The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Adrian Saves Final Peno To Gift Reds The Super Cup

Well, that was a bit of a slog wasn't it? The Reds seem to love taking the long way round but after 120 minutes and ten penalties, Liverpool finally lifted the Super Cup after Adrian saved Abraham's spot kick.

It was written in the stars really, Adrian joins the club a week earlier, enters play in Liverpool's first Premier League match after an injury to the mighty Alisson, faces massive boots to fill but then basically wins us the Super Cup. Just brilliant. I'd tweeted at half time having a little moan at the keeper about his distribution but in fairness, I wasn't calling his saves into question and he made some important stops in the game including his penalty save.

Image via standard.co.uk

The Spaniard ended up featuring in several talking points during the match including during the second half when Chelsea were awarded a penalty. Jorginho converted and at that stage had drawn Chelsea level at 2-2 but I'm still not sure it even was a penalty. The match was reffed by female officials which was absolutely fantastic to see and I don't think it was a decision that any referee could have called at the time as it was so close, even Adrian didn't seem certain whether he'd touched the player or not.

By some standards, the Reds were lucky to even reach extra time as Frank Lampard's Chelsea side played very well for the duration of the 90 and held their nerve in time added on. The first 45 minutes for Liverpool was very sloppy, neither side found the net but it was Chelsea who looked far more likely, several through balls were catching Liverpool completely off guard and the Reds were lucky to keep the clean sheet.

For me, the midfield was just unbalanced and Oxlade-Chamberlain was extremely quiet. Add to this Fabinho who was losing a lot of possession and making mistakes and it was very difficult for Klopp's side to get hold of the ball. Luckily Fab did seem to pick up as the game went on. Chelsea found their opener thanks to Giroud after 36 minutes, the Frenchman had already caused several problems for the Liverpool defence early in the game.

By half time I was asking for the introduction of Gini to settle the midfield and I also tweeted that to win this match we'd need Bobby on. Bobby entered play immediately in the second half and instantly made an impact after setting up Sadio Mane. For a man who apparently still needs rest, the Senegalese forward looked very lively and went on to score Liverpool's second with a fantastic strike in extra time.

It was a valiant effort from the Reds who were playing in a somewhat mis-matched XI but as always battled until the very end. This team are going to be very difficult to beat this season, very difficult and once again we have proven even when we're not at our best we're a tough side to beat.

I just hope that we can use this now as another boost for the league, the missing Alisson is definitely not ideal but Adrian will feel on top of the world after tonight and here's hoping he can look after the gloves until the Brazilian returns.

Liverpool: Super Cup Winners 2019.

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Saturday, 18 May 2019

97 Points: Season Highlights

What a season, to have finished on 97 points but still not win the league just shows how phenomenal Liverpool have had to be in order to keep up with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.

Opposition fans can continue to try and wind us up all they want with their claim we were 10 points clear (we weren't) and their accusations of us bottling it but they're just miffed that they can no longer take the mick out of this football club because they're an absolute gulf away from us. 

Image via The Independent
To celebrate the season I thought I'd do a blog post with a few of my highlights from 2018/2019 and of course we still have that massive Champions League final to look forward to!

Thanks for reading this season folks, as you've probably noticed I don't get chance to blog anywhere near as much as I used to and 2019 has been crazy! I moved out of the parents' house, got another promotion and also got engaged so it's all been going on! While I may not blog as often you will still definitely see me writing as it's something I've always enjoyed.

Let me know what your highlights of the season were on Twitter: @LFCKirstyLFC

Personal Highlights:

Sturridge equaliser against Chelsea

Way back in September, Liverpool had started the season well and I was out for the weekend in London with me fella and our mates. We'd booked tickets to see Thriller Live and I didn't realise that the time would mean we'd miss most of the match.

Having managed to watch the first half in the hotel we had to set out to get to the theatre but phone signals were shocking and I was struggling to keep up to speed with the score. I knew when I left we were 1-0 down but basically didn't know much else at all.

We'd joined the queue for the theatre behind a family and all I could do was wait and hope that eventually I got signal, but I never did. Then out of nowhere, the bloke in front pulled his phone out his pocket and said "ohh blady ell Daniel Sturridge has equalised in the last minute" (he was a Chelsea fan). I'm like "what?!" shouting get in and doing the Sturridge dance, this poor bloke must have hated me but I couldn't help it, even at that stage of the season, for me I knew how massive it was for us to continue to pick up points and that Sturridge goal was huge. Even better when I finally got to see it haha.

The Everton goal

It's December, it's a chilly one and I'm in The George Wallis in Wolverhampton, one of my favourite places to watch the footy. There's barely anyone in the pub today which is strange cause it's often rammed. Despite this, there is an Everton fan, a huge Everton fan, so much so that he blasted out Z-cars off his phone in the pub prior to kick off.

Fair enough I thought, this could be an interesting one. I didn't for one second think Everton would actually cause us any bother but they did! The game dragged on and on and on but Liverpool could not find the back of the net. This match at Anfield began to feel like a banana skin and I just didn't want to deal with the backlash from this now steadily drunk Evertonian in the pub.

But, in the 96th minute, out of absolutely nowhere, a spooned shot from Virgil van Dijk found its way towards goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Most players in a Red shirt had already turned back expecting the final whistle and an easy catch for the keeper but Pickford cocked it up and who was waiting? Divock Origi. I went absolutely crazy but not as crazy as the Everton fan he was shoving the table and chairs out the way, throwing the menus on the floor, hilarious!

Pickford's puzzled face was an absolute picture!

Spurs late win

It was Mother's Day and I'd moved out of the parent's house at this stage of the season so I popped round to Mom and Dad's to see me Mom and watch the match.

My poor old Mom was basically deafened by 90 minutes. At this stage against Spurs I truly felt like we simply had to keep winning, I knew realistically we'd still be dropping points but this game felt huge and when Moura cancelled out Firmino's goal after 70 minutes I just felt absolutely gutted.

I was sat on the edge of me Mom's sofa biting all my nails off just hoping and praying there would be another chance. At this stage we were piling the pressure on City and a another win would have been massive.

At 90 minutes it came, Liverpool sure know how to wreck your nerves. Salah headed towards goal after a great cross from Trent and while the goal went down as Alderweireld it was the Egyptian who caused all the havoc. I screamed my bloody head off, jumping round me Mom's living room absolutely elated. I don't think she'd expect anything less from me on Mother's Day to be fair! Haha.

The Barcelona masterclass

Unbelieveable. Still as I type this I cannot believe what Liverpool did that night. Those who know me and those who follow the blog will know that I'm ever the optimist and a very rose-tinted fan but not even I thought we could actually get through that night.

I genuinely thought we'd score and I knew we'd give it a bloody good go but I couldn't convince myself that Barcelona would fail to find the net, that's why it was so hard to take when Liverpool played so well at the Nou Camp but failed to get an away goal.

