Liverpool; Different Class in Europe

by Dexy Longshot

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
 

Will Rafa Pool it off?

In my last Champions league blog, I talked about Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd’s chances in Europe. It all was all on the money as usual, but will I fair better with my predictions for the scousers?

Rafas rotation policy has again baffled and the reds dropped points with his tinker man approach in the Prem. Reading, West ham & an exit to Barnsley in the cup, oh dear, the papers had a field day as did Jeff Sterling and Le Tiss mugging of Thommo on Sky – Priceless! Rafa had the crowd on his back and was being lined up for The Spanish Archer by Hicks and co – but is there a method to the madness?

He left out key players in that FA cup exit but what would the Liverpool faithful most prefer: A quarter-final place with Chelsea for the FA cup or a Champions League quarter final place with Arsenal after spanking the current Serie A runaway leaders 2-0 ten minutes from time in front of an adoring kop and then going to the San Siro and wrapping it up with a 1-0 finish?

It’s like comparing a John Lennon “Imagine” to Sonia’s “Never stop me from loving you”.

Alright, not that much of comparison but Rafa knows what he wants more, he won’t win the Premier League and an FA Cup might not be enough to keep the boardroom vultures circling but he knows his job is safe with a good run in The Champions league, a competition where he showcases his finest management skills. Two finals in 3 years is no fluke, the 2005 victory was unexpected but the Scouse spirit he has instilled in his team for Europe’s No1 club compo refuses to die and his tactics on the continent are simply the best.

The Liverpool squad is much better equipped this year than in previous seasons. It used to be all about The G-man but responsibility has been lightened due to this seasons arrivals.

Force in Europe

Babel is young and was used sparingly at the start of the campaign but is a fantastic prospect and is getting the starts his talents deserve. Yossi on the other flank has also been a worthy addition and they are keeping out Kewell and Pennent who have never really done it in the Liverpool shirt. Arebola has proved to be another under-estimated signing, filling in across the back and playing well enough to be considered before Risse and Finnan on numerous occasions, much to my fantasy footy teams delight (check his clean sheets/assist stats if you don’t believe me).

Mascherano has shone after his dodgy loan move from the hammers last season became permanent. His spat at old Trafford was not on Rafas shopping list but the young Argie will learn from that. What was ordered was his holding midfield qualities, his breaking down of attacks and refusing the opposition time to break into a rhythm. The monster mash is on his way to take Makeles coveted best holding midfielder throne, as long as he keeps his not-so sexy mouth shut.

Of course, I didn’t forget the man who I believe will run Ronny close next year for top goal scorer. 21 million man Fernando Torres again was the match winner with a glorious turn and shot to seal the Inter Milan tie and make it a clean sweep in Europe for the 4 English teams (the 1st time a league has produced 4 quarter-finalists.) El Nino has exceeded everyone’s expectations and will only get better, 29 goals already in his debut season, he would probably go for double that 21 million now, although I doubt Rafa will be selling.

 

I originally tipped Man U to do the triple but they too messed up in The FA cup to Portsmouth. I still expect Fergie to win the league with ease but I’m starting to have a feeling that Stevie G might lift that trophy once more in Moscow. They are still a massive 7/1 to do it too!

Champions League betting.

Man Utd 4/1
Barcelona 7/2
Chelsea 7/2
Arsenal 6/1
Liverpool 7/1
Roma 12/1
Schalke 50/1
Fenerbahce 66/1

 

PS: While you’re at it, Shalke are 13/5 to beat Barca. The Spaniards are in a bit of pickle with Messi out injured, Eto’o struggling and reports that gap toothed Samba star Ronaldinho has had a massive barney with Dutch gobber supreme Frank Rijkaard and will never play for him again. Might be time to take a punt on ze Germans who are a formidable outfit at home.

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I’ve said it time and again, stop Torres and the rated Gerrard, and you stop Liverpool. The Kop won’t be enough to get them through this time. Arsenal are better prepared this season.

    Arsenal 1 Pool 0

    Liverpool 0 Arsenal 0

  • Dan Church

    Darrens predicting a thriller then…..!!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Gotta say it, it’s Liverpool all the way in the Battle Of Britain. I can see a 2-0 victory at the Emirates and a comfortable nil nil at Anfield for the boys in red. Then a battle with Fenerbache for the right to lose to Man U in the final.

    How good are Man Utd these days, and just think how good they could be if Ronaldo bothered to turn up for the big European games*

    *(this is a joke based on the fools who say he doesn’t turn up by the way, I am not a deluded Gooner).

  • rob pullinger

    So its the big one, north verses south, the scousers against the gooners….

    Should and i think it will be a great clash of the ‘Titans’, yes you can say what you like about Torress and Stev g ( Darren). but when it comes to the crunch expect these two to rise, liverpool play diferent in europe, look at the stats , beaten every so called great team, and might i say in there own back yard….two finals in three years, won it five times, now there is something, fergy, wenger would like….

    Arsenal are a great team, dont get me wrong, play fantastic!!!, but this is the Business end, this is the big boys cup, and will be totally different to what they have ever played in, especially when the return leg is at Anfield….the KOP demands, so do the people, and thats what they will get, victory…….??????

  • rob pullinger

    Liverpool to win 2-1….then beat chelsea providing they get through, then dump man u or barca out, to be honest i dont have a preference???

    will be cup number 6???

  • rob pullinger

    Benitez is a genius when it comes to tactics and a true specialist in two-legged cup ties.

  • dexylongshot

    I think it may go down to away goals, if Arsenal can keep a clean sheet tonight, they still have a decent chance with the away goal rule at Anfield. In around 60% of cases (not sure of the exact percentage), the home team who keep a clean sheet in the first leg go into the next round. I can’t wait.

  • rob pullinger

    me too, enough talking lets enjoy watching the footy??

  • dexylongshot

    ?

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    its half time and all I will say is Benitez’s zonal marking works a treat!!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    that my friends, is called daylight robbery!

  • dexylongshot

    The Gooners were very unlucky and deserved to win.
    Liverpools away goal advantage may be the decider, athough another 1-1 at Anfield would bring on the penalties (again).

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Aslan

    Liverpool won’t be beaten at anfield in the champions league on the return leg. Sorry gooners but this is the end of the long and winding road for you guys.

  • rob pullinger

    ummmmmm, interesting……look forward to second leg?????

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