Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Crystal Palace makes it 30 league games directly before or on 29 October in which Liverpool are unbeaten.
When watching Liverpool demolish West Brom in 2013, days before my 29th birthday, I decided to investigate when we’d last lost a game before or on my birthday (October 29).
The reason being, a defeat tends to put me in a foul mood and I couldn’t remember a time when a birthday had been spoiled by a defeat.
I then thought that in fact, we must have won about five or six on the bounce at least.
At which point I looked at the previous season’s fixture and saw we’d drawn 2-2 with Everton in 2012 (October 28; Baines og/Suarez). I had recorded the game, got in to flick on Chelsea v Man Utd at 4pm and Martin Tyler announced during commentary that ‘we’ve already seen the team in red scored twice away from home today’ in the earlier kick off. Or words to that effect.
I couldn’t wait (assuming we’d won), looked up the score and saw we’d battered them 2-2. Disappointment.
But still, I decided to delve a little deeper. And what I found was that the last time Liverpool lost the league game before or on my birthday was when a Mike Newell hat-trick saw Luton ‘snatch’ a 4-1 victory on 25 October, 1986 (some videos below).
Since then, Liverpool have won 25 games and drawn five of the 30 league games directly preceding or on the date 29 October (full list below).
Not only that, but when a cup game (League/Carling/Rumbelows) has taken place after a league game, but before or on the 29th of October, you have to go back to a 1-0 loss to Everton on 27 October 1987 to find a defeat.
In fact, of any of the cup games directly before October 29, Liverpool have lost just two of their 14 games since that league defeat to Luton (Arsenal and Palace the winners in 2009 and 2005 respectively).
Liverpool’s win over Spurs on Wednesday night means we’ve won the last four since a defeat to Arsenal in October 28.
I used lots of sites to get the info below, but www.lfchistory.net is a particularly useful way to while away hours if you’re a Liverpool fan.
Tom’s birthday fixtures:
- Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 4; October 29, ’16 (Can, Lovren, Matip, Firmino)
- – CUP: Liverpool 2 Spurs 0; October 25, ’16 (Sturridge x 2)
- – CUP: Liverpool 1 Bournemouth 0; October 28, ’15 (Clyne)
- Liverpool 1 Southampton 1; October 25, ’15 (Benteke)
- – CUP: Liverpool 2 Swansea 1; October 28, ’14 (Balotelli, Lovren)
- Liverpool 0 Hull 0; October 25, ’14
- Liverpool 4 West Brom 1; October 26, ’13 (Suarez ; Sturridge 1)
- Everton 2 Liverpool 2; Oct 28, ’12 (Baines og; Suarez)
- West Brom 0 Liverpool 2; Oct 29, ’11 (Adam; Carroll)
- – CUP: Stoke 1 Liverpool 2; Oct 26, ’11 (Suarez x 2)
- Liverpool 2 Blackburn 1; Oct 24, 2010 (Kyrgiakos; Torres)
- – CUP: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1; Oct 28, ’09 (Insua)
- Liverpool 2 Man Utd 0; Oct 25, ’09 (Torres; Ngog) – I was there. It was glorious
The following video is in Spanish. You should be able to make out what happens.
