Sunday, May 25, 2008

25 May 2005

Today is 25 May 2008. Exactly 3 years after we have won the European Cup in Instanbul. Nobody would ever forget the most dramatic final of all times and that's when we won it 5 times.

Some sweet memories..

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Torres' Tribute to China's Earthquake Victims

Got this from RAWK forum. Fernando Torres paying tribute to the victims of China's earthquake victims, telling them they ain't alone. Torres and AnfieldReds feel for them. :)

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

07/08 Season Review - Strikers

The strikers are the ones putting the goals into the net most of the time. Liverpool have been criticised over the past seasons for not be able to score goals in games and is not clinical enough. Rafa was aware of this problems and bought several players in during the summer.

Let's see how the strikers fared for the season..

Andriy Voronin
The Ukrainian striker was bought in the summer, a free transfer from German club Bayern Leverkusen. He started the campaign pretty okay, scoring some goals as well. However, his form dipped during the season and eventually, not becoming first choice for the team. After Steven and Fernando formed the fantastic partnership upfront, it's hard for him to come into the team which such a lousy form. He got injured and was out for some time. Nevertheless, I don't think the team missed him. I don't really like his style of play and I won't be surprised seeing him leaving in the summer. Sadly so, I do feel that he's the worst no.10 ever in a Liverpool shirt. That's how much I rate this fellow.

Ratings: 2.5 / 5

Peter Crouch

The English striker has been second to number 1 striker Fernando Torres and has declared that he's unhappy in Anfield. He's not playing first team football reguarly and has questioned Rafa's policies as well. Still, he did make several matches in which he scored and his goal scoring rate is not that bad at all. He loved scoring against Arsenal and gave so many problems to the big and strong defenders of Arsene Wenger's men. His future in Liverpool is a major doubt. It is believed that his price tag of 15 million is known to the clubs which are interested in him. He might be leaving very soon I guess. His performance is decent ones and I do like him too. However, he may be too predictable at times and can be overpowered in games. We shall wait and see how it goes. Have a good holiday Crouch!

Ratings: 3.5 / 5

Dirk Kuyt
The second season of Kuyt has been ups and downs for him. He was horrible in the beginning, facing so much criticism for his poor touch and lousy performance. I was so frustrated with him that I cursed and sweared at the television whenever he played. Somehow, I read from the news he had some personal problems during that time and he had a difficult time on the pitch. Credits to the Dutchman, he improved tremedously as the season progressed. Rafa played him on the right wing and he did very well despite playing out of position. He made the position his and did it his way. He was very hardworking in every game and his work rate is world class. Stamina is not a problem with this felllow. He scored many crucial goals along the way especially in the Champions League. Goals against Inter Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea are unforgettable.

He has worked hard and done very well for us. I do hope that he can play in the Euros for his country. Keep the form going and score more goals for us next season, Dirk!

Ratings: 4 / 5

We normally leave the best for the last..

Fernando Torres

Oh boy, what can I say about our new record signing in the summer? 26 million pounds well spent? I can say that we have not been having someone like this upfront for several seasons. Even Michael Owen couldn't match him, in my opinion though. 31 goals in his debut season is an unbelievable achievement. Once he scored his Anfield goal against Chelsea, there's no turning back since. He just couldn't stop scoring and he has broken many records just in his first season over here.

He scored some awesome goals and has proven to be one of the threats in the league. His partnership with Steven Gerrard has terrorised so many defences. El Nino is in top form the whole season and just simply loves scoring at Anfield. I love his song. The fans just kept singing and singing his song. Probably that added some motivation into his game. Oh well, I just hope he would continue to build on his brilliant season and he will be up there seasons after seasons.


Ratings: 5 / 5

The season review has come to an end and it's been a season full of ups and downs. Somehow, it's more of disappointment this year but we did make some good progress. Let's cross our fingers and pray hard that Rafa would be able to do the impossible and built on this seasons' positives!

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

07/08 Season Review - Midfielders

The great showdown between Manchester United and Chelsea will be played tonight at Moscow, the Champions League Final. Well, it doesn't matter who win, it won't affect us at all. Nevertheless, it would be a good game of football.

Back to AnfieldReds, it's time for the next reviews of midfielders.

Harry Kewell
The Australian winger has been disappointing on the whole of the season. He was unfortunate to be affected by injuries in his time in Liverpool. I do like him. His experience and has a typical style of a winger which not many can do it his way. He managed to play several matches in the beginning. Rafa still has some faith in the no 7. Sadly, he didn't move on from that matches and instead, got injured again. He was then missing from action and Rafa also allowed him to play Australia on several occasions. It seemed to many that his peak is over and age is catching up on him.

