AFTER FA CUP EUROPE REMAINS

February 19, 2008 |

Today, Liverpool, and Rafa Benitez, will be looking to add an addendum
to the history books with Inter Milan – both as an organization and an
individual.
On May 4th in the home leg of the1965 European Cup semi-finals,
Liverpool put on a clinic beating Inter 3-1 on Chris Lawler, Roger
Hunt and Ian Callaghan goals. They couldn’t reproduce the same form
though, and on the back of some shameless match fixing, ultimately
lost the fixture on Italian soil going down 3-0 and 7-6 on aggregate.
In Rafa’s first season at the helm in 2001/02 of Valencia, he was
beaten by the man whom he replaced, freshly squeezed out Hector Cuper.
He suffered the same fate the following year in the round of 8 at the
hands of the same squad.
Inter is not a team to be trifled with. They are currently 11 points
clear at the top of Serie A and have yet to lose a game in
intra-league play.
This match couldn’t come at worse time for a Liverpool outfit that
crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday to Championship team Barnsley.
As predicted, in the wake of the calamitous exit from the FA Cup, came
the questions regarding his future. And as predicted, Rafa recited
mantra – “I just want to focus on this match and win this match.”
He’ll have to do more than that. Nothing more than an all-out
blitzkrieg against a stingy Inter contingent, and a convincing string
of league wins, not performances categorized by “creating some good
chances going forward,” will help his plight. And for Rafa, the
writing is on the wall – literally.
Graffiti on the walls around Melwood is evidence that whatever milk of
human kindness might have been resonating throughout Anfield in Rafa’s
favor after the American owner debacle, has begun to sour.
On the needs and wants scale, this is a game the Reds need to want to
win. After all the criticism and offish performances, the
much-publicized backroom blow ups and misfires, this is where
Liverpool can prove their true class.
We won it in black and white, we’ve won it in Technicolor and now it’s
time to win in ’08.
See you at Slainte.

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