Rabotnicki vs Liverpool FC – Preview

27 07 2010

I am completely clueless as to who will start in Liverpool’s premature season opener on Thursday and so heres my team:


All I can hope for is Aquilani and Lucas start with maybe Shelvey and most probably Jovanovich getting a chance. In case the club doesn’t sell all it’s promising youngsters (along the lines of Emiliano Insua ), we might see El Zhar, Pacheco, Ayala and Kelly starting. Or if Hodgson ‘confers with his sports scientists‘ and feels that the Europa league opener is well worth the risk of playing Gerrard et al. (et al. hoping that Torres stays), we might see a senior team.

As for the game itself, anything including and upwards of a 0-0 draw would be considered a bonus, I would think.





Kissing fourth place goodbye

13 04 2010

Optimists (read ‘people who see the bright side of a plague’) might say otherwise but I think I am bracing myself for Liverpool’s absence from the Champions League next season and possibly the Europa league as well.

I might sound fatalistic but I think we need to face the facts now. If the two consecutive draws against Birmingham City and Fulham were not bad enough, Manchester City continue to make a case for themselves as far by netting 3-4 goals every game.

This brings me to think what was amiss in Liverpool’s season and this is what I conclude:

  • Lack of world class strikers other than Fernando Torres. Ngog is no where close to Torres and LFC effectively play with one striker in their whole squad. Shameful.
  • Lack of a play-making midfielder. Ever since Xabi Alonso left Liverpool, Alberto ‘I am injured’ Aquilani has done little to fill the rather gaping hole in midfield. Lucas doesn’t belong to the same mold as Alonso and it is safe to assume that Lucas may be on his way out although I might be wrong about that (sitting on the fence in an ambiguous manner there!)
  • Steven Gerrard’s less than fruitful season. Captain Fantastic hasn’t clicked this season and has lost his touch. Some say that he might be on his way out. I sincerely hope not.
  • Have the wingers ‘provided’? Barring a some good performances by Glen Johnson who isn’t really a right side midfield player, LFC clearly lacks wingers who can provide devastating crosses. The one hope that they have, Ryan Babel, has featured less than he would have ideally liked (and made that quite clear on his Twitter page!)
  • Bench strength. Lets face it. Liverpool have a weak bench. Reinforcements are sorely needed.

Anything you might want to add to this, please leave a comment! I guess we just need to bring in the changes now.





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!





Benfica 2 – Liverpool FC 1

1 04 2010

I don’t buy this. Liverpool have a raw deal with the referees this season. I think Liverpool were better than what the scoreline suggests. I really hope the reds murder Benfica in the return leg. I just don’t buy that Liverpool would lose 2-1. I am too incensed to write much. Must stop before expletives pour out by the hundreds.





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!





Lille OSC vs Liverpool FC – Preview

11 03 2010

The once illustrious Liverpool FC have been left to ply their trade in the lower echelons of European football as they take on Lille OSC in France tomorrow. This is touted to be a tricky test of Liverpool’s character; in other words, a test that Liverpool wouldn’t really like and can do well without. And that is exactly what Liverpool should try to do. The only way out of this is to go ahead and attack Lille.

Although it might not seem so, but attacking football used to be Liverpool’s forte until the turn of 2010 or a little before that. It’s been a while since they scored 3 or more goals in Europe, a very frequent feat for the reds under Rafael Benitez last year.

In Lille’s favor is their recent run of European form. They have lost just once in the last 16 home matches played in Europe and have, more recently, won 5 out of their last 6 home games in European competitions. This statistic doesn’t bode very well for Liverpool who, although have an equally superior record in Europe, and particularly in France, but have suffered a rather fretful fate at home, a fate that has  spilled over into other competitions they have played in so far.

As a Liverpool supporter, I hope and wish for a Red victory in France for I am well aware of what Liverpool are capable of on their day. In my opinion any score line with a two goal margin in Liverpool’s favor should see them progress to the next round. But, given the embarrassing run of form that the reds have had to endure, we will have to wait and see how tomorrow’s Europa league encounter unfolds.

NOTE: I have a sneaky suspicion that Ryan Babel, who has showed much fervor and improvement on the field, might get a rare start tomorrow and might start on the left flank.





Debresceni vs Liverpool – a game of permutations and combinations!

24 11 2009

There’s a lot at stake for Liverpool today. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely up to the reds to progress as there are various permutations that need to click else the reds might find themselves in the Europa league (no offence!) come 2010. Below are the various permutations and the effect that they would have for Liverpool:

Liverpool win + Fiorentina win = Liverpool out of the CL.

Liverpool win + Lyon win = Liverpool need to beat Fiorentina to progress in CL.

Liverpool win + Lyon/Fiorentina draw = Liverpool need to beat Fiorentina by three goals or more to progress in CL.

Liverpool lose = Liverpool out of the CL.

Liverpool draw = Liverpool out of the CL.

Here’s hoping that Liverpool and Lyon pull out wins this Tuesday! YNWA.