The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Three Times Liverpool V Arsenal Was Awesome For The Neutral

It's funny, when you ask people to name classic football matches and rivalries not many people come up with Liverpool v Arsenal. In my opinion, this has thrown up some of the most exciting league fixtures of recent times.

The game often has lots of goals and although there have been times when the match has felt one-sided (see Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1, December 2018) on the whole it makes for an evenly pitched clash and I for one am looking forward to Saturday's game.

So for this post, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and look back on some of the close ties between the two sides.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3 - Friday 22nd December 2017

A cold December evening three days before Christmas saw the two sides line up with Liverpool in 4th place. The Reds needed at least a draw to remain in that position.

It was a great start for Liverpool who opened up the scoring with a rare header from Coutinho after 26 minutes. Mo Salah then went on to score early in the second half with a deflected strike. Things looked comfortable for Klopp until the Reds failed to deal with a cross from Bellerin. His effort was met by Alexis Sanchez who headed home Arsenal's first of three in six minutes.

Image via Sky Sports

Just three minutes later the Gunners had found a second thanks to a strike from Xhaka, Mignolet attempted to save but couldn't get enough on it. The Reds were well and truly under pressure now and with barely a chance to regroup, two minutes later Arsenal had scored again this time thanks to Ozil.

Liverpool looked dumbfounded but the neutrals watching across the country were chuffed this match had been the Friday night selection. It was a crazy game of football and it wasn't done yet.

Never a side to throw in the towel, Klopp's team eventually found an equaliser to keep themselves in 4th. Bobby Firmino's powerful strike was enough to beat Petr Cech and collect a draw.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4 - Sunday 14th August 2016

The opening encounter of the 2016/2017 Premier League season and what a belter it was. It took 30 minutes for the first goal to go in after Theo Walcott found the net for Arsenal (after missing a penalty just moments earlier) but from there on out it was goals galore.

Image via The Independent

A lovely free-kick from Coutinho gifted Liverpool an equaliser just before half time and Adam Lallana found the net to put the Reds 2-1 up after 49 minutes. Seven minutes later Coutinho scored again to increase Liverpool's lead and this was closely followed by a strong strike from Sadio Mane.

Things were looking great for the Reds but one minute later, future Liverpool starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain would score for Arsene Wenger's side. Arsenal were starting to gain momentum but despite finding another goal thanks to Chambers at 75 minutes it wasn't enough to earn them any points and on this occasion, Liverpool would walk away victorious.

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3 - Wednesday 13th January 2016

Liverpool... and Arsenal... loads of goals? Who'd of thought it?

Yep, the two sides were at it again back in January 2016. Bobby Firmino opened up the scoring very early on for the Reds but saw his goal cancelled out when Ramsey found an equaliser.

Clearly not happy with this our Brazilian forward then scored a stunning goal from 20 yards to put Liverpool back in the lead. It was a wet and miserable January evening and neither side wanted to lose this game, Arsenal also had one eye on the title at this stage of the season.

Image via Football 365
Giroud who was influential for Arsenal then went on to score once in the first half and once in the second, Arsenal remained in front for the majority of the second half. That was until a Welsh substitute entered play.

Joe Allen was brought on for Emre Can at 82 minutes, perhaps not the most likely goalscorer, Joe converted a low drive on the stroke of 90 minutes to grab Liverpool a point and dent Arsenal's title hopes.

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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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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
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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Monday, 20 November 2017

Champions League: Sevilla V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Spain on Tuesday evening as they prepare to face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan in their penultimate Champions League group game. The Reds are currently top of the group on eight points with Sevilla following closely in second on seven points.

Jurgen Klopp's side collected a 3-0 win over Maribor in their last outing in Europe thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge. Mo Salah is having an absolute stormer of a start to the season and if he features on Tuesday night I'd be banking on him to find the net.

Adam Lallana and Danny Ings
Image via Liverpool Echo
Prior to this season, Sevilla and Liverpool have only crossed paths once before, that was in the Europa League final of 2016. How do the Reds weigh up against Spanish opposition in general though? Liverpool have met Spanish opposition on 24 occasions since 2000. During that time the Reds have lost eight, drawn six and won 10.

A win on Tuesday means the Reds will qualify for the knockout stages with one game to spare. Injuries have taken a positive turn for Jurgen Klopp who has named both Adam Lallana and Danny Ings in his squad, however, Joel Matip has not travelled to Spain and remains out with a groin issue.

Sevilla come into this game having won four out of their last five games in all competitions. Their only loss came at the hands of Barcelona. With a good run of form behind them, the Spanish side also have the incentive of leap-frogging the Reds into top spot if they can find a win at home.

Liverpool have also won four out of their last five in all comps only losing back in October after a terrible display against Spurs. The Reds have found some momentum but arguably still have huge problems in defence and sometimes struggle to get into gear.

Players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane eventually find the magic to make the difference but in a tough tie against Sevilla I fear the Reds may walk away without a win meaning victory over Spartak at Anfield in December would be required to seal the deal.

I don't think we'll lose I just think there's too much incentive for Sevilla and can see this being a 1-1 draw. Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching! Apologies for the dull period on the blog, I've been mega busy in November but haven't gone anywhere, still plan to blog about the glorious Reds as and when I can!

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Friday, 8 September 2017

Manchester City V Liverpool [PREVIEW]

Liverpool make the short trip to Manchester on Saturday afternoon as they look to get the better of Pep Guardiola's side. The Reds picked up a massive victory over Arsenal prior to the international break but will the time away from the league affect progress?

