Liverpool 4 – 1 Cardiff : Player Ratings and Talking Points

Condolences to all of those effected by the events in Leicester. YNWA.

Another Statement Performance

The Reds were not as their best against Cardiff, and yet were unlucky to only finish the game as 4-1 victors. That says a lot about how far this Liverpool side have come.

Mo Salah opened the scoring after knocking in a rebound, but Liverpool couldn’t extend their lead until deep into the second half despite generally playing well.

Sadio Mane picked up a brace for the second and fourth goals, while Xherdan Shaqiri’s lovely touch and finish settled the nerves after Cardiff brought the score back to 2-1.


Player Ratings

Alisson – 6:

Liverpool could’ve played without a goalkeeper until just before halftime when Alisson had to make a routine movement to collect a misplaced through ball.

It was a shame that a freak deflection cost him his 10th consecutive at Anfield, but he couldn’t have done anything about it.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5:

Trent probably could’ve done with a rest like Robbo was given, and the fact that he was less involved than usual is perhaps a sign that the young man has been playing too many minutes.

He didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t appear to have the energy to stamp his authority on the game.

Dejan Lovren – 6:

Lovren wasn’t quite as bad as some people would have you believe. He’s someone been burdened with the blame for Cardiff’s goal, despite the fact that it took a ridiculous deflection off VVD.

He wasn’t as good as against Manchester City, but his performance didn’t warrant the continued abuse of some sections of the fan base that just will not get off the guy’s back. You can be respectful and reasonable while not wanting him to start.

Virgil van Dijk – 6.5:

Like the rest of the defence, VVD had very little to do. Although, he did hit the post with an early header and was clearly disappointed that he couldn’t do better.

The only other incident of note was the wicked deflection that Cardiff’s goal took off his legs, but again, it was through no fault of his own.

Alberto Moreno – 6.5:

If you’re gonna play Moreno, these are the games to do it. The fact that Cardiff were sitting so deep meant Moreno could overlap and get crosses into the box, and he did a reasonable job of that.

He might’ve gotten the highest rating out of the defenders due to his increased involvement, but he was caught badly out of position in the buildup to Cardiff’s goal.


Fabinho – 7.5

Fabinho was excellent again in his second start in a row. His passing was crisp, if not always too sophisticated, and his tackling was second to none.

This was most evident with a crucial, and crunching, tackle on the edge of his own box to completely relieve any sense of danger. This is an excellent time for the Brazilian to find his feet in Red.

Gini Wijnaldum – 8:

Gini is such an outstanding footballer, and those who fail to recognise that fact, simply don’t understand football.

Gini’s all round game has come on in leaps and bounds as his breaking up of play and dribbling are beginning to match his passing. Speaking of which, Gini completed 111 passes on the day, only 1 less than the entirety of Cardiff’s team managed!


Adam Lallana – 5:

Fans have to be willing to give Lallana more time given his lengthy recovery from several injuries in a row, but he’s done nothing to buy himself time with that performance.

Klopp was right to sub him off after an hour as he was making little to no impact pn the game beyond slowing attacks down with his insistence on taking four of five touches more than necessary.

Bobby Firmino – 6.5:

Cardiff tried to copy the tactics that Crystal Palace had employed earlier in the season, and on both occasions, one of the biggest aims was to eliminate the half-spaces that Bobby thrives in.

Despite not being able to get into the game as much, he worked his socks off again and his occupation of defenders and midfielders was off benefit to the rest of the side.

Sadio Mane – 8:

His final ball was a little off at first, but his linkup play greatly improved as the game went on, and for that he was awarded with two delightful goals.

The first came after a bizarre sequence where Mane nearly lost the ball two or three times before absolutely cannoning the ball into the back of the net, and the second was a cool finish to round off a slick counter-attack.

Mo Salah – (Man of the Match) 8.5:

It’s very satisfying to finally be able to award Salah with another man of the match award. He scored the first goal of the match, which is usually the most important, and was unlucky not to have scored more.

His linkup play was far better, even if his finishing still has some way to go. He also displayed a beaming smile after scoring, silencing the idiotic pundits who suggested he was unhappy or wanted to leave because he didn’t celebrate his goal against Red Star.



Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Lallana 60′) – 8:

Shaqiri secured the game with his first goal in front of the Kop. His passing was impeccable again, meaning he’s well in contention for a start against Arsenal.

James Milner (on for Firmino 70′) – 6:

Didn’t have much to do as the midfield battle was already well taken care of by Gini and Fabinho.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, and Daniel Sturridge.


Jurgen Klopp – 7.5:

Klopp got the result and the most important decision right, which was to start Salah, Firmino, and Mane again and try to keep their good run going.

The same could be said for Fabinho and Gini, and while it was disappointing to see Shaqiri left out, the fact that Shaq started in the Champions League and Lallana started against Cardiff says a lot about how Klopp ranks the two.

Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne arguably should started to give VVD and TAA a rest. They wouldn’t have been pushed too hard by what Cardiff were offereing, so you have to wonder if they can’t get into the team for this game, when can they?


Talking Points

Weird Win

As stated above, Liverpool weren’t exactly at their best, and yet completed a resounding result. It’s not as if the scoreline was unwarranted either, but that says more about how poor Cardiff were.

But even then, they managed to fluke a goal and cause a few minutes of panic in the minds of Liverpool supporters before Shaqiri resumed normality.

Is this a sign that Liverpool are now not only capable of seeing out results, but we can also take results beyond doubt even when the momentum swings against us.

Top Again

The result saw Liverpool, at least temporarily, return to the top of the Premier League table.

