The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Five Things We Learned From The West Ham Draw

One: The Reds are dire in front of goal.

Image via www.theguardian.com: Christian Benteke
A snore draw in the FA Cup with West Ham on Saturday evening once again highlighted a now desperate need for a prolific goalscorer. In a match that Christian Benteke started, the Belgian failed to stamp a mark on the game and when faced with promising chances was incapable of finding the back of the net. He's clearly low on confidence and the Reds just can't afford to waste chances at the moment.

You have to feel that including Daniel Sturridge in Saturday's team would have solved some of the main problems because the possession levels and pressure on the ball were fine, even the defensive display was relatively strong, we just can't bloody score! Waiting for the Sturridge return though and then pinning all our hopes on his ability to remain fit? It's just not a long term option is it.

Two: James Tomkins isn't as hard as I thought he was.

Tomkins is in his 8th year as a West Ham player (including a short loan spell to Derby) and I've grown to like him over the years. He strikes me as a bit of a stalwart as I'm sure Hammers fans would agree, so to see him go off after crashing his head into Joe Allen's, I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I expected him to carry on with a bandaged head like the good old days!

Image via www.theguardian.com: James Tomkins, Liverpool 0 West Ham 0
But in all seriousness, it was a bad collision and I hope he returns to their ranks soon.

Three: Steven Caulker fancies himself as a bit of a juggler.

New boy Steven Caulker got his first real chance to impress Jürgen Klopp in defence on Saturday, as opposed to playing a makeshift striker in the dying minutes. The defender played pretty well to be honest but Slaven Bilić was right to feel enraged when the ex QPR man handled the ball in the box not once but twice.

Image via www.theguardian.com: Steven Caulker handball.
It was evident Caulker had intentions to handle the ball in my opinion and the Reds were extremely lucky not to have faced a spot kick. In fairness though a poor decision from the referee late in the second half sort of levelled things out when a cross flew out of play but was deemed legitimate. The cross almost resulted in a goal too but thankfully the West Ham effort smashed off the post.

Four: Joe Allen and acrobatics don't mix.

If you follow me on Twitter you'll know I popped a quid on Joe Allen with Paddy Power for first goalscorer, so when he leapt up for a bicycle kick I was excited to say the least but the Welshman failed to increase his god like status around Anfield and unceremoniously crashed to the ground.

Image via www.theguardian.com: Joe Allen
To be fair to Joe though I've criticised him in the past but he's been putting in some good performances of late and I feel he deserves a start in the league against Leicester.

Five: We do not need a replay right now.

Liverpool's fixture list was already horrendously congested and the replay at Upton Park has only made things worse. I'm glad we're still in the competition but so frustrated that we weren't able to convert any of our chances, the strikes from Brannagan and Teixeira stand out in particular. The Reds already had seven games in February including a League Cup final, another FA Cup tie was the last thing we needed. I was quite surprised that West Ham didn't wipe the floor with us to be honest and I fully expect them to play a lot more positively at home but here's hoping we can somehow find a way through.

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Friday, 29 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V West Ham

Liverpool welcome West Ham to Anfield on Saturday evening as Jürgen Klopp aims for another win in yet another cup game. The Reds of course come into this clash having secured their place in the league cup final beating Stoke on penalties, the Hammers pack a punch though and many feel this may be a step too far for the Reds.

Image via thisisanfield.com

Injuries 

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and Divock Origi. The game also comes too early for any hint of Daniel Sturridge though with no real clarification of a return, who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and he'll randomly appear on the bench? It could be another experimental side from Klopp though who may opt for youth over experience after many senior players completed 120 minutes in the week.

For West Ham, they are missing Andy Carroll and Lanzini, Mark Noble has also been out with illness but should be available for a return on Saturday.

Previous Meetings 

The last time the two sides met was in January this year, ex Red Andy Carroll was on the scoresheet that day in a 2-0 win for Bilic's side. The game in August of 2015 also ended in defeat for Liverpool after three goals flew past Simon Mignolet and Philippe Coutinho was sent off.

The last time the two sides met in the FA Cup was that magical final in 2006. "There will be a minimum of... GERRARRRRRRD!!!" Who can forget it. Here's hoping some of Gerrard's fighting spirit can filter through to the team on Saturday because if we play like we did against Stoke we're gonna get battered. 

Form

In their last five games in all competitions Liverpool have picked up three wins, a draw with Arsenal and an unlucky loss at the hands of Manchester United. While on paper the form guide looks good, the Reds have not played particularly well in any of those games and have been conceding goals left, right and centre.

For West Ham, they come into this game having won three out of their last five in all competitions, drawing their most recent match with Manchester City and losing to Newcastle on 16th January. The Hammers have scored nine goals during this period compared to Liverpool's twelve. However, Liverpool have conceded nine goals during this time while the Londoners have only let in five.

Betting 

Betting this week, I wasn't quite sure what to have a look at to be honest so I've plucked a few random bets out below. Keep an eye on Twitter to see where I put my own money!

For over 3.5 goals in the match Paddy Power are currently offering odds of 11/5. It has the recipe for a high scoring game for me but it may well just be West Ham who are scoring haha! 

West Ham half time, Liverpool full time is down at 22/1 and could be something I go for myself with those odds.

As for first goalscorers I usually end up betting on a defender because of the odds but I might go for Firmino again this week who has odds of 4/1 at present for first goalscorer which is nothing to frown at!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Klopp Can't Look As Reds Go Through On Penos

Image via mirror.co.uk
Liverpool are through to the final of the league cup after winning 6-5 on penalties at Anfield on Tuesday evening. After 90 minutes it was an offside goal from Arnautovic which forced the game to extra time and eventually the dreaded spot kicks. Jurgen Klopp's side were extremely underwhelming throughout the match and can consider themselves lucky to have sealed a ticket to Wembley after a convincing performance from Stoke.

Liverpool entered the second leg with a 1-0 advantage thanks to a Jordon Ibe goal at the Britannia and for the majority of the first half, despite not playing well, it looked as though the home side were going to make half time without too many issues. The influential Arnautovic though found his team an important goal at the 45 minute mark, he was clearly offside but to be honest a goal was nothing more than Stoke deserved. The Reds had provided little to nothing in terms of attack and it was Stoke who commanded this semi-final now.

