The Liver Bird  

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Reds Open The Premier League Season Against Norwich

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

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

Image via premierleague.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Watford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PREVIEW: Man City V Liverpool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stat Sandwich

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

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

PREVIEW: Wolves V Liverpool

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

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

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

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

To change up this preview a bit I asked my fella a few questions to gain a Wolves perspective: 
__________

What do you make of Liverpool's season so far? 

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

Who's your favourite Red at the moment? 

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

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

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

Name some players we should keep an eye out for? 

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

Is Conor Coady now a yam yam? 

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

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

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

And finally, score prediction for Friday night?

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

__________

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

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

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

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

My score prediction is a 2-1. 

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

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Saturday, 1 December 2018

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Everton

Liverpool welcome Everton to Anfield on Sunday afternoon for the 232nd Merseyside derby. A loss at the hands of PSG in the Champions League during the week will have dented the Reds' confidence levels slightly but the chance of another victory over Everton will surely spur on Klopp's side.

Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson who is serving a suspension. Klopp has also hinted that some players may be rested after a difficult game in Paris where several members of the team picked up knocks. For Everton, they are in a very strong situation as manager Marco Silva has no real injury worries to contend with. 

At the time of writing, Everton are 6th having lost just one of their last five games in the league. The Reds are in 2nd place, still unbeaten and chasing Manchester City who will remain two points ahead at the top if Klopp's side seals all three points. Liverpool have won four out of their last five league games, drawing the remaining match with Arsenal in November.

Image via premierleague.com
The last time the two sides met was in April this year, the match ended 0-0 and for me was one of the worst Merseyside derbies I've ever watched. The last meeting between the two sides at Anfield was in January this year in the FA Cup, the Reds won that game 2-1 thanks to a penalty from James Milner and a goal in the final five minutes from Virgil van Dijk who knocked the Toffees out the cup.

In the past six meetings in the league between the two sides, Liverpool have won on three occasions and there have been three draws. To find a win for Everton at Anfield you have to go back to 1999.

Stat Sandwich:

  • Liverpool have 33 points, their highest ever points total at this point in the league.
  • Everton have lost only one out of their last seven league matches.
  • Liverpool have conceded just one goal at Anfield in the league so far this season.
Everton at Anfield usually results in a victory for the home side but Marco Silva has brought a different flavour to the Toffees and Klopp would be foolish to underestimate the Everton XI. In a Christmas period jammed with fixtures including the likes of Napoli and Manchester United, the Reds could do without an embarrassing defeat to their cross-city rivals at this stage.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 22 November 2018

PREVIEW: Watford V Liverpool

Long time, no blog... I must apologise for the lack of content on The Liver Bird lately. I've struggled quite a bit balancing blogging since starting work a couple of years back now and it always seems to be even more difficult towards the Christmas period with fixture pile ups and festivities. However, I am here and I will certainly still be writing about my beloved Reds just perhaps a tad infrequently.

Anway... I am glad you have all survived the international break. I genuinely feel like part of me is missing during these parts of the season, don't know where to put myself, but we're back and it's Watford up next for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Liverpool have pretty much a full squad for this game with just the one doubt hanging over Jordan Henderson. For Watford, they are also looking strong as Capoue returns from a suspension and Will Hughes regains fitness.

Image via Liverpool Echo
The last time the two sides met was in March this year, the game ended 5-0 for Liverpool with four goals from the magnificent Mo Salah and one goal from Firmino. The Reds' last trip to Vicarage Road also saw several goals but this time it was a point for each side in a 3-3 draw. In the last six meetings between the two sides in the Premier League, there have been four victories for Liverpool, one win for Watford and one draw.

The Reds are currently second in the table, two points behind Manchester City and one of only three teams who are yet to lose a game. Watford sit in 7th at the time of writing but have only won two out of their last five league matches.

Watford started the season very strongly but appear to have dropped form a bit lately having only managed a draw with Southampton and also losing to Rafa Benitez's struggling Newcastle.

I think it's a match that could prove more difficult than most are expecting and Liverpool need to be careful not to underestimate Gracia's side. It will be interesting to see what XI Klopp fields with one eye on an extremely important match against PSG next week.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching. I will miss this one as I'm off to London to catch up with Uni mates!

