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Liverpool Tie To Prove Testy

I bite my nails. Always have done, ever since I was a little kid - knaw, chew, bite. I used to be able to chew my own toenails as a youngster, but now I'm older, that particular 'pleasure' has been denied me by old father time. As a consequence, I've got these gnashed, short fingernails that are ideal for frightening small woodland creatures, but rubbish for picking your nose.

And, my nails are not looking forward to wednesday night. They know they're going to get it bad.

Bloody Liverpool. Didn't you just know it would be them? Arseblogger called it right the morning of the draw when he said it was gonna be the scousers. Rumours abounded that the draw was a fix, with a liverpool forum carrying a post detailing the 'correct' CL draw an hour before it was actually made. Fishy. But no matter, he draw was made, and we were pitted against the house of scouse.

And I'm really not looking forward to it.

The thing about Liverpool is that, no matter how poorly they may be performing in the Premier League under Rafa Benitez, never mind how misfiring they are, or how disjointed they may look in their general play, in the Champions League they always seem to do the business. A glimpse at the past three CL campaigns tells it's own story - 2 finals out of 3 ain't bad, n'est pas? And they've accounted for Chavski en route to the 2 finals. Which I took great delight in - both times. Schadenfreude? So sue me.

This time round, they've got themselves a striker who's on a hot streak. I don't think anybody envisaged Fernando Torres making this kind of impact in his first season in England, but El Nino looks deadly. And he appears to have formed a very good understanding with Gerrard.

But if Gerrard isn't allowed the freedom to supply Torres, then he's going to find it hard to score, so let's hope that the Flamster and Cesc keep the 'pool skipper fully occupied.

I'm bloody glad that we came back to beat Bolton at the weekend too. After an all-too-lengthy winless league run, that victory at the Reebok couldn't have come at a better time. I feel much better going into the game on the back of a three point return from up north.

I'm also not sure what Liverpool will turn up in London. Will they be attacking, or will they stifle the game, try to snatch a goal and try to take us back to Anfield and go hell-for-leather up at their place? I just can't make my mind up. I can visualise all of those. It's unusual I find myself concentrating on the opposition so much, normally I am fully focussed on what we are going to do to the other team. But,, like I said, Liverpool concern me.

I'm waiting for RvP to emerge from his cocoon of re-acclimatisation. He scored at the weekend, yes, but that pen aside, other efforts seemed to speak of a player tuning up his aim. May wednesday night be the evening when the pieces fall into place for him.

If we should fail to take a lead up to Anfield though, fret not though, as we have the players to punish a Liverpool team that would surely be moved to come out and attack us, by a home support that will expect them to take the game to the opposition.

All the same though, as this game fast approaches, my nerve jangle with increasing volume. Bloody Liverpool.

After the 2006 final against Barca, I went up to 2 guys sporting Barcelona tops and congratulated them on their victory. There'd been talk amongst some spuds fans that they'd be watching the final, and proudly wearing Barca tops. The next morning upon waking I contemplated the fact that those guys might have been spuds, and it pissed me off. But hey, I'm a happy drunk. And that night, after we'd slipped behind to what proved the winning goal, what annoyed me more than losing was the way that the majority of Gooners in the pub where I was watching the game fell silent once we'd fallen behind - I redoubled my efforts vocally to try and raise the atmosphere amongst my fellow gooners (backed wholeheartedly by my fellow Gooner Ed, and Dave and Pol - two liverpool fans, who desperately wanted to see us win. They cheered louder than many of the Arsenal fans that night after the second goal went in against us). I was slightly embarrassed that heads dropped so rapidly after we'd gone behind. I recount this tale because I think it will be an incredibly tricky tie, but whatever happens, however we perform, and wherever you're watching the game, for pete's sake get behind the team, and stay behind them.

Finally, seven years on - RIP David Rocastle. A legend, who was taken from this world prematurely. Paul and Tim have both penned fine pieces on a man still sorely missed by all those who saw him play, be they fans of Gooners, Chelski or Leeds, and some of those who support other clubs. I just want to add my voice and my words (briefly) in tribute to a player who really got me on the edge of my seat whenever I saw him play. If more people were like David Rocastle, the world would be a nicer place. He always seemed to play with a smile on his face, and I hope his family have been able to pick up the pieces. If any of David Rocastle's family should read this, may I just say he will never be forgotten. The day he passed away, we lost one of our own. Rest In Peace.

