The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Liverpool FC 2015/2016 Season Review

The 2015/2016 season saw the Reds swap Brendan Rodgers for Jurgen Klopp and reach two finals in the process. A great start from Klopp in such a short space of time very nearly paid off with some silverware but the team couldn't quite find fifth gear in both the League Cup and Europa League finals. Finishing 8th in the league however on a total of 60 points was below par for the Reds, we can only hope a summer of signings will improve things for next season!

August

Liverpool kicked off the season against Stoke, looking to improve on their embarrassing loss at the hands of the Potters at the end of the previous season. A 1-0 win thanks to a wonderful late strike from Philippe Coutinho was a perfect start for the Reds under Brendan Rodgers. A week later another 1-0 win for Liverpool followed against Bournemouth.

Image via empireofthekop.com
Towards the end of August the Reds lined up against Arsenal and collected a 0-0 draw, it was the final game in August though that really riled a lot of Liverpool fans. A 3-0 defeat at Anfield at the hands of West Ham was embarrassing to say the least, it was the Hammers first victory at Anfield since 1963, there was nowhere to hide for Brendan Rodgers. The manager was soon under pressure after tactical issues and putting players out of position.

In the news...
- Debris found on Reunion Island is confirmed to have been from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that went missing in March 2014.
- Cilla Black dies at the age of 72 in Malaga, Spain.
- A cameraman accidentally runs over Usain Bolt on a segway at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

September

September began with a clash with Manchester United, it's always a tough fixture but losing 3-1 at Old Trafford was not the best result for the Reds, the only saving grace was a bicycle kick from Christian Benteke that led to the consolation goal.

Image via mirror.co.uk
The following three games in September included our first Europa League game, a Premier League game and a third round game in the League Cup. Each match against Bordeaux, Norwich and Cardiff ended 1-1 and the Reds had to resort to penalties to get through to the next stage of the League Cup.

Things were not going well at all for the Reds, perhaps expectations were too high, perhaps the football just wasn't exciting enough, whatever it was, Brendan needed help and fast. A 3-2 win over Aston Villa at the end of the month looked like a potential turning point but October would become crunch time for Brendan.

In the news...
- NASA announces liquid water has been found on the planet Mars.
- A British Airways flight bound for London from Las Vegas burst into flames on the runway.
- Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour Party.
- An 8.3 magnitude earthquake hits Chile.

October

October would include seven fixtures for the Reds but it only took two results for the sacking of Brendan Rodgers. The first game against FC Sion once again led to a rather dire 1-1 draw. The second match of the month was against Everton, the Merseyside Derby also ended in a 1-1 draw and while most were frustrated with the result and the performance, not many actually thought it would be the end of the road for Brendan Rodgers. With a suitable break in the football calendar though the owners deemed it the perfect moment to bring the new man in and Jurgen Klopp turned up to L4 shortly afterwards.

Image via mirror.co.uk
Klopp's first game against Tottenham Hotspur away from home ended 0-0, not exactly the exciting German start Liverpool fans were after but nevertheless it was a difficult fixture. A 1-1 draw against Rubin Kazan was followed by a 1-1 draw with Southampton but the Reds did pick up an important victory in the League Cup thanks to a Clyne goal against Bournemouth.

October ended in brilliant fashion when the Reds battered Chelsea on their home turf. A brace from Philippe Coutinho and an 83rd minute goal from Christian Benteke sealed the deal. This was the first real glimmer of the high intensity football that Jurgen Klopp intended to bring to Anfield.

In the news...
- Hurricane Patricia located off the western coast of Mexico becomes the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere with winds of 200mph.
- A flight en route to St Petersburg from Sharm el Sheikh crashes in Sinai Egypt, 217 people lost their lives.
- Lewis Hamilton wins the formula one world championship.
- China ends its one child policy.

November

In November Klopp steered his side to two important wins in the Europa League group stages over Rubin Kazan and Bordeaux. In the league a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace frustrated the hell out of Jurgen Klopp but a win over Swansea and most importantly a 4-1 win over Manchester City made November a pretty successful month.

Image via telegraph.co.uk
Along with the Chelsea game, that Man City result was for me one of the best moments of the whole season. The match once again put on display Klopp's style of football, even though this wasn't necessarily the team he wanted you could see exactly what he wanted to build and it worked superbly. I will also never forget this game because I was already elated at the fact we were battering City but then Skrtel scored at 81 minutes and won me £40 in the process, I was well happy!

In the news...
- Attacks in Paris France co-ordinated by terrorists led to 130 deaths after a concert hall, restaurants and the Stade de France were targeted.
- World leaders gathered for historic climate talks in Paris.
- A Russian warplane is shot down by Turkey after it allegedly entered Turkish airspace.

December

Over the festive period Liverpool had two cup games. A 0-0 draw with FC Sion secured the already known, that the Reds were through to the next stage of the Europa League. In the League Cup quarter final, Klopp's side lined up against Southampton. I don't think anyone was expecting to win that game 6-1, it was yet another phenomenal result under Jurgen, especially considering at the start of the season we had to rely on penalties to even progress! A hat trick from Divock Origi also highlighted his rise to first team status as the young Belgian captured the hearts of the Anfield faithful.

Image via liverpoolecho.co.uk
In the league the Reds miraculously managed to beat Leicester 1-0, I still don't know how we did that after the stupendous season they ended up having. Wins over Sunderland and Watford were also recorded but Liverpool did lose 2-0 to Newcastle and could only manage a draw against West Brom.

In the news...
- Jimmy Hill - football player, trade union leader, manager, television presenter, assistant referee... passes away aged 87.
- Tim Peake became the first British man to board the international space station.
- The first reusable rocket returns from space orbit.

January

January was another packed month for Liverpool as we entered the FA Cup. The month unfortunately started with yet another loss to West Ham. A 1-0 win over Stoke followed in the league and then a 2-2 draw with Exeter in the third round of the FA Cup signalled a replay. In the safety of Anfield the Reds won the return fixture 3-0.

Back in the league the Reds drew 3-3 with Arsenal which was slightly annoying cause I'd bet on 4-4 at 500/1! We lost again to Manchester United but in perhaps the weirdest game of the whole season beat Norwich 5-4 in an enthralling game for the neutral.

Image via skysports.com
In the League Cup semi final Jurgen Klopp's side lined up against Stoke, in the first leg a 1-0 win for the Reds created a nice boost however a goal from Arnautovic in the second leg levelled the tie. The Reds had to rely on an agonising set of penalties to secure their place in the League Cup final. After just three months, Klopp had already steered his side to a chance of silverware.

To end January the Reds could only manage a 0-0 draw with old foes West Ham in the FA Cup fourth round.

In the news...
- The World Health Organisation announces the outbreak of the Zika virus.
- David Bowie loses a private battle with cancer and passes away aged 69. Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan also pass away in the same month.
- Taiwan elects its first female president.

February

February was an exciting month for Liverpool fans as we all prepared for the League Cup final with Manchester City on the 28th. We had a few league games to get through first though, a Europa League clash and another FA Cup tie with West Ham.

Perhaps predictably, Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup when West Ham recorded their third victory over us this season. I never realised until this season how much I bloody hate the Hammers haha!

In the Europa League, Klopp travelled back to Germany where his side picked up a 0-0 draw. The return leg at Anfield against Augsburg ended in a 1-0 win for the Reds who once again secured their progress.

Image via mirror.co.uk
In the league it was a mixed bag for the Reds, a loss to Leicester was followed by a 2-2 draw with Sunderland but Aston Villa proved to be the perfect remedy on Valentines Day. The struggling Midlands side were battered 6-0 by the Reds and even better for Liverpool fans, it was six different players on the score sheet.

Then came the final. It was a valiant effort from Liverpool who somehow managed to get back into the final on 83 minutes thanks to the magical Coutinho. Fernandinho had scored on 49 minutes and in all honesty it just looked like it was going to be one of those games where the Reds just couldn't break through, the Coutinho strike ensured Klopp's side deserved to continue to fight but the steam had just ran out by the time penalties came around.

Spot kicks are horrible to watch as we all know but Liverpool tend to have a pretty good record, I was convinced we would nick it but it just wasn't to be. Annoyingly, things would turn out far better for the Reds in March!

In the news...
- Famous steam locomotive The Flying Scotsman returned to the rails.
- Syria peace talks are opened mediated by the United Nations.
- The Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl.

March

On the 2nd of March Liverpool once again lined up against Manchester City, this time however we beat them 3-0. Bloody annoying! Why the hell couldn't we have just done that in the final?! Football eh?! It was another great win for the Reds this time with Milner, Firmino and Lallana on the score sheet.

