Author Archives: footieaficionado

About footieaficionado

Just your average (good looking) guy next door. Peppered with narcissism (though you could have figured that out from the earlier line only).

Error : Suitable superlative not found for Gerrard

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It is the second day of the year and I hate it already- Every Liverpool Fan right now.

Words even don’t come close to what every Red must be feeling right now seeing one of their own going away from home.

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Steven George Gerrard is one of the two reasons I started following Liverpool Football Club and now that it is almost certain that he will seek pastures new, it is the rudest New Year party hangover fixer to jolt us into reality and making us aware of the adage ” nothing is permanent”. One is left thinking ” This can’t be happening right now”.

It would be strange for us, not to see our team being led by Stevie G, or making 40 yard pinpoint crosses or making those tackles which leave the opposition players in a hump( Everton and Manchester United players must be the most aware).

But rest asured. Like Kenny Dalglish before him,  cries of ” Steve Gerrard Gerrard, He is Big and he is fucking hard” will ring around Anfield and I’m pretty sure every Premier league ground as well.

I won’t digress by stating the statistics and trophies won. Just ask any player or fan as to ” who is Gerrard? ” and the unanimous answer will be ” Liverpool”. That I believe is proof of what Gerrard means to the club and to the fans.The role he played in Hillsborough inquest and helping the families who still feel the repercussions of that day despite suffering a personal loss( for the uninitiated, he lost his cousin ” Jon Paul Gilhooley”)is a very big deal

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I will be honest, I was close to breaking down on hearing his imminent departure, though most would have thought ” these guys must be accustomed to losing players”. but mind you this was no ordinary player.

This phenomena rose from the ranks at Liverpool and captained his boyhood side, as was his passion. Who can claim to have followed their passion and succeeded at it for 11 years? he is living the dream, so he said in his autobiography

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Torres and Suarez may come and go, but this one is a class act I had a special connect with and amount of tarnishing by rival team fans can spoil his image and what he means to us.
We have lost 2 statesmen of the club in the past 3 years, it is up to the current crop to keep their legacy alive.

As for me, I shall be found on matchdays in front of the TV set or at a match screening. You’re most welcome to join and watch the best that there ever was to overcome the regret that I never saw him play live.

We must not wallow in self pity and give our captain fantastic a rousing farewell and send him off with a bang( starting this week and continuing till the last). who knows we may as well finish with a trophy or two in hand ?
We Go Again!

Yes , We Will.

Yes , We Will.

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Liverpool v/s Southampton : A Fan’s Analysis

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Liverpool welcomed Premier League action to Anfield and Brendan Rodgers will be delighted that his charges secured the three points against a “very good second half” Southampton.

It was a game of 2 halves with Liverpool impressing in the first. Kopites thought it was business as usual when Sterling scored when a “sterling” through ball by Henderson created space between the left back and centre halves. Alas, the champagne football was a bit flat as Southampton sat back, a contrast to last seasons’ pressing game they played here.

For a moment in time, it seemed Suarez never left.

For a moment in time, it seemed Suarez never left.

Lovren , who scored the winner here, was imperious in the air, and snuffed out any dangerous situations. He looks , on the face of it, a very good centre half, in the mould of Hyypia , or dare I say, Vidic ( sorry, but he was an excellent centre half). Here’s hoping he scores more than Carragher, the legend he was bought to replace, at the right end of course.

Southampton grew in confidence as the half wore on, with ward-Prowse impressing and Schneiderlin pulling the strings in midfield also having a shot saved. Koeman would give his right arm to keep him, well, at arm’s length from Tottenham.

As soon as the second half began, it became clear that Southampton would not grant as much time on the ball as they afforded in the first. they pressed, forcing the Reds’ midfield to hurry into passes and relinquish possession.

Thus, it was no surprise when Clyne, the person semi culpable for the opening goal, linking up well with Tadic, whose back flick granted him acres of space in the penalty area, and unleashed a venomous shot into the roof of the net. Memories of last season came back, when we had to score 4 to guarantee victory, and no doubt , the defence seemed in a bit of bother.

I almost had my heart in mouth when Davis was preparing to shoot, and all inside L4 and anyone supporting the Redmen heaved a sigh of relief when fluffed his chance and shot at Mignolet.

Rickie Lambert made his Anfield debut, coming on for Coutinho. Both set of fans gave him a warm reception. His link up play was good and his tackle to win the ball back was impressive. He really wants his second chance with his boyhood club to be a success.

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Back to where it all began.

Sturridge scored, after good work from our captain , Stevie G, and Sterling, who headed the ball to sturridge who stroked home the ball from 3 yards out.

Sturridge wheels away, celebrating what would ultimately be the winner

Sturridge wheels away, celebrating what would ultimately be the winner

Saints then went for broke, with schneiderlin unleashing a tremendous volley only to see it deflected by mignolet. later Long headed the ball out of play when scoring would have been not that difficult.

i was relieved to get the 3 points. as the commentator said ” Those are 3 points we didn’t get last season”

2 conclusions from the match can be made:

1. Buy a striker : it has been said so many times that it has become redundant, but if we can get even 50% of the Mad Genius who departed for Catalonia, we can hope for a top 3 finish. Lavezzi , anyone?

