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, 14 September 2019

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

1) Firmino is smooth af.

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

Image via The Mirror

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

2) Lost without Laporte?

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

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

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

3) Sadio's calmed down

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

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

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

4) Pukki for golden boot?

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

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Saturday, 24 August 2019

Five Things To Note From The Arsenal Win

1) Mo Salah is here to stay

A header from Joel Matip opened up the scoring for Liverpool on Saturday evening in their 3-1 win over Arsenal but it was Mo Salah who would go on to grab the headlines. A blatant shirt pull by David Luiz meant the Egyptian was awarded a penalty (which he converted with ease) but it was his second goal of the game that was really special.

Image via The Guardian

David Luiz had an absolute mare and Salah not only gained the penalty off him but left him for dead on his route towards goal meaning the ex-Chelsea man could only look on in desperation as the forward scored with a low finish.

Some like to question whether Mo can keep at the level he has been playing in previous seasons but I have no doubt he'll be up there fighting for top goalscorer again in 2019/2020.

2) Virgil van Dijk is going to be under a microscope this season

I don't know if anybody else has noticed this but from about five minutes into the Norwich game it appears that all commentators are now on van Dijk's case. They've had enough of the world class, Champions League winning defender and now want to try and pick faults at any moment.

Gary Neville today wasted no time having a dig at van Dijk simply because on a couple of occasions the Dutchman decided to give Pepe a bit more freedom, but he still had things under control. It's already winding me up this and there's a whole season to go yet.

3) Adrian unlucky

It was frustrating to see Adrian's reaction upon conceding late on in the game, an early mistake when he should have left Virgil to deal with the situation nearly ended in a goal for Arsenal but on the whole, I thought Adrian did quite well. He was unlucky to concede after a bit of a mis-hit by Torreira eventually turned into a goal.

It must be extremely tough for the sub keeper as he's barely had anytime really to settle in with the squad and get used to how his defence will play things in certain situations. For me, as much as I'm 100% behind Adrian we definitely need Alisson back sooner rather than later.

4) VAR nonsense

It's no secret that I'm very much in the sack VAR off camp, I know opinions on this are as split as who likes Marmite but that red card decision early on was absolute nonsense. Nobody in the ground had a clue what it was for or even if it was related to an Arsenal or a Liverpool player. There's no screen at Anfield but even on the screens at home, we're sat watching a cut out of the referee next to a replay of a situation on a purple VAR background with zero information as to what is being checked. Martin Tyler didn't have a pissin clue what was going on. I still don't even actually know what happened... absolute joke.

5) This team is solid

It was always going to be hard for Liverpool to hit the ground running, especially after a dodgy pre-season and with the pressure of entering this year as Champions League winners but the Reds have looked very strong so far.

Norwich and Southampton you could argue weren't a full test for Klopp's side but they made Arsenal look pretty average today. It's evident how happy the team is together and the link-up play between the front three is just awesome. I am so excited for the rest of this season, this team is solid.

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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Three Times Liverpool V Arsenal Was Awesome For The Neutral

It's funny, when you ask people to name classic football matches and rivalries not many people come up with Liverpool v Arsenal. In my opinion, this has thrown up some of the most exciting league fixtures of recent times.

The game often has lots of goals and although there have been times when the match has felt one-sided (see Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1, December 2018) on the whole it makes for an evenly pitched clash and I for one am looking forward to Saturday's game.

So for this post, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and look back on some of the close ties between the two sides.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3 - Friday 22nd December 2017

A cold December evening three days before Christmas saw the two sides line up with Liverpool in 4th place. The Reds needed at least a draw to remain in that position.

It was a great start for Liverpool who opened up the scoring with a rare header from Coutinho after 26 minutes. Mo Salah then went on to score early in the second half with a deflected strike. Things looked comfortable for Klopp until the Reds failed to deal with a cross from Bellerin. His effort was met by Alexis Sanchez who headed home Arsenal's first of three in six minutes.

Image via Sky Sports

Just three minutes later the Gunners had found a second thanks to a strike from Xhaka, Mignolet attempted to save but couldn't get enough on it. The Reds were well and truly under pressure now and with barely a chance to regroup, two minutes later Arsenal had scored again this time thanks to Ozil.

