The Liver Bird  

Monday, 30 July 2012

Reds Return From North America

Gerrard featured against Spurs...
Image: lfctour.com
For this season's preparations Liverpool made the trip across the pond to take part in a North American tour, facing the likes of Roma, Spurs and Toronto it was a great chance for Brendan Rodgers to get to know his squad properly and also play around with some of his many ideas.

The first match against Toronto saw the Reds grab a 1-1 draw. The Major League Soccer side were perhaps the most unfamiliar of opposition for Liverpool but that didn't stop youngster Adam Morgan getting on the score sheet.

Amarikwa scored for Toronto as a substitute in the second half but Morgan quickly cancelled out their lead with his goal just before the 70 minute mark. Raheem Sterling deserves a mention here also because it was his efforts that set up Morgan and Raheem had a brilliant game.

It was a great show all round for Liverpool's youth with Dani Pacheco impressing the crowds also.

Next up for the Reds was AS Roma. With Aquilani and Borini in the squad we'd be facing familiar opposition.

This match was held at a brilliantly prepared Fenway Park, it looked like a fantastic occasion as the Reds walked out against the Italians. Unfortunately for the Liverpool fans present though Roma were victorious in a 2-1 win.

Some of the more regular names were featured in this match with Carragher, Skrtel and Spearing all starting. It was Charlie Adam though who grabbed Liverpool their only goal of the game with a great strike.

The last match of the three was against Tottenham Hotspur. With Andre Villas Boas now at the helm he may have felt as though he had a point to prove to the people who were rumoured to be his employers but with Brendan in our hot seat this was set to be an interesting battle as both sides looked for a win.

Typically though, the match that gets the most talk always seems to be the most disappointing and in this case certainly in terms of goals, it was. The 0-0 draw was a decent result for both sides and perhaps the main upside was that Fabio Borini got himself half an hour on the pitch.

Brad Jones had a good first half in goal for the Reds and Gulasci improved too in the second half on his earlier performance in the tour.

Frustrations were raised after the match due to Charlie Adam injuring Gareth Bale, it is quite ironic really that the Welshman supposedly faked an injury to miss the Olympics and now he is actually injured...

All in all as always this was, what it was. Pre-season. I'm not one of these fans that really takes these things seriously, you have some people that believe they can predict a teams performance in the league just from watching their pre-season, it's nonsense. There's that many variations of players and tactics that there's no way you could predict.

My favourite thing out of this tour though has the be the return of Lucas Leiva, how we have missed that man! Here's hoping he and Liverpool can get off to a winning start with the Premier League just around the corner.

Next up for Liverpool though are two ties with FC Gomel in the Europa League and a friendly with Sami Hyypia's Bayer Leverkusen at Anfield.

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Thursday, 19 July 2012

LFC's North American Tour

Fowler trying to finalise a deal to complete Rodgers' 4-3-3? Haha.
Image: www.lfctour.com
So, Rodgers and Co are currently in North America, last spotted doing some training at the famous Harvard University. The Reds this year have three matches in their pre-season tour against Toronto, AS Roma and Tottenham Hotspur.

Rodgers has taken a fair few youngsters across the pond and Fabio Borini also cut short a holiday to join the Reds on tour. There's no Pepe Reina who has been granted extra time off after Spain were victorious in the Euros. The lads who played for England this summer have also travelled but are expected to be rested until the Roma game.

More good news to come out of the tour is that Lucas Leiva is expected to make an early return and feature in at least one of the fixtures. Lucas suffered a cruciate ligament injury to his knee last year in November and is seemingly ready to play 2 months earlier than the original prediction.

This is a fabulous opportunity to face some interesting and also familiar opposition in the likes of Spurs and so Rodgers can really begin to show the world what he plans to do with Liverpool FC.

Taking into account of course that he may still want to add some players to his side and so his high possession mantra may be visible but not yet perfected.

Another thing that has been fantastic to see on this tour even before the matches have started is the presence of Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler. True legends there. If that doesn't encourage you to pull out your best performances, not much will.

The tour starts on Saturday 21st July and all of the matches will be shown on ESPN then repeated at a later time on LFC TV. Saturday sees the Reds face Toronto FC, then they're off to Boston to play Roma and finally down to Baltimore to face AVB's Spurs.

