Showing posts from April, 2016

Liverpool Klopp Episode 47 - A Hard Day's Night

LFC has been on a tailspin lately dropping a 2-0 lead and barely escaping with one point against Newcastle and then surrendering a late goal to Villarreal.

Is a trip to lower mid-table Swansea the cure for what ails them?

Klopp has little room for maneuver as Liverpool has only two narrow paths to European football: win the Europa League or claw their way to sixth in the EPL. Both paths are strewn with obstacles - maybe I should have saved the Empire Strikes Back asteroid clip for this post!

Adding to the degree of difficulty is the injury to key players straining the existing squad and the reality that there are some players who are prone to injury if they get pushed too hard. What is a manager to do?!

And top it off this weekend's EPL match comes with a quick turn-around from the Europa League match.
Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his frustration around match scheduling after learning Liverpool's Sunday fixture against Swansea starts at midday. The team returned home f…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 46 - The Empire Strikes Back

"How are we going to get out of this one?"

LFC is going into this Europa League semi-final leg one match a bit short handed (Can, Henderson, and Origi out with injury and Sakho out due to the PED use investigation). Will our Liverpool crew be able to dodge the power and talent of Villarreal? Villarreal are currently number 4 in La Liga that would yield qualification to the Champions League Playoff Round. We shall see if Klopp and the team can come up with something. They have had some rather spectacular matches and some dreadful collapses this season.

Allen and Millner will probably pair to patrol the middle.
Sturridge, Firmino, Coutinho, and Lallana will be on the attack.
The usual defense with the only open question: who will pair with Lovren at center back? Lucas or Torre?
With the injury depletion, who will Klopp have on the bench?
Win, lose or draw, LFC is always interesting.

In the meantime, as we await kickoff, enjoy some Star Wars parody.

The Echo writers are re…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 45 - The Hunt for Red October

Liverpool is scrambling up the table in the hopes of getting an automatic Europa League invite so that should call for a strong "A-team" in the selection. But they are also having to get ready for the Europa League semi-final and have just come off derby with Everton mid-week; thus, that would suggest a few "B-team" members. Newcastle is scrambling to get out of the relegation zone. Adding to the scriptwriter's toolbox for this episode is the fact that the Newcastle manager, Benitez, has ties to Liverpool as he managed LFC from 2004 to 2010. Newcastle easily beat LFC earlier in the season 2-0 at their home pitch and will be highly motivated to keep themselves from relegation and take LFC down a peg at Anfield, Benitez's old home ground.

Will the match involve some unconventional tactics from the respective sides? Will post-game comments tell us that all the pre-game comments were all wrong? All will be revealed on Saturday!

Build up:
Clearly Origi is not a…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 44 - Diamonds are Forever

Love looking for these old 007 movie clips of "vehicle" chases of all sorts! In light of modern movie making techniques, these action scenes seem rather quaint.

Given the relative lack of success in recent years (decades) for both Liverpool and Everton, the rivalry between them has had less at stake in the bigger picture competition in the EPL. However, it is a strong intra-city grudge match as the two clubs play in stadiums about 1 mile apart. The Liverpool versus Everton competition is a long-running derby (since 1894) and no matter at what level they are in the table, it will be full of drama for the players and the fans. This season, Everton is playing for pride as a mid-table club after a hopeful start fizzled out. Liverpool, higher mid-table, is playing for an outside chance of finishing high enough (sixth place) to get a Europa League invitation.

Historically, Liverpool has won more often than Everton in the derby. In recent memory, there have been a lot more draws. …

Washington Post Podcast - "Presidential" with Lillian Cunningham

The above video is a modern rendition of the William Henry Harrison (elected 1840) campaign song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" by the group They Might Be Giants. I heard the song while listening to the WaPo's Presidential podcast series hosted by Lillian Cunningham.

In the episode, the focus was on his life prior to the presidency since his time in office was a mere 32 days! We also hear that the explanation for this death being due to his long inaugural address causing him to catch pneumonia is probably incorrect. Further research into the circumstances surrounding his death suggest that it is more likely he caught an illness from contaminated water in the White House. Combine that ailment with the harmful medical treatments of that time of poor medical understanding of disease hastened his death.

Am still catching up with all the podcasts that have already been released. Am enjoying them very much. Each episode profiles one president at a time though references are made …

Liverpool Episode 43 - Come Together

Come Together | The Beatles from Maíra Cardoso on Vimeo.

Fascinating story, at least if wikipedia is correct, about the origin of the song, Come Together. Excerpt:

The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would've been no good to him - you couldn't have a campaign song like that, right? 

