The Liver Bird  

Monday, 29 February 2016

Time For Revenge?

Got over the League Cup final loss yet? I'm not certain I have to be honest but hey, at least we have a shot at revenge just three days after Wembley. With that in mind I didn't see much point in writing up an almost identical match preview for Wednesday night's game and so I thought we could take a look back at some positive results that the Reds have picked up against City in recent times.


Manchester City 1 Liverpool 4 (November 2015)

By a country mile, this has been my favourite moment under Jurgen Klopp so far. The side that day just seemed to click and when Martin Skrtel found the back of the net at 81 minutes to win me £40 as last goalscorer, I was just ecstatic! It was a phenomenal team performance, to rip a team like City apart so easily gave hope for the Klopp era.

That Coutinho knee slide though...


Liverpool 3 Manchester City 2 (April 2014)

Another very special game and another Coutinho goal. In a magical season that nearly ended so perfectly for the Reds this was an extremely important game, taking the lead after just six minutes through Sterling and extending that with a Skrtel goal at 26 minutes, things looked done and dusted. Silva scored in the second half though and an own goal via Glen Johnson soon followed. But then, at 78 minutes...

"COUTINHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2 (February 2013)

Manchester City were hunting down Manchester United for the title in the run up to this game and most will remember it for a couple of fantastic goals. A beautiful strike from Daniel Sturridge put things level at 1-1, it was followed by another stunning strike, this time from Gerrard but unfortunately the captain's goal wasn't the winner as Aguero scored from a ridiculous angle.

Manchester City 2 Liverpool 3 (October 2008)

Good old Kuyt, what a little gem he was. Always gave his all and for a player that was forged into a winger and out of his natural position he scored a fair few goals! This day in 2008 was no different as the Dutchman scored a winner in injury time.

The Reds came from behind in the game after City grabbed the first two goals. Fernando Torres was also on the scoresheet that day for the Reds.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Reds Lose League Cup Final On Penos

Liverpool fell to defeat in the penalty shootout of the 2016 Capital One Cup final after fighting hard to take City to extra time and eventually through to the spot kicks. The Reds were poor from 12 yards having missed three penalties in a row and it was City's second choice keeper Willy Caballero who took the role of the hero in the dying moments of the final.

Image via theguardian.com: Simon Mignolet in the penalty shootout.
The first half of the final was pretty level pegging even after Liverpool suffered a big blow, forced into a substitution when Sakho and Can clattered heads. The defender was eventually taken out of play replaced by veteran Kolo Toure.

At 49 minutes City dealt Klopp's side a blow when Fernandinho found the back of the net. Arguably the goal was against the run of play slightly but most frustrating was the manner in which it was conceded. Simon Mignolet should not have let that shot underneath his body, it's as simple as that. He knows it, you know it, I know it and Jurgen Klopp knows it. Would it have ultimately made a difference? Who knows but it would have been nice for the game to have remained level at that stage.

Annoyingly, as is often the case with the mystery that is Simon Mignolet he went on to have a brilliant game in the 90 keeping the Reds in the match on at least two occasions. A save against a determined Sergio Aguero stood out and there is no denying that Liverpool would have been in a far worse position without that overall performance from their goalkeeper.

The Reds had been applying pressure steadily throughout the game but had failed to create any real solid chances, that changed though at 83 minutes when Philippe Coutinho found the back of the net after an initial effort smashed out off the post. The Brazilian finished confidently to put Liverpool right back into the game with just seven minutes left. I went absolutely crazy, jumping around the pub with me brother as is often the case. It really felt at that point that we had the momentum, the tide had turned and maybe, just maybe we could walk away with the trophy.

In my opinion the 1-1 draw at full time was the correct result, some would argue that City had the better and the majority of clear cut chances but I would argue that they failed to convert and Liverpool's tenacity had resulted in a goal, for me, that meant we deserved extra time.

Extra time predictably resulted in nothing, a few flashes from both sides occurred, the best for Liverpool when Divock Origi got his foot on the end of a cross but nothing changed goal wise, meaning the match went all the way to penalties. With penalties looming it gave chance for a reflection on the game and I hate to highlight certain players and this is by no means an attempt to have a dig but to be perfectly honest Daniel Sturridge was practically absent on Sunday. I'm not quite sure what happened but judging by his reaction when going to collect his runner's up medal, he himself appeared to be acknowledging a lacklustre performance on his part. It's probably not fair but in a final at Wembley you look to players like Sturridge to take the baton and run with it but it just didn't happen.

