Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wolves and Trotters

We went to Molineux last wednesday to face Wolves. It was the first of what I viewed as two winnable games, with Wolves being the easier of the two. How wrong I was. We were shockingly bad. The only positive to be taken from the match was that we didn't lose and Gerrard returned to the first team. Other than that, we showed nothing.

Thankfully we moved on with a 2-0 win over Bolton at Anfield on Saturday. Dirk continued his good goalscoring form after Aquilani set him up with a far post header. Insua had swung in the cross and had a great game overall. I'm happy for Emiliano as he's been below par for a while as have most of the defence. What a difference a Greek makes? Kyrgiakos has come in and stabilised the entire back line. He's a no nonsense type who knows what his job is and sticks to it. Not the most cultured distributor of the ball, but one who get stuck in, wins headers and blocks at vital times. He cleared a ball off the line in the first half which could have changed the complexion of the match.Everton are level with Liverpool and Chelsea on 14 points from 18 according to the premier league form table. I'm happy to have Kyrgiakos in there to combat the aerial threat of Cahill and Fellaini. The defence will have a busy day as I'm sure the toffees will be well up for it, as they always are in the derby. This is another massive game, they all are now for us to finish fourth. A win would set us up nicely for the Arsenal match but I suspect we could be heading for a draw.

Not for the first time in recent years, the Liverpool rumour mill went into overtime and the word in the city was that Rafa was going to resign today. This proved to be rubbish, quelle surprise. The boss dismissed the rumours and said he's committed to the club.

In an odd move, promising German full back Chris Buchtmann has been sold to Fulham for £100k plus future conditional payments. I thought that he was rated highly so this is very strange unless the kid is having problems off the pitch.

We've signed a co-operation deal with Genk in Belgium. This will enable us to sign promising players from South America and Africa and let them develop in Genk, where the work permit laws aren't as strict. Arsenal and Man Utd have similar deals with Beveren and Royal Antwerp. I've always wondered why we didn't do this a few years ago.

The Liverpool Echo says that we've offered a pre contract agreement to Milan Jovanovic of Standard Liege as he's on a free in the summer. In the same paper Dirk talks about his Scouse family and their love of fish and chips. Dirk is one of my favourite players. He sounds like a really decent and down to earth bloke. Former target Nicolas Lodeiro won't be coming to Anfield as he's signed for Ajax. If the hype is to be believed, Martin Jol has pulled off a coup here as this kid is going to be a star.

Just as the transfer window was about to slam shut, it seems we managed to slip one through the gap. If some reports in Greece are to be believed, we've managed to sign Greek full back Vasilis Torosidis on loan from Olympiakos on loan. If everything goes well, this will become a permanent deal in the summer for around €7m. I really wasn't expecting us to do any business today so this comes as a pleasant surprise. As to the player himself and his abilities, I don't have a clue. He's good mates with Kygiakos, if that helps. Then again, it could be speculation which comes to nothing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How good was that? A 2-0 win over Spurs at Anfield on a rocking Wednesday night was just what the doctor ordered. 'Arry said the Kop in full voice is "the most amazing sight in football". Get in.

We benefitted a lot from the early goal. Great strike from Kuyt after a clever bit of skill from Aquilani. He looked much better last night, playing the Gerrard role. You could say that creates a problem of where to play Gerrard when he returns but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The heart and passion shown against Stoke was upped a notch here. Carra was superb at right back. I know that he's expressed some reservations about playing there but if he played like that every week it wouldn't be a problem. Degen offered an outlet on the right and while he's limited, he did give us a bit of pace and drive which we lacked with Torres and Gerrard out. He was guilty of bottling it when he was put through on Gomes but chose to abdicate responsibility and pass back to Dirk instead.

Kuyt missed a few sitters and it should have been a lot easier in the end than it was. Balls of steel from Dirk to retake the peno and put it in the opposite corner. Spurs did cause a few problems at times but overall we were great value for the win. I really thought they'd give us more of a game given the injuries we had.

We're second in the premier league form guide with 13 points out of 18, only Arsenal ahead of us. Not bad form considering this is supposed to be the worst Liverpool team ever with a cretin of a manager according to the media.It seems that we did make an effort to get Jones on loan from Sunderland but they didn't go for it despite the player being interested. Fair enough.

