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Frank has been a member since July 9th 2008, and has created 6628 posts from scratch.

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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Maybe having one eye on the match at third-placed Tottenham on Sunday, Salah, Firmino and Wijnaldum were withdrawn in the second half.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

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.