It seems to me that Manchester United is going off with the Premiership title this season. It's no doubt that they are producing results even when they aren't not playing well. Just like last match they played at Craven Cottage, they wasn't playing well and yet they could get the important 3 points. Although I'm a Liverpool fan, and I hate to see them doing so well in the league, I still have to salute them for their consistency this season. Sir Alex Ferguson has the most experience in chasing the title and at the same time producing the results week in week out. With just 10 more games to go, it's getting clear that they are almost there.
Their best player, Christiano Ronaldo, who has been performing at the highest level for them, is no doubt the man of the season. His dribbling skills are world-class and his ability to beat defenders is a valuable asset for Man Utd. 16 goals in the premiership and his form has been consistent. That's what makes him such an important player for Man Utd. As long as he stays on his feet, he would be one of the best players in the world.
Of course, ManUtd also have several experienced players which played an important role in their season so far. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Edwin VanDerSaar and the defensive partnership of Vidic and Ferdinand. Not to forget, Wayne Rooney. Still, the man who's behind all these successes is Sir Alex Ferguson. Man Utd's following match will be up against my beloved Liverpool and without any doubts, our bitter rivals would be looking forward to do a double against us and making sure they maintain the 9 points gap above Chelsea.(With one game in hand.)
To be frank, I thought Chelsea would be leading the table at this moment. Given the players they have and bought, they should be leading with the rest chasing. However, Chelsea somehow didn't perform up to expectations and is currently second place. For the last 2 seasons, Chelsea haven't been doing the chasing, but for now, they are 9 points away from 1st place ManUtd with a game in hand. Jose Mourinho had some problems internally and I guess these management conflicts among the board and players did play some part in their league form. No doubt about their quality of the team, they were simply world class. They will definitely push ManUtd to the limit and really hopes to see ManUtd slips, however, I think it would be really difficult.
The man of the moment is Didier Drogba. The Ivory Coast striker is superb for them and has been scoring many goals for them. Many times, he always appears the man to rescue Chelsea and Jose knows that his man is a valuable to them. Drogba is very good in the air and of course, he has two good feet. Strong and he always seems to know where's the net is. Just hope to see him more sporting and stop putting "Oscar shows."
Chelsea will be breathing down ManUtd's neck and to be frank, I would rather to see Chelsea taking the title than Man Utd. I just wait and see..
Like Liverpool, they underperformed in many occasions and hence, finding themselves in the fourth position so far. I love to see Arsenal style of football and I can say that they play good football on the pitch. They have a very good coach, Arsene Wenger. A man who knows how to bring out the best of his players and without doubt, he's building Arsenal's future. His young guns have proven that they can match one of the best and his players are internationals who played for their countries in tournaments. Although their results and position in the league aren't that good at the moment, I still believe that Arsenal is a great team.
Cesc Fabregas. The young Spanish lad who I admire he has matured and played his football over the years. He improve tremendously and his passing, oh yes, I think is one of the best in the league. At such a young age, he can perform so well and seems so calm on the ball even on a big stage of football. No doubt, he's a talent, a wonder kid. He is one of the legends in the making and as long as he remain disciplined and keeps his head up, he will be a winner.
Arsenal will try to overtake Liverpool and given 2 games in hand, they will push themselves as high as possible in the league.
Liverpool has been disappointing in the league and although they had put a run recently, they couldn't close the gap between the top 2. Liverpool has lost too many matches and their early away matches somehow has cost them badly. They struggled against the top 4 and lost all the matches away against them. Liverpool need to have the breakthrough of performing consistently, week in week out and producing results even when the team is not playing well. This is what we called a championship team. We need to improve on the team and a few good signings would be just nice for us. Rafa Benitez is arguably one of the best in the country and I just couldn't understand why he just can't get it right like what he did in Europe. I can see his efforts and disappointment when the team didn't play to their potential. Still, I have the utmost faith in him and till now, I still believe he's the man who can bring us the 19th title after so many years.
Steven Gerrard has been magnificent and he's performing well each week. He's great captain and always portrays a good image and example to his teammates. That's something I really respect about him. He's definitely disappointed not to see Liverpool fighting on the top like any other Liverpool fans however, I'm still looking forward to the day when Stevie lifts the Premiership title at Anfield.
Upcoming game against Manchester United. Although I believe this game won't not have much impact on us, I still love to see us putting one over our bitter rivals and the title race would be more open. We have to work really hard and make sure that we can stay on 3rd spot and gives pressure on Chelsea and even Manchester United.
I've faith in you, Liverpool.
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Scorers: Fowler 20th, 25th minute, Hyypia 70th minute, Gerrard 73th minute.
Team of the day..
Dudek, Riise, Carragher, Hyypia, Finnan, Gonzalez, Gerrard MBE (c), Mascherano, Pennant, Crouch, Fowler.
Subs - Agger, Alonso, Kuyt, Padelli, Sissoko
It's not the best match and performance by Liverpool despite the high score. To be frank, I was bored by the match. Liverpool didn't really went on a top gear against Sheffield United, while the opposition didn't gave us much trouble as well.
