The last time Liverpool won the league title was during the 1989-90 season which was then the Football League First Division. For years Liverpool fans had endured the pain of watching the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and recently the blue side of Manchester (City) lift the league title.
The Reds have not gone trophyless during this 23 year period though. They have won (3) three FA Cups, (4) four League Cups, (3) three Charity/Community Shields one which was shared in 1990, (1) one UEFA Cup, (2) two UEFA Super Cups and (1) UEFA Champions League title. If you mention those achivements to any Liverpool they are surely going to enjoy talking about those triumphs but they will quickly mention not winning a Premier League title. Winning the league title is highly coveted on the Merseyside.
Could Brendan Rodgers be the man to lead The Reds to the promise land or will it be another season of heartbreak for Liverpool. Having started out the 2013/14 campaign winning three our of their first three matches once which included a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Anfield. Their fine for was achieved without their trouble but talented striker Luis Suarez. The Reds are currently in second place behind Arsenal by two points, it might be a too early to consider them serious title contenders but with Suarez back and in fine form himself shouts of title contenders might just be right. The season has a long way to go and this can possibly change but this year could quite possibly be “Their Year”.
The win over Manchester United has been marred by another classless individual from the Mersyside area. There have been huge build up to the match with Patrice Evra being the center of attention after he was racially abused by Luis Suarez of Liverpool FC, the result of the altercation ended with Suarez receiving an eight match ban for his racist actions.
In the previous round of the FA Cup, Tom Adeyemi of Oldham Athletic was the target of racial abuse by a Liverpool fan which left the player in tears. The ugly behavior of Liverpool fans has shown it’s head once again.
Luis Suárez’s imgae has taken a big blow after details about what was said during his confrontation with Patrice Evra when Liverpool faced United at Anfield. During the match and after the match Evra made a complaint to the referee about what Suárez had said while a Liverpool corner was about to be taken.
Luis Suárez has gotten of lightly by the English FA and has been given an eight match ban and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. When fans are found guilty of racial abuse they are given lifetime bans.
In a statement released by the FA they said:
On 16 November 2011, The Football Association charged Luis Suarez with misconduct contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to the Liverpool FC versus Manchester United FC fixture on 15 October 2011.
The Independent Regulatory Commission announced its decision on 20 December 2011, which is as follows:
“Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
the insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2);
Mr Suarez shall be warned as to his future conduct, be suspended for eight matches covering all first team competitive matches and fined the sum of £40,000;
the [penalty] is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr Suarez against this decision. Read Full Statement Here
Liverpool close in on European football next season after trouncing Birmingham City 5-0 at Anfield. A hat trick from Maxi Rodriguez as well as goals from Joe Cole and Dirk Kuyt saw off a lackluster Birmingham side who never really got a foothold in the game.
Liverpool were without regular first teamers Johnson, Kelly, Agger, Aurelio, Gerrard and Carroll. Jamie Carragher might of made the aforementioned list had he not shaken off a concussion suffered last weekend versus Arsenal. The injuries made way for starts for teenagers Jack Robinson and John Flanagan and oft-benched Maxi Rodriguez.
Liverpool started brightly. Robinson and Suarez in particular made an early mark on the game with good touches.
It didn’t take long for Liverpool to make the most of this early advantage. Spearing let loose a stinging drive from the edge of the box but it was straight at the keeper. Foster spilled the shot back out infront of goal and Rodriguez was there to pounce and tap home Liverpool’s opener in the 7th minute. Not the start Birmingham was hoping for.
Birmingham seemed to be up for the challenge. Almost directly after the restart Carr whipped a dangerous ball in from the right which Jerome missed by inches. Carragher’s challenge would’ve made contact very difficult anyway.
The game continued on with Liverpool enjoying more possession but not doing much with it and Birmingham creating the odd half chance now and again.
Liverpool then created their second goal from nothing. A Reina goal-kick down the middle was nodded on to Suarez. It was a crime for the Paraguyan striker to be in so much space. He attempted to control the ball while under pressure from Birmingham defender Jiranek. Suarez, with the ball tangled under his feet got off a tame shot which was blocked back in front of goal by Foster. Kuyt burst into the box and got a shot off but he was also denied. Somehow, Kuyt still allowed to be the first person to react to the second rebound and he fired a low shot into the goal in the 23rd minute.
To add injury to insult Foster appeared to be injured when he came together with Carr in the build up to the goal. But he decided to play through the discomfort.
Liverpool now appeared to be in the driver’s seat, controlling possession once again. Birmingham nearly conceded in a third in the 39th minute. After a series of shots the ball fell to Rodriguez at the edge of the box. He let of a shot that was blocked by Carr outstretched arm but no penalty was given.
The next stoppage saw the injured Foster come off and be replaced by Colin Doyle.
The second half didn’t prove much better for Birmingham as Jerome appeared stranded up front on his own. At the 66th minute things got even worse. Suarez flies down the right and lofts and perfect ball for Rodriguez at the back post who hits a lovely first time volley for his second of the game and Liverpool’s third.
