Officially no more fourth place

2 05 2010

Only in an alternate universe. http://www.liverpool.theoffside.com

Liverpool wrapped up their final game at Anfield for this season through yet another listless performance for which the Europa league exit is sure to be blamed for.

Despite an emotional Europa league semifinal exit, I expected the Reds to show some tooth here. But it was not to be as Drogba capitalized on a bad pass by Gerrard, in the first half and Lampard put one into the net in the second half to keep Chelsea in pole position and firm favorites to take the title next week.

As for Liverpool, it was a disgusting performance and they were largely disinterested in the proceedings. There were some surprise inclusions in the team for the reds as Aquilani started again but was not half as effective as he was in midweek.

Ho-hum, one more week to go but I just don’t care anymore. I think the fat lady has left the building after her ear drum piercing aria.

For a transcript from a live blog hosted on the wonderful http://www.liverpool.theoffside.com,  click here.





No beachball to save Sunderland! LFC 3 – Sunderland 0

28 03 2010

Liverpool came into this match at Anfield versus Sunderland certainly hoping that there would be no beach balls around. But, it was Sunderland who had all the worrying to do within the first 180 seconds.

Torres got his sixth goal in four matches with a swirling, swerving cross that against all probability and rationale was headed towards the back of the goal to put Liverpool 1-0. An early goal along the lines of that against Manchester Utd.

Fly me too the moon and let me play among the stars! http://www.soccernet.com

From then on, Liverpool consistently piled on the pressure that Sunderland somehow contrived to weather in a barely effecitve fashion. There were chances for Agger, Gerrard and two long distance half-chances for Mascherano, in the first 20 minutes.

There were several corners in Liverpool’s favor resulting from the several waves of attack that the Liverpool contingent had committed themselves to. It was an ‘in your face’ approach that Liverpool have lacked.

Now that we have nailed down the principle finding of this season that Liverpool have been less than vivacious in attack I find it an opportune moment to comment on Aquilani’s continued absence from the starting eleven.

Sunderland tried to expose Liverpool’s defensive frailties with a few counter attacking runs before the half hour but it was to be futile for the black cats.

The incessant pressure that Liverpool piled on Sunderland paid rich dividends. A sixth corner for Liverpool found it’s way to Glen Johnson who pummeled the ball into the net with the goal keeper rooted and stunned by the belter. It was now looking to be a very good day for Liverpool. 2-nuthin’ to the reds! And Steve Bruce might as well try and find the beach ball that scored the goal for Sunderland, way back in October of 2009.

As the game moved towards half time, further volcanic pressure resulted in a double chance for Torres which he expertly hit at the post and skied the rebound.

The second half saw Sunderland move forward with greater intent given that they were looking at a two goal deficit and a third or fourth would damage them psychologically and not as far as the points table goes.

Just as Sunderland tried to squeeze their way into the game, Torres spoiled the party for them with a beautiful goal under pressure from a splendid pass from Johnson. At this stage, I could not envision Sunderland to fashion any sort of a comeback, particularly as they were bludgeoned by jeers from the Liverpool half of the crowd about a certain beach ball. And quite rightly so!

I was happy to see that Liverpool displayed an insatiable hunger for the fourth goal having put the result beyond doubt! This is what champions are made of. I was also happy to see that Aquilani came on for Dirk Kuyt to suggest that there would also be a possible.

As the match further progressed to the inevitable conclusion that there were no beach balls this time around to save Sunderland, David Ngog came on for the supreme destroyer, Fernando Torres. Nabil El Zhar  and came on for Steven Gerrard who had a better day but could still improve.

The only time that Sunderland actually threatened was when Reina had to concoct a diving save to parry a rather strong shot on goal by an unidentifiable Sunderland player. Ah it was none other than ex-Liverpool player, Zenden!

The three minutes of stoppage time did little to improve Sunderland’s predicament as Ngog failed to make it 4-0 in Liverpool’s favor. this was an important victory for Liverpool who would want to continue in the same vein for their next 6 matches.





The case for Aqua and Babel – Liverpool v Sunderland Preview

24 03 2010

As we get closer to the end of the season, Aston Villa and Manchester City have handed Liverpool FC a glimmer of a hope by drawing against Sunderland and losing to Everton, respectively, in midweek.

Carew's goal rescues point for 7th place Villa. http://www.bbc.co.uk

Now, Liverpool will need to take on Sunderland on Sunday, the 28th of March and MUST capitalize on this with a three point haul.

Cahil scores against Man City! http://www.bbc.co.uk

How are Liverpool to go about achieving that? By playing Aquilani in midfield and Babel on the wing. The time for a defensive mindset is long gone and Rafael Benitez has been reminded that time and again, the latest unsavory reminder coming against arch rivals, Manchester Utd last weekend. I hate retrospect but that was a match which flabbergasted me!

My starting eleven would be:

Reina, Jonhson, Carragher, Agger, Insua,Kuyt, Aquilani, Mascherano, Gerrard, Torres.

Despite Liverpool’s rotten season, I don’t see Liverpool slipping up against Sunderland and in light of recent happenings in the Premier League, live in eternal hope of a fourth place finish!

Moyes and Mancini. http://www.soccernet.com





Scum v Liverpool – Preview

19 03 2010

It’s a huge showdown, the one on Sunday! And if you don’t know what I am talking about, you, sir/madam, are a twat! It’s Manchester Utd [Spit to get the bad taste out of your mouth] vs Liverpool FC at Old Trafford.

I think all ‘pool fans would remember the spanking (in a completely non-homosexual way) that the scum got at the hands of Liverpool with Fernando Torres and company running the United defense ragged. Sir Alex has promised that it won’t be a repeat of that night and even Liverpool supporters would probably subscribe to this fact which is kind of a truism.