Liverpool looked dumbfounded but the neutrals watching across the country were chuffed this match had been the Friday night selection. It was a crazy game of football and it wasn't done yet.

Never a side to throw in the towel, Klopp's team eventually found an equaliser to keep themselves in 4th. Bobby Firmino's powerful strike was enough to beat Petr Cech and collect a draw.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4 - Sunday 14th August 2016

The opening encounter of the 2016/2017 Premier League season and what a belter it was. It took 30 minutes for the first goal to go in after Theo Walcott found the net for Arsenal (after missing a penalty just moments earlier) but from there on out it was goals galore.

Image via The Independent

A lovely free-kick from Coutinho gifted Liverpool an equaliser just before half time and Adam Lallana found the net to put the Reds 2-1 up after 49 minutes. Seven minutes later Coutinho scored again to increase Liverpool's lead and this was closely followed by a strong strike from Sadio Mane.

Things were looking great for the Reds but one minute later, future Liverpool starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain would score for Arsene Wenger's side. Arsenal were starting to gain momentum but despite finding another goal thanks to Chambers at 75 minutes it wasn't enough to earn them any points and on this occasion, Liverpool would walk away victorious.

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3 - Wednesday 13th January 2016

Liverpool... and Arsenal... loads of goals? Who'd of thought it?

Yep, the two sides were at it again back in January 2016. Bobby Firmino opened up the scoring very early on for the Reds but saw his goal cancelled out when Ramsey found an equaliser.

Clearly not happy with this our Brazilian forward then scored a stunning goal from 20 yards to put Liverpool back in the lead. It was a wet and miserable January evening and neither side wanted to lose this game, Arsenal also had one eye on the title at this stage of the season.

Image via Football 365
Giroud who was influential for Arsenal then went on to score once in the first half and once in the second, Arsenal remained in front for the majority of the second half. That was until a Welsh substitute entered play.

Joe Allen was brought on for Emre Can at 82 minutes, perhaps not the most likely goalscorer, Joe converted a low drive on the stroke of 90 minutes to grab Liverpool a point and dent Arsenal's title hopes.

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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.

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Community Shield: Does it matter for Liverpool?

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

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

Image via eurosport.com

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

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

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

Will they feature?

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

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

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

When is a signing not a signing?

When they're 16 apparently. 

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

Image via skysports.com

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

Game on

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

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

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

P.s.

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

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

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Sunday, 2 June 2019

In Madrid, We Won It Six Times

Saturday 1st June, not a date a few weeks back I thought would be important to Liverpool but after the Reds overturned a 3-0 deficit against the mighty Barcelona, June 1st became vitally important.

As a Liverpool fan from Wolverhampton whenever the lads get to a final I always try to travel up to Liverpool so I can soak up the second best atmosphere. Obviously, Madrid would be the dream but that's practically impossible for somebody like me so Liverpool, a city I love so dearly is ALWAYS the next best option.

Last year for the final I booked a hotel after the final whistle of the semi-final first leg but this year we couldn't do that so we had to draft in the fella to be designated driver. I always knew there was a positive to him being a Wolves fan haha. But seriously, massive thanks to the fella!

So it was set, me, the fella, me brother and my mate Reece would all travel up for the final again. Last year we watched at Camp and Furnace but again this year I was a bit slow on the uptake and tried for two weeks to find a ticketed screening somewhere, eventually I got us tickets at Mulholland Diner which to be honest isn't your most obvious place to watch the match but I knew that anywhere you watched in Liverpool would be awesome.

Travelling up I opted for honey JD and coke in a water bottle to settle the nerves. It's weird since we drew Spurs in the final I immediately felt more nervous, more nervous than I think I would have been if it were Ajax. I think it was just the element of English and well-known opposition, we'd finished so far ahead of Spurs in the league, this would be a disaster if victory went to the London club.

Arriving in Liverpool about 1pm after blasting out Si Senor on repeat for the dying moments of the journey, I was super excited now but we still had hours until kick off. 

