Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is Mascherano Heading For The Exit?

A possible switch to Barcelona has proved an extremely drawn out transfer saga for Javier Mascherano. I can’t remember exactly when the rumours started but there were rumblings throughout the summer and despite the window closing when the season began it has still hit the news on a fairly regular basis. We’ve been told he has demanded a move, a deal is already in place and that there are no foundations to the rumours at all – so what do we believe? In truth, the speculation doesn’t really matter until the player says something – a factor that has been lacking in this particular saga until now.
Masch hasn’t actually said he wants to leave and has stated he is committed to playing well for Liverpool. However, he hardly expresses his desire to stay with the club and his comments are, unfortunately, very ambiguous.

"I am playing for Liverpool, I am a Liverpool player and like the manager says I have two more years on my contract and don't have to say anything else," explained Masch. "I play for Liverpool and will continue to do my best."

See what I mean? Perhaps I’m being overly negative (I hope so) but to me these are quite worrying comments and he could well be on his way, if not in January perhaps next summer.

Should the Argentine decide to depart Anfield it would perhaps not impact as greatly on the club as the loss of Xabi Alonso did. Mascherano is a great combative midfielder and capable of breaking up the opponents play as well as starting moves of his own but it is a role where there are plenty of candidates to replace him. Barcelona’s Yaya Toure could possibly be part of a swap deal and in all honesty I think he is probably a better player. Lucas will have another season under his belt and he is starting to improve. In the Premier League Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole could be a good option should Masch decide to move on.

Liverpool’s standing at the end of the season may prove a decisive factor for Mascherano. If the Reds can finish in the top-four or win the FA Cup or Europa League he may opt to stick with Rafael Benitez. The player himself hasn’t given up hope of adding some silverware to his trophy cabinet at the end of the campaign.
He added: "It is not a good season, but everything can change and in May we could be talking about Liverpool winning something,"

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting betting tips and Irish racing.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Plucky Reds Steals Win

Everton  0
Liverpool   2 (Yobo 12 og, Kuyt 80)

Football. Funny old game.

You just got to feel for Everton. They got the short end of the stick this time and despite putting in a fairly decent performance and troubled Liverpool well enough, still they slump to a undeserving 2-0 defeat to their bitter city rival.

With almost a dozen of players out injured, the patched up Everton side were firmly in control throughout the game and if not for some terrible finishing and Pepe Reina’s miraculous saves, the result could’ve been so different.

But I guess that’s what football is about. It’s not the amount of chances. Not how well or how beautiful the link-up plays are. It’s just putting the ball into the back of the net.

Everton had the chance but unfortunately, blew it. Liverpool, meanwhile, dared to try and twice they did, twice they scored. Fortunes, sometimes does favour the brave.

With Rafa Benitez’s men knocked out of Champions League, the Reds entered this week at all-time low. Everton must’ve thought it’s the perfect time for them to put one past their city rivals.

But lady luck decided to shine on Liverpool that particular day. I can’t remember any one with the red jersey actually testing Tim Howard or posed any threats to his goal. But still, he had to pick the ball out of his net twice.

Not known for scoring goals, Javier Mascherano tried a low drive which came off Joseph Yobo and Howard had totally no chance. You could tell how important that goal was for Liverpool from the Argentinian’s celebration. He went berserk. And it definitely lifted the away side.

 But still, Liverpool were very much pinned to their own half and were playing cautiously most of the time. David Ngog, the sole front man, was left isolated up top and had little support. His first derby game was probably a forgettable one as he was out-muscled by Yobo and Heitinga.

Steven Gerrard. Less said about him in this game the better. He looked totally out of form and provided zero support for the inexperienced David Ngog. A leader on the pitch in physical sense but I’ve never seen him this subdued for quite a while.

Did he miss Torres this much?

The Spanish hotshot’s absence meant that Liverpool’s goalscoring threat diminished. Other players have to step up and guess who? It’s always going to be Dirk Kuyt.

The Dutch striker, although a little over-enthusiastic sometimes, proves to be a reliable player and no wonder Rafa Benitez values him so much. It was his goal-poaching instincts that brought about the second goal which effectively finished the game off.

But before I go into the goal, I must say the introduction of Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun did change the game in favour of Liverpool. The duo caused problems for the Everton defence, giving the Reds a little more width and creativity.

It was the presence of the extra attacker which Everton failed to handle and again, Joseph Yobo blundered, gifting Riera an opportunity to take a pot shot. Howard spilled the ball and Kuyt was at the right place, right time to slot home.

Despite not being a spectacle and in fact, a rather uncomfortable match to watch as a Liverpool fan, it was a very, very important win for Liverpool.

The team went through a really rough patch recently and the ugly and undeserved win was actually a welcoming one. It will definitely boost the morale and propel them to close and gap and fight for a top 4 finish this season.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Preview: Liverpool vs Man City

We’ve been saying nearly every week that whoever the Reds are playing it is a ‘must win’ game and the visit of City to Anfield is as big as any game Liverpool have faced this season. Mark Hughes’ side are one point and one place above Liverpool and a win over the blue half of Manchester would go along way to restoring some faith in Rafael Benitez and his Liverpool squad.
The massive bonus for Benitez is the fact that Steven Gerrard has ruled himself fit for the fixture with City. This is what the Liverpool captain has had to say: "I've had a problem in my groin that has taken a while to get over but I'm just relieved the second injection seems to have done the trick.

"It's a case of so far so good and the aim now is to make sure I get a good week's training under my belt so I'm ready for the game with City."

Great news about Gerrard, but striker Fernando Torres will play no part as he struggles with an abdominal strain. Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera are also ruled out while Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio are all doubtful ahead of City’s visit. It remains to be seen whether we’ll get to see Alberto Aquilani or not but with Gerrard back in the fold this is certainly a winnable game for Liverpool.

City will be without winger Martin Petrov, while Robinho and Gareth Barry are also listed as doubtful but they have plenty of players to cover and expect a strong line-up. At a guess I would say City will probably line up with Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Teve and Craig Bellamy in attack – a formidable line up to say the least. However, Tevez has never been the most prolific striker in front of goal, Adebayor has suffered a dip in form since his antics against Arsenal and Bellamy can be a bit hit and miss.

