David Pleat: Chelsea must stop Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard:
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres must be watched closely if Chelsea are to progress. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are outstanding individuals who play with a telepathic understanding, unselfishly working in tandem and each seizing on the other's considerable qualities. Against Torres, who will often receive the ball with his back to goal, you need a strong marker. Whoever is designated to combat the Spaniard must ensure he does not get too tight or allow the forward to come off, turn and face up in possession of the ball.
In this role Torres rarely takes the centre-back to the touchlines but he will attempt to draw his marker towards midfield if he is not receiving a decent supply-line up front. John Terry has played against him many times and will not get sucked deep or too wide. But what you must watch out for is Torres's brilliant movement in the box – start, stop, start – as he turns half chances into goal attempts.
Gerrard, as a second striker, is arguably the more difficult to track. He will drift quietly towards the play and free himself to receive. He has everything in his locker: the surge, the pass, the positioning and the shot. He is so influential and orchestrates all Liverpool's forward movements with his dynamic play. These are the players Chelsea must nullify if they are to emerge intact and confident from Anfield this evening: stop the pair and they will have won half the battle. [Read the rest...]
And from this week's Sunday Times:
The world's finest double act:
When Ian Rush joined Liverpool in 1980 he was a gauche teenager with a bum-fluff moustache who drove a tatty Hillman Avenger. Senior players baited him, none more mercilessly than Kenny Dalglish, whom Rush decided quickly he disliked. First impressions don’t always count. Rush left for Juventus in 1987 with one European Golden Boot and 149 English league goals to his name. Dalglish had proved his provider and mentor. “He was always making me more aware of situations and patterns of play and pointing out weaknesses in the opponents’ defence,” Rush recalled. “And it became a case of when I made any sort of run, he’d be able to find me with a pass and play me in on goal.”
Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are different. From the start, from the moment Torres scored majestically against Chelsea only 16 minutes into his Anfield debut, their relationship has been as equals, No 1 (Torres) and No 2 (Gerrard) in the club shop chart of replica shirt sales, Liverpool’s twin match winners, the two players Rafael Benitez possesses that every other manager in football covets.
“Liverpool FC is Gerrard plus 10 more,” Torres swoons.
“He’s the best striker in the world,” says Gerrard. “I love playing with him and he loves playing with me.”
Guus Hiddink says Liverpool hold “no secrets” but knowing a hurricane is on its way does not mean you can withstand it. Chelsea face the most dynamic attack pairing in football on Wednesday and one that is redefining the term “strike partnership” in football.
Gerrard-Torres is a tandem for the age of the lone striker. Using one up front means players from deeper or wider have to support the No 9, and no central midfielder has been converted more successfully into a centre-forward’s sidekick than Gerrard dovetailing with Torres. The Kop likens them to Rush and Dalglish without feeling blasphemous. [Read the rest...]
So that's two more articles on Stevie and Nando's ~telepathic connection~ - thoughts? Will Xabi continue growing his protest beard? Like many other celebrity relationships, will this level of media attention turn things sour? When will NailTech Curran start to get jealous?
TERRY WARY OF REDS DUO
Chelsea captain John Terry believes the partnership of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres is currently one of the best in world football.
Liverpool play host to the Londoners in the first-leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield tomorrow and Terry admits he is concerned by the threat the double act pose to his side's European aspirations.
"They're up there with the very best in the world," the Blues skipper told reporters at a press conference when asked about the Anfield strike pair.
"Stevie is a world-class player and he's in great form at the moment. He links up very well from midfield and bombs on behind the defence.
"He's scored some great goals and supplies a lot of assists for Torres and the people around him.
"Torres poses a great threat to all defenders. We've seen over the past two years he is definitely one of the best in the world.
"As a defence we have to be very organised and not focus too much on just one of them because if we were to focus on Stevie, Torres will do the damage and the same the other way. Collectively we have to try and keep them both at bay."
Despite acknowledging the danger of Gerrard and Torres, Terry has warned his teammates they can ill-afford to underestimate the attacking menace of other members of Liverpool's squad.
He added: "You can't pinpoint one player to be their main danger. They've got three or four.
"Liverpool have got a great spine in their team with Reina, Carragher, Stevie and Torres as well as the likes of Alonso. They've got a fantastic squad.
"They're playing very well at the moment, similar to us. It's going to be a difficult game on a very big occasion and we're hoping we can be the team who comes out on top."
Terry does not believe the outcome of the tie will have any negative bearing on either side's Premier League title challenge.
"Whichever team is knocked out will really focus on the Premier League, while the other team will carry the momentum and push on in both competitions, so it works both ways," said the defender.
"One thing is for sure, both teams are really pushing Manchester United and pushing them all the way. United know ourselves and Liverpool are right behind them."
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink claims his team will go in search of an away goal to take back to Stamford Bridge.
"We will not sit back and wait until we are overcome," he asserted. "That is not the way to play football. That's not my philosophy or the team's concept.
"We will not just wait. Wherever we can, we will try and take the initiative."
Hiddink feels the winner of the tie will be decided by the performance of the players and not the managers.
"The players know each other very well, so there are no secrets," said the Blues' coach.
"It's been said the managers will have to come up with something extra, but I think this is exaggerated. The manager does not play, it is the players who execute his plans.
"We have our plan, they have theirs and in the end it will be up to the players to deliver."
