The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V FC Sion

Image via The Hard Tackle
It's Thursday tomorrow and you know what that means... Another Europa League tie for the Reds. Whilst it's particularly difficult to get excited about a visit from FC Sion it's important for Liverpool to collect a win because anything other than victory would quite frankly be embarrassing.

With one eye on a massive Merseyside derby though, Brendan Rodgers has already hinted that he will be fielding a weaker side having stated Daniel Sturridge will not feature. Whilst I think this is a sensible idea especially considering Sturridge has only just returned, I fear that reducing the strength of the squad drastically could backfire for Brendan.

If you want to know more about FC Sion, you can read my Europa League round up post over on Shoot. A fact I've learnt since then however is that Gennaro Gattuso used to play for them and even had a spell as player manager!

Form wise, both clubs are arguably having unsteady spells. In their last six in all competitions FC Sion have won three and lost three. Liverpool have picked up three draws, two losses and a win most recently against Aston Villa.

Kopites will remember our last meeting with a Swiss side after Basel sealed our demotion from the Champions League to the Europa League. Many will bat off Swiss opposition as a banker but it honestly wouldn't surprise me if Liverpool managed to fluff it up on Thursday.

The last time FC Sion appeared at Anfield was in October 1996 in the European Cup Winner's Cup. The game ended in a 6-3 victory for the Reds with McManaman, Barnes, Fowler (x2), Berger and Bjornebye on the score sheet.

I asked you for your score predictions for this one and here are a few of the tweets I received:
I probably won't be having bets tomorrow because I'm back to being a poor student this year and I'd rather bet on the Merseyside derby haha! However I like so many of you that tweeted in, I will be pumping for a 2-1 win for Liverpool.

I don't want us to concede but I can just see it happening, I just hope Liverpool can secure a win because we definitely need it.

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

P.s. Thank you to everybody who voted for the blog, I find out if I've made it on to the shortlist for best established blog shortly!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sturridge Back On Form As Reds Beat Villa

Image via: mirror.co.uk

Liverpool collected all three points at Anfield on Saturday afternoon as Brendan Rodgers let out a sigh of relief having watched his side secure a much needed win. The victory though wasn't as sweet as it could have been with the Reds conceding two goals in the process.

Things got off to a brilliant start for Liverpool as James Milner bagged a goal just after a minute into the game. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho, the ex Villa man picked up the ball just outside the box and sent his effort low to the right. To be fair, an early goal was exactly what the Reds needed, mainly to calm the fans down and to steady the nerves of the team and  the manager.

The remainder of the first half was uneventful really as Liverpool created some half chances namely via the likes of Ings and some long range efforts. Villa also had some opportunities particularly after a poor clearance from Emre Can allowed the ball to fall to Gestede however his shot flew wide.

In the second half the game began to feel like a more even contest but it was Liverpool once again who got off the mark first. This time it was Daniel Sturridge's turn, a pass from Milner allowed the striker to take the shot first time and with a left footed volley he put his side 2-0 up.

It was fantastic to see Sturridge back to his best, it's of course frustrating that he gets injured on a frequent basis but credit given when due, he always returns with goals. There aren't many players that can instantly create such an impact after such a long time out and I'm so glad he's back!

Seven minutes later and Villa's best player; Gestede had got them back into the game. A cross from Hutton flew directly into the box where Gestede was left completely unmarked, no pressure at all from the Liverpool defence and he tapped home with ease.

As tension grew for the Reds luckily that man Daniel Sturridge was ready once again. This time some beautiful link up play between himself and Coutinho saw the latter back heel a pass to Sturridge in the box allowing him to finish with style to the right of goal. It was a cracking effort and showed a glimmer of how things could be for Liverpool going forward.

Villa though were not done yet, just four minutes later and they'd found themselves a second. A cross from Jordan Amavi after a quick break flew in to, yes you guessed it; Gestede. He headed home with relative ease and you have to wonder why our defence failed to target such a dangerous forward.

In the closing stages a great free kick from Coutinho was saved in style by Guzan but it didn't matter as the Reds held on to their lead.

A win of course was fantastic for Liverpool but I think it is very easy to get carried away and it's vital to remember that this was a win by a small margin in a game we should have bossed. Villa haven't been very good at all this season yet here they are scoring two at Anfield and almost turning the tables. I don't mean to be pessimistic but I won't allow myself to feel too excited with a win over Villa at home.

Let's hope this is a platform we can build on as we face another Europa League tie and then the all important Merseyside derby next weekend.

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

P.s. folks there's only like one day left so if you haven't already please tweet this: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog"

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 25 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Aston Villa

Image via telegraph.co.uk
As the plot continues to thicken around the managerial future of Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool simply have to collect all three points in order to take some pressure off the boss and in order to get themselves moving in the right direction in the league.

The Reds have picked up some additions to their injury list recently after Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren both came off during the League Cup clash with Carlisle. Also unavailable is Christian Benteke who is nursing a hamstring problem.

For Aston Villa, they have suffered a blow after Agbonlahor picked up an injury against Birmingham. Also potentially unavailable is Adama Traore who may not make the start and a doubt hangs over the fitness of Idrissa Gana.

The last time the two sides met was in the FA Cup semi-final last year. I was so annoyed at the end of this game and I still can't ever support a decision to bring on Glen Johnson when you're 2-1 down in a semi-final?! Villa of course won the game and Christian Benteke was on the scoresheet for the Midlanders that day.

In the league at Anfield, Aston Villa's record never used to be something to shout about but their last four trips to L4 have been favourable. With two wins and two draws over this time period, manager Tim Sherwood will surely fancy his chances against an already faltering Liverpool side.

Brendan Rodgers certainly isn't in denial when it comes to his position as boss and in his press conference he was quoted as saying: "I don't shy away from the fact that you need to get results and be performing well to try and stay and work".

His team selection should therefore reflect a manager who is desperate to pull out all the stops to win on Saturday and I truly hope he plays two up top utilising both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings, the latter of whom has certainly earnt a place.

Stat Sandwich

  • The Reds have hit the post or the bar on five occasions so far this season, more than any other side.
  • Aston Villa have lost 16 league games in 2015, no side has lost more.
  • The last time Liverpool had a tally of just four goals after six league matches was in 2005-2006.

I didn't get chance to ask you for your score predictions for this one apologies! Feel free to drop me a tweet though with your thoughts as I always enjoy reading them. I'm not sure if I'm going to be having any bets tomorrow but I'll tweet them if I do.

Finally if you could take two seconds to tweet the bold sentence below, I'd really appreciate it as there's only three days left of nomination voting and I'd love to make the shortlist! 

"I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog"

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bogdan Puts Reds Through To Next Round

Image via thisisanfield.com
Today's match report will be very short and factual I'm afraid as like many I didn't see the match last night only the penos live and then the highlights so I'll just be stating what actually happened as of course I can't really offer any of my usual opinions which is a shame because I like a good rant! Haha.

Liverpool had a massive 47 shots at goal on Wednesday evening with 16 on target. To convert just one of those efforts to me is diabolical but as I say, I didn't see the full game so I don't think it's fair to comment. From what I saw coming through on social media it appeared as though whilst efforts were aplenty they were all sort of snapshot chances and from range.

In the first half it fell to Danny Ings to put Liverpool in front. The forward who also scored in the league against Norwich got on the end of a cross from Adam Lallana and headed home Liverpool's first and only goal of the game before penalties.

Despite going ahead in the game the Reds didn't have time to celebrate for very long as just 12 minutes later Carlisle had found their equaliser. A quick break from the away side saw Asamoah eventually receive the ball in the box and slip his effort home. He was assisted by Hery.

The second half was pretty uneventful for both sides, whilst Liverpool once again created several chances they were unable to find the back of the net as Carlisle remained resilient.

In extra time, Bogdan kept his side in the game after another top save and the Reds created a ruckus shortly afterwards in the Carlisle box after a long range shot from Lallana fell to Origi. Brendan Rodgers' side however still couldn't find a winner and the game went to penalties.

Prior to the spot kicks Dejan Lovren suffered what appeared to be a very bad injury, I just hope it isn't as bad as it first seemed and wish him the best.

Milner stepped up for the first penalty for Liverpool and converted with ease. Carlisle's captain was up next but Bogdan made a save to put pressure on the visitors. A cheeky spot kick from Can followed and Dicker put his effort down the centre.

