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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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A Night For Change

1 Nov

Liverpool face Maribor tonight at Anfield in the Champions League, the Reds won 7-0 a couple of weeks ago against the same opponents and Liverpool supporters will be hoping for another convincing win.

Every game holds significant importance and tonight’s fixture is no different, but surely tonight Klopp can make a few changes to his team to give a few players some much needed game time.

Unfortunately Danny Ward is injured, because I would have liked to see him given a chance between the sticks as I’ve had enough of Simon Mignolet and Karius isn’t good enough at present, although I’d expect Klopp to play the German keeper after playing him in every Champions League game this season.

I’ve also had enough of Dejan Lovren, with his performance at Wembley last week being the final straw for me.

Klavan isn’t good enough either, so I’d like to see Joe Gomez in the centre of defence alongside Joel Matip tonight.

I’m still baffled as to how Alberto Moreno gets a game, he has no defensive discipline and plays as a left winger despite hardly ever creating a chance with his poor deliveries.

Surely Andy Robertson should be given a chance at left back?

The young Scot has only started a couple of games for Liverpool, and has arguably been man of the match in both performances.

But strangely Robertson can’t get a game in recent weeks, so tonight would be the ideal opportunity to play him.

It can be dangerous to make too many changes for any game but another two players that I would like to see play tonight are Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Solanke.

Livepool spent a lot of money on Chamberlain, yet the former Arsenal star can’t get a start at his new club.

I was disappointed that he didn’t start in the win over Huddersfield at the weekend, especially with Mane and Coutinho missing, so hopefully he’ll get a start tonight.

I believe Klopp will go with Daniel Sturridge in attack again tonight, especially after scoring in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

Personally, I would like to see Solanke start as he gives so much more than Sturridge does, he holds the ball up better and works his socks off, whereas Sturridge doesn’t.

Sadly, Sturridge isn’t the player he was and I think Solanke deserves a chance.

Another reason to make changes is to give some players a rest before Saturday’s trip to West Ham.

Regardless of who Klopp selects to play tonight, the important thing is that Liverpool win but it would nice to see a few changes.

Klopp’s Loyalty To His Defence Must Change

23 Oct

Liverpool’s 4-1 drubbing from Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium yesterday was embarrassing for Reds’ supporters and surely manager Jurgen Klopp has to make changes to his defence.

Liverpool’s defensive problems have been talked about for far too long without any sort of improvement, but hopefully yesterday’s performance will force Klopp to make changes to his defence.

I’ve always tried to give Liverpool players time but yesterday reminded me of the time when former manager Bill Shankly decided he had to make changes to his ageing team that he stayed loyal to after watching his team lose to Watford in the 1970 FA Cup Quarter Final.

Shankly stayed loyal to his players that gave him so much success in the sixties but that defeat signalled the end for the likes of Ron Yeats and Ian St John.

Klopp has shown a similar form of loyalty to his defence since he arrived at Anfield two years ago, with Joel Matip being the only new defender regularly playing in defence since Brendan Rodgers’ era.

In my opinion Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet should have played their last games for Liverpool yesterday.

Lovren produced the worst defensive performance I’ve ever seen from a Liverpool defender and Mignolet showed once again why he isn’t good enough.

They have both had good games for Liverpool in the past but yesterday showed why they can’t be trusted with Lovren producing numerous mistakes that could have produced more goals for Tottenham before Klopp decided enough was enough by pulling him off in the first half.

Mignolet made a poor decision to come out for the first goal and should have gave Matip a shout to leave the ball before he made the poor header that led to Tottenham’s third goal, and the fourth goal was a Mignolet mistake that we as Liverpool supporters have seen far too frequently, as he flapped at another cross before Harry Kane scored his second goal of the game.

Time will tell if Klopp will be as ruthless as I would but I’d make drastic changes to the defence and start by giving Danny Ward a chance in goal.

I’d like to see Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back with Matip and Gomez in the centre of defence, and I’d play Andy Robertson at left back because he is an upgrade on Moreno despite the Spaniard’s decent start to the season.

 

Liverpool Need To Beat United To Kick-Start Season

13 Oct

Liverpool face bitter rivals Manchester United tomorrow at Anfield in a lunch time kick-off. The fixture is one of the biggest in the Premier League calendar and tomorrow’s clash is as important as ever.

Jose Mourinho’s team have been in impressive form since the start of the season and are currently sitting joint top of the Premier League on points with their local rivals Manchester City.

Liverpool started the season brightly but have lost their way in recent weeks after suffering a 5-0 hammering to Manchester City, the Reds are currently 7 points behind both Manchester teams in the Premier League table and tomorrow’s game holds more importance for Klopp’s men.

Defeat for Liverpool would leave them 10 points behind United, and although it is still very early in the season, a gap that big would hard to claw back and a loss would end most supporters hopes of challenging for the title.

United have Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini both missing through injury for tomorrow’s clash, but Liverpool’s bad news concerning Sadio Mane, who will miss the next six weeks of action after suffering a hamstring injury playing for Senegal is a major blow for Jurgen Klopp.

Mane has been in superb form since joining Liverpool and to miss such an important player for such an important fixture is a massive disappointment.

But Mane’s injury could present Liverpool’s new big money signing Alex Oxlade Chamberlain with the opportunity to prove himself at his new club.

The former Arsenal player has struggled since joining Liverpool, but in fairness, he hasn’t made many starts for his new club.

Chamberlain’s pace and power could make him the ideal replacement for Mane, although Klopp might decide to move Philippe Coutinho out on the left to fill Mane’s absence.

Whatever team selection Klopp decides it is vital for Liverpool to take something from the game and a win could kick-start their season after a disappointing run of results prior to the international break.

