Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Kings Transformation

By Tom Eckett 

Ever since Kenny Dalglish walked through those Anfield gates in January 2011, with Liverpool languishing 11th in the table, the King’s side has gone from strength to strength. With wins over the likes of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (twice), Man City and Man United, how has King Kenny been able to change Liverpool so dramatically over the past year or so?

There is no doubt that Dalglish is one of the best motivators in the Premier League ever since the days of Jose Mourinho perhaps and this was a key factor in the rapid progression of Liverpool’s fortunes. This was noticeable in his first game in charge and I hate to remind you of this day when United beat us in the FA Cup but we could already notice a change in the players’ attitude as one could see the way they wanted to play for each other and for their manager. Roy Hodgson was not in the same league as Kenny when it came to the motivational side of management and in my view that is absolutely crucial at a club like Liverpool. The players needed to be able to feel again what is was like to walk out onto Anfield and know that they could win any game and that is what Dalglish was able to bring to Liverpool.

Shrewd signings have also been key to Dalglish’s transformation of the club. The likes of Luis Suarez, Jose Enrique and Craig Bellamy have been incisive in Liverpool’s success. Suarez has become one of the focal points of the team and his name is always first on the team sheet. After just a few weeks of him signings us the fans were already chanting ‘Fernando who?’ at the Kop end as Suarez’s performances have been majestical. Andy Carroll and Stuart Downing have still yet to prove themselves sufficiently but I believe that all they need is enough game time to become fully moulded into Dalglish’s and Liverpool’s style of play. Jose Enrique, signed for £5.5 million has been instrumental in a solid back four this season and for me he has been the signing of the season for Liverpool. What impressed the critics the most about Dalglish was the way he went about the Torres saga he was able to make it so we did not need Torres. His final crushing words on the subject were ‘no player is bigger than the club’ and that summed up the situation perfectly.

Dalglish’s appointment of Steve Clarke was decisive factor in his transformation. Clarke’s influence on the training field as the tactician has been world class and it has been instrumental in the change in mood around Anfield. Liverpool over the past year have become a different force thanks to Dalglish and Clarke and while Dalglish’s player management has been second-to-none, Clarke has been able to make a noticeable difference in the way we play. The decision to play 5 at the back against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was a pure masterstroke by Clarke and his appointment was no less dazzling.

I am struggling to run out of superlatives for Dalglish and what he has done for Liverpool is a pure blessing but he must continue his success and qualify for Europe if he is going to be able a true title challenge next season.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Is this a target of ours?

I love Syrup

Its not likely but a possible target could be the Magpie monster, Demba ba. The only thing Kenny doesnt know, is he loves syrup.

The question is: Could we provide enough syrup for the big man himself? #Dembaba #Syrup

What is your secret? Post Below:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Liverpool Vs Stoke: Match Report

Another missed chance. As we rack up our seventh home league draw, we begin to wonder why.. Was it Bellamy not staring that brought us that shame? We weren't at the Britannia so we can only wonder how this happened. Before the game,  I predicted 2-0 Liverpool, however today was not to be.

Dirk Kuyt was our only serious chance wasted, a chance from 8 yards out that would have seen us climb to 5th above Arsenal, despite them having a game in hand. A frustrating afternoon for all Red's fans was marred by a missed header by Skrtel over the bar, and a debatable shout for a penalty by the former magpie, Andy Carroll.

Kenny Dalgish started an adapted formation, playing 5 defenders, 4 midfielder's, and Kuyt alone up top. This tactic was sure not to concede, however it was clear that we simply struggled to build and create the chances needed. Anfield's crowd once again home early, another frustrating day that brought only 1 point home.  While staying unbeaten at home, we could potentially now call Anfield 'the fortress', however 7 draws in 11 home games is not a record to boast about. King Kenny needs to sort his home game tactics once and for all. In my opinion, it is madness not starting Bellamy, who has netted six goals so far this season since joining on a free-transfer from Manchester City. 5 defenders...really? We can do better than that, making the most of Henderson does not come through defensive tactics, he is an attacking player and needs all the support he can get.

I was not able to be there today or in fact watch the game so there is not much else to report. However all I am left to say is that: Kenny needs to sign a World Class Striker, to knock the goals in whilst Suarez is banned, and when back double the trouble.

Ollie Ayton, LFC Blogspot - @o_ayton

Liverpool Vs Stoke: Starting XIs

Reina, Johnson, Coates, Skrtel, Enrique, Carragher, Adam, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing, Kuyt

Sorensen, Woodgate, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Delap, Whelan, Palacios, Etherington, Walters, Crouch

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wilfried Zaha - Palace's Young Superstar

The latest young star to sweep the transfer pages of the tabloids is 19 year old Wilfreid Zaha. The Ivorian Coast-born striker has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs due to a number of eye-catching performances for his Championship outfit, Crystal Palace. Having appeared 43 times last season, being featured in every League match, the youngster is fast becoming a vital element to Dougie Freedman's side.

ZAHA: Despite his Ivory Coast origins, the young striker is eligible to play for England and has appeared twice for the U19's

  So far this season, the right winger has netted five times, including three in the Carling Cup. Palace currently lead 1-0 in the first leg of their cup tie against fellow championship side, Cardiff, with a trip to the Cardiff City Stadium to come on the 24th January. On the 20th of December last year, Zaha signed a five and a half year deal with Palace, essentially commiting himself to the club for the forseeable future. However, recent interest from clubs such as Newcaslte United, Liverpool and Manchester United have cast doubts over his career at Selhurst Park.

A number of tabloids have released stories concerning an apparent £10million bid for the right-winger from the Liverpool managment. The Palace manager did not rule out the sale of the player, however it would be unlikely if he departed before the second leg of Palace's Carling Cup semi final. If the club reach Wembley, Freedman will hope it will be enough to hold onto the player at least until the Summer transfer window.

Zaha's captain at Palace, Paddy McCarthy has warned the boy superstar that jumping ship from Palace too early would be a bad move in a career with huge potential. The skipper described the England youth international as a 'special talent' and 'The most naturally gifted individual I [McCarthy] have come across in my career'. Such high praise from such an experienced footballer, however may not be enough to keep the young striker at the club, with the promises of bigger things in the Premier league.

Peri Mould, @peri_mould

Match Preview: Liverpool Vs Stoke

By Frank Sale (Guest Writer)

After two successive cup games, Liverpool return to league action this Saturday afternoon with a home fixture against Stoke City. The Reds have already met Tony Pulis` men on two occasions this season, suffering a contentious 1-0 defeat at the Britannia in September before gaining a degree of revenge a month later with a 2-1 victory in the Carling Cup.

Dalglish's side have been far too inconsistent at home this season. While they are unbeaten in 10 league matches at Anfield, they have drawn four of them. However, since the return of Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's frail look since Suarez's absence, not to forget Lucas', who was outstanding for the Reds, has suddenly disappeared. Gerrard has led from the front since his return, and after seizing an important advantage in their attempt to reach Wembley for the first time since 1996, Liverpool will be hoping to continue their impressive recent run of form.

A clash with Tony Pulis' Stoke is the first of three very winnable games for Liverpool, with meetings against Bolton and Wolves to follow. Liverpool will host Tottenham and travel to Old Trafford for a clash with Manchester United after those first outings. Stoke have been on a rise of their own however, and are not to be underestimated. Recent progress in the FA Cup following a 1 3 away victory against League Two side Gillingham and entering the round of 32 in the Europa League is indeed worth the praise. Also, with the Potters being the current incumbents of the eighth spot in the League, it is safe to say that all is well at the Britannia. But, Anfield is a very hard place for them to go on Saturday and Matthew Etherington and Jonathan Walters, who have both laid on five assists this campaign, will need to produce their best if Stoke are to come away with anything.

Liverpool will be brimming with confidence after recent results and I expect them to come away with a comfortable three points. The Reds will be without Lucas and Suarez, with Spearing 'touch and go' according to Dalglish. Henderson will be the player to watch this weekend after his impressive, energy-sapping performance vs Manchester City, and along with Downing, Adam and Bellamy will provide a strong source of pace and creativity behind Gerrard, who could start just behind Carroll. Former Red Peter Crouch will lead the attack for Stoke and will be trying to score his first goal against them in his ninth attempt.

