The Liver Bird  

Friday, 28 February 2014

Tough Away Tie At Southampton For Reds

Liverpool travel to St Mary's Stadium on Saturday as they prepare to face Southampton. The Reds have just come off the back of a dramatic Swansea win and will no doubt be aiming to fix their evident defensive issues in this fixture however Southampton beat the Reds at home earlier in the season and so they will certainly be applying pressure on the Liverpool goal.

Injury wise Liverpool have seen the return of Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho to training, a late decision will be made by Rodgers and co to determine whether they will feature. For Southampton they are in a relatively strong position but will also have two players subject to late fitness tests with doubts hanging over both Wanyama and Hooiveld.

Southampton are currently 9th in the league and have been pretty consistent in recent months losing only one of their last six matches. Southampton notched up the loss at West Ham conceding three goals in the process.

Liverpool have also been consistent in their recent fixtures and they haven't lost a game in their last six. Currently placed fourth in the table, the Reds have been going strong but it hasn't been as easy as the table states. A 4-3 win over Swansea and a 3-2 win over Fulham have saw Liverpool fight hard for their points, for the time being all that matters is that the win is collected but it does make you wonder how long the Reds can go without creating stronger performances from the defence.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year. Southampton scored the only goal of the game via Lovren the result caught Liverpool off guard but Southampton proved to be formidable opposition at that stage of the season.

The Reds last trip to Southampton also ended badly with the Southerners putting three past Brad Jones. A goal from Coutinho on 45 minutes put Liverpool back in the game at 2-1 but it just wasn't to be. In fact Liverpool have struggled on several trips to St Mary's, their last win there came in early 2003 and Emile Heskey was on the score sheet that day!

Stats don't mean everything of course but Liverpool's away form against Southampton is poor to say the least and it will be a tough game tomorrow for a Reds side already leaking goals.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have scored a massive 70 goals in their last 27 league games.
  • Southampton have lost 15 points from winning positions in the league this season.
  • Luis Suarez has notched up nine assists so far this season.

I think it's going to be a very difficult game for the Reds tomorrow especially with the recent defensive troubles, however you just have to feel that there will also be goals on our part. I think depending on the layout of the game and the manner in which it starts, this could go either way for Liverpool.

Sometimes an early goal for the Reds spells disaster because the opposition have plenty of time to get back into the game. Maintaining a clean sheet and scoring later in the game could in fact aid Liverpool. On the other hand the stats showing Southampton's loss of points from winning positions is also encouraging for the Reds if they do fall behind early on in the game.

I don't think I'm going to have any bets tomorrow as I genuinely feel as though the scoreline could be absolutely anything I just hope Liverpool can find another three points.

Apologies for the lack of tweets and score predictions in this week's preview by the way, I've had a lot on my mind this week so just didn't remember, be sure to send me your tweets after the game though for a chance to feature in the report!

Enjoy the match folks!

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Leaky Defence But Attack Too Strong For Swansea

Liverpool are renown for failing to make things easy for themselves but Sunday's performance against Swansea at Anfield was just taking the biscuit. In a game that saw the Reds lead 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and finally 4-3 it was a bit too much to take for the Kopites present who were left wondering why their defence had leaked so freely. Vitally though Liverpool collected all three points to keep the pressure on the top of the table.

Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his Liverpool side with Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger coming into the XI replacing Cissokho and Toure.

The game couldn't have started much better for the Reds who were on the score sheet after just three minutes. A lovely ball from Raheem Sterling set Sturridge on his way, the forward then took the ball around the keeper and finished with ease to put Liverpool ahead. The goal was also a milestone for Sturridge who now levels a Ruud Van Nistolrooy record being the only player(s) to score in 8 consecutive league games.

Liverpool kept on the pressure after scoring so early with Raheem Sterling forcing Vorm into action soon after our first goal. Shortly afterwards the Reds were on the attack again, this time via Daniel Sturridge who passed to Jordan Henderson hovering outside the box. His resulting shot ended with a quality goal, placed very well and the Reds were now two in front.

Just as Liverpool felt they had a bit of breathing space though, ex Anfield man Jonjo Shelvey popped up with a right cracker. A stinging shot from outside the box flew all the way into the top right corner and whilst Jonjo didn't wish to celebrate the Liverpool fans applauded his efforts. Swansea were now well and truly back in the game.

Three minutes after their goal Swansea found themselves with a free kick in a dangerous area after a challenge from Martin Skrtel. De Guzman took the free kick for Swansea and after a battle in the box the goal was awarded to Swansea's Bony however the last touch came off Martin Skrtel.

