Liverpool’s Season – Up in Smoke.

November 24, 2009

The Liverpool season is going from bad to worse. Defeats and draws have left Liverpool clutching at straws in a season which should surely have been one where Liverpool is pushing at the top half of the table.

The only silver lining in over a month has been the defeat of Manchester United but this points to a regressive mentality of being happy beating one of the big four but not competing for the league positions. This was what Liverpool did most of 90’s and early 2000.

The slide undoubtedly started after the loss to Chelsea. It was compounded by Gerrard and Torres returning injured (AGAIN) from foreign duties. And since then the casualties are mounting on the team sheet and scoreboard. Gerrard has returned to fitness but the latest blows to Agger and Babel within first 20 minutes of the Man City game. There is definitely no luck this season for Liverpool.

Premier League: Falling away spectacularly.

All the injuries apart a team of stature of Liverpool should be able to make a better fist of the given resources than they have in their torrid run of losses. Fulham loss was very disappointing, considering that Liverpool started brighter and looked set to take the game away. Defeat to Chelsea can be accepted as the team gave a good account of themselves even though we ended on the losing side. But then again the performance against Sunderland was at best shoddy and at worst spineless, with the latter being the most disheartening. The defensive performance against Birmingham was an absolute disgrace. Man City was a Jeckyll and Hyde performance. At one moment we are bombing the City castle and the next are at sixes and sevens defending ours.

Such runs are opening the way for Villa and Spurs to open a lead. Lucky for us they are not really capitalising on our mistakes. Not yet anyway. Further barren runs like these and we can kiss the top four goodbye.

Champions League: Backs against the wall

Champions League form isn’t too different. Losing out after leading to Lyon and having no bite in the attack again Fiorentina is simply unacceptable. Even Debrecen played as equals at Anfield. It brings us to the same juncture all over again. Liverpool has an uncanny ability to work themselves into a corner and then start the fightback.

Lyon was a heartbreak. One minute left for taking out Lyon vs. Fiorentina match out of equation and grasping the Euro Qualification firmly with the scruff of neck. And Lyon strikes through Lisandro in 90th minute. Story of the Liverpool season.

In fact the state of affairs are so desparate that Rafa is praying for miracles like all of us.
"We have produced miracles before, we can do the same again. It will be difficult, maybe another miracle. But all we can do is our job.”

Liverpool go to Debrecen on a wing and a prayer hoping that Lyon produce a favourable result. Win would be fantastic but draw would be fine too. You can not ask too much for your mistakes. We still need to remember that we Fiorentina is 5 goals to the better on goal difference and Liverpool is –2 right now. So if Lyon ends up drawing Fiorentina, we would not only have to beat Debrecen but would have to beat them handsomely to hold any hope of qualification.

Rafa Benitez: Managerial Plight

As the whole soap opera unfolds, the overseer of current state of affairs, Rafa Benitez is experiencing the most difficult period of his managerial career as in-charge of Liverpool. Most of the people do believe, he is the right man for the job in the long run. And its not like Liverpool to cast away managers.

However, we are already close to Champion’s League elimination, an extended run like this would lead to us finishing outside the top four. And that surely will mean Rafa’s job.

I fear for the Liverpool setup right now, but deep down I am sure that we will find resilience and steel, and bounce back like true champions. And yes Rafa we are also hoping for a miracle.

You’ll Never Walk Alone!!!

Sol Campbell: Why Notts County? Here’s Why.

September 23, 2009

This image is internet classic stamped all over it. The expression on Campbell and player defending against him is amazing. The defender seems to be giving a pose for the poster of Fatal Attraction.

Defender: “Hey Sol! Welcome to the the real league of gentlemen.”
Sol: “Here we go! Why does it always happen to me?”

sol-campbell_1487179c 
Image grabbed from Telegraph.co.uk.

Laughing my butt off. 😀

Back blogging again

September 19, 2009

After a long couple of trip off. And missing the Bolton. I am back in town and back on my system with some time to spare.

