Life in Brexit Britain may be disorientated, but at least we have our Football !
I am back and buzzing for this new season. There’s a lot to expect and I’m anticipating more ups than downs. Why? Because England are back on top ! We have had the Treble Makers of 99 and the Ronaldo’s Puppets of 08. The Chelsea Charms of 2012 and the 2005 Kings of Istanbul. All European Giants yet only Liverpool are tipped to live up to the weight of the name this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s Killer Reds have been the talk of Europe for the last two years. Having a Real upset in Kiev, the Champions of Europe reigned in Madrid just a few months ago. Walking over Bayern’s back yard and dismantling the Great Barcelona’s defence in the process, there was no doubt in the minds of many that Liverpool would lift the prestigious prize for the 6th time in their history… despite failing to obtain the Europa League after several years a participant, but I digress.
Who can realistically compare to the reds in Europe? A diminishing Real Madrid side forced into reconstruction after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo ? Or The Mothering team of Messi, Barcelona whom – well let’s face it – Liverpool absolutely destroyed in May. I hear Messi still has nightmares about that cold night at Anfield. “We let them walk all over us” cried the King. “They are two different things. A World Cup final is the biggest thing there is and it’s a huge disappointment but to have a 3-0 lead and then lose the (Liverpool) tie…” –Messi 2019.
“And I know that Pep, this is what he wants. He wants the Champions League and I feel sorry for him.” Ruud Gullit.
Whilst the giants of Spain will always remain contenders in those amongst the best, they still fall short to the greatness that is Pep Guardiola. Leading Manchester City to back to back titles, becoming the first English team to do a domestic treble (or quadruple if we’re seriously counting the Shield) Pep Guardiola remains the only manager capable of raining on Klopp’s Parade. Though he makes history in England, he struggles to reciprocate that energy in Europe. As Ruud Gullit harshly puts it, “he doesn’t have Messi”. He couldn’t do it for Bayern Munich, and he is failing to do it for Manchester City. Having been knocked out two years in a row by English teams, paraphrasing Chiellini, it may just be “di history of zi Man City”. “You can’t buy a team to do it,” – Gullit. You cannot buy a Champions League team, you cannot buy their spirit, you cannot buy their desire to win as a team; Unless you buy Messi or Ronaldo of course… then maybe he’ll have a better shot.
Growing up on the raw rivalries between the top clubs in the early 20th Century, it is difficult to accept those who were once on the lower side of glory, now being the most feared in Europe. Thus the forced rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City will not feel as exciting as the magical matches between Arsenal vs Chelsea, Chelsea vs Man U, Man U vs Arsenal and Arsenal vs Tottenham. Despite the history between Liverpool and City not being present, the present is indeed creating a piece of history for us to reminisce on in the future. How long this piece of history may develop for is unknown, but I for one, I’m enjoying the moment.
Seeing English teams compete at the highest level, head to head in the Champions League is a source of refreshment. Since Chelsea F.C had lifted the trophy in 2012, we have witnessed German domination, Spanish Domination and Italians compete in the finals. Alas, England had once again reached the final and had both teams representing the Red and White flag in full and not just by their kits. Liverpool vs Tottenham. An anti climatic final none the less, yet so refreshing to see. Last season bought us some of the greatest clashes between English teams and their opponents, but none compared to when two English teams met in the Quarter Finals, Tottenham vs Manchester City. That seems to be a thing a guess. When two English teams meet in the run up to the Champions League final it’s bound to be filled with drama and most importantly GOALS.
Let’s think back to some of the thrilling clashes with English Clubs in the Champions League.
CHELSEA VS LIVERPOOL 2009… Both Legs (7-5 agg)
If you tell me this was not the greatest Champions League draw between two English clubs, I’d tell you that you’re a liar. Torres opening strike, set up by a beautiful flick from Dirk Kuyt. Ivanovic scoring his first two goals in his first season in Chelsea Shirt… the Malouda and Drogba link up for the final goal of the first Leg. You would have thought it was all over. The second leg was absolutely outstanding. Taken back to Stamford Bridge, the both teams without their captains, Liverpool go 2-0 up. A goal from Drogba and a thunder strike from Alex drew the blues back on level plane. Lampard to top it off with the third goal.. and you’d think it was over. Kuyt scores a brace and the come back kings were so close. So so close. It took England’s best Midfielder, Frank Lampard to settle the tie. Ending 7-5 on aggregate.
Manchester City vs Tottenham (Second leg, 5-4 agg)
Did anyone actually think this match would be as good as it was? Neither did I. End to end with the goals, a heart racing match all in all. The underdogs completely blew us away. Man city opening up the score board curtest to Sterling, allowiing Son to score a brace almost immediately after. 2-1 down, Bernardo Silva scores to level the score followed by Sterling’s second goal on the night. 3-2 and we ll thought it’s Man City’s to lose. Assured to score another goal, Sergio Aguero makes it 4-2. Back in control, Spur’s unfavourable Fernando Llorente scores their 3rd goal. And if you thought the Etihad couldn’t get quieter, it did. A glimpse of hope, a Sergio Aguero Brace saw Man City through to the Champions League Semi Final.
*ALEXA CALL VAR*
Ha ! The rest was zi History of zi Manchester City.
Other sensational clashes include Liverpool vs Manchester City 2018, Chelsea vs Liverpool 2008, Chelsea vs Liverpool 2005 and Chelsea vs Man United 2008. From what I can see Chelsea and Liverpool tend to give us the most entertaining matches in the Champions League. After he entertainment from the Super Cup Clash just yesterday, can we hope to see another Champions League master clash between them this season ? Interesting.
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