Thursday, 29 December 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 18

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 18

The 18th week of the Premier League actions saw:

239 shots - most by Arsenal & Man United = 26 each
31 goals - most by Liverpool, Tottenham & West Ham = 4 each
236 fouls - most by Watford & Middlesbrough = 18 each
36 bookings - most by Burnley = 6
1 red card - Redmond for Saints
5 penalties - 3 scored (Deeney for Watford, Hazard for Chelsea, Yaya Touré for Man City)

What a game! It was very annoying to watch injury-hit Watford against dominant Crystal Palace. The competitive London derby encounter was spoiled by too many dives and whines, it was pathetic! Palace had taken the lead nice and comfortable thanks to Yohan Cabaye's low strike and should have been two up, but for Christian Benteke to screw up his spot kick. Then to fit the cringeworthy mess, Troy Deeney's soft penalty made it 1-1, no discrediting him becoming the 5th centurion in goals for the hosts. This one was a game to watch if you want to teach young players how not to play and what not to do!!! 💩🙈💩🙈💩

What a team! And Chelsea keep on going, recording their 12th consecutive league win, a club record. Even without Diego Costa and N'Golo Kanté, the Blues were unstoppable, downing Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to Pedro and man of the match Eden Hazard with a goal each and Steve Cook's own goal deflection off the prior's strike. Liverpool are staying on their trail in second place with an impressive 4-1 home win against Stoke, keeping their unbeaten home record up and going, but still six points between the two sides at the top. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a man! Antonio Conte is the first manager to win 15 of his first 18 Premier League games. Jürgen Klopp stole some of that limelight on Tuesday when Liverpool thrashed Stoke 4-1 recording the 100th league goal under the German, a gift for Daniel Sturridge seconds after he came on as a substitute. Adam Lallana starred again for the Reds, click here for my match report. Cesc Fàbregas proved he's still got it, scoring or assisting in each of his last three Premier League starts for top dogs Chelsea. And last but not least, Man City's Yaya Touré kept his 100% penalty record in the Premier League, converting 10/10. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a goal! Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal for United was phenomenal, goal of the season (so far), no question about it. The replays, the stunned crowd and commentators, in total awe, drooling over it again and again, proved that. Only catch: It was offside! Not just one player, but two or three red shirts! How the refs missed that, I don't know. Or maybe they were just as shocked by the goal's brilliance that they forgot what/where/who/why/how they were doing... It helped the Red Devils to their fourth successive Premier League win, boss José Mourinho certainly didn't have any complaints, for a change!

What the hell?! As mentioned above, so many refereeing decisions were not just questionable, but blatantly wrong! From dives, free kicks, penalties, goals... To red cards! Nathan Redmond's sending off in the second half, when the score was just 1-2, was harsh to say the least and a game changer for the Saints against Spurs. It turned a competition into a thrash. Shame. Farce. Costly. Oh so crucial. Why replays cannot be used like in tennis, cricket, rugby... I keep on asking and shaking my head again and again... 💩🙈💩🙈💩

My Predictions - Actual Results
Watford 0:1 Crystal Palace - 1:1
Arsenal 2:0 West Brom - 1:0
Burnley 0:0 Middlesbrough - 1:0
Chelsea 2:1 Bournemouth - 3:0
Leicester 3:2 Everton - 0:2
Man United 2:1 Sunderland - 3:1
Swansea 0:0 West Ham - 1:4
Hull City 1:2 Man City - 0:3
Liverpool 2:1 Stoke City - 4:1 or click here for my match report
Southampton 1:2 Tottenham - 1:4

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Liverpool come back to thrash Stoke 4-1

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 4:1 SCFC

Liverpool broke down a stubborn Stoke side coming back from a goal down to beat Potters, comfortably in the end, 4-1 at Anfield.

Jon Walters had headed the visitors ahead from close range, beating keeper Simon Mignolet all too easily, exposing the hosts' vulnerability at the back once again.

Former Reds Peter Crouch and Joe Allen caused the home side's back line all sorts of problems, adding to the defensive headache.

But after a too familiar iffy and shaky start, Jürgen Klopp's side got into gear, with Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino scoring, turning the game around and giving the hosts the lead before the break.

That turned both side's half-time team talk on its head. And things went from bad to worse for Mark Hughes' men after the break.

First Giannelli Imbula turned the ball into his own net off Divock Origi's cross, before Ryan Shawcross inexplicably put the ball back, intended for keeper Lee Grant, but straight to Daniel Sturridge instead, who netted the gift gratefully to make it 4-1.

It was the striker's first Premier League goal of the season, Liverpool's 100th under Klopp, just seconds after he had replaced Origi.

That makes it 86 league goals for the Reds in 2016, their most in a calendar year since 1985. And the year isn't over yet, Manchester City being the next visitors to come to Anfield on New Year's Eve.

Liverpool Goals: Lallana 34', Firmino 44', Imbula OG 59' & Sturridge 70'.

Stoke City Goal: Walters 12.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 17 Klavan, 7 Milner; 14 Henderson (c), 20 Lallana (23 Can 69'), 5 Wijnaldum; 27 Origi (15 Sturridge 70'), 19 Mané, 11 Firmino (18 Moreno 79'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 21 Lucas, 53 Ejaria & 58 Woodburn.

