Liverpool vs Everton; the phobia of 20?

To say that Liverpool have had a tough season this year is some under statement. After accumulating over 190 points in the last two seasons, this season has been somewhat of a fall from grace for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Last year, the title was all but sealed before the lockdown, this year? The Reds are fighting for Champions League qualification.

After romping to their 19th title last season, the Anfield side were seen by many as favourites for this year’s Premier League. At the start of the season, what turned out to be an unpredictable season until Man City made an oath that they won’t lose a game. The fall from grace all started when Jordan Pickford forgot what sport he was competing in.

Jordan darling, it’s football. Former Sunderland goalkeeper in a challenge, that was more of a resemblance to a Connor McGregor move, put an end to star defender Virgil Van Dijk’s season. Initially, Jurgen and co, looked to have had the issue under control until 2021 began.

This year has been a disaster for the Merseysiders and that’s putting it mildly. Six defeats in this calendar year already was more than 2019 and 2020 put together. Many have written Liverpool off, this team is past it, this team is this, this team is that. Calm down guys!

Yes, this has been disappointing, but there have been many injuries. It was only last season that Premier League leader Manchester City had an equally disappointing title defence. Bad seasons happen, they have had some rotten luck this year with injuries whereas last year they were fine.

The defence hasn’t been the sole reason for this season panning out the way it has. The constant changing of centre backs doesn’t help, but playing you’re two most important players in midfield in defence has made them severely depleted. After the January window Kabak has been the player partnered with The Red’s captain Jordan Henderson, but they’ve been severely depleted with Henderson at the back.

Liverpool’s midfield is a well oiled machine and without Jordan Henderson, well it’s just getting rust on it. The game against Everton this evening summed up this seasons struggle in a nutshell. Is their a fear of getting to that 20th title? I don’t think so, but they obviously don’t like a number with 20 in it as they have lost for the first time in 21 years to Liverpool.

The Toffees’ last win against their rivals at Anfield was a 1-0 win in 1999. Don’t worry Reds fans, your team will be back, but the Liverpool board do back him, he’s earned it.

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PSL review; the poor man’s IPL?

No matter what will happen, they will always be in the shadow of their older brother.
In families, they usually say the smaller one gets spoilt alongside the older child and the middle child is like a ghost in the family household.

Now in this scenario, they’re not exactly the ghost, but the Pakistan Super League has been in the Indian Premier League’s shadow.
As both India and Pakistan are neighbours, of course, the attention will be on one another as the world looks to see both staging their equivalent of a T20 domestic cricket masterpiece.

This tag, all be it unfair has been on the organiser’s necks, that they will not be good as the IPL.
The same could be said of the BBL and any other t20 league around the world. It’s a fact that India, were the trailblazers in the T20 format.

The Indian’s some 11/12 years ago created a T20 league which helped build a new audience to a sport that many thought needed a new spark to it.

Slow, boring and an old man’s game has been some of the accusation’s thrown at the real beautiful game.
Bouncers at 90mph, a straight drive through the covers, then football players fall down with a little bit of a tickle.
Arguably somewhat behind their Indian counterparts, Pakistan have closed the gap and keep closing the gap on the rest of the T20 world cricket family.

Gradually, getting better each year. This years tournament, the sixth, started today as defending champions Karachi Kings faced 2019 winners Quetta Gladiators.

There were plenty of star players on show in this game. Former captain Sarfraz Ahmed who’s captain of the Gladiators, the very talented Azam Khan, Chris Gayle, Ben Cutting and Pakistani paceman Naseem Shah, just to name a few.
Champions Karachi were packed with talent too with the likes of Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram and Mohammed Nabi.

As impressive as this list of talent is, there is more talent that is on show in this years PSL.
In terms of English players Alex Hales (Islamabad United) Cameron Banton (Quetta Gladiators), Joe Clarke (Karachi Kings) and Phil Salt also Islamabad United, shows that the talent card had improved upon other years.

As for today’s match itself in a game that many thought would be tight turned into a one-sided affair. Quetta were bowled out for just 121. In reply, Karachi Kings knock off this target with six overs to spare.

