Tag Archives: Premier League

Leeds United succumb to dominant Liverpool as Salah strikes his 100th league goal!

The mark of any great team is to rise from the depths of ordinary to reach the peaks of sublime.

Well, Liverpool are certainly in the league of the greatest Premier League teams ever, as they rose from a rather ordinary display against Chelsea in the 1-1 draw to a sublime 3-0 whitewash of Leeds United at Elland Road last evening.

A small number of Kopites who made the trip from Liverpool and millions more watching around the world were certainly more than satisfied as the three Reds’ stalwarts in Salah, Fabinho and Mane registered their names on the score sheet.

With this triumph, Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 11 encounters against Leeds having won 8 and drawn 3 with their last loss coming more than two decades back in April 2001 as the Merseyside Maulers were conquered 2-1 at Anfield on that occasion.

Leeds United with this fourth successive loss since the inception of the season have piled up their most miserable campaign in any top-flight competition since 1958-59. Certainly not a good space to be in if you are a Peacocks’ fan.

So, without further ado lets dissect this rather pleasing performance The Reds showed in a game that also saw a red card:

Centurion Mohamed Salah, the difference maker in the first 45

Marcelo Bielsa’s team started this contest as the more assertive side creating their first opportunity on target in just the 4th minute as Rodrigo blasted a straight attempt at Reds’ keeper Alisson who was equal to the shot.

The visitors came back strong after the initial scare as Jota mounted a chance in the 14th minute when the Portuguese took down a Salah pass with his chest and hooked it on the volley to Leeds’ keeper Meslier who did well to take the sting out of the shot.

The momentum for The Reds would finally result in a hurrah in the 20th minute as the enigmatic Egyptian, Mohamed Salah put the visitors in front with a super strike to reach 100 goals in The Premier League after he was fed with a brilliant pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Credit – Reuters

Liverpool were up by a goal to nil early as the team gathered around the Egyptian to congratulate him on becoming the fifth fastest to reach the century landmark in this competition.

Minutes later Mane had a chance to put the visitors two to the good as his shot went above the post. Liverpool were certainly looking up for this one.

The Reds would continue to dominate the remainder of the first half albeit the second was not to be found much akin to a treasure hunter looking for the elusive treasure only to be disappointed in his excursion at least for the moment.

Fab Fabinho and Majestic Mane seal the deal

As the second 45 began, Liverpool continued their dominance as Mane and Salah both fired their shots wide.

Leeds were lucky not to concede and one could just feel the second goal was around the corner.

Well the goal came in a matter of moments as Fabinho did well to capitalize on a corner from Alexander-Arnold scoring on his second attempt as VAR did check on Sadio Mane being offside albeit the goal was given.

Credit – Official Liverpool FC Twitter Handle

The Brazilian midfielder had his first for The Reds in 15 months.

Seven minutes later Liverpool were dealt with a destructive blow as their teenage sensation Harvey Elliot was tackled rather roughly by Pascal Struijk who saw a red as the Liverpool midfielder was carried off the field on a stretcher.

Credit – Reuters

Jurgen Klopp was furious with this tackle and rightfully so!

In time we should know the magnitude of Elliot’s injury and wish him all the best on a speedy recovery.

In the 75th minute, Leeds had a chance to get one back as Bamford’s attempt was saved with much confidence by Alisson.

At the other end, Liverpool would continue their offensive onslaught as Sadio Mane came close to giving The Merseyside Maulers their third, only to be denied by the Leeds keeper.

Alisson again was up to the task in the 83rd minute, keeping a long-range effort out by Bamford jumping high to thwart the ball away.

Liverpool would finally have their third in injury time as Sadio Mane after numerous unsuccessful attempts on goal finally found fulfilment with a super strike on goal after he was fed with a fine pass by Thiago who did well to latch onto a long cross from captain Henderson.

As the referee called time, Liverpool were rightfully anointed as the 3-0 winners.

The winning momentum needs to continue for The Reds

With three wins and one draw so far in the season, The Reds are looking good and need to build on this momentum as the contests will most certainly get tougher in time.

Liverpool should continue to mount those offensive onslaughts and goals will surely become a regular feature in their play as we have seen this far.

The Champions League opener against AC Milan is upon The Reds next in a matter of a few days and nothing short of a win in the opener of Europe’s most prestigious club competition will suffice.

Having said this, make no mistake any Italian opposition is never a cake walk and The Merseyside Maulers will definitely have to bring their A game to the fore amid a 50,000 strong Anfield.

After all, when Kopites roar, Liverpool soar.

 ‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

Chelsea Column: Could this be the start of a Title winning season?

Football is back. The Premier League is back, which means that my monthly Chelsea columns are back.

Chelsea are the reigning European champions which means that expectations have never been higher and there will be a lot more pressure of Tuchel this season.

The Premier League seems to be the target set by the fans, and given how Chelsea have strengthened over the summer, it looks like it could be in reach.

While I have been cynical on Chelsea’s chance, the last month has given me an insight on what could be a great season for Chelsea.

Have Chelsea already proven themselves championship worthy?

Chelsea have taken seven points from their first three games, breezing past Arsenal, and getting a crucial draw at Liverpool.

Kai Havertz got his first goal of the season against Liverpool. Credit: NBC

After going down to 10 men and conceding a penalty away to Liverpool, it did look as though Liverpool would run away with the game in the second half. However, Chelsea dug deep and held on.

Liverpool threw everything they had at Chelsea and a defiant defence stopped Liverpool getting a winner. Despite being a man down, it didn’t stop Chelsea getting forward and almost winning it themselves.

