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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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LIVER BIRD – MATCH PREVIEW: Sunderland V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday as Brendan Rodgers aims to steer his side to a win over Sunderland. The January transfer window has swung open but for the time being it looks as though the Reds will have to wait to bring new faces to Anfield.Injuries for Liverpool mean they are without several players due to long term injury and recently Adam Lallana was added to the list with a calf problem. The Reds are also unable to call upon Toure who has now gone out to the Africa Cup of Nations, good luck Kolo!!For Sunderland they are unable to call upon Coates who is ineligible to play against us. They also have doubts hanging over Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell.Sunderland are currently 14th in the league with 20 points. Sunderland lost their last game against Manchester City but put up a good fight scoring two goals with City netting three. In their last six games in the league they have only won once; an emphatic 1-0 win over Newcastle.Liverpool find themselves 8th in the league and on a total of 29 points. A successful win over Swansea for the Reds in December led most fans to think Liverpool had turned a corner however the 4-1 win over the Swans was soon forgotten when Brendan’s side managed to throw away a 2-0 lead at home to Leicester and ended up collecting just a point in the 2-2 draw.The last time the two sides met was in December last year a dire 0-0 was definitely one to miss for Reds fans however the clean sheet was most welcome. The last time Sunderland notched up a win over the Reds was back in 2009 Darren Bent scored a goal on the fifth minute for Sunderland that day with Liverpool failing to find a return.Stat SandwichLiverpool have only lost one of their last eight games in the league.Sunderland have picked up 52 yellow cards so far this season, the most for any team.The Reds have yet to draw away from home this season.I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 3 1 Liverpool reckon we get back to winning ways— Phillymadkopite (@phillymcgauran) January 9, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 2-1 Sunderland— Gabri LFC (@gabri_fan) January 9, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool— Ollie (@ollie_lynch) January 9, 2015I think it’s gonna be one of those horrible scrappy games tomorrow, no doubt Sunderland will find a goal from a set piece as Liverpool unveil their terrible attempt at defending. I’d also love to see Balo given a chance but I know that’s not going to happen so I’m left relying on a line up probably without a striker and also possibly without the magic of Sterling who is rumoured to be rested. We’ll probably go 70 minutes without scoring then someone will muster up a goal and it’ll probably end in a draw… Mega positive me this week?! 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 – Gerrard Brace In Wimbledon Win

Liverpool put themselves through to the next round of the FA Cup on Monday night as a brace from captain Steven Gerrard ensured the Reds would go on to face Bolton Wanderers. In his first game after announcing he will leave Liverpool Football Club, Gerrard took control of the game being clinical where others failed.It took Liverpool just ten minutes to get off the mark in the game. Despite an early bright spell from Wimbledon, the Reds managed to convert via a Steven Gerrard header in the centre of the box. He was assisted by Manquillo.It was a set up for Liverpool that involved a striker, something I am always crying out for. More importantly though, it involved Gerrard sitting behind the striker, a role he relishes in. Whilst Lambert was ineffective, the captain made the most of his chance in a more attacking role than he has been used to of late.For Wimbledon all eyes were on their big man up front; Adebayo Akinfenwa. For a man of his stature he doesn’t half get about and he was certainly causing problems for a shaky Liverpool defence. Set pieces for the Reds have always been an issue and when you have a player like Akinfenwa wrestling for the ball, it’s easy for things to go wrong and quickly.At 35 minutes, things did go wrong for Liverpool. Simon Mignolet completely and utterly lacking in confidence failed to punch the ball clear and despite a goal line clearance after a combined effort from Lucas and Skrtel, the ball eventually splayed out into the melee and allowed Akinfenwa to get his much sought after goal. A Liverpool fan as a boy, he