Liverpool v PSV Eindhoven
PSV Eindhoven’s nickname is “The Farmers” and it is important they don’t receive yet another European subsidy, courtesy of the British, tonight.
Some might disagree and take the view that tonight’s Champions League game, only our second ever meeting against the Dutch Champions, is a dead rubber as both sides have already qualified for the knock out stages. However, there is all to play for at Anfield as the winners of this tie will go through as group winners. Last year Jose Mourinho suggested that going through as group winners was not the advantage it is cracked up to be. Before the group game against us he said
“We want to win and finish top, but it won’t make a big difference because all top teams are there. We want to finish first, but as far the consequence of finishing first or second goes, I don’t see a big difference. There are a lot of good teams going into the second stage. What’s the difference to play Juventus or play Bayern Munich? Last season we finished first and we played against Barcelona in the next stage”
All very interesting but The Special One’s chips were well and truly pi*sed on because as runners up Chelsea draw Barcelona again and were knocked out. Again! I do see what he was getting at but this a dangerous game to play. Law of averages surely states that on balance you’ve more chance of success by finishing first in the group and drawing a weaker group runner up in the next stage than finishing second and taking your chances in the hope you draw a lucky or weak group winner. Anyway if you’re in the last sixteen you should be prepared to play anyone! Personally I’d chuck every team into a hat regardless of what they’d done and, right at the beginning of the competition!
Signs are that it might be a testing night for us. PSV’s league form is much better than ours. They are top of the Dutch league, and are unbeaten in 17 games. They have also gone seven games without conceding a goal whilst scoring 23 at the other end! Form players are Farfan and Kone who have each more or less averaged a goal a game in the last ten games. At the other end however, there’s Jan Kromkamp!
However, fear not, history is with us and as Liverpool fans we’re always harking on about that aren’t we? We are unbeaten at home against Dutch opposition with two wins and one draw. PSV don’t travel well winning only three our of their ten visits on English soil. We’ve also won our last three Champions League games. We should have Garcia, who always seems more at home in these ties than he does in the Premiership, back in for one of the wingers. Other than that…. well, over to you Mr Benitez. I wonder if he’s got each player’s name written on a ball which he puts into a velvet bag before each game?
I just hope we play well and build up our confidence. We had a lot of the ball in Eindhoven and I see no reason why this should change at home. A win would be a big boost for us; especially in view of their current form. Wrapping up the group tomorrow would also mean we can go to Galatasaray and take it easy but that’s what we tend to do on our travels these days anyway!
Prediction? One goal, either way.