EUROPA!!! Here we come for the sixth.

23 05 2007

Rome 1977. London 1978. Paris 1981. Rome 1984. A 21 year gap and Istanbul 2005. Hopefully Athens 2007 gets added to the list to make it six times tonight once the game at 19:30 GMT. For those of you who still are wondering what the heck I am talking about – European Champions League is on tonight and the Kings of Europe Liverpool are again in the finals.Mother of all ironies – Liverpool meet AC Milan in the final to set up a 2005 revenge clash(at least for Milan) . Last time we met Milan in finals Milan was up 3-0 before half time and Liverpool was written out. The match was becoming a lousy one way affair. Come second half and the era of Rafalution begins. Gerrard is brought into the center and given a license to wreak havoc. In a six minutes frenzy Liverpool are 3-3. Hail the comeback miracle. But the game was far from over. With Liverpool in ascendancy the game went into extra time and then to penalties. The Dudek wobbly legs act (which was later revealed as some kind of a dance) and his flying back save of Shevchenko remains the lasting image of the final. Liverpool were crowned the champions. It was an amazing night for Liverpool and Milan well they played like champions too but the only difference was the team with heart prevailed.

Its been an average year for Liverpool. Finishing 3rd on League, its been a step back from last year – good at home, bad away, out of FA and Carling Cup. However, we have sizzled in Europe. We dumped out the last year champions – Barcelona. Eased out Chelsea on penalties.

On a different note I was reading an article on the match in Times of India sports column. They should ban the columnist, who don’t have a half ass idea of what they are talking about. First of all the language was too flowery for it to be describing a game on a revenge mode. I don’t want to read about the flowers and bees, and I certainly don’t want to read those heavy English words that were deprecated from common use in 19th century. Hello! You are not writing a romance novel here. Second, it seemed a patch work, read some from here, read some from there and voila! I have a sports article here. I agree with the article on Kaka threat, but Pirlo has not been billed as the big match player. He has uncanny ability to put his weight in even when he is out of form.

Your comparisons/match-ups are a bit off too. Starting tactical line-up aside, AC Milan is playing Seedorf has been playing more on the wing unless Kaka goes wide on right, Inzhagi/Gillardino work themselves in from left to center and Kaka moves from center to right or wide right.

So analyzing your match-ups. Pirlo and Alonso are compared but no mention of their forms. Mascherano for Kaka? Alonso and Agger being would be the ones who would be trying to stub him in the midfield and center. Also in your write-up you could have mentioned that Alonso dons the role of playmaker and holding mid. Also how far forward do you find Alonso? (Thats why long range goals). Just because Alonso was not started in the last match does not mean that he would not be used in the finals. When he comes in Mascherano would have to move right.

Carragher for Seedorf when Seedorf has actually been used as a rolling forward from center to left wing by Ancelotti for last matches. Finnan would be your man! Carragher would more likely be checking Inzhagi or Gillardino, who would be rolling left wing to center. Fine lady you may have a thing about Gatusso, but he is not half the player that Gerrard is (Kitten and Cats aside). Pairing Kuyt with Maldini, pretty good, only one problem you missed mentioning the biggest goal threat from Liverpool side Crouch.

Also Liverpool has a completely different style compared to most of the other teams in England and Europe. Liverpool players do not man mark, they zone mark, so threat match-ups do not apply man for man. You may have two or three likely Liverpool players that may track back to check a player or bomb forward in spaces.

What would you do if we have single striker in Crouch, three attacking mids in Pennant, Gerrard and Kewell, with both Mascherano and Alonso acting as holding mids? Most of the zone marking would become different.

Finally, you rubbed me the wrong way by the subtle jibes about the pundits believe “Liverpool didn’t deserve to win. It was a fluke.” comment. Show me those pundits please. Firing from the shoulders of pundits eh? If the quality of players on paper and their net worth in bank should win you matches, then Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona do not need to participate in any tournament. They would be handed trophies in advance. All the above team sit out tonight and watch the match from stands or their homes. The 2005 match first half, Liverpool was at sea but we did come back emphatically. We came from 3-0 down, to take the cup. It was not a fluke, there were three goals at the back of the net to prove it.

Anyway, probably I should stick to not reading newspapers to get match updates.

Back to the match now. We start in another 8 Hours. So go reds for the Sixth.



The Golf Club Duo sinks Barcelona at Nou Camp.

2 03 2007
That sounds like a cheesy headline. After the Portugal golf swinging incidence between that problem-child Craig Bellamy and ice-cool John Arne Riise, Liverpool seemed to be practising all the wrong moves. And to think the fight started because Riise turned down Bellamy’s request of him singing a karaoke.

Rafa ended up fining 15 off the 22 players on the team. The shit had well and truly hit the fan and Liverpool which already was the underdog to beat Barca at Nou Camp was written off completely.

The only problem was nobody told Liverpool they were supposed to go down and roll over, and what followed was a scintillating game where we came back from a goal deficit to stun the title holders.

Dejected at being one goal down, but
You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The mother of all ironies – Bellamy and Riise scored the two Liverpool goals. Rafa might have known something that we didn’t when he said “This incidence should inspire the players do something special”. Only Rafa could have seen an inspiration in this.

Flying header by Bellamy and
the golf swing celebration to snub the media

Bellamy sets-up Riise and Riise tees it off into the goal
Nice way to Kiss and make-up 🙂

What a result, even the staunch supporters would have taken a 1-1 draw as a good result, to go to Barca and come back winners 2-1 was an amazing result. Barca have only been beaten twice at Nou Camp by any English club, the second team to do so was 1976 Liverpool team.

Since then we steam rolled over Sheffield United and for the statements he is making after the match – Neil Warnock must have had his head knocked in by that defeat.

Big 5 days for Liverpool now. Liverpool play ManU at Anfield on 3rd March and then play Barca in the return leg at Anfield on 6th March. Exciting times. I am looking forward to weekend.

On a separate note Jose Mourinho seems to be loosing his top floor. First he went after Roman Abromovich saying he is not supporting him to make a complete team. Funny, since Roman has already poured in millions of pounds in that bottomless pit called Chelsea.

Then Jose goes after Arsene Wenger saying he is better than the Arsenal manager because Jose has won the CL and Arsene has not. And now he says ManU has had all the luck that’s why they are at the top of the league.

Somebody needs to tell Jose to stop cribbing and get on with the game. But then I would not want him to go quiet – he definitely gives a lot of laugh riot material in between the match days.