- Liverpool 1 Portsmouth 0; Oct 29, ’08 (Gerrard)
- Liverpool 1 Arsenal 1; Oct 28 ’07 (Gerrard)
- Liverpool 3 Aston Villa 1; Oct 28 ’06 (Kuyt; Crouch; Garcia)
- – CUP: Liverpool 4 Reading 3; Oct 25, ’06 (Fowler, Riise, Paletta, Crouch)
- Liverpool 2 West Ham 0; Oct 29 ’05 (Alonso; Zenden)
- – CUP: Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 1; Oct 25, ’05 (Gerrard)
- Liverpool 2 Charlton 0; Oct 23, ’04 (Riise; Garcia)
- – CUP: Millwall 0-3 Liverpool; Oct 26, ’04 (Diao; Baros )
- Liverpool 3 Leeds 1; Oct 25, ’03 (Owen; Murphy; Sinama Pongolle)
- – CUP: Blackburn 3 Liverpool 4; Oct 29, ’03 (Murphy; Heskey ; Kewell)
- Liverpool 2 Tottenham 1; Oct 26 ’02 (Murphy; Owen)
- Charlton 0 Liverpool 2; Oct 27 ’01 (Redknapp; Owen)
- Liverpool 3 Everton 0; Oct 29, 2000 (Barmby; Heskey; Berger)
- Liverpool 1 West Ham 0; Oct 27, ’99 (Camara)
- Liverpool 5 Nottingham Forest 1; Oct 24, ’98 (Owen ; McManaman)
- – CUP: Liverpool 3 Fulham 1; Oct 27, ’98 (og; Fowler; Ince)
- Liverpool 4 Derby 0; Oct 25, ’97 (Fowler  Leonhardsen; McManaman
- Liverpool 2 Derby 1; Oct 27 ’96 (Fowler )
- Liverpool 6 Manchester City 0; Oct 28, ’95 (Rush ; Fowler ; Ruddock; Redknapp)
- Ipswich 1 Liverpool 3; Oct 29, ’94 (Fowler ; Barnes)
- Man City 1 Liverpool 1; Oct 23, ’93 (Rush)
- – CUP: Liverpool 3 Ipswich 2; Oct 27, ’93 (Rush )
- Liverpool 4 Norwich 1; Oct 25, ’92 (Thomas; Hutchison; Burrows; Walters)
- – CUP: Sheffield Utd 0 Liverpool 0; Oct 28, ’92
- Liverpool 1 Coventry 0; Oct 26, ’91 (Houghton)
- – CUP: Port Vale 2 Liverpool 2 (McManaman; Rush)
- Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0; Oct 27, 1990 (Rush; Nicol)
- Liverpool 1 Tottenham 0; Oct 29 ’89 (Barnes)
- West Ham 0 Liverpool 2; Oct 29 ’88 (Rush; Beardsley)
- Liverpool 1 Luton 0; Oct 24, ’87 (Gillespie)
- – CUP: Everton 1 Liverpool 0; Oct 27, ’87
- Luton 4 Liverpool 1; Oct 25, ’86 (Molby)
- – CUP: Liverpool 4 Leicester 1; Oct 29, ’86 (McMahon ; Dalglish)
Well it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped for Ireland after a miserable first hour on Friday, followed by a spirited comeback that just fell short. A 3-2 defeat in Russia wouldn’t have been a disastrous result, but defeat at home with trips to Russia and Slovakia to come makes things seem that bit harder.
It had all started so well. Slovakia’s surprise defeat to Armenia meant Ireland went into the game in the best possible position with all the pressure on Russia. An early goalmouth scramble almost had Ireland in front, it ended with McGeady dragging a shot wide. Had it gone in there’s no telling what might have happened, with Russian heads bowed.
As it was, the tactics were awful. Ireland played what seemed to be at times a 6-2-1-1 formation and that Doyle picked up an injury was no surprise. Not only because the ‘tactics’ seemed to be lump it at Doyle and see what happens, but also because the Russian defenders got away with over-zealous challenges from behind time and again. They managed to disrupt any forward momentum without attracting the referee’s attention too much.
The main problem stems from playing Whelan (what was he playing at for Russia’s first goal?) and Green together in midfield. Trapattoni has received a lot of criticism for his game plan on Friday and a lot of it is justified. However we have a weaker squad now than we have for many years. Whelan and Green are perfect examples. One plies his trade with Derby in the Championship, the other is a bit part player for Stoke.
The centre of midfield was a crucial part of Friday’s game. The dangerous Russian forwards needed to be starved of service, forcing them to drop deeper and deeper to pick up the ball and relieving pressure on Ireland’s defence. As it was, Russia swarmed through midfield to attack seamlessly, with Green and Whelan afraid to go forward for fear of getting caught on the break.
