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Showing posts from March, 2010

Benitez's Boys Face Benfica

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Oscar Cardozo - Benfica's top goalscorer...
As we continue to progress through the lower tier of European competition it is starting to get towards the business end of the procedure. With some more of the big names now being left in the pot, it is only ourselves and Fulham representing the British force.
Tomorrow we start the tie in Portugal and return to Anfield the following week. Benfica are an unfamiliar opposition for this current Liverpool side. Sometimes not knowing what to expect can be a good thing, although it also implies that the line up will be cautious ready for a more threatening side for the home leg.
Benfica are currently perched nicely at the top of the Portuguese league. 6 points clear of their nearest rivals. Despite their league not being up there with the best in the world of football, their run is nothing to be shunned.
Quite a few people are expecting Benfica to be a difficult team to beat, and i agree that it will not be an easy ride. But looking at some of t…

Torres Tantalizes Sunderland Defence

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The boy is gold.

Liverpool exposed Sunderland for the unfortunate side that they truly resemble yesterday, bizarre incidents from the meeting earlier in the season were forgotten about completely as Liverpool ran rings around Steve Bruce's XI and put three past Craig Gordan in the process.

Benitez fielded a similar side to the one played against United. However, Lucas was dropped from the midfield with Gerrard sitting in and then Kuyt pushed forward to create a 4-4-2 with Torres.

This is exactly the kind of set up that needs to be enforced in more games, might i make it clear that it is obvious the effectiveness of both Lucas and Masch in midfield is excellent and still depending on the tactics and style of play from the opposition they should, and I'm sure will continue to be utilised. Most importantly though, Gerrard was in his natural position and the midfield had a more attacking feel as we began the clash with Sunderland.

It didn't take Liverpool and their number 9 long b…

Revenge Is Sweet

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Some things are best forgotten...
(Image link.)

After perhaps the most bizarre highlight of our season at The Stadium Of Light back in October when a giant Liverpool beach ball helped Darren Bent fool Pepe Reina and seal a win for Sunderland, Sunday marks the day for appropriate revenge and a fixture where a much needed three points should be collectible.

Liverpool have hit a wall somewhat after being so fluent in their goalscoring with 3 against Lille and 4 against Portsmouth, Manchester United posed a threat and the goal rout was limited to just the one from Fernando Torres in a 2-1 defeat.

The game against Sunderland will be a true marker of the current character of the players, the manager and the team as a whole. The Liverpool we know will turn this around and make it a winner for the Anfield faithful, but the not so familiar Liverpool side we have seen sparks of throughout the season could make it a difficult one and allow Steve Bruce's boys to walk away with a token for their e…

Park Seals Win For United

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Torres still delivers...

Liverpool suffered defeat at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon despite taking the lead via a Torres goal within the first ten minutes. With the prospect of beating Manchester United for the 4th time in a row, it just wasn't Liverpool's day, and although it was only a narrow victory for the devils, there were not too many positives to take from the 90minutes.

Liverpool made a very lively start to the game, which was what was required if we wanted to get anything out of the fixture. Benitez started a familiar XI with the same back four from Lille, Pepe in goal, Masch and Lucas in midfield, Maxi and Kuyt on the wings and Gerrard sitting off Torres.

No question about it, this was more of a precautionary line up rather than one to take the attack to United but Rafa's original tactics worked as the goal scored in free play came within 5minutes from kick off.

It was Fernando Torres himself who created the build up towards his headed goal. After a great little …

Make Mine A Double

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5 minutes added time please Ref... Thank you.

Aside from the Merseyside derby, this is quite easily one of the highlights of a Liverpool fans fixture list. With the bitter rivalry between both ourselves and Manchester United it is always a battle on the pitch, a battle between the managers and a battle between fans.

No side wants to lose, and neither will accept a draw. The bragging rights are what everyone wants, and even more so to a Liverpool side who can rub this victory in the faces of their North West rivals as our slim hopes of silverware are not enough to get on the Mancs wick.

