Saturday, February 10, 2007

Goaltender Blunders And Whatnot

It's always nice to laugh at blunders and look back at those yesteryears of Fabien Barthez and Massimo Taibi in goal.

It's even funnier if you can understand Chinese..

Life Under The New Regime

It has been a eventful week and we've seen Liverpool moved on and into the hands of two American owners. The first match under their ownership is none other than a trip up to the Tyneside.

Over the years, Liverpool and Newcastle NEVER failed to provide entertainment when the two sides meet. I fell in love with Liverpool watching them play against Newcastle back in 1997. It was a game of the highest quality and Michael Owen's finishing back then was just pure class.

Even the last meeting between the two sides produced a magical moment by our Spanish playmaker, Xabi Alonso. He saw Steve Harper off the line and audaciously chipped the ball from just within his own half and embarrassed Harper, who slipped and fell after getting caught out.

We've no idea whether the two tycoons will be present at the game but I've got a feeling they will be. As owners, I believe it's important to go to your team's (or franchise to them) first game to show support to not only players but the fans as well.

With the 100 million transfer kitty promised, Rafa will most definitely look into bringing quality players into the squad which is already brimming with qualities from back to front. But for now, we will have to work with the current group of players.

Good news will definitely be the return of Momo Sissoko into the side. He has been missing since early November with a shoulder injury and will probably make it into the squad if he pass the late fitness test. This will be a crucial decision due to the fact that Xabi Alonso will not be playing any part of this game due to injury. Bolo Zenden could slot in there as well alongside captain Steven Gerrard.

Newcastle's injury woes continues as they'll missing a huge chunk of players. Emre, Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Craig Moore, Shola Ameobi, Charles N'Zogbia and Michael Owen are all missing through injury.

Stephen Carr has joined the casualty list after being forced to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad in midweek with a thigh problem.

Will the first game under the new ownership prove to be a successful one? Looking through the injury list, we could well get the 3 points today. But the players will have to come up with a good performance after that disappointing one last weekend.

Drogballs' Prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool. Should be a close game. But I still think we have the quality to defeat them at St. James' Park.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rage Against The McClown

"I believe in these players and I believe in my ability to do the job and get us qualified," says Steve McClaren.

Of course, not many people thinks so. Scan through ALL the major newspaper in England this couple of days and you could sense that not everyone is completely positive about him. There are photoshopped pictures of him on some newspaper even.

Just like the campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo during the World Cup, the English came out with another brilliant site like THIS.

Rafa In Signing Spanish Youngster Shocker

RAFAEL BENITEZ is ready to dip into the coffers of Liverpool’s new American owners by adding to his Spanish contingent.

The Anfield manager has earmarked a £1.5million move for Tenerife midfielder Iriome Gonzalez at the end of the season.

The 19-year-old right-sided midfielder has this year broken into the first team of the Canary Island outfit, who play in the second division in Spain.

Iriome has appeared in only six games, and with regulations in Spain stating an academy graduate cannot sign a contract until he has featured in 10 senior games, Tenerife will make sure the midfielder reaches that figure so they can command a transfer fee at the end of the campaign.

Drogballs: Now we have the quantity. But do they have the quality needed to play for the Red devils? Just hope he's not another Antonio Nunuz. But just imagine, the Gonzos on the wings. Mark on the left and Iriome on the right. Should be quite interesting!

Probably The Best In The World?

LIVERPOOL are on the verge of sealing their first multi-million pound sponsorship deal of the new American era with a £21.6m agreement with Carlsberg.

The Reds had already decided to renew their arrangement with the brewing giants prior to the takeover of George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

However, the terms are a massive improvement on the disappointing £5m over two years which was agreed in 2004, just before Liverpool won the Champions League final.

The new deal represents £7.2m a year for the next three seasons - virtually trebling Liverpool’s income from this source per annum.