And so, it went to penos.

Emre Can stepped up first in a rather strange penalty taking order and converted for Liverpool. First up for City was Fernandinho but he missed hitting the left hand post. I thought Mignolet had saved it initially and according to my Twitter I still thought he'd saved it hours later, he didn't but my theory still stood. Usually the first player to miss or see a peno saved ends up on the losing side, the advantage was there for Liverpool but we couldn't capitalise. Lucas saw his penalty saved by the influential Caballero, so did Philippe Coutinho and so did Adam Lallana. Coutinho's penalty was poor in particular, I've never been a fan of the stuttered penalty, just choose a spot and smash it, but none of that mattered, the Reds had lost and Manchester City had deservedly taken the trophy secured thanks to a Yaya Toure spot kick.

As disappointing as it was, I don't think we can feel too hard done by when looking at the overall performance, I stand by the fact that I thought we deserved to take the game to extra time but things began to quickly fade after that point and City's experience and prowess shone.

Here's hoping we can get some revenge on Wednesday.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Reds At Wembley For Klopp's First Final

I don't know about you lot but I am bloody excited for this game! The fact that we drew Manchester United in the Europa League too on Friday, everybody is just buzzing around the club at the moment. Sunday's final against Manchester City could be a sublime day for the Reds and manager Jurgen Klopp, it wouldn't exactly be a bad record, picking up some silverware without even having a full season as boss!

Image via fourfourtwo.com: Clyne and Lallana against Sterling

Injuries

Liverpool are at an interesting point injury wise, Stewart is unavailable but some big names such as Adam Lallana, Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Dejan Lovren could all have a chance to be involved in Sunday's League Cup final. Klopp was reluctant to give away any tactical information in his recent press conference.

"I think even in Manchester they have televisions." 

- Jurgen Klopp

For Manchester City they are unable to call upon Fabian Delph, De Bruyne or Nasri who all have long term issues. However, Navas and Bony may be available and face late fitness tests.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in November last year. Liverpool completed one of their best performances so far under manager Jurgen Klopp after beating City 4-1 at the Etihad. Last goalscorer on that day was Martin Skrtel who won me £40 in the process haha!

The Reds do in fact have a decent record against Pellegrini's side, in the last ten meetings in all competitions Liverpool have won on four occasions, there have been three draws and City have been victorious three times.

Form

Liverpool have won just twice in their last five games in all competitions, once against Aston Villa scoring six goals in the process and most recently a win over Augsburg at home thanks to a James Milner penalty. City have also only won two of their last five games in all comps, they collected a win over Dynamo Kyiv during the week and also a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

As we know, form goes out the window when it comes to something like the League Cup final at Wembley but it does feel a bit better knowing City have also struggled in recent games. For me, playing against a side like City is actually beneficial for Liverpool's system, it's almost like we perform better against the bigger teams because they play more openly and allow players like Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge more room on the ball. I just hope that's the case on Sunday!

Stat Sandwich

  • This will be the 12th time Liverpool have appeared in the League Cup final.
  • City have appeared in four League Cup finals.
  • This is the first time Liverpool have faced Manchester City in the final of any competition.

Betting

I will definitely be placing a few bets tomorrow so keep an eye on my Twitter. If you'd like to join me, click the image below, deposit £10, place it all on one bet and get £30 free!

I definitely can see this being a high scoring final there's no way this is going to be a 1-0 or 2-1 for me. At the minute you can get odds of 4/5 for over 2.5 goals in the game.

If you fancy us to lift the cup odds are currently placed at 5/4. I quite like the look of Man City first half Liverpool second half at the moment too which is down at 30/1!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, 26 February 2016

Milner Penalty Enough To Beat Augsburg

The Reds sealed their place in the last sixteen of the Europa League on Thursday evening after a James Milner penalty, less than five minutes in gave them their only goal. Despite a lively performance from Jürgen Klopp's side and some key players in the starting XI, the Reds couldn't increase their goal tally.

                         Image via daily mail.co.uk: James Milner celebrates.

The Augsburg fans were raising the decibels even prior to kick off at Anfield and their plentiful support definitely appeared to bolster their side through some of the more difficult patches in the game. Luckily for the visitors though, as has been the case for a while now with Liverpool, Klopp's side just can't seem to find that clinical finish. Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were all displaying some brilliant trickery in and around the box but when it came to that final product? Nothing.

