The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Heroic Effort From Johnson Gives Reds 3 Points

Glen scoring whilst getting booted in the head...
Liverpool faced Stoke at Anfield on Saturday and eventually after a diving header from Glen Johnson managed to collect their first win in the Premier League in five matches. After a dismal first half display the Reds came to life in the second however their lack of a prolific strike force was becoming evident. It took a defender to net the winner in a scrappy game for Brendan Rodgers' side.

The first half to be honest could barely be described as a football match. You know you've had a dodgy first half when match of the day have to show a shot deflecting off a defender as a "highlight". And so, without much to discuss we may as well go on to the second half.

The first real chance of this half saw Henderson send an effort wide. Liverpool after looking lacking in ideas in the first half were suddenly creating a lot more movement. A second half substitution for Stoke saw Charlie Adam enter play replacing Glenn Whelan. This change appeared to aid Liverpool nicely as the midfield became easier to breakdown.

At 55 minutes Diouf for Stoke took a shot from the left hand side of the box. Mignolet at first appeared to hesitate and it looked for a moment that Diouf would put Stoke into the lead but Mignolet did well and saved the potentially dangerous chance.

Shortly afterwards Bojan another one of Stoke's shining players struck an effort that smashed out off the post. At this point in time it looked like Liverpool would eventually succumb to Stoke's mounting pressure.

Whilst Stoke were probably having the better of the chances, the Reds were still creating some problems for the Stoke defence. A pacey run from Raheem Sterling saw him have a pop at goal but his effort trickled wide.

Soon afterwards, Liverpool created another attack but Lucas Leiva isn't necessarily the man you want left with the ball in front of the keeper haha. His run into the box was brilliant but his shot straight at the keeper was pretty poor.

Next up was Joe Allen, from the centre of the box he sent his shot just over the bar and also perhaps should have done better. The Stoke pressure had now somewhat fizzled away and whilst Liverpool were on the ascendancy we still could not find the back of the net.

Up the other end of the pitch though Stoke produced some more drama for the Reds when another shot from Diouf was cleared off the line by Raheem Sterling. Mignolet was thankful for his teammates efforts but it must be noted that the goalkeeper was a lot better on Saturday making some wonderful saves to keep his side in the game.

At 84 minutes Liverpool finally found their goal. We've been crying out for a show of real heart and desire and we got just that. Glen Johnson has been subject to some real stick of late and I'm the first to admit I've also been complaining however, my hat goes off to him for yesterday's effort.

After a Rickie Lambert attempt came back out off the bar, Glen Johnson came running into the box, completely threw himself at the ball with a diving header, scored and then got booted in the head in the process. Lying on the ground with his teammates elated on top of him I could not believe what had just happened. Fair play to Glen Johnson he stuck his neck on the line for Liverpool and secured a much needed win.

In the latter stages of the game another long range strike from Bojan was tipped over the bar by Mignolet. It was a fantastic save and ensured that the Reds 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 Leicester.

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

REVIEW: Bass Buds Official LFC Headphones/Bluetooth Speaker

As you will know as regular visitors to the blog, it's extremely rare that I partake in any sort of promotions or advertising however after spotting "Bass Buds" on Jose Enrique's instagram and being contacted by the folks over at @BassBudsFC I thought it was about time that I accepted a little perk.

The official Liverpool FC Bass Buds headphones are priced at £49.95 on the website and the official Liverpool FC Bass Boomz bluetooth speaker is also priced at £49.95. When purchasing together you can save yourself a tenner.

Both items are packaged extremely smartly, I'm a sucker for presentation and they certainly would make a nice gift. Whilst we're on the note of packaging the package itself arrived within two days so they're sound on posting.

I opened the "Bass Boomz" first to test it out. I recently got a bluetooth speaker as a freebie from Phones4U (maybe they would still be in business if they didn't shower you with freebies in order to get you to sign a contract?) and whilst it's a pretty decent little speaker I was annoyed to find there was no "line in" option to plug in your iPod etc.

The "Bass Boomz" speaker has a line in function which is brilliant because now I'm not restricted to just playing songs off my phone. For a little speaker I was very impressed with the sound. You get a lot of volume from the speaker yet the sound still remains clear. Sometimes with little speakers the sound is distorted but it's crisp through this one.

Next I opened the headphones. Again presented very nicely, they come with a little velvet branded pouch with the LFC badge on the front so you can keep them safe. The in-ear headphones also come with spare head covers as they will need replacing at some stage.

It's such a simple idea that I'm surprised nobody has really promoted it before to be honest. The Liver Bird image is printed onto the outside of the headphones so everybody can see that you support the mighty Reds. I'm already a person who wears LFC badges, scarves, gloves etc just to ensure that people are abundantly clear about the team I support. This might be because I live in Wolverhampton though haha! However if you, like me enjoy wearing The Liver Bird then these headphones are pretty cool.

