The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Adrian Saves Final Peno To Gift Reds The Super Cup

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

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

Image via standard.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liverpool: Super Cup Winners 2019.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Alisson Injured In Norwich Win

Liverpool made a solid start to their 2019/2020 Premier League campaign on Friday night as they opened up the season with a 4-1 win over Norwich. An own goal began proceedings but goals from Salah, van Dijk and Origi quickly followed in the first half. The Liverpool supporting Norwich forward Pukki did find a consolation in the second half but despite a valiant effort from the away side, they could only find the one goal.

Image via sports.yahoo.com

The big news from Liverpool's perspective, aside from the emphatic win, was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson Becker. The golden glove winner went down after taking a goal kick in the first half, appearing to clutch his calf. Second choice keeper Adrian who only arrived at the club this week looked shocked that his chance to play in front of the Kop had already arrived and he received a rapturous welcome from the Anfield faithful.

Divock Origi's cross was turned into the net by Norwich's Hanley after just seven minutes and despite a bright start from the visitors, this moment did somewhat take the wind out of their sails. Klopp's side capitalised and Mo Salah found the net with a lovely angled finish, followed closely by a classic Virgil van Dijk header. Origi scored the fourth and final goal for the Reds who entered the second half with the same tempo but couldn't find the net again.

Pukki's goal was deserved for Norwich who had stuck to the football that had served them so well in the Championship. Scoring bags of goals but also conceding a lot too on their way to the Premier League, it could have been easy for the Norwich manager to attempt to play tactically but they didn't. The Canaries came to Anfield and attacked, which is more than you can say for most teams, so full credit to them.

After the Reds threw down the gauntlet, all eyes were on rivals Manchester City. Many have predicted that this season will once again be a two-horse race and Pep Guardiola's team certainly responded. A 5-0 victory over West Ham, with a load of VAR coverage thrown in, provided the Sky Blues with an immediate response to Liverpool's result.

A win produced an almost perfect start for the Reds but the Alisson injury news has added a bit of a downer. The latest seems to be that the Brazilian could be out for up to 4-8 weeks, Liverpool are apparently looking at signing Lonergan on a free transfer to play the second keeper to the promoted Adrian as our third choice keeper Kelleher has a broken wrist...

I mean what are the chances of your star goalkeeper getting a pretty bad injury on the opening day of the season? I'm not usually a downbeat person and would usually be the one saying all sorts of positive things here but I genuinely am concerned by this, Alisson is such a huge factor in our attempts to chase that elusive Premier League title.

Adrian is a top keeper and with van Dijk in front of him I don't doubt that he can assist the Reds in their hour of need but I am praying that Alisson's injury resolves itself as soon as possible.

Next up for the Reds is Chelsea in the Super Cup.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Five Things We Learned At The Allianz

1. Sadio Mane is awesome

Mane is my favourite current Liverpool player and has been for a very long time. For me, he's extremely underrated and in the big games (remember the Champions League final last year) he's often one of few that turn-up. 

Yes, he makes mistakes, sometimes provides a poor ball or should pass and doesn't but watch him closely and you will see that consistently Mane is always making things happen. He's an extremely dangerous player who knows exactly where the goal is. 

Image via Liverpool FC
His first goal at the Allianz was just incredible. The first touch and then to completely take out one of the best keepers in the game and finish so calmly? Just stunning. 

Also his second of the night helped me win £100 cause I had Mane 3-1 so if I didn't already love him, I definitely do now... 

2. Don't write off the Reds in Europe 


I had some people telling me "oooo Bayern is a tough game, not sure you'll do it in Germany". Yes, Bayern are a great side but what people seem to forget is that so are we. 

Liverpool have a real European prowess and over two legs I always fancy our chances. The bonus, of course, was that if Liverpool could find an away goal relatively early on that would force Bayern into an uncomfortable position. Matip's own goal was unfortunate but I knew once Liverpool scored we'd see the game out. 

3.Virgil van Dijk, worth every penny 


I mean I'm running out of descriptions for this man he's just immense. Commanding his back four throughout the 90 minutes, he looked furious when we did concede but sensibly snapped back into reality and once again instructed his defence, at 1-1 this was still a benefit to Liverpool more so than Bayern. 

In fairness, the defence had little to deal with on Wednesday night but Virgil also popped up with a goal which also bagged me a tenner! Haha. 

4.Robertson booking unfortunate 


Andy Robertson went in for a challenge late on in the game and before he even got there I was wincing. I am gutted he will miss the quarter-final first leg but as we proved without Virgil in the first leg of this tie, we can cope. 

