Tag Archives: Glen Johnson

Liverpool lackluster in Stoke draw

14 Jan

On the positive side, Liverpool can control the ball pretty well. But other than that, it was a pretty poor performance from the home side.  In a drab 0-0 draw with Stoke, the Reds dominated possession, but failed to create enough chances.

Liverpool came out in a 5-4-1 formation with Sebastian Coates, Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel anchoring the back line and Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique providing the width up and down the field.  Dirk Kuyt was the lone forward.  I don’t really understand the reasoning coming out in such a defensive formation, especially against a team like Stoke.  This is a game Liverpool could have and should have won, but the players seemed slightly off-put and confused by the formation change.

The Reds were able to dominate midfield play and kept Stoke from getting much of anything going offensively.  However, there was a severe lack of connection between the midfield and Kuyt and more often than not, there was no one in box to receive a dangerous cross. Kuyt pulled back to chase the ball and as a result, there was basically no one playing up top, which would be fine if the object of the game was to not score goals.

Liverpool introduced Andy Carroll early in the second half, but like many of his appearances as of late, he had little influence on the proceedings. Craig Bellamy came on shortly afterwards and was unable to provide much of anything as his corners and crosses constantly found the head of a Stoke player.

Liverpool looked much like they did in the loss to Manchester City, although thankfully, Stoke doesn’t have the same kind of offensive threats. The inability to create any good chances today stems partially from the fact that there simply weren’t ever enough people getting forward.  Once LFC got to the edge of the box, it was all lateral movement and no one looked to make cuts through the box to create space.

It’s odd how Liverpool went from creating a ton of chances and simply not being able to finish to a complete dearth of decent looks recently.  The absence of creative force Luis Suarez obviously hurts, but the rest of the squad has to figure out a way to get good chances without him (at least for four more matches).  However, even with Suarez in the lineup, Liverpool has struggled to find the back of the net consistently.

Can you imagine if Liverpool had won even half of the games they’ve drawn?  They would be sitting pretty in the top four, that’s for sure.  It’s incredibly frustrating to watch them struggle so mightily in front of the net (or the final third in general) when they are playing well defensively and through the midfield.  There are still a couple weeks left in the transfer window and I think that buying a proven striker would be a good call at this point.  Carroll is still young and inconsistent and Suarez is obviously suspended and can be flaky in his own way in front of goal.




LFC wins without Gerrard

22 Nov

Liverpool fell back to earth with a resounding thud after their win over Chelsea, the top team in the league, going winless against Wigna and Stoke.  They got back on the winning track Saturday, notching a 3-0 victory over hapless West Ham.  Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez all netted goals in the win.  It was exactly the kind of game Liverpool needed after a rough previous couple outings.  They also won without skipper Steven Gerrard, who was ruled out for a month after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty (damn it, Capello!).

The win put the Reds into ninth place and only six points out of the top four.  With the way this season is going, there is no reason to count Liverpool out of the running for a top four spot.  Granted, they will have to find some more consistency, but it’s by no means an impossibility.  As of right now, there’s no team that is head and shoulders above everyone else.  At the beginning of the year, Chelsea looked like that team, but they have struggled as of late and as a result, Manchester United is now equal with the holders on points.  It’s a wide open race at this point and will make for some excellent clashes coming up.

Liverpool will face their next test at Tottenham on Sunday.  The Spurs are currently sixth and are coming off an impressive come-from-behind 3-2 win over Arsenal.  The home side will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s match and Liverpool will have to be on top of their game if they want to claim a win.

Thoughts on USA/England

12 Jun

England took an early lead off a Steven Gerrard goal, but the U.S. battled back to get a lucky goal from Clint Dempsey off a horrid Robert Green miscue.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw so both teams end up with one point.  We’ll have to see where the rest of the group stands tomorrow as Algeria and Slovenia square off at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Thoughts on USA/England:

  • Timmy Howard is the man.  Despite getting cleated in the chest by Emile Heskey in the first half, Howard came up huge for the U.S.  He made several stellar saves and also gobbled up a couple crosses destined for an English foot.  He was voted man of the match and rightly so.
  • The U.S. defense has got to improve.  The England forwards and mids had a ton of room to operate and were unlucky to do better with the chances they had.  Carlos Bocanegra got beaten several times on the wing by both Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon, which was rather surprising because Bocanegra is generally pretty solid.
  • Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark were unimpressive.  Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan kept getting sucked into the middle to help play defense, so when the U.S. finally got the ball back, there was no one on the wing for an outlet pass.  The U.S. really could have benefitted from having a player like Benny Feilhaber or Jose Torres partner with Bradley in the midfield.  Both of them have an excellent touch and good vision.
  • Despite all the chances England had, Wayne Rooney only had a couple decent looks at goal.  The U.S. defense did a nice job of shutting him down (most of the time).
  • The referee didn’t ruin the game.  That was a worry going in due to some issues with being card happy and generally insane.  Each team picked up three yellow cards and they were all good calls.  There weren’t any game-altering decisions the ref missed.
  • Robert Green got his World Cup career off to the worst start possible, spilling a clean save on Dempsey’s long range effort into the back of the net.  You got to feel bad for the guy, but as a U.S. fan, I’ll take a goal any way  I can.
  • I was impressed with the U.S. fortitude after giving up a ridiculously early goal.  The team could have easily caved and lost 3-0 or 4-0, but they kept at and were ultimately rewarded for their efforts.
  • The U.S. plays much better when they push the ball forward.  They give up goals when they sit back, which is exactly what happened on Gerrard’s goal.
  • The U.S. still needs to learn how to play the full 90 minutes.  Like I posted yesterday, short lapses can kill you in a tournament like this.
  • For England, it’s a disappointing result.  The team came into the game fully expecting to win and by all accounts, probably should have.  They’ll go into the next game against Algeria pissed off.  David Beckham hated it too, especially the U.S. goal. Here’s proof:

