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!! Read More…


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.  Read More…


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.  Read More…

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.  Read More…

Happy Birthday Ronnie Whelan

Happy Birthday Ronnie Whelan.

Today, the 25th September is Liverpool legend, Ronnie Whelan’s 56th birthday.

Ronald Andrew “Ronnie” Whelan is also a former Irish international. For those old enough to remember him he was an integral part of the dominant Liverpool side of the 1980s. He enjoyed a trophy laden spell at the club from 1979 to 1994. Liverpool’s official website conducted a poll entitled “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”. A 110,000 Liverpool fans voted and Ronnie Whelan was in 30th position. That is how highly rated Ronnie was.

After his Liverpool career ended, Whelan finished his career at Southend United as a player initially, then as player-manager. He has also managed in Cyprus and Greece, with Panionios, Olympiakos Nicosia and Apollon Limassol.

Whelan played for Ireland at one Euro Championship tournament in 1988 and two World Cups (1990 and 1994). Whelan represented Ireland on 53 occasions between 1981 and 1995.

Liverpool fans will well remember for his incredible work rate and all the unselfish work he did for the team. In addition he will always remain a fans favourite for his crucial goal input. In particular he will be well remembered for his two goals in the 3-1 League Cup Final win against Tottenham in 1982. But even more so for his winner against Manchester United in the League Cup Final a year later.

Ronnie Whelan not only played for Liverpool but he also captained the team. When Alan Hansen was injured in the 1988/89 season, Ronnie took over as captain.

An often underrated player, Ronnie Whelan’s trophy haul was very impressive.

Ronnie Whelan And His Medals

His Liverpool success was very impressive:

First Division Winners Medals – (6) – 1981/82; 1982/83; 1983/84; 1985/86; 1987/88 and 1989/90

FA Cup Winners Medals – (2) – 1985/86 and 1988/89

League Cup Winners Medals – (3) – 1981/82; 1982/83 and 1983/84

Super Cup Winners Medal – (1) – 1986/87

FA Charity Shield – (5) – 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990

European Cup – (1) – 1983/84

Watch this tribute to Ronnie Whelan in this “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”

Ronnie Whelan – a true Liverpool legend. Thanks for the memories Ronnie and a Happy Birthday to you.

Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller

How many times have we said “Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller” in recent years?

Just to confirm, the score was Leicester 2, Liverpool 3. Or should that read Mr Hyde 2, Dr Jekyll 3. Make no mistake, this was another Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Reds. Fabulous football on so many occasions during the game. But then, looking so fragile at the back on so many others.

For the neutrals, so many games involving Liverpool are like footballing gold. So much to see, end to end football, goals aplenty, incidents galore….you name it. Liverpool games are very rarely dull. Mind you though the excitement isn’t only down to Liverpool. It takes two to Tango as they say. Or, quite often, it has been three parties involved in the drama unfolding on the pitch. Liverpool, their opponents and the match officials.

As many Liverpool fans will testify however, we would rather not be the neutral fan’s footballing elixir. The nerves are constantly jangling during these type of games. How many of us are old enough to remember watching the early days of Doctor Who on a Saturday evening? Whenever the Daleks were on many viewers would hold a cushion up to cover their eyes, or hide behind the settee. At times watching Liverpool is a bit like this. Especially when our opponents get a set piece.

So, what of the game itself.

Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller

Four days earlier, The Foxes won 2-0 in the Carabao Cup third-round meeting on Tuesday. However, the Reds were determined to exact revenge in this return fixture. And exact revenge they did.

So much was said about Philippe Coutinho’s “will, won’t he” move to Barcelona in the summer. This game epitomised why Liverpool fought so hard to keep him. As well as scoring a trademark brilliant free-kick, Coutinho also set up Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s first. All in all his contribution throughout was immense. Does Liverpool’s season start here?

At 2-0 up, Liverpool seemed to be coasting. But, not for the first time, the Reds were undone by a set piece. Just before the break, Shinji Okazaki (who also scored in the Carabao Cup-Tie) prodded home from close range. This strike served to give Leicester hope for a second half onslaught. His goal however was touched with some controversy. Was Vardy fouled in the first place by Matip? From the resulting free-kick, Simon Mignolet pulled off a stunning save to deny Vardy. When the corner came in, did Okazaki foul Mignolet before poking home?

