The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brendan's 100th Match At Spurs


Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday as they prepare to face Pochettino's Spurs side. The Reds fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last Monday and will be looking to improve on mistakes made within that game.

Brendan Rodgers looks as though he is going to introduce Mario Balotelli straight into the starting XI after the Italian has impressed in training. I am so excited to see Balotelli play for us I just hope he can get off to a good start. Another positive for Liverpool is that Lallana should be available to play. The Reds though do have some injury issues in defence with Johnson, Skrtel, Moreno and Enrique all needing to be assessed.

For Spurs they are in a pretty strong position injury wise with just a doubt hanging over Roberto Saldado.

Rodgers has the extra incentive tomorrow of matching records set by Rafael Bentiez and the great Bill Shankly. If Brendan can get all three points he will have won 56 matches out of his first 100 at the club, a feat only beaten by Kenny Dalglish with 62.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. Liverpool battered Spurs 4-0 at Anfield with an won goal and goals from Suarez, Coutinho and Henderson. The fixture at White Hart Lane earlier that season was also brilliant for Liverpool who put five goals past Spurs on that occasion, Luis Suarez also got a brace.

Despite that 5-0 win Liverpool don't actually have a very good record at Spurs and so it is bound to be a difficult game on Sunday.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have not kept a clean sheet in their last eight league games.
  • If Spurs win this fixture it will be the first time they've won three on the trot at the start of the season since 09/10.
  • Liverpool's match tomorrow marks Brendan Rodgers' 100th game in charge.

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received:


It's never an easy task going to Spurs and whilst I think we are capable of winning I can't see past a draw for this one. I'd love nothing more than for Balotelli to get on the score sheet but I also don't think that will happen tomorrow however I'm positive if he starts he will aid Daniel Sturridge's game immensely and I fancy Daniel to grab a goal tomorrow.

I'll probably pop a quid on a Balotelli score cast just in case haha!

Enjoy the match folks!

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Costly Mistakes In 3-1 City Loss


Liverpool fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers' side suffered from defensive mistakes in a game that became extremely frustrating. The Reds started brightly and retained the majority of possession, creating problems for City but perhaps not finding that clinical final ball. An early mistake from Moreno eventually opened the doors for the home side who went from strength to strength once Jovetic converted in the 40th minute.

Rodgers had several new signings to choose from for this game but it was only Alberto Moreno who was given his debut in defence. Sturridge led the attack with Coutinho and Sterling offering support. Mario Balotelli having sealed his £16 million move to Anfield was watching on from the stands.

The first 30 minutes or so were definitely owned by Liverpool. Weaving runs from Coutinho and Sterling forced City's defense to be alert and with some half chances present it looked as though the Reds would be able to capitalise on their early dominance. However Manchester City remained in control and made it difficult for Liverpool to break through.

One thing I immediately noticed is that Daniel Sturridge was struggling to make a real presence. An issue that often arose when we played without Suarez would be that there was never anybody in the box or at least encroaching. At times on Monday evening this was once again occurring. Sturridge found himself pulling wide which he likes to do but this left an issue as neither Coutinho or Sterling were in the box, only on rare occasions leaving Liverpool with little opportunity to truly penetrate the City back four. I'll touch upon this again later.

After failing to find the back of the net it did feel as though it would only be a matter of time before City found their chance. I'd said to the fella after about 30 minutes that I could feel a mistake coming and sure enough it did.

Alberto Moreno who looked really good in the first portion of the game was unfortunately the culprit. What should have been a simple clearance turned into the perfect chance for Jovetic. Moreno perhaps still adjusting seemed to think he had plenty of time to clear the danger and with a lazy swipe of the foot, failed to clear the ball. Jovetic immediately pounced and put the ball past Mignolet with some power.

The Reds reached half time just the one goal down and at this stage it still felt as though we were in the game. This feeling was further cemented when immediately into the second half Liverpool created a chance and Sturridge scored but the goal was called offside. I must admit I thought he was onside but I'd only seen (and still have only seen) one replay, after having a chat with a few people on Twitter the general consensus seems to be that the linesman got it right and so the Reds could not dwell on this issue.

Shortly afterwards, the real blow from Manchester City came, again from Jovetic.

It was another moment for Brendan Rodgers to question the defence as the line seemed to be too easily undone. Jovetic in space was able to score his second of the night after also being involved in the build up for the goal.

It was frustrating for Liverpool who despite the defensive mistakes had to admire City's final balls. This was something the Reds were clearly lacking throughout the game and there would be a mountain to climb now if Liverpool wanted to go home with any points.

A substitution just before the hour mark for Liverpool introduced a spark instantly. Lazar Markovic replaced Philippe Coutinho and he ensured Manchester City knew what they were dealing with. An early link up between himself and Moreno finally undid the City defence in style but the final product wasn't there for the Reds.

