Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yossi Winner at JJB

Wigan 0 Liverpool 1
Benayoun 75

Yossi Benayoun, the summer signing from West Ham, was the winner against Wigan last night at the JJB stadium. Substituted in for Fabio Aurelio in the second half and scored a beauty upon coming on.

As expected, Liverpool was playing poorly throughout the game. Poor passing, pumping long balls and end up losing possession. Exactly how they played the previous Premiership games, they were not able to break down Wigan's defences. Steven Gerrard was not himself, the rest of the team seemed dis-spirited.

Fernando Torres who started in this game, had several chances but failed to convert them. Despite that, I still believe he played not too badly. Whenever he's around, I could feel that there's chance of scoring. Of course, he didn't score any goals, some would argue about it. Still, I do think that he's the one who can make the difference. Given more time, he would come good. Come on Fernando!

Despite the poor performance, we were able to get the 3 points which is most important. Wigan played pretty well and did deserve some credit for their hard work. Sadly, that's football. As for Liverpool, we have to improve. With the current standard and performance, I'm afraid we may be lag behind before knowing it.

Rafa have to know the importance of winning the 3 points in every game. It's a long race and in order to keep up with the rest, we have to play and win consistently. Rafa must realise the fact that the Premiership is the top priority. If he really have to tinker the squad, he has to produce results. Otherwise, he would be under so much pressure.

3 points in the bag, I do hope this can boost something in the team, pushing their way up on the table. Up next, Marseille.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Friday, September 28, 2007

Key Players of Big 4

After playing of at least 6 games into the season, it's been full of stories and controversies. Under-performance, managers under pressure are just part and parcel of the game. With Arsenal on top of the table at the moment, I would like to talk about the Big 4's key players.

Let's start with Arsenal.
Cesc Fabregas.

The man of the moment. On fire with goals almost each week and assists to Arsenal 's goals this season. To me, he's the most important player for the Gunners. He would be the one who can bring Arsenal into greater heights, playing the simple and beautiful football which they always claimed.

He's some type of player who can link everyone in the middle. Young, full of energy and I believe he's going to be one of the best in the years to come. Under the guidance and coaching of Arsene Wenger, he definitely will be soaring. Whether Arsenal can continue their good start, this young boy here would be crucial to them.

Next up, Chelsea.
Michael Essien.

This big fellow is one of the best defensive midfielders I've seen. Chelsea spent millions on him and he has proven them right in getting him here to London. No nonsense in the middle and works very hard for the team.

Yes, many would have argued that he don't score that many goals as Lampard. However, he has helped Chelsea in many defensive areas. When defenders are injured, he's always the makeshift centre back or right back, and he did it without any complaints. This is what we call team player and I believe Essien is one of those. His hard tackling proves to be important as he breaks down opposition play.

In my opinion, he would be the key to Chelsea's season.

The third player, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United.

Despite the poor start, Manchester United has been climbing up the table producing results even in some games which they were not playing to their standard. This is what I call, a championship team.

Cristiano Ronaldo was suspended when Manchester United was having the bad run. Now he's back in the team, they have started to play better. Of course, Wayne Rooney is back as well. However, in my opinion, Ronaldo is the one who can break defences with his one moment of brillance. His pace, wing-play and the ability to score goals are very menacing to any team in the world.

With the recent 2-0 win against rivals, Chelsea, I'm afraid to see that Ronaldo and Co are in high morale. They will be showing to the world why they were defending champions. Ronaldo would be the one making the difference for them.

Lastly, Liverpool.
Fernando Torres.

To me, Fernando would be the one who can bring Liverpool into getting better results. Not Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso, or even captain Steven Gerrard. Liverpool's problem these seasons is the lack of ability to score goals and a natural striker who can put the ball into the net. Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen is history. Rafa knows about this fact and that's why he bought Torres on a record signing.

Unfortunately, Rafa's tinkering can be so frustrating when the team doesn't produces results. Torres is left on the bench on games which I believe he should be given the chance. Whenever Torres play, you could feel that he's going to score goals and the sense of danger to opposition defenders.

You have to play your best players if you want to challenge for the league. It's a long league and you have to produce results consistently. In order to do that, you have to win games. Torres would be the main man for scoring the goals.

Will Torres be the rising star and legend for Liverpool? I truly believe so.

These are the 4 players whom I think would be making the headlines for their respective teams. We'll see how the season goes from here, it would be interesting.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Official Squad 2007/2008

The team photo of the year. Pretty nice, and I do hope this squad can bring us to honours every year.

*Thanks to Drogballs for the photo.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reds Into Round 4 With Torres Hat-Trick

Reading 2 Liverpool 4
Convey 28, Halls 64, Benayoun 23, Torres 50, 72, 86

A good win, and it's definitely very nice to see Fernando Torres scoring his first hat-trick for Liverpool and also the first goal Yossi Benayounm scored for us. *I didn't watch the match though. :)

Match Goals

Soft goals conceded. Rafa really have to look into that. Another question which puzzles me is why he puts Torres on a League Cup match but not a Premiership match. I do not understand. Nevertheless, it's good to move on the next round and hope this win can push us on for better results.

