The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 5 April 2020

TWO MORE GAMES

TWO MORE GAMES. 

That's what I was saying to myself over and over again approximately four weeks ago. At the time I had shared the below on social media, which unfortunately now sounds more like a distasteful joke but this was genuinely how I was feeling. The club I had supported and followed my whole life, a full 30 years, had got within touching distance of lifting their first Premier League title and then a pandemic breaks out.


You just couldn't write it, it's peak Liverpool. Throughout the years, the club and football as a sport has faced some torrid times but to throw around what I'm sure will be the word of the year for 2020... this is unprecedented.

After what has happened in Britain and across the globe over the past few weeks, it does really make you take a step back and think about the vital things in life. Bill Shankly once said "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." On this occasion, I have to disagree with the great Shanks. 

Interestingly, it's the great man himself though who has really got me thinking about the latest decision from our wonderful football club. The club this week has decided to take advantage of the Government furlough scheme in order to assist with paying its non-playing staff. While the scheme is there to help those employees from all companies who may suffer during this crisis, it seems immoral for a club that checked in around £40million plus in profit last year to take this route when so much more could be done. It goes against everything the club, the city and its fans stand for and I truly hope another conclusion is reached.

"The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It's the way I see football, the way I see life." - Bill Shankly

Away from the club's current stance of furloughing, one man who has made me immensely proud is our captain Jordan Henderson. It was revealed this week that the skipper is working to set up a fund for NHS workers by speaking regularly with captains from other Premier League clubs. This is the example Liverpool should be setting.

Image source: Liverpool Echo
With no real indication of when it may be safe to restart the Premier League and football across the country in general, while I am desperate to see my boys back in action (I heard YNWA on a quiz show midweek and nearly started crying!) this whole situation has made me realise how lucky we are and it really makes you take stock and value the smaller things in life.

All I do hope is that Liverpool are given the opportunity to earn that trophy, I do not want to be gifted the Premier League title and do not feel it is right to scrap the whole season. Next season hasn't yet begun so sort out what's happening in the here and now before you go looking to plan ahead.

I don't know when, but at some point this year, Jurgen Klopp and his phenomenal Redmen will lift that elusive piece of silverware. I always thought I would cry when we won the league but as this season went on, the Reds were making it far too easy, the raw emotion of going so close in the 2018/2019 season was absent so I was beginning to think the waterworks wouldn't happen. I'm almost certain now though, after everything that has happened, seeing Jordan Henderson lift that cup will not just be a true sense of happiness, it will symbolise a return to normality and I will never look at life or football in the same way again.

Stay safe folks, stay home. YNWA.

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Monday, 2 September 2013

Birthday Boy Scores To Mark 100 Years Of Shankly

Shankly made the people happy and I'm sure he would have been immensely proud of Daniel Sturridge on Sunday as the number 15 found the back of the net for Liverpool after flicking on a Daniel Agger header. Shankly would have been 100 years old today and whilst Sturridge remains a year behind a quarter of that tally, the forward continued to make the people happy at Anfield yesterday as his goal secured a win over David Moyes' Manchester United.
Image: dailymail.co.uk
Liverpool were the more dominant side in the first half as Manchester United struggled to deal with the pressure applied from the Reds. An early goal also aided Liverpool's progress and United at times seemed flustered messing up a lot of crosses and passes. The second half though saw United gain some control and the match ended with the devils having the majority of possession (57%). Liverpool fought hard though to ensure United could not break through with Martin Skrtel putting in a fantastic performance proving he hasn't lost it at all!

It was a mad start at Anfield for any Liverpool fan watching live yesterday, I don't know about you but I struggled to accept that we had in fact started the game very well and scored within 4 minutes, it just seemed surreal! The goal for Liverpool came going into the 4th minute when Steven Gerrard took a corner. The resulting cross met the head of Daniel Agger and his shot did look as though it was heading for goal, Sturridge either wasn't convinced or fancied stealing a goal for himself, either way it's a good job he put his head on it and converted because the replays showed that if left, Cleverly would have probably made the clearance. Sturridge was swamped by his team mates as he attempted to celebrate his birthday goal. I at this stage, sitting in a pub pretty much full of United fans had decided to complete my own rendition of the Sturridge dance! Haha!

To score so early against United is obviously a positive but it also creates a tense atmosphere because you know United will usually find an equaliser and once they've done that they find enough momentum to go and grab a winner. We've seen it happen too many times and so it was vital Liverpool kept control and essentially kept Robin Van Persie quiet.

