The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Alisson Injured In Norwich Win

Liverpool made a solid start to their 2019/2020 Premier League campaign on Friday night as they opened up the season with a 4-1 win over Norwich. An own goal began proceedings but goals from Salah, van Dijk and Origi quickly followed in the first half. The Liverpool supporting Norwich forward Pukki did find a consolation in the second half but despite a valiant effort from the away side, they could only find the one goal.

Image via

The big news from Liverpool's perspective, aside from the emphatic win, was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson Becker. The golden glove winner went down after taking a goal kick in the first half, appearing to clutch his calf. Second choice keeper Adrian who only arrived at the club this week looked shocked that his chance to play in front of the Kop had already arrived and he received a rapturous welcome from the Anfield faithful.

Divock Origi's cross was turned into the net by Norwich's Hanley after just seven minutes and despite a bright start from the visitors, this moment did somewhat take the wind out of their sails. Klopp's side capitalised and Mo Salah found the net with a lovely angled finish, followed closely by a classic Virgil van Dijk header. Origi scored the fourth and final goal for the Reds who entered the second half with the same tempo but couldn't find the net again.

Pukki's goal was deserved for Norwich who had stuck to the football that had served them so well in the Championship. Scoring bags of goals but also conceding a lot too on their way to the Premier League, it could have been easy for the Norwich manager to attempt to play tactically but they didn't. The Canaries came to Anfield and attacked, which is more than you can say for most teams, so full credit to them.

After the Reds threw down the gauntlet, all eyes were on rivals Manchester City. Many have predicted that this season will once again be a two-horse race and Pep Guardiola's team certainly responded. A 5-0 victory over West Ham, with a load of VAR coverage thrown in, provided the Sky Blues with an immediate response to Liverpool's result.

A win produced an almost perfect start for the Reds but the Alisson injury news has added a bit of a downer. The latest seems to be that the Brazilian could be out for up to 4-8 weeks, Liverpool are apparently looking at signing Lonergan on a free transfer to play the second keeper to the promoted Adrian as our third choice keeper Kelleher has a broken wrist...

I mean what are the chances of your star goalkeeper getting a pretty bad injury on the opening day of the season? I'm not usually a downbeat person and would usually be the one saying all sorts of positive things here but I genuinely am concerned by this, Alisson is such a huge factor in our attempts to chase that elusive Premier League title.

Adrian is a top keeper and with van Dijk in front of him I don't doubt that he can assist the Reds in their hour of need but I am praying that Alisson's injury resolves itself as soon as possible.

Next up for the Reds is Chelsea in the Super Cup.

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Thursday, 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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Sunday, 17 February 2019

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Liverpool V Bayern Munich

The Champions League returns to Anfield on Tuesday night as Liverpool prepare to face Bayern Munich in the last 16. The Reds have had a longer rest than most sides and took advantage of having no cup games this weekend to attend a warm weather training camp in Marbella. The team are in good spirits but injuries and suspensions could have an impact.

Liverpool are unable to call upon Virgil van Dijk who is suspended for this leg of the tie and with injuries to the likes of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren, it is likely Fabinho will be deployed in defence. There is no denying the influence of Virgil on Liverpool's back four but I honestly feel like the Reds are prepared enough to deal with Bayern at home, Fabinho has looked convincing when he has had to step up and play in defence so we'll see what happens.

Image via The Independent
Form-wise, Bayern come into this game stronger having won five out of their last six in all competitions. Their only loss was a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leverkusen. The Reds have won three out of their last six in all competitions, Wolves knocked us out the FA Cup and Klopp's side also picked up two 1-1 draws against Leicester and West Ham.

It's a big week for the Reds as Manchester United also await on Sunday. For me, it's a massive week as sandwiched between the two matches I'm moving out of the parents' house and into our new flat, excited doesn't cut it! Haha.

