Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Return of the King

Dying in bed from abnormally high fever on Saturday, very little could lift my spirits and ignite me to move a muscle. Heck, I didnt even tweet for 12 straight hours! Until of course I noticed something fishy going on in my twitter time line (yes I was monitoring it but not tweeting). Ryan Babel  tweeted that another player, Lucas had something to tell us, he then tweeted again that maybe it was Glen Johnson who wanted to tell us this. Then tweets flooded in of an expected announcement from LFC.TV.

Its like I was touched my god himself, I got out of bed, jumped around, prayed to thank the lord and informed my followers of this glorious news. Twitter, Facebook, emails and BBM's were flooded with messages of joy an elation. Roy as you know was set to go one way or another, for the owners to ask King Kenny to come back and hold fort was special, because right now we need someone special to inspire the team to be just that, a team again. Many argued that he has been out of the game for too long and doesnt understand the pressures of the modern day game. Bull shit if you ask me, he watches the games, his been back at LFC in the backroom staff and academy for over a year so to say he has lost touch is like saying  Hugh Hefner doesnt know what brunettes are. His very first game in charge of Liverpool would be against Manchester United in the FA Cup, could it get any better than this? A revival game of note was on the cards. Now realistically speaking, a win was asking for much, most of all what we wanted was a good all round performance from our team.

Come Sunday the day of the game, I make sure I tune in, in time to see the King step out onto the field. The traveling KOP of 9000 dont disappoint in making his entrance a grand one. Then I saw him, out stepped Howard Webb, who? Acclaimed to be one of the best ref's in the world who for some reason always seems to make the most controversial decisions at Old Trafford against the traveling team. Lets hear it from the United guys now shall we. "Oh f*ck off, you guys are just useless, lame excuse, just finding other reasons besides your team" yeah okay what ever, wonder whats this then. Oh no, what did I do? I just posted facts of a number of games that Webb officiated at Old Trafford in which he made critical decisions that worked in favour of United. The FA are probably going to investigate me like they did to Rafa after he pulled out a list of facts, actual facts that showed proof that the FA favoured Alex Ferguson but lets not bring that up again as it may hurt the United clan as no one has single handedly  insulted Fergie like that before.

Didnt take long for Webb to show his love and affection to the Red of Manchester, 3 minutes in United cut well into the Liverpool defence, the slightest of touches (if any) by Daniel Agger sends Berbatov into his very own rendition of Swan Lake. Of course Webb being 20 meters or so back, blocked by 4/5 players and no indication from his linesmen could see that this was an obvious penalty. Shocked by the decision the Liverpool players have every right to argue, for me it was pretty much a normal thing for us really. Theres almost always a dubious penalty awarded to United against us, whats that I hear? this wasnt dubious or controversial? Better tell that to Skysports, BBC Sport and Goal.com. I could post other news websites but that would just be petty. Players dive, I agree but at least own up to it, I may have said during some banter to the United blokes that Torres never dives but they managed to dig up the one and only time he did lose his balance in the League and evidently it was against United at OT, but that game was wayyy back in 2008, so who's bringing up the past now ;) Back to the game, the over all shape of Liverpool was good. Kenny resorted to playing Gerrard up front behind Torres, Maxi and Kuyt on the wings with Lucas and Miereles patrolling midfield. Kenny proved I wasnt going crazy by thinking Aurellio was better than Konchesky and had him set at Left back with Konchesky not even making the team to travel to Old Trafford that day. Agger, Skertl, Kelly and Reina made up the rest of the defence. 

The team responded well to going a goal down with them creating a few good moves that could have resulted in equalising goals, unfortunately our lucky charm Vidic wasnt playing that day. Rio did well to clear many a shot and low cross that came in. Then the second of the 2 controversial decisions that Webb made in the game occurred. Free ball to be won, Gerrard and Carrick attempt to win it, I'd say Gerrard was fairly closer to it but matter of the fact is what happened next. Play was stopped after Webb felt there was no advantage to United, and after being consulted by his assistants, the United players then telling them to step away he then brandished the red card to Steven Gerrard. My view on the tackle, was it reckless? yes, malicious? no, was he making an attempt to win the ball? yes, was he wanting to damage the player? no, do I want him to damage the player? yes. The challenge warranted a stern talking to and a yellow card at most. Why just a yellow? Many say it was a 2 footed, studs up challenge, I took the liberty of getting screen grabs from the replay to show that he in fact went in with 1 foot, not two. See the back leg is in the other direction, of course once he lands the trailing leg will follow. He cant de-attach his leg. Then they say "why did he lunge?" what did they want him to do? moon walk?

It was a 50/50 but in those cases with you being in OT with Webb its seen as a 99/1 tackle. Carrick rolled around for a few seconds but was fine after that. You probably think Im being unreasonable and a bitter rival, I would post stills and videos of Rafael's stomp on Maxi or Nani's kick to Aurellio's knee but surprise, surprise none of those made the highlights nor were mentioned in any of the articles and both easily card-able offences, plus after Howard Webb gave De Jong only a yellow after his ninja kick on Alonso at the world cup final, I thought he could have been less harsh on Gerrard... oh wait Alonso was a Liverpool player, right that explains it.

