During the enforced break from John’s regular column, English Premier League Predictions For Saturday, it is with great pleasure that we publish his head-to-head analysis of the last Liverpool league winning team versus the current crop who may or not be crowned champions in 2020! This is the most in-depth analysis you will find ANYWHERE on the net! There will be plenty more to come from John, as the hiatus continues, so check back regularly.
Bruce Grobbelaar v Alisson Becker
With 9-games left of this 2019/2020 season, it looked for all-purpose that Liverpool would become the 7th-different team to win the Premier League title after Manchester United, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Leicester.
At the moment, there’s no certainty as to how the league will finish, if at all but it would be tough on the Reds if they were not handed the title.
Liverpool are a massive 25-points ahead of Man City.
With 9-games left (City have 10), it would mean Liverpool have to lose all 9-games and City to win at least 9 of their 10-remaining fixtures to prevent Jurgen’s Boys from getting their 1st-Premier League title and their 1st Top Flight title since the 1989/90 First Division victory.
In EveryTip’s Liverpool All-Time Premier League Best Eleven which is still available to read, Bruce Grobbelaar got the nod between the sticks at Anfield.
Liverpool have had some great ‘keepers over the Premier League years with David James being the first in the new-look League.
David was brought in from Watford to fill Big Bruce’s gloves and although initially, it looked like Bruce wouldn’t play for Liverpool in the Top Flight, David’s wobble in confidence and form meant Bruce regained the gloves at Anfield, more in the 2nd-season.
Due to Grobbelaar being an iconic figure for a generation of football fans, whether Liverpool or not, Bruce had to be included in the All-Time Eleven.
Sander Westerveld, Brad Friedel, Jerzy Dudek, Pepe Reina and of late Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, have all tried to help secure a title and all failed.
Jurgen Klopp had already highlighted the goalkeeper as an essential position to fill along with acquiring the service of Virgil Van Dijk, to finally win the Premier League.
Big Jurgen thought that his fellow countryman Loris Karius was the answer, however, Loris wasn’t up to scratch and Liverpool were never going to win anything with Karius between the sticks.
Back in the 1989/90 season, Bruce Grobbelaar played in all 38-games of the old First Division, which at the time, the division only had 20-teams, as of today, however, in the 1990/91 season, only 2-teams were relegated with 4-sides promoted from the 2nd Division, meaning the 1991/92 campaign was played over 42-games, as was the inaugural Premier League.
In the 1994/95 season, the League was reduced back down to 20, with 4-teams relegated and only 2-teams promoted, which one can only assume, that at the time, caused a few arguments and disagreements.
In the 1989/90 season, Liverpool won the title a year after the emotional incident at Hillsborough.
Bruce’s story was highlighted in the previous EveryTip column, so can be read from there and no real point going over in this particular piece.
It’s fair to say though that for a football fan of a certain age, Bruce was idolised for his charismatic displays, not only at Liverpool but for Southampton as well, in the Premier League.
Taking over from the great Ray Clemence, Bruce had big gloves to fill but it’s without doubt, that Grobbs did just that, playing 310-consecutive games, for almost 5-years, following his debut in 1981.
Bruce Grobbelaar helped Liverpool win the 1984-European Cup with his famous spaghetti legs and was instrumental in stopping the game against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough when he realised the horror of what was happening metres away from him.
After the incident, Bruce along with most of his fellow Championship winners attended the funerals of the 96 that sadly lost their lives in the tragedy.
Grobbelaar played in all of the league games in the 1989/90 season as well as 3-League Cup fixtures, the opening Charity Shield match and another 8-FA Cup games where Liverpool reached the Semi-Final.
Surprisingly they were knocked out of that competition, suffering a 4-3 defeat against Crystal Palace.
A total of 50-games for Big Bruce.
In a Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park in September 1993, there was a famous incident between Big Bruce and Shaggy.
Shaggy being Steve McManaman. Following Steve’s failure to clear a corner, Everton’s Mark Ward scored the 1st in a 2-0 victory against the Reds.
Grobbelaar wasn’t happy and punches were exchanged between Bruce and Steve, well slaps really, Tyson Fury has nothing to worry about.
The on-field bust-up between the 2-Anfield legends was borne out of a tremendous passion for the game and both wanting not to lose, especially against the Toffees.
Whilst there have been some great goalkeepers at Liverpool over the 30-years, Alisson Becker is the one that will hopefully be the next ‘keeper after Big Brucey to get his gloves on the coveted Top Flight title.
Back at the beginning of the 2018/19 season, after Liverpool had just been beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, Jurgen went and paid Roma, a staggering £60 Million for the services of the Brazilian stopper, Alisson Becker.
As not to get him confused with his legendary German cousin, the tennis player Boris, the big goalkeeper prefers to be called Alisson.
Understandable, why would someone want to use a famous surname when they can be known more by a girls name?
Probably the first thing to mention about Alisson is, the Big Brazilian wasn’t even born when Bruce Grobbelaar was lifting the last Top Flight trophy Liverpool achieved.
That actually goes for most of the players.
Alisson doesn’t turn 28 until October of this year, some folk have Jeans in their wardrobe older than Alisson.
But for the current global situation, Alisson would have been a Premier League winner aged 27.
Bruce Grobbelaar was a Top Flight winner aged just 24, winning the first of his 6-Titles in 1981/82.
Coincidentally both Bruce and Alisson have October birthdays, though were born 35-years apart.
Alisson arrived at Anfield, following a couple of seasons at Roma, where he established himself as the Number 1.
Prior to arriving in Italy, Alisson played in his native Brazil with Sport Club Internacional, where his performances helped him gain a move over to Roma, then onto Liverpool.
Man City, have themselves a Brazilian stopper, with Ederson competing with the Liverpool Number 1, for the gloves of the National team, however, at the moment, Alisson is getting more game time and should look to be between the sticks for Brazil when football reconvenes.
What’s probably the slight difference between the two great Liverpool goalkeepers, is Alisson has only played 20-Premier League games this season through injury and just 28 in total, which includes 5-Champions League fixtures.
Last season, Alisson played 51-games in total, made up of 38-Premier League games and 13-Champions League fixtures, culminating in the Champions League victory against Tottenham.
It’s fair to say that over the last 50-years or so from Ray Clemence, who established himself in the first team in January 1970, this EveryTip contributor remembers it well as a 4-month old football fanatic, through Bruce Grobbelaar’s time, now with Alisson Becker, Liverpool have had some great goalkeepers.
Glenn Hysen v Trent Alexander-Arnold
There were a few Right-Backs to include from the 1989/90 Liverpool title-winning team, one being Steve ‘Tammy‘ Nicol, who played 21-league games throughout the season.
Due to him being included in the EveryTip Liverpool All-Time Premier League Best Eleven, a couple of weeks back, Glenn Hysen got the nod.
Glenn was actually more of a Centre-Back but having played in 35 of the 38 league games, had to be included, however, the 2-Centre-Backs in this particular piece, have also got to be included, so Glenn gets shifted to the Full-Back position.
To be fair to Tammy Nicol, Steve could be included in any one of the 4-defenders or 4-midfielders, as was the ability of Stevie Nicol.
For those of a certain age, Glenn will be remembered, not for his golden locks or jet black hair but Glenn’s distinguished Grey barnet.
Signed at the start of the 1989/90 season from Fiorentina, Ice-man Hysen made his debut in the Charity Shield.
For the youngsters, the Charity Shield is the equivalent of today’s Community Shield which takes place at the beginning of the new campaign between the previous season’s League winners and the FA Cup winners.
Arsenal famously pipped Liverpool for the 1988/89 title and with Liverpool beating their Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup, Glenn made his debut for the Reds against Arsenal at Wembley putting in a Man of the Match display.
It’s rumoured that Glenn had agreed to sign for Alex Ferguson but reneged on the deal and joined the Anfield outfit.
Sir Alex then turned to Ayresome Park and signed Gary Pallister.
Each Christmas, Glenn gets a nice bottle of Champagne in a parcel with a Middlesbrough postmark on it but to this day, the Ice-Man has no idea who it’s from.
After the initial performance on his debut against Arsenal and a subsequent first-goal a month later against Crystal Palace, Glenn quickly became a fan’s favourite at Anfield and won the title in his 1st year.
The goal scored being the 8th, in a 9-0 thrashing of the Eagles, where Liverpool had 8-different individual scorers that day.
That wasn’t the Swede’s first taste of honours.
