The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Derby Delight

Liverpool walked away from their Anfield fortress on Tuesday night feeling elated after emphatically beating their Merseyside rivals Everton. The game could not have gone much better for Liverpool who confidently put four past the Toffees without much concern of conceding. An opener from captain Steven Gerrard was followed by two from Sturridge and then a final goal from Luis Suarez completed the rout.

The main change to the Liverpool side saw Jon Flanagan start in defence whilst Roberto Martinez decided to risk Ross Barkley for Everton despite him recently suffering a broken toe.

The game started well for Everton who immediately caused problems with Ross Barkley fizzing an effort just over the bar only a minute into the game. Shortly after Liverpool returned the favour with an attack on the Everton goal but Jordan Henderson's effort was saved by Tim Howard.

Another chance five minutes later saw Henderson this time messing up completely, sending his effort high over the bar. Everton began the game in a steady fashion but within 10 or 15 minutes the Reds began to show the true nature of their game.

Liverpool were more than happy to allow Everton to maintain possession and whilst Martinez's side enjoyed the time they had on the ball, the Reds would punish immensely on the counter attack.

At 20 minutes Liverpool were presented with their first chance. A Luis Suarez corner flew nicely into the box and it was met by the head of Steven Gerrard. His header powered home and within seconds he was going absolutely mental towards Suarez with the rest of Anfield going crazy.

During the corner Everton were dealt another blow when Romelu Lukaku picked up an injury. The forward eventually had to be replaced with Steven Naismith.

Everton were also beginning to get frustrated with some of the calls from referee Martin Atkinson and in fairness they did have a point on occasions. The building frustration though only benefited Liverpool who slowly but surely began to go about their business.

Just after the half hour mark Liverpool had found the back of the net again. This time it was Daniel Sturridge who was assisted by Philippe Coutinho, the number 15 then finished to the right of goal.

Two minutes later and Liverpool were at it again. Everton's defence had been having a mare to say the least but this goal truly showed their evident weakness. A pass from Kolo Toure who was deep in defence found its way to a poaching Daniel Sturridge. Having a sneaky look at the goal then placing his eye contact back on the ball, he took the chance first time and looped the ball easily over Tim Howard and all the way into the back of the net.

It was a fantastic goal and Anfield was a cauldron of noise. To be 3-0 up against your bitter rivals within 35 minutes is nothing short of superb and the Reds weren't showing any signs of easing up yet.

The second half saw Everton bring on Leon Osman who replaced Steven Pienaar. The substitute barely had chance to have an effect on the game though as Liverpool were back to their goalscoring ways just four minutes into the second half.

Luis Suarez went on a run with two Everton players desperately chasing the Red shirt. The Uruguayan though would have been eager to gain a goal in this fixture and his eventual shot slotted nicely into the bottom right of goal.

Still leaving Everton with no time to breathe Liverpool were awarded a penalty kick in the 53rd minute with Daniel Sturridge stepping up to complete a hat-trick. His penalty though was rather embarrassing and Everton avoided extra damage. In fairness I don't think it was a penalty in the first place and so perhaps justice was done.

Everton had not troubled Simon Mignolet too often throughout the game but during the next period the Reds did have to deal with some pressure from the likes of Kevin Mirallas. Liverpool also were forced to watch an on pitch argument between Sturridge and Suarez after Sturridge took on a shot instead of setting Suarez up late on in the game. It was nice to see though that despite being 4-0 up, both strikers were still furiously determined to score.

And that was that. Liverpool had recorded their biggest derby win since 1982. A stunning performance left Everton looking extremely below par whilst the Reds were back to their winning ways making it look very easy against a strong side.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received. Thank you to everybody that replied.

Next up for Liverpool is West Brom away.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, 27 January 2014

Merseyside Derby Under The Floodlights

Liverpool prepare for one of the most important games of the season on Tuesday evening as Everton make the short trip across Stanley Park to face the Reds at Anfield. Liverpool of course haven't been playing brilliantly recently, despite progressing to the next stage of the FA Cup their performance was a bit lacklustre and their recent draw with Aston Villa was hardly any better. Brendan will be hoping to get back into the swing of things with an emphatic win over bitter rivals Everton.

