Last 16 preview

The return of the greatest tournament in the world has arrived with some exciting ties. Pairing some of the great players against each other will provide some new storylines ahead of an exciting end of the season. The English teams have looked strong this season and should be looking to reach the last 4 If they get through this round. Here are the previews and predictions for this week’s ties, part 2 will be published next week.

Juventus v Spurs

This has the makings of a great tie involving two teams who have great balance in their starting 11. After a slow start to the season Juventus have picked up the pace domestically and are currently neck in neck with Napoli at the top. 11 straight wins shows that they are currently one of the form teams in Europe and approaching the business end of the season well. Tottenham have also had a great start to the year and are now back in the top 4 domestically. They are coming off a great win in the North London derby and have nothing to fear in this tie. Topping a difficult group with the defending champions should give them great confidence in the tie. This tie will likely be decided on who will take the few opportunities presented between two great defensive teams. Over two legs Juve have more quality going forward although Kane is the best player on the pitch. Higuain and Dybala are proven goalscorer in the Champions League and should have enough however to get them through.

Prediction- Juventus

FC Basel v Man City

This is certainly the easiest tie of the week to predict. City look flawless and are already a handful of wins away from lifting the Premier League trophy. That will certainly help them to rest players for this tournament. Basel have good history at home against English teams but this City team are a different beast to previous teams they’ve faced. Only complacency will stop them progressing to at least the semi finals.

Prediction- Man City

Porto v Liverpool

If Liverpool had a solid defence they would be one of the best teams in Europe. In the group stage they showed the good and bad side of their team but they should have enough to get through. This isn’t the best team Porto have had in recent years however they regularly get to this stage in the Champions League which is some experience Liverpool don’t recently have. If they don’t make silly mistakes the attack should have enough to get them far in this tournament.

Prediction – Liverpool

Real Madrid v PSG

The tie of the round between two of the richest clubs in the world. PSG are like the fresher version of Los Blancos with all the new football stars whilst Madrid still have the most expensive players from a few years back. People question the quality of the French league but they did set a record for most goals scored in the group stage. The difference between the team that bottled it last year and this season is that they have a world class player with stature in their team. A player like Neymar has attributes that only 2 or 3 other players have, and if they take a big lead into the second leg he will finish it. It’s hard to pinpoint why Madrid have struggled this season but it’s probably the end of a cycle for some players. The core have been together for a while and needed freshening up. They still rely on Ronaldo which can’t go on forever however this is the tournament they live for. They are out of the title race so this is all they have to live for, they could step it up for this tie but PSG are not the team you just turn up for and hope to beat. Should they go out here it will be the end of the BBC era and a lot will change. For PSG they should expect to get to the final with the team they have, the front three is devastating and the having someone like Neymar in the team should give them confidence that they have a player who can now go toe to toe with the World player of the year.

Prediction- PSG

What are your predictions for the 4 ties? Who are the favourites? Which English team will progress the furthest?

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Spurs v Arsenal preview

The upcoming North London derby just like last weekend’s game promises to be a great game for two teams who have had a positive couple of weeks. Both sides however don’t have much room for error as they continue to push for a top 4 place. The transfer window was positive for both teams who managed to add quality additions to the team.

After a depressing couple of weeks the addition of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang provided a lift for the Arsenal fans. They completely anhilated Everton at home in the first half and their two signing were involved in the goals. Wenger now has real quality in the forward areas to choose from and has a decision to make on who to drop. Last week saw Lacazette being dropped which must annoy him. The first time this season which they have players putting in quality through balls and he has to watch his new team mate prospering and probably taking his place. All this being said however the quality at the back is still a major problem. They still have problems in defensive midfield and at the back they struggle with leadership. The problems that Liverpool had with Spurs are likely to be the same problems Arsenal will encounter if they don’t prepare properly.

Spurs had an eventful game last week, they are relieved to have got a point but could be disappointed with not winning the game. In the second half they dominated Liverpool and looked excellent after a slow start. The addition of Lucas Moura will be a quality addition to a team which lacks direct running and dribbling at speed. At times they play too many passes without any penetration however with Lucas taking players on it will give the opportunity to divert attention from Kane and Eriksen.

