Tag Archives: Steven Gerrard

Liverpool 4-1 West Brom Match Report

27 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 4-1 West Brom Match Report

 

Liverpool ran out comfortable winners against recent bogey side West Brom at Anfield with Luis Suarez stealing the show with his first ever hat-trick at Anfield. Daniel Sturridge scored the goal of the match with a sublime chip as West Brom couldn’t handle Liverpool’s S.A.S. Morrison scored a consolation goal for the Baggies from the penalty spot.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers welcomed back Lucas into his team after missing Liverpool’s last two matches. Coutinho wasn’t risked as he recovers from his shoulder injury but he should be available for next week’s match at Arsenal. The Liverpool eleven that started against West Brom were Mignolet, Johnson, Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Suarez and Sturridge.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool started the match in high tempo fashion that was lacking last weekend at Newcastle and Suarez wasn’t long in firing his first effort towards goal as he skimmed a low shot wide of the left hand post in the 6th minute.

 

Suarez turned provider for Gerrard moments later but the captain’s drive also missed the target. Then Suarez went down in the box under severe pressure from Gareth McAuley but the Uruguayan’s appeals were in vain.

 

Suarez was everywhere and it was no surprise when he broke the deadlock in the 11th minute when he produced a superb solo effort nutmegging Olsson before firing into the bottom corner past Myhill.

 

Liverpool continued to dominate possession and doubled their lead 6 minutes later when Suarez powered in a superb header into the top corner from the edge of the box from a Cissokho cross.

 

Skrtel should have scored a third goal for Liverpool after a superbly worked free kick involving Suarez and Gerrard set up the Slovakian but the big defender missed his kick from close range.

 

The unstoppable Suarez curled a free-kick the wrong side of the right post from 25 yards and Henderson was inches away from sweeping a curling effort into the net to end a brilliant passing move from the hosts.

 

West Brom almost pulled a goal back just before half-time when Anelka raced behind Skrtel from a long through ball but the big Slovakian recovered brilliantly to clear the ball off the line with Mignolet beaten.

 

Two minutes after the restart, Sturridge drilled a free-kick from the right narrowly wide of Myhill’s post. The visitors responded with Yacob curling an effort off target.

 

The third goal of the match was always going to be so important and it was Liverpool who scored it when a fantastic delivery from a free-kick from Gerrard was met by a glancing header from Suarez to give the Uruguayan his first hat-trick at Anfield.

 

Liverpool were rampant at this point and Sturridge was next to threaten when he met Johnson’s centre before firing a thunderous long-range shot off the underside of the crossbar.

 

West Brom were then handed a lifeline when referee Jon Moss pointed to the penalty spot after his assistant had flagged for an infringement after Billy Jones tumbled in the penalty box, substitute Morrison converted the spot-kick.

 

Liverpool were knocked off their stride for some time after conceding a goal as West Brom hoped to take advantage. Chris Brunt pulled a low strike across the face of goal before sending a snap-shot too high.

 

But Sturridge calmed the nerves around Anfield with a superb goal when he produced an incredible chip from distance to beat Myhill and finally kill off any hopes the visitors had of a comeback.

 

Suarez almost scored an amazing fourth goal when he produced an acrobatic volley against the crossbar via a reflex save by Myhill. Mignolet responded with a reflex save of his own when he denied Morrison from close range.

 

Liverpool settled for four goals as Suarez tried to net a fifth only to be denied by a great save by Myhill before he left the field to a standing ovation from the Liverpool supporters.

 

Summary

 

This was Liverpool’s best performance of the season as they destroyed a good West Brom side. Liverpool started in the right way by playing a very high tempo and put the visitors under pressure from the start. Liverpool passed the ball confidently throughout the match and created numerous chances as the Baggies struggled to cope with Liverpool’s game.

 

Luis Suarez was unplayable and produced a brilliant hat-trick as West Brom’s defence couldn’t handle him in this form. Sturridge was also very lively and scored a superb goal but was overshadowed by a magnificent Suarez.

 

Lucas played a vital role in Liverpool’s midfield and snuffed out the threat of most West Brom attacks. But it was great to see Liverpool finally play well for a full 90 minutes and this win sets Liverpool up for next week’s clash with Arsenal.

