Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Comings and Goings

The transfer window will reopen in the next few hours as we usher in the New Year.

Much had been going on since August. Players got injured, out of form and out of depth but interestingly we are at the top into 2009. When was the last time we did this? Not sure but surely its happy days for us now.

Personally, I sincerely think we are not into 5th gear yet. Torres missed a large part of the campaign and heaven forbids for him to be out injured again in this closing and exciting stages.
In his absence, thankfully the fringe players did a good job covering his loss by contributing to the goal tally. It's been shared between Gerrard, Kuyt, Keane and Alonso. Benayoun, Babel and Riera too it must be mentioned.

On the contrary, Pennant did not feature much and Dossena looked out of depth in the league despite good spell with Udinese, the very reason why Rafa bought him earlier.
Thought these 2 will be dispatched by Rafa to finance new acquisition. Sell to buy.

We are still in 3 competitions including the FA Cup thus we need players to be rotated when needed. I'd like to see the arrival of a new striker and a right winger. Yeah, a right winger. This is where we lacked the cutting edge though Benayoun did well lately.

I can understand Rafa's interest in Heskey (pic). He doesn't score much but he offers something different from all the current strikers. He is there to hold the ball and let somebody else scores. Basically he is needed when the going gets tough, when everything else fails or when Stoke came a calling, when brute power is needed. Brawn over brain?

Anyone heard about Liege's Axel Witsel? Read somewhere he is lightning quick over the right flank. Can't remember much from the CL game . Funny name though.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sure Insua Part 2

Think we are ready to ship Dossena back to Italy at the first opportunity now that we have Emiliano Insua as left back alternating with Aurelio.

Simply put it, this kiddo only 19 is awesome. He has pace, good crosses, maturity and everything that Dossena doesn't have.
The burly Italian is leaden footed and terribly slow. An attribute that doesn't belong in the Premiership. Maybe in Serie A where the pace is slower akin to walking and a yawn to watch.

To my eyes, Insua is now even better than Aurelio, seemingly the 1st choice left back until now. With the emergence of Insua, maybe he'll warm the bench upon his return from injury.
"Sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga" it seems. Not only he has regain match fitness, he has to dislodge Insua from the pecking order. A tall order for now given how well the little Argies has performed so far. He has shut out Brett Emerton, Bacary Sagna, Matt Taylor and Damien Duff and importantly reversed their role to defending from his marauding runs and good crosses.

I'm not a fan of Dossena and we'll not miss him if Rafa bid adieu. Good luck though!
We all know what happened to Luis Garcia, Mark Gonzalez, Michael Owen and others who had been shown the door by Senor Goatee. Leave at your own risk!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Toon Barmy

The icing on the cake!

Chelsea drew and we are 3 points clear at the top!

On Sir Bobby Robson Day and in front of the legend himself, Liverpool crushed Newcastle 5-1, and it could have been double figures had Lady Luck smiled bigger.

Liverpool were ruthless. Period. Even the fringe players performed creditably well today and poor Robbie Keane who scored a brace just 2 days ago was warming the bench the whole time.
At the end all 4 central defenders were on show. Agger moved to the left, Hyypia and Skrtel played central while Carra stayed on the right.
The biggest loser was Keane and I can his frustration but that's life in Liverpool.
With the game won, Rafa sent in Ngog and Skrtel and totally jigged the formation. Talking about rotation, that's the father of all rotation. It's unimaginable before that Liverpool ended the game with players playing in a rather peculiar position.

That good we were! And Torres was not even in the equation!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The scorers last night

It's a pity that Robbie Keane didn't get his hattrick to cap a memorable night.

Thought last night was one of Liverpool's best performance this season if not the best.
75% possession for first half alone, countless corner kicks, one of which Riera profited from Gerrard's delivery. Bolton simply melted under immense pressure from Liverpool for which Gerrard and Alonso were masterful, classy and everything that Bolton do not have.
If it was a boxing match, it'll be a TKO long before Megson can wave the white handkerchief.

The formation were spot on with Riera and Benayoun provided much needed width that Liverpool lacked recently in drawn games with Fulham and West Ham.

With 3 goals in 2 games, I'm certain Robbie Keane of old is back and that spells danger to the other contenders. Known to spring into life in 2nd part of the season, Keane played the game of his life in Liverpool's colours last night. His touches, movements and clinical strikes were awesome to say the least. His goals were a beauty too!

With Torres slated for a return on Sunday, Rafa has to tinker a bit and looks like Benayoun has to be sacrificed for Kuyt on the right with Keane and Torres in attack. Sounds interesting?

Tell that to Owen and Co, they're already shivering in their pants!
Liverpool, in my books will end the year at the top.

