Liverpool Klopp Episode 26: I am the Walrus



I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I'm crying .....

The crazy busy fixture schedule continues with this Saturday's FA Cup match against West Ham.



Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Noaa-walrus22.jpg

Klopp, the happy Walrus (yes, am continuing to strain to link the Liverpool story line to movies and Beatle songs!), lets everyone know at the presser today, not unexpectedly, that there will be line up changes. The injury update gives a window into possible lineup options.

Based on these smoke signals, we can engage in the pick the starting XI part of preparing the script for the battle with West Ham.

Am thinking the lineup used against Exeter in the replay is going to be the basis of team selection with some added senior first team strength.

Mignolet in goal. Smith and Randall at full back. Can't imagine the newly returned from injury Flanagan will get the call after that gutty 105 minutes against Stoke. At central defense, time to give Lovren the opportunity to work out the rust after the weeks out from injury. Caulker will pair with Lovren. Fill out the XI with Allen, Brannigan, Stewart, Benteke, Ibe, Teixeira. UPDATE: Looks like I think like the analysts over at the Guardian in regards to team selection.

USA TV coverage at FS2. Internet radio at LiverpoolFC.com and TalkSport.

UPDATE: Also from the presser, Klopp, that funny walrus, said that some of the journalists resembled the cranky Statler and Waldorf of the Muppets!

UPDATE: 0-0! Wasn't near a computer nor a TV so have only read some of the post-match comments. Sounds like both sides had opportunities but neither were able to cash them it. Good to see that the youngsters continue to do well and in particular against a EPL side like West Ham. Walsh at Liverpool Echo wonders when some of the "B" team will break into the "A" team. He pointed to Brannagan, Smith, Teixeira, and Allen as having shown they could challenge for spots on the "A" team.

"Pennies from Heaven," in other words, little change....

I posted this figure a couple of weeks ago on January 14.


Have the numbers changed much in these last 2 weeks?

Taking a look at the RCP poll of polls you find the following ...
National numbers:
Trump 36%
Cruz 19%
Carson 8%
"Establishment" 37%

Iowa figures:
Trump 33%
Cruz 28%
Carson 7%
"Establishment" 32%

New Hampshire
Trump 33%
Cruz 13%
Carson 3%
"Establishment" 51%

The numbers seem pretty static. Small increases here and there (Is a +5 gain by Trump in Iowa significant?). Small decreases here and there.

As we head into the final days before the Iowa caucus, what will happen?

Barring any major developments, I suspect the Trump and Cruz support is pretty well baked in. Thus, the unknown is how effectively those voters will actually turnout and the impact of the weather. My guts tell me that the Cruz supports will have the stronger turnout. Look for a toss-up in Iowa with Trump getting 30% and Cruz 30%. Either will "win" but the margin will be very small.

Other questions:
Will the Carson voters stand by him and send a message? Or will they turn to an "establishment" candidate to make their vote "count?" Or will they stay home in disgust? I'm looking for Carson's number to fall to 4%.

Will there be a movement among non-Trump/Cruz voters to one of the establishment candidates in a practical "stop Trump/Cruz" momentum? At the moment, Rubio appears to be the mostly likely recipient of that option in Iowa. I'm anticipating he will hit 20%. He needs strong 3rd placing showing to stay in the race. If Santorum doesn't get to 10%, he will probably drop out. Likewise, Huckabee needs 10% to stay in.

Kasich/Bush/Christie are betting on New Hampshire. But if any are outpaced by Huckabee/Fiorina/Santorum that would not be a good sign for them. Kasich is banking on a strong third place showing in New Hampshire. Rubio can probably survive a fourth place in NH but not any lower. 

Liverpool Klopp Episode 25: The Two Towers




LFC against Stoke in a League Cup Leg 2 Semi-Final match on Tuesday at Anfield.

Both clubs should be highly motivated. Look for a knock down drag out match as both teams covet the chance at silverware in this competition as their prospects for a top 4 finish in the EPL are limited.

Keep an eye on Liverpool Echo for any updates to the current injury report. There is concern that Clyne might not be ready to go. Flanagan may get the call if necessary. Lovren is back to full training but can't image he would get a start under the circumstances. Otherwise, look for the same group that went on the field at Norwich to be on the XI sheet on Tuesday. If Lallana is fully fit, he will probably get the start over Ibe. If not, then Ibe starts with Lallana subbing in as happened at Norwich.

Tactically, it might be tempting to sit on the 1-0 aggregate lead. However, given LFC's defensive problems, that would be a risky approach. Thus, LFC should go on the attack? However, after such a emotionally draining victory on Saturday against Norwich, how much spring do they have in their step? Would they be able to apply their press and go for the quick goal to put Stoke in the hole 2-0 in the aggregate? In the end, Liverpool needs to play to their strength which is to go on the attack. Don't go crazy and take excessive risks on the attack but definitely apply some pressure and see if Firmino and his front line mates can catch the Stoke defenders napping. For LFC, the best defense is a good offense.

TV coverage in the USA is at beIN Sport. Internet radio coverage at TalkSport and BBC 5 Live (turns out only pre-/post-match comments are available in the USA; the game itself is blocked) and LFC.com. Here is a preview of the match over at the BBC. At Liverpool Echo, Pearce notes that this seasons LFC's biggest victories have taken place on the road and that tonight would be a great night to have a huge home victory.