Liverpool and Bayern Munich have met on a total of seven occasions, the Reds have won twice, Bayern once and there have been four draws. The last time the two sides met was in August 2001 in the European Super Cup. Riise, Heskey and Owen found the net in a 3-2 win for Liverpool. Two out of Bayern's three visits to Anfield have ended in a 0-0 draw.

Both clubs at the time of writing sit in 2nd place in their respective leagues. Klopp's team are on 65 points, matching leaders Manchester City but with a game in hand. Bayern are two points behind leaders Dortmund but it's Dortmund who also have a game in hand.

I cannot wait for this one on Tuesday night, I bloody love the Champions League and although I'm obviously more concerned with continuing to push for the title and beating United on Sunday, I still very much want Liverpool to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League. Watching us play against Europe's elite is one of my favourite things in the world.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching, next time I blog I'll be set up in the new flat!

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Saturday, 22 December 2018

REPORT: Wolves 0 Liverpool 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, 3 December 2018

REPORT: Liverpool 1 Everton 0

I've seen some Merseyside derbies in my time but that could quite possibly be my favourite ending ever, you just couldn't make it up! After a battle between the two sides over 90 minutes it was the forgotten Divock Origi who found himself in the right place at the right time to take all three points for Liverpool. 

I have to hand it to the Toffees they look a far stronger side under Marco Silva and they held their own at Anfield for the majority of the match. Liverpool have improved vastly in defence compared to last season and that showed when Alisson was forced into a close-range reaction save, stopping Andre Gomes' header. The danger wasn't quite clear but Joe Gomez's quick thinking ensured the Reds cleared it off the line. 

Image via Sky Sports
Annoyingly for Liverpool, while their defence is ten times better their attack seems to have gone a bit quiet over recent weeks and for me, this isn't necessarily to do with the forward players. I'm not sure what other people's opinions are but for me, it feels like the link between defence and midfield and midfield to attack is somewhat lacking at the moment. There's a lot more side or back passing and no real cutting edge balls through, this was also the case when Henderson was on against PSG so I'm not really singling out players, just the midfield as a whole feels like it could click more. 

Don't get me wrong players like Fabinho for me are proving their worth, he did very well breaking up play on Sunday but I just think we need a midfield that is more positive with the passing. I feel like that improved slightly once Keita came on. 

The Reds had some chances, mainly half ones and mainly from Sadio Mane but it never quite felt like we would actually win this match. I was preparing myself for a draw and the pain in seeing us go further behind Man City but a free kick in the dying moments would change all that. 

Due to be taken by Trent I am sure Virgil was shouting up the pitch asking Alisson to take it. The keeper ran to the free kick spot and rolled it forward to Trent who then flung it into the box. Sat in the pub next to an Everton fan who was screaming for the whistle all I kept thinking was surely we can't score here, surely it's over. 

A header found its way out to Virgil van Dijk who absolutely spooned his effort to get the ball back into the box but the height on his miss hit meant Jordan Pickford would have to make a decision. As the ball came crashing down onto the bar, Pickford appeared to try and catch it instead of turning it over the bar for a corner. Meanwhile, Divock Origi was already in position and as the ball fell on the right side of goal the Belgian headed home to win the Merseyside Derby in the 96th minute. Absolutely crazy!

I was screaming my head off, of all the people to score the winner it's Origi, nobody's seen him for about two years apart from the odd cameo. What a man. 

Did we deserve to win? No, but the fact is, you play to the end and if your chance arises ensure you take it. 

Klopp running on the pitch was absolutely hilarious people having a go can say all they want. He didn't jump in Silva's face he ran to his keeper. It's a natural reaction in a game that already means so much let alone when the three points means your side remains latched on to a title race. 

All I keep thinking is Man City must be well pissed off. Hahaha. 

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Monday, 8 October 2018

Reds Pick Up Draw Against City

After all the build-up to this match and judging by the recent meetings between the two sides, not many would have had this one down as a 0-0 draw. In a game where Liverpool looked lacking up front but solid at the back, it was perhaps the right result come 90 minutes, aided by Mahrez's inability to convert from the spot.

