Benítez gets tactics right to expose chinks in Spaniards’ rusting armour
Barcelona are are there any canada goose outlet stores not what they were but Liverpool exposed the fact more ruthlessly than anyone else. The sole defeat for Frank Rijkaard’s team at home this season had been in the Copa del Rey click, a low-priority tournament, buy canada goose jacket cheap until the Premiership club arrived on Wednesday evening. Liverpool spooked Barcelona and it is too simple to mark the result down as an exhibition of gibbering confusion by the losers.
Liverpool had knocked them over the line that separates idealism from idiocy. Rijkaard made a very poor fist of explaining why he had taken off the midfielders Thiago Motta and Xavi, replacing them with men much less inclined to occupy the centre of the pitch. The coach argued that it is his club’s tradition to attack, but he had forgotten about the streamlined poise best canada goose jacket for men that is also meant to be its birthright.
There was a paltry 55 minutes gone, with the score tied at 1-1, when Motta gave way to Andres Iniesta and that reckless change showed just how flustered Rafael Benítez buy canada goose parka cheap had made Rijkaard buy canada goose coat uk even then.
Now and again it is pragmatic to be adventurous and Benítez had no intention of allowing Barcelona’s shoddy defence to go unexamined. How gleeful he must have been to see that Rijkaard had canada goose coat 1000 bulbs coupon put the compulsive overlapper Juliano Belletti at right-back when what Lionel Messi most needs behind him is solid support.
Premiership results demonstrate that Benítez can err, but set-piece occasions do suit him. If Mohamed Sissoko can only stay fit he will prove that his signing was a masterstroke, and the core of the Liverpool midfield often stopped Barcelona from flaunting the effortless movement that tends to distinguish them.
While no great deliberations were required to pick Sissoko, the forward line was a sensitive issue. Benítez might have opted for a one-man attack and even when he settled on a duo there was no guarantee that Craig Bellamy would be in it. Long before misconduct in the Algarve, the Welshman had been kept out of the starting line-up for a few high-profile fixtures.
At Camp Nou he and Dirk Kuyt were so lively that the Barcelona defence could never cover up its ineptitude, even if the howler by the goalkeeper Victor Valdes for the equaliser was beyond prediction. Benítez’s battle plan was acutely pertinent. Individuals, too, rose to the challenge. canada goose coat – victoria It would be an exaggeration to declare canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day diet that Steve Finnan played Ronaldinho out of the game, but he takes some of the credit for the dwindling influence of the Brazilian over the course of the night.
Elsewhere in defence, parts of Benítez’s longer-term strategy are coming to fruition. Daniel Agger, now being phased in as Sami Hyypia’s successor, grew in confidence and his mobility was indispensable against opponents of Barcelona’s nimbleness. Liverpool progressed in this campaign once Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher clambered back up from several early-season low points. On Wednesday, the side acquitted itself as befits winners of a Champions League group.
The eight clubs of that status nearly all relished the reward of having the away leg first in the last 16 ties. Liverpool and Manchester United canada goose coat 0f won, four others drew, Bayern Munich put themselves in a promising position with their goals in the 3-2 defeat at Real Madrid, and only Arsenal, beaten 1-0 at PSV Eindhoven, are in obvious difficulties. But Benítez does not over-rate his team and will surely be lobbying Liverpool’s new owners to fund the purchase of a high-level striker. His team score with markedly less frequency than the rest of the Premiership’s top four. The manager was not prattling banalities when he spoke soberly about the return with Barcelona.
At this juncture a year ago, best canada goose jacket review Liverpool, the then holders, were eliminated after Benfica won the second leg 2-0 at Anfield. Such a result would send Barcelona into the quarter-finals. The vast difference, of course, is that Liverpool had to take the initiative and gamble at home last season because they had been beaten 1-0 in Lisbon.
There will be no such obligation when Barcelona come to Merseyside. Liverpool can put the accent on patience, offsetting prudence with enough attacking to ensure that the team does not get pinned down. It sounds like the perfect assignment for a man of Benítez’s tactical acumen, even if a Barcelona whose flair is stoked by desperation will be a riveting sight.