Tuesday, December 29, 2009

El Nino raids Villa

The 1-0 win over Villa was so badly needed. We played well and were the better team but an injury time winner always makes the victory even sweeter. It didn't go down well in the sky studio. Keys and Gray were sick that we hadn't read the script and had the temerity to win a match. The cheek of us.

Villa had some chances but our margin of victory should have been greater. Dirk had a nailed on peno refused in the first half. I'd love to know why the ref refused to give it. Dirk had another mediocre game. He's been off form for a long time now. Aquilani started again and was good in the first half but faded in the second. It'll be a while before he delivers two good halves. He's neat first time passes really seem to work well with Yossi and Stevie. Lucas had another good game. He shines more when Masch is out.

Check out the FT9 site for an understated reaction to our late winner. Take it handy lads. El Nino is the quickest Liverpool player to score 50 league goals. He's also the fourth fastest player to 50 premiership goals. BUt the difference with Torres is that he doesn't take Penalties. Here are his 50 goals.GloJo suffered a tear to his medial ligament which means he's looking at an extended period on the sidelines. This is pretty shit for him as he's been great for us until recent weeks when his form dropped. I hope that young Kelly is fit enough to get a few games in his absence. Niether of the right back alternatives, Carra or Degen, fill me with huge amounts to confidence.

It's the "magic of the cup" on Saturday with a trip to Reading. I expect a fairly strong team but the likes of Pepe, Dirk, Insua, Torres and Gerrard can expect a rest. Maybe we'll see our wunderkind Daniel "Paches" Pacheco get a start? If not he's likely to come on at some stage. It'll be interesting to see who starts at right back. As it's a cup game, it could be Darby or Degen. The cup has more importance than usual this year since we're out fo the champions league. As usual, it'd be great to win it, but I'm not going to cry if we get knocked out. Finishing in the top four is much more important for our future.

Dossena could be on his way to Atletico Madrid according to Sky Sports. Palace forward Victor Moses is also being linked with a move. We've held talks with him according to the Star. The Liverpool Echo says that we're quite close on a loan deal for Maxi Rodriguez. He's a really good player and would give us a quality option on the right hand side. He links well with Nando from their time together at Atletico.

Purslow reckons work on the new stadium will begin in April 2010. A likely story. Here's HKS talking about the new stadium design.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Portsmouth and Wolves

The Christmas period started really badly for the reds with a 2-0 loss at Fratton Park. I only saw highlights of this one but we looked rubbish. All of the reports I read said we were dire. Masch getting himself sent off didn't help but we were already 1-0 down at that stage. But after that we didn't really look like we could turn it around. Depressing stuff.

Thankfully we were much improved in our next match on Stephens day. We had to get things back on track at home to Wolves and we did with a 2-0 win over the east midlands team. In the end it looked safe enough but in the first half we hadn't played well and still looked nervous at the back. Once Ward got sent off, it got somewhat easier. The goals both came in the second half. First Gerrard opened the scoring with a bullet header from an Insua cross. It was his fifth of the season, a fairly poor return by his standards. Then Yossi settled our nerves a few minutes later with a close range shot that took a deflection. Pacheco came on for another late cameo. That kid has talent.

Alberto got his first league start and played quite well. He still looked rusty and will continue like that for a while I would imagine. He hit some great passes but gave it away a few times too. He's always positive and tries to play it forward, including those ahead of him in the play. At the moment he looks like a 60 minute player rather than a 90 min one. He should get more stars in the next few weeks with Javier out injured. Now our thoughts turn to Aston Villa in Birmingham tomorrow night. This is going to be really tough. They beat us at Anfield in September without ever looking as convincing as the scoreline suggested. I don't think they've a great midfield but the have a stout defence and a blistering attack which could expose our nervous defenders. If we can assert ourselves in midfield, we can go a long way towards winning the game.

Have a listen to this MP RED interview with big Jan. Molby is an absolute legend.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ngog we trust?

I've been pretty busy in work recently so updates have been lacking. Here's a brief overview of the last two games.

Sunday's match with Arsenal was really disappointing. Although, I was really happy at half time. We had started really well and Masch was closing them down to great effect. El Nino was back in the saddle even though he didn't look anywhere near 100%. He was presented with a great chance early on which he fluffed but I felt a fit and firing Torres would have finished with ease. But Deadly Dirk struck to put us ahead with a cool finish from close range. We might have been 2-0 up if the ref had have given us a peno when Gerrard was taken down in the box. But after the break GloJo was unlucky to score an o.g. After that our heads dropped and Arshavin struck again. He must with he could play us every week. After that we fell apart. There was very little effort and only a few half chances for us to go level. The contrasts between the halves was stark.Fortunately, we got things back on track with a 2-1 win over Wigan on Wednesday. This was a much more solid display. We created quite a few chances after Ngog opened the scoring. He started in place of Torres who is having his injury managed and can't play two games per week.

Yossi, Agger and Gerrard all had good chances to increase our lead before Torres, on as sub, went round the keeper and scuffed it over the line. Not the prettiest he's scored but they all count. It did get a bit easier after that but we still had a nervous ending as N'Zogbia got one back for them in injury time. On a positive note, Insua looked much fresher, and seems to have benefitted from a rest. Ngog continues to score and now has 6 goals this season. He's developing every game and his movement and link up play are improving rapidly. Given the fragility of our Spanish striker, I expect young David to continue to play regularly for the rest of the season. A £1.5m bargain from Rafa, despite the bosses reputation for profligacy in the transfer market.

Today's match sees us take on Portsmouth in Fratton Park. This hasn't been a happy hunting ground for us in the past but that was more under 'Arry. They're not in great form but have Grant in charge now and he may make a difference from their early season form. GloJo and Babel are back in the squad for this one. Happy to have Glen back but Babel is a waste of space. I expect another tough and nervy match given our fragile confidence and form but it's one that we should win ultimately.

The Ruud Van Nistelroy rumours won't go away. There might actually be something in this. I think he'd be a great impact sub or striker to have on rotation.

Danny Pacheco has a bright future according to the boss. I think we all saw hints of that future with his cameo against Fiorentina. I can see him getting more game time now that Voronin is out in the cold. Another youngster who made an impression in the Champions League group was Jovetic. He's a player that Rafa tried to sign in the summer before budgetary constraints kicked in, according to Dominic King in the Echo. I think he'd be superb for us but I fear he's out of our price range now.

I'll leave you with a one liner I came up over last weekend.

What's the difference between Berbatov and Voronin?

About £31m.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Blackburn and Fiorentina

0-0 draw away to Blackburn was not the result I was looking for. We were rubbish in the first half and improved in the second. Ngog was unlucky when the ball bobbled in front of him and he hit the bar rather than the back of the net. But overall it was a poor enough display and we didn't really deserve much more than a point.

Fiorentina was much better on Wednesday night even if we were beaten 2-1. We really went at them for large parts of the game, even though it was a dead rubber. The game was notable for the much anticipated home debut of the Aquilani, the prince. He looked quite rusty, after almost 9 months out, but was very positive with the ball. He made a real difference with his touch, passing, pace and movement. It was exciting to see the way he linked with Gerrard. But he was only really fit for half a match and ran out of steam quite early on.

