What. A. Match.

Liverpool surely don’t do it easy or straightforward. They had to have us going from one emotion to the extreme opposite end. Last night’s match vs Norwich is one for the books. What a rollercoaster ride. Adam Lallana, you are my hero.

tumblr_o1exo0HYIp1qc10ruo1_540

Oh Captain, My Captain

tumblr_nogj90ACFc1tjid03o1_540This has got to be one of the hardest goodbyes in football. That 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace is Steven Gerrard’s last match at Anfield, after some 17 years and 10 trophies amassed. He is the heart and soul of Liverpool, and his departure will leave a gaping hole in central midfield. Thanks for the memories, Stevie. You are my hero.

Well, this hurts.

Up 3-0 and we let it slip only for Crystal Palace to end the match at 3-3. It hurts. It goddamn hurts.

Said it before, and I’ll say it again. We slip, we stumble. We get back up. We go again. We are Liverpool.

Immensely proud to have Steven Gerrard as our Captain. What a great player, and an even greater man.

 

Stevie G and Suarez

I waited five years for this.

Last night, Liverpool beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, about five years since they last won in that stadium.

Steven Gerrard scored a brace off a couple of penalties and planted a big wet one on the camera. Luis Suarez debuted his new Adidas boots in style. Simon Mignolet had about one good save and that was it—that’s also because you can probably count with both hands the number of times United made an attempt to score. Also, Joe Allen won’t stop running. SAS had great link-ups. DStudge can outrun the entire United team, but still not find the back of the net. Agger got a black eye from Mignolet’s elbow, but it’s all good (who needs enemies when you got friends like those?). Jon Flanagan hated United more than I did, and I could feel it halfway across the world. Lucas Leiva: The Return of the Comeback. Iago Aspas came on garbage time, and we were seriously trolling United.

SAF’s long face. David Moyes is a football genius.

I look at the numbers on the table and I get goosebumps. We are title contenders.

Make us dream, you Red Men. Make us dream.

tumblr_n2k87j7wYX1raxpsqo1_1280 Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League tumblr_n2jhwsbwIx1syoyv2o4_500 tumblr_n2jhc5XGsJ1rbdmofo1_500 tumblr_n2jhc5XGsJ1rbdmofo2_500

Catching up!

I hadn’t had the chance to update this space in the last month, for one reason or another. Sadly enough, it does take a torrential downpour to make one pause and take a different writing route. Or a brain break.

So much has happened in the past few weeks, and I always think work should be a matter of thriving, not just surviving. That said, I am sharing the output from my latest trip in Sulu: Pathways to Peace. Quite excited for a couple of projects being cooked under the TEN Moves banner—and we should be able to see it come October or November. Glad to be in a space that allows me to do both profit and non-profit work—is there a graduate degree for this?

Ah, graduate degrees, you are a different plan altogether.

***

The new football season has started, and I’m glad my teams secured opening day wins. Liverpool won 1-0 over Stoke, thanks to a Daniel Sturridge goal (I take back everything I said about this guy when he was in Chelsea—he is all red now), but the real opening day hero was Simon Mignolet, who saved a penalty and a rebound to keep Stoke scoreless. I must admit it feels different not to have Pepe Reina on goal anymore, but hey, we need to move forward and upward from a dismal season.

Who do I love watching in red though? Philippe Coutinho. Absolute class during the pre-season, and he just moves silkily. Plus points for not being afraid to take on someone NOT his own size.

coutinho

On another Premier League note, it sucks big time that FOX Sports/Star Sports lost the bid to air the matches here in the Philippines (hello guys, how about trying harder on your bid?!). The network that won the rights to air in the Philippines is beIN Sport, which—ta-da!—is not even carried by any local cable provider. Yeah, that’s so smart.

On the La Liga front, Real Madrid opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Real Betis, with goals from Karim Benzema and my new favorite, Isco. Kid is just a smart player. Here he is, man-loving with Alvaro Morata:

isco

 

Coutinho, Isco—I am sensing a pattern here.

***

Rains still not letting up, which means:

1) We are still inadequately prepared for these calamities.

2) We need to demand from government proper allocation of their funding for public welfare and development.

3) We need to hold accountable all lowest forms of crocodiles and pigs masking as legislators for funds channeled to personal gain.

***

Clear Dream Match 2 on Saturday—so, are we letting Fabio Cannavaro play on a lake?!

 

Ending the year right.

2012 has been quite a turbulent year for all my sports teams. Sure, there have been ups and downs adequately chronicled in this blog, currently, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and even the LA Lakers are having less than stellar seasons.

Still, we never lose hope—and that’s what being a supporter is.

My year has been quite a blur, and I take the good with the bad, the ones to cherish with the ones to learn from, the ones to take delight in with the ones to forget.

