Andy C Legs match reports

Liverpool Football Club - Games

Postby andy c legs » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:20 am

I wrote this report today on the game last night and would very much appreciate it if any of you could find some time to read it and maybe let me know what you think.  :;):

16th of March, 2015

A Game of Two Halves

Swansea A

With the away side having had to wait 8 days to play this fixture, former Swans boss, Rodgers reverted to type and went for Can at the back, after his brief foray in a midfield position in the game v Blackburn. With skipper Gerrard fir again, Henderson was chosen to lead the team, partnering Allen. Sterling – still yet to sign a contract extension, played as a right wing-back, with Moreno restored to the left-wing back post he has been making his own.

The first chance was created by Swansea themselves as Sturridge was alert to intercept a poor back pass, near Fabianski’s left side. The result was a corner taken by Coutinho which Skrtel put high over the bar.

The home side though soon took a stranglehold on proceedings and started to create chances, the first of which came in the 4th minute when Mignolet had to be alert and clear the danger from his area. Following this Henderson was booked for a sliding challenge on Taylor and from the resultant free-kick, taken by Sigurdsson, Mignolet punched the ball firmly clear from his right post.

In response, Sturridge had a low shot from by the ‘d’, punched away by Fabianski in what was to pan out as a rare foray forward for the visitors.

On 15 minutes former red, Shelvey, led the charge on a quick counter and this led to Allen putting in a well timed challenge in the reds area, with Ki’s follow-up header being cleared by Skrtel.

Liverpool were sloppy. At sixes and seven’s. It was as though the whistle had gone and they were still all on their mini two day breaks. They were fortunate not to have been punished, even at that stage of the game.

On 18 minutes the anonymous Lallana tried a right footer but Fabianski was equal to the task. The reds had no width and every time they had the ball seemed not to have a clue what to do with it, often playing it dangerously around the back as Swansea’s pressing forced mistakes. Lallana – to single one red out, often was forced to play the ball square or back, instead of forward. It was certainly not the Liverpool team we had seen v Man City.

Gomis, having to step-up to the plate after Bony’s departure, should have done better with an header in the 6 yard box which the reds somehow cleared. Soon after Sterling – almost a right back, nearly rugby tackled an opposition player – Sterling might be good enough to represent England at football but certainly not rugby!

On 28 minutes Coutinho could have almost have held his hand up as though a registration was being taken in a school class, as he signalled that HE was on the pitch, by trying a shot which floated high for Fabianski to save after un-usual sloppy play by Gary Monk’s outfit.

Swansea peppered the reds with shots in a 7 minute spell which began in the 30th minute as Gomis forced Mignolet into a low save at his right post, with the ball almost creeping in. Then after another flowing Swans move, Sigurdsson had a shot blocked. Then in the 37th minute, the same player, had Mignolet make another goal saving stop as he got down to his left-hand post to put the ball out for a corner. From the corner Shelvey tried a speculative shot which went yards wide of Mignolet’s right post.

With three minutes of the half remaining the visitors almost saved themselves from a half-time ear bashing as Sturridge tried his luck with a curler which went predictably wide of Fabianski’s left post. It would have been daylight robbery had Liverpool led at that stage. They were lucky to have restricted Swansea to NIL.

Half-time:- Swansea City 0 v Liverpool 0

Whatever Rodgers said to the away side in the dressing room worked. Maybe it was words along the lines of, ‘If we are going to lose, let’s at least have tried to have won the game’.
The whole side seemed to press more and as Rodgers said later, they moved to a diamond formation and were not over-run in midfield as he put Lallana to left midfield and this allowed Sterling to have more of the ball in the final third.

Indicative of the change in attitude, Sterling actually got behind the Swans defence as early as the 52nd minute and two minutes later the same player was twisting and turning inside the Swans area and forcing a corner on Fabianski’s left. Henderson then had a shot from outside the area and this was also deflected for a corner as the reds at last flexed their muscles in attack mode.

