Saturday Sep 28Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
With three disappointing results coming on the back of Liverpool’s finest starts to the season, it would be easy to feel downbeat and criticize the manager. Though the League Cup exit could not be made to look any better than it was, 10 points from the first 15 in the league itself should be still be seen as no mean feat so far. The Reds have beaten bogey team Stoke, and won away at Aston Villa, before putting away rivals Manchester United at Anfield, all three looked unlikely last season. That’s already a step forward.
However, on the back of the League Cup exit to United a few days ago, there are still some concerning aspects of Liverpool’s game. Besides League One side Notts County, the Reds have failed to score in the second half of any other game this season. That just means, if Brendan Rodgers’ side fail to get the early initiative, they will struggle to find that equaliser or winner in the second period.
Another concerning aspect from the past two games is how the opponents won it. Two corners, two goals. First at home against Southampton, Martin Skrtel gave away a needless corner when he should have cleared. The man marking Dejan Lovren could not outmuscle him and allowed the Croatian defender to head home. Then almost deja vu at Old Trafford a few days later, Kolo Toure could have done better to prevent the corner. Wayne Rooney swung the corner in, Steven Gerrard did not clear at the near post, Javier Hernandez lost Jose Enrique with some fine movement, and the Mexican duly finished in similar fine form.
At the other end, Liverpool seem to have no threat from set-pieces. Even with four huge central defenders starting against the Saints, they could not muster a goal from any set-piece, and against United every corner was cleared easily. Rodgers really needs to sort out Liverpool’s set-piece defending methods, maybe he just needs his vice-captain back in the side as soon as possible.
Positives from the Defeat
On the bright side, the return of Luis Suarez looks to have dampened the worry over Philippe Coutinho. The line-up Rodgers sent out against United was a prelude of what could be Liverpool’s strongest line-up. The manager has rather recognized the lack of quality wingers at the club so far, or that they are rather too young and inexperienced at this moment. He also needs to accommodate the three attacking talents in Suarez, Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.
With central defenders overflowing and two wing-backs that could be considered the best in the league right now, what better way than to go 3-4-1-2 or 5-2-1-2? If allowed to send out his strongest team, don’t be surprised to see Daniel Agger and Toure and either Skrtel or Mamadou Sakho as the three at the back, with Glen Johnson and Enrique the wing-backs.
Gerrard and Lucas Leiva will get the holding positions, allowing the very talented wing-backs up-field. Coutinho will get his number 10 role while Sturridge and Suarez will do whatever they like up front, hopefully linking up with each other and the Brazilian “key…
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The Reds will be looking to return to winning ways this Sunday as the face a Sunderland side freed from Paolo Di Canio fascistic tyranny. Pre-game, Redmen TV bring you all the Uncensored Match Build Up, plus great music from Me and Deboe
Kick off 16:00
- It’s been a tumultuous week for Sunderland, with the removal of Paulo Di Canio as manager. Whereas, Liverpool will be hoping that the introduction of another enigmatic character will provide them will a new lease of life
- Luis Suarez was welcomed back with open arms by the Liverpool faithful in their match against Manchester United this week, but it could be argued that Liverpool haven’t missed last season’s top goalscorer too much. Daniel Sturridge leads the goalscoring charts, and his confidence in front of goal is also demonstrated through him having the second most shots on goal in the league. You can find Sturridge at 33/10 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the match on Sunday.
- Suarez’s chance of an immediate return to the first team will be aided by the injury to Phillipe Coutinho. Coutinho has certainly been impressive this campaign, completing a pass in the opposition half every 3 minutes.
- Critics raised their eyebrows when Pepe Reina left Liverpool for Napoli on loan, but Simon Mignolet has replaced the Liverpool stalwart with consummate ease. He has made 25 saves this campaign, which is more than any other keeper in the league.
- 35s Leiva’s tackling has been impressive this season, and this was the case again against Southampton. He made 6 tackles, more than any other Liverpool player.
- Sunderland’s influx of players has probably been a factor in their disappointing start to the current campaign, but in the passing department, academy graduate Jack Colback has impressed. He has completed 90 passes in the opposition half this season, which is more than any other Sunderland player according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
- However, his number of attacking contributions (based on passes, crosses, dribbles, passes and shots) is overshadowed by former England winger Adam Johnson. Johnson is 5/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time against Liverpool.
- Johnson’s threat is particularly evident in the number of crosses that he has swung in. He has swung in the second most crosses in the league with 9.
- Despite only featuring in four games this season, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows how adept Modibo Diakite has been at clearing the ball. He has cleared the ball 32 times this season, more than anyone else in the Sunderland team.