A line-up which have 7 changes from the Barcelona game which have Mascherano making his debut for us and Fowler upfront. Rafa had to rest some players and he really did. Only Steven Gerrard, Steve Finnan, John Arne Riise and Jamie Carragher were the ones who played at the Nou Camp and were starting.
The game was slow and Liverpool was patient on the ball. On the 20th minute, a penalty was given. I wasn't sure whether it's Stevie or Crouch who won us the penalty. Crouch had a kick on his face and he had a broken nose. It's was not the best scenes around and he was substituted by Kuyt later on. Up step Robbie Fowler and he scored his 2nd penalty against Sheffied this season.
A second penalty was given when Gerrard was brought down in the box. Robbie was there again, and he made no mistakes on the kick. 2-0 to Liverpool and we seems to be in cruising control.
Mascherano didn't started well but improved in the second half. No doubt I can see his tackling and defensive qualities. However, I do believe that this lad has a long way to go and has to adapt to the Premiership style of playing.
Hyypia added a third which his strong left foot strike and it pleases me to see the commanding defender scoring for us again. I still remember his left foot strike against Juventus in the Champions League Quater final few years back. Sami no doubt, is getting old and slower, but I still believe he is good enough to play and his experience and aerial strength are invaluable.
Gerrard added another 5 minutes later by an assist by Fowler. Gerrard was superb last night. He was all around the field and his stamina, one of the best in the Premiership. Just played 90 minutes at the NouCamp and 2 days later, we see him flying around the pitch. Great example by our skipper.
Even though the performance is not the best, and it's not the most exciting match ever, I could see that the Liverpool team is organised and compact. We didn't let much chances go against us and a 4-0 score shows that we took our chances. A good win and it's nice to see experienced players such as Fowler and Hyypia playing and even scoring for us. Way to go!
It's a record-breaking 9 clean-sheets at home..
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Scorers: Bellamy 43min, John Arne Riise 74min
Team of the day..
Reina, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Arbeloa, Bellamy, Alonso, Gerrard MBE (c), Sissoko, Finnan, Kuyt.
Subs - Crouch, Dudek, Gonzalez, Hyypia, Mascherano, Pennant, Zenden
A match all Liverpool fans will remember and be proud of. It's an great achievement to be able to win away against the mighty Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
The match was predicted to be a great game and it didn't failed to be. I was fully concentrated on the game even 4am in the morning. A surprising line-up which gave Alvaro Arbeloa was given his full debut, while Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt was up front instead of the expected Peter Crouch.
We had a good start however, somehow, Barcelona seems to have settled down earlier and they were controlling the game. They managed to score a goal through a Deco's header in the early 14th minute and to be frank, I was starting to worry. We should have keep the ball tight and make sure that Barca won't be able to score. Still, we were 1-0 down in the 14th minute.
Barcelona grew confidence and started spraying balls across the fields. They almost added another to the tally but Pepe Reina was there to block Deco's shot. I was hoping the Liverpool defence were able to hold on.
As the half time approaches, Craig Bellamy was there to score an vital away goal with a header. At the first moment, I thought the goalkeeper had saved it. But, on the second look, the ball went in and I was smiling. The away goal was so important and I knew, we stood a chance of winning.
In the second half, I thought we played really well. We were stable and Barcelona players just can't do much to break down Liverpool's defence. They had possession, lots of them but couldn't have the chance to have a go at Reina's net.
We had a indirect freekick in the penalty box and Gerrard didn't have the cleanest of shots but Valdes had to save with his legs. The rebounded ball was cross beautifully by Alonso but so unfortunately, Dirk Kuyt couldn't convert his best chance of the game. He should have head it in. He was too wasteful during the match, I was afraid that these missed chances would cost us dearly. Yes, Dirk worked his socks off for the team, however, being a striker, he has to be more clinical in his finish. We don't get much chances against the likes of Barcelona.
Fortunately, Riise was there to give us our winning goal. A great ball from Craig Bellamy and Riise scored the goal with his RIGHT foot. It seems to me that Riise scores with his RIGHT foot for the first time. A excellent finish and we were 2-1 up. I was already off my seat.
Leading 2-1 up with 16 minutes to go was unbelievable. I didn't expect us to score 2 goals, let alone win the game. We managed to hang on despite Deco's freework was against the woodwork. The team worked very hard and I believe it's a great result to bring back to Anfield.
Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise. The 2 players who were in the headlines of the past week for the wrong reasons, proved their worth and showed the world that they still can work together. Both players played well and their goals were very important for us. Craig worked hard and the Barca defence had a hard time tracking his runs all night. John Arne Riise always seems to score crucial goals and this time, it's something special with his RIGHT foot.
Momo Sissoko was my Match of the Match. He's an essential player and he played an important role in last night's win. His hard tackling and presence gave the Barcelona players no time and his interceptions in the midfield was just awesome. He worked real hard for the team and although, he may not be the most skilled player in the team, I believe this young lad has lots to offer for the club and his performance was one of the best against the elites.
