The Liver Bird  

Friday, 30 November 2012

Can Liverpool Take Three Points From The Saints?

I'm sure Lambert would love a goal at Anfield...
Image: guardian.co.uk
It's Southampton for Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow as Brendan Rodgers aims to get back to winning ways after suffering a defeat at the hands of Villas Boas' Spurs. It should be a win on paper for Liverpool on Saturday but many fans are remaining cautious with the difficulty of scoring still well and truly looming over the Reds.

It's good news on the injury front for Liverpool as Lucas Leiva is back and available for manager Brendan Rodgers, it will be interesting to see if he plays what with Joe Allen in the mix at the moment and if he does start what sort of role/place will he take up? Joe Cole is also available again after recovering from a knock earlier in the week.

Southampton are also lucky enough not to have many complaints team wise, only Danny Fox is a doubt after suffering a knee problem.

Southampton are currently in 18th place but their league position doesn't reflect their recent run of form. The Saint's haven't lost in their last four league games and also picked up a win away from home at QPR during that time.

The last time these two sides met was way back in 2005. Liverpool were away from home and lost 2-0 with ex Red Peter Crouch on the score sheet for Southampton. We don't have to travel back much further either to find a win for Southampton at Anfield, they won 2-1 in December 2003.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have collected 3 own goals so far this season.
  • Southampton have conceded 31 goals in the league so far this season.
  • The Reds have only won 1 of their last 6 Premier League games.

As mentioned in the intro this game really should be a win for Liverpool but with such a struggle finding the back of the net it could turn out to be very problematic for this possession crazed Reds side. Sometimes I feel it's worth going against your beliefs to benefit yourself and I'm afraid sooner or later Brendan is going to need to revert to a plan B instead of his constant total football, of course we like this style of football, but not when there's no end product!

If I was Southampton I'd be fancying my chances at a draw here which speaks leaps and bounds about the confidence I have in our side for Saturday, nevertheless all we need is a Suarez goal and some of the other lads to improve their finishing and it could end up being a rout.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Reds Baled Out But Still No Win

Bale getting hit in the face is always a highlight...
Image: 101greatgoals.com
It was a lively game at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night with both sides having several chances at goal, whilst Liverpool had to rely on the opposition scoring for them though Tottenham converted two chances very early on and were able to maintain their lead throughout the 90 minutes.

Brendan opted to start once again with Henderson and Stewart Downing, pushing Enrique up front in the hope he would add to our attack. Sterling and Suarez were regarded as the main threat for Liverpool though going into this one.

It didn't take Spurs long at all to take their lead leaving Liverpool pretty much shell shocked. Aaron Lennon was able to turn in a Gareth Bale cross after Bale broke with ease past an adjusting Stewart Downing.

Liverpool were able to respond to this but unsuccessfully, Suarez went very close but an even better chance fell to Jordan Henderson who I feel the more I watch, the more I learn he is a confidence player. Faced with an open goal he managed to miss the target, he certainly looked gutted but he should be doing far better in those situations and it's not the first time he's missed like that this season.

Failing to capitalise with their chances Liverpool had to take another blow as Spurs scored their second just after the 15 minute mark. A free kick awarded to Villas Boas' boys was debatable to say the least, Clint Dempsey went down with such ease but nevertheless all Liverpool had to do was deal with the resulting effort. Bale however was on form for this fixture and his strike left Reina dumbstruck, unable to even make an attempt to save, leaving Tottenham with a 2 goal lead.

The next moment of note for Liverpool was when Gerrard went down in the box, many feel it was a penalty but Suarez at the time still took his chance to try and put Liverpool ahead if only Walker wasn't so alert to clear the ball from danger just in time. There were two penalty shouts in the match for Liverpool but as I mentioned on Twitter, we shouldn't be in a situation where we are relying on decisions going our way to win or draw a game to be honest.

In the second half Liverpool were gifted a consolation goal after a Gerrard header back across goal was attempted to be cleared by Lennon, unfortunately for him, he smashed the ball straight into Gareth Bale's face and an own goal meant the Reds were now back in the game.

Shortly afterwards a tenacious Daniel Agger would not give up on a ball that was almost certainly going out, his bicycle kick back into the centre of the box was met by Luis Suarez but his powerful volley flew over the cross bar leaving Lloris with no worries.

It's worth noting Jose Enrique in this report because despite not finding the back of the net in the 90 minutes for Liverpool he was once again causing problems and finding himself with several chances. I do feel that playing him in this position is a positive and he definitely looks as though he has some more goals in him I just hope he starts finding them soon because as we have seen, if Suarez can't find the net nobody else appears to be able to either.

The game ended 2-1 and Liverpool had to walk away without any points at all. I must admit though I wasn't exactly expecting anything from the Lane, perhaps a draw but that was me being hopeful. We have a pretty poor record there and with our goalscoring problems still rife it was always going to be a tough task. The real problem will arise if we fail to take all three points from our game with Southampton on Saturday.

