CL Result: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1 QF 1st Leg

UEFA Champions League QF 1st Leg – April 2nd 2008 – Result

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1

Liverpool held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in this quarter-final first leg at the Emirates meaning they’ve got the always-vital away goal to help them in their quest for a third Champions League semi-final in four seasons. Arsenal’s goal, scored by Adebayor from a corner on 23 minutes had looked like being on the cards as Liverpool seemed to be letting Arsenal creat chances in a spell of a few minutes. But it was only a few minutes before the lead was lost again, and it was some good footwork from Steven Gerrard that created it, making the defender look silly as he went round him before crossing the ball to Dirk Kuyt to bang into the net under pressure.

The other match of note for both sides tonight was in Istanbul. The winners of this tie will play the winners of the tie in Istanbul and from the first leg score it’s looking more difficult than perhaps Chelsea expected. They were beaten 2-1 by Fenerbahce having gone in front early on. Of course they’ve also got an away goal to take back to Stamford Bridge, meaning an all-English semi is still on.

A 0-0 draw would of course be enough for Liverpool next week but any goal from Arsenal and the London side will have the upper hand. The only way it can go to penalties next week is if it ends 1-1. Before that is the league tie between the two sides, again at the Emirates, and neither side can afford to be too complacent in terms of selection, both sides needing the points. Liverpool’s five point cushion above Everton perhaps allows them the most room for the resting of players, but wouldn’t be popular with fans. Arsenal need the win to try and catch Manchester United.

Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were both expected to be at the game, but a storm in Colorado put paid to that when Gillett was unable to fly over. It probably prevented a storm around the pre-match dining tables. Gillett’s son Foster was at the game, with Hicks joined by other members of his family. Continue reading CL Result: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1 QF 1st Leg

Teams: Arsenal v Liverpool CL QF 1st Leg

It’s more of the same from Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez at least in terms of formation, with the 4-2-3-1 formation that’s served him so well being utilised tonight.

No surprises in terms of most of the team either, top scorer Torres playing up front ahead of the trio of Kuyt, Babel and Gerrard. Behind those four are Mascherano, back from his league suspension, alongside Xabi Alonso.

Of course Pepe Reina is in goal, and of course Jamie Carragher’s involved. The only question about Carra was where he’d play, and he’s at right back with Hyypia and Skrtel in the centre of defence. Fabio Aurelio gets the left-back spot.

Tom Hicks is at the game, with his sons, but only Foster Gillett has made it from the other half of the joint ownership, his father George said to be “snowbound in Colorado”.

Arsenal: 24 Almunia, 5 Toure, 10 Gallas, 6 Senderos, 22 Clichy, 27 Eboue, 16 Flamini, 4 Fabregas, 13 Hleb, 11 Van Persie, 25 Adebayor
Subs: 1 Lehmann, 2 Diaby, 17 Song Billong, 19 Silva, 26 Bendtner, 31 Hoyte, 32 Walcott

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 4 Hyypia, 12 Aurelio, 20 Mascherano, 14 Alonso, 18 Kuyt, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 6 Riise, 10 Voronin, 11 Benayoun, 15 Crouch, 17 Arbeloa, 21 Lucas

Referee: Pieter Vink

CL draw: Reds get Arsenal

With half the draw made up of English sides it was almost impossible to expect all four of them to avoid each other in the quarter-final draw. And given the way cup semi-finals seem to go, it was almost certain that the draw would put Liverpool and Chelsea in a position to meet each other should the progress to that stage.

Chelsea and Manchester United avoided English opposition in their quarter finals, drawing Fenerbahce and Roma respectively. But before Liverpool can reach the semi-final first they’ve got to overcome the only other English side to reach the final this millennium, Arsenal.

The first leg is away for Liverpool, always the preferred option, and will be played at the emirates on Tuesday or Wednesday April 1 or 2. Then Liverpool face Arsenal in the league on the Saturday, also away on the 5th, before they face up once more for the second leg, again on the Tuesday or Wednesday, April 8 or 9.

It’s a tough task, but Liverpool are capable of managing it if they can play to their best.

