The Liver Bird  

Monday, 30 November 2015

Milner Penalty Secures Three Points For Reds

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Liverpool just about managed to get the better of Swansea at Anfield on Sunday as Jürgen Klopp had to settle for a penalty to give his side all three points. It proved to be a fruitful weekend for the Reds though who capitalised as some of the big boys dropped points.

There was no Coutinho or Lucas for Liverpool but positively both Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson appeared on the bench. The game began with a minutes applause for Gerry Byrne who sadly passed this week.

The first half although not exactly brilliant did fall into the Reds' hands. An initial break into the box from Jordan Ibe almost ended in a goal after Bartley nearly turned the ball into the back of his own net.

Benteke was also causing hassle for Ashley Williams, the Swansea player also became frustrated at one stage when it appeared Benteke had dived in order to try and gain an advantage on the edge of the box. Watching it back it was a bit of a silly move from the striker who isn't exactly known for his theatrics.

As the first half trundled on it became clear that the Reds did not have any sort of hold on this game and the difficulty of playing at home was still an existing issue. For me, one thing I quickly noticed was the effect that the missing Lucas had. He gets a lot of stick Lucas and I honestly feel he is vastly under appreciated, his presence in midfield keeping things ticking along and his confident distribution within the centre of the pitch was sorely missed for me.

Can didn't play badly in the role but I prefer Can with a bit more freedom and some may not agree but Emre wasn't passing or aware of potential attacks as much as he should of been in my opinion. 

The second half saw Swansea increase their pressure but not before Liverpool got themselves on the scoresheet. A penalty was awarded to the Reds after a hand ball from Taylor in the box. It was a pretty harsh decision to be fair as it was clear he had no real intentions to handle the ball, however when you turn your back on the ball in the box you are surely asking for trouble?

Milner stepped up for the penalty and finished high into the middle of goal to put the Reds in front. Jürgen Klopp couldn't even watch the spot kick and instead opted to look at the fans reaction. 

The introduction of Henderson and Sturridge did little for Liverpool's performance as Swansea continued to apply pressure on goal. The Reds looked very shaky at the back and for a while it looked as though the Welsh side would equalise. Despite a good period of pressure though, Monk's side failed to find the back of the net and Liverpool walked away with their first home win under Klopp in the league.

Next up for Liverpool is Southampton in the League Cup.

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Swansea

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Liverpool welcome Swansea onto the Anfield turf on Sunday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp looks to start a run of form at L4. Fixtures away from home have been somewhat kinder to the Reds of late and injury woes may put a spanner in the works for the boss.

The news filtering through that Daniel Sturridge may have played a greater role in the decision to not feature against Bordeaux has left some fans questions his loyalty to the team. I personally think that after the issues Sturridge has had throughout his career it's a psychological barrier for him, what somebody else would brush off as nothing, he takes dead serious and you can't really blame him for that. Clearly, he needs to change his mind set but hopefully under the guidance of Klopp he can do that and will return to the field sooner rather than later.

In other news, Liverpool will be unable to utilise Lucas as he serves a suspension for this fixture. It is also unlikely that Coutinho will feature and despite being involved in training this week Henderson still isn't quite ready to make the team.

For Swansea, they are looking very strong with no injuries to note. Ex Red Jonjo Shelvey however will be unavailable to play as he is also serving a suspension.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. A goal from Jordan Henderson sealed all three points for the Reds that day. Swansea's last visit to Anfield wasn't a pretty scoreline for the Welsh side either as Liverpool won the game 4-1.

Stat Sandwich
  • The Reds have won only one of their last five league games at Anfield.
  • Swansea have failed to keep a clean sheet in the last seven league games.
  • Liverpool have won four out of the last five meetings in the league between the two sides.
After posing a significant threat for several seasons Swansea seem to have lost their bite a bit this year. They aren't exactly on a brilliant run of form and currently find themselves 14th in the table. Despite this, I still think they'll find the back of the net tomorrow and my prediction is a 2-1 win for the Reds.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 27 November 2015

Reds Through To Round Of 32

Image via Sky Sports
After a somewhat bizarre opening goal from visitors Bordeaux, the Reds managed to seal victory at Anfield on Thursday evening and have secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League in the process. The evening opened with bad news though after it filtered through that Daniel Sturridge would be sent for a scan on a foot injury in the morning.