So can Rafa Benitez, the author of "How To Beat Manchester United For Dummies" do the double over them for the second time in his Anfield career?

With Ferguson clearly using an apparent injustice in the Gerrard situation to try to collect some excuses before the game has even begun it is evident that he is fearful of Gerrard, Torres & Co and Rafa's tactics.

With Rooney on great form many ar…

Gerrard & Torres Seal European Progression

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Torres sends first effort past Lille goalkeeper...

Liverpool let their football do the talking last night and dismissed an outspoken Albert Riera's quotes of the club being a "sinking ship", well last time i checked for a vessel to be described as "sunk" you are to be well and truly under water, all i can see at the moment is a club keeping their heads above the waves whilst we continue to fight in this struggle of a campaign.

Riera's comments before the Lille game aired on radio it appears are just the forefront of an ongoing incident but still, as in the Tweeting Babel incident, you do not do those things especially before an important European tie for your current team. Team player has a meaning behind it, it is clear that some people these days have no idea what that meaning is.

Benitez fielded a similar XI as played against Portsmouth although Maxi was not used due to being ineligible and Aquilani was left out with a virus.

This raised alarms for a lot of …

Liverpool Poised To Turn Tie Around

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A deflated Liverpool after defeat to Lille.
Liverpool are set to welcome Lille to Anfield tomorrow on the back of a 1-0 loss in France. After the emphatic victory over Portsmouth on Monday night can Liverpool keep things going with another win in the Europa League?
Liverpool lost the first leg after conceding in the 84th minute of the game, something which has been a frustration for Liverpool in many games this season, letting in silly goals very late in a match.
However after being uplifted by the 4-1 rout over Pompey, Liverpool can quite easily turn this around and continue their venture in the Europe.
The incentive and target is still the same as it was if we had of came away from Lille with a 0-0 draw, score at least one goal.
Forcing extra time or winning outright, it doesn't matter which outcome, Liverpool can complete this task with ease if the tactics are right and the lads work as a team.
After the positive boost Aquilani gave the team in a more attacking Liverpool side it is …

Food 4 Thought

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Aquilani relished his first Liverpool goal.
Just as we thought our ship was about to sink, captain Steven Gerrard and the rest of the boys pulled something special out of the bag last night against a team fighting for their life in the Premier League. But is this a sign of things to come or just a one off result?

Many people will quickly jump to the old "oh well it was only Portsmouth" but as Liverpool fans we all know how much that victory meant. We all know how valuable those 3 points were and we all know after being beaten by Portsmouth earlier on in the season, this was no fluke.
It was an early goal from Fernando Torres that started off the Liverpool rout.
When Steven Gerrard closed down Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown, i don't think anyone was expecting the last ditch attempt to be fruitful, however when Gerrard managed get a foot to the clearance, the ball kindly fell to Maxi Rodriguez, he kept himself composed and swept the ball to our number 9 who put the ball in the b…

Looking Into A Mirror?

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As far as worst case scenarios go, Liverpool comparing their current financial situation to Pompey's current off field crisis would be top of my list, but as ludicrous as the idea is, it's not as far fetched as it it sounds.
I'm sure you are all aware of the two clowns currently in the hot seat of "running" our club, without going into facts and figures, it is Tom Hicks and George Gillett who are the reason we find ourselves so cash strapped and the reason why Rafael Benitez is forced to play his best negotiating skills in the transfer market, constantly having to sell to buy.
Not forgetting that (as far as i am aware) our current finance structure is built on a system that assumes qualification into the Champions League i.e. 4th spot. In the current realisation that finishing in 5th or even worse is highly possible who knows what the next step would be for our struggling football club. There is a fantastic article relating to this written by Paul Tomkins (Twitter:…