For the price point the sound quality is pretty good however in my opinion the sound from the Bass Boomz speaker is better. For me though these headphones are more of a fashion statement anyway. There is also a microphone on the headphones which is handy and the control button located behind another Liver Bird emblem makes it really easy to pause/play and flick between songs.

I'm always honest and voice my opinions on this blog and whether it's a review I'm writing or a match report, that will always remain the same. I honestly think one of these items or even both would make a really lovely Christmas present, particularly for a younger person. Out of the two items I'm more impressed with the speaker than the headphones, if you are looking for a very high quality headphone sound then these may not be the ones for you however as mentioned before, for their price tag they are of good quality and have the added bonus of LFC branding that you don't get elsewhere.

The bluetooth speaker is superb, top quality sound and aptly some great bass! The fact that it's rechargeable and has the line in option was perfect for me and I can definitely see myself using it a lot. It's tiny but packs a punch.

If you have any more questions about the products feel free to tweet me - @LFCKirstyLFC I'm more than happy to help.

One thing is for sure I'll be wearing the headphones on my commute from now on instead of my crappy iPhone ones!

Thanks again to @BassBudsFC for the items and the chance to provide a review.

NB: As you may be aware Bass Buds have recently been in the news after a group of pranksters with their branding on disrupted play at White Hart Lane. I'm not aware of the full facts of this incident and to be honest it wouldn't of had any bearing on whether I was going to purchase these items or not and has therefore had no bearing on my review. I just thought it was right to acknowledge the incident at the end of this post. Bass Buds have denied any involvement in the stunt.

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Friday, 28 November 2014

Pressure Builds As Potters Come To Anfield

After a somewhat unconvincing yet slightly improved performance against Ludogorets in the week, Brendan Rodgers finds himself deeply under the spotlight. The pressure is on the Reds boss because Liverpool have only managed to collect one point in their last four matches.

Injuries for the Reds mean they are still without strikers Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli. Stoke have suffered a blow after a virus apparently swept the the training ground this week meaning some players could fail to start. A thigh problem for Victor Moses keeps him out whilst there are doubts hanging over Erik Pieters and Marc Wilson.

The last time the two sides met was in January this year. With eight goals scored in the match it certainly was a must see game for the neutral. The game kicked off with an own goal by Ryan Shawcross just three minutes in. Liverpool then scored their other four via Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

The Reds fortunately have a fantastic record against Stoke at Anfield, you have to go back decades to find a win for the Potters on our turf.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only had eight shots on target in their last three league games.
  • Jonathan Walters has scored four goals in his last six league games against the Reds.
  • Liverpool have only kept two clean sheets so far this season.

I usually ask you all to tweet in your score predictions but I completely forgot today as I was pretty busy so soz about that haha! To be honest I think it's going to end in a score draw. Stoke is always a pretty tough game and despite our good record against them at Anfield we don't have the fire power at the moment.

Add to that a struggling defense and a team lacking in any sort of positivity, well it's hard to think about winning games currently. If I was popping a quid on the game tomorrow I'd go for a 1-1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Reds Remain In Champions League

A 2-2 draw with Ludogorets on Wednesday evening means Liverpool are still in the Champions League and require a win over Basel at Anfield to progress through to the round of 16. It could have been a very different story for the Reds though after a very early mistake from Simon Mignolet gave the home side the lead.

Brendan Rodgers actually made some changes to the line up and to an extent I was quite pleased. I was especially happy to see Kolo Toure reintroduced and Steven Gerrard fielded in an attacking role.

It would fall to the man between the sticks though to create the first real moment of note in the game. A relatively meek shot from outside the box by Marcelinho was directed towards Simon Mignolet, positioned correctly, all Mignolet had to do was collect the ball or put his body over it but what did he do? Parry it straight into the path of Abalo who converted with ease after just two minutes. Unbelievable.

I'd be lying if I said I was Mignolet's biggest fan and I've often voiced my concerns about him on the blog but there were people last night sticking up for that mistake and I'm sorry I just think it's inexcusable. Luckily for Mignolet it didn't make a difference to our overall Champions League situation.

Also very luckily for Mignolet, Liverpool appeared to be performing slightly better than we have seen of late and it didn't take long at all for the Reds to find an equaliser.

The Ludogorets defence should definitely have done better but Rickie Lambert didn't give up and ensured his first real chance to score a Champions League goal was converted. It was brilliant to see him score at this level and once again prove his worth. I'd love to see Balotelli and Lambert up front together against Stoke.

The first half for Liverpool was decent. I don't want to use too positive a word because there is clearly a long way to go for the Reds but it was slightly improved last night. For me the inclusion of Lucas was a big help as he does his job brilliantly in my opinion and frees up Jordan Henderson.