Torres and the kid Pacheco gave us a glimpse of what our all Spanish front line might look like in the near future. This kid can play. We've heard about him for the youths and reserves for a while now but this was his first go with the first team. Injury stopped him getting a go earlier. He was really positive on the ball and had a crack at goal with his first touch. I would liek to see much more of him in future rather than Voronin or Babel, the waster. Arsenal on Sunday is a massive game. They have many injuries up front and a few all over the pitch really. We're returning to full fitness now and while the likes of Aquilani, Gerrard and Torres aren't 100%, they are in contention. It's only Riera, Kelly and El Zahr who won't make this one. It's a very hard game to call. I'm going to say that El Nino will make the difference and win it for us, if he starts.

Pepe Reina is an unsung hero according to this. He says he wants to stay here for a long long time, which is brilliant.

Rafa says that we're in talks with Mascherano about extending his contract. He's been playing much better in recent times. But the player himself doesn't seem too interested in talking about an extension, at least not in public. I still expect him to leave this summer.

16 year old Icelandic defender Kristjan Gauti Emilsson has joined Liverpool this week according to news reports. Utd and Rangers have previously been after him apparently.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pepe comes up trumps

Sometimes you get the rub of the green, and we definitely did here. A 2-0 win may have been more than we deserved on the balance of play as I thought Everton deserved a draw. But they didn't take any of their chances. We took two of ours and that was enough. They were on the receiving end of the kind of game we've endured this season, playing well but getting less than you deserve. "Ahhhhhhyyyyyyyy", as the Fonz might say.

Javier got lucky with a long range shot which deflected off and Everton defender. I was shouting at him not to shoot, which goes to show how much I know. Maybe he'll follow in Fat Franks shoes and make a career out of deflected shots. Pepe made a superb double save to keep us in it. I have no doubt that he's the best keeper in the league and has been our player of the season so far. Stevie had a poor enough game but harried Hibbert enough to lay the ball onto Riera. The Spaniard's shot didn't beat Howard but he could only parry it onto Dirk who finished from close range. Kuyt has been in shit form for a while so I'm hoping this will help him recover.A scrappy derby win can be worth a lot to a struggling squad. We now have a week off until the Blackburn game on Saturday. They aren't in good form either but we should really have enough to put them away. There is a chance that Torres will be back and Gerrard and Aquilani will have another week's worth of training.

Sky Sports have an article in praise of Liverpool's number 24 David Ngog. He's come on a hell of a lot this year. It's clear he's no Torres but he's scoring goals and improving his overall play. He's worth well more than the £1.5m Rafa paid PSG for him.

Aurelio has rejected a pay as you play contract. I'm a fan of the Brazilian but he is brittle. Hopefully he signs up and continues to contribute over the next few years. He could be a good mentor to Insua and Butchtmann.

Friday, November 13, 2009

City stalemate and euro knockout

Right. Brief synopsis. I saw very little of the 2-2 drawat home with City. By all accounts it was a fair result in a boring match. Nice to see us score from a set piece but painfully predictable to see us concede from one. Skrtel let himself down again here. Also very predictable were two more injuries, to Agger and then Babel. What the hell is going on with our physios and training? Every player should be on a strict diet of horse placenta.

Last night saw us crash out of Europe despite a 1-0 win away to Debrecen. Ngog continued his fine scoring form. But again we failed to convert our dominance into more goals and let inferior opposition back into the game. For once, we managed to hold onto a clean sheet thanks to some great defending and saves from Pepe. Alas it was all for naught as Lyon lost in Florence to consign us to third spot and the Europa league. So we'll have Thursday and Sunday games to look forward to for as long as we stay in Europe. I hope we go for it and win it. The 2001 Uefa cup victory was a great game and a huge victory for that team.

It's the derby with the Blueshite on Sunday and we can look forward to a rousing atmosphere. Use your own cliche about the form book going out the window in a derby but it's probably for the best here as both teams are in shit form. They, like us, have injuries to contend with but I still feel we should be good enough to win. We'll need the defence to try and build on last nights clean sheet and concentrate on set pieces. It's going to be war.

Norman Hubbard at ESPN has a great article examining the facts about Rafa's reign. The Times has a downloadable pdf which you can keep and refer to whenever spending and signings come up.

19 year old Defender Daniel Ayala has signed a new deal. You can watch him and the rest of the reserves in action here during a recent 4-1 win over Hull city reserves. Good performance by Daniel "Patches" Pacheco.

According to reports in Spain, Cadiz prodigy Suso, will sign for us in January. The deal could eventually cost us almost a million euro if he becomes a first team regular. 15 year old Luton Town prospect Dave Moli will soon sign for the reds. Here's a good piece on Della Valle. The Finnish Wayne Rooney? Martin Kelly has spoken about his healthy rivalry with Daniel Ayala.

The Daily Mirror reckon that we've had enquiries about Lucas but have turned them down as they don't meet our asking price of £14m. With Mascherano's long term future at the club in doubt, I don't see us selling the Brazilian anytime soon. Dossena's agent says that he hopes we let him go in Jan. Eitrecht Frankfurt are interested in signing Voronin in January according to the Echo.

Dutch winger Eliahas been linked with a move from the Bundesliga. He's a talent and might be what we thought we were getting when we bought RyBabbs.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Yet more misery

Just when I thought our luck might turn, we hammered Birmingham but only came away with a point from our 2-2 draw at home. The team was still patched up, Torres didn't make the bench but Aquilani and Gerrard did.

Just because it finished 2-2 with us getting a dodgy peno doesn't mean we got lucky. We destroyed them. Gerrard hitting the post and Riera and Yossi coming off injured wasn't lucky. Stats here. Johnson tore them to pieces down the right again and again. Hart made some good saves and our finishing could have been better. If Torres or a fit Gerrard had played it would have been a landslide.

N'Gog took his goal well but spurned a few other chances. I think he's rapidly developing into a good player. His touch is still inconsistant but his holding up of the ball, movement, awareness and strength have come on greatly. A steal at £1.5m. Somebody said he has the best goals per minutes in the league but I don't know if that's right. I do feel that N'Gog was theatrical in going down and don't approve of it but this kind of thing happens all the time, it's nothing new. Why was there an outcry this week but not so much when Rooney or Ronaldo did it over the last few years? I don't remember Keith Hackett coming out and commenting on those dives.

Man CIty visit Anfield in the first game after the International break. The phrase "must win" is overused but every game we play now is going to be one. The fact that City will be vying with us for a champions league spot makes it even more important. They, like us, are not in great form and neither team is defending well. I think it could come down to which team has a better day in defence. Carra coming in for Skrtel might help us to tighten up at the back.

Tony Barrett in the Times lists 5 areas in which Rafa can help the team to get out of our current slump.The latest injury news isn't good either. Both Yossi and Riera have done their hamstrings and are looking at the best part of a month on the sidelines.

The daily mail reckon we're in for Krasic, the CSKA right winger who impressed against Utd at Old Toilet last week. Another winger, Adam Johnson of Boro, is being linked with a £7m move in January. Given his nationality and age, I think he'd be decent at that price. But I severly doubt we'll be spending £7m on him or anybody else when the window opens. Dossena wants out according to this.