It was announced that Harry will be leaving the club on the free as Rafa has decided not to offer him a new deal. It's a pity but it's part and parcel of football. There are some great moments of him in the Liverpool shirt. His left leg is definitely many would love to have. Unfortunately, we will not see him anymore next season. Good luck Harry! YWNA. Oh yes, he rejected Manchester United and chose Anfield instead. :)

Ratings: 2 / 5

Steven Gerrard
Just like Carragher, Captain Steven Gerrard has been superb from the start till the end. One of most consistent players in the team. Unbelievable talent! He has grown stronger and the new partnership with Fernando Torres upfront was excellent. He enjoys playing just behind the striker and has been scoring goals. Goals which are executed almost perfectly, like the goals against Arsenal and Newcastle. He's utterly disappointed that Liverpool couldn't proceed further in the Champions League and of course, challenging for the title. I can understand what Steven is feeling as I believe every Liverpool fan will share the same sentiments.

In my opinion, Steven Gerrard is the man who can bring us to glory and he's the most important player in the team. Heartbeat of Liverpool, Rafa needs to play the team around him and I believe we are heading the right direction. It's a good rest for him as England won't be involved in the Euros. He will be out firing next season!

Ratings: 5 / 5

Yossi Benayoun
This fellow here was bought from West Ham, notably to replace Luis Garcia who left in the summer. In the beginning, I was full of doubts of Yossi. How can he replace Luis Garcia? In fact, they are two different players. The versatile Benayoun proved to me that he can be unique in his own way and is not a bad signing after all. He scored many goals including hat-trick against Bekitas 8-0 thrashing game. He loves to cut into the channel which gave defenders problems. A good team player and always working hard for the team. Everyone would remember how he "danced" past Chelsea defenders and assist Torres' goal at the Bridge. What a great assist! He would be around for sure next season, let's hope he can continue this form and contributes to the team as much like this season.

Ratings: 4 / 5

Xabi Alonso
Ever since Rafa Benitez is around, Xabi has been spraying passes across the field for Liverpool. To me, he's also one of the cores of the team. He needs to be there distributing the play and at the same time, protecting the back 4. Like before, I've never doubt this Spanish's ability. His vision and accuracy in passing are essentials for the Reds as teams tend to play very deep against us especially at Anfield. He is also the few ones who can break defences. He started the campaign pretty well, before suffering a broken bone. He was out for some time and we did miss him. Nevertheless, when he came back, he was performing consistently, but not at his best form. I believe he can play better.

The future of Alonso seemed to be in doubt. Speculation of him leaving in the summer is pretty massive. I just don't wish to see him leave. Although both Rafa and Xabi has spoken on their own staying on speeches, it's hard to predict what will happen in the market. He has to be around and in order for Liverpool to do well, we have to keep our best players and Alonso is one of them. I wish to see the no 14 to be around for a long time for Liverpool.

Ratings: 3.5 / 5

Jermaine Pennant
The right winger has not really improved over the season. He's not a bad winger, delivering quality crosses into the box which scored several important goals. Having said that, his temper can be questioned at times. He got sent off earlier in the season and that cost Liverpool 3 points. He seemed to be able to control his discipline more as the season progressed. He's not a fantastic winger which can change a game, but he did put up some decent performances for the team. Rafa seemed to have lost his patience against the English winger and Pennant's future is in major doubt in this summer. Probably a part exchange in the making? I don't know.

Ratings: 3 / 5

Ryan Babel
11 million pounds signing. So much potential and expectations on the 20 year old winger. I was quite excited to see Liverpool signing him right in front of rivals Arsenal's noses. Strong, fast and the ability to shoot from distance are attributes of a great player. He is compared to our great winger of all times, John Barnes. They have similar style of player and I do hope Babel can be another Barnes very soon. Despite all the anticipation, Babel was not adapting too well on the English style of play. He was struggling with the pace and the physical side of it in the beginning. He managed to overcome that as he played more matches and he scored several good goals as well.

He has also developed a reputation of becoming a supersub. Whenever he comes in, he does have some impact on the game, be it a goal or assist. Strangely, whenever he starts a game, he don't have the same impact as he did when he comes on. He still has many areas to learn. He has the potential and ability, no doubt about it. He has to be more aggressive in his play and hopefully, next season, he would be able to terrify defenders with his pace and dribbles. I have faith in you, Ryan.

Ratings: 4 / 5

Javier Mascherano
I'm so pleased that we have signed Javier on a permanent basis. He's a great player and has become a valuable asset in the team. Alongside Xabi Alonso, the two of them are the ones in the middle of the park, distributing and destroying play. Mascherano is a monster. Tackling accurately and is never afraid to compete with the bigger sized players. His form is superb and I'm very happy to see him scoring for Liverpool against Reading earlier in the season. Yes, people will remember his sent-off against Manchester United. The infamous red card for arguing with the ref has caused so much sayings and criticism. He've learnt his lesson and he came out stronger after that. Hardworking as ever. Never give up the ball when it's in his area. He's an important player for the team. Well done Mash!

Ratings: 5 / 5

Lucas Levia
The young Brazilian Lucas was bought earlier last season. I was watching his videos and I do think he has a lot of potential. When he came to Liverpool, I did expect a little more from this young fellow. Just like Babel, he took time to adapt to the play and he's not a bad player after all. A decent midfielder who can come into the team and do the job for us. Still have plenty to learn and I do think he's the one for the future. He's already playing some first team football and this would broaden his playing experience at the top. I will be looking forward how Rafa's going to develop this Brazilian player into the English style of play. Come on Lucas!

Ratings: 3.5 / 5

Last but not least, the review of the Strikers would be coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned..

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Sunday, May 18, 2008

07/08 Season Review - Defenders

Seeing the men in between the posts, it's time to put some time on a very important aspect of the game. The defence. Pepe Reina was able to win the Golden Glove award for consecutively 3 times is mainly due to the strong wall built in front of him.

Let's begin.

Steve Finnan
The Republic of Ireland's right back has not performed up to his standards or expectations from everyone this season. Finnan has been consistent over the years and eventually, becoming the unsung heros of the team. Unfortunately, probably due to his age and injuries, it's hard for him to sustain such form over these years and he's not been the automatic choice like before. Rafa probably noticed his poor form during trainings and hence, not involving him in the first team as much. I'm unsure about his future at Liverpool, I'm pretty sure that he has been a loyal servant to the club.

Ratings: 3 / 5

Sami Hyypia
Oh man, what else can I say from Big Sami! He's a fantastic player this season, or probably in all seasons. Despite his age, he was able to come into the team and defended superbly throughout the season. Many would have argued about his pace, however I do not think that is a problem for the Finnish international. His timing and presence in the air are still top class and he has happily signed a year extension to his contract which will see him being at Liverpool for 10 years.

Daniel Agger's injury early in the season has given Hyypia more first-team football this season. He's been a great professional and his experience in the game is valuable. Earlier in the season, he faced some criticism for the own goals he unfortunately scored. Having said that, he replied them by putting some great performances and scoring the bullet header against Arsenal in the quarter final of the Champions League. It was a crucial goal. Love his celebration as he marched back into his own half after scoring.

He's not getting any younger but his experience and reading of the game have always been spot on. He would be at the club next season for sure. Hope to see him contributing in any way next season. Well Done Sami Hyypia!

Ratings: 4.5 / 5

Daniel Agger
He's so unfortunate to suffer an injury so early in the season. I can't even remember when he got injured, but I do know that he suffered a relapse during training when he was about to come back into the team. He's definitely missed this season. His pace and ability to bring the ball forward are some of his attributes we failed to see this season. I'm pleased to hear the latest update about him that he has recovered and working towards next season's football. I'm looking forward to see him this coming August, hopefully scoring some goals as well.

Ratings: Injured for majority of season.

John Arne Riise
His name must be a popular one in the Chelsea's dressing room and fans. His infamous own goal against Chelsea on the last kick of the game at Anfield would be remembered by many especially the Anfield faithfuls. Oh boy, Riise! Sadly so, we didn't manage to see his thunderbolts this season. His poor form haunted him the whole season. He was really poor in his games which added to my frustration every time I watched Liverpool matches. Despite being versatile, Riise didn't manage to use that to his advantage. He's not being first choice in majority of the games as well. I do not what happened to him, but like Finnan, he didn't performed to expectations. His future in Liverpool is much in doubt at this very moment. I will not be sad to see him go though.

Ratings: 2 / 5

Fabio Aurelio

I've always like this Brazilian left back. Despite the fact that he's not the best defending full back around, I still admire his left foot and the way he strike the ball. Probably the fact that he's from Brazil, his individual skills are one of the top in the team. His distribution to the midfield and strikers proved to be crucial as I knew many of these became assists of goals. A team player and hard working player. He got his first goal for the club against Bolton with a nice volley just outside the area. It's always so unfortunate for him as he got injured at the crucial time. Against Chelsea, he got injured without touching anyone and replacement Riise scored the own goal right at the end. I'm pretty sure that if Aurelio is still on the pitch, the own goal wouldn't be scored. His only weakness is being injury prone. Other than that, he's a decent player for us.

