Monday, August 23, 2010

Manchester City vs Liverpool

It would be tempting to depict this clash as the one between the past and the future...I for one certainly wont call it so, YET. At present it is a clash between the millionaires against the orphans (without any owner per say and hence no fund). City will be lining up a starting eleven in value more than 200 million (not to mention a bench worth another 100 mills) against a Liverpool eleven consisting of 2 free signings, 6 players bought at less than 10mills and 3 players priced around 20mills. Liverpool bench says a similar story as well having no player bought for more than 12 mills...Given 50 mills counts for 1 goal, City should win tomorrow's contest 6-3 or 3-0 roughly..On paper or at least on dollars spent, no competition IMO. How will it turn up?? I expect a far far more closer contest.

The opening week, Tottenham dominated the defensive minded City, who were lucky to have got something from that game. Liverpool on the other hand had a mixed day...Arsenal dominating them at Anfield in the first half, Ref piling on the Misery with a straight red (Unfair Unfair) for poor Joey(who had a poor 1st 45 Min anyway) and a resurgent Liverpool taking the lead one man down only to clutch their heads in shock after the pepe blunder (poor guy pulled off too amazing saves just before that bizarre moment).

Expected Liverpool Starting XI -


Johnson Carra Skrtel Agger(if available)\Aurellio

Masch(if available)\Lucas Poulsen

Kuyt Stevie G Jovonovic

El nino(woo hoo)

Roy will play both his defensive midfielders to win the second balls and to control the midfield. With City also likely to go for at least 2 defensive midfielders, its going to be more of hassle than dazzle from any of the Mid field men. The industrious Kuyt and Jovonovic will try to put pressure on city further up the pitch apart from trying to feed in Torres and Gerrard as often as they can. Gerrard is likely to play behind Torres, who looked real sharp mid week. The duo will be hoping to hit the wavelength right from the start.

With both the managers likely to adopt a defensive minded line up, I don't see many goals in this fixture. Liverpool have a better chance of inflicting damage on city tomorrow than maybe, in the later part of the season as City's new team might not have gelled quite yet. My Brain says 0-0 while my heart shouts out loud at a 1-0 score line with a Fernando classico giving Mancini a gentle reminder that, there are somethings money can't buy...Passion and Loyalty for the club, for instance..

Hoping Roy's bad away form at Fulham doesn't carry on with Liverpool.


Some match pointers from

5 of their last 7 league meetings have ended in a draw.

Liverpool's last away win was in April against Burnley. 4-0 the score line.

Joe Hart was the busiest GK in the league last week, needing to make a save every 11.3 minutes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Liverpool vs Arsenal..

The wait is finally over... as Liverpool takes on Arsenal at Anfield in their 1st Barclay's Premiership match of the new season.. If there was one tie that they had hoped they wouldn't be drawn against in their opening match, it would have been Arsenal, given their poor recent record against the Gunners..Liverpool got 0 points(both home and away) last season against the Wenger's boys.

Team News -

The majority of the Liverpool's starting XI haven't had time to complete a proper training session with the entire squad after returning from World Cup duties. Along with this, the injury concerns of Torres imposes few selection dilemma's for Roy in his first big match in charge.

Probable starting XI (4-4-1-1)

Reina, Johnson, Carra, Agger, Kelly, Maxi, Stevie G, Lucas, Jovonovic, Cole, Ngog.

Subs -

Cavalieri, Skrtel, Aurellio, Kuyt, Aquilani, Pacheco, Torres

Arsenal, right in the beginning of the new season itself, has been bogged down by injury concerns. Van Persie, Fabregas might not be match fit to take part in tomorrow's match. This along with the confirmed absence of Denilson, Diaby, Song, Bendtner and Ramsey means Liverpool will be facing a much weaker Arsenal side. But rest assured, the first name in the Arsenal's side tomorrow would be that of one Mr. Russian, Arshavin who has an amazing record at Anfield. If Liverpool can keep him quite tomorrow, Liverpool has got a good chance of securing 3 points. The other major threats comes in the form of Chamak, Nasri and Walcot.

I would expect Roy to give the task of handling the pacy Walcot to the quicker and fitter Kelly rather than to Aurellio. Kelly also provides the additional threat going forward. However I wont be surprised if Agger is pushed to LB with Skrtel partnering Carra in case Roy takes on a more defensive approach in his first big game. I expect Roy to stick to players who had spent some time in the pre-season for the other positions. This means, Maxi gets in ahead of Kuyt while Jovonovic will be given the task of giving Sagna a rough time. Lucas and Stevie G will be looking to control the game in the center of the park while Cole would be making his big Debut tomorrow. All eyes will be on him (including few from the blue section) tomorrow. Since Torres is not yet match fit, Roy wouldn't want to take a chance with him so early in the season thereby giving Ngog an extended run in the first team. Liverpool have a decent bench to call on tomorrow. Unfortunately, the likes of Pacheco, Babel, Kyrgiakos, Spearing might not even make it to the squad.

Prediction - Taking Arsenal's injury worries and the feel good factor surrounding the Liverpool club into consideration, I'm going for a rather comfortable 2-1 win for the Reds with Ngog and Joey to be the scorers.

Excited as ever...YNWA

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Era...New Begining...

07/19 - Joe Cole opts for Liverpool snubbing Tottenham, Arsenal and may be even Manchester United..
07/20 - Captain Wonder thwarts Mourinho's plans once again by committing to Liverpool..
08/03- Torres commits his future (atleast the foreseeable one) to Liverpool..

It has been a pretty good pre-season so far for the reds considering the circumstances. Torres and Stevie G has allayed the fears by committing to Liverpool..Joe Cole took over No.10 and has so far looked promising in the hole position behind the striker (Albeit against weaker opponents)..Rafa's addition to the squad, Jovonovic on a free transfer seems impressive(though not a Nani or even Malouda by any means) .Monster Masch might be on his way out, but that should not be a major set back as this might even make Liverpool a little more adventurous this season..Lucas seems to have matured technically and mentally to take over the mantle though the holding Midfielder Poulsen's arrival is imminent. ( From what I have seen of him in YouTube, he is not that encouraging) . In a way, Benetiz exit might have been the best thing that could have happened to Liverpool. Roy seems to be a nice, honest chap who goes about doing his business. He has done well so far in persuading Stevie G and El nino (Taking a 15 hr flight to SA to speak with him for 5mn) to commit to the club. He has also been clever in the transfer market given the clubs limitations. But what he can showcase from his players on the pitch remains to be seen.

Given, he is going to play a 4-4-1-1 formation or even a 4-2-3-1 formation, the ammunition's under his disposal is limited.
Liverpool XI
GK - Pepe Reina, Cavalieri, (Need one more signing)

RB - Glen Johnson, Kelly, Carragher
RCB - Carra, Skrtel
LCB - Agger, Kurriakose
LB - Aurellio, Kelly, (Shouts out loud for a good left back)

RW - Kuyt, Maxi,
CDM - Lucas, Poulsen, Spearing
CM - No.8, Aquilani
LW - Jovonovic, Babel, Pacheco

CAM - Cole, Gerrard

ST - El Nino, Ngog

Given Roy has his preferred starting XI (which is that XI is not hard to make out) available throughout the season, the Reds can give any team a good run for their money for the title..The problem lies in the depth of the squad..Given the injury record of Stevie, Torres, and Cole, it is hard to find them beating any side without at least two of these 3 players. Not a good position to be with 4 days to go to the new season. Liverpool have some exciting talent in Pacheco, Kelly and the yet to Flourish, Babel..But it would be too much, little too early in their careers for them to ride the EPL storm..Liverpool squad is shouting out loud for a good left back, left winger and another top notch striker. The striker and the left back being the priority..Unless Roy Hodgson pulls couple more Joe Coles of the hat, it could turn out to be another year of disappointment for us, Reds..