This tournament has already produced a great game. Poor man’s IPL? The organises will be out to prove that theory wrong.
Here’s to hoping for some more brilliant cricket tomorrow.

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James Anderson, the man who can do it on a ‘cold night in Stoke’

In cricketing terms, he should have retired a while ago, he’s arguably outstayed his welcome, but England fast bowler James Anderson is like fine wine, as they say, he gets better with age.

There are not many other sportsmen that this could be said about, giving this some thought and I would say Juventus forward Christiano Ronaldo is the only man who you can say this about. Jimmy is the other.

Born in Burnley, Jimmy Anderson has turned from a spiky-haired youngster who would have issues with injuries and his action, to a world-beater with the ball. Our Jimmy is no mug with the bat either.

Starring in an Ashes test with folk legend Monty Panesar in a stubborn last-wicket stand to thwart old enemy Australia and save the game on that occasion. An 81 against India, his highest in first-class cricket left the cricketing fraternity pondering on the thought of England having a new all-rounder in the making.

As the Burnley Brian Lara got older, and more greys appeared on the head, what else came abundantly clear was Jimmy was getting smarter with the way he bowled. In his heyday, he could run in at close to 90 mph more consistently. These days towards the mid-eighties is the norm.

Anderson has now almost turned wizard-like with ball. When Ronaldo takes a free-kick in football, no one else can make the football talk like he does. In cricket, the same can almost be said of James Anderson.

Reverse-swing and making the old ball talk was only a skill that many thought Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis could do, but Anderson has mastered the reverse-swing art too. It must be a Lancashire bowler thing.

As impressive as that is for the now 38-year old Lancastrian, the challenge is if he can do it on a dry spinning pitch? The football equivalent of doing it on a cold night in Stoke. With 600 wickets to his name (the most by any fast bowler in world cricket), one would come to a resounding conclusion, yes he can!

In fact, in the ongoing series with India, James Anderson now holds more records. In the previous test series against Sri Lanka, the 38-year old became the oldest man to take a five-wicket haul and has the distinct record of being the man who has taken the most wickets in test cricket after reaching 30.

For a player who changed and remodelled his action, only to go back to it in the process, this is some achievement. James Anderson, you are a legend of the English game, no the world game.

There won’t be a fast bowler who can quite do it in all conditions as you have. World cricket salutes you, it won’t be long till her Majesty will be calling for a Royal Visit. Sir James Michael Anderson arise!

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Dixy Wythenshawe vs Dixy Chorlton

Hello and greetings my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards, flag bearer of all beards on digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. Brothers, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and your beard!

I want to talk about an important issue in the life of beards and that is their stance on Dixy Chicken. Dixy, which as I am sure you know os held in high esteem by The Captain, what you also should know is that Dixy Chorlton is the flag bearer of all Dixy shops. The Longsight branch isn’t bad but they don’t do it week in and week out.

The same can be said of the Burnage site too. As mentioned Dixy’s is in Stretford, Whalley Range and now Wythenshawe. It’s the Wythenshawe branch I want to talk about. As you would have read from my previous post where I reviewed Dixy Chicken Wythenshawe, you would be aware of the love I gave it.

If you missed it, give it a read here;

https://ayyazmalik.com/2020/12/30/dixy-chicken-wythenshawe-review/

Ok, so let’s compare the two. Mega mix ve Mega Mix, there’s not a lot in it, but what makes the burger what it is, is the bread and the tenderness of the chicken. With that criterion in mind, the winner for this section is? Dixy Chorlton! Now, there’s no shame in this as the Chorlton boys have been doing their thing for sometime.

Next on the comparison list is the Mini Burger. Just like the Mega Mix, what makes this burger good is the taste of the chicken and the quality of the bun. What I mean is that the bread shouldn’t be too done it’s tasting like toast. This did happen on one occasion in Wythenshawe and never in Chorlton.

No exaggeration I have been going to Dixy South Manchester for 7 years now, I am almost certain it’s longer. In this time, they have never come close to dropping their standards where Wythenshawe did. For the record I have tasted both, when both were relatively new opened.

