So tonight we will try and finish off the second half of the Prague job that we effectively, if not interestingly, started last week in the Generali Arena.
Hopefully tonight’s match will have a bit more to get tongues wagging than last weeks first leg. Perhaps that game will acquire a better reputation, in terms of the wider picture, with victory tonight? Achieve that and hopefully those who were quick to criticise it will see that it was a means to an end namely getting the result at Anfield and going through to the next round. For some football is purely entertainment, for others it’s a way of life and in life you occasionally have to put up with hum drum situations, such as last weeks game, in order to reap the rewards later on? I don’t know what Christmas cracker I got all that from but you know what I mean!
Anyway hopefully tonight will be different. I’ve no doubt that Kenny’s tactics will be more expansive and more positive than they were in Prague, the team will also be stronger. Above all we need to seize the moment, this time we are at home in what is now, due to the 0-0 draw in the first leg, a one off cup tie?
Speculation over whether Andy Carroll will make his first team bow in this game or against West Ham the following Sunday, was well and truly scuppered by Kenny the other day.
“He is close to full training. I don’t think he’s quite ready for a game yet. Andy’s progress has been exactly what we’d anticipated.”
So will that mean The Mancs at Anfield as the debut day? The Old Trafford game was a punctuation mark in our season as it was Kenny’s first game and now this, and potential debut of our record signing. If Carroll doesn’t play then fine the important thing is that he regains fitness and eventually starts to justify his fee, if any player can do that these days, how do you measure it? Of course we’ve been there before with Alberto Aquilani, £20m spent for very little return, However I reckon Carroll will be different and Kenny is certainly confident.
“He’s a really good lad, he’s really down to earth. It’s a value which is very important in this day and age. They say the punters can’t relate to the players and vice versa, but I don’t think its a problem for him to relate to people in the street.”
I don’t know if the majority of punters will relate to Kenny taking Carroll to the Boyzone concert at the Echo Arena the other night! Footballers and managers aren’t exactly renown for their taste in music and this hardly helps redress the balance! Perhaps Kenny was chaperoning Carroll hoping that he won’t get into a fix at least there was no chance of him aggravating his injury by diving into a Boyzone Mosh Pit? Could this be a new trend that two are setting? What next, Avram Grant takes Scott Parker to see his favourite band, which surely has to be Radiohead? How about Theo Walcott dragging Arsene Wenger along to see Justin Bieber? Ian Holloway would surely opt to take one of his squad to the Manic Street Preachers? Fergie? It has to be the Charlatans in the company of Gary Neville!
Prediction? It looks as if Steven Gerrard won’t be risked. I think this is sensible I reckon we can see out tonight and get through without him. Perhaps if we had to chase the game Kenny might have risked him? However, I think Prague had their chance a week ago and now is the time for us to take the initiative and achieve what I believe should be a relatively straight forward win, 2-0.