in depth sports coverage from three columnists with vast knowledge and immense passion for the games you love most

Soccer

A Long Awaited Liverpool Recap


I started this blog as an exclusive Liverpool blog, but I then started to venture into other sports. Then the blog died. But after this blog has come back to life again, and after adding two new members in, me and my colleagues have focused a lot on baseball partly because it was (and still is) in playoffs mode, but also because we had a lot of topics to discuss. Time to cover some soccer (or football as some might say).

I was really looking forward for the start of this season. I think it was quite clearly established that Liverpool was in rebuilding mode with a vision to forge a strong team to compete for honors down the road. A concept like that is quite common in the United States, where teams tank, have great draft picks and therefore get the privilege to draft the best prospects from colleges, high schools and sports academies. In Britain (or any other country besides USA), such a concept is not in place for a variety of reasons. First of all, there is no draft system. Secondly, if you tank, you actually get demoted to a lower league and then would have to fight with the teams in the league below to get promoted back up to the Premier league. So obviously Liverpool couldn’t afford to do any of that. But what Brendan Rodgers had in mind with the FSG sports group company was to purchase and develop young talented players who were undervalued or unappreciated in the market. And during last season and the offseason, they did just that. Rodgers brought in a variety of young players into the team while also spending his resources carefully and wisely and also went on to sell off the players that did not fit his vision for the future anymore. And he got a lot of stick for it last season since people were talking about how Liverpool were not doing so well and some went on to even say Rodgers should be sacked, which just irritates me to no end. The idea that just sacking managers will solve problems is really short-sighted and stupid in my opinion, but I digress. With all these new players in the team, I couldn’t wait to see how they would perform this season. And they did not fail to amaze me

The combination of Sturridge and Suarez in the front is something that is thriving and if Suarez does stay with Liverpool, its going to be a partnership that will not cease to amaze. It reminds me of the days when Gerrard and Torres came together to create a deadly partnership during their Champions League Run (seems like such a long time ago). With Coutinho, the midfield finally has someone who has the knack to find a slot to drop the ball in or create an open space out of nowhere to feed the ball to a striker. With Henderson also nurturing and maturing, hes actually looking to be quite a promising lad for the future. Mignolet seems to also be quite a bargain to fill up the goalkeeping void left by Reina. Sakho is going to be one hell of a mouthwatering prospect to fill in Liverpool’s desperate need of a solid Center back to shuffle with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. And Brendan Rodgers isnt done just with that. He has Samel Yesil, Luis Alberto, Tiago Ilori, Jordan Ibe and Aspas all in the reserves developing to strengthen the squad even further and take them to the next level. Rodgers isnt short minded, he knows what his job is and I think with his job security being quite solid and the backing of Liverpool’s ownership and the fans, hes going to have enough time to develop his project into fruition.

As I speak, Liverpool is sitting in 3rd place, 2 points behind leaders Arsenal. And there are some clear improvements with the team. The defense is still suspect and I fear that Rodgers Achilles heel in his tactics is his defensive approach. Another thing that quite worries me is that Liverpool play really well with a lot of possession during the first half of every game and then cling on to a lead during the second half with immense pressure from the opposition. Its clearly a work in progress but it is paying quite some dividends already. With time, patience and a good team chemistry, I personally think this team can develop into someone who can challenge for titles or atleast be in the mix. But for now, lets keep our feet on the ground, enjoy seeing a new team nurture and watch Manchester United sit in 12th place.

Advertisements

Eight!

What a game that was! Ok, I agree, it wasn’t the best performance by Liverpool considering how well they played against the “big teams” during the regular season. However, Cardiff, as I correctly predicted, were NO pushovers whatsoever. A pulsating final that kept me at the edge of my seat till the last penalty kick in the shootout. Whoever calls the Carling Cup tournament as a “Mickey Mouse Cup” are just retarded. Plain and simple. While Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Spurs fans are still waiting for silverware this season, lets recap the game where I saw Liverpool lift a trophy for the first time since I became a Liverpool fan.