Lallana stepped up only to see his relatively poor penalty saved but luckily Bogdan once again stepped up to the plate and prevented Joyce from scoring. As Philippe Coutinho prepared to take his peno it had to be a given that he'd score but the Brazilian saw his effort saved.

Alex McQueen then stepped up to score and put things level but Danny Ings put the Reds in the driving seat as he also converted.

It was down to Bastien Hery whose hairstyle alone could have put the magical Bogdan off but his right footed shot was saved by the ex Bolton man and Liverpool had somehow scraped through to the next stage of the competition.

Whilst we didn't really deserve to get through and you have to say fair play to Carlisle, if you're looking for sympathy, you certainly aren't going to get it from me. I don't care how terrible we are and how ridiculous a fashion we manage to get through all I care about at the time being is that we are through.

You have to wonder what's in store for Brendan Rodgers next though as his side haven't won a game in 90 minutes since 17th August.

Next up for the Reds is Aston Villa at home, full match preview available on the blog tomorrow.

If you haven't already please support me in this year's FBAs and tweet "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog"

I'd really appreciate your support!

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Carlisle

Image via Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images

Sorry about the missing Norwich posts folks, as you probably know I popped to Barcelona for a few days before I return to University for my final year and so unfortunately I was unable to do those posts. However, I'm back and ready to provide you with some sort of preview for our League Cup clash with Carlisle.

After picking up a draw against Norwich at the weekend, Liverpool are in desperate need of a change in fortune after failing to win in their last four matches in all competitions. Carlisle come in to this game on relatively good form having drew their last fixture and won four out of their last five prior to that in all competitions.

For Brendan Rodgers, he must realise the growing pressure on his shoulders and therefore surely he's aiming to take this competition seriously? His choice of line up for the Europa League game against Bordeaux however suggests that he is prepared to give fringe players a chance in games away from the league.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without Jordan Henderson who has broken a bone in his foot. Meanwhile, Christian Benteke will also be left out as he requires a hamstring scan. This could however be the perfect game for Daniel Sturridge who returned to the starting XI against Norwich but it's guesswork whether he will feature.

Carlisle manager Keith Curle doesn't have any major injury woes to contend with and will be sure to field a strong team for the fixture at Anfield.

The last time the two sides met was in January 1989 in the FA Cup. The Reds won that tie away from home scoring three goals in the process. Prior to this tie, the two sides have met on seven occasions, Carlisle have never won but they did manage two draws in our first ever meeting back in 1973 in the FA Cup and in the FA Cup in 1974.

For me, this is exactly the kind of game that Liverpool could struggle in. On paper you look at the fixture, see that it's at Anfield and think "yeah we'll walk that" and in all honesty that's what we should be doing. No offence to Carlisle but Liverpool should not be looking at a team from that league and be feeling concerned, however we are concerned.

Rodgers' decision to probably field a lot of youngsters could once again be a huge risk, his changed team against Bordeaux almost brought home the goods but luckily for him a draw away from home in France is a decent result, a draw at home to Carlisle? Not so much.

Without knowing the team it's hard to predict what will happen but I can see this being a scrappy (hate that term but it perfectly explains things!) game and I can definitely see Carlisle bagging a goal. If I end up having a bet I'll probably have a 2-1 scoreline.

I asked you for your score predicitons and here are a few of the tweets I received:
P.s. If you haven't already please take a second to tweet this: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog"

I'd really appreciate your support!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Bordeaux V Liverpool

Image via telegraph.co.uk
Liverpool are off to the south of France on Thursday evening as they kick off their Europa League campaign against Bordeaux. After suffering a 3-1 loss at the hands of Manchester United at the weekend the Reds will be searching for a win in order to get back on track.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they remain without their captain as Jordan Henderson has travelled to the US for treatment. Also a doubt is Adam Lallana whilst Daniel Sturridge could possibly make a return. The Liverpool Echo has also reported that James Milner and Christian Benteke will not be travelling.

This slightly annoys me because I happen to care about doing well in the Europa League, I don't feel as though a club like Liverpool should just bat it to one side, especially considering we will probably finish outside the top four anyway and this competition offers a route into the Champions League via the back door. I guess I've always been one who supports a quest for any silverware but I can see why some would view it as a hindrance.

Rodgers of course will be more concerned with the Norwich game but his risk of leaving two key players at home could backfire.

Bordeaux have a few injury woes to contend with and it looks as though the likes Cheick Diabate, Cedric Yambere and Lamine Same will remain unavailable. Injury issues have contributed to a relatively poor start from Bordeaux in the French Ligue 1.

The clubs have previously met on just two occasions. The most recent of which occurred on 31st October 2006 and the match proved to be quite a fright for Bordeaux who lost 3-0 and had a man sent off. The previous fixture in France in the Champions League didn't end well for the French side either as Peter Crouch scored the winner in the 58th minute.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have not won in any of their last five European away games.
  • Bordeaux have won their two European home games this season.
  • As well as failing to find victory in their last five European away games, the Reds have also failed to score in four of them.

I don't really know what to expect from this game to be honest. Liverpool have not been playing well as we all know and that has been with a relatively strong squad. With a change in the team looking likely in France, I'm not sure whether that will benefit us or just make things worse.

Bordeaux are certainly not the team they used to be but we shouldn't rule them out and as Liverpool struggle to find goals I honestly can't see past a 1-0 win here at best.

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!

P.s. Please give me a vote in The FBAs, simply tweet this: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog" 

I'd really appreciate your support!

P.s.s Don't forget I'm off to Barcelona so unfortunately there will be no Bordeaux match report, no Norwich preview and no Norwich report. Back to normal as soon as possible!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Benteke Scores Overhead Kick But Reds Packed No Punch

Image via Liverpool Echo
Liverpool conceded three goals at Old Trafford on Saturday evening and despite a wondrous effort from Christian Benteke the Reds never once looked capable of taking the game to Manchester United. I don't think I'd be going over the top to say that this game was one of the worst Liverpool V United ties I've ever watched, especially the first half which was just dull as hell.

I found myself quite pleased at kick off after Brendan Rodgers had finally appeared to opt to play two up top. However, I should have known better and it quickly became evident that Danny Ings who would have provided good support for an isolated Christian Benteke was deployed as a sort of wingback.

It just seriously does my head in, why is he so opposed to 4-4-2? I know it's not popular and I know it's not his favoured system but you've bought a £30million plus player who needs to be fielded with support or at the very least he needs a constant supply line which at present is non-existent at Liverpool. The final hope is that he's considering playing Sturridge up front with Benteke but you just never know with Rodgers do you?

Anyway... On to the game. The first half, literally nothing happened, nothing noteworthy occurred and I genuinely felt bored at times. I get really geared up for the United games, having grown up in a different city I'm not afraid to admit that the rivalry between us and United spurs me up more than the rivalry between ourselves and Everton. I know more United fans and there are usually more United fans in the pubs and bars so it's built up for me over time and I always look forward to this fixture. The first half though was crap, that's all there is to say.

The second half began no better for Liverpool who were quickly on the back foot after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the box. A foul from Clyne on Ashley Young allowed United to create some danger but the space given to Blind was unforgivable. The free kick acted as a direct assist to Blind on the central edge of the box and with a powerful strike he put United in the lead.

Liverpool had some minor moments in the second half one of which arose after a poor clearance from De Gea and involved some link up play between Firmino and Benteke. Shortly afterwards Danny Ings was presented with a chance in the box however he failed to connect and De Gea saved relatively easily.

The Reds may have had a few odd chances but what was really shocking and at the root of their attacking issues was the fact they simply could not keep hold of the ball. It was embarrassing at times and Rodgers' side struggled desperately to maintain possession.

Just before the 70 minute mark things went from bad to worse for Liverpool when some inexperience showed as Gomez brought down Herrera in the box. There wasn't really a need for the challenge and you could tell Gomez had realised the gravity of his mistake but it was too late and the referee awarded United the spot kick. Herrara converted slotting the ball high into the net.

At 83 minutes the Reds witnessed a real gem from Christian Benteke in what would be the only positive from the game. A cross from Jordon Ibe took a deflection in the box and after travelling high into the air fell to a poised Benteke, preparing himself for an acrobatic effort I myself was preparing to start moaning at him for being so audacious but what a goal it was! Many will recall the Wayne Rooney strike but I can't see myself forgetting that overhead kick from the Belgian in a hurry. Just sublime stuff.

