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Showing posts from 2015

Liverpool Klopp Episode 17: The Godfather

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Soccer is a game. 22 people running around on the field. 44 feet trying to kick a ball.

Nonetheless, fans, players, and managers do take it pretty seriously - it is strictly business.

Here is an article compiling some of Coach Klopp's interesting remarks about the "beautiful game."

Some interesting ones:
"We have a bow and arrow. The problem is Bayern have a bazuka - but then Robin Hood was quite successful."
"It's like someone having to play the chess world championships after 72 hours of sleep deprivation."
"I'm proud of my first red card as coach. I approached the fourth official and said: 'How many mistakes are you allowed to make? If it's 15, you're allowed one more.'"

Anyway, Sunderland on the road in today's match. The Liverpool Echo writers offer their guesses on who will be in the starting XI. With so many players on the injury list, there really isn't that much flexibility in choosing a line up. Thu…

W4C Bible Study Training Part IV - Colossians 3:1-17

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West Coast Chinese Christian Conference 2015 Small Group Bible Study Training Video, Part IV. This year's theme: Be Holy Because God is Holy.
Day 1 study 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2 study 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 study Colossians 3:1-17.

Part IV contents:
Day 3 passage Colossians 3:1-17
Group dynamics
Applications
Final thoughts

W4C Bible Study Training Part III - 1 Corinthians 6:1-20

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West Coast Chinese Christian Conference 2015 Small Group Bible Study Training Video, Part III. This year's theme: Be Holy Because God is Holy.
Day 1 study 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2 study 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 study Colossians 3:1-17.

Please note, I found an error in the slide at 20:48 where "Prison Epistles (62-67)" appears. 1 Timothy and Titus was written in the period after Prison Epistles (61-62) but before 2 Timothy that was written during Paul's 2nd Imprisonment shortly before his death AD 66-67.

Part III content:
Textual analysis
Day 2 passage 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Question writing

W4C Bible Study Training Part II - 1 Peter 2:4-25

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West Coast Chinese Christian Conference 2015 Small Group Bible Study Training Video, Part II. This year's theme: Be Holy Because God is Holy.
Day 1 study 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2 study 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 study Colossians 3:1-17.

Part II content:
Day 1 passage 1 Peter 2:4-25

W4C Bible Study Training Part I

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West Coast Chinese Christian Conference 2015 Small Group Bible Study Training Video, Part I. This year's theme: Be Holy Because God is Holy.
Day 1 study 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2 study 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 study Colossians 3:1-17.

Part I content:
Overview
Observation
Interpretation

Liverpool Klopp Episode 16: The Wrath of Khan

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LFC is in trouble. Out gunned, out manned, and the momentum arrow facing the wrong direction. It is the soccer equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru Scenario for Klopp and the club facing the hottest side in the EPL, Leicester City.

For non-Trek fans, in the words of this Star Trek Wiki,
The Kobayashi Maru scenario was an infamous no-win scenario that was part of the curriculum for command-track cadets at Starfleet Academy in the 23rd century. It was primarily used to assess a cadet's discipline, character and command capabilities when facing an impossible situation, as there is no (legitimate) strategy that will result in a successful outcome. Am guessing no one is picking Liverpool to get out of the Boxing Day match with three points perhaps some might pick them to get one point. (a draw). Will be interesting to see what the fans and pundits will view as a "passing" grade in terms of LFC team performance?

Although the tie to West Brom was viewed by many as a failure, it w…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 15: Ticket to Ride

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As a Los Angelino, I follow UCLA, Dodgers, Kings, Lakers, and Galaxy. If you ask me about Los Angeles, I could tell you a little bit about the city's neighborhoods and tourist destinations.

As a fan of Liverpool, I can tell you nothing about the city. I only know that the Beatles are from there. So I had to check on Google with the search, "were the Beatles soccer fans?"

According to this item in the Guardian:
"Paul was (and maybe still is) definitely an Evertonian, as was his dad. He attended the 1968 FA Cup final - there is a photo of him outside Wembley. His brother Mike is a massive Red - and part of his band The Scaffold's promo film for Thank You Very Much was filmed in front of a packed Spion Kop at his behest (fellow band member Roger McGough, a Blue, refused to attend and is missing from the clip). George and John were not keen football fans, although George's son Dhani is a big Liverpool fan. But the biggest fan of all the Beatles' extended f…

GOP nomination race as of now .....

