By lunchtime today we will know our Champions League quarter final opponents. Who do I want? It would hardly be an earth shattering revelation to say Fenerbahce or Schalke or as someone at work said yesterday “suker”.
I suppose if we draw an English team then at least we will know more about them? The two I’d really rather avoid are The Mancs and Barcelona however, it goes without saying that you should always be prepared for a tough game at this stage.
Of course the papers over the last few days have been full of San Siro spill over stories. We’ve had the usual stuff about the Champions League being a special competition for Liverpool, one we can always excel in, regardless of our form in the league. All of a sudden Rafa is the supreme tactician that’s unless he loses to Reading this weekend! Even Patrick Vieira, who you would think would be more concerned about Arsenal, has commented….
“Liverpool were tough opponents, and I think they can go on to win it now. They have done it before and they know exactly what it is about at this stage.”
Meanwhile Steven Gerrard has been playing up our progress in the competition as proof that we are indeed a decent side. This is a far cry from his criticism of our domestic from a few weeks ago!
“People have said that teams have won the Champions League that are not great, but I think we can let our record answer that. We have been to the final twice in three years and we have won some big games in some important stadiums across Europe, and we have produced the performances of a great European side.”
The “people say” bit refers to Rio Ferdinand who apparently has had a long sit down with a piece of paper and some felt tips and come up with the theory that the Champions League success is no longer the mark of a great team. The Ferdinand’s have a history of meat headedly stupid behaviour from Rio’s “forgetfulness” over his dope test to his brother’s Isle of Wight Granny alibi. No doubt Ferdinand will modify his views should he ever be good enough to play in a side good enough to get the Champions League final let alone win it?
Gerrard went on to say
“We have got momentum, we have, there is no doubt about that, and it could be important. We are playing very, very well now. We cannot get carried away because there are some monster teams left in it….”
Although I’d drop a “very” from his description, I guess we have hit form just at the right time but we still need some luck, via the draw, to progress. Rafa’s holding off on the rotation in key areas of the team has also helped together with form of Torres who seems to be revelling in playing with Gerrard just behind him. For all this I still think we’d be best advised to just concentrate on Reading this Saturday.
Meanwhile George Gillett has finally commented on the recent take over shenanigans. When asked last night if he would remain co-owner he replied:
“I would say, choose your partners wisely. He (Tom Hicks) is a great guy but he has just got a different perspective on the media.”
It’s sad that Gillett should get tarred with the same brush as Hicks. My main beef has not always been the finance side but Hicks’ inability to follow Gillett’s example by steering clear of controversy, keeping his mouth shut, staying in the background and not trying to ride on coattails of the fans and the team to court publicity and popularity. Sadly we had a man with ego as big as the US State he comes from but with no tact or decorum to counteract it. Although it’s great to make further progress in the Champions league one is also mindful that the further we go and more money we make the more likely Hicks is to stay put!
Back tomorrow with a review of the Reading game, in the meantime let’s hope the draw is kind.