PODCAST: LAZAR QUEST by The Anfield Wrap | Jan 11, 2015 | Footie, Podcast | 22 comments NEIL ATKINSON was joined by Sean Rogers, Paul Cope and Paul Johnson after absolutely caning Sunderland ONE GOAL TO NIL Like what we do? Buy us a pint! DIRECT LINK – LAZAR QUEST Podcast RSS feed. Get the TAW podcast on iTunes. 22 Comments PR on 12 January 2015 at 1:07 am Enjoyed the podcast, lads. As far as selling Lucas goes, I’d hate to see it. Thought he had a terrific game. Gave Markovich and Coutinho a real run for their money as far as the MOTM goes. If they do sell him, it would have to be part of FSG’s plan to trim the wage bill. So far, they’ve sold Reina, Agger, Suarez, and Downing, with Carra, Gerrard and likely Johnson also leaving, we’re going to be seriously short of experience. I think it would only leave Skrtel in the team who’s (a) been at LFC for a few years and (b) is in his late 20s. Seems like madness to leave the squad with so little leadership. It’s odd. FSG aren’t soccerball people (by which I mean it’s not in their blood), so you’d imagine they’re waiting for the right time to sell the club on. Are they more likely to achieve their financial goals if the club is successful and winning stuff or consistently 5th-8th in the league but efficiently run? Reply robin crimes on 12 January 2015 at 1:29 am Excellent podcast. Really good analysis from everyone from start to finish especially Ben. I’ve said this a thousand times on here but I’ll just recap briefly. Whilst a lot of people have had issues with FSG I haven’t really subscribed. Not when we didn’t get Dempsey then let Carroll go. Not when Reina and Agger went or when it turned out Gerrard hadn’t been offered a contract. Ok, that feathered thing is a disgrace but it’s on the pitch where I judge mainly. I have mates who tell me they’re cheapskates and ruining us etc but I don’t agree. When I see people on the TAW comments saying they’re trying to get rid of the high earners I can see their point but don’t think it’s the full picture. If Lucas goes though in January it will be the first time I’ve genuinely felt the alarm bells ringing. If he goes and no one comes in then I’ll be livid. I suppose the only thing I’d need to know is was it our decision (the club) or did Lucas insist on going. I’d like to think it’s just paper talk but I can’t speculate that it probably is with any confidence. What worries me is, I thought the philosophy was pay good money if the player was worth it. No more Joe Coles or Jovanovic. I always use Suarez as the example but it just dawned on me today how that was just us playing the end game. I might even have read somewhere that the 200k a week didn’t start till the end of the season but I can’t remember back then now. So, to conclude, whereas in the past I’ve always thought it was about self sustainability I now wonder is it something more sinister. I think if Lucas goes it will be by far the biggest test of their time here. Reply Kevin Barry on 12 January 2015 at 4:21 am And you think Brendan Rodgers is a helpless bystander? They have handed him close to a quarter of a billion pounds gross since they succumbed to his ‘My Football Diary’ spiel. Look at the list of ins he’s bought, and tell me where has brought in better than he’s sent out. You will be well aware that I have a phobia about the man but it seems to me that the team performs well, when it does, despite his best efforts and not because of them. And he has been accused of being cowed by star players so we are unlikely to be pursuing any for that reason. This season is our last best chance of being Liverpool and not Leeds or Forest. I happen to believe we have an okay squad, not brilliant but top four quality, but not when we still can’t hold a 2-0 lead and make ludicrous and unfathomable substitutions, not excluding the last match. You just know that his ‘druthers includes Johnson Allen and the now hapless Lovren at every opportunity. Reply Michael on 12 January 2015 at 10:48 am They handed the transfer committee a quarter of a billion, not Rodgers. There’s a difference! Reply robin crimes on 12 January 2015 at 7:38 pm As you mention your phobia Kev, it got me thinking. We all get down on an aspect of the club at one time or another but what the last few months on here has taught me (from the people commenting) is if one loses objectivity then ones comments become irrelevant. I look at the comments and think – that person hasn’t weighed up the facts and come to the conclusion x is to blame. They’ve looked at it and thought how can I interpret that as x’s fault. Anyway, not related to your dislike of Rodgers. As much as some replacements haven’t worked I still have it in my head that almost all decisions have been taken with the belief that it could strengthen the club. Maybe I’m just naive but I can also buy into the view that some of the seniors don’t have as much drive as the up and coming players on low wages, haha. Reply GraemeR on 12 January 2015 at 9:43 am Kevin. I think Rodgers will always be damned if he does, damned if doesn’t from your point of view. It’s funny that people always use high gross spend to attack the manager and low net to attack the owners. The gross spend does mean that Rodgers has been given an opportunity to shape the squad to his style of play, but doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall quality is going to be that much higher. It also needs recognising that Rodgers has been constrained by a need to get the overall salary spend down to a more reasonable level versus