Friday, February 25, 2011

Holidaying!

I've been wanting to complete the Ephraim Longworth posts but as I am in Malaysia right now, vacationing to my heart's content plus I left my draft in India, the blog entries can wait. :) I have a lot more ideas on my blog entries in the future. :)

I had the craziest vacation ever. Met new people, stayed in a hotel in a red-light area in Geylang while vacationing in Singapore, went absolutely crazy at Universal Studios Singapore, and a few other things that I can't afford to reveal in here. Haha.

I'm having the time of my life. I love home. I dread the thoughts of having to back to India next week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ephraim Longworth





Ephraim Longworth adalah pemain bek kanan Liverpool zaman dulu-dulu. Kali ni aku nak buat perutusan blog pasal sejarah pulak. Tak tau kenapa aku tiba-tiba berminat pasal sejarah. Jangan tanya. Lagi satu jangan tanya kenapa tiba-tiba aku tulis dalam Bahasa Melayu okay. Sebab aku pun takde jawapan untuk soalan-soalan yang bakal anda tanya itu.

Mengapa Ephraim Longworth? Sebab aku minat nama dia. LOL.

Ephraim Longworth adalah pemain bek kanan Liverpool zaman Perang Dunia Pertama dulu lagi. Aku tertarik nak tulis pasal dia sebab aku rasa dia ni adalah karakter yang sangat menarik.

Eph bermain untuk Liverpool selama kira-kira 18 tahun. Penampilan pertama Eph untuk Liverpool adalah pada 19 September 1910. Sepanjang kareer panjang beliau dengan Liverpool, beliau bermain 371 perlawanan liga dan 490 total perlawanan dalam semua pertandingan. Kalau bukan kerana perang, sudah pasti khidmat beliau sebagai bek yang mantap lagi berganda-ganda.

Eph ni bukan nama je mantap, main pun mantap. Bersama rakan kongsi bek beliau, Donald McKinlay, mereka adalah bek paling mantap sekali dalam liga masa tu. Walaupun beliau mantap, kareer beliau bersama Liverpool bukan la sepanjang masa mantap. Dalam tahun 1913, keputusan perlawanan Liverpool sangat la teruk. Sangat-sangat terlalu teruk. Sekali tu Liverpool kalah bodoh je kat Chelsea. Chelsea masa tu baru naik First Division tapi dah nak kena turun balik sebab mereka lagi sengal dari Liverpool masa tu.

Nak dijadikan cerita, Encik H.G. Norris, pengarah pasukan Fulham dan Arsenal Woolwich telah menuduh Liverpool match-fixing dengan sengaja kalah kepada Chelsea. Eph membidas tuduhan Encik Norris dalam temubual beliau dengan Evening Express pada 5 April 1913.

Ayat dia lebih kurang macam ni kalau diterjemah ke dalam bahasa ibunda kita:

Woi Norris. Pandai-pandai je ko fitnah kitorang eh. Langsung takde asas tuduhan ko tu. Satu atom pun x betul tuduhan ko tu!

Cool kan Eph kita ni? :D

Dulu pemain bola sepak bukan semua profesional. Kebanyakan mereka ada kerja tetap. Hari Sabtu je main bola. Berlatih la kadang-kadang bila dah habis kerja. Tapi ada jugak yang bermain bola sepak sepenuh masa. Contohnya Eph ni dan kebanyakan pemain Liverpool. Beliau mempertahankan tindakannya untuk menjadikan bola sepak sebagai kareer hidup. Zaman tu bukan semua pemain bola sepak kelab-kelab dapat gaji. Siap FA England buat batasan gaji maksimum pemain GBP4 seminggu sahaja! Pemain bola sepak sekarang seminggu dapat beratus-ratus ribu GBP!

Dia kata dia bangga dengan kareer dia sebagai pemain bola sepak profesional. Jadi dengan bermain sepenuh masa, dia dapat memberikan sepenuh komitmen ke atas bola sepak, komitmen yang tidak berbelah bahagi, komitmen yang tidak mungkin dia mampu berikan andai kata dia ada perkerjaan lain sambil-sambil main bola tu. Mantap dan tegas pendiriannya Eph ni. Patut la jadi Kapitan Liverpool dan England.