The one chance Liverpool did convert of course was their spot kick after five minutes. I personally thought it was quite a harsh decision simply because the offender was underneath one of his own players in the air but I suppose if you are flailing your arms about like that then you are asking for trouble. James Milner stepped up and calmly converted a very important goal for the Reds.

A back pass from Lucas early in the first half almost sent hearts racing as Augsburg looked to find an equaliser but to be fair to Mignolet he dealt with the situation well. Let's not forget Augsburg had the upper hand here really, despite being down, one goal for them with the away goals rule would have been enough to see them through. 

The Reds battled on though producing a second half of similar intensity to the first, the fresh legs of Divock Origi went some way to helping Liverpool truly cement their lead but still no second goal was found. Augsburg towards the end of the game went a whisker away from equalising but fortunately for the Liverpool things didn't quite sway in favour of the Germans.

The win for Klopp's side sees them through to the final 16 in the competition and with the draw taking place on Friday afternoon there are no longer rules involved about which teams are able to face each other meaning a Liverpool V Manchester United tie in Europe could actually be a possibility. This is the first time Liverpool have got through to the last 16 in Europe since the 2010/2011 season.

Next up for the Reds though is a massive, massive game; the league cup final against Manchester City at Wembley. Come back here to The Liver Bird for a full match preview on Saturday afternoon! 

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Augsburg

It's another Europa League fixture for Liverpool on Thursday evening as the Reds aim to capitalise on a 0-0 draw collected in the first leg. With one eye on that all important League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp may opt to field a slightly altered XI in a match that Liverpool should on paper be able to win.

Image via skysports.com: Kolo Toure shows his frustration against Augsburg

Injuries

Liverpool's injury situation is much the same with the likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Adam Lallana and Stewart still on the injury list. On a positive note some videos emerged of Danny Ings on the recovery path this week, however the forward isn't expected to be back for some time.

For Augsburg it looks as though both Ho-Hong and Feulner will be unavailable but the real blow is the doubt hanging over the fitness of Raul Bobadilla who is Augsburg's top goalscorer this season. The attacker has apparently suffered a muscle tear and will be subject to a late fitness test.

Last Match

The match in Germany was a dire one to say the least, both sides were unable to find the back of the net with Liverpool perhaps minimally taking the best of the chances. Daniel Sturridge once again looked lively but it was a frustrating evening for Jurgen Klopp who only had the clean sheet really to hold on to as a positive.

Form

Liverpool have won just one of their last six games in all competitions, a feat match by Augsburg. While the Reds picked up an emphatic win over Aston Villa, the German's victory came against Hannover, a 1-0 win.

Betting

A straight win for Liverpool is currently at 4/9 with Paddy Power while odds of 2/1 exist for Augsburg to qualify for the next round.

If you fancy a big win for the Reds you can get odds of 10/1 for 3-0.

In terms of goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is down at 16/5 for first goalscorer with Divock Origi currently priced at 9/2.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, 19 February 2016

Reds Settle For A Draw In Germany

Liverpool could only muster a 0-0 draw in their Europa League tie against Augsburg on Thirsday evening in what turned out to be a rather uneventful fixture. Jürgen Klopp fielded the same XI that took part in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa but despite having the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Daniel Sturridge on the pitch, the Reds just couldn't find a goal.


Chances in the game were few and far between but it was Sturridge for Liverpool perhaps having the best opportunity. The likes of Moreno and Coutinho also had their moments but it was clear that this wasn't going to be another high scoring fixture. Augsburg set up well and I imagine will be pretty pleased with the 0-0 draw.

On the flip side, Augsburg actually hit the post with just four minutes to go so it could have been an even stronger result for the Germans and an embarrassing one for Klopp. The return leg is at Anfield on Thursday 25th February and with no game in between, Liverpool have the full week to prepare. 

The downside of course is that three days after the second leg is the League Cup final at Wembley. Klopp clearly wants to go on a run in the Europa League, especially as the winners get a place in the Champions League, but is it worth risking a great chance of obtaining his first piece of silverware at the club against Manchester City?

Positives 

The positives for Liverpool from this fixture in my opinion, although minimal, were the extra game time for Sturridge and the fact we kept a clean sheet.

