Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Video That Makes Me Weep Again...

It's John Aldridge in the commentary box, I think. Brings back nice memories and how beautiful football can be, sometimes.

Reds vs Hornets Preview

I'm doing this fast before rushing down to town for last minute Christmas shopping again. Haha I've been busy and I think most readers are as well.

Anyway it's easy to forget that during this festive period, the Premiership is still buzzing with life. In fact, it's the most busy period in the fixtures list with Liverpool having to play 4 games in 10 days. Now you know why they're paid the big bucks.

In the last 3 games, Liverpool have scored a total of 11 goals and conceded zilch. It's a wonderful record for a team that has started the season so terribly and when the season looked so bleak at first, things have started to open up and the form and morale of the team has been tremendous recently.

With Rafa tinkering less, the team looked more stable and consistent. They seemed more gelled and the understanding was there. Kuyt and Bellamy's partnership up front has been immense just like Kuyt-Crouch or Crouch-Bellamy. It's a problem for Rafa, but a good one.

Two left sided players are back in contention for this match. Liverpool-born Stevie Warnock has completed his comeback in the Liverpool reserves defeat by Bolton. Fabio Aurelio had a nice run out last week at the Valley and might slot in the left midfield position if required.

Watford, meanwhile, has been improving in terms of defence lately. They have not been conceding goals as much as they did earlier in the season. This would mean that they might come to Anfield with a 'parking the double-deck bus in front of goal' tactics and plans to frustrate the hell out of the Reds.

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Watford. In a cold, winter afternoon, playing against a pretty physical side is not the best choice. But Liverpool have the edge in terms of quality and home support. A narrow win for Liverpool.

John Bishop's LFC Blog

This man is beyond funny. His scouse-ness is just unique and he looks like Jamie Carragher's long lost brother. He is Liverpool's very own comedian and a damn fine one.


No idea why they won't let us embed the player but I'm kind enough to give you the link. Happy holidays guys. I won't be updating as much for the next few days but do drop by and wish each other a nice Christmas.

Have fun!

Carra's Christmas Awards 2006

Player of the Year?

There are obviously a few candidates. Stevie got Player of the Year last season for what he did in the Cup final. Momo Sissoko (left) was also outstanding in that Cup final but people forget that because of Stevie getting the two goals. I think it's a tie between them two but I'd probably give it to Momo because Stevie's got enough awards anyway.

Young Player of the Year?

Daniel Agger would come into that category or even Momo, but I'd probably say Daniel because he's come in very strong this season and done very well.

Most Improved Player?

I don't know. Whoever I give it to I don't think they'd really like it to be honest! Probably Crouchy, not that he was that bad at the start but he went a long time without scoring and now his record this year has been brilliant. The goals to games ratio has been as good as anyone's - there's been a massive improvement.

Unsung Hero?

It used to be me that, didn't it? It would probably be Finn. I think I gave it to Finn last year as well. He plays pretty much the same every week and doesn't get much applause. He's just happy to be in the team, doing his job, and he's been consistent again.

Honorary Scouser Award?

This is the first one of these, isn't it? It would have been Didi if he was still here but obviously he's gone. We'll give it to Pepe. He speaks very good English and tries to throw a few scouse words in every now and then to me and Stevie. He's a bubbly character so I'll give it to Pepe.

Have you been teaching him?

Yes, but only swear words!

Goal of the Year?

Probably Stevie's second one in the Cup final. Agger's against West Ham at home was an unbelievable one as well but I think I'll go for Stevie's because it was the Cup final and we were desperate to get that goal. It's probably one of the best goals in a Cup final of all time so it's a great one to win the prize.

What about Crouch against Galataseray?

Yes, I forgot about Crouchie! I'll have to put Crouch up there and give him a mention but I just think Stevie's is the winner because there were only about 40 seconds left of the game and to have a strike from 30, 40 yards out, I'll have to give it to Stevie.

Hardest Liverpool player?

In a fight or tackle? There's not many tacklers in the team really, probably only me and Stevie. In a fight? I think I gave it to Pepe last year but I'm going to give it to Momo, he takes some stopping. He's not too bad at the moment with the shoulder injury, I'd probably take him at the moment.

Player who's most desperate for their own song?

Finn. It used to be me for a while, they only started giving me one a few years ago.

Is there anyone in the dressing room who moans because they don't have one?

No, nobody really moans but I think Finn deserves one. As I said, though, he's not that kind of player, he just gets on with it. He's not that eye catching, he just does a good solid job every week. I think the crowd should sort something out for Finn but maybe it's difficult with the name and hard to make it rhyme with things.

Best trainer?

Stevie and Alonso have got the best quality in training, they're good trainers. Hardest worker is probably me because I'm not that good! There's a lot of good trainers really. Didi was the worst but he's gone now so it's quite good. Robbie can be bad some days but he's a great finisher so if he's having a bad session he can just pop a few goals in the back of the net to get him out of trouble.

Funniest player in the squad?

I'd probably say Robbie. He likes a laugh and a joke, it's great to have him back to create a bit of banter in the dressing room. He's always on the internet looking for funny stuff to stick on the walls, like look-alikes. The reserves have got their pictures on the internet saying what they like and their hobbies, stuff like that. They were probably trying to get girls or something. Anyway, he stuck them up. That was funny.

Funniest moment of the year?

The other day Pepe kicked a ball and it hit the manager on the back of the head and he went to the floor, so that was quite funny. That was off the field, on the field it's always funny beating Everton isn't it? Obviously they beat us this year which was a big disappointment but we can win the return. Beating them at Anfield with 10 men was quite funny.

Nicest member of the squad?

There's a lot of nice lads really. Jack Hobbs, I know he's only one of the reserves but he's the nicest in the world. Probably too nice. Bolo's a nice fella, he speaks to everyone really and he speaks a few languages so he mixes well with the different nationalities. He's good to have around.

Who is the ideal room mate?

Someone who'd run round after you I think, a young lad! No, we try to mix it around a lot so that we have different roommates and get to know each other better. At the moment I'm with Stevie and I can't ask him to do much because he's the captain so he's not the best!

Who would be a nightmare roommate?

It was Josemi before he went, he just didn't sleep. He'd be up all night watching videos or on his computer. A nightmare would probably be someone who's into their music, I'm not a big music fan.

Who would you want on your pub quiz team?


Who wouldn't you want on your pub quiz team?

Who's thick? [Laughs] I think Pennant's quite thick!

Who's the biggest moaner on the team?

Me. On the pitch I just get wound up if things aren't going the way I want them to or people aren't doing the things I want them to do. I wish we had a few more moaners actually. Bellamy's a bit of a moaner, he's the worst in training.

What does he say?

He just complains about anyone who doesn't put the ball on a sixpence for him really! But I like that in a player, he's a winner and he wants to do well.

Worst hair cut?

It used to be Harry Kewell, I think that could count because he had that at the end of last season. At the moment…Riise just dyed his hair blonde from ginger. Who've I missed? Gonzalez has got a bad one, coming up to a point or something along those lines. Alonso when he lets his grow long looks pretty bad.

Last year you had Crouch down as the worst dancer. Have you changed your mind?

The worst or the best?

You had Pongolle as your best

Oh yes, I remember him dancing at the Christmas party. Crouchie's upped the ante from last year though. No I'll stick with Crouch. He's probably the best and worst to be honest. He's got some great moves and he's got the robot and stuff now as well so that's put him up there as one of the worst again.

When did he first do that?

He did it at Beckham's party before the World Cup. I think he did it to the cameras on the dancefloor, messing around because the party was getting filmed. I remember he was worried 'cos it was getting shown on TV a few days later and of course once it was captured it just took off. It was hilarious.

Best dresser?

Well you always think yourself or you wouldn't buy those clothes but Stevie's always quite smart. No, there's not many. Me and Stevie have probably got similar tastes I'd say.

Worst dresser?

Cisse (left) popped in the other day, what he had on was unbelievable. He had moon boots on. Bellamy's got some dodgy gear like leather coats, that's pretty poor.

Vainest player?

Oh, there's a few of them. Crouchie lately, he's been putting a bit of gel on his hair. Stevie as well, he probably thinks nobody's noticed but he's been messing with his hair. He's got a bit of a quiff now, he has to put gel on or mousse or whatever it is. Obviously the foreign lads all love themselves don’t they? But it's pretty poor that we've got two English lads up there.

The player you'd least like to introduce to your parents?

I think if you asked anyone else they would say me to that question. Probably Bellamy, you wouldn't want to take him round to your mum. He swears a lot and he's got a constant frown on his face.

Best taste in music?

Luis Garcia's had his ipod on in the dressing room the last few weeks and that's not too bad. I don't know what he had on because I'm not really into my music that much.

And the worst taste in music?

It used to be Cisse. Probably Pennant or Sissoko, someone like that.

A player you can't understand?

Paletta can't speak much English at the moment. He's getting there but he's finding it tough. He's only young so he's got a lot of time but I find it hard to understand him. He's probably saying the same about me as well.

Who'd be in your Liverpool five-a-side team from the players in the squad?

Pepe in goal, me as captain, Stevie, Robbie up front to get a goal. We'll have a Scouse team plus Pepe. We'll have Warnock as well. Four scousers and one half Scouser.

Toughest opponent of the year?

Saha's good. Who else? We had a good defensive record last season. Andy Johnson was tough this season, he's very quick and he causes a lot of problems, so I'd probably say him. He was very good, played very well against us.

What's the best chant you've heard all year?

I can't think of any but I remember the banner 'Momo is Boss'. That was a proper Scouse one from home. That was a good 'un.

Best away fans?

Ours, wherever we go! Whenever we go to Europe the fans stay behind. Whether it's PSV or Bordeaux, the fans always stick around when we're doing the warm down. Any European fans create a great atmosphere.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Neill Nailed On?

Liverpool will sign the Australia international defender Lucas Neill in a cut-price deal from Blackburn Rovers next month with the Merseysiders' manager Rafael Benítez aware that the anticipated transfer funds from the takeover of the club by Dubai International Capital will not materialise until the summer.

Neill, who is out of contract at Ewood Park at the end of the season, will complete his move to Anfield having almost joined on deadline day in August only for the clubs to fail to agree a fee at the last minute. Blackburn had explored the possibility of taking the Liverpool full-back Stephen Warnock in part-exchange, but they are close to signing a replacement with the Dynamo Kiev defender Andriy Nesmachnyi in Lancashire and due to take a medical last night. Rovers will hope to raise around £1.5m from the sale of Neill.

Benítez's move for the 28-year-old Neill reflects the reality that DIC's proposed takeover is unlikely to be completed until nearer the end of January, thus denying him a chance to exploit the winter transfer window. The state-owned private equity firm is still scrutinising the books at Liverpool with both club and company confident that a deal can be struck which will see the chairman of 15 years, David Moores, sell his 51.6% stake at Anfield.

Company takeover law then dictates that DIC must make an offer for the rest of Liverpool's shares, an offer which would remain open for 60 days. Should they ultimately secure a stake of 90%, they would be able to make the club a private business, in the same way that West Ham were recently bought by Eggert Magnusson, though Moores and the current chief executive Rick Parry are likely to retain roles at Anfield in the future.

Benítez still hopes to benefit from significant transfer funds in the close season though, having met the chief executive of DIC, Sameer al-Ansari, after the recent victory over Fulham, he is aware that he will not be offered a blank cheque to plunder the market. As Parry and Al-Ansari have been at pains to insist, DIC's interest in Liverpool is considered an investment - such as their recent purchase of Madame Tussauds and the Travelodge chain of hotels - with the group attracted to the club partly because the playing squad would not require a radical overhaul.

Drogballs: To me, he's a reasonably good defender who had a wonderful World Cup and then a decent Premiership season so far. A tough tackling, no nonsense defender who can play across the back line, his versatility will be invaluable. We have been in search for someone to challenge Finnan's right back spot for quite some time and both Josemi and Kromkamp wasn't up for the scratch.

I just think he will be the man. Experienced but not without problems. Temperamental and often rash in challenge. I think before he could enter Melwood, he would have to go apologise to Carra. Remember he broke Carra's leg few seasons back. I think that underlined Neill's approach in games. But he might have 'matured' and now named as captain of Blackburn, he is given new responsibility and nowadays, you seldom hear of him conceding stupid penalties or getting a red card.

He'll be a pretty good signing I reckon.

The FA To Punish Liverpool Players

For kicking the balls at the people along the sidelines and referee in protest of their decision to cancel the match.

Just kidding, of course.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How Football Was Invented

To the Germans at least.....

The Hole - video powered by Metacafe

Premiership & Music

Done by this Gooner bloke at Arsenal Vital Football site.

ARSENAL- Like the Arctic Monkeys. Young, cocky, brimming with promise. Show all the hallmarks of stadium Gods, but time will tell as to whether they can achieve their obvious promise.

ASTON VILLA- Are A-Ha. Big for a small period in the eighties, hinting at a comeback, though you're not really sure where they've actually been for the last twenty years. You've been vaguely aware of them without ever feeling their presence.

BLACKBURN ROVERS- The Kaiser Chiefs. Typically Northern, stoic, formulaic. A couple of big hitters, but really you suspect they are punching above their weight.

BOLTON WANDERERS- 50 Cent. Seemingly devoid of any talent, completely misrepresent the genre. Yet somehow achieve huge success. Really you just wish they would go away.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Went up the spout when the talented one left.

CHELSEA- The Sex Pistols. This one sticks in the craw because I love the Pistols. But the comparisons are irrefutable, possessed of a moral arrogance that grates with everyone except their fans. You suspect they are bound to fizzle out as quickly as they arrived. Managed by a pretentious, self absorbed tosser.

EVERTON- Debbie Harry (Blondie). Much more attractive in the eighties. Nevertheless, you have to respect their achievements.

FULHAM- Rod Stewart. Trendy for a time in the seventies, before they became substanceless playboys. Nowadays quite content with where they are with no further ambition.

LIVERPOOL- The Rolling Stones. Huge for about twenty years, but you cannot really tell why they're around anymore. Happy to dine out on their illustrious past but still have a huge fanbase. With the odd exception have produced nothing since 1990.

MANCHESTER CITY- The Foo Fighters. Inoffensive, some talent in evidence, but largely irrelevant. Fronted by a bloody nice bloke who made waves in the early nineties, which kind of prevents them from being annoying.

MANCHESTER UNITED- Oasis. Glorious heyday in the nineties, a few dodgy years thereafter. Ultimately you cannot deny their status amongst the all time greats.

MIDDLESBROUGH- James Blunt. Of absolutely no interest to anybody whatsoever.

NEWCASTLE UNITED- U2. Sickeningly full of their own self importance. Nothing to say yet popular, had a half decent hit in the mid nineties, but why they are considered such a leviathan is a complete mystery. The only difference is that U2 play to sold out stadiums.

PORTSMOUTH- ELO. Criminally under rated. A talented front man who really does not get the credit he deserves.

SHEFFIELD UNITED- Take That. Out of their ten year hiatus and back woth the big boys. You met their return with dread and horror, but really not as bad as you thought they were.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR- Guns 'n' Roses. After a little success in the early nineties, they are now generally a complete laughing stock. Dozens of line up changes, yet nothing approaching success. Strangely still believe that they are great. Have been promising a comeback for years- it's never materialised.

WATFORD- Bruce Springsteen. You feel sympathy for them because they are a little misunderstood, but barring a decent output in the eighties, you feel they're not really up to scratch anymore.

WEST HAM UNITED- Chas 'n' Dave. Unpretentious cockney troubadours, kind of likeable but a little too much Tottenham runs through them.

WIGAN ATHLETIC- Jet. Uninspiring, bland new boys on the block. Thye really bring very little to the party that you haven't seen a thousand times before, but you grudgingly respect their ability to ween success out of limited talent.

Messi Speaks Out

Barcelona winger Lionel Messi reckons Liverpool will be scared stiff going into their Champions League clash with the Spanish champions.

The 19-year-old, who is targeting the fixtures for his return from injury, believes his side are firm favourites to progress into the quarter-finals.

"Any rivals are dangerous in Europe at this time but Liverpool are a team that can be beaten by Barcelona. Lyon are the most difficult today," said Messi.

"I expect an open game because the English play without defensive caution and with a style similar to Barcelona.

"Sincerely, I believe Liverpool are worried about playing against us because we are the champions of Europe and that strikes fear in any rivals.

"I desire to travel to Liverpool with much work done and holding an advantage to qualify for the next round.

"A 2-0 or 3-0 score will be perfect for Barca.

"Always, we need to not concede a goal in Camp Nou to avoid problems at Anfield."

The Argentinean admits having a Spanish contingent could work in Liverpool's favour.

He said: "The Reds are a peculiar team. They play in England but the style of the coach and many of the players is nearly Spanish. This will be an extra problem for Barcelona."

Is it me, or does anyone lost a little of your respect for that little winger. Yes, he's currently one of the most promising star for the future and the closest thing to Maradona in that long list of 'Next Maradona'.

