The Liver Bird  

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, 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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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Three Times Liverpool V Arsenal Was Awesome For The Neutral

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

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

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

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3 - Friday 22nd December 2017

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

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

Image via Sky Sports

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

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

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

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4 - Sunday 14th August 2016

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

Image via The Independent

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

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

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3 - Wednesday 13th January 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Adrian Saves Final Peno To Gift Reds The Super Cup

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

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

Image via standard.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liverpool: Super Cup Winners 2019.

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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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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Community Shield: Does it matter for Liverpool?

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

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

Image via eurosport.com

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

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

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

Will they feature?

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

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

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

When is a signing not a signing?

When they're 16 apparently. 

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

Image via skysports.com

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

Game on

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

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

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

P.s.

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

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

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Thursday, 14 March 2019

Five Things We Learned At The Allianz

1. Sadio Mane is awesome

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

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

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

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

2. Don't write off the Reds in Europe 


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

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

3.Virgil van Dijk, worth every penny 


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

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

4.Robertson booking unfortunate 


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

5.Matip strong aside from the mistake 


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

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

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

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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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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Opportunity missed? : Liverpool 1 Leicester 1

Liverpool extended their lead to five points at the top of the table on Wednesday night after a 1-1 draw with Leicester, but the match is tinged slightly with the knowledge the Reds could have been a massive seven points clear. 

Rafa Benitez had picked up a win over Manchester City the evening before, much to the delight of Kopites and so Wednesday's clash proved to be a huge opportunity for Klopp's side who, on paper, should have beaten Leicester. 

Image via goal.com
The Reds started brilliantly with a goal after two minutes thanks to Sadio Mane. The forward slipped his effort through the sleet and sent Anfield wild. 

It all started so well and it was Liverpool who retained control for the majority of the first half. That was until Harry Maguire netted right on the stroke of half time. The chance came from a free kick which Liverpool somewhat foolishly gave away, with many blue shirts offside Maguire timed his move perfectly and created a big problem for the Reds with his equaliser. 

In the second half, I think Liverpool began to fracture slightly. Anfield was tense, the players are obviously aching to get a goal but in difficult conditions, it just didn't seem to be happening. Hilariously the Liverpool ground staff spent the whole of half time clearing only the Kop End of the pitch, unfortunately, it didn't really seem to have an impact. 

The Reds could have had a chance to win it when Naby Keita was brought down in the box. It was definitely a penalty in my opinion and while I try not to dwell on decisions that could prove to be a massive call for the Reds who are chasing down their first title in 29 years. 

While Liverpool had their chances, Leicester did too. A decision from Demarai Gray to strike instead of square probably kept Liverpool in the game, I am certain if Gray had passed that would have been 2-1 to the foxes. 

At one point Bobby Firmino also very nearly turned the ball into his own net! 

Overall I think we simply have to focus on the positives, we're top of the league and we've extended the gap to five points. Let's face it, nobody realistically thought City would lose on Tuesday night so the fact our lead has increased should be celebrated. 

It's such a weird phase being a Liverpool fan at the moment, you extend your lead but almost are ambivalent to the whole situation because you know from experience not to get carried away with anything. 

Roll on West Ham! 

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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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Monday, 17 December 2018

Big Shaq Brace Puts Reds Back On Their Perch

Liverpool put themselves back on their perch on Sunday afternoon as three goals from the Reds brushed United aside at Anfield. Jose Mourinho's team was quite frankly horrendous, it was easily one of the worst United sides I've seen at Anfield in a very long time. 

Liverpool opened up the scoring with a beautiful goal from Mane, set up by an even more beautiful assist from the impressive Fabinho. 

It was the Reds piling on all the pressure and Anfield was bouncing but a somewhat lucky equaliser for United took the sting out of it for the Reds for the remainder of the second half. Lingard managed to convert from close range after a rare error from Alisson. 

Image via The Independent
The start of the second half saw immediate desperation from Mourinho as he brought on Fellaini straight away and soon began the hoof it and hope tactic. I mean, it's embarrassing, they're supposed to be the mighty Manchester United but they're set up like Stoke...

It was Klopp who would make the most inspired substitution though when he introduced Shaqiri at 70 minutes. I knew it was a good decision but I had no idea it would be THAT good. 

Shaq wasted no time getting involved and at 73 minutes when a close-range effort was deflected in. The Swiss international looked elated as he celebrated in front of the Kop and so was I. 