Filmed on the 7 year anniversary of Xabi’s Newcastle strike, this month’s Xabi Challenge comes to you from the Liverpool FC Academy where the next crop of LFC superstars try to recreate Alonso’s classic goal… Can Lloyd Jones, Jordan Rossiter, Jordan Lussey and Jack Dunn beat Paul from inside their own half?
Thursday Sep 26Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
by @whatahitsonlfc (http://whatahitsonlfc.blogspot.co.uk/)
Liverpool travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Sunday, as the reds look to avenge their first set of consecutive defeats since February. The sides shared the points in the corresponding fixture last season, as the match finished one-one.
Brendan Rodgers’ team, after a productive start to 2013/14, have regressed recently; the reds have not won in four games. Significantly, their sudden loss of form has coincided with the absence through injury of playmaker Philippe Coutinho. The cunning, subtle Brazilian is, it goes without saying, a key part of Liverpool’s team and his shoulder injury has left the reds looking disjointed. His importance to his team is highlighted by the fact that Liverpool have failed to score a goal since the attacking-midfielder was withdrawn against Swansea. Again, this is no coincidence.
Another substantial loss for Liverpool has been Glen Johnson. Since being forced off with an ankle injury against Manchester United on September 1, the right-back’s absence has been noticeable. Attacking width from both full-backs is vital in Brendan Rodgers’ system, thus Johnson not being in the team has hindered Liverpool.
One indisputable positive for Liverpool, however, is the return to availability of the mercurial Luis Suarez. After completing his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, the Uruguayan was thrust straight back into the reds’ starting line-up by manager Brendan Rodgers, against Manchester United on Wednesday night. Suarez looked lively; constantly harrying defenders and making himself a nuisance for the opposition. He also resumed his developing partnership with fellow striker Daniel Sturridge, linking up routinely with the Englishman. Sturridge, who has scored seven of Liverpool’s last nine Premier League goals, will finally be able to share the goal-scoring burden and responsibility for his side with another prolific marksman. One segment of Suarez’s game which will improve as he settles back into life on the pitch in the Premier League, somewhat worryingly for opposing players, is his match sharpness; he, understandably, showed one or two signs of rustiness on Wednesday night, particularly in-front of goal. As I mentioned, I’d expect this to change over the coming weeks.
Sunderland, who have not kept a clean sheet in their last nine Premier League games, approach Sunday’s clash void of a full-time manager, after last week’s sacking of Paolo Di Canio. Kevin Ball will take charge of The Black Cats as caretaker boss for the second time, after a spell in the role back in 2006.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will of course return to his previous club on Sunday, after Sunderland brought the impressive stopper to the Premier League in 2010. The Belgian has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the league this season (25), with a saves to shots ratio of 89%: the second best rate of all regular Premier League ‘keepers. In contrast, his predecessor on Wearside, Keiren Westwood, has a saves ratio of 54%, the lowest of any ‘keeper to feature in all five games this season.
Whether Paolo Di Canio’s departure and a change of leadership will reinvigorate Sunderland, as commonly happens, I am unsure. But even if Kevin Ball does garner more togetherness and an improvement from the home side, I’d still expect Liverpool – buoyed by the return of Luis Suarez – to take advantage of Sunderland’s porous defence and win the game.
Thursday Sep 26Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
Back to back losses has finally put the team under pressure to :
1 – Impress the fans
2 – Bring back the “winning mentality”
3 – Take their chances
Our first 2 matches were matches we would have drawn (or lost) last year so winning brought about a new belief – this is not the Liverpool of last year.
Then in the match against Notts County,there was a glimpse of the “Liverpool of last year” but it was immediately forgotten after winning the match and winning the next match – which incidentally was against the reigning champions- but fast forward three matches later and we are really seeing the “Liverpool of last year”.
The draw with Swansea might be forgiveable but losing at home to Southampton is/was unacceptable. But then again, did it really begin with the Swansea match? The answer is no. I think it started with Stoke – Aston Villa -Notts County – Man United – Swansea – Southampton -Man United again. It was right before our very eyes but we overlooked it, Aston Villa overlooked it. Notts County didn’t but they didn’t have the quality, Man United overlooked it, Swansea didn’t, Southampton didn’t and Moyes made sure he didn’t overlook it the second time.
The tactics is simple – keep Liverpool quiet in the first half, make them concede a corner in the second half and score. Our best second half performance to date -yesterday- gave us hope that with Suarez back we can keep fighting till the final whistle which I think we should.
On paper Sunderland should be a convincing victory but let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope these words don’t come out of our lips …….
“I thought so too”…..