Champions League (Leg 2), Round of 16
Who: Inter(0)- Liverpool(2)
When: Tuesday, March 11th 15:45 ET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Why do I have a naked mole rat as my picture for the preview of this match? Well, it's quite simple actually. After thinking about it for 5 minutes, and searching the never ending images that the internet has to offer, I settled on this. Truthfully, when I saw this I had to take a double take, because I thought it was that bitch Torres. But after a thorough inspection, it's safe to say, it's not Torres. Just the closet thing that resembles the asshole. I'm getting off topic, back to the game.
I don't think I need to go over what happened in the first leg. But, for those of you with memory of the aforementioned naked mole rat, here you go. A fruit fly hit Torres, and he went down as if it was an RPG. Red card for the Matrix. Maicon assisted Kuyt's goal into the back of the net towards the end of the game. Then damn Stevie stabbed a knife through my heart by scoring in the 90th minute. A rough loss, I know. But that's all in the past. We start fresh with 11 men, for now, and we're at home. Manico has laid down a few (By a few, I mean 2) keys to success, that he believes, are what Inter needs to do in order to take down the Brits. Let's have a look at them.
"It has to be an evening without errors. We must not concede space to Liverpool. Tomorrow night, only those who can give 100 per cent and run for 120 minutes will be allowed to play." There's nothing surprising or mind boggling about that tactic. I believe, if they score, it's over. However, the sooner we can score, obviously the better. The crowd will be the loudest at the start, and the longer we go without a goal, the quieter the crowd gets. Resulting in, us getting more frustrated, and them getting more confident. An early goal, at least one in the first half, is a must.
When asked about the possibility of playing a 5 man midfield, he said,"With so many unavailable, this could be a possibility, but to overturn the 2-0 deficit we will have to be perfect from every point of view. We face a very strong team, but we know we can do it. The Champions League is full of surprises. I don't believe Liverpool will play defensively, even if it is a squad more than capable of closing down matches. They will play their game, unless they have our luck from the first leg and go a man down after half an hour. It is not by chance that they have eliminated great teams." I really don't like the idea of a 5 man midfield right from the get go. Our back line has been shaky latley with 4 in the back, playing with 3 can't be much better. I know, I know, the 5 midfielders SHOULD act like a shield to protect the 3 in the back. We only have one shot at this, and I don't want to take the risk. Now, if time is running low, and we need a goal, by all means, play 10 forwards. But, there's no reason to leave our defense susceptible to a counterattack in the 10th minute.
There's really nothing much left to say. Yes, we're in a difficult situation. But, it's the same spot that the '65 team was in, and we all know how that turned out. The anticipation is mounting, and I can already feel the little butterflies in my stomach starting to move around. By tonight, my fingernails will be gone (whatever was left of them from the past 4 games anyways). I've said this many, many, many times. I believe, neh, I KNOW we can do this. Now it's just up to the boys to prove that to the rest of the world.
Inter are in 1st in Serie A with 64 points, 6 points clear of 2nd place Roma.
Liverpool are 4th in the English Premier League with 56 points, 2 points behind 2nd place Chelsea.
Inter: Cordoba hasn't played since the 1st leg, so he's out. The Matrix is suspended because Torres is a bitch. Add the usual (Samuel, Cesar, ect.) and you got your list.
Liverpool: Agger, Voronin, and Steve Finnan. I know there have been some whispers that Mascherano might be injured, but it's bullshit. He'll be there, and he'll be starting. Oh, and add Torres to that list. I have a feeling his leg and/or upper torso may be destroyed. So, he'll be out for a while.
Inter:(4-4-2, The squads weren't there when I did this. Deal with it.)
Maicon, Chivu, Burdisso, Il Capitano;
Figo, Vieira, Cambiasso, Stankovic;
Even though I don't think we should, Manico may play with 5 midfielders. Who knows, maybe even the Christmas tree again. However for the players themselves, I think these will be the starting 11. Where he puts them, I'm still unsure.
Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurélio;
Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel;
Watch These Dudes:
Zlatan Ibrahimović- Zlatan, Zlatan, Zlatan. Do you know what they say about you? They say you suck in big games. You know what I say you do to prove them wrong, shit on that entire team. That’s right, pull down those shorts, and lay a hot steamy one on Torres. But, a goal will be just fine. The key for him? Relaxation and confidence. He has the skill, there's no question about that. But, we saw it against Reggina. He beats a few guys, gains some confidence, and this man can change a match. Just relax, and play Big Z.
Jamie Carragher- He's the guy who will be trying to stop Zlatan in his 100th European appearance. He's the main key to 'Pools backline, and considering that we need to score, it's probably a good idea to pray that he has a shitty game. I don't think they will, but if Liverpool do put 11 men behind the ball, it's going to be tough score. But they have too much pride for that. So, if we can confuse and tire this relatively weak back line, we'll be in business.
Esteban Cambiasso- The hope was, that Mascherano would not be playing. So Cambiasso could run nice and free in the middle. But, now that we know he will most likely be on the pitch, plans have changed. He has yet another tough battle ahead of him, but I think he can take it. In the first leg, he seemed extremely fatigued. But, he got a nice little rest, then he had a good game against Reggina, the perfect formula for a good match. If him and Vieira can win the battle in the middle of the field, that's half the battle already won.
Zlatan vs. The Big Game- There's no defending him on this accusation. Time and time again he has failed us in big games. In order to have any shot at doing this, he MUST play at his top level. As much as I hate to say this, I think the fans got to him in the first leg. But with the backing he'll get at home, and yet another chance to prove all those critics wrong, I think we'll see the best Zlatan has to offer.
Interista's vs. Liverpool- It's already been announced that it will be a sold out crowd. We saw what impact Anfield had on us, and I'm hoping the same will happen to them. It's going to be loud, energetic, and general complete chaos. That's why an early goal is sooooo important. Make them even crazier, raise our confidence, and leave Bitch Torres shivering in his boots.
Nerazzurri vs. Time- We have 90 minutes, or an hour and a half, or 5,400 seconds, or 5,400,000 milliseconds to score at least 2 goals. Which ever way you decide to look at, the clock isn't our friend. The longer it ticks, the tougher it becomes. We put ourselves (with the aid of the fruit fly hitting Torres) in this situation, no we must get ourselves out.
Even just writing this prediction makes me nervous, so it's kind of hard to talk strategies right now. But I think we need to do a few things to overcome this deficit. First and foremost, sure up our defense. I know we need to score, but if we let Torres run wild and put one in the back of the net, all hope is lost. Next, score. Simple enough. Thirdly and finally, run till' you can't run no more. Then run some more. It's our LAST chance, and we can't let it get away due to lack of effort. Every 50/50 ball must be won. Shit, every 60/40 ball must be won. Most important of all, we cannot waste ANY goal scoring chances. Finishing is a must.
Tomorrow is without a doubt the BIGGEST game of the year. I'm nervous, you're nervous, and they’re nervous. It's not a concerned nervous, as much as it is a 'Can the game just start now?' nervous. Our team is rested, we're at home, we couldn't ask for much more. Forget last game, it already passed. We can play with these bastards. We did play with them, with 10 men, for a majority of the game. I know our form has been "questionable" of late, but I don't care. WE CAN DO THIS. Yesterday we turned the big 100, and there wouldn't be a better gift than sending these guys back home with nothing more than a kick in the ass.
Inter win, 2-0. The game goes to penalty kicks, Il Capitano seals the deal.
Goals: Zlatan (22'), Figo (61')
MOTM: Who else but Il Capitano?