Image via The Independent
Both managers will have wanted nothing more than victory in this game at Anfield but as the match unfolded it became clear that both had learnt lessons in how to subdue the attack of the opposition. It's fair to say that Liverpool's front three haven't been as prolific as they were last season but I did feel they would get the space they required against City, it didn't pan out that way though with Mane, Salah and Firmino on the whole being crowded out.

Similarly, the Manchester City attack was coming up against a brick wall in the likes of Lovren and Virgil van Dijk. Lovren in particular apart from a couple of mishaps had a brilliant game in my opinion. Considering several fans were worried when he was named on the team sheet I thought he was solid, on his day, Lovren is a strong defender. Yes, he plays very close to the line and can often find himself in trouble but I can guarantee you, strikers do not like playing against defenders like the Croatian.

For me, Lovren's perfectly timed tackle in the second half was the icing on the cake. Stunning.

Alongside Lovren was Mr van Dijk. The defender has created a huge impact on the Liverpool side since appearing last January and for the majority of the 90 minutes yesterday he instructed his team to see off City and defended well. It is utterly a bizarre feeling as a Liverpool fan to be sat there and able to rely on your defensive performance. Alien.

Unfortunately for the Reds, their defending was somewhat marred when Virgil made a silly decision to take down Sane in the box. For me, Sane was going nowhere, there was no need to stick the foot in but what's done is done.

Mahrez stepped up to take the penalty in what I was certain would turn out to be a dramatic City winner but the ex Leicester man skied his spot kick leaving Klopp and his side relieved to say the least.

It's a weird situation at the moment because I remember saying a few weeks back either on the blog here or on Twitter, if Liverpool can get through this ridiculous run of fixtures into October, we will be in a very strong position. We have made it through those fixtures, we've collected two points against Chelsea and City who look like our major rivals and are joint on points at the top, that can't be a bad thing surely? Of course it is not but the one thing that slightly concerns me is the Reds lack of potency in attack.

Something isn't quite right at the moment, part of me feels as though the linkage between the midfield and strikers isn't as slick as last year. All I know is that Liverpool will at some stage need to get out of first gear and with a run of supposedly easier fixtures, here's hoping Klopp and his team can really kick on now up to Christmas!

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Friday, 15 June 2018

2017/2018 Liverpool FC Season Review

World Cup fever may have set in but in the breaks between matches, here's my review of Liverpool's 2017/2018 season if you fancy a quick read.

August 2017 - October 2017

Liverpool opened the 2017 Premier League season by battering Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield. It was an extremely dire performance from the Londoners but the game allowed Jurgen Klopp to get off to a winning start.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Liverpool's August form would not run into September. This time, it was Klopp's side on the end of a battering when Manchester City put five goals past us at the Etihad.

Image via The Independent
A 2-2 draw with Sevilla opened up what would turn into a superb Champions League campaign but the Reds also crashed out of the League Cup, losing away to Leicester.

In October, the Reds had a bit of a case of the draws once again after a 1-1 with Newcastle and a boring 0-0 with United. The Reds did, however, put seven past Maribor in the Champions League but also lost 4-1 to Spurs in possibly the worst game of the season. Lovren had an absolute mare that day.

For me, August to October was a very interesting period for the Reds. I was at a point where I was getting very frustrated with Jurgen Klopp, I didn't want him to go anywhere, I was and still am fully behind the boss but I was becoming exasperated with his substitutions and stubbornness. 

I remember writing a small piece for This Is Anfield shortly after the Spurs game and I just felt like he didn't use the bench for maximum impact, the timings of substitutions or player changes were often very strange and we never seemed to have an effective plan B.

In the news...