A clever tactic from Mark Hughes involved the reintroduction of Peter Crouch to fluster an already faltering Liverpool defence but it was fielding Jonathan Walters up against Alberto Moreno that proved to be the real masterstroke. The Everton fan already has plenty of reasons to annoy any Liverpool player but Moreno well and truly fell for his games and came unstuck because of it, the 32 year old put in a brilliant performance for his side.

Just 12 minutes into the second half and Klopp made the decision to bring on Christian Benteke, a relatively early substitution by the German's standards but the Reds were completely ineffective in front of goal and desperately needed something different. Introducing the Belgian did see a slight improvement in play, particularly in terms of holding the ball up but Liverpool still couldn't find a goal and one goal was all they needed. It's frankly inexcusable to end 90 minutes at home against Stoke with one shot on target but that's exactly what happened.

Extra time was a carbon copy of the previous 90 minutes, relative control from Stoke and a few extremely nervy moments for the Liverpool back line. The Reds now had Joe Allen and also introduced Jordon Ibe into the fray but failed to worry Stoke keeper Jack Butland. Let's face it, Liverpool did not deserve to be in this game, Stoke had a bit of luck with the offside decision but the Reds were lucky to have not conceded at least two more goals. Somehow though, Klopp's boys managed to prevent any further danger from the visitors.

Penalties are horrible to watch no matter who you are playing and it always amazes me how you start to doubt your own players from the spot, any player of any caliber should know how to find the back of the net from that distance but you can never tell how the pressure is going to affect them. Jonathan Walters stepped up first and scored for the Potters who had won the toss and chosen the Anfield Road end for the spot kicks.

First up for Liverpool was Adam Lallana who equalised. When Peter Crouch stepped up I have to admit I had a feeling it may be an effort Mignolet would save, Crouch has been out of practice and sometimes you can just tell when they walk up, Migs saved. This was a massive opportunity for Liverpool, the first point in the whole match where they actually deserved and had made an effort to take victory from the game but Emre Can stepped up and smashed his penalty off the post.

Whelan scored for Stoke and Benteke, cool as a cucumber, equalised. Afellay scored and so did Firmino. Shaqiri netted followed by Milner then van Ginkel scored meaning Lucas had to, he did.

Sudden death.

Is there anything worse?

For Stoke, Marc Muniesa approached the spot. My Dad has always told me to watch a player walking up for a penalty closely, ever since I was a little girl he's always sworn that he can tell if they are going to miss, of course most of the time it's absolute crap, you know what Dad's are like but on Tuesday night Dad saw something... "You watch, he'll save this."

There was something about Muniesa, he didn't look confident and sure as anything Simon Mignolet pulled off a brilliant save! All we had to do was score, after 120 minutes of failing to do just that, all Joe Allen had to do was score.

Some players stepped up for our penos and I won't lie, I didn't have faith but I felt confident with Joe Allen, coined as the Welsh Pirlo, he certainly netted in a fashion the Italian legend would be proud of and Liverpool had sealed their place in the final at Wembley!

Undeserving? Perhaps, but I can't sit here and pretend I care, the Reds are through and Manchester City or Everton await.

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Monday, 25 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Stoke

Image via thisisanfield.com

Liverpool welcome Stoke to Anfield on Tuesday evening for the second leg of their league cup semi final with the Potters. The Reds come into this game 1-0 up on aggregate but after conceding four goals at Norwich and scrambling to a win, Stoke must fancy their chances of an upset.

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon their influential forward Daniel Sturridge. According to Jürgen Klopp in a recent interview he will be back within 10 days, we'll just wait and see on that one shall we? Also unavailable is Divock Origi and Martin Skrtel, it also looks as though the game will come too early for Dejan Lovren. There remains a lot of responsibility on the back four here after their performance against Norwich and I personally feel we'd be better off with the likes of Skrtel and Lovren in there though I know several fans disagree.

For Stoke, they are without Ryan Shawcross and it looks as though doubts are held over the fitness of Ireland and Walters who will be subjected to late tests prior to the game. To be honest the main men for Stoke are Shaqiri and Arnautovic and both of those players will almost certainly feature on Tuesday evening.

Previous Meetings 

The last time the two sides met was of course in the first leg of this league cup semi final. A goal from Jordon Ibe on the 37th minute was the only thing to split the two sides and it would be rather stupid to rule out any fight back from Stoke who remained in the game throughout the 90 minutes at the Britannia. Stoke's last visit to Anfield also saw them lose 1-0, Glen Johnson was the scorer that day in November 2014.

Unfortunately for Stoke, the stats are against them when it comes to fixtures at Anfield, the Potters have failed to win at L4 since 1959 in the old division two.

Form

After this weekend's league fixtures Stoke currently sit 9th in the table having lost 3-0 to Leicester. Their previous game on the 17th January ended more positively though after they collected a 0-0 draw with Arsenal. Stoke have won two from their last five games in all competitions.

Liverpool are currently 7th in the table just one point in front of Stoke after somehow picking up three points against Norwich in an enthralling 5-4 win. Liverpool also have just two wins from their last five in all competitions, conceding 10 goals in the process. 

Betting

After nine goals in one game on Saturday it isn't so hard to believe that several goals will be scored on Tuesday. If you fancy over 3.5 goals for this one you can get odds of 5/2 at present with Paddy Power. 

Firmino has impressed lately and his odds for first goalscorer are currently 9/2, if you want to go a bit more left field though then Emre Can is down at 16/1.

Finally a bet I may well have is Stoke first half Liverpool second with odds of 22/1. Keep an eye on Twitter and I'll let you know what I have! 

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching.

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lallana Nets In Riveting 5-4 Win

Image via theguardian.com
Five four, I keep saying it but it just won't sink in, five four. What on earth just happened? I will attempt to explain to some extent in the following match report. Liverpool are right to feel ecstatic with the 5-4 victory over Norwich but when the dust has settled there are several questions that need to be asked, particularly concerning the defence.

The game began with continued pressure from Norwich who started the match far more brightly than Liverpool but against the run of play, Klopp's side opened up the scoring after just 18 minutes. A Firmino effort which should have been saved by goalkeeper Declan Rudd somehow managed to spin back towards goal and provided the Reds with their first of the game. It wasn't clear then however that another eight goals would be scored!

Naismith was quick to make his mark on the game when initially he made a crunching tackle on Lucas Leiva, it was a bad one in my opinion and I'm surprised he wasn't shown a yellow card. Probably just still bitter about all those Merseyside derbies he's lost playing against Lucas eh? He would later get his own back though with a great strike.

