The Liver Bird  

Monday, 27 February 2012

Liverpool Win Record 8th League Cup

What a centre back partnership, one of my favourite pictures from the final...
Wembley was a sea of dancing red shirts on Sunday night as Liverpool lifted their 8th League Cup after extra time and penalties with Cardiff City. The Welsh side were a formidable opposition but it was Liverpool who remained the most composed during penalties despite misses from Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam.

Kenny Dalglish made sure he put his signings on show in an eleven including Suarez, Carroll and Downing. Cardiff saw the return of their first goalkeeper and fielded their big man Gestede up front.

After a day and a half of desperately trying to convince my mate to take us up to Liverpool to watch the match he eventually agreed and I'm so glad he did! We tried to get in to Cafe Sports England but it was fully booked, the doorman recommended a bar called "Rubber Soul" in Mathew Street, we went in but weren't too convinced. It seemed lively but was pretty small and so we went on the hunt for Walkabout.

Eventually we found it and the big screen was massive! So i was a happy lass. Just needed to find a spot where we could actually see the bloody screen. Whilst standing upstairs with me mate Dave waiting for me fella, i bumped in to Paul from The Redmen TV, if you haven't seen The Redmen, where have you been?! Check them out on Twitter and on You Tube. Paul's lot were upstairs but me, Rich and Dave eventually managed to find a suitable spot at the back downstairs, now all we had to do was wait.

Kick off seemed to take forever to turn up, the Arsenal match soaked up some of the waiting time but unlike others in the pub i wasn't really bothered. As many of you know, i couldn't really give a shite about any other team and although this match in particular had an affect on Liverpool's race for fourth, all i could think about was Wembley.

3 o'clock eventually came and it was time for Liverpool to show Cardiff what they're made of.

Against the run of play it was Cardiff who got the first goal. Liverpool had maintained a lot of possession but were once again struggling to create anything of real presence within the box. Cardiff however made sure they took their chance and Joe Mason gave them the lead.

A superb ball through from Kenny Miller put Mason into space, Reina made the decision to come out but Mason had already eyed where his shot was going and slipped the ball into the back of the net.

The Bluebirds went wild in a sun filled Wembley Stadium whilst Liverpool were left to think over their current plan of action.

Liverpool were cutting through the Cardiff midfield mainly via Stewart Downing. I must admit, I've been the first to criticise Downing of late but credit to the lad, he had a top game on Sunday. He was one of few willing to take on the Cardiff defence and his balls into the box were causing trouble left, right and centre.

Andy Carroll did his best to get on the end of these crosses but the big man couldn't quite convert a chance into a goal. His flick ons and hold up play though provided Liverpool with some more time to think over their options but the Reds still couldn't find an equaliser before half time.

At half time in Walkabout after singing my head off to Fields Of Anfield Road and When The Reds Go Marching In, my only real suggestion was to put Craig Bellamy on. I was absolutely loving Walkabout. It's hard to explain how excited and happy i was to be there, it's just as such a big Liverpool fan never being able to watch a final or big game with other Liverpool fans, I've always sort of felt left out. Don't get me wrong when i watch at home or in the local pubs i go as mental for a win as i would present at Anfield but it never quite feels as it should do. To be surrounded by my own supporters on Sunday and in Liverpool was just immense for me.

Just before the hour mark Dalglish decided to make his first substitution and what a good one it was. To the rapturous applause in Walkabout, Craig Bellamy was spotted with the fourth official, replacing Jordan Henderson, i thought it was a fantastic decision from the manager.

Shortly after the substitution Liverpool found their equaliser. With time running out it was a relief when Martin Skrtel finally put the ball in the net. Originally whipped in from a Stewart Downing corner, Andy Carroll got a head to the ball and then Suarez tried to finish the job but was denied by the post. Martin Skrtel fortunately though was awaiting the rebound, the centre back had time to control the ball and then ensure his shot put Liverpool level!

Walkabout went mental, i was jumping around like a nutcase but at least I'd remembered to put my thumb on the top of my Smirnoff Ice. This was my first soaking of beer but it was nowhere near as bad as it would be for Kuyt's goal and then the monstrous full time.

Neither side could find a winner within the 90 minutes but both teams made substitutions. Jamie Carragher entered the field and replaced Daniel Agger and goalscorer Mason was replaced with Filip Kiss for Cardiff.