Looking forward to the Westham match. Seems like pundits believe there would be a 2 – 1 upset. Lets see! This is an absolute crucial weekend if other results go the right way for Liverpool to catch up. So there can be no more slip ups.

Mascherano and Gerrard in the middle.
Kuyt in the hole.
Riera on the left.
Yossi wherever he wants to play. (Heck, with this form, give him Reina’s gloves if he pleases)

YNWA!

Liverpool vs. Aston Villa

August 26, 2009

Absolutely no words to describe the feeling. For 35 minutes, Liverpool looked good to score 3 or 4 goals. Come 90 + 4 minutes and Liverpool had conceded 3 and only replied with 1.

An own goal, a goal from corner on 45 + 1 minute (cue for pundits to criticise Zonal Marking) and a counter attacking penalty 3 minutes after Liverpool goal. A friend who watches football only passingly had this observation: “When did Villa attack for their 3 goals?”. Sums up the Murphy Law night for Liverpool.

Heartbroken!

Spurs 3 off 3
Chelsea 3 off 3
Arsenal 2 off 2
Man City 2 off 2
Manchester United 2 off 3
Liverpool 1 off 3

That’s the worst start Liverpool could have suffered. Have to say, though, the team did not look poor by any regards. They played an attacking game. Everyone played well, at least until the first Villa goal. Then the team fell away in desperation till they were hit by another goal.

The team seemed like a boxer who has dominated the rival, only to get knocked down by a super hook. The boxer then gets up and goes both arms flailing trying to decimate the rival and only ending up hitting thin air. Liverpool’s approach after the goal was much the same. Lots of urgency, lots of desperation and lots of missed passing in the middle of the pitch.

They did get organised after the break and as they scored in 72nd minute, it was game on but then Mr. Murphy must have been lurking around somewhere in Anfield, as Villa almost immediately reinstated the lead back to 2 goals. It was clear that everything was going so wrong for Liverpool and so right for Villa. Did Villa deserve to win? Yes, simply because they made the most of their limited chances and Liverpool, for all the attacking intent, were second because of letting in cheap goals and being so extravagant in front of the goal.

Still not losing hope. Time to go on 12 off 12 winning streak. C’mon you reds. Time to shut up and show up. Give them what you’ve got.

You’ll Never Walk Alone!!!

Liverpool vs. Stoke City

August 23, 2009

Now THAT, Mr. Benitez was eff-ing BRILLIANT!

“Sometimes its better to play a match so soon after losing a game” – Rafa. I thought “Like Hell”! The players looked so rusty on Sunday, that I was hoping the next match was only on Sunday with Rafa having enough time to drill everyone into shape, getting injuries sorted out and well simply to just staying away from dropping any further points.

But then here I stand with a Benitez like shrug to Alonso, saying “What do I know?”.

The victory against Stoke was sweeter for three reasons:

One, we were being slammed left, right and center after the defeat by Spurs and to believe the experts we were already out of the races of top four spot. So to win and bring back some semblance of objectivity was welcome. Now, suddenly we are back at the races for the title.

Two, Stoke City had been resilient in both Home and Away matches last season.  They seemed to know how to contain even a rampaging Liverpool side. So the win and the manner of the win was amazing.

Three, look at the picture. Need I say more?

Scoreboard-Burnley-Manchester-United-Premier-_2349997

If against Spurs the attack lacked any edge, midfield looked tired and defense looked at sea, against Stoke attack seemed devastating, midfield dominated, and defense was hardly made to work. Apart from a couple of chances and a few Delap special throw-ins, there was hardly a threat to the Liverpool goal. Though one Reina save was brilliant.

Getting into the Act

All the usual suspects got into their stride.

Rafa, who publicly ask Torres to quiet down and do the talking by scoring goals, was again being slammed by the media of rift and how he could push the Liverpool number 9 into heading back for Spain. Torres scored in fourth minute and played like a man possessed up front to promptly rubbish the media claims.

