Tag Archives: Raheem Sterling

Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace Match Report

6 Oct

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace Match Report

Liverpool made short work of Crystal Palace to go back to the top of the Premiership by scoring three goals without reply in an impressive first half performance. Goals from Suarez, Sturridge and then a penalty converted by Steven Gerrard ended the match as a contest. The visitors scored a consolation goal in the second half when Gayle glanced a header past Mignolet as Liverpool eased off with the game won.

The Team

Brendan Rodgers had to make one change to his team through the suspension to Lucas, so he brought Raheem Sterling back into the team on the right side of midfield with Jordan Henderson switching into the middle alongside Steven Gerrard. Glen Johnson and Coutinho remained sidelined through injury although Daniel Agger returned for a seat on the substitute’s bench.

So the team read Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Moses, Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge.

The Match

The news of Liverpool welcoming Anfield Legend Kenny Dalglish back to the club as a newly appointed director of the club was exciting news for the Liverpool support as they hoped to return to the top of the league with a win against Crystal Palace.

Liverpool started on the front foot as Suarez wriggled into space before teeing up Gerrard whose first time effort was blocked by Delaney.

The visitors responded to Liverpool’s early attack with Jason Puncheon scurrying to the bye-line before finding Jerome in the penalty area only for the striker to glance a header wide of the target.

Liverpool looked dangerous on the attack with Sturridge and Suarez looking particularly sharp. Moses should have broken the deadlock when he found space in the Palace box but his attempted flick did not come off.

However, moments later Suarez gave Liverpool the lead despite falling over to direct a low drive into the bottom corner after a cut-back from Enrique.

Four minutes later Sturridge doubled Liverpool’s lead with a superb finish after working his way into the box from the left flank before firing just inside the far post and past the helpless Speroni.

The visitors responded superbly with Kebe racing behind the Liverpool defence before his clipped effort was cleared off the line by Toure with Mignolet beaten.

Then a Puncheon shot was deflected by Kebe bringing a superb reflex save from Mignolet to keep Liverpool’s two goal lead intact.

The visitors continued to threaten and Jerome’s dangerous cross into the Liverpool six yard box was almost sliced into the Liverpool goal by Sakho, the ball ending up behind for a corner.

Crystal Palace’s hopes of a comeback were short lived when Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Sterling was pulled back in the box, Gerrard calmly converted the spot-kick past Speroni.

Liverpool could have added to the scoreline before half-time when Moses diverted a Suarez centre onto the crossbar before Speroni saved from Suarez after the Uruguayan worked space for himself in the Palace box.

The second half was totally different from the first half with Liverpool lacking the same rhythm and cohesion in their play as the first half and the visitors looking stronger in midfield after Holloway make a double substitution at half-time.

Chances were fewer but Sterling did fire in a dangerous cross-shot from the right flank but Speroni dealt with the danger comfortably.

Fit again vice-captain Daniel Agger replaced Sakho during the second half but he was helpless to stop Palace scoring with 13 minutes remaining when Gayle flicked a header past Mignolet from a Campana set-piece.

The goal proved no more than a consolation as Liverpool responded to this setback and could have added to the scoring when Sturridge prodded a strike off the inside of Speroni’s post after good work from Suarez.

Liverpool won the game in the first half and although they would have liked to have added more goals in the second half they were happier to return to the top of the league.

Summary

Rodgers had to replace Lucas and his deputy Henderson played very well in the middle of midfield although I was disappointed by Sterling who looked as if he was lacking confidence in a poor performance from the youngster.

Great to see Liverpool kill a game off so early on as the contest was over at half-time. Skrtel and Sakho impressed in defence again although Palace were unlucky not to score in the first-half.

Suarez and Sturridge were superb again and they are striking up a superb understanding in Liverpool’s attack and both scored again.

It would have been nice to see more goals in the second half but you can’t really complain when you win the game before half-time and are sitting at the top of the league.