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Monday, 16 July 2012

And The Winner Is...

THE LIVER BIRD!


How utterly brilliant is that?! For those of you sitting there thinking, what the hell have you won? I find myself staring back at you asking where the hell have you been?

If you follow me on Twitter there is no way you will have escaped the knowledge that I was in a list of nominees for the best Female blog category in the Football Blogging Awards.

Being on the short list and never one to turn down an invite to a shindig I managed to circle up two guests (a farcical amount I know) and off we headed on Saturday afternoon to Manchester.

We'd booked two hotels both on the outskirts of the city, usually in these sort of posts I'd have a strategically placed jolly anecdote to do with our travels but nothing happened, not even traffic on the M6, mental.

My good mate Josh drove me and the fella there and back and it's a fair drive from Wolverhampton so cheers for that!

Anyway...

We eventually grabbed a taxi and headed out to Stockport for the event I have been getting nervous and excited for this past week or so - The Football Blogging Awards.

After getting myself a Bucks Fizz I ended up choosing a table right at the front of the soddin' room, the only real plus side to this was that Josh and Rich had plenty of snacks for themselves! Pretzels went down a treat.

There were 8 categories in the awards ceremony covering a vast section of the football blogging world. Awards for best blog were up for grabs in - Male, Female, New, Veteran, Club Specific, Podcast, Comedy and Videos.

The awards kicked off about 8 o'clock ish and it was interesting to see how the night was going to pan out. I began to get more and more nervous as time ticked by because I knew just how close it was within my category.

Winners of the first category "The 4th Official" were unwittingly setting the tone for the night, when asked whether the winner wanted to say a few words a response of something along the lines of "Cheers!" meant we wouldn't be hearing any essays this evening.

Barely time to have another sip of my drink and up pops the rather cheesey drum roll sound that indicated the next category would be "Female".

I was shaking like Jerzy Dudek in the Champions League final!

After the other nominees were mentioned - Miss SW6, YICETOR, Girl On A Terrace & ScouserLaura it was time for the winner to be announced.

I think I looked down at the table, I kind of figured if I hadn't managed to win, it wouldn't give me any grief.

But it was all fine and dandy as The Liver Bird was announced as the best female football blog of 2012! I was bloody chuffed to bits! I tried to stay classy but I must admit a clenched fist would have been viewable a hushed "get in!" would have been heard.

I collected my lovely and might I add very posh certificate with a big grin on my face. I figured I should say something despite preparing literally nothing and so made what I thought was the wise decision to start of with a joke, yeah, always a fool proof idea that Kirsty you nervous wreck!

Trying to say a few words...
My explanation that I basically wanted to be quick for fear of "doing an Andy Murray" seemed to get a couple of chuckles though. I tried to thank everybody that voted for my blog and explain how I thought the Football Blogging Awards were a fabulous idea whilst praising the charity (The Justin Campaign) that they had linked up with and then finished by wishing everybody a good night. At least, I think that's what I did, it's all a bit of a blur now!

Readers of my blog or followers of mine will probably be reading this thinking there was no need for me to worry but as I said earlier, I knew voting was tight and after speaking to Anthony one of the co founders of the awards later on in the night it was revealed I won by 50 votes, phew! Lol.

I posted a quick snap of the award on Twitter and Facebook immediately because without the aid of those social networks I wouldn't have won this award, my readers helped spread the word and I know I've said it a million times but I seriously can't thank you enough for your votes and support!

Congratulations soon started to pour in and I'm never one to blow my own trumpet but as the night went on I did begin to feel a sense of pride, it's so nice to be awarded for doing something that you love!

Anyway, enough about me!

The winners of the other categories were:

New - My Old Man Said
Veteran - Six Tame Sides
Club Specific - Anything Palmeiras
Podcast - Chelsea Fancast
Comedy - Fitba Thatba
Videos - The League Of Ireland

By far the best acceptance speech was from a man called Mike who accepted the award for Six Tame Sides who won best veteran blog. He was just quality! Pulls out a massive piece of paper acting like he's written a speech then he gets another one out and proceeds to tell us what he's got to get from Tesco's on the way home haha!

Mike also later on with myself was asked to present an award to one of the other winners and he warned us that perhaps he shouldn't be opening envelopes what with having been a postman haha!