Wingers




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The Journalist

Writer: Wingston Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 1 2008

Time: 1:26AM

Your Comments

this triple tie may end up being a blessing coz we are very capable of stifling stevie, we have succeded before and on the weekend with the position they hold in the league liverpool may be tempted to bring on a secondish string kinda team...so 2-6 to arsenal (thatwould be sweet) and 3 points on the weekend
anonymous
there will be more goals in the premship tie than both champs league games combined. If we can restrict torres and Gerrard, we will be fine.
49ers
The main person we got shut down first is Stevie G, then the supply to Torres will dry up and Toure can match him stride for stride so is no problem there. I think we will struggle if crouch plays, we just cant seem to deal with those type of strikers playing route one football.
Youngest in Charge
Realistically, I doubt you can win all 3. Nothing against your team but when you play good opposition three times in a row, it will rarely go your way all three times. I'd say the away leg of the CL fixture is the most important though. If nothing else, win that.
The_Legend_Of_Zola
Rafa will certainly play a 4-5-1 tomorrow. He's been the cautious type, esp in away ties in the CL. He will play Mascherano & Leiva / Alonso together in mid field and Flamini & Cesc will have their hands full. I wonder whether RVP will line up left in a 4-5-1 or upfront in a 4-4-2.
prits
i'm really looking foward to it. we can kill off the tie in the first leg itself, and i won't be suprised if we win all the three games, cuz honestly, barring Torres and Gerrard, they are inferior than us in every department..
luckys_10
but having said that, it still won't be easy, but if we play our game and be faithful to our football, i dun think there is much Rafa can do about it..
luckys_10
"barring Torres and Gerrard, they are inferior than us in every department.." We have a better goalkeeper, a better holding midfielder, and better central defenders luckys_10. So how are you better than us in every department?
JohnDoe
hehe.....good one JohnDoe
Bosko-Macedonia
I think it's important you get a win on the board in the first tie, as it will be tough going to Anfield needing a victory.
Boro 01
"We have a better goalkeeper, a better holding midfielder, and better central defenders" Reina played like James in his liverpool days, Mascherano is good, but only consider just as good as Flamini, Central defender (Carragher u mean?).....he is lucky this seasons that he didn't give away all the penalty for pulling down opponent strikers... But this will be quite an evenly match IMO.
lhchye
John one.. based on which criterai do you think ur keepr is better than ours?
TeamSpirit
JohnDoe it's just my opinion. i feel our defence is far superior than your defence. Gerrard is as good as Fabregas maybe better in terms of scoring, but barring him, our midfield is way better than yours, it's a shame Rosicky is injured. and Torres is better than all our strikers at the moment, but a fit Van Persie will give Torres a run for his money next season. i'm not saying it will be easy for us, you guys have history on your side and yu always turn it on in Europe, but i feel all the three games are winnable for us if we play our game and not worry too much about your team. n if i had a choice of whom to play between United, Pool and Chelski, i would take you guys over the other two cuz in my opinion, you have the most inferior and less talented squad in the top four..
luckys_10
i see someone has already taken u up on the other layers...
TeamSpirit
goalkeepr yes holding midfielder debatable i think over time if flamini keeps performing like he is he will be better than stevie who has alot of hype behind his talent but lets not argue about that i think our central defenders are better...if you go player by player we will just nick it...apart from torres and stevie and your goalie..
anonymous
The gifted goal to Everton's andy johnson comes to my mind everytime i see Reina:P
lhchye
and Toure n Gallas are the best defensive unit in the league. JohnDoe yu need help if yu think ur defenders r better than ours..
luckys_10
Come on luckys, i think even the most blinkered Arsenal fan would probably admit that the best defensive unit is Ferdinand and Vidic. However Flapping Reina should not even as a joke be rated above any other goal keeper.
paul_ownz
Paul, i really think Toure and Gallas are better than Ferdinand. but the problem is the two of them havent played an entire season together. Gallas was out for 6 weeks earlier in the season, then Toure went to the ACN and got injured. if these two have an ainjury free season, then i'm sure they will be better than Rio and Vidic..
luckys_10
Ferdinand and Vidic*
luckys_10
Maybe. But since coming back from the ACN i think Toure has looked unconvincing and should not of got his place back over Senderos who was playing really well. I think the problem is he is burnt out.
paul_ownz
guess yu are right Paul, but Kolo is a big big player for us. he has been the backbone of our defence for the last 4-5 years, so yu cant just drop him saying he is burnt out. and i think playing at rightback will be better for him cuz he won't have to deal with a lot of ariel balls. but i'm not sure Arsene will stick with him at rightback on wednesday..
