Archive for the ‘Liverpool FC’ Category

Reds Stars make 08-09 Top 50

June 1, 2009


No fewer than six Liverpool players feature in Match Magazine’s countdown of the top 50 stars of 2008-09. 

Football Writer’s Player of the Year, Steven Gerrard was the highest red on the list in second place with Xabi Alonso eighth and Fernando Torres 17th.

Dirk Kuyt‘s most prolific season in a red shirt earned him a spot at 20 with unsung hero Yossi Benayoun 29th and stalwart Jamie Carragher at 41.


Gerrard and Torres get Medals

June 1, 2009


Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were handed medals this week after being named in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year. 

The pair were voted into the XI by their colleagues across the Barclays Premier League.

The team in full is: Edwin van der Sar, Glen Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra; Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo; Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres.

PFA executive Matthew Buck made the trip to our training ground in West Derby to make the presentation.

Liverpool 3 VS 1 Tottenham Hotspur

May 25, 2009



Liverpool wrapped up second spot with a 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on a day when Anfield bade farewell to a legend.

Goals from Fernando Torres, Alan Hutton (OG) and Yossi Benayoun ensured the Reds finished the league season unbeaten at home.

Robbie Keane claimed a consolation but couldn’t stop Liverpool tallying 86 points, which, as well as being a club record in the Premier League, would also have been enough to win 12 of our 18 titles.

Before all this, the Kop honoured departing legend Sami Hyypia with a ‘Sami’ mosaic bookmarked by two Finnish flags. Typically, the man himself looked ever so slightly embarrassed from the substitutes’ bench, where he began the match before coming on for his 464th and final Liverpool appearance.

Those who were selected by Benitez quickly set about subduing one of only two teams to beat Liverpool in the Premier League this season.

Within seconds, Steven Gerrard skimmed the roof of the net with a 25-yard snapshot. Minutes later, Martin Skrtel nodded down a Fabio Aurelio corner only for Benayoun to mis-time his bicycle kick.

Torres was unlucky not to net his 50th Liverpool goal after waltzing around three Spurs defenders before Jermaine Jenas intervened as the Spanish hitman readied his famous right foot.

Never mind, for on 31 minutes Torres did reach his milestone after ghosting between Hutton and Vedran Corluka to head a Dirk Kuyt cross in off the bar.

All the visitors could muster during the first half was a 30-yard stab from Benoit Assou-Ekotto which Reina gathered after initially spilling. On the one occasion Keane looked dangerous against his former employers, Skrtel was there with a well-timed challenge.

The second half began with a Xabi Alonso party trick, one of those from-your-own-half punts which only the Spaniard seems capable of scoring in the modern game. Not this time, though, as Heurelho Gomes recovered position to catch the ball on his line.

At the other end, Gareth Bale forced a save from Reina with a curling free-kick, but still Harry Redknapp’s side seemed determined to end 2008-09 with a whimper.

Skrtel again came close to breaking his Liverpool duck with an angled volley which ricocheted off several players before trickling wide.

The second finally arrived on 64 minutes when Benayoun and Kuyt combined, with the latter firing goalwards before a wicked deflection from Hutton sent the ball beyond Gomes.

Gerrard almost made it 3-0 minutes later but was denied by the post after some improvised control in the box.

With victory seemingly guaranteed, the Kop begged Benitez to bring on Hyypia, but their chants were temporarily silenced on 77 minutes when Keane evaded Liverpool’s offside trap before sending Reina the wrong way. The Irishman then showed a touch of class by not celebrating.

It took the Reds just four minutes to regain their two-goal margin when Gerrard sliced a delicate ball to the onrushing Benayoun, who sidefooted beyond Gomes to take his tally for the season to nine.

Then Anfield erupted as Hyypia finally entered the fray, replacing Gerrard and taking the captain’s armband for five final minutes.

Each touch by the Finn was greeted by raucous cheers from the home faithful, who knew they were losing one of the club’s finest ever centre-backs.

Hyypia almost bagged a picturebook Kop end goal on 90 minutes only to have his header cleared off the line by Gomes.