Early in Glenn’s career at IFK Gothenburg, Hysen won the UEFA Cup with his hometown club, beating the German side Hamburg by a 4-0 scoreline.
Ice-Man Hysen only spent 3-seasons at Liverpool amassing 72-League games and after the brilliant title-winning campaign in 1989/90, didn’t really feature many more times due to injury and a change in management.
After Kenny Dalglish had left Anfield, Graham Souness took over, who, it’s fair to say, wasn’t a fan of the Swede.
It happens, one mans Barry Venison is another mans, Nicky Tanner.
Glenn Hysen, aka George Clooney, is worthy of a place in the starting eleven and is fondly remembered on Merseyside.
Whilst the 1989/90 Liverpool Right-Back could be filled by several players, the 2019/20 version has only one name (well 3-names actually), Trent Alexander-Arnold.
In the Anfield dressing room, the defender is known affectionately by 2-nicknames, either Trent Double-A or Terence Trent D’Arby, due to the uncanny resemblance between the two and the fact that Trent hails from West Derby on Merseyside.
In the 1980s the English Pop Charts had the pleasure of the American artist, Terence Trent D’Arby who had several hits, which both Liverpool and the youngster used at the beginning of Trent’s career.
After impressing in the youth team, Liverpool asked Trent Double-A to ‘Sign Your Name’ on a contract to which the little fella replied, I will
‘If You Let Me Stay’.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has the distinction of playing in not only one Champions League Final but two.
Trent was the youngest Liverpool player to start in a Champions League Final when he played against Real Madrid in May 2018.
Whilst the game ended in defeat for Liverpool and Trent, it gave the catalyst for T-Double-A to kick-on for the 2018/2019 season.
His performances for Liverpool, helped the Reds run Pep’s High Flying City to within a point of the Premier League Title.
Plus helping Liverpool return to the Final of the Champions League where they beat Tottenham by a 2-0 scoreline to secure their 6th European Cup and Trent’s first after the heartache of the previous year.
The Anfield faithful have taken young Terence Trent D’Arby to their hearts and prior to this current situation, the youngster would have joined up with the England National team to take part in Euro’2020.
Trent’s delivery of a free kick or cross is up there with David Beckham, creating chances galore not only for the Fab-3 of Liverpool but the front 3 of the Three Lions, making him the number-1 choice in the Right-Back slot for both Liverpool and England.
Trent Alexander Arnold is definitely taking advantage of the ‘Wishing Well’, wishing that the Premier League reconvenes soon, so Liverpool can get their hands on the title that Mr Hysen has already got in his cabinet.
Steve Staunton v Andrew Robertson
Probably 2-players that span the 30-years for the Reds that are very similar in styles and not too difficult a choice to put in this 22-man squad.
At the beginning of the 1989/90 season, Steve Staunton, aged just 20, was slowly establishing himself in the Liverpool side and played 18-league games over the campaign sharing his game time at the back with Barry Venison and David Burrows.
Both Barry and David played slightly more times than Steve but Stan, as he was affectionately known, makes this squad, due to his overall career having enjoyed 2-separate stints at Liverpool.
Steve is 5th on the all-time leading appearances for the Republic of Ireland with 102-Caps, being the first to achieve the century mark.
What Staunton would probably want to forget is his time as the Republic of Ireland manager in 2006.
Whilst a great honour in becoming the boss of his national team, Stan had a topsy-turvy time that resulted in the Greens failing to qualify for the Euro’2008 in Austria and Switzerland, which meant the end of his tenure in charge.
As well as turning out for Liverpool in the old First Division, Stan returned to Anfield in 1998 and competed for the Reds in the Premier League, also having the honour of matching the great Bruce Grobbelaar, by playing in goal for Liverpool, when Sander Westerveld was sent off against Everton.
Having made all 3-substitutions at the time, Steve took the gloves and although Liverpool lost that particular game by a 1-0 scoreline, the goal was scored early on, so Stan kept a clean sheet in his 15-minutes of goalkeeping fame.
Barry Venison and David Burrows were worthy rivals to Steve with all-three playing a vital role in helping Liverpool win their last Top Flight title so all should be respected and given a mention, however, Stan the Man gets the shirt, with Barry and David warming up on the sidelines ready if an injury occurs.
Andrew Robertson’s pathway to becoming a Premier League champion-elect is poles-apart from his fellow Full-Back on the right.
Trent Double-A started life at Liverpool as a 6-year old, in comparison to Andy, who as a 6-year old, was used as a chimney sweep up in Glasgow.
That’s obviously just a bit of fun but what it’s meant to imply is that Andy’s pathway to the top is much more diverse than Trent’s.
Having initially started his career at Celtic, it was thought that Andy wasn’t good enough to make it as a professional footballer, again as is a common theme, being deemed too small.
Andy then joined Queens Park, who are not the London based Championship side but a famous part-time team from Glasgow, who for a long time have had the luxury of playing their home games at Hampden Park.
When Andy joined Queens Park in 2012, as an 18-year old it wasn’t a certainty that the youngster would make it.
The performances put in by Andy for Queens Park, who at the time, were in the Scottish 4th-tier and still are, quickly got him a reputation as a decent Left-Back and the ‘big boys‘ came calling.
The ‘big boys’ being Dundee United.
The SPL is often light-heartedly known as the Scottish Pub League, just a bit of fun Rod, imagine what the 4th-Tier of Scottish football is light-heartedly known as?
Dundee United came calling and signed Robbo in 2013.
There wasn’t a transfer fee as such as a number of players regularly left Queens Park and joined other clubs for nothing but a knock-on transfer clause was included in the contract.
In 2013, Andrew Robertson was valued at approximately £70,000.
The current valuation for Andy, if Liverpool felt like cashing in, is approximately £72 Million.
Again, after a couple of great seasons with Dundee United and the Scottish National team, the ‘big boys’ came calling, the ‘big boys’ this time being Hull City.
Although Hull have slipped out of the Premier League and don’t look like returning anytime soon, they were a Top Flight club when Andy signed at the start of the 2014/15 season.
Unfortunately, Hull City, including Andrew Robertson, were relegated in Andy’s 1st-season and although Robbo is now considered a top-notch Premier League player, the Scot played 1-full season in the Championship for the Tigers, helping them gain promotion straight back to the Top Flight via a 1-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday in the 2016 Play-Off final at Wembley.
After another season back in the Premier League, Hull City were once again relegated, yet this time Andy didn’t follow them into the Championship with Jurgen Klopp signing the 23-year old for £8.5 Million.
The real ‘big boys’ had finally come calling.
Robbo took a while to get up to Jurgen’s speed but once he had understood his role, Andy has quickly established himself a the best Left-Back in not only England but the World.
Like Trent earlier, Andy played in the 2018 Champions League final, unfortunately suffering heartache losing the final by a 3-1 scoreline against Real Madrid.
A year later, 10-years after being discarded by Celtic, the little fella won the European Champions League with Liverpool, defeating Tottenham 2-0 in the 2019 final.
As of today, Andrew Robertson is ranked Number-32 out of every single Professional Footballer in the World.
Ranked Number-14 out of all the Premier League Footballers.
Ranked Number-7, in the Liverpool Squad and Ranked the Number-1 player in Scotland and the Number-1 Left-Back in the World.
Robbo is in a list of World Class players that were born in 1994 and is ranked 4th out of the Top-25 of them.
Not bad for a little lad who started off at a Scottish part-time outfit.
Top-25 Players Born in 1994.
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Saul Ñíguez
4. Andrew Robertson
5. Aymeric Laporte
7. Bruno Fernandes
8. Memphis Depay
9. Inaki Williams
10. John Stones
11. Joao Cancelo
12. Sebastian Haller
13. Mateo Kovacic
14. Kepa Arrizabalaga
15. Arkadiusz Milik
16. Lucas Ocampos
17. Piotr Zielinski
18. Marcel Sabitzer
19. Joaquin Correa
20. Federico Bernardeschi
21. Victor Lindelöf
22. Kurt Zouma
23. Benjamin Mendy
24. Jordan Pickford
25. Mathias Ginter
Alan Hansen v Virgil Van Dijk
Rolls Royce, that’s the first thing that’s springs to mind, when these two players are mentioned.
Alan Hansen is the original Silver Shadow who graced the Anfield turf for over a decade.
The older generation, who as kids, collected the Panini stickers when they were affordable and not £13 quid for 5, remember Alan in that Red and Yellow strip of Partick Thistle.