Liverpool still have some injury worries to contend with as the likes of Lucas Leiva, Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho are all unfit. There is also a doubt hanging over Joe Allen and so Brendan Rodgers may have to do some shuffling in order to field a strong and balanced side on Tuesday night.

For Everton they lost Oviedo after a nasty, nasty injury in their FA Cup tie this weekend. They are also without Distin and Barkley. Doubts also hang over Coleman and Pienaar and so Roberto Martinez is also facing a few problems deciding on a starting line up.

Liverpool currently find themselves 4th in the league on 43 points with Everton underneath them in 6th on 42 points. A win for the Toffees would obviously see them leap frog Liverpool, perhaps adding some more incentive for the Reds who will be desperate not to lose at home to the blue half.

Both teams drew in their last two league outings, the Reds recording a 2-2 with Villa whilst Everton ended level at 1-1 with West Brom. Liverpool have lost two of their last six league games whilst Everton have only lost one. It is worth noting though that the Reds fell to Chelsea and Manchester City away from home whilst Everton lost to Sunderland at Goodison Park.

This is one of those game though where it doesn't matter how many stats and facts get thrown at you, it will have no bearing whatsoever on the game. Form. Window. Out. Of.

Despite this I'll still provide you with a few more stats, suppose that's what I'm here for...

The last time the two sides met was of course in November last year. The enthralling 3-3 thriller was exciting for fans of both the Red and Blue side of Liverpool and an 89th minute equaliser from Daniel Sturridge brought great relief to thousands of Kopites.

On Everton's last trip to Anfield in May 2013 the game was quite low key for a Merseyside Derby with neither side scoring and nobody getting sent off.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have not lost a Merseyside derby at Anfield in the league since 1999.
  • Everton have conceded only 11 goals on their travels in the league a joint best with Chelsea so far this season.
  • 64% of Liverpool's goals this season have been scored in the first half.

I haven't quite decided what all of my bets are going to be yet for tomorrow but you can guarantee I'll have a quid on Suarez and 2-1 as I always do. Liverpool can't afford to play like they did against Bournemouth and Villa in this game because they will be punished by a confident Everton side. 

The extra element and pressure/adrenaline of it being a Merseyside derby usually adds enough spark into the system to sort out any dodgy performance but it will be interesting to see how the Reds start the game on Tuesday evening as I think we will all be able to make a much better prediction by the 15 minute mark.

Wherever you are watching, enjoy the match folks!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Early Birthday Present For Brendan As Reds Progress

Brendan Rodgers turns 41 today and he will be pleased that his side managed to collect a win against The Cherries after a somewhat difficult start. Bournemouth got the better of Liverpool in the first half but eventually the experience shone through for Liverpool and the Reds got the job done.

The starting line up consisted of Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard and so it was clear this was a competition being taken very seriously by Rodgers who could have easily rested players with one eye on Tuesday night's Merseyside derby.

Bournemouth began the game in a very confident fashion, home advantage obviously played to their strengths and for a long time the Liverpool defence looked as though they were trying to deal with a Premier League attack, not a forward set up from Bournemouth who are 16th in the Championship.

Initial efforts from Surman and Pugh for the home side missed the target but The Cherries were still putting Liverpool under a lot of pressure and in certain periods it looked as though Liverpool would have to chase the game. At 25 minutes though, the Reds were presented with a chance.

An assist from Luis Suarez set up Victor Moses who was placed to the left of goal, his right footed effort found its way past keeper Lee Camp and into the back of the net. The Reds perhaps didn't deserve to be in the lead at this stage and so it was a relief for Brendan Rodgers' side when they found the goal.

The goal however did not decrease Bournemouth's efforts with forward Lewis Grabban having two chances in quick succession after the Liverpool goal. Despite the imbalance in attempts, Liverpool did manage to see it through to half time and they would need to reassess if they wanted to avoid a replay or worse!

