About Me

I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bridging the Gap

Firstly let me dal with some serious business. Our glorious leader Bill Shankly was once asked if football was a matter of life and death, with his quick Ayrshire wit he retorted, 'Its more important than that'. Sadly this oft quoted piece of Liverpool lore rings particularly hollow this week.With the passing of Brad Jones' 6 year-old son Luca, this week after a battle with Leukemia. Clearly a reminder that its just a game no matter how passionately and important it seems to us. 

Thankfully all our squad returned from the the monthly FIFA circus of qualifiers/play-off/friendlies unscathed. Most significantly Suarez who netted all 4 in a thrashing of Chile. He picked up a slight back strain and was sensibly rested for their other qualifier. Other notable performances Kelly on target twice for England's U21 against Iceland and Belgium. Henderson looked good against the Scandanavians but didn't have the same impact against Belgium. If he isnt outstanding at that level he cant expect to start for us. He has even fallen behind Jack Rodwell who played for the senior England team.

Danny Wilson played in a great performance by Scotland U21's who beat Holland 2-1 in their own back yard, a great result and they could have had more.Charlie Adam played for Scotland in rank improving friendly win against Cyprus.  Even Big Dan Agger was netting for Denmark. Downing  and Johnson played well against Sweden. With the latter also putting an excellent shift in against Spain. That game really upset me. The amount of current ex-Pool player on the pitch was maddening more so because most of them were playing for Spain, the World Champions! Like Villa we seem to be providing bigger clubs with talent, I have to be honest dont mind if tehy go to Madrid or Barca, that has to be the ultimale compliment.

Great team selection by King Kenny today. Donkey Carroll left out. Unleashing Suarez and Bellamy instead. They made Chelski's life a particular misery in the 1st half. We were aidied by some schoolboy stuff from the Blue Scum at the back. Although David Luiz has the nickname 'Sideshow Bob' due to his frizzy barnet, his performance today was more Krusty the Clown! He was appalling against QPR the other week but for some reason he is still keeping Alex and even Ivanovic out of the centreback position. I dont know how,he thinks he is Lionel Messi

Maxi provided a freshness and added solidity to our left side. Nothing against Downing, but with him having played twice for England in the last week probably needed a rest. Bellamy also was fresh and confident after his great performance for Wales, scoring 1 and making 2 in their 4-1 win over Norway.

Maxi drifted infield when appropriate to either press the ball and make the extra man or indeed to make himself available  as an option. We pressed Chelski high up the pitch which was easy as they were playing a highline. A ploy they have fallen foul of against Arsenal and they shipped 5 that day. Had our final ball been slightly better we could have pierced this shield much more effectively than we did. Still as it was we looked dangerous whenever we had the ball. As I have mentioned previously we need to make better decisions in the final third and improve our ruthlesness.

It was only right we went ahead. What Cech was thinking when rolled out the goalkick to Mikel, God only knows. Suarez and Bellamy were already making it impossible for Mikel to use Terry or Luiz as options and with his back to play it should have bee na firm pass straight back to Cech. He dallied as he always does, looking like a Rhino in possesion rather than a Gazelle, Adam pounced nicked the ball off him and fed Bellamy. A neat 1-2 with Suarez and it looked like Bellers was going to pull the trigger but thankfully he spotted Maxi in a better position. Maxi didnt disappoint and calmly slotted over Cech.

Halftime was reached without too many traumas Chelski's only threat was a Drogba freekick which fooled most people into thinking it was in despite hitting the back stantion. The other a Mata cross shot which he should have done better with.

They had to make a change and cumbersome oafish Mikel was withdrawn. I don't understand why ManUre and Chelski went to court to settle who owned this donkey. He isn't a Premier League player and would probably struggle in the Championship. He cant pass,tackle or read the game something required for the role. Sturridge was introduced and he made a difference with Mata playing more centrally. Suddenly Chelski were finding space between our defensive lines and Malouda in particular causing mayhem down the left.

We didn't help ourselves by dropping deeper and deeper which allowed Lampard and Ramires to start picking passes. Johnson looked woefully out of his depth when faced with this threat. Malouda and Mata running past him with ease. He doesn't know how to jockey, block or show someone the line. Several times when he slid to block the cross he was using his left foot???? He is right footed you always use that as if means you are better balanced. For me his winning goal sums up exactly why we should use him as a winger. A fulback he ain't. His pace and control and his willingness to cut inside and shoot with his left are an asset and he generally does cross well when he goes on the outside. He made Ashley Cole look very average as he ghosted past him and was extremely composed when he pased it into the far corner.

It only took 9 minutes of this type for pressure for us to fold. Sturridge drifting in off the far post with no-one near him to tap in. at that stage we were looking very ragged and almost conceced a 2nd within a few minutes when a Drogba freekick was flicked on by Ivanovic  only for Pepe to pull off a Worldy low to his left on the line.

Unfortunately this didnt jerk us out of our defensive ways and I thought they were going to run riot. Fortunately they didnt do much else. Throwing on Meireles and Torres with just 9 minutes to go was clearly too little too late. Our changes were better. Bellamy had worked his socks off Henderson provided the extra body in midfield we needed. Bringing on Downing for Maxi again a good choice for the opposite reason. IE it gave us someone else with pace to break.

Overall I think we were probably lucky to sneak it but as seems to be the case, when its a 'BIG' game we turn up. Lets hope we can replicate that next week against City. Pity we cant do it at home against Sunderland,Swansea and Norwich. I dont think 4-4-2 with Carrol helps as all to often we lump it or he end up out wide when he should be in the box and let the others  build up play. A draw would be a good result with the way they are playing.  


P.S. Possible European Championships draw - Spain,Italy,Greece and Ireland - The Group of Debt? 

P.P.S - looks like we will getting knocked out fo League Cup with only 1 day between our game with City and a return to Bridge, King Kenny has told the faithful not to bother travelling Well done to Sky for actually robbing the viewing and paying public of a cracking tie. Why isn't the Man City v Arsenal game  on Tuesday and ours on Wednesday, that would make more sense seeing as they both play on Saturday. Idiots.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Swansong for our Season?

What a load of absolute rubbish! No I am not talking about FIFA's insane decision to stop England or any team wearing the Poppy on on their kit in the upcoming meaningless, money making fixtures. Does the baffoonery at that organisation know no bounds?? It is not a Political,Religious or Corporate statement, it beggers belief.

I am indeed discussing the dross that a full house at Anfield had to endure on Saturday and those of us masochists how have bothered to watch subsequent airings on LFC TV.  I think this best sums it up. We made Wayne Routledge look good!!!! How damning is that. A player who in 105 appearances has scored 1 goal at this level.

We started flat and were given a great chance to take the lead early on when Adam's 1st time ball down the channel was pounced on by Downing who got to the byline and crossed a peach of a ball on a plate only for Carroll to somehow rattle the crossbar from 6 yards when it was easier to score. One of the misses of the season. Not even the LFC TV commentators seemed that surprised by the miss.

Unfortunately that was about as good as it got. Kenny again giving Henderson an opportunity to start while the ever-reliable Kuyt cools his jets on the bench. Yet again this overpriced moron has no idea how to play right midfield. Time after time we looked for an outlet and he always central getting on both Lucas and Adam's way. He is not good enough to start at the moment and I doubt he ever will be.  

We do not have the luxury of carrying 2 players while they bed in. Carroll  has some excuse due to his injury in the latter part of last season however Henderson started almost every league game for Sunderland last season so he cant claim not to be at the races. I think he wants to play centrally and no matter what he has been told he keeps drifting inside to try and prove he belongs there. The result is he compromises our shape and tactics leaving us lop-sided and exposed.

If he wants to play centrally fine, he is then behind Lucas,Adam,Spearing,Gerrard and even on loan players like Pacheco,Cole,Shelvey and Aquilani. That is how utterly out of his depth and useless he is. The fact that Kenny hooked him at halftime shows that perhaps the King's patience is finally running out. We again appear to have been fleeced and paid over the odds for average talent. Even Downing at £20 mill is too much, Ashley Young, a far superior player went for £16 mill. At least Downing looks threatening and is clearly trying and does deliver crosses and the odd shot of note. So between the best part of £75 million on 3 players their return in the League so far this season is 4 goals with no assists in 20 starts. Brilliant. That will win you many games NOT.
Ashley Young and David Silva between them have scored 6 and created 13 between them in about the same number of games.

I know Kenny has a large say in who we go for but what is Comolli doing? The 3 transfers are over priced and quality isn't quite there from 2 of them. Last week Comolli was swanning at the Emirates with Wenger last week. Unless he was checking out the two Ayew brothers that play for Marseille, I doubt he was trying to get Van Persie on loan!

