France 1 Nasri 39′
England 1 Lescott 30′
England had never won their opener at the European Championships, and France came into the match
defending a 21-game unbeaten streak. Ninety largely predictable minutes later, a one-one draw
ensured both sides would extend their records by at least one more match, though with Roy Hodgson
making time wasting substitutions in the final moments and goalkeeper Joe Hart coming close to
seeing yellow for time wasting it was clear which side was happier with the result.
Ajax 6 Fischer 7′, 50, 68′, de Sa 44, Klaassen 58′, 65′ (pen)
Kickoff from St. Helens' Langtree Park ended up delayed by thirty minutes, but with the crowd
more than double the expected 4,000 it was worth the wait to see nearly 10,000 supporters come out
for Liverpool's young reserves.
Rangers 1 Lee McCulloch 20′
It was a midseason friendly dropped in the middle of an important run of games in the league and
League Cup for Liverpool, and for all that the clubs might boast of it being a prestigious matchup
while pointing to both sides being out of Europe as a kind of justification, it never seemed a game
likely to provide much thrill and spectacle.
FSG are genius saviours returning the club to glory, they have a plan in place, and the
slightest doubt or skepticism means you're a fool for daring to question them. Just never mind
they've been at the club for eighteen months now and are currently looking to sort their second
managerial and director of football hires, while the man presumed to have the most sway in the
matter will be overseeing a move to his fourth manager in two years.
Fernando Torres left, Steven Gerrard was soon injured, and Andy Carroll arrived unfit to play.
Pepe Reina was in the midst of his second of three seasons that left fans talking about him being
some way short of his best. The defence, though decent, was hardly the dominant force it became for
a time in the middle of the 2011-12 season after Jamie Carragher's injury forced the coaching staff
to experiment with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger as the starting pairing.
The season is over. Only it isn't. Not quite yet. Though it does feel as though an autopsy
should be done, even if after a long campaign that has seen so many of the problems and complaints
remain depressingly consistent it feels as though everything has already been said a dozen times
over and that there is really nothing left to say.
Against Blackburn, he scored twice in the opening twenty minutes in what should have been an
easy Liverpool victory. Against Everton in the FA Cup, Liverpool played the bulk of their best
football after he was brought on from the bench on 75 minutes. Yet despite that Liverpool have
consistently played better with him in the lineup than out of it, Maxi Rodriguez has only made
thirteen starts and a further four substitute appearances across the 47 games Liverpool has so far
played this season in all competitions.
When Papiss Cisse stepped around a sprawling Pepe Reina to slot Newcastle's second goal home on
Sunday, a few things seemed clear. First and foremost, it seemed clear that the Newcastle striker
had been offside. Beyond that, though, the obvious culprit seemed to be Jon Flanagan's whiffed
clearance, while around him Liverpool's entire defence seemed a complete mess.
In recent weeks, the need to give young players like Sebastian Coates and Jonjo Shelvey a chance
to impress as Liverpool's prospects in the league have faded has become a frequent talking point.
Some have even suggested the likes of Jon Flanagan, Jack Robinson, and even Raheem Sterling should
be given significant playing time, willing to trade a place or two in the final standings for the
promise of a brighter future.
Three League Cup victories sorted in our stroll down historical avenue, four to go, and for the
love of Fowler why isn't it Sunday yet I can't stand the wait and I'm nervous and I think I cut
myself underneath the fingernail chewing on the fingernail because I'm so nervous I'm chewing on my
fingernails or at least I cut myself underneath the fingernail somehow and why isn't it Sunday
"We don't think he should ever have been away but we are delighted to get him back," Kenny
Dalglish said when asked about the return of Luis Suarez following Monday's match against
Tottenham. The response from the papers was immediate—and exactly what one would have guessed it
"Kenny Dalglish has risked infuriating Manchester United ahead of Luis Suarez's appearance at
Old Trafford next weekend," began the always understated Daily Mail.
For many, there has been a belief that in order to get the most out of Charlie Adam he must be
played as part of a three-man midfield, alongside players who will be able to cover for his
shortcomings and in doing so allow him to do what he does best—break down tough opponents and
create scoring opportunities.
In our last poll, we asked whether the club needed to sign a striker, winger, attacking
midfielder, or holding midfielder in the transfer window to shore up one of the areas of weakness
that had become apparent over the course of the 2011-12 season. An overwhelming majority of nearly
70% said that what the club needed more than anything was a striker, while 17% said winger, 8% said
attacking midfielder, and only 5% said holding midfielder.
After months of praise for being one of the best defensive units in the Premier League,
Saturday's game against Bolton saw Liverpool's normally stout defensive line concede three against
the side with the worst home record of any club in the seven leagues that make up the top end of
the English footballing pyramid.
