The Liver Bird  

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Liverpool Suffer Champions League Knock

So,we're down but we are definitely not out. We all expected the trip to Italy to be a tough tie but i don't think many were expecting the lashing Liverpool appeared to get tonight. The viola's star player who i read about this morning in several articles was definitely portrayed correctly as "a threat".

Benitez fielded a side with one swap, the injured Mascherano out for Aurelio who would be sitting on the left wing for the start of this Champions League match. A rocky start to say the least after a rather slow opening to the game but it began to become a bit more lively for Fiorentina who had started the match in exactly the right mind-set by the looks of things.

Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson appeared to be the only means of attack running up to the 20minutes mark after several pushes forward were confidently stopped by the experienced back four of Fiorentina. As for the Italians the young Jovetic was already causing our defence some havoc, with his skill and speed he'd found himself in the penalty area on several occasions already but this had luckily come to no avail.

Fiorentina keep the majority of possession running up the the half hour mark and Pepe Reina is required for the first time in the game after a powerful shot is whipped in by Marchionni and Reina makes a brilliant save. This was infact a sign of things to come as shortly after Jovetic is back once more and this time he buries it. After Liverpool attempt to play the offside trap Insua is caught too deep playing the young Italian clearly onside, Jovetic takes a low shot into the far corner and the Reds find themselves down in the first half.

Liverpool attempt to re-group and maintain a deficit of only one goal but hope is short lived after Jovetic punishes even further with another goal. Reina almost managed to keep it at bay but was unfortunate and the Spaniard found himself beaten for the second time within 10 minutes.

A first half performance that wasn't threatening anybody, barely a chance and rather shoddy at the back, no balls fed through to Torres and not any real flashes of those typical Steven Gerrard moments. The game was not lost yet but boy did we need a turn around.

Second half begins and whatever Rafa and the boys said and did in that changing room it must have worked because we came out a completely different team. First of all Benayoun finds himself in acres of space after he is left free by the defender, a typical skillful run into the area and Yossi forces a save from the goalkeeper Sebastien Frey within the first minute. Then almost immediately the away side gain themselves a corner, the ball is whipped in and Lucas connects with a fantastic effort, his header just skipping over the cross bar, easily the best attempt of the night for Liverpool. We weren't finished yet, just moments later Kuyt fancies his chances and again forces Frey to make a good stop. Three chances in less than 5 minutes, i thought this was going to be one of those classic comebacks.A memorable match at a ground that had never seen an English opposition win.

For the best part of twenty minutes Liverpool pushed and pushed half chance after chance went by yet nothing. Even the goal shy Carragher found himself with the opportunity to have a pop at goal, a powerful shot which unfortunaley drifted wide.Torres threatens, Gerrard has a chance, we even see Skrtel with a super run into the area and a cross that is so close to being converted by the awaiting Fernando Torres. This just wasn't our night. As the minutes ticked down and chance after chance was sent wide it was clear we were staring a European defeat in the face.

Full time: Fiorentina 2 Liverpool 0.

Overall i think that we went into the game poorly at the start, there was no sense of emergency to get out there and get that all important first goal. After Fiorentina began to break down the defence it was clear they fancied they're chances and when those chances came they took them. I still can't decide whether we were more unlucky or just plain bad. The defence again is becoming a problem for me but at the moment i really cannot figure out why this is, i don't understand why especially Carragher and Skrtel who played brilliantly together last season can't seem to get it together. I can only hope the defence improves as I'm sure it will. As for choosing a MOTM i again feel uncertain as nobody really stood out tonight but for his efforts and drive i think i am going with the Captain tonight. Anyway, more to the point when have Liverpool ever had a smooth ride in the group stages? Olympiakos 2005 anyone? Here's to the almost inevitable turn around.

