The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Five Things We Learned From The Community Shield

Don't tell me that was a "friendly", both teams desperately wanted to win the Community Shield on Sunday afternoon and while I'll definitely get over the fact that Liverpool lost on penalties I can't be doing with people pretending to not be arsed.

Image via mirror.co.uk

I was massively invested in that game and so too was Pep Guardiola apparently after he got a yellow card for literally kicking off at the fourth official. Add to that an acrobatic goal-line clearance from Kyle Walker and it is clear Man City were desperate to prevent us getting the first silverware of the season and vice versa.

So what did we learn from the loss?

1) There's still nothing really separating these teams

The first half was a bit of a slow burner for Liverpool and City looked a lot stronger, opening with a goal from Raheem Sterling after our defence for once looked completely out of sync. The Reds though quickly settled into the game and in the second half, it was Klopp's side piling on the pressure.

It may well be a "friendly" in some people's eyes but both managers fielded very strong teams on Sunday and once again there was all but nothing splitting the class of the two sides. A Gini Wijnaldum penalty saved by keeper Bravo was the only difference.

2) Reds missed Mane

Mane is still to return to the Liverpool side after reaching the AFCON final with Senegal and it was clear on Sunday the Reds missed his influence in the front three, particular in the first half I felt where Mane's directness would have been much appreciated.

Mane has been my favourite Liverpool player for a long time now and it's such a comfort knowing that the Reds played extremely well in this Community Shield fixture yet still have Mane to call upon. As joint top scorer last season I can once again see him having a massive influence this year.

3) Defensive goal

Image via telegraph.co.uk

Who needs Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino when you can have a nice tasty link up from your centre backs? Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip teamed up to score Liverpool's equaliser and Matip looked elated to get Liverpool off the mark this season.

Virgil, as we all know, was phenomenal last year but Matip is often overlooked. He really made an impact when injuries gave him an opportunity last season and although Joe Gomez is a quality defender I don't personally think he should automatically have the right to re-enter the team. Joel played very well on Sunday and for me, he'd be in my back four against Norwich.

4) Bobby and Mo look sharp

There's always a worry, especially after a slow pre-season and players having to take extended breaks that the quality may not immediately return in time for the season start. Match fitness and sharpness can take a long time to rebuild but on Sunday despite a couple of missed chances, it was clear that Firmino and Salah are ready to pick up where they left off.

The forwards both look raring to go for the Reds and as mentioned earlier, throw Mane into that mix and once again Liverpool are a force to be reckoned with up front.

5) The bench is looking strong

It's quite clear that Liverpool will not be spending this transfer window but I think sometimes we forget that our bench is actually pretty strong. The return of Oxlade-Chamberlain offers a great option for Jurgen Klopp and Shaqiri for me is a brilliant player to have at your disposal.

Naby Keita made an impact when entering play today and while I can't say he's my favourite of the bunch, so too did Adam Lallana. I take the point that if we get a couple of injuries we could be in a bit of a tricky situation but away from that Liverpool have a strong squad going into this 2019/2020 season.

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Community Shield: Does it matter for Liverpool?

We're back! Finally, we can stop scrolling through hundreds of tweets from disgruntled fans shouting doom after losing a few pre-season matches without any of our star players.

Liverpool open their 2019/2020 season on Sunday as the Reds face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in the Community Shield but does this piece of silverware really matter?

Image via eurosport.com

The Community Shield has always been a bit of a joke trophy for most fans, a curtain opener that nobody really cares about but this year for Liverpool fans, it feels different. Klopp's side pushed CIty agonisingly close in the Premier League and the bookies are once again predicting a two-horse race for this season. While the Community Shield remains a one-off match and one that could well feature two very weakened teams, a win here for Liverpool feels more important than it should be.

I know I joked initially about the moaning surrounding Liverpool's pre-season but if we're honest, it hasn't been great has it? The win over Lyon last night has hopefully brought back some confidence but a win against Manchester City on Sunday would further bolster that in my opinion.

Liverpool simply must hit the ground running in this 2019/2020 campaign. To hold any chance of going as close as we did last year or even better, winning that elusive Premier League title, we must start positively. For me, lifting the Community Shield and along the way providing some much-needed game time for the likes of Firmino, Salah and Mane could be the way to do it.

Will they feature?

It's hard to know whether Jurgen Klopp will include Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino in his plans for Sunday. A lot of it will rest on the science and the fitness levels/sharpness of the three lads who have had a significantly shorter rest period than most.

In Klopp's interviews, he sounds as though he's taking this fixture very seriously, to him silverware is silverware and he wants his side to win as much of it as possible.

I would expect to at least see one of the three feature on Sunday although in theory, if Klopp needs his star men to get the game time he may well grasp this chance to play all three of the lads prior to the Norwich fixture.

When is a signing not a signing?

When they're 16 apparently. 

Another thing a lot of fans have been venting about is the lack of signings from Liverpool this transfer window and while I totally understand the frustration, the overreaction is unbelievable. We were never going to spend big this summer and for me, the Reds targeting youngsters who have reportedly had the likes of PSG and Real Madrid sniffing around them can only be a good thing.

