Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Battle At The Catalunya

It's Champions League time and it'll be a clash of the titans, although Liverpool will surely go into this tie as an underdog. Don't listen to Barcelona players saying about how they're the underdogs. Because on paper, the difference is there for everyone to see.

It's the 2005 European champions taking on the champions in 2006.

Played at the intimidating Nou Camp, which could pack a total of 98,000 fans, this tie will be a fascinating one indeed. Barcelona won't forget the way Liverpool bored them to tears back in 2001 UEFA Cup when Liverpool went there and parked not only a bus, but several bull'dozers' and trucks as well.

Liverpool eventually knocked them out of the competition and surely, the Barca fans will feel this is the perfect time to avenge that heart break 6 years ago.

But now, Liverpool have undergone major changes and with Rafa's Spanish armada flying the flag high over at Merseyside. It'll present a totally different challenge to the European champions as they embarked on the journey to retain the crown, which is deemed impossible thus far.

Rafa Benitez himself plotted the downfall of Barcelona and Real Madrid 4 years ago when he took over Valencia and knocked the 2 Spanish giants off their perch and won 2 Spanish La Liga title with them. He also has a pretty good record against Barcelona while he's at the Mestalla and the one reason which will give the Liverpool fans some confidence would be the fact that Rafa knows Spanish football well and he knows Barcelona inside out.

This could present Barcelona with some problem as they haven't been at their best for quite some time. Perhaps the pressure of retaining the La Liga title and European crown are taking it's toll on Ronaldinho. & Co.

The Samuel Eto'o's public spat match with coach Frank Riijkard and Ronaldinho was well documented and one could question whether the unity in the squad is taking the heat. Liverpool got some bad press off them as well just last week, when tabloid newspaper reported incidents where the players didn't behave themselves and the headlines were splashed across the front page of the newspapers.

Off the field problem aside, it'll be an intriguing tie between two heavy weights. I foresee this game to be a very cagey one at the beginning as both teams wouldn't want to throw away the tie unnecessarily at such an early stage. Barcelona knows that they would need to get something out of this game and at the same time, stop Liverpool from scoring the all important away goal.

Drogballs' Prediction: Barcelona 1-1 Liverpool. A very tight game to call. I'll sit on the fence for this one. But I have complete faith in the team that they'll put up a decent performance and get something out of this game.


psychohare said...

my prediction 0-0, seriously this is a tough call. but 0-0 is what i hope for.
Arbeloa starting could mean interesting stuff, not sure who will be playing right back, Finnan or him, coz Riise is definitely playing left wing... or am i wrong? does Arbeloa play left wing too?
prolly this is good coz of tactical flexibility, from 4-4-2 to 5-3-2.
Rafa has prolly suprised a few by not choosing Crouch to start, very interesting since i keep hearing Barca emphasize on Crouch's height and Barca's weakness in set pieces.
looks like Rafa is looking to win this on the counter. this will be a fun one to watch, gonna rush home right after class to catch the 2nd half. *fingers crossed*
YNWA, it's Europe game night!

Meg said...

Hell yeah. We deserved that win. I was SO proud of the boys tonight. They enevr gave up their fight, they were persistant and I'm PROUD to be a kopite tonight!