Oxlade-Chamberlain set for Liverpool move

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will continue the Anfield spending spree with a £30million move for Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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Premier League Asia Trophy: Liverpool beats Leicester City for the trophy

Liverpool rounded off their tour of Hong Kong by winning the Premier League Asia Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday.

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Showing posts with label jamie mclaughlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jamie mclaughlin. Show all posts

Thursday, February 16, 2012

LFC: A Quiet Incredible Man

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

On the 23rd of January 1919 in a little known town called Hetton-le-Hole in County Durham, was born a baby who was to grow up to be the most successful manager in Liverpool Football Club’s history. His name of course was Bob Paisley.

Paisley started his long road to success at non-league Bishop Auckland before signing for Liverpool in May 1939, but due to war breaking out Paisley had to wait until 5th of January 1946 to make his debut in Liverpool’s first post-war competitive match. Paisley became a regular in the Liverpool team at left-half and he helped Liverpool win their first league title in 24 years in his first full season at the club. Paisley had to wait until 1948 to net his first goal at Liverpool on the 1st May at Anfield in a 2-1 win over Wolves.

Paisley scored the opening goal in a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Everton in 1950 only to suffer heartache when he was dropped for the final against Arsenal in the club’s first ever trip to Wembley, which they lost. Paisley stated that this experience helped him deal with players during his time in management when he had to tell a player he was being left out of a big game.

Paisley became the club captain the following year. He retired from playing as a one club man in 1954 and continued to work for Liverpool as a self-taught physiotherapist. He later became coach of the reserves before becoming a member of Bill Shankly’s famous “Boot Room”. In 1971 he became Shankly’s assistant manager until Shankly’s shock resignation in 1974, where Paisley succeeded as manager.

Liverpool had become one of the top clubs in the country under Shankly’s leadership and had won numerous trophies. Paisley’s task seemed a formidable one to continue in Shankly’s footsteps. But the unassuming Geordie took to management like a duck to water, although his first season did end without a trophy.

Bob Paisley went on to manage Liverpool for 9 years winning 6 League Titles, 3 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 3 League Cups, 5 Community Shields and 1 UEFA Super Cup. The only cup that eluded him was the FA Cup which he lost in a final in 1977. It really is a remarkable record for a man that never really wanted to become manager.

Paisley inherited a great team from Shankly but through time he had to shape the team into his. He lost great players like Kevin Keegan but he replaced him with an even better player in Kenny Dalglish. He could change the role of an established player like Ray Kennedy who was a superb striker for Arsenal, but Paisley could see that he would be a better player in midfield.

Paisley retired from management in 1983 after serving Liverpool Football Club in so many different roles in 44 years unbroken service. He did return to help Liverpool in 1985 as a consultant and advisor to new player-manager Kenny Dalglish for two years before being appointed a director of the club until 1992, having to retire due to ill health after being diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s Disease. Bob Paisley died on the 14th of February 1996. But Liverpool Football Club honoured his fantastic service and achievements by erecting the “Paisley Gates”.

For me, Bob Paisley is the most under-rated manager in the history of British football, his record of success is astonishing. He is the only manager in history to win the European Cup 3 times. During his time as manager he always tried to shun the spotlight and maybe because he was so quiet may be the reason why he is not talked about as much as Ferguson or Mourinho.

It’s not just Paisley’s incredible management career that excites me, but his service to one club in so many roles that he played to help Liverpool Football Club achieve what they have. Paisley was the opposite of Shankly in terms of personality but similar in terms of success.

Although Paisley was quiet he did come away with some memorable quotes –

"Kevin was quicker off the mark, but Kenny runs the first five yards in his head."

“Mind you, I’ve been here through the bad times too – one year we came second”

“It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, it’s about the right ball”

“Other people have earned more money than me in football but no-one has enjoyed it as much as me”

Although this great man is overlooked by many people on his achievements in football, he has legendary status in the hearts of Liverpool supporters. Paisley was manager of Liverpool when I started supporting them and I took the winning for granted at the time, but now after nearly 30 years since his departure from management I realise that success does not come easily in football, and I now I can fully appreciate how great a manager Paisley was.

Bob Paisley - You’ll Never Walk Alone

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Match Report: Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

A big match for both teams with Spurs still in the hunt for the league title and Liverpool are in the chase for a top four spot. Spurs humbled Liverpool earlier in the season, when they won 4-0, with Liverpool finishing the match with only nine players. But Liverpool has been on a good run of form recently and they would be looking to gain revenge at Anfield. Liverpool supporters were buoyed with anticipation of the return of Luis Suarez after serving his ban.

The Team

The big team news of the night was that Suarez would start the game on the bench as Dalglish started with Carroll, Kuyt and Bellamy as an attacking threat. Dalglish had to make a defensive change with Enrique having a slight injury, so Johnson was deployed at left back and Martin Kelly slotted in at right back. Jay Spearing accompanied Adam and Gerrard in midfield. Spurs had a few players missing but their biggest loss was manager Redknapp who was stranded in London as his plane was grounded due to fog.

The Match

Liverpool started brightly and almost took the lead when Gerrard played in Carroll, but Dawson slid in with a terrific last ditch tackle that left the Kop shouting for a penalty. Minutes later Gerrard blasted a free-kick into a defensive wall after Johnson had been fouled.

The game was briefly interrupted when a stray cat entered the field of play in what was one of the highlights of the first half as chances were few. Liverpool had the majority of the possession as they looked for the opening goal and Spearing came close with a 25 yard rocket which went inches wide. Glen Johnson had a shot saved by the legs of Friedel as he tried his luck.

The second half continued in the same theme as the first with chances few. Bale drilled a low shot early before receiving a booking for shoving Agger in the chest. Spurs looked to frustrate Liverpool as the half ticked on and they began to sit very deep as Liverpool probed for an opening.

Kelly had a shot from the edge of the box well saved before Dalglish sent on Suarez with 30 minutes to go resulting in an ovation from the Kop. Chances remained few as the visitors “parked the bus”. Andy Carroll shot over after getting on the end of a dangerous cross from Kelly.

Spurs almost stole the 3 points when Bale beat the offside trap to go one on one with Reina, but Reina stood firm and blocked Bale’s effort before the Liverpool defence hacked clear. Moments later Gerrard picked out Suarez, but the striker could only head straight at Friedel. The game ended 0-0 and another frustrating draw for Liverpool.

Summary

Dalglish put out a very strong team and I suppose it was to be expected that Suarez would start on the bench. It was a fiercely contested match with both teams cancelling each other out and both working very hard to put their opponents under pressure. Andy Carroll played well once again and caused problems to the Spurs defence. Liverpool had good spells of possession, but the final ball was poor far too often. Liverpool nullified the attacking threat of Spurs and danger man Bale only really had that one chance at the end. Liverpool didn’t create enough chances to win the match and it was disappointing to only draw, but credit to Spurs they defended superbly.

Man Of The Match – Skrtel – another solid performance with some crunching tackles.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Friday, February 3, 2012

LFC: A Week Is A Long Time In Football

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

What a week in Liverpool’s season. Liverpool’s season could have been over if results went against them in the last week, but instead the week just past has been a memorable one, with wins in the Carling Cup against Manchester City, followed by knocking out Manchester United in the FA Cup. All this after Liverpool suffering one of their worst performances and results since Kenny Dalglish’s return to Liverpool the previous weekend away to Bolton, where Dalglish came out and made it publicly clear that he was not happy with his team’s performance.

