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 

Liverpool TOP after thrashing Watford

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 1:6 WFC

The Reds went top of the Premier League for the first time under manager Jürgen Klopp after destroying Watford 6-1 at Anfield. And it could have been more.

Hornets keeper Heurelho Gomes had already made some fine stops against Lucas Leiva, Roberto Firmino hit the bar and missed a sitter and Philippe Coutinho had sent another chance wide.

With 25 minutes gone, it looked like it wasn't going to be Liverpool's day, Walter Mazzarri's men sticking to their job and frustrating the home side.

Sadio Mané broke the dead lock, finally, in the 27th minute, with an acrobatic header off a corner.

Three minutes later, his Brazilian team mate Coutinho doubled the lead, drilling in his fifth league goal of the season from 20 yards out, beating/ignoring/defying four defenders in front of him.

To make things worse for the visitors, at 2-0 down, just over half an hour gone, Gomes had to be replaced due to injury, Costel Pantilimon forced to take over the challenge.

Emre Can made it 3-0 before the break, heading in Adam Lallana's cross after a great run and ball in from the right, with all the space in the world, no chance for the sub-keeper.

The 6'8'' stopper did glove James Milner's free kick high and out to keep it "just" 3-0 at half time, although Lucas and Firmino could and should have combined for more, but to Watford's relief they messed it up and missed out.

Liverpool kept pushing and pressing after the break despite the comfortable lead.

And it was Coutinho and Lallana, given way too much space in and around the box off a free kick, the latter's cut-back finding and providing Firmino with an easy and comfortable chance to put away and make it 4-0.

And the Brazilian provided the next goal with a fine run and turn in the box, to Mané, who made no mistake of slotting it in and making it two for him and five for Liverpool.

Red keeper Loris Karius did not have much to do, but did deny Etienne Capoue after a one-on-one, with Milner's help, before Watford did pull one back, a consolation goal, destroying the much-wanted clean sheet.

Daryl Janmaat kept his cool, collected and netted the ball into the bottom left after Milner went down too easily in the build-up. Just a consolation goal, meaning Klopp's men have only kept one clean sheet in the league this season though.

But the Reds didn't (and don't) have to care about that atm - Daniel Sturridge had come on replacing Lallana and was causing even more havoc, striking the bar TWICE!

Georgino Wijnaldum netted the sixth for Liverpool after Sturridge was denied TWICE by Pantilimon, for the Dutchman to score his first goal for the club off the rebound in stoppage time.

6-1 was the final score, 17-8 shots on target, 17 being the most shots on target recorded in the Premier League since 2003.

It's Watford's joint heaviest defeat in the Premier League with a 5-0 defeat against Wimbledon in December 1999.

The Hornets conceded more goals in this game against the Reds than they had in their past six Premier League matches combined (5)!

So, this all proves, the Reds are on fire and high flying, top of the Premier League for the international break. Einfach nur geil! BOOM! XxXxX

Liverpool Goals: Mané 27' & 60', Coutinho 30', Can 43', Firmino 57' & Wijnaldum 90'+1'.

Watford Goal: Janmaat 75'.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius; 7 Milner, 32 Matip, 21 Lucas, 2 Clyne; 20 Lallana (15 Sturridge 70'), 14 Henderson (c), 23 Can; 19 Mané (5 Wijnaldum 62' (booked 85')), 11 Firmino, 10 Coutinho (53 Ejara 87'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 22 Mignolet, 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 27 Origi.

Watford Team: 1 Gomes (30 Pantilimon 33'); 25 Holebas (booked 56'), 3 Britos (booked 80'), 4 Kaboul, 22 Janmaat; 37 Pereyra (18 Zuniga 86'), 29 Capoue, 11 Behrami (23 Watson 62'), 7 Amrabat; 9 Deeney (c), 24 Ighalo. 4-4-2
Subs not used: 6 Mariappa, 17 Guedioura, 19 Sinclair, 27 Kabasele.

Match Stats: Liverpool-Watford 1st & 2nd half
Attempts: 15-4 & 28-11
On target: 9-2 & 17-8
Corners: 4-0 & 6-3
Free kicks: 5-8 & 10-14
Bookings: 0-0 & 1-2
Possession: 59%-41% & 60%-40%

Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
Attendance: 53,163

Pictures taken from BBC match report

Click here for my previous LFC match report 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Premier League Picks Of The Week 10

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 10

The 10th week of the Premier League action saw:

295 shots - most by Man United = 38

28 goals - most by Liverpool, Arsenal & Man City = 4 each!

233 fouls - most by Leicester = 20

42 bookings - most by West Brom, Leicester & Sunderland = 4 each

1 red card - Herrera for Man United

2 penalties - 2 scored (Janssen for Spurs & Defoe for Sunderland)

What a game! What a mad first half it was at Palace - five goals with the first three netted in under six minutes (5:45 minutes to be exact). Liverpool ended up on top, 2:4, at the end of the cracking encounter at Selhurst Park. Defending champions Leicester won their first away point at White Hart Lane, Spurs keeping their unbeaten record intact. And Everton ended their sequence of five games without a win with a scrappy home win against West Ham. Much needed to say the least.

What a team! Lots of sides are on a very dire run at the moment. West Brom are without a win in five games after getting thrashed 0-4 by Man City, whilst Hull City suffered their sixth straight league defeat, 1-0 at Watford, with no win since 20th August. Sunderland are still rockbottom without a win after Arsenal inflicted them with a painful 1-4 home defeat, David Moyes' men taking just two points from ten games. And Swansea, just one place and three points above Sunderland, are without a win since the opening day! Much in contrast to them, Chelsea are flying high in fourth place with double the points total they had after ten games last season (José Mourinho 11-22 Antonio Conte).

What a man! Talking about runs, Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be glad to have the monkey off his back, ending his worst run of no win in six games, and in style netting four goals against sorry Baggies at the Hawthorns. Clarets keeper Tom Heaton had a stunner of a game, keeping a clean sheet and grab a point at Old Trafford! Legendary display for Burnley, frustration for the Red Devils.

What a goal! Gastón Ramírez deserves a shoutout for his great individual goal an run for Boro. Arsenal's three goals in seven minutes stunned and battered the Black Cats, super-sub Olivier Giroud starting the perfect comeback. And Wilfried Bony will be more than relieved to finally be back on the scoreboard with two goals for Stoke against his former side Swansea.

What the hell?! The Hammers' struggle continues. Slaven Bilić's men are slumping deep in 17th place on ten points out of ten games after suffering their sixth defeat of the season at Goodison Park. The media are always quick to blame the new ground, but even away the London club looked no competition to the Toffees who are flying high in sixth and on form with 18 points much to Ronald Koeman's delight.

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

Click here to read last week's Premier League Picks

All pictures taken from the BBC match reports