Image via skysports.com

Harvey Elliott the 16-year-old signed from Fulham apparently looked lively in the Lyon match last night and I can see him potentially featuring in the League Cup for the Reds. It's also great to see the club gaining the signature of Sepp van den Berg the 17-year-old centre back.

Game on

I for one cannot wait for Sunday, I don't think I've ever been so excited for a Community Shield match in all my life, in fact, I know I haven't. 

I tend to be the sort of fan that switches off a bit during pre-season, I'll keep up to speed with what's happening usually via Twitter or podcasts but I won't religiously watch the games. I think it's partly because I enjoy a bit of a break but also because I like to keep the season start exciting, I don't want to know how fresh everybody is I want to see what happens when it really matters.

My brand new Virgil van Dijk shirt is hanging up ready to go. So enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s.

As regular readers may have noticed my blogging efforts dipped dramatically last season, I just was failing really badly to find enough time to blog and I lost a bit of love for it. However, I've quickly realised that while my little blogging space here doesn't get masses of attention and I may not ever have the time to truly grow this to where I'd like it to be, blogging and writing remains a huge release for me personally. 

It's always been a real passion of mine so I'm going to make a conscious effort this year to blog more and offer more opinion. Please stay tuned to The Liver Bird and if you have any helpful tips about blogging in general or any LFC topics you'd like me to cover, drop me a tweet! - @LFCKirstyLFC

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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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Friday, 4 January 2019

Reds Unbeaten Run Ends At Etihad

Top of the league and still four points clear, despite losing to the champions... so why am I so frustrated? It's surely a sign of how well Liverpool are playing that I find myself annoyed at last night's result even after a night's sleep. 

Don't get me wrong, it was the correct result, City deserved to win, I just worry how that will affect our momentum and I just know what we're like. It's bizarre cause I'm usually the rose-tinted optimistic fan that gets on people's nerves on Twitter for being too positive but I think I've been scorned by that Brendan Rodgers title race and I just desperately want everything to go right, even though I know there will be blips along the way and that it will not be straightforward. 

Fabinho v Man City
Image via The Mirror
There is no shame at all in losing to Guardiola's City at the Etihad, I am just hoping we can pick up where we left off. 

For me, Jurgen Klopp took a decision to select Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum in his midfield and I can see the thought process but I just don't think it worked.

The linkage (or lack of) between the midfield and the forwards was poor and there was a lot of negative movement either sideways or backwards, even when it appeared to the onlooker that a key through pass was available. 

Despite the midfield set up, Liverpool went agonisingly close to opening up the scoring when Sadio Mane saw a shot bounce off the post and a melee ensued. John Stones cleared off the line and somehow managed to steer the ball clear of an encroaching Salah. The goal decision system indicated the ball was just 11 millimetres away from being a Liverpool opener. Gutting. 

The first half was a very tense battle but City broke the deadlock at 40 minutes when Aguero shot high into goal from a very tight angle. I'm still not sure how he got that in. 

The Reds needed the half time whistle and needed to recoup. Klopp had clearly been thinking about his set up because at 57 minutes he replaced Milner with Fabinho. A cracking substitution with an immediate impact. I just can't help but regret the fact that the Brazilian didn't start the match. 

Just after the hour mark, Liverpool found their equaliser, a cross from Andy Robertson found its way into the box and Roberto Firmino was there to finish with a straightforward header. I went crazy. A draw here would have been a fantastic result, especially considering how the game had unfolded. 

For a while, the Reds looked as though they may have had a footing and throughout the remainder of the match chances did appear for Klopp's side including some further box madness with City at times lucky to clear the danger. 

The killer blow was delivered though by Leroy Sane at 72 minutes. An angled shot hit off the right-hand post and into the net.


A frustrating game for the Reds who could have got more out of it if the formation had been slightly different and had a bit of luck swung their way. Positively the Reds, on paper, have a decent set of fixtures now so I just hope we can crack on. 

Next up for Liverpool is Wolves in the FA Cup and I'm going! Will be sat in the North Bank trying to keep quiet with me fella and brother, should be a good laugh!!!

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PREVIEW: Man City V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip along the M62 on Thursday evening as they prepare to face title race rivals Manchester City. The Reds are currently sitting top of the table, six points ahead of Spurs and seven points ahead of City. The match at the Etihad could prove pivotal for Jurgen Klopp's side who are searching for their first ever Premier League title.

Injury wise Liverpool have received a boost as James Milner returns to fitness. For City, 
Gundogan becomes available while Delph and Mendy remain out injured. 

Image via The Independent
It's such a strange time being a Liverpool fan at the moment because the Reds are playing absolutely brilliantly, we're top of the table with an immense squad yet we can't quite bring ourselves to get excited.The chance to take the Premier League title is a prize too great for many a Liverpool fan who has been burnt recently by the agonisingly close campaign steered by Brendan Rodgers. The heartache is real and I for one am not quite ready to allow myself to get carried away for a real fear of something going wrong.

