The Liverbird

LIVER BIRD – Reds Keep The Dream Alive

We are top of the league, say we are top of the league! …Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be rounding up the match aren’t I? The beauty of running an informal blog means you can sometimes start a post in full on fan mode though! What a fantastic performance from Liverpool on Sunday as they put four goals past an extremely lacklustre Tottenham side. With Liverpool knowing they could take the top spot at the end of this fixture, Anfield was absolutely electric.Brendan Rodgers made just the one change to his side deciding to field Raheem Sterling instead of Joe Allen creating an even larger attacking presence for the Reds.As seems to be a trend for Liverpool, the game quickly got off to a great start as the Reds created problems in the box for Spurs. A lovely pass from Coutinho to Sterling allowed the youngster to run down the right wing, Glen Johnson then with a perfectly timed overlapping run received the ball from Sterling and whipped a cross into the danger zone. A then bumbling Kaboul managed to turn the ball into his own net and Liverpool had taken the lead.Less than two minutes in and already a goal up, things really were looking positive for Liverpool who were playing with such confidence that Spurs just didn’t appear to be able to cope. Tottenham looked lacking in both desire and ideas and it didn’t take long before a slip up from them allowed the Reds through on goal again.Dawson who had only just entered play made a snappy decision to quickly pass back to Kaboul who had Suarez on his tail. The Uruguayan of course won the ball and after a bursting run completed his attack with a wonderful finish from a tight angle placing his effort low to the right of goal.His celebration was brilliant and if Anfield wasn’t loud enough already, the decibels rose once again after this one as the dream began to seem like a reality. There’s still a long way to go for Liverpool of course there is but with the title in their hands and in the form they are in… why shouldn’t we believe?!Shortly after our second goal Spurs created one of their only chances of the game, a decent shot left Skrtel having to throw his body in the way to keep Liverpool out of danger.Towards the end of the second half Sterling nicked possession and put in a cracking cross to Luis Suarez who was in acres of space. His resulting header had enough power and accuracy and looked certain to find the back of the net but a fantastic save from Lloris denied Liverpool a third before half time.The second half started well again for Liverpool who were in such a buoyant mood it was hard to believe they were playing against a side who were pushing so strongly last season for the Champions League.Firstly a quality one-two with Sturridge and Sterling left the latter through on goal, whilst most would have expected Sterling to take on the chance himself he decided to pass to Henderson on his left who unfortunately sent his effort way over the bar.A few minutes later though and Liverpool had scored their third of the game. After a break all the way from defence via Flanagan he eventually passed the ball to Coutinho who broke through to leave himself with enough space to have a pop, another great finish left Coutinho celebrating a goal that he fully deserved. He’s been playing extremely well lately in my opinion and it was brilliant to see him get on the score sheet!3-0 up and getting almost bored of the lack of return from Spurs, Liverpool well and truly had this one in the bag. Chants of “we shall not be moved” began to ring around Anfield as the fans got more and more excited at the prospect of that elusive Premier League Title.The game wasn’t over yet though. At one stage Daniel Sturridge nearly got himself on the score sheet with some lovely trickery and a somewhat cocky back heeled shot, his effort was saved by Lloris though who had definitely prevented Spurs from conceding 6 or 7.With 15 minutes of the game to go Luis Suarez was fouled close to the box and with Steven Gerrard now off the pitch it was left to Jordan Henderson to step up. After sending the ball into the box his effort eventually found its way through two Liverpool players and a Spurs defender and into the back of the net. A stunned Henderson assumed somebody must have got a touch but Luis Suarez who could have made it to 30 goals was first to point to Hendo to tell him it was in fact his goal.After the nervy end to the Sunderland game some critics began to question whether Liverpool had the bottle but after this performance they have definitely quietened down.I asked you for your thoughts on the game on Twitter and here are a few of the replies I got…Next up for Liverpool is West Ham away. I did try to post a few notes around the place a week or so ago because there will be a match preview for this fixture but the match report will be missing as I am in Budapest! I hate missing previews or reports but I don’t believe in working when you are on a holiday or break and I’m sure you can all agree with this. So be sure to check out the preview, spare a thought for me too as my flight takes off as soon as we kick off, it’s going to be agony not knowing what is going on!!!Normal service will be resumed for the simply MASSIVE City game.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Penos-A-Plenty In Old Trafford Win