It was no coincidence that Jordan Henderson was able to make such a run for Liverpool's second goal of the night. He made it because he knows he's covered. Henderson is a much more exciting player when the shackles are off and we need goals from anywhere and everywhere at the moment.

The goal at just over 35 minutes saw an assist from Raheem Sterling. A lovely cross was met after a lovely run with a stylish finish. Henderson as always celebrated emphatically.

By regaining the lead in the first half the Reds perhaps led themselves into a false sense of security in the second. Ludogorets were extremely lively on the break and it would only take a small lapse in concentration or another goalkeeping mishap for them to get right back into the game.

It took until 88 minutes but that's exactly what happened. A strong spell from the Bulgarian side eventually led to them gaining a corner. Whipped in and then met by the head of Dyakov, his pass found its way over a lacklustre Glen Johnson and onto the head of Terziev who scored.

It's always frustrating to concede so late in a game but even more so when the fact is, if the opposition find another goal you are out of the Champions League having only just returned.

It was a nervous few final minutes but Brendan Rodgers' team held on.

At the end of it all, Liverpool are left in the exact same position they would of been had they won the game... They need to beat Basel to go through. Whilst it was annoying to draw the match I think at this point in time it would just be unhelpful to dwell on  it. We were slightly better than we have been and we also found a goal from a different source. I haven't been able to find any positives lately but I am determined to pick some up from that game.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Stoke, match preview available on the blog tomorrow evening!

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Make Or Break In Champions League For Reds

Liverpool prepare to face Ludogorets on Wednesday evening in their adopted home of Sofia. Ludogorets' ground does not meet UEFA standards and so the game will be played in the capital. Sharing the nickname of Crystal Palace "The Eagles" could have another embarrassment in store for Rodgers' Reds tomorrow evening.

The injury situation for Liverpool has slightly improved with Jose Enrique and Mamadou Sakho both featuring in training. Mario Balotelli though has not travelled with the squad. For Ludogorets Bezjak is out with a groin problem but the defender Minev has become available after serving a ban.

The last time the two sides met was of course also the first time the two sides met. When we drew Lugogorets in the group it was supposed to be plain sailing at Anfield for Liverpool however the Bulgarians were no pushovers and showed real promise in attack. Mario Balotelli's first goal for the club and a penalty from Steven Gerrard however secured the Reds a win.

Whilst a draw is not the final straw for Liverpool on Wednesday night it does make things more difficult. A loss however would spell the end of the Reds' very short lived Champions League run.

Liverpool have lost their last three Champions League games without even finding the back of the net and currently it's difficult to see past that stat for Wednesday. Unless Brendan Rodgers makes some serious changes then Liverpool could very easily come undone tomorrow. Ludogorets may be deemed as lowly opposition by some but as proved in their fixture at Anfield they can cause problems and are effective on the counter attack. Against a side like Liverpool who are struggling defensively it wouldn't take long for the Bulgarians to find an advantage.

Even if Brendan makes several of the long awaited changes, it's still a big ask for the Reds who will then be fielding a team with immense pressure forced upon it. If Kolo Toure gets a start for example, one single mistake and he'll be lambasted. There is zero patience for errors around the place at the moment whether you've been starting every week or this is your first game in months.

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I haven't had a bet on the football in a while but I might pop a quid on something ridiculous tomorrow. I'll let you know what I go for on Twitter.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Toothless Liverpool Lose 3-1 To Punchy Palace

A heartless Liverpool side set up via the tactically inept Brendan Rodgers fell to an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon at Selhurst Park. I'm not one to usually be so harsh on our manager but I'm tired of seeing him make the same mistakes time and time again.

Some would argue that it's not the manager's fault, it's the players. To an extent I would agree, there are far too many in the Liverpool squad at the moment showing no real passion yet knowing they will start each and every week. However, Brendan Rodgers cannot hide from the fact that he has brought in a vast proportion of the players in question, he has to take that on his shoulders and deal with it.

And there lies my issue, he isn't dealing with it. It was the same old story yesterday. A defence lacking leadership and composure. Kolo Toure had the game of his life against Real Madrid, most managers would have given him a chance in the starting XI then but we're yet to see the Ivorian recalled.

Steven Gerrard continues to be deployed in a negative, horrible defensive role. He's ineffective in this position. Whilst Brendan argues that he wants to prolong the scouser's career I'd much rather have a season or two of an attacking Gerrard than several seasons of a Gerrard who fails to win any of his tackles against Crystal Palace and desperately clings on to the hope that an outside of the box shot will spur his team to glory.

Then we have the lone striker, with no real supply line, whoever is up front alone whether it's Balotelli, Borini or Lambert. They are never going to get the service they require. None of these three players are anything like the calibre of Luis Suarez who was able to create magic from a none existent situation, they need support, they need a 4-4-2.

