The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Kop Art

So the folks over at Art of Football were kind enough to send me a couple of prints to review and I'm chuffed to pieces with what came through the post last week.

Everybody has one of those moments in football that they will never forget and for many a Liverpool fan from a certain era, that moment came on a May evening in 2005. The Champions League in Istanbul is by far the most iconic moment of my time so far as a Liverpool fan, we've had our moments in other cups and there's even been a title run under Brendan Rodgers but nothing comes close to the victory that Rafa Benitez miraculously steered his side to in Europe.

These prints capture the excitement and the nerves of that night with great simplicity. 





The prints come beautifully presented, are reasonably priced and would make a wonderful gift for any football fan in your life. I'm already considering getting the fella one of his idol Steve Bull haha.

Need to get myself some nice frames ordered and these two prints are coming with me when we finally move house, going pride of place in the office/blogging space I reckon!

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Monday, 23 October 2017

Defensive Frailties

Liverpool lost 4-1 to Spurs at Wembley on Sunday afternoon thanks to a frankly pathetic defensive display. A single goal from Mo Salah fooled us all into thinking there may be a glimmer of hope but the Spurs attack was far too strong and the Liverpool defence far too weak. 

Liverpool defence
Image via football365.com
Seriously, it's reached a point where I have actually given up on the back four for a variety of reasons:

Firstly I think Clyne walks straight back into that defence and to be honest adds a whole lot of security. Secondly, some may have changed their minds once again about Moreno but I certainly have not, he's no defender and why buy Robertson if you aren't gonna play him?

Granted Moreno has some sting on the attack but I challenge anybody to suggest that Robertson's crosses are any worse?

Then we have the centre-backs and the goalkeeper. Well, where's the soddin leadership that's what I say? Where's the Carra role screaming yer head off for 90 minutes and making sure everyone isn't straying from position? It doesn't exist. I honestly don't think Matip and Lovren are on the same wavelength and clearly, communication is an issue including the keeper because Matip should not have headed that shot yesterday, leave it for the keeper ffs!

Lovren is an ok defender and that's it, he's never going to be a world beater but he could at least be consistent? Relying on the offside trap to save him for the first goal, pausing his run to glance at the linesman was bad enough but then following that by being halfway up the pitch and missing a key challenge whilst one on one with Harry Kane? Unforgivable. 

It's Kane for god's sake even Klopp noted prior to kick off that he's one of the best strikers going right now, you'd of thought that message would have filtered through to the lads but apparently not. 

It seriously does my head in and I think there's a long way to go before we solve this problem. Chucking somebody like Virgil van Dijk in there would obviously help but don't think for a second it's the answer to all our prayers!

Fair enough Spurs were always going to be especially strong on the attack but Liverpool have experienced the same issues against far weaker teams and it's just not good enough. Something needs to be done to address this in the January window because if no efforts are made the fan base is going to start losing its patience. 

I don't know who made the final decision when it was clear van Dijk was a non-starter but it was suicidal to not find an alternative in that window. On top of that you still find yourself questioning what life may be like with Mamadou Sakho to call upon, I can't say I was his biggest fan but I think I would prefer him alongside Matip at the moment.

Finishing in the top four looks so far off and even if we did purchase well in the window these defensive frailties are so deeply cut into the side at the moment that I don't think the gremlins will go away until we have organised a more rigorous training regime and really drummed home the communication and positioning. It's just shocking.

I'm usually one of those fans trying to cling on to a positive but that result on Sunday put too many of our faults on display. Klopp certainly has a challenge on his hands in the run-up to Christmas.

Next up for the Reds is Huddersfield at Anfield. 

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What are your thoughts on the defensive situation at the moment? What's the answer? - Tweet me.

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Saturday, 21 October 2017

League Game At Wembley

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side travel to Wembley on Sunday for a league match against Spurs. It's a weird sensation knowing your side is going to Wembley but not to battle for some silverware. Positively for the Reds though, Spurs' new home doesn't appear to be doing them many favours at the moment.

Image via skysports.com
Injury news means Spurs are unable to call upon Dembele, Lamela and Wanyama but Dele Alli is once again available after serving a suspension. For Liverpool, Klopp has noted that Jordan Henderson will return to the side after not featuring during the Champions League tie against Maribor. The Reds however are still without Lallana, Mane and Clyne.

The last time the two sides met was in February this year. Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield thanks to a Sadio Mane brace. In the last six fixtures in the league between the two sides, the Reds have picked up three wins and the remaining results have all been draws.

Spurs come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League while Liverpool enter the game having recently beaten Maribor 7-0. Both sides are bound to be full of confidence and so the apparent negative Wembley factor could come into play for this one.

More importantly, though, Liverpool's defence will, as usual, be a strong factor in the result. Spurs have some quality in their attack, Jurgen Klopp himself said this week that Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world so clearly the Reds will need to be solid at the back.

On the flip side, Liverpool have their own sting in their attack and it could turn out to be a game with several goals this one. 

Stat Sandwich

  • Wembley could become the 53rd stadium where the Reds have won a league game.
  • Tottenham have kept four clean sheets in their last five games in the league.
  • Coutinho has scored four goals in his last five games for Liverpool in all competitions.
I have a good feeling about this game and will be punting for a 3-1 Liverpool win. The Reds massively need to turn their fortunes around and start picking up some results and creating some consistency. What better way to do that then by using the positive result in Slovenia and bouncing back in the league with a strong victory over Tottenham?

