Saturday, December 09, 2006

Never EVER Do That...

Reds vs Fulham Preview

Liverpool Could Go Third

There has been doubt of Liverpool finishing third of even fourth earlier this season. But the team has managed to stop the slump and improved as they are going on a 4 games unbeaten run in the Premiership. Although suffering from a 3-2 defeat by Galatasaray in Istanbul, Rafa rested several key players such as Gerrard and Hyypia, who will be fresh and fit to face Fulham today.

The return of Mark Gonzalez will be seen as a welcoming news to Benitez as Liverpool looked a little short of options in the midfield position with Sissoko, Zenden, Kewell and Aurelio still unavailable.

Strikers will be giving Benitez headaches as well with Bellamy and Fowler bagging braces respectively on Saturday and Wednesday. Dirk Kuyt will be difficult to drop and Peter Crouch is waiting on the wings although he is the club's top scorer so far with 9 goals.

Fulham meanwhile, have lost 3 out of their last 4 away games although they put up a mighty performance to beat Arsenal a fortnight ago. The defence has been leaking goals a little too easily and are made to pay with a statistic that is they have gone on to concede 10 opening goals.

With Arsenal due to play later tomorrow, Liverpool can now grab this chance to go third, which they have squandered earlier last month. They will also want to continue to impress their soon-to-be investors.

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Fulham. Never under-estimate Fulham as you'll never know which team will turn up. But Liverpool are going to be coming out all guns blazing at Anfield with Steven Gerrard running the show from central midfield again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

John Nic's Recent Article Tickled Me

The good ol' John Nicholson is back. Well, he was just commenting on the Premiership club's crest and how absurd some of them are. Let's see his comments.

"Boro's lion looks like its doing a disco style hand jive and just hangs in space. Why the badge doesn't feature the transporter bridge is a mystery. Put the bloody lion on the bridge if you want but at least make it a bit local. "

"Arsenal have recently redesigned their badge. Now it features a big old gun, naturally enough, and the word Arsenal. And err...well, that's it, actually. You wouldn't know it was actually anything to do with a football club, and certainly not one of Arsenal's long history. It looks like the sort of thing advertising executives who know nothing about football might come up with. Bland and uninspiring, it probably cost a fortune."

"Bolton, bizarrely, has the letters BWFC formed into the shape of a lovely balloon with ribbons on it. Nothing brings Bolton to mind more than a big round bag of air I suppose - or Sam Allardyce, as he's more usually known." (Ed - Some ladies said it looks like a sperm, coughs*)

"Spurs' famous cockerel has an art deco look about it these days as it balances improbably on a football. It must take the prize for most obscure historical inspiration - fighting cocks used to wear spurs - oh yes they bloody did - and the Hotspur name was apparantly originally inspired by fiery Harry Hotspur from a Shakespeare play who wasn't a real person but was based on Lord Percy of Northumberland. Err...yes. So a big cock on a badge it is then; with; 'To Dare Is To Do' on it as a motto. On Saturday they dared to play crap, and they did. Well done. "
(Ed - To me, it just looks like a peacock standing on basketball).

"Newcastle's badge features two sea horses on either side of a shield. Why seahorses? Perhaps because they are one of the few creatures on earth where the male is the one who get's pregnant and gives birth. This may at least explain the size of Freddie Shepherd. "

Villa's lion looks as fierce as a custard tart. Underneath it is written the single word 'Prepared'. Prepared for what? Dinner? An anal probe? To hit Lee Hendrie?

But of course he on to say about Liverpool's badge being quite relevant as to what the Liverbird is to the city. I'm sure you had a laugh.

His article HERE

If Teams Are All Students In A School...

I got this from the F365 mailbox and thought it's quite funny.

Man Utd: Head boy, most popular, lots of hangers-on.

Chelsea: Scheming, influential rich kid, buys friends.

Arsenal: Very talented but very whiney. *Recommend eye test with
school nurse.

Portsmouth: Mouthy, comedian, always alert when bell rings.

Liverpool: Once head boy but now underachiever, tends to loiter round
school trophy cabinet.