Stoke City Team: 33 Grant; 8 Johnson, 17 Shawcross, 15 Martins Indi; 18 Diouf (14 Afellay 75'), 21 Imbula, 6 Whelan (32 Sobhi 66'), 4 Allen (booked 36'), 3 Pieters; 25 Crouch (12 Bony 84'), Walters. 3-5-2
Subs not used: 16 Adam, 22 Shaqiri, 24 Given, 27 Krkic.

Match Stats: Liverpool-Stoke City
Possession: 64%-36%
Attempts: 20-6
On target; 6-2
Corners: 8-2
Fouls: 9-6
Bookings: 0-1

Referee: Michael Oliver
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,094

Pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 17

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 17

The 17th week of the Premier League action saw:

245 shots - most by Tottenham = 30!
23 goals - most by Southampton & Middlesbrough = 3 each
216 fouls - most by Chelsea = 15
45 bookings - most by Leicester = 5
1 red card - Vardy for Leicester
3 penalties - 3 scored (Krkic for Stoke, Negredo for Middlesbrough & Noble for West Ham)

What a game! It was a game of two halves at the Etihad. Theo Walcott had given the Gunners an early lead after just five minutes, in a dominant display by the visitors. But the second half saw that change and reversed by Manchester City. Leroy Sané levelled the score a couple of minutes after the break, off David Silva's pass, who looked offside, Arsène Wenger left furious. But instead of fighting back, Arsenal crumbled, the Sky Blues took over. Raheem Sterling scored the winner off Kevin de Bruyne's brilliant cross, condemning the Londoners to their second defeat in a row and widening the gap between them to nine points. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a team! Yes, Chelsea won again thanks to Diego Costa, with a simple header, 1-0 at Crystal Palace this time (their 11th consecutive victory equalling club record from 2009)... But Tottenham were on fire at White Hart Lane! Mauricio Pocchetino's men had so many chances against Burnley! They had fallen behind to a ping pong goal, but Dele Alli boomed in a leveller six minutes later before Danny Rose completed the comeback scoring the winner later in the second half. Good goalkeeping and well-set defence meant the scoreline did not get out of hand as it could have with the flood of chances the home side threw at their visitors! ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a man! It seems like an auto-text every week, Chelsea win, Costa winner, as mentioned above. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on a roll too, his header and deflected goal seeing Manchester United win for the third time in a row, 0-2 at West Brom, taking the Swedish striker's run to 10 goals in nine games. And Jermain Defoe was provider this time, for Patrick van Aanholt to score the winner for Sunderland against Watford. I'm telling you, my phone is recognising and predicting certain names every week... ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a goal! On-loan striker Álvaro Negredo produced an excellent finish and a comfortable penalty before a ripper of a pass from Gastón Ramírez found Marten de Roon to make it 3-0. It was a boosting win for Middlesbrough against a sorry Swansea side who are slipping down more and more, now second from bottom with just 12 points. And Liverpool left it really really late in the Merseyside derby to win the scrappy affair deep into injury time thanks to Sadio Mané netting a rebound and keep up with Chelsea at the top!⚽️🙈⚽️🙈⚽️

What the hell?! There were once again questionable refereeing decisions, both Moussa Sissoko and Ross Barkley lucky to stay on the pitch for Spurs and Everton with dangerous tackles that could have ended the careers of Burnley's Stephen Ward and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson respectively. It is just ridiculous that replays cannot be used - I write that every week! Hull City can sing a song of that too, once again unlucky conceding a penalty and losing against West Ham after Mark Noble made no mistake of the spot kick this time. ⚽️🙈⚽️🙈⚽️

My Predictions - Actual Results
Crystal Palace 1:2 Chelsea - 0:1
Middlesbrough 0:0 Swansea - 3:0
Stoke 1:1 Leicester - 2:2
Sunderland 3:1 Watford - 1:0
West Ham 2:1 Hull - 1:0
West Brom 2:2 Man United - 0:2
Bournemouth 2:1 Southampton - 1:3
Man City 1:1 Arsenal - 2:1
Tottenham 2:0 Burnley - 2:1
Everton 1:1 Liverpool - 0:1

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 16

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 16

The 16th week of the Premier League action saw:

240 shots - most by Tottenham = 27!
21 goals - most by Liverpool, West Brom and Tottenham = 3 each
234 fouls - most by Watford = 20
27 bookings - most by Sunderland, Manchester United & Leicester = 3 each
2 red cards - Arnautovic for Stoke & Jagielka for Everton
1 penalty - 0 scored (Noble miss for West Ham)

What a game! Everton denied Arsenal the chance to go top again (for the night), ending the Gunners' unbeaten run of 14 games, with a late header to make it 2-1, a dream finish for the Toffees at Goodison Park. Arsène Wenger's men had an on-and-off day, especially at the front, seeing plenty of chances gone and missed, including consecutive shots cleared off the line late on. The win takes Ronald Koeman's men up to seventh, whilst Arsenal have widened gap to Chelsea at the top to six points and fallen to third place, behind Liverpool in goal difference.

