Liverpool vs Brighton – Preview

Expectations High at Anfield

Liverpool achieved an excellent result away to Crystal Palace last week, and so it will be important to not undo that hard work against Brighton.

Albion are a decent side in their own right who should not be underestimated by any means as Manchester United found out last week when they were convincingly defeated.

The Reds should have far too much talent across the pitch to see a repeat of that result, but ultimately it’s up to Liverpool to turn up and get the job done.


Team News and Predicted Linieup


There’s been no changes to Liverpool’s injury list this week. Everyone who was fit still is, and everyone who wasn’t are still making their returns.

Klopp has been consistent so far in terms of team selection and that will likely be the case again against Brighton. However, there is the possibility that some or all of Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge, and Fabinho could make their first start for the club.

With all due respect to Brighton, this is likely the best chance so far to experiment with the lineup and give those of the periphery of the squad a chance to shine, while also easing the regular starters into the season.


Team News and Predicted Lineup


Brighton have a few key injuries leading up to the game at Anfield. Club captain Bruno will remain sidelined alongside winger Jose Izquierdo and striker Florin Adone.

One of their best and most influential players, Lewis Dunk, suffered an ankle injury against Manchester United, and while the injury isn’t as bad as first feared, it’s unlikely he’ll feature in this game.

New signing Leon Balogun will be handed his first Premier League start in a real baptism of fire. Brighton also have the option of utilising their highly touted new winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh who is yet to displace either March, Izquierdo or Knockaert.

Pre-Game Analysis

Despite drawing confidence from their heroic efforts against Manchester United, Brighton fans and players alike will be all too aware that a far greater challenge awaits them when they take on Liverpool.

Shane Duffy has been in top form, but his new centre-back partner could struggle to handle the Reds’ attack on his debut. Overall Brighton do compare quite evenly with West Ham – a few dangerous players, in this case Gross, Knockaert, March, and Montoya, but a severe lack of pace in midfield and defence.

Liverpool will have to do more than in the first half against West Ham to create space for the attackers to run into, but I don’t anticipate Brighton using Palace’s tactics which were so effective for most of last week’s game.


Brighton will come into the game on a high, but Liverpool will want to score early to deflate them and their away fans.

Once the first goal goes in, then the floodgates should well and truly open as Brighton try to chase the game.

A 5-0 victory at home will put the Reds another step closer to being legitimate title contenders this season.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 25/08/2018

Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Liverpool

A Big Hurdle Cleared for the Reds

Palace away is one of the most difficult fixtures of the season, and thankfully, the Reds walked away with all three points.

The hosts made life difficult by narrowing their formation and forcing the ball wide; in fact, they almost took the lead when Andros Townsend rattled the crossbar.

Ultimately though, Liverpool battled their way to a deserved victory. Mo Salah was correctly given a penalty for James Milner to slot home just before half-time, and Sadio Mane finished the game off in the dying seconds, rounding the ‘keeper after Palace were justly reduced to 10 men.

Player Ratings

Alisson – 8:

This is why we spent so much money on the Brazilian.

As predicted, Palace proved to be a real test for the ‘keeper, but he passed with flying colours with both his shot-stopping and distribution.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6:

Similar to his performance against West Ham, Trent was reliable in defence, but wasteful going forward.

Palace identified him as a weak link and funneled the play down his side. Unfortunately TAA did little to prove them wrong; some more time to get back up to speed is required.

Joe Gomez – 8:

Dejan Lovren is going to have a tough time getting back into the team if Joe keeps this up.

Positionally he was a bit rash at times, but this is to be expected of the young lad. It’s exciting to see the partnership he’s building with Virgil van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk – 9 (Man of the Match):

More of the same from arguably the best defender in the league.

These are the types of games that Liverpool have historically failed to see out, but the victory never seemed in danger with VVD taking charge.

Andy Robertson – 7:

Robbo had less to do than the targeted TAA, but when called upon he was solid.

His excellent linkup play with Mane has carried over from last season and hopefully Trent will be able to forge a similar partnership with Mo.

Gini Wijnaldum – 7:

Gini has slowly become an extremely reliable defensive midfielder. Who would’ve thought he’d be keeping Fabinho out of the team?

Despite the commentators chirping about Gini’s away record, the Dutchman’s performance was of a good standard.

James Milner – 6:

Milly scored the crucial first goal with a calmly taken penalty, but unfortunately that was the highlight of his game.

He didn’t do much wrong, he just failed to influence the game as much as he did in the previous fixture; perhaps this is the opening Fabinho needs.