We started at The Richmond Hotel, the rain had finally died off so we stood in the street enjoying a cider. Reece gave another Liverpool fan a leg up so he could stick his ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ flag in the sign of a closed down shop. It was a good atmosphere and you could feel the tension building. 

To ease the nerves yet again I then had to go for a food stop. Those who follow me on Twitter will have seen the jacket potato saga unfold. On the fridge in our new flat we have a meal planner and the week of the Barcelona second leg I'd written "jacket potatoes" for tea that night and next to it "Champions League, need a miracle!". Of course, that miracle went on to happen and I had convinced myself it was because of the jacket potatoes.


I knew on Saturday I would have to have one so we made a pit stop and I tucked into mine about 3 in the afternoon. 

Next we popped over towards the docks and had one at the pumphouse, I like the beer garden here so it was nice to have another bevvie and enjoy the view. Eventually, we started heading towards Mulholland as we were allowed to enter from 6pm and I wanted to make sure we watched the build up etc. On the way we went to see the madness of Concert Square, there must have been thousands crammed in singing and chanting, just a brilliant sight. A bit further down the road, some lads were playing football in the street until one of them kicked it onto a shop roof... a chorus of boos followed. 

While trying to get to Mulholland we decided to go around Concert Square just to make it a bit easier and I'm glad we did because that's when we stumbled on Slater Street. I've been to Liverpool a hell of a lot over the years but for some reason I'd never been in this area, we stopped for some drinks on Slater Street at a bar that had a table right on its frontage, as the afternoon went on Slater Street got more and more full.


It was bloody brilliant here, the chants began of Si Senor, You'll Never Walk Alone and Virgil van Dijk. Flares were let off and the Don't Buy The Sun flag made an appearance. It was such a great atmosphere and I was chuffed we'd stumbled upon it. 

Then it was pretty much time to go to Mulholland. It was definitely a bit of a strange place to watch the football but there was a good atmosphere and we also got a free drink ticket which was a nice touch. I managed to get a good spot right in front of the big screen with a good portion of side space for drinks haha.

Earlier in the day, I'd purchased a Jurgen Klopp mask and I'm so glad I did because it went down a treat in the streets and in the pubs.

Kick off drew closer and closer and all I kept thinking was Liverpool thoroughly deserve to win this cup, after the season we'd had I just couldn't face losing to Spurs.

The big news team-wise was that Firmino started for us and Kane made the start for Spurs and before you know it, it was time for kick off.

I'd barely had chance to settle the nerves before Sadio Mane had won us a penalty with a handball from Sissoko. To be honest I thought this was quite a harsh decision but did I care? Not one bit.

I'd opted for my purple Liverpool shirt this year on purpose because it's the one I have with Salah on the back. Watching him go off in tears last year was heartbreaking and I wanted this final to be a special one for him, hopefully with a goal. As he stepped up for the penalty I knew he wouldn't miss and Mulholland went mental at the fact Liverpool were already 1-0 up after just two minutes. 

The early goal was massive for the Reds and most would have thought this would be a boost for Klopp's side to quickly find the net again but quite the opposite happened. Liverpool struggled to maintain possession against Spurs and the London side looked the more effective in the first half, the score remained 1-0 but I felt extremely nervous for almost the entirety of that match.

Substitutions for Liverpool meant Firmino was replaced with Origi and Wijnaldum replaced with Milner (Gomez also appeared very late on). 

I have to confess that right at the start of this season I genuinely forgot that Divock Origi was still a Liverpool player. He'd failed previously to really make a mark on the side but this season he's been an absolute revelation, the goal against Everton alone was enough to add him to the folklore but his inspired performance against Newcastle which could have proved vital and his two goals in the inspirational win against Barcelona have cemented the fact that Origi is a force to be reckoned with.

When he entered play on Saturday you just had the feeling he would have a say in this final and at 87 minutes he found the back of the net. A low and powerful shot was too much for Hugo Lloris and the goal had all but ended Spurs' dreams.


