Is it Time for Centralised Timing?

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There have been many innovations in football down the years, some good, and some bad. Many of them have been brought in purely to improve the spectator experience. One innovation which works well is the 4th official raising a board to tell everyone how much time there is to be added on at the end of the game.


But is it time for another change?

How about centralised timing controlled by the referee? He could stop the clock in a break of play and then re-start when he has ordered the game to continue. Everyone in the ground would know how much time there is left and so would the viewer at home.2012_12_10_10_59[1]

Let’s consider how you watch and react to football. Imagine the scene, you’re watching your team play an important game, one you really want to win, it’s the 87th minute and still 0-0. Then you concede a goal, how do you react? There are 3 minutes to go and you’re probably thinking something like this;

“We’ve got one maybe two good chances to get back level, so we need to throw everything forward to grab a point”

Ok, so how about the goal is scored in the 82nd minute? You’re not as frantic, but still mindful of the lack of time to go yet now you think you can still win the game.

These days our belief in how quickly goals can be scored has been stretched after games like the Champions League Finals of 1999 & 2005. In fact, today Everton scored two goals in quick succession to overturn a 1-goal deficit and win 2-1 against Tottenham. It happens often in English football that plenty of goals are scored in the final 10 minutes. The Manchester derby and the Everton v Spurs game both contained late goals.

Go back to my question about the timing of a goal. A goal is scored in the 87th minute, then the 4th official signals 5 minutes of injury time. So in reality when the goal went in there were still 8 minutes left of play, which is like the goal being scored in the 82nd minute. Your reaction is different, and so is the reaction of the players. A goal in the 82nd minute with 5 minutes of time to added on, is as if it was scored in the 77th minute as there are still 13 minutes to be played.

Jonjo Shelvey (or an own goal) today scored for Liverpool in the 78th minute. Now you’re thinking;

“there are 12 minutes left, we could still lose this so we need to be careful but is a 1-goal lead enough? Do we need to keep pushing on for another one, just in case?”


Yet in today’s game there were 7 minutes added on at the end of the game. In reality the goal was scored with 19 minutes still to be played, which is virtually halfway through the second half.

Just think, your team was 1-2 down and then goes 3-2 up midway through the second half, how do you react? Certainly not the same way you would if there were only 12 minutes to go.

So is it time to allow the spectator and the players to know how much time there really is to be added. During the injury time in the game between West Ham and Liverpool the home side wasted their own time complaining about a free-kick they’d given away. As it was the ref added on a couple of minutes to the official 5. With this new innovation, the clock would stop until West Ham had stopped complaining and then start again when the referee blows his whistle.

No more waiting ages for a goalkeeper to slowly walk back a few yards to take a goal kick. The clock would only start once he was ready to take his run-up.

The game is already far quicker than when I first started watching. The abolition of the backpass put paid to that. Plus, allowing more than one football to be used during a game (not at the same time, of course), also sped up the play as the old trick of the centre-back booting the ball into row Z would prove useless if the little ballboy immediately throws another one back on.

I think the 4th official’s board works well as everyone knows how much is to be added. The flip side of my argument is that there can be great excitement and renewed belief if the team who is 0-1 down in the 87th minute still has not scored, yet suddenly sees the board go up with 5 minutes still to be played. It can give a huge boost. But what if you knew how much time there was left and that was it? Could it make for an even more exciting finish, as a team would know for definite if there were only 10 seconds to go and a high ball into the area could create much drama?

It would put paid to the tiresome habit of the winning team making a 92-minute substitution. Rarely is it ever to change or improve the game, but simply a cynical attempt to ‘run down the clock’. But if the clock had stopped when the referee signalled to allow the substitution, then there is no advantage for the player who strolls off purely to waste more time.

If you look at the stats the ball is in play for less than 70 minutes during most matches and with clubs charging more and more money for tickets, is it time for the fan to get his money’s worth and actually get 90 minutes of entertainment?

Centralised timing would do this.

Other sports invite the spectator into the murky world of the referees watch, such as Basketball and American Football. Is it time football moved on?


Rodgers praises Shelvey

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After a big influence on the deciding goal in the 3-2 win over West Ham today, manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Jonjo Shelvey for his work standing in upfront for Luis Suarez.

“He was outstanding. But you see there are two different ways in which you can play the number nine role.” said Rodgers.

