The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Four Things We Learned From Saturday's Results (14/09/19)

1) Firmino is smooth af.

The Brazilian didn't enter play until just before half time as he replaced Divock Origi but he immediately made an impact for Liverpool who were drawing 1-1 at this stage. A stunning strike from Willems gave Newcastle the lead after just seven minutes but Mane had equalised just before the half hour mark. When Firmino joined, the Reds were beginning to gain control of a game which started a bit wobbly for Klopp's side.

Image via The Mirror

It was Firmino's assist though for Mo Salah in the second half that has had Kopites drooling over replays. A sublime bit of skill in the box saw him roll the ball backwards and complete a little side footed pass behind his ankle, all this while being closed down by the Newcastle defence. His assist for Salah was stunning and the Egyptian ensured he put Liverpool 3-1 up.

2) Lost without Laporte?

I wouldn't usually write about other matches on the blog but it's been a bit of a bloody weird day football-wise, all of which is a positive for Liverpool. If you didn't know cause you've been under a rock, which I apparently was for about 50 minutes of the City match, Pep's team were beaten by plucky Norwich.

It was an unbelievable display from the Canaries and some of the goals/attacks in particular have shone a light on City's defensive problems with Laporte now being out. It's an interesting one because when an injury like this happens you always presume that a top class side will find a way through but people often underestimate the power of a defender, especially in terms of their communication and organisation.

I'll be watching City more closely over the next few weeks.

3) Sadio's calmed down

After throwing a bit of a tantrum the other week, my absolute favourite player Sadio Mane seems to have calmed down. Enjoying a break after no international duties with Senegal, it was lovely to see Mane score twice and celebrate with his fellow forwards, including that Mo Salah, you know the one that never passes...

It is laughable to me that the only issue people can cling on to or try to talk about at Liverpool at the moment is the fact that we have a selfish striker. Strikers are meant to be selfish and yes he should have passed but who gives a shite when you're top of the league?

Opposition fans and the media will grasp at anything to try and bring down the Reds this season, anything so they don't have to put up with the unbearables winning the title but put your pens away folks because there's no rift at Anfield, these lads love each other.

4) Pukki for golden boot?

Pukki, what an absolute hero and did I hear somewhere he's a Liverpool fan or is that just a rumour? Either way he's already been involved in eight goals in the first five matches this season, that is some record for the 29 year old who also scored 29 goals in the Championship last season.

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Monday, 2 March 2015

Two Magical Strikes Seal Man City Win

Liverpool picked up a victory at home over Manchester City on Sunday afternoon as the Reds put a massive dent in Pellegrini's title hopes. Two simply sublime strikes from Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho took the game away from City who only found the back of the net thanks to a Dzeko goal.

The line up was familiar as Brendan Rodgers stuck with his favoured system of three at the back and no natural striker. I don't like this set up as we all know and hilariously I spent half time tweeting about how "a few moments of magic may not be enough to beat City" however, thankfully I was wrong and magic was just what we needed.

It didn't take the Reds long at all to turn their fast paced start into a lead. After just ten minutes an assist from Raheem Sterling allowed Jordan Henderson to create a bit of space outside the box. He'll often have a pop from range but this time he'd struck his effort with perfection. His powerful shot flew into the back of the net leaving Joe Hart dumbstruck.

As much as I hate playing without a striker I have never denied that we always create problems and strings of attacks. Usually though we struggle to convert but we were oozing with confidence on Sunday afternoon.

Playing against City you simply must attack and with some brilliant performances, especially from the likes of Coutinho and Allen, Manchester City were struggling to find their title winning form.

Two minutes after our opening goal and Sergio Aguero had smashed an effort off the post, I would of put my house on him scoring then but it was City today who were failing to convert their chances. Unfortunately for Liverpool, ten minutes later they found their accuracy.

A brilliantly worked goal, perhaps not helped by a momentary lapse from the Liverpool defence allowed Sergio Aguero to play a ball through to Dzeko who of course slotted the ball home. In fairness to Dzeko he always seems to be considered as the last option for City but he's a reliable goalscorer.

