The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Report: Liverpool 5 Swansea 0

Liverpool put five past Swansea at Anfield on Boxing Day and regained 4th place in the league from Spurs in the process. It was an emphatic win for the Reds but it is important to remember that Swansea were not exactly the strongest of opposition. The Welsh side are still languishing at the bottom of the league after this fixture and look in serious trouble. 

Trent Alexander Arnold
Image via skysports.com
Nevertheless, Liverpool did score five without conceding, a feat to be applauded as we head into the final game of 2018 against Leicester. Captain Philippe Coutinho opened up the scoring with a typical long-range effort sweetly slotted into the top corner. 

I was chatting on Twitter prior to kick-off about Coutinho, I hope to god that we keep hold of him but I can't shake the feeling that he will be off in January. Whatever happens, you cannot deny that he still puts his all into every game for the club.

The Reds had plenty of further chances in the first half and really should have extended their lead but they would not find the back of the net again until the second half. At this stage, Swansea were holding decent amounts of possession and had a solid chance of their own to equalise, the second half though would prove a step too far for the visitors and things began to crumble.

Roberto Firmino found Liverpool's second just seven minutes into the final 45. It was the following goal though that grabbed my attention, youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold had found himself high up the pitch, a botched clearance brought the ball into his path and a stinging effort saw his shot smash off the bar and into the back of the net. His celebration said it all, he was elated. This man for sure is set to be a real Kop hero.

Trent double A and Andy Robertson had a fantastic game, while questions still remain over the defence as a whole, these two are superb going forward and helping to create attacks. It's superb to watch.

The fourth goal was massively down to that man Mo Salah but being the unselfish person that he is, he squared to team-mate Firmino who scored his second of the night with ease. Salah needs real praise here because on at least three or four occasions during this match alone he'd been left in the lurch when really the likes of Lallana or Can or even Firmino should have passed. When the shoe is on the other foot, the Egyptian is always looking for that pass, unselfish yet still on 15 goals, phenomenal.

The fifth and final goal of the night came from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade was always going to have questions asked about his performance, mainly due to his price tag but I feel on the whole he's doing well. As Klopp recently highlighted, if he could bring more goals into his game then it would be perfect, he was helped on the way to that target by scoring against The Swans. 

Next up for the Reds is Leicester at Anfield, the Foxes have pulled out some good results of late but also look vulnerable this season. On the back of such a strong win, let's hope Klopp's side can pick up another three points ready for the New Year.

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Reds Throw Away 2-0 Lead At The Emirates

For fifty minutes on Friday night, Liverpool had fooled their fans into thinking it would be a walk in the park at the Emirates. Two-nil up after goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah, the Reds looked dominate against an Arsenal side lacking in ideas but after a spell of just five minutes, Klopp's side had lost their lead.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3
Image via The Guardian
A headed goal from Alexis Sanchez opened up the period of utter madness, this was followed by a shot from Xhaka and two minutes later Ozil put the Gunners ahead. Thankfully for Liverpool, Firmino found an equaliser just after 70 minutes but the Reds should never have put themselves in that situation and they have no real excuse.

An early forced substitution saw James Milner replace Jordan Henderson, in reality, that should have affected the balance of the Liverpool side but Milner performed well and was involved in some of the chances.

Coutinho's goal was a rare effort using his head but it was Mo Salah's goal that really lit up the night. A timely pass from Roberto Firmino saw Salah set out towards Cech, with three Arsenal defenders encroaching, the Egyptian never lost his cool and slotted home with a minor deflection.

The elation on the faces of the travelling Kop was soon replaced with confusion. From absolutely nowhere (and I mean nowhere, Arsenal had barely threatened the whole game) at the other end of the pitch, the Gunners capitalised on a lapse in concentration and netted their first of three. 

Three minutes later, Xhaka took a chance with a strike from 25 yards, Mignolet looked as though he had it covered but the Belgian flapped just one hand at the effort and watched it trickle in. 

Two minutes after that Arsenal scored their third, Ozil found the net and put Wenger's side into the lead. It was just phenomenal, the Gunners had found something extra and Liverpool were left shellshocked. 

Firmino's goal secured a point for the Reds but the game once again highlighted Liverpool's incapability of holding on to a lead. 

Post-match James Milner said in an interview that he believed Liverpool should play more boring football. Hilarious as it is, fitting perfectly with his parody Twitter account, the fact is that he's spot on. Sides who securely hold on to a lead do it by playing more intelligently, slowing the pace and passing the ball more. You won't hold on to a win against a side like Arsenal continuing to play with all guns blazing.

