Monday, February 22, 2010

Unirea away and Rovers at home

A 3-1 win over Unirea saw Liverpool progress to the next round of the Europa league where we'll face Lille. The game was played on a terrible pitch and we were put up against it when Unirea scored early on. But we struck back with goals from Mascherano, Babel and Gerrard to give a fairly comfortable win in the end. It was good to see young Martin Kelly get another few minutes in Europe after him being out injured since the Lyon game.

Big Sam's Blackburn Rovers visited Anfield on Sunday and left with nothing. Which was nice. We took the three points thanks to a 2-1 win with goals from Gerrard and Torres. The win came no thanks to the ref who let them away with some nasty shit. I don't know how Nzonzi stayed on after getting Lucas in a headlock and throwing him to the ground. How great it a thing it is to see our Spanish Supremo strike terror into the hearts of men. He converted the winning goal after some great work from Maxi on the byline. The Argentine had a useful game with good movement and an amazing first touch. If he had a bit more pace, he'd be lethal. As it is, I think he can offer a lot from the flank with his delivery and I'm sure he had goals in him too.We don't play again until Monday when we visit the DW to play Wigan. This one should really be winnable. We're building up a bit of momentum again now and I'm hoping that El Nino will push us onwards in the final 10 games. Unfortunately, Skrtel broke his foot in Romania and is out for 8 weeks. We'll miss him as he's been in decent enough form recently but we should have Johnson back now and Kyrgiakos is finished his suspension.

The Liverpool Echo are suggesting that Pepe Reina has agreed a new deal which will be finalised soon. If true, this is great news. He's the best keeper in England by a long shot for me and I wouldn't sway him with anyone, with the possible exception of Iker Casillas. No doubt this deal will be used as an excuse why Rafa won't be given any cash this summer.

A player we've been linked to in the past, Afellay of PSV, has cropped up again this week. This link reckons we could be chasing him this summer. The source may not be the most trustworthy but he might be a cheap signing as he'll have a year left on his contract, which would fit in with our restricted budget.

QPR youngster Raheem Sterling has signed up at the Academy. He's 15 but has already been identified as one with great potential. If he lives up to it, this could prove to be quite a coup considering we captured him ahead of City, Utd and Arsenal. Here are 10 facts on him from the Mirror.

Friday, February 19, 2010

That was the week that was

Our Europa league campaign began with a 1-0 win over Unirea Urziceni visiting L4 on Thursday night. We made a bright start but it settled into a poor enough game with Unirea packing defence, trying to get a draw. We created quite a few chances but our finishing was off and we struggled to convert our superiority into goals. Second half sub Babel impressed after replacing the disappointing Riera. The impact sub role is one that Babel does well, much better than his performances when he starts. Young Danny "Patches" Pacheco came on and managed to set up Ngog for the winner with a far post header back into the path of the frenchman. Pacheco has had a few impressive cameos this season and this was another one. Let's hope he gets some more before the end of the season. Anfield likes to see a teenage prodigy strut his stuff on our hallowed turf.The week finished with with a bit of a damp squib today. We played out a 0-0 draw with City at Eastlands but in truth, it was a game low on quality. Neither team played very well and a point a piece was a fair result. Our defence coped well enough with what City threw at us with Skrtel doing a good job on Adebayor. He was guilty of spurning out best chance of the game when he headed wide from a Gerrard corner when he really should have done better. Our passing was sloppy in midfield and our movement was slow and laboured up front. We did improve when Yossi came on for the ineffectual Babel. It was great to see the Iraeli back in side, he's been sorely missed. We even got to see El Nino make a surprise cameo off the bench. I hope that the two of them get match fit ASAP.

It's more Europa league "action" this week. Let's hope that we keep another sclean sheet and score a few goals, something we haven't done much of on our recent travels. Maybe we'll see Pacheco get some more minutes. But it's another game that it's hard to get excited about. I would like to see us go all the way in the Europa league but it's hard to get into it at this stage, when playing the lesser names of Europe in far flung outposts. Given the season we're having, I suppose we have to take the victories anywhere we can find them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Arsenal review

I thought we played ok as did Arsenal but ultimately it's a results business and the result was a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates. Neither team was great. Arsenal worked their goal well and we defended poorly for it. If Kyrgiakos weren't suspended or if Carra were still on the pitch, I'd have fancied us to successfully defend it. We coped with them very well in the first half but our level dropped a bit when Degen came on for the injured Carra. But it has to be said we didn't create a huge amount of clear opportunities. Ngog could have done better when through on the keeper. Babel had a good shot saved by Almunia, who picked a bad time to remember how to make a save. Gerrard had a couple of frees and corners. I do think the Fabregas handball was a deliberate foul but outside the box so a free and red card but not a peno. I thought we did enough for a point but not a win. But the fact that we didn't create much means we can't be too disappointed.

Rafa says that El Nino will not be fit enough to face Man City. Maybe Yossi will be back in time for that game but it doesn't sound like any of our other injuries will have recovered in time. Before the City game on Sunday we face Unirea in the Europa league on Thursday night. It's hard to get very excited about this competition but I'm sure I'll be thrilled if we get to the final and win it like in 2001.

The Mirror reckons we've lost out to Arsenal in the race to sign Chamakh from Bordeaux this summer but we've succeeded in getting Jovanovic of Liege on a free. The Times are saying that Ireland may leave City this summer. I know he's a bit of a loon but he's a quality player who I'd love to see us sign. Probably won't happen.

Sky Sports give young LDV the once over in their Sky Sports Scout section. This kid is a star in the making from what I've seen.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Toffees turned over

Another Darby victory, a 1-0 win at Anfield, was enough to put us back into fourth place. Other results went our way with Spurs drawing and City losing so our champions league faith is back in our own hands now. Things are a lot rosier than they were a few weeks back.

It was a poor enough game but lots of tackles and fouls which appeals to old school fans. I thought we were the sightly better team but there wasn't in it. It was an even enough first half. I thought Fellaini could have seen red too for the Kyrgiakos sending off. I've no arguments with the Greek getting done for that challenge. Pienaar should have gone for a shocking tackle on Mascherano in the first half. The Ref was poor enough all match.

Deadly Dirk did it again with a header before half time. He's making a habit of scoring derby goals. Moyes and the toffees must hate the sight of him. He performed well as did most of the team. Javier did a good job when moved to right back when Soto saw red. Lucas and Gerrard held the midfield and the defence dealt with what little Everton threw at us. It's a pretty damning indictment of them and their manager that they couldn't make their man advantage count and we were never put under any serious pressure.All of the results went our way yesterday. Was hoping for a Villa draw or win. Nice to see City fuck it up too. We've two massive away game with Arsenal and City in our next two fixtures. Arsenal lost to Chelsea yesterday and they might be vulnerable when they play us on Wednesday night. Even at that, they're good at home so I'd be surprised if we get more than a point there. We're coming back into form but they're still the kind of team who could rip us apart. I'd be more than happy with a draw in the Emirates as the City mach could be much more important in relation to the race for fourth. showed the top ten derby goals of the decade this week and you can view them here. Some crackers in there but I think the Gary Mac one is still my favourite.

Here is Rafa putting a sky sports reporter in his place. About time.

Sky Sports reckon that we're going to sign Jovanovic on a pre contract agreement. Young Bulgarian Keeper Mihaylov has joined FC Twente for £1.5m. We made a very healthy transfer profit this Jan with the his sale added to that of Voronin and Dossena. Maxi was the only arrival and he came on a free.