Rafa Benitez. Our gaffer had done a great job. His tactics were spot-on and knew Barcelona inside out. Without any doubt, he's one of the best managers in the world and he proved that last night. Barcelona was neutralised by our tactics. Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Saviola, Xavi were not given much space and that's probably the key to our win.
Of course, it's just only half-time. There's one more match to go. The advantage is with us and we have to make sure we get hold on this. Barcelona, without a doubt, is one the best teams around, however, I believe we can hold them and make sure they can't do much at Anfield. Having faced them once before, the players should be able to know what they are playing for and they themselves know this is a great opportunity to knock the champions out.
It's not the best performance by Liverpool, still, it's the best result.
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We are having a long break for at least a week as Liverpool are not involved in the FA Cup. It seems to me that Rafa brought the team to Portugal for training and a break away from Anfield and Melwood. Our next opponents are the mighty giants, Barcelona at Nou Camp.
Since we are having a break, I was thinking of the current Liverpool team form and the individual players as well. Let us see..
Our Spanish number one goalkeeper. His form this season has not been as consistent as last. However, despite his poor form earlier this season, he has improved and gained his form gradually during our good form of runs. There was some doubt in his future earlier, and some may blame him for the recent goal conceded against Newcastle, I still believe in him and I do think that he's good enough to stay in Liverpool and achieve more than just a FA Cup.
Our reliable right-back. He's been consistent this season and getting stronger every time he plays. I'm a great fan of him due to his ability to cross a ball well and his ball control isn't bad. He's a quiet player and does his job week in week out. Facing Ronaldinho up next. He has already sent Josemi and Kromkamp back to their homes, so who's next?
Our best centre back in Liverpool. The most outspoken character in the Liverpool team, I suppose. He is been solid for the recent matches and I could see his efforts to lift the team up when needed. Not afraid to tackle hard and fights for the team. Admire his never-say-die attitude and I will not exchange anyone for him, that's for sure.
Has climbed up from the reserves and now established himself in front of Sami Hyypia. Showed great potential and he's enjoying his football. He reminds me of Alan Hansen who is a legendary defender of Liverpool. Agger, like Hansen, has the ability to bring the ball forward and not afraid of shooting from distances. Needs to learn more from Carra and Sami, and of course, I would like to see him playing for us for long and win trophies.
John Arne Riise
He started the season well with a stunner shot against Chelsea in the Charity Shield. However, his form in season has been inconsistent especially in his defensive department. Has been warned by Rafa before this season and I believe he has to improve on his form otherwise his place will be taken. Still loves his shots and I do like him as a player. A good left foot. Really hope to see him scoring more and defend well for the team.
Our summer buy has been heavily criticised since the start of the season. Still, credit to him, he worked hard and managed to give some good performances for the team. Honestly, I was not happy with his form and style of play in the beginning. But as the season progresses, he has improved and begin to play better with the team. His first goal for the club against Chelsea was awesome. Hope to see him improve and continue his good form.
To me, he's one of the most important players in the team. A player who we can't afford to lose and although it took him a while to get back his form, I still believe that he's an essential asset of the team. His passing ability, I believe everyone should know. The team needs him as he plays the defensive midfield man and that's an essential role. Really admire him as a player and I'm going to see him as a legend for us.
Our skipper. The man who does it all for us. Champions League Final and last year FA Cup Final. This season, I do hope it's no exception. For his standards, I do think that Stevie has not reached to his fullest best this season yet. Yes, his presence and overall play is good. However, I do believe that our skipper could bring out more. Still, he's the most important player for the team. When we mention Liverpool, the first name that pops out is our mighty Steven Gerrard. I do hope to see him more and of course, bringing us to glory. Come on Stevie!
One of my favourite players in Liverpool. He was unfortunate to be injured earlier in the season and hence, missing much in the middle of it. Nevertheless, I'm glad to see him back in the last game and I do think that he's also another essential member of the squad. His hard tackling and strength are much needed in the centre of the park. Of course, he needs to improve some of his areas. His passing and shooting can be better in years to come and don't forget, this lad is still young. Looking forward to see him score his first goal for us.
The moaner of the team? He's been playing well ever since his court case is closed. I've never doubt his ability of scoring goals and I'm really happy to see him doing that for us now. His runs behind defenders are threatening and his lightning pace is an useful tool for us. Just have to make sure that he's disciplined on and off the field and I believe that he will do well for us. 20 goals or more?
The best signing in the summer. No doubt the most hardworking player in the team. An honest lad and plays his best for the team. He started well in the beginning but started to fade off later on due to his poor finishing. Kuyt needs to be more clinical in goal and I do think that he will be fine. He holds my favourite number though, 18. He knows what he's doing and I like his direct play on the field. Flying Dutchman for the Reds?