Stoke have scored just eight goals away from home so far this season. Only Fulham have a worse record having netted just six times on their travels. Equally worrying for the Potters is the fact that Liverpool have conceded just eight times at home in the league, a statistic bettered only by Arsenal and Manchester City. All games kick off at 3PM tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Kenny Must Look Long Term

 By Alex Kelly  (Guest Writer)

In light of the news today that Steven Gerrard will be signing a new contract we must take note of the virtues of home grown talent. He has been the beating heart of Liverpool FC for over 10 years and a Scouse talisman to all its population. A leader of Liverpool and an idyllic figure to the upcoming, promising youth players. Having joined the club at the age of nine, the Merseyside-born youngster was no stranger to the club nor to its prolific history. He was nurtured and preserved by the club, putting him on the path to become one of the greatest players ever to have walked through the tunnel at Anfield. And the club didn’t have to spend £50 million to land him. The skill required was patience – to fend off prospective buyers, to keep Steven content and to wait until he was ready. If Liverpool hope to regain its pride and return to its dominant nature then it must be prepared to hold on to its youths and nurture them into fulfilling their full and utmost capacity.

It is impossible not to talk about Liverpool’s future without mentioning Andy Carroll. Nicknamed “Big ‘un”, the Newcastle-born giant has done little to impress us all and I share the fans’ frustration in thinking WHY? Why has the once Geordie sensation gone from hero to zero, from greatness to nothingness and, more importantly, from goals to no goals? Bought for the ludicrous sum of £35 million, Carroll faces a cynical media placing pressures on him that he just can’t handle. With the overwhelming expectation of one city, Andy Carroll has bolted – his touch is clumsy, his finishing has been average and his prolific heading ability has been…well shy of what we’ve expected. Yes, there have been glimpses of brilliance and yes there is still promise but the required consistency has been lacking. Had it not been for two sensational saves from Joe Hart and Mark Bunn then maybe we wouldn’t have these doubts…but we do. This same situation bodes for Chelsea in the acquisition of Fernando Torres – with all the expectation, he has been unable to perform at the constantly high level expected of him. This is why Dalglish must look to the youths of Liverpool, rather than blindly splash out the cash on superstars. Look what Villa did with Darren Bent - a rash and quick fire decision that has not paid dividends.

Again I go back to Steven Gerrard - first able to perform to the top of his game without expectation or pressures due to his anonymity. Kenny must hold onto the likes of Spearing, Kelly, Flanagan, Shelvey and so on if he is to build for the future. Time is the key virtue. If we look to the history books, Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t bring immediate success to Manchester United. Known as "Fergie's Fledglings", youngsters such as Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt would become the building block for a club that has since dominated English football for 20 years. Fergie always had an eye for the future and has had youths in his squad for the long term future – this is something Kenny must aspire to do.

A club cannot be made in the space of a transfer window. With Man City, we have seen the time taken to harbour a great football club. To say Kenny isn’t looking to the future would be out of the question – the club is in prime position to progress, with several players showing improvement and promise. Kenny must resist temptation to be impatient with young players or to buy/sell players with out unfathomable consideration. He must nurture and give the youth a burning incentive to be great. If he does this, Liverpool FC will only be reaping the benefits.

Twitter - @alexkelly1234

Gerrard Commits Future To Liverpool

Gerrard Signs New Long Term  Contract

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has signed a new long-term contract that will almost certainly last until the end of his career. Gerrard, who made his Liverpool debut in November 1998, has also agreed to take an ambassadorial role when he retires in the coming years.

It has been a great past couple of days for the star, scoring the only winning goal from the spot against Manchester City last night and now signing this contract.

"I'm very happy. It's a very proud day for myself and my family," said Gerrard, after signing the deal.

Gerrard has made an astonishing 556 appearances for Liverpool and that figure continues to increase as he puts his injury fears behind him. 394 of his appearances come in the Premier League.

Will he surpass one-club man Ian Callaghan, who play 640 league games... Time will tell.

Gerrard in Numbers

  • 566 Liverpool appearances
  • 144 Liverpool goals
  • 89 England caps
  • 19 England goals
  • 1 Champions League winners' medal
  • 2 FA Cup winners' medals
  • 2 League Cup winners' medals
(Source: BBC Sport)

Ollie Ayton, LFC Blogspot - @o_ayton

Defense: Crucial to Success

Daniel Aggers injury-free season has been instrumental to Liverpool's impressive defensive record
Liverpool currently lie second in the table in the Premier League's defensive record. Having conceded only 18 goals, home and away, they only sit behind the premier league leaders, Manchester City.

