Saturday, January 06, 2007

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Round One


Seems like we're hell bent to meet Arsenal in all cup competition (except Champions League) and the matter of fact that we're facing them twice in 4 days make today's match more like a dress rehearsal. But fool you not, this is FA Cup and this IS the b*llocks. Can we defend the cup? Are we still a good cup team that we still believe?

A huge boost will be that Liverpool have been in imperious form at Anfield and the last defeat came under Chelsea back in October 2005. But we should never think that this record will not be broken for ever and ever amen. To be honest, Arsenal looked the most likely to come to Anfield to get a draw after their impressive display at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, both holy grounds of Chelsea and ManYoo respectively.

The setback for the Gunners would be the loss of Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas through suspension although good news would be their captain Thierry Henry is back for them and will fire at all cylinder after a good rest through the December period. We know what he is capable of and though Liverpool defence has been watertight for the latter part of the season, we should never underestimate what one man can do, especially more so for this magician from France.

Meanwhile, Craig Bellamy is back in the fray for this match as he recovered from the knock he picked up against Spurs last week. This might mean that Peter Crouch will end up on the bench yet again with Rafa Benitez preferring Bellamy with Kuyt up front.

With Liverpool losing to Arsenal 3-0 earlier this season, the pain might spur the Reds players to go all out for revenge and home fans could be a factor in which it will aid us. Arsenal have been dangerous recently albeit that 1-0 loss to Sheffield United and if we play nice passing game with them at face pace, we might get eaten alive again like we did earlier this season.

So I expect Peter Crouch to start for us. Yes, he has been missing a whole load of chances earlier but his height might be a problem to the Arsenal defence and his link up play with the midfield is essential in this match.

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal. They will be dangerous and might nick a goal against us. But the lost of Cesc and van Persie might be hard for Arsenal to take.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Eh, Mascherano? Rosenior?

Reds Loan Move For Mascherano

Liverpool have reportedly struck an amazing deal for Javier Mascherano that could land them in hot water with FIFA.


According to The Daily Mirror, the Argentine World Cup midfielder has undergone a medical at Anfield and will sign on loan for the remainder of the season.

But the tabloid also says the Reds are taking a gamble because the 22-year-old must get FIFA clearance over their strict transfer rules.

The regulations prohibit players from figuring for more than two clubs in a year from July 1, and Mascherano has already played for Corinthians and the Hammers.

Juventus have already cooled their interest in the player, reportedly for this very reason.

Mascherano has failed to nail down a regular place at Upton Park since joining along with Carlos Tevez amid a blaze of deadline-day publicity last August.

He's managed just three starts and 235 minutes of action in the Premiership.

Drogballs: I'll be absolutely delighted if it goes through, honestly. We have been guilty of signing some really average players for the past few seasons that don't and won't get into a 'championship winning team'. But this Argentinian is going to be a good signing I reckon. The best thing about this deal is that it's only a loan deal and if it really don't work out, then we won't have to trouble ourselves pimping him away.

Even West Ham fans could tell this man is quality and the reason why he hasn't produce the goods would be the amount of playing time. Shocking for a 22 year old playing for the Argentine national team. The only reason I could come up with would be the deal with that company that owned Tevez and Masch.

His arrival will probably sound the end of Zenden or maybe even Kewell. Who knows. But he IS quality and when he finally finds his feet in the Premiership, he'll be an asset. But now we could only hope that the incompetent FIFA can let the deal go through, closing an eye.

Rosenior In Rafa's Good Book?

Rumours are circulating that Fulham's Liam Rosenior is of interest to Liverpool.

With Liverpool looking for cover for the right back position Rafa is looking to number of players.

Rumours suggest that Rafa sees Lucas Neil as a gamble with his poor disciplinary record and the fact that a number of teams are chasing him.

Rafa would love to bring in Alves but he has recently signed a new contract at his current club. As it looks like DIC funding won't be in place until after the transfer window rafa will go for £2m rated right back Liam Rosenior.


We Are The Most Relaxed Fans?

LIVERPOOL fans were today named as the most relaxed supporters in the country.

The Anfield club's followers were labelled the least stressed, according to a survey by Littlewoods Football Pools.

