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Thursday, 28 October 2010
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.
Monday, 25 October 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Well after another disappointing result in the League for Hodgson and his team, there was a brief respite in the form of another Europa League tie, a welcome distraction. With Liverpool going into this fixture topping their group there was a welcome relief that this fixture wasn't as crucial as lets say Sunday's fixture at home to Blackburn but some much needed confidence would be key to this game.
Hodgson with one eye on Sunday changed his team and did not even take Gerrard, Torres and Meireles to Italy. I was a bit worried with team he chose against an Italian team with a hostile home support. But I was pleased to see the likes of Kelly, Spearing and especially young Shelvey starting. The defence looked pretty solid though with Carragher and Skrtel in the centre and young Kelly and Konchesky at full back positions. I was also pleased to see Jovanovic and Babel starting as they have seemingly dropped out of favour with Hodgson recently.
In what was a very passionate and hostile home support Liverpool were expecting a torrid start to the game but in fairness Liverpool coped well and settled well and passed the ball around quite well taking the sting out of the crowd. The first half was very even as both teams had possession without creating many chances. Konchesky tried to get down the left when he could, but Babel was once again a very frustrating figure giving the ball away after getting into good positions. Shelvey got better as the first half wore on and made some telling passes, one in particular to N'Gog who just failed to connect properly. Liverpool seemed happy enough at 0-0 and not needing to chase the game away from home. The best chance for Liverpool came midway through the first half when Jovanovic played a great pass through to Babel but he failed to control it and the chance was lost. Napoli almost stole a lead right on half time when a shot was cleared off the line by Konchesky but this was the closest Napoli came.
The second half was more lively and Napoli improved and pressured Liverpool in their own half and looked threatening without creating anything clear cut. Liverpool were creating their own problems too as they found it hard to keep possession. Liverpool defended well under this pressure and Skrtel in particular made some good blocks and headed clearances. Carragher came off at half time for Kyrgiakos but it was just to give him a rest for Sunday. I was pleased to see Aurelio come on for Konchesky hoping that he's put his injury worries behind him. Babel came off for Joe Cole for the last 15 minutes after another frustrating night in which he managed to miss the best chance of the night when Jovanovic sent him clear only to hit a tame shot that De Sanctis saved with his foot. Overall I believe a draw was the right result and its still a very good result for Liverpool away from home in Europe.
Its not the confidence boosting performance that we all hoped for but it was a very solid performance away from home in Europe in a hostile environment. With so many youngsters playing I thought they did well. Liverpool showed good spells of possession which is very important away from home in Europe. Top performers for me were Skrtel who defended well especially in the second half. Kelly done well against a tricky winger and Spearing worked hard and was always available for the ball out of defence. Jovanovic played really well and made two or three really good passes creating chances. Another frustrating night for Babel leaving us scratching our heads again. Disappointed with N'Gog tonight never held the ball up enough was unlucky with a good turn and shot but that was his best work.I thought young Shelvey looked really good and I would like to see him given more chances he has plenty confidence and ability. Overall a good result and performance with so many changes to the team and still top of the group.
Man of the Match - Skrtel Good defensive performance made some crucial blocks and headers when Liverpool were under pressure.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
I am disappointed but not surprised by the reaction of the supporters over the last few days with the vast majority wanting Hodgson out. Its plain for all to see with our League position that we have had a terrible start to the season one in which we have not seen for nearly fifty years which worryingly so we were relegated in.
The feedback I have been getting from fellow Liverpool supporters has been that Roy's time is up before it is too late, where I am going to be in the minority and probably get slated for saying that I believe he needs more time to turn things around.
Hodgson has came in at a very difficult time, with the ownership saga which has thankfully been settled. Roy has also inherited a poor squad from Rafa which was found out last season with our poor league position. Hodgson has came in with virtually no money to work with a poor squad and has been asked to wave a magic wand overnight.
I have felt that most of the games this season that Hodgson's team selections have been ok and as strong a team as he's been able to field other than obviously the cup games where he has tried to give fringe players games. There has been a lot of criticism of Hodgson's tactics in games saying that he is too cautious in his approach and maybe so but with a new squad of players it takes time to see what tactics work with the players you've got. I like everybody else am critical of some things he has done this season, I would like to see Cole just play behind Torres and Gerrard play deeper in the central of midfield where he can influence games alongside Meireles. Many supporters think we should play with two men up front but I think Torres prefers to play the lone striker role. Its up to the midfield to support and they have not been doing this nearly enough leaving Torres a frustrated figure. But overall experience wise Hodgson doesn't have a lot to work with in his squad and now he's stuck with it until January.