While that doesn’t mean much at this stage of the season, it’s an important reminder that while we still aren’t at our best, we’re at least level Manchester City, who many regard as the best in the league, if not the world.

Our only dropped points have come against them, and Chelsea. A respectable return from our opening 10 fixtures.

All Eyes on Arsenal

Liverpool have an important week to rest and prepare for a crucial match at the Emirates against Arsenal, while the Gunner’s preparation will be interrupted by a League Cup game, albeit one where they’ll field a second-string side.

Given Chelsea and Manchester City both beat Arsenal away earlier in the season, it’s vital that Liverpool do the same so that we don’t drop points to teams our rivals didn’t.

Unai Emery is a tremendous manager who has done wonders for Arsenal, regardless of the fact that they drew at Selhurst Park, the Gunners will be looking to win another home game when Liverpool come to town.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 29/10/2018


Liverpool vs Cardiff – Premier League Preview

Liverpool Prepare for Desperate Cardiff

The Blue Jays picked up an important win against an equally unimpressive Fulham last week, but Liverpool should have no problems with the relegation favorites.

That was reflected midweek when manager Neil Warnock admitted that his side’s task was “nearly impossible”.

Jurgen Klopp will be aware that Cardiff’s plan will be to sit back and hope for a lucky goal, but with the return to form display against Red Star, there shouldn’t be any problems whatsoever.

Liverpool – Team News and Predicted Lineup


Liverpool don’t have any fresh injury concerns, but a number of players could be rested after a hectic run of tough games.

Both fullbacks have earned a break, and there isn’t too much risk involved in allowing Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne a run in this game. Similarly, Adam Lallana should be given another opportunity to start against lesser opposition.

However, Klopp  should consider starting all, or most, of Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino, Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho to ensure they can build on their last performances and take a great deal of confidence into the Arsenal game next week.

Cardiff – Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (1).png

Cardiff aren’t contending with any major injuries, althought the likes of Harry Arter are dealing with knocks.

Warnock will likely try and take a page out of Roy Hodgson’s book and play with two very low banks of four.

Although, Cardiff don’t have anywhere near the quality of Crystal Palace, so it’s hard to imagine this system working as well as it did at Selhurst Park.

Pre-Game Analysis

It’s difficult to see this game going any other way. Cardiff will sit back and hang on for dear life, while Liverpool will eventually find the cracks in their system and force them open.

Once Liverpool have found the net twice, it’ll be interesting to see if Klopp pursues a result of last season’s ilk and punish Cardiff when they come out to try and salvage a result, or if he instructs his men to simply see the game out.

Either way, the Reds will score goals in this game, and will finish the match as comfortable victors.


It may appear to be overconfidence, but it’s purely logical analysis of how the game should go. Of course football is played on a pitch, not paper, but given both sides’ respective forms, this one should be a sure thing.

It’s harder to predict the lineup for this match than the result. Liverpool will almost certainly win.

The only question is by what margin? I’m going for a 4-0 routing with all three of Firmino, Salah, and Mane getting on the score sheet.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 27/10/2018

Liverpool 4 – 0 Red Star Belgrade

Reds Star Against Belgrade

Liverpool returned to their rightful place atop of Champions League Group C after dispatching Red Star Belgrade in style under the Anfield floodlights.

The victory was nice, but what had fans talking was the all round outstanding performances from every player. It was a display reminiscent of last year’s brilliance.

Bobby Firmino’s deflected shot broke the deadlock, before Mo Salah confidently finished an excellent team move to make it two. Salah scored from the spot for his second after Mane won a penalty. Mane then missed his own chance to score a penalty, but made up for it by sliding in for the fourth and final goal of the evening.

Player Ratings

Alisson – 7:

Not much can be said about Alisson’s game as he did little more than try and keep warm all night. His focus never waned on the rare occasions he was called into action though.

He managed to start a number of counter-attacks with some slick throws to unleash the likes of Andy Robertson down the flank. This could be yet another arrow in Liverpool’s quiver.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5:

Trent had another strong showing, combining intelligent passing and crossing with calm and considered defending. TAA’s contribution to our sublime defence shouldn’t be underestimated.

He could’ve claimed an assist as it was his cross that led to Mane’s missed penalty. Although, this would’ve been negated by his accidental, and comical, blocking of a Firmino shot in the first-half.

Virgil van Dijk – 7:

VVD, like Alisson, was rarely troubled by the Serbians, such was Liverpool’s stranglehold on the game. His aerial dominance was as exceptional as ever, ensuring no sloppy goals would be conceded.

The most impressive part of his performance was the way he was able to not only play out from the back, but slice through Red Star players and drive forward into the midfield.

Joe Gomez – 8.5:

Joe’s demonstrating no signs of slowing down. He was unbeatable in the air and on the ground, in particular, he showed great pace to steal the ball from Branko Jovicic on the counter, without needing to slide in.

You have to wonder where this Liverpool defence would be without young Gomez. Of course VVD is one of the league’s best and his leadership is highly valuable, but Joe’s consistency and unrelenting improvement is truly staggering.

Andy Robertson – 8:

Robbo was given the freedom to venture forward more frequently than in recent games as Jurgen Klopp knew his team could put this opposition to the sword without needing to sit back and defend a lead.

The Scot was able to move into space regularly, and his crosses were mostly on point. In fact, it was his low cross to Bobby that secured the all-important first goal of the game.

Fabinho – 8.5

This was the Fabinho Liverpool fans knew we’d bought. The big Brazilian was an utter wall in front of Liverpool’s defence, making their job even easier.

He was equally impressive on the ball by keeping it simple, but also casually picking out intelligent passes or dribbling out of danger as if it were the simplest task in the world. Surely he should be rewarded with a start against Cardiff.