However, it is an important match for both teams. If Liverpool win, they would be making a somewhat late case for themselves as far as the lucrative yet elusive fourth place goes. If Man Utd (gulp!) win [Spit to get bad taste out of your mouth], they would be making a strong push for the title. Whatever the outcome, this match is THE match of the remaining season. Never has it been low on hijinks, drama and humdinger-ishly noisy crowds!

As far as team selection goes, I hope Liverpool start with five in midfield with Aquilani and Lucas playing on either side of Gerrard who would push up behind Torres at opportune moments. I am hoping to see Babel and Kuyt at left and right flanks respectively while the back four should remain unchanged from Liverpool’s previous two superlative performances (superlative in terms of number and quality of goals scored, not necessarily the ENTIRE performance itself).

We all know what Manchester Utd are quite capable of (read Wayne Rooney) and won’t go into the details for two reasons: I don’t care about United and because I don’t care about United.

Predictions you say? I would say that Liverpool have it in them to inflict damage on the United contingent but would like to sit on the fence for this one. I would call this a 1-1 draw but the hopeless romantic in me would like a 2-0 to Liverpool! Heres looking forward to Sunday!





Liverpool unhinged Portsmouth. Win 4-1

15 03 2010

25 minutes. 25 minutes is how long it took for Liverpool to expose the Beckham-esque Achilles heel that is Portsmouth with 3 goals between then and minute # 32! Having said that, the first half was just what the doctor ordered to restore Liverpool’s waning confidence and also the confidence of their fans in the team itself!

Steven Gerrard played a major part in all three goals by Fernando “El Nino” Torres, Ryan “Yippe! I’m in the starting eleven” Babel and Alberto “Insert witty comment in Italian” Aquilani. As the commentators astutely put it: the cork had just been popped!

The second half beckoned and Liverpool took the field with vigor unseen in the last seven or eight months. After all, it was the first time the Liverpool contingent had scored 3 goals in a game in the last six months!

The second half saw Liverpool play in a more mellow, watered down fashion for they had proverbially unhinged the Portsmouth defense with their triple strike in the first half. The potshots at goal were however taken and the Portsmouth goalkeeper, James Ashdown, did his best to keep further goals out.

With 35 minutes gone after Liverpool’s 3rd goal of the game, Martin Kelly was getting ready to come on for Johnson, for his Premier League Anfield debut and immediately made a positive impact in winning a corner kick. Steven Gerrard was the next to come off with less than 20 minutes to go after taking a wild elbow swing at the now completely beleaguered Portsmouth captain, Martin Brown whose vehement petulance in the wake of Gerrard’s exit did little to incite a response from the referee.

The petulance from Brown was persistent for another contentious foul (contentious in Portsmouth’s view) given. The foul was dispatched swiftly by Mascherano and passed positronically (?? bad attempt at wordplay !!) by Aquilani and taken full advantage by Fernando Torres who scored his second of the game and Liverpool’s fourth. David Ngog came on for Torres at this juncture, which was surprising as Torres would have liked a hat-trick round about now!

Portsmouth did get a consolation goal in the 89th minute. This did possibly sour Liverpool’s rather sweet nectarine of an effort tonight.

Liverpool had plenty of positives to take from this match. Particularly the arsenal of runs that Ryan Babel and Aquilani had in their repertoire,and Pepe Reinas solid effort in front of goal, barring the single aberrant goal that Portsmouth did get,  but given Portsmouth’s defensive frailty, it would be incorrect to read too deep into this 4-1 result.

All in all, the Liverpool half ware quite happy and did their goal difference no wrong at all. Here’s looking forward to the next two crucial games on their agenda: Liverpool v Lille on Thursday (18th March 2010) and the big one: Manchester Utd v Liverpool on Sunday (21st March 2010).





Flying Dutchman scores brace! LFC 2 Tottenham 0

20 01 2010

Despite the extremely corny nature of the title, a goal at either end of a pulsating match by Dirk Kuyt secured three precious points for Liverpool which sends them sixth just a solitary, measly point behind fourth placed Tottenham. The latter had to be beaten today for it was on the cards. Besides, Liverpool didn’t really have a choice but win this match.

For lack of time I am unable to commit more than 6 whole sentences to this blog post but Kuyt’s industry, Aquilani’s assist and Carragher and Cos. steadfastness won an important match for the reds, perhaps temporarily lifting the dense cloud of gloom around Anfield! It stood Liverpool 2 Tottenham 0.





Liverpool throw lead away at Stoke

16 01 2010

Liverpool are presenting a classic case study on “Further escalating troubles” as they managed to throw away a 0-1 lead in the 90th minute and allowed Stoke City to clinch a single point from the game with themselves being denied what could have been a crucial win. With 6 changes from midweek’s encounter, Liverpool fielded what was predominantly a defensive team with as many as 6 defenders and a further 2 defensive midfielders in Leiva and Mascherano.

Maxi Rodriguez was given a hurried debut in the 75th minute with Aquilani coming on too. Liverpool looked a broken side throughout the match and although Kyriagkos got his first goal for Liverpool to put the reds 0-1 up, the persistent droop that they’ve displayed in recent weeks was lifted only mere millimeters. And then came the dagger through the heart as Stoke City scored of a corner, in the 90th minute as Liverpool’s set-piece-diarrhea continued. Kuyt almost won the match for Liverpool in a desperate literal last second header to only see the post come to Stoke City’s rescue.

Rafael Benitez is living on borrowed time and I can’t really see how long this will continue even though there is a large severance package that the Liverpool board room would need to pay him if he were to be removed from service. I am at a complete loss of words and don’t have it in me to hope that Liverpool finish 4th.