Lots of positives ahead of Stoke

Liverpool look to continue their fine start to the Premier League season after two weeks of international break when they face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on this Sunday.

During this period, there having quite a few good news for Liverpool. Charlie Adam, who was ruled out of Scotland’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania is expected to be available for selected against Stoke. Kenny Dalglish said: “Charlie should be alright for the game. I think it was right what Craig Levein (Scotland manager) did in not playing him on Tuesday.”

Dalglish also confirmed Glen Johnson’s return to full training. He said: “Glen Johnson is training alongside us again now, and Steven [Gerrard] is getting closer everyday, so everything on the injury front seems to be pretty positive for us at the moment.” He also expects Gerrard to back very soon, saying “He’s not far away [from return].”

And with new boy Sebastian Coates and the returning Craig Bellamy, now Liverpool do have a really strong side. John Aldridge feels the current squad is ‘the strongest in 20 years’.

And, everyone is heaping praises on Damien Comoll for his efforts in building of such a good squad, which he clearly deserves!

In the International break, Stewart Downing had 1 assist in each of the 2 England games. Meanwhile, Liverpool youngsters also won 4-0 against Molde FK in the NextGen Series.

Stoke City had a good transfer window, in which they brought in Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome. Stoke have greatly strengthened their team and the with their cagey defence, it would certainly be a tough game for Liverpool. But with the form Luis Suarez is in, it seems no one can stop him!

Can New Arrivals kick-start the Red Revival against Gunners?

A request to everyone from UK to sign the e-petition for “Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster”. Link: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/2199

After a disappointing result against Sunderland on the opening day of the 2011-12 Barclays Premier League campaign, Reds would be looking to take all three points against a very under-strength Arsenal side but still with lots of quality.

Over the past few years, even though we have been able to beat Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City on a quite regular basis, Arsenal have proven to be a tough opponent.

Their side, even though without their first team regulars from last season such as Francesc Fabregas (to Barcelona), Emmanuel Eboue (to Galatasaray), Gael Clichy (to Manchester City) Alex Song (3-match man for violent conduct), Jack Wilshere (ankle injury), Johan Djourou (doubtful), Kieran Gibbs (doubtful), Abu Diaby (doubtful), Tomas Rosicky (ruled out), Samir Nasri (looking for a move away to Man City, but could feature) as well as Gervinho (new signing, 3-match ban). Meanwhile their youngster Benik Afobe (striker), Armand Traore (left-back) also picked up knocks. Carlos Vela and Denilson have been loaned out to Real Sociedad and Sao Paulo respectively. Nicklas Bendtner’s future is in doubt too.

Teenage defender Carl Jenkinson could also be called into action to fill the holes left by the injuries and departures this transfer window. Same could be said about Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain, who was also linked with Liverpool before Arsenal secured the highly rated striker.

Even though the above absentees list seems to be overwhelming, the like of Robin van Persie (Captain), Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Chamakh and not to forget Andrei Arshavin (who seems to be able to score against Liverpool only) do make up a strong side.

On Liverpool’s side, apart from Steven Gerrard (ruled out till mid-September), Glen Johnson is the only doubtful player after he picked up a knock in the last pre-season friendly against Valencia. Martin Skrtel and Martin Kelly are available for selection. Dirk Kuyt has also come out saying that he fill much fitter now.

Liverpool players looked tired in the second half against Sunderland but a full week’s rest and Arsenal also having played Udinese in the midweek, Reds should be in better physical condition.

With new recruits such as Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Jordan Henderson as well as a well-rested Luis Suarez would be the key to a win at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have offloaded Nabil El Zhar as well after his contract was terminated on mutual agreement. He now joins Spanish side Levante.

As Kenny Dalglish said earlier that he is under more pressure to bring in players rather than to sell. And Gary Cahill from Bolton Wanderers seems to be his first priority now. David Ngog is also linked with a move to Bolton and a switch deal could be worked upon. If nothing can be worked upon, Ryan Shawcross could be an alternative.

Future of Daniel Pacheco and Emiliano Insua is in doubt after both the players on their Twitter accounts said they are looking to sort it out. It is believed that Pacheco could be on his way to one of the many interested Spanish sides on a season long loan deal. In case of Insua, Enrique’s arrival casts more doubt over his future and he could be on his way out.

Alberto Aquilani’s situation is still unclear. He wasn’t even on the bench against Sunderland last weekend.

Both Liverpool and Arsenal were held to a draw on the opening day of the season and both would equally be looking to get their first win of the campaign. On paper, Liverpool certainly look the strong side but in football, the only thing that matters is what you do on the pitch.

The wait is almost over!

At last, the long wait is almost over. Our Premier League campaign is set to start on this Saturday against Sunderland.

Though there were some doubts being cast upon the start of the season, especially for the London club with riots seen across the city. There are several incidents of ‘riots’ in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham as well.

England’s friendly against Holland was postponed as the police resources are stretched under the prevailing scenario. The friendly is likely to be rearranged in the next year.

The Premier League/Football Association held the meeting with the clubs to discuss the scheduled start of Premier League season under the current circumstances and the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton has been postponed. However, they feel that there is no danger to the games being held outside of London. So the Liverpool-Sunderland game is set to go on.

On a lighter note, Sunderland supporters have started their own campaign for the justice to the Hillsborough victims and their families. They have created their own banner, which they will be bringing to Anfield on Saturday.

This is a great gesture from the Black Cats supporters. You can show the creators of the banner your support and respect on their Facebook page: SAFC want justice for the 96.

