Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Liverpool v Wolves Match Preview

Wolverhampton will play Liverpool Wednesday night as the bottom-dwellers of the Premier League table.

While Liverpool may be fresh after having their last two games postponed due to weather, Wolves suffered a defeat at home on Boxing Day against Wigan.

The Wolves have not won against Liverpool in nearly 27 years, however a win tomorrow would put the Wolves out of the relegation zone, at least for a short time.

If Liverpool win, it will see them back up to eighth place with a game in hand.

The Reds will only be without vice captain Jamie Carragher, who is recovering from a shoulder operation and Jay Spearing, out with ankle problems. They will have their captain Steven Gerrard and defender Daniel Agger back after being sidelined for weeks with injury.

Wolverhampton are without Kevin Doyle and Jody Craddock due to thigh injuries. Karl Henry and Michael Macienne are also sidelined with knee injuries.

Kick-off is at 8pm and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Blackpool v Liverpool Match Preview

Blackpool will be hoping they can host their Boxing Day match against Liverpool after the English weather postponed their last two matches.

Bloomfield Road lacks the undersoil heating system so many other football stadiums have, but all precautions are being taken into place to prevent freezing of the pitch, including coverings and heat blowers.

The last time the sides met, Blackpool beat Liverpool at Anfield 2-1 however at home, they have the worst record in the Premier League, claiming only eight points out of a possible 22.

Liverpool have also suffered in their away form, losing more than half of their away games.

Blackpool will be without several players tomorrow, including their captain Charlie Adam who is serving a one-match ban. Alex Baptiste, Billy Clarke, Matthew Gilks and Maluary Martin are all out with knee injuries, while Marlon Harewood and Ludovic Sylvestre are both suffering a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Liverpool receive a boost with the return of their captain Steven Gerrard after being out with a hamstring injury picked up from an international match.

Defender Daniel Agger will also be available while fellow defender Jamie Carragher is still out after his shoulder surgery.

Kick-off is at 15:00 GMT. The game will not be shown live on television in the UK however will be broadcasted live via BBC Radio 5 Live.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Liverpool v Utrecht Match Report

Liverpool and Utrecht had a repeat of the last time they met, with a 0-0 draw in their final Europa group match.

Reds manager Roy Hodgson had said before the match that Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina would both start for the team, but neither made an appearance on the pitch, in preparation of the Fulham game on Saturday.

The team Hodgson put out consisted of several reserve players meant to get their chance to shine, however the game came off dull.

Milan Jovanovic had the greatest chance of a goal for Liverpool only eight minutes in, but the ball just hit the crossbar.

Utrecht’s Van Wolfswinkel needed to be stretchered off just before halftime after falling awkwardly and breaking his collarbone.

The second half did not improve for either team. Joe Cole tried to score a late game winner, but the goal was stopped by the Utrecht defence.

Utrecht pushed in the final moments to do the same, but was denied by Reds’ keeper Brad Jones.

Overall, most of the players just seemed absent on the pitch for both teams, leaving fans bored and disappointed.

Though Utrecht was already out of the competition, the away fans cheered their team with a standing ovation while Liverpool were met with boos from their fans, even though the team has already qualified for the Europa League knockout stages.

The knockout round will begin in mid-February.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Liverpool v FC Utrecht Match Preview

Though Liverpool have nothing to lose or gain from their clash with Utrecht, they will want to leave the Europa League group stages on a high note.

The Reds have already qualified for the knockout round while FC Utrecht failed to make it.

However, the Dutch side will still be playing for pride tomorrow night at Anfield.

Liverpool are still expected to play a fairly strong team, including Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina.

Manager Roy Hodgson told Liverpoolfc.tv today, “Pepe Reina likes to play. He would like to play in this one and I'm not going to be the one who says to him, 'You want to play, so you don't play.’ “

A few reserve players will also be given their chance to shine.

Hodgson continued about the reserves, “It is a good chance to give some players a run out. It's a good chance for Jonjo (Shelvey) to show what he can do again. He's played a lot of European games and done very well.”

Utrecht are also expected to play a strong squad.

The teams first met in Holland late September that ended in a 0-0 draw.

The match kicks off at 8:05pm and will be shown live on channel Five. Tickets are currently on sale for £20 for adults and children 16 and under go free with any adult ticket purchased.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Newcastle v Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool walked away from St James Park with a 3-1 defeat against the Toons Saturday night.