Question is how many goals Newcastle will ship to Liverpool?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boxing Bolton

Dunno what's the tradition behind Boxing Day! All I know it's a day after Christmas and traditionally only Englishmen play football on that day. The rest of Europe are savouring roast turkeys. Imagine playing football on the 2nd Hari Raya full with rendangs, ketupats and whatnots. Silly!

We, the fans would be savouring sumptuous matches played on Friday and Sunday. That's 2 games in 3 days!
Liverpool will meet Bolton and travel to Newcastle on Sunday.
With Christmas champion title in their belt, it's another title credential test after the lows of Emirates where we struggled to break down 10 man Arsenal.
It's a home game, the traditionally impregnable Anfield where lately boring draws are the theme of the day.
Can Liverpool snap the hoodoo streak? They better be. We are the leaders now and few others are breathing down their neck.

No sign of Torres as yet but with Keane scoring at last, I think Rafa will stick to the same 11 that played at Arsenal with the exception of a returning Mascherano in place of Lucas.

Predicting a low scoring affair. Maybe 1-0 and Bolton are not known to park a bus and that's spells business for Liverpool on Friday.
Friday? That's unusual but what's usual about this season anyway?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Blue Ode

We are winter champions!
Thank you Everton!

For holding 10 man Chelsea at your home ground without a recognised striker! Must be a commendable feat considering your lengthy injury list.

Your beloved neighbour, Liverpool are now an EPL leader albeit just a point over your recent vanquished Chelsea, a team laden with stars from Earth and Mars.

Liverpool, the now so called winter champions as in other European Union countries would now strive to stay there until May 2009, a pedestal they're accustomed to but the one that eluded them since 1990, some long 18 years ago.
Yes, it's 18 years since they last won the league during which Kelantan was conquered by PAS, Hidayah was born sometimes after, Khan just started teaching and Jo Utusan was still in his abode in Sarawak. That's how long it was!

Thank you again Everton! For everything.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gunning Gooners Part 2

Apart from Robbie Keane's clinical strike, thought Liverpool were too negative. They played not to lose, not to win and that's against 10 man Arsenal. It's a cliche really now that whenever Gerrard plays badly, Liverpool too play badly. And Gerrard was never in the game.

The 2nd half was forgettable. It was in the 60th minute that Adebayor was sent off and Liverpool got to enjoy numerical advantage for another half an hour but chose to drop the tempo. Baffling!
Cannot remember Almunia's save after that either. Only consolation was that Keane scored again and it only augurs well for Liverpool for the 2nd half of the season. Torres could also be back soon. Maybe for the Bolton game this Friday and how Liverpool have missed him with all these sickening draws.

With Chelsea playing later tomorrow, our position at the top could be in jeopardy should Chelsea continue their away winning run unless Everton had other ideas.
Maybe for once, we'll be thanking our neighbour. Talking about 'semangat kejiranan'.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Get Real

I was hoping for Sporting Lisbon really but got Real Madrid instead! No one's complaining though.

At this moment, Real are a pale shadow of their former self. Influential players like Nistelrooy and Cannavaro are either injured or past their shelf life. The club are like 12 points adrift from Barca and recently parted way with German Schuster. They are currently managed by Juande Ramos who himself was fired by Spurs not too long ago.

All in all, the omens are good for Liverpool. Rafa would relish the chance to 'balik kampung' and so are the rest of Spanish armada.
But that's February 2009! Some 2 months away!

For now, let's focus on Arsenal on Sunday. It's somewhat low key with Arsenal languishing at 5th below Aston Villa and what better chance for Liverpool to further break away from Chelsea who are due at Goodison. I think Everton will beat Chelsea!

With that, the trip to Emirates will represent a bigger chance to break away and I know it'll be a hell of a game sans Torres and Keane.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gunning Gooners

Was down with fever since last week and blog updating was the last thing on my mind, coupled with that disappointing draw with Hull last week compounding the grey matter.

I'm now back with a vengeance and what a better time to beat the crap out of Wenger's kids.
Watching the Reds toiled against Hull wasn't exactly what the doctors ordered!

To me, it was all plain negativity by Rafa that Liverpool again failed to nick 3 points at home. Playing 4-5-1 formation at home with Kuyt as the lone striker is a sure recipe for disaster and what a disaster it would have been if not for Gerrard's brace!

This Sunday, it'll be against Arsenal away and a win would eliminate Arsenal once and for all from the title race if they're not out of it yet.
Any words on Torres?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Finally, a performance we can be proud of from Robbie Keane. Not just Keane, from Babel, Lucas and Ngog as well.
Keane led the line almost perfect I'd say, the only blemish was that he did not register a goal.
Signs were there that he would eventually come good.

The Anfield future is safe it seems as Benitez chose the stage to blood 3 young lads into CL, all 3 did creditably well.
Rewards for topping the group? A 2nd leg at home against who cares anyway. We'll take on anything come what may.
It's happy days for Pool's fans. Top of EPL, top of CL.