The first half for Liverpool didn't get off to a magnificent start when a lapse in concentration from Simon Mignolet led to a very questionable headed clearance. Luckily Kolo Toure was around to help clean up the mess and the visitors failed to capitalise on the situation.

Christian Benteke had a brilliant game which began with a strike at the side netting, quickly followed by a goal that was ruled offside. The forward was unlucky, mistiming his run slightly but the link up play between himself and the likes of Ibe, Milner and Firmino meant he'd surely get on the scoresheet.

Just after the half hour mark Bordeaux found themselves a goal in rather bemusing fashion. The referee decided Mignolet had kept hold of the ball for too long, to be honest one downfall Mignolet has is his decision making/ability to distribute quickly and effectively, but seriously this time he was pushing his luck. The rule states you can hold the ball for six seconds, obviously keepers hold it for longer, probably on a regular basis but hold it for 21 seconds and you can't be surprised when the referee decides to actually enforce the rule.

Bordeaux took their free kick from inside the box and Saivet finished strongly to put the French side in the lead.

Liverpool didn't take long however to cancel out the goal when a penalty was awarded just five minutes later. Christian Benteke was fouled in the box and up stepped captain James Milner, successfully converting the spot kick to the right of goal.

With the Reds now on level terms the game definitely began to swing in their favour and right on the stroke of half time Klopp's side found themselves a second.

It was a stunning effort from Benteke who received the ball from Clyne on the wing, the ex Villa man controlled, turned and struck home a beautiful strike to put his side into the lead.

It was nothing more than Liverpool deserved and as the second half showed, aside from some half chances from Bordeaux, the visitors never seriously looked like troubling the Reds from open play.

Efforts from Ibe and another disallowed Benteke goal followed in the latter half of the game but Bordeaux spent most of the time inside their own half. A late challenge from Dejan Lovren allowed Saivet to whip in a direct effort from a free kick very late on but Mignolet saved well.

The victory means the Reds will also top the group if they avoid defeat in the final game in Switzerland.

Next up for the Reds is Swansea on Sunday.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bordeaux

After beating Manchester City 4-1 at the weekend, Jurgen Klopp's side are brimming with confidence and will surely fancy their chances against Bordeaux at Anfield on Thursday night. The Europa League is labelled as a bit of a nuisance by many but Klopp strikes me as a man after my own heart; if there's silverware at stake, I'm chasing it.

Injuries for Liverpool mean the game will probably come too soon for Jordan Henderson who is almost back to fitness. It also looks as though the knock to Philippe Coutinho will keep him out of this fixture. Mamadou Sakho may be in contention but it would be a strange decision from Jurgen Klopp to rush the defender back to action.

Bordeaux have a few injuries to contend with, most players have been out long term however the likes of Maulun, Toure and Pablo look as though they will be unavailable for Thursday's match.

As covered in the previous match preview for the away tie, Liverpool have met Bordeaux on just two occasions prior to this year's Europa League campaign. Bordeaux failed to score in the two fixtures in the Champions League back in 2006 and the Reds won 3-0 at home thanks to a brace from Luis Garcia and a Steven Gerrard goal.

At present, Bordeaux are currently 13th in the league having won just four of their 14 games. The French side have also conceded 21 goals so far this season, the joint third worst tally in Ligue 1.

A win over Bordeaux on Thursday evening would enable the Reds to secure a place in the last 32 of the competition. Something that didn't look like a possibility under Brendan Rodgers. Whatever your thoughts on the Europa League, I've always thought that to be a truly great team, you need to be able to handle everything that is thrown at you. There's no denying that extra fixtures put a burden on a side but man up and deal with it is what I say and I get the feeling Klopp has the same mentality.

With France still reeling from terrorist attacks in the capital almost two weeks ago now, I'm not sure if there is any memorial or silence in place for Thursday night's game but I'm sure the tragedy will be on the minds of both sets of fans.