Liverpool supporters must have been fearing the worst going in to two massive cup games against the two Manchester clubs that are flying high above Liverpool in the league right now. But Dalglish was looking for a reaction from his players, and he certainly got that in abundance. The performance against City in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final was superb. The hunger that was shown was great to see from the players, especially after suffering two setbacks as City took the lead twice. The excitement at gaining the result needed to take the club back to Wembley was there for all to see. Liverpool has never been to the new Wembley and now they have a cup final to look forward to for the first time since 2007.

Little time to celebrate Liverpool had to prepare for another massive cup tie against bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield. This match was a totally different match with Liverpool approaching the game more defensively as they allowed United most of the possession and looked to hit their visitors on the break. Kenny got his tactics spot on with Carragher deployed in midfield to protect the defence and Kenny’s tactics limited United to very few chances. But in the second half Dalglish made attacking substitutions with Charlie Adam, Dirk Kuyt and Liverpool’s in form player, Craig Bellamy coming on as Liverpool looked to knick a winner in the closing stages. Scripted perfectly in a Liverpool memoir was United nemesis Dirk Kuyt to score the winner in the last couple of minutes and shatter Fergie’s dream in the FA Cup.

It really was make or break time in Liverpool’s season with two cup ties in a week followed by a league fixture away to Wolves on the Tuesday in their chase for a top four place. It would have been easy for Liverpool to ease into complacency after their success in two cups, but Liverpool kept their momentum going with a convincing win at Molineux, even resting Steven Gerrard in the process as Liverpool’s squad is showing strength in depth, where Dalglish felt he never needed to bring in any new faces in the January transfer window. Liverpool have stuttered a bit in the league this season but their cup form has been an important distraction and has also brought them some confidence with some great wins against tough opposition. Liverpool have managed to progress in the cup competitions and kept up their challenge in the league in the absence of their star striker Luis Suarez. The much maligned Andy Carroll has looked a much improved player in the last couple of games and Liverpool’s defence is looking water tight.

So there is much to look forward to in the remainder of the season, but whatever happens I’m sure it will be a long time before we forget last week with the importance of keeping our season alive and proving how far the team has come in just over a year under Kenny’s management.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Match Report: Wolves 0-3 Liverpool

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

After a very exciting week of cup football for Liverpool, it was back to league business as they travelled to Wolves in their chase for a top four place. Going into the match Liverpool had only won one of their last six league games , so a win was vital for Liverpool. Wolves are struggling at the foot of the league table, but they earned a good away point at Spurs recently and they would be hoping to upset Liverpool with home field advantage.

The Team

Dalglish made five changes from the side that knocked out Manchester United at the weekend, with Adam, Spearing, Johnson, Bellamy and Kuyt returning to the side. Steven Gerrard was rested for this match after playing three games in the last week. Andy Carroll led the attack once again after his good performance at the weekend.

The Match

Liverpool started the game attacking and almost took the lead inside 3 minutes but Kuyt just couldn’t divert the ball home after a good knock down from Carroll who met a Bellamy cross. Wolves had the next chance when Edwards hooked effort brought out a save from Reina. Moments later Edwards headed over the bar from a free-kick as the home side looked for the opener.

But Liverpool was looking dangerous on the attack and Bellamy went close when he poked an effort just wide as Hennessey rushed out of his goal. Then Agger had a header saved by Hennessey from a Bellamy corner as Liverpool pressed. Moments later Adam made a surging run before scuffing his shot wide from the edge of the box.

There were chances at both ends in the latter stages of the half, but no goals as both teams went in at the break level.

Liverpool got a great start to the second half when they took the lead inside the first 7 minutes when Andy Carroll knocked home a dangerous Adam cross. Carroll grew in confidence after netting and was causing the Wolves defence problems.

Bellamy scored a second Liverpool goal by shooting low past Hennessey after a good run from the Welshman. The visitors were in the ascendancy now and looked like adding to their lead, with Adam volleying over and Agger going wide with a header, then Hennessey pulled off a terrific save from a deflected Kuyt shot.

Liverpool put the game out of reach in the 78th minute when a swift break by the visitors resulted in Kuyt drilling low past Hennessey. It was a good win for Liverpool as they earned their first league win of 2012.

Summary

Dalglish put out a very attacking team and I was expecting a few changes to the team in what has been a hectic week of football for Liverpool. I was surprised to see Gerrard not playing but he is just back in the team and has been playing a lot recently. It was great to see Jay Spearing back and he did play very well alongside Adam who played a big part in two of Liverpool’s goals. Liverpool’s defence was tight once again and good to get another clean sheet. Craig Bellamy was very dangerous again and scored once again. Good to see Kenny play Kuyt again and he has now scored two goals in two games. Andy Carroll was a real handful for the Wolves defence and he took his goal well. A great night for Liverpool, and good to score a few goals too.

Man Of The Match – Andy Carroll – Superb game, he worked his socks off and linked up well. Scored a good goal and you could see his confidence grow from this.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Friday, January 27, 2012

Match Report: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

Liverpool went into this Carling Cup second leg tie with a slender one goal advantage after their gritty performance in Manchester a fortnight ago. Liverpool would be hoping to finish of the job at a packed Anfield, as they hoped to return to Wembley for the first time since 1996, and get to their first major final since 2007. Dalglish would be hoping for a response from his team after publicly criticising his players after their poor performance against Bolton at the weekend.

The Team

Dalglish made two changes to the side that lost at Bolton with Dirk Kuyt and Stewart Downing returning to the side in place of Andy Carroll and Maxi. With Jay Spearing still recovering from injury, Gerrard and Adam once again were paired in the middle of midfield. But Liverpool had an attacking looking about their team, especially with a draw being good enough to take them to Wembley.

The Match

Anfield was packed and the atmosphere before kick-off was reminiscent of those famous European nights. Liverpool started the match with intent on adding to their one goal aggregate lead, and inside four minutes they almost scored when Enrique had a shot saved by the right leg of Joe Hart with the rebound smashed wide by Downing.

Moments later Charlie Adam had a right foot rocket well saved by Hart low to his left. City tried to respond to Liverpool’s early onslaught but Nasri’s effort was wayward. The lively Bellamy brought out another save from Hart after scampering past the nervy Savic. With Liverpool on top and looking the more dangerous it was City who scored first when De Jong’s long range effort ended up in the top corner, stunning the Kop.

But Liverpool responded brilliantly after this setback and they soon equalised when Richards’ block on Agger’s shot was handled and referee Dowd pointed to the spot. Steven Gerrard converted the penalty as Anfield erupted with delight. Both teams went in at the half with Liverpool still holding a one goal advantage.

Liverpool started the second half the way they started the first with Kuyt bringing out another save from Hart early on. But then Joe Hart brought out the save of the match with a brilliant fingertip save from a prodded Skrtel effort. Joe Hart was playing a blinder and he made another great save blocking Stewart Downing’s back-post volley.

But just like the first half Liverpool were stunned when Dzeko tapped in tapped in a brilliant Kolarov whipped cross from close range in the 67th minute. But Liverpool looked hungry to get to Wembley and they equalised in the 74th minute to gain the aggregate advantage when Bellamy finished off a terrific move involving Kuyt and Johnson.

City tried to respond as they pinned Liverpool back in the closing stages, but Liverpool stood firm and City never really got a clear chance as Liverpool celebrated at the end overjoyed at the thought of ending their long wait to return to Wembley.

