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Category Archives: Liverpool
This week’s winner is Colin McArthur who gets a copy of Six Stickers: A Journey To Complete An Old Sticker Album. Get in touch to claim your prize. Next week we’d like your takes on Charlie Austin. Send your efforts to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Monday 2 March as a jpeg, complete with a CAPTION. Anyone who forgets will have to sit on a sofa with José Mourinho
Sergio Aguëro is firing again, José Mourinho’s propaganda may be backfiring and has the penny finally dropped for Scott Sinclair at Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa?
José Mourinho is an expert at using a germ of truth to create a toxic stink. But what if his propaganda is not as clever as he thinks? What if it is counter-productive? Presumably his rhetoric is intended both to fuel his players with righteous indignation and let referees know that any mistakes they make to the detriment of Chelsea will be mercilessly highlighted by a manager who is rarely slow to make dark allusions. But what if referees have become so eager to show they are not influenced by Mourinho and that, when in doubt, they subconsciously err on the side of the opposition? And what if some Chelsea players drunk so much of Mourinho’s Kool Aid that they instinctively start to take the law into their own hands, as Nemanja Matic did when wronged by Ashley Barnes and, indeed, as Branislav Ivanovic quite literally did as he grabbed Martin Atkinson’s red card as he tried to convince the referee not to brandish it to his team-mate. A more pernickety official than Atkinson, or one ill-disposed towards Chelsea, might have sent off two of Mourinho’s players on Saturday. Paul Doyle
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66 min: Moreno overlaps on the left and drills in a cross, which Henderson gets a foot to. It balloons into the air. Could we, generously, call that Liverpool’s second shot?
65 min: Nearly a sight of goal for Mane, who is just snuffed out by Lovren as he scampers onto a flick into the box.
64 min: Wanyama is yellow-carded for a foul on Sterling. He may have got some of the ball.
63 min: Here is Sturridge. On he comes for the fairly invisible Lallana, who is roundly booed off of course. Liverpool have shown absolutely no attacking thrust here since that early goal. Will that now change?
61 min: Elia does cross, now, but it’s overhit. Saint showing precious little quality but you do wonder whether Liverpool could usefully get themselves on the front foot. And talking of which, Sturridge is being readied…
60 min: So much indecision on view here. Now Elia tricks away down the left but can’t make a call on whether or not to cross. He’s robbed, but a second or two later Mane controls and spins in the box and sees a shot blocked for a corner, which Skrtel heads away.
58 min: Mane hares down towards the byline with his first involvement, but Can does well to dispossess him. Then Ibe goes on a run on the opposite flank but can’t really get anywhere either.
57 min: Lovren and Targett challenge for a bal by the corner flag, both bravely, and a goal kick is given. Then Sadio Mane replaces the off-colour Ward-Prowse, which will hopefully perk things up a bit. I think he’ll slot in on the right, with Djuricic moving centrally.
55 min: There’s just no real rhythm to this game at all, when you strip the talking points away.
53 min: Henderson fouls Wanyama but hurts himself. He’s not very happy with Friend, but gets up and runs away, grumbling. Ward-Prowse takes a poor set-piece, not for the first or second time.
52 min: Sterling spins his marker but can’t find anyone with his pass. Quiet so far today, the forward.
51 min: Pelle snatches a shot wide after a lovely little move. He had a couple of men over, it seemed to be five on four for a moment there, and should probably have passed.
50 min: …which is headed away at the near post. Strongish start by the home team though.
49 min: Schneiderlin is already getting well involved, directing traffic and the like. And now Clyne wins a corner….
48 min: Elia is onside as he gets onto another ball through but he’s held up by Skrtel. He still wriggles away on the right but his cross is nowhere near Pelle.
47 min: From Michael Cosgrove – “In my mind’s eye I can see one particular top PL manager who is rubbing his hands with glee as he reads this MBM because the penalty decisions are adding grist to his mill….”
