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?


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

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


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.