For years I've had to sit in the pub surrounding by United fans talking absolute bull but all they could do yesterday was listen to me scream my head off. Nineteen points behind us, absolutely hilarious! 

Shaqiri's second goal and a third of the night for Liverpool came at 80 minutes. Another deflection helped the ball into the net but there's a reason Shaqiri made such an impact because he plays positively and takes chances. A brilliant performance. 

If I wasn't already happy enough knowing we were top and had just battered Man United, I also then remembered I had money on a Mane 3-1 scorecast so I also won £56! Haha. Bonus. 

Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Those who know me will know why this one is a big deal.

Stay tuned to The Liver Bird for what should be an interesting preview and report! 

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

PREVIEW: PSG V Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp's side travel to the French capital on Wednesday evening as the Reds look to try and put destiny back in their own hands. Liverpool do not have to win this fixture to go through, they don't even have to draw but things would be a hell of a lot easier if the lads can pick up some sort of result in Paris.

The loss to Red Star out in Serbia was somewhat unexpected and has created a bit of an issue for Liverpool who would have been on nine points with two matches to go if they could have found victory. PSG is a hard place to go, the French fans know how to create an intimidating atmosphere and with players like Neymar and Mbappe they are always going to create a threat.

Injury news though indicates that the two aforementioned starlets will be subject to late fitness tests for this clash and to be honest I'll take any help we can get. Don't get me wrong, I still think the Reds are capable of getting three points in France but any weakened line up from PSG is surely a bonus.

Image via goal.com
For Liverpool, Joe Gomez returns to the team and it also appears that Sadio Mane will travel after coming down with an illness earlier this week.

The last time the two sides met, in case you have forgotten, was in September this year. The group match was an enthralling affair at Anfield which ended with Roberto Firmino scoring a winner at the Kop end on 90 minutes.

Prior to this tie, the sides have met previously during two legs of the semi-final of the European Cup Winners Cup. The Reds failed to score on that trip to Paris, PSG won the semi-final 3-2 on aggregate.

Liverpool have never lost all three away group games in the European Cup but PSG are unbeaten in their last 20 home group games in the competition. It is bound to be a tight contest on Wednesday evening but I genuinely think the Reds can win. At their very best, Liverpool's attacking line up is as good as any in Europe at the moment and I don't doubt for one second that one of our front men will find the back of the net.

The issue for me lies with who is fit, if Mane misses out that will leave a big hole in my opinion. Similarly, if Neymar and Mbappe both make the cut, a quick start for the Parisians could leave Liverpool lagging.

I am thoroughly looking forward to a night in the pub in front of this one. Head back to The Liver Bird on Thursday for a match report of some kind.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

REPORT: Reds Put 4 Past Red Star

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up for the Reds is Cardiff. 

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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Liverpool Lose In Italy After Late Lorenzo Goal

A frustrating result in Italy for Liverpool meant the Reds threw away a point in the 90th minute having somehow held on to a 0-0 draw for the majority of the match. The influential Insigne, who was always bound to have a say in this match, converted late on to send the tifosi wild leaving Liverpool fans utterly deflated. 

Image via foxsports.com.au
The game was an unproductive one for the Reds who failed really to call Napoli keeper Ospina into action. A front three consisting of Salah, Firmino and Mane would usually guarantee you a goal but not on Wednesday night. 

Added to the mix was an early injury to Naby Keita who went off clutching his back. At the time of writing, I believe he is getting checked over in hospital. It's hard to tell how much of an impact something like that has, especially so early on but it will have created an issue in Liverpool's momentum. 

Napoli were the ones with all the dangerous chances in this game and at one stage Mertens nearly converted only to see his deflection smash out off the bar. Alisson between the sticks had a rather busy night and if it wasn't for him Liverpool would have been in a far worse position.

One thing that really annoyed me on Wednesday night was actually away from the match itself but with some Liverpool fans in the pub. Literally everytime Mane touched the ball all you would hear is "pass, pass it though, ohhh man why doesn't he pass"... it was driving me bloody mad.

Granted, Mane is a selfish player, he's always been a forward more likely to keep his head down but in my opinion there's nothing wrong with being a bit selfish from time to time and the fact is, one of the major reasons we are joint top of the league at the moment is because of Sadio Mane. Last night he was one of few even creating any attacks and an almost perfect pass (yes pass, did you hear that?!) through to Mo Salah could have resulted in the Egyptian scoring a winner on another occasion.