The game has all the makings of a classic. Liverpool need to win to keep up with the chasing pack at the top of the table, while City have something to prove against the bigger clubs after all their summer spending. I’m not going to hazard a guess at the result as on paper it is a bit close to call, I do think we’re in for a great game though and with home advantage Liverpool should be the favourites.

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting horse racing Ireland and the Aintree Grand National 2010 for Betfair.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Mascherano Barca Bound?

There seems to be almost constant speculation in regards to defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano’s Liverpool future. On what feels like a daily basis a story emerges about a possible transfer to Barcelona with some sections of the media going as far as to state he is certainly heading to Camp Nou in January in a £36million deal.

However, Spanish sports publication Sport has today reported that there is no ‘concrete foundation’ to the rumours. The player himself has apparently voiced his dislike of the English lifestyle and climate, but for a player earning so much money and being a regular in the starting eleven at a club like Liverpool surely this is a small price to pay (although, granted the weather is terrible).

Unless Mascherano hands in a transfer request then I just can’t see Rafael Benitez selling him. Another point to consider is the World Cup in South Africa next summer. Masch is a regular in the Argentina national side and he will retain his place in Diego Maradona’s midfield as long as he is playing regular first-team football. At Anfield he is pretty much guaranteed a starting place, but a move to Barcelona may see him sat on the sidelines until he has settled into the side and I doubt the 25-year-old would want to put his World Cup spot in jeopardy.

Sport have claimed to have been in contact with both Barca and Liverpool, with both denying they have been in contact with regards to the player. If this is true it would seem as if there is no truth in the speculation linking Masch with a move to Camp Nou.

There are a couple of other transfer rumours doing the rounds, here is a quick run through them.

Carlton Cole: It has been reported that both Liverpool and Manchester United are battling it out to sign West Ham’s Carlton Cole, who is valued at £20million. There could be some truth in this as Liverpool could certainly do with another striker, whether the Hammers would be willing to let him go or not remains to be seen.

Ryan Shawcross: Again, United have also been linked with Shawcross but the defender has just agreed a contract extension at Stoke and it seems unlikely he will head to Anfield or Old Trafford anytime soon.

Simon Kjaer: This 20-year-old defender has been getting rave reviews for is performances at Serie A side Palmero. However, the club don’t want to sell the Danish stopper and if a move does materialise, it will be next summer.

Eljero Elia: Hamburg’s Dutch winger only made the switch to the Bundesliga in the summer but is already attracting interest. Reports suggest the Reds will make a £15million move in January – with Ryan Babel possibly heading the other way.

Eduardo: Arsenal striker Eduardo has been linked with a £10million switch to Anfield in January – for me this is just pure speculation and I can’t see this one happening at all to be totally honest.

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting Irish racing and racing tips for today for Betfair.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Nightmare At Craven Cottage

So much promise and yet, Liverpool’s title hopes seemed to have imploded even before the league reaches its quarter mark. It was definitely a depressing view for most fans as the shocking 3-1 lost to Fulham seemed to have marked an end of the road for the Reds and their title ambition.

After a morale boosting 2-0 win over Man Utd last week, it looked as though things could only get better as Liverpool endured through a ‘Black October’ with 4 consecutive losses.

But by the 80th minute, Liverpool and Rafael Benitez seemed to have taken this game so lightly that it all seemed like a pre-season friendly or they’ve already won the title.

Nathan Ecclestone? Philip Degen? Daniel Ayala? In a Premiership match where so much mattered? Is Rafa having a laugh here?

Liverpool’s defence had been undeniably shaky since the start of season and I personally can’t remember the number of times we actually kept a clean sheet. It was the same at Craven Cottage as we saw how Bobby Zamora, albeit not the best striker in the land in any sense, ran rings round a dejected and tired-looking Jamie Carragher.

After his heroics last week, Carragher was back to his early season form and it’s no wonder he was sent off for bringing down Zamora. He was outpaced and outsmarted and he had no options. Neither did the referee.

But the referee did had a questionable decision when he sent off Philip Degen for a awful looking but non-malicious tackle. It was one of those moments where you’ll turn towards your friends and ask ‘what the heck?’

But referee’s decisions aside, it was an awful, awful game from Liverpool’s point of view. Other than Fernando Torres, who has suddenly turned into Steven Gerrard circa pre-Torres era, the rest cannot be spared from any sort of criticism.

What happened to that team that looked so good at Anfield a week ago? Is Liverpool suffering from a post-natal depression of a bipolar disorder. I would go for the latter.

With decision to remove goalscorer, Torres, in the 60 odd minutes, the strange bipolar performances of the team could be attributed to Mr. Rafa Benitez himself. Let me make myself clear, I do love this man.

But I guess it’s time for him to go. Many more would join me in this bandwagon IF we don’t make it through to the Champions League knockout stage this Wednesday. It is not only a do-or-die match for Liverpool and their European ambition but also it’s his job right there, on the guillotine.

Probably things have gone a little stale at Anfield and many are getting impatient. It’s year after year of the same old, except for last season where we finished high up and it smelled like title this season. But the Anfield faithfuls have to endure yet another disappointing and probably, trophy-less season.

The over-achievement of last season could’ve been an added pressure on Benitez, a limestone hung around his neck. Added on to these are the miraculous 2005 Champions league win and the 2006 FA Cup.

Thereafter, it’s years of wilderness and there seemed no stopping of Liverpool walking further into the desert and hypothetically, could’ve turned into a team that is only motivated enough to beat their fierce rivals. Sounds like Man City before Thaksin?

I personally think that there’s no more turning back for Rafael Benitez. Even if Liverpool does triumph over Lyon this coming Wednesday, that probably does not change the fact that there is a huge change needed at Liverpool.

I know the club represents and stands for stability, seeing the number of managers actually ‘sacked’ from the club. But I can’t bear to see the club going down this way. I’m not a doomsday merchant or a knee-jerk reactor. I’m just a little jaded and want to see some changes in the club.

For now, 5 losses in 11 games. We can realistically count ourselves out of the title race and focus on at least getting into the top 4. If Man City are to maintain this sort of form, it could be quite a challenge and it will be pretty embarrassing to say the least.

