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Showing posts with the label Mario Balotelli

Liverpool FC 2014/2015 Season Review

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Month by month, if you seriously want to relive it, here is the season review.

*All images in this post are taken from www.guardian.com*

August


After finishing second in the league at the end of the 2013/2014 season but also losing their star striker Luis Suarez, it was always going to be an interesting season for Liverpool. The Reds appeared to get off to a good start in August as they managed to collect wins over both Southampton and Spurs.

A late goal from Daniel Sturridge sealed all three points against Ronald Koeman's side whilst goals from Sterling, Gerrard and Moreno secured the win against Spurs.

A 3-2 loss to Man City was difficult to take however Liverpool have often struggled at the Etihad. Brendan Rodgers took his side into September with optimism.

In the news...
- British actor Richard Attenbrough dies at the age of 90.
- Cristiano Ronaldo wins the UEFA Best Player In Europe award.
- Barack Obama orders an independent inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown.

September


MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V QPR

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Liverpool face QPR on Saturday afternoon in what could easily be another disappointing result for the Reds. QPR are currently sitting right in the middle of the relegation zone and with time running out, three points are absolutely essential.

Injury news has brought more woes for Liverpool as we were informed that Jon Flanagan is likely  to be out for another nine months. I just feel gutted for the lad, from the little we have seen from him he looks like a great talent, a confident defender, I seriously hope he gets another shot.

Mario Balotelli also is unavailable for the Reds after picking up a knock against Hull. Sturridge is also still out and has travelled to the States for treatment, also missing is Mamadou Sakho.

QPR are also struggling injury wise with Traore, Doughty and Vargas all out. Zamora, Zarate and Ferdinand will all be subject to late fitness tests.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. It was a high scoring game which the Reds won 3-2 thanks to t…

Goalless Draw At The Hawthorns

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Liverpool were unable to find the back of the net on Saturday against West Bromwich Albion despite having 74% of possession. The Reds appeared to boss the game but were poor in front of goal and Tony Pulis' side kept out any threat with relative ease.

Mario Balotelli was given his first league start since November for Liverpool and whilst it was nice to see Brendan start a striker I thought he could have taken this chance to try a different system and offer Balotelli some much needed support. I'm not going to make excuses because aside from some flashes from Balo he offered little else but for me he can bring a lot to the side if played in a proper formation.

Balotelli's first real moment of note led to a free kick on the edge of the box for Liverpool. In Steven Gerrard territory the captain had to watch his effort travel just off target missing the top left corner. Another effort involving Balotelli would soon follow after he took a pop from outside the box only to see h…

MATCH PREVIEW: FA Cup Semi-Final

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Wem-ber-leeeeey, Wem-ber-leeeey! We're the famous Liverpool and we're going to Wembely, Wem-ber-leeeeey... oh soz! It's match preview time innit? I do apologise only I've been MEGA excited for this match and it's all sort of bubbling over now. At 3pm tomorrow the Reds will line up at Wembley to face Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. In a season that appears to be ending with the Reds just missing out on the top four (not set in stone yet) there is a hell of a lot riding on this game.

Injurires for Liverpool mean they are almost certainly going to be without striker Daniel Sturridge who has a hip problem. Also unavailable for the Reds is Mamadou Sakho whilst Adam Lallana will be subjected to a late fitness test. It is presumed that Mario Balotelli will return after a period of illness and positively both Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are back from serving suspensions.
For Aston Villa, boss Tim Sherwood has quite a substantial injury list to deal with. The li…

Lovren Misses Peno As Reds Are Knocked Out

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It was a long old game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as they traipsed through 120 minutes of football only to crash out of the Europa League with the final kick of the game as Dejan Lovren failed to convert the Reds' all important fifth penalty.

It was a frustrating game to say the least and so this match report may not follow a usually strategic structure.

The first thing to note about the game, apart from the deafening noise from the Besiktas fans was the extremely attacking line up deployed by Brendan Rodgers. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing, as a big fan of Balotelli and somebody who would like to see him be given a real chance in a front two, I was very pleased to see him paired with Sturridge. Not only this but Jordan Ibe and Raheem Sterling were also starting.

The issue though was that there were key names missing from midfield that I would prefer to see in a line up with those previously mentioned attacking players. As the ma…

MATCH PREVIEW: Besiktas V Liverpool

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Liverpool travel to Turkey on Thursday evening as they prepare to face Besiktas in the second leg of their Europa League tie. The match at the Ataturk is sure to create a special atmosphere for the travelling fans who must be thankful that the Reds go into this match with a lead.

Injurys have taken a turn for the worse for Liverpool who will be unable to call upon Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson, Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva. Things aren't much better for Besiktas either who have doubts over Demba Ba after he picked up a calf problem.