I still think we were silly holding out for 50mill for Torres. £40 mill and Sturridge was what we turned down, not very shroud. We could have kept the 40 mill and had another striker. That would surely have helped us this summer in keeping Meirles and Aquilani who are wage refugees. That would have meant that if we still wanted Carroll we could have got him on the summer on our terms we certainly wouldnt have had to pay £35 mill for him. Or we could have bought a footballer!

Anyway back to the miserable affair on Saturday. Our tempo was too slow,..... again. We were ponderous on the ball. Lucas had a mare which is unusual, tackling, passing positioning all over the place.  Other than that early chance from Carroll and a curler from Suarez we didn't really do much. Danny Graham spurned the 2nd best chance of the half when he failed to get sufficient contact on a Routledge cross. A product of a mazy run which left, Johnson, Lucas and Henderson in his wake.

So at halftime all square in  game lacking tempo, quality and  chances. Thankfully Kenny took action and subbed Henderson and replaced him with Kuyt. Unfortunately as has been the case in all our home games we didn't really do anything. Although Kuyt stayed wide right our overall tempo passing was still poor. We seem to expect things to happen rather than making them happen.

Swansea were brighter and Pepe was definitely busier and again showed his jittery side. Coming out to close down Dyer when he had no chance of getting there and then spilling a shot from Danny Graham.  Only with 15 minutes to go did we ramp things up Bellamy helping the urgency. We created several late chances but Vorm was inspired or we made poor decisions again.

I have no issue with the Kuyt goal that was ruled out, even if the ball may have come of Swansea player rather than Agger. Sian Massey got it right. The ball went towards Swansea's goal it was reasonable to assume it came off Agger last and Dowd agreed straight away. 

Once again too little too late.Not once this season have we put 2 halves together and we have barely put 30 continuous minutes together. We have only beaten Bolton and Wolves so far this season.That says it all really. Sunderland,ManUre,Norwich and now Swansea have taken points from us. Hardly 'This is Anfield' more 'This is  a draw'.........  

Only Agger,Suarez and Downing can say they had decent games the rest need to look at themselves long and hard this week.

Last season we couldn't play away from home, this season we appear unable to do either. I really cant see a top 4 finish. I was at Craven Cottage yesterday and saw Spurs do very little for 90 minutes except counter attack and they won 3-1. They only had 5 shots the whole game, in other words, ruthless. They are streets ahead of us. They took off Van Der Vaart and brought on Defoe.  we still dont have enough quality.

I was not expecting a title challenge this season but at least a good run to 3rd or 4th. The Manchester teams were always going to be the benchmark this year for winning the League. Chelski are too old and have their own issues and will probably get 3rd or 4th,With the rubbish start Arsenal have had (now level on points with us) surely we were contending with Spurs for 4th?

Apparently not. It now looks like fighting  Newcastle and Stoke for a possible Europa League place. Another season of frustration and woe. I cant see how we can expect any points on our next two games if we continue to play like this. Chelski arent really firing and we should be going there on the back of 3 straight wins. Instead we still dont know what team is going to show up. The one that dominated ManUre and should have won, or the rubbish we saw at Spurs and at home recently.

Apparently we are not that bad as, Glenn Johnson has beaten Micah Richards to an England call up???? Clearly Cappello wasn't at Anfield watch Routledge hand him his own arse. One can only imagine what the Spanish will do to him.....

I will manfully continue to pick my team that clearly Kenny's will not resemble. Clearly belows selection is if everyone returns from the International break unscatched


We need to use the pace we have on the break as that is our best chance to hurt them.  I pick Kelly over Johnson as he is a better defender and has a presence in our box to deal with Chelski's height. For me Glenn Johnson should be a winger, he is poor defensively in all department except pace.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ruling the Britannia and Boing-ing the Baggies

2 great performances last week. Firstly a tough trip to the Britannia and teh scene of an earlier league defeat for us. Kenny remained true to his word by fielding a very strong lineup. back four of Kelly-Carra-Coates-Agger in midfield Maxi-Lucas-Spearing-Henderson and our main strikeforce upfront of Carrol and Suarez.

We totally dominated the first half. Carroll looked lively, Suarez excelelnt as always. Lucas and Spearing battled hard in the midfield. AAs seems to be the way with us thsi season we dont take our chances and as soon as we present the opposition with a sniff they seem to score. What Seb Coates was doing letting the ball bounce 3 times out wide on the right only he will know. Jon Walters is strong quick and deadly as Coates found out. Outmuscled and then outpaced.A pinpoint cross onto the completly unmarked Kenwyne Jones and we are suddenly a goal down having dominated completely.

Fortunately we didn't let that set-back affect us and were level after 54 minutes with a magnificent strike from Suarez. He had the ball out wide on the right and was faced with Ryan Shotton, he simply knocked the ball through his legs and curled a magnificent shot beyond Begovic into the far corner of the net. The ball had so much late spin on it it actually got tangled in the bottom of the net!. The goals was enough to win Suarez goal of the week on SKY. We continued to look comfortable in a game that became a bit scrappy and if anyone was going to score in normal time it was us.

The largely anonymous Jordan Henderson (too much time spent drifting inside aimlessly) finally made a contribution. For once he was out on the right and his 1st time volleyed cross was pounced on by Suarez to notch up his second of the game with a neat header. If Henderson is suppose to play on the right then he should stay there. Too often he was central when we needed an outlet. His lack of perfrmance so far is all the more galling when this week we see Aquilani running Champions League matches for AC Milan. He cost the same as Henderson and for me is a far superior player. I can only think that his wages are the reason we have loaned him out again because how we can say we dont need or want a player of that quality is amazing.

So a good win under our belt and the Quarter final draw didn't do us any favours. Yet another away tie this time at Chelski. As usual ManUre's ball was heated and they got a soft home tie against Palace. Gooners also got stiched up with a tie against Man City.

Next, the Hawthorns on Saturday night. With Carra injured on Wednesday against Stoke, Agger stepped in to the breach. Henderson started again and poor Dirk is still getting splinters. Martin Kerlly was also unlucky to lose out to Glenn Johnson. I still think Kelly is a better defender and that Johnson would better deployed as a winger. Again we started well and were rewarded with a penalty in the 9th minute. Why Lee Mason didn't give it himself is beyond me, he was only 5-10 yards away. Thankfully the linesman had some balls and gave the penalty. Sure Suarez does go down easily a lot of the time but Jerome Thomas' challenge was poor and clumsy and he clearly hangs his leg out which Suarez runs into. Up stepped Chucky and dispatched it with aplomb. 

We were rarely threatened by the Baggies and got a good 2nd just before the break.Great pass from Suarez to Carroll in acres of space. He had a poor 1st touch but thinkthat actaully helped, it met that Foster thought he could beat him to the ball and it limited Carroll's options. Thankfully he got there first and poked it under the keeper and into the net. The 2nd half was a bit of a damp squib but again we looked more likely.

Swansea on Saturday, a dangerous team to play at home. They have real pace in Sinclair and Dyer and have started to find their scoring touch. I think Brendan Rogers is doing a magnificent job considering the restrictions he is working under. Of the 3 promoted teams they were the ones I fear for most but they have equiped themselves well. Hopefully they are below par or indeed we are on top of our game. We need a big home win to take into the away game at the Bridge next week. Another game I think we can win. Chelski look out of sort at the moment and might not be a bad tme to play them.

So my team for Swansea on Saturday would be:


I know Kenny will probably opt for Henderson and Carroll over Kuyt and Bellamy but I think they offer us more than the 2 youngsters at the moment.


P.S. Congrats to Stevie G and Alex on the birth of their 3rd child Lourdes this week.
Let also hope Stevie's infected ankle gets sorted soon as well, although we seem to be coping quite well without him.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sick as a Canary

What a painful week to be a Liverpool fan. Firstly to lose to a second string Rangers team with your own second string on Tuesday with a totally uninspired performance is not good. Admitedly a midfield containing Maxi,Lucas,Spearing and Aurelio is unlikely to provide much ammunition for Carrol and Bellamy.

We were lucky not to be further behind after 25 minutes, only a combination of great keeping from Doni and wasteful finishing from Rangers. As an exercise we got 65 minutes out of Glenn Johnson. Agger and Aurelio played longer and its good they are back to fitness. Only player who impressed other than the keeper was Bellamy. He was rewarded with a starting position on Saturday against Norwich.

What a game that was, I have no idea how we didnt score 10 never mind only get a draw!  We were completely dominant except for almost the whole game except for 10 to 15 minutes at the start of 2nd half.

I looked at our starting line up and thought Wow that going to be hard to stop. So it proved a combination of Ruddy in goal and Barnett a one man defensive wall, he seemed to be everywhere blocking and tackling, and the woodwork kept us at bay. I know its hard to be critical of a team that has had 29 shots in a game but tellingly only 9 on target. Norwich had 12 shots and  had 7 on target.

I said we werent ruthless enough against ManUre and we repeated the wastefulness here. I believe Suarez had 12 shots, a Premier League record for a single game, but only about 3 or 4 of those were on target and only 2 the keeper was forced into proper saves and what saves they were!!! I am not having a pop at Luis he was certainly our man of the match and you cant ask for more from your topman other than a bit of luck.