That result shows how far Tuchel has brought this Chelsea in the 8 months that he has been in charge. The Chelsea of old would have failed to keep Liverpool at bay, but the discipline in the defence is going to make it incredibly difficult for any team to score against Chelsea.

This goes to show that the result against Liverpool could be the result that defines them as Championship contenders this season, more so than the cruising victory over Arsenal.

Lukaku showed in that Arsenal game just how much of a difference he is going to make. Watching Werner linger offside and miss sitters was very painful last season. Lukaku kept himself onside and bullied the defence.

He did the same against Liverpool and if it wasn’t for some poor decisions in the final third, he could have scored a couple.

Chelsea have all the ingredients to do it, but there are still 35 games remaining and anything could happen.

Another fortunate Champions League draw

Next month, Chelsea will start their defence of their Champions League title. Considering the last time they failed to get out of the group stages, I’ll be hoping for better this time around.

Trevor Chalobah has burst into the Chelsea squad with two impressive games. Credit: Getty Images

Chelsea have been drawn against Juventus, just like in 2012, as well as Malmo FF and Zenit St. Petersburg. On paper, this should be a pretty simple group, and one that Chelsea will be expected to win.

Of course, PSG will be the favourite for the Champions League, but I wouldn’t rule out Chelsea going far in the competition again. Chelsea still have a very strong side and they are capable of beating each team in the competition.

I’m not expecting Chelsea to win the Champions League, far from it. I’ll be happy with the Quarterfinals and anything beyond that will be a bonus.

My expectation of Chelsea is just to compete in cup competitions and as long as we can do ourselves proud then I’ll be happy.

I am really looing forward to playing Juventus. It has been a long time since Chelsea have played Juve in a competitive game. With the Old Lady no longer having Ronaldo, I do believe that Chelsea have a better chance of topping the group.

I expect a big step up from English teams in the Champions League this season and I think it’s going to be very competitive, so if Chelsea can get into the quarterfinals then that will be an achievement.

What should be Chelsea’s goals for this season?

In terms of the Premier League, Chelsea have to compete for the title. People seem to think that Chelsea have to win it after the Champions League victory, but I don’t think that is the case.

Marcos Alonso kicked off Chelsea’s season with a fantastic goal against Crystal Palace. Credit: Getty.

City, United and Liverpool are all going to be very competitive this season. The battle for the league could be one of the closest amongst the top four that we have seen in a long time.

Chelsea are going to have to work hard if they want to come out on top spot, but whether or not it’s possible is still yet to be seen.

September is going to be a very tough test for Chelsea and their title hopes. First up after the international break is Aston Villa, followed by Manchester City and then Spurs. If Chelsea can go through that undefeated then their stamp on the title race will have been made.

As for domestic trophies, Tuchel will want to make up for the loss against Leicester in the FA Cup final last season. It feels like it’s been forever since Chelsea won a domestic trophy, despite being in a domestic final for the last seven seasons running.

It’s about time that someone ended City’s dominance in the EFL Cup, so that would be nice for Tuchel to get another one up on Pep.

With how good the top four in England are at the moment, it’s going to be very difficult to get any kind of double, so getting a domestic trophy will be a good season. However, I do expect Chelsea to go on a good cup run in both domestic competitions.

For Chelsea, competing for trophies has been the minimum requirement. Now that Tuchel has won the Champions League in his first season, though, winning trophies now have to become the minimum requirement

Spirited 10-man Chelsea hold Liverpool to a draw at Anfield amid flaring tempers!

Pitted as a must watch clash of the titans, Anfield was rather disappointed with the final outcome as 10-man Chelsea did well to keep Liverpool at bay in a 1-1 draw despite the relentless attacking intent shown by The Reds.

Surely, Thomas Tuchel’s side would have been the happier of the two teams despite losing their right back, Reece James to a red at the stroke of half-time and still holding their own in the second to see out a draw which in-truth seemed almost an away win for them.

Testament to their coming of age under the German!

Truth be told, this clash wasn’t only about on-field performance albeit also of raging tempers on either side when Reece James received the red having controversially kept the ball out with his hand which was headed into the back of the net and Salah scored as a result with the spot-kick.

Chelsea were surely unhappy with the decision and it showed as keeper Mendy kicked the ball away when Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson went to collect it after Salah’s penalty thereby resulting in a heated exchange between the two as their respective team members came in to diffuse the situation.

Having said this, on a more positive note for all Liverpool fans, despite this 1-1 draw, The Merseyside Maulers still continued their unabated run of not losing a single game in their last 13 league encounters having won 10 and drawn 3.

So, without further ado lets dissect this fixture that saw the small section of Blues supporters certainly being the happier bunch amid the sea of Red at Anfield:

Spoils are shared in the first 45 amid drama galore

Liverpool started the game as the more dominant of the two teams with their first chance coming in just the 4th minute as a sloppy display from Kai Havertz saw Salah get the ball and he in turn passed it to young Harvey Elliot whose strike went just inches off-target.

The Reds would continue to build attacks with a second chance coming in the 10th minute as Henderson volleyed the ball off-target with his first touch from a sumptuous Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

Liverpool certainly looked up for this contest albeit much to their dismay, the opposition drew first blood when Kai Havertz loopy header found the back of the Liverpool net from a James corner in the 22nd minute. Truth be told, The Reds defence was in sixes and sevens as The German was given ample space to conveniently head the ball that beat keeper Alisson.

Chelsea led Liverpool by a goal to nil as the Kop and more importantly all of Anfield was in shock!

