"i'll make an offer you can't refuse"-Godfather-
By: roman butcshemi

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Tuesday, 17-Apr-2007 23:38 Email | Share | | Bookmark
I just love Liverpool.

Shankly Gates
The sun shone on the new dawn of Liverpool FC on Saturday, as spring – that season of regeneration – belatedly got under way.

And in Holland last night a significant step forward was taken.

For about three years now I've been talking about the club being at a crossroads, and despite some major moments, such as appointing Rafa in 2004 and the majesty of Istanbul in 2005, things weren't quite in place for the big acceleration, despite so much hard work taking place behind the scenes. Well, now the lights have turned green, and Liverpool FC is clearly moving forward on all fronts.

Investment is in place, and the new stadium is about to be built. There has never been a stronger collection of young players at the club, both in terms of those in the youth/reserve teams and those slightly older ones already making waves in the first team.

Bit by bit Rafa Benítez is taking this club to a new level, with the introduction of quality components to his team, even if there's a backwards step or two along the way in getting it all to bed together.

I just feel he's already added a number of top-class players to the set-up, whose presence will be felt for years to come. Sections of the team are gelling brilliantly, and now the task is down to fine tuning. Of course, it helps so much, as seen in the past few days, when good football is turned into healthy winning margins by clinical finishing.

Javier Mascherano almost 'sneaked' into the club unnoticed. The fanfare occurred when he joined West Ham, as this world-class holding midfielder arrived in England out of the blue, fresh from World Cup plaudits; but his stock, so far as watchers of the Premiership were concerned, dipped during a baptism of fire at Upton Park. Had Liverpool bid for him last summer, the anticipation would have been incredible. As it was, Rafa has added another of the world's top midfielders, aged just 22, to his roster with a minimum of hype and fuss.

Mascherano's partnership with Alonso has such rich potential. Neither is going to bomb forward with the ball, but both can use it intelligently in any area of the pitch. Both move the ball so quickly, but never hurriedly. If you can make the ball do all the work you're laughing.

If it means Rafa can field two world-class holding midfielders who can win the ball and use it cleverly, then that means that in Gerrard he can field a world-class right midfielder, too. And that's not forgetting Sissoko, whose passing needs to become less erratic, but who remains the closest thing I've ever seen to a player capable of being in two places at once.

The more solid and stable the Reds are centrally, the more freedom it allows the wide players. Especially Gerrard, when selected there, given he's more likely than anyone else to want to get across the width of the whole pitch.

The tiresome debate about whether he's wasted on the wing will continue, but whereas Benítez has three other central midfield specialists, Gerrard's versatility means he can add attacking thrust on the right or left, and by drifting into advanced central areas. It did no harm in Barcelona, nor in snatching the crucial first away goal en route to a convincing win in Holland last night.

While Gerrard wandering infield can lead to criticism of unbalancing the side, he is one of those players towards whom the opposition can't help but get drawn. His aura – as a key dangerman – and his movement off the ball cause uncertainty in the opposition, and allow Steve Finnan room in which to operate. Finnan doesn't do fancy tricks; he doesn't need them. He's a master of the early right-foot cross, as we saw last night on two occasions, but also the best full-back I've seen at delivering the ball with his 'wrong' foot.

Just like Mascherano, Daniel Agger is another example of a signing that represents amazing value for money for such a young player (22) who will continue to improve. He proves that you don't have to spend lavishly to land genuine quality (although of course greater funds gives greater choice).

Ludicrously written off last summer by one magazine as a flop, despite showing real promise in his first handful of appearances, the Dane has the kind of all-round game that can make him a true great, if he progresses as expected. Extremely level-headed, there's little danger of complacency. He has that Benítez ethos: a real winner who takes his football extremely seriously.

Dirk Kuyt seems to have lost a little of his sharpness after an excellent first half of the season, but I think most fans have seen the kind of quality he can produce, not to mention the ground he covers in order to help the team get results, such as in the last two European away games.

He works so prodigiously, but perhaps doing so in the English game – with its greater intensity and frequency of matches – has left him a little jaded after eight months, and for him the acclimatisation process involves getting used to expending his energy over this new gruelling schedule. It's also worth noting that he rarely plays as an out-and-out striker.

It's too early to judge Alvaro Arbeloa to any conclusive degree, but the initial impressions are very positive. A wonderful man-marker based on the evidence of the two Barcelona matches, when he shadowed Messi into submission, he offers the option of pace at either full-back position.

