Tag Archive: Liverpool

By Laurie Fitzgerald

After nine months and 825 clubs battling it out in the oldest cup competition in the world, we have reached the last two to battle it out in this year’s FA Cup Final.

Liverpool and Chelsea will meet at Wembley tomorrow evening to decide the 131st showpiece event for English football’s most famous domestic cup, and these are two sides that have a rich FA Cup tradition.

The Reds have won the trophy on seven occasions and last lifted the cup back in 2006, when a last-gasp equaliser by Steven Gerrard and heroics from Pepe Reina in the penalty shootout saw them overcome West Ham in one of the all-time great finals.

Chelsea’s recent history in the competition is unmatched; while they have won the cup six times, three of those triumphs have come in the last five seasons and are now one win away from four in six.

While Liverpool have stuttered in the Premier League this season, their cup form has been peerless; having won the Carling Cup back in February, Kenny Dalglish’s side are looking to complete a domestic cup double.     Continue reading


By Laurie Fitzgerald

One of the great traditions of the English football season takes place this weekend, as four teams travel to Wembley to contest the FA Cup semi-finals.

Tomorrow we will preview the all-London affair as Chelsea take on Tottenham for a place in the final, but today we will be focusing on the early afternoon kick-off as Liverpool face Everton in a compelling Merseyside derby.

Both these great rivals could not be going into the game in more contrasting fortunes, with Liverpool’s league campaign coming off the rails at the same time Everton’s continues to gather momentum.

While Everton manager David Moyes and his assistant Steve Round have both publicly stated that Liverpool go into the game as favourites, the Toffees are brimming with confidence.      Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

One of the main talking points from last weekend’s action was the issue of diving, and how an unethical part of the beautiful game is coming to the fore.

There were a few incidents of note that led to many believing they either went down too easily or that they simply fall to the ground with no contact whatsoever.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko won a penalty in their 3-3 draw with Sunderland after seemingly falling into the tackle of Black Cats midfielder Craig Gardner.

Bolton midfielder Mark Davies also drew some criticism after he won a crucial spot-kick for the Trotters when they were a goal down at Wolves, after falling under minimal contact in the box. It was a game that they would go on to win 3-2.

The most talked-about incident of the weekend though took place at the Sports Direct Arena, when Liverpool striker Andy Carroll caused derision amongst the Newcastle faithful that used to chant his name when he inexplicably fell over having gone round Toon keeper Tim Krul.     Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Liverpool’s recent slump continued at the weekend when they suffered one of the shock defeats of the Premier League season, going down 2-1 to strugglers Wigan at Anfield.

That loss to the Latics made it five defeats in six league matches for Kenny Dalglish’s side, and all but ending any hopes that they had of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

The Reds have secured European football for next campaign following their Carling Cup triumph last month, which gave them a place in the Europa League – but their recent setbacks have coincided with their Wembley win over Cardiff City on penalties.

Four of those five losses have followed winning their first silverware in six years, and it has left many Liverpool fans wondering what the main issue is regarding their sudden downturn in fortunes.

But recent history shows that they are not the only side to suffer such a hangover after winning the League Cup as recent winners have also struggled to carry that momentum into the business end of the league season.     Continue reading

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

Liverpool face Everton in the 217th Merseyside Derby this evening with more pride at stake than what would’ve been imaginable a couple of months ago.

At the turn of the year Everton were in danger of being stuck at the wrong end of the table with a severe lack of goals in the side and no immediate solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, Liverpool were well in the hunt for a top-four finish and looked set for at least a top-six position come the end of Kenny Dalglish’s first full season back in charge at Anfield.

However, manager David Moyes was able to strengthen his attacking options in January with the likes of Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic brought in to the squad.

They have since gone on a run of seven league games unbeaten, a string of results that have also included consecutive home victories over Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.

As for the Reds, their recent form has been one of struggle as just two wins from their last 11 league outings has left them well out of contention for a Champions League place and sitting in seventh.     Continue reading

2011/12 Carling Cup Final Preview

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Today the first domestic final of the English season takes place, as Liverpool and Cardiff City battle it out at Wembley stadium in the Carling Cup Final.

The Reds are firm favourites to win their eighth League Cup against Championship opponents that are competing in their first final in this competition.

But while Cardiff are familiar with the new Wembley after they lost in the 2008 FA Cup Final to Portsmouth, this is Liverpool’s first trip to the famous arena since it was rebuilt and opened back in 2007.