Gini Wijnaldum – 7.5:

Gini is occasionally criticised for drifting in and out of games. That judgement couldn’t be more wrong in this game though, he was like a metronome throughout.

One of the biggest positives from this match is one that’s been overlooked. Gini and Fabinho worked brilliantly together despite little to no game time together in a midfield two. Their competency is what allowed Liverpool to play with four attacking players, and could be the key to developing those combinations further.

Xherdan Shaqiri – (Man of the Match) 8.5:

What a night for our Swiss star. This was almost certainly Shaq’s best game in Red to date, and the fact that Klopp pulled him off early to receive the full praise of the Anfield crowd is an indication that the manager wants him fresh to start against Cardiff.

Shaqiri bossed it in his first Champions League start, he was at the heart of just about every Liverpool attack. He could’ve had a hat-trick of assists in the first-half if his teammates finishing was as fine as Shaqiri’s passing. Ultimately, he had to settle for just the one after his lovely ball for Mo’s first.

Mo Salah – 8:

Mo was probably the only person wearing red that wasn’t absolutely beaming when he scored both of his goals. Mo probably feels, like a lot of others do, that this is only the beginning of his return to the heights of elite goalscorers.

Speaking of which, Salah overtook Brazilian Ronaldo’s Champions League goal tally with his brace, taking his total to 16. An accolade worthy of the player who simultaneously became the fastest player to reach 50 goals for Liverpool.

Sadio Mane – 7.5:

Mane was also on form, but was arguably the least effective out of the ‘New Fab Four’. His biggest contribution was winning the penalty, although it was a bit soft and the Kop would’ve been furious had the decision gone the other way.

As usual, he was dangerous on the counter but this time he was unable to make it count until stabbing home a selfless pass from Bobby to round out the night for the Reds.

Bobby Firmino – 8:

A slight deflection helped Bobby’s shot on its way, but his first touch and the power behind the ball suggested it was destined for the back of the net in any case.

Bobby, while starting as the striker, spent the vast majority of the game in the number 10 role, behind Mo Salah, and flanked by Shaqiri and Mane. This is almost certainly the way forward if Klopp wishes to start all four of them.


Adam Lallana (on for Shaqiri 68′) – 6.5:

His touches and turns were as smooth as ever, and Daniel Sturridge put him through on goal late on in the match, but unfortunately, he ran out of steam and was forced off the ball.

Daniel Sturridge (on for Salah 73′) – 8:

Sturridge came on for Mo when he was on a hat-trick, but the striker created more than enough chances to make up for it. His pinpoint passing and shooting is becoming a real asset off the bench.

Alberto Moreno (on for Robertson 82′) – N/A:

No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, and Divock Origi.


Jurgen Klopp – 9.5:

Our manager had a number of decisions to weigh up before the match including player selection, tactics, and formations. On the evidence provided, he nailed those decisions, which is all you can ask of a manager.

Klopp’s probably the only Reds fan that hasn’t overreacted at any stage to our poor form, regardless of his usual animated shouting from the sidelines. It’s clear that his ability to keep the squad calm and focused is paying dividends.

One very minor bone of contention was the decision to have Origi on the bench. His time’s clearly up at the club, and considering Studge was there in case we needed a goal, it would’ve been great to see someone like Curtis Jones given a chance to be in contention for a few precious minutes of Champions League football.

Talking Points

The New Fab Four

The signs had been showing for what felt like an age that a result like this was only around the corner, all we needed was a bit of luck to kick start the confidence that would be necessary to regain our swagger.

Bobby’s deflected goal did just that, and despite all four players missing varying degrees of chances, they should all walk away satisfied with their performances and more sure of themselves that they can still rip any team to shreds.

However, this fabulous combination wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if it weren’t for the excellence of the two holding midfielders behind them.

Dynamic Duo

As I alluded to above, Gini and Fabinho’s partnership is undoubtedly the key to this new system. The fact that they’re both so adept at breaking up play and restarting attacking moves is crucial.

Of course they received help from the likes of Bobby and Shaq dropping back and pressing Red Star’s players, but their ability to hold down the midfield as a duo with ease is highly encouraging.

This result doesn’t mean we have to, or even should, use this system every game, but it’s certainly a potent option that we can use when appropriate.

Onward and Upward

PSG’s late draw against Napoli ensured that Liverpool are now ahead on the table by one point at the halfway mark of the group stage. A win in the next game, away to Red Star, would have to make Liverpool even firmer favourites to progress.

Next up though, it’s Cardiff in the league. This is a must win game for the simple fact that there’s almost no chance that Manchester City would drop points at home against Neil Warnock’s side.

Naturally, Klopp will have one eye on the following fixture, away to Arsenal; this game is a must win for different reasons. Not only are they a top-four rival, but both City and Chelsea have beaten them already. Both results came before Arsenal clicked into gear under Unai Emery, but the table doesn’t reflect that, so dropped points in this game could have an added meaning in the title race.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 25/10/2018


Liverpool vs Red Star Belgrade – Champions League Preview

Scousers vs Serbians

In the midst of an injury crisis Liverpool now face a different kind of challenge; a must win encounter against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

As such, the importance of the result outweighs the performance, but you can’t help but feel that this is a perfect chance to regain some attacking swagger, especially when you consider how easily PSG dispatched the Serbs.

Jurgen Klopp will have to carefully consider how many players he can afford to rest, and how much benefit will those players actually receive from missing out on a chance like this.

Liverpool – Team News and Predicted Lineup


Sadio Mane has returned to training, but it’s probably not worth risking him at this stage, especially considering the fact that Xherdan Shaqiri played so well on the weekend.

