Sunday, 28 September 2008

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Match Day: Premier League #6

Everton 0-2 Liverpool
Saturday 27 September 2008 12:45

Liverpool XI: Reina, Dossena, Carragher, Skrtel, Arbeloa, Riera (65), Gerrard (c), Alonso (80), Kuyt, Torres {57} {61}, Keane (80).

Substitutes: Hyypia, Aurelio (25), Babel, Lucas (10), Cavalieri, Agger, Pennant (10).

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Match Day: Champions League Group Phase #1

Olympique Marseille 1-2 Liverpool
Tuesday 16 September 2008 19:45

Liverpool XI: Reina, Dossena, Carragher, Skrtel, Arbeloa, Babel, Gerrard (c) {26} {31} (69), Mascherano, Lucas, Torres (64), Kuyt (86).

Substitutes: Alonso, Degen, Keane (4), Riera (26), Cavalieri, Agger, Benayoun (21).

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Match Day: Premier League #4

Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United
Saturday 13 September 2008 12:45

Liverpool XI: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher (c), Skrtel, Arbeloa, Riera (71), Alonso, Mascherano (86), Benayoun (67), Kuyt, Keane.

Substitutes: Hyypia (4), Babel (19) {77}, Ngog, Dossena, Cavalieri, Torres, Gerrard (23).

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ex-Spurs Strikeforce In Red's Reunion

This season's first 'North-West derby' commences this Saturday following the international break, which saw many of our players jetting off all over the globe to play for their respective countries. But this simultaneously allowed time for new signings, fresh from the closure of the transfer window, to train at Melwood and current players to recover from their injuries.
Team news ahead of this clash at Anfield will inevitably focus on the added assets of both teams, totalling a staggering £50million. Keane and Berbatov may come head-to-head for the first time competitively and become embroiled in one of the most infamously ferocious encounters during this season.
Unfortunately, such matches have looked favourably towards the Mancunians in recent times, with the history of the last 4 Benitez years in the Premier League reading: 0 wins, 1 draw and 7 losses. Now for this opinionated fan, the most recent games (bar the embarrassing 3-0 mauling, not helped by the idiotic Bennett), we have dominated throughout and ended up losing, either because we haven't been clinical enough or simply unlucky. And as a precursor to this game, the public slanging commences and is not so surprisingly initiated by the Scotsman. This time we hope to see the jibe from SAR on our Robbie backfire, akin to the Rafa/Drogba mess in the Champions League.
The news leading up to this Top Four meeting is not positive, as the two most influential players we have are more than likely going to be out - Gerrard with a persistent groin problem that was operated on, and Torres who pulled his hamstring against Villa. This could however be put into some sort of perspective, by the absence of Ronaldo and Hargreaves from the opposition, negatively effecting their start to the season.
This game may see the introduction of our new left winger, who has had just under 2 weeks available to train and prepare with the team. Some primary advantages for him to settle quickly at LFC is his command of English, his nationality as his fellow countrymen rife at the club and his time in Manchester in 2006. He has past experience of this league during his time with City, and has been involved in high profile games with his former club Espanyol, such as the UEFA Cup Final in 2007 where he scored against the defending champions Sevilla. He is seen as the outlet on the wing to display his technique and provide bombarding deliveries for our strikers. Such an option has not been forthcoming with the nature of forwards Kuyt, Babel and Benayoun. Keane has still to make his mark in a Red shirt and with the two so often heralded members of the team missing, we need to see new leaders step forward and perform.
During the season, it is often speculated by pundits that to win the title you have to take points off you're competitors. As of late, Liverpool FC have generally underachieved in this area, be it deserved or not. We are entering this match with a heavily depleted team, who have played poorly in the opening matches. And we are going to face the club and manager successfully chasing down our record with two consecutive championships. So all I can surmise is that we can only hope for the best this time.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Summer Transfers 08/09 Update #6

1st XI
Philipp Degen (BV Borussia Dortmund - Free) [RB]
Andrea Dossena (Udinese Calcio - £7m) [LB]
Diego Cavalieri (SE Palmeiras - £3m) [GK]
David Ngog (Paris Saint-Germain FC - £1.5m) [FW]
Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur FC - £19m) [FW]
Albert Riera (RCD Espanyol - £8m) [LW]

Harry Kewell (Galatasaray SK - Free) [LW]
John Arne Riise (AS Roma - £4m) [LB]
Peter Crouch (Portsmouth FC - £11m) [FW]
Scott Carson (West Bromwich Albion FC - £3.25m) [GK]
Steve Finnan (RCD Espanyol - £1m) [RB]
Andriy Voronin (Hertha BSC Berlin - Loan)

Deale Chamberlain (Tamworth FC | 16 y/o)
Nikola Saric (Herfolge BK | 17y/o)
Vincent Weijl (AZ Alkmaar | 17y/o)
Christopher Buchtmann (BV Borussia Dortmund | 16y/o)
Zsolt Poloskei (MTK Hungaria FC | 17y/o)
Emmanuel Mendy (Murcia Deportivo | 18y/o)
Vitor Flora (Botafogo FR | 18y/o)
Peter Gulacsi (MTK Hungaria FC | 18y/o)

