The Liver Bird  

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, 3 March 2018

Rafa Benitez: Away Days

Rafa Benitez brings his Newcastle side to Anfield on Saturday evening and instead of doing a standard, short match preview I thought I'd take this opportunity to look back at just a few of Rafa's memorable away days as Liverpool manager.

Here's hoping he doesn't get another iconic win this weekend though...


Image via Liverpool Echo
Barcelona - 21st February 2007
Result: 1-2 
Scorers: Bellamy and Riise


Image via The Redmen TV
It's February 2007, Liverpool are once again storming it in the Champions League under Rafael Benitez and the Reds have drawn Barcelona in the last 16. 

In the run-up to their visit to the Nou Camp Liverpool had seen a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby and lost at the hands of Newcastle. Tactical magician Benitez though wasn't going to let this poor form ruin his chances of being one of the very few managers to walk away victorious from Barcelona's precious ground. 

On the night, Barca actually took the lead thanks to a goal from Deco but Benitez's side remained focused and Craig Bellamy found the back of the net a couple of minutes before half time. Celebrating with his famous golf club celebration as a joke to the press who claimed he had fallen out with Riise, nobody could have predicted it would be the Norweigan who would find the winner.

Riise always had a cracking shot on him and he made sure he was on target for this memorable fixture, securing Liverpool a massive away win with just 15 minutes of the match left.

Some question how much a manager really has to do with results such as this but I am never in doubt when it comes to Benitez. He was monumental in these games.

Real Madrid - 25th February 2009
Result 0-1 
Scorer: Benayoun


Image via Liverpool Echo
Fast forward two years and Liverpool are at it in the Champions League again. Back in Benitez's native Spain, this time the Reds were at the Bernabeu. Throughout his Liverpool years, Benitez was often faced with an interesting selection of players to put it politely, some of these players may not have been the best but one thing you could guarantee is that Benitez would bring out their true quality.

Kuyt is one that always stands out to me, utterly transformed and completely relentless under Benitez, Kuyt would never ever give up and he was instrumental in a lot of Rafa's away wins. Another name on that list I would say to a lesser extent was Yossi Benayoun. No world beater, I'm sure he would admit himself, but Benitez knew how to field him and how to help him produce goals.

I still never thought I would see the day Yossi would score against Madrid though. 

On top of Benayoun finding the winner, Benitez must once again be praised on this away day for his solid defence. It was no coincidence the Reds kept a clean sheet.

Manchester United - 14th March 2009
Result 1-4 
Scorers: Torres, Gerrard (peno), Aurelio, Dossena


Image via Independent
Last, but most definitely not least, that infamous day at Old Trafford. On the 14th March 2009 having beaten Real Madrid at Anfield 4-0 just a few days prior, the Reds and Rafael Benitez went on an absolute rampage.

Since I was a little kid I've always built myself up for the United games, as a Liverpool supporter not hailing from the city it's usually the one that gears me up the most. Prior to kick off you could just sense that something was going to swing in Liverpool's favour, it's not often the Reds notch up a win at Old Trafford, let alone a battering and in part, the victory was down to that man Benitez again.

In the warm up the Reds had lost Xabi Alonso to a calf injury, some would argue no big deal but Xabi was a massive influence on the Liverpool side and added significant balance. Rafa remained calm and instructed his side perfectly against an extremely lacklustre United. 

Still to this day that is one of my favourite Liverpool matches.

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There were so many away games I could have discussed but I'd be hard-pressed to replace these as a top three. What was your favourite Benitez away day?

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Rafa's Return Ends In A Draw for Reds

As always it was fantastic to see Rafa Benitez back at Anfield on Saturday afternoon but I just knew he would find a way to get the better of Klopp's side. I predicted a score draw and wasn't surprised at all to see our two nil lead disappear.

Image via skysports.com

Mamadou Sakho

It's hard to discuss this game without first discussing the news regarding Mamadou Sakho and a failed drugs test. I do not of course have full details with regards to the failure but from what I have read he's been taking illegal fat burners.

I can't condone that sort of decision from any footballer to be honest and I'm very disappointed to hear that Sakho has apparently been taking something that he should not have been taking. I'm diasppointed because I didn't think he or his fitness team would get involved with something like this but also disappointed because he's really been impressing me of late and it's such a shame that he's squandered a blossoming partnership with Dejan Lovren.

I suppose we will just have to wait and see what happens but I can't say I'm happy with the whole situation.

Lallana hit and miss?

Lallana scored a lovely goal on Saturday on the half hour mark to take Liverpool's lead to 2-0 on top of Sturridge's early goal. Lallana is a bit of a frustrating player for me though, he'll have matches like Saturday where he stamps his mark on the game, causing havoc for the defence and scoring a wonderful goal in the process but then the following game he can go completely missing.

I'm no tactical expert but I think the lack of consistency in an attacking formations is detrimental for somebody like Adam Lallana. It will be interesting to see whether he is embedded in Klopp's future plans once the transfer window comes around.

Mignolet mistake

What on earth was Mignolet doing for their first goal? The cross to Cisse seemed to take an age to enter the box which would surely mean Migs had enough time to assess the situation but it was easy as pie for Cisse who headed home Newcastle's first.

Conceding like that threw Liverpool off  course I think, Rafa's side only needed a glimmer of a chance and Mignolet gifted it to them. The confidence boost from there on out was enough and the equaliser from Colback ensured Newcastle walked away with a point.

Rafa Benitez

There aren't many managers in the world who would have their name sang by both the opposition and home fans, it was just brilliant to see.

Benitez was quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying: "It's very emotional. The fans, the city, the club - I have a very good relationship with Liverpool obviously. My family still live here. It was emotional because the Liverpool fans were singing my name and afterwards the Newcastle fans were singing my name so really pleased to have this reaction and really pleased to get a point against a very good team."

Next up for Liverpool is a massive tie against Villarreal.

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Friday, 22 April 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Newcastle

Rafa returns to Anfield on Saturday as the Reds welcome his Newcastle side to L4. It will be fantastic to see Rafa back on the touchline and as much as I hope he manages to keep Newcastle up, winning comes first and Jurgen Klopp needs to steer his side to another victory and continue a fantastic run of form.

Image via mirror.co.uk

Injuries

Divock Origi is unavailable for Liverpool after suffering ligament damage in the Merseyside derby however he may get the chance to feature again before the end of the season according to manager Jurgen Klopp. Also out are Christian Benteke and Jordan Henderson.

For Newcastle, Coloccini is still recovering from a groin problem and Daryl Janmaat is also out with a similar injury.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in December last year, Newcastle won 2-0 partly thanks to a Martin Skrtel own goal. The last match between the two sides at Anfield was also a 2-0 scoreline, this time the Reds were the winning team with goals from Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen.

To find a win for Newcastle at Anfield we have to go all the way back to 1995.

Form

Liverpool have won their last three games in the league scoring ten goals in the process. At present, the Reds are 7th in the table on 54 points with a game in hand. Newcastle find themselves 19th at the moment two points away from safety. Their draw with Man City during the week and a recent win over Swansea has given Rafa's team a real boost.

Stat Sandwich


  • Daniel Sturridge has now scored 50 goals in 87 appearances for Liverpool.
  • Newcastle haven't picked up a point away from home so far in 2016.
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their last five games in the league at Anfield.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sterling And Allen Score In Newcastle Win

image via guardian.com

Liverpool picked up all three points at Anfield on Monday evening as goals from Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen gave the Reds their win. As the tabloids concern themselves with the extremely dangerous consequences of youngsters and helium balloons, Brendan Rodgers will surely be pleased with his side’s result as he aims to chase down Manchester City.

The game began with a poignant minutes silence to mark 26 years since the Hillsborough disaster. The minute was impeccably observed by both fans and the fight continues for justice for the 96.

The game got off to a very good start for Liverpool who quickly opened the scoring at Anfield in just eight minutes. A sublime finish from Raheem Sterling left Krul with no chance after he weaved his way into the box brushing defenders aside with ease. A goal was just what Sterling needed I think as no matter what is happening with his contract at the end of the day he’s just been a bit daft, he’s a young talented footballer and doesn’t need his own fans getting on his back, certainly not while he’s still at the club!

Scoring so early in the game, it looked as though Liverpool had got this one all wrapped up however things quickly began to slip for the Reds. Despite bags of chances and a lot of pressure on the Newcastle net, without an out and out striker Liverpool were struggling to convert. As the likes of Coutinho and Sterling continued to fall short of the end product Newcastle began to grow in confidence. Simon Mignolet was called into action on a couple of occasions but the scoreline didn’t change at the end of the first half.

The second half saw the Magpies continue their positive pressure, attempts from Obertan and Abeid early on ensured Liverpool had to remain alert.

Just before the hour mark Brendan Rodgers opted to bring on Fabio Borini. Now as we know, I’m all for playing a striker but to be honest I couldn’t understand why he didn’t just chuck on Rickie Lambert instead here. Luckily, it didn’t matter who Rodgers brought on because eventually Liverpool got their act together and found themselves a second goal.

Not before another humbling moment at Anfield though as Newcastle made a substitution bringing on Gutierrez for Obertan. After battling cancer and returning to football Gutierrez received a standing ovation from all in the ground and it was fantastic to see.

A few minutes after the substitution and Liverpool had scored their second goal of the game courtesy of Joe Allen. A shot from the centre of the box allowed the midfielder to celebrate with his teammates but this goal was definitely a big one. It felt like it was only a matter of time before Newcastle would equalise and dash any glimmer of hope left at grasping 4th.

The final real moment of note in the game was a horrific challenge by Sissoko on Lucas. Already booked for playing handbags with Glen Johnson, Sissoko went in with a rash challenge, studs up and straight into Lucas’ shin. It was bloody horrible. How he wasn’t given a straight red instead of a second yellow I don’t know but the main thing is, Lucas is ok.

It was an important win for the Reds who have to stay positive as you simply don’t know what will happen at the end of the season. Manchester City are capable of slipping but the Reds need to be on top form themselves.

Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of Aston Villa at Wembley in the FA Cup semi final!

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Newcastle

image:liverpoolecho.co.uk
Liverpool welcome Newcastle to Anfield on Monday evening as they aim to get back to winning ways in the league after suffering defeat at the hands of both Arsenal and Manchester United recently. The Reds finally got the better of Blackburn to seal their place in the FA Cup semi final but can they collect a vital three points in the league before they head to Wembley at the weekend?

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Mamadou Sakho who is out for the foreseeable future. Mario Balotelli is also suspected to be unavailable as he is out at present with an illness. Finally Adam Lallana will be missing as he nurses a groin injury. Positively for the Reds, Jordan Ibe is back and should be available to start.

For Newcastle, manager John Carver has several injury woes to deal with as the likes of Alnwick, Haidara and Tiote are all out long term. The boss is also unable to call upon De Jong who is recovering from a collapsed lung.

Liverpool currently find themselves 6th in the league having won four out of their last six games. The Reds are two points behind Southampton in 5th prior to kick off and will be hoping for a favourable result in the Manchester derby. However, if either side wins there’s only a points difference in what the Reds need to make up to break back into the top four, so no, I do not want Manchester United to win.

Newcastle are currently 13th in the league having lost five out of their last six league games. The Magpies have been struggling of late and with a temporary manager, appear to be struggling to find the form they maintained at the start of the season.

The last time the two sides met was in November last year when Perez grabbed a winner for Newcastle in the 73rd minute. Newcastle’s last trip to Anfield was one to forget as despite receiving an own goal courtesy of Martin Skrtel they had two men sent off and lost the game 2-1. Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge were on the score sheet that day.

Stat Sandwich
Jordan Henderson has scored four goals in his last five league appearances.
Newcastle have only scored four times in their last eight league games.
The Reds are unbeaten in their last 19 home matches against Newcastle in the league.

On paper this should be an easy victory for the Reds who will cling on to a lingering hope of finishing in the top four. However, the Reds have not played very well at all in their last three games in all comps, a bit of magic from Coutinho was all that saved our FA Cup dream while we faltered against United and crumbled under Arsenal.

The return of Emre Can will go some way to shoring up the defence but the Reds are still struggling somewhat to really stamp their presence in attack. Despite this the Reds probably will be fine, as we have done in several matches this season we will struggle to find an end product in the box and instead score a worldy. It just frustrates me that we don’t threaten with our strikers and in fact it worries me that such a reliance is placed on a lone Daniel Sturridge who is, as we know, injury prone.

I shall be placing a bet but I’m not sure what on yet so follow me on Twitter to get the deets - @LFCKirstyLFC.

In the meantime I hope you liked the preview and as always, enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Uninspired Liverpool Lose At Newcastle


Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Newcastle side on Saturday as Alan Pardew's team got the better of a poor tactical display from Brendan Rodgers. A single goal from Perez was enough to seal the points for the Magpies whilst Liverpool never seriously looked like scoring.

A slow start from Liverpool but with the small positive of good bouts of position meant Newcastle were quickly able to grow into the game at St James' Park. Obertan particularly was causing issues to start with, his pace down the wing was too much to handle for the Liverpool defence and the decision to start three at the back from Rodgers was immediately called into question.

Obertan shortly afterwards suffered what looked like a bad injury to his quad muscle and had to be replaced, this gave Liverpool some respite but the Reds would still struggle throughout the game.

A corner early on in the game left Liverpool holding their breath after the ball fell to Papiss Cisse whose shot was cleared off the line by Glen Johnson. The Reds defensive frailties were clearly on show again and coupled with the lack of ideas in attack it was only going to be a matter of time before Newcastle found the back of the net.

Liverpool's best chance of the first half came to Martin Skrtel who after a set piece made some great movement but unfortunately sent his header off target. I said before kick off to my fella and mates who I was watching the game with in Liverpool that because Brendan had once again chosen to field Balotelli on his own (it's no secret I think this is pointless) we wouldn't find the back of the net the entire first half. He'd then make a sub around about 60 and we'd probably have a better chance. Whilst the first half of my prediction was correct we didn't necessarily "improve" when Rodgers' decided to go for a 4-4-2.

The first point of note in the second half came after a studs up challenge from Sissoko on Joe Allen, it was a bad tackle from the Newcastle player who was perhaps lucky to escape a red. It was nothing on the later challenge from Janmaat on Balotelli though, he absolutely hacked the Italian to the ground and once again collected just a booking.

