Sunday, December 31, 2006

3 point lane

What a huge result? We really needed to get something away after our poor result in Ewood park against Blackburn. I must admit that I feared a draw beforehand. On the day we didn't play great but we got the result. Compared to the Blackburn match, we didn't create half as many chances and weren't as cominent. But where we didn't finish and had no luck at Ewood, we rode our luck somewhat in trecherous conditions against Spurs.

Luis Garcia popped up to get the vital touch for the goal. He is great at getting into the box to pounch on rebounds and loose balls. He was unlucky with a header and a spectacular overhead attempt in the second half which Robinson saved. Garcia has his critics and does have terrible games some days. But on days like today he can prove invaluable when he pops up with a match winning goal.

We have Bolton paying a visit to Anfield tomorrow on New years day. It's a great oppertunity for us to get revenge for the 2-0 beating that they gave us at the Reebok. We were fairly poor that day but we're playing much better now and are at home this time. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sami start this one. He is our best player in the air and we will probably need him to try and counter their threat at set pieces.

On the side note that is the title race, I think that Jose looked rattled after Fulham. I now fear that Utd might actually win the league. There is a lot of games and points to go but Chelsea are really missing Terry and Cech at the moment and they're leaking loads of goals. I'm hoping that this is still the case on 20th January when they visit Anfield. I have no love for Chelsea but I would prefer them to win the league to Utd. My axis of evil is Utd, Everton, Chelsea in that order.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A tale of our profligacy

If ever there was a match that we should have won, this was it. We created numerous chances to finish blackburn off but we were unable to take them. Blackburn improved after the break and got the goal they deserved. Crouch could and should have had a hat trick. Friedal was superb and was rightly voted man of the match. We were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice through Bellamy and Alonso and Bellamy should have had a peno when Lily Savage pulled him back. But the bottom line is that we didn't take any of our numerous chances and blackburn made us pay.

The spotlight has fallen on Crouch since his lack of finishing on Stephens day. He hasn't played half as many games this year as last year when he was the number one striker. Kuyt and Bellamy are the first choice parntership in Rafa's eyes and I think that he's right. They look to be forming a clever and complimentary understanding. This doens't mean that there is a role for Crouch. He'll get his share of games and subs but he isn't an automatic choice now, as he was last year. I hope that he stays at the club. There is some talk of Newcastle bidding £12m for him but I think that's unlikely.

Spurs away is up next. I don't think that this will be easy and I wouldn't be surprised if we drew. Our away record is still quite poor and I would expect spurs to be strong at home. Defoe is on a fairly good run at the moment and he will give us problems if Sami plays.

Only three days until the transfer window opens. You can expect the roumer mill to go into overdrive especially if our investment deal is finalised anytime soon. I don't think that we'll make any huge signings beyond Lucas Neil. Perhaps the likes of James McCarthy at Hamilton Academical or some other youngsters like Astrit Ajdarevic, a 16 year old midfielder at Falkenberg.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hornets stung

Another workmanlike performance in our victory over Watford. We didn't sparkle but could have won by a lot more. Crouch hit the post and Foster had a great game. He made a couple of fantastic saves, one from hie own man at point blank range. Two well taken goals and none conceeded is fair enough. We're unbeaten at home for all of 2006.

The games are coming thick and fast at the moment. Blackburn away tomorrow is going to be tough. I don't think that we ever have it easy against them. Bellamy will be looking to turn it on against his former club. Sky sports say that Bellamy and Gerrard are slight doubts for tomorrow but are expected to play.

I would like to point those of you who haven't already listened to the LFC official podcast to do so. You can get it on the official site here of by going into the iTunes music store and downloading it there. It is very well done and free of charge. There are good interviews with Crouch, Gerrard and Carragher on it. We seem to be quite slow as a club to embrace new technologies. We were one of the last premiership clubs to have a website. was recently voted football site of the year. Hopefully the podcast will become more regular.

Happy Christmas to all reds. Our campaign to win the premiership starts in August. Come in 19, your number's up.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Perfect weekend

We win 3-0, Utd lose and Everton lose. Add in the fact that Arsenal drew at home with Portsmouth and it doesn't get any better than that. We've moved a point clear in third and I expect us to stay there give that we've a handy enough run over Christmas. Our next five league matches are Watford (H), Blackburn (A), Spurs (A), Bolton (H) and Watford (A). I think that we should be able to get 11+ points from that. As I've said before, the league is well gone but the closer that we finish to Utd & Chelsea the better.

Good to see Bellamy score again. His confidence seems to be back now and he looks a lot happier with his game. Himself and Kuyt are forming an effective partnership. Bar rotation it'll take some performances by Crouch or Robbie to repace them. The defence had another fairly easy day out. In our last three games we've scored 11 and conceded none. Long may it continue.