If you're interested in the transfer fees and record of the Boss, have a read of this. It details all of the ins and outs and comes to a net fee of £83m since his arrival. If you divide that by 6, with this being his sixth season, it comes to £13.8 per season. The worrying side of it is that his net spend in 08/09 was £2.5m and this season it's just £10k.

Paul Tomkins employs logic in his defence of Benitez, a much underused tool when it comes to Football writing these days. Here's a great quote:

Apparently Benítez doesn't buy well under £10m, but Reina, Agger, Benayoun, Kuyt, Skrtel, Riera, Insua, Crouch, Garcia, Sissoko, Lucas, Aurelio and Arbeloa all cost less than that amount.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Miracle required

1-1 was a sickener after playing so well. Babel made the breakthrough with a stunning goal but was let down by some madness at the back with 20 seconds remaining. If only we defended slightly better, we would have gotten the win we deserved. Now it's out of our hands.

Claude Puel, the Lyon manager says that they'll try to beat Fiorentina, and win the group. I would like to take him at his word but I fear that the fact they're qualified will lessen their teamsheet and need to win in Tuscany and I wouldn't blame them either were that to happen. So even if we win our next two group matches we will probably face elimination unless Lyon take a point or 3 in Italy, and we will have a few moments of defensive lapses to blame. If we had been slightly more switched on in either of the Lyon games, to get a draw in the first or win in the second then our fate would still be in our own hands. A draw in their match coupled with us winning in Hungary would leave us needing a 3 goal margin win in Italy.

But before all of that, we've got to beat Brum at home on Saturday. Physio room says that we might have Skrtel and Dossena back. We need all of the men we can get what with injuries and suspensions. Degen and Carragher are suspended so it could well be Ste Darby at right back unless GloJo does his best Lazarus impression, although the latest injury update from Rafa is more positive. Torres should make it but Gerrard won't. Could Aqulani make an appearance? Possibly off the bench.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cottage calapse

Balls. When I saw the team sheet on Saturday I got very worried. 3-1 was the final result after a 1-1 draw at the break. We actually played well enough in the first half and things might have been different if Yossi had of scored rather than hit the bar in the first half. The defence we started was Insua, Carragher, Kyrgiakos and Degen which has a combined cost of £2.5m. Insua is having a poor time of it now and didn't cover himself in glory here. None of them did at the back. Degen was unfortunate to see a red and it may be rescinded on appeal. Then Carra went for a second yellow and we were down to 9. Laughable stuff. The only bright point was a stunning strike by El Nino.Lyon say that they're wary of the Liverpool threat. That threat has been lessened by the massive injury list we're suffering. The latest news is that GloJo and Aurelio aren't fit enough to travel. They will join Gerrard, Skrtel, Kelly, Riera and Dossena in the physio room. The more positive news is that Agger, Aquilani and David N'Gog have travelled. The big questions for me are who starts at right back as Degen isn't registered and dare we risk and Aquilani start? Darby may have to fill in for Johnson. It's either that or play Carragher there which hasn't worked at all recently. Starting Aquilani would be a big risk and I suspect it will be a case of him coming on for 20-30 mins at the end if he's needed. I'd love to see him start but I doubt he's ready for it. I'm really worried about this one. I think we'd win with our first team but we're far from that. A draw might be doable but I can't see us winning.

Dossena is being linked with a Jan move to Napoli. He's not playing much and will want to get some game time in to secure his world cup place. I wouldn't be too surprised to see him go if Rafa is assured he'll get to reinvest the funds. Spanish defender Mikel San Jose looks like he'll return to the Kop after a pointless spell on loan at Atletic Bilbao. We could be looking at a boost to our Hungarian community with Vladimir Koman who's currently playing for Bari. He's 20 and plays on the left wing and could cost us up to £4m.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Carling cup knockout

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool was what the scoreboard displayed at full time. We were treated to two stunning strikes in a really open and attacking game. Both Insua and Merida provided goals to savour. We played quite well and could have won it. Arsenal carved us open a few times but they took their chances. Babel in particular spurned a glorious chance when he failed to connect a few yards in front of goal. That could have changed things.

Dirk was captain on the night and did his best to gee the lads on to victory. Cavalieri didn't really impress and I would worry if Pepe gets injured. The real surprise showing on the night was Degen who rampaged forward from right back showing great pace and attacking ability. It was heartening to see and we have some proper cover and right back now between him and young Marty Kelly.

All eyes were on Alberto when he came on near the end. He showed great touch and ability with one sublime raking ball to Degen on the right standing out. He might have won a penalty at the death when an overhead kick hit Senderos on the arm. Might have been soft but you do see them given. That would have been a dream debut for the little Prince.Now it's back to the league and we face a tough trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon. Hodgson is doing a great job there and they've gone from being a shambles to a well organised team. I fancy them to blockade the goal and frustrate us, which is their right. We'll need to keep concentration on set pieces and hope that Torres & Yossi can carve them open.

Tony Barrett in the Times exposes the brutal truth behind life at Anfield under Rafa the cold and heartless dictator. Good lad Tone.

The Telegraph reckon we're after Juan Mata of Valencia. With what money? The Guardian say that we're offering Pepe a new deal. Sign him up quick smart. Best keeper in the league for me.

Click here to watch Jan Molby's legendary goal against Utd from 1985. It was thought lost for years but is now availabe to view online. Classic goal from the days before his butt was bigger as his talent.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Sweet, sweet victory. Any win would have done considering the run we were on but a 2-0 win over the Man Ure where we dominated and destroyed them was very satisfying. Top marks to the team, it's hard to pick a poor performer among them. Rafa out anyone? The managerial obituaries will have to wait for a while yet.

Lucas and Masch were superb and totally bossed Scholes and Carrick. This was the Brazilian's best ever performance for us and humble pie will be selling out in many quarters. N'Gog did well and took his chance very maturely. El Nino was only 80% fit but still managed to give Vidic and Ferdinand a torrid time. He made dirt of Rio for the opener. Don't think I'll ever get tired of watching that. Rumour has it that kids on Merseyside are going to dress up as Torres for Hallowe'en and call over to Vidic's house. No doubt he'll be in a quivering mess when he answers the door. That's a hat trick of red cards when he's faced Torres in the league. Lovely.

Check out this happy bunch. You almost feel sorry for them. Almost.Fergie was up to his old trick of trying to blame the ref for his own team's inadequacies. Retired referee Graham Poll is having none of it and says the ref got his decisions correct. Eat that Slur Alex.

Rafa says that Aquilani will get some minutes against Arsenal in the Carling Cup but isn't ready to start. Kyrgiakos and Dossena will return to the squad and I wouldn't be surprised to see either start. I expect that we'll see a similar team to the Leeds match with a mixture of squad and reserve players. I have to say that I'm not too bothered if we miss out at the Emirates. Fulham is a much more important fixture and Gerrard won't be considered until that one.

Pennant sets us straight about Rafa in the Guardian. This man is a genius and clearly set for a long and successful career in management. Let's appoint him player manager now.

Lyon's full back Cissokho says he'd like to play for us someday.
Not a bad player at all.

