Thursday, 30 December 2010

LIVERPOOL 0-1 WOLVES MATCH REPORT

                                          MATCH REPORT

After an unscheduled winter break, Liverpool finally had a game this time at home to bottom of the table Wolves, who have a worse away record than Liverpool. So a win for Liverpool was very much expected in this match especially with Gerrard returning to the side. Wolves had not won at Anfield for nearly 27 years so expectations were high from the Liverpool support.

                                         THE TEAM

I haven't criticised Hodgson much with his team selections this season , but I was disappointed this time. The defence was what I expected although I would rather see Aurelio than Konchesky starting. I wasn't happy with Meireles being stuck out on the right to accomodate Gerrard, Meireles has been playing brilliantly in the middle, and Kuyt being stuck out on the left was a nonsence, when Maxi has being playing there so often this season. I would have kept Lucas and Meireles in the middle with Maxi out on the left and Kuyt on the right and Gerrard just behind Torres, but Hodgson is the manager not me.

                                        THE MATCH

Respects were paid before the match to two former Liverpool players who died recently, Bill Jones and Avi Cohen. But when the game started you could tell Liverpool were hungry after their lack of games recently, and in the 9th minute they almost took the lead after a quick Torres free kick sent Meireles clear with just Hennesssey to beat, but the Wolves keeper managed to block. If the Liverpool supporters thought this was going to be the pattern of the game then they were to get a rude awakening. Wolves started to come into the game and pressure Liverpool into making mistakes. In the 17th minute Johnson had to make a great defensive header at the back post as Hunt tried to connect with a cross. N'Gog had a shot from outside the box but it was easy for Hennessey. Liverpool never threatened as Wolves dominated the first half. Supporters were expecting a lot better in the second half, but it got worse. N'Gog did have a shot early in the second half which went just wide after good work from Johnson. But even with Gerrard trying to rally his troops and create something it was Wolves who looked the more likely to score, and it wasn't a surprise when they took the lead in the 56th minute, A long ball through the middle was headed down by Kyrgiakos straight to Ebanks-Blake who passed first time through to Ward who got clear after Skrtel failed to cut the pass out, Ward then slipped the ball past Reina as he tried to block. It was no more than Wolves deserved and Ward could have doubled their lead had it not been for a brilliant block from Johnson. Hodgson made changes bringing on Aurelio, Cole and Babel but not much changed and the Liverpool fans showed their feelings as they shouted "Hodgson for England" and chants of "Dalglish" . Liverpool did get the ball in the net late on as Skrtel headed in but he was rightly judged offside. So the game ended with another soul destroying defeat and with the sound of obvious discontent from the supporters, fortunes have to change quickly for Hodgson.

                                        SUMMARY

This was a disasterous result for Liverpool even worse than the Blackpool one. Wolves were by far the better team and deserved their win. Hodgson's team was all wrong as he catered for the return of Gerrard as he played Kuyt and Meireles out of position. The team looks like it lacks confidence on the ball and the team was so disjointed at times. Any time a team puts us under pressure we just don't seem to be able to handle it. I have backed Hodgson all season but after this I seriously question his credentials as we have a transfer window coming up, do we give him the money and let him bring in his players or do we get a new manager now so he can buy in January, personally I would bring in a new manager now. Bring on the New Year, as its great to see the end of this year and it can only be better.

Man Of The Match - Johnson    he defended superbly and tried to get forward too he was the best of a bad lot.

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year.

YNWA

Thursday, 23 December 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS

                                       MERRY CHRISTMAS

I am looking for a merry Christmas as a Reds fan, I think there is a lot to look forward to especially with the games coming thick and fast this festive period. Its true we have had a disappointing start to the season, but there has been signs of improvement. Our home form has been really good with the only blip being that loss to Blackpool, and we have went over 7 hours without conceding at home so we are strong at home. Yes our away form has been dreadful but there has been signs in recent away games to show that we are inproving, our game at Spurs could have went either way but lady luck didn't shine on us that day. At Newcastle when it was 1-1 we had chances to take the lead but failed, but it has been encouraging the way we have been creating chances whereas earlier in the season we never looked like scoring. With Hodgson deciding to play with two strikers has made a big difference and gave us a goal threat, ok so we have still been losing but at least we are having more of a go at teams and I think our fortunes will change for the better.
  Its also great to have Gerrard fit again and he will be a massive boost to the team, and this transfer window will be very interesting and I expect Hodgson to bring in a few new players which can only be good. The fixtures we have coming up over the next few weeks also give me great optomism as I can see us going on a decent run here giving us a good start to the year. I have been encouraged with some players performances in recent weeks too, Lucas has really improved since I slated his performance against Everton, he really has played well and has looked stronger. Meireles has looked a real class act in recent games especially since his move into the middle of midfield. Kyrgiakos has been a rock all season and with Agger fit again Roy has options at the back, Kelly and Wilson have also impressed in there appearances this season and in my view looking to be regulars in the first team.Joe Cole has a lot to offer he will prove that in the new year. Torres I'm sure will get back to form and start banging them in again. Maxi is becoming a key player and scoring some important goals. N'Gog is getting stronger and has looked a good partner for Torres in some of the games. Even Babel has started to show a good attitude in recent games and played well in them. So I am very optomistic with the New Year.
  I fancy us to beat Blackpool away on Boxing day then we have Wolves at home, which I hope for another three points, then we start the New Year with Bolton at home which will be tough but I think we will win followed by Blackburn away and I think our away form will improve with another win. If we get a good run of results in these games it will set us up confidently going to Old Trafford for our FA Cup clash.
  So I hope I find all my fellow Reds with just as much optomism as me and have a Merry Christmas and a winning New Year.

Seasons Greetings

YNWA

Friday, 17 December 2010

LIVERPOOL V FULHAM MATCH PREVIEW

                                                   MATCH PREVIEW

Hodgson left Fulham 5 months ago and this is the first time he has faced them since leaving. Hodgson who is still trying to win over the Liverpool support is badly in need of a win. Hodgson upset many fans midweek with his team selection against Utrecht, especially by misleading the fans about Torres playing. Hodgson should be able to rely on good home form for this one as Liverpool have went over 7 hours without conceding at Anfield in League or Cup matches. Fulham have struggled away from home and are sitting just above the relegation zone on goal difference, despite only losing 5 of 17 matches this season.

                                                 TEAM NEWS

Gerrard may return after being out for a month. Agger is still out (calf) and Spearing is also out (ankle).
Carragher (shoulder) remains long term.
Reina will make his 200th Premier League Appearance, and all the regulars will return after being rested against Utrecht on Wednesday night.

                                               MY VIEW

I think we will get a win as our home form is good and Gerrard will start giving the team a lift with Meireles playing alongside him. Fulham will make it difficult but I think we will be too strong for them and I'm hoping for a good performance to gives us a lift going into the Christmas period .

                                              POSSIBLE TEAM

Reina
Johnson
Konchesky
Kyrgiakos
Skrtel
Maxi
Gerrard
Meireles
Kuyt
N'Gog
Torres

PREDICTION -    Liverpool 2-0 Fulham

Thursday, 16 December 2010

LIVERPOOL 0-0 UTRECHT

                                                       MATCH REPORT

With Liverpool already having qualified for the knock out stage of the Europa League this was a welcome change of being a match with no pressure. Great to see Liverpool letting kids in for free for this match and reduced prices for adults a tremendous gesture by the club. A good chance for Hodgson to rest some of the regular players once again as he has done in all of the Europa League fixtures this season. Liverpool hoping to finish of their group with a convincing win at home in their final group game.