The race for the GOP nomination is quaking under the twin shocks of the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shootings. The atmosphere of fear, understandable but overstated, has shaken up the race solidifying the Trump supporters who think the rest of the GOP isn't tough enough. Carson's support is dropping fast as he is perceived as too mild mannered for these "dangerous times." Cruz and Rubio are the two "mainstream" candidates who seem to have gained some ground while more "traditional" "mainstream" candidates like Jeb, Kasich, and Christie are still afloat but have divided that part of the GOP pie amongst themselves.

Trump has oscillated between 20 to 30% support depending on the poll and current events. There is a poll that has his numbers up to 40% but I'd like to see that result detected by another poll before I believe it. The current terrorism crisis has tipped his support up because people are angry and fearful and Trump …

At the Movies: Peanuts Movie and the Martian

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Loved both those films!

The Peanuts movie is nostalgic to a simpler time. How many movies are rated "G" these days? The characters are as comfortable as a well worn sofa for people of a certain age who grew up reading the comic strip and catching the occasions special film. The Charlie Brown Christmas has become iconic of the season here in the USA.

The update is in the technology of the animation (3D look even in non-3D projection) and some of the music. Overall though, the production team still kept it connected to the old style with its general look and feel and the heart warming story line.

Will this revive the franchise and thus more films?

I don't know what the financial figures are from the film and I do wonder if the new generation of film goers brought up on much more sophisticated animation and "darker" and "complicated" characters will welcome the earnest simplicity of the Peanuts gang. As for me, I enjoyed it.




The Martian is a wonderful ad…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 14 - Patton

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No one would ever mistake Gen. Patton for a warm and fuzzy hugging care bear.

Klopp has been described in those terms by many observers. The enthusiasm he shows on the sidelines make that pretty clear!

However, it is also pretty clear that Klopp has a drive to win and wants to instill that drive into his players.

LFC has gotten some nice wins but mixed in have been a couple of dreadful losses (to Palace and Newcastle) and in sports, the sting of the defeats seem to last longer than the exuberance of victories.

Liverpool returns to EPL play this Sunday against West Brom. Tony Pulis is sure to have the club ready to play hard nosed football against the Reds at Anfield. On the other side Klopp and his brain trust needs to figure out a starting XI.

The goalie plus back 4 picks itself. The question mark is the remaining six.

In the midfield, Klopp will need to choose from Milner, Lucas, Can, Henderson, and Allen. Since Henderson is still recovering from injury, I think you have to go with…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 13 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service

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Europa League match against the Swiss club FC Sion today. USA TV coverage at FS1. Online at ESPN3.com (in Spanish) and don't know if there will be audio feed at LFC.com or TalkSports.com.

Solid XI with one youngster tabbed to be part of the back four. Also, Henderson is set to start. Will see if he can go a full 90. Origi up front. Coutinho is in the subs which is good news! Am sure Klopp will try to work him in for the last 20-30 minutes to work out the rust.

Since LFC has clinched a spot in the next round of Europa League, will see how strongly they press FC Sion and whether at some point they may pull back and play it safer to get a draw. Ideally, press early and get a goal and sit on the lead. We shall see!

Until the game and the post-match reports are in, go ahead and enjoy some 007 ski scenes filmed in Switzerland ....



Update: Not surprisingly a 0-0 draw which allows both clubs to advance to the next round.

Record:7-4-2.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 12 - Jaws

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You can't get too high, you can't get too low. That is a classic sports adage.

I wasn't near a TV nor an internet connection so I had no idea how the recent EPL game went until reading the post-game reports.

A tale of two matches: Newcastle 2 LFC 0. Southampton 1 LFC 6.

Was LFC really 6x better than Southampton?

No.

In soccer, matches are often quite close but a goal or two as a result of a moment of offensive brilliance or a defensive miscue changes the match completely. Liverpool got the lead and Southampton had to chase the game and it snowballed against them.

