Stoke City 1 – 1 Liverpool

January 16, 2010

The Martyrdom of St Stephen, Lorenzo Lotto, 1516
“Rafael Benitez was denied a victory to lift the intense pressure on him when Stoke grabbed a last-ditch equaliser at the Britannia Stadium. It was never pretty, but this much-derided Liverpool outfit stood up to be counted in a physical showdown. And they went ahead when Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos scrambled home his first goal for the club early in the second period of a bitterly contested battle.” (ESPN)

Robert Huth hits Liverpool with last-gasp equaliser for Stoke
“Rafael Benítez was denied refuge from the storm threatening to engulf him by a 90th-minute equaliser from Robert Huth. Liverpool thought they had won it with a scruffy second-half goal from Soitirios Kyrgiakos, but battling Stoke refused to accept defeat and their spirit had its reward at the death.” (Guardian)

Benitez: even Shankly had bad years
“For a heart-stopping moment, until Rafael Benitez’s dry humour revealed itself, history seemed to be about to repeat itself yesterday. ‘Before we start, some facts. Facts,’ said the Liverpool manager, whipping a note from his pocket in a reprise of the routine which preceded Liverpool’s last trip to Stoke City, 12 months ago.” (Independent)

James Lawton: Liverpool must dither no longer – it’s time to send for Hiddink or Mourinho
“Maybe it was an act of cynical cruelty by Guus Hiddink to suggest he might be available for the Liverpool job – and an additional twist of the knife for the club’s ravaged sense of itself that if it was to happen he would first seek a dispensation from his football godfather Roman Abramovich.” (Independent)

Stoke City 1 Liverpool 1: match report
“At this rate, expect Rafael Benítez and Liverpool to demand all their games last only 89 minutes. Yet again, Liverpool threw away two points in the dying stages, handing Stoke City a point they scarcely warranted, and extending their own run of poor form to five wins in 22 games.” (Telegraph)

Rafael Benitez thwarted again by late goal
“Liverpool suffered more heartbreak at the end of a game when Stoke City equalised in the last minute of their Premier League match at the Britainnia Stadium. After a season which has seen Rafael Benitez’s side lose crucial games right at the end of matches, it had seemed that Sotirios Kyrgiakos’s goal in the second half had given Liverpool and their beleaguered manager three valuable points. But Robert Huth scored after a period of sustained Sotke pressure in the 89th minute.” (TimesOnline)


Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez Conundrum

January 16, 2010

“It is a sign of the extent to which Liverpool’s season has become a train wreck that their home defeat has become a litmus test for the health of Rafael Benitez’s reign at Anfield. However an atrocious result and performance it was – and it was both, topped with whipped cream and a glacé cherry – it really shouldn’t have mattered. Last season, they were beaten just once in the Premier League and there were those that predicted that 2010 would be the season in which they broke their miserable run of almost two decades without an English championship, whilst launching another assault on the Champions League at the same time.” (twohundredpercent)

Ivory Coast 3 – 1 Ghana

January 16, 2010

“Gervinho, Siaka Chico Tiene and Didier Drogba were on target as tournament favourites Ivory Coast secured their first victory of the African Nations Cup with a 3-1 win over Ghana in Cabinda. Gervinho finished off a fluid counter-attacking move after 23 minutes to give Ivory Coast the lead, but they were reduced to 10 men after 55 minutes when Emmanuel Eboue was shown a straight red card for a reckless two-footed tackle.” (ESPN)

Nigeria 1-0 Benin
“Nigeria revived their chances of reaching the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations after an edgy 1-0 win over Benin in Group C on Saturday. Yakubu Aiyegbeni converted a 42nd- minute penalty after Squirrels defender Romuald Boco handled in the box.” (BBC)

Terror at the Africa Cup of nations
“The attack on the Togolese national football team brought chaos and confusion to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Angola. The team had finished final preparations and were leaving their training camp in Congo-Brazzaville for the Angolan enclave of Cabinda. It is there that the team bus was ambushed by an armed group and caught in a hail of gunfire. Two members of the Togolese team were killed. Togo captain, Emmanuel Adebayor, clearly shaken by the incident, described what happened to the BBC’s Matthew Kenyon.” (BBC)

African Nations Cup – 2010 (ESPN)

Doing a Mancini

January 16, 2010

“The final specks of dust have now come to rest on the best single performance of the season from a Championship club and Reading face the harsh next step of a trip to the City Ground today; with a Nottingham Forest side lying in wait whose psychological confidence will be at the extreme global opposite of Liverpool’s, even if they cannot call upon the services a freckly blonde man of Madrid and a Phil Collins fan prone to spending time in the pubs and clubs of Southport.” (thetwounfortunates)

Moving football to the summer

January 16, 2010

“The floodlights were on last Tuesday at Cantilever Park – home of Unibond Division One North side Warrington Town. However the players were not carrying out their usual pre-match warm-up. Instead, armed with wheelbarrows and shovels, they were attempting to make the pitch playable for the first time in five weeks. Despite their best efforts, and those of 20 or so volunteers, this Saturday’s game against Halifax has been called off with more inclement weather forecast for the weekend.” (WSC)