The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Carroll Returns To St James' Park

It'd be grand if he could score on Sunday...
Liverpool make their way to the North East on Sunday as Andy Carroll looks to make a good impression on his return to St James' Park. Newcastle are currently above the Reds and are doing extremely well in their league campaign. After some poor results for Liverpool though, can the lads get all three points?

Liverpool have a few injury problems and the latest man added to the list is Charlie Adam, a knee problem keeps him out. Also out for Liverpool are Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly. Newcastle on the other hand don't have too many problems although Coloccini will be unavailable after tearing his hamstring.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year when Liverpool confidently beat Newcastle 3-1.

For a Newcastle win we only have to go back to December 2011 when  the Magpies reversed the previous scoreline and put 3 past Pepe Reina. Newcastle have quite a decent home record against Liverpool and so Sunday's fixture will not be easy for the Reds, especially considering the form they are in.

Liverpool as it stands are sitting in 8th place which you don't need me to tell you is ridiculous. With Everton grabbing themselves another win, the Toffees are above us and if nothing is done on Sunday we could be trailing behind our neighbours even more.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only won 2 league games so far in 2012.
  • Newcastle have collected 50 points from the first 30 Premier League games for the first time in 9 years.
  • Dalglish is unbeaten against Newcastle as a manager in the Premier League.

I think it's vital on Sunday that two strikers are played. 4-4-2 is a must as i just feel that with the state of our chances in front of goal at the moment, why not utilise all of your firepower? To me there is no sense playing Suarez alone up front and playing on the break, it just doesn't seem to be working. Carroll, although he doesn't score much, increases the amount of possession in dangerous areas and for me he's very helpful to Suarez too.

The defence will no doubt be shaken again due to the missing Agger, Johnson and Kelly and in the last couple of games Carragher hasn't really been looking sharp. Add to this Skrtel's silly mistakes and you have a recipe for Newcastle goals.

With the likes of Cisse and Ba causing trouble for many a team Liverpool need to be on fire on Sunday to deal with the Newcastle attack. I think most people have given up caring about the league in all honesty but I'm sure no fan would want to see us finish behind Everton and so a win against Pardew's side is a must.

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Wigan Win At Anfield

I'll say one thing for Kenny, you won't find another man that cares as much...
Liverpool were beaten once again in the league on Saturday after Wigan put two past Reds keeper Pepe Reina. A penalty and a goal from Caldwell gave Wigan a much needed three points as Martinez tries to steer his side away from the drop.

Dalglish introduced young John Flanagan to the line up and it was Luis Suarez alone up front but with some support from Dirk Kuyt on the wing.

A fairly unconvincing first half from Liverpool left them struggling for ideas. Some half chances didn't really supply fans with much hope at Anfield although a shot from Stewart Downing that went wide to the right of goal was nearly enough to change things.

Shortly after though, Liverpool found themselves in trouble. A challenge from Martin Skrtel in the box left referee Lee Mason with an easy decision. Skrtel's foot was far too high and he caught Victor Moses in the face.

Shaun Maloney had to wait a while to take the penalty due to treatment for Moses but the nerves didn't get to him as he put a confident spot kick past Pepe Reina.

Towards the end of the second half Liverpool forced Al Habsi into some saves but the attempts weren't enough to find the Reds an equaliser. In all honesty the first half performance didn't reflect what you would expect from a Liverpool side.

The second half saw Andy Carroll immediately introduced as the Reds tried to find a goal and get a foot hold. It was the other man up front though who finally put Liverpool on the score sheet.

Luis Suarez found the back of the net just after a minute into the first half. A nice assist from Steven Gerrard and a lovely finish allowed the Uruguayan to celebrate with his team mates. Of course, there was still a long way to go yet.

It's a shame really that Liverpool gave away such a silly penalty but in fairness Wigan still looked the more favourable to score for most of the game and certainly in the second half.

Just 7 minutes after Liverpool's equaliser Luis Suarez found himself in the box again. The ball was in the back of the net but unfortunately the number 7 was penalised for a hand ball from the Steven Gerrard free kick and i think it's fair to say there were no complaints there.

Just after the hour mark Wigan made things ten times worse for the already faltering Liverpool side. A close range shot from Caldwell after being left in too much space in my opinion allowed him to slip the ball into goal and put his side ahead.

