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, 17 May 2016

EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL: Liverpool V Sevilla

As hundreds of Liverpool fans continue their epic journeys across Europe, several thousands more sit at home just waiting for kick off on Wednesday evening. There's some real final fever in the air for Reds all over the world and while rivals will be quick to highlight the fact that it's "only the Europa League" they will have to do way more than that to throw Kopites off the party train.

Jurgen Klopp has already led his side to a final this year but after miraculously pushing Borussia Dortmund to one side and slotting three goals past Sevilla, this time out it feels like the silverware could be ours. I'm a bit of a weirdo to be honest as I actually secretly kind of want us to go 1-0 down, just for the thrill of the comeback. If you could guarantee me that we'd go on to win despite Sevilla scoring first, I'd wish for that all day long.

Whatever happens on Wednesday evening it's set to be an enthralling fixture between two top European clubs.

Image via youtube.com

Form

In their last six games in all competitions Liverpool have won two, drawn two and lost two. Their most recent two games against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea both ended in 1-1 draws.

For Sevilla, in all competitions they have also won two games but they have lost three and drawn just one. Sevilla's two most recent fixtures both ended in a loss as Unai Emery's side lost 3-1 to Athletico Bilbao and 4-1 to Granada.

Route To The Final

It's hard to believe that back in September the Reds were starting their journey to the final of the Europa League. After a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in the group stages I personally didn't expect anything much from the competition. The following game, a 1-1 draw with FC Sion further instilled this feeling. Yet another 1-1 draw followed, this time against Rubin Kazan, if you can't beat teams like that then you have to feel concerned.

On the 5th November, the second fixture against Rubin Kazan gave Liverpool their first win in the competition thanks to a goal from Jordon Ibe. A couple of weeks later another victory, this time over Bordeaux secured progress to the knockout stage of the competition for the Reds no matter what happened in the final game against FC Sion (0-0).

In the round of the last 32 Liverpool lined up against German side Augsburg. A 0-0 draw away from home enabled the Reds to bring the tie back to Anfield where they won 1-0 but only thanks to a James Milner penalty.

Despite somewhat riding their luck to this stage, things got real serious for the Reds when Manchester United came out of the hat in the round of 16. This was huge, Liverpool may have lost some of their glory years of late but one thing they do hold over United is their European prowess. We simply had to win this clash. A 2-0 win at Anfield gave Jurgen Klopp's side a nice boost going into the game at Old Trafford. Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant goal in the away leg knocking United out of the competition.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more exciting in Europe's second tier competition, Liverpool go and draw Klopp's old side Borussia Dortmund. A massive force in European football, this is the stage where many thought Liverpool's luck had run out.

A 1-1 draw in the quarter final in Germany felt like quite a good result to take back to Anfield but Dortmund had other ideas scoring two goals in quick succession at L4. Origi managed to pull a goal back on 48 minutes but Reus quickly cancelled it out. Anfield is notorious for a magical European night and the 12th man certainly pushed Liverpool over the line that night in April. Coutinho bagged a game changing goal just after the hour mark and a 77th minute goal from an unlikely source; Mamadou Sakho left Liverpool needing just one goal to go through to the semi finals. Then, in extra time, up leapt Dejan Lovren with a massive, massive header. You have never seen such scenes at the Kop end, absolutely phenomenal. This was the turning point, we completely obliterated a Borussia Dortmund side when we should have been dead in the water.

The semi final felt like it should be a given, surely the Reds would be victorious, nothing could stop them now? Not after that Dortmund win?

Well, it wasn't as straight forward as planned. The away fixture at Villarreal was very frustrating for me as Klopp tried to keep things tight and refused to increase the levels of attack during the end of the game leaving Villarreal to score late on. With no away goal, the leg at Anfield was very tentative to begin with but Liverpool eventually found their stride and scored three in the process, helping me win £40 on a scorecase bet and most importantly, booking their place in Basel.

Previous Finals

If the Reds can surge to victory on Wednesday it will be their fourth time winning the Europa League (UEFA Cup). A competition that it often ridiculed, most fans will tell you of the excitement it can bring when you do reach a final. The youngsters will recall the enthralling Alaves final while the oldies will tell you about Borussia Monchengladbach and Brugge.

2001 is the only one I can remember, at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Liverpool lined up against the surprise that was Alaves. I was only 12 at the time, massively obsessed with Michael Owen and like many I probably underestimated the opposition. The Spanish side were a force to be reckoned with though, goals from Babbel and Gerrard opened up the scoring but Alaves quickly replied on 26 minutes via Alonso.

Gary McCallister then scored a penalty at 40 minutes to put the Reds 3-1 up but Javi Moreno found two goals in quick succession for the Spaniards. A goal from Robbie Fowler on 72 minutes made it look like the Reds had secured the win but Jordi Cruyff, son of the legendary Johan Cruyff, had other plans and scored on 88 minutes taking the tie to extra time.

In one of the last occasions for the golden goal, heartbreakingly for Alaves it was an own goal from Geli that sealed their fate giving Liverpool their third UEFA Cup.

I've watched and supported Liverpool since I was about 6 or 7 thanks to an older brother who was mad on the Reds and while I never fully understood/appreciated the excitement of winning that 2001 UEFA Cup, I realised European excitement properly for Istanbul. It's these moments that tell me tomorrow is going to be a special night.

Betting

Click the banner in the sidebar and bet £10 to receive £30 free to play with!

Liverpool to win the cup is currently down at 4/6, Liverpool to win the cup after a penalty shootout is priced at 10/1. I don't want it to happen but I actually think the latter could be the outcome, might have a bloody heart attack if it does!

If you really fancy a Liverpool win you can get them on half time and full time at 11/4 currently and 3/1 to win the game whilst keeping a clean sheet.

In terms of first goalscorers Daniel Sturridge is down at 5/1, Divock Origi who could make a shock return is down at 7/1 while James Milner is priced at 12/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! I cannot bloody wait!

