Thursday, 12 March 2009

European Bliss Domestic Miss

"Miss" might be a bit of harsh word to described Liverpool's domestic performance this season, given that they are currently placed 3rd in the Premier League, but why is it in such contrast to the European performances we now come to expect from Liverpool year in year out?

Real Madrid, who had less Spanish players in their starting 11 than Liverpool, were hammered 4-0, on another famous night at Anfield on Tuesday. And, it could have been far worse for Madrid, if it were not for their man of the match, but now dejected Goalkeeper, Iker Casillas.

I was some what nervous before the game, even though Liverpool were carrying the away goal and victory from the Bernabeu a week earlier, as I was expecting Real to come out all gun blazing. However, what ever tactical plan Juande Ramos had envisaged prior to kick off, was immediately devoured by Liverpool from the off. First Fernando Torres with an immense turn leaving World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro flat footed and embarrassed before Casillas came to his aid.

Gerrard then tested Casillas again, just before the keeper tipped a rare 25 yard volley from Javier Mascherano, on to the bar. And all this before Liverpool eventually made the possession pay through Torres, who had a relatively simple finish after Kuyt squared. Pepe complained about a suspicion of offside or maybe it was being man handled, either of which hold little weight.

Liverpool's second came courtesy of a penalty, due to one time Liverpool target (and ex manc), Gabriel Heinze, who will have felt hard done by the handball given against him. He should take up the complaint with Liverpool's 12th man. Gerrard slotted the pen making it 3-nil on aggregate at half time.

If there were to be any sort of come back by Real Madrid, the idea was quickly diminished by another Gerrard goal at the start of the second half. A great half volley after being picked out by good work from Ryan Babel.

Unlikely goal scorer Dossena then capped off the outstanding Liverpool performance with his first goal for the club, completing the demolition.

Its hard to believe that this is the same Liverpool that were beat by Middlesbrough 2-nil last week in what I can only describe as one of the worst Liverpool performance I have witnessed, in recent memory. That defeat put a major dent in Liverpool's already dwindling Premier League title aspirations, which now makes the next encounter at Old Trafford this weekend, all or nothing.

Benitez proved he can beat Real Madrid, one of Europe's all time greats, away from home, but he now needs to transfer that European formula on to the domestic scene.

Until the weekend here are the highlights of the Liverpool's emphatic win over Real Madrid....

Liverpool v Real Madrid

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