9 Apr 2009

In the gutter, staring up at the stars...

Well that was a bit brutal wasn’t it? No complaints, no remorse, and no practice at defending set pieces it seems. We got exactly what we deserved last night, and while a miracle comeback is still possible, this is Liverpool FC remember, it seems that Rome will have to wait to be conquered again.

Chelsea were good. They were the best away side I’ve seen at Anfield this season, and while we gifted them two goals (I’d forgotten that Ivanovic played for them, so did our defenders it seems) they could easily have had more.

Didier Drogba, part-Raging Bull part-pantomime horse, could and should have had about four, while anyone doubting Javier Mascherano’s importance to this side just needs to be given a DVD of the game.

The second leg will be a struggle, and while there will be no John Terry to hoof balls away for them (yes John, it’s not very nice when members of the other team try to get you booked, just as its not nice when you and your mates are snarling in the referee’s face, nostrils flaring and waving your imaginary cards about; ‘Mr Pot, a message from Mr Kettle, you’re black’) you have believe that Chelsea will have enough about them to finish the task.

Now after last night it would be easy for me to sit here and simply write off the Champions League as not important in this, the campaign of the on-again off-again race to end 19 years of waiting for a 19th league title.

I do suspect, however, that most of you would trade a semi-final place for seven more Premier League wins, but to completely dismiss defeat would be an insult to a competition that is so much a part of the fabric of Liverpool Football Club that we ended up with a picture of the trophy sewn into our shirts.

The main priority now should be making sure that this result doesn’t affect the Premier League charge. Just as the mauling of Madrid set us up for the subsequent hammerings of Manchester United and Aston Villa, this result could easily blow away the collective confidence of beating Blackburn on Saturday. A slip up there, coupled with a United win at Sunderland, and we’d really be up against it.

As simplistic as it sounds, we just have to forget about it. That is easier said than done, but at a time when that lot from up the M62 are quaking in their overpriced lime green boots, the next couple of league results seem crucial. Learn from the defeat, right the wrongs and move on.

Liverpool are playing football on a knife-edge right now, every moment matters. Chelsea twisted that knife in pretty deep last night; the wound must not be allowed to become fatal.


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