Jordan Henderson came off injured against Huddersfield and as a result, will almost certainly not feature in the Champions League game, and perhaps not even in the EPL game which follows.

Adam Lallana may also benefit from Liverpool’s midfield injuries despite his poor showing against the Terriers. Hopefully he’ll be better in a game that should be of a lower intensity.

Red Star – Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (1).png

Red Star have a number of injury concerns of their own to deal with, which isn’t an ideal situation when you’re travelling away to Anfield on a European night.

Captain Vujadin Savic was withdrawn against PSG, and hasn’t returned since, and Filip Stojkovic is also in doubt.

Marko Marin is perhaps the club’s most familiar name, as the former Chelsea man will also miss out due to injury.

Pre-Game Analysis

Red Star are a very physical side and attacker Richmond Boakye is the main benefactor from this style of play, scoring five goals in his last four league games.

The Serbians also managed a respectable draw at home against Napoli where they were able to use their physicality and grit to frustrate the Italians. However, they were then annihilated 6-1 by PSG.

Even a weakened Liverpool should outclass Red Star and run riot over their midfield and defence, while comfortably swatting away counter-attacks.


Shaqiri, Mo Salah, and Bobby Firmino will enjoy a familiar night of chances followed by chances. All Liverpool fans will be hoping that this is the night where they get their mojo back.

Fabinho’s introduction should assist this process by providing a solid base from which Liverpool can commit significant numbers to each attack.

Liverpool will reclaim the top spot in their group with a convincing and relieving 4-0 victory.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 24/10/2018

Huddersfield 0 – 1 Liverpool

Reds Steal Ugly Win

Liverpool’s return to Premier League actions was successful without being beautiful against a plucky, but struggling, Huddersfield side.

In response to the injuries picked up over the break, Jurgen Klopp made changes to the starting lineup and system as a whole. These changes saw the job done, but nothing more.

Mo Salah slotted home a comfortable finish to seal the result, but Huddersfield fans could be forgiven for feeling hard done by after hitting the woodwork and having a strong penalty shout turned down.


Player Ratings

Alisson – 6:

Alisson was rarely called into action, and the post pulled off a far more impressive save than anything the Brazilian was forced to do.

There was one moment of panic when a clearance was charged down by an onrushing Huddersfield attacker, but the recovered well and didn’t let it effect his game.

Joe Gomez – 7.5:

If Gomez starting at right-back was a surprise against Manchester City, then it happening again against Huddersfield was a downright shock. Is this a sign that Klopp prefers Dejan Lovren over Gomez at centre-back?

Regardless, Joe was outstanding again as we’ve come to expect from him, and a lovely pass in the build-up to Salah’s goal highlighted his considerable ability on the ball.

Dejan Lovren – 5.5:

What a shame. After such a promising return against City, Lovren looked panicky in his second game back.

A bad mistake almost led to him losing the ball in the penalty area, and he reacted woefully to another late Huddersfield chance. Gomez must return to centre-back for future Premier League games.

Virgil van Dijk – 6.5:

Some may argue that VVD deserves a higher rating, but he simply wasn’t tested enough to warrant anything above what he’s been given.

Moreover, a terrible air-swing late on in the game almost cost Liverpool two points; but in fairness, he was solid apart from this lone mistake.

Andy Robertson – 7:

There isn’t much to say about this performance from Robbo. Solid but decidedly unspectacular.

His best work came in defence as he often did at least two players-worth of work as he received minimal support from Adam Lallana.


Jordan Henderson – 6:

Hendo, like Lovren, was unable to build on his promising display against City to the extent that fans were hoping for.

His passing was generally good though, and unusually, he was often the midfielder who looked most willing to seek out a killer ball for the attackers. Subbed off with a tight hamstring at half-time, the international break is still haunting us!

James Milner – 6:

Milner wasn’t at his best against the Terriers, but that was to be expected after returning early from his own hamstring injury.

He was rightfully hooked off in the second-half, but it’s arguable that he should’ve come off earlier to either give us a better chance of getting an important second goal, or closing the game down.

Adam Lallana – 5:

It was nice to see Lallana back in action, but he was understandably some way off of the pace. It’s highly doubtful he would’ve started if we didn’t have so many injuries.

Some lovely touches aren’t enough to warrant a place in the team, he failed to perform any of his defensive duties and wasn’t particularly inspiring in attack either.


Xherdan Shaqiri – (Man of the Match) 8:

Sadio Mane was unsurprisingly not risked after fracturing his thumb, and the benefactor was Shaqiri who got a rare start in his place.

Shaq looked the most threatening of any player on the pitch both with his direct dribbling as well as his use of the ball. His passing and crossing abilities are notably underrated by many.

Mo Salah – 6.5:

Not for the first time this season, Salah underperformed despite scoring an important, and in truth, impressive goal.

The finish was excellent, but aside from that he missed a few chances to add to his tally and wasted passing opportunities to allow others to add to theirs. One goal clearly isn’t enough to relight his fire.

Daniel Sturridge – 6:

Unlike Shaqiri, Studge completely wasted his big chance to impress the boss after putting in a pretty poor performance.

He’d been excellent recently, and he showed decent creativity, but he was wasteful on the day. Wasteful is not usually a word you’d associate with such a deadly finisher and accomplished creator.



Gini Wijnaldum – 8 (on for Henderson 46′):

Could’ve been man of the match if he started. Gini completely took control of the midfield from the first minute of coming on.

Fabinho – 7 (on for Lallana 69′):

This was Fabinho’s best performance since pre-season as he showed his class on the ball with some simple, but effective passing. Some neat tackles to help see the game out was a welcome sight as well.