Back to the game, 10 men against 12, I mean 11, we did well to hold our shape and quite honestly offered United very little space to attack with only one moment midway in the second half that made the heart skip when Reina was forced into 5/6 consecutive saves from all angles with at one stage his goal gaping open. Kenny made a double substitution which saw Maxi and Miereles depart for Babel and Shelvy. Both youngsters, both pacey and both with attacking mentality, it was clear what Kenny was thinking. They were superb, almost instantly tearing through the field, Babel firing down the left almost found Torres with his first burst, Shelvy showing his brilliance hunted down the United defender to the corner flag, and attempted to find Babel at the edge of the box but the pass was behind the arriving player. Everything we did was leaps and miles of the Liverpool we were used to seeing this season. Im not sure if it was a once of performance by certain players or if this is the Liverpool we going to see till the end of the season. Torres I must admit isnt looking himself yet but Kenny on Monday re-assured fans that they will get him back to the striker we know and love. The funny thing from after the game was the gloating by the glory hunting mancs, fine a win is a win and we are out of the competition, if it were Liverpool whom won under that circumstances I would be disappointed, besides the ref's decisions, having a team with a man short I would have liked to see my team finish them off, at 1-0 anything can happen, so it is critical to make sure of the victory. I'll just leave Uniteds failure of scoring a second down to brilliant Liverpool defence and no one can say we "parked the bus" because we did attack. It was funny reading the after match comments by the managers and players, Fergie claiming everything was fair (give me a break), Berbatov claiming he would never dive (yawn) and Kenny stating both decisions were a joke (lol).

To round of the weekend of laughs, step up Rayn Babel with his tweets. Many mock him but he is a funny yet talented guy. After tweeting "and they say he is one of the best ref's in the world smh" and posting this pic of Webb in a United kit, the FA have stepped in to punish him for such a thing, while the rest of the world laughed along with him... besides United fans of course, this shit aint funny.

Joke being doing the rounds since Sunday:

Howard Webb's kids have denied their Dad is a secret Man Utd fan."He is totally unbiased," Alex, George, Bobby, Matt and Cristiano stated.

I hope this is a signal of things to come for Liverpool as I really liked what I saw on Sunday, we played with reason again. We looked like we had tactics, plan B's, and other options apart from the boring long ball approach. Our defence looked good and had structure even with Kelly stepping in last minute for Glen Johnson. Aurellio showed he still has his set piece radar in check. So Wednesdays game away to Blackpool couldnt come sooner.



  1. Since we're in the mood to quote facts, I thought I would rectify a few of your statements which border on untruths.
    1) I may have said during some banter to the United blokes that Torres never dives but they managed to dig up the one and only time he did lose his balance in the League and evidently it was against United at OT, but that game was wayyy back in 2008 : Uhm, you "may" have said? Hoosen and I engaged you on this point, and suddenly your memories blurred. Also Torres dived waaay back in 2008? Interesting then that Howard Webbs controversial decisions started waaay back in 2008 too, yet it was worth a mention. "Your Honour, Im totally innocent! I've never done that, ok except for that one time waaay back in 2008.. but other than that I'm innocent!" Bwuah haahaahaa.
    2) My view on the tackle, was it reckless? yes, malicious? no, was he making an attempt to win the ball? yes, was he wanting to damage the player? no, do I want him to damage the player? yes. The challenge warranted a stern talking to and a yellow card at most. Why just a yellow? Many say it was a 2 footed, studs up challenge, I took the liberty of getting screen grabs from the replay to show that he in fact went in with 1 foot, not two. : Did you just say "Do I want him to damage the player? Yes!" Wow. True sportsman of the highest caliber. Well since you liked Football365 so much, I thought I'd quote their response to the challenge by Gerrard:
    "The Scot is further aggrieved by Webb's decision to dismiss Steven Gerrard but there is little sympathy for the Liverpool captain after his reckless lunge." Reckless lunge? I wonder if Howard Webb secretly works for Football365 too?

    3)After tweeting "and they say he is one of the best ref's in the world smh" and posting this pic of Webb in a United kit, the FA have stepped in to punish him (Ryan Babel) for such a thing : Have Liverpool fans stooped so low that they no longer only blame the opposition, the linesman and the ref for their losses, they now even blame the FA for taking a stance? Hahaha, thats hilarious. What next? Shall we blame God too for Liverpools lousy performance this season? And you say its sad that we call the scousers "Sore losers"?

    The point is quite simple really.
    United will always defend themselves when they win, and feel aggrieved when they lose. Liverpool would do the same, and so would every other team out there. But to sit here in 2011 and blame the ref for your performance? Where was Howard Webb when you guys were losing games more regularly than a Capetonian loses teeth?