This really was a fantastic game for the neutral, goals left right and centre and no side showing any sign of stopping. For Liverpool though this was becoming a problem, the Reds simply had to collect all three points after the results from the sides above them.

Ten minutes after the Swansea equaliser and it was Liverpool's turn once again. Some strong build up play from the Reds eventually led to Suarez receiving the ball on the left of the box, his beautifully chipped ball then found its way to Daniel Sturridge who headed home to put Liverpool back in front.

It was easy to assume that the second half should be a calmer affair after both sides had received their team talks but it was nothing of the sort! Just two minutes in and referee Michael Jones had awarded a penalty to Swansea.

Skrtel and Bony were tussling slightly in the box but in my opinion the penalty decision was harsh, however I do feel Skrtel has had this coming, he plays a risky game in the box sometimes, hands all over people and sometimes on the wrong side of the player, this doesn't make the decision right of course but hopefully it'll encourage Skrtel to be a bit more cautious in future fixtures.

Bony calmly put his spot kick to the right of Mignolet and once again Swansea were right back in the game with plenty of time left to cause an upset.

At this stage it would have been very easy for Liverpool to panic or for the manager to make some snap decisions. In seasons gone by I feel this is the path we would of taken but on Sunday we showed maturity and confidence and kept on going, after all it doesn't matter how you do it, just get the three points.

In the early period after the Swansea penalty, the away side complied some strong and almost productive pressure but the Reds managed to see out the storm and followed with some pressure of their own. A lovely through ball from Daniel Sturridge to Luis Suarez at one stage saw the Uruguayan bring Vorm into action. Shortly afterwards there was a skillful turn from Sturridge but his resulting effort was off target.

At 73 minutes though Liverpool found their winner. A classic long range pass from Steven Gerrard made its way perfectly to Luis Suarez, his shot was blocked by the defender but Jordan Henderson was there to follow up and eventually he'd put the ball in the back of the net. Liverpool had taken the lead... again.

A late chance from Gerrard that came back out off the post spelt the end for the Reds who were thankful I should imagine to have finally left the field but with the win.

Our defence has been chopped and changed all season and in fairness I do feel this is a good enough reason to explain some of the obvious faults. However Skrtel and Agger for me are our best options and they weren't up to scratch on Sunday, the back four as a unit just isn't quite there and in games like this you get well and truly punished. The plus for Liverpool of course is that they have an immense attacking force and for the time being that is all that matters, in my opinion it is a hell of a lot easier to work on and perfect a defence than it is to work on and create a strike force like ours.

I asked for your thoughts on the match on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received.

Next up for Liverpool is Southampton away.

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Swansea Enter Anfield Fortress

Brendan Rodgers welcomes his old side Swansea to Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool look to put their loss in the FA Cup behind them and make a real challenge in the league. With Gary Monk now in the hot seat for the Welsh side it will be interesting to see what he can bring to this fixture.

An injury update from Rodgers on Friday made unpleasant hearing for some Liverpool fans as it was announced Jose Enrique had been to America to see a specialist about his knee injury and could potentially be out for the rest of the season. On the plus side Glen Johnson is back for the Reds but Lucas and Sakho are both still unavailable.

For Swansea they are unable to call upon Michu who has an ankle injury but Jonjo Shelvey came back for the side to feature against Napoli in the Europa League.

Swansea currently find themselves 10th in the league. Current form for the Swans has been a bit hit and miss, they managed to hold Napoli to a draw in the week but in the league they have lost three out of their last six, drawn one and won two.

Liverpool are currently sitting in 4th and they haven't lost any of their last six league games. They did of course lose to Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend however. The Reds find themselves just four points off Chelsea who are top of the table and so there is a massive incentive for a win on Sunday for the Reds.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with goals from Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses for Liverpool.

Swansea's last trip to Anfield wasn't much fun on their part though after Liverpool put five goals past them. Swansea have however notched up a win quite recently at Anfield when they beat us in the League Cup in October 2012. That game ended 3-1.

Stat Sandwich

  • The Reds have taken 28 points from the last 30 in the league at Anfield.
  • Swansea have failed to take all three points in their last seven away matches.
  • If Daniel Sturridge scores in the game, he will have netted in eight consecutive league matches, levelling a Ruud Van Nistolrooy record.

