December 2, 2013

Double trouble for Liverpool

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

I’m not sure which was the worse news for Liverpool this week: Losing 3-1 to lowly Hull City, or losing Daniel Sturridge for a reported minimum of eight weeks.

Both come as a shock to the Reds, who have been flying high and came into the weekend tied for second in the Premier League.

While many would expect Liverpool to destroy a low-table side like Hull, it simply didn’t happen. The offence didn’t click while the defence continued to struggle. After starting off the season with three clean sheets, the Reds have just one shutout in nine games.

Now, with Sturridge to miss time during the busiest part of the English schedule, the Reds could start a freefall down the table.

His ankle injury in training is just another knock of the many he has suffered throughout his career. Before coming to Liverpool, he wasn’t known as the most durable player.

The sooner he comes back, the better, but for now even more of the scoring burden will be placed on Luis Suarez while Steven Gerrard will be forced to uphold his elite form at an advanced age.

Surprisingly, beating Liverpool might not have even been the biggest news about Hull City this weekend. Apparently the team’s owner is planning on rebranding the team as Hull Tigers, something that didn’t go over so well with fans.

Talking about how home fans would bring banners and chant “City ‘til we die,” owner Assem Allam said that the fans can “die as soon as they want.”

Not exactly keeping your customers happy, right?


Where would Manchester United be if Wayne Rooney had been sent off last week – as he should have been – for his frustrated tackle last week?

Well, they would probably be two points lighter in the standings. Two weeks in a row, Rooney was the best player for Red Devils and the creative impetus for his team to seal two draws.

Against Tottenham, Rooney bagged a brace to steal a point on the road. But what would have happened with the English bulldog sitting because of his red?

Without Robin van Persie and Rooney, it would have meant that Chicarito would likely have started. While Javier Hernandez is a fine player, he’s more of a poacher than someone who can create goals for both himself or others.

So, when you think about it, the refs terrible call to give Rooney a yellow instead of a red last week, had some wide-ranging implications.


Christmas comes early for soccer fans, with three games in about a week’s time thanks to a slate of midweek clashes. This is where clubs’ depth gets tested as you can’t really throw out a cup side and expect to pick up points. I wouldn’t bet against the top teams mid-week … How about Everton youngster Gerard Deulofeu’s starting debut? The on-loan playmaker scored and was influential in other goals. Combining him with Romelu Lukaku is a terrific tandem that could propel Everton into a Europa League place … There were two key injuries in the anti-climactic Chelsea-Southampton tilt. First, Chelsea’s Oscar went down with an ankle injury, then Saints keeper Artur Boruc had to leave with a hand injury. While Oscar’s reportedly isn’t serious, Boruc could miss some time … Why didn’t Olivier Giroud play to the whistle? After getting past the Cardiff City back line and in on goal, the in-form striker simply stopped, thinking he was offside. But the flag didn’t go up and the chance was lost as the ball was taken away by a recovering defender. It may have been the only time that a forward didn’t play on, offside or not. If this had been a closer game, it could have been a cause for contention from Gunners fans.


With the short turnaround between games, don’t forget to make your transfers and set you lineup before Tuesday’s Crystal Palace-West Ham game. Also, don’t forget that teams likely won’t have their best XI out there, so have some subs available you know that will get some run.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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