Spyin' Kop: Liverpool v FC Barcelona Tuesday 6th March 2007

Posted by lurganboy on March 2, 2007, 08:45:06 AM

                                                 

Liverpool (2) v FC Barcelona (1)
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 6th March 2007
Anfield
Kick Off: 7:45pm


Liverpool placed one foot in the Quarter Finals with their 2-1 victory at Camp Nou two weeks ago over the reigning European champions. Those two precious away goals mean Barça now face the uphill task of winning at Anfield by two clear goals, a demanding task given Liverpool's superb form at home this season. However the Catalan giants possess some of the finest attacking talent in world football and on their last visit to Anfield they won 3-1 - a scoreline which would take them through on Tuesday. A superb night of football beckons.



                                       


FC Barcelona Trophy Cabinet

La Liga Winners: 1929, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1959, 1960, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006

Copa Del Rey Champions: 1910, 1912, 1913, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1942, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1997, 1998

Spanish Supercup Winners: 1983, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006

European Champions: 1992, 2006

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup Winners: 1958, 1960, 1966,

Cup Winners Cup Champions: 1979, 1982, 1989, 1997

European Super Cup Winners: 1992, 1997

Gràcies to the fans below from two English-speaking Barça websites: www.fcbes.com and from www.fcbarcelonaweb.co.uk   I hope you all enjoy Tuesday's game, if not the final result.

Welcome to Spyin' Kop. Your club's president Joan Laporta said "I had a preference for playing Liverpool at this stage." What was your reaction to the draw?

Henry14:  My first reaction to the draw was that Laporta will have fun dancing to the Beatles in Liverpool, but football wise, I was loving it. Liverpool are a tough team, especially with Gerrard, and I knew it wouldn't be easy.
FCB-Mo: I was pretty happy, I'm not going to lie, I thought that it was probably the easiest 'top' team we could have drawn. As you expect, I'm not to chuffed that we drew you now.....
Puyol5: Personally, when the draw was declared, I thought Barça would go through, Liverpool weren't going through their best run and we at that time were playing good football and all the fans were really confident in our team and our defence of our title.

What sort of line-up do you think Barça will put out against us?

Henry14:  4-3-3 as usual. Hopefully REM (Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Messi) at the top of the formation. Valdes in goal, Puyol is a no-brainer, but his partner at the centre of defence? I myself would like to see Thuram, his experience will be valuable in this game. Marquez or Edmilson at DM, but the tricky one for Rijkaard will be to choose two midfielders from three amazing players - Iniesta, Deco and Xavi.
FCB-Mo: The same one we always put out - an attacking one. As you witnessed in the first leg, we only know one thing, and that is to attack. We're hopeless at defending so the only real form of defence we have is attack. With Samuel Eto'o back and scoring, I'm confident we can score but the question is, how many will we score and how many will we concede?
Puyol5: Well after the first leg we are going to Anfield with nothing to lose. I have seen Barça beating Liverpool at Anfield before (won 3-1) with Rochemback scoring a cracker. I think we will play our full strength side barring any injuries of course.

--------Victor Valdes---------
Zambrotta-Thuram-Puyol-Gio
--------------Edmilson---------
-----Iniesta-------------Deco----
--Messi----------------------Ronaldinho
----------------Etoo---------------------
Coussie: I expect REM in attack. Xavi and Deco manning midfield. I hope Marquez will play as DM this time. Puyol and Thuram in central defence. Zambrotta on the left. Oleguer or Beletti on the right. Although Beletti was utter crap in the first, like he has always been, we need to attack. Oleguer is by far the better defender, but in attack Beletti is simply better. Barca will probably keep possession, but I guess we'll be a lot more dangerous in front, as Eto'o will play.
ELDiablo1899:
--------------------Valdes---------------------
Oleguer-----Thuram---Puyol-----Zambrotta

------------------Marquez----------------------
-------------Xavi----------Deco----------------

Messi--------------------------------Ronaldinho
---------------------Eto'o------------------------

I would have Iniesta in for Deco but I think Frank will have Iniesta on the bench.

How do you expect Liverpool to play?