                                                     THE TEAM

As expected Roy made many changes to his team for this one from the team that lost to Newcastle at the weekend. Hodgson made a total of 10 changes and once again great to see so many youngsters starting and gaining more experience. Great to see the likes of Jones, Wilson, Kelly, Shelvey and Nathan Eccleston making his first start, also good to see other fringe players starting and Joe Cole who has had a tough start to life at Anfield and still trying to find his true form.

                                                     THE MATCH

With the reduced prices and free admission for kids and a very large and very loud travelling Utrecht support this made for a great atmosphere at Anfield. The game started off very slow paced and to be honest continued in this theme for most of the game. Utrecht passed very cautiously with much of their play being controlled between their defenders and their goalkeeper. Young Eccleston showing a bit too much passion with his first start picked up a deserved booking as he went flying in late on  a Utrecht player in the 6th minute. Then on 8 minutes Jovanovic made a good run into the Utrecht half and sent a 25 yard effort crashing off the Utrecht cross bar, this was about as good as it got as Utrecht looked to frustrate Liverpool and showed little in the way of ambition. Liverpool didn't show much in cohesion either as they looked like a team that had been flung together. Joe Cole found it hard to get into the game as he was playing out on the left and looked a frustrated figure at times. Young Kelly had a shaky start as Mertens looked to take him on at every opportunity and he almost let Utrecht in early in the game with a slack pass to Skrtel who did well to cut out the danger. Eccleston and Babel worked hard and made some good runs up front but they were not getting the service their runs deserved. Poulsen was being very sloppy in his play although Shelvey worked hard and was always looking to create something. Aurelio had a good chance with a free kick on the edge of the box but his shot hit the wall. Utrecht were dealt a blow when striker Van Wolfswinkel fell awkwardly and had to be stretchered off with a suspected broken collar bone right on the stroke of half time.
  The second half was only slightly better as Liverpool struggled to create chances. Babel had a fine run and shot narrowly wide of the target as he aimed to impress. The introduction of young Pacheco gave the game a bit of a lift and he created a good chance immediately sliding a pass through to Babel who failed to pick out a Red shirt in the box, and seconds later after good play by Jovanovic, Kelly broke down the right and drilled over a dangerous low cross which Babel almost got on the end of. Kuyt came on for the last 15 minutes mainly for sentimental reasons to face his former club and reach his 50th appearance for Liverpool in Europe. Liverpool pushed for a winner but the closest they came was in the last 5 minutes when Cole smashed a shot net bound from inside the box but it was brilliantly blocked by Sander Keller. Liverpool had to settle for the draw but it was a poor spectacle for the supporters but more experience for the youngsters which can't be bad.

                                                   SUMMARY

This was a very strange game with no pressure on the result but much pressure still mounting on Hodgson and his team's performances. This was a very poor game, Liverpool struggled to impress and looked disjointed with no cohesion although Utrecht looked to frustrate. Great to see the squad being used by Hodgson and especially the youngsters gaining more experience. Shelvey played really well in the middle of midfield, and Kelly came on to a very strong game after a shaky start, Wilson looked very assured at the back beside Skrtel then Kyrgiakos. Babel and Eccleston worked hard without much sevice. Aurelio played well at left back after being out for so long he seems to be getting sharper. Poulsen was very poor again and still doesn't look good enough, he gave the ball away sloppily quite often and Joe Cole is still struggling for form as he found it hard to influence the game I personally would rather see him play more central. Overall it was a poor game with not many chances although Utrecht showed  little intent and seemed happy with 0-0. Plus points were experience for the youngsters and game time for the fringe players.

Man Of The Match -  Wilson   strolled through the game and dealt with anything he had to do, looked very comfortable, good on the ground and dominant in the air, looks very promising.

Monday, 13 December 2010

NEWCASTLE 3-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT

                                              MATCH REPORT

Another away fixture for Liverpool and with high hopes of improving on a very poor record away from home this year. Confidence high going into this match after such a good performance against Aston Villa. But I was worried when I heard of the departure of Chris Hughton from Newcastle earlier in the week. Worse still with a new manager in Pardew being installed as new manager before Liverpool faced them. I often find teams with new managers getting good results in their first games in charge. But with confidence high I was hoping for a good performance from Liverpool.

                                            THE TEAM

With Torres available after the birth of his son, I was expecting him to come straight back into the team and I wasn't disappointed, very tough on Babel making way for him though as he had played very well in his last two starts. Again good to see Hodgson playing with two men up front away from home in the shape of N'Gog and Torres. Also I am pleased in the way Hodgson is trying to keep a settled team.

                                            THE MATCH

Pretty much a mixed atmosphere at the start as the Newcastle fans have not been happy with events in the last week. The game started at a slow tempo with Liverpool very comfortable at the start and able to pass the ball around. The first real chance came with Kyrgiakos firing in a shot after the ball broke to him after a Meireles free kick. But with Newcastle's first real chance of the match they took the lead, when a Barton free kick was met by the head of Carroll who headed across goal to the incoming Nolan who fired past Reina from close range, there was a hint of offside about it but the goal was given. Liverpool responded with Maxi heading over from a Johnson pass and Torres shot wide from a free kick from the edge of the box. But Newcastle still looked threatening with Carroll and Ameobi and on 30 minutes Reina made a good save when Carroll hit a good volley from the edge of the box after a good knock down from Ameobi. Then Meireles hit a volley which deflected off N'Gog before being cleared off the line by Gutierrez. Seconds later Meireles gifted Newcastle a great opportunity with a pass straight to Ameobi who ran towards the Liverpool penalty box before shooting which deflected off Kyrgiakos and just went past Reina's right hand post as Reina was left stranded. Liverpool shouted for a penalty just before half time when Maxi seemed to be tripped just inside the box but play was waved on. Then right on half time Kyrgiakos headed just past the post from a corner.
  Liverpool got the perfect start to the second half when they found themselves level on 49 minutes when Taylor and Campbell hesitated on the edge of the box allowing Kuyt to collect the ball and fire a shot which took a slight deflection off Taylor and past Krul. This goal gave Liverpool a boost and they started to dominate as they pegged Newcastle back. Torres had two good chances, his first a header straight at Krul, then Konchesky played a quick free kick through to Torres but his shot was thwarted by Krul who spread himself to block his effort. Then Andy Carroll had a free diving header which he should have done better with as he headed over. Newcastle then made a change bringing on Nile Ranger who almost scored just a minute after coming on for Ameobi, after a Skrtel slip he was through with only Reina to beat but he fired just wide. But Liverpool found themselves under pressure and it was no surprise when Newcastle took the lead on 80 minutes. A long clearance from Krul was headed on by Carroll which Joey Barton managed to get on the end of and shoot past Reina. As Liverpool tried to push for an equaliser late on they were punished when Carroll hit a great goal from outside the area giving Reina no chance and ending Liverpool's hopes sending them to their 7th defeat of the season.

                                          SUMMARY

Another very disappointing away day for us, especially after looking so good after equalising, I thought we were the team that was looking the more likelier to go on and win. I thought early in the match we were comfortable without creating too much then with Newcastle's first attack we were down 1-0. I thought we were dictating most of the play but when Newcastle stepped up their game I felt we didn't respond especially in the second half as a second Newcastle goal looked like coming. A big moment in the game was Torres missing from close range. But I felt the game changed when Nile Ranger came on for Newcastle and he caused so many problems and he seemed to give Newcastle a lift which we couldn't respond to. The second goal was terrible defending, a long clearance headed on by Carroll who was being challenged by Lucas the smallest player in the team, why Kyrgiakos or Skrtel wasn't challenging is beyond me then Skrtel made a mess of trying to clear allowing Barton to finish as Johnson tried to challenge. The third goal was poor as Carroll ws given the freedom of the park as Lucas made no attempt to close him down. Kyrgiakos battled hard all day as Carroll is a difficult opponent. Skrtel was pretty dodgy, Lucas was pretty quiet in the middle. Meireles had another good game for us. Maxi was quiet and Kuyt scored but I felt he never gave us much. N'Gog was poor and Torres just doesn't look sharp at all. Overall far too many players underperforming once again. Hodgson is being slated once again but I can't question his team selection, but I do have question marks over his motivational skills as he doesn't look like a motivator to me. But then should players on 100 grand a week need motivating, the players need to stand up and be counted when the going get
s tough. At home next week but its our away form that has to be sorted out.

Man Of The Match -  Meireles  I thought he had a great game once again, some really good passes always trying to create, although nearly cost us with that sloppy pass to Ameobi. He was the shining light in another dark night.

YNWA

Friday, 10 December 2010

This Week

There has been a lot of transfer speculation this week as the January transfer window looms. We just need to take it with a pinch of salt as who knows where all these stories come from. The few stories I have heard have been Saurez of Ajax maybe coming to Anfield, I think he is a cracking striker and would be a great addition to the team. Elmander from Bolton is another one mentioned and he has been on fire this season. £15 million for Ashley Young of Aston Villa is another, he is a very good player and the type we need, a good wide man with plenty of pace which we have lacked but price tag seems a bit steep in my mind. Right back Rod Fanni from Rennes is hotly tipped to be moving to the Reds with new sporting director Comolli conducting the process.
 There is many more I'm sure you have heard about I am only mentioning a few as there is more every minute getting named.
  But on to team matters there is speculation that Glenn Johnson is unsettled at Liverpool and might leave, time will tell, we have good back up in that position and with Fanni being mentioned who knows. Gerrard won't feature tomorrow against Newcastle but should hopefully return next week against Fulham. Torres will be back which is good news although I know many of you won't agree but I like to stick to a winning team and I wouldn't change the team for tomorrow night and if things are not going to plan then you have Torres or others to come off the bench and hopefully change things. It will be difficult tomorrow especially with Newcastle with a new manager, as teams always seem to get a lift when they have a new manager, but with such a good performance against Villa confidence should be high, so here's hoping for another win. Its good to see that Agger is close to fitness and may be available for the Fulham game. Here's hoping for a good win tomorrow night and an improvement in our away form.

YNWA

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

LIVERPOOL 3-0 ASTON VILLA MATCH REPORT

                                                  MATCH REPORT

Liverpool had to win this game to keep in touch after another defeat away to Spurs last week. With the return to Anfield of former manager Houllier it was sure to be an emotional evening, as he is still fondly remembered here. With Villa struggling for form at the moment and like Liverpool with injuries, serious hopes of a home win  here. 

                                                  THE TEAM

The youngsters that played in Bucharest on Thursday I'm sure were resigned to the fact that more experienced players would be used for this match. With Gerrard, Carragher and Torres with a late call off due to his wife going into labour, meant that this would be far a more difficult match than anticipated. Skrtel, Johnson and Konchesky came back into defence after Thursday's absence. In midfield Maxi, Kuyt, Meireles and Lucas came in. Good to see two up front again in the form of Babel and N'Gog. Great to see Babel getting another chance after his good performance on Thursday night.

                                                   THE MATCH

Liverpool started well and in only the second minute when a Meireles cross from a free kick caused problems in the Villa penalty area, resulting in Kuyt firing a volley high and wide. There looked a real sharpness about Liverpool as they passed the ball about well. Liverpool were rewarded with their good play in the 14th minute when a corner was headed back across goal by Martin Skrtel and David N'Gog dived to header the ball into the net giving Liverpool a deserved lead. Then only two minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead when a clever ball by Lucas over the top of the Villa defence found Babel, looking slightly offside turned and shot first time low past Friedel into the far corner of the net, it was a superb finish. Liverpool were bouyed by this and kept their passing game going with Villa not threatening at all. Kyrgiakos should have done better on the half hour mark when he headed over from a corner. The lively Babel almost scored right on half time with a curling shot just past the post after a clever pass by Meireles. So Liverpool went in 2-0 to the good at the half.
 The second half started with Villa pushing a bit more and Liverpool sitting back a little hoping for a counter attack. Then in the 53rd minute came the turning point of the match when Downing got free down the left and cut the ball back to Agbonlahor who was brilliantly denied by a point blank save from Reina. Then only two minutes later Liverpool counter attacked with N'Gog racing down the left and unselfishly played the ball to the supporting Maxi and he brilliantly side footed the ball into the top corner of Friedel's net giving him no chance. It was a superb goal from one end of the park to the other and it was the killer goal. Liverpool really played now with so much confidence and had more chances. Johnson after a mazy run hit a great shot which Friedel did well to save. Two minutes later Johnson had another shot but this time he blazed over. Kyrgiakos met another corner kick with his head only to see it cleared off the line by Hogg defending the back post. So Liverpool had to settle for 3-0 but it was an impressive performance with so many key players missing.

                                             SUMMARY

I thought this would be very tough to get a win especially with so many key players missing and with the added late call off to Torres. But the team played very well and could have scored more. The only player I could criticise was Kuyt as his touch and passing was very poor at times but as usual his workrate is very important. Johnson had a very good defensive display with some good covering and tackles. Kyrgiakos and Skrtel were dominant with Konchesky looking solid on the left. Lucas and Meireles were superb in the middle really controlling the game. Maxi played well down the left with a superb goal. N'Gog and Babel played well together and caused Villa many problems and great to see both players scoring.  It really was a great team performance and very encouraging to see others stepping up to the plate. Great to see Reina get his 100th clean sheet making him the quickest goalkeeper in the club's history to do this.

Man Of The Match - Meireles    So many good performances but I give it to Meireles, his passing and workrate was immense and he never gave the ball away all night, he really had a superb game and he is getting better with every game.

YNWA

Friday, 3 December 2010

STEAUA BUCHAREST 1-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT

                              MATCH REPORT

Liverpool being very close to qualifying for the knockout stages and thinking a draw would do with the reassurance of a final home game against Utrecht to come, were obviously going to make changes to the team for this one as Hodgson has done in this competition from the start. It never is easy away from home in Europe and with Steaua who have a great history in Europe would not make this easy for Liverpool who were hoping to keep their unbeaten Europa League record going.

                            THE TEAM

I was never going to be able to predict the team for this one as wholesale changes were expected with Aston Villa our next League game at home on Monday night. Many regulars didn't even travel. Reina was on the only player starting from the Spurs fixture last Sunday and it was great to see him captaining the side. I was very encouraged and pleased to see so many youngsters and fringe players starting the match. Kelly, Wilson, Pacheco and Shelvey given great experience by starting. Also great to see Aurelio, Cole and the enigmatic Babel playing too. The team selected really interested me in how they would cope in this one.