What a team! Bournemouth moved to the highest league position in their history = 9th after beating champions Leicester 1-0 at Dean Court on Tuesday. West Brom's win against Swansea moved them back down to 10th, but Eddie Howe can be a very happy man. Pep Guardiola was much happier again too after seeing his side record their first home win in almost three months! The only sour note for City after the 2-0 win against Watford at the Etihad Stadium was Ilkay Gundogan's injury. The German midfielder limped off in tears as he will be out for several months with knee ligament damage.

What a man! Adam Lallana starred for Liverpool, scoring two and creating one goal in the Reds' 3-0 win at Middlesbrough. Just what the Red doctor ordered after their last two winless games. Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford had one heck of a match, sparing his side from a worse thrashing against Chelsea, Cesc Fàbregas sparing the Blues' blushes with his first half goal at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats had plenty of spirit and worried Antonio Conte, that's for sure! And last but definitely not least, Salomón Rondón deserves a shoutout for his hat-trick which saw West Brom beat Swansea 3-1 at the Hawthorns. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a goal! Mark Noble's penalty was saved by Tom Heaton but the English skipper fired in the rebound which ended up being the crucial winner for the Hammers against Burnley, his eighth Premier League goal of the season. And the big names counted again for Manchester United, Paul Pogba with a man-of-the-match performance and Zlatan Ibrahimovic finding the winner two minutes from time at Crystal Palace. The Red Devils are certainly finding their horns again...

What the hell?!... Marcos Rojo got away with it again, just like against Everton a couple of weeks ago! His challenge on Wilfried Zaha was dangerous and reckless and should have been punished with a red card! Replays showed. Clearly. But he escaped with just a booking. Again. No comment by Mister Mourinho.... Very selective by the Portuguese... Not much to say, just all praise, when the decisions go his side's way... 😡😈😡😈😡

My Predictions - Actual Results
Bournemouth 0:1 Leicester - 1:0
Everton 2:3 Arsenal - 2:1
Middlesbrough 2:2 Liverpool - 0:3
Sunderland 1:3 Chelsea - 0:1
West Ham 1:0 Burnley - 1:0
Crystal Palace 1:2 Man United - 1:2
Man City 2:0 Watford - 2:0
Stoke 2:2 Southampton - 0:0
Tottenham 2:0 Hull - 3:0
West Brom 0:0 Swansea - 3:1

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 15

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 15

The 15th week of the Premier League action saw:

262 shots - most by Arsenal = 21
36 goals - most by Leicester = 4
232 fouls - most by Man United = 19
42 bookings - most by Crystal Palace, Southampton & West Brom = 4 each
0 red cards
4 penalties - 4 scored (Sigurdsson for Swansea, Benteke for Crystal Palace, Snodgrass for Hull City & Adam for Stoke)

Find out what made Claudio Ranieri happy and who he welcomed back...

What José Mourinho and Man United needs and preferences were...

And where Pep Guardiola's looking...

What a game! Leicester's stunning 4-2 victory against Manchester City gets my vote! It ended the Foxes' winless run of five games, finally showing some resemblance of last season's champions. Claudio Ranieri's men were very much helped by Sky Blues' chaotic defending, Pep Guardiola is right feeling the need to look inside... His side looked battered and bruised in and especially after this encounter!

What a team! Arsenal were temporary table toppers on goal difference after their comfortable 3-1 win against Stoke at the Emirates on Saturday, making them unbeaten in 14 Premier League games. The Gunners are in great form after smashing five against the Hammers and four against Basel and look to keep the competition going at the top. And they will need to keep it up as Chelsea extended their winning streak to nine games running, taking them top again, three points ahead, after their 1-0 win against West Brom on Sunday.

What a man! Jamie Vardy finally ended his ten-game run without a Premier League goal with a hat-trick! Welcome back, with a triple-bang! Theo Walcott has earned a shoutout as well after netting his 100th club goal for Arsenal. Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be gutted after netting his first Premier League goal, and winning goal for Manchester United against Tottenham, becoming the first Armenian to score in the Premier League, just to see the joy turn to pain when he had to be taken off injured.

What a goal! Jeff Hendrick's stunning half-volley into the top corner from 25 yards helped Burnley end their run of three Premier League defeats as they beat Bournemouth 3-2 at Turf Moor. George Boyd's slam into the bottom corner off Andre Gray's back-heel to make it 3-1 was top-quality, too. Unlike against Liverpool last week, the Cherries did too little too late and could not perform the perfect comeback this time.

What the hell?! David Moyes blamed the penalty given against Jason Denayer's handball that opened the scoring for the Swans for his sides downfall and thought it was controversial. The former Everton and United boss obviously didn't see what happened at the KCOM stadium. No contact was made by Palace's Scott Dann in the box, Hull's Robert Snodgrass apologised after the match for the dive and embarrassed he should be, even his manager Alan Pardew said. Ridiculous once again that refs still cannot use video replays!!! The poor defending didn't help any of the sides, neither the Black Cats nor the Tigers or the Eagles.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Watford 0:2 Everton - 3:2
Arsenal 2:0 Stoke - 3:1
Burnley 0:0 Bournemouth - 3:2
Hull 1:2 Crystal Palace - 3:3
Swansea 3:3 Sunderland - 3:0
Leicester 0:0 Man City - 4:2
Chelsea 3:0 West Brom - 1:0
Man United 1:1 Tottenham - 1:0
Southampton 0:0 Middlesbrough- 1:0
Liverpool 3:2 West Ham - 2:2 or click here for my match report.

