Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle all currently have a game in hand as City and LFC’s Capital One Cup Final match took place during Gameweek 27.
Canaries take on the Reds at Carrow Road
Stadium: Carrow Road
Referee: LS Mason
Opposition manager: Alex Neil
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 4 Touré, 17 Sakho, 18 Moreno, 7 Milner, 14 Henderson (captain), 21 Lucas, 23 Can, 33 Ibe, 11 Firmino
Substitutes used: Lallana on for Ibe at 58’, Benteke on for Henderson at 75’, Caulker on for Moreno at 89’
I. BT Sport’s pundit, Chris Sutton summed this match up perfectly with this on point comment: “One of the best, worst games I’ve ever seen!”.
II. Liverpool have now conceded from their first shot on target in all four of their Premier League games in 2016.
III. This was only the third time in Premier League history where Liverpool had recovered from being 2 goals behind and gone on to win.
Opposition Goals: Dieumerci Mbokani 29’, Steven Naismith 41’, Wesley Hoolahan 54’ (penalty), Sébastien Bassong 90+2
Liverpool Goals: Roberto Firmino 18’ & 63’, Jordan Henderson 55’, James Milner 75’ and Adam Lallana 90+5
Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
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A round-up of Liverpool’s prosaic goalless draw against Swiss opposition FC Sion in our UEFA Europa League group stage match 6 of 6.
FC Sion (44% possession FT) 0 – 0 Liverpool (56% possession FT)
Stadium: Stade de Tourbillon
Referee: M Koukoulakis
Opposition manager: Didier Tholot
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 4 Touré, 6 Lovren, 44 Smith, 7 Milner (c), 14 Henderson, 20 Lallana, 23 Can, 11 Firmino, 27 Origi
Subs used: Coutinho on for Milner 60′, Rossiter on for Henderson 76′, Brannagan on for Firmino 89’
Match report: 3 Things
I. To quote Paul Doyle from the Guardian: “Researchers believe this may well have been the longest 90 minutes in history.” With only three shots on target, this match was painful to watch with both teams assuming an almost relaxed approach to the game on a very bad pitch.
II. The positives from the match are that Hendo and Coutinho are back to match fitness, Brad Smith had an impressive full debut and Liverpool finished top of the group. On the non-football related positive side, Sion fans had an epic banner stating “You Never Drink Alone”.
III. Liverpool kept their first clean sheet against Swiss opposition since April 1977. The Reds are also one of only six unbeaten teams in the Europa League group stages this season.
Man of the Match: Brad Smith
Kloppo’s Quote Post-Match
Jurgen Klopp seems to be a consistent ray of sunshine, even after a match outing as drab as last night’s one!
We wanted to be first after this game and that is what we did. A few weeks ago it was far away from us that we could reach this place but we did it and it is really good. Everyone will have to change their mind about this tournament now as everyone will see it is something like a small Champions League.
The Europa League returns 18 February for the first leg of the last-32 ties and the return leg seven days later. The draw for the Last-32 takes place on Monday, 14 December 2015 at 12PM BST.
A roundup of Liverpool’s Gameweek 15 Premier League fixture, our players’ statistics according to the Fantasy Premier League scout rankings and a bit of a rant…
In 3 Things this week I round-up our worst performance under Jurgen Klopp and subsequent loss to Newcastle at St James. Due to no Liverpool player making the Dream Team cut, Fantasy League vs Liverpool’s Reality for Gameweek 15 isn’t much of a positive (or anything really!) and Hold Nothing Back is where I have my rant (Disclaimer: Expressly Natz’s view). The bright side of a rather pedestrian week gone by is that we have Jurgen Klopp at the helm of our team and thus we end off with his constructive commentary in Kloppo’s Quote of the Week.
Premier League Gameweek 15: Sunday, 6 December 2015
Newcastle (40% possession FT) 2 – 0 Liverpool (60% possession FT)
Stadium: St. James Park
Referee: AM Marriner
Opposition manager: Steve McClaren
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno, 37 Skrtel, 7 Milner (c), 21 Lucas, 24 Allen, 33 Ibe, 9 Benteke, 11 Firmino
Subs used: Lallana on for Benteke 62’, Sturridge on for Firmino at 62′, Origi on for Ibe 74′
Match report: 3 Things
I. Newcastle were deserving winners in what was a disappointingly poor performance from Liverpool especially from players known to give much more during a game. Can, Lucas, Milner, Benteke and Firmino had particularly poor performances while the rest of the team were subpar.