“In this country it is always a very traditional target man, a clear number nine. Give credit to Carlton Cole, I know him form my time at Chelsea, he is a real handful and was outstanding today.”jonjo-shelvey-620-189349859-3269657[1]


“But you see young Jonjo at 20 years of age playing the number nine role in a different way – dropping into midfield and combining with the midfield players to make the fourth man, being a threat when he is in around the box, showing great feet and I thought he was outstanding today the kid.”

“It was great credit to him because there was a lot of pressure on him because people have been trying to compare him to Luis Suarez.”

“But he is only 20 and has a big future ahead of him.”

West Ham 2 – 3 Liverpool

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Joe Allen and Jonjo Shelvey celebrate Liverpool's winning goal.
Joe Allen and Jonjo Shelvey celebrate Liverpool's winning goal.

By AmericanKopite, 09-12-2012, 19:06:00

West Ham were right to go into this match confident coming off their 3-1 home win against Chelsea, and now looking to topple Liverpool who are on a strong climb up the table and looking to break into the top half of the table since May 2012. Lee Probert was the official on the pitch for this affair at Upton Park.

The first ten minutes of the match was a back and forth struggle of the counter attacks with promising finishes, but it wasn’t until the 11th minute that the ice was broken by ex-Hammer Glen Johnson.

Johnson made a run from the right wing to the top of the 18 yard box where he curled a beauty over Jussi Jääskeläinen’s head into the top left corner of the goal for his first goal of the season.

The relentless attack did not let up with attacking runs coming into the box from Johnson and shots raining down from Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling.

Very early action from the bench as Joe Cole was seen warming up and receiving instructions in the 25th minute for a peculiar 27th minute change for Full-Back Jose Enrique. Joe Cole has scored twice against West Ham in his previous days at Chelsea.

The substitution saw a revival for West Ham’s attack with crosses flying into the box and heavy pressure being applied to Liverpool’s defence with a box flooded full of claret and blue shirts.

A bit of respite was given to Liverpool when they managed to pressure West Ham in their own attacking area, but clever play led to a sharp counter attack that was thwarted by captain Steven Gerrard with a rash challenge from behind that earned him the first yellow card of the match in the 33rd minute.

The woes only got worse for Liverpool when a 37th minute penalty was given to West Ham after Joe Allen raised his right arm to deflect Mohamed Diamé. Mark Noble slotted the equalizing penalty into the lower left corner quick enough to outpace the correctly guessed dive of Pepe Reina.

It only got worse before the stroke of halftime. Matt Jarvis’ cross came screaming into the area and bounced the wrong way off the head of Steven Gerrard and behind the hands of Pepe Reina. Not much one can do about that. 2-1 to West Ham 43 minutes in. It was five minutes later that the whistle sounded for halftime.


West Ham made a change before play resumed when Guy Demel came off for George McCartney. But all eyes were on the visiting side to see how they would approach the second 45 minutes after their first half collapse.

Nothing changed in 35 minutes. The West Ham fans loud as ever, spurring their team on as the home side led 2-1. Liverpool showed a small bit of fight in the 70th minute before their second substitution was made when Jordan Henderson was sent out to replace the recently injured Lucas Leiva. Just moments after the substitution it was injury for Mohamed Diame that became shock as the Senegalese international collapsed on the right wing and clutched his hamstring right in front of corner flag. Diame was carried off the pitch in a stretcher and made way for 23 year old Olympian, James Tomkins.

So far this season, Liverpool have not scored in the last 15 minutes of a match, and that stat was snapped by the most unlikely of places. Joe Cole continued his scoring record against West Ham in the 76th minute when a beautiful through ball from Raheem Sterling gave Joe Cole space in front of the left goal post and Cole coolly slotted the ball in for the equalizer.

That wasn’t the end of the story when another former West Ham player, Jonjo Shelvey, had his say two minutes later. Shelvey had received a low cross from winger Jordan Henderson that Shelvey chipped up over keeper Jääskeläinen and watched it fall into the opposite side netting for the go ahead goal to make it 3-2 in the span of five minutes.

Modibo Maiga was the fifth switch of the match replacing Matt Taylor in the 85th minute. Simultaneously, Joe Allen was replaced by Uruguayan international Sebastian Coates.

Liverpool would play very defensively and very nervously up until the end of the match with Raheem Sterling nearly making it curtains with a dangerous solo counter attack in the 88th minute.

Much to the surprise and confusion of Brendan Rodgers, five minutes was the time added to the end of the 90 as “Justice for the 96” was chanted around Upton Park.

Massive controversy as Jonjo Shelvey was tripped in the area by defender Winston Reid who was in trouble a minute later for committing the same offense on the same man just outside the box.

