Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Vlog on the Pitch talks title racing with Wenger

Join vlogmeister Owen Wyatt as he takes the plunge and asks John Arne Riise whether he’s still a better player than Andrea Dossena, the man who replaced him at Anfield.

And talking of the Premier League, Arsene Wenger thinks Liverpool’s title hopes are still alive, and that none of the top teams are playing to their full potential. Dare to disagree with Wenger? Let us know in the comments, or record your own video rant and send us a link. If we like it, we’ll embed it here.

Round one to Liverpool, but don’t believe Benitez rumours

Photo

Rafa Benitez celebrated a famous victory over his hometown club when Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in their Champions League last 16, first leg on Wednesday.He outfoxed his counterpart Juande Ramos with an astute tactical display, but anyone linking the Spaniard with a move to the Bernabeu in the near future would be mistaken.

Real Madrid are in limbo. Former president Ramon Calderon sacked Bernd Schuster in December and installed Ramos on a contract to the end of the campaign, and then was forced to resign in disgrace after a vote-rigging scandal at a club general assembly was exposed.

So are we set for another all-English Champions League final?

Photo

There’s still a long way to go to the final in Rome but from what we saw over the first legs of the opening knock-out round of the Champions League a lot of people will be expecting another all-English affair at the Olympic Stadium.

If you take Mark’s dad as an authority, and I’m sure he knows as much as anyone, serie A sides are unlikely still to be challenging but is there anyone else capable of preventing another Premier League tour match?

Real Madrid v Liverpool — what a difference two months make

Photo

Back in December, when the draw for the first knock-out round of the Champions League was made, Liverpool could be forgiven for feeling pretty pleased with the prospect of renewing their acquaintance with Real Madrid. How different things look now.

Back then, Liverpool were top of the Premier League, six points ahead of a Manchester United side facing a fixture pile-up and struggling for form. Real Madrid, in apparent disarray after sacking coach Bernd Schuster, were 12 points behind Barcelona, having just lost 2-0 to their arch-rivals.

And then there was one… the Special One

Photo

Sir Alex Ferguson wrote off Chelsea’s title hopes in the middle of last week and what the Scot was charitably calling a two-horse race was down to one on Sunday, as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City.

Strange things happen in football — look to the Spanish League, where Real Madrid suddenly look like giving Barcelona a run for their money – but surely nothing will stop Manchester United now.

Is Ferguson being generous saying it’s a two horse race?

Photo

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has dismissed Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes, but given his side’s run of form he is perhaps being generous to Liverpool by saying they still have a chance.

“The title race now is going to be between ourselves and Liverpool,” Ferguson wrote in the programme for the 3-0 home win over Fulham that sent the champions five points clear of Liverpool and 10 ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Didn’t football used to be about scoring goals?

Photo

For all its great crowd noise, emotion and late drama, Wednesday night’s FA Cup replay between Everton and Liverpool was an shocking indictment of modern football, where stopping the other side scoring has become so important that teams have almost forgotten that there is another, more decisive and infinitely more entertaining way to achieve success.

Throughout the TV commentary there were references to the 4-4 draw when the teams met in the the competition in 1991, and Liverpool’s 3-2 aet final win 20 years ago, but we were never going to get a repeat after an excruciating first hour where both penalty areas might as well have been sealed off with barbed wire.

Liverpool keep it interesting, but United are sitting pretty

Photo

Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Chelsea will at least keep the Premier League interesting for the time being but it probably said more about the decline of this Chelsea team than it did about Liverpool chances of actually beating United in the title race.

Before Torres snuck in to head Liverpool back to within two points of United and Ashley Cole gifted the Spaniard a second goal, it was a case of same-old same-old for Rafa Benitez’s men.

Liverpool need a lot more crazy

Photo

Liverpool are short of goals, short of composure, short, perhaps, of a bit of luck but crazy is in plentiful supply.

Here’s how Benitez described the 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic that left Liverpool two points behind Manchester United, who have a game in hand:

Patience a virtue that would have suited Robbie Keane

Photo

Rafa Benitez is often described as a master tactician but when it comes to man-management it can be hard to fathom what the Liverpool boss is up to.

Last July the Spaniard apparently considered Robbie Keane to be worth 20 million pounds. Six months later the prolific Ireland striker was not deemed good enough even for the bench in Sunday’s FA Cup game against Everton – just the sort of fixture that would suit the hard-running Irishman.

  •