With the game level I did begin to worry. It appeared to me as though City were finding a foothold, whilst Liverpool continued to create attacks our skillful stars would get into a fantastic position only to look up and find nobody in the box to support them. We were crying out for a striker at this stage I thought but I couldn't have been more wrong.

As the teams came out for the second half it was clear Rodgers wasn't prepared to bring a striker on just yet and so with another fast paced start the Reds began to build and build the pressure.

At 74 minutes Philippe Coutinho pulled the rabbit out of the hat. A stunning strike from outside the area seemed to stop time as it swooped perfectly into the back of the net.

Shortly after the goal Daniel Sturridge entered the fray but who needs a striker on ay?? Haha!

Liverpool weathered the minimal storm for the remaining 15 minutes but ultimately Brendan Rodgers had steered his side to a massive win at Anfield.

The Reds are now surely on course for the top four and with Burnley up next in the week it is hoped that our fantastic run of form will continue.

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

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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Mario's Gone But They're Probably Still Super

Entertainment has certainly been decreased with the departure of Mario...
Liverpool are faced with the tough task of Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon and with the Reds doing so well to start with in the Arsenal game, Brendan's boys will certainly fancy their chances of causing problems for the Champions. However, the Reds will need to keep their concentration if they are able to gain a lead.

Liverpool are in a pretty good situation injury wise with no new troubles and the trio of Enrique, Johnson and Reina all back. It is believed new signing Coutinho will have to wait for his first start in a Liverpool shirt though. Man City are without Vincent Kompany which is a big blow for them but Mancini is hopefully both Richards and Maicon will be available.

Liverpool are currently placed 7th in the table whilst Manchester City are hanging 7 points behind Manchester United in 2nd place.

The last time the two sides met was in August last year. With Skrtel and Suarez on the score sheet Liverpool managed to collect a point from the game. The last meeting with City at the Etihad for Liverpool was also a positive one as the Reds picked up a 1-0 win in the Carling Cup, however our record as a whole at City isn't a brilliant one.

City haven't lost in their last 5 games in all competitions and also, impressively, they haven't conceded in that time either. The Reds on the other hand have notched up two losses in their last 5.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have found the back of the net in all of their last 11 Premier League matches.
  • City are -18 on their goal count compared to this stage of the season last year.
  • Liverpool haven't won a game in the league this season where they have conceded first.

You don't need me to tell you that this is going to be a real test for the Reds but that doesn't mean that we're going to walk away with nothing. If we play as we did in the majority of the Arsenal game then we could once again find ourselves in control of the situation, importantly though, if Liverpool do get to this stage then they need to remain calm and keep their concentration, Arsenal pulled back that game far too easily and it simply never should have happened.

I'd definitely fancy Suarez to get on the score sheet and with Kompany missing the City defence has taken a slight knock there that could be exploited via both the Uruguayan and Sturridge up front. Perhaps optimistically I will go for a 1-1 here, I don't think it's going to be as end to end as the Arsenal game and therefore there won't be as many goals, unless of course Liverpool go to pot and City run riot.

Enjoy the match folks!

P.s. Thank you to anybody that voted for The Liver Bird in the Sportskeeda Blogger Awards! I really appreciate it! They should be announcing the winners soon.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

City Give Liverpool Early Season Blues

City of Manchester Stadium Eastlands Manchester City v Liverpool Premier League 23/08/2010 Disappointing night for Liverpool Manager Roy Hodgson Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Hmm, i wonder if Mascherano has answered my voicemail...

It was always going to be a pretty tough fixture for Liverpool last night but i don't think many would have predicted such a one sided affair from the home team. Liverpool looked like a team still in pre-season with sloppiness and slow reactions, not to mention a shoddy section of defence. It was just an altogether unpleasant game of football to watch as a Liverpool fan.

Hodgson started Reina in goal with Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel and Agger across the back. Midfield was missing Javier Mascherano who had apparently said he no longer wished to play for Liverpool to Hodgson earlier in the day. It was Gerrard & Lucas then who made up the centre with Kuyt and Jovanovic on the wings. Ngog and Torres led the 4-4-2 formation.