II. Liverpool appeared complacent given Newcastle’s recent form and this loss will hopefully, have been a sufficient wake up call to never underestimate any team in the Premier League. Gegenpressing was nowhere in sight and the Reds seemed to opt for an almost tentative approach as the match went on.
III. Skrtel had the misfortune of an own goal – his 7th – deflecting the ball off his thigh and equaled Carra’s own goal record (breaking the record of most own goals (4) by a player in a single Premier League season) at 69 minutes when Wijnaldum cut a shot across goal. Both sides only had one shot on target each, with ours being Moreno’s stunning (and wrongfully disallowed) strike at 79 minutes and in all honestly our only highlight in an all-round abysmal Sunday afternoon out.
• Opposition Goals: Martin Skrtel (OG), Georginio Wijnaldum
• Man of the Match: Georginio Wijnaldum
Fantasy Football vs LFC’s Reality – Gameweek 15
Another subpar week for my Pitch Invaders finishing with 55 points. Skrtel had a score of minus 1 this past week due his own goal against Newcastle on Sunday. Firmino also had a quiet game with a mere 3 points added to my final total.
None of the Liverpool players made the cut for Gameweek 15s Dream Team and no one featured in the Premier League Scout’s report and rightfully so. Our performance simply put, was awful.
*Gameweek 16 heads up: Coutinho has recovered from his hamstring injury and will be in consideration for Sunday’s game at Anfield, although I expect him to be on the bench. Firmino has underperformed without Coutinho and I have opted to go with Arsenal’s Ozil, Leceister’s Mahrez and Everton’s Barkley in my midfield this week with Firmino as a substitute. I live in hope that this seemingly excellent choice does not leave me rueful come Sunday night!
**A complete list of the Rules including the points system for the Fantasy League can be found here: Fantasy League Rules
Hold Nothing Back
A bit of a rant…
Couch pundits, who are clearly just passing by (they only come out when we lose) on the spectrum of the Liverpool fan base, took to social media this week to berate players they praised in glowing terms just two weeks ago. Yes, Benteke missed a shot from only a yard out. Yes, Daniel Sturridge is not as durable as the rest of his peers and Milner and Lucas did not show their best sides at St. James. These players, like the rest of the team, are Liverpool Football Club’s first team and so we as supporters should be there in both the good and not so good times. It was difficult writing this week’s article because we have been doing so well and so it gave me the opportunity to see the hurdles we still face as a club. These, however, are not cause to write players off suddenly. Even I have had to give Adam Lallana a tiny bit of credit at times. In the words of Bill Shankly, “If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, don’t support us when we win.” Same goes for the players who usually give us cause for celebration… They need our support when they are down, especially Daniel, because say what you want about the guy, he is pure class.
Kloppo’s Quote of the Week
Jurgen Klopp is a beacon of light even in the bleakest of times. Here are his pragmatic comments after our loss to Newcastle.
“It’s important to be in the middle and not go nuts when you win and go crazy when you lose… It’s not a reality check; it’s only our worst game, a bad game.”
“We Go Again” on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 16H00PM BST, in our Premier League fixture at Anfield against The Baggies, West Bromwich Albion who are currently in 13th place (4 points more than Chelsea who are in 14th place) on the log. We are currently on 23 points and in 8th place. Match Fact: Liverpool have won 19 and lost two of the last 25 league matches against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.
A HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jordon Ibe, who celebrated his 20th birthday on 8 December 2015.
Until next time,
Follow me, Natz –ScouserGirl on Twitter @Bloodsugarnatz for all things relative to Liverpool FC.
Saturday, 31st of October 2015
Chelsea (43% possession FT) 1 – 3 Liverpool (57% possession FT)
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Opposition manager: Jose Mourinho
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 17 Sakho, 18 Moreno, 37 Skrtel, 7 Milner (c), 10 Coutinho, 20 Lallana, 21 Lucas, 23 Emre Can, 11 Firmino
Subs used: Christian Benteke on for James Milner 63′ (captain’s armband passed on to Skrtel), Jordon Ibe on for Roberto Firmino 75′, Dejan Lovren on for Adam Lallana 90′
You’d be forgiven if your match excitement plummeted in an instant after Chelsea’s Ramires’ thumping header opened the scoreline in the 4th minute of Saturday afternoon’s kick-off league fixture. Chelsea appeared in control in the ensuing minutes with Firmino operating in a false 9 role and we seemed off to a shaky start with very little possession. I was thankfully able to survey the match with both eyes shortly after the first 15 minutes as we started to find our rhythm with longer increments of good possession. There was some good work done by Clyne and Coutinho which led to an attempt from Lallana at 20 minutes but this was easily stopped by Chelsea’s Begovic. Lallana continued to underwhelm me and just generally seems to lack the motivation or the desire to be a better version of himself – Admittedly, this makes me feel like I’m watching a repeat of the Joe Allen experiment! But, I digress…
Coutinho was shown the first yellow card of the game after 24 minutes for a rather bad foul on fellow Brazilian, Willian; who usually doesn’t need more than a nudge to go down. Granted though, Can was lucky to escape a booking a few minutes later when he foolishly (and rather brutishly) tackled Willian from behind. Liverpool continued to dominate in possession with the two sides getting rather physical at times. Two minutes of extra time were added to end off the first half and our little magician, Coutinho, curled a stunning left footed shot around Begovic’s dive as the 2nd minute of extra time continued onto a 3rd.
