24 07 2010

I am back after a two month hiatus during which several things academically important were completed. However, I will soon be off for a month long break. So this post is meant to whet your appetite particularly if you have sufficiently medicated yourself.

Positive things have been occurring at LFC. After the signing of Milan Jovanovich and Joe Cole to bolster the club’s attacking capabilities, all I need is for Fernando Torres to stay like Steven Gerrard has for they are destined for great things at Liverpool and it is only a matter of time (read probably this year) that Liverpool are up among the best again.

“Predictions so early in pre-season?” you ask? Sure, why not?! Move over citeh, get out of our way spurs and Arsenal and Chelsea and United (BARF)! The Liverpool juggernaut is here!!!! Ok, a little too corny but you can’t blame my enthusiasm as LFC has a new found attacking aura (on paper at least) and a new manager in Roy Hodgson. So what if Mascherano want’s out? So what if we don’t have a left-back (YIKES!)? So what if Gerrard is pushing 30? So what if Gillet and Hicks (DOUBLE BARF) are still in power? At the end of the tunnel, there is a light. Although I must admit that last year, this aforementioned light was actually a mean locomotive comprised of Spurs, Citeh, Villa et al. steaming down and crushing Liverpool. But that was last year. This is a new year and a new season!

Here’s looking forward to the English Premier League 2010-2011 and not so much the Europa League 2010-2011. Now, I must go and run my 8-10kilometers for the week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a stream for Liverpool’s preseason match against Swiss outfit, Grasshoppers today.


Pyrrhic victory(???) for Liverpool

19 04 2010
Rafael Benitez continued to frustrate me with his team selection (although it would prove to vindicate him later). Ngog started as the lone striker with Gerrard playing an unusual (unusual for Gerrard i.e.) withdrawn deep midfield position. No Mascherano, No Aquilani (What’s that all about….?). Lucas started.
Both teams started in subdued manner. West Ham were mellow as a result of their low morale in all likelihood while Liverpool’s muffled approach was probably as a result of the feeling of missing out on 4th place sinking in along with the news of Torres not being able to complete the season and who might have very well played his last game for the reds.
Notably, a number of seats lay derelict and empty at Anfield — an anachronism of sorts.
Liverpool did take the lead however on the 20th minute through Yossi Benayoun’s chested deflection from a superb free kick by Steven Gerrard. Soon Liverpool took what might be considered an unassailable lead for West Ham to overtake through… wait a minute… David Ngog. (I pictured Rafael Benitez waving a milatory finger at me saying “I told you so”)
However, there was a lull in Anfield at half time as this might just be a pyrrhic victory for Liverpool. Too little too late.
The second half started in similar drab fashion as neither team tried too hard to wake the crowd from it’s deep slumber. Despite the somnolent nature of the game, West Ham allowed Kyrgiakos to score only his second goal for Liverpool from a Steven Gerrard free kick (it is debate at this juncture whether it was an own goal by West Ham goalie, Rob Greene), with nearly 40 minutes to go!
It was Liverpool 3 West Ham 0 and it looked bad for the hammers while not looking very uppity for the Reds themselves given their current league position and that of Tottenham, Man City, Aston Villa and even Everton.
The only person proving to be quite a handful was Yossi Benayoun who was flashing past defenders like they were daisies in a field.
It was the 66th minute before West Ham elicited Reina’s first save of the game from an innocuous attempt on goal by Carlton Cole. That told the story of the match.
Liverpool made their first substitution of the evening in the form of Javier Masceranho coming on for Steven Gerrard as a precautionary measure for their midweek Europa league fixture. Momentarily, Ryan Babel, Liverpool’s super-sub came on for David Ngog.
Although Liverpool won the game in clinical fashion, the match lacked the usual fervor that is characteristic of Liverpool and their supporters. They desperately need to play more attractive football.

Drawn and quartered – Liverpool 2 Manchester city 2

21 11 2009

Liverpool certainly started the game with a lot of promise, what with Steven Gerrard in the starting eleven, although (spoiler alert!) he was kept quite all game long. What was quite surprising and could be touted a “medical miracle” that Benayoun and Riera were on the bench after receiving what could only be described a massage with a happy ending as they were massaged back to health with horse placenta of all therapeutic er… fluids?

After quite a positive quarter of an hour for Liverpool, their injury troubles boiled over on the field within the space of 3 or 4 minutes as Agger, on his return match, was taken out on the stretcher as a result of a concussion and similar fate awaited Ryan “rare starter” Babel as he picked up a rather nasty knock on the ankle (bring in the horse placenta!). Kyrgiakos and Benayoun replaced respectively, the injury prone defender, Daniel Agger, and the stay-on-bench prone Ryan Babel. From then on, barring a few weak corners from Liverpool a pot shot at goal by Mascherano and Lucas (what??!??) the half ended in a disappointingly drab note for the Red contingent.

Skrtel Scores but Liverpool draw.

The second half looked to begin with the same kind of verve or lack of, as the first half, at least as far as Liverpool were concerned. But of all people, Skrtel had different ideas. A free kick duly taken by Steven Gerrard resulted in a goal by a leg stuck out by none other than Martin Skrtel as the Slovakian defender celebrated his world cup qualification with a goal and a vital one for Liverpool. Liverpool’s first of the game. Skrtel’s first for Liverpool! But the job was far from done as there were 40 more minutes to go.

The heavy shadows that Liverpool had been casting for a good part of the previous two months looked spry again. And Rafa Benitez looked…. as stoic as ever! Turn that frown upside down Rafa!