However, I did say to myself a few months back, if we were top after the Christmas period, I'd allow myself to get excited. That Christmas period has now extended ever so slightly to include tomorrow night but I tell you something, even if we get a point at the Etihad, that is massive for Jurgen Klopp's side and I will dare to dream.

The last time Liverpool and Manchester City met was in October last year in what proved to be a relatively uneventful match (0-0). The Reds' last trip to the Etihad was in the Champions League in April last year, a 2-1 win for Liverpool saw goals from Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Manchester City have proved to be a formidable force in recent seasons but they have always hit a stumbling block when facing the lads from L4. The Sky Blues have only beaten the Reds twice in the last 12 meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have equalled the record for the fewest goals conceded in the first 20 Premier League games (8).
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in every one of his six home league games against Liverpool.
  • Liverpool have won nine consecutive league matches.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching. I cannot wait for this one!

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Monday, 8 October 2018

Reds Pick Up Draw Against City

After all the build-up to this match and judging by the recent meetings between the two sides, not many would have had this one down as a 0-0 draw. In a game where Liverpool looked lacking up front but solid at the back, it was perhaps the right result come 90 minutes, aided by Mahrez's inability to convert from the spot.


Image via The Independent
Both managers will have wanted nothing more than victory in this game at Anfield but as the match unfolded it became clear that both had learnt lessons in how to subdue the attack of the opposition. It's fair to say that Liverpool's front three haven't been as prolific as they were last season but I did feel they would get the space they required against City, it didn't pan out that way though with Mane, Salah and Firmino on the whole being crowded out.

Similarly, the Manchester City attack was coming up against a brick wall in the likes of Lovren and Virgil van Dijk. Lovren in particular apart from a couple of mishaps had a brilliant game in my opinion. Considering several fans were worried when he was named on the team sheet I thought he was solid, on his day, Lovren is a strong defender. Yes, he plays very close to the line and can often find himself in trouble but I can guarantee you, strikers do not like playing against defenders like the Croatian.

For me, Lovren's perfectly timed tackle in the second half was the icing on the cake. Stunning.

Alongside Lovren was Mr van Dijk. The defender has created a huge impact on the Liverpool side since appearing last January and for the majority of the 90 minutes yesterday he instructed his team to see off City and defended well. It is utterly a bizarre feeling as a Liverpool fan to be sat there and able to rely on your defensive performance. Alien.

Unfortunately for the Reds, their defending was somewhat marred when Virgil made a silly decision to take down Sane in the box. For me, Sane was going nowhere, there was no need to stick the foot in but what's done is done.

Mahrez stepped up to take the penalty in what I was certain would turn out to be a dramatic City winner but the ex Leicester man skied his spot kick leaving Klopp and his side relieved to say the least.

It's a weird situation at the moment because I remember saying a few weeks back either on the blog here or on Twitter, if Liverpool can get through this ridiculous run of fixtures into October, we will be in a very strong position. We have made it through those fixtures, we've collected two points against Chelsea and City who look like our major rivals and are joint on points at the top, that can't be a bad thing surely? Of course it is not but the one thing that slightly concerns me is the Reds lack of potency in attack.

Something isn't quite right at the moment, part of me feels as though the linkage between the midfield and strikers isn't as slick as last year. All I know is that Liverpool will at some stage need to get out of first gear and with a run of supposedly easier fixtures, here's hoping Klopp and his team can really kick on now up to Christmas!

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Man City At Anfield

In just a few hours Liverpool will walk out at Anfield against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City. The Sky Blues are currently sitting top of the Premier League table thanks to a better goal difference than Jurgen Klopp's side. Liverpool will be desperate to make the most of this chance against City and to put distance between themselves and every other team in the league for the time being.

Image via express.co.uk
Onlookers Chelsea will be begging that this game ends in a draw and to be honest it's definitely a possibility. If it is a draw, it'll be a 2-2 or a 3-3 because I'm convinced this game will have goals. For me, the way in which City play will massively assist Liverpool and players such as Mane, Salah and Firmino should be able to capitalise on the gaps left by the visitors.

Injuries for Liverpool are pretty much the same, thankfully though, for the Reds, Naby Keita who went off against Napoli with a back problem may still be able to feature having been checked over thoroughly by medical staff. 

Pep Guardiola receives a boost team wise as both Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy returned to training earlier this week. Ilkay Gundogan, however, remains a doubt.

The last time the two sides met was in April last year. The second leg of a huge Champions League tie ended in a 2-1 win for Liverpool thanks to goals from the brilliant Mo Salah and the influential Roberto Firmino.

The reverse of this fixture at Anfield also ended superbly for the Reds after they picked up a 3-0 win. A feast for the eyes of Kopites in the ground and around the world saw Klopp's side utterly control Manchester City. Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal that night was a particular highlight for me from last season as a whole.

