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Monday, January 30, 2006

7 games of destiny for Liverpool

We have seen Liverpool lose their unbeaten run to one of their arch-rivals last weekend, and how. We outplayed Man Utd and held the most chances, but with a defensive stalemate keeping a firm barrier in front of goal, it seemed destined to be a no score draw, until a set piece in the last minute of normal time found Liverpool exposed defensively as Rio Ferdinand glanced a freekick past a despairing hand from Pepe Reina. A proverbial dagger to the heart. I digress a little to state Gary Neville's celebrations were less of the innocent overtones he professes to submit and more of a retributory essence. I would be happy to say the FA have found so, but the FA's movements have been questionable at best recently, but they were informed as such by the Greater Manchester Police, who have no doubt that the celebrations instigated a stand-off between a section of both fans outside Old Trafford.

Since that we have had to overcome a very resilient Portsmouth to advance into the last 16 of the FA Cup. While in the first half a somewhat dubious penalty decision gave Steven Gerrard the opportunity to put us ahead and a John Arne Riise fierce low drive doubled the lead before half time, Liverpool were kept on the back foot by a South Coast side determined to fight back. Sean Davis got ahead of most to glance a header past Reina. It is at set pieces that Liverpool have been found recently to be hesitant. Someone must call and make a decision to clear high balls, be it someone already designated pre-match or on the pitch, but someone must take heed of such a call. We should tighten up on set pieces, one of a few areas which need attention.

Doing the unbeaten run of 12 league games out of 13 since our defeat to Fulham away, with one draw and one defeat, we had conceded only 4 goals, scoring 24, a return of almost 84%. According to the premiership form guide over the last 8 games, Liverpool are second behind Chelsea. As last week's defeat came as a bitter pill to swallow, the FA Cup game on Sunday served as a decent turn of recuperation. The medicine has to be in the overview of the previously mentioned data. Plus, we have two games in hand on Utd, if not they and Chelsea, and it is up to Liverpool to continue that step forward.

We wait for the arrival of Chilean Mark Gonzalez from Spanish side Albacete, now on loan back to La Liga with Real Sociedad until the end of this season. We also have from La Liga's Villarreal Jan Kromkamp, Brondy defender Daniel Agger, and have acquired our prodigal son back in Robbie Fowler, whose experience and passion for the club is hoped to be equalled by training and fitness to further strengthen our resolve and drive ahead.

Starting with Wednesday, there are 7 games which can shape our step ahead. Birmingham at Anfield; Chelsea, Charlton and Wigan away; the FA Cup tie with Man Utd followed by Arsenal in the league both at Anfield; then the 'small issue' of a trip to the Estadio de Luz in the Champions League to face Benfica. After these 7 games, we'll be facing Charlton, Benfica and Arsenal in our following four games after. For me, the next 7 games are very, very key to our success.

We have lose some edge to our game at Old Trafford and had to stand well against a determined Portsmouth comeback on Sunday. Now we need to get back to our basics as we had done previously, get that edge back into our game and continue a good rich vein of form, because I believe we can obtain quite a lot at the moment.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We outplayed Man Utd and held the most chances"

Had most of the chances?? You guys had the better of the possesion but hardly created anything with an exception to that Cisse chance.No real clear cut chance at all. Man Utd midfield was crap with the likes of O'Shea, Richarson (playing thr for the first time this season) and Giggs playing in central midfield also for the first time. To make matters worst O'Shea picked up an injury in the first half and man utd replaced him with saha and a changed formation. Liverpool still couldnt create many clear cut chances. If you wanna talk about being dominated and creating the most chances thn you should talk about the champs league final in which you guys played like only 6 mins of the entire 120 mins and were totally dominated. Milan hit the post, had i think 2-3 shots cleared of the line and dudek made a couple of amazing safe's while liverpool only had 3 chances which included a contreversial penalty and scored 3. What have you been smoking??

Neville deserved it?? Why because the kop fans are retarded and get offended easily??? I remember Gerard did the same thing in the Derby againts Everton and Fowler did the same when Man City beat man utd. The difference?? Man Utd fans and Everton fans are a lot more matured and can handle a defeat and know that sometimes you have to take in when a player celebrates like that and sometimes you can give out like neville did. A case of pot calling the kettle back?? Instead of worrying bout the next match and being worried about how liverpool could only create 1-2 decent chances againts a reserve man utd guys are trying to find all the excuses and fine every1 else that "offended" the kop. Be real man and try to beat man utd in the fa cup instead of crying over a goal celebration.

