Tag Archives: Javier Mascherano

Torres scores, Liverpool wins

30 Aug

Fernando Torres’ long goal-scoring drought is finally over and Liverpool picked up its first Premier League win of the season.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Torres’ strike was his 50th Anfield goal and 41st in 43 Premier League appearances at home.  Talk about a superb strike record.  Can you imagine what it could be if he stayed healthy for an entire season?  Regardless of his number of goals, he very much needed the confidence boost of a goal.  Hopefully this means we’ll be seeing his name on the scoresheet a lot more often.

Even though a 1-0 win over West Brom isn’t the most impressive scoreline in the world, it was a win the Reds desperately needed.  It’s good for the team to go into the international break (yes, already) on a positive note.  The team currently sits 13th in the table, but is one of six teams sitting on four points.

The victory comes as Liverpool announced the signing of Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles to replace Javier Mascherano.  Meireles didn’t play yesterday, but will be available for the next game against Birmingham.  The Reds are also close to signing left back Paul Konchesky from Fulham.  I believe that move is dependent on a medical.

Manager Roy Hodgson is also hoping to sign another striker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

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This could be a long season for LFC

25 Aug

The optimism I had about this season quickly fizzled after Monday’s debacle against Manchester City. Opening the season with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal was an acceptable result and hopes were high (at least with me) that things could be turned around from last season. But oh, how that buzz faded on Monday.

Manchester City ran circles around Liverpool. It was like watching a giant game of keep-away for 90 minutes. Just painful. The absence of midfielder Javier Mascherano clearly hurt, but overall the team just looked lost. They couldn’t string together passes, didn’t take advantage of their few opportunities and were constantly beat to the ball. At one point, possession was 63-37 in favor of Manchester City.

It sucks to lose, but I can accept a loss against a team that played well like Man City did.  However, I can’t accept the manner in which Liverpool lost.  There was no passion, no spark.  Roy Hodgson has got his work cut out for him.  He’s got to figure out a way to get Fernando Torres back in form.  Torres has been off since Spain’s World Cup run and desperately needs to find the back of the net and some confidence.

Hodgson also has to get this whole Mascherano situation figured out.  The midfielder wants out and supposedly refused to play Monday (Thanks Masch!).  Quick aside: Can I just say how much that bugs me when a player wants a transfer but isn’t getting it so he decides he won’t play/try and act like he’s five.  It’s obnoxious and disrespectful behavior and I hate it. (Keep in mind Mascherano’s contract runs through 2012.)

I also realize that the squad’s got a new coach and it’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to that.  I don’t think the season is completely over, like it was suggested on Yahoo! UK today, but I think the team has got to step up its game.

The Reds are currently fourth from bottom in the table.  I realize it’s only been two games, but that is just not acceptable.  They play West Brom on Saturday and will hopefully finally get a win and some semblence of pride.  But before they play West Brom, they’ve got to head to Turkey for the second leg of the Europa League clash with Trabzonspor.  Oh yeah, and they’ll be playing that game without Steven Gerrard, Torres, Daniel Agger or Maxi Rodriguez.  This season is off to a phenomenal start. 

Here’s hoping it gets better and for the love of all that is holy, FIND NEW OWNERS ASAP.  This ownership mess is casting a pall over the entire club and something has got to change if Liverpool’s going to get back to the level it should be.  Tom Hicks and George Gillett need to F&%$ off and actually put the interests of the club at heart, but that’s clearly just wishful thinking.

Liverpool manages draw in season opener

15 Aug

Well that was a dramatic way to start the season: two reds, a late equalizer and some questionable refereeing decisions.

Thoughts on the game:

  • I have no problem with Joe Cole’s red card.  Yeah, it’s a crappy way to start his Anfield career, but it was a pretty reckless challenge.  This was one of those tackles that could have gone yellow or red.
  • David N’Gog’s goal was superb.  What a great strike.  It’s nice to see him coming out of the shadow of Fernando Torres.  The young Frenchman has tallied four goals in three games.
  • Pepe Reina kept Liverpool in the game with some really nice saves.  It’s too bad his day was totally ruined by an own goal in the dying moments.  He got lucky when the ball bounced off the post, but couldn’t control the rebound and spilled it into the goal.  It was an out of character error for him, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
  • Fernando Torres didn’t start, but it was good to see him get some playing time (and not get hurt in the process).  He didn’t have any spectacular chances, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets back in form.
  • Javier Mascherano played a very solid game in the midfield.  Even though he might want to leave Liverpool, he still played with passion.  You have to like that.  
  • Even though the team gave up a late equalizer, there was an intensity about this Liverpool squad that was lacking last year.  I feel very positive about what this team is capable of this year; there should be definite improvement over last season’s debacle.

Hodgson named manager of LFC

1 Jul

And the world keeps on spinning even without the World Cup.  Roy Hodgson has signed a three year deal as the new manager of Liverpool.  The former Fulham man was the 2009-10 Manager of the Year after leading Fulham to the Europa League final.