So, there you have it, all be it fine margins, but Dixy Chorlton is the best Dixy in Manchester. In terms of food shops in their sector, Kansas does give Dixy a good run for it’s money. You may have wiped the floor with all the other Dixy’s that came after you, but in Kansas and even Roosters Altrincham who have spicy chicken burger to die for.

On that note, it’s over and out from your Bearded Captain!

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When you know it’s winter (satire)

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My Bearded Beloved’s I pray you’re well, looking after yourselves and your beards. Brothers, I want to talk about an important issue. My Soldiers, I spoke about when you know it’s summer in my previous blog post, in this blog post I want to share with you some signs when it’s winter.

Stating the obvious, it’s when your heating in your house in on full blast almost constantly. Yeah, that’s an obvious, but what about when you have to put those three quarter shorts to the bottom of the clothes pile and the-shirts too. The long Johns that weren’t mentioned in the summer, they’re on the tips of everyone’s lips.

With the case of the long Johns, you can say the only John that get’s mentioned in summer is our Pappa John, the pizza place. Are you coffee or a tea lover? Well, you will know it’s winter better than most, because you will crave that warm beverage even more. In the summer and when it’s hot you will not really feel the need to have coffee that many times in the day, if not at all.

Keeping it consumption based, what you feel with teas and coffee in the summer, you will tend to feel the same in winter too. When it’s cold all you want is hot food and when it’s summer you don’t.

I am not sure if this next example is just me, but you will know when winter is here when you wear a t-shirt you will feel a cold sensation not like freezing freezing cold but a cold you will only realise was there when you put your jumper on. In the summer, you will struggle to sleep due to hot and humid weather.

You will toss, turn and wrestle with the duvet, not being able to sleep with it off your body, but not being able to sleep with it on. In the winter? No such worries, initially there will be a period where your feet and part of your body will be like snow block almost, but when you sleep you sleep like a baby.

In the summer, where people are happy glowing and beaming, people are the opposite in winter maybe because it’s freezing and sunsets in the mid afternoon! I remember this with me. I went to work in darkness and came back home … in darkness! That’s enough to break a man.

Do you remember we mentioned about the ice cream man? Well the only ice cream man you get in winter is a male shrieking in a high voice (yeah that’s a dad joke). In the summer and with the weather being hot, you just want to sit in the shower days on end to cool down, in the winter?

Once you shake off the reluctance to go into to the shower due to it being freezing …. you don’t want to get out as you’re under a nice warm shower. I guess nothing changes there then. Last but not least in my opinion, when you know it’s winter time is when you see more men with beards, which is obviously to keep their face warm.

On that note, it’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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The signs of the summer (satire)

Hello and good afternoon, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bear of beards on digital and broadcasting media.

I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My Bearded Brothers, I pray you’re well and I pray you’re looking after your beards! My bearded beloved’s, I want to talk about an important issue, the issue of when you know it’s summer.

Now to sate the obvious, you know it’s summer when you look outside, see the sun in the sky and there’s no need to wear a coat.

In the winter, the woolly hats and neck warmers are dusted off but when summer comes, back to the bottom of the draw it goes.

My dear brothers, I want to talk about some subtle signs of when you know it’s summer time.

The first thing that comes to mind for me, is when you hear the melody tune coming from far far away, that sound usually means one thing … an ice cream van! In the winter, they seem like they go into hibernation.

When you sense the temperature outside reaches double figures, rest assured you will hear the melody tune and an engine roaring in the sunset coming into the sun, you will know it’s an ice cream van looking for kids who want ice cream.

I am not talking about, in the back of the van stuff there, just thought I would clarify.

Other signs of the summer is you will see people more happy. Obviously when it’s Christmas time, everyone is beaming on the outside and in, but when it’s summer time .. the happiness is different, it just is.

Men, will be walking around with their t-shirts off and bare chested, sorry let me correct that comment, it usually tends to be the boys who go topless when the temperature reaches double figures.

The men from Newcastle, aren’t afraid to take their shirt off even when it’s minus temperature!

Stating the obvious, with this next example, but people tend to dust off the sunglasses in the summer time.