After 96 minutes and 17 seconds the final whistle blew to send Liverpool Football Club into the top half of the table for the first time since May. What was certainly a roller coaster of emotions for both sides turned out to be an entertaining affair and certainly one to mark a highlight of the season.

With no European football to worry about until February, the focus is now on domestic competition as the next five matches will all be league matches starting with Aston Villa on Saturday, the 15th, and then a trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham the Saturday after that.

Until then,
YNWA

Udinese 0 – 1 Liverpool

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By EddieC, 07-12-2012, 12:59:49

Jordan Henderson’s first goal of the season saw Liverpool through to the knock out stage of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over Udinese.

Only the endeavours of former Liverpool stopper Daniele Padelli prevented the scoreline being higher but the keeper was powerless to prevent Henderson firing the ball past him on 23 minutes.

It means the Reds move into the last 32 of the competition as Group A winners after results elsewhere went in their favour – with Anzhi suffering a 3-1 defeat to Young Boys in Switzerland.

After a cagey start, the match burst into life when Suso weaved his was past two defenders before firing a cross in – to which Udinese replied with a swift counter-attack, resulting in Mathias Ranegie heading wide of Pepe Reina’s goal.

Liverpool took the lead when Suso received a Luis Suarez flick from a corner. The young Spaniard played the ball to Henderson who hammered a fierce shot past Padelli to make it 1-0.

A flurry of activity in the closing minutes of the first half saw Suarez attempt an audacious overhead kick from close range, but Padelli managed to push the ball behind at full stretch.

The second half started as the first had finished – with Liverpool in the ascendancy. Suarez slid the ball in to Suso, who should have doubled the scoreline with his shot yards from goal. Suarez then fired narrowly over the bar five minutes later.

There was one scare for Liverpool when Pablo Armero spun away from Suso and burst forward, but Skrtel headed his cross behind. From the resulting corner, Ranegie towered above the Reds’ defence but was unable to keep his headed shot below the crossbar.

Henderson thought he had netted a second just after the hour mark. Shelvey won the ball in midfield and played through Enrique, who whipped in an inch-perfect cross. Henderson arrived right on cue and side-footed towards the top corner but Padelli saved again.

It had become a case of seeing the game out, and after Giovanni Pasquale was shown a second yellow card for a challenge Raheem Sterling the Reds held out for the win.

Europa League Could Provide Platform To Build On

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Brendan Rodgers leads Liverpool out for their crucial Europa League tie at Udinese tomorrow night and judging by the squad that he has chosen, it seems as though the reds boss wouldn’t be complaining too much if we were not to progress in to the latter stages of the competition.

I agree, the manager has to prioritise the Premier League campaign this year due to the massive under achievement last season when Kenny Dalglish prioritised the cups ahead of the league, Rodgers may think if he did the same and went to the owners in a similar situation to Dalglish last season then he may suffer the same fate his predecessor did. However, the difference is that we were not in Europe last season which made no excuse for the league position and I think if the owners saw progress in a European competition they would be quite satisfied as it is an achievement that is recognised on a global level.2325225234[1]

Let’s face it, Liverpool is a European football club and the sooner we are recognised in Europe, the quicker we can start showing top players that we are heading in the right direction. This then helps us get to where we want to be in quicker time- the Champions League. Which is why I was really surprised to see the likes of Daniel Agger, Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard left at home and also with the rumours that Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling could be rested. Young Boys face Anzhi and we only have to match their result to progress however with Anzhi qualified I’m sure they will rest players, and Young Boys could have the initiative which is why I thought Rodgers would be full strength against Udinese.

Okay, Lucas has just come back from a long term injury therefore we have to be careful with him as he is really key to what we do but I don’t buy the ‘fitness concerns’ over both Gerrard and Agger that the club have used. Why? Because I expect both to start against West Ham on Sunday.

On the plus side, we can expect top scorer Luis Suarez to start due to his suspension for Sunday’s trip to Upton Park and he can win any game on his own as proven however, as we have stated, we cannot always rely on him. I still think Rodgers will send out a competitive side, I just don’t think it will be as strong as what he could field.

If we can progress through to the Knockout Stage of the competition then that would be brilliant for the football club. I would like to see the manager then take the competition seriously along with the Premier League too in the second half of the season once the squad has been strengthened in January.

If he can deliver a good solid European run along with a respectable league position, then more players will notice us as a club moving forward and a club that is going places. The owners then might just help him in delivering the next step ahead of schedule- Champions League football.