A comeback was more than the need of the hour.

Well, the comeback came in injury time as Mane’s strike was blocked by Reece James as the ball bounced of his leg inevitably onto his hand as it was going in.

Credit – Reuters

The result, a penalty as VAR asked the referee to decide by looking at the pitch side monitor and Chelsea’s misery soared further after James was also shown the Red as a deliberate attempt to keep the ball out with his hand.

The Blues were furious amid the rather controversial decision and Mohamed Salah made no mistake in drawing The Reds level with his 99th Premier League goal.

Credit – Official Liverpool FC Twitter Handle

As the first half ended there were ill-fated temper tussles between both the teams which also saw Blues’ defender Rudiger and keeper Mendy get a yellow.

Credit – The Liverpool Offside

Mendy keeps Liverpool’s attacking threats at bay in the second half

Having been reduced to 10-men and also scarred with two yellow cards, Chelsea as the second half began were all but emotionally drained. One would have expected Liverpool to capitalize on this situation and mount further misery on The Blues.

Well, The Reds certainly tried with mounting 24 shots with 7 of them being on target albeit Chelsea stood strong to keep the Merseyside Maulers at bay.

Liverpool had their first chance of the second half in the 51st minute with Jota’s header going just inches above the goal.

Minutes later keeper Mendy did well to keep a long Virgil Van Dijk shot out along with also standing tall to thwart Fabinho and Robertson’s efforts.

Truth be told, Liverpool were getting frustrated having not mounted a second despite having one additional player on the field.

As time went on so did Liverpool’s desperation to score with missing two more chances in the last 10 minutes as Jota and Salah were also denied by Mendy.

The Chelsea keeper had done fantastically well to deny Liverpool who had chances aplenty as the referee called time.

For a neutral and the small group of Chelsea fans at Anfield, this was almost a win for The Blues as they took an important point from this away fixture.

Not a dent but a learning for The Reds

For Jurgen Klopp and his team this draw which could easily have been a win as Chelsea were demoralized, being down to 10-men should not be seen as a dent but a learning.

Learning to capitalize better on opportunities when you have the opposition down and deflated.

Having said this Liverpool did try and had it not been for the stupendous efforts of Blues’ keeper Mendy, The Reds surely would have had a second.

Despite the draw, The Reds still sit pretty on third in the league table with seven important points and surely would hope for nothing less than a win when they lock horns with Leeds United next in the league before opening their European campaign against the Italian force A.C. Milan.

The season is still very open and all for Liverpool to make their own.

‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

In a game where offside decisions rule out goals, Liverpool still reign supreme!

As a new season entered the red walls of Anfield, more than 50,000 Kopites made the Mecca of Reds football their own after 528 days of gloom to witness Liverpool record their second successive hurrah.

The team at the receiving end was a spirited Burnley who more than put up a fight to give The Merseyside Maulers a run for their money in a score line which finally skewed towards The Reds by a margin of two goals.

Make no mistake, such was the determination, The Clarets demonstrated when they almost had one back had the referee not adjudged Ashley Barnes offside in the beginning of the second half.

Speaking about offside decisions, Liverpool themselves were at the receiving end of one when Salah thought he had got Liverpool a second in the first-half albeit VAR ruled otherwise.

Surely a game that would have seen a score line of 3-1 in Liverpool’s favour had offside decisions not ruled out two goals. Well such is football and rules are rules!

On a brighter side this was the seventh consecutive victory for Liverpool in the Premier League including the last season. To put things into perspective before these seven successive wins, in their 20 previous games, The Reds only managed to win 7, draw 5 and lose 8.

These seven successive hurrahs also served as their longest winning run since February 2020, when they won 18 in a row.

Certainly, The Reds are on the rise. Again!

So, without further ado lets dissect this intriguing fixture that saw Liverpool come on top though not as convincingly as their first outing:

Diogo Jota shows his value on a second successive occasion

Burnley started the contest as the more assertive of the two teams with almost going into the lead in the 4th minute courtesy McNeil whose effort was barely kept out by Trent Alexander Arnold on the goal line as keeper Alisson had already committed himself to keep striker Wood at bay.

Post the move, the referee raised the flag to adjudge Wood offside, the first in the game that would see two more goals denied courtesy the flag.

Liverpool were lucky to survive the initial scare!

As they say it’s the survival of the fittest and The Reds more than showed why with a fitting header by Diogo Jota that put the home side in front in the 18th minute after the Portuguese did well to latch on to a Tsimikas cross much to the delight of a lively Kop and an energetic Anfield.

Credit – Reuters

Minutes later Burnley managed another strike on goal only to be denied by Alisson. The Clarets were certainly up for the contest despite Liverpool drawing first blood.

Well, the home team in a matter of moments had a second albeit this would be the first goal to be denied by the flag. The perpetrator was Mohamed Salah by just barely having a foot over the line after he was brilliantly served by young Reds midfielder, Harvey Elliot.

Credit – Reuters

With no further drama the first half came to a finish as the score read Liverpool 1 – 0 Burnley.

Sadio Mane comes to the party

The second half much like the first saw Burnley assert their dominance as Ashley Barnes scored in the first minute to put the visitors’ level or at least he thought he did before the flag went up again. The second insistence where the flag was raised and the goal was denied.

The Clarets surely felt unlucky and Liverpool relieved!

A second was the need of the hour for the home team to put the game beyond the visitors as the eleven players in Red and the 50,000 + supporters all but seemed to tilt towards a certain sense of edginess.

