Archive | January, 2009

So long, title challenge!

28 Jan

For the second time in a little over a week, Liverpool gave up a late game-tying goal.  First, a 90th minute header from Everton’s Tim Cahill and today, a stupid move by Lucas resulted in a Wigan penalty in the 82nd minute.  I’ve tried to avoid questioning who’s in the squad for each game, but it reached a new point today.  With the score tied at 1-1 with about eight minutes left, it makes sense to bring on a striker right?  (You would think maybe a SECOND striker, however, Torres had already been taken out of the game at this point…why exactly, I have no answer for that.) However, it does not make sense to take off Steven Gerrard for Robbie Keane.  Sure, put Keane in, but take off Lucas since he committed the penalty or Babel or ANYONE BUT GERRARD

The reason for taking your two best players off the field was....

The reason for taking your two best players off the field was....

The Reds have now drawn NINE times this season.    With the draw, the Reds fall to third since Chelsea won today.  You can slowly but surely see the team’s confidence slipping.  No more words – will try to be more coherent after digesting another wasted opportunity.  I’ll let Yahoo! Eurosport do it for me:

“Benitez finally brings on Keane but OH NO WHAT IS HE DOING!!?? He takes Gerrard off. Gerrard!! The only man who scores late goals for you all the time! Your best player! After taking off your second-best player, the person next most likely to score late goals etc etc. I give up.”

“Sometimes I want to do painful, tortuous things to Rafa Benitez, like he does to me. He has taken off Torres – the only striker – and brought on Riera – a winger. Even though Keane and Kuyt are on the bench. AAARRRGGGGHHH!!!”


Premier League Schedule for Jan. 27-28

26 Jan

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Sunderland vs. Fulham – 5 p.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Delayed)

West Brom vs. Manchester United

Portsmouth vs. Aston Villa – 3 p.m. EST/ Fox Soccer Channel (Live)

Tottenham vs. Stoke City

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough

Manchester City vs. Newcastle – 5 p.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Delayed)

Wigan vs. Liverpool – 2:30 p.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Live)

Blackburn vs. Bolton

Everton vs. Arsenal

West Ham vs. Hull City

FA Cup Fifth Round Draw

25 Jan

Sheffield United vs. Hull City

Watford vs. Chelsea

West Ham vs. Middlesbrough

Sunderland/Blackburn vs. Coventry City

Derby County/Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United

Swansea City vs. Fulham

Liverpool/Everton vs. Doncaster/Aston Villa

Cardiff City/Arsenal vs. West Brom/Burnley

Kljestan’s the man for Team USA

25 Jan

Sacha Kljestan scored the 12th hat trick in US soccer history.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored a hat trick to lead the US to a 3-2 win over Sweden on Saturday night. He notched his first national team goal after sending a free kick from just outside the box into the upper left corner. He added a second one just before halftime. Marvell Wynne got taken down in the box and Kljestan converted the penalty. After Sweden made it 2-1 in the second half, Brian Ching did a wonderful job of bringing the ball under control and then slotting it to Kljestan, who scored his third goal of the game. Sweden scored again in the 88th minute to make it a one goal game, but the US defense was able to stay strong.

Overall, it was a good way for the US to start 2009.  Bob Bradley fielded a young team, although a few of the players, like Kljestan, will probably be in the lineup against Mexico next month as well.  The team dominated possession, especially in the first half.  The forward tandem of Brian Ching and Charlie Davies in the first half did not create very many scoring chances, but Ching’s aggressive play helped earn several dangerous free kicks, including the one from which Kljestan scored his first goal.  

Next up for the US is a date with Mexico in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.  The February 11 match in Columbus will be a huge game for the US as they look to build early momentum in the qualification process.

Anfield News

23 Jan

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was released on bail after denying assault and affray charges.  He is due back in court on March 20 where he will plead not guilty.  He faces FIVE years in prison if he is found guilty (seems excessive to me, but what do I know).

In other Liverpool news, there’s new talk of the club being up for sale.  The talks are in the early stages with Nasser Al Kharafi, worth approximately £9 billion ($12.28 billion).  Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett both have to agree to sell the club if it is going to happen since they each own 50 percent.  The club’s £350 million ($477 million) loan is currently set to be renegotiated in July.  There is also talk of a buyout for Chelsea coming from a Swiss group.

The Reds face Everton at Anfield on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Liverpool blow it

19 Jan
Fernando Torres was back in the starting lineup, but couldn't take advantage of a great first half chance.

Fernando Torres was back in the starting lineup, but couldn't take advantage of a great first half chance.

Tim Cahill scored a late equalizer for Everton against Liverpool today after Steven Gerrard had put the home side up in the 70th minute.  If the Reds had won, they would’ve gone top of the table, but since they did not, they are still in second behind Manchester United based on goal difference.  Liverpool has now drawn EIGHT times this season, which is ridiculous.  They should have won today’s game against Everton and have also drawn twice with Stoke (seriously?!).    Fernando Torres missed a very good chance for Liverpool in the first half (one that he would usually put away) and the team just looked rather out of sorts. 

Hopefully, Liverpool will use this debacle as a rallying point to improve.  The Reds get another chance at Everton this weekend in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

*In other news, Kaka has rejected Manchester City’s absolutely insane bid.  AC Milan fans rejoice.

Premier League Schedule for Jan. 17-19

16 Jan

Saturday, Jan. 17

Blackburn vs. Newcastle

Bolton vs. Manchester United

Chelsea vs. Stoke City – 10:00 a.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Live)

Manchester City vs. Wigan – 8:00 p.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Delayed)

Sunderland vs. Aston Villa

West Brom vs. Middlesbrough

Hull City vs. Arsenal – 12:30 p.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Live)

Sunday, Jan. 18

West Ham vs. Fulham

Tottenham vs. Portsmouth – 11:00 a.m. EST/Fox Soccer Channel (Live)

Monday, Jan. 19

Liverpool vs. Everton