Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Liverpool FC: Dirk Kuyt's Hot Streak Continues as He Leads International Reds

All the Results from Liverpool's International Stars

by Thomas Atzenhoffer on The Bleacher Report
March 30, 2011

Michael Regan/Getty Images
As the International break came to a close yesterday, the Reds who have been away with their national teams will be returning to Melwood.

As Liverpool prepare for their final eight game run-in, starting with Saturday's clash against West Bromwich Albion under former boss Roy Hogdson, they have been lucky not to see any more players join the ranks of the injured while away.

With the large majority of the Spanish contingent, aside from Pepe Reina who was not called in for his national side this break, having moved on in the last two seasons with Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fernando Torres all having left the side, the Reds see most of their players scattered a little more about these days when it comes to international breaks.

England now holds the majority of Liverpool's international players in the clubs home national side.

Dirk Kuyt continues to be on form as he was a difference maker for the Netherlands. The other Liverpool players visiting with their homeland sides also put in great performances during the time spent with their national teams, and here is a look at what transpired throughout friendly matches and 2012 European Championship Qualifiers......READ MORE AND START THE SLIDESHOW

Friday, 25 March 2011

EPL: Kalou, Gyan, Dempsey, Nolan, and 11 Others Enjoying Great Seasons

Many Players are Experiencing Great Seasons under the Radar in the EPL this year.

by Thomas Atzenhoffer on The Bleacher Report
March 25, 2011.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Everyone knows that Dimitar Berbatov is the leading scorer in the English Premiership. Everyone knows that Rafael Van Der Vaart and Gareth Bale are experiencing great seasons with Tottenham Hotspur. However, there are some other attacking players having great success across the league this season that many may not have noticed.

It is no secret that a lot of times players can have great career seasons, but go quietly unnoticed because their club is having a rough year. That is the case for some of those mentioned, and others are here because they are having career years for themselves but are still flying under the radar.

So in the hopes of given out some praise for those that aren't the darlings of the media, here is a group of achievers in this years competition........READ MORE AND START THE SLIDESHOW ON THE BLEACHER REPORT.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Liverpool: Cahill, Baines, Dunne and 7 Other Defenders on the Reds Radar

The Reds look to Enlist new faces at the Back to Help Move the Club Forward.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer on the Bleacher Report
March 23, 2011

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
It has been no secret this season that Liverpool have been in desperate need of a quality left back. Roy Hodgson's purchase of Paul Konchesky was quite simply never going to live up to life on Merseyside. In addition, he allowed Emiliano Insua to leave the club on loan when he was clearly a more promising prospect as to warrant the purchase of another aging defender.

Fabio Aurelio, while providing good quality, attacking presence with his crosses and excellent free kick ability, is far to injury prone to be relied upon for the years to come. He has been a great steward to the club, but his time is being cut short because his body is letting his natural talent down.

Rumors have flown from all corners of the media since January about who Liverpool should be or are possibly courting to come in on the left-hand side of the defense.

From to the Guardian, to Metro, the speculation continues to increase as only eight games remain for the Reds and the Summer transfer window beckons to the fans and club.

Vice captain, Jamie Carragher, is starting to get up in age, and it will be important for the team to have an additional center back to look to aside from Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos has shown his ability to deputize when needed but doesn't seem to posses the skill to be more than a fringe player at the back for the Reds.

Youngsters Daniel Ayala and Danny Wilson have shown promise, but both are still too raw of prospects to really be considered as ready to step into a more permanent role.

Wilson has done decently in his games under Dalglish, and Ayala had some impressive outings under Rafael Benitez and looks to be one of the Spaniard's favored young defenders to make something of himself at the club.

With all the rumors swirling around, it seemed a good idea to take a look at 10 of the most talked about defenders that have cropped up in Liverpool transfer gossip.......READ MORE AND START THE SLIDESHOW ON THE BLEACHER REPORT

Monday, 21 March 2011

Chelsea: 5 Things David Luiz Is Doing in Place of Fernando Torres

Nando isn't Making the Grade as Luiz takes Center Stage for the Blues

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 21, 2011

Clive Rose/Getty Images
Chelsea broke the English transfer window record by paying 50 million pounds to Liverpool for the services of Fernando Torres on the final day of the January transfer window. In the shadow of the Spanish international marksman was the 21-million-pound signing of David Luiz from Portuguese club Benfica.