Liverpool were sticking their foot in and in the 56th minute both Sterling and Sturridge actually combined down the Swans left and set-up Coutinho who forced Fabianski to turn the ball around his left post.

On 59 minutes Can fouled Ki and from the set-piece Sigurdsson’s shot bounced straight to Mignolet. Mignolet was left to hack  the ball clear after the defenders nearly shot themselves in the foot by not clearing the ball in the first place, as a touch of the first half complacency crept back into the reds game.

Three minutes later Liverpool had numbers in the Swans area but could not make them count and have a pot at goal. It was frustrating but the away side were clearly showing more attacking intent..

On 63 minutes the game swung more in the reds favour as Moreno, who’d had a tidy game, came off for Gerrard and Henderson immediately handed over the captain’s armband to the Liverpool number 8.
Three minutes later, Allen, who amongst all the reds, had hardly put a foot wrong all night, nearly scored as he found himself inside the 6 yard box and stuck his leg out, but could not divert the ball into the net as Fabianski was alert to the danger.

On 67 minutes Skrtel strode out of defence, in the centre-circle and delivered a long ball to the heart of the Swans midfield and Sturridge managed to flick the ball forward, to an on-rushing Henderson, who, from by the ‘d’, made  contact with the ball, despite a defender in attendance. The ball took a wicked deflection and gloriously looped into the back of the net, just under Fabianski’s bar, for a great goal! 1-0.

Liverpool, with their tails-up, did not look like losing and pressed for a second. Coutinho put a 75th minute curler just wide of Fabianski’s left post and a minute later Sturridge, still showing some rustiness in movement but not in mind, dinked the ball in for Sterling who somehow managed to put the ball over the bar, as Fabianski came out on his left. It was a glorious chance – one which Sterling could and maybe should have converted.

In the 86th minute Johnson came on for Lallana, as Sterling, for the third time in the game, won an un-convincing free-kick.  The reds ate the clock-up by playing the ball in the left-hand corner of the Swans half but still had some late defending to deal with.

With almost the last kick of the game, Coutinho played in Sturridge, after a break and the number 15’s effort hit the base of Fabianski’s left post. It was a superb opportunity but Liverpool were more than happy to take the win, however it came.

Full-time:- Swansea 0 v Liverpool 2.
[b]I am and always will be in love with them...
andy c legs
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Postby andy c legs » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:31 pm

Man United H

22nd March, 2015

Moment of madness costs lacklustre reds.

Liverpool lost this game as they came out of the traps in a subdued manner and ultimately paid the price.

Manager Rodgers decided to stick with the same midfield that began at Swansea, despite the fact that there was a fit Steven Gerrard to select, therefore Henderson retained the captaincy.

United were much the better of the two teams and put a stranglehold on the reds, who won the toss on an afternoon in which they won very little else. The visitors were first to the ball and as early as the first minute Skrtel had to be alert to challenge Rooney and concede a corner in the bottom right hand side. Mignolet punched the ball away and it was then cleared.

In the 3rd minute the reds got behind United as Lallana released Sterling down the right but De Gea came out to clear the danger.

Four minutes later Moreno gave the ball away and this led to a free-kick and soon Coutinho was showing a flash of his skill, in front of a very special guest, Pele, who was at Anfield.

In the 13th minute, un-lucky for the home side, United took the lead when Herrara released Mata, from the middle to the left edge of Liverpool’s area, inside of the wandering walk-about Morneo. The Spaniard produced a neat finish – low past Mignolet, as the ball nipped the inside of Mignolet’s right post. It was a sucker-punch but the goal had been coming. 0-1

The Kop roared the reds on, trying to lift them from their evident lethargy and the disappointment at going a goal down. Can ran forward and the ball fell to Sturridge who, from just inside the right of De Gea’s area, put his first time rasper just wide of De Gea’s right post.

On 18 minutes Allen showed some frustration by getting booked for conceding a foul and soon after the lumbering Jones clattered into Lallana but no card was produced. Ten minutes later Sterling nearly put Sturridge through.

