Friday, 30 December 2011

Liverpool v Newcastle Match Report

Liverpool ended 2011 on a high as they bagged three points at Anfield against Newcastle in a 3-1 win.

The Reds suffered an early blow, when a ball from Toon Yohan Cabaye was deflected off Liverpool defender Daniel Agger's shoulder and past goalkeeper Pepe Reina into the net.

However only a few minutes later, Craig Bellamy leveled up the scoreboard when a dverted ball ended up at his feet before shooting it past the sea of blackand white shirts into the net. The Reds nearly went ahead in the first half but Martin Skrtel was unable to take full advantage of Bellamy's corner kick.

The second half saw a change of spirit when eventually manager Kenny Dalglish replaced Charlie Adam with captain Steven Gerrard, who has been on the bench for the last two games due to a long term injury.

His presence had an impact as the team pushed on for more goals. In the 67th minute, Bellamy scored his second goal of the evening from a free kick. Later he would have to leave the pitch for an injury suffered after an elbow to the head.

Newcastle came dangerously close to leveling up when a shot from striker Demba Ba went over Reina, but Skrtel bolted into the goal to make a significant clearance.

With 12 minutes left on the clock, Gerrard sealed the deal and three points with a third goal for Liverpool.

Although there were high hopes for former Newcastle player Andy Carroll to score, he was unable to capitalise on any chances, including hitting the crossbar once, but the chances were more easily created for him with Gerrard there.

Luis Suarez missed the game due to an imposed suspension by The FA after an obscene gesture made earlier in the month at Fulham.
Liverpool move into fifth place tonight, tied for points with Arsenal in fourth.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Aston Villa v Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool grasped their fifth away win of the season and three points at Villa Park this afternoon.

The Reds took on Aston Villa and won 0-2 thanks to stunnings goals from Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtle in the first half.

Liverpool were all over Aston Villa from the start. It wa sonly ten minutes in when Stewart Downing, flooded with boos from his former fans, took a corner which Jonjo Shelvey then created the chance for Bellamy to strike the ball into the net at close range.

It was only five minutes later when another corner turned into the second goal. Bellamy's corner kick was perfect for defender Martin Skrtel to score a header.

The home side were obviously suffering without Gabriel Agbonlahor (suspended) and Darren Bent (injured). Aston Villa struggled to create any chance, but Charlse N'Zogbia got the closest with a shot in the first half that went over the bar.

Liverpool had the chance to create a bigger gap in the scoring, but striker Luis Suarez had hit just the underside of the crossbar and the ball bounced outside the net. Suarez was given a standing ovation nonetheless when he was substituted by Andy Carroll in the 74th minute by Liverpool fans showing their support in light of his ongoing trial with The FA.

The Reds now see themselves in sixth place on the Barclay's Premier League Table, just behind Arsenal who have the same amount of points but remain ahead on goal difference. Aston Villa are in tenth place.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

From YouTube to Anfield

Anfield is well known as the home of Liverpool Football Club, but it is so much more than that.

On this particularly sunny and brisk day, the crowds are in and out of the stadium with excitement despite the solemn draw that happened there the evening before. Many have made the pilgrimage to this holy land even if just for a tour, a look in the invaluable museum or for a hearty meal at The Boot Room Sports CafĂ©.

Although I have been a couple times to the museum already, this trip was to see the newest addition of the LFC family: Darren Farley, a local impressionist whose YouTube videos have now landed him at Anfield.

As soon as I enter the old turnstile upstairs into the colourful images of Liverpool’s past, the calls are being made for the next Darren Farley show. I bypass the exhibits to claim my seat towards the front of the cinema room, and people have quickly filled up the rest in anticipation of the comedy act.

Darren waits on stage for his cue from stage partner Mark, who is delivering him questions as if he were really interviewing former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.
The impressions of Rafa, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher bring the laughs and smiles from all ages from beginning to end. It’s not just the voices he has spot on, but the mannerisms as well. The mocking of Wayne Rooney, for example, filled the room with laughter with people seemingly agreeing “That’s so him.”

Darren Farley’s career started on YouTube, when his friend recorded him one day doing his impressions of the likes of Carragher, Gerrard, Rafa and Peter Crouch while in his shop.

“Impressions used to just start as a joke in the pub,” he said. “I’d just do it for my mates but you never think it’s going to be a job. That YouTube video just changed everything. “

“What happened with me was a stroke of luck. I was a landscape gardener working for a housing company and I thought that was the way things were going for me. It was a touch of luck that the video went onto YouTube which propelled me into it.”

Since then, the lifelong Liverpool fan from Kensington, Liverpool has found himself some fame in the football world, entertaining fans and players alike.

“I did little bits of telly at the beginning but I don’t really class them as anything big because I was just a young lad. I really weren’t that professional because I was a young lad going into it. I didn’t really know how comedy worked.

"These last couple of years have been about learning, how to do live television and stand up. I’ve done Soccer AM and going to do a bit more with that.”

The impressions have come natural for Darren, but that does not always mean perfecting them is easy. There is a preconception that a Scouser doing Scouse impressions is easier than it appears.

“Because I’m from Liverpool, a lot of people have this theory that I can speak like Stevie or Carragher and it’s not that easy.

“To be honest with you, I’d have to say Jamie Carragher is one of the hardest impressions to do. I have to do Carragher last because you’re really using a lot. When Rafa come, I just watched him a lot and the Rafa impression just came to me.”

Now that Darren has made a name for himself, and mastered the local favourites, I asked him if he had his own favourite player to show off.

“My personal favourite to do would probably be Steven Gerrard, because people love that. People want to hear that more than anything. Even though he is a Liverpool lad, they want to see him because he’s one of the best footballers in the world.

“For people of any age, Steven Gerrard appeals to them. He’s the captain of Liverpool so he’s the one. That’s been the winner for me, the one that’s love more than anything.

“A lot of people ask me to do Peter Crouch too. They had Ian St John on a phone in and they phoned me and said ‘Can you do Peter Crouch for us?’ I thought ‘I haven’t been doing Peter Crouch for very long so how am I going to phone in as him?’ He was talking to me like we were long lost friends. That’s when you know you’re doing well.”

