We are Liverpool: Return to Glory


Feb 19, 2013
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Liverpool a club with a long and storied history.
Formed in 1892. Crowned Champions for the first time in 1901.
Flash back to the present.

Liverpool has yet to win a title in the Premier League era which began in 1992.
The year is now 2016. That is 24 calendar years without a championship.

Yet Liverpool had hope because a new manager had taken control until...
An unexpected development.

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This resignation letter from Jurgen Klopp reportedly submitted due to "personal reasons."
FSG goes into scramble mode. The season is about to begin, who can take over?

Enter one man -- Boss Smoke.

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This American is a former international footballer.
He had previously been an assistant coach with the LA Galaxy of MLS.
FSG announced the news just 48 hours after the shocking resignation.

The Press Conference:

Boss Smoke: It is an honor to announce that I will be taking over at Liverpool Football club.
I have always held this club in high esteem. I would like to thank Mr. Henry and FSG for giving me this chance
to take over one of the most storied franchises in the history of European football.

Press: What style of football do you envision for Liverpool?

Boss Smoke: This is the beautiful game. But with a touch of aggression. Like the predator who brings down
the leaping gazelle. It is like nature, but unleashed, in other words "Terrifying."

Press: Will you be making any massive changes to the staff?

Boss Smoke: I will optimize the current staff to my tastes. For now I will retain the services of Mr. Buvac since he is most familiar with the side and I'd rather not start completely from scratch. However I plan on hiring more scouts to track down the best talent far and wide and extra coaches to give our players the edge they need to develop into top class stars.

Press: What about your transfer policy, will you be frugal or will you spend?

Boss Smoke: I have been allotted a transfer budget and I will use it to put the best team possible on the pitch.
Obviously this is a talented side so our needs are not so numerous but there's always room for improvement.

Press: What are your goals for this club?

Boss Smoke: I intend qualification for Champions League football from the get go. And then a league title in no less than 3 years. In that same time period I expect us to at least reach the Semi-Finals of the Champions League. I fully intend to restore Liverpool to its former glory and add silverware to the display case. Of that you can be assured.

Press: We haven't really heard much about you, how can you be so assured and promise so much?

Boss Smoke: Self belief is first and foremost in my philosophy of success. I only need the players in my locker room to believe and for FSG to believe. The fans can begin to believe when we deliver results on the pitch. I only ask for a little patience and time for us to develop into the best football club in all of Europe.

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Press: Who do you see as your toughest competition in the league?

Boss Smoke: The wonderful thing about the Premier League is that it is the most competitive football league in the world. Any team can lose to any team on any given day. That being said, I know that we won't be regarded as favorites. But any team who underestimates us shall rue their mistake. Of course I am wary of the favorites, the top clubs, but I teach my players not to be complacent either. Because even minnows can become giant slayers on the right day and under the right circumstances.

Press: Who will be your first major acquisition?

Boss Smoke: I believe I already covered that. I will go into more detail on another day. I believe it's safe to say that Paul Pogba won't be working through those doors. But we will bring in some true impact players who will contribute to the club's success. That's all for now ladies and gentlemen. Time for me to put on my hardhat and get to work!
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Feb 19, 2013
Anfield, Locker room.

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Boss Smoke: Zjelko, my good man, please call the lads together to the locker room. I'd like to have a word with them before the preseason begins.

Players file in.

Boss Smoke: Today, I have come to tell you that GOD is DEAD. But fear not, he has been replaced. Replaced BY ME. For the next few months, I will be your Sun and your Moon. I will be your Day and your Night. Your Alpha and Omega. You will Fear me and Curse me. BUT... if you do what I demand. If you put in the blood, the sweat, the tears, and comply with EVERY request I make of you, whether reasonable or NOT, you in the end will RISE as CHAMPIONS. You will be as Football Gods on the pitch!

So ask yourself men. Do you want to be Ordinary. Or will you be Gods?
Because history forgets the LOSERS but Champions. Now they are the True Immortals!
Rise up, Liverpool. Rise up and claim your place upon the Throne!

Now who will follow me through **** and Back? Because Heaven awaits!

Players: Incoherent Roar.

Boss Smoke: Now that's what I'm talking about! Let's tear down this league and give them something to FEAR!
Liverpool is coming!