The person to calm the nerves had to be one from Liverpool’s Big 3 and thankfully this time it was the Senegalese superstar, Sadio Mane who got his first of the season to join his compatriots Salah and Firmino on the goal scoring list.

Credit – Official Liverpool FC Twitter Handle

The Senegalese after being kept out by the Pope of Burnley on two previous attempts finally beat the keeper with a hammer of a shot as he capitalized on an opportunity created through a brilliant interplay between Elliot and Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool had sealed the deal with this strike.

The final score read Liverpool 2 – 0 Burnley as the home team recorded a perfect 6 points from their first two outings much to the delight of an ecstatic Anfield.

An enthralling contest with Chelsea awaits

While wins over Norwich City and Burnley are as important as they come to open the season on a high, truth be told the game of gigantic proportions which surely will test the metal of the team in red is the one next.

Chelsea, the champions of Europe under Thomas Tuchel seem a much-rejuvenated side and will be more than eager to bring the mother of all fights to Anfield.

Having said this, make no mistake, Liverpool will be ready as The Blues will not only face the eleven men on the field but also the 50,000 strong army cheering from the stands. And yes the millions supporting from all corners of the globe too.

A clash of two German geniuses in the offering. I surely hope the one with The Reds prevails!

‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

Focused Liverpool begin their campaign with much belief as they take Norwich City to the cleaners!

On a day when the Red Devils played like the Manchester United of old thumping Leeds United 5-1 courtesy a Bruno Fernandes’ hattrick and a clinical Chelsea put Crystal Palace to rest with relative ease in a 3-0 score line, Liverpool had much pressure to live up to the magic created by their compatriots, the members of the Big 6 in the league.

Well, when you talk pressure to Liverpool, one must understand that it serves not as a taboo albeit a motivation to The Merseyside Maulers as they too started their campaign much like their peers with a focused and purposeful annihilation of Norwich City in a 3-0 score line amid a group of Kopites vehemently cheering for their side at Carrow Road, the home stadium of The Canaries.

With this win, The Reds also recorded their eighth successive away win over Norwich City, equaling a record set by a Reds team of the bygone era against West Brom from 1983 to 2009.

The cherry on the cake for me though was Liverpool’s envious record of winning eight of the last nine fixtures on matchday 1 with five out of six coming under the able guidance of our German GOD, Jurgen Klopp.

So, as my heart fills with pride galore to see my team start with such belief and set records second to none, lets dissect this astute annihilation of Norwich City last evening:

Jota scores the season opener for The Reds

The evening began with a series of things being back.

The League was back, so were the fans and most importantly so was Norwich City from relegation as the contest started amid a Carrow Road packed to the rafters.

Liverpool asserted their dominance from the word go as Trent Alexander Arnold in just the 11th minute curled a great cross from a corner, which was passed by Naby Kieta to Diogo Jota whose header was barely kept out by the Norwich keeper, Tim Krul.

Norwich were lucky to not be down this early in the game!

The Canaries minutes later created a chance of their own through a Pukki shot on goal which was ably kept out by keeper Alisson.

The Reds with their relentless assault would finally go one to the good as their Portuguese sensation, Diogo Jota skittled in the strike after he was ably fed by none other than the Egyptian magician, Mohamed Salah through an adept touch.

Credit – Reuters

Twenty-Six minutes in and the away team had put the home team and their fans in a state of sorrow.

With no further twists, the referee called time on the half as Liverpool led the home side by a goal to nil.

Firmino and Salah sink The Canaries further

The second half began much to the same tune as the first, with a Liverpool assault all but denting Norwich as a second goal came courtesy the brave Brazilian, Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool’s no. 9 came on as a substitute for Jota and in just his fourth minute fired The Reds two to the good thanks to a brilliant interplay between the famed trio of Liverpool in Salah, Mane and Firmino with the Egyptian giving the final pass to the Brazilian as he put the ball in the back of the Norwich net.

Credit – Reuters

The move was simply stunning!

The Canaries would be dented even further, this time at the hands of Mohamed Salah in the 74th minute as he made no mistake slotting the ball in the back of the net from the edge of the box after a false Gibson clearance came straight to him from a Liverpool corner.

Credit – The Guardian

The match by now was all but out of Norwich City’s grasp as the handful of Kopites in the stadium cheered their team on.

As the referee called time on the 90, contrasting emotions engulfed Carrow Road with everyone in Red rosily celebrating and the overwhelming majority in green and yellow feeling rather overwhelmed.

The final score read Norwich City 0 – 3 Liverpool.

A bright start should serve as much fodder for a fruitful season ahead

A bright start, a steady build in and a great finish go a long way to make a team bask in the success of winning consistently.

Well, Liverpool have certainly started the season on a high and I surely hope they continue the momentum as they now lock horns with Burnley next weekend, followed by the big one against The Blues.

A match of epic proportions if you’re a Kopite or a supporter of Chelsea.

Make no mistake, consistency in performance will be the mantra to success.

To conclude this article, which showcases a performance that has filled my soul with solace, I would just say in every journey that you undertake my Dear Reds, millions of Kopites around the world much like me continue to support you unconditionally with piles of passion.

‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

Premier League 2021-22: Are Liverpool ready to cement their status among the elites of England Again?

Welcome to that time of the year, when the pilgrims of English football will march to their holy places of worship to offer prayers to their favourite Gods as another season of the Premier League beckons.

The 2021-22 season commences this weekend with not only supporters in England flocking to stadiums, but billions more around the world will once again enthusiastically sit in front of their TV sets to vehemently support their teams.