Darren’s creative and comedic displays of football greats on YouTube caught the eye of Liverpool Football Club. Before his gig in the museum, he was asked to participate in the 2010/11 home kit launch.

He says working at Anfield now for the fans just gets better and better. Being part of the LFC family has him beaming.

“Obviously being a Liverpool fan it’s my dream to work for the club. I mean, when you’re a little kid, you either want to play for Liverpool or at least do something for them.

“To work for the club, it’s great. It’s so enjoyable. They’re hiring you to entertain someone. There’s nothing better than that. I’ve been doing it for a couple of months but it’s getting better as it’s going along.

“We want to make it brilliant don’t we? We want supporters to be buzzing off of it, be really about it. To be here working with Liverpool Football Club is the top, it’s where you want to be, so I’m very happy. “

When asking about his reaction to the approach from Liverpool for a regular stint inside the museum, he insists there is nothing else like it.

“It’s like Christmas. You wake up Christmas day when you’re a kid and you think Father Christmas has been…it’s like ten thousand of them put together. Being a Liverpool fan, anyone would love the chance to work here.

"Where I’m based in the museum, next to me is the European Cup that we won in Istanbul. It’s amazing. The history about the club is here. Nothing beats it.”

Darren Farley's comedic act can be seen in the Cinema Room in the museum at Anfield on Sundays, and some days through the week. Details can be found on the official site There is no additional charge to see the show but visitors will have to pay admission for the museum.

Liverpool v Swansea Match Report

Liverpool walked away with an unhappy point as they drew 0-0 against Swansea yesterday at Anfield.

Although the Reds had several chances, particularly from Luis Suarez, they were unable to get on the scoresheet.

Liverpool were on the attack from the start, with striker Andy Carroll given prime opportunity to score in the first seven minutes. However, the ball hit the woodwork and it set the scene for the rest of the match.

Swansea’ keeper Michel Vorm was tested several times but was quick to deny the effort of Suarez, Carroll, midfielder Stewart Downing and defender Glen Johnson. He was the Swans’ hero of the afternoon.

Pepe Reina was not left without any work either. The keeper and standing captain had a few close calls himself, leaving fans holding their breaths especially when Swansea’s Wayne Routledge passed two defenders, but his cross was not met by Danny Graham as hoped, and the Swans remained goalless.

In the last minutes, Dirk Kuyt managed to get one past Vorm but the celebrations quickly faded when he was ruled as offside, disallowing the only goal made.

The final seconds saw penalty calls from both sides but they were denied.

Liverpool were still without captain Steven Gerrard, who is recovering from an ankle infection, and Jamie Carragher, still out with a calf strain.

Manager Kenny Dalglish expressed his disappointment to reporters, saying Liverpool did not play as expected.

"I think the performance was disappointing,” he said. “Swansea played the way we would have expected they would play but we didn't play the way we expected to play.

"Anything that we were good at we certainly didn't do too much of today.”

Liverpool are currently in sixth place on the Premier League table.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

WBA v Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool showed ex-manager Roy Hodgson and West Brom Albion that they are back on their way back up where they belong.

The Reds’ dominated 2-0 last night at The Hawthorns with a penalty taken by Charlie Adam and late first half goal from Andy Carroll.

Adam was chosen in place of the injured Steven Gerrard to take the early penalty after striker Luis Suarez was tipped inside the box, giving the Reds an early lead.

West Brom’s best chance of the first half came 40 minutes in from a cross from Somen Tchoyi, but winger Peter Odemwingie failed to reach it and that set the tone for the Baggies for the rest of the match.

Soon after Suarez created the chance for Carroll, who put the ball past keeper Ben Foster for Liverpool’s second goal.

The Baggies started the second half rejuvenated but it was not enough. A shot by Tchoyi came too wide, giving keeper Pepe Reina some of the most action he has seen all evening.

The same could not be said for Foster, who blocked more attempts from both Jose Enrique and Carroll. Defender Jonas Olsson also denied Suarez from adding his name to the score sheet, and a last minute shot from Stewart Downing hit the post.

The Reds were still able to leave The Hawthorns with three more points, despite not having their captain Gerrard out with an ankle infection or vice-captain Jamie Carragher suffering with a calf strain.

Liverpool Manager Kenny Dalglish spoke after the match, praising the clean sheet.

"We've not lost a goal and scored two at the other end.” He told reporters. “We played some great football and could have had a lot more goals, but we are happy with the three points.

"A clean sheet is very pleasing, it helps you to get something from a game, but goals win you games, so I think from Pepe through to everyone we played really well."

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Downing: I wouldn’t sign for any other club

Stewart Downing recently divulged in the fact that once Liverpool made their interest known, he was determined to make the switch from Aston Villa.

The midfielder who started his career with Middlesbrough has now found himself at Melwood, saying “it’s a place players want to be.”
The 27-year old told LFC Weekly, “…I’ve always looked at Liverpool and thought, ‘that’s a club I’d be proud to represent.’ Liverpool is a real football club…great tradition and fans.

“Players have different reasons for coming and going but all I know is that as soon as they made their interest known to me, I wasn’t going to sign for any other club.”

The midfielder says he does not let the pressures off the pitch get to him, and any negativity only pushes him prove his critics wrong.

“I’m 27 and it doesn’t affect me one bit,” he said. “People are passionate about football and everyone has opinions.

“You just have to accept them and if they’re negative, make sure you prove them wrong.”

The top priority for Downing right now is making sure everyone is happy with his performances on the pitch, including the fans that deserve nothing less than the best.

Liverpool supporters already gave him a warm welcome last Saturday where he had his Anfield debut against Valencia, but he wants to ensure it stays that way.

“For me, the most important thing is that the manager and my team-mates are happy with me…as well as the fans, because they are the ones that pay hard earned money week-in and week-out to watch you play.”

Downing also spoke highly his team-mate Luis Suarez, insisting he is going to prove to be a big influence on the entire club.

“When he gets the ball you never know what he is going to do. Suarez always shows a desire to get forward and attack, to do something different..he plays the kind of football fans want to watch.

“Since he’s come here, he’s really took to it – probably better than most foreign players…he’s settled instantly.

“He’ll be a huge player for the club over the next few years.”

Friday, 29 July 2011

MPs: The FA needs to make changes

MPs have approached the FA with a report stressing the importance of changes to the way the sport is run.

With club debt levels on the rise causing an uncertainty in their futures, it is urged that changes come sooner rather than later to promote sustainability.

Recent examples of the financial situation getting out of control would include Portsmouth going into administration in 2010 and Liverpool’s own near-demise earlier this year.

John Whittington MP, who also chairs The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, insist the FA can handle the issues as long as they sort themselves out first.

He told BBC Sport: “The FA is the organisation for the job, but it has some way to go getting its own house in order before it can tackle the problems in the English game and address the future.

"We need a reformed FA to oversee and underpin a rigorous and consistent club licensing system and robust rules on club ownership, which should be transparent to supporters."

The 114-page report released today (which Rick Parry even contributed to) states the findings of the system of how it is run now, why there is a need for change and recommendations given forward to the FA to implement the proposed changes.

The Committee has done a great extent of research into models of other countries’ football governance, including Germany to which the committee expressed in their report was one England can learn from.

A change in English football governance could also see equality brought back to the game, where all clubs have a chance for a title and not just the ‘rich’ ones.

Journalist Patrick Collins, speaking at a meeting for the CMS Committee, stated: “Some people have a certain yearning for the kind of equality which prevailed before 1983 […] an age in which clubs succeeded by virtue of their ability.

“Derby County won a league title and Nottingham Forest won two European cups, not because they were richer than the rest but because they found a manager who was better than the rest.

“Sport lost a great deal when it lost the kind of equality that used to prevail.”

The report continues on to bring light to club ownership, including supporter involvement.

The CMS Committee believe that returning the game to a sustainable business while including supporters is an achievable feat and are encouraging the FA to take all their findings into consideration to bring improvements to the game’s governance.

Will justice be served 22 years on?

JUSTICE –noun. The quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.

In other words, something 96 people have been robbed of for 22 years.

The tragedy that occurred in April of 1989 has sadly never ended for families of the victims or Merseyside as a whole.

A number of factors have contributed to this 22 year long suffering: A certain rag that does not deserve to get called a newspaper and the government (when it was their poor policing that caused a surge, and not the fans' fault).

You would hope that the government would want to help those in need after the disaster, but since it was technically their employees involved (the police), the documents containing facts of what happened that day and in the aftermath have been sealed.

Until now.

Finally, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has insisted that files containing the minutes of meetings with Margaret Thatcher regarding Hillsborough must be released.

Even though the files were originally sealed for 30 years, the government is now given 35 days to publish them (or 28 days to appeal the decision).

The argument coming from the government is that it imposes a threat to ministers being able to speak freely regarding issues. However, if that were the case, then why would these meetings be minuted in the first place?

The Cabinet Office also expressed how it would not be right to publish the information before the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report, in which Christopher Graham said it makes no difference and these files are to be made public in 35 days.

Should the documents hold the relevant information, will the world finally wake up and see the truth behind the disaster and bring peace to Merseyside and all those involved, including the victims and those made out to be criminals in the aftermath from lies?

Will others finally understand why Liverpool boycott such things as Murdoch's (hopefully doomed) S*n, and why we still fight for justice?

It is hoped that in 34 days time, we can breathe a long-awaited sigh of relief, families can finally rest easy, 96 people can be at peace, and JUSTICE will get served...22 years too late.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Pacheco: My dream is to play here

Daniel Pacheco insists it is Anfield he wishes he seek glory at.

The 20 year old Liverpool Reserve recently came back from a loan spell at Norwich, a team that was promoted this season into the Premiership.

The young Spaniard has now returned to Liverpool, but his heart never left in the first place.

He told LFC Weekly: "I watched every [LFC] game. I stayed in a hotel and every game I would go downstairs where they had a TV with Sky. I celebrated all of the goals...versus Man City...Arsenal...Fulham."

Pacheco also spoke highly of Luis Suarez since his arrival, saying the striker is eager to always do his best.

"He has been brilliant," Pacheco said. "He was doing great before I left anyway but has got even better. He is not only very skillful, but a hard worker too.

"With and without the ball, he is too good for defenders. you see how hungry he is to improve himself, it makes me want to do better too."

Now with the season over, Pacheco talked about his future with LFC and a possibility of Norwich or another club on loan again, should the club see fit.

"I loved my time [at Norwich] and I have a huge respect for the club and the people. But it is my dream to play here [at Liverpool]."

Monday, 2 May 2011

Liverpool v Newcastle Match Report

Liverpool proved once again that they are not backing down from that last Europe spot on the Premier League table and moved into fifth place.

The Reds did not even give Newcastle a chance on Sunday when the Toons visited Anfield, and they walked away with three points and 3-0 clean sheet win.

It was Maxi Rodriguez who yet again opened the scoring early on. It was thanks to a deflection off Newcastle defender Danny Simpson, which Maxi put back past him cleanly into the net just ten minutes into the game.

Young Liverpool John Flanagan picked up a yellow after a foul against Gutierrez. The free kick was taken by the controversial Joey Barton, but was cleared away. Another chance for the Toons camejust a few minutes after when a corner from Barton to Kevin Nolan saw the ball over the bar.

After halftime, Williamson brought down Luis Suarez in the box, costing them a penalty. It was taken comfortably by Dirk Kuyt, making him only the seventh player in LFC history to score in four successive league games.

In the 65th minute, Luis Suarez shows again why he was given a Reds shirt in the first place, by scoring the third goal of the afternoon after a great ball from Kuyt.