Liverpool needed to wake-up and fast. At last, in the 34th minute they began a spell of long over-due pressure as they harried the white shirts. This resulted in Sturridge, for once not being greedy, squaring the ball for Lallana, who hurtled into the area to get his thunderous shot in but incredibly could only put the ball just an inch wide of De Gea’s right post! It was a gilt-edged, crystal clear chance.

Henderson played a great ball through for Coutinho to run onto but the pass was not precise enough as it was a tad too long, with the assured De Gea coming out to collect it.

Just before the break Mignolet was called into action as he saved a low Carrick shot, with Liverpool having it all to do in the second period.

Half-time:- Liverpool 0 v Man U 1

Rodgers subbed Lallana at the break, as he had an injury. Maybe also that miss was on the former Southampton man’s mind and it affected his game. Gerrard came on and the reds performance had been crying out for some of the undoubted enthusiasm that he possess and skill to boot.

After playing a ball to Sterling Gerrard then fouled Mata and followed this up by a moment of madness by stamping on Herrara. Ref Martin Atkinson shocked Anfield as he produced a straight red card for the Liverpool legend. Gerrard had hardly been on the pitch for a minute and much to the home side’s dis-belief, he was being deservedly sent-off..

Liverpool were losing to their greatest rivals and were down to 10 men. They would have to show considerable character to get anything at all from the game..

Within two minutes Sakho produced a tidy challenge on Rooney to prevent another goal. The Frenchman had shown skillful touches all game by turning and trying to play the ball out. He was one of the reds better players.

On 51 minutes Coutinho tried some magic trickery to set-up a chance on the edge of the United area, with three players in attendance. Then Can had to use that boundless energy he possess to cover another United attack.

If a neutral spectator, who could not count, had arrived at the game then he would have been hard pressed to see that the home side were a man short as Sterling delivered an almost inch perfect cross, from the reds left, which Sturridge so very nearly got a touch to, in the 6 yard box. Within the blink of an eye Coutinho tried one of his specials as the ball whizzed over the centre of De Gea’s bar, into the Kop
.
Jones recklessly clattered  into Henderson near the half-way line and only got  a yellow for the challenge. United should have had another card a moment or so later as sub Di Maria caught the ball, as though he were playing rugby, before it had actually gone out of play.

In the 58th minute United sealed all three points and a crucial 5 point lead over the reds as Moreno failed to track Mata’s run into the area and the Spaniard produced a sublime finish with a spectacular bicycle kick which went into the bottom right hand corner of Mignolet’s net. It was a goal which deserved to win any game but again where was the reds defending? 0-2

On the hour mark Skrtel got caught on the half-way line and if someone had passed to an un-marked Rooney in the area United would have surely have made it 0-3 but it never happened.

Within five minutes Moreno was off – he still needs to brush-up on his defensive play and Balotelli came on, just what had the reds to lose? Can nearly put Sturridge through, then Mignolet played silly buggers by somehow beating Rooney when again messing with the ball at the back.

Balotelli did not take long to make his mark on the game though, or Jones for that matter as he got carded for a foul on the United man.

On 68 minutes, with United playing the game out, suddenly it changed complexion as Coutinho played a first time pass to put Sturridge in, on the United left and he finished in the blink of an eye by firing low past De Gea on the keeper’s left post. It was GAME-ON. 1-2.

Liverpool though could not gain any real momentum, as soon Rooney left his foot in on Mignolet’s ankle and again, no yellow was produced. Mignolet rolled around in some discomfort though and it was a worry.

The home side wasted a late corner and free-kick opportunities before Can showed the defensive weakness which is in his locker, as he tripped Blind inside the right of the reds area. Rooney sent the penalty to Mignolet’s right but the reds keeper went the same way and saved the spot-kick. Out of all the reds players to have again played poorly, Mignolet, it could be argued and Sakho could at least hold their heads up.

