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.


Officially no more fourth place

2 05 2010

Only in an alternate universe. http://www.liverpool.theoffside.com

Liverpool wrapped up their final game at Anfield for this season through yet another listless performance for which the Europa league exit is sure to be blamed for.

Despite an emotional Europa league semifinal exit, I expected the Reds to show some tooth here. But it was not to be as Drogba capitalized on a bad pass by Gerrard, in the first half and Lampard put one into the net in the second half to keep Chelsea in pole position and firm favorites to take the title next week.

As for Liverpool, it was a disgusting performance and they were largely disinterested in the proceedings. There were some surprise inclusions in the team for the reds as Aquilani started again but was not half as effective as he was in midweek.

Ho-hum, one more week to go but I just don’t care anymore. I think the fat lady has left the building after her ear drum piercing aria.

For a transcript from a live blog hosted on the wonderful http://www.liverpool.theoffside.com,  click here.

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.

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

Liverpool unhinged Portsmouth. Win 4-1

15 03 2010

25 minutes. 25 minutes is how long it took for Liverpool to expose the Beckham-esque Achilles heel that is Portsmouth with 3 goals between then and minute # 32! Having said that, the first half was just what the doctor ordered to restore Liverpool’s waning confidence and also the confidence of their fans in the team itself!

Steven Gerrard played a major part in all three goals by Fernando “El Nino” Torres, Ryan “Yippe! I’m in the starting eleven” Babel and Alberto “Insert witty comment in Italian” Aquilani. As the commentators astutely put it: the cork had just been popped!

The second half beckoned and Liverpool took the field with vigor unseen in the last seven or eight months. After all, it was the first time the Liverpool contingent had scored 3 goals in a game in the last six months!

The second half saw Liverpool play in a more mellow, watered down fashion for they had proverbially unhinged the Portsmouth defense with their triple strike in the first half. The potshots at goal were however taken and the Portsmouth goalkeeper, James Ashdown, did his best to keep further goals out.

With 35 minutes gone after Liverpool’s 3rd goal of the game, Martin Kelly was getting ready to come on for Johnson, for his Premier League Anfield debut and immediately made a positive impact in winning a corner kick. Steven Gerrard was the next to come off with less than 20 minutes to go after taking a wild elbow swing at the now completely beleaguered Portsmouth captain, Martin Brown whose vehement petulance in the wake of Gerrard’s exit did little to incite a response from the referee.

The petulance from Brown was persistent for another contentious foul (contentious in Portsmouth’s view) given. The foul was dispatched swiftly by Mascherano and passed positronically (?? bad attempt at wordplay !!) by Aquilani and taken full advantage by Fernando Torres who scored his second of the game and Liverpool’s fourth. David Ngog came on for Torres at this juncture, which was surprising as Torres would have liked a hat-trick round about now!

Portsmouth did get a consolation goal in the 89th minute. This did possibly sour Liverpool’s rather sweet nectarine of an effort tonight.

Liverpool had plenty of positives to take from this match. Particularly the arsenal of runs that Ryan Babel and Aquilani had in their repertoire,and Pepe Reinas solid effort in front of goal, barring the single aberrant goal that Portsmouth did get,  but given Portsmouth’s defensive frailty, it would be incorrect to read too deep into this 4-1 result.

All in all, the Liverpool half ware quite happy and did their goal difference no wrong at all. Here’s looking forward to the next two crucial games on their agenda: Liverpool v Lille on Thursday (18th March 2010) and the big one: Manchester Utd v Liverpool on Sunday (21st March 2010).

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!

Black’burned’!!! aka Liverpool 4 – other team 0

11 04 2009

After an embarassing 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday at Anfield, it was business as usual here as the premier league has suggested this season. Liverpool once again prevailed demolishing Blackburn Rovers 4-0 in the process.

Due to a miscalculation of time zones, I missed Liverpool’s first half which provided half the action, at least in terms of goals with Torres getting a salvo in the first half hour. It is to be noted that Gerrard was on the bench with an injury. The second half was notably slow as Blackburn seemed to have thrown in the towel. It was Daniell Agger’s return to first team action and he marked that with a humdinger of a goal in the second half which leaves us wondering if Liverpool are making a mistake by keeping him away from first team action. Agger has provided more goals than Carragher, Skrtel and Hyypia put together although he can work on his  consistency and injury-proneness.

It was a great return to glory for Liverpool after their Champions League disaster. Their next match would mark the umpteenth time Liverpool play Chelsea in the Champions League over the last couple of season and the reds would want to turn the 3 goal deficit over with an Istanbul-esque performance!