Liverpool vs. Everton

Liverpool vs Everton
20Jan; 4am KO live at ESPN| Anfield | Premier League

It’s the first of two Merseyside Derbys at Anfield within a week, this Monday night fixture being the Premier League, and arguably more important, clash.

The two sides will meet again the following weekend after an all Merseyside FA Cup fourth round draw was made for the sides.

Liverpool go into this fixture knowing that both Chelsea and Manchester United are hot on their heels at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds will be hoping to be more clinical in front of goal after a goalless affair at Stoke City last Saturday.

Fernando Torres is expected to return to the starting line-up after recovering from injury and coming on as a substitute against Preston and Stoke recently. Fellow striker Robbie Keane must be wondering when his next chance is going to come.

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Liverpool vs. Stoke City

Sunday, 11th Jan. 1:30 am. Live at StarSports| Anfield | Premier League

Stoke City 0-0 Liverpool
Anfield | Premier League

Stoke City earned a deserved point against Liverpool as the Premier League leaders produced a lifeless performance at the Britannia Stadium.

Rory Delap came closest to breaking the deadlock for Stoke early on when he rattled the bar from close range – and Liverpool could have had no complaints if Tony Pulis’ side had claimed all three points.

But captain Steven Gerrard almost snatched the win Liverpool’s display barely merited when he angled a free-kick against the bar with six minutes left, then struck a post in stoppage time.

Liverpool never exerted any serious dominance over Stoke, failing to increase the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea ahead of their meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday.

———————–Preview———————–

Midfielder Matthew Etherington is expected to make his Stoke debut against Liverpool after arriving from West Ham this week.

Manager Tony Pulis has promised to shake up his side for the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium following the FA Cup defeat by League One side Hartlepool.

Striker Richard Cresswell is available again after suspension while Dave Kitson could get another run-out following knee problems as Ricardo Fuller remains banned.

Pulis is determined to keep smiling even though his side have tumbled down the table after taking three points from a possible 18.

With Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham their next opponents the immediate future looks bleak.

Pulis, though, believes it is vital to look on the bright side if they are to avoid a quick return to the Coca-Cola Championship.

He said: “We know you have good runs and bad runs. The big thing you learn in the Premiership is you have to take it on the chin.

“You have learn how to lose without getting too down and too despondent. You have to box that up, put it to one side and make sure everyone who counts stays positive.

“It is difficult, however, especially when you have got used to winning in the Championship.”

Fernando Torres is expected to return to Barclays Premier League action for the first time since November.

Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa is unlikely to be involved as he recovers from a hamstring problem, but Javier Mascherano has overcome an ankle knock sustained at Preston in the FA Cup last weekend.

Fabio Aurelio is expected to return at left-back, with teenager Emiliano Insua on international duty with Argentina Under-20s.

Midfielder Xabi Alonso has been ruled out with a foot injury, while veteran defender Sami Hyypia will make the 700th appearance of his club career if he figures at the Britannia Stadium.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has launched an astonishing attack on his Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Spaniard claimed United boss Ferguson is “the only manager who will not be punished” for outspoken attacks on referees.

Benitez claimed: “We had a meeting in Manchester with managers and the Football Association about the respect campaign.

“And I was very clear, forget the campaign because Mr Ferguson was killing the referees, killing Mr (Martin) Atkinson, killing Mr (Keith) Hackett.

“To hear someone talking when he has problems with referees every single week, and now complaining about the fixtures and complaining about everything, I think that is not fair.

“You can see every week how they put (referees) under pressure, we know this. We have seen it before.

“We have seen players sent off at Old Trafford and we do not see our opponents sent off.

“It is part of the game. But to complain and to always have an advantage is not fair.

“During the respect campaign, and this is a fact, Mr Ferguson was charged by the FA for improper conduct after comments made about Martin Atkinson and (the FA’s) Keith Hackett.

“He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things.”

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Newcastle vs. Liverpool

Newcastle vs Liverpool
Sun, 28th Dec. 19:55 Live at ESPN| St. James’ Park | Premier League

Liverpool travel North to Newcastle for an early kick off against Newcastle just two days after their impressive 3-0 win over Bolton on Boxing Day.

The Reds will have to travel to the North East on their only day off between the two games as the festive period brings games thick and fast.

Rafa Benitez is likely to call on Javier Mascherano after he sat out the Bolton match, and their could be returns to the squad for star players Fernando Torres and Martin Skrtel as the advantage of having a strong squad take effect. Fabio Aurelio could also return but Alvaro Arbeloa is likely to remain out with a hamstring injury.

This fixture last season saw an under-pressure Rafa Benitez guide Liverpool to a 3-0 win courtesy of goals from Gerrard, Kuyt and Babel.

The match is live on ESPN, kick off 7.55pm.

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Liverpool vs. Bolton

Liverpool vs Bolton
Fri 26 Dec; 11pm | Anfield | Premier League | Live at ESPN

It’s a north-west match up in this year’s Boxing Day fixture at Anfield, with the possibility of Sammy Lee sending out the team against his former club.

However, Rafa Benitez is expected to have recovered in time for the festive fixture after missing Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal whilst recovering from his recent kidney operation.