The tallest man in the team. Has scored a couple of spectacular goals this season so far. Despite his height, he has excellent ball control and the ability to execute kicks which is simply extraordinary. I do like him as a player and although there are many people out there who doesn't really support him, I believe that he is an important member of the team and he will score goals for us. Of course, he has to improve on his finishing as well, especially his heading. Because of his height, Crouch must know how to make use of his aerial power and strength, hence, converting them into goals. He's been playing well and I hope to see him scoring more spectacular goals for us.
Our experienced centre back. With Agger coming up strong, Sami should know that he can't play much now. Still, I believe that his experience plays an important role in many games and I think that he will rotated among games but on a less frequent basis.
In the beginning, I was doubting his ability and the fact of his adaptability to the English style of football. Fortunately, Aurelio has shown signs of improvement and his crossing is one of the best in the team. He needs to improve defensively and his overall play in the team. I believe he should be able to challenge John Arne Riise for the left back place.
A player who we had a hard time signing him. An handsome and pacey player. He has been injured on several occasions and I believe that he's trying his best to get into the team and plays well for us. Still, he needs to adapt to the fast pace game and of course, it takes times for him. A player whom I expect more from him.
Frankly, I'm not a great fan of him. I believe he's just a backup player of the team and I think Rafa just wants to make sure there's adequate cover for the first team squad. Without doubt, he has the experience. Still, I do think that he's not good enough for us. A player whom I doubt will stay at Liverpool for long.
Luis Garcia & Harry Kewell
These 2 players are no doubt can be the best in the team in their positions. Luis Garcia is out for the season. He played well in the beginning however, injured himself in the Arsenal game. We will miss him and of course, it's blow to have Luis out. Wish him all the best in recovery. Harry has been unfortunate these few years. Injuries had affected his career. I do like him as a player and do think that he's the best winger in the Liverpool team. However, he needs to get over his injury and start playing for us. Come on, Harry. Looking forward for your return.
God. Our Liverpool God has not been playing frequently. Still, his ability and experience are playing an important role. I do not expect to see him much on the pitch but I think that he can impart some of his experience to the younger players and being once a lethal striker, I'm sure the younger ones can learn plenty from our God.
Finally, now you see. That's what I think of each individual player. Really hope to see the team plays well and move up the league as high as possible. I'm looking forward to the Barcelona's game and of course, to all Liverpool fans out there,
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Sunday, February 11, 2007
What a disappointment! We just lost a match we didn't deserved to lose and our opposition was not playing well at all. We had tons and tons of chances, clear-cut chances, open goal chances, we only scored one. I'm gutted, really speechless.
In football, you just can't afford to miss chances. You miss your chances, opposition will haunt you back by punishing you. Craig Bellamy, the scorer of our first goal, missed so many one on one attempts on goal. Yes, the pitch plays a part, however, you must be clinical in your finishing. Dirk Kuyt, had a great chance in front of goal after a good turn, had his shot way off the target. I really wonder, did he know where's the goal is?
When you can't kill off the game, you will bear the consequences. We were LEADING the game, end up, we LOST it. 3 points gone. 7th defeat of the season. All AWAY matches. I just couldn't understand. Why is our consistency level still not there? Are we just not good enough? Seriously, I do think so. Not good enough to be top 2 in the league, let alone champions. Not good enough to challenge the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd or even Arsenal.
Both Man Utd and Chelsea won their games. The gap went further. It's back to square one. SO WHAT we beat CHELSEA AT HOME, when we can't even maintain our winning form and capitalise on the THEIR SLIPS? We are definitely not consistent enough, not dominant enough to challenge them, sad to say.
The players should know what they should do. Yet, they could make mistakes at the back, conceeded a stupid goal and gave a stupid penalty. How can you make such mistakes? Be it Newcastle, Reading etc.. We are facing the mighty Barcelona next week, and you just simply can't afford to have that room to make mistakes, they will punish you heavily.
It's seems to me that.. Liverpool is going to have another unperforming season. So much prospects and hope in the beginning of the season always seems fading and faded at the end of the season. I'm afraid, this season is no exception.
"People will only remember the FIRST, not the second and below."
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Team of the day..
Reina, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Finnan, Zenden, Gerrard MBE (captain), Sissoko, Pennant, Bellamy, Kuyt.
Subs - Hyypia, Guthrie, Arbeloa, Crouch, Dudek
The Reds dominated for long periods but were unable to build on Craig Bellamy's 6th minute opener against his former club and ultimately slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
Obafemi Martins capitalised on a defensive blunder to level twenty minutes later and Nolberto Solano completed the hosts' comeback by converting from the penalty spot midway through the second half.
It's a result that severely weakens Liverpool's hopes of catching the top two in the Premiership and quashes the feel-good factor created by the takeover events of just a few days previous.
With Xabi Alonso suspended, Momo Sissoko made his long-awaited return from the shoulder injury that had kept him out since November, while the only other change from the eleven that started last week's derby was the inclusion of Bolo Zenden in place of Peter Crouch as Rafael Benitez opted for a return to the tried and trusted 4-4-2 formation.
Heavy rain had put this game in doubt but, after two inspections, referee Mark Halsey eventually declared the pitch playable. The wet weather continued, however, and conditions were far from ideal come kick-off time but it was the Reds who adapted better.