Henry14:  Hopefully Liverpool will play a fast paced open game....then we will be sure to win. I think Liverpool will be weary though, especially if REM play. Liverpool will probably find confidence as the game goes on through the support of the kop and might become more adventurous, hopefully leading to their downfall.
FCB-Mo: The Rafa Benitez way. Some call it anti-football, I personally think it's very well organised football.
Puyol5: I expect Benitez to play as he loved playing in his Valencia days, the total counter attack. Liverpool are already in the driver's seat and are more a less through, but one goal scored early by them will confirm it. I think Benitez may once again adopt the three wingbacks, Finnan Arbeloa and Riise. Riise pushed more into midfield but with defensive duties. Sissoko and Xabi alonso as the holding mids and Gerrard with the free role. I think Rafa will really park the bus and play us on the counter.
Coussie: I expect that Liverpool, again, will dig in, and give possession to Barça. I expect them to hit some fast counters again.
ELDiablo1899: Defensive. I think it will be a 4-5-1 that your team will play. having followed his managerial career from his Tenerife days he was never the kind of manager to kill a game off, he would protect the lead that his team had and see the match through. he also used these tactics when at Valencia. I think Kuyt will be the lone striker as even though Crouch is a big lad he is rubbish in the air.

What have you made of your season so far?

Henry14:  Performance wise, pretty inconsistent, mostly producing average performances. Stastically, we are doing well. Not losing too many games, scoring goals, and our home record is as a Barça fan expects. Our season was inevitably spoilt by the injury to Messi and especially Eto'o. Our system didn't seem to work without them which resulted in bad performances. Sitting atop of the La Liga though, so no complaints.
FCB-Mo: It's been rubbish and to be honest, after all of last season's achievements, it was always going to be a rubbish season compared to last year. The injuries to Samuel Eto'o and Messi have contributed to this but I'm hoping that now they are back, maybe we can push on from here and reach last year's height - but I seriously doubt that, especially since we are all set to be ko-ed from the Champions League...
Puyol5: So far it's not been the best obviously. The team have been affected by injuries and our star players have all had far too many games. A long season last year, along with the World Cup, then a tour of the world, then the extra games like the Super Cup, The World Club Championship have all taken their toll on our side.
Coussie: This is probably the worst season under Rijkaard. We had a super season last year, so it could only go down. Football hasn't been good, we lost too many stupid points and we looked blunt in attack with injury's from Eto'o and Messi. Defence hasn't been the same defence as last year either. Marquez has hit a shocking form around new year.
ELDiablo1899: I think we have had a very good season. I think it's an excellent achievement to be top of La Liga and into the CL KO stages without Eto'o and Messi for large part of the season. We got results despite playing below par.

Where do you expect to finish this season?

Henry14:  La Liga champions for the third year running.
FCB-Mo: Top of Primera Divisíon. Anything less and this season will have been a major failure.
Puyol5: Well, we are hoping for a miracle at Anfield and see what happens from there. Most of us still expect Barça to win the league and try pulling off the Spanish Cup along with it. But it's not going to be easy and our run of Sevilla, Liverpool and then Madrid will really give us a window to see what we can achieve this season.
Coussie: We still have the lead. And with Messi and Eto'o back, I guess things only can get better.
ELDiablo1899: Top of La Liga, and in Europe if we get past your team I think we have a great chance of going all the way again. but it's not gonna be easy as every team has a chance of winning it.

Is this Barça team better or worse than when you won the European Cup last year? What has got better/worse?

Henry14:  Well worse. Like my above answer, we have lacked the dynamic pace of Eto'o, and our system just hasn't worked without him. Now he is back though, and things look promising.
FCB-Mo: We are worse, no doubts about it. No Eto'o, no Messi and with the loss of the physical presence of Mark van Bommel in midfield and the genius of Henrik Larsson have made us go from being a great team to just being a good team. Eidur Gudjohnsen has come in to try and replace Larsson, but he has been piss poor and has offered nothing at all to the team. We also didn't replace van Bommel and the midfield is weaker physically because of that.
Puyol5: On paper it's still practically the same side along with Thuram and Zambrotta so I can't see the difference other than a lack of form. In the beginning of our season we were playing wonderful football, but then the Eto'o and Messi Injuries have cost us. I think this team is a bit tired and unmotivated but with the return of all their stars, I can see us playing much better football now.
Coussie: Worse. It's the same selection, but we haven't performed like we should, and are able to.
ELDiablo1899: Well I think it has gotten better. We got Zambrotta and Thuram, two quality signings. Yes, they have not been as good as we thought they would be but it's their first season so a bit of patience is needed. In particular Zambrotta, I think we'll see the best of them next season. We haven't played as good as we have the past two seasons but it's a mental thing I feel.

Which Liverpool player do you fear most?