I have to admit I've not seen much of Swansea this season but in my opinion they don't look as threatening as they have been in previous seasons. I think they'll create some problems for us but on paper for me, Liverpool should have this in the bag.

We certainly need the win as well, with the league the only thing left to focus on Liverpool must fight in the race that nobody can deny they are currently a part of. Anything can happen and the Reds need to make sure they are well and truly in the mix.

I don't think I'm gonna be putting any money on an outcome tomorrow but I quite fancy a 3-1 win with Daniel Sturridge on the score sheet.

I asked you on Twitter for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received. (I'm pretty sure somebody is getting a bit too excited as well with their prediction haha!)

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you're watching!

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Monday, 17 February 2014

Arsenal Knock Liverpool Out Of FA Cup

Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday at the hands of an Arsenal side who perhaps couldn't believe their luck at 90 minutes. Liverpool were arguably the better of the two sides but unfortunately for the Reds there wasn't an end product. Some strange penalty decisions also left Liverpool fans berating Howard Webb.

Liverpool began the game having made three changes to the side with Allen replacing Henderson, Agger replacing Toure and Brad Jones replacing Simon Mignolet between the sticks. In a busy week for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger also made some changes swapping a total of seven of his team members from their last fixture.

The first half for Liverpool consisted of some chances mainly via Daniel Sturridge. Very early on in the game a lovely pass from Steven Gerrard had Sturridge through on goal but his effort was perhaps too direct for a prepared Fabianski. Shortly afterwards another ball through to Sturridge saw him smash his effort off the side netting. The Reds were applying some pressure but it was Arsenal who were first off the mark.

A free kick on the edge of the box was taken by Arteta, the resulting cross then came out to Ozil on the other side who put the ball back into the mixer. An effort from Sanogo then clattered off Steven Gerrard's back and fell nicely to Oxlade-Chamberlain who converted with relative ease to put Arsenal ahead.

It was a bit of a fluky goal for Arsenal but nevertheless Liverpool were behind and it's never easy to score at the Emirates.

The first half ended without any more goals from either side but it still appeared as though Liverpool would be the ones to score. The second half saw Liverpool come out with increased positivity, the team talk had clearly ignited some dwindling sparks and Luis Suarez was quick to cause problems forcing Fabianski to save a shot with his feet.

As soon as Liverpool had recouped from that missed chance though, the gunners had made a break. A cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain found its way to an in space Podolski who confidently finished to score Arsenal's second of the night.

After beating Arsenal 5-1 at home it was hard to feel as though you would be unable to find the back of the net at least once but as the game progressed it did begin to feel like it wasn't Liverpool's day.

Just before the hour mark Liverpool were gifted a chance to get back into the game. A kick on Suarez in the box meant Liverpool were awarded a penalty, as Steven Gerrard stepped up, the away end prayed the captain would get us back into the game and of course, he did. Another classic penalty put the Reds right back into the game with half an hour still left to go.

After the penalty the focus was back on Daniel Sturridge, another lovely ball through to him this time from Coutinho saw him one on one with the keeper again but he failed to take it around the keeper after a brilliant hand to the ball from Fabianski and Liverpool had let another chance slip.

The next incident of note really was ridiculous. I'm the first to admit that Suarez is theatrical, he was for his first penalty decision as well but that should not take away the fact that this was a blatant penalty. You didn't need to distinguish whether the theatrics were real or not, the challenge was just poor. Howard Webb did have a line of sight and I cannot for any reason see why he did not award the penalty. I hate relying on decisions but another penalty at that stage in the game? Well we could have quite easily of been taking Arsenal back to Anfield. Shame on you Mr.Webb.

As the game ticked on the Reds desperately tried to find that equaliser and their best chance came in the dying moments when a Gerrard free kick was flicked into the box. Daniel Agger's header looked as though it was going in and I was well out of my chair as it travelled, the chance however flew just wide and that was that. Liverpool's run in this season's FA Cup was over.

I asked you for your thoughts on Twitter but because of the delay in the post I didn't tweet for as many responses as I usually would so I'll just leave you with two tweets this week.

It's a tough result to take really when you look at the performance and the decisions but to win at the Emirates you need to take your chances and we just didn't do that. Daniel Sturridge was clearly very emotional post game and that just goes to show how much the FA Cup does mean to at least some players. I personally would have loved to see us go through and face Everton but it just wasn't to be, from here on in we focus on the league and who knows what might happen!

Next up for Liverpool is Swansea at home.

