Liverpool Write A Piece Of History

Well, it finally happened didn’t it. We’ve been saying for a few weeks that someday, someone will get a good pasting from us. Sadly for Maribor it was them. Everything seemed to click as Liverpool write a piece of history. Already holding the Champions League record for their 8-0 home win against Besiktas in 2007, Liverpool ran riot against their Slovenian counterparts.

Having won only one of their previous eight games, we were in need of a much needed win. And a win is what we got, in emphatic style.

Liverpool had started their Champions League campaign with two draws – 2-2 at home against Sevilla and 1-1 at Spartak Moscow. Against Maribor however we never looked in any danger of dropping any points against a side sitting in second place in Slovenia’s First League.

Some credit to Maribor though. They managed more shots on target than Manchester United had last weekend.

Here is how the match unfolded.

Liverpool Write A Piece Of History

We were off to a flyer in this game. A goal up after 3 minutes then leading 2-0 after 13 minutes was exactly the start we needed. After this blistering start it became a question of how many we would score. It is not unfair to say that Maribor were being totally outclassed.

Let’s not get too wrapped up about the quality of our opponents though. The Reds did not disappoint as they produced a wonderful, free-flowing performance. It is often easy to be over critical of your opponents when you batter them, but as the saying goes, you can only beat what’s in front of you. And that’s what we did. With some style. Bobby Firmino gave us the lead, with strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah soon to follow. A fourth before half time from Salah again meant that we could afford to relax a bit in the second half.

Another Clean Sheet

Even though Jurgen Klopp’s side had won only one of their past eight matches in all competitions before this confidence-building performance, our enigmatic boss was able to give some of our squad players some much needed minutes in the second half.

Maybe having one eye on the match at third-placed Tottenham on Sunday, Salah, Firmino and Wijnaldum were withdrawn in the second half. This gave Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and 20-year-old Dominic Solanke the chance to shine. After Bobby Firmino made it 5-0 after 54 minutes, it was time for Jurgen Klopp to use his subs.

Although not on the scoresheet, Sturridge looked lively when he came on. In the 86th minute he played Oxlade-Chamberlain in. The England midfielder confidently slotted past Jasmin Handanovic for his first goal since his £35m move from Arsenal at the end of August. A well earned opener for The Ox. After Saturday and again last night, slowly but surely he is beginning to show his undoubted talent.

Even then, there was still time for Alexander-Arnold to score only his second Liverpool goal. His drive from outside the box was deflected past Handanovic to seal a perfect night for the Reds.

Great Team Performance

There were some great performances all round. Firmino and Salah two goals apiece and one assist each stole the show. The ever influential Philippe Coutinho with one goal and two assists made another telling contribution. But, as already said, there were great performances all round. Great to see James Milner run the show in midfield. Emre Can, in a deeper role was dominant. And another clean sheet for our much maligned back four.

These two teams meet again in two weeks. We shouldn’t get too carried away but we should be confident of a positive result in the return.

We are now halfway through the group phase. As it stands, Liverpool are top, level on points with Spartak Moscow, who defeated previous leaders Sevilla 5-1.

You can watch the match highlights here…..

A great night all round as Liverpool write a piece of history.

Honours Even But More Promising Signs

Honours Even But More Promising Signs

Not the result we wanted or deserved. But as things stand, honours even but more promising signs to give us encouragement. In many ways our 0-0 draw with Manchester United was so typical of so many of some of out recent matches. Dominate possession, loads of shots, playing well generally but no end product. It all sounds so familiar doesn’t it.

On the encouraging signs point of view, we managed a clean sheet when all pundits everywhere it seems were predicting an easy afternoon for Romelu Lukaku. His free scoring start to the season has been impressive. But, after his virtual ‘no show’ on Saturday, his performance was reminiscent of his performance at Anfield last season for Everton. And the season before that for that matter.

I read a statistic over the weekend comparing Lukaku’s record against the other sides in the so-called top six with that of Jamie Vardy. At the start of this season, Lukaku has scored 5 in 35 games against the top six since 2014/15. Not so impressive. On the other hand, Jamie Vardy had bagged 15 goals in 33 games. Very impressive. As impressive as Vardy’s record is, it is a fair way off Sergio Aguero’s 19 in 27 games ratio. Now that is top drawer.

Anyway, what of the game itself?