Prior to that Norwich managed to find an equaliser via Mbokani after some shambolic defending from Liverpool. The play originally began from a corner which wasn't dealt with by the back four, a ball back into the box then enabled Mbokani to score with a neatly timed back heel. Just 12 minutes later and it was Naismith's turn, the ex Evertonian broke past three Liverpool players in the box and struck low to the far left of goal, Simon Mignolet really should have done better from that angle and the Reds were now well and truly on the back foot.

Both teams came out in the second half having made zero changes and it was Norwich once again who began strongly. After eight minutes this time they'd once again found the back of the net. Alberto Moreno was at fault for this one and I don't see how he can escape any criticism because it really was just a stupid piece of play. His first challenge that brought down Naismith in the box was disregarded by the ref and Moreno should have realised he was a lucky boy there but no, he just kicked the back of Naismith again, idiotic. I really like Moreno but it was just a daft decision from him. Wes Hoolahan converted the penalty despite Simon Mignolet heading in the right direction.

After being 1-0 up and now 3-1 down after 53 minutes I was struggling to see how the Reds were going to get back into this one but just seconds after the penalty Liverpool were up the other end of the pitch. A completely unmarked Jordan Henderson was gifted the ball in the box and scored with a powerful finish to make the scoreline 3-2.

Adam Lallana then entered the fray replacing Jordon Ibe who to be honest was one of few influential players on the pitch, it seemed like a questionable substitution but would turn out to be perfect. Lallana was immediately involved in the game offering an assist to an encroaching Roberto Firmino who with a lovely finish put the Reds level in the game. This game was just ridiculous 3-3 after just an hour and there were still several signs that there were still more goals to come.

At 74 minutes it was James Milner's turn to join the party, he's been quite in several games this season but I thought he held his composure well in the one on one chance with the keeper, he remained strong and converted an important goal to put Liverpool into what looked like a final lead to obtain all three points.

When the fourth official held up the board with five minutes, Klopp and the majority of Liverpool fans appeared to be disgruntled little did we know that the extra time would be precious. It sure didn't feel like it though when Bassong sent home a beautiful strike with his left foot from outside the box. I couldn't believe it, shouting and swearing I was convinced we'd thrown away a vital three points.

With just two minutes left of the game and after watching Liverpool's performance in the 90 it just didn't feel like we'd be able to find a glorious last minute winner but we did, we bloody did! Adam Lallana, a man who also perhaps hasn't been justifying his massive price tag of late was never going to let this chance go flying. With 94 minutes on the clock the ex Southampton man scored with his left foot from the centre of the box. Phenomenal, how we had managed to win 5-4 I have no idea but I didn't care about the mishaps and dodgy performance at this point, I was too fixated on Jurgen Klopp who had made a sprint for Adam Lallana, been bombarded by the team and nearly lost his glasses in the process. Just brilliant.

Next up for Liverpool is a massive game against Stoke in the league cup semi final!

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Friday, 22 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Norwich V Liverpool



Liverpool travel to Norwich on Saturday afternoon and Jurgen Klopp has indicated that there will be no sign of forward Daniel Sturridge who apparently is 10 days away from fitness. The Reds enter this game on the back of a win over Exeter City and will be looking to get back to winning ways after defeat at the hands of Manchester United most recently in the league.

Injuries

Injury news for the Reds obviously leads with the missing Daniel Sturridge but also still out is Martin Skrtel and it looks as though Adam Lallana will miss out on the game thanks to a muscle issue. For Norwich, they have received a real boost after signing Steven Naismith from Everton. Unavailable are both Gary O'Neil who serves a suspension and Andre Wisdom who is unable to feature against his parent team.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was is September last year, in a game that ended 1-1 the scorer for Liverpool was the missing Danny Ings. Our last trip to Norwich ended in victory with Luis Suarez on the score sheet, he appeared to thrive off finding the net against the Canaries.

In the last 10 meetings between the two sides Liverpool have picked up eight wins with the remaining two games ending in a draw.

Form

Norwich come into this fixture having lost three out of their last five games in the league. Their two recorded wins in that period came against Aston Villa and Southampton. Liverpool have lost two of their last five games in the league, against Manchester United and West Ham. One draw was collected against Arsenal and two 1-0 wins over Leicester and Sunderland.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have scored only one goal in their last four away matches in the league.
  • Norwich have conceded 14 goals from crosses in the league this season.
  • The Reds have scored 22 goals in their last six league games against Norwich.

Betting

As always, if you fancy a bet, I'd recommend my fave bookies Paddy Power, click the image below, deposit a tenner and put it all on one bet then get £30 free, limited time offer! Any questions drop me a tweet.

So this week I'm feeling quite positive about the game so I've been having a look at some of the higher score results. 3-0 is at 16/1 while 4-0 is down as 40/1. We may not have been finding the back of the net lately but I think we'll be given plenty of chances on Saturday so hopefully this time we can convert!
Jordon Ibe had a great game against Exeter and you can get odds of 9/1 for him to be the first goalscorer on Saturday while Firmino is down as 6/1.


Finally if you think the Reds will have what it takes you can get odds of 5/1 for Liverpool to win both halves.

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Reds Through To FA Cup Fourth Round

Image via telegraph.co.uk

Liverpool have secured their place in a fourth round fixture against West Ham after putting three past Exeter at Anfield on Wednesday night. It was another relatively inexperienced side fielded by Jürgen Klopp but the likes of Christian Benteke and Joe Allen also featured in the replay.

It was immediately noticeable that Exeter were not the same team we saw at St James' Park after Joe Allen found the back of the net in just ten minutes. What was really confusing many onlookers though was the decision by Exeter manager Paul Tisdale to leave their top goalscorer Tom Nichols on the bench. I'm not sure what the thinking was behind that but I honestly think it affected Exeter, Liverpool may have got off the mark early and we maintained the majority of possession but if Exeter had their star man on who knows what could have happened.

The sight of Jose Enrique was a surprising one for most Liverpool fans on Wednesday night, perhaps even more surprising though was the fact he was wearing the captain's armband. I have to admit I always quite liked Enrique, he definitely began to lack in consistency as time went on but it always felt harsh that he'd sort of been excommunicated when wanting to try and fight for his place. I can't quite tell whether Klopp likes him or not but he didn't exactly have a bad game last night so maybe he's in the manager's plans.

