Saturday, January 13, 2007

Crouchie Double Sting Hornets

English Premiership

Watford 0 - 3 LIVERPOOL


LIV - Bellamy (34min), Crouch (40, 48min);

Match Highlights:

A good way to bounce back from the disappointments following Liverpool's two domestic cup exits within a week. It was a clinical and comfortable win for the visitors as Watford continue to struggle in the mire of relegation.

People might expect Liverpool to come out all guns blazing to show that they've bounced back from the previous two defeats but Liverpool take it really slowly and took their chances very well. Rafa Benitez once again set out a totally different side and this is the first time that he have put the trio of Kuyt, Crouch and Bellamy all on the field in the same eleven. It was a welcoming move as Liverpool showed the adventurous side of them.

But the first twenty minutes was scrappy at best. The pitch wasn't in the best condition and the ball was bobbling around which makes it difficult for teams to play on the ground. Passing was dreadful at times for both sides. But Liverpool managed to settle down quickly enough to snuff out any potential banana skin.

The game then opened up and Liverpool were quick to draw first blood. Steve Finnan's composed square ball for Craig Bellamy was perfect and all the Welshman need to do was to stick his foot in and the ball rolled into an empty net.

To be honest, his contribution to the match was immense. He worked very hard and made a lot of intelligent run behind the Watford defence. This sort of player is a real handful and I think he showed Rafa and the Liverpool fans what he's capable of. In the mold of Michael Owen, perhaps?

Crouch soon added a second with another fluid Liverpool move that involved all the 3 strikers. Kuyt's header fell into the path of the lightning quick Bellamy. His initial shot was brilliantly parried by Ben Foster but Crouch was on hand to head home the rebound.

Liverpool came back from the half time break with another clinical move that saw Crouch scoring his second of the day. The move involved Bellamy again and his cross was met well with Crouch, who hit the ball first time into Foster's right hand corner.

It certainly makes you wonder what went on at Liverpool earlier in the season when they couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo especially away from home and now suddenly, all the goals come flooding in. It's the second successive 3-0 victory and the Reds now cement their place at third.

It wasn't an all out display of attacking football but Liverpool showed great character to bounce back from disappointments and to finish the game off clinically. It was something we have been lacking in recent times but just perhaps, we've learned our lesson well and go on another roll as we try to displace Chelsea off the second place.

It'll be tough, but we all know what they can be capable of.

Drogballs: A good win and a much needed one. We have bounce back well and strikers learned to take their chances is a good sign. The 3-4-3 formation Rafa set out was a surprising one as he's known to be conservative but it helped and all the strikers were heavily involved with all the goals.

Gutted for Crouch not to stay on to score that hat-trick but in the end, he does his job well while Bellamy, he's such an asset. His pace, anticipation and his runs are vital to our team, who's notorious for being slow. He adds an extra dimension to our attack with Kuyt providing the hard work by dropping deep to make up the numbers in midfield and Crouch's holding up play.

I'm not sure whether Rafa would use this same tactics for the upcoming match against Chelsea but I guess we should revert back to 4-4-2. The formation we played today is prone to attacks down the flanks and if Chelsea decides to play their 4-3-3, we might get eaten alive.

Overall, a good performance all round from the team. Other than Bellamy and Kuyt, no one stood out too much but all did their job alright. Alonso's passing wasn't at his best while Gerrard seemed to left his shooting boots at home.

Now, bring on Chelsea next week. We must not show fear again and we must overcome them.

Hornets vs Reds Preview

Ah, here we go again. After getting spanked for the previous 2 games by Arsenal, how will Liverpool and it's players react? It's a known psychology fact that after a setback, one will either face it head on with courage or give up. So today's result will be pretty dependent on how Liverpool players will react to the defeats. Painful they are, but we all move on and the players need to as well.

With us being out of all domestic cups, it's hard to think we're left with the Champions League and the Premiership, with the latter being totally out of our ways. But now we could really focus on this 2 competitions as the squad starts to thin down to bare bones in the midfield area.