In the Premier League fixture at Anfield during January, Liverpool once again got the better of Guardiola's side. A game that ended 4-3 for the Reds saw goals from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Mane and Salah. City scored two goals in quick succession at 84 and 90 minutes which sent hearts racing but Klopp's side held on for all three points.

History tells us that this game will be an exciting one. Some fans have been overly critical of the Liverpool side after the last minute loss at the hands of Napoli in Italy but for me, that fixture was always going to be a tough one and it's unfortunate the Reds couldn't quite hold on for the draw.

Anybody who thinks the Reds are going to let that result affect them going into this game has another thing coming because there is no other fixture in this league at the moment that will drive on Klopp's side more than a mouthwatering tie against Manchester City.

If the Reds can find a win here we will have come through an extremely tough period of both league and European fixtures, not only still in with a great shot of getting through to the group stages but also sitting pretty at the top of the league going into another international break. All completed while still arguably playing below our true potential, I for one am not going to argue with that.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Five Things We Learned From The Etihad Win

1) We can defend

Granted, we conceded after just two minutes but on the whole, Liverpool put on a strong defensive performance. Yes there were a few errors and Karius shouldn't have punched on a couple of occasions but against Man City, at the Etihad, in a semi-final? I think we should be proud to concede just the one.

Over the two legs, the Reds have shown that they can, in fact, defend and the likes of Robertson and Trent double A have been absolutely brilliant.

Image via The Belfast Telegraph

2) We missed Hendo

Henderson is one of those players who you only really appreciate once he's gone. He brings a certain calmness to the side and during the first 45 minutes yesterday I felt like we really missed him.

It will be a positive to reintroduce him to the side for the semi-final. Gini did ok but I just feel as though Hendo adds a bit of balance, it's a weird one because I'm the first to admit I will often be slating Hendo in some fixtures but really he brings more to the side than you realise.

3) Mo Salah is unstoppable


I've genuinely run out of words and paragraphs to explain how good this guy is. He makes things look incredibly easy, that goal last night was by no means a simple one. Mane did well to cause the situation but to have the composure to net that and dink it in too? Stunning.

He's an absolute god.

4) Dejan Lovren played a pivotal role


Lovren is not necessarily a player you would focus on after Tuesday night's result but having read a piece in the Independent today it is clear that he played a pivotal role.

When heads were dropping and frustration began to show early on in the game, including a disgruntled Virgil van Dijk, it was Lovren who stepped in to pull the lads back together.

Shouting at his teammates to keep their heads he did more than he can ever imagine by taking the step to calm the team down. It reminds me of players like Gerrard and Carragher, sometimes you need a player to step up in a big game not just in terms of their play on the pitch but to speak to the team. Fair play Dejan.

5) Firmino worries Mo may have turned into a statue


And finally, I can't stop laughing at this video of Mo celebrating. Firmino looks as though he's trying to figure out if he's still alive or not haha.


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Thursday, 5 April 2018

Stunning Liverpool Beat City 3-0

A Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield against the impressive Manchester City was never meant to be so straightforward. The Reds produced one of the best performances I've seen from a Liverpool side in a very long time, completely and utterly flummoxing City both in attack and in defence. 

Image via The Guardian
It was a stunning effort from Klopp's side who got off the mark inside 15 minutes thanks to their Egyptian king. For me, it was never in doubt that Salah would find the back of the net and his goal would prove to be a catalyst for Liverpool in the first half. 
The Anfield atmosphere was electric, an intimidating place at the best of times, on a European night I would not want to be walking out of the tunnel into that cauldron. 

A second goal for the Reds followed at 20 minutes after a stunning strike from Oxlade-Chamberlain. It was a cracking effort from the ex-Arsenal man and Vincent Kompany's reaction along with Pep Guardiola' said it all, this wasn't going to be City's night, not even close. 

Just after the half hour mark Sadio Mane found Liverpool their third, a lovely timed cross from Salah was finished with a great header from Mane. The Reds were up 3-0 with the second half still to come, phenomenal. 

Away from the goals which didn't increase, defensively the Reds should also be praised, the relentless Andy Robertson put in a fantastic display but it was Trent double A who really shone for me. He had his work cut out up against Sane and prior to kick off I was genuinely quite concerned but the youngster dealt with him superbly.

I always had the confidence that over two legs we could have City but never in a million years did I think we'd be 3-0 up in the first leg. That clean sheet is a sublime bonus, City have to find three goals at the Etihad to even get a sniff while keeping the likes of Mane, Firmino and Salah all out? 

I don't buy that we won't score at the Etihad I just don't. Liverpool have created a massive headache for Guardiola and I genuinely don't think they know what's hit them. 

Simply awesome. Roll on Tuesday night! 

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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Anfield Awaits

Liverpool face Manchester City under the Anfield floodlights on Wednesday evening for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. A draw against an English side is seen by many as a curse but the game is sure to be an enthralling affair whatever happens.

Image via thisisanfield.com
City are flying high at the top of the Premier League with the Reds being the only team to beat Guardiola's side. Both managers lead two awesome sets of attacks and both would also admit to defensive issues but who will walk away victorious?