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Cup Clash With Arsenal

Liverpool travel to the Emirates on Sunday as they prepare to face an Arsenal side that they beat 5-1 just over a week ago. With Arsenal having one eye on their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich it may be a slightly weakened team from Wenger whilst Liverpool may prefer to go out strong.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without Lucas, Sakho and Enrique. Glen Johnson however is nearly back to fitness and it is possible too that the newly returned Daniel Agger will feature in the starting line up. For Arsenal they are without Walcott, Ramsey and a few other key players whilst Cazorla who is suffering from an illness may also be left out on Sunday.

The last time the two sides met as we all know was on 8th February, Liverpool were brilliant in that fixture but it's not always been plain sailing against Arsenal, especially not at the Emirates. Liverpool's last trip ended in a 2-0 loss with goals via Ramsey and Cazorla.

The last time the Reds won at the Emirates was in August 2011 after a late Suarez goal sealed a 2-1 win. Collecting all three points is often a rare feat for Liverpool at the London ground however this is the FA Cup and as always, anything can happen. The Reds have also picked up several draws at the Emirates over the years and even this would stand them in good stead, knowing there would be a replay at Anfield.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have a total of seven FA Cups.
  • Arsenal have a total of ten FA Cups.
  • Liverpool and Arsenal have met 17 times so far in the competition.

It's a short preview this week because after doing a preview for a league game so close to a cup fixture, there isn't much new information to include (as you can tell from this week's dire stat sandwich haha).

I've been doing the rounds on Twitter as always but this week I can't seem to tell what the fans are thinking, there's usually a majority consensus but from what I've seen some people think we'll blow it, others are expecting another miraculous performance and some are putting their money on a draw.

In my opinion I think it would be a miracle for us to play as we did against Arsenal at home in this tie. The Emirates is a totally different ball game (pun intended) and I feel it's wrong to expect another Liverpool performance of that calibre. That doesn't mean however that I don't feel we're capable of collecting a win, if we play as we have done of late there's nothing stopping us progressing but in my heart of hearts I can't help but feel this will end in a score draw.

Arsenal may end up fielding a weakened side but that in a sense could help them, players disheartened by the embarrassing loss at Anfield wll be removed and the fresh faces may bring a different edge to the game. Also Arsenal are going to want nothing more than some revenge and so will their fans and I feel this is going to be a difficult atmosphere to play in.

For this reason I'll probably be popping a quid on a score draw and also a quid on Skrtel anytime again!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching it from!

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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Reds Had To Fight For Glory At Fulham

It was a nerve-wracking 90 minutes to say the least for Liverpool on Wednesday evening as the Reds went behind twice in their clash with Fulham. Some sloppy defending created problems immediately for Liverpool but a more composed second half eventually ended with the Reds being awarded a penalty and Steven Gerrard saving the three points.

Brendan Rodgers decided to field the same side that faced Arsenal for this fixture, it was a vital game for the Reds who needed to prove they are capable of beating the lesser teams and can also perform well away from home.

Things didn't start brilliantly for Liverpool though after Simon Mignolet was forced into a save very early on when Ryan Tunnicliffe took a chance. Shortly afterwards things got even worse. A cross from Richardson made its way into the Liverpool box, Kolo Toure had Darren Bent behind him and whilst I agree he had to do something I just can't understand how he's managed to slice the ball into his own net. It was a shocking mistake and coming off the back of his one at West Brom, it's just unacceptable.

Quickly after conceding Liverpool created themselves a chance when Suarez took a shot from the left of the box but saw his effort saved by Stekelenburg. As if Kolo Toure wasn't having a bad enough day too he then proceeded to bash over the ref when returning to defence after being up for the corner. He needs some time on the bench in my opinion, I think all these mishaps have gone to his head.

Thankfully Liverpool still had some players with their hearts firmly set on equalling things up. The Reds did not really deserve to be behind after conceding a goal in such a manner and at 40 minutes Steven Gerrard with a sublime pass set up Daniel Sturridge. The forward was played in beautifully and ahead of the encroaching defence he was able to finish confidently to put the Reds level.

It was a good time to score for Liverpool who in some senses looked as though they needed half time but it was much better to reach that point having scored a goal. I fear if we were down at half time Fulham could have capitalised a bit more in the second half.

The second half was a complete contrast for Liverpool though, this time they started in a very lively fashion and were piling the pressure on Fulham. Some early magic from Luis Suarez saw him back heel the ball in the air around Riether and keep running, Reither then made a challenge though and Suarez had won Liverpool a free kick.