Liverpool walked away from Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon having collected all three points scoring two penalties and one goal via Luis Suarez from open play. The Reds were awarded three spot kicks but it could have been five or six in a game that saw some controversial decisions mixed with a truly poor performance from the once exuberant Manchester United.Brendan Rodgers had clearly put some thought into his starting line up for this one, opting once again to include Joe Allen in the midfield in order to help protect the back four. The added bonus for Liverpool too was that both Lucas and Sakho were back on the bench. A forward three consisted of Sterling, Sturridge and Suarez (complete with knitted boots!)The game got off to a good start for Liverpool who immediately sprung into action when a Henderson pass reached Daniel Sturridge, unfortunately his resulting shot went wide. Neither side to begin with was maintaining possession long enough but this perhaps worked in Liverpool’s favour as they took their chances to break via interceptions.Another early attack saw a ball from Flanagan reach Luis Suarez, a run into the box then saw the Uruguayan challenged by Fellaini. There were several fans asking the question of Suarez to go down and I do feel on this rare occasion he was being too honest as I feel there was something in it. However I wasn’t too disappointed that it wasn’t awarded what with a massive portion of the game left to play.Later in the first half an incident occurred involving Rafael and Steven Gerrard, Rafael was booked for his poor scissor challenge on the captain but it was the moments that followed that left Liverpool fans fuming.A lovely cross from Sturridge found its way to Luis Suarez in the box, as he began to fluster Rafael and make his way towards goal, Rafael absolutely blatantly batted the ball out the way. The penalty was awarded but Rafael after just being booked minutes earlier escaped a second yellow which I felt was a shocking decision. He should not have been on that pitch and even though Liverpool didn’t end up needing any extra help, playing against 10 men at Old Trafford would have been a huge bonus.The resulting penalty was taken by Steven Gerrard, as cool as ever he stepped up and placed the spot kick to the right of goal. Liverpool were 1-0 up.Up until this stage Manchester United had created nothing, Mignolet had not been called into action once until with two minutes left of the first half Wayne Rooney sprung to life. A stinging effort was saved by the superb reactions of Mignolet who must have felt relieved to have cleared that potential danger.I can’t stand Wayne Rooney for a multitude of reasons but in fairness to him, he was the only United player on the pitch yesterday that appeared to have any fight or urgency.The second half didn’t take long at all to get underway when only seconds in Liverpool were awarded another penalty! This one for me was a definite, Phil Jones completely clattered Joe Allen out the way and off the ball, it was a shocking decision from Jones to do that so early on in the second half but it was clear from some of the decisions that the United players were making meant they were struggling to deal with the waves of attack from Liverpool.Steven Gerrard stepped up once again to take the penalty and in an almost action replay he slotted home to the right of goal again to put Liverpool 2-0 up.Shortly after the Liverpool penalty this time there were shouts at the other end. A potential hand ball from Glen Johnson left the United players screaming and if I’m honest I think they could of had a case. However it was not as clear cut as the Rafael hand ball earlier on in the game.The next penalty incident came when Wayne Rooney decided to throw himself into Martin Skrtel OUTSIDE of the box, there were several United fans in the pub I was in going absolutely mad for this one but no way in hell was it a penalty.As United struggled to create anything Brendan Rodgers and his boys continued to boss the game, it’s a very long while since I’ve seen a team of ours play that well at Old Trafford and despite the fact we’d scored from penalties, United looked lost. They were never going to get back into this game no matter what decisions did or did not go their way in my opinion.The next moment in the game to note was a retrospective yellow card for Vidic after a challenge on Luis Suarez, initially this appeared to be less than problematic for United but that would soon change.Vidic was then involved in a penalty decision after what looked like a challenge on Daniel Sturridge, the penalty was awarded to Liverpool and Vidic was booked for the second time giving him his marching orders however the replays were not a nice sight.For me, there’s no bones about it, Sturridge dived, it’s unlike him and I don’t condone it but then Steven Gerrard missed the spot kick anyway sending his effort off the post and so for me justice was done. Ok, United were left with 10 players but I’m sorry, as I’ve said several times, they ALREADY should have only had 10 men on the pitch so for me the missed peno and Vidic going off