On the 7th December, Liverpool will host West Ham in both sides 3rd game in only 7 days. Liverpool destroyed visitors Norwich on Wednesday, 5-1. Liverpool did play well, but the result was mainly down to a fine individual performance from Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez, that seen him knock in 4 goals and an assist. However, visitors West Ham suffered a major setback as they lost away to fellow struggling side, Crystal Palace, 1-0. Last time Liverpool hosted the East London side, they drew, 0-0. West Ham 'parked the bus' on that occasion, with Liverpool missing a host of great chances. I can see the London side doing the same; come Saturday at 15:00.
Liverpool bounced back from their disappointing defeat in Hull with a superb display against Norwich, which seen them run away 5-1 winners. On Saturday, obviously West Ham will have so much to deal with from Liverpool's attack, with the likes of Luis Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho causing problems for their defensive line. I believe they will go with the same side that thumped Norwich after there was no new injury concerns. Obviously, Liverpool are still missing second top scorer, Daniel Sturridge and Spanish left-back, Jose Enrique, but I don't think they'll miss them too much and expect them to exploit West Ham at the back, like they did to Norwich.
Liverpool's star man is Luis Suarez and I can't see the West Ham defence keeping him off of the score-sheet all game. Another reason for Liverpool's fine performance in mid-week was down to how controlled they were on the ball, especially in the central midfield area. This was why Rodgers would've started Welsh midfielder, Joe Allen over Lucas Leiva. Allen is terrific on the ball and keeps control of possession so well. Allen gets much criticism, I believe this is because he doesn't seem or look as influential as someone like Steven Gerrard might do. But Allen does all the little things that helps your side, his movement and vision is exceptional. I hope Rodgers starts him again on Saturday.
Raheem Sterling didn't have the most impressive game, but still came out of it with a goal and an assist. Sterling took his goal brilliantly with his left foot to smash it past John Ruddy on Wednesday. So, I think Rodgers will start Sterling again and I think Raheem can thrive against the West Ham defence. I'm confident that Liverpool will record another home victory against West Ham, if they don't, it's a real setback.
Liverpool's predicted line up (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan; Allen, Gerrard; Coutinho, Sterling, Henderson; Suarez.
West Ham United
West Ham come into the game under plenty of pressure, they haven't had the best run of form, they've lost three of their last six Premier League games. They're 17th in the table and if they want to stay in the division next season, they're going to have to change that run of form.
However, West Ham are missing their main striker, Andy Carroll who is injured and expected back later this month. Carroll had a spell at Liverpool and it didn't quite work out for the big England target man. Carroll was on loan at West Ham last season from Liverpool before making a permanent move to East London in the summer for £15 million.
West Ham will also be without their star man this season, Ravel Morrison. The England u21 international was booked for the 5th time against Crystal Palace and was lucky to get away with just a booking. The suspension of Morrison will be a huge blow for West Ham as he creates most of their chances. West Ham will have a couple of ex-Liverpool players expected to play; Joe Cole and Stewart Downing. Joe Cole has done well since switching to West Ham, same with Stewart Downing, who probably fits their direct style of play.
Jussi Jaaskelainen has had some fantastic displays against Liverpool in the past, just proving what a brilliant shot-stopper the Finnish keeper is. Last year, in the 0-0 draw at Anfield, James Collins had an amazing display and actually made Luis Suarez look average and kept him off of the score-sheet. West Ham have a powerful and strong midfielder in Mohamed Diame, who can be so influential for West Ham on his day. Liverpool will have to look out for these players, who could nick a result for West Ham today.
Predicted score - Liverpool 4-0 West Ham (Suarez x3, Gerrard)
West Ham's predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Diame, Noble; Jarvis, Nolan, Downing; Cole.
In January 2011, Liverpool's Spanish world class superstar, Fernando Torres desperately needed a strike partner. Liverpool's boss at the time, Kenny Dalglish added a Uruguayan to the squad. His name was Luis Suarez. The striker had left Holland in a controversial manner, after appearing to bite an opponent in a match. The fee was believed to be around £20 million. Many believed he would've been the perfect strike partner to link with Fernando Torres. However, there was a twist. Chelsea came into the action with a £50 million bid for Torres, who was regaining his form, that in the past had seen him tore up the best of defences. Liverpool did accept the offer and Torres was a Chelsea player, I think it's fair to say that Fernando Torres has never been the same player since. Liverpool now had £50 million to spend on a striker. They bid £35 million for Newcastle's English forward Andy Carroll, let's just say that didn't work out too well. One fantastic thing did come out of that gloomy January window though, the capture of Luis Suarez.
2010-11 (Half of the Season)
The time had come for Suarez to make his debut on February the 2nd. It was a mid-week game at Anfield against Stoke City, it was 1-0 when he came on as a second-half substitute. Suarez made history in the 63rd minute by rounding Stoke's keeper Asmir Begovic and tucking it home to double Liverpool's lead after a Raul Meireles through ball to find the new Liverpool number 7. A month later, Suarez showed the Anfiel crowd his full potential with a brilliant solo run to pass it across to Dutchman Dirk Kuyt who tapped it into the empty net. Suarez didn't set the Premier League alight in the half of the season he played, but definitely showed glimpses of his potential to be one of the world's best strikers. Suarez didn't seem to be a clinical finisher and never looked like he would be scoring a substantial amount a couple of years on. The Liverpool fan base did get to see his insane dribbling, ball control and skills that had seen him nutmeg many a player in that half of the season. You could see Suarez was strong on the ball too and loved going one-on-one with defenders and trying to find a impossible way to get round them. Suarez always made it possible though. Even though Suarez was strong on the ball, you could see he went down too easily and was booked a few times for diving. This wasn't the best for the Uruguayan's already damaged reputation.