Honours Even But More Promising Signs

Honours Even But More Promising Signs

Honours Even But More Promising Signs

A 0-0 draw didn’t really reflect the balance of play. Forget what Jose Mourinho said after the game. Of course, he has to justify and defend his tactics and style of play, but really, blanket defence with all the attacking talent at his disposal? No disrespect to Tony Pulis, but the tactics employed by Manchester United are the type of tactics you would see from a Pulis team. He was well known for it at Stoke, Crystal Palace and now at West Brom. But why not, he isn’t on an even playing field is he? Play to your strengths and survive. Pulis is an expert at it and is rightly a sought after manager for the style of play he adopts.

But Mourinho at Manchester United? For Manchester United, also read Chelsea as he adopted a similar style at Chelsea. Again, like Manchester United, Chelsea can shop in the footballing equivalent of Harrods, while others are strolling the aisles at Aldi.

Parking The Bus

Given the money that they spend, you would think there would be the confidence to at least venture forward now and then. Still, it is effective and as such, much credit should be given for the ‘parking of the bus’ approach. A draw at one of your big rivals is a good result after all. But as a spectacle, he turns games into boring, non events. I asked a United fan in a pub after the game what his thoughts were. Bear in mind, he has been spoilt and has been brought up in the Fergie era of scintillating attacking football and quality football. As it happens, he was happy with the point, but like many of his mates, not particularly happy with the style of football.

Same Old, Same Old For The Reds

Putting aside our opponents tactics, it is still up to us to unlock a defensive team. Irrespective of how much that team cost and the talent they have. Yet again however, we came up short in that department. Great possession, plenty of the ball in the last third areas, many good crossing positions. But still no end product. We should have won. Let’s be clear about that. We should have won and won with something to spare. Our back four looked solid on the few occasions Utd ventured forward. This may be more down to their reluctance to give a go than our back four showing the required improvement. Let’s try and be positive about it and give credit where credit is due. Our back four improved considerably on Saturday.

Joe Gomez in particular was very impressive and seems to be maturing with every game. A big, strong, physical presence and good in the air. Is it only a matter of time before he is moved into the middle of the defence? Having said that, Lovren and Matip looked solid on Saturday. Apart from the occasion when Lukuku walked past Lovren in the first half and got into an easy crossing position in the first half.

Philippe Coutinho again showed he hasn’t got a post ‘failed move to Barcelona’ strop on. He was buzzing around in his normal effervescent, skillful way. Forever prompting and probing. It’s just a shame that (the very poor) referee, Martin Atkinson, didn’t give us some of the free-kicks we earned in and around the Utd penalty area. The number of times we had a player fouled and Atkinson waved ‘play-on’, when quite clearly there was no advantage to be gained by playing on.

Possible Improvements?

When he is good, he is really good. But when he is bad, he is dreadful. All of us around us in the Kop on Saturday, thought that the obvious swap when we saw the number 21 on the board was Oxlaide-Chamberlain for Wijnaldum. Maybe we are all seeing a different game. But it is strange that Wijnaldum not only starts every game, but is very rarely ‘hooked’. A like for like swap between him and The Ox seemed on the cards on Saturday, but no, it was Coutinho who made way. Understandable maybe as Jurgen Klopp explained after the game that Coutinho was tired after all the travelling.

However, we did finally see something from Oxlaide-Chamberlain on Saturday to raise hopes. Although he slotted in on the right hand side instead of his preferred central role, he was involved from the off. On two occasions he showed great strength and skill to get past his man and put crosses in. As an alternative, I would like to see him start instead of Wijnaldum now and then, now he has had his bedding in period.

Onwards and Upwards

Although it wasn’t the result we all wished for on Saturday, it is not doom and gloom. far from it. As the article started by saying, honours even but more promising signs. We could all see the promising signs. As we could also see the regular failings. Some day, somebody is going to get a good hiding. Spurs up next at their temporary Wembley home. Let’s hope for more of the positive points we are seeing and less of our failings.

 

On This Day 12th October 1895

As this is the build up to what will no doubt be another epic encounter with arch rivals, Manchester United, we reflect on this day 12th October 1895. On this day, we met our soon-to-be bitter rivals for the first time. Although at the time they were known as Newton Heath. No videos I’m afraid as the cameraman was on holiday that day!! Who would have thought then that this fixture would become so huge. It is without doubt one of the biggest fixtures in the UK, in Europe, in fact, in the world of football. So, what happened on this day 12th October 1895?

On This Day 12th October 1895

Let’s hope it’s a good omen for this coming Saturday. We actually ran out winners on that day. In a rather emphatic manner as well as it happens, as we won 7-1. Frank Becton, Thomas Bradshaw and Fred Greary grabbed a brace each. Unfortunately for them, neither of them would go on to claim their hat-trick. It was Jimmy Ross who added the seventh with just minutes remaining.

