Monday, 29 July 2013

Thailand 0-3 Liverpool

Liverpool brought the curtain down on their tour of the Far East with a comfortable 3-0 win over a Thailand XI on Sunday.

So far this pre-season it has been Coutinho who has been on great form in the early stages and he could have replicated that in the 11th minute but from a Johnson cross, his scissor kick didn't find the net.

However, it only took five minutes before he continued his rich scoring streak as he stole the ball before showing great trickery to slot into the bottom corner and open the scoring and Thailand could have equalised with a strong shot from 20 yards which Mignolet was sharp to keep out and Liverpool led 1-0 at the break.

Liverpool started the second half perfectly as Coutinho picked out Aspas who beat a defender with a superb spin before shooting past the keeper to secure his third goal for Liverpool and give his side a 2-0 lead.

Gerrard added a third just before the hour mark as Allen raced clear in midfield and supplied a pass to Aspas who picked out Gerrard who flicked the ball over the keeper to wild celebration from the fans.

A number of changes took place as Aspas and Fabio Borini made way for Luis Suarez and Jordon Ibe, Kolo Toure and Coutinho -were replaced by Martin Skrtel and Jordan Henderson, while everyone else lasted until the closing stages.

As the end drew close both Suarez and Gerrard hit the crossbar and Henderson had a chance hit off the line but the score finished at 3-0 as Liverpool completed the tour unbeaten.

Melbourne Victory 0-2 Liverpool

Liverpool continued their Far East tour with a 2-0 win over A-League side Melbourne Victory in the second game of the tour.

Both sides started well but it was Liverpool who had the best chance to open the scoring as Sterling had a sight of goal but sliced wide from 25 yards, Nabbout tested Brad Jones from a similar distance and the Australian keeper kept his shot out.

Gerrard latched onto a pass from Sterling with a fierce strike that Coe in the Victory goal leapt to save on the half-hour, Allen hit a pinpoint pass to Gerrard who calmly slotted the ball past Coe to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark.

Liverpool pushed to increase their lead and came close as Sterling and Gerrard combined and the captain hit a shot that sadly continued to rise over the bar meaning a 1-0 lead at the break.

The Reds came out with the same desire to score they had left with as Skrtel connected to Gerrard's corner forcing Coe into a good save and later on, Borini hit a cool volley from the edge of the area which Coe did well to save and from the save, Victory tested Liverpool via Connor Pain who hit a left foot drive that forced Jones into an acrobatic save.

Liverpool soon made a mass of changes and Aspas secured the win in stoppage time with a simple tap-in after some excellent trickery by Luis Suarez who strangely looked disappointed after the assist. 

Liverpool remain unbeaten going into the final game of the tour against a Thailand XI before returning home for Gerrard's testimonial.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Indonesia XI 0-2 Liverpool

Sunday, 14 July 2013

2013/14 Pre-Season Begins At Deepdale

Liverpool's preparation for the new season began perfectly with a 4-0 victory away to Preston North End to win the Shankly Shield.

The friendly was arranged to celebrate the impact that Bill Shankly made on both teams, as a player at Preston and as the legendary manager at Liverpool in the year that he would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

Liverpool gave starting debuts to Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure in a side of youth and experience but it was the youth that shone the brighter early on as Coutinho forced former red John Welsh to concede a penalty and the Brazilian stepped up to cooly slot home to open the scoring.

The lead doubled in the 36th minute via a superb long range strike from Jordon Ibe who notched his first goal for the club and Liverpool went into the break with a 2-0 lead.

The second half saw Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas make their debuts as part of ten changes which meant only Mignolet would play in both halves.Aspas was influential in Liverpool's third in the 64th minute through fit again Raheem Sterling who linked with Aspas before sliding the ball home for a well taken goal.

Aspas was rewarded for his earlier assist with the fourth and final goal of the afternoon in the 74th minute with a sweet strike from 25 yards which looped in and capped a good performance for Liverpool.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Carragher Bids Farewell On A High

An emotional farewell by Jamie Carragher in his 737th and final game for Liverpool saw a victory over QPR end his glittering seventeen years courtesy of a super strike by Philippe Coutinho.

A surprise entry on the final team-sheet was 17-year old Jordan Ibe who has impressed in the youth ranks this season and will hope to repeat the feat of one Michael Owen who's debut on the final day in 1997 began an amazing career which incidentally came to an end today as he retired at Stoke.

