Chance at Redemption
In a few hours we'll know if Liverpool or Chelsea make the CL final. It's redemption time for both. The FA Cup is not a measure of success for Mourinho surely. He sets his sights high, and when you've won 2 league titles already, the 2 League Cup successes are nice accompaniments, as surely the FA Cup will be. But for him, it must be about the league and CL. But the league must surely be gone now, partially due to his decision to rest too many regular starters against Bolton to save them for the Liverpool game. He's put all his eggs in one basket-has he risked too much?
Liverpool will grab FA Cup success with 2 grateful hands, but we're not in it. The league has not been seriously threatened by us either in many years. CL glory is now the only target now re-qualification is guaranteed (3rd round anyway). So it's all or nothing for both. It'll be a hell of a tie.
The news is that apart from Ballack, Schevchenko & Carvalho are also out. Can't always tell with Mourinho's tricks but if so, that's a good sign. Carvalho's a hell of a CB and set up the only goal so far. Schevchenko is still a top striker & surely he'll come good sometime (though Morientes did not...).
Benitez must take the game to them. If indeed Carvalho is out I expect Mourinho to be more adventurous as he might expect Liverpool to score so it might well be an open game. But if he sets the stall out to defend, it'll be a chess game, and a very tight affair. Chelsea should attack, even without Carvalho, will Liverpool score 3? I doubt it.
Will Benitez be more attacking to begin with? Surely now that Finnan's back, Arbeloa can start at LF with Risse at LM but almost certainly Gerrard will be at RM. Mascherano and Alonso at CM with Crouch and Kuyt as strikers. Or perhaps he'll spring a surprise, play Pennant at RM, pushing Gerrard in as the 2nd striker and starting with either Crouch or Kuyt.
Time for me to sacrifice a chicken in the hope that Drogba breaks his legs...