Carlsberg have been Liverpool’s sponsors since 1992, but although the latest deal is the most lucrative between the pair yet, it still doesn’t compare favourably with those of Manchester United and Chelsea.

United are currently in a £56.5m deal with AIG over four years, while Chelsea struck a deal with Samsung worth £50m a year over five years. Spurs’ shirt deal with Mansion House is worth £34m over four years.

Drogballs: It's always good to have Carlsberg back as your sponsor because of the history and also, it seemed like Carlsberg and Liverpool are pretty much inseparable. Think of Liverpool, it's Carlsberg and vice versa. But have we gotten ourselves another rip off deal again?

I mean, even Tottenham Hotspur have a bigger and better deal than us! How wrong is that? Is it due to our 'ties' with Carlsberg for such a long time that makes it difficult for us to get another sponsor? If it is then it's pretty embarrassing, I think.

Still, it's so much better than the current deal. Better than nothing, I guess...


Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has already put his foot in it at Anfield - by saying he now considers himself a Red Devil!

The Argentine World Cup star is still waiting for clearance to make his debut, having joined from West Ham on deadline day last week.

But he's already caused a storm by referring to the Kop kings as the Red Devils, the nickname of course of bitter rivals Manchester United.

He told The S*n: "I have disconnected myself from West Ham and signed a contract with Liverpool.

"I can consider myself a Red Devil. It's now just up to the Premier League to authorise me to play, something I believe should happen because it was they who made the appeal to FIFA to allow me to move clubs. I hope the situation is resolved as soon as possible."
Firstly, never call us the Red Devil. Read up the bloody history book or even have a heart to go and read Wikipedia!

Secondly, don't EVER speak to The S*n. Speak to them again and you'll most probably end up like Graeme Souness. Great player but nobody gave a sh*t about him after he sells his story to The S*n.

Hope you learn your lesson!

Kung-fu Fighting! *der der der der*

The recent friendly between Queen's Park Rangers and the Chinese Olympic team became a full fledged martial arts exhibition.

Bruce Lee must be real proud...

Adam Hammill

If you're not aware of this lad, then do note down his name because many sees him as a star for the future at Liverpool. He have been playing well for the U-21 team and recently, he was loaned out to Scottish League side, Dunfermline Athletic.

It's not always a good yardstick to see players performing well at the Scottish League, but for a 19 year old kid, it should be a great learning experience.

Any semblance of Steve McManaman?

The only way Hearts could stop him was to bring him down,but he kept getting up,continued to look for the ball and run at them again.

Sums it up.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Poor Spain Defeat Clueless England

Macca Under Intense Pressure


England 0 - 1 Spain

ESP - Iniesta

Although it was only a friendly, it has to be one of the more dire and abject performance by the Three Lions in recent times. Now England have gone 4 games without a win and England fans should be worried as to whether the team is really moving in the right direction or are they falling further behind.

Impact wise, it is not as devastating as the defeat at Croatia when Paul Robinson decides to put up a truly dreadful performance but you've got to wonder what lies ahead for McClaren and his team. Because for me, I see no improvement whatsoever. And don't go on about evolution or revolution because they are PR stunts and are said to appease the fans.

Performance wise, dreadful, insipid and absolutely woeful. Apart from the first 5 minutes when England turned up the gear and played at their own pace and momentum (which is at 100km/h), they just looked out of sort, confused and lost.

We must admit that the Spain team last night was not the best as well. They struggled to cope with the pace of Dyer and S-Wright Phillips at times but I think the England players must be in awe of the way Spain controlled the possession and rhythm of the game.

Xavi in the middle was the one pulling the strings. He don't seemed to appear in your TV screen as much as Lampard or Gerrard but did an awful lot more than the whole of England's XI added up together. Sums it up pretty much.

David Villa then decides to conjure up brilliant cross which was well defended by Rio Ferdinand. Unfortunately, the ball fell to the worst possible candidate in England's eye. Andres Iniesta of Barcelona fired into the top corner. Everyone stood still, no one there to close him down.

