LFC: Brendan Rodgers vs Kenny Dalglish – who is the true King of the Kop?

Brendan Rodgers: can he do what the King could not?

It’s fair to say that Brendan Rodgers hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts as Liverpool’s new manager.

First there was the unpopular abdication of King Kenny (pushed to jump before he was thrown?), followed by an opening day defeat to West Brom – a club that many Kopites will, in the short-term at least, associate with Roy “forever walks alone” Hodgson, and whose novice manager and ex Reds defence coach, Steve Clarke, was mocked and dismissed by some online fans pre-match. The quizzical loaning of Andy Carroll to West Ham with no replacement and the at-times embarrassing and literal TV soap opera that is Fox Sports and Channel 5’s Being Liverpool has hardly helped.

It hasn’t quite been all doom and gloom however, with Rodgers’ approach often producing good displays and performances if not points. Many fans can quite rightly point to growing pains with the new system as one of the major causes of their stuttering start this year rather than a major dearth in quality. Continue reading


Bridging the Watford gap: Forecasting the Pozzo era with Football Manager

Giampaolo Pozzo: adored by football hipsters and anti-money activists alike.

Last month, Watford become the latest addition to Giampaolo Pozzo’s stable of football clubs in a takeover that drew the attentions of football followers across Europe. The shrewd and well-respected businessman is now the owner of three clubs – Udinese, Granada and Watford FC – and many fans see the Italian and his methods as a beacon of hope within the modern game thanks to his teams’ successes through sustainability.

Purchasing his first club, Udinese, in 1986, Pozzo quickly set about turning the troubled club around following a betting scandal that saw them relegated to Serie B through a nine point penalty. Rather than taking gambles on future financial success however, Udinese built slowly and steadily, putting their faith in patient planning and careful management. This long-term, sustainable approach has enabled the club from the small city of Udine – home to just 100,000 people – to compete with the traditional giants of Milan, Turin and Rome for European spots. In 2006, 20 years on from Pozzo’s takeover, the club reached the Champions League for the first time in their history having enjoyed a spate of UEFA and Intertoto cup runs in the 90s. They have since repeated this feat twice, and will enter Europe’s premier club competition for the second season in a row in 2012. Continue reading

Is Berbatov the answer to United’s midfield question?

Is Berbatov the answer to United’s creative gap in midfield?

For the past few seasons, Manchester United’s midfield has become a figure of ridicule, on par with Arsenal’s goalkeeper crisis and the perennial lack of width in Liverpool’s squad. As always, the fans disagree on the solution to Sir Alex’s dilemma, with factions clashing over rival cures: a proven Premiership playmaker like Luka Modric, a hard man in mould of Roy Keane, new signing Shinji Kagawa or a talent trawl for the next Ronaldo.

With his graceful power and embarrassment of elegant technique Dimitar Berbatov is, on paper, the quintessential creative target man for the modern game, yet he has at times struggled to shine on a consistent basis for United. However, the Bulgarian’s ability to read the game, thread a pass and keep possession have lead some admirers to suggest him as a left-field solution to a midfield that often seems to lack inspiration. Continue reading

Predicting the futures of Van Persie and Modric with Football Manager

Where will Modric and Robin van Persie end up this summer?

It’s the double-headed transfer saga of the summer.

Robin van Persie and Luka Modric, two of North London’s finest rival footballing assets, look set to move on to pastures new in search of trophies, personal glory and Champions League football.

For once, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s fans are united in bated breath and uncertainty as the club capitals of the European game hover at the summer’s transfer poker table. Who will blink first and for how much?  Continue reading