Second Half Drama

Instead of coming out for the second half in the commanding position of a two goal lead, Liverpool knew the second half took on a totally different complexion after Okazaki’s goal.a frantic five-minute spell in the second half saw the balance of the game fluctuate dramatically.

A particular five minute spell in the second half saw the game fluctuate considerably.

In the 68th minute Jordan Henderson netted from a quality Liverpool counter attack. This made the score 3-1 and seemingly seemed to secure the points. However, a minute later Leicester responded when Vardy stooped to head into an empty net. Simon Mignolet only managed to push Demarai Gray’s shot into his path and Vardy did the rest.

Many of the doomsayers on the forums were so quick to blame Mignolet. But these same doomsayers never have anything good to say about anyone or anything connected to the Club. So, if I were you I wouldn’t take too much notice of those. Visit the forums and you will soon see who the permanent doomsayers are.

For me, the biggest problem was the amount of room given to Gray in the first place. Mignolet’s subsequent save was an instinctive one. The ball could have gone anywhere. Unfortunately it fell to Vardy.

 

A few minutes later, Vardy then earned a penalty when he was brought down by Mignolet. Fair do’s to Mignolet though, he did his homework. The Belgian brilliantly kept out the England striker’s spot-kick as he followed his usual tactic of going straight down the middle.

Mignolet Decision Making

There may have been a case for Mignolet to get a red card when he brought Vardy down. What was more puzzling for me however was why didn’t Mignolet dive on the ball and smother it instead of trying to kick it away. The ball played through was from a Leicester boot so he could have picked it up. Strange decision to try and kick it I thought.

Liverpool Survive Leicester’s Search For Equaliser

From then on to the end of the game, Liverpool did have to survive a few further scares. They held on however for a timely victory after a poor run of form. The much needed win moved Jurgen Klopp’s side up to fifth in the table.

Leicester however remain just above the relegation zone with only the one win and one draw from their opening seven matches.

Coutinho’s Return To Form

There were so many Liverpool fans who were resigned to not seeing Coutinho in a red shirt again. His untimely transfer request seemed that he was heading out of the Club. The request did not endear him to the fans either.

Luckily for Liverpool fans, the Club would not agree to a move at any price. On this, his second Premier League start of the season, he showed the crucial role he still has to play for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

He was again a constant threat to Leicester. It was his deep cross from the edge of the box that enabled summer signing Salah to head in at the far post.

A few minutes later, Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel had no chance of stopping the Brazilian’s brilliant free-kick. Coutinho bent it beautifully around the wall and into the corner of the net.

It was hoped that Coutinho’s excellent first-half performance would be the main talking point at half time. However, as so often in the past, a Liverpool team that struggles to defend with any conviction, there was even more drama to follow.

Liverpool Hold On For Much Needed Victory

Dropping points from a winning position has become worryingly familiar for Liverpool. Before this game, Liverpool had lost an incredible 20 points from winning positions since the start of last season. In addition we were playing against one of the constant thorns in our side over recent years – Jamie Vardy.

In the last four games, the England striker has scored six goals against our porous defence. If his penalty had been converted he would have arguably become Liverpool’s biggest bogeyman. Maybe he is already.

Another breathless game involving Liverpool. As this article heading says, “Liverpool Win Five Goal Thriller” How many more times will see this headline this season?

Here is how the Match Of The day pundits analysed the game…..not sure about the rest of you but I think Danny Murphy is an excellent pundit.

Whats In Reserve

Going to first team matches enables fans to see at first hand the talent available to Jurgen Klopp. But beneath the first XI, whats in reserve?

Are there any budding Sadio Mane’s or Adam Lallana’s? Do we have any up and coming centre backs capable of challenging current incumbents, Matip, Klavan and Lovren?

Liverpool 4, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Last night provided me the opportunity to see at first hand exactly what’s in reserve. Being fortunate enough to get a Main Stand ticket for the game we took our places for the 7pm kick off. On paper fielded a strong looking line up. The starting XI included the likes of Ben Woodburn, Lazar Markovic and Marko Grujic. For Woodburn and Grujic in particular it must have been a big disappoint to be involved last night. As they were both involved on Tuesday in the League Cup tie at Leicester they may have been hoping to be involved with the first XI today as well.