Torres stole the spotlight with controversy and criticism, as Liverpool fans burned his kit on Sky Sports and fans protested outside of Melwood for the club having sold a player that the fans had welcomed into their hearts deeper than many others in the last few years.

It was a feeling of betrayal that was soon forgotten, as Torres made his debut against his former club and failed to live up to any of the expectations. As of late he is still failing to live up to the hype or his price tag. However, his fellow final-day arrival has eclipsed him in more ways than one and is quickly making people wonder not only if Torres was worth the money, but he might not even survive the summer at this rate.

Luiz is quickly becoming a fan favorite and is making the arrival of Torres seem like it wasn't what was needed. With that in mind, here is a glimpse of what he is doing that is displacing Torres as the Blues' best signing of the January window.......READ MORE AND START THE SLIDESHOW ON THE BLEACHER REPORT

Clint Dempsey: A Profile of Fulham's American Attacker Staking His Claim

The Texan Continues to Make a name for himself at Fulham

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 21, 2011

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
American players aren't often the most highly thought of in English football. Many regard those of us across the pond to not have the most innate sense of love or passion for the beautiful game, but in the last few years several American players have made those in the English Premier League take notice.

Brian McBride had an excellent career at Fulham, scoring 41 goals in 151 appearances between 2004 and 2008. Tim Howard and Brad Friedel have risen to be two of the best goalkeepers in the EPL for Everton and Aston Villa respectively, and American starlet Landon Donovan experienced an excellent loan spell at Everton last season.

However, none of them have arrived at the level that Clint Dempsey has for an American as of Saturday, and few of them have had the kind of impact that he has in the last two seasons. Dempsey has been the rising star of the Cottagers for several seasons now. Last season he helped to lead them to the final of the 2010 Europa League.

Although they failed to achieve victory against Atletico Madrid, the feat of getting so far by a team that many regarded to be a mid-table bottom-feeding club in England was magnificent to watch.......READ MORE AT THE BLEACHER REPORT

Friday, 18 March 2011

Liverpool: 5 Things the Club Must Do for a Prayer at European Nights

Liverpool have all to gain and nothing to Loose by playing balls to the wall for the rest of the Season

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 18, 2011

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Liverpool were dumped out of the Europa League in an outright pathetic display last night at Anfield. The Merseyside club never impressed but for a few fleeting moments in the first 10 minutes and had several chances in the last 10 minutes. Other than that were flat and dull.

This morning, third-in-line captain Pepe Reina released a cry for fifth as he still feels that his club can achieve European football again next season despite being a game plus six points back from Tottenham Hotspur...READ MORE AND START SLIDESHOW

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Palermo Trio: The Rise of Javier Pastore, Josip Illcic and Armin Bacinovic

Three Palermo Starlets shoulder the Rise of the Aquile.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 17, 2011

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Palermo finished fifth last season to tie their highest table position since achieving promotion to Serie A in 2004. The Aquile (Eagles) have been in fine form this season, aside from a recent five game slide.

Their last five games have included four losses where they were held scoreless, and the team has not registered a goal since their 2-4 loss to Fiorentina back on February 13th. Over this same time period, Palermo has allowed 13 goals against, and has seen a dramatic slide in their table position, now knocked down to 10th. In all, they dropped 15 potential points, vital games lost that could have had them sitting in fourth place had they turned them into victories, and built upon their sold defeat of Juventus on February 2nd.

Nonetheless, the young midfield including three rising stars ages 21 and 23 has been the driving force of the Sicilian club all season. The future of the club looks bright if they could hold onto them all, but the summer transfer window looms and could see at least one of them leave...........READ MORE AND START SLIDESHOW

Irish Reds: Liverpool's 5 Most Loved Players from St. Patrick'sShamrock Isle

The Top Irish Stars to Ever Ware Red

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 17, 2011

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Although they are Red to the core, Liverpool have a history of some great Irish players. On this, the most greenest of days of the year for Ireland, it is important to remember that those just across the way from Liverpool have had a memorable impact on the club's fabled lifetime.

In the Spirit of St. Patrick's Day I thought a look back at some of Liverpool's greatest and most loved Irishmen would be in order. The pictured Steve Finnan made the short list but not the final cut as we count down 5 of the best Irishmen to ever but on the Liverpool Red.