just levelled things out.Just when you thought there had been enough penalty decisions in this game, Daniel Sturridge was once again challenged in the box, this time he was taken down by Michael Carrick and this time for me it was a definite penalty but was it given? No. Do you hear us droning on about it? No. Whereas almost every United fan I know at the moment appears to only be able to remember that Sturridge dive from the whole game… weird that.Shortly after this decision, De Gea was called into action when some Luis Suarez trickery left the defense dumbstruck, it was a quality save from De Gea to deny Liverpool a third.At 83 minutes Daniel Sturridge was involved in an attack once again, his shot however found its way to Luis Suarez who with a lovely finish sent his effort around De Gea and this time found Liverpool’s third.By now the away end at Old Trafford had gone absolutely mental and they continued to do so all the way to the final whistle.The amount of times we’ve had to sit through losses to Manchester United, it was so refreshing to beat them on their own door step and in style. A lot (not all) of Manchester United fans just seem to think they have the divine right to win, especially when playing us and it’s soddin hilarious that we’re now a massive 14 points in front of them. Oh well, good luck with The Chosen One n all that… hahahaha.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received.Next up for Liverpool is Cardiff away.P.s. Just a pre-warning I didn’t realise but I’ll be on a flight to Budapest when we kick off against West Ham in a few weeks and I don’t return home until the Wednesday. For this reason there WILL be a West Ham match preview on the blog but the match report will be missing. Apologies! Normal service will be resumed for the City game!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Arsenal Knock Liverpool Out Of FA Cup

Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday at the hands of an Arsenal side who perhaps couldn’t believe their luck at 90 minutes. Liverpool were arguably the better of the two sides but unfortunately for the Reds there wasn’t an end product. Some strange penalty decisions also left Liverpool fans berating Howard Webb.Liverpool began the game having made three changes to the side with Allen replacing Henderson, Agger replacing Toure and Brad Jones replacing Simon Mignolet between the sticks. In a busy week for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger also made some changes swapping a total of seven of his team members from their last fixture.The first half for Liverpool consisted of some chances mainly via Daniel Sturridge. Very early on in the game a lovely pass from Steven Gerrard had Sturridge through on goal but his effort was perhaps too direct for a prepared Fabianski. Shortly afterwards another ball through to Sturridge saw him smash his effort off the side netting. The Reds were applying some pressure but it was Arsenal who were first off the mark.A free kick on the edge of the box was taken by Arteta, the resulting cross then came out to Ozil on the other side who put the ball back into the mixer. An effort from Sanogo then clattered off Steven Gerrard’s back and fell nicely to Oxlade-Chamberlain who converted with relative ease to put Arsenal ahead.It was a bit of a fluky goal for Arsenal but nevertheless Liverpool were behind and it’s never easy to score at the Emirates.The first half ended without any more goals from either side but it still appeared as though Liverpool would be the ones to score. The second half saw Liverpool come out with increased positivity, the team talk had clearly ignited some dwindling sparks and Luis Suarez was quick to cause problems forcing Fabianski to save a shot with his feet.As soon as Liverpool had recouped from that missed chance though, the gunners had made a break. A cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain found its way to an in space Podolski who confidently finished to score Arsenal’s second of the night.After beating Arsenal 5-1 at home it was hard to feel as though you would be unable to find the back of the net at least once but as the game progressed it did begin to feel like it wasn’t Liverpool’s day.Just before the hour mark Liverpool were gifted a chance to get back into the game. A kick on Suarez in the box meant Liverpool were awarded a penalty, as Steven Gerrard stepped up, the away end prayed the captain would get us back into the game and of course, he did. Another classic penalty put the Reds right back into the game with half an hour still left to go.After the penalty the focus was back on Daniel Sturridge, another lovely ball through to him this time from Coutinho saw him one on one with the keeper again but he failed to take it around the keeper after a brilliant hand to the ball from Fabianski and Liverpool had let another chance slip.The next incident of note really was ridiculous. I’m the first to admit that Suarez is theatrical, he was for his first penalty decision as well but that should not take away the fact that this was a blatant penalty. You didn’t need to distinguish whether the theatrics were real or not, the challenge was just poor. Howard Webb did have a line of sight and I cannot for any reason see