 

 

 

 

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Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool Match Report

22 Oct

Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool had to settle for a draw against 10 man Newcastle after falling behind twice in the match. Yohan Cabaye put the hosts ahead with a long range effort before Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Mbiwa fouled Suarez in the box resulting in the defender being shown a red card. Gerrard converted the spot-kick. Newcastle took the lead again when substitute Dummett scored in the 56th minute before Sturridge salvaged a point for the Reds.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers welcomed back Glen Johnson and Joe Allen back into his squad after both players were declared fit again, although Lucas was unavailable for selection with his wife giving birth to atheir daughter. Johnson started at right-back while Joe Allen started on the bench. Rodgers’ team read Mignolet, Toure, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Cissokho, Suarez, Moses and Sturridge.

 

The Match

Both teams cancelled each other out in the opening stages but Newcastlel looked very determined to avenge the heavy defeat they suffered against Liverpool last season, although only 4 players started from last April’s demolition.

 

Newcastle’s determined attitude made it difficult for Liverpool to establish their passing game as the visitors struggled to create opportunities.

 

With the game going through an uneventful phase in the match, it suddenly came to life when Cabaye hit a stunning long-range effort past the diving Mignolet to give the hosts the lead.

 

Newcastle were buoyed by the goal and Liverpool struggled to cope with Newcastle’s enthusiasm. But Liverpool got back into the match when Suarez muscled his way into the box before Mbiwa fouled the striker. Referee Marriner produced a red card from his pocket for the Newcastle defender to the fury of 50,000 home fans. With all hell breaking loose, Steven Gerrard remained the calmest man in the stadium to convert the spot-kick and bring Liverpool level.

 

Liverpool started the second half with high hopes of winning with their numerical advantage. Glen Johnson saw an effort turned round the post by Krul as Liverpool looked for a second goal, but Newcastle continued to attack and Skrtel got a vital touch to prevent Remy being clean through on goal.

 

Newcastle took the lead once again in the 56th minute when substitute Dummett stole in behind the Liverpool defence to divert a looping cross past Mignolet.

 

Brendan Rodgers introduced Alberto for Sakho as he tried to salvage the game and he was rewarded when Suarez broke clear of the Newcastle defence before floating a cross into the centre for Sturridge to head into the net.

 

Liverpool looked for a winner in the remaining minutes as Newcastle looked to hang on for a point. Suarez skimmed the top of the crossbar with a volley and saw a free-kick well saved by Krul with the last kick of the game as the game ended in a draw.

 

Summary

 

Away games are always difficult and Newcastle made it very difficult for Liverpool. Newcastle were allowed too many long range efforts which their first goal came from. I felt Lucas would have prevented the hosts from having so much space to produce so many efforts. Liverpool seemed a bit pedestrian in their play as if too many players coming back from international duty were feeling the effects. Liverpool got the break they needed to get back into the game just before half-time but they failed to capitalise on their good fortune in the second half allowing Newcastle to take the lead again. Overall it was a good point for Liverpool considering they had to come from behind twice, although at 1-1 and playing against 10 men I expected Liverpool to go on and win.

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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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Liverpool’s Destroyer

29 Aug

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’s Destroyer

Lucas Leiva made his Liverpool debut 6 years ago and it is amazing how his reputation has changed since his first appearance in a Red shirt. Lucas has been one of the most criticised Liverpool players in recent years, and I was one of his biggest critics. I thought Lucas was the worst Brazilian player I had ever seen, and the worst Liverpool player since Traore.

I used to think that he was too slow and too small and couldn’t tackle a fish supper but how wrong I was with my judgement. He has transformed into Liverpool’s most improved player, and I now rate Lucas as Liverpool’s most important player.

Liverpool lost a lot of talent in recent years with players of the calibre of Xabi Alonso and Mascherano leaving Anfield in recent, many people wondered if Lucas was ready to become a regular in Liverpool’s midfield after a much criticised beginning to life at Anfield. But he got his chance to play regularly in Liverpool’s midfield early in the 2110-11 season when Mascherano left for Barcelona. Mascherano was terrific in the holding midfield role and it was a big task for Lucas to step in and replace him.

Lucas made steady progress that season as a holding midfielder and after a brilliant start to the following season his season was cruelly ended by injury at Stamford Bridge when Liverpool beat Chelsea in the quarter-final of the League Cup. Lucas suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee which kept him out until the start of the 2012-13 season.

