The Liver Bird  

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Watford

For the first time in I think ever on this blog I did not post about a United match. I moved out of the parents' house this weekend so I saw the game but the whole weekend was pretty hectic and I never got chance to blog, but fear not, I am back with a small Watford preview.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez but there is some good news on Roberto Firmino as the injury he picked up in the United game doesn't appear to be as bad as first feared. Watford only have one absentee as Kiko Femenia who is unavailable due to a hamstring issue.

Image via Independent
Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Manchester United was enough to take them to the top of the table. The Reds are now on 66 points with City in second place on 65. Watford are currently 7th in the table on 40 points, it's been a strong season so far for Watford but I'm not sure they will get the better of Klopp's side at Anfield.

The Hornets have won two out of their last five league games, matching Liverpool's current form. The Reds have drawn the remaining three games. 

The last time the two sides met was in November last year, in a game that saw Jordan Henderson sent off, the Reds scored three goals with no return. Salah, Trent and Firmino were all on the scoresheet. Watford's last visit to Anfield also ended in a batch of goals for the Reds, Salah found four goals in a 5-0 victory.

Liverpool have won six out of the last eight meetings between the two sides in the Premier League, the Reds have scored two goals or more on four occasions.

Every game is huge now for Klopp's side as we aim to chase down that elusive Premier League title. The Reds have gone through a bit of a dip by collecting several draws but if we're still sat at the top of the table when we're not even at our best then surely that's a good thing?

Liverpool can't really afford any slip-ups so Wednesday night's match will hopefully prove to be a more straightforward one. Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

All To Play For In Germany

A somewhat frustrating night at Anfield for Liverpool as the Reds could only manage a 0-0 draw against Bayern in their first leg of the last 16 in the Champions League. 

A 0-0 draw, to be honest, is not a bad result but there was a general consensus that Liverpool may be able to get the better of the German side on their home turf. 

Image via The Independent
The first half was a brilliant game to watch, especially for the neutral with both teams creating issues. One moment that stands out in particular though is a save from Alisson that he knew nothing about. A bit of luck came Liverpool's way after a melee in the box and a risky clearance from Joel Matip nearly ended in a goal for Bayern, thankfully Alisson's body was in the way and the match remained level. 

Alisson is a brilliant keeper but I still feel sometimes he's far too risky with the ball at his feet. His distribution often invites unwanted pressure and while nine times out of ten it's fine, I can't deal with the stress!

Klopp had to start this game without influential defender Virgil van Dijk but to be fair to the Reds, aside from that freak mistake early on, defensively they played really well. Fabinho had a cracking game and on several occasions put in some beautifully timed tackles to stop dead a dangerous attack. 

Another player who deserves a mention is Jordan Henderson, he gets a lot of flack but people don't talk enough when he puts in a stormer. He was brilliant last night, played more positively with his passing and also got us out of a few scrapes when tracking back. 

Attack wise, Liverpool did have their chances but we just couldn't quite make it count. I love Mane but I have to admit that he scuppered a couple of good opportunities on Tuesday night. Firmino for me started lively but seemed to fade and as always we didn't seem to capitalise much on any set pieces. 

Nevertheless, the tie is at 0-0, an early away goal in Germany could be massive for Liverpool. Equally, even if Bayern score first they'd still need to find a second goal in quick succession really to feel comfortable. It's going to be an interesting European away trip for Klopp's side that's for sure. 

Next up for the Reds is the small matter of Manchester United... This game is huge in any season but even more so this year.

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Sunday, 17 February 2019

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Liverpool V Bayern Munich

The Champions League returns to Anfield on Tuesday night as Liverpool prepare to face Bayern Munich in the last 16. The Reds have had a longer rest than most sides and took advantage of having no cup games this weekend to attend a warm weather training camp in Marbella. The team are in good spirits but injuries and suspensions could have an impact.

Liverpool are unable to call upon Virgil van Dijk who is suspended for this leg of the tie and with injuries to the likes of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren, it is likely Fabinho will be deployed in defence. There is no denying the influence of Virgil on Liverpool's back four but I honestly feel like the Reds are prepared enough to deal with Bayern at home, Fabinho has looked convincing when he has had to step up and play in defence so we'll see what happens.

Image via The Independent
Form-wise, Bayern come into this game stronger having won five out of their last six in all competitions. Their only loss was a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leverkusen. The Reds have won three out of their last six in all competitions, Wolves knocked us out the FA Cup and Klopp's side also picked up two 1-1 draws against Leicester and West Ham.

It's a big week for the Reds as Manchester United also await on Sunday. For me, it's a massive week as sandwiched between the two matches I'm moving out of the parents' house and into our new flat, excited doesn't cut it! Haha.

Liverpool and Bayern Munich have met on a total of seven occasions, the Reds have won twice, Bayern once and there have been four draws. The last time the two sides met was in August 2001 in the European Super Cup. Riise, Heskey and Owen found the net in a 3-2 win for Liverpool. Two out of Bayern's three visits to Anfield have ended in a 0-0 draw.

