The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Liverpool V United: 3 Key Results From The Last 5 Years

Hello everybody, long time no type. I haven't blogged in ages, I guess I've just been super busy, a pandemic happened and I lost a bit of love for writing but with a simply massive match on the horizon against Manchester United, I had to take the opportunity to get back to the keyboard for a trip down memory lane.

Below are three key results from the last five years of Liverpool v Manchester United. Let me know yours on Twitter.

1: European Prowess

Result: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0
Goalscorers: Daniel Sturridge (20' peno), Roberto Firmino (73')

In March 2016, Liverpool had drawn Manchester United in the Europa League. Just six months into Jurgen Klopp's tenure and the German had been dealt once of the most mouthwatering ties ever. Yes, this may not have been the Champions League but both sides were desperate to win here with progress to the quarter-finals at stake.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates

Image via football365.com

In the Premier League, Louis van Gaal's side were 3 points ahead of the Reds in 6th place but Klopp's team did have a game in hand. Manchester United had already got the better of Liverpool in both league games this season, winning 3-1 in September 2015 at Old Trafford and victorious at Anfield thanks to a late goal from Wayne Rooney.

While United for years had bragging rights over the Premier League, they could not compete with Anfield's European prowess. The 2-0 victory at Anfield is one of my favourite moments from clashes between the two sides in recent years. United were dire in this match and the Reds went on to seal their progression, drawing the second leg at Old Trafford 1-1.

Liverpool went on to make it all the way to the Europa League final against Sevilla but lost 3-1, it didn't matter though, greatness was around the corner.

2: Salah Lost His Shirt

Result: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0
Goalscorers: Virgil van Dijk (14' peno), Mo Salah (90' +3)

It's Sunday 19th January, Liverpool are flying high at the top of the Premier League, coronavirus is some pesky thing that we're denying will ever hit us and we're allowed to go to the pub... little did we know.

The Reds scored after just 14 minutes thanks to Van Dijk but United managed to find a foothold and began to put Klopp's side under some serious pressure. While it may not have been the end of the world if Liverpool had dropped points here, pride alone was worth fighting for, we weren't going down to United, not today.

Mo Salah and Alisson celebrating
Image via premierleague.com
In the third minute of extra time, Mo scored a brilliant goal assisted by Alisson (memories of Pepe Reina evoked) and Anfield erupted. We'd seen a lot of wins so far in the season but this one felt special.

The victory extended our lead at the top, which was now a 16 point gap, and the Kop, finally, allowed itself to make vocal what we'd all been thinking for some while now but were too afraid to admit. The chants of "we're gonna win the league!" rang around L4 and that elusive Premier League title felt closer than ever.

That snap of Mo Salah whipping his shirt off and running to the Kop End is etched in my mind, simply awesome. Unfortunately, the Reds had to wait patiently for their title as coronavirus ripped through the nation, but we got there in the end and boy was it emotional.

3: Big Shaq, Super Sub

Result: Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1
Goalscorers: Sadio Mane (24'), Xherdan Shaqiri (73', 80')

In December 2018, I watched one of my favourite performances from a sub ever. Shaqiri only entered play with 20 minutes to go as the Reds were level with United and struggling to find a way through.

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrating
Image via goal.com
A win here would be vital for Liverpool as Manchester City has beaten Everton for another three points the day before. Both efforts from the Swiss international were deflected but nobody cared, Big Shaq had entered play and completely turned the fixture around with two goals in two minutes, it was a superb performance.

Still to this day, that's one of my favourite results, United were shellshocked and the win took us back to the top of the table. It's a shame that for whatever reason Shaqiri is still on the fringes at Liverpool but he is certainly a player who can completely turn a game in your favour.

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Saturday, 19 October 2019

Back On Our Perch?

I was about 13 when Ferguson talked about knocking Liverpool off their f**cking perch and for the past 17 years, I've had to live with Manchester United fans making that well and truly known at every single opportunity.

Fast forward to today and the tables have turned but while I have had to sit and take the stick for over a decade where are all the United fans now? Where are the 18-year-old lads on Facebook who used to wax lyrical about Wayne Rooney, where are the "Beckham" replica shirt wearers that used to crowd the local pub? I'll tell you where... in hiding, cause they can't hack it.

Image via The Mirror

This Manchester United side is absolutely abysmal yet weirdly, as Kopites, we still find ourselves concerned about the trip to Old Trafford. Why is that?

Well, I'll tell you why, it's because as a Liverpool fan who's about to turn 30, I can count on one hand the times I remember watching the Reds win at the self-titled "Theatre of Dreams". It just doesn't happen and it hasn't happened in five years.

Last season despite Klopp's side picking up a whopping 97 points, the game at Old Trafford was absolutely horrendous. A terrible advert for football with arguably two of the biggest sides in the world game seeing out a 0-0 draw. Absolute snore-fest.

This season though, the gulf has widened, it's more of an abyss to be honest. United, with Ole at the wheel, at the time of writing are one point away from the relegation zone. Liverpool, on the other hand, are unbeaten and five points clear at the top of the table.

United look soulless and even after bringing in players like Harry Maguire and Wan-Bissaka it doesn't appear to have been enough to solve the situation. With rumours Paul Pogba may or may not be fit to start and also the influential David De Gea unable to play this surely should be a chance for Liverpool to add another Old Trafford victory to the list?

I sometimes feel like as Liverpool fans we're scared to be confident, we've learnt from experience that it's better to wait until after the event but I'm sorry, if I'm not allowed to feel confident as European Champions sitting pretty on our perch going into a game against a piss poor Man United side then when can I feel confident?

Whatever happens tomorrow I trust the Reds will give it their all. Part of me wonders whether Solskjaer will opt park the bus tomorrow but will the United faithful really accept watching their beloved team defend in desperation against a swift Liverpool attack for 90 minutes? I'm not so sure.

Roll on kick-off, if we're going to stay on our f**cking perch and keep Man City at bay, we need this one.

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Monday, 17 December 2018

Big Shaq Brace Puts Reds Back On Their Perch

Liverpool put themselves back on their perch on Sunday afternoon as three goals from the Reds brushed United aside at Anfield. Jose Mourinho's team was quite frankly horrendous, it was easily one of the worst United sides I've seen at Anfield in a very long time. 

Liverpool opened up the scoring with a beautiful goal from Mane, set up by an even more beautiful assist from the impressive Fabinho. 

It was the Reds piling on all the pressure and Anfield was bouncing but a somewhat lucky equaliser for United took the sting out of it for the Reds for the remainder of the second half. Lingard managed to convert from close range after a rare error from Alisson. 