Reading: New whiz kid - has settled in nicely.

Everton: Popular little scallywag, excels in history.

Villa: Recent personal problems but is now in good hands.

Bolton: Play ground bully; kicks, spits, lunges. Problem with

Tottenham: Wannabe, craves popularity, allergic to school dinners
(lasagne etc.)

Wigan: Shy type, hasn't many friends.

Man City: Mood swings effects results; constantly blue, dangerous
when seeing red.

Fulham: Well mannered, likable fop.

Blackburn: Feisty, unpredictable, watch this one.

Newcastle: The noisiest in class, bad results of late.

Boro: Easily distracted, promises much, delivers little.

Sheff Utd: Moans too often but can do better when concentrates.

West Ham: The wheeler/dealer, prone to producing and selling goods.

Watford: Tries his best but likely to re-sit another year below.

Charlton: Gets picked on relentlessly, must try harder.

Maybe you got better ideas?

News On FA Cup & Champions League

The News I Forgot To Report On:

I nearly forgot to update you people about the FA Cup draw Liverpool was in last Friday (I think). By now most of you might have known that we're once again drawn with the Gunners just as we did in Carling Cup.

Well, we it's just a matter of time before we face a major team and why not as soon as possible. I know we lost at the Emirates 3-0 earlier last month but this time round it will be at Anfield just like the Carling Cup tie. If we can't beat them, then we have no right of winning the FA Cup again. So let's do it, boys!

Champions League Who's Who:

Okay, I know. I do not need to introduce you the teams in the last 16 already because there isn't any surprises other than Lille or maybe Celtic. But as group leaders, we will only be able to draw teams that finish second and are not from England (country protection).

The draw will be made on 15th December.

We could face Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma, Real Madrid, Celtic, Porto or Lille. ALl pretty strong teams, eh? Facing Barcelona could be a daunting task and I think they're the team everyone is praying to avoid while there are other gargantuans such as Inter and Real.

Tough one. Who's hoping for Celtic? I would love another round of "Battle of Britain" and of course who could sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" louder.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No More Mighty Comeback This Time

But Invaluable Lessons For Youngsters

UEFA Champions League Group C

Galatasaray 3 - 2 LIVERPOOL

GAL - Ates (24min). Buruk (28min). Ilic (79min);
LIV - Fowler (22min, 90min);

Match Highlights:

A year on and a return to the Ataturk stadium, where Liverpool won their 5th European title. The conclusion of the story isn't as miraculous as the previous encounter there, but with nothing to play for, Liverpool fielded a weakened side to face Galatasaray, who are so formidable at home. Welcome to hell, boys.

With key players such as Gerrard, Hyypia and Reina rested back in England, Rafa sent out several young guns to brood them and let them learn on the pitch. I must say it must be a very invaluable lesson for players like Peltier & Guthrie because how many of the reserve players can actually claim they played a game for the Reds in a European competition?

It might not be a pleasing results, with some mistakes here and there. But hey, we scored 6 goals in 2 away games!

With distractions off the pitch and already sealed their place as group leaders in group C, many can argue that match as a mere 'testimonial' match for a ground that holds so much memories for fans and players a like. Millions across the world including me shed tears during the finals and even though we're physically away from it, we felt the attachment to the venue and the occasions itself.

Even stadiums have souls.

So now we enter the last 16 as group leaders but there is also chances of us meeting up with the big guns. Just as Rafa mentioned, this is where the Champions League begin. With Barcelona, Inter and Roma finishing 2nd in their group, they are all our potential opponents in the next round which we will know next Friday.

Artist's Impression Of New Anfield...

This are the updated impression of the purposed new Anfield as of 5th December

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Takeover: Your Thoughts?

I sincerely hope that there will not be changes in the managerial level and Rick Parry to remain as our CEO.

I sincerely hope that Rafa will be given the right and power to buy whatever player he wants instead of being asked to buy a certain player by the boss. The reason he left Valencia was this and I do not want it to happen again.

I sincerely hope we do not become another Chelsea, splashing millions around blindly without thinking of the financial consequences. A sufficient budget for Rafa to utilise at the start of season and keep to it.

I sincerely hope that we keep to our principle in terms of spending. We do not over-pay.

I sincerely hope we do not need to name our new stadium the 'Dubai Anfield' or 'Al-Field'. Just keep to Anfield, or New Anfield. Period.

I sincerely hope we get to keep the Shankly Gates and place it outside the new stadium.

I sincerely hope they do not interfere with things at the club but rather, more on the business side. Keep the club in the black and let Rafa do his job.

I know the takeover won't please many fans out there because it's like selling our soul to the devil. I understand. Parry understands. We can't satisfy everyone. And I have full faith in Parry and Moores that the choice they made is justifiable and for the interest of the club.

I do not think David Moores will sell the stock of club so easily if he thinks this is not the right move. He even lowered the stakes and we all know the man loves the club. The Moores family have been in control since 1950s and he know he just can't let it go down the drain.

I also think that with the resources, Rafa will now be able to get who he wants instead of the 2nd or 3rd choices. How many times have we bought a Nunez instead of a Simao and a Pennant instead of Alves? If we continue to buy stop gaps, the gap will only widen and our distance with the big boys will only lengthen.

I fully understand the frustration of many Liverpool fans who are so against this move. But we have to accept a very sad but true fact that football is no more a sports but business. The football world is a reflection of what it is in the world today and we can't escape from it.

But through it all, I sincerely hope we still can keep the faith and love for the Reds. There is always something money can't buy and that's your passion for Liverpool. And let's hope that this will be the dawning of the new era.

But take note that the takeover won't be completed that soon. It will take quite some time. So we should still concentrate on supporting the team rather than worry about things off the field.

Is Keano Behind The Takeover?

Roy Keane

Sheikh Mohammed


Monday, December 04, 2006

All Hands On Deck, DIVE DIVE DIVE!

This has to be one of the most blatant dive I've ever witnessed. We have been talking about it again and again about how they should be punished but does anyone in the corporate suites cares?

Not a chance.

Our Formation On Saturday......

For the first half,

Looks interesting, eh? A 3-5-2 formation with Finnan pushed forward more than Riise on the left.

Moving Closer To The Takeover

Liverpool are on the verge of a new era after the chairman and majority shareholder, David Moores, granted Dubai International Capital permission to undertake due diligence in anticipation of a £450m takeover of the Anfield club.

Moores and his chief executive, Rick Parry, have granted DIC, a company owned by Dubai's ruling Maktoum family, the exclusive right to study the club's books despite rival propositions drawn up by, among others, the US businessman George Gillett Jr - formerly owner of the Harlem Globetrotters - and the Belfast-based construction tycoon John Miskelly.

Although the finer details of any deal with DIC will only become clear once due diligence has been carried out, it is understood that Moores has agreed to drop his initial valuation of the club to about £170m. That will see him accept about £4,500 a share - rather than £6,000 - with his majority 51% stake to be diluted.

The Moores family has been involved with Liverpool since the 1950s and, rather than sever ties completely, Liverpool's chairman of 15 years is expected to be given an honorary role under the new regime. Parry may remain as chief executive, particularly given his heavy involvement in attempting to move the club to a new stadium in Stanley Park. Neither chairman nor chief executive will be on the flight to Istanbul today for the Champions League tie against Galatasaray.

No formal announcement of a takeover is anticipated before Christmas but Liverpool's three-year search for new money appears to be drawing to a successful conclusion. In that time they have courted potential investment from parties as diverse as the Kraft family and Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand.

DIC's chief executive, Samir al-Ansari, claims to be a supporter of the club but the company, although it has independent status, is ultimately owned by the Maktoums. They are willing to fund the £200m construction of a 60,000-seat stadium and will cover the club's long-term debts - about £80m - but it remains to be seen whether Rafael Benítez will benefit in the January transfer market.