Lucas’ bad luck continued when he suffered another injury in Liverpool’s second League match of the season against Premiership Champions Manchester City when he injured his thigh in the warm-up prior to kick-off. This injury kept him out for a further 3 months. But once again Lucas showed what a fighter he is by recovering from a serious injury not once but twice to return to Liverpool’s midfield.

Lucas came back into the team and played regularly last season notching up 31 appearances in total as his fitness and form improved with games. Liverpool’s form in the last 2 season has been highly influenced by Lucas’ appearances.

In 2011-12 Liverpool finished a lowly 8th position in the Premiership and I believe a large part of their problem was the absence of Lucas from the team from November until the end of the season. Whereas Liverpool had a terrible start to last season winning only 2 of their first 10 League games again in Lucas’ 3 month absence.

But when Lucas returned to the team in a regular basis Liverpool’s form and results improved, highlighted by an end of season run of only 1 defeat in the last 13 games.

Lucas has become so important to the Liverpool team in the holding midfield role and he has become one of the best in the Premiership in that role. The loss of midfield talent in recent years has given Lucas the chance to establish himself in the Liverpool midfield and he has grabbed the chance with both hands.

It is no secret that Lucas has endured some tough times in his Liverpool career, a young player moving to a different country to one of the biggest football teams in the world to apply his trade could not have been easy, but his treatment from some sections of the Liverpool support made it much more difficult, where many players would have struggled under that kind of pressure. But Lucas proved that he is a fighter both on and off the park as he fought and established a regular place in Liverpool’s midfield.

But the way Lucas has worked at his game by keeping his head down and improved his game has to be applauded. Lucas has worked on his strength and is very rarely knocked off the ball now as he appeared light weight in his younger days, and his reading of the game is a great attribute as he senses the danger of opposition attacks very early. Lucas covers every blade of grass during games and he rarely gives the ball away when in possession.

It has been obvious to notice Lucas’ value to Liverpool for his unfortunate absence through injury as no player has replaced him as effectively. Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard have all recently tried to replace the Brazilian, but none have filled the role as well as results have proved.

Liverpool lost a lot of goals in the first part of last season when Lucas was out injured but their goals conceded improved greatly on Lucas’ return as he offers his defence superb protection.

Even in the first 2 games of the season Lucas’ statistics are impressive as Liverpool recorded 2 wins in their first 2 games along with 2 clean sheets.

Against Stoke Lucas attempted 74 passes with a conversion rate of 86.5% and he made 8 tackles winning 75% of them.

In Saturday’s game at Aston Villa Lucas made 5 tackles winning 60% of them and he also attempted 77 passes (more than any other Liverpool player) completing 90.9% them.

Statistics are not everything but they do prove how involved Lucas is in Liverpool’s midfield, his tackling and passing statistics are impressive and he is such a valuable part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans.

The holding midfield role is such an important position in the modern game with wing-backs pushing so high up the park in many games the holding midfielder has a lot of covering to do especially against the counter-attack to protect the centre-backs, and Lucas is excelling in this position as Liverpool’s destroyer.

Lucas is now 26 years old and is very experienced at Liverpool having played over 200 games for the first team and I can see him being a future Liverpool captain through his service at Anfield and also by his good organisational skills as he has grown in confidence over the years and looks a perfect candidate.

It is hard to believe Lucas made his debut for Liverpool 6 years ago and I hope he plays at least another 6 years for Liverpool. It’s funny how time can change your opinion of a player.

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Gerrard’s Testimonial

3 Aug

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 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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Thailand 0-3 Liverpool Match Report

28 Jul

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

 

Thailand 0-3 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool ended their pre-season tour with a trip to Thailand. The Reds won comfortably in front of another stadium full of Liverpool supporters. Liverpool won the match 3-0 through goals from Coutinho, Aspas and Steven Gerrard to the delight of the Thailand public. Luis Suarez featured once again as speculation over his future remains unclear.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers used as many players as possible in this match against Thailand as he prioritise match fitness with his players. New goalkeeper Mignolet started the match with other new signing Toure in defence in front of him alongside Enrique, Agger and Johnson. Rodgers selected a midfield of Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho and Allen with other new signing Aspas and Borini providing an attacking threat.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool made light of the searing heat and humidity as they grabbed the initiative from the start. Coutinho caught the eye in the early stages with stunning close control and tricks that impressed the audience.