Defender Martin Skrtel is another one hoping to make a return, after missing the last two and a half months through injury. But the Slovakian international is expected to be rested until New Year, to ensure a full recovery.

Fernando Torres and Fabio Aurelio remain on the sidelines, although both are expected to return over the festive period. Full back Alvaro Arbeloa has picked up a hamstring injury ruling him out and opening the door for youngster Stephen Darby. Left back Andrea Dossena remains an injury doubt meaning Emiliano Insua is likely to continue where he left off against Arsenal after an impressive performance.

Midfielder Javier Mascherano is available again after suffering from flu at the weekend.

The corresponding fixture between the two sides was just last month, with Liverpool enjoying a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard. This fixture last season saw Liverpool run out 4-0 winners.

Squads:

Liverpool: Reina, Darby, Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Insua, Dossena, Babel, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Lucas, Mascherano, Riera, Keane, Torres, Kuyt, Cavalieri, Skrtel, El Zhar, Ngog.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O’Brien, Samuel, Nolan, Riga, McCann, Muamba, Gardner, Taylor, Davies, Elmander, Al Habsi, Shittu, Smolarek, Basham, Fojut.

Referee: Alan Wiley

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Arsenal vs. Liverpool

Arsenal vs Liverpool
Sun. 21st Dec. 4pm(UK) | Emirates Stadium | Premier League

After a run of games which has seen Liverpool face teams from outside the top five (Bolton, Fulham, West Ham, Blackburn, Hull), they travel to London to face Arsene Wenger’s struggling side.

Arsenal though, despite their troubles against the weaker sides this season, have defeated Man United at home and won at Chelsea.

Liverpool have yet to win at Arsenal’s new home, The Emirates, having been thrashed 3-0 in 2006 and drawing twice (both 1-1) in the same week last season in the League and Europe. The League draw saw a much weakened team perform admirably, with Peter Crouch scoring the Reds goal.

Rafa Benitez is expected to be without striker Fernando Torres still, although defender Martin Skrtel had initially marked this as a potential return for him from injury. Full back Fabio Aulreio could be fit.

The match is live on ASTRO ESPN, kick off Sun 21 Dec 23:55.

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Liverpool vs. Hull City

Liverpool vs Hull
Sat. 13th Dec. 3pm | Anfield | Premier League

Liverpool host high flying Hull City on Saturday as they look to maintain their position as Premier League leaders.

Both clubs enjoyed wins last weekend; The Reds at Blackburn and The Tigers came from behind to beat Middlesbrough at home.

Liverpool, of course, were also in midweek action when they enjoyed a successful night in Eindhoven, winning their Champions League group but resting Reina, Alonso, Gerrard and Kuyt – all four will return for the clash against Phil Brown’s men.

Rafa Benitez is still without record signing Fernando Torres, left back Fabio Aurelio and centre back Martin Skrtel.

Premier League Fixtures

Aston Villa v Bolton
Man City v Everton
Middlesbrough v Arsenal (12:45)
Stoke v Fulham
Sunderland v West Brom
Tottenham v Man Utd (5:30)
Wigan v Blackburn
Chelsea v West Ham (4pm Sunday)
Portsmouth v Newcastle (1:30 Sunday)

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Blackburn vs. Liverpool

Reds stay top after Rovers win

Blackburn 1-3 Liverpool
Ewood Park | Premier League Second half goals from Xabi Alonso, Yossi Benayoun and Steven Gerrard keep Liverpool top of the Premier League.

The Reds went two up courtesy of Alonso and Benayoun but Santa Cruz made it a more nervy last five minutes than expected, until Gerrard put the result beyond doubt deep in injury time.

It wasn’t a vintage performance and the first half saw Liverpool fail to test Paul Robinson, the best chance falling to Benayoun but former Red Stephen Warnock put in a last ditch tackle. The visitors largely lacked creativity or end product with Kuyt lacking support and little imagination from deep.

It was the introduction of youngster Nabil El Zhar that changed the game, replacing Babel out wide. El Zhar and full back Emiliano Insua, along with Sami Hyypia, were Liverpool’s top performers.

Santa Cruz became the first player to score against Liverpool since Roman Pavlyuchenko in the defeat at Spurs, but it looked like being a third consecutive league 0-0 for large parts of the game.

Elsewhere, Chelsea won 2-0 at Bolton, Arsenal beat Wigan 1-0 and Man United host Sunderland in the late kick-off.

Discuss the match and vote for your man of the match
Updated Player Stats
Media reports, goals links and video highlights

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Insua, Benayoun (Riera 87), Alonso, Mascherano (Lucas 83), Gerrard, Babel (El Zhar 64), Kuyt
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Keane, Agger, Dossena
Booked: Arbeloa, Babel
Goals: Alonso (69), Benayoun (79), Gerrard (90)

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelson, Warnock, Emerton, Andrews, Tugay, Pedersen, Derbyshire, Santa Cruz
Subs not used: Brown, Fowler, Simpson, Villanueva
Booked: Andrews, Warnock
Goal: Santa Cruz (85)

Attendance: 26,920
Referee: Andrew Marriner

Next Up: PSV (a) Tues. (7:45pm)
Next League: Hull City (h) Next Saturday (3pm)

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