Liverpool's fixtures to start the season have been extremely difficult for a new manager coming in to a new club. A baptism of fire saw Liverpool face Arsenal at home on the opening day and if Liverpool had managed to hold out just a few minutes more then I'm sure we would not be talking about a crisis. Away to Manchester City was next up and we were well beaten but the carry on with Mascherano couldn't have helped the preperation for the game. West Brom was an unconvincing win, our only League win to date. Away to Birmingham was always going to be a difficult game with their outstanding form at home in recent times, so a draw wasn't bad. The Manchester United game was disappointing as we were second best for most of the game but somehow Gerrard once again managed to drag us back into it before losing a late heartbreaking goal. After those tough fixtures to start the season with I felt now we had a couple of fixtures to pick up some points with Sunderland and Blackpool at home, but maybe with confidence low and the off the field ownership saga we couldn't muster a win, drawing with Sunderland and losing the Blackpool game. With the ownership of the club finally settled last Friday I was hoping for a spirited performance on Sunday but once again I was left disappointed. The tough fixture list has certainly drained the team of confidence but it is now up to Roy to lift his team for the Blackburn game at home on Sunday as I don't think Hodgson is going to have much time left to turn things around.
Everybody is blaming Hodgson for the results and anything else going wrong at the club. But these players he is sending out every week really need to have a look at themselves. I played football for twenty years and I have witnessed our manager try every form of motivation to get us to play better and at times we still went out and played rubbish and who was to blame ? us the players. So I believe Hodgson is trying everything right now but once those players cross that white line then its up to them. Other than Carragher and Gerrard on Sunday, if the players can't lift themselves for a local derby then they should be sacked, Everton were far more hungry for the fight and thoroughly deserved their victory. I hate naming names but Lucas would never play for me again after that performance I don't know how many times I saw him jog back when Everton were breaking forward when he should be chasing back to help his defence. He is to blame for the first goal with his poor header but worst still was his effort to recover the situation by puting in a half hearted tackle in reply before giving up leaving Konchesky to deal with it. So the players need to respond big time for Hodgson after Sunday's performance.
I know many of you will disagree with this article and feel free to comment below but I would like to give Hodgson fifteen League games to turn it around before replacing him. I think he will get it right as his experience in the game will prove invaluable for us. His comments after Sunday's game have been widely criticised and I like everyone else was surprised by them but I reckon he made those remarks to try and defend his players as everybody knows it wasn't a good performance. So maybe now we might see a different attitude from the players with Hodgson sticking up for them. But there is a lot of work to be done and Hodgson knows that better than anyone but it is still far too early in the season to be calling for his head. This League is so tight that if we win a couple of games it will be crisis over and we could be mid table so although we are printed at second bottom of the table we are not too far adrift to get back in the thick of it. It is just a severe shock to our system to find us here and I think this is leading to everyone's panic.
So like I say give Roy fifteen league games and see where we are, and in my view Roy is still the Boy for the job. Lets get behind him and the team.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
After one of the biggest weeks in Liverpool's history with saga of the ownership it was down to matters on the park, and no bigger fixture than that of old foes and near neighbours Everton. With both clubs at the wrong end of the table and only one point seperating them this made it more important a derby than usual. Liverpool having won only one league game this season and struggling for form were hoping to be bouyed by the fact of having new owners Thomas Werner and John W. Henry in attendance.
Hodgson was restricted in his team selection with Agger, Kuyt and Glenn Johnson being unavailable for this one. I was happy enough with his selection in defence with Carragher deputising at right back. But not happy with the midfield, I would have had Gerrard playing in the middle of midfield with Meireles, instead of Lucas, Maxi wide right and Jovanovic wide left and Joe Cole playing just behind Torres. But Hodgson thought differently.
A typical loud and passionate atmosphere for this one with no love lost. Liverpool kicked off but in most of the first half they had difficulty getting out of their own half. Everton looked really up for it and pressured Liverpool whenever they were in possession, pressing very high up the park. Everton had most of the play in the first half and they had the best of the chances early on as the tackles flew in. Distin and Jagielka going close with shots and also Yakubu hitting a shot which Reina saved well from. Liverpool struggled to get anything going due to Everton's tremendous pressure and Liverpool were causing a lot of their own problems by trying short passes in their own half instead of clearing their lines.
The best chance Liverpool created was a header from Torres which Howard tipped over the bar after a good cross from Cole. Everton took the lead on 33 minutes when a poor header from Lucas on the edge of his own box was headered straight to Everton which Coleman took advantage of and broke down the right edge of the Liverpool box with Lucas making a half hearted challenge to halt him and then Konchesky failing to stop him getting a cross in which Cahill hit into the top corner from close range giving Reina no chance.
It was nothing more than Everton deserved as they showed more hunger than Liverpool. They went in at half time 1-0 with much for Hodgson to think about.
Hodgson tried to change things by bringing on Babel, N'Gog and Jovanovic for Cole, Lucas and Maxi as Liverpool tried to get back into it Torres had a couple of efforts but there was a lack of passion and heart about the team as Gerrard as usual was the only one showing any creativity and true fight for the cause. Everton were deserved winners. Liverpool must get out of this bad run and quick as the fixtures don't get any easier in this league.
Its easy to criticise Liverpool's performance but Everton played brilliantly, puting Liverpool under extreme pressure in their own half. I was disappointed that it appeared Everton looked the hungrier team and they deserved their win. Lucas was just not strong enough in the middle of the park and we were overun at times in the middle. I can't agree with Hodgson's comments after the game as he thought we played well, I think he was watching a different game from me. Torres once again got scraps to feed off, Cole should be playing in the middle just behind Torres instead of being stuck out on the left. Gerrard would be more influential playing deeper in the middle of midfield. But the players have to show a lot more commitment if we are to get out of this bad run. It seems the knives are being sharpened for Roy already but I would like to see him given a bit more time to turn it around its still early in the season.
Man Of The Match - Gerrard Once again he tried to drive us on with little help from his team mates.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
I would just like to give you my take on the last couple of days. I noticed a statement on the Liverpool website on Tuesday night that Liverpool had recieved two bids for the club, so when I went to bed that night I actually gave a little prayer before going to sleep in hope of getting sold, and I am not a churchy person so very unlike me. Anyway, when I woke up yesterday morning by my wife shouting through the bedroom to me that Liverpool had been sold I couldn't believe it, everything seemed to happen so fast.
I know many people are sceptical about another American coming in but you have to believe the board are doing the right thing and we have to trust them in their decision on this. Surely can't be any worse than Hicks and Gillett.
Martin Broughton has to be applauded on his work after taking so much stick from so many quarters. He had been employed by Hicks and Gillett to sell the club and this is what he has done, a deal for the best interests of the club. I am amazed with all the media attention how Broughton has managed to keep this deal quiet until yesterday, considering that so many meetings have taken place, he really has to be commended.
Its little surprise to me to see that Gillett and Hicks are not going to go quietly, which to be fair is understantable when they are reportedly going to lose about £70 million each. But by all accounts, and listening to Broughton being interviewed yesterday, it seems that the Americans have virtually no chance of saving themselves and that they could at least do the honourable thing by accepting this and walk away with their heads held high but typical of these men that they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the club.
HICKS AND GILLETT
They took over on the 6th Febuary 2007 and the future looked bright. So many promises, the biggest one being the construction of a new stadium. To be fair they did give Rafa money to spend on players, and he did spend a lot. But Rafa did recoup a lot back from selling. Relations with Rafa and the Americans became strained when Hicks had a public spat with Rafa and then on the day after the 19th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster Hicks attacked Rick Parry on Sky Sports News, which angered many Liverpool supporters with his timing of the attack. Relations between the Americans and the supporters has declined rapidly in recent times with many demonstations by supporters wanting them out. On the 16th April this year the Americans put the club up for sale, but their valuation of about £600 million has been ridiculous and frightened off potential buyers. So hopefully now we can be rid of these Americans as we were going deeper and deeper into dept and soon to be called in by the bank.
John W Henry
Like most Liverpool fans I had never heard of this man but I like baseball and follow it and know how well Henry and his associates at New England Sports Ventures has done with the Boston Red Sox. He took over the Red Sox in 2002 and they are very similar to Liverpool as being a club that is steeped in history and tradition but like Livepool had not won a World Series title for over 80 years. But since he has taken over they have won 2 World Series titles till now, so he seems a man that certainly knows how to improve sports organisations.
His organisation is also in charge of the Roush Fenway Racing Team which he took over in 2007 and the team won their first Daytona 500 last year so in my view he has a really good C.V.