On a playing surface that was understandably heavy, attempting to make even the simplest of passes was, at times, difficult on the sodden St James' turf and players clattered into each other as they struggled to keep their feet in the mud.
Liverpool got quickly into their stride though. Jermaine Pennant was particularly lively early on and it was he who created the opening goal, bypassing Celestine Babyaro with ease on the right edge of the Newcastle area and picking out the unmarked Bellamy on the edge of the six-yard box. The home side had enough bodies back to have been confident of clearing the danger but the ex-Magpie picked his spot and guided the ball through a forest of legs to find the back of the net.
Not surprisingly, Bellamy's goal was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Gallowgate fans who once sang his name and they continued to barrack his every touch. But the impish Welshman refused to hide and continued to be the chief tormentor of the home defence during a spell in which Liverpool should have increased their lead.
Instead, against the run of play, the next goal came about in bizarre circumstances at the opposite end. Pepe Reina reacted to a Newcastle through ball by rushing off his line to clear but the ball rebounded off the in-rushing Martins and, as a result, the Nigerian striker was left with the easy task of slotting the ball into a gaping net.
A brief home rally then saw Milner flash a long-range punt narrowly wide but Liverpool soon re-assumed the dominance they'd enjoyed prior to the shock equalising goal. Main man Bellamy was at the centre of almost every Reds attack and on another day he may have walked away with the match ball before half-time.
He twice came close to restoring the lead, first with an effort that was cleared off the line by Titus Bramble and then a shot that came frustratingly back off the bar. The Magpies were on the rack and keeper Steve Harper also had to save from Zenden as they found themselves pinned back in their own half.
The pressure continued immediately after the restart and Dirk Kuyt spurned a glorious opportunity when he fired wide from inside the box following a terrific Cruyff-esque turn.
At this point, Liverpool looked the most likely winners but Newcastle were allowed to gradually force their way back into the game and their revival was rewarded when they took the lead from the penalty spot. John Arne Riise was adjudged to have tripped Steven Taylor and Solano sent Reina the wrong way from the spot.
As the game neared its conclusion Liverpool became less effective as an attacking force and, as the final whistle sounded, were left kicking themselves for not having made the points safe when they had the chance.
You'll Never Walk Alone..
*SPECIAL THANKS TO GETTY IMAGES FOR THE PICTURES ABOVE.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Rafael Benitez has won the Barclays Manager of the Month award for January.
He has been rewarded for steering Liverpool to four straight league wins during the past month.
In this time the Reds defeated Bolton (3-0), Watford (3-0), Chelsea (2-0) and West Ham (2-1).
"It's been a very happy new year for the red half of Merseyside," said Jim Hytner of the Barclays Awards Panel.
"Undefeated and just one goal conceded in the Premiership this year, Benitez has revitalised Liverpool's campaign."
The decision was made by the Barclays Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.
This is the third time Benitez has scooped the award, the other previous occasions being in November and December 2005.
I'm pleased to see our gaffer got the award. I truly think that he deserved this prize. He had worked hard and tactically, I never doubt him. His results recently was awesome and I really hope this continues.
Rafa, you're the man for us..
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Liverpool FC have confirmed they have accepted a takeover offer from American duo George Gillett Jnr and Tom Hicks.
The American pair flew into Liverpool on Tuesday to tie up the final details of the takeover deal.
The deal is reported to be worth £470m with the American duo splitting the cost between them paying about £175m for the shares in the club, £80m to cover the debt and a further £215m towards a new stadium.
Liverpool's board have now made an announcement to the Stock Exchange of the offer and they have recommended for the club's shareholders to accept the deal.
2 American Bosses take over the club for now. Mr David Moores knew that he had no other choice but to step down. He's been a good chairman, a quiet and low-profile personality, but still, I believe he does alot of work behind the scenes, making sure that the club is doing well and I respect him for that.
We needed the money, that's for sure. For the stadium, for new players, for new youth players and many more. In order to compete with the rest, we have no other choice but to sell. Mr Moories is well aware of that, and I believe he did that all for the benefits of the club.
It's a good move, right time to have a change of management. However, I do believe that Rick Parry and Rafa Benitez should still be around. Traditions must be kept and not changed. The new bosses must know that the cores of the football club must be always there and it won't not be Liverpool if it's changed.
It's a new era. I'm excited to see the future of Liverpool FC. Under Rafa Benitez, I believe we'll get the 19th title and more real soon.
You'll Never Walk Alone..
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Monday, February 5, 2007
What Rafa Says..
"I'm really disappointed because we have seen one team that wanted to win, and one team that didn't want to lose. We tried to keep going, keep going forward, but it was really difficult because they were defending and playing counter attack."
"When you play against eight players behind the ball, narrow and deep, you cannot create many clear chances. You just keep trying. "
"It is how they want to win points, you cannot say anything about this."
"We were trying. When you play with the small clubs it is difficult, they play deep."
What Everton Says..