Hodgson has done well at Fulham, but managing Liverpool is a whole new ballgame with a lot more scrutiny.  He has stated that his goal is to get the Reds back into the Champions League.  I think this is a good starting point, it’s a solid goal and one that is definitely attainable.  He hasn’t gone out and made overly bold assertions about Liverpool winning the league.  He realizes that it’s going to take a little time to get things going back in the right direction.

I don’t envy Hodgson’s position right now.  He’s stuck with two of the worst owners possible, who are jacking up the price of the club so high, no one wants to buy it.  Rumours abound about top players like Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano leaving.  Hodgson definitely has his work cut out for him in trying to keep key players in town and putting together a solid team that can compete at the top of the table.

With a new manager and new owners hopefully on the way, it’s a new era at Anfield.

Disappointing season for Liverpool

10 May

How fitting, a disappointing season came to a disappointing end for Liverpool with a 0-0 draw with relegated Hull City. The Reds finished seventh, which was bitter to swallow after a runner-up finish in 2008-09. Random fact: Chelsea won the league this year with 86 points. Last year, Liverpool was second with, you guessed it, 86 points.

There has been so much off the field drama at Liverpool this season that it’s overshadowed what needed to be done on the pitch. Hopefully, the club will get sold to someone who actually wants to improve it and will work towards getting Liverpool back to the top four. Of course, there’s the issues with Rafa and whether or not he’ll be leaving the club. There’s still many, many issues to be resolved, but now that the season is over, the focus can turn towards the future.

There were a few bright spots for Liverpool this season, mainly on the defensive side. The Reds only allowed 35 goals, third fewest in the league behind United (28) and Chelsea (32). Pepe Reina ended up with 22 clean sheets (18 in Premier League play), including shutouts of top four sides Manchester United and Tottenham. On the offensive side, despite only playing 22 league games, Fernando Torres notched 18 goals to finish tied for sixth overall.

Of course, there were some struggles as well. Steven Gerrard was not nearly the dominant force he was the previous season and only notched nine goals (I attribute this to missing Torres, his partner in crime/lover.) Offensively, the team struggled to put the ball in the back of the net when Torres was injured (which was more often than not). As a whole, the squad was not nearly as disciplined. After a red card free 2008-09, Liverpool picked up five this year, including two by Javier Mascherano. And as much as I hate to come back to it, the team never adequately replaced Xabi Alonso in the midfield. Because of that, the Reds were not able to control the middle of the field on a consistent basis.

Who knows what the coming months will bring, but hopefully it will be some modicum of sanity to Anfield.

United finally beats Liverpool

22 Mar

Apparently, the fourth time was the charm for Manchester United. The Red Devils defeated Liverpool, 2-1, in Premier League play for the first time since the 2007-08 season. It is also the first time in the teams’ last four meetings that United defender Nemanja Vidic hasn’t been sent off (although he did pick up a yellow card).

Liverpool took an early lead on a Fernando Torres header, but United tied the game on a Wayne Rooney penalty rebound later in the half. Of course, the penalty call was somewhat controversial as it’s hard to tell whether Javier Mascherano’s foul on Antonio Valencia was inside the box or just outside. (Personally, I think it was outside, but I’m slightly biased.) Pepe Reina made a nice save on the initial shot, but the rebound fell right to Rooney, who doesn’t miss many like that. Ji-sung Park scored the game-winner for United early in the second half.

It was a big loss for Liverpool as they desperately need wins to stay in the hunt for the final Champions League spot. Currently, they are four points adrift of Tottenham, who sits fourth, and fifth place Manchester City. The Reds have played 31 games, while Tottenham is at 30 and Manchester City is at 29. It will be a tall order for Liverpool to climb back up in the table with only seven league contests remaining.

Mascherano handed four-game ban

21 Dec

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has been hit with a four game ban after his straight red card in the loss to Portsmouth on Saturday.  It’s a four game suspension since it’s his second sending-off of the season.  On the red card tackle, Mascherano also sprained the medial ligament in his knee.  The injury will keep him out at least a couple weeks, so essentially it means he will serve his ban while injured.  The fact that he’s injured takes the teeth out of the punishment, but Liverpool will be grateful they caught a break.  He’ll miss league games against Wolves, Aston Villa and Tottenham as well as the FA Cup third round tie with Reading.  The first game he will be eligible to come back is against Stoke on January 16.  On the plus side, it probably means that we will get to see Alberto Aquilani step into a starting role.

As far as the red card goes, I really don’t think the challenge was that bad.  I’ve heard some people refer to it as a “career-ending tackle”, but it definitely wasn’t.  I’ve seen a lot worse.  It was slightly out of control, but honestly, I don’t think I would have even given a red card for it.  What do you think?  Check out the video below: