The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Liverpool V United: 3 Key Results From The Last 5 Years

Hello everybody, long time no type. I haven't blogged in ages, I guess I've just been super busy, a pandemic happened and I lost a bit of love for writing but with a simply massive match on the horizon against Manchester United, I had to take the opportunity to get back to the keyboard for a trip down memory lane.

Below are three key results from the last five years of Liverpool v Manchester United. Let me know yours on Twitter.

1: European Prowess

Result: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0
Goalscorers: Daniel Sturridge (20' peno), Roberto Firmino (73')

In March 2016, Liverpool had drawn Manchester United in the Europa League. Just six months into Jurgen Klopp's tenure and the German had been dealt once of the most mouthwatering ties ever. Yes, this may not have been the Champions League but both sides were desperate to win here with progress to the quarter-finals at stake.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates

Image via football365.com

In the Premier League, Louis van Gaal's side were 3 points ahead of the Reds in 6th place but Klopp's team did have a game in hand. Manchester United had already got the better of Liverpool in both league games this season, winning 3-1 in September 2015 at Old Trafford and victorious at Anfield thanks to a late goal from Wayne Rooney.

While United for years had bragging rights over the Premier League, they could not compete with Anfield's European prowess. The 2-0 victory at Anfield is one of my favourite moments from clashes between the two sides in recent years. United were dire in this match and the Reds went on to seal their progression, drawing the second leg at Old Trafford 1-1.

Liverpool went on to make it all the way to the Europa League final against Sevilla but lost 3-1, it didn't matter though, greatness was around the corner.

2: Salah Lost His Shirt

Result: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0
Goalscorers: Virgil van Dijk (14' peno), Mo Salah (90' +3)

It's Sunday 19th January, Liverpool are flying high at the top of the Premier League, coronavirus is some pesky thing that we're denying will ever hit us and we're allowed to go to the pub... little did we know.

The Reds scored after just 14 minutes thanks to Van Dijk but United managed to find a foothold and began to put Klopp's side under some serious pressure. While it may not have been the end of the world if Liverpool had dropped points here, pride alone was worth fighting for, we weren't going down to United, not today.

Mo Salah and Alisson celebrating
Image via premierleague.com
In the third minute of extra time, Mo scored a brilliant goal assisted by Alisson (memories of Pepe Reina evoked) and Anfield erupted. We'd seen a lot of wins so far in the season but this one felt special.

The victory extended our lead at the top, which was now a 16 point gap, and the Kop, finally, allowed itself to make vocal what we'd all been thinking for some while now but were too afraid to admit. The chants of "we're gonna win the league!" rang around L4 and that elusive Premier League title felt closer than ever.

That snap of Mo Salah whipping his shirt off and running to the Kop End is etched in my mind, simply awesome. Unfortunately, the Reds had to wait patiently for their title as coronavirus ripped through the nation, but we got there in the end and boy was it emotional.

3: Big Shaq, Super Sub

Result: Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1
Goalscorers: Sadio Mane (24'), Xherdan Shaqiri (73', 80')

In December 2018, I watched one of my favourite performances from a sub ever. Shaqiri only entered play with 20 minutes to go as the Reds were level with United and struggling to find a way through.

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrating
Image via goal.com
A win here would be vital for Liverpool as Manchester City has beaten Everton for another three points the day before. Both efforts from the Swiss international were deflected but nobody cared, Big Shaq had entered play and completely turned the fixture around with two goals in two minutes, it was a superb performance.

Still to this day, that's one of my favourite results, United were shellshocked and the win took us back to the top of the table. It's a shame that for whatever reason Shaqiri is still on the fringes at Liverpool but he is certainly a player who can completely turn a game in your favour.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Wolves 2 Liverpool 1: My Nightmare In The North Bank

Well, it's the morning after the night before as I type this and I'm still not quite sure why I voluntarily put myself through that match sat in the home end...