The final whistle blew and I screamed my head off in Mulholland, it just felt like a justification of this team and the manager's efforts during 2018/2019. I fear that a loss in this final could have been extremely damaging but the sheer delight on everyone's faces when Jordan Henderson lifted that trophy a few minutes later shows to me a team that is utterly unified. Why would you leave this side now? And why would you not want to come and be a part of this story?

A sixth European Cup for the club means Jurgen joins an elite list and whatever happens, he will be remembered forever. Simply superb.

Due to having a designated driver we had to head back home from Liverpool on the night but the walk from Mulholland to Lime Street Car Park was just brilliant. I wore my Klopp mask most of the way, holding up six digits and dishing out high fives. Singing ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ as hundreds of fans filtered out into the street.


I'm gutted I can't be there for the parade but I'm about to watch on TV. Just a world class day for me yesterday and may we have more of those to come!

I bloody love you Liverpool!!! #6Times 

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Monday, 1 April 2019

Anfield Goes Wild As Reds Beat Spurs In Dying Moments

Anybody else deafen their mom for Mother's Day yesterday?! Cause I certainly did. Own goal or not, it didn't matter, all that mattered was that Liverpool had somehow managed to collect another three points. 

It was a massive win for the Reds who needed to keep the pressure on Manchester City knowing the sky blues would be playing mid week. 

The first half for Liverpool started well, the lads kept a lot of possession and it was a great goal from Firmino to open up the scoring. The one thing missing? Fabinho. Many fans seemed confused as to why the Brazilian didn't start and I was one of them. When he did enter the game later on in the match he instantly showed why he should have started. 

Image via Evening Standard
In the second half Spurs very much came into their own Pochettino being allowed to speak to his team in the dressing room after having to try and instruct from the stands obviously took his chance to motivate his team. Spurs proved a real threat and managed to equalise on 70 minutes thanks to Lucas Moura. 

I was a nervous wreck at this point, that wasn't helped when Sissoko and Son made a break for Alisson's net. I shouldn't have panicked though because Virgil van Dijk had it covered. 

A phenomenal piece of defending from the Dutchman saw him expertly blockout Sissoko's pass option to Son and simultaneously force Son into a shot on his weaker foot. Just superb. 

With the minutes ticking down Liverpool we're now desperate to find a winner. It was clear at this stage the Reds wanted it more than Spurs and thankfully it paid off. 

A header back across goal from Mo Salah caused enough of a melee in the box. Lloris should have done better but fumbled his save and to make things worse Alderweireld turned the ball into his own net. 

Anfield went wild. Mo looked elated, van Dijk booted a ball out the stand, I was jumping round me Mom's living room screaming my head off. Absolutely mental. The relief after I'd calmed down?! Just crazy. 

Liverpool never do things the easy way and I've said it before, if we're gonna win this title there's gonna be moments like that. You need a bit of luck and thankfully things went our way on Sunday. 

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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.

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Sunday, 30 December 2018

Bobby Hat-Trick Brushes Arsenal Aside

Liverpool came back from a goal down to stun Unai Emery's Arsenal side in an emphatic 5-1 victory at Anfield. A hat-trick from Roberto Firmino was joined by goals from Sadio Mane and Mo Salah meaning the Reds remain unbeaten at the top of the table.

Arsenal's opening goal after just 11 minutes came as a bit of a surprise to onlooking Kopites who perhaps assumed it would be the Reds finding the back of the net first on their home turf. A good cross from Iwobi found the Gunners' youngster Maitland-Niles who ensured he converted to put his side ahead.

Image via Sky Sports
Some Arsenal fans in the pub went absolutely crazy for the goal, a risky tactic I thought as surely they didn't think that alone would stop Klopp's XI?

Firmino punished just three minutes later with his now signature "no look goal", it was Bobby himself who also started the attack, linking up with Mo Salah.

The Brazilian clearly wasn't content with just the one goal on Saturday evening though as he found the net again just two minutes later. With Arsenal defenders falling around him as he slalomed towards goal, it looked more like a bomb had gone off as Bobby finished his attack putting his side 2-1 up. A brilliant goal.