As I sat down in the Cleveland (another one of my favourite pubs to watch football in), I always sit in the same spot on the stage/dancefloor area right in front of the big drop down screen. I'd got my ciders ready and I'd had a belly full of pub grub, sod it I thought, if we go out let's go out with a bang.

Of course, what followed was simply stunning. After just seven minutes Divock Origi had scored for the Reds, without Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool were reliant on players who don't necessarily get the game time but Divock, as he has proved every time he's been called upon this season, was fully capable of finding the net.

I looked at the fella and sort of pulled a "here we go" face, we were still in dreamland at this point if we truly thought we could silence Barcelona but if we had any chance at all that early goal would help us massively.

The Reds, despite their efforts, then failed to find the net for the remainder of the first half. To add to this, Luis Suarez had also injured the influential Andy Robertson meaning Gini Wijnaldum had to take his place.

Barca were probably dead chuffed at this sub, Robbo had been creating issues for them all night. Little did they know the Dutchman had plans to break their hearts.

Gini scored twice within two minutes and I simply could not believe what I was watching. I screamed like I've never screamed before, I'd seen Liverpool pull off some stunning results but this was special. So special that I was practically crying at this point, my voice was breaking as I tried to speak to my brother on the phone who was watching elsewhere "I car (can't in yam-yam speak) believe it, I car believe this!" I kept saying.

Then came the icing on the cake, the ticket to Madrid, the final that Liverpool thoroughly deserved as Divock Origi found his second of the night and left the travelling Barca fans absolutely gobsmacked.

I will never forget that match and after the season Liverpool have had, I hope we end the season with number 6!

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Monday, 6 May 2019

Liverpool's Last Six Games

So for the past six Liverpool games, I've pretty much been missing in action. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or read the blog regularly will know that I recently finally moved out of the parents and into a new flat with the fella. Shortly after that we went on a two week trip to Italy that's been planned for a long time and while we were away the fella proposed. Insane, in the very best way.

While finally being an adult is exciting and keeping me extremely occupied, I am quite sad that I'm finding less and less time to blog. Writing is something I've always enjoyed so I try to find time where possible even if it's just to help me relax.

Image via Liverpool Echo
So, something a bit different on the blog today, I wanted to get down some thoughts on our last six matches, four of which I watched in different cities and towns in Italy.

As we draw ever closer to the last match of the season I thought it would be nice to look back on our recent clashes.

Liverpool (2) v Chelsea (0) - Sunday 14th April - Location: Bologna

So we started our Italian trip in the city of Bologna. As a brief overview, for those wondering, I've always been obsessed with Italy since I was a little kid, my Mom bought me a fake Totti shirt off the market I think and from that day onwards my interest in Italian football begun. Quickly I realised that Italy was also a beautiful country with stunning food and drink too so it was a win-win for me!

Anyway, back to football. Bologna was a lovely place, even though it rained most of the first day. I managed to find a small Irish bar about a 15-minute walk from the hotel so we headed there early. We walked into a packed pub full of Bologna fans as they were playing Fiorentina away, the home fans had to settle for a 0-0.

After their match had finished the bar staff informed us that the Liverpool v Chelsea game was actually on downstairs. The TV was a lot smaller, there was no sound and I'd forgotten to bring my glasses, but hey, we were on and that's all that mattered.

The stand out from this match was that absolutely stunning Mo Salah goal, what a strike. After all of the build-up and circus in the media around the significance of Chelsea in our title race, the Gerrard slip etc, I was over the moon when Salah smashed that one in.

Porto (1) v Liverpool (4) - Wednesday 17th April - Location: Rome

After stopping in Florence and getting engaged... as yer do, we then travelled on to Rome which is where I would have to watch our Champions League tie. I found another Irish bar, this time a huge one with massive screens and surround sound.

The Magners flowed and Liverpool followed suit, a smooth game for the Reds who found four goals thanks to Mane, Salah, Firmino and van Dijk. Porto could only manage a consolation goal and the Reds had firmly secured their semi-final place against Barcelona.

I was buzzing in Rome, a karaoke followed with American tourists singing anything from Queen to early Miley Cyrus. A good night all round in the capital haha.

Cardiff (0) v Liverpool (2) - Sunday 21st April - Location: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast

The Cardiff game would prove a bit more of a challenge in terms of finding somewhere to watch it. Amalfi is a relatively small coastal town, an Irish bar wasn't available so I thought sod it, I'll log into Sky Go and have to make do with a phone screen.


About 20 minutes in and one of the waiters spotted we were watching something on a phone then asked if it was Liverpool, they'd managed to get the match on the big screen in the hotel.

A rare goal from Gini Wijnaldum was followed later on by a James Milner penalty. I must admit I was getting quite nervy at the start of this game, it had the feel of a banana skin but the Reds as they have done all season remained calm and got the job done.

Liverpool (5) v Huddersfield (0) - Friday 26th April - Location: Taormina, Sicily

This was the last day of our epic holiday around Italy and I was feeling quite sad about having to go home but Liverpool soon fixed that with a solid performance against Huddersfield.

This time I'd found a small sports bar in Taormina, I'd watched the United v City match in the same place a couple of nights before and it was a good atmosphere. Lazio and AC Milan were on two TVs in the Coppa Italia and the English football on the third TV.

Every match at this stage as a Liverpool fan, even if it is against doomed Huddersfield, makes you feel sick. Well it does for me anyway. I was delighted when Keita scored after just a minute as it settled the nerves. A brace from Mane and another brace from Salah followed and Liverpool had secured yet another three points.

Barcelona (3) v Liverpool (0) - Wednesday 1st May - Location: Sports pub on the outskirts of Wolverhampton

I'd been back at work for three days at this stage, already wanted to return to Italy, but the thought of a Champions League tie against the mighty Barcelona got me through that week.

I am quite a rose-tinted fan so I always think we have a chance in almost any game and it was no different for me as the Reds lined up at the Nou Camp.

We played so bloody well, so well. The scoreline does not fairly reflect the performance put in by the lads and we were enormously unlucky not to find an away goal. Salah's chance at the end was agonising to watch.

Newcastle (2) v Liverpool (3) - Saturday 4th May - Location: My fave pub in Woverhampton city centre

Now, call me an idiot, but for some reason, I thought it was a great idea to go and watch our Newcastle match straight after the Wolves game to meet the fella. I didn't take into account that the pub would obviously be rammed, or that a DJ would be on the go...

Anyway, it was a good laugh the Wolves lot were in high spirits and as long as I could see our match on the big screen I was happy. 

