Coutinho has a posse
Brazil coach Dunga showed his faith in Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho by recalling the 22-year old to the national set-up following his cameo appearances against Colombia and Ecuador earlier in the month and now the diminutive play-maker has received the backing of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers after making a slow start to the Premier League season.
“He’s a brilliant young player, a fantastic young player,” said the Northern Irishman in the buildup to the meeting with West Ham United. “I’ve got no qualms about him; he’s a big, big talent. He has lit up the Premier League since he came to the club. He’s going to have some games where he won’t be at his best, but he always gives his best and that’s all I ever ask of the players.”
The boys get ready for West Ham
It’s not time to panic quite yet. As unnerving as last weekends 1-0 reversal at the hands of Aston Villa was, it’s easy to forget that it’s still early days. This time last season, as pointed out by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, we were still trying to find our stride. The personal may have changed somewhat, but we’re very much in the same pattern at this stage last year.
Saying we needed to get back on track or other such clichés after the loss to Manchester City at the end of August was a bit premature; approaching the end of September though, it’s not too wide of the mark. Losing to the reigning champions is one thing, but going down to a team like the Villains, with no disrespect to them of course, is always going to require a response no matter where you are in the season — whether a certain Northern Irishman wants to admit it or not.
Keep on working Mario
Mario Balotelli may have found the net for the first time since trading AC Milan for Liverpool when the Italian opened the scoring in the Reds 2-1 Champions League triumph win over PFC Ludogrets, but his boss Brendan Rodgers believes that the 24-year old is going to have work himself silly if he wants to join the ranks of Liverpool’s all time best.
Backing the striker to continue his good run of form this weekend when the Reds take on West Ham United could be a sound investment with a recent William Hill Q&A revealed that one punter scooped up €683,739 from a mere €1 bet — a tidy return on some pocket change. While it probably won’t be that easy to get Balotelli back and firing on all cylinders again, Rodgers believes his new-found appetite for working hard on and off the pitch will do wonders for his game.
The international break was anything but kind to Liverpool with a number of Reds stars returning from all corners of the globe nursing various knocks.
Emre Can did his ankle in the latter stages of the German u21’s resounding 8-0 win over their Romanian counterparts, fellow midfielder Joe Allen banged up his knee on some horrendous astro-turf as Wales downed Andorra 2-1 in a Euro 2016 qualifying match, and under the most unfortunate circumstances, star striker Daniel Sturridge was ruled out for up to three weeks after picking up a thigh injury while on England duty — a recurring trend that has not only Reds boss Brendan Rodgers fuming, but Kopites around the world as well.
Don’t worry — Big Sam gets it
It’s nice to know that West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce feels Liverpool’s pain. On the back of a tough Champions League fixture on Tuesday, the Reds travel to the Boleyn Ground this weekend hoping to get their league campaign back on track after losing out to Aston Villa at home last Saturday.
After five seasons away from Europe’s most prestigious club competition, the upswing in both matches and the quality of their opponents could very well comes as a shock to the Merseysiders after enjoying a far less cluttered fixture list over the last couple of seasons. Playing in Europe midweek and then in the league on the weekend is hard for even top sides — a problem that Allardyce himself knows well enough.