Tag Archives: Roy Hodgson

Liverpool: What a Difference a Year Makes

By Tim Treacy

The turnaround at Liverpool Football Club over the past year has been remarkable. A comparison between last year and this year is like night and day, oil and water, chalk and cheese, a journey from Hicks and Gillett to Henry and Warner.

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The Premier League’s Best of 2011

By Kevin Koczwara

It’s sad to see Blackpool’s “Tangerine Dream” come to a close this weekend. Ian Holloway’s side was one of the most entertaining and crowd pleasing teams in the English Premier League this year. Blackpool’s unknown players made a stamp on the Premier League this year, and hopefully the Seasiders find their way back up with Holloway captaining the ship again — it would only be right, and he is far more entertaining than Roy Hodgson, Roberto Mancini and Avram Grant added together and then multiplied by 1,000.

Birmingham did it’s best to stay up for a second time, but Alex McCleish’s no offense approach just couldn’t work for a second year in a row. It’s no surprise the Blues went down if one looks at the horrible goalscoring record the team had this year, 37 goals scored. That’s not a joke. In 38 matches, Birmingham scored a measly 37 goals, less than one a game. Hapless West Ham and Wigan scored more than McCleish’s team.

Speaking of West Ham, well, we all knew they were going down once they hired Avram Grant. Last year Grant lead a woesome Portsmouth team straight out of the Premier League, and he wouldn’t have needed the point deduction of the club going into administration to do it. He would have managed to lose those points anyways. He did get Portsmouth into the FA Cup final, but he lost that just he like he seems to lose every other cup final. If Grant is hired by another Premier League team next year, that one will surely go down as well, just as the Hammers did. It’s fate. I should be hired before he gets another job in the Premier League.

But enough with relegation. Let’s look at some of the best from a year that went by in the EPL.

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Phil Dowd did his best as Liverpool and Man United game got ugly

Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United blacked out the media after Sunday's loss to Liverpool. Sir Alex couldn't complain too much about the performance of referee Phil Dowd who kept the game in control despite some late first-half bust ups. (Courtesy AtilaTheHun Flickr)

By Jonathan Gold

If there had been a way, this weekend, for referee Phil Dowd to use big wooden paddles painted red and yellow to dish out whacks on the ass instead of simply brandishing red and yellow paper cards, I’d have been all for it. Some of the behavior from both sides during Manchester United’s visit to Anfield was reprehensible and detracted unfairly from a great game.

How completely have Liverpool been transformed after the departure of Roy Hodgson? This was a team so mired in misery that the fans wanted Rafa Benitez back, poor demented souls. Contrast any of the abject results from earlier this season – I’m sure Kevin remembers them all – with the bright, authoritative performance in front of a rapturous home crowd this weekend.

OK, none of Dirk Kuyt’s three goals was exactly spectacular where he was concerned – but there were moments of genius in the build-up play, mostly from Luis Suarez, noted World Cup villain. His weaving dribble up the byline was electrifying to set up the first, and he produced a nice free kick that van der Saar couldn’t hold onto for the third. That said, the term “poacher’s instinct” is overused, but that’s exactly what he displayed to grab an unlikely hat-trick.

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Dalglish deserves long-term to lead Liverpool

By Kevin Koczwara

Not many people thought Liverpool had a chance at qualifying for European competition next year when the club lingered closer to the bottom in October. Things changed quickly though.

Now, people are talking about fighting for the coveted fourth place in the Premier League and a chance to play in the Champions League, despite the team’s leading scorer and talisman striker, Fernando Torres, walking out on the club just before the January transfer window slammed shut.

The change in the mood around Melwood and Anfield is because of Kenny Dalglish. It’s that simple. Since his appointment as interim manager, Liverpool has been resurrected.

Chelsea latest to feel the King’s wrath

The Reds went into Stamford Bridge yesterday the underdogs, and riding a three-game winning streak. To top it off, Fernando Torres was starting his first game with his new club, Chelsea, after turning his back on Liverpool. Liverpool tried to arrange a gentlemen’s agreement with Chelsea when the two teams worked out the $80 million deal for Torres during the closing moments of the transfer window. It didn’t happen, and there was no way Liverpool could beat Chelsea in London without its best player, right?

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Chelsea and Liverpool Bid to Save Seasons [Part 2]

Kenny Dalglish has revitalized Liverpool after he took over for Roy Hodgson as the manager. The Scot has brought back the treasured Liverpool Way and instilled those values throughout the club. (Courtesy 1000goals.com)

By Kevin Koczwara

In Part 1, I looked over Chelsea’s move for Fernando Torres, this is my look at Liverpool’s side of the deal. If you missed Part 1, click here.

What did Liverpool get with the sale of Fernando Torres? Well, it got $80 million to spend on Andy Carroll from Newcastle and to help pay off the fee for Luis Suarez from Ajax. The Reds got a two-for-one deal in a way, and they got some younger players at that.

