Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Numbers For New Year

As we head into an exciting 2009, it's good to look back at this year and with the help of some numbers and figures, we can see to it ourselves how Rafa Benitez have brought Liverpool from strength to strength.

This figures are compiled by a blogger from Oh You Beauty so do drop by and give him some credit.


Points total after 19 games:
08/09: 42
07/08: 37
06/07: 34

Results over 19 games:
08/09: 12 wins, 6 draws, 1 loss
07/08: 10 wins, 7 draws, 2 losses
06/07: 10 wins, 4 draws, 5 losses

League position after 19 games:
08/09:1st place
07/08: 4th place
06/07: 3rd place

# of points behind 1st place:
08/09: +1
07/08: -10, with a game in hand
06/07: -13

Goals scored after 19 games:
08/09: 30
07/08: 33
06/07: 28

Goals against after 19 games:
08/09: 12
07/08: 12
06/07: 15

Home Goals:
08/09: 16
07/08: 20
06/07: 20

Away Goals:
08/09: 14
07/08: 13
06/07: 8

Goal scorers:
08/09: Gerrard 6; Keane, Kuyt, Torres 5; Alonso, Riera 2; Arbeloa, Benayoun, Babel, Carragher 1
07/08: Torres 9; Gerrard 7; Babel, Kuyt, Voronin 3; Alonso, Benayoun 2; Hyypia, Sissoko 1
06/07: Kuyt 6; Bellamy 5; Alonso, Gerrard 3; Crouch, Garcia, Gonzalez 2; Agger, Carragher, Fowler, Riise 1

Clean Sheets:
08/09: 11
07/08: 10
06/07: 10

# of games Liverpool failed to score in:
08/09: 4 [Villa (a), Stoke (h), Fulham (h), West Ham (h)]
07/08: 5 [Pompey (a), Birmingham (h), Blackburn (a), United (h), City (a)]
06/07: 7 [Everton (a), Chelsea (a), Bolton (a), United (a), Arsenal (a), Boro (a), Portsmouth (h)]

Away form:
08/09: 6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss; 20 points out of 27
07/08: 6 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss; 21 points out of 30
06/07: 2 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses; 8 points out of 27

Home form:
08/09: 6 wins, 4 draws; 22 points out of 30
07/08: 4 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss; 16 points out of 27
06/07: 8 wins, 2 draws; 26 points out of 30


Pretty good showing, isn't it? Well, let's hope that 2009 will be even better, getting our number 19 in the bag and on towards 20th! Happy New Year, guys. And thanks for the support you've given through the years. I'm eternally grateful.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

4 Years On...

With the benefit of hindsight, we now look back to the very beginning of Rafael Benitez's career with Liverpool. Currently sitting at the top of the Premiership table, Rafa has brought Liverpool to greater heights in recent years and how have the team evolved over the years?

2004-05:

First Team: Dudek, Riise, Carragher, Hyypia, Josemi, Kewell, Gerrard, Hamann, Finnan, Baros, Cisse;

Subs: Biscan, Henchoz, Kirkland, Sinama-Pongolle, Warnock

2008-09:

First Team: Reina, Agger, Hyypia, Carragher, Insua, Lucas, Mascherano, Gerrard, Benayoun, Babel, Kuyt;

Subs: Keane, Riera, Alonso, Skrtel, El Zhar, Cavelieri, N'Gog


And not forgetting we're missing out on Fernando Torres!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dominant Reds Demolish Woeful Magpies

Newcastle 1 (Edgar 45)
Liverpool 5 (Gerrard 31,66; Hyypia 36; Babel 49; Alonso pen76)

Rafa Benitez and his men will enter 2009 with much joy as they cemented their place at the pinnacle of the Barclays Premiership after the thrashing of Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

With Chelsea failing to win at Craven Cottage, Liverpool’s lead at the top suddenly stretched to 3 points and as the performance yesterday suggest, you got to take them seriously now.

The 5-1 score line didn’t flatter Liverpool as they were rampant from the first whistle. The only thing that mitigated an utter Newcastle mauling was the fact that Shay Given was in imperious form as he made at least 5 world class saves that kept the Magpies in the game until Steven Gerrard eventually slam home the opener.

Gerrard flying after double against Newcastle

It’s rather rare that a goalkeeper concedes 5 in a match and yet still receives praise. But he totally deserves a mention here.

With Newcastle owner Mike Astley reconsidering the sale of the club, it brought some joy to the fans but it was soon distinguished by a competent and stylish display of the visiting team.

Make no doubt that Liverpool were brilliant. Yet at the same time Newcastle was put up a defensive horror show which the visitors took full advantage of. It seemed like every player in the black and white striped jersey were still having a Christmas hangover.

Their inability to defend from set pieces was evident throughout, with Ryan Babel’s goal making an absolute mockery of the defence. They played as though corner kicks were introduced for the first time in this game.

Given on-form to shut out several key chances

With Fernando Torres still out and Robbie Keane relegated to the bench, Rafa made a massive gamble yet again but it paid off duly. They were never in trouble even though Damien Duff’s speed caused some trouble while former Reds’ hit man, Michael Owen, had the ball in the net though it was ruled out offside (erroneously).

Liverpool bombarded Shay Given’s goal relentlessly from the start and by the 20th minute, it could’ve been already an utterly embarrassing score line for the home crowd to face.

Still with his heroics, he was absolutely hapless when Yossi Benayoun squared the ball for Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, to crash home the opener. It has the message ‘stop screwing with us’ written all over it as he powered it in off the post.

You just got to sympathise with Given.

The next two Liverpool goals came from Gerrard’s corner. Club veteran, Sami Hyypia, rose unchallenged to score his first goal of the season while Ryan Babel’s goal just demoralizes any Newcastle fan out there.