What did you think of today’s result?

England, Slovenia announce 23-man rosters

1 Jun

England and Slovenia join the US as group C teams that have announced their final 23-man rosters for South Africa.  The biggest surprise out of England is the omission of Theo Walcott after the same player was the subject of surprise in 2006 after getting selected.  I’m also a little bit surprised that Darren Bent missed out after the stellar season that he had.  I think Bent might have been able to contribute more than Emile Heskey, althought I think Rooney and Crouch will be the primary targets.

No surprise really, but Gareth Barry also made the squad despite being out for a month with an ankle injury.  He might not even be fit to play until the second group game against Algeria.  England’s back line has also been dealing with some injury issues, which is good news for U.S. fans.  I think the U.S. will be able to take advantage of its speed (perhaps a good chance for Robbie Findley to make an impact) against an aging England defense.

I don’t pretend to know anything about Slovenia’s squad selection, but I’m doing some research, so you’ll just have to wait to hear my verdict on that.

Goalkeepers: David James, Robert Green, Joe Hart

Defenders:  Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Ashley Cole, Stephen Warnock 

Midfielders: Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Shaun Wright-Phillips, James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Joe Cole, Gareth Barry

Strikers: Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe

Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova), Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam)

Defenders: Bojan Jokic (Chievo), Marko Suler (Gent), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble), Branko Ilic (FC Moscow), Matej Mavric-Rozic (Koblenz), Elvedin Dzinic (Maribor), Miso Brecko (Cologne), Suad Filekovic (Maribor)

Midfielders: Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Rene Krhin (Inter Milan), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Robert Koren (West Brom), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa), Valter Birsa (Auxerre)

Forwards: Milivoje Novakovic (Cologne), Zlatko Dedic (Bochum), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Gent), Nejc Pecnik (Nacional), Tim Matavz (FC Groningen)

England’s 30-man roster

11 May

The only real surprises out of this bunch are the inclusions of Jamie Carragher and Joe Cole.  Carra hasn’t played internationally since 2007 and Cole hasn’t featured since 2008.  Fabio Capello will trim the squad to 23 by June 1.  The U.S. squad will be announched at 2 p.m. ET today on an ESPNews press conference.

Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright Phillips

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock

Goalies: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green

Liverpool opens Europa League play today

18 Feb

Liverpool plays host to Unirea Urziceni (seriously hate spelling that) today in the first leg of their Europa League tie.  The second leg is set for Thursday, Feb. 25.  This tournament is Liverpool’s last chance at silverware this season.  It’s not going to be easy for the Reds as their form has been consistently inconsistent this year, but like I’ve said before, if they can put all the pieces together, they could make a run.

Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson are both still hurt, but Jamie Carragher is fit to play while Yossi Benayoun could play if absolutely necessary (read: he won’t).  Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible to play since he already played in European competition with Atletico before signing with Liverpool.  Defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos is available since his ban only covers domestic matches.

Unfortunately, none of the Europa League games are on TV in the States, so your best bet is to watch it illegally online (which I won’t condone despite wanting to) or follow along on the Yahoo! match tracker.

Premier League TV Schedule – Nov 21-22

20 Nov

After another international break, the Premier League is back in action this weekend. The injured stars of Liverpool will also be back on the pitch this weekend (thank goodness). The injured Reds were: Steven Gerrard, David Ngog, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Albert Riera, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun. Torres is the only one still out, so yay for that international break. Man City is one point up on Liverpool in the table, so it’s a must-win game for Liverpool if they want to work their way back into the top four. The Reds have only won one game since Sept. 26 so they need to start winning now to get things back on track.

Saturday, November 21
Liverpool vs. Manchester City – 7:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Birmingham vs. Fulham – 8:30 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
Burnley vs. Aston Villa – 5 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
Chelsea vs. Wolves – 9:30 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Hull vs. West Ham – 7 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Sunderland vs. Arsenal – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Manchester United vs. Everton – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, November 22
Bolton vs. Blackburn – 8:25 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Tottenham vs. Wigan – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Stoke vs. Portsmouth – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)