It sounds daft but our defence have been all over the shop lately and I know most of you disagree but I still feel as though Skrtel should walk back into that line up, however the lads did pretty well last night and it's always vital to keep a clean sheet away from home in Europe.

For Sturridge, he again looked lively and was unlucky not to score really, it's nice to know he has some more match time under his belt and hopefully he can spring into action in the League Cup final against City. Liverpool have been struggling goalwise without Sturridge and he offers that last bit of prowess that we desperately need! 



Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Augsburg V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Jurgen Klopp's native Germany on Thursday evening as they look to reignite their Europa League efforts. With the winners of the competition gaining a place in the Champions League it may be silverware that some laugh off but Klopp is definitely not a manager to turn down an opportunity like that.

If, like many, you are wondering who Augsburg are, a few snippets about them:

  • Augsburg play in the Bundesliga and hail from Bavaria.
  • In their history, they have only ever had non-German managers on two occasions.
  • In 2011 they were runners up in Bundesliga 2.


Image via thisisanfield.com: Jurgen Klopp, Europa League

Injuries

The injury situation has improved recently for Liverpool however the Reds are still unable to call upon Martin Skrtel and Joe Allen. Lallana and Kevin Stewart have also been added to the injury list this week and it looks as though the game may come too early for Dejan Lovren.

For Augsburg, they are unable to call upon Framberger who has a cruciate ligament injury. Baier, Ho-Hong and Moravek will all be subjected to late fitness tests after suffering from minor issues.

Previous Meetings

Usually this section brings up some interesting facts about games gone by but unfortunately, Liverpool have never faced Augsburg.

However I can provide you with a stat from previous meetings with German clubs. Liverpool have faced German sides on 28 occasions since 1965, winning 12, losing six and drawing 10 (source).

Form

After battering Aston Villa 6-0 on Valentine's Day the Reds collected their first win in their last six fixtures in all competitions.

Augsburg on the other hand have managed to pick up two victories over the same time period but it is worth noting that both of those wins came in friendly matches.

Betting

It's hard to predict what team Klopp will go for on Thursday but I get the feeling Divock Origi may get some minutes and after his performance against Villa I like the look of him for last goalscorer at 11/2 with Paddy Power.

In terms of scorelines, if you fancy a repeat of Sunday's result, Liverpool to win 6-0 is currently down at 500/1.

Sign up to Paddy Power by clicking the banner below, deposit £10 and place it on a single bet then get £30 free bets in your account.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 15 February 2016

Six Nil, No Big Deal For Klopp

Liverpool walked away from Villa Park on Sunday afternoon absolutely beaming after putting six past goalkeeper Bunn. The Reds converted with the help of six different goalscorers but it was the returning Daniel Sturridge who got off the mark first. Villa looked predictably deflated but what must be worrying for fans of the Midland side is that the players appeared to have given up. Obviously it's hard for any side to be on the end of a battering but for some of the Villa players there was just no fight in them at all.

"Interviewer: Have you ever won 6-0 away from home before?
Jurgen Klopp: I think so... yeah... for sure. Sorry *laughs*"

Image via dailymail.co.uk: Emre Can celebrates after scoring Liverpool's third goal.

The Magician feeds the forward

There were several doubts hanging around about Daniel Sturridge before kick off but the majority of fans know better than to question the striker's ability. No matter how long he is out for or what the issue is, he always returns with a goal.

Even better for the Reds was the fact it was Philippe Coutinho who provided the assist. The Brazilian had spotted Sturridge in the box and whipped in a perfect cross enabling the number 15 to head home Liverpool's first of the game. 

Best of the Rest

With so many goals to choose from it's hard to go into detail in the length of your average blog post but I shall try. Milner's free kick obviously found its way into the back of the net for the second goal and to be honest I was surprised to see that fly all the way into the net, bit gutted that Sakho didn't manage to get his head on it!

Emre Can's goal was quality, mainly because he was almost completely taken out in the run up to the goal but did some sort of sidewards roll, got back up in the process and continued his run towards the box. Firmino then time the pass and a strong strike from Can put Liverpool 3-0 up. 

Divock Origi was next in line and what a little gem he was. I can't lie, I'm still not completely convinced with Origi but I cannot fault his determination. He was only on the pitch for a matter of seconds yet managed to collect possession and burst towards goal, one on one with the keeper, calm as anything and slot home a fourth goal. Fair play.