I'm sick and tired of it now. By no means am I saying that these changes will miraculously reboot our season I just feel we'd be a hell of a lot better for trying it and it bloody frustrates me that Brendan Rodgers is showing no sign whatsoever of changing things.

As for the game...

The early goal from Lambert set up via a lovely piece of play from Adam Lallana allowed the forward to convert with real composure, something we had clearly been missing. The goal however appeared to momentarily wipe away the troubles for Liverpool as delirium set in and everybody thought our prayers had been answered.

It wasn't long though until the Reds were back to their old selves with exactly the same problems. At 17 minutes Dwight Gayle who still creates nightmares for many a Liverpool fan found the back of the net after an original deflection off the left hand upright. Putting his side level it was quickly evident that Palace were in the ascendancy.

Many things are said about the "best atmospheres" in English football but I have to give full credit to Crystal Palace, they make Selhurst Park sound like a Roman Amphitheatre. Constant, uninterrupted support.

With those fans behind you, anything is possible and it was clear Palace fancied their chances again to upset the Reds.

No changes were made for Liverpool until 70 minutes. Another aspect of Brendan's game that I find annoying at the moment, he never makes an early sub, even when things aren't working. It wasn't so bad yesterday because in fairness it was still 1-1 when he brought Borini on but we needed something different.

Liverpool again yesterday had stacks and stacks of possession but did sod all with it. I can barely remember any chances other than a couple of Lambert headers and a Manquillo shot that went wide. It's just poor.

At 77 minutes Palace found their second after an assist from Bolasie who had a fantastic game for Palace allowed Ledley to put his side ahead. Dejan Lovren may as well have not been on the pitch for this goal, I can't even begin to describe what in the hell he was doing.

The Reds looked like they'd given up way before this goal had gone in but they truly weren't bothered now. I read somewhere (possibly on The Anfield Wrap) this morning somebody said that nothing seems to give us a spark and they're right. That Lambert goal should have been the catalyst to push on but it ended up being the opposite.

The final Crystal Palace goal came on 80 minutes and what a cracking goal it was. A sublime free kick from Jedinak flew into the top right corner of goal. And that was that for Liverpool.

12th in the league and four points off relegation, it's a worrying time to be a Liverpool fan, especially when there appears to be no easy way out.

Even more concerning is the fact that we have to face Ludogorets on Wednesday night and we have to win. All the hard work Brendan put in last season to get us back into the Champions League and here we are now with a real possibility of crashing out in the group stages...

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

Thank you to everybody that tweeted in, you may not always feature but I always enjoy reading your thoughts and opinions!

Next up for Liverpool is Ludogorets, match preview available on the blog tomorrow night.

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Sturridge News A Huge Blow As Reds Prepare For Palace

First of all can I just say another final thank you to all of you who took the time to vote for me in the football blogging awards. I was over the moon to accept my award for the fans' vote for "Best Female Blog" last Thursday and really do appreciate your support, you're all awesome!

It always feels like months have gone by without me doing a post when there's an international break but we're back again and as always seems to be the case after these breaks, we're back with bad news. After suffering another injury in training it was revealed earlier this week that Daniel Sturridge will be out of the Liverpool squad for a further six weeks.

Gutted is an understatement. We'd waited so long for him to come back, he'd built himself up only to have his efforts crushed without mercy. Daniel Sturridge has always had his problems with injuries but nobody could have expected this to happen. Liverpool however cannot dwell on the fact we are still without our main goalscorer, the problem has existed from almost the season start.

One thing is for sure though, if Brendan Rodgers refuses to play a system that aids Mario Balotelli on Sunday, I'm gonna flip. It's been a recurring topic on this blog and my frustrations with Rodgers' refusal to play 4-4-2 are no secret. Now more so than ever though Brendan seriously needs to question his stubbornness. All his eggs were placed well and truly in Daniel Sturridge's basket, well guess what, he's not here until the new year so it's time for plan B!

Other injury news for Liverpool means Henderson, Enrique, Sakho and Balotelli will all be subjected to late fitness tests. Jon Flanagan is still out long term. Crystal Palace are very strong with just a concern hanging over the fitness of McArthur.

The last time the two sides met was in May last year. An unforgettable game for Liverpool fans as their dreams of an elusive Premier League title were all but crushed. Having gone 3-0 up in the game it looked like a walk in the park for Liverpool but a goal in the 79th minute from Delaney followed by a brace from Gayle left the Reds dumbstruck.

Liverpool actually have a pretty poor record at Selhurst Park. The last time they recorded a win there was in 1997 with McManaman, Owen and Oyvind Leonhardsen on the score sheet, haha, remember him?!

