Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Liverpool Light — now that’s entertainment

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Crouch celebratesWas it just me, or did anyone else secretly prefer Liverpool Light to the Real Thing?

The Liverpool side that took the field for part two of the triple-header with Arsenal featured eight changes from the team that came away with a 1-1 draw from the Champions League first leg, including an all-new midfield and attack.

Rafa Benitez must have felt slightly apologetic when he sent out Peter Crouch to lead a team made up mainly of fringe players but things turned out better than he could have hoped.

Inspired by an immense Crouch, they showed far more ambition than they had in the Champions League game and probably deserved more than the same 1-1 scoreline. Anfield Red are among those now wondering if the striker should start on Tuesday. I’m not saying they were any better than Arsenal, or even better than the Liverpool team from the first game, but their willingness to improvise going forward and occasionally leave gaps at the back made for a far more entertaining game.

Is Pizarro right about ‘Big Head’ Ronaldo?

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Ronaldo jumps a challenge

AS Roma’s Chilean midfielder David Pizarro has taken Cristiano Ronaldo’s stepovers, fancy flicks and double dummies personally.

Pizarro was booked for kicking Ronaldo after the Manchester United player performed some of his repertoire during Tuesday’s Champions League match. The Roma man then came out with some stinging criticism.

Vlog on the pitch — What on earth was Bendtner up to?

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Tune into the latest Vlog on the Pitch, as our dynamic duo Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley discuss Manchester United’s effortless brilliance, Barcelona’s flawed beauty and Nicklas Bendtner’s inexplicable fondness for Irish dancing.

Leave us your thoughts on the week’s Champions League action in the comments below, or better still record your own video musings, post them up to youtube or wherever tagged “vlog on the pitch” and if we like them we’ll put them up here.

Arsenal and Liverpool serve up real English flavour

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Fabregas and Lucas

Just how English was the all-English Champions League quarter-final between Arsenal and Liverpool on Wednesday?

As English as bacon and eggs? Or as un-English as a croque monsieur served up by a French chef with a sense of humour working in a Spanish tapas bar somewhere in deepest Essex.      

Should Rijkaard have his parachute ready?

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Rijkaard hugs BojanIt was just like old times for me covering Frank Rijkaard’s press conferences either side of Barcelona’s Champions League win over Schalke, as another Dutch coach got the Louis van Gaal treatment from the media.

I was based in Barcelona when Van Gaal finally called it quits at the end of his first spell at the club and listening to the Catalan press and radio hounding out the former Ajax man was at times almost painful.

Vlog on the pitch – are Manchester United the new Brazil?

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Arsenal’s comeback to win 3-2 at Bolton was special, but Manchester United’s 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa on Saturday was simply sublime. Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing flick for the first goal summed it all up.

But how good are this United side? Is the Premier League already in the bag and should AS Roma be expecting another 7-1 Champions League mauling on Tuesday?

Friday afternoon question: Will Ronaldinho leave Barcelona?

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Ronaldo de Assís Moreira AKA RonaldinhoIs Ronaldinho about to become the latest player to leave the Nou Camp by the back door?

Marca and the rest of the Madrid-based media seem convinced of it, meaning we could be about to see the former World Player of the Year following the well trodden path of such luminaries as Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Romario, Juan Roman Riquelme, Luis Figo, Hristo Stoichkov, Bernd Schuster and Maradona.

Champions League draw — your views

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Cech prepares for last season’s penalty shoot-out

The draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League looks great, but there will have been a collective groan from anyone looking ahead to the semi-finals.

With the inevitability of doom, Liverpool and Chelsea are set to meet again in the last four — if they make it through the quarter-finals. Their two previous semi-final meetings were tense, certainly, but the quality of football was pretty dispiriting.

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