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No Pleasing Some Supporters

23 Oct

I was working on Saturday night and wasn’t able to watch the Liverpool match against Huddersfield, I only managed to catch about 10 minutes of commentary on the radio.

It didn’t sound like a great game or performance from Liverpool but we won and that was the most important thing.

After the game I had a look at Twitter to see the reaction from Liverpool supporters, and most weren’t happy despite the win.

I think many supporters thought Liverpool should be beating a struggling Huddersfield team by 4 or 5 goals, but football doesn’t always work out the way us supporters expect.

A scrappy 1-0 win is just as important as a 5-0 win at the end of the day, it wins 3 points, although it is far more encouraging to score plenty of goals and play exciting and attractive football.

In fairness to the frustrated Liverpool supporters out there, we haven’t really witnessed any of the exciting attacking football from last season as Mane, Firmino and Salah in particular ripped apart defences on a regular occurrence.

But Liverpool are sitting joint top of the Premier League level on points with Manchester City.

This time last season we were already 12 points behind City despite playing more attractive football.

However, this season Jurgen Klopp’s men are not so reliant on scoring goals because they are more solid in defence with the additions of Alisson as goalkeeper and Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence as key improvements.

Liverpool’s attacking form has struggled this season but surely it is only a matter of time before they click into gear again, so there is much more to come from this team and that must be frightening for the rest of the league as we sit in a great position in the league.

But unfortunately there will always be supporters that are never happy.

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Liverpool 4-0 West Ham United Match Report

15 Aug

Liverpool started the season with an emphatic 4-0 win on Sunday against West Ham United at Anfield. The Reds are rated as one of the biggest challengers to Manchester City’s Premier League crown this season, and they got off to an impressive start with goals from Mo Salah, 2 goals from Sadio Mane and a late goal from Daniel Sturridge sealing the win.

Team

Big money signing Alisson started in goal for Liverpool with Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk selected as his defence in front of him. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had a selection headache regarding his centre of defence with Dejan Lovren, Klavan and Joel Matip all unavailable, thankfully Gomez was passed fit to start.

Klopp has a number of midfield options after strengthening his squad this summer, but for the first game of the season he selected James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and new signing Naby Keita to start.

There was no surprises with Klopp’s attacking selection with Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane all starting.

The Match

Liverpool totally dominated the game from start to finish, it really was an impressive performance from Klopp’s team, although West Ham didn’t provide much of a test.

The visitor’s defensive tactics of playing a high line fell right into Liverpool’s hands as they created numerous chances throughout the 90 minutes.

It was no surprise to see Salah score the first goal of Liverpool’s season in the 19th minute after he knocked home a cross from Andy Robertson.

It was a surprise that Liverpool took so long to add a second goal with their domination of the first half, but it came right on the stroke of half-time when Mane turned in a cut-back from James Milner.

Liverpool added a third goal early in the second half to end the game as a contest when Mane drilled an effort past the hapless Fabianski after receiving a clever pass from Firmino, however, replays showed the Senegalese was marginally offside.

The remainder of the game was nothing more than a training session for Liverpool but  Daniel Sturridge put the icing on the cake of an impressive performance by scoring with his first touch after coming on for Salah.

Summary

This really was a very impressive performance from a Liverpool team that are expected to be Manchester City’s biggest challengers.

Klopp’s team dominated from start to finish and West Ham couldn’t cope with their energy and movement.

Liverpool’s attacking trio started off where they left off last season, with Salah opening the scoring before Mane scored a brace.

New signing Keita and Milner shone in midfield as they were influential in Liverpool’s win, but the most noticeable improvement from last season was how strong the Reds’ bench was, with Clyne, Shaqiri, Karius, Fabinho, Lallana and Sturridge all good options for Klopp.

Next up for Liverpool is a testing trip to Crystal Palace next Monday night.