David Edgar provided some glimpse of hope for Newcastle as a lapse of concentration from Jamie Carragher gave Edgar the chance to make the score a little more respectable at half time.

Rampant Reds!

Newcastle came back in the second half strongly but still couldn’t find a way past a well-marshaled Liverpool defence.

The inevitable happened when Lucas Leiva, who was enjoying every minute of the game, send a inch-perfect pass for Steven Gerrard to latch on and the captain finishes off in style.

Xabi Alonso made it a five star performance after he converted from the spot after a penalty was given to Edgar’s trip on striker, David N’Gog.

Liverpool finishes off 2008 with a flourish and do expect more to come from the Reds as they march into the year at the top of the table and beginning to look like they’ve kicked into gear.

With Fernando Torres eager to make a comeback, they can only be stronger. Rafa Benitez is indeed molding Liverpool into the new Valencia that usurped both the giants of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

There is no trophy for being at the top now, as they say. But would Rafa’s men thrive on pressure or would they crumble like in previous years? Let us await and see. But one thing’s for sure and that is Liverpool is moving in the right direction.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reds Stormed To Anfield Victory

LIVERPOOL 3 (Riera, Keane x2)
Bolton 0



Robbie Keane unwrapped Liverpool's best Christmas gift this season with a double and continues to steer the Reds clear of their rivals in the Barclays Premiership. Albert Riera was on the score sheet as well as he opened the account in the first half.


Riera celebrating his goal

2 draws on previous occasion threatens to derail Liverpool's title hopes but thankfully for them, their rivals managed to slip up just as they did.

The traditional boxing day fixture is always an intriguing one and though the Anfield faithfuls weren't treated with a spectacular match with goals overflowing, it was still a professional performance and a job well done.

Bolton failed to threaten Liverpool in any way with Pepe Reina in goal was given little to do. But it was as expected as they were more busy dealing with the red tide that went their way, piling intense pressure on their defence.

It was no surprise that Liverpool made the breakthrough from a corner as Albert Riera's front post run was left unchecked and he was able to volley home awkwardly and brought much joy to the Kopites.


Keane raveling in his own glory

But it was Robbie Keane who stole the show thereafter as he continued his good goalscoring form with two goals which showed us just a glimpse of what he can do and why was he worth 20 million pounds.

His predatory skills started to show in recent weeks and up against Bolton, he was calm and composed. The goal at The Emirates could've injected some much needed confidence into the Irish striker and you could see it oozing through his display.

After his second goal, he was all over the pitch, looking hungry and daring to go. Though he was leading the line, he still dropped back and helped out. Then before you know it, he sprinted 20-30 yards forward again. Full of energy.

It was a good 3 points for Liverpool, one that will surely please the fans and the recuperating Rafa Benitez, who was in the stands. A professional job, nothing spectacular and straightforward.

Here's looking forward to 2009 that the Reds will maintain their decent run, kick start their engine further, go a gear higher and claim back the title that was lost so long ago.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Drogballs Wishes....

All readers of The Red Cauldron a belated Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cautious, Cautious Liverpool

English Premiership
Arsenal 1
LIVERPOOL
1


If there is one thing that will stop Liverpool from claiming their first title in 18 years and finally be ‘back on the perch’, it will be the over-cautiousness of Rafa Benitez and a lack of endeavor from the players on the pitch.

Assuming command and control from his hospital bed, Benitez wasn’t there physically but his staunch belief of ‘suffocating the enemy’ was very well manifested by his team in the awkward-looking grey and red jersey.


With Togolese striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, sent off rather harshly after an innocuous body barge with Alvaro Arbeloa, Arsenal were down to 10 with much of the second half to go yet Liverpool held back and didn’t seemed to have an intent of winning the game.

When Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal’s most creative player, joined several other Gunners (is Tomas Rosicky still there?) in the treatment room after half time, Liverpool should’ve sense blood. They controlled the game well and did decently in stopping Arsenal in playing their beautiful, seamless football.

But it just isn’t enough.

To be still at the top of the table with so many draws is probably contributed by the fact that Chelsea and Man Utd. are also at the same time, dropping points. Just as I’m typing this, I realize Everton did their rivals a huge favour by holding on to a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

With Fernando Torres out for some time, Liverpool’s firepower was severely weakened and the ‘Goals For’ column isn’t looking pretty for the Reds. Yet it shouldn’t be an excuse for Liverpool to be overly cautious in approach to games.

A point for both teams is, let’s just say, a fair result. But it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for Liverpool fans, knowing that it was there for the taking but the visitors didn’t really seemed interested.

The match went as how Liverpool always did this season, going behind and then score on a lucky break.

Robin van Persie took his goal well when he finished with aplomb on his right foot. An exquisite goal, all in all.

On the other side of the pitch, take nothing away from under-fire (literally and non-literally) striker, Robbie Keane. The former Spurs striker had a point to prove to both Liverpool fans as well as the Gunners as he rifled home after latching onto a long pass from Daniel Agger.

Typical route one football.

Liverpool dictated the game but couldn’t really find the breakthrough. Then Howard Webb turned the game even more in favour of the away side after sending off Emmanuel Adebayor.


Yet there was a lack of urgency in Liverpool. Rafa Benitez made no attempt to rescue Robbie Keane, who was alone upfront. It took him to the 80th minute on before sending David N’Gog to increase the physical presence up top.

The one flaw of Rafa Benitez would be his substitution and the timing of them. This season we saw a fair share of some really puzzling substitutions and on the hindsight, a lot of them made no sense or purpose.

Even though Ryan Babel had a forgettable outing at the Emirates, somehow he still seemed very under-utilised and his speed and power could’ve been exploited further.

But well, it’s Christmas and we’re still top of the table. Seems like Liverpool’s rival are happy to be giving away points just as they did. We still have yet to see the Reds in full gear so far this season and my hope is that it will be soon or all will be in vain.

Oh, and fortune does favour the brave.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Unconvincing... But Still Top Of The League

Finally, I have the time to pen down some thoughts since it's a public holiday here in Singapore and looking at the Barclays Premiership table, I see something which is rather rare. Liverpool, top of the table, in December?

In my years of supporting the Reds, it's one of the rare sight and considering how the recent results haven't been the most optimal, I'm still a little puzzled.

But take nothing away because we haven't REALLY cracked under pressure, yet. Speaking by faith, of course, I do hope we never will in the months to come. 2 subsequent nil-nil draws have caused some fans to murmur and complain. But as Christmas is coming, let's just be thankful to Rafa and his boys for making it thus far.

At least our title aspirations didn't falter in October, just like any other seasons. Though only a point above second-placed Chelsea and failing to capitalise on their defeat last week, somehow, Liverpool still managed to steer clear.

Last Saturday;s 3-1 win over Blackburn was a peculiar game. A game which we won but not really deserved, much like many of our games this season. Lucky some say, but I'm siding towards the thinking of fortune favouring the brave.

We never did saw the Liverpool of last season where goals flew in thick and fast (6-0 Derby and 8-0 Besiktas) but we saw how Liverpool slipped up soon after and wandered out of contention of the title by November.

This season, though, from start to end, it's as if Liverpool bundled their way up to this point and never really beaten anyone with much conviction except for maybe Chelsea and West Brom.



The Blackburn game somehow epitomised how the Reds have been playing since day one of this season. Nothing spectacular but when the opportunity arose, they took it and the results was seemingly flattering to the away side.

The first half performance was something difficult for any Liverpool fans to sit through because other than Yossi Benayoun's chance, the Reds looked toothless and uninspiring. Without the injured Fernando Torres and Robbie Keane dropped to the bench, it was an uphill task.

But somehow Liverpool kicked into gear from the 50th minute on with Alonso and Benayoun scoring past Paul Robinson. Even though a lapse of concentration gifted Blackburn a goal through Roque Santa Cruz, Steven Gerrard still ensured an enjoyable short ride back to Merseyside.

Many are still unconvinced by Liverpool and their title credentials this season but I'm in the mode of seeing it one game at a time. I'm refused to be drawn into the 'this is our year' mode yet nor am I so depressed to see the Reds right at the top of the pack.

I just want to count the blessing and say bring on the next team, Hull City!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Would Gallas' Facebook Account Be Like Now?

Chelsea FC has written on Gallas' Wall - 12.56am

Chelsea FC wrote:
Well done, Agent Gallas. Your job is done. You'll be...handsomely rewarded as we have discussed. xx

3 members of 'I'm 6 years younger than Gallas' has left the group.

Gallas wrote on Chelsea FC wall:
lol excellen jobz me tbf lol.xoxo

Arsene Wenger wrote on Gallas wall:
I take itz that I see nothing about the comment, no? Zis is disgusting me, you not playing zis Saturday! Dropped!

Gallas wrote on Wenger's wall:
no problem boss lol. xx


This might or might not be true.

A Dog That Is Better Than Carragher At Football?

Shocker, absolute shocker.

Who dares highlight the flaws of our great Scouse legend who gave his heart and soul for the club? Well, it's none other than Fernando Torres, who rated a canine 'better at dribbling than Carragher'.

LFC’s world-famous number nine shirt met Hank the German Shepherd - also a top performer in his field - at the West Lancs Canine Centre.

And after an intense one-on-one session on the pitch he proclaimed Hank was better at dribbling than his teammate Jamie Carragher.

Is he sowing seeds of discord within Liverpool like how Agent Gallas of Chelsea is screwing Arsenal big time? Of course not.

A footballing dog from Ainsdale has become an internet hit after footage of him tackling Liverpool star player Fernando Torres appeared on Youtube.

Should be ashamed. Alright, kidding of course!

Rory Delap, You Have Competition!

We saw how Stoke's Rory Delap single-handedly destroyed Arsenal few weeks back with a couple of long throw ins. Now, he should tremble in fear because there is an even more fearsome thrower of the ball than him.



Watch this, sucker!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Want To Win Free Tickets?

Another piece of good news, guys.

A pair of hospitality tickets for the Liverpool vs Olympique Marseille Champions League game (Wednesday, 26th November) is up for grab for everyone on this blog!

Especially more so for those of you who are actually living in Liverpool, England!

Vodafone have given an Dell Inspiron Mini 9 to a bloke they've nicknamed LiveGuy, who will be touring around various parts of the UK, including Liverpool, testing out the netbook whilst leaving behind clues to his location.

Every day he's out, he will have up to three Inspiron Mini 9s to give away to anyone who comes up to him and says the magic phrase, and a fourth will be given away online to who can best locate him on a Google Map. It kicks off next Monday (the 17th) and you can check out how he gets on via his blog

There are 3 ways of getting more information about this LiveGuy:
1) His website
2)
Twitter
3)
YouTube


And yes, one of you might just win the ticket and experience Anfield's electrifying European night. Now, answer this simple question:

What colour is LiveGuy's T-shirt?

a) Red
b) Blue
c) Green

Please mail your answers to chrisa@outsideline.com with subject "Liverpool tickets competition". Entries close Sunday at midnight and winners will be picked & informed on Monday.


Brought to you by:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Are You A Real Football Fan?

Well if you are, then you're in for a treat!

The Red Cauldron is happy to link up once again with the brilliant SoccerPro.com with the Soccer Trivia Contest. They are giving out FREE REPLICA JERSEYS EVERYDAY till the 16th (sorry I'm late to inform you BUT there's still time!) and all you need to do is...