The second half began with neither side making substitutions and Bournemouth would immediately be involved in a moment of controversy. A shirt pull from Martin Kelly in the box was blatant to the viewer at home, I'm not sure what the referee made of it but Bournemouth for me were unlucky not the receive the spot kick. As many have said at that stage in the game, the end result could have been very different but I still feel the presence of Suarez and Sturridge would have eventually paid off. It's definitely gutting for Bournemouth fans though who had watched their side play so well and be denied the peno.

In the second half Steven Gerrard also received a booking, I wouldn't usually note something like this unless it was serious but he wasn't half going off on one! Very unusual for him, he's usually pretty calm and to see him screaming his head off was both funny and disappointing.

Three minutes after the booking and Liverpool had netted their second of the game. The Reds were now beginning to take more control and a lovely assist from Luis Suarez who knew exactly where his team mate was allowed Daniel Sturridge through on goal. His right footed shot gave Liverpool a cushion and the Reds now looked likely to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Attempts from Surman and Grabban in the second half once again had Liverpool fans worrying but thankfully their accuracy wasn't up to scratch.

Three substitutions close together later in the second half failed to make much of a difference for Bournemouth who had played very well but failed to score.

It may not have been in a very tidy fashion but Liverpool had made it through to the fifth round and thankfully managed to keep the Bournemouth attack out. It could have been an embarrassing scoreline for Liverpool who didn't look like a Premier League team for a large portion of that game.

I asked a few of you for your thoughts on the game and here are some of the tweets I received.

Next up for Liverpool is Everton on Tuesday night, I can't wait for this one!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, 24 January 2014

Reds Aim To Get Past Bournemouth On First Attempt

The Reds make the very long trip down South on Saturday where they will face Championship side Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Reds have had some time to recover from their difficult score draw with Villa last weekend and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping he can steer his side into the next round of this historic competition.

Injuries for Liverpool leave us lacking in an already rather shaky defence. Glen Johnson joins Enrique, Agger and Sakho (knock) on the list and so it is likely we may see Jon Flanagan or Martin Kelly on Saturday. Also out for Liverpool is Lucas Leiva but thankfully his injury is not as bad as once thought. Bournemouth are in a relatively strong position injury wise and they will also be allowed to start Lee Camp in goal who could not feature in their last FA Cup game against Burton Albion.

Bournemouth's last three fixtures in the league have seen them record two draws and a loss at the hands of Wigan. Their goal difference also doesn't make pleasant reading with The Cherries currently recording -13. Liverpool's last three fixtures consist of two wins and a draw but the Reds have conceded five goals in their last two matches.

Liverpool and Bournemouth have only met each other on four occasions. Their most recent meetings were in the FA Cup in 1968. The first clash ended 0-0 but Liverpool sailed home winning 4-1 in the second meeting. Interestingly their other meetings back in 1927 told a similar story with the initial game ending 1-1 and the Reds once again sealing the deal with a 4-1 win in the final game.

Bournemouth's best run in the FA Cup saw them reach the quarter finals in the late 50s and I'm sure they will be eager to attempt to match their progress. Bournemouth's top goalscorer is Lewis Grabban who has netted 11 goals so far this season for the Southerners.

There's no stat sandwich this week because it's difficult to find interesting stats when we face a more unknown quantity so apologies for that. I also didn't get time to request your score predictions for this one but keep your eyes peeled on Twitter as I'll be asking for your thoughts on the game.

I've got to watch this one whilst at work which is always interesting, just end up with all the customers laughing at me but I hope at least I won't be as stressed out like during some of the games I've watched this season at work, the bloody Everton one for a start!

Enjoy the match folks! Full match report will be available Sunday afternoon.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Reds Make Comeback To Take A Point

Liverpool managed to salvage a point from their clash with Villa on Saturday after initially looking as though they would be lucky to collect any points at all. The Reds got off to a terrible start with Paul Lambert's side finding the back of the net twice in the first half. A late goal before the half time whistle and a controversial penalty in the second half though allowed Liverpool to level the game up.