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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Villarreal

Folks I am so sorry for the sporadic posts lately, I'm very close to finishing University so it should all be back to normal soon. The good news is I've managed to find some free time to get a preview done for this massive tie with Villarreal. I am super excited for the game but also hugely nervous, if he doesn't start Daniel Sturridge I might actually lose it!

Image via: liverpoolfc.com

Injuries

A fitness update on Emre Can came through earlier in the week and somehow it seems like he may be available for the game against Villarreal. Jurgen Klopp will not be able to select Divock Origi or Jordan Henderson though who both remain out. For Villarreal, they are unable to call upon Leo Baptistao and Eric Bailly.

Last Meeting

The last match between the two sides in Spain last week ended in heartbreak for Liverpool after a last minute goal from Adrian. The Reds had set up tactically, looking to stem the flow of Villarreal and while it was risky it almost worked perfectly. The downside of course is that Villarreal now have the upper hand, 1-0 is not disastrous, especially not at Anfield but things could get very tentative if the away side manage to find an early goal on Thursday evening.

Form

Liverpool have won six out of their last ten games in the Premier League, however they did fall to defeat at the hands of Swansea this weekend, perhaps explained by the weakened team fielded by Klopp. The Reds have scored 13 goals in their last five fixtures in the league.

Villarreal have won just three out of their last ten games in the league. Their most recent victory came against Valencia where Marcelino's side scored two goals away from home.

Betting

Bet £10 and get £30 free to play with just click the Paddy Power banner in the sidebar!

Odds on Liverpool half time and full time are currently 8/5 while the straight win for the Reds is priced at 8/11.

In terms of first goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is down at 7/2 while Coutinho is priced at 13/2.

If you fancy Liverpool to get a big win Thursday night you can get odds of 13/1 for a 3-0 win and 35/1 for 4-0.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Calculated Risk Or Tactical Naivety?

I don't want to stand here and accuse Jurgen Klopp of having a lack or experience or judgement because that's just ludicrous but after a frustrating result against Villarreal right in the dying moments on Thursday evening, it's hard not to feel that the manager was perhaps just a little naive on this occasion.

Image via theguardian.com: A dejected Dejan
It's a Europa League semi-final first leg, I get it, you have to decide how you are going to approach the game and as soon as I saw Daniel Sturridge missing from the starting line up, I knew what Klopp was doing.

A calculated risk some would argue and one that nine times out of ten will pay off. Forget the striker, play things tightly, you still have the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana who will surely bag a goal on the break... surely? Well they didn't and this for me is where the naivety, stubborness or whatever you want to call it sets in.

Klopp watched that side hold out solidly at the back against Villarreal for the first 45 minutes but he also witnessed a lack of attack. I totally understand the desire to play things safe but for me after 45-60 minutes of watching nothing in the way of a serious attempt at goal, for me, you have to chuck a striker on. An away goal in a semi-final like this can be massively important and as the game went on I just bloody knew that Villarreal would find a late goal, I could just see it coming.

What was more frustrating is that Christian Benteke (despite only being on the pitch for about three minutes) proved that with somebody to aim for up top, the Reds would have made more of an impact. He was a focus for the likes of Milner and co and immediately got involved in the action and this is Benteke, imagine what would have happened if Sturridge had got 20 minutes? I'll tell you what, we'd have buried them.

It sounds like I'm coming across really harsh, I don't mean to as I realise we're still in the driving seat even after going a goal down, at Anfield in a tie like this I'd always fancy our chances but I just find the result extremely frustrating. You play 90 minutes of tactically astute football and risk not pushing for a goal and for what? To lose in the final moment of the game.

One nil down isn't the end of the world, of course it isn't but don't come crawling to me if Villarreal manage to fire out the blocks at Anfield and find an early goal. I hope it doesn't come to that because I'm not so sure Liverpool have another European miracle in their locker this season.

Start Sturridge is all I'm saying!

__________________________________________________________

Just a quick note to say folks thanks for reading as always! I just want to apologise for the short/random layout of posts and scheduling/missing blogs over the next week. I've handed in my dissertation but I still have one big exam and one full piece of coursework to complete at Uni so am a bit snowed under!

Full normal service will be resumed shortly!!!

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Friday, 15 April 2016

"It's not explainable."

A dejected Thomas Tuchel attempted to describe his feelings on a game his side had somehow just lost 4-3, "It's not explainable" he said. He's right. When you watch a team like Liverpool on a European night at Anfield, there's something in the air, nobody is quite sure what it is, it's unexplainable, but it's there. The fans can feel it, the manager can feel it but most importantly, the players feel it. It's a presence that only Liverpool seem to hold and it's the reason you can never, ever write Liverpool off... ever.

An absolutely unbelievable game against unbelievable opposition.

Image via: mirror.co.uk
Before I go into a round up I would just like pay my respects to the 96 Liverpool fans who tragically lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster. Tomorrow marks the 27th anniversary of the disaster but justice is finally coming. Both fans also impeccably observed a minute's silence before the game. #JFT96

No German side has beat Liverpool at Anfield in 17 attempts and Borussia Dortmund sure as hell weren't going to get past us easily on an electric Thursday evening in Liverpool. With fans lining the streets hours before kick off, it was destined to be a special game but things got off to a terrible start for the Reds.

Scoring two goals in just nine minutes Dortmund had absolutely crushed Liverpool from the off. The first goal from Mkhitaryan was unfortunate as Mignolet did so well to save the initial effort from Aubameyang but he soon followed up with a lovely finish to secure Dortmund's second.

The Reds were dumbfounded. I fully expected Dortmund to score and cancel out that important away goal but I never expected it to be in such brutal fashion. For me, it was evident Liverpool were being broken down far too easily, I was quite surprised not to see Joe Allen starting in midfield to offer that extra bit of protection and some additional support for Divock Origi who could cause hassle with the correct service. However, Klopp had gone for a more attacking line up and to be fair we did get stuck in even after going two down.

The pressure though led to no goals and sure enough the first half whistle was blown. Liverpool needed three goals and while they looked like scoring it just wasn't quite happening for manager Jurgen Klopp.

Image via: theguardian.com
Expecting a change for the second half Kopites would have to wait a while longer as the manager decided to wait and see whether his side could take his half time motivational speech and convert it into some goalscoring damage. They did, via that man Divock Origi. It was a wonderful finish from the Belgian who picked up the ball from Emre Can and remained confident faced with the Dortmund keeper.

It was only a goal though right? The neutrals would still have you believe this was an impossible task? A mountain to climb? Wrong. The goal was just what Liverpool needed, it boosted the fans and it boosted the team, at 2-0 down the pretty decent performance was leading to nothing because the confidence wasn't there, at 2-1 you start fancying your chances at least you would do if Dortmund didn't spoil the party just nine minutes later.

There's no denying the pass from Mats Hummels and the goal from Reus were glorious, true Dortmund class but it was bloody frustrating to watch! After all that effort to find just a goal, just a glimmer of hope, Liverpool were back to square one. As a hardened Kopite though, that thought it always in the back of your mind, "remember Istanbul" ... "remember Olympiakos" ... "remember Alaves". You never actually believe you're going to do it, of course you don't, but you KNOW it's possible.

So, back to square one it is.

Klopp now knew he had to make a change and at 62 minutes a double substitution that I'd been craving since half time occurred. Joe Allen and Daniel Sturridge entered the fray. Just four minutes later it was Philippe Coutinho's turn to send Anfield wild.

A typical strike from the Brazilian taken with pure prowess from outside the box flew beautifully into the right of goal. 3-2, game on.

Now that glimmer had evolved into hope, like real hope, like hang on, we could actually bloody do this. I was all over the shop at this point, I can't sit still, my hands are in my mouth, on my head, tapping the table I just don't know what to do with myself, it's bloody horrible.

A whole ten minutes ticked by which is a long soddin' time in a European tie you're losing. But then, like a man possessed, Mamadou Sakho managed to dink home a header after a convenient deflection. I've not hidden the fact that I'm not utterly convinced with Sakho but I cannot dispute his passion, what an absolute hero and a real team player. It was immense! Here we were at 3-3 just needing one goal, one goal from anywhere to finally silence the black and yellow beast.

Four minutes were shown on extra time. Could we do it? Was it too late? Was it heck.

Image via theguardian.com
It's never too late and Dejan Lovren is a man who knows that. Just minutes earlier he'd absolutely spooned an angled volley high and wide over the bar, little did we know he'd get his chance to play the legend. 90+1 and James Milner after a series of diabolical low corners has picked up the ball from Daniel Sturridge and made it to the byline in the box, whipping the ball perfectly across goal there was Dejan Lovren. Rising like a Croatian salmon desperate to convince his national team coach that he should in fact take him to the Euros... It was like slow motion. Rising and rising eventually he smashed home the header sending the Kop End into an absolute frenzy.

Unbelievable scenes, just unbelievable. I'm still not quite over it all, my throat hurts, I've still got the shakes and I still can't believe that goals from Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren are the main reasons we've knocked Dortmund out of the Europa League and find ourselves in the semi-final. There are no words. Just superb!

Liverpool in Europe: utterly iconic.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Borussia Dortmund

A fantastic win over Stoke at the weekend gives Liverpool a huge boost going into this important fixture with Klopp's ex side Dortmund as the Reds look to progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League. The manager also has a tough decision to make up front as he must choose between Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, many are predicting the former will get the call.

                                                      Image via dliga.com

Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool remain pretty much in the same state as they were for the first leg of this tie except of course that captain Jordan Henderson will not be available. Lucas has made a return and so may get a chance to feature at some point but there will be no sign of Christian Benteke who was fighting a losing battle to start ahead of Origi or Sturridge anyway.

For Dortmund, they have received a boost with some key players coming back from injury. Only Joseph-Claude Gyau and Neven Subotic are unavailable for this fixture.

Previous Meetings

The  last time the two sides met was of course just last week in the first leg that ended 1-1. It was a solid performance from Liverpool and a lot better than most fans were expecting. In fact Divock Origi very nearly scored a second in the game which could have gifted the Reds an all important lead in the tie.

The sides as discussed in the original preview have only met on a total of three occasions prior to this season and to be fair, Liverpool have always provided strong opposition to the German might.

Form

At home, the Stoke win gave Liverpool only their second win in five Premier League games at Anfield. It's no secret that Klopp has struggled with his side on their own turf but things have been improving of late. The Reds have only lost one game during the same time period at L4.

In terms of Dortmund's away record? The German side have lost just one in their last five trips away from home in the Bundesliga. However they only managed to collect a draw at Schalke this weekend, perhaps denting their confidence as they lost ground on Bayern Munich.

Betting

Liverpool are currently 15/8 to win on Thursday evening with Paddy Power. To take advantage of this offer simply click the image in the sidebar, deposit £10 and place it all on one bet to get £30 free to play with.

If you fancy Origi to bag another goal his odds for first goalscorer are: 11/2 and he's at 6/4 to score anytime. 

The game is obviously tightly poised with the advantage of an away goal for Liverpool but anything could happen on Thursday evening. I'm so excited for the game! Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!


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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Three Key Points From The Dortmund Draw

Well, that wasn't half bad was it? If you'd of told me we'd leave Germany with an away goal and a draw prior to kick off I'd have bitten your hand off. The Reds put on a valiant performance at Jurgen Klopp's old stomping ground and should feel confident upon their return to Anfield.

