The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 19 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Southampton V Liverpool

After knocking Manchester United out of the Europa League and drawing Dortmund just a day later, Liverpool have got some important fixtures coming up as the season begins to draw to a close. The Reds however are still quietly in with a chance of a say on how the top four is laid out and with Southampton above Jurgen Klopp's side in the table, a win here and a bonus of holding two games in hand could be vital.

Injuries

James Milner is suspended for Liverpool while Alberto Moreno is awaiting results from a second scan to test his fitness. The Reds are also without Lucas Leiva. For Southampton, Saido Mane is available after a red card decision being revoked and Fonte is also back in the squad after serving a ban.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in December last year in the League Cup, a superb victory for the Reds saw Divock Origi score a hat trick, Daniel Sturridge pick up a brace and Jordon Ibe also found the back of the net. The game ended 6-1.

In their last five trips to St Mary's in the league, Liverpool have won on two occasions. Saido Mane has scored twice in the last two meetings between the two sides.

Form

The Reds have won three out of their last five fixtures in the league while Southampton have won two. The Saints are at the time of writing eighth in the league, Liverpool are in ninth but both teams are on a total of 44 points.

Stat Sandwich


  • Liverpool have not lost in their last eight games in all competitions.
  • Southampton have scored twelve goals via headers so far this season.
  • The Reds have netted 13 goals in their last four away games in the league.

Betting

Southampton first half Liverpool second half is currently down at 30/1 with Paddy Power. To take advantage of that simply click the image below, place a tenner on the bet and get £30 free to play with!

In terms of first goalscorers if you think Saido Mane is going to punish again he is currently priced at 8/1. For Liverpool Daniel Sturridge is at 6/1 for first goalscorer, Firmino is 7/1 and Coutinho is at 9/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 18 March 2016

Reds Knock United Out Of Europe

There were a few tentative moments for Liverpool on Thursday evening at Old Trafford but Klopp's side managed to weather a relatively ineffective storm from Manchester United and walked away victorious thanks to a stunning goal from Philippe Coutinho. United's first half penalty gave the home side a much needed boost but a lack in quality ensured they were never fully back in the tie.

                                                           Image via RTE Soccer

Despite going into this game with a 2-0 lead it was always going to be a nervy affair, I predicted as many also did that United would find a much needed goal and once they did the pressure would be on Liverpool. The penalty awarded at 32 minutes was definitely a spot kick after a challenge from Clyne and Martial converted easily to give his side a much desired lead. The downside for United of course was that while the pressure had now been ramped up, for Liverpool, the same task remained, just find a goal.

The first half at points was horrible to watch United missed some superb chances to pull the tie level but the Reds also failed to capitalise on some great opportunities in front of goal. That all changed however right on the stroke of half time. Philippe Coutinho is a magical player, even most neutrals would agree but he can go missing in games from time to time then the following week he'll have an absolute stormer. This was one of those weeks.

An audacious and confident solo goal began with a diagonal weave into the box, screaming for him to cross the ball and assuming he'd fluffed his chance, I didn't even realise he'd chipped de Gea and beautifully dinked home for Liverpool. When the ball hit the net I thought it had travelled behind goal somehow. It was a stunning effort and just what Jürgen Klopp's side needed.

From here on out it was game over for United, there was no way they were going to find four goals, no way. That Coutinho chance had knocked the stuffing out of them and thanks to a brilliant defensive performance it was clear they wouldn't be vastly troubling the back four.

On that note I'd like to bring up Mamadou Sakho. I've often criticised him perhaps somewhat unfairly, to be honest it's usually just down to clumsiness or something that can be amended with time and while I'm still not quite ready to call him a world beater he was absolutely solid last night. I cannot fault his performance at all, as many of you know I've always had a soft spot for defenders and some of the challenges he was putting in last night were retro in fashion. Full on, no nonsense, just what I love. I look forward to keeping a close eye on him going forward.

So that was that, with the help of a glorious solo goal, Liverpool knocked United out of Europe and on a scale of Paul Scholes to Steve McManaman I would say Kopites all over are feeling pretty Macca this morning!!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp makes the short trip to Old Trafford with his Liverpool side on Thursday as the Reds look to put the final nail in the coffin. Liverpool are 2-0 up in this Europa League tie thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino and it looks like a long way back for Louis van Gaal who was forced to watch a very ineffective Manchester United at Anfield last week.

Image via liverpooecho.co.uk

Injuries

Liverpool are unable to call upon Lucas for this fixture as he is still struggling with a thigh injury. Also out are long term absentees; Stewart, Ings and Gomez. Manchester United are worse off injury wise with Rooney, Jones and Valencia amongst others all unavailable for manager Louis van Gaal.

Previous Meetings

The last meeting of course was on Thursday last week, a penalty on 20 minutes opened up scoring for Liverpool with Roberto Firmino sealing the win with fifteen minutes left of the first tie. The Reds last trip to Old Trafford wasn't very pleasant after losing the game 3-1, the only saving grace was a wonderful bicycle kick from Christian Benteke that led to a consolation goal.