Match Stats:

Shots on target = Liverpool - 4 Fiorentina - 4
Shots off target = Liverpool - 6 Fiorentina - 3
Corners = Liverpool - 10 Fiorentina - 4
Fouls = Liverpool - 15 Fiorentina - 9
Offsides = Liverpool - 4 Fiorentina - 3
Passing Success Rate = Liverpool - 81 Fiorentina - 73.5

Did you feel as though the talented Jovetic let himself down tonight after he appeared to have "dived" on 3 occasions during the match?
Do you know or have a theory as to why our defence is leaking so many goals?
How do you feel about the offside trap?
Were you a fan that was infact expecting a defeat from Fiorentina?
Please leave your thoughts below, it would be great to hear what some of you have to say about tonight's performance.

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Firing Up In Fiorentina

Images courtesy of

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Monday, 28 September 2009

Fiorentina Preview

Fiorentina tomorrow in the Champions League and for me this is an interesting fixture. Fiorentina in my opinion are the hardest opposition in the group although alot of people seem to differ from my opinion and feel as though Lyon will be more of a threat, either way, this one isn't going to be a walk in the park.

Fiorentina's last 6 matches has seen them win four, draw 1 and lose 1. Fiorentina have not won a home game in the Champions League since March 2000. Hold your horses! This fact is true but when you consider the sides absence from the competition you realise this is not a real reflection of things to come.

A somewhat worrying stat i dug out this morning is that if you look at Fiorentina's UEFA Cup (now Europa League) stats they have never lost at home to English opposition. A very strong side at home it seems so can we break them down?

So what do we have to back up our chances? Well our last 4 visits to Italian opposition in general have seen us not concede a single goal. Am i not the only one here thinking that this could change after the Premier League start? Atleast we can laugh about it at the moment, let's just keep grinding out the results.

Liverpool can also proudly announce that they have not lost any of their last 5 games in the Champions League away from home. And finally the Red's have scored atleast 1 goal in the last 21 CL meetings they have been involved in.

So with this skirting around the edges of the opposition and a re-cap on some stats that we all know my prediction today is going to be 3-1.

I'm not sure if you have noticed but I'm not the best at score predicting. Not one right as of yet, i get the right idea of what to expect from the game but never get the score right. I know you can all do better! Please feel free to add you prediction to the poll in the side bar.
You're guess is as good as mine, infact no, it's better!

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Liverpool 6 Hull 1

A brilliant display from the Red's this afternoon with the highlight being on the hat-trick hero Fernando Torres. Steven Gerrard also was back onto the score sheet and super sub Ryan Babel made an impressive impact with two goals after coming off the bench. Hull's only offer was an equalizer from Geovanni which didn't last long.

The Red's got on with the job in hand fairly early into the first half with Torres setting off the scoring just after the ten minute mark, he picked up a lovely cross from Riera on the left wing and swiftly side stepped Sonko with ease, once the space was created he slotted the ball home. Just 5 minutes later and were in the same situation we have been in several times within our last few premier league fixtures and we had lost the lead already. A somewhat clumsy header from Martin Skrtel is headed into the path of Geovanni who takes full advantage and the ball flies into the net. 1-1.

At this still early stage i find myself bewildered, why is the defence letting in so many goals? It is effectively the same set up as last season although we've added Glen Johnson which in my eyes is a good asset. I was never Arbeloa's hugest fan and was guilty of jumping on his back a few times. So why the defensive errors? I don't want to focus on the negatives here as this was the only one i picked out from the whole 90 minutes. We're scoring loads but almost conceding as many, this can't go on forever, any thoughts? Please leave them below.

Despite this, no other problem seemed to stop the Red's in their now rampant flow. By 27 minutes the ace of Spain had stepped up and reeled in the lead again. A superb solo effort again from Torres who is supplied by the ever creative Yossi Benayoun. So the lads went into half-time on a respectable tally of two goals to one but this game needed to be dead and buried.

Second half and almost immediately who else but Fernando Torres slots another one in for his hat trick with what i felt was the best one of the trio. A lovely bit of skill to cut inside Sonko and then he skillfully threads the ball into the back of the net, passing under Myhill's legs on the way. Excellent finish. Hull although seemingly quiet from this match report did have there chances but they just didn't take them. Ghilas and Geovanni seeing most of the action.

Liverpool reach the hour mark which is christened by Captain Fantastic. Steven Gerrard with what appears to have been a cross heading for Kuyt whips in the ball and to everyone's surprise it ends up in the back of the net. Did he mean it? I personally don't think he did but i still think he should claim it, i soddin' well would.