Naby Keita – 7:

Keita had an up and down game, giving away cheap balls and then producing unbelievable twists, turns and lobbed passes.

If this was a 7/10 performance from the Guinean, the league won’t know what hit them once he hits top gear.

Mo Salah – 6:

Salah won the penalty, drew a foul to get Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent-off, and assisted Mane’s goal. Yet his overall performance was decidedly average by his own lofty standards.

A proper goal or two will go a long way towards settling the Egyptian into his second season.

Sadio Mane – 8:

Mane is the only one of the front three to have immediately carried last season’s form into this one.

His fantastic goal aside, he was causing the Palace defence problems all night with his darting runs and unpredictable passes. Hopefully his teammates catch up soon.

Bobby Firmino – 6:

Even when our Bobby’s not at his best, he’s a crucial part of the team’s buildup and structure.

Once he gets more minutes under his belt, the goals, assists and overall linkup play will surely follow.


Jordan Henderson – 7 (on for Milner 67′):

Hendo did a solid job of helping to see the game out.

Adam Lallana – N/A (on for Keita 87′):

No time to make an impact.

Daniel Sturridge – N/A (on for Firmino 93′)

No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs: Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Alberto Moreno, and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Jurgen Klopp – 8:

Many were surprised and nervous when Fabinho was omitted from the squad, but ultimately Klopp was justified in trusting his midfield from last week.

Yet again, Klopp’s half-time talk had a resounding effect on the game as his squad saw out the remaining minutes when in previous years they may have crumbled.

Talking Points

Letting Go of the Past

While it’s relieving to gain a positive result from a tricky fixture early in the season, the signs for the future are far more important.

Aside from the brilliant displays from the defence and goalkeeper, the fact that the midfield can now comfortably control and manage games is extremely pleasing.

We’re going to see a lot more 2-0 victories this season, and far fewer 4-2 results as the games roll on, which could be a deciding factor in the title race.

Countering Corners

Last week West Ham were able to create a couple of chances from corners, but in this game those chances were not only eradicated, they were reversed.

Mane and Salah regularly broke free and created dangerous moments when Palace committed their defenders forward.

Looking ahead, this will have the double effect of creating another goal-scoring outlet, as well as causing the opposition to think twice before relying too heavily on set-pieces.

More to Come

The likes of Trent, Bobby, Mo and Keita are yet to get fully up to speed, and Shaqiri and Sturridge haven’t been given a chance to carry on from their brilliant pre-season performances.

Even Klopp himself noted that the attack is not on par with the defence so far, which is not something you’d associate with a Liverpool team.

Once everything clicks, and with a bit of luck, then the sky truly is the limit for this side. Maybe they’ll even be strong enough to challenge the immense Manchester City.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 21/08/2018

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool – Preview

First Big Test of the Season Beckons

After an excellent opening game for both teams, this week’s fixture will prove to be a significant challenge to defense and resolve.

Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has worked wonders since taking over Palace, and their players and tactics represent a relative blueprint for how to frustrate and take points off of Jürgen Klopp’s team.

After City’s demolition of Huddersfield, it’s time for the Reds to prove that they can get over the hurdle of teams that defend deep so we can keep up with the leaders.

Crystal Palace

Team News and Predicted Lineup


Crystal Palace made only a handful of signings over the summer to flesh out their squad; Jordan Ayew and Max Meyer being the most notable, but none are likely to start this game as they are lacking match fitness.

Regardless, Palace will field the same strong team as they did last week when they impressively defeated Fulham at Craven Cottage. Absentees such as Scott Dann are unlikely to come back in even if they are deemed fit.

Cheikhou Kouyate might be the only fringe player to get a look in after an impressive cameo last week and the fact that he is more mobile and physical than James McArthur which could be cause for consideration in Hodgson’s pre-game thoughts.


Team News and Predicted Lineup


Liverpool fans were shocked this week when fan-favourite backup player Ragnar Klavan was sold to Calgiliari. He wouldn’t have factored into this game but he was a handy squad player and his presence could be missed as the season rolls on.

There’s no fresh injury news coming out of Liverpool, meaning that the lineup should be more or less the same as against West Ham. The only exception being the expected debut of Fabinho ahead of either James Milner or Gini Wijnaldum.

Given the fact that Palace will make life much more difficult than the Hammers will, Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge could feature much earlier than they did last week.

Pre-Game Analysis

The main themes of this game are twofold: Will Liverpool be able to breakdown Palace’s deep defence, and will the Reds be able to handle the quick counters and high balls that they’ll be peppered with?

