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.¬†Considering 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.


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!

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.

Fiore-iously bad defeat!

29 09 2009

Fiorentina got the better of Liverpool as the Italians thumped the Reds 2-0 in Florence to deal the reds a setback in their European adventure that has so far produced a dull 1-0 victory (a victory all the same, some say!) against Debresceni. Liverpool were less than ordinary for large portions of the game and terrible for the rest of it. This ends an unbeaten run of six games in League and Europe as the Reds will need to regroup and recoup as they take on an actual threat in Chelsea this weekend.

I was disappointed with the game as a strong Liverpool side sans Mascharenho were shut out while their defensive woes continue.

Barcelona edge past Chelsea in thriller

6 05 2009

Chelsea and Barcelona provided an amazing fare to all the neutrals following the semi-final at Stamford bridge in England. Although the blues went one-up over the catalans in the 9th minute through a Michael Essien humdinger, it was Barcelona who would be eventually breaking at least 50,011 Chelsea hearts through Iniesta’s 94th minute equalizer which meant that the Catalans would meet a certain team from Manchester in Rome.

Chelsea looked to strong arm Barcelona as they did at the Nou Camp a week ago and were hugely successful in doing so. By half-time, Chelsea’s adamance in defense was overly obvious with Barcelona having ZERO shots on goal.ZERO. That was disastrous from a side that has scored 100 goals in the Primera Liga in Spain.

By the hour the final score was almost being etched in stone with Barcelona’s attempts at goal getting feebler by the minute. And to make matters worse, the spanish outfit lost their defender, Eric Abidal, to a contentious red card — the second of two games, over the last two days.

As the final whistle approached, Barcelona were cutting a forlorn figure while Chelsea were sporting ear-to-ear grins. This was all going to change, quite brutally for Chelsea. In the 94th minute, the ever marauding Barcelona midfield and forwards concocted an assist for Iniesta to put away with the kind of skill usually engendered by Barcelona. Pandemonium ensued. The Chelsea team were emotionally breaking down. The next 3 minutes of a really long stoppage period saw Chelsea flail around to no avail. The dreaded final whistle brought tumultous cheers in the Barcelona camp and tumultous tears in the Chelsea camp.

It all ended with the ground security stewards trying to ward of a visibly upset and confrontational Didier Drogba from flinging himself at the referee who would want to revisit his decisions.

Barcelona play the team from Manchester on the 27th of May in what promises to be one of the most hotly contested Champions League finals yet.