1) Visit the website
2) Key in all the vital information and then
3) Squeeze out every ounce of your brain juice and put in as many trivia of as possible

So there you go. A free treat for all of you and all the best!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keane Ends Goal Drought

English Premiership

Liverpool 3 - 0 West Brom

Scorers:
LIV - Keane (34, 43min), Arbeloa (90min);


After the 12th time asking, Liverpool’s big summer signing, Robbie Keane, finally broke the duck, scoring his first and second league goals in a home encounter with relegation fodder, West Brom. Alvaro Arbeloa added a third in the closing moments of the game.


It was 2 exquisite finishes from the Republic of Ireland striker, who had difficulty finding feet at Liverpool. After several fruitful seasons at North London, the Irish captain was purchased at high price by Liverpool.


Perhaps due to his costly price tag, he was pressurized to perform right from the beginning but the pressure, perhaps, was a little too hard to handle for him.


Also, many fans commented that he looked too eager to impress early on the in season where he was seen running around like a headless chicken. Claimed to be a boyhood Liverpool fan, he looked determined to play at his best donning the red jersey albeit trying a little too hard.


But just like Peter Crouch, it took him a little longer to adjust and hit second gear.


Will his career continue to flourish in months to come, like Crouch, is hard to tell. But as I’ve mentioned in my post, which heralded his arrival, was that he has the talent and ability to shine, as a proven goal-scorer in the Premiership with not only Spurs but also earlier in his career at Coventry, Wolves and Leeds.


The goal scoring instinct which seemed to be inborn within him seemed to be missing amidst his ‘running his heart out attitude’ until now. He was suddenly, in perfect understanding with the Liverpool players, such as Gerrard, who provided him with a precise through-ball for his opener.


He might have learned his lesson in the Atletico match where he missed a golden opportunity. Instead of trying to put the ball over the diving goalkeeper, he tried to round him but missed the opportunity.


This time round, he was put through by Steven Gerrard’s inch-perfect pass and he did not hesitate before dinking the ball past the despairing dive of Scott Carson. His movement was brilliant during the build-up of the goal, evading his marker and making room for himself.


It was a huge sigh of relief from both Keane and also the Kop faithful.


He then doubled his tally through a fantastic counter attack. West Brom’s corner was cleared and Liverpool caught the away side napping. A quick release from Albert Riera sent Robbie Keane through.


Scott Carson, the former Liverpool goalkeeper, charged out of his own box trying his best to intercept but was caught in no man’s land. It left Robbie Keane with a simplest of finish and the Reds were well on track to victory.


Though West Brom started brightly and looked like they were at Anfield for football, Liverpool always looked comfortable and in control. Chances from both sides were few and far between but it was Liverpool’s class that was apparent.


The long-awaited return of star striker, Fernando Torres, was another key highlight of the match. It didn’t take long for the Spanish hotshot to show his intent when his 25 yards strike stung the hands of Carson.


After missing for 6 games, Torres still looked pretty sharp and his pace was quite a problem for the WBA defence, especially Zuiverloon on the right.


Yet it was another Spaniard, Arbeloa, who stole the limelight when he found acres of space in the penalty area and curled home with a beautiful left foot shot.


Can’t jump on his back for celebration, eh?


It was overall, an easy game for Rafa Benitez and his men, eager to bounce back from that disappointing lost at White Hart Lane. Still, not all guns firing and blazing but a professional and controlled performance from Liverpool.


Best news is, Keane is back.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Football Anecdotes

I'm sure most of you would be interested in this. Behind the scenes of all those men in jerseys playing football are some amusing and even... puzzling stories of their lives and their behaviour. Some might not be all that surprising but here are some classics:

Jason McAteer:

He was locked out of his own porsche, Neil 'Razor' Ruddock asked him to get a coat hanger and try to smash the window. Jason came back with a wooden one.
According to former Blackburn team-mates, Jason's greatest moment came on a squad night out to an Italian restaurant. Asked by the waitress whether he wanted his pizza cut up into eighths, McAteer is alleged to have replied, "Nah, I'm not that hungry - just cut it into four."
In another possibly apocryphal (that means it might be made up, Jason) story, McAteer is reckoned to have asked a Liverpool team-mate what to put in the space marked 'Position In Company' on a credit card application form. According to legend, the source of McAteer's confusion was that "I'm a central midfielder but the boss is playing me at right wing-back.
Jason calls his best friend "a deep thinker - he could easily be a
news reporter". Jason's best friend is Phil Babb

Bobby Robson:
Bobby Robson when at Newcastle, said to his board he wanted to sign 'that black player from Wilmbledon'.
He meant Jason Euell, but he got Carl Cort
Bryan Robson come down for breakfast while with England, Bobby Robson says 'Morning Bobby'
Bryan ' No boss, you're Bobby, I'm Bryan
Reporter to Newcastle's Shola Ameobi: 'Do you have a nickname?'
Ameobi: 'No, not really'
Reporter: 'So what does Bobby Robson call you?'
Ameobi: 'Carl Cort.'
Sir Bobby is signing copies of his autobigraphy in a bookstore in Newcastle. A kid patiently queues for ages to get his book signed. When he gets to the front of the queue Sir Bobby asks him his name and starts to sign his copy....

Kid: "So, have you signed a lot of books today Mr Robson."

Sir Bobby: "Hundreds son, absolutely hundreds."

Outside the shop the kid opens his copy of the book to read what the legend has written............"To Jimmy, Best Wishes From Bobby Hundreds."!!!!

Other Classics:
A french left back from Monaco going to meet Spurs for transfer talks, he finished the talks and Spurs are convinced they have got their man, they even pay for his taxi when he says he wants to go for a ride around town. Turns out he went down the road and had talks with Arsenal and ended up signing for them and playing in midfield, striking up a good partnership with Vieira. The player was Manu Petit.
In 1978, after Kieth Burkinshaw signed Ardilles and Villa, the story was that at training at Tottenham Burkinshaw would hold up the ball, motion kicking it and point to the goal whilst saying, "Ball, kick, kick ball, goal". Eventually Ardilles and Villa become fed up with this so one of them says to Burkes, "It's alright boss, we speak English" whereupon Burkinshaw replies, "I'm not talking to you two..."
The story about AC Milan scouts watching an exciting black young fella playing for Watford in the Eighties, the f**king clowns signed Luther Blisset for 1 million, while John Barnes went on to havea brilliant career at Liverpool.
Pre-season at Liverpool when Souness was in charge & all the players come in for weigh-in.

Souness looks at Jan Molby, and asks him how heavy he is. "fourteen stone, boss" replies Molby and walks across the room to be weighed. Steps up on the scales and the physio announces that he is in fact sixteen stone.

"F**k's sake" shouts Souness, "you only walked the length of the room".
David Beckham was being interviewd around the time of the 98 World Cup (possibly after his sending off) and was asked by the interviewer "Do you consider yourself to be a volatile player?" To which Beckham replied "Yes, cause I can play down the right or in the middle.
Few years back, Bolton's new def midfielder Ivan Campo. Anyway he fills in his tax return for his first period and they write back to him saying we can't process these without some form of photo id. Well, he'd scored the weekend before and was on the back page of the Bolton evening news heading home the winner........he cut this out with an arrow pointing to his curly locks heading the ball home saying "this is me"

Hope you enjoyed it ;)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Reds Succumbed To First Defeat

English Premiership

Tottenham 2 - 1 Liverpool

Scorers:
TOT - Carragher (og 69min), Pavluychenko (90+1min);
LIV - Kuyt (2min);

A week after defeating Chelsea, probably the highest point a Liverpool fan could've felt in decades, the Reds were brought back down to earth by a resurging Tottenham side, who looked anything but the team that was trapped in the basement of the Premiership only a week ago.

They looked like a wounded animal, in for a kill.

It's unfortunate for the Reds to be in their path this time. After Arsenal let slip a 4-2 lead at the Emirates on Thursday, the Lily Whites were definitely on an emotional high and confidence that was inevident for months were suddenly brewing within White Hart Lane.


But the home side couldn't wish for a worst start when Dirk Kuyt fired home from acute angle, Robbie Keane being the provider. An emotional home coming for the Irish striker who spent 8 fruitful years but all he received was chorus of jeers.

Though it wasn't meant to be a day where he would silence the Spurs fan with a goal, he was operated fairly effective upfront on his own. When Rafa Benitez made his first mistake by taking Keane off, the match tilted in favour of Spurs suddenly. It wasn't coincidence.

It was in all honesty, a game which Liverpool threw away. They controlled large parts of the game and were in the driving seat throughout. Spurs didn't threaten much and it was as if Liverpool were the home side at times.


But large quantity of possession means nothing in football. It was a same old story for Liverpool and it was an accident waiting to happen. After so many numerous lucky escapes this season, the Reds were finally found out.

A lack of cutting edge and some nervy defending at times cost the side the chance to go clear off the top again. With Chelsea thumping Sunderland, Liverpool were expected to put up another professional performance but they lost their way in the last 20 minutes.

Harry Redknapp made vital changes after half time by sending Pavluychenko to partner an isolated Darren Bent while replacing a beleaguered Assou-Ekotto. It made the game a very open one and Liverpool were found scratching their head as to why they didn't double the lead with several glittering chances missed.

Profligacy at best.

After the removal of Keane, Liverpool didn't have control of their final third and pressure began to mount. Spurs began to gain the upperhand as the Reds looked tired and suddenly, devoid of any ideas.

Ryan Babel was absolutely annonymous after his introduction while Yossi Benayoun was brought on for Riera. Another wrong decision on Rafa's part.

Carragher then inexplicably headed a corner past a despairing Pepe Reina and suddenly, Spurs were right back in the game, with much time left still. Belief flooded right back into White Hart Lane and Spurs fan were singing again.

The inevitable in football happened. Sod's law they call it. If chances are not taken, your opponents will surely score. Roman Pavluychenko sent the crowd wild with an exquisite finish after good work from David Bentley.

To the frustration of the Liverpool fans, old problems were resurfaced again. The inability to finish teams off when given the opportunity and the lack of cutting edge.

Fernando Torres was sorely missed in matches such as this. Liverpool have been lucky for many games this season but this time, lady luck decided to turn her face away. It's time for Liverpool t learn the lesson and move on.

A loss is frustrating but sometimes necessary. Being brought back to earth, it's time to regroup and venture on another journey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reds End Blues’ Proud Home Run

English Premiership

Chelsea 0 -1 Liverpool

4 years 8 months. 86 matches without a loss at Stamford Bridge. A fantastic record for a team that is playing in one of the, if not, the most challenging domestic league in the world.

But as Nelly Furtado and many others before her suggested that ‘all good things come to an end’, we know someday, somehow, the record will be broken. It was just a matter of when and how.

The answer lies with Rafa Benitez and his rampant Reds. In Chelsea’s 87th home game, they were pitted against a team that they’ve been so familiar with. Other than Premiership games, the Blues and Reds have met in various top level competitions.



Nobody will forget that memorable 1-0 win at Anfield where Luis Garcia scored a controversial winner that sent Liverpool into the most exciting Champions League final in it’s history.

But this win at Stamford Bridge was remarkable. It was a classic Premiership titans showdown but the performance from the Reds, as an away side, was a sight to behold. It is a display of a team brimming with confidence and fearlessness. Indeed, they went, they saw and they conquered the mighty beast of London.

An early goal and honestly, a lucky one through a deflection. A lapse of concentration from Bosingwa, who’ve been exceptional so far this season, gifted Alonso a chance to take a pot shot at goal. It went in off John Terry’s leg and even Petr Cech was hapless.

