Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Liverpool v Chelsea

There is a Liverpool chant that goes along the lines, "John Arne Riise, ooh ah, I wanna know how you scored that goal." It is sung every time he takes the pitch as it was when he came on as substitute last night. The goal in question is a net-busting free-kick that he scored a few years ago against Manchester United. After the most mind-numbingly calamitous and unnecessary own goal last night I'm not sure it will be sung again.

I feel for the guy. Kind of because he will now have to do something spectacular before the end of the season to continue his employment at Liverpool (and, as we know from when his wage slip was leaked, he is on a cool £140,000 a month.) It wasn't all his fault- Mascherano ploughed the ball into touch rather than clearing up field seconds before. Had he just hoofed it away then the whistle would have gone and Liverpool would have had a deserved lead going into the second leg. In fact, a 1-0 victory for Liverpool would have flattered Chelsea slightly. Instead as Kevin McCarra puts it:

"Against all reason, it is now the Anfield team who are nearer extinction in the Champions League."
Liverpool have come back from more trying situations than this. They were five minutes away from elimination in the last round against Arsenal. Earlier in the season they looked to be heading out before three straight wins kept them in. And, of course, need Istanbul mentioned? There are dozens of other examples. Liverpool always fly by the seat of their pants in this competition. But this time it's so frustrating that what could have been a decisive advantage has been turned into a mountain to climb.

Riise may well be in the starting line-up next Wednesday following Fabio Aurelio's injury last night. There can be no better opportunity to repair the damage that was inflicted last night. John Arne Riise, I wanna know can you score a goal?

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