revenue. Personally, when I look at the match day squad, I would rather see the current line up than a squad containing Carrol, Downing, Cole, Shelvey, Adam and Spearing, but perhaps you have a different view. People can argue that we haven’t replaced Reina, Agger and Carragher with sufficient quality, but by the time they left, they were not the players they were in their prime. In the case of Agger, I think Sakho is already proving himself to be a great replacement, As yet Lovren is clearly not showing himself to be the leader Rodgers wanted to replace Carragher, and I think it will take a dramatic turnaround from Mignolet to avoid Rodgers trying to for an upgrade in the summer. Reply JonnyS on 12 January 2015 at 11:26 pm people are wrongly treating all the transfer windows as the same too. The club has evolved, each window had different drivers and they tried to adjust from what they had learned in the past transfer windows. FFP was clearly playing a part after Kenny and we didn’t have the scouting network when rodgers arrived while we waited for hunter and fallows to come off gardening leave. so it wasn’t a great summer, we nearly lost Hendo to fulham and there are even rumours that Brendan had knocked back Sturridge’s transfer cos he didn’t want him for some reason. Then the sturridge/Couts window lead them to believe there were good buys to be had under £10m, unfortunately. 2013 was a bit of a disaster of a summer mainly because the bigger names we chased wouldn’t come. The mish mash of loans and cheapo targets were largely a waste of time. This last summer, they learnt and went for younger players that were more likely to want to come but they raised the ceiling of what they bought, paid any release clause without quibbling (even over bid with Shaqiri) and had good success and a balanced window. There has still been money for 1st teamers though we did an awful job of that this time with Lovren and BAlo. But we had a balanced window, no loans which haven’t worked in the past and no real cheapos/Aspas types. We got 3 x 1st teamers (lovren, lallana, Balo) ie a CF, CB and AM. Sounds sensible and not too much to integrate. Then we got 4 youngsters (2x FB, a CM in Can and AM in Markovic). All can contribute now but are still very young so may not start all the time. For the balance, Markovich is the youngster to Lallana the elder, with STerling and coutinho in there too (and gerrard). Can is the youngster to Lucas the senior and Allen and Hendo in the middle of the age range. Balotelli is the age of sturridge while Origi is the young ‘un and in theory can be a striker or a wide forward running with the ball / pain in the neck for the opposition. If only he would. So from missing out on Mhkytaryan, Willian, Costa and Sanchez, the club adjusted a bit and had a successful window , just got the first team CF and CB picks wrong, which has hurt us badly, You have to say that the one big failure of the last 3 windows has been ending up with Aspas, Lambert and Balotelli as your centre forwards besides Sturridge. That’s not good enough, but the other transfers were good this summer bar Lovren who you wouldn’t buy if you saw the world cup. I hope the club continues to rationalise and improve its txfer activity. I wonder how they will consider the failures of Balo and Lovren and what they will do different next time. Reply AM on 12 January 2015 at 10:38 am From the podcast on the Lovren point- how many would sell him (use the money for goals) and welcome the likes of wisdom into the back three? Reply AM on 12 January 2015 at 10:39 am no pun intended Reply Liam Nick on 12 January 2015 at 1:59 pm Haha Dejan just isn’t cutting the mustard is he, but how much would realistically get for him? Anything over 10 mill would be well worth considering at this point add that to anything we got for Borini and apparently nearly 5 mill for Assaidi and that’s a good kitty for a striker. Get the feeling we will just pin our hopes on Sturridge staying fit though. And on the podcast £100 on a candle!!!! Just burning money that. Reply JonnyS on 13 January 2015 at 1:00 am Hah! Reply Frankie on 12 January 2015 at 1:56 pm Lucas has finally got the respect his play and his all round contribution to our club deserves. Still caveats though like ‘lost a yard’, an ‘upgrade’ in summer which are regrettable. He is one of the most important members of the squad and I’ve hailed his efforts before. How Rodgers has not nailed the rumors about his possible sale is shocking. If it happens I will lose a lot of faith in the way our club is managed from top to bottom. As for the match, a win with a promising first half followed by a poor second half against 10 men. The substitutions and in game tactics didn’t help much. We are still mid table with a goal difference of just 2 but the performances of Can and Markovic give great encouragement. Reply paul on 12 January 2015 at 2:42 pm Lucas won’t be going anywhere. No one will pay the money for him plus his large wages. He’ll be here for a couple of years yet. With Gerrard out of the way, his stock will probably rise again as he’s happy to do the DM work or more dynamic players tend to avoid. Reply JonnyS on 13 January 2015 at 1:12 am the lucas thing happened last season. BR made him incidental to the team and rumour has it he was told he could leave last summer. I reckon he would have sold Lucas, Sakho and Borini if he could have this summer to raise funds. As with each season, BR tries something, it doesn’t work and he has to dump it and get a bit more direct and pragmatic. Hence