The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

New Reds Boss - Rodgers

Get that notepad ready...
According to the BBC and the likes of @GuilemBalague Liverpool have just appointed Brendan Rodgers as their new manager after he agreed to sign a three year contract.

It's been a long list of candidates but has been clear in the last couple of days that it was between Wigan's Roberto Martinez and Swansea's Brendan Rodgers. For most Liverpool fans the idea of looking down the Premier League table instead of perhaps abroad was a hard one to grasp but most if not all Liverpool fans were willing to get fully behind whoever was appointed.

An article from the telegraph discussing with Rodgers his "total football" ideologies and his belief that you can't win games without the ball/high focus and passing and movement has been doing the rounds on Twitter and this proves what Rodgers likes to do with his teams and certainly will aim to do with Liverpool.

For those that follow me on Twitter you'll know that I'll always voice my honest opinions and most importantly I'm always more than happy to be proven wrong because it's no secret that I know sod all anyway.

If you haven't read my views I personally wasn't excited by the idea of Rodgers as manager, as mentioned, I'm happy with Rodgers' plans and ideologies, who wouldn't like a man that drives his team to play like Barcelona? But I'm afraid I need convincing.

The most important thing for me that Rodgers must get right just as Kenny would have had to get bang on too, is the signings. It's all fair and well saying you aim to get the side passing the ball and keeping possession but we all know it would take a miracle to make the side we have at the moment achieve that and so importantly Rodgers must build his side correctly so his plans can begin to come to fruition.

Despite the fact he wasn't my first choice, credit to him and FSG who have taken a very brave decision. Rodgers knows full well the consequences should this all go to pot so fair play.

He's clearly a clued up man when it comes to football and it will be exciting to see what he can do with a side like ours and I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

I've said it for weeks, whoever the manager is we all need to get behind him 100% because if we don't, we're doomed from the start and I'd be a fool not to follow my own advice. Rodgers, I'm right behind ya!

Welcome To Anfield.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

27 Years On

Remembering the 39 football fans that lost their lives at Heysel on 29/05/1985.

May they rest in peace.

It is a sad day in Liverpool's history.

Our thoughts are with the families and close ones of the victims and of course with our friends Juventus.


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Saturday, 19 May 2012

2011/2012 Season Round Up

The Carling Cup win was the highlight...
It was a very mixed season for Liverpool that ended in the departure of Kenny Dalglish. It started well but as the league campaign continued, things began to get difficult for the Reds. Two cup finals and one cup win gave the lads some glory but an 8th place finish in the league provided a dark shadow over the season.

August 2011
Liverpool started their league campaign at home to Sunderland. I was lucky enough to be watching in Majorca but was disappointed with a Liverpool draw and having to put up with stick from a fair few Sunderland fans in the pub.

Kenny is delighted with the Arsenal win...
To be fair to the Reds though they didn't lose in August and it included a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates, the first time the lads had won at Arsenal in 10 years. A Carling Cup victory in August would also be the first of many for Dalglish's side.

In the news...
- The London riots were in full swing during the British summer and sparked copycat riots all over the country.
- The start of the La Liga was delayed due to players striking.
- Hurricane Irene caused havoc along the East Coast of America.

September 2011
September was split down the middle for Liverpool with a loss to Stoke after a good performance and an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Spurs paired with a win over Wolves and another win in the Carling Cup over Brighton.

Skrtel sees red in Spurs loss...
Bellamy and Kuyt were the scorers for Liverpool in the Brighton game. Most thought these two would feature a lot for Liverpool over the season but they ended up more as players to call on rather than starters in the Dalglish era.

In the news...
- The 2011 Rugby World Cup got underway in New Zealand.
- It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, America and the world paid their respects.
- Google+ was released to the general public.

October 2011
Liverpool had a good October and went the whole month without losing, well, unless we're counting that rather random Rangers friendly in the middle that we lost 1-0.

A draw with Manchester United at Anfield and a victory at Goodison park was brilliant for the fans. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were on the score sheet at Everton whilst Gerrard netted against United. Unfortunately for Liverpool, despite the great result against Manchester United the draw was marred by accusations from Patrice Evra that Luis Suarez had made some racist remarks.

Gerrard is on target against United...
Yet another victory in the Carling Cup in this month also allowed Liverpool to progress even further after knocking Stoke out.

Outside of the games on the pitch a landmark day for the club occurred as Hillsborough was debated in the House of Commons.

In the news...
- Amanda Knox's 26 year sentence for murder in Italy is overturned.
- Sebastian Vettel wins the Formula 1 World Championship.
- Dictator Muammar Gadaffi is killed in Libya after months of conflict.

November 2011
Liverpool went through another month without losing as they faced Chelsea twice in November. Martin Kelly and Maxi Rodriguez scored in the Carling Cup clash with Chelsea and Maxi was on the score sheet again with Glen Johnson when the Reds beat them in the league.

Glen celebrates after scoring at the Bridge...
A draw with Swansea and a hard fought 1-1 draw with Manchester City was also recorded in October.

In the news...
- I turned the grand old age of 22.
- 27 vehicles were involved in a crash on the M5 after smoke covered the motorway, 7 people were killed.
- Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter at the end of the Michael Jackson case.

December 2011
Liverpool had 6 fixtures over the festive month and lost just one of them to Fulham although to be fair goalscorer Dempsey probably shouldn't have been on the pitch after headbutting Craig Bellamy. Draws with Wigan and Blackburn were frustrating for Liverpool fans as they looked to continue their good form over the last couple of months and push up the table.

Tempers flare in the Fulham game...
A 3-1 win over Newcastle at home was a good result for the Reds with Craig Bellamy scoring twice in the game.

Liverpool were in 6th place at the end of December.

In the news...
- Luis Suarez was found guilty of racism.
- North Korea warns South Korea that there will be consequences if they light a Christmas tree near the border between the two countries.
- 165mph winds hit Scotland.

January 2012
January was bursting with football for the Reds with 8 fixtures in 3 competitions. The month started with a 3-0 loss to Manchester City and with two legs against them to come in the Carling Cup, things were looking bad for Liverpool. Thankfully though, Kenny Dalglish's tactics were spot on in the Cups and none more so than in the two legs against City, a 1-0 win away and a 2-2 draw at Anfield saw the Reds go through to the final of the League Cup at Wembley.

Gerrard prepares to put his spot kick past Hart...
As if things weren't up beat enough in January Liverpool also knocked Oldham out of the FA Cup and drew Manchester United who they would face later in the month. After the tension surrounding Suarez and Evra Liverpool managed to keep their cool and Kuyt scored the goal that knocked Fergie's boys out of the FA Cup.

A draw with Stoke and a loss to Bolton took some of the shine off Liverpool's cup form though and the Reds were still struggling to get a grip on the Premier League.

In the news...
- Wildfires sweep across Southern Chile.
- The Costa Concordia cruise ship runs aground off the coast of the island of Giglio.
- Novak Djokovic wins the Australian Open.

February 2012
The opening to February saw us face Tottenham and although the result was probably one to forget, the highlight was certainly the Anfield cat who scurried on to the pitch. I also went for a terrible pun in the match report title - "Reds In Goalless Draw With Spurrs".

Anfield Cat: Deffo faster than Downing...
A loss to Manchester United was hard to take for most fans and also for Kenny Dalglish who showed his frustrations in post match press conferences. A 6-1 win over Brighton in the FA Cup was a brilliant result for the Reds but the last game of February was the big one.

Liverpool met Cardiff at Wembley in the League Cup final and I travelled up to Liverpool to watch it. After going all the way to penalties the Reds eventually were victorious after Steven Gerrard's cousin missed his penalty for Cardiff.

The cup win was a fantastic occasion for Liverpool and it was a proud moment to watch King Kenny take us back to winning some silverware!

In the news...
- Fabio Capello resigns from his post as England manager.
- John Terry faces charges after being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
- New York Giants win the Superbowl.

March 2012
March was a rather disappointing month for Liverpool although it included another win in the FA Cup over Stoke and also a 3-0 win over the Toffees. Gerrard scored a hat trick in front of the Anfield crowd and rubbed it in the Everton fans faces.

Grab your Coates, you've pulled...
Image: Liverpool Echo
Embarrassing losses to Sunderland, QPR and Wigan though made it hard for Liverpool to justify their league form. The QPR result was especially hard to take after an acrobatic finish from Coates nearly helped us to three points.

In the news...
- Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch in an FA Cup tie between Spurs and Bolton, he was taken to the London Chest Hospital and described as "critically ill".
- A series of avalanches in Afghanistan kill 50 people.
- Perth, Chelmsford and St. Asaph (The birthplace of Ian Rush) are granted city status.

April 2012
April marked the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, a service was held as always at Anfield and Dirk Kuyt also made a reading during the ceremony to remember the 96 Liverpool fans that lost their lives on that day in 1989.

A loss away to Newcastle started off the month with Andy Carroll throwing a bit of a strop in his visit to his old home ground. Pepe Reina was also in the headlines after losing his rag completely and putting his head to  Perch and being sent off.