Virgil scores after 13 minutes and I'm up on my feet, mainly because he'd also won me some money for scoring first and at any time during the match. At which point some Wolves wench came over asked me if I was a Liverpool fan (na love I just jumped up out me seat cause I fancy Virgil van Dijk.......) once she'd confirmed I was a Liverpool fan she started calling me a wanker... charming. You travel the whole of Italy watching your club with different fans and different people and nobody says sod all, I come back to Wolverhampton and one of my own yam yams calls me a wanker good times.

Back to the football and Newcastle equalise, much to the hilarity of some people in the pub, meanwhile, I'm fuming. Mo Salah scores and I'm up again, mainly in relief at this point. Little did I know things would get even more tricky for Liverpool.

Rondon isn't in my fantasy team for nothing and he punished Liverpool at 54 minutes on Saturday night. I just couldn't believe it, there was still plenty of time left but Newcastle looked strong, so much for Rafa doing us a favour!

The clock ticked on, Salah was stretchered off and things just began to look very gloomy for the Reds. I just kept thinking we can't make it this far and then fall at the penultimate hurdle, we deserved to at least be in with a shout on the last day of the season.

Then, the absolute hero that is Divock Origi popped up with another massive, massive goal for Liverpool. A header from a free-kick whipped in by Shaqiri gave the Reds the win. Several ciders down by now I went absolutely mad in the pub, screaming my bloody head off, if any were in doubt, Wolves fans in the pub knew clearly who I supported now.

And there we have it, it's now late on Sunday evening, no work tomorrow as it's Bank Holiday Monday and as I type all I can think about is Jamie Vardy. Please god Leicester just nick a draw will you?!

Whatever happens over the final two matches of the season for Liverpool I am immensely proud of our team. We may fall at the hands of Barcelona but it's not through a lack of trying and if we fail to win the league on 94, 95 or 97 points that's just unprecedented.

Enjoy the end of the season folks, wherever you are watching!


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Thursday, 27 September 2018

Hazard Goal Sends Liverpool Out Of League Cup

Liverpool fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea on Wednesday evening in the League Cup despite looking in control for large portions of the game.

Jurgen Klopp fielded a weakened XI but maintained experience with the likes of Milner, Mane and Sturridge.

Embed from Getty Images

With the first half remaining 0-0 but both goalkeepers called into action, the Reds had to wait until just before the hour mark for their goal when Daniel Sturridge converted with an acrobatic effort at the Kop end.

The forward had missed an open net a few minutes earlier but redeemed himself with a brilliant goal. It's superb to know we have somebody like Daniel Sturridge to call upon because he will always find you a goal.

Chelsea equalised at 79 minutes thanks to a close-range conversion from Emerson. VAR was utilised but the goal was ruled onside. Simon Mignolet I thought was very unlucky here having made a great reaction save just prior to the effort. 

At this point, the match looked like it could be anybody's but it was Chelsea who put the final nail in the coffin thanks to the brilliance of Hazard. 

With five minutes left to go Hazard struck a stunning shot from range which flew into the top left corner and there wasn't much that Liverpool could do about that. The only thing I question really is whether Moreno could have pressed and piled on a bit more pressure? 

As the dying moments faded Jordan Henderson seemed hell-bent on attacking Hazard, perhaps one eye on Saturday's clash? Haha! 

Prior to kick off I had the attitude that I wouldn't mind if we won or lost last night's game but as the match went on and seeing how well we played with a weakened XI it was frustrating to not win that match and progress to the next round. 

Nevertheless, as long as we beat them at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, I think I'll get over it... 

To end on I'd like to highlight the tenacious performance from Shaqiri who for some reason at the end of the match got a bit of a talking to from Klopp. I'm sure the boss didn't mean it to come across that way but watching that on tele at the end was horrible, Shaq looked devastated and he'd put his all into that match. I'm sure all is fine now though.

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Monday, 24 September 2018

Chelsea In The League Cup At Anfield

"Chelsea In The League Cup At Anfield" - a headline that would usually envoke excitement from not only kopites but neutral football fans too. Not this time though, I genuinely couldn't really care less about this game and I realise how bad that sounds but the fact is, Klopp and his main team need to focus on Chelsea in the league at the weekend and the Napoli fixture next week.

Image via Sky Sports
Don't get me wrong, if we find a way past Chelsea in the cup with a weakened team, I'm all for it but it just shouldn't be taking any real focus from Liverpool at the moment, other than to act as a brilliant opportunity for some of our youngsters to gain valuable experience.

Depending on which blog or newspaper article you read, our predicted starting XI varies quite a bit. I personally would certainly expect to see Mignolet in goal and I am expecting Sturridge and Henderson who aren't really starting matches at the moment but offer that base of experience and stability.

As for the rest of the side, I'm hoping to see Clyne and although I've had my moments with him, it would be nice to see Moreno get a bit of game time.

For Chelsea, I can't decide whether Sarri is going to use this as a good opportunity to push for silverware or whether he too is focused on the league game. Chelsea are in the Europa League and so may not be placing as much importance on that as Liverpool will undoubtedly be doing for their upcoming European fixture.

One thing I do know is that Italian managers know what they're doing when it comes to English football. Sarri has started very well and tactically I think he has quite a lot of teams sussed out, will he outfox Klopp though? I'm not so sure.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Salah Scores Again In Chelsea Draw

Liverpool couldn't quite hold on to their 1-0 lead at Anfield on Saturday with the Reds having to settle for a draw after a Willian equaliser in the 85th minute. It was a strange starting line up from manager Jurgen Klopp but overall a draw was probably the right result.

Image via The Mirror
A starting XI consisting of the likes of Milner and Daniel Sturridge meant players such as Firmino and Mane were left on the bench. It was an interesting decision by Klopp, was he rotating with one eye on the busy fixture schedule ahead? Did he change the line up specifically because he felt it would work well against Conte's Chelsea? Who knows. All I know is, if Mane and Firmino were on from the start, this would have been a different result.

The first half, even with the weird starting XI, went quite well for the Reds. No major chances but Liverpool maintained a lot of possession and looked relatively at ease against Chelsea who looked lacking in ideas to begin with. After neither side found the back of the net it was suspected that early substitutions would kick of the second half but Klopp decided to stick with his original set up.

Just after the hour mark, his decision looked to have paid off when that man Mo Salah found the back of the net, again. A lovely piece of play involving Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the Egyptian appeared to hit Chelsea hard but the Reds didn't do enough to secure the deal.

As with many Liverpool games this season, the Reds never quite look certain to take all three points, whether that's 3-0 up against Sevilla or 1-0 up against Chelsea, you can never fool yourself into thinking we will see it out until the final whistle, especially against a side like Conte's.

By 80 minutes though to be honest I genuinely thought we might just have this one in the bag but Willian thought otherwise. His effort from the right-hand side was definitely meant to be a cross, you have to feel for Mignolet a bit because I don't think he was expecting the ball to come his way at that point but he looked positioned well enough to deal with it. 