After his performances were spotted by Bob Paisley back in 1977, Alan headed South to Merseyside and joined the Anfield club at the end of the 1976/77 season.
Whilst not playing every week in the opening season, due to the Central Defensive partnership of Phil Thompson and Emlyn Hughes.
Big Al had the honour of playing in the 1977 European Cup final where Liverpool beat Club Bruges by a 1-0 scoreline at Wembley, Kenny Dalglish with the solitary goal.
Sir Kenny came down from Scotland at the same time as Alan and along with the third Jock in the team, Graham Souness, nicknamed his Al ‘Jockey’.
Mr Hansen, played initially in a Liverpool team that had Ray Clemence, Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, Ray Kennedy, Phil Thompson, Jimmy Case, Graham Souness, Terry McDermott, David Johnson and Kenny Dalglish and won 8-Top Flight League titles, the 1st in Alan’s 2nd-season at Anfield, culminating in the 1989/90 First Division Crown.
Along with the titles, Jockey won the FA Cup twice, coincidentally both against the Blue half of Merseyside. However, Alan, was the unfortunate Reds skipper when Wimbledon upset the odds and beat Liverpool by a 1-0 scoreline in the 1988 final.
Hansen got his hands on 3-League Cups, a Super Cup and a remarkable 3-European Cup triumphs.
Liverpool won the 1981/82 League Cup but Alan didn’t play in the final.
In the Quarter-Final that season, Liverpool, including the Silver Shadow, were held at Anfield by Barnsley FC, who got a great 0-0 draw.
It’s rumoured that the Barnsley players, ran Alan ragged that night and took so much out of Jockey in the game and the subsequent replay at Oakwell, that he couldn’t play in the final, due to exhaustion.
A lot of players are lauded nowadays for winning the European Cup, Jockey Hansen won 3 of them.
Alan also played in the ill-fated 1985 final against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium.
As with most of the Liverpool squad in the 1989/90 Championship winning side, Alan was in the team that played against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough in April 1989.
What’s probably not known is this was Hansen’s first game back in the side following a 9-months lay-off due to a knee injury.
Within minutes, the euphoria of starting a game of football after such a long period on the sidelines quickly turned to disaster.
Alan Hansen attended many of the funerals of the 96-that sadly lost their lives in the Hillsborough incident and should always be afforded tremendous respect for such action as with the whole of the Liverpool establishment.
The final game of the First title-winning season in April 1990, was also Alan’s final game for Liverpool after an illustrious career.
A fitting end to Jockey’s time on Merseyside.
If a question was asked about the original Rolls Royce’s International career, a lot would probably get it wrong, so here goes.
How many Scotland caps did Alan Hansen receive?
Answer at the end.
If Alan Hansen is the original Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Virgil Van Dyke is the new look Rolls Royce Cullinan.
The best defender of a generation, quite simply.
Although Dutch, Big Virgil actually followed Jockey down to England from Scotland, however, was diverted to the South Coast for a couple of years before settling in Merseyside.
Virgil Van Dijk was the missing component in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side that had knocked on the door of the Premier League title but couldn’t get in.
Jurgen had assembled a great squad but was missing a couple of key players, one a top-notch goalkeeper and Virgil Van Dijk.
The Liverpool hierarchy pursued Big Virgil for most of the summer of 2017, however, were unable to get the Transfer over the line with numerous £50 Million plus bids, being rebuffed by Southampton, which meant that Jurgen had to wait 6-months before their new colossus arrived at Liverpool in the 2018 January Transfer Window.
This was significant for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp as they had finally signed the player that they so dearly needed.
Within 5-months of Virgil Van Dijk signing for Liverpool, for a Transfer Fee of £75 Million, Liverpool reached the European Champions League Final but despite the inclusion of Big Van, couldn’t beat Real Madrid.
Jurgen then brought in Boris’s cousin to play in goal thus enabling Liverpool to push on in the 2018/19 season.
With Alisson, Virgil and the rest of the current squad, the Reds got their hands on a 6th-European Cup, with victory over Tottenham in Madrid.
All connected with Liverpool are now on tenterhooks with regards to the future of the current 2019/2020 Premier League season, all hoping that the season reconvenes and Virgil and the rest finally get their hands on the coveted Premier League title.
What’s probably forgotten about
Virgil’s early career is that Big Van Dijk ended up in the same City as where Alan Hansen was born.
The Big Dutch defender arrived in Glasgow, Scotland in June 2013, signed by the Celtic manager Neil Lennon who was the lucky one that got Big Virgil’s signature.
Within 5-minutes of seeing Virgil train with his new Celtic team-mates, Neil pulled Virgil to one-side and said,
‘Just enjoy your time here son, because you’re not going to be here long.’
For everyone concerned with Liverpool, the Premier League has to reconvene after this Coronavirus situation and it will be fitting for Virgil Van Dijk to match Alan Hansen and become a Premier League winner.
Since starting his career in 2011, Virgil has 33-caps for Holland.
A question was asked earlier about how many caps Alan Hansen earned for Scotland, throughout his career, that started at Partick Thistle in 1974 and finished at Liverpool in 1990.
Kenny Dalglish has 102-Caps, Jim Leighton-91 and the current Captain of Scotland and Big Virgil’s team-mate Andy Robertson has already 34.
Alan Hansen earned just 26-International caps for Scotland, which is simply remarkable.
In EveryTip’s 10 Interesting Premier League Records & Statistics, the column mentioned some of the reasons why Alan wasn’t particularly a favourite of certain Scotland managers, however, with the individual honours Alan received, it’s a shame for the Tartan Army that they didn’t get to see Alan in the famous Scottish jersey more than the 26-times.
The Oranges won’t have that problem with Virgil Van Dijk.
Gary Ablett v Joel Matip
There were a couple of defenders to include to partner Alan Hansen and Virgil Van Dijk in both eras, Gary Gillespie for the 90s and Dejan Lovran and Joe Gomez for the 20s but it was fitting to include Gary Ablett in the 1989/90s First Division winning team.
Gary could easily play in any position in the Back-Line and is a true legend on Merseyside, not only playing 7-seasons with the Reds but also 4-seasons with Everton, amassing a combined total of 237-League appearances, with slightly more in the Blue jersey.
Gary won the FA Cup with Liverpool in 1989, against the Toffees, then went on to win another FA Cup medal with Everton in 1995.
The Blues beat Manchester United in the final, through a solitary Paul Rideout goal, giving Gary the distinction of being the only player to win an FA Cup winners medal with both Merseyside clubs.
Although Gary was a regular in the Left-Back slot, for the 1988/89 season that saw Liverpool, lose out on the title, by virtue of a last-minute Michael Thomas goal, Gary was in and out of the team the following year, in Liverpool’s First Division title-winning campaign.
With players such as David Burrows, Steve Staunton and Glen Hysen all competing for the Left-Back position, Kenny Dalglish used Gary’s all-round defensive ability in the heart of the defence to give Ablett sufficient game time.
The 1989/90 title victory was Gary’s 2nd, following the 1987/88 win achieved by Liverpool and considering the Reds were pipped in the season in between on goal difference, it wasn’t a bad 3-years for Gary.
In January 1992, midway through the final First Division season before the inaugural Premier League started, Gary left Anfield and drove the short distance over to Goodison Park, where he played 128-times in the league for Everton, the majority as a Premier League defender.
The strange anomaly to that move was that Gary was actually a regular again in the Liverpool 1st-team under Graham Souness, whereas was used sparingly under Kenny Dalglish.
However, Graham decided to cash in and sold Ablett to the Merseyside rivals for a fee of about £700,000.
After retiring from Football, Gary took up coaching and on one occasion, was interviewed by Rafa Benitez for the role of Liverpool reserve coach.
After being grilled by Rafa for over an hour, Ablett was given the job.
Prior to becoming the Liverpool reserve gaffer, Gary had been a coach with the Everton youths, so once again was crossing the divide.
Gary Ablett sadly passed away on New Year’s Day in 2012, aged just 46-years old.
The footballing faithful of Merseyside both Red and Blue will always have a place in their hearts for Mr Ablett.
Rest In Peace Gary.
Joel Matip gets in ahead of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovran purely down to the fact that Liverpool look a better side with Joel at the side of Virgo then when Dejan is.