Aston Villa began the game in a very lively fashion and their form on the road was certainly shining through. Paul Lambert had organised his side well and it was clear that Rodgers' decision to leave out Lucas would end up creating more problems that he anticipated.

After consistent pressure with barely any response from Liverpool, Aston Villa would eventually see their efforts rewarded. An early effort from Agbonlahor was sent wide to the right of goal and shortly afterwards Mignolet was called into action after Westwood sent a shot straight at him. Liverpool were left holding their breath again immediately afterwards when a header from Ciaran Clark hit off the post.

Just before the 25 minute mark though the Midlanders found their goal. A cross from Agbonlahor found its way to Weimann who did well to shake off Gerrard, breaking in front of the skipper, remaining onside and converting his effort with a right footed shot.

Villa continued to capitalise on their positive start to the game finding a second goal just 10 minutes later. Whilst Liverpool once again struggled to deal with the rising pressure, Villa were finding it relatively easy to break through the midfield and create their chances. With Agbonlahor again involved his cross set up Benteke after Mignolet ran into no mans land and failed to get a strong hand to the ball. Benteke then converted his header.

I think I mentioned this in the last match report and for those who regularly read or follow me on Twitter you will know that I am not a person that criticises for fun or enjoys jumping on the back of players when they make a mistake but in all honesty I am really getting frustrated with Mignolet at the moment. I feel as though I don't have any trust in him, which for a keeper is a bad thing and I can't remember lacking trust in a while. All keepers make mistakes of course they do but for a man with such clear quality, he's failing to command in his position at the moment and that makes me nervous. The annoying thing is, nine times out of ten after making a mistake he'll also make a cracking save but for me at the moment I need to see better decision making and stronger hands!! That being said he was by no means the root cause of our problems yesterday, there were several factors.

As Liverpool were left licking their wounds it became clear that Brendan Rodgers had been outwitted tactically by Paul Lambert and things would need to change in the second half. Thankfully for the Reds though they managed to find themselves a goal late in the first half to get themselves back in the game.

It was a nicely worked goal from the Reds who perhaps didn't deserve to be fighting back after all the work Aston Villa had done. However Luis Suarez played a ball to Jordan Henderson in the box and with a lovely little side footed sweep, Hendo fed the ball through to Daniel Sturridge who ensured he put the Reds back into the game.

The second half saw Liverpool immediately introduce Lucas Leiva, he replaced Philippe Coutinho. In my opinion it was no coincidence that the first half ended so badly with Lucas missing from the side. As much as I believe one man does not make a team I feel a lot of Lucas's work goes unnoticed and the break down in play that he creates was a vital component missing from Liverpool's initial performance. Things certainly settled down a bit once Lucas came on.

At 50 minutes Villa also made a substitution bringing on new signing Grant Holt for the injured Agbonlahor who fell over advertising hoardings earlier in the game only to be caught on camera by a cheeky scouse bloke in the front row.

Shortly after the Villa change Liverpool were presented with a fantastic opportunity to level things up whilst having created the most controversial point in the game. For me whilst watching the match live I thought it wasn't a penalty and I still felt this way for a while afterwards but it's one of those where the more you watch and analyse, the more you realise it was infact a good call from the referee. You've all seen the freeze frames and whilst it was minimal contact, it's still contact. Despite his reputation, Suarez DID NOT dive, the pictures prove it and I feel it's unfair for some members of the media to be playing up to Suarez's "villain" status by using images that imply he did in dive.

I think the reason I felt it wasn't a peno to start with was down to the fact that it looked as though Guzan had done his best to pull his arms and himself out of the challenge and so it looked harsh to me but then as many have pointed out, it's always risky for a keeper once he makes that decision to fly out like that.

I can totally understand that Villa fans would have felt very hard done by watching that live and there were a few disgruntled ones in the pub I was watching the match in but I would hope now after seeing the evidence on offer they would agree that it was in fact a spot kick.

Steven Gerrard as always stepped up to take the penalty and once again he calmly slotted home Liverpool's equaliser from the spot.