Realistically, Liverpool need a solid win at Anfield to get the job done in this tie, going to the Etihad with a draw or a loss would create an extremely difficult scenario. Not an insurmountable one though, we've all seen Liverpool perform miracles in Europe.

Injury news means Klopp is unable to call upon Joel Matip who is now out for the remainder of the season, the game also looks to have come too early for Emre Can. For Manchester City, the big news on Tuesday was the announcement that Sergio Aguero will also miss the game.

There aren't many matches where the build-up to the clash itself is enough to give you goosebumps but reading some of the quotes and opinions today, it has really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Klopp has asked his side to "write our own history" and if anybody is capable of doing so, it's Liverpool. The Reds seem to find power in the places where most teams have caved in and given up, how many times have you watched us in Europe make it through in impossible fashion?

I honestly feel as though we can take City over two legs. Ideally, I would have preferred the second leg at Anfield but in Europe with 180 minutes to play, I always favour our boys, whoever the opposition. The Reds have shown they can beat City already this season and the open style of play will work to our advantage, Salah is bound to find the back of the net I just hope that the occasion forces some stellar performances from Lovren and van Dijk.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching, pop back to The Liver Bird on Thursday for a match report!

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Monday, 15 January 2018

No More Invincibles

Arsenal Fan TV may have had a bad weekend but at least they can thank the Reds for halting City's chances of creating another team of invincibles. Liverpool at times on Sunday afternoon looked unbeatable themselves and thankfully, despite conceding in quick succession late on, Klopp's side did what no other has done this season and beat Pep Guardiola. 

Mo Salah Manchester City Goal
Image via skysports.com
A line up that was missing Coutinho for the first time and also had no van Dijk may have struck fear into some fans' minds but I was never in doubt of this victory. Nothing would shake the thought that we could outscore them. I knew we'd concede but with the way City play, so openly, we were certain to find the net multiple times. 

And it was a cracking set of goals from our four attacking stars. 

First up was Oxlade-Chamberlain, the boss has asked him to shoot more and it paid off when he chanced a long-range effort, a great finish put Liverpool 1-0 up after just nine minutes. 

A dominant first half for the Reds was somewhat tainted when Sane found the back of the net just before half time. Some people on Twitter disagreed but for me, it was very poor from the apparent new first choice keeper Karius. To be beaten like that at his near post? But also to choose to try and save with closed fists? Bizarre. 

The second half would produce three stunning goals within a period of ten minutes for Liverpool. City were left absolutely dumbfounded but would eventually regain their footing late on. 

Firmino's goal at 59 minutes was superb. The set up was perfect but the strength he showed to face off Stones was brilliant, then the Brazilian followed up with a stunning finish. 

Next, it was Mane's turn on 61 minutes, not long before he had smashed an effort off the post but his pin perfect rising shot was no match for under pressure Ederson. 3-1.

At this point I was delirious, I knew we'd beat them I just knew it but I never expected such a mad period of play! 

At 68 minutes Salah got on the score sheet (of course he did). This time it was a rare mistake from keeper Ederson who's clearance came back out to Mo, the Egyptian took full advantage of the mistake and lobbed the keeper from long range. Awesome. 

70 minutes passed, even 80 minutes passed and Liverpool had somehow still not conceded another. In part, this was thanks to the magnificent Andy Robertson. I've always been a lover of a good defender and my god does Andy look the part, classic defending of old, just the way he stands up the attacker and times his tackles, it's lovely to watch. He had Raheem Sterling well in his pocket and clearly wound up the ex-Red, add to this the fact he literally closed down the opposition left back at one point and you're on to a winner. 

Liverpool though did concede, twice. We can never make things easy can we? Bernardo Silva netted on 84 minutes and Gundogan followed in extra time. Klopp looked furious but he can't be surprised? This is typical Liverpool but to be honest I don't really care. As long as we get those three points, I'm not arsed how we go about it this season. 

A brilliant game for the fans but also a fantastic spectacle for the neutral. Don't tell me Liverpool aren't exciting to watch. 

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Friday, 12 January 2018

Can Liverpool Stop City's Unbeaten Run?

Liverpool welcome Pep Guardiola's unbeaten Manchester City to Anfield on Sunday but can Jurgen Klopp's team be the spanner in the works? City don't exactly have the best of records at L4 and it's no secret that the Reds play better against open, attacking sides.

Nicolas Anelka penalty
Image via mancity.com
I honestly think we're going to beat them, I very often am overly optimistic in a jokey, rose-tinted manner but I genuinely think we're getting those three points this weekend. I just can't shake the feeling and I'll definitely be popping a couple of quid on a 3-2 victory. I can just picture it now, Mo Salah in the dying moments nets the winner...

Enough about what I think though, what do the previous fixtures say? Well, the last time the two sides met in September was a day to forget for Liverpool, City put five goals past the Reds without return and to make things worse, Sadio Mane was sent off.