Image via The Independent
The start of the second half saw immediate desperation from Mourinho as he brought on Fellaini straight away and soon began the hoof it and hope tactic. I mean, it's embarrassing, they're supposed to be the mighty Manchester United but they're set up like Stoke...

It was Klopp who would make the most inspired substitution though when he introduced Shaqiri at 70 minutes. I knew it was a good decision but I had no idea it would be THAT good. 

Shaq wasted no time getting involved and at 73 minutes when a close-range effort was deflected in. The Swiss international looked elated as he celebrated in front of the Kop and so was I. 

For years I've had to sit in the pub surrounding by United fans talking absolute bull but all they could do yesterday was listen to me scream my head off. Nineteen points behind us, absolutely hilarious! 

Shaqiri's second goal and a third of the night for Liverpool came at 80 minutes. Another deflection helped the ball into the net but there's a reason Shaqiri made such an impact because he plays positively and takes chances. A brilliant performance. 

If I wasn't already happy enough knowing we were top and had just battered Man United, I also then remembered I had money on a Mane 3-1 scorecast so I also won £56! Haha. Bonus. 

Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Those who know me will know why this one is a big deal.

Stay tuned to The Liver Bird for what should be an interesting preview and report! 

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Saturday, 15 December 2018

PREVIEW: Liverpool v Manchester United

This must be the least concerned I've been about Liverpool facing United in a very, very long time. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm always up for the United match and I always think the Reds will be able to get the win but equally, I also fear what the devils have to offer... not this time out though.

United, at the time of writing, are sitting 6th in the table on just 26 points. A full sixteen points behind Liverpool at present, and potentially nineteen points behind tomorrow. The United side used to be one filled with talent you would begrudgingly own up to saying you would like in your own team but as fans, including neutrals, up and down the country have been filling out their Liverpool/United combined XIs this week, it's the boys from L4 making up the majority of the lineup.

Image via inews.co.uk
The last time the two sides met was in March this year, I'd moved our dream holiday to Australia back a week in order to make sure I could watch this fixture but we lost the game 2-1. A brace from Rashford was enough for United and Liverpool only found the net thanks to an own goal from Bailly.

The last game at Anfield was in October last year, a dire 0-0 didn't exactly display the excitement and head to head affair we usually expect from this clash of the titans. The Reds haven't won at Anfield against United since September 2013 in the league, but they did pick up a victory in the Europa League on home soil in 2016.

Injury wise, both sides are struggling in defence. Matip fractured his collarbone against Napoli and Joe Gomez is also out for the foreseeable future. Liverpool are also facing a major doubt over Alexander-Arnold who has a foot problem.

For United, Marcos Rojo is added to an ever-growing injury list: Smalling, Darmian, Shaw...

Stat Sandwich
  • If Liverpool keep a clean sheet it will set a top-flight record for the fewest goals conceded in the opening 17 matches.
  • If United lose this fixture, it will result in their lowest points total after 17 league fixtures.
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 28 home matches in the league.
Liverpool are flying high, unbeaten, looking solid at the back and remaining powerful in attack, everything on paper says this match should result in victory for Jurgen Klopp, but it's not that simple is it?

Jose Mourinho, as much as it pains me to say it, is a clever manager. He's not afraid to shake up his tactics or set up and play horrible football if it will mean his side avoids an embarrassing defeat and nicks a point.

Mourinho will not come to Anfield to play football tomorrow, he will come to play anti-football and you can almost guarantee that somebody like Fellaini or Lukaku will find a goal and spoil Liverpool's Christmas party.

Klopp's side found it very difficult against teams who parked the bus last season and while we've definitely found a way through this year, I can just see it working a bloody treat for United.

However, if the Reds can get off the mark quickly, score early on and force United into a reaction then I think it could end very badly for the away side. Whatever happens, I hope it's more exciting than that bloody 0-0. I am well up for this one!!!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Five Things We Learned: Man United 2 Liverpool 1

1) Liverpool have nothing to be embarrassed about

Yes we lost and yes it was pretty darn terrible but as far as I am concerned, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have nothing to be embarrassed about. That match went perfectly with Mourinho's plan. A couple of long balls and some solid finishing thanks to errors in defence, once United were 2-0 up it was always going to be immensely difficult for the likes of Mane, Salah and Firmino to get through.

Image via Irish Independent
Mourinho plays a very negative game and it gets them results but if anybody tries to tell me United play better football than Liverpool, they can jog on. I would much rather watch the football we play with flair players leading the attack than turn up to watch a relatively bland United side slog out another last-minute win and have Fellaini as a key player. Mourinho is the first to complain when a side plays long ball against his team but when he does it? Genius. It drives me mad. Let them have their moment, I still think we'll finish above them in the table.

2) Lovren not a strong enough partner for VVD

Dejan has definitely improved of late but I'm not convinced he is the long-term partner for Virgil, nor am I convinced that it's Matip. On occasions against United, Lovren was caught completely off guard, VVD has added some command and stability to the defence but he can't ensure his teammates are always making the correct decision. Lovren's positioning at points was questionable, to say the least, and I just don't think it's a workable option for the Reds looking forward to next season.

3) Hendo brings more than we realise

The captain didn't even feature in this clash and I never thought I'd find myself sat there at half time asking for him to come on. I just feel like he would have brought some calmness to the side and would have provided more freedom to Can for example to power forward, both of them could then act as stronger links to the struggling forwards. 

Oxlade-Chamberlain had a pretty poor game and I honestly thought it would be Hendo replacing him.

4) Sadio Mane had an off day

I love Mane, he's on the back of my shirt this year, but bloody hell he had a bit of a mare on Saturday. Passing from the whole side, in general, was sloppy but Mane on several occasions lacked accuracy.

Decision-making while on the attack was also lacking, the link up between Sadio and Firmino/Salah usually comes naturally but it was a real struggle to make things work against United.

5) Klopp doesn't like to make early tactical changes

Point three above led me on to this one, I was trying to think back to big fixtures under Klopp and I'm not sure he's a fan of early tactical changes. Not many managers to be fair will watch a first half, note that there's a tactical issue and then be brave enough to make that change prior to 60 minutes but the Reds have had managers in the past that would stick their neck out and do so.

I felt on Saturday a change was needed relatively quickly, it didn't come until 62 minutes and even when it did it wasn't necessarily a tactical move to switch Oxlade with Lallana. The whole thing just got me thinking, Klopp is very much a subber of like-for-like players, partly because Klopp's tactics are simple in nature; press and attack. There are going to be times though where a clear tactical change is required to salvage something and I'm interested to focus more now on how the boss deals with these situations.

We've seen him chuck on attackers and pull off defenders but I'll be paying more attention I think to the more thoughtful subs in key upcoming fixtures.

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mourinho Bags A Draw At Anfield

Jose Mourinho put on his now standard display of 19th-century football at Anfield on Saturday to shut up shop and take a draw from Liverpool. 

It's infuriating because he's played his tactics perfectly and if he was your manager you'd be praising the way he had decided to manage the game, even if that does mean parking the bus. He's not our manager though and he's also not the manager of soddin Crystal Palace or Bournemouth so, in my book, the fact he brings his United side to Anfield and plays for a 0-0 draw is embarrassing.

Image via theguardian.com
The Reds were all over United on Saturday and bar a shot from Lukaku (who touched the ball about three times), Mourinho's side literally did sack all. It was a pathetic performance from an apparent might of the league but we all know that it's these kinds of frustrating performances that make Mourinho a league winner.

Klopp was extremely unlucky not to see his side find the back of the net, especially when David De Gea somehow managed to get a foot to Joel Matip's effort. On another day that would have been in the back of the net and Liverpool would have been on the ascendancy. 

Liverpool did all that they could in terms of possession and attack, Salah perhaps being one of the highlights on that front but they just could not find the back of the net. This has been happening for several weeks now too so it's not a new issue for the Reds but on Saturday it felt like we would overcome the barrier but it wasn't to be.

Let's not forget that this is the first clean sheet in eight matches for Liverpool and prior to kick off, most would have probably taken the draw. We played far better than I expected and overall I don't think the Reds have anything to be ashamed about on the back of that performance. 

It's onwards and upwards to Maribor next week in the Champions League where the Reds definitely do need to get their hands on all three points. 

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Match Preview: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's the big one on Saturday (well, the big one if you're a wool like me from the Midlands). Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield this weekend and since at least Monday this week I've felt the venom bubbling.

Since I was a kid this has always been the match I most look forward to in a Premier League season, there is no team I enjoy beating more than Manchester United. In recent years my confidence in this fixture has been high but despite the social media front, I'm not feeling as positive this time out.


Image via espn.com
Shared snaps of Torres leaving Vidic for dead or Gerrard netting a peno may give the impression that I think the Reds can nail this one but I have to admit, I'm not so sure. Liverpool have struggled all season with a shoddy defence and facing a Jose Mourinho side who aren't afraid to simply fling the ball to Lukaku could spell disaster for Jurgen Klopp.

Add to this the fact that Liverpool are now without the influential Sadio Mane and you have a bit of a dilemma. 

Manchester United also have some injury worries to contend with as Fellaini is out with a knee injury and the game comes too early for Paul Pogba who has returned to training.

The stats aren't in Liverpool's favour either, the Reds have failed to win any of their last six league games against United. The last time the two sides met was in January this year, James Milner put the Reds in front from the penalty spot but Ibrahimovic equalised with five minutes to go.

The last three matches at Anfield have ended in a 0-0 draw, a 2-0 Liverpool win and a 1-0 United win. The 2-0 victory came for Jurgen Klopp's side in the Europa League.

In terms of current form, United have won four out of their last five league games, drawing the remaining match. Liverpool, on the other hand, have won just two games in that period, drawing twice and losing once.

Despite all the negatives, this is the kind of game where everything gets thrown out the window. You never know what Liverpool side will show up and if we can nab an early goal and put the pressure on from the off, Mourinho will have to re-think his game plan. 

For me, that's the only way forward in this game, biding your time and being safe plays directly into Mourinho's hands. If Liverpool want a win on Saturday they're going to have to fight from the whistle.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Reds Have To Settle For Draw

Frustration. Mega frustration. That's not something I thought I would be feeling come 90 minutes at Old Trafford this weekend. In all honesty, prior to kick off I was expecting us to lose. What I didn't expect was us to fight tooth and nail to create a lead and hold on to it only for United to score an offside goal.

Image via yahoo.com
They didn't deserve that equaliser. They'll have you believe they did but if that's what they want to believe then fair enough. If Jose Mourinho is so overcome with desperation to try and beat Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool that he has to resort to his apparently hated "19th century football" via route one to Fellaini and on top of that settle for a blatantly offside goal then fair enough. You can keep looking up at us from 6th eh?

Klopp set up the Reds perfectly on Sunday and even with Alexander-Arnold drafted in to the defence, United never seriously looked like they would break through until the second half. This was mainly down to Simon Mignolet who seemed utterly determined to prevent United from scoring, he pulled off some world class saves in quick succession and for me has once again proved why Karius was rightly dropped. 

James Milner's cool penalty in the first half is what set aside the two teams for so long. Paul Pogba in hilarious fashion as he struggled to mark his man flapped at the cross with his hands. Penalty all day.

Shortly afterwards you could see his idiotic decision was getting to him when he ragged down Henderson by the throat. No card though like. In fact, I'm not one usually to focus on the ref but there were some shocking decisions on Sunday. The Pogba incident with Hendo, Rooney studding Milner in the shin, the offside. Nothing. Not anything given. Yet Dejan Lovren makes two brilliant tackles early on, the latter of which he slides for but wins the ball... booked immediately. It's a joke man. 

Granted, when United did find the back of the net (did I mention it was offside?) they had clearly upped the pressure. Route one is something Liverpool struggle to deal with and it's hilarious to watch the apparently great Manchester United forced into resorting to that tactic at home. The pressure was higher, no doubt about it, but Liverpool were dealing with it and without a stroke of luck for United I think we'd have walked away victorious. 

A strange match all round really but as I say, to feel so bloody frustrated with a draw at Old Trafford shows just how far we've come. With Swansea up next and City to face Spurs then our game with Chelsea... Who knows where we'll be on the evening of January 31st? Things have just got extremely exciting for Kopites all over. 

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp aims to get a momentous victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United. The match needs no introduction on a standard basis but even less so when the two sides are so closely bunched together at the top of the Premier League table.

Image via mirror.co.uk
At the time of writing (Saturday during PL matches) Liverpool find themselves in third on 44 points with United sitting in sixth, five points behind. A win for the devils would close that gap to two points and with Jurgen's side due to face Chelsea at the end of the month, a loss on Sunday would be a huge dent in Liverpool's title hopes.