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Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

8 Aug

Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool continued their pre-season in good form with a comfortable win in Oslo against Valerenga. Much of the talk surrounding Liverpool at the moment is about want away striker Luis Suarez, but the speculation didn’t affect Liverpool’s performance as they won through goals from Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly and Raheem Sterling. The match was watched by Liverpool’s Principal owner John W Henry for the first time in 13 months.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers started the match with some of his squad players against Valerenga with Brad Jones starting in goal with a team of Alberto, Aspas, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Spearing, Allen, Flanagan, Ibe and Wisdom in front of him.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool struggled the last time they travelled to this part of the world when they required two late goals from Daniel Agger to salvage a draw. Liverpool enjoyed a far more comfortable match this time around as they dictated play.

 

Liverpool went close in the opening stages with Joe Allen and Jordan Ibe having efforts. Meanwhile Aspas was becoming a constant menace to the Norwegian defence and was twice denied by good goalkeeping from Valerenga’s Kongshavn.

 

But it was Aspas who influenced the opening goal for Liverpool on the half hour mark when he struck the frame of the goal with an effort before Luis Alberto drilled into the Valerenga net from 20 yards.

 

Liverpool were in total control but were surprisingly pegged back when Gonzalez headed an in-swinging corner past Brad Jones to give the Norwegians parity.

 

Liverpool responded with Aspas scoring his fourth goal of pre-season as he showed good movement to finish from Downing’s cross.

 

Brendan Rodgers made 10 changes to his personnel for the start of the second half Assaidi and Sterling providing the pace down the flanks. Liverpool extended their lead in the 54th minute when Valerenga struggled to deal with a corner that landed in the centre of the penalty box which invited Martin Kelly to force the ball over the line to make the score 3-1.

 

Within 60 seconds Kolo Toure thumped a header against the bar from a set-piece as Liverpool continued to pressure the hosts. Borini went equally close to scoring when he pounced on a loose ball before rounding the keeper but his effort rolled all the way along the line but refused to hit the net.

 

Borini was again cursing his luck as he struck the crossbar from 20 yards with 15 minutes remaining but Liverpool did manage another goal in the closing moments with Sterling scoring and giving Liverpool a 4-1 win in their 6th straight success.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool performed well creating a lot of chances in their trip to Oslo as the team look in good shape for the new season. Rodgers managed to give most players a run out and that is very important in pre-season. Liverpool are playing with confidence and players like Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen are feeding of this with fine performances. Aspas played very well once again and he is finding the net in a regular basis. With one more friendly to play, the signs are looking good for the start of the season.

 

 

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Gerrard’s Testimonial

3 Aug

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Liverpool 2-0 Olympiacos Match Report

 

Anfield paid tribute and showed their appreciation to one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players Steven Gerrard in his testimonial match against Olympiacos. Goals from Joe Allen in the first half and Jordan Henderson in the second half capped a superb day for the Liverpool Captain.

 

The Team

 

Although the match was Steven Gerrard’s testimonial it was still an important match in terms of match fitness for Brendan Rodgers and his squad as they prepare for the start of the new season. Rodgers started a team that looked like the one that could start against Stoke in Liverpool’s first game of the season. Mignolet, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Sterling and Aspas started alongside the man of the moment Steven Gerrard.

 

The Match

 

Steven Gerrard was welcomed by a guard of honour formed by both sets of players prior to kick-off and a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful as they saluted their hero.

 

Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages with loud cheers every time Gerrard received a touch of the ball. Joe Allen flashed a shot wide in the game’s first real effort.

 

Moments later Joe Allen pounced on a sloppy pass from the visitors before releasing new signing Aspas but the striker’s effort was blocked away.

 

Gerrard had the crowd excited when he lined up a long range drive but his effort was off target. Then Gerrard had a joke with referee Hasey when the unfortunate referee intercepted one of his passes.

 

Next Aspas showed a lovely bit of skill when he cleverly beat his marker before shooting into the side-netting with Joe Allen again providing the assist as his attacking runs forward were providing a big threat to the Greeks.

 

Liverpool continued to attack with Sterling and Coutinho combining in a counter-attack before Sterling’s weak shot was easily saved by the keeper.