With the small matter of an FA Cup semi final with Everton coming up, Reds fans were livid. Doni would take his place but then a few days later in a game against Blackburn where Carroll scored the winner, Doni got himself sent off too, unbelievable. It was left to Brad Jones to start in the semi final.

After Brad lost his son in November of 2011, the Liverpool fans have had an emotional bond with the keeper. He played a big part in helping Liverpool through to the FA Cup final after they beat Everton 2-1.

Brad Jones looks to the skies after Liverpool beat Everton...
Image: Liverpool Echo
April also allowed me to finish a report for college on Liverpool ticket prices in the Premier League which if you wish to see can be found here.

And who could forget Luis Suarez's brilliant hat trick against Norwich consisting of a skilful finish for his first goal, a tight angle for the second and then to top it all off he lobbed the keeper from nearly 50 yards out with a stunning goal.

In the news...
- The 158th Boat Race had to be stopped after a swimmer in the water nearly had his head taken off by one of the oares.
- Neptune Collonges wins the Grand National but gold cup winner Synchronised and According To Pete had to be put down.
- North Korea's rocket launch fails as it breaks up shortly after being launched.

May 2012
The last month of the season started with a loss for Liverpool as Martin Jol's Fulham side got the better of them. With hopes of finishing in the top 4 long gone and the prospect of finishing below Everton a very real possibility now, the Reds had all their hopes pinned on an FA Cup win.

I once again travelled up to Liverpool for the final, this time with my brother instead of friends to watch the Reds take on Chelsea for their third trip to Wembley this year.

This picture sums up my emotions after the loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup...
Carroll scored and almost scored again but a save on the line from Cech denied Liverpool a second cup of the season.

Liverpool got some revenge in the follow up fixture with Chelsea in the league as they put 4 past Di Matteo's side with Henderson, Shelvey and Agger on the score sheet plus a Chelsea own goal.

The season ended with a poor performance and loss at Swansea and left most fans glad it was all over. The cup runs were brilliant and provided bags of entertainment but looking back on the league, it was almost depressing. An 8th place finish was all the Reds could manage.

In the news...
- King Kenny has his contract terminated by FSG and thanks all of the Liverpool fans for their continued support.
- Francois Hollande becomes French President.
- The Olympic Flame arrives in Great Britain.

It was a season full of ups and downs and whilst there is no escaping the league form, it was still refreshing to see Liverpool have a pop at the cups and come away with some silverware. Ultimately though this wasn't good enough and the poor league form resulted in Kenny Dalglish losing his job, in reality though, it wouldn't of mattered who was at the helm, anyone would have struggled to stay in place.

Image: Link
As our owners look to replace Kenny over the summer and with rumours there are up to 12 candidates it will certainly be an interesting period for us Liverpool fans, here's hoping a good decision is made and we can look forward to the 2012/2013 season.

In the Facebook votes on The Liver Bird's Fan Page you voted for Martin Skrtel as your player of the season and named the 3-0 win over Everton as your favourite match.

Skrtel won your votes...
Thanks again for reading this season folks, I've enjoyed rambling on about each match and my adventures along the way. I start University in September and will be travelling to Coventry each day to study Geography and Natural Hazards which is something I've always loved. I will make sure though that I keep updating the blog as usual next season because I just love doing this too!

Have a lovely summer folks! YNWA

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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Liverpool Part Ways With King Kenny

You will always be a legend...
Liverpool Football Club have today announced that Kenny Dalglish will no longer be the manager at Anfield next season. The Liverpool legend won the Carling Cup and sent the Reds to an FA Cup final but it was his league position that appeared to create the problem.

The statement from the club says that Dalglish's contract was terminated.

I must admit and you'll know from reading my blog, I was well and truly on the fence about the future of Dalglish. I couldn't and still can't quite decide whether replacing him is the right way to go.

If Dalglish did stay it was clear that several new and successful signings would be required. Dalglish's signings and current team players when he arrived need to have a look at themselves over this summer because some of those lads were as much if not more to blame for the 8th place finish in the league.

For me, it was clear something at Liverpool needed to change. Whether the change of deciding to get rid of Kenny Dalglish is the right one, who knows but what is more worrying is who will replace him? I'm sure the rumour mill will be churning immediately.

It's a tough pill to swallow for Dalglish but legend or not I think any manager in charge of Liverpool this season under the circumstances would have struggled to keep their job.

This won't take anything away from Dalglish's legendary status at the club and I hope he is offered a position upstairs because the club is a better place with him around, he may not be the manager for Liverpool but he is the heart and soul of the club.