  • Hurricane Harvey strikes the United States
  • Paris and Los Angeles are awarded the rights to host the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics
  • Hurricane Irma hits the Caribbean and the United States, a disastrous period for the regions as Hurricane Maria also followed striking similar areas

November 2017 - January 2018

November opened for the Reds with another victory in the Champions League. A 3-0 win over Maribor would be coupled later in the month with another draw with Sevilla (3-3).

In the league, the Reds had a better month, beating West Ham 4-1 away from home, beating Southampton and Stoke 3-0 and drawing 1-1 with Chelsea.

A busy December schedule saw the Reds batter Spartak Moscow in their final Champions League group game, winning 7-0 and gaining a place in the last 16. While overall December boded well for the Reds, draws were still creeping in via a 1-1 with Everton, a 3-3 with Arsenal and a dire 0-0 with West Brom.

These are the games that Liverpool always seem to regret, we drop so many points unnecessarily and the draw against West Brom was particularly annoying.

January sparked a new year and a fresh start with the signing of Virgil van Dijk. I was desperate for him to come in and add a bit of stability to our defence, some instruction and communication and he had an instant effect on the side in Liverpool's first FA Cup game.

Image via Metro
The Reds knocked Everton out thanks to a van Dijk header, absolutely hilarious! The laughter didn't last long though as the Reds were knocked out by West Brom just a couple of weeks later (I also found a new hatred for VAR during this match).

As January continued, an emphatic win over City (4-3) and a win over Huddersfield offered some positives but it was becoming clear that Jurgen Klopp's focus was in Europe.

For me, this period of the season was much of a muchness. Yes, there were signs of improvement, slowly the defence appeared to be gelling but the league just became something that was happening in the background. As long as we got 4th, that's all that mattered.

In the news...

  • A new orangutan species is identified in Indonesia
  • A total lunar eclipse takes place
  • Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics

February 2018 - May 2018

February contained our first leg against our last 16 opponents, Porto. The Reds were superb away from home, scoring five goals with no return. Klopp's side also picked up wins over Southampton and West Ham in the league and drew with Spurs.

A 0-0 draw in the second leg of our Champions League tie in March was enough to see the Reds through to the quarter finals. Victory over Rafa Benitez's Newcastle side was joined by a loss to Manchester United, a 5-0 win over Watford and a 2-1 win over Palace in the league.

I flew out to Australia for the holiday of a lifetime in March but thankfully I was flying on the night of the Champions League draw. When Liverpool pulled out Manchester City, I was excited, to say the least and possibly one of the most positive fans reacting to the news. I knew we could have them over two legs but I never thought it would go as well as it did.

April opened with the first leg at Anfield. Liverpool put in a stunning performance to beat City 3-0 with goals from Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.

Image via Daily Star
In the league (very much in the background at this point) the Reds remained in contention for the top four but picked up some sloppy draws against the likes of Stoke and West Brom.

In the midst of all this, the Reds played their second leg against City, this time at the Etihad. The press would have you believe that this is where Liverpool would come unstuck, City would be able to cause damage and potentially turn around the impossible scoreline. Well, they didn't. Liverpool won yet again. A 2-1 victory with goals from Salah and Firmino.

Our unlikely opponents in the semi-final were Roma having miraculously knocked out Barcelona. Most Reds would have bitten a hand off to get Roma in the semi-final but they were no mugs. A 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the first leg at Anfield left some fans nervous towards the end and despite being three goals in front, the trip to Italy was a tentative one.

The Reds actually lost in Rome, 4-2, but progressed to the final, 7-6 on aggregate in typical Liverpool fashion.

A 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on the last day of the season secured the Reds place in the top four and more importantly, secured Champions League football next season but it was the final that most people were concerned about.

In the news...

  • Qantas launches a directly flight from Heathrow, London to Perth. It is the first commercial non-stop service between the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • Miguel Diaz-Canel is sworn in as the president of Cuba. The first time since 1959 that neither Castro brother is leading the country.
  • GDPR comes into effect, people's inboxes are bombarded.

