Tag Archives: Roy Hodgson

Top Moments of 2011

31 Dec

Happy New Year one and all!  2011 has been quite the year and here are my favorite moments:

1. Abby Wambach’s game-winner against Brazil – This goal was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.  Playing a man down and a goal down in stoppage time of extra time, Megan Rapinoe picked out Wambach with a pinpoint cross and Wambach’s header sent the game to penalties, which the U.S. dominated.  Not going to lie, definitely made me cry – on par with Landon’s Donovan’s late winner against Algeria in 2010.  Amazing moment.

2. Hodgson out, Dalglish in at Liverpool – After reigning over one of the worst starts for the Reds in a long time, Roy Hodgson was finally shown the door in January 2011.  His replacement?  None other than the legendary Kenny Dalglish.  The team was revitalized under Dalglish, showing the passion and desire that was missing the rest of the season and moving up the table to finish seventh.  Dalglish was given a three year contract in May.  New ownership, combined with the return of Dalglish changed the outlook for fans all over.

3. Japan’s Women’s World Cup victory – Even though it came at the expense of the U.S., it was impossible not to feel good for Japan.  Homare Sawa equalized for Japan late in stoppage time and the team went on to win the penalty shootout.  It was the first World Cup title for Japan, which was  (and still is) battling with the aftermath of the horrific earthquake and tsunami.  The victory was about more than just soccer.

4. Barcelona’s triumph – Barcelona showed why it truly is the best team on the planet, winning the Champions League title in convincing fashion over an outclassed Manchester United.  Barcelona also claimed the La Liga title and recently the Club World Cup title as well.  The team was (and is) mesmerizing to watch, especially player of the year Lionel Messi and midfield maestros Xavi and Iniesta.

5. City thrashes United – I don’t think it’s any secret that I am not the biggest fan of Manchester United.  Manchester City totally embarrassed the defending champs, 6-1, in mid October, much to the surprise of all but the most delusional of fans.  It was quite the win for City, a warning shot that they are to be taken seriously in the league race.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to see United get knocked off its high horse every once in a while?  To top it off, United (along with City) was eliminated from Champions League play in early December.

What are your top moments from this year?

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Positive changes have LFC looking toward bright future

27 May

Liverpool didn’t exactly finish the season on the best of notes, getting shut out in its last two games against Tottenham and Aston Villa.  The losses meant that the Reds finished in sixth place, one spot out of Europa League qualification.  Even though it’s disappointing to not be playing in Europe, who would have thought we’d even have a chance at it in January?  I, for one, thought we would be lucky to even finish in the top half of the table, but oh, how things can change over the course of a year.

2010-11 was one hell of a dramatic season for Liverpool with the painfully long, drawn-out ownership battle taking center stage early on and fraying nerves everywhere.   It didn’t help of course that the team was playing rather poorly and looking like they would all rather get a root canal than be on the pitch.  In the end, the bad guys were ousted and John Henry and Fenway Sports Group took over.  While new ownership does not necessarily mean success is in the offing, John Henry and co. helped kick start the change in atmosphere around the club.

It wasn’t too long before they decided that Roy Hodgson was not the right man to lead Liverpool.  At the point of his termination, Hodgson had the Reds in 12th place and only four points clear of the bottom three – clearly unacceptable.  For the first five months of the season, the team looked like a bunch of lost puppies out there.  There was no hustle, no passion, no heart.  It was incredibly depressing to watch.

Enter one Kenny Dalglish.  You might have heard of him, he’s a little bit of a legend.  He signed on to be the caretaker manager of the club through the rest of the season after Hodgson’s departure and there couldn’t be a starker contrast between the sides PD (pre-Dalglish) and AD (After Dalglish).  While Hodgson’s side relied way too heavily on the long ball, Dalglish clearly emphasized the importance of passing.  It did take a little bit of time for the players to get used to the system (LFC did lose its first two games under Dalglish), but once they did, they were a new (and dangerous) team.

Of course, the season’s drama couldn’t simply go away with the hiring of a new manager.  During the January transfer window, rumours started popping up about Fernando Torres wanting to leave the club.  At first, I’m sure I was one of many to dismiss it all as typical transfer BS, but as the rumblings got louder, I got more worried.  (In retrospect, I’m not really sure why as its not like he was in stellar form prior to leaving).  He ended up signing with Chelsea and Liverpool was able to use the absurd amount of money they received to buy Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Looking back, it was an awesome decision.  Torres never found his stride at Chelsea either, scoring a grand total of one goal and honestly, I’d rather have players that want to rock the red for LFC.   And Suarez?  Well, he is something else.  The Uruguayan didn’t score a lot of goals, but he certainly set up his fair share.  He was an excellent signing and will only become more dangerous for LFC.  Carroll is a bit more of a question mark.  He was hurt a good chunk of the spring, but he also has potential to be a big scoring threat.  They’re both young and talented, which is exactly what LFC needs to be successful in the future.