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures taken from the BBC Match Reports.

Errors Cost In Draw At Anfield

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 2:2 WHU

Both goalkeepers will not like to remember this game as West Ham left Anfield with a hard-fought 2-2 draw and point in the bag which takes them out of the relegation zone, definitely two points dropped as far as Liverpool are concerned in the title race.

Liverpool had taken an early lead thanks to Adam Lallana's smart low finish within five minutes, but the Hammers equalised before the half-hour mark when Red number 1 Loris Karius let Dimitri Payet's 25-yard free-kick in.

The former Mainz stopper has had a horrid couple of weeks after leaking in four goals including Bournemouth's winner last week.

But he could not help Michail Antonio scoring to make it 1-2, a scruffy goal, the 20th Jürgen Klopp's side have conceded in the last 15 league matches, the worst record in the top six.

At the other end, Iron keeper Darren Randolph had a mixed afternoon, dropping a cross to hand Divock Origi Liverpool's equaliser shortly after the interval, to deny Jordan Henderson late on, saving the skipper's stunning strike.

Slaven Bilic was happy calling it a "great point", whilst Klopp was left the more frustrated with the lack of "offensive options".

Looking at the stats and general dominance of Liverpool in possession and chances, it is evident that the Reds are more leaking at the back than lacking in attack.

And as costly as that was the last couple of weeks, the more it will be in general, in the race to the top.

Liverpool Goals: Lallana 5' & Origi 48'.

West Ham Goals: Payet 27' & Antonio 39'.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 2 Clyne, 32 Matip, 6 Lovren (17 Klavan 45'), 7 Milner; 14 Henderson (c), 20 Lallana, 5 Wijnaldum; 27 Origi, 19 Mané (booked 76'), 11 Firmino (booked 53'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 18 Moreno, 21 Lucas, 22 Mignolet, 53 Ejaria, 58 Woodburn, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

West Ham Team: 1 Randolph; 4 Nordtveit, 2 Reid, 21 Ogbonna; 20 Ayew (9 Carroll 63'), 16 Noble, 14 Obiang, 3 Cresswell; 10 Lanzini (31 Fernandes 78'), 30 Antonio; 27 Payet. 3-4-2-1
Subs not used: 13 Adrián, 24 Fletcher, 36 Quina, 43 Browne, 66 Pike.

Match Stats: Liverpool-West Ham
Possession: 68%-32%
Attempts: 18-7
On target: 3-3
Corners: 11-4
Fouls: 7-8
Bookings: 2-0

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,068

Pictures and stats are taken from the BBC match report.

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 14

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 14

The 14th week of the Premier League action saw:

266 shots - most by Tottenham = 28
37 goals - most by Arsenal & Tottenham = 5 each
223 fouls - most by Swansea & Liverpool = 17 each
42 yellow cards - most by Chelsea, Saints, Swans, Arsenal, Hammers, Sunderland, Stoke & Man United = 3 each
3 red cards - Agüero & Fernandinho for Man City & Pereyra for Watford
3 penalties -  3 scored (Kane for Spurs, Baines for Everton & Wilson for Bournemouth)

Thumbs up, happy Pardew 👊🏻😉👍🏻

Jolly, chatty Mourinho 😑😑😑

Taxi for Forster ⚽️😱🙈😱⚽️

What a game! There were plenty of goals and talking points again this weekend, but the clash at the Etihad gets my vote. It had a little bit of everything. Gary Cahill's own goal opened the scoring for City. Kevin De Bruyne was made to pay for his miss right in front of goal when stubborn Cesc Fabregas levelled the score minutes later. Willian's counter break, run and take and Eden Hazard's whack made it 1-3, another counter, winner and devastating statement that crushed Pep Guardiola's men, mourning all their earlier misses dearly. And the mayhem at the end that saw Sergio Agüero sent off for his outrageous scissor tackle on David Luiz and Fernandinho walk off with him for his chokes and push on Fabregas just topped it all off, the latter lucky not to end up in the books too for his cheekiness. Although, I am sure the FA will pull up, question and punish both sides for the teams clashing as they did, either way, Antonio Conte's men ended up on top of it all, with or without outstanding class or quality.

What a team! And Leicester's downfall continues. Their defeat at Sunderland sees Claudio Ranieri's side hover two points and two places above the relegation zone having taken just 13 points from the opening 14 games, 14 places and 16 points worse off than at this stage last season. David Moyes will be a much happier man seeing his side record their third win in four games thanks to Robert Huth's own goal and non-other than Jermain Defoe, plus great late saves by Jordan Pickford, taking the Black Cats up to 18th, one point behind West Ham in 17th.