Andy Carroll, not fit enough to start, came on in the 70th minute against he old club. The reception was indeed mixed for the striker after the way he left so abruptly in January to come to Liverpool. However, he spent the last 20 minutes of game also proving that Liverpool was the right move for him.

Newcastle earned another free kick but was unable to make anyting of it. Liverpool moved up to fifth place while Newcastle are struggling to stay in the Premier League next season.

Jamie Carragher, wearing the captain's armband in place of Steven Gerrard while he remains unfit, also made history moving into second place on Liverpool's all time appearance list with 665th, tied with Emlyn Hughes.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Liverpool v Manchester City Match Preview

Liverpool will be battling Manchester City tonight for a crucial three points at Anfield.
The Merseyside Reds will have a lot to prove as they have been unable to beat the Blues of Manchester in their last four meetings. If Liverpool fail to pull off a win, their hopes of clinching a Champions League spot will definitely be gone.

Manchester City have suffered in away form though so far in 2011, a weakness Liverpool will indeed pounce on.

The Reds have been unlucky with injuries this season, including captain Steven Gerrard’s groin injury which will see him out for the rest of the season. Daniel Agger will also see the sidelines for the rest of the season with knee problems. Manager Kenny Dalglish’s choices for the back will be limited with Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson also out with hamstring. Fabio Aurelio remains in doubt.

Roberto Mancini’s side is not enduring much luck either. Kolo Toure was suspended earlier in the season by failing a drugs test, Shay Given’s shoulder is still on the mend, and Jerome Boateng is out for the remainder of the season as well after undergoing knee surgery.

A win for Manchester City would put them in third place, one point above Chelsea and ten points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Three points for Liverpool would keep them in sixth place, but still in contention for that highly desired Europe placement while closing the gap on fifth place Tottenham.

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Sunderland v Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool ssecured a much needed three points at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland on Sunday afternoon.

It was the Premier League debut for new Red Andy Carroll and alongside Luis Suarez, although the Reds were without their captain Steven Gerrard due to a groin injury.

Liverpool’s first goal came from a controversial penalty. Midfileder Jay Spearing was fouled by the Black Cats’ John Mensah right at the edge of the box. It was given as a penalty and safely taken by Dirk Kuyt.

The second goal came after halftime from Luis Suarez. The midfielder secured it from a tight angle from a throw in by Dirk Kuyt. This was the second goal for the Uruguayan international since joining Liverpool in January.

Although Sunderland started off as the livelier side, they failed to make anything of it leaving goalkeeper Pepe Reina without much to do and a clean sheet in the end.

The Black Cats also lost three players due to injury, including Sulley Muntari, Danny Welbeck and Kieran Richardson.

Luis Suarez also suffered a strain in the 89th minute and was replaced by Joe Cole. The extent of this injury is currently being assessed.

However before his departure, Luis Suarez already proved that he will be vital in Liverpool’s future.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp told the official website: "I think he'll prove to be a great acquisition for the Barclays Premier League, not just Liverpool."

Liverpool are currently in sixth place on the Barclay’s Premier League table, just four points off Tottenham in fifth and that highly desired European spot.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

SC Braga v Liverpool Match Preview

Liverpool have made the trip to Portugal today to face SC Braga in the last-16 round of the Europa League.

The team travelled with Andy Carroll, who is expected to make a full debut at Braga’s ‘Quarry’ stadium tomorrow night.

"It's been a long process rehabilitating him - about eight or nine weeks - but we are happy with the result," said Dr Peter Brukner, the head of sports medicine and science for the club.

"He'll play some more minutes against Braga and hopefully he'll be involved more and more with each game

However, the Reds will be without the likes of Steven Gerrard. The skipper did not travel to Portugal with the team for undisclosed reasons. Gerrard has been dealing with a groin issue but still managed the full 90 minutes against Manchester United last Sunday.

Fabio Aurelio and Daniel Agger are also out with injury.

Meanwhile, Braga may seem to struggle against the Reds. The Portuguese side has lost seven out of 10 times against English teams. They are currently sixth in the Portuguese Liga.

This will be the first time Liverpool and SC Braga meet in a UEFA competition.

Kick-off is at 6pm and will be shown live on Channel 5 in the UK.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Liverpool v Manchester United Match Report

Liverpool saw a triumph over Manchester United in a 3-1 win at Anfield yesterday afternoon.

While Sir Alex Ferguson was looking for a bigger lead on top of the table, Kenny Dalglish was out to put a stop to that, and his side pulled through.

However, the win did not go without a hitch. Several heated arguments and yellow cards arose from the clash of the two Premier League giants.

United’s Nani required a stretcher after a challenge by Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, landing the co-captain a yellow and starting a confrontation between the two sides.

Then Rafael proceeded with a tackle on the Reds’ Lucas soon after, which resulted in even more words exchanged.

In the end, Dirk Kuyt scored a hattrick against the Red Devils, with new signing Luis Suarez proving to be a vital role in the win. Liverpool have not had a hattrick against Manchester United since Peter Beardsley in 1990.

Javier Hernandez put a stop to the clean sheet in extra time, but United had no chance of taking any points.

Liverpool’s 35 million pound striker, Andy Carroll, also made his debut on the pitch after a prolonged start due to injury.

Although Manchester United are still sitting on the top of the Premier League table by three points, Liverpool fans rejoiced all over the world as their biggest rivals had fallen at Anfield. The Reds of Merseyside will be holding their heads up high, as their team was a strong force against Sir Alex Ferguson’s weaker side.

While Dalglish expressed his happiness at the win, Ferguson remained quiet as he imposed a 'media blackout,' which includes his teams own station, MUTV.
Liverpool are currently in sixth place on the Premier League table, six points away from that desired Champions League qualifying position.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Gerrard launches new foundation

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard announced his new charitable foundation this week.

Claire House, a children’s hospice in Wirral, and Fairbridge Merseyside, also a children’s charity, will be the beneficiaries of the skipper’s foundation.

The foundation will be working alongside the Consortium for Street Children for a good cause for children nationally and internationally, but will have a focus on Liverpool.