The final whistle brought a few tears from the 35-year-old before he was held aloft by his teammates.

And with that, another season was over. A season full of dramatic highs at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Bernabeu, as well as occasional lows at unlikely venues such as the Riverside and, too often, here at Anfield. Most of all, though, 2008-09 has been a season in which Liverpool have re-established themselves as genuine title contenders. Amen to that, and roll on 2009-10.


Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard (captain), Torres. Subs – Hyypia, Insua, Leiva, Ngog, Degen, Cavalieri, Riera

Tottenham Hotspur: Gomes, Assou-Ekotto, King, Corluka, Hutton, Bale, Jenas, Modric, Zokora, Defoe, Keane (captain). Subs – Pavlyuchenko, Chimbonda, Gunter, Cudicini, Campbell, Bentley, Bent

Referee: Phil Walton

Conditions: Sunny

Attendance: 43, 937 Man-of-the-Match: Sami Hyypia

Next Match: Liverpool VS Tottenham Hotspur

May 18, 2009



Sunday 24 May 2009

Liverpool bring the curtain down on a memorable 2008-09 season with their final fixture of the campaign against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday.

The two sides have already met twice this season and the Reds will be hoping to pick up three points, having lost both meetings.

A stoppage-time winner from Roman Pavlyuchenko secured a 2-1 victory for Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League meeting at White Hart Lane in November.

It was somewhat unjust on Liverpool, who had dominated throughout, but were ultimately punished for their profligacy in front of goal.

Just over a week later, the teams went head-to-head again in North London and it was Spurs triumphed once more, running out 4-2 victors in the Carling Cup tie.

Last season, Tottenham claimed a point at Anfield as they held Rafa Benitez’s men to a 2-2 draw.

West Brom Albion 0 VS 2 Liverpool

May 18, 2009



Goals from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt ensured Liverpool will end 2008-09 with their highest ever Premier League points tally.

The 2-0 victory means the Reds have now amassed 83 this term, one more than in 2005-06. Strikes either side of the break also ended any lingering hopes of survival for a plucky West Brom side.

While there is no consolation for missing out on the title following United’s draw against Arsenal, Rafa Benitez will take heart from the fact his team took the race to the penultimate weekend, a feat not achieved by any of his three predecessors.

It was a West Brom side fighting for their Premier League lives who created all the early chances here, notably when Jonathan Greening forced a superb low save from Pepe Reina after a far-post corner.

The Baggies skipper continued to lead by example, nutmegging Javier Mascherano before firing a wicked ball across the area which Reina somehow managed to divert.

It was already turning out to be one of the busiest of Reina’s 50 appearances this term as his teammates struggled to find their rhythm against a team desperate not to be playing Championship football in 2009-10.

Next, Kuyt had to display all of his defensive qualities to head clear a Chris Brunt cross as Juan Carlos Menseguez lurked.

Liverpool had yet to muster a serious opportunity when they opened the scoring on 28 minutes. It came when Gerrard pounced on sloppy possession from Shelton Martis, strode into the box and sliced beyond Dean Kiely.

A distraught Martis was consoled by his teammates as the newly-crowed Footballer of the Year pondered his 24th strike of a memorable campaign, one more than his previous best tally.

Tony Mowbray’s men almost conjured an instant reply when Carragher slipped to let Marc-Antoine Fortune through on goal before Daniel Agger intervened with a fine interception.

But it was Liverpool for whom half-time came too soon as they began to demonstrate some of their relentless end-of-season form.

First, Kiely added to a weekend of fine saves, tipping a flicked header from Torres onto the roof of the net. The goalkeeper’s good work was almost immediately undone when he spilled a 25-yard drive from Agger, with Yossi Benayoun’s bid to capitalise thwarted by an offside flag.

The half ended in controversy as Gerrard squared up to Jonas Olsson after being denied a penalty following a barge to the ground.

West Brom regained some impetus as the sides came out for the second half, with Menseguez testing Reina with a low drive after a mistake from Lucas.