When it's not your day, it definitely isn't. Mark Gonzalez and Luis Garcia both stretchered off and Garcia is out for 6months while Gonzo will be back in time with Momo.

Facing Watford away from home will be a difficult task. There'll be people out there who say 'Watford? Confirm win one, lah!'. But I'll say 'your head!'. It's always difficult playing against newly promoted teams who are full of determination to make their point and with us playing poorly for the last 2 games, surely they'll feel they stand a chance.

Drogballs' Prediction: Watford 1-2 Liverpool. It'll be a tight game and Watford will look to unsettle Liverpool. But I believe the players will bounce back from their disappointments to put up a show just good enough to beat the Hornets.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jose And The Convict

Footballer Jailed

Barrow defender James Cotterill was sentenced to four months in prison yesterday for breaking an opponent's jaw during an FA Cup match. He is one of the more recent footballer to have been jailed and honestly, it was a disgusting act and he ought to be punished for that.

And read this part: "Half an hour into the game Cotterill fractured Rigg's jaw in two places with a left-hook, Preston Crown Court heard. It must be held together with metal plates for the rest of his life."

You just destroyed someone's life, mate.

Poor Old Jose

Rumours have been flying round faster than Ronaldo doing his side steps that Jose Mourinho is unhappy with the board and he's of course, under intense pressure after seeing his 300million side held by Wycombe Wanderers.

I have mentioned before, that his idea of the 'untouchables' might turn out to be the his ultimate downfall and I could see it happening now. He look likely to leave in the summer, for which I'm pretty sure.

The board is in a mess and you don't really know who's in charge of Chelsea anyway. Who buy the players and who picked Ballack & Sheva? It's like two huge egos going against each other in that Portugese schemer and that once a red always a red Peter Kenyon.

Downfall, surely?

David Beckham's Facts And Figures...

128 - The projected amount, in millions of pounds sterling, that David Beckham will earn over the next five years.

81 - The amount of pence that Beckham will be earning per second from August.

70,000 - The amount, in pounds sterling, that Beckham will earn per day.

500,000 - The amount, in pounds sterling, that Beckham will earn per week.

25.6 - The amount, in millions of pounds sterling, that Beckham will earn per year until 2012.

250 - The amount, in millions, that Beckham's five-year contract is worth in U.S. dollars.

90 - The amount, in millions of U.S. dollars, that Tiger Woods is estimated to have earned in 2005-06, making the golfer the highest-paid sportsman in the world.

32 - The age of David Beckham when he officially becomes a LA Galaxy player on July 1.

27,000 - The capacity of the delightfully-named Home Depot Center, home of the LA Galaxy, as well as another MLS side, Chivas USA. The ground is often referred to as 'The Toolbox', and Beckham has already played there - during a pre-season friendly for Real Madrid in 2005.

20,814 - The average home attendance for LA Galaxy matches in 2006.

30,129 - The average home attendance for LA Galaxy matches in 1996.

15,504 - The average attendance for MLS league matches in 2006.

8 - The number, in millions, of children aged between six and 16 who are cited as playing 'soccer' regularly in the U.S.

13 - The number of teams in the MLS, split into two conferences, the Western and Eastern.

350 - The amount, in millions of U.S. dollars, that the MLS was estimated to have lost since its 1993 foundation according to a Business Week study in 2004.

700,000 - The amount, in pounds sterling, that Chivas USA forward Juan Francisco Palencia earns per season, making him the best-paid player in the MLS at present.

5,650 - The amount, in pounds sterling, that the lowest-paid player at LA Galaxy currently earns per season.

1.9 - The salary cap, in millions of U.S Dollars, that is imposed on each club from which they have to pay their 'roster' of 28 players. Under new MLS rules, each side is then allowed one 'star player' who does not feature under the salary cap.

0 - The number of trophies David Beckham has won at Real Madrid since 2003.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Things You Won't Hear From Premiership Managers/Players In 2007

I know everyone's still feeling down after the last 2 painful defeats. Ah well, let's cheer up and move on with life. Have a laugh! Feel free to add in suggestions as well!