Liverpool and Newcastle were evenly matched until Newcastle got a goal... an own goal off LFC defenseman Skrtel. After that, LFC had to chase the game and only surrendered the second goal in stoppage time.

Stat wise (you don't win games with stats!) LFC had the possessions (60/40), corner kicks (7/2) and shots (10/6). But you got to put it in the net and they didn't.

The starting XI had changes from the S…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 11 - Titanic

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Wednesday is Southampton vs. Liverpool in a League Cup quarter-final.

The Titanic reference in this case has nothing to do with on the field matters for either club or expectations for the match!

Rather it is to mention the historical fact that the Titanic set sail from Southampton on April 15, 1912 and the ship's port of registry was Liverpool.

Who is going to play... Klopp gave no hints other than some injury updates.

So how about this starting XI?
Mignolet Bogdan
Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno
Milner, Can, Lucas
Lallana, Firmino, Ibe.

Likely utilized subs:
Benteke, Sturrridge, Henderson.

All the writers at Liverpool Echo seem to think Firmino needs a break, Coutinho will be ready and Benteke should take the front man spot. Apparently, Klopp has already said Bogdan will get the start in goal to give Mignolet a break.

Indeed, if Coutinho is fit, then plug him in for Ibe. Hamstring injuries are tricky things so it could be a game day decision unless he has clearly improved in the mo…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 10 - The Swarm

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Another match came and went without me being able to catch it on TV (EPL matches can be seen at NBCSN and other NBC channels) or internet radio (EPL matches can be heard at TalkSport.com here in the USA).

A 1-0 win for LFC over Swansea!

Don't know if there is enough data yet, but it looks like Klopp likes to give Benteke more minutes in home games and has him come off the bench on the road.

It could be that at Anfield, the opponents play more conservative thus making it harder for Liverpool to get out into an open field running match. In those situations, scoring off a set piece (corner or free kick) might be more crucial and that is where Benteke could be a handful for the defender marking him. Also, there could be scenarios when the defense is packing it in and again, you like the option of lofting a ball into Benteke from the sides who can snag down the ball inside the box and overwhelm a defender with his strength and size permitting him a shot on goal or drawing a penalty.

O…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 9: Goldfinger

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Okay, trying to find movie titles and Beatles songs to use as hooks to hang posts on is going to be an ongoing challenge of highly tangential thinking!

At the moment, after the demolition of Manchester City by Liverpool, Coach Klopp is viewed as "the man with the Midas touch."



Nonetheless, the team did suffer a dreadful loss to Crystal Place at Anfield just before the international break. And so it is with a little bit of dread that fans await the Europa League match on US Thanksgiving Day at Anfield as Liverpool's best moments under Klopp have been on the road.

The injury bug continues to rear its head and take a bite out of the line-up options for Coach Klopp. Coutinho is out and now it is reported that Skrtel is out as well. The Liverpool Echo item suggests that Beneteke is likely to start and Sturridge will be brought on as a sub. Usher at ESPNFC offers some thoughts as to why Liverpool has to play differently at home and what options might be available for Klopp to …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 8: Can't Buy Me Love

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Upcoming match for LFC is Manchester City on the road. Saturday 930AM PST on NBC.

Comparing wage bills (unfortunately it appears the data is a bit old 2013-2014 season)

Manchester City has the 2nd highest wage bill at 205 million pounds.

Liverpool has the 5th highest wage bill at 144 million pounds.

Currently Man City is #1 on the table so they are "over performing" while Liverpool lags at #10 so they are underperforming.

In American baseball, money doesn't buy championships! As a long suffering LA Dodger fan, this year's team had the highest wage bill but was eliminated in the NLDS.

In the Premier league, the "Big 4" have had a virtual monopoly on the top slots in the EPL. Liverpool broke the lock in 2013-2014 and 2008-2009 by finishing second and fourth in 2007-2008. Tottenham crashed the party in 2011-2012 (fourth) and 2009-2010 (fourth). Thus, over an eight year period the 32 top four spots have been held by the Big 4 twenty-seven times (84%).

But the …

World: Should USA Take Syrian Refugees?