For me, it's got to be a Liverpool victory tomorrow, I can't see any other outcome. The only difference is Klopp will probably utilise his forwards giving Benteke and Sturridge a chance instead of playing without them. I fancy a 2-0 and after last weekend's result I will definitely be putting yet another quid on Martin Skrtel to find the back of the net haha!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Brazilian Masterclass At The Etihad

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Liverpool picked up a massive result against Manchester City on Saturday evening as Klopp’s side scored four goals at the Etihad. It was a superb result for the Reds who made mince meat of City’s weakened defence.

Jürgen Klopp made a bold decision to select an XI without a recognised striker and I can't deny that the set up worried me initially. I guess I'm just a traditionalist at heart and I get frustrated when there's no striker on the field however, this line up worked well against Chelsea and it proved to be a stroke of genius against City too.

Liverpool’s first goal of the game came just seven minutes into the first half. A last ditch attempt from Sagna to hack Coutinho off the ball resulted in failure as the magic number 10 maintained possession and set off towards goal on the left wing. A timely pass to Firmino allowed his compatriot to whip in a cross only for Mangala to bumble home an own goal. It was comedic to be fair and the City defence were definitely struggling to adapt after the injuries affecting their back four.

It may have been an own goal but it was no coincidence that the Reds were in the lead, they were playing City off the park and pressure continued to mount for Pellegrini’s side who failed to offer any real threat in the opening stages of the game. 

At 22 minutes, Liverpool had found their second of the game and it was Coutinho and Firmino linking up yet again. Firmino flew through the City defence with ease and placed a perfect pass to Coutinho who tapped home his fourth goal in five fixtures against City.

Being 2-0 up at the Etihad after just 20 minutes is not something that happens, certainly not for Liverpool who haven't picked up a win at the ground in the league since 2008. The show wasn’t over yet though and Klopp’s side continued to boss the game as they searched for a third goal.

The Brazilian pairing of Coutinho and Firmino were involved once again for the third. This time the play was initiated after a cheeky back heel from Emre Can, the pass was definitely onside and picked up by Coutinho who left Hart with no chance as he swept the ball across to his teammate. Firmino slotted Liverpool’s third goal of the game home after just 30 minutes. 

The pairing of the two Brazilians and the way they played on Saturday for me proves how vital a change in manager was for Liverpool. Yes, tactically Klopp has applied his changes but it's clear to see that the team want to play for their manager, they are content and it shows in their game.

Just before the half hour mark the influential Aguero tried to spoil the party for the Reds. It was a cracking goal from the Argentinian who took his effort from outside the box and finished in style. 

The second half began with a bit of an edgy feel because it felt as though Man City may just be able to get back into this game. The feeling wasn't helped when James Milner decided it would be a good idea to slide a back pass intended for Mignolet straight into the path of Raheem Sterling. Thankfully for the Reds, Sterling for some reason opted not to shoot and instead passed to Aguero but Mignolet completed the save. 

With 15 minutes left of the match Christian Benteke got his chance to feature in the game by replacing Roberto Firmino. He was quickly involved too after breaking with two defenders on his case, standing strong he got one on one with the keeper but his effort was saved.

Then, at 80 minutes, something truly magical happened. Those who know me will know I have an obsession with defenders and also that I love Martin Skrtel. Almost every week I have a quid on him to be first goalscorer and a quid on him as last goalscorer. Over the years I've seen odds of 12/1, 20/1 and even 25/1 but yesterday when I logged into my Paddy Power app I scrolled through the goalscorers to see Skrtel at 40/1! “Ridiculous!” I thought and I immediately put my quid on. So you can imagine what happened when he scored.

I was already elated at the fact we were 3-1 up at the Etihad but when that ball fell to Skrtel I thought “oh jeez its on his foot, he only scores with his head”. I was certain he was gonna smash the shot into the stands but instead he struck a half volley that any striker would envy. I went bloody mental! Jumping round the pub smacking my brother shouting “I've won forty effin quid!!!” Haha it was absolutely quality. 