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Reds Seek Win At Spurs

Lucas is getting closer to returning to the first team...
Image: paisleygates.com
With barely a second to rest after their tie with Swansea this weekend the Reds make the trip to London on Wednesday evening to face Andre Villas Boas' Tottenham side. Liverpool have a strong unbeaten run at the moment in the league but find themselves requiring goals.

Tottenham are unable to call upon striker Adebayor who is still out through suspension. Spurs also have a growing injury list with Ekotto, Kaboul, Parker and Benoit all out. Sandro is available though after picking up a stomach injury during their recent West Ham fixture.

For Liverpool things are still pretty much the same. Encouragingly Lucas Leiva featured with the reserves this week but is still not ready for the first team and Andre Wisdom has recovered from a knee injury he picked up in the Europa League.

Tottenham are currently 7th in the league whilst Liverpool find themselves in 11th. Only 4 points separate the two teams though and Liverpool will certainly be looking to close the gap during this difficult away game.

Spurs recent clash with West Ham saw them win 3-1 but they were embarrassed during their trip to Arsenal losing 5-2 and Adebayor in the process. Liverpool's last two games saw them notch up a goalless draw with Swansea and a comfortable 3-0 win over Wigan.

The last time the two sides met was in February this year. The tie at Anfield ended in a 0-0 draw. The Reds last visit to White Hart Lane is perhaps one to forget as Dalglish's side lost 4-0 and saw both Martin Skrtel and Charlie Adam sent off.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have drawn 7 out of 13 league games so far this season.
  • Spurs have won 3 out of their last 4 matches with Liverpool.
  • The draw with Swansea on Sunday was Liverpool's first clean sheet away from home this season.

This one for me is going to be a tough fixture, if it was at Anfield I'd perhaps feel a bit more confident but, it's not. Spurs will have more chances at goal I feel but Liverpool will certainly get their time too we just need to make sure we convert our chances this time instead of wasting them!

Drop me a tweet and let me know you predictions folks @LFCKirstyLFC. Enjoy the match!

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Goalless Draw At Liberty For Liverpool

Rodgers discusses tactics with Gerrard...
Image: teamtalk.com
Liverpool had to settle for a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday as Swansea held out the Reds attack and failed to find the net themselves. It was probably a fair result in the end but Liverpool did appear to have the better of the chances, unfortunately for Brendan's side though they were not converted.

Liverpool had recalled Henderson and Downing to the starting line up after they featured in the Europa League and Brendan also decided to utilise Jose Enrique's presence in attack pushing him forward on the wing.

It was a very balanced 90 minutes from both sides perhaps boiling down to the fact that both managers enjoy a passing game, it was so similar we cancelled each other out at times and it was always going to take something special for a lead to be gained.

The early exchange of attacks saw Swansea force Reina into action just after the 10 minute mark when Routledge put in a strong strike. Shortly afterwards a searching cross into the box from Glen Johnson left Enrique having to use his chest to try and turn the ball home and he was nearly successful.

Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique had another good game in terms of attack for Liverpool especially Enrique who relished every chance to push himself forward and try to help gain his side a goal. Luis Suarez wasn't as lively as he has been of late but a chance in the first half left Tremmel having to make a last ditch save to prevent the away side from taking the lead.

Sterling followed the Suarez chance with perhaps the best effort for Liverpool in the game, his volley had power and almost enough accuracy but the youngster had to watch it smash off the crossbar, Swansea were still in the game. More pressure was on for Laudrup's boys though, this time Enrique was back to cause trouble, a Suarez ball in the box found it's way to the Spaniard but fortunately for Swansea his goal was disallowed and he was ruled offside.

Liverpool had ran through several decent chances already in the first half but crucially they hadn't converted any, it wasn't going to get any easier to score, only harder.

In the second half one of the main highlights ended up being a collision between Pepe Reina and Nathan Dyer. Free on a break into the box Dyer knew he had to make it to the ball first but so too did Reina, both players took a nasty knock, Reina in the face! But encouragingly both players got up, shook hands and smiled and just got on with things. Sometimes it's refreshing to see that sort of reaction.

A counter attack in the second half for Liverpool after a Swansea corner failed left Suarez and Sterling in acres of space. Suarez played the ball to Sterling and continued his run but Sterling put too much weight on his return and Suarez was left with more to do that he expected, his shot was saved and you can't help but think if only Sterling made the perfect pass.

It's hard to determine whether to be pleased with a draw at the Liberty considering Brendan spent so much time there but I suppose ultimately it was a decent result. I must admit immediately after the game I found myself describing it as "boring" but after watching the highlights back it's clear that's not the case however I still feel so frustrated with the amount of passing compared to end product, it's really doing my swede in but I don't think that is going to be fully addressed until the January transfer window.

Next up for Liverpool is a big game with Tottenham on Wednesday night.