Newly appointed Newcastle manager Alan Pardew saw his side take an early lead from a free-kick taken by Joey Barton, headed by Andy Carroll, and then at the feet of Kevin Nolan who put it into the net.
Liverpool tried to equalise nearly immediately following the Newcastle goal, however Maxi Rodriguez headed the ball over the crossbar after a decent cross from Glen Johnson.

Just after halftime, Reds’ midfielder Dirk Kuyt equalised from a deflection and past Newcastle keeper Tim Krul.

Liverpool’s defensive seemed absent from the pitch as Nile Ranger, who replaced Ameobi, assisted the Joey Barton goal in the 79th minute, making it 2-1.

An unmarked Andy Carroll polished off the win in extra time with the Toons’ third and final goal.

The win put Newcastle in 8th and pushed Liverpool back to 9th on the Barclays Premier League table.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Newcastle v Liverpool Match Preview

Newly appointed Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will see his first Premier League match at St James’ Park against Liverpool Saturday evening.

Pardew has a lot to prove to the Toon fans’ after he he may receive backlash by replacing Chris Houghton.

Newcastle have only taken two points from their last five matches and our 12th on the Premier League table.

Meanwhile Liverpool, sitting in 8th place, have won five out of their last eight games.

After a very rocky start for manager Roy Hodgson, his side seem to finally be going in the right direction and are still aiming for that top four finish.

However the Reds seem to struggle from home, winning only once away.

The record against Newcastle is very strong, with Liverpool winning 5-1 at Newcastle and then 3-0 at Anfield two years ago.

Liverpool have no new injuries, but continue to be without Captain Steven Gerrard, who is expected to make his comeback next week.

Jamie Carragher, Jay Spearing and Daniel Agger are also still out. Keeper Pepe Reina will retain the Captaincy.

Striker Fernando Torres will be back after his absence last week due to the birth of his second child.

Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson will be serving the last of their three-match ban.

Joey Barton, Steve Harper, Danny Guthrie and Kevin Nolan are all being monitored for fitness and may make an appearance Saturday on the pitch.

Hatem Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling and Ryan Taylor are all still sidelined.

Kick-off is at 17:30 GMT and will be shown live on ESPN in the UK.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Boot Room Sports Cafe

When football fans think of Anfield, what may come to mind is that it’s home to one of the greatest English football teams. You may not expect to find a finely themed restaurant serving up exquisite meals.

Anfield’s newest addition, The Boot Room Sports Café, opened in October of this year. It seats 230 guests and includes a private dining area and a bar.

The tables are all adorned with wine glasses and large black decorative napkins with a golden Liverpool FC crest imprinted on them.

The large booths around the room all have flatscreen televisions broadcasting Liverpool’s signature channel, LFCTV.

The Boot Room’s menu is quite large. It was hard to decide what to order because there were so many dishes on offer: from hamburgers, sandwiches, pizza and salads, and much more.

There are also Christmas specials going on right now featuring pork loin and roasted chicken dishes.
Even the ‘Mini Boot Room,’ the children’s menu, had a lot to choose from. There are kid’s favourites such as pasta with meat balls and beef burgers, but also chicken fajitas and a ‘make your own’ pizza.

The drinks menu has a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Mocktails (nonalcoholic cocktails) are cleverly named after current players, such as ‘Gerrard’s Gold’ and ‘Cole’s Coca Cola Float.’

After a good long look at the menu, I decided on the rare roast beef sandwich with caramelized onions. It came with hand-cut crisps and a side salad.

The meal was bigger than expected. The sandwich had perfectly cooked roast beef strips. The caramelized onions were a bit overpowering though, but after taking a few off, I would say my sandwich was perfect.

The hand-cut crisps were very tasty. It was just a shame you only get about four crisps. However after that sandwich, I could hardly think about eating more crisps!

The prices are moderate, with most meals under £10. Two meals including nonalcoholic drinks brought my bill to just under £20.

The food and atmosphere made the meal an enjoyable experience, and I would highly recommend it to any Kopite, whether you have travelled to Anfield for a visit or a local just wanting some good food and a drink.

The Boot Room Sports Café is open from 11:30am. Food stops being served at 9, but the bar is open until 11 (except on match days).

