Bring on the Chavs

April 29, 2008

Torres

And so we are entering another European Cup semi-final and another against the Chavs. Everyone and their dog seems to have written the reds of, but they do so at their peril.

While the Chavs have the better of us in league meetings, and even these are evening out, we have the better of them in cup meetings. Since the special needs one took over its 2 wins for them, 3 for us and 3 draws – with 2 draws at the bridge. Even then their one win in Europe wasn’t enough for them to get through to the final.

No doubts they will try and drum up a big atmosphere tomorrow, putting out little plastic flags for the fans, probably displaying words for songs somewhere, and generally trying to get a false atmosphere but that won’t make a difference as the away fans will make the noise. For some reason I feel very relaxed about this game. It doesn’t worry me. Rafa, Stevie G, Kuyt, Carra and the others all have the experience of not just playing in semis but winning them. The Chavs have been in the semi three times but have not won yet. This will no doubt be on their minds.

Team wise, Rafa will play his best team and by that I mean:

Reina
Arbeloa – Carra – Skrtel – Riise
Alonso – Mascherano
Gerrard
Kuyt – Torres – Babel

He may just surprise us and play Crouch up front, stick Stevie G in the middle with Monster leaving Alonso out but this formation has served us well. We also played very well at the bridge this year in the league and should have won. If Torres has his shooting boots on then we will be in the final.

The Chavs seem to be in a small bit of disarray at the moment. The result on Saturday didn’t really hide the fact they were lucky. The fighting showed there is no harmony but they are a dangerous team. If the real Drogba turns up it could be tough and all the experts are pointing to how he played once against us at Anfield when he ran Hyypia ragged. Of course they forget Sami was ill the day before and dragged himself from his sick bed to play. They also forget he has done nothing in 5 semi final matches against us.

I can see a real determination in Liverpool in the last two weeks. I’ve seen Stevie say that we haven’t played with Torres at the bridge before and this may lead people to think this is more pressure on the young lad but I don’t think so. He is class and the cream rises. This is his stage. This is why he joined us. This is why he will score tomorrow.

My prediction? I think it could be 1-1 but I wouldn’t be surprised if we won.

Sit down Maureen-io

April 28, 2008

I was reading a very disturbing item on Saturday on the BBC gossip website. It stated that Jose Mourinho was saying DIC had approached him to be the new manager of Liverpool if they took over. Straight away I told the wife, as I said before, that this was like Funguson taking over and that should it happen to take away my Liverpool gear and burn it.

She also made a very good statement that any rational mind would find hard to argue against – whats wrong with Benitez? A good point indeed.

Over the last few years this mild-mannered Spaniard has taken the team to heights we haven’t really seen for a long time. He has some excellent young players coming through. We have won the reserve league for the first time in ages with a team of really young, promising players. He has 2 Champions League finals (Funguson has 1 in 20 odd years of managing) and 1 win on his CV. An FA Cup with us. Our highest points total since 1990 when we last won the league. For the previous 2 seasons we have finished above Arsenal who apparently are the up and coming young team (even though there is only 1 year difference between their average age and ours – and less when Hyypia is removed).

I really dont get all the Rafa bashing that goes on. The media constantly harp about his rotation and it is precisely the lack of rotation that has cost Arsenal this season. You can say rotation cost Liverpool in the cups but thats not true. An almost full-strength Chav side knocked us out of the Carling Cup but only just. A deflected goal (as usual) from a fat Fwank shot started it and even then it was Crouch’s sending off that really turned the tide. If we had had our shooting boots on against Barnsley at Anfield then it would have been game over before they equalised. It was luck on their side and not rotation that cost us.

In the league again its poor finishing that has cost us. We have lost less games that Manure this season but its the draws that are killing us and again rotation cannot be to blame. Away to Man City we battered them but couldnt get the all important goal. Home to Villa and Wigan again we battered them but in both games we couldnt get the necessary second goal which would have won both games. Taking just those 3 games into account and the 6 points more we should have had would put us ahead of the Arse going into their game tonight against Derby.

But for me the one big thing that we need to do next season to win the league is to beat Manure at least once. Rafa has beat the rest and can get results at the library and also at Chavland. If we had taken the 6 points mentioned above and also beat Utd once this season in the league, we would be ahead of them now but 1 point. That’s some swing. All this crap being thrown around at Rafa means nothing to me. If we do the same next season and beat Manure once, turn 3 draws into wins then we will be challenging. Thats how close we are and not the million miles Andy Gray and that tool Redknapp are on about.

I just hope he is with us next season as he will win the title with us. But if Maureen is in charge then its time to look for a new team. He’s a gimp.