I was caught off guard but agreed to present the award for best Club Specific blog on the basis that it was only a sentence, I reckoned I could manage that. Anything Palmerias won in this category and sent in a video all the way from Brazil.

I was quite smug with the fact I was now a winner and a presenter within the space of 5 minutes yet I'd walked in as some Black Country lass who writes a Liverpool blog.

On the subject of that, one thing I knew would happen if I won the award is the raising of eyebrows...

3, 2, 1... "Hang on, that ain't a scouse accent!" and so the questions proceeded from several people all night, I didn't mind though, it was a conversation starter! And if you don't know by now the reason of my love for Liverpool it's due to growing up with a brother who was mad on them, I've supported them all my life, throw the local club nonsense at me all you like, if it was THAT important then why didn't a family member, friend, neighbour, local yob? Persuade or force me to follow them? Because they aren't arsed that's why! So why do they act like it years down the line? Pfft!

One of the people baffled by my Black Country twang was the lovely Laura from "Yes I Can Explain The Offside Rule" she was also in the female blog category but has only been blogging for 6 months or so. I wish her all the best for next years awards because her blog truly is unique, go and check it out!

As R-Kelly once said - "After the show, It's the after party." and this show had finished.

Whilst we waited for taxis kindly pre-organised by the founders of the awards (Anthony and Richard) me, Rich and Josh managed to mingle with a few of the bloggers and guests and I must admit everybody that came to say hello was lovely!

The only bit of banter was when we got chatting to some Chelsea fans, they were pulling out the old Champions League win so I figured the best response was a simple hand in the air with five digits on show haha. Your lads have got a lot of catching up to do yet you smug bunch! Lol.

Some of the Chelsea lot and the organisers and a few other bloggers and guests attended the after party at Baa Bar on Deansgate Locks which was quality! We got free entry and a free shot with each drink... well in!

Some more mingling and extremely terrible dancing on my and possibly everyone else's part made it a class night out, I won't be forgetting this weekend in a hurry!

Josh, myself and the fella.
My certificate had to be left with the organisers because I kind of figured a Bulmers stained award would be less impressive but it's going to be posted out to me soon with a bit of luck, I think then it will finally sink in because this is truly a great accolade to have.

I'd just like to say a massive thank you to @TheFBAs for organising everything it was a brilliant night! And it was lovely to meet some of the bloggers too! If any of you are on Twitter and I haven't followed you please just give me a prod or drop us a comment!

To finish I want to thank the best fans in the world - you Liverpool lot! I couldn't have done this without your continued reading of the blog and your support! Thank you so much! #LFCFamily

Now roll on next season for more match previews, reports and general nonsense from The Liver Bird - Best Female Football Blog 2012!!!

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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Reds Bag Fabio Borini

On international duty...
Image: www.liverpoolfc.com
It's felt like an age waiting for the transfer window to fully be pushed open and whilst it has been clear for a week or so that Brendan Rodgers had his eye on a few players it was difficult to judge when he would seal his first new signing as Liverpool manager.

Today we wait no longer as Fabio Borini successfully passed a medical at Melwood and completed all the necessary paper work. It is believed that in the region of £8 million has been paid to Roma for the services of the Italian who finished last season with 9 goals.

Many people are excited by the signing of Fabio and rightly so, in terms of minutes per goal he is above the likes of Wayne Rooney and Edinson Cavani from last year. If he can hit the ground running and adapt to life in the Premier League he could be a steal for the price paid by Rodgers & Co. Himself and Luis Suarez on form is a frightening thought for any opposition.

Of course Rodgers is all too familiar with Borini after working with him at both Chelsea and Swansea. Whilst Borini's experience at Chelsea is worthwhile it was mainly for the reserves. The Championship would have provided him with a proper taste of English football and the strength and tenacity of midfields and defences that don't enjoy being pushed around by skillful Italians but he will still have a lot to learn in the different world of the Premier League.

However Borini is only 21 years old, he has the time to learn these lessons.

Fabio Borini was interviewed by liverpoolfc.com after putting his name on the dotted line and the forward when asked about Liverpool said "It's a top club that has won a lot of trophies in the past and we will do so in the future..."

So here's hoping the number 29 can start his Liverpool career with a bang, Fabio Borini, welcome to Anfield!

I hope you've all been practising his goal celebration!

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