Stat Sandwich

  • 10 out of Liverpool's 14 points so far this season have come from sides below them in the table.
  • Crystal Palace have not won in their last five league games.
  • Liverpool's top goalscorers so far this season are Raheem Sterling and "own goals" (3).
I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I'm excited for the match because we've been waiting ages with the international break but in terms of the result I don't think it's going to be a positive. The best I'm hoping for at the minute is a score draw. Our defence will almost certainly be penetrated by the Palace attack despite the fact they have not won a game in their last five they have still found the back of the net in three of them.

Liverpool themselves will probably create some half chances but if we go out 4-2-3-1 then our chances of scoring in my opinion are greatly diminished. If Balotelli is fit or not the system should still be changed, it's time for Brendan to try a different set of tactics and I seriously hope he does.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 14 November 2014

The Liver Bird Wins Best Female Blog!

If you've escaped the news up to yet you've done pretty darn well but last night after tootling up to Manchester on my ones I ended up picking up the award for "Best Female Blog" as voted for by the fans at the Football Blogging Awards!

I was absolutely over the moon to receive the award and it was a pleasure to be presented it by the lovely Kate Riley from Sky Sports News.

Red for #LFC!
Firstly I'd just like to say another massive thank you to each and every one of you that took the time to vote for me and The Liver Bird. Your support means the world! Secondly, congratulations to Laura from @YICETOR who picked up the award for "Best Female Blog" in the judges category, thoroughly deserved and her acceptance video was typically hilarious! Thirdly, a shout out to all the ladies in my category, please take the time to go and check out the wonderful work that they do!

As I mentioned I had to attend the awards on my own this year as my mates and fella were either working, at Uni or in Prague... Luckily though upon my arrival I immediately recognised Paul from the brilliant Redmen TV. They picked up the award for fans' choice "Best Video Blog". Paul, Chris and all of their team put in so much work, I was chuffed to see them win for the second year running!
Name in lights.

I met some brilliant people on the night, the folks over at Anfield HQ who also won an award for the Liverpool contingent! Massive congratulations! And the lovely people behind Anfield Leak who were extremely unlucky to miss out on an award.

I finally got to meet @Ste_Hoare too who scored a sublime penalty early in the night!

Also present was the fantastic @mophead_88 who runs @lostboyos. Like me, he hadn't bothered to pay for a seat and so we ended up propping up the bar all night. This worked out particularly well for him because I won a giant bottle of beer and I don't really even like beer so he'd nabbed some free booze haha!

All the female finalists.
It was lovely to finally meet Katie from Bantams Blogger too, The Man United Girl and also Em Sandy! It's just so nice to be able to put faces to names!

As always it was a pleasure chatting to the wonderfully talented Anna who will certainly go far in her career! She won the award for "Best Female Blog" at last year's awards ceremony.

As the night wound down I ended up sitting with the lads from @TheBibTheorists, @AnfieldLeak & @mophead_88. In true Liverpool style we were the last ones standing in the football museum and only left when we were finally kicked out.

I had such a brilliant night and met so many fantastic people. I also completed an interview for @BallStreet which I can only hope went well, I'm not the best in front of a camera and tend to babble on haha!

Many congratulations to all of the winners last night and all of the finalists with a special mention to local boys @WWFCFancast who picked up a judges award. It's nice to see other bloggers/podcasters from my hometown doing well.

You can find a list of all the winners here.

And last but not least thank you to Anthony and the rest of his team who work so hard to put on these awards, it was another absolutely fantastic night and I thoroughly enjoyed it, hopefully see you all again next year! 
@TheBibTheorists, @AnfieldLeak @LostBoyos - Last ones standing.

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Can Nets First Goal But Liverpool Lose To Cheslea

Liverpool welcomed Chelsea to Anfield on Saturday afternoon in what was always going to be a difficult tie for the Reds. After a relatively good performance against Real Madrid in the week, many Kopites presumed there would be a change of tact from Rodgers but his insistence to use the same formation was perhaps detrimental to his side's overall chances.

Things began well for the Reds when Emre Can quickly put a stamp on the game. An early effort from range smashed off John Terry and flew wide but the German followed soon after with an almost identical shot. This time his strike deflected off Cahill and fortuitously flew into the right of goal leaving Courtois with no chance.

To have scored so early against Chelsea was a real shock for me and despite the buoyancy in the side after scoring I still couldn't convince myself that we would go on to get anything from the game. Why? Because we're so lacking in firepower at the minute and playing in such an ineffective formation that our attacking prowess is extremely minimal.

Liverpool continued to create some good movement and retained a lot of possession but, as always there was no end product. I've said it a million times now but once again, Mario Balotelli being put up front on his own is absolutely pointless. After the effort Borini put in against Madrid I honestly thought Brendan was going to start him in order to support Mario, but no.