5.Matip strong aside from the mistake 


I thought it was worth highlighting Matip because away from his error, which to be honest he had to do something about, he was actually having and continued to have a very good game. 

I like Matip but held a few concerns, over recent matches though he seems to have settled right in alongside Virgil! 

The draw is on Friday so let's see who we get!!! 

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, 4 March 2019

Reds Remain Second

Liverpool could only manage a draw against old foes Everton on Sunday afternoon, meaning the Reds remain second in the table, just a point behind Manchester City. Though, if you spend a few minutes scrolling through Twitter, anyone would think we're 20 points behind, the managers gone AWOL and Salah, Mane and Firmino are all injured...

Don't get me wrong, I felt sick to the stomach towards the end of that match on Sunday. The dawning realisation that Liverpool were in fact now going to stay behind City with nine games to go, it was a hard fact to take. However, if you're going to slate the team at this stage, actually feel it necessary to tweet that the Reds have blown it and there's no hope well what's the point? Were City fans saying that when they dropped points against Newcastle the other week? Far from it.

Image via Sky Sports
Fact is, Liverpool are still well and truly in this title race and if we ever grab hold of that elusive 19th title it is always going to be via an absolute slog, it will never be on a plate five points clear as much as we may dream of it.

For me, people need to calm down a bit. Granted we needed a win but we've drawn on numerous occasions at Goodison in recent seasons and the result shouldn't really be that much of a shock. Liverpool need the fans now more than ever and while everyone is entitled to their opinions I just can't be arsed with these doom-mongers. We're one point off, there's a long way to go, I am convinced City will drop points it's just whether we can keep our nerve.

The match on Sunday was not one to remember for Klopp's side and for me it lacked a bit of innovation in the midfield. Trent and Robbo were making some strong moves on the flanks but through the middle, it was quite lacklustre.

Mo Salah had a brilliant chance to put Liverpool ahead in the first half as he twisted and turned his way into the box, his shot was saved well by Pickford though who redeemed himself after his horrendous mistake in the derby at Anfield. 

Everton grew in confidence as the game continued and for a while I felt as though Liverpool may benefit from the extra spaces being left by the Toffees but we couldn't quite make it count. On the flip side, despite Everton's growing confidence they never really seriously troubled Alisson who had a rather quiet game between the sticks.

It was just another typical frustrating draw and it's such a shame that the Reds have picked up so many of them this season. We've lost just once the whole season yet we find ourselves now chasing down City with destiny out of our own hands. It's not a nice feeling but the Reds along with manager Jurgen Klopp just need to keep their heads, focus on our own games, don't worry about what City are doing, concentrate on winning.

Next up for the Reds is Burnley at Anfield on Sunday, followed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

All To Play For In Germany

A somewhat frustrating night at Anfield for Liverpool as the Reds could only manage a 0-0 draw against Bayern in their first leg of the last 16 in the Champions League. 

A 0-0 draw, to be honest, is not a bad result but there was a general consensus that Liverpool may be able to get the better of the German side on their home turf. 

Image via The Independent
The first half was a brilliant game to watch, especially for the neutral with both teams creating issues. One moment that stands out in particular though is a save from Alisson that he knew nothing about. A bit of luck came Liverpool's way after a melee in the box and a risky clearance from Joel Matip nearly ended in a goal for Bayern, thankfully Alisson's body was in the way and the match remained level. 

Alisson is a brilliant keeper but I still feel sometimes he's far too risky with the ball at his feet. His distribution often invites unwanted pressure and while nine times out of ten it's fine, I can't deal with the stress!

Klopp had to start this game without influential defender Virgil van Dijk but to be fair to the Reds, aside from that freak mistake early on, defensively they played really well. Fabinho had a cracking game and on several occasions put in some beautifully timed tackles to stop dead a dangerous attack. 

Another player who deserves a mention is Jordan Henderson, he gets a lot of flack but people don't talk enough when he puts in a stormer. He was brilliant last night, played more positively with his passing and also got us out of a few scrapes when tracking back. 

Attack wise, Liverpool did have their chances but we just couldn't quite make it count. I love Mane but I have to admit that he scuppered a couple of good opportunities on Tuesday night. Firmino for me started lively but seemed to fade and as always we didn't seem to capitalise much on any set pieces. 