                          THE MATCH

Liverpool started the match on the back foot and and sat very deep as Steaua took the initiative. Steaua controlled the early proceedings winning a few corners and free kicks without really testing Reina. But then with just over ten minutes played Steaua should have taken the lead when a cross from the left was headed over the bar. Liverpool responded and with their first real venture forward Jovanovic did well playing the ball wide to Babel who made a yard of space before crossing the ball to Jovanovic who produced a great header directing into the corner of the Steaua net totally against the run of play. Liverpool should have doubled their lead soon after when Babel broke down the left and squared the ball to Cole who was clean through but his first touch let him down and the chance was gone. Jovanovic had started the game well with a few good runs forward and looked like he was trying to impress. Babel also looked lively in the early stages for Liverpool. But Steaua continued to press and Bicfalvi came close volleying just wide of Reina's right hand post from the edge of the box. Then right on half time Steaua should have equalised when Stancu held off the aireal challenge of Kyrgiakos in the box and found himself with just Reina to beat but he shot well wide and Liverpool went in at the half with a 1-0 lead. The second half scripted the same as the first half with Steaua doing all the pressing and Liverpool under pressure to hold their lead. Early in the second half Alves had a header from close range which Reina held. But Steaua got their deserved equaliser on the hour mark in bizarre fashion when a blocked cross by Aurelio spun into the air and was headed towards goal by Bonfim from about 15 yards out, it seemed like a routine save for Reina but it somehow managed to squirm between his legs and over the line for the equaliser. The rest of the game followed the same theme as Steaua went for the winner and Liverpool defending stoutly. Liverpool were unlucky not to take the lead again in the 65th minute when an Aurelio corner was headed by Kyrgiakos only to see it come off the top of the Steaua cross bar. Steau came close in the latter stages when Stancu's curling effort just landed onto the top of Reina's net. Liverpool held on for the precious draw but it was not easy.

                            SUMMARY

Not the most important fixture we will play this year hence Roy's team selection but it turned out a great result considering so many first choice players missing. Tremendous to see Pacheco, Kelly, Wilson and Shelvey starting. We did play second fiddle for most of the game as Steaua dominated but I thought the defence played really well, Wilson and Kyrgiakos held firm in the middle and Kelly defended superbly as the winger he faced tried to take him on at every opportunity with very little success. I thought Shelvey played really well and looked very confident on the ball never misplacing a pass. Jovanovic started well but faded but a great header from him for our goal. I was very disappointed with Pacheco as I felt the game passed him by, not involved enough. Joe Cole was another disappointment as he continuely gave the ball away and missed a great chance to score when Babel sent him clean through his first touch letting him down., but he must be a bit rusty after being out so long so it was a big ask. Babel played really well and looked like he was their to impress and in my view he did, great assist for the goal. A good result and plenty of positives to take out of this performance.

Man Of The Match - Babel   he looked hungry and played as a team player holding the ball up making good runs and making the right passes, great cross for our goal and superb work to set up Cole. He's gave something for Hodgson to think about now.

YNWA

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT

                        MATCH REPORT

I thought this would be a very tough fixture especially with Tottenham's form in recent weeks. Our away form has been so poor aswell, but with Spurs playing in midweek and Liverpool having the week off I was hoping this would give us a slight advantage. A win would put as right in the thick of it in the chase for a top four place.

                      THE TEAM

About as strong as Hodgson could field although I was disappointed once again at Kyrgiakos not starting again, I prefer him to Skrtel. Very pleased at playing two forwards away from home especially against a team that is very attack minded.

                    THE MATCH

Liverpool really played well in the first half and caused Spurs a lot of problems, Meireles and Lucas played very well and Meireles creating some dangerous attacks with some great passes. It really was an end to end game but Liverpool having the best of the chances, Torres had a couple of great chances which not so long ago he would have buried, but he is still trying to find his true form. At the other end Carragher had a great goal line block as the game swung from end to end. Liverpool took the lead just before half time through an unlikely scorer, Martin Skrtel proding the ball home from a corner after his initial header had been blocked. 1-0 at half time and it should have been more when Torres superbly played in Maxi who should have scored as he was clean through but he took to many touches and the chance was lost.
  Spurs came out more threatening after half time and started causing Liverpool more problems. They should have equalised when they were awarded a penalty after N'Gog raised his hands in a defensive wall at a free kick. Defoe missing the resulting penalty pulling it wide of Reina's right hand post. But their pressure told and they equalised when Skrtel diverted a low cross into his own net, giving him a very mixed day. The game was stretched now with both teams going for a winner, Liverpool looked like they should have won a penalty when Kuyt was scythed down but the referee Atkinson played on. Liverpool were dealt a blow when Carragher dislocated his shoulder in the last five minutes, an injury that will keep him out for three months, Krgiakos coming on for him. But insult to injury and heartbreak was to follow when Crouch flicked on a through ball and with Konchesky caught sleeping, Lennon raced onto it and slid the ball past Reina winning the game in stoppage time.

                       SUMMARY

It really was a great spectacle of a game but like most of our season not getting the result we need. Big blow with Carragher's injury and he will be a big miss. I liked the way Hodgson put out his team to have a go at Spurs and we really did create a lot of chances which we lived to regret by not taking more of them. But it was encouraging to create as many chances away from home as we have not being doing that in previous games. The game could have went either way but once again luck deserted us. Disappointing obviously but we really have to take so many positives from this performance.

YNWA

Friday, 26 November 2010

OUR RUN UP TO THE NEW YEAR

I have had a look at our fixtures running up to the New Year and I thought I would give it a go at predicting how we are going to get on . The fixture list seems not too bad to me with more home games than away games. But we need to get our away form sorted out, it really is a major concern and we have no chance of finishing in the top four unless we sort it out. A really good win the other week away to Bolton, especially with the run of form Bolton are on at the moment. But back to some poor away performances at Wigan and Stoke reminding us that we still have big problems away from home. At home our form has been better other than that disaster at home to Blackpool. I do think Hodgson is changing things slightly without making wholesale changes to the team on a weekly basis to try and improve. I am happy that he is trying to get a settled team, but very happy that in recent games he has been giving Torres support up front, which has made Torres look a happier player and I hope he continues with this, Kuyt and his workrate is really looking like the perfect foil for Torres.

                                    PREDICTIONS

28/11/10  AWAY   TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
I don't give us much hope here I'm afraid, we don't have a great record here and Spurs are flying at the moment. Minus Gerrard is a massive miss for us, but encouraging that Cole may be back. Hopefully Spurs will be feeling the effects of their midweek exertions whereas we have had a week off. But I don't think we will come away with any points here.
02/12/10  AWAY  STEAU BUCHAREST
Hodgson will put out too strong a team for this one as he will be looking to the next League game, but with our position in the Europa League there won't be too much concern on the result. But I still think we will get a draw here.
 06/12/10 HOME  ASTON VILLA
I'm sure there will be a great welcome back for Gerrard Houllier but I don't think it will be a happy return for him. We will keep up our good home form here with a win.
11/12/10  AWAY  NEWCASTLE
Once again I will have concerns over our away form for this one, Newcastle who have been up and down so far this season. But I do think we will get a point in this one.
15/12/10  HOME  UTRECHT
With a weakened team for this game we will still be too strong at home for Utrecht and can look forward to the knockout stages of the Europa League in the new year.
18/12/10  HOME  FULHAM
Another win for me at home in this one as I expect our home form to continue.
26/12/10  AWAY  BLACKPOOL
Blackpool have been a tough nut to crack this season and I think we will find it hard, I think we will come away with a point though.
29/12/10  HOME  WOLVES
We will end the year with another home win setting us up for the new year in good spirits.

                   OVERALL
So with these fixtures I reckon we will be 11 points better off in the League by the end of the year, and after Sunday's game we will be unbeaten for the rest of the year. Hopefully we can pick more up away from home than I have predicted but I'm not sure we will unless we start pressuring higher up the park. Still, if we get 11 points I think we would be fairly happy with that.
  Let's look forward to the rest of the year.

YNWA

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

IF I WERE HODGSON

There is no doubting that Roy Hodgson has walked into a very difficult job at Anfield on and off the park. Obviously he would have liked a better start to the season but there are signs of improvement, and I think the new owners will give Hodgson time as most managers at Liverpool are. I like the way he is not making wholesale changes to the side the way Rafa did on a weekly basis, giving more of a settled team. There is a lot of work and improving to be done but hopefully over time we will get back to where we belong.
  I just want to give you my thoughts on what I think is our best team.