*Thanks Fiz for the video.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 Points Loss Again

Liverpool 0 Brimingham 0

Title contender? I truly doubt so based on how the way we are playing now. We suffered another 2 points loss against Birmingham at home, while the Gunners thrashed Derby 5-0 at the Emirates.

For the benefit for those who didn't watch our poor performance, this is the highlights.

It's a must win game or I should say, every game is a must-win if you wish to be a title contender, if you wish to be up there challenging for the title which we haven't win for more than a decade. Rafa is frustrated with the Blues' way of playing. However, you must understand. These teams won't not come to Anfield all firing. They would park a bus in front of their goalpost, playing for a draw.

It's how we going to break down the big bus and open the gates. Based on last night's performance, I can conclude, we are simply not good enough. Rafa's tinkering has been under lots of pressure and it seems to me that, he's changing the team for the sake of changing. Keeping the players fresh? The team aren't producing any freshness in their play.

Their overall play was slow, predictable and I could see that their communication isn't that good at all. Is the tinkering causing them to have some miscommunication or they were confused playing with different players week in week out?

Rafa's position may not be 100% safe based on how the team performed lately. The board is always on his toes and will be looking out at the results all the time. The board has given you the money, given you the players, given you everything you need to be a championship winning side. You have no more excuses not to perform to the expectations. Just based on the television, I could see that Anfield was dull and utterly disappointed with the team.

Yes, you may argue that it's still early days. However, I guess if we continue our current poor form, we might have to settle for a 3rd or 4th place again. Arsenal is running away with wins after wins, Manchester United is producing results even when they are not playing well and Chelsea is still a world class team.

It's time to buck up, Reds. Otherwise, it's going to be another season of huge promise but disappointment at the end.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Goodbye The Special One

Jose Mourinho, the self proclaimed, The Special One. Yes, I agree. He's special in his way. An interesting and outspoken manager. A person who's not afraid of letting his feelings known.

A disciplined coach, with so many world class players in his team, he's able to control them and play the football he wanted them to do so. Produced the right results during his reign at Chelsea. He has 2 Premiership titles, 2 Carling Cups and a FA Cup in his bag. For just a short span of three years, it's a massive achievement.

Despite this, he was unfortunately manipulated by his boss, Roman Abramovich. Pressure was on him after years of inability of winning the Champions League. (Liverpool beaten them twice. :)) In my perspective, Jose has his rights to be unhappy. Being the manager of any team, he should be the one calling the shots. Who to buy, who to sell etc.

Andrei Shevchenko and Michael Ballack. Till today, I wonder these 2 players are bought by Mourinho or Roman? I guess Jose had no much choices as he's no boss. I do pity him as he's being disturbed of the rights of being the manager. That's probably why he left or sacked.

People may hate his arrogance, his mind games and him being a sore-loser at times. But, there's no doubt, he's one of the best managers in the world. His unique personality makes all of us read of what he says and see what his actions are week in week out.

Liverpool's relationship with him is never good. Matches of controversy and so much mind games between Jose and Rafa. Still, it's feel good to beat Mourinho's side and I believe his most hated song is our famous anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone..

Goodbye The Special One..

I shall end this entry with this famous win against Chelsea with our awesome anthem.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Liverpool Lucky To Have A Point

Porto 1 Liverpool 1
Luis González, pen 8, Dirk Kuyt, 17

The first Champions League against the strong Portugese side, Porto. Though being the away side, many predicted a Liverpool win because of its past records of playing in this league. However, this is one match which I thought Liverpool didn't deserve to win although my heart wanted the 3 points.

We truly struggled the whole of 90 minutes. First ten minutes was horrendously poor. Porto as expected, was firing from all direction, and Liverpool didn't do what they do best, absorb and defend the pressure. They even struggled to play the normal game. They didn't pass the ball well, overall play was sloppy. Not even a single player performed to his standard.

Ricardo Quaresma was the key member of the Porto team. One of the most wanted wingers in Europe, he troubled Liverpool on both wings. Our defenders failed to contain him down. How can you allow a winger whom we wanted to buy in the summer so much space? He would definitely punish you. Without doubt, Porto went ahead with a stupid penalty conceded by Pepe Reina. I realised that we have been conceding penalties in our recent matches and that's a bad sign.

We created only one chance in the first half, fortunately, we managed to score through Dirk Kuyt. A freekick from Steve Finnan, a flick on by Big Sami and Dirk Kuyt was there to head it home. A similar goal like last season's Champions League final at Athens. Liverpool was lucky. A goal coming from nowhere.

Jermaine Pennant, whom I thought the one who can help in Liverpool attack in the game, had a very poor game. I do not know what happened to him and what's on his mind. He was unable to bring the ball down the wings, nor he provided any width to the team. His tackles were reckless and was testing the referee's patience. Eventually, he was sent off on 58 minutes.