The game for me threw a spotlight on three players and not all for the right reasons; Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith and Christian Benteke. The former two players had a stormer, Ibe in particular who went close to goal on several occasions and commanded the wing. Unfortunately however, Benteke didn't exactly have a memorable 90 minutes. He was of course involved in the final goal showing an unselfish side in assisting Teixeira however the forward just wasn't in the right place at the right time and faltered when he was given a real chance. It's worrying because if you can't show the business against Exeter then when will you? Despite this I still feel that Liverpool need to utilise Benteke whilst he is here, as mentioned in previous reports, he brings a lot more to the game than just goals and for me his presence is required.

Teixeira may have netted the third at 82 minutes but "What about Ojo's goal?" I hear you say, well it was a great goal, it almost looked too easy however as most of you will know, living in Wolverhampton I've seen a lot of Ojo and perhaps stubbornly, I refuse to get carried away! He did play well though so I will be keeping a close eye on him going forward.

Next up for Liverpool is Norwich it will be interesting to see whether Klopp gives any of his youngsters a chance.


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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Exeter

Image via theguardian.com
Liverpool welcome Exeter to Anfield on Wednesday evening as both sides prepare themselves for an important FA Cup replay. After playing the kids in the first clash between the two sides, Jurgen Klopp has hinted that he may well play the youngsters again.

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren. It would be unlikely however for that trio to feature in what could be another unfamiliar XI fielded by the Reds. For Exeter Paul Tisdale has little to worry about in terms of injuries after seeing several key players return in the fixture at St James' Park, it is expected that the manager will field another strong team.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was of course on 8th January, Jerome Sinclair and Brad Smith were on the scoresheet that day and Liverpool for a vast proportion of the game looked like they were going out of the competition.

Exeter have visited Anfield on three occasions in history and have never picked up a win. They did however get on the score sheet in 1950 but lost the game 3-1.

Form

Liverpool come into this game on the back of a very disappointing loss to Manchester United, the Reds perhaps didn't deserve to lose the game but the inability to convert despite having stacks of chances was shocking. The bonus of this match I suppose is that if Klopp does play the youngsters they are hungry and have something to prove so hopefully they will find the back of the net.

Exeter's last game in League 2 was against Leyton Orient, Paul Tisdale's side picked up their first win in seven games in the league, winning the match 3-1.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have a league average of 1.14 goals per match this season compared to Exeter's league average of 1.35.
  • Exeter's top scorer is Tom Nichols with nine goals in the league.
  • Liverpool have failed to find the back of the net in four of their last 10 games in the league.
Betting

I am hoping that Liverpool will get past Exeter on Wednesday but I can't pretend that I'm confident, it's also hard to decide what to bet on because I'm not sure what the team is going to be but keep an eye on Twitter and I'll let you know where I put my money.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 22/1 for Liverpool to qualify via a penalty shootout. To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if the game ended up going that far!

In terms of goalscorers, if you fancy Exeter to find the back of the net first Tom Nichols is down at 12/1.

For scorelines, if you think the game could end in the same fashion as last time then you can find odds of 18/1 for a 2-2 result.

Remember, if you sign up with Paddy Power below and bet a full £10 on one bet they will give you £30 free!

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

One Shot On Target Was All They Needed

Image via liverpoolfc.com
Manchester United walked away from Anfield on Sunday afternoon with a vital three points after somehow beating a Liverpool side who had bossed the majority of the game. It was the Reds who were creating the majority of the chances but United needed just one on target to convert via Wayne Rooney and send a strong message to Jurgen Klopp.

In a game that saw goalkeeper David De Gea win man of the match it is no wonder that so many Liverpool fans are utterly frustrated with the result. You can call me bias all you want but I'm sorry, United did not deserve to win that game, I'm not sure they even deserved a draw yet they walked away victorious, which leaves you asking questions about your own side.

Jurgen Klopp obviously hasn't had time to put a stamp on this side yet so this is by no means a dig at the manager but surely the owners must start looking at this team and start supporting the manager financially because this squad just isn't good enough.

There were flickers in the game from the likes of Firmino and Jordan Henderson but one man certainly not worthy of his price tag in my opinion is Adam Lallana. I can't say I was excited when we signed him but at the same time I felt confident he would find his footing in a Liverpool shirt but it just hasn't happened, he's extremely disappointing for me and when fielded up front in a formation lacking a striker, I'm sorry but you've got to pull a performance out of the bag. Firmino wasn't exactly setting the world alight either but at least he was making things happen.

This really was one of the worst Liverpool V Manchester United games I've ever seen, it was boring, both sides didn't even seem up for it and the only moment of fire was when Fellaini decided to kick off. I was actually thankful that Fellaini was being such an arsehole to be honest because at least that was something to get geared up about.

Some of our players just didn't look bothered, it was very hard to tell that this fixture was supposed to be one of the best in the world. United spent the majority of the game doing as they have done for most of their recent fixtures, failing to attack but maintaining possession. Liverpool took several opportunities on the break but fluffed long range chances and never really thought through their options when in a position to take the lead.

For me, this raised another question, do you or don't you start Christian Benteke? I never wanted Benteke in the first place, as a fan of Balotelli (yes I know nobody else likes him) I realised immediately that Benteke would not fit into our system because he's not the most active of players and relies heavily in my opinion on service, service that we did not and still do not provide. Despite this, I honestly feel that Benteke needs to feature, it's pretty clear that he's not Klopp's kind of player but for me the manager should have brought him on a lot sooner because it was evident our set up wasn't working.

The thing people forget with Benteke is that he may sometimes fail to be in the box at the right time and yes he might not put as much effort in as we all would like but you can guarantee if you chuck Benteke onto a pitch he immediately draws attention from the opposition defence. Who are United going to be concerned about on a break or a set piece, Benteke or Firmino? I would place a bet that they'd follow the big man, leaving players like Firmino in a free position and hence more likely to find the back of the net. Benteke doesn't just bring goals to the game, he brings a presence and like him or not I'm afraid I think we need to take advantage of that whilst we have him.

At 78 minutes Wayne Rooney showed how playing a striker is probably a good idea, even if they don't really do anything for 90% of the game, Rooney showed that he could be clinical and give his side that all important goal. You have to wonder, if Liverpool had played a striker sooner, would we have also been celebrating instead of ruing our chances?