Manchester United though, never ones to prolong any Kopite celebrations of course, immediately spoilt the party just as I'd sat back down. A lovely bit of play from their starlet Martial perhaps proved his price tag as he took on the Liverpool defence with ease and scored United's third of the night. 

It was definitely a game to forget for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers simply has to go back to the drawing board as far as I am concerned. Yes he will hopefully have Sturridge to call upon soon but his tactics for me are flawed and risky. He's certainly a man who wants to force players to fit into a system as opposed to adopting that system to suit his players and that really, really annoys me.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Bordeaux in the Europa League.

Just to pre-warn you there will be a Bordeaux preview on the blog however unfortunately the report will be missing and so too will the Norwich match preview and report. I'm off on a city break to Barcelona so things will be back to normal for the Carlisle game!

P.s. If you haven't yet I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a vote for best established blog in this year's football blogging awards. 

Simply tweet: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs for best #Established blog"

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 11 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Image via Liverpool Echo
Liverpool face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening in their first game since the international break. After suffering defeat at the hands of West Ham a fortnight ago the Reds will need to get back on track as quickly as possible but faced with one of their fiercest rivals, it is going to be a difficult night for manager Brendan Rodgers.

The headline in terms of injury/player news has to be circled around the story that De Gea who at one point this summer was about to have dinner with Rafael Benitez is now apparently signing his life away to Manchester United. I just don't get it. What I do get though is that De Gea is a good keeper and you can guarantee that he will have a massive say in Saturday's result (if van Gaal decides to start him).

Injury wise for Liverpool, we have received a bit of a boost as Daniel Sturridge has finally returned to training, he will however be unavailable for the fixture. Doubts are also hanging over both Lallana and Henderson who are racing for fitness in order to feature in this huge tie. Joe Allen is also unavailable, out with a hamstring injury. Most importantly for Liverpool though is the fact that they will be unable to call upon the influential Philippe Coutinho who is suspended.

For Manchester United they are relatively strong squad wise with just Phil Jones unavailable and Michael Carrick looking unlikely to start as he nurses a calf injury.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year, I was in Mexico and having awoken at 6am to travel to Hooters in the centre of Cancun as they were the only place showing the soddin' match I was dismayed to say the least after watching Steven Gerrard get sent off and us lose 2-1. I won't forget that match in a hurry I'll tell ya!

Prior to this, the fixture at Old Trafford last season didn't end well either as Liverpool were on the end of a 3-0 defeat. Our record at Old Trafford of course isn't fantastic however we did collect all three points in March 2014 thanks to two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez goal in the 84th minute.

In all competitions, Liverpool have won just twice in their last ten visits to Old Trafford. Despite this and even when the scoreline sometimes appears embarrassing the sheer passion that the fixture bubbles up usually ensures that the Reds put on a performance and I am hoping that tomorrow will be no different. I don't however anticipate a good result, we're struggling for goals and although our performance against Arsenal was enviable I'm not sure we will be able to replicate that at Old Trafford.

The plus side of course is that United haven't necessarily been playing brilliantly themselves having lost to Swansea prior to the international break and managing just a 0-0 draw with Newcastle beforehand.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have won just one of their last seven away matches in the Premier League.
  • Manchester United have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League games at Old Trafford.
  • If the Reds fail to find the back of the net it will be the first time they haven't scored for three league matches consecutively since 2005.
I don't want to be negative and I'm usually pretty optimistic (I'll still be sat in the pub pretending we can win the thing) however I don't think it's going to end well tomorrow and I'm predicting a 2-0 loss. I'll definitely be having some bets so just keep an eye on my Twitter if you want to see what I waste my money on haha!

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received, thanks to all who replied.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. Voting for this year's Football Blogging Awards is NOW OPEN

I was chuffed to bits when I won Best Female Blog in 2012 and Best Female Blog voted for by the fans in 2014 however this year there is no longer a "Female" category.

So, seen as though I am now in my 7th year of blogging about our wonderful Liverpool FC I have decided to enter the "Established" category.

If you could take two seconds to tweet this: "I'm voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC
as the Best #Established Football Blog" I'd really appreciate it!

Labels: , , , , , ,