Friday, March 23, 2012
It's not everyday that Liverpool collapse in the final 13 minutes of a game like they did against QPR. Overconfidence might have had something to do with that, as the Reds were so dominant in that game. Much like they had been throughout the season. One could actually count in one hand the number of terrible performances. But the Premier League standings don't lie and Liverpool, for all their vibrant football, deserve to sit in seventh spot.
All eyes will be on the mighty Reds this weekend, as they take on struggling Wigan Athletic at Anfield. If Reds fans are hoping that Liverpool will sweep aside the Latics, they might have to think again. Liverpool have struggled against Wigan in recent seasons and with Martinez' men fighting for their Premiership lives, the Reds might well struggle again. Factor in Asia's best goal keeper, Ali Al-Habsi and one can be sure goals will not come easy.
You will need to go back three seasons (2009/2010) to find the last home win for Liverpool over Wigan. A 2-1 win inspired by goals from Bolton's David N'gog and Chelsea's Fernando Torres.
Steven Gerrard, as Liverpool captain, must lead by example and inspire the players around him to put the QPR defeat behind them. The Reds needs all his leadership qualities to ensure that they do not suffer another bitter disappointment at Anfield.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Torres has had to endure tough times since his transfer to Chelsea. Even if his desire to move was to win trophies, he obviously had not figured how difficult it would be to firstly, fit into a world-class team and secondly, to displace Didi Drogba.
The best striker in the Premiership, Fernando Torres had to deal with a trophy-ladened but ego-filled dressing room. And as far as world class strikers go, El Nino had to contend with the ill-fated Chelsea strikers' graveyard. And then there is the looming monster shadow of a defiant Drogba, seemingly oblivious to his diminishing powers.
So you see, Torres had to endure an environment completely different to the one he fondly remembered at Liverpool. Far away from the Anfield adulation he enjoys, he had to undergo a transformation to be successful in a club like Chelsea. So, to replace Drogba is to be like Drogba.
The dream of being double Cup winners is slowly materialising. Liverpool got past a potentially difficult quarterfinal match and comprehensively beat Stoke City. Goals from Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing handed a semifinal berth to the Reds.
Like every season, FA Cup semifinal drama could be in store with the prospect of a special Merseyside derby. I'd prefer that Liverpool meet Sunderland instead. Being in the semifinal of the FA Cup should be a big enough game for the Reds to be fairly motivated even if they were to face Sunderland. Besides, Liverpool have unfinished business with O'Neill's men, having lost due to Bendtner's winner recently. Storming into the FA Cup final while demolishing a side with x-Devils O'Shea, Bardsley and Richardson, would bring a happy smile to my face.
Three things stood out in the win over Stoke last weekend.
Make no mistake about Daniel Sturridge's value to Chelsea, his contributions have been exceptional for the Blues. His goals have somewhat dried up, but he is still a first choice player in the eyes of Robbie Di Matteo. RDM has taken his chance at the helm of Chelsea and now rides the wave of three consecutive victories. Ironically he has reverted to Chelsea's old guards to get the job done.
And so it was a surprise that the Italian decided to gamble on the "new" Chelsea, playing Meireles and Torres against Leicester in the FA Cup quarterfinals. The players he picked have yet to let RDM down, and Chelsea strolled to a victory that they deserved.
Though the standout performance came from Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge's singlemindedness to get goals lend itself to a general perception that he is constantly hunting for personal glory. His agenda is to gratify himself rather than doing what's necessary for the good of the team.
Young strikers typically have this trait. It's all about goals and the excitement that scoring brings to them. As they mature, strikers become more rounded. In his early years, Michael Owen was a greedy goal poacher, he went on to refine his game in later years, becoming a more complete attacker in the final third.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Merseyside derbies, Manchester United derbies, "Big Four" derbies, Champions League, Carling Cup, FA Cup - these are big games that Liverpool in recent times love and strive to win. Hence it should be no surprise that the Reds thumped the Blues of Liverpool 3-0 with a classy hattrick from the soon-to-be Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool invariably raise their game in big matches and so it proved against Everton. It's been a while since the Reds have scored three goals this season in the Premier League so it was a nice gesture from Moyes' team to be so generous in defence.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been having personal contests ever since Real Madrid nabbed the Portuguese pretty boy from Manchester United.
So far, Messi in his own magical and yet unassuming way have trumped Ronaldo in all global recognition and awards. This season however, Ronaldo leads Messi in the goalscoring charts and Real Madrid is the runaway leaders for the La Liga crown. It would seem that the limelight hogging Portuguese should finally get the better of the inspirational Argentine.
But then Messi goes ahead, scores five goals and virtually create Champions League history and Ronaldo must be cringing, just wondering what he has to do to be the best in the world. No matter what Ronaldo does, Messi is even better at it.
Here are all 50 of Messi's goals this season. You can see this on youtube link here.
This link shows Cristiano Ronaldo who has been phenomenal as well this season. Who would have thought a once one-trick pony could develop into a fearsome goal machine. He is excellent in the air, blessed with two great feet and has blistering pace with awesome close control.
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