The Liver Bird  

Friday, 30 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V West Ham

Liverpool must prepare themselves to face West Ham on Saturday as they pick up the pieces after their unfortunate loss to Chelsea in the League Cup semi final on Tuesday evening. The huge positive for Liverpool of course is the return of Daniel Sturridge who will surely be anxious but raring to go.

Injuries for the Reds mean they are unable to call upon long term absentee Jon Flanagan whilst Mamadou Sakho is a doubt after picking up a back issue in the Chelsea fixture. For West Ham up until recently they had a long injury list however with just a few minor doubts manager Sam Allardyce should have a relatively full squad to choose from on Saturday.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year. The game was one to forget for Liverpool as they conceded three goals with just Raheem Sterling on the score sheet.

The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was in December 2013. This was a better game for the Reds, despite an own goal from Martin Skrtel, Brendan's side went on to win 4-1 with the help of a brace from Luis Suarez. Liverpool have not lost at home to West Ham since 1963.

West Ham are currently a place above the Reds in the table. The Hammers have lost two out of their last six league games. Liverpool are a point behind Sam Allardyce's team and have won four out of their last six league games, drawing the other two.

Stat Sandwich

  • The Reds are unbeaten in their last six league matches.
  • West Ham have amassed 36 points so far this season, their highest in the league after 22 games.
  • If Steven Gerrard features tomorrow it will be his 700th game for Liverpool.

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!

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ivanovic Goal Knocks Reds Out In Extra Time

Liverpool suffered an agonising loss at the hands of Chelsea on Tuesday evening after a hard fought performance at the Bridge ultimately led to nothing. The Reds allowed early chances to go begging and whilst they held their nerve for the 90, Ivanovic broke hearts three minutes into extra time with a header from a set piece.

The first talking point from the game surrounded that man Diego Costa. He's the kind of player that you cannot stand when he's in an opposition shirt but it's hard to argue that you wouldn't like him playing for your own team. Nevertheless the incident at 12 minutes was unforgivable and Costa was extremely lucky to remain on the pitch.

A deliberate stamp on Emre Can right in front of an applauding Jose Mourinho went completely unpunished. I hate dwelling on decisions and "ifs" and "buts" however you can't help but feel it would have been a totally different game for Liverpool with Chelsea down to ten men so early in the game. It has since come out today that Diego Costa has been served a ban which he may yet appeal but that's no bloody use to us now is it?!

Liverpool created several chances in the first half of the clash but as always no player in a Red shirt could quite find the finish. A break from Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard is one that particularly sticks in the mind, if only Raheem had laid the ball to the captain things could have been so different.

Sterling wasn't the only player throughout the game though showing signs of selfishness or making the wrong decision. What should have been an easy header later in the game from Jordan Henderson was sent wide and Philippe Coutinho, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert were all guilty of completely missing the target and wasting opportunities.

The annoying thing for Liverpool was that they played really well. The Reds applied constant pressure with Chelsea failing to trouble Mignolet really until very late on. When Mignolet was called in to action, what a game he had. The keeper has been on the end of a lot of stick lately (I hold my hands up to it too) but he made some superb saves on Tuesday night and kept us in with a shout.

Talking points surrounding refereeing decisions soon revolved around Diego Costa once again when he followed up his deliberate stamp on Can with a deliberate stamp on Skrtel. The pair had been getting in each other's faces throughout the game and to be fair how Chelsea were not awarded a penalty for Skrtel's challenge on Costa I will never know. Sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don't, we may have been lucky to have not gifted Chelsea a peno but they were thanking their stars with Costa not being given his marching orders.

I was extremely surprised to see Mario Balotelli chucked into play by Brendan Rodgers and whilst 90% of my Twitter feed cannot stand the bloke and thought he did shite I found myself being a bit more appreciative once again.

Yes it was an average performance but he brought some movement and quality passes into the game, some skill and ingenuity. "Mario, moving?!" I hear you say... Several naysayers were quick to shout that Balo was "lazy" last night but whilst I will give you most of your criticisms, one thing he definitely was not last night was "lazy".

As for the goal, there are a lot of people blaming Mario for it. Of course, because it's all his fault innit? For me, a striker no matter what his build should not be instructed to mark one of the most prominent aerial threats. Balo was part of a zonal system that apparently meant Glen Johnson could just wander around and do what ever he wished until danger arose and it was too late.

