To celebrate the end of the week, and the beginning of a big weekend of football including Arsenal v. Manchester United and Manchester City v. Tottenham. The reds face Bolton in what could be a tricky fixture away at the Reebok, and are looking to bounce back from last week's dissapointment against Stoke.
So here she is, WAG of the WEEK #2 Alena Seredova, girlfriend of Italian Keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Lucky guy... have a great weekend.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ManCity, 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.
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.