Key Matchups

For a team that has so many attacking players it’s unbelievable that Arsenal still haven’t added to their defence. It’s been exposed many times as shown in the Swansea game where they were all over the place. Mustafi was signed for big money last season and had a good start to his career in England however this season he has struggled. It’s hard to explain if this is due to changing partnerships in defence or his own form but he has looked sloppy. However he will have the responsibility with marking Kane who has just become on of the fastest players to 100 Premier League goals. He has a very good record against Arsenal and if given opportunities he won’t miss again like last week.

If Arsenal could add one player from the Spurs team who would improve the starting 11 dramatically it wouldn’t be Kane, Eriksen, or Son, it would be Dembele. As a physical presence he dominates players and can create chances from midfield. For the talent he has he doesn’t score enough goals but at Spurs this isn’t his role in the team. If Arsenal can control him they can stop the supply to the front line, this responsibility will probably be handed to Wilshere but Xhaka will have to help him out. He hasn’t had a great time at Arsenal and he may be playing in the wrong position but his defensive awareness has been suspect. He will have to press Dembele and make sure that he doesn’t have to much possession otherwise Arsenal will have a difficult time managing Spurs attack. Liverpool managed to do it in the first half but it’s difficult to cope with for 90 minutes.

Prediction

There have been so many great games this season and this will definetly be up there at the top. Both teams have to win to keep up with their rivals and Arsenal have good memories at Wembley. Spurs will look to start fast like they did against Man Utd a couple weeks ago, if they replicate that performance they will blow Arsenal away quickly. At home they have a better team and should be able to get three points.

Spurs 2-1

Who do you think will win the North London derby? Who do you think will finish higher? Who is the best player on the pitch out of the two teams? Leave your thoughts and comments below..

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Hornets deliver final sting on Conte

If Chelsea players are aware of their recent history after winning the Barclays Premier League they haven’t done much to change the inevitable. Ever since the summer all hasn’t been good in West London. Upon the arrival of Mourinho and Guardiola at the same time spending record amounts of money, most Chelsea fans would’ve been satisfied with a top four finish after finishing midtable. However they surprisingly won the league with ease and all seemed good. But with Chelsea it seems like their strategy to perform is chaos. It seems like nobody is ever comfortable, the players have better relationships with upper management than the coach. Your only ever a bad month away from being another cross on Roman’s shopping list.

To be fair to the club it may not be straight from the “football philosophy handbook” but they have won more trophies than most clubs who have preached that they are progressing in the right direction. At Chelsea you are given a team of quality players and a few additions of your choice to sweeten you up and then watched like a hawk until you fail. Right now those Hawks are circling an increasingly resigned Conte who has been irritated with the club all year. He has hinted that he doesn’t get the signings he wants and the negative attitude has transmitted over the club all season. Even when they beat Spurs away and won at Atletico it was just like catching your breath while being dragged under water. The losses to Burnley, City and away at Roma seemed to have more impact. Credit to Conte and the character he is as a player and manager, he has tried to fight through the inevitable. At one point they were the closest team to Man City but after the new year their form has dipped. 2 wins in 10 and the summer signings have struggled to match the standards set by the players they have replaced. If their was a poll for the worst summer signing Bakayoko might win unanimously. Being linked with Carroll and Crouch was weird as well.

All of the factors mentioned have come to ahead in the last two Premier League games against teams that they should beat. Conceding 7 goals against Bournemouth and Watford is bad enough on paper but they looked worse than that. They were outplayed, outfought and the players didn’t look together. Conte after the game yesterday said he is at ease with his situation and isn’t worried about the future. It seems like he has given up trying to fight the inevitable and is just waiting for the end which seems uncomfortable. He is a great manager and at the end of the season he will probably be targeted for the new vacancy at Real Madrid should it come up. This shouldn’t be a slight on him, being sacked at Chelsea in murky circumstances is normal. He could be criticised for tactics on certain games and for a couple of signings but he has done well to compete with rivals that have spent more.

Chelsea have entered a new period where they aren’t signing the most desired players anymore. The cheque book isn’t being opened for the sake of it. They balance the books and try to sign young players who haven’t peaked yet. Hence why they signed Barkley and Bakayoko whilst selling Matic. If they are to get rid of Conte who will they get in? Hiddink, Ancelotti, Terry, whoever it is the club have a big month coming up. Games against Man Utd, City and Tottenham will be sandwiched in with their clash against Barcelona. As previously stated Chelsea players are use to this situation so whenever these situations arise come the Champions League the players go into autopilot and coach themselves. Whose to say they won’t win a trophy this season ?