luckys_10
IF Gallas & Toure had stuck together without injury and the ACN, luckys. Fact is, they didnt and Vidiv-Rio combination is the best in the Premiership at the moment. Gallas & Toure have been making too many individual mistakes, and I'd like to see Senderos partnering Gallas - they look solid. Toure is a legend, but currently, he's going through a rough patch. Playing him at RB is a decent shout defensively, but offensively, we lost out on a lot.
prits
TeamSpirit, on the criteria that Reina kept more clean sheets than your keeper, and that he's a Spanish international, while your keeper is not.
JohnDoe
anonymous, Gerrard isn't a holding midfielder, and the fact that you say that flamini is better than him is laughable. Our holding midfielder is Macherano, and he's better than flamini.
JohnDoe
Why dont you look at the criteria that he flaps like a fish out of water.
paul_ownz
luckys_10, the fact that you think that Toure and Gallas are the best defensive unit in the league means that you're the one who needs help, not me. The best defensive pairing in the league is Ferdinand and Vidic, and it's not up to discussion. And like prits says, Gallas & Toure have been making too many individual mistakes, which is why I think that our central backs are better, and that's not including Agger who hardly played this season.
JohnDoe
OOhh god..Poo x 3!
ajwb
i think tomorrow night will be a big test, on paper we should win, but you just don't know what arsenal side will turn up tomorrow night, and that can also be said for liverpool, they seem to suddenly play like world class performers when it comes to europe, so that said, i just can't call it.
PUREGOLD
Ferdinand and Vidic probably edge it for me, but I would certainly say that our defensive unit is far better than Liverpool's, but would agree that Renia is a better goal keeper. The fact that he is in the Spanish national team ahead of Alminua suggests as much. It's going to be very interesting indeed, especially as my house will have three scousers in it and I will be the lone Gooner ... lol
Rocky7
puregold, on paper ar5ena1 should win ... actually, Liverpool will beat you guys tomorrow and this weekend. The CL 2nd leg will be a draw game.
ivanskg
3 Scousers? Jesus where do you live, Bootle? It's completely blinkered to suggest our cb pairing is the best in the premiership. I just hope upon hope liverpool actually try and play football and not snatch something or play for a penalty shoot out. We've been up for Anfield before and turned em over, we can do it again, i think it's about time we diminished this ''magic of anfield'' boll0x - comprehensively.
AFC85Lew
I will be shocked and amazed if it finishes anything other than 0-0 tomorrow night. Both teams would prbably settle for that, I think that would be a decent result for us. The biggest thing tomorrow is not to concede.
Little Dutch
paul_ownz, flapping Reina just set a Liverpool clean sheet record, 54 clean sheets in his first 100 games for the club in the league, which beat Clemens old record. He is rated above Alminua by the Spanish national manager, so the joke is on you.
JohnDoe
I'm not looking forward to this either but we have a decent chance. Reina is definitely better than Almunia but let's hope the Reina that shows up for us is the one who showed up at OT. BTW, why was the satirical article on Diaby's tackle taken down?
jaelle
Any score that end in "....Liverpool 0" would be a great result for us!!!
Rocky7
Regarding Torres -- his record of scoring goals away from Anfield isn't great. I believe he's scored only twice away from home. Let's hope that poor recored continues on Wednesday and Saturday.
jaelle
What happened to the thread about Diaby? Don't tell me it got deleted over one deluded Spud. Jesus H. As for these games, I think we can do Liveprool. Their sense of entitlement when it comes to European games winds me up.
Moorish
Neither team needs to win ALL 3 games. We certainly need to win the league game more than pool if we're to keep our title chances alive, however small they are. A 0-0 score on Wednesday will do just fine, while a 1-1 draw at Anfield will be great for us. And I can't agree that our defense is better than Ferdinand-Vidic. Kolo right now just isn't as reliable as he used to be. Senderos used to make me incredibly nervous, now it's Kolo, while I feel a bit calmer with Senderos.
jaelle
And aint that just a miraculous turn around jaelle? I can't even believe that I'm going to agree with you. Fortunately I think Toure is made of sterner stuff than Senderos and will be fully functioning very soon. The dude has barely missed a game in four years, he will be back!!
Rocky7
jaelle, Torres scored two goals away from Anfield in the league. He did score five goals away from Anfield in other competitions, including two goals in the CL.
JohnDoe
JohnDoe, I stand corrected about Torres. Rocky7, I know, I NEVER thought I'd ever write such a sentence re Senderos and Kolo but there you go! I know Kolo's a lion, I'm hoping he'll rev himself up into his previous reliable warrior for the rest of the season.
jaelle
I think Kolo needs a rest. Unfortunatly we have no easy games to give it to him.
paul_ownz
Don't fear the Poo...