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Friday, 31 August 2018

PREVIEW: Leicester V Liverpool

Liverpool face Leicester in a 12:30 kick off on Saturday in what will be Klopp's fourth match of the season. A duo of draws on Thursday evening allowed the Reds to find out who was in their Champions League group and who they would face in the League Cup. Both results meant that Liverpool's fixture list in September and October has suddenly got a lot busier.

Image via 90min.com
And so, it would be useful for the Reds to start September with a win. Leicester have lost just one of their opening games, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at the start of the season. The foxes are currently 7th in the table on six points, three points behind the Reds who remain top of the table.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still without defender Dejan Lovren who remains out with a pelvic issue. Jamie Vardy sits this one out as he serves a three match ban and Matty James is unavailable due to an Achilles injury.

The last time the two sides met was in December last year at Anfield. The Reds went down after just three minutes when Vardy found the back of the net but Mo Salah scored a brace in the second half to seal the victory.

Our last trip to the King Power Stadium produced another win for the Reds. This time a 3-2 win with Henderson, Coutinho and Salah on the score sheet. In their last five games away to Leicester, the Reds have picked up one draw, two wins and two losses.

Stat Sandwich

  • If Liverpool win on Saturday, it will be the first time they've opened the season with four wins in a row since 1990.
  • The Foxes have lost their last 10 matches in the league against sides that started the day at the top of the table.
  • The Reds have only faced 19 attempts on goal so far this season.
I think it could be a tricky one tomorrow but I still think Klopp will walk away with a win. Leicester are a decent side and Liverpool are still building up to their full pelt, for that reason I'll be popping some money on 2-1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Friday, 24 August 2018

PREVIEW: Liverpool V Brighton & Hove Albion

Liverpool welcome Brighton to Anfield on Saturday afternoon as the Reds look to continue their winning start in the Premier League. Crystal Palace created a bit of a test for Jurgen Klopp's side on Monday night but back at Anfield many are hoping the Reds might be able to make the most of their effective attack.

Image via The Express
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon Dejan Lovren. For Brighton, they are potentially going to be without Lewis Dunk who picked up an injury in Brighton's win over Manchester United. 

The last time the two sides met was in May this year. Liverpool put four past Brighton at Anfield with goals from Salah, Lovren, Solanke and Robertson. The Reds also put several goals in the Brighton net during their last trip to the Amex. In December 2017 the game ended 5-1, Firmino scored a brace that day.

It's very early days but Liverpool fans all over are already daring to think about the title. Even the neutrals are starting to say that the Reds are the only side realistically that might be able to stay the pace with the immense Manchester City.

If Liverpool are going to do just that then they need to keep their momentum. Brighton have proved they are no mugs not only last season but also last week after brushing aside Manchester United. United look a shadow of their former selves but still, it's a tough task to beat a Mourinho team and Brighton will surely be on a high coming to Anfield.

I would love to see Naby Keita score on Saturday, he's looked extremely lively in the first couple of matches and his efforts will hopefully at some stage be rewarded with his name on the scoresheet.

Salah assisted against Palace but people will start shouting goal drought if he doesn't find a second soon haha!

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool have conceded on just one occasion in their last five league games.
  • Brighton have been to Anfield on nine occasions in the league winning just once in 1982.
  • Roberto Firmino has scored once in his last nine appearances in the league.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Sunday, 19 August 2018

PREVIEW: Palace V Liverpool

The Reds travel to Selhurst Park on Monday evening as Klopp's side look to get the better of Roy Hodgson's men. In a game that some are calling an easy three points for Liverpool it's important to remember that Palace have tended to get the better of us in recent seasons and Hodgson is capable of grinding out a result.

Embed from Getty Images

The last time the two sides met was in March this year, Salah and Mane both scored in the second half to secure victory for the Reds who were 1-0 down initially. The last match at Anfield came in August last year with Sadio again on the scoresheet, this time in a 1-0 win for the Reds.

In their last ten trips to Selhurst Park in all competitions, Liverpool have picked up four wins, they have drawn on two occasions and lost four times. 

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Dejan Lovren who remains out with a pelvic issue he was carrying during the World Cup. Joel Matip is expected to return to the bench. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, have a full strength team at their disposal.