Wigan deserved this and this was the worrying thing. This was Wigan, a side battling to stay up and yes you could argue that this perhaps makes them more dangerous but there was no fight from Liverpool, no passion. It's horrible to watch and whilst i disagree with crowds booing their own players i can see why they were doing it. The players can't take all of the blame, of course not, but they certainly aren't showing anything to support their cause at the moment.

Late in the second half Dalglish introduced both Shelvey and Sterling and it was refreshing to see the youngsters because they were the ones who ignited the play. What these two may lack in experience they make up for in heart and they certainly did their best to find a winner for the Reds yesterday it was just a shame they were thrown into a poor situation.

Nearly 7 minutes extra time still wasn't enough for Liverpool as they desperately searched for an equaliser. It always worries me how much you are striving for an equaliser, especially against a side like Wigan. We would have given anything for a draw yesterday, 1 point, at home. It's just not good enough.

Once again post match there are always a variety of views on Twitter. Some in my opinion are extreme like the calling for Kenny's head. My stance at the moment is that of course he needs to take the blame, not all of it, but some and of course saying the players were tired is a ridiculous and poor excuse but I'd like to think, back in the dressing room, Dalglish gave the lads a kick up the arse.

The majority of his signings i agree are not working but that is something that can hopefully be resolved. At this stage in the season where we're already in Europa League next season, we're already too far from 4th and we've won a cup and are in with a chance of another one i seriously do not see the benefit of sacking the manager. It wouldn't matter if it was Dalglish or Souness, i just personally think things need to be looked at in the summer but until then keep Kenny where he is.

If in the summer he can adjust the side to a point where i feel confident in our chances then fair enough but i think it's important that we analyse his tenure as we would anyones. I love King Kenny as much as the next person but just because he's royalty at the club, he shouldn't be able to escape criticism and I'm sure if you asked him, he'd appreciate your honesty rather than sucking up to him.

Next up for the Reds is Newcastle and i for one am not feeling very confident at all but then i suppose it would be the perfect game to pull out a top performance. Here's hoping there's a massive turnaround by next Sunday because i can't be doing with a terrible performance on April Fool's day.

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Friday, 23 March 2012

Wigan Up Next For Out Of Form Reds

Let's hope he can give a thumbs up come 90 minutes...
Liverpool face Wigan at Anfield on Saturday and after falling to a terrible defeat against Queens Park Rangers in the week, the Reds are desperately after all 3 points. Wigan themselves have more than one reason to be battling for the points as they look to get themselves out of a relegation battle.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without Bellamy, Johnson and Agger and also doubtful is Charlie Adam. Martin Kelly picked up a knock against QPR but he is expected to be available on Saturday. For Wigan they are without Rodallega, Jones and their reserve keeper Pollitt.

Liverpool's current form in the league as we all know hasn't been fantastic. 4 losses out of the Reds' last 5 league games leaves them battling for their right to 7th with the likes of Swansea and Sunderland. Wigan's form isn't much better but perhaps consistent with 3 draws in the midst of a win and a loss.

The last time the two sides met, neither of them managed to score and this 0-0 is the first in a string of draws dating back to 2010. The last time Liverpool actually got the better of Wigan was in December 2009.

At this stage of the blog post i would usually supply you with a delicious stat sandwich... However, as you might have guessed those sort of stats don't just pop into my head, i grab them off the net, sometimes i filter around but usually i look on the beeb and just lately, i seem to be beating them to their match previews so today i have no bread for the sandwich but i do have some filling; Liverpool have drawn at home 8 times in the league this season, this is the highest tally of draws since 1971.

After the rollercoaster ride of a game against QPR i don't think anybody is in the mood to see that sort of crumbling from the Reds again any time soon. As I've mentioned countless times recently on the blog, Liverpool despite the two goals against QPR are still struggling to score, this was made evident in the fact that if Liverpool had taken their early chances, there may not have been such a problem.

Carroll didn't get much of a run out in the week and to be fair i reckon he'd suit this game. He might not score but I'd still want as much firepower on as possible considering the circumstances. The midfield i can only assume will be Spearing and Gerrard again in the centre but I'm not too sure who Dalglish is going to go with on the wings.

Optimistically I'll go for a 1-0 win to Liverpool for this one. I'm not expecting it to be a brilliant game and after reading those stats about the draws with Wigan my hope is quickly fading.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Coates Stunner Not Enough For Liverpool

Coates' acrobatics put Liverpool ahead...
Liverpool fell to an embarrassing defeat on Wednesday evening at Loftus Road. Queens Park Rangers came from 2-0 down to beat Liverpool with three goals in less than 15 minutes. It was a shock to watch Liverpool crumble so quickly and easily after what started off as a good performance.

