Tag Archives: Brendan Rodgers

Premier League Week 36 Game of the Week

4 May

Recap: Sunderland took a major step towards avoiding relegation with their 2-1 home win against the Southampton Saints. While it does look like Burnley and QPR will be dropping, with 4 matches left to play, Sunderland must fend off the likes of Hull City, Leicester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Sunday, 10am CDT, Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because the Champions of the Premier League, Chelsea FC, will be deservedly honored and celebrated in this home match against Liverpool FC. Last season, these two clubs finished in the top 4, with Liverpool coming within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the league against this same Chelsea team. Now, in this match this Sunday, the Liverpool players will be standing lined up outside of the tunnel to give Chelsea a guard of honor as they come onto the pitch. Say what you want about Chelsea’s style- and I have often been critical of it many times on this site- they won the league not just fair and square, but in a prolonged, dominating fashion. 13 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City is a sign of the clinic these Chelsea players put on all season long, from start to finish.

Other Reasons to Watch: There is still much to play for if you are a Liverpool player and/or fan. Just 4 points behind arch rival Manchester United for 4th place- Liverpool will do everything they can to get a string of wins and earn a Champions League bid. They will need some help from the Red Devils, who have 3 very tricky games remaining: at Crystal Palace, vs Arsenal, and then at relegation fighters Hull City. If Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League over Manchester United, that would be considered a huge victory, and to some extent, a successful season for Brendan Rodgers’ club. Liverpool has had an up and down season, in large part due to the departing player of the year Luis Suarez who bolted to Barcelona after the World Cup. Liverpool can salvage a lot, in particular the likelihood of retaining Brendan Rodgers, if they can finish 4th in this year’s Barclays Premier League table.

Prediction: 1-1 draw

 

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English Premier League, Week 3 Game of the Week

26 Aug

Recap: Manchester City thoroughly dominated Liverpool from start to finish at the Etihad. Stevan Jovetic scored a brace, while Sergio Aguero needed less than 30 seconds off the bench to score his first goal of the season. Liverpool managed to get on the board late thanks to an own goal by Pablo Zabaleta.

 

This Week:

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool FC

Sunday, August 31st, 7:30am (CST) White Hart Lane

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because Tottenham Hotspur are in first place in the Premier League, and one of just 4 teams unbeaten through 2 games of the regular season (the others being Chelsea, Manchester City, and Swansea). The Spurs welcome Liverpool to their home in North London after Liverpool were crushed severely by defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad. Tottenham seems to have a flair about them that they did not have last year, and the major reason why is their new Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino. Pochettino’s primary strategy is to high press- constant pressure on the ball, rarely sitting back and waiting for the opponent to attack. He requires his center striker (using a 4-2-3-1) to rush the opposing defenders and goalie when they have ball as a means of keeping a fast tempo and ultimately winning back possession.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Massive changes at Liverpool for a club that finished a close 2nd in the Premier League last year. Mario Balotelli, Italian striker who just joined the club from AC Milan may be available to play in this match- but at this point his status is up in the air. Alberto Moreno, Spanish defenseman and transfer from Sevilla, showed flashes of brilliance (and some mistakes) against Manchester City, so expect him to not only play, but to improve upon his first performance in the Premier League. Rickie Lambert and Emre Can also made cameos in the game against Manchester City, but all eyes will still be on Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard- Liverpool’s two most impressive playmakers. This has been a dramatic overhaul in a short amount of time for the Merseyside club- meaning it might take time, perhaps a couple of months, for Brendan Rodgers to fully understand how best to utilize and build chemistry with his new roster.

Soccahaus Prediction: 1-1 Draw.

Championship Sunday, Game(s) of the Week

9 May

Recap: Manchester City continued their march towards winning the league with a sensational 4-0 performance over Aston Villa at the Etihad. It might have taken awhile for City to get going, with their first goal coming from Edin Dzeko in the ’64, but the goals thereafter just kept coming. City has shown great resilience all season, and this match was no different.

Game 1: 

Manchester City FC vs West Ham United

Manchester City FC vs West Ham United

Championship Sunday, May 11th, 9am (CDT), Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: It’s very simple for Manchester City. Beat 12th place West Ham, and the Citizens will win their 2nd Premier League title in club history, and the club’s second in just 3 seasons. Tie West Ham, then all Liverpool has to do is beat Newcastle United with a goal differential of 7- which, barring a miracle, is impossible. Should City lose to West Ham, and Liverpool beat Newcastle, then the title will belong to the Reds. Manchester City has just this 1 game to win, and win at home, and they’ll be celebrating with their fans in the Etihad and onto the streets of Manchester.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: The last time these 2 clubs met was on October 19th, and Sergio Aguero led City with 2 goals as they beat the Hammers 3-1 in London. Aguero has been on and off injured much of the season, and did not feature in the 4-0 romp over Aston Villa. Even though Aguero’s goal against QPR just 2 years ago was the most significant City goal in Premier League history, City has proven that with the likes of Edin Dzeko- City has more than enough to get by without their best player. With an in-form Yaya Toure, City frankly has little to worry about as they face a team they likely would beat 9 times out of 10. But, Championship Sunday is known to produce some last minute drama….