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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Brendan Returns To The Liberty

Brendan will be eager to record a win at his old stomping ground...
Image: empireofthekop.com
Liverpool are off to Wales on Sunday as they aim to chalk up a win at the Liberty Stadium. Brendan Rodgers became a god like figure to Swansea fans during his tenure but after the Welsh side picked up a win at Anfield in the League Cup, some Jacks were left wondering why they were so upset when he left.

Injuries for Liverpool aren't really causing any major concern with the likes of Lucas and Kelly obviously still out and only Wisdom with a slight doubt hanging over fitness. For Swansea they've had three lads missing through illness; Davies, Graham and Moore (don't eat where they do) but manager Laudrup expects to be able to call on them for the clash on Sunday.

Liverpool are currently 11th in the table after a run of 6 games unbeaten but Swansea City find themselves above the Reds in 10th place and 1 point ahead. Liverpool's Jamie Carragher recently suggested that 4th spot wasn't out of the question for his side and he could be onto something. If the Reds record a win at Swansea (depending on other results) they could move into 8th, 6 points off 4th place.

Swansea like Liverpool are also on a decent run of form going 4 games unbeaten, they've also only lost once at home so far this season in a game against neighbours Everton.

The last time the two sides met (as mentioned in the introduction) was in October for a League Cup tie. Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of Swansea who gave their fans a real treat on Halloween. Swansea also got the better of Liverpool the last time they met in the league, recording a 1-0 win at home.

Stat Sandwich

  • Luis Suarez is the 2nd Liverpool player to reach double figures in the league before New Year, the first being Fernando Torres.
  • Swansea have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 league games.
  • Liverpool have lost 5 of their last 6 meetings with Swansea in the league.

I'm quite looking forward to this game to be honest, despite us losing the last tie with Swansea it was a good game and a good atmosphere and with Brendan returning home I feel things will be extra tasty.

Suarez will certainly be looking to continue his superb form and I'll be backing him to score on Sunday. The Europa League tie in the week also proved that Jonjo Shelvey has bags to offer and I would expect him to feature at some stage during the game.

If Glen Johnson and Jose Enrqiue both start I would like to see them pushing forward as often as possible as we look very dangerous when that happens but obviously sometimes you need to be careful in case we're left too open.

Drop us a tweet with your predictions folks @LFCKirstyLFC and enjoy the match!

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Liverpool Lose Lead Twice

A very class act from the Young Boys fans, thank you #JFT96...
Image: mirror.co.uk
The Reds had to settle for a draw with visitors Young Boys on Thursday evening after a very good performance with a bit part team nearly saw them take all three points and cement their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League. It wasn't to be that easy for Brendan though and the Swiss side found returns for both of Liverpool's goals.

Brendan opted to start Jonjo Shelvey as a lone striker for this clash and the likes of Cole and Downing also got a run out too. Henderson also started but eventually ended up in defence whilst Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard started from the bench.

The game started with a shock for Liverpool after Young Boys produced an attack immediately and seriously dampened the mood, aside from this flash from the away side though they offered little to deal with in the first half and Liverpool had enough time to regroup after the initial effort from the Swiss side.

Liverpool were pretty creative for the first 45 minutes. Assaidi was looking very confident on the wing making several trips to the byline and causing problems for the Young Boys defence. Joe Cole and Jonjo Shelvey were also linking up very well together and it was clear a goal was due.

At 29 minutes Young Boys suffered a blow when defender Veskovac pulled his hamstringl and had to be replaced. Liverpool also made a change themselves in the first half bringing on Gerrard at 30 minutes for Wisdom.

The Reds' first goal came shortly after the introduction of Gerrard and both the London boys were involved. Some good link up play between Suso and Cole allowed Joe to break into the box and receive the ball back. A pass lifted over to an awaiting Jonjo Shelvey left him able to easily head home Liverpool's first of the game.

Shelvey is definitely on form in this competition and in fairness he did extremely well to adapt to the position he was placed in, many people doubted him there but with the aid of Joe Cole providing plenty of support, Jonjo looked very comfortable.

It was just after half time when Young Boys found their first equaliser and what a strike it was. Bobadilla had proven a few times in the game that he was a danger and his powerful finish proved this even more, Reina had no chance and now things were all square.

Just before the hour mark Brendan realised that Liverpool needed some more fire power to secure their progression through to the next stages of this competition and who else do you think of when you think of fire power? Luis Suarez. (Suso left the field).

Ten minutes after this substitution Suarez found himself with a chance to score Liverpool's second but Joe Cole wanted to seal the deal himself and after his efforts he certainly deserved the goal. His shot regained the Reds' their lead and left just 20 minutes to hold out.

In typical Liverpool fashion though, the lads just couldn't hold on. Concentration was lost and at 87 minutes Young Boys equalised again. Another stinging shot this time from Zverotic sent the away end crazy, the Swiss side had done enough to keep their own hopes of progressing very much alive.

Liverpool on the other hand at 90 minutes found themselves in a bit of a predicament. The Reds must either beat Udinese to go through or draw and hope Young Boys beat Anzhi too, lose and they are out.