Late on in the second half Luis Suarez was presented with a wonderful chance to win it for Liverpool but the Uruguayan failed to take his shot first time and his fancy attempt at a lob ended up going wide. It was frustrating to watch because all that was required here was the simple option, we know Suarez is skillful but i honestly think on another occasion he'd have taken it first time. We couldn't dwell on this though with extra time coming up.

Anthony Gerrard was sent into the fray for Cardiff as they entered extra time. Steven's cousin was surely ecstatic at the chance to cause an upset here at Wembley. Liverpool also took their chance in extra time to change things up a bit with Dirk Kuyt replacing Andy Carroll. Darcy Blake also came on for Cardiff.

At 107 minutes Liverpool had found their goal to take the lead. A remarkable finish from Dirk Kuyt who had only been on the field for 5 minutes sent the Red end of Wembley crazy and this was replicated back in Walkabout.

As i mentioned before, beer getting sprayed everywhere was clearly going to become a bit of a thing. Once again I'd jumped up, bouncing around with randomers but I'd finished my drink this time so there was no need to prevent it going everywhere. It wouldn't have mattered though, as the beer rained down and the claps and cheers rang out, Liverpool were on their way to their 8th League Cup...

Or so we thought.

A tenacious Cardiff ten minutes later went and found an equaliser. A corner from Aron Gunnarsson caused havoc in the box and when the ball fell to Ben Turner there was only one thing on his mind. Dirk Kuyt attempted to help out Reina who was also low to the ground but the Cardiff player put the ball into the back of the net and in turn put his side right back in the game.

With neither side managing to find a winner in extra time it went to penalties. Some people love them, most people hate them. As a Liverpool fan you always feel some sort of confidence because of our record in penalty shoot outs but it never quite prepares you for them.

By this point i was a nervous wreck. As i glanced around most people had taken my position of hands in a praying position over mouth (I'm not even religious! Haha.) Another favourite appeared to be finger nails in mouth and hands on back of head.

Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the first penalty, one man you would put money on, maybe even your house. To the surprise of everyone though the skipper was denied by a great save from Heaton. When Gerrard misses a penalty your heart just sinks, it had already been a slog but now it just felt like destiny was against us.

When Kenny Miller stepped up i was convinced he'd score. He played like a man possessed for the whole game and showed some real quality but he too missed to keep things level in the shootout.

Then it was the turn of Charlie Adam. To cut a long, high and shite penalty short, he completely missed. His effort high over the bar left everyone baffled and I'm sure he was as angry as me at that stage.

Don Cowie stepped up to put Cardiff ahead with a successful penalty but Dirk Kuyt followed with a composed spot kick.

Gestede another one of Cardiff's star men then followed up with a miss and Stewart Downing ensured Liverpool took advantage with a goal.

Peter Whittingham successfully put Cardiff level with his penalty past Reina and Glen Johnson made sure he converted with his high effort which left Heaton with no chance.

As Anthony Gerrard walked up to the spot i actually went into my own little world. I couldn't really hear anything, it felt like i was alone. The pressure on that man must have been unbearable and the amount of people in this bar wanting him to miss was just madness.

As his shot went wide and he fell to the ground i followed suit with a pouncing Pepe Reina. My arms were up, screaming my head off then seconds later i was drenched. My hair was absolutely soaked with beer, so was my shirt. My bag, scarf and cardigan which were underneath a massive chair on the floor were also soaked, how, i just don't know. By the time I'd finished celebrating I'd moved about 5ft to the left, the chairs behind us looked broken and they'd moved too, there was puddles of beer on the floor, Dave was stuck to it, my fella Rich had been drenched too and he was just there as a neutral it was just awesome!

You'll Never Walk Alone began to play and i sang my little heart out. For those of you who are regular readers you'll know how much my first YNWA at Anfield meant to me but being a part of this one came pretty close. As i tried to explain, to be watching with my own fans and in Liverpool was really special to me and as always the rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone covered me in goosebumps...

What a truly fantastic day for the club. 6 years since our last trophy and that man Kenny Dalglish brings the silverware back to Anfield. An inspired team performance helped us beat the superb Cardiff and credit to them and manager Malky Mackay, they were nothing short of brilliant.