Torres scores against Stoke  Fernando Torres – Opening his account for this season

It wasn’t surprising that Gerrard got into thick of things too. A goal to cap off the night would have been perfect for Gerrard but if he keeps doing this whole season he will make others score truck loads. Setting up two goals, the second one brilliantly at that – what more could we have asked him to do.

The build up play for Kuyt’s goal was exquisite by Gerrard. He was played in through the right by a subtle lobbed pass, and Gerrard not only controlled but in one deft did a stunning swivel to enter the box leave the defender stranded and proceeded to give a simple pass and Kuyt did good job under pressure from two defenders to get his foot and rolled the ball in.

Dirk Kuyt goal against Stoke  Kuyt and Gerrard: A stunning team goal

The result was going to get sweeter with N’Gog heading in in the last minute. Johnson went steaming down the right flank taking two defenders with him and crossed into the box. The ball took a slightest of deflection from one of the defender’s hand and the goalkeeper could only tip the ball onto the bar, which rebounded for easiest of head-ins for David N’Gog.

David N'Gog goal against Stoke
David N’Gog: Making it 4 – 0 

GLEN JOHNSON – The Difference

Glen Johnson was brought in with the purpose of opening up the 11-Men-in-defense teams and how well he did it. He created one, scored another and became a nuisance for the defenders. He frequently drew out two of the left defenders out of the equation by his runs and in the process made more space for Kuyt and even after taking on two defenders managed to retain the ball on most of the occasions. Simply class. His acrobatic cycle kick for his goal on Anfield league debut was amazing. The lad knows plenty about what to do with the ball.

Glen Johnson goal against stoke  Glen Johnson: Stunning strike to put Liverpool 2 – 0 up.

There was a big difference in the attitude of the team. Carra and Ayala were very steady. Insua is progressing quite impressively. He had a golden opportunity to score but I guess the simplicity of the chance and nerves maybe made him fluff it. Lucas looked good and worked hard.

Yossi was outstanding. When he was bought from Westham, Rafa was being slammed for wasting on another average midfield player and err… I too was one of those critics of this business. I confess now it was simply because I had not seen him play. Yossi is a very intelligent player and you can bank on him to give as many problems to the opposition as he can. His touches, passes and runs got the whole team look more balanced.

With this one performance Liverpool dispelled a lot of doubts on how the team would fair without Alonso. Though, we would miss Alonso’s quality and his sheer class, it would not mean the end of world as the media was making it out to be. Liverpool has a strong team and they would not just roll over and play dead just because Alonso is no longer in the team.

A 4 – 0 drubbing to our bogey team – BOY! what a result. With this result, I can look forward to the Aston Villa’s visit on Monday knowing that the team is back into its stride and is going to pose pretty sharp questions for Villans and pundits when Villa comes visiting.

 

Video of all the goals

All match related media:
http://liverpoolfcclips.blogspot.com/2009/08/epl-190809-liverpool-vs-stoke-city.html

Tottenham vs. Liverpool

August 17, 2009

I was going mental when the pundits were predicting a win for Tottenham against Liverpool this weekend.

Hull City gave a good account of themselves against Chelsea instead of obliging them with a 3 – 0 rout as Pundits had predicted. Birmingham’s castle got raided over and over again but instead off rolling over against the last season champions, as pundits had claimed they would, they held their nerves to narrowly lose by a single goal. Arsenal, were supposed to struggle and a draw was on the card according to the experts but they forgot to tell that to Arsene, who absolutely murdered Everton – it ended 6 – 1 for Arsenal when it could have easily been 8 or 9.

In short, the esteemed pundits potty prediction were going where they belonged, down the drain. So I was sure that Liverpool would show enough quality to put away Tottenham. With only one play, which earned Liverpool the penalty, as the only noteworthy moment in the whole match, it was to be a long evening of chasing ghosts for Liverpool.

Ekkoto Goal 
Assou-Ekoto’s scorcher gave Spurs the lead.

The first goal was a brilliant goal, stunning strike from yards out and nothing could have been done about it. Before this goal Reina made two crucial saves against Keane and was looking invincible. I was calm that our defenders would settle down and our attack would start pegging Spurs back, but still it was difficult to see Liverpool gaining anything more than a point.