why he did not award the penalty. I hate relying on decisions but another penalty at that stage in the game? Well we could have quite easily of been taking Arsenal back to Anfield. Shame on you Mr.Webb.As the game ticked on the Reds desperately tried to find that equaliser and their best chance came in the dying moments when a Gerrard free kick was flicked into the box. Daniel Agger’s header looked as though it was going in and I was well out of my chair as it travelled, the chance however flew just wide and that was that. Liverpool’s run in this season’s FA Cup was over.I asked you for your thoughts on Twitter but because of the delay in the post I didn’t tweet for as many responses as I usually would so I’ll just leave you with two tweets this week.It’s a tough result to take really when you look at the performance and the decisions but to win at the Emirates you need to take your chancesand we just didn’t do that. Daniel Sturridge was clearly very emotional post game and that just goes to show how much the FA Cup does mean to at least some players. I personally would have loved to see us go through and face Everton but it just wasn’t to be, from here on in we focus on the league and who knows what might happen!Next up for Liverpool is Swansea at home.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Reds Had To Fight For Glory At Fulham

It was a nerve-wracking 90 minutes to say the least for Liverpool on Wednesday evening as the Reds went behind twice in their clash with Fulham. Some sloppy defending created problems immediately for Liverpool but a more composed second half eventually ended with the Reds being awarded a penalty and Steven Gerrard saving the three points.Brendan Rodgers decided to field the same side that faced Arsenal for this fixture, it was a vital game for the Reds who needed to prove they are capable of beating the lesser teams and can also perform well away from home.Things didn’t start brilliantly for Liverpool though after Simon Mignolet was forced into a save very early on when Ryan Tunnicliffe took a chance. Shortly afterwards things got even worse. A cross from Richardson made its way into the Liverpool box, Kolo Toure had Darren Bent behind him and whilst I agree he had to do something I just can’t understand how he’s managed to slice the ball into his own net. It was a shocking mistake and coming off the back of his one at West Brom, it’s just unacceptable.Quickly after conceding Liverpool created themselves a chance when Suarez took a shot from the left of the box but saw his effort saved by Stekelenburg. As if Kolo Toure wasn’t having a bad enough day too he then proceeded to bash over the ref when returning to defence after being up for the corner. He needs some time on the bench in my opinion, I think all these mishaps have gone to his head.Thankfully Liverpool still had some players with their hearts firmly set on equalling things up. The Reds did not really deserve to be behind after conceding a goal in such a manner and at 40 minutes Steven Gerrard with a sublime pass set up Daniel Sturridge. The forward was played in beautifully and ahead of the encroaching defence he was able to finish confidently to put the Reds level.It was a good time to score for Liverpool who in some senses looked as though they needed half time but it was much better to reach that point having scored a goal. I fear if we were down at half time Fulham could have capitalised a bit more in the second half.The second half was a complete contrast for Liverpool though, this time they started in a very lively fashion and were piling the pressure on Fulham. Some early magic from Luis Suarez saw him back heel the ball in the air around Riether and keep running, Reither then made a challenge though and Suarez had won Liverpool a free kick.The Uruguayan stepped up to take the free kick which he sent just wide. A goal at this stage would have aided Liverpool who needed to ensure they made the most of this early pressure.Sidwell shortly after the Suarez free kick however fancied a pop and he caused some concern with Mignolet needing to remain focused as he saved the very long ranged effort.Suarez who by his standards is probably in the midst of a goal drought at present then found himself with another chance but had to watch his shot bounce off the right hand post. As the chances were failing to be converted it was looking like it was be going to be one of those days again for Liverpool who desperately wanted to win to close the gap on those above them and further cement their intentions of grabbing at least 4th place.A highlight I had to pick out from the game was also the point at which John Arne Riise broke all the way down the left wing. Steven Gerrard followed him all the way and finally managed to get him off the ball, this just reminded me of when they played together, you could see Gerrard desperately wanted to get him off the ball, some good banter going on there I reckon.Despite Liverpool’s almost constant pressure just after the hour mark Fulham had put themselves ahead in the game for the second time. After a cross bounced off the back of Martin Skrtel it was an easy finish for Richardson who was directly in front of goal. This was so frustrating because in my opinion Fulham were extremely lucky to gain their first goal and they didn’t really deserve their second, however Liverpool’s defence were to blame, it was just too easy and now there was a mountain to climb if the Reds wanted anything from the game.Ten minutes later, Liverpool had managed to find themselves an equaliser, much to the delight of the travelling Kop at a very chilly Craven Cottage!Daniel Sturridge spotted Philippe Coutinho and played him a ball, Coutinho then found himself some space and sent his shot around the keeper and into the back of the net, there was a slight deflection but the Reds weren’t too bothered about that as they turned their focus onto finding a winner.With just 20 minutes left there was a matter of urgency and a lovely ball over the defence at 73 minutes from Sterling nearly set up Luis Suarez, unfortunately though there was a collision between Suarez and Stekelenburg and the keeper eventually had to be substituted.Shortly afterwards a break lead by Riise saw him lose possession at a dangerous point, Suarez then set up Coutinho but his shot was sent wide to the left of goal.With things becoming increasingly desperate it didn’t look like Liverpool were going to be able to find that all important winner. In this game though it only takes a second for everything to change and a very clumsy decision by Fulham’s Riether saw him take down Daniel Sturridge in the box with 90 minutes on the clock.There’s always an element of nerves when anybody steps up for a penalty, it decreases a bit when it’s Steven Gerrard but I think the combined situation and importance of the game on Wednesday made this a huge responsibility on the captain’s shoulders and I’d bitten my nails down to the hilt.Thankfully Steven Gerrard was as calm as ever and he converted his spot kick removing his shirt in celebration as the Reds knew all they had to do now was see out stoppage time.And they did. It was hardly the best way to go about things but as many have said, if you’re going to finish in the top four you simply have to win games like that, it doesn’t matter how you go about it, all that matters is those three points.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received.Next up for Liverpool is Arsenal in the FA Cup!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – "We’re Just A Foal"

Brendan Rodgers distanced his side from being stallions after Jose Mourinho’s crazy horse talk this week but the Reds must feel as though they pose a serious threat now in the race after demolishing Arsenal on Saturday at Anfield. Liverpool found the back of the net on five occasions via Martin Skrtel, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. Arsenal could only find a consolation via a penalty in the second half.Liverpool began the game in the best possible fashion when less than one minute into the game Mertesacker gave away a free kick after a challenge on Luis Suarez. Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the set piece and his ball found its way to Martin Skrtel who poked home the goal and proceeded to go absolutely mental. I too went absolutely mental, firstly because we’d netted against Arsenal within a minute but also because I’d popped a quid on Martin Skrtel anytime a few minutes before kick off haha! Bonus.Despite the fact everybody was elated it was obviously too soon to start thinking we could win this. Arsenal were top of the league and there’s no way they wouldn’t find a goal? Surely there would be an immense comeback…As the minutes ticked by though it didn’t appear as though Arsenal were prepared to create any sort of threat let alone a comeback. Liverpool looked dangerous every single time they pushed forward and just before the 10 minute mark Liverpool had scored again!Steven Gerrard once again set up the goal this time from a corner and Martin Skrtel converted with an absolutely cracking header. I knew Liverpool were capable of giving Arsenal a game but this was quickly beginning to look embarrassing for the visiting side and I still couldn’t comprehend that they weren’t even causing problems. Even with the two goal cushion, at this stage there was still worry for an Arsenal onslaught.A few minutes later though and Liverpool were at it again firstly after Sturridge sent his effort wide after being assisted by Suarez then the Uruguayan sent everybody’s hearts racing after receiving the ball from another Gerrard corner, having a pop from 20 yards and watching his stinging effort smash back out off the left hand upright.I just couldn’t believe my eyes. This was an exquisite performance from Liverpool but we were only a quarter of a way into the game and as a Liverpool fan, we all know what they can be like. The Reds needed to continue this brilliant play, treat it as a 0-0 and continue to smash Arsenal.And that’s just what they did.At 16 minutes star man Ozil was dispossessed by Jordan Henderson who then played the ball to Suarez. A lovely cross from him set up Raheem Sterling for an easy tap in past Szczesny. The Reds were 3-0 with 75 minutes left of the game!I was in my element watching this as I’m sure many of you were, it was hilarious how brilliant we were playing and how terrible Arsenal were and I quickly found myself back in that magical yet dangerous