Summary

A tremendous night for everyone connected with Liverpool to reach Wembley for the first time since 1996. I was very pleased with Kenny’s team selection by playing Kuyt and Bellamy who give great movement. The hunger shown by the whole team was impressive after such a disappointment at Bolton. Kenny couldn’t have wished for a better response from his players. If it wasn’t for Joe Hart it would have been a lot more comfortable. Some big performances with Charlie Adam having a very good match, as I have felt he has been struggling in recent games. Dirk Kuyt gave so much to the team and great selection by Kenny to play him. Stewart Downing was very good and he looks far better on the left linking up with Enrique. Bellamy was just everywhere, amazing performance. City should have got a penalty when Adam caught Dzeko in the first half, but the referee was behind the incident and never got a good view. Liverpool got lucky with the penalty but so glad we got it. Great for Liverpool to get back to a cup final, and even better with it being at Wembley.

Man Of The Match – Bellamy – one of the best individual performances at Anfield by a Liverpool player in a long time. Brilliantly taken goal too.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Monday, January 16, 2012

Match Report: Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

After the tremendous result in Manchester midweek in the Carling Cup, it was back to league business at Anfield against Stoke City. Stoke City would be a difficult team to beat, and on a four match unbeaten run. Liverpool has found it tough this season at home drawing six matches at home. So a win was very important if Liverpool were to keep in the race for a top four place.

THE TEAM

Liverpool made five changes to the team that faced Manchester City in the Carling Cup last Wednesday, with Carragher and Coates teaming up with Skrtel in a three man central defence. Kuyt came back into the team as a lone striker in place of Andy Carroll with Dalglish going for a pretty defensive looking 3-4-2-1 formation.

THE MATCH

Liverpool started the match brightly and almost took the lead in the 10th minute when a Gerrard drilled corner was almost knocked in by Adam, but the Scot couldn’t divert the ball home. Liverpool continued to dominate the early proceedings without creating many chances but in the 24th minute a Stoke counter-attack resulted in Etherington drilling a shot straight at Reina from the edge of the box.

But it was constant Liverpool possession as Stoke aimed to frustrate the home side, but Skrtel almost opened the defence with a pass across the face of goal which Adam was inches from. Downing had a good run cutting in from the right but he shot just over the bar. Liverpool continued to struggle to create chances in the first half as Stoke remained resolute.

The second half started with Liverpool trying to raise the tempo and rattle Stoke and Johnson had a good effort brilliantly blocked by Huth. But for all their pressure, Liverpool were sustaining, they still struggled to create chances. Dalglish decided to bring on Andy Carroll for Downing in the 58th minute as Liverpool looked to break the deadlock.

Henderson had a back post volley blocked and Carroll crashed to the ground under a challenge from Shawcross at a corner kick as Liverpool looked for a penalty, but Howard Webb waved the appeals away. Then in the 77th minute a deflected Enrique cross was headed wide from six yards out by Dirk Kuyt. Moments later Kuyt headed a deep Bellamy cross into the side netting. Liverpool remained frustrated by Stoke and with time running out Skrtel’s downward header bounced over the bar and Stoke managed to hold out for a point and leave Liverpool frustrated once again at home.

SUMMARY

I was very surprised with Kenny’s team selection, it looked far too defensive for me with three centre backs and Kuyt playing as a lone striker at home. Gerrard seemed to be playing too deep all game too as he couldn’t get into position to whip his trademark crosses in. Kuyt lacked support as we never got enough men in the box. But there was a lack of tempo from the start which suited Stoke. Stoke made it difficult but we didn’t help ourselves with the tactics. A couple of shouts for penalties but we should be creating more chances. Disappointed with Carroll, he came on and complained to the referee and went down far too easily instead of using his frame and knocking those defenders into next week. A very frustrating day.

Man Of The Match – Martin Skrtel – Another great match from the big man, and he tried his best in attack too. Unlucky with his header.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Match Report: Manchester City 0-1 Liverpool

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

Liverpool returned to Manchester little more than a week after being humbled by the League leaders for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium. Since the defeat last week Liverpool despatched Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup, while City lost at home to neighbours Manchester United in the FA Cup. Liverpool knew that a similar 3-0 score line would be disastrous in their quest to reach the new Wembley for the first time.

The Team

Dalglish brought Agger, Johnson, Skrtel, Henderson, Downing and Andy Carroll back into the side, from the side that beat Oldham last Friday night. Gerrard started his second match in a row after his return from injury. A slight surprise to Dalglish’s team selection was the omission of Jose Enrique, with Glen Johnson switching over to the left of defence with Martin Kelly starting at right back. Craig Bellamy also started against his old team after his good recent run of form.

The Match

A travelling support of 6,000 Kopites were buoyed by a bright start by the away side as they took the game to the hosts, and inside 5 minutes Andy Carroll was sent clear by Downing, but the big striker’s effort was brilliantly blocked by Joe Hart. Moments later Hart had to be at his best again, as he saved a curling Gerrard effort from outside the box. From the resulting corner, Gerrard’s cross found Downing on the edge of the box and his deflected volley was superbly saved by Hart once again.

Then in the 13th minute Agger was fouled in the box by Savic, resulting in referee Mason to point to the spot. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, shooting low into the bottom corner past the despairing dive from Hart. It was no more than Liverpool deserved as they continued to dominate.

But Liverpool were dealt a blow when Jay Spearing pulled up with an injury in the 23rd minute, Charlie Adam replaced the midfielder. The change never changed the pattern of play as Liverpool continued to have more of the ball. Andy Carroll had Joe Hart worried with a headed effort that just missed the target after a good cross by Kelly.

The ineffective Balotelli was replaced before the break by Nasri, and it was the substitute that had City’s first real effort on goal just before half-time as his wicked shot forced Reina into a very good save diving low to his left to parry. Then shortly after Richards raced past Johnson before cutting the ball back to Milner, but he failed to hit the target ensuring Liverpool would hold a slender lead at the break.

As expected City came out with intent on getting back into this tie and they forced Liverpool into their own half as they struggled to hold possession. Martin Skrtel had to produce a very good tackle to thwart Aguero as the pressure mounted and then the hosts’ were almost gifted an equaliser when Kelly’s pass back went straight to Aguero, but Pepe Reina did enough to force the striker wide and forcing him to shoot over. Then Reina made a brilliant point blank save from a powerful Richards’ header as the visitors tried to hold onto their advantage.

Dalglish made defensive substitutions as he hoped to hold onto Liverpool’s slender lead, with Enrique and Carragher coming on for Downing and Bellamy. Liverpool defended stubbornly for the remainder of the match with a late Aguero header being the closest City came to drawing level. So Liverpool held on for a 1-0 advantage as they head back to Anfield for the second leg in a fortnight.

Summary

As expected Dalglish fielded a very strong side, although I was surprised to see Johnson play left back instead of Enrique. Liverpool started the match superbly and took the game to City and could have been a couple of goals up before they took the lead. No doubt about the penalty, a stone-waller, with Gerrard as cool as you like with the finish. Liverpool passed the ball very well in the first half and had to be resolute defensively in the second half as City upped their game. Although City had most of the ball in the second half, Liverpool limited them to very few chances, the Reina save from Richards’s header being the nearest they came. Dalglish made a couple of very defensive substitutions which I wasn’t keen on, but his tactics worked and to come away with a 1-0 lead away from home is a superb result. Johnson was a bit lucky to stay on the field at the end with a two footed tackle, but I thought it was ok the first time I saw it, but it looked pretty bad in slow motion. But you can tell when a bad tackle has been made by the reaction of the players, and there was none. Nothing can take away from the superb result and performance.

