LIVERPOOL KINGS OF EUROPE

CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE

Liverpool made it an historic sixth European Cup victory after defeating Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid. Liverpool had previously settled for the runners up spot having lost to the galactico’s Real Madrid a year earlier. However, they battled through this season’s competition and rose to great heights especially in their semi final destruction of Barcelona to gain a place in the final.

Credit must be given to Reds manager Jurgen Klopp who finally won a final (it’s been a long time coming) after losing his previous 7 contests but he was able to set his side up and guide them to victory in his 8th final. The KOP and Klopp celebrated the win in bringing Liverpool European glory once more.

The game itself wasn’t what you’d expect from a champions league final in terms of entertainment value, especially with both teams being renowned for their great attacking prowess. Nevertheless the showcase premiered two great English clubs competing for European Club football’s summit.

The match started off controversially after Sisoko was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty box (I’m not sure what the referee was watching but from where I was sat that didn’t look like a hand ball). The referee wasted little time in awarding the penalty and to the amazement of the Spurs supporters VAR was not consulted (think of it what you like). Salah who had been injured in last year’s final stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick. There was nothing the Spurs goal keeper Iloris could do but pick the ball out of the net.

To be fair to Tottenham they actually played a lot better than Liverpool and had most of the possession. However, they were unable to create that clear cut opportunity in the Liverpool half and struggled at times to get Kane involved in the game. To be brutally honest Kane should never have started the game and I believe Pochettino made the wrong decision with his team selection. It’s easy to understand why neutrals and Spurs fans alike questioned Moura’s omission from the starting eleven.

We can argue all day about the manager’s preferences however, the night belongs to the team that scores the most goals. And on the 1st June 2019, that team was Liverpool. Origi capped of a memorable night for this group of Liverpool players when he added a second for the reds late in the second half on the 87th minute. Tottenham knew it was over by then and so too did the boys in Red.

It had been a wonderful campaign for both clubs (more so Spurs giving their route to the final) and what a conclusion to another year of football, although there is a smalll matter of the super cup to settle between Liverpool and Chelsea (after the latter beat Arsenal in the Europa League final) in the coming months. For now it’s holiday season (SUN, SEA and SANGRIA beckons!!!).

Congratulations once again to Liverpool and commiserations to Tottenham who endeavoured  but couldn’t quite get over the line. We anticipate a summer of major signings with a plethora of movers and shakers no doubt. One thing is for sure all the big teams will strengthen up again and will be back competing for the major honours. It’s been a majic season and I cannot wait for it to go off again in august. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!!!!

winners

LIVERPOOL CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE 2019!!!

 

 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REVIEW

The reality of miracles

Now where do I start? Having now got my voice back after a thrilling week of European club football it gives me great pleasure in the knowledge that there will be an all English representation at both European cup finals (Champions League and Europa League).

I am sure everyone watched and appreciated some amazing games of football this week and witnessed history being made (average players became heroes). First up were Liverpool who were trailing the mighty Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate and without their influential midfielder Salah.

Prior to the game the entire world had written off Liverpool after the first leg in which Messi put in a one man display of share brilliance. We all watched in amazement as the little Argentinian magician dazzled (I really believed it was over for the Reds). The return leg at Anfield would need to be extra special to overcome a mountain of a task.

The anfield faithful sang their hearts out full of believe and hope for their team who always manage to find that spirit on the big occasions. This match saw Klopp make some changes. I certainly raised my eyebrow (and am sure many across the world did too, be honest hehe!!) when I saw Divock Origi in the starting line up. I thought right, he’s gonna mess up big time ( well………I used a different phrase at the time).

Origi to my surprise opened the scoring in the 7th minute sending the Liverpool supporters into jubilation. They could sense something special was about to happen. They pressured Barcelona for much of the first half and continued in the same vain in the 2nd half. Wijnaldum added a brace in quick succession on the 54th and 56th minute respectively leveling the tie at 3-3 on aggregate.

