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Showing posts with label Liverpool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liverpool. Show all posts

Feb 22, 2007

Last night 2-1 defeat to Liverpool drops curtain on Barcelona's Champions League dream of this year. The most embarrassing and worrying factor for Frank Rijkaard about the defeat is the ease with which it came searching for Liverpool. Liverpool did not have to play anywhere near their ability to win this game, as Barca played perfect host by delivering the match in a palette to them. This does not come as a surprise as the Catalans recent performance should have warn this coming. Like against Valencia they have their Defence(yesterday Valdes also) to take the full responsibility of the defeat. But Does putting the blame entirely on the defence solves the mystery? No, I absolutely disagree. The blatant Truth is that its their offence's failures which is putting them in precarious position like this.

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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Feb 17, 2007

FC Barcelona's "El Magico" Ronaldinho told English tabloid "SUN" that he and his teammates have to be at their best to beat liverpool to progress to the quarter finals. Despite being branded as favourites ronaldinho insists that the UEFA Champions League clash is anything other than easy.

European champions of 2006 Barca host Liverpool, who won the title one year before, on wednesday night. An exciting tie over two legs is on the agenda and Ronaldinho believes that liverpool has a team able to win the European trophy again. Ronnie explained to the "SUN":

Liverpool won the European Cup two years ago, so we know it could go either way. I think we'll have to be at our very best to make it through to the last eight. Liverpool's incredible win in 2005 was amazing and an achievement we must be aware of. We have to learn from what happened to Milan. It would be a mistake not to consider Liverpool as one of the favourites to win this season's Champions League. Not only have they already won it, they have a team capable of doing it again. But we are a force in this competition and have an obligation to show them our quality too.
We know all about Liverpool. Steven Gerrard is a brilliant midfield player with a lot of force and Xabi Alonso complements him perfectly. They have a good passing range and we have to be very careful they don't release their strikers too much. The likes of Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch are dangerous. The core of Liverpool's side is of a very high standard. They can hurt us on the break, so we must not neglect that threat. The hour of truth has arrived and we fully expect to reach the heights we are capable of reaching. Winning the first leg is important to us. We must make home advantage count because we are going to suffer at Anfield, if we are not in front. I think, we are good enough to win both legs. We have confidence in ourselves and believe we can repeat last season and end the year as Champions League winners again.

If the performance against Racing is anything to go by, then Barcelona might be slowly awaking. They seems to do well in the midfield and defense, but still the forward lineups inability to create chances are becoming a big problem. Last season they had a problem of converting goals from numerous chances they usually creates. But this season, it seems its going other way. They are converting most of their chances, but the chances are very less from a very highly Talented Barcelona side.
The last match against Racing was a decent performance, basic analysis of the game is as follows:

1) Ronaldinho - Got two great goals, first one was pure class and the second one due to poor marking. He didn't tried to do spectacular things and concentrated on his job basically.
2) Saviola - Had a bad day, cannot blame him for that. He is an out and out CF and midfield has to supply balls to him(Which was very less). Most of the time he has to drop back to touch the ball says plenty of Barca's problem this season. It seems he is trying too hard to retain his place in the wake of Eto's coming back from injury. Should be given a start against Valencia.
3) Iniesta - Had a bad day. He is being played out of position. He fits brilliantly in the midfield, where his creativity will gel beautifully with Deco's. Right Forward position is either Guily's or Messi's.
4) Deco - Great as usual.
5) Xavi - Good player. Sometimes seems to getting lost.
6) Marquez - Until we find a good DM its better to have him as DM.
7) Defensive line was really great. There were some problems which should be sorted out.
8) Messi - Looked really good, will be back in may be days.
9) Guily - He was excellent with his pace.

Now concentrating on the Games on hand in the recent future, it is important to have a regular line up and stop shuffling at least until the match against zaragoza is over. So lets identify the line up for these matches.








In the matches against Valencia and Liverpool its very necessary to have a tall DM to complement the defense, so I will prefer marques always. But against Zaragosa I will have Xavi there which will give more attacking option. The match against Valencia is the most crucial of all as it will set the tone for all the other matches. Barcelona has to win this one at any cost. This will give the necessary confidence to proceed further in Champions League and Copa del Rey and increasing the lead in La Liga.
With so much tension looming over the last weeks incidents involving Eto, it is very necessary for the team to have a confident boosting win against Valencia. If that doesn't happen we might see the team losing out of CL and Spanish Cup pretty soon. Its very much essential to the team to gel together. With Messi and Eto back they should be able to perform well and torment their opponents. Messi is the key as his pace will dictate terms. Deco and Ronnie's combination should be complemented by Xavi or Iniesta properly. Hoping for brighter days ahead.

- An Ardent Fan Of F C Barcelona.

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