Ratings: 4 / 5

Álvaro Arbeloa
This fellow here was bought last season and it proved to be a reliable transfer. The ability to play both right and left back, is a useful tool for Rafa to utilise. Not a bad defender who loves to attack. He always get me worried when he attacks and can't get back in time to defend. Carra has to cover up for him many times! Still, Rafa seems to like his Spanish defender and Arbeloa has been playing plenty of football this season especially important ones as well. Having said that, he has not prove, at least to me that he can be a permanent and strong full back for Liverpool. He's gonna play harder and move up to the next level. Still, I do like him and he's been selected in the Spanish squad for the Euros'. Good luck Alvaro, see you next season!

Ratings: 3.5 / 5

Jamie Carragher
Oh Carragher! There's nothing much to say about this lad. He's been brilliant every season, week in week out. Unbelievable defender which many don't recognise his efforts and performance. His retirement for England proved to be a wise decision as he was able to concentrate on club football. (He was not appreciated in international level though) Jamie has been no-nonsense at the heart of the defence, guiding the rest of the team. Played right back in several occasions and it was top class. He's always hungry for success and hopefully, he is able to get what he has been waiting for before he retires. Enjoy your holidays, Jamie.

Ratings: 4.5 / 5

Martin Skrtel
The new signing in the January proved to be a very essential and right one. Due to injuries, Rafa has only Carragher and Sami Hyypia in the centre of the defence. Skrtel was brought in to add depth and cover. He didn't have the best debut, did he score a own goal? I do not remember. However, this killer-looking defender has showed the world that he can be the toughest man around. Pacey and strong, Skrtel has grown into the game and showed that there's a reason for breaking the record of being the most expensive defender for Liverpool. I like this fellow as the season commenced despite of his scary face. Like Carra, no nonsense at the back and he gel really well with Reina and the rest of the back 4. Good first season performance, Martin. :)

I guess we need some reinforcements for our fullbacks. I do hope to see some quality signings in the summer for the backs. With strong 4 centre backs, Rafa would be more than delighted to have this headache of who to choose.

Up and coming, the middle of the park. Stay tuned.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

07/08 Season Review - GoalKeepers

As the season has officially ended, at least for Liverpool, it's time to reflect back on the season's highs and lows. Players review as you can say, I will be starting from Pepe Reina, and all the way to Spanish wonder Fernando Torres.

Liverpool didn't win any trophies this season but there were many positives to be mentioned. Breaking records and constantly progressing as each season passes by is definitely something we can work towards.

Without further ado, let's start.

Pepe Reina
The number 25 has been the man between the posts for Liverpool for the past 3 seasons consecutively. Rafa Benitez has been keeping faith with Pepe's safe hands and I agreed totally with his choice. Ever since he came to England, I have always like him and feel that he's one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. He has been constantly improving and and I do believe that he can be our goalkeeper for many years in time.

There might be some criticism on him due to some blunders and poor decision making during the years. However, there's no goalkeeper in this world who don't make mistakes. It's the least mistakes he make which shows the quality of a goalkeeper. Pepe is one of those who can bounce back quickly and come up with good performances.

I love his kicks and throws for counter-attacks. He even has an assist for Torres to score against Fulham at Anfield during the season. Accuracy is something which I always admire to see him spreading the play to the outfield players.

He has won the Golden Gloves 2 times already, and this season, he has once again emerged victorious against other goalkeepers by clinching the award for 3 consecutive times. WELL DONE PEPE!

He's a good goalkeeper and I do hope to see him standing in front of our goal line, saving shots and keeping clean sheets in many seasons to come.

Ratings: 4 / 5

Charles Itandje
Liverpool 2nd goalkeeper has not been the happiest player and I should say, a difficult situation to be in. Itandje is playing behind a world class goalkeeper and I can understand that it's difficult for him to just take over Pepe. Having said that, he has been a great professional. He didn't complain about sitting on the bench (not that I know of) and is patiently waiting for his chance.

He played in the cup competitions these seasons as Rafa has promised him. Unfortunately, Liverpool went out of these competitions pretty early and hence, Charles didn't have much time and opportunities to show the fans how good he is. He made some great saves during these matches and he was really unlucky to concede some deflected goals and own goals which he couldn't do much about it.