Barcelona at this point looked worried and disheveled and a far cry from their more disciplined and organised displays. At this stage the atmosphere in anfield was electric, the fans believed. Step up that man Origi who found the winner in the 79th minute after a clever corner from Alexander-Arnold. The boys from Liverpool had done it and defeated the mighty Barcelona and Messi 4-0 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

Now the question people were asking was could lightening strike twice? Can Tottenham repeat the heroics  of their English counterparts? Were they mentally strong enough and tough enough to challenge and defeat a young vibrant, athletic and clinical Ajax side?

The answer to those questions, YES, YES, YES, YES!! Yes they can and yes they did. we were treated to another jaw dropping, heart racing and dramatic encounter between two warriors. Spurs were already down by a goal to nil on aggregate having lost at home the previous week and needed to go to the Johan Cruyff Stadium to perform miracles of their own.

Ajax are a very very good side and carried their impressive form from the first leg into the match and were ahead on the night after their brilliant young captain de Ligt headed in. The home supporters went bananers, especially when Ziyech put them 2 goals ahead in the 35th minute. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and thought Tottenham had blown their opportunity once again.

Moura was nowhere to be seen in the first half likewise Son who was billed as the player that would make all the difference in the 2nd Leg. However, I am not quite sure what Pochetinno said to his team at half time but a different Spurs came out of that changing room.

The players now started to work for each other and the confidence and believe started to grow. Moura pulled one back for Spurs in the 55th minute before shortly adding a brilliant second goal (he’s foot work was poetry in motion). Ajax now seemed lethargic and although they hit the post, the night belonged to the boys from North London.

Moura was able to find the back of the net in the 96th (and complete his hat trick)after a clever flick from Dele Alli put the Brazilian through on goal. It was a great comeback for Spurs and once that final whistle went Pochetinno was overcome with emotions and who could blame him. His team had been written off long ago but here they are as Liverpool’s competitors to be crowned the best in Europe. June 1st is the date and Madrid is the place, so I’ll see you there for what promises to be an epic encounter between two footballing giants (yes Spurs are footballing giants!!!!).

Champions League Final 

Liverpool V Tottenham

Europa League Final

Chelsea V Arsenal

Cup

He who dares, wins!!!

Manchester City dented by resilient Spurs

Greatest game of all time?

Forget the billions of viewers who tuned in to watch the return of the eagerly anticipated GAME OF THRONES season 8 opener (great watch!!!) this past week. The real drama unfolded on Wednesday evening at the etihad  stadium in the champions league quarter final match between favourites Manchester City and Tottenham.

I have never seen anything quite like it in my entire life. Spurs went into the game with  an aggregate advantage of 1-0 having beaten City in the first leg of the tie at home. The 2nd leg was viewed by many as a game set to be dominated and won by City. However, what we got was the total opposite. The opening felt like a game of basketball with both teams unleashing attacking prowess.

The action was non stop and that was just the first 3 minutes of the game. Raheem Sterling opened up the scoring with a beautifully taken goal in the 4th minute sending the etihad faithful into euphoria (City fans were full jubilation). I thought it was going to be another lackluster gutless performance from Spurs but boy was I wrong. Spurs did the total opposite and attacked City like a team possessed.

Their efforts were rewarded when Son leveled in the 7th minute before putting Tottenham ahead with an absolute peach of a goal in the 10th minute (nothing the City keeper could do about the finish). Before Spurs could blink they were picking the ball out of their own net thanks to Bernado Silva’s deflected effort which eased past Lloris in the 11th minute. That’s 4 goals in 11 incredible minutes jam packed action. City would not allow Spurs to settle into the game and clearly dominated possession.

City’s player of the moment (Sterling), stepped up to the plate again and slotted in at the far post to give Guardiola’s men a 3-2 lead on the night. At this point Spurs would still go through. A night at the etihad wouldn’t be complete without an Aguero goal and the Argentine did just that in the 59th minute. After great work from De Bruyne who provided the assist, Aguero hit the ball with venom to put City up 4-2 and closer to the semi-final. At this point you’re thinking the flood gates will open and City will run through Spurs.