This meant the Ireland central midfield was dangerously close to the defence leaving 30% of the pitch for the Russians to swarm through at pace while Ireland resorted to long-ball tactics. With genuine ball players, Russia found the going easy, and in truth 3-2 flattered Ireland, particularly as Robbie Keane’s penalty was a questionable one to get Ireland back into the game at 3-1.
Richard Dunne’s assessment was absolutely spot-on: We didn’t close them down and our only game plan seemed to be hitting it long. When that didn’t work, we didn’t have an answer. We were not brave enough to have confidence in passing the ball. Going long is the easy way out for some people and it is never going to be good enough.
Aiden McGeady is slowly improving. His final ball was occasionally lacking as always, but he seemed to have a greater purpose to his attacking efforts, even shooting once or twice when he realised the Russian goalkeeper had a bizarre policy of palming away anything that came his way, no matter how tame the effort.
Tomorrow is the turn of Slovakia and one positive to take away from Friday’s game is that the two goals Ireland scored will have them in a different mindset going into the game, than a three or four goal defeat. At least Ireland left the game on a more positive note, but they have to get something from tomorrow night’s game.
Slovakia are a decent team. They proved it at the World Cup when they knocked out Italy and they proved it against Russia last month in a famous away win. However they clearly blow hot and cold and by all accounts were well beaten by Armenia on Friday night. With big players potentially missing from the first team, the Slovakians are in a similar position to Ireland in that they may be relying on weaker players in reserve in what is a crucial game for both teams.
Ireland are without Damien Duff and Kevin Doyle meaning Aiden McGeady will continue with Liam Lawrence on the wings. Up front, Reading’s Shane Long will battle it out with Andy Keogh for a starting role, with the Wolves man likely to get the nod.
Slovakia have big problems of their own however, with forward Robert Vittek injured, while Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel will be serving a ban thanks after getting his second booking of the campaign last Friday evening. Most importantly for Ireland, playmaker Miroslav Stoch, could miss out after picking up an injury in the Armenia defeat.
Man to watch: Robbie Keane
Keane needs a big game tomorrow night. Reduced to appealing in vain for any sort of offence against Russian defenders, Keane needs t show why he is captain tomorrow night with a big performance. Ireland are lacking in creativity and spark. Time for Keane to get at a weakened Slovakia defence.
- Alex Ferguson was very, very worried.
For all his post-match talk of Utd threatening to score ten, the facts are these. United managed five shots on target. Three of them went in. To beat Pepe Reina you have to do something a bit special, and Berbatov executed his three goals brilliantly. The truth is Liverpool looked comfortable for long periods of the game. Wayne Rooney was anonymous throughout and while Liverpool didn’t offer anything going forward, the sole point Ferguson made that bears any credence, they scored two goals easily and Meireles could have even made it 3-2 had he managed to make proper contact with his header minutes after Gerrard’s free-kick.
- Torres did try and get O’Shea sent off, but the real theatrics came from Nani.
Ferguson claimed after the game that Torres tried to cheat the referee into awarding a red card to John O’Shea. This is true, Torres clearly remonstrates with Howard Webb after the award of a yellow card as if to say it was the wrong decision. It wasn’t. Torres couldn’t get to the ball, was not denied a goalscoring chance, but it was a yellow card and a free-kick. That Gerrard scored made it even better that O’Shea hadn’t been sent off as we had an enthralling encounter on our hands.
However the real theatrics came from Nani, something Ferguson failed to refer to after the game. The Portugese attempted one outrageous dive for which he had to be pulled away from a seething Daniel Agger. The game had to be stopped for another similar dive which Nani attempted to turn Konchesky’s challenge into some form of assault charge. Nani’s two crosses against Everton were perfect, but he’s a player no-one will miss when he starts hankering after a move abroad. As for trying to get a player sent off, perhaps Ferguson’s forgotten his berating of the officials for failing to give Nani a free-kick for a nothing challenge?
- Liverpool’s have had a tough start with the fixture list, but things won’t get much easier.