Firmino – 5 (on for Milner 77′):

Firmino didn’t look himself. He may have been tired, or simply not up for it on the day, but either way, he did very little right.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Divock Origi


Jurgen Klopp – 7:

It’s hard to give Klopp a reasonable rating for this game, as while he couldn’t coax a good performance out of his team, it wasn’t his fault.

The rotating players and resulting adjusted system resulted in a win, and on another day with last year’s attackers, we could’ve put away five or six more chances.

Klopp needs to sort this out sooner rather than later, because we can’t keep scraping results forever, especially when City are battering just about all of their opponents.


Talking Points

Salah Scores

It’s hard to be too critical of the Egyptian King despite not being at his best. It was never likely he’d hit the ground running at the pace that he finished last season, and statically, he’s roughly on par with last season after the same games.

My issue is slightly different. Everyone’s had their say on his fitness, confidence, and finishing, but what concerns me the most is the basics. One of the things that made our attack so special last season was their almost telepathic connection.

This season though, they can hardly string a couple of passes together. It’s baffling, but it’s not just Mo, it’s Bobby and Mane too. They need to sort it out quickly.

Doing it Tough

It’s a strange feeling to finally have a rock-solid defence that’s only shipped three goals in nine games, and yet our attackers are barely scoring.

We’ve been crying out for clean-sheets to match our goal tallies, but now we’re having to scrape by on one or two goals and relying on the defence to make it enough.

Klopp was furious throughout the game over the countless opportunities that were thrown away. One of the things that must’ve frustrated him the most was that just about everyone was guilty of it, rather than just one or two players.

Navigating Through the Upcoming Games

Ultimately, despite all the moaning, we’re still equal top, and wins are what matter most. Klopp will have to carefully select his lineups and tactics for this upcoming period.

Given our injuries and relative poor-form, we can’t afford mistakes, and we need players to start standing up and being counted. Shaqiri’s display was an encouraging sign of this, but he can’t be the only one.

It’s a strange time to be a Liverpool fan as there is so much reason for optimism, and equal reasons for concern. Dropping points in either or both the Premier League and Champions League could undo all of our hard work.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog on 08/10/2018

Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool – Preview

Normality Resumes After Painful International Break

You could set your watch to it. Boring, pointless, international break happens, and suddenly Liverpool players start dropping like flies.

Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all suffered injuries on international duty, while Virgil van Dijk traveled despite having not fully healed from a rib injury.

Unfortunately there’s little that can be done about that now, and dwelling on that won’t help with dispatching Huddersfield who will surely smell blood in the water.

Huddersfield Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup huddliv.png

In all fairness, David Wagner has as many injury headaches as Jurgen Klopp does this week. Terence Kongolo, Tommy Smith and Danny Williams will all miss out, while the likes of Ramadan Sobhi, Abdelhamid Sabiri, and Isaac Mbenza are in doubt.

Philip Billing should shake off his knock in time for the game and will likely be used in a trio of central midfielders as Wagner has preferred a 3-5-1-1 formation when playing against higher quality opposition.

Either 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 is his usual preference, but the Huddersfield boss set up with a three-man defence with wing-backs in midfield against Chelsea and Tottenham earlier this season.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup huddlivpool

Surprisingly, despite Liverpool fans’ worst fears, Klopp has only categorically ruled out Keita for this fixture, meaning Mane, Salah, VVD, and potentially James Milner could all start.

Salah, VVD, and Milner all trained mid-week, which is a good sign, despite the latter suffering a hamstring strain only a couple of weeks ago. Mane however has a broken thumb which, while painful, wouldn’t necessarily rule him out. The player himself will likely make the call on the day.

This uncertainty in the attack and midfield opens the door for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge, Fabinho, and a returning Adam Lallana whom Klopp spoke very highly of during the week.

Pre-Game Analysis

Liverpool, despite a few hiccups, sit equal 1st on the table, while Huddersfield are languishing in the relegation-zone after a winless start.

However, this doesn’t guarantee the Reds anything. Aaron Mooy and Christopher Schindler are excellent players, while Chris Lowe and Phillip Billing have been in good form this season, and Alex Pritchard can be very dangerous on his day.

This game will be won and lost in the centre of the park as Wagner will overload his midfield. It’ll be up to Liverpool’s midfield trio to play their way out of traffic and give the attackers the service they so desperately need.


This game has to be the first step to getting our season back on track and return to winning ways. Salah, Mane, and Firmino hitting top gear would be a nice bonus, but the three points are the most important thing.

We can’t afford to drop points against these types of opponents as we’ve done in previous seasons because Manchester City, and to a lesser extent Chelsea, will simply not return the favor to us.

Liverpool should walk away from this one as 3-0 winners.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 20/10/2018

Liverpool 0 – 0 Manchester City

Stalemate Between Title Contenders

Before the match I stressed how difficult it was to make a prediction for this game. But who would’ve thought it’d end in a 0-0 draw?

The biggest talking point will of course be Riyad Mahrez’s shocking penalty miss in the dying minutes. However, neither side truly did enough to deserve all three points and assert their dominance at the top of the table.

Liverpool now head into the international break tied with City and Chelsea on 20 points each.


Player Ratings

Alisson – 8:

Another strong display from the Brazilian despite not being forced into too many saves. His distribution was mostly faultless, and he maintained his concentration well to keep a clean sheet after some challenging, if sporadic, saves.

It’s possible he had a hand in putting Mahrez off of his penalty, but regardless, he dived the right way and had the shot covered even if it managed to sneak under the crossbar.