If they do achieve that then they face either Chelsea or Fenerbahce. If Chelsea can overcome Fenerbahce it guarantees one English team in the final. If Liverpool make the semi-final then the tie would be played with the home leg first, on April 22nd or 23rd and the second leg away the following week, April 29th or 30th. Continue reading CL draw: Reds get Arsenal

Inter v LFC: Mascherano back

A massive game for Liverpool tonight, and more difficult than the 2-0 score from the first leg makes it sound. But if Liverpool can perform the way they have done recently they are more than capable of stopping Inter Milan. But rather than just try to stop Inter, they’ve got to get on the scoresheet. One goal would leave the home side needing to score four times to knock the Reds out, and that may just be the end of the tie.

The manager has picked what looks like the same formation as has shown much success in recent games, with Torres in front of Gerrard in his free role. Kuyt and Torres are the other two of what is in effect a front four, with Lucas and Mascherano holding midfield. With Skrtel, Hyypia and Carragher all starting, it looks like Carra is at right back, with Fabio Aurelio at left back.

Andriy Voronin is on the bench, but so is Peter Crouch, along with Yossi Benayoun and Jermaine Pennant. Defensive cover is there in the shape of Arbeloa and John Arne Riise.

Meanwhile in the stands expect a showing from members of the current co-owner Tom Hicks’ family, but also possibly from members of the DIC group.

Inter Milan: 12 Julio Cesar, 13 Maicon, 16 Burdisso, 24 Rivas, 26 Chivu, 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic, 14 Vieira, 8 Ibrahimovic, 9 Cruz
Subs: 1 Toldo, 7 Figo, 11 Jimenez, 18 Crespo, 28 Maniche, 29 Suazo, 30 Pele

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 4 Hyypia, 12 Aurelio, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 8 Gerrard, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 6 Riise, 10 Voronin, 11 Benayoun, 15 Crouch, 16 Pennant, 17 Arbeloa

Referee: Tom Ovrebo

Italian warnings to Liverpool’s hopes

According to Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Liverpool’s win over the Italian league-leaders on Tuesday night wasn’t against the real Inter Milan and feels confident his side can overturn that 2-0 lead.

Marco Materazzi was sent off after thirty minutes of having to deal with Fernando Torres, finding the referee had no sympathy for cynical little fouls from the former Everton man. After that Inter played a game with little thought for attack – but they’d hardly been looking for a goal before that red card. With Fernando Torres shooting fractionally wide and having another shot save, added to two good penalty shouts by Liverpool, the two goals in the last five minutes were thoroughly deserved. But the lateness of the goals frustrated Ibrahimovic.

“I believe that Inter did well for 85 minutes,” said the Swedish international. “Then Cordoba got hurt, and this was a serious blow because Ivan had done well until then. But not only him, we all fought, all ten gave the maximum. Then in the last five minutes we conceded two goals and it was like a knife through the heart after all the work we had done up until that point.” Continue reading Italian warnings to Liverpool’s hopes

Rafa’s Reds return to form – Liverpool 2 Inter Milan 0

Champions League Last 16 – February 19 2008 – Result.

Liverpool 2 Inter Milan 0

Rafa Benítez and his players answered the critics in the best way possible tonight – on the pitch.

Critics will find fault with tonight’s performance, but in the main those critics are scrambling to save face after being made to eat their words. Liverpool dominated this game from start to finish, even before Inter were down to ten men, and could have won by a far greater margin. Torres alone had a shot saved and another just an inch wide in close succession, and two strong penalty appeals were turned down.

Inter Milan are 11 points clear at the top of Serie A, have lost one game in all competitions, and have gone 29 games since September without losing. Tonight none of that was apparent, not because Milan played badly, but because Liverpool played so well. Continue reading Rafa’s Reds return to form – Liverpool 2 Inter Milan 0

Torres – rotation not to blame for slump

In an interview with Spanish journalist Guillem Balague for The Times, Liverpool forward Fernando Torres has spoken about how there have been two sides to the team this season. The version of the Reds that started the season so well is a side that could perhaps be capable of challenging for the title, as opposed to the current one stuttering along and only able to aim for cup glory. As of now, the Champions League is the only cup the club can win, and to do that they’ve got to first of all get past the Italian league leaders.