The January transfer window is half way through, and, after the past two windows saw Liverpool
one of the most active participants, it's been surprisingly quiet for a side lacking both midfield
steel and finishing touch who before the season began set a return to Champions League action as
the minimum requirement.
Liverpool ended 2010-11 in fantastic form, perhaps even convincing those most hopeful that with
a tweak here and a winger there a legitimate run at the title wasn't entirely beyond the realm of
possibility. With summer signalling that Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish were more interested in
rebuilding than refining, though, that hope faced up to growing fears about all the that could go
wrong with a largely new starting eleven as the season began.
Yesterday we broke down Liverpool's winning goal, and while the focus may have been on Glen
Johnson's run from deep and his fantastic finishing of it, the team effort involved in the buildup
was plain to see. It might be fair to say that most goals, if you dig deep enough, are team
efforts, though often that effort can either be fairly self-evident or, conversely, hopelessly
Daniel Agger is an oddity in English football: From his angry reaction to being marginalised by
Roy Hodgson because he refused to stop trying to play football from the back, to his disgust at
Fernando Torres going to play for a rival to the club's ambitions, to his at times brutally honest
assessment of how Liverpool has played, there are few so willing to fully speak their mind.
Liverpool 1 Bellamy 45′+
Norwich City 1 Holt 60′
From the moment the teamsheet was released, with eight attacking players plus Jamie Carragher
and Martin Skrtel set to run out at Anfield against Premier League newcomers Norwich City, the
match seemed fated to go one of two ways.
The Premier League approaches television rights negotiations as a collective, seeking the best
price for all the leauge's clubs and then sharing the resulting revenue, for the most part,
equally. And late on Tuesday, it became clear that Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre intended to
lead a fight to destroy that system.
Rafa Benitez was probably stealing the job of a deserving Englishman, and that's bad. But Joe
Cole might be stealing the job of a Frenchman now, so that kind of balances it all out. Maybe.
Mostly I'm just confused. In any case, I think this is the Wednesday news and notes.
* Jamie Carragher went on TalkSport today to have a little chat with the regrettable duo
of Andy Gray and Richard Keys.
Taking a page out of Major League Soccer's book by scheduling a mid-season "prestige friendly"
to fill the downtime between games and put a few extra quid in the pocket, Liverpool have announced
that they will travel to Glasgow to take on Rangers in a mid-week clash on Tuesday, October 18th.
For those who haven't memorised this season's schedule, that would put the game three days after
Manchester United's visit to Anfield on October 15th, with newcomers Norwich City set for the
Things went horribly, horribly wrong on Sunday, but we've already covered that. Perhaps it
doesn't come as a huge surprise, though, that a lot of the places that talk Liverpool have gone a
touch quiet following their obligatory (and rather depressed) match reviews in the wake of Sunday's
sad showing at Spurs.
Spoilers: Everybody came out of this set of internationals fit and unscathed and ready to take
on Stoke on Saturday. Except perhaps for Martin Skrtel, though any damage he picked up is going to
be of the mental variety. In any case, September's international break is over and done with, which
means no more worries about Liverpool players getting injured in borderline meaningless games.
In the end, the 1-1 scoreline in Sunday's England-Spain match at the Under 21 European
Championships will be cause for many to talk of the England fight back, of an entertaining game and
a good result and a brave display against a superior opponent. Which conveniently forgets that for
the vast majority of the match it was only Spain's inability to find a cutting edge around the box
that stopped the score from turning into the farce the rest of the game was for England's up and
The transfer window still doesn't officially opens across Europe until July first. In England it
actually opened at midnight on the day the domestic season ended. Either way, there are always
pre-agreements to be made and fees agreed, and all because most players a club might be after
couldn't officially be transfered for another month doesn't mean nothing can happen.
After a season full of highs and lows, it was a rather disappointing and dull display against
Aston Villa on Sunday that ended Liverpool's year. Ironically, it was just the sort of apathetic
outing that at times seemed the norm in the Europa League for the club this season, and with two
consecutive underwhelming performances to end the league campaign it is that competition which
Liverpool is now set to miss out on.
Today's post is courtesy of Sam from Anfield Asylum.
Once again my cheerful nature leads me to tackle a wonderful subject, this time about just which
player wasted the most time and money we'll never get back. The fact that there are so many
contenders for this award on Liverpool alone this season lets you know just how bad it was at
So, have you done your democratic duty and voted in the Signing of the Season and Young Player
of the Season polls yet? Have you taken a spin or two by the sites of our season ending
pollstavaganza guest editors' sites Well Red, Unprofessional Foul, A Football Report, and Avoiding
the Drop lately?
Following Sunday's disappointing result against West Bromwich Albion, there were two competing
narratives. On one hand there was a desire to integrate the match and result into one of the main
stories of the 2011-12 season—namely the one where Liverpool can't score even though they