The Liver Bird  

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Opportunity missed? : Liverpool 1 Leicester 1

Liverpool extended their lead to five points at the top of the table on Wednesday night after a 1-1 draw with Leicester, but the match is tinged slightly with the knowledge the Reds could have been a massive seven points clear. 

Rafa Benitez had picked up a win over Manchester City the evening before, much to the delight of Kopites and so Wednesday's clash proved to be a huge opportunity for Klopp's side who, on paper, should have beaten Leicester. 

Image via
The Reds started brilliantly with a goal after two minutes thanks to Sadio Mane. The forward slipped his effort through the sleet and sent Anfield wild. 

It all started so well and it was Liverpool who retained control for the majority of the first half. That was until Harry Maguire netted right on the stroke of half time. The chance came from a free kick which Liverpool somewhat foolishly gave away, with many blue shirts offside Maguire timed his move perfectly and created a big problem for the Reds with his equaliser. 

In the second half, I think Liverpool began to fracture slightly. Anfield was tense, the players are obviously aching to get a goal but in difficult conditions, it just didn't seem to be happening. Hilariously the Liverpool ground staff spent the whole of half time clearing only the Kop End of the pitch, unfortunately, it didn't really seem to have an impact. 

The Reds could have had a chance to win it when Naby Keita was brought down in the box. It was definitely a penalty in my opinion and while I try not to dwell on decisions that could prove to be a massive call for the Reds who are chasing down their first title in 29 years. 

While Liverpool had their chances, Leicester did too. A decision from Demarai Gray to strike instead of square probably kept Liverpool in the game, I am certain if Gray had passed that would have been 2-1 to the foxes. 

At one point Bobby Firmino also very nearly turned the ball into his own net! 

Overall I think we simply have to focus on the positives, we're top of the league and we've extended the gap to five points. Let's face it, nobody realistically thought City would lose on Tuesday night so the fact our lead has increased should be celebrated. 

It's such a weird phase being a Liverpool fan at the moment, you extend your lead but almost are ambivalent to the whole situation because you know from experience not to get carried away with anything. 

Roll on West Ham! 

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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Leicester

I do apologise, I feel like I haven't blogged on here in absolutely ages. There's a lot going on at the moment including me finally moving out of the parent's house with the fella soon haha. Anyway, onto the important stuff, the football!

Liverpool welcome Leicester to Anfield on Wednesday evening after a rather extended break due to a lack of cup action for the Reds, not exactly a bad thing. Klopp's side currently top the table while the Foxes are in 9th.

Image via The Independent
Injuries for Liverpool have not been great of late and to add to the mix it appears as though Virgil van Dijk may be out through illness. I still think he'll end up featuring but if he can't we should still have enough to be secure against Leicester, they're a tricky side but if we're supposedly going for the title we need to keep overcoming these hurdles.

James Milner is suspended for the Reds but Lovren and Fabinho are available. Leicester see the return of Harry Maguire but Daniel Amartey remains out with an ankle injury.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win for Liverpool. Leicester's last trip to Anfield also ended in a 2-1 loss for them.

The Reds have won four out of their last five meetings with Leicester at L4 in the Premier League, drawing the remaining fixture 2-2. 

Claude Puel's side have lost three out of their last five in the league. I saw their last loss at the hands of Wolves as I was watching with the fella. They are capable of scoring goals but also can be very vulnerable at the back and I just think that Liverpool should have enough in attack to make a big impact in this game. Liverpool, of course, have only lost one game so far this season.

Every game for Liverpool now feels like a cup final, it's both massively exciting yet excruciatingly nervy. It's horrible yet brilliant and I for one can't wait for kick off tomorrow.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Wolves 2 Liverpool 1: My Nightmare In The North Bank

Well, it's the morning after the night before as I type this and I'm still not quite sure why I voluntarily put myself through that match sat in the home end...

As you all know by now I'm surrounded by Wolves fans in my life so for a laugh and to ensure I took a chance to see us in the flesh (I don't get to go to matches very often) I figured I'd sit in the north bank with me fella and me brother. What an ordeal that was. 

Image via Independent
When the team sheets came out it was clear that Nuno had decided to go for it with Wolves after he named a very strong XI with perhaps the keeper Ruddy being the main notable change. Liverpool, on the other hand, had started a very weakened team but even with the changes, I was looking at names like Shaqiri and Sturridge thinking yeah, we have enough to cause concern here against a strong Wolves side.

