The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 27 June 2020

A Lifelong Wait: Liverpool FC, Premier League Champions

30 years. A literal lifetime for me and many others. Some follow a football club because it's the team their parents support, others like me live 80 miles away from Anfield but were submerged in Kopite culture from around the age of 6 or 7, thanks to an older brother who was obsessed with the title stomping Reds.



Of course, my brother had the right idea, follow the Reds in the 70s and 80s, titles come along like buses. Look up silverware in the dictionary and you'd probably find a Liver Bird crest beneath it. Little did I know, I wouldn't enjoy this same feeling, my life as a Liverpool fan living in Wolverhampton would be an absolute emotional rollercoaster.

My first obsession over a footballer would begin with Michael Owen, he'd later break my heart, but that didn't stop me buying anything with his face on and naming my female rabbit after him. Owen tricked me into thinking this was our time. The Houllier treble convinced me that I would soon have the bragging rights. I could walk into secondary school and dish out the stick to all the kids in United shirts but no, I'd have to wait much, much longer for that.

In 2005, I sat in the living room with me Dad, taking in all the build-up to our pinnacle moment in Turkey. Led to the final by a man who can only be described as a tactical genius and the first Liverpool manager I truly loved: Rafael Benitez.

At half time, I ran to the bathroom, unable to hold back the tears after watching us go three-nil down. I didn't think I could bring myself to watch the second half but Dad with his wise words persuaded me otherwise.

By full time I was dancing in the street outside our council house, draped in the same Liverpool flag that I held aloft this Thursday just gone. The neighbours didn't understand but at that moment, that was true vindication of what it meant and how it felt to be a Liverpool fan. Even when everything is against you, you never give up, you keep fighting. I was basking in the glory of the Miracle of Istanbul, one of the greatest football matches that has ever been played.

Again, Rafa and his magic had tricked me into thinking this was our time. Liverpool would finally be able to push for that elusive Premier League title. How wrong I was. Rafa, of course, went close, but it wasn't to be.

By 2009 I had left sixth form with some dodgy A-Level results, I couldn't get into Uni and was on the dole looking for a full-time job. To keep me occupied, I set up this blog which would eventually go on to win awards, unbelievable. One of the first blog posts I put out was a description of my first ever match at Anfield in 2010, hearing You'll Never Walk Alone reverberate around L4 is still etched in my mind.

I blogged constantly, the writing was a release, I never expected though that there would be so much negative. What followed was post after post on Roy Hodgson, relegation zones, missed chances, dodgy owners, court cases, utterly terrible signings and no real light at the end of the tunnel. Still, the wait went on.

By 2012 I'd completed a college course and got into University. I was chuffed to bits, but while a big part of my life off the pitch was somehow getting itself in order, could it be as Liverpool announced Brendan Rodgers as the new boss, Liverpool were getting themselves in order too?

It didn't take Rodgers long to provide us Kopites with a serious, serious title challenge. By the end of the 2013-2014 season, I had written the following in a summary blog post: "I'll never forget coming so close to the title with Rodgers, I'm 26 in November and that is easily (aside from the Champions League final in 2005) the most excited I have ever been as a Liverpool fan."

It truly felt like the tides had turned when the Northern Irishman steered us so close that season. But, you guessed it, I'd fooled myself again into thinking this could actually be happening, the title had never felt so far away by the time Rodgers was sent packing in October 2015. 

Gerrard said goodbye and over the years we'd lost some of the iconic players who I associated Liverpool with while growing up. There was no Carragher anymore, no Gerrard, no Owen, Fowler or even Riise (another player I was obsessed with). Yes, there'd been the likes of Torres, Suarez, Alonso, even Dirk Kuyt and some brought a sparkle to Anfield that made you believe but only for a moment.

It would take a complete change of tack, a new manager with new ideas, and a set of owners willing to throw in some cash in order to create the catalyst.

In October 2015, "The Normal One" showed up at Anfield. I can't deny that if you went searching through the blog's archive you would find a paragraph somewhere where I said, in a choice between Ancelotti and Klopp, I'd lean more towards the Italian. Thank god the club chose Jurgen...

As Liverpool supporters, it's never been just the football that moulds you into a fan. The Hillsborough Disaster happened in April 1989, seven months before I was born, but a story my Mom recalls reeling at after seeing it on the news. On that day, 95 football fans went to a game and never returned home, a 96th victim would later lose his battle in hospital. In 2016, after an agonising fight for justice, a jury concluded that the fans were unlawfully killed. Raw emotion of a different kind. Justice for the 96.

By the end of the 2015-2016 season, Klopp had taken us to two finals, the League Cup and the Europa League. His impact was almost instant and although we lost those finals and there were a few initial hiccups at the start (some of which I probably also discussed on the blog), it soon became clear that this man had a plan.

His rapport with the players was phenomenal, his understanding of the club and the fans? Perfect. He knew exactly what he wanted to build and how he wanted to build it. Rival fans scoffed at us spending megabucks on the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson but Klopp knew precisely where his team's flaws lay, he addressed them and boy did it work.

As a Liverpool fan, I spent the majority of the 2018 - 2019 season with a massive grin on my face. Yes, I'd faced heartbreak the year before watching Mo Salah leave the pitch injured and crying in the Champions League final but this season felt different. It felt as though we were finally ready. I believed again.

A phenomenal effort saw Klopp's side finish on a massive 97 points, just one sole point behind City. In the years gone by, we'd finished second on a handful of occasions in my time as a Liverpool fan, but I never truly went into the following season thinking we could surmount a credible title challenge, the Rodgers season was probably the closest I'd felt to that.

This time though, I knew we'd be battling for it. The trio of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane were virtually unstoppable, we'd purchased a brick wall and plonked him in the centre of defence and our goalkeeper was the best in the world. It was time.

I hoped it would be our season but I could never have predicted the distance we would put between ourselves and the opposition this time around. We're yet to know the points gap we've won by but to finish with seven games to go as Champions? This is the stuff dreams are made of.

In March, the horrendous Coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the world put things into perspective. I love my football club and I struggled to function without them but some things were more important.

The rumours of "null and void" began to swirl and I just kept thinking, that would be peak Liverpool, wouldn't it? My time as a Red has taught me that things often go against you and the asterisk brigade were out in force. "Oh if you're gifted the title it won't be a REAL title." I was fuming, I'd not waited 30 years for some tin pot fans to spout "fake title" at me for the rest of time. Thankfully, football was allowed to safely restart.

The Reds took a game to settle in after a draw with Ancelotti's Everton (can't say I predicted he'd end up at Goodison when I was considering him as our own boss) but won emphatically against Crystal Palace. The gauntlet was laid.

Fast-forward 15 years on from when I was a tearful almost 16-year-old, sat at my parents' house, wrapped in that Liverpool flag, praying for the right result to gift us the first huge trophy I'd seen us lift. Here I was, now in my own flat living with me Wolves mad fiance, sat on the floor, wrapped in that same flag, nerves shot to pieces.

There'd been several points over those 30 years that I'd convinced myself I will never see my side lift the Premier League title, but in the moments I believed we may do it I never accounted for the fact our victory could be confirmed by the result of our rivals match.

It was a bizarre evening Thursday night, watching on a phone screen, I squinted to make sure Willian's penalty had definitely gone in and that the crowd noise bloke hadn't accidentally pressed the wrong button again. It was in, and there were 10 minutes to go. 

I'd held back the tears at this point but after screaming my head off at the final whistle I switched over to Sky on the tele. A montage of Liverpool from the year I was born to the present day was shown and I was an absolute mess. 

This is me moments after our first Premier League title win was confirmed.



A lifelong wait, but nobody can ever, ever take that feeling away from me, pure and utter joy.

I drank and danced around the living room well into the early hours, despite having work the next day. While I dreamt of celebrating in Liverpool, in the end, it didn't matter, I was elated.

I just hope I don't have to wait another 30 years for the next one...

#YNWA

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Friday, 12 June 2020

Liverpool FC, Lockdown and Mental Health

There are just five days until Premier League football is back in our lives and nine days until Liverpool line up against Everton in the Merseyside derby. The UK has been in lockdown for close to 12 weeks and a Premier League ball hasn't been kicked since Monday 9th March.

For many, the lack of football will have been a blessing but for those like myself who class the sport as one of their true loves in life, this has been a difficult time to say the least. I don't think anyone could have predicted the impact a lack of football could have on a fan's mental health and well being.

Image via Science Focus
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not somebody who has suffered with significant mental health issues (though I know plenty who have) but I think the lack of football, the lack of a routine, something to look forward to, has had a significant impact on my personal mental health.

Football is escapism in its purest form, unlike a film or a TV show, you can't successfully predict the outcome. You're taken on a ride, through a rollercoaster of emotions, you're often shouting expletives at the opposition but this is a release and without it, without this release of emotions and the experience of the highs, something huge is removed from your life - it's only natural that you then struggle in its absence.

Pile onto this the fact you couldn't leave your house aside from one bit of exercise initially, maybe you've been furloughed, maybe all your mates don't live close enough for you to have a socially distanced BBQ... and all of a sudden you've created the perfect storm.

It's for this reason, and I know I am not alone in this, that the feeling of relief knowing that Liverpool will be back on our screens in less than 10 days is an immense one. 

It's not just fans who have struggled through this Coronavirus lockdown, players have suffered too. Liverpool were reported to have provided mental health advice to players early on including breathing exercises and social media advice. It's also been reported that players who were close to the end of their contracts have had significant mental struggles and have been reaching out for support.

I was reading some very interesting snippets from Kevin George who is an ex-professional and mental health in football expert (I need to check out his book "Soccology") and for me he hit the nail on the head:

"Coronavirus has taken everyone out of their routine and this is what can bring problems. People get lost without the comfort of their schedule or what their schedule may be protecting them from for example sitting with thoughts. Creating a schedule also puts control back in your hands instead of sitting in uncertainty, waiting for updates."

Football forms a huge part of that "schedule" for me and I know for many others and so taking it day by day and forming a plan for each day has been a real coping mechanism.

For anybody struggling with mental health issues I highly recommend the Mind website which is packed with superb advice. The NHS also produced "10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus".

Looking ahead, when football does restart next week. As a Liverpool fan born in 1989 I have literally been waiting my whole life to watch us lift the Premier League title. You couldn't have ever predicted that a pandemic would delay proceedings but I suppose after waiting for that long, I can wait a while longer.

After it was confirmed recently that the Reds will be able to play the Merseyside Derby at Goodison and not at a neutral venue, it could be that this is where Jurgen Klopp and the boys claim the title. This is dependent upon the Manchester City v Arsenal result on Wednesday.

I've dreamed of this moment for years, we've come close on occasion, Gerrard's slip still causes a physical pained reaction whenever I see it but it'll all have been worth the wait after the way this year has unfolded. 

Yes if we don't win it at Goodison we win it in another empty stadium with fake fan cheers and no opportunity to gather and celebrate but at this stage, I don't care, to watch us lift the title after lockdown will be phenomenal. Cider will be flowing, Si Senor, You'll Never Walk Alone and the Mo Salah chant will be sung, it will be an emotional moment for all Liverpool fans and I for one cannot wait.

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Sunday, 5 April 2020

TWO MORE GAMES

TWO MORE GAMES. 

That's what I was saying to myself over and over again approximately four weeks ago. At the time I had shared the below on social media, which unfortunately now sounds more like a distasteful joke but this was genuinely how I was feeling. The club I had supported and followed my whole life, a full 30 years, had got within touching distance of lifting their first Premier League title and then a pandemic breaks out.


You just couldn't write it, it's peak Liverpool. Throughout the years, the club and football as a sport has faced some torrid times but to throw around what I'm sure will be the word of the year for 2020... this is unprecedented.

After what has happened in Britain and across the globe over the past few weeks, it does really make you take a step back and think about the vital things in life. Bill Shankly once said "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." On this occasion, I have to disagree with the great Shanks. 

Interestingly, it's the great man himself though who has really got me thinking about the latest decision from our wonderful football club. The club this week has decided to take advantage of the Government furlough scheme in order to assist with paying its non-playing staff. While the scheme is there to help those employees from all companies who may suffer during this crisis, it seems immoral for a club that checked in around £40million plus in profit last year to take this route when so much more could be done. It goes against everything the club, the city and its fans stand for and I truly hope another conclusion is reached.

"The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It's the way I see football, the way I see life." - Bill Shankly

Away from the club's current stance of furloughing, one man who has made me immensely proud is our captain Jordan Henderson. It was revealed this week that the skipper is working to set up a fund for NHS workers by speaking regularly with captains from other Premier League clubs. This is the example Liverpool should be setting.

Image source: Liverpool Echo
With no real indication of when it may be safe to restart the Premier League and football across the country in general, while I am desperate to see my boys back in action (I heard YNWA on a quiz show midweek and nearly started crying!) this whole situation has made me realise how lucky we are and it really makes you take stock and value the smaller things in life.

All I do hope is that Liverpool are given the opportunity to earn that trophy, I do not want to be gifted the Premier League title and do not feel it is right to scrap the whole season. Next season hasn't yet begun so sort out what's happening in the here and now before you go looking to plan ahead.

I don't know when, but at some point this year, Jurgen Klopp and his phenomenal Redmen will lift that elusive piece of silverware. I always thought I would cry when we won the league but as this season went on, the Reds were making it far too easy, the raw emotion of going so close in the 2018/2019 season was absent so I was beginning to think the waterworks wouldn't happen. I'm almost certain now though, after everything that has happened, seeing Jordan Henderson lift that cup will not just be a true sense of happiness, it will symbolise a return to normality and I will never look at life or football in the same way again.

Stay safe folks, stay home. YNWA.

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Sunday, 29 December 2019

Liverpool 1 Wolves 0 / Four Things We Learned From Liverpool's 2019

I haven't blogged in two months... what an absolute shambles.

I've been stupidly busy and tied up with switching jobs etc and I guess I'm learning that blogging is something I adore but that it's ok to blog less frequently.

Anyway, I figured what better way to round up Liverpool's 2019 than with a post after just watching us beat my future husband's team haha.

The Reds managed to get the better of Nuno's side with a slim 1-0 victory at Anfield on Sunday evening. While I feel Liverpool commanded the game in terms of possession and playing the ball out from defence, I don't feel we were entirely in control.