In the summer, Luis Suarez won 'player of the tournament' in the Copa America 2011 for his nation, Uruguay. Suarez had a controversial and not the most impressing season, only netting 11 league goals for Liverpool in the league. Some of the public were beginning to come to the assumption that Suarez couldn't finish the chances he had. The controversy started in October and seemed to drag on for ages. It was a game against no other than Manchester United in the Premier League. Suarez pleaded guilty to racially abusing Manchester United left-back, Patrice Evra. After the incident, Suarez denied the accusations and said he was 'upset' by them. Suarez was later banned for eight games and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Patrice Evra. More controversy for Suarez came when the two sides met in the returning fixture. It was fair to say it was a very hostile reception from the United fans and it was made worse when Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand before the game. Suarez and Dalglish apologized soon after. Suarez was involved in another bit of controversy. It appeared that Suarez made a rude gesture towards the Fulham fans at Craven Cottage. Suarez was banned for just the one game this time. It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Uruguayan though, Suarez scored his side's equalizer in their 2-1 victory against Merseyside rivals Everton at Wembley in the F.A Cup semi-final. Suarez enjoyed his first bit of the silverware with the Reds too, after being victorious versus Cardiff in the final on penalties. Suarez also bagged his first hat-trick for Liverpool against Norwich, his third goal was something quite spectacular too; Suarez seen the Norwich keeper off of his line and tried an audacious lob from around the half-way line and it went all the way in. But, it was definitely not the best season for Suarez. But he was sure to prove his critics and haters wrong in the next season.
Suarez signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool in August 2012. It wasn't long before the striker opened his account for the season in the second game. It was a superb free-kick that found its way to the bottom right hand corner in a 2-2 draw against champions, Manchester City at Anfield.
Then in late September, Suarez bagged a hat-trick in a 5-2 victory away at Norwich, exactly like he had done in the previous season. On the 4th November, Suarez scored, in my opinion, goal of the season. The ball control was surreal. Jose Enrique booted the ball up field, Suarez pulled away from Fabricio Coloccini and controlling the ball with his chest before taking it past Newcastle keeper Tim Krul, then tapped the ball into the empty net to draw his side level. In January, Liverpool had a tie away to non-league side, Mansfield. Suarez came on and appeared to handle the ball into the goal, but I still to this day don't believe this was deliberate. Suarez, with his bad reputation already did receive criticism for this.
Liverpool completed the signing of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea for £12 million. Sturridge was brought to Liverpool to offer support to Liverpool's main man, Luis Suarez. That's exactly what he done. You could see early signs of brilliant link-up play between the duo. Liverpool hosted Norwich in January, Suarez always seemed to score against Norwich. Many people thought Suarez, who was in top form, would bag himself another hat-trick against the Canaries. Suarez didn't quite manage that. However, the striker managed to get himself on the score-board after a brilliant dummy from Daniel Sturridge that fooled the Norwich defence and Suarez inevitably tucked the ball away past John Ruddy.
Liverpool had a away tie to Oldham Athletic in the next round of the F.A Cup. Luis Suarez was announced captain for the game. This was the first time Suarez was given the armband for the Reds. Liverpool actually lost the game 3-2, Suarez did score the first equalizer for the Reds though. On March the 2nd, Suarez bagged himself his second hat-trick of the season and his third for the Reds. The hat-trick came against a struggling Wigan Athletic side, Liverpool won the game 4-0. After scoring that hat-trick, Suarez was only the third player to score 20 Premier League goals in a season for Liverpool, with Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres. A week later, Liverpool hosted Tottenham. Suarez opened the scoring in the game and that was incidentally his 50th goal in all competitions for the Reds since joining in 2011. Liverpool went on to win the game 3-2. Suarez was nominated in a six man list for PFA Players' Player of the Year, but came second behind Welshman, Gareth Bale. There was more controversy and arguably his worst incident was upon us. Suarez appeared to bite Chelsea's defender Branislav Ivanovic, I mentioned earlier in the article that he had bitten an opponent before whilst playing for former club, Ajax. Suarez was later banned for ten games, this meant he missed the end of the season and five games into the next season. Many people questioned the Uruguayan's future in England. Many people thought his last touch for Liverpool was the equalizing header versus Chelsea.
2013-14 - Present
Liverpool's manager, Brendan Rodgers had a very difficult summer trying to keep hold of his main man, Luis Suarez. The 26 year old wanted to leave according to the media, but never handed in a official transfer request. Arsenal were the only club to put in a bid for the Uruguayan striker, the bid was reported to be £40,000,001 for the player, this was because Arsenal believed there was a release clause for Suarez, there wasn't. Liverpool were brilliant with the whole Suarez saga and fought and were victorious against 'player power' what seems to be so dominant nowadays. Suarez stayed put at Liverpool.
The desire of Suarez never seemed to go away, Suarez looked himself when he arrived back against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Liverpool's 1-0 loss in the Capital One Cup. But Suarez did play well. Suarez arrived back on the Premier League scene against Sunderland in a 3-1 victory, scoring twice, linking up with fellow strike partner Daniel Sturridge. Suarez then scored on his first game back at Anfield against Crystal Palace in a 3-1 victory for the Reds. Suarez done brilliantly to keep the ball in a tight area and still be able to finish it despite falling over from stretching for the ball. In Liverpool's next home game, they welcomed West Brom. Liverpol won the game 4-1. Luis Suarez completed his first Anfield hat-trick. The first goal was sublime, Suarez with a typical nutmeg on Jonas Olsson before thumping the ball into the bottom left hand corner with the outside of his right foot. Luis' second wasn't bad too, Suarez headed it from the edge of the box to get on to a Aly Cissokho cross and the ball was placed into the top left hand corner. Suarez completed his hat-trick off of a Steven Gerrard cross that he flicked into the right hand corner. It was clear that Suarez was enjoying his football and was at the top of his game.
