Friday, July 13, 2007

Number Games

Squad Readies For 07/08 Season

Aside from the countless new signings this summer, which started unbelievably slow and then sped up towards the end, many other key players have signed new deals such as Gerrard and Carragher.

The latest core player to sign a new contact with Liverpool is none other than 'Mr Reliable' Steve Finnan. His contact will be extended for 2 years with an extra option of a further one year. In case you don't know, he's already 31 and the 2 year contract is a reflection of how important Rafa sees Finnan.

Then as the first team players report back to duty after a lengthy break, the new faces will meet up with the 'old birds' and will have to work collectively as a team and gel together as soon as possible.

Crewe is our next opponent and it is believed that Gerrard and Voronin could make appearance while those who're waiting to see Torres will have to wait a little longer as the Spanish striker is nursing a minor ankle injury.

Registering players for the new season is also underway as numbers will be allocated to the new players while some others requested their favourite number at this time of the year.

As we all know, Torres will take up the legendary '9' shirt that was made famous by Ian Rush and subsequently, Robbie Fowler. Yossi Benayoun will hold the '11' jersey that was vacated by Mark Gonzalez while Ryan Babel, the Dutch forward, is to wear the '19'.

The surprising change is made to Alvaro Arbeloa's number perhaps due to personal preference. He used to wear 17 at Deportivo La Coruna and now, he has left the number '2' jersey vacated, leaving it for us to speculate as to who'll take up the number 2 jersey, probably a wing back on the left.

Scott Carson returns from loan and will wear '26'.

Well, that's about it and the signing of Benayoun and Babel will be officially announced in the press conference shortly. Stay tune for more information....

And the major concern I had before today was Rafa's goatee. Seemed like it's still intact. Very well, Rafa.


Dear Lord, if he's not the next Maradona, who is?

Well, just hope that nothing serious will happen to the little lad whether is it serious injury or 'doing a Gasgoigne'.

I was in awe of the way he just chipped the ball past Oswaldo Sanchez with such composure and ease. I was urging him to blast the ball towards the bottom corner but what I thought is special player doesn't do normal things.

I watched the Copa America semi final between Argentina and Mexico earlier this morning, dragged myself out of bed at 8.30am for the match and I didn't regret it at all. It wasn't the MOST entertaining match out there but it was a match where I saw the supposed star shines and probably the best team in the world tore Mexico to pieces.

It was a cagey start to the match as both sides were pretty cautious with their play and the midfield was seriously packed.

But it took just one moment of brilliance from Juan Roman Riquelme to unlock the Mexican defence, led by Barcelona's Rafael Marquez. His freekick was deliciously chipped in to the far post and Gabriel Heinze, an unlikely scorer, orchestrated a midair kick and the goal was scored just before halftime.

Messi doubled the lead with THAT goal and then how can Argentina finish a match without Riquelme scoring? Carlos Tevez was adjudged to have been obstructed in the penalty area by Marquez and up steps Riquelme.

Just when you thought he'll lose his cool and bottle it, he chipped it right down Oswaldo Sanchez's goal.It showed how comfortable it was and that Argentina is brimming with confidence.

Brazil will be round the corner and when the two Latin giants meet, sparks will fly and there is going to be a match of epic proportion. I for one, can't wait to see the finals and even the 3rd/4th place match looks interesting, with Uruguay and Mexico competing.

So far, Copa has been great and let's hope the final doesn't let us down.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Will Yossi Leads Us To The Promised Land?

Two New Signings To Signal The Intent?

Well, we all took it for granted that any Israelis know the way, isn't it?

Whatever it is, the biblical story of Liverpool is building and that it began to unfolds itself as time goes by. We got Fernando Torres earlier last week and his name means 'Tower' in Spanish.

Then we're on the verge of signing Dutch international winger/striker, Ryan Babel, from Ajax.

Put them together, you'll get Tower of Babel. Now that's really weird.

Joking aside, Liverpool have made the step to fill the gap that was left empty by the recently departed Luis Garcia and Djibril Cisse by signing Yossi Benayoun from West Ham and also Ryan Babel, who has always been linked with Arsenal since last summer.

While Yossi's transfer is a done deal and has already signed for the club, Babel's transfer is still yet to reach full agreement and it'll probably be delayed over the weekends. But rumour has it that he has already completed his medical at Anfield and the only thing left is the fee agreement between the clubs.

Well, this picture was taken down from TIA forums and it probably tells you Babel himself has been down to Anfield and there wouldn't be much problem seeing him in the red jersey next season.

I'm never a fan of the new age 'Youtube scouting' system which totally takes away the whole point of scouting, seeing the flaws of a player. So I won't be posting any videos about how he scored a goal from halfway line or turned 5 defenders before scoring from acute angle.

All I can tell is from what I saw on the pitch though honestly, I have never seen Babel played in real life before.

But I think we've all seen Benayoun and will have to agree that he's one handful of a player to be up against and he'll most likely fill up the gap Luis Garcia left, the wing and also the 'hole' position.

We've been linked with him last summer but due to the lack of resources, we let him go. But this summer, we can no longer let players off our hook and with Hicks & Gilett's backing, we're able to grab this chance.