As for the rest of the season, it turned out to be a successful one for Liverpool. We win promotion as Division Two champions, while Manchester United (Newton Heath) are a long way off in sixth place.

On This Day 12th October 1968

As it happens, this date proved to be another successful one for the Reds. Goals from Ian St John and Alun Evans send 53,000 fans wild as we beat Manchester United, 2-0. This was the Red’s sixth win in seven games and the victory confirmed that Bill Shankly’s team are a force to be reckoned with in the First Division. Although we lost the next game 2-1, we then repeated the previous seven game sequence. Winning six and one draw in the next seven games.

Hopefully A Good Omen

As we say, let’s hope this is a good omen for this Saturday coming. A victory will put us right back in the mix, while losing it will see Manchester United stretch their lead over us to ten points. A huge gap at such an early stage of the season. It goes without saying therefore that we cannot afford to lose, while a draw for United isn’t a disaster. they have made a really good start to the season, although most teams would love to have had their opening seven fixtures. It’s funny how most teams at one time or another seem to have a difficult looking start to a season. But, it seems that the luck of the fixtures computer, always offers United a good start to the season. You still have to win those games and everyone does have to play each other at some stage, but there is no doubt that a good start to a season can form a solid platform for a successful season.

Fingers crossed for three points on saturday. Let’s hope we don’t go on to miss Sadio Mane too much. His absence for the next six weeks could be such a major factor on our season. It is time for Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Dominic Solanke et al to step up to the fore. Who knows, we may see the likes of Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson being promoted up to the first team squad. Whoever Jurgen Klopp picks on Saturday, we are sure they will give their all to pick up a much needed three points for the Reds.

On This Day 8th October 2015

On this day 8th October 2015, Liverpool announced the appointment of new manager, Jurgen Klopp, after the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers.

It was so very apparent that Liverpool’s next manager after Rodgers needed to be a well established, top coach with a proven, successful background. Such managers are hard to find however. They are, understandably so, quite thin on the ground. There were some interesting names were offered forward however. For instance, that well known, successful and hugely respected manager, Carlo Ancellotti. That was the standard of manager Liverpool were aiming for. And the standard they needed.

On This Day 8th October 2015

Fortunately, in that elite category was another successful manager with an excellent track record. And, very importantly, he was available. Who was he? He was of course the enigmatic, charismatic German, Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s record at his previous club, Borussia Dortmund was brilliant when you consider what he was up against in the form of Bayern Munich. He took over Dortmund in 2008 and left at the end of the 2014/15 season.

In the seven seasons he was in charge, Klopp managed Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles. They were also runners up twice. In addition, they won two German Cup Finals and were also runners up twice. The 2012/13 season saw Dortmund come close to beating arch rivals Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final. Ultimately however they ended up as 2-1 losers.

It is without doubt Klopp had the pedigree and the stature to become Liverpool’s next manager. But would he come? The answer to that came on this day 8th October 2015 when Klopp was appointed as Brendan Rodgers’ successor. In his first interview as Liverpool manager he referred to himself as the “Normal One”. Clearly a humorous jibe at the self appointed, “Special One” – Jose Mourinho.

Klopp’s “Normal One” Interview

It was clear that Liverpool needed another rebuild. As the 2015/16 season had already started, Klopp’s first real big test was to be the 2016/17 season. Although he did guide Liverpool to two Cup Finals in 2015/16. Losing both however, 2-1 to Manchester City in the League Cup Final and 3-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League Cup Final.

The 2016/17 season saw a big improvement in Liverpool’s League form as they ultimately qualified for the Champions League qualifying round by finishing 4th in the Premier League. The qualifying game against Hoffenheim was successfully negotiated on a 5-3 aggregate score, thereby placing Liverpool in the Champions League Group stages.

Jurgen Klopp’s Funny Moments

Jurgen Klopp has openly shown his passion and enthusiasm for his role as Liverpool manager. Here is a short video capturing some of his best moments….

Happy Second Anniversary Jurgen. Here’s hoping you are here for many more anniversaries.

On This Day 6th October 1991

Is it really that long ago!! I remember it so well. On this day 6th October 1991 saw Rob Jones make his debut for Liverpool. Just 48 hours after signing for the team he supported as a boy, Jones made his debut for the Reds. More like a baptism of fire really. The debut, as it happens, was against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. Story has it that Jones was signed “by accident” by Liverpool manager at the time, Graeme Souness. Apparently, Souness went to watch Crewe to run the rule over another Crewe player, but came away so impressed with Jones. Souness must have really rated Jones to throw him in at the deep end only 48 hours after signing for the club.