At first glance i felt intrigued by this formation and was interested to see if it could work after so long going 4-5-1 but it didn't take long to start to see the flaws in this plan.

The first incident of note for Liverpool was strangely a booking for Martin Skrtel, this would later be an indicator for the defender who appeared to be having a poor game and was making the wrong decisions quite frequently.

Adam Johnson who the Slovakian tackled would prove to be a big problem for Liverpool too along with brand new signing James Milner.

City took just 12minutes to get on the score sheet, with a move consisting of Barry, Milner and Adam Johnson.

Johnson easily swept the ball through Jovanovic and Agger to Milner who then provided a cross for Barry to connect with and send the ball home. Barry was allowed into the area far too freely and Agger just looked lost on several occasions during the 90 minutes.

Usually even with a deficit Liverpool tend to manage to settle down quickly and re group then go at it again but this time it was different. City were pushing hard and Liverpool had no time to calm down and re-think. The speed and number of counter attacks coming at the Reds was not only worrying but becoming ridiculous. Possession lost by Liverpool must have been high, i do not recall much activity from the boys when they finally managed to get the ball into the final third as it was constantly being given away in midfield.

Fernando Torres was rather lively for Liverpool but i think it was quite clear to see that the Spaniard although he was trying was not fitting into the 4-4-2 system with David Ngog. Ngog too was clearly struggling although some more of his hold up play was valuable. I just feel that both Fernando and David thrive as the sole striker, Ngog hasn't coincidentally scored his four goals so far this season from being up front alone, and Torres's record in front of the net isn't coincidental either. I realise Torres can and will work in that formation, as he has done with Spain, but in a Liverpool shirt and with the players around him, he needs to go it alone i think.

It was hard to pick out other decent performances because to be honest Torres's display was alright but he had the excuse of match fitness being low, none of the other lads really had any reason to fall back on and apart from what i thought was an okay display from Glen Johnson and a passionate but not fruitful performance from the captain, i have to say the boys all had a bit of a terrible time out there against City.

City by now only 30minutes in were bombarding us, even the slight glimpses when we did manage to break it was prevented before we even reached the danger zone.

Micah Richards went close with a header in the remainder of the first half and Adam Johnson saw a great strike saved by Pepe Reina.

Mancini's boys didn't take long either to get stuck in second half. Just as i thought Liverpool were beginning to look a little more productive they struck again. Carlos Tevez managing to get the slightest of touches after a City corner was sent goal bound, the Argentine made sure it was a goal.

Now at 1-0 the prospect of a draw seems acceptable and achievable for Liverpool but at 2-0, it already felt like all hope was lost. Again Liverpool had no time to regroup, City just were going full force, they were filled with confidence now and fancied their chances for another goal against a slow paced and below par Liverpool side.

Liverpool's only real moment of threat was when Steven Gerrard smashed in a shot which hit the post. It then came out for David Ngog who saw his shot saved by Joe Hart, then amazingly Joe Hart managed to get another save in when the rebound came to Torres. I said in the match preview that Hart could have held the key to the result... Well he certainly helped. A Liverpool goal at that time may just have changed the game, all credit to the keeper.

Just before the 70minute mark things got worse for Hodgson's boys, Skrtel who as i said earlier was being a bit risky with his decisions and timing brought down Adam Johnson in the box. Perhaps through frustration but it was all already over for Liverpool anyway, we just didn't really need salt rubbing in the wounds.

Carlos Tevez stepped up to see City go to 3-0 with less than 20minutes left on the clock.

Fernando Torres was brought off towards the end of the game and replacement Ryan Babel couldn't do much to help the faltering Liverpool side. Youngster Pacheco was also given 5minutes by Roy Hodgson but it was too late for any impact from substitutions.

City played well and for a side i still think won't work well together did in all fairness appear to gel yesterday but i think unfortunately so, they were made to look a lot better by a poor Liverpool performance.

One thing i can't quite get my head around is why Roy chose to play Agger at left back? I realise he has played there before but this was only through no other choice. It's confusing because i thought Roy re-signed the Brazilian Fabio Aurelio to fill the hole at left back due to Insua supposedly being sold and Aurelio was sitting on the bench. So where is the reasoning in playing Agger over and established player in that position? Just baffled me and was rather annoying because Agger is a top defender and it was awful to see him struggle last night out of position.

If we play like this against Trabzonspor on Thursday we could well find ourselves out of Europe already, i don't mean to get all morbid and dreary on you lot but it's just a shocking reminder of what we could be expecting to see from this Liverpool side this season. Hopefully this isn't the case though and i still have confidence in Liverpool to seal the deal in Turkey.

To end on...

Doesn't it make you proud when the travelling fans of our Liverpool base still sing You'll Never Walk Alone at the end of a game, even after such a battering.

Best fans in the world.

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Monday, 23 August 2010

Reds Face Moneybags City

Roberto Mancini Manager watches from the stands at Anfield Manchester City 2010/11 Liverpool V Arsenal (1-1) 15/08/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports InternationalTest Photo via Newscom
Hmm... I wonder where i put my scarf...

Well folks after a weekend away with my other half in rather wet Torquay i have been slammed back to reality this Monday afternoon and here i am back in regular routine supplying you lot with a short and sweet match preview... It's ok, there's no need to thank me...

Moving on, if you aren't excited yet for tonight's game i don't know what's going to spur you on. It's a different kind of excitement to the Arsenal game, perhaps due to the realisation that Man City will probably be one of our closest rivals in terms of battling for places just underneath the top four this season, of course we hope for more but that has to be the realistic target for now.

Hodgson has been speaking today/yesterday about how Torres fared against Trabzonspor in his 45minutes on the field and his comments suggest he was very pleased. Torres therefore has got a good chance of starting against this unpredictable City side and boy are we going to need a touch of class.

The one thing i still stand by with City however is yes, they are a decent side now, some players are fantastic, not just on paper but also on the pitch but there is just no way that flashing the cash in such flamboyant style and expecting the players to work well together and click is going to work. Yes we should be weary of City but they aren't the team the media are making them out to be.

As for Liverpool's team, i think we can safely say that there is a strong link and connections between the new players with the rest of the side appear to have already been established. I would be very happy to see Jovanovic start tonight, his strength would be a needed asset i feel. The defence must be solid, with City's attack and the flair of Tevez it would be dangerous to push the back four up too far. They need to be pin point when defending set pieces too.

I have all the confidence in captain Steven Gerrard to have a good game and would not mind either Lucas or Mascherano to sit with him.

Joe Hart could be the holder of the end result of this game, if he has a game like he did against Spurs the other week it will take a lot to get something past the stopper.

New signings for City Balotelli and Milner could also feature tonight, the Liverpool boys will be more than familiar with Milner from his Aston Villa days but Balotelli poses a different threat. He scored 20 goals in 59 appearances for Inter but after playing only that amount of games in three years at the club it may take some time for the Italian to settle in.

Our last three meetings with City have all ended in a draw. As for our results on the road to City we have 1 win, 1 loss and 3 draws from the last 5 clashes.

Even if it does end in a draw tonight the chances are it will still be a fast paced game filled with controversy. So enjoy your 90minutes tonight and keep your fingers crossed for Torres to score first cause i'll be off up Ladbrokes tomorrow morning if he does! Haha.

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Let's Put Things Into Perspective

Sports News - February 21, 2010
RB:"Your scarf makes you look like a pillock." .........."I'm serious."

Liverpool had to settle for just the 1 point yesterday, after both teams failed to score in a 0-0 stalemate. Despite the massive boosts of Torres and Benayoun making shock appearances on the bench and also being utilised, the lads could not get anything past Shay Given.

Neither side really caused problems for each others goal keeper with Reina only being called to make one super save and Given much the same.

City were without Tevez and did not opt to start Craig Bellamy, they were set up in a similar fashion to ourselves and it appears that both formations were cancelling each other out.

In a post match interview Benitez was quoted saying that the idea was to try and break City down but it just didn't work... Too right it didn't.