From then on, everyone watching would’ve thought that Liverpool will revert to their familiar back-against-the-wall tactic against the inevitable onslaught from Chelsea. But Liverpool surprisingly, showed enterprise throughout the game thereafter and came closer to doubling their lead than Chelsea finding their equaliser.

Despite missing Fernando Torres through injury, it gives Rafa Benitez less ‘options’ but more certainty in his selection. Robbie Keane upfront with Steven Gerrard hovering just behind him. It was a tactic that paid off ultimately as we saw how Gerrard and Alonso bossed the central areas of the field.

Gerrard’s lunging tackle on Bosingwa in the 39th minute was inch perfect. And its very ingredient was his drive, passion and desire, to see the Reds triumph at Chelsea’s own backyard. Unfortunately, Howard Webb booked him instead.

The 3 pronged attack of Chelsea was largely ineffective in the face of Carragher and his well marshaled defence. Nicolas Anelka was never going to have the physical presence of Didier Drogba. The Ivorian striker’s absence meant Chelsea’s attack was never going to strike much fear into the opponent’s defence.

Florent Malouda have been absolutely disappointing since joining the Blues while Kalou didn’t know what to do when he had the ball.


Looking at the squad in depth, Liverpool definitely had the upperhand. While Chelsea struggled to call on players to replace the disappointing front three players, Liverpool had the luxury to bring on Ryan Babel, who gave John Terry an afternoon to forget. He nearly doubled the lead with a vicious strike on his right peg.

Another key of note was that Benitez nullified the strength of Chelsea and amazingly turned it into their weakness.

Chelsea’s formation doesn’t permit out and out wingers and therefore, Ashley Cole and Bosingwa had to bomb on to provide support. This leaves large gaps behind for Obi Mikel to cover.

With a revived Dirk Kuyt and an impressive Albert Riera on the Reds flank, they not only provided outlet for Liverpool’s attack but also kept the Chelsea fullbacks real busy. Riera looked a totally different player from the one we saw a couple of seasons ago at Man City. He was confident and had a field day against Bosingwa with his burst of pace, wonderful first touches and ball control.

Chelsea’s midfield, too, was ineffectual. They were suffocated and didn’t have space to weave their magic. Alonso was controlling, Mascherano was harrying and Gerrard was ready to provide roaming support, moving into spaces which he sees the need to cover.

Ultimately, Chelsea lost their record with a whimper. Pepe Reina in Liverpool’s goal was rarely tested. Ashley Cole was in his usual petulant self and the fouls he committed in the game showed how much frustrations and problems the visitors gave to them.

It was a tactical masterclass from Rafa Benitez and his team really worked their socks off, just like any other game. They are starting to look menacingly similar to the Valencia team that triumphed over the mights of Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was not through a team of technically gifted players but a group of hungry, driven and hardworking players.

As Gerrard said that no medals are given out this early in the season, Liverpool fans shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon of ‘this is our year’ because the season is still early with 9 games in.

But on the plus side, the Reds have now wins against Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City. They’re definitely in a shout for this season’s title race.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Juande Ramos' Facebook Account

Okay guys, here's the latest. Got a view of beleaguered manager, Juande Ramos' Facebook account. I just have to share this with you people (click for larger view):



If you didn't realise, this is only a joke :)

Simao Denies Liverpool

UEFA Champions League

Atletico Madrid 1 -1 Liverpool


Marred by some strange refereeing decision and the injury of Fernando Torres, the mouth watering encounter between Atletico and Liverpool was bogged down to a predictable draw at the Vicente Calderon.

It was almost like a high school gathering. There were links and ties to each of their clubs some way or the other. Or perhaps it's just Liverpool fielding a lot of Spanish players than Atletico themselves.

With Torres' eagerly anticipated homecoming thwarted by injury, the game lost further shine when Sergio Aguero was dropped to the bench and the home side fielding two inexperienced teenagers.

For the visitors, it's a surprising sight to see Dirk Kuyt starting on the bench despite his recent goalscoring exploit in the Premiership as well as in Europe. It meant that Robbie Keane was up front on his own, with Gerrard in support. A very cautious formation.

But Liverpool took hold of the game almost immediately and was having a stroll in the park for the first half of the game. Though Atletico threatened on occasions, with Forlan flashing a left foot shot just wide, Liverpool were in total control and every time they attacked, they definitely looked threatening.

The controversial goal came in the 14th minute when Gerrard played a superb through-ball for Robbie Keane, who had an easy task of putting it into the net. Replays show that Keane was a yard offside. Just one of the few major decision which the linesman misjudged.

Then Keane should have doubled the lead, if only he wasn't that over-confident of himself. Gerrard whipped in a perfect cross for the Irish striker but instead of smashing home, he tried to flick it off his boot but missed it totally.

Shame. If only he scored.

Atletico then came out of the second half a totally different team, with Javier Aguire replacing former Liverpool forward, Luis Garcia, with his wonderkid, Kun Aguero. Though he didn't manage to get off the mark in his game, his impact was evident.

With his presence perhaps, Atletico showed more intent and urgency in their play. At times, Liverpool looked outnumbered in defence, with Kun, Forlan, Sinama-Pongolle, Maniche marauding forward looking for the equaliser.


Both Liverpool and Atletico had goals ruled out for offside, erroneously. Just one of those night for the referee.

Then Simao came really close when he was unmarked on the left flank and he rifled it against the post. Pepe Reina did extremely well with a fingertip save. Signs of things to come. Because the Portugese winger, whom was supposed to sign for Liverpool in his Benfica days, sent the home fans into rapture.

A long ball was uncharacteristically misjudged by Jamie Carragher and choas ensued in the Liverpool penalty box. Forlan eventually laid off the ball for Simao to fire home. A costly mistake from the experienced man.

A fair result for both teams, with such affinity and ties between them. Both teams had good spells in the game and the 1-1 draw was a fair reflection of the game, though some of the linesman's decision were questionable.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Liverpool Impersonator!

Guys, this is a must watch! Look how well he impersonate Rafa, Gerrard, Owen and even... Carragher! You thought it's impossible eh! Just have a look...



I thought the Gerrard one was pretty much spot on. Heh!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Christmas Comes Early For Drogballs!

Ever thought about shopping online for Liverpool apparels but decided not to because you don't trust the site? Well, I'm here to bring you some good news!

I have struck a deal with the guys at Soccer Pro and it's simple as writing this post. Despite my busy schedule, I still deliver this because I'm glad to say I can finally trust an online sports apparel site. Which is none other than Soccer Pro.

What they promised me, they delivered. Right to my door step. The below Liverpool hooded top is what I've requested and after a month of anticipating, the parcel finally found it's way to my house. Here are the photos:




Although it's a little too big for me but it's fine since that's how it's supposed to be worn I guess. Don't doubt the quality of this apparel here because this is adidas stuff.

So yes guys, if you're thinking of getting the same hooded Liverpool top, a football boots or even a pair of socks, Soccer Pro is where you should be heading to! Not writing this as an obligation but because this is good news!

Head down now!

Spurs: A Laughing Stock?

Well? Have you been laughing at them since... 16 August? I can't help but laugh most of the time but now it seemed more dire than funny. 2 points from a possible 21, how can it be? But on a lighter note, here are some Spurs-related jokes. I hope I don't get retribution for this because it's only for fun! Take it easy, boys!

A kid goes into a sports shop, and wants to buy a ball, but doesn't have enough money. The shop assistant feels sorry for him and offers to play a game. The boy is blindfolded, and has to hold a club-specific ball, and guess which club the ball belongs to. If he gets them all right, he gets the ball. So he gets the first ball, puts it to his ear and says "Arsenal"
"Wow, you're right," says the assistant, "how did you guess?"
"Oh easy, I heard some guns firing in the distance."
Next ball, the kid picks it up and says "Bristol Rovers,"
"How on earth did you guess that," asks the assistant,
"Oh, I heard a crew of pirates rampaging the high seas."
The assistant gives him the third and final ball, and without hesitating the kid says "Tottenham"
"Amazing," says the assistant, "I expect you heard cockrels didn't you,"
"No," says the kid, "It's going down."


A kid is in court after his parents have been divorced, to decide who he's going to live with. "Would you like to live with your mum?" says the judge, "No, she beats me" says the kid, "Oh," says the judge, what about your dad?"
"NO, he beats me too,"
"Oh dear," says the judge, "any relatives?"
"They all beat me" says the kid.
"Who do you want to live with?" says the judge
"Tottenham Hotspur football club."
"Tottenham Hotspur? Why one arth would you want to live there?" says the judge.
"They never beat anyone."

And...finally...

What's the difference between a triangle and Spurs?









The triangle has 3 points.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Playing Pretty Like Contender's, Eh?

Last Gasp Win At Manchester Means More Than Just 3 Points

English Premiership

Man City 2 -3 LIVERPOOL


Alright, let's get it straight. It's only October. The Premiership race is still a good 6 months before any conclusion can be made. Looking at the table, Liverpool fans must have been mighty pleased to see them joint top with Chelsea.

Well, things could have been so different. If there wasn't Fernando Torres. If Dirk Kuyt still managed to miss the rebound. If Pablo Zabaleta escaped the sending off.

If Liverpool didn't have the character and spirit.

Dirk Kuyt proves people wrong, including myself. Half the time, I admit, I was wondering why on earth is this player (I doubt even that) is still on the pitch with Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel on the bench?

When Torres pulled Liverpool level at 2-2, I was telling God 'the last player I would want to have him score the winner is Kuyt.' Just before Stephen Ireland stole the show and rammed in his 3rd of the season, Kuyt had a perfect chance to put Liverpool ahead.

But somehow, he scooped the shot high and wide from 5 yards out. In football, if you're presented with a chance and does not take advantage of it, you'll find yourself in deep mire soon after. That's the Murphy's law in football.

But somehow, he was right where he was to redeem himself and made countless of Liverpool fans leaping in the air, dancing in pubs and putting that very belief that we have been lacking, back in.

This season saw Liverpool off the block in double quick time yet it doesn't tally with the performances we've put up. We've been awful at times. The first half and Man City was dire. With all the possessions, nothing. And then we got hit quickly with 2 goals.


No idea what Rafa and Sammy Lee said to the players at half time. I suspect something rousing. They came out, all cylinders firing. Torres with his usual goal-poaching ability, turned a Alvaro Arbeloa cross into the net before heading a Steven Gerrard corner for the equaliser.

Looking at how things have panned out, you really have got to wonder is this finally their year? After 19 years of desperate knocking on the door, have the door finally been opened to the Reds?

Sitting there watching us going 2-0 down makes my mind go 'Ah, here we go again..' All the good form and belief thrown out of the door. We've had such a good start but boy, back to reality again.

Yet that belief and feeling at the final whistle was something I haven't had in my years of supporting Liverpool. To be fair, Liverpool were never in much contention for the throne for the past decade.

I really do sense something this time round. It's as if things have clicked between Rafa Benitez and the players. He has brought the 'Valencia mentality' right to Liverpool. Real Madrid and Barcelona? No big deal, we play out football and we'll win it eventually.

That's the kind of belief right now, churning within the hearts of the Liverpool players, I believe. After such a significant win, they know they'll have to be geared up for better performances and aim for consistency. It's not a race but a marathon.

Luck have been on Liverpool's side and over the years, we saw how teams who plays the best football doesn't necessary equates to winner, the lucky ones do. Don't want to sound over-confident at this moment because I know there's a long way to go.

But since I see signs of a humble champion, so be it. Just pray so hard we don't falter in the next game. That would be like an egg thrown in your face.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stevie G Tribute - 100 And Counting...