A win over Crystal Palace and a loss to Southampton completed the league fixtures in March but no Kopites were really that bothered by the league at this stage because we had drawn Manchester United in the Europa League.

Image via mirror.co.uk
I could not believe it, I was in University and my brother rang me saying we'd drawn them, my brother being the type of person to just say something like that just to wind me up I didn't actually believe him at first, he couldn't convince me of the truth it was only when I double checked online that it sunk in. This game was MASSIVE. Manchester United may have many digs at Liverpool but one thing they do not have is the upper card on European prowess, we simply had to win this clash, there was no alternative.

The first leg at Anfield couldn't have gone better a straightforward 2-0 win with goals from Sturridge and Firmino. Despite the lead, the Reds knew the game at Old Trafford would be no walk in the park. A slight scare from Martial when he scored on 32 minutes thanks to a penalty was quickly cancelled out thanks to Philippe Coutinho once again on 45 minutes. Liverpool had knocked United out of Europe, just brilliant!

In the news...
- Johan Cruyff the legendary Dutch footballer dies aged 68 in Barcelona, Spain.
- Barack Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
- Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo beats professional Go player Lee Sedol.

April 

By April, the ever decreasing dream of somehow managing to sneak into the top four had all but disintigrated, nobody really cared about anything now other than winning the Europa League however the Reds only went and drew Borussia Dortmund.

Liverpool actually did ok in the league in April, a 1-1 draw with Spurs aided Leicester's title hopes, this was followed by a 4-1 win over Stoke and a huge 4-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Everton were absolutely tragic in that match, it's one of the most one sided Merseyside derbies I've ever seen. A 2-1 win over Bournemouth and a 2-2 draw with Rafa Benitez's Newcastle completed the league results for April.

Image via empireofthekop.com
Back in the Europa League nobody in football really expected Liverpool to get past Dortmund, they were huge in Europe and while there is always a glimmer of hope for the Reds in Europe it somehow felt like the end of the line. A decent 1-1 draw thanks to a goal from that man Origi in Germany set Liverpool up pretty well for a magical night at Anfield but nobody could have predicted the night that was in store.

The Reds were 2-0 down at Anfield after just nine minutes, with two away goals under their belts the Germans had dumbfounded Jurgen Klopp's side. It was horrible to watch but as Liverpool fans we know better than to just give up, we've seen more miraculous things happen in Europe.A goal from Origi on 48 minutes started the wheels in motion but Reus spoiled the party on 57 minutes. Liverpool had been 2-0 down and 3-1 down in a quarter final, for any other team at any other ground that would have been the end of it but this is Liverpool, this is Anfield and this was not over.

Coutinho popped up yet again to save Liverpool when they needed it most on 66 minutes and ten minutes later Mamadou Sakho had somehow managed to find the back of the net. The disbelief sets in, you look around at the other fans in the room and ask yourself "No? Surely not, we're not gonna do this?" you can't quite allow yourself to believe but deep down you know all it takes is a corner, a penalty, a stinging shot from outside the box. There's minutes left, an age in European football, could it happen?!

Yes it could, Dejan Lovren 90+1. An absolute corker of a header sent the Kop end wild, unbelievable, just unbelievable. Somehow Liverpool had done it again.

After all the glory it felt like the Reds were invincible, when we drew Villarreal in the semi final most fans felt confident however the very late 1-0 defeat away from home frustrated the hell out of me. I was unhappy with Klopp's tactical decisions particularly towards the end of the game and I could see them nicking a goal late on however the second leg in May would prove I had nothing to worry about.

In the news...
- Twenty seven years on... JUSTICE FOR THE 96.
- Cesare Maldini, a legend of italian football, one of the best defenders the game has seen dies aged 84 in Milan, Italy.
- The flame for the 2016 Olympic Games was lit in Southern Greece.

May

Let's face it, May was never about the league but once again Liverpool ended the season in a steady fashion a loss to Swansea was a bit of a blip at the start of May but a 2-0 win over Watford and two 1-1 draws with Chelsea and West Brom would finalise the league campaign.

On the 5th May Liverpool lined up for the second leg of their semi final against Villarreal. An own goal on seven minutes settled the nerves for the Reds and Daniel Sturridge and Lallana would find goals later on in the game. I also won £41 thanks to Sturridge first in a 3-0 win and so after all that worry it actually felt like a pretty successful night. The Reds went through their strides with relative ease and they were now ready for anything in the final, at least that's how it felt.

