The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Suarez Sublime In Norwich Win

Suarez celebrates his second hat trick at Carrow Road...
Image: football365.com
Finally, the Reds can chalk up a victory in the Premier League under boss Brendan Rodgers and in some style too. Rodgers after clearly being impressed by some of his youngsters filtering through the side went for a rather different starting XI against Norwich on Saturday, add to this that Suarez was on song, it was a comfortable victory for Liverpool with the only downside being that they conceded.

Rodgers gave Suso and Wisdom their first Premier League starts whilst opting to play Raheem Sterling once again. Also included was Sahin who scored two against West Brom in the league cup.

Possession according to the BBC ended up 50/50 after the 90 minutes but vitally for Liverpool this time they had maintained their portion of the ball and made sure they hit the back of the net at the same time.

Luis Suarez immediately cemented his love for Carrow Road just 2 minutes in. Glen Johnson cut inside and attempted to play a ball through to Sahin but he couldn't quite collect, the defensive clearance though wasn't the best and Suarez found himself with a chance at goal. His strike to Ruddy's right put Liverpool in front.

Suarez has started with a bang and it wasn't long before he was causing hassle again in the Norwich box. In a week that saw Rodgers ring up Mike Riley you would feel a referee would be extra attentive in his decision making for this game but apparently not. Suarez was brought down by Barnett and it was a clear foul but the Uruguayan was given nothing.

Some people won't agree but I think Suarez has definitely had his reputation put against him on several occasions, we know he's not always an angel but each decision should be taken independently not on the basis that he "probably" dived. Thankfully, Liverpool would not have to dwell on this decision.

Suarez never let the decision get to him either as minutes later he played a lovely ball over the defence in an attempt to set up captain Steven Gerrard. The number 8 got a strong header to it but Ruddy had it covered.

The next moment of note, yep, you guessed it, Suarez again. This time he had a pop at goal after a great ball through from Agger, unfortunately it was a dodgy finish and the ball went wide, whilst the Norwich fans stood shouting and gesturing that Suarez may be in need of some light relief the striker had other things on his mind, seconds later he'd shut them all up.

The Norwich defence were half asleep and Suarez stole possession with ease, taking the ball behind and round the defender Suarez ended with a lovely finish on the outside of his boot and secured his second goal of the game.

The man was quite simply on fire, he wasn't only scoring he was setting people up, he was here, there and everywhere and could have been on three or four goals by this stage already.

By half time Norwich were left looking pretty dismal, some half chances supplied them with an ounce of hope but their defence was clearly struggling to deal with this fresh attacking threat from Liverpool. The likes of Suso and Sahin were weaving through far too easily and the amount of possession Liverpool held in the final third surely meant more goals were coming.

To try to combat his sides lack of threat Hughton brought on Grant Holt who is usually a prolific goalscorer but hadn't found the back of the net yet for Norwich, still this would give the Reds another angle to deal with.

A wonderful chance for Norwich to get themselves back in the game left the home fans wondering how the hell they weren't after Snodgrass put the ball over the bar from centimetres out. Norwich would seriously need to take their chances in order to gain any points from this game.

Just after the 46th minute Liverpool had found yet another goal to add to the Canaries woes.

Yet another attack involving Suarez saw Norwich miss their chance to clear the danger. Suarez was then left with another chance and decided to set up Sahin who finished with a tap in. Liverpool were storming this now.

Ten minutes later and the Reds were at it again. Luis Suarez clearly wasn't content with his hat trick from last season at Carrow Road, he wanted a repeat. A lovely curled effort caught the defence and goalkeeper off guard and sent Liverpool 4-0 up. Ruddy marvellous.

You can get on Suarez's back all you want as a neutral but you'd have to agree that it was a masterclass from him on Saturday.

The game wasn't over yet though and with 4 goals already under their belts Liverpool felt like they might be able to grab some more. On the hour mark though Norwich finally managed to find a return.

A stinging effort from Martin left Reina unable to keep hold of the ball, as he parried it away it fell to the feet of Steve Morison who wasn't going to miss his chance to get Norwich a consolation goal. The Canaries had found the back of the net.

As quickly as they'd found it though Liverpool were rubbing salt in the wounds again. Raheem Sterling took a lovely touch on the wing to give himself acres of space, spotting Gerrard he played a lovely pass for the captain who's deflected strike eventually found the back of the net. It was now 5-1 to Liverpool.

With five minutes left of the game to go Norwich grabbed themselves another goal and perhaps a glimmer of hope for the fans because it was Grant Holt who got himself off the mark and gave his side a second goal.

This match was just fantastic, obviously we have to take into account that the calibre of the opposition wasn't as good as recent games and so that could reflect on the scoreline but I honestly feel that the inclusion of Suso and Sahin had a massive effect. Wisdom in defence also had a good game and Sterling was brilliant as always.

I don't care if it does sound harsh when I say this, Suso and Sterling are ten times better than the likes of Stewart Downing who for me should of been flogged anyway. The youngsters aren't only a positive addition, the majority of them are pretty versatile as we have seen with the example of Sterling. This versatility for me has also had an encouraging effect on Steven Gerrard who looked at lot more comfortable and free on Saturday in this version of the managers set up.

Extremely happy with that performance and extremely happy that Brendan has been brave enough to include youth. With some of the regular starters we were running out of ideas and seemed an easy side to read. Here's hoping for more success, I'd love for Liverpool to be praised for their youthful XI this season even if we don't finish high up in the league.