Next season, whoever is in charge, one things for sure, we need to lower our expectations because if we don't adjust them to the level of quality we have at the moment then the next manager will be sacked within 12 months n'all!

I wish Kenny all the best for the future and thank him for a wonderful return! Watching the Carling Cup final in Liverpool and seeing you and the lads win the cup is one of my favourite memories as a Liverpool fan so far. It's a shame things had to end in such an abrupt way but here's hoping the future for Liverpool is a positive one.

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Monday, 14 May 2012

Late Goal Seals Swansea Win

Andy Carroll tries a trick...
We all hoped that the last game of the season would bring us some joy, but, as predicted, it didn't. A slightly changed Liverpool XI couldn't muster much of a performance for the final game and it was only Andy Carroll that really threatened the Swansea keeper. Danny Graham scored the winner for the Swans in the 85th minute.

Reina was left out for this one and so was Martin Skrtel. Doni was between the sticks with Carragher and Kelly added to the defence. Maxi also started in what was probably his last game for the club.

Liverpool made a slow start to the game and unfortunately for the Reds it was much of the same for the first 45 minutes. Swansea as mentioned in the match preview have made themselves a hard side to beat and so they were quite happy to allow Liverpool to pass the ball around but ensure any attempts to break through the defence were blocked.

Swansea troubled Doni several times throughout the game but the understudy to Pepe Reina made some brilliant saves. If the purpose of his start was anything to do with the transfer window coming up then I'm sure some scouts would have been impressed with Sunday's performance.

The score remained 0-0 at the half way mark and it didn't really look as though that was going to change.

Kenny Dalglish brought on Craig Bellamy near the hour mark to replace Stewart Downing. The Welshman did add a fresh spark to the fixture and so for a short while Liverpool looked more likely to find the back of the net.

Kuyt replaced Maxi after 70 minutes and it does make you wonder whether those two will be off in the summer. After Kenny's comments about only Aurelio leaving, I find it hard to believe that some more players won't be shifted in this window.

The best moment of the match for Liverpool was an acrobatic attempt from Andy Carroll. His overhead kick was saved by Vorm and fair play to the Swansea keeper because Carroll's effort was both accurate and powerful, just gutted it didn't go in!

Swansea's goal came with 5 minutes left to go on the clock. Danny Graham put his effort to Doni's left and there went Liverpool's hopes of ending the season with any points.

8th place and to rub some salt in the wounds, also below Everton. Yes we have a shiny cup and that's fabulous it really is, plus we nearly went and got the FA Cup n'all but you can't hide from the fact that this league season has been utterly terrible, depressing almost. I just hope that over the summer we find a quality midfielder and somebody who can score tap ins.

Thanks for reading all season folks, it has been a pleasure typing out all this dribble for you to mull over! I'll be doing a round up of the season post at some point in the week or over the weekend (I have lots of college work to do so bear with me! Haha) and as always I'll try to regularly update over the summer!

Have a good un folks!

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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Reds Face Swans To End Season

Tara a bit Maxi!...
Image: Link
Liverpool's last game of the 2011/2012 season sends them into Wales for an away tie with promoted Swansea.  The Swans have been a breath of fresh air to the Premier League and have established themselves as a tougher nut to crack than some may think.

Injuries for Swansea mean they are without Agustien and Bodde but manager Brendan Rodgers has not other worries. For Dalglish he is still without Adam and Lucas who both have long term injuries and it's expected that Steven Gerrard may be left out again after he missed the home game against Chelsea.

Swansea and Liverpool haven't met very often in recent times but their last match in November saw both sides gain one point in a 0-0 draw. Before this, the last meeting between the two sides was in 1990 in the FA Cup. The Reds put 8 goals past Swansea with no return.

With the summer transfer window just around the corner it will be interesting to see the reactions of the players chosen by Dalglish on Sunday. Most are aware that Maxi is leaving and it is expected that he will start his last game for the club but who else could be out the door?

You don't need me to tell you that our league form has been crap this season and that's the polite way of putting it, so wouldn't it be nice to end the season with a win?

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have missed 5 penalties in the league this season, the first team to do so in 13 years.
  • Swansea have won more games against sides in the top half of the table than sides in the bottom half.
  • After putting 4 past Chelsea, the Reds have kept their record of scoring 4 goals at least once in every league season since getting promoted again in 1962.