must of been chuffed to bits to bag that.Going into the second half it was clear that the Reds would need to create something a bit different in order to break Wimbledon down. Whilst Markovic and Coutinho made weaving and pacey runs, it was predictable for the home side and they stemmed the flow on several occasions.As the second half continued with no breakthrough it was Liverpool who once again found a lifeline. A free kick awarded to the Reds won by Philippe Coutinho allowed Steven Gerrard to set up his sights. His resulting free kick was a beauty and as it neatly swooped its way into the back of the net it left both fans and commentators asking the question again about Gerrard’s decision to leave.Right or wrong decision for the right or wrong reasons, Gerrard had proven once again how much we rely on him. He of all people would love to end his career at Liverpool in an FA Cup final and thank god he helped us through to the next round!In the latter stages of the second half Brendan Rodgers finally introduced Mario Balotelli. It’s no secret how much I want him to do well and despite the fact he never got on the score sheet he immediately got stuck into the game and created more in his 15 minutes that Rickie Lambert did the whole game.Next up for Liverpool is Sunderland.Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Liverpool Face Wimbledon In FA Cup

They may not be the crazy gang anymore and we certainly aren’t the culture club at the moment but Liverpool playing in Red will be going for gold on the green. It’s the first time the two clubs have met since the old Wimbledon morphed into MK Dons and so it should be an interesting FA Cup tie for both sides.Liverpool will be able to call upon Martin Skrtel again on Monday night after he served his suspension during the Leicester game. Dejan Lovren is also available for the Reds after returning from a groin injury. For Wimbledon they are unable to call upon their defenders Jack Smith and Andy Frampton who have hamstring and ankle problems respectively.Wimbledon’s last five games in the league have seen them win three and lose two, scoring ten goals along the way. Liverpool have won two out of their last five league games, drawing two and losing the other. The Reds have scored nine goals within that time.Whilst AFC Wimbledon were created as a phoenix club, the name “Wimbledon” will forever unravel memories for Liverpool fans of a certain age when the old Wimbledon beat the Reds in the 1988 FA Cup final.In a side that contained Dave Beasant in goal and the infamously aggressive Vinnie Jones in midfield the crazy gang got the better of Liverpool on that May afternoon in a 1-0 win. Wimbledon had odds of 30/1 to beat the Reds at kick off and it’s still on of the biggest shocks in the history of the FA Cup.Liverpool’s run in the FA Cup last season saw them overturn Oldham in the third round after beating them 2-0 at Anfield. The Reds fourth round tie against Bournemouth also went well as Rodgers’ side put two past Bournemouth. Liverpool however then came unstuck when they drew Arsenal in the fifth round. A 2-1 win at the Emirates for Arsene Wenger’s side put them through and they eventually won the whole competition.Liverpool rarely tend to be done over by clubs lower down in the leagues in this competition however there have been a few scares over the years and it’s therefore important not to underestimate Wimbledon who will be well up for this game on their home turf.If I was popping a quid on the game I’d probably go for a 2-1 tomorrow night. I reckon Wimbledon will bag a goal from somewhere but I’m just hoping we have the experience and stamina to get the better of them.I asked you for your score predicitons and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 1-3. Two for Ricky, one for Mario.— Phil (@Phil_A01) January 4, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC 2-2— Emil Mouritsen (@EmilMouritsen) January 4, 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 – Leicester At Anfield On New Year’s Day

Liverpool face Leicester on New Year’s Day as the Reds look to continue their streak of good performances after a 4-1 win over Swansea.Injuries for the Reds mean they are without Brad Jones, Joe Allen and Glen Johnson. A doubt still remains for Dejan Lovren too. Also unavailable to start will be Martin Skrtel who is suspended, it is presumed Kolo Toure will take his place. For Leicester they are without Paul Konchesky, Andy King and Kasper Schmeichel.Leicester currently find themselves bottom of the league having amassed just 13 points. They have lost five out of their last six fixtures in the league, winning their most recent game against Hull 1-0. Liverpool on the other hand find themselves in 8th on 28 points. The Reds have won three out of their last six games, losing one and drawing two in the process.The last time the two sides met was at the start of December this year. The Reds got the better of Leicester in a 3-1 win with goals from Lallana, Gerrard and Henderson. In terms of meetings at Anfield, Liverpool haven’t lost against Leicester since 2000, the Foxes won the game 2-0 that day.Stat SandwichLiverpool scored four goals for the first time since March against Swansea.Leicester haven’t won back to back away games since November 2003 in the Premier League.The Reds have scored seven goals in their last the league matches.I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC #LFC #blog Gonna say 3-1 to Lfc can’t see a clean sheet for us— Terry Harper (@tezsar08) December 30, 2014 @LFCKirstyLFC 1-1 boring frustrating game,wrong decions usual really— Warren Bower (@waz24wb) December 30, 2014 @_TheLiverBird 2-0 to Liverpool! We have confidence and are playing an improved game. Go Reds!— Hannes Potgieter (@Hannes112377) December 30, 2014Apologies for the slightly thin on the ground preview today, I’m a bit under the weather! Here’s hoping the Reds can continue their winning ways tomorrow and collect all three points against Leicester tomorrow.Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Reds Aim To Take Inspiration From Past Champions League Ties

There may be the small matter of an FA Cup draw later this evening but Liverpool have their eyes firmly on a very important tie with Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers’ side must win in order to progress through to the round of 16.With memories flooding back of that emphatic tie against Olympiakos way back in 2005 it’s hard to fend off that magical Champions League spirit as a kopite at the moment, however Liverpool are struggling in both attack and defence and Basel will be a difficult side to deal with.The added bonus of the game being at Anfield means Liverpool can relish in the unique atmosphere our ground provides but the Reds need goals to win and at the moment they’re short in supply.Liverpool’s last meeting with Basel on the 1st October ended in a 1-0 loss. It’s an interesting tie because the Reds simply have to attack which will undoubtedly leave them open at the back. Basel however can go through with a draw and so the desire to go all out may be restrained in order to tactically see themselves through to the next round, making it hard for Liverpool to break them down.Injuries for Liverpool are still very much the same story with Sakho, Balotelli and Sturridge all out amongst others. For Basel they are without Ivanov.Basel have won their last four games in the league and have score 12 goals in the process. Liverpool have won two of their last four, lost one and drew one. Goals scored – five.I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 3 – 2 #LFC— Pedro Henrique (@hnrqpdr) December 8, 2014 @LFCKirstyLFC Liverpool 2-1 Basel— Luke Farley (@LukeFarley101) December 7, 2014 @LFCKirstyLFC 2-1 but will be very hard.basel are very good on counter.— christine_JFT96_LFC (@kittie_lfc25) December 7, 2014A lot of the tweets I received were predicting a 2-1 Liverpool win and if I managed to pop a bet on tomorrow that’s the scoreline I’ll be going for. To be honest it’s more wishful thinking than confidence I just hope that the combination of pressure and atmosphere will be enough to push Liverpool over the line and into the next stage.I bloody love the Champions League and it’s killed me having to wait this long to see us get back into it. To crash out now would be devastating for me and at the minute it doesn’t look like we’ll be returning any time soon!Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – No Goals In Sunderland Draw

Liverpool kept only their fourth clean sheet of the season in a dismal attacking display against Sunderland on Saturday. The Reds managed just two shots on target whilst the black cats only managed only one. It was hardly a “must see” game for the neutral and whilst the Reds may perhaps feel happy they didn’t lose another game, the fact is we should be doing much better against teams like Sunderland.I didn’t get chance to watch the game yesterday because I was at work and so this is just a match round up, no real opinions as I’ve only seen highlights and there weren’t many highlights to mull over haha.The first moment of note for Liverpool in the game came when Martin Skrtel played a risky tackle in the box. Sunderland perhaps had reason to question the call from the referee but Neil Swarbrick called no peno.Coutinho from what I saw along with Sterling were the only real players of note for the Reds. A chance from Coutinho in the first half saw him shoot from inside the box but his effort was easily saved by Pantilimon.Sunderland quickly followed the Liverpool break with a similar one from Wickham. The youngster broke all the way into the box but went down far to easily when challenged by the Liverpool defence.A header from Wes Brown later in the second half flew over the bar and the ex Manchester United player should have done better.The second half for Liverpool saw no changes and it was Lucas Leiva a man who is very shy of goals who would have the first real effort for the Reds in the second half. His long range shot however was again pretty simple for the keeper and Pantilimon once again kept out the danger.At 66 minutes a rested Steven Gerrard entered the fray. Gerrard from what I saw had an immediate impact on the game with his passing and awareness but even a sprinkle of the captain’s magic was not enough to help the Reds find a goal.Perhaps the best chance of the second half fell to Coutinho. A simply sublime run from Raheem Sterling saw him weave his way down a significant length of the pitch and then into the box, his pass to Coutinho was perfect but unfortunately the Brazilian’s effort was saved.Shortly afterwards a long range shot from Gomez kept Simon Mignolet alert, it was a great save from the Belgian who had little to deal with really throughout the game.Finally in the latter stages of the game, Raheem Sterling appeared to be taken down in the box, the cries for a penalty were not met by the referee however Liverpool perhaps had a case. As I always say though, in games like this I absolutely hate the fact that we have to rely on the possibility of a penalty to push teams aside, it shouldn’t come to that!Nevertheless, at least we didn’t lose, which to be honest if it happened, I wouldn’t of been surprised. A clean sheet as well is always a plus but this is perhaps a bit deceptive, our defence didn’t have many attacks to deal with and so there is still a long way to go before we are secure at the back.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 2 clean sheets in a row, a point against a team growing in confidence. Worked hard but still lacking a cutting edge.— peter joyce (@cheshirevenom) December 6, 2014 @LFCKirstyLFC a bore draw Kirsty, only enjoyment provided by Gus Poyet on the touchline he was a hoot.— Peter Davidson (@Peterad49) December 7, 2014Normal service will be resumed for the Basel game which I will definitely be watching. Tune in for a match preview tomorrow night!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Make Or Break In Champions League For Reds

Liverpool prepare to face Ludogorets on Wednesday evening in their adopted home of Sofia. Ludogorets’ ground does not meet UEFA standards and so the game will be played in the capital. Sharing the nickname of Crystal Palace “The Eagles” could have another embarrassment in store for Rodgers’ Reds tomorrow evening.The injury situation for Liverpool has slightly improved with Jose Enrique and Mamadou Sakho both featuring in training. Mario Balotelli though has not travelled with the squad. For Ludogorets Bezjak is out with a groin problem but the defender Minev has become available after serving a ban.The last time the two sides met was of course also the first time the two sides met. When we drew Lugogorets in the group it was supposed to be plain sailing at Anfield for Liverpool however the Bulgarians were no pushovers and showed real promise in attack. Mario Balotelli’s first goal for the club and a penalty from Steven Gerrard however secured the Reds a win.Whilst a draw is not the final straw for Liverpool on Wednesday night it does make things more difficult. A loss however would spell the end of the Reds’ very short lived Champions League run.Liverpool have lost their last three Champions League games without even finding the back of the net and currently it’s difficult to see past that stat for Wednesday. Unless Brendan Rodgers makes some serious changes then Liverpool could very easily come undone tomorrow. Ludogorets may be deemed as lowly opposition by some but as proved in their fixture at Anfield they can cause problems and are effective on the counter attack. Against a side like Liverpool who are struggling defensively it wouldn’t take long for the Bulgarians to find an advantage.Even if Brendan makes several of the long awaited changes, it’s still a big ask for the Reds who will then be fielding a team with immense pressure forced upon it. If Kolo Toure gets a start for example, one single mistake and he’ll be lambasted. There is zero patience for errors around the place at the moment whether you’ve been starting every week or this is your first game in months.I asked you for your score predictions on Twitter and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC 1-0 red men— Paudie Connolly (@paudieconnolly) November 25, 2014 @_TheLiverBird 1-0 ludogorets. Can’t see us winning— Ed#LFC (@Edward13th) November 24, 2014 @lfckirstylfc Lud 1-1 LFC Not confident, might get a goal somehow but not enough goals in the team to beat them away.— Muhammad Usama (@OnlyEmreCan) November 25, 2014I haven’t had a bet on the football in a while but I might pop a quid on something ridiculous tomorrow. I’ll let you know what I go for on Twitter.Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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LIVER BIRD – Sturridge News A Huge Blow As Reds Prepare For Palace

First of all can I just say another final thank you to all of you who took the time to vote for me in the football blogging awards. I was over the moon to accept my award for the fans’ vote for “Best Female Blog” last Thursday and really do appreciate your support, you’re all awesome!It always feels like months have gone by without me doing a post when there’s an international break but we’re back again and as always seems to be the case after these breaks, we’re back with bad news. After suffering another injury in training it was revealed earlier this week that Daniel Sturridge will be out of the Liverpool squad for a further six weeks.Gutted is an understatement. We’d waited so long for him to come back, he’d built himself up only to have his efforts crushed without mercy. Daniel Sturridge has always had his problems with injuries but nobody could have expected this to happen. Liverpool however cannot dwell on the fact we are still without our main goalscorer, the problem has existed from almost the season start.One thing is for sure though, if Brendan Rodgers refuses to play a system that aids Mario Balotelli on Sunday, I’m gonna flip. It’s been a recurring topic on this blog and my frustrations with Rodgers’ refusal to play 4-4-2 are no secret. Now more so than ever though Brendan seriously needs to question his stubbornness. All his eggs were placed well and truly in Daniel Sturridge’s basket, well guess what, he’s not here until the new year so it’s time for plan B!Other injury news for Liverpool means Henderson, Enrique, Sakho and Balotelli will all be subjected to late fitness tests. Jon Flanagan is still out long term. Crystal Palace are very strong with just a concern hanging over the fitness of McArthur.The last time the two sides met was in May last year. An unforgettable game for Liverpool fans as their dreams of an elusive Premier League title were all but crushed. Having gone 3-0 up in the game it looked like a walk in the park for Liverpool but a goal in the 79th minute from Delaney followed by a brace from Gayle left the Reds dumbstruck.Liverpool actually have a pretty poor record at Selhurst Park. The last time they recorded a win there was in 1997 with McManaman, Owen and Oyvind Leonhardsen on the score sheet, haha, remember him?!Stat Sandwich10 out of Liverpool’s 14 points so far this season have come from sides below them in the table.Crystal Palace have not won in their last five league games.Liverpool’s top goalscorers so far this season are Raheem Sterling and “own goals” (3).I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:@LFCKirstyLFC If we play 2 up front & the diamond, we’ll win 2-1. If we play 4-2-3-1 we’ll get beat 2-1 imo— Eathen.. (@hunter_troll) November 21, 2014 @LFCKirstyLFC 1-2 #LFC :)— Kávish (@KAV7SH) November 20, 2014I’m excited for the match because we’ve been waiting ages with the international break but in terms of the result I don’t think it’s going to be a positive. The best I’m hoping for at the minute is a score draw. Our defence will almost certainly be penetrated by the Palace attack despite the fact they have not won a game in their last five they have still found the back of the net in three of them.Liverpool themselves will probably create some half chances but if we go out 4-2-3-1 then our chances of scoring in my opinion are greatly diminished. If Balotelli is fit or not the system should still be changed, it’s time for Brendan to try a different set of tactics and I seriously hope he does.Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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