The Uruguayan stepped up to take the free kick which he sent just wide. A goal at this stage would have aided Liverpool who needed to ensure they made the most of this early pressure.

Sidwell shortly after the Suarez free kick however fancied a pop and he caused some concern with Mignolet needing to remain focused as he saved the very long ranged effort.

Suarez who by his standards is probably in the midst of a goal drought at present then found himself with another chance but had to watch his shot bounce off the right hand post. As the chances were failing to be converted it was looking like it was be going to be one of those days again for Liverpool who desperately wanted to win to close the gap on those above them and further cement their intentions of grabbing at least 4th place.

A highlight I had to pick out from the game was also the point at which John Arne Riise broke all the way down the left wing. Steven Gerrard followed him all the way and finally managed to get him off the ball, this just reminded me of when they played together, you could see Gerrard desperately wanted to get him off the ball, some good banter going on there I reckon.

Despite Liverpool's almost constant pressure just after the hour mark Fulham had put themselves ahead in the game for the second time. After a cross bounced off the back of Martin Skrtel it was an easy finish for Richardson who was directly in front of goal. This was so frustrating because in my opinion Fulham were extremely lucky to gain their first goal and they didn't really deserve their second, however Liverpool's defence were to blame, it was just too easy and now there was a mountain to climb if the Reds wanted anything from the game.

Ten minutes later, Liverpool had managed to find themselves an equaliser, much to the delight of the travelling Kop at a very chilly Craven Cottage!

Daniel Sturridge spotted Philippe Coutinho and played him a ball, Coutinho then found himself some space and sent his shot around the keeper and into the back of the net, there was a slight deflection but the Reds weren't too bothered about that as they turned their focus onto finding a winner.

With just 20 minutes left there was a matter of urgency and a lovely ball over the defence at 73 minutes from Sterling nearly set up Luis Suarez, unfortunately though there was a collision between Suarez and Stekelenburg and the keeper eventually had to be substituted.

Shortly afterwards a break lead by Riise saw him lose possession at a dangerous point, Suarez then set up Coutinho but his shot was sent wide to the left of goal.

With things becoming increasingly desperate it didn't look like Liverpool were going to be able to find that all important winner. In this game though it only takes a second for everything to change and a very clumsy decision by Fulham's Riether saw him take down Daniel Sturridge in the box with 90 minutes on the clock.

There's always an element of nerves when anybody steps up for a penalty, it decreases a bit when it's Steven Gerrard but I think the combined situation and importance of the game on Wednesday made this a huge responsibility on the captain's shoulders and I'd bitten my nails down to the hilt.

Thankfully Steven Gerrard was as calm as ever and he converted his spot kick removing his shirt in celebration as the Reds knew all they had to do now was see out stoppage time.

And they did. It was hardly the best way to go about things but as many have said, if you're  going to finish in the top four you simply have to win games like that, it doesn't matter how you go about it, all that matters is those three points.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Arsenal in the FA Cup!

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Monday, 10 February 2014

They Beat The Top But Can They Beat The Bottom?

Liverpool travel to London on Wednesday evening as they prepare to face the league's bottom side, Fulham. The Reds are on a real high after completely battering Arsenal but the feat will be pointless if they can't get the better of the Cottagers who had a good weekend themselves after gaining a draw at Manchester United in the last minute of the game hahahahaha! *cough* sorry.

Injuries for Liverpool leave them in a similar situation to the weekend with long term absentees Johnson, Lucas, Agger, Sakho and Enrique all still unavailable. For Fulham are in a strong position with Etheridge and Briggs being the only missing members.

Fulham currently find themselves stone dead last in the table but they are only four points shy of an escape, with things so tight at the bottom of the table the Londoners will be desperate to grab as many points as they can. Form for Fulham has not been very positive of late with just one win and one draw from six games propping up a string of four losses.

For Liverpool they are currently going steady in 4th with a three point cushion keeping Spurs at bay below them for the time being. The Reds now though have their sights firmly set ahead of them as they remain six points off top, five points off Arsenal and four points off Manchester City.

The last time the two sides met was in November last year when Liverpool won 4-0 at Anfield. The last trip to Fulham was also good for Liverpool who won 3-0 after a Daniel Sturridge hat trick. Fulham's last win against the Reds came in May 2012 after Martin Skrtel netted an own goal.

I would usually have a stat sandwich for you here but I've had to complete this preview a bit early this week and so all the current stats available are a bit naff! Apologies.