Liverpool Are Ready To Challenge

1 Aug

Last season was an exciting one for Liverpool supporters, finishing in the top four was vitally important, but the way Jurgen Klopp had his team playing on-route to the Champions League final had fans ecstatic despite the disappointment of losing to Real Madrid.

It really was quite a remarkable season for the Reds considering their weaknesses. Klopp didn’t have many options at the latter end of the season when a few of his key players picked up injuries and his goalkeeping problems cost him dear in the Champions League final.

But this summer has been a busy one for Liverpool with Klopp making some big money signings to strengthen his squad.

Alisson Becker will hopefully sort Liverpool’s goalkeeping problems and despite the loss of Emre Can to Juventus, Klopp has strengthened his midfield with the arrival of Naby Keita and Fabinho, Shaqiri will give another attacking option highlighted by his spectacular goal in the 4-1 win over Manchester United at the weekend on his debut.

Mane, Firmino and Salah will continue to terrify defences but the addition of a top goalkeeper will only help Liverpool’s defence and Keita and Fabinho will be key players in midfield.

Liverpool look a lot stronger going into the new season and there is a great sense of excitement going into the new season with many supporters believing that Klopp’s men are serious title challengers.

After Another Frustrating Day, Liverpool Are Still Sitting Pretty

7 Feb

Once again Liverpool were left frustrated by refereeing decisions going against them, two controversial penalty decisions awarded by referee Jon Moss infuriated the home support.

The first penalty awarded was spurned by Tottenham’s prolific striker Harry Kane as Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius saved his effort from 12 yards, but the England striker made amends in the final seconds when he converted his second spot-kick of the game to keep Spurs just two points behind Liverpool in the Premier League table.

A draw was probably a fair result to end such a titanic contest between to teams playing to win, Liverpool had the better of the first half but Tottenham were very impressive in the second half and didn’t deserve to lose.

But despite the result being fair, the same can’t be said about the decision making by the match officials, and it’s not the first time this season that Liverpool have been left frustrated by decisions going against them.

Personally I wouldn’t want to see Jon Moss referee another Liverpool game again, I thought it was harsh when he sent Mane off against Manchester City earlier in the season but Sunday’s performance was so bad it felt like Liverpool were playing against twelve men and he was doing all he could to prevent the home side winning.

 

The warning signs were there in the first half when Liverpool players were correctly punished by Moss blowing his whistle to give free-kicks but the same didn’t go for Tottenham’s players committing fouls, as Moss just waved play to continue and his reluctance to give Liverpool a free-kick was rewarded by one of the loudest cheers of the game when finally gave the home side a decision midway through the first-half.

The debate has raged whether Moss was right or wrong to give the penalties, but there is no doubt that both were very soft awards.

Positives

Despite the disappointment and frustration, Liverpool can take many positives from the game.

Loris Karius has a lot to prove to remain Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper, but I thought he played very well against Spurs and felt it was extremely harsh to criticise him for the punch the led to Victor Wanyama’s thunderbolt.

Karius looked confident and assured and his decision making was much better.

Salah was once again the star man and his goals are so valuable to Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the top four, he is unplayable at times.

Liverpool’s midfield were superb in the first half against a very strong Tottenham midfield, although they ran out of gas in the second half, we must realise that they won’t play against such a good midfield often this season, and it was great to see Henderson have such a good game despite fading in the second half.

Firmino once again showed how he is so important to Liverpool’s attack with his workrate and link-up play.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was superb on the right side of defence by providing some great defensive cover combined with some brilliant attacking play that resulted in some tremendous crosses.

Andy Robertson is making the left-back position his own with some fine performances and this was another, and the Scot is proving to be a dependable defender in the left-back berth that we’ve not seen for a while at Anfield.

The defensive partnership of Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk proved to be a good selection by Jurgen Klopp, the two defenders were superb in the heart of Liverpool’s defence despite both being involved in Tottenham’s two penalty awards.

As a unit Liverpool defended superbly for the best part of the game and there is no doubt that van Dijk makes the defence much stronger with his leadership qualities.