1) Divock Origi is an absolute legend

Ok, maybe that's coming on a bit strong but I thought the Belgian utterly justified his selection over Daniel Sturridge. It was a bold decision by Jurgen Klopp to leave Sturridge on the bench but he was rewarded for his bravery after a strong performance from Divock.

Image via theguardian.com: Divock Origi scores for Liverpool
I'm guilty myself of perhaps not taking Origi seriously but he deserves nothing but praise for his 84 minutes. He always gives his all in every game he features in and against Dortmund his ability to run behind the defenders appeared to work perfectly. I thought he'd messed up the goal after what looked like a questionable first touch but he remained calm and scored on 36 minutes with the help of a slight deflection.

The only down side of course was that the second chance for Origi that followed minutes later was perhaps the easiest of the two. After timing his run perfectly and being one on one with the keeper he should have really found the back of the net.

2) Quiet Coutinho

I don't want to dwell on a negative because this result was a solid one for Liverpool but I felt like Coutinho went missing in this clash. He's definitely one of those players that can have an absolute stormer the one week and then barely feature the next. He just wasn't in the right positions and lost possession far too easily for me.

Perhaps the movement of Divock Origi took the shine off him slightly but even when he did get the odd chance to show off his skill or take a weaving run into the box, his usual final ounce of quality just wasn't quite there. Here's hoping he's back on track for the leg at Anfield because he's a big game player and we may just need another important Coutinho goal!

3) Defence: the good, the bad and the ugly

Finally, it's back to that age old problem, the defence. 

The good? This time out the good was definitely Mamadou Sakho who improved massively compared to his performance against Spurs. Some last ditch tackles and great awareness allowed him to keep Liverpool out of danger on several occasions on Thursday evening and he was massively helped by his partner Dejan Lovren.

The bad? Despite this partnership working almost faultlessly in open play, apparently when it comes to set pieces all that communication and awareness goes to pot because why on earty was 5ft 6inch Adam Lallana having to deal with 6ft 2inch Mats Hummels?! I'm not really sure why, but some of those organisational mistakes have to fall down to the defensive partnership I'm afraid. It's bloody frustrating to watch when we concede like that n'all after an otherwise solid performance.

Image via theguardian.com: Mats Hummels scores for Borussia Dortmund
The ugly? I'm afraid I have to pick on Alberto Moreno here on this occasion. Up until recently I was quite an advocate for the Spaniard, I even did a post for Shoot on how much I liked him and felt he had the potential to improve and remove mistakes from his game but I'm afraid now I'm not so sure. His positional awareness leaves much to be desired and whilst he's fantastic on the break he causes far too many problems with the gaps he leaves in defence, especially against a side like Dortmund!

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Borussia Dortmund V Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp takes Liverpool to his former club Borussia Dortmund on Thursday evening in what is set to be a truly special Europa League tie. Kopites assumed the clash with Manchester United would be the most exciting bar an appearance in the final but all that changed when the black and yellows were pulled out of the hat.

Image via mirror.co.uk: Borussia Dortmund fans show their support for Jurgen Klopp

Injuries

Injurires for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Christian Benteke and Lucas Leiva, it also looks as though the game has come too soon for the influential Roberto Firmino who is still on the recovery path.

***UPDATE*** - The Liverpool Echo are reporting that Roberto Firmino may in fact be available for Thursday's game.

Dortmund on the other hand are looking relatively strong but midfielder Gundogan is set to be unavailable to play at the Westfalenstadion but could be ready for the clash at Anfield.

Previous Meetings

The two clubs have met on a total of three occasions in history. The first meeting back in 1966 in the European Cup Winners Cup ended in defeat for Liverpool as Dortmund won 2-1 after extra time. Roger Hunt was on the scoresheet that day, he would go on to win the World Cup with England in the following summer.

The most recent meetings between the sides occurred in the group stages of the Champions League in 2001. The first game in Germany ended 0-0 but the return leg at Anfield was far better for Liverpool with Smicer and Wright scoring to gift the Reds a 2-0 victory.

Form

In the league, Liverpool are currently 9th and have won three out of their last five but were held to a draw at Anfield last weekend thanks to a Harry Kane equaliser for Spurs. Dortmund have won four out of their last five fixtures in the Bundesliga and are currently in 2nd just five points behind Bayern Munich.

Betting

As you probably know it's the Grand National on Saturday so away from the footy don't forget to click the advert below and spend £10 on one of your flutters then get a massive £30 back!

In terms of the football...

Liverpool are the underdogs in the first of these two quarter final fixtures, the Reds are currently priced at 5/1 to win the match. You can also get odds of 11/1 for a draw in the first half and Liverpool to go on to win the game.

In terms of scoreline I quite fancy a score draw myself as we're not prepared enough in defence but I still feel we could score a couple if we start with that famous Jurgen Klopp pressure and tempo. 2-2 is currently 14/1.

For first goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is priced at 9/1, Coutinho at 12/1 and Lallana at 16/1,

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!



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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp makes the short trip to Old Trafford with his Liverpool side on Thursday as the Reds look to put the final nail in the coffin. Liverpool are 2-0 up in this Europa League tie thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino and it looks like a long way back for Louis van Gaal who was forced to watch a very ineffective Manchester United at Anfield last week.

Image via liverpooecho.co.uk

Injuries

Liverpool are unable to call upon Lucas for this fixture as he is still struggling with a thigh injury. Also out are long term absentees; Stewart, Ings and Gomez. Manchester United are worse off injury wise with Rooney, Jones and Valencia amongst others all unavailable for manager Louis van Gaal.

Previous Meetings

The last meeting of course was on Thursday last week, a penalty on 20 minutes opened up scoring for Liverpool with Roberto Firmino sealing the win with fifteen minutes left of the first tie. The Reds last trip to Old Trafford wasn't very pleasant after losing the game 3-1, the only saving grace was a wonderful bicycle kick from Christian Benteke that led to a consolation goal.