1/31/2006 3:57 am

Anonymous markdavo said...

whatever anonymous manc supporter....I don't remember gerrard OR fowler running away from their teammates to celebrate in front of the opposing teams fans by themself like an absolute must be really proud of that twat u call a captain...alot of celebrations happen near rival fans - but only one wanka runs the length of the field to do it by himself...

u wanna talk about the euro cup final - yea we were outplayed...but no other team in the world would have got back from that...we got lucky but u make your own luck sometimes....but u lose alot of credit out of your argument by sayin it was a dubious penalty....I don't know how it could have been any clearer????

and where are all the other manc comments...obviously they are smart enough to see that the tide has turned...they got lucky....and we WILL beat you in the FA cup...

1/31/2006 5:54 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerard and another team mate was caught running towards the everton supporters and provoking them and fowler went to provoke the united supporters by showing how many champs league liverpool had won... It was clear and ofcourse you would deny it cuz u only believe what you want to believe.

As for the penalty, it was a dubious one. Gattuso just touched gerard shoulders and he threw himself down lick his shirt got ripped of or something.

The tide have turned?? LoL. I have never denied the fact that Liverpool had more possesion when man utd beat them. But you have to remember something, Liverpool are almost a complete team. They would probably add a right winger and a striker but otherwise they are complete. If they do add a write winger, thn they are gonna face a lot of probes when they come up with a team with a good playmaker. Remember in the champs league final...liverpool had...garcia...gerard...alonso...riise but were caught by Kaka running trough them cuz alonso and gerard are more of the sort of attacking players and can keep and eye or mark a player trough out a match. Things only got better when they introduced Haman. United have a good strikeforce and have signed some players in the winter to help them balance their defense and i believe they will have a strong defence once the players settle. As for the flanks we still have..giggs,ronaldo,park, fletcher so we are covered there. We beat Liverpool by playing John o'shea, richardson, giggs in central midfield. Can you imagine what it would look like if we actually had a proper central midfield? United have confirmered that they would move for a central midfield this summer and i believe that would make united stronger then pool.Nothing has changed actually. Do you remember what happened a couple of years ago when Houllier took over? They won the treble 1 season and went missing after that. Its the same case here. Liverpool are gonna finish empty handed this season and its gonna be back to square 1. Oh and please find a better reason to complain after you loose to man utd and dont go around crying about a goal celebration. :)

1/31/2006 7:07 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha..that sums up the class in the kop fans. A bunch of red neck retards. RIOOO RIOOO..RuuD is still better thn any striking option liverpool have at the moment. Normally the Euro Champs will have some buying power and also influence to bring in some world class strikers or players in whatever position. I mean euro champs! shouldnt be a probe..who did Liverpool sign?? A strikers playing for a club that is relagated. It looks like that move wasnt really effective!! What do they do?? They go ahead and sign a MAN CITY REJECT! i mean come on..he can make it into the man city team and he is supposed to play for Liverpool?? He will probably spend more time in the hospital bed thn on the playing field. :)

1/31/2006 1:50 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop argueing like a bunch of chicks. I'm a Geordie!! Both of you count yourself lucky! LoL

1/31/2006 10:27 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

People, let's get something very much into perspective. There is no allowance of profanity/swearing on EFT, first and foremost, mentioned that a number of times and we do not sway from it. Secondly, we have a 'respect policy' for other teams in addition to those we individually represent or support. I appreciate the comments here where they convey one's opinion, and my article was not intended to insult anyone.

Anon (3.57am), you quoted me and nothing you said thereafter proved my quote wrong. Yet statistics showed Liverpool had more chances on goal than Utd. Disprove it.

Reference to the Champs League. I don't smoke, never have done. Liverpool were not entirely outplayed as you should recall after Maldini's goal we came at Milan and should have had a penalty when Garcia looked to play the ball in the box and Nesta's hand happen to be in the way. After that we were well humbled by two superbly taken Crespo goals. It's great to reflect back on it and consider that a number of teams may well have potentially suffered psychologically from that and given up, probably to be hit with more of the same in the second half but we didnt and came out to make more of the occasion.

It was practically David v Goliath but no one called David lucky when he used strategy and we showed that it doesn't take a whole lot to defeat a superior team. You can call it luck or whatever, but the main thing that counts primarily is that we scored three times to level. Shots could have gone off the referee or blown in by a gust of wind but goals count. You say the penalty was dubious, the referee thought otherwise and only his decision counted. Then you should reflect that we scored 3 out of 4 penalties while Milan missed 3 out of 5. Maybe that was down to luck too, but anyone who begrudge Liverpool their win would say anything in our favour was down to luck.

Utd had a one-goal deficit to get over and scored twice in injury time for their Champs League win. We had to overcome three against AC Milan, players practically on a par with Chelsea.

