Thursday, 19 October 2017

Liverpool Record 0-7 Thrashing Of Maribor

Sports - Football - Champions League - NKM 0:7 LFC

Liverpool record the biggest away win by an English team in the history of the European Cup after thrashing Slovenian side NK Maribor 0-7, the win taking them to the top of Group E after Sevilla lost 5-1 at Spartak Moscow on the same Tuesday night.



I'm staying SOBER FOR OCTOBER - please click here to helpand sponsor me and MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT!

This was the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides and finally the Reds made the flood of chances and stats count after their frustrating goalless draw against Manchester United on Saturday!

It didn't even take four minutes for Jürgen Klopp's men to find the breakthrough, man of the match Roberto Firmino tapping in from close range after a great breakthrough and pass by Mohamed Salah from the right.

Just under ten minutes later, Philippe Coutinho doubled the lead putting a lovely right-footed shot into the back of the net after a great counter, the home side unable to keep the ball.

Salah made it three sending a perfect left-footer past keeper Samir Handanovic's right seconds after being denied a penalty seeing the ball bounce off a Maribor defender's arm.

The great Egyptian was dancing through the opposition and was great to watch.

Firmino and Salah worked well together to make it four before the break, both thinking they scored, but it was the latter beating his team mate to have the final touch on Alberto Moreno's cross from the left to net the ball.

The referee whistled HT five seconds early, that said it all regarding the game. After the break, the Red dominance continued over the Violets, no matter what keeper Handanovic tried and kept.

Ten minutes after the break, Firmino headed in another LFC free kick seconds after Handanovic had made a great save jumping to his top-right corner to deny Coutinho.

Around an hour gone, both sides started to make their changes, and in the final minutes two of Liverpool's substitutes combined to make it six.

Daniel Sturridge picked out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the Reds bullied their way all over NKM and the former Arsenal man made no mistake of converting the chance to score his first goal for the Merseyside club.

And that wasn't it. Red youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold added his name to the long score list unable to miss the chance, totally unmarked, right-foot shot, 0-7, thank you very much.

The French commentator called it a massacre, Klopp "nice to write a piece of history", I feel it is just what the Red doctor ordered after all the chances and points missed and dropped over the last month-and-a-bit!

After only one win in the previous eight games, two defeats, five draws, scoring eight and conceding 14 in all competitions, the second consecutive clean sheet will be very much appreciated by and for the much criticised defence too.

And seeing Sevilla thrashed 5-1 at Spartak Moscow makes the Reds' draw in Russia look less disappointing and more credible.

Hopefully Liverpool can take this confidence boost to Wembley where they face Tottenham on Sunday in the Premier League.

Click here for my full ByTheMin live match coverage.

Liverpool Goals: Firmino 4' & 45', Coutinho 13', Salah 19' & 39', Oxlade-Chamberlain 86' & Alexander-Arnold 90'.

NK Maribor Team: 33 Handanovic, 28 Viler, 4 Suler, 26 Rajcevic, 22 Milec (booked 45'), 5 Vrohec (booked 80'), 8 Kabha, 39 Bohar (27 Mesanovic 81'), 7 Ahmedi (6 Pihler 58'), 97 Kramaric (10 Hotic 58', booked 89'), 9 Tavares.
Subs not used: 3 Billong, 12 Vrsic, 29 Palcic, 69 Obradovic.

Liverpool Team: 1 Karius, 66 Alexander-Arnold, 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno, 5 Wijnaldum (29 Solanke 76'), 23 Can, 7 Milner, 11 Salah (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 57'), 9 Firmino (15 Sturridge 68'), 10 Coutinho.
Subs not used: 12 Gomez, 14 Henderson, 17 Klavan, 22 Mignolet.

HT stats: NKM 0-4 LFC
Possession: 35%-65%
Shots: 5-14
On target: 2-9
Corners: 0-3
Fouls: 3-6
Yellow cards: 1-0
Red cards: 0-0

FT stats: NKM 0-7 LFC
Possession: 30%-70%
Shots: 5-26
On target: 2-14
Corners: 0-9
Fouls: 10-11
Yellow cards: 3-0
Red cards: 0-0

Referee: Viktor Kassai
Man of the match: Roberto Firmino
Ground: Ljudski Stadium
Attendance: 12,506

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All pictures, quotes, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report and beIN sports live match coverage.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 8

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 8

The eighth week of the Premier League action saw:
28 goals - most by Man City = 7!!!
236 shots - most by Burnley & Man City = 20 each
79 on target - most by Man City = 11!!!
92 corners - most by Tottenham = 9
197 fouls - most by West Ham = 14
33 yellow cards - most by Huddersfield = 5
1 red card - Andy Carroll for West Ham (2 yellows)
3 penalties - 3 scored (Troy Deeney for Watford, Wayne Rooney for Everton, Manolo Gabbiadini for Southampton)

I'm staying SOBER FOR OCTOBER - please click here to help and sponsor me and MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT! 

What a game! The much anticipated lunch-time kick-off on Saturday between arch rivals Liverpool and Manchester United ended up goalless and not being the game of the century. But the way Jürgen Klopp's side dominated, possession and chance after chance, it was surprising to see United not even trying to compete. In the first half Romelu Lukaku at least pushed and pressed trying to create a threat. But after the break there was no sign of the Belgian, or anyone else from the visitors. It was obvious José Mourinho was happy with just the point and he could thank star keeper David de Gea that it stayed that way. The Reds will be happy they didn't concede, showed much more strength at the back and front, but still missed the breakthrough and will feel more like two points dropped than one gained. With this draw, the German manager has only lost once in eight competitive meetings against his Portuguese counterpart (W3, D4). The two sides have drawn three consecutive league meetings for the first time since 1921. Click here for my HT and FT match notes, and here for my LFC match report. Much in contrast to that, Southampton's Super Sunday 2-2 draw with Newcastle at St Mary's was much more of a thriller, it had everything. Manolo Gabbiadini's double including the leveller from the spot saw Mauricio Pellegrino grab a point against his former Red boss Rafa Benitez and deservedly so. The game had everything, both sides giving it all! That's full on football! That's entertainment! That's what you go to matches for!

What a team! League leaders Manchester City rolled over Stoke City from the start to the finish, just with a mini scare in-between when the visitors got a couple of goals back to make it 3-2 just after the break. Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was just out of this world, setting up three of the goals, taking his PL total to 32 assists, more than any other player since his debut in September 2015. I could reel down the Sky Blues' line-up, they all starred and outplayed their opponents scoring SEVEN! Yes, 7, sieben, sept, siete!!! That's 17 goals in their last 3 home league games! Mark Hughes' face and reactions on the sideline and post-match said it all... Watford frustrated the hell out of Arsenal! Troy Deeney levelled from the spot which some called a controversial penalty. Skipper Per Mertesacker had given the Gunners the lead in the first half, but the home side crumbled a bit after the break. The Hornets could smell the blood, hitting the woodwork late on and just bossing it. And then Tom Cleverley nicked it, 92nd minute, smashing in the rebound after some pinball in the box to make it 2-1 and Vicarage Road erupt. Oh, how they love late goals! Five of their 15 goals have come after the 90th minute. The win takes Watford up to 4th. Never ever write them off! They have been brill and are more than up for it!

