February 2011 Archives
MARTIN KELLY is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after tearing his hamstring in Liverpool's miserable 3-1 defeat at lowly West Ham yesterday.
West Ham United 3 Liverpool FC 1: James Pearce reports on a depressing tale in the East End
KENNY DALGLISH recently insisted little had surprised him since he returned to the Anfield hot-seat.
Scott Parker needed pain-killing injection before West Ham's game against Liverpool FC
SCOTT PARKER turned in yet another man-of-the-match performance to help haul West Ham off the foot of the Barclays Premier League yesterday, despite being unable to walk 24 hours earlier.
Seven weeks ago yesterday King Kenny was reunited with his beloved club and everyone including myself suspected that our recovery would be instant and league standing improved to such a degree, that we could possibly be in Europe next season.
Several things had appeared in the press earlier in the day and I wondered if that would have any bearing on the game. There were what are becoming tiresome rumours about Arsenal coming in with yet another Â£20 mill bid for Pepe. There was also the news in one paper about Kenny being offered a 2 year contract in one of the papers - this though should not have affected the performance of the players.
As sometimes happens though, these things very rarely go to plan and today, was the day when Liverpool's bubble burst. Today West Ham was the hosts and going by their recent form, should have been a walk over, needless to say it wasn't.
With Liverpool regaining form and having steadily moved up to 6th in the table the question now becomes how realistic is 4th place and that coveted Champions League spot. It's a question that would have seemed ridiculous to ask before Kenny Dalglish took the helm.
So who are the teams we are competing with? Right now it's the two London clubs, Chelsea (45 points, 26 games) and Spurs (47 points, 27 games). Liverpool are sitting on 39 points from 27 games, 6 points behind Chelsea, who have a game in-hand, and 8 points adrift of Spurs having played the same number of games. So what do the remaining fixtures for Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs look like?
Liverpool to Dublin as most Liverpudlians will tell you is either a flight out of Liverpool John Lennon or a trip on the daily ferry service from Birkenhead.
This year though it is the route that Liverpool Football Club is taking to hopefully ensure that another trophy takes up residence in the Anfield Trophy cabinet. As we all know though, Liverpool has a habit of making even the simplest task seem a lot harder and last night was no exception.
Liverpool was kicking off early and it was feared that Anfield would be below capacity but these fears were totally unfounded and it was again a full house. Of Course as any Liverpool supporter will tell you, if you want to be at the game, then by fair means or foul, you will be. It also helped of course that some of the countries schools were still on their half term break and this enabled families to attend.
Although it might not have been the best performance produced under Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool took another positive step in their campaign with victory against Sparta Prague last night.
The 1-0 victory over the Czech side ensured the reds progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League, with a tie against Braga awaiting in March. While it wasn't the most memorable of performances by Anfield's European night standards, the manner in which it was achieved will not concern anyone at the club this morning.
One of the main positives from last night was the performance of Dirk Kuyt, whose workrate ensured the Sparta defence spearheaded by Thomas Repka had their hands full all night. In addition to this, the fact that Liverpool still have the chance of adding some much needed silverware to the Anfield cabinet is an added bonus.
While some fans may see the much maligned competition as an unwanted distraction, the fact that it's a trophy, plus a European competition is not to be scoffed at lightly. The Europa League may not sound as attractive as the Champions League, but were Liverpool fans saying that in 2001 when they defeated the likes of Roma, Porto and Barcelona to reach the final where they took part in one of the memorable matches before a certain date in Istanbul?