City's third goal came just before the 70 minute mark via Sergio Aguero. He'd only been on the pitch a matter of seconds, set up by Jesus Navas, Aguero made it look simple after a right footed shot slipped past Mignolet to give the home side an almost guaranteed three points.

Liverpool did eventually create some panic though after the introduction of Rickie Lambert. I mentioned earlier the presence of Daniel Sturridge and for me it was no surprise that he got a lot more into the game as soon as he had Lambert up top with him. Lambert provides support but he also vitally provides a player for others to link with, for nearly 80 minutes Liverpool were attacking and then struggling to decide where to put their final ball, with Lambert present you either whipped it in to him or if he was in possession he could now whip it to a more free Daniel Sturridge. Obviously Rickie Lambert is not the complete answer and he's never going to play 90 minutes every week with us but this is where Balotelli comes in.

Some would regard Balotelli as a lazy player on occasion but in my opinion this plays to our strengths. Balotelli up top with Sturridge will not only provide the latter with support it will ensure hopefully that somebody is always in the box. Balotelli is often one of those players that is "in the right place at the right time" and some of that bonus comes from the fact he's occasionally lazy. I'm more than happy to accept that side of his play and I hope that along with his bags of potential, this is the time Balotelli can really shine and fit into a team.

Anyway, back to the game.

At 82 minutes the Reds found their goal. And how did the goal come about? Daniel Sturridge whipped in the ball into an awaiting Rickie Lambert his header was saved but he caused enough trouble meaning Zabaleta turned the ball into his own net. A consolation goal for Liverpool at least made things feel a bit better.

There's no shame at all in losing at the Etihad, I think it just felt worse because of the mistakes. However despite the result there were definitely positives from the game. The potential link up between Moreno and Markovic was definitely one that intrigued me.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Tottenham Hotspur!

_______________________

JD Score Predictor League

Still top of the league is my good friend Josh who has extended his points tally to 31 (Brurgh)

In second place is Adhunt and I'm sure you will be delighted to know that he's an Everton fan so we all need to catch him up!! Haha he's on a respectable 24 points.

Don't forget to get your predictions in for next week's matches!

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Reds Aim For Elusive Etihad Win


Liverpool are ready to face Manchester City on Bank Holiday Monday as Brendan Rodgers looks to continue a winning start with his side. Manchester City pipped Liverpool to the post last season and rivalries have since grown more intense.

With Liverpool almost securing the signing of Mario Balotelli, he unfortunately will not be sealed in time to feature against his old club. Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without Agger, Flanagan, Lallana and Assaidi. New signing Markovic though may be able to feature after recovering from an injury picked up in pre-season.

For Manchester City they are looking pretty strong, only unable to call upon Negredo who is out for some time with a metatarsal injury.

Manchester City's last game saw them pick up a relatively easy win over Newcastle United with Silva and Aguero on the score sheet. Liverpool's last game saw them eventually collect a win over Southampton but it was hard work for the Reds with goals via Sterling and Sturridge.

I'm quite a forgetful fan if I'm honest but nobody can forget the last meeting between these two sides. Liverpool won the immensely important fixture at Anfield in April after "COUTINHOOOOOOOOOOOO!" scored in the 78th minute to take the game to 3-2.

In fact, most games between the two sides end up being exciting affairs. The last meeting at the Etihad saw Liverpool lose the game 2-1 but prior to this the sides have seen out three 2-2 draws!

Stat Sandwich

  • The last time Liverpool won at the Etihad in the league was October 2008 with Torres and Kuyt on the score sheet.
  • Manchester City have lost just one of their last 20 home league games.
  • Liverpool have scored in every away league game since October 2013.

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





My score prediction is 2-1 to Liverpool although if I'm being really honest it's more likely to be a score draw, however I have faith and so I shall be popping a quid on that score line. I'll probably have a couple of other bets too so keep your eye on Twitter if you want to know who I'm backing haha.

Whatever the scoreline this is undoubtedly going to be an exciting game. I'm also hoping that Markovic is fit to start as he looks like he could be a skillful addition to our squad and I feel he will thrive playing his first league game against a side like Manchester City.

Wherever you are watching, enjoy the match folks!

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Sterling Start To The Season


Brendan Rodgers got his team off to a winning start on Sunday afternoon as Liverpool eventually got the better of an effective Southampton side. An opening goal from Raheem Sterling was soon cancelled out by a creative Southampton goal. Daniel Sturridge though was present for Liverpool late on to seal all three points.

Rodgers selected new signings Manquillo and Lovren to feature in defence for Liverpool with a front three of Sturridge, Sterling and Coutinho.