Dalglish decided it was time to reintroduce Charlie Adam to the starting XI for this one and he also dropped Carroll to the bench. Queens Park Rangers had a front line including ex Liverpool man Djibril Cisse.

The game got underway and was very much in Liverpool's favour. A first half consisting of mainly Liverpool possession left Queen Park Rangers struggling for ideas.

Chances from Kuyt, Suarez and Downing put the Reds just centimetres away from a first goal but as the chances kept coming it was clear it was going to be another one of those days. Liverpool just can't seem to finish and although sometimes it's down to a great save, most of the time it isn't and to be honest, there's no excuse when it happens this often.

Just after the half hour mark Liverpool had to bring off Kelly who suffered a knock and he was replaced with Uruguayan; Sebastian Coates.

The second half began with immediate substitutions from both sides. Mark Hughes introduced Taiwo to the game whilst Dalglish brought off a faltering and also slightly injured Adam and replaced him with Jordan Henderson.

The first goal of the game came just after 50 minutes and what a cracker it was! Sebastian Coates who may i remind you is a central midfielder and 6ft 6" was hovering around in the box after a Downing shot came back out to him and to the surprise of everybody present, he leaped into the air like an acrobat in the big top and smashed home Liverpool's first with a sublime scissor kick. Phenomenal.

Because this is basically the only positive of the game, I'm going to milk it. It was simply a fantastic goal. The skill and timing required to pull that off is at a ridiculous level for a striker let alone a defender. Awesome.

Liverpool now finally had a goal to back up their efforts but it was clear a cushion was needed and so the Reds continued to search for a second.

In the midst of all this Queens Park Rangers made a substitution taking off the ineffective Joey Barton and replacing him with Jamie Mackie. How important this one turned out to be...

The Reds found their second goal just after the 70 minute mark. Attempts from Suarez and Downing failed but an awaiting Dirk Kuyt closed in on a save from Paddy Kenny when the ball trickled out for him to place it into the back of the net from close range.

Liverpool were now in control of the game, they had their cushion and they still looked like they could perhaps add to their goal tally. What followed though was the total opposite.

Queens Park Rangers began to find some momentum and several crosses in to the box began to trouble Liverpool. With 15 minutes left to go however, surely a side as experienced as ours could hold their lead right?

Shaun Derry was first on the list of rapid goalscorers for the home side with a close range header. Liverpool at 80 minutes replaced Suarez with Carroll just in time for him to witness QPR's second.

Another header but this time from that man Cisse and again from close range meant Liverpool had just lost their lead and ultimately their 3 points. This was shocking enough but as the Reds attempted to desperately get going and maybe, just maybe find a winner, it was Queens Park Rangers who got the opportunity.

In the first minute of added time as Liverpool continued to crumble like a sand castle in the rain, Jamie Mackie crossed the moat and found the home side a winner with a shot to the left of goal. A mistake from Jose Enrique who should have been manning the drawbridge left Liverpool fans gobsmacked.

How, on god's green earth did that happen?! 2-0 up at 76 minutes then 3-2 down at 91. I just can't put my finger on it. Credit to QPR for their win but in all honesty, it shouldn't have been allowed to happen. The 11 lads out their for Liverpool just fell to pieces and I've not seen a performance as bad as that in some time.

Totally gutting. There are some extreme views once again calling for Kenny's head and whilst i agree he must and should take some of the blame for a frankly disgraceful performance i don't feel he should leave and certainly not yet. Things need to be assessed at the end of the season though, there's no doubt about that. Some of those players think they have the divine right to start for Liverpool and i see no ounce of passion to get a result or to fight back from a draw.

With 4th even further away now i think the FA Cup is a must. A haul of silverware might just take the bitter taste away from some very forgettable performances in the league this season.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Off To Loftus Road

Ohh sod it!...
Liverpool have a trip down to Loftus Road on Wednesday evening to face Mark Hughes' Queens Park Rangers. The Reds go into this game on the back of a victory over Stoke in the FA Cup and a 3-0 win in the Merseyside derby.

Injuries for Liverpool mean Dalglish is still unable to call on Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson. QPR have doubts hanging over Macheda, Helguson, Campbell and Hall and so Mark Hughes has a few problems to address when picking his starting XI.

