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 lose to Wigan in what was definitely a decider!

8 03 2010

In a match where Liverpool were bolstered by the presence of their full squad, they did little to dent Wigan Atletic’s poise. The ball remained concentrated in Liverpool’s half for large portions of the first half, much to the Liverpool fan’s disgust and to the delight of Wigan’s supporters. This plus three yellow cards by the reds didn’t do much to placate the worries that have only mounted over the last 28 matches.

It wasn’t so much Wigan’s perspicacity in front of goal but the lack thereof on the part of Liverpool that eventually translated into a goal for Wigan on 35 minutes as the ball was needlessly given away for the umpteenth time in less than 15 minutes. Now, Liverpool had quite a mountain to climb further underscoring Liverpool’s lack of sting this season.

The second half started no differently as Wigan kept neutralizing any threat that Liverpool’s strike duo of Gerrard and Torres could do. Torres did have a genuine chance after Maxi Rodriguez cut into the Wigan box to provide a decent cross. Wigan’s 4-2-3-1 formation was proving to be too thick of a wall to break down. With a 1-0 lead, Wigan were very happy to sit back and get Liverpool on the break. Liverpool were as mushy as Oatmeal after 5 minutes in my microwave (very mush and soft i.e.!).

The defensive minded Lucas Leiva was replaced by a more offensive minded Glen Johnson, the latter making his return from injury in less than ideal circumstances. At this stage, Liverpool looked increasingly unlikely of being able to mount a significant challenge to win the game. We all know that a draw would be curtains for Liverpool’s Champions League hopes for next season as their close and superior competitors, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham have a game or so in hand over the reds.

On the hour, Kyriagkos had to rescue Liverpool from a clearance gone wrong by Carragher. The corner that resulted could have well been an own goal.

The listless display that Liverpool were putting up had to change if Liverpool were to get 3 points from this game but they were giving the ball away, quite easily, allowing Wigan to attempt impressive counter-attacks. Torres had settled into a wide wing position being fed by a Glen Johnson who was clearly lacking match fitness. The ball changed halves very often to Liverpool’s severe disappointment. But they only had themselves to blame as they played like they had just stirred from a siesta and couldn’t quite shake that sleepy feeling off!

Wigan were the perfect damper as they thwarted Liveprool attacks that were more ripples in a pond than waves in the ocean. Even the spate of corners that Liverpool got in the space of 10 minutes, did little to abate the gloom.  Aquilani came on for another rare appearance, with about 20 minutes to go. Benayoun was the man replaced.

With 15 minutes to go, Liverpool almost conceded a second goal as a result of some lax defending. Liverpool’s funeral dirge like style and would bring the pessimist out of the most optimistic supporters. A second chance went begging as Fernando Torres messed a kick, albeit the more difficult kick of the bicycle type!

Soon Fernando Torres and Gerrard got their own yellow cards which mirrored the kind of match Liverpool was having at this juncture. 5 yellow cards to Liverpool was a result of the mounting frustration. Ryan Babel came on for Dirk Kuyt to try and make a difference and rescue Liverpool from possibly the last match that they would play this season, before it could be ascertained with complete certainty of their Champions League chances for next season.

The five minutes of stoppage time that were allotted did little to help Liverpool’s cause. The curtain of gloom that has been continuously descending on Liverpool’s season finally completed it’s descent. It is probably safe to say that Liverpool’s champions league hopes for next season are all but down the drain.





Spain demolish while Brazil escape

15 06 2009

Its been a while since I last posted here as I have been quite busy over the last 6 weeks as I close in on the completion of my Master’s degree. However, the world of Football or as the country I currently live in refers to it, Soccer, has been anything but quiet. A couple of rounds of world cup qualifiers were completed over the last week or so and the highly forgettable Confederations cup commenced in South Africa, the country that will host World Cup 2010.

The two notable matches of the opening stages involved Spain demolishing New Zealand and Brazil almost falling to the redoubtable Egypt. In the former encounter, the kiwis were never given a chance to breathe as the Liverpool contingent of Spain went on a rampage in the first 25 minutes of the game to put the score at 4-0 with Torres getting a hat trick, the first ever of this competition, in about 15 minutes. It was certainly the rampaging bull trampling over the hapless flightless kiwi!

In the other encounter, Brazil came close to being humiliated by African champions Egypt in a humdinger of a match which was decided 4-3 in favor of Brazil through a stoppage time penalty that almost didn’t make it in! It was as if to restore Brazil’s supremacy, the soccer gods contrived to pull the former world champions through.