Zaha is clearly a man to watch out for in this fixture and he will certainly be looking to punish Jurgen Klopp's back four. Despite this, Liverpool on paper should have enough in their tank to collect all three points on Monday.

A slightly weakened defence may play into Palace's hands but the London side will also have to deal with the likes of Salah, Mane, Firmino and new introduction Keita, keeping them out if they want to gain anything from this game.

Palace will aim to nullify Liverpool, decreasing the amount of space and attempting to play in a compact fashion. Last season and the season before I would have been sat here typing that the Reds can't compete against that type of set up, that our side finds it hard to break teams down. However we have strengthened once again in the transfer window and I honestly feel that some of the issues we had last season may start to melt away with the introduction of players like Keita who are consistently looking to break through and providing a cutting edge pass.

Stat Sandwich*

  • Like your Monday night football? This will be Liverpool's 73rd Monday night game in the Premier League, more than any other side.
  • Crystal Palace have never won their opening home game of a Premier League season.
  • All five of the Reds' league defeats came away from Anfield last season.
It will definitely make for a good match tomorrow but I do think the Reds will come out on top. As I write this brief preview Manchester United are 3-1 down against Brighton (they'll probably find a way back) and Manchester City smashed Huddersfield 6-1 earlier so Klopp could do with keeping the momentum going.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

*All stats taken from BBC Sport.

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Friday, 12 January 2018

Can Liverpool Stop City's Unbeaten Run?

Liverpool welcome Pep Guardiola's unbeaten Manchester City to Anfield on Sunday but can Jurgen Klopp's team be the spanner in the works? City don't exactly have the best of records at L4 and it's no secret that the Reds play better against open, attacking sides.

Nicolas Anelka penalty
Image via mancity.com
I honestly think we're going to beat them, I very often am overly optimistic in a jokey, rose-tinted manner but I genuinely think we're getting those three points this weekend. I just can't shake the feeling and I'll definitely be popping a couple of quid on a 3-2 victory. I can just picture it now, Mo Salah in the dying moments nets the winner...

Enough about what I think though, what do the previous fixtures say? Well, the last time the two sides met in September was a day to forget for Liverpool, City put five goals past the Reds without return and to make things worse, Sadio Mane was sent off.

The last fixture at Anfield in December 2016 ended more positively with a 1-0 win to the home side thanks to an early Gini Wijnaldum goal. Over the past 10 meetings between the two sides at Anfield in the league, Liverpool have won on six occasions and there have been four draws. 

In fact, to find a City win at Anfield in the league, we have to go way back to 2003. Milan Baros scored for the Reds but two penalties from Nicolas Anelka, one on the 90th minute of the game, sealed the win for the away side. This is Manchester City's only win at Anfield since 1981.

Injuries for this match mean Liverpool are still without Henderson, Clyne, Moreno and Sturridge. The latter of whom is highly linked with a move away from the club this January. For City, Vincent Kompany is still unavailable and a doubt remains over the fitness of Jesus.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Festive Fixture At The Emirates

The Liver Bird is back! Where've I been? Well, to be honest, I don't really have a good excuse, other than being mega busy and struggling to balance my job with blogging at the moment but I'm determined to keep doing what I love; writing about Liverpool FC!

The Ox Liverpool
Image via Liverpool Echo
So we're here, as I write this it's the day before the match and the day before I break up for a whole week of general merriness. I'm looking forward to the forthcoming fixture pile-up and genuinely think we will get the better of Wenger's side in London. 

Arsenal are currently sat 5th in the table, just behind the Reds in 4th. The Gunners have 33 points to Liverpool's 34 and would leapfrog Klopp's side with a win. 

Injuries mean Liverpool are unable to call upon Alberto Moreno and Joel Matip while Daniel Sturridge is also struggling with fitness. For Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is out. Klopp, however, does have one positive, welcoming Emre Can back from suspension.

The last time the two sides met was actually this year, the Reds put four past Arsenal at Anfield with Mane, Firmino, Salah and Sturridge all on the score sheet in August. In Liverpool's last five visits to the Emirates in the league, they have only picked up one win. 