Anyways, getting back to the team, as they became more and more comfortable under Dalglish, you could see the positive changes.  There was hustle and fight and determination – all the things you should be seeing out of a top flight team.  Players like Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez stepped up to the plate big time and the passing game quickly became one of their strongest attributes.  By no means were the final five months of the season perfect, but there was drastic improvement and hope for the future and that’s really all you can ask for out of such a turbulent season.

Dalglish recently signed a three-year deal to stay on as manager, which is obviously great news for both players and fans.  Steven Gerrard will also return after missing the last three months of the season with injury.  There are younger players stepping into key roles like Lucas and Jay Spearing.  There should be some action on the transfer market this summer as well because let’s face it, we struggled with width all year and could definitely do with some strong wingers.

It really is an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan – a major turnaround from this time last year.  I’m already pumped for next season.  Is it August yet?

The international break is finally over

1 Apr

After what seemed like an eternity, the international break has mercifully come to a close. Heck, I practically forgot the Premier League race was still on. (Kidding…) In case you forgot, Sir Whines A Lot and his Red Devils sit at the top of the table, five points clear of Arsenal. Meanwhile, my Liverpool boys are in sixth and four points back of Tottenham and a spot in Europe.

On the positive side, no LFC players got hurt over the break, which I believe is a first for the season. Even more positive? We could possibly see the return of one Steven Gerrard. Remember him? He’s the captain and #8.  The Reds are back in action against West Brom and former failed manager Roy Hodgson on Saturday.  Liverpool is unbeaten against West Brom in nine meetings and has not conceded a goal, so let’s hope they can continue that streak tomorrow.

There’s no mouth-watering clashes this weekend, but we’ve got a full slate of games to keep us all entertained.  While the top of the table isn’t too exciting at the moment, it’s the relegation battle that is shaping up to be a good one.  The bottom EIGHT teams in the league are separated by only three points.  Things could get interesting, folks with only eight (or nine) games remaining on the schedule.

Saturday, April 2
West Ham vs. Manchester United – 7:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
West Brom vs. Liverpool – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Stoke vs. Chelsea – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Newcastle vs. Wolves
Everton vs. Aston Villa
Birmingham vs. Bolton
Wigan vs. Tottenham
Arsenal vs. Blackburn – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, April 3
Fulham vs. Blackpool – 8:30 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Manchester City vs. Sunderland – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Hodgson done at Liverpool, Dalglish in

8 Jan

Roy Hodgson’s tenure at Liverpool is officially over.  Hodgson’s six-month reign ends with Liverpool in 12th place and only four points clear of the relegation zone, not exactly a stellar record.  The Reds have only managed one away win this season and taken only five points from 10 away matches.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish will take over the team until the end of the season.  Dalglish was a fan favorite as both player and manager and led the squad to three league titles.

Hodgson was never a good fit at Liverpool. He was put in charge as a safe choice by owners that everyone and their mother hated. He’s not a bad manager, but his unwillingness to change his style and alienation of loyal fan base showed he was not a good match for Liverpool.  Hodgson’s squad played inconsistent football and without much passion.  It was clear that the players never really felt a strong bond with Hodgson.  The highlight of his short tenure was a 2-0 win over Chelsea, but even that isn’t as impressive as it seemed at the time given that Chelsea has only won twice since then.

Under Hodgson, the Reds have relied more on the long ball than short passes up the field.  This is not the kind of football that sees players like Fernando Torres succeed.  The defense has also been surprisingly shoddy.  Of course, Liverpool misses Jamie Carragher, but that’s no excuse for the poor defensive performances.  Paul Konchesky, who Hodgson brought over from his former club Fulham, has been a disaster and despite his clear shortcomings, continued to see extensive playing time.  Raul Meireles and Joe Cole have been okay at best, but Christian Poulsen, along with Konchesky, is a joke.

As the interim manager, Dalglish has his work cut out for him.  He inherits a team and fan base low on confidence.  There is a lot of work to do to get the team back in contention for a spot in Europe, although the team is only five points out of that seventh spot.   The team’s first game under Dalglish comes against Manchester United in the FA Cup tomorrow.  Dalglish also is tasked with keeping players like Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard invested in the club.  If Liverpool continues to falter, it is not out of the question to see both players hand in transfer requests. On the other hand, it would be helpful to the club to be less reliant on that duo.  It would also be beneficial to look to strengthen the squad this January, but we will have to wait and see if the funds are made available.

