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Déjà Vu — Liverpool and Chelsea in the Champions League

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Yes, we’re back to that age old rivalry between the Red-Men from Liverpool, and the Blues from London, the Angels of the North against the Arseholes of the South. So here is a very Liverpool view on why we will beat Chelsea, and then see Fergie in the final in Moscow.

Reason One: L4

This is AnfieldThe Spion Kop, the legendary supporters, the hostile European-night atmosphere, the eternal magic that is Anfield.

The famous old stadium is impenetrable in Europe, as Arsenal and Inter have found to their peril this season (we don’t talk about L’OM). Many have tried to win, and many have failed. Chelsea have tried twice, and lost twice. Making your home ground a fortress is a must for any team who fancy themselves as potential winners of the European Cup, and Liverpool have done that.

Reason Two: Fernando Torres

Fernando TorresNot since Ruud van Nistelrooy has a striker had such an impact on the English leagues. This lad has got absolutely everything in his locker (apart from a left foot, but we won’t go into that), he can finish, he’s got pace, he’s got skill, he can head; he can do absolutely everything.

The main point about Torres is that he is something that very few sides have, a striker who will literally go anywhere on the field to get into space and eventually get into a scoring position. That’s one of the things that make him so special as a forward; he could be in the most un-dangerous position ever and still get into a position to score. He’s just phenomenal.

Also, he scored an absolute pearler against Chelsea in August, and wasn’t fazed at all by the greatest centre half since sliced bread John Terry barking down his ear, which brings me onto my next point…

Reason Three: Chelsea Rent boys

Yes, JT, Fun Time Frankie, I mean you. When you build your team around two overrated players in key positions you’re just asking for trouble really aren’t you?

Reason Four: Rafael Benitez

Fernando TorresIn Europe, Rafa Benitez is the best coach out there, and although the two ties with Arsenal proved to be Premiership affairs on the whole, against Chelsea the game is always the same. Even in the Premiership the style of football between these two is still what I’d call ‘Continental’; very tight, very tactical, and often it takes a moment of brilliance (or like last season, a mistake by Dan Agger — he did redeem himself in the second leg however) to get a goal.

I still think that Avram Grant is still looking for a bit of the golden touch that José had, which is why he will probably lose this tie and his job in the process — the latter being a shame, because I think he has done a cracking job at Chelsea. If you think about the start to the season Chelsea had, for them to be in the title race is ludicrous, to say the least, but that’s just my opinion.

Reason Five: Martin Skrtel

Martin SkrtelThis man is an absolute colossus at centre half. In the league game down at the Bridge he didn’t put a single foot wrong all game, and this has been the story throughout his brief Liverpool career. Okay he got off to a pretty poor start against Villa in the league and the Hawks in the FA Cup, but since then he has been outstanding (When’s the last time you heard a commentator say ‘Heroics from Jamie Carragher again’? No need for heroics, Martin’s there).

To be honest I think this lad has the ability to be up there with the best in the EPL. He possesses the rabid bite of Carragher, the superlative tackling ability of Richard Dunne, the nouse of Sami Hyypia and the pace of a drugged-up Dwayne Chambers. I can’t wait to see how many clean sheets himself and Dan Agger keep between them next season, as I think it’s going to be another Hyypia-Henchoz partnership, and that this lad will continue to overshadow Carragher next season in the same way he has in the last two or three months of this.

And finally Reason Six: He’s Big and He’s fucking Hard…

Stevie GSome may say Liverpool are a one man team, but up here in our small corner of Britain we couldn’t care less. Steven Gerrard is the finest midfielder of his generation. Although this season hasn’t been his best, an off-form Gerrard is still better than most on-form centre midfielders.

The fact is that Gerrard makes Liverpool tick and there is no midfielder anywhere else in the world who such a fulcrum for his team (we’re talking big teams by the way, don’t want comments saying something daft like John-Joe O’Toole does the same for Watford or whatever) and has the power to turn a game on its head with one swing of his gifted right boot.

The analogy that I like to use is that Gerrard is like quality control at a huge factory; everything must go through him and he must have the final say in all Red attacks. He is the main reason why Liverpool will win this tie (I’ll get back to you on winning the trophy mind you).

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