And so to the Champions league draw. Barca is the hardest draw that we could have gotten really. They are the one team that I wanted to avoid when it was made. But the more that I think about it the more excited I get. I relaly can wait for Feb to roll around. It's a mouth watering clash. I think that it suits us to be underdogs as we demonstrated against Juve, Chelsea and Milan two years ago. Obviously Barca are favourites, and rightly so as they are the best team in Europe. But the fact that we have the second leg at Anfield is a major boost. Momo is back then so I can see us going for a 0-0 in Camp Nou and take them back home with it all in our hands. Bring it on. For a Barca fan's perspective have a look at what TQ has to say about it here.

I expect to see a fair bit of rotation for the Arsenal match on Tuesday. Since we're at home and Arsenal aren't in great form I would expect us to win. If we lose I won't be that put out. Nice to win the carling/worthington/league cup but never a disaster to be beaten.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cottagers kop four

Second 4-0 win in as many league games makes our position look a bit healthier. Portsmouth are only head of us on goal difference now. With all of the games coming thick and fast I think that we have a real oppertunity to consolidate third spot over the Christmas period. I don't know about making up ground on Chelsea and Man Ure as I don't see them dropping many points. But if we're clearly ahead of the pack come the start of Jan I'll be happy enough given how our season started.

The team did quite well as a whole yesterday. I think that Fulham came to try and stifle the game and nick a point if they could. It worked for Portsmouth and Blackburn so far at Anfield but Fulham didn't have the tools to keep us out for 90 mins. They did well to keep it scoreless to halftime. Our play was quick, high tempo passing throughout. Bellamy and Kuyt really worked the Fulham defence and goals looked inevitable. Garcia and Pennant both played well in patches. It was probably Jermaines best game for us so far. Some had him down as our man of the match. He appeared to concentrate on staying wide and taking his man on. I hope that he is given a run now to build on this form. He seems to be a confidence player so hopefully this will help him.

Pepe made a great save in the first half but didn't have a huge ammount to do other than that. Finnan got forward well to support Pennant and put in some good crosses. Riise didn't have his best game and seems a bit off form in the last couple of games. Aurelio might be given a few games when fit again.

Charlton at the valley is up next. I'm not taking anything for granted given our away record especially in London. But they are doing very poorly and were hammered by Spurs at white heart lane yesterday. I fancy us to pick up the three points with a hard fought 1-0.

Congrats to Rafa on his 50th victory in 93 games. He has achieved that record faster than such notables as Bob Paisley, Arsene Wenger and Fergie.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Turkish disappointment

I think that we got what we deserved last night. We didn't seem all that bothered which is fair enough given that it was a meaningless game. I think that we had one eye on the Fulham match. Galatasary were the better team and deserved their win. Good to see Robbie score his first two champions league goals even if one of them came off his arse.

Of the young lads, Paletta wasn't great at centre back. I don't think that he's ready for the first team yet. Peltier looks a bit lacking in experience too. Maybe he is more at home at defensive midfield. Guthrie was probably the pick of the youngsters.
Pennant good for second goal but not what he shold be overall. He had a few good moments in the match. It's hard to know what's going to happen with him. He has all of the raw materials to make it but isn't doing it so far. Maybe his problems are in his head. I think he should, and will, be given until the end of the season.

I'm not that bothered who we get in the next round of the champions league. Hopefully not Barcelona. After that I don't mind. Celtic or Lille would be decent.

As regards the takeover talk I'm not counting chickens yet. It's looking good given the comments from Parry and DIC but nothing is guarenteed until we see the handshakes. I am cautiously in favour of the deal. I hope that we retain what makes us a special football club. If it means that the new stadium is safe and we can invest a bit more in players then I think that it should work out well.

Bring on the cottagers.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Barnstorming Bellamy

In a situation like this it would be easy to say I told you so. I'm not going to do that.

I was wrong.

In my last post I predicted that Bellemy would score a hat trick. He didn't. He only got two goals. A gross oversight on my part. I'll endevour to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

I listened to the match on Today FM premiership live and watched the RTE and BBC tv highlights later on. Pretty good performance. What a difference an early goal can make. Some away matches we've played terribly badly this year. Sometimes we've played fairly well but got nothng like at Everton away and Chelsea away. On Sat we played as well as those matches but we took all of our chances. And when the first one went in we grew in confidence. Xabi being back helped. The third goal in particular was a thing of beauty. I'm sure that Rafa was happy with that one, for sure.

I'm hoping that Bellamy can go from strength to strength from here. He has a great workrate and never hid or stopped trying when things weren't working for him earlier in the season. I amn't his biggest fan especially off the pitch but I will back him while he's at the club. I think that he can go on to have an big impact for us.

Galatasary next on Tue night. Not a very important game given that we're through and top of the group no matter what. I would expect to see some of the youngsters like Guthrie, El Zahr and paletta get a start. No injuries should be the priority. It'll be good to go back to the ataturk, for nostalgias sake.

The FA cup draw was today and we drew Arsenal at home. That is exactly the same draw as we got in the carling cup. I think that we should be able to beat them in both competitions as they've been poor on the road and we're great at home. Hopefully Henry is still scraping with Wenger by then and doesn't play.

Until next time.