Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Half Advantage

Real Madrid 0 Liverpool 1
Benayoun 82

A much anticipated match between 2 big European Champions giants, Liverpool and Real Madrid. 9 times vs 5 times winner, what else beats that? With Real Madrid with 9 matches unbeaten run in the league, Liverpool is facing one of the best form team in the Champions League.

Liverpool has just suffered a blow in their league with 7 points behind leaders Manchester United, hoping that they can regain some morale back at the brilliant stadium, Bernabeau . I'm impressed by this fantastic infrastructure when I was watching the game last night.

With Steven Gerrard not fully fit, it's important for the rest of the team to step up and put up a performance and fortunately, the rest did not disappoint. Kuyt supporting Torres upfront, Alonso back in midfield with Mascherano.

It's very critical for these players to rise up to the occassion, against the likes of Robben, Raul, Gago and company. A very resilient and strong defence put up by Rafa, closing and pressing on every ball on the pitch, not allowing Real Madrid to play their football.

Xabi Alonso, had a brilliant match. Man of the match in my opinion. Controlled midfield, dictate play, protected the back four. Great vision in passing and it's hard to imagine that if we have sold him in the summer. He had an effort himself from the middle of park, which almost gave Iker Casilas a scare.

The winner came in the 82th minute of the game. A beautiful Fabio Aurelio's freekick from the right met one of the smallest players on the pitch, Yossi Benayoun, who headed into the goal. I flew off my chair while you see the Liverpool players celebrating at the corner flag. Sucker punch, Liverpool got the precious away goal.

Real Madrid was shocked, clueless on how to penetrate the big red wall of Liverpool has built. Other than Robben, I don't anyone else who is able to do it. Credits to the Liverpool players, they sat deep and defended superbly.

A fantastic win and I'm sure it is a good morale booster for them for the remaining of the season. Having said that, it's only half time. We have an away goal advantage but we cannot take anything for granted. Let's take every game at a time and we will see how the season shapes for us.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

7 Points Adrift

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1
Kuyt 78 - Bellamy 48

A Craig Bellamy's goal spoilt Liverpool hopes of chasing Manchester United in the Premier League. Every match is a must win and looking at Ferguson's men form, it's hard for them to drop a single point. With Rafa's future in doubt, I really wonder what's holding for Liverpool Football Club in the subsequent months and the future.

We have been coming from behind and made like 7 comebacks this season. Dirk Kuyt equaliser somehow gave the fans some hope we might snatch a late winner, but somehow, we can't always depend on comebacks to win.

We have to be consistent in producing results, week in week out. We have to be more penetrating in our attacks, converting chances. No matter what happen in the future, let the feet do the talking and after which, any sort of full control, contract terms can come later. I really hope that we don't have to start all over again.

7 points is a big gap. But in football, things may change and you will never know until the end. "With hope in your heart.. " as the Liverpool fans have always sing.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Torres Completes Comeback!

Portsmouth 2 Liverpool 3
Nugent 61, Hreidarsson 77 - Aurelio 69, Kuyt 84, Torres 90

Once again, Rafa Benitez has proved that he can be one of the boldest manager in the league, seeing his line-up against Portsmouth last night. With 6 defenders in the line-up, putting young French Ngog as the lone striker upfront, I really was wondering how on earth can he win the game with this first 11.

Surprisingly, we started pretty well with passing and plenty share of possession. However, Ryan Babel and David Ngog doesn't seemed to be able to penetrate into the Tony Adams' defence and hence, we failed to score in the opening 45 minutes.

Rafa was spot on in his substitutions, bringing in Dirk Kuyt for the ineffective Ngog. You could see his inexperience in the game. Kuyt was fresh and the spark of our comeback in the game.

Fabio Aurelio's indirect freekick was very well-executed which got us the equalising goal. A left footed drive after David James handled the ball from a Peter Crouch back pass causing the indirect freekick. We made a mistake and conceded the lead to the home side.

Alonso came in, so was Torres. These players came in and made an impact in the game. Portsmouth was tiring while the likes of Benayoun, Kuyt, Mascherano were all fighting for every ball on the pitch. Kuyt scored late on with an almost impossible shot passed David James. I simply do not know how he managed to squeeze the ball in.

In the 90th minute, who else? Fernando Torres headed in the winner which gave us the massive 3 points. With time ticking off, good play by Benayoun and Mascherano on the left, Torres finished it off with his 1st chance at goal. A comeback again!

Credit to the team, they kept believing and fought throughout. They shown character and you could see that every game is so important for this long title race. I do not care how Rafa changes, or who he plays, as long as we have the 3 points, the rest we can talk later.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Knocked Out By Neighbours

Everton 1 Liverpool 0
Gosling 118

Strange game of football, which I thought we could hang on to penalties. Like Rafa always mentioned, the smallest details caused us the defeat. Many factors, Steven Gerrard's injury, Lucas' sent off and Torres was left unsupported. Nevertheless, I do hope it's a blessing in disguise. Best of luck for Everton in the FA Cup.

You'll Never Walk Alone..

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Double Over Chelsea!

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0
Torres 88, 94

The last time Liverpool did a double over Chelsea - the year 1990, the year which Liverpool last won the title. It's been more than a decade ago. It could have been a different story if not because of this man, Fernando Torres. The record signing of this football club has proven why he's worth that much of money and how valuable he is to Anfield.

The ideal line-up against Chelsea and this somehow gave me and also the fans a boost seeing the first 11. This line-up is normally the same as mine when I play my Football Manager. The partnership of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard upfront just menacing to any opposition.

3 points is what it matters and I do think we deserved the win. Dominated the game, kept pressing and the players fought bravely against the highly skilled Blues. Oh yes, many can argue about the sending off of Frank Lampard. Did not deserve to be sent off but sometimes, such things do happen. Whether it is for you or against you, people either move on or just continue to moan about it. I remembered some decisions going against us but we just have to stick to it and continue the way it is.

Fernando Torres' header in the 88th minute was so vital as the game was heading to a draw. You could see from the celebrations of the players, how much this win meant to them and the remaining games of the season. Massive victory for Liverpool as this ended the disappointing draws last month and a great boost to the players.

Let's keep it going and maintain the pace with the leaders Manchester United. The race is still on and we gotta fight till the end!

In other news..

It seems to me that Robbie Keane is heading back to Tottenham Hotspur after just less than 6 months in Liverpool. After so much speculation and stories, I guess everything is revealed. It is believed that Keane is not a player bought by Rafa and that probably explains why he left Robbie Keane out.

Nevertheless, we wish him all the best back in Spurs!

You'll Never Walk Alone..