There’s only one person, who truly rocks the sunglasses and that’s the Phons in Happy Days. No one and I mean no one makes sunglasses look good quite like he does, Hey! *in Phonsy voice*

True story, I realised the wife of a TV presenter, came to my dad’s shop and in the winter I saw her and he daughter with sunglasses on and yes it looked really weird. Summer won’t be summer, if you don’t bring out the shorts from the bottom depths of the wardrobe.

In the winter, legs are locked up till lunch! In the summer, those bad boys are whipped out for the world to see.

Fellas, just make sure those legs aren’t crusty or even skinny! If you’re bringing those legs out of the wilderness, no one wants to see crusty legs or skinny ones.

Images like those scar the average man for years on end. My sister, my God haver mercy on her soul, would tease my by saying I had ‘lady legs’.

Fellas, if your leg game isn’t up to it, hit the gym and don’t skip leg day! Not chicken leg day, no I mean the quads, hamstrings, calves and quads need working.

Last but not least, in my opinion one of the signs that tells you it’s summer time is when fizzy drinks go in the freezer.

Brothers, don’t do what I did and leave it in the freezer for too long, because you would be greeted with an ice explosion and burst plastic bottle with unprecedented amount of ice everywhere.

Entering that scene, you would have thought it was part of the Antarctic, but no it was just my kitchen!

On that note brothers, there is a list of the signs of when you know it’s summer time. It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

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My thoughts on WWE

They say it’s fake, it’s not real, but the risks are real. World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE for short is a sport which despite its longevity still catches the public imagination.

If you ask Elias, WWE stands for! *chants in a passionate tone* “walk with Elias”. The storylines, subplots, daring moves and overall energy has made the WWE the pinnacle for any pro wrestler.

When we were kids, I don’t know anyone who would say they didn’t do any wrestling moves on their siblings, brother Malik and sister Malik’s teddy bear felt the full brunt of The Stone Cold Stunner. 

I will not confirm or deny, I gave the last ride to my brother, an Attitude Adjustment, or did the five knuckle shuffle on both my niece and nephew, but the springs on a few beds were stretched let’s just say.

Let’s change the subject and talk about the pros who do this for the day job. WWE, despite the competition or rival AEW, amongst others have posed a viable threat.

The way WWE markets the brand and the fact that they have years upon years of more experience is a massive advantage. 

In Shahid Khan, owner of AEW, they have a billionaire who will be able to help bankroll some top wrestling stars, Messers Ambrose and Jericho come to mind.

A fierce rival isn’t something new, in the 90’s WCW was arguably a more desirable brand than WWE, but wrestling fans remember how that ended.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, the aforementioned Chris Jericho and Goldberg are just some of the wrestlers that comes to mind.

In my humble opinion, WWE it fluctuates, with how good the storylines are. 

Sometimes the storylines are brilliant, others the storylines are a lot to be desired. .

Of course all wrestling circuits have the same issue, but WWE is the most established of all wrestling circuits out there.

I want to talk about some of the storylines at the moment and give my humble opinion on them.

The storyline between Reigns and Owens is a good one, but really creative WWE, putting the belt on him again? Why don’t you just rename his character to John Anoai Cena? Letting Rusev go, in my opinion, wasn’t the best decision either. 

Love or loathe him, his Bulgarian Brute character suited him perfectly. To put him in these love story storylines, just wasted an undoubted talent, let’s hope AEW utilise his skills properly.

A storyline which I like is Seamus and Drew McIntyre, at least it’s not the usual Roman Reigns drivel.

The force-feeding of Reigns is frustrating. If you want to use The Big Dog, then the need to use to utilize him without gold around him is a must.

The Rock, Stone Cold and most recently The Fiend are still very able performers and they don’t need a title on him to be relevant, Roman’s character doesn’t seem to allow that. 

I do like The Miz with The Money In The Bank briefcase. Not sounding like Michael Cole of old, I am a Miz fan.

Very good on the mic, good in a tag team even in a stable too, Michael Miznan is a WWE treasure.

I am merely just a fan, but us fans have our opinions too. Triple H, yeah my number ends in 455, and don’t forget the +44 dialling code, thank you!

Here at ayyazmalik.com, there will be plenty more wrestling articles. See you at the next one!