If you're good enough, you're old enough.

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Friday, 28 September 2012

Reds Really Need A Win

Suarez scored all three against Norwich last season...
Image: Link
Liverpool are at Carrow Road for Saturday's fixture as Brendan's boys look to carry their momentum through from their win in the league cup. The game against West Brom included several of Liverpool's youngsters and it will be interesting to see if any of them feature at the weekend.

Norwich are without Kane who broke his foot midweek and they also have doubts hanging over Pilkington and Bassong. Liverpool are still without Shelvey who is serving a ban and Borini is also a doubt. Daniel Agger however could make a return after he picked up a knock in a collision during the United game.

Nobody will have forgotten the last meeting between the two sides because it included that rather special Luis Suarez hat trick! Norwich haven't played us as regularly as some teams and so they have to go back to 1993 to find a win for themselves.

Norwich only recorded their first league win this season in their last match and Liverpool are still waiting for their own. Whilst Norwich haven't lost by very big margins (aside from the Fulham game) they have still conceded in 5 out of 7 league games. Liverpool however have also conceded a load of goals too.

Stat Sandwich

  • If Suarez features it will be his 50th Premier League appearance.
  • Norwich have the lowest conversion rate so far this season.
  • Liverpool have only one clean sheet from their last 15 league games.

I really hope the Reds can find that win they desperately need on Saturday. It seems as though this is the stage where our season should start. We haven't necessarily played that badly it's just good opposition and sometimes decisions have got in the way. 

No offence to Norwich but Liverpool have to be looking at this as their chance for three points. I get the feeling too that after the West Brom game some younger faces might get a chance to come on as a sub. Also Assaidi and Sahin who haven't really been given game time could also feature.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Turkish Delight

Sahin who was born in Germany but plays for Turkey celebrates his brace...

Liverpool took on Steve Clarke's West Brom at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night and despite things not immediately going to plan the Reds very youthful side eventually managed to calmly and confidently win the game and take their side through to the next round of the Capital One Cup.

Brendan Rodgers made eleven changes to the team that lined up in front of Manchester United and the majority of that eleven were academy products. After the success of Raheem Sterling in the first team and the glimmer of Suso during the Manchester United game it is clear the boss is not afraid to put his faith in the younger lads.

Carragher was easily the most experienced for Liverpool but Downing and Henderson also added some support for the rest of the side.

It didn't take long for the first goal of the game to crop up, unfortunately for Liverpool it was a goal that could of been prevented. Brad Jones commanded his area and was ready to catch, it looked like he did but the next second he'd lost it. Gabriel Tamas wasn't going to give up his chance to put his side ahead and he slipped the ball into the back of the net with ease.

It was a poor mistake from Jones but we all know that he's usually better than that, sometimes mistakes happen and as we found out, he wasn't the only one having a bit of a mare.

Just over ten minutes later and it was Ben Foster's turn to come undone. Nuri Sahin who looked like he'd been playing for us for years was very much in the mood on Wednesday night, every chance he was given he'd have a pop or try to play someone in. Assisted by Andre Wisdom, Sahin took a low shot from outside the area and Ben Foster looking like he had his near post covered could only look in despair as the effort went past him and into the net.

In terms of shots both sides were pretty level, by 90 minutes Liverpool had 9 on target compared to West Brom's 8. But whilst the Baggies were still looking comfortable in the first half, things began to change in the second.

Yesil and Pacheco could see that Foster was having an off day and immediately after the second half whistle were applying maximum pressure on the West Brom goal. Yesil was denied by Ben Foster after a stinging shot but it still looked like the Reds would be able to find that winning goal.

At 80 minutes Brendan Rodgers made a sub replacing the impressive Pacheco with Suso. Suso has already impressed the Liverpool ranks who know of him from the academy but he also had neutrals raising their eyebrows this weekend against Manchester United.

The youngster took no time at all to prove his worth when he kick started a move that resulted in a Liverpool goal. A pass to Assaidi after he created enough space allowed Suso to sit back and watch as his team mate put a lovely ball across the goal mouth for Nuri Sahin. It was a tap in for the Turkish international.

Liverpool had found their winner and would make it through to the next round of the league cup. It wasn't a big wait after the final whistle to find out who their opponents were either... Guess who? Swansea.

A return to Swansea was probably written in the stars for Brendan but I think what we've all learnt from yesterday's game is that stars aren't always the best option. Those youngsters have been very impressive and the thing is with the young uns, it doesn't matter if it's a freezing cold Thursday night in Russia, they will ALWAYS give their all.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Baggies In The Cup

Rodgers looking unimpressed after the recent West Brom defeat...
Image: Link
Wednesday night Liverpool are faced with a second trip to The Hawthorns in the space of 7 weeks as they look to get the better of the Baggies in the Capital One Cup. 

West Brom are pretty healthy squad wise and Shane Long who the fans will have missed could also make a return in time for Wednesday. Liverpool on the other hand picked up some problems during the Manchester United game, Kelly is out until next year and both Borini and Agger have knocks so will probably not feature.

For the Reds the league cup holds fond memories after they were victorious last year under Kenny Dalglish. This season has already got off to a slow start and so it would be nice I feel for us to progress through to the next round of this competition.

The last time the two sides met in the league cup was back in 1997, the game which was again at The Hawthorns ended in a 2-0 Liverpool win.