So what will be Liverpool’s response this Wednesday? I sincerely hope it’s not going to be another limp and half-hearted performance. I really, really hope not…

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Match Preview: Fulham vs Liverpool

By: Gareth Freeman

The result last weekend was undoubtedly a huge one for Rafael Benitez and his Liverpool side. Beating the old enemy and closing the gap between the top sides as vastly important for Liverpool but it will count for very little if they don’t take all three points off Fulham on Saturday. Craven Cottage is often a hard place to go but fingers crossed Steven Gerrard should be back in action and we may finally get too see Italian Alberto Aquilani for the first time in the league.

Fulham should not be dismissed though as they have some decent players themselves. Liverpool may be the heavy favourites with the online betting odds, and rightly so, but the Cottagers have the talent to cause an upset.

In defence Norwegian Brede Hangeland has established himself as a top class centre-half and is also capable of popping up with a goal or two from set plays. His displays for Fulham have led to interest from the likes of Spurs and Arsenal and he is a difficult man to pass. His defensive colleagues such as Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird and John Panstil are perhaps not of the same standard and there are holes in the Fulham back line.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has built a very well organised and efficient side at Craven Cottage. In midfield players such as Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff have plenty of quality and on their day they’re capable of competing with anyone – as they showed by coming back from two down to draw with Manchester City.

The one area they are lacking a bit of bite in my opinion is in attack. Striker Bobby Zamora has a good all round game, he runs the lines and holds the ball up well but his scoring record is not as impressive as perhaps it should be. He seems to have lost a bit of confidence in front of goal and missed an absolute sitter against City, which was a shame as otherwise he had a really good game.

It won’t be a stroll in the park for Liverpool but I wouldn’t bet against them at Fulham. After the great result against Manchester United they should head into this full of confidence, despite their Carling Cup exit. With Gerrard fit again, Torres in form and Aquliani’s league debut imminent the Reds should push on from here and three points at Fulham would go a long way to proving their doubters they can still compete with the best in the league.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Carragher Confident of Beating United

By: Gareth Freeman

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes a Reds victory over their bitter rivals will kick-start their season. A loss for Liverpool would be frankly catastrophic as it would give United a seven point lead at the top and Rafael Benitez’s side will have lost five games already. No team has ever won the league when they’ve lost more than five and in recent years it has been even tighter.

However, in all fairness United haven’t been playing particularly well recently but the difference is they have been picking up results. Carragher has been perhaps one of the players most at fault in Liverpool’s disastrous start to the season. The usually solid centre-half has lacked composure and has definitely not been his normal, dependable self.

Carragher does feel a victory over United could be just the lift they need and is in confident mood going into the tie.

He said:
"Beating United could be just the boost we need. We always bounce back because that's what we are about,

"We've got a lot of fight and character and will want to show that against United, particularly after what happened against Lyon.

"We're going through a tough patch but we've been through them before and we'll bounce back, there's no doubt about that.

"It's always a great game against United, and that could be what we need. If we win, it'll give everyone a massive lift."

Can Liverpool do it? The online betting odds have United as favourites despite Liverpool’s home advantage which doesn’t make for great reading. Rafa’s men have actually won three of their four games at home so there is a very good chance they can see off United, even without Fernando Torres.

Last season Liverpool managed to beat United without Torres and Steven Gerrard and there is a real chance they can do it at the weekend. It has been a tough time for the Reds of late but a win over Manchester United in the Premier League could turn it all around. Liverpool may have been written off in the title race already with the bookies Premier League betting odds but should they beat United on Sunday they’ll be right back in the mix.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Is Liverpool Still Up For The Challenge?

Chelsea     2
Liverpool   0

With only Hilario to beat, Liverpool substitute, Yossi Benayoun, sent the ball inches wide. It definitely looked easier to score than to miss but that just sums up Liverpool’s day at Stamford Bridge.

And it might also just be a sign of how awry Liverpool’s title challenge has gone.

Already 3 defeats in early October, the season so far has been a major disappointment in view of many Liverpool fans. With so much promised after last season’s good showing, little has been delivered.

It’s quite possibly not their year again.

With only 2 clean sheets in as many games, Liverpool’s defence has been found out. Rafael Benitez definitely has tweaked the style of their play to a more attacking one. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that Liverpool’s defence has been shaky and unconvincing.

The only player excused from criticism would be Fernando Torres, who has been plundering goals since his arrival at Anfield 2 years ago. He is the only bright spark in their campaign so far.

Steven Gerrard, often a player looked upon when needed, has been looking out of sort and has not picked up any sort of form since the start of season. His body language yesterday reflected a very frustrated man.

Jamie Carragher, the Mr. Dependable, has been disappointing. Rafa Benitez would usually be confident that his defence is well marshaled by the reliable Carragher but in recent weeks, he has definitely not inspired any confidence at all.

So it was to no surprise that Liverpool were handed a lesson at Stamford Bridge by Carlo Ancelotti’s classy Chelsea side.

The away side didn’t look threatening, despite all the attacking prowess on show last week against Hull City.  They were toothless and too conservative against a resolute Chelsea, who is finding a perfect response to last week’s defeat to Wigan.

With Petr Cech suspended, Hilario deputised and if Liverpool thought they were going to get a little advantage from Cech’s suspension, they’d be wrong as the Portugese goalkeeper put up a faultless performance.

On the hindsight, it didn’t matter actually. Liverpool seldom tested Hilario. Other than perhaps Riera’s effort and Gerrard’s volley, Hilario was a spectator throughout.

Fernando Torres had a torrid time as he tried to barge his way pass John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho but to no avail. The Spanish striker just couldn’t find that touch that helped him to a hat-trick of goals last week. He was presented 2 chances but spurned them.

On the other side of the field, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba gave the Liverpool defence much to worry about. With their pace and power, they were definitely going to be a thorn in Liverpool’s flesh. Drogba was tasked to exploit the flanks as Glen Johnson and Emiliano Insua are often suspects in positioning.

The visitors held on for the first half but it was in the second where Chelsea showed no mercy and the first blood was drawn when Javier Mascherano carelessly lose possession of the ball in midfield.

With Glen Johnson totally out of position, Drogba powered through and the Ivorian turned provider as his inch-perfect cross was met deftly by Anelka and the former Liverpool striker showed what he is all about.

That goal sparked a response from Liverpool as they siege an encamped Chelsea side. Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun were called upon to deliver more firepower. But clearly, Liverpool ran out of ideas and were one-dimensional.

With the visitors committing players forward, Chelsea exploited the sluggishness of their defence and hammered the final nails into the coffin when substitute, Florent Malouda, scored an easy tap in after yet another surging run from Didier Drogba.

It was a good move but Drogba really shouldn’t have gone into the box that easily. He turned Carragher with ease while Fabio Aurelio just stood and watch. The pace and power of Drogba were unmatched.

In the end, it was yet again the clinical finishing of Chelsea that was the difference. They weren’t given much chance but they took it when they should. Liverpool, meanwhile, looked like a lost child at a playground, totally clueless.

Was it the pre-season Asia tour that had burned out some of the players? Was it the extra pressure of living up to last season’s achievements? It is so frustrating to see a group of talented players unable to play like they ought to. The potential is there but the present showing is disappointing at best.

Is it already too late for Liverpool? I believe it might just be. Knee jerk reaction perhaps, but if Liverpool continues to play this way, perhaps even the top 4 finish might be a problem. With a resurging Arsenal side and a Man City side living on limitless amount of money, Rafa Benitez has a couple of problems on hand that he has to solve as soon as possible.

A)    Defence – Where is that usual reliable defence we have thought of about Liverpool? Understandably, Liverpool’s approach to games has changed drastically over the past few seasons. With the purchase of Glen Johnson and the inclusion of Emiliano Insua, the attacking full backs were asked to push forward.

That leaves the 2 centre-backs exposed. It didn’t help as Carragher seemed to be slowing down and isn’t at his physical peak. Is it time to replace Carragher? It’s a rather difficult decision but it’s one that has to be made some day.

Is Agger a capable deputy? Is the Danish’s injury problem going to go on further and affect his Liverpool career? He has been potentially a good defender and his calmness on the ball is something different from Carragher’s. But I’m not sure if he is ready to fill Carragher’s huge boots.

What about the zonal-marking system? It really is quite a risk not putting anyone on the posts and with Liverpool lacking some real muscles and height, it really is a big ask for them to constantly challenge players such as Vidic, Terry, Ballack and Vermaelen. The number of goals conceded through set pieces is embarrassingly high. Time for a review?

B)    Midfield – You’ll never know how much you miss the water till the well runs dry. Never knew the importance of Xabi Alonso till he left for Real Madrid. But is it really his absence that is consequential of Liverpool’s display this season?

Lucas was never called to be a direct replacement for Alonso, that’s a fact. He was just supposed to be a squad player and Alonso’s actual replacement, Alberto Aquilani, is recuperating from injury. The Brazilian never truly convinced. Yet to criticize him is a mistake as he stepped up as much as he could.

Gerrard and Mascherano on the other hand, are players whom we know can deliver yet failed to this season. The captain was not at his imperious best this season thus far while the Argentine seemed to have his head slightly turned towards the direction of Nou Camp, Barcelona.

If these two key players continue to perform as it is, Liverpool will have problems. As the mainstay of the team, players do look up to them for inspirations and if they see a dejected role model, it will definitely pull down the morale of the team.

C)    Goals – Yes, I know. They are coming in quick and they have scored truckloads this season. But most of them have come from Torres and just what if he gets injured? Who are going to score the goals?

That goes back to the 2nd point as midfielders really need to chip in and play their part. Kuyt and Benayoun are doing decently but it really has to come from more players.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Liverpool vs Hull: Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Premier League strugglers Hull City to Anfield on Saturday and I doubt many people out there are predicting anything other than a home win. Hull have just one win to their name so far in the league this season and look a very different side to the team who took the league by storm when they started their top-flight career in 2008.

After impressing against West Ham last weekend and easing past a very determined Leeds side in the Carling Cup, albeit with an under-strength squad, Rafa’s men should go into this one full of confidence. Fernando Torres put any questions over his form behind him with an impressive brace and I reckon it could be the start of a free-scoring run for the talented Spaniard. Torres should be able to add to his goal tally against Hull, from what I’ve seen of them this season they look extremely dodgy at the back and an inform Torres is not something they’ll be relishing!

Rafael Benitez has no new injury worries to think about. Alberto Aquilani (currently expected fit on October 4th) and Danny Agger (October 25th) are the only players sidelined but neither has played yet this season anyway. Benitez’s counterpart at Hull, Phil Brown, has a few more problems. The most notable absentees from the Tigers line up are Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee, who Hull have clearly been missing. The visitors also played a day later in the Carling Cup, with Liverpool playing on the Tuesday and Hull the Wednesday, which may work to the Reds advantage.

The key men for Liverpool will be their attacking players without a doubt. The likes of Torres, Steven Gerrad, Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera should see plenty of chances and will have to make sure they take them. Hull will be relying on trying to nick a goal on the counter and Javier Mascherano will have to be alert to that threat. The Tigers can also cause problems from set-pieces, which is where Jamie Carragher and the rest of the defence will have to be up to the challenge. However, the visitors do have a few danger men to be concerned about. US striker Jozy Altidore is a bit of an unknown quantity but from what I’ve seen of him he looks pretty good. Former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was highly rated in Scotland but it remains to be seen whether he can cut it in the Premier League, while Daniel Cousin is capable of scoring a goal or two. In midfield Stephen Hunt is probably their main threat and they do have players capable of causing problems.

Having said all that in no way would I consider betting on Liverpool to lose this one. Player for player they’re better than Hull all over the pitch and should comfortably see of the Tigers who have lost four of their six games this season. Liverpool’s win over West Ham was their third in a row and we could well be in the middle of an impressive winning streak, it could be the perfect time to play the floundering Tigers as Rafa and co go for their fourth win on the spin.

Hull surprised everyone last season when they upset the upset the Premier League relegation betting odds and avoided the drop. However, they have been absolutely shocking since the turn of the year and that slump shows no sign of ending. They have just two league wins to their name in 2009, against Fulham and Bolton, and on both occasions you could argue they were lucky to take all three points. Without sounding overly confident, this could be Liverpool’s easiest game of the season and I expect them to win comfortably.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Match Preview: Liverpool vs West Ham

Rafael Benitez has told his Liverpool players they need to be more attacking following their 1-0 win over Debrecen in the Champions League. Despite notching up 23 attempts on goal and dominating proceedings the Reds only managed to get seven of those shots on target and won by just the one goal.

