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LIVER BIRD – Blackburn Force FA Cup Replay

Image: skysports.comLiverpool have created themselves an extra fixture as they head towards the final portion of the season after picking up a 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the FA Cup quarter final. It was a game that really on paper the Reds should have had wrapped up but a lack of chances and poor conversion left Liverpool winless.The first big moment of note in the game involved Martin Skrtel. After he fell awkwardly from a Gestede challenge he actually lost conciousness momentarily on the pitch. Medics were very concerned and couldn’t take any risks and so the defender left the field on a stretcher giving a thumbs up as he went. Thankfully Skrtel was fine and after the match he indicated how he wanted to play on but he wasn’t allowed to, gotta love the man haha.The injury shook up Liverpool’s already slightly different defence. Brendan Rodgers had pushed Can up into midfield from the back three. Now at the start of the season I would have preferred Can here but after forging such a good partnership with his teammates at the back I felt he would of been better off there. The real issue for me here was that Can had taken the Lucas/Allen role, these players may get some stick but they add much needed balance which in turn allows Henderson the freedom to support the striker. We missed this support on Sunday I felt.In the first half a couple of penalty shouts grabbed the headlines, firstly a Lallana incident which to be honest I feel we would have been lucky to get. This was then shortly followed by an incident involving Sterling. Whilst defending, the ball hit off Raheem’s arm as he was running, I personally don’t feel there was any real intention here to handle the ball however Blackburn fans may feel different.Blackburn were relying on Gestede in the first half as Liverpool struggled to deal with the pressure. I genuinely thought Blackburn were going to find the back of the net in the first half but somehow it just didn’t happen. The Reds did get the ball in the back of the net of course but Kolo’s effort was correctly ruled offside.In the second half the Reds began to obtain more possession and it was Blackburn who then had to deal with bouts of pressure. As is often the case with Liverpool though, we create chances but lack that clinical final touch and so the away side remained very much in the game.Mario Balotelli entered play just before the hour mark, much to my excitement. I was quite shocked Brendan had brought him on but I do feel he definitely boosted our game. For those saying he doesn’t “move” or “try” I can’t see how you’d back that up watching those 30 minutes. He may not have scored but he did a lot more than most on the pitch Sunday evening.The second half continued but with no goals for either side. The best chance for Blackburn came after a sudden header from Baptiste was saved brilliantly by Simon Mignolet. For Liverpool a powerful strike from Daniel Sturridge was perhaps their best hope but again, the effort was saved.Penalty incidents again arose in the second half, particularly when Sturridge was pulled back in the box. For me, there wasn’t enough in it here, I was more concerned with the multiple incidents of Balo getting ragged in the box from corners and set pieces.And so, that was that. The Reds had failed to find a way past Blackburn and must now hope a trip to Ewood Park will prove more fruitful. The game will come in the week we face Manchester United but if Liverpool want to end this season in some form of glory then it should be possible for an in form team like ourselves to nab fourth and get to an FA Cup final in my opinion but I suppose we will have to see.______________________________________________________________________________Just a reminder folks I will unfortunately be missing quite a few match previews and reports over the coming weeks as I am jetting off to Mexico! I may be able to provide a Swansea preview it depends how busy I am in the run up with packing etc so I may schedule that. There will definitely be no United preview or report which I’m gutted about and there’ll also be two posts missing now we have that Blackburn replay.I’m sure you won’t miss me that much but laugh all you want I can promise you it’s going to feel very strange for me missing several posts, I may not be many things but I am definitely dedicated haha.I shall return soon one way or another with more footballing nonsense so stay tuned! Kirsty :) Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Two Magical Strikes Seal Man City Win

