More false dawns on the horizon?

New beginnings at Anfield under Hodgson?

For man who prides himself on doing his job with the minimum of fuss, the first two months of Roy Hodgson’s reign as Liverpool manager have been a flurry of activity. Whilst the blame for the boardroom wrangling cannot be laid at the door of the affable Hodgson, he seems to be unusually flustered in his dealings. Between juggling reserve goalkeepers, pawning £17 million midfielders out on loan and indulging the new saviour of Anfield, the 62-year old is sowing the seeds that he hopes will harvest a successful tenure in the biggest job of his life. It’s clear he’s going to do it his way.

Continue reading

A season to forget

Tanner: Patience required

Liverpool fans are a patient bunch. Patient in that any new player who wears the Liverbird on his chest will be given a chance to prove himself until a verdict is reached. Even the likes of Nicky Tanner, Paul Stewart and Istvan Kozma were offered a period of grace until they turned out to be quite below the standard required. Players who never really distinguished themselves at Anfield, still receive a warm reception when they return to the hallowed turf. Unless your name happens to be Michael Owen. One player who is still benefiting from the patience of the Kop is Alberto Aquilani. Another insipid display was ended in substitution against Fulham, but Anfield rose to their feet in acclaim. To say that things have not gone to plan for the former Roma star in England would surely be a candidate for understatement of the season. Continue reading

Pool face new reality

What a week it was. The David Beckham hype-machine went into over-driveThe artist formerly known as the UEFA Cup. in the build-up to his reunion with Manchester United. Arsenal conceded two of the more farcical goals of this, or any other season. In Germany, Bayern Munich scored possibly the most offside goal in the history of the European Cup, and closer to home, Portsmouth’s ever-increasing debt mean they are facing administration and the sanctions that it brings with it. In all the confusion, Liverpool’s first venture back into the competition formerly known as the UEFA Cup since 2004 was placed firmly on the back burner. The Europa League had arrived at Anfield, receiving a rather lukewarm reception from the 40,450 in attendance. These brave souls not only braved the elements, but also a quite turgid 90-plus minutes on the pitch. Continue reading

Moyes gets just desserts

Kuyt celebrates another winner in a Merseyside Derby

It was one of the more explosive Merseyside derbies in living memory. And that is saying quite something in about a fixture that has produced nineteen red cards in the 36 times Liverpool and Everton have faced off in the Premier League since 1992. Everton will be disappointed with the sloppy nature of Dirk Kuyt’s 56th minute winner. Tim Howard and Phil Neville should be particularly annoyed with their respective efforts. That said, there is no great shame in losing at Anfield. But the manner of this defeat should have Toffees’ manager David Moyes taking a long, hard look at himself and his side.

Continue reading

Premier League Team Of The Decade

Doherty: Will he make it?

A new decade has crept up from seemingly nowhere, just as most of us are still getting used to the idea of a new millennium. At moments like this, we turn to reminisce of the ten years that have passed and reflect on times gone by. Picking an XI of Premier League players for these ten years seems like an unenviable task. However, after much consideration, plenty of soul-searching and the putting aside of many personal grievances, I have constructed a team. A team that does not only include players that have excelled from 2000-2009, but one that as a unit would be a formidable side of balance, power and attacking threat. So here we go: Continue reading

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

On the Comeback Trail

On the Comeback Trail

One Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote this commonly uttered phrase. No, I never heard of him either. But there is much truth in this statement. These days one way for a footballer to raise his profile, and become a favourite amongst supporters and pundit alike is to take a leave of absence for a couple of games. One might be injured, suspended or just decide that being teased about one’s new haircut is just not worth the hassle. Is the method of gaining plaudits by actually being out on the pitch and enhancing your reputation with outstanding performances old hat at this stage?  Let us take a closer look. Continue reading

Johnson Witch Hunt Hides Grander Issues Within England Camp

In the aftermath of England’s destruction of Croatia on Wednesday, it seems international football is suddenly back in fashion. Since the last World Cup, any national team service was a nuisance. That it was seen as an unwelcome distraction from the money-printing industry that European club football has become. This perception was altered briefly in the past week, with many minds wandering towards next summer’s (or winter’s as it will be in South Africa) World Cup. But as with every England international week, there must be a scapegoat. Steve McLaren took the heat off the players in this regard during his ill-fated reign as England manager. Last week, Glen Johnson took hold of the throne, receiving largely unwarranted criticism for his displays in England’s victories.

Scapegoat

Scapegoat

Continue reading

A Familiar Story

images

Injury-prone?

Alberto Aquilani’s transfer to Liverpool from Roma was completed with the minimum of fuss, which is highly unusual for a transfer involving Liverpool considering the unsuccessful Gareth Barry saga of last summer, and this year’s Xabi Alonso blockbuster. The Italian has signed a five year deal, and the thing that will worry the Anfield faithful is that in his last five seasons at Roma, he has started a miserly 60 Serie A games. His ability is not in question, but his injury record leaves a lot to be desired. The midfielder will not appear until mid-September at the very earliest. But Liverpool have a very frustrating habit of employing players that seem to succumb to injury on a regular basis. Here are some examples from the years gone by:

Continue reading

Don’t do it Xabi……..

'Water-Carrier?'

'Water-Carrier?'

It seemed to be all going so well. Reigning champions Manchester United lose the best player on the planet, former big spenders Chelsea seem to be unable to attract the calibre of player that it once beckoned without thought, and Arsenal seem to be stubborn in their quest to succeed without adding some much needed brawn and experience to their ranks. Manchester City are attempting to create the most lop-sided squad in football history, with £70 million spent on their strikeforce meaning they now have 10 senior centre forwards on their books. All roads point to Liverpool being in pole position for the season ahead, but the constant speculation linking Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid has those on the Kop worried. Outstanding last season, his departure could prove to be their undoing before a ball is kicked. Continue reading

So Long Sami

Liverpool have been involved in many transfer sagas over the last decade. We had the Steve McManaman to Real Madrid drama in 1999, which left a sour taste in the mouths of those on the Kop. There was widespread despair on the red half on Merseyside in November 2001, when Robbie Fowler made his £11 million switch to Leeds.  Micheal Owen’s departure to Real Madrid almost hurt as much as ‘McMoneyman’s’. There was £8 Million and a lawyer to soften that blow, but it felt like daylight robbery. A transfer that didn’t even go through caused much confusion at Anfield, with Steven Gerrard’s move to Chelsea dominating the news in the summer of 2005.  However, the transfer that has had the most positive affect on Liverpool during these years was the signing of a Finnish centre-half for £2.6million that had the whole country starching their heads. Sami Who?

hyypiadm2105_468x473

Continue reading