The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Bolton Win Takes Liverpool Top Of The Table

Henderson scores his first Liverpool goal...

Of course this could all change within a few hours but let's enjoy it ay?!

With three different goalscorers yesterday and Suarez not even on the score sheet, it was a sublime 90 minutes at Anfield for Dalglish's boys. The passing was flowing beautifully, Lucas was a monstrous shield to his defence and the back four when required were solid themselves.

Liverpool took just fifteen minutes to get their first goal. A stunning outside boot pass from Luis Suarez caused problems in the box, Stewart Downing's shot was saved by Jaaskelainen but the ball was not yet out of danger for Bolton.

Jordon Henderson was at the ready and a lovely strike on his left foot got him his first Liverpool goal.

I must say Henderson out of the three big new signings in midfield has perhaps been the one less involved in peoples conversations, because of the immediate impact of Downing and Adam, people were forgetting to praise the stints put in by the 21 year old. It was great yesterday to see him so ecstatic to grab his first goal at Anfield and i can see him turning into a bit of a fan favourite, a top performance all round from Henderson.

Liverpool were going strong when they were hit with an injury on the half hour mark. Martin Kelly had to be replaced with Martin Skrtel who was put into the right back position. Most thought Carragher would be pushed out and Skrtel would pop into the centre but how wrong were we?

Second half and Martin Skrtel's almost worrying amount of time spent in the opposition's half would pay off. The big man who was in the mix on the flank before the corner was given, got himself in the box as Charlie Adam placed the ball down next to the flag.

One thing Adam knows how to do is whip a good ball into the box and Martin Skrtel snapped up the chance to head home Liverpool's second. Skrtel isn't exactly a prolific goalscorer so Bolton can't have been too pleased with their marking from the corner.

The choice from Dalglish to play Skrtel at right back though instead of Carragher was a great decision. Carragher as we all know will do anything he is asked to the best of his ability, but when he does have to play on the right, as much as he tries, he struggles to get up the field. Skrtel on the other hand was in his element, it was fantastic to see him with so much determination.

Bolton throughout the first half were really struggling. Owen Coyle has revamped the Northern side i feel and it just didn't show yesterday. The belief just wasn't there, even Kevin Davies who ended up being subbed and is usually so vital in a Bolton performance was pretty much absent.

Someone i would note is Zat Knight, despite a few mistakes, gave his all for Bolton yesterday and made some good blocks and tackles, it's just a shame the rest of his defence didn't follow suit.

The Reds' third goal came shortly after Skrtel's header and this time it was Charlie Adam's turn to get his name on the score sheet. A powerful shot from outside the box left Jaaskelainen with no chance of stopping Liverpool's third.

Dalglish brought on Carroll for the immense Suarez at 75 minutes. The Uruguayan did everything but score in his time on the pitch and chased down lost causes time after time, what a player this man is!

Carroll if i am perfectly honest looked a bit lazy to me in his fifteen minutes. Two balls into the area spring to mind when usually he'd stick a foot out, he barely moved. Nevertheless i still think once he gets into top gear we'll see a fair few headers from the Geordie. Maxi Rodriguez also entered the fray and replaced Henderson.

Bolton managed to get themselves a consolation goal in extra time. This was quite annoying for me, i personally don't think they deserved it and after working so hard for the clean sheet the defence and Reina must have been gutted.

Klasnic was the man for Bolton, again someone usually so influential was pretty quiet for 90 minutes but his close range effort was enough to grab Bolton their sole goal.

Next up for Liverpool is a trip to Stoke, a tough game in the Britannia's atmosphere but after the Reds performances' of late, i feel confident.

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Liverpool Search For Anfield Win

I'm so dizzy, ma head is spinnin' ! (Coates rumoured to be in Liverpool today.)

Liverpool face Bolton tomorrow for their third Premier League fixture of the season. On the back of a 3-1 win in the Carling Cup and a 2-0 victory over Arsenal, the Reds will be more than confident heading into this fixture against Owen Coyle's side.

Liverpool are still without Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson's hamstring injury looks set to keep him out again on Saturday. Raul Meireles will also be unavailable after a collarbone injury gained in the midweek tie with Exeter.

For Bolton they are without Ricketts, Meirs and Steinsson. Also out is Alonso who suffered a similar fate to Meireles, getting injured midweek, the break to a bone in his foot will keep him out for nearly 2 months.

Bolton have made a good start to the season after a rampant victory over Queens Park Rangers, they were unlucky in a hard fought fixture against Manchester City, putting two goals past the big spenders and missing out on a point by the slenderest of margins.

Klasnic is probably the man to watch for Bolton, aside from Kevin Davies of course. But Klasnic offers a somewhat unnoticed threat for Bolton, the striker can boast a very good goals to minutes on the pitch ratio yet when a conversation sparks up in the pub about prolific forwards, nobody ever mentions him do they?

With the strength he has behind him too, the Liverpool defence will have to be on their toes tomorrow. Speaking of which, i wonder if the deal for Sebastian Coates (Co- ah- tez folks! Yet another name which will have a million different variations depending on the commentator) will have sealed his deal at Anfield by kick off tomorrow?

We have to trace back the stats to 2003 to find a Bolton win at Anfield, plenty of goals in their 3-2 leage cup victory over the Reds. Their last win however was a more recent affair, two goals for Bolton in 2006 saw no return from Liverpool.

The Reds tomorrow will look to improve on their opening fixture at Anfield, a draw with Sunderland was respectable but the kopites will surely be striving to see a win tomorrow to ensure 7 points from 3 games.

My prediction is no surprise, Luis Suarez in the scoring and I'm going to go for another 2-0 for the Reds. I'd like to see Kuyt chosen to start tomorrow as i think his tenacity is something that is required to break down a grafting Bolton side early on. Replacing him with Stewart Downing in the second half for me is a good plan of action for tomorrow.

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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Carroll Scores In Carling Cup Win

Luis Suarez and Maxi Rodriguez celebrate Liverpool's second goal...

Liverpool confidently put three past league one side Exeter last night as the home side only managed a consolation goal from the penalty spot. It was a high tempo clash and Exeter can hold their heads high I feel after getting stuck in for most of the 90 minutes.

A lack of chances for the Grecians was perhaps the main thing holding them back, along with the class of Suarez and boot of Andy Carroll. Liverpool are now safely into the third round of the competition.

The first 20 minutes saw both sides switching possession. Although Exeter were struggling to create chances they were certainly capable of making interceptions and flustering the Liverpool passing system in midfield on a few occasions.

In Liverpool's favour though, whilst in possession, we were beginning to trouble the Exeter goalkeeper. A string of corners from Charlie Adam about 15 minutes in were a danger to deal with for the home teams defence.

The only down side for Dalglish in the early play was that Raul Meireles had to leave the field. Believed to be a shoulder injury, the midfielder was replaced with Andy Carroll.

Liverpool got their first goal just after the 20 minute mark courtesy of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan who's on 3 goals in 3 games is in superb form and despite the best efforts of the man on the line for Exeter, the power on the strike was enough to put Liverpool 1 nil up.

Shortly after the goal Exeter made a substitution and brought on Jimmy Keohane for his debut. I must say, the lad impressed me, he wasn't at all phased by the calibre of opposition and fully embraced his chance to impress the home crowd, he had some pace behind him n'all!

Half time was reached with no further goals. The strong team fielded by Kenny Dalglish had a good first half but i think it's important to highlight that the back four who aside from Skrtel and are still very much learning their game in the Liverpool ranks were excellent. John Flanagan particularly impressed me, aside from being caught out of position a couple of times he was fantastic.

Nardiello mentioned in the preview was causing the most problems for Exeter, he was unlucky on a few occasions, particularly an early shot in the second half which was sent wide. It felt as though Exeter were knocking on the door but unfortunately for them it was Maxi Rodriguez next to find the net.

Set up by the on fire Luis Suarez, the Argentinian slotted home after a second ball through from Suarez. Liverpool looked confident as Exeter seemed to be loosing the spark they started the game with.

Home fans continued to chant and spur their team on as they looked for their first goal but in less than 3 minutes Dalglish's eleven were at it again.

Andy Carroll who appeared to be getting more and more frustrated, whilst being subject to several renditions of "Gypo, Gypo!" and "Where's your caravan?" finally managed to silence the taunters with a powerful strike.

The relief from the big Geordie was clear to see and hopefully this goal will send him on his way to netting a fair few in the Premier League.

Stewart Downing entered the field of play after the hour mark and replaced Luis Suarez. The ex Aston Villa star once again looked very lively and split open the Exeter defence with his weaving runs. A late chance on a sole run saw him make the wrong decision but other than that, he was very impressive.

Exeter quickly followed suit and their substitution saw Shepard leave the field for McNish. I don't know if anyone else noticed but i swear i heard a loud shout from a disgruntled Exeter fan saying " Shepard, give it up will ya, pick on somebody your own size." after a challenge on Flanagan. To be fair if that's what he said, i agree, he was after Flanno all night and the youngster wasn't troubled one bit haha.

It wasn't fresh legs on the pitch though who eventually got Exeter their consolation goal. Nardiello who had been the main man in attack most of the game converted a penalty, straight down the middle and the home fans finally had something to cheer about.