Arsenal is obviously a tough place to go but having watched them play this season I'm just not sure they are set up to deal with our attack at its best. We saw in the reverse fixture how dangerous our forwards could be and I don't think the protection of the Emirates is going to be enough to prevent the likes of Salah, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino etc from finding the net.

Liverpool enter this game on the back of a 4-0 victory against Bournemouth, spirits are high after gaining a good draw in the Champions League and despite the stick given to the defence (which I still stand by), things are actually looking relatively solid at the moment.

Arsenal play extremely openly and that suits the Reds to a T, Wenger isn't going to pull a Mourinho and block the pitch, strangle the game and try to find a late goal. He loves to deploy his flair players which in turn leaves gaps for our own starlets to exploit.

I reckon this will either be a high scoring draw or a big Liverpool win, either way, it should make for a quality Friday night fixture! It will be interesting to see if Oxlade-Chamberlain gets a start, particularly after he put in a good performance at the weekend! Come back to The Liver Bird on the weekend for my thoughts on the game.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Champions League: Sevilla V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Spain on Tuesday evening as they prepare to face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan in their penultimate Champions League group game. The Reds are currently top of the group on eight points with Sevilla following closely in second on seven points.

Jurgen Klopp's side collected a 3-0 win over Maribor in their last outing in Europe thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge. Mo Salah is having an absolute stormer of a start to the season and if he features on Tuesday night I'd be banking on him to find the net.

Adam Lallana and Danny Ings
Image via Liverpool Echo
Prior to this season, Sevilla and Liverpool have only crossed paths once before, that was in the Europa League final of 2016. How do the Reds weigh up against Spanish opposition in general though? Liverpool have met Spanish opposition on 24 occasions since 2000. During that time the Reds have lost eight, drawn six and won 10.

A win on Tuesday means the Reds will qualify for the knockout stages with one game to spare. Injuries have taken a positive turn for Jurgen Klopp who has named both Adam Lallana and Danny Ings in his squad, however, Joel Matip has not travelled to Spain and remains out with a groin issue.

Sevilla come into this game having won four out of their last five games in all competitions. Their only loss came at the hands of Barcelona. With a good run of form behind them, the Spanish side also have the incentive of leap-frogging the Reds into top spot if they can find a win at home.

Liverpool have also won four out of their last five in all comps only losing back in October after a terrible display against Spurs. The Reds have found some momentum but arguably still have huge problems in defence and sometimes struggle to get into gear.

Players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane eventually find the magic to make the difference but in a tough tie against Sevilla I fear the Reds may walk away without a win meaning victory over Spartak at Anfield in December would be required to seal the deal.

I don't think we'll lose I just think there's too much incentive for Sevilla and can see this being a 1-1 draw. Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching! Apologies for the dull period on the blog, I've been mega busy in November but haven't gone anywhere, still plan to blog about the glorious Reds as and when I can!

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Match Preview: Liverpool V Manchester United

It's the big one on Saturday (well, the big one if you're a wool like me from the Midlands). Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield this weekend and since at least Monday this week I've felt the venom bubbling.

Since I was a kid this has always been the match I most look forward to in a Premier League season, there is no team I enjoy beating more than Manchester United. In recent years my confidence in this fixture has been high but despite the social media front, I'm not feeling as positive this time out.


Image via espn.com
Shared snaps of Torres leaving Vidic for dead or Gerrard netting a peno may give the impression that I think the Reds can nail this one but I have to admit, I'm not so sure. Liverpool have struggled all season with a shoddy defence and facing a Jose Mourinho side who aren't afraid to simply fling the ball to Lukaku could spell disaster for Jurgen Klopp.

Add to this the fact that Liverpool are now without the influential Sadio Mane and you have a bit of a dilemma. 

Manchester United also have some injury worries to contend with as Fellaini is out with a knee injury and the game comes too early for Paul Pogba who has returned to training.

The stats aren't in Liverpool's favour either, the Reds have failed to win any of their last six league games against United. The last time the two sides met was in January this year, James Milner put the Reds in front from the penalty spot but Ibrahimovic equalised with five minutes to go.

The last three matches at Anfield have ended in a 0-0 draw, a 2-0 Liverpool win and a 1-0 United win. The 2-0 victory came for Jurgen Klopp's side in the Europa League.