Sadly for them, this was not the case.

Line Up

Liverpool’s starting line up for the fixture was: Kelleher; Virtue; Whelan (captain); Phillips; Jones; Grujic; Wilson; Woodburn; Brewster; Ejaria; Markovic

The game got off to a flying start for Liverpool as Harry Wilson headed them into the lead within the first 30 seconds. Not great defending from Spurs presented Wilson with the opportunity. A nicely cushioned header over keeper, Brandon Austin did the rest.

Soon after, Wilson notched his second. A good ball over the top from centre-half Lloyd Jones reached Lazar Markovic. He shielded the ball well before laying it off to Wilson for a simple, right-footed finish. Mind you we say simple and for all intents and purposes it may have looked a cool finish. But as it was right foot, it may also have been a “swinger”. With regard to the assist from Markovic, this was his only telling contribution really. Disappointing for him as this was a great opportunity to stake a claim and get himself noticed. He was subsequently substituted mid way in the second half.

After Wilson’s quickfire two early goals however, Liverpool’s youngsters took their foot off the gas. From looking out of it, Spurs were thrown a lifeline.

For their first goal, Jones gave away a debatable penalty. Nevertheless, it was coolly dispatched by Marcus Edwards. Not long after, centre back Maghoma, atoned for his earlier part in Wilson’s first goal by finishing with some style. His wonderful finish in the top corner came after Liverpool failed to clear a Spurs corner. Failure to clear a corner? Ring any bells?

The Harry Wilson Show

Liverpool however were not to be denied a half-time lead. Not unsurprisingly, it was Wilson who popped up on the stroke of half-time to the finishing touch to some great build up play. A perfect hat trick – header, right foot and left foot. Wilson is a remarkable talent in and around the opposition’s penalty area.

He is so cool when finishing and is always looking to get himself into goalscoring positions. He doesn’t seem to be the quickest of players but he is certainly a very clever player. Is he ready for the first team? Some would say that he gets brushed off the ball a bit too easily.

There wasn’t really much evidence of that on this occasion however. With a record of 33 goals and 17 assists in his last 43 games, can Jurgen Klopp continue to ignore him for the first team squad? On this showing, probably not for too long.

Scrappy Second Half

The second-half didn’t start too good for Tottenham either.

A few minutes after kick off, Brewster was through onto another simple ball over the top from Jones. On this occasion he easily lobbed the out rushing Austin to put the game to bed. This fine finish atoned for a couple of seemingly easier chances Brewster missed earlier. One of which that came back off the woodwork.

The rest of the second-half was quite a scrappy affair. Both sides were wasteful with the ball. But as far as Liverpool were concerned, it was job done already.

At the final whistle Liverpool had earned a comfortable win. This win of course was largely in part to the cool finishing of an in-form Harry Wilson. But apart from Wilson, who else shone? And who didn’t?

Whats In Reserve?

As already mentioned, Markovic had the chance to impress but in the main he didn’t.

Others with first team experience, Woodburn and Grujic worked hard but only really flitted in and out of the game. A stand out player though was another youngster who has made the first team bench. As well as taking his goal well, Brewster was a constant threat all game. He could, probably should, have finished with a hat trick himself. Full of running, looking to get past players, pacy and linking up well. Brewster also looks a definite to be involved with the first team before too long.

Ovie Ejaria also looked the part at times. Big, strong, good on the ball. Maybe needs to get more involved at times though.

Particularly impressive in the first 30 minutes or so was Nathaniel Phillips at centre back. He looked dominant, cool on the ball and was always looking to pick a pass. However, he did seem to lose his way a bit in the second half though. A second half lunging tackle also saw him find his way into the referee’s book.

In the end though, hat-trick hero Wilson stole the show. This hat trick was the second of the season for him. Maybe the biggest stumbling block for him, Woodburn and Brewster is the wealth of attacking options ahead of them in the first team squad. Don’t forget either two other attacking options currently out on loan – Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Kent.

In Conclusion

In terms of attacking possibilities there seems to be a conveyor belt of potential talent coming through. Let’s hope all, or at least some of them, manage to step up to the first team scene. So in answer to the question of whats in reserve? Quite a lot actually.

