Tuesday Nov 30Posted by: Antoine Zammit  6 Comments »

Tribute to Jamie Carragher

We heard the news today that Jamie Carragher will be out of action for at least 3 months following his injury against Spurs on Sunday.

We will miss you Jamie, YNWA.

Tuesday Nov 30Posted by: Antoine Zammit  3 Comments »

The Daily Antoine: 30th Nov 2010 – Liverpool F.C. News update

Carra’s injury looks like it is worse than feared more…
(Not good)

Roy stands by Torres more…
(A few weeks ago everyone was hailing Torres for his game against Chelsea, people tend to forget so quickly)

Konchesky blames himself over the loss against Spurs more…

(YNWA)

Sevilla are looking at Lucas more…
(Hands off)

And Juve are interested in Babel more…
(Hummm)

And the Italian press at linking us again with Mirko Vucinic more…
(£21 million, damn)

Zidane warns LFC over Hazard more…
(Hazard is a quality player and there are many clubs after him)

The St. Etienne chief attacks Comolli more…
(Wow!)

Fabio Aurelio relishing cup tie more…
(Hopefully he will feature)

The Brazilian also rues Carra’s absence more…

(We will miss him)

More talk of Kuyt leaving more…
(NO)

And according to Footylatest it is Bayern Munich more…
(NEIN)

Stephen Darby wants to stay longer at Notts County more…
(No, we need you)

Darren Bent is being mentioned now more…

(LOL, as long as he brings his beach balls with him)

And Diarra again more…

(Isn’t he too old?)

And a certain Traore is being linked more…
(No not Djimi :-) )

The reserves game yesterday was called off more…
(Weather)

And also the youth cup match is postponed more…
(For a while I thought it was because of the weather)

Follow on Twitter @empireofthekop

Monday Nov 29Posted by: Adam Stone  8 Comments »

Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1

Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1

The most annoying thing about this game was that we should really have had in the bag by half time, it certainly wasn’t through lack of chances on our part either, just by chances not taken and one or two touches too many made.

Both Maxi and Torres (amongst others) had chances that they both should of buried to extend the score to 3-0 after Skrtel’s opener in the first half, but for some reason or other, they decided to have another touch, and that touch was enough to stop them from scoring, or for the goal keeper to change his position and be able to save the shot.

What undid us was lax defending and not paying attention when we should have been, simple as that, and Lennon (who had done arse-all all game) shot through and scored the winner two minutes into injury time.

Not even a draw would have been a better result as we played well enough to win the game, but to lose it, and to lose it the way we did was simply sickening, but you see it happen time, and time again. It should never have come to that though, but it doesn’t excuse it either.

It could have been worse for us a minute later when Lennon had another chance but, luckily for us he didn’t this one quite as clinically as he had the first shot, and we were saved further embarrassment.

Roy did make one really bizarre decision, that would have been worthy of Rafa, in this game when, at 1-1, he took off David N’Gog and replaced him with Fabio Aurelio, when we were chasing the game. Quite why this happened is anybody’s guess, but it didn’t have the desired effect, if the desired effect was trying to keep the game level pegging, it certainly wasn’t to try and go and win the game, that’s for sure!

Surely Jonjo Shelvey would have been a better replacement for N’Gog if you had to choose to try and get something from the game, but then again I am not a manager, so perhaps I am not the best person to judge!

I don’t really know what else to say about this match except that we should have been home and dry before half time, and then we sat back and ended up losing the game by taking our eye of the ball. Very, very annoying indeed and two points squandered.

Monday Nov 29Posted by: Karl  4 Comments »

Positives in the face of defeat

Yesterday’s defeat against Spurs ranks as one of the worst emotional debacles I have endured as a Liverpool FC fan. Frustration and anger overcame my system and I was left wondering that someone “up there” must certainly hate us. My last column, “Cautious Optimism” highlighted how Tottenham move into top gear after half-time and have become the season’s masters at coming back from behind and beat their opponents. Nothing prophetic may I add and a quick look at results will only confirm this. Tottenham away was not an insurmountable target I concluded, but deep down I knew we had to be inch-perfect to come away with anything but a defeat.

I must say that both teams were ambassadors to the English Premiership and proved to me (not that I needed further confirmation) that this league is the most exciting sporting event in Europe. The ball was continuously played from one end of the field to the other and both teams sought to pass the ball precisely and indulge in one-touch football. The Reds entertained us to one of the best away performances in the last months and any sincere neutral fan will acknowledge that Liverpool should have at least earned a point after yesterday’s much improved away display. It was not to be and the Liverpool players and management have to pick themselves up after yet another set back.

Liverpool proposed a typical 4-4-2 line-up with Ngog partnering Torres up front, both supported by Kuyt and Maxi just behind. Lucas returned into the starting eleven after seeing out a one-match ban against the Hammers the previous week. The Brazilian proved to be a massive influence and was instrumental in breaking down attacks. Equally important was how Lucas muscled his way through Tottenham’s defense on many occasions reminding everyone that he can shoulder the great burden when Gerrard is absent. Liverpool’s game play was tremendously professional, well disciplined, accurate and made easy by a Spurs side impatient to score the opening goal many times failing to put Pepe Reina under notable pressure. In fact it was Liverpool that gained the upper hand in the first half and such was the positive effort that Spurs suffered a sucker punch just before half-time with an opportunistic but well taken Skrytel shot. Fair to say, Spurs had lost two men to injury during the course of the first period.