zone of “We could win the pissin’ league!” then reality set in and I began to calm down, that was until we’d scored yet again!Just before the 20 minute mark a dream pass from Philippe Coutinho found its way to an encroaching Daniel Sturridge. The forward was frustrated with his effort that went wide earlier in the game but this time his finish was perfect, Liverpool were 4-0 up and that famous dance came out. And yes, I too was doing the dance as always haha.As the first half ended there was almost an element of boredom setting in, is this what it feels like when teams win everything all the time? I was getting bored of us scoring and Arsenal showing no fight, quite frankly I don’t feel they should escape any criticism because they really were diabolical. How can they expect to win the title playing like that? Happy to allow us all the time on the ball, applying no pressure and messing things up completely in defence?The second half began and there were no signs that Arsene Wenger’s team talk had worked. It was very much the same situation just with the Reds this time attacking their favoured Kop End.Just five minutes in and yes, you guessed it, Liverpool had scored again! Sterling who was having a wonderful game saw his initial effort saved by Szczesny but the ball splayed back out to the youngster who then converted his chance.Just before the hour mark Arsene Wenger decided to make a triple substitution however I’m not certain the Reds were too concerned about the likes of Podolski, Rosicky and Gibbs entering play.In fairness though just after his introduction, Podolski did assist Jack Wilshere who had one of Arsenal’s six shots on target.Shortly after Wilshere’s chance Koscielny fouled Suarez and the Uruguayan stepped up to take the free kick for the Reds. His effort was crafted perfectly with the ball heading straight for the exact top right corner of goal but Szczesny had spotted what Suarez was trying to do and made a great save to deny him.At 70 minutes Arsenal finally got a chance for a small consolation when Steven Gerrard brought down Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box. Mikel Arteta took the spot kick sending it straight down the middle to beat a not so distracting Mignolet.Shortly after their goal a barge from Steven Gerrard left Wilshere on the floor, the Arsenal man was making a right meal of things considering he’d done exactly the same thing to Gerrard early on in the game. Wilshere really gets on my nerves, he seems to think he’s god’s gift to football and for me a stern charge from Steven Gerrard is exactly what he needed.A Flanagan challenge on Wilshere afterwards gifted Arsenal with a free kick late on with Arteta stepping up to take it. His effort curled around the wall but a great save from Mignolet meant Liverpool would not concede another.Chances from Sterling and Cissokho as the game died downed further instilled Liverpool’s dominance in this game even when Arsenal had a slightly improved spell and at 90 minutes hundreds of cameras proceeded to take that snap of the scoreboard as Reds fans basked in the delight of beating Arsenal 5-1.Simply brilliant!I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received.Next up for Liverpool is Fulham and the Reds must win that game if they are genuinely serious in their challenge.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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TAO – Liverpool 4-0 Everton: What We Learned

Liverpool comfortably beat local rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby on Tuesday night in what was a crucial game in deciding which club clinches a coveted Champions League spot at the end of the season.It was skipper Steven Gerrard who opened the scoring for the reds, with Daniel Sturridge firing home a brace before the half-time whistle.Luis Suarez finished off Liverpool’s rout in style, taking advantage of a mistake by Phil Jagielka to set him free on goal at the start of the second-half.But what did we learn from Liverpool’s impressive display?Controlling possession doesn’t mean you’ll take home the pointsBrendan Rodgers made a somewhat unexpected tactical move on Tuesday night, allowing his team to concede some possession in order to play on the counter.It was a tactic which worked brilliantly, with three of Liverpool’s four goals coming on the break. Liverpool looked dangerous and dominant, even with only 39% of the possession.It’s a game of two halvesDaniel Sturridge put in a sublime performance for the Reds in the opening 45 minutes, firing home twice within the space of three minutes just after the half hour mark.Yet the former Chelsea man may want to forget the second-half, with the forward first missing a penalty won by Raheem Sterling before missing an ideal chance to either fire home for his hat-trick or play-in Suarez.Glen Johnson may struggle to get back in the teamOpinions have been divided among Liverpool fans on Johnson since his arrival at the club, with the full-back often impressing going forward but looking dubious at the back.And now he may face stiff competition for his place from Jon Flanagan, who put in a superb display against the Blues, comfortably keeping a handle on both Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar.