Ok Northampton on Wednesday in the Carling Cup isn’t a bad way to get your mind off a defeat at Old Trafford. But after that the fixture list looks easier, but not easy when you look at the lack of service Fernando Torres is receiving. Sunderland and Blackpool at home are winnable games, but Everton away is a tricky ask of any team and Liverpool’s performances will be put under a media microscope until they start winning again. Games against Blackburn and Bolton then beckon before Chelsea arrive on Merseyside.
- Ferguson and Hodgson may not be such good friends after all.
Roy Hodgson fielded several questions about his friendship with Ferguson in the run-up to the game as supporters struggled to get to grips with the fact that not only is Hodgson a cockney, but a Ferguson buddy to boot. The friendship may be on the rocks this morning. Ferguson’s post-match analysis that Torres cheated, Liverpool offered nothing going forward, United could have been ten up before the penalty, all pointed to a man who is worried about his own team and feared a fourth draw in succession.
Liverpool had 50% possession and looked reasonably comfortable with the ball. United had the right formation though and while Cole and Meireles looked good going forward, there was little end product.
- United need Wayne Rooney to return to his best, fast.
Rooney struggled to do anything of note yesterday. Michael Owen must have been watching from the bench wondering did Ferguson just play a really cruel joke in signing him to irritate his rivals. Berbatov is in great form and finished his three goals with incredible precision. However the Bulgarian blows hot and cold. Ferguson is doing his best to boost the striker’s confidence but he has gone missing in games already this season and will do so again.
Wayne Rooney offers a goal threat from all over the pitch but looked as though he was happier offering the responsibility to his teammates yesterday. Eager to pass rather than to shoot, Rooney has had three poor games since the tabloids blew the lid on his indiscretions. Ferguson’s team always have a star man, a Ronaldo, a Cantona, even a Keane to give them a lift when needed.They need Rooney to be back to his best soon or the title will be in London quicker than Ferguson can say boo.
- Man United’s priority is not getting back Wayne Rooney, but sorting out a defence that is lacking in cohesion.
All the hype surrounding Everton’s remarkable comeback against Man Utd on Saturday focused on the absence of Wayne Rooney. Although it was a surprise and bound to create extra tabloid fodder, that it remained the headline at the end of the game was a disappointment. Both teams deserved more. Everton started superbly and by scoring two goals in injury time did to United what no team has done for almost ten years, cancel out a two-goal deficit with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
Both teams attacked with creativity and imagination, the game flowing from end-to-end, but United’s weakness lies in an unsettled defence. Patrice Evra’s wild attempt at a clearance led to the first goal, while Johnny Evans is struggling alongside Vidic at centre back. Neville is no longer a first choice, but Brazilian Rafael appears to have lost favour with Ferguson for the time being.
However, up front, Berbatov played well, stretching the Everton defence at every opportunity and taking the third goal with the confidence of a 40 goal-a-season striker. Rooney was hardly missed, while Nani delivered two superb crosses for the goals. Unlike the media love-in for Scholes, I didn’t feel he had a great game. Everton restricted his presence going forward by having Cahill and Fellaini as their attackers, both tough-tackling midfielders.
- Don’t believe everything you read in the media about players’ form or confidence:
If Fernando Torres wakes up this morning and feels a little harshly treated by the media, well it’s because he’s been a little harshly treated by the media. Football writers around the country sat in stunned silence as Jamie Redknapp lambasted Torres for his first-half performance at half-time in Liverpool’s 0-0 with a superb Birmingham side.
The same writers then took their lead from the Sky pundit as newspapers criticised the man they claim is not right, still unfit, looks like he “doesn’t care” was another oft-repeated quote. This then the same Torres that got the winner against West Brom the previous Liverpool game and got two for Spain the following week, admittedly against Liechtenstein, but the two were good goals and Spain only managed four.