Before we get all up in arms about it though, let's take a step back and analyse things properly.

Let's look at Aston Villa's run in first...

They are set to play Hull, Sunderland and Stoke City for their next 3 Premier League fixtures. At first glance you would be right to suggest that the only real problem within those fixtures is an away clash with Stoke, but when you throw in that they also have a league cup final against Manchester United to focus on and another FA Cup tie, distractions are present.

As for Tottenham...

Their next three fixtures read Everton, Man City and Blackburn. As much as we may hate to admit it, Everton are on a decent run of form, they have beaten Chelsea and Manchester United and although they were no trouble for ourselves (haha) you get the feeling Spurs may struggle. Man City too will obviously be a big game and to add to it they also have an FA Cup clash to think about.

Moving on to City...

As mentioned above they will have to face Spurs in the midst of their next three fixtures with Chelsea beforehand and an away trip to Sunderland afterwards. Again they also have an FA Cup game to think about.

As for ourselves...

Well our distraction comes in the form of Unirea Urziceni, but in all fairness we are 1-0 up from the first leg, they didn't look as though they would take much beating and although we shall be travelling to Romania hopefully we can just progress smoothly and think about the league.

Our next three fixtures are a gift in footballing terms and assuming that we can go out there and collect maximum points the games against Blackburn, Wigan and Portsmouth could prove vital for Liverpool to stamp their mark on that fourth spot.

With the reintroduction of Torres and Benayoun being such a massive boost and hopes that Glen Johnson will be back soon, not to mention the fact that we have only let 2 goals in, in our last 8 games (all competitions) and only lost once, our run of good form is still well and truly there.

There is no shame in coming away with a 0-0 draw from The City Of Manchester Stadium, especially when you note the fact that their team is filled with big names and talent.

What was disappointing was the sheer lack of chances but again you get the feeling with Fernando coming back, most of that problem will be solved. On a plus side the defence has been solid for a good while now minus that Arsenal goal. Kyrgiakos will be back before we know it too and we all know how great an option he is now.

It's not all bad, we are still in a good situation where a lot of aspects should fall into our own hands, we are far from being on the back foot and although the table does not look fantastic at the moment and although our performances are hardly electric, we all know Liverpool can pull off this sort of thing, none more so when there is some sort of pressure thrown into the mix.

Keep a calm head on things, it's by no means over yet.

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Liverpool To Face Mancini's City

Football - Hull City v Manchester City Barclays Premier League
Bellamy could cause problems...

New look Man City under Roberto Mancini have not exactly been setting the league on fire since they opted to get rid of Mark Hughes. Liverpool travel to The City Of Manchester Stadium tomorrow with 3 points being the aim.

Man City's last 5 fixtures read LWLWD. Within that time they have suffered defeats to Everton and even relegation battling Hull, they have also dropped points against Stoke and were lucky to have even left with the 1 point.

On the other hand, despite our 1-0 loss to Arsenal, we are on the back of a steady run of form WDWWL compared to City's up and down, at least we have some consistency not to mention 4 clean sheets out of the 5 matches.

We also had a successful night in the Europa League after the lads managed to beat Unirea Urziceni 1-0, again keeping a clean sheet.

So we have more than enough positives to go out and fight for this win.

Man City however unsteady they may have been of late though should not be shunned for their abilities, players like Bellamy for a starters would relish the chance to put one past Liverpool and his pace can always cause problems.

Tevez is also on good form so could prove some difficulties if the defence are not sharp. Recent performances from the back 4 though have been solid so let's hope they can continue this.

As for ourselves, i think maybe it is time to give Babel that start, played very well in the time that he was on the pitch so let him have another chance to prove his worth, if he fails to step up to the plate though it could be disastrous.

Riera was rather poor on Thursday night, some say he's still not match fit, i don't know how true that is but i do feel for this fixture Rodriguez or Babel should be utilised.

Would be quite happy to see N'Gog again although he was a bit shaky for the majority of the match against Unirea he did however score, perhaps go for the option of two up front though? Shift Kuyt up off the wing, N'Gog i feel needs more support at the moment until that confidence comes flooding back.