Clyne then got in on the action and you just have to feel sorry for the Villa fans at this point because now even the defenders were getting in on the act. Clyne's initial shot was saved but not successfully and he eventually converted with the follow up.

For me though, the best goal of the game, just for cult hero value was Kolo Toure's header. It was hilarious! Jordan Henderson whipped in the corner and Kolo Toure in acres of space, didn't even jump, just sort of dinked home the header, even he looked bewildered like he couldn't believe he'd scored haha!

A final note on Benteke

I didn't really want to highlight the Belgian because it feels a bit unfair but I couldn't avoid it in the end. Granted, he was only on the pitch for 15 minutes but did he really do anything? From what I can tell from the stats he made two passes and did pretty much nothing else.

What is even more concerning is the fact that his counterparts Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi both made immediate impacts and why? Because they were busting a gut to be in the right place at the right time. It looks like the writing could be on the wall for Christian and to be honest, I can't say I would be sad to see him go.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, 13 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Aston Villa V Liverpool

The Reds travel to the Midlands on Valentine's Day in search of a more convincing performance after being knocked out of the FA Cup in the final minute of extra time against West Ham earlier in the week. There is a dash of romance in the air though, certainly for Liverpool fans, who will be hoping two of their most loved players may make the start on Sunday; Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.


Injuries

Liverpool are unable to call upon Joe Allen who has picked up a hamstring injury. Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel are both back in training but the game comes too soon for the defenders. Positively for the Reds along with Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi is also available for manager Jurgen Klopp.

For Aston Villa, Jordan Ayew is serving a suspension whilst Jack Grealish has an ankle injury. Rudy Gestede and Carlos Sanchez may be able to feature but both players will be subject to late fitness tests.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in September last year, Daniel Sturridge scored twice in the game, Liverpool eventually picked up all three points in a 3-2 win at Anfield.

The Reds also faced Villa recently at Wembley in the FA Cup semi final in 2015. I still haven't forgiven Brendan Rodgers for bringing on Glen Johnson in a semi final that we were losing...

Liverpool's last visit to Villa Park ended in a 2-0 win with goals from Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert. In fact, the Reds haven't lost at Villa Park since May 2011.

Form

Aston Villa are currently propping up the Premier League table and it's no secret the Midlanders have been struggling. A win over Norwich in their last league fixture brought some hope to Remi Garde but his side have won just two games in the league from their last ten.

After the Saturday fixtures Liverpool find themselves 11th in the table on 35 points. While two wins in ten sounds problematic for Aston Villa, Jurgen Klopp's side can hardly boast as they have notched up just three wins over the same time period.

Betting

With Liverpool struggling with consistency I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we managed to mess it up against Villa on Sunday, the positive of course is that we have some strike power back with the likes of Sturridge and Coutinho.

At the moment a bet I've been having quite regularly is half time, full time predictions. You can get Aston Villa first Liverpool second half at 22/1 with Paddy Power at the moment.

In terms of goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is 4/1 for first goalscorer and 6/5 for anytime. Coutinho on the other hand is 7/1 first and 5/2 anytime.

I personally think if Sturridge does start this is a perfect match for him to hit the ground running so I might pop a quid on him to score a hattrick for a laugh tomorrow, odds of 25/1 at present.

If you fancy a bet, deposit £10 and place it all on one bet to get £30 FREE. Simply click the image below and sign up, it takes two ticks!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Reds Dealt Hammer Blow In Cup

Knocked out of the FA Cup in the final minute of extra time, it's a tough way to go out but the Reds only have themselves to blame after missing chance after chance after chance on Tuesday night. Luckily there was nothing too exciting on display as Jurgen Klopp had been instructed to remain calm following an operation to remove his appendix. Liverpool however did look positive initially but things began to crumble as West Ham grew into the game, despite playing for 120 minutes, the Reds just never really found a way back.

Image via www.theguardian.com: Christian Benteke visibly frustrated as Liverpool fail to take advantage.

West Ham Volley

The Irons found the back of the net at the perfect time as Michail Antonio struck a wonderful volley on the stroke of half time. There was little Simon Mignolet could do and it was a well deserved goal for West Ham who had been building pressure on the Liverpool defence.

As with several games this season, Klopp's side once again had failed to capitalise on some positive play, it wasn't as though we were lacking in chances, we just cannot seem to find the back of the net. Players like Coutinho, Chirivella and Teixeira were all linking up well but as usual, the final product just wasn't there.