These are the sort of games that are so annoying because we played well and appeared to have control of the game, players who don't necessarily get the opportunity to score were finding the back of the net and the three points should have been in the bag, nevertheless we aren't out yet and Brendan certainly won't be giving up on the chance of a European trophy in his first season as boss.

Next up for Liverpool is Brendan's old employers - Swansea.

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Reina Set To Break European Record

Wisdom scores in Switzerland...
Image: Link
Liverpool welcome Young Boys to Anfield on Thursday evening as they look to quickly get their Europa League form back on track. With two games left in the group the Reds face a real prospect of getting thrown out if they are beaten by the away side. On a positive note, Pepe Reina is expected to start and if he does he will become the goalkeeper with the most appearances in Europe for Liverpool, overtaking Ray Clemence.

The two ties with Anzhi for Liverpool saw the Reds pick up a win at Anfield but lose in Russia. Perhaps an unexpected result but the Reds don't have time to dwell on their downfalls. A loss to Udinese hasn't helped their case either but their most comfortable performance came against Young Boys on their home turf.

It's hard to judge what sort of side Brendan will go for on Thursday evening, a clash with his old club Swansea at the weekend may discourage him from going too strong but as we have seen before he'll need some talent and experience on the field in order to record a win. Stewart Downing strangely enough has featured in every fixture in the competition so far starting 7 and coming on in the 8th game. I do get a sense that he will once again start.

I'd personally also go with Suarez and perhaps make some changes in the midfield, we're stronger in those areas and can afford to chop and change a bit more but take away Suarez and leave it too late to bring him on and we could find ourselves in danger.

As mentioned the last clash with Young Boys was a successful one for Liverpool. 5 goals from 3 different goalscorers and an own goal saw the Reds win 5-2.

Stat Sandwich

  • If Gerrard scores he will equal Michael Owen's record of 12 goals in the Europa League (UEFA Cup)
  • Young Boys have found the back of the net 9 times already in the group stages of this competition.
  • Liverpool have only lost once in their last 9 clashes with teams from Switzerland.

I personally feel Liverpool should be able to pick up all three points against Young Boys. The away performance proved that a win was possible and goalscorers from areas you wouldn't usually expect only adds to the case for a win.

The Reds aren't completely out of it if they do lose but it makes things a lot more complicated and with focus required on the league it's a distraction that we don't need.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Enrique Cements Wigan Win

Suarez celebrates with Enrique and Gerrard...
Image: mirror.co.uk
Liverpool managed to buck their ideas up in a second half against Wigan which saw them put three goals past keeper Al Habsi. Enrique cemented the win for the Reds but it was Suarez once again who stole the show with 2 goals and several chances of upping his tally.

Reina was back in the starting XI for Liverpool and it was the three S's leading the attack again with Suso, Sterling and Suarez all starting.

The game began for Liverpool in a similar way to the Chelsea fixture, a reasonably good performance but with no real chances or panache. The positive thing for Liverpool this time though was that no offence to Wigan but they aren't Chelsea and the Reds had also managed to ensure that despite not scoring themselves in the first half, they hadn't conceded either. The first half also saw a substitution with Henderson replacing Suso at 35 minutes.

The second half was in complete contrast to the first and Liverpool stormed off the mark with a goal from everybody's favourite Uruguayan; Luis Suarez. An assist from the ever improving Raheem Sterling was slightly put behind Suarez in the box but the forward finished well and smashed home the Reds' first goal of the game.

Wigan were relatively harmless in terms of attack and when anything did arise Pepe Reina was able to deal with it comfortably. I must admit it's great to see the Spaniard back, I like Brad Jones but there's something special about Reina, even on his off days he adds so much to team moral and commands his back four.

Liverpool's next goal came just before the hour mark and again it was Luis Suarez. This time set up by a lovely ball from an on form Jose Enrique, Suarez easily took on keeper Al Habsi and placed the ball in the back of the net with another good finish.

With two goals to their name Liverpool definitely looked like they would comfortably win this game now but they couldn't afford to lose focus because we have seen what can happen already this season when concentration is lost.

Another goal from Jose Enrique with 25 minutes to go ensured the Reds would walk away with all three points. Enrique was in the right place at the right time and was able to tap home Liverpool's third. It's only his second goal in the Premier League but I feel after his performance on Saturday and his game against Chelsea, he deserves it.

It was a confident performance from Liverpool when concerning the second half and we showed good strength to come out after half time and make sure we picked up all three points.

Next up for Liverpool is a Europa League tie with Young Boys at Anfield.

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Reina Could Face Latics

Alright Brad, I'm bored now...
Image: Link
Liverpool face Wigan this weekend as the Latics make the short trip to Anfield. Steven Gerrard featured for England during international friendlies in the week making his 100th appearance and will captain the side on Saturday.

Some good news for Liverpool this week in terms of injuries as Lucas Leiva has returned to training at Melwood and also Pepe Reina looks as though he may finally be ready to start between the sticks again. Jonjo Shelvey is also available after suffering a small thigh problem.

