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Showing posts from April, 2010

The Dream Is Over

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Long may he prove his critics wrong...
Despite Liverpool beating Atletico Madrid 2-1 at Anfield last night and putting on a fantastic performance with every player giving 110%, that early goal from the first leg came back to haunt us after Atletico booked their place in the final on the away goals rule.
Due to injuries and a tactical decision by Benitez to switch Johnson onto the left side, the line up was as good as could be under recent circumstances. Masch was pushed into right-back position with Johnson on the left, Carra and Agger were in the centre and Reina in goal.
Kuyt lead the line with Babel and Benayoun on the wings. Aquilani, Gerrard and Lucas made up the rest of the XI.
Liverpool made a fantastic start to the game with immense tempo and urgency. Gaining 4 corners within the first minutes of the match, it was clear the attitude was there. Anfield was as vociferous as ever and the stage was set for a memorable night in Liverpool.
Despite the good start and the holding off of At…

The Anfield Face Off

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Diego Forlan scores in the first leg...
Atletico Madrid welcome themselves to L4 tomorrow for the second leg of our Europa League Semi Final with the Spaniards. After all the hectic travel arrangements Liverpool suffered for the first leg, Atletico have had no such problems for the trip to England.
With the prospect of another European final for Liverpool and obviously the chance of silverware, Anfield should be buzzing tomorrow night, resembling that world famous atmosphere that footballing culture knows so well.
Liverpool were unlucky in a sense in the first leg when a scrappy goal from Diego Forlan found its way past Golden Glove contender Pepe Reina. The lads weren't playing at their best but the 1-0 still gives the Reds the upper hand tomorrow night.
As we are all aware, star striker Fernando Torres will not be fit to face his old employers, and the rest of the list of injuries still drags on pretty long.
Long standing injuries to Martin Skrtel, Emiliano Insua and Martin Kelly mea…

Gerrard Gears Victory

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Captain fantastic back to his best...
Steven Gerrard helped steer Liverpool to a 4-0 victory yesterday with 2 goals in 9minutes. The final result saw Burnley relegated but it was an emphatic win for the Reds as they cling on to slim hopes of that last Champions League spot.
The shock entry of Ayala into the back four was the only unsuspected addition to the line up from Benitez. With N'Gog injured it was Kuyt who lead the line. Fellow Dutchman Ryan Babel also started and Maxi Rodriguez was reintroduced on the wing.
The first half for Liverpool was a rather nervy one, Burnley appeared to be dealing with the likes of Kuyt and Aquilani rather well. They were looking strong against the Reds.
The 45minutes portrayed a bad outlook should Liverpool continue to play like that in the second half. Despite some speculative attempts from Gerrard and co, no real chances were created. Burnley also sprung Reina into making a save in the dying minutes, possibly indicating they were becoming comfortab…

Reliance

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Can Benayoun make a repeat of his performance against Burnley in September?
Liverpool face the short trip to Burnley tomorrow as the Lancashire side attempt to remain in the Premier League. Liverpool would hand Burnley a massive blow should they be victorious tomorrow and would see Burnley be relegated.
Not only this they would also hand relegation battlers Wolverhampton Wanderers security. With the Chelsea game also looking more important for other teams rather than ourselves, it is going to be a very peculiar end to the season. Reliance on ourselves from other football clubs is a very scary thing, what worries me is a lot of the time this season, we have not been able to rely on our own performance, let alone giving somebody else a hand.
A win tomorrow could see Liverpool jump into 5th depending on the margin of the win and the Manchester City result. Anything at this moment in time can be taken as a positive because it is just becoming so unlikely that Liverpool will manage to scrape…

Extra Officials? Beneficial? Don't Be Daft.

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A frustrated Dirk Kuyt portrays everyone's emotions...
One goal separated the two sides last night at the Vicente Calderon, scored within 9minutes in rather bizarre and scrappy circumstances, it was enough to see Atletico Madrid take glory in the first leg of our Europa League Semi Final.
Benitez reintroduced Mascherano and dropped Maxi Rodriguez for this fixture due to him being ineligible for the competition. The remainder of the XI was the same fielded against West Ham.
It wasn't long before Liverpool's defence was undone. With barely any chance to settle down Atletico punished with a fast paced attack originating from their own half.
Frustratingly, Forlan was unmarked, the player who i was so certain we should be able to deal with was allowed too much space. When the cross came in, a diving Kyrgiakos could not connect, Agger was too far away from the action and Carragher was still checking back after he was pulled out of position.
When Forlan made contact though, something …

