Thursday, August 27, 2009

UEFA Champions League 2009-10: Liverpool in Group E

Group E: Liverpool, Lyon, Fiorentina, Debrecen

With Manchester United selling Ronaldo and Tevez, Arsenal losing Adebayor and Toure, and Chelsea looking not formidable, Liverpool was thought to be one of the most favorites to win premier league this season. However, the reality is that Liverpool is the only big team who has suffered two defeats so far in the season. After a 2-1 defeat in the opening game against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool has now lost to Aston Villa 3-1 in their recent league fixture.

Naturally, Rafael Benitez boys are not full of confidence at this moment. In fact, the two defeats must have affected their confidence level. Though the season has just started, it seems that Liverpool’s wish to end their title draught in premier league will remain unachieved this season too. Well, it is true that there are lots of matches left yet and the Benitez boys can still make strong come back. In fact, Liverpool narrowly missed on the premier league title last season, finishing 2nd to Manchester United.

Liverpool’s performance in premier league may not be impressive over the last several years, but one thing is, for sure, that Liverpool was very strong in Europe. In fact, Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005 under the captaincy of Steven Gerrard. Moreover, the Reds also made it to the last four a number of times in the last few seasons.

So, Liverpool’s ordinary league performance does not mean that they would be easily broken in Europe. That is what the opposition team should keep it in mind. I think, Liverpool should not have huge problem to progress to the first knockout round of Champions League 2009-10.

Liverpool may have lost some of their star performers in the Summer including Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso, defender Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Hyypia. I truly believe that Alonso will be sorely missed in their midfield this summer because the Spaniard has the ability to control the midfield. Gerrard is an excellent playmaker who is equally capable of scoring and setting up for others. To be honest, Liverpool squad has lost some strength over the Summer.

Midfielder Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres are the two players whom Liverpool would mostly rely on this season. However, it is necessary to note that some other key performers like Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Albert Riera, Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, Javier Mascherano and Andrea Dossena need to perform according to their merit if Liverpool really wants to make another shot at Champions League title this season. However, as I mentioned earlier, Liverpool should not have any problem in reaching the last 16 of the tournament.

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