You'll expect some sort of response from the England team, who are playing their last game at Old Trafford before moving into their new home at Wembley. But that was about it. It was just like what happen when you play Football Manager when the opponent scores and then there was absolutely no reply from your team for the next 40-50 minutes.

Now let's put the performance aside. I think McClaren should have a reality check. Because either he doesn't watch football, doesn't have the tactical nous or the FA just think he's a stop gap for someone bigger, like Scolari or Hiddink (??).

Firstly, on the case of Paul Robinson. We've been harping for months on how dire and inept this goalkeeper has been since his move to Spurs. He seemed to gain an extra stone or two and to be honest, in all the Spurs match I've watched, any shots on Robbo's goal turned out to be a goal. Who can forget his air-kick? To sum it up, his form this season has been absolutely awful.

So, Macca tried out Ben Forster in goal and he managed to put up a decent performance. But the key here would be the pre-match talk where McClaren mentioned 'Robinson's position is not threatened'. Are you crazy? Which manager would tell their player that their position is safe no matter how shit you play? So now Robbo must be thinking 'aye I can continue to eat my pies and till get the numer 1 jersey every year'. Reality check one. Fail.

Regarding Gareth Barry, the most under-rated player in the Premiership by far. With Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge withdrawn from the squad due to injury, you would expect the Villa captain to be slotted into the left back position with ease. His performance for Villa have been consistent in recent years and deserve it all.

Overlooked by Sven, now he has his chance. But McClaren once again, came up with one of the most bizarre decision I've seen. Putting Phil Neville in the left back slot. Is this Philip the one that cost England a penalty in the Euro 2000 game against Romania? In the left back slot?

His reason was: 'I want players to play in the position that they play for their respective clubs'. Gareth Barry have been playing as a left winger for majority of the season at Villa, fair enough. Hang on, is Phil Neville a left back for Everton then? No? I thought I saw him playing in midfield against Liverpool and perhaps a right back a few weeks back. So everything, backfires. Sorry, your reason is not a reason but an excuse.

Looking at the first eleven of the England team, the only left footed player on the field is none other than, the goalkeeper. How much of a joke is that? I could find more left footed players than England do!

Tactics wise, I'm no genius, but I see no movement or plan on the pitch. They're so 'flexible' that everyone seemed to get into each others way. You could argue that England are missing a few key players and it's just a friendly. But you've got to wonder where England are heading with this man.

Problems are not on the surface. It's a deep problem down to the youth system. He mentioned about England having to play their own style rather than copying the other team's. So what now, is England's style? I think even Mr. McClaren have a problem answering that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This BETTER Be True...

Lampard is being a right tit about Barton being in the squad, won’t talk to him, pass to him, all that stuff, and just got up to move to another table at breakfast when Barton sat at the same one. Apparently as soon as he stood up and moved, Barton called after him "Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to nick your breakfast you fat prick" and Lampard threw a hissy fit and stormed out.

Nice one, Joey.

Dawning Of A New Era

6th February 2007 will go down into the history books of Liverpool as perhaps, one of the most important day in Liverpool's 115 years of history. From a family club which is ran by an Englishmen, we have moved on to be a franchise under new American owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks as we sought out all possible ways to break the stranglehold that is held by Chelsea and Man United in recent times.

It's been 17 long years since we've won the English Championship (or the EPL in a more foreign term) and with the football world rapidly changing, it's time we move on from being a laid back family club to one that sought to dominate English football again with ruthlessness and aggressiveness.

Football have moved on. Money has taken front seat and like I've previously mentioned, changed from the cogs of the football machine to the very mechanism itself. Without money, nothing in football will run. Roman Abramovich came to England with his riches and dominated football with them. It does tell a story, that with money, you could buy instant successes.