Another man Rodgers failed to start was Kolo Toure, it's harsh to suggest that the game would have ended differently if the Ivorian was included but he was extremely unlucky not to feature after also putting on a cracking display against Madrid.

Four minutes after our goal Chelsea had found an equaliser. A corner was whipped into the box and met by the head of Diego Costa who flicked the ball on to Terry. Terry's effort was saved by Simon Mignolet but the follow up from Cahill saw Mignolet fall into his own net, carrying the ball over the line with him. Goalline technology gave the goal decision.

It's frustrating because had Mignolet fell at a different angle then it wouldn't have been a bloody goal! However if you watch the replays, the positioning of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren when the corner comes in is frankly unforgivable and was always going to result in a problem.

It's a shame really because I thought Skrtel had a good game, he was clearly getting on Costa's nerves, so much so that both players were taking chunks out of each other on a regular basis. The hard work Skrtel put in to keep Costa quiet made it even worse to see him score Chelsea's winner later in the game.

Efforts from both teams continued to arise as the first half went on but perhaps the most notable incident involved Sterling and Ramires. I've watched the replays several times now and the fact is, Raheem Sterling was booked for being punched in the face...

I have no idea what the referee thought he saw but clearly it was Sterling who should have received the free kick and not Chelsea! A ridiculous end to a first half where Liverpool remained in the game but clearly required some substitutions in order to find another goal.

Early in the second half Diego Costa slowly began to get the better of Skrtel and attempted a bicycle kick that thankfully missed the target. Costa is a hard player to dislike when he isn't playing against you because he's a fantastic striker but when he's up against us he doesn't half piss you off!

Some half chances for Liverpool came as the second half went on from the likes of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling and whilst movement and play was once again positive we just couldn't break through. Watching the clock it got later and later and there was no sign of Brendan making a change until finally Chelsea got their second goal of the game and once again Brendan had missed his chance to create an impact.

A long range pass from Willian found its way to Azpilicueta who did well to keep the ball in play. Hi cross into the box was palmed away by Mignolet but  the ball eventually fell to Costa who finished with ease.

Now came the subs for Liverpool, Borini (who in my opinion should of started) entered play alongside Joe Allen. I didn't really understand the Joe Allen sub but by this point I didn't really care. What made things worse was that after playing Mario Balotelli alone and unsupported once again for 75% of the game, Brendan brings on Borini to help the issue then minutes later subs off Balo and puts on Lambert?!

Absolutely pointless. He knows the type of player Balotelli is, he knew this before he signed him so why is he refusing to play to his strengths. I'm not denying that Balotelli obviously has been below par in his start to the season but how can you expect him to get involved when he has literally nothing coming through to him? It's really pissing me off to be honest because I get the impression that Brendan doesn't even like Balotelli and is only playing him because he has to. The sooner Sturridge is back and the two can play up front the bloody better because there doesn't seem to be any sign at all of Brendan considering a 4-4-2 until Daniel is back.

The last moment worthy of a mention in the second half for Liverpool was when a Steven Gerrard shot hit off the arm of Cahill. Questions were rightly asked and for me it was a penalty but I wasn't calling for it as much as most because I personally felt we were lucky to get away with the Moreno hand ball incident earlier on in the game. After chatting to folks on twitter it appears I'm a minority here but whatever you think about it, I hate it when you're in a game and you're so desperate for a penalty just to salvage something from it, it's a horrible feeling.

Liverpool have so many problems at the moment and so little answers. Whilst I fully back Brendan 100% he is really, really frustrating me at the moment, I just can't see his logic and his current efforts clearly aren't working. What worries me most is that he's placing all his eggs in one basket just hoping that the return of Sturridge will solve all his issues. Sturridge is a fantastic player but there is no guarantee that he will return and start banging the goals in immediately and if he doesn't we'll be lounging around lower and lower in the table. There's so much weight being placed on Sturridge's shoulders it's unbelievable.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Crystal Palace where hopefully Daniel Sturridge will be back.


Just want to say a huge thank you to everybody that took the time to vote for me and The Liver Bird in the football blogging awards. Voting closed on Friday evening and I'll be attending the awards ceremony on Thursday evening at the National Football Museum in Manchester so wish me luck!

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Reds Face Mourinho's Men

After putting on a rather gutsy performance against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Brendan Rodgers may find himself with several questions to be answered over who to field in the starting line up tomorrow. Whilst it is evident Liverpool were lacking in attack midweek they improved dramatically defensively and this could result in somebody losing their place in the back four.

Injury wise Liverpool still have a few men on the list. Daniel Sturridge firstly is still unavailable with a long term injury. Also out for the Reds are Enrique, Sakho and Flanagan. For Chelsea, they are very strong with their only injury worries; Remy and Mikel both expected to return back to the squad tomorrow.

