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Showing posts from February, 2015

First Sunday in Lent

Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV) In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." The story of Jesus baptism and temptation works apparently at several levels. Over the years, I've heard many ideas advanced as to why Jesus was baptized. The most recent I have read that Jesus fulfilling the role of the true Israel in that repentance precedes restoration. …

So Cal Sports Round-Up

Can the LA Kings make a run at defending their Stanley Cup title?

The first step is getting into the playoffs. At the moment, the Kings are on the edge of qualifying for the playoffs fighting for that last spot in the wildcard. There are still around 20 games to go so fans will watch the movement both up or down in the standings will mean whether they get in or out of the playoffs.

On the LA King's site there is a wonderful collection of videos that chronicled their dramatic playoff run in the 2013-2014 season. Seeing those videos vividly highlight the grit and determination needed to win a championship. Am figuring with this team, they can pull it together to make the playoffs. Just hope they can stay healthy enough to get that shot at defending the Cup as the many rounds of the playoffs will take its toll on any team.

Meanwhile, what about UCLA basketball?

In ESPN bracketology, UCLA is listed in the "last four in" group. Upsetting Arizona would be a big plus for their …

Liverpool v Besiktas, leg 1 and leg 2

Markovic given four-game suspension and thus not an option in Europa league play for the two-legs against Beskitas nor the two-legs should Liverpool advance.

Sterling is back on the training pitch but is he ready for a start or limited action?

Who should be on the line-up card for Thursday's Europa League match?

My guesses:
XI:
Mignolet
Sakho, Skrtel, Can
Henderson, Allen, Moreno, Lallana
Sturridge, Coutinho, Sterling
Subs:
Ward, Lovren, Toure (or Johnson), Ibe, Lambert, Balotelli, Borini

Since Sterling is coming back from injury, he will be observed and maybe substituted out at the half or earlier if necessary. Would figure Balotelli will be plugged in when Sterling comes out.

Will be interesting to see if Rodgers opts to go with Sturridge/Balotelli up at the top if he thinks Sterling might not yet be ready for a start. But as it stands, I don't think he is yet ready to put that duo up at the top unless he feels the team needs a jump start as they did against Crystal Palace in…

Transfiguration Sunday

Mark 9:2-9 (NRSV)
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. What was it like to have been one of the disciples following Jesus?

Certainly, they would have been mov…

Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Its been a great run for Liverpool but this Saturday in the 5th round of the FA Cup will be a test as to what the line-up card will be like in the post-Gerrard era as he joins Lucas on the injured list.

In addition, one wonders if Sterling will be back from his injury and whether Coutinho may be permitted a rest after logging so many miles on the field.

And, of course, how many minutes does the B. Rodger's brain trust want to put on Sturridge?

Starting XI?
Mignolet
Sakho, Skrtel, Lovren
Can, Henderson, Moreno, Ibe (apparently ineligible for FA competition), Manquillo
Lallana, Sturridge, Markovic
Subs?
Ward, Johnson, Toure (he isn't back yet from African Nations competition), Enrique, Allen, Lambert, Balotelli, Borini

Crystal Palace has been playing better with new manager Pardew so it should be a good match up but I think Liverpool can edge them out even with the depleted line up. Previously, Liverpool defeated Swansea (Dec 29, 2014) and West Ham (Jan 31, 2015) while giving Gerr…

Liverpool v Tottenham

Big match up Tuesday!

Big question marks for Liverpool:

1. Who does BR plug in for Lucas, now definitely out with injury?
Joe Allen? Or some other option?

2. Sturridge played 34 minutes on Saturday, how many more minutes is he ready for?
If BR sends him in for only one half, is it for the first of the second?

3. How do you utilize Gerrard?
He has logged a lot of minutes lately. Is a tired Gerrard still a better option or does BR roll the dice with one of the younger players either resting Gerrard entirely or limiting his minutes?