 

Then Liverpool should have taken the lead when an extravagant flick by Aspas found Allen in the centre of the penalty area but the midfielder side-footed his volley over the bar.

 

But Allen made no mistake moments later in the 23rd minute when Joe Allen tapped home an Aspas low drive across the face of goal to give Liverpool a deserved lead.

 

Liverpool looked to be enjoying themselves with the goal encouraging them even more and next it was Glen Johnson to try his luck from long range but his strike just missed the far corner.

 

Brendan Rodgers continued with the same eleven players to start the second half and Liverpool continued to attack their visitors as Coutinho glided past a couple of defenders before shooting towards the far post but Olympiacos goalkeeper Megveri saved comfortably.

 

Then the lively Sterling curled a shot wide as he continues to impress this pre-season, before watching his lob go agonisingly wide of the post before the Anfield crowd showed great appreciation towards the introduction of Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher.

 

Jordan Henderson also made his entry for Joe Allen and within seconds he made it 2-0 for Liverpool after finishing off a move involving good work from Raheem Sterling.

 

Henderson almost scored his second goal moments later but he shot straight at the keeper. Jose Enrique was thwarted by the keeper in the next attack after finding space in the box.

 

With 15 minutes remaining when the Kop saluted a former favourite when Robbie Fowler was introduced, and the crowd was on its feet when Gerrard slipped the ball through to Fowler but his quick strike was deflected wide for a corner.

 

Then with 6 minutes remaining Steven Gerrard was replaced by Jay Spearing to a standing ovation as he left the field and end an emotional day for the Liverpool skipper.

 

The match finished 2-0 in another impressive performance for Liverpool, but the day was all about Steven Gerrard.

 

Summary

 

The Liverpool supporters paid their respects with a tremendous turn out at Anfield for Steven Gerrard for his testimonial. But Liverpool treated the match seriously as they showed great energy and commitment from the start as Olympiacos were pegged back for most of the game. Rodgers started the match with eleven players that will probably start the match against Stoke and he gave them an hour before making the expected substitutions. Aspas looked lively up front and Sterling is showing great confidence in his play that lacked at times last season. Joe Allen was very impressive as he starred in an attacking midfield role and should have scored a hat-trick in the first half, but it was good to see him score and get into forward positions. Lucas is looking back to his best as he thwarted countless Olympiacos attacks. Great finish by Henderson after just coming on and he could be an important player for Liverpool this season as he looks more confident. Overall it was a good performance by the team and a special day for a special player Steven Gerrard.

 

 

 

 

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Brendan’s Youngsters

2 Aug

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Brendan’s Youngsters

 

Brendan Rodgers gave a number of Liverpool’s youngsters their chance in the first team last season to the delight of many supporters. With the coverage on Liverpool’s TV channel nowadays, Liverpool supporters can watch most youth games on TV and most supporters are excited by the talent that they see coming through the ranks, so it was extremely pleasing to see so many youngsters make an impression in the first team last season.

 

The likes of Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Suso to name but a few, featured quite a lot last season as Brendan Rodgers put his faith in them.

 

But did he really feel they were ready for the first team or did he just play them because he was left short of options after a poor summer transfer window. Rodgers lost a vast amount of experience last summer with Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez all leaving for one reason or another, so Rodgers was left with a threadbare squad.

 

But Rodgers did play his younger squad members in place of some more experienced players and some big money signings from King Kenny’s reign. Big money signings Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson in particular found it difficult to get much game time in the early part of last season.

 

Rodgers’ use of the youngsters seemed to be the kick up the backside the likes of Henderson and Downing needed as they fought their way back into the team later in the season. But the addition of Sturridge and Coutinho and now this summer’s signings could make it difficult for the youngsters to feature much this coming season.

 

Liverpool have just finished their summer pre-season tour with many younger players receiving a great deal of experience by being included in the trip. But what will the new season bring as Rodgers now shapes his team into the team that he is looking for with his own signings.

 

It was the same when Dalglish took over from Roy Hodgson, when Dalglish selected youngsters like Jon Flanagan, Jack Robinson, Spearing and Shelvey in his team before he could bring in his own players in the summer, then opportunities were far fewer.