Liverpool have won on just two occasions in all competitions in their last ten visits to Old Trafford.

Form

Liverpool have won three out of their last five fixtures in the league compared to United's two victories. Klopp's side of course also picked up a win over United in the first leg of this tie whereas van Gaal's side have had to play an FA Cup game in between these two fixtures. United only managed a draw against West Ham and will face a replay.

Betting

Fancy a bet? Get £30 free when you place a whole £10 on whatever bet you like, simply click the image below to take advantage.

If you're feeling confident with the Reds you can get 7/2 for Klopp's side to be winning at half time and winning at full time at the moment.

If you fancy a repeat result a 2-0 win for Liverpool is currently down at 12/1 while a 2-1 win for the Reds is down at 9/1.

As for first goalscorers Firmino is down at 11/2 while Sturridge is 5/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's a massive game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as Jurgen Klopp prepares his side for the first of two big clashes against rivals Manchester United in the Europa League. Liverpool enter this game on the back of a last minute win over Crystal Palace while United lost their most recent league game at the hands of West Brom.

The two clubs are steeped in history but have never met in European competition. The intense rivalry has always been present but as Manchester United have chipped away at Liverpool's title winning success there is one thing the Reds still hold over every club in England; European prowess. I don't mean to pile the pressure on but I'm pretty certain many Liverpool fans like myself will simply be unable to take a knockout.


Injuries

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon regular starter Lucas Leiva but the squad is otherwise strong with just long term injuries making the rest of the list. Louis van Gaal's side are somewhat worse off with Rooney, Jones, Young and Schweinsteiger all unavailable.

Previous Meetings

The last time the two sides met was in January this year, United nicked a win in the 78th minute thanks to Wayne Rooney, leaving Liverpool feeling pretty hard done by. The last win the Reds recorded over United at Anfield was in September 2013 after Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game just four minutes in.

Liverpool have recorded just two wins over United in their last ten meetings in all competitions. There have been no draws during that time leaving United with eight victories.

Form

In the league Liverpool have collected three wins out of their last five fixtures compared to United's two. Interestingly Klopp's side piled pressure onto United at the weekend after clinching victory over Palace and Liverpool now sit just three points behind van Gaal's side with a game in hand.

As we all know "form goes out the window" when it comes to a game like this but I do feel sometimes psychological factors can filter through. Liverpool have pounced on United's shoulder and after failing to storm to victory in the league cup final for Klopp, all eyes are on United, both in the league and in the Europa League so starting with a rare victory over bitter rivals on Thursday would be absolutely massive.

Betting

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Draw/Liverpool is at 4/1 at the minute for half time/full time betting and I quite like the look of that to be fair. I also quite fancy Firmino to bag another goal and his odds for first goalscorer are 6/1.

As for the correct scoreline, I seriously hope it isn't but I can see this being a draw. 1-1 is down at 11/2 while 2-2 is at 14/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. Just a reminder that there will be no match report on the blog for this game as I'm off to Latvia for the weekend!

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Friday, 26 February 2016

Milner Penalty Enough To Beat Augsburg

The Reds sealed their place in the last sixteen of the Europa League on Thursday evening after a James Milner penalty, less than five minutes in gave them their only goal. Despite a lively performance from Jürgen Klopp's side and some key players in the starting XI, the Reds couldn't increase their goal tally.

                         Image via daily mail.co.uk: James Milner celebrates.

The Augsburg fans were raising the decibels even prior to kick off at Anfield and their plentiful support definitely appeared to bolster their side through some of the more difficult patches in the game. Luckily for the visitors though, as has been the case for a while now with Liverpool, Klopp's side just can't seem to find that clinical finish. Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were all displaying some brilliant trickery in and around the box but when it came to that final product? Nothing.

The one chance Liverpool did convert of course was their spot kick after five minutes. I personally thought it was quite a harsh decision simply because the offender was underneath one of his own players in the air but I suppose if you are flailing your arms about like that then you are asking for trouble. James Milner stepped up and calmly converted a very important goal for the Reds.

A back pass from Lucas early in the first half almost sent hearts racing as Augsburg looked to find an equaliser but to be fair to Mignolet he dealt with the situation well. Let's not forget Augsburg had the upper hand here really, despite being down, one goal for them with the away goals rule would have been enough to see them through. 

The Reds battled on though producing a second half of similar intensity to the first, the fresh legs of Divock Origi went some way to helping Liverpool truly cement their lead but still no second goal was found. Augsburg towards the end of the game went a whisker away from equalising but fortunately for the Liverpool things didn't quite sway in favour of the Germans.

The win for Klopp's side sees them through to the final 16 in the competition and with the draw taking place on Friday afternoon there are no longer rules involved about which teams are able to face each other meaning a Liverpool V Manchester United tie in Europe could actually be a possibility. This is the first time Liverpool have got through to the last 16 in Europe since the 2010/2011 season.

Next up for the Reds though is a massive, massive game; the league cup final against Manchester City at Wembley. Come back here to The Liver Bird for a full match preview on Saturday afternoon! 

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Augsburg

It's another Europa League fixture for Liverpool on Thursday evening as the Reds aim to capitalise on a 0-0 draw collected in the first leg. With one eye on that all important League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp may opt to field a slightly altered XI in a match that Liverpool should on paper be able to win.

Image via skysports.com: Kolo Toure shows his frustration against Augsburg

Injuries

Liverpool's injury situation is much the same with the likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Adam Lallana and Stewart still on the injury list. On a positive note some videos emerged of Danny Ings on the recovery path this week, however the forward isn't expected to be back for some time.

For Augsburg it looks as though both Ho-Hong and Feulner will be unavailable but the real blow is the doubt hanging over the fitness of Raul Bobadilla who is Augsburg's top goalscorer this season. The attacker has apparently suffered a muscle tear and will be subject to a late fitness test.

