Sunday, 26 August 2012

Liverpool v Manchester City

After the disaster against West Brom last week, Liverpool sat bottom of the league at kick-off today and looked to kick start the season. Surprises in the starting lineup as Raheem Sterling made his first start in the Premier League and Coates was preferred to Jamie Carragher.

 The game began with a negative for Liverpool as Lucas went off injured after four minutes to be replaced by Jonjo Shelvey, (minor thigh injury). Both teams started well but the best chance fell to Liverpool as a Raheem Sterling cross needed a touch from Fabio Borini to go in and no connection was made. Anfield hearts stopped on 19 minutes as Carlos Tevez's shot took a minuscule touch off Reina to scrape the post and bounce back into play keeping the score goalless.

The breakthrough came on 34 minutes as Steven Gerrard's swinging cross was sliced by City's Kompany over Joe Hart narrowly avoiding an own goal but leading to a corner, in came the corner from Gerrard and GOALLLLL! 1-0 Liverpool as Martin Skrtel powers in a header to score Liverpool's first league goal of the season and cap a period of dominance in possession which was something which rarely happened last season.

The dominance continued and Liverpool ended the half leading 1-0 and with great confidence for the next 45 minutes. Halftime and we are beating the reigning champions = Brilliant.

The lead ended on 63 minutes as a failed clearance by Martin Kelly reached Yaya Toure who buried the equaliser and make it 1-1. City's delight came to a sudden halt on 67 minutes as a free kick awarded after a Kolorov handball saw Luis Suarez rocket the ball past Joe Hart and regain the lead for Liverpool and cause Anfield to erupt, 2-1 Liverpool.

Another Liverpool mistake and City equalise again, Skrtel back passes straight to Carlos Tevez, and Tevez slots past Reina to make it 2-2 on 80 minutes. Jonjo Shelvey nearly regains the lead for Liverpool but his shot sailed over a minute after the equaliser.

The score remained the same till the end and what should have been a massive win resulted in a reasonable draw. Before the game, most Liverpool fans myself included would have taken a draw but after leading twice and in front with ten minutes to go, a draw is a slight disappointment as it leaves us 16th and with our next league game against Arsenal also at home surely it is a must win to give the season a push in the right direction .

Next game is against Hearts in the Europa League Play-off second leg so hopefully my next blog will be with us safely in the group stage draw.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Hearts v Liverpool

Anglo-Scottish ties of the past have seen great games and Thursday's clash lived up to its predecessors with a close game won by an unlucky own goal from Hearts defender Andy Webster.

Both sides had chances to score with Novikovas and Taouil both coming close for Hearts and Fabio Borini smashing a shot against the post just before half-time for Liverpool.  The winning goal came on 78 minutes after a swinging cross from Liverpool right back Martin Kelly missed everyone including the attacking run of Fabio Borini to clip the leg of Andy Webster and give Liverpool a 1-0 win.

Liverpool from the win have an away goal to take back to Anfield for the second leg this coming Thursday with the victor progressing to the Europa League group stage draw.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

West Brom v Liverpool

Among all the debuts of the opening day of the Premier League, Steve Clarke (former LFC Asst.Man) and Brendan Rodgers (current LFC manager) took their new teams into a new season both hoping for instant success. For Rodgers the hope turned to disaster as Liverpool were humbled by the Baggies and found themselves occupying 18th in the EPL table.

The game in the first half saw three clear chances for Luis Suarez (LFC) but sadly no goals, WBA claimed the first goal with a stellar strike by Zoltan Gera, who chested it down and volleyed the home side into the lead on 43 minutes and at the halfway point, Liverpool were 45 minutes away from an opening loss.

The shape of the game turned in the 58th minute as Daniel Agger (LFC) 'pushed' WBA's Shane Long over in the area and was unfortunately given a straight red card while Long was awarded the penalty. Liverpool's blushes were spared as a truly weak effort by Long was easily saved by 'keeper Reina.

The penalty count rose barely six minutes later with Martin Skrtel this time the culprit with Long again being fouled, this time Peter Odemwingie stepped up and slotted his team into a 2-0 lead and Liverpool needed an Istanbul-esque comeback to claim anything in this game.

The comeback never began and its hopes were dashed on 77 minutes from a header by Romelu Lukaku (currently on loan from Chelsea) who rose at the back post to give West Brom a 3-0 lead and to wrap the game up for the Baggies.