Will Conte last the season? Where will Chelsea finish this season? Leave your comments below and please share the post.

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Liverpool v Spurs preview

The title race may be over for now and Man Utd look like they will finish second, however just below them there is a fight for the final two Champions League spots. Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool are now in there own race as part of the big 6. Arsenal have acquired Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Ozil signed a new deal which should make them stronger going forward for the rest of the season. This weekend 4th and 5th placed teams will go head to head and try to inflict damage on a direct rival. Both teams have had disappointing recently but recovered in midweek to keep the pressure on Chelsea and United. One thing that is guaranteed from this game however is goals, Liverpool are the entertainers of the league and any game they are involved in has chances at either end.

A lot of frustration and anger has been voiced by Liverpool fans about their teams consistent inconsistencies. They ended City’s unbeaten run with a brilliant attacking performance but they almost lost it at the end. With the team on a high they then lost to bottom of the league Swansea where they struggled to create chances and conceded a sloppy goal. After two years in the job to see these type of performances against the weaker sides must be annoying the manager. That consistency in performances is what holds Liverpool back from competing for trophies. van Dijk can be excused for his first Premier League start but overall Klopp shouldn’t still be having problems with his keeper and backline. In midweek they were back to their best easily dismissing Huddersfield, but it’s what fans were expecting after losing at home in the F.A. cup.

Spurs have had a decent season the only problem for them has been that the two Manchester teams have dramatically improved. The standard at the top has improved and Spurs haven’t. Harry Kane has maintained his level but Delle Alli has struggled this season. They have had some injuries in midfield but at times they struggle for creativity. Teams give them a lot of respect and that is where at times they need an outball on the wing who can take on players. Against United however they were back to their best in particularly due to United being so bad. Dembele controlled the midfield and Kane bullied Jones. They overran United and attacked with pace the way theu can do when they are full of confidence. The addition ofLucas Moura will be a great addition for the team because he provides something which the current team is lacking, dribbling at pace and genuine width. He can be an outball that can counter attack or take on players when playing against deep defences.

Key matchup

Who is the best player on the pitch? Easily Kane. In the reverse fixture he was gifted opportunities and took them ruthlessly. He has scored 20 Premier League goals for the fourth season in a row so the myth that he is just on a hot streak can be thrown away. Even though he didn’t score in midweek he bullied the defence and played like a target man. So for van Dijk this is his first big test as a Liverpool player. As their new leader at the back he has to assert himself and bring that confidence in a defence which has lacked leadership. If he was to keep Kane quiet it would be a positive sign for the team and a big sigh of relief for the fans.

If there was a list of the top 5 players in the league right now Kane would be on it alongside Salah. He has surprised most people with how quickly he has adapted. The system Klopp has created has brought the best out of the attacking players and he has been the star man. At home if they press from the front like they did at City, they are capable of winning the game in 20 minutes. They have a very good record against Spurs apart from the game earlier this season.

Prediction – this is is going to be a close game, Liverpool can go three goals up and get caught back in just as quick time. At home it’s hard to beat Liverpool especially in a big game. After a disappointing couple of weeks, they should look to collect 3 points and try to open a gap on Spurs.

Liverpool 3-1

Who do you think will win? Salah or Kane? Who do you think will finish higher?

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Spurs v Man Utd preview

On transfer deadline expect a few big signings to be made at Arsenal and a couple of other teams. Unusually some big players have moved in the winter window. One of the transfers of the month should be making his debut in the league for his new club. Of course Sanchez is the most talked about transfer and he will be eager to make a positive start. This has the potential to be a great game at Wembley as Spurs will definetly have to go for the win. Currently sitting in 5th place, they are entering a make or break couple of weeks starting today they then have to play Liverpool and Arsenal. If they don’t take points against their rivals, they won’t be in the Champions League next season.

