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, 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.