For Wigan, they have a doubt hanging over James McArthur but long term absentee Miyaichi may be available for Martinez's starting XI.

Wigan are currently perched just below Liverpool in the league in 14th place and a win for them would push Martinez's side above us. Wigan look stronger this season compared to last and after recording a win at White Hart Lane earlier this month they aren't a team the bigger sides should just assume they will beat.

Most fans will also remember Wigan's last trip to Anfield where they recorded an away win too. Suarez scored in the fixture but a Gary Caldwell goal sealed the win for the Latics. Four out of the last seven meetings between the two sides have ended in a draw.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 6 league games.
  • Wigan have lost every game so far this season where they have conceded before scoring.
  • The Reds have yet to score in the last 15 minutes of a game in the league this season.

The Reds showed great resilience against Chelsea in their last league fixture and if they can take that spirit into this game then maybe they'll be quicker off the mark but once again it looks as though Suarez will need his shooting boots on.  

If I was manager (God help us all!) I'd definitely start Suso for this one, his confidence and skill would fluster the majority of the Wigan side and I feel we're a lot more open when he's on the pitch, sometimes possibly a bad thing but not in my eyes against a Wigan side. 

Enjoy the match folks! Let me know your score predictions on Twitter! @LFCKirstyLFC

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Monday, 12 November 2012

Reds Almost Steal Win At Chelsea

His name is Luis Suarez! He wears the famous Red!...
Image: guardian.co.uk
Liverpool were the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon as the Reds looked to continue their good run on Chelsea turf. After a distinct lack of goals for Liverpool though and a recent lull in league form it was looking like a difficult task.

Glen Johnson was brought back into the starting XI on Sunday but Pepe Reina despite travelling was left out after a late fitness test. Raheem Sterling was given a more forward role for this one sitting just off the lead man Luis Suarez.

The first half for Liverpool was a pretty darn dire one in all honesty. The Reds were passing and passing as usual but there were no clear options through the Chelsea defence. It was frustrating to watch. I mentioned on Twitter that it's becoming boring watching the lads pass in triangles but to no avail. Luis Suarez is often left in two mindsets too because he's supposed to be a target man in the box when we're in possession but he spends so much time out of it offering his all to the side and trying to take the ball into the danger area himself that we end up left with no options. 

This isn't of course always a bad thing because nobody is denying Suarez's work ethic and it's most appreciated but if Suarez is on and playing roles over most of the park then he needs a man on with him who can be in the right place at the right time for those crosses or direct balls through.

As per usual, despite Liverpool's possession we conceded before finding the back of the net ourselves. 

John Terry on 20 minutes found himself with a great opportunity after being given way too much space by the Liverpool defence. An incoming corner from Juan Mata was met by the head of Terry and Chelsea were 1-0 up.

With a response needed you would think the Reds may change gear but it was much of the same for the remainder of the first half for Brendan's boys. The only real incident of note left before the whistle again involved John Terry.

A horrible accident as the result of a collision involving Luis Suarez left Terry falling on and twisting his own leg, it was one of those moments that you struggle to watch back and as much as I hate Terry it became clear that something was quite wrong after the scream he let out.

The second half for Liverpool luckily turned into the complete opposite of the first. Enrique and Johnson looked as though they were encouraged to push forward more by Brendan and just before the hour mark Suso was introduced and added some flair to the midfield.

Just after 70 minutes the Reds had got their equaliser. A corner taken by the fresh Suso allowed none other than stalwart Jamie Carragher to dink a flick on, perfectly setting up an awaiting Luis Suarez who headed home with ease for Liverpool.

Some are complaining about the push in the box from Suarez and yes it was clear but the amount of shoving that occurs with defenders from corners? Well you have to weigh it up with that for me.

Suarez was pretty lively all game but in the second half he really set alight. Several chances for the Uruguayan including a one on one with Petr Cech nearly enabled Liverpool to pinch a winner but it was the dying moments of the game that would have Liverpool fans on the edge of their seats.

A last ditch attempt from the impressive man of the match Jose Enrique was struck well but Cech made a strong save and in the end saved his team a point.

At the start of this game we would have bitten Chelsea's hands off for a draw but as it went on it really began to feel like we could win, these sort of games always provide mixed emotions because in the minutes after the whistle you feel a bit hard done by but then you realise that actually, it was a good point.

The game still however highlighted our goalscoring problems, I dread to even think of the day Suarez is out through suspension or injury and so I won't bother talking about it!

Next up for Livepool is Wigan.

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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Goals Required For Success At Bridge

Haha, a very jolly Suarez...
Image: liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool are in London on Sunday to face Di Matteo's Chelsea and if the Reds want to walk away with all three points then they are going to have to hope Suarez is on form or somebody else fancies a pop at goal. Liverpool too many times this season have taken control of a game but then failed to score.