In any case, the sentiment for LFC fans is the knowledge that after the dramatic victory over Dortmund on Thursday, the line-up was expected to be quite different. Will a mix of the "B" team with the "A" team be able to come together to compete with the one of the feel good stories of the EPL this year in the staying up of Bournemouth?

The #LFC squad for today's match against @afcbournemou…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 42 - Ghostbusters

"We came, we saw, we kicked its #$%!"

Big match up for LFC this Thursday in leg 2 against Dortmund in the Europa League!

Each side is hoping to be able to say those lines from Bill Murray after the match.

What line up will Klopp field?

The easy part: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno
Defensive midfield: Can, Allen

The hard part is who is Klopp going to call for the final four spots! Will Klopp go "all in" with Origi and Sturridge up at the top and Coutinho and Lallana out wide?

Or will he hold Sturridge for later in the match and have Origi at the top flanked by Coutinho and Lallana and have Milner/Allen/Can patrol the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation?

I think Klopp will go for the latter.

Keeping an eye on the buildup over at the Echo. Here is the preview at This Is Anfield. Empire of the Kop reports on Klopp's remarks. The writer calls for the fans to show up in full voice:
"It’s a cliche, but it’s true: there really is nothing like Anfield on a Eur…

It should have been a red card

Sundays match up between LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers ended as a 1-1 draw.

But the controversy is over the yellow card issued to De Jong for a dangerous tackle on Nagbe. Most commentators agree it should have been a red and De Jong should be severely sanctioned for the hit.

As an LA Galaxy fan, I can't defend what De Jong did. It was a red card.

Can only hope that Nagbe will be able to recover in time and regain form. He is one of the bright rising homegrown USA players and it would be a terrible shame if the long term prospects for his career are diminished by this injury.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 41: You Only Live Twice

Stoke is coming to Anfield. It is sure to be a struggle and likely low scoring. Kind of like a dogfight of helicopters? Okay, a big reach to the scene in the above 007 movie! Nonetheless, I'm enjoying this gimmick of tying the Liverpool story line to movies and Beatles songs.

Klopp and company will need to decide how much to prioritize the Europa Cup versus a final dash to climb up the EPL table. Henderson is out so Allen is in. Can is out due to yellow card accumulation suspension. So Lucas is likely in. But I see that Lucas is still listed on the injury chart. So maybe Milner might be pressed into defensive midfield duties. But Klopp indicated that Lucas and Stewart might get the call.

So possible line up:
Mignolet, goalkeeper
(4) Defense: Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno
(2) DM: Milner, Allen
(3) AM: Firmino, Ibe, Lallana
(1) Forward: Sturridge

I wonder if Flanagan and/or Smith might get to play in this match to give Clyne and Moreno a break. Other possibilities in the midfield ar…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 40 - The Revenge of the Sith

Okay, Okay, the dialog was wooden but the fight scenes were fantastic!

Am not trying to make any claims that Liverpool is Obi-Wan and Dortmund is Anakin. It isn't such a good hat vs. bad hat kind of match in leg one of this Europa Cup match. Nonetheless, there is some real emotion to this contest as Klopp is "going home" to the club he previously coached. His time at Borussia Dortmund resulted in some huge successes (two Bundesliga titles and a runner-up finish in Champions League) for them before retiring from the club.

Poking around the web in the buildup to the match....
Injury report can be found here - looks like Benteke, Firmino, and Leiva remain unavailable for duty.
Five players (Coutinho, Firmino, Lovren, Moreno, and Clyne) are sitting on yellows and would be suspended a game if they pick up another.
Dortmund are on a roll in 2016 with no defeats and are probably favored to defeat LFC and win the Europa League Cup and perhaps even take the Bundesliga Title.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 39 - The Attack of the Clones

Okay, Star Wars episode 1-3 were not so great story telling. But they had some crazy fight scenes!

EPL action returns from international break with LFC hosting Tottenham.

The Hotspurs are in the hunt for the league title with the highest scoring team with 56 goals and best defense having only surrendered 24 goals. Have heard their manager pushes the team hard in pre-season training so that the club will show the best fitness in matches. Klopp also likes the fast pace game but with the injury bug hitting the team at various points in the season, they haven't been able to sustain his "heavy-metal" soccer style. And in addition to those issues, Liverpool, a mid-table club, has problems being "clinical" in the finish and a leaky defense. So how will LFC with dodgy offense and a questionable defense be able to compete with the club with the most goals scored and team that allows the fewest goals?

The two clubs faced off earlier in the season to a 0-0 draw. Guess …