Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Champions League Preview: Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

The Premiership may have failed to get one of the big four into the FA Cup semifinals for the first time since 1912, but that may be forgotten by tonight should Liverpool finish the job against Inter Milan in their second leg round-of-16 Champions League match at the San Siro (ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. ET).

A positive result for Liverpool today means that the entire big four of England are in the Champions League quarterfinals; and extraordinary achievement.

Of the four, Liverool was the least likely to make it this far considering its roller-coaster season domestically. But clearly, Rafa Benitez has built his team to win this tournament, and he's admitted that he's more suited for coaching life outside the EPL. Should Liverpool give up its 2-0 first-leg advantage and be bounced out, Rafa is likely to follow the Reds right out the door at Anfield.

This would only add to the anxiety surrounding the club, whose owners are at odds over selling their respective shares to a consortium from Dubai. This is truly an injustice to the fan. The front-office discord is unhealthy; the on-field inconsistency is maddening to watch and the tease that is a sixth European championship is seductive.

I've always been one to root for the good story, and clearly here, the better tale is Liverpool getting in and running the table. Not only would Liverpool fans get a title, but it would be near impossible to ditch Rafa.

All indications are that Liverpool should manage to get through. Behind the fabulous Fernando Torres, the Reds haven't lost in the Premiership since late January, and the only blemish on its record is its monumental 1-0 loss to Barnsley in the FA Cup. Liverpool has scored 15 goals in its last five matches and has won four in a row.

Oh You Beauty examines today's match from a technical viewpoint, concentrating on Rafa's 4-2-3-1 alignment.

EPL Talk, meanwhile, says Liverpool has a mountain to climb; we'll see.

Italian Soccer Serie A has the 19 Inter players called up for today's match.

101 Great Goals has a rundown from the English press
on the match.

Champions League The Offside has a preview as well.

Same goes for Great Red North.

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