What a man! Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham's double earned Swansea City their first home win of the Premier League season, beating Huddersfield 2-0 and easing some of the pressure on manager Paul Clement. The Blues could have done with him, see below... Harry Kane didn't score!!! But Christian Eriksen did, handing Tottenham their first Premier League win at Wembley, sparing Spurs the blushes and seeing off Bournemouth 1-0. It was not a game to write much about, the paper planes were very missed! Craig Shakespeare has been sacked, with Leicester going six league games without a win, can't say I was surprised. Title winner Claudio Ranieri was given the marching order after a similar run. Big difference: The Foxes are third from bottom after rescuing a point at West Brom on Monday night, clueless where, when and how the next win will come from. The game did not have much to be encouraged or entertained about, apart from Nacer Chadli's sublime free-kick that gave the hard-working Baggies the lead. But Riyad Mahrez levelled the score and snatched a point 10 minutes from time. It was obviously not enough to save his boss. Karma? Just a bit. Sorry, but not sorry. Who will dare to take over?

What a goal! CRYSTAL PALACE HAVE SCORED A GOAL! NO, TWO!!! OMG!!! Their first goals of the season. Their first win of the season. Their first points of the season. Against champions Chelsea!!! Just shocking. Roy Hodgson has certainly worked some wonders there! Wilfried Zaha scored the winner after Tiemoue Balayoko had cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta's own goal, which ended Palace's 731 minute wait for a league goal. Anthony Knockaert's emotional reaction to his first ever Premier League goal said it all, Everton were just watching rather than defending, downed by Brighton and deservedly so. But experienced skipper Bruno was just daft handing the Toffees a penalty with a big fat elbow, Wayne Rooney netting the equaliser from the spot, pulling his side back from the gutter, in the 90th minute! Lucky bugger! Reckless from the Seagull. Mathew Ryan's late double-save for the home side kept the share at a point each, what a blast of a finish it was to a below-par game!

What the hell?! West Ham manager Slaven Bilić was very "disappointed and angry" with Andy Carroll and rightly so after the striker's daft sending off in just the 27th minute, seeing him booked twice within 99 seconds for using his elbow again and again. How stupid can you be?! Burnley got a draw out of the clash thanks to Chris Wood's late header in the 85th minute cancelling out Michail Antonio's opener to make it 1-1 and a point each. The draw keeps the Hammers dangling down in 15th, just two points from safety.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Liverpool 1:2 Man United - 0:0 or click here for my match report and notes
Burnley 2:2 West Ham - 1:1
Crystal Palace 0:5 Chelsea - 2:1
Man City 4:1 Stoke City - 7:2
Swansea 0:0 Huddersfield - 2:0
Tottenham 3:1 Bournemouth - 1:0
Watford 1:2 Arsenal - 2:1
Brighton 1:1 Everton - 1:1
Southampton 2:1 Newcastle - 2:2
Leicester 1:1 West Brom - 1:1

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

All pictures, stats and facts were taken from the BBC match reports, Twitter, Sky Sports and SFR match coverages.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

United Parked Bus Gets A Point At Anfield

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 0:0 MUFC

Liverpool were once again unable to capitalize on their dominance, handing bitter rivals Manchester United a point at Anfield in the Saturday lunchtime kickoff.



Click here for my live match notes.

The goalless draw was not as boring as last season's, but José Mourinho will be just as satisfied with his bus parked at the back getting him another point, again.

The Reds were on top, from start to finish, chance after chance, the Red Devils just had star keeper David de Gea to thank for keeping a clean sheet.

On the other side, Simon Mignolet did not have much to do, but the couple of times the Belgian stopper was called upon, he kept solid.

Jürgen Klopp's side coped much better at the back in general, covering, marking, challenging, which was missing a lot in previous matches.

Romelu Lukaku, who scored in every league game before this meeting, created most and pulled one save out of Mignolet in the first half for the visitors.

But in the second half, there was no sign of him. The home side took over completely.

Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah worked most and hardest to push and produce something for the Reds, but the final edge, inch, push was missing.

So many misses, close calls, 10-0 shots in the second half, but none on target, just showed once again, stats don't count, goals do!

Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum missed sitters, even Joel Matip came close, keeping de Gea on his toes, literally (making a crucial save with the tip of his boot earlier in the first half).

All those misses and frustrations aside, Liverpool can take some encouragement out of this point though too.

Klopp has just lost once against Mourinho in seven meetings (W3 D3).

The Reds have kept their first clean sheet in the league since the 27th August, when they thrashed Arsenal 4-0.

The fact that Mourinho is happy with the point shows how times and forces have changed.

The draw keeps United unbeaten in second place on 20 points, two points and six goals behind high hitters City, whilst the Merseysiders are down to eighth, but level on 13 points with Burnley, Arsenal and Chelsea above them.

Next weekend LFC will be heading to Wembley to face 3rd placed Tottenham, who scraped and scratched out a 1-0 win against Bournemouth who are 19th.

Fingers crossed, the Reds can jump on Spurs' weaknesses at home and it will finally work and click for them. At some point, eventually, it just has to. It's their best chance to close the gap to the teams above, gain confidence and start a run.

I'm staying sober for October - please click here to help and sponsor me and Macmillan Cancer Support!

LFC team: 22 Mignolet; 12 Gomez, 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno; 5 Wijnaldum, 14 Henderson (c), 23 Can; 11 Salah (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 78'), 9 Firmino (29 Solanke 87'), 10 Coutinho (15 Sturridge 78'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 7 Milner, 17 Klavan, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

MUFC team: 1 De Gea; 25 Valencia (c), 12 Smalling (booked 74'), 4 Jones, 36 Darmian; 21 Herrera, 31 Matic; 18 Young (booked 87') (2 Lindelof 92'), 22 Mkhitaryan (14 Lingard 63'), 11 Martial (19 Rashford 66'); 9 Lukaku. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 8 Mata, 17 Blind, 20 Romero, 38 Tuanzebe.

HT Stats: LFC 0-0 MUFC
Possession: 63.4%-36.6%
Shots: 9-6
On target: 5-1
Corners: 1-3
Offsides: 2-1
Fouls: 2-6
Yellow cards: 0-0
Red cards: 0-0

FT Stats: LFC 0-0 MUFC
Possession: 62.2%-37.8%
Shots: 19-6
On target: 5-1
Corners: 7-3
Offsides: 3-1
Fouls: 7-13
Yellow cards: 0-2
Red cards: 0-0

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: David de Gea
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 52,912

Click here for me previous LFC match report.

All images, facts and stats were taken from the Sky Sports and BBC match reports and coverage.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

FT Notes: LFC 0-0 MUFC

Sports - Football - Premier League - FT LFC 0:0 MUFC

LFC have made 24 starting XI changes in the opening 7 PL games, more than any other side.

The Reds have conceded 12 goals in the last 7 games, their joint worst.

Klopp just lost once against Mourinho in 7 meetings (W3 D3).

2' Conceded two early corners... Gulp...

5' First free kick goes to LFC, 21 Herrera v 10 Coutinho.

13' Another free kick for LFC, in their own half, Young fouled Moreno.

15' Wijnaldum first shot on target, soft, slow, curl, into de Gea's gloves. 70%-30% possession!

17' Foul by Young, another free kick for the home side, Mourinho fuming to the fourth official. Salah goes down too easily, looking for contact, nothing given.