View image | gettyimages.comLiverpool picked up a victory at home over Manchester City on Sunday afternoon as the Reds put a massive dent in Pellegrini’s title hopes. Two simply sublime strikes from Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho took the game away from City who only found the back of the net thanks to a Dzeko goal.The line up was familiar as Brendan Rodgers stuck with his favoured system of three at the back and no natural striker. I don’t like this set up as we all know and hilariously I spent half time tweeting about how “a few moments of magic may not be enough to beat City” however, thankfully I was wrong and magic was just what we needed.It didn’t take the Reds long at all to turn their fast paced start into a lead. After just ten minutes an assist from Raheem Sterling allowed Jordan Henderson to create a bit of space outside the box. He’ll often have a pop from range but this time he’d struck his effort with perfection. His powerful shot flew into the back of the net leaving Joe Hart dumbstruck.As much as I hate playing without a striker I have never denied that we always create problems and strings of attacks. Usually though we struggle to convert but we were oozing with confidence on Sunday afternoon.Playing against City you simply must attack and with some brilliant performances, especially from the likes of Coutinho and Allen, Manchester City were struggling to find their title winning form.Two minutes after our opening goal and Sergio Aguero had smashed an effort off the post, I would of put my house on him scoring then but it was City today who were failing to convert their chances. Unfortunately for Liverpool, ten minutes later they found their accuracy.A brilliantly worked goal, perhaps not helped by a momentary lapse from the Liverpool defence allowed Sergio Aguero to play a ball through to Dzeko who of course slotted the ball home. In fairness to Dzeko he always seems to be considered as the last option for City but he’s a reliable goalscorer.With the game level I did begin to worry. It appeared to me as though City were finding a foothold, whilst Liverpool continued to create attacks our skillful stars would get into a fantastic position only to look up and find nobody in the box to support them. We were crying out for a striker at this stage I thought but I couldn’t have been more wrong.As the teams came out for the second half it was clear Rodgers wasn’t prepared to bring a striker on just yet and so with another fast paced start the Reds began to build and build the pressure.At 74 minutes Philippe Coutinho pulled the rabbit out of the hat. A stunning strike from outside the area seemed to stop time as it swooped perfectly into the back of the net.Shortly after the goal Daniel Sturridge entered the fray but who needs a striker on ay?? Haha!Liverpool weathered the minimal storm for the remaining 15 minutes but ultimately Brendan Rodgers had steered his side to a massive win at Anfield.The Reds are now surely on course for the top four and with Burnley up next in the week it is hoped that our fantastic run of form will continue.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweet I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Solid team performance Coutinho just keeps stepping up match after match. Wonder if Allen has let Toure out of his pocket yet?— Daniel Forsberg (@forsberg837) March 2, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Team spirit is high, we controlled against supposed superior team, limited them to only a handful of chances, excellent win— B-ry (@Bry_LFC7) March 2, 2015 Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Lovren Misses Peno As Reds Are Knocked Out

View image | gettyimages.comIt was a long old game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as they traipsed through 120 minutes of football only to crash out of the Europa League with the final kick of the game as Dejan Lovren failed to convert the Reds’ all important fifth penalty.It was a frustrating game to say the least and so this match report may not follow a usually strategic structure.The first thing to note about the game, apart from the deafening noise from the Besiktas fans was the extremely attacking line up deployed by Brendan Rodgers. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, as a big fan of Balotelli and somebody who would like to see him be given a real chance in a front two, I was very pleased to see him paired with Sturridge. Not only this but Jordan Ibe and Raheem Sterling were also starting.The issue though was that there were key names missing from midfield that I would prefer to see in a line up with those previously mentioned attacking players. As the match went on it became more and more apparent that we were missing some balance and would have benefitted from Jordan Henderson and/or Lucas Leiva in that line up in my opnion.However, Liverpool had injuries and this also had an effect on the defensive set up with Dejan Lovren gaining a start whilst Kolo Toure took the place of Emre Can who moved into midfield.The game was very dire to watch. I hate using the term “scrappy” to describe football matches but that’s exactly what it was. Tackles were flying in all over the place and Liverpool were struggling to maintain possession in midfield.Mario Balotelli had perhaps the best performance of the first half. Yes he got booked for a bit of a silly challenge but he showed discipline and