Atletico: First Leg

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Me?... Tired?... Noooo.
Fernando Torres will miss out again as Liverpool prepare to face Atletico Madrid on Thursday night. After sustaining a knee injury, the number 9 will not be able to face his old club as Liverpool's plight in the Europa League continues.
The Reds reached destination Madrid earlier on today after a mammoth journey across the continent. Starting with a train ride from Runcorn and ending with a flight to Madrid the trek included an overnight stay in Paris, several coach/train stints and a lot of autographs.
Nevertheless, the team and the Manager have arrived safe and sound ready to face their Spanish opposition. With the flight ban on UK airspace also now lifted, the travel back should be a lot easier for the lads who would have found it a tight squeeze trying to get back in good time for the Premier League fixture on the weekend against Burnley.
Liverpool head into this tie on the back of an uplifting 3-0 win over West Ham, confidence should be high and with the p…

Bellyoun

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David N'Gog gets Liverpool's second...
Anfield attendance was of a lowered tally for Monday nights clash, possibly due to the numerous amount of people still stuck abroad. A lack in the Anfield faithful though was not going to put a downer on the team or the performance against the London side battling to stay in football's top league.
After the injury to Fernando Torres and the ongoing injury to Emiliano Insua, Benitez had to field another different looking Liverpool side. This time out he opted to start N'Gog leading the line with Kuyt sitting very closely off the French youngster.
The midfield saw Mascherano dropped with Benayoun and Maxi on the wings, whilst Gerrard and Lucas slotted in the centre. The back four was the same used against Fulham, Agger still remaining as stand in left back and Reina was in goal.
Liverpool started the game with good possession and fluidity, West Ham were being made to look dysfunctional but with some skillful flashes from the likes of Co…

Race For Fourth Meets Relegation Battle

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Will Yossi feature against his old club?...
With the introduction of a stand in chairman this week for Liverpool and the stories all reading that Hicks and Gillett are ready to sell up and move on, there was a very positive feel amongst the fan base.
Don't count your chickens though, with Hicks making suggestions that he will only accept stupid money despite the fact nobody will pay £600mil for a club some £250mil (roughly) in debt, it is not looking as bright as once thought.
However, it is no doubt a step forward, the key thing is though, this time out, our club needs to be handled with dignity and intelligence, no silly mistakes, the correct buyer, somebody with passion and the strive to support the team must be found.
So with all this going on off the pitch, can Liverpool beat West Ham on Monday night and keep themselves in an ever changing race for fourth?
West Ham have failed to win on the road since the opening game of the season when they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0.
Scott…

Hillsborough: Never Forget.

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Anfield covered in scarves, shirts and flowers...
Tomorrow marks the 21st anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. On April the 15th 1989, thousands of Liverpool supporters on a beautiful April afternoon made their way to Sheffield to watch their beloved football club play in the FA Cup semi final.
Nobody that morning when they set out to the game though could begin to imagine the horror that would unfold.
96 Liverpool fans lost their lives that day, 96 friends, 96 people who were a Mother, a Father, a Daughter, a Son, a Grandad, a Grandma, a Sister, a Brother, a Cousin, a Soul Mate, a Friend. 96 people went to a football match that day and never returned.
In the 21st century, a disaster so heartbreaking and so preventable is tragic. To make things worse, those 96 friends were not mourned respectfully or with decency. Families were not offered compassion, they were offered lies.
Still to this day, justice for the families and friends of those 96 has not been done.
I was not brought up in …

We Just Couldn't Take Our Chances

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Hillsborough... Never forget.
Liverpool's already unrealistic hopes of finishing in the top 4 appear to have almost certainly been shattered after Roy Hodgson's Fulham managed to hold the Reds to an eventful 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Yesterday's game was the closest game to the 21st anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Both sets of fans, managers, staff and players completed a solemn minute silence to remember the 96 Liverpool fans that lost their lives on that fateful day on the 15th April 1989.
Benitez's choice of line up was favoured by many with a very strong midfield and familiar defence. Fernando Torres was missing from the line up through a flaring up of a knee problem believed to have been causing him problems earlier in the week. Despite this being a blow it was an ideal XI played by Benitez.
N'Gog lead the line with Babel, Mascherano,Gerrard,Aquilani and Maxi making up the centre of the field. Agger was utilised at left back again with Carra, Soto and Johnson…

Practice Run?