Are Spurs a worse team compared to last season? Well statistically they are 5 points worse off compared to last season. Most of those dropped points came at the start of the season when they dropped points at home to bottom half teams. The move to Wembley could’ve been a factor but being in the Champions League probably has affected their form domestically. Kane however has maintained his form and has over 20 goals for the fourth season in a row. They have also been disappointing against the other top 6 teams which has prevented them from competing at the top. It looks like they will add Lucas Moura from PSG which is a really good signing. One thing they miss in their team is a player who dribbles with the ball and takes players on and that is something which he can do at a high level.

The reverse fixture was a huge game for Mourinho and his squad. They were criticised by their own fans for the performance at Anfield and responded with an important win when Mourinho was under pressure from the media. The good thing for United this season is that they have improved, however their problem is that team in the sky blue shirts. They have been so good that all other rivals have been left in their shadows. Being so far behind City means that all they have to play for is finishing second and waiting for the Champions League to return.

Key matchup

It’s disappointing to hear that Pogba is injured, his absence makes United a much more functional team. In games like this he is most missed because they don’t have much creativity in midfield without him. It will be on Alexis on his debut to help create chances for the attack, with him and Martial on either side they have the ability to dribble and take on players. If they can do that Lukaku will have opportunities to go against the Spurs defenders and add to his goal tally.

On the other side of the pitch Herrera will probably replace Pogba and have to manage the threat of Eriksen. When he has space and is influencing the game Spurs are at their best especially at home. Alongside Matic he will have a difficult job trying to protect the back four and controlling possession. If they manage to limit Eriksen’s influence on the game it will stop the supply to Kane which is vitally important as those United defenders can’t manage Kane.

Prediction

This is an interesting game as both teams can’t afford to lose this right now. United are only 3 points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea. Spurs can win this game and close to the gap on the two spots above them. With Pogba being out against the top teams Man Utd are a completely different team. It’s hard to explain whether it’s due to management or if the players lack belief without him but the evidence is noticeable. However the addition of Sanchez should be a big boost of confidence for the team. This will probably be a low scoring game but not a boring game. Spurs will definetly go for it but Man Utd have solid organisation and a very physical team who have performed well against Spurs.

1-1 draw

Who do you think will win tonight? Will Spurs finish in the top 4? Leave your thoughts and comment below.

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Arsenal v Chelsea preview

So after weeks of speculation Arsenal have finally been put of their misery and lost their best player since van Persie who ironically left for the same team. More on that situation can be explained here. The upcoming game has been overshadowed by the transfer window and all the potential incomings for both teams. The Sanchez-less era begins here with the opportunity to get to another cup final. The first leg was a bit of a let down compared to the Premier League encounter last month but in a two legged affair this is understandable. Both teams were struggling for form at the time and things weren’t going well of the pitch for both teams. As of right now both teams are coming off great performances in the league.

Aside from the weird transfer rumours with anyone born in England that is over 6ft 3, Chelsea had a positive week advancing in the F.A. cup and comfortably beating Brighton away. The link up play between Willian, Batshuayi and Hazard was exciting to see for a team that has struggled for goals recently. It might be worth starting them together against Arsenal. Morata has struggled for form recently and it could be an opportunity to keep him out of the spotlight for a couple of games and get some rest. In his first season without a winter break he looks tired and lacking in confidence.

Arsenal have had a typical week off the pitch. Mayhem, confusion, and another attacking midfielder added. The Sanchez saga is over and fans can finally focus on the future of the team without him. They overcame a potentially difficult game easing past Palace at home and now have Mkhitaryan available to them. If he can regain his confidence, he is an upgrade on their current attacking midfielders apart from Ozil. This season they have performed well against Chelsea and that is mainly because they don’t have a striker who physically dominates Arsenal’s defence. Arsenal should attack Chelsea and go for the win. Although they haven’t conceded a lot of goals, Chelsea don’t have great individual defenders. With the new signing and potential advancement to the final, the fans should be going to the game trying to create an atmosphere to which will get an extra 10% out of the players. They were unlucky not to win the home game last month however they should enter the game as favourites. With Sanchez gone it is also the opportunity for Lacazette to take over as the face of the team and the focal attacking point for the club. He should be looking to perform in front of the fans and become the new hero for the fans.

Prediction- after a difficult week, this could be the start of a new beginning for a team which hasn’t had the best morale as of late. Hopefully for the fans, the players come together and put in regular performances to the end of the season. Arsenal have a slight advantage being at home and should be looking to be the aggressor. Wilshere has looked back to his best and with Mkhi and Ozil they could be in line to create a lot of opportunities for Lacazette.

