Showing posts with the label Champions League

Mané Spreads The Love In Portugal

Liverpool won their first Champions League knockout match for nine years on Wednesday evening as Sadio Mané led the way on Valentine's Day.
Husbands, wives, partners and more were left with the difficult choice of ditching a nice meal to watch the footy on Wednesday but the lads certainly made sure the risk paid off supplying a 5-0 for the onlooking Kopites.  Mané grabbed the first goal of the night when a powerful effort was poorly dealt with by the Porto keeper. 
Salah followed four minutes later with an audaciously confident effort. The composure from the Egyptian in order to lift and head the ball away from the keeper before finishing was just phenomenal. He's an absolute god. 
Porto failed to look convincing on their home turf with just a few minor examples on show of their known capability. Sometimes teams just struggle to deal with the constant attack from the Reds and this was certainly the case on Wednesday evening. 
At 53 minutes, Mané had scored again, this time goalkeep…

Five Things We Learned From Spartak Seven

1 Attack is the best form of defence? To think I was actually nervous before kick off? After watching us crumble against Sevilla even at half time after three goals went in, I still felt nervous. The Reds though proved that sometimes attack is the best form of defence and boy do we have some attack. 
Some of the link up play between the forwards was stunning let alone the actual goals. It's fair to say that Spartak offered little in attack but why would they when they've had the stuffing knocked out of them?
The confident win puts Liverpool safely into the last 16 and bodes well for our match against Everton at the weekend. 

2 Coutinho will be missed A hat-trick for the Brazilian, although his final effort was helped along the way. Earlier this season the folk on Twitter were going mental at Couts, some of them even begging for him to be left to rot on the bench. 
I understood the anger and frustration but you can't leave this man on the bench, he truly is a magician. I just hop…

Reds Throw Away 3-0 Lead

Only Liverpool could let a 3-0 lead slip like that couldn't they? In the grand scheme of things the draw probably won't even matter but it's not the point is it? The Reds are so unbelievably weak at the back and facing a distinct lack of leadership I just don't think we have enough in the attack to carry us through the season. 

The game started phenomenally well with a goal inside just two minutes from Bobby Firmino. Swiftly followed by a beautiful header from Mane, Firmino then found Liverpool's third and final goal of the game at the 30 minute mark. 
Back in the dressing room at half time Klopp must have been over the moon. Comfortably winning and knowing his side were not only top of the group but that they would go through with a game to spare. All we had to do was see out the match. 
There's no denying that Sevilla were always going to come out second half with a bit more gusto but there was no excuse for Liverpool crumbling like they did. 
It may seem like I&…

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.

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 take…

Kop Art

So the folks over at Art of Football were kind enough to send me a couple of prints to review and I'm chuffed to pieces with what came through the post last week.
Everybody has one of those moments in football that they will never forget and for many a Liverpool fan from a certain era, that moment came on a May evening in 2005. The Champions League in Istanbul is by far the most iconic moment of my time so far as a Liverpool fan, we've had our moments in other cups and there's even been a title run under Brendan Rodgers but nothing comes close to the victory that Rafa Benitez miraculously steered his side to in Europe.
These prints capture the excitement and the nerves of that night with great simplicity. 

Captain Fantastic

One Night In Istanbul
The prints come beautifully presented, are reasonably priced and would make a wonderful gift for any football fan in your life. I'm already considering getting the fella one of his idol Steve Bull haha.
Need to get myself some nice f…

Five Talking Points From Moscow

1) One of those days... again?  How do you have a front line consisting of Salah, Firmino, Mane and Coutinho yet fail to be clinical? It's amazing isn't it, you're sat there thinking "you know what would be perfect here? An in-form Peter Crouch." Ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration but you get the jist, this side needs a true finisher. It's ridiculous and it makes zero sense why we should struggle in front of goal but Liverpool definitely need to work on nailing home a result. 
We were all over Spartak for the majority of the game and some of the chances were agonising to watch when they failed to pay off. Part of me felt as though having Sturridge on the field helped with the more direct opportunities but then even he fluffed a couple of options. 
It's just so frustrating because while this was definitely "one of those days" you can't keep having "those days" and certainly not in the Champions League.  2) Karius should have got …

Reds Travel To Moscow

After an eventful 3-2 win over Leicester in the league on Saturday, Liverpool travel to Russia on Tuesday evening as they prepare to face Spartak Moscow in the Champions League. 
Despite winning the league last year Spartak haven't started in great fashion with just one win from their last seven matches in all competitions. 