The Reds did not deserve to win this game, no chance, but I do feel as though they deserved the draw. People forget that Italian sides are notoriously hard to break down, especially at home and especially underneath the instruction of Carlo Ancelotti. 

I said in the preview that he's a manager I really admire and after last nights performance he only strengthened my feelings. We were outplayed in the midfield and kept extremely quiet in front of goal. My main gripe was that if I'm Klopp looking at that match unfold, I'm bringing on Sturridge at least at 70 minutes?

Despite the result and rather dire performance, Liverpool do not have time to dwell. With City at the weekend, our focus must be regained, we can have City, I honestly think we can. Their style of play suits us better and we've grabbed points in nearly every match this season so far while only playing in first gear. The spaces left open by City I believe will prove fruitful for our forwards. 

Importantly for the Reds they picked up that late win over PSG. Add to this the fact that Napoli only managed a draw with Red Star and looking at the remaining group games you would hope Klopp's side have enough to get through the group. 

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Sunday, 2 September 2018

Five Things We Learned From The King Power

Image via Metro

1) Alisson needs to tone down the antics

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

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

2) Sadio Mane could be the star of this season

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

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

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

3) Reds look more in control

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

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

4) Klopp not afraid to make big substitutions

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

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

5) Liverpool have the squad to manage upcoming fixtures

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

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

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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

REPORT: Palace 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool collected an important victory over Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on Monday evening with James Milner and Sadio Mane on the scoresheet. The Reds needed to keep their momentum going after a solid win from Manchester City at the weekend and Jurgen Klopp’s side did just that.

Image via The Mirror
In seasons gone by, this is exactly the sort of game that Liverpool would have failed to see out. Palace away from home was always going to be a tricky fixture but the Reds did very well to maintain their composure and continue a consistent run of attacks.

Palace’s main threat Zaha got a few chances to try and punish the Liverpool defence but on the whole, Liverpool’s back four dealt with any danger. A shot from Townsend also had Kopites panicking when his long-range shot thankfully smashed off the bar.

A particular highlight should be placed on the young Joe Gomez playing alongside the superb Virgil van Dijk, I don’t need to sing the latter's praises, we all know how lucky we are to have signed that man but Gomez I thought deserved a mention.

A defender who has reentered the first team thanks to a Dejan Lovren injury could have struggled to impress due to the obvious pressure but he looked as calm as ever and put in some beautifully timed tackles.

Liverpool failed to open up the scoring despite sustained attack until right at the end of the first half. Mamadou Sakho who overall had a good game for Palace made a bad call when taking the decision to snap at Mo Salah in the box.

Some online were claiming Mo dived, he did not dive. Salah doesn’t dive, I still think people should consider themselves lucky to be watching a world-beating forward who is actually very honest and doesn’t spend his whole game rolling around on the floor. He was clipped twice and had his shirt pulled, Sakho was playing a dangerous game and for me, it was 100% a peno.

James Milner is the designated taker for the Reds and the stalwart did not fail to deliver with a confident spot-kick that put Liverpool ahead.

In the second half, at stages Palace began to find a bit of a foothold but Liverpool remained in control, Alisson made some important saves and it’s clear that the clean sheet is becoming as important as scoring goals.

One of Liverpool’s strengths is certainly the speed at which they can counter-attack and that is eventually what caught Palace off guard for our second of the night. A quick-thinking Mo Salah put Sadio Mane through on goal but the Senegal man still had a lot to do.

Sadio remained upright and continued his run to the right of goal, ending his move with a lovely finish to secure Liverpool’s three points. I bloody love Mane, he was on my shirt last year and after the start he’s made this season, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.

Another shoutout must go to new signing Naby Keita who to me looks very lively. That sublime skill which left Townsend for dead in the first half and that almost perfect long range pass to Mo Salah? Phenomenal. This boy has some serious potential.

Importantly for me, as I said at the start of the post, this is a game that in previous seasons Liverpool would fail to win. The fact that we rode out the dangerous periods, kept a clean sheet and still scored twice? To me, that’s just as good as winning 6-1. Yes, it’s exciting to just win by means of scoring bags more goals than your opposition and conceding two or three on the way but it feels a lot better when you know you can rely on your defence and goalkeeper.

Roll on Brighton!

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