Last Match

The match in Germany was a dire one to say the least, both sides were unable to find the back of the net with Liverpool perhaps minimally taking the best of the chances. Daniel Sturridge once again looked lively but it was a frustrating evening for Jurgen Klopp who only had the clean sheet really to hold on to as a positive.

Form

Liverpool have won just one of their last six games in all competitions, a feat match by Augsburg. While the Reds picked up an emphatic win over Aston Villa, the German's victory came against Hannover, a 1-0 win.

Betting

A straight win for Liverpool is currently at 4/9 with Paddy Power while odds of 2/1 exist for Augsburg to qualify for the next round.

If you fancy a big win for the Reds you can get odds of 10/1 for 3-0.

In terms of goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge is down at 16/5 for first goalscorer with Divock Origi currently priced at 9/2.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Reds Settle For A Draw In Germany

Liverpool could only muster a 0-0 draw in their Europa League tie against Augsburg on Thirsday evening in what turned out to be a rather uneventful fixture. Jürgen Klopp fielded the same XI that took part in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa but despite having the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Daniel Sturridge on the pitch, the Reds just couldn't find a goal.


Chances in the game were few and far between but it was Sturridge for Liverpool perhaps having the best opportunity. The likes of Moreno and Coutinho also had their moments but it was clear that this wasn't going to be another high scoring fixture. Augsburg set up well and I imagine will be pretty pleased with the 0-0 draw.

On the flip side, Augsburg actually hit the post with just four minutes to go so it could have been an even stronger result for the Germans and an embarrassing one for Klopp. The return leg is at Anfield on Thursday 25th February and with no game in between, Liverpool have the full week to prepare. 

The downside of course is that three days after the second leg is the League Cup final at Wembley. Klopp clearly wants to go on a run in the Europa League, especially as the winners get a place in the Champions League, but is it worth risking a great chance of obtaining his first piece of silverware at the club against Manchester City?

Positives 

The positives for Liverpool from this fixture in my opinion, although minimal, were the extra game time for Sturridge and the fact we kept a clean sheet.

It sounds daft but our defence have been all over the shop lately and I know most of you disagree but I still feel as though Skrtel should walk back into that line up, however the lads did pretty well last night and it's always vital to keep a clean sheet away from home in Europe.

For Sturridge, he again looked lively and was unlucky not to score really, it's nice to know he has some more match time under his belt and hopefully he can spring into action in the League Cup final against City. Liverpool have been struggling goalwise without Sturridge and he offers that last bit of prowess that we desperately need! 



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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

MATCH PREVIEW: Augsburg V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Jurgen Klopp's native Germany on Thursday evening as they look to reignite their Europa League efforts. With the winners of the competition gaining a place in the Champions League it may be silverware that some laugh off but Klopp is definitely not a manager to turn down an opportunity like that.

If, like many, you are wondering who Augsburg are, a few snippets about them:

  • Augsburg play in the Bundesliga and hail from Bavaria.
  • In their history, they have only ever had non-German managers on two occasions.
  • In 2011 they were runners up in Bundesliga 2.


Image via thisisanfield.com: Jurgen Klopp, Europa League

Injuries

The injury situation has improved recently for Liverpool however the Reds are still unable to call upon Martin Skrtel and Joe Allen. Lallana and Kevin Stewart have also been added to the injury list this week and it looks as though the game may come too early for Dejan Lovren.

For Augsburg, they are unable to call upon Framberger who has a cruciate ligament injury. Baier, Ho-Hong and Moravek will all be subjected to late fitness tests after suffering from minor issues.

Previous Meetings

Usually this section brings up some interesting facts about games gone by but unfortunately, Liverpool have never faced Augsburg.

However I can provide you with a stat from previous meetings with German clubs. Liverpool have faced German sides on 28 occasions since 1965, winning 12, losing six and drawing 10 (source).

Form

After battering Aston Villa 6-0 on Valentine's Day the Reds collected their first win in their last six fixtures in all competitions.

Augsburg on the other hand have managed to pick up two victories over the same time period but it is worth noting that both of those wins came in friendly matches.

Betting

It's hard to predict what team Klopp will go for on Thursday but I get the feeling Divock Origi may get some minutes and after his performance against Villa I like the look of him for last goalscorer at 11/2 with Paddy Power.

In terms of scorelines, if you fancy a repeat of Sunday's result, Liverpool to win 6-0 is currently down at 500/1.

Sign up to Paddy Power by clicking the banner below, deposit £10 and place it on a single bet then get £30 free bets in your account.

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Friday, 11 December 2015

Reds Top The Group After Snore Draw

Image via theguardian.com
Well, that was a drab affair to say the least. The Reds may have gone through to the round of 32, topping their group in the process but they couldn't get the better of FC Sion on Thursday night after failing to find the back of the net.

It was a stereotypical group game from the Europa League and perhaps highlights why some fans get so frustrated with the competition but the positive is, the Reds are through and were also unbeaten in the group. The 0-0 draw doesn't boost confidence levels for the Reds who did utilise some key players such as Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho.

FC Sion were relatively ineffective during the game but obviously remained cautious as they sought to progress with Liverpool to the next stage of the competition. Some wild shots at goal from the home side perhaps highlighted by an effort from Mujangi Bia late in the second half meant Simon Mignolet had very little to deal with.

Liverpool perhaps put in a slightly better performance attack wise but nothing really of a serious nature. Long range shots in the first half from Can, Origi and Firmino set the tone for the night as the Reds failed to create many inventive attacks.

The main highlight was the link up between youngster Brad Smith and Divock Origi, on two occasions at least Smith whipped a fantastic cross into Origi but the Belgian failed to find the end product. It really was a dire game to watch resulting in very little to talk about for a match report! Haha.

Jurgen Klopp didn't appear too worried post match and I suppose he's right to remain calm, of course Liverpool should be beating sides like Sion but the fact is we've topped the group without having to strain ourselves and we can enter the next stages fresh and ready for what will hopefully be a more ambitious opponent.

Next up for Liverpool is West Brom at the weekend. If you haven't already seen it, please take a look at my Q&A with Albion Till We Die.

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: FC Sion V Liverpool

Image via thisisanfield.com
After failing to beat Newcastle on Sunday afternoon the Reds will be hoping to get back on track with a win against FC Sion in the Europa League this Thursday. Liverpool have already guaranteed progression to the round of 32 but could also top the group providing they avoid defeat.

Injury news has been the top story for the Reds this week as over the past 24 hours Kopites were made aware that Daniel Sturridge has in fact picked up a hamstring injury. The severity of the injury isn't clear but it's a worrying time for Liverpool fans who find their patience levels wavering. Also unavailable for the Reds is Mamadou Sakho and Philippe Coutinho, however the latter did return to training on Wednesday.

For FC Sion they are unable to call upon Birama Ndoye who is suspended for this fixture. Moussa Konate has a fractured hand and so will not feature in this clash. There is also a doubt hanging over Martin Zeman who suffered an ankle injury recently.

The Reds first meeting with FC Sion in this year's Europa League back in October ended in a 1-1 draw. The teams have met just twice prior to this with Liverpool winning on both occasions and scoring a total of eight goals in the process.

Liverpool have won four out of their last six fixtures in all competitions but recently faltered at St James' Park in a 2-0 loss at the hands of Newcastle. FC Sion on the other hand have recorded just one victory in their last six in all competitions; a 2-0 win over Luzern in the Swiss Super League.

I'm not sure what to expect from Thursday's game to be quite honest, the performance against Newcastle was definitely one to forget and it's hard to predict the line up/mentality of the team considering the fact we have already secured progress. In theory it should be all three points for the Reds but without a supply line or supporting striker for Benteke and the missing flair of Coutinho, it may be difficult to find the back of the net.

Going off on a bit of a tangent, I've often mentioned placing bets in my match previews as I'm sure you will have noticed. I'm not a seasoned gambler, far from it but I do work in the industry part-time and have done for eight years, I have quite a bit of knowledge and you can usually find me popping a few quid on Liverpool games and accumulators. For that reason, I thought I would try to introduce a new section to my previews taking a look at the betting options for the game so here goes nothing...

Betting

Liverpool are definite favourites going into the game with Paddy Power and William Hill both offering odds of 13/10.

As for goals, the majority of the bookies are going with 9/2 for Christian Benteke as first goalscorer. If you fancy adding him to a 2-0 you can get odds on that scorecast of 30/1 with Paddy Power.

Divock Origi is likely to feature in the game and if you fancy a repeat of his hat trick against Southampton you can get odds of 80/1.

For scorelines, Ladbrokes are offering 5/1 for a 1-1 draw. A 2-1 Liverpool win is down as 8/1 with SkyBet and if you're feeling really optimistic several of the major bookies are offering 18/1 for a 3-0 win for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Keep an eye on my Twitter, I'll let you know what I bet on.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 27 November 2015

Reds Through To Round Of 32

Image via Sky Sports
After a somewhat bizarre opening goal from visitors Bordeaux, the Reds managed to seal victory at Anfield on Thursday evening and have secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League in the process. The evening opened with bad news though after it filtered through that Daniel Sturridge would be sent for a scan on a foot injury in the morning.

The first half for Liverpool didn't get off to a magnificent start when a lapse in concentration from Simon Mignolet led to a very questionable headed clearance. Luckily Kolo Toure was around to help clean up the mess and the visitors failed to capitalise on the situation.

Christian Benteke had a brilliant game which began with a strike at the side netting, quickly followed by a goal that was ruled offside. The forward was unlucky, mistiming his run slightly but the link up play between himself and the likes of Ibe, Milner and Firmino meant he'd surely get on the scoresheet.

Just after the half hour mark Bordeaux found themselves a goal in rather bemusing fashion. The referee decided Mignolet had kept hold of the ball for too long, to be honest one downfall Mignolet has is his decision making/ability to distribute quickly and effectively, but seriously this time he was pushing his luck. The rule states you can hold the ball for six seconds, obviously keepers hold it for longer, probably on a regular basis but hold it for 21 seconds and you can't be surprised when the referee decides to actually enforce the rule.

Bordeaux took their free kick from inside the box and Saivet finished strongly to put the French side in the lead.

Liverpool didn't take long however to cancel out the goal when a penalty was awarded just five minutes later. Christian Benteke was fouled in the box and up stepped captain James Milner, successfully converting the spot kick to the right of goal.

With the Reds now on level terms the game definitely began to swing in their favour and right on the stroke of half time Klopp's side found themselves a second.

It was a stunning effort from Benteke who received the ball from Clyne on the wing, the ex Villa man controlled, turned and struck home a beautiful strike to put his side into the lead.

It was nothing more than Liverpool deserved and as the second half showed, aside from some half chances from Bordeaux, the visitors never seriously looked like troubling the Reds from open play.

Efforts from Ibe and another disallowed Benteke goal followed in the latter half of the game but Bordeaux spent most of the time inside their own half. A late challenge from Dejan Lovren allowed Saivet to whip in a direct effort from a free kick very late on but Mignolet saved well.

The victory means the Reds will also top the group if they avoid defeat in the final game in Switzerland.

Next up for the Reds is Swansea on Sunday.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bordeaux


After beating Manchester City 4-1 at the weekend, Jurgen Klopp's side are brimming with confidence and will surely fancy their chances against Bordeaux at Anfield on Thursday night. The Europa League is labelled as a bit of a nuisance by many but Klopp strikes me as a man after my own heart; if there's silverware at stake, I'm chasing it.

Injuries for Liverpool mean the game will probably come too soon for Jordan Henderson who is almost back to fitness. It also looks as though the knock to Philippe Coutinho will keep him out of this fixture. Mamadou Sakho may be in contention but it would be a strange decision from Jurgen Klopp to rush the defender back to action.

Bordeaux have a few injuries to contend with, most players have been out long term however the likes of Maulun, Toure and Pablo look as though they will be unavailable for Thursday's match.

As covered in the previous match preview for the away tie, Liverpool have met Bordeaux on just two occasions prior to this year's Europa League campaign. Bordeaux failed to score in the two fixtures in the Champions League back in 2006 and the Reds won 3-0 at home thanks to a brace from Luis Garcia and a Steven Gerrard goal.

At present, Bordeaux are currently 13th in the league having won just four of their 14 games. The French side have also conceded 21 goals so far this season, the joint third worst tally in Ligue 1.

A win over Bordeaux on Thursday evening would enable the Reds to secure a place in the last 32 of the competition. Something that didn't look like a possibility under Brendan Rodgers. Whatever your thoughts on the Europa League, I've always thought that to be a truly great team, you need to be able to handle everything that is thrown at you. There's no denying that extra fixtures put a burden on a side but man up and deal with it is what I say and I get the feeling Klopp has the same mentality.

With France still reeling from terrorist attacks in the capital almost two weeks ago now, I'm not sure if there is any memorial or silence in place for Thursday night's game but I'm sure the tragedy will be on the minds of both sets of fans.

For me, it's got to be a Liverpool victory tomorrow, I can't see any other outcome. The only difference is Klopp will probably utilise his forwards giving Benteke and Sturridge a chance instead of playing without them. I fancy a 2-0 and after last weekend's result I will definitely be putting yet another quid on Martin Skrtel to find the back of the net haha!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Reds Win In Russia

Image via express.co.uk
Liverpool picked up an important victory on the road in the Europa League on Thursday night as Jurgen Klopp's side managed to collect a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan. Jordon Ibe made his second start under the new manager count as he netted for the Reds after 52 minutes.

It was a game where Liverpool bossed chances and possession but they couldn't quite convert all of their efforts in front of goal. Things got off to a good start for the Reds after James Milner watched a shot smash off the crossbar. They had started with real intent and shortly afterwards a lovely cross from Clyne was heading for Benteke but Kverkvelia blocked successfully.

Late in the first half it was the Russian keeper Ryzhikov who had kept his side in the game after a wonderful reaction save which prevented an own goal. I'm not sure how much he knew of the first ricochet from the double stop but it was a brilliant piece of goalkeeping.

Kazan made a substitution immediately for the start of the second half but the fresh legs didn't have much of an effect on the home side's performance. A large crowd was backing Valeriy Chaly's side but they just didn't seem to have that spark they put on display at Anfield.

In the second half Liverpool's first proper chance fell to Moreno who saw an effort hit the side netting early on. Jordon Ibe however just five minutes into the second 45 had put Liverpool into the lead. A great run from Ibe saw him break through a defence failing to apply convincing pressure but the youngster held his nerve and finished well low to the left of goal.

I really like Jordon Ibe, I think he's got bags of potential and it was nice to see him score. Jurgen Klopp looked delighted and you have to feel Ibe is very much involved in his future plans for the club.

Shortly after the goal James Milner was unlucky once again to watch a stinging shot fly just over the bar as the Reds looked to seal their victory. A few more chances from the likes of Lovren followed along with a penalty shout after Emre Can was tackled in the box.

Liverpool didn't need the assistance of a spot kick though and walked away with those vital points to put them second in the group.

Next up for the Reds is Crystal Palace at home.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

MATCH PREVIEW: Rubin Kazan V Liverpool

Image via irishtimes.com
It's my birthday!!! Just thought I'd get that in there, yer know, seen as though I'm taking time out to write this match preview for you all...Haha, but seriously, Jurgen Klopp faces a difficult trip to Russia on Thursday evening as the Reds look to improve their situation in the Europa League group.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson however it is believed the boss is going to be taking a strong squad for this match. Unavailable though is Teixeira who is ineligible as he was never named in Liverpool's Europa League squad list.

It's nice to see Klopp taking this match so seriously but then I suppose he has to with the situation we are in. Maybe if Rodgers hadn't played such weakened sides we'd be far more comfortable at this stage but nevermind!

For Rubin Kazan they have a relatively strong squad to choose from but they will be unable to call upon Oleg Kuzmin who is currently the clubs third top goalscorer.

Our last fixture with Kazan on 22nd October was our first ever meeting with the side. Marko Devic opened up the scoring with a fantastic goal but Emre Can secured an equaliser late in the first half. The Russians proved they can be a threat and I was impressed by their pace on the counter attack, it will be interesting to see whether they opt to play differently at home but whatever the tactical set up it is still going to be a difficult clash for Jurgen Klopp's side.

I would usually have a stat sandwich at this point for you but due to this preview being relatively early my go to stats areas haven't updated themselves yet! However I can tell you that Rubin Kazan have a relatively decent record against English opposition at home. They have faced English teams on seven occasions and have collected three wins, two draws and two losses.

Philippe Coutinho was quoted recently after the Chelsea game saying "Three points and against that opposition, it's given us the boost to our confidence and I hope we can now focus on each game and be successful."

I certainly hope he's right, that win over Chelsea was massive and it's proven that the Reds can pick up big results when they need to. It's no secret that Klopp is perhaps battling with a below par side but until we reach that transfer window there's nothing he can change.

Until then, he needs to continue what he does best and that's filling his players with confidence and belief. It's evident that all the lads in training are ecstatic to have such a charismatic leader around and I honestly think the Klopp effect is already rubbing off on a lot of our starting line up.

If I manage to put any bets on I will probably be going with a 2-1 Liverpool win, I'm pretty sure Kazan will find the back of the net but I'm hoping Benteke will feature and he'll grab a goal along with somebody else hopefully!

I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received:
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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