 

I fear the same could happen next season to the likes of Wisdom, Sterling and Liverpool’s newest sensation Jordan Ibe. Many youngsters get a taste of first team action but then fall out of the reckoning as clubs like Liverpool frequently spend money in the transfer market.

 

Many players leave for pastures new like the talented Tom Ince as opportunities are limited and many players go out on loan which is great experience, but will they come back to Liverpool and become regular first team players on their return ? Time will tell.

 

Just as I started writing this article I’ve just heard that Jack Robinson is off to Blackpool on loan. Robinson is a player I rate highly and I thought he might feature more regularly this season in the first team. Conor Coady is another cracking prospect who is out on loan at Sheffield United, as is Suso who impressed many times early last season.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens to Liverpool’s youngsters as Rodgers has assembled a stronger squad than last season. Rodgers is a believer in giving youth a chance and if you are good enough it shouldn’t matter your age, just take a look at Messi and how many games he has played already.

 

Supporters have to trust the management with their treatment of the younger players as impatience to see them play is common. But there is a crop of young talent at Liverpool just now and although some are learning their trade at other clubs, the theory is that they will come back to Liverpool better players and be more beneficial to the team.

 

Liverpool have not been blessed with such promising young talent for many years and if this crop of youngsters fullfill their promise then Liverpool will be a better team for it. The future is bright for Liverpool Football Club and I think they have the right man in Brendan Rodgers to mature those youngsters into important players for Liverpool.

 

 

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Melbourne Victory 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

24 Jul

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Melbourne Victory 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool continued their pre-season tour with another win as they beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 thanks to goals from captain Steven Gerrard and a late Aspas strike at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The match was watched by an amazing 95,000 sell-out crowd.

 

The Match

 

The match started without much in the way of goal mouth action as Liverpool looked happy to concentrate on keeping possession in the early stages. Sterling had the first meaningful effort on goal but unfortunately his 25 yard effort sliced wide of target before Andrew Nabbout tested Brad Jones at the other end.

 

Gerrard had a long range effort well saved by Nathan Coe after connecting on a pass from Sterling. But the Victory goalkeeper was helpless to prevent Gerrard scoring moments after the half-hour mark when the Liverpool captain slotted past the keeper after great work by Joe Allen to create the chance.

 

The goal came at a good time for the Reds with the hosts enjoying their best spell of possession of the match. Youngsters Sterling and Ibe looked lively down the flanks and created Liverpool’s best chances, but too often Liverpool lacked numbers in the box to take advantage.

 

Gerrard managed to get on the end of one of Sterling’s crosses but his effort rose over the crossbar just before half-time.

 

Liverpool continued to look for goals in the second half and Skrtel almost made it 2-0 shortly after the re-start when he produced a looping header from a Gerrard corner which Coe managed to tip over the bar.

 

The game became pedestrian with no keeper called into action until the hour mark when Borini executed a vicious volley which Coe did well to smother before Connor Pain produced a swerving left-foot drive that Jones managed to parry away.

 

Borini became more involved in the second half and improvised to produce an overhead kick which bounced just wide of the post.

 

Rodgers made wholesale changes with about 20 minutes remaining with most eyes on Suarez whose future is shrouded in mystery.

Substitute Aspas put the icing on the cake with a second goal for Liverpool in stoppage time after trademark trickery from fellow substitute Luis Suarez.

 

Liverpool will now travel to Thailand for the last match of their three-match summer tour against a Thailand X1.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool recorded another win and another clean sheet in Melbourne. Gerrard looked much better in a dominant first half capped by a brilliant goal. Jordan Ibe and Raheem Sterling showed great appetite and sharpness down the wings with Borini looking much better in the second half after a quiet first half. Liverpool should have won by more than 2 goals but it was another good match for Liverpool although the future regarding Suarez remains unclear even though he managed 20 minutes game time.