A very impressive debut all round from Jones who made the step up from Crewe to the First Division seamlessly. Asked to mark United dangerman, Ryan Giggs, Jones didn’t put a foot wrong.

His debut, however, lasted 65 minutes as Gary Ablett was dismissed, leaving Liverpool with 10 men. In the subsequent reshuffle, Jones was substituted.

All was well however as Liverpool earned themselves a point in a goalless draw. After such a competent debut and subsequent outstanding performances, it didn’t take Jones long to establish himself on the international scene with England. Even though he was Welsh, having been born in Wrexham.

On This Day 6th October 1991

Although injuries curtailed his Liverpool career, Jones still managed to make it into the “100 Players That Shook The Kop” hall of fame. He came in at a very credible position of 60.

Here is a short video of his Liverpool career….

Unfortunately, his career was cut short by injury at the all to soon age of 27. His last game for Liverpool came in February 1998. During his time at Liverpool, Jones won a League Cup Winners medal and an FA Cup Winners medal. The League Cup win came against Bolton in 1995, while the FA Cup victory was against Sunderland in 1992.

In all his 185 games for the club, Jones unfortunately failed to find the net. It wasn’t for the want of trying though. Many a game he came so close. And as a way of encouragement, the Kop used to will him on regularly. Anytime he got within shooting distance, the Kop used to shout, “Shoot, Shoot!!”. More out of amusement rather than expectation it would seem.

A very underrated player, Jones would have gone on to gain a lot more than his 8 caps for England if it wasn’t for his injuries.

Since his retirement, Jones and his wife, Sue, have developed a “Kids Academy”. This is a franchise business of children’s nurseries across the UK. It is now called “Evolution Childcare” and has now extended overseas to the United Arab Emirates.

Thanks for the memories Rob. Shame you didn’t get that elusive goal. If you had, and it was at the Kop end, it would have brought the house down!! However on this day 6th October 1991 you certainly made a massively good impression with Reds fans everywhere.

On This Day 4th October 2015

On this day 4th October 2015 was a very significant in our most recent history. After a hard fought 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park, Fenway Sports Group made the decision to sack manager, Brendan Rodgers.

This decision came after a poor start for Liverpool in the 2015/16 season. The general consensus of opinion was that the decision was made before the game and Rodgers apparently was aware of that.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of Rodgers’ last game as Liverpool boss. By the way, it was great to see Danny Ings net on the day. Such a shame he has suffered some really bad injury setbacks.

On This Day 4th October 2015

So, what of the decision to sack Rodgers? There were many fans who felt that Rodgers should have gone at the end of the 2014/15 season. The 2014/15 season should have seen Liverpool at least consolidate their position in the elite of the Premier League top 4. After all hopes were high after the “oh so close” season before. The 2013/14 season was the nearest Liverpool had come to ending their League title drought.

We did finish runners-up to eventual champions Manchester City. However, we were red hot favourites to win as the season entered the latter stages. But a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea and a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace handed the initiative to Manchester City. Liverpool ended the season two points behind champions Manchester City.

The summer transfer activity saw Luis Suarez leave for Barcelona. The proceeds of this £75m sale went towards Liverpool’s £117m outlay on 10 new arrivals at Anfield. Not surprisingly, expectations were high as the new 2014/15 season commenced.

However, it did not take long for those expectations to implode. In the first 19 games, Liverpool only accumulated 26 points from a possible 57. This equalled our worst league start for 50 years. We also were eliminated from the Champions League at the first hurdle, finishing 3rd in their group.

Slight Improvement In The New Year

Despite the terrible form up to Christmas, we did recover after Christmas. The highlight being a 12-match unbeaten run. This raised hopes of a Champions League qualification. This turned out to be a false dawn as we ended the season poorly. We only won twice in our last eight games. This ended all hopes of Champions League qualification for the 2015/16 season. We did however seal Europa League qualification for 2015-2016 thanks to Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final.

We exited both domestic Cup tournaments at the semi final stage. Aston Villa beat us in the FA Cup at Wembley, while Chelsea put us out of the Capital One Cup.

This season also signalled the end of captain Steven Gerrard’s spell at the club. Thus ending his 17-year spell with the club. Gerrard’s final game was quite spectacular for all the wrong reasons for Liverpool. An emphatic 6-1 hammering from Stoke City ensured Gerrard’s swansong was not a happy one. The summer also saw Raheem Sterling being sold to Manchester City for £50m.