I expect Jose Mourinho to play defensively at Anfield with the intention of hitting Liverpool on the break, and I think Liverpool have to play on the front foot and press United from the start, hopefully they can get the first goal because Liverpool’s style of play takes a lot out of them, and I’ve noticed their energy and form dips the longer the game goes on.

It will be another intriguing encounter at Anfield but hopefully Liverpool can find a way to win to get their season going again.

Could Forgotten Man Be Key To Liverpool’s Finishing?

22 Sep

It has been well documented in the last few days that Liverpool are lacking a killer touch in front of goal, with recent games against Sevilla, Burnley and Leicester City providing frustrating spectacles for Reds’ supporters.

Failure to win any of the aforementioned games was hard to take as Liverpool dominated for long spells before conceding against the run of play, and supporters are hoping their team can end this frustrating spell away to Leicester tomorrow.

Liverpool have been playing some great football this season but their failure to finish teams off is killing them at the moment.

With games in the balance the pressure is always on Liverpool’s defence to stay tight, and apart from the wins over Crystal Palace and Arsenal, the defence hasn’t been reliable at all.

It has been highlighted by many about Liverpool’s defensive problems but if Liverpool could be more clinical with their finishing then it would ease the pressure on the defence.

Liverpool have been extremely wasteful in front of goal despite the amount of chances created and although they have some great attacking players like Coutinho, Mane, Salah, Lallana, Sturridge and Firmino, they don’t have a poacher to finish the chances off.

Sturridge is the nearest they have of the names mentioned, but he is not the player he used to be and doesn’t seem to get in the box as much these days when given the chance to play by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Firmino is Klopp’s preferred choice as striker, but although he is a terrific striker, he is not a natural finisher and this is what Liverpool need.

Could Liverpool’s forgotten man be the answer?

Danny Ings has endured a nightmare time regarding injuries since he joined Liverpool, but he is back and it was a highlight for Liverpool fans in an otherwise disappointing night on Tuesday when he returned to first team action as a second half substitute in the 2-0 loss at Leicester City.

Ings is the type of player that gets in the penalty box and is always looking for chances, he is a goal-poacher and he might just be what Liverpool need.

It looks really difficult for Ings to get much game time with the attacking players that Klopp has in his squad, but maybe the German should find a place for him in his team because he might just be the man to that finds Liverpool’s killer touch.

 

Why I Want Coutinho, Robertson And Milner To Start

16 Sep

Liverpool face Burnley at Anfield today after a difficult week that included a disappointing 5-0 defeat against Manchester City before Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla.

Once again Liverpool’s defence has been heavily criticised after two poor performances in a week and Burnley will provide another tough test for Klopp’s rearguard with their threat at set-pieces.

Klopp is forced into making one change for the Burnley game after Mane’s sending off last weekend against City, but I would like to see him make a couple more changes.

I would like Andy Robertson to play at left back instead of Alberto Moreno, the Scot impressed me in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace a few weeks ago and Moreno’s defensive work is still causing concern despite his effectiveness going forward.

With Nathaniel Clyne still out injured, the right back responsibilities have fallen on youngsters’ Trent Alexander Arnold and Joe Gomez.

Alexander Arnold had a tough time at Manchester last weekend before Gomez was sent off against Sevilla.

After two tough experiences for Liverpool’s youngsters, I’m hoping Klopp selects the experienced and reliable James Milner to play right back today because I also think his experience and influence will help Liverpool’s defence.

Finally, I’m hoping to See Coutinho replace the suspended Mane because his ability to create something could be vital against a well organised Burnley defence that will make things very tough regarding scoring opportunities.

It will be interesting to see what team Klopp selects because it is vital that Liverpool get back to winning ways today.

Moreno Better But Still Rivals Traore

14 Sep

Liverpool’s defensive problems cost them dearly once again last night as they started their Champions League campaign with a 2-2 draw against Sevilla at Anfield last night.

After falling behind to a Wissam Ben Yedder strike Liverpool turned the game around in a frenetic first half courtesy of goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, Firmino’s missed penalty proved costly as Sevilla equalised through Joaquin Correa to earn the Spanish side a valuable point.

Most of the post-match criticism was aimed at Dejan Lovren after the big Croatian endured a horrible night topped off with a disastrous missed clearance at the near post that gave Ben Yedder the opportunity to give Sevilla the early lead.

Lovren is far from convincing but I’d like to talk about Alberto Moreno, because he does not help Lovren with the way he plays and this could be having an effect on his own game as he has to cover Moreno on numerous occasions because the Spaniard likes to get forward so much.

You would imagine that this is how Klopp wants Moreno to play but as a left back, surely defending is the first thing on your mind.

Moreno has surprisingly played regularly since the start of the season, and in fairness to him, he has played better than usual, his attacking play has improved but his defending is still not good enough.

I read some players’ ratings from some websites after the game last night and I was amazed how highly Moreno was rated in some of them.

Yes, Moreno played well going forward last night, and was the architect in Liverpool’s equalising goal, but he is still not good enough defending and was caught sleeping at the back post as Ben Yedder peeled off him to score after Lovren’s mistake.

Moreno twice went in recklessly for challenges in the second half when on a yellow card and he really should have been sent off.

James Milner has fell out of favour this season after doing a decent job at left back for most of last season and he certainly defended better than Moreno.

Andy Robertson looks the pick of the left back options for Klopp, but strangely he’s only played one game in which he was arguably Liverpool’s best player.

Personally I cringe every time I see Moreno selected for Liverpool and I’m sorry to say this, but I’d put him the same category as Djimi Traore as Liverpool’s worst left back.

I honestly hope Moreno improves but I think he’s had plenty of opportunities, and I think he has all the attributes to be a great left back, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the brains.

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