That isn't how it panned out though. The game started badly for the Reds as Lovren had to be subbed off after just six minutes with an injury, this adds even more to our growing defensive absentee list. The only saving grace was that 16-year-old Ki Jana Hoever was brought on in his place and the youngster did extremely well. 

The first half was absolute crap. Both teams were unable to really string anything of importance together and to be honest, I was struggling to see where a goal was coming from for us, it was a very poor first half from the Reds. 

At 38 minutes Wolves found an opening goal thanks to Jiminez. I didn't actually see this goal because all the Wolves fans stood up as he was running freely at the box and I refused to as I didn't want to be associated with them lot once they started inevitably celebrating... 

It was a great time to score for Wolves but Liverpool for a short while made me think we might be able to get back into the game when we found an equaliser not long after returning from the half time break. 

It was a lovely strike from Origi right in front of me. I couldn't really celebrate properly so I was sat in the middle of me fella and me brother elbowing them constantly with a big grin on my face. 

Even with the goal, I still wasn't sure the Reds had enough in them to see this one out and I knew Wolves still had fuel in the tank. 

Bad times...
A wonder strike from Neves put Nuno's side back in front at 55 minutes and deservedly so. The pace in which Wolves regained the lead I think was just too much to deal with for an already struggling Liverpool XI. 

Klopp full on went for it with about 20 minutes remaining, bringing on both Salah and Firmino. I was extremely happy to be able to see them both but not even their magic was enough to find a goal to keep Liverpool in the cup. 

On the whole, am I disappointed? A little bit but not really to be honest. I always want to chase silverware but Wolves were deserved winners last night. I'm mainly disappointed because being from Wolverhampton I'm not gonna live this down now. On the flip side though, Liverpool will not have as many games to contend with and this could be our best ever chance to win the league. All I care about now is us beating Brighton!! 

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Sunday, 6 January 2019

FA CUP: Wolverhampton Wanderers V Liverpool

For those of you who are regulars on the blog or on my Twitter feed, you will know that this fixture is a special one. I'm a Liverpool fan from Wolverhampton and tomorrow I'll be sat in the North Bank with me fella and me brother trying desperately not to celebrate if we find the net haha.

I'd usually say "when" we find the net but to be honest, I have no idea what XI Klopp will choose and I don't really care I'm just excited to see us in the flesh as it's not something I get to do very often. I was supposed to go to the league match at Molineux but it clashed with our work's Christmas do that I was helping to organise. I was so pleased when we pulled Wolves out the hat!

Regulars will also remember that I worked at Molineux as a betting cashier for several years and I haven't really been back since I stopped taking bets in 2016.

Image via The Standard
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed in press conferences this week that two names definitely on the team sheet will be Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno. It also sounds like youngsters Camacho and Jones could feature. I am expecting a weakened team from Klopp but I'm also hoping he might have some bigger names on the bench. It would be good if he started players like Shaqiri and Sturridge too.

For Wolves, it's hard to predict what they are going to do. Nuno is very focused on the league and so may also opt to play a weakened side but on the other hand, a weakened Liverpool team may convince him to play a strong XI to try and progress in the cup?

The last time the two sides met was of course in the league in December. Liverpool won the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Wolves had been taking points off all the top six and I was genuinely quite concerned about that match, mainly because of the amount of stick I'd get if we'd lost!

The sides also met in the FA Cup quite recently in 2017. I watched in my favourite pub in the centre of Wolverhampton, sat in my Liverpool shirt surrounded by Wolves fans. Richard Stearman scored after one minute, it was one of the worst experiences of my life... The team in gold and black won the game 2-1 with only a consolation goal for the Reds from Origi.

I'm really not sure how this match is going to pan out but I am really looking forward to it. It will be a good opportunity for some of our younger and fringe players to play against a quality side in Wolves. I shouldn't really admit to this because I honestly think to be the best, you have to beat everyone and keep going for all types of silverware but if we lost tomorrow night I wouldn't be too concerned, all I care about at the moment is getting back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching. Get ready for the lights show hahaha.

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Friday, 4 January 2019

Reds Unbeaten Run Ends At Etihad

Top of the league and still four points clear, despite losing to the champions... so why am I so frustrated? It's surely a sign of how well Liverpool are playing that I find myself annoyed at last night's result even after a night's sleep. 