Lille Prove More Than A Hazard For Liverpool

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Time to turn your frustrations into support for a good cause.
Late goals were almost becoming a thing of the past for Liverpool but we were back to our old ways against Lille last night. Despite an improved performance compared to our 90minutes against Wigan we still let things slide after being unable to capitalize on a steady 80 minutes or so.
Benitez drafted in Ryan Babel for this one after Yossi Benayoun picked up an injury, i shall move on to commenting on his performance later. A lot of people pre match were calling for Aquilani to make the start, mainly because he clearly deserves it but also in a game against Lille, you would think he would be greatly suited. After looking back at the game too, it is clear to me that we would have benefited from some of the more attacking aspects of the Italian.
Lille started the first half in a very lively fashion, they obviously realised that they would need a result on home turf to truly trouble Liverpool over the two legs.
Liverpool dealt wel…

C'est La Vie!

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It's a phrase every Liverpool fan at the moment wishes they could say without a care. After a season to forget being added to on Monday night with a damaging loss to Wigan it would be lovely to be able to sit back and say "That's life" as it were, let's just focus on the next game and move on.
Unfortunately for us, things aren't as simple as that, with a trip over to France for our Europa League tie tomorrow against Lille and then Portsmouth on the following Monday night Liverpool need focus.
The tie with Lille could go one of two ways, it could provide Liverpool with a springboard, helping them head into what could be a difficult tie with Portsmouth and thus improving morale and hopefully meaning results go their way.
On the other side of the coin though, it could be a very frustrating match for Liverpool, although a loss would not mean we were out of the competition, it would do no good at all for a team already low after a poor defeat to a side they should h…

Martinez Makes Mockery Of Reds

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A disappointed Pepe Reina removes his gloves.
Martinez capitalised on the fact that Liverpool are clearly still not set in their ways or on to some sort of consistency. Martinez realised that Liverpool were, and have been a beatable side for a while now providing your tactics are good and the work ethic of your players is at a maximum.
Martinez was right, with an inspired performance from a Wigan side who have not won since late January on the new turf at the DW, Liverpool were made to look undone. Wigan on the other hand resembled a top 4 challenging side whilst the Reds allowed their heads to drop directly after the 35minute Wigan winner found its way into the net.
Benitez fielded an interesting line up, Mascherano was again utilised at right back although Glen Johnson did make his come back as a substitute. The line up had many attacking options with the likes of Gerrrard, Torres, Benayoun, Kuyt and Maxi all making the start. The big Greek was back in defence and it was Reina, Carraghe…

We Have Never Lost To The Latics

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The big Greek has served his ban, could he be back to face Wigan?
In the Premier League we have always walked away with a bare minimum of at least 1 point when facing Wigan, and tomorrow is no time to change that fact.
Wigan are a rather funny footballing side, at the moment they are not going too well when it comes to winning games either. Their last recorded win was at Molineux against Wolves where they won the game 2-0. This result came in the latter half of Januray and although Wigan have mustered some draws and perhaps been unlucky in some fixtures, they are still in the midst of a struggle.
However, in my eyes, Wigan are exactly one of those sides that can prove to be a stumbling block for Liverpool. Just like Portsmouth, it is always the sides many people feel confident we can beat that i fear most. Perhaps this is because when you play a side like Wigan, the automatic expectation adds a lot of pressure and although this should not affect the players i think in some senses it can ge…

"We Prefer To Talk On The Pitch."

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I didn't realise Allardyce was German...
Was easily my Rafa Benitez quote of the day for yesterday. There is nothing more satisfying as a manager of a winning side, and nothing more dissatisfying as a manager of the losing side, when as the loser you come out before hand, running off things such as Liverpool are fatigued, they have been "digging games out" etc in an attempt to dislodge the victory train.
As Benitez's quote suggests though, it was the manager on the winning side that had the last laugh. The tension between our Gaffa and Big Sam is continually growing and I'm afraid the ex Bolton manager is simply no match for our rather clever and brilliantly subtle sarcastic Spaniard.
With Skrtel out through injury, there was an open space left in the back four. Mascherano was somewhat surprisingly chosen at right back, although we have witnessed him have a successful stint here earlier in the season when a sending off shook up the formation.
Aurelio had started at …