Liverpool were completely and utterly dominant in this game, Arsenal's defence was all over the shop and their main attacking presence in Aubameyang barley even touched the ball. Full credit to Arsenal for coming to attack at Anfield and not playing defensively as many teams do, Unai stuck to his tactics but unfortunately for the visitors, they played perfectly into Liverpool's hands.

Another goal for the Reds followed at 32 minutes, this time it was Sadio Mane. A long range ball from Andy Robertson found its way to an encroaching Mo Salah who with a perfectly placed first touch pass managed to find Mane. The number 10 still had a lot to do as the ball bounced but he converted with ease and the Reds were now 3-1 up.

Arsenal just looked lost and things went from bad to worse when Liverpool were awarded a penalty two minutes into extra time in the first half. Sokratis took two swipes at Salah and for me, it was definitely a peno. Mo scored the spot kick confidently to put Liverpool 4-1 up. A special note for the build-up to this penalty must go to Alisson who played a stunning pass directly to Firmino to set up the attack.

Being 4-1 up after the first half and knowing that Arsenal weren't going to get back into this game made the second half a boring one for the neutral but Liverpool would find a final goal to secure their solid win over their London visitors.

Another penalty, this one perhaps a bit soft for me after a bit of contact/pushing with Lovren. Roberto Firmino stepped up to the spot in order to try and seal his hat-trick and he did just that right in front of the adoring Kop.

A stunning game for Liverpool who were also aided earlier in the afternoon as Wolves got the better of Spurs. There's just something about this team this season, going down and still finding a way back, those sprinkles of luck against Chelsea and Everton (I still can't stop laughing about that match, good old Origi)... it just feels like everything has clicked into place. 

We're cooly and calmly going about our business and no matter what anybody is throwing at us, we're finding a way through. I for one am now starting to allow myself to get excited. Roll on Manchester City.

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Saturday, 22 December 2018

REPORT: Wolves 0 Liverpool 2

Top at Christmas, best present ever. Thankfully I did not have to deal with a festive period stuffed with jokes from my Wolves supporting fella, family and friends, I seriously do not think I would have coped. To be fair to Wolves though, they didn't do too badly at all but they just couldn't quite cope with Jurgen Klopp's side.

Wolves have taken points off Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea so far this season making it feasible that they might cause issues for the Reds. I put on a confident front but I genuinely did have concerns about this match and if Wolves had made the most of their own chances the result could have been very different.

Image via Express & Star
It was Liverpool though who opened the scoring with a lovely goal from Mo Salah. The Egyptian took the original free kick which found its way over to the right side of the pitch where Fabinho and Mane played a wonderful one-two. Fabinho then fizzed a ball into the box for the encroaching Salah who flicked the ball into the back of the net.

I was sat in All Bar One at this point having moved from my work's Christmas party sit down meal to the next venue of the night. Sat in the corner, several drinks down with my iPad propped up on the table, I cheered quite loudly to the bemusement of the rest of the pub haha. This game meant a lot though and there was no way I could miss this after I was supposed to be going to the match.

Wolves remained in the game after the Reds took the lead, chances from Traore and Saiss, in particular, stand out but they couldn't quite convert and half time probably came too soon for the Midlands side who were gaining a bit of a footing.

Klopp in his post-match interview noted how difficult Wolves are to break down and this was reflected in the time it took Liverpool to actually find their second goal. Virgil van Dijk is by most people's standards, the best defender in the Premier League right now, he's been an absolute revelation since joining Liverpool but who knew he could also finish like a forward?

A half-clearance from Wolves, who seemed to struggle with the second ball during the 90, was found by Mo Salah. Mo provided a lovely ball over the gold and black defence and it was Virgil who was waiting, his finish was one any striker would be envious of.

Another string to our defender's bow and things just keep getting better for the Dutchman, which is why it is going to be so difficult facing Bayern Munich in the Champions League first leg without him.

I have to confess, my ability to follow this match was limited due to the amount of ciders I'd downed at the work's Christmas do but in summary, I think Liverpool dealt extremely well against a tough opposition who could have changed the game in a flash had a bit of luck gone their way. Importantly for the Reds though, this is yet another example of how Klopp's side can now grind out difficult results, Wolves away was never as straightforward as some would have you believe and for a variety of reasons, it's a massive, massive win for me.