In all honesty, I don't really mind who starts on Sunday. I'd quite like to see an experimental side but at the same time it would be nice to reward the regulars too. I still reckon we'll probably end up losing this one but hopefully if we can find an early goal, maybe we can take all three points, after all, we could still possibly embarrass Everton and finish above them at the last possible minute haha.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Liverpool Put 4 Past Dismal Chelsea

Henderson celebrates...
Liverpool ended their last league game at Anfield this season in style with a 4-1 win over Chelsea. They say revenge is a dish best served cold but the Reds were on fire yesterday as they redeemed themselves after Chelsea won in the Cup.

Chelsea manager di Matteo started a changed side due to the fact his team face Bayern Munich in a few days time for the Champions League final. The Londoners could have been fighting for 4th spot in the league if they'd have won this fixture but obviously they decided the final was more important. Liverpool went with Carroll and Suarez up front and missing were Gerrard and Enrique who had minor injuries.

Liverpool started the game in a completely opposite fashion in comparison to their start at Wembley. The Reds clearly had a point to prove and fair enough, Chelsea had a weakened side but it still didn't excuse their defending.

Liverpool's first goal came just before the 20 minute mark. Suarez on a mazy run from a tight angle left the Chelsea defence for dead. With no Red shirts really imposing on the penalty area Suarez put the ball in anyway and a little bit of luck for Liverpool meant Essien bumbled the ball into his own net.

It's about time things went for Liverpool instead of against them and this first goal appeared to pave the way for a bit of a rout.

Liverpool's second was scored just after 5 minutes later by a somewhat unlikely scorer - Jordan Henderson. I'd spent the hour before hand chatting to people on Twitter about how I felt Henderson had started too many games so it was just typical he'd score. Out of himself, Downing and Adam, Henderson as I've stood by is the one worth keeping and working with and he's pulled out some top performances (especially last night) I just feel this season others deserved more starts too. Anyways, onto the goal!

A John Terry slip allowed Henderson through and with a superb finish he put the ball round Chelsea keeper Turnbull and into the back of the net. It was great to see Jordan score, he deserved it on his effort this season.

Maxi Rodriguez provided the assist for the Henderson goal and after the number 11 waved goodbye as he was subbed later in the game it was clear that he'll be off at the end of the season. I've always been a big supporter of Maxi and will be sad to see him go, I just think he deserved way more starts than he got and was a top bloke.

Liverpool were on a roll and only took another 3 minutes to find their third goal. This time it was Daniel Agger who got himself on the score sheet. A Shelvey corner was headed back across goal by Andy Carroll, Daniel Agger then made sure he headed home for the Reds.

Andy Carroll had another fantastic game and I have been extremely impressed with him of late. His attitude is ten times better now and it's made all the difference to his game. Chasing down lost balls and even trying a bicycle kick, it's brilliant to see!

Liverpool ended the first half on a bit of a low note with Stewart Downing missing a penalty. Carroll was brought down in the box by Ivanovic but Downing hit the post with his spot kick.

Fernando Torres was subjected to boos every time he touched the ball but he nearly hushed the Anfield crowd with a fizzing effort from a tight angle that smashed off the bar.

Ramires popped up early in the second half to score past Pepe Reina once again this week. It was a pretty lucky goal for Chelsea though as Ramires didn't seem to know much about the ball hitting him. Reina was visibly frustrated at conceding.

At the hour mark a pretty shambolic Chelsea made yet another mistake. The keeper Turnbull redistributed the ball straight to Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the park. Shelvey then took full advantage and with a sweet shot put the ball straight into the back of the net. Another player you wouldn't have expected to see score last night but once again it was fabulous to see!

At 80 minutes a rather moving moment as Maxi was replaced with Kuyt. Both players could quite easily be off this summer but it was clear from Maxi's wave goodbye that he would be leaving.

Raheem Sterling also came on in the dying minutes and with almost his first touch of the ball put Chelsea under pressure with a shot.

At the final whistle the lads prepared to thank the fans and there were kids, babies and wives everywhere. It was a lovely sight and despite a poor season it was great to end on such a high. Here's hoping things change for Liverpool next season and we have a productive transfer window. With Swansea as our last game left, we still have that incentive of finishing above Everton to aim for haha.

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Monday, 7 May 2012

Chelsea For Second Time In 3 Days For Reds

Gerrard models Tuesday night's shirt...
Chelsea travel up to Anfield on Tuesday night after their victory over the Reds in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. It's a tough pill to swallow for the Liverpool after an Andy Carroll header nearly put them back into the match but it wasn't to be.

Liverpool have no new injury worries for this one and Chelsea are also still without defenders Luiz and Cahill. Fernando Torres could be chosen to start by manager Roberto di Matteo after he was left out for the FA Cup Final.