The last time the two sides met of course was last week and Liverpool came out on top after a late controversial penalty was converted by Mario Balotelli.

Besiktas lost at the weekend against Eskisehirspor and in the process lost their place at the top of the Turkish league to rivals Galatasaray. Liverpool on the other hand picked up a somewhat lucky win over Southampton with Philippe Co…

MATCH PREVIEW: Southampton V Liverpool

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Liverpool travel down south on Sunday as they aim to pick up another win in the Premier League away at Southampton. The Reds are currently on a brilliant run of form and have also picked up wins in the Europa League and the FA Cup recently. Can Brendan Rodgers get the better of Ronald Koeman though?

Injury news for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon captain Steven Gerrard who will be out for a while longer. Raheem Sterling though is expected to start after getting some game time against Besiktas.

For Southampton they are looking relatively strong as Ronald Koeman expects to see the return of Shane Long, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matt Targett.

Form wise Southampton are also in pretty good shape. They have only lost one in their last nine and that came against Swansea. Their last fixture in the league saw them draw 0-0 with West Ham. They have scored four goals in their last five league games.

For Liverpool they are unbeaten in their last nine. …

Mario Fantastico, Mario Magnifico, Mario, Don't Take The Penalty Though

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Just when I thought I could finally write about Mario Balotelli without having to somehow justify his ability, here we go again with penalty gate. If you weren't aware Liverpool actually won last night thanks to a Balotelli spot kick but you'd be forgiven for not realising that what with the uproar.

Rodgers fielded a strong team and stuck with his now cemented formation of three at the back and Daniel Sturridge up top.

The first half resembled almost every Liverpool game of late. Loads of movement, some real fluidity which, granted is brilliant to see however I personally find it very frustrating watching this style of play when you are forever waiting for an end product.

Liverpool have countless players with the talent to create space and make dangerous breaks but what's the point when you can't balance that with goals? I don't want to sound too harsh because we've been doing really well lately but I'd just much prefer to see u…

Reds Finally Win At Palace

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Liverpool notched up a win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Valentine's Day for the first time since 1997. Love was certainly in the air as the travelling Kop celebrated goals from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana. Despite concerted efforts from the Eagles they didn't quite have enough in the tank to throw Liverpool off course.

With several injuries to cater for Brendan Rodgers was forced to select a slightly different team but it was always going to be Daniel Sturridge playing up top. Mario Balotelli was forced to settle for a place on the bench.

Things got off to a bad start for the Reds after Crystal Palace found the back of the net in just 15 minutes. The goal came after a sloppy defensive decision from the Reds when Martin Skrtel was forced to attempt a headed clearance whilst being pressured by Dwight Gayle. Unfortunately Skrtel couldn't get enough on the clearance, which allowed Gayle to produce a headed shot, Simon Mignolet saved well but the ball fell to …

MATCH PREVIEW: Crystal Palace V Liverpool

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Liverpool travel to London tomorrow as they prepare to face Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The Reds have a Europa League tie with Besiktas coming up soon but the FA Cup is perhaps Brendan Rodgers' best chance of steering his side to some silverware.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they will unfortunately be without captain Steven Gerrard for this tie who is out for three weeks after picking up a hamstring injury against Spurs. Also unavailable is Lucas Leiva while Jordan Ibe is cup tied. Raheem Sterling will undergo a late fitness test.

For Crystal Palace they are unable to call upon Jedinak and there are doubts hanging over the fitness of Sanogo and McArthur.

Crystal Palace are currently behind Liverpool in the Premier League sitting in 13th place with the Reds in 7th. Palace drew their last fixture in the league after a 1-1 draw with Newcastle whilst Liverpool notched up a late win over Tottenham thanks to a Mario Balotelli winner.

The last time the two sides met …

Super Mario 3

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Mario Balotelli scored the winning goal on Tuesday evening as the Italian secured all three points for the Reds in the 84th minute. In an end to end game Brendan Rodgers' side took the lead twice only to watch Spurs level the scoreline before eventually sealing the win.

The game started with electrifying pace as both sides created dangerous attacks. With possession being foolishly lost in midfield it became easy for both sides to break and it wasn't long before Liverpool took advantage and scored their first goal of the game.

After Simon Mignolet made a save at the other end of the pitch his resulting kick found its way to Daniel Sturridge, with Markovic to his left he laid the ball to him and continued his run. As Lazar squared up to take his shot I found myself wondering why he wasn't passing it however his somewhat tame shot found its way past Hugo Lloris who perhaps should have done better.

As mentioned in my preview I wasn't feeling very positive at all about thi…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bolton Wanderers

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Liverpool welcome Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Saturday evening for an FA Cup clash and in the process will welcome back ex Red Emile Heskey. He's sure to get a warm welcome as he steps out in front of the Kop but the Anfield faithful will be hoping his name does not end up on the score sheet.