Johnson amazing piece of ball control and subsequent penalty and goal almost got me thinking of an improbable victory. Bassong’s goal within 5 minutes dashed any such hopes and it was back again to hoping for a goal from somewhere to draw level. But surely there was no way back for a team in such woeful form.

Bassong Goal
Bassong seals it for the Spurs 

Not that Tottenham played like world beaters, but they did enough and deserved the win.

It still looked like we were in pre-seasons. The whole team was looking so damn rusty. There was no coordination and with so many passes going to Tottenham midfield, it seemed like Liverpool players had no player awareness.

Torres had no supply at all and there was no drive or incisive moves except the moment of personal brilliance by Johnson.  Gerrard went missing but then he too did not get anything where he could push on forward. Even the usually live and bright Kuyt was looking jaded.

Skrtel and Carra looked ginger from the start but ended up getting even more crocked. Hopefully, both of them can be ready by Saturday for the Stoke Game. Johnson looked good and Insua steady.

Mascherano as usual was steady and did well, but there was no forward thrust by either him or Lucas. Babel was completely off colour. He has to give more account of himself when given chances instead of pouting on for not being given a run-in.

At least, Glen Johnson did show why he was brought in with that brilliant run that got Liverpool their penalty.

It was a collective failure. None of the parts clicked and there was nothing in the performance that stood out. Simply put, no one did enough anywhere in the park to inspire any confidence.

Rafa would do well to slam some sense into the players head and hope, what we see at Anfield in 2 days time would at least be exciting if not Champion material.

Match day one and defeat one. Look forward to a better team effort on Wednesday. Its our draw bogey team, with an easy opening day victory under their belt.

All match related media:
http://liverpoolfcclips.blogspot.com/2009/08/epl-160809-tottenham-hotspur-vs.html

Fridge not included…

July 6, 2009

That £3.91 fridge is not a fridge afterall, its just the Fridge Magnet.

FridgeNotIncluded

Talking of the obvious – click on the picture to see it in its full glory. 🙂

Glen Johnson – Welcome Aboard!

July 1, 2009

OK! So finally the July 1st is here and the hunting season is now open. Its not quite August 18th but still at least there would be something to look at. Not that its not already frenetic as it is with all these talks of who is going to where, but now at least the time from “is linked” to “has signed” is not going to be an eternity.

Good thing for any Liverpool fan is to see that Liverpool and Rafa are already moving in the transfer market. And it looks there is more to come.

 

image

“Did we need a right back?” – Yes!
“Is he worth 17 Million?”. – We would know in time!

The thing that we can be sure of though is that in Johnson we have a player who would not need any time to adjust to the Premier League pace. He has a proven Premiership record and is the firm favourite to become the regular right back for the English team. He is a class player! Good going forward. Pacy – which would help stretch those trenched defenses of Stoke City. Even if defensively, he can improve, he would be better served in a team that collectively tracks back and would allow him to assert himself up front.

You should also remember that in a very ordinary Portsmouth team  this season, he was the only bright light of hope, and despite everyone seemingly busy shooting crap, this guy performed well week in and week out.

Arbeloa has been good, but what Arbeloa lacks is that pure instinct of bombing forward and delivering an inch perfect cross into the box. However, it would still be a mistake if Rafa lets him go. Deggen is going is only ever going to see medical facilities in Liverpool, I would be surprised if he ever got to Anfield on his own two feet. He is a piece of glass. So he is never going to even act as a backup. I would think Rafa brought in Johnson, to make sure that there is depth in the department and they do not have to punt Carra to right every time Arbeloa is to be rested. So releasing Arbeloa would be a step back. So the best case scenario would be to get Arbeloa to sign-up for another few years.

But if Rafa does decide to release Arbeloa, we would recoup what we spent on getting him and Darby would be nudged into the main squad and maybe just maybe he would be able to do what Insua did last season.