For Kenny Dalglish it’s a welcome return to a major cup final as Liverpool manager, his first in the Anfield hotseat since winning the all-Merseyside FA Cup Final back in 1989.   Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez
So far the January 2012 transfer window has seen very little action especially amongst the big 6 in the Premier League who beside Manchester City all need to strengthen you would feel.
Of course Manchester United have brought Paul Scholes out of retirement and Arsenal have brought in club legend Thierry Henry on loan but neither of those came at any expense and were not the moves their sides so dearly need.

Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez
As you know both Laurie and I chose a team at the start of the Carlintg Cup and followed them throughout the competition if they lose we follow the team that beat them.
With only 4 sides left myself and Laurie both found ourselves with the same side Crystal Palace as you can see Laurie has already published a preview of that game and I’m sure you don’t want to read the same thing twice so I will look ahead to arguably the bigger clash of the two semi finals Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City vs Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool.

Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

12 months ago, Liverpool were a club in turmoil after undergoing severe problems both on and off the pitch.

A bitter takeover embroiled Anfield, with John W. Henry taking over from the despised fellow Americans of George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Meanwhile, Liverpool were at the wrong end of the table as new manager Roy Hodgson was unable to turn their fortunes after they began to fade under previous boss Rafa Benitez.

But a new year brought new hope; with Henry’s takeover rubber stamped, he brought back the Kop’s prodigal son to try and revive the glory days on Merseyside.

Having won eight league titles and three European Cups in 14 years as a player and manager, Kenny Dalglish was re-appointed almost 20 years after he resigned.

After being given a contract until the end of the season, it soon became apparent that the Scot was the right appointment in the long-term.

Having been firmly consigned to the bottom half of the table, Dalglish guided the team on run that saw them move to the brink of an unlikely European spot.

The Reds went on 14-game run that saw them win ten and draw two matches to propel them within touchings distance of the Europa League.

Despite eventually missing out on Europe, a 6th placed finish was secured and the 60 year-old was rewarded with a three-year deal.

Now Dalglish has had almost a year to mould the squad in his image and the way he wants them to play, and there has been a marked improvement.

Gone is the one-dimensional style adopted under Hodgson of being well-organised but limited in an attacking approach.

Now Liverpool are dominating games with their constant pressing and high tempo that allows them to get on top of their opponents, as well as having the best defensive record in the top flight.

There was no need to make any changes in goal, with Pepe Reina one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League.

Defensively there has been some re-adjusting; Jose Enrique has been brought in at left-back, while Martin Kelly has emerged from the academy to contest with Glen Johnson on the right.

At the heart of defence, both Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger have become first-choice centre-backs, whilst the experienced Jamie Carragher and new addition Sebastian Coates provide reliable cover.

The midfield has seen the biggest overhaul; out have gone the likes of Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole, and in have come the likes of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.

Possibly the best example of the improvement under Dalglish has been holding midfielder Lucas.

For two years the Brazilian was unable to win over the Kop faithful, looking unable to cope with the pace and physicality of England’s top flight.

However, in the last 12 months he has made a host of excellent performances to make him the heartbeat of the Liverpool side before being ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

It is a problem that Dalglish will look to address in January, especially with their other midfield talisman in Steven Gerrard struggling with injury problems throughout 2011.

There has been investment within the flanks, with Stewart Downing and Craig Bellamy brought in to add width on the flanks, although Downing has found it difficult to maintain a regular place with the form of Maxi Rodriguez and the tireless Dirk Kuyt.

Up front has seen a big turnaround. Out went star man Fernando Torres and the less than prolific David N’Gog, and in came Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll for a combined total of £57 million.

This has seen differing returns though, as while Suarez has been a revelation in the no. 7 shirt, Carroll has been unable to live up to his £35 million price tag and settle into Liverpool’s style of play.

It has been the one aspect of Dalglish’s first year back in charge that has raised eyebrows – the money spent on the new additions.

The likes of Carroll, Henderson and Downing were brought into the club for over-inflated sums of money, and all have so far had mixed success.

But as with any major overhaul, time has to be given to the big-money arrivals before they are deemed a success or failure, especially when Henderson and Carroll are in their early twenties.

While the squad is in a far healthier state than it was before, the primary aim has to be getting back their place in the top four before ending their long wait for a 19th title.

If there’s one thing we can take from Dalglish’s second coming, it is that Liverpool are a lot closer to the glory days than they were a year ago.

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