The banter will also be back, which I hope is only healthy and nothing else!

Amid these exciting times, is a team which was languishing in the bottom half of the top 10 mid-season in the last Premier League campaign. Having suffered a massive blow of not having its best defenders available, Liverpool still did the impossible of winning 26 out of the final available 30 points to cement a place among the European elite by finishing third.

With youngsters, the likes of Phillips and Williams giving it their all and keeper Alisson scoring an important goal in injury time to keep Liverpool relevant in the hunt for the Champions League, could one have expected anything less?

Certainly not! Kudos to Liverpool for this fantastic showing to end the last season on a high!

Having already cemented their place among the elites of Europe for the upcoming Champions League, are the resolute Reds ready to be among the best in England at the onset of the new domestic season?

Well, as a die-hard Kopite my answer is an overwhelming yes!

Virgil, the vigilante of our defence is back!

Its been almost 10 months since we have seen the prize of Liverpool’s defence, Virgil Van Dijk, take the field for a competitive game. Having suffered a knee ligament injury against Merseyside rivals, Everton on October 17th last year, the Red wall has since been out of commission.

Credit – The Guardian

Well, that’s in the past, as the Dutch vigilante is back and fit as ever to patrol our defence and negate the best of attacking threats come the start of this season. Giving him support will also be a fit again Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

The Reds have also signed the young French sensation, Ibrahima Konate for a whopping 66 million USD from RB Leipzig, the only acquisition of the pre-season to further spruce up the defence.

Credit – The Guardian

The wingers in Trent Alexander-Arnold and the recently injured Andrew Robertson, who is expected to be fit soon, will also add the much-needed sheen to make our defence well-rounded.

With an assured midfield in captain Henderson, the Spanish sensation Thiago and the barbaric Brazilian, Fabianho to match a forward line boasting one of the best trios in English football in Salah, Mane and Firmino and the ever-improving Diogo Jotta, the Reds certainly look to have all bases covered.

And last but not the least, the cherry on the cake is our keeper, the ever-reliable Alisson Becker.

So, with a team as strong as this, Liverpool certainly appears to be one of the favorites’ heading into the new season with the nucleus remaining largely the same and most importantly personnel consistency being maintained.

The master tactician, Jurgen Klopp will be the backbone of this team

They say a team is as good as its Manager.

For me, if you have a manager like Jurgen Klopp, the astute German tactician who will now be in his seventh season at Anfield, it surely doesn’t get better.

Credit – This is Anfield

Be it winning the Champions League in 2018-19 season or the Premier League in the 2019-20 season after an astounding gap of 30 years or getting an under-par Reds to number three in the last season when few expected, is testament to his commitment to make this team soar in the face of adversity.

His humility matched with the ability to get the best out of this team is the perfect mantra for success as the daunting task of keeping Liverpool consistent in performances over the entirety of the next season will be all for him to conquer.

Add to this, the expectations of the effervescent Kopites and Jurgen certainly would have a lot on his plate!

When Anfield in unison roars, Liverpool soars!

The biggest arsenal in Liverpool’s armory will be their fans.

Amid a long gap of having to see their blooming stars perform only on television, the tides have finally turned and the fans will be back in the stadium.

Credit – This is Anfield

A packed Anfield and more importantly a noisy Kop most certainly will serve as a reliable and motivational 12th man for The Reds to play their best football.

Add to that millions more cheering from every corner of the globe, me included, The Merseyside Club will have all the support they need to make this season their own.

Surely nothing less than a numero uno finish will suffice my Dear Liverpool, starting with beating Norwich City this Saturday.

‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

Chelsea Column: How the Blues Became Champions of Europe

As you can probably imagine, I am writing this with a slight hangover, because Saturday night will live on in my memory and the memories of Chelsea fans for the rest of their lives.

I don’t think that anyone would have thought that Chelsea would be European champions, not only after the season they’ve had, but also the month they’ve had.

It’s been a season of highs and lows, but now that it is all over, it’s time to reflect on the final month of this incredible season.

We’re still the only team in London to win a European Cup!

There can be no shadow of a doubt that Chelsea are the unrivalled biggest team in London now. Chelsea now have two Champions Leagues trophies and have won four European trophies in the last 10 years.

Credit: Getty images

Arsenal may have the history and have gone a Premier League season unbeaten, but that was 17 years ago now, and no amount of FA Cups can keep them at that top position.

We need to remember that this Chelsea team is still so young, and they are at the start of their footballing careers. There is still so much to see from these players and winning a champions League so early is great signs of things to come.

Under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea have the potential to dominate English football, and there is no doubt that Chelsea have to be seen as title contenders for next season.

While I do have my own reservations about Chelsea’s ability to win the league, we have seen a shift under Tuchel that could see Chelsea have a much easier time in the league compared to the last couple of seasons.

But for now, it’s time to let this feeling sink in that we are European Champions. I was only 11 when Chelsea won the Champions League against Bayern Munich and while it was an amazing, I was a bit too young to fully understand the significance.

If Chelsea can beat City, why not Leicester?

Two weeks before European glory, Chelsea put in a woeful performance against Leicester City in the FA Cup final.

You could tell from minute one that Leicester wanted it more, and for Chelsea it looked like an inconvenience.

Credit: The Irish Sun

It wasn’t until Leicester went a goal ahead that Chelsea finally decide to go for it. Kasper Schmeichel made some glorious saves, before Chelsea were cruelly denied an equaliser as Ben Chilwell was only inches offside.