The win by the way maintained Liverpool’s 100% start to the campaign. Six games, six wins.

Not a bad attendance either last night. On a final note, the half-time hot soup and sandwiches were spot on. Very well received and enjoyed.

 

Groundhog Day Yet Again

We were only commenting on a Groundhog Day a few days ago after our 1-1 draw with Burnley. Would we learn from the mistakes from the Burnley game….the Sevilla game…..etc….etc? Well, we didn’t have long to find out the answer to that did we. You will know by now that the answer is, no we haven’t. Last night’s performance against Leicester in our 2-0 defeat was at times brilliant, at times shambolic. Sound familiar?

Leicester 2, Liverpool 0

Fans would not necessarily say this result was expected, but also they would most certainly say it wasn’t unexpected either. Liverpool yet again imploded at the first sign of threat to their goal after dominating for almost an hour. The first half in fact was so one-way traffic you couldn’t see how Leicester could survive the half. But, like so many before them, survive they did. And not only that, they prospered after after the break with their first meaningful spell of pressure. If you could call it that.

It has been said so many times on so many platforms, but let’s say it again here. We cannot defend!!! It is so easy for teams to score against us. Not only top drawer teams but also the so called lesser teams. No disrespect to Watford, Burnley and Leicester (not to mention a not as strong as previous seasons Sevilla), but 6 goals conceded against the “not so elite” points to one thing. We are not good enough.

Is it really worth singling out certain players for criticism? We don’t think so. Reading some of the forums last night was depressing reading. So many players were slaughtered on them. Last night we were collectively inept at the things we are notoriously bad at. Against Burnley we were collectively inept at what we are bad at. Against Watford we were collectively inept at what we are bad at. Follow the picture. The personnel change but the same problems keep surfacing. Why is that?

Slimani’s Belter

Of the two Leicester goals, the second was a belter that no keeper could save. But, how did Slimani manage to get away from 5 Liverpool defenders from an innocuous looking throw in on the halfway line? After enjoying 70% possession and amassing 21 shots you would normally expect to get something from the game, especially as an away side. But no, not this Liverpool. No matter where we play, at home or away, many of our opponents will play like the away side and let us have possession waiting for those few occasions when they can get at our fragile, unprotected back line.

We have the same opponents away again on Saturday but in a League encounter this time. What are the chances of another Groundhog Day? We certainly hope not but don’t hold your breath.

Here are the highlights from last night….if you can stomach it…..

On This Day – 18th September 1991

What happened on this day in earlier years?

The 18th September 1991 saw Liverpool return to the European stage after their post Heysel ban. We all know what happened at the Heysel Stadium in 1985. A tragic disaster that saw English clubs banned from European competitions until the 1990/91 season for all clubs apart from Liverpool. Liverpool’s ban was to an extra three years but this was reduced to one extra year, so the 1991/92 season was the first chance that Liverpool had of entering European competition.

18th September 1991

Liverpool’s exile from European competition ended on this day in 1991. They returned in style with an emphatic 6-1 victory over the Finnish side Kuusysi Lahti. Liverpool put in a stylish performance to mark their first UEFA Cup appearance for six years. Two goals from Ray Houghton and a four goal, class act from Dean Saunders. Still early days for Saunders in his Liverpool career but he certainly arrived on the European scene with a bang. His four goals saw the Finnish side well and truly beaten.

A great start but Liverpool’s interest in the competition ended at the Quarter Final stage when they lost to Italian side, Genoa.

A great night for Saunders and a great start to Liverpool’s European campaign. You can see highlights here…..

Do We Need A Specialist Defensive Coach?

The 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday (16/09/17) provided us with yet more examples of poor defensive play. On the way out of the ground I mentioned that the game was another Groundhog Day. Total domination in terms of possession, corners and shots but yet again we do not get what we deserve – maximum points. We had 70%+ possession, 35 shots to their 5 and 12 corners to their 2 but still only 1 point.

The Burnley defence in contrast looked assured, composed and solid. One illustration of the differences between the two defences can be summed up by the corner count. Our 12 corners again did not muster one chance or half chance on goal. Was that because of poor delivery, poor movement or good defending? Or maybe, a combination of some or all of the 3 factors. Burnley’s two corners however caused mayhem in our defence.