Image via skysports.com
Thousands of Liverpool fans descended on Basel on the 18th May and thousands more travelled to Liverpool, their local pub, wherever they watched it Liverpool fans were in unison, we'd seen heartbreak in the League Cup final but this was our chance, this was going to be Jurgen Klopp's first piece of silverware.

I felt confident going into the game, Sevilla are no mugs but after knocking out Manchester United and Dortmund just to reach this bloody final, we weren't going to go down without a fight surely?! How wrong I was.

Unfortunately despite a glorious opening goal from Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool just absolutely crumbled in the second half. A goal from Sevilla after 17 seconds caught the Reds off guard but for a multitude of reasons the Reds were never going to create a comeback that night. Key players went utterly missing, the final ball just wans't there, arguably some refereeing decisions did not go our way, whatever it was, we lost. It was gutting to see and to be honest I don't think even now I am fully over it, our season depended on that night, the only shining light is that over the season we have seen what Klopp could provide and what he wants to create. Knowing he's at the helm and with the prospect of a busy summer in the transfer window is quite exciting to be fair.

Roll on 2016/2017!

In the news...
- Egypt air flight 804 crashes in the southern Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo, 66 people were on board.
- Leicester City lift the Premier League title.
- Football remembers the 39 tifosi who lost their lives in the Heysel Disaster in 1985.

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Heartbreak In Basel

Emotions haven't quite fully settled yet, I don't think I've fully got rid of all the anger but I am starting to move past it. A summer of top class purchases underneath Jurgen Klopp is enough to get me excited. Last night however cannot be forgotten, the Reds must learn from it and never let it happen again.

Image via theguardian.com
Things started pretty well for Liverpool as the travelling fans were in full voice in Basel. It was a relatively slow start but one that was rewarded in the latter stages of the second half with a beautiful goal from Daniel Sturridge. His outside of the boot effort curled perfectly into the back of the net and Jurgen Klopp's side were finally underway. Sevilla had offered little in the first half and whilst Liverpool weren't exactly dominant, there was no fear there, it felt like we had them on the ropes. Especially after almost bagging a second from a Dejan Lovren header only to see it disallowed for offside thanks to an interfering Daniel Sturridge.

Hand balls and penalty decisions also dominated some of the first half (they would continue into the second) but for me Liverpool cannot dwell on these decisions. Yes it is gutting and some of them were clear as day but when you are 1-0 up in a final and have been continuing to threaten goal in the first half you do not roll over like we did in the second.

Image via theguardian.com
Sevilla came bursting out the blocks and scored after just 17 seconds, a shock to any team, most definitely in a final, but still, Liverpool did not need to panic, it was 1-1 everything was there to play for. Instead, we utterly capitulated, it was horrible to watch. Sevilla bagged a second on 64 minutes after breaking through the defence far too easily and then found a third just six minutes later.

I wasn't that shocked to see us losing to be honest as I knew Sevilla would put on a good show, they've been here before of course, it was the manner in which we fell. Kolo Toure, Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge really are the only players I feel I can praise. Simon Mignolet perhaps slightly after making a couple of important saves. As for the rest of the team? They have no excuse in my opinion.

People sometimes hold back criticism for certain players, I'm guilty of it myself I'm sure and while plenty of criticism (and rightly so) was being aimed at Alberto Moreno, other players were conveniently missed out. I personally feel Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana need to hold their hands up and apologise for Wednesday night's performance. These players aren't just average performers, we've seen them step up in key moments, what they are is extremely inconsistent and they could not be relied upon when Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool needed it most. It may seem harsh but Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana were utterly absent last night and it's just not acceptable for me. I don't think it's wrong to expect more from your key players, Sturridge stepped up when required but where were they?

The final actually made me realise that there are genuinely very few players that I would actually want to keep in a Liverpool shirt for next season. That side is Brendan Rodgers' team, not Klopp's and quite frankly it's a miracle he managed to steer them to two finals in such a short perod of time. I honestly would not be arsed if 90% of our team disappeared over the summer and Klopp did a complete overhaul.

Credit to the lads, it's always difficult in a final with the weight of the entire Liverpool fan base on your shoulders but they themselves will know they should have given more in that second 45 minutes. Unfortunately, for whatever reason they just could not find that next level.