Steven said: "I am delighted to launch this Foundation. The money raised will help give thousands of disadvantaged children a brighter future here in the UK and beyond. I am looking forward to working with SGF's partners and helping make a lasting difference to children's lives."

He said he enjoyed seeing “the smiles on the kids’ faces” and that it was “fantastic” to see their reactions.”

He added: “There’s a big pleasure in giving something back to my city.

“I’ve been to different organisations in Liverpool that are in desperate need of money, and I feel I’m in a position where I can raise a lot. I think if you’re a footballer and you’ve enjoyed the kind of success that I have, the least you can do is give that back to people who need it.”

Steven also expressed his attitude towards helping people, that it is never too late to do good and turn things around.

Gerrard follows in the footsteps of fellow Red Jamie Carragher, who launched his 23 Foundation last year for local underprivileged children.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Liverpool v Wigan Match Preview

Liverpool will surely walk through the tunnel at Anfield tomorrow with their heads held high after a big win over Chelsea last Sunday.

The Merseyside Reds are seeking their fifth consecutive win to put them even closer to a Champions League position.

They will play Wigan, who are in danger of being relegated, sitting in 18th place and a mere two points from the very bottom of the Premier League table.

Wigan will face a fitness boost with the return of midfielder James McCarthy from an ankle injury. However, defender Gary Caldwell could still be sidelined after fracturing his cheekbone, but may still play with a face mask.

Although he missed the England friendly against Denmark this week due to a groin issue, captain Steven Gerrard will be available for the Reds.

Defenders Martin Kelly and Martin Skrtel are both doubtful with their ankle and thigh injuries, respectively. Midfielder Joe Cole is also a doubt with his knee injury.

New signing Luis Suarez is expected to be on the pitch at some point, but his fellow new striker Andy Carroll is still fighting for fitness with a thigh injury.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Who’s in and who’s out…?

Another transfer window has closed and this time it comes with a big sigh of relief after the madness Liverpool endured this January.

The new owners not only brought in manager Kenny Dalglish, but also an impressive couple of signings sure to make their positive mark on the pitch in a Red shirt. This has clearly sent a message to the fans that the owners mean serious business and plan to rectify the mess left behind by the previous duo.

Late last week, the Reds gained Ajax captain Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan international striker was named Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2010. The transfer fee was at a reported £22.3 million. Suarez received the legendary number 7 shirt, once worn by King Kenny himself. Suarez has already expressed to the club and fans that he is eager to play football with the Reds and give something special to the fans by becoming a “champion.”

Andy Carroll was a surprise grab in the last few hours of the transfer window. The English striker was bought from Newcastle at a reported record breaking transfer fee of approximately £35 million, after turning in his transfer request to his former club. Carroll will be taking over the number 9 shirt.
The Liverpool Reserves also gained a promising young star in the form of 17 year-old Conor Thomas, who is on loan from Conventry City but looking for a more permanent move. Thomas has represented England in the U17’s and has already made his FA Cup debut when his side played against Birmingham this past weekend.

When it comes to ‘who’s out,’ Liverpool made quite a few changes. The biggest of them all was the loss of Spanish striker Fernando Torres to Chelsea for a record fee of £50 million. The former number 9 put in his transfer request last Friday, only to have it denied. However, the club agreed to let the player talk with the London-based club if the fee was right. Chelsea met the terms late in the transfer window, turning Torres from a Red to a Blue in the last few hours.

Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky also left the club on the last day on an ‘emergency loan’ to Nottingham Forest. He will start as early as tonight for the Championship side.
Last week, Liverpool also sold Ryan Babel to German club Hoffenheim. The Dutch forward was said to have gone for a mere £6 million after signing a two and a half year deal with the club.

Although Liverpool may have lost the likes of Fernando Torres, there is no doubt amongst fans that the likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll will boost the club back in a top fighting position.

The newly adjusted and improved team will play their first Premier League match after the transfer window tomorrow night against Stoke City at Anfield.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Liverpool v Fulham Match Preview

Liverpool will face Fulham tomorrow night at Anfield still fresh from their 3-0 win over Wolves last Sunday.

The Reds’ long awaited win and the return of captain Steven Gerrard will boost the team against Mark Hughes’ side.
Fulham have also won their last league game against Stoke, but they not been able to secure a win at Anfield in their last 29 meetings there.

Manager Mark Hughes will be without defenders Matthew Briggs and Philippe Senderos due to injury, as well as Bobby Zamora out with a broken leg. Dickson Etuhu and Aaron Hughes will be assessed prior to the game after picking up injuries against Stoke last Saturday.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is still on international duty for Australia, putting David Stockdale in goal.

Liverpool are only without defender and co-captain Jamie Carragher, due to a shoulder injury.

A win for Fulham will put them at the same amount of points on the Premier League table at 29 while a win for Liverpool will see them take a major jump in the table to 7th.

Kick-off is at 8pm and will be broadcasted live on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Wolves v Liverpool Match Report

Kenny Dalglish saw his side win for the first time since taking over the manager position against Wolverhampton.

Liverpool secured a 3-0 win against the Wolves yesterday afternoon away at the Molineux Stadium. IT was even done without their captain Steven Gerrard who served the last of this three-match ban.

Fernando Torres opened the scoring 36 minutes in, when midfielder Raul Meireles’ unselfishly passed the ball to the striker for a sure goal.

The second goal came five minutes after halftime from Meireles himself. The midfielder was 25 yards out when he volleyed the ball over Wolves defender Wayne Hennessey into the corner of the net beautifully.

Soon after though, Liverpool’s defence seemed to break down a bit, giving the Wolves their best chance of the game to score. Steven Fletcher’s deflected shot went into the hands of keeper Pepe Reina, failing to secure a much needed goal for the Wolves.

Former Liverpool youngster Adam Hammill made his debut for Wolverhampton in the 73rd minute. Hammill was able to make his presence known on the pitch with a few impressive crosses but failed to connect with fellow teammates to make anything of it.

Liverpool’s third and final goal came again from Torres in extra time. He was left unmarked when the ball bounced right to him, allowing him to safely put it in the back of the net to make it three for the Reds.