Alisson and Fabinho, if he starts, will demonstrate why we spent so much money on them as they will have to take on extra responsibilities. Wilfried Zaha is the biggest threat, but Christian Benteke will be keen to make an impression on his old club.

The fullbacks of both teams will have their work cut-out for them as their opposite numbers possess immense pace and quality on the ball. This game will ultimately be decided by who defends better, despite the attacking prowess that will be on display.


This is a tough fixture for any side, but it’s especially difficult for Liverpool as Palace have many quick, powerful players who thrive on the counter and putting in crosses for Big Ben to nod home.

However, we are Liverpool, we shouldn’t be afraid of anyone and with our new signings we should be able to beat anyone, home or away.

Palace will make life difficult, but Naby Keita will be the difference as they will struggle to simultaneously snuff him out in the midfield whilst ensuring our front three have no space to run into. A hard earned but uplifting 2-0 victory to the Reds.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 20/08/2018

Liverpool 4 – 0 West Ham

Perfect Start for Ambitious Reds

Liverpool fans knew a good start would be crucial to pushing on this season, and the players delivered on a dream first day of the campaign.

Mo Salah inevitably opened the scoring after a combative opening passage. Sadio Mane made it 2-0 just before the half-time whistle, and then doubled his tally in the second-half from a blatantly offside position. Daniel Sturridge wrapped up the rout with a goal from his first touch after coming off the bench.

West Ham put up a good fight though and the score doesn’t reflect how much more organised they were than in the past; however, ultimately they were outclassed in all aspects of the game.

Player Ratings

Alisson – 6.5:

Alisson was hardly involved on his debut, but he wouldn’t have minded only having to make two saves.

His ability with his feet was on show for the fans to see; however, he did under-hit one lobbed pass to Andy Robertson, thankfully the resulting chance led to nothing.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5:

Young Trent was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up, and a shaky start had many wondering if Jurgen Klopp had thrown the lad back into the mix too early.

Despite over-hitting a few crosses, Trent grew into the game and showed good vision. His defending was largely faultless and he was the main cause of West Ham’s star man Felipe Anderson being hooked off after 62 minutes. TAA also almost scored a spectacular free kick but was denied by a wonderful save by Łukasz Fabiański.

Virgil van Dijk – 7.5:

No one questions the world record fee that Liverpool spent to buy the Dutchman now. In every game his calm, composed, commanding defending is present.

VVD did an excellent job of organsing those around him, maintaining their concentration levels, and even chipping into the attack by bringing the ball out from the back in the absence of Fabinho.

Joe Gomez – 7:

This was always going to be one of only a few chances the young man would be guaranteed to show his qualities at centre-back before Dejan Lovren’s return, and he took his chance brilliantly.

One lapse in concentration against Marko Arnautovic almost cost the team, but this hiccup aside, he looked more than capable of developing into a long-term partner for VVD.

Andy Robertson – 7.5:

Robbo carried on his fine pre-season form by laying on yet another assist, this time to Salah for the opener.

The Scot caused the opposistion headaches for the full 90 minutes. His potency when overlapping also allowed Sadio Mane the freedom to move into a more central position, where he was able to score twice.

Gini Wijnaldum – 8:

Gini took over from Fabinho at the base of midfield for the game, and made things difficult for the Brazilian to return next week.

His use of the ball was exceptional and he was certainly in the top three performers on the day. The only thing missing was a goal as he sprayed a couple of half-chances wide.

James Milner – 8 (Man of the Match):

Milner didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon and was a constant thorn in the side of the Hammers.

Any doubts over Milner’s role for the season need to be reassessed, as the experienced Yorkshireman is showing no signs of slowing down yet.

Naby Keita – 8:

Keita almost never looks flustered, regardless of how many players are trying to close him down. 9 times out of 10, he glides past them and picks out the right option.

The Guinean gave the home fans mere glimpses of his potential and yet still produced a mesmerising debut.

Mo Salah – 6:

Despite scoring the crucial first goal, Salah was a step off the pace for most of the game and probably should’ve been substituted instead of Mane.

His passes were consistently coming half a second too late, but like Trent, this is merely a sign of rust which will undoubtedly be shaken off sooner rather than later.

Sadio Mane – 8:

Mane displayed his underrated finishing with both of his goals, despite the fact that his second was clearly offside.

His unpredictable movement was what hurt West Ham the most though, and this combined with the developing form of those around him could see this season as Mane’s best yet.

Bobby Firmino – 7:

Bobby is another who is yet to find top gear, but that was to be expected after such a grueling season followed by a long campaign with Brazil.

Regardless of this fact, he still worked hard for the team and created numerous chances for them.