In terms of current form, United have won four out of their last five league games, drawing the remaining match. Liverpool, on the other hand, have won just two games in that period, drawing twice and losing once.

Despite all the negatives, this is the kind of game where everything gets thrown out the window. You never know what Liverpool side will show up and if we can nab an early goal and put the pressure on from the off, Mourinho will have to re-think his game plan. 

For me, that's the only way forward in this game, biding your time and being safe plays directly into Mourinho's hands. If Liverpool want a win on Saturday they're going to have to fight from the whistle.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Reds Travel To Moscow

After an eventful 3-2 win over Leicester in the league on Saturday, Liverpool travel to Russia on Tuesday evening as they prepare to face Spartak Moscow in the Champions League. 

Despite winning the league last year Spartak haven't started in great fashion with just one win from their last seven matches in all competitions. 

Image via skysports.com
Liverpool don't have any fresh injury woes for this fixture and for the first time ever, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are all available at the same time. Their Russian counterparts are without Luiz Adriano. The manager may also have to rethink his starting XI if captain Denis Glushakov remains out.

The last time the two sides met was in October 2002. Again in the Champions League, the Reds got the better of the Russians over two legs winning 3-1 away and 5-0 at home. 

Michael Owen scored a hat-trick in Russia while Heskey (x2), Cheyrou (remember him!), Hyypia and Diao scored at Anfield. 

The Reds may be struggling defensively at the moment but Spartak have several problems at the back of their own. Including the fact that they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 fixtures within this competition. 

It's always a difficult task making a long trip in the Champions League and it will be a daunting atmosphere in Moscow however with a win behind them, the Reds should be on the ascendancy and can hopefully pick up all three points on Tuesday night. 

It is probably a given that Sevilla will collect three against Maribor so for me, while a draw in this fixture wouldn't exactly be a bad result, it's important to try and get the win. Klopp may have several of his attacking stars at his disposal but I think it might be a more experimental starting XI from Klopp on Tuesday. Mane I imagine will definitely feature but I'm not sure all of the remaining three mentioned previously will start.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! 

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Liverpool V Arsenal

Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Sunday afternoon as they look to collect another win in the Premier League. The Reds started the season with a draw against Watford but managed to collect all three points against Palace in a 1-0 victory.

Image via mirror.co.uk
On paper, Arsenal should be a difficult side to beat for the Reds but as I mentioned in the Hoffenheim post, Liverpool just seem to perform far better against the bigger, supposedly more threatening sides. Arsenal play in a tactical style that Klopp's side can punish and I fully expect us to find the back of the net on multiple occasions tomorrow. 

Team news for the Reds means they will be without Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne. Trent double A will also be subject to a late fitness test along with Emre Can who has a slight knee issue.

Arsenal have had some good news injury wise as Alexis Sanchez returns while Koscielny also comes back into the side after serving a three match ban. 

The last time the two sides met was in March this year. The game at Anfield ended 3-1 to Liverpool thanks to goals from Firmino, Mane and Wijnaldum. Welbeck scored Arsenal's only goal of the game. 

It feels like the Reds have got the better of the Gunners a lot lately but over the last 10 meetings between the two sides in the league, Liverpool have only won on three occasions. Two wins came last season and how could we forget that famous 5-1 victory in February 2014. I'd bet on Skrtel to score first in that game n'all and he did just one minute in!

Over the same time period, there have been four draws and three wins for Arsenal.

I've predicted a 4-1 win for the Reds in our work's predictor league and although that may seem a little over the top I'm genuinely quite confident for Sunday's match. I'll be betting on my main man Mane too, he's in such great form at the moment.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Champions League Qualifier | Hoffenheim v Liverpool

❓: Champions League first play-off round, first leg
📅: Tuesday 15th August 19:45 GMT
📍: Rhein-Neckar Arena, Sinsheim

Who are Hoffenheim? 

The German side hail from the Sinsheim region and up until 2008 were a team struggling in the lower realms of the German football system. Last year they finished 4th in the Bundesliga and they have some solid centre forwards to call upon. 

Manager Julian Nagelsmann got his side through the whole of the 2016/2017 season with just four losses to their name in the league.

Fun fact: Hoffenheim open their home matches by playing Rammstein's "Engel".