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Feb 19, 2013
Sky News Transfer Center - Your Source for official Premier League transfers as they happen.

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Jose Gaya LB Valencia --> Liverpool £30m
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Peter Stevenson: Boss, what prompted you to sign Jose Gaya from Valencia?
Boss Smoke: He's a quality player. I've had an eye on reinforcing our back line and the lad should fit in perfectly.
Peter Stevenson: Does this mean Alberto Moreno's place is in jeopardy?
Boss Smoke: Not necessarily. However, every man must earn their place in the Top Eleven. Nobody can take their position for granted. They must fight for it!


Sheyi Ojo Liverpool --> Ipswich Loan


Dejan Lovren CB Liverpool --> Tottenham £30m

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Peter Stevenson: Quite a shocking announcement. Was Dejan not suitable for Liverpool's requirements?
Boss Smoke: That's hardly the case, Peter. However when the bid was received from Spurs we had to seriously consider what direction we wanted to go defensively. The funds we receive from this sale will be reinvested right back into the side.


Pedro Chirivella Liverpool --> Preston


Adam Phillips Liverpool --> Accrington


Daniele Rugani CB Juventus --> Liverpool £25m
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Peter Stevenson: Rugani is a rather young defender, is this an acquisition for the future?
Boss Smoke: Our scouts are long time admirers of Daniele's quality and upside.
Chief Scout Dave Fallows assured me this player will also contribute sooner rather than later.

Joe Macguire Liverpool --> Accrington Loan


Harry Wilson Liverpool --> Blackpool Loan


John Guidetti ST Celta Vigo --> Liverpool £9m
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Peter Stevenson: I find it interesting that Guidetti counts as a homegrown player. Did that factor into your decision to buy?
Boss Smoke: Well that was a part of it. But the main reason we got John is that we believe he can become an excellent
player for us and we need to stock up reserve depth at striker in case of injuries.
Peter Stevenson: Do you mean Sturridge?
Boss Smoke: I'll leave that up to the media to decide, they always write what they want anyways, isn't that true?


Geoffrey Kondogbia CM Inter --> Liverpool £32.5m
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Peter Stevenson: A big acquisition for the midfield. So what does Kondogbia add that Liverpool doesn't currently have?
Boss Smokey: Geoffrey is a big solid lad at 6'2, he is a very physical player and strong. But don't be fooled, he has serious
technical skills that could lead him to being a key piece of our midfield in the future.
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Gianluigi Donnarumma GK AC Milan --> Liverpool
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Peter Stevenson: Another Keeper here. Are you uncertain that neither Mignolet or Karius will be sufficient?
Boss Smoke: This is more an acquisition for the future. Gianluigi is still only 17 years old but our scouts tell me he could
be a world class keeper someday. He also has an amazing wingspan and the reflexes of a panther at his size of 6'6"!
He is being loaned straight back to AC Milan for the benefit of his proper development.
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Gianluigi Donnarumma GK Liverpool --> AC Milan Loan


Connor Randall Liverpool --> Walsall Loan

Jake Brimmer Liverpool --> Accrington Loan


Jordan Williams Liverpool --> Leeds Loan


Cameron Brannagan Liverpool --> Aston Villa Loan


Lucas Leiva CM Liverpool --> AS Monaco £9.75m
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Peter Stevenson: Was it a tough decision for you to send away such a long standing veteran as Lucas?
Boss Smoke: Lucas has been an excellent servant to the club. But the changes we make are for a reason. And they
are necessary even though temporarily painful. We wish nothing but the best for Lucas at his new club in France.


Stephan El Shaarawy ST/AML Roma --> Liverpool £27m
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Peter Stevenson: What inspired this purchase on deadline day?
Boss Smoke: It's all about depth, Peter. Stephan has the versatility to play both the striker position and on the wing for us.
Mark my words now Peter, having that extra depth will pay dividends down the road. Especially when we are battling for that top 4 spot to ensure Champions League football.
Peter Stevenson: And how do you feel about his haircut?
Boss Smoke: (laughing) A
s long as he scores goals and plays within the team concept, it's all good. He can sport whatever hairstyle he wants, dye it bright purple, neon pink, dinosaur motif, whatever!
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Kamil Grabara Liverpool --> Accrington Loan

Andy Firth Liverpool --> Accrington Loan
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Nov 14, 2016
Interesting to see to where you can take Liverpool, I will surely follow this, but you need more depth on the left side of the field to be honest


Feb 19, 2013
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Feature Article: Kicking it with Boss Smoke

August 15, 2016 -- Follow @ Andy_MurrayFFT
We sit down with new Liverpool Manager Boss Smoke and get his impressions and ambitions after the end of the preseason.