The same writers were also slamming Pepe Reina after his mistake against Arsenal on the opening day. And they were asking questions as to whether he retained the confidence of his teammates. Well he made some of the best saves you’ll see this season (as he did against Arsenal too by the way) to show that form is exceptionally temporary, class is permanent. Oh and Torres will come up against Vidic next Sunday. If that doesn’t boost his confidence I don’t know what will.
- The league table is lying.
Fair enough, Chelsea and Arsenal deserve to be up there. No-one is about to begrudge Blackpool their spot, but the likes of Everton shouldn’t be in this position after four games. Outstanding commitment and skill, Moyes’ men will start climbing the table very quickly with a decent run of games put together. West Ham are another team who deserve better than the zero points they currently have. With some tough games already behind them and a manager whose demeanour doesn’t exactly scream “give me some time because I’m loveable”, it’s been a tough start but the table is all topsy-turvy right now and we are going to boldly predict West Ham will finish in the top ten. Boom. Please keep reading the blog, I regret nothing.
Thank god for that we can stop talking about Rooney and his effect on the England team and can start talking about…Rooney and his effect on the Man Utd team…
Everton V Manchester United
After surprising no-one here at TheFC100 by scoring first against Switzerland, Rooney will be Man Utd’s star man against Everton tomorrow in the early kick off on Sky Sports. The Everton fans quite rightly get stuck into Rooney whenever he returns to his boyhood club due to the fact he buggered off just after breaking onto the Everton first team in a big money move to Manchester. However he has stuck the boot in several times since with the usual badge-kissing, Moyes-bashing shenanigans and now the Everton fans will be relishing their chance to chant several brands of filthy at the former Toffee.
This game is more interesting in determining Rooney’s state of mind. The England fans gave him a great reception on Tuesday but tens of thousands will be doing their best to wind him up. That Everton have had a nightmare start to the season makes the pressure fall on both Rooney and Everton. A good start to the game for the home side is crucial, if they can get their noses in front and get Rooney and company frustrated then this could be a bad day for Man Utd fans. In fact, despite their problems so far, we fancy Everton to nick something here and we’ll throw in a card for Rooney at the same time
Prediction: Everton 2 Man Utd 1
Arsenal V Bolton
Arsenal have lost another few players for their game against Bolton (what are they feeding them at Arsenal, cereal with barbed wire?). Walcott, van Persie and Thomas Vaermaelen all miss out this weekend, however Samir Nasri could return from injury sustained against Liverpool on the opening day. Bolton are missing their inspirational keeper Jussi Jaskelaainen though, after the Finn was sent off last time out.
Slightly early perhaps, but as Italy beckons for a week they will have to do.
An interesting weekend to come, an interesting weekend indeed.
While the Premiership has already begun to assume a familiar leaderboard at a worryingly early stage of the season, there may well be slip-ups this weekend.
Starting with Blackburn Vs Arsenal. Wenger’s men never liked a face-off with Sam Allardyce’s Bolton teams of the past. And why would they, starting with Big Sam himself there were some real bruisers.
But now the man who would be England manager (unless the FA start taking things seriously) will put out his Blackburn team against the Gunners, high from a 6-0 rout of Blackpool.
There may be a surprise here though. Blackburn, as expected, are well organised under Allardyce and after a good opening day win were unlucky to lose to Birmingham having taken the lead and missed a penalty.
Fabregas and Van Persie should start (finally) for Arsenal, but may still lack sharpness. While Nasri misses out for Arsenal, they are slowly coming back to their best, but this will be a nice early test to answer the usual criticism that they can’t handle the more physical side of the Premiership.
Man Utd will be confident of getting back to winning ways against Arsenal, likewise Liverpool over West Brom, but Man City may be brought down off their perch following an exhilarating win over Liverpool on Monday.
City will be up against a team desperate for its first three points of the season, and while they were superb against Liverpool at home, City were woeful away at Spurs the week before. Steve Bruce has been arguing that he may have made too many changes to the squad leading to an unsettled atmosphere in the team, but Darren Bent’s two goals in the Carling Cup in midweek will get a bit of confidence flowing again and on Sunday they will look to bounce back, while City have another game tomorrow night in the Europa League to get the team playing as a unit.