I'm deffo going to be popping a quid on Skrtel anytime again tomorrow after my winnings this weekend, although to be fair his odds may have been cut so I might have to reassess. I must admit I'm feeling a bit nervous about this game, this is exactly the type of game where Liverpool slip up and whilst technically we all know it should be a walk in the park, it probably won't be.

Enjoy the match folks and don't forget to tweet me your thoughts on the game after the match, whatever the result!

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

"We're Just A Foal"

Brendan Rodgers distanced his side from being stallions after Jose Mourinho's crazy horse talk this week but the Reds must feel as though they pose a serious threat now in the race after demolishing Arsenal on Saturday at Anfield. Liverpool found the back of the net on five occasions via Martin Skrtel, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. Arsenal could only find a consolation via a penalty in the second half.

Liverpool began the game in the best possible fashion when less than one minute into the game Mertesacker gave away a free kick after a challenge on Luis Suarez. Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the set piece and his ball found its way to Martin Skrtel who poked home the goal and proceeded to go absolutely mental. I too went absolutely mental, firstly because we'd netted against Arsenal within a minute but also because I'd popped a quid on Martin Skrtel anytime a few minutes before kick off haha! Bonus.

Despite the fact everybody was elated it was obviously too soon to start thinking we could win this. Arsenal were top of the league and there's no way they wouldn't find a goal? Surely there would be an immense comeback...

As the minutes ticked by though it didn't appear as though Arsenal were prepared to create any sort of threat let alone a comeback. Liverpool looked dangerous every single time they pushed forward and just before the 10 minute mark Liverpool had scored again!

Steven Gerrard once again set up the goal this time from a corner and Martin Skrtel converted with an absolutely cracking header. I knew Liverpool were capable of giving Arsenal a game but this was quickly beginning to look embarrassing for the visiting side and I still couldn't comprehend that they weren't even causing problems. Even with the two goal cushion, at this stage there was still worry for an Arsenal onslaught.

A few minutes later though and Liverpool were at it again firstly after Sturridge sent his effort wide after being assisted by Suarez then the Uruguayan sent everybody's hearts racing after receiving the ball from another Gerrard corner, having a pop from 20 yards and watching his stinging effort smash back out off the left hand upright.

I just couldn't believe my eyes. This was an exquisite performance from Liverpool but we were only a quarter of a way into the game and as a Liverpool fan, we all know what they can be like. The Reds needed to continue this brilliant play, treat it as a 0-0 and continue to smash Arsenal.

And that's just what they did.

At 16 minutes star man Ozil was dispossessed by Jordan Henderson who then played the ball to Suarez. A lovely cross from him set up Raheem Sterling for an easy tap in past Szczesny. The Reds were 3-0 with 75 minutes left of the game!

I was in my element watching this as I'm sure many of you were, it was hilarious how brilliant we were playing and how terrible Arsenal were and I quickly found myself back in that magical yet dangerous zone of "We could win the pissin' league!" then reality set in and I began to calm down, that was until we'd scored yet again!

Just before the 20 minute mark a dream pass from Philippe Coutinho found its way to an encroaching Daniel Sturridge. The forward was frustrated with his effort that went wide earlier in the game but this time his finish was perfect, Liverpool were 4-0 up and that famous dance came out. And yes, I too was doing the dance as always haha.

As the first half ended there was almost an element of boredom setting in, is this what it feels like when teams win everything all the time? I was getting bored of us scoring and Arsenal showing no fight, quite frankly I don't feel they should escape any criticism because they really were diabolical. How can they expect to win the title playing like that? Happy to allow us all the time on the ball, applying no pressure and messing things up completely in defence?

The second half began and there were no signs that Arsene Wenger's team talk had worked. It was very much the same situation just with the Reds this time attacking their favoured Kop End.

Just five minutes in and yes, you guessed it, Liverpool had scored again! Sterling who was having a wonderful game saw his initial effort saved by Szczesny but the ball splayed back out to the youngster who then converted his chance.

Just before the hour mark Arsene Wenger decided to make a triple substitution however I'm not certain the Reds were too concerned about the likes of Podolski, Rosicky and Gibbs entering play.

In fairness though just after his introduction, Podolski did assist Jack Wilshere who had one of Arsenal's six shots on target.

Shortly after Wilshere's chance Koscielny fouled Suarez and the Uruguayan stepped up to take the free kick for the Reds. His effort was crafted perfectly with the ball heading straight for the exact top right corner of goal but Szczesny had spotted what Suarez was trying to do and made a great save to deny him.

