Tag Archives: Stoke City

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.

 

 

Liverpool takes out Stoke in Carling Cup

26 Oct

Luis Suarez was en fuego for Liverpool today, netting two second half goals in a 2-1 win over Stoke in the Carling Cup to send LFC to the quarterfinals. The Reds were clearly the more threatening team in the first half, but could not hit the broad side of a barn, much like Saturday’s contest against Norwich. Of course, Stoke took the lead just before half on an Kenwyne Jones header on pretty much their only chance of the half. The Stoke goal was largely set up by Sebastian Coates’ failure to clear the ball out of a dangerous area, so yeah, might want to work on that.

Suarez finally got tired of seeing his shots get saved/go wide in the second half, scoring his first after juking a defender at the edge of the box and unleashing a gorgeous shot into the far side. He scored the game winner on a header (take notes, Andy Carroll) off a pinpoint cross from Jordan Henderson in the 84th minute.  Well done by all parties on that one.

The Reds have been playing decent football in their last few games, but have been struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. Today’s match was the first time since the derby win on Oct. 1 the team has netted twice. Hope this means the floodgates have opened for Suarez, who has been playing well but struggling recently to hit the net.

LFC has a good chance to go into the international break with a couple Ws, taking on West Brom this weekend and Swansea next week, however, they have got to learn to put teams away. LFC has struggled against teams lower in the table and stepped up against the big guys and that has to change, they need to play with the same kind of intensity and desire in every game. Dropping points against a team like Norwich or in upcoming games against West Brom and Swansea could really come back to bite them in the ass.

Premier League predictions

12 Aug

The 2011-12 Premier League season starts tomorrow and I can’t wait. I am so ridiculously excited.  My prediction?  This is one of the closest title races in a long time and it comes down to the last couple weeks. As much as I hate to say it, I think that Manchester United will win its second straight title as Chicharito takes the league by storm. I peg Man City as runners-up as the team builds on its success last year. Even without Tevez, Sergio Aguero is more than capable of picking up the slack. Liverpool makes a triumphant return to the top four after two years out and Chelsea rounds out the top four.

Champion: Manchester United
Top Four: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea
Relegated: Swansea, West Brom, Wolves
Golden Boot: Chicharito, MU

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 13
Blackburn vs. Wolves – 2 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Delayed)
Fulham vs. Aston Villa – 9:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Liverpool vs. Sunderland – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
QPR vs. Bolton – 9:55 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Wigan vs. Norwich – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Newcastle vs. Arsenal – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 14
Stoke City vs. Chelsea – 8:25 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
West Brom vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Monday, August 15
Manchester City vs. Swansea – 3 p.m. ET/ESPN 2 (Live)

*One more plug for Fantasy Premier League: http://fantasy.premierleague.com and the code is 1335966-299712!

Top of the table excitement

4 May

Sorry for the lack of posting, I’ve been back home for a wedding (which was wonderful, by the way).  Anyways, the Premier League season will come down to the final day.  Chelsea holds a one point lead over second place Manchester United with one match to play for each side.  A win for the Blues would give them the title, but a draw or loss opens up the possibility of Manchester United winning the title.  (I couldn’t write that with a straight face.  The thought of United with the title again is just horrible.)  Chelsea plays host to Wigan, while United will host Stoke. Both games are at the same time, so there won’t be the benefit of finding out a result ahead of time, although I’m sure both teams will be kept abreast of the other match.

Now on Wednesday, Manchester City and Tottenham will face off in a crucial battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot.  Spurs currently occupy that spot with 67 points, but Man City is only one point back.  Both teams will also play games on Sunday. Aston Villa could catch Tottenham on points, but Spurs would have to lose both games by quite a bit as they hold quite the advantage in goal difference. 

It sucks that the Big Four has been broken up at Liverpool’s expense, but let’s be honest, they are rather crap this season.  It’s definitely good for the Premier League though to have some other teams break through the ceiling.  It lends more drama to the season knowing that it won’t be the same four teams at the top now.  Parity is a good thing and if even more teams are battling for spots in Europe next season, it should make for some exciting football.

At the bottom of the table, there will be no such drama.  Portsmouth, Burnley and Hull have already been relegated to the League Championship.

Premier League Schedule – December 26-27

24 Dec

The best game of the weekend is Aston Villa at Arsenal on Sunday. Each team has 35 points and a victory could vault the winner into second place, depending on the result of the Manchester United game. Liverpool desperately need a win to get their season back on track (I feel like I’ve written that sentence a lot this year.)

Saturday, December 26
Birmingham vs. Chelsea – 7:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Fulham vs. Tottenham – 8 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
West Ham vs. Portsmouth – 7:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Burnley vs. Bolton – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Manchester City vs. Stoke – 9:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Sunderland vs. Everton – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Wigan vs. Blackburn – 3 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
Liverpool vs. Wolves – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, December 27
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa – 8:25 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Hull vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Premier League Schedule Dec. 19-21

18 Dec

Manchester United looks to go joint top with a win over Fulham on Saturday, while Chelsea looks to keep a three-point gap from their closest challenger against West Ham Sunday.  Meanwhile, Liverpool needs a win over bottom-dwelling Portsmouth if they want to keep any hope of a top four finish alive.

I will add the US broadcasts for Fox Soccer games later tonight as the new Foxsoccer.com website doesn’t seem to want to give me that information at the moment.

Saturday, December 19
Portsmouth vs. Liverpool – 7:45 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Aston Villa vs. Stoke
Blackburn vs. Tottenham
Fulham vs. Manchester United – 9:30 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Manchester City vs. Sunderland
Arsenal vs. Hull

Sunday, December 20
Wolves vs. Burnley – 8:25 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Everton vs. Birmingham
West Ham vs. Chelsea

Monday, December 21
Wigan vs. Bolton

Premier League Schedule – December 5-6

5 Dec

Fernando Torres will not feature in Liverpool’s game at Blackburn this weekend due to an ongoing groin injury.  It was rumoured that he would play this weekend, however I suppose we will have to wait a little bit longer for the services of the fantastic Mr. Torres.

Saturday, December 5
Portsmouth vs. Burnley – 7:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Arsenal vs. Stoke – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Aston Villa vs. Hull – 7 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Blackburn vs. Liverpool – 5 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
West Ham vs. Manchester United – 9:30 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Wigan vs. Birmingham – 8:30 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
Wolves vs. Bolton
Manchester City vs. Chelsea – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, December 6
Fulham vs. Sunderland – 9:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Everton vs. Tottenham – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)