While I would love to see Liverpool get back on the winning track and make a charge up the table, I’m keeping my expectations tempered.  What’s important to me is for the players to start playing with some passion.  Even if they lose, I want to be able to say that they played hard.

LFC crumbles, needs to find spark

4 Oct

When I woke up Sunday, I was hoping I would see a headline proclaiming a dominating Liverpool over Blackpool.  Instead, I was greeted with this: ‘Torres injured as Liverpool lose’. I felt like Wile E. Coyote after he just realized that he’d run off a cliff. A loss to newly promoted Blackpool AND Fernando Torres was hurt (again)?! Sigh, talk about a bad game.

Torres only made it nine minutes Sunday before the injury gods decided he hadn’t put up with enough injuries.  He’s already pulled out of Spain’s Euro qualifiers and there’s doubt that he will be fit in time to face Everton on the 17th. (I still blame his haircut for his woes, he’s like Sampson from the bible story.)

Anyways, the injury blow is the last thing a reeling Liverpool needed. The team is wallowing in 18th place (18th place!!!) in the table and are off to their worst start since 1953-54.  Oh yeah, they also got relegated that year.  Manager Roy Hodgson has his back against the wall already and it’s only seven games into the season.  I don’t think he will last much longer as top man at the club unless there is a major upswing in form. 

Of course, there are issues off the field with a couple of ass clowns for owners, but that’s not an excuse for the product on the field.  The players are still getting paid and they are just not getting the job done.

The team currently lacks passion, desire, finishing ability, width, solid defending…you name it, they’re missing it. It’s hard to say exactly what needs to be done to turn things around, but showing some pride out there would be a good place to start.  A shake-up in the starting line-up should be in the cards as well.  Christian Poulsen has been remarkably ineffectual in the midfield and at this point, I’m starting to think Lucas is looking like a better option. (I must be taking crazy pills.)  How about Maxi Rodriguez gets a run-out in the starting XI?  And for the love of all that is holy, can someone please put the ball in the back of the net?  Good chances need to end up in the goal, not scuffed high and wide. (I’m looking at you Joe Cole and David N’Gog.)  As they say in the PSP commercials, step your game up.

At this point, Liverpool is going to be lucky to finish in the top half of the table the way they are playing.  Hodgson can’t make the team show pride in the club, but if he needs some inspiration, here’s a good place to start:

Liverpool needs to find some passion

23 Sep

Well this season has sunk to a new level of suckitude already as Liverpool managed to lose to League Two side Northampton on penalties in the third round of the Carling Cup yesterday. Really, Liverpool?!  There are pretty much zero positives to take out of that game other than the fact that it better serve as a wake-up call for the team.  While Liverpool did not field a full-strength squad against Northampton, players like Ryan Babel, David N’Gog, Daniel Agger, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Lucas Leiva should have been able to notch a win.  Milan Jovanic scored an early goal for Liverpool, but the team could not figure out how to close out the win (working on penalties might be a good place to start).

The Reds are not exactly brimming with confidence as they sit 16th in the table with five points out of five games and yesterday’s loss does not help the situation.  A win this weekend against Sunderland would be huge as three points would see them jump into the top half of the table (as long as they can stay away from any beach balls).

There’s questions out there about whether Roy Hodgson has bitten off more than he can chew and players like Daniel Agger are already spouting off about how they are not fans of Hodgson’s system and don’t want to change the way they play.  I still think it’s too early to judge Hodgson as manager of Liverpool, but he does need to figure out how to get the entire team firing on all cylinders at the same time and he needs to do it decently soon.  Of course, Hodgson is not the one out there playing the game, so all the blame for the poor results can’t be on his shoulders.  The players have to step up their game as well.  Players like Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres need to lead the charge and get their teammates fired up.

Europa League group stages kick off today

16 Sep

The Europa League group stages get underway today and you can catch the action from the Juventus/Lech Poznan and Sevilla/PSG games on GolTV. You can also shell out $$$ to watch the games through UEFA.com or of course, go through alternate sources to find the game you want to watch.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my Liverpool boys, mainly because they haven’t done anything worth writing about (a 0-0 draw with Birmingham, really?). The Reds open group K action today against Steaua Bucharest. There’s a strong possibility Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will not play in today’s match as manager Roy Hodgson is looking toward Sunday’s fixture with Manchester United. Liverpool needs to get a win today to get some confidence back, especially heading into such a crucial clash this weekend.