I do think some of our decision-making was poor in the last 3rd, too many times we shot when we should have passed, and passed when we should have shot and sometimes we didnt really pick out team-mates who were better placed. Too many crosses were hit in aimlessly without checking who was where. We need to show more patience. Illustrated In the 1st half  when Bellers could have cut the ball back to Kuyt and in the 2nd when Suarez shot from an acute angle after some great build up play when Stevie G was square and in position for a tap-in.

There goal was a shambles, yet again Pepe was at fault. He spilt almost every shot Norwich had at goal and then for some reason came  out for a hailmary punch that he was never going to get to and only succeeded in clattering Carra and Johnson, neither of whom was getting to the ball either . Mr Holt wanted it more. We almost fell for the same trick a couple of minutes later but thankfully this time Pepe stayed his line and made a decent save from another Holt header.

We almost snatched it at the end with Carroll and Suarez having great chances. ManUre and Chelski both struggled to put Norwich to bed but did so late on. That unfortunately is the difference between contending and ensuring a top 4 finish and being an also ran. We are a quarter of the way through the campaign and after the glorious slaughter of his knighted smugness by City today are 10 points off the pace. Extrapolate that out for the remainder and we finish 40 points behind.

We havent had the toughest start to the season. We have played 2 of the top 6 away, win 1 win and 1 loss. A draw against ManUre which was a disappointing result but not performance. We should have beaten Sunderland on the opening day, more points dropped there. I would say we are probably 6 points off what our performances have deserved. The defeats at Spurs and Stoke were always going to be tough games.

So where are we? 6th according to the table. Steve Clarke said before the International  break we have had an average start. With 2 subsiquent draws I would think that has to be moving towards below average. Remember our new owners have spent over 100 million to get us to the right place and in general we have seen a vast improvement in style and energy in our performances. The results arent quite there yet but on the whole we are definitely moving forward but I think we are stalled at the moment.

Arsenal have had a horrible time of things and yet they are only 2 points behind us and have scored more goals.........

Kenny has tinkered with the line-up after giving most of the new arrivals 5-6 games to bed in. Enrique,Downing and Adam have certainly done that. I think Henderson is showing that this a bit of a step too far at the moment and I am glad Kenny is using him as a sub instead. He has made impact in both games in that role.

I think we have 14 quality players we can use at the moment, basically the starting 11 plus Kelly,Lucas and Agger. The rest are works in progress. I hope that over time Carroll, Henderson and Shelvey will make the grade.  

We have 4 tough game on the bounce now. Trips to Stoke, The Hawthorns and Stamford Bridge and Man City at home. Brittania is obviously a Cup game but we really need to get a win. West Brom are proving to be tough nuts to crack under out former boss. Pity we werent the same under him! Chelski is always tough as an away fixture for us and after what City did at the Legions of Doom today not looking forward to that game.

Lets hope we can put 2 wins together and then take what we can from Chelski and Man City I imagine we will need to win one of those.


P.S. Ballotelli burnt his house down during the week, not a bad idea if you are going to score 2 against ManUre!!!    

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Stevie G Was Key Only to be Undone by a Little Pea

Lucky,Lucky,Lucky Manc Gits!!!!! 

That just about sums up yesterday. Firstly at the news of the respective teams I went yes! Brilliant Fergie has cocked this up. How can he rest Nani - 'Your just a shit Micheal Jackson' - Spurs fans at OT this season cant claim credit for that one!, Shrek - ' I kick anyone so I dont have to waste another summer with JT and Cashley Cole ina foreign shithole' and Herdandez - whose nickname means little pea although its  longer than his surname - Spanish must be a very difficulty language to speak in!!!. and still expect to win the game?

They say in football you should never set out to achieve a drawbut I dont see what else  SithLord Fergie was trying to achieve. He matched us up in a 4-2-3-1 and basically came to kill the game.
You can look at that in 2 ways a mark of respect considering we have won the last 3 at Anfield, or he doesnt really see us as a threat so he can rest his best players.

Lets be honest that wasn't a lineup that put fear in your heart. Johnny 'Titanic' Evans with Rio not great and then Fletcher and Jones holding with Park, Giggs the geriatric sibling fiance shagger and Young with Wellbeck up front. was this a Carling Cup tie or a 'Champions League@ tie against the 14th placed team in turkey? No its suppose to be your toughest game.

The 1st half was a bit of a stalemate. Phil Jones with a free header and Suarez with his usual wriggly dribble and shot about the only notable chances. The 2nd half and they started more positively, Ashley Young  cutting inside and getting the better of Kelly and Lucas. Yet again Pepe Reina spilled a shot that was straight at him from a freekick, fortunately it didnt fall to Wellbeck. Once we took Lucas off (before he got sent) and Henderson came on we looked a lot better.

Stevie G dropped deeper and looked happier. I thought he was trying to do too much  and his crossing wasn't great. He was obviously desperate to impress after such a long absence and in such an important match. In the 1st half he tried his trademark 'Hollywood passes' too often when a simpler pass to a teammate was on. I think Steve needs to realise that we dont rely on him solely anymore, he doesnt need to try and do everything himself anymore. He needs to let Adam,  Downing and Suarez take corners and freekick when its appropriate.

Thankfully his headstrong performance allowed us to take deserved lead after a rather soft freekick given against Rio for the faintest contact on Chucky. Mariner clearly bottled that decision as if that was foul, then it was yellow and Rio should have walked. I for one was glad he didnt send him off as we are quite crap against ten and dont seem to know how to break teams down. So thankfully Giggs and DeGea hadnt gone to Wickes or B&Q and therefore didnt build a wall properly!! Not Stevie's best effort as he mentioned afterwards but in it went.

They made the triple change we were expecting at some point and for 10 minutes they looked good and scored a good set piece goal. Sktrel was to busy wrestling with Hernandez and lost him in the box and Carra was too slow to cover Wellbeck faint to make space for himself and a textbook near post flick on.

Their goal seemed to galvanise us  and De Gea made excellent saves from Kuyt and Henderson. Downing unleashed a rasper that blistered the paint on the Kop end crossbar. But alas our lack of a ruthless streak let us down again. I cant help but feel that was a missed opportunity yesterday to beat Man U and set out a marker for the of the League.

They got out of jail and I would have given the Man of the Match to De Gea not Gerrard, he kept them in it. We have 2 winable games up next in Norwich and West Brom. With Lucas suspended, I imagine Kenny will revert to 4-4-2 with Carroll joining Suarez up top and Gerrand and Adam centrally. I would leave Downing and Kuyt as the wide players.

We have 4 games in the next 2 weeks, starting with a friendly with Rangers on Tuesday, think that was part of Danny Wilson transfer. Imagine Kenny will play lots of youngsters and a couple of the fringe players who arent getting a run. Imagine - Shelvey,Spearing,Coates,Maxi,Bellamy will play some part. with Flanno,Robinson,Wisdom,Coady,Rehman thrown in. Then Norwich in the late game next Saturday and then Stoke away on the League Cup. Imagine they will field a weakened team with Europa league commitments stretching their squad. A chance for revenge for the league defeat and then away at the Hawthorns. 


P.S.  Great to see Ngog,scoring yesterday............

Friday, 14 October 2011

ManUre Musings

Wow where has the time gone?

Well a brief catch up on events over the past few weeks. Wolves game again we lacked ruthlessness, cruising at halftime only to let Fletcher score with almost the 1st attack of the 2nd half. Did we wake up and push on again, not really. Still a win is a win at this stage and we are still trying blend 4 or 5 new players into the team.

One player who isn't cutting at the moment in Henderson. He was completely anonimous against Wolves, thankfully Kenny saw the light and didn't play him against Everton in the derby. He has no workrate, no end product and keeps drifting in-field, he then doesn't come back when he loses the ball. Kuyt is still our best option on the right unless you use Bellamy or Johnson if he ever gets fit again.

The derby itself looked like a good open game with the Toffees slightly on top in the early part of the game. Obviously the game changed in intensity and complextion with the bizarre sending off of Jack Rodwell. In real time I thought 'thats a foul'. Martin 'FIFA List' Atkinson who was only 3 yards away clearly thought he saw something heinous. When he went for a card, again I though 'OK yellow, 1st meaty challenge lets get on with the game'. No, out came the red and with it went any entertainment from the game.  Everton put up the barriers and we were yet again faced with the same problem we always have when the other team get a man sent off, how do we break it down. As usual it was just sheer weight of pressure rather than guile from us.

I agree totally with David Moyes it ruined a good game.Sure we may have lost,drawn or won if it stayed 11 vs 11 but what a stupid decision. He compounded it it by giving us a rather soft pen when Suarez enacted his Willem Defoe impression, but I suppose justice was done when Dirk missed. Maybe its a bit of payback from some of the bad luck with decisions we have had lately. Anyway I will take it and thankfully the disciplinary panel saw sense and rescinded the red card. Scant consolation for Everton.