By this stage Hull are completely shell shocked, they knew themselves not to expect much coming to Anfield and on the form they are showing at the moment i bet the dream of 1-1 was now turning into a nightmare. To try to rectify the problem shortly after the Gerrard goal Hull do make a double substitution, which is followed by a Liverpool substitution, Torres (off), Babel (on). Voronin and Mascherano also are brought into the game after Gerrard and Benayoun are taken off.

Voronin is into the action right away with a brilliant cross which is almost met by Ryan Babel but unfortunately the chance goes wide. 5 minutes later and Voronin sees his header cleared off the line. Frustration is short lived for the team though as Ryan Babel adds his name to the list after netting to make it 5-1. A superb bit of play after Babel lays the ball wide to Kuyt on the right then continues his run into the area only for Kuyt to cross the ball back to him which he ensures is goal bound.
Into extra time and still Liverpool are attacking the kop end. In the last minute of added time Riera smashes in a final effort and it is deflected into the goal off Ryan Babel. Not exactly tidy but a goal nonetheless. 6-1.
Overall a fantastic afternoon for the red men. 6 goals and only one conceded. Skill, creativity and awareness again coming up trumps for the home side, a more than confident win.
Match Stats:
Bookings: Liverpool = Martin Skrtel///Hull =McShane, Kilbane, Marney & Hunt.
Shots On Target: Liverpool = 8/// Hull = 2
Shots Off Target: Liverpool = 10/// Hull = 5
Corners: Liverpool = 13///Hull = 2
Fouls: Liverpool = 11/// Hull = 5
Offsides: Liverpool = 2///Hull = 2
Passing Success Rate: Liverpool = 82.6///Hull = 70.2

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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Liverpool V Hull

We welcome Phil Brown and his lads down to Anfield today. It is no secret that Hull are in a very bad place at the moment, they have not won away from home since March the 4th, they last won at home against Bolton.

They haven't scored more then one goal in 20 consecutive matches compared to a Liverpool team that has scored in all of their last 17 premier league games. Last season however as we all know Hull were one of the teams that caused that dreaded draw, one of which added to the slipping of the title out of our hands. I don't think this will be the case today, Hull were a far stronger team at that time last season.

We have met Hull 8 times in the league, winning 6 and drawing the remaining two.

My prediction - 2-0.

In other news Fiorentina have agreed to remove fencing surrounding the area of the ground in which the travelling fans will be staying during the European match next week. Fiorentina have also made a fan zone near to the stadium where free refreshments are available, there is also a bus to take fans to and from the ground. I think that it is excellent that clubs and grounds like this are co-operating so well and they are obviously becoming more educated about the dangers of football stadiums & overcrowding.

Also in the news, Aquilani is back in light training... and boy am i at my most impatient now. It's so close before he starts i just can't wait. I have alot of faith riding in his ability so i just hope he can prove me right. Here are some pictures courtesy of;

And finally, it seems my Benitez Bingo idea hasn't gone down so well. My blog is still very new and I'm beginning to realise that it's taking longer than i first expected to create enough traffic. I shall put "Benitez Bingo" into the cupboard for the time being, the game can be started whenever really so if anyone is still interested please just leave a comment or get in touch with me via the Twitter page etc. But failing that i shall keep my fingers crossed and hope that more fans start stopping by and then it can be feasible to begin the game and create a scoreboard. Thanks again.

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Friday, 25 September 2009

Benitez Bingo

So, we all know how the Gaffa likes to shake things up now and again. Sometimes it's just the one player he switches but you can almost guarantee they'll be a change within the starting 11 almost every match.

To capitalize on this I've decided to add everyone's favourite game "Benitez Bingo".

Rules: Each match day on the specific "Benitez Bingo" post add what you think will be the starting 11. Posts must all be made before the official team news is given out.

Rewards: After the official team news has been given out points will be awarded to the person who correctly selected ALL 11 players. I shall award 1 point if you correctly guess a Premier League 11, 2 for a Champions League and 3 points if you guess the correct starting 11 for an FA Cup or League Cup team. I shall keep a tally of points in a scoreboard in the sidebar on my Blog. Can you be the winner by the end of the season?