What a man! Alan Pardew was all smiles and thumbs up to chairman Steve Parish, thanking his boss for backing him up against the pressure and scrutiny of the board and lack of form, and paying him back with a win, a comfortable and confident 3-0 against Southampton. The win takes the Eagles up to 14th with a nice little three-point cushion to the relegation zone. Claude Puel's side meanwhile crumble down to 12th continuing their poor away form with a win rate of just 14%.

What a goal! Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cracker to make it 1:4 for Arsenal destroyed any hope the Hammers had of a comeback after Andy Carroll had headed one back. And man of the match Alexis Sánchez's cheeky step, tip and tap dummy up and in (looked offside but) sealed the thrash 1:5 and his 14-minute hat-trick nicely. This confident win sends the Gunners shooting up to second place, three points and two goals behind the high-flying Blues.

What the hell?! That's what Jürgen Klopp must have thought seeing his side give away a two-goal lead at the Vitality Stadium. The Reds led comfortably at half-time, 2-0 up thanks to Sadio Mané and Divock Origi, in total control and dominance. After the break, Bournemouth hit back from the spot, Callum Wilson converting the penalty. Emre Can restored that two-goal cushion but super-sub Ryan Fraser turned the game around, scoring in the 76th, providing for Steve Cook to equalise two minutes later, and helping in the buildup before Nathan Aké netted the winner in stoppage time. Breathtaking and mind-bending stuff! It was only the 23rd time in 1,062 occasions that a team that was 2-0 up ended up losing = 2.1%, nearly unique! Unglaublich! Click here for my full match report.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Man City 2:2 Chelsea - 1:3
Crystal Palace 0:1 Southampton - 3:0
Stoke City 1:2 Burnley - 2:0
Sunderland 1:2 Leicester - 2:1
Tottenham 2:1 Swansea - 5:0
West Brom 0:0 Watford - 3:1
West Ham 1:3 Arsenal - 1:5
Bournemouth 1:2 Liverpool - 4:3 or click here for my full match report
Everton 2:3 Man United - 1:1
Middlesbrough 0:0 Hull City - 1:0

My worst prediction week yet!!!

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports

Monday, 5 December 2016

Cherries Shock Reds In 7-Goal Thriller

Sports - Football - Premier League - AFCB 4:3 LFC

Bournemouth beat Liverpool for the first time, coming back from two goals down, scoring three goals in the final 14 minutes, to win 4-3 and end the Reds' 15-match unbeaten run.

It was a game of two halves with a dramatic grand finale at the Vitality Stadium.

The visitors started comfortably and dominant, taking the lead in the 20th minute thanks to Sadio Mané's easy tap in, his seventh league goal of the season.

Not even two minutes later, Divock Origi broke free, keeper Artur Boruc storming past him, the Belgian forward striking from a tight angle, the stadium gasping, utter silence, waiting, expecting, goal, 0-2, all the dominance paid off.

Junior Stanislas was the only ray of hope for the home side, creating chances, only to see the ball given away and wasted on numerous occasions.

And the Cherries were in uproar when they were denied a penalty by referee Robert Madley after Nathan Aké was clipped in the box surrounded by Liverpool defenders.

The half-time whistle could not have come soon enough for Eddie Howe's men, and it would have been more than interesting to be a fly on the wall of that dressing room during the interval.

Former Liverpool man Jordon Ibe was brought on in place of Joshua King for the home side after the break, ringing change.

More change was enforced soon after, Stanislas injured thanks to Jordan Henderson's clumsy tackle that put him in the ref's book, to be replaced by Ryan Fraser. Little did they know how much that sub would change for them.

Moments later James Milner conceded a penalty, netted by striker Callum Wilson to make it 1-2. Game on. Liverpool not so dominant anymore, Jürgen Klopp furious on the sideline, warned off by the officials.

Emre Can restored the two-goal cushion a few minutes later, hitting a nice curling shot, scoring his third league goal of the season, stopping the Bournemouth comeback in its track. Or so they thought.

The Reds thought they had the ball over the line off a Milner corner, keeper Boruc taking it, nearly over the line, replays showing it was really close. But all sound and vibration alerts stayed silent, by a millimetre or two.

Then the last sub for the home side Benik Afobe missed a chance to see man of the match Fraser net it after a nice counter by Bournemouth to make it 2-3. Then all hell broke loose for the Reds.

Seconds later defender Steve Cook levelled the score collecting super-sub Fraser's fine cross, turning and converting nicely, 3-3.

Liverpool's defence looked all over the place at this point, keeper Loris Karius forced into a save by Afobe again, Bournemouth bossing it, Klopp looking lost for words.

Origi and sub Adam Lallana had late chances to nick a win, but it was not to be.

The shocking turnaround was completed by the hosts in the third minute of stoppage time, Karius spilling the ball, Aké pouncing on it to make it count, 4-3!

Bournemouth looked the hungrier in the second half, Liverpool all over the place, the complete opposite of the first half. What a turnaround!

The Red bubble was well and truly burst by the Cherries. The Scousers had not conceded for over 5.5 hours and now netted four, costing them three points, seeing them slip down to third, four points behind league leaders Chelsea, one behind Arsenal in second, ahead of City in fourth just on goal difference.

The Christmas fixture list will now look very different to Klopp and his men.