This magazine is a must for all Vidic fans. He gives the lowdown on his status as Fernando's bitch.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The aftermath

Just when I thought we were out, they pull us back in. Crap. That was not what we needed. To break it down:

  • Kelly was brilliant at right back. Fantastic performance from the teenager and we disimproved when he came off injured. A star of the future.
  • Agger looked better in the middle but still a bit rusty. How we've missed him bringing the ball out of defence. He's the one we can trust not to hoof it, losing possession. Far too much of that from Skrtel and Carra at the moment.
  • Pepe was in superb form again, as he has been all season despite a ropey defence in front of him. His saves in the lead up to the equaliser were fantastic but there was only so much he could do before one of them went in. He needed a dig out by one of the defenders.
  • N'Gog started well enough but faded badly in the second half. He's improving but he's not really ready to step into the Torres breach just yet.
It now looks like we'll need to win our remaining games to qualify from the group and may need to beat Fiorintina by more than 2-0. Big ask to be honest but we've completed similar escape acts before.

So now it's the Mancs on Sunday. Bad timing. It looks like GloJo will be back but it's still touch and go on Torres and Gerrard. I don't fancy our chances without them. The team is short of confidence at the minute and we need our totems back. We've had such shit luck with injuries this year. International football has a lot to answer for here.

This article by Paul Tomkins should be required reading for all Reds. It details his four hour chat with Rafa at Melwood. Amazing stuff but I'd love to read the off the record version.

Those at Prenton Park for Liverpool's reserve match v Sunderland on Tuesday were treated to some crazy skills from Alberto Aquilani, no less. It was great for him to get a run out and I suspect he may get some game time in the carling cup match v Arsenal next week. But the problem for Alberto is that the expectations for him are increasing as our results get worse. If he's not Pirlo, Del Piero and Totti all rolled into one, he'll be declared a flop.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I didn't think we would do well here given the injuries and team we put out. However, I didn't expect us to beaten by a fucking balloon. In fairness, we played shit and deserved to be beaten regardless of the beach ball.

A 1-0 loss was disappointing but not entirely unexpected given the spine of our team was ripped out by international football. I considered backing Sunderland but didn't get around to it. Rafa went 3 5 2 and it was good to see Agger back even if he did look a bit rusty. Spearing and Lucas in midfield didn't really work. The Brazilian wasn't 100% after returning from South America the night before the game. It was a tough match for Spearing to make his league debut in and it didn't really go that well for him. Hopefully he'll learn from this and improve. Rafa wants him to become our new midfield anchor. They are big boots for the small man to fill. Next up we face Lyon in Anfield on Tuesday. Pjanic will be the dangerman, so I hope he doesn't have the impact that Jovetic did a few weeks back. I'm hoping that we'll have our players back for this one. Lyon are a good side and we'll need to win this one if we want to get out of the group. A loss here would send the knee jerkers and phone in shows into panic mode. They're not far away from that now.

Jamie Carragher has admitted that he's not happy with his own form. He hasn't been at his best this year but neither has Skrtel. Now that Agger is back, I can see him putting the two of them under pressure.

Didi Hamann is back at Liverpool, coaching the youths at the Academy with Frank McParland. I wonder if he is giving them betting tips and teaching them how to get away with a sneaky smoke?

Here's Nemeth in action against the Italian U20 team, doing well and scoring two goals. Hungary were knocked out in the end but it will have done the kid well to score and compete at this level.

Yossi's agent says he's happy at Anfield and isn't interested in a move to Man City. I would hate to see him leave after the past year he's had. He's one of our most dangerous players these days and who we look to after Gerrard and Torres.

Check out Paul Tomkins blog, the Tomkins Times. The Cascarino article is great.

The Mirror reckon we're after Vasco de Gama striker Nilton in January. I'd be surprised as it doesn't seem like Rafa has any cash to spend. Chris Bascombe paints a grim picture of the state of affairs in the NOTW.

The guardian interviewed Riera in their small talk section. He seems like a decent sort. Bit surprised he doesn't pay for his music often given the amount of money he earns.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Building bridges

It may sound hard to believe but we played pretty well in our 2-0 defeat in Stamford Bridge. I thought it was really even until we conceded the first goal. After that we over committed numbers forward and were caught on the break. To be honest, I thought our defence played really well bar the slip up at the end for the second goal. The midfield punched their own weight but neither Dirk not Riera gave great service to Gerrard and Torres, neither of whom had much impact. But our performance level was much the same as it was last season, the difference being that this time we didn't get the result. I wasn't too disheartened afterwards, just a bit pissed off that we have to wait two weeks to get things back on track.Ahead of the match, El Nino had an interview in the Guardian where he opens up on fatherhood and how he loves living on Merseyside. Sure the city is lucky to have him.

Carra says we're facing into a massive week after the international break, and he for one is ready. We face Sunderland away first up followed by Lyon and Man Utd at Anfield. Let's remember that Sunderland drew at Old Toilet, and only missed out on a victory by a cruel deflection off Anto Ferdinand's leg. This will not be easy and our defence will have to be on top of their game to deal with Bent playing as good as he ever has. Himself and Jones are a real handful. On the plus side, we might have a fit again Daniel Agger in the squad as he came through a reserve match last week. Aquilani is progressing well but is still about two weeks away for fitness.

Paul Tomkins doesn't pull any punches in his slating of Tony Cascarino and his ilk. Give's 'em what for.

Ian Ayre has some positive spin on the new shirt sponsorship deal on the BBC site. It sounds like they've done well on the commercial side, the downside being that the money will probably end up in the pockets of George and Tom, despite their protestations. You can read the full transcript of Gillett's interview with SOS here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I hate to say I told you so

Yesterday I predicted Jovetic would be a dangerman and one to watch. This prediction proved accurate and the Montanegran took us to pieces. He was brilliant. Yet again we were poor at the back with Skrtel, GloJo and Insua all had nights to forget. In midfield, Lucas and Aurelio didn't provide the shield that Masch gives us away from home. They hit us twice in the first half leaving us with a mountain to climb.

A banner held up by the home fans in the stadium said "Your story to us is a legend", but we couldn't add to that story here. The second half performance was much improved with Yossi and Lucas going close but we couldn't capitalise. That leaves us on 6 points. We should still qualify and can win the group but we've made it a lot harder. This Sunday the reds march onto Stamford Bridge. This is going to be massive. We won there last season but we were much more solid at the back then. We'll need Javier to recover from his knock by then. He's vital for these kind of away games. I worry about Drogba. He's caused us huge problems in the past and could make mincemeat of Carra and Skrtel. Cech's suspension is good news but may not be enough. I think a draw would be the best we can hope for despite El Nino and his magic feet. If Rafa doesn't pick him for the game he might get a smack in the head.Here's the new Adidas featuring Gerrard being picked for an ultimate team by Zidane. The copy is a bit rubbish but the look and animation is cool. Real graphic novel style.

Take a deep breath

Right. Here's a brief summary of the last 10 days while I was in Seville. During that time I went to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium to watch Seville beat Mallorca 2-0. I was privileged to see the visitors feature Josemi and yes, he's still shit.

First was a West Ham game. I managed to watch this one on Spanish TV. The hammers gave us a tough game for an hour and more poor defending at the back cost us. But a goal from Dirk and two from El Nino got us back on track. His first one was really special.