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LIVER BIRD – Derby Delight

Liverpool walked away from their Anfield fortress on Tuesday night feeling elated after emphatically beating their Merseyside rivals Everton. The game could not have gone much better for Liverpool who confidently put four past the Toffees without much concern of conceding. An opener from captain Steven Gerrard was followed by two from Sturridge and then a final goal from Luis Suarez completed the rout.The main change to the Liverpool side saw Jon Flanagan start in defence whilst Roberto Martinez decided to risk Ross Barkley for Everton despite him recently suffering a broken toe.The game started well for Everton who immediately caused problems with Ross Barkley fizzing an effort just over the bar only a minute into the game. Shortly after Liverpool returned the favour with an attack on the Everton goal but Jordan Henderson’s effort was saved by Tim Howard.Another chance five minutes later saw Henderson this time messing up completely, sending his effort high over the bar. Everton began the game in a steady fashion but within 10 or 15 minutes the Reds began to show the true nature of their game.Liverpool were more than happy to allow Everton to maintain possession and whilst Martinez’s side enjoyed the time they had on the ball, the Reds would punish immensely on the counter attack.At 20 minutes Liverpool were presented with their first chance. A Luis Suarez corner flew nicely into the box and it was met by the head of Steven Gerrard. His header powered home and within seconds he was going absolutely mental towards Suarez with the rest of Anfield going crazy.During the corner Everton were dealt another blow when Romelu Lukaku picked up an injury. The forward eventually had to be replaced with Steven Naismith.Everton were also beginning to get frustrated with some of the calls from referee Martin Atkinson and in fairness they did have a point on occasions. The building frustration though only benefited Liverpool who slowly but surely began to go about their business.Just after the half hour mark Liverpool had found the back of the net again. This time it was Daniel Sturridge who was assisted by Philippe Coutinho, the number 15 then finished to the right of goal.Two minutes later and Liverpool were at it again. Everton’s defence had been having a mare to say the least but this goal truly showed their evident weakness. A pass from Kolo Toure who was deep in defence found its way to a poaching Daniel Sturridge. Having a sneaky look at the goal then placing his eye contact back on the ball, he took the chance first time and looped the ball easily over Tim Howard and all the way into the back of the net.It was a fantastic goal and Anfield was a cauldron of noise. To be 3-0 up against your bitter rivals within 35 minutes is nothing short of superb and the Reds weren’t showing any signs of easing up yet.The second half saw Everton bring on Leon Osman who replaced Steven Pienaar. The substitute barely had chance to have an effect on the game though as Liverpool were back to their goalscoring ways just four minutes into the second half.Luis Suarez went on a run with two Everton players desperately chasing the Red shirt. The Uruguayan though would have been eager to gain a goal in this fixture and his eventual shot slotted nicely into the bottom right of goal.Still leaving Everton with no time to breathe Liverpool were awarded a penalty kick in the 53rd minute with Daniel Sturridge stepping up to complete a hat-trick. His penalty though was rather embarrassing and Everton avoided extra damage. In fairness I don’t think it was a penalty in the first place and so perhaps justice was done.Everton had not troubled Simon Mignolet too often throughout the game but during the next period the Reds did have to deal with some pressure from the likes of Kevin Mirallas. Liverpool also were forced to watch an on pitch argument between Sturridge and Suarez after Sturridge took on a shot instead of setting Suarez up late on in the game. It was nice to see though that despite being 4-0 up, both strikers were still furiously determined to score.And that was that. Liverpool had recorded their biggest derby win since 1982. A stunning performance left Everton looking extremely below par whilst the Reds were back to their winning ways making it look very easy against a strong side.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received. Thank you to everybody that replied.Next up for Liverpool is West Brom away.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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The Liverbird

LIVER BIRD – Reds Net 5 To Take Back 4th