Fernando Torres“The real Liverpool is the one that impressed earlier on,” said Torres. “We have to keep that level for longer. Those who do that fight for the league title and the ones who can’t have to fight for the knockout competitions. We are a very uncomfortable team to play against, but we have dropped too many points.”

So who’s to blame for all those dropped points? Torres has his view: “We didn’t win a league match in January. We could find a thousand excuses, but that would be an easy exercise. The players could have done it better.” Torres even admits that some performances have been so poor that avoiding defeat was perhaps not deserved: “There are matches where we had the impression that we have dropped points and others where we thought we had got something out of it by a pure miracle. We were lucky against Derby, but not so much against Wigan, for instance. Generally, we have dropped points where the top three haven’t.” Continue reading Torres – rotation not to blame for slump

Rafa reflects on “amazing performance”

Liverpool’s 4-0 demolition of Marseille confirmed their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League and also that manager Rafael Benitez was the person to take Liverpool onto more silverware.

Before that happens the club’s current owners and self-proclaimed “custodians” need to back him, both by coming out and saying there are no plans to sack him, and by allowing him to complete the deals he’d started negotiating before Tom Hicks got heavy-handed in the press. Those deals would have cost the club nothing in terms of actual expenditure, given that Rafa was also negotiating sales, but the owners blocked them all, unwilling to even discuss them until this week.

After the 4-0 win, and as always, Rafa acknowledged the part the supporters always play in Liverpool’s results: “I am really proud of the players and the supporters. It was an amazing performance from everyone concerned with Liverpool.  The players had the right mentality. The key was they were really focused on the game. We scored an early goal and afterwards we controlled nearly everything.” Continue reading Rafa reflects on “amazing performance”

Through to the last 16: Liverpool win 4-0

UEFA Champions League Group A – Result

Tuesday December 11th 2007

Marseille 0 Liverpool 4

marseille-0-liverpool-4.jpgTom Hicks will find it harder to sack Rafael Benitez as Liverpool qualified in style for the knockout phase of the Champions League. Liverpool knew that a win in Marseille was the only way they could guarantee qualification, and with Porto beating Besiktas that proved to be the case. Rafa sent his players out telling them to treat it as a final – and they did.

The only time Liverpool fans were really worried was for the split second that passed between Mandana saving Gerrard’s penalty and Gerrard smashing the rebound into the net. That was after 4 minutes, and considering Marseille should have been a man short after the professional foul that led to the penalty Marseille were perhaps lucky that they went in at half-time only 2-0 down.
Continue reading Through to the last 16: Liverpool win 4-0

Marseilles v Reds – Team news

It’s undoubtedly a big match – but how big it is remains to be seen. It’s a must-win if Liverpool want to go through to the next stage of the Champions League, a draw would only be enough if Besiktas were unlikely winners over Portugal.

It’s the last game of Group A in the Champions League in Marseille and Rafa has selected Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt in attack. It being what Rafa has called a “final”, it’s no surprise to see Harry Kewell make a start on the left wing. Yossi Benayoun is on the right, with Gerrard and Mascherano in the centre of midfield.

Former Red Bolo Zenden starts for Marseille, but fellow former Liverpool player Djibril Cisse has to be content with a place on the bench.

Marseille: 30 Mandanda, 24 Bonnart, 4 Rodriguez, 32 Givet, 3 Taiwo, 7 Cheyrou, 6 Ziani, 10 Zenden, 19 Cana, 28 Valbuena, 11 Niang
Subs: 40 Mate, 5 Faty, 8 Oruma, 9 Cisse, 15 Zubar, 17 M’Bami, 22 Nasri

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 4 Hyypia, 6 Riise, 7 Kewell, 20 Mascherano, 8 Gerrard, 11 Benayoun, 18 Kuyt, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 3 Finnan, 12 Aurelio, 15 Crouch, 19 Babel, 21 Lucas, 46 Hobbs

Referee: Terje Hauge terje_hauge.jpg