Fact is, it was an easy header for Ivanovic and of course it shouldn't have been that easy but Chelsea ultimately took their opportunity whilst Liverpool were left looking back on all their missed chances.

We never gave up and played to the whistle but the Reds just couldn't find that all important goal to take it to penalties. This game has just highlighted the importance for Liverpool to convert their chances and I can only hope that this will begin to resolve itself with the reintroduction of Daniel Sturridge.

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

Next up for Liverpool is West Ham.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, 26 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea V Liverpool

The Reds make the trip down south tomorrow as they prepare to face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side and aim to make it to the League Cup final. The match at Anfield ended very fortunately for Chelsea who did little but convert a penalty early in the game. An inspired performance from Liverpool eventually saw them score via Raheem Sterling but they will need to be on top form tomorrow to have any hope of going through.

Liverpool are in a similar position injury wise as they were at the weekend. A positive for the Reds though is that Daniel Sturridge could make the bench giving Brendan Rodgers a valuable option. Steven Gerrard should also be recalled to the line up. Mario Balotelli? Who knows, it's guess work.

For Chelsea, they are predicted to recall players such as John Terry and Diego Costa who did not feature in the Blues' embarrassing loss in the FA Cup at the hands of Bradford. Manager Jose Mourinho may also have an eye on his side's clash with Manchester City at the weekend and his team selection may reflect this.

There's no point talking about the last time the two sides met because hopefully it's still fresh in your memory, instead lets take a look at Liverpool's record at Stamford Bridge.

The last match between the sides at the Bridge was in December 2013. A very early goal from Martin Skrtel in that game wasn't enough for Liverpool who ended up losing 2-1.

In November 2012 it was John Terry and Luis Suarez on the score sheet in a 1-1 draw. Most of the matches in London have always been a pretty close tie and the last time either team scored more than two goals at the Bridge was in the 2009 Champions League tie that ended 4-4. Remember that ingenious Fabio Aurelio free kick?!

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have won five games on the trot away from home in all competitions.
  • Chelsea have reached the final just six times in their previous 11 semi-final appearances.
  • In Liverpool's previous 14 appearances in the final four, the Reds have made the final on 11 occasions.
I'm so geared up for this match I can't even explain. I'd love nothing more than to wipe that smug smirk off Jose Mourinho's face. However, you'd be pretty naive to feel confident, Chelsea are a very strong team this season and despite their performance at Anfield it will be a very different show on Tuesday night.

The buses will have reversed off the pitch and in the place of defensive football will be attacking flair. Despite this, Liverpool have every chance to go through, of course it will be tough but with skillful players like Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling alongside a determined Steven Gerrard? Who knows what could happen.

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

I will definitely be placing some bets tomorrow but not sure what I'm having yet so keep an eye on my Twitter feed.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Bogdan Keeps Bolton In FA Cup As Reds Fail To Score

Liverpool were in action against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday night as Brendan Rodgers aimed to get his side through to the next round of the FA Cup. With some huge upsets earlier in the day as Chelsea and Manchester City crashed out, it was a real opportunity for the Reds who unfortunately were unable to seal their place.

However, we are still in the competition and with an away tie against Bolton you have to feel we still have a good chance, if we can solve our finishing issues!

Brendan Rodgers fielded a slightly changed XI as the likes of Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel were dropped. Raheem Sterling however was placed up front again despite the very important Chelsea game on Tuesday evening.

With Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen up front for Bolton it seemed like destiny would write their names on the walls of history in the FA Cup but in reality Bolton offered little in front of goal.

Liverpool as they have done so often of late were creating pacey attacks with Raheem Sterling as the linchpin but they just couldn't find that final product.

Adam Bogdan was partly the reason the Reds were unable to find the back of the net. On numerous occasions the goalkeeper successfully denied Liverpool an opening goal, he had an absolute stormer particularly when saving efforts from Coutinho and Borini. Undeterred the Reds continued to put the pressure on the Bolton net but the tactic of trying to walk it into goal just wasn't working. It became very clear that it would have to be something special to beat the Bolton keeper if we wanted to progress in this year's FA Cup.

For Bolton their best chance of the game probably came from a stinging long range effort via Moxey. I felt sorry for whoever was on the end of that shot in the Kop end.

As mentioned Fabio Borini managed to create himself some chances when he entered play late in the second half. The introduction of Markovic early in this half also added some movement for the Reds and there was also an incident that left the Anfield faithful questioning the referee's decision.