Nikolay Mihaylov (FC Twente - Loan)
Paul Anderson (Nottingham Forest FC - Loan)
Anthony Le Tallec (Le Mans UC72 - £1m) [MD]
Danny Guthrie (Newcastle United - £2.5m) [MD]
Robbie Threlfall (Hereford United - Loan)
Adam Hammill (Blackpool FC - Loan)
Sebastian Leto (Olympiakos CFP - Loan)
Godwin Antwi (Tranmere Rovers FC - Loan)
Jack Hobbs (Leicester City FC - Loan)
Jordy Brouwer (FC Utrecht - Loan)
David Martin (Leicester City FC - Loan)
Miki Roque (FC Cartagena - Loan)
Craig Lindfield (AFC Bournemouth - Loan)
Astrit Ajdarevic (VfB Stuttgart - £1m) [MD]

Monday, 1 September 2008

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Match Day: Premier League #3

Aston Villa 0 - 0 Liverpool
Sunday 31 August 2008 16:00

Liverpool XI: Reina, Dossena, Carragher (c), Skrtel, Arbeloa, Leiva, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt (68), Torres (30), Keane (78).

Substitutes: Benayoun (12), El Zhar, Babel, Ngog (60), Cavalieri, Aurelio (22), Agger.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Boardroom v Benitez: Bust-ups, Battles And Barry

Anticipating the fixture to round off the month of August, I thought this is the most opportune time to provide the final views on the long running issue of the summer. Liverpool travel to the Midlands to face Aston Villa, and as we now know, Gareth Barry will be staying a Villain. That is until the next chance to switch arises.
For me there is little competition between the midfielders at the centre of the saga: Barry and Alonso. I feel the Englishman outweighs his Basque counterpart in almost every aspect of the game. Barry is better equipped offensively (delivery, penetration, goals, assists, set-pieces), defensively (tackling, marking, endurance, ball-retention, concentration) and generally (versatility, composure, acceleration, decisiveness, leadership).
The fact is Gareth Barry would be a stellar addition to Liverpool FC, and all the evidence, being both statistical and anecdotal, displays Barry as top player. Our abject left side is a major concern, which may be soothed with a new arrival (Riera is taking a medical today), and Barry could have been a short-term solution. His sheer consistency in the Premier League is commendable, and alongside his box-to-box attributes he is often see as the lynch-pin of the Aston Villa team. His adaptability creates a wealth of options over the field, and for such an investment, the lack of injuries he has picked up guarantees his availability for a full season. And as he is English he contributes to UEFA domestic league quota legislation, which may be preventing the sale of Pennant or Finnan.
The man, originally from the South coast, has been subject to constant media speculation, taunts from his home crowd and the loss of his testimonial match. Lucrative incentives prevented him from handing in a transfer request, but an unauthorised newspaper interview took place criticising his manager. Administrative procrastination and politics then took place, with Benitez publicly urging an early conclusion towards the capture of his top target. Multiple bids were lodged and rejected over the months, with mixed messages from the owners over finances and willing for the deal to happen. The stumbling block seemed to be with deal-breaker Rick Parry, who has been under fire from all corners, and most recently from the manager, again. A statement released on the official website, with the notable exception of the owners names, read that the fee was "too high". Much has been reported in the media of the movement towards football being controlled by money more than ever. Players are often seen as assets and property, or as Blatter and Ronaldo stupidly see it: "slaves". Liverpool may have considered residual or sell-on value for Barry and deemed that they would not recoup enough on a sale of a player that haven't purchased yet.
I believe in today's relative economic climate, the market dictates the cost of players with prices rising year on year in spite of fears for global recession. Martin O'Neill and Randy Lerner have clear reasoning over the matter, with players in similar roles such as Hargreaves, Essien and Mascherano costing upwards of £18million. This price has obviously been baulked at, as a major factor in this transfer is the age of the player in question, and also the premium prices for English players. Benitez himself can be seen as delusional and hypocritical for demanding £16million for Xabi Alonso. Even though some could say he is protecting the interests of the club, he regularly excuses his chances of winning the league by referring to the spending power of the top 2 sides and the difficulties in beating teams with the likes of Carrick, Anderson and Mikel warming the bench. Such an inflated value has warded of interest from Juventus and league rivals Arsenal, but one stark development is the absence of interest from Spanish teams. The clubs make regular homeward bound calls for their ex-patriots through the press, but haven't even been rumoured to put in a bid.
As the seasons have rolled on, Alonso has been depreciating in form and value. He established himself in his first two seasons as an expensive import who could control the flow of the game, setting a tempo and rhythm to our play with clear vision and passing; the consummate professional. But subsequently has been laid off to the treatment room and been replaced by Mascherano, Lucas and most recently Plessis, playing bit-part roles with varying success.
I think there may be a future for the Barry deal, and the first opportunity will the the January transfer window. One point that supports this idea is that his UEFA Cup appearance in Iceland cup-tied Barry until the knock-out stages of the UCL this season, which get underway in February. This is when the competition really starts to take shape and a big-money name at such a time would be a great boost, even though such agreements are usually sealed in the summer. The structure of the deal would change, concerning the payment schedule, involving a lower price and perhaps instead significant add-on clauses or compensation.
But the most important reasoning to secure Barry is the necessity to bring in the right player for the team.