As well as pace he has quality on the ball (as we saw for Crouch's opener against Arsenal) and good defensive instincts, epitomised by his sublime interception in the Nou Camp that kept the Reds' hopes alive. He reminds me a bit of Rob Jones, in stature and style. Displacing Steve Finnan will be a tall order, but Arbeloa, who recently turned 24, can play anywhere across the back line.

Fabio Aurelio hasn't had too many chances to impress, due to the kind of niggling injuries that blighted Fernando Morientes' stay at Anfield and has also hampered Mark Gonzalez's progress, the Brazilian full-back delivered several moments of sublime quality against Arsenal, leading to two goals but also a few more near misses. But last night's serious achilles injury was a real blow, and it could be a long time before he's back in a red shirt. Hopefully it won't be too long.

Peter Crouch was perhaps Benítez's most controversial signing. Before he signed I admit I'd not paid him much attention, but I was quickly won over in pre-season, with his obvious ability on the ball. Having been singing his praises for nearly two years now, it's great to see others cottoning on.

Crouch, who only turned 26 fairly recently, is one of those players who will get better with age. His game has nothing to do with pace, but skill on the ball and getting into the right positions, both to score goals, but also to use his height effectively. Experience, and good tuition, will help, as it has done in the last two years.

Since breaking his duck for Liverpool and England less than 18 months ago he's plundered a phenomenal 41 goals, and that's without being an automatic first choice for either side, and without the free-kicks and penalties that other strikers use to boost their tallies. He's scored key goals at the World Cup and in European qualifiers for his country, and has notched six Champions League goals already this season for the Reds. Plus he's now scored against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as in a Mersey derby.

There's still more to come from Crouch. But he's improving all the time, and remains the most unique striker in the league. He gives Rafa one of his famed 'possibilities' that no other can offer, and it's why I'd be very surprised if he's not at the club for a long time to come.

With Jermaine Pennant and Mark Gonzalez, aged 24 and 22 respectively, it's been more a case of showing their talent in bursts. Pennant has started to find greater consistency and increased confidence, while Gonzalez showed his pace against Arsenal, and delivered three superb balls into the box.

Elsewhere, Pepe Reina is just 24, but already has 300 career appearances to his name. Xabi Alonso is still only 25. Barring injuries, here's a player who'll be just as good, if not better, in ten years' time. Maybe he will be in La Liga at that stage of his career, but I desperately hope he's at Liverpool for the best part of the next decade.

All of these players (just like Steven Gerrard and John Arne Riise) are 26 or under. So none is yet in what's traditionally seen as a player's prime.

Six of these first team players were added this season, with Craig Bellamy (a veritable 'oldie' at just 27) the seventh. A season to acclimatise will have helped them all. Add four key players who arrived last season – Reina, Agger, Sissoko and Crouch – and you can see how 'new' so much of Rafa's project is, and how time is on the side of this team. It still needs work, but we're starting to talk about finishing touches and letting the majority of the side continue to blend.

With this in mind it's worth noting that Manchester United's success this season has been down to adding virtually no new personnel, but working within the framework of unity and understanding built up over the past three or four years, and allowing younger players come to fruition.

If you get the right elements in place, it can then be just a question of time. While there are no guarantees of success I think it's fair to say that the core ­– and a little bit more – of a great side is taking shape.

written by Paul Tomkins for Liverpool Official Website.

Sunday, 16-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Happy Raya Hari...!!

Depan rumah
ngan apik
ngan arn n j.o
View all 9 photos...
Maaf Zahir Batin

Sunday, 9-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
A play in chilling night~~~burrrr..

nih bukan padang bola..nih bilik aku!
before turun court..main bola ps2 dulu
sibuk la konon2 tuh sumer..
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Walaupun poser..kami tetap gian main bola...mat saleh dok sibuk clubbing..kami sebagai memberkati bulan yg penuh keberkatan ini..bersukan untuk menyihatkan badan selepas terawih bersama2.....

Sunday, 7-Aug-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Charity Shield 2005 in Cardiff

pije and apik in front of the stadium
Millennium Stadium
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saki baki duit biasiswa digunakan dengan membeli tiket bola..huuurrmmmm....(garu2 kepala)

Tuesday, 2-Aug-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
rakan rakanku di suatu hari....

bangun tidur lambat..pastu lapar..
kat rumah takder ape2 makanan..tinggal serbuk roti jer
so mereka pun kuar ke city mencari makanan
View all 5 photos...
ini la kisah rakan2 housemate ku di satu hari di musim panas di cardiff......

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