Injury wise Liverpool are actually in a pretty strong position, discounting the long term ones there aren't any real absences and it looks like Glen Johnson and Pepe Reina will be fit to start for Sunday's clash. Chelsea on the other hand are missing Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, John Terry will likely feature though after serving his 4 match ban.

Chelsea have had a brilliant start to their league season and look as though they could be challenging for the title come May but they have taken some knocks especially recently after a draw with Swansea and a loss at the hands of Manchester United.

Liverpool's last two league games have resulted in draws and the Reds hit a stumbling block in the Europa League on Thursday too after Anzhi beat them in Moscow 1-0.

The last time Liverpool and Chelsea met was in May this year, most Kopites will fondly remember this game because it provided some sort of sweetness after we'd lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup final just days earlier. A 4-1 win was a proud moment for the Reds with Henderson even on the score sheet.

On their last three visits to Stamford Bridge Liverpool have been victorious but the confidence from a fans point of view this time out is certainly lacking. We could very easily go and beat Chelsea on Sunday but there needs to be a clear link between possession and converted chances, otherwise Chelsea will punish.

Stat Sandwich

  • Suarez has scored 5 goals in his last 5 appearances for the Reds.
  • If Chelsea lose or draw tomorrow it will be the first time under Di Matteo they've played 3 matches without a win.
  • Liverpool have notched up 88 shots off target so far in the league this season.

I always look forward to this fixture because Chelsea are one of those teams that you just love to hate and in fairness to them, the clash is usually an exciting one. Plus I enjoy holding a hand with 5 digits up at the divs in the pub singing "Champions of Europe, we know what we are." Add to this the hilarity of Fernando Torres being a shambles for them and it makes for some good banter.

Saying all of this though I unfortunately can't see us getting a win on Sunday unless Suarez is in one of his genius moods. An early goal would work wonders and we definitely need to take our chances because you won't be let of the hook with Chelsea.

The likes of Mata and Oscar scare me to be quite honest but if there's one thing about Liverpool, we have a pretty solid defence, the partnership of SKAGGER is growing stronger and stronger and they have enough experience to hopefully deal with whatever Chelsea throw at them.

Enjoy the match folks!

In other very sad news, I'm sure you are all aware Anne Williams is currently in a hospice because she is terminally ill. Anne is such an inspirational and strong woman and right now she needs our support. She has fought all her life for her son Kevin and the other 95 people that were lost after Hillsborough. The panel's report gave her some small closure but for years she has constantly been let down by the legal system and denied inquests into her son's death, the petition below is to encourage the people in the right places to bring her son Kevin's inquest forward, please, please take the time to sign it and confirm your signature via the email link sent to you.

>>>http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40925<<<

#JFT96

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Liverpool Lacking Goals

Anzhi celebrate...
Image: Getty Images
Sadly it was the same old story for the Reds as they struggled to turn possession and control of the game into goals and more importantly a win. Anzhi utilised their big man up front Traore and took a lead which lasted the whole game at the stroke of half time, Liverpool just couldn't find a return.

Brendan Rodgers had fielded a weakened side with one eye still on Sunday's tie with Chelsea but the familiar faces of Carragher, Shelvey and Henderson were present. Anzhi had all their big names on with Eto'o captaining the side.

Liverpool began the game well (which I'm sick to death of saying) and appeared to be handling the more active attack of Anzhi. Chances were few and far between but at least to start with the Reds were keeping out Hiddink's sides attempts too.

The first real opportunity for Liverpool fell to the out of favour Jordan Henderson and I must admit it's clear his confidence is very low. He was one on one with a keeper who had gone to ground and committed, most players would have took on the shot and swooped it round but Henderson immediately looked for help which wasn't immediately available and the attack petered out.

This was just after 20 minutes in and turned into probably the best chance of the game for the Reds. It's so frustrating to watch a side who are confident with the ball and also comfortable without it and able to regain possession with ease but yet for some reason just can't score.

Anzhi on the other hand had two real heavyweights up front and Traore made sure he put his side ahead just before half time.

Brad Jones made the forwards decision a lot easier when he chose to run out of his area early on, with an open goal just begging to be taken Traore lobbed Jones and got the home side what would be the winning goal. An elated Lokomotiv Stadium awakened with noise as the Russian's realised they could finish the night top of the group.

The second half saw Liverpool bring on Suso and Pacheco after the hour mark which certainly aided our goalscoring efforts. Conor Coady and Adam Morgan left the field.

Suso was effective, immediately troubling the keeper on a few occasions and creating some problems with a few pin point passes. It was better, but it still wasn't enough.

Both Traore and Eto'o had further chances within the game to put the tie to bed for the home side, most notably when Traore had outrun the defence and was destined to score but messed up his finish, it was a lucky escape for Liverpool who still had bags to do if they were going to stay in this.

The goal never came though and the stats at the end told the story with the Reds having only 3 shots on target to Anzhi's 8, crucially the opposition made sure they converted.