The slack defending continued for Birmingham City as Maxi Rodriguez was allowed to follow up a rebound from his own shot to complete his hat trick in the 73rd minute.
Liverpool added their fifth in the 86th minute from a Kuyt led counterattack. He laid the ball off to the right for Joe Cole. Liverpool’s forgotten major summer signing appeared to have let the chance go by as he twisted and turned in the box without pulling the trigger or making a pass. He eventually let off a low near-post drive which takes a slight deflection makes it way past the keeper.
It is a little unsure if the Reds’ injury influenced lineup were just that potent or if the Blues were just that bad. One thing is for sure is that Alex McLeish will be glad this game is over.
On numerous occasions this season Liverpool FC have just seemed to be lacking that something; that bit of class that can turn a match. That was evident this weekend as the Reds took on Arsenal. From the outset Liverpool employed a very defensive game plan against the Gunners. While there’s nothing wrong with that as many teams cannot come out and play freely against Arsenal, none of the teams above Liverpool in the table would deploy such tactics against them. Manchester City may be the only exception, and they have the sort of enviable depth in their squad that a few substitutions can change a defensively oriented squad into a fearsome attacking side. Liverpool does not share this luxury.
This thinnest of the squad has also realistically, even though not mathematically, eliminated Liverpool from Champion’s League contention. The lack of class within the squad not only restrains Liverpool from being as aggressive against the top sides; it also is a driving factor in games lost against sides lower in the table. Sides such as West Brom, West Ham, and Blackpool who have all beaten Liverpool in 2011 play a high pressure, aggressive brand of football which is hard to defeat when the squad lacks players who provide genuine width and precise passing. Width and quality passing can stretch out a high pressure team, pulling their players out of position and creating goal scoring opportunities. If just those three games could have been moved from the loss to the win column Liverpool would be in sole possession of 4th place, the last Champion’s League spot.
By his actions, King Kenny has seemed to realize that, as owner John Henry so bluntly put it, “There was a huge multi-year pay-roll for a squad that had very little depth.” Against Arsenal two of his three substitutes were teenage, recent academy graduates. Manager Dalglish can’t seem to tap into any of these resources this huge payroll should provide to add some much needed creativity and class when the teams back is against the wall. During recent games, such as versus West Brom where a stagnant Reds side seems to yearn for an injection of that special something, the likes of Joe Cole entered the game as the stoppage time is being announced. Maxi Rodriguez did not enter the fray at all and Milan Jovanovic has not made the squad sheet in a handful of games. These players are fully healthy. The only conclusion is that Mr. Dalglish has just come to the conclusion that these “experienced” players just do not cut it. But where should he turn?
The most commonly heard solution to this problem is expensive signings in the summer. Liverpool has been linked with everyone from Ashley Young to Jesus Christ himself. Fenway Sports Group have proved that they are more willing to invest in the squad than the previous owners who constantly forced Rafa Benitez to sign his 3rd and 4th choice as his main targets were seen as too expensive. But before FSG investors sell their beach homes and weekend yachts to fund extravagant summer moves they can look inwards to the youth team and reserve squad for that bit of quality.
Here are some of the few players that can shine given the chance in the 2011-2012 season:
The highly rated Spaniard transferred from the Barcelona academy to Merseyside in the summer of 2007. He has the ability to play anywhere across the front line. His ability to play out wide can be a key asset in him seeing more regular first team action next season. He was the Golden Boot winner in the 2010 Under 19 European Championships and is currently on emergency loan at Norwich City where he has one assist in 3 games. A knock on him is his slight frame but his excellent movement and technical ability can see him overcome that while he grows and gains strength.
Video of Pacheco performing at 2010 Under 19 European Championships:
This Manchester-born-left footed forward made his from the academy into the first team right before the 2009-2010 season. He seemed on the brink of becoming a first team regular during the 2009 season when he made his senior debut as a substitute against Arsenal in the Carling Cup and then had a late game cameo against Fulham 3 days later. He was then loaned to Huddlesfield Town in January 2010 were he had one goal in 12 appearances. He is currently on a season long to Charlton Athletic where he has made 5 starts and 17 appearances in all, returning 2 goals and 2 assists. While his production in his loan stints seems to be meager Nathan has the pace, power and ability lacking in the Liverpool squad at the moment. A few more first team appearances should polish this diamond in the rough.
Video of Eccleston scoring a crucial goal for Charlton Athletic:
Son of former Paul Ince, young Thomas is full of promise. He was one of the stars that shone Liverpool to the Youth FA Cup finals last season. He has a lethal left foot. The tricky attacker can cause Premier League defenders nightmares for years to come. He spent the first half of the season on loan at Notts County where he racked up 2 goals and an assist in 8 appearances.
Video of Thomas Ince creating a goal for Notts County:
Jack Robinson became Liverpool’s youngest debutant when he made an appearance against Hull City in the final game of 2009-10 at the age of 16 years and 250 days. Robinson’s stand out abilities were noted as his pace, ability to get forward and produced in the final third. He wasn’t able to get forward against Arsenal last weekend after being subbed for Fabio Aurelio due to the fact that he had to marshal Theo Walcott and then Andrei Arshavin. However, he did not look short of pace as he was rarely beaten down the left flank.