                                      MY TEAM

GOALKEEPER - Reina  I'm sure I won't get into any arguments here, he is one of the best keepers around.
RIGHT BACK - Carragher  I would like to see him here as he would make it tough for any opposing wingers. Great experience to organise those around him.


LEFT BACK - Konchesky  He is starting to look like a solid defender who also likes to get forward.
CENTRE BACK - Kyrgiakos  great in the air and gives everything for the team.

CENTRE BACK - Agger  I think he would compliment Kyrgiakos well as he is a good reader of the game and good on the ball.
LEFT MIDFIELD - Cole  he has a lot to offer, he's just been unlucky not getting a run in the team for different reasons.
RIGHT MIDFIELD - Johnson  I would like to see him played here as he is so good going forward and with Carragher playing behind him he would have good cover.
CENTRE MIDFIELD - Gerrard  I prefer him deeper in midfield where he can spray the passes about and influence the game more.
CENTRE MIDFIELD - Meireles  settling in now and would work well alongside Gerrard, good passer and can get forward.
STRIKER - Kuyt   a perfect foil for Torres with his workrate and can weigh in with goals as well
STRIKER - Torres   Just so important for us but would glad of the support Kuyt would bring.

I think the 4-4-2 formation would suit best for these players I have selected giving us a strong defence with a good midfield with plenty of attacking options and attack minded players.

Everyone would love to pick their own team, I just wanted to share mine with you.

YNWA

Monday, 22 November 2010

LIVERPOOL 3-0 WEST HAM MATCH REPORT

 MATCH REPORT

 Liverpool really needed to get back to winning ways quickly after two poor results away from home recently. Hopes had been high after that great result against Chelsea, but Liverpool have been brought back to earth with a nasty bump and back at home for this game against bottom team West Ham a win was a must to get Liverpool back on track. West Ham had been playing quite well recently without getting the results their performances had deserved so a good performance would be needed to win this one.

                                    THE TEAM

Hodgson didn't have many options for this one especially in the centre of midfield, with Lucas suspended and the midweek injury blow to Gerrard on international duty, Liverpool were decimated in midfield, young Spearing looked likely of selection but he picked up an injury on Friday which will keep him out for six weeks. So the much lambasted Poulsen had to start this one partnering Meireles in the middle. Good to see Torres getting support up front in the shape of David N'Gog. Pleased to see Johnson fit again and starting at right back, Carragher shifting back into the middle. Disappointed Kyrgiakos was dropped for this match where I certainly prefer him to Skrtel, and with his added threat at attacking set pieces.

                                THE MATCH

Liverpool started the game brightly and won a corner in the second minute puting West Ham on the back foot a few early chances being created by Liverpool with Johnson looking dangerous and puting over a great cross early on after getting to the touch line which was headed clear. With Poulsen and Meireles dominating the midfield Liverpool were creating all the chances and the it was just a matter of time before Liverpool took the lead and it came in the 17th minute when Meireles sent in a corner which Johnson chested down before reacting quickest to fire a low shot into the West Ham net. It was only what Liverpool deserved and they added to their lead in the 27th minute when Torres won a penalty trying to go past a defender which was handled. Kuyt fired the spot kick straight down the middle making it 2-0. A great start for Liverpool and West Ham offered nothing at all as an attacking force. To be fair Liverpool were not being made to work too hard for their domination as West Ham were really poor, but you can only beat whats in front of you and Liverpool were doing that. A  third goal was added in the 38th minute when Maxi glanced a Konchesky cross into the corner of the West Ham net after Torres was foiled by Green. 3-0 at half time was I'm sure far more than what Hodgson would have hoped for. The second half was just more of the same with Liverpool very comfortable with West Ham not creating anything at all. As the second half wore on the game turned more into a friendly match with both teams looking like accepting the outcome. Liverpool didn't really need to work the second half but they were in so much control. The odd chance still being created by Liverpool as the tempo dropped but Liverpool had to settle for 3-0 which will set them up nicely as the head to the in form Tottenham next Sunday.

                          SUMMARY

I thought this would be a tricky game especially with the Gerrard missing and Lucas who had also been playing well in recent games. No doubting that West Ham were very poor but Liverpool did create chances a plenty and that was encouraging, it would have been nice to have seen a few more goals in the second half. Great to see Johnson playing and scoring, he was a big threat down the right. Torres looked lively without scoring, Green pulling off a great save in the second half to deny him. Poulsen and Meireles did well in the middle as they dominated midfield, Poulsen pulling off a great save from Green in the second half. Both players passed the ball well and it was pleasing to see as Poulsen especially has faced much abuse from the Liverpool support. Maxi and Kuyt played well on the flanks and the defence, especially Reina were virtual spectators. Overall a great result and pleasing with so many players missing.

Man Of The Match -  Johnson    Great first game back and scoring as well capped off a fine display.

YNWA

                 

Sunday, 14 November 2010

STOKE 2-0 LIVERPOOL

                MATCH REPORT       

After a rather lacklustre draw at Wigan on Wednesday night Liverpool travelled to Stoke anticipating a very tough night. Stoke is always a very tough away fixture and Liverpool's away record in recent times has been so poor. With the recent unbeaten run lifting Liverpool out of the bottom three Liverpool were  hoping to extend this decent run of results. But knowing the way Stoke play Liverpool were expecting a battle.         

              THE TEAM 

I was once again pleased with Hodgson's team selection in keeping a settled team with the only change being Kyrgiakos coming in for Kelly with Carragher going to right back. Pleased to see the stability with the team selection and happy to see Kyrgiakos come in with the physical threat Stoke possess.. Carragher giving the experience at right back.

              THE MATCH

Right from the kick off Stoke were right in Liverpool's faces and Liverpool struggled to cope with pressure. It was all Stoke and Liverpool struggling to cope with Stoke's game plan. Delap and his long throws giving Liverpool big problems as he bombarded the Liverpool box. Stoke had the best chances in the first half Reina making a good save from a resulting Delap throw. Liverpool quite lucky to get away with a penalty shout when Maxi barged Jones to the ground. Jones missed the best chance of the first half when Jones got a free header from a corner kick heading it wide. Liverpool's only produce in the first half was a Kyrgiakos header from a corner cleared by a Stoke defender and Gerrard had a long range shot which was well saved. But Liverpool were happy to go in 0-0 at the half.
  The second half was more of the same as Liverpool struggled with the Stoke pressure. Then in the 56th minute Stoke took the deserved lead from initially Liverpool's own mistake when Konchesky played a poor pass back to Reina who could only kick to touch, which Delap could only oblige by hurling another bomb into the Liverpool box, this time with just reward when after a major melee the ball was poked home from Fuller giving Stoke the lead. Liverpool tried to fight back but the best chance they had was a shot from close range from Maxi after good work from Kuyt. Liverpool never really looked like scoring and were put out of their misery when Gerrard played a poor pass which allowed Stoke to break and they took advantage with Jones finisjing off the move and ending the game. Lucas was sent off at the end for a second booking which summed up Liverpool's night. Stoke thoroughly deserved the win.

                      SUMMARY

For me this game had a lot of dejavu about it from the Everton game not so long ago. The way Liverpool were pressured by Stoke and not able to cope with it and the way they kept trying to pass in their own half causing themselves no end of problems. Unlucky to lose the first goal the way they did but thats what happens when you are under pressure for so long the attacking team will get a break sometime. I am disappointed the way we seem to struggle against teams that pressure us on the ball. We never got a foot hold in the game and hardly created anything Torres was as well sitting beside me as he had no service. Poor to see the midfield outfought as bad. Gerrard was quiet but then he can't be great all the time. Overall I thought we would get four points out of the last three games but not in the way it happened. Next up home to West Ham next Saturday so hopefully back to winning ways.