UPDATE:


UPDATE:
Have heard some of the coverage at TalkSport. Torpid effort by LFC. Not a lot from Stoke either but they did snatch a goal in stoppage time just before the half thus, 1-0 for this match and 1-1 in the aggregate. Don't know if LFC is worn out from the Saturday match but tired or not, they need a goal and to keep Stoke out of the goal to make it to Wembley Stadium. Away goal rules apply after extra-time and then it could go into penalty kicks.

UPDATE:
It is a final. In penalty kicks. The seventh spot kick from Stoke is saved by Mignolet. The seventh spot kick by Liverpool by Joe Allen sends the Reds to the League Cup Finals!

Liverpool Klopp Episode 24: Forrest Gump



Early Saturday morning (Pacific Standard Time 4:45AM) match with Norwich.

Norwich is in a relegation fight and so will be highly motivated while Liverpool is a struggling mid-table club. Hopefully, the Reds can get out and run (Run Liverpool Run) and get a couple of goals on Norwich early and close them out by halftime. I suppose the other quote from Forrest Gump that would be appropriate to LFC's struggles would be "Liverpool is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get."

LFC got 3 on Exeter (4th level of the pyramid) but it didn't happen until late 2nd half. Norwich will be much tough competition. Of course, Liverpool will play its senior first team players against Norwich. However, they haven't exactly torn a hole in the nets.

Lallana is an injury question mark.

Thus, Klopp will probably call up the same lineup as he did against Man United with the exception of finding Lallana's replacement. Will Klopp give the opportunity to Jordon Ibe? Or will he send in Benteke? In keeping with his run, run, run tactics, I think Ibe gets the call with Benteke coming in the 2nd half. Wonder if Allen will get some minutes as he had a good showing against Exeter. Hopefully, we won't have to see Caulker coming in as an emergency striker. Happy to have him in as a defensive substitution to hopefully slam the door on Norwich!

Mellor over at Liverpool Echo thinks that Henderson and Firmino could use a break in the anticipation of a hard match against Stoke in the League Cup Semi-Finals. If so then Allen may get a start for Henderson and Benteke would be starting in place of Firmino. Ibe would be plugged in for the injured Lallana. However, I don't think Klopp will go this route. I think he fields his "A-team" and if they get the lead then he will substitute early.

Post-game:
Didn't get up at 4:45AM! But awoke to see LFC leading 4-3. With sleepy eyes, I could see that Norwich didn't seem to be able to get organized but neither did LFC look to be playing defense with much urgency. Caulker was sent in for Moreno at 90' for fresh defensive legs to slam the door on Norwich. And lightening struck as Norwich blasted home the equalizer at 90' + 2 as Liverpool did a remarkable impression of statues on defense. The scriptwriters had one more twist left up their sleeve! Stung by the turn of events, LFC regained urgency and pushed forward and on a set piece they pounded the box and in pin-ball machine shaking fashion the ball bounced around until Lallana pounced on it and scored the winner at 90' + 5.  Klopp and company went wild at their great escape with three points!

Temple Destruction in AD 70 In Context

As someone sitting in the 21st Century, reading that Jesus forecasted (in ~ AD 33) the destruction of the Temple (see Olivet Discourse Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) probably doesn't conjure up the full impact of the event that took place in AD 70.

The picture in my head would be of a temple for any number of Asian Eastern Religions found in Chinatowns in any large city in the USA. These buildings can be quite well built but they probably don't match up to the size and grandeur of the Temple of Jerusalem. Additionally, for the Jews of the ancient world, beyond the sheer size and grandeur of the Temple of Jerusalem, it was a singular structure, truly at the center of their religious beliefs and practices and identity as a people.

Of course, if one extends the search for religious structures worldwide, one can find some pretty spectacular structures. A Google search for Buddhist temples yields this tourism web page that has wonderful photos of what they consider the 10 most spectacular Buddhist temples. While at it, the same tourism web page has fantastic photos of the 10 most notable Hindu temples.  An architect offers his opinion of the 10 cathedrals you should see before you die and here is a list of 10 mosques.

However, relative to the Temple of Jerusalem which was the HEART of the people of Israel's faith, these don't compare. They may compare in terms of beauty and the grand scale of a structure but in terms of significance to an entire group of people there would be no comparison.

What did the Temple look like?

Since it was destroyed, one can only attempt to recreate it based on Biblical and historical documents that described it. And a model was built that resides at the Israel Museum. See photo below from Wikipedia.

Jerusalem Modell BW 3

Does all this context help us understand how traumatic Jesus' prediction of the Temple destruction would be to those who heard it?

However, it was more than just the destruction of a building. The events surrounding it also meant the ending of the Jewish nation of that time and was accompanied by deaths that may have exceed one million.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 23: Let It Be




Klopp has said in his press conference he will go largely with the younger players in the FA CUP replay.

The question marks:

Goal Keeper
Will Bogdan get the call again?
Ward isn't eligible for the match. Will Mignolet get the call or get the night off? Mignolet would be a reasonable move to give the XI some first team strength.