Skrtel fouled De Gea in the 4th minute of injury time and got away with a debatable yellow as Atkinson blew for time on not only the match but quite possibly on the reds hopes of Champions League Qualification.

Full-time:- Liverpool 1 v Man U 2.
[b]I am and always will be in love with them...
andy c legs
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Postby andy c legs » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:08 pm

19th of April, 2015

Aston Villa (Wembley) FA Cup Semi-Final

Poor Reds deservedly lose.

Liverpool did not so much as lose this semi but almost handed it to Villa who seemed to want it more.

Manager Rodgers chose to field Gerrard, as Lucas had picked-up another injury. It appeared as though he set the all yellows up in a fluent 5-3-1-1 formation which could change at any minute. Markovic was back on the right with Moreno on the left. It was a balanced formation but left Sterling too isolated up front. It did not make much difference though whatever formation Liverpool played, Villa were just more hungry to win.

The Villa dominated the opening 15 minutes, being first to the ball. You would not have guessed that this was a side which was fighting against relegation and now look as though they may win that fight, under their new manager, Tim Sherwood.

Lovren had to make a timely interception in the 15th minute, after a rampaging attack down the yellow’s right, which would have seen Villa with a clear sight on goal. In the 22nd minute Villa again should have scored, when from Nzogbia’s corner, on Mignolet’s left, the ball was headed firmly away from  the 6 yard box.

Villa were then dealt an injury blow to another centre-half, as Nathan Baker had to go off, with Okore coming on. Not long after Rodgers tweaked his formation and sent Gerrard to support the isolated Sterling.  Sterling then had a half chance, with a back header in the 25th minute which 39 year old Shay Given easily caught.

Liverpool though took the lead in the 30th minute when a corner was not cleared on Villa’s right. Henderson tried to set-up Gerrard but the ball broke loose and Coutinho was onto it in a flash and sent a low right footed finish, which deflected into the bottom left-hand corner of Given’s goal. It was another piece of FA Cup magic from the Brazilian and it gave Liverpool the confidence they had been previously lacking. 1-0.

The all yellow’s with their tails-up, nearly made another good opening but Villa responded well to going behind. Can had to put in a good block but within 6 minutes the game took another turn.

In the 35th minute, following a swift attack down Liverpool’s right, Delph cut the ball back, into the area, for an un-marked, on fire Benteke, who made no mistake by firing low past Mignolet, with the ball ending-up in the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner. It was 1-1 and very much game on.
Villa exerted more pressure on the Liverpool goal and should have made it count before Coutinho’s 39th minute shot deflected for a corner, after Sterling had cut the ball back. From the set-piece, Lovren put a back header wide of Given’s left post.

Half-time:- Liverpool 1 v Aston Villa 1.

During the interval Balotelli, Liverpool’s Italian misfit, was seen warming-up and there was debate as to if he would come on and when and who for. Just as the second half started, Rodgers revealed the answer with a tactical switch  by playing Balotelli up front, on his own, with Sterling going to left wing, having taken off Markovic.
Villa dominated again, but Gerrard did manage to get on the ball but put his effort harmlessly high and over, in the 49th minute.

On 52 minutes, following a cross from Mignolet’s left, Benteke again found himself in space and failed to make Liverpool pay, by only firing a weak shot down the all grey Mignolet’s throat.

A minute later Villa deservedly took the lead, as they turned the game on its head. Inevitably it was danger man Benteke who was incisively involved as his wicked back-heel found the impressive young Villa graduate, Jack Grealish, who had the presence to pass inside to Delph, who despite two Liverpool players near him, turned on a six pence and fired low past Mignolet, for the ball to nestle into the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner. It was a great goal and a testament to the passing football which Sherwood has got Villa playing. 1-2.

Liverpool’s response was quite muted. It was indicative of the way they seemed to have bottled it on big occasions this season (for example Man U home and Arsenal away). There was no conviction there. From a Can cross, who was now playing right side of midfield, Balotelli missed a sitter of a header, not even making any contact with the ball. To save his blushes though, the move was ruled offside.

For long periods Liverpool found it hard to get any sort off rhythm going.

In the 66th minute Gerrard, hoping that this would not be his last appearance at Wembley as Liverpool player, had another free-kick easily saved by Given, with the Irish keeper saving at his right post.

In the 71st minute Allen had a full-blooded shot, by the ‘d’, charged down by Westwood – it typified Villa’s determination but from a resultant Liverpool corner, Villa broke and Morneo had to have spot on timing to make a last ditch, goal saving tackle.

Both sides traded subs soon after, with Trevor Sinclair coming on for N’zogbia and Rodgers almost walking into the last chance saloon by bringing on Johnson, whose Anfield career is now numbered in weeks.

On 78 minutes two of Liverpool’s players actually combined in a rare move and show of solidarity, as Coutinho exchanged passes with Balotelli to win a free-kick, from Delph, on the ‘d’ but inevitably, Liverpool’s set-piece was wasted.

Liverpool tried, it seemed almost half-heartedly to score. From another free-kick in the 80th minute Gerrard  put in a dangerous free-kick, which was deflected off the wall, with the header going to Given.

In the 82nd minute Grealish left to a standing ovation, looking every inch a player who had fought and won his battle, with his socks rolled down. Former red, Joe Cole looking more and more like Danny Dyer by the day, replaced him.

Lovren had a close range header go over, from another good delivery from Gerrard’s corner this time, as the sands began to run out in the hour glass that was the match. In the 85th minute Liverpool knocked more firmly on the Villa door, but like the big bad wolf, they could not knock it down as from a Coutinho corner, on the Villa left, Gerrard strained to make good contact on the ball and his header was cleared off the line by Richardson, under the right crossbar of Given’s goal. It was as close as Liverpool had come.

In the 88th minute Balotelli had the ball in the bottom right hand corner of Given’s net but he had been in-correctly called offside, but Okore had known the Italian was offside before he took his eye off the ball.

In a last ditch, desperate effort to force un-probable extra-time, Rodgers took off Moreno and brought on Lambert (why had he not brought him on sooner??). Almost instantly Sterling, who had been quite £100k a week anonymous, for large chunks of the game, then shot well over.

Liverpool tried to press more and in the 2nd minute of four minutes of time added-on, Henderson crossed and Balotelli put a firm header just an inch over the bar. It was a decent chance.

As Liverpool played the ball from side to side and tried to make in-roads to set-up one last presentable effort, Lovren blasted the ball well over, from outside the area. It was a terrible decision – one of many on the day by Liverpool who got justly punished for another un-convincing performance.

At the whistle Villa celebrated their well- deserved win. They had fought and out-thought Liverpool to get to the Cup Final.

Full-time:- Liverpool 1 v Aston Villa 2.

*This makes painful reading but I hope that whoever reads it gets a jist of the game. I wrote it about an hour after the full-time whistle and only now have I been able to put it on the forum.

All the best, Andy  :(
[b]I am and always will be in love with them...
andy c legs
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Postby andy c legs » Mon May 11, 2015 9:24 pm

10th May, 2015

Chelsea a

Reds draw no comfort from point gained.

Steven Gerrard’s equalising goal was not enough to help Liverpool’s slim Champions League Qualification hopes in this game against the newly crowned Champions.

Rodgers stuck with a back four of Johnson on the left and Can on the right, with Skrtel and Lovren. Can was the weak link for most of the time as his natural enthusiasm had him go up and in-field. Mabe tellingly there was no place for misfit Balotelli in the 16 man squad, as Lambert kept his place with a trio of Coutinho, Lallana and Sterling behind him.

Chelsea took the lead as early as the 4th minute and the reds faced an up-hill task from that moment on. A Fabregas corner, from the left of Mignolet was swung into the box and Terry beat Lambert to the ball and headed it into the bottom left of Mignolet’s goal, despite the attention of Gerrard on the line. It meant that the Chelsea skipper had become the highest scoring defender, with 39 goals. 0-1.

