Liverpool vs Leeds

The EFL cup is back, which means more football to watch.

The back 5 is pretty much settled, with Mingolet, ATA, Lucas, Klavan and Moreno picking themselves.

In midfield, it looks likely that Stewart, Grujic and Ojeria will be the trio, but up front, it might prove a little tricky.

Origi is destined to start, with Ben Woodburn likely as well, but it would be interesting to see who Kloop picks to start on the other flank. Wijnaldum, Mane, or Firmino are all possible starters, not to mention there’s a slight chance Ojo might too – although it is more likely he will be on the bench.

It’s a pity because had Ings be fit, he would surely be the one starting. Let’s hope Sturridge plays a part  too, if he can overcome his mysterious injury.

It wouldn’t be easy for us, as Gary Monk has the experience of playing in the EPL before, he knows the league well, and will surely make it to good use.

I am hoping Grujic gets a goal or two, same with Origi, and who knows, Ben Woodburn might score one as well!

Liverpool 2 Sunderland 0

Whew. 3 points on the board. Job done.

Thank goodness for Origi. It’s just about time he stepped up. He will be needed in the upcoming month of December, where the games will be coming thick and fast.

Let’s all hope that Coutinho won’t be out for too long, but it doesn’t look good though. Which highlights the importance of Lallana even more. Need him back earlier than ever, as we don’t have much creativity up front.

Grujic will definitely get his chances, especially if Sturridge stays injured. Getting tired of him being injured just when we need him the most.

There wasn’t any particular player that stands out from the match to be honest, but if I had to give it to one, it would be either Origi for his goal or either one of the two centre-backs.

It was also nice to see young Ben Woodburn getting his debut too, especially at Anfield, and it’s always good to see super-subs. Origi was one, with a point to prove, and he delivered.

I thought Karius did well today, there were a couple of half chances which Sunderland had and he did just enough to smoother them. And I would like to believe those rushes out from his goal-line were spot on. Can see him improving, and so does his confidence.

Kloop also deserves some praise for getting the crowd going in the 2nd half, I thought it actually spurred the players on a little, which some might argue it led to Origi’s goal.

Milner also deserves a mention too, cold as a cucumber from the penalty spot. What’s new anyway? What a model professional he is. Could easily be one of the best free signings we had.

We might need to get a creative No.10 to open up games like these in January though, but that’s if Grujic doesn’t deliver. I’m sure he’ll add some goals and hopefully assists from midfield, I rate him very highly. Can’t wait to see him on the pitch. Ejarie may be our answer, who knows?

Liverpool vs Sunderland

Steven Gerrard’s retirement somewhat overshadowed a must-win game we have against Sunderland at Anfield on Saturday.

Don’t expect much changes to the team, with Lallana still out injured. The question would be would Kloop stick with the midfield trio of Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum?

Chances are he will, as there’s a midweek clash with Leeds coming up, meaning our reserve players will have a chance to start.

However, I would be surprised if Coutinho drops deeper into midfield to replace either Can or Wijnaldum (likelyhood is Wijnaldum), with Sturridge starting as the No.9.

It would be a good move as we need to finish our chances against Sunderland, and with a makeshift backline, it means O’Shea starting, which he might not have the legs to deal with our quick, inter-exchangeable frontline.

It won’t be easy to defend against 2 in-form strikers though, but let’s hope, no matter what happens, 3 points is a must to bring home.

Southampton 0 Liverpool 0

Frustrating to watch, but good thing is we kept a clean sheet, and I’m sure Southampton would be able to take points away from our challengers at St Mary’s if they continue playing like this.

Wijnaldum looks lost, it feels as though he is a lot more restricted when he should be playing with more freedom and attacking intent. I thought that it wasn’t made clear to him by the coaching staff. He should be pressing further up the pitch, taking more risks, and combining more with the front trio.

Can still has lots to improve seeing his performance. He was a bit slow with the ball, although I have to credit him for his countless tracking back and doing the dirty work. Need to improve his decision making in the final third.

Coutinho looks tired to me, and same goes to Firmino. But can’t blame them after 2 or 3 days down from a plane. That jet lag affects us, and them too. This is the kind of match whereby Kloop should be starting with fresher players – Origi hadn’t play for Belgium, he should have started, or Sturridge should have come on much earlier, at the hour mark.

They did well though, especially Firmino, who helped out in getting the ball back on a few occasions. Coutinho was sloppy a couple of times with the ball, but did create good chances for others too.

Man of the match goes to Matip easily. Lovren in for a shout as well. Solid, never made a fuss, and did his job well. And it finally looks like we got a quality, smart signing in him.

 

Southampton vs Liverpool

Lallana in doubt, Coutinho travel lag + fatigue. Thank you, international breaks.

Good thing is that 4 of our back 5- Karius, Matip, Lovren, and Milner were not involved in the international break, and hence should be fit and firing for Saturday’s clash against Southampton.

If Lallana is deemed unfit, chances are Wijnaldum will be starting in his place, and he should be in high spirits after a debut goal against Watford. Emre Can, who wasn’t called up by Germany, will be starting alongside Henderson you can guess.

I do believe with us having a couple of mid-week games coming up, Coutinho will not be risked if he  isn’t 100%. This leaves either Origi or Sturridge to start, with Firmino likely to drop into the left side to take up Coutinho’s place. Mane should be starting on the right of the front three.

Southampton wouldn’t be easy opponents, they have been solid this season, with a structured side and a firing Charlie Austin leading their line. It will be tough to break them down as well.

 

Liverpool 6 Watford 1

Who expected that, you tell me?