However, Spurs showed great resilience and pegged back in the 73rd minute with a Llorente goal from a set piece (even I was chanting his name, trust me I really don’t RATE him). The drama wasn’t over yet as Sterling found the net in the last minute of injury time before the goal was disallowed thanks to VAR which meant Spurs go through to the semi-finals 4-4 on the away goals rule. I am pretty certain someone suffered an heart-attack because that was just too much tension for one to handle.

The contrast was amazing!! Pep running down the sideline jumping in the air one minute, and then head in hands the next. Pochettino hand in head one minute then hugging and celebrating with players the next. Even the home fans were silent when the VAR ruling was upheld. It truly was a beautiful match and possibly the best champions league game if not  of all time, then definitely in recent years. The beautiful game delivered a beautiful story……..well done boys!!!!

Champions League Semifinals

Spurs V Ajax

Barcelona V Liverpool

spurs champ

Spurs celebrate epic victory!!!

 

Champions League Review

The story so far

The draw for the champions league quarter finals have now been made and the biggest shock of the knockout round was holders Real Madrid not advancing to the next phase. The knockout  stage of this year’s competition brought lots of entertainment to our screens. Some of the games being played were decided in the last minute of play (literally the final kick of the match).

Firstly, all the premier league clubs made it through to the quarter finals stages and only Manchester City had an impressive result over two legs after knocking out German side 10-2 on aggregate. Spurs did well also with a 4-0 aggregate win over Dortmund having done damage to Dortmund’s chances in the first match at Wembley.

Liverpool, with the inform Mane were able to defeat footballing powerhouse Bayern Munich 3-1 on aggregate to progress through to the next round whilst Manchester United knocked out PSG thanks to a Rashford penalty and VAR. Never was that a penalty but many United fans will argue to the cows come home that it was a penalty. Nevertheless all English clubs made it through and it kind of guarantees premier league representation in the semi-final if not the final.

Ronaldo proved yet again why he is regarded as the best in the world (well him and the little magician Messi) as his hat-trick for Juventus saw off Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo was in scintillating form as he helped the Italian giants claw back a two goal deficit to ensure their place in the quarter finals. Meanwhile Ronaldo’s old club were beating and humiliated by Ajax 5-3 on aggregate prompting Real Madrid to reappoint Zidane as manager (now that’s hilarious!!!). Barcelona and Porto make up the rest of the qualifiers having both won their respective fixures.

The question now remains, who will be crowned Champions? With the holders now out of the campaign, a new champion will be crowned in May but who will be triumphant and celebrating glory?

The fan in me would love to say Tottenham but I do not suffer from delusion (unlike some Arsenal fans hehehe!!!). However, there are some really strong teams left in the competition. Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City have to be among the favourites to win it. But let’s wait and see what happens.

QUARTER FINALS

Tottenham vs Manchester City

Liverpool vs Porto

Ajax vs Juventus

Manchester United vs Barcelona

Cup

He who dares wins!!!!

Spurs Draw Barca

Champions League latest

The 2018/19 season Champions League group stage draw has now taken place and there are a few interesting games ahead. The Premier League will be represented by Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. Liverpool had a very successful campaign last time out as they reached the finals only to be defeated by a solid Madrid team although many will argue that it was a giveaway (karius’s suspect perfomance & Ramos’s antics come to mind).

Spurs, who are ever becoming regulars of Europe’s elite club competition will take on the mighty Barcelona and Messi whilst Christiano Ronaldo’s Juventus have been drawn against old club Man Utd. The group stage promises to certainly keep football fans glued to their seats and I for one cannot wait to see Kane and Co run riot at the Nuo Camp.

GROUPS

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge

Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV, Inter Milan

Group C: Paris St-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade

Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray

Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens

Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim

Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen (who the hell are they?)

Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys

 

Cup

He who dares wins!!!