Even worse for the visitors was the sight of Mascherano limping to the touchline on 51 minutes with a knock sustained late in the first period.

His replacement, Xabi Alonso, nearly had an instant impact with a lovely ball to Torres, who found a yard before blasting wide with his right foot.

The Spain international was again sent clear by Gerrard minutes later but the angle made Kiely’s low save routine.

With time running out on his club’s top flight tenure, Mowbray sacrificed centre-back Martis for midfielder Borja Valero.

The Baggies’ record signing wasted no time making his presence felt with a slick pass which defied Liverpool’s offside trap. Menseguez was through on Reina but instead squared to Fortune, who was beaten to it by a clumsy if effective challenge by Lucas. A collective scream echoed round The Hawthorns but referee Martin Atkinson waved away their penalty protests.

Moments later indignation turned to heartache as Liverpool scored the goal which effectively sealed their fate. It came on 63 minutes as Kuyt and Gerrard combined before the Dutchman lashed an unstoppable effort beyond the reach of Kiely from the edge of the box.

Kuyt, too, had now trumped his best ever goals tally in England with an impressive haul of 15 from the right wing.

Lucas should have got his name on the scoresheet after doing all the hard work to turn Olsson before poking wide from eight yards.

West Brom refused to go down without a fight, with Fortune denied first by a last-gasp challenge from Jamie Carragher, then by the crossbar. Substitute Luke Moore also struck the post with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box.

Their side was trying everything, though it was becoming harder for the capacity crowd to believe with every passing minute.

Any faint hopes of a miracle comeback were almost put to bed with five minutes remaining when a superb dummy from Alonso left substitute Ryan Babel with just Kiely to beat. The Dutchman somehow contrived to curl wide.

The miss proved academic as Liverpool held on to record their 13th away win of the season, equalling a club record set 104 years ago.


Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva, Kuyt, Gerrard (captain), Torres. Subs – Alonso, Riera, Ngog, Dossena, Cavalieri, Skrtel, Babel

West Brom: Kiely, Donk, Martis, Olsson, Zuiverloon, Koren, Greening (captain), Mulumbu, Brunt, Menseguez, Fortune. Subs – Carson, Moore, Borja Valero, Simpson, Wood, Meite, Filipe Teixeira

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Conditions: Windy

Attendance: Unknown Man-of-the-Match: Dirk Kuyt

Hyypia: Lagenda Anfield

May 14, 2009


PEMAIN pertahanan tengah Liverpool, Sami Hyypia akan berpindah ke kelab Jerman, Bayer Leverkusen musim panas depan dan pastinya ramai peminat The Reds dengan berat hati terpaksa mengucapkan “onnea” (semoga berjaya dalam bahasa Finland) kepadanya.

Ikuti 10 fakta menarik mengenai pemain tinggi lampai berambut perang ini yang beraksi bersama Liverpool sejak sedekad lalu.

Pada 7 Oktober 1973, Sami Tuomas Hyypia dilahirkan dalam sebuah keluarga bola sepak di Porvoo dan dibesarkan di Voikkaa, 160 kilometer ke timur laut ibu negara Finland, Helsinki.

Sekalipun bapanya, Jouko bermain buat kelab Finland, Pallo Peikot dan ibunya penjaga gol bertaraf amatur, ketika zaman kanak-kanak Hyypia bermain hoki ais. Namun, rakan-rakan mempengaruhinya untuk menentukan kariernya, membuka laluan buatnya bermain bola sepak. Dia berkata: “Saya rasa saya hanya ada satu pilihan dalam karier saya!”

Hyypia memulakan kariernya di kelab KuMu, yang mana dia beraksi di setiap posisi kecuali posisi yang menjulang namanya kini iaitu pertahanan tengah. Dia kemudian berhijrah ke MyPa dalam Veikkausliiga dan menghabiskan empat tahun serta membantu mereka menjuarai Piala Finland pada 1992 dan 1995.