Liverpool have won on just two occasions in all competitions in their last ten visits to Old Trafford.

Form

Liverpool have won three out of their last five fixtures in the league compared to United's two victories. Klopp's side of course also picked up a win over United in the first leg of this tie whereas van Gaal's side have had to play an FA Cup game in between these two fixtures. United only managed a draw against West Ham and will face a replay.

Betting

Fancy a bet? Get £30 free when you place a whole £10 on whatever bet you like, simply click the image below to take advantage.

If you're feeling confident with the Reds you can get 7/2 for Klopp's side to be winning at half time and winning at full time at the moment.

If you fancy a repeat result a 2-0 win for Liverpool is currently down at 12/1 while a 2-1 win for the Reds is down at 9/1.

As for first goalscorers Firmino is down at 11/2 while Sturridge is 5/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's a massive game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as Jurgen Klopp prepares his side for the first of two big clashes against rivals Manchester United in the Europa League. Liverpool enter this game on the back of a last minute win over Crystal Palace while United lost their most recent league game at the hands of West Brom.

The two clubs are steeped in history but have never met in European competition. The intense rivalry has always been present but as Manchester United have chipped away at Liverpool's title winning success there is one thing the Reds still hold over every club in England; European prowess. I don't mean to pile the pressure on but I'm pretty certain many Liverpool fans like myself will simply be unable to take a knockout.


Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon regular starter Lucas Leiva but the squad is otherwise strong with just long term injuries making the rest of the list. Louis van Gaal's side are somewhat worse off with Rooney, Jones, Young and Schweinsteiger all unavailable.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in January this year, United nicked a win in the 78th minute thanks to Wayne Rooney, leaving Liverpool feeling pretty hard done by. The last win the Reds recorded over United at Anfield was in September 2013 after Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game just four minutes in.

Liverpool have recorded just two wins over United in their last ten meetings in all competitions. There have been no draws during that time leaving United with eight victories.

Form

In the league Liverpool have collected three wins out of their last five fixtures compared to United's two. Interestingly Klopp's side piled pressure onto United at the weekend after clinching victory over Palace and Liverpool now sit just three points behind van Gaal's side with a game in hand.

As we all know "form goes out the window" when it comes to a game like this but I do feel sometimes psychological factors can filter through. Liverpool have pounced on United's shoulder and after failing to storm to victory in the league cup final for Klopp, all eyes are on United, both in the league and in the Europa League so starting with a rare victory over bitter rivals on Thursday would be absolutely massive.

Betting

Click the banner below to get £30 worth of free bets with Paddy Power when you place £10 on one bet!

Draw/Liverpool is at 4/1 at the minute for half time/full time betting and I quite like the look of that to be fair. I also quite fancy Firmino to bag another goal and his odds for first goalscorer are 6/1.

As for the correct scoreline, I seriously hope it isn't but I can see this being a draw. 1-1 is down at 11/2 while 2-2 is at 14/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. Just a reminder that there will be no match report on the blog for this game as I'm off to Latvia for the weekend!

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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Last Minute Spot Kick Gives Reds Three Points

Liverpool left it extremely late on Sunday to beat Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace but a last minute penalty decision allowed the Reds to score a winner via Christian Benteke and walk away with an important three points.

Image via theguardian.com: Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the winning penalty.
It was an interesting game in which Klopp's side appeared to dominate the first half yet conceded almost immediately in the second. The goal from Ledley caught the Reds off guard and gave Palace a huge boost after struggling underneath mounts of Liverpool pressure in the first half. Jurgen Klopp could only watch on as things went from bad to worse when James Milner left the field after picking up a second yellow card at 62 minutes for a silly challenge and was given his marching orders.

At 72 minutes Roberto Firmino brought cheer to the travelling Kop when he made the most of an error by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. Firmino had actually been pretty quiet up until the goal but his presence in the starting line up had been justified. The real shock for Liverpool though of course came at 96 minutes. Christian Benteke who had only entered play 15 minutes earlier was deemed to have been taken down in the box after referee Andre Marriner consulted with his linesman. While the contact was perhaps minimal it was definitely present as Delaney's knee clashed with Benteke's foot, there was no real need to make a challenge as the Belgian was going nowhere so while I can understand some of the frustration from Palace fans I still feel it was a spot kick.

As Benteke stepped up I felt extremely nervous, it just felt like bad luck had surrounded him for so long that he was destined to miss. I wanted nothing more than for him to find the back of the net because he deserves that confidence boost in my opinion. I never really wanted him at the club in the first place because I don't think he fits our system but he deserves some praise and hasn't been given enough game time in my opinion. Even if we are going to get rid of him, a goal would do no harm. I may have had doubts but Benteke clearly did not, he cooly slotted his penalty to the right of goal completely flummoxing the keeper.