Liverpool came out of the blocks quickly as Coutinho was unlucky to be denied a goal by the official as he connected to a Downing corner with a header which appeared to cross the line but appeals were ignored.

As has been a tradition recently, Coutinho was the driving force for Liverpool and set himself up in the 18th minute as he evaded a challenge with ease before sending a shot wide of the post but he avenged the wayward shot with a stellar strike five minutes later as a cool assist by debutant Ibe saw the Brazilian waste no time in unleashing a 25-yard bullet that flew past Green and into the corner to send Anfield wild.

Liverpool pushed for a second as they maintained their pressure on the already relegated QPR and a surging run by Johnson saw him lift a left footed chance over the bar while QPR had a chance via Townsend from long range which blazed wide of the target.

A good debut for Ibe nearly became great as he swished down the left and aimed a bullet of a shot that flashed narrowly across the face of goal and saw the Reds go into the break at 1-0.

Five minutes after the restart and Green was called into action as Johnson hit a strong shot which arrowed towards the top corner forcing a improvised palm from the England stopper.

One dream that everyone in Liverpool red had in their mind was a Carragher goal in his final match and only the upright of the post denied the dream as an uncharacteristic screamer of a shot from the legendary number 23 agonisingly crashed back from 25 yards out to deny him a magic farewell.

Ten minutes to go and Suso stung the palms of Green from a tight angle only for the rebound to go to Downing who's goalbound shot was duly blocked.

As the end approached, Anfield saw a standing ovation as the stalwart Jamie Carragher was replaced by Sebastian Coates to bring an end to his amazing career as he bid farewell to Anfield for the final time before retiring to go into a media career for Sky Sports next season.

As the final whistle went, Liverpool had secured the win to end the season on a high and send Carragher off on a high as the future looks bright for the club with the hero again being the 20-year-old Coutinho who with Sturridge has turned the fortunes of the club around in recent months and makes many wonder how the season would have gone had they both been signed last summer rather then midway through the campaign.

Hopefully, I will sign off 2012/13 with a review and compilation of my magnetised scores within the week so watch this space....

Sturridge Treble Stuns Cottagers

Daniel Sturridge's first hat-trick for Liverpool proved the catalyst for a 3-1 victory over Fulham in the penultimate game of the season despite a superb goal by Berbatov.

Liverpool started well and Coutinho was the instigator of two good chances, the first saw an exchange between him and Shelvey which saw the England U21 midfielder drill a shot at goal only to have it blocked and the Brazilian tried with a solo effort.

The pressure continued as Sturridge had a good sight at goal but the chance was rushed and the ball slipped past the far post but as Liverpool were dominating possession, Fulham broke the deadlock just after the half-hour as the unmarked Berbatov latched onto an exquisite cross from Riether with a cool header into the corner past Reina.

Fulham's lead lasted barely three minutes as Liverpool equalised via a careful but concise pass from Wisdom found Sturridge and he swished past Hughes easily before a pinpoint strike past the ailing Schwarzer sent the 'travelling Kop' wild as it hit the roof of the net.

After the break, Liverpool came out firing on all cylinders as after Enrique replaced Wisdom - he curled in a crisp cross for Sturridge who met it well but the resulting header soared over the bar.

As the hour approached it seemed more likely for Liverpool to score than Fulham and as Coutinho hit a sharp shot, it deflected into the path of Sturridge who made no mistake in slotting a side-footed chance past Schwarzer to give his side a 2-1 lead. The lead could have been by three within minutes but two expert saves from Schwarzer denied Sturridge his hat-trick.

Fulham had a great chance to equalise from a corner as Hughes met the cross with a glancing header aimed at the far post and a textbook palm from Reina prevented an excellent leveller which could have soon been cancelled out by Borini, who came so close to matching his substitute heroics from the Newcastle game as he raced clear before smashing a shot that cannoned off the post followed by a good save from Schwarzer to keep the score at 2-1.

Liverpool sealed the win with five minutes to go as the lethal combination of Sturridge and Coutinho struck again as a super pass from the Brazilian playmaker found the England striker who lifted the ball over the onrushing Schwarzer and into the empty net to secure a well deserved three points for his side.