Joe Gomez, will become a top-rated Centre-Back and as actually appeared more times than Joel but some of those appearances have been at Righ-Back and for the time being as not yet established himself as the Number-1 partner to Big Virgil.
What Joel Matip needs to work on is his fitness and to play at the top level more times.
Dejan has also played more times than Joel in this season’s Premier League but if anyone is in doubt as to why Mr Lovran doesn’t make this team, check out the recent game against Watford where Liverpool suffered a 3-0 defeat and the chance to go throughout the season unbeaten was gone.
Not necessarily all down to the Croatian but it’s fair to say that he’d had better games and Big Virgil was tearing his dreadlocks out.
It’s noticeable that Dejan didn’t feature in any of the squads after the disastrous game at Vicarage Rd.
Born exactly a month after Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip is now 28-years old and it’s plain to see that there is a clearer understanding between the two, that shows Virgil is constantly talking to Joel, throughout the game and the defence seems calmer.
It appears from the outside that Dejan, being older than Virgil, doesn’t want to take the advice of the younger Centre-Back.
Joel was born in Germany but has played his International football with Cameroon amassing 27-Caps for the Lions, however, in 2015, aged just 24, Joel decided to retire from International football stating differences with the running of the National team.
As already stated, Joe Gomez could easily have made this team and in a couple of years time, depending on how football operates in the future, Joe would more than likely be Jurgen’s first choice to start at the side of Virgil.
At the moment it’s increasingly unlikely that football will return anytime soon and when it does, games will probably be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
Joe is only 23, so definitely has time on his side and is a class player that simply has to keep watching and learning from Virgil Van Dijk, where he won’t go far wrong.
What is for certain is that Virgil, Joe, Joel, Dejan or any of the Liverpool squad are literally within touching distance of getting their hands on the Premier League trophy.
Jan Molby v Jordan Henderson
The legend that is Jan Molby just had to be in this team.
For any of the FIFA’20 generation, there probably isn’t a footballer that PlayStation or Nintendo have remastered onto the game that can truly represent Jan.
Jan was idolised by so many including, at the time, a certain 20-year old football fanatic.
Jan was named as a substitute in EveryTip’s Liverpool’s All-Time Premier League Best Eleven and would have made the starting line-up if not for the fact that Molby’s best days were behind him post-1990.
If given an interview after a game, most unsure who Jan was would just assume the lad was a born and bred Scouser, as was his brilliant dialect.
In truth, Big Jan is from Denmark but spoke like a true Liverpudlian.
It was an utmost privilege that in 1995, Jan Molby graced the hallowed turf of Oakwell, appearing 5-times on loan for Barnsley FC, giving one fan the chance to see Big Jan, up close and personal.
Although the big fella was, well shall one say politely, carrying a bit of timber, the Danish Scouser was still head and shoulders (and belly) above everyone else.
For the younger viewers, imagine a rather rotund figure controlling the game in midfield.
If Jan had a GPS tracking vest on, the manufacturer would assume that Molby’s was broken.
The Danish superstar instantly knew where the ball would be going before he had received a pass.
Sitting in the middle of the park, spreading the ball all over, with limited movement, would result in a modern-day coach, tearing their hair out.
Jan wasn’t in the team to track back and tackle, Jan provided assists and kept possession with calmness whilst all around him seemed to be losing control.
Jan Molby also knew how to take a penalty and seldom missed a spot-kick.
In the 45-taken, Molby converted 42 of them, only surpassed by Steven Gerrard in recent years.
It’s without a doubt that Steven was a better all-round footballer than Jan but the Dane has 3-First Division winner’s medal in his cabinet, 1985/86, 1987/88 and 1989/90 along with a couple of FA Cups, one in 1985/86 against Everton and one in 1991/92 against Sunderland.
As well as the 2-winners medals, Jan came on as a substitute in the defeat against Wimbledon in 1988, then wasn’t included in the 1989 final against Everton.
As with all of the triumphant 1990 Championship winning side, Molby helped out the families of the 96 that died at Hillsborough and attended some of the funerals and congregations.
In a fixture against Arsenal back in January 1992, this EveryTip contributor had a cheeky little fiver on Jan scoring the first goal at 6/1 and another fiver on Liverpool winning 2-0, at 11/1.
When Liverpool were awarded a penalty right on the half-time, the lad knew that his first bet was up.
When the game finished 2-0 in favour of the Reds, his 2nd-bet was in the bag, a cool £85 in the pocket, however, because this youth wasn’t an experienced gambler, he did the bet as 2-singles and not a Double, which would have trousered him a lot more dollar, lesson learned!
Still, £85 was a lot in 1992 and took the lad out for a couple of nights (remember when the pubs were open?) and bought the girls a few Dubonnet and Cokes.
Cheers Big Jan, all the best.
For some unknown reason, there are still detractors out there in the Footballing World, that think Jordan Henderson isn’t a good player.
To become the Captain of Liverpool is no mean achievement and then occasionally Captain the England National team in the absence of Harry Kane means that Jordan is highly respected by both Jurgen Klopp and Gareth Southgate.
Jordan made his debut for his hometown club Sunderland back in 2008, aged just 18, making just over 70-appearances for the Black Cats.
Hendo has tremendous energy and covers every blade of grass, however, his running style was criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson, who rarely gets things wrong (Djemba-Djemba!), prior to Jordan signing for Liverpool in 2011 and wasn’t considered good enough to join Manchester United.
How many United fans now, 9-years later, would like the Sunderland youth at Old Trafford?
As this is a tipping site, giving predictions, a prediction now, would be that there would be quite a few Manc’s that’s would disagree with Sir Alex.
For some reason, Sir Alex had reservations over Jordan because in Fergie’s own word,
‘We noticed that Henderson runs from his knees, with a straight back, whilst the modern footballer runs from his hips.
We thought his gait might cause him problems later in his career’
His gait, by the way, is
‘a persons manner of walking’.
These words were taken from Sir Alex’s Autobiography back in 2013, which is well worth a read.
Especially his thoughts on Andy Carroll and Stuart Downing, however, the Big Scott had a ‘Kleberson’ moment, with his overview on Jay Spearing.
It does seem a strange thing to look at but if Jordan is watched, it is correct, however, it doesn’t have appeared to have held him back.
In 2019, Jordan became the 5th, Liverpool Captain to get his hands on the European Cup when the Reds defeated Tottenham in the final in Madrid.
Most will say ‘5th?’ Liverpool have won the European Cup 6-time’s!
Correct but Emlyn Hughes lifted both the 1977 and 1978 Cup, with Phil Thompson lifting the trophy in 1981 and Graham Souness in 1984.
Stevie G got his hands on the 2005 trophy, leaving Jordan Henderson with the honour of being the 5th, last season.
Following that brilliant 6th European Cup victory, Liverpool then won their 1st-ever World Club Cup, defeating Flamengo by a single Roberto Firmino goal in December 2019.
Another trophy that Hendo had to lift and made sure that he bent his knees as not to hurt his back or upset Sir Alex.
Whilst he has often faced unfair criticism throughout his career, it is clear that Henderson is now absolutely invaluable to this Liverpool team, both for his ability as a player and his leadership on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Whilst Jordan Henderson is paired with Jan Molby in this column, both are worlds apart in their lifestyles.
It’s highly unlikely that Jordan would spend time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, which is just what Jan the Man did back in late 1988.
It’s fair to say that Big Hendo is a better driver than Big Molbs.
Respect J and J!
John Barnes v Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
In the 1989/90 First Division title-winning season, John Barnes was Liverpool’s leading goal scorer with 22-goals.
The goal tally from Barnes is quite remarkable considering that John wasn’t the main striker, Ian Rush was, in fact, Rush, the Reds goal machine played in 2-more games throughout the campaign, then John.
Throughout the season, JB played 35 of the 38 league fixtures racking up the goals.
A month after the title victory, John headed out to Italy and joined up with England for Italia’90.
In EveryTip’s Liverpool All-Time Premier League Best Eleven, John made the team and it was detailed about Barnes in the 1986 World Cup.
In 1990, Sir Bobby Robson picked John in all-3 of the initial Group Games against the Republic of Ireland (1-1), Holland (0-0) and Egypt (1-0)).
In the Last-16, against Belgium, John lasted 73-minutes before being replaced by Steve Bull, who at the time was playing in the 3rd-tier of English football for Wolves.
After David Platt scored the winner in the 119th-minute, that sent the whole of England wild, the Three Lions were in the Quarter-Finals.