Daaannnnn.............bakal bersambung :)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Daniel Agger's Manual on How To Become an Instant Legend

First he did this:

video


Then earlier today, he made this statement:

On Fernando Torres moving to Chelsea:

"It is unacceptable to play for one of Liverpool's arch rivals."

On how he feels about the club:

"For a Dane, it's about having respect for the club you play at. I am proud to be able to pull on my Liverpool jersey and will never go to another club in England. I would never go to Manchester United or Everton, for example. It's about a form of respect for the club."

Danny Agger. You're The Great Dane II after Jan Molby.

You're a friggin' LEGEND.

And you know You'll Never Walk Alone.


Video from GoalFast at Youtube.com.
Original report from Guardian

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reds give them Blues


I look like an idiot, don't I? Pandai-pandai nak predict konon. But at least I got the Chelsea line-up partially correct.haha :p

Maxi obviously hadn't been told that you-know-who was no longer his teammate. The first chance of the game came when Maxi sent a sloppy pass right into you-know-who's path but he chose to shoot from distance and could only manage to shoot high and wide.

The first half was a little sloppy for my liking. There were some mistakes by Lucas and Maxi. Other than that, it was a typical Liverpool-Chelsea game; tactical and midfield battles with the keepers almost redundant. Chelsea had more possession but Liverpool defended superbly. Carra, coming back from injury, was a real fighter. He made one incredible block to deny you-know-who after he was sent clear on goal by Drogba. Agger gave you-know-who a smack on the face, much to the delight of the travelling fans. LEGEND. Skrtel was immense and hard. Seems like everyone is playing well under the King's reign.

Lucas made a few mistakes in the first half but he was really good in the second half. He made some interceptions and his passing rate is again ridiculous. He starved Anelka of space, which in turn isolated the front two of Drogba and Torres. Having an extra centre back in the centre closed down any possible space for Drogba and Torres to exploit. With Chelsea playing without width, Liverpool defence stayed solid and wasn't even stretched enough. Reina practically had nothing to do although this is owed to the excellent defending he had the privilege to have in front of him.

Kelly vs Ashley Cole was really interesting. Ashley Cole got owned by a 21-year-old youngster. Hahaha!! I think Martin Kelly is officially my new crush. Fernando who? :p

Okay malas nak tulis dah. Kena kerja sekarang. Tapi cuma ada beberapa ayat je lagi:

HE WHO BETRAYS WILL ALWAYS WALK ALONE.

LONG LIVE THE KING.

YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE!

:)



Saturday, February 5, 2011

En Route to Stamford Bridge

I've been thinking about this a lot my head is gonna explode.

The scariest thing about Torres joining Chelsea isn't about us losing our best attacker; it's about Torres and Drogba playing together.

Imagine: Drogba is about the most complete striker you'll ever find. Quick, strong, powerfully built, good technique, great in the air. Torres, although his heading ability can only be considered as fair (at least I think so), has many more qualities in his pocket. You can't let him turn with the ball, you'll be left for dead. His burst of acceleration has always been his main asset (although it seems to have reduced following bouts of muscular injuries) and he can score a wide variety of goals from a wide variety of positions. Notice the goals he had scored for Liverpool; I think Benitez was right when he said Torres had never scored the same goals.

With Torres and Drogba up front with Anelka supporting them (he played in this role to excellent effect against Sunderland, so I heard), it will be too much for any defence in the world to handle. It's frightening. Drogba alone has always given us a handful, with that handful sometimes becomes another extra handful that the extra bits brim out of our small cupped palm.

I think Chelsea's midfield will probably have Essien or Mikel at the holding role, and Lampard and Ramires or Malouda for the slightly forward roles. Torres, if he does play, will probably score. It's incredibly fascinating that some of us suddenly think that he's an average striker, perhaps we're still in denial.

As for Liverpool, I don't think that Kenny will deploy the same tactics we used against Stoke. I think 3-5-1-1 worked well against Stoke because Stoke generally play centrally and not on the wings. Against teams that attack through both flanks like Chelsea, our 3-man central defence will be stretched, leaving spaces for their strikers to exploit in the centre. Those strikers, as we well know, will be Drogba, Torres or Anelka, all of them or two of them. Either way, it will be fatal. To avoid the centre backs being drifted apart, wing backs (Kelly and Johnson) will go down and help with the defence, which will reduce the midfield to 3 men. 3-man midfield vs 5 or 4-man midfield, there is no prize for guessing correctly which team will gain more possession in the midfield.