Game will start on 26th September. Please register your interest below as it will help me to begin creating the scoreboard.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Liverpool 1 Leeds 0

May i start by saying this match was almost nothing like what i was expecting, i thought it would be end to end stuff but not in a sense that both teams would be goalless for the majority of the match, i thought this was going to be a scrappy affair with 4+ goals in the game. My prediction was way out, but never mind ay? I'm not mystic Meg.

So 9 changes made from the manager for this fixture which was unsurprising really.

Team sheet;

  • Cavalieri

  • Carragher

  • Aurelio

  • Degen

  • Krygiakos

  • Dossena

  • Riera

  • Spearing

  • Mascherano

  • N'Gog

  • Babel

So Leeds got the start to our League Cup campaign underway. The first distinctive moment of the game was in fact a Leeds goal which was disallowed as it was claimed to be offside. I myself at first thought the referee had made a good decision but after seeing the clip several times now it is clear the referee had got it wrong. Both Beckford and Becchio were onside when the ball was played. The confusion was caused though as it first appeared Beckford had got a touch to the ball but it was later revealed he did not, it was sent home by Becchio, either way neither player was offside, they were in fact level and we were lucky to have not conceded in the end.

During the moments after this incident the most promising situations in Liverpool's eyes was the linking up of N'Gog and Degen at least this is was i spotted. The space and awareness these two were showing was brilliant. Degen truly proved himself for me today, judging him on just this one performance i would like to say i am pleased, I'd be happy to see him start more games and see if he can produce more of the same against bigger opposition. As for N'Gog, he seems to get more confident each time i see him. I read somewhere quite recently that N'Gog was a Rafael Benitez project, N'Gog was the player Rafa wanted to mould into the perfect option when Torres was unavailable,injured or was being rested. Well tonight's performance just highlighted his potential, some pundits would class him as a weak asset to our bench but i feel as though he is improving drastically and could definitely become more of a threat.

The first and only real on target chance for Liverpool in the first half came from the only Dutch contingent in the squad after Kuyt didn't travel this evening, Ryan Babel. He did marvellously well to create the space after a brilliant run but his shot had no power and the keeper easily made the save.

Second half and Beckford arguably Leeds' best player on the night along with Snodgrass has a few chances notably a bicycle kick which is sent just over the bar and a close range attempt which Cavalieri manages to stop. Carragher had the job of keeping him quiet and although maybe quiet was not the best description of what actually happened in the match the number 23 and the towering Krygiakos were solid on the night.

Pushing into the hour mark and Spearing does another great job of setting Babel into the area. Spearing was excellent tonight, his passing was great, his movement was good, he even had some chances himself, a solid team player, with much more to come no doubt. I can't express how good it is to just see somebody like Spearing whose came up through the academy and actually made it onto the big stage. This is a key problem at Liverpool and i just hope that with all the staff changes and improvements being made at the academy that local talent and players being brought up through the system will not be a thing of the past at Liverpool FC. Roll on the next Stevie Gerrard.

65 minutes in and N'Gog opens the scoring with a brilliant goal controls/turns & shoots. Textbook. Just a few minutes later and N'Gog almost finds himself on the score sheet twice after a super cross from Degen is nearly turned into the net.

70 minutes and onwards, substitutions are the name of the game with the action becoming somewhat steady, Rafa decides to bring on Steven Gerrard just in an attempt to secure the win. Johnson is also swapped for Degen who gets a well deserved applause from the travelling Red's. Martin Skrtel also makes an appearance in the dying minutes. A free-kick is awarded and taken by Fabio Aurelio but is deflected for a corner which also ends without product.

Overall a good win, i thought the main aspect of tonight was that it showed some of the capabilities of the bench members of our squad. I was most impressed on the night with Jay Spearing and Philip Degen, who i thought both shone throughout the whole match. I'd also just like to point out the goalkeeping of Cavalieri who didn't really get a mention but played well and made some good saves. Here's to the draw and whoever we may face next.

Don't forget to vote for your MOTM!