Quite shockingly this is Liverpool's first ever defeat away from home in any Europa League or UEFA Cup group stage tie. The game exposed completely the lack of depth within our squad and again our lack in goals but despite this, the youngsters still performed pretty well and so there are positives to take.

It does however make the final two matches even more important and it looks as though Brendan will have to field a slightly stronger side against both Young Boys and Udinese if he really wants to see his team through to the next stages of the competition.

Next up for Liverpool is Chelsea.

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Reds In Russia

Dernernernernernernerner, Dernernernernernernerner Shelvey!
Image: telegraph.co.uk
Liverpool are in Moscow on Thursday evening to face Anzhi. The Russian side rose to fame after being taken over by a millionaire but they are aiming to be remembered for more than just their megabucks as they look to get the better of the Reds in the Europa League.

Brendan Rodgers has left several star players at home for this match, obviously wary of the looming tie with Chelsea on Sunday. Whilst the likes of Gerrard and Suarez plus several others have been left out, there are some less used youngsters like Morgan and Coady on the list.

Liverpool are currently in a comfortable position at the top of the group but with Anzhi playing this fixture in the potentially daunting Lokomotiv Stadium (home of Lokomotiv Moscow) there could be a stumbling block on the cards.

Anzhi as we saw at Anfield have some very familiar names in their side with Eto'o and Zhirkov etc but a cautious approach away from home enabled Liverpool to take full advantage. I would assume in Moscow they will be more inclined to pile the pressure on but they can't just rely on Eto'o every time as in the last match.

Surprisingly, Eto'o is not Anzhi's leading goalscorer this season, it's his giant counterpart Traore that has the higher goals tally.

Jonjo Shelvey who has travelled with the Liverpool squad is joint top scorer in this years Europa League competition and so will certainly be looking for another strike on Thursday night.

It's a hard match to predict because Anzhi are still a relatively unpredictable side but going on their performance at Anfield and hoping that Liverpool won't be too affected by the stadium in Moscow I'll go for a 2-1 Liverpool win. I think Anzhi will find the back of the net after failing to last time but I feel Liverpool have the strength to continue their run in the group stages and effectively seal their progress through to the next rounds.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Skillful Suarez In Newcastle Draw

I was in Liverpool today for my birthday and made a visit to the Hillsborough memorial, a child's Newcastle T-Shirt on the gates was very touching to see...
Image: My Camera
Liverpool had to settle for a draw with Newcastle at Anfield on Sunday as they struggled to turn possession and chances into goals. The Reds started pretty strongly but as always the opposition were allowed to break the deadlock.

Brad Jones was in goal once again as Pepe Reina missed out through injury and the three S's, Suso, Sterling and Suarez were there to provide Liverpool with some attacking nous.

The first half started positively for Liverpool, there was a lot of control and possession was maintained with ease. Sterling was causing problems for Newcastle whilst Suso and Suarez had a few attempts at goal early on.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, they seem to be stuck in a rut at the moment and despite what looks like a good performance we just can't take our chances. With no goals to show for their efforts Brendan's boys were looking happy to go into half time at 0-0 and perhaps discuss their options to even further apply the pressure on Newcastle but Yohan Cabaye had other ideas.

The French player took a lovely strike catching Liverpool and more importantly Brad Jones off guard and sent his side into the lead.

Suarez in the first half for Liverpool was very active but once again, with so much reliance on the forward if he isn't finding the back of the net as well as working his socks off then we're in trouble.

Just after the hour mark Liverpool made a substitution bringing on Jonjo Shelvey for Suso. Immediately after this, the Reds had found an equaliser and what a goal it was!

Luis Suarez, the man, the enigma showed what true skill he holds after controlling the ball whilst on a pacey run into the box, with his shoulder. He took the ball down perfectly and then with a slight dink to make sure Krul was out of the way he slipped home a simply sublime goal in front of the Kop.

It was sheer class. People may dislike Suarez and in a way I can sometimes see why but I'll never understand why people fail to discuss his brilliance, he's a pleasure to watch in the Premier League and I just can't get enough!

The goal now put Liverpool in with a chance of finding another one and taking all three points at home but Newcastle certainly weren't going to roll over and allow that to happen. Another sub for Liverpool after 70 minutes saw Downing replace Sahin and the Reds now had just over 15 minutes to find a winner.

Just after 80 minutes the task ahead was made a bit easier when Coloccini was sent off after a dangerous challenge on Luis Suarez. In all honesty, it's probably a debatable red card but Suarez didn't even have the ball and although contact was minimal the intent certainly looked there to me.

The gap left by Coloccini provided Liverpool with a bit of hope as the clock ticked down but the home side just couldn't find themselves the goal they needed even after a late free kick was nearly turned in.

The thing to focus on for me today was the way that our goal was scored and no, surprisingly I'm not talking about the skill of Suarez. It was route one, the passing and possession is lovely and if you can make it work then fair enough but you need to be big enough to realise that at some stages within a game you are going to need a plan B. For me, Andy Carroll was that plan B, we've had all the ball for most of the game in several fixtures this season but when the goal is missing teams see their chance to attack and once they take a lead we're out of ideas.

