Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CL Quarterfinals Preview: Liverpool v. Chelsea

Yossi and the Crying Baby, by Bigus Dickus. Mixed Media, 2009.

For the fifth year running, Liverpool and Chelshea clash in the Champions League. Their meetings are becoming so commonplace that the fixture computer should just keep it going every year so as not to confuse anyone.

LFC had the run of the Blues for a while, but last year, the tide turned thanks to a first-leg gaffe at Anfield by that ginger nut John Arne Riise. This season, the first leg is at Anfield again, which prompts the question: who's winning this f*cking thing anyway?

With both teams in scintillating form, it's a tough one to call. Liverpool are blazing at the moment, playing with an attacking force and confidence that I haven't seen from 'em since the late 90s when the Fowler/Owen/McManaman show cast a spell over the Kop. Goals from all positions, sparked by the telepathy of Gerrard and Torres, and a thankful end to the miserable, cagey 1-0 squeakers that have defined the Rafa Benitez era.

Meanwhile, the Blues are finding their legs again too after seeing home form slump over Christmas. The prolonged absense of Joe Cole continues to be a problem, but there's enough dynamism in the midfield to give Drogba and Anelka all the chances they need.

I'm not looking forward to it, personally, but I am just too dazzled by my Reds to imagine any result other than a home win. Whatever the lads are siphoning into their Lucozade, it's clearly working. Maybe we'll get some of that Yiddish power from a still-not-100% Yossi Benayoun, but with him or not, I still fancy a 2-1 at home to keep things ticking along nicely.

The EPL is another story entirely. I pray for attacking football from both sides, and none of this shaky, tactical rubbish that normally plagues these fixtures.

We're about due for some more Terry tears.

Early Team News:
Mascherano misses the 1st leg through suspension, but everyone else besides Benayoun seems to be fighting fit.

Chelsea are without Bosingwa with hamstring-knack.


Magnakai Haaskivi said...

At least there's no John Arne Riise to contend with this year.

Ibracadabra said...

I think Benayoun is actually fit - but he will miss out due to Passover Seder with Tal Ben Haim and Tamir Cohen (Bolton Reserves). Word on the street is that Mrs. Ben Haim makes a mean Matzah Ball Soup.

No worries, though, according to Rafa - because he knows that Yossi will return in the second leg to score the crucial game-winning goal in the 88th minute and send 'Pool to the semifinals.