The last time the two sides met was a pretty heartbreaking affair for Liverpool fans after that now infamous "Gerrard slip". The Reds would have probably been on their way to a 19th title if they could have held out against Chelsea but perhaps admirably Brendan Rodgers opted to attack Chelsea's double decker bus and hence suffered the consequences. Liverpool lost the game 2-0.

Prior to this game, the last time Chelsea won at Anfield was in May 2010. Drogba and Lampard were on the score sheet that day. In the last 10 meetings in all competitions Liverpool have won four and drew two.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only kept two clean sheets in their last 16 games in the league.
  • Chelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six away games in the league.
  • The Reds have six points less than they did at this stage last season.

This should, as always, be a very interesting match and thankfully for Liverpool it is at Anfield where they will have a better chance of gaining something from the game. I've said this so many times now but if Balotelli is chosen to start he needs to be supported, after Borini's performance against Real Madrid I would be very happy to see those two up front together.

Another unpopular opinion of mine is my desire to see Lucas in the team on occasion. I just feel he creates balance and against Chelsea could offer some much-needed protection. As for the defence, I've been calling for Kolo Toure to be returned to the back four for a while now and I would definitely start him instead of Lovren on Saturday.

I'll probably end up having a few bets tomorrow, realistically I think it's going to be a score draw however I'll probably place a bet on a 2-1 win, just for the positive vibes haha! And of course my favourite bet; Skrtel anytime.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!


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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Second String Liverpool Keep Out First Rate Ronaldo

Looking at the starting line up yesterday you would have been a fool to suggest Liverpool would only concede once at the Bernabeu. After Brendan Rodgers fielded what was essentially a B team there was disappointment from several Kopites on Tuesday evening who had been looking forward to a glittering tie with Real Madrid.

I was another fan raising questions about the choice of line up, mainly because I felt it was a bit disrespectful to be honest but as always, whoever Brendan picks I will back them 100%. One player I was happy to see introduced was Kolo Toure. I've been calling for him to be back in defence for a while now and boy did he put on a cult hero's display.

It quickly became evident in the first half that despite the slightly unconvincing starting XI, there was a method in Rodgers' madness. He'd instructed his team to remain compact, disciplined and when you manage to keep Cristiano Ronaldo silent for the majority of the game... there has to be credit given when due.

The issue for Liverpool though was that they had no fire power. It was a big risk from Brendan to decide to field that team and then also fail to start one man out of the following list; Steven Gerrard, Mario Balotelli, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling.

When Liverpool made breaks and the ball fell to Lazar Markovic, you couldn't help but feel that the Real Madrid back four would have been bricking it if the likes of Sterling were on the end of it.

It took Real just 25 minutes to find the back of the net when a Marcelo cross found its way to Karim Benzema. The Frenchman finished with a shot high into the net and celebrated with a fist pump as the home fans for once made more noise than the travelling ones!

Maybe that's an exaggeration but from what I heard last night and from the videos I have been watching, the travelling Kop were in brilliant voice and considering they had every right to complain, they put on a brilliant show.

In the second half Rodgers eventually made the decision to bring on Sterling, Gerrard and Coutinho. Whilst chances increased, we never found that final product and to be honest by the end of the 90 minutes I genuinely felt as though we deserved a draw.

The work rate of some of the players last night was immensely high, a bit of a slip up for the goal aside and we would have battled out a 0-0 draw at the Bernabeu, something nobody was expecting. The ifs and buts about what would have happened if Rodgers fielded a proper side will forever remain but at least we didn't get battered!

We're still in with a shout of going through but require two victories to do so, in order for that to happen we're going to have to buck our ideas up a bit I think! However this game will have certainly given Brendan something to think about line up wise.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Chelsea.


Voting for the football blogging awards ends on Friday night. If you've got a second and you enjoy what I do here on The Liver Bird, please take a second to tweet this "I am voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC as best #Female blogger"

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Monday, 3 November 2014

Reds Dream Of A Miracle At The Bernabeu

Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Tuesday evening as Brendan Rodgers' side aim to keep their hopes of progressing to the next stage of the Champions League alive. Daniel Sturridge has travelled with the team but surely it's too early for him to feature? He will apparently be subject to a late fitness test.

Tomorrow is my birthday which only makes my excitement for this massive Champions League tie even greater. Being an optimistic fan though has its downsides like fooling yourself into thinking your team can pick up some points against Real Madrid only to have your dreams crushed...

However, I can dream of miracles and I bloody will dream of them. It's the Champions League and anything can happen.

Liverpool's last meeting with Real two weeks ago ended rather badly. Madrid had the Reds well inside their pockets and a flicker of attacks from Liverpool was only eventually allowed as the away side decided to take their foot off the gas.