Guardiola, Klopp
Image via
The big news for Liverpool this weekend is of course the return of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has been back in training but earlier today (I completely missed this news as you'll see from Twitter haha) Klopp announced that Couts would not be in the team for tomorrow's clash. 

It remains to be seen how the whole saga will pan out but to be honest I think it's in everyone's interest to just put it behind us. Coutinho's too good to leave to rot on the bench or in reserves and if he goes next year then so be it, let's squeeze some goals out of him first.

Other team news for the Reds means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could get his first minutes clocked up in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday. Nathaniel Clyne remains out with a long term injury and Adam Lallana is also unavailable. 

For City, Vincent Kompany who has a calf issue will not make the game and also somewhat ironically, Raheem Sterling is suspended for this one. Karma.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. The gamed ended 1-1 with James Milner converting from the spot for the Reds. Liverpool have put in some strong performances against City in recent years but this tie has still been a tough fixture at the Etihad. The Manchester side have won three out of the last six fixtures on their home turf in the league.

This clash has also resulted in masses of goals of late. In fact, since December 2013 a total of 26 goals have been scored in this fixture in the league.

"Every time I play Jurgen's teams I learn a lot. Top manager, top club, top players. It will be a nice game tomorrow." - Pep Guardiola

I think we're gonna win tomorrow, after the victory over Arsenal and the sheer intensity in our attack, I just feel like we have enough ammo to get the better of City. Liverpool always play better against the bigger sides and whilst playing City away from home is never going to be an easy fixture I still think the Reds will rise to the occasion.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Reds Back In Europe

Oh Gini Wijnaldum, how much do I love you? I was on the edge of a football breakdown at 45 minutes so thank god he stepped up with that cracking goal in the 46th!

Image via The Guardian
That first half was agonising on Sunday and while you kind of expect that Liverpool these days need time to build themselves up into a game, time is something we didn't really have this weekend. Not when Manchester City are romping home and a Arsenal are somehow still ahead despite having a man sent off!

Thankfully, none of that mattered as in the end Liverpool did find their stride and it was plain sailing from there. The Reds are back in Europe and deservedly so I think. 

We've had our ups and downs this season but overall I feel we've had a respectable campaign. Our record against teams in the traditional top four for example was nothing short of phenomenal. Our pitfall of course was against the smaller teams, teams who were extremely hard to break down, we just didn't appear to have a Plan B. When push came to shove though and things got tight during the final run in, it was Jurgen Klopp's men who held their nerve.

So what happens now?

Well, Liverpool are seeded for the Champions League knock out stages which means we will avoid teams like Sevilla and Napoli. We will find out who we face in the two legged play off on August 4th. 

Assuming we don't mess it all up, I cannot wait for the group stages that follow and for legendary European nights to return to the glorious Anfield!

Have a great summer folks! Stay tuned to The Liver Bird where a season round up will appear and some news/opinion posts prior to the new season. As always, thank you so much for reading and sharing. This little old blog is a real passion of mine and it would be nothing without you! After starting full time work and finishing Uni last year I can't deny it's been more difficult to juggle blogging with everything else going on but I still love writing about Liverpool Football Club so roll on 17/18! #YNWA 

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: Watford V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Watford on Bank Holiday Monday as they aim to pick up three points and continue their quest for Champions League football. The last time the Reds faced Watford they scored six, will it be another confident victory away from home?

Liverpool's new shirt was released this week (Image via
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Mane, Henderson and Klavan while doubts also hang over the fitness of Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana. The latter of the two is rumoured to be close to full health but it is not known at the time of writing whether he will make the cut.

For Watford, they are likely to be without Kaboul who has a hamstring injury. Zarate and Pereyra are also unavailable.

The Reds have to wait until Monday evening for this fixture meaning Manchester City could be on 68 points and Manchester United on 67 points (depending on their own results on Sunday) by the time they kick off. Liverpool currently sit in third on 66 points so a win would take them up to 69 points, once again giving them some air.

The league this season has been a hard one to explain on Liverpool's part, in some instances we've done remarkably well. Our record against the big sides is unquestionable but on far too many occasions we've dropped points against lesser opposition. 

Watford strike me as a team that could cause Liverpool issues on Monday. Mazzarri's side have won three out of their last five Premier League fixtures however, two of these victories have come against sides in the bottom three. Despite this, Watford are a hard team to break down, a tenacious side that could frustrate Liverpool if they haven't found the back of the net early on.

Nevertheless, Liverpool know exactly what is required from them on Monday, they have also had longer to prepare than most sides and so anything less than three points is quite frankly unacceptable. Especially after the disaster against Crystal Palace.

The last time the two sides met at Vicarage Road was in December 2015, the Reds lost 3-0 on that occasion thanks to an early goal from Ake and a brace from Ighalo.

It really is getting to crunch time now in the league and I can't deny that I'm starting to feel extremely nervous. Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: West Brom V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to the West Midlands on Easter Sunday as they prepare to face Tony Pulis' West Brom. The Baggies come in to this game on the back of two defeats compared to Liverpool's six match unbeaten run. Pulis' side however are certainly one to contend with and the Reds may struggle with West Brom's style.

Image via The Independent
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. Jurgen Klopp is hoping the latter two players will return to the squad before the end of April. 

For West Brom, manager Tony Pulis has a full strength squad to choose from aside from a mystery couple of players who are apparently nursing minor knocks.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. Both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet for a 2-1 Liverpool win that day. The Brazilian pairing have proved vital for the Reds so far this season and it is expected both with start on Sunday after only making the bench and being called upon in the second half against Stoke.