Image via Sky Sports

Should Liverpool be concerned?

On the one hand, Liverpool should be very concerned, other than perhaps Nice most would agree that Hoffenheim were the toughest draw for our Champions League qualifier. The German side may be relatively inexperienced when it comes to Europe but they will be hungrier than most to get through and they enter this fixture on the back of a cracking season.

On the other hand Liverpool have an affinity with the Champions League, you could argue that the Reds shouldn't be concerned by any opposition thrown in front of them. After all to do well in Europe you simply have to beat the best. There's also the fact that it's over two legs, with the second one at Anfield, a huge advantage. 

I personally think this is the kind of game that Liverpool will relish, the enormity of the occasion and the big game atmosphere will work to our advantage I feel.

Previous Meetings

None. The Reds have never crossed Hoffenheim's path before however, overall the Reds do have a fantastic record against German sides. Liverpool have only lost on seven occasions to German opposition from a total of 42 fixtures*.

The Reds may not have faced Hoffenheim but Jurgen Klopp as a manager certainly has. He faced the side 19 times as boss of Borussia Dortmund and his record reads: 
W: 8, D: 7, L: 4.

“If we’re only at 95% against Hoffenheim we’ll have big, big problems, and they will knock us out - Jurgen Klopp”

Team

Well the big, although also rather predictable news is that Coutinho is not in the squad that has travelled to Germany. Does he have a bad back? Or is that a load of tosh? Who knows. What we do know is, there are clearly a few more twists and turns in this saga yet.

Also unavailable for manager Jurgen Klopp is Daniel Sturridge who isn't fit enough and is still recovering from a thigh injury. 

Thoughts

It's going to be a tough game away from home for the Reds but I honestly feel that the occasion will bring out the best in them. The defence is clearly an issue for Liverpool and Hoffenheim will try hard to punish but if Klopp can get his attackers to find an early goal it could be a decent outing. The lads will surely want to prove a point after the Watford game and Liverpool only need a draw really to feel confident returning to Anfield.

I'm going for a relatively uneventful 1-1.

*Source:worldfootball.net

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

All We Have To Do Is Beat Boro

Granted, being a Liverpool fan isn't the toughest of tasks, we've had our fair share of glory over the years but even when that glory has arrived, it's never been an easy process has it?!

If the Reds had beaten Southampton earlier this month or managed to beat Bournemouth in April or if they didn't lose to Hull at home in February! Things could have been so different. But they aren't, so here we are on the final day of the season feeling massively nervous about a game that on paper should be a victory for Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Champions League
Image via The Liverpool Echo
There are just three points separating Manchester City in third from Arsenal in fifth meaning a multitude of outcomes could happen on Sunday. City just need to avoid defeat to stay in the Champions League places. Similarly, if Liverpool win their European dreams are alive, a draw could be enough but it's a dangerous line to be treading with Arsenal right behind. The Gunners are very much reliant on results around them to make it into the top four on the final day. 

Of the three fixtures Liverpool have the most favourable facing already relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield. Boro have won just one game out of their last 10 in the league but did manage to pick up a draw against Manchester City. Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates but even with a win the Toffees cannot move any higher in the table. Finally, City travel to Watford who have announced this week that Walter Mazzarri will be leaving the club, will the Italian create a last hurrah?

On top of all of this, there is a scenario where two teams could finish the day on exactly the same points and exactly the same goal difference. I must admit, before this week I just presumed that in a case such as this it would just go down to head to head results but apparently not. Apparently we would have to take part in a play off. A play off could occur to determine third place and also fourth place.

So what's our previous with Boro?

The Reds last faced the Teesiders in December last year, it was a confident win for Liverpool who scored three goals thanks to a brace from Adam Lallana and an effort from Divock Origi.

In the last 10 meetings between the two sides there have been four draws, five wins for Liverpool and just the one victory for Boro. That win came in 2009 when Xabi Alonso scored an own goal.

Liverpool have lost just one from their last ten matches in the league, but no matter what the stats say the Reds always seem capable of slipping up. The Reds have done fantastically well this season, it's Klopp's first full one and while there have certainly been some low moments to finish off in the Champions League would be absolutely perfect. 