Both clubs at the time of writing sit in 2nd place in their respective leagues. Klopp's team are on 65 points, matching leaders Manchester City but with a game in hand. Bayern are two points behind leaders Dortmund but it's Dortmund who also have a game in hand.

I cannot wait for this one on Tuesday night, I bloody love the Champions League and although I'm obviously more concerned with continuing to push for the title and beating United on Sunday, I still very much want Liverpool to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League. Watching us play against Europe's elite is one of my favourite things in the world.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching, next time I blog I'll be set up in the new flat!

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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Five Things We Learned From The West Ham Game

1) This is going to be a long old season

A 1-1 draw away at West Ham in seasons gone by would actually be considered a good result for most teams but this season is just different for Liverpool. I find myself fuming at the fact we're three points clear at the top, it makes no sense to the neutrals but as a Kopite, I know what Liverpool are like and I want so desperately for us to win the title, therefore I want as much padding and protection as possible.

While being three points clear is nothing to frown at, it's the knowing that it could have been five. However, positively for Liverpool we did not entirely crumble against the Hammers, it would have been a nightmare if we'd failed to pick up any points in that game.

City have Everton next followed quite swiftly by Chelsea while Klopp's side have Bournemouth. It's gonna be a long old season...

Image via The Mirror
2) Lallana hasn't lost it?

Now those who read the blog or follow me on Twitter will know that I've never really been a massive fan of Lallana. It's not even like he's really done anything wrong either I've just never rated him that much and he's obviously had his issues with injuries.

On Monday night he started and to be fair I actually agreed with the decision because while I feel Shaqiri is a better player, I much prefer him to come on as an impact sub (unfortunately he didn't have much of an impact last night!)

Lallana's involvement with Liverpool's goal (yes I know, it was offside) was absolutely brilliant, he ran rings around the West Ham players and credit given where it's due, I thought he did well last night.

3) Sadio Mane knows where the net is 

Sadio is my favourite Liverpool player, some people knock him for being selfish and failing to pass but on the whole, I think you have to look at Mane this season and last season and truly assess the impact he has on the side. When Firmino or Salah are having a quiet one, for me it's players like Mane that keep a level of consistency and still are able to make something happen.

His finish last night was sublime.

4) Reds looked weak defensively

That's a phrase I never thought I'd say in relation to Liverpool this season. The fact is though, we were pretty woeful last night in defence, particularly when it came to set pieces. We were extremely lucky not to go behind in that match.

West Ham completely undid the Liverpool back four on several occasions thanks to clever free kicks and we just weren't up to scratch. I can't decide whether I would prefer Matip or Lovren partnering Virgil but at the moment I think I'd actually like to see Dejan back.

5) Liverpool need good news injury wise

The Reds already had a lot to contend with after the news that Gomez required surgery and Trent remains out but on hearing the line up on Monday evening, fans were informed that Wijnaldum and Henderson were also unavailable due to minor injuries.

Wijnaldum, in particular, was a big blow for me as he brings a calmness to the side, particularly in games such as this one against West Ham. From the sounds of it, his injury isn't too bad so hopefully, he'll return soon. Having Trent back would also make a big difference in my opinion and I've been reading today some positive news about Oxlade-Chamberlain so hopefully the Reds are turning a fitness corner!

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Sunday, 3 February 2019

MATCH PREVIEW: West Ham V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to London on Monday evening as they prepare to face West Ham. At the time of writing, Manchester City and Arsenal have not yet kicked off but the result of that fixture could have a massive impact on the Reds. No matter what happens at the Etihad though, Liverpool need to keep their momentum and after a draw with Leicester, Klopp will be looking for three points on this occasion.

Injuries for Liverpool have taken a bit of a set back as it was announced this week that Joe Gomez will be out longer than originally expected. Also unavailable is Dejan Lovren who has a hamstring injury. James Milner returns to the squad after serving a suspension and is likely to play at right-back covering Trent Alexander-Arnold who is also out.

Image via The Independent
For West Ham, Samir Nasri is unavailable due to a calf issue but Fabianksi and Cresswell may be available for selection. Arnautovic who went off against Wolves also looks to be an option for manager Pellegrini.

The last time the two sides met was in August last year, Liverpool won 4-0 at Anfield thanks to a brace from Sadio Mane and goals from Salah and Sturridge. In the last four meetings between the sides in the league, the Reds have scored four goals on every occasion.

Victory for West Ham last appeared in this fixture in January 2016, the Hammers won 2-0 with Antonio and Carroll on the score sheet. 

Pellegrini's side are currently 12th in the table with Liverpool still sitting on top of the pile. The Hammers have won just one out of their last five games in the league which was surprisingly a victory over Arsenal.

Liverpool have still only lost once so far this season but they didn't manage to pick up all three points against Leicester in their last league outing, having to settle for a draw instead. 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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