The Reds have had a contrasting season compared to the Baggies so far as Steve Clarke's side can boast of their best ever Premier League start, Liverpool are left explaining their worst in decades.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have scored in every one of their last 12 league cup games.
  • West Brom have beaten Liverpool in 3 out of the last 4 meetings.
  • Liverpool hold a record 8 League Cups.
West Brom for me are certainly a force this season. They've been half decent for a while but Steve Clarke really seems to have rallied the side and they look a lot more confident this time out.

I can see this ending in a draw to be honest but here's hoping Liverpool can find a win!

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Monday, 24 September 2012

Persie Penalty Sinks Liverpool

No caption needed...
Image: guardian.co.uk
Manchester United were the guests at Anfield on Sunday afternoon and on the whole both fans and staff helped Liverpool in their pre match releasing of balloons, giving of flowers and showing of mosaics. It was an emotional time for many present on Sunday none more so than for the families and respect was offered from the majority. Anfield and Liverpool Football Club did a tremendous job of marking the release of the truth.

Despite a lot of the focus being on Hillsborough and rightly so, there was still a football match to play and soon both sets of fans were showing that famed rivalry.

Brendan Rodgers resorted back to his last league line up for this one whilst Ferguson made a couple of changes and Giggs instead of Nemanja Vidic came out as captain.

Liverpool got off to a very lively start and it was clear the intention was to hit the ground running and attempt to grab an early goal. Whilst the Reds were creating several attacks and making sure a man was available for every pass, Man United were completely sloppy.

There was a very high proportion of the match where they couldn't seem to string two passes together and they were intercepted far too easily.

With Liverpool though you could see it was turning into one of those games where we'd apply all the pressure but not get a goal early enough to fully capitalise. Still minus a goal things got even worse for the home side just before the 40 minute mark.

Jonjo Shelvey was shown a red by referee Mark Halsey and it was a talking point to say the least. I'm sure you all have your own opinions and I'm sure United fans will have significantly different ones but in my opinion it was a yellow.

Jonjo's tackle did "look" reckless but despite his two feet being in the air he led with only one foot and got the ball before the man the other thing is, as Brendan pointed out, Evans had his two feet off the floor too, both players were committed so why weren't both punished?

The referee only gets one look I suppose but it was bloody frustrating. At least there was a chuckle to be had though as Shelvey went off pointing the finger and effing and blinding at Fergie haha.

Now down to ten men for the remainder of this half and the whole of the second, Liverpool's task of finding that goal was made even more difficult. It's so frustrating watching a game like this because we deserved to be in front but just couldn't find the back of the net.

The second half saw substitutions from both sides. Paul Scholes replaced Nani and Liverpool's youngster Suso (all the United fans in the pub were like "who?!") replaced Fabio Borini.

I hate to pick on the man because one thing that's clear is his fight but Fabio Borini is living up to my rather mediocre expectations of him. He just doesn't look like he's going to bag many goals at all but I'm sure he will stick at it.

Suso didn't take very long to put himself into the game after a cross he put into the box was indirectly involved with a Reds' goal.

Eventually assisted by Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard controlled the ball with his chest and smashed the ball past Lindegaard. The captain ran away celebrating and made sure he pointed to the sky to remember his cousin and the other 95 angels who lost their lives at Hillsborough. Very touching.

Just as Liverpool began to feel vindicated, like their hard work had paid off and now maybe they could even go and find a second, up popped Rafael Da Silva.

Not necessarily known for his goalscoring I have to say it was a lovely goal. His looped effort left Reina with no chance and Liverpool had lost their lead within 5 minutes.

By this stage you could just tell what was going to happen, United despite playing rather poorly will always find a way through, even if it involved a soft penalty.

Just before the penalty incident a nasty collision with a team mate left Agger having to be stretchered off, he was replaced with Jamie Carragher.

At 80 minutes Valencia found himself in the box, on the ball and almost 100% horizontal Glen Johnson appeared and you could argue there was some small contact but Valencia was already on the bloody floor! It just makes you wonder why Valencia gets given that yet Suarez wasn't awarded his. I seriously hate dwelling on refereeing decisions but it's the consistency that does my nut in, where the hell is it?

Van Persie stepped up to take the peno and he very rarely misses. Reina managed to make contact but the save wasn't enough to stop the ball from going into the back of the net. United had found their winner.

A horrible moment for Martin Kelly before the end of the game left Liverpool with only 9 men as the defender landed awkwardly and twisted his knee. It's been released today that he will be out until 2013, such a shame.

I hate these results, I'd of rather us have played shite and been battered 4-0 or something but the fact is United required us to be down to 10 men plus the gift of a penalty to beat us.

For me our season starts at Norwich.

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Saturday, 22 September 2012

It's As Much About Respect As It Is About Football

Everton pay their own special tribute to the 96...
Image: setanta.com
On Sunday afternoon Liverpool welcome their fiercest rivals to Anfield. The two sides have met too many times to mention in their history and whilst the rivalry is something that cannot be compared to, on Sunday Anfield will appeal to everyone in the ground, just for a moment, to put that rivalry aside.

There's no point me hiding from the fact here on the blog the problems that may arise on Sunday, after all I've never hid anything and will always speak my mind. We all know that both sets of fans have a minority, a minority that for some bizarre reason are determined for the world to see how sick they are, how they have no sense of sympathy for the loss of football fans and players, effectively members of their own sporting family.