Man Of The Match – Johnson – played brilliantly in an unorthodox role on the left. Defended brilliantly and looked dangerous going forward.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Match Report: Liverpool 5-1 Oldham Athletic

Liverpool started their quest for a return to the new Wembley in the FA Cup with a home draw against Oldham Athletic. The fixture was shifted to the Friday night because Everton were also playing at home on the Saturday this weekend. A minute’s applause was held before the match in memory for former Liverpool player Gary Ablett who sadly passed away on New Year’s night after a long illness.

THE TEAM

As expected Dalglish made a few changes to the side that lost to Manchester City last Tuesday. The major team news was that Gerrard was making his first start since October. Martin Kelly, Coates, Carragher and Aurelio were the defence in front of Reina, with Gerrard partnering Spearing in the middle of midfield, Maxi, Spearing, Bellamy and Kuyt made up the rest of a strong looking side.

THE MATCH

Oldham started the match brightly but it was Liverpool who almost took the lead in the 5th minute when Kuyt headed a Bellamy cross wide. But Oldham reacted to this scare with Shefki Kuqi shooting into the side netting after powering past Coates and Carragher.

With Oldham causing Liverpool a few problems, Adeyemi headed a Simpson corner over as Liverpool struggled to find their rhythm. Then Simpson stabbed an effort wide after a good move. But Oldham deservedly took the lead when Simpson turned and lashed an effort from 25 yards into the top corner of Reina’s net with the Spaniard well beat.

With a shock looking on the cards, Liverpool responded within two minutes when Shelvey’s shot was deflected by Bellamy into the Oldham net making the score level. Liverpool were aroused by their goal and Cisak made a good save from close range from Maxi. But Liverpool took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Maxi was bundled by Adeyemi , resulting in a penalty. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, giving Liverpool a 2-1 lead at the half.

The second half continued in the same theme with end to end action and chances at both ends. But as the game wore on Liverpool started to dominate more and they got the killer third goal in the 68th minute, when Bellamy’s cross was hooked home from close range by Shelvey. With the game won Dalglish brought on Carroll and Downing for the last few minutes and both players capped a fine night for the home side with Carroll scoring first, before Downing netted his first goal for Liverpool in stoppage time.

SUMMARY

A much changed side for Liverpool with many players short of first team action and it showed in the first half with Oldham causing us a few problems. But after we got the quick equaliser we looked a better side although we took a while to end the game as a contest. Great to see Gerrard start and he grew into the game. Great to see us score a few goals at home and see Carroll and Downing score, this will do wonders for their confidence. Overall a great win and now we can look forward to a home draw against Manchester United, bring it on.

Man Of The Match - Bellamy- dangerous all night, caused so many problems with his pace and industry. Superb performance.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Friday, January 6, 2012

LFC: Striker Needed

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

I watched the Liverpool match the other night against Manchester City and although I think they played well enough, they were seriously lacking as an attacking force. The ban on Suarez is going to be a real problem, and you could see that there was a lack of movement or options with Carroll playing a lone striking role.

I am not having a go at Andy Carroll, but if Liverpool want to play the big man up front I believe he needs a playing partner alongside him. Carroll doesn’t have the pace or movement to terrify defenders, so he needs some support, because he is good at holding the ball up and winning headers.

Liverpool have very few options in attack, they have Carroll who has struggled to score so far, Dirk Kuyt is another option, or Bellamy who has a lot of pace which could be their best option. The fit again Gerrard could play just behind a lone striker or Shelvey, who played this role against Aston Villa.

But the options are very few with or without Suarez and Liverpool should be looking to bring another striker in this January, because it is imperative that they finish in the top four this season or they could drift away from being a top four club as the gap could widen.

Liverpool are in a decent position in the League at the moment, within striking distance of the top four, but with a lack of firepower, this could be a serious problem for the rest of the season. To be fair, scoring goals has been a problem all season, with so many chances spurned from the Anfield side, but the problem will be greater, especially with the absence of the influential Suarez.

Out of the attackers Liverpool have at their disposal, Craig Bellamy has looked the most likely to score. Kuyt has been struggling to get a game and hasn’t scored all season after finishing top scorer last season and Andy Carroll has struggled to fit in to the Liverpool style of play. The team can’t depend on the superb defence to limit the opposition all the time as the attackers struggle to score.

January is historically a difficult month to bring new players in, but Liverpool should be scouring the planet for another striker, or this season could drift away after so much promise. We will just have to watch this space for the next month and hope Liverpool can bring a much needed striker in to bring success this season.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Thursday, January 5, 2012

LFC: Accepting the Wrong Decision

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

Through gritted teeth, and with no admission to guilt Liverpool have now accepted the decision by the FA to ban Luis Suarez for 8 matches. Both Liverpool and Suarez issued statements of resignation to the fact that they have to accept the ban, although in their statements there is no admission of being guilty to the charge.

But deep down they know that it is pointless and a waste of time to challenge the FA in a case involving a Manchester United player whose manager is the “Godfather” of the FA and Suarez was found guilty before the trial on the grounds of one man’s word against another man’s word with no witnesses.

The alleged victim Evra was apparently a more credible witness with his testimony, regardless of his history of troublemaking and even once trying to get a grounds man into trouble at Chelsea.

The FA was obviously just wanting to make an example of someone after showing discontent at Blatter’s comments towards racism recently. Suarez has just been made a scapegoat in this whole political affair.

An 8 game ban seems terribly harsh for the crime when a player can end a player’s career with a reckless challenge on the field and may not even get a ban for his crime. Funnily enough an example that springs to mind involved another Manchester United player, Roy Keane whose career ending tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland resulted in Keane receiving a 3 match ban and a small fine of £5000, OK so he got another ban later when he admitted in his autobiography of deliberately trying to “hurt” Haaland, where he received a 5 match ban for his comments. So in total Keane’s ban resulted in the same as Suarez, but I know what I think was the more serious crime and yet the punishment seems lenient to say the least.

The ban is not the biggest factor in this case, although it will hurt Liverpool’s ambitions this season. The biggest factor is that Suarez has been labelled a “racist” and mud sticks and this will never leave him. Everywhere he plays in England he will be subject to abuse from the opposing supporters and as we saw recently at Fulham he will receive no protection from anybody and he will be under scrutiny as all eyes will be on a reaction from him as he will be expected to show no retaliation, like he showed at Fulham which resulted in another ban for the unfortunate striker.

I also fear Liverpool losing him altogether as I would consider leaving this country if I was him and go to a country that will appreciate his talent. I hope for Liverpool’s sake that he doesn’t feel like me, but life will be so much more difficult for him now in this country.

But one thing that Suarez can be sure of is that he will never walk alone as long as he remains at Liverpool.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Monday, January 2, 2012

Match Report: Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

With the games coming thick and fast at this busy time of the year Liverpool were next to face a Newcastle side at Anfield who have had a great start to the season, but have started to struggle a bit in recent times. Liverpool went into the match trying to sort out their home form having drawn far too many for Dalglish’s liken. An added interest in this fixture is former Newcastle favourites’ Enrique and Andy Carroll facing their old team.

THE TEAM

Kenny made two changes to the side that drew with Blackburn on Boxing Day, with Bellamy and Spearing coming in for Maxi and the suspended Suarez. So all eyes were on Andy Carroll in the absence of Luis Suarez to find his goal scoring form against his old team. The defence was unchanged leaving Carragher once again on the bench with Adam and Spearing in the middle of midfield and Bellamy on the left and Downing playing once again on the right. Gerrard started on the bench as he looks to get his match fit.