Manchester City had different ideas as the game progressed and as if to prove Liverpool’s continuing inefficacy from set piece situations, Adebayor had to go and score of a corner in the 69th minute. This squared the match at 1-1 and all Rafa could do was wipe his classes down on his designer purple tie. Liverpool, I am sure, did recognize that a draw was not an option.

With 20 minutes to go, I was having an increasing feeling of deja vu. A feeling that isn’t really nice when associated with Liverpool’s current season given their poor form. This foreboding Deja vu turned to reality with a Stephen Ireland goal with Skrtel switching off for the second time in less than 10 minutes. This did not bode well for Liverpool as they have increasingly found themselves staring down the wrong end of a gun!

Having said that, in a matter of seconds, Placenta boy Benayoun slide-scored a goal to put Liverpool back in the fray. 2-2! The pitch was on fire, figuratively of course. The sort of fire that Liverpool would like to turn into a regular conflagration ala “Premier League season 2008-2009”, to zing Manchester City.

And minute 81. Whats this??? Cometh the hour, cometh the man??!??! Movement on the bench! Aquilani stirs!!!! Oh, he stirs to move into the tunnel to take a wee. It’s Fabio Aurelio, the other Placenta boy who would be coming on, ostensibly at least. At least, he was stripping down to his strip. With five minutes of regular time to go, Aurelio did come on for Benayoun as the latter had to recharge his placenta cream treatment quota!

The final cast of the die, which has been biased against Liverpool this season, did’t result in any jubilation for either side. Liverpool dropped a further two points. Two points that will prove to be crucial as I think it is quite safe to write Liverpool off now.

Liverpool back with a bang!

12 09 2009

Although the headline that I’ve used is quite sensationalist, Liverpool did little to convince me otherwise! For a change! Liverpool started with the same 11 as from their win against Bolton and Babel still stayed out much to his chagrin, I am sure.

The first 15-20 minutes saw Liverpool getting their footing in the match and they looked less than convincing. However, Benayoun seemed to have regained his bearings as he cannoned a goal on the 26th minute to the delight of the KOP! This was a cue for Liverpool to all out as the Reds almost clinched another one hardly a minute later.

Burnley (White) battle on in vain! Courtesy: AFP

Burnley (White) battle on in vain! Courtesy: AFP

Burnley rallied and attacked the Liverpool goal with gusto that most teams of Burnley’s caliber don’t show. However, a counterattack from Liverpool yielded another goal courtesy of a deflection from Benayoun that the ever so hardworking Dirk Kuyt put into the net in the 41st minute! At half time, Liverpool had quite a commanding lead of 2-0.

Hat trick hero!

Hat trick hero!

The second half followed in the same vein as the first. It was all Benayoun and Gerrard as the latter provided an impossible assist for the former to get his second goal of the game on the 65th minute! At 3-0 Liverpool had put the game beyond Burnley’s grasp. If it wasn’t for an offside of a Gerrard freekick a couple of minutes later, Benayoun could have got his hat-trick! But it was far from over as on the 82nd minute, an intricately chalked out play that left the Burnley back line bewildered, saw Yossi Benayoun get his third goal, his hat-trick as Liverpool took a 4-0 lead that was so reminiscent of their previous seasons explosive exploits!

Adebayor Celebrates beating Gunner black and 'Blue'!

Adebayor Celebrates beating Gunner black and 'Blue'!

At this very moment, it is interesting to see that old gunner, Emanuelle Adebayor’s salvo had his new employees, Manchester City 4-1 up over Arsenal!

The game at Anfield stayed without anymore twists and turns if you don’t consider Voronin missing an absolute sitter and Liverpool took¬† 3 points and 4 goals from this match!

There were certainly positives and negatives from today’s encounter. The positives mainly being Benayoun’s return to form, A goal for recently goal starved Dirk Kuyt, Lucas steadfastness in midfield (Surprise!Surprise!). The negatives were: Not the best backup forwards for Torres.

The goals for Liverpool were from: Benayoun (27), Kuyt (41), Benayoun (61,82)

Liverpool vs Stoke – Possible Starting 11

19 08 2009

Liverpool need to pull their socks up and give Stoke a good whipping if they’d like to be reckoned as a force! Of course, it doesn’t just stop there. They would need to win a good 95% of the next three dozen matches that they have. Being the omniscient guru that I pretend to be, here is my probable starting line up for the reds today:

Reina (GK), Johnson (RB), Carragher (CB), Ayala (CB), Insua (LB), Kuyt (RM/SR), Mascheranho (CDM), Leiva (CDM), Benayoun (LM), Gerrard(AMC/CF), Torres (SC).

Key: GK: Goalie, RB: Right Back, CB: center back, LB: Left back, RM: Right midfield, SR: Striker-Right, CDM: Central defensive midfield, LM: Left midfield, AMC: Attacking mid field, CF: center forward, SC: Striker-central.

However, if Riera is available, I implore Rafael Benitez to have him on the bench at least!

Deja vu AKA 4-4

21 04 2009

Liverpool v Arsenal promised to be a keenly contested match and it certainly delivered on it’s word and more! The denouement – 4-4! For the second time in hardly a weeks time Liverpool manage to score 4 and allow 4!¬† I can’t and don’t want to write much about this match because my below par blogging capabilities will not do this match any justice. However, what was amazing was that Arsenal were 4-3 up at the stroke of 90 minutes! It was Benayoun’s new found brilliance that stunned the gunners and the world!