Now, where the hell is Hull?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Philips Lights Out

The usual suspects for Project Philips

Not too much to play for. Last 16 already in the bag. It's either No 1 or No 2 for the Reds.
No Hyypia, no Kuyt and no Torres either. Hyypia to that stupid ruling while both Kuyt and Torres are out due to injuries. The man to lead the line? Of course, it will be Robbie Keane. Hope something turns out good for the man. Sooner rather than later. We want Keane of old, the one that scores loads of goals for Spurs, the very reason Benitez brought him to Anfield.

Surely, a good player cannot turn to a bad player overnight, do they? Andriy Shevchenko a case in point. Hope not with Robbie Keane though clearly we need an extra striker. Roque Santa Cruz perhaps? He's not cup tied anyway and will be good addition to Europe.

Back to Phillips Stadion, any result better than Tico's would ensure Liverpool top the group be it a win, draw or lose. Lose 0-1 and hope Tico lose theirs by a bigger margin and we'll be top.
As Liverpool cannot meet the other 3 English clubs in the last 16, the potential opponents could be Barca, Real, Juve, Inter, Porto, Lyon, Bayern, Roma and few others. No easy meat hereafter.

The only consolation is that table topper would play the 2nd leg at home and who's better to switch off the lights at Philips Stadion than Robbie Keane for heaven's sake.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sure Insua

Way 2 go kiddo!

It was a nervy night alright. At the end it was status quo, all 4 went about their business very business like.

Watched by Keane on the bench, the first half at Ewood was listless. Passing was good but that was it. No end product. Kuyt as a lone striker was helpless, assistance not forthcoming from either Babel and Benayoun.
Babel once labeled as the next Thierry Henry was poor throughout while Benayoun only came good sporadically. If only he could produce goal such as last night at regular interval. What a wish list!
The first goal only came after Babel went off and in came Nabil El Zhar. The little Moroccan gave a decent account of himself and it was through his run that Gerrard managed to cap the night with a cool side foot in injury time.

The only bright spot apart from the 3 goals was the performance of little Argie, Emiliano Insua. Drafted as replacement for Aurelio, the kid was sure footed and gave an impression that he's ready to play on regular basis down the left side. Thought he was better than Dossena. Though little in stature, he did not get bullied by giant Brett Emerton while launching a few forays of his own and did get a few useful crosses, one which Alonso cracked straight at Paulie Robinson before that sweet first goal.

The downside was the inability of Liverpool to force down the opponent right from the start, leaving it quite late to stamp their superiority time and again despite having a large possession in midfield. It was in the final third that we suck and thoughts about those stalemate did cross my mind a few times.
Alonso did well to calm the nerves before Santa Cruz heightened it again near the end.

In the end, no goal from the strikers and midfielders got all 3. Guess the job vacancy ads is still on. Babel and Keane, are you watching?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Job Vacancy

The Liverpool Football Club (LFC) is now inviting applications from suitably-qualified strikers who are seeking opportunities to broaden their footballing career development to join our club now at the top of Barclay's Premier League for the post of:
Central Striker
(United Kingdom)


  • Have played at either EPL, La Liga, Serie A or Ligue 1 for at least 2 years. Players from Ereidivisie will be considered on case to case basis even with 30 goals a season in Ereidivisie as we already have Dirk Kuyt in employment.
  • Capable of scoring at least 20 goals per season in EPL or at least touted to be capable of scoring 20 goals per season as Robbie Keane.
  • Have a pleasant personality. Bad hairstyles as Marouane Fellaini and Djibril Cisse would not be considered.Cockiness of Cristiano Ronaldo would not be considered either.
  • Ready to rot in the reserves as Jermaine Pennant.
  • Preferably an internationals as Lucas Leiva and Yossi Benayoun.

Applicants are invited to submit full details of qualifications, experience, current and expected salaries, contact telephone numbers and recent passport-size photograph to:

The Manager
LFC Human Resource Department
Liverpool, UK.

Weekend or social futsal players need not apply.

Trains, Buses and LRTs

The phrase were first coined by The Special One when away teams came to Stamford Bridge. Some were successful, some weren't. Chelsea were awesome then, only losing their home record to Liverpool after some 4 years. Then under Jose, Chelsea somehow managed to score at home, winning ugly by a slim 1-0 margin time and again.

Now, teams will visit Anfield to garner a point. They'll play with a lone striker and pack their midfield with defensive players. We have yet to lose at Anfield but have drawn 3, dropping 6 valuable points.

The remaining visitors will take a leaf out of these 3 and no doubt will play similar strategy.
It's up to Rafa now to devise a plan on how to remove these parked trains, buses and LRTs out of the way. Guess we are too predictable at home. Maybe a different set of players could do the trick here. Maybe more crafty players like El Zhar perhaps? Pennant with his dribbling perhaps? After all, teams will only defend, relying on counter attack to score and our solid defenders are more than able to neutralise these few forays on their own. So Pennant could be useful with no defensive duties entrusted to him.
Maybe a few quick minutes with Jose will do the trick? I'm sure he doesn't mind to spill the beans on Chelsea. They sacked him anyway!