Nevertheless, the tie is at 0-0, an early away goal in Germany could be massive for Liverpool. Equally, even if Bayern score first they'd still need to find a second goal in quick succession really to feel comfortable. It's going to be an interesting European away trip for Klopp's side that's for sure. 

Next up for the Reds is the small matter of Manchester United... This game is huge in any season but even more so this year.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Five Things We Learned From The King Power

Image via Metro

1) Alisson needs to tone down the antics

I like seeing a bit of skill as much as the next person but not from my bloody goalkeeper. I mentioned in a previous post that Alisson only performs these tricks because he's confident and there's nothing wrong with having a confident keeper but he needs to stop his antics.

The Brazilian gifted Leicester their goal just after the hour mark and for a time it felt as though the home side might be able to get back into the game. Thankfully for Alisson that never happened and hopefully he's now learnt his lesson. Away from that daft mistake, he looked strong once again when called into action against the Foxes.

2) Sadio Mane could be the star of this season

Mane now has four goals in four matches for the Reds and when our Egyptian king couldn't quite find the net early on, it fell to Sadio to put Liverpool 1-0 up. A strong finish from an Andy Robertson cross was just what Klopp's side needed and I feel Mane could be a very important asset this season.

Sadio was the stand out player in the Champions League final for the Reds and he's more than capable of finding a goal when everybody else has run out of options. Salah will be battling for the prize of star player but I do think Mane will be a contender.

Also, I had a quid on Sadio Mane 2-1 and won £50 so perhaps I'm being biased...

3) Reds look more in control

Saturday's result was another indication of Liverpool's level of control. Some would argue that we look a lot less potent in attack and that this is a negative but for me, we look an overall more balanced side and we're maintaining the lead in games we would have let slip last season.

Maximum points against sides like Brighton and Leicester is weirdly a huge plus for Liverpool, these are the kinds of sides that would make things difficult for us previously. If we can collect all three points against them, I do not fear the likes of Spurs and Man CIty where our forwards really will be able to punish, exploiting the inevitable gaps left by a more open team.

4) Klopp not afraid to make big substitutions

When Mo Salah was subbed off I have to admit I was quite surprised but compared to Firmino and Mane he was the quieter player. Subbing Mo I feel shows that no player at Liverpool is above being substituted or even dropped and that's probably the right way to play things.

Players need to know that they have a chance of getting into the side and similarly, stars need to know they aren't irreplaceable. However, I think if we are honest Salah was probably subbed because Klopp has one eye on the fixture pile up.

5) Liverpool have the squad to manage upcoming fixtures

On that note of a fixture pile up. Liverpool definitely have the squad to get through this phase of Champions League games while continuing to battle for the title. Being able to bring on Shaqiri and Keita yesterday is something we could only dream of in previous seasons plus we have players like Fabinho and Sturridge to call upon.

I definitely feel a lot more comfortable going into the following months with our current squad. If we hadn't of spent so well in the transfer window this summer we could have been ins some real trouble.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, 13 August 2018

Reds Open The Season With A Win

Liverpool collected their first victory of the Premier League season in some style on Sunday after putting four past West Ham with no return. Expectations were high for the Reds who had strengthened their side during the summer transfer window but there was no reason to fear as Klopp’s side made this game look relatively straightforward.


Embed from Getty Images

The Liverpool XI featured new signings Keita and Alisson but Shaqiri and Fabinho started on the bench. Keita, in particular, made a real impression on the game leaving pundits drooling over his obvious ability. He’s the kind of player who is always looking for the next ball, the next pass, the next move forward and just going off Sunday’s performance I think we can expect to see a lot from him this season.

The first goal for the Reds came from a familiar face, Mr Mo Salah! In the right place, at the right time, the Egyptian king was never going to miss this opportunity as he converted Andy Robertson’s cross. I was never in any doubt that Mo would hit the ground running this season but I think it’s very important that he did find the net in the first game.

The more time went on without Mo having scored, the more nervy things would have got. Pressure builds on a striker in any season but even more so after you pulled off such a phenomenal 2017/2018.

Next on the scoresheet for the Reds was Sadio Mane. Sometimes overlooked slightly due to battling for attention with his teammates Salah and Firmino, Mane always does a cracking job in my book and was the standout player in my opinion in last year’s Champions League final. His first goal of the afternoon came just before the half-time whistle. It was a good time to score for the Reds who were clearly on top of the game but could have perhaps done with an extended lead. Mane was left unmarked by the West Ham defence who were perhaps caught slacking, an easy conversion for Sadio put Liverpool 2-0 up.