For Tuesday nights game Liverpool will be wearing a slightly different home shirt with sponsor Standard Chartered replaced with "Seeing Is Believing". The charity helps combat avoidable blindness in developing countries around the world.

Standard Chartered have also agreed to match the bids for the signed shirts from players after the match and the club as a whole is hoping to raise a lot of money for this worthwhile charity.

I shant bring up the last time the two sides met as I usually would now because we all know what happened there... The last time the two sides met at Anfield though was in 2010 where Liverpool recorded a 2-0 win over the Londoners.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only won at home once in the Premier League so far in 2012.
  • Chelsea have only won one of their last 8 away games.
  • Liverpool's loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup Final was Dalglish's first as Liverpool manager against Chelsea (14 meetings).

I think after the performance (certainly the first half one) against Chelsea at Wembley proves that the XI that started shouldn't start again for this one. It's quite clear Carroll should make the start with Suarez up front and I'd also personally start Maxi Rodriguez, he likes scoring against these lot.

With Carroll in such great form on Saturday it would be brilliant for him to get some sort of consolation by beating Chelsea at Anfield with a goal or two and helping his side restore some pride.

It would be absolutely typical of us now to absolutely batter Chelsea though wouldn't it?

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Carroll Scores But Chelsea Clinch FA Cup

Carroll celebrates...
Well, it's the day after the FA Cup final, the beer has been washed out of my hair and I'm pretty sure I've pulled my side after celebrating a none existent Andy Carroll goal but you can't win them all can you? A poor start from Liverpool allowed Chelsea to take advantage and it was far too easy for Di Matteo's side to score. A consolation goal from Andy Carroll was all the Reds could manage.

Those of you on Twitter will know that I went up to Liverpool to watch the match with my brother and despite the result we had a right laugh, this post will probably contain snippets of my day mixed in with a round up, you don't get that sort of match report anywhere else! Haha.

Dalglish opted to start Luis Suarez on his own up front and although Bellamy and Gerrard were started in order to help the Uruguayan, that plan never seemed to get into action. For Chelsea, they ended up deciding on Drogba up front with Fernando Torres on the bench.

Chelsea didn't take long to get on the score sheet and it was no surprise to be honest when they netted their first. Liverpool were making it far too easy for the lads in blue and as many people had pointed out, when Liverpool had the ball, they were seriously struggling to do anything with it because Suarez was completely and utterly isolated.

Ramires beat Reina at his inside post and to be honest although it may sound harsh, the Spaniard should have done better. Ramires was let through too early to start with but a keeper of Reina's calibre should have perhaps dealt better with the oncoming shot. I assume Reina was trying to set up in case he was crossing the ball but even so...

The first half for Liverpool never really got any better. Possession wise Liverpool kept a lot of it but because Spearing and Henderson were having a poor game Steven Gerrard felt the need and was almost required to constantly help them out. Because of this, Gerrard spent the majority of the first half way too deep. Craig Bellamy would try his best to link up with Suarez but he too seemed to be on a bit of an off day and as for Stewart Downing... Well it just wasn't happening was it?

Things got worse for Liverpool in the second half when Chelsea found their next goal. Didier Drogba with a great finish to Reina's left made it even harder for Liverpool to create a comeback. Once again Drogba was let through too easily and it was quite evident a substitution was needed.

Andy Carroll was introduced to play just after the 50 minute mark and replaced Jay Spearing.

Glen Johnson was attempting to create attacks within the second half and as many people have agreed I feel Liverpool should have made more penetration down the right. The left hand side of the field was too hard to break through and it didn't help that Jose Enrique was having an absolute nightmare.

Luckily for Liverpool Stewart Downing was tenacious enough to chase down Chelsea just after the hour mark and with a timed tackle managed to put the ball into the box (definitely the best thing he did all game). Andy Carroll, who looked like a man possessed the second he walked on, collected the ball.

He then made mince meat of John Terry twisting and turning with the ball at his feet and smashed the ball home past Petr Cech. His celebration was emphatic and I thought his effort and mentality in this game were excellent!

At this stage Walkabout had predictably "gone mental". I knew I'd get covered in beer, it happened in the Carling Cup final in the same pub but me and my brother literally couldn't see we were that covered in beer, it was hilarious! Everywhere was drenched.

I was just so glad that we'd scored because it didn't look like it was going to happen. I'd dragged my brother all this way and he'd spent so much money, I was just so happy that we got to jump around like idiots and that we were back in the game!

Liverpool were now in with a chance and the fans knew this. A somewhat tense and angry atmosphere in Walkabout had now turned into excitement and encouragement. With plenty of time left on the clock the optimism was well and truly back.

