December 19, 2007 | WNST Interns

            Are these third tier trophies actually made of silver? Cups like the Carling Cup, and to some extent the FA Cup, definitely lack the luster of “real” trophies. With as little worth that is apparently placed on them, they might as well make them out of pewter.
More and more these “unimportant” competitions are indicative of the gap that is now yawing between the top teams in the Premiership and everyone else. Whereas big name managers will trot out the second team, the Evertons, Manchester Cities and definitely the Blackburns of the world – whose collective trophy cabinets house impressive selections of vintaged dust – assemble teams in all rounds that suggests any silverware, no matter what it is made of, is better than nothing.
Interestingly enough, though, as little worth as most top managers will claim that these competitions hold, they will sally forth with the best 11 as the competition progresses. (Unless you are Arsene Wenger who can waltz into the quarter final leg with his youth team and put the smack on Blackburn. Arsenal are too nice this year. Too nice.) It would seem when it comes down to it, a full cabinet is a full cabinet no matter who you are.  
And so it is onto Stamford Bridge and the compound that Chelsea has made it. Rest assured with the old enemy in sight, it will not be the “other guys” that step onto the pitch. Rafa will come to win. And you know what, we’re gonna win.
Under Rafa, Liverpool has a developed an uncanny knack for beating Chelsea in cup competitions especially in the higher rounds. It’s something that must irk Abramovich to no end. It’s one thing he has not been able to buy.
Xabi is back. I expect to see him in some form or another today. Voronin should start, and after a fairly bleh performance, I think Torres will be incandescent today – especially since John Terry will have his broken foot up in the stands.
Riise is on the Valencia hit list. Apparently Koeman would love to have the ginger ninja on his team to shore up what has become a cheese cloth defense. Rafa is apparently going to snuff that nonsense. I hope he stays. He was magnificent against Christiano Ronaldo.
Man U is conspicuous in its absence. But like I said, it’s only the Carling Cup, right.
My prediction 2-0 Liverpool. ‘Nuff said.