Steve Clarke  was asked about our start and his response was average. I couldn't agree more. We have not been great starters fro many years now, perhaps that id borne of always bringing new players and throwing them in. Enrique and Adam have slotted in nicely but Downing, Carroll and Henderson still finding their feet, with the latter out of his depth entirely.  Bellamy hasn't really had a chance yet but against Brighton he and Suarez looked like a partnership. I haven't seen that with Carroll and Suarez. Carroll  still looks overweight and slow and has poor touch and awareness. I have a certain sense of deja vu, we went through all this with Crouch. A player more nimble of foot and with a better 1st touch and positional awareness than Carroll and we sold him!

I am not saying Carroll won't get there he is very young and like Henderson they need time, unfortunately with our predicament at playing catch up with the other 'Big Clubs' we don't think have the luxury of doing that in the Premiership. I think we should use the best weapons we have and surprisingly with Stevie G coming back that weapon is pace. Suarez,Bellamy,Downing, Gerrard, Enrique,Kelly and Johnson are all quick. Lets use Carroll and Henderson as impact players at this stage they can come on when the game is won or indeed when we are chasing it against tired opponents. 

I see our MD Ian Ayre is winning friends and influencing people with his idea of allowing the Premiership clubs to sell their overseas TV right individually ala the Spanish model. A set-up that works so well that only 2 out of the 20 teams can win the League. Is that what we want. Sure the Premier League model isn't perfect but at least revenue is shared however disproportionately among all 20 clubs. That gives everyone a decent crack of the whip. How are clubs like Fulham,Stoke,Sunderland et al suppose to generate TV revenue abroad? The collective deal works for everyones benefit.

Personally I would prefer something akin to the Bundesliga model if we are going to change it. As usual the Germans are efficient and seem to get the balance right. All 18 clubs get the same amount of TV money, that way any extra revenue you earn is down to capacity, marketing and success on the pitch.

Isn't that what we should be rewarding? Not the fact that us and ManUre can attract billions of pounds from the Far Eastern TV market. Do we really need to be helping ManUre earn more money???? Its bad enough they have twice the capacity of our ground and monstrous marketing machine which churns out enough money for at least 2 major signings every year.

 We would also potentially be harming our own global brand. It might be too expensive to watch our game in some countries and as a result less people will be able to see us play. Mr Ayre clearly has not thought this through. For me this is a non-starter and from the comment on  BBC Sport there is almost no appetite from many of the other clubs. Even Chelski and Man City realise their TV revenue is linked to Liverpool and ManUre being part of the deal. Our 2 clubs have consistently been given the largest  slice of the TV money from the Sky deal and are guaranteed 22 televised game a year. The German model would still reflect that popularity but obviously we would get less money and Swansea might not appear at all during the season but so what at least they would have sufficient funds to have a decent chance of staying up.

So to tomorrow's big game. On current form this is David vs Goliath in all possible comparisons. Form,funds, results etc. We are clearly the underdogs.  We are playing a team that has scored at least 3 goals against all the other teams that finished in the top 6 last year. Am I pessimistic or worried. Honestly no. We always turn up for this game. Its not often I I take any notice of the tripe that spews forth from SithLord Fergie's mouth, never mind agree with it. He said its still the biggest game in England and indeed in Europe as far as local rivalry, intensity and passion is concerned.
Its the one fixture that everyone looks for no matter who they support.

I really think we can beat then tomorrow despite their form,pace and goal threat. We have plenty of our own. they like us don't have a settled back four due to injuries. Their central midfield only works if they have possession. We can starve them of that. Also we are at home and the atmosphere will be electric and intimidating. Team selection is key. for me 4-4-2 will leave us too exposed against their counter-attacking style. I would go with 4-2-3-1 again but with a few personnel changes.


Kuyt and Bellamy have a far better workrate than Downing and Henderson at present. Plus Bellers is bound to wind a few of the Mancs up. Kuyt can help Kelly with Ashley Young.  I know starting Stevie G might be a risk but what the hell, if he only last 60-70 minutes he can have such an impact on our play and to be honest we are all dying to see how he links with Suarez. Lets give it both barrels tomorrow. I would rather we lost by having a go rather than trying to keep it tight and losing anyway.

Cmon the Reds!!!!!! Lets send them back to their Theatre of Delusions to their soulless marketing machine of a club empty handed!


P.S. A little bit or Premier League history made before the International break that has probably escaped everyone else on Planet Earth's attention. Danny Murphy's pen against QPR makes him the highest scoring 'M' in Premier league history (50). 1 ahead of our own Gary McAllister, 4 ahead of  Paul Merson,  9 ahead of Steve McManaman.  Not a bad midfield quartet that!!! Alas it probably wont be his for long as Flourent Malouda has 39 goals.

A wasted life and mind full of useless information.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Gulls-a-Flutter at the Amex

Before I start I would just like to make some comments on the ManUre game on Tuesday night, specifically about the referee Mike Jones. I only watched the 1st half, any longer and my TV melts!!!

Mr Jones was again consistent in what he booked, anything off the ground or vaguely reckless looking was a card. So that puts that to bed as far as the Spur's game. We not only didn't turn up, we did not do our homework on the ref either. One does wonder what the players and coaches do all week.

Great game on Wednesday night and  balance probably a fair result. We hit the bar or post 4 times in the 1st half as Bellamy and Suarez were rampant. The highlight being Bellamy's freeekick from some 35 yards which hit the bar with the keeper standing 3 yards away totally dumbfounded. Unfortunately as with the Stoke game we are not ruthless enough. A game that should have been put to bed within 35 minutes turned into a very nervy affair. 

Brighton came back into the game in the last 10 in the 1st half and we never really got back into it. Buckley had the returning Kelly on toast all night who certainly looked rusty. While on the other flank Craig Noone (Stevie G's roofer) was equally effective against Robinson.  You would have thought we would have upped the tempo in the 2nd half but that never really transpired. Noone hitting the bar, Pepe punching and flapping at a few crosses and another spilled save.

Is it just me or is something not right with Reina?  He came with a reputation of being an excellent shot stopper, great in one-on-ones and a bit of a penalty expert. To be honest we haven't seen much of either of these 3 attributes this season. I know in most games he hasn't had much to do but when he has I am not sure he is at the races. I am not calling for him to be dropped or anything, he just seems a little slow in reacting ,Defoe did beat him on the near post and he has spilled a couple of routine ones now. Hopefully its just a minor slump as at the moment all shots on target from opponents, unless straight at him seem to be going in.

Anyway back to Brighton. Great to see Stevie G back a slightly shorter cameo than expected. Andy Burton the SKY touchline man indicated that Stevie was due for 30 minute run out depending on the state of the game. So it is a measure of Brighton's performance that this was curtailed to 15 minutes. Fortunately for us we scored a breakaway goal with Stevie G starting it and Bellers,Maxi and finally Dirk the Gurkha finishing it off.

I do like what Kenny is doing at corners leaving Suarez and Bellers up front, gives the opposition food for thought with them having to leave 3 back, invariably one of the centrebacks. Be nice to see how that works with Gerrard and Downing in the team. 4 speed merchants, who would have thought we would have that many at our disposal.

I think Gus Poyet is doing a magnificent job at Brighton and would love to see them in the Premier League, hell they have Vicente who won the UEFA Cup with Rafa and played in 2 CL finals with Macca. If he can attract that calibre of player to the Championship look forward to what he can do in the top flight. I am adopting Brighton as my Championship team for the season, with a decent striker they will be at the business end this season.

It definitely wont be Leeds as their fans continue to disgrace themselves with moronic chanting about Munich while the brain donating ManUre fans sing about Galatasary. No class the pair of them.You only have to see how Liverpool and Juventus fans have mended fences since Heysel to how things should be done. Rivalry and having a pop at one another's expense is fine, but there is a line that should not be crossed. Liverpool fans would never sing songs about Munich at Man U and similarly they wouldn't sing about Heysel and Hillsborough.

So to Wolves tomorrow, obviously my proposed team is nonsense now in light of the return of Kelly. I suspect Kenny will play Carroll but I would rather we didn't start with him. Lets use teh pace we have. Dirk showed a good understanding with Suarez at the latter end of the season and Bellamy has also shown the beginnings of something there - 4-4-2.

Kuyt -Lucas-Adam-Downing

That can easily be adapted to 4-2-3-1 if needed with the front 4 totally interchangable. At home you have got to be aggressive and that formation sends the right message for me. We are quick skillful and we are going to hit you hard. Leaves us a nice bench including Stevie G,Carroll and Henderson. Not bad when you can leave £100 mill on the bench! 