A weakened Wolves side after their emphatic win over Manchester City still posed a real threat for Jurgen Klopp's team and were, as predicted, difficult to beat. Sadio Mane celebrated his goal for a second time after the smiles were initially cut short when VAR was called in for a handball decision. It clearly hit Lallana's shoulder and so the goal was awarded.

However, the real controversy happened just before half time when Neto scored for the visitors. He received some stick online for an over zealous celebration but he had netted what he believed to be his first goal in the Premier League. That was until the tape measure was brought out again.

I understand the offside rule, if you're offside you're offside end of. However, the offside rule was introduced in a time before VAR, in an attempt to prevent goal hanging and to decrease the advantage of the attacker but I ask you this since when did being offside by an armpit give any sort of advantage to an attacker??

Offside I don't believe was ever meant to be studied and measured to the millimetre and if VAR is here to stay (I personally wish it wasn't but that's another story) then perhaps the offside rule needs updating.

Nevertheless, Wolves may feel hard done by, I've felt the same with similar decisions earlier this season, but rules are rules and that's what VAR is following so the goal was correctly ruled out.

As for all that talk about Virgil potentially hand balling, he didn't so just don't even start with that.

As the second half played out and Wolves brought on the 100% pure muscle Adama Traore some significant chances were created but Nuno's side just couldn't seem to convert.

All of this means Liverpool at the time of writing after collecting another three points, sit unbeaten at the top of the table, 14 points clear of Manchester City and 13 points clear of Leicester... I'm not saying it.

So, what have we learnt from Liverpool's 2019?

1) Tenacity, we do not know when we are beaten

It wasn't so long ago when I would watch Liverpool go down in a match or spend half an hour at 0-0 and look as though they had no route through. I've always believed in my side but it's only really in 2019 that this side that Klopp has built has made itself truly formidable.

Teams have thrown everything at us, from England, from Europe, from the World, but they can't stop us. The chips can be down and the tiredness setting in but this team will never give up, a late goal will come, there's sheer belief that we will be victorious.

It's so refreshing to see.

2) Champions of Europe, Champions of the World

A year ago it was heartbreak, I spent the majority of summer 2018 hoping Ramos gained a career-ending injury and at the time, despite knowing how good we were, just couldn't see us getting to the Champions League final again.

But we bloody well did and we did it in style. That match against Barcelona (other than the 2005 final in Istanbul) is the most exciting and ridiculous Liverpool game I have ever watched in all my life. Absolutely phenomenal and again proving we just don't know when we are beaten.

The Champions League win was nothing short of what Liverpool deserved after finishing so agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title.

More silverware followed as Adrian the hero in goal helped us lift the UEFA Super Cup and then we travelled to Qatar in December and just casually became literally the best team in the world.

3) A team of stars

In years gone by Liverpool have never been short of stars, there's always been one or two diamonds within the team. Think of your Gerrard's, Torres', Suarez's. What hasn't happened for a very long time though is for Liverpool to have a team full of stars, players other clubs are desperate to have and that fellow professionals rate very highly.

In 2019, Liverpool had seven players on the finalist list for the Ballon d'Or and let's face it, the only reason Virgil van Dijk didn't win is because he's a defender and apparently if you don't score goals you don't deserve awards in football.

4) Use of the squad

Klopp has found a way to bring in star quality, retain star quality and keep that star quality happy, even when they're sat on the bench. This may not seem like a skill or a lesson learnt but for me 2019 showed how important the ability to rotate and utilise the squad was and Klopp is a master at it.

The prime example for me was Divock Origi, at the start of last season, I genuinely had forgotten Divock was even on our books. By mid-2019 I was considering tattooing his name on my arm haha.

A squad player who often was found sitting on the bench yet on every single occasion he was called into action he gave his absolute all. He was pivotal in Liverpool's 2019.

Roll on 2020. Have a bloody fab new year all!

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Saturday, 19 October 2019

Back On Our Perch?

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

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

Image via The Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, 8 August 2019

Reds Open The Premier League Season Against Norwich

So, we didn't sign anyone... shocker. Can people just get over it now in time for kick-off on Friday? Yes, we could have done with a couple of extra players but this team is quality and the bench looks stronger with the return of Oxlade-Chamberlain, plus I feel Brewster will get more of a chance this year. Let's look at the positives eh? Six times European Cup winners entering another Premier League season under Jurgen Klopp, it doesn't get better than that.

On paper, the Reds should be standout winners on Friday night but Norwich are no mugs and too often the "big teams" underestimate promoted sides. Especially on the first day of the season when you haven't really had chance to assess their plans for the league they have just entered.

Image via premierleague.com

For Liverpool, Sadio Mane returns which is fantastic news and James Milner is also available after recovering from a muscle problem. Norwich have a few injuries to contend with including defender Timm Klose. A familiar face who may appear for Norwich is Patrick Roberts who is on loan from Manchester City.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke has had very kind words to say about Liverpool, in a recent interview he explained: "I had a little smile when I saw our first game is against Liverpool. For me, they might be the best team in the world right now."

In years gone by I would say that was an exaggeration but the Norwich manager has a point, Liverpool were phenomenal last season and will be desperate to go one better this time out. As Norwich enter the Anfield fortress it's good to know the Reds are unbeaten in their last 40 league matches at L4.

The last time the two sides met was that ridiculous match in 2016 which Liverpool eventually won 5-4. I watched highlights of that game on YouTube recently and it's easily one of the craziest games I've ever seen. Klopp will be hoping there isn't a repeat of that although I'm sure he'd take the points!

The last meeting at Anfield between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw and in the last five games at Anfield Liverpool have won on three occasions.

Enjoy the match folks, I will hopefully be back with a match report/opinion piece. I'm still toying with getting back into blogging more regularly at the moment and to be honest I don't think you'll see as many match previews as I used to do because I feel my writing is better post match/on a specific topic. This season I'm going to try to do more general opinion pieces I think and less previews but we'll see how it goes. Enjoy your Friday night all, up the Reds!

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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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Saturday, 30 March 2019

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Spurs

Bloody hell don't you just hate international breaks? I never thought I'd own up to this but that sickening feeling that the title race has been giving me each match? I've actually missed it. Thankfully it's back on Mother's Day as the Reds welcome Tottenham to Anfield.

Injury news for Liverpool means they are still unable to call upon Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is nearing fitness but remains out. A doubt also hangs over Alexander-Arnold who picked up a back injury recently. For Spurs, they are without Eric Dier but Trippier should be back in contention for this fixture.

The last time the two sides met was in September last year. Liverpool won the match 2-1 thanks to goals from Wijnaldum and Firmino. Spurs found their consolation goal at 90 minutes. 

Tottenham's last trip to Anfield ended in a 2-2 draw, Mo Salah found a brace in this clash. The Reds have won five out of the last ten meetings between the two sides, Spurs have won just once (a 4-1 victory in October 2017) and there have been four draws.

At the time of writing, Man City are top of the Premier League table on 77 points, Liverpool are in second with the Spurs game to come, currently on 76 points. Spurs sit in third with a total of 61 points.

Image via The Express
After starting the season strongly and managing to hold the pace, Spurs during recent weeks have slipped out of the title race and are currently 15 points behind Liverpool. Even with a win for Spurs, most would argue it's too late for them trouble the Reds and City.

For Liverpool, every single point counts now, in my opinion, if Liverpool are going to win the league this season, at this stage, I honestly think we may need to win every match. I hate saying that cause it's petrifying. I still believe City will drop points somewhere but I am now at a stage where I don't think Liverpool will be able to drop any. Every match now is a cup final and to throw into the mix we also have the Champions League quarter-final matches against Porto.

It's going to be an exciting couple of months ahead for Liverpool fans I just hope that we can kick things off with a win against Spurs and pray that the international break hasn't had a dampening effect.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 2 March 2019

PREVIEW: Everton v Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip across Stanley Park on Sunday afternoon as they prepare to face rivals Everton in another huge game for the Reds. A win over Bournemouth for Man City means Pep Guardiola's side are at the top of the table at the time of writing, a win for Liverpool would put them back on top of the pile.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they will have to make a late decision on Roberto Firmino who went off injured in the United game. Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez also remain out for the Reds. For Everton, they are unable to call upon Leighton Baines who has a rib injury but Andre Gomez is expected to return.

Image via standard.co.uk
Everton have lost four out of their last six in all competitions and currently sit 10th in the table on 36 points. It's not been a great season for the Toffees but if there's any team out there that will want to throw a spanner in the works for Jurgen Klopp it's the boys from Goodison Park.

Liverpool's form has slipped slightly over recent games but the Reds still aren't losing. Four draws in their last six games in all competitions saw the Reds' lead on the table weaken but a solid 5-0 victory over Watford during the weak hit back at any doubters out there.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year, in what is quite possibly one of the funniest games I've ever watched. A freak goal from Divock Origi on the 90th minute after a blunder from keeper Jordan Pickford left Everton fans utterly deflated. The last meeting between the two sides at Goodison Park ended in a 0-0 and in the last five trips to Everton's ground in the league, four have ended in just a point for Liverpool.

I'm not sure what to expect from this one, Liverpool needed that massive win over Watford in the week and I feel that will have helped boost confidence around the camp. However, Everton will be desperate to cause an upset and while they haven't played well all season, the Merseyside derby has a tendency to throw up some bizarre results.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Watford

For the first time in I think ever on this blog I did not post about a United match. I moved out of the parents' house this weekend so I saw the game but the whole weekend was pretty hectic and I never got chance to blog, but fear not, I am back with a small Watford preview.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez but there is some good news on Roberto Firmino as the injury he picked up in the United game doesn't appear to be as bad as first feared. Watford only have one absentee as Kiko Femenia who is unavailable due to a hamstring issue.