Suarez got a brace against Fulham in a comfortable 4-0 win at Anfield in early November. Then Uruguay qualified for the World Cup and Suarez would've been back in Liverpool just one day before a crucial Merseyside derby. But, Liverpool's American owner, John Henry let Suarez borrow his private jet so that Suarez could arrive home earlier. Suarez did play and scored Liverpool's second to put them 2-1 up in a enthralling game that ended 3-3. Suarez scored a free-kick, which is one of his specialties. The free-kick was very similar to the one he scored against Manchester City in the second game of the 2012-13 season.
Now on to his best game in a Red shirt, in my opinion and I'm sure many people agree with me there. It was the 4th December, Liverpool hosted Luis' favorite team, Norwich. Having scored two hat-tricks against the Canaries in previous encounters, Suarez could make history by being the first player to score three hat-tricks against the same opposing team. Suarez scored an absolute cracker of a half-volley from approximately 40 yards out to loop over John Ruddy in the Norwich net to open the scoring for the Reds. It wasn't long before it was two, Suarez with an excellent strikers goal that showed brilliant improvisation and instinct to finish the chance. Then, Suarez did make history in the Premier League and Liverpool were 3-0 up and cruising with a fabulous solo effort that required unbelievable confidence, skill and precision. This goal really typifies the Liverpool number seven. Suarez wasn't done there though, Suarez scored a free-kick that showed excellent precision and vision, this was his fourth of the game. That was all the goals Suarez would score but Luis set up Raheem Sterling to complete the scoring in the late stages of the game. Pundits such as Charlie Nicholas were comparing him to the likes of Liverpool legend, Kenny Dalglish. Nicholas said "If he continues to play at Liverpool for another couple of seasons, I think you're potentially looking at the best player ever in a Liverpool shirt. He really is. He takes my breath away." That's how high pundits think of the Uruguayan. That is all so far. But I'm sure there will be many more goals to write about soon enough.
Thanks. - @Blobzii
On Wednesday, Liverpool hosted Norwich City. A win in their previous game had seen Norwich climb out of the bottom 3, and Liverpool came into the fixture on the back of a shock 3-1 defeat to Hull City. This did not seem to knock their confidence too much, as they eventually came out 5-1 winners in a victory inspired by Luis Suarez.
Norwich started the game brightly, and at first there were worrying sings that the absence of Sturridge could once again lead to a failure to create and convert chances. However, as it turned out, we don’t need chances to score! After 15 minutes, Suarez conjured a spectacular goal out of nothing. Ruddy hit his goal kick long, which, after an aerial duel, broke to Suarez. The Uruguayan took the ball on the half-volley, despite being 40 yards out. It shot through the air, with power, curve and deadly accuracy. Ruddy was helpless as the ball flew perfectly into the top corner of his net. It was a phenomenal goal, but Suarez was by no means finished.
14 minutes later, he netted again. This time it came from a corner- Gerrard looked as if he was going to header, but pulled away at the last second. This caused confusion in the Norwich defence, and Suarez was on hand to slam the ball emphatically into the roof of the net. Though not in the same league as his first, this goal required a large amount of skill, as it was tough to keep the bouncing ball down. It would have been easy to completely sky it (just ask Torres), but Suarez made it look easy.
Just 6 minutes later, he was at it again! On 35 minutes he completed his hat-trick, and completed it in style. Having flicked the ball brilliantly over a defender, he then shaped to shoot. Instead of hitting it straight away he delayed it slightly, creating more space. Once he’d got the space he was after, he cannoned it home into the corner, leaving poor Ruddy helpless once more. It was arguably even better than the first goal, and that’s really saying something.
Liverpool could have had another couple before half time, but the teams went in at 3-0. When the match got underway again, Norwich showed little sign of making any sort of comeback, and Suarez continued to wreak havoc with their defence. On 74 minutes he unbelievably added a 4th, and it required just as much talent as the rest. Gerrard won a free kick, and Suarez stepped up. Sublimely, he curled it round the wall and into the corner. On any other day it would have been goal of the match! Suarez nearly got one or two more to his name, but it was actually Norwich who scored next. A nice cross, put in by youngster Nathan Redmond, was excellently headed in by Bradley Johnson. This didn’t change the flow of the game though, and Liverpool got their reward for continuing to press in the 88th minute, when Suarez (who else?) set up Sterling to score the 5th and final goal.
Contrary to what the article may have had you believe so far, Suarez was not the only Liverpool player to make a contribution. Coutinho was fantastic, creating a lot of chances and dribbling round defenders with ease at times. Johnson also had a good first half, though he faded off as the game went on. Sterling was very lively, and consistently made extremely selfless runs and passes. His reward was a goal and assist. That said, Suarez will rightly take all of the plaudits, because he was just sensational. It was quite possibly the best individual performance I have ever witnessed, and if we can hold on to him in January it should be regarded as the biggest achievement of our season to date.
Obviously it would be unreasonable to expect such stellar performances from Suarez every week, but the fact that he was able to so emphatically step up to fill the void left by Daniel Sturridge is promising. It shows that we can win, and win well, without him- hopefully we’ll be able to retain our place in the top 4 during the time he is sidelined.
