Liverpool face Man United at Anfield in the FA Cup 4th Round this Saturday, and The Redmen TV bring you the uncensored build up. The Show features the latest team news, FA Cup stats, a cameo from the North East Redmen, Best Bets, and YOUR score predictions. CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE!
Liverpool’s FA Cup 4th round clash at Anfield against Manchester United tomorrow puts Liverpool Football Club in the spotlight once again. With the rivalry of the two clubs it is always an explosive fixture, but this time it could be really nasty after the recent case involving Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez.
Suarez won’t be able to play in the match as he is currently serving an 8 match ban for making “racist” remarks to Evra, but Liverpool’s constant backing and defence of their star player has shown everyone that the club are not happy with the decision made by the FA. This is probably the last draw the FA could have hoped for when the draw was made.
Liverpool has accepted the FA’s decision without appeal against the 8 match ban, but by backing Suarez they are obviously accepting the decision through gritted teeth. The recent problem with a fan at the Oldham match has not helped Liverpool in their stance against racism, and the club will be under the spotlight against Manchester United.
I fear Liverpool could get into serious trouble if any player or fan steps out of line tomorrow by abusing Evra. It is such a volatile situation the club find themselves in and everyone I hear on the radio and in the papers seem to be blaming Liverpool and asking for Kenny or Liverpool Legends to come out and diffuse the situation.
OK it is a Liverpool player who has been judged to be guilty and Liverpool should have to deal with the situation. But this situation is such an awkward one for everyone involved, considering the rivalry between the two clubs and I think the FA should step in to advise Sir Alex not to play Evra in this match, because he has been the other player directly involved in this awkward, sensitive and unusual case. With Suarez already banned from the match, this leaves Evra as a prime target which I fear could get ugly.
Why should Manchester United suffer and be forced to leave one of their best players out of one of the most important matches of the season. Evra has been the victim so why should he suffer if he feels prepared to play.
The blame is with Liverpool Football Club so they have to get on with it and woe be tide anyone stepping out of line. So if there is a bloodbath tomorrow all the blame will lie with Liverpool and the book will be thrown at them, and the FA will feel no guilt, when they have the authority to prevent this happening by preventing Evra from playing.
Liverpool supporters are some of the best supporters in the world and I am not saying for a minute that trouble will happen, but there is big chance it could with feelings running very high. Every shout from a spectator and every tackle from a player on Evra is going to be scrutinised and Liverpool will be on trial by the World’s media as they will flock like vultures waiting for a piece of controversy.
If Sir Alex Ferguson had any sense and want the match to be concentrated on football, then he would leave Evra out. But Ferguson will love this situation and he knows Liverpool players, supporters and the whole club will be on trial and he will make it is as awkward as possible by playing Evra who could thrive on this and possibly cause more trouble. But Ferguson should have the decision to play Evra made for him by the FA.
I also think the FA should advise both clubs not to play Evra and Suarez in the League match that is coming up soon at Old Trafford, so that tensions can ease a little between the two clubs. I don’t expect the FA to step in as they put Liverpool on trial again. I just fear Liverpool could lose a lot more than just a Cup tie. But if things turn nasty don’t go blaming Liverpool or Manchester United, lay your blame with the FA, but you can be sure they won’t be found guilty.
The 95th minute. Joe Hart restarts play with a long goal kick forward. Phil Dowd puts his whistle to his lips and blows one final time. Liverpool are going back to Wembley.
The immense pride that I felt at the noise of that final whistle was overwhelming. To think that the humiliation I had been subjected to just 4 days ago had turned to pure ecstasy is the reason I watch football, and the reason I put my full trust in the Liverpool Football Club.
We dominated that opening 30 minutes, only to go one behind. We then dominated the opening 22 minutes of the second half, only to go behind again. How easy would it have been for our deflated, dejected side to just give up and say this game wasn’t going for them? How easy would it have been for our defenders to call it a day and let the most expensive, talented forward line in the world walk all over them? Instead, they rallied. They showed guts, they showed courage, they showed heart. Not once but twice.
The way we responded to the first suckerpunch on Wednesday night was uplifting. The way we continued to press despite a goal coming completely against the run of play raised the spirits of Anfield and the voices of the Kop. Then we got our reward, as our captain fantastic Steven Gerrard stroked home his spot kick to put us back in front.
Then, on 67 minutes, when Aleksandar Kolarov’s flat, piercing cross picked out Edin Dzeko, those hopes were again dashed. 2 shots on target, 2 goals.
But no. Again we responded like the Liverpool of old. Dirk Kuyt’s familiar grittiness returned, rounding his marker and feeding Craig Bellamy. The Welshman’s quick one-two with Glen Johnson, the shift onto his left foot, the finish past Joe Hart. All in front of the adoring Kop, still so full of belief, full of hope and full of trust that our boys could pull this off.
