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.