What a game, what a result, what a team performance! Klopp's favouring of a pressing game was evident on Saturday and City no matter how hard they tried were not going to get any time on the ball. What was even more hilarious was the fact that Raheem Sterling was supposed to be the headline maker for this one and he did absolutely nothing.

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. 

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Friday, 20 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester City V Liverpool (Plus Football Blogging Awards Round Up)

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Firstly can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for The Liver Bird and got me onto the shortlist for "Best Established Blog" at this year's Football Blogging Awards. Unfortunately there was no win this year but congratulations to deserved winners; The Football Pink and Goalden Times.

Despite walking away without a trophy this year I still feel like one of life's winners after meeting an absolute legend; John Barnes. He was invited to the event by Ladbrokes and I went over to get a photo with him earlier in the night, he praised my phone case which has a Liverpool emblem on it too haha. Things got even better though when we found ourselves queueing behind Digger himself for a pie at the buffet.

I saw my chance and I took it, "So John, what do you think of Jurgen Klopp?" I asked. In a nutshell, he really likes our new manager but he stressed that he's not going to turn things around quickly with the team he has, he needs time. He made a valid point when he asked me to name a player that Arsenal or City, United, Chelsea etc would take off of us and at the same time we both said Coutinho and nobody else. It's safe to say Barnes is a Klopp fan and like myself believes as Liverpool fans our expectations are sometimes a bit too high.

Shortly afterwards, Stan Collymore mingled into the queue as he was waiting to be interviewed by Ball Street, he and John got talking so me and my fella moved past them in the queue. Five minutes later there's a tug on my arm, who is it? John Barnes running the banter about us jumping the queue so he pushed back in front haha! To top it all off he then ended up doing Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang before presenting an award. It was just quality. He's genuinely a really lovely guy with a top sense of humour.

Finally I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Anthony for organising the event, I still remember that first year in a hall in Stockport and it's amazing how far things have come. Congratulations on a fantastic night!

Now, on to the important stuff... Manchester City away!

The big news this week for the Reds is the fitness of Daniel Sturridge, it appears as though the forward may be available for the game but Klopp will have to make a late decision. I reckon he'll start from the bench but I do worry about rushing Daniel back sometimes!

Mamadou Sakho is one key player missing from the line up and it is Dejan Lovren who will take his place. Lovren has a real chance here to prove to Klopp and the fans that he is capable of a consistent performance, I'll be watching him closely.

For City, they are without Nasri who suffered a hamstring injury recently and also unavailable is Bony. There are several key players such as Aguero, Silva and Kompany who will be subject to late fitness tests in order for Pellegrini to finalise his starting XI.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year, the Reds got the better of City thanks to a lovely goal from Philippe Coutinho in the 75th minute, the game ended 2-1 at Anfield. Our last trip to the Etihad however didn't end very well, Liverpool were beaten 3-1 thanks to a brace from Jovetic and an Aguero goal. To make things worse, the Reds were only on the score sheet thanks to an own goal from Zabaleta.

Recent fixtures with Manchester City have always been an exciting affair but you have to go back to October 2008 to find a win for the Reds in the league at the home of the Sky Blues.

Stat Sandwich
  • If Liverpool win this one, it will be the first time they have collected back to back wins away from home in the league since March.
  • Manchester City have won 12 from their last 13 league games at home.
  • Coutinho has scored three goals in four league games against City.

I think tomorrow's game is going to end in a score draw, I'm not sure we're capable of picking up the win however this could depend on which team Pellegrini selects, injuries may play a big factor. I didn't get chance to ask you for your score predictions this week but please tweet me your thoughts on the game after the match tomorrow!

I'm definitely going to be putting some money on Coutinho to score, might have Coutinho first in a 2-2 result. Keep an eye on my Twitter and I'll let you know what I bet on.

I can't wait for kick off, this international break seems to have taken an absolute age, here's hoping Klopp can work some of his magic and pick up a good result for the Reds.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Football Blogging Awards - Watch Live! (The Liver Bird - Best Established Blog Shortlist)

It's here! The Football Blogging Awards 2015 will be kicking off at 7pm tonight at Hotel Football in Manchester and The Liver Bird is on the shortlist for "Best Established Blog".

If you'd like to watch the awards live and keep up with the latest content on the day, simply click below and follow the footage provided by Football Fan Cast.

I'll try my best to tweet during the night also, wish me luck!


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Monday, 9 November 2015

Palace Get The Better Of Reds

Image via Irish Times 

Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of Alan Pardew’s Palace side on Sunday as the Londoners further instilled their “bogey team” status for the Reds. It was a tough game for Liverpool who showed good effort but weren't quite effective enough in front of goal.

Crystal Palace got off the mark at 20 minutes when danger man Bolasie struck a left footed effort from inside the box. It was perhaps evident from the way Palace started that they would find the back of the net, what wasn't clear was how the Reds would respond.

Half chances that followed  from the likes of Coutinho and Ibe made it look as though Klopp’s side were going to spend the afternoon trying to score from questionable angles and distances. Despite having Benteke prowling around the box, he didn't appear to be getting much in the way of a supply line in my opinion and when that isn't happening, you instantly have a problem.

Thankfully though, as often happens, my moaning at questionable efforts from certain players was completely unfounded when Coutinho found an equaliser in true Coutinho fashion. He was inside the box to be fair but he struck it well and we were now back in the game. Assisted by Adam Lallana, it felt like a turning point but prior to the goal a massive blow for Liverpool saw Mamadou Sakho taken off the pitch despite his best efforts to continue. He was replaced with Dejan Lovren.

It's a real shame I feel as the Skrtel and Sakho partnership is one that needs time and it was beginning to get stronger, we'll have to hope the Frenchman isn't out for too long.

The second half began pretty well for the Reds as pressure continued to build towards the Kop end, Palace don't give up easily though and continued to stave off any potential Liverpool attacks.

At 80 minutes an initial header from Scott Dann was saved by Simon Mignolet but the ball splayed out directly back to Dann who ensured he found the net with his second effort. It was a real blow for the Reds who looked as though they may take something from the game but I can't fault Palace for their efforts. I'm really beginning to dislike them to be honest! 

Jürgen Klopp was quoted saying he felt “alone” after the defeat, referring to some Liverpool fans who left Anfield early. I'm glad he called them out and I feel he's right to do so, as somebody who doesn't get the privilege of going to matches regularly, I've never understood why people feel the need to leave early. 

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

Next up for Liverpool after the international break is Manchester City away.

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Saturday, 7 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace visit Anfield tomorrow as Jurgen Klopp looks to continue a newly formed winning streak. The Reds beat Rubin Kazan in Russia on Thursday evening and prior to that notched up an important win at Stamford Bridge but can they get the better of Alan Pardew's side?

Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge are two key players for the Reds who are still unavailable, it looks as though it could be a fortnight before the pair are ready. Along with other long term injury worries, Kolo Toure has also recently joined the list with a hamstring problem.

For Palace, they are without Chamakh and Appiah but it looks as though Soure may be able to make the start. Doubts hang over the fitness of Wickham and Gayle who will both be subject to late fitness tests.

The last time the two sides met was in May this year when Palace put three goals past Simon Mignolet at Anfield. Adam Lallana got off the mark first in the game but the Reds crumbled soon afterwards. The previous visit to Anfield by Crystal Palace resulted in a mirrored scoreline, this time with the Reds finding the back of the net on three occasions and the away side scoring once. Suarez, Sturridge and Steven Gerrard were on the scoresheet that day.

In the last ten meetings between the two sides in all competitions there has only been less than a total of three goals on three occasions.

I can't help but feel confident in our side under Jurgen Klopp at the moment but ever since that 3-3 game with Palace I just get really concerned about facing them. However, at the time of writing the Londoners sit 10th in the table and have only won two out of their last five games in the league. Injuries may also play a big part for Alan Pardew's side on Sunday and so I have to favour Liverpool for the win.

Stat Sandwich

  • Benteke has scored three goals in his last four league games for the Reds, all of which have been scored in the final 15 minutes of the game.
  • Palace have scored just four goals in their last seven league matches and three of those goals have been penalties.
  • Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight matches in the league.

