Sturridge scores twice in Reds win over Villa

Benteke, Firmino and Lovren (to the relief of most) were ruled out with injury while Sturridge returned after being rested against Carlisle to pair alongside Ings who was fresh off scoring in the mid-week fixture.

For what nearly seemed high-pressure game for Rodgers given the speculation around his continued tenure at Anfield, the Reds got off to a terrific start as captain James Milner opened the scoring inside 2 minutes with a low drive into the bottom corner after Coutinho found him at the edge of the box.

Liverpool had control of the game and the ball for most period of time, pushing Villa back into defending with nearly all players back during the first half. We had couple of chances to increase the lead but didn’t manage to capitalize on that.

Into the second half, Sturridge scored his first goal of the season after such a long injury spell and what a goal that was he strikes a volley from outside of his left foot, across the keeper into the goal. It was a beauty after managing superbly well to control the ball before finishing it.

Villa pulled one back with Gestede but Sturridge double his tally and restored the 2-goal by slotting the ball past the keeper after some brilliant interplay between Coutinho who set the goal up by a sweet backheel.

Gestede again got a goal back for the visitors with a towering header, and the keeper couldn’t have done anything about that. They managed to twice walk over our defence which made it slightly nervy end to the goal but we played with lots of determination and attacking intent. While defence would still need a lot of work, it is a great boost to have Sturridge fit and kicking. It was 3 points at the end as the game finished Liverpool 3-2 Aston Villa and Brendan Rodgers lives to fight another day.

Reds held to 1-1 draw by Norwich

Daniel Sturridge (yes, finally!) and Coutinho return to the lineup against Norwich City after a disappointing spell of games, and having played out a 1-1 draw mid-week against Bordeaux.

First time this season we had our best available striking partnership up front with both Sturridge Benteke leading the team out. Sakho, back of signing a long-term contract with us, and Moreno also came into the side after their encouraging performance in the Europa League tie.

The first half didn’t have much for either side to show for as it ended goalless. There were few off chances for both sides but nothing coming out of it. This sparked a half-time substitution by Rodgers to replace Benteke (injury?) with Danny Ings – and this reaped immediate return as Ings grabbed his first goal for the club inside 3 minutes of coming on after calmly controlling a sweet through ball by Moreno before carefully slotting it past Ruddy (who was up to anything and everything that we threw at them, expect for this one occasion).

Russell Martin level the scoreline at 61′ minutes by lobbing the ball past Mignolet, who wasn’t able to punch the ball into safety and instead dropped to Martin – and he made sure we were punished for that.

Ings had a wonderful chance to get another after what was a good build-up play between him and Lallana to force their way into the penalty box full of defenders but he lost control with a heavy touch after having dribbled past the keeper. Coutinho also had a chance as he was set one-on-one with the keeper after the Referee allowed a good advantage for Reds, but his shot was right at oncoming Ruddy and was pushed away to safety.

Coutinho, Lallana, Ings and Moreno seemed in better shape today playing in their natural positions and were creating few openings late into the second half. Obviously this was too little too late, and yet again Firmino (who came on for Lucas in the second half) didn’t make much impact.

Boos rang around Anfield (even the Kop end if you’d believe!) at the final whistle as Liverpool failed to make the most of the chances created in the second half and the game ended with a point for each side. Disappointing, yes – but atleast we created chances. Don’t get me wrong, a draw against Norwich at Anfield is bad and what is more pathetic is that we are without a victory in the last 5 games. And the increasing majority want a change at the position held by Brendan Rodgers as the heat just keeps on increasing.

Next up – Carlisle United in the Football League Cup Third round on the Wednesday, 23rd September. Gone are those days when we could actually be sure about any game. It might as well be a completely different struggle when we face off the League Two side.

No consolation for Reds

Liverpool came into this game one point better off than same time last year as they visited Old Trafford for a face-off which is known all round the world for one of the fiercest rivalries in football. The Reds (nah, not Man United) secured Christian Benteke who scored both home and away last season against the Red Devils for Aston Villa; David De Gea returned to the Manchester United side after his Real Madrid move fell through.

Both teams were missing some of their stars – Danny Ings replacing the suspended Philippe Coutinho (Henderson and Lallana still out with injury) while on the other end, Marouane Fellaini was named up front instead of Wayne Rooney who missed the game as precautionary measure ahead of the their Champions League group stage match against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.

The first half of the game was lackluster, with neither side having a single shot on goal. The possession was largely dominated by the home side and Liverpool were susceptible at the back. Benteke could do very little in the striker position with no one there to support or feed off him.

Into the second half, Ashley Young replaced Memphis Depay to try and liven up things. And shortly after coming on, he won a free-kick at the edge of penalty box after being fouled by Clyne (who was booked as well). Daley Blind sidefooted the ball into the goal net from the low free-kick, giving home side the lead at the 49th minute mark.

Liverpool tried pushing United back a little with what was the first shot at goal in 54 minutes when Ings controlled the ball inside the penalty box and took a shot, as he was lost his balance, which bounced awkwardly but was saved by De Gea. That marked the end of what little spell the away side had in control of the ball. Much like the recent few games, we were far too careless by giving the possession away and at the same time not making the most of it when actually on it.

Firmino offered very little in the game and was replaced by Jordan Ibe moments after somehow not managing to put the ball into the net after a goal-line clearance off of Skrtel’s attempted header. That aside, United remained in control of the game and could afford to offer Anthony Marshals who came on to replace Mata. Shortly after that, Ander Herrera was brought down by Joe Gomez, giving away a penalty and the opportunity to double the lead; and that’s exactly what Herrera did from the resulting spot kick.

Divock Origi was given his competitive debut for Liverpool when he was substituted in for Danny Ings, but that really wasn’t a move which was meant to turn things around with the home side sitting comfortably 2-0 ahead and still controlling majority of the ball play.

WIth 6 minutes remaining on the clock, Benteke pulled one back with a magnificent bicycle kick as De Gea could do nothing to stop that from going in. Although we clearly didn’t do much to deserve a single point here, much less win, that goal gave the players little bit of hope. However, it didn’t last for long as owing to shambles in our defence with Skrtel the main culprit on this occasion, Marshals restored United’s two goal lead by slotting the ball past the helpless keeper.

The positioning was terrible to start off the game with Ings and Origi (who came on later) were put on the wings while Benteke remained all on his own up front, Milner not allowed to go much forward and Firmino missing in action the game was, much like the season and recent performances under Brendan Rodgers, was in complete disarray.

More people join in to call for Rodgers’ head and with performances like this, it is you can’t argue with that. There needs to be an assessment of how the season is headed so far and contingencies need to placed – someone has to take the accountability because this much more than coincidences and bad luck. Bordeaux in mid-week would probably be a good springboard 4 consecutive home games follow it before heading into the Merseyside Derby.

Hammer drop at Anfield

After a good performance at the Emirates, Brendan Rodgers continued with the same lineup as West Ham visited Anfield for what was the home debut for Roberto Firmino, while James Milner filled in the captain’s position in absence of Jordan Henderson who is was unable to make a full recovery after picking up a knock in the last game.

The game got off to a terrible start for the home side as Manuel Lanzini scored 3 minutes into the game. And soon enough, the visitors doubled their lead when Mark Noble slotted the ball into the bottom right corner from center of the box after a continued spell of pressure.

In less than 10 minutes into the second half, Philippe Coutinho picked up his second yellow card (harshly I might say as the the player seemed to bump into him) after first getting just before half time. That dismissal essentially put the nail in the coffin for Reds’ confidence and the game was huff and puff affair with intermittent bursts of attacks from our side – needless to say, none of them materialized into a clear opportunity.