20' Liverpool on top, pushing, pressing, Salah omnipresent in around the box, but missing that final touch/inch/boom.

22' First free kick for the Red Devils, Martial fouled. A couple of yards outside the left corner of the box. Cleared, LFC counter, offside?!

24' Lukaku cross from the right finds no one, out wide for a throw-in.

26' Young fuming, free kick not given, Liverpool offside again.

27' Emre Can wins a free kick in his own half.

30' Matic shot high, but not far. Closest United have come so far. 5-3 shots, 3-0 on target.

34' Coutinho shot deflects out for a corner. De Gea kicks one chance away with his left boot stretched out, Matip's shot, Salah puts rebound just wide.

36' Ref has a word with Henderson & Lukaku, prior not happy with latter's felling down of his team mate. Tempers rising.

38' Free kick given against Salah, looked like a nice dive to me... Cleared.

40' Young wins a corner on the right. Cleared. Free kick to LFC. Offside? Foul.

41' Salah shot inside the box straight to de Gea.

42' Firmino wins a free kick just inside his own half. Coutinho with some lovely footwork through into the box, shoots to de Gea, who collects comfortably.

43' MIGNOLET SAVE punches away Lukaku's left-footed attempt. Closest United have come.

44' Lovren down, LFC kick ball out... Replays show Lukaku is just bigger, stronger... But did his foot kick/lash out afterwards?!

1 minute added on. HT 0-0, Possession: 63.4%-36.6%, Shots: 9-6, On target: 5-1, Corners: 1-3, Offsides: 2-1, Fouls: 2-6, Yellow cards: 0-0, Red cards: 0-0.

Liverpool on top, chance after chance, but as always, stats don't count, goalless at the break, 0-0.

46' United kick off the second half, conceding a free kick.

47' Liverpool creating again, Can from the left, Firmino in the middle but de Gea collects again. Flag was up anyway for offside.

49' One half of Anfield cheered but the ball came off the outside of the net for a Liverpool corner. Coutinho with the chance.

50' Liverpool free kick on the left, conceded by Young.

53' Coutinho again with a great break and cross, but flag goes up again, way offside.

55' Wijnaldum right-footed shot high. Goal kick.

57' Can misses a sitter! How did he head that wide so close to the goal line?!

60' Strong run by Salah on the right, wins a corner.

61' Coutinho takes the corner, poor, clear. The Brazilian goes down too easily on the edge of the box, nothing given.

63' First change for United: 22 Mkhtaryan off, 14 Lingard on.

65' Another Liverpool corner cleared.

66' Second substitution for the visitors, Rashford replaces Martial.

67' 16-6 shots, 5-1 on target after Salah missed another chance, shooting off target from the edge of the box. Will the stats count for nothing once again come the FT whistle?! The Reds' dominance is just unreal!!! But it's the goal(s) that count(s)!!!

69' Herrera's gone down, Wijnaldum late on him, United free kick in their own half.

71' Coutinho cross from the left, great run by Salah, but can't quite get there to head it in. Inches away. So close. But yet so far.

73' United free kick, Firmino foul on Smalling, wasted wide and away, not much threat there.

74' YELLOW for Smalling, free kick to Liverpool near the halfway line.

76' Another chance wasted for the Reds, 8-0 attempts this half!!!

77' Free kick to United in the centre of the pitch. Sturridge is getting ready to come on.

78' Double LFC change, Salah replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge on for Coutinho. Like-for-like the commentator says, I don't quite agree.

81' Liverpool pushing, subs making first impact. United clear the threat, win a throw-in in the opposition's half.

82' Emre Can wins a free kick against Darmian, replays show a dangerous high boot. Whistle goes a again, another free kick closer to the box...

83' Headed out for a goal kick. Disappointing.

84' Emre Can with an urgent, aggressive run from the left, shot doesn't quite create the threat he was looking for, de Gea collects.

87' YELLOW Young sees yellow for a dangerous challenge. Last change for Liverpool, Firmino is replaced by Solanke.

88' Jones down, United free kick, Liverpool threat stopped, Klopp not happy. De Gea takes it.

89' Mignolet catches, Liverpool with the ball again, get a throw-in.

90' The Ox gets a cross in, blocked out, Gomez takes the throw, ball defended out for a corner.

3 minutes added on, the Ox takes the corner, blocked by Lukaku, another corner comes from it eventually. The Ox again, headed high & away for a goal kick by Lovren. Another chance. Another miss. 2 minutes to go...

92' Last United substitution, Lindelof comes on for Young. Mourinho killing more time.

94' Corner for the Reds. Headed high once again. How many chances! How many misses! The FT whistle blows, 0-0! Possession: 62.2%-37.8%, Shots: 19-6, On target: 5-1, Corners: 7-3, Offsides: 3-1, Fouls: 7-13, Yellow cards: 0-2, Red cards: 0-0.

LFC team: 22 Mignolet; 12 Gomez, 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno; 5 Wijnaldum, 14 Henderson (c), 23 Can; 11 Salah (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 78'), 9 Firmino (29 Solanke 87'), 10 Coutinho (15 Sturridge 78'). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 7 Milner, 17 Klavan, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

MUFC team: 1 De Gea; 25 Valencia (c), 12 Smalling (booked 74'), 4 Jones, 36 Darmian; 21 Herrera, 31 Matic; 18 Young (booked 87') (2 Lindelof 92'), 22 Mkhitaryan (14 Lingard 63'), 11 Martial (19 Rashford 66'); 9 Lukaku. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 8 Mata, 17 Blind, 20 Romero, 38 Tuanzebe.

All facts and stats were taken from the Sky Sports website and match coverage.

HT Notes: LFC 0-0 MUFC

Sports - Football - Premier League - HT LFC 0-0

LFC have made 24 starting XI changes in the opening 7 PL games, more than any other side. 

The Reds have conceded 12 goals in the last 7 games, their joint worst.

Klopp just lost once against Mourinho in 7 meetings (W3 D3).

2' Conceded two early corners... Gulp...

5' First free kick goes to LFC, 21 Herrera v 10 Coutinho.

13' Another free kick for LFC, in their own half, Young fouled Moreno.

15' Wijnaldum first shot on target, soft, slow, curl, into de Gea's gloves. 70%-30% possession!

17' Foul by Young, another free kick for the home side, Mourinho fuming to the fourth official. Salah goes down too easily, looking for contact, nothing given.

20' Liverpool on top, pushing, pressing, Salah omnipresent in & around the box, but missing that final touch/inch/boom.

22' First free kick for the Red Devils, Martial fouled. A couple of yards outside the left corner of the box. Cleared, LFC counter offside?!

24' Lukaku cross from the right finds no one, out wide for a throw-in.

26' Young fuming, free kick not given, Liverpool offside again.

27' Emre Can wins a free kick in his own half.

30' Matic shot high, but not far. Closest United have come so far. 5-3 shots, 3-0 on target.

34' Coutinho shot deflects out for a corner. De Gea kicks one chance away with his left boot stretched out, Matip's shot, Salah puts rebound just wide.

36' Ref has a word with Henderson & Lukaku, prior not happy with latter's felling down of his team mate. Tempers rising.

38' Free kick given against Salah, looked like a nice dive to me... Cleared.

40' Young wins a corner on the right. Cleared. Free kick to LFC. Offside? Foul.