From The Guardian

and other various sources. Not to be taken as rumours.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rampant Reds Blitz Sorry Wigan

Bellamy Double Ensures First Away Win

English Premiership

Wigan 0 - 4 LIVERPOOL

LIV - Bellamy (9min, 26min), Kuyt (40min), McCulloch (og 45min);


Liverpool finally got their first win away from home this season and did it in some style. Craig Bellamy, who was in some trouble recently, showed why Liverpool paid big bucks for him with a double, which is welcomed in the eyes of the fans, who were getting a little impatient with his no-show and poor form.

The score didn't flatter Liverpool much as they were in total control from start to end. But one will have to feel for Wigan, as they had chance after chance to score the consolation, but the finishing were poor. Reina had to pull off a couple of vital saves to keep the Red's second clean sheet away from home.

With the return of Alonso, Jamie Carragher was pushed back to play in the central defence along with Dan Agger and Sami Hyypia. The 5-3-2 tactic is now clearly favoured by Rafa Benitez, with Gerrard, Alonso and Garcia in the middle of the park.

Wigan, who were in top form at the moment, were taken aback by the pace at which Liverpool attacked, with Bellamy up top and Kuyt supporting. Bellamy pounced on terrible defensive header and went on to fire in the first.

Then Gerrard's excellent vision sets up Bellamy for the second as he finishes brilliantly again past former Reds keeper, Chris Kirkland.

With the momentum going, Liverpool went on in search of the third. With Wigan looking dangerous, Liverpool had to finish the game off fast and Dirk Kuyt provided just that with a calm and composed finish.

The third goal's build up was just brilliant. It started from Reina's throw to Gerrard who then passed it to Luis Garcia. His long ball then found marauding Gerrard, who chested the ball down, laid off to Bellamy, who unselfishly squared the ball for Kuyt to finish with the goal at his mercy.

Floodgates opened and Liverpool were unstoppable. The fourth goal took a slice of luck as Gerrard's cross went in off McCulloch's knees. He must be feeling really bad at the moment because previously, he failed to grab a golden chance presented to him after Reina was forced into a brilliant save from Paul Scharner's header.

Second half, Liverpool slowed down the pace of the game and Wigan never gave up. There were a few close shave with Wigan nearly getting the consolation on a few occasions but Lady Luck wasn't smiling at them for today and Liverpool finally broke the away day hoodoo.

Just like how Peter Crouch broke his scoring hoodoo last season against Wigan, Liverpool finally got the long awaited away win and begin to move up the table. A sensational performance from the Reds.

Drogballs' Thoughts: Finally, after some terrible luck over the past few months, we finally got what we deserved and it's true that all things balance up at the end of the day. We played well, controlled the game, were never in danger of losing the game. What pleases me was the drive of the players especially Gerrard, who had a tremendous game in the middle of the pitch, doing what he does best, playmaking.

He was the maker of almost all the goals. Pure vision and inspiration from the skipper. But not only he performed, the rest of the team did well also. Craig Bellamy finally justifying the price tag with a double. Good finish, great runs and would be gutted not to scored a hat trick.

Dirk Kuyt as usual, worked his arse off. He deserved that goal as well. That goal was well worked and seamless, just a pass and move goal initiated by none other than Steven Gerrard.

So finally, an away win for us. I'm well pleased with the efforts of the players and nice to see Paletta and Guthrie getting some experience on the field. I hope the team can finally overcome the fear of playing away from home and build up the confidnce.

A morale boosting win and a very important one indeed. At least we're moving in the right direction.

Player Ratings:

Reina - 8 - Vital saves. A very confident goalkeeper now. And another clean sheet for him.

Finnan - 7 - Defended well. Provided width.
Carragher - 8 - Some vital blocks and interceptions.
Hyypia - 7 - Handled Heskey well.
Agger - 7 - Did alright.
Riise - 8 - Put in a lot of dangerous crosses and made some good runs.

Alonso - 7 - Back form injury. Some good passes.
Gerrard - 9 - Set up Bellamy for his goals. Excellent vision and energy from the skipper.
Luis Garcia - 7 - Did alright.

Bellamy - 9 (MOM) - A double from the Welsh. Good finishing, composed and calm.
Kuyt - 8 - Worked hard up front and on the left wing. Scored a good goal.