Balotelli's best chance of the game came when he stepped up for a free kick. It wasn't a bad effort at all really but Tim Krul always had it covered. Balotelli was once again wasted for the majority of this game because he had no support. It wouldn't be so bad if he was alone up top and was receiving balls from the likes of Sterling and Coutinho but nothing came through.

Newcastle had to wait until just after the 70 minute mark to score their first and only goal of the game. Some good build up play from Sissoko and Dummet eventually led Sissoko into the box, his pass to Perez left the Spaniard with one option only when Moreno showed him too much of the ball he easily converted for the home side.

Alberto Moreno is a player that I really like but it is still evident that he has not adjusted to the fast pace of the English game. He seems to think he has a lot more time to play the ball than he actually has, the sooner he overcomes this weakness, the better.

Moreno was caught off guard again later in the second half after he was beaten high up field following a Liverpool corner that went AWOL. Thankfully the break involving Cabella who took the final shot was stopped by Simon Mignolet's outstretched leg.

Another attempt soon followed from Sissoko but the angle again allowed Mignolet to prevent Liverpool from conceding again.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Overall it was a very poor performance from Liverpool, not helped by the tactical set up selected by the manager. By no means do we have all the answers, even when a more appropriate set up is selected, we still have a lot of issues but I just don't understand why Brendan is choosing to experiment at this point in time. If anything we need to play to our strengths and hold steady until the return of Daniel Sturridge who will hopefully get back to his scoring ways and then allow Brendan the freedom to mix up the line up.

It seriously frustrates me seeing the team sheet with Balotelli alone up front. Once again I'm not saying he's guaranteed to score in a 4-4-2 but it would bloody well help! Borini is more than capable of supporting Balo and I feel that is what we should field up front currently.

With Real Madrid up next followed by Chelsea at the weekend it is looking like a very difficult period for the Reds.

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Win Over Newcaslte Sees Reds Finish Second


I travelled up to Liverpool on Sunday so that I could watch the final game of a brilliant season surrounded by Liverpool fans as opposed to my cat and me Ma and Pa. With a faint glimmer of title lifting dreams still alive, I knew that whatever happened I'd have a brilliant day in one of my favourite places and after the Reds topped off the season eventually with a win over Newcastle, all in all it was a cracking end.

Brendan Rodgers had made two changes to his starting line up for this game bringing in both Daniel Agger and Jordan Henderson. They replaced Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho.

It was an average start for Liverpool who had spent most of the season blowing teams away at Anfield, this time however there was a lot more patience as the Reds aimed to find a goal to hopefully put some pressure on Manchester City.

Early in the first half the Reds found themselves with an opportunity when Suarez was taken down on the right wing. Suarez being the clever sod that he is decided to take the free kick immediately, chipping the ball all the way over the defence, over Tim Krul and into the back of the net. As celebrations began referee Phil Dowd soon put an end to them though claiming it was a moving ball.

It was cheeky of Suarez but you've seen things like that given before and so it was definitely worth a try and it would have been a brilliant goal had it of stood.

Shortly after the disallowed goal, things got worse for Liverpool. A break from Newcastle saw Gouffran put a cross into the box, it looked like a relatively simple cross to deal with as there was no real danger but a slice from Martin Skrtel sent the ball into the back of the net leaving Mignolet with no chance.

This, quite clearly was not the plan of action. With the City game still 0-0 at this point too, it was a frustrating moment for Liverpool fans who at least wanted to end the season with a win no matter what happened in the City game.

With Newcastle still causing problems it was Gouffran again shortly after the goal who forced Mignolet to save after a one on one with the keeper. Mignolet had kept Liverpool in the game with their now even slimmer title hopes still somewhat alight.

Just before the half hour mark Liverpool had a great chance when Jordan Henderson whipped in a cross. Meeting the head of Daniel Sturridge you felt sure he would hit the target but he unfortunately turned his header wide.

Even worse for Liverpool was the news filtering through that Manchester City had scored. I think Liverpool's best hope on Sunday was for West Ham to hold on to a 0-0 for as long as possible and with City scoring at a great time just before the whistle, this was probably the moment where I genuinely stopped dreaming of a miracle. Instead I focused on celebrating the end of the season and willing Liverpool to do it in style.

Liverpool began the second half by replacing Jon Flanagan with Aly Cissokho. Ten minutes in and Coutinho was also brought on replacing Joe Allen.

Still featuring in a rather dull game Liverpool really needed to find another goal to lift both themselves and the crowd. Just after the hour mark they got their chance when Sterling was brought down just outside the box.

Captain Steven Gerrard stepped up for this one and his resulting effort made its way to Daniel Agger who acrobatically stuck out a leg and turned home Liverpool's equaliser.

Two minutes later and in an almost identical position, Liverpool gained another free kick. Once again Steven Gerrard stepped up to take it and whipped in another brilliant ball. This time it was Daniel Sturridge who got on the end of it as he tapped home Liverpool's winner.

After the goal Newcastle's Shola Ameobi was shown a yellow card but he then gained himself a second booking as the magpies prepared to restart the game. Phil Dowd appeared to have booked him for dissent and he was daft enough to do it again. This left Newcastle with ten men in a game they were now losing.

At 86 minutes Newcastle shockingly received another red card. Paul Dummett who had only been on the pitch for five minutes was shown a straight red card after a challenge on Luis Suarez. I missed this incident live as I was jostling to try and find my cider, the bloody pub was rammed! However after watching the incident again on MOTD, I have no idea why he was shown a straight red. It was extremely harsh, it was a free kick alone in my opinion.

With Liverpool's job made easier now facing a nine man Newcastle, there were no further goals for the Reds. However they had done their part, they had won, unfortunately Manchester City had also won.

As the game went on, for me this was when I really began to look back on what a fantastic season Liverpool have had. Yes, we have nobody to blame but ourselves for letting this slip and I only wish things could have been different but finishing second is a brilliant result for Liverpool.

With the money spent by teams around us it is frankly superb what Brendan has done this season. As many have said and as I have said about fifty times - If you've of told me at the start of the season that we'd finish second I'd of laughed in your face.

I asked you to try and sum up your thoughts on the season and here are a few of the tweets I received.


As always folks, thanks for reading/clicking and following me through a rollercoaster of a season here on The Liver Bird. Here's hoping we're back bigger and better next season and best of all, we're back in the Champions League!!!

As most of you will know I'm currently at University but in September I start a year's placement in my sandwich year, so I'm basically in full time work whilst also holding down my second job as a betting cashier, for this reason I have no idea yet how this will impact on the blog. I fully aim to continue doing this and I will try my best to keep updates regular but there's a high chance some posts will be late or uploaded at strange times so please bear with me!

Keep an eye on The Liver Bird too in the next couple of weeks as a round up of the season will appear complete with news highlights. It's usually a fun post and even more so this year after such a fantastic season.

Thanks again folks and enjoy your summer!!!

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Saturday, 10 May 2014

We've Taken It To The Wire


Whilst it's highly unlikely Manchester City will slip to defeat at the hands of West Ham United on Sunday it's frankly miraculous that Liverpool have managed to put themselves in a position where they are still in with a shot at the title on the final day. If you'd of asked any Liverpool fan at the start of the season what they were expecting, nobody would have said this.