Joe Gomez – 8:

Surprisingly, Gomez was played at right-back for the first time this year over Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It took Joe a while to grow into the role against such challenging opposition, but once he did, he owned Liverpool’s right edge. City’s flow down their left was stunted, and Joe’s crossing almost led to a few chances.

Dejan Lovren – (Man of the Match) 9:

If you don’t think Lovren was excellent, then you aren’t being honest and are still holding past mistakes against him.

You could argue he was fortunate to avoid giving away a penalty, but the referee made the right call. The fact is, Lovren was outstanding and completely outclassed the dangerous Gabriel Jesus when he was introduced.

Virgil van Dijk – 7.5:

VVD was on track for another outstanding performance before he dived in and needlessly brought down Leroy Sane in the box; almost costing his side the game.

Aside from this moment of madness though, he was extremely composed on the ball and didn’t give the City forwards more than a sniff at goal.

Andy Robertson – 7:

Robbo improved greatly on his recent performances, and in particular, he showed far greater skill on the ball at times.

One cracking pass through the middle completely caught the City defence napping, and nearly led to what would’ve been a winning goal for Mo Salah.


Jordan Henderson – 8.5:

This was undoubtedly Hendo’s best game of the season. Aside from a few misplaced passes that put those around him under pressure, he was a consistent asset with and without the ball.

For the first time in a long while, Hendo put in a true captain’s display and his influence on the game was one of the main factors in Liverpool securing a result.

Gini Wijnaldum – 7.5:

There’s few players in the Premier League with a better touch than Gini. There was countless occasions when he was surrounded by City players and one simple flick or turn took three players out of the game.

That’s no easy feat when you consider the quality players he had to contend with on the day. Its just a shame that we weren’t at our attacking best to take advantage of this aspect of the Dutchman’s game.

James Milner – 6:

Milner was unfortunately forced off the pitch early with a hamstring injury, but hopefully he’ll be fine after the international break.

Before he came off he was solid but unspectacular, not doing much of note.


Mo Salah – 7:

It’s still not quite happening for The Egyptian King. His movement was excellent despite being marked by the physically imposing Benjamin Mendy, and this led to a couple of half-chances which he failed to convert.

Hopefully he’ll come back refreshed after the break. Wish international teams would think more about their players and give the ones who need it a well earned rest.

Sadio Mane – 6:

Mane is another who would benefit from having a rest from international duty. It would help his club form which would in turn allow Senegal to get the best out of him.

To be fair to Mane, Kyle Walker can make any winger’s day miserable, but too often Mane’s touch was woeful.

Bobby Firmino – 6:

Bobby’s touch wasn’t at its best either. His pressing was excellent as usual, but he was unable to create much and was deservedly hooked for Daniel Sturridge.

Brazil and England’s national teams arrive back the latest out of any country, and this certainly won’t help Bobby get back to his best.



Naby Keita – 6 (on for Milner 29′):

Keita was brought on to replace to injured Miler, but was unable to fill the ‘Ox role’ that many fans were hoping to see after its effectiveness against City last season.

Perhaps its still too soon for Naby, but fans still want to see more from him.

Daniel Sturridge – 6 (on for Firmino 72′):

Sturridge didn’t have much service after coming on as City gave a final push to win.

Although, he did have once chance to get a goal, but could only head Gomez’s cross straight at Ederson.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri


Jurgen Klopp – 8:

Klopp took some risks in this game, and for the most part they payed off.

Few were expecting Alexander-Arnold to be dropped to the bench, although in my Napoli review, I pointed out that City could target Trent due to his developing positional sense.

Putting Gomez in at right back worked well, and reintroducing Lovren certainly paid dividends. The only blemishes on Klopp’s game were the result and his failure to introduce Shaqiri despite Mane and Salah’s poor performances.


Talking Points

Champions Fear Liverpool

It was clear from the get-go that City altered their tactics against Liverpool, which is not a regular occurance for a team that many consider to be the best in the world.

Pep Guardiola admitted as much after the game, saying “If you play so quick, they are much better than us. If it’s an open game against Liverpool, you don’t even have one chance, not even one percent.”

City were conservative attack and they were certainly more content with a draw than the hosts. But despite this, for the first 15 minutes, Liverpool put them on the back foot, resembling last season’s thrashings.

Missing Spark in Midfield

One of the major themes from those cracking games last season wasn’t just Liverpool’s sublime attack, it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s presence in midfield and being able to slice through City.

His direct dribbling caused panic and opened up spaces for other players to run into. In this game, we were lacking any sort of drive from the midfield and too often were forced into trying to go over or around the City defence.

This isn’t an easy fix, as the Ox will likely miss the rest of the season. We’ll need Keita to step up and fill his shoes in order for us to regain this aspect of our game.

Defenders Steal the Show

In a game where all the hype and highlight packages surrounded both team’s attacking potency, it’s easy to forget that it was also a clash between the league’s two best defences.

On this occasion, it was the defenders who came out on top. This is partially due to the forwards misfiring, but you have to give credit where it’s due.

Last season, particularly in the first half of it, the equation was simple. If Liverpool’s attack didn’t click, we lost. Our defenders were virtually incapable of keeping a clean sheet, but that couldn’t be further from the truth these days. Our defence is regularly winning points for the team, and that was certainly the case against City.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog on 08/10/2018

Liverpool vs Manchester City

Potential Game of the Season at Anfield

The countdown begins. This is a fixture that both sets of fans have been eagerly awaiting since the end of last season. Ultimately, it could be a decisive moment in the title race.

Liverpool’s form is poor coming into this one: two losses and a draw in their last three. However, City are yet to hit top gear this season either despite some flattering scorelines.

