liverpool in any way. They seemed physically weaker and slower, technically miles off apart from one or two exceptions and tactically, well tactically there was no comparison. Having the fans there roaring them on might have given them enough drive to make it into a contest and slightly tip the balance back towards them.







Lincoln City





They gave their all and never gave up, even when 4 down, but they were out of their depth. Still managed to make a few chances and score a couple, but they did not really take advantage of the weak spots in the Liverpool team the way they should have.







Liverpool





Klopp - he got the right mix of youth and experience to see the team through at a canter.





Adrian - had a very good game, making a number of saves.





N. Williams - dallied on the ball in dangerous areas, lacked defensive awareness or any kind of reading of the game and is slow to react to danger. Even his crosses were not at their best. However he is young and learning a new position, Trent was not the best defensively in his first couple of seasons at right-back either.





R. Williams - on the ball he was composed and confident. Defensively though he was awful. Positionally he was all over the place and his awareness was dreadful. It was his debut though, so he might well have just been overawed. This game will have shown him he still has a lot to learn as well, when a great start could have led him to think it is all easy.





van Dijk - only played the first 45 minutes but was the main reason why the first half finished 4-0 to Liverpool. You could see they were lifted by his substitution.





Tsimikas - it was an impressive debut by the Greek, who looked extremely capable with both feet, strong and quick. He reminded me of Robertson in terms of attitude, that no-prisoners approach to rampaging up and down the flank always looking to take on opponents head on and never let them have a moment's peace. I am looking forward to seeing more of him.





Jones - stood out like a sore thumb and was my choice for man of the match. Not just because of his 2 goals but because of his all round contribution to the team. He was excellent, popping up all over the pitch and involved almost constantly. Jones showed he can pass, dribble, track back and shoot. The boy is growing into a man who is one hell of a player.





Shaqiri - looked really good in a midfield role, played some excellent passes, right up until he hurt himself playing one in the second half and had to be taken off. It is such a shame that his Liverpool career is going to be remembered for all his injuries as he always seems to perform well in those ten minute spells he gets between those injuries. When he has the quality to score goals like the free kick in this match, he really should be on the pitch more.





Grujic - while you have to bear in mind the opposition, as with all the good performances, but he looked really good. Grujic has put himself forward as a credible alternative/back up to Fabinho in the holding midfield role or to play as one of the two in front of him. His passing was good, he tackled back, protected the defence and worked extremely hard. He did enough to make me want to see more of him in a Liverpool shirt. Hopefully the deflection which assisted his goal is a sign of good fortune being on his side this season.





Elliott - struggled to impose himself on the game and was clearly frustrated to come off without scoring himself but he was busy and showed some nice touches. It was clear he has yet to build up an understanding with Minamino and Origi, but his movement was good and his workrate was excellent too.





Minamino - works like a trojan and fully deserved his two goals. The lad seems to be everywhere at times. It is hard not to warm to him and want him to succeed as he gives everything he has on the pitch for every second he is out there.





Origi - really struggled to get into the game but managed to finally get a goal right before the end. He really needs to get more regular football in a steady position. He has the ability and the workrate to do more, but he has not developed the understanding of his role that he needs.





Fabinho - replaced van Dijk at half-time. A planned substitution to protect van Dijk and to ensure Rhys Williams had a senior figure alongside him. Never looked comfortable on the left side, but did ok for a makeshift centre-back.





Jota - brought on in place of Elliott after 57 minutes. There were flashes of the player he could be, he worked hard and kept trying things but the link up with his teammates is not there yet.





Keita - came on instead of Shaqiri in the 75th minute after the Swiss international had begun limping. Offered little but the game was well over and he was unable to get any kind of control over it like he should have.

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