Saturday, August 04, 2007

Torres' First In Reds Victory

Port of Rotterdam Tournament

Liverpool 2 - 0 Shanghai Shenhua

LIV - Torres, Gerrard

Match Highlights:

Liverpool's record summer signing, Fernando Torres, is finally able to put his inauspicious start to the back of his mind after scoring against Chinese Super League side, Shenghai Shenhua, in the Port of Rotterdam Tournament.

It rounded off a pretty lively performance from the Spanish striker after he was put through by another summer signing, Yossi Benayoun, with a reverse through ball in the 12th minute.

It was a calm and composed finish and what impresses the most would probably be his movement in the penalty area and his game intelligence as he shrugged off the offside trap to lift the ball past the goalkeeper into the empty net.

Despite putting out a weakened team with several players making their first start, including Argentinian winger, Sebastian Leto and Brazilian playmaker, Lucas Leiva in the middle of the park, Liverpool were able to display some good football.

The game started off in a training match pace but it only took the Reds 12 minutes before finding the net.

As Rafa is always seemed as a pragmatist, Liverpool were constantly in the driving seat throughout the game with only one or two scares with former 'Boro striker, Hamilton Ricard, causing some concerns for Hyypia and Paletta.

Though dominating possessions, chances were few and far between. Liverpool's controlled and disciplined approach to the game were met with Shanghai's deep lying defence and soon it turned into a game that lacked the sparkle of life.

And it's always this time when the special players show their talents.

Steven Gerrard scored an absolute beauty of a curler from outside the penalty box moments after being substituted into the side and even the spectating Feyenoord fans stood up for a standing ovation as an appreciation of his class.

Despite arching his back and the ball seemingly headed out of goal, it bent right in at the nick of time, giving the goalkeeper no chance at all. It was a beautifully taken goal even though there were a few defenders around him putting him under pressure.

Liverpool played the game with safety in their minds but it is encouraging to see the likes of Torres and Benayoun shining.

Lucas Leiva worked hard in the middle of the park and didn't look out of place alongside the more experienced Sissoko while Emiliano Insua and Sebastian Leto, the duo Argentinians, linked up well down the left flank.

As they say, friendlies are all about fitness and there's nothing that pleases you more than seeing players fitter and more ready for the upcoming season.

Liverpool will play Feyenoord, Dirk Kuyt's former club, on Sunday.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Reds To Face Toulouse

Tricky Draws For British Clubs

The draw for next season's UEFA Champions League 3rd qualifying round is out and French first division side, Toulouse, will be Liverpool's opponent for the 07/08 season. They will also be the Red's 100th competitor in Europe, a prestigious milestone for the English club.

To reach the group stage, selected teams must fight it out in the qualifying round where the teams selected are to face off in a two leg tie and the winner for the tie will advance into the main competition itself.

Toulouse came in 3rd in last season's French league just as Liverpool did and they surprised many people with their performance. Notable player is their top striker, Johan Elmander, a full Swedish international striker.

First leg will be on 14 or 15 August while return leg in 28 and 29 August.

Meanwhile, Arsenal too, face a tricky draw against Sparta Prague, hailing from the Czech Republic. A team that has made countless of appearances in the main competition itself, they will definitely be no pushovers for the Gunners.

Celtic will face the toughest of all, top seeded Spartak Moscos while fellow Scottish giants, Rangers, will face either Red Star Belgrade or Levadia Tallinn from Estonia.

As mentioned, it is probably a tricky tie against a surprise team of last season but I feel just as optimistic as always, I'm sure we will go through to the group stage with little trouble.

Liverpool's European pedigree is for all to see and with the squad strengthened several fold in my opinion, the Reds will make it through.

Stay tune for more on the qualifying games!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Bitter Man - Neil Warnock

Probably Clutching On Staws

It's hard to find a more hated football manager than former Sheffield United manager, Neil Warnock.

Reputed with a sharp tongue and a brain that is unable to work cohesively (might not be true), he has come up with some classics over the years including the spat with the classy Arsene Wenger.

Like all humans, we all turn to others and always the first to point the finger and blame somebody else.

First of all, he was absolutely livid with West Ham for their Harry Houdini-esque escape from relegation in lieu of his team.

He wasn't pleased with West Ham and alleged that they made illegal payments for the signing of Javier Mascherano and most importantly, Carlos Tevez, whose case is still outgoing at the moment and became the most boring talking point of the entire summer.

As deluded as he is, his club chairman and him appealed to the FA as they truly believe that the result will overturn and that they will be reinstated back to the Premiership.

Fat hope.

Next, he blamed ManYoo and Fergie for letting West Ham snatch a surprise victory at Old Trafford that guaranteed their survival.

If you and your Sheffield U could beat Wigan at home, things wouldn't be so complicated, eh? But too bad, you and your men failed to beat them at Bramall Lane.

Here is the clincher. He bet against Liverpool in the Champions League final after he felt that Rafa and Liverpool betrayed Sheffield U by fielding a weakened side against Fulham, in which the Cottagers won and ultimately saved a place for next season's Premiership.

This is how bitter a man can get. Don't let it get you, Neil. You need some help and should stay away from football as long as possible.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An Open Letter From Drogballs

Hey guys!

No, this isn't an announcement that I'm a Newcastle fan boy like what that imitator said on the tagboard but just an apology to you fans out there about the lack of updates on the site.

I can find excuses that it's the football off-season and that there isn't any matches on TV but rather it's down to other commitments outside blogging and of course outside football. As I get busier with work and church, I won't be able to give you people constant updates but I assure you that I'll continue to write once in a while when I have the time or there's something I feel like writing.

Here's some key pointers that you people should note:

1) As of next season, I will NOT be covering post match reports for SATURDAY matches as I have commitment on Saturday evenings. Instead, there will still be pre-match and of course, post match THOUGHTS instead.

2) Sunday would still be feasible. I still want to watch football and I still enjoy writing.

3) I will stop writing for a long period of time due to this thing called 'National Service' here in Singapore where I have to serve the nation for 2 years and within that 2 years, God knows how much time I have spare to come back on here to write.

So yes, we're going into transition and there'll be changes but I just want to thank the lot of you for your support for this past year and a half. You people are one reason that kept me writing for so long.

It has been a long journey thus far and I really hope to continue. And now, you'll understand my reasons. Thanks guys!