Pada 1995, Kevin Keegan, ketika itu pengurus Newcastle United, memberi peluang kepada Hyypia yang berusia 22 tahun menjalani ujian pemilihan selama dua minggu. Sekalipun King Kev tidak menawarkan kontrak kepada pertahanan yang memiliki ketinggian 1.93 meter itu, ia membuka mata pemain muda itu yang tertarik untuk beraksi dalam Liga Perdana Inggeris (EPL). “Ia membantu karier saya,” katanya. “Dan ia membuka minda saya terhadap bola sepak Inggeris. Saya seorang pemain muda di Finland dan saya hanya hadir untuk mencari pengalaman tapi ia nyata pengalaman berguna dan saya menikmati saat-saat saya di sana.”

Dia terpaksa menunggu empat tahun lagi sebelum menandatangani kontrak sepenuh masa dalam EPL – pada 1995 dia berpindah ke kelab Belanda, Willem II, kelab dia beraksi sebelum perpindahan ke Liverpool. Dia menjadi ketua pasukan dan membantu mereka layak ke Liga Juara-Juara Eropah.

Selepas berhijrah ke Liverpool, pasukan yang disokongnya sejak kecil, dalam perpindahan bernilai STG2.6 juta (RM13.8 juta), Hyypia pantas mengetuk pintu kesebelasan utama. Dia berganding hebat dengan pemain Switzerland, Stephane Henchoz. Dalam tempoh dua tahun, dia sering menjadi ketua pasukan dan dilantik ketua pasukan utama The Reds pada musim 2001-02.

Sekalipun dia kehilangan taraf sebagai ketua pasukan pada 2003 dan digantikan oleh pemain tempatan Steven Gerrard, yang mengekalkan status itu hingga ke hari ini, dia memainkan peranan penting apabila Liverpool bangkit daripada ketinggalan 3-0 sebelum mengalahkan AC Milan pada perlawanan akhir Liga Juara-Juara Eropah pada 2005.

Pada April 2003, Hyypia menerima kad merah menentang Manchester United selepas hanya empat minit (United akhirnya menang 4-0) – ia adalah satu-satunya perintah buang padang diterimanya sepanjang karier dan dia tidak akan melupakan saat-saat itu. “Ruud van Nistelrooy berjaya meloloskan diri dan mungkin saya agak lambat menarik bajunya,” akuinya secara jujur. “Saya lantas dilayangkan kad merah. Mereka mendapat sepakan penalti. Amat menyedihkan menonton perlawanan itu dalam bilik persalinan. Kad merah tunggal dalam karier saya. Pasti saya tidak akan melupakannya.”

Secara keseluruhan, dia memenangi 11 trofi – sembilan bersama Liverpool, termasuk Liga Juara-Juara Eropah, Piala Super Eropah, Piala UEFA, Piala FA (dua kali), Piala Liga (dua kali) dan Perisai Komuniti (dua kali).

Di peringkat antarabangsa, Hyypia melakukan kemunculan sulung buat Finland menentang Tunisia pada November 1992 ketika dia berusia 19 tahun. Dia kini memiliki 97 cap dan lima gol sekali gus menduduki tangga ketiga dalam senarai cap terbanyak negara itu di belakang Jari Litmanen (122) dan Ari Hjelm (100).

Stevie G: Footballer of the Year (EPL)

May 14, 2009


The Liverpool captain beat off competition from Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to land the prestigious honour, becoming the first Reds player since John Barnes in 1990 to scoop the award in the process.

“I’m delighted but I’m a little bit surprised,” said the 28-year-old.

“When you look at the quality of the players there are in this league, it’s a great privilege to win this kind of award.

“It’s made even more special for me because I am following in the footsteps of Liverpool players like John Barnes, Steve Nicol and Kenny Dalglish who were heroes of mine.

“Then further back players like Ian Callaghan and Terry McDermott who were heroes to my dad and so many other Liverpool fans.

“It’s not just the Manchester United players – when you look at the players the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal and other teams have got, they all have fantastic players throughout their squads now.

“The quality is getting better and better each year so to win this award is a great achievement for myself.

“But I’ve had fantastic help along the way from everyone at this football club.