"It is disappointing to hear such an unnecessary comment at the conclusion of what was such a splendid local derby,"
"Of course, Mr Benitez is entitled to his opinion but I suspect he is in a minority of one in believing Everton is, in any respect, a small football club. "Somehow we just expect more of a Liverpool manager."
Everton were good value for the draw after producing a battling display at Anfield, and manager David Moyes was delighted with how his team handled the derby clash.
"It was a real team performance," said Moyes.
"Stubbsy [Alan Stubbs] was man of the match and I think that was quite right. We needed all his experience today.
"I must praise all the players today because we knew coming here was going to be a big job, the way Liverpool have been playing."
"We've played them twice now and not conceded, so credit to the defenders."
I do agreed with Rafa Benitez to a certain extent. I believe Everton was too defensive in that game, moreover, I could understand why they did that. Away from home, coming to Anfield is always hard for them to play. Mr David Moyes was realistic to use such tactics. But, if you think it in another way, it's a derby. You can't possibily going for a draw in a derby. That's how I think.
What do you all think?
you'll never walk alone..
Posted by Louis at 3:22 PM
Team of the day..
Reina, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Finnan, Bellamy, Alonso, Gerrard MBE (c), Pennant, Crouch, Kuyt.
Subs - Dudek, Fowler, Gonzalez, Hyypia, Zenden
Rafa's side have extended their excellent run of not conceding a Premiership goal at home to eight games and they have now taken 28 points from a possible 33, but they will be frustrated after failing to beat Everton despite dominating for long periods.
The Reds fairly laid siege to the Everton goal, particularly in the second half, but they just couldn't break down a stubborn blue rearguard. And they must be content with maintaining a 14 point lead over their neighbours while closing the gap on Chelsea and Manchester United.
Heavy fog on Merseyside had made visibility difficult on the way to the ground; and after the opening 45 minutes finished goalless it was no easier to see who would win this Derby encounter.
Chances were of a premium in the first half and although Craig Bellamy scored a 10th minute goal that was ruled out for offside, neither goalkeeper was severely tested. The best save of the first half did come from Tim Howard though when he kept out Peter Crouch's 8th minute shot with his legs.
Liverpool were in the ascendancy for most of the first half, but they found it difficult to breach Everton's five man midfield. And when they did break through they were frustrated, like when Bellamy just failed to get a touch to Kuyt's header when any kind of touch would have resulted in a goal.
It was a typical derby. Space was as a rare as a tackle being executed without conviction. But Liverpool battled to gain the upper hand and Kuyt forced Howard into another save before Alonso hit a powerful drive just inches over.
Everton's best chance appeared to come from set pieces and they threatened with a shot from Hibbert and a header from Osman that were both saved comfortably by Pepe Reina.
Liverpool emerged for the second half with a sense of urgency that was typified by Xabi Alonso's 49th minute strike from 25 yards that, like his previous effort, flashed just over. And they went on to enjoy their best period of the game that saw both Kuyt and Crouch come close to breaking the deadlock.
The Reds were on top, but they almost shot themselves in the foot when a loose pass allowed Andy Johnson a free run on goal. They needed a fine block from Carragher and an excellent save from Reina to get them off the hook.
Normal service was resumed when Gerrard curled a superb free kick just inches wide of Howard's left hand post, but as hard as Liverpool tried they couldn't find the winner that they were desperate for.
"There was only one team that wanted to win and one team that didn't want to lose and it is frustrating because we deserved to win the game," insisted Benitez.
"They had a chance in the second half after our mistake but Pepe made a good save. Apart from that we controlled everything. We had three strikers and Pennant and Riise saw a lot of the ball but they had nine men all the time behind the ball.
"When you play against the smaller teams at Anfield you know the game will be narrow and compact and at times we were a little bit nervous. We have to be disappointed not to have taken all three points."
Credit to Everton, they defended real well and closed down on us really well. They didn't give much space for us to pass around and we failed to create much chances to threaten the goal as well.
We played well, but not good enough to score a goal. In football, when you can't score, you just can't win. We would see this match as a 2 points loss. Chelsea won their game hence, the gap is now seven points. It's hard to catch up, but most importantly, we have to keep up the pace and make sure we can able to cut down on them when they slip.
Newcastle is next, a difficult place to visit. We have to make sure we have to carry on the good form and at least, make sure that our third place is stable. Of course, for Liverpool's standard, we shouldn't be just aiming for third, still, we should be aiming at the best based on our current situation.
Come on REDS!
you'll never walk alone..
Thursday, February 1, 2007
The group, owned by the Dubai government, had been examining the club's books with a view to a £156million buy-out.
And their decision to withdraw follows the failure of the Liverpool board to accept the offer last night, following a rival bid by American billionaire George Gillett.
A statement read: "Dubai International Capital LLC today announces that it has decided to end negotiations with Liverpool FC & Athletic Grounds plc about a possible investment in the club.
"Having completed due diligence, DIC submitted a comprehensive offer to the Liverpool board.