Arsenal 2 – 1

Who do you think will win? Will Mkhitaryan be a success at Arsenal? Do Chelsea need another striker?

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Mkhi’s disappointing United career + potential Sanchez deal

Sometimes it just isn’t the right team or situation for players. When he was signed for £26 million everybody thought he was the perfect signing. Since Rooney’s decline in 2013 there has been barely any creativity or threat from the number 10 position. Mkhitaryan was seen as the player that had all the attributes to fill this demanding role in the Premier League.

A goalscoring threat, who can dribble, has speed and can create for others, he could’ve been a hybrid of Mata with more pace. In his last season at Dortmund he had 23 goals and 15 league assists. So it’s disappointing to see him struggle so badly to the point where Lingard has taken his place. It must be humbling for him to not even make the subs bench when he was one of the marquee signings for the club.

However in the two seasons he has been at the club he has failed to consistently perform. It all started out weirdly for him when he could hardly play a game at the start of last season. Then he had that horrendous first start in the Manchester derby where he was subbed of at half time. After that he was out of the team for a couple of months before returning and becoming a mainstay in the team for the rest of the season winning a couple of trophies. This season started of well for him but he majorly disappointed in big games which led to him being dropped. It’s hard to explain why it hasn’t worked out for him but it’s probably the right time for him to move on.

Mourinho has given him plenty of opportunities but he was consistently letting the team down giving the ball away and not being strong enough physically on the ball. Maybe the style of play hasn’t suited him and he hasn’t had that striker who he created a partnership with like Aubameyang. It has also been said by Mourinho and previous managers that he has a shy personality so it takes him time to adapt to new clubs. At this moment United don’t have time to waste waiting on players to perform. They have gone 5 years without a Premier League title and have not even been close to winning it. If the rumours are true about cash + player swap for Sanchez, then it should be done for both sides. Arsenal might be the perfect opportunity for him to revive his career in a system which will give him more freedom to showcase his skills.

The Alexis Sanchez situation is still unclear, why is he now going to United over City. If so where would he fit into the team. He is a world class player and if he does sign he must’ve been guaranteed a starting place. He plays best on the right hand side but can play in any forward position. He would probably play on the left hand side, rotating sides with Martial on the right wing during games. For United fans he is an proven attacking player in his prime that can be relied upon to deliver in big games which is something that hasn’t been the case this season. His situation at Arsenal has been looming over the club since the summer and at times Sanchez has looked disinterested but he still has been one of Arsenal’s best players. If he joins United he will get the chance to compete for trophies and return to the Champions League where a player of his talent deserves to be.

What do you think of the deal? Arsenal fans would you take Mkhitaryan? Who should Arsenal replace Sanchez with if he leaves?

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Liverpool v Man City – match preview

It’s a good thing there will be some football to talk about because the news on the transfer window is so tedious. Reporting on transfers that may or may not happen rather than the return of the league is sad but on Sunday there is another potential game of the season. Speaking of the transfer window van Dijk will be making his league debut hoping to show what an upgrade he is on his current team mates. City have only won 1 game at Anfield in the Premier League which is an amazing stat. 

Both teams are in good form and provided a great game earlier in the season until Mane was sent off. Liverpool have been active in the transfer window and even though they lost Coutinho they proved at the start of the season that they could be successful without him. They will be hoping Mane comes back into form and performs the way he did at the start of the season. Apart from missing Jesus, City have most of their starting 11 available including the team who played in midweek. 

So how do Liverpool beat City? Play exactly how they played in the reverse fixture. They were dominating City up until Mane was unfortunately sent off. They pressed City defenders and counter attacked with their wide players causing all sorts of problems. Apart from that game it’s hard to remember a time where they were really challenged defensively. It’s a testament to how good the City team are whereby they don’t really get exposed defensively even though individually they aren’t the best. If Liverpool get the ball out wide quickly to Salah and Mane they will cause any team problems. 