It is also a day to think heavily upon because Liverpool face elimination from the Europa League today. The tournament's Final is hosted in Dublin, Ireland this year and the Reds hope for the Luck of the Irish on the day to help keep them headed to the Shamrock Isle later this season.......START SLIDESHOW AND READ MORE

Jay Spearing Sees the Reds Going Through

Spearing Confident of Europa Progression

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 17, 2011

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Liverpool youngster and rising first team midfielder Jay Spearing joined Manager Kenny Dalglish in the club's pre-match press conference before their second leg rematch against Portugal's Sporting Club Braga.

The Reds crashed to a 1-0 away loss thanks to a penalty taken by Alan, and received their first loss to a side from....READ MORE

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

European Nights: Can Anfield Lift Dalglish and Liverpool over Braga?

Will the Fabled Ground at Anfield be enough to Lift the Reds to Further their European Dreams?

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 15, 2011

The Reds head into Thursday's second leg contest against Braga at Anfield already trailing 0-1 on aggregate. Liverpool made a mess of their chance to take an away goals lead in Portugal last week as a penalty given away by Greek Defender Sotirios Krygiakos' mis-timed tackle was the difference in poor display....READ MORE HERE

6 Youthful Signings That Could Brighten Liverpool's Future Under Kenny Dalglish

Check out Six Youngsters that could be Great for the Reds under Dalglish

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 15, 2011

All eyes were on the Liverpool Reds during the January transfer window as the Merseyside giants made two of the biggest signings and possible the biggest sale in their club history.

The departure of Fernando Torres, whom traded his beloved Red for Chelsea Blue, saw a fan backlash for the ages as his picture and jersey were burned on national television in England.

The arrival of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll made for waves across the globe as Reds fans were impressed with Fenway Sports Group's declaration of intent to bring the club out of the abyss......READ MORE HERE

Liverpool Legend Kenny Dalglish Reportedly Offered Two-Year Managerial Contract

Kenny Dalglish to be Crowned for Good.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 14, 2011

News broke yesterday that Liverpool are believed to have approached Kenny Dalglish with a managerial contract offer for two years. Dalglish is thought to have been expecting a four-year deal, and in light of the two-year offer, he will be negotiating his benefits with the club....READ MORE

Friday, 11 March 2011

FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview - Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Article first published as FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview: Manchester United vs. Arsenal on Technorati.
United out to Avenge Liverpool defeat and take the Powder out of the Gunners FA Cup and Premiership Hopes.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 11, 2011

Manchester United vs Arsenal

Wenger Needs this to Steady His Ship
This match will be an interesting one to watch. The Red Devils are coming off of an outright bashing by Liverpool on Sunday. Arsenal are limping after their most recent defeat against Barcelona, where they failed to get off a shot, and still are suffering from their Carling Cup defeat to Birmingham.

United will see their captain Nemanja Vidic return to the side, who will be much delighted for his presence, as well as Darren Fletcher to return to the midfield after being absent from injury until after halftime at Anfield. Wayne Rooney still is failing to get off the ground in attack, and despite my belief that it would be smarter to start Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov together, and the out of form Merseysider will be sure to get the nod from his boss.

RVP Can Dominate when Healthy
Arsene Wenger has a team that has been beaten and battered in the last few weeks. Robin Van Persie has finally been able to stay healthy for a few months now and he will be the spearhead of Arsenal's attack. Samir Nasri will again take the reigns of midfield as Cesc Fabregas has endured an injury laden season that has allowed the young frenchman to continue to shine in his absence. The injury to Fabregas also will give youngster Jack Wilshire yet another chance to continue to show his worth as a play maker and midfield engine.

Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen are still sidelined, and Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal's most used keeper of late, is now gone for six weeks. The thought of Manuel Almunia in net behind a weekend defense for the Gunners does little to settle the nerves. Sir Alex's side also has many injuries but I still look to them to be the better side at home.

The return of their Captain the loss of the opponents and all the various injury problems can only lead to a result for United if things go their way at home.
United to take it at home in a more open game than believed ending 3-2 United on top.

FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview - Stoke City vs. West Ham

Article first published as FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview: Stoke City vs. West Ham on Technorati.
Stoke seeks Revenge over 3-0 defeat at the weekend but the Hammers Are Dealing out Blow after Blow right now.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
march 11, 2011

Stoke City vs West Ham

Grant hungry for FA Cup after Loosing Final Last Year
This looks to be another interesting lower table match up. Stoke were dealt a 3-0 defeat by the Hammers at Upton Park on the weekend as Avram Grant's men have taken 7 points from their last 9 in the league and they are in much brighter spirits for this match. Tony Pulis's side on the other hand has only taken one point from their last nine in the league.

