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Showing posts with the label Champions League

Kop Art

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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

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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

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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

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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]

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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

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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

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❓: Champions League first play-off round, first leg ๐Ÿ“…: Tuesday 15th August 19:45 GMT ๐Ÿ“: 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

Reds Remain In Champions League

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A 2-2 draw with Ludogorets on Wednesday evening means Liverpool are still in the Champions League and require a win over Basel at Anfield to progress through to the round of 16. It could have been a very different story for the Reds though after a very early mistake from Simon Mignolet gave the home side the lead.

Brendan Rodgers actually made some changes to the line up and to an extent I was quite pleased. I was especially happy to see Kolo Toure reintroduced and Steven Gerrard fielded in an attacking role.

It would fall to the man between the sticks though to create the first real moment of note in the game. A relatively meek shot from outside the box by Marcelinho was directed towards Simon Mignolet, positioned correctly, all Mignolet had to do was collect the ball or put his body over it but what did he do? Parry it straight into the path of Abalo who converted with ease after just two minutes. Unbelievable.

I'd be lying if I said I was Mignolet's biggest fan and I'v…

Make Or Break In Champions League For Reds

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Liverpool prepare to face Ludogorets on Wednesday evening in their adopted home of Sofia. Ludogorets' ground does not meet UEFA standards and so the game will be played in the capital. Sharing the nickname of Crystal Palace "The Eagles" could have another embarrassment in store for Rodgers' Reds tomorrow evening.

The injury situation for Liverpool has slightly improved with Jose Enrique and Mamadou Sakho both featuring in training. Mario Balotelli though has not travelled with the squad. For Ludogorets Bezjak is out with a groin problem but the defender Minev has become available after serving a ban.

The last time the two sides met was of course also the first time the two sides met. When we drew Lugogorets in the group it was supposed to be plain sailing at Anfield for Liverpool however the Bulgarians were no pushovers and showed real promise in attack. Mario Balotelli's first goal for the club and a penalty from Steven Gerrard however secured the Reds a win.

W…

Second String Liverpool Keep Out First Rate Ronaldo

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Looking at the starting line up yesterday you would have been a fool to suggest Liverpool would only concede once at the Bernabeu. After Brendan Rodgers fielded what was essentially a B team there was disappointment from several Kopites on Tuesday evening who had been looking forward to a glittering tie with Real Madrid.

I was another fan raising questions about the choice of line up, mainly because I felt it was a bit disrespectful to be honest but as always, whoever Brendan picks I will back them 100%. One player I was happy to see introduced was Kolo Toure. I've been calling for him to be back in defence for a while now and boy did he put on a cult hero's display.

It quickly became evident in the first half that despite the slightly unconvincing starting XI, there was a method in Rodgers' madness. He'd instructed his team to remain compact, disciplined and when you manage to keep Cristiano Ronaldo silent for the majority of the game... there has to be credit given …

Reds Dream Of A Miracle At The Bernabeu

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Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Tuesday evening as Brendan Rodgers' side aim to keep their hopes of progressing to the next stage of the Champions League alive. Daniel Sturridge has travelled with the team but surely it's too early for him to feature? He will apparently be subject to a late fitness test.

Tomorrow is my birthday which only makes my excitement for this massive Champions League tie even greater. Being an optimistic fan though has its downsides like fooling yourself into thinking your team can pick up some points against Real Madrid only to have your dreams crushed...

However, I can dream of miracles and I bloody will dream of them. It's the Champions League and anything can happen.

Liverpool's last meeting with Real two weeks ago ended rather badly. Madrid had the Reds well inside their pockets and a flicker of attacks from Liverpool was only eventually allowed as the away side decided to take their foot off the gas.

On Tuesday n…

"Sheer Madness"

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"Sheer madness" that is the descriptive phrase Mark Lawrenson has selected after watching Liverpool lose 3-0 to Real Madrid. Surely a reaction like that can only be warranted by the poor defensive performance? No? ... No. Apparently it is "sheer madness" that Mario Balotelli would swap his shirt with an opposition player at half time, forgive me for thinking Lawro has pushed the 'overkill' button here.

I never set out for this report to be so heavily focused on Mario but after watching the media reaction bubble from a molehill to a mountain, I simply had to voice my opinion.

Several Liverpool fans never wanted Balotelli in the first place, that's fine. These people are not the ones I hold a frustration with, nor am I necessarily frustrated with the rest of our fanbase who are rightly raising questions about Balotelli's performances. My issue lies with those who are making him a scapegoat and the media who love nothing more than to write sensational…