Click here to read my full ByTheMinute match coverage

Bournemouth Goals: Wilson pen 56', Fraser 76', Cook 78' & Aké 90'+3'.

Liverpool Goals: Mané 20', Origi 22' & Can 64'.

Bournemouth Team: 1 Boruc; 15 Smith, 2 Francis (c) (booked 50'), 3 Cook, 5 Aké; 8 Arter, 4 Gosling (9 Afobe 75'); 17 King (33 Ibe 45'), 32 Wilshere (booked 48'), 19 Stanislas (24 Fraser 55'); 13 Wilson. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 7 Pugh, 14 Smith, 23 Federici, 26 Mings.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 2 Clyne, 21 Lucas, 6 Lovren, 7 Milner; 23 Can (booked 87'), 14 Henderson (booked 53'), 5 Wijnaldum; 19 Mané (20 Lallana 69'), 27 Origi, 11 Firmino. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 22 Mignolet, 53 Ejaria, 58 Woodburn, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

HT Stats:
Bournemouth 0-2 Liverpool
Attempts: 1-5
On target: 0-2
Offside: 0-1
Corners: 1-6
Fouls: 5-4
No bookings
Possession: 41%-59%

FT Stats:
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
Attempts: 12-10
On target: 8-3
Offsides: 1-1
Corners: 4-9
Fouls: 9-17
Bookings: 2-2
Possession: 39.9%-60.1%

Referee: Robert Madley
Man of the match: Ryan Fraser
Ground: Vitality Stadium
Attendance: 11,183

Pictures taken from the BBC match report & stats from Sky Sports live coverage

Click here for my previous LFC match report

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Woodburn Shoots Reds Into Semis

Sports - Football - EFL Cup - LFC 2:0 LUFC 

Liverpool progressed to their 17th League Cup semi-final - more than any other side - after beating Leeds 2-0 at Anfield.

Divock Origi put the home side ahead on 76 minutes off youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold's fine cross moments after Georgino Wijnaldum had hit the woodwork.

The Dutch midfielder then set up the second goal five minutes later, Ben Woodburn smashing home from close range, his first goal for the club, breaking Liverpool's club record becoming the youngest scorer in the Reds' history with 17 years and 45 days, beating none other than Michael Owen by 98 days.

Garry Monk's men had not made it easy for the home side, coming close a couple of times earlier on in the match.

Hadi Sacko was denied by a fine Simon Mignolet save, and man of the match Kemar Roofe hit the post, but it was not to be for the Sky Bet Championship side.

Jürgen Klopp made eight changes, being without Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge, and confirming Philippe Coutinho will be out for five weeks with ankle ligament damage.

The German counted on his youngsters, who didn't get into gear till after the break.

But after the Whites lost Eunan O'Kane to injury in the first half, it looked more difficult for the visitors.

Despite all that, they still challenged the Reds, Kyle Bartley heading wide and Roofe coming close a couple of times.

But it all was to no avail, the Red youngsters ended up on top, and even late on when Leeds thought they had pulled one back, substitute Chris Wood was flagged offside to see his goal denied. It was not their day.

Liverpool will face Southampton in the semis, travelling there for the first leg on the 11th January, the return leg at home scheduled two weeks after that.

Liverpool Goals: Origi 76' & Woodburn 81'.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 18 Moreno, 17 Klavan, 21 Lucas (c), 66 Alex-Arnold; 23 Can, 35 Stewart (58 Woodburn 67'), 51 Ejaria (7 Milner 82'); 19 Mané, 27 Origi (booked 90'+1') (16 Grujic 90'+1'), 5 Wijnaldum. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 14 Henderson.

Leeds United Team: 12 Silvestri; 21 Taylor, 6 Cooper (c) (2 Ayling 45'), 5 Bartley, 28 Berardi; 14 O'Kane (23 Philips 28'), 25 Vieira; 15 Dallas (9 Wood 62'), 7 Roofe, 24 Sacko; 11 Doukara (booked 56'). 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 1 Green, 10 Antonsson, 16 Grimes, 27 Mowatt.

Match Stats: Liverpool-Leeds United
Attempts: 13-13
On target: 4-4
Offsides: 1-5
Corners: 3-5
Fouls: 4-12
Possession: 71.5%-28.5%

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 52,012

Pictures taken from the BBC match report

Click here for my previous LFC match report

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 13

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 13

The 13th week of the Premier League action saw:

218 shots - most by Liverpool = 27
31 goals - most by Swansea = 5
267 fouls - most by Crystal Palace & Watford = 24
53 bookings - most by Crystal Palace = 5
1 red card - Miguel Britos for Watford
4 penalties - 4 scored (Milner for Liverpool, Wilson for Bournemouth, Mahrez and Slimani for Leicester)

LOL at Guardiola complimenting his side's "beautiful goals" - sarcasm may be included. 😂😝😂

OMG at Loris Karius' goal kick howler at Anfield - WTF?!?!?! 😱🙈😱

And Klopp starred again with his touchline antiques, punching Anfield! 👊🏻😁👊🏻

What a game! It was heartbreaking for Crystal Palace to see their side fall to their sixth successive defeat after coming from behind to end up losing out in a nine-goal thriller at the Liberty Stadium, seven of them coming after the break, four in eleven minutes. Many see this as Alan Pardew's final push, with his job having been on the brink already with his side's lack of form and results, seeing them hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th, level on points with Hull City in 18th. Bob Bradley meanwhile, can be very relieved, his Welsh side nicking it with two goals in stoppage time, substitute Fernando Llorente being the double-hero, the win taking Swansea up to 19th, a point between them and safety.