Away (to) the cottagers

April 19, 2008

Torres v Fulham Welcome to the weekend and a lovely away trip to London against Fulham before the first game against the Chavs. Just listening to Soccer AM now and they are saying that Gerrard wasn’t on the coach but that doesn’t surprise me at all. Rafa did say that he was not sure to play and that looks the case.

I can see the boss resting most of the big guns for Tuesday’s game but I really hope that we have enough to get a win today. He might be tempted to play Mascheranoseeing as he hasn’t played since the Arse and then throw Lucas in with him. To summarise here is the team I think he might play:

Reina
Finnan, Carragher, Skrtel, Riise
Pennant, Lucas, Mascherano, Benayoun
Voronin, Crouch.

I can’t see him dropping Reina who for me is the best keeper in the Prem bar none. Finnan should be in with Pennant in front and then play a good midfield partnership. Up front, Rafa seems to like Voronin who did score last week, even if it was put on a plate for him, but still he should have enough for the Fulham defenders. It’s either Crouch or Kuyt but maybe the dutchman needs a well deserved rest. Rafa could surprise us all and play Babel but I think it could be a game for Benayoun. His trickery and ability to open a defense, like last week, could be the difference today.

Over the last few years, the Fulham games seem to all have a poinincey in Rafas reign. In his first season, Rafa got his first league away win of the season at Fulhamcoming from 2-down at half time to win 4-2 – with the legend that was Biscan scoring a cracker. The next season we lost at Fulhambut then went on the marvellous unbeaten run. Later that season, God scored his first goal back with us against the same opposition.

Last season a 4-0 home win kicked us into a bit of form and the game later in the season, the 1-0 defeat, was somewhat controversial. But only in that pillock Neil Warnock’s mind (I was delighted to see Rafa point out yesterday that had Sheff Utd won their last game of the season the Fulham game wouldn’t have mattered). If he had watched the game he would have seen us do everything but score. It was also Insua’s first game – I really like this lad – and he could be challenging for the left-back spot next season (as could Plessis who is tops – like a young Hammann, gets the ball, plays simply and wins the ball back by staying on his feet).

I don’t really know what to think about the game today to be honest. I think that if we win, 4th spot is guarenteed but with 3rd still up for grabs its all to play for. I would love to finish 3rd – and shut the “experts” up – but the Arse are playing Reading today at home and I don’t expect them to lose there.  Fulham

Beat Fulham and it’s all to play for in the last three games. If we turn up in the first 10 minutes then I think we will win. Over the last few months we have been taking our chances and that has seen us be much better. If we do the same today we will win but we cannot afford to give away stupid frees around the box like recently. McBride is a real danger from set plays and crosses which is why I think Finnan and Riise will be on to prevent crosses. Bullard from frees is dangerous and thats another reason for no stupid frees.

Overall I think we will win today. We have to win as there is still something to play for. I don’t think Rafa will want more idiots giving out about giving other teams an advantage and the chance of finishing above the Arse (again) is still there. I’m going for a close 2-1 win for us and another victory to set us on the way for Tuesdays monster game.

Liverpool v Everton – My Verdict

March 31, 2008

And so another derby ends for the season and it was a somewhat satisfactory outcome. A win is a win is a win but I still felt a little cheated. We should have really done them over in my opinion.

In my preview post for the game I stated that I thought we would have to take our chances to win and with Osman’s header it showed that we still need to put the chances away. When we went one up and the way we were playing I thought it would be only a matter of time before the second arrived. But it didn’t.

You can’t say we didn’t make the chances with Kuyt (should have scored with the header), Babel (should have thrown himself at it) and unlucky with Gerrard’s volley, but we should have made sure of the game and then take the foot of the pedal. Everton offered nothing during the game and I felt that they were only trying to win corners and frees and to try and win the game from there. And they nearly did! The team itself played well and were very comfortable to be honest as Everton (who look like they are running out of steam despite what Moyes says) offered nothing.

To go through the team:

Reina:Other than one punch he came from and missed (lucky it was only Hibbert) another easy game for him.

Carragher: Never tested and another good game. Nice to see him early on overlapping the winger and providing support. What a pro.
Skrtel:My man of the match. He was immense and love the tough, and fair, tackling. His distribution was good and thought he was commanding in the air. With a pre-season behind him he will be even better next season. For me, he has the potential to be better than Vidic at Manure.
Hyypia: Brought in to handle the Yak, I think, and another solid game from the big Finn. Legend.
Riise: Nice to see him getting some form back and again he wasn’t really tested. Good support for the midfield and class cross for Babel.

Alonso:What has happened Xabi? His passing was bad start to finish but you cannot fault his workrate. He never stops working and never stops trying to create. I hope he stays because if he regains his form next season it could be a big difference to us.
Lucas:Personally, I think this lad has huge potential – maybe more than Babel. He plays the Liverpool way of old – taking the ball, moving, taking the ball, moving. Always looking to get the space to do something but not afraid to move it only a few yards. A few games back I think he showed some great play but in the last few games he looks tired. Another that needs the pre-season to build up. Yesterday was not one of his best but he tries and never gives up. Thought he should have been subbed after about 70mins.