Who knows.

All I know is we need some new players and fast, losing to United is annoying as it is but to lose in that fashion? Infuriating.

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Saturday, 16 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

Image via independent.co.uk
Liverpool welcome Louis van Gaal's so called army to Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what is sure to be a heated clash between the two sides. United have somehow managed to remain in the top sector of the table for the majority of the season despite some questionable performances, at the time of writing the devils remain above Klopp's side. After a hard fought draw with Arsenal though, can Liverpool get the better of Manchester United on Sunday?

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon forward Daniel Sturridge. Martin Skrtel also remains on the sidelines and although Dejan Lovren appears to be returning to fitness, the game will come too early for him.

For United, they are without Schweinsteiger who has a knee injury, Michael Carrick is also unavailable while Phil Jones will be subject to a late fitness test.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in September last year, the game at Old Trafford wasn't exactly one to remember for Liverpool fans however Christian Benteke did score a simply stunning consolation goal. United took all three points in a 3-1 win.

The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was in March last year, I remember this well because I had to get up at 6am to go and find a bar in the centre of Cancun to watch the game. Then to top it all off Gerrard got sent off n'all, luckily I was in Mexico so I got over that monstrosity pretty quickly haha. Liverpool lost the game 2-1.

Liverpool have picked up two wins in their last five clashes with Manchester United at Anfield.

Form

At the time of writing with Saturday afternoon matches yet to be played, Liverpool find themselves 9th in the table whilst United are sitting in 6th. Importantly though, Klopp's side are just three points off United adding even more pressure to this game.

The Reds have won two out of their last five in the league, losing two and drawing one. United have won just one of their last five in the league, losing two and drawing two. Both sides have also drawn their most recent games with a scoreline of 3-3.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool haven't lost in the league at Anfield in their last four games.
  • Manchester United have conceded 10 goals in their last six league games.
  • Benteke has scored in his last three games against United.

Betting

I'm not a tipster and any bets put up on the blog are usually just offers I've found interesting and may take up myself but I'd just like to take the opportunity to boast because I've given special mentions to both Ibe and Firmino in this section of the blog post recently and both went on to score. The down side is, I didn't bet on them! Haha

It's hard to predict how a Liverpool V Manchester United game is going to turn out but I am really hoping that we can take advantage of their poor form and walk away with a 2-1 win on Sunday. Odds for that with Paddy Power are 8/1.

I'm not expecting to see Benteke start tomorrow but I have a feeling he's going to get a say in the game. Odds for him to score at anytime are currently at 7/5 with Paddy Power.

Finally, as we all know these games are always heated, so I've been looking at odds for players to be sent off. Wayne Rooney is at 20/1 to be sent off but you can get odds of between 20 and 25/1 for most players on both sides.

Don't forget, if you fancy placing a bet with Paddy Power simply click the image below, sign up, put the whole £10 on one single bet and you will receive £30 free. Keep an eye on Twitter and I'll tell you what I bet on with them on Sunday!

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Allen Nets Equaliser In 90th Minute

Image via theguardian.com
Liverpool versus Arsenal is rarely ever a dull game, even in clashes where no goals are scored both sides always manage to put on a show and it was no different on Wednesday night. The six goal thriller was end to end in the first half with the Reds perhaps faltering a bit in the second, Klopp's side didn't give up though and it was Joe Allen at 90 minutes who scored an equaliser to ensure both teams walked away with a point.

It was Roberto Firmino who was first to score in the game, the Brazilian has had performances called into question of late, looking somewhat lacklustre without his compatriot Philippe Coutinho. The number 11 though made sure he took his chance on this occasion as Petr Cech failed to completely deal with a shot from Emre Can, the ball splayed out to Firmino who converted to put Liverpool into the lead.

It was a brilliant start for Klopp's side and I think it's fair to say not many expected Liverpool to take the lead. However, predictably, the lead didn't last long when Ramsey managed to find an equaliser after some neat play from the visitors. With two goals in just 14 minutes it was clear that this game was going to be a corker.

Five minutes later and Firmino was at it again this time a beautiful strike from 25 yards out found its way into the back of the net. The Brazilian was looking confident and shortly after his second a chance to complete a hat trick with a volley on the turn arose, it would have been sublime but it wasn't to be.

Arsenal had plans of their own as Giroud found his side another equaliser. At 25 minutes a corner whipped in by Ramsey caused a real issue for Simon Mignolet who dealt poorly with the danger, a touch from Giroud was enough to find goal.

The second half saw Arsenal take the lead in the game for the first time when that man Giroud once again found the back of the net. It was a lovely goal initiated by a nice turn in the box but you have to feel Liverpool were asking for trouble again with some rather questionable defending.

The Reds continued to battle but for long periods it looked like the visitors had managed to grab a hold of the game as the second half went on. The Reds did not give up though and the introduction of Christian Benteke and Joe Allen proved a pivotal move from manager Jurgen Klopp who must have realised he needed fresh legs on the pitch.

At 90 minutes, just when it looked like all hope was lost, a ball into the box from Jordan Henderson was met by Benteke who rose like a salmon to ensure he got his head on the ball, his header crossed goal to an awaiting Joe Allen who with a perfectly timed effort smashed home the Liverpool equaliser. What a way to end the night!

You have to say fair play to Benteke and Allen there because lets face it, without them we'd have been walking away without any points. Perhaps I'm being bias but a draw was the right result for me, over the whole 90 minutes I don't think there was too much between the two sides.

Next up for Liverpool is Manchester United!

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Arsenal

Image via liverpoolecho.co.uk
The Reds welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Wednesday evening and after some improvement in terms of injuries, along with the signing of Steven Caulker, boss Jurgen Klopp may be able to field a slightly stronger team than first predicted. The loaning of Caulker hasn't exactly excited many Liverpool fans but it's clear to see that it's a quick fix to a rather immediate issue in defence.

Injuries

There's some positive news for the Reds as both Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure are available. Jordon Ibe and Jordan Henderson could also feature but there will be no Daniel Sturridge. For Arsenal they are without key man Alexis Sanchez, Cazorla, Welbeck and Wilshere are also out but Ozil could return to the side on Wednesday evening.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in August last year  in what was a strangely eventful 0-0. In April last year the Reds fell to a heavy defeat at the hands of Arsene Wenger's side when the Londoners scored four and Liverpool could only manage a consolation goal from the penalty spot thanks to Jordan Henderson. Emre Can was also shown red in that game.