The Magician

Some persistence from the Reds finally paid off just three minutes into the second half when Christian Benteke was brought down just outside the box. Coutinho was all over this free kick but I didn't expect him to find his flow so quickly after returning to the starting XI. His cheeky free kick reminded me of the Fabio Aurelio one in the Champions League against Chelsea. It was the kind of set piece that you shouldn't dare to try and get away with but Coutinho guessed right that the wall would jump and slotted home an important equaliser for the Reds.

Fabio Aurelio's free kick against Chelsea.

Return of Daniel Sturridge

One real positive from the game for Liverpool fans was the return of Daniel Sturridge, the forward has been missing from the line up since the start of December but he definitely showed signs of his old self after entering play just before the hour mark on Tuesday evening.

Some skillful ball control saw him fluster the West Ham defence on several occasions but unfortunately the number 15 was never really presented with a solid chance at goal. A few long range efforts spun wide but overall it was a promising display. Sturridge also ended up with more game time than Klopp may have planned which can only be good for him in my opinion, I hope he makes the start against Villa on Sunday.

Christian Benteke Confidence

It's no secret that the Belgian has been struggling up front for Liverpool but on Tuesday evening it was evident that Benteke is having a bit of a crisis. In the first half he was unable to position himself correctly and aside from a few half chances was unable to stamp his mark on the game. 

In the second half he began to fair a bit better especially with the introduction of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi who allowed Benteke to change his focus slightly. He saw powerful headers saved and shots trickle off target but perhaps the most unforgiving was his one on one chance with the keeper. He's been in a few of these situations in recent months and every single time he's smashed the ball straight at the keeper and I'm afraid he just has to do better. Confidence plays a real part here though and for me, if Benteke had a few goals behind him he would have slotted that chance home.

Despite all the criticism and despite the fact I never really wanted Benteke in the first place, I still find myself feeling very sympathetic. Christian Benteke has never been known for his pacey or weaving runs into the box and so it always amazes me when people just expect him to make these moves into the box. He won't, he never has done, it's not the kind of player he is and the board and Brendan Rodgers knew that when they signed him. You don't buy a player like that and expect him to change, it's far too late for the moulding of his style. I'm afraid you just have to accept that he's a bit of a slow reactor, the big man up front who sometimes plods into the right place at the right time and when he does it's brilliant, when he doesn't he will be absolutely berated by everyone and their mother.

Next up for Liverpool is Aston Villa away on Sunday.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, 8 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: West Ham V Liverpool

First of all folks, my apologies for the missing Sunderland match report I had to collate and make sure I had sorted all of my data/photographs I gathered towards dissertation after my visit to Liverpool on Saturday. In the end, a friend from Twitter was actually able to find me a spare for the game so I watched the match and also took part in the Walk Out On 77 protest. It is very rare I get to visit Anfield for a multitude of reasons and so it was fantastic to be there as always and I felt extremely proud to stand with the fans and take part in what appears to have been an effective protest.


"It is in everyone's best interest to find a solution" 
- Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool FC ticket prices.

With several people adamant that the protest would lead to nothing I feel vindicated in my decision to stand up for what I believe in and I can only hope that the new discussions the club have announced this week will lead to a change in the ticketing structure.

Anyway... On to the game!

Image via fourfourtwo.com: Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana

Injuries

The Reds have received a massive boost in terms of injuries this week as Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge should all be available to feature in Tuesday night's FA Cup fourth round replay. The game will however come too soon for Martin Skrtel.

For West Ham, they will be missing the influential James Tomkins who has a calf issue while Carl Jenkinson is out long term. Sam Byram is also unavailable due to being cup tied for this clash.

Previous Meetings

The last meeting between the two sides was obviously in the first leg in a dire fixture that ended 0-0. In terms of visits to the Boleyn Ground, Liverpool's record isn't exactly encouraging, having won on just two occasions from their last five visits.

Form

Liverpool come into this game on the back of a 2-2 draw with Sunderland. The Reds gave away a 2-0 lead thanks to a questionable goalkeeping performance and have conceded more than one goal in a game for the fourth time in their last five league games.

West Ham picked up a loss at the weekend at the hands of Newcastle but Slaven Bilic's side have only lost two out of their last ten games in the league compared to Liverpool who have lost four over the same time period.