Neither team is really suffering from many injuries at the moment and Grant finally has his team starting to make a stand to avoid relegation. Stoke will be out for blood as they will not want to suffer a second straight defeat to the same team. This time around they will have home field advantage at the Britannia which is rated as one of the hardest places to play in the league on the road.

Parker is the Life of the Hammers
Grant is desperate to keep his side up, as his job depends on it, and his teams success in cup matches this season has truly been their strong point. This is the last chance for either team to have a chance at winning something this season. Grant last season at Portsmouth led his team to the FA Cup Final only to be defeated before their relegation. Scott Parker will be sure to be on his best as he continues to drive his team since returning from injury.

Grant has much experience being right where he is, but I believe this team actually has the talent to stay up and possibly win if healthy and on the right form. I believe the Hammers will continue their strong run and take a 1-2 victory away from the Britannia to keep their hopes high of possibly scalping a Trophy from this dismal season for them.

FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview - Manchester City vs. Reading

Article first published as FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview: Manchester City vs. Reading on Technorati.
The Citizens are Slipping in all competitions as of late, but Reading are on a roll.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 11, 2011

Manchester City vs Reading

Long Is On Fire for Reading this Season
Possibly the least interesting of the four fixtures on the docket this weekend comes between the Citizens and the Royals. However, that very belief that it wont be to hotly contested is all the more reason to believe that it just might be. The Royals are on a 7 game unbeaten run including their victory over Everton in the last round of the FA Cup and are also charging for the promotional playoff spots in the Championship.

Manchester City are still surviving in the Europa League but suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Andriy Shevchenko's Dynamo Kiev yesterday. Their recent league form has seen them struggling for consistency as they chase Manchester United who is looking shaky in the lead ahead of City and Arsenal.

With the Citizens primarily still looking to hunt for the premiership and secure Champions League Football next season I look for them to field a weaker team to race the last remaining Championship side in belief that they will be roll-over opponents. Carlos Tevez will need to push his team mates to get a result.
No More Snood for Tevez as his boys are Slipping

However, I believe Reading will take it to Manchester City as they have truly nothing to loose and everything to gain in their hunt for a Cup. Claiming another Premiership teams scalp would only fuel their players to push harder to get back into the top flight and to poach a piece of Silverware from the grasp of seven Premiership clubs would be a magnificent accomplishment.

Manchester City I think will expect to win and field a lesser squad and Reading will take advantage of their great form of late. I expect Shane Long to lead the charge and give the Royals a 1-2 victory at the City of Manchester Stadium taking them back to the semi-finals for the first time since 1927.

FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview - Birmingham vs. Bolton Wanderers

Article first published as FA Cup Quarter Final Match Preview: Birmingham vs. Bolton Wanderers on Technorati.
Birmingham Looks to Gain Further Glory after their Carling Cup Success while Bolton Wants a Piece of Silverware for their own.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 11, 2011

Birmingham vs. Bolton Wanderers

Martins Winner Earns Carling Cup
St. Andrews will play host to the first fixture of the FA Cup weekend. Birmingham are fresh off of their stunning and unforeseen victory over Arsenal to win the League Cup and book themselves a place in the Champions League next season. However, their exceptional Cup victory and FA Cup run has been at the expense of their Premiership showing this year. The Blues are just above the drop zone on goal differential and no club has ever won two domestic cups and then been relegated, but this has been a bizarre season for sure.

Bolton Wanderers are in seventh place and above many critics expectations so far this season. Owen Coyle has led his team to a much under acknowledged top seven season so far. With this being their best season in several years and with a possible place in Europe secured with their current standings position, if they can hold it for the final 9 game run in, the match could hold significant value as this is the only chance they have left to take some hardware back to the Reebok. The last time Bolton won the FA Cup was 1958 and American Midfielder Stuart Holden is out to achieve victory with his newest squad.

Coyle and Holden have made their presence Felt

I look for some key midfield match-ups between Barry Ferguson of Birmingham against both Stuart Holden and Fabrice Muamba, and Gary Cahill and Steven Carr will be hoping to hold each teams respected attackers at bay. The experience of Obafemi Martins will give Birmingham a stronger attack against Coyle's Charges than the last time the two met in August seeing them play to a 2-2 draw, but Chelsea's on loan attacker Daniel Sturridge has already put four goals in for his on loan side Bolton.