41' Salah shot inside the box straight to de Gea.

42' Firmino wins a free kick just inside his own half. Coutinho with some lovely footwork through into the box, shoots to de Gea, who collects comfortably. 

43' MIGNOLET SAVE punches away Lukaku's left-footed attempt. Closest United have come.

44' Lovren down, LFC kick ball out... Replays show Lukaku is just bigger, stronger... But did his foot kick/lash out afterwards?!

1 minute added on. HT 0-0, Possession: 63.4%-36.6%, Shots: 9-6, On target: 5-1, Corners: 1-3, Offsides: 2-1, Fouls: 2-6, Yellow cards: 0-0, Red cards: 0-0.

LFC team: 22 Mignolet; 12 Gomez, 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno; 5 Wijnaldum, 14 Henderson (c), 23 Can; 11 Salah, 9 Firmino, 10 Coutinho. 4-3-3
Subs: 1 Karius, 7 Milner, 15 Sturridge, 17 Klavan, 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 29 Solanke, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

MUFC team: 1 De Gea; 25 Valencia (c), 12 Smalling, 4 Jones, 36 Darmian; 21 Herrera, 31 Matic; 18 Young, 22 Mkhitaryan, 11 Martial; 9 Lukaku. 4-2-3-1
Subs: 2 Lindelof, 8 Mata, 14 Lingard, 17 Blind, 19 Rashford, 20 Romero, 38 Tuanzebe.

All facts and stats were taken from the Sky Sports website and live match coverage.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 7

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 7

The 7th week of the Premier League action saw:

22 goals - most by Tottenham & Man United = 4
256 shots - most by Arsenal & Everton = 23
75 on target - most by Arsenal = 11
92 corners - most by Everton = 9
188 fouls - most by West Ham = 15
24 yellow cards - most by West Brom & West Ham = 3 each
0 red cards
1 penalty - 0 scored (Berahino denied by Forster for Stoke)

I'm going sober for October - please click here to help and sponsor me and Macmillan Cancer Support!

What a match! It was a routine win for Arsenal beating Brighton 2-0 on Sunday at the Emirates, a nice 21st anniversary present for their boss Arsène Wenger. The second goal was sweet, Alexis Sánchez's back-heel pass finding Alex Iwobi nicely to make it 2-0 and three points for the Gunners, taking them up to fifth in the table, just three goals behind the champions. The French manager has now won Premier League matches against 45 different clubs - a record! Man City totally outplayed Chelsea, beating the Blues 0-1 at Stamford Bridge, which keeps them in fourth place on goal difference. It was disappointing to watch, no competition at all, the result not quite reflecting the Citizens dominance, staying top of the league on goal difference.

What a team! Crystal Palace lost again, surprise surprise. Just like their local rivals, it was too easy for United as well, winning comfortably 4-0 and it could have been more. The thrash took the Red Devils just one goal behind the top. Watford showed strength and stubbornness once again, grinding out a result, a late late late equaliser, 2-2 at West Brom. In contrast to that, Bournemouth and Leicester shared their miserable form, no goals, a point each. And why Everton don't like Sundays: They lost their last five Premier League matches on this day by an aggregate score of 1-13! Burnley meanwhile remain unbeaten away from home after beating the Toffees convincingly 0-1 at Goodison Park, the win taking them up to sixth on 12 points from seven games with more away points than in the whole of last season. Ronald Koeman's side meanwhile are down in 16th on seven points. Contrast.

What a man! Harry Kane can't stop scoring! The star striker made it 0-3 to Tottenham within 23 minutes at Huddersfield, in style! Floating and bossing it! The 24-year-old Spurs forward has 13 goals in September, equalling the record in a single month by Lionel Messi (March 2012) and Cristiano Ronaldo (October 2010). Romelu Lukaku continued his top run too, adding a late goal to make it 4-0 to United and keeping his scoring streak going. Daniel Sturridge got a rare start for Liverpool and had scored five goals in the four previous league starts at St James Park, seven in total against Newcastle, making them his favourite opponent. But the out-of-form striker did not impress on Sunday, wasting chance after chance. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring with a smacker from outside the box, the Reds seemingly in total control. Until the defence mucked it all up again, Joel Matip desperately running back after leaving a big gap between him and Dejan Lovren, kicking the ball against Joselu, for it to roll over the line oh so slowly to make it 1-1. So so so agonising for Jürgen Klopp's men once again, here is my full match report. The only positive stat: The Reds haven't lost a Premier League game in October for the last seven years according to Martin Tyler. Yay?

What a goal! Richarlison's last-breath equaliser for Watford, completing the comeback from two goals down to save a point at West Brom, in the 95th minute, was his second consecutive 90+th minute goal. Peter Crouch scored a late winner as well for Stoke City, three goals in seven appearances for the 36-year-old striker, two of those as a sub, prove he has still got it. Diafra Sakho's last-minute winner for West Ham against Swansea relieved the London Stadium and manager Slaven Bilić of all tension and despair. For now. Marcus Rashford's top-quality free kick, made it too easy for Marouane Fellaini to net, putting United on top, temporary at least. Kevin De Bruyne's finish for City against a less-impressive Chelsea, the build-up and conversion, was just top-quality! Boom!

What the hell?! Dele Alli was rightly booked for his diving antiques in Tottenham's comfortable win at Huddersfield. After his England middle-finger ban, you would think he would try to stay out of trouble. Manager Mauricio Pocchetino rightly came out strong saying the 21-year-old has to learn and work on his attitude. Do these players forget they are being watched?!?!?! It made a change to the officials act and react correctly. Bournemouth were denied an obvious handball by Leicester's Danny Simpson! And Lovren had his shirt pulled to bits, again, nothing given. The refs are just blind, ignorant and/or oblivious. When will the FA introduce something called VI-DE-O that will show the officials within seconds whether their decision can stand or not. And how many times do I rant about it!!! FFS!!!

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

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

Pictures, stats and facts taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter, Sky Sports and SFR match coverage.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Déjà Vu Draw For LFC At St James' Park

Sports - Football - Premier League - NUFC 1:1 LFC

Liverpool were held to yet another frustrating draw, 1-1 against Newcastle at St James' Park, dropping two points against former Red boss Rafael Benitez in the Super Sunday clash.



Philippe Coutinho gave the visitors the lead with just under half an hour gone, a smacker from 25 yards out, giving keeper Rob Elliot no chance.

It was the Brazilian's 17th goal from outside the box in the Premier League - three more than any other player since his debut in February 2013, giving LFC a deserved lead as Jürgen Klopp's men were dominating possession, play and chances, as always.

But that didn't last long, just seven minutes later, former Red Jonjo Shelvey's fine cross found Joselu, who was able to break too easily between Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, the latter desperately running back, kicking the ball against the Magpie and in, rolling over the line oh so slowly to make it 1-1.

The Merseysiders have conceded nine goals in the last four Premier League games, as many as in their previous 12 matches!

It was so so so agonising for the Reds, chance after chance going to waste for themselves and then the lead given away so easily, ringing very familiar bells after the frustrating draw in Moscow.

Daniel Sturridge got a rare start, wasting chance after chance. The striker has only scored 10 Premier League goals in the two years under Klopp.

Mohamed Salah created plenty, wasted chances too though, Georginio Wijnaldum coming close as well and Sadio Mané back after suspension with not much to shout about.