On Sunday there may well be some of the minority present but I know and I am confident that the majority will show the world that as football fans we can unite as one.

Both Alex Ferguson and Brendan Rodgers have appealed to their fans to be on their best behaviour on Sunday and tributes will be led by captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic who will release 96 balloons. The Kop, Centenery and Anfield Road end will also show mosaics as a mark of respect to the 96. This match is the first one at Anfield since the Hillborough Independent Panel Report was released and it's time to show the world that THE TRUTH is out.

On to footballing matters...

For Liverpool there are no new injury worries and Joe Cole is back into training as well. Manchester United are also pretty strong squad wise and their only absentee is Ashley Young.

The last meeting between the two sides was in February of this year. The match unfortunately was very focused on Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra (something that is still happening this time around too) by the end of the 90 minutes United had got the better of us thanks to a Rooney brace.

The good thing for Liverpool though is that in United's last five visits to Anfield the Reds haven't lost. We always put up a fight against United but home advantage really seems to help lately too.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have failed to win any of their opening four league fixtures, this is the first time this has happened in 101 years.
  • Manchester United have been awarded 13 penalties since the start of last season.
  • Liverpool have only won 1 of their last 7 home league matches.

After Thursday evening's goal fest, as mentioned in the match report I think the senior lads should certainly be taking a leaf out of some of the youngsters books. Luis Suarez for me is the man who will find the net in this game but we can't afford to wait and wait for it like in recent fixtures he needs to finish his chances early so we can attempt to grab a hold of the game.

Raheem Sterling came on midweek and he is also expected to feature against Manchester United, the lad has already proved he can hack it against big opposition and I think he will give some of the United defence a shock, they won't be expecting the tricks he has up his sleeve.

This game for me is always the biggest, growing up outside of Liverpool you never quite feel the full force of the Everton rivalry (though I still bloody love beating them) and if you are like me outside of Liverpool you will also notice that there are a hell of a lot more United fans around which makes it tastier when you go and watch the clash in the pub.

Without putting a downer on things I can't see us winning this one, I can see Suarez scoring as mentioned then probably United finding 2 as they always seem to. However I feel a draw is definitely possible especially if we grab a goal early.

Wherever you are watching, enjoy the match folks!

#JFT96

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Youth Thrive In Goal Fest

Loving the celebration haha...
Image: mirror.co.uk
Liverpool turned the tables on Young Boys on Thursday evening after their manager suggested it was the Reds that may find themselves embarrassed. Eventually though after the enthralling fixture ended in a 5-3 Liverpool win it was the home side left red faced.

Brendan left several Liverpool regulars at home and I must apologise for the match preview because I read that Raheem Sterling was also left at home when in fact he was on the bench. Pacheco started up front and the only real experience in the side was the likes of Jamie Carragher and Stewart Downing.

It didn't take long for the games first goal to appear which isn't surprising now knowing it ended with 8 goals. The home side actually gifted Liverpool a head start after a comedic mix up in their defence. A cross from Stewart Downing was relatively unchallenged by any Liverpool players but an attempted clearance ended up smacking defender  Ojala in the face and going into the back of the net. Hilarious.

What made me laugh even more was that Downing finally got an assist... for an own goal.

Usually these Europa League group matches are far from entertaining and it's often a struggle to stay interested but immediately once we knew our youngsters were on show that added interest and excitement. I actually said in the match preview that I felt the youth would aid our attacking ability and it certainly did.

Pacheco is somebody I enjoy watching but unfortunately for him despite his hard work he wasn't serviced well enough on Thursday night. Other youngsters like Suso and Wisdom were looking very comfortable in the Liverpool side, Suso was oozing confidence when taking on any defensive efforts.

For me also Assaidi had a very decent game, I was expecting to be more impressed by Sahin but it was the 24 year old that impressed me more last night even though Sahin also offered an assist. Obviously it's hard to forge a real opinion in games within the Europa League but it was a great start for me.

Young Boys found an equaliser thanks to a poor decision from Enrique to clear the ball and scored with a simple finish from Nuzzolo. Liverpool felt hard done by at this stage because they shouldn't have been gifted that opportunity, step up Andre Wisdom.

A cross from Sahin saw the youngster rise above the Young Boys defence and with a confident header Andre sent Liverpool back into the lead. Wisdom is another youngster many fans are aware of and I'm particularly interested in following his improvement as I've always had a soft spot for defenders.

At half time the game showed no signs of slowing up. Both sides were finding themselves with chances perhaps not always deservedly so but nevertheless it was shaping up to be a cracking game for a Thursday night 6pm kick off.

Young Boys found their second equaliser just after the 50 minute mark. The man who scored the own goal was now redeeming himself and Ojala made sure he headed home his sides second goal.

At the hour mark Liverpool decided to bring on somebody with a bit more experience as Fabio Borini replaced Pacheco.

Before Borini had even got chance to help his side though Young Boys had found a third goal. Another slip up from the defence allowed Zarate plenty of space, his finish in fairness was quality and not even one of Carra's almost famous last ditch attempts could save Liverpool from going down.

Jonjo Shelvey replaced Assaidi shortly before Liverpool found an equaliser and the earlier substitute Borini was cheeky enough to try and claim it. Unfortunately for the Italian he didn't get a touch but Coates' header was a good one and even better Stewart Downing got an actual assist! Wahey!