Intertwined with all the excitement for the Manchester United match, the Reds also have a League Cup semi-final second leg and FA Cup replay to contend with over the coming weeks. While only the manager knows where his priorities lie, I asked Twitter this week what victory they would prefer:
It's clear that Liverpool fans overwhelmingly would prefer a big win over United in the league on Sunday as opposed to a win over Southampton and ticket to the final, probably against United. I personally can see both sides of the argument, but if we want to be serious about this year's title then a win at Old Trafford, at a minimum a draw, is simply a must.

Injuries for Liverpool have taken a boost with the return of the ever influential Philippe Coutinho. Hednerson and Matip are also both back in training but we continue to work without Sadio Mane who is playing in the Africa Cup of Nations.

For Manchester United, defender Bailly is also at the Africa Cup of Nations. Aside from a question over Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is apparently recovering from an illness, Mourinhho has a very strong side to choose from.

United are on a great run of form and annoyingly for Liverpool they appear to have found their feet just as we appear to have dipped slightly. The lacklustre performance against Plymouth can perhaps be passed off to youth but there was no real explanation for the poor performance against Southampton. Despite this, a match against United is a completely different beast, if there's a game that will fire you up and trigger a world beating performance, it's this one. To break down Mourinho's United, it's going to have to be something special from the Reds.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year and what a bloody terrible match that was. That game was easily one of the worst Liverpool v United games I've ever watched, absolutely shocking. The gamed ended 0-0.

The last clash at Old Trafford was in the Europa League in March 2016. A 1-1 draw was enough for Liverpool who had already picked up a 2-0 win at Anfield. From the last five meetings in the league at Old Trafford, the Reds have won on just one occasion. A 3-0 win in March 2014 saw goals from Luis Suarez and two penalties from captain Steven Gerrard.

"...give me 11 players and we will be competitive." - Jurgen Klopp

Nowadays, these games have a completely different feel, there's no local boys like Carra or Gerrard to stir up the emotion and rile up the opposition. There's no Suarez to cause sheer panic, it's a clever more patient role we seem to play relying on the link up and speed to somehow cause Mourinho's bus to break down. I'm not sure what to expect on Sunday to be honest, on paper and with my realistic cap on, we should lose. In my heart, I can see Coutinho scoring a worldy within 20 minutes and us catching them off guard.

Whatever happens, it simply has to be better than that 0-0 draw! Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Plymouth And Beyond

I haven't posted since the massively frustrating draw with Sunderland so I thought I'd take this opprtunity to do a sort of catch up post while looking forward to Liverpool's next three fixtures in the FA Cup, League Cup and Premier League.

I never saw the Sunderland match so it's not my place to offer an opinion really, what I will say is that I knew we'd slip up against them, it's just bloody typical Liverpool isn't it? Solid performance against Manchester City on New Year's Eve and then scraping a point against Sunderland. Ah well, at least Chelsea lost to Spurs eh?

Next up for the Reds is Plymouth Argyle. Plymouth are currently second in League Two chasing down Doncaster Rovers. The Pilgrims have lost four out of their last ten games in the league and have scored 37 goals.

While Plymouth are expected to field their strongest side, including starting Garita who hasn't quite recoved from a knee injury, Liverpool are expected to do the opposite. Joe Gomez who has been out of action for a considerable amount of time for the Reds is due to feature on Sunday. It will be great to see the youngster back in defence and it will be interesting to see Karius in goal behind him. After being dropped by Jurgen Klopp, Loris will be desperate to make a good impression against Plymouth ready to pounce if Simon Mignolet makes any major mistakes.

The sides at one point in their histories would face each other on a regular basis but the Reds have not played Plymouth since 1962. In their regular meetings in the 50s and 60s, Plymouth were never able to record a win at Anfield.

For me, this fixture should be a win for Liverpool, I think it'll be a close call, maybe a 2-1, but our younger players are more than capable of putting in a strong performance and I expect them to get the better of Plymouth on Sunday.

Image via mirror.co.uk
Follwoing the FA Cup game, the Reds have the small matter of the first leg of their League Cup semi-final with Southampton. The first leg at St Mary's is the best option for Liverpool, with Manchester United to think about the following weekend, it wouldn't be a disaster if the Reds had to return to Anfield with a draw or even a loss. It's a difficult situation for Jurgen Klopp who will obviously have saved some of his stars after resting several players for the Plymouth game but if he isn't careful he could burn out some key players before the United game.

Manchester United away on the following Sunday is a huge game for the Reds after Chelsea dropped points against Spurs, Jurgen Klopp's side need to build up the damage ready to face Conte's side at the end of the month. Any trip to Old Trafford is a massive one but with the run of fixtures prior to this one and the added pressure of the league, I cannot wait for Sunday 15th January.

With Coutinho back in full training this week you have to assume that the boss will save the Brazilian for the clash with Manchester United. I personally feel that Roberto Firmino ramps up by another 50% when he is paired with Coutinho, here's hoping they link up against Mourinho's side.

Enjoy the next lot of fixtures folks, wherever you are watching and stay tuned to The Liver Bird for some post match blogs.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Five Things We Learned From The 0-0 With United

1. Mourinho loves his bus

Mourinho instructed his team to strangle the life out of a football match on Monday night, it's a simple as that. Frustratingly, his plan once again worked perfectly. As a fan of Italian football I am happy to stand back and appreciate a good defensive performance, however I can't accept it when it's from a Jose Mourinho side.

If Tony Pulis set up like that against his United boys he'd be in the post match interview complaining of 19th century tactics and "anti-football". If United are happy playing like that then that's their prerogative but I certainly wouldn't be happy with it. I suppose in a way we must take a positive from this tactical set up, the fact that Mourinho has to resort to this now to try and get the better of Liverpool shows how much of a threat we are.

He can keep his bus for all I care, I can't see it getting him far this season.

2. Karius not that convincing

I discussed in a recent match round up post here on The Liver Bird how Karius looked shaky but I tried to pin most of my worries down to the fact it was first match nerves. While any fixture against United for any goalkeeper is a daunting one, Karius must accept that he was very indecisive on Monday evening.

I still feel with time he'll settle in but at the moment he isn't filling me with much confidence. As a keeper you need to have some conviction, if you make the decision to come out for the ball you need to nail it and for me, he's not quite there yet. Despite all this he did of course keep a clean sheet, so there is something to build from.

Image via the guardian.com

3. De Gea's save top class

After a terrible first half Liverpool finally got into the game in the second half with a string of decent and pacey attacks. It was Coutinho though who popped up with the best effort. One of his famous stinging shots looked destined to smash the back of the net only for De Gea to pull off a stunning save to keep his side in the game. Bloody annoying! 