Prior to that win in October, the Reds have struggled to pick up three points against the Baggies in recent meetings. A 1-1 draw in May 2016 was preceded by a 2-2 draw in December 2015. The last time West Brom picked up a win against Liverpool at The Hawthorns was in August 2012. Daniel Agger was sent off during that 3-0 loss for the Reds. The Baggies however have beaten Liverpool more recently, collecting a 2-0 win in February 2013.

At the time of writing, the Reds are currently third in the league on 63 points while West Brom are in 8th. Sides around the Reds still have some games in hand so it's important for Liverpool to pick up all three points on Sunday and not falter against what could be difficult opposition.

Jurgen Klopp has struggled all season against sides like West Brom and Liverpool's record as a whole against teams managed by Tony Pulis isn't exactly brilliant. I fully expect the Baggies to find the back of the net on Sunday, probably via a set piece, a headed goal. The Reds just can't seem to deal with that kind of attack at the moment, whilst they have looked more organised of late it only seems to take a second for everything to go to pot.

With the likes of Mane and Lallana missing also, Liverpool may be lacking in attack. It will be interesting to see whether Daniel Sturridge is utilised on Sunday as he will create a different sort of threat. Whatever the starting XI, I feel as though an early goal is required if Liverpool are to go on and win. My heart says 2-1 to us but my head says a score draw.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool currently have 12 points more than they did at the same stage last season.
  • West Brom have scored 14 goals from corners so far this season.
  • The Reds have collected 18 points from losing situations this season.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 30 March 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Everton

The Reds welcome their blue neighbours to Anfield on Saturday and if recent match stats are anything to go by it should be a game filled with chances for the Reds. 

Liverpool are currently in 4th, four points ahead of Manchester United and six points clear of Arsenal but both of these sides have two games in hand. Then follows Everton who are in 7th matching Arsenal's 50 points but having played more fixtures. 

Everton's last match was on the 18th March against Hull, the Toffees put four in the net thanks to Calvert-Lewin, Valencia and a brace from Lukaku. 

Liverpool's last game came against Manchester City. I was in Turin at the time (if you haven't seen it yet, check out my blog post on my trip to see Torino v Inter Milan) so watched the match in our hotel room with Italian commentary. I know a bit of Italian but it didn't take a top translator to figure out what was being said when Lallana missed that sitter. The Reds however came away with a draw and to be honest I'd of taken that prior to kick off. 

For the Merseyside Derby, Liverpool will be forced to play without Adam Lallana who picked up a thigh injury whilst playing for England. Some outlets would have you believe Henderson is going to return while others disagree so we'll have to wait and see on that one and apparently Firmino and Coutinho are getting a private jet in order to get back and prep. In positive news for the Reds though, Daniel Sturridge has returned to training.

Everton also have their own injury woes to contend with as McCarthy remains a doubt and Funes Mori has been ruled out with a knee injury. Seamus Coleman of course broke his leg on international duty.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year. A single goal from Sadio Mane on 90 minutes was enough to split the two sides. In April 2016 the Reds won 4-0, Funes Mori was sent off that day with Origi, Sakho, Sturridge and Coutinho on the scoresheet. 

Everton haven't won a Merseyside Derby since 2010. A league game at Goodison Park, the Toffees scored two without a return from Liverpool. 

The Reds should be a shoe in for this one but I can't help but worry. The Reds have walked away with some interesting results this season to put it politely and although we appear to play better in the games where the opposition really comes out to attack (which Everton will) I'm just concerned we might blow this. 

The game is always a massive one but with the battle for 4th really hotting up and  the Reds sitting in a really good position knowing United and Arsenal are chasing, we simply must win this. 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

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Friday, 10 February 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Spurs

Can Liverpool beat Spurs? After a string of disastrous results (bar a pretty decent draw with Chelsea) that is the big question hanging over manager Jurgen Klopp this weekend. The fact is though, the Reds have had a funny old season and despite having lost to the likes of Hull and Wolverhampton Wanderers in recent weeks, they will probably go on to beat Tottenham.

Image via

So what do the stats say?

Well, Liverpool have amassed a total of 52 goals so far this season, that's eight more than Spurs. On the flip side, the Reds have conceded 30 goals while Tottenham have only let in 16.

The stats show what we all know to be true, Liverpool have a massive defensive issue. A back four consisting of a makeshift leftback and an alternating centre back partnership of Lovren, Klavan, Matip and even on the odd occasion Lucas Leiva creates an unfavourable situation for the Reds. 

Frustratingly, Matip and Lovren who are probably the top partnership when everyone is fit have not had many opportunities to play together so far this season. It remains to be seen whether regular game time for the both of them could ease some of the defensive woes.

Liverpool have scored 16 goals from set pieces so far this season. Positively, Spurs have only scored eight. The Reds have been extremely susceptible to set piece goals and the stats for Spurs show that this may not be a huge issue for Klopp's side. You can however guarantee that Spurs will aim to penalise on the counter attack, yet another thing Liverpool have been struggling to deal with.

Team News

For Liverpool, Dejan Lovren will be subject to a late fitness test after he missed the Hull game with a knee injury. Also a doubt is Adam Lallana who apparently has an Achilles issue.

Tottenham are unable to call upon Vertonghen who has a knee injury. Manager Pochettino is also without Danny Rose who has an ankle problem leaving a significant gap in his defense.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in October last year in the League Cup. It was a good result for Liverpool after Daniel Sturridge found the back of the net twice. The game ended 2-1.