Betting

I'll be having a few bets for Tuesday's game, if you want to join me take advantage of the new customer offer with Paddy Power by clicking the image below. Bet a full £10 on one bet and get £30 free to play with!

I was first drawn to the odds for a penalty shootout this week because it's highly likely in my opinion. At the moment Paddy Power are offering odds of 10/1 for either Liverpool or West Ham to qualify for the next round via a penalty shootout.

With Daniel Sturridge perhaps getting a chance to feature his odds to score at anytime on Tuesday are currently at 6/4. You can also get Firmino and Origi at the same odds to score at anytime.

Odds of 9/1 for Liverpool to win both halves are also available and 8/1 if you think West Ham will be victorious in both halves.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, 5 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Sunderland

Liverpool welcome Sunderland to Anfield on Saturday afternoon in what could turn out to be a heated affair thanks to a saga off the pitch this week. Fan organisations such as Spirit of Shankly are unhappy with the proposed new ticket prices released this week and a "Walk out on 77" protest has been put forward. It is unclear how many fans will make their feelings known with their feet but it is clear that less emphasis will be placed on the football itself for this clash.

                                   Image via www.mirror.co.uk: Jürgen Klopp

Injuries

Daniel Sturridge has once again returned to training, fans hold their breath as they await a string of ten sessions minimum from the forward. There is also no Martin Skrtel or Divock Origi for manager Jürgen Klopp while Coutinho appears closer to fitness but may not be prepared for this weekend.

For Sunderland, they are without Larsson and Matthews who are both out long term. Doubts also hang over the fitness of Kaboul and Vila who will be subjected to late fitness tests.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in December last year, Liverpool picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a single goal from Christian Benteke. Sunderland's last visit to Anfield ended in a goalless draw, in fact in the last three meetings between the two sides only two goals have been scored, both by the Reds.

To find a win from Sunderland at L4 we have to go all the way back to 1983 when the Black Cats won 1-0 in the old division.

Form

The Reds are currently sat eighth in the league table after picking up a loss against Leicester on Tuesday. Klopp's side have now lost three out of their last five fixtures in the league. Sunderland are sandwiched between Newcastle and Aston Villa in the relegation zone on 19 points. They have won just two out of their last ten games in the league.

Betting

I don't think I'm gonna get chance to put bets on this week as I'm busy data collecting for my dissertation, speaking of which as I mentioned on Twitter there will also unfortunately be a missing Sunderland match report due to dissertation commitments but normal service shall be resumed next week! (p.s. Thanks to all who have filled out my survey so far!!)

Anyway, back to betting. I've been looking at Christian Benteke this week and it baffles me sometimes how his odds are remaining so low despite him failing to score. For this clash as first goalscorer he's down at 3/1 which to be fair has risen compared to recent games but is it even worth putting money on the Belgian? I think it is because like him or not I think in the majority of games especially against sides like Sunderland we're forced to utilise him and surely, surely he's bound to find the net soon?

In terms of scoreline odds if you fancy Liverpool to get back on track with a big win on Saturday you can get odds of 3-0 at 9/1 and 3-1 at 11/1 with Paddy Power.

Keep an eye on my Twitter in case I do put a bet on to see where my money ends up and as always, enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Vardy Nets A Worldy In Leicester Win

Image via www.theguardian.com: Jamie Vardy celebrates
Liverpool fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester on Tuesday evening as the Foxes continue to live the dream at the top of the Premier League table. It was a typical performance from Ranieri's side who did have to deal with a few moments of danger from Liverpool but the Reds once again just couldn't find an end product.

"I was looking all game and he was quite far off his line..."

Jamie Vardy's first goal was simply stunning, the long range pass and vision of Mahrez was enough to drool at but Vardy's strike, taken first time was an absolute peach. He'd caught Mignolet completely off guard and sent the home crowd wild. Words don't give it justice.

The forward later admitted in a post match interview that he'd been keeping an eye on Mignolet who he'd noticed had been straying off his line. Perhaps there's a pointer in there for our keeper? Despite Mignolet straying from goal, he did put in a decent performance overall, particularly when being called into action saving from both Mahrez and Okazaki to keep Liverpool in the game in the first half.

Liverpool however just don't have the fire power at the moment, any attacks tend to filter down to a long range effort or a shot trickling wide, there's nobody in the Liverpool side with an eye for goal and lets face it, how are you supposed to win matches without a proven goalscorer?