“My family and friends come every time I play and everything I achieve in football they are a very big part of that because they are there for me 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“But the biggest thank yous have to go to the manager, the coaching staff and my team-mates.

“Individual awards are great but you don’t win them without great help from those people.”

Gerrard revealed a phone call from Liverpool’s communications director Ian Cotton informed him of his triumph.

He said: “I got a phone call from Ian and was debating whether or not to take the call because I thought I might have been in the papers for the wrong reasons!

“But when I did take the call and he delivered the good news it was a great feeling for me.”

The midfielder will receive the trophy at a Football Writers’ Association gala dinner in London on May 29.

Next Match: West Brom Albion VS Liverpool

May 9, 2009



Sunday 17 May 2009

Liverpool play out their final away fixture of the season as the Reds travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion.

Earlier this season, Rafa Benitez’s side crushed the Baggies 3-0 at Anfield courtesy of two goals from Robbie Keane and a collector’s item from Alvaro Arbeloa.

Liverpool enjoy a fine record at Hawthorns and have not lost a league encounter there since February 1981.

In the Barclays Premier League era, the Reds have recorded some emphatic away victories over West Brom. 

Michael Owen struck four goals in a 6-0 victory on the ground in April 2003, while, the following season, Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners in Benitez’s first season in charge.

Last time the Reds visited the Hawthorns, Robbie Fowler and Djibril Cisse were the scorers in a routine 2-0 triumph. 

Match stats

On the last occasion the sides met at The Hawthorns, in April 2006, Liverpool won 2-0 thanks to first half goals from Robbie Fowler and Djibril Cisse. 

Liverpool have scored 13 goals in their last three visits winning 6-0, 5-0 and 2-0.

Liverpool have won the last seven meetings on this ground scoring 23 and conceding only two. 

The 6-0 victory on this ground in April 2003 is their biggest ever league win over Albion.

In the Premier League the clubs have met seven times with Liverpool winning them all. Albion have yet to score a goal while the Reds have scored 22. 

Liverpool’s winning run, in fact, stretches to ten successive meetings home and away with 33 goals scored.

Michael Owen’s four-goal haul in April 2003 is the last hat-trick scored by a Liverpool player against the Baggies. John Wark in a 5-0 win in March 1985 is the only other to achieve the feat for the Reds on this ground. 

Albion have not won in the last 17 League meetings between the sides. Their last win was in February 1981 when they won 2-0 at The Hawthorns.

It is their only victory in the last 30 meetings during which time they have scored only 11 goals.

West Ham United 0 VS 3 Liverpool

May 9, 2009



A brace from Steven Gerrard helped move Liverpool back to the top of the Barclays Premier League following a 3-0 win at West Ham on Saturday tea-time.

The captain’s first-half double and a late tap-in from supersub Ryan Babel means Rafa Benitez’s side have scored 101 goals in all competitions in 2008-09, 23 of which belong to Gerrard.

More importantly, the Reds are now above Manchester United on goal difference, though this could change when Alex Ferguson’s men play one of two games in hand against their city rivals on Sunday.

Liverpool entered the game knowing anything other than a victory could see United clinch the title in Wigan on Wednesday. The chances of this happening were lessened by the return of Torres, starting a league game alongside Gerrard for just the 12th time this term.

The pair took only two minutes to revive their prolific partnership as Torres threaded a ball through the Hammers backline towards the well-timed run of his accomplice. Gerrard danced round Robert Green and sidefooted into an empty net to bag his 118th Liverpool goal. He was now joint 12th with Kop icon Ian St John in the Anfield scoring charts.

West Ham responded with a period of pressure, the highlight of which saw Junior Stanislas plant a ball on the head of Diego Tristan, who tested Pepe Reina with a flicked effort.

There was a let-off for the visitors on 26 minutes when Alvaro Arbeloa fouled Mark Noble down the flank. Reina came to punch the resulting free-kick but was beaten to it by England defender Matthew Upson, who headed just over the crossbar.

It took a superb tackle from Jamie Carragher minutes later to thwart David Di Michele, a feat that was soon matched by Hammers old boy Javier Mascherano on Luis Boa Morte.