On the footballing side of things, we have the Copa America winner Luis Suarez back at the club. He was back at Melwood training ahead of the season opener. Kenny Dalglish has left it on Suarez himself to decide if he will be able to play on Saturday.

Lucas Leiva has also returned and also featured against Valencia. He was a key player last season with his tackles and composed passing. He looks set to resume his duty against Sunderland having returning from international duty earlier than Suarez as Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals of Copa America by Paraguay.

Steven Gerrard is out until September after suffering a infection relating to his recurring groin problem [Link]. Martin Skrtel is also out with injury [Link]. Glen Johnson also joined the injury list after picking up a knock against the last pre-season friendly against Valencia.[Link]. Johnson is ruled out for the Sunderland game, and could possible be out of the Arsenal match as well next week.

Some positives are the new signings. Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson were all impressive in the pre-season friendlies. Though the highlight was the returning Alberto Aquilani. After having a successful season-long loan spell at Juventus last season, ‘Il Principino’ was really impressive.

There are doubts been cast on his future. Latest on Aquilani coming from his agent was that there has been no formal contact from AC Milan yet. The agent claims that Milan are interest in signing him but Aquilani is looking for permanent deal only, and not another loan spell.

Aquilani, after scoring the winner for Italy in 2-1 win over World Champions Spain in an international friendly, said that he will “love to make my mark at Liverpool” but is keeping his options open and “will take the offer [if any] of a permanent move into consideration”.

Charlie Adam has looked very lively and he will be a huge hit with his crossing ability, composure, leadership ability and the drive which he brings into the games.

Andy Carroll was a big danger against Valencia, which was hugely contributed by the the new Liverpool signing Stewart Downing. Downing with his crosses and Carroll with his aerial ability can pose danger to any side. Downing has certainly made his filled the the long-awaited need of a winger. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson could feature against his old side.

Some good news for the Reds ahead of the season are the departure Milan Jovanovic (to Anderlecht), Paul Konchesky (to Leicester City). Meanwhile, Christian Poulsen is determined to stay as he claims that “they want me at the club and I am happy to be there and unless they tell me something different, I am a Liverpool player for the coming season”. Joe Cole’s future is still unclear.

Liverpool also agreed a fee with Newcastle United for the transfer of Jose Enrique to Anfield. The transfer fee is believed to be around £6M. Liverpool are adamant to complete the transfer before the Sunderland game.

This could mean the end of Emiliano Insua’s Anfield career. However, on the brighter side, the link up between Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique on the left side of the field would be the one to watch. They both will give Liverpool a new attacking dimension.

Sunderland, having sold Darren Bent in January aren’t the same side that they were with him. Though they have got Asamoah Gyan, he can’t do all on his own. Steve Bruce, after losing Henderson to Liverpool, got Wes Brown and John O’Shea from Manchester United. The highlight of their transfer window was the snatching of 18-year-old Connor Wickham for £12 Million from Ipswich Town.

Though they lost quite a few players like Nedum Onuoha (returned to Manchester City), John Mensah (returned to Lyon), Boudewjin Zenden and Cristian Riveros (loaned to Kayserispor), arrival of With David Vaughan, Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson has reinforced their side.

The good start to the season is very crucial and Sunderland shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Asia Tour – Guangdong Sunray Cave 3-4 Liverpool – Match Report

The Reds kick started their 2011/12 campaign with a 3-4 win over the Chinese side Guangdong Sunray Cave.

It was end-to-end, high-tempo and very entertaining game. And was topped off with the brilliant vocal support in the stadium.

However, Reds were the better side during the majority of the game, as expected. David Ngog had lots of chances during the game. After his left-footed shot was saved by the weaker early on in the game, Ngog later on had a chance to put Pacheco through on goal but failed to find as he delayed his pass for just too long.

Liverpool weren’t going to be denied for long. Christian Poulsen side-footed the ball into the net from the cross from Joe Cole.

Reds continued the momentum and within couple of minutes were 2-0 up after David Ngog slid the ball past the goalkeeper.

Dani Pacheco should have scored on the half hour mark after brilliant one-two between him and Jay Spearing let the Spaniard through on goal, but was unfortunate as his shot was whiskers wide from the post.

Right before the half-time whistle, Guangdong pulled one back as Ricardo headed the ball after a superb cross from the left.

At half time, Liverpool made lots of changes. Charlie Adam made his debut. Maxi Rodriguez, Andy Carroll, Alberto Aquilani, Brad Jones, Andre Wisdom, Sotoris Kyrgiakos, Daniel Agger, Jack Robinson, Conor Coady and Dirk Kuyt. Brad Jones was later replaced by Martin Hansen.

The home side started to look weary as the game progressed. Liverpool capitalized on it when Andy Carroll found Conor Coady who struck a superb shot into the corner of the net. The youngster had a dream debut.

With five minutes to go, Andy Carroll also got on the score sheet, taking full advantage of the bad defending from the home side.

But we lost our focus just before the end and Guangdong scored twice in the added time. Lu Lin and Ying Hongbo were the scorers of the late goals.

The game finished Guangdong 3-4 Liverpool. Though, it wasn’t a confident win nor was it a defensive performance, the Reds certainly knew where the net was.

There were several glimpses of brilliance by Adam and Aquilani. This being the first game in a while for most of the players, it can only get better

Goals:

[Liverpool]
Christian Poulsen (20′)
David Ngog (22′)
Conor Coady (72′)
Andy Carroll (85′)

[Guangdong Sunray Cave]
Ricardo (45′)
Lu Lin (90′)
Ying Hongbo (90+2′)

Thoughts, ramblings, food adventures, occasional song shares, tech stuff and some Liverpool talk.