He will be hoping a proven striker can help him to prove that last season was not a fluke

He will be hoping a proven striker can help him to prove that last season was not a fluke

2. After scoring, keep defensive shape, don’t defend deep. We unnecessarily played ball to and fro between the keeper and sweepers, inviting needless pressure. Powers such as Real Madrid won’t be as forgiving.

To Etihad now, here all of the supporters hope that Linesman has perfect vision, or is wearing corrective glasses.

Man of the match : Lovren. For bringing back some authority to the back 4.

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Moments of the match : Tadic back flip for Clyne & Henderson ball for Sterling

All images are from Liverpool FC official website

If you have any opinions on my opinionated blog, please do provide them.

That Time Of The Year

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The Premier League season is upon us. Goals, controversies, goals, skills, and more goals to enthrall us for the next 9 months which as usual promises to be the closest competed just like last year.

Who will be holding this trophy aloft come May?

Who will be holding this trophy aloft come May?

 

Man City pipped Liverpool by 2 points last season and I won’t be surprised if the gap between 1st and 4th reduces further. Realistically, 4( Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal) teams are challenging for the title with a further 3(Man United( mostly due to the Van Gaal effect), Everton, Spurs) expected to challenge for the Economy Wonderland of Champions League.

I hope for my beloved club, Liverpool to have a good CL run, consolidate place in Champions league spots (1st to 3rd place) and win a domestic trophy.
Though I said I expect Liverpool to challenge for the title, it might prove a bit too much due to the privileged burden of CL, but the added depth will help to battle on these 4 fronts. The new SAS ( Sturridge and Sterling) along with the boys from Southampton, Markovic, Lovren, Manquillo( loan) and Moreno will help to offset the loss of Suarez and prove BR right in the sense that we’ve not done a Tottenham and instead ‘Make us Dream’ again.

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As for the transfer rumours, I don’t read much into them and not certain of ‘ pending signing’ or ‘almost done deal’ till the ink has dried on the contract. I still hope BR signs a striker who has 15-20 goals in him or reinstate in Assaidi in the squad. He really impressed while playing for Stoke last season plus that goal against Chelsea in the dying moments was a beauty.

Let another season of ‘ The Most Entertaining and Best League in the World’ begin. We Go Again.

Yes, We Will

Yes, We Will

 

Liverpool V/S Hull City AFC : A fan’s analysis

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Liverpool needed 3 points or risk sliding down the table. They sure did deliver. They weren’t their imperious best like they have been at Anfield( bar Southampton) but it is the three points that matter.

First Half:

Since the match wasn’t live on Tv in India and it took me a while before I could find suitable streams( found mine at eplhome.com) , 12 minutes of match were up and I was just in time to watch Sagbo volley over the crossbar and into the Kop. That would be the closest they got to the Liverpool goal all the match. I ain’t even mad.

On 19 minutes, a Coutinho free kick( earned by Suarez by a Meyler tackle) found Suarez who headed the ball into the net. Suarez  found the linesman’s flag up for offside.

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That usual sight,but sadly offside

As the match wore on, it soon became clear Hull came into this match with one, and only one agenda : Stop Luis Suarez even if you have to break his legs. the treatment he has been receiving since the city game, is a bit shocking. I am all up for ” manning up” but this is going too far. earlier it was Meyler, now it was Alex Bruce. I would  borrow Moyes’ quote( I apologize profusely :P) ” He was being kicked from pillar to post”.

Coutinho shot from the free kick straight at McGregor and was again called into action when Sterling shot at him after being put through by Cissokho).

The breakthrough came through a setpiece. Countinho delivered one sumptuous corner from the right hand side and it was met by Daniel Agger who thundered in a header on 37 mintues. McGregor was unsighted due to the clever presence of Jordan Henderson( that smart lad).

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Agger heads Liverpool into the lead

Aspas was silent( he really needs to find his feet in the Premier league) and hadonly  one telling contribution when he turned Coutinho’s pass into the path of Jordan Henderson who should have scored. Similarly, when Coutinho was put through by Johnson by a lofted pass, he controlled the ball beautifully but he put his shot wide, much to the chagrin of Anfield faithful. the first half drew to a close with Liverpool carrying a slender lead through Daniel Agger.

Suarez was booked, i think not for the one foul he made, rather the reason was he kept going on at the referee.

at the end of first half, I wad neither too happy or unhappy. We needed to finish Hull off before they could pull level. With the kind of luck we had, they might as well had.

Second Half :

The second half began with Jake Livermore floating the ball over the LFC box.

Then the moment which we had been waiting for over 180 minutes of Premier League minutes. 25 yards to goal. Kop End. Suarez over it. Top left corner.  That has been repeated so oft this  season, that brilliance seems routine. 2-0 to Liverpool and may i say, “There is only one Pistolero”. Now that we had a two goal lead, the Hull city players started to focus on the football more than they did on Suarez.