Babel:A constant thorn in the blueshites side. If only he good improve his passing and crossing he would be something else. The potential well and truly is there but we need him to work on his weaknesses. Too many lazy passes but another good game.
Gerrard:Good game from the skipper. Great volley that nearly got a goal and class shot near the end. To be honest he didn’t have to do much but what he done, he done well – especially the tackle on Jagielka.

Kuyt:The lads workrate is unreal. When he chased down the 2 defenders and keeper near the end showed what he is about. Yes he should have scored with the header and was unlucky with the curler, but his end of season report would read: Works hard but needs better end product. Still every team needs workers and he is top class.
Torres:The lad is good. Really, really good. The finish was top class and his workrate is amazing as well. His play with his back to goal was great again and worked all four of the blueshites back four and never gave them a minutes peace. I hope he doesn’t suffer from second season syndrome and if he doesn’t then watch out.

Benayoun: Not on long enough to rate but I like this lad. He keeps things tidy and holds the ball well and has scored some important goals.
Crouch:Not on long enough to rate. Should have come on for Kuyt and with Pennant and Babel we could have done more damage.
Pennant: Not on long enough to rate but thought he should have come on for Lucas earlier and dropped Gerrard back.

I suppose regardless of what we should have done its what we have done that is more important. Three points and a five point gap was the all important – mission accomplished. Next weekend if we come unstuck against the Gooners the gap could be down to two points as the blueshites have a homer against already-relegated Derby County. The win will put the lads in good spirits for the Arse games coming up and here’s hoping for a top end to the season.

Dependancy

March 29, 2008

Was watching (if you call it watching) the Manure and Villa game on the BBC Website. According to the so called experts Liverpool are overly dependant on Torres and Gerrard. And Manure are not dependant on anyone?? Have a look at the goals today:

15:43 GOAL – Cristiano Ronaldo
Man Utd 1 – Aston Villa 0Outswinging corner from left by-line taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) to far post, resulting in open play. Goal by Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) right-footed (bottom-left of goal) from centre of penalty area (12 yards).Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa.

32:32 GOAL – Carlos Tevez
Man Utd 2 – Aston Villa 0Cross by Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd), headed goal by Carlos Tevez (Man Utd) (bottom-left of goal) from left side of penalty area (6 yards).Man Utd 2-0 Aston Villa. Assist (cross) by Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) from right side of penalty area.

52:09 GOAL – Wayne Rooney
Man Utd 3 – Aston Villa 0Goal by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) left-footed (bottom-left of goal) from left side of six-yard box (6 yards).Man Utd 3-0 Aston Villa. Assist (pass) by Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) from left channel.

69:40 GOAL – Wayne Rooney
Man Utd 4 – Aston Villa 0Goal by Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) right-footed (bottom-left of goal) from left side of penalty area (18 yards).Man Utd 4-0 Aston Villa. Assist (pass) by Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) from left channel.

Three assists and a goal and there is no dependancy?? Arse to that..

Roll on the Blueshite game

March 29, 2008

And so tomorrow is the Merseyside derby and it is the biggest derby match since 2005 when Luis Garcia won it for us. If the blueshite win, they are ahead by a point and if we win there are 5 points difference. I think that this is a must win game and nothing other than a win is acceptable.

We are playing the Arse in the Champions League on Wednesday and with an away game in the league next weekend against the same opposition we MUST open up the gap on the bluenoses. This is The opportunity to put them away. With Cahill out for the rest of the season and Arteta struggling at the moment we have a chance to put on the show we should have shown something off last weekend.

This game I think will be a very high tempo one. Moyes seems to think that really lifting the tempo against us is the way to play bur we can play like that. I think that if we loft the tempo we will win this match. However, we must take the chances we make which has been out biggest downfall this year. If we had taken our chances against Man City, Wigan and Villa we would have been 6 points better off – though its better to be making and missing than not making at all.

With Torres available he has to play. There is no reason for Rafa to change the formation that has served well but maybe with monster missing he can now. Lucas may come into midfield or maybe Crouch may start and drop Gerrard back into midfield. Alonso can hold back and with Babel on one side we can make chances. Everton are there if we want but I think we need width. Last season at Anfield we played too narrow and right into their hands. The team I would play is as follows:

Reina
Arbeloa – Carragher – Skrtel – Aurelio
Pennent – Alonso – Gerrard – Babel
Crouch – Torres

We can keep Lucas, Kuyt and Benayoun on the bench for impact. We must keep the ball wide and since Skrtel has come into the team we look better at attacking setpieces (even if we have off days in defense as per last week against Ronaldo). We have a very strong spine in the team now and that spine could win it.