Be interesting to see if Rafa opts for Masch and Lucas in midfield or starts Aquilani again, i have a strange feeling looking at what the nature of the game could be like it may well be Lucas and Masch.

We're still without Torres, Johnson and Benayoun, plus side though in that the likes of Torres and Yossi have been seen in training so hopefully it is not too long until they are back in action.

As for my prediction, well i have a feeling it shall be similar in play to our 2-2 draw with them earlier in the season and as much as i would love our lads to come away with the win i shall have to be more realistic i think and predict that it will be an eventful 1-1 draw.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Play Off For Last Champion's League Spot: Why I Disagree

Everton Training Session In Los Angeles
Champion's what? ... League?

As I'm sure you have all heard/read about by now the latest idea from the fat cats of the Premier League, still not content with how the best footballing league in the world is being run they have come up with this proposal:

A play off for the fourth and final remaining spot for Champion's League qualification, involving whatever teams happen to be placed from 4th to 7th position.

In case you haven't already guessed by the tone of my typing, i am against the whole idea. Most people therefore assume that as a Liverpool fan you must be against it because you are worried? Wrong.

I'd take Man City, Birmingham, Spurs, Villa, Everton, Blackburn, Fulham... anyone in a play off and I'd always have utmost confidence in Liverpool but the point is in my book, finishing 4th and striving throughout the season to get into that spot and then having to involve yourself in more games just to prove that you in fact are worthy of that last Champion's League spot, not Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa that constantly throw 4th spot away, where's the sense in that?

Why should teams like Spurs who have more money than us so apparently should be better poised for 4th spot, mega bucks Man City and Aston Villa who in some senses have a better squad than us be given the chance to get into the Champion's League just because they have fallen at the forefront and failed to get into 4th spot and work for it that way.

As many people have also highlighted, teams like Fulham, Stoke and Blackburn etc could be fighting for this spot.

Some have argued that the likes of those teams are already better than half of the teams from the willy nilly leagues of Europe, but i have to again disagree, if this is so then why are our supposedly "decent" teams always so poor in the UEFA Cup? If they can't even hack that the majority of the time then god only knows how they will fair in the ultimate competition in Europe.

Teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan & AC will wipe the floor with these teams and i really do not see why this should be allowed to happen.

If the likes of Tottenham, City or Villa etc did manage to take 4th spot then at least you have the backing that you have played an excellent season and pipped say Liverpool or Arsenal (established CL sides) to the post so you have the right and judging by that years performance the game to go and and give it a run for it's money.

So why risk throwing a team like Birmingham in when as a country England are dominating the Champion's League? Why allow our league to be laughed at? The cream of the best crop should play in the best competition for European silverware and in my eyes that's final.

Look at Everton, in 2005 the year Liverpool had won their 5th European Cup, the bluenoses managed to beat us in the race to 4th. So what did they do?

Got knocked out in the qualifying stages by defeat to Villarreal and then dropped into the UEFA Cup where they were also knocked out by Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest.

The teams that are placed in 5th, 6th and 7th are generally there because they are not good enough, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to point this out, team's like ourselves, Arsenal, Chelsea and United have constantly came up with the goods and this appears to be an annoyance to many of the neutrals.

But the simple fact is, despite last season Arsenal finding themselves in a downwind, did anybody take the initiative to take 4th? No.

Despite Liverpool still in the midst of a dodgy season, is anybody truly convincing you that they have the stamina to complete the task?

Why should teams like ourselves have the prospect of our place being taken away from us when the teams we could be playing have failed to deliver the goods on their own behalf?

If they aren't good enough to do what is already asked since when was it appropriate for them to be thrown a lifeline?

They'll be adding an extra relegation spot next or even a play off to see if you can stay up.

It just gets right on their wick doesn't it?

"Oooo Arsenal may miss out on the Champion's League spot." , "Liverpool look set to blow it." they just absolutely hate the fact that despite when the cards are down we still fight back.

They want a change, they want money and below par sides want an easy way out.

Well I'm sorry but i just don't agree.