As I’m sure all top PL managers are reading this, you’ll have to be more specific.
46 min: A Liverpool change too, Alberto Moreno replacing Markovic. Which seems sensible, as the out-of-position Serb got a roasting or two in the first half.
Maybe a football match will break out.
Yes, Schneiderlin replaces Steven Davis. Second half on its way…
Schneiderlin is coming on for Southampton.
An email about the football! The actual football! From Paul Ewart:
“We [Liverpool] miss Lucas! All semblance of control disappears in his absence. Surely the most underrated player on the books having spent what seem like half his career doing the running for others. Dejan Lovren is a liability. The Saints should be glad we took him off their hands. It must be Kolo time……”
Paul Turp says: “I reckon the commentators and boo-happy Soton crowd have made this seem far more controversial than it is. Second penalty claim for Soton was penalty, apart from that don’t think there’s been much untoward.”
Not an unconvincing argument, it must be said.
On the Mignolet incident, he was just outside the box and the ball came off his chest, onto his hand. I think Friend got that one right but, again, seen them given.
Several emails saying that referees’ lots would be improved if they were able to publicly account for their calls. I can see that to an extent, but it might open a can of worms.
Strange half. A dizzying first four minutes. Should Djuricic have had a penalty from Can’s challenge, with the Liverpool player sent off? Possibly. Should Djuricic have had a penalty from Allen’s challenge? Surely. Later on, should Sterling have had a penalty from Fonte’s challenge? Possibly not. Did Mignolet handle outside the box? Inconclusive.
Amid all that, Coutinho scored a wonderful goal for Liverpool and the home side had a couple of spells of pressure, especially right on half-time. It has not really been a good game, but there is definitely enough to keep you talking.
45+2 min: Saints ending the half strongly, Mignolet beating a shot through a crowded box away before flapping at the resulting cross.
45+1 min: Then there’s a handball shout after a corner bounces around the Liverpool area. It did hit Lovren on the hand, but I don’t think you can give that one, it was by his side.
45 min: More controversy, and a big chance! Out of nowhere, Elia gets beyond the centre-backs and latches onto a long ball. Mignolet comes racing out of his goal and charges down the attempted lob….with his hand? Outside the box? Inconclusive.
43 min: Ward-Prowse is chopped crudely by Lovren. This one is a foul and a yellow card. Lovren is being called rude things by the crowd again.
40 min: Targett can’t find Ward-Prowse and Liverpool counter quickly before a wayward Sterling touch checks their momentum. This has not, Coutinho’s goal aside and regardless of all the early drama, been a game of quality.
39 min: Now Ibe plays a weak ball towards Allen and the busy Djuricic gets onto it, but is crowded out as he tries to dribble into the area.
38 min: Skrtel reads an outside-of-the-foot Ward-Prowse ball well. Saints still not looking particularly like creating another clear chance, but they are dominating possession.
36 min: A replay from another angle shows Fonte getting some of the ball against Sterling. So perhaps we should not jump the gun there.
35 min: Targett, a tidy but not especially imposing young player, tricks his way past Lallana but then slips, which may be what Mr Friend considers some of the players are doing here – it’s quite wet.
32 min: And how does Friend not give Liverpool a penalty now? Sterling gets in down the inside left channel and checks back inside Fonte. The centre-back completely takes his leg away – confirmed by a replay – but nothing is given. It was the most obvious of the three shouts. Methinks Mr Friend may have some explaining to do after this. But at least he’s clearly not biased.
31 min: Ward-Prowse barges Lallana over, the crowd’s delight giving way to the realisation that Friend has correctly deemed it a foul.
30 min: Just a sign or two that the home side are coming back again now. They can rightly feel fuelled by a sense of injustice.
29 min: But the Saints do get a free-kick moments later, swung in from the right, and Mignolet doesn’t punch it away too convincingly. The ball ends up back with him soon enough though.
27 min: Now Can quite blatantly chops down the overlapping Clyne as he bursts down the right, but no free-kick is given.