The previous three matches all ended in draws. A 1-1 at White Hart Lane in August saw James Milner convert a penalty. Another 1-1 this time at Anfield in April 2016 included goals from Philippe Coutinho and Harry Kane. Finally there was a 0-0 back in October 2015.

Liverpool have won five out of the last 10 meetings between the two sides in the Premier League.

Final Thought

Just one week after the disaster at Hull to me it actually feels a hell of a lot longer, hopefully it feels that way for the players too because if their focus remains on that performance, it won't be a pretty result on Saturday.

For me, despite our pitfalls this season, the Reds have always been stronger against teams like Spurs, teams that play openly and come to Anfield to attack. I am completely aware that we've been utterly terrible of late but I would not be at all surprised if we beat Spurs 2-1 or even 3-2 on Saturday. The more likely result is probably a score draw but Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp seriously need to get three points on the board to stop the rot.

Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to be able to catch the match tomorrow as I'm out all day for a mate's birthday so I'll be relying on all of you lovely Twitter folk for updates!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Reds Miss Out On Wembley

A performance lacking any real dynamic or end product left Liverpool with no route to Wembley on Wednesday night as Southampton once again proved they deserved their place in the final.

Image via The Telegraph
A late winner from substitute Shane Long didn't tell the complete story of the match but Southampton undoubtably should get full credit for pushing Jurgen Klopp's team to one side. 

The Saints did not defend for the whole 90 minutes, that would be unfair to say but when they did need to defend they did it well and they did it in numbers. Liverpool just have no clue how to break sides down and it's getting pretty bloody annoying. 

Pit us against a free flowing Manchester City and I'll show you a confident three points, pit us against a supposedly lower calibre of opposition and I'll show you a side that has no idea. 

For me, Emre Can created some of the issues as with both himself and Henderson in the midfield it throws things out of balance. His second half shot almost helped him redeem himself but Fraser Forster had other ideas. 

Then you have the Sturridge issue. I personally don't feel he should be carrying all the blame, he definitely had chances he should have converted but had to wait until the second 45 to even get any service. What frustrates me is that people are quick to lambast the forward but where the hell was Adam Lallana? He was utterly absent last night, one of the only times I saw the camera focus on him was when he had the cheek to shout at Alexander-Arnold for a slightly dodgy pass. Trent was arguably the most inventive player on the pitch for us on Wednesday night so god knows why Lallana thought that was acceptable or more importantly would help the situation. 

There were occasional sparks from Coutinho and Firmino but we all know this set up works better when the latter isn't pushed out wide. It's just a combination of issues that ultimately result in Liverpool having no clue how to break sides down and it's worrying. 

With Wolverhampton Wanderers up next (my home town) I can't deal with watching us lose that one. I actually hope Klopp does play a team of youngsters because at this rate they will probably have more theories on how to break down a championship side...

Stay tuned to The Liver Bird over the coming days for a Wolves match preview with the opposition view from my fella.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Five Things We Learned From The 0-0 With United

1. Mourinho loves his bus

Mourinho instructed his team to strangle the life out of a football match on Monday night, it's a simple as that. Frustratingly, his plan once again worked perfectly. As a fan of Italian football I am happy to stand back and appreciate a good defensive performance, however I can't accept it when it's from a Jose Mourinho side.

If Tony Pulis set up like that against his United boys he'd be in the post match interview complaining of 19th century tactics and "anti-football". If United are happy playing like that then that's their prerogative but I certainly wouldn't be happy with it. I suppose in a way we must take a positive from this tactical set up, the fact that Mourinho has to resort to this now to try and get the better of Liverpool shows how much of a threat we are.

He can keep his bus for all I care, I can't see it getting him far this season.

2. Karius not that convincing

I discussed in a recent match round up post here on The Liver Bird how Karius looked shaky but I tried to pin most of my worries down to the fact it was first match nerves. While any fixture against United for any goalkeeper is a daunting one, Karius must accept that he was very indecisive on Monday evening.

I still feel with time he'll settle in but at the moment he isn't filling me with much confidence. As a keeper you need to have some conviction, if you make the decision to come out for the ball you need to nail it and for me, he's not quite there yet. Despite all this he did of course keep a clean sheet, so there is something to build from.

Image via the

3. De Gea's save top class

After a terrible first half Liverpool finally got into the game in the second half with a string of decent and pacey attacks. It was Coutinho though who popped up with the best effort. One of his famous stinging shots looked destined to smash the back of the net only for De Gea to pull off a stunning save to keep his side in the game. Bloody annoying! 

4. Lallana is key

I've been known to criticise Lallana quite often, I'm not sure why but I just don't appear to have a lot of patience with him compared to other fans but I will hold my hands up as last night it was evident we were missing him almost immediately.

For me Lallana is definitely a player I feel we can do without, it's only when he's not there that I truly realise how much we need him. His injection of pace in the second half along with his ability to spot killer passes and link up with the likes of Coutinho and Firmino was invaluable. It's a real shame he wasn't on the pitch in the first half.

5. Draw not so bad 

After getting over the majority of the frustration that Monday night's game brought, overall a draw really isn't that bad. Games against United are always tough and whilst on paper it looked as though the Reds were ready to batter United, in all seriousness you cannot battle against those kind of tactics without something really special. 

That special moment didn't occur last night but it's fair to say that Liverpool can take some strong positives from the game, namely keeping a clean sheet and fighting in tough conditions to hold on to a draw against United, in seasons gone by I'm not so sure we'd have managed that.