But watch out for phantom goals that never were...
Bumps
We are 3rd, Liverpool is 4th..so we are more consistent than them..IMO, consistent is the key..not who has superior players.
lhchye
if liverpoo play anything like they did against us a week and a bit ago....your through. they dont have as good as a defence as wvereybody says and is you can stop torres the other side (not gerrard, he is highly overated and performoing awful this season) then i think you have the firepower up front to rip shreds in a very average back line with a keeper as eccentric as fabian barthez!!!!
united4life
lhchye, When we beat Chelsea in 2005, they were first, we were 30 points behind them in fifth place. When we beat them in 2007, they were second, we were third, more than 10 points behind. League form has no bearing on what will happen in cup competitions.
JohnDoe
and john doe......carragher is *****e!
united4life
19 goals, more than 10 assists, yep Gerrard's performances are awful this season.
JohnDoe
Sure he is united, sure he is.
JohnDoe
take your northern tittle tattle elsewhere eh girls!!
9 Years
name one game where carragher has dominated like vidic or ferdinand (for example look at rio's perfomrance tonight...perfect)
united4life
Of the top of my head, Juve home and away 2005, Chelsea home and away 2005, Barcelona home and away 2007, Chelsea home 2007. Endless league games.
JohnDoe
I'm not that worried about Captain Hollywood, unless one of his hundred pot shots fly in, which is not too unlikely I suppose. I'm more concerned that Mascherano and Alonso (both infinitely better and more intelligent players than Captain shoots a lot) might marshall Cesc and Hleb in the centre. I think it's imperative RVP starts, because he can drop off and find that space and give them something else to think about. Otherwise I fear it will be eye of the needle stuff all night.
Little Dutch
For me Liverpool and Arsenal are evenly matched, just take the main players at every end of the pitch, Reina-Almunia, Spanish no.2 takes this one(obviously) CBs(Even IMO) Fullbacks(Arsenal, Holding midfielder(no one better than Mascherano in world football) wide men(arsenal-if they play that wide!!!) Strikers(Torres is better than Adebayor, and now to the two main or star players, no doubting Cesc started off the season better but Gerrard consistently this season and the last 4/5 years has been the better player(I know Cesc is 20 or something and must be taken into consideration)but Gerrard is unstoppable at times(against Everton he was untouchable) So to say Arsenal are far superior is an overstatment. We have been better the 2 previous seasons and can move to 5 points behind you if we win on sat!
Eusebio
Booooooooorrrrrriiiiinnnnngggggg!!!!!!!!!!
9 Years
I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment Eusebio, especially with the "Gerrard is unstoppable at times". I'd say if Hyppia plays than we have the edge since I rate Skrtel much more than the aging Finn. Kuyt in all honesty is a waste of space, a sheer opposite to our Diaby: all work - zero product, while Diaby is zero work with the occasional flash of brilliance. Babel has begun to look like a good option although his mate at Arsenal is a superior player who is just getting back in shape. Gerrard and Xavi must be hounded by Flam, Abou and even Cesc while Hleb needs to keep your fullbacks and Mascherano occupied at all times. I think you are in for a much much tougher test than that of Inter who gave you a helping hand in both ties in the form of stupidity of their defenders. I'm going for a max. 1 goal game.
G4L
My Prediction will be a 2-1 Arsenal win tonight and then Liverpool to go through with either and 1/2-0 win in Anfield! The last 3 ties between the English team has gone to the underdog, Arsenal-Chelsea in 04, Liverpool-Chelsea in 05 & 07! So I am personally hoping the trend will continue for the next 3 rounds anyways! Good luck to Arsenal in the league, if there is any team other than us to ever win it, it is always Arsenal and they are my favorite team to watch! Not that it is any consolation to you lot when we knock ya's out :P lol
Eusebio
PS I agree with you on Kuyt, he doesnt even deserve to be a spectator! And I think it will be Skrtel and Carragher tonight! And Xabi and Mascherano as the holding players
Eusebio
Good discussion between G4L and Eusebio, can't disagree with any of it except maybe Eusebio's contention that Pool are the underdogs. To my mind Arsenal are the underdogs since Pool were the CL finalists last year, the winners 2 years before that and their form in the CL is always better than their league form.
jaelle
I would also disagree with Eusebiobs Assesment that Gerrard is more consistent. I think he can go missing in games.
paul_ownz
Good call jaelle. I was wondering the same thing when I read Eusebio's comment. Apparenlty Rafa is this genius in Europe while Wenger's record doesnt compare so favourably. So Arsenal are the underdogs for me. As for the teams, I'd say we're pretty evenly matched. The gap in quality is not very big.
prits
Well the reason we are the Underdogs is, on current form this season, Arsenal are better and of course the bookies and pundits have you favorites so I will take the underdog tag if you dont mind! lol! :)
Eusebio
 

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