And with that, the Reds had somehow managed to win the game. The three points could prove vital as Liverpool aim to put pressure on those above them, it's a tough ask for Klopp's side to do any damage to their main rivals for the top four but you just never know. In all honesty a draw was probably the correct result for this game so it's no surprise that Alan Pardew threw his coat at the dugout in sheer anger at his side who have now failed to win in 12 in the league but sometimes in football, luck swings your way and I certainly won't be dwelling on Palace's misfortune.

Next up for Liverpool? It's only Manchester United in the Europa League!

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Crystal Palace V Liverpool

After confidently beating Manchester City at Anfield during the week, Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp looks to collect another three points in the league. At the time of writing the Reds have played 27 games, two fewer than most in the league and theoretically could still pile pressure on the race for fourth if they put a string of victories together.

Image via yahoo.com: Lucas out for some time for Liverpool

Injuries

Liverpool were handed a big blow this week as it was announced veteran Lucas may be out for up to six weeks. Fortunately though both Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge returned to training. Coutinho didn't feature in the City game but it is believed he will be available to start on Sunday.

For Palace, they are unable to call upon McArthur and Puncheon while Wickham and goalkeeper Hennessey will be subject to late fitness tests.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in November last year when Palace got the better of Liverpool at Anfield. Yannick Bolasie opened up the scoring with Philippe Coutinho finding an equaliser at 42 minutes. It was Scott Dan though who sealed victory for the visitors scoring with just eight minutes left of the game.

Our last visit to Selhurst Park was in February 2014 for an FA Cup tie, the game ended in victory for the Reds thanks to two goals from Sturridge and Lallana. In the last ten meetings between the two sides in all competitions, Liverpool have only won on three occasions.

Form

The Reds have three wins from their last five games in the league while Palace have recorded zero wins in the same time period. In fact Palace haven't won a game in the league since December.

Liverpool's form hasn't been very consistent but Klopp's side haven't lost in their last three in the league. A win over Crystal Palace could be just what the Reds need to kick on in the final stage of the season.

Stat Sandwich


  • Lallana has scored three goals in his last four league games.
  • Crystal Palace have let in 21 goals so far in 2016.
  • If Coutinho features it will mark his 100th Premier League game.

Betting

If you fancy a bet on Sunday's game sign up with Paddy Power by clicking the image below, deposit £10 an place it all on one bet to receive a massive £30 free to play with!

Liverpool are currently down at 23/20 for the straight win on Sunday while the draw is at 12/5.

Adam Lallana to score first in a 2-1 win for the Reds has odds of 60/1 while the same bet with Firmino is down at 40/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Reds Do The Double Over City

It was a brilliant result for Jürgen Klopp on Wednesday evening as he steered his side to a 3-0 victory over Manchester City. Pellegrini's side looked a shadow of the team that featured in the cup win at Wembley on the weekend but take nothing away from Liverpool, they ran rings around the sky blues. 


Despite missing Daniel Sturridge and being forced to drop Lucas from the side Liverpool were extremely effective from the word go. A high pressure game was fully supported via the likes of Origi, Milner, Can, Henderson, Firmino and Lallana who worked brilliantly together in attack.

I won't shy away from the fact that I probably get on the case of Lallana and Milner but I cannot fault their efforts on Wednesday night. Lallana's opening goal was a well taken strike from some distance and at first it didn't even look like it had found the back of the net, his celebration soon confirmed the goal though.

The Reds were undoubtably on top and the high pressing game that Klopp is so famous for was certainly on show. It gives a glimmer of what can be expected under the German, especially when he is able to spend some money in the summer! 

Another lovely strike from Milner just four minutes before half time put Liverpool two nil up and there was no way back for an extremely lacklustre City side. For a team that are still going for the title they must be kicking themselves this morning because there was no fight in that side what so ever. Players like David Silva and Raheem Sterling were completely ineffective and hilariously the latter was substituted for the second half. Sterling was so poor thanks to an immense performance from Jon Flanagan, I bloody love that lad, I've always had a soft spot for defenders and he was all over it last night, started immediately by getting stuck in to Sterling and "letting him know he was there" as the oldies would say.

Just before the hour mark it was Firmino who stamped his name on the scoresheet after a nice finish from inside the box. Klopp was absolutely ecstatic and so were the players it was wonderful to see and whilst it would have been nice to have put on this performance in the final, I'll take revenge in any shape or form and knowing we've dented their title hopes while helping Leicester in the process? I'll take that! 

An almost perfect performance from Liverpool in my opinion perhaps only affected by a missing goal from Origi who I felt deserved one for his efforts and also that niggling question over what to do with Christian Benteke. He doesn't get many chances these days but it was evident to me last night that he's just not really bothered anymore. He had a couple of one-twos but his movement as always was lacking and he definitely does not fit into Klopp's system. I'd be very surprised if he's still here after the summer.

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