Look to see the Trotters take it to the Blues and take a 1-2 victory back to the Reebok as they continue their run of success this season, and they will play a rematch with the Blues on April 2nd.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Lucas Please Dont Leiva

Article first published as Lucas Please Dont Leiva on Technorati.
Despite having put up with more criticism than David Beckham's MLS career Liverpool's Brazilian Midfielder has i merged as a key influence in the side.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 9, 2011

Lucas Coming of Age
Since his arrival on Merseyside young Lucas Leiva has been anything but loved by most if not all Liverpool fans. Rafael Benitez however, never faltered in his belief in the young Brazilian and Leiva has never bowed out to the criticism of the fans. Always wanting to win them over, he has crept his way in to many fans hearts this season as he continues to show his obvious talent.

Many forget that in his debut season for the Reds he was the first Brazilian to ever score for the club. Not to bad for someone that at the time was only 20 and had the weight of the world of expectations on his shoulders. For years he has been loathed by fans, but he never lost his faith, and never lost his drive to win over the Anfield faithful.

Rise to Fan Favorite
However, this season truly has many fans on the verge of conversion as his displays in midfield throughout the campaign have been steeped with promise. He was originally signed from Gremio for a fee of 5 Million Pounds and was generally used as an attacking midfielder. During most of his time at Liverpool since his arrival he has been used more as a holding midfielder.

The departure of Xabi Alonso last season left Lucas perhaps the biggest set of boots to fill aside from Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres at the time, and Lucas stepped up having arguably his best season as a Red as he was voted Young Player of the Season by his club and fans after making 39 total appearances.

Always A Fighter Despite Criticism
This season has shown his growth in both composure and understanding of the English game as he has been the heartbeat of the Liverpool Midfield all season despite the departure of Javier Mascherano and the constant reshuffling of the Reds central area around Steven Gerrard's nagging injuries. Lucas has 24 League Appearances this campaign only behind Reina, Skrtel, and Meireles for most games started in the league. He also has picked up the only Red Card of the season as proof of having to but in some of the grunt work that Mascherano left on the table in his departure for Barcelona.

Many arguments have been made in recent weeks as well, including interviews and opinions on, "Kop Talkin'"one of Liverpool FC TV's public opinion shows, that Lucas is not class enough, and that he would not make it on teams like Manchester United, or Chelsea. If this is so how does he continue to have one of the highest form ratings of any midfielder in the premiership.

Lucas has shown nothing but improvement year after year. He is only 24 and already has over 150 appearances for the club and has been a constant stalwart for the team as his toughness and ability to handle the rigors of the English league show through his ability to constantly avoid injury and stay fit.

One of the Longest Standing Squad Members at 24
PA Images
With all that said, as Liverpool looks to the future and for years of success it is only ideal that Lucas remain and be offered a new contract. With the system of investing in youth for the long haul as done with Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, just as Liverpool's owners did with the Red Sox in their return to prominence, signing Lucas to a second major contract with the club is a no brainer as his prime years between 24 and 29 remain to be played.

He is already a proven young talent in the League and one of the longest standing players on the team only being out tenured by Jaime Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt, and Daniel Agger on the first team. Lucas has the ability to be vital to the return of Liverpool to former glories, and his dedication and hard work has been nothing but an example of professionalism. Lucas should stay on Merseyside and be a face of the future as he has the ability and the opportunity to become an Anfield legend.

Braga vs Liverpool Europa League Preview

Article first published as Europa League Preview: Braga vs Liverpool on Technorati.
Liverpool goes to Portugal to take on Sporting Braga in the first leg of their last 16 Clash in the Europa League.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 9, 2011

Kuyt has Scored 4 goals in his Last Two Games
Liverpool enjoyed a massive victory this weekend as Dirk Kuyt scored his first hat-trick as a Red and Luis Suarez put in a masterful performance to give the Merseyside giants a much needed 3-1 victory over arch rivals Manchester United. Andy Carroll also made his debut for the club puting in a 20 minute shift in which he made several headed efforts for the team that show just what kinds of things they will expect to see with the young powerful forward making his way into the side over the next month.

Braga also experienced an energizing victory as they defeated Portuguese Liga's 2nd place club Benfica at home to continue their chase for a Europa League spot for next season. Both Liverpool and Braga find themselves in sixth position in their respected leagues table. If Liverpool's chances of Champions League football are looking bleak for next season's Braga's outlook is a no chance verdict.