The worst football teams to follow were Notts County. And Portsmouth have the most stressed fans of a current Premiership club side, followed by Manchester City and Watford.


It comes after the ECHO revealed new figures which showed the full extent of ill-health suffered by fans at the region's football grounds over the last four years.

Since 2002, paramedics have been called into action to treat 66 fans at Anfield, 35 at Goodison and 24 at Prenton Park.

During a period which saw the Reds win several trophies, seven fans collapsed with chest pains and six with other symptoms.

Drogballs: Seriously? I don't think we should be the most relaxed fans out there because every single time Liverpool get into a major cup final we always almost f**ked it up and always needing some miracle to claw ourselves back in face of defeat. And by that I don't expect Liverpool fans to sit back and relax on their couch without having some major heart attack or peeing in their pants.

Being Liverpool fans are stressful, man. You have to listen to rubbish commentators going on about how we sucked at 'Zonal marking' for set pieces which is totally boll**ks and the press going on about how Rafa tinkered too much or Gerrard should never be found anywhere on the wings.

Oh yes, and that McKenzie guy for spouting rubbish about us. Relax? I think not!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

January Transfer Window

The window has opened for a couple of days already and it has been rather quiet. But it was not of any surprise as teams usually don't go around signing big name players or pay over the odds during this period of time due to the UEFA ruling of a player not being able to play for 2 different clubs in the Champions League.

That made a lot of teams shun the transfer window and either go for cheaper alternatives or just like Arsenal, do nothing at all.

With DIC's takeover impending, there are rumours flying all around about how we'll get David Beckham in or those really ridiculous transfer rumours. If you know how to filter away all those rubbish and take out those with a little bit of truth or at least logical to make any sort of sense, there isn't a lot and I don't think Rafa will go all out this January either. But here are some of the players that are ''rumored'' to join Liverpool during this window or in the near future.

David VILLA (Valencia) - 25 Million GBP & Above

Ha! A top class striker linked with Liverpool. He was even spotted at the Director's box on New Year's Day during the match against Bolton. Must be coming right?

Well, perhaps not. Or should I say, not SO soon. I can't see him coming to Liverpool during this very transfer window and if the sources (the very accurate poster on forums) are true, he will only join in the summer. How much or how, I don't know.

But definitely a very good striker and IF he's really on his way then, wow, let's hope he's not going to be another Fernando Morientes or even worst, Andriy Shevchenko.

Chance: ~20% in the summer. 0% for now. I can put my house down and bet with you.

Lucas NEILL (Blackburn) - 3 to 5 Million GBP

The Australian defender has been linked with us for quite some time already. After a brilliant World Cup display, he has been pretty consistent in the Premiership as well and the advantage of having him is his versatility. He can play across the back four and is not afraid to put his foot in.

Just sometimes, he put his foot in at the wrong time and he has a tendency to break people's legs. He will need to kowtow to Jamie Carragher before he can be welcomed into the Liverpool family.

Just kidding of course.

Chances: Around 70%. Of course we'll have competition from Newcastle and other clubs but I think he'll rather join us than some random team that won nothing for the past 50 years. Only downside is he won't be promised a first team slot which he MIGHT not like. Who knows?

Ashley YOUNG (Watford) - 5 Million GBP & Above

To be in the Optim Top 25 player is honourable and this young man has impressed thus far. He's a young winger from newly promoted Watford and is capped for England U-21. His style is pretty much similar to Jermaine Pennant but the only difference is he score goals. 5 goals for a struggling team is decent for a player of his age and he might provide Rafa another option on the right wing and his arrival will means Gerrard won't be played on the right anymore!

I haven't watched him too much but I won't mind him joining us. He's young and promising. But as English players always are, they are overpriced. Another thing that concerns me is should Liverpool go for players like Young or should we go all out for proven qualities like Daniel Alves or even Ricardo Quaresma of Sporting Lisbon.

It remains to be seen whether he is yet another one season wonder or he will turn out to be a future star. If he's not overpriced, I'm willing to give him a chance.

Chance: 40%. We are not the only team chasing the youngster. Watford reportedly rejected bids from 3 clubs and he must be the player on demand. But the 5million GBP price tag is a little steep for him I reckon.