The much-needed win moved Liverpool up three places to 10th on the Premier League table with 29 points. Wolverhampton are still sitting in the relegation zone in 19th.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Liverpool v Everton Match Report

The 215th Merseyside Derby which took place at Anfield yesterday afternoon ended in a 2-2 draw.

The draw was not wanted by either side, as both Liverpool and Everton are only four points above the relegation zone and were desperate for the full three points.

The spirits amongst the Reds fans were higher than ever this season, as Kenny Dalglish stepped onto the pitch at Anfield for the first time since returning as manager.

However, his start has been less than what he had hoped for, losing to Manchester United and Blackpool last week and now managing only a draw to the neighbouring Blues.

Liverpool were without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, leaving the captaincy in the place of keeper Pepe Reina.

The match started out intensely as Reds striker Fernando Torres made his first effort only after nine second, shooting the ball right into Everton keeper Tim Howard’s hands.

In the 28th minute, Liverpool opened the scoring with midfielder’s Raul Miereles’ power shot 18 yards out going past Howard, making his first goal for the Reds.

Just moments after the second half started though, Everton produced their first goal of the night. A corner for the Blues allowed Sylvain Distin to head it in the back of the net.

Only minutes later did Everton’s second goal come, this time from Jermaine Beckford, shooting at close range past helpless Pepe Reina.

Tim Howard gave a penalty away after he tripped up Maxi Rodriguez in an effort to stop the Argentinean from scoring. This did not help however as Dirk Kuyt took the penalty shot and made it 2-2.

In the last moments of the game, both teams went into attacking mode, but nothing became of it and the game ended in a draw.

Kenny Dalglish said of the derby to the Liverpool Echo: “I think we were a wee bit unfortunate to come in at half-time only 1-0 up. Then they got two quick goals but then we showed a real desire and determination to get back into the game.”

Both teams are at only 26 points on the Premier League table, with Everton ahead at 12th place on goal difference.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Liverpool v Everton Match Preview

The second Merseyside Derby of the season will take place at Anfield tomorrow afternoon.

It is not just the proximity of the clubs that makes the Merseyside Derby great. There is a history between the two clubs since Everton, who were originally at Anfield, split in 1892 and Liverpool Football Club was formed.

It will be the first home game for Reds’ manager Kenny Dalglish since his return to the position. So far, his comeback has not been ideal, with Liverpool losing their last two games to Manchester United and Blackpool.

If Everton are to win against Liverpool on Sunday, it will be their first double win against their city rivals since the 1984/85 season.

The Blues will definitely be entering Anfield with their heads held high following their 5-1 domination over Scunthorpe in the third round of the FA Cup last Sunday.
Liverpool are currently suffering on the league table, being in 13th place and winning only once in their last five Premier League matches. A win at Anfield is much needed and to have it over their Blue rivals would surely lift the spirits of the team and the fans.

They will be without their captain Steven Gerrard, who will be serving the second match out in his three match ban, and co-captain Jamie Carragher, still out after shoulder surgery.

Joe Cole is hopeful to make his return from an ankle injury.

Everton will also be fighting at the derby without Tim Cahill, who is representing Australia in the Asian Cup. Phil Jagielka is out with a thigh injury as well.

Steven Pienaar is expected to play, despite the likeliness of his departure from the club soon.

Kick-off is at 2:05pm and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Manchester United v Liverpool Match Report

Newly appointed Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish may have lost his first game at Old Trafford this afternoon, but he has nothing to be too disappointed about.

Although the Reds lost 1-0 to Manchester United, they have a lot to be proud of showing an improved form from the last few weeks.

The only goal of the match came from a controversial penalty given by referee Howard Webb only 35 seconds into the game.

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger put his hands on Manchester’s Dimitar Berbatov. Although there was a moment between the contact and the fall, a penalty was given.

Ryan Giggs took the shot and put it past Pepe Reina’s left to make it 1-0 in the second minute.

In the 32nd minute, the Reds lost their captain to a bad challenge on Michael Carrick.

Gerrard committed a two-footed tackle against the Manchester midfielder, resulting in a red card and immediate send off, bringing the Reds down to ten men.

Kenny Dalglish subbed Raul Meireles and Maxi Rodriguez with Jonjo Shelvey and Ryan Babel 59 minutes in.

Forward Fernando Torres was also subbed in the 76th minute with David Ngog. The subs were more than likely due to Liverpool’s upcoming midweek game against Blackpool and a desire to improve in the league rather than the FA Cup.

Liverpool failed to secure a draw, sending Manchester to play Southampton in the fourth round.

Although they will now be without their captain for the next three games, the Reds will surely put this loss behind them and look ahead to the rest of their season under their new manager.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Manchester United v Liverpool Match Preview

Liverpool fans will be hoping to see a revival in their team tomorrow at Old Trafford for the 3rd round of the FA Cup against Manchester United.

The Reds will have their first game under newly appointed manager Kenny Dalglish, who was announced today to take over the reins until the end of the season following Roy Hodgson’s departure.

Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has made suggestions that he will produce a strong team tomorrow against their biggest rivals.

John O’Shea and Paul Scholes will definitely be out with injury. Wayne Rooney and Edwin Van Der Sar will be assessed ahead of the match following an ankle injury and case of the flu, respectively.

Liverpool have no new injuries, but are still without co-captain Jamie Carragher, still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Between the two major clubs, the FA Cup has been won 18 times. However after last year’s surprise early knock out by Leeds United, Manchester United are out to prove themselves again, especially over Liverpool.

The meeting is the only all-Premier League match of the FA Cup. The last time the sides met in the competition was in 2006, when Liverpool beat Manchester United in the fifth round.

Kick-off is at 1.30pm and will be shown live on ITV1.

Roy Hodgson leaves Liverpool FC

Roy Hodgson has left his managerial position at Liverpool FC this morning through mutual consent with the new owners.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has taken over the position until the end of the season.