Wow. Liverpool just keep improving, and just keep conceding.

The front 4 was wow, at times I pity Watford defenders for not knowing who to mark, who to close down. Could have double digit scoreline to be honest, if you considered the fact that even Sturridge could have had a hat-trick coming off the bench on the 70th minute mark.

There was a debut goal for Wijnaldum as well, and it has been long coming. The debate between whether Can or Wijnaldum should start will continue, especially with both providing different kind of options.

How I wished Liverpool isn’t top of the the league now, it would be so much better come end of the season. As fans, we can only dream. And there’s a chance Gerrard might be heading back to Liverpool, who knows, he might be the one lifting the EPL trophy next year?

I will leave you with that thought. Peace out, boys.

Liverpool vs Watford

A change to an early Sunday afternoon game-time, and hopefully it is still 3 points for us.

Firstly, it was devastating news to hear that Danny Ings, aka the English Dirk Kuyt, needs to undergo surgery on his right knee, just when he was on the brink of returning to first team action. It is such a pity as he would get his chances in the upcoming games, especially after the upcoming international break, where we have cup games in midweek.

It looks like he will be out till next season, and hopefully he will have a full pre-season and come back stronger, although it is not an easy task to be back playing at the top level after almost 2 years out of action by then. But knowing his qualities, nothing is impossible.

In other news, playing a day later means Milner would have a higher chance of starting, which is good news as Moreno just doesn’t have the tactical discipline to play as a defender. Although Milner sometimes gets dribbled too easily by tricky wingers, he still does make an effort and knows his positioning.

Karius will face a huge test against those 2 towering strikers of Watford, and we should expect balls from wide areas pretty often in the game. It is not going to be an easy game, that’s for sure, especially with the pressure of home fans at Anfield demanding perfection.

An early goal can settle the nerves for us, and let’s see how the Watford defence can deal with our interchanging attack, and of course, the gene-pressing.

Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 4

Defence, defence, defence.

How frustrating to watch our non-existence defending. Karius still lacks decision making, nervous, and time is running out for him.I thought against teams who loves playing crosses, Mignolet might have been a better choice.

Moreno. Just by mentioning his name, it pisses me off. Why does he loves to stand off wingers/fullbacks who are ready to whip in a cross? Is it so difficult to close down and block the cross from coming in?

Even before the goal was conceded, Palace already had an opportunity to whip in a cross in which Moreno chose to stand off the provider. Yet, he never ever learns his lesson. Had Carragher been still around, he would have screamed at him on the spot. How I wished we have a vocal player to act as a coach on the pitch.

Sometimes I really wonder if Kloop and his team practise defending crosses and set-pieces at Melwood. Time and again, it has proven that whoever that is coaching them defending, isn’t doing a good job.

Attacking wise, it was easy on the eye, and probably the best performance put in under Kloop. It’s a pity we only put 4 goals past them. And Kloop’s introduction of Origi over Sturridge says the team always comes first. And Sturridge knows it, despite of his lethal left foot, has to change before it’s too late. Ings, with his workmanlike attitude, will sooner or later replace him if he doesn’t adapt and be more of a team player.

 

Liverpool 2 Tottenham 1

Different team, same result.

With a virtually 2nd team, Liverpool won, and progress into the quarter-finals of the EFL cup.

The likes of TAA, Stewart and Gurjic impressed, while Sturridge’s goals gave Kloop a headache on who to start at the weekend against Crystal Palace.

It was good to see Ings back in action against, and he almost scored a goal coming off the bench. I am quite sure Kloop will play roughly the same team in cup games, saving the core to challenge for the EPL.

Trend Alexandra Arnold. Remember the name, because he’s going to be dominating our right back slot for the next 10 years. Fearlessly playing without the fear for the occasion, he was up and down the right flank throughout, and only a ‘debut challenge’ costed him a yellow card. Jon Flannagan might find it hard now.

Kevin Stewart – it is easy to watch him play nowadays. He has come heaps and bounds to become the player he is today. Tactical awareness, he’s right up there, with strong tackles and forward passes. Lucas finally has a more than capable replacement.

Grujic – crunching challenges when needed, eye for the goal (which will improve much more under Stevie G once he’s back coaching I hope), box-to-box playing style. I can certainly imagine the trio of Stewart, Can and Grujic playing in our midfield soon enough. Who knows, they may come close to replicating the Mashcerano, Alonso, Gerrard trio.

Defence, as usual, still needs work to be done, and it is good news to see Joe Gomez back in training, although it might take months before he’s match fit. Let’s not rush him back though.

Mignolet is a more than capable No.2 I would say, and it definitely looks like our bench is strong enough right now, because there will be some who are gonna get pissed just by not making the bench!

Let’s get Benteke’s Crystal Palace on Saturday.

 

Liverpool 2 West Bromwich 1

To close for comfort?

It could have been 5-0 easily, yet again defensive errors and lack of concentration almost cost us the 3 points.

But credit Kloop and his team to work on the counter. Our 2 goals came from quick counter-attacks. Winning the goal high up the pitch, players picking the right pass and movements. Outstanding.

High balls remain a big concern, so do set-pieces. Why can’t they admit they need a defensive coach. It’s been more than 10 years since Rafa’s era, where we had debate on defending.

I could go on and on about this.

Meanwhile, looking forward to midweek’s game against Spurs in the EFL cup. I hope to see new faces, such as Grujic, Ings, Origi, Brannagan, Lucas, Klavan, Moreno, ATA, and maybe Mignolet can start too.

It’s going to be a good game, against a Spurs side struggling to get goals. We might have to watch out for Sissoko though.