Follow me on Twitter @JamesMartin013
On Wednesday the 4th December, Liverpool host Norwich in the second game of this traditional busy Christmas period. Liverpool are currently 4th in the league table, joint on points with Merseyside rivals Everton and just 1 point behind Manchester City.Liverpool
The league position might seem quite good for Liverpool, it is good for Liverpool, but fans will be disappointed with the club dropping down 2 places after losing 3-1 at the KC Stadium in their first ever defeat to Hull City. However, if you asked a Liverpool fan at the start of the season if they would've taken being in the Champions League spots at the start of December, 99% of them would've bitten your hand off. There has been some criticism of Brendan Rodgers on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this is deserved in a way for maybe not starting enough 'creators' in his side at the KC Stadium. Admittedly there was Phillipe Coutinho who hadn't trained all week and wasn't ready to start. I believe he should have started young Spaniard Luis Alberto. But it's easy saying this is hindsight after we witnessed a poor performance from on loan Nigerian, Victor Moses. Rodgers did come out on Monday with quotes such as "If there was anyone to blame, blame me as the manager." I think this is good for a manager to come out and publicly admit he was wrong. Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from their disappointment at the weekend with back-to-back home victories against Norwich and West Ham, who Liverpool encounter on Saturday. Liverpool have no new injury worries, they're obviously missing Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique, but Phillipe Coutinho is expected to start. This will give Liverpool a massive boost in the game. I always speak so highly about Coutinho because he is so technically gifted and offers plenty of creativity for his team mates. You could tell Liverpool were missing the young Brazillian until he came on in their loss to Hull. Moving onto the striker, Luis Suarez. You could sense that Suarez was a bit isolated in the game on Sunday, this was one of his worst performances in a Liverpool shirt, in my opinion. Instead of starting with wingers against Norwich, I think Rodgers should start with Luis Alberto and Phillipe Coutinho against the Canaries. This is to help and give support to Liverpool's main man Luis Suarez. Maybe, to help Suarez, Rodgers should start with Iago Aspas in the position that Daniel Sturridge normally plays in for the Reds. Aspas has hardly set the Premier League alight in his first few months, admittedly it has been an injury struck spell. Aspas did play as a striker for Celta Vigo before moving to Liverpool in the summer. Suarez and Aspas also gave brief indications of the duo working well together in pre-season.
I predict Liverpool's line-up to be as follows: (4-2-2-2)
Mignolet, Johnson, Sakho, Agger, Flanagan, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Aspas, Suarez.Norwich City
Now on to Norwich, the Canaries have had a mixed start to the new season. Norwich are sitting in 14th place, 1 point in front of West Ham and 1 point below Swansea. In recent times, Norwich have always struggled against Liverpool and a huge factor of that is down to the Uruguayan forward, a certain Luis Suarez. The striker has bagged himself 2 hat-tricks against the Canaries in just 2 seasons. However, both of them have come at Norwich's ground Carrow Road. Last season, Liverpool beat Norwich 5-2 at Carrow Road and then 5-0 in the returning fixture at Anfield. Suarez scoring in both of those games, 4 in total. Obviously, Norwich have got much to handle in Liverpool's attack. However, Norwich are a competent side with a good goalkeeper in the Englishman John Ruddy. However, I don't rate Norwich's back four. Manchester City managed to beat them 7-0 early in November and a couple of times they have conceded 4 against Arsenal in the Premier League and Manchester United in the Capital One Cup. In Norwich's midfield they have Jonny Howson. I rate Howson, I think he's very going forward and has a thunderous shot on him. Howson often comes up with the odd goal, they tend to be quite special goals when they do come around too. There is Nathan Redmond too, Redmond is quite similar to Raheem Sterling in the way he plays. Redmond always tries to take on the defenders and get in a 1-on-1 situation with them. But Redmond also tries the shot quite often too. Redmond's skill, speed and agility may become an issue for Liverpool as the game goes on. Norwich have also got a good set-piece taker in Robert Snodgrass and has already scored a free-kick against West Ham earlier in November. Their strike force last weekend had Johan Elmander and Gary Hooper, out of them two, I believe Hooper is the better by a large amount. Hooper might be coming onto a good streak of form too, after scoring the winner against Crystal Palace on Saturday in a 1-0 Norwich victory. If Elmander does play, he may be used as a striker to hold up the play for his fellow strike partner, Gary Hooper. Liverpool will have to look out for all of these on Wednesday and I'm sure Brendan Rodgers has prepared the team for all of these.
Norwich City - Predicted Line-Up (4-4-2):
Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, R Bennett, Olsson, Hoolahan, Fer, Howson, Redmond, Elmander, Hooper.
Predicted Score: Liverpool 3-0 Norwich City (Suarez x2, Coutinho)
- Bobby (@Blobzii
Liverpool go into a busy month of tough fixtures with a trip to newly promoted side Hull City. Hull are 13th in the table going in to the game, Hull are 1 point above Stoke and 1 point behind West Brom. With the visitors Liverpool 2nd in the table, Liverpool are 4 points behind leaders Arsenal and joint on points with 3rd placed Chelsea.Hull City
Hull have had a decent start to their season after being promoted from the Championship last season, their home form has been good, Hull have won 3 home games this season and just the 1 away game, coming out 3-2 victors over Newcastle. One of Hull's main problems have been the worrying amount of goals they're scoring. Hull have scored just 9 goals in the league at present, with Liverpool's joint top goal scorers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez both scoring 9 goals already this campaign. Irishman Robbie Brady has scored Hull's most goals this season, scoring 3 goals. Hull are a well organised and decent side and will always make the KC Stadium a hard place to come and pick up maximum points, they have proved that this season with their only loss at home against Crystal Palace last weekend. Hull have a good shot stopper in Allan McGregor, Hull also have a good and experienced centre back in Englishman Curtis Davies, who has proven a real handful for defenders in the past with his good jumping and aerial ability. Hull have a very good midfielder with Tom Huddlestone, who they brought in from Tottenham in the summer. Huddlestone is a solid and powerful centre midfielder. Huddlestone has a good tackle on him, also a thumping shot and can use both feet equally as well. Huddlestone will certainly be one to look out for if Liverpool want to come through victorious in this game. There is obviously their biggest goal threat in their leading goal scorer, Robbie Brady. However, 2 of his 3 Premier League goals have been from the penalty spot. Liverpool will still obviously need to keep an eye on the Irishman.