Another player showing great industry was Dirk Kuyt down Liverpool’s right, the Dutchman doing well to win a corner from a Reina punt. Torres smashed over but the signs were there that another goal was on if possession could be maintained.

The second eventually arrived on 38 minutes from the penalty spot. It was another former West Ham player, Yossi Benayoun, who chipped a lovely ball to put Torres one-on-one with Green until Boa Morte intervened with a push. Referee Alan Wiley didn’t hesitate, and though Gerrard’s spot-kick was initially saved, the skipper followed up to convert the rebound, equal his best ever season’s tally and move clear of The Saint.

West Ham should have pulled one back just before half-time when Arbeloa passed to Carragher, who kicked air to give Di Michele a free run on Reina. Carragher tried to recover and when the Italian striker stumbled under pressure, the home faithful protested for a penalty of their own. Replays showed Di Michele simply fell over his own feet, and to add insult to injury he was booked for simulation.

The first period almost signed off with a freak goal after a 40-yard shot from Mascherano was deflected to Torres, whose looping header bounced narrowly wide.

Liverpool remained on the front foot as the second half got underway, though a heavy touch prevented Gerrard converting an Arbeloa cross and claiming his hat-trick.

Next, Benayoun stretched to fire a Kuyt cross marginally over. Torres did the same minutes later as Kuyt again turned provider.

The Holland international had a chance to score himself 15 minutes into the half after hustling the ball deep in Liverpool’s own half. Gerrard burst clear before returning possession to the onrushing Kuyt, whose shot was blocked by Green.

West Ham were seemingly muted as an attacking force. How they might have wished they still had the mercurial talents of Benayoun, who nearly added to his post-Christmas haul of seven with a whack from 20 yards.

Upton Park had to wait 22 minutes to see those in claret and blue threaten after the restart. When the chance finally arrived from a Herita Ilunga cross, Di Michele lacked composure eight yards out.

Benitez felt comfortable enough to withdraw the returning Torres with 20 minutes remaining, and his confidence proved well-placed as substitute Babel put the seal on an impressive victory five minutes from time by converting a Kuyt cross from close range via a Green parry.


Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Arbeloa, Benayoun, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard (captain), Torres. Subs – Hyypia, Cavalieri, Ngog, Dossena, Degen, Insua, Babel

West Ham United: Green, Ilunga, Tomkins, Upson, Neill (captain), Stanislas, Noble, Kovac, Boa Morte, di Michele, Tristan. Subs – Spector, Collison, Payne, Ngereko, Lopez, Sears, Lastuvka

Referee: Alan Wiley

Conditions: Fine

Attendance: 34,951 Man-of-the-Match: Dirk Kuyt

Next Match: West Ham United VS Liverpool

May 3, 2009



Saturday 9 May 2009

Liverpool go in search of their 12th away victory in the Barclays Premier League this season when the Reds take on West Ham United at Upton Park on Saturday teatime.

Last season, Rafa Benitez’s side lost 1-0 in East London courtesy of an injury-time penalty from Mark Noble.

Rafa Benitez’s side last won this fixture in the 2006-07 season when second half goals from Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch secured a 2-1 victory.

Match stats

Liverpool have won three of the last nine visits with their defeat last season preventing them from winning four times in a row at Upton Park for the first time.

In the last 42 league meetings home and away Liverpool have lost just five.

Liverpool have failed to score in only two of the last ten league visits but have kept only one clean sheet in that time.

Three Liverpool players have scored hat-tricks for Liverpool at Upton Park-Roger Hunt in 1965, John Toshack (1976) and Michael Robinson (1983).

Yossi Benayoun scored eight goals in 72 appearances during his two years with West Ham following his transfer from Racing Santander in the summer of 2005.

Liverpool’s biggest wins at Upton Park came in September 1965 and January 1976 when they won 4-0.

There has never been two goalless draws between the teams during the same league campaign.

Gianfranco Zola is the first foreign manager of West Ham and the 12th in the club’s history.