SIR ALEX FERGUSON: "All credit to Arsene. He is a fine manager and a true friend. I was only just saying to him over a bottle of good French plonk, Arsene pal, you got the better of me out there today."

ARSENE WENGER: "Yes, I did see it. And I thought we were extremely fortunate to be given the penalty. United have every right to feel aggrieved. I feel for Sir Alex tonight, I really do."

JOSE MOURINHO: "They were the better team and we rode our luck a little bit. Everybody makes mistakes and I am no exception. People tend to forget that I am just a normal guy doing a normal job."

NICOLAS ANELKA: "I have loved every minute of my time here and Bolton are carved upon my heart. I want to stay here for the rest of my career. I will even take a pay cut to achieve this dream."

HARRY REDKNAPP: "The fans don't know one import from the next these days. The sooner we get this new ruling restricting the number of foreign players in a team, the better for all concerned."

STEVE McCLAREN: "I am man enough to admit it was a gamble that didn't pay off. As anybody can see, we have missed David terribly. I have apologised to him and I am so glad he has agreed to come back."

NEIL WARNOCK: "He might have given away that debatable match-winning penalty in the last minute and sent three of our guys off, but I must admit I thought Graham Poll did a great job out there today."

ASHLEY COLE: "I've seen the error of my sickeningly greedy ways and will now be giving 95% of my wages to charity every week. Does any have a mobile phone I can borrow.... to ring my bank?"

MICHAEL BALLACK - Yes, I moved for the money, i know Chelsea has no heritage and are buying the league, but getting paid GBP120,000 a week was too good to refuse and i had to leave Beckenbauer 'cause he shagged my wife.

SAM ALLARDYCE: "Total football. Sexy football. That's always been the Bolton way".

JONATHAN WOODGATE: "Don't worry, boss. I won't be out for long. It's just a knock".

WAYNE ROONEY: "Oh come on Ref, that was clearly the wrong decision and I disagree with you, but I accept your mistake without resorting to foul language".

RAFAEL BENITEZ: "Every one of them was a star out there today, and they deserve the chance to play together again next week. After all, why change a winning team?"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reina's Replacement Or Understudy?

Sampdoria goalkeeper Daniele Padelli will join Liverpool on a six-month loan deal, his agent has confirmed.


The Italy Under-21 goalkeeper will undergo a medical on Wednesday afternoon with the Reds before starting training under Rafael Benitez.

Agent Silvano Martina said: "Padelli will travel to Liverpool this afternoon.

"The clubs have agreed on a six-month loan deal and the player is excited at the prospect of playing for Liverpool."

Padelli, one of Italy's most promising goalkeepers, joined Serie B side Crotone on loan from Sampdoria in the summer with the aim of getting some first-team football under his belt.

However, the 21-year-old has merely served as an understudy to Salvatore Soviero, playing in just one league game.

Samp have cancelled the loan deal with Crotone which was set to run until June, and have accepted the offer made by the Premiership club.

Drogballs: With Jerzey Dudek a shadow of his former self (he has always been a shadow, just that now he is...more shadowy than before), Rafa is ready to bring in a new goalkeeper in this Italian kid and that might ALSO sound the end of Scott Carson's Liverpool career.

We have been having a fair share of English young goalkeepers in recent years but all didn't turn out well. Perhaps this Italian is brought in to be our second goalkeeper with Dudek or Carson leaving. Is it me or are Italian 'keepers good and reliable? Hopefully so.

Has It All Fallen Apart?

Without having to be overly-critical on my own favourite team (like I did on Saturday where I blasted the team for their 'efforts'), I guess it's time we have to take a good look at our team again before we can convince ourselves about us being in the bracket together with United and Arsenal. Dumped out of 2 cups within a space of 4 days and ditched by the same team in Arsenal, there is no excuse as to how the season has fallen on all fours (or threes if you think we have a chance against Barcelona).

This is the first time in 77 years where we conceded more than 5 goals at Anfield and rightly, we deserve a royal spanking. We have been mediocre at best so far this season with only a few convincing performances against some inferior team on the way.