After the break, Liverpool continued dominating, but Newcastle kept them at bay.

Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had the best chance late on, heading over, whilst Mohamed Diamé came close for the homeside off a corner in the dying seconds.

The Reds have had 126 shots on goal in six games in September, with only 34 on target and just one win in all competitions.

October started just as frustrating, dropping another two points, although Liverpool haven't lost a Premier League game in October for the last seven years.

I'm going sober for October - please click here to help and sponsor me and Macmillan Cancer Support!

The international break will give everyone a breather - remember how rosy everything was before the last internationals after thrashing Arsenal?

Fingers crossed, there will be no injuries and the Reds can reshuffle, reform and rekindle their fire and form.

They better do so, because the next opponents are: Manchester United!

Newcastle goal: Joselu 36'.

Liverpool goal: Coutinho 29'.

Newcastle team: 1 Elliot, 22 Yedlin, 6 Lascelles, 2 Clark, 19 Manquillo, 23 Merino (14 Hayden 74'), 8 Shelvey, 11 Ritchie, 30 Atsu, 17 Pérez (booked 55') (10 Diamé 90'+1'), 21 Joselu (9 Gayle 79').
Subs not used: 26 Darlow, 27 Gámez, 20 Lejeune, 7 Murphy.

LFC team: 22 Mignolet, 12 Gomez (booked 58'), 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno, 14 Henderson, 5 Wijnaldum, 10 Coutinho, 11 Salah (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 84'), 19 Mané (29 Solanke 74'), 15 Sturridge (9 Firmino 74').
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 7 Milner, 17 Klavan, 23 Can.

Match Stats: NUFC 1-1 LFC
Possession: 32%-68%
Shots: 8-17
On target: 5-2
Corners: 1-5
Fouls: 11-6
Yellow cards: 1-1

Referee: Craig Pawson
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
Ground: St James' Park
Attendance: 52,303

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats taken from the BBC match report, Twitter and Sky Sports match coverage.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Another Frustrating Draw For The Reds

Sports - Football - Champions League - FCSM 1:1 LFC

Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw in Moscow on Tuesday night, despite their dominance and chances galore, it was just the point once again. The Reds are still looking for a European win, Sevilla topping the Champions League group E after beating MK Maribor 3-0.


Click here for my full ByTheMinute match coverage.

Neither side was able to take and make much of their possession, no control, just give and take, backwards and forwards, messy stuff. Just when Liverpool got more threatening and created more, they conceded, same old.

Spartak Moscow's first threat came halfway through the first half, Aleksandr Samedov went down against Philippe Coutinho after Liverpool tried to block and stop the threat, winning a free kick.

The set piece was not far outside the box, about six yards, Fernando sending Loris Karius full-stretch to his left, trying to reach a nice curl around the wall, but not much jump or cover in the effort.

It was their only shot in the whole half that gave the home side the lead against the run of play.

Sadio Mané had a goal correctly disallowed offside, shortly before a fine team build-up with Emre Can, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mané led to the visitors' equaliser.

The ball found Coutinho in the box, with too much space, his right-foot volley giving keeper Artem Rebrov no chance. Too close. Too quick. The Brazilian ace made it 1-1 with just over half an hour gone.

There was not much interruptions, end to end stuff, more and more Liverpool possession and pushing, Roberto Firmino wasting and missing a couple of close chances.

After the break, Liverpool's dominance and frustrations continued.

Rebrov did a good job with some strong saves denying Coutinho before having to come off injured, replaced by Aleksandr Selikhov, the replacement keeper filling the position well for the rest of the match.

With twenty minutes left, Jürgen Klopp brought Daniel Sturridge on for Mané, who also drew a very frustrated figure, missing and wasting chance after chance, losing the ball again and again.

Play was stopped quite a few times, Spartak forced to make all three changes due to injury, eight minutes had to be added on in the end.

Sub keeper Selikhov starred with a fantastic save denying Mohamed Salah in the 96th minute, impressive reflex, his glove meeting the header full-on and strong, keeping the scoreline level at the dead.

With this draw, Liverpool have failed to win any of their last seven Champions League games (D4 L3), their longest ever run without a victory in the competition. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine Champions League games.

Spartak Moscow have won only five of their last 37 Champions League games (D7 L25). They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 outings in the competition.

Liverpool have only won one of their last eight away games in the Champions League (D4 L3) – this coming against Debrecen in November 2009 (1-0). They are two points behind group leaders Sevilla. Not nice reading.

Klopp's reaction:

"We have to be more clinical - 100%!

"To create all those chances and only score one goal feels average. It was a crazy game.

"What can I say? We created, created and created. Where is the real point for criticism? We tried with all we had. The effort was great."

But it was and is obviously not enough. Again, the stats speak for themselves. But we want and need more! Results!!! This was the only draw of the night! Argh! When will it finally click for the Reds?!?!?!

Spartak Moscow goal: Fernando 23'.

Liverpool goal: Coutinho 31'.

Spartak Moscow team: 32 Rebrov (57 Selikhov 68'), 38 Eshchenko, 29 Kutepov, 5 Tasci, 16 Bocchetti (booked), 14 Jikia, 19 Samedov (99 Rocha Neves 90'+3'), 11 Fernando, 50 Pasalic, 71 Popov (25 Melgarejo 85'), 12 Luiz Adriano.
Subs not used: 3 Petkovic, 18 Bakaev, 21 Samsonov, 69 Davydov.

Liverpool team: 1 Karius, 66 Alexander-Arnold, 6 Lovren, 32 Matip, 18 Moreno, 14 Henderson, 23 Can (booked) (5 Wijnaldum 73'), 10 Coutinho, 11 Salah, 19 Mané (15 Sturridge 70'), 9 Firmino (booked).
Subs not used: 7 Milner, 17 Klavan, 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 22 Mignolet, 38 Flanagan.

HT 1-1
Possession: 40%-60%
Shots: 1-9
On target: 1-4
Corners: 1-3
Fouls: 6-7
Yellow cards: 0-1

FT 1-1
Possession: 36%-64%
Shots: 3-16
On target: 2-6
Corners: 2-5
Fouls: 11-11
Yellow cards: 1-2

Referee: Clément Turpin
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
Stadium: Otkrytiye Arena
Attendance: 43,376

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

Pictures, quotes, stats and facts taken from the BBC match report, Twitter and beIN Sport match coverage.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 6

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 6

The 6th week of the Premier League action saw:

29 goals - most by Man City = 5
232 shots - most by Man City = 25
82 on target - most by Man City = 9
91 corners - most for Southampton = 9
209 fouls - most by Tottenham = 20
46 yellow cards - most for West Ham, Man United & West Brom = 4 each
1 red card - Serge Aurier for Tottenham
2 penalties - 1 scored (Jamie Vardy denied by Simon Mignolet, Alexandre Lacazette netted for Arsenal)