4. Lallana is key

I've been known to criticise Lallana quite often, I'm not sure why but I just don't appear to have a lot of patience with him compared to other fans but I will hold my hands up as last night it was evident we were missing him almost immediately.

For me Lallana is definitely a player I feel we can do without, it's only when he's not there that I truly realise how much we need him. His injection of pace in the second half along with his ability to spot killer passes and link up with the likes of Coutinho and Firmino was invaluable. It's a real shame he wasn't on the pitch in the first half.

5. Draw not so bad 

After getting over the majority of the frustration that Monday night's game brought, overall a draw really isn't that bad. Games against United are always tough and whilst on paper it looked as though the Reds were ready to batter United, in all seriousness you cannot battle against those kind of tactics without something really special. 

That special moment didn't occur last night but it's fair to say that Liverpool can take some strong positives from the game, namely keeping a clean sheet and fighting in tough conditions to hold on to a draw against United, in seasons gone by I'm not so sure we'd have managed that.

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Seven Times Liverpool Got The Better Of United 2006-2016

1. Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0 / 10th March 2016
Goalscorers: Daniel Sturridge (penalty), Roberto Firmino

Image via sky sports.com

Whenever Liverpool face Manchester United, it is always set to be a massive game but throw in the added element of the first ever meeting between the sides in Europe? Well you have all the right ingredients for an historic fixture. Liverpool just had to win this one, if there's one thing the Reds still hold over their rivals it's European prowess.

Thankfully Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino ensured kopites could continue to boast about their glorious history as Manchester United put on an extremely poor performance at Anfield.

2. Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 / 16th March 2014
Goalscorers: Steven Gerrard (penalties x2), Luis Suarez

What's a match against Manchester United without a Steven Gerrard penalty? The captain was notorious for winding up the opposition in this fixture and on several occasions Gerrard turned this in his favour.

The two penalties in 2014 set the tone for the game with Luis Suarez sealing the deal. A 3-0 win at Old Trafford isn't something you see everyday and despite two of the goals coming from spot kicks, this remains a favourite result of mine.

3. Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1 / 28th January 2012
Goalscorers: Daniel Agger and Dirk Kuyt

This game goes down as one of the great highlights for the return of Kenny Dalglish. The King took his place on the touchline opposite his old pal Fergie for this one. A Daniel Agger header opened up the scoring just after 20 minutes but Ji-Sung Park found an equaliser shortly before the end of the first half. 

Image via the guardian.com

From there on out United seemed dominant and it looked as though Dalglish would have a bitter pill to swallow, however Dirk Kuyt saved the day with a great strike at 87 minutes giving Liverpool the win.

4. Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1 / 6th March 2011
Goalscorers: Dirk Kuyt hat-trick

Dirk Kuyt will forever go down in Anfield history, a true fan favourite, the Dutchman had several iconic moments in his time as a Liverpool player. For me, top of the list is definitely his hat trick against Manchester United.

Image via the telegraph.co.uk

I remember it vividly as I was at work on the day, (I take bets in the corporate areas of Molineux stadium for those who don't know) I was having to watch the match via multiple screens and angles as I travelled between rooms. When Kuyt scored his third  I could no longer hide the excitement and was dancing around with my clipboard in the air haha! That was the day the customers became fully aware of my football allegiance I think. Absolutely brilliant game.

5. Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0 / 25th October 2009
Goalscorers: Fernando Torres, David N'Gog

The year 2009 became a special one for kopites, especially when it came to facing Manchester United. For me, I will always remember this emphatic victory thanks to our goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Image via huffingtonpost.co.uk

I will never understand just how exactly he managed to be the first player on the pitch to dive on his team mate David N'Gog who was at the other end?! He must have ran like an absolute mad man. The image above for me is one of the most iconic from our recent clashes with United. 

6. Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4 / 14th March 2009
Goalscorers: Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard (penalty), Fabio Aurelio, Andrea Dossena

It was a sunny afternoon in March, the Reds had travelled to Old Trafford and settled in for what feasibly could have been a very long day, but for whatever reason, the team that day had something special planned. For too long we had failed to get the better of United on their own turf, well this time it was going to be different.

Fernando Torres opened up the scoring after absolutely humiliating Nemanja Vidic and leaving him in a massive heap, ending with a beautiful finish to put the Reds in front. Vidic was one of several big United boys to boast about their chances prior to the match, so it was hilarious to see him brushed aside so quickly. He of course was sent off in that game too.

Steven Gerrard's penalty came next followed by his famous kissing the camera celebration. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, Liverpool just cruising at Old Trafford.

Image via squawka.com

Another poor decision by Vidic led to a free kick for Liverpool and Fabio Aurelio scored with a stunning effort. The game of course was completely put to bed when Andrea Dossena decided to have a mad fortnight scoring a looping shot over Van der Sar then scoring against Real Madrid, bloody crazy, the whole thing was absolutely crazy. This remains one of my favourite matches as a Liverpool supporter.

7. Liverpool 1 Manchester United 0 / 18th February 2006
Goalcorer: Peter Crouch

This match is often more of a forgotten win over Manchester United but it's worth noting that this was Liverpool's first victory over the Devils in the FA Cup in 85 years. A single headed goal from Peter Crouch after 19 minutes was enough to seal the deal for Rafa Benitez's side who then went through to the quarter final. 

I'm feeling confident for Monday night, with the way we are playing at the moment and the fact that a win could take us joint top? I seriously think we're on for three points. Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp makes the short trip to Old Trafford with his Liverpool side on Thursday as the Reds look to put the final nail in the coffin. Liverpool are 2-0 up in this Europa League tie thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino and it looks like a long way back for Louis van Gaal who was forced to watch a very ineffective Manchester United at Anfield last week.

Image via liverpooecho.co.uk

Injuries

Liverpool are unable to call upon Lucas for this fixture as he is still struggling with a thigh injury. Also out are long term absentees; Stewart, Ings and Gomez. Manchester United are worse off injury wise with Rooney, Jones and Valencia amongst others all unavailable for manager Louis van Gaal.

Previous Meetings

The last meeting of course was on Thursday last week, a penalty on 20 minutes opened up scoring for Liverpool with Roberto Firmino sealing the win with fifteen minutes left of the first tie. The Reds last trip to Old Trafford wasn't very pleasant after losing the game 3-1, the only saving grace was a wonderful bicycle kick from Christian Benteke that led to a consolation goal.

Liverpool have won on just two occasions in all competitions in their last ten visits to Old Trafford.

Form

Liverpool have won three out of their last five fixtures in the league compared to United's two victories. Klopp's side of course also picked up a win over United in the first leg of this tie whereas van Gaal's side have had to play an FA Cup game in between these two fixtures. United only managed a draw against West Ham and will face a replay.