Their first corner came in the 78th or 79th minute. And let’s not forget how it came about. Burnley had a throw in on their right hand side attacking the Kop end. As the long throw came in, only two players challenged for the ball….and they were both in red shirts!! Emre Can was clearly stretching for the ball. Ragnar Klavan was better placed behind him and could have cleared his lines comfortably. However, he either didn’t call, or if he did, Can ignored or didn’t hear him!! Did Mignolet command the situation? It would appear not. Can proceeded to head a simple ball out for a corner. Cue panic stations in our penalty area and in the stands.

Terrible Defending From Corners – Again

The resulting corner came in and Ben Mee, the Burnley centre-back who had played so well defensively at the heart of the Burnley defence, was afforded a free header. He thought he had scored until Joel Matip popped up on the line to head over. A close call and lesson learned. Not quite. The next corner, aimed towards the same far post area was met by….yes, you guessed it, Ben Mee. Another free header but this time Simon Mignolet pulled off a decent save to keep us in with a shout for a point.

Absolutely awful defending and another example of a long running problem we seem to have had for several years it would appear.

It does beg the question if they do practice corners in training. On the face of it, it looks as though maybe there is not too much time spent on this phase of play.

Specialist Defensive Coach

Do we have one? I’m not aware that we do. If so, who is it? If, as suspected we don’t, then it may be time that we did look at this area of concern. And as quick as we can as well. But who do we look to turn to for this specialist role? One name automatically springs to mind. He is not only a coach, but is also a Reds legend. So many boxes ticked as he knows the club and he knows the Premier League so well. I am of course talking about Sami Hyypia. Now, to be fair, Hyypia’s stint as a manager has not been brilliant to say the least. He failed at Bayern Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, Brighton in the Championship and at FC Zurich in the Swiss Super League. All posts ended with him being relieved from his duties.

That being said, that doesn’t mean he would fail at being a specialist defensive coach. He may not have succeeded as a Head Coach, but if he was only dedicated to what he knows best – defending, then he may be exactly what we are looking for. Also, as he chipped in with 35 goals in his spell at Liverpool, he may also be able to offer opinions on our corner techniques at the other end of the pitch.

Another good reason to consider him is that he would join another Reds legend, Steven Gerrard, on the coaching staff at Liverpool.

If he is not considered an option then surely there must be somebody else that can come in and assist. Jamie Carragher anyone?

We can talk long and hard about missed chances at the other end and of course that is something else we need to address. But for many sides, two goals at home to a very average looking Sevilla and one at home to Burnley, would be enough to assure a victory.

Manchester Clubs

Much as it pains us to say, just take a look at both of the Manchester clubs. As impressive as their goals for record is looking, just as impressive is their goals against column. Not only a hatful of goals scored, but clean sheets as well. It seems that in most situations if either Manchester City or Manchester United score first then it is invariably game over. We used to be like that under Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houllier. So strong at the back. While we are in no way advocating for a managerial change, we are very concerned at how fragile we look at the back. Surely we can’t rely on outscoring teams in every match no matter how dominant we are.

Not Only The Back Four

It may seem that the only area of concern is the back four (or back 3 or 5 as the case may be). This may seem to be the case in that we mentioned Big Sami and the examples above. But, it is not only our back four. As bad as it is at times, there is often so little protection provided by the midfield. So many see the signing of Virgil Van Dijk as being the sole answer. But even if we had a commanding centre back like Van Dijk, our style of play would still leave our centre backs exposed two against two on many occasions, but at least a really good one v one centre back and a good organiser (like Van Dijk) would go some way to solving our defensive woes.

One thing is certain however, we need to do something and do something quickly before the season goes pear shaped. For me and others that sit by me on the Kop our back four should be Gomez plus 3 others. A lot of pressure to put on young shoulders but so far, he has shown to be more than capable. If Clyne was fit my preferred back four, before we buy anyone in January or next summer, would be Clyne, Gomez, Matip and Robertson.

Hopefully we will put this right very soon and we can spend more time speaking about how exciting we are going forward and the amount of goals we are scoring.