Monday, 19 September 2011

Britannia Blank and Harry Hoodoo Continue

Firstly, let me start with something important,  I would like to wish Ronnie Moran all the best after his hospital admittance on Friday. Lets hope he has a speedy recovery our thoughts are with him and his family in this difficult time. A true gentleman who has been associated with the club for over 50 years, he is LFC.  

Secondly, what is all this nonsense with Nathan Ecclestone's twitter post about his personal view's on 9/11. Surely in this day of bland banalities from our footballers on the various social networking sites.


His opinion is not exactly earth shattering and new.Surely the 10th year anniversary of this horrific event is an appropriate time to discuss it? Whether you agree with the view or not, its surely better than reading 'Training was hard, bought another Porsche, shagged my brother's fiance cos I is bored' or whatever other piffle players post!  

So onto the football, unlike the shiny Blu-Ray boxset for Star Wars loaded with extra and enhancements our for 'New Hope'  our performances over the last 2 weeks looks like more of the same old toot with shiny new cover. I have not watched the Stoke game but the highlights and stats tells it all. 24 shots, 8 on target and we still lose. Sounds familiar, our Birmingham jinx had the same sort of ring to it. Clearly we didn't play badly and Shawcross seemed to be everywhere blocking shots and making challenges. I suppose I should cover the 3 'controversial' incidents in the game.

1) Delap handball - Definitely hand-to-ball, at home you tend to get those away maybe not, so on that one certainly the luck didn't favour us.
2) Walters penalty - Sorry for me that was pen. Carra loses his balance then manages to almost get himself back in position but decided to not only put his arm across Walters but grabbed his shorts. Walters for his part went down easily but that is to be expected these days. From Mark Clattenberg's perspective he sees the arm across the front and the grab on the shorts. So no complaints from me.
3) Upson handball - No brainer here, again the ref got it right. Suarez is attempting to cross ball and Upson slides in the ball driven from 2 yards away hits his leg and then his arm. His arm wasn't flailing all over the place ala John Terry.  

So on the basis of the above, I am not sure I can give Kenny's post match comments much credence. 'Crucial decisions in every game have gone against us'. I can't think of too many that have gone against us. I list the one I can think of below.

1) In the opening game, sure Richardson should have been sent off for the challenge that led to the Suarez penalty, which was finally shot down from Space over the weekend as it was interfering with US defence satellites! So we should have played against 10 men. That smacks of sour grapes, we should be able to beat a team that had with a whole new midfield at home.
2) Arsenal game, I thought there was nothing 'crucial' in that game. They had a player sent off, rightly. We got a lucky 1st with the O-G and Suarez may have been given offside, so if anything we benefited.
3) Bolton game - possible a couple of maybe pens but honestly we won 3-1 going on 10-0 so can't see the issue there either.

So King Kenny had productive meeting (scheduled not special) with Mike Reilly who is in charge of the referees on Monday and came away with a clearer understanding of what we should be doing and how we should behave. Glad to see that was communicated so well to the team for yesterday's game with Spurs then!!!!!!

Sure Mike Jones was bit card happy. Honestly you have to ask yourself 2 questions, was he consistent and did he apply those standards to both sides? I think he did. Was it a dirty game, definitely not, should there have been as many card, probably not. The player have a responsiblity too, they can see what is being booked and what isn't yet our players seemed to ignore that. Thay have all been reffed by Mr Jones before........ 

Yes there were more robust challenges in other games over the weekend that did not even get a booking (Barnett on Klasnic). But each ref will interpret things differently and you can only go by the one that refs you each week.  

Chucky's 1st card was for a cynical tug on Modric's shirt. Adebayor was booked for a late one on Carroll. Adam's 2nd card was for a knee high lunge in a genuine attempt for the ball on Parker. Again no complaints. Skrtel  as always makes bad decisions in the defensive 3rd of the pitch and he was even more culpable playing out of position. The 2nd card was sheer stupidity. Bale had already laid the ball off and was only going down the line, so instead of dropping off and tracking the run, Skrtel jumps in and stamps on Bale's ankle.  So not even an hour gone and we are down to 9. Result. Hammered.

I really have to question our team selection and tactics. we have basically been playing 4-2-3-1 and for some reason we went 4-4-2 to accomodate Carroll. I dont understand Kenny's thinking here. We have looked sharp and incisive with 4-2-3-1. Was it a nod to media pressure over the last week or so about him being on the bench and having a  huge price tag? I don't know, but is seems strange to play him in this away game. Surely Stoke was his kind of game? Spurs away was always going to be a football match not a battle.

Skrtel is not a rightback and Bale is probably one of the top leftsided midfielders in the world, so surely we needed some cover in front of him?? For me that means either Kuyt and Bellamy plays in front of him. Henderson and Downing do not track back enough or have the correct work ethic.

So 4-4-2 That actually looked something like this for the 1st 20 minutes

Carroll and Suarez 

I put 'no-one' on the wide left as that appeared to be what we were doing and for some reason Downing and Henderson were on the same side of the pitch in the same space and neither helping Skrtel! Spurs certainly started the quicker as you would expect from the home team who are smarting from a 5-1 hammering by City in their last hoem game. Adebayor put one across our bows in just the 2nd minute from a ball from the right where our invisible midfielder was.Did we learn from that, No! For some reason Bale was left completely unmarked out on the left, Agger was at left back Skrtel had run away to centre-half. Excellent finish from Modric and probably no more than they deserved.

We didnt really get back into the game until the 20th minute or so but we were 2nd to everything Modric and Parker streets ahead of Adam and Lucas and the occasional central involvement of the completely-out-of-his-depth Henderson. Sorry this guy is not a Liverpool player and isnt worth anything close to 20 mill.  Headless chicken. Meireles, Aqualini are vastly superior, hell even Shelvey looks more at home. 

So Agger gets injuryed and Coates comes on for an unexpected debut. Although lets be honest Agger had lasted almost 4 whole games, which is a record in itself. So within a minute Adam goes, a bit of a re-shuffle, Carroll goes out to the right Downing stayed left Suarez to break. Fine that will and did do until halftime. So one was expecting a tea cup or two to be smashed and a tactical change. Sure 2 subs used but needs must and we are still in the game.

Nope, not a thing from Kenny. Surely 1-0 down,a man light and completely off the pace you need a bit of graft to get a foothold. Carroll looks like a lumbering Hippo most of the time. Sure he needs the game time but we need a result more. He can play the whole game on Wednesdat agains Brighton. So for me he should have come off at halftime and Kuyt on. Then its 4-4-1 and use Downing and Suarez's pace on the break.

So we are still not really in the game when Skrtel get sent barely 60 mins gone. Carra shows some sense by telling him to slow down as he trudges off while the bench dithers on what to do. So we go with Henderson at rightback. Within 10 minutes we are 3-0 down and the game is over. Defoe rifled one in to the bottom corner and Pepe dropped a clanger for Adebayor to flick over him and side-foot in. I am sorry but surely a re-shuffle is required when you go down to 9, especially when the 2nd player to walk is fullback. No, its the 70 minute before we do anything. By then its too late, the game is over. I was flabbergasted at Kenny's lack of action.

We have seen this type of performance before from us when playing the early game, be it Saturday or Sunday, unless its ManUre we do not seem to be at the races. We seriuosly need to look at our preparation for these games. We looked like the team that had played in Europe on Thursday.

For me the Jordan Henderson experiment is over. He has had 6 games now and I don't see that he is better than Kuyt, Adam or Spearing either centrally or wide. I have said it before, him and Carroll are for our future not now. Unlike the quality of of youngster being signed at the Legions of Doom, ours are not up to standard yet.

At least the suspensions for Adam and Skrtel will be for Wednesday's League Cup game away at Brighton. That will be tough Gus Poyet has got a good squad and plays good football, not unlike Spurs..... 

I know there will be some rotation but I would go as follows


For the Wolves game -

Downing in the hole


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Deadline Day Dilemma's

So a frenetic deadline day for most of the clubs in the Premiership last Wednesday. Stoke and QPR being particularly active and leaving things late.  Arsenal, like there football this season tentative and undecisive. Little did we know that the signing of Arteta and Yossi Benayoun would actually impact our squad. 

No sooner had the Yossi deal gone through that news of a Meirleles transfer request and with just 40 minutes to go. Ten minutes before close of window and confirmation that Meireles is Chelski player. Clearly this was all done well in advance and both clubs must have agreed not to say anything until Yossi's move was completed. Probably freeing up the wages Chelski needed to cover Meireles' move.

Most Liverpool fans I know were gobsmacked and angry that we had not only let a player of this calibre go but had sold him to a direct rival. I understand and echo that sentiment. From a surplus of central midfield player we seem to be a little light now. With Chelski getting Meireles I also think we jeopardise our own chances of finishing in the top 4.  Other than Jaun Mata, Chelski have not really added much quality to their squad and for me that are ripe for the taking. Their coach does not seem to have rocked the boat too much yet either, a mistake his 403 predecessors since Mourinho have also made. Meireles gives them that edge and blunts our own options in that department.

I can understand why the player left. He came to us from Porto on reduced terms last season with the promise of an increase if he did well. I think he had certainly kept his part of the bargain. Ironically it was the change in manager that not only gave him the opportunity to show us what he could really do centrally but also ultimately sealed his fate as being surplus to requirements. Meireles also has ties to Villas-Boas from his time at Porto and Chelski can still pay big money wages despite Abramovich's loss of enthusiasm.

With us also loaning out Joe Cole and Aquilani the sale of Meireles seems odd. Stevie G is not fit yet and to be honest has become bit of a Kieran Dyer figure over the last couple of seasons more injured than present and at 31 shoud we still be putting all our eggs in that basket???

Admittedly Adam,Shelvey,Henderson and Maxi can all play that attacking central midfield role but the guile for the clever 10 yard 'between defender passes', which we saw in the Suarez/Meireles cameo against Arsenal is lost. Still we have to back the team and the manager that tehy have made the right decision. Hopefully we will have forgotten who Meireles was in 3 months time.

On the striker front glad to see we added the final piece of the jigsaw. Craig Bellamy may not be everyones cup of tea but he is proven,experienced goalscorer who you know will give 100% ever time he is called upon. He like Suarez can play centrally or wide as part of a front 3. He is not a one trick pony  so is cover for Suarez,Downing,Dirk and Henderson as well. I suspect we will see more of Bellamy than you expect and I for one am glad to have him back.

Obviously his addition facilitated the departure of the much maligned David Ngog. A player whose only real crime was to be young and inexperienced while expected to do the job of a man.  He only cost us a milion so selling him for £4million represents some good business. I just have a nagging feeling that if we had treated him in a manner more akin to what the Legions of Doom have done Wellbeck we may have seen more fruit. IE some loan spell at lower levels. It is too much for players to jump from reserve football to Premier League or European competition  I truly wish him all the best and hope he does well at Bolton. In Owen Coyle he is working for one of the most determined and entertaining coaches in the game.  

I have just had look at our '25 man' squad which totals 19, only our neighbours across Stanley Park have a smaller squad. Considering we dont have European commitments I dont see that being an issue. The unlimited usage of U21's also helps, so the likes of Shelvey,Kelly,Henderson,Wilson,Coetes and Flanagan are not named but are in around the team. We have 2 players at least for every position and have several players who can cover several positions, so plently of flexibility for us. Glad to see we have decided to keep Aurelio for another season, just that bit of expecience should we lose Enrique at any point.

As with my last blog, lets just hope we get everyone bac from the latest round of qualifiers/friendlies in one piece. The Britannia Staduim awaits and re-aquinting ourselves with a few old boys in Crouchy and Pennant. I am expecting a very tough game, Chelski really struggled but they went toe-to-toe physically with Stoke which I think is a mistake. We should go with Suarez up front, Downing on the left and Bellamy on the right. That will match their pace with our pace and then let Henderson play centrally with Chucky and Lucas providing defensive shield and ammunition. Rightback is a problem, not sure Skrtel will relish another shift there with Etherington bearing down on him although for the sake of some defensive height that might be our best option. 

Some interesting facts running through the other team named squads. Arsenal only have 5 'home grown' players in their named 22 and only Gibbs and Walcott are actually English. (Ramsey and Wiltshire U21 so not named). Emile Heskey has Ivanhoe as one of his middle names and Glen McLeod Cooper Johnson should have been in Braveheart! Freedom!!! 

Magaye Serigne Falilou Dit Nelson Gueye of Everton and Steven Nkemboanza Mike C Nzonzi of Blackburn must win the longest name competition. While Peter Rosenkrands Lovenkrands must win the rhyming competition, if there is one! 


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Grecians Greased and Trotters Traunced

Well King Kenny certainly didnt hold back with his team selection on Wednesday night. Suarez,Henderson,Adam and Meireles all started and it certainly paid off with Suarez giving us a lead. Unfortunately it backfired a bit with Meireles who injured his collar-bone hurdling a challenge. Still rather than bring on another midfielder Kenny threw Andy Carrroll on. Again signalling intent. Thought we relatively decent everything good seemed to flow through El Pistelero. Jordan Henderson also put in a good shift.

Second half we killed the game off early and went into cruise control. Great to see Skrtel and Wilson getting 90 minutes. Not much else to say really on this, lower league opposition professionally dealt with. I think the draw has been reasonably kind Brighton away will not be easy. They have a great new staduim and Gus Poyet has them playing great stuff. A team at the top end of the Championship, might try and get a ticket.

Aquilani off to AC Milan on loan, would rather have the transfer money but I suppose its a wage off our books for the season. Just need to get rid of Joe Cole on that front to. Loan,Transfer Circus Act I dont care just get rid of him. I see Poulsen might be off to Spain that would be great too another waste of money.Rafa really did waste a lot of Gillett and Hicks' money perhaps that was his plan all along!

I see we have almost completed the signing of Sebastian Coetes (pronounced Ko-tees). A 6 foot 6, 20 yeal-old centre half voted young player of the Copa America and Interantional team-mate to Suarez. Can't be a bad move with Soty gone. We seem to be one out and one in at the moment which just shows how big our wage bill must be.

Well where do I start to describe our performance on Saturday? It was awesome, sure it has been usurped and eclipsed by those 2 other clubs from Manc-land but let us bask in our own magnificence. We last started this well in terms of points in 2008/2009 and we finished 2nd that year.

Back to Saturday,Suarez was electric and unplayable, even Dwight Yorke commented on his pass in the lead up to the 1st goal as 'the ball of balls'. What an amazing pass with the outside of his right foot complimented by a great volley by Downing, a Worldy by Jaaskelinen and typical dogged determintation by Dirk to set up Henderson who despite being right footed rasped it with his left into the top corner. Downing was also awesome all game and was unlucky not to score himself, his performance was great.

Henderson seems to be at the races now and with the injury to Meireles in midweek made Kenny's selection decision easy. Gald to see Kelly back in the fray, but a pity he did his hammy again. So Flanno on, no another inspired decision by Kenny get that mad Skrtel on! Normally Carra would have moved out to fulback but no a player who has not looked happy at rightback suddenly took to it like a duck to water. Typified by several forays and mazy dribbles into the Bolton box and capped by teh bullet header to define all other bullet headers!

Hell even Charlie Adam went mad and scored from 20 yards with his right foot in free play. 3-0 going on 6 and still 35 minutes to play. Lucas was immense and his performance prompted Ray Wilkins to say did I just see Lucas give the ball away! Unfortunately we couldn't add to our tally and we did take our foot off the gas and let Bolton back in a bit, but they never looked like scoring until Carra's moment of madness at the end. Its been a long time since we played with such verve and style, we normally only get that type of performance in big games. Suarez is our talisman now, hell we dont even need Stevie G!

We do need cover for Suarez. Carroll is another Crouch I fear. He looks slow and cumbersome he does not anticipate and plays on his heels and always seeks the phyical contact with defenders instead of looking for space in between them.He has a lot to learn and I am sure will come right a some point. Rumours abounded on Friday that Bellamy could be on his way back. Hell I would take anyone. We need someone like Sturridge or Defoe. I know they are unlikely but what harm could a sneaky bid do.

Only 4 days left and I think we can say we have aquired all the players we needed to sterngthen and address the shortcoming in the squad. We have good leftback in Enrique. Adam is capable of fulfilling the Alonso role and has started well. He is also cover for Stevie G. Henderson looks better after his last 2 games, down the right or in the middle. Downing gives us pace and genuine threat down either flank. Coetes will strenghten the backline cover. I like the yongsters who has been a chance and will continue to come through under Kenny.

So International break time again. Mr Blatter and his infernal meddling. All we can do it hope we dont pick up any serious injuries. The Mersonometer still shows we are well ahead of Judas who got subbed against Norwich, how the mighty have fallen. No games for 2 weeks.

So onto today's madness, Spurs look a shadow of the team that finish 4th. No additions lots of speculation about their main man Modric. Arsenal were a shambles. the warning signs were there last week when we beat them. The team today was missing 4 players from the sorry lot we faced last week and that really telled. No taking away from the clinical finishing and ruthlessness of the Legions of Doom. Wenger has lost the plot, they need to bring in 4 experienced players in 4 days that wont happen.

The reason I mention the North Lonodn bumblings is that clearly this makes our task of getting back into the top 4 much easier and if Chelski dont get Modric then they may also be a bit short. Fat Frank,Mikel and Ramires are hardly the most creative players in the world. I still think we can get 3rd. I know its early doors but with the window closing in 4 days.I think we have a rally good chance.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Black Cat Peanut Stutter &Frimpong Pingpong!