So a rather impressive start to the preseason tour with 6 wins, 1 draw, and just 1 loss. Does this give us a good idea about the quality of your side?
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Preseason records mean nothing, Andy. It's merely a time for the coaching staff to fine tune, evaluate, see how the players respond to the training and find out what might work once the season actually starts.

So what were some of the things that you found will work for you, Boss?

It's evident with the personnel that we have that the 4-2-3-1 formation is most suitable. We have a lot of talent in the attacking midfield area. I mean when you look at players like Coutinho, Firmino, Mane, Lallana, etc. It would be foolish to waste such talent. Whether we go wide or narrow, the 231 gives us the ability to put our most talented players on the pitch at once.

So that would suggest a lone striker up top. Will that be Sturridge?

When fit yes. But we are developing some backup depth. Ings, Origi, Guidetti, just to name a few. The key to make this offense really work consistently though is to score even on a day when the striker can't.

Can you tell us a little about the moves on defence? You subtracted Dejan Lovren and added Jose Gaya and Daniele Rugani.

We felt the opportunity was there to invest in young strong building blocks in the back four. We went forward with 100% confidence once it became evident that Tottenham was determined to bid on Dejan. This adds two players who have loads of potential to grow into important roles with Liverpool.

Have you been an admirer of Liverpool before taking on the job?

Liverpool is a special club. You never walk alone. I have definitely been aware of its history and admired it from afar. I am delighted to step into some very big shoes and create a new thread of history that is spun from a long line of distinguished and accomplished managers at Merseyside.

Does that mean you hate Manchester United and Everton as well?

*Laughs* Hate is a strong word. But it is definitely my ambition to defeat those sides in convincing fashion at every opportunity. That is how you approach rivalry matches. Most gaffers won't admit it, but these matches hold extra importance even though the points on the table count exactly the same as any other match.

Can you elaborate on your ambition this season?

It's a season to grow honestly. But I like the overall quality that we have on this side. I firmly stand by my ambition of qualifying for Champions League football. Anything less than a Top 4 finish is unacceptable for a club of this size, with the backing that we have, and the talent that we currently have. It's up to me to fashion a road to victory and put our players in the best position to succeed.

Your schedule opens with Crystal Palace at home followed by Manchester United Away. Any predictions for outcome?

We want to start off on the right foot with a win. But with a brand new club, they still have to get used to me and vice versa. Ideally we'd want at least 4 out of 6 points. But you know what they say about the plans of mice and men.

How do you feel about Jose Mourinho?

He's a top class manager. No doubt about it. But controversy also seems to follow the "Special One." I'd rather just be known as the "Winning One." That's good enough for me. *laughs*

Of the new additions to the squad who would you back as most likely to shine?

Well, I like all of them obviously as it was a mutual decision to bring these players on board. But if one player has stood out so far it has been Kondogbia. He's a really physical lad and he seems to have a special air about him. Looks to be one about to have a breakout season.

One of Liverpool's weaknesses in the past has been set piece defense and overall team defense. Have you found a way to address that?

We have a system in place, yes. Now it's up to the players to execute what they've been coached in practice. That reminds me, if you'll excuse me now, it's time for some special drills.
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Feb 19, 2013
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Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Anfield -- 8/13/2016
Weather Gusty 66F
Attendance: 54,074

Prematch Talk:

Boss Smoke strides in fully suited leading an unusual mascot by a leash.

Boss Smoke: Do you men know what this animal is?

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Henderson: *cautiously* That looks like a turkey to me, Boss.

Boss Smoke: *claps hands* That's right, Jordan! Bingo! Because guess what, Alan and his men want us to look just like this turkey. They want to embarrass us on our own home turf. They want to punch us in the mouths in front of our wives and girlfriends, laugh at us, and then eat us up like Christmas dinner! Now are you going to let that happen, men?

