Tag Archives: Steven Gerrard

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.

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Big clash for Liverpool Sunday

6 Nov

Liverpool has won three games in a row for the first time this season, including a come-from-behind win over Napoli in Europa League.  Steven Gerrard galvanized a lackluster team with a hat trick to lead the squad to a 3-1 win over the Italian side.

The quest to keep the streak alive gets much tougher on Sunday as the Reds will take on league-leader Chelsea.  After today’s results, Liverpool is in 16th place and a win would go a long way towards turning the season around.  However, Chelsea has not lost a game since Sept. 25 (a 1-0 loss to Manchester City) and is coming off a dominating 4-1 win over Spartak Moskva in Champions League action.

Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard have been clutch for the Reds in their “revival” and Torres has an excellent track record against Chelsea, scoring four times in four games since joining Liverpool.

Liverpool’s performance leaves much to be desired

18 Oct

I was in Chicago for the weekend to see the Chicago Fire-D.C. United game Saturday, so I made my way to The Globe Pub* for Sunday’s derby against Everton.  It was so fantastic getting to share in the misery of another crappy performance with other Reds fans. (That would be sarcasm, people.)  Now Liverpool might have played terribly, but Everton deserves credit for a solid performance. They fully deserved the win.

Liverpool, on the other hand, fully deserved to lose. It was another passion-less performance. If you can’t get up for a derby match, then there’s little hope for any other game.  The first half was particularly bad and the second was only marginally better. They couldn’t string passes together, the service was terrible and the field was too crowded in the middle.  Joe Cole and Maxi Rodriguez kept gravitating towards the center, which in turn gave Steven Gerrard and Raul Meireles less room to operate. Liverpool hasn’t been able to get much going down the flanks  at all this season and that’s one of several things that needs to change if they are going to turn things around.

Fernando Torres clearly has zero confidence and it shows. Opportunities he would have buried last year are taken a half-second too late. His touch has failed him too and the man can’t beat a defender to save his life right now.  Although it must be said that he’s not exactly getting phenomenal service or support right now, even his chemistry with Gerrard has been thrown off-kilter.

Tim Cahill’s opening goal came after he was left unmarked six yards out from goal. Generally it’s not a good idea to leave the other team’s top goal scorer wide open.  You could sense the goal coming and Liverpool would have been very lucky to go into half at 0-0.  Mikel Arteta’s goal in the second half was really quite spectacular and Pepe Reina had no chance at making that save.

The Reds did get some half-decent chances in the second half, but overall, the play around the penalty box was extremely poor. They would be able to string some passes together to build up an attacking chance, but once they hit the top of the 18, it all broke down, whether it was an errant pass or a bad touch.

The bubble of elation of finally getting rid of Hicks and Gillett was popped pretty quickly Sunday.  New owner John Henry was in attendance at Goodison Park and had to be thinking, ‘Really? This is the team I just bought?’  The Reds are currently 19th and based on their current form, fully deserve to be in the bottom three.

After the game, Roy Hodgson said that the players were “under pressure”, as if that’s a legitimate reason for being terrible. Every player at the top level of the game is under pressure.  That was a really lame excuse for another sorry performance, Roy.  You have a lot of work ahead of you to get this team back on track.

*As a soccer fan, The Globe is amazing. It’s a good thing I don’t live close by, otherwise I’d be broke. It’s open 24/7 and shows games live from all over the world. It’s also home to the Chicago branch of the LFC Supporter’s Club, who raffled off a signed Jamie Carragher jersey after Sunday’s game. (And I was only four numbers off winning, damn.) Of course, the Globe is not only about the soccer, but also shows rugby, Aussie Rules, and many other sports.

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.

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.

Premier League starts tomorrow

13 Aug

Finally, the football lull is over and the Barclays Premier League kicks off tomorrow. Hurray!  It’s going to be interesting to see what the mental impact of the World Cup will be on this season.  Some players have had hardly any breaks and that could impact their games/health dramatically.  For players on teams that didn’t fare so well (cough*England*cough), this season could be used to prove to fans that they still got mad skills.   And of course, there’s new faces, new teams and it’s going to be glorious.

I have to peg Chelsea as the title favorite, but it should be a tight race with the likes of the always dangerous Manchester United and Sir Whines-A-Lot Ferguson.  I also think that Manchester City could mount a formidable title challenge if Robert Mancini can get the team to play well as a unit early on.  Chelsea played a smart, aggressive game last year and I don’t anticipate that changing much this year.  Liverpool should be able to get back into the top four after last year’s craptastic finish.  Steven Gerrard has looked rejuvenated and Joe Cole could add a needed spark.

Predictions
Champion:
Chelsea
Top Four: Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool
Relegated: Blackpool, West Brom, Wigan
Golden Boot: Carlos Tevez, Manchester City

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 14

7:45 a.m. – Tottenham vs. Manchester City – ESPN2 (Live)
10 a.m. – Aston Villa vs. West Ham – Fox Soccer (Live)
12:30 p.m. – Chelsea vs. West Brom – Fox Soccer (Live)
2:30 p.m. – Bolton vs. Fulham – Fox Soccer (Delayed)

Sunday, August 15
10 a.m. – Liverpool vs. Arsenal – Fox Soccer (Live)

*One more plug for Fantasy Premier League on http://www.premierleague.com.  Code is 1445704-287759.