John Barnes started the game against Cameroon, however only lasted the 1st-half and was replaced due to injury, that may have proved pivotal later, in the game against Germany.
Unfortunately, although England eventually beat Cameroon, with a couple of Gary Lineker penalties, Barnes was ruled out of the Semi-Final against the Germans and as everyone knows, England lost in a penalty shoot-out.
What might have been if JB had been able to supply the firepower for Gary against Germany?
John Barnes never really got to showcase his talent on the European stage in his prime, due to the ban imposed on English teams following the Heysel tragedy.
After the ban was lifted, John did play a few games in the UEFA Cup for Liverpool as well as the Champions League whilst at Newcastle but it’s fair to say that the European football fans would have liked to see JB in the late 1980s and early 90s.
One of John’s most iconic moments not only from Italia’90 but throughout his career actually didn’t take place on the pitch but in the recording studio.
The old England World Cup tunes usually were just the 23-players, stood in front of the Top of the Pops cameras, with Big Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles singing, mostly out of tune about being,
Or Bryan Robson and Kevin Keegan involved in Ron’s 22.
‘This time, more than any other time, this time, we’re going to find a way’
After a few dodgy tunes, as well as dodgy perms, the 1990 World Cup song was taken to another level, with the original Manc group New Order joining forces with Keith Allen to produce ‘World in Motion’ which, in the words of Tina Turner, is simply the best.
The tune itself is top-notch, however, is enhanced in the middle when John Barnes does his now legendary rap.
‘You’ve got to hold or give but do it at the right time, you can be slow or fast but you must get to the line,
They’ll always hit you and hurt you
Defend and attack
There’s only one way to beat them, get round the back
Catch me if you can cause I’m the England man and what you’re looking at is the master plan
We ain’t no hooligans
This ain’t a football song
Three lions on my chest
I know we can’t go wrong’
‘We’re playing for England,
En-ger-land, we’re playing the song’
At the time, maybe JB didn’t know how much the rap would take off but 30-years later, it’s still going strong, even making an appearance on the popular BBC programme, Gavin and Stacey.
We’re playing for England-
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as to be included in the Liverpool 2020 team for a number of reasons.
The first being a tenuous link between John Barnes and himself.
In 1985, JB scored one of his and England’s greatest goals at the Maracana in Brazil, taking on the whole of the Brazilian defence and slotting the ball, with his Right-Foot, past the goalie.
What’s probably not known is that Alex’s dad, Mark Chamberlain, played alongside John in the Maracana, that afternoon in June 1984.
For the YouTube youths, type in John Barnes Brazil Goal, simply outstanding!
Alex made his debut for his 1st-club, Southampton back in 2010, aged just 17.
Most will think that this was a remarkable achievement to play in the Premier League aged 17, however, at the time, Southampton weren’t in the Top Flight, not even the Championship, the Saints were actually in League One, the 3rd-Tier of the English pyramid.
After just a season, it was time for the Premier League, with a host of clubs after OC’s signature.
A few years earlier, Theo Walcott made the move from Southampton to Arsenal at a similar age to Alex, so maybe that was a deciding factor in the youngster heading to the Emirates, for a fee in the region of about £14 Million.
Between 2011 and 2017, Alex made just 198 appearances in all competitions, for the Gunners, which is simply not enough for a young footballer, an average of just 33-games per-season.
As a 20-year old, a top-class footballer, which is what Alex is, should be playing 40-50 games a season.
Injury, as been a big factor, in the lack of appearances and Alex has been unlucky, which is a real shame for the lad and a real shame for the football fans who are missing out on seeing him showcase his talent.
Without delving into the boys’ private life, the Ox is Little Mixing it up with his girlfriend Perrie Edwards, let’s hope Alex is a bit deaf, the last thing a Liverpool player needs at the minute, waiting impatiently for the season to reconvene, is listening to Perrie and her mates warbling on Spotify.
New Order is a better choice, however, it’s unlikely the Liverpool boys would be singing Blue Monday.
Prior to the lockdown, OC was getting a run of games in the Liverpool team, scoring the odd goal and more than likely would have added to the 35-England Caps at this years Euro’2020.
Whilst his Liverpool career has been blighted with another set of injuries, Alex has a European Champions League winners medal in his cabinet, however, only as an unused substitute in the 2-0 victory against Tottenham, not seeing game-time.
In the follow-up UEFA Super Cup, Alex started and played the 1st-half but got his hands on a winners medal following the penalty shootout victory against Chelsea.
In Liverpool’s first World Club Cup triumph in December 2019, the Ox again started and lasted slightly longer, with Jurgen taking Alex off with 15-minutes of normal time to go.
Roberto Firmino scored the solitary winner against Flamengo, meaning another medal to go in OCs cabinet, along with his League One Runners-up medal from his Southampton days.
Alex’s dad, Mark was a top-class winger too, gaining 8-Caps for England and many at the time, had Mark up there with John Barnes, with JB just getting the nod.
Although Mark played in the old First Division with Stoke and Sheffield Wednesday, he never got the chance to play in the Premier League.
As well as having a dad as a top-flight footballer, Alex also has an Uncle that was an exceptional player in his time.
Neville Chamberlain, Mark’s brother, also played at Port Vale and Stoke.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly has the football gene running through his veins.
Liverpool certainly have the World in Motion.
Ronnie Whelan v James Milner
Ronnie Whelan didn’t even make the bench in EveryTip’s Liverpool All-Time Premier League Best Eleven and most must have been screaming at the IPad’s thinking, rightly that Ronnie is up there with the best of them.
The simple reason for the omission is, although, Ronnie Whelan did play in the Premier League for Liverpool, making 40-appearances from 1992-94, Ronalds best days were behind him and should be complimented more for his accomplishments achieved in the old First Division.
Mr Whelan signed for Liverpool, just shy of his 18th-birthday in September 1979 but had to wait until April 1981 to finally make his debut, even scoring a goal.
In the same month, Ronnie also made his International debut for the Republic of Ireland.
With his last appearance for the Reds in the final game of the 1993/94 season, it meant Ronnie had spent 13-seasons as a regular Liverpool player, racking up a total of 493-games, with 362 of those being league fixtures.
The Liverpool Eleven on Ronnie’s debut, included Ray Clemence, Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish, Sammy Lee, Terry McDermott, Jimmy Case and Ian Rush.
Part of the squad at the time was Ray Kennedy, a left-sided player.
At the end of the 1980/81 season, Ray departed Anfield, allowing Ronnie to fill that position.
On his final appearance in 1994, the Liverpool team consisted of David James, Rob Jones, Julian Dicks, Steve Nicol, Neil Ruddock, Don Hutchinson, John Barnes, Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush.
After Ray Kennedy’s departure to Swansea, Ronnie got a regular run in the team that clinched the 1981/82 First Division title.
Liverpool and Whelan followed that up by winning 5 out of the next 8-Division One titles.
1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86, 1987/88 and the final one in 1989/90, as well as winning the League Cup in 1982, 1983 and 1984.
Now an established player, Ronnie was in the starting eleven for Liverpool’s triumphant European Cup victory in Rome in 1984, where the Reds beat Roma on penalties.
One of the substitutes that day in May 1984, that replaced Kenny Dalglish in extra-time, was Michael Robinson, who fittingly received a European Cup winners medal for the 26-minutes or so on the pitch.
In an EveryTip column a couple of weeks back, entitled 10 Interesting English Premier League Records & Statistics, published on the 25th of April, it was mentioned that Michael Robinson played for Brighton in a 4-1 defeat against Barnsley FC in the League Cup in 1981, prior to his subsequent move to the Anfield club and his European Cup victory.
Michael had a great game that night but unfortunately, the rest of the Seagulls couldn’t match his performance and Barnsley got an easy victory.
Coincidentally, after Barnsley had beaten Brighton, the Reds of Oakwell eventually took on Liverpool in the Quarter-Final and got a great 0-0 draw at Anfield against a Liverpool side that included Ronnie Whelan.
On the 27th of April 2020, it was sadly announced that Michael had unfortunately passed away in Madrid where the former striker had made his home.
One thing is for certain, that 26-minutes in Rome back in 1984 had a better outcome than the 90-minutes played at Oakwell in 1981.
Rest in Peace Mr Robinson!
Like a number of players, Ronnie Whelan was involved in the two tragic events that besieged the Reds in the 1980s.