I personally predicted we'd finish 5th and at best maybe push for 4th. Yet here we are, second in the league and still grasping on to a glimmer of hope as we head into the final game of the season against Newcastle United. Yes it's our own fault that we aren't in a better position but when you really stand back and take a look at the season, Liverpool have been phenomenal. To finish second to one of the richest teams in the world would just about be ok.

There are no new injury worries for Liverpool but Brendan Rodgers will surely be pleased that he can call upon Jordan Henderson again who has finished his three match ban. Newcastle have a few problems and Alan Pardew will be unable to utilise Papiss Cisse and Davide Santon for the final game of the season.

Newcastle are currently sitting 9th in the league and will end the season there no matter what the result on Sunday. With five losses out of their last six in the league, you have to feel Liverpool will get the better of them at Anfield and possibly score a fair few goals along the way.

Liverpool are of course lying in second. Dropping form at a most crucial stage of the season and whilst a lot of fans knew Chelsea and Palace would be hard games I don't think anyone will make excuses for the lads conceding those three goals against Tony Pulis' side, it was suicidal.

However, there is no point whatsoever dwelling on that now, it'll get us nowhere, I'm very much a positive person and whilst it is still mathematically possible I believe we all have a duty to go absolutely mental and back the lads until there is zero chance left.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Gerrard and Sturridge on the score sheet for Liverpool. Newcastle's last trip to Anfield went pretty well for the magpies as they collected a 1-1 draw. Newcastle have not won at Anfield though since 1995 in a league cup match.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool are five goals away from breaking Chelsea's record Premier League tally of 103.
  • Newcastle have only won one of their last seven away games in the league.
  • Sturridge and Suarez are five goals away from breaking Cole and Beardsley's Newcastle record partnership of 55 goals.
I asked you all to name your favourite moment of the season this week instead of asking for score predictions as I thought it would be a nice move for the last match preview of the season. Unsurprisingly Coutinho's goal against Manchester City was a favourite.


Thank you for your tweets, I love reading them even if they don't get featured though I must admit, most of them this week were just - COUTINHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I'm off to watch the match in a bar in Liverpool tomorrow, I love being up there and so whatever happens I'm bound to have a top day.

Wherever you are watching, enjoy the match folks! 

One last time, we go again.

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Reds Fail To Overcome 10 Man Magpies


Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw at St James' Park on Saturday as the Reds came from behind twice but failed to make the most of their one man advantage. Goals from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge kept Liverpool's hopes alive but Newcastle played well and retained their point by the final whistle.

Brendan Rodgers reintroduced Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho who were both back from injury. Joe Allen however had to settle for a place on the bench. There was also no Agger and no Enrique for this match, the latter of whom wasn't even on the bench.

The first portion of the game was relatively level pegging at St James' Park, both sides were creating chances and both sides saw efforts go wide or saved. Most fixtures between these two sides tend to have an exciting element and judging by the way this one began it was clear there was going to be goals and talking points.

The majority of pre match chat consisted of fans assuming Newcastle would find the back of the net in this game but I think I'm right in saying that most Liverpool fans didn't expect to see Newcastle to get off the mark first.

The Magpies goal in fairness was a great one and I don't feel we can complain too much about conceding in that manner. Yohan Cabaye took a chance with a right footed shot from outside the area and the ball flew all the way into the back of the net past Simon Mignolet.

With the Reds now on the back foot it was important that Liverpool worked to find a goal before half time, they couldn't afford to allow Newcastle to settle in here and thankfully they didn't. It was clear the international break had a detrimental effect on Brendan Rodgers' side, the link up play between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez was definitely there but the extra games appeared to have taken their toll slightly.

At just before the 40 minute mark Steven Gerrard who did so well for his country in the week had his chance to step up for a penalty and mark 100 goals in the league. The penalty was awarded to Liverpool after Luis Suarez was clearly taken down in the box, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was shown the red card after being the last man and I really don't think Newcastle fans have too much to complain about there.

Steven Gerrard very rarely misses from the spot and with a powerful strike he sent his penalty to Krul's right and secured the Reds an equaliser.

Liverpool had scored at just the right moment and with 10 men on the pitch now for Newcaslte, the second half for the visitors should have technically been easier, however it wasn't as simple as that.

Just 10 minutes into the second half and Liverpool had conceded again. Unlike the first goal that was a flash of brilliance, this time Liverpool were very much to blame. It appears that no matter how hard we try at the moment we just can't deal with set pieces effectively. Paul Dummet eventually found the back of the net for his side but Liverpool's defensive layout was a bit of a shambles to say the least and Brendan Rodger's side should have done a lot better.

Now 2-1 down and finding themselves with a mountain to climb once again Liverpool could at least cling on to the fact that Newcastle still only had 10 men. Just after the hour mark Liverpool made a substitution bringing on Luis Alberto in place of Sakho. The passing from Alberto definitely aided Liverpool and the Reds did look as though they were going to find an equaliser with this slight tactical change.

At 70 minutes Liverpool found their chance, some lovely link up play between Suarez and Sturridge saw the Uruguayan play a perfect ball across goal that was met by the head of Daniel. Sturridge is now on 9 goals and in immense form, there was no dancing celebration yesterday though as he picked up the ball and encouraged his side to quickly restart play.

Liverpool of course knew they would be missing a real chance here if they were to only take away a point instead of three. The thing was though you found yourself being unable to complain too much because the Reds had come from behind twice but again, you found yourself then thinking "but they've only got 10 men..."

It was a strange situation because Liverpool didn't actually play that bad. A late chance from Luis Suarez that crashed off the bar and a final free kick that wasn't quite good enough meant Liverpool were left to accept the sole point. One thing I also had to note was that the Reds showed great fight to come back into that game twice and I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but I really don't think we'd have seen that kind of response in a game like that last season.

The Reds were momentarily top of the league on Saturday but quickly found themselves down in 3rd after Chelsea and Arsenal both won. It's certainly not the end of the world for Liverpool but we really need to capitalise fully on games like yesterday's because there will come a point where we've lost contact and if we're really serious about getting this top four place then we need to focus and grind out those three points.

However on the whole I don't feel too disappointed, yesterday wasn't good enough, we know this but thankfully we've done well enough so far this season to allow for a few mistakes at this early stage. With West Brom at home next Liverpool seriously need the three points there because a very tasty and perhaps very meaningful tie against Arsenal is the next game after that.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are just a few of the ones I received, once again thanks for getting in touch and stay tuned on @_TheLiverBird timeline so you can send in your score predictions next week!

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Friday, 18 October 2013

Reds Face Magpies With Fitness Boost

Well, that's another international break out of the way and England's progress to Rio was of course sealed by none other than Steven Gerrard but our captain has more important things to worry about now as he looks to net his 100th league goal in Liverpool's trip to Newcastle this weekend.
I think we've really missed Glen, you don't know what you've got until it's gone in my opinion!
Image: telegraph.co.uk
The one advantage of the international break for Brendan Rodgers has been that enough time has passed for three of his injured players to make a possible return. Glen Johnson, Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen are all fit according to the boss and Lucas Leiva is also back from a ban. Still out for Liverpool though are Coutinho and Coates, Iago Aspas is also suspected to be unavailable after picking up a knock.

For Newcastle they are without their captain Fabricio Coloccini who is out with a muscle problem. They are also missing Steven Taylor and Gutierrez, the latter of whom will miss the game due to a personal situation.

The last time the two sides met was near the end of last season. The game at St James' Park was a nightmare for the Magpies who failed to find the back of the net, had a man sent off and conceded six goals. On the score sheet that day was Daniel Agger, Fabio Borini and both Sturridge and Henderson who both scored a brace.

The last meeting at Anfield between the two sides was on my 23rd birthday (boo hiss boo to getting older /// 4th November). Luis Suarez scored in that game and Newcastle, despite earning a point that day, once again had a man sent off.

Newcastle have notched up wins against the Reds on their home turf in recent years though, winning in both 2010 and 2007.

Form for Newcastle shows them recording three wins out of their last five league games. Their two losses came against Everton and Hull but the Geordies still managed to score twice on both occasions. Newcastle are currently placed 11th in the table.

Liverpool on the other hand find themselves joint top with Arsenal and with the Gunnars facing Norwich at home this weekend, Liverpool need to ensure they also collect all three points. The Reds' last five games also show them winning three fixtures and then recording a loss and a draw. Liverpool may have slipped up on a couple of occasions this season but they are still going strong and with the return of some key players Liverpool you would hope will be able to walk away from St James' Park on Saturday victorious.

Stat Sandwich
  • The Reds have not lost in their last seven away games in the league.
  • Newcastle's last 12 goals in the league have all been scored by Frenchmen.
  • Liverpool have still only scored once in the second half so far this season.

As usual I sent out a tweet asking you all for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received this week, thanks to all who replied!


I don't think I'm going to get chance to put a bet on tomorrow but if I could I'd be placing my quid on a 2-1 Liverpool win. I feel as though Newcastle will definitely find the back of the net but the Reds should be confident enough to score more than once and also hold on to a lead, I do feel Liverpool need to score first though.

Enjoy the match folks!
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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Suarez Who? Reds Haven't Lost Their Bite

Henderson had a very good game for Liverpool...
Image: mirror.co.uk
It was an emphatic win for Liverpool on Saturday at St James' Park after the Reds found 6 goals without their influential forward; Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has been all over the news this week and I don't need to fill you in with the details but Brendan Rodgers insured his side would be in the headlines for totally different reasons this weekend.

Liverpool started with Sturridge up front and the skillful Coutinho in midfield. Fabio Borini was also back on the bench which was another positive for the Reds. There was a boost for Newcastle too who had Tiote and Cisse back.

The game started extremely well for Liverpool who quickly got themselves off the mark via defender Daniel Agger. An assist from Coutinho allowed Agger to head home Liverpool's first near the 3 minute mark. It was a refreshing change to Liverpool's recent performances in the league that have ended in nil-nil draws.

Newcastle haven't exactly been playing the most brilliant of stuff lately and they barely got chance to reassess the situation before the away side found themselves another goal. This time it was Jordan Henderson with a goal from inside the box, set up by Daniel Sturridge. Henderson always looks so happy when he scores, I realise everybody does but you can tell with Henderson that it really means a lot to him.

Both Sturridge and Coutinho who set up the first two goals were very impressive in this game. They both proved what a partnership they could forge and after such a brilliant start their confidence only grew throughout the game.

I actually missed the first half and when turning up at the pub for the second the first thing I said was I bet you now we've scored two goals that I've missed nothing else will happen... How wrong I was.

The start of the second half saw two substitutions from Alan Pardew who obviously was aware of Newcastle's current dangerous situation in the league. Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran were brought on in an attempt to get the magpies back into the game.

Things went from bad to worse for Newcastle though as once again with barely a chance to catch their breath, Liverpool had found the back of the net. A cracking goal from Daniel Sturridge appeared as though it was destined to happen with his presence in the game and it was none other than Coutinho who set him up.

This was really encouraging stuff from Liverpool who looked a completely different side to the one we've seen of late. It's bloody frustrating though because I don't think you could find a better example of inconsistency, to finish this game how we did but then earlier in the season lose to the likes of Southampton? Well it's just baffling.

5 minutes later and Sturridge was at it again. This time with an easy finish after a set up from Jordan Henderson, the tap in put Liverpool 4 goals to the good and still with more than half hour left of the game.

Newcastle looked genuinely dumbstruck, they obviously knew this wasn't going to be an easy game but I don't think even Liverpool fans were predicting a performance like this.

Just after the 70 minute mark Brendan Rodgers took the opportunity to bring on Fabio Borini who has been out injured for a while, he replaced Steven Gerrard. I really like Borini I think his appetite for the game is fabulous but I'm the first to admit he hasn't scored enough since his arrival, however I knew he wasn't going to be a double figure man when he arrived. I actually joked that he wouldn't find the net when he came on but he shut my mouth pretty quickly.

Just a minute after he'd stepped on to the pitch he was assisted by Downing and with an almost toe poke sent home Liverpool's 5th of the game. He of course celebrated with his infamous dagger in the mouth celebration and hilariously apparently today The Sunday Mirror have said that this celebration was a nod to Luis Suarez, they obviously didn't follow him in his Roma days then, divs.

Shortly after the Borini goal Newcastle's performance was clearly grating on some of their players and a second yellow card for Debuchy saw him leave the field. With 10 men now on the pitch Newcastle had almost given up but Liverpool still weren't quite finished yet.

Another goal for Jordan Henderson on the 75 minute mark would complete the Reds' rout. A free kick awarded on the edge of the box allowed Henderson to send his effort all the way through the crowd and into the back of the net. It was a brilliant effort from Hendo.

Suso and Shelvey were brought on in the dying minutes but Liverpool had already settled the score here at St James' Park and at the final whistle the travelling Kop were clearly ecstatic with the performance they had just seen.

It's just a shame we can't play them every week!

Next up for Liverpool is the slight matter of the Merseyside Derby at Anfield.

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Reds Travel To Newcastle

Sturridge made a real impact when he came on against Chelsea...
Image: mirror.co.uk
Liverpool make the trip to St James' Park on Saturday as they look to end their season on a high even if it will be without the influential Luis Suarez. With just 3 games left after this clash it's important the Reds don't lose their focus because they still could drop out of the European places.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without long term absentees but Fabio Borini may reappear on the bench. The Reds are also obviously without Luis Suarez who starts his 10 match ban, Daniel Sturridge will most likely start up front though to be honest I'm not sure why he hasn't been starting anyway.

For Newcastle they are without Tim Krul and Slyvain Marveaux but their captain Coloccini is set to return. Tiote is also back for the magpies.

Newcastle are currently 16th in the league just 6 points off the drop zone. Liverpool are currently positioned in 7th on 51 points. Liverpool have lost just one out of their last 6 league games but their last 3 have all been draws. Newcastle have lost 3 out of their last 6 matches in all competitions, their biggest blow perhaps coming at the hands of Paolo Di Canio.

