With 12 games left of the season left to play this season, talk of what Liverpool must improve on next season may sound premature. Liverpool are on fire at the moment, thrashing Swansea and Zenit at home and doing so quite comfortably. How comfortable Liverpool were against Zenit is absolutely meaningless now; it was a fruitless endeavor. We were knocked out.
There is nothing to be ashamed of. The manner in which we played football was beautiful; I was particularly pleased with Jose Enrique’s stunner against Swansea (and people are talking about Gareth Bale’s West Ham goal for goal of the season!). We must look forward to the future with eager anticipation and leave behind the cobwebs of this season. Although Champions League qualification is still mathematically possible, it is unlikely.
With all this in mind, I have written up 4 top targets for Liverpool, if they are to obtain Champions League status once again:
Almost all of you are aware that LFC’s kit manufacturer has changed from adidas to Warrior. Most of you would also know that Warrior does not have a presence in India. And only some of you know that you can buy authentic LFC merchandise in India thru Red Label – www.shopredlabel.com
Red Label, thru arrangements with suppliers, imports the Warrior kits in and accessories like training wear, footballs, bags, wallets, scarves etc in India and sells thru the above said website. The kits are still priced at £45′s INR equivalent and the shipping times and costs are drastically reduced as compared to the Indians buying it from the official store. Warrior also has an Asian market specific ‘fashion style’ LFC shirt which is similar to the home shirt but is knocked down on the fabric and is available for less than half the price. This is done specifically keeping in mind the price-sensitivity of the market. Thru Sporting iD, the official manufacturers of BPL Letters and Numbers, BPL Patches and Club specific name-numbers, Red Label offers the option to customers to customise their shirts with their desired names and numbers on the back in either PL or LFC-European style letters. These patches and name/numbers are available at a much lower price than you’d pay elsewhere.
The site also has a collection of unbranded (non-Warrior) but licensed LFC products to choose from. From playing cards to blankets to car stickers to footballs, the store has it all and items keep getting added to the portfolio. All Warrior and non-Warrior licensed LFC products come with an LFC hologram as mark of authenticity.
Utilizing our association with Jamie’s 23 Foundation thru Steve Parry, their Asian ambassador, we also facilitate purchase of any Jamie signed memorabilia in Indian currency.
Finally, Red Label also manufactures and prints ‘fan-art’ t-shirts. The shirts are designed by some of the best known LFC designers-cum-fans, most notably Kit Nelson. The ‘Royal Tee’ by Kit was the first product to launch this line and the Royal Tee has already received great response. Red Label is one of the only two stores in the world licensed to sell Kit’s designs.
Finally, for those without a credit card, Red Label offers other payment options like Net-banking, Debit Card and bank-transfer for the young Indian fan.
This shameless plug is written only because I understand that most people in India aren’t aware of the store. YNWA!
Despite knowing how stupid FA can get, some of us thought the overwhelming lack of evidence against Luis Suarez would let him off. Then why was he banned when most commentators thought he wouldn’t be? Guess only the powers that be know the truth.
The statement released by FA Luis was found guilty under rules E3(1) and E3(2). From what I could make of those two rules, E3(1) is more about insulting language, bringing the game to disrepute etc. and E3(2) comes in effect when any insult dished out under E3(1) pertains to someone’s race, ethnicity, nationality etc. If E3(2), is applicable, the punishment that would have been laid out in E3(1) would be doubled. Thus, as per the statement, what Luis said to Evra was a) insulting and b) the insult was derived from color of Evra’s skin.
Insulting?! I mean if that rule was implemented to the T, I’m sure more than 90% of Premiership players would be serving bans on most match-days. And some of the referees that FA have used this season are both a) insulting to any common man’s intelligence, and b) bring the game to disrepute.
Luis’s argument has been that he used the term Negrito to address Evra and that it is not offensive in his native language. Moreover, he has been upfront about what he said otherwise no other camera had picked up what the conversation was. In fact, no other United player had picked it up either. So FA has heard two sides. Evra says that Luis called him in a racist manner. Luis, although he could have denied it altogether, said he used a used spanish phrase with acceptable spanish words – Por Que, Negrito!
What’s appalling is that FA had absolutely no proof that Luis said anything racist. None whatsoever except what Evra said. None till the point Suarez actually told them what he said and fair play to him for being honest and upfront telling people that he had nothing to hide. In hindsight, may be he could have asked FA to take a hike and find evidence for themselves but in all earnestness, I am proud of Luis Suarez for he knew he didn’t do anything wrong and he thought he should be honest and truthful.