Youngsters

Another heartening sign is that as Rafa tries to sign players for first team, he is not neglecting the youngsters. Jesus (Suso) Fernandez Saez – a 16 year old rated as a brilliant midfield talent by many (including Barcelona and Real Madrid) has to signed with us. Fending off Real Madrid and Barcelona is proving more and more difficult in English market, in European market? Spain is preferred destination for everyone. Bringing a player away from Spain when he could have gone to Barcelona or Madrid is a pretty gratifying thought.

Hopefully, this season we would see some progress on Spearing, Plessis, Hammill, Darby, Nemeth, et. al. and hopefully they would be given some sort of run-in with the first XI and by that I do not mean taken along for warming the bench.

What Next

I hope there is no truth to any story involving Mascherano and Alonso. Any one of these leaving would leave a big big hole to fill. Tie in both of them for life if you have to.

And I hope we get couple more of great transfers done. David Silva would be ideal and a striker to support Torres or play alone when Torres needs rest. Don’t know maybe Alvaro Negredo. Haven’t seen much of him, but as usual on Youtube he looks like pretty good. 🙂 But anyway, hope we have enough firepower to take down Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal next season.

Premier League – Fixtures for 2009 – 2010 Season

June 18, 2009

Is it a surprise anymore, that we start the campaign away? Its been six years now and its amazing how we have not started one season in these six years at home. However, for the fans like me who are only going to follow the complete season sitting in front of the tele, it hardly matters. And besides, we are going to have play each team twice and the earlier away the better.

Saturday, 15 August 2009 – Tottenham v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)I am pretty excited about starting against Tottenham. It should be a good first match. We took apart a decent looking Spurs on the last day of 2008 – 2009 season and hopefully we should carry that form and decimate them on the first day of the  new season. 🙂

Wednesday, 19 August 2009 – Liverpool v Stoke, 19:45 (HOME)
No more draws with Stoke. PLEASE!!!

Saturday, 22 August 2009 – Liverpool v Aston Villa, 15:00 (HOME)
This is the one match in the early run-ins that I am bit worried about. Aston Villa started very strong last season when their players were fresh. A draw or win for Villa would mean an early setback.

Saturday, 29 August 2009 – Bolton v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 12 September 2009 – Liverpool v Burnley, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 19 September 2009 – West Ham v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 26 September 2009 – Liverpool v Hull, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 3 October 2009 – Chelsea v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)
Good that we start away with Chelsea. This would be the measure of how much Liverpool and Chelsea have moved. It would be brilliant if we win at Bridge like the last season, but looking at Chelsea’s end of season form, I am sure they would be billed as the favourites to lift the title this season.

Saturday, 17 October 2009 – Sunderland v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 24 October 2009 – Liverpool v Manchester United, 15:00 (HOME)
Would have liked to play the first match at Old Trafford rather than hosting United. Playing the reverse fixture on 20th March would be such a pain if we are still in the title contention. Or who knows maybe a boon if we are able to undo United again and take 3 points off them if they are in title contention. 🙂

Saturday, 31 October 2009 – Fulham v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 7 November 2009 – Liverpool v Birmingham, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 21 November 2009 – Liverpool v Man City, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 28 November 2009 – Everton v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)
THE DERBY!!! Hopefully, there would be no repeat and we would go to Goodison Park and do what we did last season – take 3 points of the blues.

Saturday, 5 December 2009 – Blackburn v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 12 December 2009 – Liverpool v Arsenal, 15:00 (HOME)
Arsenal was the team that used to scare the shit out of me by their raw pace and how they time and again beat us black and blue even though we were set up for defending big time against them. Thankfully, its changed and Liverpool looks the stronger of the two now and the main reason has to be that Liverpool now plays faster and more attacking football, and is usually camped in the opposition half. Nonetheless, Home and Away against Arsenal may be season defining matches.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009 – Liverpool v Wigan, 19:45 (HOME)

Saturday, 19 December 2009 – Portsmouth v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 26 December 2009 – Liverpool v Wolverhampton, 15:00 (HOME)