The English Side sits 9 points down from the 4th place Champions League Qualification spot currently held by Chelsea on 51 points. Braga on the other hand sits 20 points back from the 2nd place Champions League spot in their country after having finished 2nd last season. It is truly a European clash of teams fitted for a chance of a rematch next season as well.
Braga's Municipal Stadium Will be a Cauldron

Liverpool was dealt another injury blow in their defense this weekend as Fabio Aurelio joins Martin Kelly on the sidelines for a month with a hamstring injury. This makes way for Danny Wilson to possibly fit back into the Europa League spot and will more than likely see Daniel Agger as a Left back the next time the Reds have a run out in the English Premiership against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on March 20th.

It was also reported that Steven Gerrard is not making the trip either as he continues to struggle with a nagging injury so either Jaime Carragher or Pepe Reina will be deputized as Captain for the match. The good news for the Merseyside club will be a weekend of rest with the team having already been dumped out of the FA Cup which continues this weekend.
David N'gog Set to Lead Liverpool's Europa Line

With Luis Suarez Cup tied, for his games at Ajax, Andy Carroll is expected to make his European debut for the Reds. Some believe he will be a starter but I believe Kenny Dalglish will look to protect his young striker as he returns to form just as he did with Luis Suarez. Given a home debut in a victory, and then used as a substitute on several occasions before throwing him head first into a starting role. I see Carroll taking a subs role behind David N'Gog who is Liverpool's leading scorer in the competition.

A victory for the Reds would be ideal and more than likely allow them to finish of the tie at Anfield with ease for a great St. Patrick's Day present to the club and fans which would book them a place in the last 8. Liverpool also hold the luxury of having won this version of the European Cup on three other occasions making them the most successful club in the competition remaining in the hunt.

Predicted Line-Ups for the Tie

Braga Possible Starting XI: Artur; Miguel Garcia, Kaka, Rodriguez, Silvio; Hugo Viana, Custodio, Vinicius, Alan; Lima, Ukra.

Liverpool Possible Starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Wilson; Poulsen, Lucas, Cole, Miereles, Kuyt; N'Gog.

Liverpool Subs: Carroll, Maxi, Skrtel, Jovanovic, Pacheco, Spearing, Gulacsi.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Uruguayan Style

Article first published as Uruguayan Style on Technorati.
Luis Suarez Played out of his Boots as the Uruguayan Produced a Masterclass Performance in Red.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 7, 2011

Suarez Geared up for Success
The Reds truly have found a new front man with creativity in their young South American starlet Luis Suarez. Many doubted that he would be able to stand up to the rigors of the English Premiership after his pure domination of the Dutch League, but he has already made his stamp on the Liverpool campaign this season.

His first appearance as a substitute against Stoke City in early February was marked with his first goal for the club in front of the Kop as, "El Pistolero," made his first creative mark in Red.

He continued to progress and work his way into the squad. He was not handed a spot in the side that defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but that decision was highly believed as a way to protect him during his training time as he learned his new teammates, his manager, and the teams philosophy.

Debut Delight against Stoke City

That decision to allow him to learn and grow into the squad his first weeks with the team has truly showed Kenny Dalglish's ability to nurture a young player. Suarez has proven to be nothing but an excellent creative spark for his new side. His first games in the starting eleven were frustrating but he has found his form.

His time taken to adjust can also be due to the fact that he hadn't been in a competitive match for nearly a month before moving to Merseyside. However, that all appears to be past memory now as he is swashbuckling his way in and out of defenses.

His daft ability to wriggle out of the tightest of spots has already showed its worth as a brilliant turn at West Ham last weekend allowed Glen Johnson to slot home the only Liverpool goal of the match.

Again this weekend against Manchester United his twisting and turning ability with the ball earned what looked like should have gone in for his second team goal when he got through three defenders and Edwin Van Der Sar in less than a quarter of the space in the 18-yard box. The goal however was powered in by Kuyt just to be safe, and even Kuyt wanted to let it go to Suarez but was afraid it would go wide.

Suarez Ran Riot on United

Again Suarez continued to have his stamp em-brazened on the game when Kuyt was allowed the third goal of his hat-trick thanks to the rebound off of what would surely have been a free-kick goal for Suarez against a lessor keeper than the aging Dutch legend of United.

The young South American continued to trouble United's defense until his substitution to a roaring crowd at the 89th minute. Liverpool have truly gotten themselves another hard working attacker that will put everything into his performance for the club, and the next years with him in attack will be exciting to watch.

