Monday, December 08, 2008

B team bonus

Abert Riera declared that he wanted us to finish the group stage in style. While he may have been disappointed with the first half, we certainly delivered in the second half, not least Riera himself who hit a stunning strike from distance. A 3-1 win away from home in the Champions League is always an achievement. When it's done without most of your first team regulars, that makes it even more impressive. The win made sure of top spot in the group on 14 points, which in theory should give us an easier draw on Friday 19th, but in reality the only bonus is the certainty that we play our second leg match at Anfield in the next round.

Robbie says he's going nowhere in Jan. I don't think that he was ever going to move, it was just paper talk. He was one of the notable performers last night in the second half and his through ball for N'Gog was sublime as was another where he set Lucas. He could have had a few goals if Babel and N'Gog had supplied him with the ball when he was in good positions. He came under some fire for his moaning over not receiving the ball but many premiership players do the same thing such as Gerrard now and Cantona in his day.

Lucas said that he wanted to repay the faith that Rafa has shown in him. The boss said that the Brazilian's performance was outstanding, as was that of N'Gog. Dossena built on his good showing against West Ham with another convincing performance at left full. Now we are starting to see some of the form that made him the Italian left back and Rafa pay £7m for him. Some of his crossing and attacking runs were fantastic.

It was great to see the Scouse kids getting a run out towards the end. I'm sure all of the academy players were looking on with pride when they saw their erstwhile team mates Darby, Kelly and Spearing, play in the worlds biggest club competition. I'm sure that Rafa will give them a chance in the FA cup if he feels it's worth the risk.Hull city represent tough test at Anfield this Saturday afternoon. We've seen too many teams park the bus and succeed in frustrating a scoreless draw out of us. We can't let this happen again. Fortunately, I don't think that Hull will pack their defence to the same degree which should leave gaps for us to exploit. Their ambition to do to us what they did to Arsenal could be their undoing. I expect the big guns who were rested v PSV, like Gerrard, Alonso and Kuyt, will come back for this league match, fitness permitting.

It sounds like Babel was so desperate for some more game minutes that he asked his agent to organise a loan back to his first club of Ajax. It was unsuccessful. One player who could be on his way to Holland could be Jordy Brower of the reserve team. Utrecht officials have mentioned him as a possible transfer target in Jan. I don't think that there would be too many tears shed if he were to return to his homeland as it would give the likes of Ince, Della Valle and others a chance to get a look in with the reserves.

Press reports suggest that contract talks between Rafa and the board have gone well and he'll sign a new 5 year deal in the next few days. This will be the most important signing of the season by far when it happens. Fingers crossed.

On the subject of new contracts, Galliani of AC Milan is denying comments attributed to him recently saying that he wanted to buy Danny Boy Agger. I really hope that Parry gets the finger out and signs him up to a new contract asap. This kid is a star and will be one of the best defenders in Europe in years to come. It will be a disgrace if we let him go on the cheap.

Ian Rush looks back on the career of Sami and declares him a red legend. It takes one to know one but I don't think that there would be any argument about Hyypia. Not bad for £2.5m almost 10 years ago.

Matt Hughes in the Times has a ridiculous piece on Rafa's transfers. There's so much wrong with this article that I don't know where to start. Journos have it easy, getting paid money to write shite like that. Hilarious.


Anfield Online said...

Excellent article. First time I've stumbled across your blog but very well written.

As regards the B team - maybe I'd call them an A minus team - but they did do an excellent job.

You're right to be wary about Hull and parking the bus - but fingers crossed, and from what I've seen of them - they may play with a little bit of adventure. If we can get an early goal (a first for us) then it might be a really attacking game. They're no mugs I know that much.

Mal said...

Thanks. Would you like to exchange links on your site?
A team minus would be a more accurate description.
Hull coming into the game with an attacking mentality represents our best chance for success.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mal,

Really sorry about using comments but I enjoyed your article and I wanted to contact you about sending your future blog entries to your readers mobiles for free. If this might be of interest drop me an email at bob.bevan(at)nice1mobile(dot)com. In meantime keep writing the articles. Cheers Bob