Monday, 28 December 2009 – Aston Villa v Liverpool, 15:00

Saturday, 9 January 2010 – Liverpool v Tottenham, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 16 January 2010 – Stoke v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY) 
No more draws with Stoke. PLEASE!!!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 – Wolverhampton v Liverpool, 19:45

Saturday, 30 January 2010 – Liverpool v Bolton, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 6 February 2010 – Liverpool v Everton, 15:00 (HOME)
THE DERBY!!! Last time Everton pinched us big time by that goal at Anfield, which ultimately lead to another drawn match. And then rubbed it in by punting us out of the FA Cup – which probably marked the lowest point of the last season. Wait no – that has to be Middlesborough doing us in while sitting second from last.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010 – Arsenal v Liverpool, 19:45 (AWAY)
For all the great flowing football both the teams played last season, the results has always been a draw when these teams have played against each other for the last couple of season. The last season Away fixture was the highlight of Robbie Keane in Liverpool – the running volley over a long ball was as special as it was stunning. The Home fixture was an absolute cracker. I should have felt amazed and ecstatic in same measures after witnessing a rollercoaster of a match, where Liverpool came twice from behind (once when it was 1 – 3 to Arsenal) and score in the last minute through Benayoun to draw the match at 4 – 4, but it still left a bad taste, as that meant Liverpool’s title run was over.

Another thing worth nothing is that Arsenal plays Aston Villa on 27th January, Manchester United on the 30th, Chelsea on the 6th of February and Liverpool on the 9th. Hopefully that should soften them up. 🙂

Saturday, 20 February 2010 – Man City v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 27 February 2010 – Liverpool v Blackburn, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 6 March 2010 – Wigan v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 13 March 2010 – Liverpool v Portsmouth, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 20 March 2010 – Manchester United v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)
1 – 0 , 1 – 1 (Torres), 1 – 2 (Gerrard), 1 – 3 (Aurelio) and  1 – 4 (there goes Dossena)! The only thing that could top it would be take Ronaldo’s goal off and thump one more in. Now that Ronaldivo is off to Spanish moneybags, who will bail out Sir Fergie? Let me guess Nani – the future Ronaldo? No? Anderson – the future Giggs?

Saturday, 27 March 2010 – Liverpool v Sunderland, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 3 April 2010 – Birmingham v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Saturday, 10 April 2010 – Liverpool v Fulham, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 17 April 2010 – Liverpool v West Ham, 15:00 (HOME)

Saturday, 24 April 2010 – Burnley v Liverpool, 15:00

Saturday, 1 May 2010 – Liverpool v Chelsea, 15:00 (HOME)
Hopefully, Liverpool is in a position to do a double again over Chelsea. I have a feeling that Chelsea would turn out to the genuine title contenders this season. Especially, once they are done with ramping up the team with 80-90 Million Pounds worth of signings.

Would it not be amazing, if Liverpool and Chelsea are fighting for the title and this match decides where the trophy is headed? Man, would that be some billing? Anyway, in this case I am sure Liverpool will nick it. 🙂

Sunday, 9 May 2010 – Hull v Liverpool, 15:00 (AWAY)

Hopefully, on 9th May 2010 Liverpool would be celebrating the 19th title.

YNWA!!!

Friendlies – Fixtures for 2009 – 2010 Season

June 18, 2009

 

We really only start the season playing friendly against Lyn and Atletico. Atletico is definitely worth a watch.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 – St Gallen v Liverpool, 19:00 – Friendly Match

Sunday, 19 July 2009  – Rapid Vienna v Liverpool, 18:15 – Friendly Match

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 – Thailand v Liverpool, 14:00 – Friendly Match

Sunday, 26 July 2009 – Singapore v Liverpool, 12:00 – Friendly Match

Wednesday, 5 August 2009 – Lyn v Liverpool, 18:00 – Friendly Match

Saturday, 8 August 2009 – Liverpool v Atletico Madrid, 15:00 – Friendly Match

I am happy Liverpool is also touring Asia in a bid to beef up their support in Asia. But matches against Singapore and Thailand are only just that – their effort to woo the Asian followers.