Liverpool v Fulham – European supremacy Part 1

10 04 2010

The title shows an obvious lack of ideas for … er …titles. However, it is rather surprising that given their antecedents this season, Liverpool and Fulham are the only two English sides still in any European competition, a stark contrast of a situation as compared to the EPL’s supremacy in Europe.

Anywhooo, this isn’t about the Europa league. Or the Champions League. This is about the Premier League. It is about whether Liverpool would reclaim fourth place which has so often been their’s over the last couple of seasons.

Given that Fulham are in the lower middle half of the table, I have a sneaky suspicion that they may rest a few key players¬† so as to avoid injuries to key players which might hamper their European adventure. On the other hand, Liverpool should probably play a full strength squad with Ryan Babel, possibly, returning to the starting line up after sitting out Liverpool’s mauling of Benfica. Having said that, if you know Rafael Benitez then there’s a good chance you can’t quite predict the starting line-up for tomorrows clash at Anfield!

On a side note, would we see Lucas Leiva start again or would the gaffer prefer 20 mil. man, Alberto Aquilani?

Predictions, predictions, predictions… Liverpool can’t afford a sub-par performance like the one they demonstrated against Birmingham, so I would say it would, in all probability, be a Liverpool victory: 2-0 or 2-1. Please do note that the key phrase here is “in all probability” and everyone who has followed Liverpool’s dismal season would understand my lack of confidence!

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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!





Anfield trip ‘hazard’ous to Lille. Liverpool make quarterfinals!

18 03 2010

News of Fulham spectacularly dumping Juventus out of the Europa league could have only galvanized Liverpool to perform at their very best against Lille OSC who proved to be quite the feisty opponents as suggested by the 0-1 deficit that Liverpool had to contend with.

Aquilani was not part of the first team or the bench as a result of a stomach virus or some such while Riera was suspended by the club for unsavory comments regarding the gaffer Rafael Benitez.

I wasn’t really pleased with Lucas coming in for Aquilani but I was in for a pleasant surprise! The usually defensive and much maligned Lucas Leiva was perhaps the most dashing player in red in the first quarter of an hour and to his credit, also won a penalty! A penalty that allowed Liverpool to catch up to the score line and restore parity through Steven Gerrard’s calmly taken spot kick.

The first half came to a close with a 1-1 score line which in fact was a little flattering in favor of the red contingent given their below par performance for large portions of the first half, barring probably the first 20 minutes or so.

Steven Gerrard looked quite out of sorts while Kuyt seemed to absent despite being on the field. Fernando Torres was full of verve but also possessed heavy first touches which saw him absent from the score card. The last few seconds of the first half saw Gerrard cause a major hiccup in the Lille defense but given Torres’s offside disposition, Liverpool couldn’t inflict further damage in the half.

Liverpool started the second half with a real sense of purpose and in similar vein to the first ten minutes of the first half, they scored! Torres was the goal scorer this time around as he caught the Lille defense asleep. Frankly he caught me asleep as well and I couldn’t quite see who the provider was as I was caught off my feet making tin foil ramekins!

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet? http://www.liverpoolfc.tv

As the match progressed to the hour mark, Torres continued to torment the Lille defense which looked like an over caffeinated jumpy kitten. However, it was too early for the result to be written in stone as the aggregate stood merely at 2-1, although in Liverpool’s favor.

Liverpool seemed to be content with sitting back on their derriere’s (French pun intended!) and they almost paid a penalty for their newly assumed non-chalance had it not been for not the best of efforts by Lille from a free kick.

Eggs benedict

Eggs benedict in tin foil ramekins.

With less than 10 minutes of regulation time to go, Liverpool looked quite nervous. And why shouldn’t they be? Given the nature of knock-out cup football such as the Europa League is, although Liverpool were 2-0 up on the day, all Lille needed was a single goal to hurl Liverpool out of the Europa league, on away goals.

Kuyt was going for hard hitting shots on goal but Lille goal keeper, Landreau, parried his salvo of shots with certainty.

At this juncture, the commentators thought best to plug a Van Damme movie: “In hell” which apparently would follow after this match. Liverpool AND Lille were both on tenterhooks and were most definitely “In Hell”¬† for the last ten minutes of this game. And Jerry Vandamm would come on for Lille for Hazard, Lille’s goal scoring midfielder from the previous round.

The tension was getting to me and as I reached for a Biscotti, the dynamic duo of Gerrard and Torres put the reds into the quarterfinals — Gerrard playing the part of provider and Torres getting his second goal of the game and Liverpool’s third of the night!

The whistle blew confirming Liverpool’s mini resurgence and I can’t wait for the game on Sunday. The big one!





Hattrick for Torres, Liverpool get 6!

26 09 2009

Torres hunts the tigers down. www.soccernet.com

Torres tames tigers. http://www.soccernet.com

Liverpool took their winning streak to 6 matches thanks to a Fernando Torres hat-trick against Hull City. Liverpool opened their tally through a Torres goal that found it’s way to the back of the net right through the open palms of the goal keeper. As if to provide some hope to Hull city, their midfielder Geovanni took full advantage of Liverpool’s, now serious, lack of man-to-man marking to draw level.

This deadlock was soon brought to an end by a fantastic one man goal by Fernando Torres about 15 minutes before half time. Torres looked very much like the man who scored in excess of 30 goals in his first season as he was poised to get his first hat-trick of this season.

And a hat-trick was what he was about to get. Within minutes of teh commencement of the second half, Torres put the result well beyond doubt with the completion of his hat-trick! There were at least 40 minutes more to go. To make matters worse for Hull City, Steven Gerrard scored a magical goal on the hour. It was a looping, curving cross that found no one’s head but just sailed into the goal as if by pure, fantastic magic!

Hull tussle with Liverpool in vain. www.premierleague.com

Hull tussle with Liverpool in vain. http://www.premierleague.com

It looked quite hopeless for Hull City as their shoulders drooped as they were down and out of this match by a long distance. But the match was far from over as second half substitute Ryan Babel further cemented his place in the team as a substitute by scoring his first league goal of the season. Minutes later, it was Riera’s turn to get on the score sheet thanks to a Babel deflected goal! With this the shoulders of the Hull players drooped lower than the belly of a centipede.

Liverpool did climb the charts with this win but what should be at the back of Benitez’s mind is that they again conceded a goal because of a lack of water-tightness in their defense.

The goals for Liverpool came from: Torres (12th, 28th, 51st), Steven Gerrard (61st), Babel(88th), Riera(Babel’s deflection) (90th)