Gerrard and others were not reported for any behaviour towards the Everton supporters and I must have missed it in the media so that isn't a point, and the same about Fowler. A former Liverpool player, at the time, playing in rival colours, gesturing to the rival fans and the said fans were calm about it? I missed that exclusive too. There isn't a club in the whole league, much less the Premiership, who would tolerate opposition players taunting or teasing them with celebrations. It is deemed offensive by the FA, as Neville has found out. You wish to advocate for players celebrating in the direction of opposing fans because the offended fans' team can then reciprocate the gesture back or to another team, then plead your case to the FA. It will fall on deaf ears. Again, you need to aid your recollection and remember Frank Lampard was booked for his gesture to Liverpool fans after his penalty. Had the referee seen Neville's celebrations, he too probably would have been booked and ended the matter.

We are not the only team to have been offended in such a way. When you consider GMP blamed Neville's celebrations, you still feel he was right to celebrate as he did, be it to Liverpool fans or any other set of fans?

Liverpool are not complete, not yet the driving force to regularly rival Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal but it is slowly building there, which is why I wrote my article, the next seven matches are important when you consider the calibre of the oppositions in question. If we come through them well enough, that will show how well we are at the moment. We lost to Man Utd, regardless and we've gone to get over that and to get on with the next match. We were beaten only by not defending sufficiently at the freekick, as I detailed in my article. Neville's celebrations were reported by the GMP, not Liverpool, so blame them and the media for repeating the issue.

It was said we would be empty handed last season so I wouldnt speak so soon, especially since you've recently booked a League Cup Final place. And your words refer to Crouch, who joined Southampton in July 2004, scored 17 goals that season and made his first England call for the USA tour, joined Liverpool in July 2005 and has made three more England appearances. I think he has played well for England but's that's my unbias opinion, you called his signing ineffective.

It maybe in your managerial wisdom to be on the lookout to spend plenty for fantastic players, but with Rafa Benitez, he has a budget and he looks for talent that he can nurture for the team. He is not looking for individuals, he aims to form a nucleus with all of his players. Players are bought as part of a bigger picture, not to perform on their own. For example, Jose Mourinho told Joe Cole to stop showboating and play for the team, because he wants to form the kind of playability that all form a part of.

My EFT colleague Abdul is a big Man Utd fan, and we respect each other's support, as we do with all teams. Liverpool v Man Utd will no doubt be billed as vengence day for Liverpool but simply both teams want to win, and both have big histories.


2/01/2006 12:43 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi..firstly about the neville case...What robbie fowler did when he scored againts man going over to the man utd supporters side of the pitch and provoking them. Stevie G also did almost the same thing during the derby againts Everton. Now i have no probe if Fowler, Stevie G were charged by the FA. At least it would look a lil more consistant. Charging 1 player and letting the others ago is not fair and lacks any form of consistancy.

Statistics prooved Liverpool had more chances?? Liverpool did have better possesion but fail to create many clear cut chances. Infact with an exception to that Cisse chance, i dont remember any other clear cut chance they had. You cant claim that Liverpool outplayed man utd just because they had more possesion. Having possesion and not creating enough clear cut chances is not outplaying.

Back to the champs you remember Smicer's goal?? Liverpool got a goal back and had a chance after that to make it 3-2...A Liverpool player was caught offside..and 1 of the Milan players kicked the ball out. The linesman signalled for offside but the ref all of a sudden ask them to continue and from the resulting throw in smicer took a shot and scored. There were plenty of contreversial decisions during the match and ill have to watch it again to bring that up. David v Goliath?? LOL. Come on man. Liverpool are not Fulham. The build up to goals were also bad. Riise needed two chances to put in the first decent cross of the half for gerard to score. The 2nd goal was more of a hit and hope and the 3rd very contreversial. I only brought this up because Liverpool fans are going out and claiming how they "outplayed" and how lucky man utd were at old trafford. But its the same set of Liverpool fans that go around telling every1 about how they won the champs league final. What happened to being "outplayed" and "luck" there? I remember last season when spurs had a contreversial goal rulled out againts man utd after the ball has crossed the line. The Liverpool fans everywhere were talking about bad refs and poor decisions and how the refs are on man utd side. What happened to this same set of fans when Alex Del Piero had a clear goal dissallowed in anfield againts Liverpool in the first half of the quaterfinals when Liverpool met Juve?? Replays showed it was a clear goal and Alex was not offside. What happened to this fans when Garcia scored a contreversial goal againts Chelsky in the Champs League semis? ESPN+Sky Sports football pundits frooze the image and from that it was clear that Garcia's shot did not cross the line. A case of pot calling the kettle back??

As for the strikers, you need quality strikers to score goals and it would help mantain a level of consistancy. The strikers Liverpool have at the moment are just not good enough. Crouch?? It would be ok if he was playing for a smaller team but he aint good enough to be playing for Liverpool. Liverpool have had fantastic strikers in the past and im sure you would know the difference between the strikers you have now and the pass. I will admit man utd's midfield just aint good enough this season. I just dont understand why Liverpool fans are going on and on about Fowler signing. I mean for godsake...he couldnt even make it into the man city team. How on earth is he good enough to play for the "Champs of Europe". There are plenty of quality strikers available for cheap and less thn the price paid for Cisse.