Don't get me wrong, it was the correct result, City deserved to win, I just worry how that will affect our momentum and I just know what we're like. It's bizarre cause I'm usually the rose-tinted optimistic fan that gets on people's nerves on Twitter for being too positive but I think I've been scorned by that Brendan Rodgers title race and I just desperately want everything to go right, even though I know there will be blips along the way and that it will not be straightforward. 

Fabinho v Man City
Image via The Mirror
There is no shame at all in losing to Guardiola's City at the Etihad, I am just hoping we can pick up where we left off. 

For me, Jurgen Klopp took a decision to select Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum in his midfield and I can see the thought process but I just don't think it worked.

The linkage (or lack of) between the midfield and the forwards was poor and there was a lot of negative movement either sideways or backwards, even when it appeared to the onlooker that a key through pass was available. 

Despite the midfield set up, Liverpool went agonisingly close to opening up the scoring when Sadio Mane saw a shot bounce off the post and a melee ensued. John Stones cleared off the line and somehow managed to steer the ball clear of an encroaching Salah. The goal decision system indicated the ball was just 11 millimetres away from being a Liverpool opener. Gutting. 

The first half was a very tense battle but City broke the deadlock at 40 minutes when Aguero shot high into goal from a very tight angle. I'm still not sure how he got that in. 

The Reds needed the half time whistle and needed to recoup. Klopp had clearly been thinking about his set up because at 57 minutes he replaced Milner with Fabinho. A cracking substitution with an immediate impact. I just can't help but regret the fact that the Brazilian didn't start the match. 

Just after the hour mark, Liverpool found their equaliser, a cross from Andy Robertson found its way into the box and Roberto Firmino was there to finish with a straightforward header. I went crazy. A draw here would have been a fantastic result, especially considering how the game had unfolded. 

For a while, the Reds looked as though they may have had a footing and throughout the remainder of the match chances did appear for Klopp's side including some further box madness with City at times lucky to clear the danger. 

The killer blow was delivered though by Leroy Sane at 72 minutes. An angled shot hit off the right-hand post and into the net.

A frustrating game for the Reds who could have got more out of it if the formation had been slightly different and had a bit of luck swung their way. Positively the Reds, on paper, have a decent set of fixtures now so I just hope we can crack on. 

Next up for Liverpool is Wolves in the FA Cup and I'm going! Will be sat in the North Bank trying to keep quiet with me fella and brother, should be a good laugh!!!

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PREVIEW: Man City V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip along the M62 on Thursday evening as they prepare to face title race rivals Manchester City. The Reds are currently sitting top of the table, six points ahead of Spurs and seven points ahead of City. The match at the Etihad could prove pivotal for Jurgen Klopp's side who are searching for their first ever Premier League title.

Injury wise Liverpool have received a boost as James Milner returns to fitness. For City, 
Gundogan becomes available while Delph and Mendy remain out injured. 

Image via The Independent
It's such a strange time being a Liverpool fan at the moment because the Reds are playing absolutely brilliantly, we're top of the table with an immense squad yet we can't quite bring ourselves to get excited.The chance to take the Premier League title is a prize too great for many a Liverpool fan who has been burnt recently by the agonisingly close campaign steered by Brendan Rodgers. The heartache is real and I for one am not quite ready to allow myself to get carried away for a real fear of something going wrong.

However, I did say to myself a few months back, if we were top after the Christmas period, I'd allow myself to get excited. That Christmas period has now extended ever so slightly to include tomorrow night but I tell you something, even if we get a point at the Etihad, that is massive for Jurgen Klopp's side and I will dare to dream.

The last time Liverpool and Manchester City met was in October last year in what proved to be a relatively uneventful match (0-0). The Reds' last trip to the Etihad was in the Champions League in April last year, a 2-1 win for Liverpool saw goals from Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Manchester City have proved to be a formidable force in recent seasons but they have always hit a stumbling block when facing the lads from L4. The Sky Blues have only beaten the Reds twice in the last 12 meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have equalled the record for the fewest goals conceded in the first 20 Premier League games (8).
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in every one of his six home league games against Liverpool.
  • Liverpool have won nine consecutive league matches.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching. I cannot wait for this one!

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