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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Five Things We Learned From Liverpool's Opening League Game

Image via

1) Moreno had a mare

When it comes to sticking with a footballer and trying to cling on to the fact that they may have something left to offer it always feels like I'm one of the last fans hanging on. It's no different with Alberto Moreno, there was a time very recently where I was singing his praises as he went through a more settled stage but after Sunday's performance it's very clear that he just isn't cut out to be a top level left back.

He has zero positional awareness and while he occasionally offers something going forward this doesn't come anywhere close to making up for his continuous lapses at the back. It's a real shame because when he first came to the club he looked like he might be moulded into a quality player but that boat has sailed I'm afraid, absolute mare he had.

2) Migs not lost it?

After rumours that Loris Karius would in fact replace Simon Mignolet it looked as though the Belgian wouldn't get another chance to really impress between the sticks. Karius however broke his hand meaning the questionable Mignolet started in goal against Arsenal.

Granted, we conceded three goals but I'm not entirely convinced that Migs could have done much about them, his defence didn't help on several occasions. When he saved Walcott's penalty he proved that he can still be a reliable keeper so it will be interesting to see what happens when Karius returns to fitness.

Who would you prefer in goal this season? Vote here

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3) Coutinho Magic

The magician didn't take long to sprinkle his stardust at the Emirates, the number 10 opened Liverpool's scoring for a brand new Premier League season. Coutinho is a phenomenal player to watch when he's having a good day, on a bad day he can very often go missing but when gifted a free kick within range you always fancy him to do something special.

What a goal it was, a beautiful free kick, perfectly placed high into the top left corner of goal away from the stretch of the great Petr Cech. As if the free kick wasn't enough he then somehow converted a second goal off his shin. I often look at Coutinho and worry that he'll be snatched away from us, I was half expecting to see him leave this season but here's hoping we'll see him in a Liverpool shirt for the foreseeable future!

4) Mane worth the money?

A £30+ million price tag for Mane had several Liverpool fans wincing earlier in the summer but while some questioned the fee, nobody questioned Mane's ability. The youngster is a super quick and talented player offering a fresh option for Liverpool going forward.

For me he had a relatively strong game on the whole, topped off perfectly by his wonderful goal on 63 minutes. On the right hand side of the pitch Mane was strong during his run taking on two Arsenal defenders in the box with ease, his finish was sublime. I am seriously looking forward to seeing him play regularly for the Reds. A great first league game for the Senegalese forward.

Image via

5) I'm 50p down...

I have to confess... A tiny part of me was actually pretty gutted with today's result. I'm still living off my student loans at present until I get my first wage packet from my new job at the end of the month so I figured I'd pop a few bets on.

I had a quid on Mane in a 2-1 which went down the pan, 50p on a 3-3 and 50p on a 4-4 for £100. I won't lie, if Arsenal had of spoiled our tremendous party I would have been slightly pleased with the £100 bonus for more ciders and cocktails haha!

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Rafa's Return Ends In A Draw for Reds

As always it was fantastic to see Rafa Benitez back at Anfield on Saturday afternoon but I just knew he would find a way to get the better of Klopp's side. I predicted a score draw and wasn't surprised at all to see our two nil lead disappear.

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Mamadou Sakho

It's hard to discuss this game without first discussing the news regarding Mamadou Sakho and a failed drugs test. I do not of course have full details with regards to the failure but from what I have read he's been taking illegal fat burners.

I can't condone that sort of decision from any footballer to be honest and I'm very disappointed to hear that Sakho has apparently been taking something that he should not have been taking. I'm diasppointed because I didn't think he or his fitness team would get involved with something like this but also disappointed because he's really been impressing me of late and it's such a shame that he's squandered a blossoming partnership with Dejan Lovren.

I suppose we will just have to wait and see what happens but I can't say I'm happy with the whole situation.

Lallana hit and miss?

Lallana scored a lovely goal on Saturday on the half hour mark to take Liverpool's lead to 2-0 on top of Sturridge's early goal. Lallana is a bit of a frustrating player for me though, he'll have matches like Saturday where he stamps his mark on the game, causing havoc for the defence and scoring a wonderful goal in the process but then the following game he can go completely missing.

I'm no tactical expert but I think the lack of consistency in an attacking formations is detrimental for somebody like Adam Lallana. It will be interesting to see whether he is embedded in Klopp's future plans once the transfer window comes around.

Mignolet mistake

What on earth was Mignolet doing for their first goal? The cross to Cisse seemed to take an age to enter the box which would surely mean Migs had enough time to assess the situation but it was easy as pie for Cisse who headed home Newcastle's first.

Conceding like that threw Liverpool off  course I think, Rafa's side only needed a glimmer of a chance and Mignolet gifted it to them. The confidence boost from there on out was enough and the equaliser from Colback ensured Newcastle walked away with a point.

Rafa Benitez

There aren't many managers in the world who would have their name sang by both the opposition and home fans, it was just brilliant to see.

Benitez was quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying: "It's very emotional. The fans, the city, the club - I have a very good relationship with Liverpool obviously. My family still live here. It was emotional because the Liverpool fans were singing my name and afterwards the Newcastle fans were singing my name so really pleased to have this reaction and really pleased to get a point against a very good team."

Next up for Liverpool is a massive tie against Villarreal.

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Crystal Palace V Liverpool

After confidently beating Manchester City at Anfield during the week, Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp looks to collect another three points in the league. At the time of writing the Reds have played 27 games, two fewer than most in the league and theoretically could still pile pressure on the race for fourth if they put a string of victories together.

Image via Lucas out for some time for Liverpool


Liverpool were handed a big blow this week as it was announced veteran Lucas may be out for up to six weeks. Fortunately though both Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge returned to training. Coutinho didn't feature in the City game but it is believed he will be available to start on Sunday.