What a team! The top three are unstoppable at at the moment. All three recorded wins keeping them at the top of the league with just one point separating top dogs Chelsea (31) from Liverpool (30) and Manchester City (30). Their performances were far from impressive but they still did their job and recorded the three crucial points, which is the main thing when competition is this tight. Antonio Conte's side turned the game around against Tottenham, whilst Jürgen Klopp's men left it late against Sunderland and Pep Guardiola's side muddled and stumbled their way through at Burnley. The Gunners were also lucky, winning against Bournemouth thanks to defensive howlers, Petr Cech's quality stops and the officials' penalty ignorance. The race is heating up, the sides feeling the rise in temperature, making next week's game the more decisively crunchy!

What a man! Alvaro Negredo ended his goal drought since the opening day of the season, putting Boro ahead at Leicester with a nice double. The first was a nice sweep into the corner of the net, the second a fine finish after an impressive run, pick and hit. The champions ended up rescuing a point thanks to Islam Slimani's last-minute penalty, but Negredo deserved the man of the match award, despite the result, without a doubt. Sergio Agüero's double earned City a hard-fought win at Burnley and their first back-to-back win since September. Clarets boss Sean Dyche was not happy with the result, questioning some of the refereeing decisions, and rightly so.

What a goal! Both Chelsea and Tottenham scored mouthwatering beauties! First Christian Eriksen gave Spurs the lead at Stamford Bridge with an absolute screamer. It was the Dane's first goal since March, the ferocity of the drive giving keeper Thibaut Courtois no chance. But it was not to be for the visitors, who's last win at Chelsea came 26 years ago, the year Nelson Mandela got released from prison (i.e. a long time ago!). Pedro levelled he scored with a right-foot curling beauty, nice turn, again leaving the keeper hope-and useless. The winner was less quality, more deflection ping pong, but sealed Mauricio Pochettino's men's first league defeat of the season.

What the hell?! As mentioned above, the referees have had plenty of controversies and questionable decisions once again. So, José Mourinho's antiques, being sent off the second time in a month for his tantrums, look the more unprofessional and childish. Especially when looking at the incident that made him kick the bottle, Paul Pogba being booked for a dive, it was a correct decision as replays showed no contact was made with West Ham defender Mark Noble. It is just ridiculous how the Portuguese boss is acting and reacting to his side's lack of quality, call it tough luck and bad run of results. Like someone just has to give him back his dummy!!!

My Predictions - Actual Results
Burnley 1:5 Man City - 1:2
Hull City 1:1 West Brom - 1:1
Leicester 2:1 Middlesbrough - 2:2
Liverpool 3:1 Sunderland - 2:0
Swansea 1:1 Crystal Palace - 5:4
Chelsea 3:0 Tottenham - 2:1
Watford 1:1 Stoke City - 0:1
Arsenal 2:1 Bournemouth - 3:1
Man United 3:2 West Ham - 1:1
Southampton 1:1 Everton - 1:0

Click here to read last week's Premier League Picks

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 12

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 12

The 12th week of Premier League action saw:

205 shots - most by Hull City = 17

24 goals - most by West Brom = 4

226 fouls - most by Leicester = 18

44 bookings - most by Everton = 5

2 red cards - Djilobodji for Sunderland, Reid for West Ham

5 penalties - 4 scored (Sigurdsson for Swansea, Mahrez for Leicester, Kane for Spurs, Lanzini for West Ham), 1 missed (Krkic for Stoke)

What a game! The London derby was a juicy one, it had everything in it. The Hammers were 2-1 up thanks to Michail Antonio's first-half header and Manuel Lanzini's penalty and looked on course for only their fourth league win of the season. But Harry Kane had a different idea and turned the game on its head with two late strikes, first from close range off a nice buildup by substitute Son Heung-Min, second from the spot after the South Korean was brought down in the box by Havard Nordtveit. The perfect comeback saw Spurs extend their unbeaten run to 12 games, the last time they managed that in 1960-61, the North Londoners won the league and cup double!

What a team! Antonio Conte's master 3-4-3 stroke prevailed again, serving the Blues their sixth win on the trot, beating Middlesbrough 0-1 at the Riverside Stadium. Diego Costa's strong drill and 10th goal of the season decided a quite even contest, disappointing for Boro, rewarding for Roman Abramovich's side as they move top of the table, one point ahead of Liverpool after their less inspiring goalless draw at Southampton. Tony Pulis' West Brom impressed smashing Burnley 4-0 and David Moyes' Sunderland are starting a run with their second successive win beating a dire Hull City 3-0.