did not draw any real attention from the referee again. For those who continue to protest that he doesn’t “try” or “move” as an excuse to justify their dislike of him, they must have been searching for another reason last night because most would agree that Balotelli was the only one creating anything.A few of his balls through to the likes of Sterling and Sturridge could have almost caused havoc if only the latter two had passed the ball or struck first time.Of course though, this is Mario Balotelli, we can’t possibly allow him to play 90 minutes of football or let him start to gain pride in his performance, oh no. Brendan Rodgers was inevitably going to sub perhaps our best player off but the fact that he didn’t even acknowledge Balotelli when he left the field? It’s just embarrassing.So, on went the second half with little to nothing to write home about for Liverpool, instead Besiktas grew and grew in confidence and at 71 minutes the Turkish side had found the back of the net. It was a stunning strike from substitute Tolgay Arslan and the home side deserved to be in the lead.It looked like a massive hill to climb for Liverpool from here and out and it sure was. Extra time despite some fresh legs on the pitch meant little to the Reds who had ran out of ideas very early on.And so we went to penalties. I can’t be bothered to analyse the first eight because thankfully they were all very good spot kicks. Tolgay Arslan scored Besiktas’ fifth and the ninth of the evening but then the real craziness started.It’s the deciding penalty so who steps up? Dejan Lovren.Now I’m not Lovren’s biggest fan by any means, I didn’t even really want to sign him, I just think he’s an average defender, however he has taken the decision to step up for the peno. The real problem here is why has he gone up for the fifth spot kick. Whatever the outcome is, it’s pathetic either way in my opinion.Either, Brendan Rodgers has chosen him as fifth penalty taker which is just ridiculous OR Raheem Sterling has bottled it or another player “didn’t fancy it” and so he’s took the decision as a team player to go for it.Dejan of course skied his penalty and to be honest he should have done better but he musn’t feel too down because if we didn’t play such a load of shite for 120 minutes we wouldn’t have been in that position.The sooner we forget about that game the better in my opinion and thankfully we have Manchester City on Sunday, the excitement for that should help us forget about a disappointing night at the Ataturk.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Super Mario 3

Mario Balotelli scored the winning goal on Tuesday evening as the Italian secured all three points for the Reds in the 84th minute. In an end to end game Brendan Rodgers’ side took the lead twice only to watch Spurs level the scoreline before eventually sealing the win.The game started with electrifying pace as both sides created dangerous attacks. With possession being foolishly lost in midfield it became easy for both sides to break and it wasn’t long before Liverpool took advantage and scored their first goal of the game.After Simon Mignolet made a save at the other end of the pitch his resulting kick found its way to Daniel Sturridge, with Markovic to his left he laid the ball to him and continued his run. As Lazar squared up to take his shot I found myself wondering why he wasn’t passing it however his somewhat tame shot found its way past Hugo Lloris who perhaps should have done better.As mentioned in my preview I wasn’t feeling very positive at all about this game but after starting in such a lively fashion it definitely felt as though Liverpool had goals in them. Unfortunately though, Spurs did too and it was a banker that Harry Kane would eventually score.At 25 minutes he got his chance, perhaps aided by a momentary concentration lapse by the Liverpool defence, Kane created enough space to get a shot off and scored high into the middle of goal.By half time the scoreline remained the same however chances were being created left, right and centre with both goalkeepers being called into action. Simon Mignolet had another absolutely cracking game in goal (brushing aside the dodgy decision to come out early on against Kane).Daniel Sturridge who is still finding fitness was also unlucky on occasion, a cheeky back heeled effort late in the first half was particularly close, it would have been a fantastic goal had it gone in!The second half started as a carbon copy to the first with both sides once again playing in a pacey fashion. This time it took Liverpool just seven minutes to find the back of the net.A penalty awarded for a foul on Daniel Sturridge was converted by captain Steven Gerrard who was clearly elated to have scored what could have been a winner for the Reds.As the game continued though Spurs themselves had another opportunity when they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. For me, it wasn’t even a foul so I was already annoyed when the free kick was awarded but things got worse.The free kick was