In a strange way I'm kind of glad they scored, i felt like they deserved at least something from the game.

Liverpool can now relax and await their opponents in the next round whilst they concentrate on their next league game against Bolton.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

League Cup Kicks Off For Reds

Exeter gaining promotion to League Two in 2008...

Liverpool face Exeter tomorrow night at St James Park. A slightly smaller capacity than the matching named North East stadium, it should be an interesting fixture for the home fans tomorrow seeing the stars of Dalglish's side on their turf.

For those of you that don't know much about our opposition tomorrow i will try to give you a quick round up on The Grecians.

Exeter are currently in League One and last year they finished in a respectable 8th place. The club itself is owned by the fans through Exeter City Supporters Trust. Their top goalscorer from last season Richard Logan nabbed himself 11 goals by the end of the 2010/2011 campaign and is still with the club.

In terms of past meetings the clubs have only met on four occasions. Liverpool have been victorious in all four matches one of which saw a 6-0 win for the Reds.

It's been 29 years since the sides last met and there's no way of guessing what Exeter will have to offer. Dalglish is predicted to play a weakened side, probably one consisting highly of youth. I still think we'll see Kelly and Flanagan though who fall into both the youth category and the more experienced first team one.

After the disaster of Northampton last season Liverpool will be looking to improve on their efforts in the League Cup. As mentioned before i think it's a competition we can win and even without fielding our star men game in game out, with the size of the squad we have at the moment we can chop and change as we please.

Whatever happens tomorrow night the magic of the cup is sure to make it an enjoyable fixture between the two sides, my prediction however is a Liverpool romp, perhaps 3 or 4 nil, however i would much rather see Exeter come at us, i just don't think they're going to find it easy to score.

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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Petition To Release Hillsborough Documents

This is a sincere request to anyone reading, Liverpool fan or not.

You may have read on Twitter or seen in the news this week that the government are going to appeal against a ruling to release the documents and minutes from the meetings with Margaret Thatcher after the Hillsborough disaster.

Not only is it despicable that they are even trying to keep these documents a secret, it is sickening to think that the thought has crossed their minds. Unfortunately, it is true and if the government get their own way the families and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Disaster will forever be in the dark.

There is one question and one question only you need to ask yourself; If there isn't anything incriminating or out of sorts in the documents, then why are they trying to stop the release of them?

To prevent the truth from being hidden once again please help by signing this e-petition it already has over 80,000 signatures and your name on the list would help enormously. Once you have signed please remember to check your emails for a confirmation and then click the link to verify your signature.

Thank you.

Justice For The 96.

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

We Just Can't Get Enough

Full marks for passion lad!

We're only two games into the new season and spectacular penalty miss aside Suarez is stamping smiles on Liverpool fans faces everywhere. The Uruguayan got Liverpool's second on Saturday after an Ramsey own goal.

Dalglish set up his side with Suarez originally on the bench and Dutchman Dirk Kuyt was chosen to start with big man Andy Carroll up front. For Arsene Wenger he already had an endless list of injuries and suspensions and so fielded as best a side he could, Nasri was in the starting eleven and many believe that was his last game in an Arsenal shirt.

Early proceedings appeared to favour Liverpool after some strength in attack made the gunners work hard. Emmanuel Pingpong Frimpong was an early booking for Wenger's side when tempers frayed.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side too as minutes later Koscielny limped off injured. He was replaced with Miquel.

Stewart Downing was once again providing the pace for Liverpool down the flank. He was unfortunate with some of his attempts to play Carroll through. Adam in midfield was also looking lively and some speculative long range attempts from the ex Blackpool man nearly put the Reds ahead before half time.

The second half was much of the same, Arsenal despite some renewed energy didn't pose any real threat on the Liverpool goal. Reina at every Arsenal attempt had it more than covered.

With 20 minutes still left on the clock and both teams still without a goal, it was perhaps not the best of moments for Wenger's boys to go down to ten men. Pingpong Frimpong after a rash challenge on Lucas Leiva received his second yellow and was sent walking.

I'm not sure if it would be fair to say Arsenal were missing Fabregas's leadership skills and presence in midfield, because I'm not a believer in one man making a team, but whatever was wrong with Arsenal, it needs sorting fast.

Liverpool got their first goal shortly after bringing on Suarez and Meireles. It was more involvement from the Arsenal players than our own and a comical own goal from Ramsey put Liverpool ahead. The Reds caused enough problems in the box to help put the ball in the back of the net and the momentum from here on in continued strongly.