THE MATCH

Liverpool started on the offensive and Adam miscued an early chance in the first couple of minutes. Then Agger made a surging run from defence only to drag his shot five yards wide. Liverpool kept up the pressure and Downing had the next chance with a near post drive but Krul was equal to it.

But Liverpool was stunned in the 25th minute when Taylor sent in a dangerous cross which was flicked on by Cabaye only to be diverted past Reina via Agger’s arm. It was a real shock to the home side who had been on the attack for most of the half.

But Liverpool responded quickly and drew level just 4 minutes later when Bellamy fired in a low drive after good work from Adam. The home side continued to press and Martin Skrtel almost made it two but he headed just wide from a corner.

The second half started with Liverpool struggling to get possession as Newcastle found their passing game. There was a feeling inside Anfield that this could be another one of these games that would end up in a draw. Dalglish brought on Gerrard with half an hour to go and he lifted the whole stadium. Suddenly Gerrard was orchestrating Liverpool. Gerrard sent over a superb cross from the right but Carroll just failed to connect and then Gerrard found Carroll inside the box with a superb pass but the big striker’s control let him down when clean through.

Then in the 67th minute Liverpool were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, Bellamy’s shot flew past Krul thanks to Carroll making a nuisance of himself in front of Krul, confusing Simpson and Krul. There was relief all around Anfield. But Newcastle almost equalized when Ba got behind the Liverpool defence, but his clipped effort was brilliantly cleared off the goal line by Skrtel who ended up in the net.

Next Gerrard whipped in a dangerous cross which Carroll headed off the crossbar, but Liverpool got their deserved third goal when a good move ended up with Gerrard bursting into the left side of the penalty area before slotting the ball underneath Krul from a tight angle sending the crowd wild in celebration. Liverpool saw out the rest of the match comfortably giving them a much needed home win.

SUMMARY

Great to see Bellamy come back into the side with Carroll up front in the absence of Suarez. I was very worried when we fell behind to a freakish goal as we were struggling to create many chances. Bellamy was superb and took his goals superbly. Jay Spearing was superb and lucky to have both legs intact after being on the end of a horrific tackle. But I felt this is the fewest chances we have created in a match and yet we scored three goals which is very pleasing. But the turning point was the introduction of Gerrard who produced so many quality crosses and passes and what a goal. Great credit to Skrtel who produced an amazing clearance off the line. Great to see us get a much needed win at home.

Man Of The Match – Bellamy – scored 2 goals and was dangerous all night, great energy and pace shown.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Match Report: Wigan 0-0 Liverpool

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

With a busy festive period starting Liverpool travelled to the DW Stadium to face a Wigan side at the wrong end of the League table. Wigan has a good recent record against Liverpool with two draws in the last couple years at the DW. But Liverpool has good form away from home this season and played well on Sunday away at Aston Villa. Wigan’s last game was a great performance in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the weekend. But with the news of Suarez facing a fine and an 8 match ban for the long running saga with the FA it would be interesting to see if he would play.

THE TEAM

Dalglish did start Suarez for the trip to Wigan and only made two changes to the side which beat Villa last Sunday with Maxi and Kuyt coming into the side replacing Shelvey and Bellamy. So once again Carragher and Andy Caroll had to warm the bench . Gerrard is still recovering from injury but good news that he has started training with the first team again.

THE MATCH

Liverpool players showed their support for their much maligned team mate Luis Suarez when they warmed up in T-shirts with a picture of Suarez on them. The visiting support was very vocal in their support for their hero.

The game started with Liverpool on the attack and Adam had an early chance with a free-kick but he put his effort into the wall. Then Henderson tested Al Habsi with a shot from the edge of the box and it wasn’t until the 12th minute when Wigan had their first effort Gomez’s close range shot was blocked by Reina after a goal mouth scramble.

The game was becoming more stretched as the half wore on with chances at both ends and it was Maxi next when he volleyed over a Suarez centre. Wigan had the next chance when Diame hit the side netting with a great swerving effort.

Maxi and Downing linked up well before Downing’s cross was hooked towards goal by Kuyt but his effort was blocked by Al Habsi. Then Johnson had a great chance inside the 6 yard box but Al Habsi once again came to Wigan’s rescue with another great save.

Liverpool was creating a lot of chances but Wigan still looked dangerous and Reina to be alert to save another Diame effort. Then Moses made a tremendous run from his own half only to see his resulting shot fisted away by Reina.

With both sides level at the half it was Liverpool who came close early in the second half, but Al Habsi tipped a Suarez free-kick over his bar. Moments later Liverpool was awarded a penalty when Caldwell handled a Suarez overhead kick. Adam blasted his spot kick into the corner only to see Al Habsi make a terrific save at full stretch.

The penalty miss seemed to affect Liverpool as they struggled to create as many chances. Dalglish brought on Shelvey and Bellamy for Kuyt and Maxi to try and change things but it was Wigan that could have snatched a winner late on but Rodallega headed against Johnson. Another frustrating night for Liverpool who had more than enough chances to win this match.

SUMMARY

I was quite surprised to see Suarez start after the week that he has had but it was great to see the vocal support from the fans towards him. Liverpool created some good chances but when you miss such a chance like a penalty then you are going to struggle to score. Wigan had chances too and made it difficult but I thought we did enough to win. Great to see our defence get another clean sheet, but it is worrying the amount of chances we miss. Two home games coming up over the festive period, so hopefully 6 points for Christmas.

Man Of The Match – Skrtel – I thought the big man was superb once again. He is playing really well and a big reason why our defensive record is so good.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Friday, December 23, 2011

Suarez Saga: Hung Drawn and Quartered

At long last the FA made a decision on Suarez and his alleged racist comments towards Evra, it really is so amazing how long it has taken to come to a conclusion. I obviously feared he would be found guilty but the harshness of the punishment is unbelievable, obviously the FA are making a strong statement to UEFA on their stand against racism in this country and they were determined to make an example of someone, and unluckily for Suarez he was the man they were looking for.

Suarez has been treated harshly since his arrival in this country, constantly being brought up is his handball on the line in the World Cup to biting a players’ ear, his remarkable talent and great play being secondary to these incidents. But the incident with Evra seemed lightweight, it was like Evra’s word against Suarez and yet the FA has hammered Suarez with a fine and an eight match ban. There is players that end other players careers with bad challenges and don’t receive as harsh a ban.

Liverpool have backed Suarez throughout the whole affair and I suppose you would expect that but with such a case as this the clubs’ integrity is at stake here and yet even after the recent verdict they are still supporting their man. The club seem outraged by the decision with the statement they have produced regarding the decision and it will be interesting to see their next move as they look set to retaliate.

Evra is no angel with a history of controversy and this makes this all the more strange how the FA believe his word against Suarez. If he was angry with what Suarez said during the game, then why did he not tell the referee during the match instead of complaining after the game, most “men” would deal with the matter on the park not go crying to officials after the match, can you imagine Souness acting in this way, me neither.

This ban could have a massive effect on the rest of Liverpool’s season as they will not want to lose their star striker for such a long spell. With Liverpool chasing a top four spot, they will need all of their star players available. But more worrying is Suarez being labelled a racist, mud sticks and even if he appeals and gets off with it, the footballing public won’t forget and this stigma will be attached to a wonderful player because one man decided to get him into trouble.