This is what Benitez told skysports: "OK, we could have done it a little better by scoring another goal with the chances that we had, but because we didn't score (a second), we were thinking that they could've scored so it was more difficult until the end."

The task of improving their accuracy comes against West Ham United in the late kick off on Saturday. The Hammers looked out of sorts last weekend as they went down 1-0 away at Wigan Athletic and they haven’t won since the opening game of the season. Not surprisingly the away side are the favourites to take all three points in this encounter but on home soil Gianfranco Zola’s side are no pushovers and Liverpool will have to make the most of their chances at Upton Park.

There is a chance the Hammers could welcome back Kieron Dyer, Jack Collison and Herita Ilunga for the tie with Liverpool. All three remain doubtful and will face late fitness tests before they will know whether they can take part of not. Dean Ashton and Luis Boa Morte are ruled out for some time and neither stands a chance of taking part on Saturday. Liverpool’s injury list still includes Danny Agger and Alberto Aquilani, though El Zhar has a slim chance of returning for the trip to London.

On paper you would expect Liverpool to take all three points in this encounter, indeed that is what the bookies seem to think and the Premier League betting odds on a Liverpool win reflect this. However, the Hammers have a few players capable of causing any defence problems and it won’t be a walk in the park for Rafa’s men. Occasional England international Carlton Cole has a knack of scoring important goals and he usually ups his game against the bigger sides. Mark Noble and Scott Parker provide West Ham with a steady engine in midfield and Noble in particular can deliver the goods from corners and free-kicks. In defence Matthew Upson is a hard man to pass and makes few mistakes.

The key man for Liverpool could be former Hammer Yossi Benayoun. For me Yossi has been one of Liverpool’s best performers throughout 2009, perhaps since his winner at the Bernabeu in last season’s Champions League. Yossi bagged a hat-trick against Burnley last weekend and while I may be hesitant to suggest he’ll repeat the feat two weeks in a row it might be worth considering an online soccer bet on Yossi to bag anytime. The Israeli is in top-form and will relish the chance to play against his old club.

The fact the Reds played in midweek may make this game harder than perhaps it should be but I’m still expecting them to come out on top. The Hammers created just a handful of chances against Wigan last weekend and if they perform the way they did in that game Liverpool should have no problem in taking all three points.

How Bout Supporting the Homeless World Cup?

Hello ladies and gentlemen!

Sorry for the long absence and inconsistencies in my match reports. Nevertheless, in partnership with the best online football apparel store, SoccerPro, I'm here to present to you the 2009 Home World Cup apparels!

We're so used to seeing millionaire footballers prancing on the biggest stage yet there is a separate World Cup set for the homeless. A chance for them to unleash their potential despite their poor backgrounds.

And to fund the Homeless World Cup, SoccerPro is proud to bring you the limited edition Homeless World Cup T-Shirt and all proceeds go to the Homeless World Cup.

So why not invest in something that would bless someone and make a difference? Head down now!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Liverpool vs Burnley Preview

On paper, this is a fixture Liverpool should have no problem with whatsoever. Player for player they’re better all over the pitch and with home advantage few would back Burnley to get anything out of this game with their Premier League betting.  However, last season’s play-off winners have already beaten the likes of Manchester United and Everton this season so it is at least worth having a look at what the Reds are up against on Saturday afternoon.

After their 1-0 victories over United and Everton Burnley came up against Chelsea and lost 3-0 in a very one sided game.  Liverpool represent somewhat of a local derby for Burnley though and they’ll be eager to get yet another result against one of their more illustrious local rivals.

The Danger Men

It doesn’t matter how well organised a defence is when a decent free kick comes in and Burnley striker Robbie Blake has one of the best shots from a dead ball situation in the business.  Blake is also a decent forward and is the man who got the winner against Manchester United so he is certainly a player to watch out for. 

David Nugent has just joined the Clarets from Portsmouth and is a man who has something to prove in the Premier League.  I’ve never been convinced he has what it takes to be a success in the top-flight personally but he should see more action now he is at Turf Moore and has a chance to prove everyone wrong.

In midfield Icelandic playmaker Joey Gudjonsson is probably their most creative player.  He has great technical ability and the ability to pick out a pass and is a man who has the capabilities to cause Liverpool problems.  Former Manchester United man Chris Eagles can deliver a good cross and the play-off final hero Wade Elliot is also a very useful player.


For Liverpool new boy Alberto Aquilani will definitely be sitting this one out, he is sidelined until early October with a foot injury.  Daniel Agger is out until the end of October with a back injury and will also play no part in this fixture.  However, both El Zhar and Fabio Aurelio may be fit in time to face Burnley this weekend as both players recover from respective knee injuries.

Burnley have no injury worries going into the tie with defenders Stephen Caldwell and Michael Duff both expected to recover in time for the game at Anfield.

With Liverpool’s obvious advantages over Burnley I can’t see the Clarets picking up any points at Anfield in all honesty.  The fight-back at Bolton should have given Rafa’s men a lift and if I was going to bet on the correct score I’d go for a 3-0 home win.  This fixture could be just what Liverpool need to kick-start their campaign and they should be able to beat Burnley with relative ease. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Photos of 'Kop Comes to Asia'

Hello guys! Long time since I've updated. I'm sure many of you are here looking and scouring for the 'Kop Comes to Asia' photos and sorry for the delay. It was my honour to attend the game on Sunday and though I wasn't one of those fans that went round Singapore chasing them, many of those photos could be found in their official website and Facebook account.

Anyway here are some of the pictures taken by my friends that were there with me and as well as some shots from the official site. So sit back and enjoy!

I thought this was a nice shot

View from my position...and love the scarves and all

I'm the one in Liverpool shirt ;)

That's Rafa

And Kuyt!

And Alonsooooo!

Hope you guys enjoyed it!

Reds' No Mercy Showing in Singapore

Thousands Flocked to Kallang 'Kop'

Singapore XI 0
Liverpool FC 5 (Voronin, Riera, Nemeth x2, Torres)

No real surprise in the score line. 5-0 it reads and the Singapore Lions were no match to their superior opponent.

