Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bring it on!!

This is what football is about. You may not win much in a particular season but its nights like these, testing yourself against the very best in the world, that make it worthwhile your support. Lets hope we can produce a decent display on the field tonight and make it 3 out of 3 clean sheets at Nou Camp.

The events of the past week have been unfortunate, but I believe Rafa will use it to bring the best out of this side, who would be ashamed of their behaviour in Portugal this week. This is the perfect opportunity to redeem themselves and I can imagine Bellers would be on his toes for this one.

Here's a guide to our opponents tonight:


Home: Camp Nou

Current league position: First

Manager: Frank Rijkaard

What can be said about the Catalan giants which hasn't been said already? They are the regining European champions and are bidding to become the eighth team to retain the crown. The current La Liga champions have always lived in the shadow of arch-rivals Real Madrid when it comes to European football, with Barca lifting the European Cup twice to Madrid's nine wins. But they by no means have a bad record in the tournament - and in Europe in general - with four UEFA Cup Winners Cups, two European Super Cups and three UEFA Cups to their name. The trophy cabinet at the Camp Nou struggles to cope with the weight of the trophies they posses.

The 24-time La Liga champions certainly have the pedigree when it comes to Europe having made it through the group stages for the last seven years. But Liverpool are no strangers to the European Cup themselves, having lifted the trophy five times, most recently after their famous comeback against AC Milan two years ago. The battle of the last two Champions League winners is certainly the tie of the round as Barca try to overcome English opposition at this stage in the tournament for the third year running.

The last time the two sides met was in the 2001/02 second round group stages of the Champions League when Barca ran out 3-1 winners at Anfield and then the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou. The Reds have got the better of the Catalan side in the two previous meetings with Liverpool dumping Barca out of the 2001 UEFA Cup and in the 1975/76 European Cup as they went on to lift the trophy.

Barcelona's home record against English opposition is formidable having lost just once in 22 games, that defeat coming courtesy of Liverpool in 1976. This season Barca are unbeaten at home in all competitions and have conceded just six at the Camp Nou this campaign. Compare this with Liverpool's patchy away form and it begins to look like the Reds may struggle.

It doesn't get much better for the Merseyside club when you begin to look at the Barcelona squad. Despite appearing to be in turmoil at the minute they still have arguably the world's best player, Ronaldinho. He is backed up by the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Xavi, Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol. But Liverpool fans can hold dear the fact that Rafa Benitez never lost a game at Barcelona when he was in charge of Valencia and that Chelsea have managed to record a victory and secure a draw over the La Liga champions in the group stages.

My prediction
It will be a very difficult game even without Eto'o as Barca haven't conceded many at home this year. With Ronaldinho, Messi, Xavi and Deco they have world class players, each capable of changing the game with one piece of contribution. I would gladly take a 1-1 draw here tonight with the 2nd leg at Anfield. Although 2-1, 3-2 won't really be bad results. F365

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Blogger mcSey said...

2-1 baby! HUGE!

Anonymous nDre said...

yeah... 2-1 for US baby!!!

Blogger weenie said...

Bellamy and Riise...from zeroes to heroes, what better way to silence the press and critics! COME ON!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hail king Bellamy!

Blogger Dirty Dan said...

stunning result!

i've done a little match report, would love your feedback on that lads and ladettes.


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