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West Ham United v Liverpool


Filed: Friday, 4th April 2014
By: Preview Percy


Curious about Luis Suarez's half-time cuppa or what was being turned over in Liverpool's "Robbery Of The Week?" No us neither. Preview Percy mentions them anyway.....

Next up we play host to the Liverpool for a Sunday 4pm kick-off. District line is open but there are bits of the DLR that are out of bounds so it'll be worth a shufti before you leave.

The visitors currently lie in top slot having won their last eight which leaves them four points clear of Man City who have two games in hand. The two meet next week at Anfield in a match that will go some way to deciding the destination of the league title. Subject to the result of this one of course

Those of you with satellite dishes will note that the visitors have their own tv channel. Actually they have several. Apart from LFCTV they seem to have some sort of editorial control over both the BBC and Sky. BT as well I expect – though even the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered isn't daft enough to pay for that. Why else would anyone employ Jamie Carragher as a broadcaster?

The media's position on Liverpool means that we get somewhat a distorted view of things on the box. The BBC for example, seem stuck in some sort of 1970's/80's timewarp whereby the red half of Liverpool can do no wrong. Back then of course they were every bit as cynical as the Revie-era Leeds but, whereas Revie just annoyed the press, Shankly shrewdly courted them thus starting a love-in that persists to this day. Which is why you see MOTD highlights on the box in which blind commentator eyes are routinely turned to all sorts of transgressions.

Then there's all the diving. They are simply the worst club in the country for that. So much so that even our notoriously dim referees have started to catch on. It's got to the stage now that they've started to pull Suarez up for diving even when he's actually been fouled. Which is poetic justice of sorts I suppose. Of course all that means is that it's now Sturridge who goes down like a sack of spuds at every opportunity. Expect our wonderful officials to have caught up with him by 2027. Meanwhile, take a look at the ludicrously high number of goals our opponents score from free-kicks awarded just outside the box and shudder in anticipation.

Suarez of course may think he has had a lucky escape this season. Pre-season Arsenal stuck in a bid of £1 over the £40m release clause contained in Suarez's contract. Liverpool's American owners told Suarez that the clause wasn't enforceable and refused to sell. The recent admission that the clause did indeed exist and was indeed enforceable has met with an interesting reaction from the Premier League, whose rules over player contracts such actions contravenes. They've done, er, not a lot (unless there's been a quiet fine a la Sunderland). However it does leave Suarez in a rather interesting position should he decide to go this summer – he signed a new deal in December which probably now contains so many clauses and sub clauses he'll probably be able to go if they don't put the right amount of sugar in his half-time cuppa. There seems to be a bit of a campaign to make Suarez “Footballer Of The Year” which I suppose is fair enough – after all it's been absolutely ages since he racially abused or bit anyone.

The spotty work-experience kid tells me that the combined total of 49 goals stuck away by Suarez & Sturridge is the second biggest partnership haul since the start of the Premier League started. (Beardsley and Cole at Newcastle on 55 if you're interested). As a statistic it has that annoying feature of ignoring everything prior to the start of the Premier League, so there'll be a little less in the spotty work-experience kid's pay packet this week. It's the only way he'll learn.

A quick look through Google for the name Gerrard makes one wonder whether his employers have the same sort of hold over the world of football journalism as they do over broadcasters. Every article you read seems to contain the usual stuff about being a “loyal one-club man”. It's like his agreement to join Chelsea never happened, along with a whole load of other stuff in his private life that never gets written about. Well until the inevitable post-retirement “auto” biography in which he'll be able to tell all. He's been playing in a slightly deeper role of late and has played some glorious passes to supply the front men when they're not falling over. However, he's going to have to be a bit careful in this match. A caution would bring his total for the season to ten which, coming as it would before the second Sunday in April, would result in an automatic two match ban. Since such a ban would include the aforementioned Man City game we may see him not pestering the ref quite so much – he's a bit of a Nolan in that respect. He's another one being touted as a potential “Footballer Of The Year which I suppose is fair enough – after all it's been absolutely ages since he beat up any DJs.

At the back they have seen the emergence of left back Jon Flanagan. Every time I see him on the box he seems to be going in studs up on someone and getting away with it. Most notably he lunged in with a two-footer on Stewart Downing in the reverse fixture with a “tackle” which put the winger into hospital requiring 23 stitches. The assault, which took place early on in the game, received no punishment other than a free-kick, which contrasted sharply with Nolan's correct dismissal for a similar – if infinitely less violent – effort on Jordan Henderson in the second half, which came as a stupid if understandable reaction to a number of unpunished niggly fouls.
Whilst all the focus has been on the goalscorers and the skipper, the form of Mackem midfielder Henderson has seen him being bigged up in the papers for a trip to Brazil where England will be doing a three-match tour of half-built stadia this summer.

Us? The useful three points the other night were well-deserved – even if we did get lucky with England's best referee (no really he is – he must be because he's doing a tour of half-built stadia in Brazil this summer) whose inexplicable decision to leave Nolan's handball unpunished was right down to Webb's usual standards.

There'll be at least one enforced change from the XI that started up on Wearside with Linda having damaged a hamstring against his old club. This is likely to see a first start for Pablo Armero. Nolan did have a back problem but he should be ok for the Liverpool back four to resume kicking lumps out of. Ginge, Boriello and Joey are the usual suspects in the treatment room but everyone else should be available for selection.

Prediction? Well they're on a roll and it's going to be tough to try and derail their progress. On the counter side of things Carroll and Downing will be keen to put one over on David Brent-alike Brendan Rodgers. However, with their record of scoring from free-kicks from the edge of the box and our record of giving them away I have a bad feeling about this one. I'm therefore sticking the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's contribution to Brucie's retirement fund (£2.50) on us to go down 3-1 in the hope that I'm really wrong and that Brucie will do us all a favour and stay off our screens.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn: Lost 2-3. A bizarre og from Ginge gave the visitors all three points after Noble (pen) and Gerrard og had given us a 2-1 lead. The match was notable for the visitors' frequently repeated tactic of having Reina kick long and for touch in the style of a rugby XV. Strangely this primitive form of the game passed without remark from the broadcasters.

Referee: Anthony Taylor Made of a complete tit of himself on his last visit to the Boleyn in sending off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson during Everton's visit in 2012. The fact that both cards were rescinded on appeal shows they can get it right occasionally.

Danger Man: Luis Suarez. 29 goals this season and “earner” of many of the free-kicks from which they score.

Daft fact of the week: Story of the week has to be the sentencing of three Scousers for attempting to rob premises on the East Prescot Road. Having broken into the place they discovered that none of them had actually brought anything useful with which to open the safe that they were after. They smashed up all the CCTV cameras – with the exception of the one that filmed them smashing up the others. The police having been alerted, the trio climbed onto the roof where they remained until the slow dawning of realisation that they were going nowhere finally caught up with them. The defence brief for one of the three, in a masterpiece of understatement, wryly commented that his client was “not the deepest thinker.” And the business premises? Bank? Bullion warehouse? Safe deposit box repository perhaps? Nope. This being Liverpool the attempted crime of the century involved a branch of KFC.


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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