Image via Independent
Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Manchester United was enough to take them to the top of the table. The Reds are now on 66 points with City in second place on 65. Watford are currently 7th in the table on 40 points, it's been a strong season so far for Watford but I'm not sure they will get the better of Klopp's side at Anfield.

The Hornets have won two out of their last five league games, matching Liverpool's current form. The Reds have drawn the remaining three games. 

The last time the two sides met was in November last year, in a game that saw Jordan Henderson sent off, the Reds scored three goals with no return. Salah, Trent and Firmino were all on the scoresheet. Watford's last visit to Anfield also ended in a batch of goals for the Reds, Salah found four goals in a 5-0 victory.

Liverpool have won six out of the last eight meetings between the two sides in the Premier League, the Reds have scored two goals or more on four occasions.

Every game is huge now for Klopp's side as we aim to chase down that elusive Premier League title. The Reds have gone through a bit of a dip by collecting several draws but if we're still sat at the top of the table when we're not even at our best then surely that's a good thing?

Liverpool can't really afford any slip-ups so Wednesday night's match will hopefully prove to be a more straightforward one. Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Five Things We Learned From The West Ham Game

1) This is going to be a long old season

A 1-1 draw away at West Ham in seasons gone by would actually be considered a good result for most teams but this season is just different for Liverpool. I find myself fuming at the fact we're three points clear at the top, it makes no sense to the neutrals but as a Kopite, I know what Liverpool are like and I want so desperately for us to win the title, therefore I want as much padding and protection as possible.

While being three points clear is nothing to frown at, it's the knowing that it could have been five. However, positively for Liverpool we did not entirely crumble against the Hammers, it would have been a nightmare if we'd failed to pick up any points in that game.

City have Everton next followed quite swiftly by Chelsea while Klopp's side have Bournemouth. It's gonna be a long old season...

Image via The Mirror
2) Lallana hasn't lost it?

Now those who read the blog or follow me on Twitter will know that I've never really been a massive fan of Lallana. It's not even like he's really done anything wrong either I've just never rated him that much and he's obviously had his issues with injuries.

On Monday night he started and to be fair I actually agreed with the decision because while I feel Shaqiri is a better player, I much prefer him to come on as an impact sub (unfortunately he didn't have much of an impact last night!)

Lallana's involvement with Liverpool's goal (yes I know, it was offside) was absolutely brilliant, he ran rings around the West Ham players and credit given where it's due, I thought he did well last night.

3) Sadio Mane knows where the net is 

Sadio is my favourite Liverpool player, some people knock him for being selfish and failing to pass but on the whole, I think you have to look at Mane this season and last season and truly assess the impact he has on the side. When Firmino or Salah are having a quiet one, for me it's players like Mane that keep a level of consistency and still are able to make something happen.

His finish last night was sublime.

4) Reds looked weak defensively

That's a phrase I never thought I'd say in relation to Liverpool this season. The fact is though, we were pretty woeful last night in defence, particularly when it came to set pieces. We were extremely lucky not to go behind in that match.

West Ham completely undid the Liverpool back four on several occasions thanks to clever free kicks and we just weren't up to scratch. I can't decide whether I would prefer Matip or Lovren partnering Virgil but at the moment I think I'd actually like to see Dejan back.

5) Liverpool need good news injury wise

The Reds already had a lot to contend with after the news that Gomez required surgery and Trent remains out but on hearing the line up on Monday evening, fans were informed that Wijnaldum and Henderson were also unavailable due to minor injuries.

Wijnaldum, in particular, was a big blow for me as he brings a calmness to the side, particularly in games such as this one against West Ham. From the sounds of it, his injury isn't too bad so hopefully, he'll return soon. Having Trent back would also make a big difference in my opinion and I've been reading today some positive news about Oxlade-Chamberlain so hopefully the Reds are turning a fitness corner!

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Sunday, 3 February 2019

MATCH PREVIEW: West Ham V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to London on Monday evening as they prepare to face West Ham. At the time of writing, Manchester City and Arsenal have not yet kicked off but the result of that fixture could have a massive impact on the Reds. No matter what happens at the Etihad though, Liverpool need to keep their momentum and after a draw with Leicester, Klopp will be looking for three points on this occasion.

Injuries for Liverpool have taken a bit of a set back as it was announced this week that Joe Gomez will be out longer than originally expected. Also unavailable is Dejan Lovren who has a hamstring injury. James Milner returns to the squad after serving a suspension and is likely to play at right-back covering Trent Alexander-Arnold who is also out.

Image via The Independent
For West Ham, Samir Nasri is unavailable due to a calf issue but Fabianksi and Cresswell may be available for selection. Arnautovic who went off against Wolves also looks to be an option for manager Pellegrini.

The last time the two sides met was in August last year, Liverpool won 4-0 at Anfield thanks to a brace from Sadio Mane and goals from Salah and Sturridge. In the last four meetings between the sides in the league, the Reds have scored four goals on every occasion.

