Final Here We Come!!
So Benitez isn't as stubborn as he looks-he actually came to the conclusion that he needed to set the team out to attack against Chelsea; a traditional 4-4-2 with two (pretty poor on the day) wingers but at least the idea was there. I never did believe he would actually dare put Gerrard in as a CM; of course the end result was Alonso on the bench to allow a deep lying CM to protect the defense.
My initial surprise was deepened when Zenden kept his spot as I assumed Risse would play LM with Arbeloa at LB but there you go. A turgid match, where both sides played not too lose, rather than win once Liverpool levelled the tie (despite Mourinho's post-match comments). The neutrals must have fallen asleep watching it, but I was on the edge of my seat.
Perhaps more could have been done out wide given the poor service Crouch received but at the end of the day, we won the lottery. Chelsea were much better in the first leg and I thought Liverpool were slightly better at Anfield in a pretty even match. Mourinho says the best team lost, but surely they were only marginally better. A far superior team would surely have won it over the 210 minutes.
Still, Chelsea have a wonderful side with a fighting spirit that was encapsulted by their pre-penalty huddle. What they have done this year with all the injuries and off-pitch rumblings was almost magnificent, but they still have the FA Cup to play. Hopefully Mourinho will leave and the price of oil takes a huge tumble so Abramovich will follow him out the exits!!!
Liverpool must learn to match them and MU over an entire season, not over 90 minutes. It's nice to do well in the CL, but the bread and butter is domestic football, and it's about time Benitez gets that right after 3 years in charge-not winning the league is one thing, but not even challenging is just unacceptable.