Some attempts from Gerrard and Henderson flew wide and over and although Gerrard was getting more and more into the game, the captain still couldn't quite find that magic for the Reds.

At 81 minutes Liverpool thought they'd found their equaliser and so did the entirety of Walkabout. Suarez crossed the ball in to a rising Andy Carroll and for most, it already looked like this header was going in before Andy had made contact.

A strong header from the Geordie was then reached by Petr Cech's hand but at this stage everybody still thought the ball was in. As soon as Carroll began to celebrate, that was it. Walkabout once again went mad, me and my brother were jumping around but with our heads to the floor to decrease the amount of beer on our faces, elation quickly changed to shock though when we stopped to look at the television with the rest of the pub to find Carroll coming over arguing with the linesman.

The scoreline still said 2-1 and although discussions were being made, it was clear Liverpool were not going to get the luck they required today. It was devastating.

The hilarious thing was though, my brother had literally just come back from the bar, he squeezed back into the crowd holding his full pint of Fosters, handed my my Smirnoff ice, turned round and then Carroll "scored". His pint went everywhere and I didn't have time to put a thumb on top of my Smirnoff, by the time we'd finished shouting at the tele in anger we looked at our drinks and had less than a quarter left! What a waste!!!

With the minutes dying down you still felt like there was hope and after a much improved Liverpool performance in the second half, we were creating enough chances to push this to extra time.

Shots from Skrtel, Agger, Carroll and Johnson couldn't find their way into the back of the net and not even a free kick outside the box provided Liverpool with a good enough chance. It just wasn't to be this time for the Reds.

It was gutting of course it was but we can't win them all and if we admit to it, it's quite surprising that we ended up in two cup finals in the first place in comparison to our performances in the league. It was just a shame that Dalglish didn't start Andy Carroll because I honestly think that set up for the whole or majority of the 90 minutes would have been enough to win it.

I've said on Twitter recently that when Dalglish dropped Carroll after his strop against Newcastle, it was the perfect medicine. For me, despite sticking behind Carroll, he was gaining a bit of a bad attitude, but since then, he's been fantastic and as I mentioned in this post, his mentality is spot on now. He finally looks like he's returning to the Carroll that we purchased from Newcastle.

I don't want to put a downer on a lost final by emphasising our league form this season because I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances to do that in the final two match reports and so I will simply congratulate the Reds for getting to the final and coming close to pushing the game to extra time.

After the match me and my brother decided to wobble back to Lime Street, because of all the train works we had to catch a train via Chester which I've never done before and we came into Liverpool through the Mersey Tunnels, it was cool! I knew about the tunnels but assumed that the tracks would come above ground to the main section of Lime Street and not be like the London Underground.

I got my brother to take a picture of me in my Carragher mask after the match and I think it perfectly sums up my thoughts on the result...

As gutting as it was to go up to Liverpool and watch us lose I still had a fantastic time, I love the city and I don't get to visit very often and it was so much fun! From random Norweigans to some bloke shouting "Who's that? ... She's fit!" when Torres popped up on the screen, I had a fab time and it was so worth getting soaked in beer.

Here's hoping for more finals next year!

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Friday, 4 May 2012

Reds Face Chelsea In FA Cup Final

Up for grabs...
As if you didn't know there's an FA Cup Final on Saturday and Liverpool are only bloody well in it! After successfully knocking out Everton in the semi finals the Reds are ready to square up against Di Matteo's Chelsea at Wembley.

Liverpool's league form this season has been pretty terrible and so for most fans the past few weeks have just consisted of Wembley dreams. After winning the Carling Cup at Wembley, we've already had a taste of the glory and beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final would surely top this.

Luckily for Liverpool Dalglish has no shock injuries or suspensions to worry about with only Lucas and Adam unavailable. Chelsea are without Luiz and Cahill but don't have any other concerns.

The last time the two sides met almost coincidentally was in the League Cup. In November Liverpool put two past the London side with Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly on the score sheet.

The last time Chelsea beat Liverpool was in May 2010 and to be fair to the Reds they have a decent record against Chelsea in all competitions. Liverpool can also boast a win the last time both sides met in the FA Cup.

Stat Sandwich

  • If Liverpool win they will be the first club to win the FA Cup & League Cup double, twice.
  • This is Chelsea's 11th FA Cup final.
  • If Liverpool win we would over take Manchester United's record of 15 domestic cup final wins.

Di Matteo has been questioned a lot this past week over the decisions on his line up and it appears he seriously doesn't know who to start. The main problem appears to be with the forwards because most people believe Drogba and Torres can't start together and after Torres has found a bit of form, it will be interesting to see what the Chelsea manager decides to do.