It was an eight goal thriller at the Britannia on Sunday as both sets of fans were treated to an end to end game in a thoroughly exciting football match. There were points of frustration for Liverpool who perhaps could have avoided some of their mistakes but the general consensus is that in years gone by, the Reds would never have fought on to win that game.Some early Liverpool pressure meant the game swung their way in less than five minutes after a somewhat fortunate goal. Sterling’s pass which he appeared to mess up eventually reached Aly Cissokho on the left of the box, his strike had power but it wasn’t on target. Ryan Shawcross however managed to get in the way of the effort and turned the ball into his own net.The following portion of the game consisted of chances for both sides with Liverpool perhaps getting the more feasible attempts. However neither side had scored and we’d have to wait until 30 minutes for a change in the scoreline.A lurking Luis Suarez was praying on the Stoke defence the whole game but this time he’d anticipated a mishap and was right to do so as a dodgy clearance from Shawcross and failed attempt to pressure Suarez from Butland left the Uruguayan with his chance which he converted easily from an angle.Now two goals behind, Stoke were beginning to feel frustrated, they had been playing well of course and the fans were making it very clear that they wanted their side to continue to apply the pressure on Liverpool. Just seven minutes after Suarez’s goal, Stoke got their wish.A free kick from Arnoutovic found its way to Peter Crouch who had managed to easily break free from Kolo Toure’s watchful eye. The ex Liverpool man then headed the ball home past Simon Mignolet and Liverpool were left wondering how they’d allowed that to happen.The Britannia of course has always been a difficult place for us to visit and so it was perhaps only a matter of time before Stoke found a goal, that didn’t mean Liverpool were suddenly going to be faced with a scrap for the three points though did it?A Charlie Adam goal just four minutes later answered that question. A rare poor pass from Jordan Henderson allowed Stoke to intercept. Charlie Adam then recovered from a slip to place a brilliant strike from distance into the Liverpool goal. It was a cracking effort to be fair.The second half couldn’t have come sooner for the Reds as they were beginning to make silly mistakes and it wouldn’t have taken much longer for Stoke to find another goal at that stage. A break was just what Liverpool required and they would again receive a bit of luck early in the second half.Raheem Sterling got away with a hand ball and in the process managed to make a run being followed by Wilson into the box. At which point Wilson made a challenge on Sterling and a penalty was awarded. Stoke were definitely hard done by with the hand ball decision and Sterling perhaps shouldn’t have even made it to the point of the penalty but soft or not, in my opinion it was a spot kick.Steven Gerrard stepped up to take it and as always the captain finished cooly and calmly to put Liverpool back into the lead.Shortly after the third Liverpool goal, the Reds put themselves in a bit of trouble when Aly Cissokho fouled Charlie Adam right on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick was dealt with well by the defence but it was clear that things were once again beginning to feel a bit edgy for Brendan Rodgers’ side.At 65 minutes Daniel Sturridge finally made his return to the starting XI replacing Philippe Coutinho. It took just five minutes for him to stamp his mark on the game.Immediately reigniting his partnership with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge with a confident run made a break and then slipped the ball to Suarez on his left, giving the Uruguayan just enough space to curl his effort around Butland from an angle and sweetly into the back of the Stoke net.The SAS as they are constantly referred to then began to celebrate together in what was a simply brilliant scene for Liverpool fans who were reminded of what a prolific strike force they have. Sturridge would further instill this feeling later in the game too.After Liverpool had put the game to 4-2, they still didn’t feel safe and Stoke came back once again to set the nerves off. An effort from Walters forced Mignolet into a great save but shortly afterwards our keeper was left red faced when he allowed another Walters shot to go underneath his body. I’m not one for kicking a man when he’s down but I don’t feel as confident as I should in Mignolet at the moment, he’s a cracking keeper, we all know this but sometimes you just think “catch the bloody ball!” he’s not the only one that has been making mistakes though; see Liverpool defence.Liverpool had come so far in this game and with 4th place riding on the outcome they couldn’t afford to falter this late on. Thankfully, Daniel Sturridge decided he would quite like a goal in his first game back. After his initial effort was saved Sturridge then slipped, chested the ball, headed the ball and finally turned in his effort. He was assisted of course by that man Luis Suarez.Despite Liverpool now being 5-3 up with just ten minutes to go, Stoke still weren’t ready to give up. A header from Crouch hit the post and then Steven Gerrard nearly made things worse for Liverpool after nearly heading the ball into his own net, Mignolet saved well though.Finally the final whistle was blown and Liverpool could walk away with all three points with a mixture of pride and frustration in their performance. As many have said it was brilliant in attack but somewhat lacking in defence for the Reds yesterday. The positive is though that for the time being all that matters is the points.I asked you on Twitter for your thoughts on the game and here are a few on the responses:Next up for the Reds is Aston Villa.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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