Champions League Final Preview

May 23 2007

Rafa Benitez - keeping his cards close to his chestIt won’t be pretty.

Just as in the FA Cup Final, both sides are likely to flood the pitch with midfielders, so it will be tight, tense and tactical.

Most of today’s papers seem certain that Benitez will opt for a 4-5-1, with Gerrard pushed forward in support of Dirk Kuyt and Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso forming a deep-lying defensive barrier in midfield to protect against the marauding movements of Kaka and Seedorf.

But he does like to spring a surprise, and – given the tactics in the away games against Barcelona and Chelsea – there’s a chance Crouch might be chosen to partner Kuyt up front, with Gerrard moved to the right wing.

Zenden will probably get the nod over Kewell if fit, although Benitez could go for Riise in midfield and Arbeloa behind him if he wants solidity on the left and Zenden fails to prove his fitness.

For Carlo Ancelotti the main selection dilemma surrounds who to pick up front, and I would expect the wily Philippo Inzaghi to be chosen ahead of the goal-shy Alberto Gilardino.

It won’t be a thriller, but it should be a fascinating game. United made the mistake of giving Milan too much time on the ball at the back, and soon realised how quickly they can slip through the gears. Liverpool will have to be on alert all night.

With both sides mindful of their opponents’ powers on the counter-attack, gung-ho attacking will not be on the agenda, and penalties are thus a distinct possibility.

And in Jose Reina, Liverpool possess a goalkeeper fully qualified to follow in the bendy-legged footsteps of Bruce Grobbelaar and Jerzy Dudek.

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2 Responses to “Champions League Final Preview”

  1. mia fabius Says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am trying to contact Mr. Roman Abramovich, If you know him, I would truly appreciate if he would call me at 305-989-7379, Please inform him this is not for an interview, this is for a BUSINESS PRESENTATION.

    I realize this is a long shot, but I have to start somewhere to reach my dream.

  2. Tom Williams Says:

    Not sure I can help you there mate…


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