A massive thank you to all my readers this season, it's been a bit up and down here on The Liver Bird as I've struggled to juggle finishing University with blogging so thanks for bearing with me! I can report however that my hard work certainly paid off in one area as I found out late last night that I got a first for my dissertation!

Stay tuned to the blog over the next couple of weeks for a season round up, here's an example from last year and I'll also pop up with some posts over the summer.  Enjoy the break folks, roll on next season!!! - Twitter: @LFCKirstyLFC

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL: Liverpool V Sevilla

As hundreds of Liverpool fans continue their epic journeys across Europe, several thousands more sit at home just waiting for kick off on Wednesday evening. There's some real final fever in the air for Reds all over the world and while rivals will be quick to highlight the fact that it's "only the Europa League" they will have to do way more than that to throw Kopites off the party train.

Jurgen Klopp has already led his side to a final this year but after miraculously pushing Borussia Dortmund to one side and slotting three goals past Sevilla, this time out it feels like the silverware could be ours. I'm a bit of a weirdo to be honest as I actually secretly kind of want us to go 1-0 down, just for the thrill of the comeback. If you could guarantee me that we'd go on to win despite Sevilla scoring first, I'd wish for that all day long.

Whatever happens on Wednesday evening it's set to be an enthralling fixture between two top European clubs.

Image via youtube.com

Form

In their last six games in all competitions Liverpool have won two, drawn two and lost two. Their most recent two games against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea both ended in 1-1 draws.

For Sevilla, in all competitions they have also won two games but they have lost three and drawn just one. Sevilla's two most recent fixtures both ended in a loss as Unai Emery's side lost 3-1 to Athletico Bilbao and 4-1 to Granada.

Route To The Final

It's hard to believe that back in September the Reds were starting their journey to the final of the Europa League. After a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in the group stages I personally didn't expect anything much from the competition. The following game, a 1-1 draw with FC Sion further instilled this feeling. Yet another 1-1 draw followed, this time against Rubin Kazan, if you can't beat teams like that then you have to feel concerned.

On the 5th November, the second fixture against Rubin Kazan gave Liverpool their first win in the competition thanks to a goal from Jordon Ibe. A couple of weeks later another victory, this time over Bordeaux secured progress to the knockout stage of the competition for the Reds no matter what happened in the final game against FC Sion (0-0).

In the round of the last 32 Liverpool lined up against German side Augsburg. A 0-0 draw away from home enabled the Reds to bring the tie back to Anfield where they won 1-0 but only thanks to a James Milner penalty.

Despite somewhat riding their luck to this stage, things got real serious for the Reds when Manchester United came out of the hat in the round of 16. This was huge, Liverpool may have lost some of their glory years of late but one thing they do hold over United is their European prowess. We simply had to win this clash. A 2-0 win at Anfield gave Jurgen Klopp's side a nice boost going into the game at Old Trafford. Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant goal in the away leg knocking United out of the competition.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more exciting in Europe's second tier competition, Liverpool go and draw Klopp's old side Borussia Dortmund. A massive force in European football, this is the stage where many thought Liverpool's luck had run out.

A 1-1 draw in the quarter final in Germany felt like quite a good result to take back to Anfield but Dortmund had other ideas scoring two goals in quick succession at L4. Origi managed to pull a goal back on 48 minutes but Reus quickly cancelled it out. Anfield is notorious for a magical European night and the 12th man certainly pushed Liverpool over the line that night in April. Coutinho bagged a game changing goal just after the hour mark and a 77th minute goal from an unlikely source; Mamadou Sakho left Liverpool needing just one goal to go through to the semi finals. Then, in extra time, up leapt Dejan Lovren with a massive, massive header. You have never seen such scenes at the Kop end, absolutely phenomenal. This was the turning point, we completely obliterated a Borussia Dortmund side when we should have been dead in the water.

The semi final felt like it should be a given, surely the Reds would be victorious, nothing could stop them now? Not after that Dortmund win?

Well, it wasn't as straight forward as planned. The away fixture at Villarreal was very frustrating for me as Klopp tried to keep things tight and refused to increase the levels of attack during the end of the game leaving Villarreal to score late on. With no away goal, the leg at Anfield was very tentative to begin with but Liverpool eventually found their stride and scored three in the process, helping me win £40 on a scorecase bet and most importantly, booking their place in Basel.

