The Liver Bird  

Friday, 30 December 2016

LFC NYE

I don't know about you but I am massively excited for tomorrow's match. Any clash with City is an important one these days but on Saturday evening Liverpool need all three points in order to keep the pressure on Chelsea and distance themselves from Pep Guardiola's side.

Image via theguardian.com
The Reds go into this game having won three out of their last five games in the league. Sitting in second on 40 points, Klopp's side are just one point ahead of City in third. Pep's team have also won three out of their last five games but they have also lost twice during that time.

Injuries for Liverpool mean unfortunately Philippe Coutinho will not be fit for the match. The Brazilian has been photographed in training this week sparking rumours he may feature but Klopp has firmly put those to bed. Matip also remains unavailable so me and my mate Reece are seriously hoping the big man Klavan keeps his place in defence because after his performance against Everton we decided we'd put a fiver on him to score first and a fiver on him to score last at 50/1 on New Year's Eve haha!

Annoyingly, Sergio Aguero returns for Man City after completing his suspension and John Stones may also be newly available for the visitors. Vincent Kompany remains unfit along with Leroy Sane.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. Liverpool put three goals past City gaining revenge after losing to them just a week earlier in the Capital One Cup final. Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet in March, names you would expect to be heavily involved again on Saturday night.

The Reds have won three out of their last five meetings with City at Anfield. In all five games there has been a minimum of three goals with two of the fixtures ending in a 2-2 draw. I fully expect it to be a high scoring game tomorrow and when I place a few more bets I can definitely see me putting a few quid on a 3-2 win for Liverpool. I also fancy Origi to find the back of the net, keep an eye on my Twitter to see where my money goes.

Whatever the result tomorrow it's sure to be an exciting game, Jurgen Klopp sums it up rather well I think:

"The advantage is that it's at Anfield. We must try to use this. It will be really difficult for both teams. I'm really looking forward to it. We love playing against the best."
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Five Talking Points From The Derby Win

Well, if you're gonna win a Merseyside Derby you may as well break some hearts and do it in extra time! What a massive result that was for Liverpool on Monday night. Conte, we're coming.

1) The Estonian 

At 31 years of age the defender was signed by Klopp as some extra cover but if you've ever watched a performance from a man demanding a place in the side, last night was one of them.

Klavan had an absolute stormer. Every aerial ball defended, every challenge in the box nailed, distribution, positioning, timing. You name it, he bossed it. Without a glimmer of doubt Klavan was most definitely the man of he match.

2) Sturridge

I've said this many times on the blog; I often get frustrated at Klopp in games that are 0-0 when he refuses to chuck on Sturridge. For me if your initial tactical set up hasn't broken the opposition down within 70 minutes, chances are it's not going to happen so why not pull out the ace up your sleeve.

Sturridge soon found space in extra time to have a pop at goal and we all know what happened next! I honestly still feel he has a role in the side but can't shake the feeling he'll be off in January. 

Image via theguardian.com
3) Mane goal

What a way to win the Merseyside Derby, dramatic but assured you have to admit it wasn't a coincidence that Mane was on the end of that deflected Sturridge effort. 

His work rate in any game shows he'll never give up and chase down every ball. His instinct and pace are what threw him to victory on Monday night, what a man. The celebrations with Klopp at the end were brilliant to see and when you have a manager like that, so pleased with your performance it's difficult not to repay him with goals.

4) Barkley tackle

How on Earth was this man still on the pitch? After a few handbags early in the game, something Liverpool were also guilty of, Barkley just never seemed to settle in. He was hell bent on trying to prove he had the Merseyside hard man title but it resulted in an absolutely shocking challenge on Jordan Henderson.

I honestly don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I'm surprised Henderson even stood up. It was a terrible, terrible challenge and should have been a straight red.

5) Migs 

Last but not least it's that man Mignolet. He didn't have massive amounts to do on Monday night but when called into action he was composed. The main thing for me is that now after collecting two clean sheets, one from the Merseyside Derby, he should go on to the next fixture with even more confidence and hopefully we can continue to improve defensively from there. 

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Sunday, 18 December 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Everton V Liverpool

There's nothing like a festive Monday night fixture against Everton to get you in the Christmas spirit is there? After a solid win over Boro the Reds will feel more confident going in to this game but the Toffees won't have forgotten Liverpool's recent slip ups against Bournemouth and West Ham.


Both managers have some big decisions to make in terms of their line ups, namely the goalkeeping issue for Jurgen Klopp who opted for Simon Mignolet against Boro. Everton are unable to call upon Jagielka who is suspended and both Bolasie and Besic are out long term. For Liverpool, Can and Matip remain doubts while Coutinho and Sturridge also remain out of action.

This is the 227th Merseyside Derby and Everton have failed to pick up a victory in the last 12 meetings. The last time the two sides met was in April this year, an emphatic win for the Reds saw goals from Origi, Sakho, Sturridge and Coutinho.

The last fixture at Goodison was a bit more subdued as the game ended 1-1 with many frustrated at the lack of excitement during the game. To find the last time the sides met for a December fixture we have to go all the way back to 2005. The match at Goodison ended 1-3 with Peter Crouch, Steven Gerrard and Djibril Cisse on the score sheet. You may also remember that both Phil Neville and Mikel Arteta were sent off in the game.

Our top scorer Mane on seven goals is beaten by Lukaku who is currently on nine goals however you have to feel that with the additional firepower around Mane, Liverpool should be able to collect all three points on Monday evening. I definitely fancy Divock Origi to find the back of the net, he has been on top form of late and the more he continues to score the more I begin to wonder whether Jurgen Klopp is going to hold on to Daniel Sturridge in the new year.

It is bound to be a difficult fixture on Monday, when is it not against Everton but after picking up that important win over Boro I feel like the Reds are back on track and will want to continue their run with a solid performance against Koeman's side. At the time of writing Everton are currently 8th in the table while Liverpool are sitting pretty in second knowing a win is vital to close the gap on Antonio Conte's Chelsea side.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 12 December 2016

The Case of Karius

So unless you've been living under a rock these past few days you will have noticed the waves of criticism coming from all angles for Loris Karius. Including hilariously from the Neville brothers but Klopp shut them down so it's all good. 

I think we can all agree after looking back at recent matches. Particularly the Bournemouth game, Karius cannot escape some of the criticism. I don't think anybody is willing to make excuses however is it the right level of criticism or is this pundits and fans alike picking on an easy target? 


PROS

1. Youth

At 23 years old Karius is one of the youngest goalkeepers in the league. While a young goalkeeper can often be described as inexperienced and rightly so, is it not also true to say that at this young age he is still able to adapt and learn from his mistakes more quickly?

2. Confidence

Not so much when he's coming out for corners at the moment but more so in response to the situation he is in. His put down to Gary Neville the other day was absolutely hilarious and it proves that he himself is convinced he can do this. It may not be working out right now for him but his determination will hopefully see him through. 

3. Mainz 

Whatever we have seen so far this season, I'm sorry but you don't just make somebody the youngest ever goalkeeper to play in the Bundesliga for a laugh. The league is tough and Karius showed he could work well within a side attempting to fend off strong German attacks. In the 15/16 season he was ranked only behind Manuel Neuer. Can he change his fortunes and do a similar thing with Liverpool? Who knows but the fact he has that on his record must stand for something. 

CONS

1. Confidence

A positive when discussing his personal confidence and ability to deal with criticism but his confidence during a game appears non-existent. 

There is nothing worse than a goalkeeper that makes you nervous. At least if they have conviction in their decision you feel as though they know what they were doing and it was just a bad decision.

With Karius at the moment especially from some set pieces I'm not even sure he knows what he's doing. First he's out then he's back in and his punches are often worrisome it's horrible because I genuinely feel like this may just be a bad patch for him, one he can recoup from but how long can we put up with a performance between the sticks like the one on show against Bournemouth? 

2. Points dropped

As a goalkeeper you can never win they say, you're never praised for doing something right, only lambasted for doing something wrong. A big part of that is because goalkeepers are more often than not the difference between a win and a draw, a draw and a loss. If we're being super critical Karius has potentially caused us to drop five points in the space of a week. 

3. Is he better than Mignolet?

I'm sorry to say this but I just don't think he is, whether he can be in the future is a different story but for the time being I would feel more comfortable with Mignolet in. Migs was having a decent spell before Klopp dropped him and he himself is by no means perfect but he's a stronger contender for me at the moment. 

The only question of course is if Migs was brought back into the fold, would he bounce back to his previous form after being dropped? It could all just end in yet another disaster. 

Who do you think Klopp will start against Boro?

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