As Liverpool now began to get back into the swing of things it looked as though the Reds might be able to turn this game around but a blow just after the hour mark would mean the influential Lucas Leiva would have to leave the pitch after picking up a knock. Joe Allen took his place.

Nevertheless, Liverpool continued to attack the Kop end and with 15 minutes to go they were presented with another great opportunity. A free kick was awarded to Luis Suarez in his sort of territory. The Uruguayan stepped up and sent his effort agonisingly close but the shot flew slightly to the left of goal. On another day, that would have sailed into the net but it wasn't to be.

Some late pressure from Liverpool unfortunately lead to nothing and Brendan Rodgers' side had to settle for a point.

It was one of those games where you found yourself forced to be pleased with the scoreline because of the fact it could have been a lot worse but then you are also extremely annoyed at the teams performance, it's a strange mix of emotions.

The positive for Liverpool is that it's not like we've been cut adrift, it's not ideal to have dropped points but we're still in a healthy position and hopefully lessons have been learnt from that fixture.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and particularly the penalty decision which seems to have been a hot topic on twitter and here are a few of the responses I received.

Next up for Liverpool is Bournemouth in the FA Cup.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, 17 January 2014

Reds Look To Continue Winning Streak In 2014

With the missing piece of their star striker set up firmly back in place, Liverpool will be hoping that both Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez can find the back of the net again on Saturday as they prepare to face Aston Villa at Anfield.

Liverpool are in a healthier position injury wise as both Mamadou Sakho and Joe Allen return to the side. Aston Villa are also in pretty decent shape with their only new injury worry being Nathan Barker who suffered a concussion in the game with Arsenal.

Aston Villa currently find themselves in 11th place having lost four out of their last six league games. Their sole win in the same time period came against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light where the Midlanders won 1-0. Liverpool on the other hand are nicely placed in 4th going rather steadily in the league, safe in the knowledge that the only "big" side they are yet to face away from home is Manchester United... And they don't exactly look much of a threat these days.

The last time the two sides met was in August last year when Daniel Sturridge netted the winner after just 20 minutes at Villa Park. Liverpool's record against Aston Villa is relatively strong but the Reds have faltered in recent times losing to Villa in December 2012 and also in May 2011. The Birmingham side last won at Anfield in August 2009.

Stat Sandwich

  • Luis Suarez has scored 43% of all Liverpool's goals so far this season in the league.
  • Villa are much better on the road this season having picked up 15 points away from home and only 8 at Villa Park.
  • Liverpool are joint with City and Arsenal when it comes to goals conceded at home this season, all three teams have conceded 6.

With the addition of Grant Holt you have to feel that will add an element to the Villa side that simply hasn't been present so far this season. Paul Lambert's side have struggled to impress and fans have been particularly disappointed with their home performances. As mentioned though they have done fairly well in their away trips and so who knows what may happen on Saturday.

I asked you on Twitter to send in your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received. Thank you to everybody that tweeted in!

Enjoy the match folks!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, 13 January 2014

Reds Net 5 To Take Back 4th

It was an eight goal thriller at the Britannia on Sunday as both sets of fans were treated to an end to end game in a thoroughly exciting football match. There were points of frustration for Liverpool who perhaps could have avoided some of their mistakes but the general consensus is that in years gone by, the Reds would never have fought on to win that game.

Some early Liverpool pressure meant the game swung their way in less than five minutes after a somewhat fortunate goal. Sterling's pass which he appeared to mess up eventually reached Aly Cissokho on the left of the box, his strike had power but it wasn't on target. Ryan Shawcross however managed to get in the way of the effort and turned the ball into his own net.

The following portion of the game consisted of chances for both sides with Liverpool perhaps getting the more feasible attempts. However neither side had scored and we'd have to wait until 30 minutes for a change in the scoreline.

A lurking Luis Suarez was praying on the Stoke defence the whole game but this time he'd anticipated a mishap and was right to do so as a dodgy clearance from Shawcross and failed attempt to pressure Suarez from Butland left the Uruguayan with his chance which he converted easily from an angle.

Now two goals behind, Stoke were beginning to feel frustrated, they had been playing well of course and the fans were making it very clear that they wanted their side to continue to apply the pressure on Liverpool. Just seven minutes after Suarez's goal, Stoke got their wish.

A free kick from Arnoutovic found its way to Peter Crouch who had managed to easily break free from Kolo Toure's watchful eye. The ex Liverpool man then headed the ball home past Simon Mignolet and Liverpool were left wondering how they'd allowed that to happen.

The Britannia of course has always been a difficult place for us to visit and so it was perhaps only a matter of time before Stoke found a goal, that didn't mean Liverpool were suddenly going to be faced with a scrap for the three points though did it?

A Charlie Adam goal just four minutes later answered that question. A rare poor pass from Jordan Henderson allowed Stoke to intercept. Charlie Adam then recovered from a slip to place a brilliant strike from distance into the Liverpool goal. It was a cracking effort to be fair.

The second half couldn't have come sooner for the Reds as they were beginning to make silly mistakes and it wouldn't have taken much longer for Stoke to find another goal at that stage. A break was just what Liverpool required and they would again receive a bit of luck early in the second half.

Raheem Sterling got away with a hand ball and in the process managed to make a run being followed by Wilson into the box. At which point Wilson made a challenge on Sterling and a penalty was awarded. Stoke were definitely hard done by with the hand ball decision and Sterling perhaps shouldn't have even made it to the point of the penalty but soft or not, in my opinion it was a spot kick.

Steven Gerrard stepped up to take it and as always the captain finished cooly and calmly to put Liverpool back into the lead.

Shortly after the third Liverpool goal, the Reds put themselves in a bit of trouble when Aly Cissokho fouled Charlie Adam right on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick was dealt with well by the defence but it was clear that things were once again beginning to feel a bit edgy for Brendan Rodgers' side.

At 65 minutes Daniel Sturridge finally made his return to the starting XI replacing Philippe Coutinho. It took just five minutes for him to stamp his mark on the game.

Immediately reigniting his partnership with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge with a confident run made a break and then slipped the ball to Suarez on his left, giving the Uruguayan just enough space to curl his effort around Butland from an angle and sweetly into the back of the Stoke net.

The SAS as they are constantly referred to then began to celebrate together in what was a simply brilliant scene for Liverpool fans who were reminded of what a prolific strike force they have. Sturridge would further instill this feeling later in the game too.

After Liverpool had put the game to 4-2, they still didn't feel safe and Stoke came back once again to set the nerves off. An effort from Walters forced Mignolet into a great save but shortly afterwards our keeper was left red faced when he allowed another Walters shot to go underneath his body. I'm not one for kicking a man when he's down but I don't feel as confident as I should in Mignolet at the moment, he's a cracking keeper, we all know this but sometimes you just think "catch the bloody ball!" he's not the only one that has been making mistakes though; see Liverpool defence.

Liverpool had come so far in this game and with 4th place riding on the outcome they couldn't afford to falter this late on. Thankfully, Daniel Sturridge decided he would quite like a goal in his first game back. After his initial effort was saved Sturridge then slipped, chested the ball, headed the ball and finally turned in his effort. He was assisted of course by that man Luis Suarez.

Despite Liverpool now being 5-3 up with just ten minutes to go, Stoke still weren't ready to give up. A header from Crouch hit the post and then Steven Gerrard nearly made things worse for Liverpool after nearly heading the ball into his own net, Mignolet saved well though.

Finally the final whistle was blown and Liverpool could walk away with all three points with a mixture of pride and frustration in their performance. As many have said it was brilliant in attack but somewhat lacking in defence for the Reds yesterday. The positive is though that for the time being all that matters is the points.

I asked you on Twitter for your thoughts on the game and here are a few on the responses:

Next up for the Reds is Aston Villa.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Stoke Win Would Send Reds Back Into 4th

Liverpool make the short trip to the Britannia on Sunday evening as they prepare to face a new look Stoke side managed by Mark Hughes. Brendan Rodgers this week has been in the news for taking the mick out of Chelsea but here's hoping the boss has kept his concentration on what could be a difficult game for the Reds.