As you all know by now I'm surrounded by Wolves fans in my life so for a laugh and to ensure I took a chance to see us in the flesh (I don't get to go to matches very often) I figured I'd sit in the north bank with me fella and me brother. What an ordeal that was. 

Image via Independent
When the team sheets came out it was clear that Nuno had decided to go for it with Wolves after he named a very strong XI with perhaps the keeper Ruddy being the main notable change. Liverpool, on the other hand, had started a very weakened team but even with the changes, I was looking at names like Shaqiri and Sturridge thinking yeah, we have enough to cause concern here against a strong Wolves side.

That isn't how it panned out though. The game started badly for the Reds as Lovren had to be subbed off after just six minutes with an injury, this adds even more to our growing defensive absentee list. The only saving grace was that 16-year-old Ki Jana Hoever was brought on in his place and the youngster did extremely well. 

The first half was absolute crap. Both teams were unable to really string anything of importance together and to be honest, I was struggling to see where a goal was coming from for us, it was a very poor first half from the Reds. 

At 38 minutes Wolves found an opening goal thanks to Jiminez. I didn't actually see this goal because all the Wolves fans stood up as he was running freely at the box and I refused to as I didn't want to be associated with them lot once they started inevitably celebrating... 

It was a great time to score for Wolves but Liverpool for a short while made me think we might be able to get back into the game when we found an equaliser not long after returning from the half time break. 

It was a lovely strike from Origi right in front of me. I couldn't really celebrate properly so I was sat in the middle of me fella and me brother elbowing them constantly with a big grin on my face. 

Even with the goal, I still wasn't sure the Reds had enough in them to see this one out and I knew Wolves still had fuel in the tank. 

Bad times...
A wonder strike from Neves put Nuno's side back in front at 55 minutes and deservedly so. The pace in which Wolves regained the lead I think was just too much to deal with for an already struggling Liverpool XI. 

Klopp full on went for it with about 20 minutes remaining, bringing on both Salah and Firmino. I was extremely happy to be able to see them both but not even their magic was enough to find a goal to keep Liverpool in the cup. 

On the whole, am I disappointed? A little bit but not really to be honest. I always want to chase silverware but Wolves were deserved winners last night. I'm mainly disappointed because being from Wolverhampton I'm not gonna live this down now. On the flip side though, Liverpool will not have as many games to contend with and this could be our best ever chance to win the league. All I care about now is us beating Brighton!! 

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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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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

PREVIEW: Huddersfield V Liverpool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 27 September 2018

Hazard Goal Sends Liverpool Out Of League Cup

Liverpool fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea on Wednesday evening in the League Cup despite looking in control for large portions of the game.

Jurgen Klopp fielded a weakened XI but maintained experience with the likes of Milner, Mane and Sturridge.

Embed from Getty Images

With the first half remaining 0-0 but both goalkeepers called into action, the Reds had to wait until just before the hour mark for their goal when Daniel Sturridge converted with an acrobatic effort at the Kop end.

The forward had missed an open net a few minutes earlier but redeemed himself with a brilliant goal. It's superb to know we have somebody like Daniel Sturridge to call upon because he will always find you a goal.

Chelsea equalised at 79 minutes thanks to a close-range conversion from Emerson. VAR was utilised but the goal was ruled onside. Simon Mignolet I thought was very unlucky here having made a great reaction save just prior to the effort. 

At this point, the match looked like it could be anybody's but it was Chelsea who put the final nail in the coffin thanks to the brilliance of Hazard. 

With five minutes left to go Hazard struck a stunning shot from range which flew into the top left corner and there wasn't much that Liverpool could do about that. The only thing I question really is whether Moreno could have pressed and piled on a bit more pressure? 

As the dying moments faded Jordan Henderson seemed hell-bent on attacking Hazard, perhaps one eye on Saturday's clash? Haha! 

Prior to kick off I had the attitude that I wouldn't mind if we won or lost last night's game but as the match went on and seeing how well we played with a weakened XI it was frustrating to not win that match and progress to the next round. 

Nevertheless, as long as we beat them at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, I think I'll get over it... 

