Klopp & Liverpool: The Next Step?

Jurgen Klopp is about to enter his second full season in charge of the Merseyside giants.  The charismatic German arrived at the club back in October 2015 and it wasn’t long before he won the hearts of the Anfield faithful.  Like Jose, Arsene and Fergie he wasn’t the greatest of footballers in his day but took to management like a duck to water.

He began his managerial journey with his beloved Mainz 05 and worked wonders during his 7 year spell at Borussia Dortmund before arriving on the British Isles.

Even as somebody who doesn’t support Liverpool, it’s almost impossible to dislike the man, his charismatic press conferences and interviews often put a smile on my face and many others.

At the start of the 2016/17 season Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s primary objective would have been to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition – the UEFA champion’s league.  Job done, the reds finished the season in fourth place, a point clear of Arsenal.

As a neutral I admire Liverpool Football Club, they’re rich in history, ooze class and their European dominance in the past provided the platform that has seen the English top flight become one of the most desirable destinations for footballers all over the world.

Without doubt, the countries second biggest club but their failure to win the title since 1989/90 means they’ve been somewhat left behind.  Brendan and Luis came close but it was not to be.

Klopp has found a way of beating the leagues ‘bigger sides’ and Jurgen’s reds are just a few players away from mounting a serious title challenge.

Away wins at Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton combined with draws at Old Trafford and The Etihad were overshadowed by points dropped at home versus West Ham, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

Champion’s league participation will increase the strain on what I already believe to be a thin squad.  The Virgil Van Dijk saga continues to drag on and with the Red’s yet to make a marquee signing this summer how do you see them getting on?

The Race for the Title – You get what you pay for!

The transfer market has gone bananas.  Cast your mind back to 2006 and the sum of £38m could buy you one of the world’s most prolific strikers – Andriy Shevchenko.  Fast forward to the 2010/11 season and that kind of money would bring you…Andy Carroll!

The latest Premier League TV deals and an influx of wealthy foreign ownership have contributed to a transformation in the football landscape nobody could have foreseen.  July 2017, and the previously mentioned sum of £38m isn’t even enough to sign half of Romelu Lukaku.

The money men at City have spent in the region of £133m on full backs, Romans Chelsea have laid out a further £119m and the idea of FFP (Financial Fair Play) is beginning to seem like a fairy tale.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…You get what you pay for.

Arsenal smashed their transfer record this summer with the acquisition of French striker Alexander Lacazette.  The Gunners are known for keeping their cards close to their chest and although the fee was officially undisclosed it was believed to be around the £50m mark.

Having splashed the cash on Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi before him, the Gunners are still not competing financially with the likes of Manchester City, United and Chelsea.

To put it bluntly, the Arsenal specialize in second rate signings. The game’s elite players demand the kind of wages that would blow the Gunners wage structure apart.  The power is with the seller and Arsenal’s reluctance to be held to ransom and pay a premium means they’re being left behind.

The same can be said for Liverpool.  Another club who’s fan base are desperate for premier league success.  Ownership who seemingly won’t pay the top dollar and a manager who’s inability to defend will ultimately cost them.

Tottenham Hotspur have exceeded expectations for two seasons now, but that won’t continue.  The financial burden of a new stadium and the move to Wembley will see Mauricio Pochettino’s side struggle to compete on all fronts and I’ve yet to mention their lack of transfer activity.

Throughout recent history, with a few anomalies of course, there has been a clear correlation between the title winners and the most dominant in the transfer market.   The title race will be between the top 3 spenders and the sooner the Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs fans accept this, the better.

So you can rest assure, the Arsenal Fan TV melt downs will be back next season, the Spuds will end up heartbroken and the Scousers will still be talking about 2005!



Check out the latest episode of the SSN Podcast!

Steven Caldwell Interview

Steven Caldwell Interview

Our host Harry had the pleasure of talking to former #Newcastle, #Sunderland, #Burnley, #Toronto FC and #Scotland defender Steven #Caldwell.

We discussed…

> His fantastic playing career.
> What its like to move between two rival clubs.
> What its like to play for #Roy #Keane.
> The Play-off system.
> Why international football is ‘dead’.
> The rise of the #MLS.
> Stevens career after #Football.

This show was sponsored by DELTA PLUMBING.

Thank you to our partners:
– Shoot The Defence
– GreekBeat Radio
– The Mandem Podcast



Steven Caldwell Interview

Micky Hazard Interview

We had the pleasure of talking with Spurs legend Micky Hazard about his fantastic career. Micky spoke to us regarding his FA & UEFA cup triumphs, a play-off final win, promotion, some of the games current issues and his emotional farewell to White Hart Lane.
An absolute gentleman!