Roberto Ayala: Do we still need another centre-back? Think we have adequate cover.

Matthew Upson: See above.

Javier Mascherano: Only reason for him coming is that Zenden's Liverpool career is over. We haven't had the chance to see the real quality from him as he hasn't been able to settle in the West Ham side and only played around 400 minutes of Premiership football. He's obviously talented but isn't given the chance to shine YET.

David Beckham: Hah, don't be silly. It's all pillocks.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not So Happy New Year, Boys....

Hossam Ghaly got smacked in the face by former Spurs defender, Noe Pamarot, who in turned got the karma and limped off with a thigh injury. Well, that smack in the face cost Ghaly to lose a grand total of...4 teeth.

All you want for Christmas is your two front teeth x2. You'll get what you want, then. Just that you'll have to wait for almost another 11 months.

And thoughts going out to Antti Niemi of Fulham. He sustained a horrific neck injury playing against Watford but thankfully the injury was not as serious as him on his way of becoming a vegetable. Good 'keeper, I reckon. Get well soon.

Drogballs' Weekly Thoughts

Hey, it's me again. Hope you guys enjoyed the long holidays and recovered from any sort of hangovers or whatsoever. Well, at least from that orgasmic Peter Crouch goal on New Year's Day.

It has been a busy festive period of the Premiership clubs where teams played 4 games in 10 days. Footballers might be paid big time money but they aren't robot. Liverpool vs Bolton was a classic example of why Rafa always wants squad depth in his team and why his constant chopping and changing is NOT without a point. When we start winning, all the rubbish criticism of 'Rafa is tinkering too much' are no more in sight. He still continue to change 3 to 4 players per game but the core of the team remained and we're on a roll. That lost at Ewood Park being the only blemish.

While Bolton had little squad depth and with ageing players all around, they crumbled at Anfield after being consistently good in the league and managed to go up to 3rd place before that match. In the second half, they were over-run by Liverpool and had totally no answer. 1 shot on goal was all they managed and managed to concede 3 although they really have to thank their 'keeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen. Not for his heroics, the scoreline could've been ugly (for Trotters fan at least).

There are of course winners in this round of Premiership. But of course there are the losers as well. It seemed like Chelsea has finally been found out and after 2 years of being consistently lucky with injuries and other matters (Terry handball, Robben diving), they seemed to have lost it as well as Jose Mourinho himself, who finally have a little doubt in himself, very unusual of a confident (or arrogant) man.

To me, it started with that 'Untouchable' talk with him naming players as the ones that will always be in the team no matter what. It definitely has a direct impact on the dressing room and morale of the team. After Terry's injury, they have struggled big time at the back and the lack of cover is quite serious for a team like Chelsea. Buying players over-priced yet can't fill the gap at the back? Terry is colossal, but at least with that money, they should be able to have a stop gap.

After conceding 6 goals in 3 matches, Jose said they can't defend to save their lives. Look what happened next. Lampard blasting a shot over the bar from 6 yards out. Now they can't score. A 0-0 draw at Villa Park must be a pretty damning results for Jose, Roman and the fans.

Newcastle spared them a lifeline and they buggered it up again. So even though ManYoo should've won that game at St. James' Park, they're still having a 7 points lead over Chelsea. Therefore, we can be certain they are the winner for this week. BUT, with Terry's impending return plus Cech's recovery from the head injury, you wonder if ManYoo could continue their wonderful form and move further ahead of Chelsea, or blow it.

Another major loser is obviously West Ham United. To lose 6-0 against perhaps ManYoo or Arsenal might be justifiable. But losing 6-0 against a recently promoted Reading side, they must be pretty damn shite. Not that I'm saying Reading is not a good team. Don't get me wrong. To me, this season's Reading is equivalent of last season's Wigan.

But the difference between the side is not only the 6 goals, it was the hunger and determination of the players. Reading players showed that they want it and they gave their all. At 4-0, you'll expect them to be a little more lenient and show some mercy. But they continued on and killed the game off in spectacular style.

Whereas West Ham players looked lost, uncommitted, distracted and couldn't give a damn. Honestly, the defending for that match was simply, awful. And awful this word is yet another understatement. Perhaps Curbishley would want to send Anton Ferdinand and his brother in arms to watch some Sunday League football and learn from them.

