Tag Archive: Anfield


Time for divers to be banned?

Once again, the Premier League weekend was subject to a little controversy as a number of players were accused of diving to try and win their side a penalty, or get an opposing player sent off.

One of the big examples of this was Luis Suarez for Liverpool against Stoke City on Sunday as the Uruguayan went down far too easily in the second half of the a football result   that ended goalless draw between the two sides at Anfield.

This made Stoke boss Tony Pulis come out and ask for Suarez to be banned, suggesting that too many players get away with doing it and that if they were suspended for diving, it would cut it out of the game.

These days it is almost impossible for a referee to give a penalty as there is always the doubt that a player has tried to con the officials or whether there was enough contact. Someone like Suarez is constantly in the headlines for playacting and it has led to him getting a lot less spot-kicks.

However, he seems to keep on doing it and maybe a ban would be a big statement of intent from the Football Association that they want to get diving out of the game and it would make a player think twice about doing that.

The FA could use video evidence after the match, and if someone has clearly dived to try and win a penalty of having a member of the opposition sent off, then it is them that face the ban.

No one likes to see a player cheating – there is a big difference between winning a penalty and looking for one. If you feel contact in the box, then you have every right to go down, but if you go into the area knowing you are going to fall to the ground – you deserve to be punished.

This is not just a pick on Suarez either, there are players all round England that are guilty of it. When you are successful in trying to con the referee it can have a massive impact on a team’s season – which is really not fair.

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

With eight teams still dreaming of cup glory this season, the 2011/12 FA Cup has reached the business end of the tournament.

There are some cracking ties in store as the quarter-finalists battle for a place at Wembley next month, and just one team outside the Premier League left in the competition.

That is Leicester City, who have been rewarded with victory over top-flight opposition in Norwich City in the last round with a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.

Tottenham take on Bolton at White Hart Lane, while Liverpool try and reach a second semi-final of the season as the Carling Cup winners face Stoke at Anfield.

But the main focus of this preview is on the match in the other part of Merseyside, as Everton prepare to battle it out with Sunderland in the last four.     Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

The racism row that has developed over the past week involving Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra threatens to develop into a worrying story.

Manchester United defender Evra has accused Liverpool striker Suarez of repeatedly using a racially abusive word during their clubs’ 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend.

Suarez has vehemently denied the accusations, which the Football Association began to look into after Evra and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson asked for the alleged abuse to be put into the referee’s match report.

But the French left-back is adamant that he was a victim of repeated racism by the 24 year-old, and is continuing to press on with these allegations.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has come out and backed his Uruguayan forward in light of the brewing controversy while the investigation by the FA continues.

It should be made clear at this point that there has been no evidence publicly produced to support either Evra’s claims nor Suarez’s pleads of innocence, so no-one can say that either of them are right or wrong at this stage.

However, what we can debate are the consequences for the person found to be the guilty party in this unwholly saga and the repercussions that should await them.

If Evra’s allegations are proven to be legitimate, then serious action should be taken against Suarez in racially abusing not just another professional, but ultimately another human being.

There is no excuse for that kind of mentality, and when you ply your trade in role which makes you impressionable to younger people, then the appropriate authorities within football need to make an example of Suarez.

Especially when you consider that English football has worked so hard in recent times to oust racism from the game by players and fans alike, highlighted by the ‘Kick Racism Out Of Football’ campaign.

So potential long-term bans and heavy fines would await Suarez if he is proven guilty – but if the allegations are proven false, then what does this mean for Evra?

Making a complaint of this nature about another person is an incredibly serious accusation to make, as this is the sort of stigma that can haunt someone for the rest of their careers.

Unless it is completely proven that Suarez did not use a racist term then the former Ajax star will always be viewed by some members of the public as a person that does not respect all forms of race.

For Evra to categorically stand by his original statement of the events means he must feel he has a viable case, but if it is proven that the 30 year-old has lied, then he needs to take responsibility for his own actions.

Both men can state their misunderstanding of the situation if proven to be in the wrong; Suarez can say he was mistranslated by Evra, and Evra can indicate that he misheard what was being said.

Until the FA have concluded their enquiries then we will not have a clear picture, only the word of the two individuals involved.

Whichever man is proven wrong though must know that the worst is yet to come.

So what do you think? Should either man be punished depending on the outcome of the allegations? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Laurie Fitzgerald

It says everything about the past 12 months in the career of Joe Cole that his loan move to Lille on transfer deadline day was not one of the biggest headlines.

Last summer the England midfielder was the prized Bosman transfer of the summer, with Arsenal and Tottenham battling for his services before Liverpool swooped to give Cole a three-year deal.

Many were hailing the East Londoner to spearhead a revival under new manager Roy Hodgson and bring better times back to Anfield.

But his league debut saw him given a straight red card against the Gunners, and unfortunately for Cole it only got worse from there.

Niggling injuries throughout the campaign didn’t help, but when he did get on the pitch he looked a shadow of the player that helped Chelsea to three Premier League titles.

Since the turn of the year and Hodgson’s departure from Merseyside, Cole started just three games – and two of those were in the Europa League.

So while better times have arrived at Anfield under Kenny Dalglish, it was not inspired by Cole, who knew he needed a fresh start to breathe new life into a faltering career.

