The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Balo Scores In Late Swansea Win


Liverpool left it very late to progress past Swansea City in the league cup on Tuesday night but eventually with the help of a Mario Balotelli goal the Reds did enough to squeeze through. Dejan Lovren's goal in the fifth minute of time added on secured the win for Brendan Rodgers' side.

The game got off to a steady yet unproductive start for the home side as Liverpool were maintaining a lot of possession but struggling to create any real danger in the final third. Brendan Rodgers had certainly shook up the side with Fabio Borini getting his first start in a while. The Italian put on a good display in front of the Anfield crowd but his real moment to shine would occur later in the game when his Italian compatriot would enter play.

Philippe Coutinho or "the magician" as many like to call him, was another positive on display for Liverpool. His skill and speed allowed him to crack through the Swansea defence on occasion but there was still no end product for the Reds. It was a similar story for the majority of the first half whilst Swansea opted to rely on a counter attack and seemed happy to allow Liverpool to keep the ball.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first. It was clear the game plan from Swansea was to rely on their defensive abilities, keep Liverpool out and then hit them when they least expected it. Their plan certainly worked when at 65 minutes The Swans got themselves off the mark.

A ball over our defence reached Marvin Emnes who converted to put his side ahead. Swansea had done exactly what so many teams have done to Liverpool and they now looked the more likely to score again. Thankfully though Brendan Rodgers had something up his sleeve.

Mario Balotelli who I was praying was going to start because I had a feeling Brendan would start a 4-4-2, had to settle for starting from the bench. According to Colin Pascoe he also picked up a knock in the warm up and so may not have featured at all but a side of the Italian's personality that we never usually see displayed how important it was for him to feature and support his team.

Shortly before this substitution Adam Lallana had also entered the field of play meaning Liverpool now had some fresh legs. At 85 minutes, Balotelli's chance finally came. A simply sublime cross from Fabio Borini flew into the centre of the box, begging for somebody to be on the end of it and finally, FINALLY Mario was there! With a brilliant finish our controversial forward had equalised in front of the Kop end and I went bloody mental!

I've been so, so desperate for him to score and do well and realising that a goal could really boost his confidence I'm so chuffed he got on the score sheet last night and in such fashion. He will never be perfect but I honestly feel he will go on to improve now and even more so when he gets the chance to properly pair up with Daniel Sturridge.

With the clock running down Liverpool now had to find another goal or risk this game going into extra time. Something I really didn't want with a 5:45am alarm set!

A stroke of luck for Liverpool though meant Fernandez was sent off for Swansea two minutes into extra time. It wasn't a red card but the decrease in personnel numbers wasn't necessarily the advantage for Liverpool it was the added time it allowed.

On 90+4:46 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren converted the winner. Assisted by a Philippe Coutinho set piece the defender was free at the back post and headed home to secure Liverpool's place in the next round!

I love a bit of late drama and it was nice to see us score a goal with a defender! Swansea looked gutted and they should have been. They kept their nerve and concentration for so long that it looked as though their game plan had got the better of us but if there's one thing Liverpool do it's is play until the end and with a stroke of lady luck, thankfully we managed to win!

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
As you may have seen from Twitter, unfortunately there will not be a Newcastle match preview on the blog as I am in Liverpool for my birthday celebrations and will not be taking the laptop, there will however be a match report! Apologies!

P.s. If you haven't already or have only voted once, please don't forget to take a second to support me in my bid to win best #Female blogger at the football blogging awards. All you have to do is tweet this - "I am voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC as best #Female blogger"

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Reds Face Swans In League Cup


Liverpool have not been left with much time to dwell on their 0-0 draw with Hull at the weekend as Brendan Rodgers prepares his side to face Swansea at Anfield in the league cup on Tuesday evening. With both sides perhaps opting to shake things up a bit it could be a very different XI fielded by the Reds.

After improving the overall performance on Saturday afternoon, many fans are hoping that Rickie Lambert will be given a start in this tie. For me we should be playing in a 4-4-2 anyway but if the manager disagrees with that system there isn't necessarily much to lose by risking it in a league cup tie. Alongside Balotelli in this fixture it could further help a forged partnership up front before the much needed return of Daniel Sturridge.

