Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Champions League Preview: Revenge Mission.



Cue the music and the cheesy PlayStation graphics, and those ugly birds singing about Champions to promote crap beer. It's second-leg time in the quarters and boy oh boy, do Liverpool have a mountain to climb this afternoon.

Last week's 3-1 defeat at home to Guus Hiddink's rejuvenated Chelsea side was a bit of a surprise. A smash and grab. Liverpool have had a week to think about what exactly happened to them and they will have to go all out from the start this afternoon if they are to stand any chance of overturning the first-leg Saaaath Laaaaannnndan beat-down.

Team news after the jump.

Steven Gerrard was absent at the weekend with a groin strain but honorary Scouser and Merseyside overlord Rafa Benitez will risk his captain's fitness for such a big game. Liverpool will also have Javier Mascherano back from suspension.

********UPDATE**************

1838: Steven Gerrard has been spotted sitting in the directors' box at Stamford Bridge, wearing his civvies. The Liverpool skipper has been struggling with a groin injury but Rafa Benitez had been expected to risk him in this game.

*****************************

The Merseysiders certainly have goals in them at the moment: they walloped Blackburn at a canter last weekend and have scored an impressive 21 goals in their last 7 games.

The task in hand is HUUUUUUUGE but if any team knows how to mount a comeback, its Liverpool. Throwing caution to the wind will heap pressure on the Liverpool backline and they will need to defend like never before to stand a chance.

Chelsea will be without EBJT (England's Blubbering John Terry) due to suspension and will be missing injured, over-rated wing back Jose Bosingwa. Ricardo Carvalho should fill in for Terry. Chelsea (like Liverpool) have been free-scoring themselves recently. However, they did get a little scare at the weekend when they took their foot off the gas at 4-0 up at home to Bolton. The trotters scored 3 in short succession and nearly nicked a point. Bolton may have shown Liverpool the way to rattle Chelsea but I expect they will be careful and more respectful of today's visitors.

With the title out of reach I expect Chelsea to be focused on making the Champions League final for a second consecutive season. Not doing so will surely piss off Roman Abramovich and bring Russia's fantasy football guru to the brink of meltdown, and that's why I will be hoping Liverpool can do what seems to be the un-doable. That, and of course any Liverpool comeback will likely mean one hell of a decent game of football for all of us neutrals to enjoy.

The open thread will be up at 2.30 so stay with us for this one. It could be a cracker!

-Bigus.

1 comment:

Mike Georger said...

The Reds XI in full is: Reina, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Kuyt, Lucas, Alonso, Mascherano, Benayoun, Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Riera, Babel, Ngog.

No Gerrard at all and Lucas starts.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO