Tag Archives: Sotirios Kyrgiakos

Reds falter at West Brom

4 Apr

Yeah, the team clearly wasn’t helped by two defensive injuries in the first 25 minutes of the game, but that’s hardly an excuse for the way Liverpool played in a 2-1 loss to West Brom.  They looked like team USA (prior to the other team scoring the opening goal of course).  That is definitely not a compliment.  LFC couldn’t string together passes and just looked sloppy all over the field (although not as bad as Sunderland looked against Manchester City, but I digress).  Giving away two penalties is a mistake uncharacteristic of the squad.

Sotirios Krygiakos played poorly, but what other option did Kenny Dalglish have, other than going to a three-back formation?  It’s not like the team has a wealth of healthy defenders and the team has not played well with three backs.  Andy Carroll was ineffective up top and let his temper get the best of him several times.  Raul Meireles and Jay Spearing never really clicked into a solid partnership in the middle of the field, although Meireles did supply the assist for Martin Skrtel’s goal (off a corner).  The team missed Steven Gerrard’s distribution in the middle as well as Daniel Agger’s confidence and passing out of the back.

The bottom line is that this was a must-win game for Liverpool.  Yeah, it’s great when you can step up and beat up on the big boys, but you’ve also got to be able to win against teams like West Brom and West Ham.  The Reds are five points back from Tottenham and Spurs still have a game in hand.  A spot in European competition is looking increasingly unlikely and would likely require Spurs to fall apart in addition to some stellar results from LFC.  A clash with Manchester City is up next.

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Kuyt, Suarez shine in win over United

7 Mar

Liverpool’s recent addition Luis Suarez had his coming out party against Manchester United yesterday. The Uruguayan dribbled circles around three United defenders before sending the ball across the goal for Dirk Kuyt to sweep home for the game’s opening score. His vision and ball skills are something that Liverpool had been lacking until his signing. Dirk Kuyt benefitted from the presence of Suarez as he notched his first hat trick for Liverpool.  The duo caused problems all day for United with their movement around the field.

Liverpool was the better team by far in this clash. Their passing has improved drastically and they are able to pass the ball out of tight spaces now where before they would simply hoof it clear.   Steven Gerrard was not as involved in the attack as he has been in the past, but along with Lucas, they made it difficult for United to work though the center of the field.  Even though Fabio Aurelio went off early with an injury, the back four adjusted well as Jamie Carragher moved to right backm Glen Johnson went to the lef and Sotirios Krygiakos came in to partner Martin Skrtel in the center.  Raul Meireles also played a very good game, proving his value at both ends.  He cleared a Berbatov shot off the goal line (definitely no hand ball there) and made some good runs on the offensive end.

Other than the fact that Liverpool clearly dominated the game from start to finish, the other main talking point was Jamie Carragher’s poorly timed challenge on Nani at the end of the first half. Old Man Carra caught Nani high on the shin with his studs showing and was only shown a yellow card. As much as I love Carra and LFC, I’d have to say it was a red card tackle since Carra got him high on the leg and was nowhere near the ball. However, Nani didn’t help the situation by writhing in pain and then getting up and pushing the ref and yelling about the foul and then falling over again. It made the whole thing look like theatrics. Moments later, Rafael came flying in studs up at Lucas, but only earned a yellow card as well. The first half ended on quite the heated note, but the tension did not carry over into the second half.  In a lame move, Alex Ferguson did not speak to the media afterwards nor did any of the players.  Poor sportsmanship at its best.

The team played with the fire that they lacked against West Ham last week.  With the season coming down to the wire, Liverpool has to put the same effort and intensity into all its games, not just against the big guys.

Oh, how could I forget, Andy Carroll made his debut as a substitute.  He did not have much to do, but the partnership of the big Carroll along with the small and speedy Suarez has potential to make some waves.  Kuyt will probably drop into the midfield once Carroll is fit for the starting lineup.

Liverpool is consistently inconsistent

14 Dec

After thrashing Aston Villa earlier in the week, one would think that Liverpool would go into a game at Newcastle full of confidence and ready to earn another win, especially with all the manager drama at St. James Park.  Apparently that wasn’t the case as the Reds were justly flattened, 3-1.  That’s been the story all season – they’ve either been good or rubbish. There’s not much middle ground.

If Liverpool has any aspirations of ending up in the top seven, they will have to get points out of games against teams they should be beating.    Oh, and they will have to start converting clear chances at goal (cough *Torres* cough) and playing some defense would probably help too.  The Skrtel/Krygiakos combination failed rather spectacularly on Saturday and we are likely to be subject to the same central defense pairing again this weekend against Fulham.  However, Liverpool could be boosted by the return of Steven Gerrard this weekend. 

Before the Reds take on Fulham, they’ve got to play Utrecht in a meaningless Europa League game.  Liverpool should still be able to get a victory over the winless Dutch side to ensure finishing top of the group.

Liverpool dominates Aston Villa

6 Dec

Liverpool showed that it can put on a strong performance without stars Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Fernando Torres on Monday, defeating Aston Villa, 3-0.  Torres was not scheduled to miss the game,but his wife went into labor, which clearly takes priority.  It was a comprehensive victory for the Reds, who dominated much of the game.  LFC wasted no time in scoring as David N’Gog and Ryan freakin’ Babel netted goals two minutes apart in the 14th and 16th minute, respectively.  In all fairness, Aston Villa did not exactly put up much of a fight.  The visitors were disorganized, especially on set pieces.  N’Gog was unmarked in the box off a corner kick when he scored.  Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Krygiakos both had chances off set pieces as well.