West Ham will be an interesting team in the league this season I feel, Pellegrini has enough experience to navigate his side to safety I believe but I am unsure as to whether they will be able to pull off anything special. Some of the signings they have made will, of course, make an impact but judging by yesterday’s performance they may struggle against some of the bigger teams.

Mane’s second goal appeared to be offside but he cannot be faulted for playing to the whistle and again West Ham were caught. Sadio, assisted by Roberto Firmino, scored Liverpool’s third goal. It was Daniel Sturridge though who perhaps had the headlines. The forward has not scored for Liverpool in 10 months and after a loan spell at West Brom was marred by injury, there were several people wondering whether the striker would ever appear in a Liverpool shirt again.

For me, though it’s clear that Sturridge has always been happy at Anfield. Obviously, he would prefer to be starting every game but he’s also there to do a job and help his team and if that means coming off the bench for 20 minutes then so be it. Sturridge was introduced at 87 minutes on Sunday and within 24 seconds he’d found the back of the net, you just couldn’t write it! It was fantastic to see him complete his signature dance in front of the Anfield faithful and his impact again highlights the level of strength the Reds now have at their disposal.

In seasons gone by, if a game wasn’t exactly going to plan by 70 minutes you’d look to our options on the bench and struggle to see who could make a difference but yesterday we had Shaqiri, Fabinho, Henderson, Sturridge etc. That kind of flexibility is going to massively help us as the season goes on and I for one can’t wait for the next match!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, 14 May 2018

Champions League Secured

A comfortable win for Liverpool over Brighton at Anfield on Sunday has secured the Reds' place in Europe's elite for another season. Prior to kick off with Chelsea on their tail, it could have been a tricky afternoon for Klopp's side but in the end, it was a walk in the park.

Image via The Irish Examiner
Mo Salah opened up the scoring, stretching his lead for the golden boot. Harry Kane tried his best in Spurs' tie with Leicester but thankfully the forward remained behind, nobody that desperate to steal a goal off a teammate should win the boot! Salah thorough deserved the award. In the process, the Egyptian also broke the record for the most goals scored in a 38 game Premier League season. Phenomenal. 

The remainder of the score sheet for the Reds contained some interesting names. Dejan Lovren who we've seen net a couple, but not often, managed to find a header just before half time. 

In the second half, Solanke with a great strike put his side 3-0 up. It was his first goal for the club. 

Then finally with five minutes left of the match and also scoring his first goal for the club, up steps Andy Robertson. You'll often find the youngster making runs into the box, his crosses are second to none too but on this occasion, he fancied a go himself and boy did it pay off. 

Defensively, Robertson and the rest of the lads must also be praised after yet another clean sheet. The defence has felt like a weak link for a lot of the season but with the help of Virgil van Dijk it appears as though the back four are beginning to work as a solid unit.

It's been a positive season for Liverpool I feel, 4th place is probably where most would have predicted we would finish this year. To secure European football while scoring all those goals and coping with the loss of Coutinho? Just brilliant. 

Next up is the small matter of Real Madrid in Kiev... 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, 5 February 2018

REPORT: Liverpool 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Well, it's never a dull occasion is it when Liverpool play one of the big teams? The match against Spurs at Anfield on Sunday was certainly full of goals as most expected but the result was somewhat tinged by some very questionable referring/lino decisions. 

Mo Salah goal
Image via express.co.uk
I'm not one to dwell on decisions usually but the linesman had a massive effect on the game on Sunday and after watching various replays, listening to various viewpoints and reading what you guys had to say on social media, I think most will agree that we were robbed of the win. 

The Reds opened up the scoring after just three minutes thanks to a pouncing Mo Salah. For a while in the first half, it looked as though Klopp's side were in control but things quickly began to turn in Spurs' favour as the pressure from the visitors began to mount. 

Liverpool, on the whole, dealt well with this pressure. Karius, in particular, should get a mention, I'm not his biggest fan but he pulled off some strong saves on Sunday. However, his decision to punch clear at 80 minutes would prove fatal. 

Wanyama who had only just entered play found Karius' attempted clearance and scored an absolute belter, smashing his effort into the top left-hand corner. It was a wonderful goal but I don't think we can be too harsh on Karius, on another day that ball would not have found its way to the sweet foot of Wanyama. 

Then came the drama. 

Spurs were awarded a penalty after the referee and linesman had a long old chat about the offside rule. Now I'm no expert, nowhere near it but if you've called Kane offside, it's irrelevant whether Lovren then goes on to touch the ball or not, your call has been made. As a linesman you don't hang around thinking oh wait a minute I won't call here, I'll let the ball hang in the air for a bit in case one of the opposition players gets a touch. 

Kane is behind Lovren, Lovren can't see him, of course he's going to interfere. It was just a ridiculous decision. On top of that, I'm not even sure it was a penalty. Thankfully none of this really mattered because Kane's spot kick was naff and Karius saved well predicting the shot would stay central. 

One minute into extra time and I practically lost my voice screaming in elation at the magnificent Mo Salah. In possession in the box he actually part way through his attack believes there's been a hand ball, he physically stops to appeal but the ref is having none of it, so Salah thinks sod it, takes on the Spurs' defence and dinks home what absolutely should have been the Liverpool winner. 

However, a few minutes later Spurs unbelievably are awarded a second penalty. Watching live and feeling rather angry I didn't believe the challenge warranted a peno, I felt as though without the pressure if that happened earlier in the game it would not have been awarded. Also, the ref didn't award it, it was that bloody linesman who called it back!

Whatever your thoughts on the challenge, Spurs went on to score thanks to that annoyingly good Harry Kane bloke. Post-match though, it appears to many that Lamela was, in fact, offside anyway? 

We could argue the decisions forever, the fact is we drew but I'm sorry, that lino had way too much influence on that game, way too much. 

Labels: , , , , , ,

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. 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Van Dijk Knocks Everton Out The Cup

Unbelievable. That man is worth every penny of that £75 million for the header alone. Absolutely brilliant, Everton at one stage actually thought they were on for a win at Anfield...

van Dijk goal Everton
Image via The Guardian
In a Merseyside derby filled with questionable refereeing decisions, controversial incidents and eventually goals, it was Liverpool who ended the game victorious and Klopp's side progress safely to the next stage of the FA Cup.

The manager started a strong side but notably missing were Mo Salah and Philippe Coutinho, the former had just returned from receiving his African Player of the Year award in Ghana while the latter as I write this has just agreed a £142 million deal with Barcelona... sad times.

Everton, predictably started the game in true Allardyce fashion, set up to protect and try to nick something on the break. Liverpool, on the other hand, retained a lot of possession in the first half but didn't actually create anything with it until a penalty was awarded on 35 minutes.

James Milner converted the spot kick, calmly as ever, but was it even a penalty in the first place? When I first saw it I definitely felt as though we were lucky to receive the decision, it looked very soft. However, what you have to ask yourself too is, was Holgate impeding Lallana? I think he was, I think he prevented Lallana's turn to continue his run with the ball and therefore, hindered his attack illegally. Despite this, I still think Lallana went down very theatrically. With the benefit of replays and angles, I believe it was a penalty but I can see why it wouldn't have been given.

Shortly after the spot-kick, Everton's Holgate let the red mist descend and pushed Firmino with both hands over the advertising hoardings and into the crowd, for no reason whatsoever. Firmino, rightly disgruntled at the situation, ran fuming back to Holgate and clearly an exchange of words occurred. I have no idea what was said and wouldn't want to speculate but it truly baffles me that all on-air analysis and a lot of social media analysis was focused on the argument and what may or may not have been said. Not on Holgate's ridiculous act to force Firmino off the pitch.

Not long after the hour mark, Everton found themselves an equaliser, with the Reds caught completely off guard, an impressive break involving Jagielka surprisingly, allowed Sigurdsson to find the back of the net.

After a brave decision to take Wayne Rooney off (obviously they didn't want to give us the satisfaction of watching him get a red) I didn't actually think the Toffees had enough left in the tank to find a goal. A period of improved pressure from the blue shirts though was enough to get them right back into the tie. Liverpool had to find a winner from somewhere, a replay would not be helpful with the number of fixtures already played and ones coming up in Europe.

Step up Virgil van Dijk, the man from Southampton, so highly sought after for his defensive abilities and what does he do? Net the winner with a leap like no other against Everton to knock them out of the FA Cup in the 84th minute. Brilliant.

You couldn't write it as they say unless you're Danny Murphy who predicted exactly that on the BBC prior to KO. It was a solid performance from the defender and the goal was simply the icing on the cake, I still hold my reservations but if you start your career at Anfield like that, you've got to be on to a good one?!

Finally, I would like to highlight the performance of Andy Robertson. When Klopp bought him, I can't say I was massively excited but I was definitely keen to see him play, it became frustrating when Alberto Moreno continued to be selected in his place and it's a real shame in my opinion that it took an injury to the Spaniard for Robertson to get more regular game time.