Video of Jack Robinson’s performance against Arsenal last weekend:
Even below these players who circle the edge of the first team are the budding Academy stars in Kirkby who seem as if they are ready to force their way into the first team. Fresh off a 6-0 drubbing of the Manchester United Youths, the buzz around the academy is deafening and there are some standouts who may be first team regulars sooner than later. Raheem Sterling scored five in an FA Cup tie this February. And among those that crushed Manchester United, goalscorers Michael Ngoo, Toni Silva and Adam Morgan seem to be the brightest of the stars that day. Don’t be surprised if one or more of these names makes a few cameos for the Reds next season.
There is bound to be an influx and exodus of talent at Anfield next season. But before Mr. Henry, Mr. Dalglish and Mr. Comolli give the nod to signing multi-million pound players to gain that added creativity and pace Liverpool Football Club lacks, they have no choice but to take notice of the promising players sitting right in front of them already.
The race for the EPL title took another twist today as Arsenal and Liverpool both share a point in dramatic fashion at the Emirates. Arsenal were awarded a penalty in the 97th minute of stoppage time as Jay Spearing clumsily brought down Cesc Fabregas. Robin van Persie looked to have given the Gunners all three points after calmly putting home the spot kick sending Jose Reina diving in the wrong direction.
Emmanuel Eboue gifted Liverpool a lifeline in the 101st minute of stoppage when he bundled over Lucas Leiva in the penalty area, it was a silly challenge by the Ivory Coast international who was visibly upset with himself as he held his face in his hands in despair. Dirk Kuyt stepped up and blasted the ball into the net to give his team the equalizing goal and damaging Arsenal’s title hopes in the process.
Arsenal will feel aggrieved to not have gotten all three points as they were the better team on the day and created the better chances but their failure to put their chances away played a big part in today’s result. Some credit should be given to Liverpool who defended well despite losing defenders Jamie Carragher to a head injury and Fabio Aurelio to a strained hamstring. Jamie Carragher’s injury was the cause for the heavy amount of injury time that was added as the Liverpool medical staff had to take all precautions before removing him from the field of play.
Arsenal’s title hopes now hang in the balance as they no longer have a game in hand on leaders Manchester United and are now six points behind instead of four had they gotten all three points, with six matches left it’s still too close to call with Chelsea still in with a shout to retain their title.
One of the most anticipated fixtures in English football every season is Manchester United vs Liverpool FC. In the latest installment of this battle United took on their feircest rivals at Old Trafford today.
United started off the match defending the famous Stretford End and immediately started on the front foot pinning Liverpool back in their half of the field. The Reds’ were basically doing all the attacking while Liverpool weathered the storm. United had nearly took the lead on a few occasion when Nani got free in the box after a Rooney deflected shot but elected to pass the ball across the goal instead of slotting it home.
42 minutes into a clearly dominated first half by United they got the breakthrough when Dimitar Berbatov headed home a Ryan Giggs corner in a stooping position while being held by Fernando Torres and despite Paul Konchesky trying to prevent the ball from going in with his hand. United went into the half with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half started off fairly slow as Liverpool were just passing the ball around the pitch but when United got possession that all changed ad they passed the ball around with much more purpose than their counterparts. The Reds’ started creating chances and Berbatov almost grabbed a second after Darren Fletcher took a shot that got deflected and went over the Liverpool defense to the unmarked Bulgarian but he only managed to kick the ball onto and onrushing Pepe Reina.
Moments later John O’Shea played a ball to an open Nani who hit a thundering shot that rattled the crossbar, The Reds’ kept pressing for a second and were rewarded when Fletcher picked out Nani with a wonderful cross field pass which the Portuguese midfielder controlled and played in a cross which went over the head on Rooney but fell kindly to Berbatov who took it on his thigh and scored what is arguably the goal of the season so far with a bicycle kick in the 59th minute.
With a two goal lead and Liverpool looking very poor on the day the points seemed to be wrapped up but that wasn’t the case. Five minutes later Liverpool went on the attack and got a lifeline when Jonny Evans took down Fernando Torres with a clumsy challenge in the penalty leaving Howard Webb no choice but to call a penalty. Up stepped Steven Gerrard who scored the penalty by sending Van Der Sar the wrong way.
Gerrard wasn’t finished and was on the score sheet once again when John O’Shea was positioned improperly and was forced to drag dwon Torres to deny him breaking through on goal. O’Shea received just a caution even though he was the last defender, Van Der Sar would have gotten to the ball easily if Torres had broken through clearly thus the reason for him only receiving a yellow card caution.
United looked to have for a second week running allowed a two goal lead to slip away from them by giving up two late goals but that wasn’t the case, with six minutes of normal time left United picked themselves up and went on the attack to restore their lead and did just that when O’Shea played n a lovely cross and Berbatov out jumped Jamie Carragher and headed home the game winning goal to the delight of Uniteds fans around the world.