Defense
Previously Enrique/Illori/Smith/Randall
From reading post-match comments, Enrique and Illori seemed to run out of gas. Thus, will Klopp try someone else? Maguire subbed in for Illori so maybe he gets the start this time? I'm figuring Enrique remains as Klopp is pretty short handed with defenders.

Midfield
Previously Brannigan/Stewart/Kent/Teixeira
Chirivella was subbed in for Kent so maybe he starts this one. Klopp had Lallana and Lucas on the bench but didn't use them. I would look for one of the senior team midfielders to get in this game perhaps even as a starter. Perhaps Allen could be considered for this assignment.

Forward
Previously Sinclair and Benteke.
Benteke is in for sure. Maybe Ojo will start for Sinclair as last time Ojo subbed for Sinclair.

Go Liverpool!


There you have it. Several senior first team players in the starting XI. Hopefully, they can put a few goals on Exeter early and remove any drama from the match.

USA TV coverage is at Fox Sports. Internet radio coverage can be obtained at the LiverpoolFC.com site.

UPDATE: The youngsters took care of business with a little help from the senior members! Allen opened the scoring at 10'. LFC kept threatening and finally broke through for their second at 74' (Ojo) and then Teixeira iced it at 82'.

The Long Life of the Genesis Patriarchs?


Image from p. 12 of the 1995 edition of Spirit Filled Life Bible for Students.

Ever wonder about those people in Genesis who lived a long time?

Certainly, those who take the Scriptures seriously have to grapple with how we should view these texts.

One option would be to suppose that there was something different about the environment of those times or something different about the humans of those times or some combination of both that fostered the longer life spans. From this perspective, the great age of these individuals are taken at face value.

However, could one offer an explanation that takes the integrity of Scripture seriously and yet acknowledges that people rarely live beyond 100 years of age and certainly not many centuries beyond 100 years as the Patriarchs seem to?

One of the principles of Bible interpretation is to recognize the GENRE of the particular text being examined. Thus, is it possible that these long-life recitations fall into a genre that is non-literal?

Was chatting with a friend who is very interested in the Old Testament suggested that this might be the case. Apparently, in the ancient Middle East, other cultures of the time also had documents that claimed people who lived a very long time. For instance, the Babylonian kings

Of course, we can only speculate as to what is going on. Scholars suggest that these exaggerated life spans was a way to (1) highlight the greatness of those people, (2) account for the fact the historical memory of ancient events encompassed more years than they could accurately account for, and (3) the inflated numbers were keyed to numerology of the culture.

Thus, could the Genesis genealogies with extended life spans be of that same genre?

A case could be made that there is a "mythic" quality to the accounts of Adam until Abraham. One definition of myth is a fanciful untrue story. However, as a literary style, a myth is a non-literal explanation of reality. And indeed, that is one of the purposes of those early chapters of Genesis. They are attempts to describe how things came to be with particular emphasis on the relationship of God and humanity, God and the creation, and humanity and the creation.

As for numerology in these texts, the one that jumps out right away is that there are 10 generations from Adam to Noah and 10 generations from Noah to Abraham. Because of this, some interpreters have suggested that from Abraham onward, the writing is more historical in the sense we understand literal history and the material prior to Abraham is more mythic in the genre sense of non-literal history.

The challenge of the numerology explanation is the ages specified for the various people in these genealogies. However, the lack of clarity on what the "key" is doesn't change the impact of these texts to describe the reality of the human condition.


Liverpool Klopp Episode 22: Dirty Harry

The last time Liverpool and Manchester United faced off at Anfield this happened ...



To see the above incident from the live coverage go here.

Hopefully, nothing like that will happen this Sunday. A contested match up with a lot of Passion (as Charlie is a Red would say) is what fans from both sides are looking for and desire most. No crazy stuff. Could be a very exciting match but then again it could be a low scoring affair as Kelly and Patterson at ESPNFC predict.

I think not. It is a long standing and fierce rivalry and Coach Klopp has the same kind of fiery personality as Gerrard. Here is a comment from the Liverpool boss about styles of play he has made in the past: “I don’t like winning with 80% [possession]. Sorry, that is not enough for me. That’s not my sport. Fighting football, not serenity football, that is what I like. What we call in German ‘English’: rainy day, heavy pitch, 5-5, everybody is dirty in the face.”

Could we imagine Klopp saying the lines of this classic Eastwood scene without hesitation in a Liverpool pub to fire up the fans?

Uh uh. I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?



Am looking for a lively contest with LFC wanting to take it to Manchester United right from the start like they did against Arsenal. Klopp probably selects the same lineup as Wednesday night's XI that played Arsenal to a draw. The only uncertainties right now is whether Lovren and Sturridge might be fit enough to make the bench.

UPDATE: Good morning LFC fans! How is #theKOP feeling at the half? Blogging here from Pacific Standard Time having caught the last 10 minutes of the first half. According to the analysts at NBCSN, Liverpool had more opportunities. UK Guardian Steinberg agrees. Of what I saw, the Reds seemed a little quicker to the ball than MUFC. The second half is about to begin with no substitutions.

50' Can has a good opportunity but is denied by De Gea!