Onto the 2015/16 Season

There were many that thought Rodgers should have gone after the 6-1 mauling by Stoke. The club’s owners stuck by Rodgers however, so he was still at the helm when the 2015/16 season started. A fairly disastrous start to the however saw Rodgers pay the ultimate price. With the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Frank de Boer and Jurgen Klopp being available, the pressure on Rodgers was immense.

After the 2013/14 season it was such a shame to see Rodgers’ Liverpool career unravel. Clearly, losing Luis Suarez had a massive impact on events. Who wouldn’t miss such a talent. He was irreplaceable. Armed with the Suarez money, Rodgers didn’t spend wisely at it turned out. One major addition, Christian Benteke, turned out to be a bad move for both parties. The writing was on the wall for some time for Rodgers, so it was no surprise to see him go on this day 4th October 2015.

After a short spell out of the game, Rodgers is now manager at Glasgow Celtic.

 

On This Day 3rd October 2010

Not sure where you all stand on the fans rumblings about current boss Jurgen Klopp. For me, I think it is nonsense to hear some fans want him out. Each to their own opinion though. The thing is, if you are one of the fans looking for Klopp’s tenure to end, may I just say – be careful what you wish for!! On this day 3rd October 2010 was a very dark day for me as a Liverpool supporter. Not only me but also so many thousands more no doubt. What happened on this day 7 years ago?

On This Day 3rd October 2010

Liverpool 1, Blackpool 2. As soon as I typed that score I paused and reflected on that day. A shudder went down my spine. This result and this era was without one of our darkest hours in one of our darkest periods. The Kop that day was a very depressing place to be.

In this particular game, Roy Hodgson’s reign as Liverpool manager hit a spectacular new low. A 2-1 home defeat to Ian Holloway’s Blackpool was a shock to many, but on the face of it, not totally unexpected.

Soon to be Red, Charlie Adam, and Luke Varney gave the Seasiders a comfortable, half-time 2-0 lead. A late, 82nd minute Sotirios Kyrgiakos header at the Kop end gave us some hope. But it wasn’t to be. As chants of “Dalglish, Dalglish” echoed around the stadium, it was clear that the fans had decided what they wanted.

The day started badly and ended even worse. There were protests against American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett before and after the game.

Even through the abject disappointment, Liverpool’s fans still showed their sportsmanship by applauding Blackpool off the pitch after their deserved victory.

The loss put Liverpool in the relegation places as we entered the international break. What a long two weeks that was.

For those that can stomach it, here are the highlights of that very disappointing game……

Roy Hodgson

This game was another step along the beginning of the end for Hodgson. Virtually every game he would build up our opponents to the extent we thought we were playing Real Madrid every week. No disrespect to Northampton Town, but even Northampton. It was no surprise that they dumped us out of the League Cup that season at Anfield.

There didn’t ever seem any disappointment in defeat for our beleaguered boss. That doesn’t seem to only apply to his spell with us, but at every post he has had. Did anyone notice his beaming smile as he shook hands with Mourinho after Man Utd battered his Crystal Palace side 4-0 a few days ago. Do Palace fans want to see this? Being sporting is one thing, but at least show some passion for your own team now and then and look disappointed after you’ve lost.

So, as we have already said, remember this “On This Day 3rd October 2010” post next time you feel about venting your frustrations against our current boss. This was without doubt a bleak day. Look how far we have come forward since then. Have faith in Klopp. He will get us to where we want us to be if we show patience.

Liverpool Again Dominate But Fail To Win

Well what can we say. Do we post details of the match against Newcastle at St James Park? Or do we copy and paste the details from the Spartak game, the Burnley game, Leicester game etc. If you didn’t know already, yesterday we saw Liverpool again dominate but fail to win. Sounds so familiar doesn’t it.

The build up to the match was not unsurprisingly dominated by the reunion between Liverpool and Rafa Benitez. Revered by both sets of fans, the day must have been a very emotional one for the popular Spaniard. For his part Rafa showed his class by making Margaret Aspinall (Hillsborough Family Support Group) his guest of honour. This is a true measure of the man. No wonder he still holds legendary status with Liverpool fans.

But what of the game itself?

Liverpool Again Dominate But Fail To Win

The statistics are so familiar. Liverpool with 68% possession, 17 shots compared to Newcastle’s 8 and 5 corners to Newcastle’s 1. Clear cut chances that should have been buried and so many excellent crossing positions wasted. It’s been said before on this website in an earlier match review, but again it’s Groundhog Day.

Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead on 29 minutes with a trademark, brilliant 25 yard screamer. As is so often the case though, instead of consolidating their position, Liverpool were still going gung-ho in search of a second. Only seven minutes after Coutinho’s brilliant opener, Liverpool imploded. The goal itself seemed to encapsulate all if Liverpool’s weaknesses in a matter of seconds.

Liverpool’s Weaknesses Exploited Again

Instead of managing the game out and looking to get to half time one goal to the good, Liverpool bombed forward in numbers yet again. Both full backs were in the oppositions half as ex-Red, Jonjo Shelvey got on the ball about 20 yards inside the Newcastle half. No-one in a Red shirt put any pressure on him. Shelvey, with all the time in the world, stroked a forward aiming for the gap between our two centre backs. Not for the first time this season, a seemingly simple through ball to be dealt with caused mayhem. Newcastle striker, Joselu, latched onto the ball and bore down on Liverpool’s goal. In truth, Joselu is not blessed with blistering pace so even though he got on the ball when he shouldn’t have got a sniff, he still had plenty to do.

As he approached Liverpool’s penalty area, Joel Matip had caught him and managed to get a challenge in just as Joselu entered the area. Liverpool keeper, Simon Mignolet, had already advanced off his line. Did he really need to be so far advanced seeing that Matip had already caught up with the attacker? The resulting Matip challenge only succeeded in knocking the ball against Joselu’s shin and ricocheting beyond Mignolet. Agonisingly, the ball slowly rolled to the bottom right hand corner of Liverpool’s goal. Newcastle’s first meaningful attack, 1-1. Sound familiar?

All Our Defensive Weaknesses In That One Move

So many things seemed to go wrong in this little passage of play. Did we need to yet again just leave two at the back, so high up? Given that the two centre backs are not known to be particularly good on 1v1 situations, should we have been so high up the pitch? Why didn’t anyone pressure Shelvey? Did Mignolet need to come so far off his line? Also, given that Lovren and Matip were level when the ball reached the ponderously paced Joselu, where was Lovren after the ball bounced off Joselu’s shin and rolled towards the Liverpool line? If Matip made it back to challenge Joselu, why didn’t Lovren make it back to clear the ricochet?

Missed Chances

Even though the Newcastle was unavoidable it should have only been a consolation. Yet again, Liverpool carved out several chances that should have put the game to bed. After the virtually anonymous Gini Wijnaldum headed against the post from a corner, both Lovren and Mane failed to convert easy looking chances from the ensuing melee.

On the 50th minute, Daniel Sturridge should have done better than rap Newcastle keeper, Rob Elliot’s legs when presented with a one on one. As the ball rebounded from Elliot’s legs, Mohamed Salah had the seemingly simple task of stroking the ball into an empty net. Instead he ballooned the ball over.

In the last minute a great ball in from the improving Alberto Moreno, found late substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the far post. A simple looking header was again unfortunately wasted.

Still, Liverpool almost managed to throw it all away when yet again shocking defending from a corner almost presented Newcastle with an underserved, injury time winner.

What’s The Answer

Like it or not, we are stuck with this squad until January. If though in January we are linked with another attacking midfielder, I will scream. It is now apparent that Liverpool’s summer transfer dealings were inadequate. Credit to Jurgen Klopp in saying that he would work with what he got when he first arrived almost two years ago. He stated that he was happy with his squad at that time. He does have a fantastic reputation in getting the best out of his players. But having said that, after four transfer windows, we still have not resolved the glaringly obvious weaknesses in the team. Trying to get the best out of what we have has not worked. This should have been abundantly clear at the end of last season.

To enter this season with only the one upgrade (Mohamed Salah) on last season’s starting line-up is a bad error of judgment. All of our main rivals have upgraded on what they had. And, noticeably, all of them have strong spines running through the team. The spine of our team is woefully weak. We need a top class goalkeeper (we may already have him at the Club in Danny Ward), and commanding, leader of a centre back (is there a Plan B for Virgil Van Dijk? Toby Alderweireld anyone?). Also, we need and have needed a dominant holding midfield player for some time. The combination of Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum does not work defensively.

In the short term I’d give Milner some more playing time. And what about Marko Grujic? Is he still not ready for first team duty? If not what’s he still doing at the Club? The midfielder to be sacrificed for a more defensive minded alternative? Choose any one of them. For me, neither one of them do enough for me. It looks like it’s going to be a long wait until January.

The Highlights

You can see the highlights and the Match Of The Day analysis of another episode of Liverpool again dominate but fail to win below……

Let us hope this is the last time we say Liverpool again dominate but fail to win this season. Someone, someday are due to get a right hiding. Let’s hope it’s Man Utd and Tottenham in our next two games. Don’t hold your breath though.