The last time the two sides met was on my birthday in November last year, Luis Suarez was on the scoresheet and the game ended 1-1. The Reds last visit to St James' Park ended badly with Pepe Reina getting sent off and Cisse scoring twice. The last time Liverpool won at Newcastle was in December 2008.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have failed to win a game in April so far.
  • Newcastle have played 32 different players this season the most from any side in the league.
  • Liverpool have been caught offside 97 times this season, that's the most from any league side too.

I must admit I'm not feeling too optimistic about this one, Newcastle have more fight and reason to win this game in my eyes and that will play against Liverpool. The Reds seem a bit disheartened of late and with the big blow of missing Luis Suarez it will be a tough game for the Reds. However I do fancy Daniel Sturridge to find a goal and if we score early I can see us getting a 2-1 win, I'd feel a lot more confident though if this fixture was at home.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Skillful Suarez In Newcastle Draw

I was in Liverpool today for my birthday and made a visit to the Hillsborough memorial, a child's Newcastle T-Shirt on the gates was very touching to see...
Image: My Camera
Liverpool had to settle for a draw with Newcastle at Anfield on Sunday as they struggled to turn possession and chances into goals. The Reds started pretty strongly but as always the opposition were allowed to break the deadlock.

Brad Jones was in goal once again as Pepe Reina missed out through injury and the three S's, Suso, Sterling and Suarez were there to provide Liverpool with some attacking nous.

The first half started positively for Liverpool, there was a lot of control and possession was maintained with ease. Sterling was causing problems for Newcastle whilst Suso and Suarez had a few attempts at goal early on.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, they seem to be stuck in a rut at the moment and despite what looks like a good performance we just can't take our chances. With no goals to show for their efforts Brendan's boys were looking happy to go into half time at 0-0 and perhaps discuss their options to even further apply the pressure on Newcastle but Yohan Cabaye had other ideas.

The French player took a lovely strike catching Liverpool and more importantly Brad Jones off guard and sent his side into the lead.

Suarez in the first half for Liverpool was very active but once again, with so much reliance on the forward if he isn't finding the back of the net as well as working his socks off then we're in trouble.

Just after the hour mark Liverpool made a substitution bringing on Jonjo Shelvey for Suso. Immediately after this, the Reds had found an equaliser and what a goal it was!

Luis Suarez, the man, the enigma showed what true skill he holds after controlling the ball whilst on a pacey run into the box, with his shoulder. He took the ball down perfectly and then with a slight dink to make sure Krul was out of the way he slipped home a simply sublime goal in front of the Kop.

It was sheer class. People may dislike Suarez and in a way I can sometimes see why but I'll never understand why people fail to discuss his brilliance, he's a pleasure to watch in the Premier League and I just can't get enough!

The goal now put Liverpool in with a chance of finding another one and taking all three points at home but Newcastle certainly weren't going to roll over and allow that to happen. Another sub for Liverpool after 70 minutes saw Downing replace Sahin and the Reds now had just over 15 minutes to find a winner.

Just after 80 minutes the task ahead was made a bit easier when Coloccini was sent off after a dangerous challenge on Luis Suarez. In all honesty, it's probably a debatable red card but Suarez didn't even have the ball and although contact was minimal the intent certainly looked there to me.

The gap left by Coloccini provided Liverpool with a bit of hope as the clock ticked down but the home side just couldn't find themselves the goal they needed even after a late free kick was nearly turned in.

The thing to focus on for me today was the way that our goal was scored and no, surprisingly I'm not talking about the skill of Suarez. It was route one, the passing and possession is lovely and if you can make it work then fair enough but you need to be big enough to realise that at some stages within a game you are going to need a plan B. For me, Andy Carroll was that plan B, we've had all the ball for most of the game in several fixtures this season but when the goal is missing teams see their chance to attack and once they take a lead we're out of ideas.

Carroll wasn't the most prolific, we know this but he was the trick up our sleeve. We need a goal, sod it, chuck Carroll on and get it on his noggin.

I don't mean to moan but it's just not working well enough at the moment, granted this is all a working progress but we can't keep relying on Suarez and I'm sick to death of people talking about possession stats as a positive when we've drawn or lost a game. I've said it before and I'll say it again, possession means piss all if you aren't scoring goals at the same time.

Next up for Liverpool is Anzhi on Thursday night.

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Gerrard's 600th Game

Good old Stevie...
Image: guardian.co.uk
Newcastle are the visitors to Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool look to scrub away the memory of their Swansea defeat. Liverpool are unbeaten in 4 in the league but their performances have sometimes been questionable.

The Reds still have doubts hanging over Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson who both still haven't fully recovered from hamstring problems whilst Newcastle are without midfielder Tiote.

The last time the two sides met was on April Fool's Day and I remember being particularly annoyed after poor performance from Liverpool and a rather stroppy Andy Carroll.

To find the last time the Magpies managed to notch up a win at Anfield though we have to go all the way back to November 1995.

Stat Sandwich

  • If the Reds win, it will be their first 2 wins on the trot at Anfield in over a year.
  • Newcastle haven't won away in their last 8 attempts.
  • Liverpool have conceded 14 goals, a Reds record for this stage of the season.

Newcastle may have a dodgy away record so far this season but they're most certainly a side I fear. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse offer a combination that we could only dream of. Whilst I feel the defence should be able to deal with the threats posed by the Magpies I again find myself worrying about Liverpool's goalscoring.

We could quite easily take control of the game here at Anfield but as time ticks by and the back of the net hasn't been found, it will be Newcastle who will pounce at the chance to upset us. Nevertheless I am hoping for a Liverpool win on my birthday! So assuming I will provide a lucky charm I will go for a 2-1 to Liverpool.

Enjoy the match folks!

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Monday, 2 April 2012

No Laughing Matter

Reina let's the occasion get the better of him...
Liverpool fell to a 6th defeat out of 7 league games on April Fool's day as Papiss Cisse confidently put two past the later dismissed Pepe Reina. In an embarrassing display which actually began with a lively start from Liverpool, fans were left completely deflated as they made their way back from St James' Park.

Dalglish appeared to have listened to the calls from fans for the likes of Shelvey to start and he also played both Carroll and Suarez. He also opted for a more positive line up adding Bellamy to the two up front, on paper and before kick off that team looked good, it was a total change and to me after recent results it was exactly what was required.

Just 9 minutes in Andy Carroll found himself with a chance to hush the boos from the Newcastle fans. The big man was hoping for a slightly better reception but if he wanted some respect from his ex employers he passed up the chance immediately. After some brilliance sweeping the ball into space past the Newcastle defenders Carroll found himself one on one with the keeper, after taking Krul on, Carroll unfortunately decided to go down as opposed to staying on his feet and getting a shot on an empty goal.

Some people, including Dalglish are saying Carroll was on his way down anyway but to me he had the choice to keep his landing foot strong, i agree he may not have managed to steady himself and get a successful shot on goal, but he should have tried anyway. The dive was a ridiculous decision from Carroll.

Andy Carroll's chance aside, Liverpool still had some opportunities to get themselves on the score sheet. Namely when a cross was whipped in by Steven Gerrard, after hitting the face of a Newcastle defender and heading goalwards Danny Simpson who was holding the post pushed his arm forward to prevent the ball from going into the back of the net.