Firstly great piece of business getting Jose Enrique. At last a decent leftback not seen at Anfield since the departure of Jon Arne'Hammer of Thor' Riise. Warnock,Insua,Dossena,Arbeloa, Aurelio and Konshesky. The amount of money wasted on those players. I still don't understand why we sold Riise in the 1st place. He is now doing the business at Fulham and from the games I have watched he still looks like the real deal.

Welcome Jose lets hope this is is a long and fruitful stay with God's Team.

Well, to our opening day performance. Couple of suprise selections, Flanno getting the nod ahead of Kelly at righback. No Dirk!! Henderson on the pitch instead. . No Aquilani despite Kenny comments about him being our best pre-season player.

We started really brightly and when Suarez mugged Richardson of possession on the halfway line there was only going to be one winner. Well that was until Phil Dowd stepped in. Did Richardson bring down Suarez in the box? YES Was Richardson the last defender? YES By fouling Suarez did he deny a goal scoring opportunity? YES. Right so penalty, send Richardson off. Get on with the game. NO Instead we have a yellow for Richardson. I am sorry when did FIFA change the rules of football?????? No you are right they didnt, Phil Dowd just bottled yet another big decision.

If that was Fat Chav Shrek bearing down on the Stretford End it would have been a red card. We all know that. If everytime this season a player is clean through and in rounding the keeper is brought down by a defender and punishment is yellow and pen, then I have no problem with that whatsoever. But we know that wont happen. To add further insult to injury Suarez sent his penalty into orbit and was last seen passing the international space station. I have no problem with him taking the pen instead of Chucky Adam. El Pistolero is a confident chap and despite the miss was on the scoresheet not long after from a great Adam freekick. We were the only team in the game in the 1st half and should have been further ahead.

In the 2nd half the tempo dropped and as is always the case so did our play. Henderson continued to do nothing thankfully he was replaced by Dirk Kuyt . But by then the damage was done. An outstanding volley by Seb Larsson after Flanno got sucked under the ball was a worthy equaliser. The game petered out into a damp squib.We seem to be falling back into this pattern we had under Benitez of going all out for 20-30 minutes and if we havent scored then give up and try not to lose.

Anyway a draw was probably right We didnt caplitalise when we were on top and the Black Cats didn't deserve to lose. Yet again Steve Bruce thwarts Liverpool. Think we have only beaten him as a manager about 3 times which is quite impressive from him considering he has been in charge of Wigan, Birmingham and now Sunderland, hardly the elite.

Thankfully things did improve today. To be honest if there was a day you were going to put Arsenal to the sword it was going to be today. Their talisman sold to Barca, Nasri on his way and an injury list full of defenders and midfielders it was always going to be hard for them. Again King Kenny had a few selection suprises.Gone was the 4-4-2 of last week and back to the 4-2-3-1 formation we seem the most comfortable with. Kellyy restored to rightback, Dirk back on the right and Carroll on his own up front.

We started brightly and it got better when Koscielny hobbled off. I was suprised they let him walk off rather than put him on the streacher as it was a back injury. Hopefully he wil be OK it looked like a nasty injury for him to pull up like that.

We had the better of the 1st half but lets be brutally honest it wasn't the usual high quality, pacy game you normally get when Liverpool and Arsenal meet. There seemed to be an edge to Arsenal typified by Frimpong silly booking for having a go at Henderson. I said to my mate at the time that he wouldn't finish the game, how right I was. He is a full blooded player which they certainly need but he can have no complaints about that tackle on Lucas, it was a shocker. Its a shame that the sending off turned the game decisively in our favour. We should have been out of sight by then anyway.

After 10 minutes of the 2nd half I was screaming for Carroll and Henderson to come off and to get Meireles and Suarez on. Not sure why Kenny waited until the sending off and 71st minute to make the changes. It was blatantly obvious that Carroll wasn't getting any change out fo Vermaelen and Miquel . Carroll looks very ponderous and slow. Sure he is huge weapon at set pieces (expect when you keeping doing the same corner routine over and over in the 1st half) however I dont think he holds the ball up well and he is constantly looking for contact with centrehalfs rather than looking for gaps between them.

Our midfield play was generally good when we had the ball but we seemed to overcommit a lot of the time and leave the back four and Lucas exposed at times. Sorry to harp on but Henderson doesnt track back at all, several times he allowed various Arsenal players to drift off him into space and made no effort to chase back. He has had 3 games against good quality opposition and I am know he is still learning but he doesnt deserve a starting place. Certainly not ahead of Dirk on the right or Meireles centrally.

Thankfully the Arsenal malaise continued. Arshavin and Nasri would clearly rather be elsewhere and when Bendtner came on I knew the game was won! Other than looking like Ian Poulter I am not sure what he is all about!!

So back to us and the instant impact of both Suarez and Meireles . their link play was great. We were slighly fortunate for the 1st goal but even the most diehard Gooner cant say we didnt deserve it. There was a suspicion of offside but for once I agreed with Alan Smith it was tight so the attacker should get the benefit.

The 2nd goal was Arsenal-esque Lucas bursting forward, clever pass out to Meireles and the inch perfect square ball for Suarez to bag another goal. So our 1st ever win at the Emirates and our first away win over Arsenal for nearly 12 years. Excellent stuff.

Rather odd choice for man of the match I thought. I know we won but was Enrique our best player, possibly. I would rather have seen it go to Szczesny in the Arsenal goal he made some key saves and came for the ball well and generally kept Arsenal in the game.

So onto St James Park on Wednesday for the League Cup game against Exeter City. I am sure Kenny will again us this as an opportunity to blood some youngsters and give some of the fringe players a run. I would like to see us line up as follows.

Pepe or Jones in goal - I dont rate Doni at all.

Subs - Meirles,Sterling,Soty,Carroll,Pacheco,Coady.

Then after we have greased the Grecians mighty Bolton await!

For that game I would go with


That team to me looks right. There is pace,workrate and balance to it. Yes, so 2 of our most expensive players are on the bench.They are young and have taken a huge step up coming to Anfield and by giving them 5 year contracts we are not expecting them to produce right now. We have a tough start and we cant afford to drop too many points. By utilising them as subs the pressure is off unless we are chasing the game. Carroll and Henderson arent doing it for me just yet. Plus would you really want to see Andy Carroll coming off the bench to torment you after you have spent 60-70 minutes trying to keep Suarez quiet, I think not!

Looks like Aquilani is on his way out, AC Milan and £14mill are being quoted. Be nice to get some money in!


Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Valencia Orange Peeled

A much better performance yesterday. A real tempo and incisiveness to our play. Typified in the 1st 90 seconds by clever interplay between Adam,Aquilani and Downing . Great noises from Kenny this week about Aquilani, he has been our best player in pre-season by far.I think with Stevie G out for a couple of months still and with Joe Cole (thankfully) and Meireles (regretfully) potentially going, keeping him will be essential. Like Downing and Suarez his is quick of thought. He didnt influence the game that much but I think Carroll isn't the type of player who is quick enough to anticipate what he is trying to do.

Carroll had a decent game yesterday, reacting well to Albelda's underhit backpass, he made a bit of a mess of it but got the ball in the net, that is the main thing. We looked sharper than them and tellingly Reina didn't have anything to do the whole game. They are slightly behind us in their preparation and I think all La Liga sides lost to Premier league opposition yesterday.

The positive things for us we kept a clean sheet, used our posession well. Looking for Downing at every opportunity. Adam was in control when we had the ball and did a good job with Spearing in snuffing out anything Valencia try to create. He also didn't give away any freekicks in dangerous positions which he is prone to do in his Blackpool days.

On the down side Glenn Johnson made one raiding run and then pulled up lame ...again. This time hs calf and not a hammy. I wouldn't have started with him anyway next week he is not at the races. Kelly is much more solid defensively and still picks his moments to get forward, he is also an aerial presence in both boxes which we will need against Sunderland.

Also Jordan Henderson didn't really do anything. Not really sure what he is. Out wide he has no pace and not sure about his crossing. We were better in the 2nd half once Dirk came on in that position. Centrally I dont think he is in the same bracket as StevieG,Adam,Meireles,Aquilani . He is only 20'21 so I think he is on the bench like Shelvey.Rememeber he is on a 5 year deal so doesn't have to play every week this season for me. Carroll is the same. Sure thats £55mill on the bench. So what we need to play the team thats going to win most weeks and get us in the top 4 again.

As per my last blog, I think we have a great chance this year.Arsenal,Chelski and Spurs haven't strengthened that much. Wenger continues to phafff over Fabregas and Nasri, if they dont want to be there he should have sold them in June or July, that way everyone knows what the crack is and he plenty time to recruit replacements. I see them going backwards. They were poor against New York Red Bull last week and even worse against Benfica yesterday.

Spurs haven't added however keeping Modric may be their best coup of the season. It shows they want to remain a challenger. Historically they have always sold their best players and therefore not really been taken seriously. But in the Premier League if you stand still you go backwards.