It was Leicester’s day and I imagine Tuchel took a lot away from that game which did help Chelsea’s preparations for the Champions League final. It was disappointing that Chelsea didn’t win the FA Cup as well, as shown a few days later, Chelsea had the ability to beat Leicester fair and square.

I had hoped that this season would be the repeat of the 2011/12 season with Chelsea getting a new manager during the season and then going on to win the FA Cup and Champions League double, but it just wasn’t to be.

However, I have to say fair play to Leicester in that game. Youri Tielemans’ goal was sensational and one that was deserving to be the match winning goal.

Chelsea have to thanks Spurs for top four

While Spurs may have not been able to finish in the top 4 this season, Chelsea fans owe them a debt of gratitude.

While it may not have mattered in the end, it did look like Chelsea would not get into the top four on the final day when Leicester went 2-1 up against Spurs.

Credit: The irish sun

Chelsea were playing Aston Villa and were losing 2-1, meaning that Chelsea would miss out by a single point and Leicester would get Champions League football.

After a Schmeichel own-goal and then two goals by Gareth Bale, Chelsea would retain their spot in the top 4 and Leicester drop down into 5th.

This season felt like a long fight to get 4th place. When Tuchel took charge, Chelsea were in 10th place. It would have been made clear to Tuchel that getting top 4 would be the highest priority.

After Lampard managed to get top four with a transfer ban, it would seem like getting top four would be easy given Chelsea spent over £200 million in the summer transfer window.

Tuchel started on the back foot and needed to turn things quickly and that’s exactly what he did. Straight away, Chelsea started to climb the table and were able to take full advantage when West Ham and Leicester started to drop off at the end of the season.

In football, you need a bit of luck and Chelsea got that in the league, but you can’t say that Chelsea didn’t deserve it.

Is Tuchel already one of the Chelsea’s best managers?

Despite the fact Di Matteo was sacked months after winning the Champions League with Chelsea, his achievements will live on in Chelsea history forever.

Credit: Getty Images

Tuchel has been in charge for only four months and yet his record as Chelsea manager is better than most that we have seen come through the revolving door at Stamford Bridge.

The impact that Tuchel has had since coming to Chelsea is up there with Jose Mourinho, yet Tuchel has managed to actually win a European trophy.

Tuchel does have a poor record with falling out with clubs and Chelsea have a poor record of falling out with managers, so it doesn’t look like a match made in heaven.

But after the game Tuchel looked so happy and it was great to see when Tuchel and Abramovich met for the very first time. Hopefully Tuchel will sign a long-term contract at Chelsea and keep building on this success.

It really is about time that Chelsea got a long-term manager and Tuchel is one of the best managers in the world. If the club can make this work then this could be the start of something great at Chelsea.

Let’s not forget about Frank Lampard

While Lampard was sacked by Chelsea four months ago, the club and the fans still need to thank him for the success that Chelsea have seen this season.

Credit: CNN

I think it goes without saying that if we had carried on with Frank this season then we would not have got top four, or got to the FA Cup final, or have won the Champions League.

But at the end of the day, Frank guided Chelsea through the Group stages in great fashion and put us in a good spot for the knock-outs.

Frank was also responsible for Chelsea’s amazing summer transfer window. The new additions to the Chelsea’s squad this season have made it easier for Tuchel to hit the ground running.

The likes of Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva have shone under Thomas Tuchel. Werner has been getting better, but his failing are his own and nothing Tuchel can really do anything about it.

It was Frank who was able to bring in those players and also we must not forget the young talent that Frank brought in the fold which have also been a huge part of Tuchel’s success.

I was annoyed when Lampard was sacked, and I did think that he should have been given more time and it’s easy for me to say now that I am thankful that I was wrong.

I was forced to eat my words and hopefully Tuchel will continue to make those comments look foolish. This night was Tuchel’s night, and I was happy to witness his brilliance beat one of the greatest managers of all time on the biggest stage in world football.

Elated Chelsea paint Porto blue amid a second Champions League conquest

If you are Thomas Tuchel, your second successive trip to Portugal for a European final has surely been worth it.

On 23rd August of last year, the German found himself on the losing side as the Manager of Paris Saint Germain, when the French powerhouse was humbled 1-0 by Germany’s might, Bayern Munich.

Not a happy space to be in!

Well, as they say life comes a full circle and it certainly did for Tuchel in the same country last night as his Chelsea got the better of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 1-0. Deservedly so!

Alas, not so much for Pep and his men who were more than up for a treble this season. Having already conquered The Premier League and The Carabao Cup, The Sky Blues were looking for their maiden European title to add the much-deserved sheen on their fast filling trophy cabinet.

Truth be told, my heart goes out to Manchester as the city in a matter of days has seen two dark clouds pour drops of misery aplenty. The Europa Cup and the Champions League which were pinned to come to this English town, unfortunately went elsewhere.

Thankfully at least the latter stayed in England, as Manchester’s loss was West London’s gain. Yes, The Blues repeated their triumph nine years to date when they conquered Bayern Munich in their own backyard in the 2011-12 edition.

So, without further ado lets dissect this all English final amid a sea of 16,500 fans as Tuchel reigned supreme on Pep for a third successive occasion this season.

Havertz hurrah, the difference maker in the first 45

As the Estádio do Dragão opened its shores to welcome the might of English football, both the outfits looked more than ready for the all-important final.

City made the first play when Raheem Sterling came agonizingly close to open the scoring as he was fed with a brilliant long ball from keeper Ederson. Unfortunately, the English striker couldn’t make the finish as he was forced wide by Blues’ defender Reece James.