With the civil war in Syria, many people have fled and where they should be transferred to is an ongoing challenge.

The USA, separated by the Atlantic Ocean, hasn't taken in too many.

Of course, there are concerns about terrorism. In a group of refugees what is the possibility of some terrorists being among them who then conduct Paris-style attacks on some American city?

No governor or mayor wants to be in the position of having to go before the news cameras to report some terrorist incident was the result of the settlement of refugees in their city or state.

Thus, the key is how much "vetting" of refugees take place?

This news item over at CNBC suggests the vetting is pretty thorough.

Some interesting quotes:

One administration official admitted that a lack of records is often a problem for refugees, but "in contrast to that," Syrians and Iraqis tend to be "a very, very heavily documented population." Trained U.S. specialists examine their passports, …

Theology: How much "heresy" is too much heresy?

Was reading in Matthew 24:14 recently: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

This verse is in one of the "end-times" passages. There are probably as many ideas of what the end times will look like as there are people speculating on the end times! If you read all of Matthew 24-25, the safest conclusion I think is: (1) the timing of the end is unknown and (2) it will catch most people by surprise.

But Matthew 24:14 appears to be the most clear cut statement about when it will happen.

And so how are we doing with the world evangelization plan?

The Joshua Project attempts to identify which ethnic groups have not been reached with the good news of Jesus.

One other question I've been pondering is the the role of "heretical" Christianity.
I found out while visiting the library of Uppsala University that has the oldest Bible manuscript in the Goth language is the so called "Sil…

MLS: and then there were only 4

The final four of the MLS: Columbus, NY Red Bulls, Portland, Dallas.

How do these team line up in terms of overall team salary?

According to Denver Post...

Portland #9
Columbus #12
NYRB #19
Dallas #20

So no correlation between high team salaries and making a good run this year!

How about high budget players (again Denver Post)?

Just 2 of the players on this list are still playing!

Certainly, part of bringing in the high budget designated players is to market the game. But to win, this year, looks like having those big DPs didn't help.


Gerrard and Galaxy: the road ahead

Unlike the Liverpool Echo that will have multiple articles per day about their club, the LA Times has a few articles a week about the MLS generally and the LA Galaxy specifically.

In this item, LA Times Galaxy beat writer Baxter speculates on Gerrard's future with the club.

I started following Liverpool FC in late 2014 and it was clear that Gerrard was in his swan song season with the club. I had read about his exploits on the team but the player I watched in a handful of games was on the fast downside of his career with occasional flashes of his younger self. The great passing was still pretty much and the almost wound-too-tight intensity was occasionally evident. However, there was longer the speed and endurance that would allow him to grab a match by the scruff of the neck. Nonetheless, he still provided a few highlight reel moments in a difficult 2014-2015 season.

Thus, his move to the MLS would prove interesting to see if the MLS had continued to "catch up" to the r…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 7 - Star Coach - the Palace Menace

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Crystal Palace has caused some grief for Liverpool in the last couple of seasons even if they aren't a top 4 club.

And this morning while listening to the match on TalkSport.com audio, Palace have claimed the lead at the 21 minute mark when LFC's defense made a hash of the clearance.

Will be interesting to see if Liverpool has the mental toughness to respond as they did last weekend when they went down 1-0 to Chelsea.

Milner is out due to injury, Coutinho is back in the line up after his absence at the Europa match on Thursday, and Ibe draws a start.

Liverpool is sounding like they are taking more of the initiative seeking to equalize. But do they have the energy after the very long round trip to Rubin Kazan for the Thursday Europa League contest?

40' Sakho is subbed off with Lovren due to injury.

42' The Force is strong with this one, Coutinho, the Little Magician equalizes!

Concurrently, am following the relegation match between Falkenbergs vs. Sirius for a spot in t…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 6: Back in the USSR

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If you are in the USA, Fox Sports has Europa League TV coverage.

If you aren't near a TV or don't have Fox Sports, you can catch Spanish coverage on ESPN3.com or you can get LiverpoolFC's audio feed from LiverpoolFC.com.