New Zealand would be nursing some injuries and so would Brazil as a 4-3 score line is nothing short of disaster for the men in Gold!





Liverpool ‘Really’ thrash Madrid

10 03 2009

Corny headlines are back as I have almost completely recuperated from a vile bout of pneumonia!

I was overjoyed with Liverpool’s result against Real Madrid today. A 4-0 emphatic win coupled with the away goal from the previous tie at the Bernabeu gave the reds a 5-0 aggregate win over the galacticos, the latter certainly seeing stars. With a blitzkreig opening half hour performance, Liverpool had notched up two goals, one each from talismanic players Torres and Gerrard.

Gerrard then doubled his tally immediately after half time. Real huffed and puffed but to no avail as the Liverpool defence line were steadfast and strong denying the spanish side even half chances. Alonso and Gerrard were soon brought off with a good quarter of the game to go as Benitez had his eye on the (tantalizing) trip to Old Trafford that awaits the Liverpool side this weekend. Finally Andrea Dossena scored (woah! thats strange!) in the 88th minute to further emphasise Liverpool’s domination of today’s game.

Elsewhere Chelsea knocked Juventus out and Bayern Munich made merry with a 7-1 thrashing over Sporting Club de Portugal to add to their collection of 5 goals from the previous tie.

I am looking forward to see who Liverpool will be paired with in the quarter-finals after tomorrow’s matches unfold!





Liverpool “end” Preston’s charge

3 01 2009

Preston North End went down 2-0 to Liverpool in the FA Cup. This win, however, was without the eloquence that Liverpool demonstrated against New Castle Utd. Riera’s first half goal and 2nd half substitute, Torres’s 92nd minute goal took Liverpool into the next round of the oldest cup competition in the world.

Preston North End didn’t look convincing in the first half and paid for it by conceding a goal. The second half was to be a different story as the game erupted into energy as wave after wave of Preston’s attack were thwarted by a Liverpool defense line which comprised of Carragher, Hyypia, Insua, Agger and defensive mid-fielder Mascarehno.

Early on Keane missed a multitude of straight chances which he will rue. Liverpool’s year is of to a positive start and they would want to forge their way with the same positivity in this competition which hasn’t proved to be the happiest of hunting grounds for the Reds who very often have been unceremoniously dumped out by  teams from lower divisions.





The BLUES couldn’t GUN down the REDS

22 12 2008

Liverpool got a useful draw at the emirates against an Arsenal side that was depleted midway  due to an injury to Fabregas and a red card to Adebayor! The importance of this draw was vindicated when a 10 man Chelsea failed to beat the Toffees at Stamford bridge.

Liverpool are just 1 point ahead of Chelsea at this stage. Aston Villa (hello!) and Manchester Utd are within touching distance of Chelsea and that is a rather ominous sign for Chelsea and Liverpool who haven’t yet got their act together as we are 1 match close to the middle of the league season.

Liverpool play Bolton on boxing day and they would want to get all 3 points from the outfit from reebok. I am looking forward to February when Liverpool and Real Madrid take part in a showdown which might just be bigger than Real Madrid vs Barcelona or AC Milan vs Internazionale!





Are we there yet?

11 12 2008

The question on a lot of Liverpool fans would be: “Are we there yet?”. They would be referring to the current state of affairs in the Premier League and the Champions league. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the former if Liverpool are to keep from slipping up like they did 6-7 years ago.

As for the champions league, it holds a lot of promise for the reds as they’ve made it a habit of progressing far enough to keep them occupied until end April usually. Yes, they may face touch opposition in February but Rafael Benitez seems to know his way about Europe.

Liverpool haven’t been spectacular in the Premier league off late. Robbie Keane’s lean spell and Fernando Torres’s extended absence aren’t doing the team any good. However, it is the likes of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso that have held the ship steady and allowed the team to grind out wins which if not pretty, most certainly suffice to keep their nose ahead of the pack.

I haven’t seen such a closely contested competition in a long time what with the fearsome foursome being equally good or should I say, equally bad this season!

Well its 2 weeks to Christmas and 2 months to the next knock-out round of the champions league. The next 2-3 months are critical for Liverpool as they have to contend with the Premier league as well this season as usually by this time, in previous season, they would be contesting only on 2 fronts — the FA cup/League cup and the Champions League.