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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Yes, I may have an important exam today, but nothing can stop me from watching Liverpool's most important match of the season. Nvm, I can make use of the stay up to study more thoroughly. Haha, what a joke, I'm actually more glued to the TV than my notes. When I saw the line-up, I was of cos relieved to see Ballack, Carvalho and Shevchenko being emitted from the Chelsea team due to injuries, I have a hunch that Liverpool will win it. However, when I saw Zenden's name on Liverpool's team sheet, I almost fainted. U can't blame me, for this Dutchman has been playing terribly for the past 2 matches consecutively. What was Benitez thinking? Missing out was my dear Xabi Alonso sitting on the bench, with Javier Mascherano replacing him as defensive midfielder. Kuyt n Crouch led the line, with Steve Finnan finally back in the team after missing out the previous 4 matches due to injury. I can safely say this is Liverpool's strongest line-up possible, though I would love to see Harry Kewell and Luis Garcia on the flanks.
The Liverpool line-up
Benitez VS Mourinho
European nights at Anfield are always massive, n the Liverpool fans didn't disappoint with a marvellous turn out. How i wish i can be there in person to experience the atmosphere. There's no fans like Liverpool's in the whole world I must say. Just look at the number of Liverpool scarves being shown in the stadium by the fans, it was awesome to say the least. It was a sea of red and the fans never stop singing.
The match started with the deafening roar in the stadium, Liverpool going all out at high tempo to grab an early goal. It came halfway through the first half when a stupid foul by Joe Cole gifted Pool with a freekick near the penalty box. Gerrard was the taker, but every Blue shirt in the box was caught off guard when Gerrard slid the ball to Agger just inside the box rather than pumping the ball into the box. The lack on anticipation from the Chelsea players lead to a good goal by Daniel Agger when he smashed the ball first time into the corner of the net. 1-0 to Liverpool and we had equalised the aggregate.
The foul by Joe Cole on Gerrard resulted in a freekick near the box which Agger scored
Pennant congratulates Gerrard after he took the FK
I was overjoyed, but i know it ain't over. Chelsea is able to punish any team as long as the game is not over, n I know a Chelsea goal will seriously dent Pool's chances of progressing into the next round. Liverpool came very close to scoring a 2nd goal in the 2nd half when Cech saved a header from Crouch n Kuyt rattled the crossbar with a powerful header.The scoreline stayed 1-0 after 90min n extra time was being played.
Carragher gets tackled by Joe Cole
Crouch n Essien battles for the ball
Pennant let fly a shot past Essien
Benitez giving instructions to the players prior to extra time
During the extra time, I cheered damn loudly in the middle of the night at 5.30am when Kuyt scored from a rebound from Cech. The goal was however disallowed as the linesman judged it as being offside. Video replays showed that Kuyt scored the goal legally. WTF...
1-0 it stayed even after extra time, n penalty is the last part of the match. I had stayed up the whole night but the adrenalin pumping in my body had kept me damn high for the whole match. 1st player to take the kick, Bolo Zenden, of all people. He scored with a powerful shot into the side-netting. Next, Arjen Robben missed when Reina saved his weak shot. Xabi Alonso smashed a low shot past Cech but Lampard converted his kick as well. Then, Gerrard steps up n converted his kick coolly past Cech who dived the wrong way. Weirdly, the next Chelsea taker was Geremi and he shot so poorly that Reina had a fairly easy save to make.
The two teams lined up, watching Steven Gerrard preparing for his penalty shot
Terry consoles Robben for missing the penalty
Reina saves a weak shot from Geremi
The Liverpool fans are making even more noises now. Dirk Kuyt was the 4th Liverpool player to take the kick and if he scores, Pool will head to Athens for the final match. He made his run and send a bullet into the bottom left corner of the net. Anfield erupted, the players were overjoyed and Reina was the penalty hero. What a great match to knock Chelsea out.
Kuyt scores from the spot kick
The winning goal
Kuyt running away in celebration
They went crazy
A dejected John Terry salutes the fans
A hug from Benitez for Gerrard n Reina
It was 6am when it all ended. Liverpool is heading to Athens on the 23rd of May for the final match. 2 Champions League finals in 3 years, what an incredible feat by Rafael Benitez. I almost got a fucking heart attack watching this match, this was how tense it is for the whole 90mins + 30mins + 6mins of football. I went to bed at 6.15am with a smile on my face and worrying about my exam at the back of my head. YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE
Listen to Liverpool fans sing You'll Never Walk Alone
Watch the highlights of the match.