4. Who is covering Kane?
Don't see Liverpool "parking the bus." As such, it could be a free-flowing back-and-forth game!

UPDATE: Looks like Sterling is also out for today's match. So what will Rodgers put out on the field? My guess ...
XI:
Mignolet
Sakho, Skrtel, Can
Moreno, Allen, Henderson, Markovic
Coutinho, Sturridge, Gerrard
Subs:
Ward
Johnson, Ibe, Manquillo
Balotelli, Borini, Lambert

UPDATE: 3-2! Mario B hits the game winner!

Fifth Sunday After The Epiphany

Mark 1:29-39 (NRSV)
As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." And he…

Time running out for LA Kings?

Don't know if it is time to hit the panic button yet.

There are still about 30 games to go but the Kings have slipped to 12th place (there are 8 slots in the playoffs per conference) and are simply not playing well or well for 60 minutes.

The team did not add any high level players to last year's team via trade or free agency. The feeling was this team had another championship run in them despite being a year older (most of the team is below age 30). Unfortunately, the team has looked sluggish at times. On other occasions they are strong for two periods but lose focus in the third period. The team has the most overtime losses, again another indicator of not having enough in the tank. As hard as it is to admit, the loss of Voynov to legal issues maybe a major factor. He was regarded as the #4 defenseman on the club. With him out, they have had to fit in some journeyman defensemen and the mainstays have had to spend more time on the ice. This domino effect may have weakened the …

Everton v Liverpool

Regarding the upcoming Everton match, one suspects Rodgers line-up card will be driven by how fit from injury are Lucas, Lallana, and Markovic. If all three are unavailable, look for the regular goalie and back three, midfield of Henderson, Moreno, Manquillo, and Gerrard, forward of Coutinho, Sturridge, and Sterling. Would think Sturridge plays just the first half with Borini coming in for him in the second half. Subs: Ward, Johnson, Ibe, Allen, Borini, Lambert, and Balotelli. Look for all three substitutions to be used since huge Tottenham game is next up.

Busy time for Liverpool FC

Bolton on 2/4, Everton on 2/7, Tottenham on 2/10, three games in seven days!

Daniel Sturridge looks to be a sub for the near term until he gets fully fit again. 
Will be very curious how Rodgers juggles his starting lineups to accommodate so many games in such a short time. They want to beat Bolton to keep their FA Cup hopes alive. They want to beat Everton since they are their crosstown rival. They want to beat Tottenham to continue the climb up the table. So am figuring he will go with his starting 11 in each case but liberal substitutions in the second half.
Don't see an aging Gerrard playing all 90 minutes of all three games. Which game might he be taken out early?

Would think the Bolton match up provides the best chance for some rest for Gerrard in the second half should Liverpool grab the lead in the first half. In the "farewell" tour for Gerrard, I'm sure he will want to be on the field against Everton. Likewise, his leadership will be needed against Tottenham …

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany

Mark 1:21-28 (NRSV)
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching -- with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.Beginnings, part I

Each Gospel starts in its own way. Analogies I have heard used to explain the benefits of there being four Gospels have included: it …

The 2014 Summer Transfers

The manager always takes the heat when things don't go right.

Looking at the on-the-field performance, things were looking grim in the fall. However, the team has been doing better. They still aren't getting as many goals in line with their possession and shots toward the goal but they are getting wins and draws. So hats off to the coaching squad.

The owners of Liverpool FC, I have discovered recently, are from the USA in the from of the Fenway Sports Group based in Boston!

One thing they will have to look at is the people involved in the 2014 summer signings.

What I don't know is what was really expected of the signings going into the season as I wasn't following Liverpool then.

I'm figuring if you are getting paid 10 million pounds a year, you should probably be on the field a fair amount. For the curious, here is the Liverpool weekly salary. For comparison, see Chelsea.

Below are the summer signings and my brief observations
Adam Lallana (Southampton, £25m)
Gett…