Liverpools Dutch Poacher

Article first published as Liverpools Dutch Poacher on Technorati.
Dirk Kuyt provides a Poachers Hat-Trick Performance thanks to Luis Suarez and a Lack Luster Manchester United that Looked past their prime.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 7, 2011

Hard Work and Class Combine in both Kuyt and Suarez
Dirk Kuyt silenced many critics once again today as he hit a hat-trick against Manchester United in front of the Kop at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. The Dutchman whom has been criticized time and again as being lacking in skill or quality but again he proves why he is picked week end and week out for Liverpool and his national team. He is a tireless team player, and that is truly what Kuyt is.

Kuyt runs till he cant breath and keeps going. Few players show his dedication and hard work on the pitch and its days like Sunday against teams like Manchester United that his contribution and effort pays off.

Not only was he gracious in his own performance but above himself thanked his teammates first in his post match press conference when declared the Man of the Match. Two of his goals came through the masterclass performance of Luis Suarez who is truly beginning to shine in Liverpool Red.

A Legend at Feyenoord before a Kop Legend
Kuyt told the press he "wanted to let the first one go in" because Suarez had truly deserved it, but he wasn't sure if it would roll wide, so he took it and was grateful to have had the chance.

His second goal came only five minutes later thanks to a misplaced Nani header that made the Portuguese attacker for United look like Liverpool best distributor of the afternoon. What Nani was thinking no one knows but Dirk was on that one like the ham and mash dinner David Beckham used swooned his Tottenham co-trainers with just recently.

Beardsley Last Red to Hat-Trick United
His third and final goal for his first Hat Trick since 2005 and his Dutch Eredivisie days at Feyenoord Rotterdam was also courtesy of Luis Suarez and his brilliance on the day. A powerful free kick from about 20 meters out was blasted through the wall and Edwin Van Der Sar failed to control it and Kuyt drilled it home in front of the Kop.

His treble was the first to be scored against United by a Red since Peter Beardsley and Kuyt's first and only for Liverpool and the first Liverpool first team hat-trick of Kenny Dalglish's reign.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Liverpool vs. Manchester United - Match Preview

Article first published as Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Manchester United on Technorati.
Manchester Travels to Merseyside to Face the Reds at Anfield with the EPL Title possible on the line for the Red Devils

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 5, 2011

Can the New Boys all Make an Impact Sunday?
Kenny Dalglish and his charges will host Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United Red Devils early Sunday afternoon at Anfield in front of a full Kop. The Reds took a devastating blow in their UEFA Champions League hopes when they fell to West Ham at the Boleyn Grounds a week ago, and the Manc's suffered a dreaded set back to their title hopes in a loss at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea on Tuesday night.

This sets the stage for yet another Dalglish vs Ferguson Match-up. The two Scotsmen have faced each other many times before. Dalglish stiffed his counterparts chances of a title in 1995 as Dalglish took Blackburn Rovers to the English Premier League title that year. Now King Kenny will hope that another victory over United will stifle if not eliminate the chances of Ferguson winning another as it would see his team to their 19th League Title surpassing Liverpool whom they are tied with on 18 currently.

Gerrard Ready after Being Sent of at Old Trafford
Injuries and suspensions are likely to play a heavy part on both sides as they are battered and tattered after a harsh campaign. This has been a crazy up and down year in the EPL and it looks to continue that trend.

Martin Kelly is definately a no-go for the Reds as he is out for at least a month due to his hamstring strain. Jonjo Shelvey is also out of contention for the bench according to Dalglish's press conference on Thursday. Daniel Agger, and Fabio Aurelio are both day to day, and Andrew Carroll is nearing his time to shine but it is unforeseen what the weekend holds for him.

Last time these to met at the beginning of Dalglish's new tenure the Red Devils won on an early penalty and saw Steven Gerrard sent off at the 32nd minute. This time around the Red Devils will be the team without their Captain Nemanja Vidic at the back. However, they will also be without their other star defender Rio Ferdinand, unless his injury is a staging point for Ferguson to throw on a miraculously healed vice-Captain. The Red Devils will have to rely on youth in Chris Smalling, and also on Wes Brown who has failed to truly get off the floor this campaign.