Man Of The Match -  Kyrgiakos  I thought he battled well and was our best defender against the Stoke bombardment, he gave everything once again.

YNWA

Friday, 12 November 2010

WIGAN 1-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT

                             MATCH REPORT  

After that amazing result on Sunday Liverpool were hoping to build some more momentum on the back of that result. This was never going to be an easy fixture, basically there is no easy fixtures in this League especially away from home. Liverpool's away form has been a concern over the last year or so but after the recent win at Bolton much confidence has returned. A hectic recent schedule for Liverpool giving them no respite after recent games against Napoli and Chelsea, now with away games at Wigan and Stoke to end the week. I was expecting us to win this one but not by much as Wigan never make it easy.
                           THE TEAM

I do like the way Hodgson seems to like sticking with a winning team, totally different with Rafa's ideas. But I believe you should stick with a winning team unless you are forced to make changes through injuries etc. So no complaints from me about Roy's team selection for this one, great to see Kelly starting again, he really is staking a claim for a regular place in the team.

                         THE MATCH

Liverpool started the game like a team that has been on a good run of form and passed the ball about well from the start. Gerrard pulling the strings once again, puting Wigan on the back foot. Liverpool capitalised on their early domination with a brilliant goal on 7 minutes when Gerrard who was given so much time in the middle of the park put a slide rule pass through to the red hot Torres who brilliantly controlled the pass with one touch as he ran past the struggling Caldwell and then with his second touch shot low into the corner of the Wigan net leaving Al-Habsi beaten. It really was a tremendous goal created and finished off by Liverpool's main men. Liverpool could have went further ahead when a brilliant move from Gerrard, Torres and Kuyt was finished off with Gerrard shooting over the bar when maybe he should have scored. Wigan gradually crept into the game and Liverpool went in at that half 1-0 up.
  The second half found Liverpool losing their way and Wigan sensed this and started to create problems for the Liverpool defence. Careless passing causing Liverpool so many problems for Liverpool in the second half. Just when you felt a goal was coming for Wigan, it came. A dangerous low cross from the right could only be parried by Reina and the ball fell kindly for Rodallega and he swept the ball into the net giving Wigan a deserved equaliser and giving Liverpool problems as the had lost their fluency. Liverpool never really got their passing game going again as Wigan looked the more likely to snatch a winner. Liverpool could have won it though, the best chance falling to Gerrard as Maxi slid a ball through to Gerrard but his shot shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety. I think a draw was a fair result and although it wasn't a win Liverpool kept their good unbeaten run going but a better performance will be needed against Stoke on Saturday.
                            SUMMARY

I was disappointed that we couldn't win the match especially after taking the early lead and starting the game well, but once Liverpool let Wigan into the game they couldn't get going again, sitting far too deep at times for me. It has been a hectic week and the players did put so much into the Chelsea game so maybe they were a bit drained and tired, but I still believe Hodgson did the right thing by not changing the team. Credit to Wigan too they did work their way back into the game well, but I did feel that many times Liverpool's passing did let them down especially in the second half, puting them back under pressure. Positives were, not losing the game, Torres with another goal, I thought Kelly had another really good game at right back and I thought Konchesky had another really solid game at left back. Reina was unlucky at the goal as it was a dangerous cross in. Torres looking better with every game. Still onwards and upwards to Stoke and hopefully back to winning ways.

Man Of The Match - Torres  a great finish from our hit man and great movement from him but disappointingly never got the same service thesecond half as Liverpool struggled.

YNWA

Monday, 8 November 2010

LIVERPOOL 2-0 CHELSEA MATCH REPORT

                        MATCH REPORT

Always one of the key fixtures of the season, but more so for Liverpool this season after the poor start and Chelsea sitting on top of the league. But with a better run of form in the last couple of weeks Liverpool had found some much needed confidence. So a win for Liverpool against Chelsea would be massive for the coming weeks in Liverpool's season and give them something to build on.
                   THE TEAM   

I was very pleased to see Hodgson go with two up front as I think he should do this more often, I was amazed to see Kuyt make this match as I believe he had just returned to training last week. Great to see Gerrard in that deeper role where I think is his best position. Skrtel came in for Kyrgiakos who was unwell and great to see young Kelly come into the side at right back, due to Johnson having a slight injury.
                   THE MATCH

What an atmosphere for this one, Liverpool roared on from a passionate support were quietened temporarily in the early stages as Chelsea kept good possession without creating much. But then the game lit up in the 11th minute with the much maligned Fernando Torres erupting Anfield with some world class finishing. Pass of the match from Kuyt floated over the head of Terry and Torres controlled brilliantly before finishing past the helpless Cech. Liverpool had Chelsea rattled and started to dominate with Gerrard pulling the strings from midfield as he sprayed the ball around.
                  Torres opens the scoring

Liverpool were not giving Chelsea any time on the ball as Liverpool pressed them, Lucas especially broke up so many attacks as he had probably his best game for Liverpool. Konchesky and Kelly were solid in defence preventing Chelsea from getting much joy down the flanks. Kuyt's work rate was a perfect foil for Torres as he looked so much happier with having support up front. Just as it looked like the sides were going in 1-0 at half time, Torres struck again. Cole was caught in possession at the half way line and Meireles broke forward before passing wide to Torres, Torres moved into the edge of the Chelsea penalty box being faced by Ivanovic, he then created a yard of space for himself and then curled a superb shot into the top left hand corner of Cech's net, leaving Cech stranded. Pure class from Torres showing everyone that he is still one of the best strikers around.
                               Torres celebrates    

It was a big goal for Liverpool going in at half time with a 2-0 lead as they knew Chelsea would come back in the second half. The introduction of Drogba for Chelsea for the start of the second half showed Chelsea's intentions. Drogba being on the bench as he was unwell and not 100% fit, but Chelsea having to gamble with the two goal defecit. As expected Chelsea upped their game and laid seige to the Liverpool goal as Liverpool found it hard to keep hold of the ball. But for all Chelsea's possession Liverpool defended brilliantly not giving Chelsea too many chances to get back into it. Zhirkov had a good shot which Reina saved at his near post. But midway through the second half Reina had a brilliant point blank save from Malouda after great work by Drogba. Chelsea kept up the pressure but Liverpool's defence withstood the onslaught with Carragher immense at the back as he battled with Drogba and organised his defence superbly.
                           Torres scores his second    

Kuyt was so unlucky not to make it three as Cech pulled off the save of the match, Kuyt turned and hit a low shot which looked to be going in but Cech stuck out a right leg diverting the ball past for a corner. Then with minutes to go Anelka hit a shot which went went underneath Reina bouncing up onto the crossbar and looking like a tap in for Drogba before that man Carragher flung himself in front of Drogba sliding the ball into Reina's grateful hands as he could have easily knocked the ball into his own net. Liverpool could have scored a third goal right at the end as Maxi was sent clear inside the Chelsea box but he took too long to shoot and the chance was lost. Liverpool thoroughly deserving of the win and a brilliant team performance against the Champions. 

                          SUMMARY

A brilliant result and performance from Liverpool and it just shows what this team is capable of, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. Hopefully now a bit of heat will be taken off Hodgson as I felt too many people were calling for his head without giving him a chance. Obviously it is not like we are going to beat everyone in sight now but it is a start in the right direction and very encouraging with recent results and the current form must be built on. Great to see Torres back to his best, it gives us so much extra when he is in form like that, so dangerous, but what a game from Kuyt hopefully this will be a regular partnership up front. Gerrard dominated the first half and defended brilliantly in the second half when Liverpool never got as much possession. Carragher was his brilliant best as he was running through brick walls for the cause in the name of Drogba. Lucas, best game for the club, he broke up so many Chelsea attacks and never gave a ball away superb performance. Konchesky and young Kelly were rock solid at full back positions. Maxi and Meireles worked so hard out wide and used the ball well. Reina made a couple of key stops as Chelsea pressed. But a superb team performance and hopefully we can build on this great result.