I didn't get chance to ask you for your score predictions this week so apologies for that! I'm personally gonna pop some money on Liverpool to win 3-1 tomorrow. I think our improved performances of late coupled with a slump in form for Palace will result in three points for the Reds.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Reds Win In Russia

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Liverpool picked up an important victory on the road in the Europa League on Thursday night as Jurgen Klopp's side managed to collect a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan. Jordon Ibe made his second start under the new manager count as he netted for the Reds after 52 minutes.

It was a game where Liverpool bossed chances and possession but they couldn't quite convert all of their efforts in front of goal. Things got off to a good start for the Reds after James Milner watched a shot smash off the crossbar. They had started with real intent and shortly afterwards a lovely cross from Clyne was heading for Benteke but Kverkvelia blocked successfully.

Late in the first half it was the Russian keeper Ryzhikov who had kept his side in the game after a wonderful reaction save which prevented an own goal. I'm not sure how much he knew of the first ricochet from the double stop but it was a brilliant piece of goalkeeping.

Kazan made a substitution immediately for the start of the second half but the fresh legs didn't have much of an effect on the home side's performance. A large crowd was backing Valeriy Chaly's side but they just didn't seem to have that spark they put on display at Anfield.

In the second half Liverpool's first proper chance fell to Moreno who saw an effort hit the side netting early on. Jordon Ibe however just five minutes into the second 45 had put Liverpool into the lead. A great run from Ibe saw him break through a defence failing to apply convincing pressure but the youngster held his nerve and finished well low to the left of goal.

I really like Jordon Ibe, I think he's got bags of potential and it was nice to see him score. Jurgen Klopp looked delighted and you have to feel Ibe is very much involved in his future plans for the club.

Shortly after the goal James Milner was unlucky once again to watch a stinging shot fly just over the bar as the Reds looked to seal their victory. A few more chances from the likes of Lovren followed along with a penalty shout after Emre Can was tackled in the box.

Liverpool didn't need the assistance of a spot kick though and walked away with those vital points to put them second in the group.

Next up for the Reds is Crystal Palace at home.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Rubin Kazan V Liverpool

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It's my birthday!!! Just thought I'd get that in there, yer know, seen as though I'm taking time out to write this match preview for you all...Haha, but seriously, Jurgen Klopp faces a difficult trip to Russia on Thursday evening as the Reds look to improve their situation in the Europa League group.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson however it is believed the boss is going to be taking a strong squad for this match. Unavailable though is Teixeira who is ineligible as he was never named in Liverpool's Europa League squad list.

It's nice to see Klopp taking this match so seriously but then I suppose he has to with the situation we are in. Maybe if Rodgers hadn't played such weakened sides we'd be far more comfortable at this stage but nevermind!

For Rubin Kazan they have a relatively strong squad to choose from but they will be unable to call upon Oleg Kuzmin who is currently the clubs third top goalscorer.

Our last fixture with Kazan on 22nd October was our first ever meeting with the side. Marko Devic opened up the scoring with a fantastic goal but Emre Can secured an equaliser late in the first half. The Russians proved they can be a threat and I was impressed by their pace on the counter attack, it will be interesting to see whether they opt to play differently at home but whatever the tactical set up it is still going to be a difficult clash for Jurgen Klopp's side.

I would usually have a stat sandwich at this point for you but due to this preview being relatively early my go to stats areas haven't updated themselves yet! However I can tell you that Rubin Kazan have a relatively decent record against English opposition at home. They have faced English teams on seven occasions and have collected three wins, two draws and two losses.

Philippe Coutinho was quoted recently after the Chelsea game saying "Three points and against that opposition, it's given us the boost to our confidence and I hope we can now focus on each game and be successful."

I certainly hope he's right, that win over Chelsea was massive and it's proven that the Reds can pick up big results when they need to. It's no secret that Klopp is perhaps battling with a below par side but until we reach that transfer window there's nothing he can change.

Until then, he needs to continue what he does best and that's filling his players with confidence and belief. It's evident that all the lads in training are ecstatic to have such a charismatic leader around and I honestly think the Klopp effect is already rubbing off on a lot of our starting line up.