Torres is 26-years-old and entering the pinnacle of his career, while Suarez is 24 and just emerging into the full-blown player he can be and Carroll is still 22 and beginning to understand how good he can be. If everything pans out with Suarez and Carroll and they become top-level players, then Liverpool swindled their rivals from London.

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Carlos Tevez Wants Out of Manchester City; Sam Allardyce Wants In, Somewhere

Carlos Tevez handed in his tranfer request this weekend to Manchester City. Maybe it's time for a new billboard then. (Courtesy Johnny Vulkan)

By Kevin Koczwara

Okay Carlos Tevez, I believe you want to be closer to your family, your daughters and your home. I can understand how angry you are that you have to play alongside Mario Balotelli and his ugly haircut. I understand Roberto Mancini isn’t Sir Alex and Manchester City may have all the money in the world, but its a club without a plan, and you are a man with a plan.

I got all that. In fact, I side with you. Who would want to live in Manchester when your best buds are having a great time scoring for fun, making millions, and playing in the Champions League with Barcelona.

But, Carlos I have to say, at £230,000 a week with bonuses, I would stick out another year or two at City and maybe go home and buy Argentina for myself. Maybe Tevez could build a small island of his own to live on with his family with that kind of money. I know I am being shallow here, but come on.

Tevez hit the jackpot with City, and he should have known it would have been one big bust up going in and taken the money from somewhere else if the ride was going to be this bumpy.

Tevez now knows, written promises and clauses are always better than a business man’s shake.

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Spirit of Shankly Talk About Potential New Owners and Future of Liverpool

Liverpool F.C. supporters group Spirit of Shankly has helped lead the charge by Liverpool fans to remove owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

By Kevin Koczwara

It has been a busy week for the Spirit of Shankly and the supporters of Liverpool, and the chaos doesn’t look to be slowing down. Liverpool’s chairman and board decided to sell the club to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry this week without the consent of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The board overruled the American owners with a 3-2vote in favor of the sale before Hicks could switch around some of the members more to his liking. Now, there is a courtroom battle for control and neither side is budging.

Before the sales and the backroom drama, I started speaking with the Spirit of Shankly about the supporter group’s protests and the type of message the group wants to send to Hicks and Gillett, then owners. Things have changed, so our interview naturally changed. The sale has come and gone and the group couldn’t be any happier because Hicks and Gillett will no longer be digging their hands into the coffer that is Liverpool Football Club.

But the group still has its misgivings about the new owner and the direction of the club because the Spirit of Shankly (and many other supports groups) feel that the fans – the people driving the club, purchasing the tickets, uniforms and beer – should have more of a say in the proceedings.

Here is a transcript of an interview with Spirit of Shankly President, Francis Stanton.

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Liverpool's Lackluster Start Looks Familiar

Liverpool is the only English club that has won the European Cup (now the Champions League) five times. Courtesy Andy Nugent

By Kevin Koczwara

A cloud of negativity looms over Anfield these days. Liverpool was once the crown jewel of English soccer – winning trophies and attracting the world’s best talent. Now, the club is in disarray and lacks the passion that once was its calling card.

Liverpool has never won a Premier League title and hasn’t won England’s domestic top flight in 20 years. Dreams of winning a title this year should fly out the window. Even the manager has conceded to only fighting for fourth place and Champions League soccer, rather than for the English Premier League title.

The club’s American owners have been searching for a buyer since April, but anyone with half a brain wouldn’t buy the club for its owners’ asking price. The owners own a mountain of debt almost as high as Manchester United’s, but Sir Alex Ferguson and company seem to be doing all right – and the mountain isn’t getting any smaller.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 23, 2010

Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan wins a header in the midfield over FC Dallas captain David Ferreira. Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

New England Soccer Today — Disappointment in the Big D — by Brian O’Connell

The New England Revolution looked to be on the verge of finally sealing the club’s second road win of the season and ending FC Dallas’s 14 game unbeaten streak, and then it all came undone like it has so many times this year. The Revs were able to survive with a 2-0 lead into the 80th minute when Dallas midfielder David Ferreira stepped up to the penalty spot for the second time in the game — he missed the net on his first try earlier in the game– and the Hoops captain banged in a goal for Dallas and brought the team back in the game. A last gasp goal from substitute Jeff Cunningham in stoppage time sealed a, 2-2, draw for Dallas and major blow for New England as the club tried to end its 10 game winless streak on the road.

The Telegraph — Manchester City hit by defensive worries ahead of Premier League clash with Chelsea

Joe looked at the struggles Roberto Mancini has had with his squad selection and keeping his high-profile players happy thus far, and things don’t look to be getting any easier for the Italian. Manchester City will have to take on Chelsea this weekened and City have only three healthy defenders going into the game against the most potent offensive squad in the Premier League. Mancini and City have shelled out millions of dollars on some of the biggest names in soccer, but they are missing quality depth in defense and maybe not so many big name stars, but maybe some more quality players who can fill in when the team is in a tight squeeze.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin — by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… — by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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