It's a weird one because prior to kick off, once again you would probably take a draw but as with the Chelsea game, Liverpool deserved to win, they just couldn't see it out.

It's a problem that's difficult to solve but I think we now need to seriously look at some key positions in the team including the goalkeeper. Without improving the reliability at the back, the Reds are never going to be serious contenders, even with a stunning strike force.

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Festive Fixture At The Emirates

The Liver Bird is back! Where've I been? Well, to be honest, I don't really have a good excuse, other than being mega busy and struggling to balance my job with blogging at the moment but I'm determined to keep doing what I love; writing about Liverpool FC!

The Ox Liverpool
Image via Liverpool Echo
So we're here, as I write this it's the day before the match and the day before I break up for a whole week of general merriness. I'm looking forward to the forthcoming fixture pile-up and genuinely think we will get the better of Wenger's side in London. 

Arsenal are currently sat 5th in the table, just behind the Reds in 4th. The Gunners have 33 points to Liverpool's 34 and would leapfrog Klopp's side with a win. 

Injuries mean Liverpool are unable to call upon Alberto Moreno and Joel Matip while Daniel Sturridge is also struggling with fitness. For Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is out. Klopp, however, does have one positive, welcoming Emre Can back from suspension.

The last time the two sides met was actually this year, the Reds put four past Arsenal at Anfield with Mane, Firmino, Salah and Sturridge all on the score sheet in August. In Liverpool's last five visits to the Emirates in the league, they have only picked up one win. 

Arsenal is obviously a tough place to go but having watched them play this season I'm just not sure they are set up to deal with our attack at its best. We saw in the reverse fixture how dangerous our forwards could be and I don't think the protection of the Emirates is going to be enough to prevent the likes of Salah, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino etc from finding the net.

Liverpool enter this game on the back of a 4-0 victory against Bournemouth, spirits are high after gaining a good draw in the Champions League and despite the stick given to the defence (which I still stand by), things are actually looking relatively solid at the moment.

Arsenal play extremely openly and that suits the Reds to a T, Wenger isn't going to pull a Mourinho and block the pitch, strangle the game and try to find a late goal. He loves to deploy his flair players which in turn leaves gaps for our own starlets to exploit.

I reckon this will either be a high scoring draw or a big Liverpool win, either way, it should make for a quality Friday night fixture! It will be interesting to see if Oxlade-Chamberlain gets a start, particularly after he put in a good performance at the weekend! Come back to The Liver Bird on the weekend for my thoughts on the game.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Five Things We Learned From Spartak Seven

1 Attack is the best form of defence?

To think I was actually nervous before kick off? After watching us crumble against Sevilla even at half time after three goals went in, I still felt nervous. The Reds though proved that sometimes attack is the best form of defence and boy do we have some attack. 

Some of the link up play between the forwards was stunning let alone the actual goals. It's fair to say that Spartak offered little in attack but why would they when they've had the stuffing knocked out of them?

The confident win puts Liverpool safely into the last 16 and bodes well for our match against Everton at the weekend. 

Image via skysports.com

2 Coutinho will be missed

A hat-trick for the Brazilian, although his final effort was helped along the way. Earlier this season the folk on Twitter were going mental at Couts, some of them even begging for him to be left to rot on the bench. 

I understood the anger and frustration but you can't leave this man on the bench, he truly is a magician. I just hope he stays the full season instead of going in January. A good tie in the last 16 may convince him???

3 Mane keeping some of the limelight

The limelight has been on Mo Salah for the majority of the season and rightly so but Mane last night proved why attention should be focused on himself too. 

There's a reason I got Sadio on the back of my shirt, because he was destined to have a quality season. His first goal was just superb, can somebody please find me a still of him in the air? I would very much like to frame it haha. 

4 Moreno injury?

I spotted Moreno down but was in the midst of heavily swilling a JD & Coke at the  time and didn't fully see what happened? Next thing I know he's looking very tearful leaving the pitch?

I don't think those tears were due to injury, they looked like they came from frustration. I might not be Moreno's biggest fan at the moment but it is vividly clear that he wants to give his all and try his best for the club. Fingers crossed it's not a bad injury.

5 Big Mo

Well what can you say? He was never not going to score last night. Watching six goals go in he was like "Na I can't be doing with this." 

One thing about Mo too is that he's unselfish, he's constantly looking for the best pass or back heel, in this case, the skilful little minx. I cannot wait to see him score a hat trick against Big Sam's Everton haha! 

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