Liverpool have developed over the 2011-12 season, a well balanced back four that has been notoriously hard to penetrate. Dalglish's aquisition of Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique has provided an extra dimension down the left wing, mirrored by Glen Johnson's presence on the opposite side of the field. Kenny has developed a system shich allows both wingbacks to link with their respective winger. Jose Enrique has epitemised this with his positive running and link up play especially with Craig Bellamy. However, this style of play can also leave the half-backs exposed, when a wing back is left stranded up field, but once again the pace that Liverpool have is crucial in maintaining the shape of the back four.

Jamie Carragher is one of Liverpool's longest serving defenders, with 473 caps under his belt. However, the sublime form of both Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel have kept him and the promising young Uruguayan, Coates, out of the side. Agger and Skrtel have formed a tight partnership, and both have emerged as commanding presences in the air. Skrtle's defensive frame of mind allows him to make crucial interventions into the game, such as his goal line clearance off Dembe Ba's deft chip in the Premier League fixture against Newcastle.

Despite Liverpools lack of finishing touch up front, their defensive record has assured that we will not give away goals easily either.

City Feedback VIDEOS

Kennys not happy with  the press. He's a true Red, a true gaffer that will always stand by his players.

This is why we are the best fans in the world. Here we combine forces with the Gunners to take down the 'Arsenal reject'. Quality Video.

Ollie Ayton, LFC Blogspot - @o_ayton

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Carling Cup Match Report: Liverpool Vs Manchester City

Steven Gerrard gives Liverpool the edge at 13mins
Liverpool will go to the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi Final with a 1 goal advantage. A penalty given away by Stefan Savic's foul on Daniel Agger, appearing to be slight accidental contact, however there was no questioning the decision. Steven Gerrard stepped up to fire into the bottom left corner beyond the reach of Joe Hart to score on his first Carling Cup start since December 2007. This defeat now leaves City with the last two home matches inside a week both being defeats, following their FA Cup loss to Manchester United at the weekend.

Liverpool started brightly and from the start it was clear that we wanted it more than the home team. Before the goal pressure was consistently piled on their defensive 3rd. Our efforts were rewarded with the penalty calmly taken by the captain, Steven Gerrard. Even after the goal, pressure continued with a volley from downing off a corner being saved only by Joe Harts fingertips. At 30 minutes, possession was equal, however we had summed 5 shots on-target as opposed to City's 0 on-target. Joe Hart as always was City's saviour, as he has been on many occasions this season, most significantly in our 1-1 draw at Anfield on 27th November.

Carroll seemed sharp early on, and looked like he was taking his opportunity to impress with his first start since Newcastle. Mario Balotelli had a frustrating night, having been doubtful before the game, nothing seemed to be going right for him. After being taken down by a soft shoulder from Charlie Adam, he went for Adam only to be stopped by James Milner, clearly a peace-keeper amongst the Eastlands set up. Roberto Mancini was quick to act before he became overly frustrated replacing him with Samir Nasri on 38mins.

There were a couple of vital saves that Pepe Reina put in, in particularly from Nasri soon after he came on, and then by the City captain Micah Richards with a powerful header requiring lightening reactions.

The second half was much more even, and most of the pressure was put on Liverpool. Dalglish acted wisely, putting on both Enrique and Carragher for Downing and Bellamy. Playing almost six at the back for the last 30 minutes made it near impossible to be penetrated by the weakened Manchester City team.

The BBC commentator could only say bad things for Manchester City, I quote " City this is the worst they've been at home all this season, looking distinctly average. But we cant take anything from Liverpool".

All in all, another great performance by the Reds, that sees us come away with a well earned result.

The 1-0 advantage can only be a bonus in light of the 2nd Leg in a fortnights time.

Even as a neutral, I would be putting money on LFC to get to Wembley. We can only hope and avoid injuries.

Liverpool won at 3/1 with Ladbrokes.

Ollie Ayton, LFC Blogspot - @o_ayton