What a man! Yaya Touré marked his shock return for Man City with two decisive goals, grabbing a dramatic late win for the Blues at Crystal Palace. The Ivory Coast midfielder made his first Premier League appearance for Pep Guardiola's side after a long-ongoing dispute with his agent, combining well with Nolito to fire City ahead at the end of the first half. Palace were level thanks to substitute Connor Wickham's smash second half equaliser. But Touré spoilt the show for the home side, heading home a late winner off Kevin De Bruyne's corner from close range, moving City up to third in the table, level on points with Liverpool. And Jermain Defoe deserves a shoutout after netting his 150th Premier League goal in the Black Cats' comfortable 3-0 home win against the Tigers.

What a goal! You were not allowed to blink at Vicarage Road! It took Etienne Capoue only 33 seconds to give Watford the lead against falling champions Leicester, their fastest Premier League goal. Roberto Pereyra curled in a second before the Foxes pulled one back from the spot. The champions weren't able to turn it around, the 2-1 result making them only the third reigning champions, after Leeds in 1992 and Blackburn in 1995, to start the Premier League season without a win from their opening six away games.

What the hell?! Arsenal's late equaliser at Old Trafford was their first goal against José Mourinho in nearly a decade (since May 2007 to be exact)! Arsène Wenger's smirky grin sealed the Red Devil's misery, who were especially frustrated after being denied a spot kick by referee Andre Marriner when Nacho Monreal's arm crossed and brought down Antonio Valencia on the edge of the box. However, Mourinho's protests were over-the-top and cannot cover up the fact that this match was nowhere near as mouthwateringly bombastic, top quality nor title-decisive as it has been in the past, United rusting in 6th on 19 points and the Gunners losing pace to the top in 4th on 25 points, the gap growing to five points between the top five and the rest.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Man United 1:1 Arsenal - 1:1
Crystal Palace 1:2 Man City - 1:2
Everton 2:1 Swansea - 1:1
Southampton 2:3 Liverpool - 0:0
Stoke City 1:1 Bournemouth - 0:1
Sunderland 2:3 Hull City - 3:0
Watford 1:2 Leicester - 2:1
Tottenham 4:2 West Ham - 3:2
Middlesbrough 0-4 Chelsea - 0:1
West Brom 0:0 Burnley - 4:0

Click here to read last week's Premier League Picks

Pictures taken from the BBC match reports 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 11

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 11

The 11th week of the Premier League action saw:

234 shots - most by Liverpool = 28

36 goals - most by Liverpool = 6!!!

239 fouls - most by Sunderland & Tottenham = 17

37 bookings - most by Southampton = 5

1 red card - Pienaar for Sunderland

4 penalties - 4 scored (Benteke Palace, Kane for Spurs, Defoe for Sunderland & Austin for Saints)

What a game! It was goals and action galore at Turf Moor! And it was all topped and finished off by Burnley's last-minute winner! Wow, smashing home form for the Clarets! And finally, Sunderland were rewarded for the hard work and recorded their first win of the season at Dean Court. The more remarkable it was made by the fact that the Black Cats were reduced to ten men for the majority of the game/second half! And strugglers Hull City have recorded their first win since the 20th August and the first three points under Mike Phelan a, who will also be mightily relieved going into the international break.

What a team! Liverpool have gone top of the Premier League for the first time since May 2014 and will be more than happy with that going into the international break. Jürgen Klopp's men absolutely thrashed and took Watford apart, it ended 6-1, it could have been double that! Sadio Mané was the man and made it five in five with his superb goal. It was the fifth time the Reds have scored four goals or more in the league, making them top scorers and overachievers at the moment. Einfach geil! :-D

What a man! Eden Hazard is a changed man for Chelsea scoring in the fourth consecutive Premier League game for the Blues. The Blues are hot and close on Liverpool's heels just one point behind in second. Confidence was high after the 4-0 thrashing of Man United, Everton did not get a word/kick/shout in edgeways. Antonio Conte's 3-4-3 formation was spot on and is flourishing. Put all of that together and you get the result, a comfortable and confident 5-0 win.

What a goal! Yes, you read right, Paul Pogba AND Zlatan Ibrahimov were on the scoreboard for Man United! And the prior's was superb! The result ended a run of four Premier League games without a win for the Red Devils. Whether or not it is a coincidence that they recorded that win with their controversial manager José Mourinho in the stands serving his suspension is interesting and intriguing either way.

What the hell?! Such a shame to see Leicester crumbling away like everyone predicted and Claudio Ranieri scratching his head wondering how the hell... The defending champions have suffered yet another defeat, thanks to Danny Drinkwater's error that led to the second goal to make it 1-2 to West Brom. It's the Foxes first home defeat since September 2015, and unbeaten run of 20 games (13 wins, 7 draws). End of an era.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Bournemouth 2:0 Sunderland - 1:2
Burnley 1:2 Crystal Palace - 3:2
Man City 3:1 Middlesbrough - 1:1
West Ham 1:1 Stoke - 1:1
Chelsea 1:0 Everton - 5:0
Arsenal 1:1 Tottenham - 1:1
Hull City 0:1 Southampton - 2:1
Liverpool 4:0 Watford - 6:1 - click here for my match report
Swansea 1:1 Man United - 1:3
Leicester 2:1 West Brom - 1:2

Click here to read last week's Premier League Picks

All pictures taken from the BBC match reports