But it doesn't matter how you win. If you convert enough penalties after 120 minutes of football, you are the winners.

Here's hoping this isn't the end of Liverpool's new success.

And just to end on, what a quality display from the Liverpool fans with an array of banners and posters showing their disgust against The S*n newspaper. That pathetic excuse for a paper is the same any day of the week, filled with lies.

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Liverpool Ready For Wembley!

Good old Reina! That man knows how to party...
The last time Liverpool got into a final was in 2007, which for a club like Liverpool is quite a long time ago. And the last time they actually won a final was in 2006, the penalty win over West Ham was the last time Liverpool fans truly got to celebrate but on Sunday they are in with a chance to bring some silverware back to Anfield once again.

16 years since they last visited Wembley, Liverpool this time have Cardiff waiting there for them. The Championship side took two of their games all the way to penalties in their road to Wembley with Liverpool winning outright in all of their games.

Cardiff's form isn't at it's best, not that this sort of thing tends to matter in finals but the Welsh side have only won 1 in their last 5 league games. Liverpool's run of form in the league isn't exactly any better, with 1 win out of their last 5 league games too. Liverpool have been successful in their two FA Cup games over this period though beating Manchester United and putting 6 past Brighton... Admittedly with some help.

For Cardiff they have doubts hanging over Stephen McPhail and their captain Mark Hudson will also be subject to a late decision on whether he'll make the start. Their goalkeeper however Tom Heaton is now fit and ready for the final.

For Liverpool there were worries over Craig Bellamy's fitness but the Welshman has had an injection and is expected to be utilised against his former side.

Dalglish i think must be congratulated on his tactics throughout this competition and also on his level of commitment to it. We knew at the start of the season this wasn't going to be a fantastic league campaign but we always had the aim of 4th, some managers would have used the League Cup to play their youngsters but Dalglish never did, he took this competition very seriously and his tactics and changes most notably in the two legs with Man City were nothing short of brilliant, i just hope the lads can go out there and finish off the job for him on Sunday.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have scored in every one of their last 11 league cup games.
  • This is Cardiff's first ever appearance in a League Cup final.
  • Liverpool have beaten 3 Premier League sides, one Championship side and one League One side to get to Wembley.

I've managed to convince a mate to drive three of us up to Liverpool on Sunday to watch the match and I'm almost as excited about watching my first Liverpool final with some other Liverpool fans instead of alone as those of you who are lucky enough to be going to Wembley, i can guarantee it! Haha.

Of course on paper Liverpool are favourites but these things never go according to plan and going on Liverpool's last two wins in finals... Well we all know we don't make it easy for ourselves.

I think if Bellamy is fit enough to start then he should, he's a fantastic player for us and is exactly the sort of character you want in your side for a final. I'm also looking forward to another Suarez goal, after everything that has been going on, what a story it would be for Suarez to net one and get to lift a trophy with his Liverpool team mates.

The faces of Gerrard and Reina should it be a full time victory are also exciting me, i can already imagine Reina's celebrations...

I just hope and pray we do it, because we all know they can.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Games Gone By: 2006 FA Cup Final

In the run up to Liverpool's trip to Wembley on Sunday for the Carling Cup final i thought it would be nice to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the last time the Reds got to a final. Of course Liverpool didn't reach Wembley this time but the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff provided easily one of the best FA Cup finals ever.

The final on the 13th May 2006 saw Liverpool line up against Alan Pardew's West Ham United. The Reds finished that season in 6th place with West Ham finishing 9th. Pardew had done a decent job and his side were more than ready for the memorable 125th FA Cup final.

The Reds were actually first to grab a goal but unfortunately it was in the wrong net. Jamie Carragher quite a regular culprit for own goals gave West Ham the lead much to Reina's and the travelling Liverpool fans dismay but at this stage only 20 minutes had passed.

Dean Ashton made things worse for Liverpool though when his strike after a Reina mistake inside the area put The Hammers 2-0 up before half time.

By now the West Ham fans were going absolutely mental and who could blame them, they were 2-0 up in the FA Cup final against a team who had 6 FA Cups.

With minutes left of the first half Liverpool seriously needed to find a goal. The chance almost fell to Peter Crouch but the forward was ruled offside and so it was left to Cisse to put Liverpool back into the game.

A superb long diagonal cross from Steven Gerrard was met first time by Cisse who slipped the ball past Shaka Hislop.

In the second half Liverpool were still on the back foot and a lot more work was required in order for the Reds to pick up that silverware on this wonderful sunny day in May.

Reina was immediately made a hero after two saves straight into the first half. He denied both Yossi Benayoun and Marlon Harewood and also saved Liverpool from finding themselves in an even bigger predicament.

Steven Gerrard found the Reds their equaliser with a strong strike in from inside the box. Hislop had no chance and now finally the Red side of the stadium had something to cheer about. With half an hour still to go it was now looking possible for Liverpool to nick this from West Ham.

West Ham however had plans of their own and Paul Konchesky who would later play for the Reds found The Hammers what everybody thought would end up being the winner. And what a strange goal it was. It can't have been a shot, but that's exactly what it became, Reina was placed awaiting a cross but was beaten completely when the ball flew into the top right corner.

The clock ticked on and on and still Liverpool couldn't find an equaliser. 70 minutes, 80 minutes...

But then, bang on 90 minutes just as all hope was looking lost, that man Steven Gerrard popped up with what can only be described as a magic strike.

The captain knew exactly what he had to do when a defensive ball came out to him. His strike from 35 yards put Liverpool back in with a chance of glory and what a way to equalise!

Pepe Reina once again proved why he was between the sticks for Liverpool when he pulled out a magnificent save to deny Nigel Reo Coker a winner shortly after Gerrard's strike.

Penalties saw Hamann score Liverpool's first whilst Pepe Reina saved Zamora's spot kick. Sami Hyypia saw his penalty saved by Hislop and then Teddy Sheringham followed up by putting his penalty past Reina.

There was no doubt when Gerrard stepped up that this one was going into the back of the net and a confident spot kick put Liverpool 2-1 ahead. Konchesky stepped up next but Reina made another save, considering the goalkeepers start to the match what a game he had overall! Especially in the penalty shoot out.

John Arne Riise's penalty straight down the middle meant that if Anton Ferdinand missed or Reina could pull off another save then the Reds would have won the FA Cup. Reina did pull off another save and the party began!

From my age group it's this game and obviously the Champions League final in 2005 that forever stick in your mind. It would be fantastic if on Sunday Liverpool could beat Cardiff, but let's hope we don't make things as hard for ourselves this time!

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Monday, 20 February 2012

Hat Trick Of Own Goals Dunk Brighton Out Of Cup

Gerrard never gives up...
Liverpool secured their place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup on Sunday after beating Brighton 6-1 at Anfield. Stoke were drawn out of the hat for Liverpool and the Reds will once again be at home as they look to close down on Wembley for a second time this season.

Gus Poyet set aside some time to share an embrace with his fellow countryman Luis Suarez before kick off but his little chat didn't appear to put Suarez off after the forward finished the game with Liverpool's 6th.

Dalglish despite some thoughts that he may field some youngsters went for a very strong side. The only real change strangely was the introduction of Carragher into the defence and most people wouldn't really moan at that anyway.

The Reds took less than 5 minutes to get off the mark after taking their chance from a Gerrard corner. A rising Skrtel at the near post put Liverpool ahead with a confident header.

Brighton after conceding so early still looked pretty strong and the final scoreline was perhaps a harsh outlook on their overall performance. Poyet's boys were determined to give Liverpool a game and they certainly stunned Anfield when LuaLua stepped up for a free kick.

After he was brought down by Henderson a fair way out of the box it was clear LuaLua was intent on having a pop at goal, the ball was placed for him and with a superb strike he placed his effort through the wall and into the bottom left corner.

There wasn't much to do but admire that effort and with things all square once again we certainly had a game on our hands.

The first half for Liverpool provided them with several corners and opportunities to cross the ball into the danger area. Of course the man awaiting all of this was Andy Carroll but he had a battle on his hands. The defender El-Abd was grabbing Carroll, hugging him, pushing him but surprisingly the ref was having none of it. In a sense though it actually helped Liverpool.

With all the focus being on Andy Carroll from their big butch defender, any other encroaching Liverpool player was left pretty much free to do whatever the hell the liked.

This was the case for Liverpool's second. A sublime take down from Luis Suarez in bags of space allowed him to take a shot. Brezovan managed to make a save but the ball didn't reach safety. Glen Johnson headed goal-wards but it was a goal-line clearance that deflected back in off Liam Bridcutt that put the 2 on the board for Liverpool.

It was an unfortunate goal for Brighton to concede but after the amount of pressure applied i think the Reds deserved it.

In the second half things got worse for Brighton. As mentioned above they were looking strong in the first half and had attempts coming in from the likes of Sam Vokes but they weren't quite providing enough to truly trouble Reina.

Andy Carroll was next on the list to put down Brighton's hopes of getting to the quarter finals. The big man had come close throughout the game but this time was clinical with his finish. A cross in from a much improved Stewart Downing met the feet of Carroll who smashed home for Liverpool's third.

By now the Reds were on a roll. They were creating plenty of chance in the first half but with three goals behind them, confidence was now in full flow.

Before the 70 minute mark Gus Poyet decided to make a double substitution. Mackail-Smith and Vicente were brought onto the field of play in an attempt to get a goal back and push Liverpool right to the wire. That didn't quite go to plan though...

Steven Gerrard found himself with a chance at goal shortly after the substitutions from Brighton but Brezovan made another great safe. Gerrard though in his typical never say die attitude chased down the splayed away ball and his cross back into the box met perhaps the most unlucky bloke in football - Liam Bridcutt. A deflection from him put Liverpool 4-1 up.

It was a real shame for Brighton because although they didn't deserve to win, they didn't deserve this and it wasn't over yet.

Not content with 2 own goals, Brighton figured they may as well make a record and get a hat trick of them. A pretty danger free cross from Luis Suarez was cleared by Brezovan once again but his defenders instead of helping him, hindered him.

Lewis Dunk for some reason despite having loads of time and space, controlled the ball on his chest and then instead of hoofing it away went for a sort of "keepy uppy" game with himself. His knee control wasn't quite up to scratch though and as he chased the ball towards goal you could see on his face that he'd just scored Liverpool's 5th.

I have no idea what he was doing and I'm sure he'll regret that for the rest of his playing days but i suppose he can take some comfort in the fact that it didn't make that much difference result wise.

A triple substitution from Dalglish after this goal saw Shelvey, Maxi and Kuyt enter the fray.

The Reds were awarded a penalty shortly after the subs when Dirk Kuyt was brought down by Craig Noone in the box. As Dalglish held up 7 fingers to make sure Suarez took the peno, Anfield was hoping he could convert and put the shine back on his football but the Uruguayan was clearly in two minds. His run up wasn't the best and neither was the penalty and Brezovan who had a good game as any goalkeeper could whilst conceding so many goals made the save.

It wasn't all bad for Suarez though because there was still enough time to find Liverpool a 6th.

A header back across goal from Andy Carroll was met by Suarez who once again was in plenty of space and the number 7 converted with ease to finish the Liverpool party.

It was a great game for Liverpool and with a sprinkle of moderate nudity as a streaker hugged a bemused Jamie Carragher, what more could you ask for?

With a quarter final against Stoke awaiting them the prospect of another trip to Wembley is becoming ever more likely.

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Saturday, 18 February 2012

FA Cup Brings Brighton To Anfield

Pleeeeeeeease let us win?...
Liverpool welcome Gus Poyet's Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield on Sunday for the 5th round of the FA Cup. The two sides have already met this season when the Reds got the better of Brighton on their home turf in the League Cup.

Brighton don't have any major injury worries and their two on loan players from Manchester City are expected to make their debuts; Abdul Razak & Gai Assulin.

For Liverpool there are no new injury worries but something that certainly slipped my radar was the fact that Maxi Rodriguez had picked up a foot injury? Apparently he's ok now though and may be in contention for Sunday's clash. Manager Kenny Dalglish has also dropped the hint that he might start some of the young uns.

The last time the two sides met Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt scored whilst an Ashley Barnes penalty gained Brighton some consolation.

Brighton were very strong in that game though and almost caused an upset for Liverpool. With the tie being at Anfield Liverpool can perhaps afford to be a bit more adventurous in their side selection but Brighton aren't going to be an easy side to beat on Sunday.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool haven't lost at Anfield in any competition this season.
  • Brighton haven't qualified for the quarter finals since 1986.
  • Liverpool haven't qualified for the quarter finals since 2006.

With Liverpool already at Wembley for the League Cup final how fantastic would it be to get one step closer to putting themselves there again? After Liverpool have knocked out the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City in both Cup competitions, you have to feel like they could take on anyone now left in the FA Cup.

The problem with Liverpool though is that Brighton are exactly the sort of side they like to slip up against. A minor mistake on Sunday could cost them the chance of qualifying.

If i could afford to have a cheeky punt on Sunday my money would be on Maxi Rodriguez and 2-1. I can't see it being a high scoring game and i think the occasion will be enough to spur Brighton on to score at least once. Liverpool's defence have been solid though and so i expect nothing more to be let in past Pepe Reina.

Enjoy the match folks!

P.s. Whilst i have your attention...

I'm doing a survey as part of my Research Skills unit in my Access To Higher Education course at college and i need your opinions on ticket prices for Premier League matches at Anfield. The survey takes 2 minutes and i'd really appreciate your help.

You can complete the survey by following this link or you can complete it in-line with this page by clicking on the red button under "Survey" in the right sidebar.



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Friday, 10 February 2012

Liverpool Off To Old Trafford

It's ok... I've got it...
Liverpool make the short trip up the M62 on Saturday to face their North West rivals Manchester United. After knocking United out of the FA Cup last month Liverpool will certainly feel like they have a great chance on Saturday despite the match being played on United's home turf.

The majority of the focus of course will end up being on both Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra and quite frankly it shouldn't. Suarez has served his ban, it's done. You can guarantee though that in the build up to the match there'll be slow mos of a camera zooming in to a disgruntled Evra's face or replays of him and Suarez walking round in the box... The media have a responsibility to stand by what they preach, they keep saying that they wish it would be about the football when things like this happen, so they know full well what they have to do Saturday; focus on it.

Moving swiftly on...

Both Liverpool and Manchester United have little to worry about injury wise with nothing new for the teams. Liverpool could be able to recall Enrique after a quick recovery whilst United are missing Phil Jones.

The last match as mentioned went extremely well for Liverpool after they knocked United out courtesy of a late Kuyt winner. Andy Carroll also had one of his best games in a Red shirt against United and it was an all round inspired performance.

The last time Liverpool beat United at Old Trafford was that famous 4-1 win in 2009. Fergie's boys crumbled that day and a repeat would be a dream for Kopites all over.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have won more matches away from home than they have at Anfield.
  • Manchester United have dropped 8 points at home so far in the league.
  • Liverpool have earned 204 corners this season in the league, more than any other side.

It's set up to be a fiesty affair as always and with Liverpool still looking to get into that 4th spot the points are worth more than ever. A great display against Tottenham wasn't enough to get a win but with Suarez hopefully starting and Enrique possibly back there should be some more balance and flair to the side.

Another thing to exploit if he starts is De Gea, he didn't have a particularly good performance against us in the cup and i think players like Kuyt and Carroll have figured out how to frustrate him, he seems far too concerned with them than where the ball is.

I can't predict the outcome, part of me is thinking we'd do well to get a draw but then the other is seeing a top class performance with goals from Suarez and Bellamy, i just don't know.

Here's hoping we have bragging rights by the end of the 90 minutes. Enjoy the match folks!

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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Reds In Goalless Draw With Spurrs

What? ... No i'm not bloody offside! Meow...
Liverpool fought hard on Monday night in an attempt to take three points from Tottenham Hotspur but with no goals from either side the highlight of the game ended up going to a little mischievous cat. The Reds played well but just couldn't find a goal as Spurs showed some staunch defending.

Anfield was excited to see Luis Suarez back but the Uruguayan had to settle for the bench as Carroll was chosen again to lead the line. Jose Enrique was out with a mild injury and so Glen Johnson was moved to left back with Martin Kelly on the right.

The first half didn't provide many clear cut chances for Liverpool but it was still those in Red shirts attacking more often than those in White. Spurs were relatively quiet and Reina had nothing of note to do during the first 45 minutes.

Part of the reasoning behind Reina having nothing to do was the fact that Dirk Kuyt and Jay Spearing were working their socks off to stop the likes of Bale and Modric breaking through the Liverpool midfield. A lot of people didn't think Kuyt would be suited to this game and in all honesty he was a bit sloppy with his passes on Monday night but Dalglish isn't stupid, when you've got Kuyt on your tail you're bound to get frustrated, Bale was kept extremely quiet.