The Reds defense will also deal with a reshuffle. With Agger and Aurelio doubts it will possibly be back to Sotirios Kyrgiakos filling in next to Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel. Danny Wison could get the nod, but I truly see Agger and Aurelio making the cut.
Carra must be Up for It

United desperately need this win to stave off a charging challenger behind them in Arsenal and I would look to see Ferguson do one of two things, either pack his midfield in the beginning to help keep possession with Wayne Rooney alone up top, or her will go all out with Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov both charging up the middle.

After Kelly's injury on Sunday the Reds switch to a 4-4-2 rendered them in a tough spot in that match. I see Dalglish to go back to his 5-3-2 with Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio taking the attack to the wings. The loss of the Torres and Vidic match-up opens up the possibility of seeing a new battle that will epitomize the future match-ups as Suarez vs. Smalling could prove a big one for the coming years.

Predicted Line-Ups for the Match

Possible Liverpool Starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio; Lucas, Gerrard, Meireles; Kuyt, Suarez.

Liverpool Subs: Carroll, Maxi, Wilson, Ngog, Kyrgiakos, Poulsen, Gulacsi.

Possible Manchester United Starting XI: Van Der Sar; O'Shea, Brown, Smalling, Evra; Fletcher, Carrick; Giggs, Scholes, Nani; Rooney.

Manchester United Subs: Kuszczak, Fabio, Anderson, Berbatov, Chicarito, Gibson, Valencia.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Liverpool and the Manchester United - Rebound Time

Article first published as Liverpool and Manchester United - Rebound Time on Technorati.
Liverpool and Manchester United will both be looking for a Victory after disappointing defeats in their last matches.

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 2, 2011

Kelly Out for 4 Weeks. PA Images
Liverpool crashed to a devastating 3-1 defeat at Upton Park to West Ham on Sunday. After an eight game unbeaten run Kenny Dalglish's side finally looked to have run out of gas. There was a lack of passing aptitude, and creativity, and in many cases some of the lads just looked plain tired and out of sorts.

The Reds squad was also facing injuries that hampered selection before the match, and the loss of two more players during the coarse of play did not help either. Martin Kelly has been a shining star for Dalglish and the youthful marauding right back will now be sidelined for at least a month according to Liverpool's official site. Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio were already missing before Kelly and then Raul Miereles went out with a knock to the knee just around halftime.

Deputy left back Danny Wilson was not up to calibre and a Jaime Carragher that looked not himself slumped the Liverpool back-line to a mixed up mess. The induction of Joe Cole for Kelly failed to spark the offense, and David Ngog for Miereles did provide more attacking options but still no progress. Suarez and Johnson combined for one moment of brilliance in a day that the Reds will want to forget as Scott Parker, Demba Ba, and Carleton Cole all netted to cap their best performance of the season in the presence of possibly Liverpool's worst.

David Luiz More Goals than Torres. Getty Images
Manchester United took it to Wigan Athletic at the weekend with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez putting in quite a display with a Brace in the 0-4 victory to earn a spot next to Wayne Rooney in their Tuesday clash with current English Premier League Champions Chelsea.

The Blues again deployed their newest striking option up front as Fernando Torres looked to test his prolific goal scoring record against the Manc's. However, it was not to be so as once again Torres failed to truly impress just as he has since the middle of last season when still a Red. His high price tag continues to look as though Liverpool more than got their money's worth for an out of sorts star. Loads of talent but he just hasnt been their mentally in quite some time.

Manchester United took it to the Blues in the first half but their failure to kill off the game allowed David Luiz to score his first goal for the Blues, and then Frank Lampard notched the winner from the spot on the 79th minute. In true form Nemanja Vidic found his Red Card as he has so many times in big games, this one right at the death in the 93rd. This could be a much bigger blow to United than many believe as their back line is seriously in trouble due to injury with a Sunday trip to Anfield Looming.
Gerrard and Suarez Key to Future. Getty Images

Both Liverpool and Manchester United will be looking for their rebound victory. Liverpool responded from their last loss with an eight match unbeaten streak. United responded to their first League loss at Wolves with a Manchester Derby victory, but their injury and discipline woes will look to continue.

The Reds need the victory desperately to try and fight back from what is now an eight and nine point gap between Tottenham and Chelsea in 4th and 5th with both having a game in hand, and the Champions League now looking completely lost to us for next season.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Apologies for a few weeks off

Sorry the few weeks without articles everyone. It has been a busy couple of weeks personally and I haven't had much time to write due to some pressing family and work matters, but I will be picking up again here shortly. Thanks to all of you that continue to read and follow me.