Carroll wasn't the most prolific, we know this but he was the trick up our sleeve. We need a goal, sod it, chuck Carroll on and get it on his noggin.

I don't mean to moan but it's just not working well enough at the moment, granted this is all a working progress but we can't keep relying on Suarez and I'm sick to death of people talking about possession stats as a positive when we've drawn or lost a game. I've said it before and I'll say it again, possession means piss all if you aren't scoring goals at the same time.

Next up for Liverpool is Anzhi on Thursday night.

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Gerrard's 600th Game

Good old Stevie...
Image: guardian.co.uk
Newcastle are the visitors to Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool look to scrub away the memory of their Swansea defeat. Liverpool are unbeaten in 4 in the league but their performances have sometimes been questionable.

The Reds still have doubts hanging over Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson who both still haven't fully recovered from hamstring problems whilst Newcastle are without midfielder Tiote.

The last time the two sides met was on April Fool's Day and I remember being particularly annoyed after poor performance from Liverpool and a rather stroppy Andy Carroll.

To find the last time the Magpies managed to notch up a win at Anfield though we have to go all the way back to November 1995.

Stat Sandwich

  • If the Reds win, it will be their first 2 wins on the trot at Anfield in over a year.
  • Newcastle haven't won away in their last 8 attempts.
  • Liverpool have conceded 14 goals, a Reds record for this stage of the season.

Newcastle may have a dodgy away record so far this season but they're most certainly a side I fear. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse offer a combination that we could only dream of. Whilst I feel the defence should be able to deal with the threats posed by the Magpies I again find myself worrying about Liverpool's goalscoring.

We could quite easily take control of the game here at Anfield but as time ticks by and the back of the net hasn't been found, it will be Newcastle who will pounce at the chance to upset us. Nevertheless I am hoping for a Liverpool win on my birthday! So assuming I will provide a lucky charm I will go for a 2-1 to Liverpool.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Swans Give Liverpool A Fright

Carragher going Gangnam Style...
Image: caughtoffside.com
Liverpool were knocked out of the League cup on Wednesday night by Swansea who have never in their history reached the quarter finals of the competition. A weakened side from Brendan Rodgers had to be strengthened with the likes of Gerrard and Suarez at half time but even the presence of stars couldn't hand the Reds a win.

Swansea came to Anfield with exactly the right intentions; to attack. Too many teams come to Liverpool and don't feel brave enough to take on the Reds, especially in cup games where anything can happen and an away side will often rely on it's counter attack.

For Swansea it was the complete opposite, they applied pressure from the whistle and had the better first half by far. Liverpool had youngster Yesil up front but he wasn't as impressive as he has been in some international fixtures we have seen him in, however, Yesil is certainly one for the future.

Swansea on the other hand were having no problems with their front men but it was a defender that ended up getting Laudrup's side off the mark.

The Spaniard Chico beat Sebastian Coates in the air to head home a corner for Swansea, perhaps question marks could be raised around the Liverpool defence here but there was no denying that the Jacks deserved their lead.

Liverpool had offered very little at the Kop end aside from a poor Joe Cole effort that went straight to the keeper. The Reds looked lacking in ideas and with no real proven goalscorers on the pitch, things would need to change.

Jamie Carragher saved Brendan Rodgers from even more early humiliation in front of his old club after a couple of his famous last ditch challenges and blocks prevented Liverpool from conceding again.

The second half saw Rodgers bring on Suarez and Gerrard immediately whilst Yesil and Cole were relieved of their duties.

The introduction of Suarez always provides Liverpool with some zest but the problem is too much reliance is placed on the Uruguayan. People often accuse Suarez of being too selfish but if you pay close attention it's often because there are no options but to go for it himself.

Half time didn't appear to disrupt Swansea's momentum at all and with the psychological advantage of forcing Liverpool to hit the Kop End in the first half, it looked as though the Welsh side had control of the game.

Liverpool brought on the lively Raheem Sterling just after the hour mark in the hope to further improve their attack but still Swansea remained resilient. A second goal for them through Nathan Dyer just after 70 minutes meant Liverpool would have to wake up to keep themselves in the competition.

A Luis Suarez header from a Steven Gerrard free kick gave the Anfield faithful some hope with 15 minutes left to go but it was looking like a very difficult task to undo all of Swansea's good work.

de Guzman's tap in in the 90th minutes sealed the Reds fate and ensured Swansea their progress to the quarter finals. Swansea were well deserved winners, Liverpool on the other hand were dire.

It's hard to pin point exactly what went wrong because the stats suggest our possession was adequate and we had the same amount of shots on target as the away side, but as always goalscoring itself seems to be problematic.

Of course you can pull out the old "well it's only the League Cup" but I for one wanted us to go all the way again this year. last years final was by far my moment of the season however, the ability to focus more on the league is never really a bad thing.

Next up for Liverpool is Newcastle on Sunday which happens to be my birthday!

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