For Palace, they are unable to call upon McArthur and Puncheon while Wickham and goalkeeper Hennessey will be subject to late fitness tests.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in November last year when Palace got the better of Liverpool at Anfield. Yannick Bolasie opened up the scoring with Philippe Coutinho finding an equaliser at 42 minutes. It was Scott Dan though who sealed victory for the visitors scoring with just eight minutes left of the game.

Our last visit to Selhurst Park was in February 2014 for an FA Cup tie, the game ended in victory for the Reds thanks to two goals from Sturridge and Lallana. In the last ten meetings between the two sides in all competitions, Liverpool have only won on three occasions.


The Reds have three wins from their last five games in the league while Palace have recorded zero wins in the same time period. In fact Palace haven't won a game in the league since December.

Liverpool's form hasn't been very consistent but Klopp's side haven't lost in their last three in the league. A win over Crystal Palace could be just what the Reds need to kick on in the final stage of the season.

Stat Sandwich

  • Lallana has scored three goals in his last four league games.
  • Crystal Palace have let in 21 goals so far in 2016.
  • If Coutinho features it will mark his 100th Premier League game.


If you fancy a bet on Sunday's game sign up with Paddy Power by clicking the image below, deposit £10 an place it all on one bet to receive a massive £30 free to play with!

Liverpool are currently down at 23/20 for the straight win on Sunday while the draw is at 12/5.

Adam Lallana to score first in a 2-1 win for the Reds has odds of 60/1 while the same bet with Firmino is down at 40/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Reds Do The Double Over City

It was a brilliant result for Jürgen Klopp on Wednesday evening as he steered his side to a 3-0 victory over Manchester City. Pellegrini's side looked a shadow of the team that featured in the cup win at Wembley on the weekend but take nothing away from Liverpool, they ran rings around the sky blues. 

Despite missing Daniel Sturridge and being forced to drop Lucas from the side Liverpool were extremely effective from the word go. A high pressure game was fully supported via the likes of Origi, Milner, Can, Henderson, Firmino and Lallana who worked brilliantly together in attack.

I won't shy away from the fact that I probably get on the case of Lallana and Milner but I cannot fault their efforts on Wednesday night. Lallana's opening goal was a well taken strike from some distance and at first it didn't even look like it had found the back of the net, his celebration soon confirmed the goal though.

The Reds were undoubtably on top and the high pressing game that Klopp is so famous for was certainly on show. It gives a glimmer of what can be expected under the German, especially when he is able to spend some money in the summer! 

Another lovely strike from Milner just four minutes before half time put Liverpool two nil up and there was no way back for an extremely lacklustre City side. For a team that are still going for the title they must be kicking themselves this morning because there was no fight in that side what so ever. Players like David Silva and Raheem Sterling were completely ineffective and hilariously the latter was substituted for the second half. Sterling was so poor thanks to an immense performance from Jon Flanagan, I bloody love that lad, I've always had a soft spot for defenders and he was all over it last night, started immediately by getting stuck in to Sterling and "letting him know he was there" as the oldies would say.

Just before the hour mark it was Firmino who stamped his name on the scoresheet after a nice finish from inside the box. Klopp was absolutely ecstatic and so were the players it was wonderful to see and whilst it would have been nice to have put on this performance in the final, I'll take revenge in any shape or form and knowing we've dented their title hopes while helping Leicester in the process? I'll take that! 

An almost perfect performance from Liverpool in my opinion perhaps only affected by a missing goal from Origi who I felt deserved one for his efforts and also that niggling question over what to do with Christian Benteke. He doesn't get many chances these days but it was evident to me last night that he's just not really bothered anymore. He had a couple of one-twos but his movement as always was lacking and he definitely does not fit into Klopp's system. I'd be very surprised if he's still here after the summer.

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lallana Nets In Riveting 5-4 Win

Image via
Five four, I keep saying it but it just won't sink in, five four. What on earth just happened? I will attempt to explain to some extent in the following match report. Liverpool are right to feel ecstatic with the 5-4 victory over Norwich but when the dust has settled there are several questions that need to be asked, particularly concerning the defence.

The game began with continued pressure from Norwich who started the match far more brightly than Liverpool but against the run of play, Klopp's side opened up the scoring after just 18 minutes. A Firmino effort which should have been saved by goalkeeper Declan Rudd somehow managed to spin back towards goal and provided the Reds with their first of the game. It wasn't clear then however that another eight goals would be scored!

Naismith was quick to make his mark on the game when initially he made a crunching tackle on Lucas Leiva, it was a bad one in my opinion and I'm surprised he wasn't shown a yellow card. Probably just still bitter about all those Merseyside derbies he's lost playing against Lucas eh? He would later get his own back though with a great strike.

Prior to that Norwich managed to find an equaliser via Mbokani after some shambolic defending from Liverpool. The play originally began from a corner which wasn't dealt with by the back four, a ball back into the box then enabled Mbokani to score with a neatly timed back heel. Just 12 minutes later and it was Naismith's turn, the ex Evertonian broke past three Liverpool players in the box and struck low to the far left of goal, Simon Mignolet really should have done better from that angle and the Reds were now well and truly on the back foot.

Both teams came out in the second half having made zero changes and it was Norwich once again who began strongly. After eight minutes this time they'd once again found the back of the net. Alberto Moreno was at fault for this one and I don't see how he can escape any criticism because it really was just a stupid piece of play. His first challenge that brought down Naismith in the box was disregarded by the ref and Moreno should have realised he was a lucky boy there but no, he just kicked the back of Naismith again, idiotic. I really like Moreno but it was just a daft decision from him. Wes Hoolahan converted the penalty despite Simon Mignolet heading in the right direction.