A much improved performance for the Reds against Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday evening has put Liverpool very much on a high. The downside for Brendan Rodgers of course is that he will have to manage his team selection with one eye on the must win second leg against Chelsea.

Injury news for the Reds has been somewhat improved this week with Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli and Glen Johnson all back in training. For Bolton they have a growing injury list and are unable to call upon Lee Chung-yong, Marc Tierney, Craig Davies, Mark Davies and Max Clayton.

Bolton's last league game saw them notch up a win over Sheffield Wednesday. They currently find themselves 15th in the table howev…

Gerrard Brace In Wimbledon Win

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Liverpool put themselves through to the next round of the FA Cup on Monday night as a brace from captain Steven Gerrard ensured the Reds would go on to face Bolton Wanderers. In his first game after announcing he will leave Liverpool Football Club, Gerrard took control of the game being clinical where others failed.

It took Liverpool just ten minutes to get off the mark in the game. Despite an early bright spell from Wimbledon, the Reds managed to convert via a Steven Gerrard header in the centre of the box. He was assisted by Manquillo.

It was a set up for Liverpool that involved a striker, something I am always crying out for. More importantly though, it involved Gerrard sitting behind the striker, a role he relishes in. Whilst Lambert was ineffective, the captain made the most of his chance in a more attacking role than he has been used to of late.

For Wimbledon all eyes were on their big man up front; Adebayo Akinfenwa. For a man of his stature he doesn't half get about and h…

Burnley On Boxing Day For Reds

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Liverpool line up to face Burnley for their Boxing Day fixture this year and Brendan Rodgers will certainly be looking for a win after a hard fought draw against Arsenal last weekend. A bonus for the Reds boss is the return of Mario Balotelli who was serving a ban for the last match.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without Joe Allen and the usual list of long term absentees. Fabio Borini is also unavailable after picking up a red card against Arsenal. For Burnley they are without Stephen Ward and Michael Duff. There is also a doubt hanging over Matt Taylor who has recently returned from an Achilles problem.

The last time the two sides met was back in 2010. On the score sheet that day were Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez and Ryan Babel in the 4-0 win. Interestingly, the fixture at Anfield that season also ended 4-0 after a Benayoun hat trick and a Dirk Kuyt goal.

The last time Burnley got the better of us was after a win in the FA Cup in 2005.

Burnley currently find themselves 18t…

Reds Kick Off Festive Period Against Arsenal

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Liverpool will face Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday after successfully getting the better of Bournemouth in their league cup clash earlier in the week. Manager Brendan Rodgers will be unable to call on Mario Balotelli though who has ridiculously been banned by the FA for a social media post.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without long term absentees Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan. There will also be a late fitness test for Dejan Lovren whilst Glen Johnson will remain out until January.

For Arsenal they have several injuries to contend with as Ramsey, Koscielny, Rosicky, Ozil and Arteta are all out injured. Late fitness tests will also be called for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott.

The last time the two sides met was in the FA Cup in February this year. Arsenal got the better of Liverpool on that occasion winning the game 2-1 with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski on the score sheet.

The last time the sides met in the league was a far better occasion for the Reds. Also back i…

Reds In League Cup Quarter Final

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The Reds make the long old trip down south tomorrow as they prepare to face Championship side Bournemouth in the quarter final of the league cup. After suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of Manchester United at the weekend and with rumours of dressing room instability Brendan Rodgers could do with a win tomorrow night.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are now too without Glen Johnson. Rodgers is expected to play Brad Jones between the sticks once again and after a good second half performance it is assumed Mario Balotelli will get a start up front. Bournemouth are in relatively good shape injury wise with manager Eddie Howe able to call upon a strong starting line up.

Bournemouth currently find themselves top of the Championship after a cracking run of form. The Southerners have not lost a match in their last 10 league games. Liverpool on the other hand find themselves 11th in the Premier League. Form over the Reds' last ten games reads: W4 D2 L4.

The two sides met not so long ago…

United Put 3 Past Rodgers' Reds

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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…

Reds Prepare For Old Trafford

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Liverpool make the short trip to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon as the two titans of English football prepare to meet for the 163rd time in the league. The two sides are far from titanic at the moment though as both Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal have struggled to get their seasons underway.

Whilst Manchester United have come into a bit of form, Liverpool are still struggling after being knocked out of the Champions League by Basel on Tuesday night.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without long term absentees Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan. Positively for the Reds though Kolo Toure, Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are all believed to be available for tomorrow's game.

For Manchester United they are without Chris Smalling, Angel di Maria and Luke Shaw. Already struggling with injury problems, the missing Angel di Maria is a big problem for manager Louis van Gaal.

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. Liverpool won the game 3-0 at Old Trafford a…