Next came the Carling cup tie with Leeds, Leeds, Leeds. N'Gog scored to make it 1-0 but it didn't sound like a great match from the reports I read. Needless to say, it wasn't available on tv in Andalusia. Great to see the likes of Spearing getting some time and N'Gog keeps scoring and improving. Great help to have Fabio back in action. We've missed his cultured left foot. Hull City were shot up like fish in a barrel at Anfield on Saturday. Once again, el Crack Torres, put the opposition to the sword. He's in lethal from now after a slow start and he grabbed a hat trick and made Phil "Phil Brown" Brown and his team look awful. Babel grabbed two for himself, one of which he knew eff all about after a Riera shot looped off his foot. He's starting to put a bit of form together and I might have to retract my pronouncement that he's a write off. Gerrard scored a bit of a fluke, but they all count. Lucas has another solid game as Mascherano wasn't fit. There is the point that we don't need him and Lucas in the same team at home, and once Aquilani is fit, we'll line up with one of them alongside the Italian in the middle of the park.

Tonight it's back to the Champions league and we're off to Florence to face the Viola. They're missing Gilardino, which is good, but they'll still have Mutu, Vargas and Jovetic, who I rate highly. He was brilliant when I saw Fiorentina lose to AC Milan in the San Siro in January. It's not a handy group we have but it's still one that we should top. A win tonight would be great as it's probably our second hardest game of the six and would put us well on the way to the second round.

Off the pitch, rumors about of Saudi investors and Hicks and Gillett have released a statement to say that they are looking for investors. I really hope they do succeed and get kicked out of the club but I'm not holding my breath.

Hasta luego.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Humble beginnings

A 1-0 win against limited oposition saw our champions league campaign get off to a dull thud, rather than a bang. Debreceni posed very little threat but were happy to sit deep and frustrate in numbers, which is perfectly acceptable for smaller teams away from home. It was up to us to break them down and we didn't succeed to any great degree. We had some decent enough openings but only converted the one with deadly Dirk poked in a shot after the goalie failed to hold a Nando rasper. Rafa will say that the objective is get qualified as qucikly as possible and top the group. We're on our way to achieving that mission. Agger is back in training but unlikely to feature against West Ham in Upton Park this Saturday. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the same team or Mascherano in for Riera with Gerrard moving forward and Yossi shifting left. Aurelio needs some more minutes before he's ready to start. We should be able to beat this lot but it's not an easy ground to visit. I predict a narrow win.

It sounds like Purslow and Rafa are getting on well. I suppose the boss is glad that the incompetent Parry is gone. Purslow does seem to be efficent in securing the new sponsorship deal. The problem is that the money he's earning will go towards the Yanks debts, which they've loaded onto the club. Hicks reckons that the stadium will be built - once there is credit available in international markets. We'll see about that. In the meantime, they'll continue fucking the club, it's fans and the residents of Anfield around. Cheers Tom.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Probably the best sponsorship deal in the world?

That's more like it. 4-0 at home and a job well done. After a nervy opening 20 mins we settled down and Yossi hit the opener after a pass in from the right by GloJo. The Israeli was on top form and completed his hat trick in the second half. He cut the Burnley defence to pieces time and again with his running between the lines.

Gerrard had a crucial role to play especially in the third goal. He was unlucky not to score himself when he beat the keeper but hit the post. Himself and lucas formed a tasty midfield partnership in Mascherano absence. Food for thought given that Javier is unlikely to stay beyond this summer.

Dirk scored the other, his second of the season. It will be great if he could repeat his feat of last season is getting 12 league goals from midfield. It's great to see players other than Torres and Gerrard getting goals for when our two match winners have off days. I'm hoping that Aquilani will bag himself a few when he gets going. He remains 2-3 weeks away from fitness.The defence held firm for the second time this season and Rafa says those calling time on Carra are premature. Tony Cascarino in the Times suggests that Carragher is the source of our early season defensive frailties. Skrtel came back in place of Kyrgiakos and I expect those two to be the first choice for the season baring injury. Agger will have a hard time displacing one of them. Aurelio and Insua will be an interesting battle for the left back spot as the season progresses. Insua has done well but Rafa's a big fan of the Brazilian and he gives us an option with free kicks.

West Ham were beaten yesterday and will want to bounce back against us in the late kick off on Saturday. Zola has them well organised and playing some nice stuff but we've a bit of confidence back now and we should be able to win it. This is the type of game that we might have drawn last year so I'd like to see us show we're different now and go for the three points.

Is seems we'll be saying goodbye to Carlsberg and hello to Standard Chartered as our £80m record equaling sponsorship deal was agreed this week. I did quite like the fact that we've had Carlsberg for many years but financial reality means we need to go for a more lucrative option. It could well mean more money for the Americans but that may mean less taken from Rafa's budget.

Pepe was asked if we could win the title and replied "I think so but there are other teams that are very capable of winning it", which is a fair enough assessment. It's going to be very tough. Rafa has tried to clarify Reina's comments.

Can I direct your eyes here? Top class from the Off the Ball team, Eoin and Ken. Cohen is a despicable human being. Great to know that he's off the air.

I'm disappointed but not surprised to read that Crewe are going to report us for tapping up one of their talented youths. 15 year old Max Clayton could head to Anfield but it might come at a high price. We've previous in this regard with Ziege a few years ago. I know that this happens a lot but I never like to see young players poached from their clubs for a small fee ala Macheda, Fabregas, Flamini and now Kakuta. Another young lad, Michael Ngoo has signed from Southend. 101greatgoals has a good feature on our Finnish boy wonder Lauri Delle Valle.

It was great to see that justice was done in the Michael Shields case as he was given a pardon. Better late than never but it'll be hard for the poor fella to rebuild his life after so long in jail for a crime he didn't commit. He wrote a piece in the Observer today which is worth a read.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back on track?

Does a 3-2 away win get everything back on track? In a way yes. It was important that we went into the international break of the back of a win. As is often the case, we didn't do this the easy way, falling behind twice to scrappy goals. But Glo Jo got the first to leave us level at half time. After conceding early in the second half, we went on the rampage, which became easier once Davis was sent off for a second yellow. El Nino scored after a superb lay off from Dirk and Gerrard added the winner with a few minutes to go. We battered them second half and could have added a few more as Gerrard hit the bar and Torres had an effort cleared off the line. Some fairly measured analysis here from Le Tisier on Sky Sports.

I wouldn't say it's all full steam ahead but it's a definite improvement on the Spurs and Villa matches. But the defence is a real cause for concern at the minute. If we don't get our act together we'll win eff all this year. Kyrgiakos made his debut and did ok. He's clearly good in the air but was sloppy in possession a few times. Carra hasn't been helped with trying to organise a defence with 2 new players and an inexperienced one in Insua. I'm hoping that Aurelio and Skrtel will be back for the next match against Burnely on Sat 12th.

Now that they seem to be over their giant killing spree, it should represent a good opportunity for us at home. They play a fairly open game which should leave space for our stars to exploit. Johnson can continue his fine form and make the right flank of the pitch his own. He's been nothing short of a revelation so far. Long may it continue.The draw for the Champions League group stages was made on Thursday. We're in a group with Lyon, Fiorentina and Debreceni of Hungary. Is Hungary a country? Lyon will be tough enough but we should be good enough to top the group.