The Referee leveled the red card count when Noble was booked (again, for a challenge which really didn’t deserve a straight red) after having already blown the whistle for a West Ham free-kick (at the edge of their own penalty box) as he deemed it to be too strong. However, the momentum of the game didn’t change much as we failed to create little to any chances to make a comeback.

While defence has really proved to be a weak point for us, with just Benteke playing upfront, at home, and even after being 2-0 down really sparks the question of our attacking intent.

And into stoppage time, Diafra Sakho puts the game to rest (as if there was any doubt – even with 7 minutes added on) by capitalizing on some defensive slip-ups (nothing new here) to end the game with the final scoreline of Liverpool 0-3 West Ham United.

Needless to say, worst thing that could have happened to us going into the game with Manchester United. Rodgers out? It appears his Fergie time is on and he would soon run out of it if such appalling performances continue.


Lots of positives ahead of Stoke

Liverpool look to continue their fine start to the Premier League season after two weeks of international break when they face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on this Sunday.

During this period, there having quite a few good news for Liverpool. Charlie Adam, who was ruled out of Scotland’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania is expected to be available for selected against Stoke. Kenny Dalglish said: “Charlie should be alright for the game. I think it was right what Craig Levein (Scotland manager) did in not playing him on Tuesday.”

Dalglish also confirmed Glen Johnson’s return to full training. He said: “Glen Johnson is training alongside us again now, and Steven [Gerrard] is getting closer everyday, so everything on the injury front seems to be pretty positive for us at the moment.” He also expects Gerrard to back very soon, saying “He’s not far away [from return].”

And with new boy Sebastian Coates and the returning Craig Bellamy, now Liverpool do have a really strong side. John Aldridge feels the current squad is ‘the strongest in 20 years’.

And, everyone is heaping praises on Damien Comoll for his efforts in building of such a good squad, which he clearly deserves!

In the International break, Stewart Downing had 1 assist in each of the 2 England games. Meanwhile, Liverpool youngsters also won 4-0 against Molde FK in the NextGen Series.

Stoke City had a good transfer window, in which they brought in Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome. Stoke have greatly strengthened their team and the with their cagey defence, it would certainly be a tough game for Liverpool. But with the form Luis Suarez is in, it seems no one can stop him!

Can New Arrivals kick-start the Red Revival against Gunners?

A request to everyone from UK to sign the e-petition for “Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster”. Link:

After a disappointing result against Sunderland on the opening day of the 2011-12 Barclays Premier League campaign, Reds would be looking to take all three points against a very under-strength Arsenal side but still with lots of quality.

Over the past few years, even though we have been able to beat Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City on a quite regular basis, Arsenal have proven to be a tough opponent.

Their side, even though without their first team regulars from last season such as Francesc Fabregas (to Barcelona), Emmanuel Eboue (to Galatasaray), Gael Clichy (to Manchester City) Alex Song (3-match man for violent conduct), Jack Wilshere (ankle injury), Johan Djourou (doubtful), Kieran Gibbs (doubtful), Abu Diaby (doubtful), Tomas Rosicky (ruled out), Samir Nasri (looking for a move away to Man City, but could feature) as well as Gervinho (new signing, 3-match ban). Meanwhile their youngster Benik Afobe (striker), Armand Traore (left-back) also picked up knocks. Carlos Vela and Denilson have been loaned out to Real Sociedad and Sao Paulo respectively. Nicklas Bendtner’s future is in doubt too.

Teenage defender Carl Jenkinson could also be called into action to fill the holes left by the injuries and departures this transfer window. Same could be said about Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain, who was also linked with Liverpool before Arsenal secured the highly rated striker.

Even though the above absentees list seems to be overwhelming, the like of Robin van Persie (Captain), Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Chamakh and not to forget Andrei Arshavin (who seems to be able to score against Liverpool only) do make up a strong side.

On Liverpool’s side, apart from Steven Gerrard (ruled out till mid-September), Glen Johnson is the only doubtful player after he picked up a knock in the last pre-season friendly against Valencia. Martin Skrtel and Martin Kelly are available for selection. Dirk Kuyt has also come out saying that he fill much fitter now.