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Murphy would love to score at Anfield again...
With Fulham also managing to get through to the semi finals of the Europa League on Thursday just like ourselves, tomorrow's game could be a warm up for the final of the competition.
Hodgson is often praised for his managerial skills and it is clear that he can hold is own amongst European competition.
I'm sure you all remember the first meeting this season between Liverpool and Fulham too when Roy Hodgson had the last laugh over Rafa Benitez after his side beat the Reds who were reduced to 9 men on the day of Halloween.
Horror show was an understatement and despite the fact that maybe some refereeing decisions were questionable, Liverpool were not up to scratch, tomorrow we will be looking to get an absolutely vital 3 points but also revenge.
At Anfield and after beating Benfica in such style, you have to feel pretty happy facing Fulham tomorrow. Despite players like Clint Dempsey looking to cause problems and ex Liverpool favourite …

Liverpool Through To Semi-Finals

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Lucas Leiva proves critics wrong and shrugs off his scapegoat status...
Liverpool can boast semi final status after successfully knocking out Portuguese rivals Benfica last night with a scoreline reading 4-1 to the home team. Although there were some nervy moments when Benfica's Cardozo got one back, the lads worked hard and it was a superb and well deserved result come 90minutes.
After all the questions about how the back four would be set up, Benitez fielded Agger in the left back position with Carra, Soto and Johnson making up the the rest of the defence. With Reina in goal and Torres up front it was Gerrard, Masch, Lucas, Kuyt and Benayoun that completed the starting XI.
For the first twenty minutes or so it was quite a scrappy affair for Liverpool. With the added input of Benfica bashing players like Torres around, the fouls and stop-start feel to the game was becoming frustrating.
Frustration was nearly a continued theme after the revelations of the first Liverpool goal.
When St…

2nd Leg: Benfica

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Could the Dane be utilised at left back?...
Liverpool are looking to turn around the tie against Benfica tomorrow with the 2nd leg at Anfield. After gaining only an away goal as a positive in the 2-1 defeat last Thursday we still have a great chance of going through to the semi finals of the competition.
If we do manage to get through tomorrow evening we will be facing either Valencia or Athletico Madrid depending on the outcome of their own tie. The result from the first leg played at the Mestalla saw both teams score twice meaning the second leg is poised evenly. So for Liverpool it could quite easily be either of the two teams.
Both of which would be interesting, Valencia obviously for players like David Villa and the huge link between the club and Rafa Benitez. Athletico with the ties between the club and ex captain Fernando Torres would also provide a good atmosphere.
Benfica's manager Jorge Jesus has again made all of his team available despite the fact that Weldon missed a trai…

Far From Eggs-cellent

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Gerrard celebrates passionately in front of the fans... What?...
You didn't seriously think i would go through the Easter weekend without adding a really bad Easter related pun in somewhere did you?
On a more sombre note though, yesterday's result saw the grey clouds regather over an already subdued and annoyed Liverpool fan base. There were numerous moments throughout the game that were top of the moaners lists.
Make no bones about it, i had a moan myself, but quite astonishingly it is again clear as to what most fans feel and what most fans are more concerned about at this moment in time.
Whilst my first reaction was the sheer fear of what finishing out of fourth place could do to us. I.e. with Hicks and Gillett already dragging the club into so much debt, they idiotically based our finances on assumption of qualification into the Champions League, failing to do so could see us add another £40million or so to our already unsteady financial situation.
With the deadline having to be…

Reds Face Birmingham For Easter Sunday Clash

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Birmingham's top goalscorer Jerome is on a tally of 9 goals...
Liverpool go in to tomorrow afternoon's fixture looking to improve on the performance earlier in the season against Birmingham City which saw them leave Anfield that night with just the one point. It was a scrap to even come away with the 2-2 draw that evening, so Liverpool should know to be weary of a revamped Premier League style Birmingham.
Just to make things worse, Liverpool have not beaten the Blues since may 2004. Over the 6 meetings we have lost twice and drew on the remaining 4 occasions. Despite our head to head stats in the league, we have in the midst of all this beaten Brum in the FA Cup (remember the 7-0?) and also in the League Cup.
Benitez is not one to dismiss the ability of the recently promoted side either, he was quoted saying:
"They are doing well. It has been a very good season for them. They are a good team, with a good spirit who work hard for each other.
"You could see from their game …

Babel Sees Red As Liverpool Lose In Portugal

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Agger celebrates after scoring Liverpool's only goal...
Benfica put two past Liverpool last night both courtesy of their top goalscorer Oscar Cardozo. Despite an early goal from Daniel Agger, a mixture of fortune in favour of the home side and some questionable refereeing decisions saw the Reds fall to defeat.
Benitez fielded a familiar looking side which saw the reintroduction of Lucas into the midfield. With Torres leading the line, it was a confident feel for kick off.
It took just 9 minutes for Liverpool to get on the score sheet after a set piece allowed us to put one in the Benfica goal. Steven Gerrard with a clever little free kick placed the ball square into the box, Daniel Agger then with a superb flick off the back of his foot saw his risky attempt go straight into the back of the net.
Play continued to be positive for Liverpool as we pushed with the attack on the Benfica defence. Looking relatively comfortable, it appeared we may be able to come back to Anfield with a most …