What a match! It was goals and action galore in the opening match of the weekend! After all the hard work by West Ham to keep Tottenham at bay, the visitors took over at the London Stadium. And it had to be, Dele Alli from the right, headed in by Harry Kane to break the deadlock. Not even a couple of minutes later, the star striker doubled the score, netting the rebound of Joe Hart's save against Alli, his 11th goals in the last five away matches. Hard life for the Hammers, after a strong start, everything went downhill for Slaven Bilić's men when Michail Antonio had to come off injured and be replaced by Andy Carroll with just under half an hour gone. The home side's control fell to bits from then on, the substitute's stupid mistakes and giveaways costing them dearly. Christian Eriksen made it three after the break, Kane hit the woodwork twice before Javier Hernández pulled one back for the home side. It got more interesting after Serge Aurier saw red though, booked a second time for his silly and clumsy challenges, Spurs' first sending off in 84 league games. Cheikhou Kouyaté made it 2-3 with three minutes plus stoppage time to go, setting up a nail-biting finish, including chances, bust-ups, pure drama! But it ended with Spurs on top! A full-on derby that has seen 21 goals in the last 6 meetings! Wow! ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️

What a team! Everton were in bits! There was nothing and no one giving them anything, not even straws to clutch on! Joshua King got a free run and nice free hit to give Bournemouth the lead at Goodison Park. It was over a decade since the Toffees lost four consecutive league matches without scoring (last miserable run like that was August to October 2005). I couldn't see Ronald Koeman survive much longer! So much money! So many players! So little goals, results and points! But Oumar Niasse's late double turned the game on it's head and put all those pressures on hold. For now. What a let-off! What a turnaround! Talk about super-sub! The saviour for both club and boss?!?!?! More to their luck (or lack of) below... 💩👊🏻🙈👎🏻💩
Watford also left it late late late, Richarlison striking in the 90th minute to counter Swansea's fightback and beat them 1-2 at the Liberty Stadium. Both goals by the visitors were defensive howlers, giveaways, backing the impressive, stubborn, consistent form by Marco Silva's men. First for both: The Swans losing the opening three home matches, the Hornets winning the first three away games. Boo(m)! 👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻

What a man! It took Romelu Lukaku  not even 20 minutes to smash in a rebound from close range to give Manchester United the lead at Southampton, making it six goals in the six opening league games for the Red Devil, equalling Louis Saha's record. The Belgian striker became the first to score for three different teams at St Mary's. José Mourinho's men were under pressure, the Saints on top for most of the second period, but made it through the storm, holding on to the three points to continue their top run. 16 points from the opening six games is United's best start to the Premier League since 2011-2. Chelsea downed Stoke 0-4 at the Bet365 Stadium, Alvaro Morata with a hat-trick, his second and Chelsea's third was a lovely run and finish, making it six in six PL games for the Spaniard. In form. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️
Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet went from zero to hero, conceding a goal and then a spot kick against Jamie Vardy within a couple of minutes, before denying the Leicester striker an equaliser from the spot. The Belgian stopper has saved eight of the 15 PL penalties he has faced for LFC, more than any other keeper, securing the Reds their first win in nearly a month! 👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻

What a goal! Manchester City's opener against Crystal Palace shortly before the interval was a nicely worked goal. Leroy Sané's short free-kick found David Silva, who clipped it over the defence for Sané to stab it in at the near post. It changed the dynamic of the game, Raheem Sterling adding a couple to make it 3-0. Sergio Agüero with his 176th and Fabian Delph into the top corner sealed it with a fourth and fifth respectively. Th-r-ash. Pep Guardiola's side have become the first PL side to score five or more goals in three consecutive games! Wow! Cannot say anyone was surprised. It's been over 10 hours since Palace scored in the league (last one was on 14 May). In that time City have scored 29. The aggregate score of their last six meetings is 21-1, the last home defeat for the Sky Blues against the Eagles was in 1990. Worlds apart! ⚽️🙈⚽️🙈⚽️
Tomer Hemed's hooked finish gave Brighton their second Premier League win in the only Super Sunday game. A top-quality goal, followed by some brilliant defending by the Seagulls, putting everything and everybody on the line, denied Newcastle a comeback, leaving Rafa visibly frustrated. 👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻

What the hell?! Bournemouth were so lucky! Defender Simon Francis elbowed Wayne Rooney in the face, in the box, so, it should have been red and penalty. But the Everton man ended up red in the face, full of blood, fuming after being denied both by referee Martin Atkinson. Ridiculous. At least the Toffees finally got a win, that will have settled some Scouser nerves and tempers at least. Same for their Red neighbours after they finally banked three points at Leicester. But not without any hiccups, threats, flaps, fails and drama. The referee didn't make many Merseyside friends there either... Click here for my full match report. And how Jay Rodriguez didn't get a penalty for West Brom, but Aaron Ramsey did for Arsenal at the Emirates, only referee Robert Madley knows and can explain... Maybe... Hopefully... Consistency? None! The call settled Gunners' nerves as the Baggies were a constant threat to get something back, hitting the post and seeing Monreal clear off the line. The spot kick doubled the score and handed Arsène Wenger's men a much needed clearer lead and win, more than they deserved, Tony Pulis left fuming and wondering... 💩🙈😡🙈💩

My Predictions - Actual Results
West Ham 1:2 Tottenham - 2:3
Burnley 0:1 Huddersfield - 0:0
Everton 2:1 Bournemouth - 2:1
Man City 6:0 Crystal Palace - 5:0
Southampton 2:4 Man United - 0:1
Stoke City 1:2 Chelsea - 0:4
Swansea 0:1 Watford - 1:2
Leicester 2:1 Liverpool - 2:3 or my match report
Brighton 1:0 Newcastle - 1:0
Arsenal 3:0 West Brom - 2:0

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats are taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter and SFR coverage.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Reds Down Foxes In 5-Goal Thriller

Sports - Football - Premier League - LCFC 2:3 LFC

Liverpool ended their dire run of four games without a win, beating Leicester 2-3 in the Premier League Saturday evening kick-off at the King Power Stadium, surviving a fightback with Simon Mignolet denying Jamie Vardy from the spot.



Click here for my full ByTheMinute match coverage.

Both sides made loads of changes from their cup clash on Tuesday, eight each, including Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Vardy all starting for the Foxes, Philippe Coutinho for the Reds with Sadio Mané still suspended.

It started tense, both sides not showing too much confidence with the ball, making the game more open, end-to-end stuff.

Vardy and Mahrez missed a couple of chances early on, the prior denied by Mignolet before the latter saw his rebound shot go wide.

Emre Can hit the post with Kasper Schmeichel on full-stretch, Mohamed Salah putting the rebound wide.

Okazaki headed wide after Liverpool were unable to clear the ball, seconds before Salah broke the deadlock with just over a quarter of an hour gone.

Coutinho set up the Egyptian with a lovely cross from the left, Salah heading it into the right corner from a tight angle, Schmeichel could only tap the ball into the goal with his finger tips.

The Brazilian star doubled the score halfway through the first half with a brilliant free kick from the little semi-circle just outside the box, right-footer into the left corner, no chance for the keeper.

So, 0-2 up, the Red dominance in possession and play was reflected by the score line for a change.

But the home side ended the half pushing and pressing more, seeing Okazaki's goal flagged and disallowed offside.

It would have been too good to be true to go into the break with a two-goal lead AND a clean sheet for Jürgen Klopp's men after bossing most of the half thanks to Salah and Coutinho.

A scruffy end to the half saw Okazaki pull one back for Leicester deep into injury time:

The Japanese forward had the last touch before the ball crossed the line after it looked like Mignolet had been fouled trying to defend a Mahrez corner, Vardy heading the ball away from the keeper.

The goal stood, it was 1-2 at the break, the Reds' high spirit dampened a bit whilst Craig Shakespeare had something to grasp on.

In the second half, Liverpool continued dominating, but not controlling the game, nerves showing and shaking again and again. With just under 25 minutes gone, all madness broke out.

Under-fire skipper Jordan Henderson made it 1-3 with an easy right-footed shot from the centre of the box.

Seconds later, Vardy pulled one back to make it 2-3, heading the ball in from a tight angle on the left, after Mignolet had pushed substitute Demarai Gray's shot to the striker.

Defence was lacking in both build-ups to the goals, unable to mark, tackle or even just close in on their opponents.

Not even three minutes after that, Mignolet conceded a penalty bringing down Vardy in the box, some pointing out his luck just to see a yellow card for the challenge, his contact with the ball most probably to thank for that.

But the Belgian keeper made up for it, pushing away Vardy's right-footed shot, too central to make it past and in.

Mignolet has now saved seven of his 15 penalties faced since joining LFC in the 2013-14, more than any other stopper.

Schmeichel denied Sturridge late on with a full-stretched save, whilst Vardy put a chance wide before a last-minute free-kick to the home side with their keeper in the Red box was cleared.

It ended 2-3, to the Reds' relief. The Foxes have now only won two of the last 11 Premier League meetings with the Reds, losing seven.

Liverpool have lost just one of their last eight Premier League away games. However, they have conceded ten goals in their opening three games on the road for the first time since 1965.

One does not have to point out the problem(s). Again. Rather appreciate the three points and hope it's just the start to the change of fortune and form. #COYR XxXxX #YNWA

LCFC goals: Okazaki 45'+3 & Vardy 69'.

LFC goals: Salah 15', Coutinho 23' & Henderson 68'.

LCFC team: 1 Schmeichel, 2 Simpson, 5 Morgan, 15 Maguire, 3 Chilwell, 10 King, 25 Ndidi (booked 22'), 11 Albrighton (booked 17') (19 Slimani 80'), 26 Mahrez (7 Gray 61'), 9 Vardy (booked 90'+2), 20 Okazaki (8 Iheanacho 74'). 4-4-1-1
LCFC subs not used: 12 Hamer, 18 Amartey, 21 Iborra, 28 Fuchs.

LFC team: 22 Mignolet (booked 72'), 12 Gomez, 6 Lovren (booked 56'), 32 Matip (booked 45'+2), 18 Moreno, 14 Henderson, 23 Can (7 Milner74'), 5 Wijnaldum, 10 Coutinho (21 Oxlade-Chamberlain 79'), 9 Firmino (15 Sturridge 64'), 11 Salah. 4-3-3
LFC subs not used: Bench: 1 Karius, 17 Klavan, 29 Solanke, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

HT stats: LCFC 1:2 LFC
Possession: 41%-59%
Shots: 6-10
On target: 4-3
Corners: 3-3
Fouls: 8-5
Yellow cards: 2-1

FT stats: LCFC 2-3 LFC
Possession: 43%-57%
Shots: 12-23
On target: 7-6
Corners: 3-6
Fouls: 13-14
Yellow cards: 3-3

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
Stadium: The King Power

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All the pictures, facts and stats are taken from the BBC match report, Twitter and SFR match coverage.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Liverpool Knocked Out At The King Power

Sports - Football - League Cup - LCFC 2:0 LFC

Leicester rediscovered their winning ways, seeing Liverpool fall once again after dominating most of the play and wasting chance after chance, the League Cup clash ending 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.


Click here for my full ByTheMinute match coverage.

It was an impressive comeback by the Foxes after being dominated in the first half. The stats speak for themselves. The Reds didn't make their chances count and their defence made them trip and fall once again.

Both sides had made a lot of changes, as normal for the early stages of the cup competition. But it was the substitutions during the match that cost dearly, top for the hosts, flop for the visitors, the Reds eliminated OUT of the League Cup, first hurdle, third round.

The match started very competitive, a professional clash, high-tempo but missing the edge, the Reds on top but with still no lead at the break, Craig Shakespeare's men holding on solid and strong.

Andy Robertson created a lot with some fine runs and crosses, Philippe Coutinho showed some of his good old magic with some awesome moves and Dominic Solanke shared plenty of chances with both of them.

But LFC just could not find a breakthrough. Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked more clumsy and wasteful, frustrating to watch, losing the ball too many times.

Why Jürgen Klopp opted to replace Coutinho with youngster Ben Woodburn after the break, hell knows. The Brazilian had created most and produced most quality and chances.

And the Reds were punished for their wastefulness just past the hour-mark.

Substitute Shinji Okazaki, who had come on for an injured Leonardo Ulloa not long after the interval, made no mistake. It was a scruffy finish after a couple of headers and Liverpool failing to clear a corner, Vicente Iborra the last one to head it straight into Okazaki, who put in the rebound.

Klopp then took off Georginio Wijnaldum and gave Danny Ings a run-around. Another questionable move, especially looking at the contrasting experience... And score-line!

Islam Slimani doubled the score a few minutes later with an unstoppable beauty, a left-footer into the top left corner, from the edge of the box. That was game over.

Simple: Liverpool hadn't taken their chances. Leicester have. The Coutinho substitution didn't help. And the defence was lacking and leaking once again.

Danny Ward made a couple of strong saves late one, denying Okazaki a double and Demarai Gray, who both starred for the home side.

Liverpool's defence let them down once again, no marking, too much space and question marks everywhere.

It will be the same clash again on Saturday, Liverpool back at the King Power Stadium, for the Premier League evening kick-off. Leicester will be on a confident high after this win.

The line-ups will surely change a lot, but will this trend of frustration, misses and leaks stop for the Reds??? It's getting too much!!! It's just not good enough! Beam me back to the Arsenal game, please! :-S #FFS

Was soll das Jürgen?!?!?! Scheiß-Dreck-Kack!!! -.- #COYR #ARGH

Leicester Goals: Okazaki 65' & Slimani 78'.

Leicester Line-Up: 12 Hamer, 18 Amartey, 16 Dragovic, 5 Morgan, 3 Chilwell, 11 Albrighton, 21 Iborra (booked 90'), 25 Ndidi (38 Choudhury 84'), 7 Gray, 19 Slimani, 23 Ulloa (20 Okazaki 55').
Subs not used: 8 Iheanacho, 13 Musa, 17 Jakupovic, 26 Mahrez, 29 Benalouane.

Liverpool Line-Up: 52 Ward, 38 Flanagan, 12 Gomez, 17 Klavan (booked 75'), 26 Robertson, 14 Henderson, 16 Grujic (booked 57'), 5 Wijnaldum (Ings 73'), 21 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 10 Coutinho (58 Woodburn HT), 29 Solanke.
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 7 Milner, 18 Moreno, 50 Markovic, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

HT Stats: LCFC 0-0 LFC
Possession: 24%-76%
Shots: 2-13
On target: 1-3
Corners: 2-3
Fouls: 3-5

FT Stats: LCFC 2-0 LFC
Possession: 30%-70%
Shots: 8-20
On target: 5-3
Corners: 4-6
Fouls: 9-10
Yellow cards: 1-2

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Shinji Okazaki
Ground: King Power Stadium

Click here for my previous LFC match report.

