Liverpool take on Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday night in the first semifinal and Barcelona play Manchester United at Nou Camp on Wednesday night in the second. Would it be an all English Final at Moscow in May? For that Barcelona will have to be beaten over two legs by Man Utd. Well anything is possible, though United look the stringer team on current form.
Talking about the first Semifinal, these two teams have met before in the semifinal stage before and played one of the more boring matches in the history of Champions League seminfinals. Both the teams approach an away match as a match not to concede and play and score at home and then defend. Liverpool are masters at this and they realise that this tie is decided over two legs and the make the most of the home advantage at Anfield. The only difference this time is that the second leg is at Stamford Bridge this time.
There is a very interesting read about how these two teams play by former Real Madrid coach and World Cup winner Jorge Valdano;
Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct. But, a short pass? Noooo. A feint? Noooo. A change of pace? Noooo. A one-two? A nutmeg? A backheel? Don’t be ridiculous. None of that. The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played the semi-final neutralised any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill.
If Didier Drogba was the best player in the first match it was purely because he was the one who ran the fastest, jumped the highest and crashed into people the hardest. Such extreme intensity wipes away talent, even leaving a player of Joe Cole’s class disoriented. If football is going the way Chelsea and Liverpool are taking it, we had better be ready to wave goodbye to any expression of the cleverness and talent we have enjoyed for a century.
I will not say anything more than that 🙂
While the second semifinal should be a display of attacking football. I cannot see either of the teams sitting back and defending, home or away. Manchester United have firepower in Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez (who has been scoring some very important goals for his team lately) while Barcelona will have the livewire Messi, Bojan Krkic, Henry and Eto in their ranks. This match would be worth waking up at 3 and watching!