Apparently, the FA thinks what is offensive in one language is offensive in all. Well, on that logic if I call the FA a ‘dick’ in Hindi (my native tongue), it should only mean a Swedish town to the gentlemen and they should not take offense in it.
What gave me the most consolation on a night like last was LFC’s statement in support of Luis. It was one of the most brilliantly worded expletive I ever read. It implied Evra is unreliable, that FA is two-faced, that FA’s decision was pre-meditated. It takes a lot of courage to fight lies with truth when supporting lies can be the populist way. Of course, as we would expect on any day, LFC have more than that courage, while FA doesn’t have a drop of it.
May be it was the scandalous nature of the allegation that ‘pre-meditated’ FA’s actions. Everyone has been talking about how they stood up against Blatter and his remarks regarding racism being a trivial issue. Here they had a player who was accused of racism and they couldn’t afford to portray themselves as weak at home. The silver lining was that the player was not English. They know that the charges are not going to hold in an appeal. The ban would most probably be overturned. I don’t know the details but I’m hopeful that LFC might even take FA to court on this one. The FA knew all this but they couldn’t make themselves appear weak in fight against a global evil. So what if they had to brand an innocent foreigner for life! The other side of the case would have been to let Suarez off and to levy charges against Evra for defamation. Then the problem would have been that a black sportsperson suffers racial abuse from a foreigner but no action was taken against the foreigner because of lack of evidence but on the other hand the black sportsperson is charged with defamatory things. Everybody would have further amplified and translated that episode saying England and FA are not friendly to people of color and that they need to carry their own cameras to record every second so that they have evidence for the next time something racist is hurled at them. Surely the FA could not have afforded that sort of PR. In the end, they have risked the ignominy of an overturned decision and chances of further lawsuits in order to be populists. Wonder how much is it going to cost Vauxhall, or whoever else, next year!
In the meantime, there is one small request to the LFC Family. We know Luis is not racist. We are going to fight for it to be proved. But the one step we need to take to protect the image of this Family is by not being racists ourselves. I’ve read all sorts of vile messages on various posts and discussion groups on internet. Surely we can’t do much worse in this fight by being racists ourselves.
I’ll seek advance apologies from anyone who thinks that this post might not be worthy of a blog but the idea of the site was to have an international platform for reds across the world to be able to share their view/ opinions/ experiences and such and the below link engulfs every single one of those parameters.
Staying in Delhi, I am a part of a local LFC support group called Liverpool Delhi Supporters’ Club or ‘DelhiKop’. The group was founded in 2007 and one of the earlier screenings was for that game against United in early 2009 saw a group of 7 fans get together at a sports bar in Delhi’s CBD. One of the seven, Sandeep Adlakha, also happens to be a decent enough singer to be appreciated by the rest of us. He’s taken his talent and love of Liverpool FC and the love of LDSC to another level and written, composed and sung this song for the group and to say I find it worthy of sharing would be an understatement.
The song is in Hinglish (Hindi + English) and it’s Spanglish translation is ‘Vamos Reds’. It talks about the first screenings and how things moved from there. So much for ado; here’s Sandeep’s art talking to the rest of the world:
Liverpool Delhi Supporters’ Club is available on facebook: facebook.com/DelhiKop.
Racism rows have plagued both sides of late but this hotly-anticipated clash at Stamford Bridge will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds as both teams take to the field come Sunday tea-time.
With the international break finally on a back-burner, there will be an inevitable shift in priorities as club football returns to hog the limelight. Normal service will resume with Chelsea the host, with Liverpool travelling down south to partake in Matchday 12 of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
Dalglish’s men, on par with Arsenal on 19 points and 6th in the table, will be hoping to ramp up the pressure on other teams perched above the chasing pack. Having been held to a drab goalless draw in their previous league outing against Swansea, Liverpool will go to Stamford Bridge with the sole intention of winning by displaying what they are capable of as a collective.
It has been a rather roller-coaster ride for the Reds this season. The recent FA charge against Luis Suarez for racism has put a dampener on the surroundings around Melwood, but the Uruguayuan will plead “not guilty” with Liverpool remaining fully behind their embattled star-striker.
After a rather bright and encouraging start, Liverpool have faded, picking up on board 3 consecutive home draws, which in truth, could, and should have been wins. With the games coming thick and fast over the festive period, Chelsea will represent the first test of Liverpool’s top four credentials this season.