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!


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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mourinho Bags A Draw At Anfield

Jose Mourinho put on his now standard display of 19th-century football at Anfield on Saturday to shut up shop and take a draw from Liverpool. 

It's infuriating because he's played his tactics perfectly and if he was your manager you'd be praising the way he had decided to manage the game, even if that does mean parking the bus. He's not our manager though and he's also not the manager of soddin Crystal Palace or Bournemouth so, in my book, the fact he brings his United side to Anfield and plays for a 0-0 draw is embarrassing.

Image via theguardian.com
The Reds were all over United on Saturday and bar a shot from Lukaku (who touched the ball about three times), Mourinho's side literally did sack all. It was a pathetic performance from an apparent might of the league but we all know that it's these kinds of frustrating performances that make Mourinho a league winner.

Klopp was extremely unlucky not to see his side find the back of the net, especially when David De Gea somehow managed to get a foot to Joel Matip's effort. On another day that would have been in the back of the net and Liverpool would have been on the ascendancy. 

Liverpool did all that they could in terms of possession and attack, Salah perhaps being one of the highlights on that front but they just could not find the back of the net. This has been happening for several weeks now too so it's not a new issue for the Reds but on Saturday it felt like we would overcome the barrier but it wasn't to be.

Let's not forget that this is the first clean sheet in eight matches for Liverpool and prior to kick off, most would have probably taken the draw. We played far better than I expected and overall I don't think the Reds have anything to be ashamed about on the back of that performance. 

It's onwards and upwards to Maribor next week in the Champions League where the Reds definitely do need to get their hands on all three points. 

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Match Preview: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's the big one on Saturday (well, the big one if you're a wool like me from the Midlands). Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield this weekend and since at least Monday this week I've felt the venom bubbling.

Since I was a kid this has always been the match I most look forward to in a Premier League season, there is no team I enjoy beating more than Manchester United. In recent years my confidence in this fixture has been high but despite the social media front, I'm not feeling as positive this time out.


Image via espn.com
Shared snaps of Torres leaving Vidic for dead or Gerrard netting a peno may give the impression that I think the Reds can nail this one but I have to admit, I'm not so sure. Liverpool have struggled all season with a shoddy defence and facing a Jose Mourinho side who aren't afraid to simply fling the ball to Lukaku could spell disaster for Jurgen Klopp.

Add to this the fact that Liverpool are now without the influential Sadio Mane and you have a bit of a dilemma. 

Manchester United also have some injury worries to contend with as Fellaini is out with a knee injury and the game comes too early for Paul Pogba who has returned to training.

The stats aren't in Liverpool's favour either, the Reds have failed to win any of their last six league games against United. The last time the two sides met was in January this year, James Milner put the Reds in front from the penalty spot but Ibrahimovic equalised with five minutes to go.

The last three matches at Anfield have ended in a 0-0 draw, a 2-0 Liverpool win and a 1-0 United win. The 2-0 victory came for Jurgen Klopp's side in the Europa League.

In terms of current form, United have won four out of their last five league games, drawing the remaining match. Liverpool, on the other hand, have won just two games in that period, drawing twice and losing once.

Despite all the negatives, this is the kind of game where everything gets thrown out the window. You never know what Liverpool side will show up and if we can nab an early goal and put the pressure on from the off, Mourinho will have to re-think his game plan. 

For me, that's the only way forward in this game, biding your time and being safe plays directly into Mourinho's hands. If Liverpool want a win on Saturday they're going to have to fight from the whistle.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 2 October 2017

Match Report: Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1

It was another frustrating afternoon for Liverpool on Sunday after reaching a stalemate with ex-manager Rafael Benitez. Of all the managers in the league, the Spaniard knows how to tactically kill a game but the Reds still managed to create chances, just failed to convert. Again. 

Image via skysports.com
For me, it was the correct decision to try Daniel Sturridge in place of Roberto Firmino and while Sturridge definitely should have found the back of the net, I still feel as though he added more of a threat than Firmino has done of late. 

Philippe Coutinho yet again proved his worth with a stunning strike on 29 minutes. It's dangerous to give any player space in that area but even more so when it's the Brazilian, that was prime Coutinho territory and he made them suffer. 

Just seven minutes later though and Liverpool were back to their familiar ways, Joselu left Lovren and Matip for dead, or so it seemed. Matip was unlucky not to see his last-ditch tackle come off and Newcastle managed to get the equaliser. 

It's not even like the Reds are playing badly in these fixtures, the problem is how do we solve the issues? Granted we need to improve the defence, we knew that in the summer and we know it now but what about the attack? This was supposed to be the dream season with reams of talented stars pushing forward but somewhere there appears to be a missing link. 

Some of Twitter argue Jordan Henderson should be dropped, others will have you believe we need an out and out striker. I personally am not quite sure what the answer is, all I know is that if we don't sort it quickly we'll be finishing way out of the top four. 

With an international break up next followed by a massive fixture against Manchester United, I can't decide whether the pause will be beneficial or not for the Reds. 

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