Liverpool don't have any fresh injury woes for this fixture and for the first time ever, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are all available at the same time. Their Russian counterparts are without Luiz Adriano. The manager may also have to rethink his starting XI if captain Denis Glushakov remains out.
The last time the two sides met was in October 2002. Again in the Champions League, the Reds got the better of the Russians over two legs winning 3-1 away and 5-0 at home. 
Michael Owen scored a hat-trick in Russia while Heskey (x2), Cheyrou (remember him!), Hyypia and Diao scored at Anfield. 
The Reds may be struggling defensively at t…

Five Things We Learned From The Sevilla Draw

1 Same old defence Liverpool just can't seem to get out of this defensive rut, I don't even know what the answer is other than perhaps a complete rethink of tactics and training which seems very rash but the Reds need some kind of defensive intervention. 
Dejan Lovren on Wednesday night should have easily prevented Sevilla's first goal but it's not even just him, the whole back four is a strange and disjointed set up at the moment.
It just doesn't seem to click, even things like solid first time clearances are lacking and the amount of times Liverpool get caught on the second ball? Shocking. Must do better.

2 The attacking line is mesmerising  While the defence is something we'd all like to forget about the attacking line is something to be proud of. On some of the counter attacks yesterday, watching the likes of Mane, Firmino and Salah stream forward was mesmerising. Any side facing that coming at them is going to have issues but frustratingly, Liverpool didn't…

Liverpool V Sevilla [PREVIEW]

Liverpool enter the Champions League group stages on Wednesday evening for the first time since 2014. The Reds' three year absence has felt like a lifetime to most fans and after a favourable draw in the group, all eyes are on Jurgen Klopp's side to open up our European season in a winning fashion.

Liverpool are no strangers to Sevilla having faced them extremely recently in the 2015/2016 Europa League final. This is however the only time that the two sides have met. Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring on the night but the Reds ended up losing the game 3-1.

Team news for Liverpool means that Philippe Coutinho could feature for the first time since the whole Barcelona saga unfolded. I for one can't be arsed with holding a grudge, I'm perfectly happy for him to feature in the side, frankly it would be a waste not to use such a talent. Hopefully if he does start he can find the back of the net.

Thankfully for the Reds Sadio Mane will also be available, his red card picked up…

Hoffenheim Result, Champions League Draw And The League Cup

So firstly, at 4:15am this morning, or some ungodly hour close to that, Liverpool drew Leicester away in the League Cup. Whilst we should care, none of us really do at the moment because we're all still hyped about the Hoffenheim win. 
The Reds' 4-2 (Agg 6-3) victory over the German side means they have secured their place in Pot 3 of the Champions League draw which will take place by the time I have uploaded this post to blogger (don't worry I'll add commentary at the end). 

As for last night though? What a game! Liverpool looked at their fluid attacking best with solid performances from the likes of Can, Firmino and Mane. 
The only problem for me, without trying to go on a negative here, is that it's no surprise we played so well at home in the second leg where Hoffenheim simply had to play openly. 
The Reds play perfectly in these sorts of situations, when teams aren't afraid to attack and leave space or when they simply have to go all guns blazing to have any c…

Champions League Qualifier | Hoffenheim v Liverpool

❓: Champions League first play-off round, first leg 📅: Tuesday 15th August 19:45 GMT 📍: Rhein-Neckar Arena, Sinsheim Who are Hoffenheim?  The German side hail from the Sinsheim region and up until 2008 were a team struggling in the lower realms of the German football system. Last year they finished 4th in the Bundesliga and they have some solid centre forwards to call upon. 

