Kieran Davies on a transfer window that’s catching Liverpool cold and a weekend’s fixture list that is crying out for a purple patch.
After a tragic week that really questioned the term ‘freedom of speech’ where people lost loved ones due to the actions of animals masquerading as religious zealots the civilised world mourns. Our ability to air thoughts, ask questions and voice opinion for me is the foundation of democracy and those of us lucky enough to be in a position to do so should continue to ensure that the pen remains mightier than the sword or whatever weapon you care to replace that with.
We can turn our attentions to our great love, the beautiful game. That takes some saying if you are a Liverpool fan as the game is not looking so beautiful currently. The fans will agree they have had some very questionable managers over the last couple of decades but none were able to force Steven Gerrard out of Anfield, until now. Congratulations Brendan Rodgers. The transfer window has been open for a whole nine days so far and despite all the teams obvious problems no movements have been made in recruiting replacements. What is worse is that yet again they have missed out on a landmark signing in the shape of Shaqiri (pictured above) and seemingly made very little effort in this window to do so. The club currently has two goalkeepers who are no way up to the task at hand yet again we are seeing no effort to address this. Liverpool should have gone straight in, the minute the window opened with a £6m for Petr Cech. It almost seems as though Rodgers isn’t willing to address these areas as he sees it as an open admittance of his failings in the transfer market with the owner’s money. Just as he seems unable to admit he hasn’t been able to address one of the poorest defences in the league, he seems to be putting all his eggs in the basket of Daniel Sturridge coming back from injury and scoring 20 goals rather than get a striker in who is actually able to score goals in case of another absence. Let’s hope in this weekends winds no one is stupid enough to take a beach ball to the Stadium of Light.
Chelsea and Man City seem to be the two front runners for this season’s title with the latter needing to ensure they don’t fall any further behind Mourinho’s men. What seems on paper a tricky trip to Goodison Park for Pelligrini’s team may be a little easier due to the toffees poor form of late. They will need all three points no doubt with Chelsea facing a manager-less Newcastle team at home. Surprise package Southampton meanwhile travel to Old Trafford in their run of testing fixtures which will be a good indicator of where both these teams are in their resurgence under new managers. Obviously the saints haven’t spent the national deficit of Uganda to get here but will want to compete in all areas against Van Gaal’s side.
Leicester really need to start taking advantage of playing at their home ground more if they want to bridge that points gap between them and safety. As the season goes on they could find themselves adrift otherwise and will fancy their chances in a Midlands derby with Villa.
It’s a battle of the strikers up north with Ings versus Austin at Turfmoor as Burnley take on QPR. Their form over the festive period will give the clarets confidence and Harry’s side travel about as well as Dennis Bergkamp currently.
Swansea will have the chance to draw level with their opponents in the table should they beat West Ham in South Wales. With a lot of uncertainty of the future of talisman Wilfred Bony who they will be without due to international duty, Monk will be keen to show the faithful that his side are still a force without him. Something they may have to get used to with Man City sniffing around and their apparent disregard for FFP rules.
West Brom really pulled off a coup when they announced Tony Pullis as their new manager, a manager with an ethos for basing his sides on a tight back line. His first home game in the Premier League couldn’t have asked for better opponents with out of form Hull arriving with a distinct inability to find the back of the net of late. With Bruce under pressure this is not the fixture he would have relished as teams with new managers seem to have a honeymoon period after the appointment.
Another new manager takes charge of his first match at home as Alan Pardew’s Palace team entertain Tottenham with the in-form Harry Kane. Selhurst Park can be a real cauldron when they get behind their team and this is no easy fixture for Spurs. Palace have played some good football this season and proved a really stern test for the North Londoners at White Hart Lane. Arsenal will look to avenge their defeat against Stoke at the Brittania Stadium with home advantage and one of the signings of the season, Alexis Sanchez. He really does light up this Arsenal team as he would most and has a phenomenal return of goals and assists this season so Mark Hughes side will have to nullify this threat if they are going to get anything out of this game. As Liverpool showed last season, there is still enough time in the season for any side to go on a good run and change their fortunes in the league but now is definitely the time to start hitting a purple patch.
Breaking transfer news, as I have been writing this, a story has broke that a young Liverpool fan has been left upset after asking Brendan Rodgers to autograph a print of Mother Theresa to which Rodgers refused exclaiming ‘I’m not signing anything good THIS SEASON!’