26 min: Now they have a glimmer, Elia getting behind Markovic – who is course is never a left wing-back – but crossing into the stand.
25 min: Southampton having little joy at the moment. It’s mainly fruitless balls towards Pelle, who doesn’t seem to be getting as much support as he might like.
24 min: Brendan Rodgers is making some very elaborate hand signals. You sometimes think that absolutely everything he does is calculated to the Nth degree.
22 min: Coutinho and Sterling try to combine on the edge of the area, but it’s just a little too intricate and Fonte cleans up again. Saints’ early fire has been doused.
20 min: I’m getting lots of emails alleging refereeing bias. I’m not going to reproduce any of them, which means I am clearly biased too.
Meantime, Liverpool in control for now and Markovic looks for Lallana, who has made a very clever run into the box. Fonte intercepts superbly, and crucially.
19 min: It’s been kind of lost in the penalty shouts, but let’s take a moment to remember just how good Coutinho’s goal was. Beautiful hit and you couldn’t really fault Forster for being beaten from range.
18 min: Lovren makes a positive contribution now, intercepting well as Davis tries to zip a ball behind the defence.
15 min: Southampton win a corner on the left. Ward-Prowse takes an inswinger but Mignolet, who has started well and looks much more confident at the moment, claims it.
14 min: A Lovren pass that sails out of play gets the afternoon’s biggest cheer yet.
And Mark Hammond is disgusted: “Have La Liga refs been counseling their British counterparts. That was absolutely shocking from Friend. P*ss-poor officiating is simply ruining the game. Time for cricket/rugby style TMO review surely.”
13 min: A stern missive from Michael Davey, who says – “Everything you need to know about English football: two clear penalties missed by the ref and the commentators act like it’s part of the ‘entertainment’.”
Makes you think.
12 min: It goes beyond everyone. St Mary’s is not a happy place at the moment.
11 min: Nothing calm about that challenge from Markovic on Clyne though. Free-kick on the right of the area….
10 min: Things have calmed down a bit now, which is fairly welcome for those of us doing an MBM. Lallana and Lovren are both being dutifully booed when the ball reaches them. And Ibe has just got away down the right but crossed beyond everybody.
8 min: From Simon McMahon – “Insult to injury. A goal down, denied two penalties now, and should be a man up. If I didn’t know better I’d say there was a campaign against Southampton.”
Ronald Koeman is on the phone to Goals on Sunday as we speak.
7 min: Hard to get the head round an absolute whirlwind of a first six minutes or so. In summary: Southampton appealed for a penalty in the first minute, which looked borderline and wasn’t given. Can would have had to go. Then Coutinho thrashed in the opening goal for Liverpool, before a clearer penalty shout at the other end was waved away too!
4 min: And another big penalty shout for the Saints! It’s Djuricic again, challenged by Allen, and this one looked like much more of a prospect. If Can didn’t really offer a challenge earlier, Allen certainly did this time and got it all wrong. But Friend waves play on and Elia has a great chance on the resulting loose ball but it’s deflected wide by Mignolet with a great save. What a start here!
4 min: What a goal! Markovic, coming on from the left, plays the ball sideways to Coutinho 30 yards out. There’s little obvious danger but he’s given space to size up a shot and BANG! The ball swerves, dips and rockets in off the bar!
1 min: Big penalty shout for Southampton! And should Can have been sent off into the bargain? This came even earlier than Manchester City’s penalty yesterday – Djuricic ran into the box and across Can, and there seemed to be some contact. The Serbian went down, but Kevin Friend said no!
@NickAmes82 Very Surprised about sturridge not starting. Very disappointed
Do you share this chap’s bemusement? Not sure I do, Sturridge played on Thursday and still needs handling with care after his injuries.
By the way, this is Djuricic’s first start for the Saints. The wide man is on loan from Benfica. Targett starts at left-back, with Ryan Bertrand still suspended. Their formation should be broadly a 4-2-3-1, while Liverpool will deploy their now-familiar 3-4-3.
