Liverpool v Chelsea – Preview

1 05 2010

I’ve not been getting any blog posts churned out off late because there exists on the horizon, a distinct possibility, that I’d be taking a major step towards graduation through a dissertation proposal defense which I should get done with soon (~ 2-4 weeks time).

This preview comes amidst the innumerable reports that Rafael Benitez might be on his way out, possibly to Juventus and that Dirk Kuyt might follow him out through the door. I don’t know how much truth exists in that but I would only assume that it isn’t entirely untrue.

Liverpool’s match against Chelsea, in the early kick-off on Sunday, would be the cynosure of several eyes which would include Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Aston Villa and the board of directors of Juventus. The reds would be quite tired, physically and emotionally, after their loss to Atletico Madrid which resulted in their ousting from the Europa league, the only minuscule chance of redemption that existed this year. Chelsea on the other hand would want to fortify their pole position and would like to beat Liverpool blue (pun intended) to help them in the said fortification which would keep their noses an inch or so ahead of Manchester United.

But the question to ask is, are Liverpool going to throw in the towel on the back of the trials and tribulations that they’ve faced this season or would they go in for the kill and go for the throat akin to a wounded animal. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. Of lesser probability is the hope of matching my team sheet with that of Rafael Benitez’s. But I’ll try:

Possible starting line up against Chelsea. http://www.liverpoolfc.tv

I am unsure of whether Ngog would be fit for the game and even if he is, if he would start in Kuyt’s place. The latter didn’t have the brightest games or the best latter half of the season, for that matter.

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Possible starting eleven – Liverpool v West Ham Utd

18 04 2010

Let’s just keep aside, for the moment, West Ham’s inability to get a win on the road and focus on Liverpool’s inability to challenge for fourth spot. I hate to say this but LFC need to wake up, smell the coffee (or tea if thats was gets you a kick…) and consolidate.

They must consolidate their current position (which is 7th thanks to Aston Villa beating lowly Portsmouth) or lose out on any chance of playing in Europe next season. Their fourth place chances (if any at all), have taken a cruel hit with the announcement of Fernando Torres’s unavailability for the remained of the season due to injury.┬áConsidering that Torres was the only player in the side who looked to heap misery on oppositions, it’s quite scary that we might just see a goal drought for the next couple of games. I hope I am wrong.

I would like to see the following team tomorrow against West Ham and pray to the millions of gods in Hinduism that Benitez leaves Ngog and Leiva out of this, for once.

Possible starting eleven. http://www.liverpoolfc.tv

I also hope that Gerrard and Kuyt get on the score sheet tomorrow or all might be lost.





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





Different kind of Balloon incident!!!

17 10 2009

Not really the Balon d'Or. http://www.soccernet.com

The reds, sans their marquee players, Gerrard and Torres, were quite ineffectual against a less than Premier League quality Sunderland. Liverpool went 0-1 down in the 6th minute thanks to an extremely unfortunate incident involving the ball being deflected by a stray balloon of all things! Liverpool had a few corners to stage a comeback but somehow (read: lack of Gerrard et al.) lacked the tooth. By the way, a relatively unknown commodity in Jay Spearing was standing in for Stevie G.

To Liverpool’s credit,their strike quintet of Benayoun, Kuyt, Babel, Johnson and Aurelio did try hard to pull one back and it looked like it was a matter of when the reds would score… At least thats what I hoped! The first half ended with the score still 1-0 in Sunderland’s favor with Liverpool only getting in a few weak kicks.

The away side (Liverpool) had little to boast about in the second half as Reina and the goal post kept the goal deficit to the 1-0 minimum instead of a 3-0 embarrassment. Liverpool’s defense held on steadfast but with no inspiration in the “business end” of the pitch, it looked dark for Liverpool and Benitez’s days just may seem to be numbered.

With 20 minutes to go Benitez threw in Voronin and Mascherano for the debutant Spearing and Skrtel with hope of injecting some zest. Another substitute introduced into the fray to get a goal and get Liverpool’s fading title race into some sort of recovery was David Ngog. The sand was trickling quickly for Liverpool. The last four minutes of the game saw the ball concentrated in the Sunderland half but barring a few pot shots at goal, Liverpool did little to restore parity and looked more and more like mid-table team.

There were 7 minutes of added time(!!!) giving Liverpool a lot of time to still launch an attack or three. The 7 minutes of added time saw Liverpool almost squeeze a goal through if it wasn’t for the vigilance of the Sunderland goalie.

If Liverpool keep up this sort of pallid performances it would be quite safe to say that their title dreams for the 2009-2010 season are done and dusted with. Although Gerrard and Torres are talismanic, their absence was no excuse for Liverpool to not get even a single goal in a match that was a 100 minutes long.

The match was full of controversy which included a beach ball getting the decisive goal, a spat of words between the managers, 7 minutes of added time and two injuries but what will stand out is Liverpool’s inadequacy in front of goal.