Each season we proclaimed 'this is our season' and looking at the squad, do you really think a team with Crouch, Pennant or Zenden is going to win us the Holy Grail? There are too many bit part players and mediocre ones. But we should try to understand that Rafa has limited resources so far and he could only go for players that are within his budget.

The loss on the pitch is nothing compared to the loss of both Mark Gonzalez and Luis Garcia. We could move on with this result but these two players are essentially our two best left wingers left at the squad. How the injury will hamper our campaign further remains to be seen, but it's still a major blow. Seriously sums up the plight we're in now. Nothing is going right, at all.

The only 'positive' I could master out of the game would have to be the little bit of determination in some of the players. Gerrard had to put up a good show after his gutless performance on Saturday and he was still driving the team on when Liverpool is 5-1 down. Yes, 5-1. Thank God I didn't watch it. How embarrassing.

But all these positives we look at after a defeat are just excuses for supporters. It's clear that the team is not good enough and that we are most likely going to end up trophy-less this season, first time after Rafa Benitez's appointment in 2004.

But no matter how annoyed or pissed you are, as a fan, I would like to say give Rafa some time to make things right. Rome is not built in a day and I believe he will still go on to make Liverpool a forces to reckon with in years to come. Looking at both Wenger and Ferguson, we know they don't have a particularly good start to their career at their respective teams but as time goes by, with more experience, they turned them into world beaters, a team he can use to call his own.

Although we have been particularly poor against the big 3 teams, I'm sure Rafa will learn from all the mistakes and put Liverpool back to where they belong. As inexperienced as he is, he will have to learn things the hard way just like real life, where sometimes we learn best when we fall, flat on the ground.

Maybe this 6-3 defeat serves to remind all of us to keep out feet on the ground and that there are still MUCH room to improve, much to learn. It's not the end of the day, just end of another race. But look this way that there is still better days to come under Rafa (I'm sure).

And as we always sing, "when you walk through the storm, hold your head up high, and not be afraid of the dark, at the end of the storm, there's a golden sky and the sweet silver song of the lark". Don't take defeat too much to heart and that after we survive this 'storm', taste of victory would be sweeter than ever. Come on, don't give up your faith in the team and let's walk on with hopes in our hearts.

Reds vs Arsenal Round II: Carling Cup Quater Finals

Sad to say, but I'm not looking forward to this match and also, I don't think I'll be able to watch it. It's 4.30am in the morning here and I have class at 8am, which might be a day from hell because of the 2 oral presentations I'll have to do as well as a practical test.

If we lose again, then tomorrow truly will become another bad day. Imagine all the stress and also, disappointments of getting dumped out of another cup by the same team in a span of 4 days.

And it'll be a fantastic day....

for the Arsenal fans to bait me, have a go and laugh at me.

I'm hating tomorrow already. So come on, don't let me down again. Not as if I do not have enough disappointments in life!

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Carlos Diogo vs Luis Fabiano

Well, a heated conversation. Then a little head butt....then...

Grown man fighting like 7 year old kids. Disgraceful. To me, it looked like the fighting scene in those Chinese 'wayang' show. Tok tok, CHIANG!

Justice For The 96 - Truth Day Photos

Maybe neutrals who watched the game last night were puzzled with what the fans on the Kop End where on about. What 'Justice' and what 'Truth'. Well, in fact, it's a campaign supported by all Liverpool fans which is a campaign against English tabloid newspaper, The Sun and it's former editor, Kelvin McKenzie.

From Wikipedia:

The Hillsborough disaster was a deadly human crush that occurred on April 15, 1989, at Hillsborough, a football stadium in Sheffield, England, resulting in the loss of 96 lives.

On the Wednesday following the disaster, Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, used the front page headline 'THE TRUTH', with three sub-headlines: 'Some fans picked pockets of victims'; 'Some fans urinated on the brave cops'; 'Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life'.

The story accompanying these headlines claimed that 'drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims' and 'police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon'. A quote, attributed to an unnamed policeman, claimed that a dead girl had been abused and that Liverpool fans 'were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead'.