I trust the King. We may not win, but then no one is expecting that we will. And I'm not known for my optimism either. I just hope that the boys will go out there and play like there's no tomorrow. Good luck lads. You know You'll Never Work Alone. :)


Update: Hell I'm so wrong. Haha.
Confirmed team: Reina, Carra, Agger, Skrtel, Kelly, Johnson, Lucas, Gerrard, Maxi, Meireles, Kuyt.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Liverpool, Stoke and Luis Suarez

Last night was a remarkable turn-around from what was happening in the weekend. At least it's football again, not some scandals about a certain former Anfield golden boy.

I woke up five minutes into the game so I didn't know and wasn't expecting the line-up at all. At first it looked like 5-3-2 then it quickly became 3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1 but all three are effectively the same formations of course. I think it was a tactical masterstroke by our own King Kenny. Moral of the story: Never question the King ever again. :p

Having an extra central defender helped us nullify the big and powerful Stoke striking forces. Stoke were comfortable for the first thirty minutes but nearing half time break, Liverpool were the better team. Kelly's cross from the red hand side was meted by Johnson's header in the six-yard box and I don't know how on Earth did Begovic save that one. That was the first of many chances.

Aurelio and Lucas combined well with a little one-two before Lucas passing the ball to Kuyt, who shot straight to Begovic. Agger made a superb run from defence from being tripped over by Salif Diao, former Anfield man who was yellow-carded for the offence. Free-kick was awarded to Liverpool which was taken by our captain. Slight deflection caused the ball to fall into the path of Kyrgiakos, who left it for Meireles' left foot to sort it out. And there's only one outcome to that. 1-0 Liverpool.

There were pure joy and celebration all around Anfield. The team celebrated, looking more united than ever. The whole evening saw a very good team effort. Just before half time, Anfield erupted with applause upon seeing our new boy Luis Suarez warming up on the byline.

Then came the time for substitution. The time everyone was waiting for. Suarez was coming on for Aurelio! Boy we love him even before he entered the pitch! This is the famous Anfield support I remember. Suarez's touches looked nervous at first but as the time went on he grew more comfortable. In fact all of his touches after that were quite good. He showed class, elegance and great skills. He has a delicate touch of an artist with a paintbrush. (Okay stop me, I'm just babbling now).

Kuyt sent Suarez through on his first touch. Suarez timed his run perfectly, rounding Begovic and shot with his left foot. Wilkinson tried to keep it out but his effort could only bounced off the post and crossed the line. Our new number 7 scored on his Anfield debut! I'm happy that the goal is credited to him, after all it was on target and it would do his confidence a world of good!

The pass-and-move, which has always been Liverpool's forte, worked well in the old times before I was born, worked well under Rafa Benitez and now it's working well under Kenny. Rafa Benitez bought the players that would suit his system and he nearly managed to achieve that. Lucas is the glue that brings the passes together. His passing rate from last night's game is 89.2% of completed passes, which is ridiculously good. Meireles seems to relish playing in a more attacking role since Kenny took over. He and Gerrard play well together, interchanging positions. Aurelio was played as a defensive midfielder and he did well there with Lucas. His poor touch almost contributed to a Stoke goal but Carew shot wide though.

Johnson is doing well at left back and Kelly has been amazing at right back. We retain the ball better with the likes of Agger and Lucas bringing the ball out of defence. We attack as a team and we defend as a team. In fact the early chances in the game came from Johnson and Kyrgiakos, our defenders. Suarez and Carroll with Gerrard and Meireles supplying the ball and Kelly and Johnson supporting from both flanks will be unstoppable.

The only way is up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fernando Torres : The last post (I promise)

It was Friday, January 28th, 2011. The rumours about Luis Suarez joining Liverpool was getting stronger and stronger by the minute. Excited as I was, drooling over the thoughts that how delicious a Torres-Suarez partnership could be, I stayed logged on to the internet at all times. I kept Tweetdeck on with the highest system volume possible as news travels fast on Twitter.