Champions League Final

The date was set: Saturday 26th May. Our opponents? Real Madrid. The mighty Spaniards were, of course, a force to be reckoned with, but this was Liverpool and this was Europe. Everybody believed something special could happen.

Image via The Express
I travelled up to Liverpool to watch the match at Camp & Furnace, the atmosphere in the city was just brilliant and I'm so glad I got to watch the final with fellow fans.

Heartbreak would occur though. Nobody could have predicted that Mo Salah would leave the field, injured and in tears after such a phenomenal season. Nobody could have foreseen the horrendous errors from Karius, the calls of concussion and the absolute worldy scored by Gareth Bale. It wasn't Liverpool's night but the trip to the final once again supported the fact that the Reds are a solid team, the league still remains a difficult nut to crack but in Europe we were stunning.

Roll on 2018/2019!

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Monday, 21 May 2018

It's Time For Kiev | Liverpool FC | Champions League

It's 2005, I'm 15 years old, starting to really hone my obsession with Liverpool Football Club, sat in the living room of our Wolverhampton council house, waiting for the Reds to kick off in Istanbul.

Image via The Metro
Like many Liverpool fans back then I never seriously thought we would find a route to the final with that team but the magic was tangible. The Olympiakos game and that infamous Gerrard goal, Hyypia scoring against Juventus and the ghost goal at Anfield. None of those things really should have happened, but I quickly learned as a 15 year old that Liverpool in Europe are just something else.

Twenty years after reaching their last European Cup final in 1985, Rafa Benitez's Liverpool side proved they had the stamina to not only make it to the final but also come back from 3-0 down to win on penalties. At half time I had retreated to the bathroom and I'm not afraid to say, I had tears in my eyes. I was absolutely gutted, we'd worked so hard to get there and it was crumbling away. Still a bit young and perhaps a bit naive, I was adamant I would not watch the second half, but my Dad being the wise man that he is convinced me to continue to watch. I was running out into the street with my Liverpool flag, utterly elated by the final whistle.

Any neutral would vote that as one of the best football matches in history and this season the Reds have captured some of that tenacious 2005 spirit.

Depicted as the underdogs once again, Liverpool may be unfavoured by most but Jurgen Klopp and his side have 100% earnt their place in the final on Saturday. Brushing aside teams like Porto and comfortably beating Manchester City does not come easily. The two legs against Roma were perhaps not as straightforward but we wouldn't be Liverpool if there weren't a few blips along the way.

Looking at the opposition, they are of course European royalty in their own right but they are by no means perfect. For me, it's a good time to be playing Real Madrid, the Spaniards have had questions hanging over their defence the whole season and while they clearly have a solid attack you would be stupid to question the power of Liverpool's forwards.

It's going to be a huge challenge for the Reds, no doubt about it but they are hungry, prepared and able to win this final. 

A back four rejuvenated by the introduction of Virgil van Dijk will have its work cut out but the Reds have improved immensely on the defensive front and are could keep out Real Madrid. Perhaps not for the whole 90 but for enough time to get the upper hand.

In the midfield, Jordan Henderson must get a mention, I can't say I'm his biggest fan. I've never disliked him but I haven't always sung his praises, however, he has led his team in this European campaign and nobody can doubt his passion. He will be willing the team on from the centre of the field and pulling the strings with a bit of luck.

Then there's the matter of the forwards, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are a force to be reckoned with. Madrid will argue they have come up against similar, dealing with Messi, Suarez and co but I honestly don't think they've met this type of attack in a very long time.

The Reds' ability to switch up the play so quickly, a front three all injected with immense pace and a real connection on the pitch? I genuinely think they could get stung. Mo Salah has had a phenomenal season, you're telling me he's not going to be giving his absolute all to find the net in the Champions League final? 

Salah WILL score and he will be supported by Firmino and Mane who will both also be chomping at the bit to score for their team mates, manager and fans.