Arsenal's last visit to Anfield wasn't so straight forward though after the match ended in a 2-2 draw. I remember that game well because I had 2-2 as the result and I also had Skrtel to score last haha. We have to go back to September 2012 to find an Arsenal win at Anfield.

Form

Arsenal at the time of writing are sitting pretty at the top of the table they've won four out of their last five games in the league faltering only once when they lost to Southampton on Boxing Day. Liverpool on the other hand are 8th in the table and have only won two of their last five matches in the league. The two 1-0 wins over Leicester and Sunderland didn't exactly set the world alight and Jurgen Klopp will surely be hoping that his side can instead emulate their performances against City and Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Stat Sandwich

  • In 12 matches in the league under Jurgen Klopp Liverpool have scored just 14 goals.
  • Ozil has scored or offered an assist for 16 of Arsenal's last 24 goals.
  • In the last nine matches in the league between the two sides at Anfield, 35 goals have been scored.
Betting

After seeing that high scoring stat above I think I might well have a quid on a big score draw tomorrow. Paddy Power are offering odds of 300/1 for a 4-4 draw, not exactly in the realms of the unknown is it that? Haha. A 3-3 draw is down at 50/1 while a 2-2 draw is 12/1.

First goalscorer for Wednesday evening may be difficult to predict because it's hard to tell whether Klopp is going to start Benteke or not. I personally think he'll be dropped tomorrow but his odds to find the net first with Paddy Power are at 5/1 at the moment. Firmino who needs to find the back of the net soon in my opinion to avoid criticism is at 15/2 to score first.

Finally, if you fancy a scorecast with Arsenal taking the lead but Liverpool to win you can get odds of 75/1 for Giroud to score first but Liverpool to win 2-1.

If you fancy a bet simply click on the banner below to take advantage of £30 free when you spend £10, just remember to put the whole tenner on one single bet to qualify!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 8 January 2016

Kids Earn Replay At Kop


Image via skysports.com

Fielding a team with a grand total of 34 appearances so far this season was perhaps a questionable decision made by Jurgen Klopp on Friday evening but despite their weakened line up, Liverpool still managed to collect a draw at St James' Park. A spirited Exeter side took the lead in the fixture which looked extremely tentative at times for the Reds but goals from Brad Smith and Jerome Sinclair ensured a stay in the FA Cup.

The home side found the back of the net after just nine minutes when Josh Read whipped in a lovely cross and Tom Nichols at full stretch managed to connect and convert. I can't say it was a shock really because the Reds had got off to a shaky start to say the least. This was a team that had never played together, apparently in the warm up Jurgen Klopp was running through technique and link up play with Benteke and Sinclair because they quite possibly didn't even know who each other were. It was crazy.

Despite the inexperienced team Liverpool quickly found themselves an equaliser when Sinclair scored just three minutes later. A right footed shot into the bottom right hand corner was enough to put the Reds back into the game but it truly was guesswork as to whether they would be able to hold on.

As the first half continued Liverpool maintained a struggle in defence and this may sound harsh but if Ilori is our only centre back available, I really do worry for the next few games. It can't be a coincidence that you can't even get a game for stone cold bottom of the table Villa can it? Who knows.

Right on the stroke of half time, to add insult to an unrivalled injury list, Adam Bogdan decided to put another one of his disastrous decisions on show. It truly was shocking from the keeper as a corner from Lee Holmes somehow found its way into goal. Bogdan utterly failed to deal with the danger, I have no idea what he was doing and I just don't feel confident at all with him between the sticks, especially for corners and set pieces.

No changes were made by Jurgen Klopp for the second half, he waited until 56 minutes to make his first substitution of the game. Pedro Chirivella entered play replacing Ryan Kent. It was the second substitution though that made a difference for Liverpool when Sheyi Ojo came on at 70 minutes.

Undoubtedly Ojo made a difference in the game. After just two minutes he put a cross into the danger area, a deflection saw the ball splay out to Brad Smith who finished well. Whilst Ojo's impact was evident as a lass from Wolverhampton I've seen/heard a lot about the youngster lately and he just hasn't been cutting it so I'm not going to start getting carried away with a good 20 minute performance at Exeter. He's got plenty of time on his side though and I'm sure he'll convince me to jump off the fence at some point.

After some late scares eventually the final whistle blew at 94 minutes and Liverpool, thankfully had managed to earn a replay at Anfield. Exeter no doubt deserved to remain in the cup, it's easy to say that Liverpool were not at full strength and therefore it was easier for Exeter to perform but overall they outplayed us. To concede in the way we did, we can blame nobody but ourselves I just hope that we can put on a better show in the home game!

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Thursday, 7 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Exeter V Liverpool

Image via espnfc.com
Liverpool will make their best effort to show up at Exeter's St James' Park on Friday evening as manager Jurgen Klopp continues to try and find a functioning and fit starting XI. Since the league cup clash with Stoke on Tuesday the Reds have seen their players drop like flies with no fit centre backs resulting in Ilori called back from loan and most recently, news today filtered through that Jordon Ibe is the latest to succumb to the hamstring curse.

Injuries

To go into detail, for the first time ever I will resort to a bullet pointed list for our injuries. The Reds are unable to call upon;

  • Jordon Ibe
  • Dejan Lovren
  • Kolo Toure
  • Philippe Coutinho
  • Martin Skrtel
  • Mamadou Sakho
  • Jordan Henderson
  • Divock Origi
  • Jordan Rossiter
  • Daniel Sturridge
  • Danny Ings
  • Joe Gomez
  • Jon Flanagan

Unbelievable. On the other hand Exeter are looking a lot healthier with David Wheeler being their main injury concern, the midfielder suffered an ankle injury recently. Doubts also hang over the fitness of Noble and Ribeiro.

Previous Meetings

The teams have met on just five occasions in history, four times in the league cup and once in the FA Cup. The most recent meeting of course was in 2011 when the Reds put three past Exeter in the league cup to go through to the third round. On the scoresheet for Liverpool that day were Andy Carroll, Maxi Rodriguez and Luis Suarez.

In the total five meetings between the two sides Exeter have only found the back of the net on two occasions whereas the Reds have managed to score 19 goals.