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Liverpool V Leeds Match Preview

So Liverpool's Carling Cup campaign gets underway tomorrow with a trip to Yorkshire. The last time the two teams met was in 2004 a game which ended in a stalemate (2-2). Leeds are currently going well in League One, with their main goalscoring threat a certain Jermaine Beckford, widely praised in the footballing world at the moment.

Word about town today is that Rafa will be resting Gerrard & Torres. Not surprising though, i also would take a punt that Reina will take the day off too as Cavalieri featured alot in last season's league cup campaign. It will be interesting to see if Jay Spearing is given the opportunity to shine, if there's going to be a chance to do so this is it i would imagine.

Leeds last win against Liverpool at Elland Road was in 2000 when they beat the Red's 4-3, Viduka scoring the quartet of goals.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 6 games with Leeds United.

The last time the two teams met in the League Cup was in 1972.

Leeds have one of the best defensive records in League One at the moment.

I think this match could be an interesting tie, Leeds will not be taking this easy, with their full squad fielded against a weakened 11 from Liverpool anything could happen. I'd like us to continue to progress through this competition along with the FA Cup as i personally feel that we sometimes push it aside too much, OK so we obviously need match fitness ultimately for the premier league and for the champions league but sometimes these cups are silverware we can realistically aim for. Season upon season I've wished we were still in the mix so that if the disappointment of the league were to knock at our doors again we would still have something to fight for. I hope that as our squad slowly but surely begins to get better and we have more diversity that these competitions can be placed more frequently in to our hands.

Prediction: 3-2

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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Liverpool 3 West Ham 2

An action packed tea-time down at Upton Park this evening and a concerning one nonetheless, okay so the crucial 3 points are bagged and for now that's all that matters but i couldn't help but focus on some of the flaws in today's game.

Benitez fielded a team with only one change, Mascherano in for Riera and had pushed Yossi further up field to create a 4-2-3-1 formation. Two minutes into play our first defensive mistake, Jamie Carragher a man usually known for his reliability is left day-dreaming, far too slow in reacting and as a result we are robbed of possession via a certain Hines who later turns out to have a great match for the home side. Nobody is perfect but Carragher really had no excuses this time.

Ten minutes in and Liverpool have themselves a penalty claim only to be shunned by the referee who disagreed that a cross whipped in from Torres appeared to hit the arm of a West Ham player. Shortly after a lively Fernando Torres with a brilliant solo effort leaves the earlier penalty claim looming and the Red's get on the score sheet. Great awareness from Insua who feeds the ball through to the Spaniard, the number 9 then drifts past Tomkins with ease, shoots from a tight angle and it's the perfect finish.

During the next few minutes of the game West Ham lose two players to injury (Upson & Behrami) and are forced to use two subs. Gabbidon and Kovac were the replacements brought on by Zola.

Just short of the half hour mark and we find ourselves faced with a silly mistake by our trusty number 23, Carra in what can only be described as sheer frustration brings down Hines in the box resulting in a penalty for West Ham. Hines simply outpaced Carragher and he didn't take to this kindly, what with his earlier mistake this all piled together and resulted in a silly decision from the vice-captain. Diamanti nets the penalty for the Hammers.

The penalty decision resulted in a yellow card for Carragher the first in a string of many during a match that can only be described as physical. Skrtel also got himself in the referee's notebook with a silly tackle. It was a frustrating day for the unusually sloppy centre-backs.

41 minutes and up steps Kuyt, a close range finish from a brilliant Steven Gerrard header that was goal bound already but Kuyt's little clip ensured it got home. Within three minutes of Kuyt bringing back the lead Carlton Cole scores from an in sweeping West Ham corner. The key word here being corner, i've never felt so concerned when the opposition is rewarded with a corner, as the matches go by my confidence weakens and today's performance from the defence has only had a negative effect on this mind set of mine. I can only hope this is not a lasting problem and that it is sorted out as soon as possible.

Second half; we start again with action at both ends shots from Johnson, Parker & Benayoun all being registered within the first ten minutes or so. At 60 minutes on the dot the manager decides it is time for a change and right at the start of his almost famous first substitution slot he brings off Dirk Kuyt for the fresh legs of Ryan Babel. This move was a good one as from this point onwards Liverpool were always looking the most likely to score.