Man Of The Match - Torres   there was a few contenders, Gerrard, Carragher, Lucas and Kuyt but I have to go for Torres with his 2 goals and looked back to his best, clinical finishing from Torres

Friday, 5 November 2010

LIVERPOOL 3-1 NAPOLI MATCH REPORT

                         MATCH REPORT     

After another confidence boosting result at the weekend for Liverpool there were high hopes of another win at home against Napoli in the Europa League. Napoli proved a decent European outfit two weeks ago. But with another tough fixture looming on Sunday against Chelsea, changes to the line- up were expected. Liverpool top of their Europa League group were hoping to cement their position with a win in this one.      
                         THE TEAM 

As expected there were changes made by Hodgson for this game, obviously thinking about the Chelsea game on Sunday. Still, it was a strong team Hodgson sent out as he was obviously wanting to qualify sooner rather than later from this group. A strong defence was selected with Johnson coming in at right back after recovering from injury, moving Carragher back into the middle of defence alongside Kyrgiakos. It was good to see youngsters Shelvey and Spearing starting with Jovanovic on the left, Poulsen coming into the holding role in midfield. N'Gog being selected up front giving Torres a rest. I was concerned about the midfield being strong enough and creative enough for this game, but still it was good to see Roy giving the youngsters a chance again.
                        THE MATCH

A good crowd for this game with not many empty seats and Liverpool started the match well in the early minutes with Jovanovic getting down the left and swinging in a couple of dangerous crosses. But the early onslaught soon waned as Napoli settled and started to dominate proceedings. Liverpool suddenly found themselves struggling for possession as Napoli sprayed the ball around. Lavezzi being the main danger to Liverpool as he made one or two good attacking runs causing concern to the Liverpool defence. Lavezzi came very close when Shelvey gave the ball straight to Lavezzi and he ran straight down the middle before firing a vicious shot that went just wide of Reina's post. Liverpool were causing a lot of their own problems with so many poor passes puting them under pressure. Then Liverpool were finally caught out on the 28th minute with another mistake, this time a poor Poulsen header put Napoli in a great position and they took advantage with a brilliant finish from that man Lavezzi as he slipped the ball past the onrushing Reina. It was no more than Napoli deserved as they were by far the dominant side. So Liverpool went in at half time with a lot to think about.
                               Gerrard sets the tone for the second half

The biggest cheer of the night came when they saw Gerrard warming up for the second half as Hodgson took drastic action. Jovanovic made way for his Captain. Right from the off Gerrard flew into a challenge winning possession before being fouled, setting the tone for the second half and lifting the team and the crowd. Liverpool suddenly looked a different team and Napoli looked rattled as Liverpool drove forward. Gerrard instrumental in everything. The Italians tried to slow the game down and break up the play when they could but they couldn't stop the shift in momentum. Liverpool started creating chances as N'Gog went close with Napoli keeper De Sanctis making a good save and Meireles shooting wide when he should have scored. Shelvey should have done better with a header at the back post
                           Gerrard scores from the spot     

With chances being missed you started to wonder if Liverpool were going to get that elusive goal, especially with time starting to ebb away. Then on the 75th minute former Liverpool player Dossena was short with a pass back to his keeper which Gerrard read and Gerrard went flying into the challenge with the keeper and the ball ended up in the Napoli net, true grit and determination from Gerrard. Liverpool now were looking for the winner. However, an unsavoury moment developed when Napoli defender Aronica lunged in on N'Gog almost snapping N'Gog's leg, unbelievably escaping the referee's notebook. N'Gog eventually had to leave the field for Lucas. Just as it looked as if Napoli were going to hold on for a draw Johnson burst into the box, and was upended by Aronica which was pleasing as he should have been sent off earlier so it was good to see him making a major contribution. Gerrard stepped up to the plate and didn't disappoint as he put the penalty away convincingly. An amazing turn around and display by Gerrard. Then a minute later in the 89th minute Gerrard got his hat-trick after Lucas made a good tackle winning the ball which released Gerrard one on one with De Sanctis and his finish was sublime as he dinked the ball over him and sent the Kop wild. A brilliant second half performance by Liverpool and another amazing performance from Gerrard.    
                               Gerrard silences the Italian crowd

                   SUMMARY

A great comeback inpired by Gerrard once again, how many times has he done this unbelievable. If if ever there was a game of two halves. The first half was very poor from Liverpool as Napoli dominated. Liverpool's midfield remains a concern in Gerrard's abscence highlighted by Liverpool's first half display. Poulsen doesn't look good enough and made matters worse with his mistake for the Napoli goal. Spearing worked really hard but his passing was poor too often. Meireles has still to convince me as his passing was also poor. The defence looked solid enough and Johnson got better as the game wore on and done really well winning the penalty. It is worrying that we had to rely on Gerrard once again as we need others to step up to the plate and show the commitment he shows. But it was encouraging of the character shown in the second half. Good to see it was Aronica who was guilty of bringing down Johnson in the box for the penalty after being allowed to stay on the park after his horrendous tackle on N'Gog. Bring on the Chelsea three wins in a row a win on Sunday and who knows what we can achieve.

Man Of The Match - Gerrard - no competition here, only needed 45 minutes for this accolade, truly brilliant performance from Gerrard and hat- trick as well, the heart and soul of this team.

YNWA

Monday, 1 November 2010

BOLTON 0-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT

                MATCH REPORT
After a good performance and a much needed win last week it was off to another tough place to prise points, Bolton. Bolton have proved to be a tough nut to crack this season and Liverpool have been struggling all season for results, but with the good win last week against Blackburn, Liverpool were hoping to build on this. I thought this would be a very difficult game to win all three points and I really thought that a draw wouldn't be the worst result at such a tough place.
               THE TEAM
 I was hoping Hodgson would keep the same team that won last week, and I wasn't disappointed, although Hodgson was still restricted for choice with injuries to some key players. It would have been interesting to see what he would have done if Johnson and Kuyt had been fit. But I think you keep a winning team. So I was really pleased Roy kept faith with the players that beat Blackburn.             
                     THE MATCH

This was always going to be a battle for Liverpool and they were not disappointed as Bolton used their physical strength to unsettle Liverpool. However, Liverpool started well and Torres was unlucky with a header early on and then a couple of minutes later had a great chance when he cut into the Bolton box before being wasteful when the Torres of old would have found the net. The game continued at a frantic pace with end to end action with not a great deal of sublime football. Bolton were trying at every attempt to go long to the robust Davies but the impressive Kyrgiakos dealt with most thrown at him. Liverpool played some nice football at times with Gerrard probing. There were not too many chances in the first half, Reina had a good save from a shot from distance, but a great Liverpool move should have been finished off by Gerrard but he skewed his shot wide. Bolton had a shout for a penalty when a cross hit Carragher on the arm but the referee rightly waved away the appeals.
                        Lucas in the thick of the action

The second half was more of the same with a tremendous tussle ensuing between Kyrgiakos and Davies, both knocking lumps out of each other but fascinating to watch. Liverpool were dealt a blow when Joe Cole left the field with a hamstring problem, N'Gog replacing him and Liverpool resulting in a 4-4-2 formation. Liverpool were having the better of the play other than dealing with Bolton's long ball tactics fairly well. Kyrgiakos was unlucky with a header that just went over the Bolton bar. Maxi had a superb effort finish just over the bar as well. At the other end Bolton had a strong claim for a penalty as Kyrgiakos gave Davies a bit of a shove in the box, and Davies was unlucky not to score as he glanced a dangerous cross just wide.
               Maxi scores the winner    