 

 

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Indonesia X1 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

21 Jul

Indonesia X1 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

 

Coutinho and Raheem Sterling were the scorers in a good testing workout against an Indonesian eleven. Coutinho scored early in the match before Sterling finished off the resilient Indonesian side late on before an excited Indonesian support in Jakarta who enjoyed the visit from their heroes.

The Match

 

Liverpool must have felt like that they were back home at Anfield with the unbelievable support behind them in Jakarta. Steven Gerrard made his comeback from injury and was warmly welcomed by the tremendous support.  Liverpool inspired by the vocal and passionate support rewarded them with an early goal when Brazilian Coutinho found the net after a lucky ricocheted allowed him into the box before sliding the ball under Meiga.

 

The match provided Liverpool with a more difficult test than the previous week against Preston as they had to work harder to maintain their lead in the extreme heat against an industrious Indonesian side.

 

Liverpool came close to extending their lead when Downing met an Enrique cross with a side-foot volley, but Meiga did well to smother. Moments later Luis Alberto beat Meiga but not the woodwork.

 

Liverpool continued to threaten the Indonesian goal as Aspas created space for himself before smashing a shot off the top of the crossbar.

 

The hosts nearly equalised when Sergio Van Dijk’s audacious strike called Mignolet into action. The striker drilled a 30 yard effort which Mignolet did well to glance wide of his post.

 

10 minutes into the second half almost brought a second Liverpool goal but as Aspas rounded Meiga the ball bobbled up and the striker fired high and wide. Coutinho was having another impressive display and he almost scored his and Lverpool’s second goal of the match when Aspas created a chance for the Brazilian, but for once Coutinho lacked composure as he scooped his effort over the crossbar.

 

Rodgers made wholesale changes with 25 minutes to go as match fitness is so important at this stage of the season. Raheem Sterling was one of those introduced amd made an immediate impact when he skipped past an opponent before firing a 30 yard effort that soared just wide.

 

Sterling became the second player to hit the crossbar when he powerfully hit the top of the crossbar after Borini had failed to make contact from Assaidi’s cross. Sterling was causing all sorts of problems for the Indonesian defence with his movement and next he smashed an effort into the side-netting after running behind the Indonesian defence.

 

But the youngster wasn’t to be denied his goal after good work by Ibe found Assaidi with only Meiga to beat but the Morrocan unselfishly slipped the ball to Sterling who tucked the ball into the gaping net.

 

The match proved a good test for Liverpool as they step up their pre-season and now move onto Australia where they will face Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.

 

Summary

 

A good test for Liverpool against an industrious Indonesian side in difficult conditions with the heat. Steven Gerrard making his comeback was very pleasing for Liverpool supporters, but he did look a little rusty as he began his pre-season which can only be expected. Mignolet was more tested and looked impressive in what he had to deal with a few good saves and commanding his penalty area at cross balls. Toure was solid at the back and made some good interceptions. Coutinho was once again very impressive and can pick out those defence splitting passes at will. Aspas is a good addition to the side and a tricky player that can conjure up chances on his own. Alberto showed some good work that showed his value to the team and was unlucky not to score. But like last weekend Raheem Sterling impressed when coming off the bench with his energy and attitude and directness to attack defenders with his pace, his goal capped a fine performance as he must be impressing Brendan Rodgers with his sharpness. Liverpool’s pre-season is gradually building momentum and the trip to Australia will be another good test in this busy pre-season for the Reds.

 

 

 

 

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Liverpool’s Best Signing

16 Jul

Liverpool’s Best Signing

 

Liverpool made their biggest signing of the summer this week when Steven Gerrard put pen to paper on a contract extension. Forget about the signings of Aspas, Mignolet, Alberto and Toure, Gerrard’s signing is the most important one.

 

Gerrard has been a figure head for the club for as long as most Liverpool fans care to remember and his contract extension will probably tie him to the club for the rest of his playing career. Gerrard is such an important player for Liverpool, he is the captain of course, and of England. His ability is renowned across the globe, but it isn’t just his ability that is admired, but his leadership and inspiration to galvanise Liverpool when they are looking beat. He has inspired Liverpool to many amazing comebacks over the years, that amazing goal against Olympiakos in the Champions League, the Gerrard Cup Final against West Ham where he produced 2 stunning goals, and the first goal in Istanbul to start the unforgettable comeback to win the Champions League in 2005.

 

Gerrard is getting on a bit now and is in the twighlight of career but his importance is still unparalleled by any other squad member. Last season Gerrard played in nearly every Premier League match for the Reds and proved that there is plenty miles left in the tank.

 

With the loss of Carragher through his retirement from football, Gerrard’s experience and importance has never been more needed and his contract extension hopefully sets an example to others that he is still as determined as ever to help his beloved Liverpool.

 

His loyalty to the club will influence other players who might be thinking of moving away and could also encourage new players to sign who might have been undecided on coming to Anfield, the rest of the summer will prove if Liverpool can attract more new players, but if they do, then I’m sure Gerrard will be a big influence in tempting them.

 

Liverpool have many youngsters breaking into the first team and Gerrard has helped them along the way by setting an example in training and now he can help continue their development into the first team as the likes of Sterling, Morgan, Wisdom, Ibe but to name a few are being inspired by Gerrard’s attitude and his dedication.

 

Gerrard’s role in the team has changed slightly in a deeper midfield role, but he seems to be thriving on it with more space than by playing further up the park. The return of Lucas from injury has been a major help for Gerrard as his industry frees Gerrard up to play the “American Quarterback” role, where he can spray passes all over the park and influence games with willing runners upfield. Gerrard’s delivery at dead ball situations are lethal and provide so many goals and create so many chances for Liverpool and his calmness at taking penalties highlights his responsibility of being captain of Liverpool.

 

See what the rest of the summer brings, but I’m sure you will agree that Gerrard’s signing is the best Liverpool signing of the summer.

 

 

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Preston 0-4 Liverpool Match Report

14 Jul

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Preston 0-4 Liverpool

 

Liverpool started their pre-season with a trip to Preston to contest the Shankly Shield in commemoration of the great man who served both clubs and who was born 100 years ago this year.

 

Debutant Apas scored on his debut for Liverpool as the Reds eased to a comfortable 4-0 win at Deepdale. Philippe Coutinho started the scoring after converting a penalty before Jordan Ibe scored his first senior goal for the Reds, Raheem Sterling netted the other Liverpool goal.

The Match

 

Brendan Rodgers tried to give as many players some match practice in Liverpool’s first pre-season match for the new season. New signings Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet , Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas all featured for the Reds. Daniel Agger was installed as captain for the day with Steven Gerrard not featuring and with Jamie Carragher’s retirement from football.

 

Daniel Agger was the first player to test the Preston keeper Rudd, with a stinging 30 yard effort Rudd could only parry, before the Preston defence quickly cleared to clear the danger.

 

Liverpool dominated possession in the early stages and their constant pressure paid dividends when Coutinho robbed Preston’s John Welsh of possession on the edge of his own area before pulling the Brazilian to the ground resulting in a penalty. Coutinho casually converted the spot-kick into the corner sending Rudd the wrong way in the process.

 

A period of possession football from Liverpool came after the goal with neither keeper having much to do until Liverpool stepped up the tempo with Flanagan bursting into the Preston half after intercepting a Preston pass before sending Borini clear, but the Italian lacked composure and slipped his effort wide of the post with only Rudd to beat.

 

A minute later young Jordan Ibe proved to be more ruthless when he skipped inside from the left flank before rifling an unstoppable low effort past Rudd at his near post. The goal capped a fine first half performance from the youngster as he tormented the Preston right-back.

 

The second half brought wholesale changes to both sides, with Aspas and Alberto pulling on the Red shirt for the first time.

 

Sterling replaced Ibe on the left flank to mark his comeback after a long-term injury. The winger looked keen to impress as he burst down the left flank before forcing his way into the Preston box before curling a stike towards the far corner, but replacement Preston keeper Stuckmann managed to divert the ball away to safety.