Chelski are in the same boat. They have signed another striker today yet for me its central midfield they lack the necessary players to get them over the line. Mikel and Ramires are rubbish, Meaning everything has to come through Lampard. Kalou seems to be only effective as a sub and Malouda is patchy. Yossi is back and that will help and of course there is the Drogba/Judas debate. Dont get me wrong they are strong but are they strong enough to win it no, can we finish above them Yes.

Report today in the Daily Star suggesting we have finally finalised the deal for Enrique at £5.5.mill. Apparently we have been stalling until we got rid of Jovanovic because of his wages. How much did Rafa pay this clown a week??????? A year after he is sacked and we are still paying for his incompotence. Just need to get the £90k we are pissing away for Joe Cole (PSG) and we are in good shape from a wage perspective.

Still think we need another centreback. That would allow us to release Soty and use Carra in a sparing manner his is 34 this season.Shawcross or Cahill please. With Chelski signing a new striker, might have a sneaky stab at Sturridge if the cash is there. We could move Ngog on then as well.

My starting 11 for Sunderland at this stage.

Kelly-Carra-Agger-Aurelio - Fab is fit we better use him while we can!

Bench - Jones,Flanno,Soty,Henderson,Lucas,Maxi,Suarez.

Lucas and Suarez are still recovering from their Copa America exploits, plus it will scare the shit out of Sunderalnd that we can bring El Pistolero off the bench!


P.S. Another Rafa dud off the books in Danny Sanchez Ayala. Slow, ponderous, poor judgement and positional sense, and that was just in the Reserve and Youth games over the last few years. How he got an extention to his contract is beyond me.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pre-Season without Reason

Well bang goes my optimism!

Hull hammered us, Gala gutted us and Valerenga did the Viking Voodoo on us!

The Hull game I barely watched it was so poor. I know some of the guys who went to the Far East may have ben jetlagged but surely there was a plan for that after all we chose these fixtures. Doni proved himself clueless for the 1st two goals. The 2nd one he exibited something akin to what Superman does when he is about to fly.He was still in the air, woefully making his way across the goal when the ball hit the net.

So you think fine, we will take a decent team to Gala as that is a step up and with just 3 more pre-season games we need to start getting up to Premiership pace. NO-NO-NO-NO! We send the 3rd and 4th string out. Clowns like Insua and Degen were allowed to wear Liverpool shirts again! If that is the contempt with which we were going to treat the fixture why did we take it at all? No suprise another 3-0 cuffing.

So Valerenga on Monday night. Minutes silence for the victims of the massacre, ceremonial laying of roses behind the goal by Liverpool players and down to business.
So we go 4-4-2. Fine, but we have Downing on the right and Henderson on the left with Dirk and Carroll up front. We have the better of opening exchanges and looked OK for the 1st 10 minutes or so. Then 5 minutes of mayhem. Valerenga got the ball and did something bizarre, they passed to each other and moved the ball quickly out to the left wing and BANG 1 cross one goal. 3 minutes later BANG 2nd cross pitifully fought for 2nd ball, 3rd cross, pen 2-0.

Excellent 2-0 down on 13 minutes. Fine Valerenga are 23 games into their domestic campaign and like Fulham are in the midst of their 3rd Europa League tie to qualify for the qualifier to get into the group stage or something........

The point being they are sharper than us. Please explain why poor Glenn Johnson just back from injury, was subjected to this? He was to blame for both goals getting blown away like he just wasn't there. On this showing he is going to need half the season to get up to speed. Kelly for right back against Sunderland please!

We got a bit more into the game towards the end of the 1st half and managed to nick an equaliser through Carroll at the far post with a bit of a hand thrown in. Clearly Kenny threw some teacups, used a hair dryer or 3 and generally gave everyone a kick up the arse at halftime. We reverted to 4-2-3-1 with Downing coming out to the left, Dirk going over to the right and Henderson playing centrally. The tempo was better and magically we realised that if you have a 6"11ty3' striker then crosses are quite a good weapon.

We huffed and we puffed but weren't really getting anywhere. Some changes made Aquilani and Shelvey again being the key ones. Aquilani looks 2-3 yards sharper physically and about 8 yards quicker mentally than anyone else at the moment.

Is he just putting in a big effort to get a move away? If you believe his agent (a man quoted more often than Berlisconi at the moment in Italy - daily imminent transfers) then his future is away from Anfield. Or are his performances a genuine attempt to show Kenny and all of us what he can actually do and why Rafa paid 20 mill for him? I hope its the latter. He has controlled every game he has been involved in, everything positive goes through him and he is always looking for that defence splitter. He has comfortably been our best player in pre-season.

Kenny has today confirmed that he would be happy for Aquilani to stay. I think that is shroud. If we are going to offload Cole (loan to QPR) and sell Meireles, then that makes sense to me. Especially with Steivie G being man down for another couple of months.

Back to Valerenga. If it wasnt for their keeper in the last 25 minutes we would have got 5 or 6. Tellingly we scored 2 in quick succession from corners taken by Aquilani and scored by Agger. One a magestic header the other an intelligent far post run to slide home a Dirk flick on at the near post.

Also great to see Raheem Sterling get a 10 minue cameo. He does like to have a go. Hopefully we will see more of him in the League Cup etc. Their 3rd was right at the death and we had changed 3 of our back 4 and the ball moved viciously. I think a draw was probably fair, they gave a good account of themselves and we got a really good workout.

I am never really sure what to make of Pre-seasons. ManUre do these long protracted trips as part of their marketing juggernaut. So they can continue to sell their wares to masses of braindead glory hunters. Does it work? They are generally slow starters and don't really get going until November. We have never really put much stock in them and Kenny is from a generation where they really didn't bother too much with them.

I think Kenny has had chance to look at every player in the squad at least twice and hopefully the Valencia game on Saturday will see us put up a Premiership performance. If we are in the top 3 after 6 or 7 game will anyone remember or care about our pre-season form, I doubt it. If we are languishing then it will be a lightening rod for critisism.

That brings me to our signings. Mr Henry has coughed a lot of dough in just under a year in charge. Expenditure on players around 100 mill. He has today said if we dont make the Champions League he will be disappointed. Think that means Kenny gets the sack unless we have top 4 finish. That is pressure. So do our signings give us a crack at the top 4?

Charlie Adam- undoubtedly adds quality to the team and has an excellent range of passing and engine. Being 5-6 years younger than Stevie G, he will be the obvious successor. That day may be sooner than we expect.Stevie G has been injured for 3 seasons and has been playing through the pain. At 31 with dodgy groins can he really continue with his all action style? Ideally I see him dropping a bit deeper in midfield to play the quarterback role.

Stewart Downing - A winger with a good cross on him, can play either side and has an eye for goal, so yes he does add quality to our squad. Have we paid too much, absolutely. Ashley Young has more pace, a better delivery and is more of goal threat, yet he only cost £16 mill. I reckon we have paid about 8mill too much.

Doni - Brazilian donkey keeper. Whatever we paid it was too much. Give Brad Jones a chance as the 2nd choice.

Jordan Henderson - Sorry I don't see a £20 million youngster there at all. Look at his peers - Jack Rodwell,Jack Wiltshire,Aaron Ramsey,Tom Cleverly,James McArthur. Is he performing at a higher level than any of them and would any of them go for £20mill at moment? I say no on both counts -maybe the 2 Jack's would get you £20mill. Again we have probably paid 8-10 mill too much. You would expect something exceptional for a 20 year-old too go for that money, a Messi,Fabregas,Walcott, not an average player. Hopefully I am wrong.

So, yes our squad is stronger.Is it a top 4 squad? For that we need to look at the competition. Both sides of Manchester have strengthened and I think the title will be between the 2 of them. So that leaves 2 spots.

Chelski haven't added anyone, although Benayoun back from long term injuy is bonus however they have already lost Essien again and that is huge blow. How do they incorporate Drogba and he whose name we cannot speak. I think they will finish 4th.

Arsenal look worse than us in pre-season and still look shellshocked from their League Cup Final defeat.Gervinho is a good addition however the protracted Fabregas and Nasri situations isn't helping. If either or both go through will Wenger have enough time to bring in replacements? Once again he ignoring the weaknesses in defence and midfield enforcement. My prediction 5th.

Spurs - no additions at this stage,Sandro injured.Defoe and Keane likely to be offloaded. Modric forced to stay. I see them going backwards 6th or 7th for me.

So by my reckoning 3rd is ours for the taking. We need Suarez and Carroll to click, good supply from Downing,Kuyt,Adam and CO and a solid back 4. We still need a left back. One wonders if we hadn't wasted the extra dosh on Henderson whether we could have got Clichy. Enrique at Newcastle looks the most likely option.

I would play my best team against Valencia.

Bloody hell only 4 non-Brits! Not something we would have ever seen under Rafa!

Obviously we still have Lucas and Suarez to come back into the mix their break from the rigours of the Copa America.