Betting

Fancy a bet? Get £30 free when you place a whole £10 on whatever bet you like, simply click the image below to take advantage.

If you're feeling confident with the Reds you can get 7/2 for Klopp's side to be winning at half time and winning at full time at the moment.

If you fancy a repeat result a 2-0 win for Liverpool is currently down at 12/1 while a 2-1 win for the Reds is down at 9/1.

As for first goalscorers Firmino is down at 11/2 while Sturridge is 5/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's a massive game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as Jurgen Klopp prepares his side for the first of two big clashes against rivals Manchester United in the Europa League. Liverpool enter this game on the back of a last minute win over Crystal Palace while United lost their most recent league game at the hands of West Brom.

The two clubs are steeped in history but have never met in European competition. The intense rivalry has always been present but as Manchester United have chipped away at Liverpool's title winning success there is one thing the Reds still hold over every club in England; European prowess. I don't mean to pile the pressure on but I'm pretty certain many Liverpool fans like myself will simply be unable to take a knockout.


Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon regular starter Lucas Leiva but the squad is otherwise strong with just long term injuries making the rest of the list. Louis van Gaal's side are somewhat worse off with Rooney, Jones, Young and Schweinsteiger all unavailable.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in January this year, United nicked a win in the 78th minute thanks to Wayne Rooney, leaving Liverpool feeling pretty hard done by. The last win the Reds recorded over United at Anfield was in September 2013 after Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game just four minutes in.

Liverpool have recorded just two wins over United in their last ten meetings in all competitions. There have been no draws during that time leaving United with eight victories.

Form

In the league Liverpool have collected three wins out of their last five fixtures compared to United's two. Interestingly Klopp's side piled pressure onto United at the weekend after clinching victory over Palace and Liverpool now sit just three points behind van Gaal's side with a game in hand.

As we all know "form goes out the window" when it comes to a game like this but I do feel sometimes psychological factors can filter through. Liverpool have pounced on United's shoulder and after failing to storm to victory in the league cup final for Klopp, all eyes are on United, both in the league and in the Europa League so starting with a rare victory over bitter rivals on Thursday would be absolutely massive.

Betting

Click the banner below to get £30 worth of free bets with Paddy Power when you place £10 on one bet!

Draw/Liverpool is at 4/1 at the minute for half time/full time betting and I quite like the look of that to be fair. I also quite fancy Firmino to bag another goal and his odds for first goalscorer are 6/1.

As for the correct scoreline, I seriously hope it isn't but I can see this being a draw. 1-1 is down at 11/2 while 2-2 is at 14/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. Just a reminder that there will be no match report on the blog for this game as I'm off to Latvia for the weekend!

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

One Shot On Target Was All They Needed

Image via liverpoolfc.com
Manchester United walked away from Anfield on Sunday afternoon with a vital three points after somehow beating a Liverpool side who had bossed the majority of the game. It was the Reds who were creating the majority of the chances but United needed just one on target to convert via Wayne Rooney and send a strong message to Jurgen Klopp.

In a game that saw goalkeeper David De Gea win man of the match it is no wonder that so many Liverpool fans are utterly frustrated with the result. You can call me bias all you want but I'm sorry, United did not deserve to win that game, I'm not sure they even deserved a draw yet they walked away victorious, which leaves you asking questions about your own side.

Jurgen Klopp obviously hasn't had time to put a stamp on this side yet so this is by no means a dig at the manager but surely the owners must start looking at this team and start supporting the manager financially because this squad just isn't good enough.

There were flickers in the game from the likes of Firmino and Jordan Henderson but one man certainly not worthy of his price tag in my opinion is Adam Lallana. I can't say I was excited when we signed him but at the same time I felt confident he would find his footing in a Liverpool shirt but it just hasn't happened, he's extremely disappointing for me and when fielded up front in a formation lacking a striker, I'm sorry but you've got to pull a performance out of the bag. Firmino wasn't exactly setting the world alight either but at least he was making things happen.

This really was one of the worst Liverpool V Manchester United games I've ever seen, it was boring, both sides didn't even seem up for it and the only moment of fire was when Fellaini decided to kick off. I was actually thankful that Fellaini was being such an arsehole to be honest because at least that was something to get geared up about.

Some of our players just didn't look bothered, it was very hard to tell that this fixture was supposed to be one of the best in the world. United spent the majority of the game doing as they have done for most of their recent fixtures, failing to attack but maintaining possession. Liverpool took several opportunities on the break but fluffed long range chances and never really thought through their options when in a position to take the lead.

For me, this raised another question, do you or don't you start Christian Benteke? I never wanted Benteke in the first place, as a fan of Balotelli (yes I know nobody else likes him) I realised immediately that Benteke would not fit into our system because he's not the most active of players and relies heavily in my opinion on service, service that we did not and still do not provide. Despite this, I honestly feel that Benteke needs to feature, it's pretty clear that he's not Klopp's kind of player but for me the manager should have brought him on a lot sooner because it was evident our set up wasn't working.

The thing people forget with Benteke is that he may sometimes fail to be in the box at the right time and yes he might not put as much effort in as we all would like but you can guarantee if you chuck Benteke onto a pitch he immediately draws attention from the opposition defence. Who are United going to be concerned about on a break or a set piece, Benteke or Firmino? I would place a bet that they'd follow the big man, leaving players like Firmino in a free position and hence more likely to find the back of the net. Benteke doesn't just bring goals to the game, he brings a presence and like him or not I'm afraid I think we need to take advantage of that whilst we have him.

At 78 minutes Wayne Rooney showed how playing a striker is probably a good idea, even if they don't really do anything for 90% of the game, Rooney showed that he could be clinical and give his side that all important goal. You have to wonder, if Liverpool had played a striker sooner, would we have also been celebrating instead of ruing our chances?

Who knows.

All I know is we need some new players and fast, losing to United is annoying as it is but to lose in that fashion? Infuriating.

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Saturday, 16 January 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

Image via independent.co.uk
Liverpool welcome Louis van Gaal's so called army to Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what is sure to be a heated clash between the two sides. United have somehow managed to remain in the top sector of the table for the majority of the season despite some questionable performances, at the time of writing the devils remain above Klopp's side. After a hard fought draw with Arsenal though, can Liverpool get the better of Manchester United on Sunday?

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon forward Daniel Sturridge. Martin Skrtel also remains on the sidelines and although Dejan Lovren appears to be returning to fitness, the game will come too early for him.