Arsenal brought on Bendtner to try and mix things up a bit but less than 10 minutes later none other than Luis Suarez put the game to bed for the Reds.

Meireles played in by Lucas Leiva swept the ball across the Suarez who after the best efforts of the Arsenal defence still received the pass deep in the box and slotted home to put Liverpool 2 nil up.

2 goals in 2 games for El Pistolero ain't half bad and in a win over Arsenal at their home ground, a feat we haven't managed in 11 years... Well he's a kop hero already.

Ramsey had a shot late on in an attempt to redeem himself but Charlie Adam managed to get a block in. It was an uninspiring performance from Arsenal's team of apparent "sexy footballists". The one thing they used to rely on, a good flowing style of football was utterly absent today and it was a great victory for Dalglish's eleven.

Next up for Liverpool is a Carling Cup tie at Exeter. With no Europa League to worry about it would be nice if Liverpool could get to the latter stages of either the Carling Cup or the FA Cup.

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Friday, 19 August 2011

Fab Without Cesc?

Can Arsenal quickly forget their midfield maestro?
After the somewhat disappointing draw with Sunderland last week, Liverpool tomorrow will be looking to change their fortunes in this surely exciting clash with Arsenal.

The last three matches at the Emirates for Liverpool haven't been excellent. A draw and two loses only fuel the fire for Dalglish and the boys looking for all three points. Games against Arsenal tend to bring out the best in the Reds though it's just some times we appear to start with too much punch and are then unable to see out the result.

For Saturday's clash Liverpool will be without captain Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson is still a doubt. Arsenal are without new signing Gervinho who starts his three match ban along with Alex Song. Gibbs is also unavailable for manager Arsene Wenger and doubtful are Rosicky, Djourou and Traore.

Tensions in the Arsenal fan base appear to be rising of late, after Cesc Fabregas finally made his lucrative move to Barcelona, there seems to be a system in the Arsenal ranks of selling star players and not really replacing them. Add to this their hunt for some silverware since 2005 and you have a bubbling cauldron of impatience.

Arsene Wenger i feel was once a man with a plan but unlike other managers such as Alex Ferguson, over the time period, he has struggled to adapt. In my opinion Arsenal had the quality to win more titles in recent years and unfortunately the goods haven't been delivered. A win for Liverpool on Saturday would be another nail in the coffin for Arsene Wenger.

Of course, we at Liverpool aren't really ones to have a valid opinion on Arsenal's situation after suffering a similar fate ourselves. The difference is though with new investment, brilliant signings and a hero at the helm, things just automatically look brighter for Liverpool, it feels like we are building an architectural statement where as Arsenal are looking at settling down in Uncle Keown's semi detached off the Thames.

My prediction for tomorrow is a slim 2-1 to Liverpool with plenty of action in the 90 minutes and more than likely a red card. Andy Carroll was unfortunate against Sunderland and I'd fancy him to get the opener for the Reds tomorrow.

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Monday, 15 August 2011

Suarez Nets In Sunderland Score Draw

Suarez nods home...

First of all folks may i say how nice it is to be back blogging! If you didn't know i was in Majorca for 10 days hence the missing Valencia post, whilst i was out there i luckily managed to watch the Liverpool match in an Irish bar, it was bloody sweltering heat and i had to squint all the way through the match but I'm glad i got to watch it all instead of relying on highlights for a quick round up.

For the Reds first game of the season Dalglish shook things up a bit, in the starting eleven brand new signing Jose Enrique was given his chance, Dirk Kuyt had been dropped for Jordan Henderson. Downing started with Lucas and Adam in midfield. Reina in goal with Flanagan, Carragher and Agger in front of him and the strike force consisted of Carroll and Suarez.

It didn't take long at all for Liverpool to put a spark into the game. Referee Phil Dowd had his first major decision early on in the match after Suarez was brought down by Richardson in the box. I'm not Phil Dowd's biggest fan and he didn't help himself when only giving Richardson a yellow card, he was last man, it was a soddin' red!

To make things worse when Suarez stepped up 9 out of 10 people would have bet their house on him scoring his first goal of the campaign from the spot but what followed was pretty terrible. It's a good job we can look back on it now and laugh because the Uruguayan's skyward penalty was atrocious. Who knows what happened there.

Sunderland still had all eleven men on the pitch which they should have been very thankful for but the bad decision would not phase the Reds who quickly came back in attack, again with Luis Suarez.

Charlie Adam whipped in a lovely cross and a neat little header got Suarez off the mark for the season and put Liverpool in front.

For the whole of the first half Sunderland seemed to struggle with any real attempts. Liverpool however looked like they could put this game out of the away sides hands.