Liverpool looked the better side in the first 45 minutes but there still wasn't that many chances being created. It didn't matter much though because United were also failing to really trouble Simon Mignolet. Whilst the imaginative footwork of Coutinho on occasions found paths throughthe United defence there was no final product. It became evident post match that Daniel Sturridge was playing through some pain and was actually quite concerned about taking shots (good job he scored with his head!) this perhaps explains though why sometimes Sturridge wasn't in the right place at the right time.

With just over 5 minutes of the first half left Manchester United had to make their first substitution after Phil Jones injured himself. Valencia took his place and did give United some more options. The end of the second half also saw tempers beginning to fray as Robin Van Persie was involved in an altercation with the Liverpool defence, Steven Gerrard soon sorted that situation out though!

The second half saw no changes from either side but the break appeared to have encouraged a faltering United side as they managed to retain more possession. Liverpool may not have been in charge of the ball but they were still constantly applying pressure to United making it as difficult as possible for them to find a way through. I was very pleased with this aspect of our game because I don't feel we looked as positive last season when we weren't in possession where as so far this season we have exactly the right attitude and set up for these situations.

Just before the hour mark Liverpool made their first substitution replacing Iago Aspas with Raheem Sterling. I must admit Aspas didn't have the best of games for me and he looked a little bit out of touch, it's still very early doors though for him. I was pleased to see Sterling enter the fray but this raised the only negative I'd spotted and that was the weakness of the bench. The addition of Sakho, Ilori and Moses will obviously help this situation and the return of Suarez but for me we still lack a little bit of edge, we don't have too many players we can bring on to really change a game.

Shortly after our sub United also made one bringing on Nani for Ashley Young. Nani has been out injured for a while (My source said he was still injured for the preview) and it was clear he'd been out of play for some time, his touch was nothing short of terrible and the United fans surrounding me in the pub were constantly moaning about his performance. It really didn't look like United were going to be able to find themselves a goal, they may have improved their performance in comparison to the first half but Liverpool were adamant that they would not break through.

Hernandez also came on for United with 20 minutes to go and he's always on the look out for a last minute goal but not even he could alter Moyes' fate of still never winning at Anfield. Liverpool made another substitution late on too after Johnson was injured, Andre Wisdom did well to keep his composure in a high tempo game. And finally Luis Alberto replaced Coutinho with 7 minutes left of full time.

In the second half United had forced Simon Mignolet into a couple of saves but nothing was getting past the man who has yet to concede in the Premier League. United also I noticed were forcing many shots from outside the area due to the struggle of making their way inside it. For me, they were never going to score from this far out and so their efforts were not rewarded. Very late on Liverpool nearly doubled their lead after a Raheem Sterling strike was tipped over the bar by David De Gea but it wasn't to be. Liverpool weren't bothered though, they had just recorded yet another win in the Premier League and over Manchester United!

I think we can all admit that the Reds were not playing to their best ability yesterday but that's the thing, if you can beat Manchester United whilst you're playing poorly that quite simply is brilliant! We'd have never of won that game yesterday if it was last season, we'd have crumbled and to see us fight on for the 90 minutes and hold another 1-0 lead, in a way it was fantastic. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not bothered how we go about winning at the moment, you can keep your sexy football, I'd take 1-0's all season and with Sturridge in the form that he is, with Suarez still to come back, this really is an exciting time for a Liverpool fan, of course we don't want to get too carried away but the early signs from this season prove that we CAN challenge for the Champions League.

Oh and in case you hadn't noticed... We're top of the league!

Next up for Liverpool is Swansea.

For all the latest transfer updates please follow the new dedicated Twitter account for the blog! - @_TheLiverBird I'm currently following everyone back too!

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Friday, 17 June 2011

7 Days, 7 Guests - Red, White And Blue

Today's post is by Stephen Brandt you can follow him on Twitter @KingKennyfanlfc his article is a tale about being a Liverpool fan and living in America. I think a lot of my readers may be able to relate to this post by Stephen, for more from him his blog can be found here.

Those who know me, know I’m obsessed with the UK.  I blame my father, but I also thank my father on that one. Everything from the Avengers, to The Bill, to soccer I pretty much watch or do something with. But let’s step this back for a minute. What if said person wasn’t from the UK, or haven’t ever been in the UK? Would that be normal? Or would the be Stephen Brandt?