Liverpool players looked tired in the second half against Sunderland but a full week’s rest and Arsenal also having played Udinese in the midweek, Reds should be in better physical condition.

With new recruits such as Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Jordan Henderson as well as a well-rested Luis Suarez would be the key to a win at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have offloaded Nabil El Zhar as well after his contract was terminated on mutual agreement. He now joins Spanish side Levante.

As Kenny Dalglish said earlier that he is under more pressure to bring in players rather than to sell. And Gary Cahill from Bolton Wanderers seems to be his first priority now. David Ngog is also linked with a move to Bolton and a switch deal could be worked upon. If nothing can be worked upon, Ryan Shawcross could be an alternative.

Future of Daniel Pacheco and Emiliano Insua is in doubt after both the players on their Twitter accounts said they are looking to sort it out. It is believed that Pacheco could be on his way to one of the many interested Spanish sides on a season long loan deal. In case of Insua, Enrique’s arrival casts more doubt over his future and he could be on his way out.

Alberto Aquilani’s situation is still unclear. He wasn’t even on the bench against Sunderland last weekend.

Both Liverpool and Arsenal were held to a draw on the opening day of the season and both would equally be looking to get their first win of the campaign. On paper, Liverpool certainly look the strong side but in football, the only thing that matters is what you do on the pitch.

The wait is almost over!

At last, the long wait is almost over. Our Premier League campaign is set to start on this Saturday against Sunderland.

Though there were some doubts being cast upon the start of the season, especially for the London club with riots seen across the city. There are several incidents of ‘riots’ in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham as well.

England’s friendly against Holland was postponed as the police resources are stretched under the prevailing scenario. The friendly is likely to be rearranged in the next year.

The Premier League/Football Association held the meeting with the clubs to discuss the scheduled start of Premier League season under the current circumstances and the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton has been postponed. However, they feel that there is no danger to the games being held outside of London. So the Liverpool-Sunderland game is set to go on.

On a lighter note, Sunderland supporters have started their own campaign for the justice to the Hillsborough victims and their families. They have created their own banner, which they will be bringing to Anfield on Saturday.

This is a great gesture from the Black Cats supporters. You can show the creators of the banner your support and respect on their Facebook page: SAFC want justice for the 96.

On the footballing side of things, we have the Copa America winner Luis Suarez back at the club. He was back at Melwood training ahead of the season opener. Kenny Dalglish has left it on Suarez himself to decide if he will be able to play on Saturday.

Lucas Leiva has also returned and also featured against Valencia. He was a key player last season with his tackles and composed passing. He looks set to resume his duty against Sunderland having returning from international duty earlier than Suarez as Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals of Copa America by Paraguay.

Steven Gerrard is out until September after suffering a infection relating to his recurring groin problem [Link]. Martin Skrtel is also out with injury [Link]. Glen Johnson also joined the injury list after picking up a knock against the last pre-season friendly against Valencia.[Link]. Johnson is ruled out for the Sunderland game, and could possible be out of the Arsenal match as well next week.

Some positives are the new signings. Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson were all impressive in the pre-season friendlies. Though the highlight was the returning Alberto Aquilani. After having a successful season-long loan spell at Juventus last season, ‘Il Principino’ was really impressive.

There are doubts been cast on his future. Latest on Aquilani coming from his agent was that there has been no formal contact from AC Milan yet. The agent claims that Milan are interest in signing him but Aquilani is looking for permanent deal only, and not another loan spell.

Aquilani, after scoring the winner for Italy in 2-1 win over World Champions Spain in an international friendly, said that he will “love to make my mark at Liverpool” but is keeping his options open and “will take the offer [if any] of a permanent move into consideration”.

Charlie Adam has looked very lively and he will be a huge hit with his crossing ability, composure, leadership ability and the drive which he brings into the games.

