Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lille home and Utd away

A 3-0 win over Lille on Thursday was enough to overturn the 1-0 away defeat and put us through to the quarter final of the Ueropa league. Gerrard opened the scoring after Lucas won a penalty. Torres beat the last man and the keeper with a deft finish to show he's approaching full fitness and form again. He added a third in the second half to put the tie beyond doubt. It was a pity that Aquilani caught a virus in the run up to this match and wasn't able to build on his good form against Portsmouth. We'll face Benfica in the next round. They'll be a tough side to beat and have already embarrassed Everton in the same competition this season.

Given we'd put a bit of form together over the last few games, we weren't so nervous going into the game against Utd at Old Toilet. It showed as we went at them from the off and El Nino opened the scoring with a great header after four minutes. Dirk sent in a great cross from the right and Nando looped it beyond Van Der Saar into the far corner. It was a great start and set us on our way towards anther historic victory at the Toilet. Unfortunately Howard Webb decided to gift Utd a peno when Mascherano fouled Valenica outside the box. I was a bit worried when I heard Webb was reffing this one. Reina saved Rooney's peno but He managed to slot home the rebound. Great effort from Pepe all the same. The Park added a second for the home team with a great header in the second half to consign us to defeat. It was a very even first half but in fairness Utd were the better team in the second period and controlled the game once the took the lead. It finished 2-1 but quality was lacking from both sides and it was a poor enough game overall. We did manage to fashion one great chance at the end but Torres fluffed his effort after Gerrard set him up and Yossi sent his headed effort straight at VDS. Unfortunate. I fear this defeat has killed off any lingering hopes for fourth place. Our only hope for the season is a Europa cup. Our next match is Sunderland at Anfield next weekend. They aren't in great form but beat us in the beachball game earlier this year and have dangerous forwards in Bent and Jones. We've decent home form and should be able to win this.

Albert Riera hasn't done his chances of a first team recall much good by blasting Rafa in the Spanish press. I've no doubt that he's leaving this summer. I was impressed with him last season but he's been poor enough this year on the odd occasion he played.

Liverpool's latest signing, 15 year old Raheem Sterling made his debut against Everton for the Academy team this week. He capped it with a goal, highlights here. No doubt some fans will be demanding Rafa give him his first team debut for the next game.

David Conn in the Guardian has a good article summarising the dire financial position Hicks and Gillett have dumped us in since they bought the club. He also details the Rhone groups bid for a 40% share in the club.

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