At 70 minutes Arsenal finally got a chance for a small consolation when Steven Gerrard brought down Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box. Mikel Arteta took the spot kick sending it straight down the middle to beat a not so distracting Mignolet.

Shortly after their goal a barge from Steven Gerrard left Wilshere on the floor, the Arsenal man was making a right meal of things considering he'd done exactly the same thing to Gerrard early on in the game. Wilshere really gets on my nerves, he seems to think he's god's gift to football and for me a stern charge from Steven Gerrard is exactly what he needed.

A Flanagan challenge on Wilshere afterwards gifted Arsenal with a free kick late on with Arteta stepping up to take it. His effort curled around the wall but a great save from Mignolet meant Liverpool would not concede another.

Chances from Sterling and Cissokho as the game died downed further instilled Liverpool's dominance in this game even when Arsenal had a slightly improved spell and at 90 minutes hundreds of cameras proceeded to take that snap of the scoreboard as Reds fans basked in the delight of beating Arsenal 5-1.

Simply brilliant!

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

Next up for Liverpool is Fulham and the Reds must win that game if they are genuinely serious in their challenge.

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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Table Toppers At Anfield

After a somewhat unexpected draw at The Hawthorns last weekend Liverpool now have to face the might of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday. The Reds appear to have lost some of their consistency of late and it will be interesting to see which side turns up this weekend as Liverpool attempt to create a stumbling block for the Londoners.

Injuries for Liverpool are still pretty much the same with Johnson, Agger, Sakho, Enrique and Lucas all still out. Whilst Arsenal are missing Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini who is half way through a four match ban.

Arsenal are currently top of the pile having lost only three matches all season. The Gunners have also won five out of their last six league fixtures, drawing the other match against Southampton. It's worth noting that two of Arsenal's three losses were away from home to Manchester United and Manchester City and they too also struggled to beat West Brom at The Hawthorns drawing 1-1. So does this mean all hope is not lost for Liverpool on Saturday?

Looking at the Reds recent form of three wins, two draws and one loss you would have to feel Arsenal have the upper hand but Liverpool have been brilliant at home winning nine out of eleven matches. The other positive is that Brendan's side seem to come out against the big teams and whilst we've faced them all away from home, this will be the real test on Saturday as Arsenal have to deal with the obvious effect of an Anfield crowd.

The last time the two sides met was in November last year when Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey got the better of Liverpool. The game before that in January 2013 saw the game end 2-2 with Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson on the score sheet for the Reds that day.

In fact, two goals appears to be something of a theme in this fixture with neither side having scored more than two goals since April 2009 in a goalfest 4-4 draw.

Stat Sandwich

  • Opta reckon Liverpool have caused 29 errors that have led to a goal being scored so far this season, sounds about right to me.
  • Szczesny has 11 clean sheets so far this season.
  • Sturridge has scored in 13 of his last 16 league games.
I'm pretty excited for this fixture because I just get the feeling it'll be the kick up the arse that Liverpool need after the dismal display against West Brom. I'd be kidding myself if I predicted a strong win and I'm certain Arsenal will score but I reckon the Reds are capable of nicking a 2-1 win if they play to the level that we have seen at times this season. 

For me it's vital that Liverpool have a solid defensive performance though with an early goal, I don't feel we can give Arsenal too much time because without the pressure they will relish their time at Anfield and so an early goal from Suarez or Sturridge would be fantastic.

I asked you on Twitter for your score predictions and here are a few of the responses I got.

Wherever you're watching enjoy the match folks! 

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Monday, 3 February 2014

Mistake Costs Liverpool The Win

Liverpool had to settle for a draw at The Hawthorns on Sunday as a scrappy game turned sour when Kolo Toure made a massive mistake setting up Anichebe just after the hour mark. Liverpool were not playing at their best but an early Daniel Sturridge strike looked as though it may be enough to see them through to 90 minutes. Pepe Mel's side though did not give up and a stroke of luck was all they needed to rein in Liverpool's lead.

As with a lot of Liverpool games this season I think you can successfully judge the likely outcome of a game after about 10-15 minutes of us playing. Yesterday it was clear that this was going to be one of Liverpool's off days, nothing was smooth, we were losing possession and we also don't perform as well away from home. The thing was though after such a brilliant win over Everton, everybody, including myself just assumed that this would be a win, perhaps some of this mentality filtered through to the players because at times it definitely looked as though the lads were not fearful enough of West Brom.