74 minutes, the substitute Ryan Babel produces a brilliant cross which is met by the head of Torres, a smashing header straight into the back of the net. Torres producing a confident and demanding leap after jumping up between two defenders. Fabio Aurelio and Alberto Riera are brought on in the dying minutes and the Reds seal the three points.

Overall i am pleased with the result but not with the performance, defensive errors and frustration seemed to cause a big problem within the teams performance today. Despite this i feel we showed desire, we were never down and out, the confidence was still there and we fought for the 3 points. This is an aspect which i sometimes felt we lacked last season in games against the likes of Stoke etc. A scrappy win but after all you know what they say "If you can win when your not playing your best...".

Match Stats

Shots On Target: Liverpool = 5 /// West Ham = 3
Shots Off Target: Liverpool = 4 /// West Ham = 5
Tackles: Liverpool = 33 /// West Ham = 23
Corners: Liverpool = 4 /// West Ham = 4
Offside: Liverpool = 2 /// West Ham = 2
Successful Passing Rate = Liverpool = 82% /// West Ham = 82%

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Liverpool V West Ham - Time For Those Football Stats

So today is destination West Ham folks, the trip down South to Upton Park. Usually a fine place for success but lets just have a look back at some of the previous clashes with the Hammers in years gone by.

  • Last time out was May 2009 with the reds scoring 3 goals, 2 of which came from Steven Gerrard. West Ham unable to get on the score sheet this time around.

  • January 2008 was not such a good result, losing 1-0 to West Ham on the day albeit to an injury time penalty.

  • In 2007 the scoreline at Upton park read 2-1, Peter Crouch securing the win that time.

  • April 2006 was much of the same with the lads again beating West Ham 2-1.

  • And in February 2003 Liverpool again winning 3-0 at Upton Park, with a certain Norwegian setting up two fantastic goals.

Not a bad run when you look at it, the Red's achieving those goals and those crucial points on the majority of occasions. Now we know how we've fared it's time for some of those little facts you may have forgot, or just didn't know:

  • Liverpool go into this game on a run of scoring in sixteen successive matches within the Premier League, this is actually the best run in the league too.
  • West Ham have only beaten Liverpool 5 times all of which have been at Upton Park in the last 28 meetings between the clubs.
  • West Ham have only won 3 of the last 11 games they have played.
  • If Liverpool manage to keep a clean sheet it will be the first time since 2008 that the Hammers have played 3 consecutive games without scoring.
  • Steven Gerrard has scored both his goals this season away from home.
  • And finally ... Fernando Torres has scored as many goals this season as he has gained black eyes (3).

So there we have it, the collection of information everybody loves to read before watching a match, even though the majority of times whoever is collecting the stats obviously runs out of valid information at certain points during collection. Fernando Torres has had as many black eyes as he has goals? What kind of stat collector collects that? Just added some light hearted humour i suppose although if our Torres gets anymore black eyes, I'm going to be concerned, a striker lacking eyesight is probably not the best thing for a team striving for the title.

Right, enough of my gibberish, KO 17:30, live on ESPN, unfortunately i am not subscribed to ESPN so for my match report later i either need to find delayed coverage or it will be based on radio and MOTD. Nevertheless there will be a match report so please feel free to stop by later this evening or tomorrow and leave your thoughts.

My prediction: 2-0.

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Re-Writing The History Books ... Again

Fernando Torres this morning has made it clear that he is not satisfied with his record breaking debut season last year with his collection of a massive 33 goals.

Speaking to the number 9 went on to say: "My first season does not matter now, I want this one to be better than that was. Three goals in six games is not bad, but I want more."

I think it is absolutely brilliant that we have a striker that is not content with 33 goals a season and that 1 goal every 2 games is also not enough. When you have a striker that hungry for goals it's easy to predict the outcome.

If Fernando can just keep himself fit this season and keep training, who knows what his overall goal tally will be. Predictions anyone?