The last time the two sides met was back in December when Liverpool recorded a 1-0 win and the last time QPR beat Liverpool was in October of 1994.

Liverpool have been super strong in their Cup competitions lately and Dalglish's tactics in my opinion have been better in these situations, however, when it comes to the League, Liverpool have been faltering.

As we all know, when we face the big boys or the likes of Everton (no offence intended... well... maybe a bit.) it's almost like a switch flicks on and we run rings around the opposition, sometimes this doesn't lead to the right result but nonetheless, it's always a top performance.

However when we face sides just like Queens Park Rangers, the cracks begin to show. We struggle to score and get broken down far too easily, i just hope that things are different on Wednesday night.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have won all three of their last three trips to Loftus Road.
  • Queens Park Rangers have never scored more than 3 goals against Liverpool.
  • If Suarez scores for Liverpool in this game it will be his 7th League goal this season.

I'd personally love to see Bellamy start if he's available and I'd also be happy to see both Suarez and Carroll start up front again. It will be interesting to see whether Kenny thinks it's time to give Adam another shot in midfield but i personally have been more than happy with Spearing and Gerrard as a partnership.

I'd have to punt for a 2-0 win for Liverpool on Wednesday as I'm feeling positive!

Enjoy the match folks!

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Monday, 19 March 2012

Liverpool Book Place At Wembley Semi Final

Suarez dedicated his goal to Fabrice Muamba...
The Reds knocked Stoke out of the FA Cup on Sunday in a 2-1 win. Dalglish's side have now drawn either Everton or Sunderland (depending on the outcome of their replay) in the semi finals at Wembley. The goals came from Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing.

Pulis's side entered the game in the sort of fashion we were all expecting, they got stuck in and attempted to break down the passing movement especially within the Liverpool midfield. It took it's time to work but eventually Stoke did begin to frustrate Liverpool.

Despite Stoke's best efforts, it was Liverpool that grabbed the first goal. A superb finish from Luis Suarez left Stoke keeper Sorensen stunned as the Reds went 1-0 up.

Liverpool couldn't celebrate for long though as Stoke found themselves with a cluster of corners to take advantage of. Despite the fact that their last corner that led to the goal blatantly wasn't one, Liverpool quite frankly should have dealt with the threat better.

The corner was whipped in by Matthew Etherington and it was Andy Carroll who made the mistake of letting Crouch free in to space. The ex Liverpool man easily headed home whilst Liverpool made calls for obstruction to Reina.

In my opinion Reina wasn't really being obstructed and it seemed unlike him to just allow himself to be bossed around, he didn't seem to fight for his place in that corner whereas to me it looked as though he could of and should of.

This didn't matter though because Stoke were now level and to save themselves a replay Liverpool would need another goal from somewhere.

Things stayed level into extra time and at this stage it looked like the game could go either way.

It was refreshing to see the introduction of Maxi Rodriguez and great to see him set up Suarez for Liverpool's first but it was clear that at some stage either himself or Downing would need to be subbed to provide Liverpool with another angle. For me, there was too much focus on balls in from the wing and play needed to be pushed into the centre because Stoke were dealing well with the crosses and corners.

Just before the hour mark the Reds managed to find another goal. An accidental one two between Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing allowed the number 19 to take another touch and give himself enough space to put his effort past Sorensen. Another great goal for the Reds.

After this goal Stoke introduced Pennant to the play whilst Liverpool took off Maxi and replaced him with Dirk Kuyt. The Reds weren't quite out of danger yet and whilst Kuyt offers options in attack we also know how tenacious he is in getting possession back and also defending where needs be.

Stoke also introduced Cameron Jerome ten minutes later as they tried to enhance their attack. But it was too little too late. Liverpool held on to their 2-1 lead and successfully booked themselves a place in the FA Cup semi finals at Wembley.

Liverpool have drawn Everton or Sunderland. If Everton can get through their replay then what a fantastic day out at Wembley that would be!

Next up for Liverpool is Queens Park Rangers.

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Stoke At Anfield In FA Cup

Wembley awaits...
I feel sorry for all those Mother's of Liverpool fans on Sunday because i predict a delivery of card and perhaps garage court flowers before a dash to a television or Anfield for most of your sons and daughters. The Reds face Stoke in the FA Cup and with the prospect of another trip to Wembley looming, everybody is excited for this one.

For Liverpool they are still without Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson whilst Stoke are missing Ricardo Fuller who is serving a ban.