Henry14:  Gerrard of course.
FCB-Mo: Dirk Kuyt. I didn't rate the guy at all and thought he was very overrated, but in the game at the Camp Nou, he was very good, even if he didn't score.
Puyol5: Sissoko the destroyer. He had a wonderful first leg, hated the faking injury bit though. Bellamy would be second with his pace.
Coussie: Bellamy. Because of his speed. If Thuram plays, that will be something to look at.
ELDiablo1899: Has to be Gerrard. Heart and soul of the team. Has got your team out of difficult situations and led your team to success time and time again.
DonQuixote: Carragher. I don't want this player on form on March 6th. He is capable of making life real hard for our attackers. Especially with the six back formation you're expected to play, we need at least one or two favours.

Where do you expect your goal threat to come from?

Henry14:  Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Messi, Xavi, Deco, Marquez, Puyol, Zambrotta, Van Bronckhorst, Thuram oh and Valdes.
FCB-Mo: Samuel Eto'o. He is the best striker in world and you will see the difference he makes to the team when he is on the field.
Puyol5: REM. That says it all really. Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Messi.
Coussie: REM. Liverpool may contain Ronaldinho, and a not fresh Messi. But Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Messi? We haven't seen a team that was really capable of that. You just can't put two defenders on one, because the other two will cause too much trouble. So that will be a massive job for the Liverpool defence. A reason why I think Liverpool will dig in. Midfielders will have to help in defence. Second threat is our midfield. Deco and Xavi are great passers, but they have a good shot too. They can perfectly infiltrate or score from out of the box. They could be key in this game. If Iniesta plays then be aware of his dribbling. Once he has the ball, it sticks to him. Lots of defenders have to make a foul, which is pretty dangerous having Ronaldinho around.
ELDiablo1899: Sammy Eto'o. IMO the best striker in the world.

Which Liverpool player/s do you think could improve your squad?

Henry14:  I'd like to see Xabi Alonso come to Barça. I think he would fit perfectly into the Barça set-up. Gerrard could go anywhere and play good football in my opinion. And I rate Sissoko - very good Defensive Midfielder.
FCB-Mo: Momo Sissoko. Like I said earler, he lack the physical presence in midfield after van Bommel left and Sissoko would fill that void very well.
Puyol5: Xabi Alonso, Sissoko (after he learns to pass a bit better) and when Daniel Agger becomes a bit more experienced at the back. These are players I'd like to see playing at Barça.
ELDiablo1899: I wouldn't pick any of your players in place of ours. Nothing against your team, that's just my preferance and my opinion. I wouldn't have Gerrard in my team as I prefer to have playmakers in the midfield. Xavi, Iniesta, Deco, Fabregas, Kaka, Juninho.....those kind of midfielders. He is more of a player to run into the box and support the attack, like Scholes, Lampard, Van Bommel, those kind of midfielders.
DonQuixote: Sissoko. As much as I hate him. He's not talented, he justs beats people and we lack that in our midfield.

Apart from Liverpool or Barça who do you feel has the best chance to win the Champions League this year? If Liverpool progress, how far do you think they will go?

Henry14:  I think Man Utd could do it again this year. If Liverpool or Barça Progress I think they both have the potential to get to the final again, but if they can, that's another story.
FCB-Mo: Unfortunately, you cannot rule Chelsea out. I hope for the good of football that they never win the European Cup until they change the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch. Internazionale have a good chance and if we went on league form, they are sure bets to win the Champions League. As for Liverpool, if they do qualify, as I expect them to do, if they get some average team like PSV, Real Madrid or Bayern, I would fancy them making it to the semis but if they get a top team like Inter, I would say that their progress will be halted in the next round.
Puyol5: I think Arsenal have the best chance this season. Man United don't seem to be doing as well in the CL as they do in the Premiership. Arsenal's side seems to be playing really good football now and their style suits Europe perfectly. Lyon are always a favourite with their attacking flair and the talent they have.
Coussie: Chelsea has a strong squad, but have been pure shite in Europe. I don't think Liverpool will get that far. I do not see it as a unbeatable squad. At least not as the strongest squad in this competition. But to win the Champions league, a team needs luck, and if it's on the side of Liverpool, why not get far?
ELDiablo1899: Lyon and Valencia would be my bets for the CL. In particular Lyon as they have Le Championnat pretty much wrapped up so they can focus solely on the CL. If Liverpool progress, I don't see them getting past semi-finals. but they have proved me wrong before.
DonQuixote: If Liverpool progress, they can very well go to the final. I mean if they can beat Barça, why can't they beat any other team? Another team I think will be difficult to beat in Europe is Valencia. Be wary of them.