The game started steadily for the Reds who built up play to some half chances. The first real effort came from Daniel Sturridge who from a long way out saw his strike fly just high and wide to the left of goal.

Capitalising on this positive play though Liverpool soon found their opening goal. Some hard work from Jordan Henderson to regain possession allowed him to find space. Spotting Raheem Sterling, Henderson then made a sublime long range pass which the youngster was able to latch on to. One on one with the keeper, Sterling slotted his effort past Fraser Forster to put Liverpool in front.

It was a cracking goal for Liverpool and with Luis Suarez still fresh on everybody's mind it was nice to see that the flair was still present in the side.

After the goal Southampton appeared the more determined side for a long period and it was Koeman's team who looked more likely to find the next goal of the game.

A Ward-Prowse free kick late in the second half forced Simon Mignolet into action and shortly afterwards a great effort from Schneiderlin forced Mignolet into yet another full stretch save.

With Liverpool still ahead going into the second half, it was hoped the Reds could regain control of the game however Southampton had no plans of giving up and at 55 minutes undid a Liverpool defence who looked pretty solid up until this stage.

The link up between Tadic and Clyne was fantastic, a back heel from the former to the latter completely beat a lackadaisical Liverpool defence and Clyne converted with a top finish.

Southampton now back in the game looked a very dangerous outfit, they may have been missing key players sold mainly to us but Koeman had done a great job setting up his side with some of his new signings also shining through.

For Liverpool's signings things were also going pretty well, Manquillo performed well in his Premier League debut, stemming a lot of action from the left hand side of Southampton whilst Lovren appeared to pair well with Martin Skrtel who also had a good game.

Shortly after scoring it was almost deja vu for Liverpool when Tadic and Clyne paired up again to break down the defence but thankfully the danger this time was cleared.

At the other end Liverpool who had now brought Lambert into action created a chance for the ex Southampton man but his effort wasn't accurate.

A stint of Liverpool pressure though eventually provided Daniel Sturridge with the opportunity to win the game for the Reds. A cross into the box from Jordan Henderson eventually fell to Raheem Sterling who flicked the ball on to Sturridge. A rather simple finish that he made look difficult saw Sturridge tap the ball to the right of Fraser Forster and into the back of the net.

There was late drama for Liverpool though in the midst of celebration as Schneiderlin smashed an effort off the crossbar having been tipped on to it by top class reactions from Simon Mignolet. The rebound then fell to Shane Long who completely misplaced his header.

It was a tough, tough game for Liverpool and whilst the start of the season is always difficult there were definitely areas noticeable that could do with improving. However, Sterling and Sturridge were on the score sheet and most importantly Liverpool collected all 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 a huge tie against Manchester City!

JD Score Predictor 

You may have noticed on here or on Twitter that I've set up a score predictor league. If you haven't joined but would like to, you still can! You will have missed the first week of scores but JD just gives late comers the average score from the whole league to start you off with so just follow this link - http://predictor.jdsports.co.uk/

And join my league:

League name - The Liver Bird
Password - 5times

***UPDATE***

Top of the league this week is actually one of my mates from home which is bloody annoying! Haha

Josh with his team "Brurgh" ... brilliant name. Is top of the league on 18 points with the Chelsea game tonight still to come.

Hilariously, I am 50th out of 58 in my own league... I told you I was crap at this!

Here's hoping I can do better next week.

Any questions about the league, just drop me a tweet - @LFCKirstyLFC

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Friday, 15 August 2014

Reds Kick Off Season Against Southampton


Brushing aside the fact that Liverpool have purchased half of the Southampton squad, Sunday's fixture should be an exciting start to the season for the Reds who will be looking to continue from where they left off. With the majority of pundits already giving Liverpool no hope, for me, this is perfect. We don't want any unneeded pressure and if you think we've got no chance then so be it.

My prediction for this season is actually a third place finish. However this is also dependent on us hopefully signing another striker before the window is out. Let me know your prediction for where Liverpool will end the league in the comments below!

So firstly, injury news for both teams.

Southampton are looking pretty strong with just Jay Rodriguez unavailable for this clash. For Liverpool there are a few players out. Agger is unavailable through a knee injury and it's a similar story for Flanagan. New signing Lazar Markovic picked up a hamstring injury in pre-season but could possibly return for this game. Then of course there is Adam Lallana who is out at least until September whilst Borini, Ilori and Assaidi are also unavailable for Liverpool to call upon.

Both teams have been busy in the transfer window and below is a brief outline of some of the ins and outs.