Anyway, Klopp has most of his normal 1st team out there with the exception of Lallana, Coutinho, Lucas and Skrtel on the bench. Unlike the League Cup match, Klopp has plugged in known quantities in Lovren, Allen, Ibe, and Benteke instead of the young and future prospects of the club.

At the half, pretty typical stat line with Liverpool dominating possession and shots but unfortunately as usual, 0-0.

UPDATE: Caught a handful of minutes at the end of the match. Ibe got the lone goal early in the second half. Late in the game Kazan was trying to mount some offense to equalize but LFC defenders held. LFC was shaky at times with some fouls that drew free kicks but they never gave up any howlers. Coach Klopp is clearly a gregarious fellow as he went onto the fie…

IFK Norrkoping wins the Allsvenskan!

Hats off to Norrkoping as they took fate into their own hands and defeated Malmo 2-0 to claim the championship of the Allsvanskan for the first time since 1992!

Goteborg had a slim chance of overtaking Norrkoping but they needed the combination of defeating Kalmar which they did not (drawn 2-2) and Malmo beating Norrkoping which didn't happen either.

Meanwhile Elfsborg won over their neighbors to the west Falkenberg 4-2 to finish in 4th place.

Falkenberg by finishing in 14th enter the relegation/promotion two-legged playoff against IK Sirius (#3 in the Superettan) to be held November 5 and 8.


End of the line - Seattle 3 Galaxy 2

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At some point, teams with a track record of great success collapse.

Since 2009, the LA Galaxy have:
Won THREE MLS Cups
Appeared in FOUR MLS Cups
Appeared in FIVE Conference finals

But this year, they were eliminated in the knockout round. Since 2009, they had 6 straight runs to the conference semi-finals or beyond making this their earliest exit.

Teams on a great run are a tribute to the players, coaching staff, and upper management. It is very difficult hard to sustain as players get older, swapping in new players may or may not work out, everyone else is gunning for you and finally, sustaining a winning motivation is not easy to do season-after-season.

And so, it appears the Galaxy may have hit that point this season as they wobbled into the playoffs with a #5 seed and were booted out by long time rival Seattle Sounders.

As to the game itself, a very lively first half with the Galaxy getting many good opportunities cashing in two goals but missing others. But they also gifted Seattl…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 5 - Dr. No

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Am under the weather and so slept in this Saturday morning. However, did rouse myself to hear the last 20 minutes of the match via TalkSport.com. And just in time too, as Coutinho got his second goal to put Liverpool up 2-1 over defending champions Chelsea. Benteke eventually put in an insurance goal to make it 3-1.

Eventually got enough energy to turn on the TV coverage at NBCSN via our cable package just in time to see this post-match interview from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho .... transcript of his remarks at the UK Guardian.



Suffice to say, Jurgen Klopp had a little more to say about his first EPL victory with LFC.



Great to see Coutinho get back on track after a handful of sluggish performances. Looks like the back four plus goalie are doing well. The forward situation improves with Firmino and Benteke being on the field and getting back into playing shape. Hopefully, Sturridge will be able to return to the mix soon. As for the midfield, am concerned that Milner is going to get …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 4 - Rocky

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Check out the incredible story of AFC Bournemouth!

The club was on the edge of disappearing from League Two and going entirely out of business just a handful of years ago. However, in a dramatic finish that season, they stayed alive in the League Two (4th tier of English Football). And then, they begin an fairy tale rise to League One, then the Championship and last season promotion to the top of the mountain, the Premier League.

Suffice to say probably the only people rooting for Liverpool tomorrow are Liverpool fans considering the storyline of AFC Bournemouth.

It would be easy for the Script Writers to make Bournemouth the underdog Rocky and Liverpool the heavily favored Apollo Creed. And indeed, in the movie Rocky Balboa fought Apollo to the final rounds. Is that what will happen in tomorrow's match up?

Coach Klopp is still in search of his first win working with something less than a full bag of arrows. Looks like it could go the distance and maybe even extra time? Even PKs?

Liverpool Klopp Episode 3 - Moneyball

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Southampton has been cited as the English Premier League's prime example of applying MoneyBall to the operation of their club.