Looking at the goal they conceded previously at the game against Manchester City whereby DaMarcus Beasley just ran through the defence like knife through the butter is just pure embarrassing. That was a sign of things to come.

With the January transfer window opening, there will be activities abound. Rumours flying around and press speculating daily as to when Hargreaves will finally make a move to Manchester or Barry Ferguson's second attempt in the Premiership. We'll have to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Liverpool Starts 2007 With A Bang

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 3 - 0 Bolton

LIV - Crouch (61min), Gerrard (63min), Kuyt (83min);

Match Highlight:


A form team up against a form team. Third place against fourth place. And Bolton were definitely fired up for this match with Rafa Benitez’s pre-match comment about them not playing football.

In the first fixture of 2007, Liverpool showed what they’re capable of as they defeat a resilient Bolton side 3-0. The score could’ve been more embarrassing for Bolton if Peter Crouch was better with his headers.

But nobody could really complain about the qualities of the goal. All 3 goals were of the highest quality with Peter Crouch scoring yet another overhead kick. It was a reminisce of that goal against Galatasaray in the Champions League when the ball fell behind him and he did an extraordinary overhead kick.


And before Bolton could regain their composure, Liverpool struck again. This time, it was skipper Steven Gerrard. Jermaine Pennant’s cross from the right was met with the boot of Gerrard, who made the late run into the box. The ball connected with his feet so beautifully and it went straight to the top corner.

Bolton came undone. To be fair, they defended very well in the first half and kept Liverpool at bay. Goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainin was on top of his form when he denied Finnan with an excellent save. But they were always in the back foot and were under very much pressure from Liverpool, who sounded their intent to play fast pace football right from the first minute, when Gerrard flashed a shot past Jaaskelainen.

And with their defence pinned back on many occasions, their attack didn’t work out like it did for the past few games, where they were on fire. With former Liverpool players Nicolas Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf on the field, they were given a ‘warm’ reception from the Anfield crowd. But the pressure on them didn’t work for them as they both had a rather anonymous game.


With the good news of Dirk Kuyt’s father with a chance of recovering from cancer, Kuyt Jnr recovered from his slump in form with a goal as well. Taking the ball into a tight corner with Ricardo Gardner following closely, he placed the ball nicely past the defender and the keeper with a reverse angle shot.

It was a fantastic win for Liverpool considering Bolton’s recent form were pretty decent. And as Benitez mentioned that this match is a very important match to the club’s Champions League aspiration, it is definitely a boost to the player’s morale and bring cheers to the fans.

One could say that Liverpool are still a little too wasteful in front of goal with Crouch being the main culprit again. But after all, it was a result that went to the Red’s way and now they will move into 3rd place, leaving Bolton a little behind now. With the quality of those goals, they certainly brought some smile to all the fans.

Drogballs' Thoughts: What a way to start the year. A revenge for that unfair 2-0 defeat against us earlier this season, we managed to keep Bolton out with only 1 pathetic shot on goal (off target even) and when it comes to attack, besides Crouch being a little wasteful, we really cranked a gear up in the second half and battered them.

Without Jaaskelainen, Bolton could've been really embarrassed today. Steve Finnan was unlucky not to get his second goal in his Liverpool career and Crouch constantly heading the ball straight at him.

It seemed like the form of last season starts to come back and players finding confidence. New players like Pennant and Bellamy finally settling in the side and Rafa not tinkering as much, now we play with more consistency and the team showed more fluidity.

The defence was at their top condition today with Hyypia putting in a towering performance and Carragher with a couple of important clearances and interceptions. Steve Finnan once again impressed with his crossing and gave Pennant alot of support down the right.

The partnership between Gerrard and Alonso looked better every passing game and Gerrard was rewarded with a brilliant goal. Alonso was unfortunate not to score as well. He played well and was up for the physical game Bolton was put out to play.

Crouch and Kuyt both worked very hard in the front lines. With the absence of Bellamy, there was a shortage of pace up front. But both of them proved that they could do without Bellamy's pace with 2 quality goals each.