At 1-1 with five minutes to go the questions about the starting line up all started to flood back and the introduction of Lallana and Mane with a couple of minutes to go just made the whole thing even more frustrating.

I still don't really know what Klopp was thinking but, I'll take a draw with Chelsea so I'm willing to brush this one aside for now. We'll see what happens against Stoke in the week...

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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Draw Is Not Enough

On another day in another season a 1-1 draw with Chelsea would have been a fantastic result but after 90 minutes on Tuesday evening Reds fans were left thinking "what if?" 

What if that free kick which wasn't a free kick wasn't actually given? What if we'd of beaten Swansea? What if Sadio Mane had of been around for a few extra games? 

Image via skysport.com
It's so frustrating because there was definitely improvement from Jurgen Klopp's side. A lively start to the game was quickly diminished after said free kick was awarded and David Luiz left Simon Mignolet dumbfounded. Maybe I've got a bias head on but it was never a foul to me, just a coming together. In fairness though even after the free kick was awarded there is no excuse for the way Migs was caught so off guard. 

With the visitors in the lead the remainder of the first half saw a somewhat deflated performance from Liverpool who had let that Luiz goal go straight to their heads. 

The second half was far better. It was clear we were still in this game but I once again found myself annoyed at the amount of touches being taken outside of the box. Trying to break straight through the middle just clearly wasn't going to work and it was no coincidence that when we did score on 57 minutes the goal was thanks to a cross and a header back over goal. If you put dangerous balls in like that you create dangerous chances and it just really frustrates me that we don't opt to do this more when our initial set up fails. 

The header from Gini was wonderful but credit to James Milner who also worked hard to cause the initial melee. At 1-1 it definitely began to feel like we could take all three points, that was until Diego Costa was awarded an extremely soft penalty. 

Costa is an absolute arsehole to play against, funny how he remains on his feet when it benefits him but is down like a sack of spuds if it doesn't? Thankfully Simon Mignolet was in the mood to redeem himself and made a fantastic save to deny Chelsea a second goal. 

The Reds fought but they just could not find that all important winner. It's a difficult match to round up really because as I said at the start, on a standard occasion this would have been a great result and a great performance but really, in order to have any serious hope of somehow clinching the title, it had to be a win last night. 

We can always be positive and pray that Arsenal do some damage to Conte but they lost to Watford on Tuesday evening so err... yeah... 

Next up for Liverpool is Hull away. 

P.s. If you've been under a rock and missed the transfer news Mamadou Sakho has gone to Palace on loan. 

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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Five Things We Learned From The Chelsea Game

1) Best ever finish with a black eye?

Who knew Dejan Lovren had it in him?! Opening up the scoring after 17 minutes, the defender pulled off a finish any striker would have been proud of. Not only this but his positioning and decision to remain up top meant he was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

I was pretty merry last night after several ciders in celebration but I still found myself questioning at 2am this morning in the taxi home "How'd he do that though? As if Lovren scored that".

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that is the best goal scored by somebody with a black eye. If you have any other entries please feel free to tweet me.

2) Jordan Henderson can get it right

I love Jordan Henderson, I honestly do but I find him extremely frustrating at times, none more so than when he tries to have a pop at goal from 25 yards out and ends up sending his effort out the ground. That wasn't the case on Friday night though after the ball splayed to Hendo in plenty of space he perfectly executed his long range effort sending the ball high to the right of goal.

It was a brilliant goal and the expression on his face when celebrating signalled what it meant to him. Jordan Henderson has always had and continues to have the potential to be a Liverpool great I just hope he can increase his consistency levels and maybe grab a few more goals because it's fantastic to see!

3) Antonio Conte met his match

As mentioned in the preview post here on The Liver Bird, I suggested that Conte may face a tough test against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on Friday and he certainly did. Up to yet, Conte hasn't had to face any huge sides and Klopp's fast paced and pressing style completely caught the Italian off guard.

In the opening half Chelsea were made to look bang average by a confident Liverpool side. The Reds did fade in a similar fashion to the game against Arsenal however they managed to hold their nerve, even when Conte in what I felt was a very desperate act, decided to make a triple substitution late on. I still feel Conte will do pretty well with Chelsea but he needs a lot more than David Luiz in his transfer pocket to make any real damage in my opinion.

4) Diego Costa is overrated, yes I said it

Bias creeping in here definitely but honestly, is Diego Costa all that good? He's brilliant at what he does, don't get me wrong. If hanging around and being a bit of a brute apparently constitutes the making of a top class striker then fair enough but Friday proved that Costa can go utterly missing in a game unless he is served correctly by his team.

We've seen this ourselves at Liverpool especially with regards to Christian Benteke and for me, this is why Costa is slightly overrated. If he was a truly great striker he would bring more to his game, Chelsea would be able to rely on the Brazilian to create chances for himself and bring his teammates into the game with some box play but he doesn't, he just hangs around and annoyingly always seems to find the back of the net. If it works, I suppose it's all good.

5) Cracking start from the Reds

We're just five games in to the 2016/2017 season and I think we need to praise Liverpool's performances so far. Granted we messed up against Burnley, but if you think back to when the fixture lists were released and almost everybody was worried with our difficult start?

Ten points from five games that included a trip to the Emirates, a trip to White Hart Lane, a trip to Stamford Bridge and welcoming the league champions Leicester to Anfield... Well, that's not all that bad now is it?

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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Liverpool: Conte's Toughest Test Yet?

Antonio Conte isn't the type of manager to shy away from a fight and looking back at Chelsea's run of fixtures it looks as though Liverpool are going to be the first real test for the Italian. Up to yet Chelsea have faced West Ham, Watford, Bristol Rovers, Burnley and Swansea.

Conte has steered his side to four wins in the process and one draw in their most recent game against Swansea which ended 2-2. Despite hailing from a country renowned for its defensive capabilities (put on show during his time as Azzurri boss) Conte has been unable to shaw things up at the back with Chelsea only managing to keep one clean sheet so far this season (Burnley 3-0).

Conte, Klopp, Chelsea, Liverpool

Conte may have the answer to some of his back four issues though as he announced in Thursday's presser that David Luiz would be brought in for Friday night's game. Most on Twitter however laughed at the fact the man Chelsea sold and then bought back from PSG is supposed to be the remedy.

It's no secret that I'm ever the optimist as a football fan but I honestly feel the change in line up will be good for the Reds on Friday. I fancy Mane to cause Luiz some problems.

Looking at Liverpool's recent results we also have our own defensive woes. It's for this reason that several fans have been calling for Loris Karius to start between the sticks for this match but I can't see it happening to be honest. If it was a side other than Chelsea then maybe, but I don't expect to see him start tomorrow which is a shame.