In the run up to the first goal West Brom had been causing trouble via Mulumbu and Brunt. Liverpool were dealing with the attacks but it wasn't until 24 minutes when the Reds truly began to create trouble of their own.

An assist from Luis Suarez saw Daniel Sturridge easily tap home the ball to put the Reds into the lead. Calls for offside from West Brom were unfounded and the number 15 immediately went to thank his Uruguayan team mate.

The goal for Liverpool took away some of the anxiousness being created from the slightly sloppy start. Fact is, nobody cares how we go about winning as long as we continue to do so and so at this stage in the game, things were looking good.

The goal boosted Liverpool's confidence and in the run up to half time the Reds were creating chances utilising both Coutinho and Sterling. Sterling in particular was perhaps being the most successful here but once again the end product was completely missing. He has bags and bags of potential but in a game where you wish somebody would just take control it's frustrating to watch him miss chances and mess up crosses. He did however still win man of the match and so that's perhaps some credit although in a game like that one it could have been awarded to anyone!

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first with West Brom forcing Liverpool's defence into action. The Baggies were creating and having the better of the chances but thankfully the Reds were controlling the threat with some good defending and top saves from Mignolet.

Another plus for West Brom was that Luis Suarez was kept relatively quiet, there was the odd occasion when he reached the danger zone but the home side escaped trouble and were still very much in the game in the latter periods of the second half.

At 65 minutes West Brom got that bit of luck they'd been hoping for. For Liverpool fans it was agonising to watch Kolo Toure pass the ball straight to Anichebe, he clearly wasn't going to miss and The Hawthorns began to boing as he levelled up the scoring.

I was reading in the paper this morning both Brendan and Kolo's quotes on the incident and in fairness I do really feel for Toure, it's evident that's he's as pissed off about it as we all are and whilst that doesn't bring us three points, it makes me feel a bit better. Brendan also interestingly pointed out that perhaps Mignolet should not have given the ball to Toure to start with and whilst I also agree with this I still don't feel Toure can escape the blame, it was just a very silly mistake.

In fairness, the Baggies perhaps deserved a goal for their efforts but it was horrible to watch us concede in that manner.

As the game wound down Liverpool created some half chances but nothing really to shout home about and it was clear that it was just another one of those days for Brendan Rodgers and his men.

That old "well at least you didn't lose" phrase seems to come out after games like this and yes, of course it would have been a lot worse to lose but to lose in that fashion is just extremely annoying. However, we still sit in 4th place with Chelsea to play City tonight and so it's not all bad!

Here are a few of the tweets I received from you lot on the game.

Next up for Liverpool is a massive match at Anfield against Arsenal!

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

SAS Look To Punish Baggies

After the disappointment of the January transfer window Liverpool will look to put their lack of purchases behind them on Sunday as they prepare to face West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. Liverpool's last outing saw them emphatically beat Everton and so Brendan Rodgers will be looking for a repeat performance from his side.

Injuries for the Reds mean they are still without Sakho, Enrique and Agger but they have some good news with the return of Joe Allen. West Brom are unable to call upon Nicolas Anelka who has received stitches in a knee injury. Sessegnon is also unavailable but the Baggies have a relatively strong side to choose from.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. The game at Anfield went extremely well for Liverpool who converted four goals via Luis Suarez who scored a hat trick and Daniel Sturridge. James Morrison scored the only goal for the Albion with a penalty on 66 minutes.

Liverpool's last league visit to The Hawthorns however was less than satisfactory. West Brom netted three goals with no response from the Reds who also had to deal with Daniel Agger being sent off.

The Baggies are currently placed 17th in the table hovering above the relegation zone. They've only won one game in their last six and that came at home to Newcastle. Compared to last season the Midlands side seem to be struggling quite a lot, it will be interesting to see whether new manager Pepe Mel can turn things around.

Liverpool are sitting in 4th having gained some ground on the teams above them after slip ups by Chelsea and Arsenal. The Reds will be hoping to pick up another three points on Sunday to further cement their place.

Stat Sandwich
  • Steven Gerrard has scored in Liverpool's last three league games.
  • West Brom have only won one of their last 13 fixtures.
  • Suarez and Sturridge have played 33 games combined and netted 36 goals between them.

For me, this has to be a Liverpool win however I'm not sure it will be as easy as it looks on paper. I think West Brom have the potential to break a still unsteady Liverpool defence but I also feel Liverpool are too strong in attack and so I will opt for a 2-1 Liverpool win on Sunday.

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

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