Markovic had broke on one of his blazing runs reaching the edge of the box only to be taken down. For me, he was through on goal and it was last man? I felt we were extremely unlucky to not even get a free kick for this incident, however, it probably wouldn't of changed the game.

Heskey left the field just before the hour mark to a well deserved standing ovation. He may not have caused any real problems for Simon Mignolet but you could tell our defence thought he was a right pain, he's still got some real presence in set piece situations that's for sure.

As the second half trickled on the Reds unfortunately despite the mounting pressure against the Kop end couldn't find a goal. The positive for the Reds of course is that they are still in this competition but with a replay against Chelsea and the beginning of the Europa League coming up soon the last thing Liverpool need is a fixture pile up.

This though is now a real opportunity for Liverpool, as mentioned in the start to this post, big guns like Chelsea and City have already been knocked out and without meaning to disregard some teams, really, who is left that are a major threat? Arsenal and United?

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 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, I cannot bloody wait for this one!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 23 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bolton Wanderers

Liverpool welcome Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Saturday evening for an FA Cup clash and in the process will welcome back ex Red Emile Heskey. He's sure to get a warm welcome as he steps out in front of the Kop but the Anfield faithful will be hoping his name does not end up on the score sheet.

A much improved performance for the Reds against Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday evening has put Liverpool very much on a high. The downside for Brendan Rodgers of course is that he will have to manage his team selection with one eye on the must win second leg against Chelsea.

Injury news for the Reds has been somewhat improved this week with Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli and Glen Johnson all back in training. For Bolton they have a growing injury list and are unable to call upon Lee Chung-yong, Marc Tierney, Craig Davies, Mark Davies and Max Clayton.

Bolton's last league game saw them notch up a win over Sheffield Wednesday. They currently find themselves 15th in the table however they have only lost one game in their last 10. Liverpool of course recently picked up a draw against Chelsea at Anfield and are sitting 8th in the Premier League having also lost just one of their last 10 games.

The last time the two sides met was in January 2012. A single goal from Craig Bellamy for Liverpool was no match for Bolton who put three into the Liverpool net via Steinsson, Davies and Reo-Coker. The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was a reverse scoreline with Henderson, Skrtel and Charlie Adam on the score sheet that day. Ivan Klasnic scored a 90th minute consolation goal for Bolton.

I asked you for your score predictions and whether you were excited to see old Ivanhoe back at Anfield and here are a few of the tweets I received:
You may have guessed it, but I'd love to see Balotelli start tomorrow or at least feature. There's no real excuse this time either because Brendan needs to manage his side for the Chelsea game so just bloody play him!!!

It will be a great game also for youngsters such as Rossiter to be given another chance and I would like to think whatever the team we will have enough to make it past Bolton. I might pop a few bets on but I'm working a match beforehand so keep your eyes on Twitter if you want to follow my useless tips haha!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reds Pile On Pressure But Game Ends In Draw

Liverpool put on an inspired performance against a monotonous Chelsea on Tuesday night as the Reds looked to get the best start possible in their League Cup semi final. With Jose Mourinho clearly setting up his side with buses in mind, the away side did nothing the whole game aside from net a peno. Liverpool deserved a win but they just couldn't quite find another goal and being clinical in front of goal was once again a problem, this time, the only problem.

As the game kicked off with the last line of our anthem still ringing around Anfield, it was clear this was going to be an electric atmosphere. Brendan's side burst out the blocks and immediately caused issues for a Chelsea side containing stars such as Hazard and Costa. Admired for their attacking abilities it was evident that they wouldn't necessarily be on display tonight as Jose Mourinho opted once again to play the dreary negative football he is always so quick to criticise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite a big fan of a tactically sound defensive performance, it's one of the reasons I have an interest in Italian football (more so older calcio) but when it's Mourinho playing it, it just riles me up.

With the Reds piling on the pressure almost constantly it definitely felt like we were in the ascendancy, surely we would find a goal?

But we didn't. Instead a silly mishap from Emre Can saw Chelsea awarded a penalty. It was the correct decision but they didn't deserve a helping hand at all. Hazard stepped up at 18 minutes and easily converted the penalty leaving Liverpool suddenly on the back foot after such a bright start.