Despite being leaky at the back, in their last four Premier League games the Reds have scored nine goals. I fully expect us to find the back of the net at Stamford Bridge, the lads definitely appear to have clicked, especially when looking at the Leicester game and the bonus is even during that match we still had Philippe Coutinho on the bench to call upon. Jurgen Klopp has stronger options available to him this season and it's clear to see that he likes to tailor his side to the situation so it will be interesting to see which set up he goes for on Friday.

Injury news means John Terry is unable to feature for Chelsea. For Liverpool Dejan Lovren could return after suffering an eye injury.

An interesting stat to mull over before kick off:

Conte has not lost a match at home in a league set up as a manager since January 2013...

I still think we'll have um.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! And please, if you haven't already, take two seconds to click this link and then click tweet to vote for The Liver Bird in The FBAs, I'd really appreciate your support!
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Final Home Game Ends In A Draw

Liverpool's last game at Anfield this season ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a last minute equaliser from substitute Christian Benteke. A cross from fellow sub Sheyi Ojo created enough danger for keeper Begovic to palm the effort unsuccessfully clear of goal leaving an awaiting Benteke to head home for the Reds.

Image via theguardian.com

Weakened Team?

As often happens, I completely missed Klopp's presser this week and so I was unaware of his plans to field a full strength team until I saw the team sheet earlier this evening. I can see the theory of wanting to play the same side and giving them a run of games to prepare them for the final next Wednesday but I honestly expected to see a weakened team for the last match at Anfield.

I guess I'm just one of those fans that can't get the thought of an horrific injury out of my head, the last thing I wanted was to see was somebody like Daniel Sturridge collapse in a meaningless game against Chelsea. Some may disagree but I seriously did not give a crap about this game, I understand we can still push for 6th but does it really matter? Really??

Time will tell if the decision to field the full team will pay off knowing they face a final on Wednesday but for me, as shown by the Benteke goal, we may as well have played a slightly altered XI with him up top.

Eden Hazard

You cannot deny his goal was superb. He weaved through our defense with absolute ease and the finish wasn't bad either. The thing is, he's a bit of an arsehole isn't he? I can't like a player that earlier on in the season decided himself that he'd had enough of playing and took himself down the tunnel after an "injury". Is he a toddler or what? Winning a battle of stubbornness against Jose Mourinho is some feat in my book.

It's a shame because on his day Eden Hazard is amazing to watch, it will be interesting to see how Conte deals with the Belgian because from what I know about the Italian manager, he doesn't take any messing about. I wouldn't be surprised if Hazard was moved on despite his indubitable talent.

The Benteke Factor

Christian Benteke, he's a weird one isn't he? Through no fault of his own he's had to hover around on the bench a lot this season and once again I find myself feeling very sorry for him. I still stand by the fact that we shouldn't have bought him because he doesn't fit the system and as proved tonight before Ojo came on, even when he does enter play we don't increase our efforts to cross the ball, he's just sort of left wandering about. Yet, somehow, he always finds something, a last minute header from a poorly dealt with cross, he's there, Christian Benteke, right place, right time.

I always find myself grinning massively when he scores because I just feel like he deserves it, it's not his fault that he's in this situation and you have to give him credit, he makes the most of it. Whatever happens at the end of the season, if he does leave I hope he goes somewhere like West Ham so we can fully enjoy watchingthe real benefits of a player like him.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Chelsea

I HAVE FINISHED UNIVERSITY! You probably don't care but hey, at least now I can get back on track with the blog eh? First up in my renewed sense of organisation is the Chelsea match preview. The Reds welcome Hiddink's side to Anfield on Wednesday evening and to be honest I fully expect to see an extremely weakened side fielded by Jurgen Klopp. The manager will have everything focused on our Europa League final next week and as nice as it would be to beat Chelsea, I don't think anyone is really that bothered at the moment.

Image via mirror.co.uk

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon the likes of Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi however it is unlikely Jurgen Klopp will be worrying too much about the injury situation as he will probably look to field fringe players.

For Chelsea, manager Guus Hiddink has a strong side to choose from with just Rodriguez, Remy and Zouma unavailable.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. Philippe Coutinho scored a brace in that game which ended in a 3-1 win for Liverpool. Chelsea's last visit to Anfield in May 2015 ended in a 1-1 draw it was stalwarts John Terry and Steven Gerrard on the score sheet that day.

The last five meetings between the two sides in the league haven't ended well for the Reds who have only picked up one victory during that time compared to Chelsea's three wins.

Form

Liverpool have won three out of their last six games in all competitions, their most recent win came this weekend after beating Watford 2-0 thanks to goals from Joe Allen and Roberto Firmino. Chelsea, who are not playing in any other competitions have won two of their last six games but the Londoners have also lost three matches, most recently losing this weekend at the hands of Sunderland.

Betting

Click on the Paddy Power banner in the sidebar, sign up and spend £10 to get £30 free to play with!

I can't see this game being very exciting to be honest and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended 0-0 or 1-1. You can get odds on draws for: 12/1 - 0-0, 13/2 - 1-1, 11/1 - 2-2.

For first goalscorers it will probably be best to wait for the team sheet but on the assumption that some fringe players will feature how about Ojo at 8/1, Chirivella at 33/1 or Ibe at 12/1?

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Reds Give Chelsea A Fright

Image via www.theguardian.com
So, if you didn't know, on Saturday morning I travelled all the way up to Liverpool from Wolverhampton, just so I could watch the soddin' match! Wolves were playing Birmingham and even my favourite pub in town wasn't going to be showing the Liverpool match so I ditched my home town and travelled north.

Whilst I'm so glad I acted upon my sometimes questionable impulse, I also ended up regretting it somewhat because going all that way but not really being able to celebrate a 3-1 win over Chelsea with anyone you know... Bit naff! Haha.

Jurgen Klopp started the game without a recognised striker as Roberto Firmino had to take up the position. It wasn't that surprising that Christian Benteke was left on the bench but it definitely felt like we were going to need him.

It took just four minutes for Chelsea to get on the score sheet and I immediately began to regret travelling to Liverpool. Mourinho looked smug as hell, the whole of Stamford Bridge were acting like it was game over, chanting "Jose Mourinho" at the top of their voices, it was horrible I won't lie.

The goal for Chelsea was aided by a defensive lapse from the Reds, a cross from Azpilicueta found its way far too easily to Ramires who headed home.

Klopp looked frustrated but he held his nerve, he could have decided to bring Benteke into play a lot sooner than originally planned but he took his time. He could see that Liverpool had a grasp of the game here, possession levels were rising and Chelsea were far from threatening. Klopp stuck to his guns and watched the first half unfold.

As the clock pushed closer to the end of extra time, Mourinho was waiting to waltz down the tunnel, job done he must have thought but up popped the magical Philippe Coutinho. A stereotypical cut inside on the edge of the box granted him just enough space to curl home an equaliser and what an equaliser it was!