Thankfully he may have found a place to do that in the unlikely setting of France with Lille.

At the age of 29, Cole could have taken the simple option of joining another Premier League club and go through the motions of a comfortable lifestyle he has grown used to.

Instead, by joining the French champions he is testing himself not only as a player but as a person who still has the desire to have more success within the game.

Having come through the ranks at West Ham, there has always been a perception that he has never wanted to stray too far from his London roots.

But by going to a new country with his young family and aiming to settle into a culture unfamiliar to him deserves great respect.

More importantly for a player with such gifted ability, he also has a platform to rediscover the talent that made him so important for both club and country.

Not only is he playing for a strong side in an underrated league, but he also has the added bonus of playing regularly in this year’s Champions League.

Last weekend saw Cole make his debut by coming on during his new team’s 3-1 win over St Etienne as he works his way up to full fitness after such insignificant playing time in 2011.

He still found the time to set up Ludovic Obraniak‘s goal that clinched the three points, and with confidence and match sharpness growing every week he can become the playmaker of this side if he rediscovers his best form.

Cole has already pointed out the difference in his new surroundings, saying, “There are a lot of things changing and it’s a big challenge. But every day I go into work, it becomes a little bit familiar and i think to myself ‘yeah, I’m in the right place here.'”

Hopefully by the end of the season, Cole will have proven to his doubters just how right his move to France proved to be.

So what do you think? Will Cole rediscover his best form in France? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Tony Alvarez

Following Tottenham’s midweek draw with rivals Arsenal and then another failure to win at home in Saturdays 2-2 draw with West Brom the chances of the North London side now re-qualifying for the Champions League are looking bleak.

Tottenham currently lie just a point behind their main rivals for 4th spotManchesterCity however they do have a game in hand and are also due to meet Tottenham at home before the end of the season.

The club also will be aware of the danger of finishing 6th in the league as they are only 3 points clear of a resurgent Liverpool and have a tougher run in than the Merseyside club, which includes a battle between the clubs at Anfield in a few weeks time. Finishing in 6th place could be a disaster for the Tottenham as it does not guarantee European Football of any kind next season and will leave the club sweating on the result of the FA cup final.

As mentioned above Tottenham have a tough set of fixtures between now and the end of the season which makes obtaining a 4th place finish even tougher, Tottenham’s next fixture is away to title chasing and London rivals Chelsea before hosting Blackpool who are scrapping for their Premier League future and beat Tottenham at Bloomfield road in February. Following this they have the two fixtures mentioned above where they travel toManchesterCity and Liverpool within the space of 5 days then finally they host Carling Cup winnersBirmingham on the last day of the season.

After being held at home by West Brom for Tottenham to finish 4th thus ensuring a place in the Champions League qualifiers they would need to win at least 2 of the 3 fixtures away to City, Liverpool and Chelsea unless City were to suffer a shock loss in one of their remaining fixtures.

My personal opinion is that although City are prone to slips ups Tottenham have left themselves with a lot to do considering the fixtures they have remaining, as we have seen this season in Europe Tottenham are a plucky side and will battle until the end however I think a 5th place finish is most likely for the lilywhites.

What do you think? Can Tottenham finish in 4th place? Is 6th place a more realistic finish given the fixtures they have remaining? Tottenham fans, would you prefer a 6th place finish to a 5th giving you less distractions next term? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Tony Alvarez

Following reaching an agreement for termination of his contract with European Champions Inter Milan due to poor performances and negative comments about the board, rumours are circling that Rafa Benitez could find himself back in charge of Liverpool in the near future.

Benitez, who won the Champions League and the FA cup amongst other things during his 6 year spell as manager of Liverpool, agreed the termination just days after winning the World club cup.

With many fans of the Merseyside giants wanting rid of current manager Roy Hodgson due to poor performances, poor signings and a seeming lack of inspiration, the availability of Benitez has come at a convenient time for the fans who want Hodgson out.

Although towards the end of his reign at Anfield Benitez was not loved by Liverpool fans due to many of the same reasons that are causing fans to call for Hodgson’s sacking, there is now a “bring back Benitez” campaign which has included banners hung outside the club ground.

In a poll by Liverpool fans’ website Empire of the Kop, more than 66 per cent of followers want to see Benitez replace current gaffer Roy Hodgson.

Although the board have given no indication that they are not happy with the direction the club is going under Roy Hodgson it has often been seen in the past that the voice of the fans can have a big influence on a Chairman’s decisions.

Benitez, who still has a home in Liverpool where he has returned to following the loss of his job at Inter Milan, has not commented since he has become unemployed and it is unclear whether he would want a move back to Liverpool.

Bookmakers she a move back to Spain as the most likely destination for Benitez, with a sensational return to Anfield priced at 9 to 1, where as I move back to his native Spain priced at 1.73 to 1.

What do you think? Would you welcome him back to Anfield? Can your realistically see it happening? Why do so many fans want him back when they were calling for his head at the end of last season? Leave a comment and let me know

Due to fixtures being postponed due to adverse weather conditions last weekend, there will be no North London Debate this week. Also due to Christmas there will be no article on tomorrow (Saturday 25th Dec) so we will be back on Boxing Day, we hope to see you then.

Merry Christmas from everyone here at Shouts from the stands.

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