Hull City - Predicted Line-Up (4-4-1-1):
McGregor, Elmohamady, Davies, Bruce, Figueroa, Huddlestone, Koren, Livermore, Boyd, Brady, Sagbo.Liverpool
Liverpool go into the game in a very healthy position, they just came out of a terrific Merseyside derby that ended 3-3. Daniel Sturridge, who knocked in Liverpool's equalizer last weekend is out of the game with suspected ankle ligament damage that could see him sidelined for a minimum of 6 weeks. This is a huge blow for Liverpool after Sturridge's brilliant start to this season. Sturridge has scored 9 goals for the Reds in this campaign. If that wasn't enough of a blow for the Reds, there is a rumour that Brazillian playmaker Phillipe Coutinho will not be available to start through injury, this is just pure speculation at the moment though with nothing yet confirmed. Liverpool's goal-scoring hasn't been a problem in the league yet, but with Daniel Sturridge sideline for a while as it seems, could this be that much of an issue for Liverpool? You would think not with red-hot Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez still available. But one of the reasons Suarez is on top form is because of the lethal partnership Suarez and Sturridge had formed over the recent weeks. Liverpool have Spaniard Jose Enrique out still with a knee problem. But Jon Flanagan really impressed in last weeks 3-3 draw, with the Liverpool team according to captain Steven Gerrard "Gave him a round of applause when he came in the dressing room afterwards". I'm sure this would've gave Flanagan a huge boost to know that he has all of the players behind him, I'm sure he will start at left-back again against Hull. Last week, Simon Mignolet proved why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and arguably the best shot-stopper in the league with a fine performance against Everton. Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson will be vital going forward this weekend, in my opinion. I think Johnson could really torment Maynor Figueroa down that side and be vital if Liverpool were to win. They have a still fantastic player and captain in Steven Gerrard who at the moment is whipping fabulous deliveries from corners and free-kicks, so Hull will have to be very prepared to stop them. Now, I will move onto the best player who's going to be on the pitch, yes, obviously it's Luis Suarez. The 26 year old is on sensational form for Liverpool. Suarez has scored 9 goals this season, despite missing the first 5 games of the season from a suspension. I can't see there not being a goal from Luis Suarez after Sundays encounter.
Liverpool - Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
Mignolet, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Moses, Coutinho, Suarez.
Predicted Score: Hull City 0-2 Liverpool (Suarez x2)
- Bobby (@Blobzii
Jon Flanagan. Born in Liverpool, supported Liverpool as a kid and plays for the club, Liverpool. Twenty year old Jon Flanagan made his Merseyside derby debut yesterday, and to my surprise, he played well. Yes he doesn't have the attacking threat, but defensively? He did very well. As I said, we do need a full back with both, a good attacking threat and a player who is good defensively.
Couple of weeks ago, if someone said to me Flanagan's going to be starting against Arsenal and Everton (Possibly more games with Enrique being out), I probably would have gone mental. He's certainly proved me wrong, is he good enough for the long term? No. As a back up? Yes. Cissokho, who came in this summer on loan, hasn't impressed me - he's been terrible. And with Jose being out for ten weeks, it's looking like he's going to start many games in December - January period, and maybe the first couple of games in February. Arguably the toughest months for us this season. With Liverpool facing strong teams - Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal. This is Flanagan's time to step up.
He played against Arsenal and Everton, both away, this season. Flanagan didn't do too bad, seeing as most of the Liverpool players didn't do well - he was one of the 'best' players on the pitch. Against Everton? Arguably the best player on the pitch. In the Merseyside Derby, Flanagan played surprisingly brilliant. I felt he knew what the Everton players were going to do, he intercepted many passes, tackled superbly, an amazing performance. The fact he played on the left (he's a natural right back) also impressed me a lot, really important for Liverpool - the question is does he play on the right while Johnson plays on the left, or the opposite?
Gerrard was full of praise for Jon after his performance against Everton (Via www.liverpoolfc.com
"You look at our team and our star man, for me, was Jon Flanagan by a country mile.
"He doesn't get many headlines but, as captain of the team, he was the player I am most proud of. I thought he was unbelievable.
"He's been fighting hard in training just to get in the 18, never mind the starting XI, but the manager threw him in at the deep end against a top-class player like Kevin Mirallas and I thought he was sensational.
"It was one of the best derby performances I have seen for many years. He reminds me of Jamie Carragher in a lot of ways. I don't think you would judge Jon in terms of ability or skill, but he is all about heart, desire, determination and fighting for the cause.
"He's a Liverpool fan like myself, so I know what it meant to him to come into a derby and finish as our man of the match by a mile.
"I didn't have to say anything to Jon before the game. He's a local lad and you don't need to tell them what the derby means. He's known what to expect from an early age.
"Jon was on the front foot, he was aggressive. He did exactly what the manager told him to do before kick-off. He asked him to be positive and anticipate the danger. He was brilliant.
"All of the players gave him a round of applause when he came in the dressing room afterwards."
Flanagan made nine tackles against Everton - more than anyone on the pitch. Suarez, Lucas, Gerrard and Johnson all made three, the second most for Liverpool.
Flanagan made the most interceptions against Everton with four.
Despite making nine tackles, he didn't concede any fouls.
Flanagan attempted 31 passes, and had a passing accuracy off 84% against Everton. The third best on the pitch (For those who played 90 minutes).
Flanagan made one successful long ball against Everton.
Would you get a left back in January? Would you get a key player, or a back up? Who would you sign?
Thanks for reading.
I’m still in shock. Yesterday (Saturday 23rd November), Liverpool and Everton played out one of the best, most dramatic Merseyside derbies to date. Many predicted it would be a good game, with both sides having good seasons, but nobody could have foreseen that it would turn into a six goal thriller, filled with all the ingredients to make a great game of football- controversy, exceptional play, drama and action right to the final whistle.
