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)

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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 Manchester 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 leveler 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, just that the paper planes were missing! 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 pf 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. Ho 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.

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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.

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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.