whipped in with Harry Kane clearly standing offside, he was free however apparently to set up goalscorer Dembele without being spotted by the linesman. That goal just shouldn’t of been allowed but it was and the Reds had just under 30 minutes to once again regain the lead.As the minutes ticked by I began to hope that Brendan would actually consider chucking Balotelli into the mix. As we all know by now I am quite possibly his biggest fan, I have supported him relentlessly and just desperately want to see him do well. So when I saw he had been “awarded” a seat on the bench in light of the injury to Raheem Sterling, I had hope he’d get a chance to feature if the scoreline was right.And the scoreline was right, like him or loathe him Balotelli has been known as a big game player and here was his stage. At 73 minutes he was introduced. At 45 minutes I’d already tweeted this beauty… hahaBalo to net the winner, I’m telling ya…

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LIVER BIRD – Late Coutinho Stunner Sends Reds Through

A late burst of magic dust from our trickster Philippe Coutinho was enough to see Liverpool progress to the 5th round of the FA Cup on Wednesday night. The Reds eventually managed to beat Bolton after the home side netted a penalty in the 58th minute. A dismissal followed soon after for Bolton and Sterling found an equaliser pushing the Reds on to find their last gasp winner.The first half was pretty poor for Liverpool with the same predictable outcome being put on display. Get the ball to Coutinho or Sterling and hope they can weave through and bag a goal. Problem was though that Bolton were not prepared to let us through and were more than content in creating attacks of their own.By the end of the first half though, there was no real excitement and both goalkeepers had remained relatively quiet. The only moment of note really was a yellow card picked up by Danns that would prove to be vital in the second half for Liverpool.At 53 minutes Liverpool replaced Adam Lallana with Jordan Henderson. Whilst the Reds continued their predictable attack Bolton began to gain more of a foothold through their skillful youngster Zach Clough. Bolton found their chance to take the lead at 58 minutes.The penalty awarded to the Trotters was perhaps a bit of a soft one but Martin Skrtel did mistime his challenge as Clough was far too quick. With Eidur Gudjohnsen stepping up for the penalty there was no way the veteran was going to miss and he converted with ease.The home side now had a renewed sense of optimism, at 0-0 they were still very much in the game and looked more like winners than we did but at 1-0 up they could easily hold on to this victory. Just after the hour mark though after a very poor and silly challenge Danns got himself sent off after a second yellow, much to the dismay of manager Neil Lennon.With a ten man Bolton side now the opposition you would have thought Liverpool would quickly gain the upper hand but the minutes passed and Liverpool failed to make their attacking nous count. The introduction of Daniel Sturridge gave us some hope but still we just couldn’t find the back of the net.Then at 85 minutes just as it looked as though Liverpool were about to crash out, a lovely assist from Emre Can was bettered by a brilliant finish from Raheem Sterling. His effort flew through the legs of the keeper Lonergan and kept the Reds in the competition.With five minutes left of the game it felt like we were destined to go to extra time but Liverpool kept the pressure on and eventually, in the first minute of time added on Philippe Coutinho popped up with an absolute beauty.Assisted by Jordan Henderson the Brazilian saw an opportunity and with a sublime strike that flew high and then dipped low into goal he sealed Liverpool the win.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Everything about Emre Can is improving every week, even his already glorious haircut.— Alex (@AlexGibbo) February 5, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Every cup competition in three words: “Survive and Advance.” We did both last night. Hopefully our good run of form continues.— GV (@njny) February 5, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Typical FA Cup game. Penalty was a bit soft. Magician Coutinho master class. 1 touch passing superb.— Cliff Morton (@CliffMorton) February 4, 2015It was a good win for Liverpool but it was another pretty average performance really. Our results of late have masked a lot of our issues and whilst I am undoubtedly pleased that we have reached the next round of the FA Cup I do worry about our form in the long run if we are unable to convert our chances more often.Next up for Liverpool is Everton!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – MATCH PREVIEW: Bolton V Liverpool