Hicks and Gillett will surely not feel alone in the land just across the pond. Malcolm Glazer and Randy Lerner are the other two American chairmen. Have we seen a change in power in the English game? With more and more foreign tycoons and businessmen willing to spill their lucre in the land of hope and glory, it does certainly feel that football will never be the same again.

I, as a fan, can't tell the future and look through the crystal ball to tell you whether this two men will bring back the glory days of Liverpool or not. But I believe as a fan and supporter of the club, we should always stick with the team whatever their decision might be and this time, David Moores took a hard time to pass over this baton to the two Americans whom not many of us know but I believe he knows what he is doing.

It's never easy for us, fans, to quickly accept this two men with open arms as some of us actually sees them as devils' advocates and all they see in Liverpool are profits. But I guess the only thing that can actually convince all of us will be with time. We can only wait and see. From yesterday's press conference, they sounded like they are really passionate fans of sports and are not in this all just for the money and profits.

The club seemed to have stalled for a long time regarding the business side of the game and is in danger of lagging further behind with Manchester United the sure leaders and Chelsea not far away. Now with the two men on board, I'm sure they'll continue to build up the famous 'brand' of Liverpool. A club of our stature deserves much, much more.

The New Anfield stadium have been dragged on and on due to the fact that the club's board and shareholders are unable to fork out the massive amount of money to build the new stadium. The money needed to buy a new spiritual home for the Reds skyrocketed over the years and David Moores certainly felt he doesn't have the resources to take Liverpool into a new level.

But with stadium promised to be built by April, it's certainly a positive step for Liverpool, in the right direction at last. When it comes to moving away from Anfield, I can feel the pain of many Liverpudlians who have been there fore many years as have their forefathers. It's a ground where many laughed together, sang together and cried together. The sacred ground to many, will go into the history books and the legendary Kop End might not be able to be seen again.

To me, I'm positive of this move. The DIC's takeover sounded more promising due to their extensive PR work but I don't think it's right to threaten the club and it's board. Whatever the case, Mr. Moores have agreed to sell his family inheritance to the duo and all we can hope for is a bright red future for the club. It has been sleeping for far too long and only recently, through Rafa and his men, we could regain a bit of consciousness. Now it's time we open our eyes wide and compete with the big boys, head on.


The transfer kitty given to Rafa will be an important weapon. But I feel that the two men should NOT meddle with the transfer activities and let the manager himself to buy players he want. We've seen what happened to him during his days at Valencia and I certainly do not want it to happen again. Things and matters on the field, I hope the two Americans will give their full support to Rafa and his team.

As the new stadium is said to not have gotten a naming right, it means that the New Anfield could very well be a Coca Cola Astrodome or MacDonald's Stadium. To me, I prefer NOT to have these and stick to either Anfield or New Anfield. They have mentioned that if they could sign an extra world class player just because of the naming rights, I think we shouldn't go down that way but keep our club tradition where it is.

The Kop End must be within the stadium, no matter what. It's part of Liverpool that nobody can take away. It's a symbolism of football fanaticism, passion, love and support.

It's exciting times ahead of Liverpool. It'll be an unpredictable one, just like how DIC's deal fell through and the duo got it in the end. It might just be a blessing in disguise and we'll never know, until perhaps a few years down the road when we'll certainly talk about it again.

And finally, the deal is done and there will not be any more distractions for the players. This few months have been pretty distraction ones for the players as the club is involved in all these takeover talks. Now it is settled, the players can now go out to play without worries.

Significantly, I believe the takeover will inspire some players to up their ante. With money coming in, I think the players will fear for their future at the club and will have to be at their best or be replaced in the summer. That'll certainly spark the players to go from strength to strength.

As football and Liverpool have moved on, it's time for the fans to move on as well. We might bemoan the sale as selling the soul to the devil. But I believe this two men will bring Liverpool into the next level where Moores couldn't. Hang in there, tight!

Yankee-fied Liverpool Players

From none other than the ever so sarcastic, Football365.