Tony Barrett in the Times has an excellent piece on George Gillett. There are rumours that his share of the club will be sold soon enough. I really hope it's true this time but we've all heard these rumours before.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Reading and Stoke

The sporting week has been pretty crap for me as I was supposed to attend the Spurs match at Anfield only for it to be cancelled. This left me disappointed and out of pocket.

It continued with a dismal F.A. cup exit at the hands of Reading on Wednesday night. Watch this if you dare. We were shocking and Reading deserved to go through. To make matters worse, we lost our three most attacking player to injury. Torres is out for six weeks, Gerrard for a fortnight and Yossi three or four weeks.

So we travelled to the Britannia without Gerrard, Torres, Yossi, GloJo and Agger who got injured before Saturday. This meant a reshuffled team built for Stoke's aerial bombardment, and it very nearly worked. Kyrgiakos was drafted in at the back, to head away the artillery fire. He had a great game and did a passable impression of Sami H. He even managed to score the opening goal after some confusion in the box. Maxi got a run out in the second half. Unfortunately Huth scored at the death to level it. 1-1 was rough justice for us but you don't always get what you deserve in this game, especially with shit referees like Lee Mason around. We could have had a peno when Lucas was taken down but he booked the Brazilian instead and then gave a goal kick. If he believes the defender got a touch on the ball, how is it a goal kick? Kuyt and Ngog laboured up front and Dirk hit the post in the closing minutes. A few inches from salvation.Next up Spurs visit Anfield on Wednesday for the rearranged match. This is going to be really tough. I would expect that we'll see some of the guys who were rested yesterday get a start, like Riera, Maxi and Aquilani. I don't know whether we'll go with Kuyt or Ngog up front but it will probably be Kuyt. I'm hoping that Agger is back for this but there doesn't seem to be any easing up of the injuries at the minute. It's going to be messy and I don't see us getting much more than a point.

Watch this bit of madness to try and cheer yourself up. It probably won't work but it's worth a try.

Dossena has completed a €5m switch to Napoli. If for nothing else, Dossena will always be remembered for this and this. The less fondly remembered Voronin also completed a move this week. He's off to Dinamo Moscow for £2m. The Liverpool Echo suggest that we might be in for Jeremy Menez at AS Roma after he fell out with Ranieri.

Pacheco is thankful for the help he's received from Torres. It must be great for the young Catalan to have Nando there to help him settle in L4. Our younger youngsters had a great victory in the FA youth cup this week. They beat a much fancied Leicester team 5-1 to go through to the next round. Lauri Della Valle, our fab Finn, was the hero on the night with a hat trick. You can watch highlights here including an interview with Rodolfo Borrel the Academy manager.

Tom Hicks Jr got himself in a bit of hot water this week with an abusive e-mail to a Liverpool fan. Silly boy. You can read what the Guardian had to say about it here. It resulted in Hicks Jr resigning his position on the board. Rafa gave further news of how shit things are under the Yanks. If a substantial bid comes in for our top players this summer then we'll have to consider it. Let's hope the club is sold or there is some investment in the meantime.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cup runneth half full

Yesterday we saw the Reds settle for a 1-1 draw at Reading to bring the match to a replay at Anfield next week. In truth, it wasn't a great match and we didn't play well. Reading did enough to earn the draw and it's especially impressive considering they only have a caretaker manager at the minute. Gerrard hit a cross shot which Dirk dummied to confound the keeper and it was 1-1 at half time. We had played well enough as we neared the interval and looked like we'd push on in the second half. Alas, we let Reading back into it and it evened itself out overall.

So we'll have to do it all again. I suppose the owners will be happy at the extra pay day from the home match but I don't think Rafa will be jumping for joy at the extra match and possibility of injuries and suspensions. Carra praised young Steven Darby who filled in for GloJo at right back. He was much better than his previous game against Fiorentina but I still don't think he's up to our level. Martin Kelly could be back for the next game and I would expect him to replace Darby in the XI.It's another tough test this Sunday when Spurs visit Anfield. They're in top form and Defoe is one of the most dangerous players in the league this season. I'm attending this game so I'm hoping for a good display but I'm not overly confident. I wouldn't be surprised to see this ending in a stalemate.

Victor Moses could be available on the cheap according to the Daily Mail. Babel is "not for sale" according to Rafa. He also played down the suggestions that we might move for RVN.