 

Game 2:

Liverpool FC vs Newcastle United

Liverpool FC vs Newcastle United

Championship Sunday, May 11th, 9am (CDT), Anfield

Why This game is Intriguing: Because Liverpool can still win the title. As mentioned above, should City lose to West Ham, and Liverpool beat Newcastle, Liverpool will win the Premier League title this season, the season that celebrated the lives of the 96 lost in the Hillsborough Disaster 25 years ago. A draw or loss to Newcastle would eliminate any chance of winning the title, while a win against Newcastle combined with a City draw to West Ham would only benefit Liverpool if it were to defeat Newcastle by 7+ goals. The chances are extremely unlikely that Liverpool will win the title, but as long as there’s still a chance worth fighting for, you can bet the Reds will not give in.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Liverpool have only scored 6 goals or more just once this season, so Liverpool really really really (did I say really?) need West Ham to beat Manchester City to give the Reds any chance at all to win this title. Even if Liverpool finish 2nd, they still have plenty to be proud of. They were the beast team in the league for much of the season, while earning a bid to be back in the Champions League is definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating. They have some of the best players in the league (Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Mignolet), one of the best managers in the league in Brendan Rodgers, and a tradition and winning history that is almost sure to lure some quality players to Anfield in the future.

Soccahaus PredictionS: Manchester City 3, West Ham 1. Liverpool 4, Newcastle 1. Manchester City wins the Premier League title.

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Fulham vs Crystal Palace, Cardiff vs Chelsea, Norwich vs Arsenal. Because this is the last time you’ll see Fulham, Cardiff, and the Canaries in the Premier League for at least a year, and probably longer.

English Premier League, Week 22 Game of the Week

25 Jan

Recap of Last Week: What a game! In what was surely one of the most remarkable games of the season thus far, the real Clint Dempsey stood out with his game tying goal in extra time at the White Hart Lane against league leader Manchester United. The 1-1 draw was a fantastic result for the Spurs, as they inch closer and look forward to securing a Champions League bid.

This Week:

Arsenal FC vs Liverpool FC

Arsenal FC vs Liverpool FC

Wednesday, January 30th 1:45pm (CST) Emirates Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Liverpool is on the rise, and they have looked like a different club since acquiring Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. Currently in 7th place and playing some great football, the Reds have won 3 of their last 4 matches by a combined score of 12-2, their one loss coming to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Liverpool is surging after starting the year off slowly, and the Champions League is definitely within reach at this point. Liverpool’s next two Premier League matches, at Arsenal and at Manchester City will be major tests to see just how far Liverpool has come in the past couple of months. Manchester City, as defending champs, leads the league with 2 losses, so walking away from the Etihad in a couple of weeks with a draw would be an incredibly positive result for Brendan Rodgers’ club.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Arsenal comes fresh off their best match of the season thus far. After losing 1-2 at Stamford Bridge to rivals Chelsea, Arsenal played a masterful midweek game against fellow london club West Ham United. After West Ham scored the first goal, Arsenal tied it up to go into halftime 1-1. Arsenal went on to score 4 goals in 10 minutes in what was the most electrifying, clinical performance Arsenal fans have seen in quite some time. At the beginning of the game, the Fox Sports Soccer commentators were noting how empty the Emirates stadium was, how quiet and uneasy the fans seemed to be about their slumping club. Between the 47′ and 57′, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Giroud again scored one goal after another, prompting the commentator to blurt out “THIS IS THE REAL ARSENAL!!!”, which accurately summed up the dumbfoundedness Arsenal fans found themselves in at the peak of this game. Heading into this game, Arsenal leads Liverpool by just 3 points. While Liverpool has been surging, and despite Arsenal’s most recent performance, many still question whether Arsenal is good enough to hang onto a Champions League birth.