Another Nail In Football’s Coffin

Another Nail In Football’s Coffin

If, as expected, the Premier League fixture away at Arsenal is switched to a 4pm kick off on Christmas Eve then this would represent another nail in football’s coffin as far as we are concerned. Sky will have hammered another blow to all those fans that take the trouble to travel to games.

Before the armchair fans register their disagreement, let’s all consider the match going fans (for once!!!). How much longer will fans put up with this. It is not just Liverpool fans though. Let’s be clear about that. Fans of all Premier League clubs, Championship clubs and Scottish Premier clubs in the UK are also affected. Yes, clubs in other European countries are also affected, but let’s concentrate on what’s on our doorstep.

It is probably a silly question to ask if you think the Premier League and Sky have remotely considered match going fans. Of course they haven’t. Have they thought of the logistics of Liverpool fans travelling back to Merseyside after the games finished at about 6pm? Are Sky bothered if these fans cannot start their Christmas festivities with their families when everyone else does? Again, of course they don’t.

As already stated, this does not only affect Liverpool. But as this is a Liverpool Blog then we are reporting it from a Liverpool perspective. If fans of other clubs are reading this, then feel free to join in. On this occasion, especially you Arsenal fans. Arsenal, as well as Liverpool, have fans that travel from all over the globe to watch them.

When the fixtures first came out, so many fans will have planned their trips to fit in with the original date of 3pm, 23rd December. Are the Premier League and Sky bothered by this disruption? Again, of course they’re not.

Another Nail In Football’s Coffin

It’s not all the Premier League’s and Sky’s fault though. Many match going fans said back in 1992 that our clubs had sold their souls to the Devil. Other TV companies are guilty, but Sky are the main offenders. As an example, the BBC are just as bad, but on a smaller scale. Not so long ago – 2015/16 season – Liverpool were drawn away to Exeter in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Well that’s not so bad for a Saturday 3pm kick-off. Oh, hang on, the game wasn’t played then. It was moved to the Friday night, 8th January.

As Liverpool fans frantically checked the travel itineraries, what did they find? Well, the last train leaving Exeter for Liverpool was scheduled for just before 9pm. Fancy watching the first half only anyone? To rub salt in the wounds, this train journey included 3 changes. Not to worry though, it would only take 10 hours and 45 minutes to get home!! Just in time to grab a breakfast bacon buttie at a Lime Street cafe before finally heading home.

2005/06 Season

Liverpool were drawn away to Luton Town in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Please don’t put us on the TV….please don’t put us on the TV!! But they did. A Saturday evening kick off ensuring again that Liverpool fans weren’t getting until the early hours of the next day.

Portsmouth 1 Liverpool 2. Steven Gerrard Scoring A Penalty

Portsmouth 1 Liverpool 2. Steven Gerrard Scoring A Penalty

In the next round, Liverpool were drawn away to Portsmouth. Surely the TV companies would not be so callous again and ask, sorry…TELL us, to play at a ridiculous time!! Yep, you guessed it, they sure did. But only worse this time. This was a Sunday evening kick off. You know, that day in the week when access to public transport was so much more scarce than other days.

The Clubs Are As Bad

Of course the TV companies would not be able to suggest….sorry, TELL us about these ridiculous kick off times if our clubs weren’t complicit. I remember only too well our first moans about a silly kick off time. It was in the 1994/95 League Cup Final against Bolton. Two teams from the North West of England were to play at Wembley in London….late on a Sunday afternoon!! Fortunately we won (the Steve McManaman Final) 2-0, so it softened the blow of the horrible journey back. You could only feel sorry for the Bolton fans though. The trip home was awful. Still, we thought, we’d put up with it if it was to be one-off. How wrong we were. I seem to recall that Roy Evans (Liverpool manager at the time) making some gesture comment at the time on behalf of the fans. Too little, too late.

Back To Today

Sadly for many fans, TV football is not only here to stay, but it seems the requests….sorry, the DEMANDS, from the TV companies to play at silly times are going to escalate. I have long said that if the TV companies asked us, sorry TOLD us, to play Everton at midnight on the moon in the middle of June, the club would make a muted attempt at some sort of protest. But then, after seeing all the extra ‘000’s at the end of the cheque they would back down. Comments along the lines, “our fans are the best in the world. They would travel anywhere in their numbers to follow us”. In other words, shut up fans and get on with it.

What’s The Solution?