After being 1-0 up and now 3-1 down after 53 minutes I was struggling to see how the Reds were going to get back into this one but just seconds after the penalty Liverpool were up the other end of the pitch. A completely unmarked Jordan Henderson was gifted the ball in the box and scored with a powerful finish to make the scoreline 3-2.

Adam Lallana then entered the fray replacing Jordon Ibe who to be honest was one of few influential players on the pitch, it seemed like a questionable substitution but would turn out to be perfect. Lallana was immediately involved in the game offering an assist to an encroaching Roberto Firmino who with a lovely finish put the Reds level in the game. This game was just ridiculous 3-3 after just an hour and there were still several signs that there were still more goals to come.

At 74 minutes it was James Milner's turn to join the party, he's been quite in several games this season but I thought he held his composure well in the one on one chance with the keeper, he remained strong and converted an important goal to put Liverpool into what looked like a final lead to obtain all three points.

When the fourth official held up the board with five minutes, Klopp and the majority of Liverpool fans appeared to be disgruntled little did we know that the extra time would be precious. It sure didn't feel like it though when Bassong sent home a beautiful strike with his left foot from outside the box. I couldn't believe it, shouting and swearing I was convinced we'd thrown away a vital three points.

With just two minutes left of the game and after watching Liverpool's performance in the 90 it just didn't feel like we'd be able to find a glorious last minute winner but we did, we bloody did! Adam Lallana, a man who also perhaps hasn't been justifying his massive price tag of late was never going to let this chance go flying. With 94 minutes on the clock the ex Southampton man scored with his left foot from the centre of the box. Phenomenal, how we had managed to win 5-4 I have no idea but I didn't care about the mishaps and dodgy performance at this point, I was too fixated on Jurgen Klopp who had made a sprint for Adam Lallana, been bombarded by the team and nearly lost his glasses in the process. Just brilliant.

Next up for Liverpool is a massive game against Stoke in the league cup semi final!

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

One Shot On Target Was All They Needed

Image via
Manchester United walked away from Anfield on Sunday afternoon with a vital three points after somehow beating a Liverpool side who had bossed the majority of the game. It was the Reds who were creating the majority of the chances but United needed just one on target to convert via Wayne Rooney and send a strong message to Jurgen Klopp.

In a game that saw goalkeeper David De Gea win man of the match it is no wonder that so many Liverpool fans are utterly frustrated with the result. You can call me bias all you want but I'm sorry, United did not deserve to win that game, I'm not sure they even deserved a draw yet they walked away victorious, which leaves you asking questions about your own side.

Jurgen Klopp obviously hasn't had time to put a stamp on this side yet so this is by no means a dig at the manager but surely the owners must start looking at this team and start supporting the manager financially because this squad just isn't good enough.

There were flickers in the game from the likes of Firmino and Jordan Henderson but one man certainly not worthy of his price tag in my opinion is Adam Lallana. I can't say I was excited when we signed him but at the same time I felt confident he would find his footing in a Liverpool shirt but it just hasn't happened, he's extremely disappointing for me and when fielded up front in a formation lacking a striker, I'm sorry but you've got to pull a performance out of the bag. Firmino wasn't exactly setting the world alight either but at least he was making things happen.

This really was one of the worst Liverpool V Manchester United games I've ever seen, it was boring, both sides didn't even seem up for it and the only moment of fire was when Fellaini decided to kick off. I was actually thankful that Fellaini was being such an arsehole to be honest because at least that was something to get geared up about.

Some of our players just didn't look bothered, it was very hard to tell that this fixture was supposed to be one of the best in the world. United spent the majority of the game doing as they have done for most of their recent fixtures, failing to attack but maintaining possession. Liverpool took several opportunities on the break but fluffed long range chances and never really thought through their options when in a position to take the lead.

For me, this raised another question, do you or don't you start Christian Benteke? I never wanted Benteke in the first place, as a fan of Balotelli (yes I know nobody else likes him) I realised immediately that Benteke would not fit into our system because he's not the most active of players and relies heavily in my opinion on service, service that we did not and still do not provide. Despite this, I honestly feel that Benteke needs to feature, it's pretty clear that he's not Klopp's kind of player but for me the manager should have brought him on a lot sooner because it was evident our set up wasn't working.

The thing people forget with Benteke is that he may sometimes fail to be in the box at the right time and yes he might not put as much effort in as we all would like but you can guarantee if you chuck Benteke onto a pitch he immediately draws attention from the opposition defence. Who are United going to be concerned about on a break or a set piece, Benteke or Firmino? I would place a bet that they'd follow the big man, leaving players like Firmino in a free position and hence more likely to find the back of the net. Benteke doesn't just bring goals to the game, he brings a presence and like him or not I'm afraid I think we need to take advantage of that whilst we have him.

At 78 minutes Wayne Rooney showed how playing a striker is probably a good idea, even if they don't really do anything for 90% of the game, Rooney showed that he could be clinical and give his side that all important goal. You have to wonder, if Liverpool had played a striker sooner, would we have also been celebrating instead of ruing our chances?

Who knows.

All I know is we need some new players and fast, losing to United is annoying as it is but to lose in that fashion? Infuriating.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Reds Could Only Muster A Draw Against Sion

Image via The Guardian
Liverpool welcomed FC Sion to Anfield on Thursday night and whilst I was unable to watch the match this time out, just the highlights, I'll do my best to give you a run down of the key events. As much as I love a good natter this is another boring factual post but don't worry, I'll have a rant on for the Merseyside Derby, I can almost guarantee that!