Both sides will be hoping to assert their dominance in this match and make a real statement to the rest of the league.

Liverpool – Team News and Predicted Lineup


Despite the fact that Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Naby Keita’s midweek injury was not too serious, the midfielder is still unlikely to feature in this match.

Keita is the only injury concern going into the game; however, Klopp’s men will be undoubtedly tired as the German isn’t blessed with the extensive rotational options that his Spanish counterpart has.

It’s difficult to imagine that the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge or Fabinho will be given the chance to start this match due to its importance.

Manchester City – Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup 5 (2).png

Pep Guardiola hinted that Benjamin Mendy and Kevin de Bruyne may return from injury in time to feature at Anfield.

Mendy is the more likely of the two to start, considering the only real alternative would be to throw young Oleksandr Zinchenko to the wolves. KDB is probably not worth risking considering he has mysteriously returned from a three month injury after only three weeks.

However, City have many options in most posistions and their lineup is always difficult to predict. Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, and Gabriel Jesus are just a few of the world class options they could chose to employ.

Pre-Game Analysis

City will surely enter the match as favourites, but then again, no manager in world football has bested Guardiola more often than Klopp.

Some pundits have suggested that if Liverpool in their current form are going to walk away with a result, then we’ll have to adopt a more conservative approach in this game. This is nonsense. If we’re going to win, we’re going to do it our way.

City aren’t going to change their approach despite what happened last season, and they;ll be better for it. An analysis of a game of this nature is basically redundant given the chaotic nature of the previous encounters.


Who would be brave enough to bet on this one? Who knows what Liverpool team will turn out at Anfield, and with the quality of City’s players will it even matter?

My head says City will be too strong for us in this moment, but my heart says this is the perfect game for our front three to remind the league that last season wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

I’m optimistically predicting a 2-2 draw, but honestly, anything could happen.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 07/10/2018

Napoli 1 – 0 Liverpool

Liverpool Beaten After Flat Display

Out of context, a 1-0 loss away to Napoli in the Champions League isn’t a big deal. However, it was the manner of this defeat that has Reds fans upset. In all honesty, the scoreline flattered us.

Liverpool’s midfield looked hapless, our fullbacks were run ragged, and worst of all, the attack failed to click yet again.

Lorenzo Insigne won it for the hosts in the 90th minute with a long overdue goal. Not many players in red can take any momentum into the Manchester City game.

Player Ratings

Alisson – (Man of the Match) 8:

After the game, Klopp said “It’s always a bad sign when you have to say your goalkeeper was your best player, but it was obvious tonight”. That pretty much sums it up.

The Brazilian was outstanding and made several top saves to keep his team in the game. He was let down by some of his teammates who gifted chance after chance to the Italians.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4:

In complete contrast to his performance against PSG where he easily handled Neymar, Trent was run ragged by Napoli. Even his passing, which usually very impressive, was wayward at times.

He was caught at the wrong end of the pitch too often and didn’t track back to resolve the issue. Manchester City will surely have identified this as an aspect to exploit.

Joe Gomez – 8:

Perhaps the only player whose form hasn’t dipped at any point this season. Joe was unbelievable again; comfortably coping with the quality attackers who tested him. He even led some attacks as he grew frustrated with the static midfielders ahead of him.

Some have questioned whether he should take some of the blame for the goal. He reacted a fraction too late for Insigne’s run, but that pales in comparison to the mistakes others made.

Virgil van Dijk – 7:

If it weren’t for our centre-back pairing, then the result could’ve been a lot worse. In particular, van Dijk made a courageous block to save his team around an hour into the game. He wasn’t as faultless as his partner though, Milner rescued one of his poor passes, and he was turned inside-out by Arkadiusz Milik.

Needs to be strong again on the weekend if his midfielders and fullbacks provide as little support against City as they did in this game.

Andy Robertson – 6:

Robbo wasn’t as bad as Trent defensively and positionally, despite having to deal with the pacy Jose Callejon. However, his final ball was lacking just like in the Chelsea game.

He’s a terrific player, but Robbo needs to improve his quality on the ball because so much of our play comes down the left-hand side. If he can, then he’ll be one of the best fullbacks in Europe, let alone the league.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6:

The best of the worst in midfield. There were times in the first half when I’d forgotten he was on the pitch, but he did improve in the second. His impeccable first touch helped the midfield maintain something of a foothold in the game.

The main reason he’s rated higher than his midfield colleagues is that Gini didn’t make any glaring mistakes, rather than having a good individual display.

James Milner – 5:

This was Milner’s worst performance in recent memory. In the last few matches Milner has fatigued as games went on, but against Napoli he looked tired from the get-go.

Fabinho was rightly brought on to replace him, but the change arguably could’ve come sooner as Milner did nothing to lead his side to victory aside from his usual marathon running.

Naby Keita – 3:

A Champions League night to forget for the Guinean for more reason than one. He misplaced passes and generally looked lost in a game that should’ve been his for the taking.

Went down injured after 19 minutes, and despite his performance, Liverpool fans will be hoping that he’ll be back sooner rather than later.

Sadio Mane – 6:

Despite most of the talk being about Salah’s ‘slump’, Mane doesn’t look much better at the moment. However, some more protection from the referee could’ve led to a more fruitful night.

He was as lively as ever, but too often he gave the ball away when Liverpool had a chance to create something. Unfortunately, those chances didn’t come very often either.

Mo Salah – 6:

Like Mane, you can’t fault Salah’s effort. He’s a player that’s clearly struggling for confidence. Statistically, he’s roughly on par with where he was this time last season, but you can’t help but feel that he’s not coping well.