Liverpool make the short trip to Bolton on Wednesday evening as they aim to make it through to the 5th round of the FA Cup. The first meeting between the two sides ended in a 0-0 draw forcing a replay at the Macron. Neil Lennon’s side will fancy their chances at home to Liverpool but Brendan Rodgers will surely be determined to push his side closer to some silverware after being knocked out of the League Cup by Chelsea.Injuries for Liverpool remain the same with just Brad Jones and Jon Flanagan unavailable. Steven Gerrard is set to return after being rested against West Ham and if he features it will be his 700th appearance in the Red shirt.For Bolton they are unable to call upon Adam Bogdan and Darren Pratley. Doubts are also hanging over the fitness of Craig Davies and ex Red Emile Heskey.Prior to the last meeting between the two clubs there have been 133 fixtures with Liverpool notching up 57 wins. The Reds’ last trip to Bolton ended in a 3-1 loss with just Craig Bellamy on the score sheet. Liverpool have a mixed record on the whole against Bolton and at one stage they could have been considered our bogey team when they were in the Premier League.Liverpool currently find themselves 7th in the league having recorded a victory over West Ham at the weekend. The Reds have not lost once in their last seven games.Bolton are sitting 14th in the Championship at present, a last gasp equaliser from Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend prevented Neil Lennon’s side from collecting another three points. Despite this Bolton have only lost two out of their last 10 league games.I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Good afternoon Kirsty – we’ll go 0-2 to #Liverpool tomorrow… Nearly as exhilarating as #Coutinho signing his new deal :-)— Source (@Source_App) February 3, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC team performances are improving. Think it’ll be strong lineup also. Solid 3-0 win.— ⚽ Phil Hughes ⚽ (@iComeNotToPlay) February 3, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 3-0 moreno,coutinho and OG!!— Choong-Hyun Lee (@LeeBlinder91) February 3, 2015Whilst I do feel the game will be difficult for Liverpool I’m feeling pretty confident for tomorrow’s tie. After the disappointment of missing out on the League Cup final I think the team has been given a taste of what they can achieve. Liverpool are improving all the time and whilst we still need to convert our chances more often you have to feel with Daniel Sturridge probably starting from the bench, this issue will not be a problem tomorrow evening.Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V West Ham

Liverpool must prepare themselves to face West Ham on Saturday as they pick up the pieces after their unfortunate loss to Chelsea in the League Cup semi final on Tuesday evening. The huge positive for Liverpool of course is the return of Daniel Sturridge who will surely be anxious but raring to go.Injuries for the Reds mean they are unable to call upon long term absentee Jon Flanagan whilst Mamadou Sakho is a doubt after picking up a back issue in the Chelsea fixture. For West Ham up until recently they had a long injury list however with just a few minor doubts manager Sam Allardyce should have a relatively full squad to choose from on Saturday.The last time the two sides met was in September last year. The game was one to forget for Liverpool as they conceded three goals with just Raheem Sterling on the score sheet.The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was in December 2013. This was a better game for the Reds, despite an own goal from Martin Skrtel, Brendan’s side went on to win 4-1 with the help of a brace from Luis Suarez. Liverpool have not lost at home to West Ham since 1963.West Ham are currently a place above the Reds in the table. The Hammers have lost two out of their last six league games. Liverpool are a point behind Sam Allardyce’s team and have won four out of their last six league games, drawing the other two.Stat SandwichThe Reds are unbeaten in their last six league matches.West Ham have amassed 36 points so far this season, their highest in the league after 22 games.If Steven Gerrard features tomorrow it will be his 700th game for Liverpool.I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 3-1 Sterling 2, Balotelli 1— Dagfinn Moen (@dagfinnmoen) January 30, 2015 @_TheLiverBird #lfc 4-0 with a Sturridge hat trick to cue massive euphoria for the rest od the season + podcasts about what might have been— L. Graham Smith (@lgsshedden) January 29, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 2 0 liverpool— martin jones (@MartinJones50) January 30, 2015  Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea V Liverpool

The Reds make the trip down south tomorrow as they prepare to face Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side and aim to make it to the League Cup final. The match at Anfield ended very fortunately for Chelsea who did little but convert a penalty early in the game. An inspired performance from Liverpool eventually saw them score via Raheem Sterling but they will need to be on top form tomorrow to have any hope of going through.Liverpool are in a similar position injury wise as they were at the weekend. A positive for the Reds though is that Daniel Sturridge could make the bench giving Brendan Rodgers a valuable option. Steven Gerrard should also be recalled to the line up. Mario Balotelli? Who knows, it’s guess work.For Chelsea, they are predicted to recall players such as John Terry and Diego Costa who did not feature in the Blues’ embarrassing loss in the FA Cup at the hands of Bradford. Manager Jose Mourinho may also have an eye on his side’s clash with Manchester City at the weekend and his team selection may reflect this.There’s no point talking about the last time the two sides met because hopefully it’s still fresh in your memory, instead lets take a look at Liverpool’s record at Stamford Bridge.The last match between the sides at the Bridge was in December 2013. A very early goal from Martin Skrtel in that game wasn’t enough for Liverpool who ended up losing 2-1.In November 2012 it was John Terry and Luis Suarez on the score sheet in a 1-1 draw. Most of the matches in London have always been a pretty close tie and the last time either team scored more than two goals at the Bridge was in the 2009 Champions League tie that ended 4-4. Remember that ingenious Fabio Aurelio free kick?!Stat SandwichLiverpool have won five games on the trot away from home in all competitions.Chelsea have reached the final just six times in their previous 11 semi-final appearances.In Liverpool’s previous 14 appearances in the final four, the Reds have made the final on 11 occasions.I’m so geared up for this match I can’t even explain. I’d love nothing more than to wipe that smug smirk off Jose Mourinho’s face. However, you’d be pretty naive to feel confident, Chelsea are a very strong team this season and despite their performance at Anfield it will be a very different show on Tuesday night.The buses will have reversed off the pitch and in the place of defensive football will be attacking flair. Despite this, Liverpool have every chance to go through, of course it will be tough but with skillful players like Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling alongside a determined Steven Gerrard? Who knows what could happen.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 1-1…we’ll nick it on pens #LFC— Fadil M. (@redfadil26) January 26, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC @LFC 2-1— govind LFC (@yorkerball) January 26, 2015 @_TheLiverBird 2-1 Chelsea as much as I hate them they are top class right now— Duffman (@Lvl40_nerd) January 26, 2015I will definitely be placing some bets tomorrow but not sure what I’m having yet so keep an eye on my Twitter feed.Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bolton Wanderers

Liverpool welcome Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Saturday evening for an FA Cup clash and in the process will welcome back ex Red Emile Heskey. He’s sure to get a warm welcome as he steps out in front of the Kop but the Anfield faithful will be hoping his name does not end up on the score sheet.A much improved performance for the Reds against Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday evening has put Liverpool very much on a high. The downside for Brendan Rodgers of course is that he will have to manage his team selection with one eye on the must win second leg against Chelsea.Injury news for the Reds has been somewhat improved this week with Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli and Glen Johnson all back in training. For Bolton they have a growing injury list and are unable to call upon Lee Chung-yong, Marc Tierney, Craig Davies, Mark Davies and Max Clayton.Bolton’s last league game saw them notch up a win over Sheffield Wednesday. They currently find themselves 15th in the table however they have only lost one game in their last 10. Liverpool of course recently picked up a draw against Chelsea at Anfield and are sitting 8th in the Premier League having also lost just one of their last 10 games.The last time the two sides met was in January 2012. A single goal from Craig Bellamy for Liverpool was no match for Bolton who put three into the Liverpool net via Steinsson, Davies and Reo-Coker. The last meeting between the sides at Anfield was a reverse scoreline with Henderson, Skrtel and Charlie Adam on the score sheet that day. Ivan Klasnic scored a 90th minute consolation goal for Bolton.I asked you for your score predictions and whether you were excited to see old Ivanhoe back at Anfield and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Massively looking forward to seeing big Emile back. Liverpool 3 – Bolton W 1— The Anfield Shrine (@anfieldshrine) January 23, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 2-0 LFC— Barrel Rider (@Bry_LFC7) January 23, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 3-1 Sterling 2,Coutinho.— kop in full voice (@LFCmayhem) January 23, 2015You may have guessed it, but I’d love to see Balotelli start tomorrow or at least feature. There’s no real excuse this time either because Brendan needs to manage his side for the Chelsea game so just bloody play him!!!It will be a great game also for youngsters such as Rossiter to be given another chance and I would like to think whatever the team we will have enough to make it past Bolton. I might pop a few bets on but I’m working a match beforehand so keep your eyes on Twitter if you want to follow my useless tips haha!Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Markovic Scores In Sunderland Win

