Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Champions League: Reds Remarkable Rout

"Liverpool return to Anfield protecting a 1-0 advantage over Real Madrid," read the previews to yesterday's Champions League match. That word "protecting" typically indicates that fans can expect a defensive struggle, and with Liverpool's history of stay-at-home, counterattacking football in European matches, there was no reason not to anticipate such a match yesterday. When a scoreless draw sees you through, it's common to take a defensive approach.

For that reason, Liverpool's display yesterday was even more inspiring. Rather than build a fortress around Pepe Reina, the Reds attacked from the opening whistle and secured passage to the quarterfinals within 30 minutes en route to a 4-0 win and a 5-0 aggregate victory. While the penalty call that lead to Liverpool's second goal was simply awful, the constant pressure from Rafa Benitez's men created the opportunity. Even at 1-0, with the way Liverpool were playing, it was hard to see a Real Madrid winning the fixture. If not for Iker Casillas in goal for Real, Liverpool could have won by six.

Liverpool showed how an attacking team at the top of their game can be a delight to watch. Now if only they could replicate this form against the Premier League's bottom feeders.

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