MacKenzie explained his reporting in 1993. Talking to a House of Commons National Heritage Select Committee he said "I regret Hillsborough. It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said. It was a Tory MP. If he had not said it and the chief superintendent (David Duckenfield) had not agreed with it, we would not have gone with it." This explanation was not accepted by families of Hillsborough victims. Even fifteen years after the Hillsborough disaster, the circulation of The Sun in Liverpool is still believed to be only 12,000 copies a day where previously it was around 200,000.

On 30 November 2006, speaking to a business lunch, former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie repudiated the apology, saying that he only apologised because the newspaper's owner Rupert Murdoch ordered him to. He said "I was not sorry then and I'm not sorry now" for the paper's coverage.
And this campaign is to voice out their unhappiness and general disgust at Kelvin McKenzie and his apparent twisting of words and truth. It was done for those who have lost their love ones in the disaster and not only did it affect the reputation of Liverpool FC but the entire city as well.


Not being a scouser and born and bred Liverpudlian, I might never understand their pain and grief of such unjust. But well done to the fans at the Kop End last night. You made yourselves heard throughout and hopefully, justice will prevail.






You guys were just brilliant and hope everything will go on fine. You'll Never Walk Alone, lads...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reds Bow Out Of FA Cup With A Whimper

Liverpool Taught A Football Lesson Yet Again

FA Cup

LIVERPOOL 1 - 3 Arsenal

LIV - Kuyt (71min);
ARS- Rosicky (37, 45min), Henry (84min);


So, there goes our dreams of defending the prestigious English FA Cup when we failed at the first hurdle at home to Arsenal, the giant 'giant-killers'. The irony was the fans achieved victory while the 11 clueless men on the pitch were defeated. In the campaign against The S*n and it's evil lying journalists, Liverpool fans reminded people from around the world about what they feel and expressed it with a huge mosaic 'Truth' right at the Kop End and it remained there for the first 6 minutes of the match. They were singing at their top of their voices, expressing their disgust at being accused of something they didn't do.


In the end, the fans were Liverpool's man of the match, or I should say men of the match. Even when we ALL know it's over at 3-1, they started singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in a way which we seldom hear. It sounded almost like a cry, a melancholic interpretation of our famous anthem.

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to work out as to how we Liverpool fans felt so down after last night's match. It's a horror show with the title staring at your face that is "WE'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH" and that how we always self destruct when it comes to facing our fellow big teams. In fact, if we continue to struggle against teams like Arsenal and United, then we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking we're in that ' Big 4' anymore because after a performance like last night, I think we should just categorise ourselves under 'Wanna-bes and Also-rans'

With recent form being alright compared to earlier this season, we boast an excellent home record and the fans at the beginning of the match were just amazing. At their usual best, sang and supported the team. And with the DIC representatives around, they must be astonished to see there are still such a bunch of crazy fans at Anfield.

But all these failed to spur Liverpool on and they went on to put up a clueless and disappointing performance. The way which Arsenal outclassed us is alarming and if I'm one of the representatives for the takeover consortium, I'll walk over to Rafa and say 'Mr Benitez. Here are the money. Go and sort this team out' because honestly, this team is not good enough as we have discussed for earlier part of this season.

The decision to start Dudek is baffling. I know he's a hero and maybe just to be placed on the shop window but after a performance like this, I think nobody would be mildly interested. I understand that Arsenal rotated their goalkeeper as well. But why a tit for a tat? Is there a point to this at all?

As Liverpool having the majority of the possession, they rarely threatened Almunia's goal and as Liverpool found them difficult to break down, they started to put long balls into the penalty area and hoping Crouch could do a knock down for Gerrard or perhaps even a spectacular goal himself. But with Gilberto and Flamini closely watching Gerrard and Alonso, there was absolutely no space for the midfielders to make any sort of run.


Then the nightmare began. It was like a series of unfortunate events that linked everything up to an excellent Arsenal goal. Brilliant movement from the Gunners while Liverpool were static, taken aback and never recovered.

John Arne Riise was at fault the moment he lost Alex Hleb on the left when he was just standing and watching him putting in an excellent ball for Tomas Rosicky to smash home. As a left back, leaving your target alone is suicidal. I thought defenders were supposed to STOP players and not stand around watching?

