After practically stealing six points from the past two weeks we switch our attention to Champions League qualification against a very tidy Standard Liege especially after failing to score in a tense 0-0 draw two weeks ago. Everybody connected with LFC cannot underestimate the importance of qualification along with Europe’s “elite” in this competition. I go as far as saying the managers reputation and perhaps job is on the line as non-qualification effectively means a backward step in the progress of our club compared to the forward progress required by (if we like it or not) our current owners and financial backers and could make future relations very frosty indeed.
Jamie Carragher has warned that Liverpool could pay the ultimate price if they go into tomorrow night’s match with any thoughts of taking Liege lightly. He like me believes that they are the hardest opponents we’ve had in a CL qualifier. They possess a lot of quality and are used to getting into the group stages. He points to the fact that they went on a 30 game unbeaten run in their own league so they are used to winning matches home and away.
It has not been easy playing such as well organised European side so early in the season and it was my opinion last week that they looked a lot fitter and sharper two weeks ago. I do believe however that we have improved a little (not a lot) but enough to see us go through on the night at Anfield. It will be interesting to see if some of their players can handle the electric atmosphere generated by the crowd on Euro nights but we all know that sometimes this can work against us and aspire the away team to a higher level. They have good width to their play and gave us a lot of trouble on the flanks. They are also very physical so we must be up for the fight especially when defending set pieces and corners. It looks as if Masher is still not ready to play after returning from the Olympics so it looks as if Gerrard and Alonso will start in the middle. Another captain’s performance is required to ensure success but it will not be easy and is a real banana skin waiting to happen if not approached correctly and with the right attitude.
Prediction – 2-0 Liverpool.