Image via squawka.com: Liverpool's 11 chances created compared to Leicester's six.
Leicester still take all three points from the game.
Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and even Emre Can all attempted to make half chances count but the struggle of Jurgen Klopp's side is clear to see. 

Vardy's second goal at 71 minutes put the nail in the coffin for the Reds and also highlighted another issue; the defence. A failure to deal with the oncoming attack from Mamadou Sakho led to further danger from Leicester, the initial goalwards effort from outside the box took a deflection, only to fly into the path of Jamie Vardy who converted with ease.

I had a long conversation with several followers on Twitter a few days ago with regards to our defence, specifically with regards to Martin Skrtel. As soon as he got injured I found myself concerned for our future performances and yet some people would still happily keep him out of the side. I can see all viewpoints but I honestly can't accept that the back four at the moment would be worse off with him in there. For me Skrtel for starters brings an element of communication and organisation that he picked up from players like Jamie Carragher. Mamadou Sakho who lets not forget has captained PSG just doesn't seem to talk to or organise himself with his centre back partner and for me that just signals trouble.

Whatever you think about the defence and whatever your preferred line up though, I suppose it doesn't really matter until we sort out our issues up top. Liverpool have failed to score in open play in four out of their last six games in all competitions and at the moment I don't see any way out of this rut.

Next up for the Reds is Sunderland at home.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 1 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Leicester V Liverpool

So... Deadline Day has been exciting hasn't it? Pfft. Liverpool go into the game with Leicester on Tuesday evening with almost certainly no new additions to the side. The owners did indicate that they wouldn't be backing Klopp financially until the summer but after drawing 0-0 with West Ham at the weekend and failing to score against Stoke in the League Cup semi-final, it is clear as day that the Reds need some fresh talent.

Image via www.theguardian.com: Alex Teixeira
Despite being linked with the likes of Alex Teixeira and Denis Chryshev, Jurgen Klopp will have to face Ranieri's table topping Leicester with the original squad he inherited.

Injuries

The injury situation for the Reds remains relatively standard as Origi, Coutinho, Skrtel and Daniel Sturridge all remain on the sidelines. Jordan Henderson has also picked up a knock but he should be available for Tuesday's fixtures.

For Leicester, just two of their players are out of action; Schlupp who has a hamstring injury and midfielder James who has been out long term.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was on Boxing Day last year. The 1-0 win for the Reds was a surprise to say the least and it was Christian Benteke who collected all three points for Liverpool.

The last meeting at the King Power Stadium also ended in victory for Liverpool. Adam Lallana, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson were on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win.

In the last ten fixtures between the two sides Liverpool have taken all three points on six occasions, there have been two draws with Leicester winning the remaining two games.

Form


Leicester are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table and whilst many have predicted their downfall it's yet to happen for Ranieri who has to be commended for his work with Leicester, absolutely brilliant stuff. The Foxes haven't lost in their last five games in the league but they have picked up three draws during that time. Their most recent fixture against Stoke ended in a 3-0 win.

Liverpool find themselves 7th in the league, eight points off the top four. It's not an ideal position for the Reds but they do remain in all cup competitions at present and a build up of fixtures is making Premier League woes even worse. Klopp's side have lost two from their last five in the league but picked up three points in their latest fixture with Norwich in a 5-4 thriller.

Betting

I'm not going to sugar coat it, I think we're going to get embarrassed tomorrow. The only reason we beat Leicester at home is because of the Anfield factor in my opinion, I can't see Leicester missing a chance to beat Liverpool when they've pretty much beat everybody else. Despite that I'm still probably going to bet on our own players but below are a few bets I've found from scanning around this afternoon.

Odds of 75/1 can be gathered if you fancy a scorecast of Jamie Vardy to score first but Liverpool to win 2-1. The same scoreline with Mahrez as first goalscorer is slightly better at 80/1.

In terms of Liverpool scorers if you fancy Joe Allen to score first (assuming of course he starts - I think he deserves it!) you can get odds of 16/1 at present with Paddy Power.

Finally another interesting bet, it's 90/1 for the scoreline to be 1-1 at half time but Leicester to go on and win 3-1 at full time. For more great bets click the image below, deposit £10 and put the whole tenner on one bet to get £30 free!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!


Labels: , , , , ,