The last fixture at Anfield in December 2016 ended more positively with a 1-0 win to the home side thanks to an early Gini Wijnaldum goal. Over the past 10 meetings between the two sides at Anfield in the league, Liverpool have won on six occasions and there have been four draws. 

In fact, to find a City win at Anfield in the league, we have to go way back to 2003. Milan Baros scored for the Reds but two penalties from Nicolas Anelka, one on the 90th minute of the game, sealed the win for the away side. This is Manchester City's only win at Anfield since 1981.

Injuries for this match mean Liverpool are still without Henderson, Clyne, Moreno and Sturridge. The latter of whom is highly linked with a move away from the club this January. For City, Vincent Kompany is still unavailable and a doubt remains over the fitness of Jesus.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Mané, Sané... Absolutely Barmé

What the hell just happened? I genuinely felt confident going into this match and while a loss wouldn't have been such a surprise, a 5-0 loss definitely is. Liverpool's chances against Manchester City capitulated after the sending off of Sadio Mané at 37 minutes.

Mane, Ederson
Image via metro.co.uk
There's no denying that Ederson came off very badly in that challenge but it was a 50/50, both players were going for the ball, the goalkeeper bravely so, and unfortunately Mané happened to clatter into his face. Mané is not a malicious player and it's clear his eyes were on the ball but he was always running a risk with his studs that high. It's a difficult decision for me, I can totally see why he was sent off but I honestly think if that was between two outfield players he'd of escaped with a yellow.

Prior to the sending off, the Reds were playing really well. City were leaving several gaps at the back, mainly thanks to Otamendi, and Liverpool looked like they were on course for an equaliser after Sergio Aguero opened up the scoring. The red card changed everything though, accompanied by a long delay as Ederson was seen to, any momentum that Klopp's side had was completely lost.

It wasn't long before the home side found the back of the net again this time via Jesus. The Reds were praying for the delayed half time whistle, it felt unlikely a route back into the match existed but Klopp made the right decision I think by making an instant substitution in the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain entered play replacing Mo Salah. I'd called for the introduction of Ox on Twitter at half time but to be honest I thought he'd be swapped for Gini, however it seemed like a good choice to introduce fresh legs. As it turned out, Oxlade would get minimal chances to add influence to his first Liverpool fixture but he had a few moments for example a neat ball over the top that almost set Firmino up.

James Milner and Dominic Solanke also eventually entered play for the Reds in the second half but it was already clear by this stage that there was no way back for Liverpool. Manchester City were very much in control and another goal from Jesus in the second half was soon added to by the talented Leroy Sané.

The German's first effort went to Simon Mignolet's right hand side but it was Sané's second goal that really put the cherry on top of the Sky Blues' outing. A free kick style effort soared into the back of the net, only adding to Jurgen Klopp's embarrassment.

It was a crazy game, one we appeared to be completely out of only 40 odd minutes in, which was a strange feeling. Liverpool have often gone down 2-0 in a game, maybe not with ten men, but they've always fought to remain in contention, it felt a bit like some of the lads had given up on Saturday. It's hard to pull yourself back up after a key player leaves the field, I get that, but it's your responsibility to then ensure that the game doesn't turn into a nightmare.

When you really boil down to it, did Liverpool really make the most of their chances? Salah in particular had a few occasions where if a different decision was made he could have notched up an assist to a tap in. 

This is definitely a match we need to just completely write off and forget about. It's early in the season and I still feel if that sending off didn't occur we'd have put up a good fight at the Etihad.

Absolutely Barmé.

Next up for the Reds is Sevilla in the Champions League group stages.

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Friday, 8 September 2017

Manchester City V Liverpool [PREVIEW]

Liverpool make the short trip to Manchester on Saturday afternoon as they look to get the better of Pep Guardiola's side. The Reds picked up a massive victory over Arsenal prior to the international break but will the time away from the league affect progress?

Guardiola, Klopp
Image via express.co.uk
The big news for Liverpool this weekend is of course the return of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has been back in training but earlier today (I completely missed this news as you'll see from Twitter haha) Klopp announced that Couts would not be in the team for tomorrow's clash. 

It remains to be seen how the whole saga will pan out but to be honest I think it's in everyone's interest to just put it behind us. Coutinho's too good to leave to rot on the bench or in reserves and if he goes next year then so be it, let's squeeze some goals out of him first.

Other team news for the Reds means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could get his first minutes clocked up in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday. Nathaniel Clyne remains out with a long term injury and Adam Lallana is also unavailable. 

For City, Vincent Kompany who has a calf issue will not make the game and also somewhat ironically, Raheem Sterling is suspended for this one. Karma.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. The gamed ended 1-1 with James Milner converting from the spot for the Reds. Liverpool have put in some strong performances against City in recent years but this tie has still been a tough fixture at the Etihad. The Manchester side have won three out of the last six fixtures on their home turf in the league.

This clash has also resulted in masses of goals of late. In fact, since December 2013 a total of 26 goals have been scored in this fixture in the league.