A stinging shot from Adam on a different day would have been in the back of the net, followed by a superb weaving run from Stewart Downing topped off with a strike that rattled the cross bar.

Liverpool's brilliant start would unfortunately fade in the second half and with Sunderland netting just before the hour mark, it didn't help the momentum for Dalglish's side. A cracking strike from Larsson showed superb skill and Pepe Reina could not really do anything to stop the effort.

Dalglish brought on Dirk Kuyt after the conceded goal for Henderson. Luis Suarez was also substituted with 15 minutes to go, some people saw this as a peculiar decision but we have to remember he hasn't had as much time in training or to recuperate after his Copa America win so it was probably a wise call by Dalglish. Meireles took his place.

The introduction of Kuyt and Meireles didn't really benefit Liverpool who had already lost their pace in the game anyway. Kuyt suffered a knock to the head and was running round in a bandage but he still portrayed that familiar never give up attitude that we all love.

It's not necessarily a disappointing result, more annoying than anything. Everyone would have liked to have got the season underway with a win but i think we can take some real positives from the game, especially from the performances of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Liver Bird Is Going Abroad!

Bring on the sangria!

Ok, well, the blog isn't going abroad but I am. I've never been abroad before and I'm stupendously excited but the downside is for the first time EVER I will unfortunately have to miss a post or two.

Today's post is basically to give you a run down of what's happening and also have a quick chat about the two games affected whilst I'm away.

As you have probably noticed, I haven't been doing match previews for the friendlies this season, just reports so thankfully that's one less thing to worry about.

We face Valencia at Anfield on Saturday in the final friendly. In Dalglish's last chance to play around with the line ups I'm pretty certain he'll give the Anfield crowd the opportunity to see all of our new signings and some of the youngsters.

The way our friendlies have been going of late I think one thing I'd have a punt on is plenty of goals.

The Valencia match report I'm afraid is one thing that won't appear on the blog. I know it sounds daft but I'm so gutted that I can't find a way round it to put a report up, it feels like I'm letting the blog down, I'm so attached to this thing now!

As for the start of the season there will also be a match preview for Sunderland missing.The Sunderland match is on the Saturday before i come home. It's not on television in Britain but I'm hoping I might be lucky and be able to catch it whilst I'm in Majorca, if not I'll watch the highlights when I return home on the Sunday and would hope to have some sort of round up done by the Monday.

So fear not, it might be rather quiet for a while but I'll be ready and raring to go for what is set to be a fantastic season for the Reds!

I hope you all have a fantastic start to August and try not to miss us too much! Haha. YNWA!

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Three A Piece In Oslo

Ian Ayre lays flowers at Domkirke Church in Oslo...

Firstly I'd like to pay my respects to all of the affected in Oslo and Norway after the terrible attacks last month. I know i have a few readers from Norway and that they have a huge Liverpool fan base and my thoughts are with you all.

Reina made his comeback for Liverpool after recovering from a hernia operation, the Spaniard has been missed and thankfully he's back before the season has properly started. Glen Johnson also featured too who hasn't been around for a while.

It was Valerenga who got the first goal of the night, a simple enough effort from Strand put the ball into the back of the net. It looked far too easy and Liverpool looked frustrated at the way they had conceded.

Whilst Liverpool searched for an equalizer it was Stewart Downing impressing again with plenty of speculative crosses and balls through to the attacking force of the Reds. Glen Johnson was also trying his best to get into advanced positions but it wasn't long before Valerenga got themselves a helpful decision.

Charlie Adam apparently brought down Kone in the box, i personally disagree but Valerenga were given a penalty. Ogude converted for the home side and put them 2-0 up.

Daniel Agger was well up for it in Oslo and any chance given he was more than happy to have a pop. Some long range efforts which he was terribly unlucky with couldn't quite find their way in before half time for the Reds.

Andy Carroll however managed to get on the end of a Downing cross. The pin point ball was smashed in by the Geordie who is now on 2 goals this pre season.

Flanagan, Shelvey, Aquilani, Sterling, Ngog and Kelly were all brought on late into the second half as Liverpool tried to find their second goal.

It was Aquilani who would immediately get the fans going after his corner created a Liverpool effort. A lovely header from the big Dane who was having attempts left, right and centre made it 2-2.

It was Daniel Agger also who would put Liverpool in front, another corner and contact from Ngog allowed the ball to fall kindly to the defender who sent home a close range shot.

It looked like Liverpool were safe with barely anything left of the clock but a stunning strike from Fellah found the back of Reina's net and meant the game ended in a draw.

Not bad at all for a friendly and a lovely atmosphere. Next up for Liverpool is Valencia at Anfield and then FINALLY the football season is back.

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