Thanks to our partners:
Shoot the Defence, FNX, Elite Editorial Services, Tagpay, GreekBeat Radio and Perfect Radio UK

Micky Hazard Interview

Transfer Rumors: Arsenal

The transfer window hasn’t officially opened yet but Gunners fans all over the world are already feeling frustrated.  Some things never change eh? 


The rumor mill continues to turn and the North London club has been linked with a whole host of players.  Here at sofasportsnews.com I’m going to take a quick look at the rumors in today’s papers and try to make at least some sense of it all…


Starting with those already at the club, its being reported that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have been offered a 20% pay rise to sign contract extensions at the Arsenal. 


Our two most talented players without doubt and whilst were all looking at potential arrivals i can’t help but think the priority should be preventing their departures. 


The club have made a point of saying that even if they fail to extend their contracts neither of them will be leaving the club this summer.  


We would all like to believe the powers that be at Arsenal would dig their heels in but in reality if a £50m bid for either man comes in from the likes of Bayern Munich with just 12 months remaining on the contract Stan Kroenke & co will make sure the deal is done. 


Chilean head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi says Alexis has not been distracted by the uncertainty surrounding his future. “We think he’s very happy, he’s giving his best like everyone else”. He also said that Alexis is already at one of the “best clubs in the world”. 


It’s hard to tell whether he believes that or if he’s trying to deflect the media frenzy elsewhere leading up to their Confederations Cup semi final vs Portugal. 


Another player linked with a move away, perhaps more surprisingly is Laurent Koscielny. Gazetto Dello Sport claim that cash rich AC Milan are interested in the Frenchman’s services. 


There doesn’t appear to be much headwind regarding this story so I wouldn’t panic just yet.


Do not fear, our over rated centre half will likely still be with us come the end of the transfer window.  Why would he leave a club where he’s exempt from any criticism or responsibilities?


AS Monaco attacker Thomas Lemar has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in a deal believed to be worth around £30m.  A positive signing no doubt, but with Arsenals track record of concluding deals I’m sceptical until he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt on the official website!


Finally, the deal you’ve all been talking about! Conflicting reports have come to light today regarding the potential transfer of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. 


David Ornstein of the BBC today claimed a deal worth around about £48m has been agreed and only minor details were holding up its completion. 


However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas does not think the striker will be leaving the club this summer.  


We just don’t know who to believe these days! 


When pressed on Lyon’s potential interest in Olivier Giroud, Aulas said they were certainly interested but things haven’t progressed.


That deal is dead. 



Twitter: @HarrySymeou

No Silva Lining For Hull City

Hull were condemned to an immediate return to Championship football next season after a 4-0 drubbing against relegation rivals Crystal Palace, and hopes of keeping hold of manager Marco Silva appear to have taken a blow.

Silva has shown in 4 months that he is one of European footballs bright young managers and his 6 wins in 17 gave Hull a fighting chance. The damage though was done before xmas and the shock home defeat to Sunderland earlier this months was enough to halt the momentum and send the tigers back towards the drop.

In Silva’s interview following their relegation, in and amongst talk of togetherness, he regularly spoke about ‘they’ and the club, rather than ‘we’ and ‘us’.

“The most important thing is for the club to understand what they did in a bad way, to prepare.

“You start to win or lose a season ahead one year in advance. I will give the board and the chairman my opinion, about what they need to do differently to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

All the signs point to Silva for looking for a different assignment next season and Hull City looking for a new man to try and steer them back in to the premier league.

Transfer Silly Season

Transfer Silly Season

The off season is bad enough at the best times. Worse this year as there is no international tournament, but you know what makes it even worse? Transfer silly season.

It’s started early this year at my club Tottenham. Firstly reports linking Pochettino to Inter, the same club linked the day before with Antonio Conte. Are either of those managers going to leave their current harmonious posts where they are unanimously loved  to join a side with no European football who played their last game in a half empty stadium? That’s Inter Milan to clarify in case you’ve confused that description with Arsenal.

Next one, today, get a load of this. One of our players linked away. The old cliches are used and the report which also includes “regarded highly by Europes Elite” and “The news that Barca are now in the hunt could frustrate rivals Real Madrid.” Who could it be? Kane, Alli, Alderweireld, Eriksen? Nope.

Moussa F***ing Sissoko. You can just imagine the devastation at the next Real Madrid transfer committee meeting at the thought that Barcelona could be about to poach this target from under their noses. Bale, Isco, Rodriguez, fist pumping with relief that their place in the squad will not be put under threat by the arrival of the guy who made 13 appearances for Spurs this season returning a massive zero goals.

If you’ve got nothing to write, make something up, and if you are making something up at least have the common decency to make it remotely realistic, people need to be kept busy somehow.

That’s the 2 pence…

Title won, Hull face the drop & the FA’s plans to make diving stop!