Jose (Pepé) Reina

Netminder with an impressive 19 shutouts this regular season. Save average of .854 in last five outs. Replaces New Jerzy Dudek as first-choice goaltender after veteran's series of high-profile handling errors. Nicknamed after Pepé Le Pew, the cheese-eating surrender skunk.

James 'The Minister Of Defense' Carragher

Captain of defense and native 'Scouser'. 2963 minutes of field time with powerplay change-up stats of 5-6-3. Awesome displays in penalty zone versus aerial offense plays. Awesome displays at club Christmas parties. Distribution ranked only 245th in EPL. Note: communication may be difficult as James does not speak English.

Steve O'Finnan

Defensive cornerback/outside linebacker ranked six in division for forward offense running plays. Highly-rated change-up, groundspeed. 245 defensive tackle ratio. Proud Irishman: merchandising opportunities with millions of east coast Americans who are 1/64 from Cork. Vital cornerman, new shorts.

Sam Hyypia

Veteran centerblocker famed for aerial rebound ability, composureability, although lacks change-up, questions over groundplay v forwards with nimbleness quotient. Radical air with headbombs from special plays ensures a conversions per season tally average of six. Hails from Finlandland, a country in Europe that is part of the 'Axis Of Pleasantness'.

John-Arnold Riise

Cornerman who regularly features in goalshot of the month sweeps with a left peg rated in top five nationwide for sweetness. Rookie, sophomore seasons raised expectations of possible Hall of Famer status but recent semesters have seen the person of redly-challenged hair demoted to bullpen on occasion. 7-6-8.

Gerrard Steven

Team MVP, captain and midfielderman famed for power running, pass accuracy, assists. Has dressed as center, right wingerbacker (offensive and defensive) and even as secondary power forward. Can rush goal or sit back in the pocket. Career high came in Pro-Ball showdown against the Milan Tumblers in Istanbul (believed site of WMD).

Craig Bellamy

Controversial wide receiver/goal forward rated division's third most likely player to face red card takedown in grudge slams. Lightning fast in joggy work down winglines, although critics question net targeting infield. Has switched franchises several times in career amid rumors of all-star level jackassery.

Robert Bernard Fowler

Veteran strike attacker and all-time Liverpool Reds Hall of Famer. Once considered league MVP for shotzone rebounds and accuracy in the paint. Famously flagged on field for displaying his tight end to opponent Graeme Le Saux, and for calling into question The War On Drugs.

Xavi Alonso (ITA)

6-5-7, 12, 468, 0.43, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 98632548, 1, 1, 0 (?), 0, 1. 0.3.

Jermaine Pennant

Wide receiver/running forward has rushed for over 1,000 yards in Liverpool Reds rookie season. Crossfields delivery success rate well into point-seven-ohs, play action, sprinty, jigglebomb, DUI. 6.662. Off-field activities saw him given bum's rush from Steve Bruskowski's Birmingham Brums. Only soccerplayer on roster with a sensible sportsman's name.

Peter Crouch Jr

Power forward who could have potential if consortium moves into NBA. Noted for headbomb assists, ganglyhole, salmon leap, robotics. 0.673, runners batted in, three points. Traded several times early in career but has flourished under head coach Benitez at the Anfield Taco Bellodrome.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Reds Agree Takeover Terms

From BBC:

American duo George Gillett and Tom Hicks have reached an agreement to buy Liverpool, the club have announced.

The club have called a news conference at 1400 GMT to announce the details of the takeover.

Liverpool chairman David Moores, who will become an honorary life president, said: "This is a great step forward for its shareholders and its fans."

Hicks and Gillett, who beat off Dubai International Capital for the Reds, are owners of NHL ice hockey teams.

The offer is worth £5,000 per share, valuing the club at £174.1m, and along with the club's £44.8m debt their offer is worth £218.9m.

But the pair are also thought to have guaranteed over £200m towards the cost of building a new stadium.