Minutes later Chelsea would have a chance of their own to go one up as Kai Havertz laid a beautiful pass to his German team mate, Timo Werner who while attempting to score got the ball stuck in his feet but still managed a shot which was comfortably pouched by Ederson.

As time went on, they were punches and counter punches thrown by both the teams albeit the score line was yet to be disturbed.

The Blues would finally have one in the 42nd minute as Kai Havertz made a majestic run to reach Mason Mount’s through ball to beat keeper Ederson who managed a finger on the ball. The Brazilian’s effort would fall short as the Chelsea man superbly slid the ball in the back of the City net.

A breath-taking effort from the German to register his first goal on the grandest stage of European football. Tuchel was ecstatic and so were the sea of royal blue fans behind him.

As the referee called time on the first 45, Chelsea had the vital lead with City having all to do.

A maiden European title dream shatters for City in the second half

As the second half got underway, Pep and his Manchester City faced their most decisive 45 minutes that stood between a maiden European triumph or dreaded dejection.

Well, desperation to score was the need of the hour and City came close in the 67th minute as Riyad Mahrez curled a great cross for the waiting Jesus in the Chelsea D before The Blues captain, Azpilicueta brilliantly deflected the ball over the cross bar.

City’s anguish was soaring with every passing minute.

Action though would happen at the other end.

Amid Manchester City’s offensive onslaught, Chelsea almost doubled their lead, when in the 73rd minute goal scorer Havertz made another brilliant run towards the City D, threading the ball to a waiting Christian Pulisic who chipped the ball over Ederson as it went inches wide of the post.

As the clock kept ticking, City were rolling towards more desperation to avoid depression.

Six minutes before the full 90, City’s stalwart Sergio Aguero was also unsuccessful in getting the equaliser in his last match for the club as he curled an effort straight at keeper Mendy.

In the seven added minutes to the second half, Manchester City all but tried though were just not capable to find the equaliser.

As time was called on the game, there was a blue celebration all-right, the only difference was in the colour. Royal Blue had conquered the Sky Blue.

Are English teams finally shining amongst Europe’s elite?

Well, my answer is a resounding yes!

With two Champions League titles in three years coming to England, it definitely shows their domination in Europe.

Liverpool in the 2018-19 season triumphing over Tottenham Hotspur and now Chelsea getting the better of Manchester City.

What furthers my belief is both these finals were all English which certainly is testament to the depth and passion shown by the best in The Premier League to become numero uno in Europe.

Spain, Germany, France and Italy, do take note, as with the spark English football has shown off late, may be, The Champions League in the near future could become extinct for you!

Well, who knows, anything is possible.

As for now, Londoners have much to celebrate having conquered the virus and yes of course Europe too!

Majestic Mane scores as a jubilant Anfield roars. Liverpool claim their territory amongst Europe’s elite.

What’s a journey without obstacles?

Well, definitely not a thrilling one. Ask Jurgen Klopp and he will vehemently agree.

Injuries, loss of form, Super League distractions, Liverpool were all but challenged with obstacles galore this season.

Yet despite being faced with adversity that every obstacle orchestrated, The Reds came out stronger each time and never lost sight of the eventual goal, the light at the end of the tunnel, a spot in the 2021-22 Champions League.

Its no surprise, some detractors would have felt there was a time not too long back, Liverpool were in shambles and stood at a point of not even making it to Europa, let alone The Champions League.

In truth I was one among them, but guess what, The Merseyside Club have overcome criticism, lack of form and injuries to rightfully be where they belong, playing amongst the European elite.

This after securing a whopping 26 points from the available 30 in the last ten games, winning eight and drawing two.

Yes, let that sink in!

The latest and last conquest of the season being Crystal Palace, who were beaten 2-0 in front of 10,000 Kopites who flocked Anfield to support Liverpool’s march into Europe.

A brace from Sadio Mane was the key ingredient for the perfect recipe that saw The Reds in their new crimson red jersey get the better of The Eagles on an eighth successive occasion.

So, as Europe is now our calling, lets dive into this historical evening that saw a rampaging performance from The Reds:

An attacking first 45 sees both teams go at it

Liverpool started the game knowing nothing less than a win would see them play European top-flight football next season. They had to be ready.

Well, against expectation the readiness came from the opposite end as Crystal Palace made the first move of the game. Yes, in the 6th minute Andros Townsend curled a free kick over the far top corner as Alisson had to backtrack to tip it over the crossbar.

Liverpool were saved early.

Moments later, Townsend seized on another opportunity, asserting towards the Liverpool goal with his shot going inches wide.

The Reds had to score to stay relevant for Europe, though as things stood, The Eagles looked the more likely side to draw first blood.

I was flabbergasted!

After the initial scare, normalcy would return as The Reds started mounting attacks with Salah hitting his first shot wide.

In the 19th minute, Liverpool almost opened the scoring as Rhys Williams’s header went just inches above the post after the Englishman made no mistake in latching onto Andrew Robertson’s corner.

The Reds would continue to attack as Salah and Robertson created more chances albeit the goal was still not to be found.

Credit – Reuters

As they say hard work has to pay-off and so it did when The Merseyside Club finally got their first in the 36th minute courtesy Sadio Mane who scrambled a Robertson cross in the back of the Crystal Palace net.

Wasn’t pretty but who cared, till the time Liverpool were well on their way to Europe.

With no further drama, the first half drew to a close.

Liverpool dominate the second half

When other matches also have a consequence on your team’s fortunes, its not the best space to be in.