Lucas coming back in to give some composure at the back when he would have gone this summer. So Lucas realises he doesn’t really have a future here. When Sturridge comes back in, he’s likely to be dropped. so he should beable to get a nice 4 yr contract at least with Mancini who actually realises how useful he is. I think we should keep him and tell him he’ll be a coach for us later on. His reading of the game is excellent and better than most – far better than Gerrard. his experience is invaluable for the new/fresh recruits. We really need that. He’s a lot better than that lot on AI podcast seem to think. What BR isn’t dealing with is teams that overload and come at us (villa, WHU, Burnley, Leicester) and Lucas can’t deal with it alone and other team members don’t work as a unit enough. And 3 at the back will get unstuck against good teams. Reply Brownie on 12 January 2015 at 2:02 pm Good podcast. Agreed with 90% of what was said on all fronts. Henderson was good but I had Lucas as MoM. Having said that, it is possible to see what Rodgers’ thinking might be in letting him go (and that’s assuming Lucas himself doesn’t want to go…maybe he does?). A lot depends on where Rodgers intends to play Can once everyone is back fit. He certainly didn’t buy him as an auxiliary centre-back. With Allen in there as well Rodgers may feel that he has cover in that position. I’d agree that letting Lucas go only to then look for another DM makes no sense, especially given the need to strengthen in other areas, but if you can get close to 10mill for Lucas and make do with Can/Allen, then you have 10mill extra to help fund your new striker/keeper. Not saying I necessarily agree with this thinking, but it isn’t completely batshit crazy. Reply Frankie on 12 January 2015 at 3:09 pm Brownie, making do is not really acceptable. We all know what Allen can and can’t do, and I doubt he’s be an adequate stand in. If Can was being groomed to provide a ‘make do’ alternative I wonder why he hasn’t been tried in the position? For me, and it’s just a view, is that Rodgers would like to get rid of the Rafa loyalists hence Reina and Agger being moved on for free or a pittance. Lucas probably falls into the same category. Reply Brownie on 12 January 2015 at 6:10 pm I may be naïve, but I refuse to believe Rodgers could be *that* small-minded. And while I agree that Allen is not as good as Lucas in this role, and that Can is untried, the risk calculation is whether they would be *that much worse* to make keeping Lucas an imperative. Again, all things being equal I’d keep Lucas, but everything’s related, right. Maybe Rodgers needs that extra revenue from a Lucas sale to put his main striker target within reach financially? If we have to trade having a slightly worse DM in order to get a slightly better striker or keeper, how will that net out? More points or fewer? The problem with all this second-guessing transfer activity is that none of us has the full picture. Reply JonnyS on 13 January 2015 at 1:23 am getting rid of the old guard is about wages. it’s something like £5m / head averaged out probably. I think BR decided last season that Lucas was superflous as he was a bit slow and not on it. He’s been much better this season and given us so much stability. But I think bR doesn’t want that kind of defensive midfielder. He wants forwards momentum from all his players. CBs have to midfield, midfielders have to charge and attack, Attackers/strikers have to press. So I think he’ll play Can and Henderson as a double pivot, or the 2 in front of the CBs. Hence when sturridge comes back, Lucas will be dropped, cos it won’t be Stevie, Cou, Sterling, Henderson. Can and Henderson may well work and BR will want to raise money. But Lucas should be kept for his experience and game reading which is superb. He should play and then be made coach, he’s a bright player. Reply Gerry on 13 January 2015 at 9:04 am If the inference is that what you’ve termed Rafa loyalists are / were disloyal to Rodgers, then he would be perfectly entitled to send them on their way. Any other manager at any other club would do the same thing. Why look for a conspiracy theory other than both Reina and Agger were transferred for footballing and / or financial reasons? Reply The Lady In The Van on 13 January 2015 at 6:47 am If you look at the vast majority of games, over the last few years, we have played well when Lucas is in the team and played badly when he isn’t. We play best of all when Lucas is playing and Gerrard is out. Lucas should be our captain and the first name on the team-sheet when fit. He is our only intelligent senior player, with the exception of Sturridge. Lucas tends to look bad when Gerrard is playing, because he is having to put out the fires that Gerrard starts, as well as doing his own job. If we had kept Alonso and partnered him with Lucas in central-midfield, the team would have just purred like a Rolls Royce for years. Reply AndrewQAT on 13 January 2015 at 8:44 am Great podcast but I can’t agree with your Henderson appraisal, thought he was poor again, his control was poor and yes he runs and runs but does little else for me. That he will be our captain next year frightens me. Reply Seb on 13 January 2015 at 5:25 pm Maybe Lucas wants to leave. He’s had so many struggles, unfair ones at that, throughout his time at Liverpool that maybe a move to Italy would be a welcome fresh start. Hope he stays of course. Reply Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. 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