Champions League Preview

Wednesday, 04 November 2009

Arsenal v AZ Alkmaar

Dynamo Kiev v Inter Milan

Fiorentina v Debrecen

Lyon v Liverpool

Rubin Kazan v Barcelona

Sevilla v VfB Stuttgart

Standard Liege v Olympiakos

Unirea Urziceni v Rangers

 It’s the big one for Liverpool. Tonight’s match will pretty much tell us how the rest of the season will pan out. The Reds are well and truly out of the Premier League, Carling Cup ambitions are over (it didn’t seem like there were any ambitions for that in the first place)and the Champions league may be the only way to salvage a trophy this season. Is Rafa trying to repeat what he managed in his first season with the Reds?  Two weeks ago, Lyon came back in the dying moments of the game to break Kopite hearts, will Liverpool be able to go to Lyon tonight and inflict similar damage? I am still finding it difficult to accept the situation at Liverpool. ..

Torres was pulled off early in the weekend’s slump to Fulham; he was taken off to be rested for this match. He is likely to start despite reports that he’s suffering from Hernia (???). Almost all of Liverpool’s entire first team are carrying injuries: Gerrard is unfortunately, still recovering from that groin injury, so he’s definitely not going to play. Riera, Kelly, Aurelio, Johnson and Skrtel are all harbouring injuries; and there are doubts over Agger and Ngog’s fitness. Aquilani was struck with a virus, but seems to have recovered in time. Hopefully he will start today.

The ideal situation for Liverpool would be a win, and for Debrecen to beat Fiorentina… very tough indeed for either to happen! Lyon heads the group with full marks (9points), Fiorentina on 6, and ‘Pool on 3 points. Debrecen is pointless. If Liverpool lose tonight and Fiorentina win, a miracle will be needed for Liverpool to qualify for the next round. YNWA

Meanwhile Barca takes on surprise package Rubin. The Catalan giants travelled to Russia a couple days ago, to be met with icy weather which forced their training to be called off, as well as their usual “tour” of the city. How are they to play a 90 minute match when they couldn’t manage a training session? This is going to be a true test of Barca’s will. Having dropped points over the weekend to Osasuna (remember Pique’s own goal?), and they lost their last CL match to Rubin at Camp Nou, I imagine Pep would put together his strongest side for this one. A 19 man squad made the trip to Russia, Milito and Chygrynsky were not included. “Chysy”, because he’s cup tied; and Milito is still recovering from that injury (it feels like it’s been forever!). Dani Alves should make a return to the team sheet, but it’s still not certain whether Henry will start. Rumours having been floating around that Pep and Titi don’t see eye to eye. If this is true, could this mean it’s his last season with the Blaugrana?? Word has it that Rubin is in top form (I cannot confirm this, I do not watch Russian football, duh!) and they are out to do a double over Barca. They also have the advantage of being acclimatized to the blistering cold. I think this is going to be a tough one for Barca, hopefully they can come away with the win, if not, they could find themselves in hot water, trying to get out of what’s turning out to be a tough group F. As it stands, Rubin, Dynamo Kiev and Barca are all tied on 4 points whilst Inter are bottom with 3. If Barca were to lose tonight, and the other match produces a result, Barca will drop to 3rd/4th place, placing extra pressure on them for the next 2 ties. Hopefully, this won’t happen! Visca Catalunya!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.