I’m not saying I’m abnormal when it comes to the global sport, but for where I live, and the media coverage of the sport, it should be a shock. A little history on me, I’m Stephen Brandt, and I was born in Columbus Ohio. I was raised in Rochester NY, and went to high school in Minnesota. So there’s no real hot bed of European soccer coverage for a 32 year old man. Yes I know calling myself young is kind of funny.
               
But what made me a Red when the only matches I could see are the German league, Manchester United, AC Milan, and Chelsea matches? Well, Bill Shankly,  and yes I know I just  said I’m only 32, and how would I know him? Well, I was fortunate to be maturing at the time of the internet. Anything and everything about Liverpool is easy to find online.
               
The man had so many quotes, so many ideas, so many ways to drag a club that was in a poor state, that to pick one, would be wrong. So what did I do? Pick one! It wasn’t that easy, because he spoke so much during his time. I wish I had been alive during his time, to witness most of it.
Talking about the Liverpool fans - 'I'm just one of the people who stands on the kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It's a kind of marriage of people who like each other.'

               
So what does this mean? The manager is one of the fans. And how many managers has Liverpool had who aligned themselves with the fans? Only the good ones, that’s where that manager who started out the season went wrong to start. Kenny is a supporter in a legend’s body, Bob Paisley loved the fans and didn’t want the manager job, and then there’s Shanks, who constantly praised the fans.
               
Why I bring this up is, that in so many cases the management, players, etc think of themselves as better than the fans. That has to stop, if the great man could all those years ago see it, why can’t more people, probably just as smart as him do the same? Think of Kenny, while he never was directly influenced by Shanks, had it second hand. And he loves the fans, almost always talks about the supporters.  If you can connect with the fanbase, no matter what sport it is, that is one major way to get yourself instantly loved.
               
If you are getting a theme with me talking about Kenny a lot, I love that man, he’s the main reason I’m a LFC fan.

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Monday, 7 June 2010

“Yes, he misses a few, but he gets in the right places to miss them.”

A great man said that - Bill Shankly. Those words were uttered in 1966, a memorable year for most fans of football, he was describing the legendary forward Roger Hunt who had a superb 11 years at Liverpool football club.

I bring this up because in case you haven't noticed, the World Cup starts this week and i figured it would be a good time to do a post i've been thinking about for a while on attitudes to the whole England versus Club argument.

I'm a massive Liverpool fan as i'm pretty sure you are all aware but you're also aware that i do not reside or come from the wonderful city that is Liverpool. Because of this (even if i wanted to) i cannot join in with the "We're not English, we are Scouse" folk.

Such is Liverpudlian humour and the wit of the Liverpool fans, i can always totally see where these people are coming from. I too will not be going absolutely mental if Wayne Rooney nets the winner against USA in a few days time, and you certainly won't catch me praising a last minute John Terry tackle with full sincerity but you can bet your bottom dollar that if Gerrard is on the end of a screamer or Johnson makes a great run, Carragher a great tackle, i will be up out my seat protesting and supporting the boys.

I fully see the reasons why some Liverpool supporters do not get as worked up about the World Cup as other fans but i just feel it is a shame, especially for the few lads flying the Liver Bird under those Three Lions that we should not get behind them a bit. England is a lowly second to my football club but it doesn't mean i won't enjoy watching my country with my family and friends and hope that we do well and do the country proud, and most importantly that the lads representing Liverpool have a stormer of a competition.

I get the story every time from my Dad of 1966 when he was lying in the living room on the carpet with his older brother, a true old fashioned raw football anecdote which ended with his brother smashing his head off the lampshade, something i can now relate to after doing the same thing the first time around we beat Chelsea in the Champions League.

As a Liverpool fan i am 100% proud of the fact that Roger Hunt a legend in the Red shirt was such a key aspect of the 1966 World Cup win for England. Along with Ian Callaghan and Gerry Byrne.

It still makes me proud seeing John Barnes skill up the Brazilian defence... Heck i'm still filled with pride (albeit mixed with a bit of laughter) when Heskey nets the fifth against the Germans.

I think it's partly due to the sense of togetherness, for a short time, everyone is as one - which as a rule is an LFC tradition itself. Liverpool are still the root of the celebrations though and i'll be the first to criticize any mistakes from the pompous London boys, but wouldn't it be just great to see Steven Gerrard lift the World Cup...

Okay... That's not gonna happen but you catch my drift.

Get some booze down ya and one of those silly St. Georges top hats, sit in a pub with some bitters (the fans not the drink that is) and at least get behind the boys a bit.

Vindaloo, Love's got the world in motion and all that...

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