Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A bridge too four

The pride of the Liverpool was evident last night. 4-4, an epic European contest. They said that there was no way we could go to London and score three. We went one better and scored four. We led 2-0 at half time but inevitable we left gaps at the back and Chelsea punished us. At 2-0 and 4-3 up, we were one goal from being ahead on aggregate but it wasn't to be. Despite it all, even deep into injury time, we never gave up. The spirit and desire of this team and this club is unmatched.

If we had Mascherano in the first leg and Gerrard in the second would the tie have turned out differently? Possibly but we'll never know. Stevie wasn't risked and watched from the stands. In his absence, Lucas did a decent job at the apex of the midfield where the captain normally plays. He put in a good shift and scored a goal thanks to an Essien deflection but Xabi stepped up as the main man on the night. He was awesome. I'm a huge fan of the basque schemer and this was up there as one of his best displays ever. I hope that Rafa never again considers selling him. Dirk was full of heart and running as we expect in European games. He took his goal well and has a habit of scoring important goals in this competition. Aurelio was another who recovered well from the first leg and his free kick goal was superb.

Drogba caused more problems as he did in the first leg. His diving and rolling around was as distasteful as ever. Anelka caused problems down the right and helped set Drogba up when he got a lucky touch off Pepe's glove. I wouldn't fault the keeper on it, it was just a freak deflection after the Ivorian had done very well.So now we can "concentrate on the league". Scant consolation but maybe the need to rotate will be lessened and we'll see our first choice team every match from now until May. Next Tuesday will be a vital league showdown with Arsenal at Anfield. The gunners will have a big say in the eventual destination of the title as they have to play us, Chelsea and Utd before the end of the season. They're in decent form at the moment but have a few defensive problems with Gallas, Clichy and Almunia injured. I fancy us to win it especially if the captain returns from injury.

Tony Evans in the TImes has a moving piece on going back to Hillsbourgh on the 20th anniversary. As I've said before on here, Evans is one of the few hacks that I respect when it comes to writing about LFC. You can hear him most weeks on the Game podcast from the Times.

The guardian rumour mill is linking us with another move for Javi Martinez at Bilbao. Could that mean that Lucas or Xabi are on their way this summer? Maybe he's being lined up as an alternative if moves for Gaz Baz fail again. I think the Englishman is a much likelier signing, mainly due to his nationality and his price. Another player linked is Wesley Sneijder who Real Madrid are willing to sell and David Silva who Valencia have to sell. Guillem Ballague reckons that we're interested in both of them but Real want Alonso and are using Sneijder as bait. I'd like to see us sign the Dutchman but not at Xabi's expense.

Babel says that he's not happy with sitting on the bench. Fair enough, but when he's played this year he's been fairly average. He's a prime candidate to be sold this summer from what I can see. We should be able to get a decent price for him as he's a young and talented player but I don't see him realising his potential with us.

No comments: