Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's a 2-day slugfest!

They say the sign of a great side is their ability to bounce back from defeat and if that’s the criteria then Liverpool more than matched it with a fine display in their 4-0 drubbing of Blackburn over the weekend. After the below par and error-prone performance against the Blues CL last week, the Scousers are left with a mountain to climb in the second leg tonight at the Stamford Bridge.

However coach Rafa Benitez still believes that his players have not given up the ghost and success or failure rests with them. He says of Gerrard:

"It is not a massive risk if we use him. If we lose a player for 10 to 14 days it will be bad but would only affect one game. It's a calculated risk. We've been written off but with Steven and Fernando Torres together on the pitch we have a good chance."

If Rafa acknowledges the scale of the job he has to do, his counterpart Guus Hiddink at Chelsea has also deflected attention from himself, insisting that results would do the talking for him.

" A lot of people have said that if you win an away game in Europe like we did, then you won't have any concerns for the second leg. But we're not thinking like that. Liverpool are a very good team who play beautiful football and we're very aware of that. There is no reason to have complacency against any team, but especially Liverpool with what they have done in the past."

Well so we do have a game on our hands even though some will say it may have been decided last week.

Meanwhile at the Allianz Arena in Germany, Bayern Munich have an even more daunting task considering they are 4-0 behind a relentless Barcelona. Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves were restricted to substitute appearances at the weekend in order to rest for the tie against Bayern Munich. Veteran defender Carles Puyol made his comeback from injury against Valladolid on Saturday and should start for Barca.

Bayern defender Lucio is likely to miss the first leg with a groin strain, while Miroslav Klose (ankle) is out. Defender Martin Demichelis is fit and available, while French midfielder Franck Ribery should also feature. The German side have won three and drawn one of their four games against Barcelona in Europe and have come out victorious on both of their previous visits to Spain. The two sides go into the game in contrasting form, Barcelona recorded a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid after a strike from Samuel Eto’o, while Bayern went down 5-1 to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

Tomorrow: Arsenal - Villareal, Porto - United. Beep.