To end on I'd like to highlight the tenacious performance from Shaqiri who for some reason at the end of the match got a bit of a talking to from Klopp. I'm sure the boss didn't mean it to come across that way but watching that on tele at the end was horrible, Shaq looked devastated and he'd put his all into that match. I'm sure all is fine now though.

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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Manninger, Alisson, Philippe sold: A tale of the Liverpool transfer window.


Beautiful South anyone? 

The Yorkshire band may have a point in the lyrics of Song for Whoever... "I forget your name." That phrase could easily be applied to several mind-boggling Liverpool transfers of the recent past, but not this year!

Gone are the days where the Reds would offer a short-term contract to an ageing Austrian goalkeeper (Manninger). In are the days where Liverpool break the world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper (Alisson) and in are the days where L4 completes shrewd business allowing star players to leave but for a considerable profit (Philippe Coutinho).

It wasn't that long ago when Kopites up and down the country were sat in front of the blinding Sky Sports yellow ticker tape, reading the breaking news that the Reds had spent £35 million on Andy Carroll.

In recent years, transfer windows for Liverpool fans have been something to fear, not look forward to. A sense of panic would always arise leading to inflated prices, the purchase of players in positions we don't need to strengthen and countless commentary from Rafael Benitez arguing for more in his kitty from previous American owners Hicks and Gillett. Horror filled times. 

Reds fans should fear no more though, the promotion of Michael Edwards to Sporting Director has brought with it some stunning signings and some key contract extensions. The likes of Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have both recently put pen to paper to reinstate their commitment to the club and Edwards has also overseen big-ticket moves such as the £75 million signing of Virgin van Dijk and securing Naby Keita.

The price tags may well be rising, the Reds have just purchased the most expensive goalkeeper football has ever seen but that's what you need to do to compete. In seasons gone by Alisson would not even be on Liverpool's radar. Not only would the Reds struggle to entice such a name due to the lack of funds, they were also out of the Champions League and lacking in other star names to help convince any targets to come to the club.

Liverpool is a huge draw for many footballers but the history of the club can only act as an incentive to a certain extent. For many, no Champions League football and no top-drawer players pushing the team towards silverware means no deal.

For years, all we had as Reds was Steven Gerrard. The amount of stories you read about Steve's influence in signing players, his autobiography stresses several times where Brendan Rodgers would ask him to call up prospective players to try and convince them to come to the club.

Now we have Mo Salah dropping Alisson a cheeky text. 

I completed a quiz earlier this week where you had to name Liverpool's top 50 most expensive signings (I didn't get all the 50 let's put it that way). At the end of the quiz when all of the answers were populated I found myself both in shock at some of the signings but also pleasantly surprised with others.

Liverpool could argue that despite some poor transfer windows recently, they have also nabbed some absolute bargains. Fernando Torres cost the club £26.5 million, Luis Suarez cost just £22.8 million. Henderson £16 million, Philippe Coutinho just £8.5 million, some cracking deals I am sure you will agree.

On the other hand, the Reds have also wasted stacks of cash on underperformers; Christian Benteke cost £32.5 million, Alberto Aquilani (remember him?!) cost us £20 million and we paid £10.5 million for Fabio Borini.

We've come a long way from some of the terrible overpriced decisions but vitally, we need to make this count. The Reds have purchased some big names this window and while the pressure is on for these signings, they should be able to slot into Jurgen Klopp's side with ease. 

Klopp's teams press and attack relentlessly, adding the likes of Fabinho, Shaqiri and Keita into the mix is extremely interesting. On top of this, a young and hungry goalkeeper, eager to impress should add some much-needed balance at the back and I still believe that the introduction of VVD has massively aided Dejan Lovren's all-around performance. It's an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan.

Talk of Fekir and questions raised about purchasing another defender could possibly still be answered during this window but whatever happens, I don't think anybody can query the intent this year.

The ambition of the club is clear for all to see and I am just praying that this year, it could be ours.

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