Gerrard’s op and what’s in the Champions League pot!

Well, what was it like when you emerged from your bed yesterday morning and went about your daily business? I’ve had “lucky Liverpool”, “cutting it fine”, “rubbish”, “how do they keep getting away with it”, “they should have lost”, “jammy Scouse ****s” and, from the office tw*t, “did they win? I missed it as I was at bridge club!”

Although our results are in inverse proportion to the way are playing, I can’t believe I’m the only one taking a perverse delight in this. I know it can’t go on like this and I know it will probably end in tears but at present it seems to be pi**ing off everyone who isn’t a red which, as far as I’m concerned, is great!

Yesterday it was Steven Gerrard’s turn to put a positive spin on things

“I think we showed good character (against Liege). We know there will be times during the season when things aren’t going to be rosy and we’re not going to play great all the time. When this does happen it’s all about sticking in there, working hard for each other and getting the result, and thankfully we’ve managed to do that tonight. It’s also important to remember that we’ve still got players to come back that will make the squad stronger…”

Gerrard quite rightly singled out Pepe Reina for his performances in the two legs. Had it not been for his saves, Liege would almost certainly have been in a Champions League pot yesterday.

“We expect that from Pepe because he is one of the best keepers in the world. You can always rely on him if you’re under the cosh and he’s done well for us again tonight.”

I guess the result was the main thing on Wednesday ie. to secure a place in the Champions League draw. Thinking about this though nearly everyone in the media who discussed the game seemed to think that it was important to get through because of the money. There was no mention of pitting ourselves against the best clubs in Europe or trying to win the trophy for a sixth time. How things have changed and not necessarily for the better?

Anyway if we are to progress we need to overcome PSV Eindhoven, Marseille and Atletico Madrid who we were drawn against in a tediously long Champions League draw. How many times do you need to recap who is in what pot and who has done what? Hell they even had an award ceremony between the draw from each pot!

For us it’s a mixed bag. Given some of the teams in their pot, we must be fairly pleased at getting PSV. We beat three times out of four in the 2006-07 competition. The sting in the tail came from the so called weaker pot where we drew arguably the strongest team, Atletico Madrid. Obviously this tie will have added interest because of our Spanish contingent and particularly Torres as Atletico are his old club. We know all about Marseille from last year although Rafa will prefer to remember the game at their place, which we won 4-0, rather than our silly, needless defeat at Anfield.

Above all a strongish group, with no easy ties but no stupendously difficult ones. Travel wise it’s OK especially when you look at Arsenal who have to visit Turkey and the Ukraine. As ever if we play well we should go through. Let’s hope we can obtain a good start, we don’t want a repeat of last season where we were forced to play catch up?

Meanwhile we have bowed to the inevitable and resigned ourselves to the fact that we are likely to be without Steven Gerrard for a while. He undergoes a groin operation this week. I guess there was never a good time to be without Gerrard but with Champions league status secured, and an international break coming up, the timing is as best it can be?

No doubt much will be written about the timing of the operation and Gerrard missing England’s first couple of World Cup qualifiers but quite frankly who cares, we’ve our own house to worry about? As it stands Gerrard should only miss the games against Villa and The Mancs but who will bet on him starting our first Champions League game? Still, better to get him fit now before things really start to hot up?

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