In their usual fashion, Liverpool started quickly. They won a corner inside 4 minutes, and subsequently scored from it- Coutinho smashing the ball emphatically into the net after Suarez had his shot blocked. Everton would have been disappointed to concede in such a manner- the marking was questionable, and James McCarthy, who was meant to be on the line to clear the ball, was standing in the goal! Consequently, his attempted clearance was ineffective, and Liverpool took the lead. However, it didn’t last long. 8 minutes into the game Leighton Baines delivered a very nice free kick, which, after a bit of a scramble, was turned home skilfully by Kevin Mirallas.
A few minutes later, Mirallas was involved again, but not in the right way. He tried to rob the ball from Suarez by sliding in, but his tackle was late and high, and his studs were up. It clearly should have been a red card (I may be biased, but I’m sure anyone would agree it was a horrendous challenge), but referee Phil Dowd only deemed it worthy of a yellow. This was not an isolated incident. The Everton game plan essentially seemed to be ‘try and get Suarez stretchered off the pitch’, and Mirallas in particular was guilty of multiple fouls. How he didn’t get sent off is beyond me.
Unfortunately for them, even dirty tactics could not contain the Uruguayan. 19 minutes in, he won a free kick in a promising position. Agger, Gerrard and Suarez all looked interested in taking it, but in the end it was Suarez who took on the responsibility. He certainly delivered- his glorious, curling effort got through the (admittedly somewhat scrappy) wall and past the outstretched glove of Tim Howard. The game then died down a little, although both sides were still creating chances. Mignolet pulled off a couple of great saves to keep Liverpool in front going into the break.
After half time, it carried on in much the same way. With Baines off for Deulofeu, Everton became slightly more attacking, and Liverpool were forced into defending quite a lot. Mignolet made some astounding saves to retain the reds lead. With 30 minutes to go, Joe Allen was presented with a glorious chance to reward Mignolet’s hard work by all but sinking Everton. Suarez dances exceptionally through 3 Everton defenders, and the ball broke for the Welshman. He was clean through on Howard, with Suarez to his left. He opted to shoot, and understandably so, for it was a very easy chance. However, he somehow put the ball wide of the target, letting Everton off the hook. It was extremely frustrating; even if he wasn’t confident taking on the simple shooting chance, why not just square it to Suarez for a tap-in? Suarez seemed to be thinking along the same lines- he was visibly furious with Allen.
This was arguably the catalyst that Everton required. They redoubled their efforts, and with 20 minutes to go levelled the game through Romelu Lukaku. The chance came after Mignolet made yet another sublime stop (he made 9 in total throughout the game), but could not gather the ball. The Liverpool box was crowded with blue shirts, and when the ball got driven it and fell to Lukaku, the outcome was inevitable. At this point Rodgers took off Lucas for Sturridge, a real sign of intent. Unfortunately, it did not immediately pay off. Everton won a corner in the 82nd minute, which Lukaku headed powerfully home for his 2nd and Everton’s 3rd, putting them in front for the first time. Sturridge was on the line, but could not prevent the ball sailing over his head and in.
Despite the fact that there was so little time left, it didn’t really feel like the scoring was over, and so proved. With just a minute left of the ninety, substitute Daniel Sturridge headed home after a great free kick from the captain, Steven Gerrard. This brought things level, but Liverpool were not done. They kept piling on the pressure deep into added time, resulting in what was very nearly the winning goal. Suarez was denied by a good save from Howard, and Sturridge actually put the ball into the net, but from an offside position. Eventually the final whistle blew, bringing the rollercoaster of a match to an end.
Mignolet gets my man of the match award, as without him we would have ended up with a result a lot worse than a draw. Jon Flanagan, who was filling in at left-back for Enrique and Cissokho, also deserves a mention. He made some good tackles, and though he didn’t provide much attacking impetus he was solid at the back. All in all, although it was disappointing not to win against our fierce rivals, a draw was probably a fair result. It was an excellent, hard-fought game of football, and a pleasure (albeit a stressful pleasure) to watch. It should be remembered that an away draw against e team sitting 6th in the table is nothing to be ashamed of, and with three very winnable games coming up the overriding feeling at Anfield should be optimism.
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The day is almost upon us. The first derby of the season against our fierce rivals, Everton, is just around the corner. Other than perhaps Manchester United clashes, this fixture has no equal. Unlike in recent years, this derby is a very important match in terms of league positioning. Everton will move up to join 2nd with a win, and a victory for Liverpool will put them top. If possible then, the stakes have been raised even higher. Who will get the all-important victory?
Somewhat predictably, I’m going to say Liverpool. Of course I’m biased (I’m the first to admit that), but when you look at the two squads Liverpool’s is clearly superior. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will surely wreak havoc in the Everton defence, as they are simply a class above the likes of Distin and Jagielka. Also, in midfield, Everton are likely to be overwhelmed by Philippe Coutinho’s technical ability, as well as the sheer passion and determination of Gerrard and Henderson. As long as we are able to put in the type of performance that we did against Fulham, we shouldn’t have too much trouble.
That said, Everton is by no means to be written off. They have a very solid goalkeeper in Tim Howard, and Suarez and Sturridge will have to be on their game to beat him. Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku also has the potential to cause our defence some trouble. Also, with the game likely to be somewhat highly charged, the physicality of Gareth Barry could come in useful. However, as they are coming into this game on the back of a 0-0 draw with bottom-placed club Crystal Palace, I think Liverpool fans are justified in feeling quietly confident.
There is also the issue of fatigue from international games. The majority of the Everton squad have enjoyed a week’s break from football, and will go into the derby refreshed. In contrast, many of the Liverpool players are coming into the game battered and bruised from international duty, including the talismanic duo dubbed ‘SAS’- Suarez and Sturridge. Sturridge was forced to play the full 90 minutes against Germany despite carrying an injury, whilst Suarez played against Jordan on Wednesday and had to borrow Liverpool owner John Henry’s private jet in order to get back to England more quickly! It isn’t what you’d call ideal preparation for such a big game, and it may prove costly.