Bullets:

  • Cardiff were excellent. They worked so hard throughout the game. Fantastic workmanship spirit and team chemistry. I give them all the plaudits for such a brave performance.
  • As expected, King Kenny put out all of his summer signings in the starting XI.
  • Henderson was awful. We all know how much he hates playing on the right side of the midfield. In my opinion, Maxi should’ve started on the right with Henderson on the bench. But we won, who cares right?
  • Suarez was decent, Carroll has to step up his game. I’m sorry, but I’m still not buying into our 35 Million pound striker just yet.
  • Gerrard was really out of form today. His passing was decent, and his shots were awful to see the least. Not a kind of clutch performance you would expect from Captain Fantastic.
  • When Kuyt came on, we all knew he would score, didnt we? Hes so clutch and works so hard its unbelievable. Also, with Bellamy, Downing, Suarez and Kuyt, Liverpool were so fast on counter attacks. It was great to see.
  • Cardiff’s both goals were the result of teamwork. Liverpool should definitely take a leaf out of Cardiff’s book and imply it into the team.
  • Adam’s Penalty apparently landed on the moon. But in all seriousness, what the hell was he thinking?

But at the end of the day, we won, and in two years, all we will be looking at is the Carling Cup trophy. A record eight time, Liverpool take the Carling Cup to Merseyside and come back from  Wembeley as champions!

P.S: I became a Liverpool fan after they won the FA Cup and the epic strike from Gerrard to take the game into Extra time made me instantly fall in love with Liverpool FC. Who knew I would’ve had to wait 6 years to witness glory? It clearly was a hard test to check my loyalty for the team.


Add Another One to the Trophy Cabinet!

Celebrations after the Penalty Shootout

A Fantastic Day for Liverpool and another trophy is heading into the already overflowing cabinet. The first piece of Silverware for Six Years and hopefully, the start of a dynasty for King Kenny’s Liverpool Team!


Bye Bye Red Devils! Look Who’s Back!

GET STUCK IN!!!!!!

If a win against Manchester City wasnt sweet enough, Liverpool knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup in the 4th round in a span of just 3 days to make my week even sweeter! And what a way to do it as well! I always hated seeing Liverpool play against United when the game is 0-0 or 1-1 because they always found a way to stab my heart, scoring in the dying minutes and seconds of the game. The likes of Scholes, Giggs, Solskjaer and Nistelrooy always pissed me off when Liverpool lost games that was looking like it was heading for a tie. And NOW FINALLY, we gave them a sucker punch in their same fashion and gave them a taste of their own medicine! What a way to finish up the week!

Bullets:

  • Enrique was excellent again, especially in the first 20 minutes, was instrumental in setting up the first goal as he paved the way for the corner. But hes one player I have no complains about.
  • King Kenny, PLAY DOWNING ON THE LEFT!!!!!
  • Henderson was bright at sparks of the game, didnt cause any harm at all.
  • Gerrard, well, is Steven Gerrard
  • The goal Manchester United Scored was beautiful. Gotta give credit to the team i hate the most for creating a chance out of nowhere. Reina couldn’t have done much to stop the shot.
  • Booing Evra was inevitable, but I really don’t get why everyone was scrutinizing him so much. He wasn’t the one responsible for handing Suarez an 8 match ban. He just lodged a complaint. If you really wanna blame somebody, blame the FA. I personally thought it was a harsh gesture.
  • Besides, his mistake gifted us the winning goal ūüôā
  • The moment when Ferguson brought in Chicarito, I was feeling so nervous, as he manages to poach a goal out of nowhere. At that moment, I was just hoping for a FA Cup replay rather than a win.
  • I cannot believe how Dirk Kuyt is like the clutch player that Liverpool has, who works his ass off but doesn’t pose as a threat whatsoever and then suddenly out of nowhere, he pops up with something special.
  • And the crowd reacting at the Kuyt winner was spectacular.
The celebration is great, but whats up with the Setanta Sports hoodie? lol

So in one week, Liverpool singlehandedly knock out the two Manchester clubs out of 2 tournaments. The timing could not be better and the feeling cannot be any sweeter. Now the team faces a tough task to break into the top 4 of the premier league, but right now, I couldn’t care less about the premier league. The winning feeling against Manchester City and Manchester United United is too sweet to be overshadowed for now.