 

Aspas almost scored after one of Coutinho’s trademark runs, but the striker’s effort was deflected over. Then Coutinho sent an acrobatic volley just wide after being picked out by Johnson as the chances kept coming.

 

Then Borini saw an effort saved before the magical Coutinho finally beat the overworked Hathairattanakool. The Brazilian bamboozled 3 defenders before shooting past the helpless keeper with a goal of stunning individual brilliance.

 

Thailand rallied late in the first half and Liverpool had Mignolet to thank for staying in front. Thailand’s Anun’s powerful strike from the edge of the box appeared destined for the net but Mignolet pulled off a stunning reflex save to keep the Reds in front.

 

Liverpool had little trouble in the second half as they dominated proceedings. Coutinho’s vision allowed him to find Aspas with a wonderful pass which the Spaniard controlled instantly before netting his third goal in four friendlies since his move from Celta Vigo.

 

Aspas then turned provider as he unselfishly laid the ball off to Gerrard who sent a stunning lob over the keeper to make it 3-0.

 

Suarez came off the bench with half an hour to play and was left frustrated when his header hit the underside of the bar from a Gerrard cross. Henderson went close before Gerrard saw his effort hit the woodwork late on.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool played well and created a lot of chances against Thailand. Plenty of players managed some game time as the players look sharper with every match. Gerrard bossed the midfield and scored another brilliant goal. Aspas scored again and his form in his young Liverpool career is impressive. Coutinho is just a magician and was awesome again for Liverpool, his goal was pure class and he is going to be a very important player for the Reds this season. Mignolet is looking like a great buy and the big Belgian has not put a foot wrong in goal. Overall it was another good workout for Liverpool as they have made plenty of new friends and left many great memories for their distant supporters.

 

 

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Melbourne Victory 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

24 Jul

you can buy my new LFC e-book 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%C2%A0 all the money I receive from the sales of this book will be donated to a Hillsborough Charity.

 

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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Rafa The Red

21 May

Rafa The Red

 

Rafael Benitez is fondly remembered by Liverpool supporters for his time at Anfield, the highlight obviously being that remarkable night in Istanbul in 2005.  But he also won Liverpool the FA Cup in 2006 in the “Gerrard Final” and steered the Reds to another Champions League Final in 2007.

 

Benitez is a top manager and his career has proved that.  Rafa’s playing career was blighted by injury and he joined Real Madrid’s coaching staff in 1986 and he was appointed coach of Castilla B. His team won two league titles in 1987 and 1989. He then won a third title with Real Madrid Youth B in 1990.

 

Rafa then took over Madrid’s under 19s where he won the Spanish Cup in 1991 and 1993, beating Barcelona in both finals. His team completed the double in 1993 as they also won the under 19 league. Rafa’s success with the youth side saw him promoted to work as del Bosque’s assistant manager in 1994.

 

Benitez didn’t exactly hit the ground running in his first attempt at senior management at Real Valladolid. In fact he was sacked after winning only two matches in 23 games. Rafa didn’t fare any better at his next job at second division Osasuna, where he was sacked after winning only one game out of nine.

 

Rafa’s first success came at another Spanish second division team, Extremadura, where he led them to promotion as they finished second behind Deportivo Alaves. However, Extremadura were relegated the following season after losing a relegation play-off to Villarreal. Benitez quit after being relegated.

 

After taking a year out to study in England and Italy, Benitez returned to coaching, this time to take charge of second division side Tenerife. He guided them to promotion after finishing third behind Seville and Real Betis.

 

In 2001 Benitez was appointed manager of Valencia, a team who had just reached back-to-back Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001, losing only on penalties in 2001 to Bayern Munich. Benitez engineered Valencia into a more attacking style of play and his tactics were rewarded as Valencia won their first La Liga title in 31 years.

 

Disappointment followed the following season as Valencia finished 5th in La Liga and were knocked out in the quarter- final stage of the Champions League. Season 2003-04 was a different story as Valencia regained the La Liga title with three games to go, Valencia also won the UEFA Cup by defeating Marseille 2-0 in the final. Benitez enjoyed great success at Valencia but his difference of opinions regarding new signings saw him resign as coach in June 2004.

 

Benitez joined Liverpool in June 2004 and one of his first tasks was to persuade club Captain Steven Gerrard to stay at Anfield as Chelsea tried to entice him to London. But he couldn’t persuade Michael Owen to stay as he left for Real Madrid. Benitez brought some players from Spain, most notably Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso, both players became favourites of the Kop.