"The offer had been accepted in principle by majority shareholder David Moores. It appears that the Liverpool board and the majority shareholder David Moores were unable to approve these terms in order to allow DIC to make a formal offer to all shareholders."
The news prolongs Liverpool's long search for the outside investment they believe they need to compete at the top end of the Premiership and in Europe.
DIC had been their most likely suitor and entered into discussions with the club late last year.
The deal would have valued the club at £450million but the Dubai group have decided to withdraw following the board's decision to allow more time to consider the Gillett bid.
Gillett, owner of the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team, has proposed a deal which is thought to offer shareholders more for their holdings.
Sameer Al Ansari, executive chairman and chief executive officer of DIC, said: "We are very disappointed to be making this announcement. DIC are a serious investor with considerable resources at our disposal.
"At the same time, we are supporters of the game and of the club. Liverpool's investment requirements have been well publicised and, after a huge amount of work, we proposed a deal that would provide the club with the funds it needs, both on and off the pitch.
"We were also prepared to offer shareholders a significant premium on the market price of the shares. However, we will not overpay for assets."
Position: Goalkeeper, Date of Birth: 25/10/1985, Former clubs: Sampdoria, Crotone.
Liverpool confirmed the loan signing of Italian under-21 goalkeeper Daniele Padelli from Sampdoria in January 2007, subject to international clearance.
Padelli, who was on loan with second division Crotone in the first half of the season, has signed until the end of the 2006/2007 season when the Reds will have the option to agree a permanent deal.
“He’s a good young goalkeeper who has been selected for his national side,” said manager Rafael Benitez.
“Padelli will give us a good option for the future. The fact he is once again with the under-21s for his national side tells you that we are signing a very good player.
“Our scouting department are working really hard to bring good young players to the club and I’m delighted we have been able to sign Padelli.”
Position: Defender, Date of Birth: 07/01/1989, Former clubs: Boca Juniors
Liverpool signed promising Argentinian defender Emiliano Insua on an 18 month loan deal in January 2007.
The teenage left back - who has represented his country at under 20 level - has arrived from Boca Juniors and signed a deal to keep him at Anfield until June 2008.
“He is a good, young player with a lot of potential,” said manager Rafael Benitez.
Insua’s arrival is part of an ongoing strategy by Rafa Benitez to recruit elite youngsters from across the world and provide a stable foundation for the future of the club.
Position: Striker, date of birth: 26 February 1988 , Former clubs: Ajax.
Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Dutch youngster Jordy Brouwer from Ajax. The 18 year old striker is the latest of Rafael Benitez’s youth recruits as the manager continues his policy of planning for the club’s future.
Brouwer - who plays for the Dutch under-19 side - has swapped Ajax for Anfield.
“We have made a good signing for the future in Jordy,” said chief executive Rick Parry.”He has had a youth contract at Ajax, but has opted to build his career at Liverpool. We have been monitoring his progress and look forward to developing his potential at Anfield.” On 22 January 2007 Brouwer signed professional papers with Liverpool on a four and a half year contract. As Brouwer was only a youth at the time of the transfer, the English side only paid a training based fee to Ajax for the player
Position: Midfield, Date of birth- , Former club: Lanús (Argentina)
Liverpool have finalised the signing of Sebastiàn Leto, the Argentine winger, in a deal worth £1.85 million. Leto, 20, who plays for Lanùs, had a medical on Merseyside on Friday, but will return to Argentina before officially becoming a Liverpool player on July 1.
Sebastián Leto is an Argentine football midfielder. He was born on August 30, 1986, in the city of Alejandro Korn in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina. He currently plays for Club Atlético Lanús of the Primera Division Argentina.
Leto is one of the most highly rated youngsters breaking into first team football in the Argentine Primera and has played 34 matches for Lanús since breaking into the first team, scoring six goals. He’s considered the best young player in the World behind Lionel Messi in French Magazine TLW.
Position: Centre half/right back, Date of Birth: Jan 17, 1983, Former club: Real Madrid, Deprotivo de la Coruna.
Liverpool have clinched a deal for Spanish defender Alvaro Arbeloa, according to Deportivo la Coruna boss Joaquin Caparros.The Reds are ready to pay €4million (£2.64million) for the former Real Madrid full-back who only moved to Depor at the start of the current season. Caparros has admitted that the Spanish club have sanctioned the sale of the player who cost €1.3million (£860,000) from Real in the summer.
When the 23 year old left Real he said: “This is a strange situation for me, i have been playing for Real Madrid Castilla for 5 years, since i was 18 year’s old, Real was nothing but good to me, but it’s time for me to go. real has the best players in the world, although that is great for the club, unfortunately that’s not so great for Cantera players, only a few of us can find there place in the first team, and even those how find there place in the first team like Álvaro Mejía and Paco Pavon are only 3ed or 4th pick and that is why i want to live the club, to a club where i can get some play time.”
Position: Midfield Date of birth: (he’s 18) Former Club: Malaga
Liverpool are set to acquire the services of promising Spanish midfielder Francis Duran from second division team Malaga.The 18-year-old will travel to Liverpool on Tuesday and is expected to sign a professional contract with the Reds, according to the Spanish media.