Bale had two key moments in the second half, the first of which came after a dive. The Welshman fell to the floor after no contact what so over from Daniel Agger and then Bale thought it would be a good idea to push Agger and start an altercation. It was clear Bale's temperature was rising from frustration.

Craig Bellamy for Liverpool unfortunately wasn't as lively as usual. With the Reds unable to find a goal, Craig has been somebody the fans have looked to of late for that bit of magic but not even he could produce against Spurs.

Just after the hour mark Anfield got their chance to welcome back Luis Suarez. He's been sorely missed by a Liverpool side who are still struggling to score goals and it was great to see him back.

We saw some twists and turns from Suarez but he never really got a proper shot at goal. His team mate Andy Carroll though who had a great game and produced some top flick ons and quick movement had a chance to get Liverpool a winner late on. Unfortunately for Carroll, he couldn't quite take the shot right.

Gareth Bale also had a chance to grab Spurs the points late on when he was one on one with Reina. Bale hit his effort straight at the keeper though and the danger was eventually cleared.

In most cases a draw with a side that are third in the table would be a good result but after the performance put in by Liverpool it was very disappointing. The effort put in deserved three points in my opinion.

Next up for the Reds is the small matter of Manchester United!

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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Suarez Returns For Spurs Fixture

Be great if he scored!...
Liverpool welcome Tottenham to Anfield Monday night as they look to continue their good run of form and pick up some more points in the League. With Luis Suarez completing his ban, the Anfield faithful can't wait to see him back on the pitch, an extra threat for Spurs to be aware of.

Liverpool don't have any new injury worries, as mentioned Suarez is back and also Gerrard will be made available after missing out on the Wolves game in the week.

For Spurs, they have worries up front with Defoe, Van Der Vaart and Adebayor all having doubts hanging over their fitness. Also unavailable are Huddlestone and Gallas but new signing Louis Saha could be an option for Harry Redknapp.

Liverpool are currently 7th in the table and 11 points behind Tottenham who are in third. Harry Redknapp it must be said is doing a great job with the Spurs side but there's still always a label that sticks to them, that they'll fall at the last hurdle.

Liverpool are still fighting for 4th place and a chance to play in the Champions League and although it may be too late to catch Spurs, it would certainly help our causes by taking 3 points from them on Monday night.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year and it was a pretty embarrassing affair for Liverpool. The Reds didn't manage to score in the Spurs 4-0 rout and also had to deal with Skrtel and Adam getting sent off.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in the League at Anfield so far this season.
  • Adebayor has scored three goals in his last three League games against Liverpool.
  • If Daniel Agger starts it will be his 100th Premier League appearance.

I think after our recent run of results this is the perfect time to play Spurs. Redknapp's boys are going strong and they're more than capable of scoring goals but the Liverpool defence is something to be proud of at the moment. The partnership being built between Skrtel and Agger is brilliant.

With Luis Suarez back in the action he's always bound to set alight a game. You never quite know what he's going to do and hopefully the Spurs defence don't either.

Being unbeaten at home is fantastic but not when you have such a high collection of draws, even though a draw with Tottenham would probably be a good result i want to see Liverpool get that win Monday night because they are fully capable and are brimming with confidence.

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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Reds Put 3 Past Lacklustre Wolves

Carroll celebrates with Bellamy and Henderson...
Liverpool put three past a lacklustre Wolves side yesterday at a freezing cold Molineux. Andy Carroll got himself on the score sheet whilst Wolves struggled to find a goalscorer at all. The win moved Liverpool into 5th in the table.

Wolves had less worries than originally thought injury wise as Frimpong ended up being able to start in midfield for McCarthy's side. As for Liverpool there was one very big name missing - Steven Gerrard.

I got given the team sheet in the boardroom and must admit was happy with the line up. I was chuffed to see Bellamy starting and perhaps it's quite bad to say, but i wasn't really bothered that Downing only made the bench. He just hasn't been impressing me of late. Kuyt and Carroll up front was also a positive for me, i felt that partnership worked well against United.

I missed the first ten minutes or so of the match as i had to cash up. Wasn't all bad though as Maxi Rodriguez had to squeeze past me in the boardroom to get out to his seat, saw Comolli and Flanno too. I eventually got a seat in the Billy Wright about 15 minutes in, after asking about 5 different stewards if there were any spares.