 

Benitez also made utility player Jamie Carragher into one of Europe’s top centre backs alongside Sami Hyypia. Liverpool finished 5th in Rafa’s first season in charge at Anfield as he suffered injuries to key players, but he reached his first English domestic cup final, losing 3-2 after extra time to Chelsea in the League Cup final.

 

But Rafa’s fortunes were very much different in the Champions League, despite a poor start in the group stages which almost eliminated them until Steven Gerrard scored an 87th minute goal against Olympiakos to ensure qualification to the last 16 of the competition.

 

After defeating Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus they faced Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the semi-final where a controversial Luis Garcia goal at Anfield proved enough to see Liverpool through to the final to face AC Milan in Istanbul.

 

The final will never be forgotten as Liverpool trailed 3-0 at half-time and all looked lost. But the introduction of Did Hamann for the second half changed the match as Liverpool staged a remarkable comeback to take the match to a penalty shoot-out which they won through heroics from goalkeeper Jerzy Dudeek.

 

Benitez thanked Istanbul hero Dudek by replacing him for the new season with Spaniard Pepe Reina as he continued to improve his team. Benitez managed to take Liverpool to 3rd in the League the following season, but Rafa did manage to win the FA Cup after knocking out Manchester United and Chelsea on the way to the final where Liverpool faced West Ham. Liverpool looked beat after trailing 2-0 and then 3-2 In stoppage time when Steven Gerrard scored a dramatic late equaliser. Pepe Reina was the hero saving three penalties in the penalty shoot-out.

 

Liverpool won the Community Shield after beating Chelsea 2-1 at the start of the 2006-2007 season and Liverpool were expected to challenge for the league after Rafa’s early successes, but poor form away from Anfield saw Liverpool’s challenge fizzle out and losing twice to Arsenal in four days in both domestic competitions was also a big disappointment. The season also saw new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks take over at Anfield with promises of money for new signings and of a new stadium.

 

Liverpool managed to return to the final of the Champions League in this turbulent season, but this time AC Milan got their revenge as they lifted the trophy with a 2-1 win. Benitez added the likes of Torres, Babel, Benayoun and Lucas to his squad after this defeat, but after a good start to the new season, poor results in the Champions league and a public falling-out with the club’s owners put Rafa’s position under serious threat. Liverpool were shocked by Barnsley in the FA Cup and failed to mount a challenge for the league and this time Chelsea got the better of Rafa’s side in the semi-finals of the Champions League as Liverpool missed out on any silverware.

 

In season 2008-09 Liverpool finished second to Manchester United in the Premiership with a tremendous run of results at the end of the season where they destroyed Real Madrid and Manchester United in the space of a few days.

 

Much was anticipated for season 2009-2010 but Liverpool finished a lowly 7th position and were eliminated in the group stages that season as all was not well at Anfield contributing to Benitez to leave the club on June 3rd 2010 by mutual consent. Rafa made a £96,000 donation to the Hillsborough Family Support Group on his departure from the club.

 

Many people blame the Hicks and Gillett partnership for not backing Rafa and taking Liverpool to the next level and we are left in wonder to what Rafa could have achieved with the backing from his owners.

 

Only a few days after leaving Liverpool Rafa joined Inter Milan as he replaced Jose Mourinho. Benitez won the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup in his short spell with the club as Inter’s league form was poor after winning the treble the previous season, and he parted with the club in December 2010.

 

Rafa Benitez’s next move came unexpectedly with a move to Liverpool’s old foes Chelsea in November 2012, to the disgust of the Chelsea supporters who vented their feelings towards their new manager. Although disliked by the Chelsea support Benitez has guided Chelsea to the semi-final of the League Cup and the semi-final of the FA Cup, but more importantly he has achieved qualification for next year’s Champions League and last week he defeated Benfica to win the Europa League to add to his European collection of titles.

 

Benitez is a great manager, but it was sad the way he left Liverpool and it would have been interesting to see if he could have won the Premiership if he had the support of his owners. Benitez will always be welcomed back to Anfield as the Kop showed when returned for the first time with Chelsea. It will be very interesting to see if Benitez returns for a second spell in charge at Anfield in the future just as Kenny did. You just never know in football, anything can happen.

 

 

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