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.