The derby game earlier in the season was a mixed bag. We started well but allowed them back into it, they made some chances and we looked shaky – at that particular period of the season we were looking shaky against everyone. The goal they got was fortunate to say the least. However we regrouped and I think after the penalty we deserved the win. Yes they had some claims for penalties and maybe they should have had one but both decisions for us were right as were the sendings off. Since then we have got much better and seem to have much more confidence. They have improved as well but they might be running out of a bit of steam now although the Yak will need to be watched closely (hence Skrtel over Hyypia for me – pace and strength). I think the final score will be 3-1 to us but they may make it very tough.

Kuyt’s first pen against Everton – 20 Oct 2007

Kuyt’s second pen against Everton – 20 Oct 2007

The Derby

March 27, 2008

Merseyside Derby

I’m too tired from drinking last night to write anything long but will add my view on the game tomorrow.

Oooooouuurrrrrrrr…

Take a page from the rugby book

March 25, 2008

Following on from Sunday’s dismal refereeing display, something that has been pitched before but never really considered is what happens in rugby. On Sunday, monster lost his head after getting booked for his first tackle. When he tried to get an answer all he got was a “shush” from the ref and no explanation at all. When Torres tried to ask about the tackles be was receiving he got booked and then monster gets booked.

Ronaldo gets tackled, gives out and gets up. A few mins later during a free kick he gives out more about the previous non decision and doesn’t get booked – where is the consistency?

What I don’t understand is why can’t the refs talk to the captains? In rugby, the ref calls over the player in question and the captain and explains the situation. No one is left in no doubt. In football the refs treat the players like school children and don’t talk to them. Some do and I respect them for that but others, like Bennett, just don’t and see them as the all seeing, all powerful rular of the game.

If Bennett had taken Gerrard and monster to one side and explained that if monster gave out again then there would be a booking. It also would have given him a chance to explain himself. He then could have taken both captains aside and advised that talking back would result in a booking and then it’s with the players and teams to cop on. No one is left in any doubt then. Instead no one really knows what’s happening and we end up with the farce that happened.

All we really need is refs acting better and with consistency and also we need players to grow up. But Bennett has made his bed now and every dissent shown towards him will be closely scrutinised from now until the end of the season – and hopefully next.

LFC v’s Manure, Bennett and others

March 24, 2008

Monster v's MancYesterday was a day that was hard to swallow. It is always tough enough to beat the Manc’s but when a completely useless ref s taking charge of the game then you have no chance. Steve Bennett is a ref that I cannot stand. I hate him refereeing any game let alone one of ours. He cannot stand a player talking to him and gives no explanation of his decisions. He simply points and gestures and then reacts. I have yet to see a game that flows with him in charge or one in which he has kept control.

Overall the dirty mancs deserved the win but only after Bennett stepped in to help. Monster’s challenge, for which he was booked, was one that he could have let go. It was his first challenge (and no worse than one Scholes done and didn’t get booked for) and he could have been warned. But no. Card was out and when asked for an answer Bennett simply pointed and booked.

Smug PrickHe never talks to players, no gives reasons for bookings and acts like he is it – he’s God or a headmaster who doesn’t have to explain himself. Crap. Total crap. He ruined the game and you could see that. Torres gets the crap kicked out of him not once, twice or thrice but four times and then gets booked for asking why a free wasn’t given earlier. The diving little toerag Ronaldo never gets booked for constantly moaning and also lets face it, simulation. If he is trying to get free kicks and the ref doesn’t fall for it then surely its a booking for simulation? But not for Manure who are golden children in this day and age and for the Sky professed “best player in the world”.

On the game side of things it was even enough up to then. We started well and controlled the early part of the game. Manure grew into it and we had Reina to thank on a few occasions and some poor control by Shrek. The goal was an error by Reina in my opinion but he more than redeemed himself – until the second goal. Another error in my opinion by him. However the marking was poor and I thought that we could have done better on both goals. For the first Carragher was slow to get out to Shrek before he crossed and I thought that the ball was at a good attacking height at the second. The third was just that we were pushing on and was well taken (as much as it pains me to say it).

I was proud that the lads really put in the effort and never gave up and there are some really good things to build on. We were solid enough and I thought that it was a good test for Skrtel and also I thought that Aurelio impressed me again and no one got past him.

And so next week we are against the blueshites and probably without Jim who no doubt will be punished more than any Manc, Chav or Arse player simply for talking. Lets hope we can put in a good win and take fourth place for ourselves.

Oh no, another Liverpool blog

March 17, 2008

Yeh whatever. Don’t really care. Everyone has to have somewhere to ramble and get frustration out and this is where I will do it.

What is happening at my beloved Anfield is the biggest pile of pants and I want to rant so I will…and feck the begrudgers.