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Oh god oh god oh god so nervous :| I hate that if we win this we're knocking Chelsea out so early, but if they beat us I really want Chelsea to win it..damn draws
Much has been said about Guti these days, but the Madridista decided to clarify everything.The midfielder said he is happy at Real Madrid and that he is 100% devoted to the team's fight to win the title.
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Miguel Torres knows its hard to make a starting lineup at Real Madrid. The youth teamer had a chance to play on Saturday and performed brilliantly against Malaga.
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Huntelaar only thinks about winning. The Dutch striker is having a great run and will be a key figure in Real Madrid's remaining nine games in La Liga.
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Mods: can I have an "I've had Media Training" tag?
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I am still deeply wounded by the result at Anfield but at least I have my Barca boys to sorta ease the pain. This match was a goodie for Barca fans, nutrells or anyone who just enjoys watching attractive football. The first half was filled with more action and drama than the new Vin Diesel movie, Lindsay Lohan's recent break up from SamRon and uh ontd_football in general. If you're looking for a quick way to get rich, then I suggest you start putting all your savings on this team because with Messi, Eto'o and Henry getting on every single scoresheet, your career in sports betting has just gotten easier.
Lionel Messi (9) Samuel Eto'o (12) Lionel Messi (38) Thierry Henry (43)
Once again, this match proved that Titties Henry, at the age of 31, is still hot on his career. The Frenchie was on fire this match, outsmarting the Bayern defense on numerous occasions and making a few chances before netting his 50th European goal! One particular miss left his feet slamming into goalkeeper Butt's face (2:25 in the video)! Luckily, Butt was a trooper and carried on with cuts and bruises to his face. Hmmm, looks like he really did kick Bayern's Butt tonight -- and in more ways than one. Oucch
Another interesting thing about this match, was HOWARD WEBB as the referee. Perhaps he's accustomed to reffing games back in England where players tend to lose their balance magically in the penalty area. A harsh yellow card was shown to Lionel Messi for taking a tumble in front of goal (1:55 in highlights video). Hottie coach Pep lost his cool and got sassy with an official, "sassy" as in probably "verbally assaulting" and was sent to the stands as punishment.
My boyfriend Dani Alves was really good this match, containing Ribery throughout the game and my other boyfriend Capitan Puyi was awesome too taking the LEFT BACK position and working the role better than some other natural leftbacks I know (hello Dosenna, I am looking at you). Even though this guy has had the same haircut since he was in the womb he's made up for it by showing some variety and versatility on the pitch... and in other places too I bet...
Barcelona are on their best form right now and they already have a foot in the semi finals. Bayern are a strong side and have been on good European form but they played the best team in the world (atm). Like I always say, if you lose against Barca, you die with honour :P I know it's still early to rule anyone out because, uh... look what happened with Porto, but I believe that Barcelona truly deserve the European Cup to cap off their amazing season, and I'm not the only person who thinks so ;) Here are some wise words from sexy chica MADRIDISTA motsdesoie, unf.
|There are things that can't be denied, must be recognized and even celebrated. This is like Spain in the Euros, their victory was one for football because of the football they played. I know it's really early to talk but Barcelona taking this would also be a victory for football.|
The bad thing to come out of this match?
We probably won't see Luca Toni running around naked for us soon. Fuck!
K I'm gonna shut up now because pictures are what matter.
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Jürgen Klinsmann: “They took us apart in the first half. They showed up our limitations in every area. We’ve been completely unable to cover for the loss of Lucio, Lahm and Klose. Nothing went right for us tonight. We were unable to match them in any area of the field. Obviously, everyone’s hurting and totally gutted. We’ve been taken to pieces by a team which is setting the standards in Europe at the moment. We have to swallow the result for the time being. We wanted to take the fight to Barcelona, get stuck in to the challenges, and disrupt their passing game with a five-man midfield, but we never even came close, we had no physical presence, and we completely failed to hurt them. Jörg Butt was the unluckiest man on the field.“
Mark van Bommel: “They made us look like amateurs in the first half. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Barcelona can be unstoppable. We were lucky it was still only 4-0 at the end. If we’d scored, we might just have been in with a shout in the return. But maybe Barcelona will only send out eight men in Munich – that would give us a chance.“
Jörg Butt: “Time after time, we were a yard too slow throughout the first half, and we failed to prevent them playing the final ball. That’s why Barcelona created so many good chances, and they were ruthless about taking them.“
221 football icons of individual players and teams
Inter Milan x5
Bayern Munich x5
Manchester United x9
AC Milan x6
Various NTs x7
Liverpool FC x149
Please don't modify these. I'll be happy to do it for you.
Enjoy peeps! feedback is <3
Come on over baby
Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann has opted for ex-Germany goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt ahead of Michael Rensing for Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.
After last Saturday's 5-1 defeat at the hands of Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, Rensing, 24, has been left on the bench with reserve goalkeeper Butt, 34, brought into the starting eleven, according to tabloid Bild.
Butt, who won the last of his three caps in 2003, was in goal when Bayern beat Sporting Lisbon 7-1 in the previous round at Munich's Allianz Arena last month.
This post is so Chelsea biased it's like drinkin' too much Kool-Aid and your piss turning blue.
If this is not your cup of tea, I'm not forcing you to sip dat sh&t.
r we kewl?
And because I'm sensitive to the scousers I put everything behind the cut-- well mostly everything.
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