A club statement said: "Liverpool FC today announced that the board have agreed the terms of an offer for the club from Mr George Gillett and Mr Tom Hicks.

"The board are unanimously recommending that the club's shareholders accept this offer."

Moores added: "This club is my passion and forms a huge part of my life. After much careful consideration, I have agreed to sell my shares to assist in securing the investment needed for the new stadium and for the playing squad.

"I am also delighted to accept the offer from the Hicks and Gillett families to continue my involvement in the club by becoming honorary life president."

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry added: "This is great for Liverpool, our supporters and the shareholders - it is the beginning of a new era for the club.

"They are bringing to the table tremendous and relevant experience, a passion for sport, real resources and a strong commitment to the traditions of Liverpool.

"They have made clear their intention to move as quickly as practicable on the financing and construction of our proposed new stadium at Stanley Park and also to support investment in the playing squad.

"This has been an important time for the club. We now have the right partners for the future. I am absolutely certain we have now ended up in the right place, with owners who will help the club succeed and prosper.

Hicks, who also owns the Texas Rangers baseball team, joined forces with Gillett to gazump rival bidders DIC last week.

Arrangements over the future of Liverpool's new stadium appear to have clinched the deal.

Hicks has built up a reputation for developing state-of-the-art stadia for his teams.

But his presence apparently ensured that Liverpool will not have to share their new Stanley Park ground with neighbours, Everton.

Gillett has impressed Liverpool with his proposals and the speed at which he completed due diligence - the process of investigation by potential investors - in three days.

The 68-year-old American has also stressed his experience in running successful sporting operations.

It is thought to be the first time that two owners of rival sports clubs in one league have combined to purchase a club in another.

"We fully acknowledge and appreciate the unique heritage and rich history of Liverpool and intend to respect this heritage in the future.

"The Hicks family and the Gillett family are extremely excited about continuing the club's legacy and tradition.

"We are particularly pleased that David Moores and Rick Parry will have a continuing involvement in the club. For us continuity and stability are keys to the future."


Total Share Capital: £174.1m
Clearing of debts: £44.8m
New Stadium Cost: £200m

Enterprise value: £218.9million

Drogballs: Point of note. There is reliable source that states the new stadium will start NEXT MONTH and we should be aware that Tom Hicks is an experienced sports franchise owner who builds state of the art stadia for his teams so I don't think we need to worry about the New Anfield.

Regarding sponsorship for next season, it will almost definitely not be Carlsberg and the source states that they have found a huge company to be our sponsor.

Hopefully, a bright and red future ahead of us. I shall reserve my comment to later and not jump to conclusion. But it is exciting times indeed.

Getting To Know Our New Owner

Extracted from

What do you hope to achieve with Liverpool Football Club?

George Gillett: We had the privilege of spending some time last night with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher and they delivered us the message. They are all about winning and all about the passion from the fans. They asked us three specific questions:

They wanted continuity of management with David and Rick. They have enormous regard for them. They also spoke extremely warmly about Rafa and made us aware that they feel this man is truly one of the great geniuses in the recent history of the sport. They wanted to communicate to us the feeling from the dressing room was of great respect for the management team.

Secondly, they wanted to talk about players and to encourage us to support Rick and Rafa's efforts in building the team.

They were also clear with their views on the stadium. They made us aware the sound, the energy and the passion that Anfield provides needs to be incorporated into the design of the new stadium.

They were the three messages they wanted us to hear and we heard them loud and clear.

Did you understand what Jamie Carragher was saying?

George Gillett: We did! He's definitely a scouser, that's for sure. The first thing the two players did was give us their shirts with a nice message so that was a special moment for us.

I'm sure he don't understand Carra, I'm sure.... And the monumental moment in Liverpool Football Club's long history is about to unfold. Sit tight and hang on!

Drogballs' Weekly Thoughts

Derby Day Blues

This season, we have been unbelievably poor against bitter rivals, Everton. Earlier in September, we lost at Goodison Park 3-0 in one of the most humiliating defeat by the Blues and we only managed a goal-less draw at Anfield.