After the euphoria of winning the 1984 European Cup, Ronnie and his Liverpool teammates headed to Belgium to defend the trophy a year later against Juventus.
The Heysel Stadium disaster ensued which sadly left 39-football fans dead.
The final still took place, with Juve running out 1-0 winners, although, despite the tragic events, that far outweighed the result, Juventus were wrongly awarded a penalty when the foul committed was clearly outside of the area.
Four years later, Mr Whelan was Captain of Liverpool for the FA Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough and along with the rest of the team, should be afforded tremendous respect for the way the players and staff at Liverpool conducted themselves in helping the families that sadly lost relatives.
As well as a stellar career at Anfield, Ronnie played 53-times for the Greens and as mentioned, made his debut in the same month as making his Liverpool bow.
Whelan was part of the Republic of Ireland team that famously beat England at Euro’88 in West Germany.
In the following game against eventual finalists, the USSR, Ronnie scored a beauty in the 1-1 draw against the Russian’s.
It’s worth pointing out that it was in West Germany as, at the time, the Berlin Wall was still up and split the country that we now are accustomed to.
It’s also worth pointing out that an England team that included Peter Shilton, Tony Adams, Kenny Sansom, Gary Stevens, Mark Wright, Bryan Robson, Chris Waddle, Glenn Hoddle, John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Gary Lineker, managed by Sir Bobby Robson didn’t get a point in the 3-Group games and scored just 2-goals.
Two years later, the majority of that team, still under Sir Bobby, reached the Semi-Final of the World Cup.
At the same tournament in Italy, the Republic of Ireland took on England again, however, this time England managed a draw by a 1-1 scoreline and this time, Ronnie wasn’t even part of the team.
Although part of the squad, Jack Charlton only picked Whelan once in ‘94, giving him half an hour in the group game against Holland.
Jack followed that up in 1994, at the World Cup in America giving Ronnie just 15-minutes against Norway.
Whilst not given many games by Big Jack, Ron was at 2-World Cup Finals, something not achieved by many players.
Throughout his career, Ronnie Whelan will always be remembered as an all-time favourite by the Anfield faithful and his record speaks for itself.
The removal guys wince, when Big Ron moves home, as the trophy cabinet causes a few bad backs when lifted.
It’s probably fitting to match Ronnie Whelan with the up-to-date version of Ronnie Whelan, James Milner.
Whilst, James hasn’t been at Liverpool for as long as Ronnie, Jim has put in the same kind of performances that Ron was famed for.
Wayne Rooney was the youngest Premier League goalscorer when he scored his famous goal for Everton against Arsenal back in October 2002, 5-days before Wayne’s 17th-birthday.
James Milner is 2-months younger than Wayne and whilst at Leeds United, scored a goal against Sunderland on Boxing Day in 2002, which made him, by a mere 4-days, the youngest Premier League goalscorer, taking the short-lived record that Wayne had held for a couple of months.
A year after signing a 5-year contract at Leeds in 2003, James was signed by or sold to Newcastle United for a fee of about £3.5 Million, following Leeds United’s relegation at the end of the 2003/04 season.
After a loan spell at Aston Villa, Villa took Milner on a permanent deal, paying around £13 Million for Jim’s services.
His performances lead to a move to Man City in 2010, again another large fee was paid in the region of £26 Million, giving Milner a 5-year contract at the Etihad.
Following the move to City, the trophies started to arrive at James 2-Bedroom-Semi, where he won the Premier League in 2011/12 and 2013/14 plus the FA Cup in 2010/11 and the League Cup in 2013/14.
Milner joined Liverpool at the start of the 2015/16, on a free transfer after his contract at City had run out and Pep thought him surplus to requirements.
Although a favourite of Jurgen Klopp who relies on Jimbo’s tremendous professionalism, it was actually Brendan Rodgers who brought him to Anfield.
After a total of £42 Million spent on transfer fees for James, Liverpool got the experienced player for nothing.
Although Liverpool look set to eventually win their 1st-ever Premier League title, Jimbo is the only one out of the team that has a medal already, albeit with City.
However, Jim has achieved something that Man City haven’t and that is become a Champions League winner, getting the last half-hour of the 2018/19 final against Tottenham.
James actually started the previous season’s Champions League defeat against Real Madrid, so has bittersweet memories of the top European competition.
As with the rest of the Liverpool Champions League winners, Milner followed that up by winning the Super Cup against Chelsea and the World Club Cup against Flamengo.
With the ability to play in any position, even as a goalkeeper, James Milner is not only one of the best players at Liverpool but is one of the best players that have graced the Premier League and it will be fitting for him to win the Premier League Crown, with 2-different clubs, in the twilight of a tremendous career.
Steve McMahon v Roberto Firmino
For this final midfield position, Steve McMahon is paired up with one of Jurgen’s Fab-3, due to Klipperty having a slightly different system to that of Kenny’s.
Macca played 37-times in the Championship-winning side, pitching in with 1-goal, to help the Reds seal the crown.
Out of all the 1989/90 team, there was only Bruce Grobbelaar that played more times than Macca.
Steve would almost certainly agree that he wasn’t the most prolific of goalscorer’s and was more of a creator than a finisher.
When McMahon made his Liverpool debut in September 1985, Steve wasn’t a youngster and had turned 24, having already been at 2-other clubs prior to the Reds, notedly starting his career for the Blue side of Merseyside, then moving on to Aston Villa.
Steve played a total of 204 times for Liverpool culminating in his final season in 1991/92, prior to the Premier League starting.
At Liverpool, Steve won the First Division title 3-times in 1985/86, 1987/88 and the 1989/90, plus the FA Cup in 1985/86 and 1988/89.
Liverpool were beaten in the 1987/88 FA Cup final, losing against Wimbledon by a 1-0 scoreline.
A famous defeat for the Reds that it was rumoured was won by Wimbledon in the Wembley tunnel.
Steve was a renowned combative midfielder who was considered a hard-man of the day, however, a photo of Macca with a mullet, dampens down that.
Another legendary hard-man, Vinnie Jones played mind games with Steve as the two walked out and within seconds of the kick-off hammered the Liverpool player in the first exchange between the two.
It’s commonly agreed that Vinnie stopped Macca that day, resulting in the victory for the Dons.
Bob Paisley always thought that if Steve played well, Liverpool played well, stop Macca, it stops Liverpool.
After the success of winning the 1989/90 First Division title, Bobby Robson included McMahon in the England World Cup squad that reached the Semi-Finals.
Macca got 20-minutes against the Republic of Ireland in the opener, was an unused substitute in the game against the Holland, before playing the full 90-minutes in the final Group match against Egypt.
In the Last 16-fixture against Belgium, Steve started but was substituted in the 71st-minute, significantly being replaced by David Platt, who went on to score the last gasp winner to secure a place in the Quarter-Final.
Macca was left on the bench against Cameroon and then the subsequent Semi-Final.
Bobby Robson kindly let McMahon start in the none event 3rd/4th place Play-Off against Italy, the most pointless game of the tournament.
Cheers, Sir Bobby!
Another great player in the 1989/90 title-winning Liverpool team was Ray Houghton and it was a toss-up as to who to include, Ray or Steve, with Steve getting the nod on appearances, as Ray only played 18-times in that particular season.
Mr Houghton should be included in the same print as all the other legends of the Liverpool team having played all of the 38-league games in the 1988/89 season so if Steve pulls a hammy, Ray is ready to step into this side.
On a side note, that links in well with Ray Houghton, Ray went on to play for the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup in America in 1994, scoring a memorable goal against Italy in the opening game, giving Ireland a 1-0 victory against the eventual finalists.
At the 1994 World Cup, the South American country Columbia took part under a back-drop of corruption.
Following disastrous displays in 2 of the 3-Group games, Columbia were eliminated from the tournament, unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story, just the beginning.
In the fixture against the hosts USA, the Columbian Captain Andres Escobar scored an own-goal.
Disappointing for him and his teammates but what followed defies sporting logic.
Columbia were eliminated from the tournament after losing against Romania and the USA and finishing bottom of the Group.
Columbia did actually win the final game, defeating Switzerland by a 2-0 scoreline, however, the losses against Romania and the USA were enough to leave them bottom and send them home.
The defeat against the hosts and the subsequent own goal by Escobar didn’t go down well with the Columbian public and on returning home, Andres Escobar sadly lost his life, after being shot dead in his car outside a local bar in Medellin.
A truly horrific event.
