“The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”
I can’t remember going into a European game with the club in such a mess.
Yes we’ve played games in Europe when our form hasn’t been so good so Saturday’s defeat to Barnsley, although annoying, is not unusual circumstances. However, add to this all the speculation about off the field activities and this tie, in the eyes of many, takes on added significance.
Normally the game would be of sufficient magnitude to perhaps merit a visit from Statler and Waldorf? However, I suspect they no know it would be foolish to poke their heads above parapet at the moment, even though it’s their own club. Victory on Saturday would not have made things easier for Team America or Rafa, but it might have left everyone solely concentrating on this game. Instead the troubled waters, which had shown some early signs of settling or at least being contained, have been stirred up again. Once more we’ve people picking over the team’s general malaise when they should be concentrating on this game?
Ultimately the best way this can be solved is on the pitch and we have an excellent opportunity to put some things right tonight with a good performance. In many ways it is advantageous that we are playing someone like Inter after Saturday. The pedigree of the opposition forces those involved to look forward, concentrate on the enormous job in hand rather look back at, mope, sulk and pick over Saturday. A win would also do wonders for confidence, shaking away any lingering hang ups from the game?
How should we view Jamie Carragher’s recent words in this context?
“We realise we are not playing well enough. It’s not a matter of putting your finger on one reason. It’s simply because we have not been good enough.”
Compare and contrast to those of Fabio Aurelio
“The players believe we can win this trophy. We have the ability – there are great, great players here, we must believe it.”
On our day the side is a match for anyone, we just need to know when the day is going to arrive! Tonight does give us an opportunity to rise to the occasion. Ties like this do not come along regularly so motivation, desire and passion, and hopefully, as Aurelio says, belief should not be lacking. In short it is the sort of game players should relish and covet. Surely there will also come a point in the players minds when everyone will be thoroughly pi**ed off with the sniping and want to put in a performance that will ram words back down throats? Or is the situation beyond that?
Inter’s form is scarily excellent. They are unbeaten in Serie A and have an eleven point lead. They’ve won their last five Champions League games and Ibrahimovic is joint top scorer in this season’s competition. So where are the weaknesses?
Perhaps midfield could provide us with something? Vieira is suspended, Stankovic and Figo, who is rumoured to be on verge of “retirement” by going to Fulham, are injured. People say games are won and lost in midfield and indeed if we can dominate and starve Ibrahimovic, Crespo or Cruz of possession then that will help. However, I believe this game will be won and lost up front. Chances will be few and far between and we need to make them count, especially as we are at home first. We need something for the San Siro. We need to show a ruthlessness in this area of the pitch which, Torres excepted, has been sadly lacking this season.
Prediction? Expectations have been dashed so much this season that one is loathe to say anything. Perhaps Rafa’s words at his press conference yesterday sum it up.
“But my commitment to this club is 100%. We need to keep going. It’s the only way we’re going to change things.”
My support is 100% Hopefully yours is too? For ninety minutes it’s time to forget the rumour, forget the speculation, forget the Yanks, forget DIC. Lets’ remember why we started supported Liverpool in the first place, still do and always will. Get behind the team, they need it, and maybe things will change? Starting with tonight?