"Every time I play Jurgen's teams I learn a lot. Top manager, top club, top players. It will be a nice game tomorrow." - Pep Guardiola

I think we're gonna win tomorrow, after the victory over Arsenal and the sheer intensity in our attack, I just feel like we have enough ammo to get the better of City. Liverpool always play better against the bigger sides and whilst playing City away from home is never going to be an easy fixture I still think the Reds will rise to the occasion.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 30 December 2016

LFC NYE

I don't know about you but I am massively excited for tomorrow's match. Any clash with City is an important one these days but on Saturday evening Liverpool need all three points in order to keep the pressure on Chelsea and distance themselves from Pep Guardiola's side.

Image via theguardian.com
The Reds go into this game having won three out of their last five games in the league. Sitting in second on 40 points, Klopp's side are just one point ahead of City in third. Pep's team have also won three out of their last five games but they have also lost twice during that time.

Injuries for Liverpool mean unfortunately Philippe Coutinho will not be fit for the match. The Brazilian has been photographed in training this week sparking rumours he may feature but Klopp has firmly put those to bed. Matip also remains unavailable so me and my mate Reece are seriously hoping the big man Klavan keeps his place in defence because after his performance against Everton we decided we'd put a fiver on him to score first and a fiver on him to score last at 50/1 on New Year's Eve haha!

Annoyingly, Sergio Aguero returns for Man City after completing his suspension and John Stones may also be newly available for the visitors. Vincent Kompany remains unfit along with Leroy Sane.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. Liverpool put three goals past City gaining revenge after losing to them just a week earlier in the Capital One Cup final. Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet in March, names you would expect to be heavily involved again on Saturday night.

The Reds have won three out of their last five meetings with City at Anfield. In all five games there has been a minimum of three goals with two of the fixtures ending in a 2-2 draw. I fully expect it to be a high scoring game tomorrow and when I place a few more bets I can definitely see me putting a few quid on a 3-2 win for Liverpool. I also fancy Origi to find the back of the net, keep an eye on my Twitter to see where my money goes.

Whatever the result tomorrow it's sure to be an exciting game, Jurgen Klopp sums it up rather well I think:

"The advantage is that it's at Anfield. We must try to use this. It will be really difficult for both teams. I'm really looking forward to it. We love playing against the best."
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Reds Do The Double Over City

It was a brilliant result for Jürgen Klopp on Wednesday evening as he steered his side to a 3-0 victory over Manchester City. Pellegrini's side looked a shadow of the team that featured in the cup win at Wembley on the weekend but take nothing away from Liverpool, they ran rings around the sky blues. 


Despite missing Daniel Sturridge and being forced to drop Lucas from the side Liverpool were extremely effective from the word go. A high pressure game was fully supported via the likes of Origi, Milner, Can, Henderson, Firmino and Lallana who worked brilliantly together in attack.

I won't shy away from the fact that I probably get on the case of Lallana and Milner but I cannot fault their efforts on Wednesday night. Lallana's opening goal was a well taken strike from some distance and at first it didn't even look like it had found the back of the net, his celebration soon confirmed the goal though.

The Reds were undoubtably on top and the high pressing game that Klopp is so famous for was certainly on show. It gives a glimmer of what can be expected under the German, especially when he is able to spend some money in the summer! 

Another lovely strike from Milner just four minutes before half time put Liverpool two nil up and there was no way back for an extremely lacklustre City side. For a team that are still going for the title they must be kicking themselves this morning because there was no fight in that side what so ever. Players like David Silva and Raheem Sterling were completely ineffective and hilariously the latter was substituted for the second half. Sterling was so poor thanks to an immense performance from Jon Flanagan, I bloody love that lad, I've always had a soft spot for defenders and he was all over it last night, started immediately by getting stuck in to Sterling and "letting him know he was there" as the oldies would say.

Just before the hour mark it was Firmino who stamped his name on the scoresheet after a nice finish from inside the box. Klopp was absolutely ecstatic and so were the players it was wonderful to see and whilst it would have been nice to have put on this performance in the final, I'll take revenge in any shape or form and knowing we've dented their title hopes while helping Leicester in the process? I'll take that! 

An almost perfect performance from Liverpool in my opinion perhaps only affected by a missing goal from Origi who I felt deserved one for his efforts and also that niggling question over what to do with Christian Benteke. He doesn't get many chances these days but it was evident to me last night that he's just not really bothered anymore. He had a couple of one-twos but his movement as always was lacking and he definitely does not fit into Klopp's system. I'd be very surprised if he's still here after the summer.

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Monday, 29 February 2016

Time For Revenge?

Got over the League Cup final loss yet? I'm not certain I have to be honest but hey, at least we have a shot at revenge just three days after Wembley. With that in mind I didn't see much point in writing up an almost identical match preview for Wednesday night's game and so I thought we could take a look back at some positive results that the Reds have picked up against City in recent times.