But it wasn’t just the side’s responses to going behind which uplifted the crowd. It was the response to the harsh, stinging words of Kenny Dalglish just a few days prior. He made a bold statement – one more performance like the one at Bolton and it would be your last – and he got the reaction he was after.
Perhaps this is why tears flooded the eyes of the King at the sound of the full time whistle. He returned to his throne to make a difference to his once proud club, slowly sinking into the abyss of mid-table mediocrity, and in just over 12 months, what a difference he’d made.
Once again Anfield was a formidable venue. Once again the 12th man lifted the Reds over the line. Once again the sign “This is Anfield” terrified the opposition upon walking down the tunnel. Once again the Reds were going to Wembley.
Liverpool went into this Carling Cup second leg tie with a slender one goal advantage after their gritty performance in Manchester a fortnight ago. Liverpool would be hoping to finish of the job at a packed Anfield, as they hoped to return to Wembley for the first time since 1996, and get to their first major final since 2007. Dalglish would be hoping for a response from his team after publicly criticising his players after their poor performance against Bolton at the weekend.
Dalglish made two changes to the side that lost at Bolton with Dirk Kuyt and Stewart Downing returning to the side in place of Andy Carroll and Maxi. With Jay Spearing still recovering from injury, Gerrard and Adam once again were paired in the middle of midfield. But Liverpool had an attacking looking about their team, especially with a draw being good enough to take them to Wembley.
Anfield was packed and the atmosphere before kick-off was reminiscent of those famous European nights. Liverpool started the match with intent on adding to their one goal aggregate lead, and inside four minutes they almost scored when Enrique had a shot saved by the right leg of Joe Hart with the rebound smashed wide by Downing.
Moments later Charlie Adam had a right foot rocket well saved by Hart low to his left. City tried to respond to Liverpool’s early onslaught but Nasri’s effort was wayward. The lively Bellamy brought out another save from Hart after scampering past the nervy Savic. With Liverpool on top and looking the more dangerous it was City who scored first when De Jong’s long range effort ended up in the top corner, stunning the Kop.
But Liverpool responded brilliantly after this setback and they soon equalised when Richards’ block on Agger’s shot was handled and referee Dowd pointed to the spot. Steven Gerrard converted the penalty as Anfield erupted with delight. Both teams went in at the half with Liverpool still holding a one goal advantage.
Liverpool started the second half the way they started the first with Kuyt bringing out another save from Hart early on. But then Joe Hart brought out the save of the match with a brilliant fingertip save from a prodded Skrtel effort. Joe Hart was playing a blinder and he made another great save blocking Stewart Downing’s back-post volley.
But just like the first half Liverpool were stunned when Dzeko tapped in tapped in a brilliant Kolarov whipped cross from close range in the 67th minute. But Liverpool looked hungry to get to Wembley and they equalised in the 74th minute to gain the aggregate advantage when Bellamy finished off a terrific move involving Kuyt and Johnson.
City tried to respond as they pinned Liverpool back in the closing stages, but Liverpool stood firm and City never really got a clear chance as Liverpool celebrated at the end overjoyed at the thought of ending their long wait to return to Wembley.
A tremendous night for everyone connected with Liverpool to reach Wembley for the first time since 1996. I was very pleased with Kenny’s team selection by playing Kuyt and Bellamy who give great movement. The hunger shown by the whole team was impressive after such a disappointment at Bolton. Kenny couldn’t have wished for a better response from his players. If it wasn’t for Joe Hart it would have been a lot more comfortable. Some big performances with Charlie Adam having a very good match, as I have felt he has been struggling in recent games. Dirk Kuyt gave so much to the team and great selection by Kenny to play him. Stewart Downing was very good and he looks far better on the left linking up with Enrique. Bellamy was just everywhere, amazing performance. City should have got a penalty when Adam caught Dzeko in the first half, but the referee was behind the incident and never got a good view. Liverpool got lucky with the penalty but so glad we got it. Great for Liverpool to get back to a cup final, and even better with it being at Wembley.
Man Of The Match – Bellamy – one of the best individual performances at Anfield by a Liverpool player in a long time. Brilliantly taken goal too.
Craig Bellamy, in his second spell with the club he supported as a boy, scores the winning aggregate goal at the Kop End 16 minutes from time, against his former club and manager, Roberto Mancini, he so bitterly fell out with, prolonging Manchester City’s 9 year wait for their next victory at Anfield, and setting up a sentimental final against Cardiff, city of birth and another of his former clubs, as Liverpool return to Wembley for the first time in 16 years and attempt to end a trophy drought dating back to 2006.
Phew (catch your breath), the Football Gods could not have scripted it any better.