Now it was the other substitutes turn to get himself involved in Liverpool efforts and Jonjo Shelvey at only 20 himself was actually now considered one of the more experienced players on the pitch.

A good set of passing and movement allowed Henderson to set up Shelvey and he was left with a simple slot in to put Liverpool back in the lead.

Raheem Sterling now entered the field of play with 15 minutes to go and replaced Stewart Downing.

Young Boys were now looking like they were out of ideas but it was still dangerous for Liverpool to hope that at 4-3 that would be enough for the points. Thankfully Jonjo was on a mission to seal the deal.

On a run and presented with the opportunity to pass to a team mate Jonjo saw the space and time to push on himself once in position he finished with a superb strike to smash Liverpool home.

It wasn't exactly the usual way to go about it but Liverpool had collected all three points and due to a draw in the other game were placed top of the group.

Defensively it was worrying but attacking wise it was grand. With Manchester United on Sunday and probably the inclusion of all the regulars they seriously need to sit up and take note. The youngsters did us proud on Thursday and it was the fringe players that scored, some may include Shelvey as more of a regular but even so he isn't the one who is supposed to be relied on for goals.

Sunday will be the first match at Anfield since the release of the Hillsborough documents and I sincerely hope that both sets of fans show respect to one another, there are always the minority but lets hope that we can all remember the 96 as football fans and not as rivals.

After Vidic and Gerrard release 96 balloons and the stands mosaics tell of the truth and justice for the 96 I hope Liverpool can pull a win out of the bag too!

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Youngsters Off To Young Boys

Morgan has already scored in this season Toronto friendly...
Image: Link
Liverpool have their first Europa League group game on Thursday evening as they travel to Switzerland to face Young Boys. With Manchester United awaiting the Reds at the weekend manager Brendan Rodgers has decided to shake up his side for this away trip.

Injuries stop some from starting in Switzerland but with the boss taking the likes of Suso, Yesil, Morgan and Coady with him it would have been a hard task for anyone fighting with fitness to start anyway. Ironically Raheem Sterling perhaps the star youngster at the moment has been left at home (thinking of United I'm sure!) along with Gerrard and Suarez.

Young Boys have only lost 1 of their 6 opening fixtures in all competitions so far this season and are currently placed 5th in the league.

Most fans will remember the recent meeting of Young Boys with Tottenham, whilst Spurs battered them at home the Swiss side grabbed a 3-2 win.

Liverpool's league season hasn't been very successful at all and the Reds are still looking for a win but in the Europa League Brendan's boys have comfortably seen themselves through the stages.

As a Liverpool fan I think the interaction between the club and fans when it comes to the upcoming stars is very good, certainly since Rafael Benitez overhauled the academy and because of this instead of wondering who these youngsters are and never having heard their names I find that fans know quite a bit about them and nine times out of ten are very excited to see them.

Thursday nights game will provide a lot of excitement for Reds fans and with fresh meat on the field I actually think it will provide us with a stronger attacking performance. Because of this I'm going to go for a 2-0 Liverpool win.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Suarez Goal Enough To Seal A Point

An ecstatic Suarez celebrates with Sterling...
Image: bbc.co.uk
It was a struggle to say the least on Saturday for Liverpool but eventually the Reds managed to find themselves a goal and in turn a point at the Stadium Of Light. A first half goal from Steven Fletcher set the tone as Liverpool looked to correct their sloppy start, Suarez's goal thankfully saved Liverpool some dignity.

As I mentioned in the match preview, Sunderland isn't exactly an easy away trip for any side but it was pretty poor from Liverpool on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers opted to start Raheem Sterling again to the delight of many. Suarez and Borini were the main attacking options and Jonjo Shelvey got another start in the midfield.

It wasn't exactly an emphatic start from Liverpool but despite that the lads were managing to create some chances. Borini and Shelvey had efforts early on buy Mignolet and accuracy prevented them from putting Liverpool ahead.

Whilst Sunderland were struggling to create any clear cut chances and the Liverpool defence were dealing with any pressing well, they had a trick up their sleeve - Steven Fletcher.

I've sung the praises of this man a few times here on the blog and also on Twitter and one thing you get with Fletcher is a man who's in the right place at the right time. Just before the half hour mark the first real problem the Reds had to deal with and they failed. Give Fletcher even half a chance and he will punish.

A great cross from Craig Gardener met a poised Fletcher who slotted the ball home and past Pepe Reina.

Liverpool had hardly looked like world beaters before the goal and now we were faced with the challenge of coming from behind. The thing that annoyed me most on Saturday was the quality of the passing though. For a side that is apparently supposed to be building on the notion that keeping and maintaining possession is number 1, we certainly weren't doing very well at all.

It wasn't just long range passes or the younger players either. Steven Gerrard was as much a culprit and even simple passes were going astray, needs to be sorted out that!

Anyway, Sunderland were now 1-0 up and with a distinct lack of goal scoring already a well known truth it was looking like Luis Suarez would be left to find goal or a certain Raheem Sterling.

Raheem does nothing but bring a smile to my face, 17 years old and he hasn't got a care in the world not only that but each time he has played he's arguably been the most impressive player and has provided a spark that others can't.

In the first half Luis Suarez was booked for diving which I can't complain about at all really I honestly thought that from there on in things would go down hill and he'd get himself sent off but in fairness to him, he kept his cool.