Andres Escobar is remembered fondly, by not only the Columbian football fraternity but also football fan’s worldwide and is mentioned as an introduction to one of many Eric Cantona autobiographical books.
Rest in Peace Andres Escobar.
‘Si Sen’or, give the ball to Bobby and he will score’.
That’s the affectionate song that the Liverpool faithful sing about their Brazilian idol.
That’s Portuguese by the way, not Spanish.
Roberto Firmino found his way to Merseyside via Germany, where Bobby played for Hoffenheim.
During his time in Germany, the goals didn’t actually flow that much, averaging roughly 1 in every 4-games, not exactly prolific but on watching Roberto, he’s much more than a goalscorer.
Bearing in mind, Bobby F was only 21-years old when he came across the Atlantic from Brazil and landed in Germany.
The rawness of youth was allowed to flourish in the 4-seasons at Hoffenheim, where his talent came to the attention of Liverpool.
Now, most will assume that with Roberto playing in Germany and Jurgen Klopp being German, that it was Klipperty’s scouts that spotted Firmino and brought him over to Merseyside.
A great story, however, incorrect, as it was actually Brendan Rodgers that signed Bobby at the beginning of the 2015/16 season, for a fee of around £22 Million.
A lot of dollars but then Brendan went and bought Christian Benteke for £32 Million a couple of weeks later, so Roberto Firmino’s fee looks like peanuts now compared to the fee paid for Christian.
The Brazilian does score goals but also is a brilliant team player and works extremely hard in assisting his fellow frontmen of Mo Salah and Sadio Mané, although Sadio sometimes gets annoyed if Bobby favours Mo more.
Prior to the shutdown of the Premier League, Roberto had 8-goals with almost as many assists.
In the 2017/18 European Champions League final, Bobby played the full game against Real Madrid but couldn’t influence the Reds and ultimately ended up with a losers medal.
A year later, Roberto wiped out the defeat against Madrid by being part of the triumphant Liverpool team, playing just short of an hour in the Champions League victory over Tottenham.
Si Sen’or, give the ball to Bobby and he will assist too.
Just like he did in the Super Cup final against Chelsea when in the 1st-half Liverpool couldn’t break down the Blues and went in at the interval trailing 1-0.
Jurgen introduced Roberto at half-time and within minutes of the restart set up Sadio Mané for the Reds equaliser.
His solitary goal back in December 2019, earned Liverpool the World Club Cup, defeating Flamengo.
In the 2018/19 season, Bobby F weighed in with a solid 12-goals, 15 in 2017/18, 11 in 2016/17 and 10 on his debut season at Anfield.
A total of 56 in 166 Premier League games (up to now) which is just short of 1 in 3.
Considering the way Roberto compliments the team, Jurgen Klopp must be extremely happy with Brendan for bringing Firmino to Liverpool.
Keep on smiling Bobby F, you’re a credit to the Premier League.
Ian Rush v Mo Salah
Earlier, in Ronnie Whelan’s opening and closing Liverpool Eleven, spanning 13-years, there was one player that featured in both teams, the legend that is Ian Rush.
What’s missing from that is, Ian had a years sabbatical in Italy when he left Liverpool in 1987 to join Juventus for a fee of £3 Million.
Rush didn’t settle in Italy, famously saying that it ‘was like living in a foreign country’ although Ian now obviously disputes ever saying that, which he would really considering how daft it sounds.
Due to the Italian style of defending, known as the ‘Catenaccio‘, Rushy only managed 8-goals so was back in Liverpool quicker than drinking a glass of milk.
Prior to leaving Anfield for the trip to Italy, Rushy had a remarkable phenomenon that was, since breaking into the 1st-team in 1980, whenever he found the back of the net, which he did in 144-games, Liverpool never lost.
That phenomenon lasted right up until the League Cup final in 1987, when after scoring the 1st-goal against Arsenal, Liverpool went on to lose the game by a 2-1 scoreline, thus ending Ian Rush’s record of never losing if he had scored.
Ian started at Anfield in 1980 and won the First Division title in 1981/82, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1985/86 and the final one in 1989/90, although missed out on the 1987/88 title, due the year in the foreign country.
Ian won the FA Cup in 1986 and 1989, both against Everton, scoring twice in ‘86 and twice in ‘89, the 2nd ultimately being the winner, as well as winning the League Cup in 1981, 1982 (scoring), 1983, 1984 and then 11-years later in 1995 having the honour of being the Captain and lifting the trophy.
In 1984, now an established player, Ian, along with Bruce Grobbelaar and Ronnie Whelan, was in the starting eleven for Liverpool’s triumphant European Cup victory in Rome, where the Reds beat Roma on penalties, Rushy converting the 4th spot-kick.
Ian Rush scored 229-First Division and Premier League goals in 469-league appearances for the Reds.
The majority of Ian’s career was prior to the Premier League’s inauguration, yet Rush did play in 166-Premier League games from 1992-1998, of which, 130-were with the Reds, scoring 45-times in the 130-games.
Ian Rush’s record in a Liverpool shirt is simply outstanding and still holds the all-time leading goalscorer record at Anfield with a career total of 346 from 660-games in all-competitions, 6th in the all-time Liverpool appearance list.
Rushy also likes a glass of milk.
Accrington Stanley, who are they?
It’s extremely doubtful that Mo Salah will play anywhere near as many games for Liverpool then Ian Rush did, however, Mo’s goal scoring record at Anfield is currently on a par with Rushy’s being the Reds player to reach 50-goals the quickest.
Prior to the shutdown of the Premier League, Salah had just scored his 70th league goal in his 100th appearance, which is a goal every 1.4 games.
Hypothetically, that would mean, if Salah played the same 469-league games as Ian and continued at the same rate, Mo would have 330-league goals.
Everyone knows that football is not hypothetical and there are so many things to take into account but what the stats do show is, firstly Ian Rush’s goal ratio is outstanding and Mo just has to continue in the same way he has been doing in these last 3-season’s.
All three of the Liverpool front line are the same age and would have all been in the same class at School if living in the same country.
Bobby F is the older of the 3, turning 28 in October 2019.
Sadio is next, reaching 28 in April 2020 whilst Mo is the baby of the 3, not reaching 28 until June 2020.
It would be a great story if the Fab-3, were all chosen by Jurgen because they are all the same age.
Unfortunately, although a great story, as mentioned earlier, Brendan Rodgers bought Roberto Firmino, and Sadio came in a year later.
Mo was purchased because he scores goals.
The age may be a factor but it is pure luck that the 3 of them are all 28.
Mo Salah has the same trophies as the others, the 2019 Champions League, scoring a penalty after just a few minutes, the Super Cup converting the last of the 5-spot-kicks in the shootout and the World Club Cup.
Like the others, Mo is waiting patiently to add a Premier League winners medal to his stash.
Salah has 16-goals up to now in this season’s Premier League.
Last season, the Egyptian was joint top-scorer with 22-goals, the same as his Liverpool teammate Sadio and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Mo topped the charts on his own in 2017/18, notching 32-times, which is a Premier League record.
Andy Cole did score 34-goals in the 1993/94 season as did Alan Shearer a year later, however, both played in a 42-game season, whereas Mo’s is over 38-games.
Whilst speaking in his native Egyptian language, Salah was heard to have said,
‘I’d a smashed another 10-goals in lar if I had 4-extra games like Andrew and Alan’
What is, without doubt, is Liverpool have had some great goalscorer’s over the years, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen are up there with Rushy and Salah.
Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing.
Peter Beardsley v Sadio Mane
In the 1989/90 season, Kenny Dalglish played a traditional 4-4-2 formation with Peter Beardsley playing just off Ian Rush and the usual 4-midfielders so Pete is paired up with one of Jurgen’s Fab-3, due to Klipperty having a slightly different system to that of Kenny’s.
However, in 1989, probably Kenny was ahead of his time, as Peter Beardsley wasn’t an out-and-out striker but more of a Number-10 that floated between the lines, similar to Sadio Mané, which is a huge compliment to both players.
When Peter Beardsley is in any team it’s without a doubt that he will enhance it.
What’s probably not commonly known about little Pete, is that he is a Manchester United legend.
Well, for 6-months anyway.
In his early playing days, Peter was signed by Ron Atkinson but failed to make the grade at Old Trafford.
The Major League Soccer or MLS where David Beckham has just set up his Inter Miami team has seen several players such as Robbie Keane, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Liam Ridgewell, Steven Gerrard and of course Becks himself, cross the pond to play and is quite a well known set up now.
