Tag: Liverpool

How The League Cup Was Won – Liverpool Beat Cardiff City On Penalty Kicks

It has been sixteen years since Liverpool Football Club last appeared at Wembley Stadium. Much has changed in that intervening decade and a half, not least of which is the fact that the stadium itself has been knocked down and replaced by the monument to modern football which continues to justify its existence through the medium of playing as many games there as physically possible. Today, though, the cards were stacked against Liverpool. The first piece of bad news came with the news that a derailed train was blacking those travelling to London from Merseyside. Virgin Trains, perhaps with a sense of irony too subtle for most of us to be able to fully take in, suggested that people drive to Stafford or Crewe to get trains from there instead. Yet if that felt cruel, we might perhaps take a moment to consider Cardiff City’s day, a day which took in every emotion from joy to despair, from frustration to hope, and back again. The biggest surprise of the pre-match build-up was the decision of Kenny Dalglish to not start Craig Bellamy this afternoon. Bellamy, whose second half introduction reignited Liverpool’s afternoon at the exact point at which it had started to feel as if this grand day out was starting to slip away from Liverpool, was perhaps the man around whose neck the narrative of this match was...

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Match Of The Week: Liverpool 6-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

There’s history here, you know. When Liverpool were the kings of English and European football, Brighton & Hove Albion had a curious habit of being able to dump them out of the FA Cup. They did it at Anfield on the way to Wembley in 1983, and then again at The Goldstone Ground the following year. Times have changed since then, of course. It’s more than two decades since the league championship last ventured to Merseyside, and over that time Brighton have been to hell and back. As of today, however, they remain on upward trajectory. The new ground is completed and ready for expansion, if or when required, and the team sits in ninth place in the Championship table – still well in touch with a play-off place. Which Brighton & Hove Albion team will turn out at Anfield this afternoon, though? Gus Poyet’s team have had a hint of the Jekyll & Hyde about them this season, with the Doctor Jekyll that beat Sunderland in the League Cup and Newcastle United in the last round of this competition having to be balanced against insipid performances against lower division sides in the cup over the last couple of years or so. It’s not just the historical record that gives Brighton reason for unlikely optimism this afternoon, though. They gave Liverpool a considerable run for their money when the...

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Time To Draw A Line Under The Suarez Incidents

The football was always going to be overshadowed on Saturday lunchtime. It has been that sort of a season. At least, though, another gut-wrenching weekend of tribalism and mud-slinging, some good finally seems to have come from the poisonous atmosphere between Liverpool and Manchester United, and perhaps now we can get back to focussing on what continues to be a fascinating season in the Premier League. It is, of course, partly the fault of the Premier League and the FA that Saturdays match found itself being the source of so much controversy to whom. Introduced as part of the well-meaning but ultimately futile Respect campaign, the pre-match handshake has become a totem for how unsuccessful any attempts to breed a culture of respect into modern football are ever likely to be. It has become just another ritual to be tolerated. Never required when there was something passing for manners on a football pitch, it became a cursory, perfunctory pastiche of actual respect from individuals that are now trained for winning at all costs that nothing else is considered by them. And yet. Luis Suarez had a choice on Saturday lunchtime and chose not to take it. Moreover, he had led his club to believe that he would swallow a little pride and at least shake hands with Patrice Evra before the match. Even Kenny Dalglish, who had defended his player...

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Match Of The Week: Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

The weather has not been a friend to football supporters of late. The cold snap did for a majority of matches scheduled below the Premier League, and this evening, an hour before kick-off at Anfield, there is a possibility that it might strike again, with a thick fog over Liverpool. The fog clears in time for kick-off, though a lack of clarity will turn out to be a common feature of the evening. The top of the table has the feeling of being a house built on shaky foundations. No team is in outstanding form and it feels as if, although there is more than a third of the season left to play, the questions of who will win this year’s title and which four teams will make up next year’s Champions League places doesn’t at the time of writing feel a great deal more decided than it did in August. After eleven minutes, a cat gets on the pitch and play is held up for a couple of minutes while players stand around with that familiar, slightly befuddled expression that passes across the face of the professional footballer that isn’t a football match, a training session or the opportunity of a fight outside a night club at three o’clock in the morning. It’s one of the rare highlights of an otherwise indistinguished half. Perhaps the absence of Harry...

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The Bizarre Rituals Of Mutual Loathing

The FA Cup may well be the oldest football cup competition in the world – a fact that television viewers will doubtlessly be reminded of around three hundred times over the next seventy-two hours or so – but football supporters that don’t have to habitually wipe rage-induced spittle from the corner of their mouths could well be forgiven for approaching this weekends fixtures in the Fourth Round of the competition with a degree of trepidation. The draw for this weekends matches was as kind as it was unfair to the Football Association. A flagging competition needs a “big” match in each round, and it got it in the form of a trip to Anfield for Manchester United. But this match is more than just a renewal of old rivalries and an opportunity to claim a place in the last sixteen of a venerable – if somewhat grubby, these days – cup competition. We don’t need to go over the Suarez affair or Liverpool Football Club’s terrible handling if it yet again. That much is, outside of the red half of Liverpool and the madder elements of those of the opinion that political correctness has gone mad, a given. What is, however, perhaps worth reflecting upon is the extent to which this particular football match, to be played by two national and international institutions, and which should be a showpiece...

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