In the second half Liverpool made a substitution just before the hour mark and for me, this was another talking point. I can't be the only one who doesn't feel excited at all when Downing replaces Borini? No offence to Borini as it's early days yet and my expectations of him are at an average level anyway but taking him off and replacing him with Downing in my eyes is not an improvement, at the moment it's replacing a player with somebody that is even worse. I watched Downing intently when he came on and I honestly have no idea how he went from a half decent player at Villa to somebody who has provided no goals or assists in the league, he was so dire.

The substitution wasn't exactly helping and so it was left to Sterling and Suarez to conjur something up together. I think I mentioned upon the fact Suarez sometimes takes too many touches the other day but again despite doing this on several occasions against Sunderland, his tenacity and never say die attitude assures that you will always get a goal I just hope they are not so few and far between.

A cross in from Raheem caused problems in the box for Sunderland and Suarez saw his chance to put Liverpool level. A lovely finish sent the Reds celebrating and there was still time left to try to find that winner!

A couple more chances from Suarez though and a potentially dangerous free kick were not enough to find Brendan's boys those desperately needed three points.

It's a strange game because the result feels about right for how the game played out but I find myself accepting it, like it's the norm when really it shouldn't be, 3 points at the Stadium Of Light should be attainable and on a very few occasions did they look like they were on Saturday.

With Manchester United up next in the league for Liverpool this is a massive game, not only due to the rivalry but because it is at Anfield and we seriously need to find that win. At the moment I don't feel very confident at all but games like this are unpredictable, the fire in everyone's belly can sometimes be enough to see them over the line, here's hoping we smash um!

First though is those Young Boys!

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Friday, 14 September 2012

Reds Need Win At Sunderland

Suarez, find the net!
Image: Link
After the international break and what was a momentous occasion on Wednesday with the release of the Hillsborough documents Liverpool are back into the swing of things on Saturday as they travel to the North East to face Sunderland.

Brendan Rodgers was present at the vigil on Wednesday and for Saturday's clash he has some thinking to do over team selections. Enrique still has a doubt hanging over him but will be assessed before the match and Lucas is obviously still unavailable with his long term injury. Joe Allen who was ill and missed international duty is fighting fit again now though.

For Sunderland they only have one real problem and that is with Adam Johnson who is doubtful to start after suffering a thigh injury.

The last two meetings between the two sides have been unfavourable for Liverpool who have suffered a defeat and had to accept a 1-1 draw at the beginning of last season.

Since Martin O'Neill took over Sunderland have become a somewhat more stable team but in fairness this game has always been a tough away trip for any side.

Stat Sandwich

  • The Reds have made their worst start to a season since 62/63.
  • Sunderland haven't won in their last 10 league games.
  • Liverpool have won 4 out of their last 6 visits to the Stadium Of Light.

Liverpool have had a poor start to the season and whilst my mind has been off footballing matters for a while now it's dawning on me again that we need to up the gears. The lack of strikers is still a real problem but the fact is there's nothing we can do about that now, other players need to step up and fill the gap whilst Suarez picks up his finishing too.

Sunderland have completely the opposite problem to us because they made a very savvy buy in my opinion when they sealed ex Wolves man Steven Fletcher. With two goals in one game already for the Black Cats he will certainly be the one to keep an eye on Saturday.

Strangely I think this time around the international break may have done us some good and I am hoping that from here on in we can pick up the pace. The prediction league that I told you I was involved in has broke, which is grand but I will try to keep giving you my predictions throughout the season on here anyway, not that I'm ever right haha!

This week I'm going to go for a Liverpool 2-1, if I am honest that's being slightly optimistic because I can see it being a draw but here's hoping we have enough in the tanks to take all three points.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Liver Bird Is 3!

Happy Birthday to me!
Image: Link
That's right folks, today marks the 3rd birthday of my little blog The Liver Bird. I'd usually make a special post to mark the day but as you all know at this moment in time there are much more important matters with the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report yesterday so this will be a short post just to stamp a mark.

3 years in and I honestly don't feel any different from when I started it, I still thoroughly enjoy writing up my posts even though my imagination seems to have dipped recently haha! And I still love chatting with everyone via comments and on Twitter after and before games, it's part of my life now.

In July this year something amazing happened for the blog after my readers and Twitter followers voted for it in the Football Blogging Awards and it only went and soddin won best female football blog of 2012! I was so chuffed and still can't quite grasp that my blog is an award winner and it's all thanks to you readers! I'm very proud to hold this accolade.

I start University in a week or so, as a lot of you will probably know but I certainly hope to be continuing to blog regularly and continue dribbling on! Until my next update here's 3 of the most read posts on the blog of all time...

                                                                         JOHN BARNES
                                                                 ****************************
                                                              STANDARDS CORRUPTED
                                                                 ****************************
                                                                  JUSTICE FOR THE 96 
         (Don't worry, it's not your PC, the pictures aren't working on this post at the moment, apologies!)


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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

THE TRUTH

Justice For The 96.
Image: bbc.co.uk
23 years in waiting, 23 years just to be told the truth. Today, Wednesday 12th September, finally, the truth was revealed.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel produced a report after tirelessly and forensically sifting through over 450,000 documents and what they found was simply shocking.

Most Liverpool fans know very well what happened that day, the real truth, but the wider world does not. For 23 years the families, survivors and anyone affiliated with Liverpool Football Club have had mud slung at them.

"A lie can travel halfway round the world before the truth has put it's shoes on." as they saying goes but in the face of adversity the likes of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Hope For Hillsborough NEVER gave up.

