Will Liverpool be turned into April fools?
Posted by adamski on March 21, 2004, 01:53:15 PM
A crucial time awaits the red men of Anfield. Are they going to stand up and be counted or be left to languish in mid table obscurity?
A visit to the atmospheric Stade Velodrome on Thursday is where the roller coaster ride begins. We certainly haven't made things easy for ourselves by conceding that away goal but we have scored in every away European fixture this season. I have every confidence we can do the same here, although I'm sceptical as to whether one goal will suffice.
Marseille demonstrated their excellent ability to defend at Anfield and they have a potent threat in Didier Drogba. Our team has a lot of experience in Europe and we show a lot of professionalism when we travel. I think we'll do just enough to book our place in the quarter final. Whether we have the quality to progress beyond that is a different story.
Class opposition awaits us and we don't look like a side capable of dispatching teams such as Barca, Valencia and even Inter in the later rounds. In a similar vein of form last season, we managed to pick up a trophy so I'm not writing it off completely but it will be through luck rather than anything else if we win the UEFA cup this season.
We simply donít look like a side with the confidence, morale or ability to go all the way in a competition. That fighting spirit I have seen in previous Liverpool sides is nowhere to be seen and without that unshakable strength of mind, we wont have enough to edge out some of the high quality teams still in the tournament.
A lot more crucial to Liverpool Football Clubís status in world football is our performance throughout the month of April in the Premier League. Although we may be 4th at the moment, we are a mere 8 points from 11th position. Houllier claims his side has great character, we're going to need them to demonstrate that in no uncertain terms.
Following on from a couple of 'easier' games against Leicester and Blackburn in which failing to achieve 6 points would severely dent our Champions League ambitions, we then face the potential prospect of playing high pressure European fixtures, and sandwiched between them, a trip to undefeated Arsenal and the visit of 4th spot rivals, Charlton Athletic.
Arsenal have the potential to embarrass us and destroy what little morale we have.†Our world class players are going to have to stand up and be counted, Michael Owen in particular, we need his goals more than ever. April doesnít get any easier - after Charlton comes the 2nd leg of our potential European tie followed by yet another 6 pointer with Fulham.† To round off what will truly be a dramatic 5 weeks for this club, a potential UEFA Cup semi awaits, immediately followed by a visit to Old Trafford for another showdown with our great rivals down the M62.
Itís fitting that we should face such a treacherous fixture list at such an important time in this clubís future. The current team have the opportunity to show us what theyíre made of by taking the rest of this season by the scruff of the neck and putting some real points on the board. The truth of the matter is, itís now or never for the current crop of players, manager and even the board.
Anything less than strong, world class performances during April will see us drop far below our expectations and would pave the way for a major shake up inside Anfield.† No excuses can be made, we have a fully fit squad and players who are more than capable of achieving our aim.
As supporters, a nail-biting season finale beckons, itís one in which weíre going to have to show as much character as the team and be a lot more vocal in our remaining home league games.†Itís time for everyone to put in performances befitting of Liverpool Football Club, anything less and a bleak future of uncertainty and disappointment lies ahead.© adamski 2004
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