With the second half kicking off on a level scoreline, Chelsea started brightly,but soon the team, along with the mood of their fans seemed to dampen as Eden Hazard moved wide for Chelsea with Oscar in a more central role. Chelsea’s man in goal, Begovic, seemed to have a tough afternoon due to poor communication with his defenders. Close to 60 minutes things were heating up on the touchline as Chelsea coach, Jose Morais thought that aggressively yelling at our Kloppo to calm down was a good idea. Klopp had raged at someone in the technical area and went on to have quite a heated exchange with Morais in the moments that followed with Mourinho looking on, barely batting an eyelid. In the midst of all this Eden Hazard was substituted after a rather quiet afternoon, with yet another Brazilian named Kenedy (never seen him before!) replacing him and subsequently making more of an impact by looking alot livelier. Lallana once again had an opportunity and did nothing more than shoot wide after Benteke was brought on for James Milner in the 63rd minute. Diego Costa followed with some standard Diego Costa behaviour and after his foul on Skrtel sent them colliding to the ground, took the opportunity to lash at Skrtel with his foot which would surely have gotten him a red card had Clattenburg caught sight of the scene. Lucas was equally lucky in the 67th minute to not be sent to the dressing room after narrowly escaping a second yellow for a foul on Ramires that had the entire Chelsea defense pleading with Mr Clattenburg to break out a red card. This clearly annoyed the referee more than anything and is likely the reason Lucas was not sent off, which had Mourinho sarcastically applauding from the touchline as he too had been baying for Lucas’ blood. Emre Can and Chelsea’s Mikel garnered yellow cards of their own shortly afterward and Fabregas arrived on the pitch to take Mikel’s place. With 70 minutes on the clock, Mignolet made the save of the afternoon with Oscar, 45 metres from the post, making a plucky attempt at goal. Our little magician had more than lady luck on his side, as he struck a right footed gem that took a deflection off of John Terry on its way to the back of the net. At 74 minutes, we looked to be in complete control with a 2-1 lead. Jordan Ibe came on at 75 minutes for Firmino and almost extended our lead in the 80th minute with a shot that could have gone anywhere. Chelsea followed this with more abysmal defending in the 83rd minute as Benteke scored his goal (our third) with poise, as though he was moving in slow motion. The Chelsea faithful started trickling out of the stadium in the remaining minutes and Lovren was brought on in the 90th minute for my least favourite LFC player, Lallana. Two extra minutes were added on at the end of the second half and Coutinho was named Man of the Match for his brace which was largely responsible for Chelsea’s 6th premier league loss this season as they continue on with what has been their worst start to the league in 37 years.
The belief I deemed lacking during our match against Southampton was overflowing on Saturday with our Red men looking good on possession throughout the game once we passed the 20 minute mark of the first half (Possession was at 61% at half time). We also cranked up the pressure as soon as the second half had begun and made Chelsea look increasingly nervous with an energy and an enthusiasm I haven’t seen since our 2013-2014 season. I summed up my feelings in my tweet after the match See Tweet ‘So damn proud of our #Reds today, they Believed!! & this is only the beginning of the #KloppEffect. U already feel it…its magic! #YNWA‘
Klopp offered some thoughtful comments on José Mourinho, after our win against Chelsea. He continues to deliver candid insight without a hint of arrogance and has everyone hanging onto his every word… Klopp, who survived a similar situation at Dortmund last season when his side was at one stage bottom of the Bundesliga, said about Mourinho;
‘Of course I feel for him. He’s a great coach, one of the best managers in the world.
