We apologise for the lack of articles this week, there’s some big changes going on behind the scenes that we will be able to bring to you in the New Year. There will be a stock market for your reading pleasure sometime before lockout, until then here’s The European Scout once again!
Thoughts on Everton vs Liverpool
Is Firmino struggling without Coutinho?
Coutinho and Firmino have played together in the Brazilian national team in the past, and their frequent movement and understanding makes it almost impossible for defenders to cover them both. With Coutinho sustaining an ankle injury Liverpool lost a huge part of their creative force, and it’s reasonable to assume this has hurt Firmino. Another huge concern is that Origi has taken his central role. The news on Friday is that Coutinho is back in training and might be able to play on New Years Eve against Manchester City. It would be reasonable to assume that Origi will drop out for Coutinho, however Mane is off to the ACON. Firmino is a significantly lesser threat out wide and that is my reason for his recent lack of returns.
How important is Lallana to Liverpool?
Lallana has been amazing since Klopp became manager at Liverpool. He’s creating chances, scoring goals and is all over the pitch, intercepting, passing and putting ball in the box. His endurance is a massive asset to Klopp and allows him to fully utilise their high pressing game. In my opinion Lallana should be in the starting XI with Wijnaldum and Henderson on the midfield. Those three have incredible drive, all can score goals but also have the endurance to come back to do their defensive tasks as well.
Is Klavan good enough for the PL?
Klavan was a surprising summer signing to say the least. He was already old and has only played for smaller clubs (AZ Alkmaar, FC Augsburg). Fair to say I had my doubts. My first thought was he was signed to strengthen the Liverpool squad depth and play in FA and EFL Cup games. Surprisingly he started (due to an injury of Matip) in the first game against Arsenal, although he did concede 3. Klavan has so far played in 7 games in the BPL and performed surprisingly well. He makes very few mistakes, Lovren take note. His age, experience and toughness helps him to keep his ground in the BPL. 2 clean sheets in 2 games suggest it’s worth keeping an eye on the Liverpool defence!
IS Barkley going to develop into a consistent performer this season?
Barkley is one of the many promising English talents and probably has a hard time meeting expectations. I’m always amazed how England fails to perform in World Cup and European Tournaments with players such as Barkley. He has everything a midfielder needs. He’s big, has a good shot and has great endurance. The problem is that he never seems to make it count in the final third. Surprisingly, his underlying stats this season are looking good. Barkley is performing well, creating 37 chances already compared to his 58 for the whole of last season. It stands to reason that if he keeps performing like this he will create more and more chances and eventually it should count with more assists. The only downside of Barkley as an attacking midfielder is his lack of goals, scoring only two so far this season. The creativity is there, but to step up his game and become more consistent he simply must score more goals. A lot easier said than done. It doesn’t look like happening this season.
Is Lukaku going to become an elite forward this season?
Lukaku has had a hit and miss season, ranging from unstoppable to invisible. Lukaku has scored 9 goals so far and is already on the half of the goals he scored last season. A fair start, but it’s nothing too special. Can he step up his game and score 20+ goals? I’m not so sure, he has too many barren spells to be considered an elite striker just yet. His potential however is world class, we see it for 6-8 weeks! Then we see an imposter for the next month. My question is how long he will stay at Everton before clubs as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris St. Germain, Bayern Munich and the big teams in the BPL start to make a move for him? The fact that they haven’t done so yet says a lot if you read in between the lines…