Of course TV football is here to stay, let’s make that clear. And of course we are not advocating that it shouldn’t be. But, even though we match going fans think it has already got well out of hand, all we are asking is some recognition of those that travel to games. I’ve lost count of the times weekend plans have had to be rescheduled as a result of TV fixture changes.

How long will it be before fans say, “we’ve had enough”. Clearly, this has already started to happen to some degree. You only have to look at FA Cup and League Cup attendances at some of the Premier League grounds to see this. Even some of the Champions League and Europa League games don’t sell out. But again, are the TV companies bothered about it? Yet again, of course they’re not. But they should be. And so should the clubs. Even more so.

This is a heartfelt plea to the clubs and the TV companies. Please give something back to the bread and butter match going fans. At least meet them halfway in some instances. Hands up anyone if they wouldn’t be bothered if there wasn’t a 4pm match on Christmas Eve? We are sure fans everywhere wouldn’t mind not seeing a match then. Particularly as Sky absolutely batter football over the Christmas period.

So, come on Sky and OUR CLUBS…..make a stand for the real fans every now and then.

Over To The Fans

What do you reckon fans? Not just Liverpool fans, but all fans. Should there be a getting together of Supporters Clubs, the Clubs themselves and the TV companies. If this is not feasible, what next? Fans to boycott games? Petitions raised to show the levels of discontent. Over to you fans. What do we need to do to prevent another nail in football’s coffin?

Please share with your own friends and let us all come together on this.

Another Nail In Football’s Coffin has been brought to you by “Fields Of Anfield Road”

Reds Held To A Draw In Moscow

The Reds held to a draw in Moscow. Was this a good point or two points dropped? On the face of it, it looks like two dropped. Total dominance again – 64% to 36%. Sixteen shots to Spartak’s three. The statistics of the game make for all too familiar reading. All we can hope for is that when everything clicks, somebody is in for a good hiding.

The same question marks surfaced again for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. Although the defence could not be criticised, the goalkeeper on the night, Loris Karius could be. It is puzzling that Klopp has decided to rotate his goalkeepers for the Champions League. If there was an area of the pitch that needs consistency more than anywhere else, then its at the back. It is so important to have a steady, consistent back five. To keep chopping and changing the back five surely means that understandings are not what they should be. Communications must also suffer.

Reds Held To A Draw In Moscow

In the 23rd minute Spartak went ahead against the run of play. Emre Can was caught in possession inside his own half. As a result Coutinho conceded a free-kick outside the area. Fernando curled the set-piece over the wall easily avoiding Karius. The effort did not find the corner, so arguably Karius could have done more.

Much was expected of Liverpool with us fielding the “Fab Four” – forwards Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Coutinho – in the same game for the first time this season. It was the latter two who combined for Coutinho’s superbly finished equaliser.

After that, despite almost total Liverpool dominance, Firmino, Mane and substitute Daniel Sturridge spurned good chances. Consequently, we were forced to settle for a second successive draw in Group E.

Two games in and Liverpool sit two points behind Sevilla. As expected, they beat Maribor. The score being  3-0 to the hosts.

As Jurgen Klopp said, “To create all those chances and only score one goal feels average. It was a crazy game.

“What can I say? We created, created and created. Where is the real point for criticism? We tried with all we had. The effort was great.”

It seems that Klopp is getting increasingly more frustrated with the all too familiar ways in which matches are unfolding. Welcome to our world Jurgen!!

Reds Still Toothless Despite ‘Fab Four’

Like in so many other games this season, Liverpool were the better side throughout. The Spartak goal was under siege for most of the game. We are normally talking about the failures of the defence after such a result and performance. To be fair though, the failure to win a game had nothing to do with the defence.

Sadio Mane came back from his three-match suspension, so Klopp chose to start with his four most potent attacking options. Strangely, Klopp decided to withdraw Mane when he was clearly offering a greater threat than others. Bobby Firmino for example. Chance after chance was spurned and questions are being asked as to whether Bobby Firmino is the man to deliver us goals on a regular basis.

All pie in the sky obviously, but just imagine if we still had Luis Suarez!! All defensive and goalkeeping brain farts could be consigned to after thought comments in the pub after the game. It is hard to imagine that we would fail to put teams away with our mercurial Luis on the end of all those chances. Still, he isn’t here so we have to make do with the striking options we currently have. We can still dream though.

A disappointing result but another encouraging attacking performance. It may not be beyond the realms of possibility to state that when everything clicks, somebody is in for a good hiding. Let’s hope so.

Spartak Moscow 1, Liverpool 1 – The Goals

You can catch the goals from the match here as the Reds Held To A Draw In Moscow