Assault allegation made against Carroll

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Andy Carroll has been interviewed by police in Ireland after allegedly assaulting a photographer outside a Dublin night club.

Carroll – who is currently on loan at West Ham – was with team-mates in the Irish capital for their Christmas party following their 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday. Sun photographer Paddy Cummins claims he was attacked by the striker when he tried to take a picture of him at around 2.30am yesterday.

A spokesman for the Garda press office said an incident had been reported but no arrests had been made.

Carroll is currently laid off for eight weeks with a ligament injury and was pictured earlier in the evening wearing a protective brace, but later in the evening the brace appeared to have been removed.andy-carroll-620-71561325-3253387[1]

It was whilst trying to take a picture of the missing brace that Cummins says Carroll attacked him – claiming that the 6ft 3in footballer gouged his right eye whilst trying to grab his camera, and that he went to bite him after knocking him to the floor.

West Ham have been quick to deny any allegations of wrongdoing.

“Andy Carroll was in Dublin as part of a social trip with full permission of the management team,” the club said.

“Andy agreed to have a number of pictures taken at the request of a photographer who was waiting on the street. Despite this, the photographer then carried on taking photos in the close proximity of Andy and was politely asked to stop by the private security team working on the trip.

“When he then continued taking more photos he was restrained by the security team for Andy’s safety. Eyewitnesses state at no point was there any physical contact between Andy and the photographer.”

Allen – Lucas return can push us on

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Joe Allen believes that Lucas Leiva’s return to the Liverpool setup can help the club’s bid to secure a Champions League spot.

The Brazilian midfielder made his comeback in the Premier League clash with Southampton at the weekend following three months out with a thigh problem, which occured shortly after his return from a knee injury that kept him out for the majority of last season.

His return provided the Reds with a defensive surety that has been lacking in his absence, and both Allen and Steven Gerrard seemed to revel in the opportunity to play higher up the pitch.

An assured display from the midfield trio helped to secure a 1-0 victory which lifted Liverpool to within seven points of third-placed Chelsea, and Allen thinks the return of Lucas can help them close the gap further.article-2242180-164D770F000005DC-76_468x343[1]

“You’re always going to miss quality players like Lucas and it’s great to have him back in the side,” said the Welshman.

“His return, with the steel and quality he brings, is only going to help the team going forward.

“It’s a very important role. If you look at the top teams, they all utilise that position and have a quality player there and it is for a reason, it is vital for the way we want to play.

“With him back playing, I’m sure we’ll get the benefits of that in terms of points and our position in the table.

“We’ve closed the gap (to the top four) a bit and for a club like Liverpool, that has to be our target.

“We have got a run of games now where we want to pick up points and further reduce that deficit.”

Allen is also hopeful that the return of Lucas will allow him to play in a more advanced role, having had to deputise for the Brazilian as a holding midfielder in his absence.

“That’s more my natural position,” he added. “I haven’t played there for a while so I found myself trying to get back into the swing of things.

“I had that security of knowing that Lucas was there.

“It gives you the chance to express yourself further up the pitch, and try to get involved in creating and scoring goals.”

Liverpool draw away tie in FA Cup

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Liverpool have been drawn to play either Lincoln City or Mansfield Town in the third round of the FA Cup. The away tie will be played on the weekend of the 5th/6th of January next year.

The Reds will be looking to progress one step further than last season – when Kenny Dalglish’s side were defeated 2-1 in the final by Chelsea – and this draw certainly stands them in good stead to progress into the next round.

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Lincoln and Mansfield played out a 3-3 draw at Sincil Bank on Saturday, Matt Rhead earning Mansfield a replay with an injury time equaliser. The two sides will meet again in the replay next week to decide who faces the Reds.

Liverpool have no recent history with either club, having last faced Lincoln in 1961 and Mansfield in 1970.

Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton

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By jpa90, 01-12-2012, 18:27:27

Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win against Southampton at Anfield in a game which the home side bossed. Daniel Agger’s header was all that separated the sides but the Reds could have won the game by a much bigger margin. Southampton offered very little in front of goal but after a poor result in the middle of the week, a clean sheet was a top priority for Brendan Rodgers’ side.

It didn’t take Rickie Lambert long to test his shooting capability when he released a long range effort early on. Although he couldn’t reach the ball with his diving attempt, Pepe Reina was happy to let it drift harmlessly wide.