But the focus was definitely on the Singaporean fans who turned the Kallang National Stadium into a makeshift Kop End and I’m sure many of them thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Flocks of fans turned up hours before the kickoff at 7pm, armed with banners, flags and posters. These fans are epitomizes how important the club is to the fans even though geographically, we are thousands of miles apart.

The atmosphere, though surely is also miles away from the usual Anfield standard, I must commend the fans for putting in the effort to print out the thousands of song sheets and making sure that their love for Xabi Alonso is explicably shown.

Chants of ‘Xabi Alonso’ were even more prominent than Fernando Torres’, which surprised many including me. But perhaps after such adoration was being poured forth, Alonso might think twice before moving to Real Madrid.

The appearance of several key players also roused the crowd and much were reserved for manager, Rafa Benitez. And his decision to play Fernando Torres for more than 10 minutes will surely endear himself to the fans even more.

When asked whether Torres would play more than 10 minutes in the game, Rafael jokingly said ’12 to 13 minutes, maybe’.

But his heart must be tugged when he saw how much the Liverpool fans in Singapore wanted to see their idol in action. ‘We want Torres’ rang round the cauldron and Benitez must’ve been put to the spot.

When the tannoy announced his substitution, the crowd roared and cheered before he could even finish saying his name. ‘Number 9’ was all they need to hear. Oh, and ‘Number 14’ as well!

The Spanish hotshot did not fail to disappoint as he too, nets one of the goals though it’s probably one of the easiest goals that he’ll score.

It was a drab first half with both sides lacking a little imagination. Yossi Benayoun, David Ngog and Ryan Babel were the rare bright spark as Liverpool toiled on and Singapore defended stoutly.

But Liverpool took the lead through a deflected goal by Andriy Voronin, whose shot went off Baihakki Khaizan’s leg, Hassan Sunny stranded.

And then it was all down hill for Singapore as they seldom threatened the Liverpool defence. Possession was poor and distribution pretty atrocious.

Another star who received much adulation was Albert Riera and he did not disappoint the fans when he found himself in a good position before slotting home.

Hungarian youngster, Kriztian Nemeth, added a third when an on-form Dirk Kuyt provided him with an easy finish.

He then put the game to bed with a fantastic diving header which was sandwiched between a Fernando Torres tap-in goal. It must’ve been a fantastic experience for the highly rated striker.

Many fans were sad to see the game end but many stayed on as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played through the tannoy and there’s not a more beautiful sight than a united group of fans singing the club anthem.

It’s a fantastic experience for many fans who might not have a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of Anfield and the match wasn’t much of a disappointment either. Though the crowd was quiet at times, we know how Singaporeans are usually pretty hard to get warmed-up and passive.

Yet there are pockets of hardcore fans who tried their best to bring up the atmosphere and there were times where I really felt the goosebumps. Of course, it’s fun joining in chanting of Torres and Alonso.

As an anecdote, a Man Utd fan came for the wrong occasion and he was quickly spotted by the fans who jeered him for his terrible decision and it got a little rowdy so much so the auxiliary police had to step in.

Great experience there at the National Stadium, though I thought fans could’ve been more enthusiastic and louder but it was good enough in my opinion. Ticket was $88 but at the end of the day, it was all worth it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Worrying Words From Xabi; Chelsea Join Johnson Hunt

By Gareth Freeman

The transfer window hasn’t been as exciting as it could have been from a Liverpool perspective so far. The financial troubles of the owners seem to have curtailed the Reds’ ability to spend big in the transfer market and top-target David Villa seems determined to stay in Spain.

The upside of that is he won’t be going to Manchester United or Chelsea either but it would have been quality to see him lining up alongside Fernando Torres at club level.

The key thing for Rafael Benitez is to keep his existing squad in tact and add a few quality players. Liverpool looked at times last season like champions and one man who was instrumental in this was Xabi Alonso. For me he is as important to the side as anyone, including Steven Gerrard and Torres, but he has made some worrying noises concerning his Liverpool future.

"Would you be disappointed if you end up having to stay at Liverpool next season?" he was asked while on international duty with Spain at the Confederations Cup.

"I can't answer that question," was Alonso’s reply.

I really don’t know how to interpret this other than that he doesn’t want to stay, I just hope I’ve got the wrong end of the stick!

Despite the financial worries of Tom Hicks and George Gillet Rafa has still managed to table a bid of £18million for Portsmouth and Englnd right-back Glen Johnson. Chelsea have matched that bid but Johnson was let go by the Stamford Bridge side earlier in his career so it remains to be seen whether he would go back.

The move for Johnson is intriguing in itself, whether or not he decides to join. He can also play in midfield and is very much one of the marauding full-backs who likes to join in with the attack as often as possible. Out of all the ‘top four’ teams I would argue that Rafa perhaps has the most defensive attitude when it comes to full-backs and the move for Johnson may suggest a planned change in tactics.

If Alonso leaves and Johnson does opt for Chelsea it would certainly be a blow but not a massive disaster. Granted Alonso is a top quality midfielder but if Real Madrid is indeed his chosen destination Liverpool should get an excellent price for him and invest that in another top player.

In terms of Real Madrid they’re apparently willing to let the Dutch trio of Rafael Van der Vart, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben leave, all three of which could add something to the Liverpool side and would be decent acquisitions in exchange for Alonso (plus cash of course!). If Johnson makes the switch to Chelsea Rafa will probably find another attacking full-back and he is by no means the only (or even best, in my opinion anyway) option.

Even though the season is still some time away it is sometimes a good idea to check out what other people are thinking in terms of the league title. The bookies currently have Liverpool as third favorites with their Premier League betting odds and the Reds are currently priced at 4.3 (100/30), Chelsea are second at 3.6 (13/5) and Man United are favourites at 2.96 (2/1) so there isn’t a lot of difference between the three sides in terms of odds.

I wouldn’t go betting on the winner of the Premier League myself just yet, it is far too early, and if you’re planning on having a flutter I would wait until the majority of the transfer activity has been concluded.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stevie G as James Bond?

This is juicy stuff! This was taken off from CNN and apparently, Liverpool's number 8 wants another role and that is the famous 007. The following are the excerpts of the interview done between CNN and Steven Gerrard.