Victory for West Ham last appeared in this fixture in January 2016, the Hammers won 2-0 with Antonio and Carroll on the score sheet. 

Pellegrini's side are currently 12th in the table with Liverpool still sitting on top of the pile. The Hammers have won just one out of their last five games in the league which was surprisingly a victory over Arsenal.

Liverpool have still only lost once so far this season but they didn't manage to pick up all three points against Leicester in their last league outing, having to settle for a draw instead. 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 4 January 2019

Reds Unbeaten Run Ends At Etihad

Top of the league and still four points clear, despite losing to the champions... so why am I so frustrated? It's surely a sign of how well Liverpool are playing that I find myself annoyed at last night's result even after a night's sleep. 

Don't get me wrong, it was the correct result, City deserved to win, I just worry how that will affect our momentum and I just know what we're like. It's bizarre cause I'm usually the rose-tinted optimistic fan that gets on people's nerves on Twitter for being too positive but I think I've been scorned by that Brendan Rodgers title race and I just desperately want everything to go right, even though I know there will be blips along the way and that it will not be straightforward. 

Fabinho v Man City
Image via The Mirror
There is no shame at all in losing to Guardiola's City at the Etihad, I am just hoping we can pick up where we left off. 

For me, Jurgen Klopp took a decision to select Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum in his midfield and I can see the thought process but I just don't think it worked.

The linkage (or lack of) between the midfield and the forwards was poor and there was a lot of negative movement either sideways or backwards, even when it appeared to the onlooker that a key through pass was available. 

Despite the midfield set up, Liverpool went agonisingly close to opening up the scoring when Sadio Mane saw a shot bounce off the post and a melee ensued. John Stones cleared off the line and somehow managed to steer the ball clear of an encroaching Salah. The goal decision system indicated the ball was just 11 millimetres away from being a Liverpool opener. Gutting. 

The first half was a very tense battle but City broke the deadlock at 40 minutes when Aguero shot high into goal from a very tight angle. I'm still not sure how he got that in. 

The Reds needed the half time whistle and needed to recoup. Klopp had clearly been thinking about his set up because at 57 minutes he replaced Milner with Fabinho. A cracking substitution with an immediate impact. I just can't help but regret the fact that the Brazilian didn't start the match. 

Just after the hour mark, Liverpool found their equaliser, a cross from Andy Robertson found its way into the box and Roberto Firmino was there to finish with a straightforward header. I went crazy. A draw here would have been a fantastic result, especially considering how the game had unfolded. 

For a while, the Reds looked as though they may have had a footing and throughout the remainder of the match chances did appear for Klopp's side including some further box madness with City at times lucky to clear the danger. 

The killer blow was delivered though by Leroy Sane at 72 minutes. An angled shot hit off the right-hand post and into the net.


A frustrating game for the Reds who could have got more out of it if the formation had been slightly different and had a bit of luck swung their way. Positively the Reds, on paper, have a decent set of fixtures now so I just hope we can crack on. 

Next up for Liverpool is Wolves in the FA Cup and I'm going! Will be sat in the North Bank trying to keep quiet with me fella and brother, should be a good laugh!!!

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PREVIEW: Man City V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip along the M62 on Thursday evening as they prepare to face title race rivals Manchester City. The Reds are currently sitting top of the table, six points ahead of Spurs and seven points ahead of City. The match at the Etihad could prove pivotal for Jurgen Klopp's side who are searching for their first ever Premier League title.

Injury wise Liverpool have received a boost as James Milner returns to fitness. For City, 
Gundogan becomes available while Delph and Mendy remain out injured. 

Image via The Independent
It's such a strange time being a Liverpool fan at the moment because the Reds are playing absolutely brilliantly, we're top of the table with an immense squad yet we can't quite bring ourselves to get excited.The chance to take the Premier League title is a prize too great for many a Liverpool fan who has been burnt recently by the agonisingly close campaign steered by Brendan Rodgers. The heartache is real and I for one am not quite ready to allow myself to get carried away for a real fear of something going wrong.

However, I did say to myself a few months back, if we were top after the Christmas period, I'd allow myself to get excited. That Christmas period has now extended ever so slightly to include tomorrow night but I tell you something, even if we get a point at the Etihad, that is massive for Jurgen Klopp's side and I will dare to dream.

The last time Liverpool and Manchester City met was in October last year in what proved to be a relatively uneventful match (0-0). The Reds' last trip to the Etihad was in the Champions League in April last year, a 2-1 win for Liverpool saw goals from Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Manchester City have proved to be a formidable force in recent seasons but they have always hit a stumbling block when facing the lads from L4. The Sky Blues have only beaten the Reds twice in the last 12 meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have equalled the record for the fewest goals conceded in the first 20 Premier League games (8).
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in every one of his six home league games against Liverpool.
  • Liverpool have won nine consecutive league matches.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching. I cannot wait for this one!