Hodgson was appointed manager of the club on 1st July 2010 on a three-year contract under the club’s previous ownership, replacing Rafael Benitez.

During that summer transfer window, he brought in players such as Milan Jovanovic, Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen. He came under scrutiny almost immediately following some of his transfers.

The criticism did not seem to stop after the first half of the season had fans’ scratching their heads in wonder over some of Hodgson’s tactics on the pitch.

Liverpool suffered major defeats over teams such as Everton and Manchester United, as well as humiliating ones to Northampton, Wolverhampton and Blackburn.

In six months, Hodgson’s team only managed 13 wins and nine losses in 31 games, with away form at its worst in years.

Although he has an impressive history, he usually dealt with mid-table clubs. Before Liverpool, he was manager of Fulham and had even managed to take them all the way to the Europa League finals where they lost to Atletico Madrid.

Roy Hodgson said today of his departure on the official club website:” I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool. The club has some great, world-class players, with whom it has been a pleasure to work and I wish the entire squad well for the rest of the season.”

Liverpool owner John Henry added: "We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season.”

Players such as Ryan Babel took to their twitter accounts to acknowledge the change, tweeting: “King” and ex-Red Xabi Alonso also tweeted: “Good luck King Kenny.”

Kenny Dalglish is Liverpool’s third most successful manager in its history but will definitely be feeling the pressure after the first half of the season sees Liverpool currently in the 12th position on the Barclay’s Premier League table.

Nonetheless, fans have already expressed their excitement to seeing King Kenny back on the sidelines tomorrow at Old Trafford for the FA Cup 3rd Round against Manchester United.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Blackburn v Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool seemed to have the fight taken out of them last night as they suffered a horrific 3-1 defeat against Blackburn at Ewood Park last night.

Even though Roy Hodgson ended up putting Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard in the starting lineup, unlike he previously stated, it was not enough as the team failed to connect.

The agony for the Reds started in the 32nd minute when the Rovers’ Olsson easily made it past Liverpool’s defence and stunned keeper Pepe Reina.

The second goal for Blackburn came only minutes later. Striker Benjani took a power shot giving Reina no chance as it flew into the back of the net.

Liverpool’s response was right before the half time whistle when Skrtel hit the ball too high over the bar from a Gerrard corner.

Liverpool utilized their first sub defender Daniel Agger on for Kyrgiakos just after halftime. Two minutes later, the Reds’ finally took some charge but an effort from Joe Cole was fruitless as the ball went right into the hands of Blackburn keeper Bunn.

Four minutes later though, Blackburn’s Benjani scored his second goal, 3rd for the night for Blackburn, being set up but Hoilett who made it past a messy Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson.

Hodgson subbed Maxi Rodriguez for Dirk Kuyt right after, but it was too little too late.

The best chance up to that point for the Reds was 66 minutes in when Joe Cole put the ball in Torres’ path, only for him to kick it over the goal.

Less than ten minutes left in the match, a ball from Torres bounced off of Rovers’ Nelson and at the feet of Gerrard, who then put it in the back of the net, giving Liverpool their only goal of the night.

However, they did have a second chance when a penalty was given to Liverpool after Salgado fouled Gerrard in the box. Gerrard uncharacteristically put it over the bar, failing to grab that second goal.

Roy Hodgson said in his post-match interview: “If you are Liverpool and lose to Blackburn, there is nothing that can be said to put a positive slant on things.”
Hodgson’s future, already in doubt after a bad start to the season, has come under heavy fire now after the defeat at Ewood Park.

“It has been a really bad day for me and there is not much I can add other than to assure the fans that their depression is being felt in the dressing room,” he continued. “I don’t intend answering any questions about my position, so that’s it.”

Is a New Anfield the answer?

In 1884, Anfield stadium was opened in Liverpool. Eight years later, that stadium became the home of Liverpool Football Club.

Anfield, from between 1903-1906
For the last 119 years, the Reds of Merseyside still call the historic place their home. However, this could all end.

For nearly a decade now, Liverpool have considered demolishing the historic ground and moving their home across the street to Stanley Park to allow an expansion in seating.

The current Anfield was originally rented by Everton until 1892 when an argument over rent caused a rift in the club, splitting it into two: Everton and the newly formed Liverpool Football Club. Everton found a new home at Goodison Park while Liverpool stayed at the original home, situated between Anfield and Walton Breck Road.

Early Main Stand
 Although there have been several structural changes through the years, including changing the stadium to all-seated only rather than standing following the tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989, the feeling and history around Anfield is still the same.

The stadium has a capacity of 45,362. In addition to football matches, Anfield also hosts the LFC museum, a club store and more recently, a restaurant situated behind the Kop stand. There are several hospitality suites and meeting rooms that can be used at any time, not just during game time.

Anfield currently sits across the road from Stanley Park.

Anfield is currently only has a 4-star rating from UEFA. Because the capacity is lower than 50,000, then the stadium cannot be considered for hosting major football events. The pitch side accommodation for teams is considered inadequate.

A new Anfield at Stanley Park would boost seating capacity to 60,000. It also allows a chance for more businesses to be erected in the old area, including food and drink establishments and a hotel.

It could also prove beneficial to Liverpool as a city, as it prides itself on its sporting history, and the football clubs are considered to be some of the major tourist destinations. The potential of bringing in 15,000 more people into the city for games could have a great economic effect on the city in the long run.

Proposed design of New Anfield
 But would a move to a Grade II listed Historic Park be the right thing?

While Stanley Park has meant to provide a serene escape from busy life, it has gone downhill in recent years due to anti-social behaviour and vandalism. An increase of match goers could possibly contribute to even bigger increase in crime, litter, noise and light pollution in the park and the neighbouring historic Anfield Cemetery.

Groups such as Friends of Stanley Park are heavily opposed to the new stadium, citing that park goers will be reluctant to visit on match days and with more vehicle traffic, there is a serious risk to the serenity of the park. They also claim that the proposal of the move includes nothing about helping the park at all.