Liverpool though did not completely crumble and showed signs that they did want to play as with Coutinho’s 6th minute shot from the right of the Chelsea area which deflected wide of Courtouis. Then from the corner Zouma headed the ball away.

In the 13th minute Coutinho again tried his luck, prodding with a low shot which Courtois easily fielded. Sterling also got in on the act but his tame effort went well wide of Courtouis’s right post.

At the other end Chelsea, with Willian and the top draw Hazard surely to be crowned Writers Footballer of the Year, Hazard, running the midfield, Mignolet had to be confident and commanding. These were qualities he has added to his game since coming back into the side and he showed them again, several times, having shed that all pink kit for a more imposing all black one.

In the 41st minute Ivanovic fouled the tricky Lallana, right on the by-line, to the right of Courtois post. It was a dangerous position and for once Liverpool took full advantage. Lambert stepped-up and hooked the ball to the left edge of Courtois’s box and there was Captain Marvel, once again, as in so many countless games through the years, Gerrard, to draw Liverpool level, with a simple header. The ball ending in the top left hand netting of Courtois’s net. 1-1.

The reds then created a half chance for Lallana, after a slick interchange of passes, but the former Southampton man lamely dragged his shot well wide of Courtois right post.

Half-time :- Chelsea 1 v Liverpool 1

Liverpool came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half. It was an unusual occurance of late and they nearly caught Chelsea on the hop as Sterling motored down the Chelsea right and cut the ball invitingly back, and at a tight angle for Coutinho, whose stinging shot rippled the side netting of Courtois goal.
In a flowing game, Remy, who mysteriously never joined Liverpool last season when all the paperwork was still wet, in the 54th minute, saw his shot go just past Mignolet’s right post.

In the 59th minute, with Sterling and Lallana seemingly playing on the same attacking wave-length, Lallana saw his shot take a deflection, past Courtois’s left post.
A minute later Lallana flung the ball into the box, from the left of Courtois area and Skrtel of all people, saw his shot go high and wide over the left post.

On 66 minutes, Lambert was replaced by Jerome Sinclair, who became the youngest player to play for Liverpool in Rodger’s first season. It was good to see such a switch and surely nails the coffin of Balotelli’s reds exit.

Within minutes, another youngster came on, in Ibe, as he replaced Lallana, who for him, had shown rare flashes of skill which could bode well for the future.

Fabreagas, minus his protective face mask, in the 73rd minute, had a weak shot when bearng down on goal and two minutes later, Fabregas had a shot blocked by Skrtel, who this time, was in the right place at the right time.

This can also be said of Lovren who showed great poise and timing, for once, to deny Hazard, with a last ditch challenge, as Chelsea moved up the gears.

On 78 minutes, Gerrard, with 8 league goals for the season under his belt – more than any other Liverpool player, was replaced by Lucas. The reds fans gave him a rousing reception and even the Chelsea fans, who had poked fun at him all afternoon, also stood to applaud the Liverpool captain.  Gerrard, speaking later, acknowledged the Liverpool fans by declaring that the support he had from them, meant everything to him and throughout his career.

On 81 minutes Ibe darted down the Chelsea left and almost prematurely swapped shirts with Filipe Luis, who fouled him. From the resultant free-kick, Henderson floated in a wasteful ball, which went yards wide of Courtois right post.

Liverpool kept plugging away, to their credit and one wonders if the same effort had been shown against United and Villa, then the season might still have been alive, not almost flat-lining.

Coutinho had a shot which took a wicked deflection wide and in the 89th minute Henderson saw his snap-shot go wide to the right of Courtois right post.
With time dwindling away, Can threw away the last opportunity, as he lashed the ball towards Courtois’s left post when a ball into the area was surely the better option.

Full-time:- Chelsea 1 v Liverpool 1.

*One day I might write one of these reports saying that we won convincingly! :eyebrow
[b]I am and always will be in love with them...
andy c legs
LFC Basic Member
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:38 pm
Location: pontypool


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