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Liverpool v Aston Villa Match Report

Gerard Houllier’s return to Anfield was not as he wanted, as he walked away losing 3-0 against Liverpool Monday night.

Liverpool were even without some of their top players, such as Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, and Fernando Torres who missed the game due to his wife going into labour.

The game seemed to go wrong nearly from the start, as the ball bounced off defender Martin Skrtel’s head, onto David Ngog’s, then into the back of the net 13 minutes in.

Only two minutes later did midfielder Lucas chip the ball to Ryan Babel, who then put it past Villa keeper Brad Friedel to make it 2-0.

Aston Villa failed to make anything happen, leaving the game one-sided in the first half.

However the beginning of the second half saw a livelier Villa. The visiting side finally had their chance in the 53rd minute when Gabriel Agbonlahor took a shot six yards away from the goal, but was swiftly denied a goal by Reds’ keeper Pepe Renia.

Desperate for a goal, Villa’s players were pushing forward, consequently leaving holes in the defense.

This gave Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez to easily break through and make it 3-0 in the 55th minute. The goal puts Liverpool +1 in goal difference on the league table.

Villa’s John Carew nearly scored right after subbing for Agbonlahor 66 minutes into the match, but Reina saved it. It would be Villa’s second, and last, attempt on target.

Liverpool nearly made it worse for Houllier’s side with close attempts by both Glen Johnson and Sotirios Kyrgiakos.

Pepe Reina, playing captain for the night while Gerrard and Carragher are both injured, walked away from the match with his 100th clean sheet in record time for the club.

Aston Villa are currently two places from the relegation zone on the Premier League table. Liverpool’s win put them in 8th position from 12th.

Liverpool v Aston Villa Match Preview

Gerard Houllier will be returning to Anfield today after six years, but this time as manager of Aston Villa.

Aston Villa have won only once in their last six league games and hope to add nothing but a win to their record at Liverpool on this cold wintery Monday night at 8pm.

Liverpool also need nothing but three points. They have been inconsistent so far this season, and that has seen them currently in 12th place in the Barclays Premier League.

A win will see the Reds to at least 9th place, but it still puts them in a better position and possibly as contenders for a Champions League spot.

Unfortunately, both teams are very injury-plagued at the moment.

Liverpool are still without captain Steven Gerrard due to hamstring and co-captain Jamie Carragher, who underwent a surgery last week on his dislocated shoulder picked up against Tottenham.

Defender Daniel Agger is also still out with calf problems, and Jay Spearing’s ankle is still on the mend.

Aston Villa are in a worse position however, with midfielder Barry Brannan and Habib Beye both doubtful.

Also unavailable for the visiting team are Delph, Heskey, Petrov and Reo-Coker all because of knee issues, Sidwell (Achilles), Weimann (ankle) and Albrighton, who is currently suffering from appendicitis.

Ashley Young will be out serving his one-match ban after acquiring five bookings so far this season.

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 1.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Steaua Bucharest v Liverpool Match Preview

Liverpool FC today travelled to Romania to face Steaua Bucharest in tomorrow night’s Europa League match.

They travel without the likes of captain Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher due to injury, placing the captaincy in the hands of keeper Pepe Reina.

The team also left without Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles and Glen Johnson so they can remain rested and fit for Monday night’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

Summer signing Danny Wilson will take the place of Carragher in what will be his second game for the Reds whil Ryan Babel and Milan Jovanovic are also expected to start.

Midfielder Joe Cole is expected to make his first appearance after a hamstring injury left him out for five weeks.

Younger players such as Daniel Pacheco and Nathan Eccleston have also travelled with the team and will take advantage of the European night to show manager Roy Hodgson what they are capable of.

The final side decided to play against Steaua tomorrow night is expected to be a weaker side, but Hodsgon says it gives the younger players a chance to shine.

Hodgson told BBC: “I have faith in the young players and whatever happens on Thursday night I won't lose faith in them.”

“But it's an opportunity for them to force their way into my attention even more.”

Liverpool need only one point from the group stages of the Europa League to ensure a place in the knockout stages.

Steaua Bucharest will do everything they can to stop this though as they look to redeem themselves after a 4-1 defeat at Anfield last September.

A win for Steaua will make them tied in points with Liverpool on the Group K table and closer to that knockout round spot.