The atmosphere that day went from electrifying to subdued. The first 5 minutes was a brilliant show of what the Liverpool fans were capable of especially after the recent 'Reclaim The Kop' RTK project.

But it went deadly quiet after Liverpool failed to gain a foothold in the game and were frustrated. Perhaps anxiously chewing finger nails, the fans waited with anxiety and frustration.

After the match, Rafa had a go at Everton for coming to Anfield to set 9 men behind the ball and defended. He mentioned that only 'small teams' play this way and it infuriated many Everton fans as well as a small portion of the Liverpool fans.

To me, I don't see anything wrong with it. BUT ultimately, saying it after a supposed small team held us at home, are we supposed to feel any better or like me, red faced. To say such thing after a result that was not in our favour just makes it sounds bitter although you could argue the rivalry between the clubs added fuel to fire to the already frustrated Rafa.

All Hands On Deck. Dive Dive!

United went to White Hart Lane, full of confidence after brushing aside Watford 4-0 previously. A game that deemed to many as a potential banana skin became like a walk in the park for the soon to be champions and they opened up Spurs just like peeling a banana. Easy.

And you have to question Spurs yet again. Have we seen such a talented group of players playing with such mediocrity? They seemed to have bought a huge amount of talent and yet, no idea which are their best players, partnership or tactics. As I've mentioned, they always buy for the sake of buying.

But the United victory was not without controversy, again. England's favourite player, Cristiano Ronaldo was up to his usual antics again and this time, falling to the ground after Steed Malbranque deemed to have touched him. Replays show minimal contact. Intent or not, I do not believe it is a correct decision.

But we can't discuss this with perspective until we actually talk about the referee in the game. Mr. Mark Clattenburg. He has had a horrid game. Every decision he made in that game was fairly debatable and he awarded a penalty that never was while turning a blind eye to two penalty incident which were more obvious.

Firstly, Gary Neville's wrestling with Pascal Chimbonda in the United penalty area during a Spurs set piece. He held Chimbonda, WWE style. Stone wall penalty turned down.

Next, Anthony Gardner's tackle on Henrik Larsson. He was chopped down from behind, inside the area. Waved play on again. Although United DID have the penalty, but a referee can't just think that 'everything balances up' because I believe a referee's job is to make decisions on the spot and not wait and see.

Anyway, the turning point of the game would've been the point when Ronaldo smacked the penalty past a hapless Paul Robinson. And after that, Spurs managed to epitomise the term 'roll over and die'. Literally.

There was no spirit and belief in the team. It's far too inexperienced especially with Jol's fetish with youth with English blood. I certainly believe the departure of Carrick is one of the stumbling block but there is more than meets the eye.

Liverpool Player's Training At Melwood...

It was posted on some forums and I thought it'll be funny to share this video because we don't actually get to see them train and now...we know how fun it is...


And you should see how Kuyt 'walk'. Oh, and Peter Crouch. Fantastic hand coordination there. No wonder you're not a basketball player!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Football's A Game For Thugs?

After this video, you might think so. Anyway, don't watch it while you're having your lunch or dinner.

Reds Held At Anfield By Bitter Rivals

Reds Crumbled Under Pressure

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 0 - 0 Everton

When so much was expected of Liverpool to perform against a local rival that hatred that stretched beyond decades, they crumbled while Everton put up a fantastic defensive show to thwart Liverpool's slim chance of catching up with 2nd place Chelsea.

With all the off the field distractions this week, Liverpool had to simply concentrate on this game and put up a good show for the fans as to avenge the team's humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of the bitter rivals earlier this season.

But fans who thought that it's going to be a walk in the park for Liverpool were soon disappointed. To be fair, Everton didn't really come to Anfield for a win but the game plan was set up to frustrate and contain Liverpool and credits to where it is due, they deserve the point.