But things like this happen. I had a similar situation in Dortmund and the good thing was no one in the club was in doubt about my position. Nobody. I never felt pressure. So we were able to change the situation. With the quality of the players at Chelsea, of course they’ll change it. Of course I feel for him, but it’s normal work. They have to change it, and they will change it.’
And finally, as if to indicate that Saturday’s win was only the beginning, he finished off;
‘This win was huge for all of us. We won at Chelsea, a difficult game in this situation. But we deserved it. We solved problems and we can do better, that’s for sure.’
We Go Again in our Europa League and the 2nd leg of our Group stage meeting with Rubin Kazan, Thursday, 5 November at 6PM BST at the Kuban Stadium in Russia.
Our Premier League fixture is at Anfield this Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 16H00PM BST, wen we take on 10th placed Crystal Palace. We are currently in 8th place.
Until next week,
#Don’t forget to Follow me on Twitter @Bloodsugarnatz for L.F.C related twittery
Welcome to the first Football with Natz post. I’ll be providing you with a wrap of Liverpool’s Gameweek – a mini match report of the Premier League fixture against Southampton this past week, which LFC players to choose for your Fantasy League team and Jurgen Klopp’s quote of the week.
Premier League Gameweek 10: Sunday, 24th October 2015
Liverpool (60% possession FT) 1 – 1 Southampton (40% possession FT)
Referee: A Marriner
Opposition manager: Ronald Koeman
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 17 Sakho, 18 Moreno, 37 Skrtel, 7 Milner (c), 10 Philippe Coutinho, 20 Lallana, 21 Leiva, 23 Can, 27 Origi
Subs used: Benteke on for Origi 46’, Firmino on for Lallana 67’ and Ibe on for Coutinho 83’
Our fifth draw in a row, this match should have started with the second half. The first half lacked energy from both sides and the Liverpool players seemed to be cautious in their approach. Benteke’s header, delivered with absolute finesse, broke the frustration of the match and we saw one of Jurgen Klopp’s elated celebrations.
It seemed Kloppo was on his way to join Rafa – who in 2004 was the last to win his first game at Anfield – when celebration turned into frustration (with me directing incensed expletives at the TV) when Saido Mane equalised in the 86th minute thanks to a lack of defending from our side. Mane received a yellow card in the 90th minute and a second yellow followed in the dying moments of injury time when he tripped up Moreno.
A poor challenge near the touchline against Bertrand garnered Milner the first yellow of the game, as well as his fifth of the season, which means suspension for at least one game.
All in all, not the ideal match envisioned by many (or me) and the team’s lack of confidence was evident. It would seem the belief needs to find its way into our Red mens hearts and minds to simmer there, as there is still a lot of work to be done, which will be even harder with the wrong mind set. I’m not confident in Adam Lallana’s ability to cope with full throttle given the lack of ground he covers during a game. Klopp evidently had that in mind when he switched Coutinho to the wing (who also had a rather docile game) and Lallana was used behind Divock Origi; who was barely in the match and failed to make an impact, let alone an impression on me. Hopefully we will see more of Firmino in the games to come. I am anxiously awaiting the return of our Jordan Henderson, as his run and work rate was meant to be played with Klopp’s “heavy metal” philosophy.
Skrtel only added the standard 2 points to my tally. This was for playing a full 90 minutes which up until 86’ was 6 points (4 points for a clean sheet) after we failed to defend our 1-0 lead.
The LFC players who would have added value to your final team score this past weekend are:
*Lucas (3) won six of his eight attempted tackles, made 10 recoveries and five clearances, blocks and interceptions
*Benteke’s (8) stunning header in the 77th earned him maximum bonus points
*Milner (6) provided the assist to Benteke’s goal and made five key passes and two open play crosses to earn bonus points as well, and lost 1 point after receiving his 5th yellow card of the season.
A complete list of the Rules including the points system for the Fantasy League can be found here: FPL Rules
Klopp’s Quote of the Week
In closing, I’d like to end with a quote from our new man at the helm, Jurgen Klopp. Having disarmed the press since his appointment, Klopp comments are insightful, honest and without making promises makes one feel positive for the games that lie ahead.
“It’s not easy to compare completely different things but in my first season at Dortmund we had 15 draws. If you want, it’s a half win. We didn’t lose. I see the pressure on the players, missing this chance or that chance.
But it’s only important that you always make the right decision in the right moment. They have the quality to finish, to create chances.”
We Go Again in our Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at 12H45PM BST on Saturday, 31 October 2015 and our Europa League and the 2nd leg of our Group stage meeting with Rubin Kazan next Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 6PM BST at the Kuban Stadium in Russia.
Until next time,