Stoke have had a bit of a bumpy run of form in the league of late, losses to Chelsea and Fulham have been mixed in with wins over Swansea and Norwich. For Liverpool, their 3-0 victory over bitter rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby has hopefully boosted the sides performance. Before this the Reds had lost 3 league games in a row.

Liverpool have beaten Brighton, Manchester United and Oldham to get to this stage of the FA Cup whilst Stoke have pushed aside Crawley Town, Derby and Gillingham .

The last time the two sides met the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Their last meeting in a cup however was in the League Cup in October and Liverpool won 2-1.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have been drawn at home all four times in this season's FA Cup.
  • Stoke have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 8 FA Cup matches.
  • When Liverpool knocked Manchester United out of the cup this season, this was the first time the Reds had knocked Premier League opposition out in 6 years.

In my opinion if we were facing Stoke at the Britannia then i would be pretty worried. They're comfortable at home and in that sort of atmosphere would probably be able to fluster us. However, Liverpool are at Anfield and just like the Britannia, this is an immense atmosphere to play in, especially in the FA Cup.

With the options to bring in a fresh Craig Bellamy and going on the back of a confidence boosting win, i think Liverpool have the ability and correct mindset to go out and win on Sunday. The Merseyside derby in a sense came at a perfect time because if you can beat the Toffees so confidently then you're bound to feel like you can take on anyone. 

As we all know Stoke are very physical but with the likes of Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher in defence, two can certainly play that game. Peter Crouch will surely be on the look out to cause an upset but let's hope the defence remain tight.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sweet Gerrard Hat Trick Stuns Toffees

The captain celebrates...
A much improved performance from Liverpool after their defeat at the hands of Sunderland on the weekend saw the Reds put 3 past David Moyes' Everton side. His team had been going strong but he couldn't get them to pull a performance out of the bag for his 10th anniversary at the club.

Dalglish made some changes to the side, predominantly the dropping of an ineffective Charlie Adam. The midfielder has had a few off games recently and it was nice to see Kenny had saw exactly what the fans did. Spearing took his place in centre midfield alongside Gerrard.

Liverpool made a lively start to the game with the likes of Suarez, Gerrard and even Martin Kelly causing problems in the box. Some frustrating calls for offside sometimes stopped the flow of things but the Reds quickly got back into a rhythm.

Liverpool's first goal came just after the half hour mark. With all the pressure on Tim Howard and none really on Pepe Reina, it was nice to see Liverpool convert a chance whilst they were creating so many, it's been the total opposite of late.

Steven Gerrard saw his chance after the ball splayed back out from Tim Howard. Suarez and Kelly were involved in the build up but it fell to the captain to place a lovely curling effort over and in to the back of the net. A fantastic goal.

Everton attempted to get back into the game before half time but it was only a chance saved by Reina from Stracqualursi that gave them an opportunity.

Just five minutes in to the second half and Steven Gerrard was at it again. After some determination and skill from Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan found himself deep in the box, when spotting an encroaching Steven Gerrard, Suarez left the chance to the number 8 who smashed Liverpool 2-0 up with a firm strike.

1-0 is always a tough score to be sitting on and none more so than in the Merseyside derby and so a second goal so early into the second half was greatly received by the Anfield faithful.

There were some fantastic performances on Tuesday night but i think it's worth picking out Martin Kelly and Jay Spearing. Spearing just never gave up and terrorised Everton whenever they had possession. Kelly was not only composed in defence but superb when pushing forward, he also nearly came close to scoring, thrice. A top performance.

Everton just after the hour mark had realised that plan A wasn't working and so plan B was to bring on 3 substitutes at the same time. Drenthe, Osman and Jelavic all entered the fray.

Liverpool followed suit with the substitutions 10 minutes after when Jordan Henderson was replaced with Dirk Kuyt.

Everton's substitutions didn't quite have the right effect on the game and the main aspect of their introduction ended up seeing a frustrated Drenthe cautioned. It just wasn't happening for Everton on Tuesday night. There was no spark. Leighton Baines even spoiled his performance by being petty towards the end of the game in incidents with Luis Suarez.

To top things off perfectly for Liverpool, Steven Gerrard in his 400th Premier League appearance got himself a hat trick. Well, i say himself, to be honest, Luis Suarez had quite a lot to do with it again.

Gerrard stole possession in midfield and then played a ball through to Suarez in the box. The forward wasn't selfish however and kept control until Gerrard had pushed forward into a wide open position, the Uruguayan then easily set up the captain who confidently put his third past Howard.

A brilliant performance from Liverpool, one that couldn't be more different from the 90 minutes at the weekend. As Gerrard said himself post match, we need to find some consistency and if we can put a few more goals in the back of the net then that's half the battle.

Next up for Liverpool is Stoke in the FA Cup!

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Monday, 12 March 2012

Reds Search For Win In Merseyside Derby

LFC Lad: That Fellani's an idiot... and people think my hairdo's bad?!
The Merseyside Derby? On a Tuesday night? Yes please. The Red and Blue side of Liverpool both line up on Tuesday evening after the fixture had to be moved due to the Carling Cup. Liverpool are having a dismal time in the league at the moment whilst Everton as usual have revived their second half of the season.

Liverpool still have a minor doubt hanging over the fitness of Glen Johnson and Everton's only real worry is over Darren Gibson.

A poor performance from Liverpool against Sunderland on Saturday has left many worrying at the prospect of losing 4 games in a row in the Premier League. It's blatantly obvious that the lads need to buck their ideas up for this one and perhaps Kenny may want to rethink his starting line up as he gets ready to face Moyes' boys.

Everton don't need spurring on for this one and have collected some superb results recently in the league pushing aside the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City but for Liverpool the key thing to remember here is these wins were all at Goodison Park.

We have to go back to 1999 for a win for Everton at Anfield in the league and so the advantage of Liverpool being at home will hopefully aid the faltering Reds.

With Gerrard getting some game time against Sunderland at the weekend i think it's vital that both he and Carragher start in this one. The team at the moment need a kick up the backside and those two men are the best to provide it in a game such as this.

Stat Sandwich

  • Gerrard will make his 400th top flight appearance if he plays on Tuesday night.
  • The last time Everton scored more than 2 goals at Anfield was in 1964.
  • If Jamie Carragher plays it will be his 28th Merseyside Debry in all competitions.

There's no hiding from the fact that Liverpool have been very poor of late but you can't help but think this is the sort of game that will force us to rethink our ideas. Against Arsenal and Manchester United the Reds put in top performances but as always couldn't seem to find those goals.

Here's hoping things change on Tuesday night because it will be unbearable if Liverpool lose. Not forgetting the fact that Everton could leap frog us should this happen.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Liverpool Lose 3rd League Game In A Row

A masked Bendtner celebrates...
Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Stadium Of Light on Saturday when a fortuitous goal separated the two sides. The third in a string of defeats breaks a record for the Reds who haven't lost three in a row in the league since 2003. It was a dire game for the neutral to watch and unfortunately contained a very poor performance from a lacklustre Liverpool side who are hitting a bit of bad form in the league at the moment.

Some changes to the side were made by Dalglish who introduced Coates and Bellamy. Suarez was once again the lone man up front and captain Steven Gerrard was able only to start from the bench.

The first half was uneventful to say the least, neither side caused major problems in the box and there was no real flow to the game. The Liverpool midfield appeared to be unsettled and with Charlie Adam having one of his poorer games, we were struggling to create any real passing from the centre of midfield and out to the wings or cut through to the likes of Suarez.

Charlie Adam did however manager to trouble Mignolet just before the whistle in the first half. A direct free kick allowed the midfielder to have a long range shot which Mignolet saved.

10 minutes into the second half and Sunderland found their goal. As if we haven't had enough with bizarre goals against this club (insert beach ball memories here) they decided to ride on a bit of fortune again. A shot from Frazier Campbell hit the post, it then came out and hit Reina on the back of the head. Poor old Pep reacted quickly, turning round in an attempt to see where the ball had gone but it had already hit off the post again and fell to bloody Bendtner! The ex Arsenal man made sure he put Sunderland ahead.

I still feel so gutted for Reina, to be honest, Liverpool didn't look like getting anything out of the game and Sunderland would have probably found a goal from somewhere sooner or later, but what a goal to concede. Horrible.

Liverpool did try to recover from this but despite some improved movement going forward there were no real chances until the substitutions were made.

Downing, Gerrard and Carroll all came on before the 80 minute mark. It was left to Steven Gerrard as per usual to finally inject some sort of life into the side.

A speculative shot from a range out was stopped by Mignolet from the captain but it was his efforts to get a cross in to Dirk Kuyt that nearly found Liverpool an equaliser. Unfortunately though the Dutchman couldn't quite get a header on the cross.