What are your best and worst memories of our previous meetings?

Henry14:  Worst - Bellamy and Riise scoring. Maybe Barça should have gone to Portugal, got drunk and beaten each other up. Best - I don't remember our past meetings all to well to be honest.
FCB-Mo: The best memory: Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srui70ZzPC8 Worst memory has to be John Arne Riise's goal. It was a very deflating feeling to see us go 2-1 down.
Puyol5: Worst Memory would be the Gary McAllister penalty of course. That anti football was horrible to watch. Best Memory was the 3-1 whopping we gave you at Anfield.
Coussie: The first leg, for us, was a disaster. I rather blame our own squad then the point to the strength of Liverpool.
ELDiablo1899: We started well but Valdes making that mistake for the first goal really affected us mentally. That mistake absolutely f***** up his confidance. I thought we were the better team in the first half. We should have gotten a second goal but credit to Liverpool they defended well.
DonQuixote: The worst is of course a week ago, when you won in the worst possible manner. The best will be next week.

What do Barça fans think of when they think of Liverpool fans and the Kop? Are Liverpool popular in Barcelona? Do our Spanish players boost our profile?

Henry14:  I personally think Liverpool fans are some of the best and most passionate in the world, they should be proud.
FCB-Mo: I don't know about the popularity of Liverpool in Barcelona since I'm in London, but I'd imagine that they are not very popular right now! As for what I think of them, I think that they have class, something that Chelsea and Arsenal fans don't have, as we all observed after last season (and the year before with Chelsea.)
Puyol5: Personally when I think of Liverpool fans, I always think of passion. Really passionate about their club and proud of their history as they should be. I've met a lot of Liverpool fans all over the world and all have been wonderful to talk to.
Coussie: Liverpool must be the team with the strongest and loudest fan base. That is something to be proud of, something other teams look up to.
Spanish players always boost the game, but if they boost your profile? Xabi and Garcia are some fanatastic players. Reina is a class goalie. And canterano's are followed every where.
ELDiablo1899: I don't really like Anfield as it's not the best looking stadium and it's too small for a club as big as Liverpool. Good atmosphere but it's not the best.
DonQuixote: Liverpool fans (and English fans in general) are very loud and passionate about their football. However, they smell.

How much do you think Rafa Benitez's knowledge of your game and players will be factor in the game?

Henry14:  Quite alot, his tactics have worked many-a-time, but sometimes tactics mean nothing, on the night magic can be created by anyone, whether it's Ronaldinho, or Gerrard, tactics can do nothing against these moments.
FCB-Mo: It will be a major factor and he will set his team up to try and stop us. Rafa Benitez at Valencia had a good record against us, especially at the Camp Nou, but Barça usually beat him when they are the away team (our two last games against Valencia when Benitez was manager ended 1-3 and 0-1 to Barça at the Mestalla)
Puyol5: It's already proved to be a factor since you guys have beaten us at the Camp Nou.
Coussie: For sure. Rafa knows perfectly how to win against Barça. Somehow his tactics always give us a hard time.
DonQuixote: Rafa is no master tactician. I can do what he does. Just need to sit in front of the whole Liverpool squad and scream: "All of you bitches behind the ball. Gerrard and Alonso, make shoot!"

We have had some ex-Barcelona players come to us - Jari Litmanen, Luis Garcia, Pepe Reina, Bolo Zenden. Which do you remember most fondly?

Henry14:  Luis Garcia. I was disappointed when he was sold to Liverpool. Luis Garcia was the first right attacking mid Rijkaard used in his 4-3-3 system we still use and he was fantastic at cutting in onto his left foot.
FCB-Mo: Luis Garcia. Still one of my favorite players.
Puyol5: Luis Garcia of course. That guy can score goals from anywhere. We all loved him here and hated it when he left. But of course we had just bought Ludo Giuly, Etoo, Larsson at that time so he was deemed surplus. But he is a great player, inconsistent at times but the goals he has scored for you (against Juventus and Chelsea especially) to take you through to the final of the CL were really important.
ELDiablo1899: Well it was a shame that we lost Reina as we never got to see the best of him. Never got a fair chance I feel. But having Valdes it's not really a big deal.

Care to give us a prediction for the score?

Henry14:  3-1 Barça. Extra-time as well.
FCB-Mo: I'd rather not!
Puyol5: 1-1 draw.
Coussie: 1-3.
ELDiablo1899: Liverpool 0-2 Barcelona.

Moltes gràcies. All the best.

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