After the weekend results Liverpool are still third in the Premier League table and they are still looking very good to finish in the top four at the end of the season.

 

 

Klopp Is Taking A Gamble By Not Strengthening His Squad

26 Jan

Liverpool have been in great form the last few months and are well placed to finish in the Premier League’s top four at the end of the season despite last Monday night’s disappointing defeat to Swansea City, but it doesn’t look like manager Jurgen Klopp will be buying any players to strengthen his squad despite losing his talisman, Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona earlier this month.

With rival teams like Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United all looking to strengthen their squads for the business end of the season, Liverpool seem to be happy enough with the squad they have to see out the remainder of the season.

Klopp made a key signing at the beginning of the transfer window by bringing long-term transfer target Virgil van Dijk to the club, but with the amount of money spent on the big defender, many Liverpool supporters were concerned that the money was only being spent because Liverpool would be receiving a lot of money for the sale of Coutinho, and a few days later their fears were realised.

By allowing such an important player to leave midway through the season had many supporters thinking that Liverpool must have someone lined up to come in, but with only a few days to go until the transfer window shuts, there doesn’t look to be any sign of new arrivals.

It seems as if Klopp and Liverpool are taking a massive risk by not adding quality to their squad and the defeat to bottom club Swansea City last Monday night highlighted a few of the team’s deficiencies.

Liverpool faced another team that defended very deep with the intention of frustrating the Reds’ attack last Monday night, and there are many teams that deploy similar tactics in the Premier League.

Many people suggested the absence of Coutinho was a big miss for Liverpool in such a game because he is the type of player that can provide that defence-splitting pass or perform that 30-yard-strike into the top corner that can win a match.

But Liverpool don’t have Coutinho anymore and the midfield looked short of creativity with Wijnaldum and Can in particular devoid of ideas or creativity in the middle of the park.

Jordan Henderson will return from injury soon, but he isn’t the most creative player either and Liverpool’s midfield looks short of creativity.

Liverpool’s attack is well documented and praised but Roberto Firmino plays such an important role combining the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Oxlade-Chamberlain in attack and it would be a major concern if he was to be absent despite Adam Lallana’s return from injury.

Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings are the only other options to replace Firmino because Daniel Sturridge’s career at Liverpool looks like being over.

Goalkeeper is another big concern, and now Klopp has basically told Simon Mignolet that he is not good enough by making Loris Karius his number one, but neither keeper look good enough for Liverpool.

When you look at Liverpool’s Premier League rivals, Klopp’s squad doesn’t look as strong and when you observed the bench against Swansea the other night, you couldn’t see any game-changers to ignite a Liverpool comeback.

I think Klopp is taking a massive gamble by relying on the squad he has to see out the rest of this season because Liverpool are in a real fight to finish in the top four and it is vital that they achieve this despite what happens in the Champions League or FA Cup.

 

Klopp Must Solve Goalkeeping Problem 

17 Jan

Liverpool are going in the right direction with Jurgen Klopp in charge, and the impressive 4-3 win over Manchester City was a great example of what they can do against some of the best teams around.

Klopp has made Liverpool into a team that doesn’t seem so reliant on individuals anymore, as Sunday’s tremendous win proved after losing Coutinho a week earlier to Barcelona, and new signing Virgil van Dijk to injury.

A few years ago losing key players like Luis Suärez was disastrous but Klopp has a team capable of beating the best regardless of who he has available for selection.

Liverpool’s attack is one of the most feared in Europe and the signing of midfielder Kieta from Leipzig will bolster the midfield.

The Reds’ defence has been criticised in recent years but the signing of van Dijk from Southampton will only help solve that problem along with impressive players like Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez or Trent Alexander-Arnold playing either side of him in the full-back positions.

Klopp has slowly but surely improved his team since his arrival but still needs to solve his goalkeeping position because no Liverpool supporter is convinced with either Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius between the sticks.