Gary Cahill and John Terry were struggling to deal with the flair and pace of Raheem Sterling who as always was simply unfazed by the calibre of his opposition. Martin Skrtel on the other hand had Diego Costa neatly tucked in his back pocket, aside from his inability to sway Martin Atkinson's decision not to give a hand ball when Costa... handled the ball in the box.

I personally think this was a penalty for us but I've since read differing opinions. I even heard one person say that it wasn't a peno because he was on the floor. What? Is that an addition to the rule now is it? No hand balls if you're lying down?

Anyway. A goal behind Liverpool went into the second half once again creating constant attacks and troubling the Chelsea defence. After all our chances though it was clear it was going to take something special for the Reds to get themselves on the score sheet and Raheem Sterling provided just that.

Just before the hour mark after an assist from Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling exploded on a run into the box. With four Chelsea players surrounding him, not one made an attempt to make a challenge and as his pace projected him into the box the youngster finished with ease to put Liverpool level.

It was a fantastic goal from Sterling and I, as I'm sure everybody did, went a tad crazy. We thoroughly deserved to be right in this game and after some Sterling magic it was game on!

Six minutes after the Sterling goal Steven Gerrard had a chance to claim glory for the Reds but his strike hit off the left hand upright. His face said it all and it was agonising to watch that effort sail away from goal on the rebound.

The Reds continued to press Chelsea and their next best effort at goal came via a stunning Adam Lallana strike as the ball weaved in the air, Lallana himself was almost celebrating only to watch Courtois save.

As the game drew to a close it was hard to comprehend that despite over 20 attempts at goal, Liverpool were walking away with a draw. A deluded Jose Mourinho suggested a draw was the correct result, he evidently didn't see his sides two attempts at goal and pretty much naff all else then?

As the Chelsea manager made strategically placed compliments about the Liverpool crowd again after the match, the mind games have once again begun for Mourinho who will absolutely relish the fact that his side are taking a draw back to Stamford Bridge after barely moving a muscle.

Well he can jog on cause from now until next Tuesday I hope the Liverpool lads use the disappointment of playing so well and failing to win as a juggernaut to get through to the final.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Next up for Liverpool is Bolton in the FA Cup.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 19 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Chelsea

Liverpool prepare to face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday evening as the Reds look to get the better of the Blues in the first leg of this very important League Cup semi-final. With Liverpool's season not exactly going perfectly to plan, the chance of silverware is a very attractive prospect for the Anfield faithful who will feel it is their best chance of glory this season.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Glen Johnson and Joe Allen with the game almost certainly being too early for striker Daniel Sturridge also. Mario Balotelli should return to the side after missing out on the Villa game due to illness.

Chelsea have a very strong team available to them with just a doubt hanging over Azpilicueta. Didier Drogba who has also been out with illness should be available once again for manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea made it through to the semi-final after beating Derby 3-1. Goals from Hazard, Luis and Schurrle sealed the deal and it was a confident win for Chelsea who will prove to be a formidable opposition for Liverpool.

The Reds reached the semi-final with the same scoreline after putting three past Bournemouth. A brace from Sterling and a Markovic goal was enough to see the Reds through on that evening.

The last time the two sides met was in November last year. Goals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa gave Chelsea the victory at Anfield despite an early goal from Emre Can for the Reds.

It's always a tasty tie whenever Liverpool and Chelsea meet and over the years the rivalry has bubbled to boiling point. I for one can't quite contain my excitement for these two matches and I really hope the Reds can somehow find a way through.

I'd feel a lot more confident if it was the second leg at Anfield to be honest, however with two throws of the dice your confidence rises no matter who it is you are facing. With so much pressure placed on the game too you just never know what's going to happen.

I did ask you for your thoughts on the game but unfortunately my embed feature is on the blink on Tweetdeck so please be sure to tweet in again for the match report when hopefully it'll fix itself!

If I get chance to pop a couple of bets on the game after work I'm probably going to have a quid on Skrtel anytime and a quid on 2-1 (being extremely optimistic here).  I have no idea what team Brendan is going to field either but... yes, you've guessed it, I want Balotelli to start! Or at least bloody feature.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Both Strikers Score In Villa Win

Scroll through the numerous updates on social media regarding Liverpool Football Club and you're guaranteed to find several tweets from disgruntled fans moaning about the fact we have to rely on Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert up front. Whilst some of the tweets will be completely warranted, others are unfounded drivel. Borini and Lambert are clearly not the perfect package but they are strikers and they will, given the chance, score goals.

In Saturday's clash with Aston Villa they both found the back of the net. It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of playing without a striker and so to see Borini given the chance to start was very pleasing. In the second half most people were distraught at the sight of Rickie Lambert preparing to come on whilst I found myself again feeling positive.

It was Liverpool who got the better start in the game at Villa Park and after just 24 minutes the Reds had found themselves an opening goal. A brilliant cross from Jordan Henderson found its way to Fabio Borini who with a fantastic finish slotted his effort home to put Liverpool 1-0 up. Running away with his famous "dagger in the mouth" celebration, it was brilliant to see the Italian rewarded for his efforts of late. You may dislike him but he desperately wants to prove himself here at Liverpool and I for one, at least for now feel he deserves to be given the chance.

Shortly after the goal the Reds created some more half chances firstly a Coutinho header that was saved by Guzan followed by a break from Raheem Sterling that resulted in his chipped effort being saved.

In the second half it was Aston Villa who began to force the tide to turn but not before another chance for Liverpool. A Jordan Henderson corner was whipped into the box and met by the head of Martin Skrtel, with some power on his shot a flick on from Fabio Borini almost sent the ball into the back of the net only for Guzan to save once again.

As Villa began to raise the pressure things got troublesome for the Reds. A strong Benteke strike later into the second half was superbly stopped by Mignolet who then followed up with another save straight afterwards to keep his side in the game.

Shortly afterwards for Villa a Fabian Delph corner found its way to Baker but he sent his header just over the bar. Delph was involved in the action for Villa's next real chance too when he played a lovely ball through to Benteke. This time it was Martin Skrtel with a perfectly timed challenge who prevented the danger for the Reds.

Baker would soon find himself with another brilliant chance for Villa when receiving the ball in the box. The number two completely missed timed his kick though and the chance passed him by.

As Liverpool appeared to weather the storm it was Lucas Leiva up the other end of the pitch who had a pop at goal. An effort from range for the midfielder almost curled its way in but yet again Guzan got down well and saved.

At 78 minutes, just eight minutes after entering play it was Rickie Lambert's time to shine. A wonderful turn to take the defender completely out of the race left Lambert with a chance to secure the Reds' three points. With a lovely finish the ex Southampton man celebrated emphatically with the rest of his team mates and Liverpool were 2-0 up.

Again, it was brilliant to see Lambert score, just like Borini he deserves his chance I feel. With few options up front at the moment and the apparent stubbornness of Brendan Rodgers not to play Mario Balotelli, I will always back a striker (I say always, there are exceptions) today we played two strikers and two strikers scored.

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 in the league cup, a massive opportunity for the Reds!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 16 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Aston Villa V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to the Midlands on Saturday as they prepare to face a struggling Aston Villa side. Paul Lambert's team are currently 13th in the table on 22 points. With the return of Raheem Sterling after a club sanctioned holiday this week, Brendan will be hoping his star man can steer his side to victory at Villa Park.

Injuries for Liverpool mean there are doubts hanging over both Adam Lallana and Steven Gerrard. Joe Allen and Glen Johnson are also still out along with Daniel Sturridge, the forward however returned to training this week and it is hoped he will be back relatively soon.

For Aston Villa they are unable to call upon Ciran Clark who is serving a ban. Also unavailable are Vlaar and Senderos whilst Joe Cole will be subject to a late fitness test.

Aston Villa have failed to win a league game in their last six fixtures. They last picked up three points against Leicester back in early December after a 2-1 win. Liverpool find themselves in 8th having won three out of their last six league fixtures. The Reds last lost a game at the hands of Manchester United, conceding three goals and failing to score.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year. Liverpool lost the game 1-0 after an Agbonlahor goal just nine minutes into the match. The Reds last visit to Villa Park ended in a reverse scoreline as Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal in that game.

Overall Liverpool have a good record against the Midlands side and with Villa failing to find the back of the net in their last four games you have to feel Liverpool will have this game wrapped up. However it's not as simple as that with Liverpool is it? It's usually teams we should beat that absolutely embarass us. I'm still a bit sceptical after the Sunderland result because despite the fact that it's always nice to grind out a win we lacked a clinical finish. There were positives from the game but with our unpredictable defence too we play in a dangerous manner at the moment, here's hoping for an improved performance on Saturday.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have not drawn an away league game so far this season.
  • Villa have averaged a point per game in their last 63 fixtures in the Premier League at home.
  • Gerrard has scored 12 goals against Aston Villa in his career.