Yes, was more than keeping a track on what Leicester and Chelsea were up to, and in truth was hoping we could get a second to keep all external forces at bay!

Well, thousand of miles away, The Reds would pay heed to my call.

Liverpool would dominate the second half and the second goal to seal the deal would come in the 74th minute as Salah made the run to the Palace D and fed a mouth-watering pass to an open Mane who made no mistake in slotting it in.

Credit – Reuters

The brace from the Senegalese had all but confirmed Liverpool’s chances to play European top-flight football.

Jurgen Klopp was ecstatic, so was a jubilant Anfield and most importantly so was I.

The seemingly impossible had just been done!

Liverpool had secured the number three position in the league table as a place in the Champions League 2021-22 was more than assured.

So long Gini!

Yes, one of Liverpool’s most reliable, versatile and resourceful midfielders has decided to make the long walk into the setting sun.

Credit – Reuters

No, Georginio Wijnaldum is not retiring from club football, but leaving Anfield after spending five magical years with Liverpool, winning the Premier League and the Champions League.

Respect to the complete team man who selflessly and untiringly always put the team first in every endeavor he undertook with captaining his side to victory in yesterday’s game, his last outing for The Reds.

Once the European debate was all but settled in the 90, it was so heartwarming to see this dedicated Dutchman get a rising ovation from the Anfield crowd and a guard of honour from his team mates. Emotions soared and rightfully so!

A well-deserved tribute paid to the hardworking and loyal servant for Liverpool.

So long Gini, you truly will be missed!

As I end this article, the last for the season, in this journey filled with obstacles, a team extraordinaire has overcome them all to inspire millions as we bask in the glory amid expectations galore for times to come.

 ‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

Phenomenal Liverpool put Burnley to the Sword to march into the top 4!

Liverpool 2 – 0 Southampton

Manchester United 2 – 4 Liverpool

West Brom 1 – 2 Liverpool

Burnley 0 – 3 Liverpool

Talk about peaking at the right time and making it count when it matters.

The mighty Reds have certainly done that with four victories in their last four outings as they marched into the top 4 last evening, overtaking Leicester City.

An achievement worthy of every praise!

In truth, the performance on display from Liverpool in the last few games reminds me of the champions last season for whom losing was akin to making a carnivore build an appetite for grass. Simply non-existent.

Yes, such has been their desire to cement a place in elite European football with the latest showing against Burnley at Turf Moor amid some spectators’ being more than just a spectacle. It was their sheer determination to succeed at all costs.

So as Liverpool conquered yet another team in The Clarets, lets dissect this fruitful evening for every Kopite:

An attack-minded Liverpool finds a hero in Roberto Firmino

The Reds were on the offensive from the word go. In just the 3rd minute, they almost opened the scoring through Sadio Mane who unfortunately slid the ball wide after being fed with a brilliant cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Minutes later, Roberto Firmino skewed one wide as well after he was given a brilliant backheel pass from Mane. Liverpool were building ever so close to registering on the score sheet.

At the opposite end, Burnley would have their first big chance of the game in the 26th minute when Lowton played a wonderful long ball for Wood who shot the ball wide of the Liverpool goal.

Thiago and Salah also came close albeit the all-important goal still deserted The Reds.

Credit – Reuters

As the clock was ticking towards the close of the first 45, an alert Bobby Firmino would finally put Liverpool in front as he made no mistake in converting a mouth-watering pass from Andrew Robertson. I was so glad for my team and more importantly for Bobby who finally had found some goal scoring form with a brace against Manchester United and now this one. A much-needed end to his dearth of goals.

The half-time score read Burnley 0 – 1 Liverpool.

Phillips and Chamberlain escalate Burnley’s plight

Minutes into the second 45 and Liverpool would go two to the good, this time through Nat Phillips who scored his maiden goal for the club with an excellent header after he was fed with a more than apt cross from Mane.

Credit – Liverpool FC Official Twitter Handle

Burnley with this brace were deflated. Little did they know then; their plight would be escalated further.

Before that would happen, The Clarets managed another attempt on the Liverpool goal through a hard header which was saved by the tightest of margins from their maiden goal scorer Phillips on the goal line. The Reds were lucky not to concede.

As was the case in the first half, minutes before the close, Liverpool would seal the game with a third from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who dribbled past Taylor, wrongfooting the Burnley defender twice and drilled a low short past keeper Norris at his near post.

Credit – Liverpool FC Official Twitter Handle

The Clarets were all but out of the contest with this third bolt as the referee called time.

Liverpool had earned a well-deserved 3-0 win, boosting their goal difference knowing this would be key ammunition in their qualification arsenal come the final matchday.

An enthralling final matchday awaits

The excitement in the Premier League never ceases to amaze me. On the last matchday come this Sunday, we still only have two sureties for the Champions League from Manchester.

Three sides in Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester are battling it out for the bottom two spots in the top 4.

Anything is possible, though Chelsea are best placed among the three with a second shot to qualify for Europe if they win the Champions League this season. Yes, need I remind you they are contesting the final against Manchester City.

For a neutral, does it get more enthralling? I surely think not.

Having said this, if you’re a Reds fan, the task at hand is win against Crystal Palace amid a sea of cheering Kopites at Anfield and hope either Leicester falter against Tottenham or Chelsea against Aston Villa. The former seems a bigger possibility as the Lilly Whites have big motivation to play in Europa come the next season.

As simple as that to have an equation totally in our control avoiding unnecessary bothers like goal difference.

Well, as a die-hard Liverpool fan, I believe with much positivity European football next season will be ours to conquer.

‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’

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