Meanwhile, over at London, it hasn’t been exactly plain, smooth sailing for Chelsea either. With Turkey wielding the axe on Hiddink after failing to guide the country to the Euro 2012 Finals, Villas-Boas will be under pressure to deliver a result this Sunday, with his charges already twelve points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
Over the past month, John Terry has had to contend with a police investigation for alleged racism. On top of a charge against manager Villas-Boas for improper conduct, Chelsea were also fined £20,000 for failing to control their players after their 1-0 reversal at QPR. To compound matters further, having lost three games this season, it hasn’t been exactly the start Chelsea had envisioned it to be.
It is perhaps apt that the clash has indeed been billed as “must win” as both sides look to rev their engines and kickstart their seasons in earnest. Will Fernando Torres rediscover his scoring touch and punish his former club? Or can Chelsea stem the possible tide of Liverpool’s attcks, with Suarez leading the line? These questions will remain unanswered till kick-off at the Bridge.
Carragher is back in contention to lead the Reds side out after not featuring over the past 2 League games due to injury, with Gerrard the sole Liverpool player currently on the treatment table due to an ankle infection. At Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, Villas-Boas has reported that Essien remains the only absentee. Strikers Drogba and Sturridge are fit for the clash this Sunday.
You’re watching only because Spain are in town, with Wembley playing host. A mere three days later, Sweden beckons, England wins, and no one really cares. I apologize if you’re a die-hard Three Lions fan, but welcome to the mundane fixture of international football.
Thankfully, now Capello can relax, as the hustle and bustle of club football makes its return to the centre-stage. This is surely more so in England, with the hub of Abu Dhabi’s riches concentrated in Manchester leading the chasing pack, followed by a myriad of other clubs of established, but varying stature.
Somewhere within the four walls of Melwood, staff led by Dalglish studiously plot the demise of Chelsea this Sunday. They pore over countless pages of notes, devising strategies to exploit the weaknesses of the current Blues side. Likewise, it is inevitable a similar routine will be employed for the clash against table-toppers Manchester City the weekend after, then at Chelsea 48 hours later.
These games do serve as a benchmark to the progress made under Dalglish since the turn of the new year. Playing against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City will determine whether the gulf in playing standards is now narrow or still wide. Also, this will crucially provide a stern test for our mentality, and whether or not the current side do have the character to soldier on during potentially rough waters.
The three games are by all accounts, a perfect test for our resilience.
However, it is difficult to buy into a concept whereby these games could be potentially “season-defining”. As much as they do have the capability of enabling us to kick on before the festive winter period, it just won’t mean much when May 2012 dawns upon us.
What Liverpool do need currently in terms of results is the ability to be consistently a touch of class above teams like Norwich and Swansea, with all due respect. In short, this means grinding out a ‘winning consistency’ against sides towards the bottom half of the table. Over recent seasons, it has been evident that this is Liverpool’s main Achilles heel. In truth, beating our top-four rivals do count for very little if we fail to capitalise and not notch those points in games we should be winning.
I looked into how Liverpool are faring against ‘lesser sides’ and compared ourselves with other ‘top sides’.
The methodology I used is rather straightforward – I simply calculated the number of points Liverpool and other teams finishing above 65 points gained against teams finishing with less than 45 points. I did this from 2007-08 season onwards to the current season. I included Liverpool in all seasons (even if we might not have finished above 65 points in some seasons), as it is the club under our scope of study.
For the current season, I used an expectations table which predicted final league positions, as it will be a more accurate reflection than the current table in November. This expectations table can be found here. I also calculated the points per game for 2011/12 season based on the results as of the time of writing.
From the tables above, it can be inferred that there seems to be a rather close (although not direct) correlation between the PPG (points per game) and league position. Over the course of 5 seasons, it is evident that the top two have a PPG of at least 2.50, with the exception of Man Utd last season.
Liverpool’s form against sides below 45 points have been fluctuating over the seasons, with the PPG being on a general decline after reaching a high of 2.69 in the 2008-09 season.
I also compared the average league position of the traditional ‘Big Four’ and their average PPG over 5 seasons (2007-12). There – a direct, and striking correlation is derived.
From the above, it is evident over the past 5 seasons that the greater the number of points you pick up against ‘relegation fodder’ sides (of below 45 points), the greater your chances of having a higher league finish. It is without doubt that the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United have been remarkably consistent against these lower-ranked sides, something that Liverpool, and to a certain extent, Arsenal, haven’t been able to replicate.
Indeed, the next three fixtures that the Reds face do give an indication of what we’re capable of, collectively as a side coming up against heavyweights in the Premier League. However, it will not be a fair barometer of whether we can finish among the Champions League places. Rather than being a club that consistently lives up to its billing during rivalry-fuelled matches like the ones to come, we must instead live up to our billing week in, week out and replicate our form on a consistent basis.