Here we go, the teams are out. Big, big game this. Send me your thoughts if you like – firstname.lastname@example.org and @NickAmes82
“I’m a bit worried for him, from a Liverpool point of view, how he will perform,” says Jamie Carragher of Lallana. “He looks like an emotional boy.”
Apparently Adam Lallana is being called a few naughty things by Southampton fans as he warms up. It’s a shame, he had plenty of wonderful times there. Rickie Lambert is experiencing no such trouble. Clearly Lallana’s exit still rankles, and the player himself has a few regrets about the manner of it.
A lot of width on that pitch today when you consider the likes of Ibe, Djuricic and Elia. Pace and trickery all over. Who has the guile centrally to complement it? Liverpool, on paper, but if Pelle can show some of his early-season form for Southampton then you can’t imagine he’ll be short of service.
Full-time at Goodison, 2-2, so we can concentrate fully on this one now.
We neutrals would probably take a third 2-2 humdinger of the day, wouldn’t we? I wonder if both sets of fans might too. A point would not be disastrous for either but I expect we’ll see a healthy amount of attacking intent at St Mary’s this afternoon.
Some more pre-match reading for you, in the form of Andy Hunter’s excellent look at the visiting ex-Saints contingent.
It says everything about the trio’s fortunes that not one is guaranteed to face their former club. “They were brought in for the longer term so it was always going to take a bit of time,” Rodgers said this week. “They were brought in for different roles but they are all contributing, some more than others, but I am sure that over time they will show the worth of why we brought them in. It is a game they will look forward to.”
And, wow, Leicester are now in front at Goodison – Esteban Cambiasso. So yes, get thee to Michael’s commentary.
While I think of it, a reminder that Southampton v Liverpool kicks off at 4.15. Not 4.
Grandstand last 20 at Goodison in prospect, by the way, now that David Nugent has equalised for Leicester. Check out Michael Butler’s MBM.
For the Saints, three changes. Matt Targett, James Ward-Prowse and Filip Djuricic come in for Florin Gardos, Harrison Reed and Sadio Mane. Schneiderlin makes the bench.
So Sturridge out, Sterling in for Liverpool. But Lovren’s start, his first in the league since the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford on 14 December, comes as a result of injury to Mamadou Sakho.
Subs: K. Davis, Gardos, Schneiderlin, Gardos, Long, Mané, Tadić, Reed.
Subs: Ward, Johnson, Toure, Lambert, Sturridge, Moreno, Balotelli
Match Three of today’s Premier League triple-header, now, and perhaps the most appetising one on paper. It’s also one that could tell us a lot about how the momentum in that Battle For Fourth is going, because these two are right in the thick of it.
Liverpool are, after attracting predictable and at times wearisome derision earlier in the season, the division’s form horses. They’re unbeaten in nine league games and have won six of those, looking tidy and full of options going forward for the first time since Luis Suarez’s departure. It was always going to take time, and with Daniel Sturridge now back too there seems real hope that Brendan Rodgers and company have the tools to continue their renewed challenge for the Champions League spots.
Nick will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Paul Wilson on the match:
Liverpool will be taking some familiar faces back to Southampton on Sunday after their summer shopping spree on the south coast, though much of the excitement around the club at the moment surrounds a player picked up from Wycombe Wanderers who is starting to make a name for himself in the first team.
Jordon Ibe made just seven appearances for the Adams Park club, managing to become Wycombe’s youngest ever league debutant in the process, before being whisked off to Merseyside at the tender age of 16. Now 19, with the benefit of loan spells at Birmingham and Derby behind him, he is getting first-team football at Anfield and more than holding his own. Playing right-sided wing-back, it was Ibe who won the penalty that gave Liverpool the advantage over Besiktas last Thursday, on a night when the teenager’s confident mixture of pace, strength and trickery provided attacking adventure that few of his team-mates could match.