All pictures, stats and facts were taken from the BBC match report, BBC Radio and Sky Sports match coverage.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Premier League Picks Of The Week 5

Sports - Football - Premier League Week 5

The 5th week of the Premier League action saw:

21 goals - most by Manchester City = 6!!!
267 shots - most by Liverpool = 35!!!
73 on target - most by Manchester City = 10
100 corners - most by Liverpool = 12
206 fouls - most by West Brom, Arsenal & Manchester United = 15 each
30 yellow cards - most by Crystal Palace = 5
1 red card - David Luiz for Chelsea
1 penalty - 1 scored (Anthony Martial for Manchester United)

What a game! Laurent Depoitre woke everyone up with the opening goal at the John Smith's Stadium, but Jamie Vardy levelled the score from the spot minutes later, Huddersfield 1-1 Leicester, Andy King making the most of nothing by Chris Löwe to get the penalty. It was end-to-end stuff after that, the home side dominating but unable to take advantage in the end. Swansea's back five frustrated the hell out of Tottenham and earned the clean sheet and well-deserved point at Wembley. Spurs are still waiting for a league win at the NW London ground, having already dropped more points there this season than at White Hart Lane the whole of last season. Arch rivals Arsenal performed so much better, fighting out a point at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's first league draw at home in 16 months. Both sides came close, creating a lot, but the Blues looked that bit more sloppy, giving the ball away too many times, whilst the Gunners stayed on top, covering and tackling well. David Luiz' stupid sending off late on added to the home side's clumsy and frustrating display and they will be relieved to have squeezed out a point. Antonio Conte's men have had as many red cards in their last five PL games as they had in their previous 73 games combined (3). Arsène Wenger meanwhile will just have felt that hint of disappointment his side couldn't capitalise and walk away with all the points after a het-up, intense, entertaining derby! 👊🏻👏🏻👊🏻👍🏻👊🏻

What a team! Crystal Palace are breaking all records - the Eagles suffered their fifth consecutive opening league defeat without having scored a goal! That's a first in top-flight history! And the longest run without scoring was broken after the 78th minute - a dry run of 439 minutes beating Newcastle's 438 minutes set in 2005-6. The rainy weather fit the mood at Selhurst Park on Roy Hodgson's return after 51 years. Next on the former Liverpool and England boss' fixture list: Man City away, United away, Chelsea at home. Will the 70-year-old still have a job end of next month? Frank de Boer's record shows that should and most probably will not be the case. Will Sam Allardyce be back in October? 💩🙈💩🙈💩

What a man! West Brom's Gareth Barry made a record-equaling 632nd Premier League appearance (Ryan Giggs the former king, now having to share the crown, surely to be beaten next week). How his keeper Ben Foster didn't see red for his full-on sliding tackle on Javier Hernández, I don't know. I think West Ham boss Slaven Bilić is still shaking his head now as I type. There's nothing more to write about the goalless draw. 😴😑😴😑😴
Wayne Rooney's return to Old Trafford was the most discussed topic this weekend, replays of his many top goals shown again and again. The Evertonian had a couple of chances but did not have much to shout about before he was substituted under great applause from both ends of the ground and even a handshake from United boss José Mourinho. The striker has never beaten the Red Devils in the Premier League. 🙈👏🏻⚽️👍🏻🙈

What a goal! Jermain Defoe scored his first goal since arriving at Bournemouth to make it 2-1 and a fine turnaround-win against Brighton. The match-winner came after a nice turn in the box and drill home by the former Sunderland forward. Substitute Jordan Ibe had set up both the winner and leveller, the latter with a clever backheel to Andrew Surman, who tapped it in easy. Solly March had given the visitors the lead ten minutes into the second half after Dale Stephens headed against the cross bar, Shane Duffy saw his header cleared and Davy Pröpper his follow-up blocked off the line by Surman. All that action and the goals after the interval made up for a dismal first half. ⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️
Each of Xherdan Shaqiri's last six Premier League goals have been from outside the box, including the whacker that levelled the score for Stoke at Newcastle, nice one! 👏🏻⚽️👌🏻⚽️👍🏻 And Jamaal Lascelles' header off Matt Richie's corner gave the home side the lead and winner as it ended 2-1, a proper hard-fought win for the Magpies! 👊🏻⚽️👊🏻⚽️👊🏻
Antonio Valencia's opener for United against Everton in the fourth minute was a smacker! Edge of the box, right foot, smash, boom, bang, left corner of the net, Jordan Pickford had no chance! Unstoppable beauty! The 4-0 result was very harsh as the Toffees did come back stronger after the break, but just buckled under the pressure in the final minutes. Romelu Lukaku's goal and celebration added insult to misery. Either way, there are very happy Red Devils in second place, level on points and goals with City at the top, just the alphabet separating the two rivals. ⚽️😵👌🏻😵⚽️

What the hell?! SEVEN CHANGES FOR LFC! 34 SHOTS ON GOAL! But Burnley remained unbeaten away in the Premier League, after winning at Chelsea and drawing at Tottenham, but haven't won at Anfield for 43 years, Liverpool having won all three previous home games against the Clarets. Man of the moment Mohamed Salah equalised three minutes after Scott Arfield had given the visitors the lead with a nice volley. Ben Mee came close to net a winner, Joël Matip clearing off the line. Clarets keeper Nick Pope kept well and strong to deny Jürgen Klopp's men. The Reds were frustrated once again, similar to the Sevilla game on Wednesday. Argh! Just ARGH for all Red fans! 🙈😡🙈😡🙈
Loved seeing Elton John and Pep Guardiola chatting before the game at Watford! Only in England... "1-0 to the referee" chant by the Hornets fans was a brilliant response to Sergio Agüero's goal that gave Man City the lead at Vicarage Road. It was so close, even the Argentine was looking back at the linesman to make sure the flag wasn't up... But the game was sealed soon after, the same striker doubling the score a couple of minutes later, making it eight consecutive away games he has started and scored in (only RvP has a longer run of 9). Gabriel Jesus made it 0-3 before the break, another dodgy offside- looking one. What was the flag there for again??? Nicolás Otamendi added to the home side's misery in the second half and Agüero completed his hat-trick to make it 0-5 (his sixth in the PL, the only guys left to beat are Alan Shearer with 11, Robbie Fowler 9, Michael Owen and Thierry Henry with 8). Add a Raheem Sterling penalty to seal the deal 0-6, it was all too easy and ended Watford's unbeaten run. Why couldn't Liverpool do that?!?!?! City fans' reaction: "We're taking the piss!" -  with 15 goals to nil in three games for the Citizens, yes, you are taking the piss! Lol! 😂👏🏻👊🏻👍🏻😂
Oh, and how could I forget the Super Sunday clash between the Red Devils and the Angry Birds! 😈 v 🕊 yep, you read right! LMAO! 😂😈😂🕊😂

My Predictions - Actual Results
Bournemouth 1:2 Brighton - 2:1
Crystal Palace 0:1 Southampton - 0:1
Huddersfield 1:0 Leicester - 1:1
Liverpool 2:0 Burnley - 1:1
Newcastle 1:1 Stoke City - 2:1
Watford 1:1 Man City - 0:6
West Brom 1:1 West Ham - 0:0
Tottenham 3:1 Swansea - 0:0
Chelsea 2:0 Arsenal - 0:0
Man United 4:0 Everton - 4:0

Click here for last week's Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Twitter and SFR coverage.