In other news this morning, Liverpool Reserves beat Manchester United Reserves 1-0. N'Gog scoring very early in the game sealed the victory. Liverpool struggled to keep hold of their 1-0 lead after Plessis was sent off ten minutes before half time for a studs in tackle on Magnus Eikrem. Spearing was also in the 11 man squad and again showed promising signs for his possible first team career.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Liverpool 1 Debreceni 0

A slightly unconvincing start to this seasons group stages but a successful one none the less.

Liverpool started the same 11 fielded against Burnley for the tie against Debreceni and it was newly positioned Kuyt who was granted with a goal. After a slow start the red's began to pile on the pressure, frustratingly numerous chances whistled past the post with Kuyt, Gerrard, Torres and Riera all shooting wide within the first 20 mins.

Steven Gerrard was penalised not long after the 25 minute mark for taking a free kick before the referee (Proenca) blew his whistle, i myself felt this was a bit harsh although the referee did make it clear to Gerrard that he wished for him to wait. Another possibly silly booking for the squad which could prove a problem during the latter stages of the groups if the skipper is not on his best behavior.

During the next minutes up until the goal we saw a few flashes from Alberto Riera, sometimes not a fan favourite although i myself am personally a big fan, after getting into a scoring position and losing the defender his first attempt was rather disappointing, a shot lacking power and maybe taken too soon. Almost straight away he again finds himself one on one with the keeper, this time causing Poleksic to make a great stop.

Goal, first half stoppage time, finally the efforts are rewarded a great ball through from the always aware Yossi Benayoun who feeds the ball through to Torres, Torres shoots but is denied by the goalkeeper, up steps Kuyt; 1-0.

The second half was again most of the same, Debreceni focusing on putting 10 men behind the ball, creating the odd chance and failing to keep hold of possession. Perhaps the most controversial issue within the game was a blatant shirt pull 10 minutes into the second half on Gerrard which brings the man down. Is this not classed as a yellow outside the box? So why was a penalty not given?

Gerrard goes on to have numerous failed attempts in the second half perhaps the most memorable being a volley from outside the area which clipped the cross bar. Yossi during this half shows several moments of skill and creativity again by feeding the ball through to a constantly forward pushing Johnson.

Lucas through this second half as in the first has a cracking game, confident tackles, passes and awareness of the ball even producing a smashing header which unfortunately went wide. Critic's beware, he's proving us wrong and fair play to the lad.

Carragher and Skrtel were solid in defence with Insua not having such an impact as i felt he did against Burnley. Johnson provided some of his defence skills, which he has been accused of not having by successfully seeing off opposition players like Kiss (amusingly pronounced as Quiche) throughout the game.

Reina was ultimately kept quite but pulled off some convincing saves on the few occasions he was asked. I was also glad to see a certain Fabio Aurelio after attaining a knee injury playing football with his children. Also glad to see Masch back after recovering from a knock. An interesting situation when the board was held up with Ryan Babel's number on though as heckling appeared to occur, this probably due to the comments Babel had made in the media recently i assume. This seemed to be silenced by a good performance from the 22 year old for the latter stages of the second half though.

All in all it was more of a "3 points" we're happy night tonight as opposed to a memorable European night at Anfield. My man of the match = Dirk Kuyt.


Shots on target - Liverpool 7/Debreceni 3
Shots off target - Liverpool 16/ Debreceni 8
Corners - Liverpool 10/Debreceni 6
Fouls - Liverpool 9/Debreceni 12
Offsides - Liverpool 4/Debreceni 3
Yellow Cards - Liverpool 1/Debreceni 1
Red Cards - Liverpool 0/Debreceni 0

Roll on West Ham.

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Picture Special

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Liverpool V Debreceni

So with our first match of this seasons Champions League game getting underway tonight and with our opponents being our 104th different opposition within this competition i thought it would be a perfect time to produce some stats because if your like me you didn't know anything about Debreceni until we drew them in our group.

Debreceni are the first Hungarian team to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League since the season of 95/96.

They are current national champions.

They have won 5 of their 6 games leading up to them qualifying for the group stages and have kept 4 clean sheets in the process.

The squad consists of 14 home grown Hungarian players with the foreign talent only being made up of 5 players including a Brazilian defender.