If I manage to put any bets on I will probably be going with a 2-1 Liverpool win, I'm pretty sure Kazan will find the back of the net but I'm hoping Benteke will feature and he'll grab a goal along with somebody else hopefully!

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

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Reds Give Chelsea A Fright

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So, if you didn't know, on Saturday morning I travelled all the way up to Liverpool from Wolverhampton, just so I could watch the soddin' match! Wolves were playing Birmingham and even my favourite pub in town wasn't going to be showing the Liverpool match so I ditched my home town and travelled north.

Whilst I'm so glad I acted upon my sometimes questionable impulse, I also ended up regretting it somewhat because going all that way but not really being able to celebrate a 3-1 win over Chelsea with anyone you know... Bit naff! Haha.

Jurgen Klopp started the game without a recognised striker as Roberto Firmino had to take up the position. It wasn't that surprising that Christian Benteke was left on the bench but it definitely felt like we were going to need him.

It took just four minutes for Chelsea to get on the score sheet and I immediately began to regret travelling to Liverpool. Mourinho looked smug as hell, the whole of Stamford Bridge were acting like it was game over, chanting "Jose Mourinho" at the top of their voices, it was horrible I won't lie.

The goal for Chelsea was aided by a defensive lapse from the Reds, a cross from Azpilicueta found its way far too easily to Ramires who headed home.

Klopp looked frustrated but he held his nerve, he could have decided to bring Benteke into play a lot sooner than originally planned but he took his time. He could see that Liverpool had a grasp of the game here, possession levels were rising and Chelsea were far from threatening. Klopp stuck to his guns and watched the first half unfold.

As the clock pushed closer to the end of extra time, Mourinho was waiting to waltz down the tunnel, job done he must have thought but up popped the magical Philippe Coutinho. A stereotypical cut inside on the edge of the box granted him just enough space to curl home an equaliser and what an equaliser it was!

Liverpool don't get many chances to play well at Stamford Bridge, let alone go on to win a game and after the perfect timing of that goal, you had to feel the momentum was with the visitors on Saturday.

At the start of the second half both teams remained the same and neither manager appeared to have any intentions of making a change. Klopp had clearly set up this side to be protective and he now knew he could wait even longer before introducing the trick up his sleeve.

For Mourinho, he must have been left wondering what happened to his side. I can't pretend to like Chelsea but you'd be an idiot to deny the fact that they have some quality players within their side but just lately their defence has been atrocious. There's zero confidence in their back four and at times they look like they are just waiting for the inevitable.

Even some of their flair players have gone missing whilst Diego Costa who is heavily reliant upon intimidation tactics had his hands completely full with Martin Skrtel who gives just as good as he gets. (I don't want to dwell on the kick from Costa on our defender other than to say action should have been taken.)

At the 73 minute mark and now with Christian Benteke on the pitch Liverpool took the lead. Coutinho is a very strange player, just lately he's been absent from games and a quick search through Twitter on Friday would have surfaced several fans discussing whether to drop Coutinho for Firmino who put on a great performance in the League Cup. For me though, no matter how many times he fails to stamp his mark in games, it's a massive risk not starting a player like Coutinho, he's a match winner and you just never know when he's going to unleash that magic.

His second goal was a mirror of his first, again cutting inside but this time placing his effort to the right of goal. Taking a slight deflection off John Terry, there was no deflection on the celebrations as the Reds basked in what looked to be an important win over Chelsea.

At 82 minutes, Benteke sealed the deal for Klopp's side after picking up the ball in the box. He had way too much time on the ball in my opinion, there was zero pressure from the Chelsea defence and he confidently finished scoring in his first game after returning from injury.

Jose Mourinho's face was a picture, he'd already made a fool of himself attempting to coax the ref into sending Lucas off earlier in the game after a light challenge. Now he had to deal with being embarrassed by a Liverpool side who played the majority of the game without a striker.

It was just fantastic!

I didn't have much time to revel in the glory because I had to get back to Lime Street for my train but I had such a good laugh in Liverpool and after that result I think I might have to travel up there to watch games more often!

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

Next up for Liverpool is Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

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