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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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Thursday, 20 December 2018

PREVIEW: Wolves V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Wolverhampton on Friday evening, my hometown and a place I love dearly. As a kid growing up, my brother was mad on the Reds so my football allegiance was aligned early to the lads from L4 but with a fella, family and friends supporting the boys in gold I always want them to do well, apart from tomorrow that is. 

After all we've been through this season, still top of the league and still unbeaten, I don't think I could take it if them Wolves lot managed to beat us. The scary thing is, they are fully capable. Wolves have had a brilliant start to the season and while they've struggled against sides like Huddersfield, they have absolutely thrived against the likes of Man City and Chelsea. 

Image via The Express
I think a lot of neutrals weren't sure what to expect from the Midlands side when they got promoted. I remember having a debate with several fans on Twitter first day of the season as some were calling Nuno's side a one-man team after a 2-2 draw with Everton. I was warning people not to underestimate. 

On a friendly note, let's not forget that Wolves are a major reason why we are currently sat top of the table. Taking points off City and beating Chelsea helped us massively, but they will not want to be doing us any favours on Friday. 

To change up this preview a bit I asked my fella a few questions to gain a Wolves perspective: 
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What do you make of Liverpool's season so far? 

Well, it couldn't have gone much better, could it? Unbeaten at Christmas and ahead of probably the best side the Premier League has seen. It's a remarkable achievement and in any other season, you could be 10 points clear. You seem to be really hitting your stride now, whereas earlier in the season you were winning games without playing particularly well. That win over United was huge, and should give confidence you can stay with City and push them all the way during the second half of the season.

Who's your favourite Red at the moment? 

Bobby Firmino for me is one of the most underrated players in the league. He's been getting a bit of stick of late from what I've seen, but he is what makes this Liverpool system tick. Brilliant at holding up the ball and linking the play and has that knack of getting into the box and on the end of tap-ins. A word for James Milner too, who has been vital to this team. A true case of a man making the very best of himself despite his limitations.

Have Wolves not met, matched or exceeded your expectations so far this season? 

It is a strange time to be a Wolves fan. Any other promoted team would merely be seeking survival in their first season back but the club has said from the off they are aiming much higher. The amount of money spent and the football we played in the Championship heightened expectations. We have shown we belong in this league, but defeats to the likes of Huddersfield and Cardiff have also given us a reality check. The win over Chelsea and draw with City are the standout results but last week's beating of Bournemouth was much more significant in putting to bed the notion we only do it against the big teams. We're currently seventh in the league, sat a point behind Man United, so we can't really complain

Name some players we should keep an eye out for? 

Ruben Neves has been the star of the last 12 months, an elegant, graceful midfielder with a phenomenal passing range. However, it is others who have shone of late such as Raul Jiminez, our lone frontman, who has more than stepped up to the task. He's chipped in with a few goals but his all-round play is much more important. Conor Coady too has been a rock in defence and made the step up to the Premier League look easy.

Is Conor Coady now a yam yam? 

They said he was a Scouser, he's bleeding gold and black, is how the song goes. We're under no illusions, Coady grew up in Liverpool and came from their youth set-up but when he steps out onto the pitch he gives everything for the shirt and the club. Can't remember the last time he had a bad game. A true leader. Don't expect him to shirk any tackles!

You're always banging on at me about how Wolves invented the European Cup. Honved, floodlights, blah blah blah... do you think Nuno's side could make Europe? 

Nuno's side could definitely make Europe but probably not this season. Given how the Premier League is these days, our only chance for the foreseeable future is by finishing seventh or winning a cup, unless one of the big six has a crisis. United are woeful but they're still sitting in sixth spot. This season will probably be too soon and I see us finishing around half way.

And finally, score prediction for Friday night?

I would probably look daft to predict a Wolves win given Liverpool are top of the league and unbeaten but we are definitely capable. Chelsea found that out. But if I'm honest, I probably see Liverpool winning this. Klopp will be desperate not to slip up after that United win. That being said, I'll sit on the fence and say 1-1.

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I was supposed to be going to this match, I'd been looking forward to it as soon as they released the fixtures but Sky went and moved it to Friday. Friday is our work's Christmas party which I'm helping to organise so I've had to resort to an iPad in the handbag and SkyGo! Haha. 

The last time we played Wolves...
It's going to be a difficult match for Liverpool and there's a danger of taking this one too easy. For me, the key bonus on Liverpool's part is the strength of our defence, Wolves will attack but whether they can convert successfully is a different question. In the meantime, you have Mane, Salah and Firmino taking advantage of any gaps. 

Wolves have scored and conceded exactly 19 goals this season while the Reds have scored 37 and conceded just seven goals. 

I am extremely excited for this match. I just wish I could be there but luckily we drew them in the FA Cup so I can go to that in Jan. 

My score prediction is a 2-1. 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

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