The average age of the squad is 26.20.

Their top scorer is J. Varga.

These facts still make the opposition a bit of a mystery, but i would like to feel confident in Liverpool at Anfield for this fixture. Full squad options if Masch is given the go ahead, aside from Aquilani and a team that's just coming off the back of a win. KO 19:45, score prediction Liverpool 3 Debreceni 0.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Rafa Reaches 300

For the Debreceni game on Wednesday night Rafael Benitez will reach a huge 300 games of management over the Red's. One of only eight managers in the clubs history to do so. Due to this milestone the statistics have been dragged up and i must say if you didn't already know, they are pretty impressive on Rafa's part.

On a time scale of 300 games in charge:

Dalglish = 61%

Paisley = 57%

Benitez = 57%

Shankly =52%

Houllier = 51%

Watson = 44%

Kay = 40%

Patterson = 37%

In all fairness to Mr.Benitez and some of the fans who find him not quite their cup of tea, you can't argue with that stat, he's up there with the greats. Better than Shankly and level with Paisley, we all know this will never put him on a par with these men after what they did by changing the club and making it great but this stat is one of the only "facts" excuse the pun, that can boost confidence into those that doubt him. Compare this fact to a certain Mr.Ferguson from across the concrete pond and you'll find a win percentage of 59%, obviously this is from his whole time at Manchester United but just looking at that makes you realise what Rafa is doing is a point in the right direction. We can also compare Rafa's current 57% to Arsene Wenger's current 57% again this is from his whole time at the club. Rafa is in a great position here to create a positive reaction or a negative one, and we all know what he needs to do so; time. Here's to the next 100 games and the next percentage.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Sponsorship Deal Confirmed

The news of a brand new sponsorship deal this morning has been confirmed "Standard Chartered Management" have signed a four year deal with the club starting from the 2010/2011 season, not only is it the clubs biggest ever sponsorship deal but it also replaces a string of sponsorship "C's" what with Crown Paints, Candy and now Carlsberg soon to be a distant memory.
Carlsberg have been a loyal and proud sponsor and i've always thought the branding fitted well with the shirt but with recent news that advertising alcohol is soon to be banned, as done with cigarettes i'm glad we have sealed a new lucrative deal before the season closes.
Standard Chartered Bank itself is a huge and expanding company hopefully this will only benefit our club not only through it's sponsorship but through improving the fan base; worldwide.
I shall look forward to seeing the new sponsor along with the new shirt next season, and hopefully this will be the start of a long term partnership.

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Zonal Marking Debate

We all have our preferences and we all know how the pundits like to point the finger every time the Liverpool defence concede from a set piece. I'm sure you all remember the Cahill incident on two occasions last season which i personally found almost unbearable, how did we allow it to happen twice? It was almost identical.

Despite this i still myself believe in our zonal marking system, I'm convinced it works more times than not and that it is basically used as a scapegoat or excuse when we concede.

Carragher has been commenting on the matter quite recently in the news, he was quoted saying;

"People always say when you man-mark you know whose fault it is when the goal goes in. But because we know the zonal system a bit better than you guys, we know who's at fault when someone's not done their job, and we talk about that on the training ground to put it right. "

The defence themselves often show great support towards the system and the way the manager enforces it but with the frequent mistakes do we need a change or just more work?

Carragher went on to say:

"We've been using that system for a long time so everyone should be comfortable with it. Personally I've been doing it for five or six years with the manager, and for a few of them we've had one of the best records in the Premier League. It's about players wanting to head the ball and being aggressive in the box."

Carragher there suggesting that maybe the defence needs to be more confident in it's decisions when zonal marking.

So are you a fan of the zonal system? Or are you a supporter of man marking?

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First Post

Just a quick post to say hello and welcome, very new to the whole blogging scene but i am really hoping that this will be the start of something good. Looking forward to hearing from people and starting up some discussions and debates, votes and polls etc.

Please note there is no specific order as to how and when i will blog, this may be after a match, during a match, after hearing relevant news or just randomly but i hope to maintain a constant stream and blog as often as i see possible.

Talk soon :)