Paul Tomkins has a good article on the need for patience. He compares the treatment that different premier league managers receive for the same behaviour. Well worth reading.

Looks like Andrea is going nowhere. Earlier in the summer it looked like he might have gone to Napoli or Juve but at this stage he seems set to stay. Similarly I don't see us selling anybody else as there would be no benifit to doing so. Itandje is off to Kavala fc on loan. Even if Rafa were to get a good offer for him or Babel, he's unlikely to get the money to reinvest. Thanks very much Chris Purslow, Tom and George. A fine bunch of pricks.

Friday, August 21, 2009


It's my fault. I have to hold my hold my hand up and accept responsibility for the 3-1 defeat to Villa. I had Johnson, Gerrard and Torres in my fantasy football team. You'd think I'd learn after all these years. When I have Liverpool players in my team, we play shit. You'll pleased to know that I"m going to revert to my usual tactic of not picking any LFC players and loading up with Rooney, Rio and the lads.

Here's a surprisingly balanced report from Football 365 on the result. We created a load of chances in the first 20 minutes but didn't take them. We went behind to a freaky deflected goal and were chasing it after that. That suited Villa who sat back and hit us with pace on the counter. In fairness to them, they did quite well in that kind of game where the onus was on us. Quite a few of our players had off games. Gerrard and Torres both had poor games, El Nino not helped by receiving some elbows to the head. But it was a shitty performance once we went behind. I'm always wary when we play teams who haven't won in ages. They often turn it around against us, ala spurs last season.

Bolton on Saturday gives a chance for revenge. I know it's very early early but we can't afford to slip to far behind and trying to catch up every week. We should batter Bolton but they are the kind of physical team that often causes us problems. If we score first we could batter them like the Stoke game. If we go a long time without scoring then we might start to fret like we did last night.

Babel had want to watch it according to Rafa. He's running out of last chances. His display against Spurs was so pitiful that I'd happily see him leave this summer. Aurelio is back in training. He'll have a job getting his place back from Insua.

Hungarian kid Nemeth is on his way to AEK Athens on loan for a season. It'll do him well to get some first team football on a regular basis. He looks a good finisher but could bulk up a bit as he's not blessed with pace.

Man Utd have shown a bit of class in relation to a fan getting a Hillsbourgh t-shirt printed and are to be commended for it. I would hope that Liverpool would respond similarly if one of our fans got a Munich t-shirt printed. I have no time for those appalling chants and two wrongs never make a right in that regard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Johnson's magic

It's hard to remember a better debut than Glen Johnson's last night. He scored one goal, was instrumental in others and kept a clean sheet. If he can do that every week, we'll have some player. He himself said it was a perfect night. He was good against Spurs but this was a whole new level. £17m is starting to look cheap. We've found ourselves an English Danny Alves after Rafa failed to buy the Brazilian one when he was at Seville.

4-0 was a decent way to get our Anfield account off to a flying start. Lucas was good in the middle again, El Nino opened the scoring and looked a little sharper. It may take him time to get back to full fitness after a short summer off. Yossi was vastly superior to Babel and should be there every game for now. Himself and Riera will scrap it out for that spot on the left but the Israeli gets my vote for now. Gerrard was pretty deadly and the build up to Kuyt's goal was a great team move, but a sublime touch from Gerrard capped it all. Young Ayala did nothing wrong at the back and kept it simple. It will have done him the world of good to have that clean sheet under his belt.We've a few days off until the Villa match next Monday night. It won't be easy as they've had a mediocre start to their season and will want to show the league that they're still contenders for a European spot. Skrtel should be back in action then, maybe wearing a mask. Riera could be in contention for the left midfield but that would be really hard on Benayoun. I'm expecting our injury crisis to ease in the near future.

Former Rangers defender Kyrgiakos is on his way to L4. I can see this happening as he'll be coming in as a cheap 4th choice centre back who's good in the air. A Sami replacement for those games where the ball is bombarded into the box. We'll need him as Agger had surgery on his back and will be out for 6 weeks. Leaving on loan will be Mikel San Jose who's off to Bilbao on loan for the year. Fair play to you boy.

Tony Barrett in the Times raise the slim possibility of a bid for Van Der Vaart from Real Madrid. He's a player that we've been linked to in the distant past but I can't see us having the cash now. The only way it could happen would be a loan deal with an option to buy next year. He'd give us great cover in the attacking positions. I don't see it happening in reality.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A bad day away from the office

Not quite what I was expecting. If we're going to win the league we need to improve on these kind of results. A 2-1 defeat against Spurs isn't a disgrace but with the other teams at the top winning, it's not ideal to be dropping three points on the opening day. As many have said, you can't win the league in the autumn, but you can lose. Not that I think we have, but I don't want us to spend the season playing catch up and relying on other teams to slip up again.

Obviously it's way too early to press the panic button but we need to get back on track ASAP. How can we change this for the Stoke clash tomorrow night? Hopefully Skrtel is fit to start alongside Jamie after their clash of heads, Rafa will make a late call on his fitness. Carra had a poor enough game by his standards. Young Ayala did nothing wrong but I wouldn't want to see him starting this game. I would expect Yossi to come in for Babel who was quite poor on the left flank as he nearly changed the game when he came on. Riera may have recovered from an ankle injury and could start. Babel was pretty shit. He's running out of last chances and doesn't look like he knows what to do with the ball. Unfortunately, Aquilani won't be ready for a few weeks yet so I suppose the majority of the team will be as it was on Sunday. Being in front of an expectant Anfield should gee up the team. Given that Stoke managed to take two league draws last season, there should be an appetite to exact some sweet revenge from the Potters. It appears the Adam Hammill has signed a permanent deal with Championship club Barnsley. He was highly tipped at one stage but hasn't been able to transform his talent into a first team spot. Another talented teen, Danny Pacheco, has signed a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2012. The former FCB striker did well in pre season and might get a look in during cup games this year. He was impressive last night as a young Liverpool XI beat Bohemians 2-0 in Dublin.

Japanese midfielder Keisuku Honda has been linked by Sky Sports. He's based in Holland with VVV Venlo. Dynamio Kiev defender and Sengalese International Pape Diakhate is a target if you believe this. The man himself is flattered by the link. The Sundays reckoned that Hertha Berlin have made a new £3m bid for Voronin. I think he's fine as a back up player but I'd prefer to see him go and give one of the younsters a go, as they're on lower wages. Tony Barrett in the Times today suggested that we only have around £2m to spend so it does look like Voronin and maybe others will need to be shipped out to provide funds. It seems that Rafa isn't happy with the amount of cash available to him at the moment. At the moment, we're breaking even rather than the boss being given a transfer pot, like in previous years.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The King, the little Prince and the swordsman

Pre season training is nearly over. Any rustiness or sloppiness was swept clean, like this sloppy fecker. It started with a training camp in Switzerland and two friendlies. St Gallen drew 0-0 with Liverpool and then we were defeated 1-0 by Rapid Vienna. Then the asian leg of the tour started with a 1-1 draw against Thailand. Then things started to click into gear against Singapore with a 5-0 win. Kuyt and Nemeth were particularly strong performers. Then came an embaressing 3-0 loss to Espanol and a 2-0 win over Lyn Oslo featuring a goal from Babel. The final pre season game was a 2-1 loss against Atletico Madrid today, a big game for El Nino who hit the post and contrived not to score against his old team. Lucas was the scorer for us.