COME ON YOU REDS!


Liverpool is Going to Wembley!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† What a game it was yesterday! Liverpool clearly were the deserved winners after just completely tearing apart Manchester City for most of the first half, and then closing the business in the second half. The result: A trip to Wembley for the¬† first time since 1996 (Liverpool played cup finals between 1996 and 2006 in the Cardiff Millennium stadium due to construction at Wembley) and a chance to lift a trophy for the first time since 2006. The opponents in the final are Cardiff City and therefore, Liverpool would be overwhelmingly the favorites. But that just means more pressure and therefore, the team has to be focused and not get carried away just because they’re facing a minnow team.

 
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† But back to talking about the game. Liverpool, if you didn’t know came into the second leg with a 1-0 lead in the first game. So even a tied game can get Liverpool through on aggregate. The back 4 were absolutely superb. Skretel was defending like a brick and Agger was superb in clearing out Man Citys pass up play at the final thirds of the pitch. Jose Enrique possibly had the best game this season with some sublime crosses and great linkup play with gerrard and adam up in the midfield.Bullets:
 
  • Bellamy IS a steal! WHAT A GAME HE HAD! He is truly an underrated player who was sold from club to club just ruining his career by not keeping him in 1 team and helping him stabilize and put up consistent performances. He clearly was spectacular and his goal to win the semifinals for Liverpool was superb.
  • I could watch King Kenny celebrate for Hours.
  • Charlie Adam was sloppy when it can to his defensive work. But thats what you should probably expect from Charlie Adam. He was sublime in giving some fantastic Delivery to Gerrard, Kuyt and Henderson upfield.
  • Although Agger should be blamed for the Dzeko Goal, he was practically unpenetrable for the whole game. Great defensive work by the entire back 4 in fact.
  • The atmosphere in the ground was fantastic to hear. Its been a long time since it has been such a case in Anfield during a night game. Hopefully there is a lot more to come.
  • Steven Gerrard is Steven Gerrard. What a player at the age of 31. Lets hope he still has a lot left in his tank.
Cant wait for the final and hopefully see Liverpool lift a cup for the first time since 2006. Lets Go! COME ON YOU REDS!!!!!!!!

Liverpool 1-3 West Ham

Just another loss, isnt it? Well, not really considering that even under Roy Hodgson, Liverpool managed to beat West Ham 3-0. Watching that game was just shocking and clearly illustrated how much depth Liverpool were lacking in the midfield. West Ham just ran wild with ample amount of possession and Scott Parker was again the orchestrator of the show. I was expecting an easy game and a 2-0 win for Liverpool, not to be. Luis Suarez did work his socks off and for me, him and Gerrard were the only 2 players who were good on the pitch today. However, the game was just shocking and it reminds me of Hodgsons reign a bit. Under Roy, Liverpool had a mini revival (where Chelsea were the culprits again), got the 1st away win and then lost to stoke 2-0 after a draw against, yup you guessed, Wigan 1-1, exactly the same thing going on with Dalglish right now. The game today made me and I am sure a lot of Liverpool fans, give up hopes of finishing in the top 4. As for West Ham, they deserve full credit as they played their socks off to get a deserved victory. I just hope Carrol Comes in soon for Liverpool and starts partnering up with Suarez.


With Man. United Next, I just want to see a win, since Liverpool really have nothing to lose or play for in the Premier League anymore.


Good luck to West Ham for their Survival bid. Cheers!