2/01/2006 11:02 am

Blogger T said...

Yep, good to have your comments but if you want to insult or use crude language against each other than go elsewhere. Thanx to the Newcastle fan for your good words!

There was exception to Redsman's comment about Liverpool outplaying Man Utd. I can understand that- personally I didn't see that was the case. They did have the better of the midfield area but did not create many chances- and in that sense Man Utd were not outplayed. Further the Man Utd fan is right to point out that they very much had a make-shift midfield.

As for G Neville's celebration: I think way too much has been made about it. Personally, I like seeing passion on the field of play and demonstrations of emotion. To me it made me laugh that it meant so much to G Neville... and it should be left at that.

Anyone one who is susceptible to be incited by an emotional goal celebration needs to think again- and personally I think its ridiculous that the police have investigated the matter (And we had further proof that Alan Green is a Liverpool fan because he certainly was incited by G Neville's celebration! :)).

As for your article Redsman, I like your use of stats... but you need to run that 84% figure by me again! Liverpool have been in excellent form after a disappointing first six games of the season, and I don't see why a last minute defeat at OT should significantly disrupt things for you... especially as you have had two weeks to regroup before your next league game.

Liverpool have been fortunate to more or less have an injury-free squad to choose from so far this season. If this continues to be the case I certainly see you building upon your very solid first half of the season.

2/01/2006 11:12 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon's opinion, and that of T, is that Liverpool did not outplay Man Utd. My opinion has also been shared by TV pundits too, dont forget. As for the Champs League, it is won by the playability from both sides and the decisions (or indecisions) of the officials. Liverpool had no influence over them and we were judged to have won. Little bits and pieces over offside and disallowed goals will not change that. With the Garcia goal against Chelsea, there was still some 85+ minutes for Chelsea to equalise. With the Champs League final, we levelled the game and it was up to Milan to score again. They had the time and didn't. David v Goliath it was, AC Milan were viewed as far superior to Liverpool, we were said to have stood no chance. If you are going to criticise the build to Liverpool's goals, then you sound like someone with a grudge. It matters not how the goal is scored, it matters that it is allowed.

And why do you judge all Liverpool fans on the actions of a few, if indeed those few have behaved in the stated manner? Therefore I must have gone around in the matter you described? You're making it up, Liverpool fans had nothing to do at all with any uproar from that Mendes goal that never stood.

We were glad when Garcia's goal against Chelsea was given? Wouldn't you if it was Man Utd? And I suppose you would appeal to the football authorities if a valid goal against Man Utd was cancelled? It just sounds like you have a gripe against Liverpool. But if Liverpool fans you have come across have been bragging, we are not all like that. We won the European Cup and it was brilliant but the honeymoon has well diminished and there's a bigger focus now to concentrate on. Well-to-do Liverpool fans know this, the one accomplishment doesn't suddenly make you a formidable team.

Liverpool fans have a big respect for Fowler, and I've said IF he can get into match fitness he canprovide good insight with his knowledge and experience. But most importantly he fits into Benitez's plans rather than being signed for sentimental reasons. We'll see how things develop. Because he didn't make it into the Man City side after recovery means he is no good? There are plenty of quality strikers around who are cheaper than Cisse (why pick on Cisse?) in your opinion, but in Rafa's opinion he is happy with his strikers and sees Fowler as another strategic addition.

Again, there's this theme that a player has to be of a particular mold, from a particular club, look a certain way to be regarded as a good enough player, nobody sees through the player to understand from his soul whether he is coming from. Marlon Harewood and Jason Roberts have been in great form and their names are hardly mentioned, and yet it is not an easy case of purchasing these players and they fit in with no problems. Robert Earnshaw was in great form for Cardiff and now has left West Brom due to a lack of first-team appearances. Perhaps he would have fared better with another Premiership club, maybe not. Jermaine Defoe has in great form for Spurs but of late has had to be content with a place on the bench. Cisse has been playing well for us particularly in the Champs League, it could take much more for us to see a more prolific player but that's down to time. How much we have, how much we can afford to give a player, how much that player needs. I'm happy to leave issues about the team to Rafa.

I have no problems if your opinion differ from mine, but the way your comments came over from the outset had a needle or two from within them.

T, the 84% relates to the percentage return from goals scored for and against during those unbeaten matches. Also, did you mean we have had two weeks from the Man Utd defeat to regroup? We had Portsmouth to face on Sunday gone and a win there certainly helped put some perspective on regrouping.


2/01/2006 6:00 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for the clarification Redsman. Yep, that it is an impressive stat... one that I would love AFC to get close to!

My comment about two weeks related to league games.

I completely ditto your penultimate paragraph in your 6pm comment yesterday.

2/02/2006 10:24 am


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