Liverpool, owned by Fenway Sports Group (FSG), has the advantage of deeper pockets and the history and international brand of Liverpool but are unwilling or unable to spend the kind of money of the big 4 (Man City, Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal). Thus, from what I have read, FSG has tried to apply some MoneyBall thinking to bring Liverpool back to its glory days.

In the end, sports has its share of unfortunate turns of the tide. For Liverpool, the Script Writers gave them a nice start with two wins and a competitive draw against Arsenal. But then the wheels fell off with injuries to key players and listless draws and a couple of ugly losses. After 11 mostly listless matches, Rodgers was released from duty and Klopp brought in.

Thus far, Klopp has now presided over three draws. However, the fans seem to realize the club on the field right now is not what…

Potus 2016 - revisiting old posts, part II

On the Democratic side not much has changed.

At that time, I thought the "establishment" candidates would be Clinton, Biden and Cuomo. Only Clinton got in and just this past week Biden official decided not to get in.

In the "left wing/socialist" part of the party, I saw Warren, Sanders and O'Malley as probables. Warren opted out of the race while the other two did get in and Sanders has gathered some support while O'Malley hasn't gained any traction.

Finally, the only national defense democrat at that time who was making noises of running was Webb. He appeared in the debate and was pretty much marginalized by his cranky personality and relatively hawkish national security views.

The Democratic party is going "all-in" with Clinton. They are hoping the Clinton brand name hasn't exceeded its shelf-life and the "magic" of electing the first woman president will be enough to get her across the finish line. Hillary has all the baggage …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 2 - From Russia With Love

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Pre-game thoughts:

The LFC script-writers have Klopp's home debut through a Europa League contest with Rubin Kazan, a club from Russia.

Overall, the EPL, in recent years have not done particularly well in European competitions (Champions League and Europa League). One wonders if the EPL's claim that their league is the "best in the world" is true in the sense that on any given day a bottom half of the table club could give a top half of the table club a real contest. In which case, the EPL squads are worn down when lining up for the mid-week European contests.

Rodgers this season played mostly reserve squad players in the two Europa League matches yielding draws. I would expect Klopp to do the same in terms of selecting mostly bench players and giving younger players minutes to see what they got. Hopefully, he can motivate them and provide the tactics to get an elusive Europa league win.

LFC played a full throttle game against Tottenham on the 17th, face Rubin Kazan …

POTUS 2016 - revisiting some old posts ....

Here was my first post regarding the 2016 campaign.

Then and now .....

One obvious thing since the time of my old post was the unexpected run and current popularity of Donald Trump.

The other surprise was the fast flameouts of Governors Perry and Walker.

Romney and Ryan not running was anticipated and indeed they both opted to stay out of the race.

I had higher expectations for Jindal but he clearly hasn't caught on.

Theology: What is God's Timetable to Reach All the Nations?

Let me say at the outset that we should try to get our theology correct. I believe there is theological truth out there. However, there are times when there is mystery and uncertainty and I want to be honest about that when I am puzzling over it. Holding comprehension and mystery in tension isn't easy but I take comfort in the fact that it would appear that transformation of life by God takes place often in spite of our theological muddleheadedness.

As a blogger, I put ideas out there and they are not always fully baked; you might say, I'm thinking aloud by typing! That is what this post is about. So with those disclaimers out there, here we go ...

Aside from enjoying the unique scenery and visiting family and friends, I am always thinking "theologically" about the places I visit.

Sadly, like many European countries, Sweden today is nominally a "Christian" nation with many occasions of the liturgical calendar marked off as national holidays but in practice …

Elfsborg and Falkenberg win!

Elfsborg is playing only for pride. Even if they win out they aren't going to be champions nor will they qualify for Europa league. Thus, the match against Norrkoping, who is trying to win the league championship, all the motivation was on the Norrkoping side. Yet, Elfsborg got the 3-2 win!

Meanwhile, Falkenberg is fighting to stay in the league and avoid relegation. Position 15 and 16 is an automatic relegation while position 14 means a playoff against position 3 from Superettan.

At the moment, Falkenberg is at #14. They took care of business and crushed Atvidaberg 6-0!