Jordan Henderson – 6.5 (on for Firmino – 69′):

Hendo managed the game well when he came on, but it’s questionable what his role will be this season given the strength of Liverpool’s midfield.

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A (on for Mane – 81′):

Unfortunately, Shaq was brought on too late to make an impact.

Daniel Sturridge – 10 (on for Keita – 89′):

Studge scored an uplifting goal after only being on the pitch for a few seconds. The return of his famous celebration brought broad smiles to the faces of all Reds.

Unused Subs: Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Fabinho and Adam Lallana

Jurgen Klopp – 8:

Klopp managed to bring out exactly the type of performance that he would’ve been looking for from his players.

His half-time talk saw the Reds come out even hungrier for the closing 45 minutes, although he should’ve looked to bring on Shaq with 30 minutes remaning, rather than Hendo.

Talking Points

Good Signs for the Future

Keita was the most notable debutant on the day, but even though we didn’t get to see the best of Shaq, Alisson or Fabinho, what was on show was phenomenal.

Once the front three are back to their best, Keita will be able to unlock their goal-scoring potential to an even higher degree than last season. Fabinho’s return will only aid this process as his stability will allow Keita to be more adventurous.

Shaq will undoubtedly be introduced into this equation as well at some point, which is a mouth-watering proposition given his pre-season form. Likewise, Alisson will be able to launch counter-attacks with his immense ability with his feet against teams who don’t defend as deep as West Ham.

A Need to Stay Grounded

Despite this optimism, it’s important to recognise that Liverpool are still several steps away from getting back to their best form of last season.

It could take weeks, if not months, for this process to complete, so in the mean time it’s crucial that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves and just take things one game at a time.

Manchester City look to have not lost a step in their time-off, so the quicker everyone can settle back in, the better.

Big Test at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace looked extremely impressive as they defeated Fulham, despite the Cottagers being fancied to shake the league up on their return to top flight.

They sorted out their defensive frailties from the first half to produce a convincing 2-0 win where aerial dominance, and lighting fast counters reigned supreme.

A proper analysis of their threat will be done in the preview of next week’s game, but don’t be fooled, Palace are no pushovers.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 14/08/2018

Liverpool vs West Ham – Preview

Exciting New Season Begins at Anfield

Football’s finally back. With the close of the transfer window, Liverpool fans have plenty to look forward to after the high-profile arrivals of Naby Keïta, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker.

Last season ended in agony after defeat in the Champions League final and an unfortunately low, fourth-place finish in the league. This season however, optimism has given the fans an appetite for trophies.

It’s important to not get too far ahead of ourselves though, first up is the new-look Hammers, and West Ham fans too are eyeing the 2018/19 season with enthusiasm.


Team News and Predicted Lineup


Liverpool unfortunetly find themselves in the midst of a miniture injury crisis before a ball’s been kicked.

Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren are unlikely to be involved due to their extended foray in the World Cup. They’ll be joined on the sidelines by the injured Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip.

Joe Gomez is also carrying a knock but is tipped to play, unlike Fabinho who could see his debut delayed due to a muscle strain. Daniel Sturridge and Shaqiri could feature as well though, but it is more likely that they will come off the bench when needed for now.

West Ham

Team News and Predicted Lineup


West Ham have made what feels like a dozen new signings, and quite a few of them should make their debuts at Anfield.

The front three and midfield more or less picks itself while the newer signings are bedded in, although it’s possible that Javier Hernandez and Pedro Obiang could force themselves into the lineup.

The only surprise should be whether Aaron Cresswell and Fabian Balbuena start ahead of Arthur Masuaku and Issa Diop.

Pre-Game Analysis

It is crucial that Liverpool start the season with a bang in order to put early pressure on Manchester City; anything less than three points at home against a new West Ham side must be seen as a failure.

West Ham’s danger man will undoubtedly be Marko Arnautovic, but if the Reds can shut him down, then West Ham’s chances of scoring will fade dramatically.

While everyone gets back up to speed and on board with Klopp’s style, a larger share of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of our front three to help the team over the line for the first run of games. The likes of Cresswell and Balbuena may badly struggle to contain the threat they possess though.


It could be a nervy day for a few players on both sides, and an early goal for the home team could help settle those nerves in our favor.

It’s a tricky game to predict given how interrupted our pre-season has been and how little we know about this West Ham side, but the expectation has to be to win.

West Ham fans feel that this is the best possible time to play Liverpool, and they may not be wrong, but I’m predicting an emphatic 3-0 win on the opening day for the Reds. A good start to what will hopefully be a great season.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 12/08/2018