Manchester City 1 Liverpool 4 (November 2015)

By a country mile, this has been my favourite moment under Jurgen Klopp so far. The side that day just seemed to click and when Martin Skrtel found the back of the net at 81 minutes to win me £40 as last goalscorer, I was just ecstatic! It was a phenomenal team performance, to rip a team like City apart so easily gave hope for the Klopp era.

That Coutinho knee slide though...


Liverpool 3 Manchester City 2 (April 2014)

Another very special game and another Coutinho goal. In a magical season that nearly ended so perfectly for the Reds this was an extremely important game, taking the lead after just six minutes through Sterling and extending that with a Skrtel goal at 26 minutes, things looked done and dusted. Silva scored in the second half though and an own goal via Glen Johnson soon followed. But then, at 78 minutes...

"COUTINHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2 (February 2013)

Manchester City were hunting down Manchester United for the title in the run up to this game and most will remember it for a couple of fantastic goals. A beautiful strike from Daniel Sturridge put things level at 1-1, it was followed by another stunning strike, this time from Gerrard but unfortunately the captain's goal wasn't the winner as Aguero scored from a ridiculous angle.

Manchester City 2 Liverpool 3 (October 2008)

Good old Kuyt, what a little gem he was. Always gave his all and for a player that was forged into a winger and out of his natural position he scored a fair few goals! This day in 2008 was no different as the Dutchman scored a winner in injury time.

The Reds came from behind in the game after City grabbed the first two goals. Fernando Torres was also on the scoresheet that day for the Reds.

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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Reds Lose League Cup Final On Penos

Liverpool fell to defeat in the penalty shootout of the 2016 Capital One Cup final after fighting hard to take City to extra time and eventually through to the spot kicks. The Reds were poor from 12 yards having missed three penalties in a row and it was City's second choice keeper Willy Caballero who took the role of the hero in the dying moments of the final.

Image via theguardian.com: Simon Mignolet in the penalty shootout.
The first half of the final was pretty level pegging even after Liverpool suffered a big blow, forced into a substitution when Sakho and Can clattered heads. The defender was eventually taken out of play replaced by veteran Kolo Toure.

At 49 minutes City dealt Klopp's side a blow when Fernandinho found the back of the net. Arguably the goal was against the run of play slightly but most frustrating was the manner in which it was conceded. Simon Mignolet should not have let that shot underneath his body, it's as simple as that. He knows it, you know it, I know it and Jurgen Klopp knows it. Would it have ultimately made a difference? Who knows but it would have been nice for the game to have remained level at that stage.

Annoyingly, as is often the case with the mystery that is Simon Mignolet he went on to have a brilliant game in the 90 keeping the Reds in the match on at least two occasions. A save against a determined Sergio Aguero stood out and there is no denying that Liverpool would have been in a far worse position without that overall performance from their goalkeeper.

The Reds had been applying pressure steadily throughout the game but had failed to create any real solid chances, that changed though at 83 minutes when Philippe Coutinho found the back of the net after an initial effort smashed out off the post. The Brazilian finished confidently to put Liverpool right back into the game with just seven minutes left. I went absolutely crazy, jumping around the pub with me brother as is often the case. It really felt at that point that we had the momentum, the tide had turned and maybe, just maybe we could walk away with the trophy.

In my opinion the 1-1 draw at full time was the correct result, some would argue that City had the better and the majority of clear cut chances but I would argue that they failed to convert and Liverpool's tenacity had resulted in a goal, for me, that meant we deserved extra time.

Extra time predictably resulted in nothing, a few flashes from both sides occurred, the best for Liverpool when Divock Origi got his foot on the end of a cross but nothing changed goal wise, meaning the match went all the way to penalties. With penalties looming it gave chance for a reflection on the game and I hate to highlight certain players and this is by no means an attempt to have a dig but to be perfectly honest Daniel Sturridge was practically absent on Sunday. I'm not quite sure what happened but judging by his reaction when going to collect his runner's up medal, he himself appeared to be acknowledging a lacklustre performance on his part. It's probably not fair but in a final at Wembley you look to players like Sturridge to take the baton and run with it but it just didn't happen.

And so, it went to penos.

Emre Can stepped up first in a rather strange penalty taking order and converted for Liverpool. First up for City was Fernandinho but he missed hitting the left hand post. I thought Mignolet had saved it initially and according to my Twitter I still thought he'd saved it hours later, he didn't but my theory still stood. Usually the first player to miss or see a peno saved ends up on the losing side, the advantage was there for Liverpool but we couldn't capitalise. Lucas saw his penalty saved by the influential Caballero, so did Philippe Coutinho and so did Adam Lallana. Coutinho's penalty was poor in particular, I've never been a fan of the stuttered penalty, just choose a spot and smash it, but none of that mattered, the Reds had lost and Manchester City had deservedly taken the trophy secured thanks to a Yaya Toure spot kick.

As disappointing as it was, I don't think we can feel too hard done by when looking at the overall performance, I stand by the fact that I thought we deserved to take the game to extra time but things began to quickly fade after that point and City's experience and prowess shone.

Here's hoping we can get some revenge on Wednesday.

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