Due to his little appearances, it's hard for fans like myself to judge him based on several matches. Nevertheless, I do think that he's a steady goalkeeper who is ready to come on when needed to. About this future in Liverpool, it's really tough to say. It's all depends on him whether he would stay on and fight for the no1 spot or looking else where for first team football.

Ratings: 3 / 5

Up next, it would be likes of Jamie Carragher and new signing Martin Skrtel. Stay tuned.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Monday, May 12, 2008

Torres Broke Ruud's Record On Last Day

Tottenham 0 Liverpool 2
Voronin 68, Torres 73

The last match of the 07/08 Premiership ended on a high note for Rafa Benitez's men as Liverpool won 2-0 at White Hart Lane. A game in which completes the whole league of 38 games and the result didn't have any significant effects on both teams.

Liverpool has already secured its 4th spot way back while Juande Ramos was just trying out more players to test out which are the ones who can stay in his plans next season. A Liverpool team who failed to see the likes of Peter Crouch, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Jermaine Pennant and Xabi Alonso in it. These are the players who are speculated to be leaving Anfield in pretty soon.

I was switching channels in some parts during the game as there were relegation battles, title championship, all happening at the same time. 8 Live matches in Singapore led my fingers changing channels every minute or so. Having said that, I was still watching Liverpool's game.

Torres' flick on header was able to reach Voronin who didn't make any mistakes scoring past Spurs goalkeeper Cerny. Voronin scored? Well, it's not a bad effort from the 31 year old striker, but I don't wish to see him next season though.

The highlight of the game was Torres scoring his 24th goal of the season, breaking former Manchester United poacher, Ruud Van Nistelrooy record of 23 goals. What a moment for this young lad! Well done Torres! You've surpassed all expectations and he made the goal himself. Dumbed Michael Dawson, making him like a fool and eventually, being subbed out after conceding the goal.

A 2-0 win is always nice to see and it's time for holidays for some of the players while the rest will be heading to Euro 08. Captain Steven Gerrard will be resting after England couldn't make it onto the plane. We shall look forward to next season and hopefully, get what we have been waiting for.

In other news..

Manchester United is crowned champions at the JJB stadium beating Wigan 2-0 while Avam Grant's men suffered a major blow in conceding a late late equaliser against relegation warrior Bolton. Besides, Terry was stretchered off after a nasty collision with Petr Cech during the game. Not a good sign right before of the Champions League final.

Derby has the company of 2 other teams. Reading and Birmingham would be going down to the Championship next season. Unfortunately, despite these 2 teams has won convincingly last night, the damage has already been done and it's heartbreaking for the club and especially for the fans.

A season review will be coming up, and hopefully some transfers news as well.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

P.S. Due to copyrights issue, I'm not allowed to post any pictures nor videos of these football matches or players. I apologised for any inconvenience caused.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Home Win Against Man City

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0
Torres 58

Torres got his 32th goal of the season for Liverpool. What a signing he has been! He has scored 8 consecutive matches in Anfield, equaling club record Roger Hunt's tally. Well done Fernando!

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's Chelsea Into the Final

Chelsea 3 Liverpool 2
Drogba 32, 105, Lampard 94 - Torres 64, 116

The last competitive and important match of Liverpool's season has ended last night. They have lost to Chelsea on an aggregate of 4-3 at Stamford Bridge. 2 goals from Didier Drogba and a penalty scored by Frank Lampard. Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel scored past Cech's goal.

No complaints. We lost over 2 legs of football. Many would have argued, if we have 1-0 lead from Anfield, (not because of Riise's blunder), things would be different. Somehow, I felt Chelsea deserved to go through despite my blood bleeds Liverpool.

We had the chances to turnover the tie. We created opportunities, and we did play well. Unfortunately, we didn't score more and Avam Grant's men got the result. Torres scored a beautiful equaliser. Everyone thought we could build on the lead and even in extra time. Sadly, we didn't.

Many minor factors has cost us. The injuries to Fabio Aurelio and Martin Skrtel proved to be very crucial in both matches. As Rafa mentioned, against big teams in such a major tournament, we have to be careful and small details like this would determine the result.

Still, it was a memorable journey. Beating the likes of Inter Milan, Arsenal along the way were something we can always reflect on. Goals from Torres, Babel and Kuyt were all be in the history of Liverpool. The experience in the team is massive despite the the young squad. We gave Chelsea a hard fight and somehow, I feel that it's fate which led Chelsea into the final.

We shall look forward to the next season. Champions League Semi-finalist, 4th position in the league. That's something Liverpool can improve on. As long as Rafa is around, I do believe, we can progress and hopefully, getting results.

It's okay lads, we have to move on and play better football next season.

You'll Never Walk Alone..