Well, even captain marvel Steven Gerrard did the spectator's job. When Rosicky was ready to pull the trigger, he just pulled away from the challenge. I thought he was the fearless leader who puts in ever ounce of energy into every matches? Well, I know you're trying to save your legs for the season, but it was just disappointing for someone like him to behave this way.

Then Dudek. What on earth are you doing at the area where it's nearer to the penalty spot than the goal line? It just sailed past him rather embarrassingly. The only reason I could think of is he's not as fast as Reina is coming off his line and therefore he prepared himself in case there's a through-ball. Bad anticipation, my friend.

Yet Liverpool never had much of a response. Pass the ball around the back, pass to Dan Agger, a long pass....and out for a goal kick. Rinse and repeat.

Then Arsenal punished us again, this time with yet another of those goals you'll only see the inferior teams concede. The previously solid looking Liverpool defence was torned apart like knife on butter and by half time, it was almost like game over.

Why that passive defending when Rosicky had the ball? Why are everyone backing off when they pushed up? But that's beside the point. When you're supposed to put in a block or tackle, then do it. Again Gerrard pulled out of it and Rosicky just placed the ball beyond Dudek's reach.

The backline and midfield were made a fool out of themselves with that sort of performance.

Although Liverpool did manage a mini-revival and scored through Kuyt, it was another self destructing move that buried us. No chance back when we thought we might have, No come back this time.


Jamie Carragher, the usually reliable defender, learnt from Gerrard as to how they always seemed to want to give Theirry Henry a freebie goal and presented him a belated New Year gift. How a circumstance where he had the advantage can turn into a one where he was all on his arse while Henry was able to weave through the entire defence is beyond me. Embarrassing. It reminded me of the game at Goodison Park where Carragher gave the ball cheaply to Andy Johnson to score.

All the goals were avoidable. So with this defeat, we can only have ourselves to blame, yet again. And to think that we're going to face them again in the Carling Cup is a scary prospect. Imagine them eliminating us out of 2 cup competitions in 4 days. That is just going to be absolutely painful.

We deserved the loss, because honestly with this sort of performance, I can safely say we're poor. And poor is just an understatement. Utterly gutless and clueless. How much this players want to defend the FA Cup, I do not know. But it seemed as if they couldn't give a flying arse about it.

And all I can say is we have a poor mentality against bigger teams. We're AFRAID of them. Why? I do not know. We just see ourselves as inferior and when the players think this way, we're already halfway to defeat.

Fair play to Arsenal, they played pretty football without having a lot of possession. Perhaps Rafa could learn a thing or two from Arsene Wenger on how to create a certain style for the team because the way Arsenal play is commendable. We know how they can over-elaborate things but yesterday, they showed they can do simple things in a simple and effective way.

It was as if they only had 3 breakaways and they scored from all the 3. Every time they pushed their formation up and attacked, Liverpool just hid in their shell and hope and pray nothing happens. Cowardly, to say the least.

Another point to add, how much we missed Momo Sissoko and his all action playing style. We could've used his pace and tenacity to good use yesterday but he was out injured. As I've mentioned earlier this season, I always had doubt about Gerrard and Alonso in the middle because of the lack of balance. We haven't been found out recently because we're playing mostly inferior teams. Now we got found out and now you know. They failed to provide the defence with any sort of protection yesterday.

Now we could only hope for a better performance from that bunch on the next match against who else but Arsenal. As cliché as it may sound, but familiarity breeds contempt. Maybe Rafa learned a couple of lesson and had something in mind or perhaps Arsene has a better plan to finish Liverpool with more effectiveness. Another footballing lesson in the making perhaps?

But I think this Liverpool team owes the fans a performance, a brave show in front of the Kop. Because they were an utter let down last night and if I'm a player in red last night, I won't know how to face those fans who were absolutely brilliant throughout. Long have we seen a performance worthy to be called total victory because time and again, we have struggled against the bigger side.

If we don't change the mentality, we'll be out of all competitions before we know it. Remember, we still have Barcelona in Champions League and by the look of things, surely, no chance?