The game looked to be heading for a scoreless draw but Liverpool were ending the game stronger and looked the most likely if there was to be a winner. Then with time running out a bit of magic from Torres as he flicked a through ball into the path of Maxi and he sruck the ball early catching Jaaskelainen out as the ball went through him. Liverpool held out for the remainder of the match and a priceless win and a very hard fought win and a great resiliance shown from the whole team.
              Maxi celebrates the winner

               SUMMARY

A great result, true it wasn't pretty but what a great battling performance from Liverpool, they had to stand up and be counted against the physical approach from Bolton. A draw would have been ok but to nick a win was amazing and really must give the team an almighty lift going into the Chelsea game next week. The defence and was immense as Kyrgiakos and Skrtel defended stoutly with everything that was thrown at them. Lucas played really well with Meireles in the middle and Carragher had a good game at right back. Joe Cole was disappointing and ended miserably with picking up an injury. Torres has been slaughtered again for this performance but I disagree, his was workrate was good and he linked up well, he just wasn't presented with many chances. But once again Torres proved his class with his sublime flick into Maxi for the goal. Gerrard came more into the game as the game wore on. But I was pleased with the way Liverpool battled for this win as I did not fancy us to win this one.

Man Of The Match - Kyrgiakos      The big man was immense again as he battled so hard and won most of the high balls up to the physical Davies, it really was a fascinating duel to watch. Great performance.

YNWA

Thursday, 28 October 2010

MY TEAM FOR BOLTON

                        MY TEAM

Like everybody other Liverpool supporter who thinks they are a better manager than Hodgson I thought I would just give you my team for Sunday's Bolton match. Its going to be very difficult, but we need to string some good results together and build on last weeks good win. Our away form has been really poor and it must improve starting at Bolton on Sunday.
  We still have a few players missing with Johnson, Kuyt, Agger, Babel and Aurelio to name a few unavailable for Sunday, so we are a bit limited for options. Anyway here is what I hope the team will be for Sunday.

Goalkeeper - Reina      who else one of the best keepers in the world
Right back -  Carragher    will still have to deputise on the right with Johnson not yet fully fit
Left back -   Koncheski    looks solid and I think he will keep his place
Centre Back -  Skrtel     been playing better in last couple of games and will need to be strong against Bolton
Centre back -  Kyrgiakos    our best player in recent games and must start, heading ability vital in this one
Left midfield -  Jovanovic    I would love to see him back on the left, great work rate and likes to get forward
Right midfield -  Maxi   had one of his best games last week and deserves to stay in the team
Centre midfield - Gerrard   needs to play deeper to influence the game with his passing from deep
Centre midfield - Meireles    him and Gerrard could be a great combination getting better with each game
Centre midfield (attacking) - Cole   I hope he plays just behind Torres in the centre where he can be more creative
Striker - Torres     after scoring last week I'm hoping for more as his confidence is returning

I will be interested to read your comments of my team selection as everybody has their own ideas so please comment.  Here's to another 3 points on Sunday.

YNWA

Monday, 25 October 2010

LIVERPOOL 2-1 BLACKBURN ROVERS MATCH REPORT

          MATCH REPORT

Every match report I seem to say how big a match this is for Liverpool and I am not changing my words for this one. After the poor start to the season and after the way that Liverpool were convincingly beaten in last Sunday's derby match there has been many supporters calling for Hodgson's head already, and with new owners coming in there has certainly been a feeling that results had to improve fast for Hodgson. Liverpool being at home for this one against a Blackburn side that is struggling to find the net away from home this season had to be a win for Liverpool as nothing less would do as the next fixtures are away to Bolton and at home to Chelsea, so confidence needed to be regained for those fixtures.
          THE TEAM

After the good result in Napoli in midweek with Hodgson resting some key players, Hodgson brought them back fresh for the Blackburn game. I was a little disappointed with Roy's team however. The defence was ok with Carragher still having to deputise at right back with Johnson still not fit enough, so Hodgson had to play Skrtel with Kyrgiakos in central defence with Agger still injured. My concern was the midfield selection I was not happy with Lucas being selected especially after his performance against Everton which I was very critical of. I was hoping to see Gerrard play beside Meireles in central midfield with Jovanovic out on the left after having a good game in Italy midweek, and I was hoping Cole would play just behind Torres, but Roy is the manager not me.
           Everybody joined in with Gerry Marsden before the game even the new owner
           THE MATCH        

A win was the only option for Liverpool, nothing less would do and even Gerry Marsden was called upon to lift the team for this vital match with a rendition of his famous anthem which had everybody including the new owners singing along to. After the rousing rendition from the sixties legend I was expecting Liverpool to come flying out of the blocks, but the game started quite quietly and at a slow pace as both teams tried to settle into the game and maybe with a bit of nerves from Liverpool with their recent form. The game livened up as Liverpool started to take control and a great give and go with Torres and Maxi created a chance for Joe Cole which was brilliantly saved with Robinson sticking out a foot. The chance though seemed to galvanise Liverpool and they built on this chance. For the majority of the first half Liverpool were camped in the Blackburn half. Liverpool really were showing a commitment that was lacking last week against Everton, Blackburn resorted to getting men behind the ball and trying to frustrate  Liverpool. The best chances being a Torres header on 12 minutes past the post from a Carragher cross, then on 16 minutes Kyrgiakos had a good header tipped over from Robinson who had a great game, The best chance of the first half came when Reina started a break which Gerrard took on surging through the middle before getting a return pass which he hit first time with that man Robinson made a fine save from.
                     Gerrard led from the front

Liverpool went in at half time wondering how they were not in front. But in a mad few minutes at the start of the second half Liverpool took the lead from a Gerrard corner which Kyrgiakos met powerfully with his head only to be deflected into the Blackburn net by a defender on the post. But before the celebrations had died down Liverpool found themselves all square as Blackburn had their first shot on goal as Diouf scuffed his shot goalward only to be cleared of the line by Konchesky but unfortunately for Liverpool it hit Carragher who was in close attendance and rebounded into the net. You just had the feeling that this could be another bad day for Liverpool as for all their domination they found themselves level.
                         Liverpool players celebrate

But 2 minutes later Liverpool regained the lead as Cole sent over a delightful cross which Torres side footed into the Blackburn net from close range ending his goal drought and hopefully lifting his confidence for future matches. The closest Liverpool came to scoring after taking the lead was when Kyrgiakos headed into the ground only to see the ball go over the bar. But as the game moved into the latter stages you could sense the tension in the Liverpool team and the supporters as Blackburn tried to press. In fairness Liverpool never had any major scares in the latter stages as Blackburn won a few corners and pumped everything into the box. But Liverpool hung on for 3 priceless points and hopefully the start of something.

                          SUMMARY

Liverpool played really well, there was a better attitude and desire in this match as I was beginning to wonder if the players were playing for Hodgson. There was a hunger from the players which has been lacking for most of the season. I can't criticise any players in this one, I even thought Lucas played well. The pleasing thing was the chances that Liverpool created and the desire shown. Special mention to Maxi who I thought had one of his best games since coming to Liverpool. Meireles was also involved in most good things. Torres looked more commited probably because he was seeing more of the ball. Cole was instrumental and produced a great cross for the second goal. Gerrard was immense leading by example, fully commited, driving his side on. Kyrgiakos, superb at both ends and opened the scoring, I would play him every week with his desire alone but he offers so much at both ends of the park. We can't get carried away yet but its a start in the right direction.

Man Of The Match - Kyrgiakos    Superb match, defended brilliantly and looked like he would score at every corner. Deserved his goal.

YNWA