In an interview with CNN’s monthly film show ‘The Screening Room’ at the Cannes Film Festival, Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard reveals that one day he hopes to appear in a movie at Cannes. He adds that he sees himself as an all-action hero, in the mould of James Bond, while his wife Alex would be his ideal Bond girl.

To watch the interview please click here:

JUSTIN ARMSDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello, again. As we continue to hone in on the Champions League football final on Wednesday, one man who knows all about winning it is Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. But when he caught up with CNN’s Neil Curry at the Cannes film festival, it was all about action on the screen rather than the pitch.

NEIL CURRY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Steven, what brings you to Cannes?

STEVEN GERRARD, LIVERPOOL MIDFIELDER: A couple of reasons, really. Obviously, to enjoy the festival, but also to show some support to two close friends who’ve got a screening later for their new movie.

CURRY: Tell me about them. Tell me about their film.

GERRARD: It’s called Charlie Noades RIP . And it’s a comedy. I’ve actually seen the film. I’ve been lucky enough to see it before everyone else, and it’s a fantastic film. It’ll have you laughing all the way through it.And I just hope that people enjoy it like I did because if it does, it will be a, you know, a big hit.

CURRY: Have you managed to see much of the filmmaking process through your friends?

GERRARD: Not really, but you know, I obviously see little glimpses of it because they’re involved in the film industry, and I spend quite a bit of time with these people, so – but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, no.

CURRY: And do they – conversely, do they follow you around to the games and stuff?

GERRARD: Yes, of course. You know, that’s another reason why I’m here. Every week, they follow me to watch Liverpool, obviously, and to watch the England games. So, it was nice to sort of return the favour, if you like, and come and show them some support, because I know this a big event for them.

CURRY: Yesterday, we were talking to Eric Cantona, who has a film here. Last year, Maradona had a film and Zidane had a film. Can we ever see yourself in a film here, you think?

GERRARD: Who knows? You know, maybe one day. You know, I’m coming – getting old now as a footballer, if you like, coming up to 29. So, maybe in years to come I might go down that road, but they’re certainly legends in the game, and they’ve certainly done well after football. So, maybe I might follow in their footsteps.

CURRY: Cantona was talking about some of the connections between film and football, and he was talking about managers and how – he was comparing the director Ken Loach with Alex Ferguson and saying that directors and football managers are quite similar in what they have to do to actors and players.

GERRARD: Yes, I can understand where he’s coming from there because they’re sort of like the bosses, and they can throw a lot of people around. And it’s important that they get their jobs right for the team on the football side and also for films to be successful. So, I can understand where he’s coming from, yes.

CURRY: He also said that good football managers and good directors give confidence to their actors and confidence to their players. What’s Rafa Benitez like as a director, if you like?

GERRARD: Well, he’s certainly a fantastic manager, and as you say, he is similar to a film director, if you like. And he does an awful lot of stuff behind the scenes to make sure that the team is successful. And I personally have a lot of confidence in him that he can make the team successful in the future. So, really pleased to have him and that he’s signed the new contract.

CURRY: Now, here in Cannes, we’ve been talking to actors about their recollections of lifting the Oscar or directors collecting the Palme d’Or. It’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to do that unless you’ve been there. So, put it in football terms. What’s it like to lift the Champions League trophy? What’s going through your mind?

GERRARD: It’s difficult to put into words, you know, the feeling that you get when you put that trophy above your head. It’s certainly the best experience I’ve ever had football-wise. I can, you know -- it’s so difficult to describe the feeling, but I’m sure, you know, film stars and directors can relate to it when they win their big awards like the Oscars, I’d say.

CURRY: Just wondering if were to be in a film, what kind of role would you like to have, and who would you like to co-star with?

GERRARD: I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest. Well, I’d like to maybe go down the Bond route, the all-action hero type role. I think that’s a bit of me.

CURRY: Who would your Bond Girl be?

GERRARD: It would have to be my Alex, my wife. You’re getting me into trouble if I say anyone else.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fletcher Absence Exposes United Frailties

FC Barcelona 2 (Eto'o 10, Messi 70)
Man Utd 0

Who would’ve thought Man United would miss someone so dearly. This year’s Champions League final was dubbed to be a gladiator-esque showdown of Man Utd’s Portugese whinger… oh I mean winger, Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentinian, Lionel Messi.

But it was the absence of a certain Scottish midfielder which ultimately tilted the balance of the game in favour of the Spanish champion. He’s never in the limelight, seldom scores breath-taking goals and not really blessed with the good looks (well, he’s a Scot after all…).

Man Utd boasts a squad full of stars but the one truly needed in a big match was actually Darren Fletcher.

United missed his tenacity, big time. The industrious midfielder was wrongfully sent off in the semi-final match against Arsenal and the suspension was such a bitter blow to them.

No wonder rumour has it that Sir Alex Ferguson was willing to trade a get-out-of-jail card with Barcelona, Fletcher’s freedom for either Eric Abidal’s or Daniel Alves’. That was how important Fergie sees his fellow Scot.

On the hindsight, the suspension of Abidal and Alves plus the injury to Rafael Marquez seems to be irrelevant. With 3 out of Barca’s 4 first-choice defenders missing, United failed to capitalise on it.

But Barcelona and their coach, Pep Guardiola, were unwilling to let Man Utd get away with it. The obvious was staring them in their faces. Man Utd’s midfield lacks steel and the player who’s willing to do all the dirty work.

Looking back, great teams were built around a strong man in midfield, someone willing to sacrifice creativity for stability. Think Roy Keane of the all-conquering Man Utd class of ’99, Patrick Vieira of the ’04 Arsenal Invincibles and Claude Makelele of the ugly but effective Chelsea.
Fast forward to the current United squad, I see Anderson and Michael Carrick. Hmmm… Not so sure about that. To make things worse, they were up against Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. These were the 2 players pivotal in Spain’s European Cup conquest last year.

It was a joy to watch as the Spanish duo took hold of the game after a nervy first 10 minutes where their fellow Iberian, Ronaldo, was having a showboating session.

But thereafter, they controlled the game with finesse and put up a master-class performance. They didn’t score the goals but they pulled the strings from midfield and all we saw was players in white bumbling around them haplessly.

Didn’t some part of the game looked like they were having a practice session with Man Utd, playing ‘pig in the middle’ or ‘Monkey’ with them?