For United, they are without Schweinsteiger who has a knee injury, Michael Carrick is also unavailable while Phil Jones will be subject to a late fitness test.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in September last year, the game at Old Trafford wasn't exactly one to remember for Liverpool fans however Christian Benteke did score a simply stunning consolation goal. United took all three points in a 3-1 win.

The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was in March last year, I remember this well because I had to get up at 6am to go and find a bar in the centre of Cancun to watch the game. Then to top it all off Gerrard got sent off n'all, luckily I was in Mexico so I got over that monstrosity pretty quickly haha. Liverpool lost the game 2-1.

Liverpool have picked up two wins in their last five clashes with Manchester United at Anfield.

Form

At the time of writing with Saturday afternoon matches yet to be played, Liverpool find themselves 9th in the table whilst United are sitting in 6th. Importantly though, Klopp's side are just three points off United adding even more pressure to this game.

The Reds have won two out of their last five in the league, losing two and drawing one. United have won just one of their last five in the league, losing two and drawing two. Both sides have also drawn their most recent games with a scoreline of 3-3.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool haven't lost in the league at Anfield in their last four games.
  • Manchester United have conceded 10 goals in their last six league games.
  • Benteke has scored in his last three games against United.

Betting

I'm not a tipster and any bets put up on the blog are usually just offers I've found interesting and may take up myself but I'd just like to take the opportunity to boast because I've given special mentions to both Ibe and Firmino in this section of the blog post recently and both went on to score. The down side is, I didn't bet on them! Haha

It's hard to predict how a Liverpool V Manchester United game is going to turn out but I am really hoping that we can take advantage of their poor form and walk away with a 2-1 win on Sunday. Odds for that with Paddy Power are 8/1.

I'm not expecting to see Benteke start tomorrow but I have a feeling he's going to get a say in the game. Odds for him to score at anytime are currently at 7/5 with Paddy Power.

Finally, as we all know these games are always heated, so I've been looking at odds for players to be sent off. Wayne Rooney is at 20/1 to be sent off but you can get odds of between 20 and 25/1 for most players on both sides.

Don't forget, if you fancy placing a bet with Paddy Power simply click the image below, sign up, put the whole £10 on one single bet and you will receive £30 free. Keep an eye on Twitter and I'll tell you what I bet on with them on Sunday!

Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Benteke Scores Overhead Kick But Reds Packed No Punch

Image via Liverpool Echo
Liverpool conceded three goals at Old Trafford on Saturday evening and despite a wondrous effort from Christian Benteke the Reds never once looked capable of taking the game to Manchester United. I don't think I'd be going over the top to say that this game was one of the worst Liverpool V United ties I've ever watched, especially the first half which was just dull as hell.

I found myself quite pleased at kick off after Brendan Rodgers had finally appeared to opt to play two up top. However, I should have known better and it quickly became evident that Danny Ings who would have provided good support for an isolated Christian Benteke was deployed as a sort of wingback.

It just seriously does my head in, why is he so opposed to 4-4-2? I know it's not popular and I know it's not his favoured system but you've bought a £30million plus player who needs to be fielded with support or at the very least he needs a constant supply line which at present is non-existent at Liverpool. The final hope is that he's considering playing Sturridge up front with Benteke but you just never know with Rodgers do you?

Anyway... On to the game. The first half, literally nothing happened, nothing noteworthy occurred and I genuinely felt bored at times. I get really geared up for the United games, having grown up in a different city I'm not afraid to admit that the rivalry between us and United spurs me up more than the rivalry between ourselves and Everton. I know more United fans and there are usually more United fans in the pubs and bars so it's built up for me over time and I always look forward to this fixture. The first half though was crap, that's all there is to say.

The second half began no better for Liverpool who were quickly on the back foot after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the box. A foul from Clyne on Ashley Young allowed United to create some danger but the space given to Blind was unforgivable. The free kick acted as a direct assist to Blind on the central edge of the box and with a powerful strike he put United in the lead.

Liverpool had some minor moments in the second half one of which arose after a poor clearance from De Gea and involved some link up play between Firmino and Benteke. Shortly afterwards Danny Ings was presented with a chance in the box however he failed to connect and De Gea saved relatively easily.

The Reds may have had a few odd chances but what was really shocking and at the root of their attacking issues was the fact they simply could not keep hold of the ball. It was embarrassing at times and Rodgers' side struggled desperately to maintain possession.

Just before the 70 minute mark things went from bad to worse for Liverpool when some inexperience showed as Gomez brought down Herrera in the box. There wasn't really a need for the challenge and you could tell Gomez had realised the gravity of his mistake but it was too late and the referee awarded United the spot kick. Herrara converted slotting the ball high into the net.

At 83 minutes the Reds witnessed a real gem from Christian Benteke in what would be the only positive from the game. A cross from Jordon Ibe took a deflection in the box and after travelling high into the air fell to a poised Benteke, preparing himself for an acrobatic effort I myself was preparing to start moaning at him for being so audacious but what a goal it was! Many will recall the Wayne Rooney strike but I can't see myself forgetting that overhead kick from the Belgian in a hurry. Just sublime stuff.

Manchester United though, never ones to prolong any Kopite celebrations of course, immediately spoilt the party just as I'd sat back down. A lovely bit of play from their starlet Martial perhaps proved his price tag as he took on the Liverpool defence with ease and scored United's third of the night. 

It was definitely a game to forget for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers simply has to go back to the drawing board as far as I am concerned. Yes he will hopefully have Sturridge to call upon soon but his tactics for me are flawed and risky. He's certainly a man who wants to force players to fit into a system as opposed to adopting that system to suit his players and that really, really annoys me.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Bordeaux in the Europa League.

Just to pre-warn you there will be a Bordeaux preview on the blog however unfortunately the report will be missing and so too will the Norwich match preview and report. I'm off on a city break to Barcelona so things will be back to normal for the Carlisle game!

P.s. If you haven't yet I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a vote for best established blog in this year's football blogging awards. 

Simply tweet: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs for best #Established blog"

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Friday, 11 September 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Image via Liverpool Echo
Liverpool face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening in their first game since the international break. After suffering defeat at the hands of West Ham a fortnight ago the Reds will need to get back on track as quickly as possible but faced with one of their fiercest rivals, it is going to be a difficult night for manager Brendan Rodgers.

The headline in terms of injury/player news has to be circled around the story that De Gea who at one point this summer was about to have dinner with Rafael Benitez is now apparently signing his life away to Manchester United. I just don't get it. What I do get though is that De Gea is a good keeper and you can guarantee that he will have a massive say in Saturday's result (if van Gaal decides to start him).