Tables Don't Lie

The scene at Ewood Park
Let bygones be bygones.
I know it's been a hard week for all of us. 2 consecutive home draws aren't exactly the staple diet we are craving for.

But hey, we are at the top of the league. A position we never held before in December since the inception of Premiership. This is our best start ever. Period.

OK, we could have been running away with the title had we scored against Stoke, Fulham and West Ham at Anfield but over 15 games we are at the top. Point ahead of Chelsea and 6 ahead of bitter rival MU. Arsenal can be discounted from the contenders list.

Satisfied? No? We are demanding lot, the scribe included. Consider this, last year we were 9 points adrift of the then leader Arsenal. We know then, it would be impossible to catch the other 3.

This season, the opposite happens. They are playing catch up and if we continue our winning run, the table will look like it did today. Mind you, table don't lie.

This Saturday, we'll take on beleaguered Rovers. They were thumped 5-3 this morning by MU in Carling Cup and they have mere 2 days to prepare against us.
Paul Ince is definitely down. They say it's not nice to kick a man who's down but sorry Incey, you're next. The Reds are coming to Ewood to rub salts into your gaping wounds.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Owen Comes Lately

The team that failed to beat West Ham

Yes, I was hallucinating after all.

The headlines tomorrow would be "Red Army Stumbles On" instead. Think the pressure had gone to the players' head. Evidence? Gerrard's display last night was enough to document such notion. Yes, the normally cool, calm and collected Gerrard. The team was booed off the pitch. The fans were letting their frustrations known for it was another insipid, pathetic performance from a team who wants to be seriously considered as title contender. Tell that to Sir Alex?

West Ham parking their team bus was expected and it was up to Liverpool to find the keys. We could not find it all night and weirdly, we are still at the top, a point ahead of Chelsea and 6 points of Man U. If Man U were to win their game in hand, it would be only 3. Frightening thought?

To be brutally honest, how can one expect to win matches with such blunt strikeforce consisting of Keane, Kuyt, Ngog and Babel. How many chances created by them last night?
The one likely to break the deadlock was Hyypia. That sums it up.
Ngog who looked promising in pre season looked lost after he came on for Keane who increasingly looked like a misfit by the day . Case of 'tikus membaiki labu'?
Kuyt seems forgot how to play as a striker after long spell on the right.
Player's choice? Seems Rafa has lost it again with his substitutions. Thought Babel is a better choice over Ngog any day.

To be fair, Babel came too little too late to salvage a sinking ship. Riera as solid as he is, doesn't have the finesse to crack open stout defence. Benayoun? Looked lost either and consistently inconsistent.

Given the above, a drab draw would be a fair results. Benitez watched by one half of the Yanks surely got to dip his hands in January transfer market. We need cover. A plan B to last the whole distance.

And in nippy Owen, we have a ready answer. He is reportedly comes cheap at only 2M pound. He is only 28 and has many years ahead of him if used sparingly as cover for Torres.
Nippy player was what Liverpool needed last night and sadly there wasn't any.

It was more 2 points dropped than a point gained and I hate a home games. Visitors will park their bus and Liverpool would not find the lost key. The storyline has become so predictable that the game would be so boring. Liverpool are much better in their journeys so far this season.

Seems like Anfield has lost its invincibility and everybody is borrowing Stoke's holy book of How Not To Lose At Anfield. A bestseller in greater part of UK for now.

Hope the lads will rebound soon enough to consolidate our position at the top and I know they would. Blackburn could find themselves with a wounded lion this Saturday.

The best part is a politically-correct friend of mine took a day off to celebrate Liverpool's ascendancy to the top. Happy miserable holiday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hammer Time

Team to hammer West Ham minus Aurelio

Whoa! Christmas comes early or what?
The result that we've been yearning for became a reality thanks to 2 clinical strikes from Van Persie.
With that, the top spot is ripe for the taking by Liverpool. And West Ham awaits.

Tomorrow morning we'll entertain a sponsor less West Ham whose shirt sponsor XL had grown too big for their shirt size. Talking about economic uncertainty!

The only certain thing is Liverpool will ensure the Hammers be hammered. The players know it and they will be determined to put things into perspective after that Fulham debacle.
Heroes will be born with or without Torres. Had strange feelings that it will be Keane!

There is no better time! Even a slim winning margin will turn into headlines in tomorrow's paper.

I can foretell ' Red Army March On', 'Longest Wait is Over' and so on will be splashed all over town. Guardian UK, NOTW and even Kali's NST will scream red.

Am I hallucinating?