On Tuesday night Liverpool are coming off the back of another poor performance having lost to Newcastle at the weekend. Barely creating any chances and struggling in defense, it is extremely difficult to pick out positives from our side at the moment.

It's hard to argue that the likes of Sterling and Coutinho will not have some sort of effect on this game but will it be enough? And more importantly, if we don't play to Mario Balotelli's strengths by fielding the right formation we may as well give up from the whistle in my opinion. If Mario starts tomorrow night and he's fielded alone I will be mega pissed off.

Real of course have no troubles at all in front of goal. With Ronaldo on fire and Gareth Bale returning to training it could be another embarrassing night for Simon Mignolet who had to watch three goals go past him the last time out.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have only lost once to Real Madrid (see... positives! haha)
  • Real Madrid have won their last five CL games.
  • Liverpool have scored four less goals as a team over 10 games than Ronaldo has scored himself in nine games (17)
I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I really, really hope that Liverpool at least give Real a run for their money tomorrow. I don't mind losing as long as it's not an absolute wipeout however it is going to be an extremely difficult game tomorrow.

Pray for that miracle!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Uninspired Liverpool Lose At Newcastle

Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Newcastle side on Saturday as Alan Pardew's team got the better of a poor tactical display from Brendan Rodgers. A single goal from Perez was enough to seal the points for the Magpies whilst Liverpool never seriously looked like scoring.

A slow start from Liverpool but with the small positive of good bouts of position meant Newcastle were quickly able to grow into the game at St James' Park. Obertan particularly was causing issues to start with, his pace down the wing was too much to handle for the Liverpool defence and the decision to start three at the back from Rodgers was immediately called into question.

Obertan shortly afterwards suffered what looked like a bad injury to his quad muscle and had to be replaced, this gave Liverpool some respite but the Reds would still struggle throughout the game.

A corner early on in the game left Liverpool holding their breath after the ball fell to Papiss Cisse whose shot was cleared off the line by Glen Johnson. The Reds defensive frailties were clearly on show again and coupled with the lack of ideas in attack it was only going to be a matter of time before Newcastle found the back of the net.

Liverpool's best chance of the first half came to Martin Skrtel who after a set piece made some great movement but unfortunately sent his header off target. I said before kick off to my fella and mates who I was watching the game with in Liverpool that because Brendan had once again chosen to field Balotelli on his own (it's no secret I think this is pointless) we wouldn't find the back of the net the entire first half. He'd then make a sub around about 60 and we'd probably have a better chance. Whilst the first half of my prediction was correct we didn't necessarily "improve" when Rodgers' decided to go for a 4-4-2.

The first point of note in the second half came after a studs up challenge from Sissoko on Joe Allen, it was a bad tackle from the Newcastle player who was perhaps lucky to escape a red. It was nothing on the later challenge from Janmaat on Balotelli though, he absolutely hacked the Italian to the ground and once again collected just a booking.

Balotelli's best chance of the game came when he stepped up for a free kick. It wasn't a bad effort at all really but Tim Krul always had it covered. Balotelli was once again wasted for the majority of this game because he had no support. It wouldn't be so bad if he was alone up top and was receiving balls from the likes of Sterling and Coutinho but nothing came through.

Newcastle had to wait until just after the 70 minute mark to score their first and only goal of the game. Some good build up play from Sissoko and Dummet eventually led Sissoko into the box, his pass to Perez left the Spaniard with one option only when Moreno showed him too much of the ball he easily converted for the home side.

Alberto Moreno is a player that I really like but it is still evident that he has not adjusted to the fast pace of the English game. He seems to think he has a lot more time to play the ball than he actually has, the sooner he overcomes this weakness, the better.

Moreno was caught off guard again later in the second half after he was beaten high up field following a Liverpool corner that went AWOL. Thankfully the break involving Cabella who took the final shot was stopped by Simon Mignolet's outstretched leg.

Another attempt soon followed from Sissoko but the angle again allowed Mignolet to prevent Liverpool from conceding again.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Overall it was a very poor performance from Liverpool, not helped by the tactical set up selected by the manager. By no means do we have all the answers, even when a more appropriate set up is selected, we still have a lot of issues but I just don't understand why Brendan is choosing to experiment at this point in time. If anything we need to play to our strengths and hold steady until the return of Daniel Sturridge who will hopefully get back to his scoring ways and then allow Brendan the freedom to mix up the line up.

It seriously frustrates me seeing the team sheet with Balotelli alone up front. Once again I'm not saying he's guaranteed to score in a 4-4-2 but it would bloody well help! Borini is more than capable of supporting Balo and I feel that is what we should field up front currently.

With Real Madrid up next followed by Chelsea at the weekend it is looking like a very difficult period for the Reds.

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