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Liverpool in driving seat


Now that the first leg matches of the Champions League quarter finals have all been played, at this moment Liverpool look set to be the one with one leg in the semi-finals and the other three ties can easily go either way but Bayern Munich and Valencia can sleep easily knowing that a scoreless draw is all that is needed.

Liverpool played some simple but effective football which rewarded them with three goals which will make it very difficult for PSV Eindhoven to come back in the return leg at Anfield. Since PSV ousted Arsenal from the Champions League in the previous round they haven't played particularly well and the stand out result was the 5-1 mauling by arch rivals Ajax.

So it doesn't really come as a surprise to me that they lost to Liverpool but it is the margin of defeat that causes some concern and the erratic play displayed. To say that Liverpool played great football will not the truth but its just that PSV were not just there at the races. It was good to see Javier Mascherano, a player who couldnít get a game at West Ham, boss the midfield in the manner he did.

I think AC Milan began their match confidently against Bayern Munich but as the match progressed Bayern crawled their way into the game and it was a matter of time before Bayern scored. The drawn result means that Milan has to win the second leg and without suspended Alberto Gilardino and cup-tied Ronaldo it doesn't look like an easy task at all. Bayern only have to take off from where they left in the first leg and they will see themselves in the semis.

Chelsea came back from behind to draw at Stamford Bridge and could not add to the one goal to go to the Mestalla with an advantage. I think Valencia have the edge and all they have to do is do what they did against Inter Milan in the previous round minus the fighting in the end of course.

Chelsea lacks some innovative play and their play has now become rather predictable and Valencia were comfortable with that type of football and there wasn't much threat on their goal although Chelsea had one or two good chances.

Valencia have lost only twice at home in the league this season and Chelsea will have to play their best football if they are going to make it to the semis. Also Chelsea haven't played well away from home in the Champions League this season and this is going to be a very tough test indeed. Manchester United will have to make do without Paul Scholes in the second leg at Old Trafford. Roma should have put some of the chances that came their way away but at least they go to Old Trafford with a lead and all the pressure will be on Manchester United.

From an Australian perspective, it was good to see that SBS and ESPN showed different matches this time. So it was possible to press the Back button and keep track of both matches. I am hoping that next week ESPN will not show Manchester/Roma and Liverpool/PSV matches which SBS are showing live.

The second legs are next week and so itís not going to be a long wait at all to see who will go into the semis.

yorkie
Although you didn't mention it in your post, I am getting a bit worried about the violence that is now following Man U whenever they play in Europe. I just fear it could lead to a ban - either of the fans or the team one day.
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Wes
Thanks Yorkie, yes any kind of violence is worrying and not good for football. I hope the relevant authorities like UEFA will take the necessary measures to stop such incidents happening in the future.
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ricky
Yorkie, I have just read about the violence at the Seville-Spurs match. UEFA should simply ban those teams whose fans are involved in violence otherwise this will go on and on.
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