The best of Benayoun was seen in the FA Cup final last season when he tore our defence to shreds with his passing and movement. He scores some wonderful goals for West Ham in his 2 seasons there and he has the creativity to set up others as well.

But as West Ham's season went pear shaped last term, he was subsequently dropped and also had a mini slump in form. Perhaps a good time to move on and also up a level, it'll be a challenge for the Israeli captain.

Ryan Babel, meanwhile, is a quick, strong and versatile player who became the youngest scorer for Holland at international level. He's probably a left footed player but also has a strong right foot and his playing traits are almost identical to Henry's 'drift left, cut centre' move.

He's brought in to give Benitez more 'possibilities' down the flank as well as up front and the lad, who's only 20, is built well enough for the 'harsh' conditions of the Premiership.

One thing that caught my eye was a piece of article talking about his weaknesses, which was obvious throughout the recently concluded U20 Championship, which Holland won. He needs a lot of space and therefore, he's only effective when the opposition defence doesn't play a high line in defence.

That struck me, because Liverpool have a practice of pushing opposition defence back against the wall and then that is when our weakness are. We don't have people playing the spaces left in between defence and midfield. I feel that Babel's strength could very well compliment Liverpool's major weakness.

Anyhow, both signings will yet again come under scrutiny as they are certainly the world beaters many fans were expecting but I believe both of them will give the squad a boost in terms of depth and also a little on quality up front, in the final third.

Benayoun has proven himself that he can excel in the Premiership and though Garcia's boot is a big one to fill, I personally thinks he could do well for us.

Babel, meanwhile, is a one for the future yet we cannot rule him out of the first team at all. He's probably the player Benitez wants to nurture perhaps into the next Henry, as Marco van Basten mentioned, and then turn him into a world class player himself.

This is probably the first time we've been so active in the transfer market and all the anxiety we had earlier on are all thrown out the window. Even after concluding the two signings, Mr. Hicks suggested we're to make one more signing and that the ending still hasn't end here.

Exciting times ahead, aye!

NUMBER 1: Peter Crouch vs Bolton

Well well, after weeks and weeks of dragging and waiting, this is the pinnacle of the
goal that sets the 06/07 season alight and the highlight of our season.

I had a friend that commented that his goal against Galatasaray was a fluke and it was lucky but how lucky is he to score two of the same in a season!

It was almost a carbon copy goal of the one he scored against the Turks but this time round, it was a little more difficult than the previous and therefore justifies the position of this goal, number one!

Well, there ends the top 25 goals of Liverpool in the 06/07 season and hopefully you've enjoyed it and if you have comments on the placing of the goals then do share it with the rest of us.

And let's pray that next season, we'll have much more greater quality goals and that we'll drop our jaw everytime we look at it! Have fun :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

2: Daniel Agger vs West Ham

A wonderful goal scored on the 100th anniversary of The Kop End. It was a fitting tribute to the legendary Kop End and it was a face to face encounter between Liverpool's past and future.

Since the days of Alan Hansen, we haven't seen someone as graceful on the ball as him and we just love the way he bombed forward despite playing as a centre half until the arrival of Daniel Agger.

His left foot does indeed pack a punch while his composure on the ball makes him look as cool as he actually is. A fantastic defender with many good years to come, we hope he'll score more important and more spectacular goals in the future.

Agger do!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Times' 50 Worst Premiership Players

An interesting compilation of jokers and players who made us pull our hair out. There are 50 but let's just trim it down to the top 5 (or worst 5) players in English football.

5 Arnold Sidebottom (Man United)

Ryan’s dad also bowled quickly for England, but the centre-half injected no discernible pace to the worst United team since records began.

4 Istvan Kozma (Liverpool)

Yet another Souness master signing – the abject Magyar cost £300,000 from Dunfermline in 1992 and played just three games for the Reds before Souey realised he’d made one more transfer goulash.

3 Gus Caesar (Arsenal)

“... painfully, obviously, out of his depth ... he looked like a rabbit frozen to the spot ... and then he starts to thrash about, horribly and pitifully...” not our words – those of ultra-loyal Arsenalist, Nick Hornby.

2 Tomas Brolin (Leeds, Crystal Palace)

Hard to imagine that Leeds United, normally a model of fiscal probity, paid £4.5m for the Swedish meatball in 1995. A good footballer treats his body like a temple. Brolin’s was a bouncy castle.

1 Ali Dia (Southampton)

Was he George Weah’s cousin? Was he hell! Neither had the impostor won 12 caps for Senegal, nor had he played for Paris St Germain. But it took Saints boss Graeme Souness a whole 52 minutes to suss he’d been had in 1996.

For the complete list, click here.

6 'Powderful' Goalkeeper Bloopers Of 06/07

Surprised not to see Reina's 'volleyball' act against Everton or even the newly signed Mikhailov's mistake within the video. Whatever, have a laugh!

3: Peter Crouch vs Galatasaray

One of the two bycicle kicks he scored last season.

