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.

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.


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!

Wigan V LFC: Preview

6 03 2010

With all due respect to Wigan Athletic and their fan base, this is a game that Liverpool should look at and say to themselves “We’ve got three points and a couple of goals to get from this match”. Given Liverpool’s superior record against their opponents who are on the brink of being labeled “relegation-threatened”, it should be a cinch. I know what most people think about the nature of statistics and how they may be twisted to benefit one party, the said stats are quite positive in favor of the reds.

Torres is back for the reds. Gerrard seems to have found his feet again. Dirk Kuyt has been dangerous as ever plus he has the best goal scoring record against Wigan. The fact that Liverpool have had 21 AWAY clean sheets in all competitions just adds to the ominous shadow that Liverpool cast on their opponents, Wigan.

There will always be naysayers and they will remind me of Liverpool’s shortcomings when faced by set-piece situations. It is, however, my strong belief that with less than a dozen games to go, it is time for Liverpool to make the final push. Their ambitions have been cut short this season and are not as lofty as pre-season predictions. But whatever the case may be, the Champions League qualification for next season beckons and lets face it, the premier European competition will not be the same without the awesome force that is Liverpool! YNWA

Torres nets his ninth as Liverpool make a comeback!

25 10 2009

Lucas on Beachball duty!

Lucas on Beachball duty!

Liverpool were definitely the better team in what is generally referred to as the Clash of the Titans against Manchester Utd. Thanks to some really good defensive work from stand-in skipper Jamie Carragher, who was spectacular, Masceranho and the much maligned Lucas and some deft passing upfront by Kuyt, Benayoun and Torres, Liverpool came away as 2-0 victors, their 1st win in 5 matches, their third consecutive win against Manchester Utd and a win that hopefully would see their fortunes change for the better!

This match like all previous encounters between the two stalwarts of English football was not without incident. Luckily the incidents in this case didn’t involve unfortunate beach balls and other sun-and-sand paraphernalia! Vidic got his 3rd consecutive red card against Liverpool while Liverpool got their first red card sending off for 54 games, Javier Masceranho. And would you believe it: 54 games ago it was Masceranho who was sent off against Manchester Utd!

Torres netted the opener on 62 minutes as he continued his voodoo over Ferdinand and Vidic who look increasingly discomfited when faced with “El Nino”. The second goal came of the “much maligned in mid week”, David Ngog deep into stoppage time putting the final nail in Manchester Utd’s coffin.

Although Liverpool are several points off the pace right now, this is a good sign as no bad ever comes off of beating Manchester Utd! Plus, Liverpool might just have proved critics wrong by winning an extremely important and difficult game sans Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard!

The goals for Liverpool were from Torres (62nd) and Ngon (94th)

Hook, line and sinker!

Hook, line and sinker!

Liverpool vs Debres… who???

16 09 2009

The Champions League is back and Liverpool took the field against Debrescen, the latter who I had not heard of before, I put my faith in Liverpool getting a 3-0 win with at least a 2-0 lead at half-time. With Benayoun impressing over the weekend with his hat-trick, Benitez had him playing right side of midfield with Kuyt playing behind Torres, in the hole (which off late, I would imagine has been Gerrard’s position).

Debrescen could inflict only psychological damage.

Debrescen could inflict only psychological damage.

Liverpool had a few chances in the first half but it was turning out to be ‘one of those days’ when the Reds would push, push and push but to no avail. To the frustration of Liverpool, round about the 30th minute Debrescen got very adventurous and it almost paid of if it wasn’t for Reina’s good stop. My 3-0 prediction looked as bad as a forecast of snow in the summer!

Kuyt scores only goal of the game.

Kuyt scores only goal of the game.

Half time was upon us with just a single minute of stoppage time. However, this proved to be enough as Kuyt put Liverpool 1-0 up from a Torres shot that was saved by the goalie; and I breathed a sigh of relief!

The second half started with Debrescen scurrying around with intent. Liverpool matched every move in the few opening minutes of the second half with even a shout for a penalty thrown in! As the match progressed Liverpool kept the ball in the opposing half and Gerrard almost got a trademark cannon on target; just a few inches too high! However, in general, both teams had strangely switched off with a few half-chances (mostly half-hearted chances) falling to Liverpool in the 62nd minute.

As the match progressed close to the 65th minute, Riera and Benayoun were going great guns on both sides of the field. This resulted in a clever little nutmeg from Benayoun that almost had the Debrescen keeper in a sweat which was averted by a corner in Liverpool’s favor. By the 75th minute, Liverpool had accumulated a corner-tally of 7 and Carragher was taking potshots at goal!

The match was drawing to a close and Liverpool were making no effort to dispel the fear of them conceding from corners and setpieces! This match is a classic example that a 1-0 lead is never enough as the opposition always has a chance. So far, for Liverpool’s good fortune, the current opposition lacked the class to take advantage of Liverpool’s regular drops in concentration.

Babel came on for Riera — the former must be getting a little too used to the bench these days! To Babel’s credit, he created a clear chance for Benayoun with a burst of pace with Benayoun not taking full advantage of the situation. Liverpool still stay 1-0 and Babel was staking a claim for the starting line up. With just a couple of more minutes to go, Masceranho who was out of the team with an injury replaced the in-form Benayoun as Liverpool looked to defend, defend and defend.

In stoppage time, Liverpool used up their last substitution, Fabio Aurelio, as a temporizing strategy as the match ended with Dirk Kuyt’s goal keeping Liverpool’s nose ahead.

The goal for Liverpool was: Kuyt (45+1)

Liverpool win!!…unconvincingly…

7 02 2009

It never looked like the reds would get 3 points from their game against a pompey side who was desperate to get out of relegation throes.

It was the Portsmouth side that broke the deadlock in the 64th minute through a David Nugent nugget. However, make shift central midfielder Fabio Aurelio capitalised on an indirect free kick (courtesy old red boy Crouch) to square the deal 1-1. Portsmouth went 2-1 up through Hreidarsson’s devastating header that saw Reina flail around to no avail. This prompted the introduction of Xabi Alonso. This introduction was to have the desired effect as the denouement would show.

Minute 75: Cometh the moment cometh the man; enter Fernando Torres!! After a midfield battle which involved Torres, Benayoun (who was outstanding) and Kuyt, Liverpool managed to get the ball into the pompey penalty box. Kuyt was given an impossible angle from a David James deflection which the dutch international put into the net to drag liverpool back into the game. 2-2!

At this moment it looked like Liverpool had saved face but lost the battle for the title. From Portsmouth’s point of view, it wasn’t a great result but any result that yielded upwards of 1 point would be gladly accepted, given their debilitating league position. However, from a late-in-the-second-half-trademark Liverpool surge, Torres got a trademark header on target to belie pompey’s efforts as Liverpool won the match 3-2 in the 91st minute. They also go top of the league, temporarily! It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for the reds but it was a great show of persistence from them.