The last time the two sides met was in February this year. In a seven goal thriller Jordan Henderson eventually found the Reds a winner in the 74th minute. The game ended 4-3.

Our last meeting with Swansea in the league cup was in 2012. The match at Anfield ended badly for the Reds after they conceded three goals. Luis Suarez was the only Liverpool player on the score sheet that night.

Cup form against Swansea hasn't always been bad though. Way back in 1990 Liverpool put eight past the Swans in the FA Cup!

Liverpool are currently 7th in the Premier League after drawing with Hull whilst Swansea sit just above us in 6th. Swansea won their first game in six at the weekend by putting two goals past Leicester.

Stat Sandwich

  • Rodgers has won two of his five matches as Liverpool boss in the league cup so far.
  • Swansea are unbeaten in four games against Premier League opposition in the league cup.
  • Liverpool have not beaten a Premier League side in the league cup at Anfield since 2006.

This is going to be a tough game for the Reds however I feel the freedom allowed to Rodgers to choose a different team and play around with the tactics will create a decent performance. I definitely can see Rickie Lambert nicking a goal if he starts and it would be brilliant if Liverpool could progress through to the next round simply for confidence reasons.

Any goals conceded will feel like a hammer blow to our current defence and so it would be nice to try and maintain a clean sheet on Tuesday. Realistically though I feel Swansea are going to outplay us and probably win the game. I rarely predict a loss for Liverpool (even though we have to lose sometimes!) but my prediction for this one is a 2-1 Swansea win.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Simply tweet "I am voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC as best #Female blogger"

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Goalless Draw Against Hull


Liverpool could only manage a 0-0 draw with Hull on Saturday as Brendan Rodgers' side looked lacking in ideas. The defence looked a little more competent but only because Hull were quiet in front of goal. With the newspapers choosing to focus on Balotelli once again, I'm not even going to bother going there this week you can read my current thoughts on Mario here. Despite all the controversy from the Real Madrid game, Balotelli did start.

Liverpool's first real chance came early in the second half after a Steven Gerrard corner found its way to Dejan Lovren. The defender's header was blocked off the line and two follow up efforts from the same player also failed to find the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards Balotelli got his first chance of the game after deciding to shoot from an angle. His effort was saved and to be honest it was always going to be from that area.

The Reds began the game with some half chances but it was quickly becoming clear that it was going to take something special to break down Steve Bruce's Hull side and get on the score sheet. An analysis from Ruud Gullit on Match of the Day summed it up for me, our set up against the way Hull played yesterday during the first half just did not work. Sterling particularly was drifting into the centre of the pitch instead of forcing his way down the outside like he usually would.

Hull's best chances in the first half fell to Livermore and Huddlestone. Livermore was set up after Ben Arfa cracked our defence with ease and got behind Manquillo, luckily for the Reds, Mignolet saved Livermore's shot. Huddlestone had a pop from range also in the first half but his effort was deflected.

The second half was much of the same for Liverpool until the hour mark when Brendan Rodgers decided to make a double substitution. I've been calling for us to play a 4-4-2 since we signed Balotelli and there was a sigh of relief from myself when I realised Rickie Lambert was coming on.

Rickie Lambert can still do a job and is a lot more worthy of being on the pitch than most people give him credit for. I was elated to see him enter the field of play alongside Coutinho who would also instantly change things for Liverpool.

Now in a more suitable set up to combat the Hull side the Reds looked 10x better in the latter stages of this half. By no means were we "outstanding" as Brendan chose to describe us, but we were improved and it makes you wonder why we haven't just tried the 4-4-2 before. Just because Sturridge got injured does not mean it makes sense to play Balotelli alone in my opinion.

A Philippe Coutinho corner in the second half almost found the head of Mario Balotelli who was now getting himself into much better positions knowing he had Rickie Lambert to support him. Shortly after the mistimed header Balotelli found himself with another chance. A lovely ball from Rickie Lambert to Emre Can allowed the latter to whip in a ball to Mario. Unfortunately Balotelli then committed a foul in the box however it was good, positive play from the Italian, something we have been drastically missing (because he's been alone!).

Balotelli soon afterwards was in the mix once again, this time a Steven Gerrard free kick found its way to the forward, he took some time to make his final decision but attempted to set up Lovren. Another thing that frustrates me here is that people moan Balotelli is selfish, then the one time he decides to attempt to offer an assist it's "oh no, bloody shoot" he'll never be able to win.

A sad moment later on in the second half came when Jordan Henderson was booked for simulation. He's not usually the type to partake in these sort of activities but by clutching his shoulder in order to try and overshadow the incident it was clear Jordan had accepted he'd perhaps been a bit naughty here.

Yet another piece of attacking play then followed with who else but Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli. Lambert set up Balo beautifully but the Italian went to ground after a push. With shouts for a penalty we were never going to get one for that and he did go down a bit easy but once again, he was there, his movement was good and he was poised. It's an improvement and all down to a simple formation change.

Perhaps the most feasible chance of a goal for the Reds other than Balo's in the dying moments fell to Steven Gerrard. Rickie Lambert played the captain through and as he drove through the box it looked certain he would smash the ball into the back of the net however his effort was blocked.

Philippe Coutinho then saw a chance tipped over the bar by Hull's third choice goalkeeper and despite the increased tempo from Liverpool it was evident we were not going to find the back of the net.

The final chance of the game fell to, yes, Mario Balotelli. Some great skill from Coutinho allowed him to create space and then whip a ball into an awaiting Balotelli. His attempt was poor and despite the save he simply should have done better but for me it was all about the positives regarding Mario.

As a whole, Liverpool were once against disappointing but for me this was down to the tactical set up at the start of the game, I once again just did not agree with Brendan's decisions and for me it was no surprise that Liverpool woke up in the second half when Rickie Lambert and Philippe Coutinho were brought into the game.

Balotelli did not score and obviously, this is his job, there's no real excuse for his lack of return, however you would be an idiot to deny that his performance yesterday, once played in a 4-4-2 was much improved. If this set up had continued for 45minutes of the game, 60 minutes or even more, you have to question whether eventually Liverpool would have found a goal.

There are several problems to solve at Liverpool Football Club currently and as much as people will try to make you think it, Mario Balotelli is not the root cause of them all. It was another pretty average performance from Liverpool yesterday but if Rodgers can remove some of his stubbornness to stick with his original formation and consider starting both Lambert and Balotelli or Borini and Balotelli and play them for a large portion of the game then I think, just maybe, things will improve. As long as we find a brand new defence like...

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

Next up for Liverpool is Swansea in the league cup.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Hull Of A Game For Reds


After an eye opening game against Real Madrid midweek, Liverpool will certainly be looking to show those watching what they are really capable of. With the tie coming so quickly after a Champions League game though and with a relatively thin squad, you have to wonder how this will pan out for Brendan Rodgers on Saturday.

On paper of course Liverpool should beat Hull, the Reds have not necessarily played their best during the course of this season however they are still 5th in the league. Hull on the other hand currently find themselves in 11th but only three points behind Liverpool.

The last time the two sides met was in January this year on New Year's Day. The Reds won that game at Anfield 2-0 with goals from Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez. The Reds last trip Hull ended badly though as they fell to a 3-1 defeat. Martin Skrtel scored an own goal during that game.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan. It's Hull however who have suffered the most injury wise this week having lost Dawson and Jelavic for up to six weeks after they both picked up injuries against Arsenal. They have also been forced to play their third choice goalkeeper with McGregor and Harper both injured.

Stat Sandwich
  • Steven Gerrard has three goals in two starts against Hull at Anfield.
  • Hull have only kept three clean sheets so far after 13 matches in all comps.
  • The Reds have lasted 48 league games without a goalless draw.
I'm quite concerned about tomorrow's game as I feel it could be a real banana skin. I'm also worried that Brendan is going to take the decision to drop Balotelli which for me will not help him whatsoever. 

I mentioned on Twitter that despite the jokes, we should chuck Kolo in defence and see if he can do any better because to be honest after the recent state of our defence I'm willing to try anything!

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


Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

"Sheer Madness"


"Sheer madness" that is the descriptive phrase Mark Lawrenson has selected after watching Liverpool lose 3-0 to Real Madrid. Surely a reaction like that can only be warranted by the poor defensive performance? No? ... No. Apparently it is "sheer madness" that Mario Balotelli would swap his shirt with an opposition player at half time, forgive me for thinking Lawro has pushed the 'overkill' button here.

I never set out for this report to be so heavily focused on Mario but after watching the media reaction bubble from a molehill to a mountain, I simply had to voice my opinion.

Several Liverpool fans never wanted Balotelli in the first place, that's fine. These people are not the ones I hold a frustration with, nor am I necessarily frustrated with the rest of our fanbase who are rightly raising questions about Balotelli's performances. My issue lies with those who are making him a scapegoat and the media who love nothing more than to write sensationalist crap about the Italian.

A regular criticism of Balotelli is that he is a lazy player and he is. I knew this, you knew this and most importantly, Brendan Rodgers knew this before we signed him. Secondly, you will never get the best out of Balotelli by playing him alone and in a side that has a very dire supply line.

Whilst these issues do not offer him an excuse for a poor start to the season I do feel that some people are being overly harsh. For me, to take a striker off when you're 3-0 down against Real Madrid makes no sense. Rodgers pleaded that the decision was made because he wanted to add some more "movement" to the team (a jibe at Balotelli's laziness I suppose) and in fairness, there was more movement but were there goals? No. The increase in movement was also partly down to the fact that Real took their foot off the gas in my opinion but what do I know ay?

The spotlight placed on Mario and the shirt swapping incident in this game has frankly been ridiculous, do you think Madrid fans are going spare at Pepe? It has offered the perfect cover story for Liverpool who are struggling to find excuses for the real issue in the side - the shocking back four.

It's ironic too in my opinion for a club like ours to offer to teach Balotelli the "culture in English football" when we sat back and brushed under the carpet the fact our last forward had bitten a man for the third time... If Balotelli had scored five goals already in a Liverpool shirt, nobody would have said anything about that shirt swap. He just hasn't earnt the right to behave in the way he does yet and for some fans it's just too much.

Anyway, on to the game.

Liverpool actually started the game very brightly. For the first ten minutes or so with the roaring Anfield soundtrack in the background it felt like the Reds were well on their way to another special European night. Things would quickly change though for the home side.

Cristiano Ronaldo found his first ever goal at Anfield just after the 20 minute mark. There were no real qualms about this goal it was just classic Ronaldo and Liverpool had to deal with that.

After starting with a decent spell it seemed possible that Liverpool would be able to create another good portion of play despite having conceded. Sterling was causing several issues for the Madrid back line whilst Joe Allen worked hard in an attempt to protect his back four. And they bloody needed protecting.

Just before the half hour mark Real had undone our defence with a looping header from Karim Benzema. Our current back four, no matter what players are chosen just cannot seem to work as a unit. I mentioned in a recent match report the lack of communication between Skrtel and Lovren add to this a still brand new Alberto Moreno and Glen Johnson and you are just asking for trouble. There always seems to be one member of the four who's lapsed away or been drawn elsewhere leaving Liverpool unprepared at the back and it's just not good enough. Skrtel and Lovren for me are decent defenders but they need to learn to work in a unit!

If you thought this was bad, the third goal was just shocking and Simon Mignolet had an absolute mare. Another topic I've covered a lot on this blog is Simon Mignolet. As a big fan of Reina I never really understood why we got rid of him but when I heard we were signing Mignolet I totally understood, young, upcoming lad who can grow with the team. However as the games have gone by it's becoming very clear that I personally hold no trust in our goalkeeper, he is extremely inconsistent. Which is soddin' annoying because some of the saves he makes are world class, then he goes and does what he did last night.

The corner was whipped into the box from Pepe and Simon Mignolet had made the decision to leave his line. In the instant that he makes this decision he simply must deal with the danger but his reaction was extremely poor. Failing to clear the ball Karim Benzema took the opportunity to score his second goal of the night and Real Madrid's third.

I was pissed off at this point. Yes it's Real Madrid, yes they're a bloody good side but this was pretty shite from Liverpool. The best moment of the whole game for Liverpool came right at the end of the first half when Philippe Coutinho strook a stinging shot that smashed off the post.

As we all know by now, Mario Balotelli was taken off immediately for the second half with Adam Lallana coming on as his replacement. I don't have much to say about the second half if I'm perfectly honest I was just annoyed. Lallana admittedly did make a difference and he showed more effort than some players on the pitch.

Later joined by Can and Markovic, I then got even more annoyed because to be brutally honest it's a bit disheartening when these signings are your "game changers". Again, in fairness, they added movement, we did liven up a bit but in terms of chances at goal it was pretty much the same as the first half. Having removed Henderson the balance was affected in midfield and passing also decreased. It just didn't work for me and I knew we wouldn't find the back of the net with that second half team. Another thing that annoyed me (can you tell I was miffed last night?! haha) was that three substitutions were made when we were 3-0 down without even apparently considering Rickie Lambert, where was the harm in chucking him on for the last 15? It just didn't make sense at all to me from Brendan last night I'm afraid and I hope for a better set up and better decisions for the next leg.

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



Next up for Liverpool is Hull at home.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Classic European Night In Store For Reds


Spanish giants Real Madrid will make their way onto the Anfield turf on Wednesday night as Liverpool attempt to recreate one of numerous classic European nights in front of the Kop. With news filtering through that Gareth Bale will also be missing for the tie, every bonus will aid Brendan Rodgers' side as he searches for a landmark win.

Despite the Welshman being missing from their squad Real Madrid are also without Sergio Ramos who has a calf problem. For Liverpool they are without Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan. Brendan Rodgers will select an XI from a now much stronger squad after boosts in fitness.

The last time the two sides met was in an unforgettable 4-0 win at Anfield back in March 2009. In one of the peak Rafa seasons, the Reds absolutely ripped apart Madrid with goals from Torres, Gerrard and Dossena.

Real Madrid have the small matter of Barcelona to deal with at the weekend and it will be hard for manager Carlo Ancelotti not to maintain one eye on that fixture. With this in mind, could it be a weakened XI fielded by the away side tomorrow? It's easy to presume Liverpool are currently a beatable side after following league performances however, form goes out the window in the Champions League. When you're playing under the floodlights in a game like this at Anfield, anything can happen.

Real Madrid are certainly not short of fire power having scored 10 goals in their last two league matches. By contrast, Liverpool have struggled in attack, despite scoring three against QPR (two of which were own goals) the Reds only have 13 goals in total for their league campaign so far this season.

Mario Balotelli has come under fire after his performance against QPR. I knew as soon as we signed him he would be a regular talking point on this blog, partly because I'm slightly obsessed with him but also because I knew he would split opinions and make headlines.

Balotelli has obviously not been up to par of late but as Brendan has come out and said he's a big game player and just you watch him go and bloody score the winner against Real Madrid now. Fact is, even if he managed that, there would still be a lot of criticism for him. Rightly or wrongly so, I still don't feel people are going to change their opinions and whilst Rodgers continues to play Balotelli without any real support, we will continue to see this poor side of him.

If I was picking the team tomorrow I'd play Borini up front with Balotelli to be honest. In the brief periods they have played together it has worked pretty well, plus they're both Italian, Italians have weird connections like twins yeah? Haha.

I'd also like to see Lucas in the midfield for this one or start Joe Allen. Both players add a much needed balance for me and work very well in a 4-4-2 set up.

The positive about tomorrow is that Real Madrid will come at us. Liverpool have looked very poor in the league so far but this is partly due to the set up and tactical decisions of the opposition. The one game Liverpool played well in was against Spurs and why? Because Pochettino sets his sides up to attack, they don't sit and block every move. Teams like QPR and West Ham have enforced the latter style against the Reds and then penalised our defensive weaknesses. Tomorrow whilst I still feel we will concede and possibly a few goals, I also think we'll find the back of the net because the likes of Sterling, Coutinho, Balotelli etc will have more freedom.

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

I have to agree with Pat above for my prediction, if I was popping a quid on the scoreline I'd say 2-2 for the reasons briefly mentioned in the above paragraph. As always I hope for better but it's going to be a very tough game for the Reds tomorrow.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 20 October 2014

Job Dunne


It's a rare occasion when ten minutes of a match end up making the bulk of your match report but that's exactly what has happened after Sunday's eventual win over QPR. An own goal from Richard Dunne after an hour of play appeared at one stage to be the only difference between the two sides however mayhem would ensue within the final moments of the game, denying a gutted Harry Redknapp his second win of the season.

Liverpool began the game with a slightly unexpected XI after Brendan Rodgers opted to rest a few players with one eye on the Real Madrid fixture in the week. QPR opted for a 4-4-2 which has been a problematic formation for Liverpool's back four of late and nothing changed in this game.

The first half for the Reds was very lacklustre, we were quiet in attack and struggling to maintain possession, it almost looked as though the game plan was to "hope QPR got tired" (hold back your Sterling jokes!).

Balotelli alone up front was again poorly supported in my opinion and was never going to have a successful impact on this game, whilst many will know I am his biggest fan I cannot back him up after some points yesterday. Namely his miss in front of an open goal, I slapped my leg so hard after that I think I've bruised it! I just desperately want him to do well and for me, the abuse he is getting on social media is too far. We all like and dislike people and yes his miss was diabolical but how does lambasting him help? In the situation we are in I think he needs our continued support on AND off the pitch. There, I've got the "Balotelli" section out the way.

Back to the timeline of the game... QPR were creating all the chances in the first half, Charlie Austin in particularl caused issues for the Liverpool defence. It's no secret that our back four of any grouping has been very poor this season and once again travelling Reds were forced to hide in shame as the might of rock bottom QPR ran through the back line as if it wasn't there. I criticise Mignolet now and again but if he wasn't between the sticks yesterday, things would have been a hell of a lot worse.

Somehow Liverpool managed to plod on into the second half without conceding a goal, unfortunately they didn't look like they were going to score either. Until Richard Dunne decided to up his own goal tall of course.

The defender turned the ball into his own net after a quickly taken Liverpool free kick. The Reds had been extremely lucky at this point and to be fair, in games such as this a stroke of luck is usually what changes things but after such a poor display from Liverpool there was no way QPR deserved to have gone behind in such a manner.

Shortly before the goal Liverpool had brought on Joe Allen and Philippe Coutinho in place of Emre Can and Adam Lallana. For me, this changed the game immediately. Allen offered more balance in midfield whilst Coutinho's attacking flair gave a now tired QPR something to think about.

As time ticked closer to the game being over, the Reds began to create some sparks. If only they'd have approached the game in this manner from the off?! At 86 minutes however our dodgy defence reared its ugly head. A ball into the box was met by Vargas who converted to put QPR back into the game.

At this stage, having watched the whole game unfold, I would of happily taken a draw. Out of nowhere though a speedy break from Liverpool saw Steven Gerrard set up Philippe Coutinho, his shot with the help of a deflection put Liverpool back into the lead with just stoppage time left to go.

This was ridiculous, I was up on the sofa, this felt on a par with Coutinho's City goal only back then we were bloody brilliant and now I was just so happy that after all that shite we'd probably nabbed three points...

Two minutes later though and Vargas had wiped those precious points away. A header to the bottom left of goal broke Liverpool's hearts as they picked themselves up off the floor to restart play again almost certain they'd blown it.

But no! There was still time left for another kiss from lady luck for Liverpool. Another own goal after another quick break from the Reds saw Caulker turn the ball into the back of his own net. What's more annoying is that if Caulker would have left it Balotelli probably would have netted and maybe redeemed himself for that shocking miss?? Haha.

It was a crazy end to a frankly unexplainable game. We in no way deserved to win that game, our defence was all over the place we had no real flair until the substitutions were made, QPR worked hard and blocked us out only to fall in the final minute. But, that's football and as a Liverpool fan for the time being, all you're arsed about is those three points.

Then you sit down and realise that Suarez is never coming back, Sturridge is made of glass, Balotelli seriously needs to find the back of the net soon, your defence is patched together with a mish-mash of frankly average players and things just aren't looking good.

The thing that annoys me about the defence is that I'm convinced it's that they are not working as a unit, as lone players they are pretty good defenders in my opinion, especially Skrtel. They need to be drilled to perfection and I also think we'd be far better off with Flanno back! I'm no expert either but Skrtel and Lovren don't communicate correctly and for me this is because neither wants to succumb to the other, they're both barking orders when for me there should be one man in charge in the back four, you'd never get this issue with Carra.

Anyway, that's done and dusted. The sooner we forget about that and just be thankful that we won the better.

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

Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of Real Madrid at Anfield... Game on?!?!
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Early warning, Real Madrid preview will be quite late as I'm at my placement 8-4 then at my Molineux job from 6-8 so please bear with me, cheers!

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Injury Blow For Reds Prior To QPR Clash


Liverpool make the trip to Loftus Road on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers' side aim to pick up where they left off in the league. News of Daniel Sturridge picking up another injury though has left kopites concerned as the Reds look for an alternative option in attack.

Mario Balotelli is obviously the man Brendan will be looking to but in my opinion there's no point playing him unless you forge the team to support him. There have been several calls from fans on Twitter to sit Steven Gerrard behind Mario tomorrow and I personally would love to see this.

Injuries for Liverpool as we know begin with the devastating loss of Daniel Sturridge. Jon Flanagan is also out long term but there are several players for the Reds who are nearing fitness. Late decisions will be made on the likes of Lovren, Sakho, Allen and Can.

For Queens Park Rangers they are without Mutch, Faurlin and Barton but may be able to call upon Krancjar who has offered to have a pain killing injection in order to play with a broken toe he picked up in training.

The last time the two sides met was in May last year. The game at Anfield saw Philippe Countinho bag the only goal. The last trip to Loftus Road for the Reds ended very well after a Luis Suarez brace and a Daniel Agger goal gave them all three points.

In 2012 most fans will remember the exciting clash between the two sides including that ridiculous goal from Sebastian Coates. In league games against QPR, Liverpool have won on 31 occasions, drawn on six and lost seven times.

QPR are currently bottom of the league having collected just four points from their opening games. Their only win so far came against Sunderland at the end of August. Liverpool are sitting in 9th at the time of writing. A slow start for the Reds has left them lounging around in an area of the table that they barely saw last season however, with a total of ten points it could be a lot worse!

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have kept one clean sheet in their last 16 matches in all comps.
  • QPR have committed fewer fouls than any other side in the league.
  • The Reds have scored in 14 out of their last 15 trips to London clubs.

I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I'm hoping Liverpool will as mentioned in the opening paragraph "continue where they left off" on Sunday. To be honest if we can't beat QPR (no offence) then something is evidently very wrong. No Daniel Sturridge is obviously a weakness for the Reds but we should be able to overcome teams like this with or without him in the side.

Brendan has a lot of pressure on him tomorrow I feel in terms of choosing the right team and set up. A lot of fans are beginning to raise concerns over the lack of replacements when Sturridge is out injured and unfortunately they're very right to be concerned. As a Balotelli lover though I'm hoping that with some support he can get off the mark in the league tomorrow, he definitely needs a goal to boost his confidence.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Just on a side note if you were/are wondering why there was no West Brom match report on the blog, I was involved in a minor car crash that Sunday and the driver fled the scene. Luckily me and the fella were fine but we spent a lot of the day dealing with the police and trying to access CCTV from a company near the site and so I didn't get chance to do the report, apologies!

Also!

If you didn't know, I am now a finalist for "Best Female Blog" at the football blogging awards. If you voted for me in the first stage (before Monday 13th October) you can now vote AGAIN and I'd really appreciate your support!

Simply tweet - "I am voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC as best #Female blogger" or if you can't be arsed to do that, just follow this link and click tweet

Much appreciated!!!

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Friday, 3 October 2014

In Search Of A Win Against The Baggies


Liverpool prepare to face West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers aims to turn his side's fortune around. After losing to Basel midweek confidence is definitely at a low but where better to get things back on track than in front of the Anfield faithful?

With the brilliant news this evening of Daniel Sturridge signing a new long term contract, this game may still be a bit too soon for him however he will face a late fitness test. Other injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without Sakho, Allen, Can and Johnson.

For West Brom they are unable to call upon Ideye, Baird, Anichebe and Valera. Pocognoli will be subject to a late fitness test.

The last time the two sides met was in February this year, Anichebe was on the score sheet for the Baggies in that game with the match ending 1-1. Daniel Sturridge converted for Liverpool.

West Brom have also won at Anfield pretty recently, in February 2013 they collected a 2-0 win. Overall they don't have a fantastic record at Anfield but in recent years they have picked up wins and draws.

The Midlanders are currently 10th in the league after a mixed start to the season. With two draws followed by two losses followed by two wins though, the Baggies are at least forming a pattern. If you believe in that stuff it's a draw for tomorrow then!

Liverpool on the other hand are in 14th place having got off to a poor start to the season. Their last win came against Spurs back in August.

Stat Sandwich
  • The Reds have only kept one clean sheet in their last 15 matches in all comps.
  • Saido Berahino for the Baggies is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League so far this season.
  • If Rickie Lambert features for Liverpool it will be his 550th appearance in the league.

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

I personally think tomorrow is going to end in a 1-1 draw I obviously hope as the person above that we will win but I'm not sure we're quite ready to bounce back yet. If Sturridge features we have a hell of a lot more chance but I'm not feeling very confident at the minute. Thank god the tie is at Anfield.

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Reds Lose For First Time In Switzerland


Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Basel on Wednesday evening as Brendan Rodgers had to watch his team continue their rather horrid form. The Reds had played in Switzerland on five occasions prior to this fixture and had never failed to score. Unfortunately despite offside goals from Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli, nobody found the back of the net for Liverpool.

Annoyingly I missed the first half of the game due to being at work and so this is a very brief match report because I can't really offer a solid opinion! From what I have read online and from what the good Twitter folk have told me, the first half was pretty much a mirror image of the second and if so, that must have been extremely frustrating to watch.

In terms of the second half it started off pretty sour with Basel finding the back of the net due to a defensive error after just five minutes. From what I saw of the game Streller was definitely the most effective Basel player and it was no shock when he pounced to convert a left footed shot from close range.

I honestly thought with the reintroduction of Skrtel we'd turned a corner defensively. I mentioned in the Everton report that despite it being a draw we actually defended pretty well against the toffees. Yet, here we are again, giving away sloppy goals and it's just not good enough. Our back four of any compilation is just not up to scratch currently in my opinion. I seriously regret us selling Agger, I know he was injured often but when he was fit the strongest partnership we had in my opinion was himself and Skrtel. The one major plus defensively has been Moreno but he didn't even feature last night.

As the half went on Liverpool looked lacking in ideas. Aside from some breaks from Raheem Sterling the Reds just looked predictable and slow. Basel didn't look concerned at all and why should they have been? It was frustrating watching Sterling last night too because he just seemed to be having an off day, on several occasions he made heavy touches and it just felt like if this was on another day against another team he'd of bagged a goal.

Just before 70 minutes Lallana entered the fray replacing Coutinho. I hate jumping on the back of players I really do but I was hoping that Lallana would replace Markovic, he just looks stone cold average to me. I was so glad when his number eventually came up ten minutes later.

Shortly after this substitution Balotelli got booked which I thought was ridiculous. All he did was tap a player on his face in a little bit of handbags, it hardly warranted a bloody booking?! On the subject of Balotelli he definitely looked lost again. I won't drone on because I've covered it several times but he found himself lacking in supply again and therefore had to leave the box, the team and especially him desperately need Daniel Sturridge back.

Rickie Lambert came on with ten minutes to go but there was little time to create an impact on a game that was already so far gone. It was very poor from Liverpool who created little chances. The best one was perhaps the delightful move from Balotelli, Lallana and Sterling but Sterling once again fluffed his touch. That lad has played so many minutes though that I can almost understand!

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


I apologise for the brief round up this week, tune in on Friday night for the West Bromwich match preview and if you're in the JD Score Predictor league don't forget to predict your scores!

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