Some would argue that playing Torres in form against his former club is the best idea, for the mind games at least but I personally disagree. If I was the Chelsea manager I'd start Drogba, Drogba gets on players nerves and he's strong and we all know that he can dupe Skrtel, Carragher and Agger, we've seen it done. Torres on the other hand, he may be in form but the lads in Red know all his tricks of the trade and I feel if anything there'd be more determination to stop him and more success in doing so, but what do I know ay Mr Matteo? Maybe I'm playing mind games too...

For Dalglish, he surely has to go with the combination of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. Their link up play in the Norwich game was brilliant and a worrying sight for any upcoming opposition. I'd personally also start Carroll together with Suarez because unlike Di Matteo's problem, I feel Suarez and Carroll can compliment each other.

There's a lot of talk about the defence, the partnership of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel has been awesome this season and has kept stalwart Jamie Carragher out for most of it but I am almost certain that the number 23 will feature at some point, especially if a lead is created.

With Reina between the sticks Liverpool have a man who knows Chelsea all too well and I honestly think we can do it.

There are many panicking and thinking that Di Matteo's takeover has spurred on the Chelsea side, I agree, it has. But Liverpool have no need to fear a Chelsea side at Wembley, the Reds can recall many a glorious final and they know how to handle Chelsea if they put their minds to it. 

What's most important for me is an early goal. Against some sides we may be able to afford some missed chances (it's been occurring too often in the league) but with Chelsea, this can't happen. Liverpool have no problem whatsoever in creating pressure, they've done it against every team they've faced so far this season, even if results haven't been great, but what they can't afford to do is fail on accuracy.

Luis Suarez may well have scored a sublime hat trick against Norwich but it's Saturday's sort of game that requires a tap in or a lucky header. Of course I have no qualms if he wants to score from the half way line...

Whatever happens on Saturday it's sure to be an intense summer for Liverpool.

Enjoy the match folks! For those of you going to Wembley I am so envious! 

I'm going up to Liverpool with my brother to watch in the pub, I'm so excited, it's all I've been able to think about since I bought the train tickets on Monday. I believe we can do it, I just hope we do!

I shall be wearing my new "lucky scarf" too. My Uncle Malcom gave it me years ago but it's always just been pinned on my wall. However when we went up to Liverpool to watch the Carling Cup final I fancied wearing it and so took it off the wall, we won! Then, when I watched the semi final against Everton I wore it and we won again.

The last two times I've wore this scarf, we've won at Wembley and so I'm bloody wearing it on Saturday!


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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Own Goal Gives Fulham Win

Unlucky Skrtel...
Fulham won at Anfield on Tuesday night for the first time ever. That's right, they've never won at Anfield and that in a nutshell seems to sum up Liverpool's league form this season, especially at home. Things were made worse because it was a Martin Skrtel own goal that won it for Fulham.

9 changes to the line up were bound to create some sort of havoc but it was hoped a positive could be created from this... It wasn't.

Fulham put themselves on the score sheet just five minutes in after creating some pressure in the box. Unfortunately for Martin Skrtel he was the one who ended up gifting the Cottagers their lead.

The sad thing was, other than this involvement from the Liverpool defence, not much else happened. It was unbelievably dire. Considering this was a chance for the players to prove they should start on Saturday, they didn't seem to care.

Ex Liverpool men Riise and Murphy got a great reception from the Anfield crowd and Riise had a couple of chances in front of goal for Fulham but couldn't quite find them a second.

Doni between the sticks for the Reds had a couple of slip ups but also pulled off some great saves in a game which consisted of more attacks from the away side.

Andy Carroll was perhaps one of the only players in a Liverpool shirt on Tuesday putting in the effort and showing that he wanted to be chosen for the FA Cup final. He made sure he kept play alive in the box and got on the end of a couple of crosses but again, Liverpool just couldn't find the net.

Jose Enrique and Raheem Stirling were brought on in the second half and for the short time Sterling was on the pitch, he certainly looked lively. He's got some pace and confidence behind him and I'm very excited by this lad, I hope to see a lot more of him in the future.

Despite some offensive runs into the box Raheem couldn't quite clinch an equaliser for Liverpool and the Reds were left thinking over their last 90 minutes as the final whistle blew.

Dalglish was clearly disappointed with the sides efforts post match and rightly so, of course the line up may have caused problems with certain players gelling with one another but for me that still isn't an excuse for the lack of effort.

Here's hoping the team Dalglish picks on Saturday put in a better shift because we're going to need it! But at least it's an away fixture I suppose!

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