GREAT MATCH, GREAT TEAMS, GREAT STADIUM, GREAT FANS, GREAT CITY, GREAT DAY OUT !!
Arriving in Liverpool city centre at noon the sun was shining, the place was full of happy people here for the Mathew Street Festival, the largest free music festival in Europe with 60 hours of music and bands all over the place in a carnival atmosphere. Past Lime Street Station I headed for LIVERPOOL ONE, the outstanding shopping centre and then to the new Hilton Hotel. There was a huge crowd waiting so I got my pen out ready to sign autographs.
However, they were not waiting for me. It was the Manchester City squad who were staying overnight, with their luxury bus outside. I visited a couple of new, outstanding new FREE museums on the banks of The River Mersey. The Maritime Museum with the Titanic Exhibition and the Slave Museum, and the even newer Museum of Liverpool at Pier Head where you catch The Ferry Across The Mersey. Nearby, one of the many restaurants at The Albert Dock, PANAM, had The Fab Four look-a-likes, The Cheadles, playing Beatle Classics.
Finally I took the bus to Anfield to soak in the pre match atmosphere. Everybody in red. and fans from around the world, speaking Danish, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Czech, German and more. I come here often with groups on tour and for Hillsborough Memorial services but the last match I attended was 16 years ago at EURO '96, Italy v Russia. My friend Dave had his mate's season ticket for me since he was away on holiday in Corfu. Half way line Front Row, AWESOME.
LFC have a new shirt sponsor paying bigger bucks (double) than Adidas did. WARRIOR are a Michigan USA brand, now owned by New Balance with new ideas hoping for success on the field and world wide exposure to pay for the deal. Mostly into pro lacrosse, the will also sponsor Sevilla from next season.
NOTHING beats to Kop Choir singing YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE as the teams march out. Scarves held high, flags of past and current heroes and a huge banner passed from one side to the other.
The Reds found themselves bottom of the EPL at kick off time and have had a major clear out and many new faces under new boss Brendon Rodgers. One exciting name thrown into his first league start was Kingston, Jamaica born Raheen Sterling. Only 17 he already has three children. He was a major tormenter down the left wing as his team attacked City at The Kop End. A success and new fan favourite.
The reward was a splendid header from Slovak Martin Skrtel from a Steven Gerrard corner. The fans went crazy. Lucas had gone off injured after just 4 minutes to be replaced by Shelvey. Yaya Toure equalized in the 63rd minute but only 3 minutes later Liverpool took the lead again after when Luis Suarez scored direct with a brilliantly struck 35 yard free kick. However, three points were denied when hero Skrtel turned to zero when a back pass to Pepe Reyna was intercepted by Carlos Tevez and points were shared.
Joe Allen, brought in from Swansea, is the new midfield look at Anfield, and despite his small size he has no fear, asking for and giving the ball under intense pressure. Rodgers also left out three of Kenny Dalglish's expensive and overpriced buys. I was also impressed by Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates who I had watched at the recent Olympic tournament. He looked comfortable against a disappointing Mario Balotelli and other Sky Blues.
Roberto Mancini is worried about his highly paid and talented team shipping in goals in their early season matches and wants to bring in yet more players. He can afford it but it won't bring harmony in the dressing room with even more disgruntled sidelined stars.