Previous Finals

If the Reds can surge to victory on Wednesday it will be their fourth time winning the Europa League (UEFA Cup). A competition that it often ridiculed, most fans will tell you of the excitement it can bring when you do reach a final. The youngsters will recall the enthralling Alaves final while the oldies will tell you about Borussia Monchengladbach and Brugge.

2001 is the only one I can remember, at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Liverpool lined up against the surprise that was Alaves. I was only 12 at the time, massively obsessed with Michael Owen and like many I probably underestimated the opposition. The Spanish side were a force to be reckoned with though, goals from Babbel and Gerrard opened up the scoring but Alaves quickly replied on 26 minutes via Alonso.

Gary McCallister then scored a penalty at 40 minutes to put the Reds 3-1 up but Javi Moreno found two goals in quick succession for the Spaniards. A goal from Robbie Fowler on 72 minutes made it look like the Reds had secured the win but Jordi Cruyff, son of the legendary Johan Cruyff, had other plans and scored on 88 minutes taking the tie to extra time.

In one of the last occasions for the golden goal, heartbreakingly for Alaves it was an own goal from Geli that sealed their fate giving Liverpool their third UEFA Cup.

I've watched and supported Liverpool since I was about 6 or 7 thanks to an older brother who was mad on the Reds and while I never fully understood/appreciated the excitement of winning that 2001 UEFA Cup, I realised European excitement properly for Istanbul. It's these moments that tell me tomorrow is going to be a special night.

Betting

Click the banner in the sidebar and bet £10 to receive £30 free to play with!

Liverpool to win the cup is currently down at 4/6, Liverpool to win the cup after a penalty shootout is priced at 10/1. I don't want it to happen but I actually think the latter could be the outcome, might have a bloody heart attack if it does!

If you really fancy a Liverpool win you can get them on half time and full time at 11/4 currently and 3/1 to win the game whilst keeping a clean sheet.

In terms of first goalscorers Daniel Sturridge is down at 5/1, Divock Origi who could make a shock return is down at 7/1 while James Milner is priced at 12/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! I cannot bloody wait!

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Monday, 16 May 2016

Reds End The Season With A Draw

Liverpool picked up a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns in the final game of their Premier League season. With the league having ended on an average note, Jurgen Klopp will look to take his team to victory in the Europa League final on Wednesday night to secure Liverpool Champions League football next season.

A classy move by West Bromwich Albion was also on show as they installed 96 red seats at The Hawthorns with the names of those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster. #YNWA
Image via mirror.co.uk: A wonderful tribute to the 96 from West Bromwich Albion

Jordon Ibe's Goal

Jordon Ibe netted his first Premier League goal for the Reds on Sunday afternoon and what a goal it was. Running from practically the halfway line the youngster set his sights on goal and with the West Brom defence backing off, worried to make an approach, Jordon kept his command weaving into the box and scoring the equaliser for Liverpool via a fantastic finish.

Ibe has clearly got talent but he's looked a little off the mark lately when he's featured and I honestly feel that it's been down to a lack of game time. It was nice to see him start today and also bag the goal, he thoroughly deserves it.

Danny Ings' Return and Martin Skrtel's Farewell?

Another positive of today was certainly the return of Danny Ings, he didn't get much chance to make an impression but after suffering a horrible injury it was just great to see him back on the pitch in a Liverpool shirt. That sight was something most Reds didn't expect to see this season. I really hope Ings is in Klopp's future plans, I slated him slightly when we signed him as he wasn't an ambitious enough transfer in my opinion but his efforts in the early games under Brendan Rodgers could not be questioned and I look forward to seeing him next season.

On the flip side of things, could we be saying farewell to Martin Skrtel? It seems that way.

Skrtel has suffered a lot of stick in recent seasons and I'm the first to admit that I wear rose tinted glasses when it comes to defenders. I've always loved Skrtel and he's won me a few quid off first/last goalscoring bets over the years, he's also the player I chose to get on the back of my shirt this season. There won't be many sadder to see him go than myself but whatever your thoughts on Martin, you can't knock what he's given to the club over eight years, a phenomenal service.