 

Sterling’s enthusiasm was rewarded with 25 minutes remaining when a rapid exchange of passes on the half-way line sliced open the Preston defence and sent Sterling one-on-one with the keeper. Sterling showed great composure to round Stuckmann before sliding the ball into the empty net.

 

A fine Liverpool performance was capped by debutant Aspas curling a 25 yard effort past Stuckmann in a pleasing day for Brendan Rodgers.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool impressed against Preston in their first pre-season match at Deepdale. I liked the way the players showed hunger to press the opposition and look for the ball. OK Preston are not the greatest of teams but it was a decent workout and was a good fixture for debutants Alberto, Mignolet, Toure and Aspas to settle into the Liverpool team. The players that impressed for me were Jordan Ibe who looked a threat down the left flank and scored a great goal which will do his confidence no harm. Coutinho just looks better with every game and pulled the strings against inferior opposition, took his penalty clinically. Stewart Downing looked lively when he came on for the second half and Raheem Sterling was very impressive as he looked to go past the Preston full-back at every opportunity, a great goal by Sterling too as he showed great confidence in his cool finish. Debutant Aspas showed some clever touches and looks a tricky player as he created Sterling’s goal before scoring a fine goal himself. I think the best moment of the day for me was the introduction of Martin Kelly with 10 minutes to go as he made his comeback from long-term injury, he has been so unlucky with injuries in recent years and his return is like a new signing for Liverpool. Overall it was a good workout for Brendan Rodgers’ side and I’m sure the manager will be happy with his team’s performance.

 

 

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Improving Liverpool

24 Feb

Improving Liverpool

 

Liverpool have endured a rollercoaster of a season since Brendan Rodgers took over in the summer, and the results have been so inconsistent leaving the club way off the pace for a top four finish. But this season was always going to be a transitional period.

 

Liverpool lost a lot of experience in the summer for one reason or another and Brendan Rodgers had to turn to youth to fill the gaps in his team. Players like Andre Wisdom, Suso and Raheem Sterling have stepped up to the plate for Liverpool and Liverpool are now starting to reap the rewards of their youth system with many others showing great quality and who will be challenging for a first team place in the not too distant future.

 

Jordan Ibe looks the pick of the bunch of talented youngsters but Connor Coady, Yesil, Ryan McLaughlin, Sama, Morgan, Flanagan, and Jack Robinson who is out on loan at the moment are a few worth mentioning.

 

New managers come to a new club and try to install their ideas and methods of how they want their team to play and Brendan Rodgers is no different, Rodgers likes to play a passing style including pressing the opposition high up the park. This has took a while to implement with signs of it working in some matches and many mistakes especially in defence costing the team dear in others.

 

To qualify for European competition next season would be high on the agenda at the start of the season, but with so many changes at the club the most important thing should be that the team is showing signs of improvement, and I believe that they are.

 

OK so the defence has been a bit more vulnerable than in recent seasons, but by playing a passing game from the back does put extra pressure on defenders and as the season has progressed I feel they are learning that there are still times when you have to just clear your lines when under pressure, when earlier in the season they would pass their way into trouble. There is still the odd mistake like Carragher’s the other night but individual mistakes do happen and I’m sure they will clear up soon.

 

The amount of chances Liverpool are creating has to be encouraging although the conversion rate is poor, but it is more of a problem when you are not creating chances and to produce 35 shots at goal in one game is quite remarkable and the conversion rate will improve.

 

The reliance on Suarez for the most part of the season has been a problem but he has been immense regarding Liverpool’s lack of striking options. But with the addition of Sturridge to the team Liverpool look far more threatening and a more attacking team. Lucas coming back from injury has freed up Gerrard to get forward more and the resurgence of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson has been a great addition to the team.

 

The performances against Swansea and Zenit were very encouraging with the team playing some great football but more importantly playing with a desire, passion and high tempo that we have not seen enough of this season. So hopefully this style of play and attitude will continue as opposition teams will struggle against a Liverpool team playing this way.

 

There is a lot to play for in the remainder of the season for Liverpool and if they can continue to show improvement then the future will be bright for the Anfield side.

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