There is an improved situation for the Reds concerning injuries as Sturridge and Sakho are hoped to be welcomed back for this fixture. Blows though include a long sideline spell for Daniel Agger and the missing Jose Enrique.

For Stoke, they are unable to field Oussama Assaidi against his parent club and they also have some injury problems between the sticks meaning Jack Butland will start in goal. Also unavailable for Stoke is Robert Huth who recently underwent knee surgery.

The last time the two sides met I was in a boiling hot Tenerife (take me back!) and I vividly remember watching the game in a pub full of Celtic fans whilst they were all watching their game haha. Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal that day in a 1-0 Liverpool win.

The last time Liverpool travelled to Stoke it ended badly for the Reds who fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Tony Pulis' side. Steven Gerrard scored a penalty that day after two minutes but Stoke found the back of the net on three occasions.

On the whole the Reds have a decent record against Stoke but they're the sort of side that can create an upset and I feel Liverpool need to ensure they take their chances on Sunday or they will suffer.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have failed to score in only two of their 20 Premier League games. 
  • Stoke are unbeaten at home in their last seven games.
  • The Reds have scored the first goal of the game on 15 out of 20 occasions so far this season.

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received. Thanks to everybody that took the time to reply! I think it's quite a varied view on this match to be fair.

I don't think I'm going to get chance to put a quid on the game tomorrow but if I was having a punt I would say 2-0. I'd love for Sturridge to come on and score to.

Wherever you're watching, enjoy the match folks! 

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 6 January 2014

Aspas Nets First Goal In FA Cup Win

What should have been a straight forward FA Cup tie for Liverpool on Sunday at stages looked tenuous as the Reds struggled to stamp their authority on the game with a weakened XI. A goal from Iago Aspas in the second half settled what could have been a nervy fixture and an own goal from James Tarkowski late on ensured Liverpool's progress to the next round where they will face either Burton Albion or Bournemouth.

Oldham under their young manager Lee Johnson began the game in a very positive fashion, at times it was easy to question which side was the Premier League outfit. Whilst Liverpool could perhaps note the excuse that their side was weakened it wasn't really acceptable, the side on the pitch should have been performing much better.

In the first half for the Reds it was Luis Alberto who had the best of the chances for the home side, one shot taken perfectly, unfortunately flew wide of the post and Liverpool were forced to continue to withstand some Oldham pressure in the first half whilst creating flitting chances.

After the first 45 minutes it was clear that the Liverpool side would need an injection in order for the Reds to find a lead. Brendan Rodgers decided to make a double substitution bringing on both Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho. They replaced Victor Moses and Luis Alberto.

The changes seemed to have an immediate effect with Liverpool creating chances instantaneously in the second half. First a header from Steven Gerrard then another from Iago Aspas went close. At 53 minutes though Aspas found himself with another opportunity.

A cross into the box from Raheem Sterling found its way to Iago Aspas who with a lovely finish sent the ball into the bottom right hand corner of goal.

Now ahead the Reds could afford to relax a little bit but things still hadn't exactly gone according to plan for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers certainly didn't want his side to be forced into a replay.

A double substitution from Oldham just before the hour mark gave the away side a bit more life and at 75 minutes Brendan Rodgers felt it was suitable to bring on Luis Suarez perhaps worrying that Oldham may find a goal.

Luckily for Liverpool though at 81 minutes they had converted with the help of an Oldham player. After some consistent pressure from Liverpool the ball eventually found its way to Raheem Sterling who took his chance with a snapshot effort which then clattered off the leg of James Tarkowski and flew into the back of the net.

It was unfortunate for Tarkowski who had a good game but sometimes that's just the way it goes. Thankfuly for Liverpool the second goal now surely sealed their progress to the next round and the Reds successfully saw out the last few minutes of the game.

Liverpool will now face either Burton Albion or Bournemouth in the next round and I for one think we may fair better fielding a slightly stronger team. I get the reasoning around fielding a weaker one but it's a great competition and it's always nice to be in contention for some silverware and so I'd like a few fringe players next time with a strong core I think.

Apologies for not asking for your reactions on the game on Twitter, I'm a bit snowed under with revision at the moment!

Next up for Liverpool in the league is Stoke at home.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Hat Trick Of FA Cup Meetings With Oldham

This is the third time Liverpool have been pitted against Oldham in the FA Cup in as many seasons. The Reds will surely look to proceed further in this competition despite having most of their commitment pinned firmly on the league.

It is predicted that Brendan Rodgers will field a very different team for the tie at Anfield on Sunday but with Steven Gerrard recently back fit, he could feature in the starting line up boosting Liverpool's experience.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho whilst Oldham manager Lee Johnson has a relatively strong squad to choose from. Philliskirk, Dayton and MacDonald are all available after recent knocks.

Recent form for Oldham sees them having won only one of their last six matches and that was an FA Cup tie against Mansfield. League form for Oldham is currently problematic and they are placed 19th in League One on 24 points.

The last time the two sides met was in January last year and it was a positive result for Oldham who got the better of Liverpool. The game ended 3-2 with Liverpool scoring via Suarez and Allen.

The teams haven't met very often in history and we have to go back to 1914 to find a win for Oldham at Anfield.

I would usually provide you with a stat sandwich here but they're always harder to come by in cup matches unless you wanted the standard; how many times Liverpool have won it etc. I did this week though get a chance to ask you your predictions for the game and below are a few of the tweets I received.

I must admit it's difficult to predict a scoreline when you have no idea what the starting XI will be but I still feel Liverpool are in a position to take control of the game and also grab a few goals. I'm currently swayed to the popular opinion of 3-1 as I do feel Oldham will find a goal and if I was popping a quid on the game, that would be the scoreline I'd go for.

Apologies for the preview being thin on the ground, it's always a bit more difficult to find the information you need when it's a cup game for some reason. Normal service resumed for the match report on Monday!

Enjoy the match folks!

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Liverpool Tame Tigers At Anfield

The Reds stepped out with revenge on their minds for the start of 2014 as they aimed to get the better of Hull and put the defeat at the start December behind them. With Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez on the score sheet Liverpool need not have worried about a repeat performance from Hull who looked a shadow of the side that turned out against Brendan Rodgers' team a month ago.

Liverpool's first half consisted of calm and confident football which was a real positive considering the injuries and players out of position that the Reds have been contending with. It was Liverpool creating the lion's share of the chances in the first half and as always it was the familiar faces of Suarez, Sterling, Coutinho and Henderson getting involved. Suarez also saw an early header disallowed as he was offside.

The first goal for Liverpool came at 35 minutes after a corner. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Agger managed to get a header on and converted his effort putting the ball past the Hull keeper. Shortly after the goal the Reds saw themselves with another fantastic chance after a lay off to Jordan Henderson, his shot drifted wide though and he should of perhaps done better.

It was important that Liverpool won this game after the disappointing Christmas period which should have ended so differently and so it was nice for the Reds to be ahead before the break.

The second half began in a lively fashion for the Reds who had found an opportunity to cause more havoc early on when a free kick was awarded for a foul on Luis Suarez. Who else but the Uruguayan himself was going to take this one?

There just aren't enough words to describe Luis Suarez at the moment and so I find myself turning to his native Spanish language - "clase mundial". His free kick was superb curling its way into the top left hand corner to surely secure Liverpool's three points from the game.

The second half for both sides but particularly Liverpool was a lot quieter and the Reds didn't create as many clear cut chances. Hull on the other hand had gone one step further, failing to create a shot on target throughout the whole 90 minutes.

A late solo chance from Coutinho saw him take on the Hull defence and weave his way through to the box, his resulting shot though left a lot to be desired and that signalled the end of the game for Liverpool.

As many have mentioned it is worth noting the missed chances again because in some matches we would not have been let off there however I think for the time being we can focus on the positives, Liverpool collected the win in a game where they may once have struggled and things are still looking quite rosey for the Reds.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received. Thank you to everybody that replied.

Next up for Liverpool is Oldham in the FA Cup.

Labels: , , , , ,