The second XI also played a few friendlies including a visit to Dunmanway in west Cork. I drove through the village last weekend and they were painting it red in anticipation of the red invasion. One of the worlds biggest teams playing one of the smallest. The match itself featured a free kick from young Danny Pacheco. This Monday will see the reserve squad play against Bohemians in Dalymount Park, Reds in Dublin. Not a 15 min walk from my own house here in the city centre.

The biggest news of the summer is that £30m+add ons Xabi Alonso will be replaced by £16m Alberto Aqulani who passed his medical on Friday. This is huge news. I really like Xabi, and he was probably my favourite red. A gentleman and a midfielder of such poise and technique that he lit up any game he played. He always made it look like he had much more time than everyone else. But now he's gone. He'll be missed but he gave us five great years and he wanted to move back to spain with his family, which is fair enough. He got a sword when he left Atletico, maybe he'll get a pan of scouse when he leaves merseyside? Good luck Xabi, unless you're playing against us.

While the Xabi saga rumbled on Bob Arbeloa was on his way to the bernabeu after a much quicker deal was agreed a fee of £3.5m + clauses for his transfer. I'm sad to see him go but he's only a year left onhis contract and clearly wants to return to Real Madrid. It means there will be opportunities for Degen and young Martin Kelly at right back. So out with the old and in with the new. Bertie Aqulani is setting up shop in L4 and let's hope he brings his girlfriend with him. There is no doubting the talent that this lad possesses. But what is doubtful, is his injury record. He has struggled a bit in recent times and is out at the moment with an ankle problem. But Roma fans seem to think that this is more to do with their training methods and medical staff. I'm hoping that we can get him fit and firing. His playing stats can be a little misleading because Spaletti often preferred Pizzaro to Bertie in recent years.5 Hungarian kids are coming over on trial and could end up joining their compatriots Gulasci Nemeth, Simon etc. Another young recruit is Danish midfield teen Kohlert who'll go into the reserves.

Hicks and Gillett have secured their refinancing deal which will require them to pay off some of their initial loan. While this sounds good on paper, I'm sure that they'll find a way to bill the club for the expense. They're a pair of leeches, sucking the life out of our club.

There is a certain purity and blind optimism to the first game of the season, you can legitimately expect all of the old problems to have sorted themselves out over the summer. It's a clean slate for all and the new recruits will make the difference. This time we'll go the extra yards. This year is our year. Number 19 is coming home.Celebrity red Samuel L Jackson is well up for the season. I'm sure he backs us to go far, maybe even the whole way to ending our 19 year league drought. The guardian season preview thinks we'll do it. I've been fairly cautious over the past few years and never said we'd do it. I correctly predicted second last season but this time I'm going to stick my neck out and say we'll reach the promised land of the league trophy. You can argue that we're weaker with the loss of Xabi and Arbeloa but the addition of Johnson and Aquilani doesn't leave us far off and might make us more attacking and capable of breaking down a packed defence, in time. There will be a bedding in period, for Alberto especially who hasn't had pre season with the team. If we can keep him fit alongside Torres and Gerrard, then we can do it. I know that's a big if but our inability to field our best XI cost us last year. I think we were the best team but Utd won the league as they had a best squad. I think the loss of Lady Ronaldo will be a problem for them as he destroyed teams and pulled goals out of nowhere so often. We we're very close last year, only four points off and I think that his loss will affect them more than our loss of Xabi. Of course, it will need the Americans to keep their noses out of Rafa's business and let him get on with training and coaching his team. Chelsea will be in there too but they'll need adaptation time to Carlo's methods and tactics. Sure we'll find out over the next 9 months, starting with Spurs on Sunday. The league is like a pregnancy. There are many bumps and kicks along the way but you have to wait until the end to find out the result. Here's hoping that it's the second coming of our league domination.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Return of the King

Long live King Kenny! He's coming home to as joyous a reception and will take up a role with the academy and as a global Ambassador on the commercial side, similar to Bobby Charlton at Utd. Good news all round.Paul Anderson is off to Forest for £250000 according to sky sports. Leto is heading off to Greece to join Panathinaikos, rather than Olympiakos. He never really built on his early promise in my so called life and requiem for a dream.

Glen Johnson has signed a 4 year deal. The kids keep coming. The latest signed include Jesus Suso Fernandez. No doubt he'll be the second coming. Another young spaniard en route to L4 is Luis Alberto of Seville, if this is to be believed. If you can read Danish you might learn that we're signing 16 year old Nicolaj Køhlert of Esbjerg. N'Gog has be joined at Anfield by his erstwhile PSG team-mate, defenderChris Mavinga. He also suggests that Alonso will be staying unless he hands in a transfer request or Madrid make us an offer too good to refuse. Messi wants Masch but Rafa says you're not getting him.

I'm not even going to bother giving the Ribery story a mention, just a bookie trying to generate business. If you're expecting discussion about Owen I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. I was completely nonplussed by his move to Utd. The interesting aspect was how quickly the press went from branding him a has been and a laughing stock with his brochure, to it being a master stroke by Slur Alex. Pretty funny. Fergie must have been won over by the glossy paper.

Here's a new book from an Irish author who lives in Liverpool and works for the club. I heard him interviewed on Today FM and I was impressed with his research. Did you know that our first ever manager John McKenna, was Irish? Could be a good christmas present for a fellow Red in Ireland.

That's all for now. If we make a big signing I'll post a comment but otherwise, I'll be back in August with a season preview ahead of the Spurs match. Enjoy the sunshine, or rain if you're in Ireland.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Season review - 86 reasons to be happy

At the start of the season I predicted a second place finish. How right I was. 86 points, 77 league goals, only 2 defeats and the best goal difference in the table. A record points total of 86 for a second place team in the premiership. This in itself is a reason to be happy. Unfortunately it wasn't enough Utd finished 4 points ahead with 90. The post mortem will say that we drew too many and there is some truth to that. 11 draws in unacceptable and I'm sure we'll improve on that next year. We can point to the refereeing errors like the stoke draw where a legitimate goal was ruled out and bad luck with the amount of times we hit the wood work. But a combination of inaccurate finishing, sloppy defending and injuries to key players cost us at times. If we had've converted three draws into wins or our two defeats to Spurs and Boro into wins then we would've reclaimed the title. If. Too many if's. We didn't do it despite playing some great football and we came up just short. 14 points out of 18 against the top four showed we could take on and beat our competition. Utd won the league despite performing poorly against the top 4. They won it because they were the best flat track bully's. We need to improve our ability to unlock a packed defence. If we do that more constantly then maybe we can go one step higher next year.It's hard to look beyond Gerrard when selecting a player of the season. He scored many amazing goals and was named football writers player of the season. John Giles on Newstalk agreed with the selection of Stevie and said that playing in the hole has brought the best out of him. Torres was good when played but missed too much of the season to be considered. Xabi had a great year, his best with us. The Kop love him and want him to stay here for many years yet. I would have him in second place for the year with Kuyt close behind him taking the bronze medal. I'm a huge fan of the Dutchman but will I had my doubts about him last year. But this season he's proved all of us wrong with his 12 league goals from open play and 8 assists, better than Rooney's return. From a right hand attacking spot that is a superb return and he fully justifies his selection. We can improve on Riera on the left but deadly Dirk will continue to be one of the first names in the team.