Of course, let’s make it a point to end the year right. Thank you, Liverpool. A 3-0 win over QPR is just about the right way to cap the year—a Suarez brace and an Agger header marked the last day of the year (3 goals in less than 30 minutes—this was a training session!). Never mind if QPR were crap and a half, the most important thing is Liverpool got into its passing game and played well. Props must also be given to Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, and Jose Enrique for having a good game.

Here’s to more adventures and staying onside in 2013. As always, you never walk alone.

tumblr_mfvs7ehn1l1rcqarqo1_1280
Queens Park Rangers v Liverpool - Premier League

Quite an awesome football week!

This week is one for the books when it comes to football, simply because there’s just too many of the awesome to report on.

One. Steven Gerrard reached 100 caps for England. Here he is with 100 school kids, posing for photos. Too adorable.

Two. Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn’t just score a world-class goal. It was out of this world. Proof:

Three. Spain thrashed Panama, and we have Sergio Ramos contributing to the goalscoring thanks to this awesome free kick. Just a few more attempts, and mi hombre is on his way of becoming a free kick specialist!

Four. The Azkals won over the Lions! Quite an inspired second half from the boys—and boy, oh boy, Ed Sacapaño was just one huge wall against Singapore! My thoughts on it here. (P.S. No more drama and politicking please in the NT—time to have a win-at-all-cost mentality!)

Five. Liverpool beat Wigan at Anfield 3-0, thanks to a Luis Suarez brace and a Jose Enrique goal. Gotta love the Suarez-Sterling partnership, and Jose Enrique finally at his best. Now this is the Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers that I’ve been waiting to see! (Also, Everton, Chelsea, and Manchester United lost this weekend—what joy!)

Six. Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao (I do like this Basque team though), 5-1, anchored by inspired performances from Karim Benzema and Mesut Özil.

Quick round-up, September-October 2012 version.

I apologize for the lack of updates lately. Work has been hella crazy and my writing requirements have been endless. I have been watching and writing about football whenever I can for the last two months. Still, some quick updates are in order.

On the rivalries: Liverpool lost to Manchester United 2-1 at home. Boo. Real Madrid drew 2-2 with Barcelona at Camp Nou. I’ll take that.

Por fin, a win: Liverpool finally bagged their first home win of the season, winning 1-0 versus Reading. A Raheem Sterling goal at that. The future is bright.

On the home front: The Azkals have finally ended a 99-year wait (as if we all waited that long!) for silverware, winning the Peace Cup. My thoughts on that here.

I also had the privilege of sitting down with Demitrius Omphroy and got to know his life story (to date). I don’t say this about a lot of people, but here’s someone I genuinely like and respect. Here‘s my take on him.

That’s it for now, flying off to Bangkok once again tomorrow.

 

 

First home match of the season, and boy—that was a cracker.

An hour before Liverpool’s first home game of the season against Manchester City, I started feeling the nerves. The visitors seemed to be the better team on paper (apart from being the current league champions), so I thought to myself that I’d be happy with a draw.

Yet, Liverpool came out firing in the first half, containing Manchester City’s attackers for the most part. We finally see how Brendan Rodgers’ take on “pass and move” should work well. Youngster Raheem Sterling impressed with his quickness and composure (a huge ask for a 17-year-old, defending Milner and attacking Yaya Touré), linking up well with Luis Suarez in front.

The first half was capped by a header from Martin Skrtel off a corner kick—now that is sheer football orgasm. Meanwhile, Joe Allen was impressive—100% pass completion rate, anyone? You can’t make that up.

The effort that Liverpool showed in the first half continued well into the second, and Luis Suarez was able to score the second goal on a free kick, with the ball curling past a wall of Manchester City field players and goalkeeper Joe Hart. Suarez doesn’t get much love from anyone else apart from The Kop, but the guy has been a workhorse, attacking and tracking back on defense and trying to win the ball in the midfield.

Still, that did not come without a few points for improvement. Yaya Touré struck Manchester City’s first goal following the failure to clear out the area in front of Liverpool’s goal, while a huge, huge, huge defensive lapse from Martin Skrtel allowed Carlos Tevez to score one-on-one against Pepe Reina.

With how Liverpool played, we surely didn’t deserve just a draw, but our errors proved to be too costly. Also, there were too many dangerous back passes, which Manchester City could have easily capitalized on, if they were in their A-game.

That said, I remain optimistic with what Brendan Rodger could do for this team, and with Nuri Sahin onboard for a one-year loan deal, we just might be able to make it to top-flight European football once again. Come on, you mighty Reds!

Also, Nuri Sahin has a fabulous first interview as a Liverpool player. In here, he talks about witnessing the Miracle of Istanbul firsthand and just how much Xabi Alonso loves Liverpool.