Time will only tell if he is the right man, but we have to trust the board and early indications from the new owners are that they will clear the debt. Also, it has been believed that they will either improve Anfield to a bigger capacity or build a new stadium so there is great optimism there.
It looks bright to me, I think we all have to be confident that this is the right thing the club are doing and that mistakes will have been learned and they won't happen again. I think it will be a knock on effect throughout the club and more importantly on the park as it so obvious in recent matches that it has got to Hodgson and the players. Hodgson will hopefully recieve money to improve the team and our key players like Torres, who has looked out of sorts will maybe now feel a lot more settled and be able to concentrate on his football rather than his future.Things won't happen overnight and we have to be patient but I think now the whole club can now be given a chance to improve rather than slide deeper into the abyss like we were doing. I hope all you fellow Reds are feeling the same optimism that I am feeling.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
After a poor start to the season and a recent 0-0 draw in the Europa League away to Utrecht with more or less a Hodgson's strongest line up with the exception of Gerrard, a good win and performance was much needed and very much expected at home to newly promoted Blackpool. With Gerrard coming back into the team after being rested in midweek Hodgson had no excuses for this one. With confidence low Liverpool really needed a confidence boost and Blackpool being ideal opposition after a tough start to the season. But with respect to Blackpool who have had a good start to the season, Liverpool should be beating teams like Blackpool.
I have not had many arguments with Hodgson's team selections all season and basically any team Liverpool put on the park against Blackpool should be good enough to beat Blackpool. Carragher was moved out to left back with Aurelio and Konchesky still unavailable and young Kelly had a tough time in Utrecht, but I thought he may have played Agger at left back, but no major concern as Kyrgiakos coming in was pleasing for me as he has never let Liverpool down. Liverpool had a good attacking look about it with Gerrard coming in for Lucas and with Cole out on the left and Meireles on the right and Kuyt and Torres up top, Hodgson should have been confident with his team.
I'm afraid with my work commitments I was only able to watch the highlights of the game but it gave me a pretty good idea of how the game went, apologies if you disagree with events. But this is just my report of the game and how I saw it.
I was very much expecting Liverpool to come out all guns blazing and really go at Blackpool but the total reverse happened. Blackpool went at Liverpool from the off and created chances an early scare when Skrtel commited a foul on the edge of the box and Charlie Adam hit a great shot which Reina did well to stop. You would have thought this scare would have awakened Liverpool but Blackpool dominated the first half. Torres got free down the right and flashed a cross right across the face of Blackpool's goal which Cole was unlucky not to connect with. But then disaster struck after only 10 minutes when Torres signaled that he was finished, unbelievably this was only the start of Liverpool's problems as on the half hour mark Varney cut inside from the left and a ridiculous attempt of a tackle from Johnson gave Blackpool a stone wall penalty. Adam dispatched the penalty giving Liverpool real problems. But unbelievably it got worse right on half time when Varney sprung Liverpool's offside trap due to the hapless Johnson playing him on, and he slotted the ball past Reina to give Blackpool a 2-0 lead going in at the break.
Liverpool came out in the second half and did start better hemming Blackpool in their own half but not creating many clear cut chances as Blackpool got men behind the ball and defended well. Liverpool did get back into it on 53 minutes when a clever quickly taken free kick by Gerrard was met by the head of Kyrgiakos and he made no mistake finding the net. Liverpool now were having all the play but not creating much, Johnson was getting into good positions down the right but some of his crossing was woeful. Cole was very unlucky as he slid a shot just past the Blackpool post when it looked like he had scored.
But Liverpool huffed and puffed and looked like avoiding defeat right at the death when Kyrgiakos met a cross but Blackpool keeper Gilks pulled off a great point blank save and earned Blackpool a famous win. A nightmare result for Liverpool.
I couldn't believe the result or the performance from Livepool but in saying that I wasn't surprised by the events as it plunges us to deeper depths and third bottom in the league. Hodgson is going to carry the can obviously but as I have said in most reports I haven't been able to fault his team selections but these players have to have a serious look at themselves as it is simply not good enough.
To play at home against Blackpool and have Blackpool dictate the game for long periods is unacceptable. Other than the Arsenal performance I have felt too many players not giving enough in games. Glenn Johnson if he is to play in the team the get him further up the park as he is good going forward but what a bombscare defending. Maybe the international break has come at a good time for Liverpool giving them time to regroup for the Everton match.
Man of the match - Kyrgiakos the big man has never let us down when called upon, he got us back into the game and almost scored again at the end.