El Nino has signed a contract extension. There's been a big shake up with coaching staff. Gary Ablett has been released as have Hughie McAuley and Dave Shannon. Rafa is remoulding the academy and youth structure now that he has more control over the club structure with his new contract.

While there has been bad news off the pitch this week in relation to the accounts with soaring debts and no buyers interested, the guardian today suggest that it won't affect Rafa's budget and he'll still have £20m plus sales. But already he's s seen targets like Barry go to City which he won't be happy with. If it means Xabi is staying then I'm quite satisfied. Other targets could be missed out on like Pranjic who looks destined for Munich, Silva who's talking to Real Madrid and Glen Johnson who Chelsea want to buy, again.

Hertha Berlin didn't manage to secure Champions League football and won't be taking up their offer on Voronin. Javier has denied reports that he's off to FCB. Javi Martinez says he's up for a move to L4, but Atletico Bilbao say we haven't made an approach. Despite what Rafa is saying, the Alonso to Madrid rumours won't go away. If he does leave then maybe his fellow Basque will replace him. Babel has been told he can leave. I don't think it's a great surprise given how he's performed and the amount of time he's received this year. The South American press reckon that we've been everybody to the signing of Brazil u-17 star Zezinho. With a name like that, he's got to be good. Lavezzi is being linked by Setanta with Dossena going the other way. Juventus are also interested in the left back and it seems Rafa is willing to let him leave.

Sami's last minutes a red can be seen here. He'll be missed especially for his towering performance when we mashed the mans 4-1 in old toilet.

Red in Dublin is off on holidays for a few weeks to enjoy the Irish rain. I'll return if and when there's some decent transfer moves to report. In the meantime you can follow my updates on twitter. Keep it red.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sami signs off as reds slam Spurs

It's always sad when a legend leaves. So it was for Sami who left Anfield after 10 fantastic years. The friendly Finn made 464 appearances for the Reds and won just about every medal going bar the league. Rafa brought him on here in the dying minutes for Gerrard and he took the captains armband. He even had a header cleared off the line which would have been epic. You could see how much it meant to him when the players hoisted him shoulder high and the emotion of it got to him . I respect his decision to go and play but I hope that he'll return to join the coaching staff when he's finished in Germany.

The game itself almost seemed of secondary importance to Sami's swansong. Torres opened the scoring with a fine header from a Kuyt cross. Deadly Dirk took the second but was helped with a large deflection off Hutton. Yossi rounded off the goals with a cheeky effort. He has such quick feet that players buy his feints and dummies but now that he has a few months of form and confidence behind him, they are coming off and he has become extremely deadly. Keane scored a consolation goal for Spurs and didn't celebrate which was nice to see. It didn't work out for him at Anfield but I don't have any ill feelings towards him. He was the wrong buy but that's not his fault. Maybe if he'd scored more he'd still be here but I doubt it. I think he took away from our best XI rather than added to it.

Gaz Baz continues to be linked with a move to L4 just as consistantly as Alonso is being linked with a return to Spain. Rafa was asked about it post match and said:

"Xabi has three years on his contract and we're really pleased with him. We do not want to sell. He is not for sale. He says he's happy here in Liverpool. He says it to you in every single interview and press conference."

Oliver Kay in the Times reckons that we're going to open formal negotiations with Tevez after the champions league final. Sky are linking Youann Gourcouff who did really well on loan from AC Milan to Boureaux this season. Mascherano says that he would like to be reunited with Tevez. If this report is to be believed, we've had a €20m bid rejected by Napoli. He's a really exciting player and could be credible alternative to Tevez or Silva and might be easier to capture.

I'll put together a season review in the next few days but then it'll be hibernation on the blog for the summer. I may do an occasional post if we have a big signing but you can check out the twitter feed for brief updates.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baggies burst

A 2-0 over the baggies marked their demise from the league and an end to our away campaign with just the spurs match to go. West Brom were clearly more "up for it" than we were and started the match at a ferocious pace. Not surprising given they were fighting for their lives. It took us a while to get up so speed but a gift from the home defence allowed Gerrard to pounce and score yet another league goal. It got easier after that. Dirk added the second after a fine pass from Stevie. Dirk has been in superb form this year and this was his 12th goal, equalling his best ever league haul. Even more impressive is the fact that they've all been from open play. Dirka dirka. Lucas put in a good shift in the middle with Xabi starting on the bench. When Javier came off injured the basque took his spot.

The fact that Utd had wrapped up the league yesterday did make this something of a damp squib. Arsenal took points from them but alas it was too late to matter. This did have the feel of a dead rubber but with Chelsea winning we had to make sure of second and the extra cash that we'll receive for it. Second place gets 30% of champions league revenue while third place only gets 15%. Big difference.

Carra explained that his bust up with Arbeloa was over trying to keep a clean sheet, with the aim of securing yet another golden gloves award for Pepe. Some people might be pissed off with it but it never bothers me seeing players have a go at each other. He shouldn't have raised his hands as he could've been sent off but I've no problem with keeping high standards through fear. Keane used to regularly bollock players at Utd, Gary Neville was on the end of one particularly savage tirade. It's been a great week for Steven Gerrard who was named Footballer of the year, the first Liverpool player to win the award since John Barnes in 1990. Here he is celebrating the 4-1 win at Old Toilet this season. He said in an interview today that he's matured in recent years and it's been obvious this year. He does appear less selfish now. His conversion to an attacking midfielder has helped to make the most of his qualities. John Giles said he was a worthy winner of the award. Much better choice than Giggs who won the PFA award despite barely playing or scoring. His 16 goals and 9 assists are a fantastic return. If only himself and Torres had been able to start a few more games. 13 starts together wasn't nearly enough.

Piet Hamburg is leaving the Academy this summer. This has been expected for a while as he seems to have been Rick Parrys man. He will be succeeded by Jose Segura who previously worked at the Barcelona academy. In other staff related news, Rafa has been praising Sammy lee saying he is close to perfect as a number 2. Is that because he no longer has ambition to be a boss after his failed attempt at Bolton?

Dossena is returning to Italy with Milan the likely venue according to channel 4. David Silva's agent says that there is interest from clubs and there are reports that we've offered £15m for the Valencia winger. Xabi's agent says he's going nowhere which must come as a great relief to us all. I still fear that he might be off if we receive a massive offer from Real Madrid or somebody else. Hope I'm wrong. Cadiz youngster Jesus "Suso" Fernandez is on his way to Anfield for talks according to the Mirror.

How would you feel about going to watch a match in the Carlsberg stadium on Stanley Park? While there might be emotional issues surrounding naming rights, the financial reality of our predicament means that we're going to have to sign up some partner for the stadium. Carlsberg have been decent over the years and wouldn't be a bad choice. Given the international money markets, it's a moot point at the moment.