SOUTHAMPTON - IN

Dusan Tadic - FC Twente
Fraser Forster - Celtic
Graziano Pelle - Feyenoord
Shane Long - Hull
Ryan Bertrand - Chelsea
Florin Gardos - Steaua Bucharest
Saphir Taider - Inter Milan

SOUTHAMPTON - OUT

Luke Shaw - Manchester United
Adam Lallana - Liverpool
Dejan Lovren - Liverpool
Rickie Lambert - Liverpool
Calum Chambers - Arsenal
Jonathan Forte - Oldham
Jordan Turnbull - Swindon

LIVERPOOL - IN

Adam Lallana - Southampton
Dejan Lovren - Southampton
Rickie Lambert - Southampton
Lazar Markovic - Benfica
Alberto Moreno - Sevilla
Divock Origi - Lille
Emre Can - Bayer Leverkusen
Javier Manquillo - Atletico Madrid

LIVERPOOL - OUT

Luis Suarez - Barcelona
Pepe Reina - Bayern Munich
Iago Aspas - Sevilla
Luis Alberto - Malaga
Martin Kelly - Crystal Palace

Looking back at the signings for Liverpool it's clear to see that Brendan is trying to bolster the squad for the future. With some young players coming in this will hopefully stand Liverpool in good stead but I do still currently worry about potential issues raised should Daniel Sturridge get an injury.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. Liverpool won the game 3-0 at Southampton with Sterling, Suarez and Gerrard on the score sheet, the latter via a penalty.

Southampton's last visit to Anfield however was more positive for them after they collected all three points via a goal from that man Dejan Lovren. Southampton's record at Anfield is actually decent but with new manager Ronald Koeman at the helm and some key players missing, will they be able to get the better of Liverpool on Sunday?

Southampton finished last season in a very respectable 8th place with 56 points. After an explosive start things did tail off a bit for Pochettino's side but they were always a threat in each game. Liverpool on the other hand had a simply fantastic season going agonisingly close to the Premier League title. It was heartbreak for the players and fans to watch Manchester City lift the trophy but as is now folklore... we go again.

Regular readers may be wondering where the stat sandwich is, unfortunately it's missing this week as I've had to do the preview a bit earlier than usual but it will be back for the next preview!

I asked you on Twitter for your score predictions for this game and here are a few of the tweets I received.
My prediction for this one is a 2-0 win but I don't think I'll be placing any bets tomorrow as I want to get a feel for the team first and see who Brendan starts etc. Speaking of predictions, finally can I just take two seconds to ask for your help!

JD Sports have a new score predictor game that they have recently released and aside from being good fun they've also offered an incentive to bloggers if they can get 50 people into their mini league. As a pretty skint student I'd really love to get some vouchers so I can get a Liverpool shirt and so if you've got two ticks please sign up and join us, there are already 20+ people in the league and I aim to post updates from it throughout the season on the blog.

Simply follow this link - http://predictor.jdsports.co.uk/

Register, make your predictions for this week's Premier League matches and then join my mini league (details below)

League name - The Liver Bird
Password - 5times

I'd really appreciate it!

Here are some of the prizes available whilst playing the game on the site too.



When you join drop me a tweet so I can thank you and also if you have any issues signing up feel free to tweet me too - @LFCKirstyLFC

Cheers!

Enjoy the match folks.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Reds Round Off Pre Season With Dortmund Win


Liverpool completed their last pre-season fixture at Anfield on Sunday as the Reds faced the German side Borussia Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp's team have been a formidable force in the Bundesliga making this a glittering tie in front of the Anfield faithful who are preparing for another season hopefully packed full of surprises.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Philippe Coutinho sealed an emphatic 4-0 win for the Reds who controlled the game from the off. New signings Manquillo, Can and Lambert also featured in the game with Brendan praising their performances particularly from his defenders.

After losing the final of the ICC in the States to Manchester United it was a positive for the Reds to end their pre-season on a high and as Brendan Rodgers continues to scour the transfer market, Reds can only hope that there is still more business to be done.

Manquillo is the latest addition to the Liverpool side and despite being a loan deal many would agree that it's an astute move by Rodgers who is looking to integrate youth into his Liverpool side whilst maintaining a balance of experience.

Rickie Lambert was obviously a massive story of the transfer window so far for Liverpool and whilst I am sure he will influence games and grab a couple of goals it is slightly concerning when considering him as the sole option up front should Sturridge get injured.

The fact we have flair in the likes of Sterling and Coutinho will obviously help that matter should it arise but I can't help but hope that Brendan manages to secure an established striker before the window is out.

Whatever happens, here's hoping the Reds can get off to a flying start against Southampton and be sure to check back here on The Liver Bird for the first match preview of the new season!

P.s. If you're on Sportlobster you can also catch me doing some short blogs over there so give us a follow! - http://www.sportlobster.com/fan/lfckirstylfc

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