Liverpool’s ability to control possession was allowing them to move the ball into attack and utilise the wide channels. The Reds’ first real chance came when Jonjo Shelvey attempted a volley on the edge of the box, but he hit his shot into the ground giving Paulo Gazzaniga an easy save.

Glen Johnson made several promising runs down the right side in the first ten minutes and the home side nearly took the lead when his cross flashed past the face of the goal without anybody getting a touch. Johnson again received the ball in space on the right wing, an area that Southampton were yet to tighten. When Johnson’s cross was deflected for a corner, the ball fell to Steven Gerrard whose fierce shot was deflected away from goal by Morgan Schneiderlin.

Shelvey forced a save out of Gazzaniga when he ran onto a clever pass from Gerrard. Despite taking it wide, Shelvey aimed his effort towards the far post but Gazzaniga was able to palm the ball away. Luis Suarez had an identical opportunity shortly afterwards but was again thwarted by Gazzaniga, who knew he was in for a busy afternoon.

The home side nearly took the lead when a route one pass from Reina found Suarez in Southampton’s penalty area. The striker worked the ball around Gazzaniga but after ricocheting off several players, the ball rolled wide. The resulting corner saw Martin Skrtel’s header loop over the bar and Liverpool’s familiar frustration of failing to make one of their many chances count was beginning to rise.

Whilst attempting to create an opportunity in the other half, the Saints gave the ball away far too easily and Liverpool pushed out of defence with a fast-paced counter-attack. Suarez found Shelvey with a superb through ball but his pass could not find Sterling. The ball fell to Gerrard who fed it back to Shelvey on the right. Shelvey released a powerful strike which came crashing back off the far post, leaving Southampton extremely lucky to still be level.

Gaston Ramírez brought down Suarez on the edge of the penalty area and the Uruguayan took the preceding free-kick, which pinged off the cross bar. Determined to take the lead, the ball was played back into the box and Daniel Agger met the cross with his head. His directed effort sailed over Gazzaniga and under the bar to make it 1-0 to the Reds.

Reina ensured that his team went into half time with the lead when he made a last-gasp leap to push Lambert’s long-range volley out for a corner. With the vast majority of chances and a deserved lead, Liverpool’s task was only half complete as they still needed to close out the game in the second half, a task that the Reds have struggled with this season.

The Saints started the second half in an attacking frame of mind, forcing an early corner and giving Reina the important job of preventing an early comeback. The Spaniard stopped an early shot but a determined Southampton were much more lively and willing to venture into Liverpool’s half.

Once Liverpool had taken Southampton’s early onslaught under control, they began working the ball down the right channel where they had enjoyed their best chances in the first half. Suarez was doing a fantastic job of creating space deep in Southampton’s half and the visitor’s defence was having a torrid time of trying to deal with his ingenious movement and skill.

Johnson was again involved in a well-worked Liverpool attack when he found Jose Enrique unmarked on the left wing. Liverpool were keen to close out the game but Jose Enrique’s shot was straight at Gazzaniga.

Unlike the first half, Southampton were making the most of their possession of the ball. The visitors could not work a pass into the box however and Liverpool were quick to push out of defence. Jose Enrique was again allowed to shoot late on in the game but his low shot was saved when Gazzaniga got down to his left.

Jose Fonte lost his bearings in defence and allowed Sterling to jump in and play a ball into Suarez. The striker got a toe to the ball but his attempt missed the target. Sterling was then unlucky not to double Liverpool’s lead when he was provided with a wonderful pass from Suarez, only to be closed down deep in Southampton’s penalty area.

One goal was enough for Liverpool to seal all three points although they could have easily scored more. Lucas lasted an impressive 88 minutes in his first game after injury and his performance exceeded what was expected of the midfielder after such a long time out.

Southampton have to regroup before one of the most important games of their season so far when they take on Reading next Saturday. Liverpool face West Ham United on Sunday but will be without their suspended talisman Suarez, who picked up his fifth booking of the season.

Kopworld man of the match: Glen Johnson

Suarez picks up award

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Luis Suarez has picked up the Ten Goal Golden Boot award for being the first Premiership player to reach the ten strike mark this season.

The Uruguayan star has been in scintillating form so far this season with goals against Manchester City, Sunderland, Norwich City (hat-trick), Everton, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Wigan (brace).

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“The manager has been a huge influence, not just on me but on every single player at the club this season. The position I am playing now is really the one I like the most- a free number nine. The manager tells me I can score goals and fills me with confidence to do well for the team.” Suarez said after collecting the trophy.