If you like to follow European football then you will no doubt have been closely watching the Champions League as it reaches the advanced stages. My good friendis a die-hard Liverpool fan who has followed the club now for almost 25 years. During that time Liverpool have faced something of a drought in terms of trophies, especially when compared with the 25 years before that and but for a couple of domestic cups and that incredible Champions League win in 2005, the trophy cabinet has not seen much action for a while. Raj Dharampuriya however believes that this will be the year that they once again are crowded the kings of Europe and here is why he is so sure.
As we all could see from last year’s Champions League final, Liverpool very much threw the game away after two awful blunders from goalkeeper Karius, who may or may not have been concussed by an earlier Ramos challenge. Nonetheless that team should definitely have ran Real Madrid far closer but with gift like that they were unable to. Raj believes that this disappointment which the team faced will still every fresh in the player’s minds and they will not let this happen again. The fact that Liverpool have reached the semis again just a year after being beaten in the final is going to be of great importance.
With the exception of Messi who still, somehow, seems to be improving with every game, this is a Barcelona team which is a shadow of its former self in Raj’s opinion and he thinks that Liverpool are simply better. Raj is counting on Virgil van Dijk to look after the world’s best player (or second best depending on where you stand) and he expects the Liverpool front three to simply be too much for an aging defensive unit. It is hard to disagree with Raj but I do think that he is wrong on the Messi front, simply because so many greats have tried and failed before to contain him in an important game.
Raj Dharampuriya believes that it is fate that his side were given the second leg at home and he believes that once again the Anfield crowd and atmosphere will be enough to get the team over the line. It is true that Anfield is a sight to behold on a European night but most of this Barcelona team have been there and done that, and they rarely seem fazed by it.
Without even a second of though Raj told me that if his boys get the final that the rest is history and he can’t see either Ajax or Spurs causing them any issues in Madrid. Whilst on paper I would tend to agree, a single final, played over 90 minutes means that just about anything can happen and the underdog has been known to win in such situations.
Are you with Raj in thinking that this will be easy? Or do you think things may be a bit trickier for the Reds?