55' MUFC with some sustained possession but shot goes wide.

57' MUFC in the box threatening and calling for a foul but to no avail.

59' LFC gets a brief bit of possession and take the shot but well over the net.

60' MUFC looking the better side with a corner coming up. LFC handles it and the threat ends with a goalie kick.

62' Another brief spurt of possession for LFC ends with Henderson firing it right to De Gea.

65' Mata in for MUFC and Lingered goes out.

71' MUFC Depay in for Herrera. LFC haven't used any subs yet.

66' LFC get two quick shots on goal but De Gea parries both efforts!

70' MUFC clearly dominating possession this half but haven't really been able to do much yet. But at some point will LFC defensive concentration lapse?

73' Will Benteke eventually get the call for LFC? Or will he be viewed as a liability. Will Ibe be sent in for fresh pace?

76' Ibe in for Lallana.

77' MUCF get a corner. Nervous time! Ugh! Rooney scores. Do LFC have a late game equalizer in them like they did Wednesday night against Arsenal?

80' Benteke gets the call and Toure goes out.

89' Caluker in for Milner. Last chance to dance. 3' stoppage time.

92' Benteke offside. That might be all she wrote. Goalie kick and the whistle is blown.

LFC 0 MUFC 1.

Man of the match has to be De Gea whose goal keeping kept LFC off the score sheet. LFC had its chances but they were not, sadly, as usual, "clinical" enough to cash in those chances.

Post-script

Certainly, I think any reader of this blog will see generally positive views of Coach Klopp here.

He has changed the dynamics of the team and the relationship with the fan base and they have won some great games. In fairness to him, the team its one he inherited with all the pros and cons that go with that and so some of the complaints can't be laid at his feet. For the amount of money FSG has spent on players, one would have to say it has been a disappointment. Recruitment is not an exact science. Ask any NFL team that has selected a quarterback with a valuable draft pick! Ask any college basketball coach who has selected highly rated high school basketball players! Suffice to say there are many examples of quarterbacks that did great in college and didn't do much in the NFL. There have been many McDonald's All-American high school basketball players that turn out to be marginal college players. Likewise, in selecting soccer players. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that LFC has paid a large wage bill for mainly players that turn out, thus far, to be B+ players or worse. Klopp has decided not to spend too much in the January transfer window as he and FSG realize that they will get better options in the summer. They have realized that this year a top 4 finish is possible but not likely so for the long term future of the club, waiting until summer to retool is prudent.

So what is the "on the other hand?"

The rash of injuries can partly be blamed on "bad luck" but a certain percentage could be attributed to  Coach Klopp's usage of "gegenpressing." The English Premier League is already a high pace highly physical league and to lay on top of that his "heavy metal" aggressive tactics probably pushed a few of the players over their physical limits. No doubt, Klopp will adjust his tactics but he may have been overly optimistic in implemented the approach but not fully grasping how punishing the EPL style of play is and crowded fixture schedule of English football with its various competitions plus Europa.

As for the defeat to Manchester United today, one might offer the classic sports pundit claim that Klopp got out-coached by Van Gaal. Even a fairly novice soccer viewer like myself noted early on in the second half that MUFC was getting the better of the match. In the first half, LFC seemed quicker to the loose ball and that was not the case in the second half. Van Gaal sensing weakness sent in fresh attackers in Mata (66') and Depay (72'). Two fresh attackers against a tiring LFC club was bound to pay off. Indeed, Wayne Rooney banged home the goal at the 78' mark. Now Klopp did put in Ibe at the 76' mark but perhaps he should have made a second or even a third substitution to counter Van Gaal's fresh attackers. Instead, the goal got scored at 76' and Benteke was subbed in at 81' and Caulker at 90'. Perhaps, a little too little too late.

Liverpool get the FA Cup rematch against at Anfield against Exeter on Wednesday (1/20) followed by an EPL road match against Norwich Saturday (1/23) followed by Leg 2 of the League Cup against Stoke Tuesday (1/26). With this busy fixture, would look for the youngsters to get the lion's share of the minutes on Wednesday come what may in the FA Cup.

The GOP "Establishment" is Closing in on Panic City


What do you think?

There are 4 blocs of GOP voters right now. The Venn diagram shows where I think they may overlap. 

As you can see, from the polling data, the Establishment is always the largest group though barely so in the national data. But the problem for this bloc is that its support is divided among four candidates leaving an opening for Trump and Cruz. If the Establishment had gotten behind one candidate, the race would still be interesting but there would not be the atmosphere of panic that is starting to set in.

The key is the overlaps in the Venn diagram. Between now and actual voting there could be movement by voters between the respective circles that will determine the outcome of the nomination process. Will the Carson voters eventually move to an establishment candidate? How much movement back-and-forth is there among the voters who are supporting Trump or Cruz? If Cruz turns out to be the anybody but Trump candidate, will the Establishment voters move to him? If one of the Establishment candidates finally breaks above the rest would Carson and Cruz supporters support that candidate?

In addition to voters moving between the circles, there is the possibility of people deciding not to vote at all.