On the other side it will be the first big test for van Dijk as a Liverpool player. Playing against Aguero is certainly one of the harder tests you can be assigned but this what they signed him for. Defensively over the years they have shot themselves in foot with stupid mistakes which haa cost them a lot of points. Hopefully van Dijk will minimalise these mistakes and become A leader at the back which they have missed since Carragher retired. A lot of arguments have been made over whether the mistakes being made in Liverpool’s defence are individual or coaching problems which will be answered in the next few weeks. It’s important that they keep up their form and try open a gap between them and the two North London teams below them otherwise it will be hard to say they have progressed this season. 

Prediction- If you were to design a set of tactics and players to beat City you would probably create a team similar to Liverpool. Someone needs to be brave or stupid enough to think that they could go toe to toe with them. United refused to do it but Klopp will never set his team up like that. There is something to say about City’s away record at Anfield which is surprising they have played a lot of game recently. This may be the game which sees them lose their first game of the season.

Liverpool 2 – 1 Man City

Who do you think will win? Will City go unbeaten for the season? Will van Dijk be a successful signing?

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Coutinho’s next step towards superstardom 

It’s rare that such a big transfer happens in the January transfer window but this Coutinho situation was a bit overdue. £142 million though (God damn!!)… It’s hard to think why they held on to him in the summer only to sell him 4 months later. Maybe they wanted to send a message to the fans that they aren’t a selling club, the van Dijk deal didn’t go through at first or they genuinely thought they could keep him. However one thing has been made clear through all of this, their is a food chain in world football and Liverpool are a feeder club. They sit somehwere in the middle between the average teams and the biggest teams in the world. Players like Coutinho know how good they are but have nothing to show for it, finishing in the top 4 isn’t enough. A common theme for teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs.

First of all let’s talk about Coutinho and how good he is. After a stop start beginning to his career he has developed into one of the best players in the league. This season he has been world class already scoring 12 goals, as the focal creator in their attack which has been deadly. He is one of the main stars for Brazil and will be relied on to help his country at the World Cup. Moving to Barcelona, he is seen as the replacement for Iniesta which will be hard to say the least. Xavi and Iniesta together set a culture for the team for over a decade, with decrease of their influence on the whole team it’s been put upon Messi to set up and score the majority of goals. This was heightened when Neymar left last summer, now they have someone who create from deep and skip past players with ease. Playing with Messi, Suarez and Dembele he is going to cause havoc and allow Messi to save his energy for the end of the season. 

Now onto the bigger point with Liverpool and their standing in Europe. A lot of fans and media personalities have expressed disappointment that Coutinho left an “exciting project” to join Barcelona. What Liverpool aim to be Barcelona are right now, they win trophies and have the best players in the world. Klopp had an exciting project at Dortmund and still lost his best players to Bayern. Since Coutinho’s been at Liverpool the club has finished 7th, 2nd, 6th, 8th and 4th with no trophies. He isn’t English so he doesn’t see the draw of Liverpool the way the big La Liga teams do, add to that Liverpool ain’t the best team in England and it’s easy to see why he left. Liverpool as a club have been in the same situation for a while now where they are constantly rebuilding and that’s because they aren’t an established European powerhouse. The biggest teams in Europe always have the best players in the world in their prime. Ronaldo, Messi, Lewandowski, Buffon, Cavani to name a few are examples. Liverpool have had some of the best players in the world previously like Torres, Suarez and Alonso but where did they spend their mature prime years. Just like previously explained with Spurs who will go through this problem in the summer, if you aren’t spending money or winning trophies you are always likely to lose your best players. Man Utd managed to keep de Gea for this very reason when Madrid came knocking. Liverpool managed to sign a quality defender but sold one of their best players. That balancing out of signings is why they are constantly rebuilding and find it hard to compete for big trophies. So for any person this would be the next logical step for anyone trying to progress in their career.

If Coutinho were to stay at Liverpool what would his career look like 3 years from now. Probably what it looks like right now, a really good player with nothing to show for it. Now let’s visualise how he will do at Barcelona, his brand will grow, he will win trophies and be recognised for his talent more. These are factors that all players take into account when moving clubs, just like when van Dijk moved from Southampton to Liverpool. Liverpool used the same tactics Barcelona did to acquire their target. Overall this leaves Liverpool in the position they are use to as trying to replace their best players without the guarantee the replacement will be as good. The situation they are in doesn’t look like changing anytime soon until the owners sell up or there is a change in their approach to transfers. 

Do you think Coutinho is worth the money? Were Liverpool right to sell? Are Liverpool a big team?

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