Soccahaus Prediction: Arsenal 3, Liverpool 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: QPR vs Manchester City, Sunderland vs Swansea, Norwich vs Tottenham, Everton vs West Brom, Manchester United vs Southampton

English Premier League, Week 3 Game of the Week

29 Aug

Recap of last week: I predicted Manchester City to beat Liverpool by a score of 2-1. In the end, the result was a 2-2 tie with Liverpool centerback Martin Skrtel playing a huge role in 2 very important goals. Liverpool led 1-0 at halftime because of Skrtel’s powerful header off a corner kick, but it was Skrtel’s horrible unbalanced miss pass back to goalie Pepe Reina, that ultimately was intercepted by City striker Carlos Tevez for the game tying goal.

This Week:

Liverpool FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, September 2nd, 7:30 AM (CST), Anfield.

Why This Game is Intriguing: Both of these clubs come into this game desperately seeking a win. Arsenal will be feeling even more pressure than Liverpool as the first two matches for the Gunners have resulted in 0-0 ties. Without much offensive flow, and with the poor performances of newcomers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, Arsenal definitely misses the production and consistency of Robin van Persie who bolted for Manchester United just before the start of the season. Liverpool looked very impressive last week, and would have walked away with a home win over the defending champions if it wasn’t for a careless error by Martin Skrtel. While tying Manchester City is not a bad result considering the week before was a 3-0 loss to West Brom, the fact that Liverpool outplayed the champions for most of the game and was leading, a tie certainly did not satisfy new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

Other Reasons to get Excited About This Game: Luis Suarez, Liverpool striker. Say what you want about his antics- and I agree they are disgusting and in no way do I condone what he did last year in the match against Manchester United- but the kid is unquestionably one of the top players in the English Premier League. Few players in the world have the burst and agility that Suarez has, and coupled with his tenacity and competitive drive- the Uruguayan star is poised for another huge year. Despite his 10 game ban last season, the fans at Anfield still have unwavering support for their leading goal scorer. *Last week’s free kick against Manchester City was the goal of the (albeit short) season so far, and we can only imagine what Suarez has left for us during the remainder of the season*. Arsenal’s attack NEEDS to show something, anything at all, to prove that this season can move forward successfully. In the meantime though, keep your eye on #7 for Liverpool- He can play.

Soccahaus Prediction: Liverpool over Arsenal, 2-0. The Gunners continue to struggle offensively as Liverpool wins their first game of the season at home.

Other Games Worth Watching this Week: Swansea vs Sunderland, Tottenham vs Norwich, West Brom vs Everton, Manchester City vs QPR, Southampton vs Manchester United, Newcastle vs Aston Villa.

*Recap of last week’s stellar free kick by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez*

English Premier League, Week 2 Game of the Week

22 Aug

Recap of last week: I predicted Newcastle over Tottenham 3-2. The end, correct result was Newcastle over Tottenham 2-1. A late goal by Hatem Ben Arfa in the 80th minute gave the Magpies the lead for good.

This Week:

Liverpool FC vs Manchester City FC

Sunday, August 26th, 10:00 AM (CST), Anfield.

Why This Game is Intriguing: Both of these clubs seem to be heading in opposite directions. Over the past 3 complete EPL seasons, Manchester City has continued to climb up the final standings, finishing 5th in 09/10, 3rd in 10/11, and winning the league this past season. Liverpool on the other hand hasn’t come close to qualifying for the Champions League over the past 3 seasons, finishing 7th, 6th, and back down to 8th last season. Liverpool started this most recent season on a terrible note, getting slammed 3-0 to West Bromwich Albion. Man City came from behind to beat newcomers to the Premier League Southampton 3-2, but lost Sergio Aguero to a knee injury. He is expected to be out for at least the next few weeks, which means more minutes for Mario “Why Always Me?” Balotelli, Eden Dzeko, and Carlos Tevez.

Other Reasons to Get Excited About This Game: Sorry to be redundant, but once again, star power. City is of course loaded with players who have a knack for scoring, including Balotelli, Dzeko, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, and the out-of-form David Silva. We can’t forget about their defense either, led by Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Pablo Zabaleta, Micah Richards, and Gael Clichy. As awful as Liverpool looked last weekend, they still boast a great deal of talent led by Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Glen Johnson, Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing, Martin Skrtel, and goal keeper Pepe Reina. Given that this game is at Anfield and this is Brendan Rodgers’ second league fixture with his current club, the pressure will be on. As always, expect the Liverpool crowd to be in full force as they welcome in the defending champion visitors.

Soccahaus Prediction: Manchester City over Liverpool, 2-1.

Other games this week worth watching: Manchester United vs Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur vs West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea vs Newcastle United, Aston Villa vs Everton

*And since this is Liverpool, and the game is at Anfield, please enjoy the following video. Truly Incredible.