Suarez has been hung out to dry by the FA as they have drawn the whole episode out far too long and they are now going to ban him for about a quarter of the remainder of the season. I just hope Liverpool stick by Suarez and make a stand against the FA because this has not been handled in the right manner, it seemed the FA had made up their mind a long time ago and Liverpool need to do what is right and not be bullied by them. Watch this space, but whatever happens Luis Suarez will never walk alone.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool Match Report

After getting back to winning ways last weekend in a 1-0 win over QPR, Liverpool were hoping to build on the win away to Aston Villa. Aston Villa had been struggling recently but they earned a good away win at Bolton last week and would go into the match with confidence. Adding spice to the fixture would be the return of former Villa favourite Downing to his old stomping ground.

THE TEAM

Kenny made a couple of changes to his side with Craig Bellamy coming back into the side and a big surprise with the selection of newly returned Shelvey to the team. The rest of the team had played against QPR the previous week. But Dalglish had a very strong bench to call upon if he needed to make changes with Carragher, Coates, Kuyt, Maxi, Carroll, Doni and Kelly in reserve.

THE MATCH

The home side were the first to threaten when Petrov’s free-kick had Reina scrambling. But Liverpool responded with Downing cutting in from the right before firing a shot which was saved by Guzan.

But then in the 11th minute Liverpool took the lead when Downing’s corner kick was flicked on by Shelvey and then by Suarez before being blocked by Guzan but the rebound fell kindly to Bellamy who made no mistake from inside the 6 yard box.

With Liverpool’s great start to the match it got better 4 minutes later when Bellamy’s corner from the right was brilliantly headed past Guzan by Skrtel for number two and left Villa with an uphill task.

Villa responded with a couple of long range efforts and a good effort from N’Zogbia who hit Reina’s side netting. But Liverpool were always threatening on the break and almost scored a third after Shelvey saw a stabbed effort saved after a sublime nutmeg by Suarez.

With the score 2-0 to the visitors at the half it was Liverpool who created the first chance of the second half when Agger headed a Bellamy cross off target. Liverpool was going for the jugular now and next it was Bellamy the creator for Suarez who smashed a shot off the Villa crossbar.

Liverpool were in full flow now and Villa were hanging on as the chances kept coming for the visitors. Next Johnson saw a 25 yard effort saved by Guzan. Then Suarez produced a piece of magic only to see his chipped effort hit the inside of Guzan’s post with the stopper stranded.

Villa never looked like getting back into the match as they rarely threatened in the second half with Reina left mostly as a spectator and Liverpool looking the more likely to add to their tally. Liverpool ended up having to settle for two goals in another superb away performance setting them up nicely for the festive fixtures.

SUMMARY

A big surprise with the inclusion of Shelvey to the side, but what a game he had, with confidence flowing through his veins. Liverpool got off to a great start with the two early goals setting them up to play on the counter attack, and how well they attacked with the amount of chances created. Villa did have a few efforts in the first half but in the second half it was one way traffic as Liverpool dominated. It was a great team effort away from home and the win should have been more convincing with Suarez hitting the woodwork twice.

Man Of The Match – Bellamy – his movement and work rate was superb and deserved a goal. He created so many chances with his clever play and he has proved to be a shrewd buy by Kenny.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Monday, December 12, 2011

Liverpool 1-0 QPR Match Report

With Liverpool’s unbeaten run ending last Monday at Fulham they were hoping to bounce back quickly in their return to Anfield. But Liverpool have not found it easy at Anfield this season, having drawn five matches and especially struggling to beat newly promoted teams, with draws against Norwich and Swansea already this season. QPR have started pretty well this season and Liverpool would have to be at their best to overcome Neil Warnock’s side.

THE TEAM

Dalglish brought Maxi and Kuyt back into the team for this match. With Jay Spearing suspended and Lucas out for the season, Jordan Henderson was drafted into the middle of midfield. Andy Carroll was once again relegated to the bench alongside Jamie Carragher who is struggling to win his place back because of the outstanding Skrtel and Agger.

THE MATCH

Liverpool started the match brightly with 3 corners inside the first 3 minutes but the first real chance came when Downing crossed to Suarez but his header was tame.

Then Kuyt and Suarez combined before Suarez shot inches wide. Liverpool were dominating and QPR were struggling to cope. Maxi then set up Suarez but he shot against the hoardings. Suarez was causing all sorts of bother in the QPR defence and he almost turned provider with a dangerous cross after wriggling free of his marker.

Then Kuyt sent Maxi clear but he was thwarted by a great save from Cerny. QPR had to wait until the 41st minute for their first attempt on goal from Wright-Phillips but it ballooned into the Kop.

Liverpool responded with Downing sending Suarez clear but his dinked effort was saved by Cerny who was proving hard to beat. Liverpool went in at the half wondering how they had not scored with all their dominance of the first half.

But Liverpool finally broke the deadlock in the 47th minute when Adam crossed from the left to find the unmarked Suarez who headed past Cerny to the delight of the Kop. Liverpool went in search of the killer second goal with Kuyt going close with a couple of efforts and Maxi once again being denied by another brilliant Cerny save.

Liverpool continued to create chances but between bad finishing and great goalkeeping they could not find the second goal and as the game entered the latter stages QPR started to believe they had a chance of scraping something from a match that they had been outplayed in. The visitors started to make Liverpool defend for the first time and had a penalty appeal waved away when Skrtel made a challenge in the box.

Liverpool had to defend a few corners in the latter stages but they almost doubled their lead in the final seconds when Bellamy’s cross was diverted of the bar by Wright-Phillips. There was great relief around Anfield at the final whistle.

SUMMARY

Great to see Maxi and Kuyt start and Henderson play in his favoured position. Liverpool totally dominate the match, but once again not converting the chances created into goals, which is becoming a common theme. Thankfully we got the goal that was enough to win the match, where in previous games at home we have too often failed to net a winner. Hopefully this win will get another run going. We are playing some tremendous stuff right now and it is far more enjoyable to watch than in previous years.

Man Of The Match – Suarez- unplayable at times, a constant threat, terrorised the QPR defence and thoroughly deserved his goal.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anfield News: Views for Today

Starting to get over the frustration of the Fulham match. Still simmering over that referee who gave us nothing all night, and it is not the first time this season that I have felt that a referee has not acted impartially. It is not just sour grapes about us losing another match against a team we should be beating. The amount of big decisions that could have gone either way, all went against us on Monday night.

But regardless of the referee he did not put the ball in the net against us to defeat us, an unusual mistake from our reliable Pepe Reina cost us the goal that eventually lost us the game, but if we don’t score then we are not going to win, so we have to be more clinical in front of goal because once again we created plenty of chances, especially away from home. This is happening too often, we seem to bemoan our missed chances every other game and it is costing us valuable points. We look as if we need a predatory striker really badly. Maybe Anelka could do a job as rumours of him returning are circulating.

Felt sorry for Jay Spearing the other night, I thought he was having a tremendous match stepping into the boots of Lucas, and like most people I was amazed at his dismissal. For me Lucas wasn’t missed against Fulham and that is down to the performance of Spearing. Jay will now miss the next 3 matches after his sending off and somebody else will need to fill this void, probably Henderson who might excel in this role. But we have to be appealing against decisions like that sending off instead of accepting them. What would Sir Alex do, would he just sit back and accept it, no I don’t think so he would be creating merry hell if it was against one of his players.

I’m worried about Suarez he seems to be a target for referees, supporters and the FA and I wouldn’t be surprised if he chucks it and moves to a different country who appreciate his talent. Suarez has been superb for us but he needs a bit of support up front and I would like to see us try and sign another striker in January.