The nomination calendar is front loaded:
February 1 - Iowa
February 9 - New Hampshire
February 20 - South Carolina
February 23 - Nevada
March 1 - the "SEC" primary

Probably after New Hampshire and almost certainly after South Carolina, the Establishment will be faced with the following possibilities:
1. One of the establishment candidates has clearly broken through and it is a 3-candidate race with Trump/Cruz/Establishment going forward.
2. None of the Establishment candidates has broken through and the only alternative is to throw support to Cruz to stop Trump.
3. Cruz stumbles and Trump is marching and the Establishment candidates will need to lock themselves in a room and decide which one of their number will be the one to try to stop Trump.

Job 31:22

Was reading in Job 31 the other day ...

19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or a poor person without covering,
20 whose loins have not blessed me,
and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
because I saw I had supporters at the gate;
22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket
.


No big theological point to make here. Just stand amazed at the vivid language of the Scriptures!

The puzzle of Genesis 6:1-4

Like many people, I've started off the new year with a commitment to read the Scriptures. There are various reading plans available. I'm using the "chronological" reading plan.

A few days back, came across the cryptic passage Genesis 6:1-4.
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then the Lord said, “Mversus y spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
Over the years, the explanation I have heard most frequently was that the "sons of God" were angels and that they mated with the "daughters of men" resulting in the "Nephilim."

I have to say I have never been all that satisfied with that explanation. After all, angels are not humans! They aren't just a different species of animal life, they are a completely different kind of being.

Anyway, having read the passage again because of the reading plan, I found myself scratching that itch of what is this passage about. I went to my copy of the Reformation Study Bible and saw the following interpretation offered: "sons of God. These have been identified as Sethites (the traditional Christian interpretation), as angels (the earliest Jewish interpretation; cf. Job 1:6), and as royal tyrannical successors to Lamech who gathered harems (proposed by rabbis of the second-century AD). All three interpretations can be defended linguistically. On the surface, the first interpretation best fits the immediate preceding context (a contrast of the curse-laden line of Cain with the godly line of Seth), but it fails to explain adequately how “daughters of man” refers specifically to Cainite women. The second view has ancient support, but seems to contradict Jesus’ statement that angels do not marry (Mark 12:25) and does not explain why the focus is on mortals (v. 3) and the judgment on them (vv. 5–7). The third interpretation best explains the phrase “any they chose” (12:10–20; 20:1; 1 Sam. 11) but lacks as much ancient support. The best solution is probably a combination of the last two. These human offspring are also the spiritual offspring of Satan (3:15), empowered by demons (cf. Deut. 32:17)."

What do you think?

Seems to me if one is going to invoke fallen angels then they would have to have "taken" possession of the men in the passage rather than angels who take human form. Or as the notes suggest, the fallen angels took possession of the offspring. This is really the only way around the whole "angels aren't just a different species of animal life, they are a completely different kind of being" problem.

Explanation one has some appeal as that doesn't require invoking angels. As noted, in context, Genesis 4 followed the descendants of Cain while Genesis 5 follows the line of Seth.

It would be simplistic to say Cain's line though cursed was without any "good." If you look at some of his descendants, they are said to have been involved with nomadic herding (Jabal), music (Jubal), and metalworking (Tubal-Cain). I think these can be viewed as positive contributions to society.

Likewise, though Seth's line was chosen to be the ancestors of the People of Israel and ultimately of Jesus, the Christ, it would be simplistic to say that line was "good." In that genealogy, Enoch is explicitly described as walking with God (Genesis 5:24) while that description is sadly absent from the others in list.

The one glimmer of hope can be found in Genesis 4:26, "Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord."

Who were these "people?"

Were they limited to the descendants of Seth?

The text doesn't demand that conclusion and I would feel more strongly toward that view if more of the Seth genealogy were positive like Enoch.

Perhaps, the weight isn't on figuring out who are the "sons of god" and "daughters of men" but rather on simply describing the "spirit of that age." Note the two interesting phrases: "they took wives for themselves of all that they chose" and "These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown."

What do we make of that?

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

The "taking" of wives and the "all that they chose" language sounds bad. Makes me think of what is happening with the male ISIS fighters taking wives. I have no knowledge of the Biblical Hebrew language to know if the original language points to this kind of oppression. But in the English translation, it sounds coercive.

As for "heroes" and "warriors of renown," that sounds sort of positive? But then warriors would suggest violence. The archetype of the heroic warrior is the reluctant warrior combating evil. However, what was the nature of the conflict in this context?

What we do know is that after this text, we have the story of Noah where God is in despair over the evil and violence that has filled the earth.

See Genesis 6:11-13: Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 

Perhaps Genesis 6:1-4 is a very terse description to sum up what had happened to humanity?

If so, then invoking angels mating with humans might not really be necessary. Perhaps, the text is simply describing the ethos of the time: the oppressive taking of wives and venerating of those who were violent?

Makes you wonder if Noah would recognize something familiar about the passing scene in the 21st Century?

After I wrote all the material here, I did a search on the phrase "sons of god and daughters of men" and found this analysis by R.C. Sproul.

What do you think?

We share a similar discontentment with the explanations that invoke angels mating with humans. Sproul makes the specific argument that the "sons of god" and "daughters of men" are covenantal terms.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 21: Raiders of the Lost Ark



LFC face league leading Arsenal on Wednesday at Anfield. Does Indiana Klopp and his crew have another great escape up their sleeve?

