Last night Liverpool was anything but spectacular. They might have sticked to their task well, but then Barcelona's players attitude helped them well. Every one of the English commentator were praising their defence for the win, but I cannot agree completely over here. Whenever Barcelona upped the tempo Liverpool's defence was found wanting. If it was not for Sissoko or Carragher it would have been a different story. After the initial exchange of play when Barcelona upped the tempo, it looked like Liverpool is going to have lots of trouble. That phase of the match lasted till Deco's first Goal, in which we saw Barcelona's attacking force raiding the Liverpool territory ball after another. But that lasted only till that Goal came and after that Barcelona decided to sit back and enjoy. I don't find the rationale for such a decision, when you know that Anfield is not such an easy Ground. The tactic should have been to score at least 3 Goals and make the Tie safe.
But if we look deeper we can find that this laid back attitude is causing team more matches this season than players injury or players out of form. There was no explanation for team losing yesterday than this attitude, as Liverpool only had an average Game. Nobody ever saw Gerrard or Alonso on the field. But still they managed to Get two away Goals tell the way Barcelona played. When everyone was expecting the team to come and fire in all cylinders after the break, they were content with holding possession. They very well deserve to lose this match. But they could have tried a little harder so that the fans could walk home with some satisfaction.
It didn't came as a surprise that whenever Barca was able to make some impression in the Liverpool D it came from the right of the field through Messi. He might have seemed a little disillusioned in the second half, but he was the only Barca player along with Puyol who played at least well in the match. Last season Barca's strength were the one touch passing football and the pace they showed. It was the pace that combined along with the one touch football and skill which made them so dangerous. This season if we look carefully they are showing some glimpses of one touch football but they miss the pace completely. It cannot be attributed to the absence of Eto, as when Eto was there the same problem existed. Rijkaard has to address this as early as possible or change the 4-3-3 system to some conventional system. The 4-3-3 system needs the two above mentioned quality to be effective and Barca seems to miss at least one of them this season.
It will be honest to say that Barca's chances in the La Liga also will be diminished in the coming weeks. We have to expect Sevilla moving well ahead of them and may be Valencia will slowly overtake Barca for second spot. This could be a good time to see how good is the young talents we are having in our youth systems - Bojan Krkic, Dos santos, Marc Crosas, Olma etc. Rijkaard should start preparing for the next season from now onwards(forget about this season) and see wherever Barca need reinforcements. Certainly Zaragoza will kick them out of Copa del Rey coming 28th and Liverpool will complete formality by humiliating them with mostly a 2-0 defeat in Anfield.
Still as a Barcelona fan I will stay up late night to watch 2nd leg at Anfield hoping Barca beat them at least with a two goal margin. I will also hope we will win at Zaragoza by two goals(We last time lost their 4-1). You might think I am crazy, then without Hope this world will be a difficult place to live in.
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