Fair play to Kenny keeping the partnership of Agger and Skrtel in the team, because it must have been very tempting to bring back Jamie Carragher into the team. The defence has been playing really well making the opposition struggle to find the net against us.

Our midfield has been industrious and producing chances for our strikers and hopefully we will have Gerrard back soon to add to our midfield options. Jordan Henderson started the season slowly but I see him getting better with every game. I would like to see Dirk Kuyt play more as he has been left on the bench in a lot of games recently, I think he is a major player for us and gives us so much energy, but this shows our strength in depth when the likes of Kuyt can’t get a start.

I’m still not that convinced with Andy Carroll although he has been working really hard in recent games but I’m still looking for more link up play from him and to attack crosses more, but hopefully it will come I used to slate Lucas on his performances and never thought he would make it at Liverpool and look how wrong I was.

We have been on a great run recently until Monday night and I think it will just be a minor setback. We have been playing really well this season and playing some great football and the only poor performance was the defeat from Tottenham. When you think how badly we were playing last season and the way we are playing now, it is like night and day. Some of the football now is terrific, but we have to remember to be patient as we are work in progress.

I’m disappointed with some supporters and their comments after the Fulham match with the criticism I heard. Supporters should support the team but there seems too many ready to criticise when we suffer a bad result regardless of the performance.

I am happy with the way things are progressing and we are still on course for a top four spot and a mouth watering semi-final against Manchester City so keep the faith.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fulham 1-0 Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool was hoping to keep their good run of form going in this testing trip to Craven Cottage. Liverpool had good memories of their last visit to Fulham when they had a convincing win with Maxi netting a hat-trick. Fulham have been unlucky with a couple of defeats in their last two games and with former Reds’ players Riise and Danny Murphy in their side the home side would be well up for the contest.

THE TEAM
Dalglish brought Suarez and Spearing into the side, Spearing making his first league start of the season for Liverpool to replace the injured Lucas. Jamie Carragher had to be content with a place on the bench as Dalglish stuck with Agger and Skrtel in the centre of defence. Andy Carroll was given another start as he looks to find his form in front of goal. Bellamy and Henderson also started as Dalglish left Kuyt, Downing and the unlucky Maxi on the bench.

THE MATCH
Liverpool started the game with great possession with most players getting an early touch of the ball, but it was Fulham that almost took an early lead when Dembele got behind the Liverpool defence from a clever pass from Ruiz but Reina came out sharply and made a great blocking save.

Liverpool had the next chance when Adam’s volleyed effort was deflected to safety. Then Carroll had a shot saved by Schwarzer as Liverpool continued to press. Schwarzer made another good save from a low shot by Adam.

Fulham looked threatening going forward too and Reina made a great save on the stretch from a great effort from Dembele and shortly after Reina had to be alert to an ambitious volley from Dempsey.

With the game going from end to end Henderson saw his curling effort come off the inside of Schwarzer’s far post and away to safety. Then a great run from Suarez to the bye line was then cut back to Carroll but his shot was well blocked to safety.

It was amazing how the score remained 0-0 at the half with all the chances that were produced by both teams.

Liverpool started the second half on the offensive with Agger having a 30 yard effort deflected wide before Enrique being denied his first Liverpool goal by Schwarzer. Chances were still being created at both ends with Zamora being thwarted by Agger before Adam’s surging run was ended by a late challenge by Senderos on the edge of the box. Bellamy’s free-kick was blasted into the defensive wall with Agger heading wide from the resulting corner.

Johnson played a great pass through to Bellamy but he dragged his shot well wide of the target. Liverpool thought they had taken the lead when Suarez brilliantly put the ball in the Fulham net from a clever pass by Enrique but his effort was ruled out for offside.

But the game changed in the 71st minute when Jay Spearing was shown a straight red card after crashing into a tackle on Dembele. Dalglish brought on Kuyt and Downing for Carroll and Bellamy just after the sending off.

Dempsey saw an effort come off the Liverpool bar with Reina beaten before Downing was denied by a brilliant save from Schwarzer onto the post. But Liverpool were stunned inside the last 10 minutes when a Danny Murphy shot was spilled by Reina which saw Dempsey fire the rebound into the net from close range.

Liverpool tried in vain in the remaining minutes to salvage a point as Fulham held on leaving Liverpool frustrated at the outcome of a game that had many chances and many controversial refereeing decisions.

SUMMARY
I thought Dalglish sent out a very attacked minded team and I was pleased to see Bellamy and Carroll starting along with the impressive partnership of Agger and Skrtel keeping their place at the expense of Carragher. I expected Spearing to replace Lucas in the midfield with his style of play. Liverpool played very well in what was a very good game with Fulham adding to the spectacle as the game ebbed and flowed. Another night of bad luck and missed chances which are proving costly in our quest for a Champions League place. But I’m sorry I have to say the referee was no “Friend” of us as every big decision went against us, the sending off was ridiculous as no Fulham player appealed for anything in what was a terrific tackle from Spearing. Senderos should have been shown red and Liverpool could have been awarded a couple of penalties one with Adam running into the box to be taken out by Senderos then Suarez going round Hangeland only to be impeded and Suarez puts the ball into the net only to be flagged for offside when he was onside. Suarez once again getting no protection from a referee. But we did lose the match because our Mr. Dependable Pepe Reina made a big mistake which cost us the game. I am very frustrated with the missed chances and the referee but I am proud of the performance and if we keep playing like this we will do ok.

Man Of The Match - Skrtel - defended superbly all night and made some great clearing challenges and headers.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City Match Report

The fixtures don’t come any tougher than playing against pace setters Manchester City. City remain unbeaten so far this season going into this match and have been scoring goals for fun in the league. But Liverpool was on a decent run of form too, remaining unbeaten in nine games, and with a superb victory last time out last Sunday at Chelsea.

THE TEAM

Kenny made two changes from the team that won at Chelsea last Sunday with Downing and Henderson coming back into the side at the expense of Bellamy and Maxi. Bellamy was left out due to the tragic news earlier in the day of the death of his friend and international manager Gary Speed. Maxi was just unlucky to be left out especially after scoring at Chelsea.

THE MATCH

This eagerly awaited clash was paled into comparison by the tragic news of the death of the much liked and respected Welsh manager Gary Speed who died earlier in the day at the age of 42. A minutes silence was observed before kick-off in respect of the very talented manager, and also for the passing of Liverpool’s reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones’s son who died last weekend at the age of 5 after losing his battle with leukaemia.

Once the football got started it was City who started the livelier side and in the 6th minute Richards shot over after a good turn. But then Kompany was booked for a late challenge on Suarez as the City defender let Suarez know that he was in for a tough afternoon.

A slack back pass by Enrique almost cost Liverpool dear as Aguero raced clear only to be thwarted by the alert Reina as he came racing out of his box to block the striker.

But then the visitors took the lead in the 31st minute when Kompany headed a Silva corner just inside Reina’s far post followed by wild celebrations at the away supporters section of the ground. But their celebrations were short lived when within a minute Adam tried his luck from 30 yards only to see his effort deflect off Lescott and into the net with Hart wrong footed.

This goal galvanised the home side and Adam almost gave them the lead but for a great save from the right foot of Hart as he looked to be going the wrong way. Glen Johnson saw a curling effort just miss the far post as Liverpool looked for a second goal. But City almost scored right on the half-time whistle with a lightning break which ended with Reina making a good save at his near post.

