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Portsmouth 2-1 Liverpool – EPL – 28 Apr. 07 April 29, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Liverpool FC, Sports.
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badgelogo.JPGAnother defeat for the Reds! This time in the Premiership to a very brave Portsmouth side. Although Benitez fielded his reserves the performance was not of Liverpool’s standards at all. The team lost possession very easily and all the players looked unmotivated with the exception of ex-skipper Sami Hyppia who defended well and scored Liverpool’s only goal. With two games to go in the Premiership, Liverpool should still be able to hold on to the third spot ahead of Arsenal, but the manner of the defeat will not help at all when they meet Chelsea in the do-or-die clash on Tuesday!

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Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool – UCL – 25 Apr. 07 April 29, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Champions League, Liverpool FC, Sports.
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The battle of the English in the Champions League semi final’s first leg ends with Chelsea taking the upper hand and unfortunately a probable finals birth. Chelsea will undoubtedly push for an early away goal in the second leg (which is an achievable task given Liverpool will be on the offensive trying to get goals themselves!). Once they do get the goal, they’ll fall back leaving the Reds with a very difficult task of scoring 3 without conceding any more. I hope Benitez has a master plan cooking up.

The game itself was average with Chelsea controlling the first half getting an early goal in the process. Liverpool did put up a fight in the second but to no avail, they failed to score the very important away goal they needed. Let’s hope for the best on Tuesday.

Man Utd 3-2 AC Milan – UCL – 24 Apr. 07 April 25, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Champions League, Sports.
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chmps.JPGIn a wonderful thriller, Manchester United managed to outdo AC Milan 3-2 thanks to a last minute goal by Wayne Rooney. It was a game of two haves; Milan dominated most of the first (it ended 2-1 in their favor) by containing the Red Devils before they finally wore out in front of the tireless Red attack that got the best of them by the end of the game.

The match witnessed an average display from Milan with the exception of brilliant Kaka who single-handedly made and scored both their goals. Manchester United on the other hand showcased another one of their consistent strong displays with everyone on the team playing well especially youngsters Ronaldo (who scored a goal) and Rooney (who scored two). The result keeps options open for both teams and we’ll definitely get another classic in the return fixture in Milan next week!

Liverpool 2-0 Wigan – EPL – 21 Apr. 07 April 22, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Liverpool FC, Sports.
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Liverpool warm up in style for this week’s Champions League tie against Chelsea beating relegation threatened Wigan 2-0. Two well taken goals by Dirk Kuyt were enough to keep the Reds ahead of Arsenal in the premiership well on course to claim the third automatic Champions League spot. Liverpool had a good game overall against their clueless opposition; however, they wasted plenty of chances and could have scored half a dozen goals or so. All in all, it was a good game before the trip to Stanford Bridge on Wednesday!

Liverpool 2-0 Middlesbrough – EPL – 18 Apr. 07 April 20, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Liverpool FC, Sports.
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badgelogo.JPGI didn’t get to see this midweek game, but I’m sure glad the Reds got another victory consolidating their place above Arsenal in the premiership and keeping morale up before their Champions League clash with Chelsea next week. Two goals from Stephen Gerrard were enough to get the job done once again at Anfield. Liverpool still have a home game against Wigan on Saturday before they play away at Stanford Bridge next Wednesday.    

Manchester City 0-0 Liverpool – EPL – 14 Apr. 07 April 17, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Liverpool FC, Sports.
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badgelogo.JPGStill hung-over from their Champions League victory, Liverpool produced a very shaky and boring performance against Manchester City drawing 0-0! Both managers looked happy with the final score and honestly neither team really deserved to win. The reds now seem poised to hang on to the 3rd place spot and should concentrate on the Champions League. Let’s see what happens next week!  

Liverpool 1-0 PSV – UCL – 11 Apr. 07 April 12, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Champions League, Liverpool FC, Sports.
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chmps.JPG While resting a few of his regular starters, Benitez’s Liverpool made it through to the Champions League semi’s beating PSV 1-0 in an expected boring match. With PSV requiring 3 goals to extend the tie (if Liverpool don’t score themselves), both teams knew it was a near impossible task and just had an adventure-less match with one goal coming from Peter Crouch. 