Liverpool's list of negative records from last season gained an addition with today's result being their worst start to a Premier League season and with home games against Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd in the next few weeks sadly it could be a worse record.

However, there were some positives as new signings Fabio Borini and Joe Allen both played the full 90 minutes, Lucas performed well for an hour before going off for Joe Cole (Cole lasting 11 minutes before suffering an injury) and as Carroll entered the fray for the injured Cole he got into the game a bit even though he was also booked in the final minutes.

Back to the european adventure for Liverpool next as they travel up to face Hearts hoping to bounce back and prepare for the visit of Premier League champions Manchester City next Sunday.

Full Time West Bromwich Albion 3 Liverpool 0

Other Results were as follows....

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Liverpool v Bayer Leverkusen

Final preparation for the new Premier League season saw Liverpool take on Bayer Leverkusen managed by Anfield legend Sami Hyypia and they got off to a cracking start thanks to a strike from teen star Raheem Sterling after barely three minutes.

Sterling came inside and let go with an unstoppable shot to open his 'first team' account which many hope will be increased before the year is out. Liverpool and Bayer both had numerous chances to score the game's next goal but luckily for Lucas he notched Liverpool's second just before the half hour as he latched on to a mid-deflection by Kadlec and tapped into an empty net for 2-0.

Substitutions at the half led to a close chance for Henderson and then Shelvey put in Carroll but his header failed to increase the lead. However, he redeemed himself with a stylish shot which flew into the corner and sealed the game at 3-0.

Hopefully it will put him back in Rodgers' plans for the season ahead. Bayer did get a consolation thanks to a well taken goal by Sidney Sam fifteen minutes from the end, a goal the Anfield fans would have been proud to see from one of their own. A good performance overall puts Liverpool in good confidence for the season opener against West Brom next weekend.

Liverpool 3 Bayer Leverkusen 1

Friday, 10 August 2012

Liverpool v FC Gomel

The first game of the season at Anfield was always going to be a good one and the occasion did not disappoint as Liverpool eased to a 3-0 win against the Belorussians with Fabio Borini scoring a nice volley in his home debut and displaying a celebration that many will want to see a lot this season on 21 minutes. The game from then was a case of when and how many Liverpool would win by as FC Gomel were not as competitive as they were last Thursday.

Steven Gerrard opened his account for the season with a cool tap-in from Suarez's lay-off on 41 minutes to put Liverpool 2-0 up and 3-0 on agg at halftime. The tie was sealed on 72 minutes after a beautifully taken strike by Glen Johnson made it 3-0, a goal similar to that of his against Chelsea last season.

Liverpool qualify for the play off round with a 4-0 aggregate and with the confidence that this season Anfield can become the fortress it used to be rather than the damaged castle we've seen in the last couple of seasons.

Good performances again by Lucas and Shelvey showing that the starting lineup will be a feature for them this season and nice to see Luis Suarez back in Liverpool red and showing the form he had last season, the only negative that he didn't cap the performancewith a goal.

Next up a home friendly against Sami Hyypia's Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday...

Full time Liverpool 3 FC Gomel 0

Friday, 3 August 2012

FC Gomel v Liverpool

August 2nd became the start of a new era for Liverpool with Brendan Rodgers steering the reds to their first competitive win of the season at the first attempt. The win came courtesy of a surprising yet stunning goal from Stewart Downing, who was panned by many including myself last season for failing to live up this his hefty transfer fee.

 Last night's game saw him switch from a traditional left wing to the right playing where Dirk Kuyt had made a name for himself and Downing didn't disappoint. Gomel themselves are already well into their season so their match fitness was higher than the Liverpool squad who only got back together fully last week in between the Roma and Spurs friendlies.

Even though they may not be first team regulars this season, Brad Jones, Raheem Sterling (came on for Joe Cole on 22 mins) and Martin Kelly performed well in a mixed side and it was nice to see Joe Cole back on the European stage.

The main positives is that it was a win away from home meaning the advantage of an away goal and a clean sheet (not a regular feature in 11/12). Personally I would have liked to see Aquliani and  Carroll but for some reason they do not feature in Rodgers' plans and instead Borini and Joe Allen (talks in progress) will form as replacements.  Borini in what I have seen so far does have the skill to spice up the attack but the aerial threat that Carroll used to good effect last season and in Euro 2012 and may be missed in future.

Final score FC Gomel 0 Liverpool 1