The thing I’m most looking forward to about the game is the battle between Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson. They are both classy full-backs, and I’m sure they will look to get at each other throughout the game; this will almost certainly prove to be a good watch. I’m also interested to see how our centre-backs (whoever they might be) manage Lukaku. Sakho has looked great for the last few games, in particular against Arsenal, but he hasn’t come up against anyone as physical as Lukaku thus far. Hopefully he will be able to handle him, but, quality player that he is, I’m sure Lukaku will cause him some problems.
Finally, to the prediction. On paper, I think that Liverpool have the much better team. However, with a lot of the players tired from international duty, combined with the fact that Everton, specifically Lukaku, poses such a physical threat going forward, I think it will be a close game. I reckon it will finish 2-1 to Liverpool, with Suarez scoring a brace and Lukaku getting one for Everton. However, seeing as I’ve only predicted the outcome of a Liverpool game correctly about 4 times, I wouldn’t set much store by that! At the end of the day I’m just hoping for a good game, and, of course, a win for the reds.
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With many teams today opting for the standard variations of the 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, any formation with a 3-man backline is deemed to be “unorthodox” or “out of the norm”. However, these formations which date back all the way to the 1920’s, where the 3-2-2-3 was first used, is still very much prevalent in modern day football, albeit with a few restrictive covenants and factors that needs to be accounted for.
The classic and staple 4-4-2 formation has been known to be increasingly outdated and ineffective going up against more versatile and player-enhancing formations, such as the ever-popular 4-2-3-1 or the midfield-heavy 4-3-3.
However, most 4-man backline formations are pretty standard, especially in terms of personnel, and this is where 3-man backline formations become unique – it is never that
Let’s talk about a basic 3-5-2 formation: You start with three solid centre-backs who can complement each other. This branches out to two normal possibilities – either a) having one player who anchors the middle of the back-three with brilliant position and reading of the game while the two beside him play as sweepers, who can carry the ball well; or b) having two players as the right and left centre-backs playing within a limited zone as per a standard 4-4-2 while the other in the middle plays as the sweeper higher up.
Then you move out wide, where you have two players as wing-backs, having to control wide areas mostly on their own at both ends of the pitch. These players have to possess the right amount of discipline, have the sharpest of awareness, tactical ability in terms of positioning and timing, and naturally, have the ability to contribute offensively to provide width.
Let’s not drift out too wide now, as we move back for a second to the midfield trio, which can comprise of a combination of three midfielders, or two midfielders and a forward. What we typically see would be two midfielders who play deep and supply the forwards, with an offensive minded player as an attacking midfielder, also known as a ‘2-1’ midfield, but that can always be flipped around.
Finally, two forwards and/or strikers who can create a formidable, potent strike force – one that understands each others’ movements and are able to get out of each other’s way without taking themselves out of the game.
The bottom-line is that in 3-5-2-like formations, the players being lined-up and the tactical strategies are as crucial as ever. Play one player off position, move one player too high up or too deep, or just simply having a player who’s not good enough and you’ll hinder the potential that an intricate formation like a 3-5-2 can bring.
With Liverpool playing arguably their best game this season against West Bromwich Albion using a 3-4-1-2, it is clear that there really is a place for 3-man backline formations in the Premier League. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no more room for innovation, alteration, and improvement. A rather painful, yet somewhat expected 2-0 loss against Arsenal has shown that we are miles off from pulling off stunning displays using 3-man defences in our formations.
Here, I list two
possible ways that can help change up and hopefully, improve Liverpool’s 3-man backline formations as Brendan Rodgers continue to venture through this path. Switching Up the Centre-backs
The summer of 2013 saw two outstanding, first-team-quality centre-backs with two opposite football backgrounds – one of them was Kolo Touré, a member of “The Invincibles” which saw Arsenal claim the league title in 2003-04 with a decorated past; and the other being Mamadou Sakho, a player with a bright future ahead of him, already having over 150 caps for his former club, Paris Saint-German, where he was also the club captain at the age of 21.
With that, Liverpool had very well rectified the lack of quality in centre-back areas, now having a wide array of centre-backs to choose from – all, or at least, most of which stand out as top players.
Rodgers has played the trio of Kolo Touré, Martin Škrtel and Mamadou Sakho to complement each of their abilities. Škrtel was deployed in the middle of the back-three, with Touré and Sakho playing on his right and left respectively, facilitating a back-three comprising of one solid core and two sweeper-like centre-backs. This maintains a more, somewhat conservative backline – not venturing too far up the pitch.
In order to mix things up, Rodgers can very well play Liverpool vice-captain Daniel Agger in the middle of any combination of two of Škrtel, Touré and Sakho playing on the right and left of him. This allows Agger to push higher up the pitch if needed while the remaining two centre-backs converge a little more into the middle as per a typical 4-man backline would. This is obviously a more attacking-minded approach, playing to Agger’s strengths which his ability to carry the ball so well and distribute it like a midfielder.
This would of course change up the dynamics of the team. With Agger pushing up, he joins Lucas Leiva in protecting the back-two while acting as a medium for ball-distribution. At the same time, Steven Gerrard is given that extra inch of allowance to venture higher up the pitch where he plays arguably, his best game due to a more solidified layer of defence behind him.