Injury wise for Liverpool, we have received a bit of a boost as Daniel Sturridge has finally returned to training, he will however be unavailable for the fixture. Doubts are also hanging over both Lallana and Henderson who are racing for fitness in order to feature in this huge tie. Joe Allen is also unavailable, out with a hamstring injury. Most importantly for Liverpool though is the fact that they will be unable to call upon the influential Philippe Coutinho who is suspended.

For Manchester United they are relatively strong squad wise with just Phil Jones unavailable and Michael Carrick looking unlikely to start as he nurses a calf injury.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year, I was in Mexico and having awoken at 6am to travel to Hooters in the centre of Cancun as they were the only place showing the soddin' match I was dismayed to say the least after watching Steven Gerrard get sent off and us lose 2-1. I won't forget that match in a hurry I'll tell ya!

Prior to this, the fixture at Old Trafford last season didn't end well either as Liverpool were on the end of a 3-0 defeat. Our record at Old Trafford of course isn't fantastic however we did collect all three points in March 2014 thanks to two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez goal in the 84th minute.

In all competitions, Liverpool have won just twice in their last ten visits to Old Trafford. Despite this and even when the scoreline sometimes appears embarrassing the sheer passion that the fixture bubbles up usually ensures that the Reds put on a performance and I am hoping that tomorrow will be no different. I don't however anticipate a good result, we're struggling for goals and although our performance against Arsenal was enviable I'm not sure we will be able to replicate that at Old Trafford.

The plus side of course is that United haven't necessarily been playing brilliantly themselves having lost to Swansea prior to the international break and managing just a 0-0 draw with Newcastle beforehand.

Stat Sandwich
  • Liverpool have won just one of their last seven away matches in the Premier League.
  • Manchester United have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League games at Old Trafford.
  • If the Reds fail to find the back of the net it will be the first time they haven't scored for three league matches consecutively since 2005.
I don't want to be negative and I'm usually pretty optimistic (I'll still be sat in the pub pretending we can win the thing) however I don't think it's going to end well tomorrow and I'm predicting a 2-0 loss. I'll definitely be having some bets so just keep an eye on my Twitter if you want to see what I waste my money on haha!

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received, thanks to all who replied.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. Voting for this year's Football Blogging Awards is NOW OPEN

I was chuffed to bits when I won Best Female Blog in 2012 and Best Female Blog voted for by the fans in 2014 however this year there is no longer a "Female" category.

So, seen as though I am now in my 7th year of blogging about our wonderful Liverpool FC I have decided to enter the "Established" category.

If you could take two seconds to tweet this: "I'm voting in @TheFBAs for @LFCKirstyLFC
as the Best #Established Football Blog" I'd really appreciate it!

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Monday, 15 December 2014

United Put 3 Past Rodgers' Reds


Liverpool fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday as the Reds had 19 shots but failed to convert a single chance. The first half saw the Reds play without a striker leaving a lot of fans questioning this selection. In the second half Mario Balotelli entered the fray only to see his efforts brilliantly stamped out by the goalkeeping of David De Gea.

For me, I didn't like the line up from the off. One thing I will credit Brendan for though is deciding to drop Mignolet and start Brad Jones. That was a brave decision from the manager and despite ultimately conceding three goals, I think Brad actually had a good game. I felt a lot more comfortable and less nervy with him between the sticks.

I just don't think you can risk playing without a striker. Yes, the likes of Lallana, Coutinho and Sterling are all skillful and attacking players but Brendan Rodgers is hiding behind the premise that this is a technically sound formation. Even some of the best teams in the world struggle to play without a striker, let alone a Liverpool side who are struggling to find the back of the net?! It was just a silly decision for me.

Some early pressure from Manchester United quickly turned into a goal for the home side. A confident strike from Wayne Rooney in the centre of the box put United ahead after a pin point assist from Antonio Valencia. The frustrating bit for Liverpool was not necessarily the goal but the fact that Valencia had broke past Joe Allen on the wing as if he wasn't even there. Allen had a poor game for me and to be honest if I'm fielding a player to protect our somewhat questionable defence it will always be Lucas in my book, Allen just couldn't hack it unfortunately.

The goal didn't do much for the Reds' confidence and to be honest, other than the odd burst from Raheem Sterling, Liverpool were seriously lacking in options. Sterling also disappointingly was off his game, some of his chances throughout the 90 minutes you have to feel he would of buried last season but it just wasn't happening on Sunday.

Another blow for Liverpool in the first half (depending on your level of preference for Glen) saw Johnson being replaced by Kolo Toure. Kolo however could not aid his defence when Manchester United found themselves a second goal shortly before the end of the first half.

Adding insult to injury Juan Mata was actually offside when he converted his header for United. Robin van Persie admitted in a post match interview that he did get a touch on the ball, flicking it on to an offside Mata. I don't usually get so worked up about these things but it was frustrating to concede in that manner because it could have been a different game if we reached half time just the one goal down.

For the second half, Rodgers immediately brought on Mario Balotelli who replaced Adam Lallana. I'm the first to admit I wear rose tinted glasses when it comes to Mario but to be honest, any striker would have been better than nothing. The original formation was just not working, we needed something to aim for and whilst I don't necessarily like Balo up front on his own it was better than having nobody there!

He has his critics but I think Balo did pretty well in the second half and Liverpool looked a lot better creating more chances and forcing De Gea into action. For me his shot that De Gea tipped off the bar was the most agonising. It was a cracking save. Another point to note was Balotelli's movement, I don't know if it was because he was feeling more excited because it was Manchester United but his run for the last real chance of his was brilliant, he was again unlucky to watch his shot saved by the underside of De Gea's knee.

Despite Liverpool having a much better spell they still couldn't find that all important goal and at 70 minutes Manchester United had sealed their three points. A dodgy defensive clearance from Dejan Lovren saw the ball splay directly to Robin van Persie who of course was never going to waste his chance, his effort put United 3-0 up.

This was the annoying thing for me, on another day that Lovren attempted clearance goes far away from any United player and on another day Juan Mata is called offside. Rooney's shot I take 100% but it's bloody annoying to concede in such a manner as the other two goals. We probably wouldn't have scored anyway but a game at 1-0 down is far more promising than 3-0 down.

Attempts were created from Liverpool in the dying minutes but as is so familiar now the Reds just could not score. I had a feeling we would lose the game but I never expected us to concede three to be honest. With Bournemouth in the week and Arsenal up next this is a very tough time for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers.

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

Next up for Liverpool is Bournemouth in the League Cup quarter final.

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