Well I guess you have to play us before you learn to respect us. Thinking about us being pushovers and that might just be the first step into oblivion. In a war, once complacency seeps into the team, it might just be the catalyst of the failure.

So now, I'm looking forward to this match even more because of comments like that. I hope Gerrard & Co. prove them wrong, big time.

2-0 or 3-0 will be a perfect score for Liverpool. COME ON!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What A Match!

Okay, not really.

Over here in Singapore, 48 hours of torrential rain and flooding up to waist level in some areas. Over at Anfield, seemed like the water over here condensed and floated it's way there and the match got cancelled. For fans halfway round the world like us, it's the most disappointing thing because waking up at 3.30am is no easy feat and to find out the match got cancelled is a big disappointment.

Whatever it is, what a sight! Ever seen Anfield so misty before?

Credits to GettyImages

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reds vs Gunners Preview

It's Carling Cup time and we're matched up together with Arsenal, the team which inflicted our last defeat at the Emirates earlier last month. The 3-0 defeat was a painful one for Liverpool fans to bear but the third goal was also the last goal Liverpool conceded and we're currently in fine form. The argument between Riise and Gerrard seemed eternity after some fine displays including our last 3 games which read 11 goals scored and 0 conceded.

Good news for Liverpool would be the fact that it'll be played at Anfield, a modern day fortress. The last time Liverpool lost there was another painful 4-1 defeat by Chelsea, October last year. As a twelve men to the team, the presence of the Kopites will be a boost for the Reds.

But Arsenal are no pushover. Despite another disappointing home draw against Pompey last week, their away performance against Wigan was what everyone expected them to do which is to grind out results. Arsenal will be without captain Terry Henry, WIlly Gallas, Abu Diaby and Freddy Ljungberg. But as we've seen, Gilberto makes a better captain while Emmanuel Adebayor is on fire at the moment.

The only problem for Benitez would be to guess what team Arsenal are going to put out. They have always started youngsters for Carling Cup tie but today at Anfield, the principle might change and Wenger might be tempted to field a strong side.

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal. We're pretty strong at home and they struggle a bit away from home. Let's hope we advance and win the god-damn mickey mouse cup!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Drogball's Weekly Thoughts

Another great weekend for the Liverpool fans and also the title race looked to have blown wide open suddenly. ManYoo seemed to have ran away with it but just a weekend that doesn't go their way, the tide is turning in favour of Chelski, fast.

Hammered By The Irons

ManYoo's loss at Upton Park might be quite a significant one and IF United really screws up big time and hands the title to Chelsea again, then Sir Fergie will surely look back to this week and think about what it could've been. Curbishley, the man appointed to assume the helm of his fallen counterpart, Alan Pardew, ended his Charlton career losing to ManYoo @ Old Trafford but won his first game in charge against the same team and getting a totally different result. As I've opined earlier last week that he IS the one to bring West Ham forward, it's looking good for the Hammers. But still early days, because a long and tough Christmas period is ahead and if the Hammers couldn't push on, they might find it too little too late, too soon.

Chelski Gets Upperhand

United's lost, Chelski's gain. They've beaten a hardworking Everton team at Goodison Park with some outstanding goals scored to spare the reigning champion's blushes. The absence of John Terry might be a significant one as to how Chelsea will cope without their captain. Khalid Boulahrouz lived up to his reputation as a 'Cannibal' with his constant 'man-handling' of the Everton players and giving away a needless penalty.

His push on Andy Johnson went unpunished and that incident allowed Mourinho's verbal diarrhoea to work up again. As predictable as ever, went on to rant about how Johnson dived and such. Well, it's a hypocritical world and we know, there are kettles and pots around. Just that some are the bigger pots.


For the second week running, he scores a brilliant volley. This time round past Mad Jens Lehmann. I don't have to hint McClaren more, eh.

Footballers Acting Like Man Shocker

The incident happened when Wigan's Lee McCulloch planted his elbow into Sheffield United's Chris Morgan's eyes. Firstly, commendable for Lee to go up to Morgan and said 'sorry' to him. As they say sorry seemingly the hardest word to say (especially as a footballer), it was very nice of him indeed. Then you have the victim saying he forgives Lee for his action and not take it to heart. Reminds me of the Pedro Mendes vs Ben Thatcher incident. It's nearing Christmas and let's forgive and forget, shall we?