What are your thoughts on this story and how it may affect Liverpool? I realise many people have differing opinions on the matter and it would be really great to hear yours.

Please leave your comments below.

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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Not Such A Surprise, More Of A (FORM)ality.

Liverpool walked away from Anfield this afternoon collecting just 1 point from their clash with Manchester City. The fixture was never going to be a walk in the park but the 3 points were definitely attainable.
However as i spoke of in my match preview and just as many fans had predicted, the outcome was a score draw. After City's collection of one-pointers and our own recent shaky form it was quite easy to predict the final result.

It was clear that goals were not going to be a problem in this game for Liverpool but maintaining a lead successfully would be.

Liverpool began the game positively and had a lot of good possession. With a pretty strong team considering the circumstances and a good start to the first half, even this early it was easy to become optimistic.

Things took a turn for the worst though when Agger was involved in a clash eventually seeing him stretchered off. Agger made contact with the head of Kolo Toure and the injury was immediately noticed after a wound instantly opened up and began bleeding.It wasn't until Agger was helped to the ground by Kuyt, Babel and the doc that the seriousness of the incident was revealed.

Agger suffered mild concussion and was believed to have received 5 stitches to the wound. He is expected to make a full recovery.

So with Agger now off, the defence had lost a little bit of flare and solidarity, Kygriakos was brought on to replace the Dane and would feature for the rest of the 90minutes.

Shortly after this incident Liverpool find themselves in the build up of another scenario which ultimately results in Benitez having to make his second substitution before the clock read 20minutes. Babel and Gerrard find themselves confused as they both clatter into each other during a Babel run into the area, Gerrard appeared to have took the brunt of it but it was Babel who remained on the ground, after highlighting that the problem was with his ankle he limped off the pitch but was set to come back on.

Now don't get me wrong, i know nothing about injuries and how it may feel if you are trying to "run off" an ankle problem but to me if your decision is to hobble off the pitch and then decide that you are OK to carry on, you put in more of an effort than 6 minutes.

Gerrard had to resort to picking Babel up off the ground after he sat down again, Gerrard insisting that he just needed to get moving and run it off, because as we all know if this was Gerrard, Carragher, Masch even Torres the chances are they would play as long as possible or at least look a bit more motivated to keep going.

Maybe i am being a bit harsh on Ryan Babel but for somebody who runs his mouth to the international media saying he wants to move to Ajax because Rafa doesn't start him... He needs to seriously buck his ideas up. No wonder Rafa doesn't give you the opportunity, for a starters you are very inconsistent and constantly frustrating, secondly your attitude is atrocious and you have no real strive or passion when you are in the starting 11. Nothing proved this more than today's "reaction" to from what my eyes could see was a "knock".

If you want to sod off to Ajax in an attempt to boost your international career then be my guest because i am seriously getting to the end of my tether sunshine. You aren't some sort of football royalty and you represent nothing that is Liverpool FC.

We digress.

So with Babel now off a freshly horse placenta injected Yossi Benayoun was brought into the game. After Riera and himself suffered similar injuries in the Birmingham game a new procedure involving the injection of horse placenta into the hamstring was given to both of the Liverpool wing men, this pioneering medical practice appears to have worked.

The first half although it had started lively and arguably in Liverpool's favour did fizzle out, with the two Liverpool substitutions and the decreasing pace of the game, there was not much action to report. The highlights being the excellent save from Shay Given when a Skrtel header was sent goal bound and when Reina had to make a quick decision after Barry caused problems with his cross - shot?

Liverpool needed a goal second half and they knew this. At almost the first real opportunity Gerrard whips in a free kick and Skrtel manages to get a foot in front of Adebayor sending the ball into the back of the net and giving him his first goal for the club.

So job one was done. We had scored. This was not going to be the problem though as the following 20 minutes would prove.

After the Lyon game and the Birmingham City fixture before the international break, you can't help but feel doubtful when it comes to holding on to those 3 points. And today was no different.