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Another sight we have become used to.  And brilliance too.

Johnson was taken off for Toure, and will be assessed for injury, I hope it’s not a lengthy layoff.

On 60 minutes, Anfield welcomed its most celebrated son, Steven Gerrard for Iago Aspas after nearly a month, with Daniel Agger handing over the captain’s armband to where it belongs.

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LFC welcomed back Gerrard

Coutinho it seemed had a grudge against Hull City( like Suarez apparently has against Norwich City) going on mazy runs( THAT run in the dying minutes) and shooting on sight. much to the dismay of the Kop, either it was in McGregor’s hands or in the hands of supporters. He really did deserve at least a goal for his efforts. He should maybe take finishing lessons from his Uruguayan team-mate.

So, all in all,3 points in the bag and back in the Top 4. All we need to do is keep on winning and let the table care of itself. One match a time.

Till later, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

PS : Star Sports, you are as useful as “ay” in okay. why do you buy rights of English Premier League and only choose to show it on 1 channel.  I know you want to earn  through your HD channels, but it ain’t fair if you keep showing highlights of test matches.

All images from www.liverpoolfc.tv

Chelsea V/s Liverpool : a fan’s analysis

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Let me start by saying 3 things which need to be said, and I think most of LFC fans will agree :

1. We weren’t that good as compared to City match( still did not deserve to lose)

2. This squad needs strengthening. We were laid bare.

3. We just can’t catch a break with refereeing decisions going against us.

This match brought together the two men that were at centre of the biting storm , Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic for the first time.

First half :  Skrtel got us to a dream start , booting a left footed goal from a Coutinho free kick on 5 minutes which sent Reds across the globe into raptures. First decision ( though we got the freekick). Samuel Eto’o should have been shown red. now let me clarify before the Chelsea fans accuse me of being too biased, had that incident happened, say 60th minute, a knee-high challenge is red card offence. I’ve seen red cards given for lesser fouls( cue Jonjo Shelvey against United). Lampard stung Mignolet’s glove who did admirably well to push the Chelsea veteran’s goal bound shot for a corner.

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Skrtel puts Reds into the lead( image rights : Liverpoolfc.com)

Chelsea equalized through Eden Hazard. it was a terrific finish but was aided by Agger when the ball hit him on his standing leg and he hit a curler beyond Mignolet.

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   Hazard celebrates the equalisesr for Chelsea( image rights : Liverpoolfc.com)

Chelsea got the lead through Samuel Eto’o. It was poor defending by the Reds and tough luck for Mignolet when he made the save but the ball bounced off his shoulder and into the net.

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  Samuel Eto’o celebrates the ultimately decisive goal( image rights : telegraph.co.uk)

The Reds midfield, which was so cohesive in the City game, were harried by Chelsea players who were sent out to destroy the passing rhythm and did admirably so( David Luiz sure did a good job of booting the ball out ).

Second Half :  The half started at a frenetic pace with Liverpool searching their equaliser. Frank Lampard was subsituted for John Obi Mikel ,Two Chelsea players were booked, Sakho hit the post and that was about the most lively part of the second half. The Red Midfield finally started to get some passes together and had more attempts at the Chelsea goal. Johnson tested Petr Cech with a stinging shot from the edge of the box, so did Suarez from same kind of range, but Cech was upto the task. Chelsea threatened on the counter but found little joy in he second half with the defence getting meaner( how i wish they weren’t so lenient in the first half). Allen got injured , and Rodgers brought on Smith , an Academy graduate, who in my opinion, looked a bit out of his depth, but he needs experience and these kind of matches will do him a world of good rather than break his confidence. Johnson was substituted for Iago Aspas, and i don’t think he touched the ball much, due to David Luiz simply booting out every ball that crossed centre line.

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  Brendan has his task cut out for the remainder of the season but he needs to buy this January.

Now, for the most contentious decision. Chelsea penalty box, Luis Suarez, Cesar Azpilicueta and Eto’o vying for the ball, AND Eto’o CHEEKILY fouls Suarez. If that’s not a penalty, I don’t know what else is. more of a penalty than what Chelsea got against WBA in my opinion.  As the clock ran down, Mourinho brought on the Much-maligned-since-move-to-Chelsea Fernando Torres and tested Mignolet once with a  shot from 6 yards. Time was running out for Reds and during the final minute of stoppage time when the two Brazilians, Lucas Leiva and Oscar got into a petty fight which was pretty much ,well , petty. the final score card read 2-1 to Chelsea and Liverpool will feel hard done by refereeing decisions again, though I expect a reaction against Hull City( Tigers?) at Anfield on New Year’s Day.

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  Mourinho out thought his protegé in the first half.

This is the first time Rodgers has lost two matches in a row since taking up the hot seat at Anfield, which speaks volumes about his acumen, despite having a thin squad. So lets not get too despondent with the result, we will get them at the fortress called Anfield. He will be without Allen, Sakho along with Sturridge though he might hope might have skipper Steven Gerrard back.  Till later, YNWA.