CL Semi Preview #2

Bit pressed for time today, so a just a quick word on last night’s thrilling 3-2 Man U victory (TTL predicted Man U to win 2-1 in a good game WRONG).  Great, enthralling game with Ronaldo scoring in the 5th and Rooney in the 91st to win it.   Kaka provided 2 goals of simple brilliance reducing the Man U defense to bumbling idiots on the 2nd. 

Still think Milan has a good chance to win it, but will need to score at least 2 goals next week as don’t think any team can shutout Man U right now.  But on to the main event.

Chelsea v Liverpool(20:45 CET and 2:45 EDT on ESPN 360 Online?!?!)  2nd leg is next Tuesday at Anfield (Liverpool) at same time.

Unfortunately this game probably won’t be the 5 goal thriller of last night, but most likely a choppy affair.  These clubs know each other very well.  Since 2005 they have played 11 times, with Chelsea winning 5 of 6 in the Premiership while LP has memorably knocked Chelsea out of the CL semis in 2005 and the FA Cup semis in 2006.   YES!!  (TTL is a huge fan of  LP and hope they destroy Chelsea but will attempt to write a nonpartisan preview anyway).   

Jose “The Special One” Mourinho is whinging all week about how LP is the favorite since Chelsea is rundown from playing in so many competitions.  Like so much of Mourinho’s ramblings there is a grain of truth to it.  Chelsea did look tired on Sunday in the draw versus Newcastle but when you spend 300 million pounds building a club maybe get some decent subs.  Nobody feels bad for Chelsea. 

Rafa has a whole complement of players to chose from tonight for LP while Chelsea is missing Ballack through injury and all-world Essien due to suspension.  Which leads to the interesting subplot of the night as Chelsea’s Drogba, Diarra and Cole will all be suspended for the return match if they get carded tonight.   Look for John “Captain England” Terry to be all over the referee protecting those players for Chelsea. 

Game will be terribly hardfought in the midfield with Chelsea’s Lampard and Makelele doing medieval combat with LP’s Alsonso and Mascherano, who is the steal of the year.  Amazing how a guy with 22 caps for Argentina can’t find a spot at freakin’ West Ham yet can start immediately for LP.  No wonder why West Ham is getting relegated.  But TTL digresses. 

Each team will probably only create a few good chances as the game should be very tight with guys not having lots of time on the ball to create.  Both teams are decent on set pieces and can break quickly.  Chelsea will probably attack a bit more being at home but this feels like the 1st round of a heavyweight fight.  A lot of mouthing off, dancing and clinching with the real haymakers to be unleashed next week.  TTL predicts a 1-1 draw.  Enjoy the game and YNWA. 

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