Monthly Archives: September 2011

EPL: Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Anfield, 15.00BST, 24/09/11 (2-1)

A welcome EPL win against Wolves, who won this fixture last season, was brought about by another strong first half performance that was not, and not for the first time, matched by the second half performance.

That said, Wolves must take a lot of the credit for our lesser second half as they battled back into the game and threatened to take a point, although we hit the woodwork a few times, and their keeper made a few saves as well.

Wolves were not happy with our first goal, as they felt that defender Johnson was fouled by Andy Carroll before the ball came to Charlie Adam whose speculative shot was then headed into his own goal by Johnson, having just got back on his feet after the disputed challenge with Carroll.

The second goal was more clear-cut, as Suarez somehow found space at the near post to smack the ball past the keeper, after appearing to have taken the ball unnecessarily wide. We had threatened to run riot in the first half, but that never quite materialised.

Wolves made changes at half-time and one of those, goal poacher Steven Fletcher, was supplied far too close and central to goal and smacked the ball into the roof of the net. It was a move that should have been snuffed out before it got that far.

After that, the game was fairly even, with The Reds missing some great opportunities to put the game out of sight whilst Wolves also threatened to equalise, but The Kop did not see a goal scored in front of it and we ran out as narrow winners.

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Carling Cup: Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool, Amex Stadium, 19:45BST, 21/09/11 (1-2)

A strong Liverpool side visited Brighton’s new Amex stadium in Withdean for the first time and saw-off the Championship side despite a spirited display.

Liverpool dominated early on and Craig Bellamy scored as he and Suarez showed some early understanding with each other, although this was not always the case as the game progressed. Bellamy and Liverpool could have had more goals by half-time, as the goal frame got rattled a couple of times. Brighton seemed to be playing a counter-attacking 4-5-1 with one of the striking stars of league football, Craig Mackail-Smith, up front on his own, but it was he who actually made two outstanding defensive plays in the first half, with a must-win tackle in the box and a clearance off the line.

Brighton were more of a threat in the second half and had a couple of half-chances that could have found the net but for some solid defensive cover. With ten minutes left, we counter attacked and Kuyt found himself in the left side of the box and slid the ball across the keeper to see it go in off the far post for 0-2.

A slip by Spearing in the box in the 90th minute gifted possession to Brighton and a desperate tackle by Carra gave away a penalty which was put away by Barnes, but there was no genuine threat of an equaliser in what there was of added time.

With only two subs used, one of which was in the last few minutes, and with Carroll and Downing left on the bench in favour of giving Stevie G a brief run (his first appearance in six months – and as a sub for Suarez), I expect Carroll and Downing to start against Wolves this coming Saturday.

EPL: Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, White Hart Lane, 13.30BST, 18/09/11 (4-0)

Truly painful to watch from start to finish, I really cannot recall us being so completely outclassed like this for an entire game. As great as Tottenham were, Liverpool were truly awful, with no red men coming out of the game with any credit.

We simply did not play or compete. Tottenham bossed us from the start and the odd sight of Martin Skrtel playing right back, let alone against Gareth Bale, was a shocker for everyone, apparently including Skrtel. Kenny must have been scratching his head after the game and trying to recall the train of thought that led to that decision, although to be fair, with our defensive injury problems, you can see where it could have come from, but on that showing, which eventually led to an early bath for two yellow cards, Martin has confirmed that he is a far better centre back than he is a full-back.

The first Tottenham goal came from their left, our right, and around Skrtel, as they worked it around for a ball to be centred, and although we got to it first, the interception fell nicely for Modric in a central position, just outside the penalty box, and he sweetly struck the ball into the top left corner of the net. We were 1-0 down after seven minutes, and our problems were only just starting.

Skrtel and Adam were both given yellows for tackles on Bale who is evidently being well protected by referees these days. Adam’s booking in particular seemed harsh. Then Agger seemed to hurt his side and had to be subbed for our new CB, Coates, an incident  which was then followed by a second yellow for Adam for having his foot up and catching Scott Parker, although the challenge was more of an accident than anything else. Adam was very, very unlucky to have been carded twice within the first half hour by a ref who had made a rod for his own back with his early bookings. At least he was consistent. Now if they could just match this consistency with quality…

By half time we were glad not to be further behind, and possibly with more men being shown the tunnel early, as Suarez again showed his petulant side and looked like getting himself sent-off for dissent, having continued to whine after being booked. He may be extremely talented, but we cannot afford prima donnas, especially in a situation such as this.

Whilst Tottenham were dominant, you just felt that there was still a chance that we could sneak something out the game, even with ten men and a new centre back – but any such thoughts were short lived when Martin Skrtel got his second booking early in the second half and then it was a case of how many.

Defoe found space that he might not have otherwise had shortly thereafter and made it 2-0. Another Defoe effort was not held by Pepe, which just gave Adebayor the chance to nick the ball from the keeper and tap-in for 3-0. After that, Tottenham played keep-ball and seemed to settle for 3-0, but at the death, as we lost the ball coming away from the penalty area, Adebayor was found in space on our left and he hammered the ball across Reina’s right side for 4-0.

We deserved this score line as much as Tottenham did.

EPL: Stoke City v Liverpool, Britannia Stadium, 15:00BST, 10/09/11 (1-0)

A penalty that should not have been gifted Stoke three points, when otherwise their stout defending might have grudgingly earned them a point. However, our failure to score played its part, as we failed to take chances despite creating them.

The Stoke goal was scored by Walters, the player who went to ground far too easily under the challenge of Carragher, who will rue the fact that his arms were flailing too close to the Stoke player, which was evidently enough to convince the ref, in the blink of an eye, that a foul had been committed.

Suarez and Henderson spurned opportunities to not just draw us level, but win the game, but instead we went down again to another frustrating away defeat to Stoke City, a side that under Tony Pulis is slowly but surely getting better and better, season by season.

EPL: Liverpool v Bolton, Anfield, 17:30BST, 27/8/11 (3-1)

A solid and fully-deserved victory put The Reds briefly on top of the EPL, as Bolton were put to the sword with three fine finishes from Henderson, Skrtel and Adam.

Henderson, in probably his best game for Liverpool so far, scored a beautifully placed goal at the Anfield Road end following a terrific effort from Downing that Jaaskelainen saved well. The ball had been played in from where you expected Downing to be to where you would expect Suarez to be – but their roles here were reversed. The pass was exquisite and Downing volleyed it first time but Jaaskelainen saved – however the ball came to Kuyt who played it back to Henderson. His first effort was partly blocked but the ball fell kindly and he curled and lobbed the ball past Jaaskelainen into the opposite corner of the goal, who was helpless to prevent it.

Bolton looked dangerous when they had the ball in out third, but never had it enough to make that danger count. Whilst onlookers may have been concerned about a repeat of the Sunderland game, with the scoreline only 1-0 after a dominant first half performance (again), two well taken second half goals put paid to Bolton.

Charlie Adam’s set-pieces are already paying off. Martin Skrtel this time met a corner and the ball flew in from close range. Shortly after that, Adam did a Steven Gerrard impression as he picked the ball up from just outside the box and hammered a shot through the defender in front of him that beat Jaaskelainen to his right.

There was a little bit of show-boating after that that meant further chances to add to the scoreline were spurned, and it was disappointing that in the dying moments, in added time, that Carra’s control let him down, which let in Bolton and Ivan Klasnic scored a barely deserved consolation, which took a little of the sheen off an otherwise excellent team performance.