Maybe he is going through a slump after all. Or perhaps we as fans need to manage our expectations better. Only time will tell.

Bobby Firmino – 7:

Bobby toiled through the match and did his best to try and create something with the scraps he was being fed from midfield. In all fairness, he did forge a couple of half-chances, but they led to nothing.

A lot of Salah’s success last season could be attributed to Bobby. He can’t do it alone though, he needs someone to feed and play off of.


Jordan Henderson – 6 (on for Keita 19′):

Hendo looked fired up when he came on, but unfortunately, he couldn’t transfer his enthusiasm into quality opportunities for the forwards.

Fabinho (on for Milner 76′) – 5:

Fabinho wasn’t too bad, but he’s yet to show proper glimpses of the quality that we all know he possesses.

Daniel Sturridge (on for Mane 89′) – N/A:

Should’ve been brought on much earlier. No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, and Xherdan Shaqiri.


Jurgen Klopp – 4:

While the result doesn’t rest solely on Klopp’s shoulders, he was outdone by a tactical masterclass from Carlo Ancelotti.

Klopp seemed reluctant to change his game plan even though it was clearly not working and the players weren’t executing it. The manager can hardly be blamed for individual errors though.

Strangely, Klopp went back to his old ways by taking an age to bring on his subs to try and rescue the game. Granted, he was a sub down after being forced into a change 19 minutes into the game, but Milner was exhausted long before he was subbed off. Likewise, Shaqiri and Sturridge can feel slightly miffed at not being trusted to change the game.

Talking Points

What This Means For Our Champions League Dream

In short, not a lot, yet. Napoli now sit on top of the group with four points, while PSG and Liverpool are tied for second with three points each.

Three points from a home game against PSG and an away trip to Napoli is nothing to be embarrassed by. However, given that the next two matches should be relatively easy wins against Red Star Belgrade, a draw in this fixture would’ve surely secured progression into the round of 16 with two games to spare.

There’s no time to dwell on that though, and the Reds will do what Liverpool do best: we go again. We’ll be better in the return leg, and that should be enough to get the job done so long as the PSG vs Napoli fixtures go our way.

Manchester City

Before the season started, this was a fixture that most Liverpool fans were gleefully looking forward to. But now there’s a sense of dread for what could happen if we aren’t at our best.

City have the quality to wreak havoc on the very best European sides, and Liverpool aren’t playing like one at the moment. Thankfully, City aren’t in top form either despite a string of good results.

The Citizens have key injuries that could be enough to give Liverpool a chance of recapturing the play that brought the champions to their knees last season.

The Positives

It may not seem like it, but there are some positives to take away. First and foremost, our centre backs and goalkeeper are outstanding. This is not a trait that has been associated with Liverpool for a very long time. Given that we’re below par at the moment, the fact that those three are still standing strong bodes well for when we are up and running.

We haven’t been brilliant in any of our games this season, but this is the first one where we were poor. Klopp knows that, and so do the players. This isn’t a trend that’s been plaguing us, all we need is a bit of luck to get the engines roaring and we’ll be on our way to greatness.

You could even argue that this is a good time to play City despite that fact that our form isn’t ideal. We usually rise for big games, and a good result in this one could be just what the doctor ordered for our players who are struggling.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – on 04/10/2018

Napoli vs Liverpool – Preview

Reds Travel to Naples

The tough run continues as Liverpool take on second-place Napoli in the Champions League.

Liverpool’s lineup was shambolic the last time these two sides played each other. The likes of David N’Gog, Jay Spearing, and Paul Konchesky lead our dismal team.

A new look Liverpool will have to take on the dangerous Italians, backed by a passionate crowd, inside a hostile stadium.

Napoli Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (3)

Napoli will be without winger Amin Younes and former Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches for the game, but still boast a strong lineup with some interesting rotational options.

Arkadiusz Milik is the most prominent of these options as the big Polish striker has the capability of disrupting even the best of defences on his day.

The only other uncertainty will be the formation which Carlo Ancelotti employs for this match. His Napoli side have utilised 4-4 -2, 4-2-3-1, and 4-4-1-1 to equal effect this season.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (2)

Liverpool’s formation and tactics should be fairly straightforward, but considering we have one of the most important games of the season on the weekend against Manchester City, Klopp could be tempted to rest key players.

I do not expect Klopp to do so, but if he did, he could consider rotating the fullbacks. Similarly, he could rest our forwards by playing one or both of Xherdan Shaqiri or the in-form Daniel Sturridge.

The one change I am expecting is in the midfield. I believe Klopp will have faith in Naby Keita to build on his cameo against Chelsea by making his mark in the Champions League.

Pre-Game Analysis

Ancelotti’s side have the quality and tactical discipline to cause Liverpool problems. Their midfield duo perfectly combine industry with outstanding technique, and their wide players cover for each other during attacking plays.

Lorenzo Insigne is perhaps Napoli’s greatest weapon, but Dries Mertens can be just as dangerous. Both players are blessed with excellent feet and a great deal of pace; providing them with multiple ways in which they can score and create chances.

However, one of Napoli’s biggest weaknesses that can be exploited is the fact that they play with a high defensive line. This was the deciding factor in the pre-season thrashing of Napoli, 5 – 0, when Liverpool’s forwards tore them to ribbons by regularly finding space behind the defenders.


Given that Liverpool’s lineup is largely guesswork at this point, it’s exceedingly difficult to make a realistic prediction.

However, if Klopp fields his strongest XI, the forwards should be able to make Napoli pay while our defenders snuff out their opportunities.

If my lineup is accurate, then I can see Liverpool remaining top of the group with a convincing 3 – 1 victory against the Neapolitans.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 04/10/2018