Man City popped up with Adebayor and equalised proceedings after Liverpool again conceded from a set piece. Is it the zonal marking? Or is it the defence? A question that persists to arise. I for one cannot turn my back on a system that works so well for other clubs and has been proven at our own club in seasons gone by. The system is not to blame, it is simply the sloppiness of the defence so far this season.

Barely 5 minutes later and the worst had happened, Man City create a super goal finished by Ireland adding to his current goal tally for City. Offside or not offside? Again you could argue that Liverpool are suffering from a lack of lady luck. Can we really keep sitting back and relying on excuses though? We had taken the lead at home and lost it, we have no-one to blame but ourselves.

Phenomenally, not even a minute later Benayoun had brought Liverpool back level at the other end of the pitch. It was nice to see that the City defence could be just as vulnerable as our own after Benayoun was allowed to easily slip through into space and slide the ball home.

The remainder of the second half was a means to push for a late winner but as seems the law of our season so far, it just wasn't to be. The best opportunity arose when Lucas was presented with a free header in the dying seconds of the game. Unfortunately he didn't do as well as he perhaps should have but this did not take anything away from his excellent performance.

With a crucial, crucial Champion's League game on Tuesday, it makes you wonder whether we can actually do our bit of the deal never mind bask in the hope that Fiorentina do not win.

On the other hand, you can never write Liverpool off, the game on Tuesday will be tense but the fat lady definitely hasn't sung yet.

Everton next in the league and again we will be looking to begin the season turn around. After looking at today's game it is clear that as a whole, we didn't actually play too bad. Silly defensive errors and missed chances appear to be the problem, if we can just resolve this and maintain a fit squad we can quite easily begin the turn around.

All i know is we must begin the push to secure that top 4 finish soon and what better way than getting one over on the old blue noses?

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Liverpool Welcome Sky Blues To Anfield

With the international break now over, Liverpool look to revamp there season once again after continuing a bad run of form via the draws picked up against Birmingham and Lyon.

Currently sitting 7th in the table on a total of 19 points Liverpool have the prospect of leap-frogging City and at best sealing 5th place on goal difference.

This is a key match in terms of the fight for a top four finish, with Liverpool's desire to continue to compete in the Champion's League and even more so the need for the revenue, City and their megabucks are looking to break into the top four and shake things up a bit

So will the cash of City compete with the tactics of Rafa?

You only have to look at Rafa's last few signings:
£17.5m – Glen Johnson,£17.1m – Alberto Aquilani, £2m, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Daniel Ayala for £160,000 a total of just over £36m. Then glance over to Manchester City and realise that Robinho and Tevez were almost that alone.

Benitez not only faces a team with more cash, he also faces a team with more depth. Injuries at Anfield so far this season have been rife and for Saturday's clash the likes of Riera, Benayoun, Agger, Johnson, N'Gog and Gerrard still remain doubts although the boss is confident that Agger, Johnson and Gerrard will be available.

Torres & Aurelio however are deemed not to make an appearance. Torres is still suffering from a recurring problem whilst Aurelio is nursing a calf injury which kept him out of the Brazil – England fixture.

City have most options available, however Petrov has been ruled out and Robinho is still an uncertainty.

So what if we lay out the stats?
The Last 5 Meetings:
Man City 2 Liverpool 3
Liverpool 1 Man City 1
Liverpool 1 Man City 0
Man City 0 Liverpool 0
Man City 0 Liverpool 0

City have never managed to score more than two goals against Liverpool since the start of the Premier League.

Liverpool have an impressive record at home against City and have only lost on one occasion when they were beaten 2-1. Milan Baros was the goalscorer that day. The biggest ever victory in this head to head clash came when Liverpool put 6 past City in 1995.

With all this in mind, on paper it is a winnable fixture for Liverpool, especially with the home advantage. Form suggests otherwise and this could well be a score draw. With City picking up a lot of frustrating results themselves along with our current form it is clear that goals won't be a problem however maintaining a lead will be.

Liverpool cannot walk away with just the one point, it will simply not be satisfactory. With a must win game in the Champion's League midweek and then the Merseyside derby to follow Liverpool need to seal the three points as smoothly as possible.

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