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Milan overcome Liverpool


AC Milan beat Liverpool to win the clubs seventh European crown in Athens with a Filippo Inzaghi double either side of half time.

But I think it could all have been different had Liverpool taken advantage of their dominance in the first half and score a goal or two but it was Milan who snatched a goal towards the end of the first half and that changed the complexion of the game.

Whereas in first half Liverpool had to probe Milan in search of an opening, in the second half they had to chase the game but still aware that Milan could hit them on the counter which they surely did in the second half to second Milan's second and after that only another miraculous comeback could save Liverpool.

I think the difference in the first half was Liverpool's packed midfield which outplayed Milan's and managed to contain dangerman Kaka but that dominance only saw one shot on target and also credit to Milan's defence that held firm.

I also think Harry Kewell should have come earlier to replace Boudewijn Zenden who was rather quiet and this could have been due to the ankle injury. Possibly Rafa was cautious with with Kewell because he hasn't played for a long time and had only two substitute appearances before this match.

But the day belonged to Inzaghi whose brace ensured that Milan won their seventh European title and two more they will catch Real Madrid. Interestingly a Liverpool win would have meant six apiece between Milan and Liverpool.

Liverpool's goal came too late for them and on the course of the whole match I think the Rossoneri deserved their win.

mbareboy
...it was a good tactical final, at last with goals and not the goalless ones we have watched of late. Both teams got their strategies right, only that Pool failed to score. Pool had to come out and play putting pressure on Milan because of the psychological fact that once Pool scores, you cant score against them.

Milan were content to watch Pool do the running as long as their defence was not seriously breached, and wait for an opening to use wizardry and class to score which they are capable of doing. I enjoyed the match and in the end football won.....

Its unlike the cagey matches we have seen of late, it wasn't a pretty classy final but all finals are tense and its interesting to see the execution of mind games.
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Wes
I agree Mbareboy that this wasn't a cagey match but I also think that Rafa more or less planned a negative match. I still don't understand why he didn't start with the team that started against Chelsea in the second leg at Anfield. That would have been more attacking and with Milan on a slow start like they did it could have meant a goal or two in the first half.
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victor
I think he started the match with a cautious approach and you cannot blame him for that given the way Milan trounced Man U. But if I were to nominate a team he could have started with I would I would have gone for the team that started against Barcelona at the Nou camp but then replace injured Sissoko with Mascherano and the team would be Reina, Riise, Agger, Carragher, Arbeloa, Finnan, Bellamy, Alonso, Gerrard and Kuyt. An attacking but still with a strong enough backbone.
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victor
I think I have to say congratulations to Milan for their win but I also have to say we played so well we didn't allow them to play their natural game like they did against Man U. I had to mention that.

We needed somebody to put away the chances but there was nobody and part of me thinks that maybe its time to bring back Owen to Anfield. To me quality upfront was the difference.

I think next season we can only be back stronger especially if Benitez can bring in some quality players with the money from Gillett and Hicks.
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Wes
Thanks for the comment Victor. I wonder whether Liverpool will be able to get this kind of success next season if they would like to chase the league title as well. I realised that this season they could afford to rest some players before key Champions League games even if it meant losing those league matches( against Fulham for example) but if they want to finish first or second in the league it would mean fielding your best team nearly all the time like what Chelsea and Man U do. Depending on the squad Rafa assembles in the summer they can do it but it should be interesting all the same.
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victor
I think Liverpool can chase the league title but Benitez will need to bring in some quality players to get the team to do that and also he will need a bigger squad to match the squads of Chelsea and Man U. Arsenal are happy with fourth and so I will not talk about them. So its possible and I am looking forward to seeing the title back in Merseyside.
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mbareboy
I agree that Pool have the conviction now to challenge for honours in the EPL next season, if Rafa's mood and the movements they are doing in the transfer market are anything to go by.

The only major hurdle I think will be Man U, who apart from the Glaziers' wanting to cash in already (which might act as a sidetrack), are keen to splash big this offseason. Chelsea can rebound back, but something tells me that they will be behind Pool (they might get E'too after all) and Man U.

Henry should seriously consider leaving the Gunners for Barca before its too late for him. I think Wenger, despite his charisma and wealth of experience, has been overtaken by the current demands at the highest percentile....what he is doing is to acknowledge that there is Man U, Pool and Chelsea at the top, then Arsenal, Tottenham etc...very surpridsing indeed.........kids can win you games but trophies....asking those kids to perform and sustain performances at the highest level week-in week-out is asking a little bit too much...

For once Jose got it right when he said Arsenal dont have ambitions....
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Wes
Victor and Mbareboy, there seems to be a tendency to overwrite Arsenal even so early in the off-season but I think we have to wait until August to see who actually leaves North London and who comes.

I know there has been a lot of rumours linking every top striker to Liverpool but its one thing to be linked to a whole host of stars and quite another to have those players playing for you and having meaningful contribution to the team.

I think that if Liverpool manages to get some of the players they are being linked with, it will be the 2008/9 season when they actually challenge for the premiership title because it takes some time to adjust to the premiership and to get the team gelling together. Also lets remember that Manchester United and Chelsea are already established and therefore that gives them a head start going into the new season.

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mbareboy
Wes,...while I agree that Pool look serious about the league aspirations (Rafa has even been promised Snoppy Dogg Dog....he can get anyone he wants was the promise), there is nothing significant happening at Arsenal.

Chelsea just have to patch (band aid patching) here and there, but my money is on Man U. They have been businesslike, and Fergie's experience in the transfer market is evident.

I'm still not convinced about the ability of Jose to create an efficient well coordinated team at the top level....all he can do is to motivate individual players and turn them into a winning machine, that's why his style is boring...

Pool will have to move away from being just knockout specialists to sustainable winners week in week out....
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