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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Just don’t be one of those people

Hello and good evening, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag-bearer of all beards on digital media. I am that beard who tries to make you laugh and I am that beard who tries to make you smile. Brothers, I want to talk about an important issue, it’s the topic of not being one of those people.

There’s always one, the odd one out. People who don’t spell their name right. “Hanna’, I am talking to you here and ‘Stephen’, yeah this is aimed at you. But brothers, what I am referring to here is the people who wear shorts in -2 degrees temperature or in any weather for that matter.

Dude, what’s wrong with you? Do you want Pneumonia? I am sorry, but I am gonna be blunt here, that’s like one of the hookers on a cold night. No matter the weather, she will always have the short skirt on, which is just weird, don’t be one of those people. Other people you shouldn’t be like are those who wear socks and sandals.

Are you a Geography teacher? No, didn’t think so …. but the people who do this (wear socks and sandals) well, let’s just say like Wethers Originals (you know what I mean). So more example of people that you shouldn’t be like are those who wear leather-strapped gentleman watches with a tracksuit.

Brothers, it just looks odd. This post borders on, my previous post of signs of a psychopath, which can be found here; https://ayyazmalik.com/2020/08/24/signs-of-psycho-satire/

My Bearded Soldiers, I am back after a little break, and that’s your list for now. It’s over and out from your Bearded Captain.

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Klopp the unstoppable Jurgen-aught?

He came to English shores as something as a phenomenon. Touted for Manchester United, amongst other jobs and even earmarked by Sir Alex himself.

So when Jurgen Klopp agreed to come to Liverpool manager after he came out of a sabbatical, The Merseyside club celebrated this monumental coup of getting one of club footballs hottest managers.

A sharp whit, a charming personality, a whiter than white smile but a steely determination about him, made Jurgen the man Liverpool fans have come to love and adore.

Ever since he became Liverpool boss in 2015, 53-year old Klopp has only seen nothing but success at Anfield.
A Europa League final loss to Sevilla, which there’s no shame in as that tournament should almost be renamed the Sevilla League as they have such a stranglehold of that tournament.

Despite this setback, there were signs that Liverpool were improving. With back to back Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019, the latter of which they won their sixth in their history.

The Reds would enjoy a trophy-laden period thereafter. The club World Cup, the Super Cup and most satisfying of all for Liverpool fans, the Premier League all made their way into Anfield’s already bulging cabinet.

Nineteen League champions Liverpool were at the top of the world (literally) at this stage. There was one challenge left for manager Jurgen Klopp, who has enjoyed nothing but success since.
How to see through the transition of a great team? This has been a dilemma for many great sides, Manchester United and Barcelona come to mind.

Liverpool are in this same situation too arguably. After the unprecedented success in recent seasons, both star Firmino and Mane look to be in decline.

Injuries too have depleted Liverpool and the supporting cast too look to not be Oscar-winning worthy.
No Virgil Van Dijk, no Joe Gomez or Diogo Jotta too, that’s some serious talent in the treatment room.
One can’t argue it’s been a disappointing season this season. What people shouldn’t do is write Liverpool off.

The Reds have a tricky task when it comes to it to evolve this team. Now this team isn’t at the end of its cycle, but this great Liverpool team can’t last forever.

Jurgen Klopp has pretty much turned everything into gold that he’s touched so be he’s been in Merseyside.
This season has been unfortunate with the number of injuries that they have suffered. No matter how great the team, injuries come back to bite, just ask Pep at Man City.

At the time of writing, Liverpool are fifth. With the quality of the squad that they have, to qualify for Champions League football next season shouldn’t be an issue.

When (hopefully sooner rather than later) they get their star player Van Dijk back. When he does come back and the other injured players too, I want to raise the issue again of evolving this Liverpool team. Tottenham although they didn’t win a trophy, managed to turn into a consistent side.

But what they didn’t do is not evolve at the right time. As a result Tottenham who were consistently qualifying for the Champions League places, are no way near as a result. Liverpool are very well run and I have no doubt that they won’t make this mistake that Spurs did.

On that, as the saying goes Auf Wiedersehen Pet!

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The toughest job interview (satire)

Hello and greetings, my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, here I talk about an issue in the world of beards. Here, brothers, I talk about the toughest job interview known to man.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

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