People argue that Moreno had improved and deserved to keep his place but I tried the whole giving Moreno a chance a while back, I stuck by him whilst others had already given up but for me, he's just not a defender. Show me a reel of perfectly timed tackles from Moreno like the ones Robertson completed last night? On top of that, the lad has got a killer cross and is also extremely impressive on the attack. He was all over Bolasie yesterday and showed an impeccable understanding of the game, I for one can't wait to see more of him.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Report: Liverpool 5 Swansea 0

Liverpool put five past Swansea at Anfield on Boxing Day and regained 4th place in the league from Spurs in the process. It was an emphatic win for the Reds but it is important to remember that Swansea were not exactly the strongest of opposition. The Welsh side are still languishing at the bottom of the league after this fixture and look in serious trouble. 

Trent Alexander Arnold
Image via skysports.com
Nevertheless, Liverpool did score five without conceding, a feat to be applauded as we head into the final game of 2018 against Leicester. Captain Philippe Coutinho opened up the scoring with a typical long-range effort sweetly slotted into the top corner. 

I was chatting on Twitter prior to kick-off about Coutinho, I hope to god that we keep hold of him but I can't shake the feeling that he will be off in January. Whatever happens, you cannot deny that he still puts his all into every game for the club.

The Reds had plenty of further chances in the first half and really should have extended their lead but they would not find the back of the net again until the second half. At this stage, Swansea were holding decent amounts of possession and had a solid chance of their own to equalise, the second half though would prove a step too far for the visitors and things began to crumble.

Roberto Firmino found Liverpool's second just seven minutes into the final 45. It was the following goal though that grabbed my attention, youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold had found himself high up the pitch, a botched clearance brought the ball into his path and a stinging effort saw his shot smash off the bar and into the back of the net. His celebration said it all, he was elated. This man for sure is set to be a real Kop hero.

Trent double A and Andy Robertson had a fantastic game, while questions still remain over the defence as a whole, these two are superb going forward and helping to create attacks. It's superb to watch.

The fourth goal was massively down to that man Mo Salah but being the unselfish person that he is, he squared to team-mate Firmino who scored his second of the night with ease. Salah needs real praise here because on at least three or four occasions during this match alone he'd been left in the lurch when really the likes of Lallana or Can or even Firmino should have passed. When the shoe is on the other foot, the Egyptian is always looking for that pass, unselfish yet still on 15 goals, phenomenal.

The fifth and final goal of the night came from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade was always going to have questions asked about his performance, mainly due to his price tag but I feel on the whole he's doing well. As Klopp recently highlighted, if he could bring more goals into his game then it would be perfect, he was helped on the way to that target by scoring against The Swans. 

Next up for the Reds is Leicester at Anfield, the Foxes have pulled out some good results of late but also look vulnerable this season. On the back of such a strong win, let's hope Klopp's side can pick up another three points ready for the New Year.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Reds Throw Away 2-0 Lead At The Emirates

For fifty minutes on Friday night, Liverpool had fooled their fans into thinking it would be a walk in the park at the Emirates. Two-nil up after goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah, the Reds looked dominate against an Arsenal side lacking in ideas but after a spell of just five minutes, Klopp's side had lost their lead.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3
Image via The Guardian
A headed goal from Alexis Sanchez opened up the period of utter madness, this was followed by a shot from Xhaka and two minutes later Ozil put the Gunners ahead. Thankfully for Liverpool, Firmino found an equaliser just after 70 minutes but the Reds should never have put themselves in that situation and they have no real excuse.

An early forced substitution saw James Milner replace Jordan Henderson, in reality, that should have affected the balance of the Liverpool side but Milner performed well and was involved in some of the chances.

Coutinho's goal was a rare effort using his head but it was Mo Salah's goal that really lit up the night. A timely pass from Roberto Firmino saw Salah set out towards Cech, with three Arsenal defenders encroaching, the Egyptian never lost his cool and slotted home with a minor deflection.

The elation on the faces of the travelling Kop was soon replaced with confusion. From absolutely nowhere (and I mean nowhere, Arsenal had barely threatened the whole game) at the other end of the pitch, the Gunners capitalised on a lapse in concentration and netted their first of three. 

Three minutes later, Xhaka took a chance with a strike from 25 yards, Mignolet looked as though he had it covered but the Belgian flapped just one hand at the effort and watched it trickle in. 