“It’s a unique opportunity and I couldn’t let it go by,” Francis told the Spanish press.
Javier Mascherano (To be confirmed)
Position: Defensive Midfield, Date of birth- June 8, 1984, Former Club: West ham utd, River Plate, Corinthians.
Argentinian defensive midfielder has been given clearance to sign for the Reds in a deal which may initially be an 18 month loan but this is still to be confirmed officially. Having struggled at the Hammers this season the 22 year old will provide valuable cover for the Reds in midfield.
you'll never walk alone..
Team of the day..
Reina, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Hyypia, Finnan, Alonso, Kuyt, Gerrard MBE (c), Bellamy, Crouch.
Subs - Dudek, Fowler, Gonzalez, Pennant, Zenden
Spectacular strikes from Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch earned Liverpool a priceless Premiership victory at Upton Park on Tuesday night as West Ham were beaten 2-1.
They netted during a frantic seven-minute spell early in the second half and, although Hammers debutant Kepa Blanco later pulled a goal back, the Reds held on to move within two points of second-placed Chelsea.
They've now won nine of their last ten in the Premiership and this latest result will send out an ominous warning to the top two as the title race begins to hot up.
Rafael Benitez made two changes to the side that had defeated champions Chelsea ten days previous and opted for the attacking 3-4-3 formation that worked so effectively in the recent away win at Watford.
In their all-yellow change strip, Liverpool took the game to the hosts from the first whistle but it was not until Jamie Carragher fired over with a rare left-footed effort on goal in the 9th minute that they threatened the West Ham goal.
The early passing was slick and four minutes later referee Martin Atkinson harshly waved away a legitimate-looking penalty appeal when John Arne Riise was felled in the box by Jonathon Spector.
The Hammers were struggling to get out of their own half and when they did finally manage to break free, Pepe Reina was quick off his line to sweep up a finely threaded through ball and deny Marlon Harewood a goalscoring opportunity.
As the half wore on the standard of play dipped and the game degenerated into a scrappy affair, fought out largely in and around the centre circle.
West Ham gradually grew in confidence during this lacklustre spell and almost snatched the lead on the half hour mark through Harewood, the big striker rifling in a low shot from distance that flew narrowly wide of the far post.
With the home crowd becoming more and more vociferous, Reina then had to be at his best to tip a stinging free-kick from Luis Boa Morte over the bar. Yossi Benayoun also forced the Reds keeper into a vital save as the interval approached and the travelling Liverpudlians behind that goal were no doubt relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
But within 14-seconds of the restart their concerns had turned to delight as Kuyt spectacularly broke the deadlock with a dipping shot from 25-yards out that sailed over the head of Roy Carroll and into the roof of the net.
It was a sensational start to the second period and the visiting fans were still celebrating when Crouch doubled the advantage seven minutes later, emphatically finishing a flowing move with a powerful side-footed strike from the edge of the box that nestled sweetly into the top corner.
West Ham were visibly reeling from the shock of conceding two goals in quick succession and a rampant Liverpool threatened to run riot, with all three strikers revelling in their misfortune and desperate to punish them further.
Somehow, the Eastenders weathered the storm and following an inspired double substitution Alan Curbishley's strugglers were suddenly back in the game.
Twelve minutes remained when Bobby Zamora crossed for Blanco to turn the ball home from close-range. It set up a tense finale but, thankfully, Liverpool survived this late scare to claim the win their scintillating early second half showing deserved.
It was a great win for us. We've maintained our winning momentum and need to keep going. We scored two great goals and the second was really good play.
"It was important that we scored first because when they scored we were a little bit nervous.
"We cannot think about the title. We must just keep on winning and if we do that then in three or four weeks we might be able to start talking about possibilities. We are on a good run and enjoying it."
It's a good win. Most importantly, we have 3 points in the bag. We are playing well now and it pleases me to see us performing at this good level of football.
Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch both scored and the goals are awesome. Dirk Kuyt just had a shot in just 12 seconds after the restart. He was assisted by Peter Crouch and his number of goals per season have reached double figures.
The second goal was one of the best goals I've seen this season. The build-up play was superb. Tidy work done by Alonso and Gerrard in the middle of the park and Gerrard played a low and long ball down to Bellamy, who then, cut it through to Riise. With space on the left, Riise plays Crouch on and he didn't make any mistakes by shooting into the top corner of the net. I jumped upon seeing the ball flew into the net.
Liverpool was cruising into the second half when I believed complacency crept into our play. The players was playing as though they have won the game. Mis-passes, losing possession was everywhere. That's mainly why West Ham managed to get one back.
Fortunately, after conceeding the goal, Liverpool woke up a little and began to play the way they started the match, managed to hang on and won th game.
Next, it's our derby. Everton. A game which always never fails to excite and disappoints me as well. A 3-0 loss earlier this season was still fresh in my mind. As our gaffer and skipper has said during the week, we can't lose any points anymore.
Come on reds..
you'll never walk alone..