Liverpool don't get many chances to play well at Stamford Bridge, let alone go on to win a game and after the perfect timing of that goal, you had to feel the momentum was with the visitors on Saturday.

At the start of the second half both teams remained the same and neither manager appeared to have any intentions of making a change. Klopp had clearly set up this side to be protective and he now knew he could wait even longer before introducing the trick up his sleeve.

For Mourinho, he must have been left wondering what happened to his side. I can't pretend to like Chelsea but you'd be an idiot to deny the fact that they have some quality players within their side but just lately their defence has been atrocious. There's zero confidence in their back four and at times they look like they are just waiting for the inevitable.

Even some of their flair players have gone missing whilst Diego Costa who is heavily reliant upon intimidation tactics had his hands completely full with Martin Skrtel who gives just as good as he gets. (I don't want to dwell on the kick from Costa on our defender other than to say action should have been taken.)

At the 73 minute mark and now with Christian Benteke on the pitch Liverpool took the lead. Coutinho is a very strange player, just lately he's been absent from games and a quick search through Twitter on Friday would have surfaced several fans discussing whether to drop Coutinho for Firmino who put on a great performance in the League Cup. For me though, no matter how many times he fails to stamp his mark in games, it's a massive risk not starting a player like Coutinho, he's a match winner and you just never know when he's going to unleash that magic.

His second goal was a mirror of his first, again cutting inside but this time placing his effort to the right of goal. Taking a slight deflection off John Terry, there was no deflection on the celebrations as the Reds basked in what looked to be an important win over Chelsea.

At 82 minutes, Benteke sealed the deal for Klopp's side after picking up the ball in the box. He had way too much time on the ball in my opinion, there was zero pressure from the Chelsea defence and he confidently finished scoring in his first game after returning from injury.

Jose Mourinho's face was a picture, he'd already made a fool of himself attempting to coax the ref into sending Lucas off earlier in the game after a light challenge. Now he had to deal with being embarrassed by a Liverpool side who played the majority of the game without a striker.

It was just fantastic!

I didn't have much time to revel in the glory because I had to get back to Lime Street for my train but I had such a good laugh in Liverpool and after that result I think I might have to travel up there to watch games more often!

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:


Next up for Liverpool is Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

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Friday, 30 October 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea V Liverpool

(Image via bbc.co.uk) 

It's The Normal One’s chance to get the better of the faltering Special One on Saturday as Jürgen Klopp prepares his side to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Londoners currently find themselves 15th in the table with the Reds sitting in 9th.

Injuries for Liverpool mean there is a doubt hanging over Christian Benteke, I seriously hope he's fit to start because we're going to really struggle without him. James Milner will also be available after serving a ban. 

For Chelsea, it is not clear whether striker Diego Costa will be fit enough to start but Nemanja Matic returns to the side. Courtois and Ivanovic are both unavailable. 

The last time the  two sides met was in May this year. Steven Gerrard was on the scoresheet but the game ended 1-1. The last win at Stamford Bridge for Liverpool  in the league was in November 2011. Daniel Sturridge netted for Chelsea that day but it was Glen Johnson who sealed the deal for the Reds.

Whilst it's fair to say our record at the Bridge isn't fantastic, we haven't exactly been embarrassed, in fact in our last five league visits to their ground we have only conceded five goals. Chelsea will usually score but they never get to a stage where the margin can't be surpassed, this should remain a positive for Saturday's game. 

Stat Sandwich
The Reds have won just one of their last 10 away games in the league.
Chelsea have won just one of their last seven games in all comps.
Since August 2012, Benteke has scored 14 Premier League goals via a header.

It's obviously going to be a tough match this weekend but the prospect of embarrassing Jose Mourinho is an exciting factor for me. I tend to get pretty geared up for the Chelsea games anyway, just because of the rivalry we have built up over the years but if we can watch Klopp get the better of the self titled “Special One” on Saturday, I will be absolutely ecstatic.

Chelsea are in a mess, Jose may not wish to admit it but the players have lost it. Even the likes of John Terry who is one of the most dependable players out there has been having an absolute mare. Star players aren't putting fear into the opposition like they used to, people feel as though Chelsea are there for the taking and I seriously hope Liverpool can take that initiative. 

To add to all the excitement, if you didn’t see on Twitter, I've had a right game trying to sort out how to watch this match. For those who don't know, I live in Wolverhampton and on Saturday at pretty much the same time as our match, Wolves are on the tele against Birmingham. All the pubs and bars in town and even in neighbouring Birmingham are going to be showing that match so I thought, not to worry I'll just watch it in the house… But we don't have BT Sport.

“I'm not missing the Chelsea game!” I thought, if it wasn't such a big match maybe I would accept sitting in a corner of the pub with a tiny tele that the manager has spared me but no sound on at all (this has happened before! Haha) but not for the Chelsea game, not Klopp’s FIRST meeting with Jose Mourinho.

And so, in what was a very impulsive moment, I went and booked train tickets to Liverpool. “Sack it, I'll watch the match in my favourite place!” So you can see why I'm so excited for kick off and why now I need that win even more.

I'll let you know what I get up to and what bets I put on tomorrow so just catch me on Twitter! - @LFCKirstyLFC 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. A massive thank you to anybody who has voted for me in the football blogging awards, voting closes today and the awards ceremony is on the 19th November. 

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Gerrard Scores In Chelsea Draw



Liverpool managed to pick up a draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in what would have ordinarily been a good result. The Reds though needed a win to stand any real chance of sneaking back into the top four and the one point just won’t be good enough for Brendan Rodgers’ men.

There was no start for Mario Balotelli in this game, despite the fact he was fit. Instead Rodgers opted to play Rickie Lambert up front with Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling in support.

The game got off to a bad start for Liverpool when Chelsea managed to find the back of the net before the game was even five minutes old. It was a defensive mess from Liverpool who allowed John Terry to score but I still found myself wondering why Rickie Lambert was marking one of the most serious aerial threats? It’s a daft policy in my book! It happened recently with Mario Balotelli, I can’t remember the exact game (memory like a sieve) but he was deffo marking a strong header of the ball.

Of course players like Balotelli and Lambert should be able to deal with these situations but you’re just asking for trouble in my opinion. Let strikers mark the zone not the man?

Anyway. Thankfully, going down so quickly in the game wasn’t actually disastrous for the Reds and we continued to dominate in possession. Mourinho’s decision to field a weakened team was really showing and Liverpool ensured they took their opportunity to boss the midfield.

The issue though as always was that final ball, that final product. Some great play from the likes of Coutinho and Sterling would create flashes in attack but then they’d have no where to go, destined to either strike wide in a rash attempt or struggle to find Lambert. This is another reason why I wish we’d bloody play four four two but I won’t go in to all of that.