This was hand ball, no question about it but did the referee or the linesman see it? No. You could argue in a game currently at 0-0, a penalty for Liverpool would have been invaluable and yes you could probably assume that given the chance, Gerrard would have converted but after the following performance does anyone seriously think we'd have won the game anyway? Because i don't. We didn't deserve anything from that game and sometimes that's just the way luck goes.

Shortly after the penalty decision Newcastle found their first goal. A cross from Ben Arfa was sent into the box and after Martin Skrtel misjudged a defensive header and perhaps his positioning, Papiss Cisse was able to get in a header and left Reina with no chance.

It was that typical story again for the Reds, a lively start complete with some chances missed and before you know it we're on the back foot. There wasn't much confidence going in to this game and once Newcastle had scored despite the hope, the game already felt like it was lost.

In terms of shots on target, by the end of the 90 minutes there was only a goals difference in it with Liverpool's 6 to Newcastle's 7 but vitally, Newcastle took their chances when they arose.

Just under the hour mark and Newcastle converted their second. Once again Papiss Cisse with some wonderful skill weaved the ball into a position where he could slide it into the back of the net. There is no doubt in the ability of this star buy and Alan Pardew must be over the moon with his forward's performances but in all honesty, he was offside. Miles offside.

Once again though, luck isn't Liverpool's lady at the moment and i still get the feeling that even with some magic dust, Cisse would have probably found himself another goal anyway with they way he was playing.

Shortly after Newcastle's second Liverpool attempted to quickly respond. A Luis Suarez shot that looked like it was about to go in was blocked by James Perch. The resulting corner gave Skrtel a chance at goal but he couldn't convert either.

Things began to get frustrating for Liverpool and the temperature certainly began to rise. The performances from the majority of the lads just weren't up to scratch, in fact i only really appreciated the efforts of Suarez, Flanagan and probably Spearing in that game because to me the other lads didn't really look arsed, even Bellamy had an off game which is very unlike him.

The difference for me with Suarez and Carroll (and Carroll didn't actually have that bad a game, just a shame he dived) is that Suarez always tries, he'll chase down balls that are lost and constantly put pressure on a goalkeeper or defender attempting to distribute. With Carroll it's like he expects everything to fall to him, if a cross isn't perfectly to his feet or head he instantly moans, if he'd just shut his trap and go after the ball he might find himself less frustrated.

At 80 minutes Carroll was replaced with Dirk Kuyt. Unsurprisingly he wasn't happy about this but by this stage i was still sticking up for the lad who was in a hostile environment from the first whistle however, my sympathy quickly disintegrated.

Andy Carroll would have done better by having a hissy fit and kicking a Lucozade bottle at the fourth official but instead he completely ignored Dalglish and went off sulking down the tunnel. When your side is 2-0 down in such a bad run of form, how on earth does that help anyone? I understand he was frustrated but so was the whole side, what the lads needed was his support and Dalglish would have appreciated a hand shake for his constant faith in the number 9 too. I seriously hope Carroll has had a long hard think about Sunday because I'm fed up of sticking up for a man who clearly has bags of potential but is turning in to an absolute arse.

Carroll's replacement Kuyt is certainly somebody i would look at starting in the next few games. Currently there is no motivation from the lads and no fight but Dirk Kuyt is the type of man that is instantly motivated, he always gives his all and he's a brilliant example for the other lads to follow.

As if things weren't bad enough for Liverpool who by now were almost praying for the full time whistle, things were set to get worse. As mentioned before, frustrations were high and Pepe Reina let the red mist descend.

Upon trying to quickly distribute James Perch clipped Pepe Reina and put him off balance. Understandably, Reina was angry and even when he began to walk towards Perch i still expected just a barge or a shout to show the lad who's boss but what followed was a silly decision from the Spaniard.

James Perch made sure he made the most of it, holding his face when it wasn't even touched and falling to the floor but Pepe Reina cannot act in such a way. You can't push your head forward or show intent, you just can't. Some people reckon Reina shouldn't have been sent walking but you only have to look at the Fulham game when Dempsey put his head to Bellamy and we were all calling for him to be sent off to see the comparison. Of course, if Bellamy had gone down like a pansy I'm sure Dempsey would have been sent off too.

I still can't believe Reina did it, it's so unlike him and the only positive is that a man like Reina will make sure he learns from this. Unfortunately for Liverpool though an apology and a lesson learnt won't quite cut it as we're now left without our world class goal keeper for one of the most important games of our season; the FA Cup semi final.

What made things worse at this stage was that Dalglish had entered the field of play. I'm not quite sure why he did that but i think Gerrard was right to instill some sort of command and reality to the situation by asking Dalglish to return to the sidelines. Dalglish i feel must have just been trying to help but he doesn't help himself in doing this, to opposition fans this must have been hilarious and i just wish he'd have stayed put.

After a couple of goal kicks from Jose Enrique and a decent save too Liverpool had to settle for nothing once again as the final whistle was blown.

I know, you know and the whole footballing world knows that for a Liverpool side with the names that are in it, this isn't good enough. Of course the Carling Cup win and the FA Cup semi final are fantastic but his cannot take the shine off the persistently poor performances in the league.

Dalglish is a true legend, and nothing will ever take this away, he knows how to play football and I'm still convinced he knows how to manage but importantly at this moment in time he just can't seem to get the lads motivated. Why this is I'm not sure and i truly wish that the story was a different one but Dalglish would admit himself that he should be criticised as any manager should and that he's no different.

The players must take half the blame too and whilst i agree the situation needs to be looked at in the summer i still see no benefit in sacking him now. As I've mentioned before, what's the point? The league is messed up anyway and there's no time in my opinion to change our position substantially. Dalglish got us to the semi final and he's at least earned the right to attempt to get us to another cup final.

In a perfect world there would be a sudden rise in form, superb signings would be made in the summer and Dalglish would have unlocked the secret but i personally cannot see this.

Until then all we can do is get behind the man we love so much and get behind the players because as disappointing as it is to see Liverpool like this, throwing our toys out the pram and failing to get behind them isn't going to help anybody.

Here's hoping Doni can pull off a miracle!

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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Carroll Returns To St James' Park

It'd be grand if he could score on Sunday...
Liverpool make their way to the North East on Sunday as Andy Carroll looks to make a good impression on his return to St James' Park. Newcastle are currently above the Reds and are doing extremely well in their league campaign. After some poor results for Liverpool though, can the lads get all three points?

Liverpool have a few injury problems and the latest man added to the list is Charlie Adam, a knee problem keeps him out. Also out for Liverpool are Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly. Newcastle on the other hand don't have too many problems although Coloccini will be unavailable after tearing his hamstring.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year when Liverpool confidently beat Newcastle 3-1.

For a Newcastle win we only have to go back to December 2011 when  the Magpies reversed the previous scoreline and put 3 past Pepe Reina. Newcastle have quite a decent home record against Liverpool and so Sunday's fixture will not be easy for the Reds, especially considering the form they are in.

Liverpool as it stands are sitting in 8th place which you don't need me to tell you is ridiculous. With Everton grabbing themselves another win, the Toffees are above us and if nothing is done on Sunday we could be trailing behind our neighbours even more.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have only won 2 league games so far in 2012.
  • Newcastle have collected 50 points from the first 30 Premier League games for the first time in 9 years.
  • Dalglish is unbeaten against Newcastle as a manager in the Premier League.