The League Season

On the whole, it's not been that brilliant has it? Weirdly, you sit there thinking, would the league position have been any worse under Brendan Rodgers had he seen the season out? Probably not. HOWEVER, Jurgen Klopp has injected a real passion into the side, an energy and style of play that clearly sets this team apart from the one Brendan had forged. After reaching the League Cup final and the Europa League final I think I'm willing to accept a slightly dodgy league season under our new German boss and I am massively excited to see what happens in the transfer window and more importantly for next season!

Stay tuned to The Liver Bird for the Sevilla preview on Tuesday!

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Saturday, 14 May 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: West Brom V Liverpool

Well, that's another season almost over for Liverpool and it's been a rather eventful one to say the least. With Brendan Rodgers losing his job after the Merseyside derby in October and quickly being replaced by Jurgen Klopp just a couple of weeks later, it's safe to say that the season has been a transitional one for the Reds. Klopp however has managed to steer his side to two finals and while results in the league haven't been perfect it's clear a bright future lies ahead for Kopites.

Image via mirror.co.uk

Injuries

Amazingly, rumour has it that Danny Ings could be available on Sunday, it would be brilliant to see the forward back in action! There's more good news for the Reds also as both Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi have returned to fitness.

West Brom find themselves in a similarly strong position and have no fresh injuries. James Morrison has also returned after suffering a hamstring injury.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in December last year, the match at Anfield ended 2-2 after an equaliser in the 90th minute from Divock Origi.

Liverpool's last trip to The Hawthorns also ended in a draw, on that occasion neither side found the back of the net. In their last five trips to the Midlands, the Reds have only won on one occasion in the league against the Baggies.

Form

Liverpool are sitting in 8th, the best possible finish for the Reds would be 6th however that achievement would be reliant on several factors such as two other teams losing and goal difference swinging in their favour. Liverpool have lost just two out of their last ten games in the league.

West Brom are 15th in the table and their form has slipped dramatically in recent weeks, the Baggies have won just one game from their last ten in the Premier League.

Stat Sandwich


  • Christian Benteke has scored six goals as a sub in the league this season.
  • West Brom have had the lowest amount of shots on target in the league this season; 106.
  • Milner has created 11 assists in the league this season, the best effort of any English player.

Betting

I'm not sure I'll be betting on the match this weekend as I'm saving my money for the Europa League final haha, but if you fancy a flutter, deposit and spend £10 on one bet with Paddy Power and get £30 free to play with! Just click the image in the sidebar.

I reckon the Reds could play a fringe team who are up for the game and will score a few goals on Sunday so I'd be looking for big scorelines. 3-0 is down at 35/1 while 4-0 is 100/1 ... maybe I will put a quid on something haha!

In terms of goalscorers, it's difficult to guess who may start but looking at some of the defenders for set piece goals you can get Kolo Toure at 50/1 and Moreno at 25/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Final Home Game Ends In A Draw

Liverpool's last game at Anfield this season ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a last minute equaliser from substitute Christian Benteke. A cross from fellow sub Sheyi Ojo created enough danger for keeper Begovic to palm the effort unsuccessfully clear of goal leaving an awaiting Benteke to head home for the Reds.

Image via theguardian.com

Weakened Team?

As often happens, I completely missed Klopp's presser this week and so I was unaware of his plans to field a full strength team until I saw the team sheet earlier this evening. I can see the theory of wanting to play the same side and giving them a run of games to prepare them for the final next Wednesday but I honestly expected to see a weakened team for the last match at Anfield.

I guess I'm just one of those fans that can't get the thought of an horrific injury out of my head, the last thing I wanted was to see was somebody like Daniel Sturridge collapse in a meaningless game against Chelsea. Some may disagree but I seriously did not give a crap about this game, I understand we can still push for 6th but does it really matter? Really??

Time will tell if the decision to field the full team will pay off knowing they face a final on Wednesday but for me, as shown by the Benteke goal, we may as well have played a slightly altered XI with him up top.

Eden Hazard

You cannot deny his goal was superb. He weaved through our defense with absolute ease and the finish wasn't bad either. The thing is, he's a bit of an arsehole isn't he? I can't like a player that earlier on in the season decided himself that he'd had enough of playing and took himself down the tunnel after an "injury". Is he a toddler or what? Winning a battle of stubbornness against Jose Mourinho is some feat in my book.

It's a shame because on his day Eden Hazard is amazing to watch, it will be interesting to see how Conte deals with the Belgian because from what I know about the Italian manager, he doesn't take any messing about. I wouldn't be surprised if Hazard was moved on despite his indubitable talent.