Liverpool started the second half on the front foot and Kuyt was unlucky with a header from a deflected Downing cross. Mancini brought on Balotelli for Nasri as he saw his side starting to struggle, but it was Liverpool who continued to threaten and Hart had to make another terrific save from a bouncing Downing effort. Then Lescott just managed to clear from Kuyt during a goal line scramble.

City were reduced to 10 men for the last 10 minutes when substitute Balotelli saw a second yellow after appearing to elbow Skrtel. Dalglish responded by bringing on Carroll for the remaining minutes as he looked for the win. But City almost stole a winner but for good goalkeeping from Reina allowing defenders to get back on the line to clear the danger through Skrtel.

But then in stoppage time Carroll produced a powerful header which looked goal bound only to thwarted by Joe Hart at full stretch, the rebound fell to Suarez who’s shot was superbly saved again by Hart at his near post, the follow up effort from Downing was blazed over, and City held on for a point in their toughest test so far in the league.

SUMMARY

A superb match by two heavyweights, it was a pity but very understandable that Bellamy was left out for this one, and I believe Downing was brought in for Maxi because Downing has a bit more pace to thwart the danger of Richards marauding forward. City started well and had us under pressure in the early stages and I thought Reina was a bit fortunate when he blocked Aguero after Enrique’s poor pass, it looked like the ball struck his arm. It was great to see us respond so quickly from going behind although it was rather fortunate the way we equalised. But as the game wore on the stronger we got and Adam and Lucas were superb once again, with our defence handling the quality of the City attacking threat very well. Agger and Skrtel played superbly, with Reina making some vital saves. Johnson was a threat going forward and Enrique and Downing linked up to great effect down the left. Kuyt worked his socks off as per usual but Suarez was left a bit isolated at times and given some rough treatment. I was a bit disappointed with Henderson, the game seemed to pass him by. We were a bit unlucky not to win the match as we had the better chances, but I would have taken a draw before the match and I was proud of the performance against a very strong City side.

Man Of The Match – Lucas – his best game yet, he was everywhere, breaking up City attacks, starting attacks, his passing was superb, never gave a ball away and covered every blade of grass.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool Match Report

With Liverpool stuttering with draws at home and Chelsea’s recent poor form, this match was vital for both teams to get a positive result so they keep in touch with the leading group. Liverpool have had good results against Chelsea in recent years and they managed to do the double over them last season. Dalglish is unbeaten as manager against Chelsea so confidence was good going into the match.

THE TEAM

Kenny made three changes to his side with Bellamy, Kuyt and Maxi making his first league start of the season, Andy Carroll had to settle for a place on the bench alongside summer signings Downing and Jordan Henderson, the fit again Jamie Carragher was also named as a substitute. Former Liverpool favourites Meireles and Torres were also named as substitutes for Chelsea.

THE MATCH

Liverpool started on the attack with Maxi making two good early runs. Chelsea reacted with Mata volleying dangerously across goal. Then Mikel fired over from 25 yards.

Liverpool were looking dangerous on the attack and Bellamy combined well with Suarez but Cech thwarted them. Drogba looked to have scored from a free-kick but the ball rippled the net from behind.

The next chance came when Kuyt dispossessed Terry before Suarez failed to find Bellamy and Maxi at the back post. But then in the 34th minute Liverpool broke the deadlock when Adam dispossessed Mikel before Bellamy took over, executing a one-two with Suarez before finding Maxi on the edge of the 6 yard box who finished clinically before celebrating in front of the jubilant travelling support.

Liverpool almost made it two when Lucas sent Suarez clear but his attempted cross deflected off Luiz into the side netting.

Liverpool maybe felt they should have had more than a one goal lead after their superb first half performance. Chelsea made one change at the break with Sturridge replacing Mikel.

Chelsea started the second half with intent and Drogba saw an effort bend over. Then Mata danced into the box before Skrtel ushered away the danger. But the game had changed and Liverpool were struggling to get forward now and Chelsea got their reward with the equaliser when Sturridge beat Reina from close range from a scuffed Malouda shot.

Seconds later Reina pulled off the save of the match from a glancing header by Ivanovic. Dalglish brought on Henderson for Bellamy as he tried to strengthen the midfield that was starting to struggle to stem the Chelsea tide.

The change did seem to make a difference although Liverpool were still not threatening the Chelsea goal. Malouda had a great chance in the 75th minute but he volleyed wide from close range. Then a great run down the right by Henderson ended up with Kuyt firing just wide.

Just as it looked like the match would end a draw, Adam sprayed a pass out to the right to Johnson who skinned Cole before racing into the penalty area and then superbly slotted a left foot shot past the helpless Cech. Liverpool held out for the remaining minutes to record an important win.

SUMMARY

Surprised to see Maxi come back into the side, but what a masterstroke, with the Argentine scoring the first goal. I was also pleased to see Bellamy and Kuyt start the match with their work rate and pace. Liverpool played superb especially in the first half with their pressing game and the way the team continued to work for each other when under pressure in the second half was tremendous. The defence was resilient and Lucas and Adam combined brilliantly in the midfield with Kuyt tireless as ever and Bellamy was always a threat and was brilliant at the first goal. Suarez caused the Chelsea defence all sorts of problems, but overall it was a great team performance and a deserved victory.

Man Of The Match – Adam – best performance this season, passed superbly and worked his socks off, played a crucial part in both goals.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

Monday, November 21, 2011

Suarez Being Victimised

Luis Suarez has been a terrific signing for Liverpool, what an impact he’s had. The supporters love him, Torres and the absent Gerrard have been virtually forgotten about.

I remember the great sense of loss and despair I felt when the news broke of Torres leaving us, although I knew Suarez was coming to us I was so gutted to think that no player could replace Torres. How wrong I was, Suarez has lit up Anfield so many times with his mesmerising skills and his never stop running work ethic.

OK so far he has not been as clinical in front of goal as Torres but he has brought so much more to the team that the supporters appreciate.

The first I knew of him was in the last World Cup where I thought he was a real pest of a player, constantly niggling away at defenders but with great ability, and I was left hoping that somehow we could sign him and I was so pleased when we did as I thought there would be so much competition for his signature.

Suarez is one of those types of players that you love if he is in your team but you would hate him if he is playing against you, a bit like what I thought about Paul Ince. Suarez is loved at Liverpool but already he is being victimised by other teams and even referees.

We have had people making comments about him after matches which is going against him and giving him an unfair reputation, like when Paul Scharner commented on him going down too easy after our win against West Brom, when the following week he got no protection from the referee at home to Norwich when he was kicked all over the park.

But the start of the conspiracy came from who else but Sir Alex when he spoke about Suarez diving all over the place, after our 1-1 draw against United, and I’m sure he was the instigator in making Evra accuse Suarez of racial abuse.

The FA are now charging Suarez and he could now find himself with at least a 6 match ban that would hurt us deeply. In my view its Sir Alex and his fear of Liverpool’s resurgence that has brought him to delve deep into his large book of “dirty tricks” which has made him so “great” and well respected over the years.

The FA also backing his team once again, with the charge against Suarez, where little, or no evidence to back up the claim. It will be interesting to see if the England Captain receives the same punishment, I think not, the FA will show hypocrisy and racism by hammering a foreigner and let the Englishman off the hook.

I just hope that Suarez is not driven out of our club through this “witch hunt” that could drive him from our shores as he must have a strong feeling of injustice and believe he is being victimised for doing nothing more than giving his all in every game.

Luis Suarez you have the backing of all the Liverpool supporters, we just can’t get enough.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

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