That evening, suddenly there was a sudden multiple influx of tweets from journalists from different media confirming that Liverpool had a deal with Ajax over the transfer of Luis Suarez. I was overjoyed, as I am sure most of you were too. We had a striker who would complement Torres' style of play, who has great skills and pace, can hold up the ball well in tight areas and equally good at finishing too.

With the sense of euphoria that nothing else could go wrong, I went to bed. We had been hearing about Torres' transfer rumours all the time that we just laughed it off. Everybody went to bed happily, me included.

How wrong we were. How wrong we could be.

I woke up Saturday morning not bothering to switch on my computer and read the news. I took off to work as usual. After finishing work at 1 p.m., I felt uneasy on my stomach so I decided against lunch. I walked to the parking lot, found my scooter, put the key in the ignition, and rode back home. Little did I know what awaited me in the cyber world.

I switched on my computer, walked to the fridge to get some ice cream and opened the official Liverpool website. Torres had submitted a transfer request which was rejected by the club. At that moment, the whole world seemed to have sunken to the deepest pit of the ocean. A dark mist engulfed me, eating away at me until I felt the hollowness inside of me. That's when the funk began.

I barely slept that night, and the following night, and the night after that. I stayed up all night keeping track of the Torres saga. His every movement was being tweeted. Torres just arrived at Melwood. Torres just left Melwood. Torres was in a discussion with the board. Every single thing Torres did was being tweeted. Everyone posted links about him on Facebook. At one point, I got really sick of the whole thing. All I wanted was that the whole thing to be ended as soon as possible.

These past 4 days had been an ultimate emotional torture. In the end I just gave in every hope of us clinging to Torres. He wanted to go. His mind was made up. There was nothing we could do about him. As King Kenny put it succinctly, the most important people at the club are those who want to be here. Let him go. Let this thing end.

Liverpool fans all over the world had mixed feelings about Torres. Some issued emotional pleas for Torres to stay. Some called him Judas. Some called him ungrateful twat. But none of it made any difference. After all, we're just fans, we're just a bunch of pathetic people who used to gape in adoration whenever Torres scored at the Kop end. We're not the one paying his paychecks. We're just a bunch of lame abusing fans who used to bounce uselessly to his name in every game even if he wasn't playing.

So long story short, he left. Off he went. From Red to Blue. Easy as that. Smiling in the photos of him holding the disgusting blue Chelsea shirt, saying he's glad to be at a top-level club. Oh Fernando. Monday, January 31st was the most dramatic day in the history of Liverpool Football Club ever.

So many questions are left unanswered. Why, Fernando, why? Why now? Why Chelsea? Couldn't you have waited till the summer when you can go abroad? Chelsea aren't exactly setting the world alight with their ageing squad. You said you loved us, why didn't you give us a chance to say goodbye? We knew the day would come when you would finally leave us but couldn't you do it with a bit more class like how Alonso did? Alonso submitted the transfer request too and he did it with grace. He gave an interview to the club, acknowledging the club's contributions and thanking the fans for our support. We are very disappointed with you Fernando. The first interview you gave after days of deafening silence is to Chelsea TV. How inappropriate. And why 3 days before the transfer window closed? Why? The questions that would go unanswered for the rest of the eternity.

We loved you, Fernando, perhaps some of us still do. We loved you even before you put on the Red shirt. We loved you the moment that hawk-eye camera captured an image of "You'll never walk alone" inscribed at the inside of your captain's armband while you were at Atletico Madrid. You were already a Kop hero when you first signed. Anfield bounced in utter delight when you scored your first goal, ironically, against Chelsea on your Anfield debut. You were our darling, Fernando.

We loved that you stood up to Terry in that game. We loved that you spooked Vidic and scored at Old Trafford, then you took off celebrating with your right arm held high, your fingers stretched, a reminder to the United fans that we, Liverpool, have won the European Cups 5 times. Those were the good times, Fernando.

We cherished our relationship with you. And like any other relationships, someone might end up cheating on their partner. That's you, Fernando. You told us you loved us two weeks ago, then all of a sudden, out of the BLUE you said you're leaving us and never wanted to talk to us again. We wish we had a clean break-up, Fernando. And like any other broken relationships, we fantasize that you would be miserable in the arms of your new partner and you would come running back to us, begging us to take you back. But after a while, when it finally sinks in, like any other relationships, we wish you all the best for your future and please, pretty please, do not do a Mascherano.