Two minutes after that Arsenal scored their third, Ozil found the net and put Wenger's side into the lead. It was just phenomenal, the Gunners had found something extra and Liverpool were left shellshocked. 

Firmino's goal secured a point for the Reds but the game once again highlighted Liverpool's incapability of holding on to a lead. 

Post-match James Milner said in an interview that he believed Liverpool should play more boring football. Hilarious as it is, fitting perfectly with his parody Twitter account, the fact is that he's spot on. Sides who securely hold on to a lead do it by playing more intelligently, slowing the pace and passing the ball more. You won't hold on to a win against a side like Arsenal continuing to play with all guns blazing.

It's a weird one because prior to kick off, once again you would probably take a draw but as with the Chelsea game, Liverpool deserved to win, they just couldn't see it out.

It's a problem that's difficult to solve but I think we now need to seriously look at some key positions in the team including the goalkeeper. Without improving the reliability at the back, the Reds are never going to be serious contenders, even with a stunning strike force.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Five Talking Points From Moscow

1) One of those days... again? 

How do you have a front line consisting of Salah, Firmino, Mane and Coutinho yet fail to be clinical? It's amazing isn't it, you're sat there thinking "you know what would be perfect here? An in-form Peter Crouch." Ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration but you get the jist, this side needs a true finisher. It's ridiculous and it makes zero sense why we should struggle in front of goal but Liverpool definitely need to work on nailing home a result. 

We were all over Spartak for the majority of the game and some of the chances were agonising to watch when they failed to pay off. Part of me felt as though having Sturridge on the field helped with the more direct opportunities but then even he fluffed a couple of options. 

It's just so frustrating because while this was definitely "one of those days" you can't keep having "those days" and certainly not in the Champions League. 

2) Karius should have got there?

It's probably harsh because it was a decent free kick but he'd done all the hard work, he was practically there yet somehow failed to save the effort. 

Would Migs have saved it? Who knows but I know who I prefer between the sticks at the moment and it's not Loris. 

3) Coutinho delivers 

Image via heraldseries.co.uk
Any murmurs of letting him rot in the reserves have all but died out now. Where would we be without him? He had a fabulous game on Tuesday night not only via his link-up play and great goal thanks to an assist from Mane but also when tracking back in defence. 

4) Firmino sub? 

Many on Twitter raised this and I have to agree. What exactly did Firmino do to deserve to play the whole 90 minutes? He'd of been my first sub, to be honest, but for some reason, Klopp decided to take Mane off first. 

Klopp sometimes baffles me with his substitutions not only his choices but also timings. I just don't think he currently uses them to make maximum impact, Sturridge was a strong move but the wrong player was taken off. On another day though Studge would have found the net and we wouldn't even be discussing subs. Football's a funny game eh?

5) Is a draw in Russia enough? 

Prior to kick off and when finding out who was in the group you'd probably say yes but having watched how much pressure we piled on last night? No, I don't think it is good enough, we should have got all three points there. 

It's not the end of the world and by no means does it mean we're down and out but that simply had to be a win last night, to walk away with a point after all that pressure? Proper annoying.

The Reds never like to make it easy though do they? Especially in the Champions League, there's always got to be a bit of drama. 

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Five Talking Points From Hoffenheim Away

1) Trent double A

What a goal from the youngster and what a superb way to open your score card, by netting your first goal for the club in a Champions League qualifier with a beautiful free kick that also happens to make you the youngest Liverpool goalscorer the competition has seen (both as the European Cup and as the Champions League).


Image via This Is Anfield

I don't think words can justify this, I'm just going to leave the video here, pride of place, available whenever I need it here on the blog:

2) The whole Moreno as a defender thing...

I try my best not to constantly get on at players but I'm really finding it hard just lately in the case of Moreno. There was a time when I used to see a spark of hope for him in defence (minimal to say the least) but there's one thing I've never denied and that is his clear talent and threat in a more forward role. He's a winger. We all know it, Jurgen knows it, even Moreno knows it. So why on earth we continue with this pipe dream that he will suddenly learn how to defend properly is beyond me.

He leaves us so exposed and with an already faltering defence, the gaps he often leaves only makes things ten times worse. I genuinely would prefer Milner there, even though he's not a defender either, he's just better at pretending to be one.

3) Peno could have changed the game

After just 11 minutes Hoffenheim were awarded a penalty after a challenge from Lovren in the box. Thankfully Simon Mignolet managed to save the effort (to be honest it was a pretty poor spot kick) but can you imagine if that had gone in?

