Reaction: Liverpool 2 Middlesborough 1

Barclays Premier League, Result

Anfield, Saturday August 23rd 2008

Liverpool 2 (Carragher, Gerrard) – Middlesborough 1 (Mido)

Liverpool’s boss Rafael Benitez: “We did it the hard way. I was very pleased with the first 10 or 15 minutes because we were creating chances, but after that it was a little bit ugly; we did not play well and they were controlling our attacks. In the second half, they scored a good goal and were on top of us and we had to throw people forward. I thought it would be difficult but we changed – we played with three defenders and that was the key.

“Last season we drew far too many games at Anfield. But this time we have sent out a message that in such situations we can win the game. We have winners here.

“The team showed an intensity and mentality we want to see. Last year we were losing or drawing these types of games and we have to win them. Our fans were quiet before we scored and they were thinking about last season, but in the end we showed a winning mentality and so maybe this will send a positive message to the fans. This is the kind of determination we want to see for the rest of the season.” Continue reading Reaction: Liverpool 2 Middlesborough 1

A statement from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign

A statement from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign:

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign remains committed to supporting the case of Kevin Williams from both a moral and financial perspective. To clarify this situation, the chair of the campaign, has recently written to Kevin’s mother, Anne, to try to ensure that she is fully aware that this support and funding remains in place regardless of previous differences:

It was explained to Anne that:

“The HJC remains committed to supporting the case of Kevin Williams. This includes financial support (within the means of the group) integral to the legal case.

“The HJC remains committed to using funds raised to support the fight for justice and as a victim of Hillsborough then it is obvious that this includes Kevin’s case. Ultimately, we accept that the decision rests with you as to whether or not you choose to accept the support offered but at least now there is no confusion with regard to the position of the HJC and hopefully this clarification will alleviate any pressures with regard to the need to fundraise.”

Hopefully this will clarify the situation and any misunderstanding that may exist with regards to the position of the HJC and its position in regards to funding Kevin’s case in Europe.

Thank you for your continued support.

Hillsborough Justice Campaign

CL Qual: Standard Liege 0 Liverpool 0

Liverpool’s 2008-2009 campaign got underway with a match that players, staff and fans would rather forget. Belgian champions Standard Liege came out fighting in the first leg of this Champions League qualifier, determined to ensure Liverpool didn’t get an easy passage to the group stages. With the game ending 0-0, Liverpool know there’s a risk of embarrassment in the return in two weeks’ time.

Pepe Reina was man-of-the-match; saving a penalty and clawing a ball back from either off or over the line, depending on your point of view. Replays weren’t too conclusive, but without Reina in goal perhaps there’d be no need to look at replays to decide if it had crossed the line or not. The point of view that mattered on the night was that of the referee and his officials, and the ‘goal’ was ruled out.

The official’s point of view again differed from that of some watching the game when it came to the penalty incident. There was no disagreement that new signing Andrea Dossena had handled the ball on his competitive debut, but not everyone agreed it had happened inside the area. Again though the referee’s decision was final, and so Pepe Reina faced a penalty. Dante Bonfim was handed the duty and the chance to put Liege in front, but to beat Pepe Reina from the spot it needs to be a good kick, and this wasn’t.

Liverpool’s starting line-up wasn’t the one Rafa Benitez would have liked to have chosen, with Lucas, Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel all out of contention, on international duty in Beijing for the Olympics. Steven Gerrard was on the bench due to injury, the idea being that he’d stay there unless absolutely necessary. His arrival on 67 minutes shows that Liege had Rafa worried. Had Rafa’s transfer plans gone as he’d have liked, Gareth Barry would no doubt have been in the starting line-up, and Xabi Alonso would have been training with another team’s squad. Instead the one-time England captain was with Aston Villa, and the Spaniard started in the green away kit of Liverpool alongside the youngster Plessis. Whether Barry would have been used centrally or on the left is something that can only be speculated over, but along with Babel’s Olympic absence and Fabio Aurelio’s injury, Rafa is lacking choices on the left.

Up front it would be difficult for Rafa to complain about his choices – his decision to start with over £40m worth of talent for his front two shows how much respect he had for the Belgians. It was Keane who made way for Gerrard mid-way through the second half. Jamie Carragher captained the side, starting alongside Daniel Agger who made his first competitive appearance since suffering a metatarsal injury early last season. Sami Hyypia was on the bench; Martin Skrtel was still in the treatment room. Continue reading CL Qual: Standard Liege 0 Liverpool 0

Reds to face Standard Liege in CL Qualifier

Standard LiegeLiverpool now know who stands in the way of them getting their Champions League campaign for 2008-2009 underway. The draw for the third qualifying round was made by UEFA this morning, and the Reds will face Standard Liege of Belgium.

As it stands Liverpool will be at home for the second leg, on August 26th or 27th, with the first leg in Belgium on August 12th or 13th. Actual dates will be confirmed later.

Standard Liege are current Belgian champions, and haven’t played in the group stages of the Champions League before.

Like Liverpool, they’re known as “The Reds”, or “Les Rouches”, as they wear Red shirts at home. Liverpool’s new green European away kit is therefore going to be guaranteed at least one outing this season.

They also have a group of fans who sit in a certain section of the ground and go by the name of “Kop Rouches”. Standard Liege: Kop RoucheThis group was formed in the late sixties, just a few years after the only encounters between the two clubs. Liverpool beat the Belgian side home and away in 1965 in the European Cup Winners’ Cup 2nd round. Lawler scored twice at Anfield, with Peter Thompson getting the third in a 3-1 win. Over to Belgium for the second leg, Hunt and St John, perhaps the Torres and Keane of the time, got Liverpool’s goals in a 2-1 victory.

That game was played at the Stade de Sclessin, also known as Stade Maurice Dufrasne, which is where this season’s away fixture will also be played. It was used during Euro 2000, hosting games between Germany and Romania, Norway and Yugoslavia, and Denmark and the Czech Republic.

Standard Liege: Kop RoucheThe remainder of the draw is:

Anorthosis/Rapid Vienna v Olympiakos
Vitoria Guimaraes v IFK Gothenburg/Basel
Shakhtar Donetsk v Domzale/Dinamo Zagreb
Schalke 04 v Atletico Madrid
Aalborg/Modrica v Rangers/Kaunas
Barcelona v Beitar Jerusalem/Wisla Krakow
Levski Sofia v Anderlecht/BATE
Standard Liege v Liverpool
Inter Baku/Partizan v Fenerbahce/MTK Budapest
FC Twente v Arsenal
Spartak Moscow v Drogheda/Dinamo Kiev
Juventus v Tampere/Artmedia
SK Brann/Ventspils v Marseille
Fiorentina v Slavia Prague
Galatasaray v Steaua Bucharest
Panathinaikos/Dinamo Tbilisi v Sheriff Tiraspol/Sparta Prague