Manager Julian Nagelsmann got his side through the whole of the 2016/2017 season with just four losses to their name in the league.
Fun fact: Hoffenheim open their home matches by playing Rammstein's "Engel".

Should Liverpool be concerned? On the one hand, Liverpool should be very concerned, other than perhaps Nice most would agree that Hoffenheim were the toughest draw for our Champions League qualifier. The German side may be relatively inexperienced when it comes to Europe but they will be hungrier than most to get through and they enter this fixture on the back of a cracking season.
On the other hand Li…

Liverpool FC 2016/2017 Season Review

Yes I know, this post is ridiculously late on the blog but better late than never ay? Below I provide you with a quick rundown of each month of the 2016/2017 season. 

Was 4th place good enough? Why do I think Klopp can often be as stubborn as hell? Why did 2017 contain one of the worst matches I have ever watched as a Liverpool fan? Read on to find out.
AugustLiverpool kicked off Jurgen Klopp's full season as manager in a game away to Arsenal. The Reds have had some interesting fixtures with Arsene Wenger's side over recent years and this opening tie was no different.

Seven goals were scored in the game, four of which came from Liverpool. I was left with a strange sense of disappointment at the result though after I bet 50p on a 4-4 scoreline for a hundred quid haha.
The Reds also picked up a draw with Spurs this month but famously were beaten 2-0 by Burnley.  A 5-0 win over Burton Albion in the second round of the League Cup completed the month of August.
SeptemberLiverpool kicked…

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!
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 …

All We Have To Do Is Beat Boro

Granted, being a Liverpool fan isn't the toughest of tasks, we've had our fair share of glory over the years but even when that glory has arrived, it's never been an easy process has it?!
If the Reds had beaten Southampton earlier this month or managed to beat Bournemouth in April or if they didn't lose to Hull at home in February! Things could have been so different. But they aren't, so here we are on the final day of the season feeling massively nervous about a game that on paper should be a victory for Liverpool.
There are just three points separating Manchester City in third from Arsenal in fifth meaning a multitude of outcomes could happen on Sunday. City just need to avoid defeat to stay in the Champions League places. Similarly, if Liverpool win their European dreams are alive, a draw could be enough but it's a dangerous line to be treading with Arsenal right behind. The Gunners are very much reliant on results around them to make it into the top four on t…

Basel Brush Liverpool Aside

Liverpool were knocked out of the Champions League last night after a forgettable performance against Basel. Absent from the competition for five years, the Reds in the end could only muster a win over Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the group stages. Despite an improved performance in the second half, after Lazar Markovic was given his marching orders at 60 minutes, not even a magical Steven Gerrard set piece was enough to spur the Reds on to a win.

It was an odd starting line up from Brendan Rodgers as he opted to field both Lucas and Allen in the midfield in a game that Liverpool were desperate to win. Pushing Henderson out wide in the process it was clear to many that this set up was not going to work.

The first half for Liverpool was a struggle from the off. Aside from an occasional dangerous break from Raheem Sterling the Reds looked lacking in ideas and were unable to break through the middle of the Basel back line. The Swiss side on the other hand were oozing with confidence, un…

Reds Aim To Take Inspiration From Past Champions League Ties

There may be the small matter of an FA Cup draw later this evening but Liverpool have their eyes firmly on a very important tie with Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers' side must win in order to progress through to the round of 16.

With memories flooding back of that emphatic tie against Olympiakos way back in 2005 it's hard to fend off that magical Champions League spirit as a kopite at the moment, however Liverpool are struggling in both attack and defence and Basel will be a difficult side to deal with.

The added bonus of the game being at Anfield means Liverpool can relish in the unique atmosphere our ground provides but the Reds need goals to win and at the moment they're short in supply.

Liverpool's last meeting with Basel on the 1st October ended in a 1-0 loss. It's an interesting tie because the Reds simply have to attack which will undoubtedly leave them open at the back. Basel however can go through with a draw and so the des…