    Here's an interesting Stat you forgot to mention:
    Number of Red Cards Issued per Season By Howard Webb in EPL:
    Only one ever to Liverpool (Luis Garcia against West Ham in 2005-2006 season).
    Two against United (Vidic against Liverpool, Ronaldo against Man City in 2008-2009 season).
    Yep, the man must be very anti-United indeed. Thats the problem with "facts". If you look hard enough, you'll find any fact to suit your argument. Oh, my source is Wikipedia on the Howard Webb stats in case you were wondering :)

    I shall refrain from reminding you how Liverpool won the Champions League Final in 2005. Yes, that same year all scousers love bragging about, even those who live in glass houses and ride high ponies while talking about "cheats". :)

    Alutta continua.

  2. Ha!
    1) Yes I did say that, so my memory is not blurred, I was just being cocky ;) Webb's offences began back then and still continue up to today, Torres had numerous opportunities to dive but he didnt, maybe he will in the future after seeing what success it brought to Dietmar :)

    2) Firstly, it was a joke, never nice to see any player get injured especially if its from a dangerous tackle. I quoted 365 once, since they took to the liberty of tabling Webbs record at Old Trafford. As I pointed out in the screen grabs, it was anything but reckless.

    3) It was a joke? Something people laugh at. There are so many other serious things the FA dont deal with, like for eg: 2007. Micheal Ballacks high tackle on Hamann which was shown on replays over a week on Skysports, could have ended the Germans career, the FA took no action against the player neither did the referee at the time. He could have been punished. If they focused their energy on dealing with things related on the pitch than off the pitch maybe then we'll take them more seriously. Even after Rafa's manic ramble with his "Fergie Facts" the FA chose not to answer the questions poised by the media about whether or not the accusations were true but rather remained hush on the subject and just issued the said manager with a fine.

    See now this is where you lost the plot completely. I didnt say we lost because of Howard Webb but if you cant admit those 2 controversial decisions changed the out come of the game then its pointless me even trying to explain myself. Pin pointing one person for 1 game is insane, if this was a once of thing I would never have made this post, Webb has a track record of these sort of things. And its not a case of cards shown or penalties given, its a fact of leniency, stuff that doesnt get documented in the stats world. Eg: Ask anyone if they remember Nani's high boot that caught Aurellio on Sunday, bet you half the guys cant even recall that, now if he were carded for it, yes they would. Consistency is what we call for in the modern game. Yes I admit every team has their share of luck when it comes to things like this but more often its the team against us. My reason for being a tad bitter maybe because of our lack of form, our shit luck and our fall from grace (which you will disagree with) but bottom line is I hate when people cant see whats clear to everyone else. Just admit it and move on they rather turn a blind eye and mock without seeing whats in front of them.

    Remind me how we won the Champions League in 2005? I watch the DVD every May 25th, no its not something sad, it was my first final I saw my team playing live. What is it you wanted to remind me about? Gerrards last gasp thunder bolt 3rd goal against Olympiakos? Or was it Luis Garcias stunning volley against Juventus? Maybe you want to pull a Jose on me about the Phantom goal in the semi final? Or did Dudek take steroids to make that double save against Shevchenko? Oh must be the dive Gerrard took after Gatusso pulled his shirt, because shirt pulling is allowed in the game.

    Anyway I take it this is all still friendly banter because after all like you said, the game would be no where with out it.

    BTW. Wikipedia is an open editable source, so anyone with a computer and internet can become a wiki author and type crap on there ;)

  3. Dude, it's this kind of friendly banter that makes the EPL and its fan base what it is :)

    Right, back to correcting you (my new favourite past-time ;) )
    Points 1 & 2 : I couldn't help but notice that whe a Liverpool fan makes a controversial statement, its a joke. Let a United fan do it, Oi Vey! Just my observation ;)

    Point 3: I notice you left Gerrards dive for last in your response to the CL2005. If my studies in Psych over 3 years taught me anything, its that the one issue which holds most true to our conscious and subconscious is usually the one left for last. Is shirt pulling allowed? No. Does shirt-pulling lead to diving, and thus condone diving? No.

    Heres another interesting stat I thought I'd mention :
    Penalties awarded in the EPL :
    United 4
    Liverpool 7
    Man City 7
    Chelsea 8
    Arsenal 11
    United goals from penalties : 5.2%
    Liverpool goals from penalties : 12.2%
    You still think theres a bias toward United by the refs?

    Alutta Continua

  4. lol, it seems we like to correct each other, what ever the case is it does make a good past time.

    The difference with your "so called jokes" is that you insist on it whilst we laugh off ours.

    Well if shirt pulling shouldnt lead to diving then so should minimal contact that doesnt hampen the players balance whilst in the area of the penalty box.

    I cant recall us getting 7 penalties this season and judging from our goal difference I doubt its as high as 7. Steven Gerrards missed penalty last week at Blackburn was the first for over a year. Will check up on that one. You sure it was 7 against us? Because I can believe that stat. lol