Klopp has recently stated that Karius will be his number one keeper but in my opinion he hasn’t shown me anything that makes me think he is good enough, and City’s first goal on Sunday gave his critics more ammunition after seeing him beat at his near post by Sane’s strike.

Mignolet is okay but not good enough either to be Liverpool keeper and at his age you feel he is as good as he’s going to get, whereas Karius is still young enough to improve into the keeper Klopp hopes he will.

I don’t think Klopp will sign another keeper or another player for that matter this transfer window because I reckon he is going to give Karius a run in the team until the end of the season to prove himself before he decides if he needs to sign another goalkeeper in the summer.

The fact that Karius will have van Dijk playing in front of him might help him because Liverpool’s new signing is a tremendous organiser and will help his confidence.

Hopefully Karius can prove us all wrong and Klopp right that he is good enough to be Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper, time will tell.

My Whirlwind 24 Hours 

8 Dec

I live in Scotland and getting down to Liverpool games is very difficult for me, between family commitments and financial reasons curtailing my chances, never mind the difficulty in getting match day tickets, I’d love to go more often.

But on Wednesday night I was fortunate enough to attend my first Liverpool game this year, this was my first game since the 3-0 win over Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final last year.

I booked a hotel a couple of months ago for Wednesday night in the hope that I could find a couple of tickets for the Spartak Moscow game, I chose this fixture because I knew I wasn’t working and because European nights at Anfield are special.

As time went on and the closer it got to the Spartak fixture, I wondered if I would be lucky enough to get tickets so that I could take my daughter with me to the game.

I got in touch with a guy that said he could get me tickets a couple of months ago, but earlier this week he couldn’t get me two tickets together, so I had virtually given up hope of travelling down.

To make things more awkward for me I had the option of working an overtime nightshift on Tuesday, and after sensing that I wouldn’t be getting tickets, I committed myself to working the nightshift.

Then on the Monday night I messaged a friend to see if he could help me find a couple of tickets as a final attempt, although I had basically given up hope in all honesty.

So on the Tuesday after having a long-lie in bed because I was working nightshift, I got out of bed about lunch time and checked my phone, and with great surprise I noticed that my friend had messaged me to tell me that he could get me a couple of tickets.

So I quickly checked that my daughter wanted to go and messaged him back to tell him I wanted the tickets.

I was so happy at the thought of getting tickets for the game, but I had to work a 12 hour nightshift first, thankfully it wasn’t too bad a shift and after a few hours sleep we headed down to Liverpool after my daughter finished college at lunchtime.

I knew it was going to be a rush to get down to Liverpool and meet up for the tickets before the 7.45 kick-off.

But after racing down the M6 we got to our hotel just after 6, then dumped our bags and got a taxi up to the Twelfth Man pub where we met my friend.

After downing a couple of pints we took our place on the Kop.

We couldn’t have picked a better match to go to and within a couple of minutes we were cheering as Coutinho slotted home the first goal of the night from the penalty spot.

I tried to sing along to some of the songs being sung but my voice was giving up before half-time and having to cheer a further four goals in the second half didn’t help my poor vocal chords.

But what a game, we both left the ground beaming with happiness before realising that finding a taxi would be virtually impossible, so we headed down the hill towards the city talking about the game as we walked before waving a taxi down that took us back to our hotel.

We arrived back to our hotel about 10.45 both starving after not having time to eat the whole day, so my next mission was to find a takeaway, and after a bit of a search and quite a walk I finally found one and when I got back to the hotel we scoffed our food like we had never seen food before.

We left the hotel around 10 the next morning and drove to Formby to visit my old friend that still goes to Liverpool games at the age of 90.

After a bit of lunch generously provided by my good friend, we headed back home to Scotland.

It was a hectic and very tiring 24 hours, but well worth it and I could probably go to another 100 Liverpool games and not see them score 7 goals despite them already managing this twice this season.

But my daughter and I feel very lucky to have witnessed another great European night at Anfield and it will live long in our memory.

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