 

Liverpool will now meet Chelsea (who disposed of Valencia) in the semi-finals, while Manchester United entertain AC Milan (who beat Bayern Munich 4-2 over their two legs) in the other semi. With three English sides amongst the last four, the trophy will most probably end up in England this season, but who will it be? Let’s hope Liverpool come up with some magic as they did in 2005!

Manchester United 7-1 Roma – UCL – 10 Apr. 07 April 11, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Champions League, Sports.
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chmps.JPG Manchester United’s display of power against humble Roma yesterday only sealed my conviction in a fact all football enthusiasts know but try to ignore: Like it or not, Manchester United are the strongest football team on the planet. So what makes the Red Devils work ike clockwork?

   

1-      Employment of both experienced players and young blood. Unlike a few Italian clubs that depend on experienced players (Milan for eg.) and clubs like Arsenal who have teenagers running all over the place, Manchester United employs and uses both experienced players (Giggs, Scholes) and youngsters (Rooney, Ronaldo) effectively.  

2-      Not too many stars, but not too few! Unlike star studded teams (like Chelsea and Real Madrid) and teams that do need a few major signings (my team Liverpool for eg.), Manchester united again employs from all ranks of players (I’ve only heard of Vidic this season), it keeps costs down, squad rotation easy, and provides little bad publicity (keeping stars on the bench is bad propaganda, ask Cappello!).  

3-      Work ethic! Nobody tolerates fiascos at Old Trafford (ask Jaap Stam and Ruud Van Niestelrooy), elsewhere; stars are sometimes recruited without the manager’s full support (Shevshenko and Ballak maybe and prospective club presidents now promise recruiting stars as part of their election campaigns (Real Madrid, Barcelona).  

4-      Finally and most importantly, the perfect blend of attacking flair (the beautiful game) and solid defense Unlike most Italian clubs that are well known for their solid boring defense (Juventus, Inter) and other Dutch and Spanish clubs that entertain but always seem to end up loosing (Valencia, and now Barcelona), Manchester United get it right most of the time, they rarely fail to entertain but are consistent enough to win trophies.

Hats off to Sir Alex!

Reading 1-2 Liverpool – EPL – 7 Apr. 07 April 8, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Liverpool FC, Sports.
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badgelogo.JPGA relatively dull game from Liverpool! They were actually quite lucky to get all 3 points against a good Reading team. Benitez fielded a weaker side (quite expected) that was at first surprised by Reading’s resilient attacking. The Reds only managed to stabilize the game after 15 minutes when Arbeloa scored a nice goal from a counter attack. They then dropped back and the game died. After half-time Reading were again on the attack and were rewarded with a goal. Only then did Liverpool push and finally got the winner through Kuyt a few minutes before the final whistle. Interesting results were witnessed elsewhere in the Premiership; Manchester United lost while champs Chelsea won leaving the title race open between the top two, Arsenal lost agin while consolidating Liverpool in third place ahead of Arsenal about a month before the season ends.

PSV 0-3 Liverpool – UCL – 3 Apr. 07 April 7, 2007

Posted by erouhban in Champions League, Liverpool FC, Sports.
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chmps.JPGA terrific performance from the Reds against an inept PSV side virtually guarantees them a spot in the semis. The well taken away goals from Gerrard, Riise, and Crouch make PSV’s task of salvaging a comeback at Anfield next to impossible. 

Benitez’s lineup worked interestingly well again; with Sissoko out suspended, a more vibrant Mascherano seemed to partner Alonso better at the center of midfield (both of them being accurate passers as well as tough defenders), and although Gerrard started the game on the right of midfield, he seemed to have the freedom to roam around and never left his favorite spot behind the strikers (that’s where he got his goal from). However, the void created on the right was duly filled by the energetic Steve Finnan who had a great game and created two of the goals. On the opposite side, another excellent performance from Riise channeled most of the play and got Liverpool another goal as well.  Up front, the strikers had an average game (as usual!).    

Will this slightly unstable lineup hold up against a team with more title aspirations than PSV? Maybe not, but Benitez’s unpredictability is what makes him the good tactical coach he is!