Form

Exeter are currently 16th in League Two having lost four out of their last five in the league. Their victory over League One Port Vale in the last round of this competition though proved they have some goals in the tank.

Liverpool find themselves 8th in the league at present but the Reds have picked up just two wins in their last five against Premier League opposition. West Ham were the most recent side to get the better of Jurgen Klopp's team.

Stat Sandwich

  • The last time the Reds were beaten by a League One side in the FA Cup was against Oldham in 2013.
  • The last time Exeter reached this stage of the competition they got a draw at Old Trafford.
  • It has now been a decade since Liverpool last lifted the FA Cup.

Your Predictions

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

Despite the fact that the majority of our team is injured I still feel Liverpool should be strong enough to get a win tomorrow. Exeter are not exactly in any kind of form and if the Reds can't handle League One opposition, with or without key players, something is wrong.

Surely Klopp is going to play Benteke tomorrow? I'm still trying to guess what he's going to do in defence, perhaps Can will have to be pushed back and Ilori will feature? Who knows!

I will be having a bet on the game, keep your eyes on my Twitter and I'll let you know what I have. Please find below your betting overview with my favourite bookies; Paddy Power!

Betting

Liverpool to win and both teams to score is at 2/1 with Paddy Power tomorrow. After the defensive woes I'm hoping we won't concede but at this rate it's worth preparing for.

I'm quite fond of a scorecast so will probably pop a quid on this tomorrow too:





Finally, Lallana is one of few players left who will be in the limelight tomorrow, if you fancy him to score two or more goals in the 90 minutes you can get odds of 14/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Injury Woes For Reds But Ibe Nets Winner

Image via sepakbola.com
Liverpool managed to collect a much needed victory at the Britannia on Tuesday evening despite losing both Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren during the first half due to hamstring injuries. In the second half Kolo Toure also played through what appeared to be another hamstring issue but it was Jordon Ibe who found the back of the net for the Reds and secured the win in the first leg.

The advantage going into the second leg of the semi final at Anfield will be invaluable for the Reds who may still be suffering injury wise come the end of January. Jurgen Klopp opted to start without a recognised striker for this fixture and also missing from the XI was Jordan Henderson and Mamadou Sakho.

The game started brightly for the Reds as the trio of Lallana, Firmino and Coutinho put their magic on show. Some wonderful moves and link up play from the threesome left Stoke quickly on the back foot and I must admit I was surprised to see Liverpool start so confidently.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see much of Coutinho as he had to leave the field after just 17 minutes due to what is presumed to be a hamstring injury. His replacement Jordon Ibe to be fair slotted neatly into the set up and of course went on to score the only goal of the game. The goal however would have to wait because Jurgen Klopp at 33 minutes had to watch on in disbelief as Dejan Lovren clinched his hamstring despite initial attempts to continue to play. The Reds already have two injuries in defence and when Lovren left the field he was replaced with James Milner meaning Lucas Leiva had to act as a centre back for the rest of the game.

Just a couple of minutes later, Jordon Ibe bagged his goal. I said in the preview that I felt like he was due one but I didn't even follow my own advice, could have been £11 up! Haha. His goal was a simple finish from inside the six yard box, assisted by Joe Allen who I must say was pretty effective also.

The second half saw Stoke introduce Jonathan Walters and it was definitely the Potters who seemed to take hold of the game this time out. Efforts from Shawcross and Glen Johnson in particular stood out but the home side could not find the back of the net. The increased pressure from Stoke wasn't a continued threat though and Liverpool were able to deal well with any efforts on goal.

At 80 minutes Klopp made his final substitution giving Benteke a run out for ten minutes but it was in defence where Liverpool had to remain focused. Unbelievably Kolo Toure late on in the game looked to have also done something to his hamstring. He's a tough lad Kolo though and you could tell he was determined to play on and fight for the win, despite the fact he would almost certainly exacerbate the injury.

He was absolutely brilliant Toure. Some make jokes about his age and claim he's lost his ability but he put in a brilliant performance on Tuesday evening. He won every aerial battle, wasn't knocked off possession, threw himself in at one stage to block what would have been an extremely dangerous cross, played through what clearly was a painful injury and gave absolutely everything for his team. Partnered by an out of position Lucas who also put his neck on the line for the Reds and won man of the match in the process, I think I will end this match report on the highlight of those two players.

People have been questioning Liverpool's consistency of late and also questioning the performance and desire of some players, well maybe they should take a leaf out of Kolo and Lucas' book because that is how you fight for your club.

Next up for the Reds is Exeter on Friday in the FA Cup.

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Monday, 4 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Stoke V Liverpool

Image via mirror.co.uk
It's a big game for Liverpool on Tuesday evening as Jurgen Klopp takes his side to the Britannia for the first leg of a league cup semi final against Stoke. The Reds of course were beaten by West Ham at the weekend and confidence is running low at the moment around L4.

Injuries for Liverpool mean Daniel Sturridge will still be unavailable after apparently suffering another setback during recovery. According to Jurgen the forward was unable to attend one session and he would rather wait until Daniel has strung together some full sessions before risking him for a start.

Liverpool are also without defender Martin Skrtel and both Milner and Henderson in the middle of the park. For Stoke they are looking relatively strong with just Muniesa and Ireland unavailable to feature.

The last time the two sides met was back in August of 2015. A single goal from Philippe Coutinho was enough for the Reds to get the win during that fixture. Most Reds however will remember vividly the final game of the 2014/2015 season after Stoke absolutely battered us at the Britannia. The Potters put six goals past Liverpool and Steven Gerrard only managed to find a consolation goal in his final game for the club after 70 minutes.

Our prior visit to the Britannia though in January 2014 ended slightly better, Liverpool picked up all three points in a high scoring game that ended 5-3. On the scoresheet for the Reds were; Suarez (x2), Gerrard and Sturridge. Ryan Shawcross also found the back of his own net.

Stat Sandwich

  • In Liverpool's last five meetings in cup competitions with Stoke, the Reds have won on every occasion.
  • Stoke have failed to score in just one of their last 13 games in the league cup.
  • The Reds have reached the semi-final of the league cup two years on the trot for the first time since 1987.
This will be a very tough game for Liverpool I feel and I'm extremely pleased that the semi-final is over two legs. Stoke have lost two out of their last five in the league which is a form record matched by Liverpool but you have to feel that the Potters have been playing more consistent football of late.

What also worries me is that Stoke are exactly the kind of side that the Reds have been struggling against, they are very hard to breakdown but also thanks to players like Shaqiri and Arnautovic they can also punish in front of goal.

Liverpool's main hope in my opinion is an improvement in the link up with Christian Benteke coupled with a better performance from the likes of Firmino and Coutinho who are both capable of flustering defences with their flair.

My prediction however is a score draw followed by (hopefully) a win at Anfield.

Betting

If like me you think the game is going to end in a draw on Tuesday evening, most bookies are offering odds of 2/1.

Several games against Stoke in the past have ended in a high scoreline. If you think the league cup tie is going to produce a similar outcome you can get odds of 33/1 with bet365 for a total of six goals in the match.

For first goalscorers, Paddy Power are offering the best odds at the moment on Christian Benteke at 11/2. You can also get odds of 11/1 with the same bookies for Jordon Ibe who is definitely due a goal if he starts.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Hammers Complete Double Over Reds

Image via beinsports.com
Slaven Bilic's side got the better of Liverpool at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon via goals from ex Red Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio. Jurgen Klopp watched on as his side struggled to create any concrete chances in front of the West Ham goal and whilst some will argue a refereeing decision may have aided the home side, Liverpool certainly did not deserve to get anything from the game.

Christian Benteke led the line for Liverpool and he quickly came under fire from pundits and fans alike during the game. I said as soon as we were interested in Benteke that there was no point buying him because we didn't have the right players to work for him, to add insult to injury his price tag was £32.5 million, I knew it wouldn't take long before fans turned and blamed him for all our issues but the fact is, it's not all his fault.

Our team on Saturday just felt completely disjointed. The flashes from Coutinho and Firmino are predictable at times and sides like West Ham just aren't falling for it. At the moment they are nothing more than one trick ponies. Both of these players are also relatively selfish in their nature, which isn't a bad thing of course but goes no way to helping a lone Christian Benteke. The missing Jordan Henderson for me made matters worse because the captain is often the only player even thinking about finding Benteke.

The first goal of the game came after just 10 minutes via a header from Antonio. To add salt to the wounds the goal began from the other end of the pitch where Moreno had been left in a heap, the break from West Ham allowed Valencia to put a cross in and saw Antonio put his side into the lead. It was definitely a foul on Moreno but I'm not going to sit here and pretend that in the grand scheme of things a correct decision from the referee would have helped Liverpool.

It wouldn't, we were terrible. A shot from Lanzini shortly after the goal luckily crashed off the post as Simon Mignolet had already given up on even trying to save the effort, confident it was going wide. Add to this a further melee of efforts including a shot from Cresswell which was fortunately saved and it was clear that the Hammers were in control.

The Reds saw one effort from Emre Can hit the bar but other than that the first half definitely belonged to the Bilic's side. Jurgen Klopp watched on in visible frustration, as each game goes by he seems to be realising that this team is clearly not capable of stringing together consistent performances and it really is guess work as to which Liverpool will show up for him.

At 55 minutes Andy Carroll had found the back of the net against his old side. A classic Carroll goal resulted in him heading home after a lovely cross from Mark Noble. Ironically, West Ham were exploiting the exact method that the Reds should have been utilising.

Things improved slightly for Liverpool as the second half went on. A corner ball flicked on by Emre Can allowed Lucas a rare chance at goal but his header was blocked by Mark Noble on the post. This was followed by another header late on from Joe Allen but he sent his effort just wide.

Joe Allen for me is another symbol of the problem at Liverpool at present, looking at our bench in the first half the only player capable of making a difference really was Adam Lallana. Brad Smith definitely made an impression when entering play but it is both unfair and unwise to place so much reliance on a youthful bench in my opinion.

Clearly Jurgen Klopp needs to be able to purchase some new players and really mould this side into a team of his own because at the moment, sticking together some of Brendan Rodgers' mismatched cast offs just isn't quite going to cut it.

Next up for Liverpool is Stoke in the League Cup Semi Final first leg.

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Friday, 1 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: West Ham V Liverpool

Image via dailymail.co.uk
After victory over Sunderland on Wednesday evening Jurgen Klopp's side face West Ham on Saturday for their first fixture of 2016. The Reds will face tough opposition from the Hammers who are just one point behind them in the league.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon James Milner, Martin Skrtel and Divock Origi. It also looks as though the knock Jordan Henderson picked up against the Black Cats will keep him out of this fixture. Positively for the Reds though, Daniel Sturridge should be available for the clash.

For West Ham, the game comes too early for the likes of Jelavic, Moses and Reid who have returned to training but are unlikely to feature. Manager Slaven Bilic will be pleased however with the return of Payet who has been out for two months.

The last time the two sides met was in August last year when Brendan Rodgers' side fell to a 3-0 defeat. Philippe Coutinho and Mark Noble both saw red in that fixture too. Our last visit to Upton Park also ended in a loss when West Ham put three past Simon Mignolet, the Reds did get on the score sheet though with a goal from Raheem Sterling.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have won only six games from 13 against sides below them in the table.
  • West Ham have drew five of their last six games in the league.
  • Simon Mignolet kept more clean sheets than any other keeper in the 2015 calendar year.
I'm quite excited for this fixture as it feels like we may be getting into a stride with Jurgen Klopp. It appears as though he's realised that in order to beat teams like Sunderland and West Ham, you need to slightly change your play and probably play an actual striker which is why I fully expect to see Christian Benteke start again on Saturday.

West Ham have hit a bit of bad form of late but they have been a quality side so far this season and you'd be an idiot to write them off in this game. I think it's going to be a close one but I'm hoping the Reds can nick it. If I pop some bets on tomorrow I might put a quid on a 2-2 or something to cover my back.

Betting

First goalscorer betting tomorrow sees the best price for Benteke with Bet365 who are offering odds of 5/1. If you fancy Daniel Sturridge to net first you can get the same odds with BoyleSports.

If like me you think this game may end in a 2-2 draw you can get odds of 17/1 with Bet Victor. A 2-1 Liverpool win is at 8/1 with Paddy Power.

Most bookies are offering 9/1 for Payet to score first in the game in his return for West Ham.

It was Christian Benteke who picked up man of the match against Sunderland via Sky Sports on Wednesday evening but many pundits were singing the praises of Emre Can who is at 12/1 with Paddy Power to get man of the match this time out.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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