Tag: Liverpool

The Luis Suarez Show Puts Mansfield Town In The Shade

Life isn’t fair and cheats often prosper. How unpalatable such statements are doesn’t alter how true they are, and it may be especially galling for the supporters of Mansfield Town that the valiant efforts of their team this afternoon will be overshadowed by a predictable row over the handled goal that eventually won a tumultuous FA Cup Third Round match for Liverpool this afternoon. Having conceded an early goal to debutant Daniel Sturridge, it might have been easy for the Blue Square Bet Premier side to have buckled and folded all together, but they kept their calm and put in a performance that is worthy of greater praise than it is likely to receive. Indeed, had their goal come ten minutes earlier, there is every chance that we would be talking about a replay and asking the question of how Liverpool had managed to fail to beat a non-league side club in the FA Cup. The headlines tomorrow morning, however, will all be about Luis Suarez, whose appearance from the substitutes bench and subsequent handled goal gave Liverpool a gap which proved to be too great for Mansfield Town to be able to bridge. In order to be able to properly assess whether this goal should have stood or not, we are charged with the tortuous task of referring back not only to FIFA’s Laws of The Game, but...

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Another Step On The Road To Justice For The Ninety-Six

It has been three months and one week since the release of the independent panel’s report into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 finally started to undo some of the damage done by twenty-three years of mendacity and incompetence on the part of many people. Their report is probably the most important football news story of the year, but rather than representing the end of a story that has hung like a dark cloud over our game for almost a century, their damning verdict was really the ending of one chapter and the start of another for those that have been fighting for truth and justice for all of those years. The quest for the truth was one thing. The quest for justice, we might well have reckoned, could be something else altogether. This morning, however, a critical juncture in that journey was reached with the quashing of the original inquest verdicts that were brought against those that died that day. That verdicts of “accidental death” were found in the case of those who died at Hillsborough has always been considered an outrageous miscarriage of justice, based on what has now come to be understood to be a systematic campaign of smearing and disinformation on the part of those who were seeking to blame the dead for their own deaths. An earlier attempt to force a judicial review of this...

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Least Said, Soonest Mended: Brendan Rodgers, The Press & Liverpool’s Transition

Pride, they say, comes before a fall, and for the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers there may be no greater fall this season than that which occurred at Anfield yesterday afternoon, as his team was outplayed by Aston Villa to bring to an end the feeling that Liverpool were, perhaps, finally starting to turn a corner this season. The starting point for making this claim hadn’t been particularly strong, though.¬† Single goal wins against Southampton and Udinese were workmanlike rather than spectacular, whilst the late comeback which brought a win at West Ham United last weekend rather overlooked the fact that his team had already turned a one goal lead into a one goal deficit already that afternoon. Sometimes as a manager, the rub of the green will go your way and two goals in four minutes towards the end of last weekend’s trip to London – one of which was an own goal – was proof of this. Yesterday, however, familiar insecurities reared their heads again. Aston Villa went into yesterday’s match off the back of a five match unbeaten run since their traumatic five goal thrashing at Manchester City last month, but such recoveries often have an air of fragility about them, so an accomplished performance by Paul Lambert’s team, however (and especially an individual performance from Christian Benteke worthy of the praise that has followed it) will...

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Match Of The Week: Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

Perhaps, and this is a theory that it is impossible to substantiate, Sir Alex Ferguson has come to realise a fundamental truth of football which frequently seems to slip under our radar. It doesn’t matter whether you play well or not. It’s a result-based business and what matters, all that matters, is getting that result. Manchester United were poor at Anfield this afternoon, but when the ball needed to roll for them it rolled for them, when they needed referee Mark Halsey to make misjudgements, they got them. They came away from Anfield this afternoon with all three points, when all bar the most one-eyed could only consider that they might even have deserved none. For Liverpool, meanwhile, luck has become a precious commodity, something that others have while they do not. If it does, as legend would have it, even itself out over the course of a season, Liverpool are due a slice of luck of lottery-winning proportions at some point this season. First, though, came the preliminaries. Prior to the match, Sir Bobby Charlton presented flowers to Ian Rush, which was followed by a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone which sent shivers down the spine and almost lifted the roof off the Kop end of the ground whilst¬† mosaics saying “The Truth” and “Justice For The 96” reminded all watching of an issue of greater significance...

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Rivalries & Hatred

There was always something that left an uneasy feeling in the pit of the stomach about the post-Olympic craze for slating ‘football’ for its attitudes and behaviour, and there is still discomfort whenever anyone starts to discuss ‘decency’ with regard to the moral vacuum that is a professional sport-cum-business. Last night at Goodison Park, however, we saw a perfectly pitched tribute to the dead of Hillsborough which left barely a dry eye in the house and reminded all watching that if this game and its institutions can be described as having a soul, then that soul is worth hanging onto. The fulsome tribute from Everton FC was a timely reminder that we are capable of setting aside our tribalism out of respect to the dead and that yes, there are some things in life that are more important than our allegiances, loves and hates. Perhaps, though, this was merely the hors d’oeuvre ahead of the main event on the subject of whether attitudes have changed with regard to English football’s worst disaster. This weekend, all eyes will be fixed on Anfield as Liverpool play Manchester United in a fixture that will, whether rightly or wrongly, be treated as a litmus test for whether supporters can be entrusted with the task of behaving themselves under such a glare. The reaction to the behaviour of some during Saturdays match between Manchester...

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