I think it's vital on Sunday that two strikers are played. 4-4-2 is a must as i just feel that with the state of our chances in front of goal at the moment, why not utilise all of your firepower? To me there is no sense playing Suarez alone up front and playing on the break, it just doesn't seem to be working. Carroll, although he doesn't score much, increases the amount of possession in dangerous areas and for me he's very helpful to Suarez too.

The defence will no doubt be shaken again due to the missing Agger, Johnson and Kelly and in the last couple of games Carragher hasn't really been looking sharp. Add to this Skrtel's silly mistakes and you have a recipe for Newcastle goals.

With the likes of Cisse and Ba causing trouble for many a team Liverpool need to be on fire on Sunday to deal with the Newcastle attack. I think most people have given up caring about the league in all honesty but I'm sure no fan would want to see us finish behind Everton and so a win against Pardew's side is a must.

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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Gerrard Scores From Acute Angle In Newcastle Win

And people say he's past it!...
Liverpool put three past Newcastle United at Anfield on Friday night after finally figuring out how to convert their chances. In a game where the Reds didn't have many attempts at goal, the finishing was this time on song. Newcastle took the lead but the Reds came back to take all three points.

The start to the game had no essence of fixtures gone by between these two clubs and for a while it didn't seem like things were going to get exciting. With no real chances from either side it was hard for both sets of fans to find where their goals were going to come from.

Just before the half hour mark, Newcastle saw their chance. A whipped in ball into the box was met by Yohan Cabaye, on it's way toward goal it was clipped by Demba Ba but the prolific forward was the first to point to team mate Cabaye and support his claim for the goal.

To be fair to Liverpool this was a bit of an unlucky goal to concede, there wasn't much Reina could do with the nature of the way the ball came towards goal so the Reds could only keep their heads and carry on.

Liverpool took less than five minutes to reply to their deficit courtesy of Craig Bellamy. The Welshman has been fantastic since he resigned and he didn't half put in the effort on Friday. A lovely finish from a strong strike saw Bellers put the ball in the bottom left hand corner of goal.

Craig Bellamy i must admit is one of those players that when he's playing for another team you can't stand him but when he's in your team's shirt, he gives his all and you end up loving him. As i keep saying at the moment for me, it's all about Bellamy and Maxi on the flanks our other options aren't quite cutting it.

This sent both sides level into the second half. The game was beginning to show signs of life now, it was just a question of whether the break would shake either side. Fortunately for Liverpool it did nothing but galvanise them.

Just before the hour mark Liverpool brought on Steven Gerrard who replaced Charlie Adam. The Reds were finding themselves with quite a large portion of possession but not doing enough with it. Andy Carroll was crying out for the balls Gerrard continually pinged in and it once again felt like the captain had never been away.

A few minutes after the Gerrard substitution and it was Gerrard himself who stepped aside to give Craig Bellamy the chance to take our free kick. Newcastle perhaps had a case for the foul on Agger not actually being one but i think it could have gone either way quite easily.

Bellamy showed us how it's all done with a lovely free kick that the missing Luis Suarez would have been proud of. A great goal to put Liverpool ahead.

Minutes after Liverpool had finished celebrating, the lads were faced with a truly nail biting moment. Demba Ba the man of the moment got himself into a great position and had beaten Pepe Reina with his shot, but then, like a man possessed, Martin Skrtel appeared. The big defender literally threw himself at the ball to make a crucial goal line clearance and ended up taking a smack of a landing in the process. What a bloke! He was like a warrior. After the way Liverpool have been playing of late, who knows how the game would have went if Newcastle had equalised at that moment.

As Liverpool continued to attack, looking for a goal that would create that cushion to put fans minds at rest, Craig Bellamy had to be substituted. A suspected elbow to the face from Coloccini left the Welshman needing stitches. Dirk Kuyt replaced him.

Just over 10 minutes left and the magic finally happened. Steven Gerrard made a run into the box and after taking another touch, most fans had assumed he'd took the ball too far but at an impossible angle, the captain swept the ball underneath Tim Krul and into the back of the net.

It was a cracking goal! Anfield went mental and Gerrard's celebration ended with a high five to manager Kenny Dalglish. It was bliss!

Despite their efforts, Newcastle just couldn't come back from this. To be fair to the away side they played pretty well, the scoreline doesn't reflect their performance really it was just that on this occasion Liverpool actually took their chances. Aside from Andy Carroll, who agonisingly hit the bar!

I think the Reds can look back on 2011 as a pretty successful year and as for our start to the season, well we've done alright, in touch with those teams lurking around 4th and despite a build up of draws, we're still a tough side to beat.

Liverpool's first game of 2012 is against Manchester City, what a start to the New Year!

Have a good one folks!

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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Magpies Fly To Anfield

Andy, what do you think of Kuyt's new jeans? "Eh, they're alright i spose."...
Newcastle make the trip to Anfield on Friday bringing with them Demba Ba, the man who has stepped up to fill the massive boots left by Andy Carroll. Unfortunately for Liverpool it's Demba Ba who can boast the greater goal tally but with Luis Suarez serving a ban for this match will Andy Carroll take his chance to put a sock in the critics mouths?

Injury wise it's good news for Liverpool, with Gerrard featuring against Blackburn he is expected to start from the bench again on Friday. The only real missing party is Luis Suarez who as mentioned above is serving a ban.

For Newcastle they have no new injury worries and Dan Gosling is also back after completing his three match ban.

The last time the two sides met, Liverpool put 3 past Newcastle. Interestingly, the previous two occasions for Liverpool at home to Newcastle also ended in a 3-0 victory (I know where my money's going haha). For a Newcastle win at Anfield we have to go all the way back to 1995.

Newcastle did comfortably beat us at St James' Park or the Sports Direct Mike Ashley Is Dancing Around In A Shite Tracksuit Arena or whatever in December last year. The 3-1 scoreline shows that Newcastle could still offer some surprises.

And of course with Liverpool racking up the draws at home, this should be an exciting fixture for both clubs.

Stat Sandwich

  •  Liverpool have failed to score more than once in their last 6 home matches.
  • Newcastle have not scored at Anfield since 2004.
  • Maxi Rodriguez has scored 11 goals in his last 12 starts for Liverpool. 9 in 9 in the Premier League.

I've been saying it a lot lately and if you've just read the bottom piece of bread in that there stat sandwich you will see why i am so supportive of Maxi Rodriguez starting games. No offence to Henderson or Stewart Downing but if it meant sacrificing them to start Maxi, i would do it every time at the moment he is our best winger in my opinion. The tough thing is though that Bellamy is an extremely close second, but it doesn't look like Dalglish likes starting both players.

With Suarez out, i can only assume it will be Carroll supported by Kuyt up front but perhaps the boss will utilise Bellamy in that position?

Either way, whoever ends up on the pitch they need to start converting their bloody chances! With Suarez out that lowers the attempts too. We need some accuracy around here!

And for those on Twitter pestering me for betting tips, will you leave me alone! I'm not soddin' John McCririck! But if you must know, if i get chance tomorrow i'm gonna slap a quid on Liverpool 3-0 with Maxi Rodriguez as first goalscorer, why not ay?

Enjoy the match folks!

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