It was a drab performance and a worrying one for Liverpool fans. The need for a clinical goalscorer is clear to see for anybody watching this side at the moment. Luis Suarez brings a hell of a lot to the game but unfortunately he isn't scoring enough goals.

In my opinion, although they've played some cracking games, we can't seem to rely on the likes of Henderson and Adam. In a game like yesterdays you need someone with consistency, somebody who can take charge of the midfield whilst another player pushes forward and creates the attack. That man of course is Lucas Leiva and it's becoming more and more frustrating waiting for his fitness to return.

In all honesty, i don't think Dalglish can escape the criticism for Saturday's loss and I'm sure he knows it but then you look at some of the other line up options and i still don't feel we'd have got anything from the game. This was proven when Carroll, Downing and Gerrard combined still couldn't find a goal for the side. Obviously more time may have helped.

With 4th now miles away the more rising concern of preventing Everton from overtaking us has suddenly come to light. The Merseyside derby on Tuesday night is sure to be an intense affair, i just hope that Liverpool can pull something out the bag.

In fairness the Reds tend to come out in the big games but despite good performances against Manchester United and Arsenal, they still couldn't quite find a result. Fingers crossed they manage it this time out.

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Friday, 9 March 2012

Reds Face O'Neill's Sunderland

Let's hope we don't have to rely on a penalty again haha...
Liverpool travel to the Stadium Of Light on Saturday to face a renewed Sunderland side. Martin O'Neill's side are almost unrecognisable compared to the side Steve Bruce was managing earlier in the season and Liverpool will surely be looking for a victory in a game which they drew at the start of the season.

That's right folks, the fixtures are at the reverse stage. It's annoying that instead of watching it in 30 degrees heat in an Irish bar in Majorca that I'll have to watch it in my living room this time out though!

Liverpool are without Daniel Agger for this clash but Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson are expected to be back in the line up. For Sunderland they are without Cattermole and Sessegnon who are both serving bans and Richardson is also a doubt for the black cats.

Sunderland's last game saw them pick up a point in the Tyne & Wear derby. Before that though, they fell to a shocking defeat when Roy Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion beat them 4-0.

Liverpool's last two games in the league have seen them fall to defeat at the hands of both Arsenal and Manchester United despite good performances.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool haven't lost three Premier League games in a row since 2003.
  • O'Neill has won once in his last eight Premier League games as a manager facing Liverpool.
  • Liverpool have hit the post and bar 21 times this season in the league.

After an inspired yet frustrating performance against Arsenal it would be brilliant for the Reds to pick up three points here. It's quite clear that goalscoring is a problem at the moment and the woodwork stat just shows the low levels of accuracy and perhaps high levels of bad luck that Liverpool are experiencing in the league.

If Glen Johnson starts hopefully that will aid the attack down the flanks and perhaps up the game with the crosses being sent in. Just lately it appears Dirk Kuyt has actually got the best one on him and considering we purchased Downing for this purpose, i think it's time some practice was put in.

Suarez and Carroll are crying out for some help from the wings but the delivery just isn't up to scratch at the moment.

I'd take a punt at 1-0 for Liverpool. The defence is reliable and i reckon we should be able to grab a goal.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Robin van Persie Puts Two Past Reds

Reina is beaten by van Persie...
Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Saturday as the van Persie show turned up at Anfield. The Reds were arguably the better of the two sides but whilst Wenger's boys converted their chances, Liverpool didn't. Even a penalty couldn't aid Liverpool's score sheet and it fell to an Arsenal player to get the Reds their sole goal.

Dalglish made some changes to the side which was expected after the injuries to Gerrard and Agger. Spearing was drafted in to midfield and Carragher was in the back four. Suarez was fielded up front and Martin Kelly replaced Glen Johnson.

Arsenal despite their doubts over the fitness of van Persie, Vermaelen and Rosicky ended up starting all three players.

The early drama fell in Liverpool's favour when referee Halsey gave a free kick for a challenge on Luis Suarez. Szczesny came out to close down Suarez and in the first instant it didn't to me actually look like a penalty, it looked like Suarez had just over reacted. However on the replays the zoom showed a clash of shins but i still think Halsey went on Suarez's reaction and not what he saw, but anyway, Liverpool had a spot kick.