Tails would have dropped, the Reds I feel would have struggled to find momentum and Hoffenheim would have used it as a catalyst. The Germans had their moments throughout the game and I reckon with an early goal under their belts anything could have happened. Thank god it didn't.

4) Hoffenheim still a threat

Going into a second leg at Anfield one goal up, knowing that victory secures your place in the Champions League should be more than enough for Liverpool to seal the deal next week but the slim margin offers hope for Hoffenheim.

We have seen first hand the kind of threat they can pose, Mark Uth's finish after he was found by a long ball was stunning and given enough opportunities at Anfield they simply will punish. Liverpool need to be on guard.

5) Nagelsmann suggests something about Liverpool's performance...

Finally if you didn't catch it, the young Hoffenheim boss suggested Liverpool were below par:


“We had the ball in many important spaces. He (Klopp) has to say that and defend his team. He can’t say, ‘Hoffenheim played great and we were shit." - Julian Nagelsmann

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Five Things We Learned At London Stadium

1) Playing two strikers can actually work

I've been saying for months now, Liverpool should not be afraid to field two strikers. For me, the whole season we have faced sides such as West Ham and failed to break them down with our Plan A. I love Jurgen Klopp but I think most of us would agree that he can be a bit stubborn at times. On far too may occasions this season Klopp has decided for whatever reason to field the same tactics and an extremely similar team against sides who are determined to make things difficult for us.

Image via Liverpool Echo
Teams like West Ham all season have been more than happy to sit back and allow Liverpool to keep possession, fail to score due to a lack of ideas and a lack of directness and then simply hit us on the break.

In my opinion, having a true striker like Daniel Sturridge on, even better in a front two gives us a much greater chance of breaking down this kind of opposition. Yes it took a significant proportion of the game to take effect on Sunday but it is not a coincidence that game ended 4-0 with both strikers on the score sheet and a brace from Philippe Coutinho.

Playing two strikers not only offers the side more options in the box it also creates a totally different issue for the opposition defence, while West Ham's centre backs are busy with eyes on Sturridge and Origi it gives players like Coutinho the freedom and space they need to really punish.

It's a bit late in the day now but I can't help but feel that if we'd of at least tried this set up, even for half an hour during some of the games we've struggled in, things could be so different right now.

2) Sprinkle of luck

It's not often Liverpool get a bit of luck, it certainly doesn't feel like we have this season but the Reds had two dashes of it on Sunday. First of all when Ayew missed an absolute sitter, he literally just had to tap it into an open net from about a metre out but some how failed to find goal.

Secondly, Liverpool could have found themselves facing up to a penalty after a potential hand ball in the box from Wijnaldum. Gini himself looked guilty as hell as he turned to the referee to check the decision, thankfully for us the whistle did not go.

3) Daniel Sturridge is back

Sturridge has come under a lot of stick recently from some sections of the Liverpool fan base and I personally have never been able to understand this. Yes he is very injury prone but on his day Daniel Sturridge is still one of the best strikers in the league.

Off the pitch he is a lovely guy and it's clear he just wants to strive to do his best for our football club. I was so happy to see him actually start on Sunday and if I wasn't so skint this month, I would have had money on him to find the net haha. His goal set up by a killer pass from Coutinho was brilliant. The striker timed his run perfectly to remain onside and was calm as ever as he took the ball around the keeper and finished.

I'm not sure what the future holds for Sturridge but it seems like he wants to fight for his place and I for one would still love to have him at Anfield.

4) Coutinho at his best

It was no surprise Coutinho was handed man of the match after a brilliant assist and two goals of his own. As mentioned previously, Coutinho is at his best when he has that bit of freedom to work his magic. Playing strikers today in my opinion is what allowed Coutinho to shine and he did not disappoint with two great goals.

5) The Reds can grind it out

Finally, Liverpool showed that they can grind it out when they need to if they really work at it. It hasn't happened on many occasions this season but the Reds proved at the London Stadium that they can stick it out. For the majority of the first half the Reds looked completely out of it but lifted by the Daniel Sturridge goal late in the first half and boosted by regrouping, it was clear they meant business in the second 45.

A ruthless start to the second half of the match left West Ham pretty much dumbfounded and with a second goal under their belt at 57 minutes the Reds went from strength to strength.

_____

I don't know about you but I was really nervous for this match and I have now screamed myself hoarse yelling at four goals, in particular at Sturridge's opener. All Liverpool have to do now is beat Boro at Anfield, surely to god we can do that?! One more game.

Labels: , , , , , ,