Ultimately, this alternates the team’s structure and positioning as a whole, especially during offensive transitions, where a third defender is pushed higher up the pitch, allowing for a more aggressive offensive structure. Defensively speaking, it allows for more space and gaps to be covered earlier on, as the four players in front of the back-two should consist of the third defender, the defensive midfielder and the two wing-backs. Switching Up the Formation Itself
A huge argument going against the 3-4-1-2 formation is Liverpool having the inappropriate midfielders to run the ship. Failing to control the middle of the pitch on a regular basis allows oppositions to run over the squad more often and more dangerously too due to the allowance of space to opposing players in Liverpool’s defensive half. Moreover, the absence of midfield control will cause more turnovers as players get cut down and pressed too early and easily, thus giving possession away with ease.
So in order to rectify this, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool could experiment with a 3-man defence, a diamond midfield, two wide players and a central striker, which would translate to the ever-famous 3-4-3 formation that was elevated by a tactical genius that is Dutch legend, Johan Cruyff.
This formation of his started off at Ajax with Cruyff having three mobile, yet solid defenders forming the back-three (Danny Blind and Frank de Boer, for example), followed by what is very well-known as a “diamond midfield”. The base of the diamond is the defensive midfielder (Frank Rijkaard being the most prominent name); while the sides of the diamond being two midfielders who are able to dictate and control the pace of the game as well as distribution of the ball (Edgar Davids, Clerence Seedorf, Ronald de Boer, Jan Wouters and many more).
Finally, the tip of the diamond consists of an attacking midfielder or a second-striker (Jari Litmanen or Arnold Scholten), and the 3-4-3 is then topped with the final layer of two wide players with an attacking-oriented palette of abilities (George Finidi, Marc Overmars) playing wide of a tactically-flexible centre-forward (Patrick Kluivert, Marco van Basten).
What differs a 3-4-3 from a 3-4-1-2 would be the extra emphasis on midfield control through a narrower midfield line-up and more aggressive width with wingers being used instead of wing-backs, but it comes with a cost, of course – an escalated level of hustle and work needed to be done by the midfielders and centre-backs.
And with that said, Liverpool may just have what it takes to pull it off, albeit being a player, or three, away from perfection in a 3-4-3. Firstly, a full-fledged defensive midfielder may be needed, as Lucas Leiva is deemed by many to be unsuitable to play in that role, but instead, should play more of a pivot in midfield.
Apart from that, perhaps a box-to-box-like midfielder might be needed in order to obtain and retain midfield control without compromising attacking capabilities. Lastly, a winger to complete the forward three might be required, seeing as Victor Moses hasn’t fully impressed and Raheem Sterling still shows that touch that only a young player would due to lack of experience. Bottom-line?
It still remains to be seen if Liverpool’s best performance and potential to rise even higher lies within a 3-man defence. Traditionally, it sacrifices an extra defensive man with the view of gaining the midfield control and in turn, hoping that it translate to smoother, more effective and potent offensive attempts.
So far, the Liverpool squad has not shown perfect execution with a 3-man defence. Perhaps the potential for greatness within this unorthodox formation is yet to be unleashed? But if so, just how much (or little) is there left for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers to tweak and alter in order to hit the sweet spot whilst using a 3-man backline formation? Is it a hit, or a miss? Should Rodgers throw this whole formation in the bin and revert back to a standard 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1?
As with anything, only time can tell.
Written by @LFCImpulse
It's the 9th June 2011. A young 20 year old dynamic midfielder, scouted extensively by many top clubs, signs for Liverpool football club. The fee an unconfirmed £16 million fee, rising with add ons clearly shows the potential shown in the lad.
Sunderland born and bred, a fan all of his life. This clearly was a huge upheaval for someone he'd been at his childhood club since he was a young teen. Yet Kenny and Comoli, felt he had all of the right attributes to make it at the very top.
It's clear that you pay a premium for English talent in this country and unfortunately Jordan was victim of being priced around double his actual value. This wasn't the most expensive Englishman LFC signed that summer however, that honour fell to Downing. That said it was clearly a lot of cash to splash on a young man, perhaps not yet ready for his move.
He clearly didn't perform at the level expected when he signed. It's easy to see why, the weight of the move on his shoulders, Kenny's insistence to play him on the right, just purely time to adapt to a new city, new manager, coaches, training routine and life in general. However this wasn't considered by many and led to a barrage of negativity from the keyboard warriors of our generation, unwilling to give him time due to his price tag. It's difficult to justify the money paid, but I've never once understood how this is taken out on the player, not the scouting team, manager and negotiator.
Henderson was just another scapegoat for many fans. A player they didn't want, too simple, not as flashy as the flavour of the month player from a Barca B side, who they'd seem perform once at a youth tournament. He was taken purely on his tag, not his potential or even sometimes his performance level. I remember one particular performance vs Blackburn, when we were down to 10 men. Jordan shifted to right back and played out I his skin. I honestly don't remember someone putting in that many yards in one match. I saw huge potential from that game, along with others and also his time with England under 21's.
His desire and pure gut busting runs (see Sunderland in the 89th minute) is what I love about Jordan. He's an everyman, the kind of player you wanted to emulate in the play ground. Someone who combines heart, with strong technical ability and a willingness to never quit. It's hard to argue that mental strength, without ability will take a player to the very top, but personally I feel Jordan gets a rough deal when people judge his qualities.
As I've stated I love his willingness to run all day, but he's no headless chicken. He patrols the midfield extremely well, harrying and hassling opponents effectively and at the right time too. His positional sense is strong and improving game on game. His technical ability, much better than most give him credit. He has good vision, his weight of pass is decent as is his passing range. His pace isn't staggering, but you'd struggle to match him in a 400 metre race, as once he hits top speed, he never slows down. His shooting is decent and his composure good, when he gambles into that position. Once he adds a little more finesse and composure, I see him hitting 10 goals a season, with the same amount of assists.
I'm delighted, he's finally proving his doubters wrong this season. They're seeing that actually this guy can not only work hard, but also play a little. He's a few goals/assists away from being undropable in my opinion, which not many would have predicted 12 months ago, including one Brendan Rodgers.