A foolish and redundant tackle when the ball is heading for a goal kick. I could see and sense his frustration. However, at this level, we must keep cool and play the right football. Not venting your anger onto it. Pennant just did that and he had to learn from it. This is Champions League, not any amateur league.

The overall team play was extremely bad. We didn't create any clear chances and had to play most of the second half with 10 men. Rafa himself knew what went wrong and just by looking at his face, he's boiling looking at his team's performance. Porto was not able to score the second goal. We were lucky to get a point.

I'm beginning to fear as I watch Liverpool play these few matches. Based on their performance against Portsmouth and last night Porto, it seems that Liverpool is struggling. This is not something pleasant to be seen. Rightfully, on Liverpool's standard, we should have gotten all the points we needed from these matches. We really have to buck up in all areas and produce some results. Otherwise, I'm afraid this would turn out to be a disappointing season again.

Come On Reds! With hope in your heart..

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Monday, September 17, 2007

Liverpool Held At Fratton Park

Portsmouth 0 Liverpool 0

Was Rafa right to rest Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres on the bench? Was Rafa right to put Crouch upfront? Many would have disagreed with the man above for his selection options last Saturday.

Liverpool was being held 0-0 at Fratton Park against the strong-spirited Portsmouth. We would see it as a 2 point loss instead of a point gained. Liverpool didn't play well, in my opinion. Didn't create much chances and we didn't threaten David James much as well. Seeing the first 11 in the beginning, this just tells me that Rafa had chosen a group of players whom he thought was fresh and good enough to beat the Pompeys.

Peter Crouch was given the first start of the season. Sadly, he played badly. I do not know whether it's Rafa tactics to pump high balls to Crouch to flick on, or the players who wanted to play the typical England style of football. Crouch's control of the ball was terrible. Loses possession so easily and when balls are up, he can't even win the first ball and headers. Against the likes of Distin and Campbell, he is totally neutralised. He had a poor game, that's for sure. I do hope to see him improve further, otherwise, I'm afraid, he might even leave in the January transfer window.

Pepe Reina was the hero for the game as he saved the penalty from Kanu. A controversial penalty given against Liverpool and luckily, Reina made justice for Liverpool.

Liverpool's wing play was extremely poor. Only Jermaine Pennant was the dangerous one. The normal passing of Liverpool was not around on that day. Was it because of the international break? I believe that's not an excuse. If you are good, you would be good enough to overcome everything. Manchester United and Arsenal both have difficult away games. Still, they gotten 3 points.

Liverpool would really need to improve. Yes, we have squad depth. However, if we do not produce the right results, that's no point having a big squad. Rafa can continues his tinkering, if he produces the right results. Otherwise, I believe he would have lots of pressure on him.

Up next, Porto. Here comes the Champions League!

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We Did WIn It !

It's international break this weekend, so I shall share this funny picture I saw while surfing the net. We did win the Champions League! It's in the history books!


You'll Never Walk Alone..

Monday, September 3, 2007

Liverpool Scores 6 Past Derby County

Liverpool 6 Derby County 0
Alonso, 27,69, Babel, 45, Torres, 56,78, Voronin, 76

A game which the Liverpool team was ruthless in their goals. Didn't hold back and went for every single ball in the pitch. A good game to watch and you could see that Rafa meant business now. Derby was not the strongest team, still, we made them looks like boys.

Jermaine Pennant, Javier Mascherano were all superb in the game. Xabi Alonso and Torres scoring 2 each, Voronin and Babel scoring the other 2. We could have more, but didn't finish the chances off.

Despite the high-scoring win, I believe we must not be too complacent. There's always room for improvement in every game and I could see some areas which we are weak in. 3 points is the most important and we are looking forward to the trip to Portsmouth.

Match Goals

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Champions League Draw 07/08

Group A
Porto (Por)
Marseille (Fra)
Besiktas (Tur)

Group B
Chelsea (Eng)
Valencia (Esp)
Schalke (Ger)
Rosenborg (Nor)

Group C
Real Madrid (Esp)
Werder Bremen (Ger)
Lazio (Ita)
Olympiakos (Gre)

Group D
AC Milan (Ita)
Benfica (Por)
Celtic (Sco)
Shaktar Donetsk (Ukr)

Group E
Barcelona (Esp)
Stuttgart (Ger)
Rangers (Sco)

Group F
ManUnited (Eng)
Roma (Ita)
Sporting Lisbon (Por)
Dynamo Kiev (Ukr)

Group G
Inter Milan (Ita)
PSV Eindhoven (Hol)
CSKA Moscow (Rus)
Fernebache (Tur)

Group H
Arsenal (Eng)
Sevilla (Esp) / AEK Athens (Gre)
Steaua Bucharest (Rom)
Slavia Prague (CZE)

In the Champions League, there's no team that is easy. The most important for us is to win all the games and proceed on to the knockout stage. It would be an exciting year again for us. I believe in Rafa and his team.

Come on Liverpool !

You'll Never Walk Alone..