It's so difficult to see a 2 metre tall giant bean pole doing that and even though Galatasaray isn't the best opponents out there, still it was pretty spectacular to score that and not much have been said about Finnan's crossing but on his day, his crossing is probably the best in the squad.

Second place tomorrow!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Idrizaj Got The Bez Of Wrexham

Pre-season Friendly

Wrexham 2 - 3 LIVERPOOL

When was the last time you heard of Besian Idrizaj? He was brought in around 2005 and was named Austrian young player of the year back then but it seemed as though he was submerged within the depths of our reserve team.

But the Austrian striker took his chance and made everyone sit up and have a look at him after his hat trick away at Wrexham. His goals inspired Liverpool to their first victory in the pre-season friendlies and although they're not the most competent side out there but it's always good to see players proving their worth.

Aside from the tall Austrian, Jermaine Pennant proved a point as well, with an all-rounded performance and provided a hat trick of assists for his team mate. Many on the forums commented on how he was a class above the rest and I truly believe we've yet to seen the best of Pennant. There's much more to him that what we've seen in some of the matches last season.

Adam Hammill, loaned to Dunfermline last season, was also active and played his part with some fancy footworks and shots on goal. He's a confident player and if he continues to mature, he'll probably take over the mantle of Harry Kewell.

Jay Spearing seemed pretty comfortable in midfield while Ronald Huth looked like a Michael Ballack playing in defence. Big, strong and physical. He could probably fit in well.

Lastly, Martin Hansen, the goalkeeper, indeed had a nightmare of a game but nobody's perfect and it's through mistakes like these, he'll learn from it and grow. It might be morale sapping but I believe it'll only make him a stronger player.

Not that the results matter. There'll be tougher games coming ahead and it's only a matter of time before the season starts again. Getting excited already?

Perhaps Quitters Are Winners

Bellamy & Cisse Unloaded

The striker musical chair game going on at Liverpool is still up and running with both Djibril Cisse and Craig Bellamy set to leave for Olympique Marseille and West Ham respectively.

The news of the impending departure of the duo was confirmed yesterday by Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez, after the game which saw his side winning their first friendly game at Wrexham.

Being asked about the deals, Rafa said "The deals for Bellamy and Cisse are completed."

While he also added that he likes Yossi Benayoun and the Israeli playmaker is kept under close watch by the Spanish boss and his trustworthy scouts. It fueled speculation after Benitez mentioned that his next target will be a winger.

The description that is to be given to the two players could well be 'flops' but it's a gross overstatement of what they did for the club. It's unfair to hurl abuse at them now for what I call, under-achieving and not unleashing their fullest of potential.

Djibril Cisse came in as a record signing by Gerard Houllier but the Frenchman was promptly sacked before they even had a chance to work together.

Apparently, Rafa thought Cisse is unteachable and that his attitude stinks at times. Even the injuries he suffered in his short span of career at Anfield didn't gain him much sympathy.

Meanwhile, Bellamy is brought in to replace Cisse only last summer. Both players are probably in the same mould, with tenacity and pace to burn. But their finishing can be a suspect at times while Bellamy's misdemeanors are one too many for Benitez to take.

The golf club incident pre-Barcelona could've been the last straw and that he wasn't able to sustain his form for an extended period of times probably means the gamble that Benitez took last summer didn't pay off. Or maybe not in full divident.

Yet the two players have left good memories for the fans to reminisce and we'll still remember the good times. I'll like to thank Cisse for his goal at Cardiff, the FA Cup would've been out of reach if he didn't score that one just before half time. His heroics in the UEFA Super Cup should not be discounted as well. You could even say he scored in the Champions League final from the penalty spot back in 2005.

Bellamy, a true 'ah-beng' he is, has given us some laughs for his uncountable amount of offsides and whining at the referee. He must be a true irritant to the referees but when it comes down to the real job, he just didn't make the grade. But thanks for that goal in Nou Camp and the various others.

Speaking without malice and bitterness, I would like to say thank you to the two, who have served the club well in some ways for the past seasons. Let's hope you leave with good peace and in good terms with the club and don't hurt us too much when we meet again.

Carragher Turns His Back On England?

Well done, about time Carra. About time to turn your back on a team that doesn't appreciate any bit of your presence and under perform all the time.

About time to leave the bunch of prima donnas on their own and focus your career for Liverpool.

About time to tell everyone that you're one of the best central defenders in the world, not a stop gap right back or replacement anchorman in midfield.

Even when Terry and Ferdinand ain't available, there isn't a spot for him and that the right back spot, which he previously replace Gary Neville on a couple of occasions, was taken away from him by Wes Brown in the match against Estonia.

It was a bitter blow for the Liverpool vice captain, who clearly isn't favoured by Steve McClaren, whom he only made 5 appearances under his 'fine' management.

It isn't a selfish act from his part and totally understandable, that he himself feels that he's very much dispensable and he doesn't need a reason to be in a part of a team which sees him as a stop gap and replacement only when someone goes missing.

It's time to give it up like Scholes and watch how his career at ManYoo blossom after his 'retirement'. Concentrate at Liverpool and give up on them who doesn't give a sh*t about who you are.

Just quit!

Source: The Daily Mail (Or Diana Watch.....)