The Benteke Factor

Christian Benteke, he's a weird one isn't he? Through no fault of his own he's had to hover around on the bench a lot this season and once again I find myself feeling very sorry for him. I still stand by the fact that we shouldn't have bought him because he doesn't fit the system and as proved tonight before Ojo came on, even when he does enter play we don't increase our efforts to cross the ball, he's just sort of left wandering about. Yet, somehow, he always finds something, a last minute header from a poorly dealt with cross, he's there, Christian Benteke, right place, right time.

I always find myself grinning massively when he scores because I just feel like he deserves it, it's not his fault that he's in this situation and you have to give him credit, he makes the most of it. Whatever happens at the end of the season, if he does leave I hope he goes somewhere like West Ham so we can fully enjoy watchingthe real benefits of a player like him.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Chelsea

I HAVE FINISHED UNIVERSITY! You probably don't care but hey, at least now I can get back on track with the blog eh? First up in my renewed sense of organisation is the Chelsea match preview. The Reds welcome Hiddink's side to Anfield on Wednesday evening and to be honest I fully expect to see an extremely weakened side fielded by Jurgen Klopp. The manager will have everything focused on our Europa League final next week and as nice as it would be to beat Chelsea, I don't think anyone is really that bothered at the moment.

Image via mirror.co.uk

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon the likes of Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi however it is unlikely Jurgen Klopp will be worrying too much about the injury situation as he will probably look to field fringe players.

For Chelsea, manager Guus Hiddink has a strong side to choose from with just Rodriguez, Remy and Zouma unavailable.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. Philippe Coutinho scored a brace in that game which ended in a 3-1 win for Liverpool. Chelsea's last visit to Anfield in May 2015 ended in a 1-1 draw it was stalwarts John Terry and Steven Gerrard on the score sheet that day.

The last five meetings between the two sides in the league haven't ended well for the Reds who have only picked up one victory during that time compared to Chelsea's three wins.

Form

Liverpool have won three out of their last six games in all competitions, their most recent win came this weekend after beating Watford 2-0 thanks to goals from Joe Allen and Roberto Firmino. Chelsea, who are not playing in any other competitions have won two of their last six games but the Londoners have also lost three matches, most recently losing this weekend at the hands of Sunderland.

Betting

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I can't see this game being very exciting to be honest and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended 0-0 or 1-1. You can get odds on draws for: 12/1 - 0-0, 13/2 - 1-1, 11/1 - 2-2.

For first goalscorers it will probably be best to wait for the team sheet but on the assumption that some fringe players will feature how about Ojo at 8/1, Chirivella at 33/1 or Ibe at 12/1?

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Villarreal

Folks I am so sorry for the sporadic posts lately, I'm very close to finishing University so it should all be back to normal soon. The good news is I've managed to find some free time to get a preview done for this massive tie with Villarreal. I am super excited for the game but also hugely nervous, if he doesn't start Daniel Sturridge I might actually lose it!

Image via: liverpoolfc.com

Injuries

A fitness update on Emre Can came through earlier in the week and somehow it seems like he may be available for the game against Villarreal. Jurgen Klopp will not be able to select Divock Origi or Jordan Henderson though who both remain out. For Villarreal, they are unable to call upon Leo Baptistao and Eric Bailly.

Last Meeting

The last match between the two sides in Spain last week ended in heartbreak for Liverpool after a last minute goal from Adrian. The Reds had set up tactically, looking to stem the flow of Villarreal and while it was risky it almost worked perfectly. The downside of course is that Villarreal now have the upper hand, 1-0 is not disastrous, especially not at Anfield but things could get very tentative if the away side manage to find an early goal on Thursday evening.

Form

Liverpool have won six out of their last ten games in the Premier League, however they did fall to defeat at the hands of Swansea this weekend, perhaps explained by the weakened team fielded by Klopp. The Reds have scored 13 goals in their last five fixtures in the league.

Villarreal have won just three out of their last ten games in the league. Their most recent victory came against Valencia where Marcelino's side scored two goals away from home.

Betting

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Odds on Liverpool half time and full time are currently 8/5 while the straight win for the Reds is priced at 8/11.

In terms of first goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is down at 7/2 while Coutinho is priced at 13/2.

If you fancy Liverpool to get a big win Thursday night you can get odds of 13/1 for a 3-0 win and 35/1 for 4-0.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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