Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ins, outs and goal droughts

Despite the media hype before hand, there weren't any fireworks on the pitch or off the pitch at Villa Park on Sunday. Rafa and O'Neil, the mortal enemies since their Gareth Barry tug of love, managed to shake hands without stabbing or head butting each other. The game itself was without major incident too. Both defences were on top and once Torres came off we looked a lot more toothless. On the plus side, our full backs Dossena and Arbleoa did well in keeping the pacy Villa attackers Young and Agbonlahor quiet. Keane did well enough and linked well with N'Gog and the team. He could and should have done better when he was put through on Friedal. He waited slightly too long before taking his shot which gave Reo Coker time to get back and tackle him. On another day he would have gotten a peno for it. I think that his confidence is lacking somewhat and once he gets a goal or two he'll be putting chances like that away again without thinking too much about it.

This is really bad news. Given Torres hamstring and Gerrard's groin, I think we're going to struggle badly against Utd at Anfield. I would be very surprised if either of them are fit in time for the game.
The Mirror provide some trial by youtube evidence on Albert Riera. He flew to Merseyside on Friday for a medical and it was tied up today before the transfer window deadline for an initial £5.5m. Given that Parry is in charge of negotiations, I was a bit worried that there might be a last minute hitch. Ballague gives a rundown of Riera's abilities on his blog. A lightly less high profile is 18 year old brazilian striker Vitor Flora who has signed from Botafogo. Cue many margarine puns. I wouldn't stoop that low (low) on red in Dublin.

As expected while there were arivals, there were also departures. High fiving Riera and Flora in John Lennon airport were Steve Finan and Andre Voronin. Finnan leaves for the sunny catalan climes of Barcelona as he's signed a 2 year deal with Espanyol. I hope he enjoys a beautiful city and does well for it's second club. I really like Finnan and he gave us great service over the past few years. But he fell down the pecking order towards the end of last season and was told he could leave this summer. Most reds will be happy to hear that Voronin is off to Hertha Berlin on a season long loan. Despite a few stunning goals in pre season this year and last, he wasn't of the level required for LFC. One player who won't be leaving is Xabi, despite a late £14m bid from Arsenal. We would be mad to sell him considering that we didn't get Barry. It looks like Pennant will be staying too as he didn't fancy a £5m move to Stoke. Maybe a loan deal will be agreed at some point.

The stadium news was as disappointing as it was predictable. If the banks won't give these fools anymore money then surely their game is up? If they can't borrow to build the stadium, and don't have the cash to fund it either, then their project is dead in the water. They have no chance of getting the £1billion Hicks wants without a complete stadium. I hope this all hastens their departure and the arrival of DIC and the Sheikh.

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