I'm gonna do a round-up of some of the best goals Steven Gerrard had scored in his 400 odd games at Liverpool...

BUT! It's probably easier to put up all 100 of them here than to pick 10 and call them 'the top 10 Gerrard goals' because so many of them are just sheer beauty and you just can't seemed to rank them up. It's like putting 100 Angelina Jolies in your face and ask you to pick from 1 to 10!

So in no order, we go through the...let's just say...highly important goals that he scored in his Liverpool career.

Starting off with...where he started, with the jersey number 28.


1999-00: vs Sheffield Wednesday

This is where it all started. A familiar rampaging run through the heart of the Sheffield Wed defence. A sign of things to come? Most definitely. How exciting was it then, to watch the young number 28?



2005-06: vs West Ham United (FA Cup Final)

Nobody ever forgets this. This IS the Steven Gerrard final, written all over it. It epitomizes what Gerrard is about. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, pulling Liverpool out of however deep the shit is and a tinge of arrogance in his celebration. 3-2 down and he nicely timed it right on the mark when the stadium announcer blared out how much time was left.

It must have rung in his ears 'this is how little time you have to change it, so why not?' And God, did he let fly an absolute cracker that no Liverpool fans will forget for the next 20 years and more.



2004-05: vs Middlesbrough

I don't want to comment much. Just watch.



2000-01: vs Man United

Nothing better than to score against those scums, eh? And a nice one as well, looping over Fabien Barthez, albeit not that difficult....



2004-05: vs AC Milan (Champions League Final)

Another one that nobody forgets. One of those finals which should be captured in films and sold to Hollywood and outdo any shitty Ben Stiller flick. 3-0 down at half time and nobody gave us a chance. Hell, nobody gave us a chance at the start.

But he came, he saw and he headed in the first of 3 within 6 minutes. I'll always remember those arms flailing in the air and the look of confidence in him. It's as if he knew we were going to win. It's unfair to show just the goal he score so I'll put up the whole video.



2005-06: vs Aston Villa

Cracking goal! Finished with aplomb, just like any of his 'usual' goals and that, is out of this world.



2005-06: vs Everton

Again, it was scored against a bitter rival. Not just that but here, I am running out of speculatives to describe all his goals. Honest...



2007-08: vs Newcastle

A similar freekick to his 100th goal. Outside the box and an absolute thunderbolt. Even Shay Given was made hapless with that kind of shot.



2004-05: vs Olympiakos

The goal that made Andy Gray cream in his pants. 'OWWWW YOU BEAUTY!!' Indeed. If it didn't go in, I don't think we'll make it as far as the Champions League final and winning it. Probably one of the most important and spectacular goals ever scored by the skipper.



2000-01: vs Alaves (UEFA Cup Final)

Sadly, I can't find a video on it. But it speaks volume as a young Steven Gerrard parading his talent on a big stage (it was for Liverpool, back then) and to score in a cup final was pretty good.

Hope that you like it. I don't have time to make it all into a compilation but well, let this post bring you guys back some good memories. Nothing will take away the joy I experienced when Mr. G scored that goal in the FA Cup final.

What about yours?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Milestone Night In Liverpool

Keane Breaks Duck As Liverpool Strolled To Victory

UEFA Champions League

LIVERPOOL 3 -1 PSV Eindhoven

Scorers:
LIV - Kuyt (4min), Keane (34min), Gerrard (76min);
PSV - Koevermans (78min);

It was a memorable night at Anfield even though fans turned up, expecting yet another routine win by Rafa Benitez's boys. A controlled, discipline performance was expected and what we saw last night was exactly that.

But hell, even Robbie Keane scored this time.

The Irishman finally broke his scoring duck of 11 games as he connected with a fantastic Fernando Torres cross and directed it into the bottom right corner of Andreas Isaksson's net. He finally could do his cartwheel celebration but this time, donning the jersey of the club he supported as a boy.

It was one of those nights where your gut feeling just tells you things and it happened. I'm sure everyone's pleased that Keane opened his account in a European night. His quality is proven but it just needed that touch of luck.

Earlier on, he was expecting a penalty as he was brought down by Timmy Simmons but the referee wasn't interested. And we thought it was not going to be his night, again.

Well, let's not forget about another milestone set by a great Liverpool player last night. It's none other than captain Steven Gerrard.

Only the 16th player to carry the honour of scoring 100 goals for Liverpool, Gerrard fired in his 100th with his usual thunderbolt right-in-the-back-of-the-net style. A freekick from 30 yards out didn't stop the skipper from sending out a homing-missile like shot into the net. It was as if the ball itself had in mind where to go.

Beautifully taken.

It was an icing on the cake for Liverpool as they strolled through the game without even moving out of gear 2 and looked comfortable and untroubled throughout. Though the gloss was removed when PSV hit back with a goal that somehow silenced the Kop, it was still a disciplined and controlled performance, just like any other Liverpool games recently.

Scoring early, as I mentioned before, is a boon or bane for clubs and thankfully, Liverpool didn't slip into complacency mode after Dirk Kuyt giving the home side the lead in just under 3 minutes.

How we always said that the Reds were profligate and impotent with cornerkicks, we finally made it work out last night. Gerrard's outswinger, Torres' ingenious movement and Kuyt's followup.

Isaksson should have done better. Looked more a routine save to me than anything. Who knows what might happen if it didn't go in.

But that's not the point. It probably round up a pretty satisfying week for the Liverpool fans as we taught our poorer neighbours, Everton, a good football lesson and getting all 3 points in the Champions League is definitely good news.

In the best start of the season we've seen in quite a while, it remains to be seen how consistent Liverpool can get. But seeing Rafa dropping his usual chop-and-change tactic, there might be a shift of ideology from the Spanish manager.

Probably, he begin to realise the mistake that he has been making for the past few seasons....