A place in Europe would allow Liverpool to target the calibre of player they deserve, it would provide Klopp with a further bargaining chip and hopefully we can move on from there.

All we have to do is beat Boro...

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: Watford V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Watford on Bank Holiday Monday as they aim to pick up three points and continue their quest for Champions League football. The last time the Reds faced Watford they scored six, will it be another confident victory away from home?

Liverpool's new shirt was released this week (Image via liverpoolfc.com)
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Mane, Henderson and Klavan while doubts also hang over the fitness of Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana. The latter of the two is rumoured to be close to full health but it is not known at the time of writing whether he will make the cut.

For Watford, they are likely to be without Kaboul who has a hamstring injury. Zarate and Pereyra are also unavailable.

The Reds have to wait until Monday evening for this fixture meaning Manchester City could be on 68 points and Manchester United on 67 points (depending on their own results on Sunday) by the time they kick off. Liverpool currently sit in third on 66 points so a win would take them up to 69 points, once again giving them some air.

The league this season has been a hard one to explain on Liverpool's part, in some instances we've done remarkably well. Our record against the big sides is unquestionable but on far too many occasions we've dropped points against lesser opposition. 

Watford strike me as a team that could cause Liverpool issues on Monday. Mazzarri's side have won three out of their last five Premier League fixtures however, two of these victories have come against sides in the bottom three. Despite this, Watford are a hard team to break down, a tenacious side that could frustrate Liverpool if they haven't found the back of the net early on.

Nevertheless, Liverpool know exactly what is required from them on Monday, they have also had longer to prepare than most sides and so anything less than three points is quite frankly unacceptable. Especially after the disaster against Crystal Palace.

The last time the two sides met at Vicarage Road was in December 2015, the Reds lost 3-0 on that occasion thanks to an early goal from Ake and a brace from Ighalo.

It really is getting to crunch time now in the league and I can't deny that I'm starting to feel extremely nervous. Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

MATCH PREVIEW: West Brom V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to the West Midlands on Easter Sunday as they prepare to face Tony Pulis' West Brom. The Baggies come in to this game on the back of two defeats compared to Liverpool's six match unbeaten run. Pulis' side however are certainly one to contend with and the Reds may struggle with West Brom's style.

Image via The Independent
Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. Jurgen Klopp is hoping the latter two players will return to the squad before the end of April. 

For West Brom, manager Tony Pulis has a full strength squad to choose from aside from a mystery couple of players who are apparently nursing minor knocks.

The last time the two sides met was in October last year. Both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet for a 2-1 Liverpool win that day. The Brazilian pairing have proved vital for the Reds so far this season and it is expected both with start on Sunday after only making the bench and being called upon in the second half against Stoke.

Prior to that win in October, the Reds have struggled to pick up three points against the Baggies in recent meetings. A 1-1 draw in May 2016 was preceded by a 2-2 draw in December 2015. The last time West Brom picked up a win against Liverpool at The Hawthorns was in August 2012. Daniel Agger was sent off during that 3-0 loss for the Reds. The Baggies however have beaten Liverpool more recently, collecting a 2-0 win in February 2013.

At the time of writing, the Reds are currently third in the league on 63 points while West Brom are in 8th. Sides around the Reds still have some games in hand so it's important for Liverpool to pick up all three points on Sunday and not falter against what could be difficult opposition.

Jurgen Klopp has struggled all season against sides like West Brom and Liverpool's record as a whole against teams managed by Tony Pulis isn't exactly brilliant. I fully expect the Baggies to find the back of the net on Sunday, probably via a set piece, a headed goal. The Reds just can't seem to deal with that kind of attack at the moment, whilst they have looked more organised of late it only seems to take a second for everything to go to pot.

With the likes of Mane and Lallana missing also, Liverpool may be lacking in attack. It will be interesting to see whether Daniel Sturridge is utilised on Sunday as he will create a different sort of threat. Whatever the starting XI, I feel as though an early goal is required if Liverpool are to go on and win. My heart says 2-1 to us but my head says a score draw.

Stat Sandwich

  • Liverpool currently have 12 points more than they did at the same stage last season.
  • West Brom have scored 14 goals from corners so far this season.
  • The Reds have collected 18 points from losing situations this season.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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