The Spanish papers can brand this a piece of cake all they want. I don't think they truly understand what is coming for them in Kiev on Saturday 26th May.

We've conquered all of Europe, and we're never gonna stop. Fingers crossed for number six.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! I will be in Liverpool with me fella, me brother and me mate if you spot me, say hi!


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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Van Dijk Knocks Everton Out The Cup

Unbelievable. That man is worth every penny of that £75 million for the header alone. Absolutely brilliant, Everton at one stage actually thought they were on for a win at Anfield...

van Dijk goal Everton
Image via The Guardian
In a Merseyside derby filled with questionable refereeing decisions, controversial incidents and eventually goals, it was Liverpool who ended the game victorious and Klopp's side progress safely to the next stage of the FA Cup.

The manager started a strong side but notably missing were Mo Salah and Philippe Coutinho, the former had just returned from receiving his African Player of the Year award in Ghana while the latter as I write this has just agreed a £142 million deal with Barcelona... sad times.

Everton, predictably started the game in true Allardyce fashion, set up to protect and try to nick something on the break. Liverpool, on the other hand, retained a lot of possession in the first half but didn't actually create anything with it until a penalty was awarded on 35 minutes.

James Milner converted the spot kick, calmly as ever, but was it even a penalty in the first place? When I first saw it I definitely felt as though we were lucky to receive the decision, it looked very soft. However, what you have to ask yourself too is, was Holgate impeding Lallana? I think he was, I think he prevented Lallana's turn to continue his run with the ball and therefore, hindered his attack illegally. Despite this, I still think Lallana went down very theatrically. With the benefit of replays and angles, I believe it was a penalty but I can see why it wouldn't have been given.

Shortly after the spot-kick, Everton's Holgate let the red mist descend and pushed Firmino with both hands over the advertising hoardings and into the crowd, for no reason whatsoever. Firmino, rightly disgruntled at the situation, ran fuming back to Holgate and clearly an exchange of words occurred. I have no idea what was said and wouldn't want to speculate but it truly baffles me that all on-air analysis and a lot of social media analysis was focused on the argument and what may or may not have been said. Not on Holgate's ridiculous act to force Firmino off the pitch.

Not long after the hour mark, Everton found themselves an equaliser, with the Reds caught completely off guard, an impressive break involving Jagielka surprisingly, allowed Sigurdsson to find the back of the net.

After a brave decision to take Wayne Rooney off (obviously they didn't want to give us the satisfaction of watching him get a red) I didn't actually think the Toffees had enough left in the tank to find a goal. A period of improved pressure from the blue shirts though was enough to get them right back into the tie. Liverpool had to find a winner from somewhere, a replay would not be helpful with the number of fixtures already played and ones coming up in Europe.

Step up Virgil van Dijk, the man from Southampton, so highly sought after for his defensive abilities and what does he do? Net the winner with a leap like no other against Everton to knock them out of the FA Cup in the 84th minute. Brilliant.

You couldn't write it as they say unless you're Danny Murphy who predicted exactly that on the BBC prior to KO. It was a solid performance from the defender and the goal was simply the icing on the cake, I still hold my reservations but if you start your career at Anfield like that, you've got to be on to a good one?!

Finally, I would like to highlight the performance of Andy Robertson. When Klopp bought him, I can't say I was massively excited but I was definitely keen to see him play, it became frustrating when Alberto Moreno continued to be selected in his place and it's a real shame in my opinion that it took an injury to the Spaniard for Robertson to get more regular game time.

People argue that Moreno had improved and deserved to keep his place but I tried the whole giving Moreno a chance a while back, I stuck by him whilst others had already given up but for me, he's just not a defender. Show me a reel of perfectly timed tackles from Moreno like the ones Robertson completed last night? On top of that, the lad has got a killer cross and is also extremely impressive on the attack. He was all over Bolasie yesterday and showed an impeccable understanding of the game, I for one can't wait to see more of him.

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