Liverpool started with the 3-pronged attack again after implementing it successfully against West Ham on Wednesday. It was a bold move as it's possibly a game that Liverpool cannot afford to lose not only because it'll be the end of a proud 16 months unbeaten at home record, but also to lose to Everton twice in a season is unthinkable.

Everton started brightly and forced Liverpool on a back foot. The Reds were unable to find the tempo and were struggling to string passes especially in midfield where Everton piled players in that area and their closing down work makes life difficult for Liverpool.

Andy Johnson, who just recovered from a seemingly serious injury, was a danger man and causing the Liverpool back line all sorts of problem with his diagonal runs and his run into the channels. His strength and holding up of the ball is good as well and it worked brilliantly for Everton.

The visiting team were able to carve out some chances when they're up against a water-tight Liverpool defence while the Reds actually had the ball in the back of the net and unfortunately, it was ruled offside. Bellamy's one-two with Kuyt was deemed illegal and the goal was disallowed.

As Liverpool huff and puffed, Everton looked more and more threatening with Osman nearly scoring a header at the near post. They had the minority of the possession but you must admit that they made full use of it every time.

Changes were expected at half time as the 3-4-3 formation don't look good at all and the three strikers were not linking up well. Kuyt was on the left wing most of the time and Bellamy could only use his pace on some occasions. Crouch was largely ineffective against the towering Alan Stubbs and Joseph Yobo.

The Kopites were seemingly restless and frustrated and the whole atmosphere at Anfield was not very encouraging to the home team. And a lapse of concentration from Xabi Alonso nearly gifted Everton a precious goal when he misplaced a pass in his own half. Andy Johnson took the ball and jinked past both Agger and Carragher before firing a shot but it was brilliantly saved by Reina.

The whole Anfield heaved with a collective sigh of relief. If that went in, we all know what could've happened.

As Liverpool continue to toiled on, Everton held on with some brilliant defensive display by Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs and Joleon Lescott. They dealt with our long ball with finesse.

And Everton grabbed hold of a precious one point from this trip to Anfield and it's an invaluable one. They'll be the happier of the two sides while Liverpool could only blame themselves.

Drogballs' Thoughts: So very disappointing. Everytime when we're put under pressure, we crumble and this is the example of blowing the chance. Chasing Chelsea is not impossible but the chances are slim. Now I should say were. Because I think there is almost no chance of us catching them up anymore. Who to blame? Ourselves for not turning up when we're required to.

The 3-4-3 formation was a mess to be honest. I understand why Rafa used the tactics. He wants all the three strikers to be in the same squad due to their good form recently while it shows a bit of boldness and willingness to attack but now it seemed like the more the cook, spoils the soup.

Kuyt was drifting in and out of the game and no matter how much he ran, he was like a headless chicken. Sorry to say that, but the formation doesn't suit him. He was isolated on the left yet again, he wasn't on the left. So I don't know where his exact position is.

Their midfield was well organised and pressed Liverpool players who're on the ball. Lacking composure, they just lump the ball forward and hope that someone will be able to pick up the ball. We're not allowed to play football and that was what Everton came to do. Unsettled us and rattle us.

Disappointing performance on everyone's part except for perhaps Agger, Carragher and Reina.

Drogball's Player Ratings:

Reina (8) - Saved our bloody arses. Man of the match for Liverpool

Agger (7) - Did okay with a few vital blocks
Carragher (7) - Hard time marking Andy Johnson
Finnan (6) - One vital tackle and nothing for the whole game

Riise (6) - Didn't notice him.
Alonso (6) - Showed passion but his passing was very, very poor at times
Gerrard (7) - Wasn't able to break through the defence and got crowded out
Pennant (6) - Tries to be too clever with his tricks but nobody fell for it, unfortunately

Bellamy (7) - Some good runs and unfortunate not to score
Crouch (6) - Ineffectual
Kuyt (6) - Aimless. Confused. Frustrated