Before the MLS, there was the North American Soccer League, NASL, set up in the late 1960s and was a forerunner to the league that is known now.
A number of old-timers ended their careers playing for clubs such as the New York Cosmos, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Fort Lauderdale Strikers or Los Angeles Aztecs.
The old-timers being Pele, Carlos Alberto, Alan Ball, Sir Gordon Banks, Sir Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Roberto Bettega, Johan Neeskins, Johan Cruff, Kazimierz Deyna, Eusebio, Peter Lorimer and George Best.
All great players but all past their sell-by date.
Most headed to the NASL at the end of their careers to get a fist full of dollars and rightly so.
However, what’s not commonly known is that a few youngsters starting out their careers were sent over to play.
Talksport legend Alan Brazil went over in 1978, aged 18 and played with Detroit Express,
Trevor Francis joined him at Detroit, aged 24, scoring goals for fun before his famous £1 Million move to Nottingham Forest.
As a youngster and football fanatic, the NASL was often shown in snippets on a Saturday on World of Sport or Saint and Greavsie.
One of the innovations that seemed to pass everyone by but was quite fun, was, instead of having a penalty shootout that is common today, the Yanks introduced a 35-yard one-on-one, where the player got the chance to dribble the ball, starting 35-yards out and had 5-seconds to try and beat the goalkeeper who could come out and try and stop the player.
As a 10-year old, this was brilliant.
The Yanks didn’t like draws!
Saint and Greavsie once got the now President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, to do the 1991/92 Rumbelows League Cup Quarter-Final draw.
After Jimmy Greaves had drawn out Leeds United, old Donald drew out Manchester United, however, the future President didn’t have a clue to the significance of the tie between the 2-clubs.
The Red Devil’s went on to win the Cup with all the players receiving a colour TV instead of a medal, however, had to give them all back 12-months later as they were only rented.
Obviously, President Trump, living nowhere near Old Trafford, is a United fan, standard.
It’s worth checking YouTube out to see George Best’s goal, playing for the San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale.
Whilst the Lauderdale players were probably McDonald’s employees or FedEx Drivers, the goal is still up there with the best from George who was way past his best.
After the goal, instead of celebrating, all George wanted to do was berate the referee who had allowed a Lauderdale goal to stand when it clearly shouldn’t have, George wasn’t happy.
Another player sent out to America was Peter Beardsley, aged just 17, who joined up with Vancouver Whitecaps, however, unlike Alan Brazil and Trevor Francis who’d just gone over as a jolly, Vancouver actually paid Peter’s then club, Carlisle United, £275,000.
The legendary Leeds United player from the 1970s, Johnny Giles was boss at the Whitecaps, who had his mates from Elland Rd, Peter Lorimer and Terry Yorath, join him.
Whilst at Vancouver, Beardsley’s Manchester United career started.
Back in the summer of 1982, United were on an end of season tour (jolly!)
and took on Peter’s Vancouver.
Beardo scored after just 13-seconds against the Red Devil’s then made it 3-0 later in the game.
Imagine what the odds would have been for Vancouver Whitecaps to beat Manchester United by a 3-0 scoreline, 100/1 maybe?
Manchester United’s manager at the time was the enigmatic Ron Atkinson, who took Peter to one side and said ‘you fancy playing at Old Trafford?’
Peter jumped at the chance, however, 6-months later, Pete was heading back to Canada.
The deal struck between United and Vancouver was an initial £250,000 fee, which would be made up to £500,000 if United signed Beardsley permanently.
Ron didn’t really give Pete a chance and wasn’t prepared to pay a further £250 Grand for his services, so Pete was back on the plane to Canada and another season in the NASL.
Move on 5-years to 1987 and Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool came calling after Beardsley’s time at his hometown club Newcastle.
Joining the Reds at the same time as John Barnes, imagine that nowadays, it would be like signing, John Barnes and Peter Beardsley!
Peter lasted just 4-seasons at Anfield but to say the 4 were eventful is an understatement.
His first season ended with a title medal, however, lost against Wimbledon in the FA Cup final.
The 2nd-season, Liverpool and Pete missed out on the Division One title on goal difference to Arsenal but got his hands on an FA Cup medal when Liverpool beat Everton in the final.
Peter Beardsley, like most of the Reds of that season, was involved at Hillsborough and did what was needed after the tragic events.
Peter added a 2nd-Top Flight title victory a year later, playing 29 of the 38 league games, scoring 10-goals.
In total Beardsley played 131 league games for Liverpool, scoring a total of 46-goals.
After failing to retain their title, Peter left Anfield and travelled the short distance over to Everton, a move that didn’t appease everyone.
Graham Souness, now the Liverpool boss, simply didn’t fancy Beardsley and had brought in his mate Dean Saunders.
At the time, there weren’t many players that had transferred between the 2-Merseyside clubs, Steve McMahon had gone from Everton to Liverpool but did that via Aston Villa, Everton legend Kevin Sheedy, started as a youngster at Anfield but didn’t make the grade.
A few had done it but most were youngsters, there wasn’t a high profile player, that had crossed the divide and certainly not for the £1 Million Everton paid.
After Peter’s move to Goodison Park, Gary Ablett followed him a couple of months later for £750,000.
It was unlikely that Peter would be found staggering out of a Liverpool nightclub and Pete never caused anyone any problems as a player, however, did get himself into hot water whilst trying to forge out a Coaching career.
That said, Peter Beardsley should be afforded tremendous respect for his playing career and certainly his time at Anfield.
If the FIFA’20 brigade want to match the graphics of Peter Beardsley on their computer screens, then just insert Sadio Mané and you have the perfect comparison.
The fact that the 2-greats both play for the Reds is just an added extra.
Sadio is Peter 30-years later, both have tremendous energy, both use either left or right foot, a quality that not all professionals have and both chip in with the odd wonder goal, chip being the operative word.
Along with the majority of the current squad, Sadio played in the 2017/18 losing Champions League final against Real Madrid and then the subsequent 2018/19 Champions League victory against Tottenham.
Mane scored Liverpool’s goal in the 3-1 defeat against Madrid and was instrumental in gaining a penalty in the opening minutes of the game against Tottenham, casually kicking the ball against Moussa Sissoko’s hand.
In the Super Cup final against Chelsea, Mane scored twice to earn the Reds a draw against the Blues. Sadio’s 2nd-goal was in extra-time but then Mane was taken off so didn’t take a penalty in the shootout but got a winners medal following Liverpool’s 5-4 victory.
As with Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and the rest, Sadio won the World Club Cup in December 2019.
Also, as with Mo, Roberto and the boys, it’s just a matter of time before they get their hands on the Premier League title.
Sadio signed for Liverpool a year after Roberto in the summer of 2016, joining the Reds for a reported fee of £34 Million, from Southampton.
Joining Bobby F and Philippe Coutinho but not Mo Salah who was still in Italy.
Sadio scored 13-Premier League goals in his 1st-season at Anfield, 10 in his 2nd, then was joint leading scorer a year later with 22-goals, along with his mate Mo and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Up to now, Sads (he is when Bobby F, doesn’t pass to him) has 14 in the bank, 2-behind Mo Salah, so will be hoping the season reconvenes pretty soon to add to that tally.
Sadio has just turned 28, so as plenty of seasons left in him, both for Liverpool and his National team Senegal, where he should feature in the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Out of the players that are compared in this Liverpool 1990/2020, Peter Beardsley and Sadio Mane are on a par with Alan Hansen and Virgil Van Dijk as like-for-like.
This is not necessarily about like-for-like players but it’s fitting to have some that are alike spanning the 30-years.
Bruce and Alisson are poles apart in terms of styles but both exceptional goalkeepers in their own right.
Glenn and Trent, again different but both worthy of a title-winning medal, as with Steve and Andy.
Gary is a legend that Joel may not be able to match, whilst Alan and Virgil are Rolls Royce’s.
Jan talks Scouse better than Jordan and John and Alex share the same mates.
Ronnie and James are the grafters.
Steve and Roberto are as different as chalk and cheese but both give their all wearing the Red Jersey.
Peter and Sadio are magicians, providing the back-up to Ian and Mo who are the goals.
No team has the divine right to win the Premier League but Liverpool, with all their history and star players, should not have gone 30-years without a title victory.
The 2019/20 Premier League Champions are…