Kalmar is at #13 two points ahead. However, making up those two points won't be easy as Falkenberg has matches against Djurgarden (#6) and Elfsborg (#4). Meanwhile, Kalmar faces Gefle (#10) and Goteborg (#3). Falkenberg's opponents are solid mid-table clubs while Kalmar has one "easier" game in Gefle where they could sneak a win. It is one thing to look at the table, yet it always come down to wh…

LA Galaxy Chopped Down to Size in 5-2 Defeat

A tale of two halves.

While possession and shots were pretty even in the first half, the opportunities for the Galaxy were better. Unfortunately, it only yielded one goal and two shots that hit the woodwork. Thus, instead of going into halftime up 3-0, they only had a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, it seemed as if the pitch was tilted toward the Portland attack. Don't know if it was greater urgency on the Portland Timber side or the Galaxy deciding to play defensive to hold the 1-0 lead. In any case, Portland was buzzing around the net constantly and eventually they broke through with the equalizer. And shortly after, the go ahead PK was followed by a third unanswered goal.

Keane brought some excitement to the Galaxy supporters making it 3-2 but then LA gave up a howler a minute later and the fans were heading out the doors.

With one game left in the regular season and teams jockeying for seeding in the playoffs, the Galaxy have not been playing well raising questions about their p…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 1: Star Coach - a New Hope

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The script writers at Liverpool FC have given the club a reboot with a new manager in Jurgen Klopp. Prior manager Rodgers was hired on potential while Klopp has had success in the Bundesliga by leading Borussia Dortmund to two league titles as well a finals appearance in the Champions League.

So with great fanfare and expectation, LFC took the field at White Hart Lane (Tottenham’s home pitch) with new hope tempered by the reality that several key players were still in various stages of recovery from injury and the team was getting used to the new boss.

The result: 0-0.

With a 4:45AM PDT kickoff, I saw only the final 10 minutes of the match. Amazing how players on both club were still running with such vigor even at the end of the match. From post-game analysis, it sounded like it was a fairly even match. LFC’s Origi hit the woodwork early but that Tottenham eventually had more and better chances but were stopped by often maligned LFC goalie Mignolet.

The next match comes through Europ…

Do Managers Make a Difference?

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We shall see if Jurgen Klopp can turn around the future of Liverpool!

Below is the screen capture of the last 11 matches of Brendan Rodgers.

3 wins.
6 draws (won the PK shootout with Carlisle).
2 losses.


The next transfer window opens up in January 2016 so LFC's roster is not going to change with the exception of losing players to injuries and players recovering from injuries.

Can Klopp get more from this group than Rodgers?

How well will Liverpool do over the next 11 with the new manager?

Improving on Rodgers' record is the least the fans expect so the baseline is 4 wins. But if Klopp really is the motivational and tactical genius people say he is, how many wins would be considered a success given the personnel he has on hand?

What if he improves in the win column but also takes more losses?

Best guess: 5 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses.




LFC Rodgers is out

Rodgers has been a lightening rod since I started following Liverpool in late 2014.

The team was going nowhere and there were calls for Rodger's firing.
But then he switched to the 3-4-3 and the team went on a great stretch of play only to collapse at the end of the season. 
The blowout loss to Stoke to finish the 2014-2015 EPL season would have been a reasonable time to have fired Rodgers with a summer to find a new coach and make some moves in the transfer market.
However, FSG decided to keep Rodgers. One wonders if that was their plan or they just didn't have any realistic manager candidates at that time. In Rodgers favor was the magic carpet ride of 2013-2014. The FSG braintrust probably felt that maybe Rodgers could catch lightening in a bottle again and should be given some more time.
But with the bland performances to the start of the 2015-2016 season, the fan base was getting restless. One also wonders what was the mood of the clubhouse. Certainly, the players were mak…

LA Dodgers 25 Man Roster for NLDS - my guesses

Time to play armchair manager.

The NLDS rosters are due the morning of the first game which will be Friday 9 October.

Here are my guesses:

Catchers: Grandal, Ellis (easy choices there)
Infield: Gonzales, Kendrick, Rollins, Turner, Utley, Seager
(the challenge is how much does Seager play and under which situations)
Outfield: Crawford, Hernadez, Ethier, Ruggiano, Pederson
(just don't think Puig is fully fit and ready to go)

Pitchers:
Left hand: Kershaw, Anderson, Wood, Howell, Availan
Right hand: Greinke, Garcia, Frias, Jansen, Hatcher, Baez, Peralta

Go Dodgers!

LFC injury woes - next up Aston Villa

Henderson is expected to be out 2 months.

Benteke is expected to be out 2 weeks.

Lovren is expected to be out 2 months.

Firmino is listed as day-to-day.

Aside from the tepid goal scoring (Liverpool has either scored 1 or 0 goals per game since the start of the ELP season and including Europa Cup and League Cup competitions), and weak defending, the injuries to key players are piling up.

Who will they trot out onto the pitch this Saturday?

As a "bigger" budget club (though not big 4), LFC is not without options but clearly the club has been searching for some line-up that has some cohesion.

Mignolet back in goal.
Defense: Sakho, Skrtel, Clyne
Midfield: Can, Moreno, Lucas, Allen
Forward: Coutinho, Sturridge, Ings

Subs with likely minutes: Lallana, Ibe, Origi
Subs: Bogdan, Milner (he needs a rest), Gomez, Rossiter


Out of league play for Galaxy and Liverpool

Liverpool have a match in the League Cup tonight against Carlisle. Since Carlisle is a mid-table League Two club, we would anticipate that Liverpool will rest most of the starters. Of course, that could wind up making the game more competitive!

I would guess Rodgers will use the opportunity to give some players a test as they comeback from injury. For instance, Sturridge is back but not fully fit. As is Lallana who is working his way back to fitness. Don't think that Benteke will be risked tonight however. Benteke is out for at least two matches. Will be interesting to see if Firmino gets a start as he hasn't had so many minutes considering how highly recruited he was. Perhaps feasting on a weaker club might build his confidence. Ings did so well against Norwich so expect he will get more time as he will be needed while Benteke is out. Would anticipate some of the younger guys like Rossiter and Brannagan to get either starting roles or substantial substitute minutes. The Echo …

UK Guardian Ruthven: Gerrard source of Galaxy defensive woes

Interesting analysis piece over by Graham Ruthven at the UK Guardian.

Excerpt:

With Gerrard in the line-up Juninho is pushed up the field into nosebleed territory, where he is not at his best. Besides, without the Brazilian’s mobility across the halfway line and in front of the back four LA are often left exposed through the middle, with Gerrard no longer the marauding, Captain Everything figure he once was in his pomp. Such deficiency was evident in the defeat to RSL, as the Galaxy’s backline suffered an overload in Utah.

If this is the case, what adjustment will need to be made? Is it just a matter of moving Juninho toward the back and having Gerrard play more forward?

I suppose one might also ask how consistently the Galaxy attacking players (Keane, Dos Santos, Lleget, and Zardes) track back and help with defense since the club is so offense minded.

Anyway, CONCACAF Champions League road game mid-week. Am guessing almost all the starters will be rested. Big showdown against FC Dalla…

Liverpool v Norwich

Good to see Lallana back in there and get a nifty goal. Would anticipate he is in the XI for Norwich.

Minoglet in goal as usual.

Defensive 4 or 3? And has Sakho won a spot in the starting line-up?

My guess is that Rodgers sticks with his usual 4: Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, and Gomez. With League Cup and Europa Cup games coming up, will see Sakho in those matches. If Lovren has any more howlers than Sakho will be plugged in.

Midfield three: Milner, Lucas, Firmino/Can/Moreno?

Firmino didn't play in the recent Europa league match. Is he in the doghouse? Or was he being rested for Norwich? Am figuring Firmino is going to start but he would be one of the first to be substituted in the 2nd half if he looks tired or is ineffective. Who do you put in? Can or Moreno? Am not sure Moreno has surpassed Can in the depth chart so Can probably gets the call when Firmino goes out. If Lucas is slowing down, Moreno gets in the game too.

Front three: Benteke, Lallana, Coutinho.

Ings comes in if they ne…