Wolves for me had a very poor first half, but then Liverpool weren't exactly outstanding for the first 45 minutes either.

Whenever Wolves did get a chance to break, the idea 9 times out of 10 was to play the ball to Fletcher. I said in my match preview that if the Liverpool defence dealt with him then Wolves wouldn't win and thankfully the Reds dealt with him well.

Martin Skrtel was with him all night, all over the pitch and in every aerial battle. There were a few moments where the defender got a bit clumsy and it could have cost us a free kick but i thought it was a great man marking performance from Skrtel.

For Liverpool, when their chances came, they took advantage of a sloppy Wolves right hand side. Wolves defender Kevin Foley didn't have a brilliant game and Liverpool took every opportunity available to add pressure down this side of the field.

The first half saw no goals for either side and both must have felt if they could find the confidence second half, then they could change the game. Wolves had a proven goalscorer up front and so perhaps had an easier plan of action to enforce, because for Liverpool, we didn't have any real regular scorers on the pitch minus Craig Bellamy.

The Reds began to take a foothold second half though and Wolves began to fizzle out. There wasn't much of a fizzle from McCarthy's side anyway to be honest but in the second half it began to look like they weren't arsed.

Many people are calling for McCarthy's head in the Wolves fan base but the thing is, although i agree with them because to me it looks like he's taken them as far as he can, I'm not so sure what a manager could do with that side. There's a few players with great potential but then the others just don't look bothered.

Liverpool scored their first just after the 50 minute mark. A ball into the box from Charlie Adam was easily reached by Carroll who beat the Wolves defender to put the ball in the back of the net. It feels like I'm slaughtering Wolves here in this report but it was a poor goal to concede and things didn't get better for the home side.

Craig Bellamy found Liverpool a second goal less than ten minutes after. Once again, the Wolves defence just invited Bellamy in, nobody closed him down and that is never a good idea. The Welshman's strike beat Wayne Hennessey and being the cheeky chappy he is, he celebrated but ran towards the Wolves fans (Where i also happened to be sat with a Cheshire cat's grin on my face).

If it wasn't for Hennessey Wolves could have lost 5 or 6 nil. The goalkeeper made some fantastic saves, it was just a shame he was having to deal with so much pressure.

Wolves didn't look like coming back from 1 nil down let alone 2. McCarthy made some substitutions but it was too late as Liverpool scored their third with less than 15 minutes to go.

Dirk Kuyt fresh from knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup managed to get himself into bags of space, once again the Wolves defence seemed happy to allow a red shirt to wander into the box. The Dutchman with a simple strike put the ball into the back of the net and secured Liverpool's 3 points.

The best chance Wolves had was a shot from Ebanks Blake which smashed off the post. The forward is a Liverpool fan so I'm sure he would of relished that consolation goal.

It was great to see Liverpool confidently beat a side from the lower half of the table though because without offending those teams, they are the sides the Reds have been struggling with and there was no struggle on Tuesday night. Yes maybe Wolves being poor aided our result but nevertheless it was great to see three goals from three different goalscorers.

As i mentioned, i sat in the Billy Wright, it's usually pretty ok because a lot of families sit in that section so i just tend to keep myself to myself and not make too much noise haha. I clenched my fists, clapped and smiled when Carroll, Bellamy and Kuyt scored but that was about it.

I had mutters behind me from blokes telling other blokes that i was singing "Fields Of Anfield Road" and i also had four young kids notice my Liverpool badge and gloves with about five minutes of time left, they gave me some right evils! Haha.

The highlight for me though was the Kuyt goal because as soon as the ball hit the back of the net, stacks of Wolves fans around me just got up and left. There were ten minutes left and i just couldn't believe what i was seeing, they complain about their manager and team but they don't see fit to attempt to cheer their side on? It just baffles me, always has done. If you buy a ticket, you stay till the end.

I just laughed, i did a 360 degrees scan around the stadium as i saw more and more fans leaving and just sat there smirking to myself.

Other than the freezing cold weather it was a great match to watch though, as you all know, i rarely get to see the lads play so it was brilliant to see three goals!

Next up for Liverpool is Tottenham at Anfield.

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