People never understood, why were they still fighting? "Move on" they said, well today shows you why.

It was known that the report would be harrowing, shocking and despite the hurt some of the revelations will cause there must be sheer relief from the families today as the truth is finally out.

The Prime Minister this morning apologised on behalf of his government and the country for the double injustice of Hillsborough. His words were greatly accepted by the likes of Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham in the House Of Commons who have been linchpins in getting to today's truth.

A quote from the Prime Minister backed up what we have all known for decades but now, it was on the record "Today's report is black and white, the Liverpool fans were not to blame for the disaster."

Today's report revealed shocking numbers including the fact that 164 police statements had been amended. The most heartbreaking figures though concerned the 96. It has been confirmed that 41 of the 96 Liverpool fans that died as a result of the Hillsborough Disaster still had the potential to survive after the 3:15pm cut off point. If the disaster plan and emergency services were orchestrated more effectively, lives could have been saved.

Today revealed the truth, a truth that the majority of us have known for a very long time and whilst there is a long way to go, there is hope now for the next step; JUSTICE.

If you would like to read the full report or analyse the catalogue of evidence then head over to the Hillsborough Independent Panel's website. 

Nobody should ever go to a football match never to return home and no parents or next of kin should have to fight for Justice for their loved ones for 23 years. As the weeks and months go on I truly hope that finally the myths of Hillsborough are put to bed and those ignorant people stand up and take note.

Finally vindication has arrived.

My thoughts are with the families, the survivors and all of those affected by Hillsborough and to everyone who tried their best to ensure the real truth of Hillsborough was always known, take a bow, finally the 96 can rest in peace.


  • John Alfred Anderson (62)
  • Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)
  • James Gary Aspinall (18)
  • Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)
  • Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
  • Simon Bell (17)
  • Barry Sidney Bennett (26)
  • David John Benson (22)
  • David William Birtle (22)
  • Tony Bland (22)
  • Paul David Brady (21)
  • Andrew Mark Brookes (26)
  • Carl Brown (18)
  • David Steven Brown (25)
  • Henry Thomas Burke (47)
  • Peter Andrew Burkett (24)
  • Paul William Carlile (19)
  • Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)
  • Gary Christopher Church (19)
  • Joseph Clark (29)
  • Paul Clark (18)
  • Gary Collins (22)
  • Stephen Paul Copoc (20)
  • Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
  • James Philip Delaney (19)
  • Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
  • Christopher Edwards (29)
  • Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
  • Thomas Steven Fox (21)
  • Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
  • Barry Glover (27)
  • Ian Thomas Glover (20)
  • Derrick George Godwin (24)
  • Roy Harry Hamilton (34)
  • Philip Hammond (14)
  • Eric Hankin (33)
  • Gary Harrison (27)
  • Stephen Francis Harrison (31)
  • Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
  • David Hawley (39)
  • James Robert Hennessy (29)
  • Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
  • Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
  • Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
  • Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
  • Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
  • Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
  • Arthur Horrocks (41)
  • Thomas Howard (39)
  • Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
  • Eric George Hughes (42)
  • Alan Johnston (29)
  • Christine Anne Jones (27)
  • Gary Philip Jones (18)
  • Richard Jones (25)
  • Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)
  • Anthony Peter Kelly (29)
  • Michael David Kelly (38)
  • Carl David Lewis (18)
  • David William Mather (19)
  • Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
  • Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
  • John McBrien (18)
  • Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
  • Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
  • Peter McDonnell (21)
  • Alan McGlone (28)
  • Keith McGrath (17)
  • Paul Brian Murray (14)
  • Lee Nicol (14)
  • Stephen Francis O'Neill (17)
  • Jonathon Owens (18)
  • William Roy Pemberton (23)
  • Carl William Rimmer (21)
  • David George Rimmer (38)
  • Graham John Roberts (24)
  • Steven Joseph Robinson (17)
  • Henry Charles Rogers (17)
  • Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)
  • Inger Shah (38)
  • Paula Ann Smith (26)
  • Adam Edward Spearritt (14)
  • Philip John Steele (15)
  • David Leonard Thomas (23)
  • Patrik John Thompson (35)
  • Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
  • Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
  • Peter Francis Tootle (21)
  • Christopher James Traynor (26)
  • Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
  • Kevin Tyrrell (15)
  • Colin Wafer (19)
  • Ian David Whelan (19)
  • Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
  • Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
  • Graham John Wright (17)

Justice WILL prevail.
#JFT96
You'll Never Walk Alone
#RIP

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Monday, 3 September 2012

Podolski Scores In Arsenal Win

Allen performed well in midfield...
Image: mirror.co.uk
Liverpool lined up against Arsenal on Sunday with their two front men Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez, after the loaning out of Carroll on deadline day, these two men have the weight of the world on their shoulders as they are Liverpool's front line until January and they need to score goals.

Arsenal on the other hand had plenty of attacking options and the big man Podolski was up front. Unlike ourselves, Arsenal still had options after losing one of their strikers and van Persie was a hell of a lot more influential for them.

The first half for Liverpool began very unsteadily. For a side that is apparently aiming to be so possession focused we only had Joe Allen to show for it. Steven Gerrard as noticed by a few people has been a bit sloppy with his passing a few times already this season and unfortunately Sunday was no different.

A couple of half chances for the Reds were nothing really to shout about and soon enough Arsenal took their opportunity to break. Steven Gerrard's misplaced pass led to the goal but it was a very fast break from Wenger's boys. Podolski ended up slipping the ball past Reina with a good finish and Liverpool were deservedly on the back foot.