Players: **** no!

Boss Smoke: Anfield is our FORTRESS. We Defend what's ours! Now what are we gonna give them??

Players: ****!! Give em ****!!

Boss Smoke: Nobody makes a fool out of us. Especially not in OUR own house! Now go out there and KILL EM dead! Just like this turkey! *Pulls out shotgun* *Loud bang*

[Some players look ill.]

Boss Smoke: For god's sake, someone call the janitor, and get a brown bag for Firmino too. He isn't looking too good. Anyway you get the point. Now just get out there and WIN! Jordan...

Henderson: On my count, 1, 2, 3...

Everyone: WIN!!!!

Today's Starting Lineups:
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It's a packed house at Anfield. The atmosphere is electric. Boss Smoke is about to unveil his new side to the footballing world. Every fan is anticipating an exciting match. The players shake hands. Boss Smoke shakes hands with his adversary Alan Pardew. And then the whistle blows!

Liverpool has opted to open with a narrow 4231 formation while Pardew counters with a saucy 4-1-4-1. Does Pardew believe Palace is capable of an upset?

The opening minutes of the match feature some patient probing as Liverpool's midfield attempts to find cracks in the Palace defence. The passing is deliberate yet crisp with the Palace defenders staying back and disciplined in their shape so far.

Firmino's first shot on goal is deflected by a Palace defender and a corner is awarded. Henderson delivers the ball into a crowded box but Delaney heads the ball strongly out of the danger zone. Jose Gaya tracks the ball down and delivers a shot but it is off the side of the net and danger is averted as the goal kick is awarded.

The next 20 minutes is fairly uneventful for Crystal Palace as they are unable to provide supply to former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke. In fact most of the action takes place from the midfield to Crystal Palace's final third. A Jose Gaya cross finds Firmino a yard from the goal, but is missed wide as all of Anfield exhales as one.

But the momentum is clearly with Liverpool, it appears to be just a question of drawing that first blood.

A simple sideline throw from the right side leads to an excellent Liverpool move. Clyne's throw finds Coutinho who immediately one touches to Wijnaldum, Gini's pass finds a streaking Lallana moving through the middle channel. As if mesmerized two Palace defenders converge on Lallana but it's too late as the ball is already sent through cleanly onto Sturridge's foot. He tames the ball with a single tap and takes advantage of the pocket in the defense as he strikes with lethal intent... and beats the keeper before he can even flinch!

1-0 Liverpool! The entire move from start to finish took only 8 seconds! The crowd roars in approval and the stands are soon rocking as joyous choruses echo throughout Anfield. Sturridge kisses his hands and raises them in glorious celebration of his and Liverpool's very first goal of the season!

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Pardew is furious. He exhorts his men to regain their composure. The first kickoff after the goal find the ball sent into Benteke. But he is immediately dispossessed by new man Daniele Rugani. Again and again, Crystal Palace attempts to supply the Target man, but with little success. It's apparent that the gameplan is to isolate and deny Benteke. And it has worked a treat today. Once the ball is taken away, Liverpool is again living on Crystal Palace's side of the field.

The pressure mounts as corner after corner is awarded and first Firmino then Lallana have a decent crack at it, although with no actual score.

Christian Benteke is looking increasingly frustrated as the Liverpool defenders continue to deny him even an inch of breathing room. He exchanges words with Rugani after a particularly intense collision and there seems to be no love lost between the imposing 6'3 Belgian forward and the equally impressive 6'3 Italian defender.

In the 42nd minute, Benteke finally finds the ball at his feet with an inch of space but he is denied as Mignolet makes an inspired diving stop to his right. Crystal Palace is awarded the corner. Cabaye steps up to deliver from the corner hash with the hope of creating an equalizer. Will Liverpool's set piece defence let them down?

No it will not, as Matip's towering header sends the ball out of immediate danger. Adam Lallana tracks it down the left side to start a counter attack, but it is quickly stolen by Ledley. He pings the ball back to Flamini who finds Benteke running for goal... who quickly gets his teeth rattled as Rugani jars the ball loose.

Matip works the ball up the flank to Clyne who sends up a promising looking cross to Sturridge and his header goes ... safely wide left of the goal as the first half draws to a close.

To be continued...
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