Have a top Christmas folks, it's the Reds at the top of the tree!!!

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

REPORT: Liverpool 1 Napoli 0

Well, we needed a 1-0 win and that's exactly what we got. At times it looked as though the Reds would never find the net and even when we did the aim remained the same for Napoli which made for an extremely nervy final quarter of the game. 

Forced into starting Joel Matip after the injury to Joe Gomez, Jurgen Klopp must have been hoping for a now-famous solid defensive performance from Liverpool but that was nearly hindered when Virgil van Dijk was shown a yellow early on. 

His tackle was perfectly timed, he won the ball and the ref wasn't even interested in the situation initially but somehow we ended up with our star defender on a yellow and missing the next match. It was a ridiculous decision. 

Image via standard.co.uk

For me, I was a bit concerned because any defender on a yellow is going to play more cautiously and we needed Virgil to be able to step in if required. I shouldn't have worried though, he remained cool, calm and collected at all times and helped see his team over the line. 

Liverpool's goal appeared just after the half-hour mark. Mo Salah with a strong run into the box slotted home from an angle leaving Anfield stunned. The Egyptian is there when Kopites need him most. Also, I don't know many forwards there that stay on their feet after that tug, how many strikers do you see risking it and going down to chance the decision. Great work by Mo. 

With 60 odd minutes still to go and some tactical changes from Ancelotti to contend with Liverpool had their work cut out. We had a few chances of our own but we just weren't clinical and in the meantime, the Italians were building in confidence. 

Their chance to break hearts under the Anfield floodlights came deep into stoppage time when Alisson made an absolute worldie save against close range Milik. What an absolute Brazilian god. 

Jurgen Klopp summed it up perfectly for me: "If I knew Alisson was this good I would have paid double." 

And so, the Reds are through to the last 16. Nobody in that hat will want Liverpool, I've always said over two legs in knockout football the Reds can have anyone. 

Roll on the draw next week! 

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

REPORT: Reds Put 4 Past Red Star

Despite injuries creating an issue for Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool won confidently on Wednesday night with a slightly altered XI captained by Virgil van Dijk. 

Image via The Independent
The Reds took a while to build into the game but got off the mark at 20 minutes thanks to a lovely strike from Bobby Firmino. The forward was set up by the brilliant Andy Robertson. 

Salah found Liverpool a second right on the stroke of half-time and it was great to see him find the net again after scoring against Huddersfield. Some consistency for Mo will do wonders for his confidence and continued goal scoring. 

A few minutes into the second half Sadio Mane won a penalty. Some would argue it was a soft one but he was impeded in continuing his run for the ball so for me, it was a fair decision. Mo Salah stepped up to convert the spot kick making it his 50th goal in 65 games for Liverpool, absolutely phenomenal. 

Red Star didn't trouble Alisson at all and while a side like Liverpool should always be beating this calibre of opposition I did expect a little bit more from the Serbian side. 

At 80 minutes Mane made up for watching Liverpool's second spot-kick of the night be saved. A shot into the bottom corner was enough to seal the 4-0 victory for the Reds. Job done. 

Players who I think deserve a mention away from the goal scorers include the tenacious Shaqiri who I think definitely deserves more game time and also Fabinho. 

For the first ten minutes or so and after a very risky tackle that could have seen him receive a yellow, I was a little bit concerned but Fabinho settled into the game very well and I thought, on the whole, was quite impressive. You have to take into account that this was perhaps an easier game for a midfielder but I can't wait to see him feature more in the starting XI.

Next up for the Reds is Cardiff. 

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

PREVIEW: Huddersfield V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip to Huddersfield this weekend as the Reds look to pick up where they left off prior to the international break. A draw with City for many at the time felt like quite a frustrating result for the Reds but having had time to ponder, in the grand scheme of things, if Klopp's side can get back in the saddle this weekend, things are looking rather rosy.

Image via Sky Sports
Huddersfield are struggling to say the least and so far this season they have yet to find the back of the net at home. The Terriers currently sit 18th in the table on just three points. By contrast, the Reds are in third only due to goal difference, joint on points with both Chelsea and Manchester City.

