The Liver Bird  

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mané Spreads The Love In Portugal

Liverpool won their first Champions League knockout match for nine years on Wednesday evening as Sadio Mané led the way on Valentine's Day.

Image via The Telegraph
Husbands, wives, partners and more were left with the difficult choice of ditching a nice meal to watch the footy on Wednesday but the lads certainly made sure the risk paid off supplying a 5-0 for the onlooking Kopites. 
Mané grabbed the first goal of the night when a powerful effort was poorly dealt with by the Porto keeper. 

Salah followed four minutes later with an audaciously confident effort. The composure from the Egyptian in order to lift and head the ball away from the keeper before finishing was just phenomenal. He's an absolute god. 

Porto failed to look convincing on their home turf with just a few minor examples on show of their known capability. Sometimes teams just struggle to deal with the constant attack from the Reds and this was certainly the case on Wednesday evening. 

At 53 minutes, Mané had scored again, this time goalkeeper Sa failed to deal with a Firmino effort and the ball splayed out to Sadio, he was never missing this chance and found the back of the net for his second of the night. 

Firmino then ensured he too got on the scoresheet turning home James Milner's cross with 20 minutes to go. 

At 4-0 up, Liverpool could have just calmed it down but seriously, try and name one game under Jurgen Klopp when you've seen us stop attacking? Obviously not content with the four we pushed for the fifth and boy did it come. 

A stunning strike from Mané with just five minutes left of the game made him only the second player ever in Anfield folklore to have scored a hat-trick away from home in Europe. Sublime. 

Away from the lads in attack I also feel Gini Wijnaldum deserves a mention, he had a cracking game in my opinion. The 5-0 victory for the Reds means they can relax a bit more for the return tie at L4, which is a stroke of luck because we also have Manchester United on that following weekend.

And finally, is anyone else falling a little bit in love with James Milner? ... 

Happy Valentines Reds! OHHHHH MANÉ MANÉ! 

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Monday, 5 February 2018

REPORT: Liverpool 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Well, it's never a dull occasion is it when Liverpool play one of the big teams? The match against Spurs at Anfield on Sunday was certainly full of goals as most expected but the result was somewhat tinged by some very questionable referring/lino decisions. 

Mo Salah goal
Image via express.co.uk
I'm not one to dwell on decisions usually but the linesman had a massive effect on the game on Sunday and after watching various replays, listening to various viewpoints and reading what you guys had to say on social media, I think most will agree that we were robbed of the win. 

The Reds opened up the scoring after just three minutes thanks to a pouncing Mo Salah. For a while in the first half, it looked as though Klopp's side were in control but things quickly began to turn in Spurs' favour as the pressure from the visitors began to mount. 

Liverpool, on the whole, dealt well with this pressure. Karius, in particular, should get a mention, I'm not his biggest fan but he pulled off some strong saves on Sunday. However, his decision to punch clear at 80 minutes would prove fatal. 

Wanyama who had only just entered play found Karius' attempted clearance and scored an absolute belter, smashing his effort into the top left-hand corner. It was a wonderful goal but I don't think we can be too harsh on Karius, on another day that ball would not have found its way to the sweet foot of Wanyama. 

Then came the drama. 

Spurs were awarded a penalty after the referee and linesman had a long old chat about the offside rule. Now I'm no expert, nowhere near it but if you've called Kane offside, it's irrelevant whether Lovren then goes on to touch the ball or not, your call has been made. As a linesman you don't hang around thinking oh wait a minute I won't call here, I'll let the ball hang in the air for a bit in case one of the opposition players gets a touch. 

Kane is behind Lovren, Lovren can't see him, of course he's going to interfere. It was just a ridiculous decision. On top of that, I'm not even sure it was a penalty. Thankfully none of this really mattered because Kane's spot kick was naff and Karius saved well predicting the shot would stay central. 

One minute into extra time and I practically lost my voice screaming in elation at the magnificent Mo Salah. In possession in the box he actually part way through his attack believes there's been a hand ball, he physically stops to appeal but the ref is having none of it, so Salah thinks sod it, takes on the Spurs' defence and dinks home what absolutely should have been the Liverpool winner. 

However, a few minutes later Spurs unbelievably are awarded a second penalty. Watching live and feeling rather angry I didn't believe the challenge warranted a peno, I felt as though without the pressure if that happened earlier in the game it would not have been awarded. Also, the ref didn't award it, it was that bloody linesman who called it back!

Whatever your thoughts on the challenge, Spurs went on to score thanks to that annoyingly good Harry Kane bloke. Post-match though, it appears to many that Lamela was, in fact, offside anyway? 

We could argue the decisions forever, the fact is we drew but I'm sorry, that lino had way too much influence on that game, way too much. 

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Saturday, 3 February 2018

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Spurs

Liverpool welcome Spurs to Anfield on Sunday as they look to continue their winning streak on the back of a victory over Huddersfield. The Reds have had a couple of slip-ups recently, namely against West Brom in the FA Cup and losing to Swansea in the league but Klopp's side usually performs well against the so-called bigger sides.

Liverpool v Spurs Firmino
Image via express.co.uk
Injury news for this one means Liverpool are still unable to call upon Adam Lallana. For Tottenham, Lucas Moura who recently signed for the club is looking unlikely to start but manager Pochettino could welcome Alderweireld back into the fold.

The last time the two sides met was in October, the Reds fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat. To be perfectly honest it was one of the worst games I've seen us play in a long time. Mo Salah managed to find the back of the net but the home side recorded a Harry Kane brace, a Son goal and a Delle Alli effort all within an hour.

At Anfield, Tottenham don't have a fantastic record, in the last five meetings between the two sides in the league at L4 Liverpool have won on four occasions and there has been one draw. In fact, to find a win for Spurs we have to go back to 2011.

This will be the 150th meeting between the two sides and it is set to be a game filled with goals in my opinion. Liverpool play far better against teams who play openly and attack, Spurs are bound to find the net themselves but they will leave enough gaps and make enough mistakes for the likes of Salah and Firmino to punish.

Jurgen Klopp appeared ready for action in the pre-game presser he was reflecting on the Spurs performance against United in the week "You don't often keep United as far away from your goal as Spurs did in that game." but the boss also noted that "We have a few nice options where we could make changes or not."

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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