Residents living in the area expressed that the city has no right to sell a park that belongs to the people of Liverpool and that no other business would be allowed to operate within it, so Liverpool Football Club should be no exception. Also an increase of 15,000 fans is only going to contribute more to the suffering the residents already go through on match days.

Information and petitions on the potential detriment to the park and surrounding area have been available to residents. This includes websites such as “Save Our Stanley Park” and “Our Ground.”

Alternative sites have also been suggested by the council. The most sustainable area suggested is Speke Boulevard.

The area is large enough to accommodate such a magnificent structure. There is good access to the area by car or public transport. The residential area is a considerable distance away.

However this arguably takes away the historic spirit even more so than moving to Stanley Park would.

One of several proposed groundshare designs
 Another recent suggestion is a groundshare with Everton Football Club, who are also in need of a new stadium.

Although this idea is quickly dismissed by fans of both teams, some officials say in today’s economic times, the thought is not too crazy.

It is also suggested to keep the current Anfield. It has been restructured in the past to add a tier in the Centenery Stand, so it is believed that the whole stadium could undergo a similar revamp to provide more seating. The offices and other areas situated inside the stadium could also be redesigned to provide sufficient areas for staff and visitor. It is also said to save a lot of money, rather than creating a whole new 60,000 seater stadium at a new location.

Ex-Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks promised a new stadium since council approved the plan in 2006, but angered Reds’ fans all over the world when they failed to deliver their promise and instead, put the club into debt. As of October 2010, Liverpool acquired new owners from America who fans are hoping will bring a new stadium. Although nothing has been said yet exactly about the future of Anfield, the owners have made it aware they are considering all options before acting.

Even with council's approval, Liverpool may not know right away the fate of Anfield, especially with the only recent transition of owners and managers, but fans have made it very clear they will not settle for how things are now for much longer.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Blackburn v Liverpool Match Preview

Reds’ midfielder Joe Cole scored a last minute winner against Bolton last Saturday, possibly sparking a revival in Liverpool’s less than stellar season.

The win could not have come at a better time for Roy Hodgson, whose Liverpool managerial career could be on the line.

Although the Reds’ away form has been poor, they need nothing but a win at Ewood Park tomorrow night against the Blackburn Rovers.

However, Blackburn suffer against Liverpool, winning only once against them in their last 20 meetings.

The last time the two sides met, Liverpool won 2-1 over the Rovers at Anfield with goals from Fernando Torres and Sotorios Kyrgiakos.

New Rovers’ boss Steve Kearn is looking for his first home win since taking over the position from Sam Allardyce last month.

Although Reds’ striker Fernando Torres and captain Steven Gerrard played vital roles in their win over Bolton on New Year’s Day, Roy Hodgson admitted that they may be rested Wednesday ahead of a busy January schedule.

Liverpool could play up to nine times this month due to the FA Cup starting and making up December’s postponed matches.

Blackburn will be without key players, but mainly due to injury. This includes the likes of Grant Hanley, Chris Samba and Vince Grella, who was hoping to make his comeback but suffered an Achilles flareup during training.

Winger Brett Emerton is also out while representing Australia in the Asian Cup.

Kick-off is at 8:00pm.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Our history's in his hands: LFC museum curator Stephen Done

“Bill Shankly said: ‘First is first. Second is nothing.’ ”

These are the words Stephen Done used to describe his desire to become Liverpool Football Club’s first curator for their museum at Anfield.

“I went there with that in my mind,” he said. “I have no interest in doing well. I want the job. Fact. I want to win. I want this job. Nothing else will do.”

Thirteen years later, Stephen can say that those words from Liverpool great Bill Shankly helped him achieve his goal.

For a man who has always loved history and became a Liverpool fan in his childhood, stumbling upon this dream job was luck at its best.
“I don’t know how I saw it, by pure luck. Liverpool were opening a museum and needed a curator. I was too over qualified but I don’t care. It’s Liverpool Football Club.”

Curator Stephen Done (right) shows new LFC
owner John Henry around the museum.

Stephen lived in other parts of the United Kingdom in his childhood, but was a Liverpool fan since watching the 1971 Cup Final against Arsenal. Even though Liverpool lost that year, he knew he had become a fan from that point on and the next year, they won the league.

“It’s strange,” he explains. “It almost feels like I have come home.”

As the curator, Stephen oversees the maintenance of the displays and as well as archiving an endless amount of photographs from the past and present. For a club that prides itself on it's successful past, the job comes very highly regarded.

The museum hosts a wide range of artifacts, dating back to when the club was first formed in 1892. One of these items from the 19th century is a favourite of the curator.

“It’s a very unremarkable old thing: a sheet of paper that formally recognizes the birth of Liverpool football club in 1892. It’s not a very romantic or exciting looking object, but without that, there is no Liverpool Football Club.”

Next to the document is a tiny medal won in 1893 by the Liverpool Reserves. It was the first medal ever won by the club in their first season in existence.

Other favourites of the curator include Roger Hunt’s 1966 World Cup winner’s medal, current co-captain Jamie Caragher’s medals and of course the 2005 Champion’s League trophy.

With the future of Anfield in the air, whether it is to expand or move to Stanley Park, questions are arising about the future of the museum too. Stephen would like to see a new design that would connect the old with the new rather than the current timeline.

“There is a natural tendancy, younger kids in particular, to want the new stuff. They’re not interested in the old stuff.”

With so many angles including the league, Anfield, FA Cup, fans and so on, Stephen explains that the blending together of the old and the new with these themes in mind shows one great amazing history.

“It also allows you to skip past dull years,” he adds. “Just because we haven’t won anything for a few years doesn’t mean we have become a boring or rubbish club. The black and white photos are just old and boring. They become more real then.”

One thing is for certain: the museum is a popular destination for Liverpool fans worldwide all year round, even when no football is playing, and it will continue to be as long as Liverpool Football Club is in existence.

With so many artifacts in storage still waiting to be displayed and shared with fans young and old, Stephen Done will not be giving up this dream job anytime soon.

“I look after the 2005 Champions League trophy. Tell me how it can get better than that?”