Rodgers made seven changes to the side that featured against Aston Villa at the weekend but he retained faith in some of his usual starters such as Mignolet and Ings.

The Reds didn't take long at all to get off the mark in the game when Adam Lallana scored with a shot from the centre of the box. He was assisted by Origi who had been given a call up after playing a bit-part role recently.

While Liverpool appeared to gain some control during this portion of the game, Sion quickly put a stop to the Reds' complacency after Assifuah netted for the away side on the 17 minute mark with a right footed effort.

Almost immediately afterwards it looked as though the Reds had regained their lead but the goal from Danny Ings was ruled offside.

The Reds continued to to apply some pressure in the remainder of the first half with Ibe and Can having to watch their efforts fail. Liverpool couldn't find a goal though and therefore entered the second half level with their Swiss visitors.

At the start of the second half Alberto Moreno was immediately brought on to replace Nathaniel Clyne. From what I could tell whilst following live tweets, those watching the match were very frustrated with Clyne's performance and so the substitution appeared to please many. I like Moreno to be fair, sometimes he gets caught being defensively naive having placed too much focus on an attacking opportunity however I think he's getting better with time.

Four minutes into the second half, Kolo Toure hit the bar, that was a shock to say the least haha!

On the hour mark Danny Ings who had earlier learnt of his England call up was replaced with Philippe Coutinho. From the highlights alone (not much to go on I'm aware) it did appear as though Danny was having a bit of an off day but then again it doesn't help when you're out of position does it...

As the second half continued FC Sion gained confidence and continued to maintain their footing in the game. Assifuah the goalscorer was causing issues for Liverpool who had to deal with the growing attack.

At the 76 minute mark and still with no real hope of a winner Brendan Rodgers decided to replace Kolo Toure with Mamadou Sakho which appeared to be a bit of a pointless decision to be honest. Liverpool had collected eight shots on target at this point but had only converted once so you do sometimes find yourself questioning the calibre of the attack. But nevertheless, swapping defenders when you need a winner just doesn't seem to add up?

As the half continued things got worse for the Reds and despite some chances from Philippe Coutinho it quickly became evident that Liverpool would be walking away with a draw.

I forgot to ask you for your thoughts on the game as I had to write this up in a bit of a rush cause I'm at Uni today so apologies for that. To be fair though it wouldn't be hard to guess your reaction!

Next up for Liverpool is the Merseyside derby in what surely is a massive, massive game for Brendan Rodgers.

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Not Quite The Perfect Ending

It wasn't quite the fairy-tale ending that Steven Gerrard would have dreamt of at Anfield on Saturday evening but the Liverpool captain was given an overwhelming reception from his supporters, his team mates, opposition fans and admirers all over the world. It was an emotional day for the captain but unfortunately the Reds couldn't pick up a win to complete the number eight's last performance in front of the Kop.

It was a poor performance from Liverpool who began the game under building pressure from Crystal Palace. For the first 15 minutes or so the Reds had some decent bouts of possession but they were failing to create anything meaningful with it.

Crystal Palace on the other hand were looking more and more dangerous with Bolasie at the head of their attacks. At 25 minutes though against the run of play, Liverpool had found the back of the net thanks to Adam Lallana. Lallana remained strong in the build up and for me it looked like he'd taken the ball too far however the ex Southampton man was confident and finished well to the top left corner putting Liverpool into the lead. Lallana immediately ran to Gerrard to celebrate.

Liverpool didn't fully capitalise on their lead but Brendan Rodgers' side did begin to create some more chances from the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling. For me, even being ahead in the game I still found myself wishing Rodgers would play some strikers but today was about Steven Gerrard, I didn't have time to run my usual moan about the tactics and line up.

It was evident though that Liverpool were once again struggling to find a final product. In the meantime Crystal Palace grew more and more confident. At 42 minutes Alan Pardew's side were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. Jason Puncheon was the man to step up, hiding his conversation to fellow team mates by putting his head in his shirt. His ploy worked, Liverpool were left dumbstruck as Puncheon's perfectly placed free kick put Palace back in the game.

As the second half began Crystal Palace were quick to put Liverpool on the back foot once again, scoring after just 15 minutes. Zaha had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds but he converted easily for his side. For me, it was an offside goal but we couldn't really complain too much I felt as early incidents in the box involving Skrtel could have easily led to a Crystal Palace penalty. Palace were the better team as well and so it was only going to be a matter of time before they found another goal.

Rickie Lambert and Lucas Leiva entered play at 65 minutes for Liverpool as Rodgers opted to push Gerrard forward. Gerrard obviously would of been desperate for a goal in front of the Kop and whilst the move did improve the run of play for the Reds slightly there were still no meaningful chances.

At 90 minutes Crystal Palace sealed the deal. A challenge from Lucas on Zaha lead Jonathan Moss to award a penalty. The only problem was that the foul was outside the box, it wasn't a peno. Glenn Murray converted for the away side as they secured all three points.

It was hard to think of anything other than the departing Gerrard in this game but you have to feel disappointed with yet another poor performance from Liverpool. I'd pretty much given up several games ago but the more I dwell on our performances this season, the more I worry about next season. This transfer window needs to be absolutely spot on and if Brendan Rodgers remains in charge he needs to field a team to their strengths and remove some of the stubbornness that has plagued this campaign.

The final game of the season for Liverpool is at Stoke.

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