Anderson was woeful and got found out in this game. If he was supposed to do Fletcher’s job then I think he should look for employment elsewhere. Michael Carrick, for being hailed as ‘a great passer of the ball’ and even ‘world-class’ by the English papers, unsurprisingly, looked bereft of ideas and nothing near latter description.

It was Iniesta who made it all happen when he barged through the centre of Utd’s midfielder and played a controlled pass into the path of Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroonian striker glided into the penalty area with surprising ease as Man Utd’s defence stood hesitant and watched on.

Pep Guardiola must’ve watched Liverpool’s 4-1 triumph and asked his fleet-footed attackers to run at the lumbering Nemanja Vidic like how Fernando Torres embarrassed the Serbian giant in the Theatre of Dreams.

The striker made no mistake as he fire it past a bemused Edwin van der Sar. He must be wondering how Barca sneaked in so easily.

The answer was found in Man Utd’s strangely passive way of defending in the match. They played the game in fear, showed too much respect for Barca and were peeing in their pants every time Thierry Henry or Leo Messi were on the ball.

Seeing how English teams totally dominate the European football scene for the past few seasons through their fast-paced and gritty approach to games, United failed to use that as their advantage and paid for it.

Chelsea, who was Barca’s semi-final opponent, gave Man Utd a perfect example of how to stifle the football artisans. If not for the incredulously biased referee, it would have been another Chelsea vs Man Utd final.

Liverpool, too, gave Real Madrid a royal spanking 2 months back. Just like Chelsea, it was all about putting pressure on their midfielders, denying them space and time plus upping the ante through speed and a more direct approach.

Yet United players stood and watch as Barca seized the initiative and made them pay. Their midfield quartet failed to close down Xavi and Iniesta, giving the playmakers all the time in the world.

Would Darren Fletcher allow that? I think not.

Also, Barca cleverly exploited the lack of defensive midfielder on Utd’s part and used Messi as a deep-lying striker. Smart, ain’t it? He was a striker yet he dropped off so deep that Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was caught in a dilemma. Should they continue marking him or let him drift into space.

The final nail in the coffin came when Ferdinand decided to take the latter option as he misjudged the flight of Xavi’s cross and allowed a 169cm midget (average Asian height, though…) to score from a free header.

It was as if he had read the English newspaper on the previous day as they described Ronaldo to be more of an aerial threat than him. Well, that certainly is shuts them up. This “Next Maradona” could be the real deal.

With their treble at stake, Man Utd put up no fight at all. The 5 shots in the first 10 minutes were actually all they could muster. And unsurprisingly, Ronaldo showed his usual petulance after being in the pocket of Carles Puyol throughout.

They were out with a whimper.

Man Utd could blame no one, to be honest. The loss of Fletcher was pivotal and the sheer brilliance of Barca outclassed the English champion. Players whom you would put your money on to drag them back into the game went missing. United was clearly not at their best.

So there goes the chance of winning a second treble in Sir Alex’s reign. But what a sweet victory for Pep Guardiola. Only his first season in charge of a club of this stature, he took them into greater heights by being the first Spanish team to win the treble.

They could dominate in the years to come, with Xavi, Iniesta and Messi being the spine of the team. Man Utd, meanwhile, should not take the knee-jerk approach to this as it was a bridge too far but would be exaggerating to say they’re in any sort of trouble.

With this team, this defeat could be a blessing in disguise as the problems and shortcomings of the squad will now be even more apparent and it’s just the right time to make amends through signings and pre-season training sessions.

All in all, Barca was not only the champion of Europe but more of a champion of football. Kudos!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Good News, TRC Readers

I've finally gotten the tickets to the Liverpool vs Singapore match on 27th July. After a long wait and plenty of patience, it paid off and although it cost $88, most would agree that it's pretty decent even in face of the current economy climate.

Though I wasn't lucky enough to get myself a seat in the East Stand, which is going to be transformed into a Kop of Asia, Singapore style! Still, I can't be much happier to have acquired the tickets and will be watching alongside some Arsenal and ManYoo fans.

That really says about the craziness and passion of the fans here. I guess it's a one-off match where allegiance will be put aside for some top class football.

If you're in Singapore, reading this and have yet to get it, PLEASE DON'T WAIT ANY LONGER!

Anyway as I've mentioned, this is good news for all of you because...

I'll be there and will bring you pictures, videos and most importantly, my personal account of this event. So stay tune!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Tottenham

Liverpool welcome Spurs to Anfield for the final game of what has been a good season in some ways and a disappointing one in others. Rafa’s men may have ended the season without any silverware but they’ve mounted their best title challenge for well over a decade and for large parts of the season they were the best team. That doesn’t really matter now but it shows great signs of improvement and if Rafa makes one or two signings the red half of Merseyside could be celebrating something special this time next year.

For now though Liverpool have to make sure they beat Spurs and take the second spot. I expect them to see off Tottenham to be honest, they’ve become a good side under the guidance of Harry Redknapp but they don’t travel to well and Liverpool will want to end the season on a high and boost the points tally.

It will be a return to Anfield for Robbie Keane and I’m sure he’ll want to get among the goals and prove Rafa wrong. I’m not sure he will to be honest and I wouldn’t go backing him to score in the game with my own football betting. I’m sure most people would agree that Benitez made the right move in letting him go and he hasn’t really impressed since his move back to Spurs.

The key player for the opposition could well be keeper Heurelho Gomes. The Spurs keeper got a lot of stick at the start of the season for some high profile and costly errors but he has been a revelation in the latter part of the campaign. Gomes has pulled off some truly unbelievable saves and kept Carlo Cudicini out of the side and it will take a bit of work to get past him.

Redknapp hasn’t been impressed with his strikeforce since he took over and Roman Pavlyuchenko looks set for a summer exit. It might be a safe football bet to back the Liverpool clean sheet in all fairness as Pepe Reina is going for the golden glove award and we saw from Jamie Carragher’s antics last week that it is an important award for the team to win.

The match is fairly unimportant in all fairness but I still expect Liverpool to finish on a win. Even though Spurs still have European qualification to play for I don’t think they’ve got enough quality in the team to get a result at Anfield and Liverpool should be able to pick up all three points and go into the summer break full of confidence.