I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:
As always, I would like to see Balotelli start tomorrow but, as always, he probably won't. I'm pleased that Sterling will be returning and can see him scoring on Saturday. If I was to pop a quid on the game I'd go for a 1-0.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Markovic Scores In Sunderland Win

Liverpool successfully ground out a 1-0 win over ten man Sunderland on Saturday after a Lazar Markovic goal in the first half sealed the deal for the Reds. It wasn't a perfect performance from Brendan's side by any stretch of the imagination but there were certainly positives to take from the game including the clean sheet and influential performance from Markovic.

The Reds began the game in a very bright fashion with an early through ball from Philippe Coutinho reaching Markovic, the Serbian was then taken down by Wes Brown but the referee deemed the incident not to be worthy of a penalty.

Luckily for Liverpool their next brush in with a refereeing decision worked very much in their favour. With just eight minutes gone in the game another quick break from Markovic down the right wing allowed him to pass the ball to Steven Gerrard. The captain then opted to pass to Borini who was quite clearly fouled as he attempted to get the ball back to Markovic, thankfully though the referee made a great decision opting to play advantage. Markovic then continued his run and slotted the ball through the keeper's legs to put Liverpool 1-0 up.

It was a well deserved goal for Markovic who despite not always being effective enters every game with exactly the right attitude. He's willing to give his all and really push forward in attack, Sunderland were clearly flustered and not even a quarter of the game had been played.

Another great chance for Liverpool arose shortly after the goal when Alberto Moreno won the Reds a free kick on the left hand side of the box. Steven Gerrard stepped up and with a brilliant effort forced Pantilimon into a save.

As Liverpool continued to press in the first half whilst Sunderland struggled, it was Lazar Markovic again wowing the crowds. As the ball splayed out to Lazar who was hovering outside the box, he opted to go aerial in his effort, jumping before smashing an excellent shot at goal only to see it crash out off the post, onto Pantilimon and away from danger. It would of been an absolutely fantastic goal but luck wasn't on Lazar's side in that instance.

Towards the end of the first half Fabio Borini was almost rewarded for his efforts in attack. A superb ball from Emre Can allowed the Italian to break into the box, his first touch took the ball nicely around the keeper but he was unable to find the end product from the tight angle. For me Fabio Borini had a great game. As many are aware I much prefer playing with a striker and whilst Borini is by no means the best he offers a lot to our game. His ability to draw the defenders' focus on to him creates space therefore allowing players such as Markovic to break into the box and really create problems.

In the second half things went from bad to worse for Sunderland who were still really struggling to create any real chances leaving Mignolet with no real job on. Bridcutt who had been booked in the first half found himself receiving a second yellow after taking down Emre Can on the wing. In my opinion it was pretty harsh to give Bridcutt the second booking here and I do think Sunderland were unlucky to see him sent off however the home side appeared to play a lot better once they were down to ten men.

Sunderland's best chance of the game fell to Adam Johnson who from distance in the second half struck a fluid shot. It's movement had completely beat Simon Mignolet but the crossbar came to his rescue and ensured Liverpool would hang on to all three points.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
For me of course all that really matters is the three points but it's quite worrying to realise that the only reason you beat Sunderland was due to a decent decision from a referee. We still really struggle to be clinical and I'm not certain that will be fixed any time soon even with the return of Daniel Sturridge.

However the Reds are on a positive run and I do try to remain positive going forward. Next up for Liverpool is Aston Villa away.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, 9 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Sunderland V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday as Brendan Rodgers aims to steer his side to a win over Sunderland. The January transfer window has swung open but for the time being it looks as though the Reds will have to wait to bring new faces to Anfield.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without several players due to long term injury and recently Adam Lallana was added to the list with a calf problem. The Reds are also unable to call upon Toure who has now gone out to the Africa Cup of Nations, good luck Kolo!!

For Sunderland they are unable to call upon Coates who is ineligible to play against us. They also have doubts hanging over Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell.

Sunderland are currently 14th in the league with 20 points. Sunderland lost their last game against Manchester City but put up a good fight scoring two goals with City netting three. In their last six games in the league they have only won once; an emphatic 1-0 win over Newcastle.

Liverpool find themselves 8th in the league and on a total of 29 points. A successful win over Swansea for the Reds in December led most fans to think Liverpool had turned a corner however the 4-1 win over the Swans was soon forgotten when Brendan's side managed to throw away a 2-0 lead at home to Leicester and ended up collecting just a point in the 2-2 draw.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year a dire 0-0 was definitely one to miss for Reds fans however the clean sheet was most welcome. The last time Sunderland notched up a win over the Reds was back in 2009 Darren Bent scored a goal on the fifth minute for Sunderland that day with Liverpool failing to find a return.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only lost one of their last eight games in the league.
  • Sunderland have picked up 52 yellow cards so far this season, the most for any team.
  • The Reds have yet to draw away from home this season.

I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I think it's gonna be one of those horrible scrappy games tomorrow, no doubt Sunderland will find a goal from a set piece as Liverpool unveil their terrible attempt at defending. I'd also love to see Balo given a chance but I know that's not going to happen so I'm left relying on a line up probably without a striker and also possibly without the magic of Sterling who is rumoured to be rested. We'll probably go 70 minutes without scoring then someone will muster up a goal and it'll probably end in a draw... Mega positive me this week?! Haha!

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Gerrard Brace In Wimbledon Win

Liverpool put themselves through to the next round of the FA Cup on Monday night as a brace from captain Steven Gerrard ensured the Reds would go on to face Bolton Wanderers. In his first game after announcing he will leave Liverpool Football Club, Gerrard took control of the game being clinical where others failed.

It took Liverpool just ten minutes to get off the mark in the game. Despite an early bright spell from Wimbledon, the Reds managed to convert via a Steven Gerrard header in the centre of the box. He was assisted by Manquillo.

It was a set up for Liverpool that involved a striker, something I am always crying out for. More importantly though, it involved Gerrard sitting behind the striker, a role he relishes in. Whilst Lambert was ineffective, the captain made the most of his chance in a more attacking role than he has been used to of late.

For Wimbledon all eyes were on their big man up front; Adebayo Akinfenwa. For a man of his stature he doesn't half get about and he was certainly causing problems for a shaky Liverpool defence. Set pieces for the Reds have always been an issue and when you have a player like Akinfenwa wrestling for the ball, it's easy for things to go wrong and quickly.

At 35 minutes, things did go wrong for Liverpool. Simon Mignolet completely and utterly lacking in confidence failed to punch the ball clear and despite a goal line clearance after a combined effort from Lucas and Skrtel, the ball eventually splayed out into the melee and allowed Akinfenwa to get his much sought after goal. A Liverpool fan as a boy, he must of been chuffed to bits to bag that.

Going into the second half it was clear that the Reds would need to create something a bit different in order to break Wimbledon down. Whilst Markovic and Coutinho made weaving and pacey runs, it was predictable for the home side and they stemmed the flow on several occasions.

As the second half continued with no breakthrough it was Liverpool who once again found a lifeline. A free kick awarded to the Reds won by Philippe Coutinho allowed Steven Gerrard to set up his sights. His resulting free kick was a beauty and as it neatly swooped its way into the back of the net it left both fans and commentators asking the question again about Gerrard's decision to leave.

Right or wrong decision for the right or wrong reasons, Gerrard had proven once again how much we rely on him. He of all people would love to end his career at Liverpool in an FA Cup final and thank god he helped us through to the next round!

In the latter stages of the second half Brendan Rodgers finally introduced Mario Balotelli. It's no secret how much I want him to do well and despite the fact he never got on the score sheet he immediately got stuck into the game and created more in his 15 minutes that Rickie Lambert did the whole game.

Next up for Liverpool is Sunderland.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Liverpool Face Wimbledon In FA Cup

They may not be the crazy gang anymore and we certainly aren't the culture club at the moment but Liverpool playing in Red will be going for gold on the green. It's the first time the two clubs have met since the old Wimbledon morphed into MK Dons and so it should be an interesting FA Cup tie for both sides.

Liverpool will be able to call upon Martin Skrtel again on Monday night after he served his suspension during the Leicester game. Dejan Lovren is also available for the Reds after returning from a groin injury. For Wimbledon they are unable to call upon their defenders Jack Smith and Andy Frampton who have hamstring and ankle problems respectively.

Wimbledon's last five games in the league have seen them win three and lose two, scoring ten goals along the way. Liverpool have won two out of their last five league games, drawing two and losing the other. The Reds have scored nine goals within that time.