Injuries for Liverpool took a bad turn during the international break as news of knocks and even broken bones began to filter through. A suspected broken thumb for Sadio Mane has seen him undergo hand surgery, Naby Keita left the field with an injury in the Guinea v Rwanda match and Mo Salah also went off injured after scoring from a corner for Egypt.

The latest news I've found online is that all three players may actually remain available for selection against Huddersfield. As I write this brief post on Wednesday evening, I would personally be very surprised if all three of them appeared against Huddersfield and part of me would be reluctant to risk it, to be honest.

With players like Daniel Sturridge at your disposal, this is a match I feel would suit him well. Shaqiri could also offer an interesting option if Klopp is looking to be more cautious with some of his star players returning from international duty.

The last time the two sides met was in January this year, goals from Can, Firmino and a Salah penalty saw Liverpool win the match 3-0. The Reds also won the reverse fixture at Anfield in October 2017 3-0, this time with goals from Sturridge, Firmino and WIjnaldum.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Man City At Anfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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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.

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Saturday, 25 August 2018

3 Games, 3 Clean Sheets, 3 Wins: Five Things We Learned


1) We can win ugly

For me, the main thing we should take away from today's victory over Brighton is the fact that Liverpool are now a team that can "win ugly". It's a phrase that's been thrown around regularly for teams such as Manchester United or Chelsea, teams who are always in the mix at the top of the table and seem to have that annoying ability to see out a result despite playing terribly.

I wouldn't go as far to say Liverpool were terrible on Saturday, far from it, but the Reds were definitely below par. For me though, instead of being a negative, this is actually extremely encouraging. Similar to the Palace result, the Reds were able to hold on to a slim lead and convert it into an all-important three points. 

Brighton were always going to be a difficult side to play against because the Reds have always struggled under Klopp against organised teams. This season however, Klopp seems to have found the key to unlock the points in these tight situations and I for one take that as a massive, massive positive.

2) Salah's slow start?

Some on social media, would you believe it, have been suggesting that Salah is having a slow start or that he doesn't quite look himself. I think some people are just getting very nervous that he won't be able to live up to the previous season but people need to calm the hell down.

Salah netted again today and while some of his shots and passes were slightly questionable, on the whole, he has already had a huge impact on the first three games of the season. Let's not forget that he also started slowly in his first season. I'm not worried.

3) Alisson has the skills

Alisson made a sublime save late on to ensure the Reds secured all three points. As mentioned in a previous post one of my key phrases this season is "strikers win you matches, goalkeepers win you titles" and I truly hope that the introduction of Alisson can help us meet that mantra.

Embed from Getty Images

However, he does seem to like to take on outfield players haha! Both sides of this were displayed against Brighton, on the one hand, the piece of skill chipping the ball to remove the danger from the striker outside his box was mesmerising but on the other hand, coming out to tackle a player outside of the box with your feet and completely missing? Not so great haha.

It reminds me a bit of Pepe Reina, I still laugh my head off now whenever I see the infamous Robben clip. Importantly though, this kind of behaviour from a goalkeeper only happens if the shot-stopper is confident and Alisson simply oozes confidence. I just think he may need to tone down his out of the box antics.

4) Clean sheets are no longer a pipe dream

On the back of another solid defensive performance and thanks to a great save, Liverpool have yet another clean sheet, their third of the season. Clean sheets used to be something Kopites could only dream of, we'd still win a lot of matches but we'd win by scoring more. A lot of 2-1s or 3-2s etc and that's fine but again, if you want to be serious about contending for a title, clean sheets can make all the difference.

The partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez worked brilliantly again today against Brighton.

5) Gerrard's influence remains?

Steven Gerrard may currently be managing Rangers but his influence and style can still be seen around Anfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold made me double take this afternoon when the youngster performed a pin perfect long range pass diagonally across the field.

It was stunning, very Gerrard-esque. He was also unlucky with a free-kick earlier in the game as it smashed off the bar. 

I'm sure Steven would be proud.

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