Raheem Sterling offered Liverpool's best chance of the first half and was arguably the most lively in the game. His effort after forcing his way into the box hit the post.

In the second half Liverpool's attacking problems were brought even more to light when Fabio Borini was replaced with Stewart Downing. This is the Stewart Downing that made no assists and scored no goals last season, not to mention the fact he was apparently being moulded into a left back...

The point was, we looked very thin on the ground, we'd already ran out of ideas and the bench didn't bring any confidence when you realise that Downing was the most attacking option. Jonjo Shelvey who entered the fray later was actually more effective.

Things went from bad to worse for Liverpool just before the 70 minute mark after Cazorla found the back of the net. He'd had a very good game to be fair but the nature of the goal was very annoying. I'm not quite sure how Pepe Reina allowed that ball to go underneath him and I'm pretty sure he doesn't know either but both his and Steven Gerrard's slip ups lately are a slight concern.

For me though Reina and Gerrard can sort themselves out, the real problem is where the hell we're going to get our goals from. Arsenal held on to their lead with ease as Liverpool struggled to threaten for the last part of the game.

I said after the City match, despite the fact we'd played very, very well, that game still proved how much we needed a clinical finisher. We can't rely on set pieces and the odd goal here and there.

John Henry today has issued an open letter to the fans and to be honest it's what I expected. I personally haven't reached the stage where I'm going to start effing and blinding at the board but Friday was a disgrace. I understand they don't want to splash the cash and they have more interest in signing youth and I'm fine with that but it still is not acceptable for the board to wait until the last possible moment when clubs are going to try and drive a hard deal to sign a striker.

For me, Brendan partly too should have targeted a striker immediately before he signed anyone else, I know he has Borini but I can't see him getting double figures. It's quite clear though that despite Brendan and the board perhaps leaving things too late, Brendan was led to believe he would at least have Dempsey in the bag and that's why he shifted out Carroll. The board have to hold their hands up and accept that the deadline day was embarrassing and Brendan wasn't given enough information to ensure he had the best possible squad going forward into January.

Next up for Liverpool is Sunderland away but first is that pesky international break.

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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Liverpool Aim To Go One Better Against Arsenal

Carroll looking pleased with his new shirt...
Image: caughtoffside.com
After a brilliant performance against Manchester City last weekend Liverpool will certainly fancy their chances against Wenger's Arsenal side that have recently lost the extremely influential Robin van Persie. The Reds deserved to win last weekend but a couple of silly mistakes cost them.

Injury wise for Liverpool the very bad news is that Lucas Leiva will be out for up to 3 months, I'm absolutely gutted for him and wish him the speediest of recoveries. Other than that Liverpool are in a pretty strong position with Daniel Agger also returning after serving a one match ban. For Arsenal, there is a doubt hanging over Szczesny who missed their last fixture.

I can't really get through this post without discussing Friday's transfer deadline day to be honest, I'll try to make it short and sweet because this is supposed to be an Arsenal preview after all.

Friday left us without Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing. Whilst Jay Spearing and Charlie Adam were moves we were all expecting, Andy Carroll was not under the current circumstances. We were after Dempsey but that fell through but in all honesty to me Dempsey alone wasn't enough anyway, we needed a goal scorer.

For me, (and I've been saying this for weeks and weeks) the first thing we needed was a clinical finisher. You look at last season and what was missing? Goals. The first port of call from Brendan and the board should have been a goalscorer, if it wasn't then fair enough who I am to dictate? But why on god's green earth would you loan out Carroll without knowing for certain if you had a replacement?!

Overall I'm pretty happy with the transfer window, Allen has snapped in a treat, Sahin looks a talent and Borini looks like he could cause some problems and bag a few goals but I don't see him getting double figures. We needed a poacher perhaps somebody even a bit selfish but we are left with no-one.

Dress it up how you like but somewhere down the line yesterday something went wrong. To me it appears Brendan at least thought Dempsey was a done deal hence the loaning out of Carroll and if that's so then why didn't FSG stump up that extra bit of cash to sign him? We weren't asking £30 million to be chucked around. There are people saying £9 million was too much for a man of Dempsey's age but if that's the case then why the hell was it left to the last possible moment to secure him when clubs can begin to drive a hard bargain?

Either way, as you can probably tell, I'm not very happy at all. This does not however mean as some people on Twitter feel that I somehow have randomly stopped supporting the team. Are you an actual idiot? There is a possible way to question a deadline day with good reason whilst backing the squad we already have.

Anyway, we digress...

If the lads can play like they did against Man City then I would punt for a 2-1 win. This would be a reverse of the last time the two sides met in March this year.

Stat Sandwich

  • If the Reds lose against Arsenal it will be their worst start to a season since '62/'63
  • Arsenal have drawn five of their last six games in the league.
  • If a goal is scored by Liverpool on Sunday it will be the 250th scored against Arsenal in the league.

I for one am very much looking forward to kick off tomorrow so I can forget about deadline day completely. I still would like to see somebody come out and explain what exactly happened because you can bet your bottom dollar that the press will be all over Brendan tomorrow and I doubt he will be able to voice the full story.

Nevertheless I hope he can spur on the lads on Sunday to grab a couple of goals and take all 3 points we certainly deserve it after last weekend's performance. Enjoy the match folks!

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