Liverpool successfully ground out a 1-0 win over ten man Sunderland on Saturday after a Lazar Markovic goal in the first half sealed the deal for the Reds. It wasn’t a perfect performance from Brendan’s side by any stretch of the imagination but there were certainly positives to take from the game including the clean sheet and influential performance from Markovic.The Reds began the game in a very bright fashion with an early through ball from Philippe Coutinho reaching Markovic, the Serbian was then taken down by Wes Brown but the referee deemed the incident not to be worthy of a penalty.Luckily for Liverpool their next brush in with a refereeing decision worked very much in their favour. With just eight minutes gone in the game another quick break from Markovic down the right wing allowed him to pass the ball to Steven Gerrard. The captain then opted to pass to Borini who was quite clearly fouled as he attempted to get the ball back to Markovic, thankfully though the referee made a great decision opting to play advantage. Markovic then continued his run and slotted the ball through the keeper’s legs to put Liverpool 1-0 up.It was a well deserved goal for Markovic who despite not always being effective enters every game with exactly the right attitude. He’s willing to give his all and really push forward in attack, Sunderland were clearly flustered and not even a quarter of the game had been played.Another great chance for Liverpool arose shortly after the goal when Alberto Moreno won the Reds a free kick on the left hand side of the box. Steven Gerrard stepped up and with a brilliant effort forced Pantilimon into a save.As Liverpool continued to press in the first half whilst Sunderland struggled, it was Lazar Markovic again wowing the crowds. As the ball splayed out to Lazar who was hovering outside the box, he opted to go aerial in his effort, jumping before smashing an excellent shot at goal only to see it crash out off the post, onto Pantilimon and away from danger. It would of been an absolutely fantastic goal but luck wasn’t on Lazar’s side in that instance.Towards the end of the first half Fabio Borini was almost rewarded for his efforts in attack. A superb ball from Emre Can allowed the Italian to break into the box, his first touch took the ball nicely around the keeper but he was unable to find the end product from the tight angle. For me Fabio Borini had a great game. As many are aware I much prefer playing with a striker and whilst Borini is by no means the best he offers a lot to our game. His ability to draw the defenders’ focus on to him creates space therefore allowing players such as Markovic to break into the box and really create problems.In the second half things went from bad to worse for Sunderland who were still really struggling to create any real chances leaving Mignolet with no real job on. Bridcutt who had been booked in the first half found himself receiving a second yellow after taking down Emre Can on the wing. In my opinion it was pretty harsh to give Bridcutt the second booking here and I do think Sunderland were unlucky to see him sent off however the home side appeared to play a lot better once they were down to ten men.Sunderland’s best chance of the game fell to Adam Johnson who from distance in the second half struck a fluid shot. It’s movement had completely beat Simon Mignolet but the crossbar came to his rescue and ensured Liverpool would hang on to all three points.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Hard fought victory in difficult conditions. Markovic showed signs of potential while Lovren showed us why hes a liability— LFCKopiteReds (@alanredmen79) January 11, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Excellent first half then BRs poor tactics were exposed with the subsequent changes he made. 3 onfield changes for Gerrard!!!— Mia Culpa (@UBSixT) January 11, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC important clean sheet.Markovic shows more of his potential. Coutinho another steady performance with class.Still need striker— Cliff Morton (@CliffMorton) January 10, 2015 For me of course all that really matters is the three points but it’s quite worrying to realise that the only reason you beat Sunderland was due to a decent decision from a referee. We still really struggle to be clinical and I’m not certain that will be fixed any time soon even with the return of Daniel Sturridge.However the Reds are on a positive run and I do try to remain positive going forward. Next up for Liverpool is Aston Villa away.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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