Charlie Adam picked up the ball immediately but thankfully Dirk Kuyt took it off him. The Dutchman is one man i would always pick for a penalty and just like Gerrard it feels we're able to rely on him. Unfortunately for Kuyt though, Szczesney saved his effort and then brilliantly managed to get back to his feet to save Kuyt's shot from the rebound.

Just four minutes after this though, Liverpool were gifted a goal. A cross into the box from Jordan Henderson was met by Koscielny who turned the ball past Szczesney. Liverpool had been lucky but in the balance of play they deserved the lead.

On the half hour mark, Arsenal managed to find themselves an equaliser. A great ball in from Sagna was met by the head of Robin van Persie who was on the wrong side of a struggling Jamie Carragher.

With Arsenal now level it was clear anything could happen. Liverpool aren't exactly scoring for fun in the league and so it was always going to be difficult to find a winner.

A worrying incident just at the start of the second half saw Mikel Arteta stretchered off. The former Everton man was in an accidental clash with Jordan Henderson and was unconscious for some time. Diaby replaced him.

For the majority of the second half Liverpool once again had a hold on the game. Arsenal didn't have much of the ball and only really troubled Reina once. Liverpool however were creating attacks but they just weren't precise enough. A good example was the lovely cross put in by Kuyt to Martin Kelly who after a miss-kick had to watch the ball go wide.

Luis Suarez had a lively game but he couldn't find the back of the net either. The Uruguayan showed superb skill when taking on three Arsenal players in the box but he agonisingly couldn't quite get his curled shot in.

Dalglish brought on Craig Bellamy with minutes to go but to be honest this should have been done sooner. The Welshman didn't get chance to help his side and shortly after he came on van Persie popped up and shattered any hopes of a Liverpool winner.

A cross from Alex Song was met first time by van Persie who with a sublime volley put the ball straight past Pepe Reina. It was so quick the Spaniard barely had time to react.

It's annoying because you can't really moan at those sort of goals, it was just sheer quality. Liverpool certainly were the better team but in van Persie Arsenal have the solution that we are currently still trying to find. Give that man half a chance and he will score whereas our front men seem to need 10 or 12.

10 points off 4th spot and although it's still numerically possible i think we have to face facts because we're not going to be in the Champions League next year and that really is gutting.

Up next for Liverpool is Sunderland and then the rearranged Merseyside derby!

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Friday, 2 March 2012

The Wenger Bus Pulls In To Anfield

The lads must still be buzzin from last weekend...
Arsenal make the long trip up North on Saturday to face a Liverpool side coming off the back of a brilliant win in the League Cup. The Reds beat Cardiff on penalties at Wembley but are now being brought back down to earth with the challenge of trying to take 3 points from Arsene Wenger's boys.

Team news contains a blow for Liverpool who will be without the immense Daniel Agger for a few weeks after he cracked a rib in the League Cup Final. Jamie Carragher will more than likely take Agger's place. Steven Gerrard also has a doubt hanging over him after he had to come off early in the England friendly against the Netherlands.

Arsenal are also in a spot of bother with some questions over the fitness of van Persie, Rosicky and Vermaelen.

The last time the two sides met was in August and Liverpool came away from the Emirates with a 2-0 win. We have to go back to January 2007 to find an Arsenal win at Anfield and so on paper the Reds would be favoured to get a result on Saturday.

Arsenal got a brilliant result against rivals Tottenham last weekend and their run in the league of late has been good, goals don't seem hard to come by either. Liverpool haven't been recording fantastic results in the league but the Reds were not beaten at home in the month of February.

Stat Sandwich

  • Saturday's match against Arsenal will be Dalglish's 450th as a manager in the top flight.
  • Arsenal have conceded more goals at Anfield than they have at any other Premier League ground.
  • Only Man City have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool at home in the Premier League.

I think the League Cup win will ensure that everybody is still in good spirits and feeling confident on Saturday but it also has that negative effect of players thinking they're perhaps invincible. With the possibility of Steven Gerrard missing too, somebody needs to make sure the lads keep their feet firmly on the ground because Arsenal would love to win at Anfield.

Goals seem a hard thing to come by at the moment for Liverpool but despite Arsenal having no problem putting the ball in the net, i think they will have to come up with something special to get through the Liverpool defence.

We haven't seen Maxi in a while and with Bellamy, Downing and Henderson having considerable stints in the 120 minutes at Wembley I'd love to see Maxi given a start.

Here's hoping we can find a win, I'd love to see that smug grin wiped off the ever nonsense tweeting Frimpong!

Enjoy the match folks!

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