All in all, a impressive second half performance for the Reds. We looked to have finally stepped out of the shadow that was cast over Anfield for the past few months and let's hope 2007 is a year of Liverpool. The thing that worries me will be Crouch's finishing and his header. Like I've mentioned after the lost at Ewood Park against Blackburn, we should always punish teams when we're given the chance and today, the finishing was poor at times.

But I'll still take the result and finally, it was satisfying to see us beat Bolton and looking at Sam Allardyce's pissed off face makes me smile.

Remember 2006






The BAD:












Just some random photos I've found on my computer. Hope it brings you back good memories (and learn your lesson if it's bad memories :x)

Happy 2007 !

I'm here to wish every single one of you a very happy new year and a wonder 2007. Whatever has happened in the past year, throw it away, leave it behind and always look forward, not back.

Because tomorrow will always be better. CHEERS.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hear, Hear!

Stumbled upon the Football365 forums after Chelsea struggled again. There's a Chelsea fan on board and look what he wrote!

Chelsea have an injury crisis with two of their biggest champions unavailable due to bad injuries. Also why was that Irish c**t never banned for his life threatening challenge of Cech. United haven't had a single injury all damn season and that is the only reason they are in such good form. I don't count this season personally I think we should rebuild in the summer and concentrate on the next campaign.

Topic? "The Premiership should be void this season". Wow, alot of managers will be happy to hear that...

Hard Fought Victory At Rain Soaked Lane

Luis Garcia Seals All 3 Points

English Premiership

Tottenham 0 - 1 LIVERPOOL

LIV - Luis Garcia (45min);


Liverpool weathered the storm just like the one that came down on White Hart Lane when they held on to a Luis Garcia goal just before half time to halt Tottenham's run of 12 games unbeaten at home record. Like many other Liverpool fans, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. For the last 15 minutes, we're bombarded left, right and centre by Spurs with their long ball tactics and we managed to dug in and hold on to the slender lead.

Jamie Carragher and his defence were commendable. They stood firm in face of the aerial threat that came from players like Dimitar Berbatov and Mido. The constant bombardment of long balls into the Liverpool penalty box were mostly dealt with properly although there were a few scares here and there.

Steve Finnan was forced to head against his own bar but otherwise, put up with a brilliant performance at the right back slot. He provided much width and I for one, thought his crossing ability has improved tremendously.

Earlier on, Mido spared Liverpool when he skyrocketed a one on one chance presented to him. Against a top side, it was a costly miss and soon, Liverpool punished them as they seemed to have learned their lesson.

Didier Zokora dilly dallied with the ball and he was caught out of possesion by a brilliant Steven Gerrard. He played a one-two with Dirk Kuyt and placed the ball in the path of Luis Garcia who didn't strike the ball cleanly, but managed to crept under the legs of Paul Robinson. That was an important goal just before half time and Liverpool drew confidence.

Liverpool controlled the first half well and restricted Spurs to only a couple of half chances. The passing was good with Gerrard and Alonso doing well in the middle and Craig Bellamy in his usual all out running style. Spurs meanwhile were sloppy in their passing and were caught out on a couple of times with Liverpool midfielders intercepting their passes.

Second half was altogether a different case with Spurs pinning Liverpool back into their own half. With Craig Bellamy withdrawn after picking up a slight knock, the team lacked the pace to trouble the Tottenham defence when we had the chance to counter-attack.

With Spurs bringing on the dangerous and on-form Dimitar Berbatov and former Reds player, Danny Murphy, they started to threaten. The sheer pace and power of Berbatov causes some problems to the Liverpool defence with Dan Agger struggling a bit with his body strength.

But somehow Liverpool remained composed, didn't lose concentration and held on to an important win which will take us to fourth place temporarily. This is what I talk about being able to bounce back from setbacks and this showing is an encouraging one. We showed plenty of character and resilience to hang on and defended together as a team.

Steven Gerrard was particularly impressive with his disciplined performance. He played as an attacking midfielder but tracked back diligently to stop the Spurs midfield. Perhaps being commended with the MBE (Member of the British Empire), he was inspired and put up a good show.

But to be honest, the whole team deserve the praise and we can safely say we deserved all 3 points. Hard earned it was in the rain soaked stadium. It was a good end to our campaign in the year of 2006 and we can look back and smile a little. But tough fights ahead and the players must remain focused.