Whilst AFC Wimbledon were created as a phoenix club, the name "Wimbledon" will forever unravel memories for Liverpool fans of a certain age when the old Wimbledon beat the Reds in the 1988 FA Cup final.

In a side that contained Dave Beasant in goal and the infamously aggressive Vinnie Jones in midfield the crazy gang got the better of Liverpool on that May afternoon in a 1-0 win. Wimbledon had odds of 30/1 to beat the Reds at kick off and it's still on of the biggest shocks in the history of the FA Cup.

Liverpool's run in the FA Cup last season saw them overturn Oldham in the third round after beating them 2-0 at Anfield. The Reds fourth round tie against Bournemouth also went well as Rodgers' side put two past Bournemouth. Liverpool however then came unstuck when they drew Arsenal in the fifth round. A 2-1 win at the Emirates for Arsene Wenger's side put them through and they eventually won the whole competition.

Liverpool rarely tend to be done over by clubs lower down in the leagues in this competition however there have been a few scares over the years and it's therefore important not to underestimate Wimbledon who will be well up for this game on their home turf.

If I was popping a quid on the game I'd probably go for a 2-1 tomorrow night. I reckon Wimbledon will bag a goal from somewhere but I'm just hoping we have the experience and stamina to get the better of them.

I asked you for your score predicitons and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, 2 January 2015

Liverpool Lose Lead In Leicester Draw

Liverpool threw away a 2-0 lead on New Year's Day as the Reds failed to hold on to their somewhat gifted position. After being awarded a penalty that wasn't a penalty and another one shortly afterwards, captain Steven Gerrard converted both with ease however a tenacious Leicester did not give up and soon found themselves two goals to walk away with a point.

The news overnight though that Steven Gerrard will leave Liverpool at the end of the season seems to have made this game insignificant. If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen my thoughts as for here on the blog there will be a special post on our captain at the end of the season as it just seems wrong to do it now.

The game started in a lively fashion for visitors Leicester who saw an early free kick from Mahrez clip the inside of the post. Schlupp shortly afterwards sent in a cross to Mahrez who sent an effort wide.

The Foxes were definitely causing Liverpool problems and it was mere fortune that the Reds would eventually get a chance to take the lead. At 16 minutes Raheem Sterling broke into the box and appeared to kick the ball off Morgan's hand. As Morgan protested that the ball had actually hit his face, the replays showed the poor decision and it was definitely not a penalty. Leicester were rightly disgruntled.

Steven Gerrard stepped up for the penalty and in true Gerrard fashion put home the spot kick calmly and confidently sending the ball to the left of the keeper.

At 39 minutes Liverpool were awarded another penalty. This time I think correctly so. Simpson had his arms out and made contact with the ball, some people appear to think this was harsh but I think we'd of been unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty there.

Steven Gerrard stepped up once again, this time sending his effort to the keeper's right.  Now 2-0 up it looked like the Reds had secured this win but things would change immensely in the second half.

A moment of potential brilliance occurred in the latter stages of the first half though after a Steven Gerrard corner found its way to Jordan Henderson, he smashed a volley from distance and was unlucky to see it miss the target.

The second half began very well for Leicester who found themselves a goal just ten minutes into the half. A wonderful strike from Nugent put his side right back into the game. It was a shock for Liverpool but the Reds should have been more prepared as the Leicester onslaught began. The away side had been creating issues throughout the whole game and it was only a matter of time before they made it count. Sitting on the back of two penalties, failing to score again and failing to defend was unacceptable from Liverpool.

Just two minutes after their first goal Leicester had scored their equaliser. A strike from Schlupp from outside the box put his side level but he was far too free as the Liverpool defence failed to deal with the issue. Leicester definitely deserved to be level, they had played very well, the worry now was could Liverpool hold on to the point? Because we didn't look like winning the game.

Fabio Borini was brought on later in the game sending a shot over the bar. A Markovic header late on saw the substitute send a header wide for the Reds.

And that was that. It was an annoying result to be honest because Leicester probably deserved all three points not just the one, however Liverpool were 2-0 and they simply must hold on to that.

I did ask you for your thoughts on the game but with all the madness on Twitter at the moment surrounding the Gerrard saga it's a bit difficult to sift through the relevant tweets, apologies!

Next up for Liverpool is AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup.

Labels: , , , ,