Harry is joined by sofasportsnews.com blogger Dan De Luca & Shoot the Defence host Stel. The lads discuss how the current Chelsea side compare to past champions, Spurs’ imminent move to Wembley, the Championship play off’s, the futures of Marco Silva, Walter Mazzari, Craig Shakespeare, The FA’s plans to introduce a punishment for diving and the usual European Round-up!

Follow us on twitter @sofasportsnews_ and join our Facebook group: The Football Fan Network – sofasportsnews.com

Arsenal & Sanchez Race For Gold

Arsenal and Sanchez’ Race For Gold

Alexis Sanchez bagged a second half double to seal a deserved win and ensure that they remain in the race for the last top four spot when the season culminates on Sunday afternoon.

The top four finish is still unlikely as it relies on a slip up by Liverpool at home to Middlesborough but that is not the only race to be decided at the Emirates on Sunday, and this one has its destiny under control.
Sanchez’ brace, his 4 goal in 3 league games hauled him to within 1 goal of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku.
Who fittingly are Arsenal’s opponents in the season finale.

The two hitmen square up with 23 & 24 goals respectively although home advantage and being in form, and something to play for, could well tip this one in Alexis Sanchez’ favour to at least share the award.

There could still be one more twist in the race as Tottenham’s Harry Kane sits just one further back on 22, although Tottenham have an extra game to play and arguably an easier final fixture. If Kane was to register a goal on Thursday night he could yet be involved in the golden boot shake up.

Lukaku – 24 – Arsenal (a)
Sanchez – 23 – Everton (h)
Kane – 22 – Leicester (a), Hull (a)

Who will finish Premier League Top Scorer?

Kante – history maker?

Long time leaders Chelsea finally secured the Premier League title last night with a 1-0 win away at West Brom.

There are no weaknesses in this Chelsea side but much of the plaudits have been levelled towards midfield powerhouse N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman was named Premier League Player Of The Year at the PFA awards ceremony last month.

In winning the title, Kante becomes the first outfield player to win back to back Premier League Titles for different clubs. Kante joins an elite list of now 9 players to have won the Premier League for two different clubs.

1-Henning Berg
First man to achieve the feat as part of Jack Walkers Blackburn revolution in 94/95, later winning the title twice for Manchester United, including the treble winning season of 1999

2-Nicolas Anelka
He’s played for so many Premier League sides this one may not be a surprise, but there was over a decade between his league triumph as a teenager for Arsenal in 97/98 and as a 30 year old for Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2010

3-Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole won two titles for Arsenal just after the turn of the century and added to the collection in 2010 following his acrimonious departure to Chelsea

4-Kolo Toure
Not just a good chant, he was one of the Arsenal invincibles in 2003/4, he then went on to win the title on the last day of the season in 2012 for Manchester City.
Kolo so nearly became the first and only man to win with three different clubs as part of Liverpool side that fell away in the final 3 games of 2013/14.

5-Gael Clichy
Probably one of the more surprising members of the club, but Gael Clichy has quietly picked up 3 League titles over the course of a decade. At Arsenal in 2004, he later became one of five players to switch North London for Eastlands in the following few years. He won two titles for Manchester City in 11/12 & 13/14.

6-Carlos Tevez
Probably the most controversial of the club having won the title for both Manchester Rivals. Tevez first won the league twice consecutively for Manchester United in 2007/08 & 08/09. Then, he was welcomed to Manchester and helped himself to a league title for the blue half of the city in 11/12.

7-Robert Huth
Huth was one of the experienced heads at the heart of Leicesters triumph in 15/16, and much of that experience was developed a decade earlier when he was part of Mourinho’s Chelsea squads that won the league in 04/05 & 05/06.

8-Mark Schwarzer
Kante may be the first outfield player to do it, but Aussie Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was in the Chelsea squad in 14/15 and the amazing Leicester squad of 15/16. He didn’t play a single minute of either league campaign though.
Should he be part of the club? Well, it’s tough for a reserve goalie to get a game, never mind a 3rd keeper. And all those long kicks back to the number one keeper on training have got to add up to something right?

9-N’Golo Kante
Absolute machine, deserved Player of the Year, and back to back premier league winner.

Antonio signs new West Ham Utd deal

Michael Antonio has given West Ham United and Slaven Bilic a welcome boost for next season by penning a new deal at the club.

The 27 year old winger who had been tentatively linked with other clubs in the media early in the season after another good campaign with the hammers, has laid any speculation to rest with a new 4 year deal.

Antonio was called up to Sam Allardyce’s first England squad and had enjoyed another fine goalscoring season, and tops the clubs scoring charts with 9 league goals, despite being out injured since the beginning of April.

The new deal will be welcome news to the West Ham supporters who have seen their club endure a difficult first season at the London Stadium.