Minutes later and Liverpool failed to consolidate, first through Maxi and then through Torres, both taking advantage of a napping Spurs defense but ultimately failing to find the net. Two nil down, and Liverpool firing on all fours would have made it tough for Tottenham to come back, but with the game so tight and the lead minimal, the onus was for Redknapp’s side to come out fighting after the break. And so they did, although the Reds never bowed to pressure and kept on probing Tottenham’s half in search of the elusive second goal, which never materialized. And this is the crux of the whole game – Liverpool created many chances but only scored once, so with Tottenham riding their luck, it was always too much for Liverpool’s back four to keep Spurs at bay. Mid-way through the second half, the North London team were awarded a dubious penalty but Defoe fluffed his shot wide, and, boy was I elated. Moments later, elation turned into despair as a bulldozing unchallenged run by Modric saw his shot blatantly deflected goalwards by Skrytel who suddenly turned villain after cunningly giving us the lead. Good to note that Skrytel’s “second” goal meant that this weekend’s Premiership round saw all teams score, at least, one goal, apparently a record in it’s own right.

It was not an onslaught from then on and Liverpool had penalty appeals turned down when Kuyt was amateurishly tackled inside the box. The match official wasn’t eager to hand Liverpool any favours and seemed to enjoy extracting the yellow card and book Liverpool’s players in a game that warranted less involvement of the referee. The football maybe great in England but English referees leave much to be desired. With a few minutes on the clock remaining, Liverpool were forced into a sudden change after Carragher signaled arm trouble and the only option was to bring Krygiakos on. As a side-note, any experienced armchair fan would have recognized the injury as being a dislocated shoulder, and it was to my surprise that a popular website came up with the mad conclusion that Carragher had sustained a broken arm! Deep into injury time and Konchesky was found dormant the moment Lennon latched onto a well struck pass and the England man showed great confidence to beat Reina and make it 2-1. Tottenham could have scored a third but failed to capitalize on poor defending.

The game provided a preview of what Liverpool might offer when the ship is finally stabilized and yesterday’s performance suggests we’re not far off from reaching this goal. It’s a fine line nowadays between victory and defeat; every team will provide for a stern test but the approach and mentality adopted by the Reds yesterday is welcome and helps tone down the consequences of earning zilch from a game which could have easily been won.

The defeat boiled down to errors which are a result of the team still trying to gel but the players seem to understand Hodgson’s tactics much better now. For once, there was nothing the manager could have done to change things for the better. The game was lost when Liverpool provided, on a number of occasions, a life-line for Tottenham to hang on to by failing to score that all important second goal. It is a boosting psychological factor when one’s opponent is not ruthless infront of goal and buoyed by the home crowd, Spurs were in no mood to throw in the towel early and pressed for an equaliser even after failing to convert a highly debatable penalty.

Torres was uncharacteristically shy at shooting goalwards and may have felt somehow lost playing alongside Ngog. The latter was a nuisance all throughout but needs to improve on his ball retention skills as many times he is shoved off far too easily. The next game against Steaua Bucharest will be important for us to get back in good shape in time for the home tie against Aston Villa which is another must win and one which I am confident will see us secure three points. Three home games and two visits to Newcastle and Blackpool offer a relatively straightforward end to 2010. No use crying over spilt milk (after losing to Tottneham) – it’s important the team recognizes the good achievement albeit the loss, build on this and improve on the few but determining negative aspects. Good luck Roy, Liverpool.

See you next time.

Monday Nov 29Posted by: Guest Writer  42 Comments »

They’re not Rafa’s Players, there Roy’s

By Jamie Scott

Much has been made out of the squad Roy Hodgson has inherited from Rafa Benitez, and the emphasis seems to be on “Rafas” players, deflecting the real problem at Liverpool, the players Roy Hodgson has brought in.

I personally don’t think Rafa got the credit he deserved for his dealings in the transfer market, granted signings of Degen, Kromkamp, Dossenna and Voronin etc were hardly astute signings by the master tactician, but people seem to forget some of the players that are regarded as the best in the world were discovered by Rafa, Torres and Reina for example. Other he has brought in surely prove that his track record is not as bad as made out with the signings of, Alonso, Luis Garcia, Crouch, Alvaro Arbeloa, Daniel Agger, Martin Skertl, Glen Johnson, Momo Sissoko, Yossi Benayoun, Craig Bellamy and he even got the last legs out of God and most importantly made a profit on most of them!!. People forget that Rafa himself inherited a squad that was full of under achievers and some players who most certainly were not  good enough to be Liverpool players but unlike the current crop, the likes of Traore, Biscan and Josemi were Champions League Winners!!.

Rafa could fashion a winning mentality out of players and was tactically astute where Roy is completely incompetent in all aspects. When Rafa left the club he left us with signings he brought in players like, Reina, Mascherano, Torres, Kuyt, Agger, Skertel, Johnson, Maxi and 2 of Houillers men Gerrard and Carragher im sure there’s not a manager that would not have wanted to inherit these players, 10 international players. Even some of the squad players left behind by Rafa should be good enough, the much maligned Lucas has shown glimpses of what he is capable of, Ryan Babel has potential but needs someone to get it out of him and David Ngog no matter what you think of him can score goals, and the big Greek is so passionate when he plays that you could never fault his drive and determination. Add to that some potentially quality youngsters in Kelly, Pacheco, Ince and Shelvey and you have the players to fashion a potentially good squad of players given the right players are brought in to play with them. Granted there was some dead wood that needed to be cleared out and too his credit Roy has done that but has he done the right thing. Emiliano Insua has been allowed to leave on loan as has Alberto Aquilani. Roy has harped on about not having enough depth in his squad and those 2 players would not struggle to get into the team we have now. Reira, our only naturally gifted wide man was also allowed to leave and should have been given the chance by Roy; at the very least he was a decent squad player.

Now lets look at Roy’s signings and I want to state a FACT here that, from all the signings Roy has made so far not one of them has hit the back of the net in the league and to top that our normal free scoring players have dried up in front of goal as was evident in Sundays clash with Spurs in fact in 15 league games we have only scored 19 goals, an absolutely poor return.

Joe Cole was brought in, and was regarded the coup of the summer, but injuries, suspensions and playing in a variety of positions has reminded me of Harry Kewell’s time at Liverpool. Its early days for Joe and I hope he starts to turn in the performances as by his own admissions he has not played well. He has quality and will be a good player for us but he needs to play where he is most dangerous, but Roy will probably persist with playing him wherever, perhaps Roy feels he might make a good goalkeeper. Christian Poulsen was brought in as a replacement for Mascherano no matter how much Roy tried to dress it up as they would both play in the same team. At least with Poulsen we knew he was once a good player and I just think that instead of Poulsen, Van der Vaart would have been money better spent as we would have had what we are lacking a player to play off Torres, but according to Roy “he was not the profile of player we were looking for”. That brings me to Paul Konchesky. He has got to be without a doubt the worst full back in the history of our club. At fault for the Spurs winner yesterday, he is constantly a liability at the back. The only thing he has done this season is do what Rafa and Wenger et al could not, make Jermaine Pennant look like a player. He claims he has raised his game since he has been here so I dread to think what his performances at Fulham were like. We sold 2 promising youngsters to get him in, what a waste especially when Danny Agger when fit could play there, Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurellio (when fit) could play there, Insua could have stayed or even Jack Robinson could play there and would enjoy more success than Konch who has never been a player. Raul Meireless has come in and is pretty much an enigma, but has had to contend with playing out wide??? Why??? Only Roy knows. He seems to have come into his own since Stevie got injured but only time will tell is he the new Alonso?? I very much doubt it. Would we have been better keeping Aquilani who had some experience in the league and given his form for Juve this season would have been better kept which would have saved us £12million, but out of all Roys signings Meireless looks like he may succeed with us and most importantly he has passion for the club. Danny Wilson has been brought in and has been given limited chances. Brad Jones was also brought in and again what a waste of money considering the goalkeepers we have. This will not be everyone’s favourite decision but Intandje, who for the record should have been sacked after the Hillsborough memorial, is still being paid a wage; Peter Gulacsi is around, Martin Hansen and Dean Bouzanis. That’s £2.5 million for a player that could have gone to where we needed to strengthen, up front. Fabio Aurellio was re signed but injuries have limited him. Rafas last 2 signings Jovanovic, who might be a headless chicken but he tries, has been phased out and Jonjo Shelvey looks like he will be a player. Roy has wasted far too much money on some of these players where we had players good enough to play in these positions and neglected where we needed to strengthen more, up front surely had to be the priority. The fact we were clambering round on deadline day looking for a new striker suggests Roy had his priorities all wrong.

The January window is approaching and last week alone we were linked wit no fewer that 18 players. Roy has admitted he is keen to strengthen, but has admitted he would like Carlton Cole?? I for one would rather have Carlton from the fresh prince. And some of the other names touted do not inspire me much. Some of Roy’s signings have seen us take a step back, which is evident with Poulsen, Konchesky and Jones. Yes Rafa made mistakes in the market but he did it over 5 years, Roy should have learnt from his mistakes and stuck by what he said he was going to and give youth a try. By the way has anyone seen Dani Pacheco lately, he is apparently not good enough in Roy’s eyes. I appreciate Roy’s signing need time to bed in and adapt but there are at least 2 of them that are just about good enough to play in the Championship. So when we criticise Rafa and the squad he left, look how Roy has added to it and ask ourselves the questions is it better than it was with Rafa? In short No its worse and judging by what Roy classes as a good player is not what any sane person would.

Monday Nov 29Posted by: Antoine Zammit  1 Comment »

BOOK : My Liverpool Home – Kenny Dalglish

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