In LFC player news, Origi will be out a bit longer as he has had knee surgery. However, looks like Sakho, Milner, and Henderson maybe good to go for the match. The club has gone the loan route to pick up an extra center back in Steven Caulker. Danny Ward has returned from loan indicating that Bogdan may have fallen out of favor as the backup goal keeper.

The remainder of January is crowded (see image of fixture list for the remainder of the month below) and the challenge of picking a lineup with so many injuries will continue. Hopefully, more players will be ready to go. The only "mystery" aside from who is actually fully fit to play is whether Benteke will be in the starting line-up. However, injuries might give Benteke the start. If Klopp goes with a three-man front, he can select Lallana and Firmino plus one more. Ibe is recovering from injury so he may or may not be ready to go. Thus, Benteke would be the third man up front. I see that the Liverpool Echo hasn't posted its round-table of writers selecting the line-up. I suppose that article may drop early Wednesday morning.


Go Liverpool!


Klopp has opted to keep Benteke on the bench and Ward is now the #2 keeper.

Previously, the two clubs battled to a 0-0 draw way back in August. Optimism ran high after that gutty performance by the Reds. However, the wheels began to fall off after that for Rodgers.

What will happen tonight?

Arsenal is obviously the favorites tonight as the league leaders and would be expected to try to get a quick lead on Liverpool as LFC's defense has often been caught early in matches. However, I think if Klopp's crew can weather the early storm, their chances of a draw and maybe even stealing a win goes up. You just don't want to be playing from behind!

Certainly, if they had Coutinho in there, their ability to move quickly into offense mode would be enhanced. Nonetheless, between Ibe, Firmino, and Lallana, they should have the pace to cause some problems. Cashing in those opportunities has been an issue this season and so now would be the time to be more "clinical". Then there is the midfield and the back four (plus keeper). They will need to be talking to each other or Arsenal will run rampant.

Klopp has been quoted as saying: "[Wenger] likes having the ball, playing football, passes. It's like an orchestra, but it's a silent song, yeah? And I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud! I want to have this: 'BOOM!'"

Go Liverpool!

UPDATE: Oh, my! I figured it will be a 1-0 final score line. It is 2-2 at the 25 minute mark! Firmino with two goals!

It's a final:  3-3! Moreno bombed it into the box, Benteke got a head on it and Allen banged it home at the 90 minute mark to snag a draw from the jaws of defeat!

One one hand, if you asked would you take a draw with Arsenal, I think most would take that. However, one the other hand, LFC was up 1-0 and 2-1, and so there is a feeling of a missed opportunity to take the three points. Likewise, Arsenal had the 3-2 lead on the Reds but let it slip away in the 90th minute. In any case, great drama at Anfield and a prime demonstration that a certain percentage of sports is psychological. LFC's in ability to be consistently tough on defense to hold the lead. Likewise, the same could said of Arsenal.

Next: Manchester United!

LA Galaxy Off-Season

In 2015, these were the players who had starter minutes and substitution minutes later in the season:
Defense
Gonzalez - transferred to Pachuca in Mexico Liga MX
Remain under contract:
Rogers - 1/12 contract extension
DeLaGarza
Leonardo
Gargan

Midfield/Forwards
Vayrynen - out of contract not returning
Zardes - contract in negotiation
Juninho - UPDATE 12/24 Transferring to Club Tijuana
Remain under contract:
Gerrard
Lletget
Husidic

Forwards/Midfield
Gordon - out of contract but in negotiations UPDATE: has signed a new contract.
Remain under contract:
Keane
Dos Santos

Goalie
Ricketts - Galaxy has signed Kennedy
Rowe - remains under contract

As you can see, most of the pieces of the 2015 team remain with the club.

Some of the prospects and lesser utilized backups (Brian Perk, Andrew Wolverton, Tommy Meyer, Kenney Walker, Edson Buddle and Charlie Rugg) are out of contract. These prospects and backups (Rafael Garcia 1/12 contract extension, Bradford Jamieson IV, Ignacio Maganto, Raul Mendiola, Dave Romney, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal 1/12 contract extension)  remain under contract.

The MLS has a salary cap but some flexibility is provided by the targeted allocation money (TAM) and homegrown player funds. And finally, there are the designated player rules (DP).

The writers at LAG Confidential have concerns about the new keeper, and Dos Santos' role. Armchair Analyst Doyle at MLSsoccer is concerned about the direction of the Galaxy in his look at the defeat in the knockout round.

Started following the Galaxy in 2010 as a result of the USMNT World Cup effort and the signature moment that Donovan provided. It has been a good run since then 2010 (lost in conference finals), 2011 (won MLS Cup), 2012 (won MLS Cup), 2013 (lost in conference semi-finals), 2014 (won MLS Cup), and 2015 (lost in knockout round). Easy to get spoiled with 3 MLS Cups in 6 years!

As of now, I don't see myself "jumping" ship to LAFC. And besides, they aren't going to be actually playing until 2018! Go Galaxy!

UPDATE: There is talk that LA is looking to bring in 35-year old Ashley Cole. Seems to me to be a head-scratcher to make that move. The team needs to get younger not older! I can't see the rationale of the move unless they are getting him at a real bargain price. Otherwise, I would think the Galaxy would want to spend its salary cap money on players with a little more upside and years left/to go in the legs.

LA Galaxy lastest moves

Jeff Larentowicz has been signed. Mike Gray's (LAG Confidential) comment:
I'm a fan of the move. Larentowicz is a quality defensive midfielder who should shine being surrounded by a talented cast. Big Red is dangerous on set pieces from distance and long-range shots, and can also double as a center back. On the other hand, the 32-year old fits the "Too old, not fast enough" stereotype that has plagued Galaxy signings.
Sean Steffen (LAG Confidential) is not optimistic and provides a stat heavy analysis of LA Galaxy's problems in 2015 and how unlikely Larentowicz will be helpful.

LAG Confidential reports other possible signings here and here. The item of concern is that the potentials players are Nigel de Jong, 31, Joleon Lescott, 33, and Ashley Cole, 35. As you can see, they are all over 30. Putting together a team is a challenge within budget constraints. One does want a balance of experience (older players) and potential (younger players). However, it does feel like the Galaxy brain trust is looking mostly at older players.

Meanwhile, speaking of potential, what will the response be to the marketing machine that is the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC)? A few days ago, they introduced their crest and it is winning wide praise. Below is the video introducing the crest and the vision behind it.




LAFC is not set to play until 2018 as they still need to build a stadium and recruit beyond the front office staff.

My ties to the LA Galaxy started in 2010 due to the goal heard around the USA by Landon Donovan in the 2010 World Cup. Since he played for the LA Galaxy and I live in LA, it made sense to follow them. Yes, there was Chivas USA but that club was a basket case in terms of management and didn't make the playoffs in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The club at that point went under.

Meanwhile, from 2010, the Galaxy claimed three MLS Cups in six years.

Nonetheless, there are reasons why a LA Galaxy fan might switch to following LAFC. First of all, the LA Galaxy don't actually play in the Los Angeles. They play in Carson, a city in LA County. LAFC plans to build a stadium close to downtown LA. Thus, for some fans, going to the future LAFC home matches may be easier than making the trek to Carson. Since 2010, I've attended just three matches. I do give credit to the LA Galaxy organization for maintaining a good atmosphere at the stadium and the prices are manageable. However, the location of LAFC will be easier to access for some fans. One wonders what the pricing of tickets will be like in comparison to the LA Galaxy.

LAFC have some heavy hitters in the LA scene as part of its ownership group and as you can see from the video above are committed to building something special.

And finally, there is something special about joining something new with great potential.

We shall see. LAFC won't play its first match until 2018 so I'm happy to follow the Galaxy as they are the only game in town.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 20: Ob-la-di, ob-la-da

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah
La la how the life goes on
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah
La la how the life goes on
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/the-beatles/ob-la-di-ob-la-da-lyrics/#btET5T6ms0gViwmv.99


Klopp means no disrespect to the FA Cup competition but the injury woes have forced the situation. He will be playing a lot of the youngsters on Friday against Exeter. Should be interesting!

TV coverage in the USA is through Fox Sports. As for Internet radio, will be checking TalkSport and LiverpoolFC to find out if they have an audio feed. Otherwise, will be looking for live blogging at UK Guardian, ESPNFC, or the FA Cup site.

Here is an item over at the Liverpool Echo where pundits Pearce and Kelly catalog the younger LFC players who may get the call tonight for the FA CUP. Klopp will probably have to pick at least 2 senior level players for leadership on the field. For that, I'd think he would go with Joe Allen and James Milner. The other Echo writers seem to think Benteke will be in and are split on using Can at center back. I'm not so sure Benteke will start. I can see him as a second half substitute but not a starter. As for Can at center back, I think he could use the rest. Maybe bring him in as a second half substitute for mid-field but I think his days of being a center back are done unless it is an emergency situation.

UPDATE: Here is the line-up.....
Liverpool: Bogdan, Randall, Tiago Ilori, Jose Enrique, Smith, Stewart, Brannagan, Kent, Teixeira, Benteke, Sinclair.
Subs: Lallana, Lucas, Fulton, Ojo, Chirivella, Maguire, Masterson.

Coverage by internet radio at LiverpoolFC with registration. At the half Exeter 2 Liverpool 1.

Final score 2-2. Liverpool equalized at 74 minutes.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 19 - the Fellowship of the Ring



After a poor outing down at West Ham, Liverpool's next match is leg one of the League Cup semi-final against Stoke and other matches in a full January calendar.

Klopp was clearly disappointed in the team's output in the 2-0 loss. The schedule marches on with a mix of League Cup, FA Cup and Premier League matches. The team remains short handed with many key players on the injured list.

Will the existing first team members find it within themselves to rally?

Who will take the lead? Who will show the dogged determination to find a way to keep the club competitive and to bring everyone onto the same page so they have a chance to win? Klopp can draw up a game plan. He can shout instructions and encouragement from the sideline. However, it is the guys on the field who are going to need to reach for that 100% effort.

Might see some of the younger players in the FA Cup match but for League Cup, it is going to be the guys getting paid the big bucks who will be out there. This group has gotten some tight wins (the recent 1-0 wins) as well as big wins (over Man City and Southampton) but they have also been tossed around like rag dolls in the losses. Am sure Stoke is going to try to push them around but whether they are as well suited to that style compared to some other teams is an open question. Nonetheless, it is pretty clear that LFC hasn't responded well to those types of tactics and have a bad habit of giving up an early goal. Will LFC be able to stand up to Stoke? Will they press the advantages they have to cash in possessions and opportunity. Haven't been following EPL that long but the phrase the announcers use is "they need to be more clinical in their finish."

Who should start against Stoke?
Mignolet or Bogdan? Bogdan has played in many League Cup matches but now it is the semis so time to go back to LFC's prime goalkeeper Mignolet. Probably see Bogdan in the FA Cup match.
Back four: Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno.
Defensive Midfield: Clearly, the club is feeling the strain of missing Milner and Henderson who when healthy have the motor and talent to play defense and jump into the flow of offense at the right moment. As it is, I think the pairing of Can and Lucas is going to be stronger than any pairing with Allen.
Offense: got to go with Benteke and Coutinho; but then who takes the last two spots in the starting line-up between Lallana, Firmino, and Ibe? I think you go with the speed of Lallana and Ibe.

The fact that selecting a line-up is relatively straightforward is an indication of how long the injury list is. If Klopp had the option of putting Milner, Henderson, Origi, Sturridge, Ings, Skrtel, and Gomez into the mix, the ritual of "guess the starting XI" would be a lot more varied! Additionally, I would think LFC's results would be much better having the ability to rotate into the line-up a larger routine roster. Injuries is part of sports but the level of injuries that have hit LFC is pretty steep. As it is, the hectic schedule of EPL, League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa does wear teams down and I think part of Liverpool's issues has been the fatigue factor of having such an injury depleted roster to select from.

UPDATES:
Lineup announced: Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno, Lucas, Can, Allen, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Bogdan, Milner, Benteke, Brannagan, Ibe, Smith, Randall.

Am assuming Sakho is injured? Hopefully, not a major issue and that this is just a one game break for him. The XI looks like a 4-3-3. Would be great if the Lallana-Coutinho-Firmino line could replicate their dominance of the Man City victory! Good to see that Milner is on the bench as an option and the injury is almost completely behind him. Would imagine he may get plugged into the match to work out the rust at the 75 minute mark. Wonder who drops into the center back spot of Toure if he tires toward the end of the game and needs a sub? Maybe Can or Lucas? If Klopp needs extra offense, who gets the call Ibe or Benteke? After the sleepy performance of Benteke at West Ham, he might be in the dog house so Ibe probably gets the call.

US TV coverage is on BeIN Sports. On internet radio, the match is on Talk Sport.

18' bad news for LFC fans, Coutinho is out due to hamstring. Ibe is subbed in.
34' ugh! Lovren out with hamstring. Milner is now in with Lucas sliding into the center back spot.
37' I-be! Liverpool takes a 1-0 lead!

Liverpool hold onto to win 1-0!

UPDATE: Some are hypothesizing that the increased running/sprinting on the field is the source of the LFC hamstring injuries

Next up for LFC is the FA Cup match against Exeter on Friday. What what line-up will Klopp have for that one with all the new injuries!


Liverpool Klopp Episode 18 - HELP!



Not good enough.

The club needs help.

With a 4:45 AM PST kick-off, I was not awake... alas, I admit I am NOT that big a fan of LFC. I did rouse from my slumber to look at the score on the computer and saw they were down 2-0 to West Ham late in the second half. LFC had possession but didn't capitalize.

What can you say?

Some teams cause match up problems and it looks like West Ham is kryptonite to Liverpool as West Ham clobbered them 3-0 earlier in the season at Anfield and could have easily matched that score line today.

Klopp and his bosses at Fenway Sports Group have to think hard about the season now about 1/2 over. Buying in the January transfer window is usually the time when title challengers try to find 1 or 2 more players to help them win the league. Relegation bound teams may pick up a player or two to stay up. But what about clubs not headed for relegation or title contenders?

As it stands LFC is heading toward a finish in the 7-8-9 slots. Splashing cash at best might get them into contention for the fourth spot and thus champions league. But maybe it is better to wait until summer when prices maybe less inflated and Klopp has a better sense of the mainstays of the current line-up card and who ultimately has a longer term future with the club. Klopp will also want to test out some of the younger prospects moving up the system who are showing potential.

Fans will be out on a ledge with this loss. The refrain is LFC dominating possession but not being able to do anything with it and getting mauled on the defensive end by a more physical club. No one is likely to hire out the URL FireKlopp.uk but clearly the fans are unhappy.

LFC fans have to take the long view and plan for the future. Perhaps, we will see the younger prospects a little more often in EPL matches. Perhaps, the strongest line-ups will be in the League Cup where a path to silverware is clearly visible. Will be interesting to see how Klopp and FSG prioritize Europa and FA Cup matches.

Heading into the October international break

LA Galaxy have dropped two in a row and in both cases their defense was the culprit. As a result, they go into the MLS playoffs in fifth pla...