Andy Carroll was a big danger against Valencia, which was hugely contributed by the the new Liverpool signing Stewart Downing. Downing with his crosses and Carroll with his aerial ability can pose danger to any side. Downing has certainly made his filled the the long-awaited need of a winger. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson could feature against his old side.

Some good news for the Reds ahead of the season are the departure Milan Jovanovic (to Anderlecht), Paul Konchesky (to Leicester City). Meanwhile, Christian Poulsen is determined to stay as he claims that “they want me at the club and I am happy to be there and unless they tell me something different, I am a Liverpool player for the coming season”. Joe Cole’s future is still unclear.

Liverpool also agreed a fee with Newcastle United for the transfer of Jose Enrique to Anfield. The transfer fee is believed to be around £6M. Liverpool are adamant to complete the transfer before the Sunderland game.

This could mean the end of Emiliano Insua’s Anfield career. However, on the brighter side, the link up between Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique on the left side of the field would be the one to watch. They both will give Liverpool a new attacking dimension.

Sunderland, having sold Darren Bent in January aren’t the same side that they were with him. Though they have got Asamoah Gyan, he can’t do all on his own. Steve Bruce, after losing Henderson to Liverpool, got Wes Brown and John O’Shea from Manchester United. The highlight of their transfer window was the snatching of 18-year-old Connor Wickham for £12 Million from Ipswich Town.

Though they lost quite a few players like Nedum Onuoha (returned to Manchester City), John Mensah (returned to Lyon), Boudewjin Zenden and Cristian Riveros (loaned to Kayserispor), arrival of With David Vaughan, Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson has reinforced their side.

The good start to the season is very crucial and Sunderland shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Asia Tour – Guangdong Sunray Cave 3-4 Liverpool – Match Report

The Reds kick started their 2011/12 campaign with a 3-4 win over the Chinese side Guangdong Sunray Cave.

It was end-to-end, high-tempo and very entertaining game. And was topped off with the brilliant vocal support in the stadium.

However, Reds were the better side during the majority of the game, as expected. David Ngog had lots of chances during the game. After his left-footed shot was saved by the weaker early on in the game, Ngog later on had a chance to put Pacheco through on goal but failed to find as he delayed his pass for just too long.

Liverpool weren’t going to be denied for long. Christian Poulsen side-footed the ball into the net from the cross from Joe Cole.

Reds continued the momentum and within couple of minutes were 2-0 up after David Ngog slid the ball past the goalkeeper.

Dani Pacheco should have scored on the half hour mark after brilliant one-two between him and Jay Spearing let the Spaniard through on goal, but was unfortunate as his shot was whiskers wide from the post.

Right before the half-time whistle, Guangdong pulled one back as Ricardo headed the ball after a superb cross from the left.

At half time, Liverpool made lots of changes. Charlie Adam made his debut. Maxi Rodriguez, Andy Carroll, Alberto Aquilani, Brad Jones, Andre Wisdom, Sotoris Kyrgiakos, Daniel Agger, Jack Robinson, Conor Coady and Dirk Kuyt. Brad Jones was later replaced by Martin Hansen.

The home side started to look weary as the game progressed. Liverpool capitalized on it when Andy Carroll found Conor Coady who struck a superb shot into the corner of the net. The youngster had a dream debut.

With five minutes to go, Andy Carroll also got on the score sheet, taking full advantage of the bad defending from the home side.

But we lost our focus just before the end and Guangdong scored twice in the added time. Lu Lin and Ying Hongbo were the scorers of the late goals.

The game finished Guangdong 3-4 Liverpool. Though, it wasn’t a confident win nor was it a defensive performance, the Reds certainly knew where the net was.

There were several glimpses of brilliance by Adam and Aquilani. This being the first game in a while for most of the players, it can only get better


Christian Poulsen (20′)
David Ngog (22′)
Conor Coady (72′)
Andy Carroll (85′)

[Guangdong Sunray Cave]
Ricardo (45′)
Lu Lin (90′)
Ying Hongbo (90+2′)