Tag Archives: Crystal Palace

Again With The International Breaks

Liverpool had three familiar faces in the England national team lineup in a 3-1 victory over Slovenia this past weekend as Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling all started for Roy Hodgson’s squad on Saturday night. The victory kept England in the drivers seat and on top of Group E for Euro 2016.

The Liverpool lads had a solid showing, and found themselves involved in a couple of the goals. Henderson played the full 90 and found the net in the 57th with a header… unfortunately an own goal. Lallana almost hit the target, but fortunately for England his shot rebounded to the feet of Danny Welbeck who finished the attack with the goal. Both Lallana and Sterling were substituted later in the match. LFC’s Rickie Lambert was also on hand as a substitute for the match, but remained on the sidelines.

For team England, it was all smiles. However with Italy, it was another reminder of how the international breaks can hinder a club. Mario Balotelli left the Italy squad this past week and was sent back to Merseyside with a hamstring injury. Luckily this appeared to be a minor injury, as all reports have Balotelli returning to the lineup to possibly face Crystal Palace. Another good sign that things might finally be steering in the right direction is the fitness of Daniel Sturridge. Perhaps we can finally see what this partnership can do if both are fit for this weekend. Brendan Rodgers certainly wants to get those two on the same page, as a few pundits have put him on the hot seat. I stand behind Rodgers, but we can all agree if the results continue to elude LFC… the hot seat isn’t too far away.

The battle of club and country weighs heavy on a supporter. Where are you watching the match this weekend? Let us know at the Anfield Shop where you are via Social Media by tagging us at @AnfieldShop & @AnfieldShopBlog plus use the hashtag #AnfieldShop

You’ll Never Walk Alone,

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith

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Liverpool and Manchester: A Tale of Two Cities


Liverpool and Manchester: A Tale of Two Cities

by Randy Villarba

T’was the best of times, t’was the worst of times… it was the age of Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez, it was the age of David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us at the end of the season, we had nothing before us at the beginning. We were all going direct to a heaven we have not seen in 24 years, we were all going direct the other way.  In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest Kopites insisted on its being received. For Liverpool or for Manchester, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

It was a season that made us dream. A few weeks back, Liverpool FC fans thought we were going to win the league. Anfield was a choir of blind confidence and faith. We felt the emotion, the energy… After 24 years, on the anniversary of Hillsborough, everything was supposed to be lining up. But now… down the road at Manchester, they are singing songs about winning the title.

When LFC dropped the ball, City took it to the box and scored. Many of the pundits have blamed that slip against Chelsea. Others the stumble with Crystal Palace down the stretch. You could rewind the tape to the Christmas gift we gave Hull. I blame no one. Even though we did not win the league, this season was still a success. The trophy may be vaulted down the road, and the songs of the other city may reign this off season. But at least it isn’t being celebrated at Old Trafford. Congratulations to Manchester City… we will see you in New York this summer at Yankee Stadium. Liverpool FC hits the United States in a Summer pre-season tour with matches in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago and NYC for the International Champions Cup.

Brendan Rodgers was awarded the League Managers Association’s Manager of the Year Award for guiding LFC to second. Luis Suarez is, and remains a solid foundation to the Liverpool squad. The support of the fans, manager and players behind him have pretty much put the fire out on his preseason desires to force LFC out of his contract. Add Daniel Sturridge into the fold and we watched the birth of one of the most prolific duos in the game today in SAS. We are a legitimate contender for the title next season, no question.

Finishing second in league means we overachieved the aim for fourth. We are Champions League bound ladies and gents. We may have not lifted the title… but we did raise our confidence and expectations. We are not aiming for 4th place next year. We are aiming for silverware. We are aiming for trophies. We are aiming to win the league. This season Liverpool got its swagger back. We go again next season. We are Liverpool tra la la la la…

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith

Keep Your Head Up LFC

"In Istanbul... we won it five times."

Keep Your Head Up LFC
by Randy Villarba

The barrage of “HA-HA’s” I received from my Chelsea and Manchester City friends was nauseating since Liverpool’s slip on Sunday versus Chelsea. It has taken me a few days to bring myself back to a chipper level. Do you know what did it?

Seeing the Champions League merchandise roll back into the Anfield Shop. Champions League football is coming back to Anfield.  We accomplished what we wanted to do this season. (I can’t wait to sing, “…in Istanbul, we won it five times,” at the pub midweek. Or better yet, hear it being sung by the Kop Choir for the first time next season).

Seeing every LFC fan pick each other’s head up with, “Well, if we score 10 goals in the next two games and Miglonet clean sheets…” or with “I find it strange to be cheering for Everton this weekend but…” On social media, all our supporters have still been mostly positive looking towards these final weeks of the BPL.

At the beginning of the season we were still rebuilding. My aspirations for this season was simple; sort out the Luis Suarez situation ASAP, get back into the Champions League and finish better than Manchester United. Fourth place or bust. Look at where we are now. Luis Suarez is happy at Liverpool. We are still alive for the BPL title at the end of the season. We are back in the Champions League next season. My Manchester United friend owes me dinner for our bet on who would finish higher on the table.

The focus now is to win Crystal Palace and Newcastle. Win those games combined with hitting the net an ungodly amount of times, “…we’re going to win the league.”

If Everton plays spoiler (which we all know they are VERY capable of), we are back in the driver’s seat for the title. I always pray for Liverpool to score goal after goal after goal. Now I find myself cheering for the lot across of the Merseyside. A weird end to the season, in’nit?

Keep your head up LFC. Go Everton. (Cough… cough). Sorry. It still feels funny saying that. We Go Again. Make Us Dream. Believe.

You’ll Never Walk Alone,

Randy Villarba
Anfield Shop Wordsmith