THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?
THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.
It’s January. That means FA cup third round. Fixture congestion. The Christmas break argument. The retraction of the Christmas break argument. Premier League managers praising the magic of the FA Cup. Same managers then fielding a 2nd string side against Championship opposition. Same bullshit every fucking year.
And with that, lets get right back in there.
Fixture #22 – Man City (Away):-
The new year hasn’t started in the best way. Although only a marginal defeat, Liverpool simply never got out of the blocks, despite taking the lead. David Silva simply ran the show in a 10/10 performance. City’s upturn in form continues.
Another repercussion was the early injury to Philippe Coutinho. 2 weeks doesn’t seem long, but the fixtures are coming in thick and fast.
TRANSFER BOOST! Given the sale of Adam Lallana to City, and the earlier departure of Lucas Leiva, the time has come to strengthen. In late December Man City were underachieving, barely in the top 10. So i thought it prudent to search for centre midfielders with the ‘interested’ filter activated.
Astonishingly, none other than David Silva, who tormented Liverpool just days earlier, was top of the list. 11 million from Lallana plus a measly 4 million more, and bingo. One world class midfielder added to the squad. Back of the net.
Naturally such a coup was met with praise from both fans and fellow players. Cashback.
FA Cup Third Round – Bristol Rovers (Away):-
Not content with putting all my eggs in one the basket (that being the league of course), a full line-up is fielded against League One bottom side Bristol Rovers. I’m not taking any risks of a early exit, going against my own advice from when the draw was made. It proves to be a tough match. The superb Sadio Mane settled the tie, and Bristol’s goalkeeper Will Puddy proudly provided damage limitation.
There are no easy games in the FA Cup. From the bottom of League One, to rivals from my own division. The season is getting more interesting by the day.
In the treatment room, Mamadou Sakho is a new arrival.
So that’s the left back position depleted for a month. The injuries are becoming as frequent as the fixtures.
More Burnley transfer news in their bid to stay in the Premier League. Ex-England left back Ashley Cole, arguably the best in the Premier League era, is picked up on a free from Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy.
Fixture #23 Bournemouth (Home):-
The side is starting to take it’s full shape. David Silva explodes in Lallana’s previous role with a 10/10 performance of perfect passing and positioning. Silva also compliments Sven Bender’s permanent move into the Claude Makelele (or as i prefer, Paul Ince) role perfectly.
The disadvantage of accepting all bids for your players means running the risk of squad depletion as well as instability. However, no one said i couldn’t buy smartly and end up improving on those lost positions. Kiss my face.
In other results, Man Utd continue to falter, particularly at home. And with that shocking 0-2 defeat to Middlesborough, and Spurs’ thrilling win over Crystal Palace, new contenders look likely. Chelsea also continue their climb up the table under Eddie Howe’s tutelage. Burnley meanwhile earn a vital win over Swansea for 3 precious survival points.
Gameweek 23’s Monday night football throws up a real treat. A David Silva-deprived City go 2-0 up with around 20 mins left and substitute Adam Lallana. Arsenal then proceed to storm back, with 3 goals of their own in 18 mins to snatch victory.
Back to the FA Cup, and a tricky visit to the BET365 (Britannia) Stadium is confirmed. Thankfully not a Tuesday night.
Fixture #24 – Swansea City (Away):-
David Silva is playing like a house on fire. Not literally, Jamie. Another 10/10 man of the match outing. Firmino also continues to prove his seasons worth in the No.9 position, bagging a hat trick. Swansea simply had nothing to offer. Performance of the season so far by some distance.
Well. It’s good money for sure, Sakho has been superb in the left back role. West Ham are having an impressive season of their own. But Liverpool are top of the league. I can only hope for some loyalty.
Ah well. Fuck it.
FA Cup fourth round opponents Stoke City have brought back Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to the Premier League. I’ve little doubt he’ll lineup against his former club.
FA Cup 4th Round – Stoke City (Away):-
An efficient and comfortable win, effectively over by half time. Silva and Firmino clinical yet again. Sakho’s left back position was filled in encouragingly by Emre Can, although not his natural position.
Although a busy January draws to a close, there is of course still time for another injury. Centre back Joel Matip, enjoying an impressive first season at Liverpool, is out for a month. Not the best timing given i no longer have Sakho to move back across.
Final table after January:-
The moment of truth……
Well. What a difference a month makes. Man Utd have fallen to 4th, 12 points behind leaders *ahem* Liverpool *ahem*. Everton occupy 3rd and lay 9 points behind. Spurs, as expected, have solidified their place as closest contenders.
Given the on/off changes in defence during the season, for Liverpool to concede just 13 goals in 24 matches is astonishing. 15 clean sheets. That’s just over 0.5 goals conceded per match over the season.
At the wrong end, Arsenal are way off the pack, despite the excellent win over in-form Man City. They’ve managed to pick up Liverpool’s habit of conceding more goals (28) than games played (24). #Wengerout could be a real possibility.
Further down, Burnley climb another place to 18th, but lie 7 points away from Hull in 17th. Sunderland are rock bottom with just a single win all season. With Watford in between them, and 156 goals conceded collectively, it’s been a hard season for all 3 clubs.
So it’s tally-ho what what and on to the next month. TTFN!
Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/
For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.