The French teen also added an assist in the second half, setting up a goal from Maxi Rodriguez in the 55th minute.  It was a solid performance for Liverpool, who moves up to eighth with the win, topping West Brom on goal difference.  Pepe Reina did not have much to do, but his touch on a cross in the second half kept a sure goal from Villa out of the net.  With the shutout, Reina earned his 100th clean sheet in 198 league games.  That’s a pretty impressive stat.

The Reds play at Newcastle next week.  Yes, the same Newcastle that sacked Chris Hughton earlier today.  I think Dan Snyder has taken over ownership at St. James Park as this is exactly the type of stunt he would pull.  Why did they do this?  The man only led Newcastle back to the Premier League and has the team sitting in 12th place and has notched wins over both Chelsea and Arsenal.  Yeah, the team lost to West Brom over the weekend, but guess what, every team has bad games.  It’s not yet clear who the new manager will be, but hopefully if there’s someone in place by Saturday, Liverpool will start his tenure off with a loss.

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.

Group B preview

3 Jun

Group B
Argentina
Greece
Nigeria
South Korea

Argentina pretty much sucked in qualification but still somehow managed to nab one of South America’s four automatic bids. The squad boasts a wealth of talent, namely World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. However, Argentina also has a huge obstacle to overcome in head coach Diego Maradona (take that literally or figuratively, whichever you prefer). Maradona is a prime example of why star players don’t necessarily make good coaches. He’s probably the only person in the world who can manage to make Messi look average. Granted, Messi has not excelled for Argentina like he has for Barcelona, so he’ll be looking to make some waves. If Argentina gets going, they could be a bear to stop with attacking options like Sergio Aguero, Messi, Diego Milito, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.  Although I’d prefer it if they didn’t hoist the trophy because I’d rather not see Maradona run naked through Buenos Aires.

Greece is making its second appearance in the World Cup.  The team is best known for its shocking Euro 2004 title, but that super-mega-ultra defensive style has fallen by the wayside.  In fact, Greece’s defense is a large question going into South Africa.  The goalie, Alexandros Tzorvas, struggles with positioning and that fault in conjunction with aging, slow defenders like Sotirios Kyrgiakos could spell doom, especially against a potent offense like Argentina.

Nigeria comes into the World Cup with a new coach in Lars Lagerback, the longtime coach of Sweden.  He’s only been in charge of one game, so who knows how the players will respond to him on a bigger stage.  Nigeria wasn’t spectacular in qualifying and had to beat Tunisia on the final day to get in.  There’s a wealth of talented players, but with a new coach, it will be interesting to see who gets a spot in the starting 11.  Obafemi Martins and Ayegbeni Yakubu are a potentially dangerous duo up front.  Chelsea man John Obi Mikel has been ruled out of the tournament after recovery from a knee injury has fallen short.  

South Korea will be led by Ji-Sung Park, the country’s most famous player who unfortunately plays for Manchester United.  Despite his poor choice of club team, Park is incredibly influential on the South Korean side and if he gets hurt, the team will struggle.  Head coach Jung-Moo Huh is in his second term as head coach.  He was let go prior to South Korea’s fourth place run in 2002 behind magic worker Guus Hiddink.  Huh is not hugely popular, but the team went through qualification unbeaten, so that helped silence some of his critics.

The Soccer Wall’s picks to advance: Argentina, Nigeria

Liverpool, Fulham advance to Europa semifinals

9 Apr

There are two English teams in European semifinals after all. Granted, it’s the Europa League and not Champions League, but still, nice work by Liverpool and Fulham. Despite going into yesterday’s game with Benfica down 2-1, Liverpool was able to turn the deficit around with two first half goals. Dirk Kuyt notched the first goal off a corner kick. It was initially ruled offside, but the referee overturned the call and the goal stood. A few minutes later, Steven Gerrard sent a lovely through ball to Lucas of all people, who dinked around the goalie and scored on an open net. Fernando Torres got in on the scoring action in the second half, putting in a lovely cross from Kuyt. Benfica pulled one back in the 70th minute after Oscar Cardozo scored off a deflected free kick. That goal made for a tense final minutes as the away side only needed one more goal to head through on away goals. Torres alleviated those fears in the 82nd minute with a chip shot over the Benfica goalie.

Livepool will now play Atletico Madrid, Torres’ former team, in the semifinals.  The teams also met in last year’s Champions League.  It was a very solid performance from Liverpool with multiple players notching both goals and assists.  The defense was excellent and Daniel Agger did a nice job on the left.  Center backs Jamie Carragher and Sotiris Kyrgiakos were brick walls.

Fulham will join Liverpool in the semis after defeating Wolfsburg 3-1 on aggregate.  Bobby Zamora scored less than a minute into yesterday’s match to give Fulham a crucial away goal.  The Cottagers will now play Hamburg, who were 5-2 winners over Standard Liege.

The first leg of the semifinals is set for April 22, while the second leg is scheduled for April 29.  The final will be May 12 in Hamburg.