Liverpool had picked up three bookings in the first half but things began to even themselves out when a bad challenge on the edge of the box came from Branislav Ivanovic. He was shown the yellow.

The free kick was in a dangerous position and it was Jordan Henderson who whipped the ball into the box. An unmarked Steven Gerrard was then allowed to head home the Liverpool equaliser and at least momentarily silence songs about him slipping over.

It was fantastic to see Gerrard score, yeah so it doesn't really mean anything but as he edges closer to LA, every last moment becomes more and more special.

The second half was more of the same for Liverpool as Chelsea just couldn't seem to keep hold of the ball. Eden Hazard arguably one of the best players of the season was looking lost as the Reds continued to try and find a winner.

Half chances from the likes of Lallana and Coutinho made it look like a win was possible for the Reds but time was ticking by and Rodgers was running out of options. In the run up to the 70 minute mark Rodgers opted to bring on the youngsters as Sinclair and Ibe replaced Lambert and Lallana respectively. To be honest I'm not sure I would of replaced Lallana however it is always nice to see Jordan Ibe given a chance, his work rate is top notch.

Ibe offered pace and strength for the Reds and created a new problem for Chelsea to deal with. Liverpool still couldn't find that all important goal though and now Rodgers decided to take off Gerrard and replace him with Lucas. It was brilliant to see a standing ovation for Steven and even more brilliant to hear his post match slaughtering of the Chelsea fans haha! However, taking off our top goalscorer when we needed a goal? I was a bit miffed to be honest.

The Reds fought for the last ten minutes but it wasn't to be. It was a good result to be fair and for once a decent performance however the gulf between Liverpool and Chelsea has never been so apparent. It is a worrying time for the Reds as they look to close a forgetful season and focus on what could be an even more forgettable transfer window.

Next up for the Reds is Crystal Palace, come back for a special Steven Gerrard match preview!

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Saturday, 9 May 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea V Liverpool


Blue versus Red... doesn't that sound overwhelmingly familiar after Thursday? But hey, I'm not going to start talking about politics on the blog, I don't want to lose half my readership haha! Whether you're feeling glum at the result or rather pleased, come and take your mind off it all as I provide one of the last match previews of the season!

Injuries for Liverpool have not exactly improved this week as the club have now confirmed Daniel Sturridge will be out for several months after undergoing a hip operation. The Reds are also unable to call upon Mamadou Sakho who won't quite make fitness for the game it seems. Positively though Mario Balotelli and Lucas Leiva could be back in contention.

For Chelsea who have already secured the Premier League title, they are without Oscar who has been ruled out and there are also doubts hanging over Diego Costa. Mourinho may choose to field a very different team though as he has nothing to play for but pride.

The last time the two sides met was in January this year when Liverpool suffered defeat thanks to a 94th minute goal from Branislav Ivanovic. Liverpool don't have a fantastic record on the whole at Stamford Bridge however the Reds won at the Bridge in 2011 in the Carling Cup quarter final. Liverpool also beat Chelsea just nine days earlier at Stamford Bridge in that season.

Over the last ten meetings there has only been more than two goals for one side on one occasion. This was a 4-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in 2012.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only won once in seven fixtures against teams in the top four so far this season.
  • Chelsea have kept 17 clean sheets so far this season, more than any other side in the league.
  • Simon Mignolet has kept 13 clean sheets so far this season with only Forster matching him.
The biggest talking point of this game is apparently the guard of honour, as annoying as it is that we happen to be the team that have to provide this to Chelsea, it's just part of showing respect, something Mourinho knows nothing about. So we will show respect and then hopefully by some miracle we can pick up a result.

For me, the real story of this fixture would be Liverpool actually managing to pick up a win. With a weakened team likely to be fielded by Chelsea, the Reds should aspire to collect all three points after all their record against the top four this season has been diabolical. Not only that but another three points adds pressure onto Manchester United, while there is still a numerical opportunity Liverpool need to fight to the wire.

However, I don't think we will fight to the wire, I think Brendan Rodgers will choose a daft team and make daft substitutions. Chelsea have one of the best defences in the league so playing a lone striker simply won't be enough in my book. Perhaps the pace and skill of Sterling and Coutinho will create some exciting moments for the Reds but I'm not sure that will cut the mustard.

I suppose we will have to wait and see. I will almost certainly be having a quid on Skrtel to score at some stage and probably some ridiculous scorecast so follow me on Twitter if you want to join me in throwing some money away haha.

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ivanovic Goal Knocks Reds Out In Extra Time


Liverpool suffered an agonising loss at the hands of Chelsea on Tuesday evening after a hard fought performance at the Bridge ultimately led to nothing. The Reds allowed early chances to go begging and whilst they held their nerve for the 90, Ivanovic broke hearts three minutes into extra time with a header from a set piece.

The first talking point from the game surrounded that man Diego Costa. He's the kind of player that you cannot stand when he's in an opposition shirt but it's hard to argue that you wouldn't like him playing for your own team. Nevertheless the incident at 12 minutes was unforgivable and Costa was extremely lucky to remain on the pitch.

A deliberate stamp on Emre Can right in front of an applauding Jose Mourinho went completely unpunished. I hate dwelling on decisions and "ifs" and "buts" however you can't help but feel it would have been a totally different game for Liverpool with Chelsea down to ten men so early in the game. It has since come out today that Diego Costa has been served a ban which he may yet appeal but that's no bloody use to us now is it?!

Liverpool created several chances in the first half of the clash but as always no player in a Red shirt could quite find the finish. A break from Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard is one that particularly sticks in the mind, if only Raheem had laid the ball to the captain things could have been so different.

Sterling wasn't the only player throughout the game though showing signs of selfishness or making the wrong decision. What should have been an easy header later in the game from Jordan Henderson was sent wide and Philippe Coutinho, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert were all guilty of completely missing the target and wasting opportunities.

The annoying thing for Liverpool was that they played really well. The Reds applied constant pressure with Chelsea failing to trouble Mignolet really until very late on. When Mignolet was called in to action, what a game he had. The keeper has been on the end of a lot of stick lately (I hold my hands up to it too) but he made some superb saves on Tuesday night and kept us in with a shout.

Talking points surrounding refereeing decisions soon revolved around Diego Costa once again when he followed up his deliberate stamp on Can with a deliberate stamp on Skrtel. The pair had been getting in each other's faces throughout the game and to be fair how Chelsea were not awarded a penalty for Skrtel's challenge on Costa I will never know. Sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don't, we may have been lucky to have not gifted Chelsea a peno but they were thanking their stars with Costa not being given his marching orders.

I was extremely surprised to see Mario Balotelli chucked into play by Brendan Rodgers and whilst 90% of my Twitter feed cannot stand the bloke and thought he did shite I found myself being a bit more appreciative once again.

Yes it was an average performance but he brought some movement and quality passes into the game, some skill and ingenuity. "Mario, moving?!" I hear you say... Several naysayers were quick to shout that Balo was "lazy" last night but whilst I will give you most of your criticisms, one thing he definitely was not last night was "lazy".

As for the goal, there are a lot of people blaming Mario for it. Of course, because it's all his fault innit? For me, a striker no matter what his build should not be instructed to mark one of the most prominent aerial threats. Balo was part of a zonal system that apparently meant Glen Johnson could just wander around and do what ever he wished until danger arose and it was too late.

Fact is, it was an easy header for Ivanovic and of course it shouldn't have been that easy but Chelsea ultimately took their opportunity whilst Liverpool were left looking back on all their missed chances.

We never gave up and played to the whistle but the Reds just couldn't find that all important goal to take it to penalties. This game has just highlighted the importance for Liverpool to convert their chances and I can only hope that this will begin to resolve itself with the reintroduction of Daniel Sturridge.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:

Next up for Liverpool is West Ham.

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Monday, 26 January 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea V Liverpool


The Reds make the trip down south tomorrow as they prepare to face Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side and aim to make it to the League Cup final. The match at Anfield ended very fortunately for Chelsea who did little but convert a penalty early in the game. An inspired performance from Liverpool eventually saw them score via Raheem Sterling but they will need to be on top form tomorrow to have any hope of going through.

Liverpool are in a similar position injury wise as they were at the weekend. A positive for the Reds though is that Daniel Sturridge could make the bench giving Brendan Rodgers a valuable option. Steven Gerrard should also be recalled to the line up. Mario Balotelli? Who knows, it's guess work.

For Chelsea, they are predicted to recall players such as John Terry and Diego Costa who did not feature in the Blues' embarrassing loss in the FA Cup at the hands of Bradford. Manager Jose Mourinho may also have an eye on his side's clash with Manchester City at the weekend and his team selection may reflect this.

There's no point talking about the last time the two sides met because hopefully it's still fresh in your memory, instead lets take a look at Liverpool's record at Stamford Bridge.

The last match between the sides at the Bridge was in December 2013. A very early goal from Martin Skrtel in that game wasn't enough for Liverpool who ended up losing 2-1.

In November 2012 it was John Terry and Luis Suarez on the score sheet in a 1-1 draw. Most of the matches in London have always been a pretty close tie and the last time either team scored more than two goals at the Bridge was in the 2009 Champions League tie that ended 4-4. Remember that ingenious Fabio Aurelio free kick?!

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have won five games on the trot away from home in all competitions.
  • Chelsea have reached the final just six times in their previous 11 semi-final appearances.
  • In Liverpool's previous 14 appearances in the final four, the Reds have made the final on 11 occasions.
I'm so geared up for this match I can't even explain. I'd love nothing more than to wipe that smug smirk off Jose Mourinho's face. However, you'd be pretty naive to feel confident, Chelsea are a very strong team this season and despite their performance at Anfield it will be a very different show on Tuesday night.

The buses will have reversed off the pitch and in the place of defensive football will be attacking flair. Despite this, Liverpool have every chance to go through, of course it will be tough but with skillful players like Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling alongside a determined Steven Gerrard? Who knows what could happen.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:


I will definitely be placing some bets tomorrow but not sure what I'm having yet so keep an eye on my Twitter feed.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reds Pile On Pressure But Game Ends In Draw


Liverpool put on an inspired performance against a monotonous Chelsea on Tuesday night as the Reds looked to get the best start possible in their League Cup semi final. With Jose Mourinho clearly setting up his side with buses in mind, the away side did nothing the whole game aside from net a peno. Liverpool deserved a win but they just couldn't quite find another goal and being clinical in front of goal was once again a problem, this time, the only problem.

As the game kicked off with the last line of our anthem still ringing around Anfield, it was clear this was going to be an electric atmosphere. Brendan's side burst out the blocks and immediately caused issues for a Chelsea side containing stars such as Hazard and Costa. Admired for their attacking abilities it was evident that they wouldn't necessarily be on display tonight as Jose Mourinho opted once again to play the dreary negative football he is always so quick to criticise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite a big fan of a tactically sound defensive performance, it's one of the reasons I have an interest in Italian football (more so older calcio) but when it's Mourinho playing it, it just riles me up.

With the Reds piling on the pressure almost constantly it definitely felt like we were in the ascendancy, surely we would find a goal?

But we didn't. Instead a silly mishap from Emre Can saw Chelsea awarded a penalty. It was the correct decision but they didn't deserve a helping hand at all. Hazard stepped up at 18 minutes and easily converted the penalty leaving Liverpool suddenly on the back foot after such a bright start.

Gary Cahill and John Terry were struggling to deal with the flair and pace of Raheem Sterling who as always was simply unfazed by the calibre of his opposition. Martin Skrtel on the other hand had Diego Costa neatly tucked in his back pocket, aside from his inability to sway Martin Atkinson's decision not to give a hand ball when Costa... handled the ball in the box.

I personally think this was a penalty for us but I've since read differing opinions. I even heard one person say that it wasn't a peno because he was on the floor. What? Is that an addition to the rule now is it? No hand balls if you're lying down?

Anyway. A goal behind Liverpool went into the second half once again creating constant attacks and troubling the Chelsea defence. After all our chances though it was clear it was going to take something special for the Reds to get themselves on the score sheet and Raheem Sterling provided just that.

Just before the hour mark after an assist from Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling exploded on a run into the box. With four Chelsea players surrounding him, not one made an attempt to make a challenge and as his pace projected him into the box the youngster finished with ease to put Liverpool level.

It was a fantastic goal from Sterling and I, as I'm sure everybody did, went a tad crazy. We thoroughly deserved to be right in this game and after some Sterling magic it was game on!

Six minutes after the Sterling goal Steven Gerrard had a chance to claim glory for the Reds but his strike hit off the left hand upright. His face said it all and it was agonising to watch that effort sail away from goal on the rebound.

The Reds continued to press Chelsea and their next best effort at goal came via a stunning Adam Lallana strike as the ball weaved in the air, Lallana himself was almost celebrating only to watch Courtois save.

As the game drew to a close it was hard to comprehend that despite over 20 attempts at goal, Liverpool were walking away with a draw. A deluded Jose Mourinho suggested a draw was the correct result, he evidently didn't see his sides two attempts at goal and pretty much naff all else then?

As the Chelsea manager made strategically placed compliments about the Liverpool crowd again after the match, the mind games have once again begun for Mourinho who will absolutely relish the fact that his side are taking a draw back to Stamford Bridge after barely moving a muscle.

Well he can jog on cause from now until next Tuesday I hope the Liverpool lads use the disappointment of playing so well and failing to win as a juggernaut to get through to the final.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Next up for Liverpool is Bolton in the FA Cup.

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