The most intriguing game may be at Villa Park, where two teams arrive short on confidence after unsettling starts to Premiership life this season. Everton have only registered a point from two games they would expect to win, while Villa took a 6-0 hiding from Newcastle on Sunday, a game in which debutant Stephen Ireland barely got a kick.
While it is far too early to say it is a must-win game, the clash will tell us an awful lot about the future of both teams.
For one thing, Kevin MacDonald is rumoured to have been given two games to land the Villa job on a permanent basis. This then, is a must win for the man who would be boss. Everton meanwhile are fully fit and would have expected to set a blaze early on. However the blue side of Merseyside tend to be bad starters and this is a very tough game to try to get their season going. With Manchester United their next opponents, David Moyes will be itching to register three points while defeat would leave Everton looking sorrowfully into the distance at the top of the table.
Elsewhere, the focus hasn’t really been on Spurs yet, despite their solid start to the season Their next four fixtures are against the four Ws: Wigan, West Brom, Wolves and West Ham. All four are games Spurs will expect to win, meaning they could be looking pretty come October. For Wigan however, and boss Roberto Martinez, this game is needed like a kick in the nads. Spurs may have had a tough Champions League tie to get out of the way but despite injuries and any fatigue, they will expect a win. Injuries and fatigue may not even matter. Wigan have been woeful to-date and the fans are staying away as the half-empty JJB Stadium showed against Chelsea. Defeat could leave Martinez in big trouble, especially after the lacklustre comments in support of him by chairman Dave Whelan.
Predictions in a semi-serious sort of fashion:
Chelsea won’t beat Stoke 6-0. In fact they will struggle, but yeah of course they’ll win.
Liverpool will thump West Brom by three goals or more. West Brom fans will sing tributes to Javier Mascherano.
Wolves bring Newcastle back down to earth to continue their impressive start to the season. Andy Caroll will be sent off.
Man Utd thump West Ham, including a penalty not taken by Nani. Ferguson will thump a BBC reporter.
Blackburn will beat Arsenal. And Wenger will not be happy with their “physical style of play.”
Tonight is the night. Man City will either be ready to challenge for the title or “a long way off unless they can gel together quickly.”
Commentators are licking their lips, pundits are sharpening their knifes and Roberto Mancini is possibly looking a little tired due to lack of sleep. The pressure will be intense tonight. Man City’s superstars, at home for the first time this season after two disappointing performances to-date. Who will make a debut? Balotelli? Milner? Who will take their chance to become a cult hero early in their career? Silva? Toure?
Liverpool should be arriving as underdogs. The start of the summer was a terrible time to be a Liverpool fan as Torres was leaving, Gerrard was leaving, Mascherano was leaving, Benitez had gone. But tonight each of those three will start the game, and while Joe Cole misses out through suspension, there is enough confidence around the Merseysiders to suggest that with some big performances from their stars, they should win this one.
A look at both squads shows one whose first game lineup had a huge amount of talent, but little togetherness. The other played their opening game as a team with 100% commitment, but lacked flair. Tonight may be a war of attrition in midfield. Yaya Toure and De Jong versus Mascherano and Poulsen. An intense battleground with the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Silva and Balotelli being expected to provide a spark of individual genius by their managers.
Man City play a strange formation with attackers on the wings playing reasonably deep, while using at least two defensive central midfielders and one lone man up front. Liverpool may try to match them at their own game tonight. Indications are that Poulsen will start alongside Mascherano while Kuyt and Jovanovic will play deep on either flank and Gerrard will fluctuate between central midfield and providing support for Torres.
It’s difficult to see goals in this one, despite the wealth of attacking talent on display. It isn’t difficult to see red cards though. If both teams start with two holding midfielders, each is capable of a rash challenge which could help to open the game up a little. It would be nice to imagine both teams will try to throw down a marker and go out to win at any cost.
They won’t though. Our prediction? 1-1.