Chelsea and Liverpool's Champions League classic thanks to dodgy keepers
15.06 The city of Liverpool falls silent to remember the 96 supporters who travelled to Hillsborough to watch an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest and never returned home, 20 years ago today. Related ArticlesCissokho: Ronaldo nothing specialAdebayor pledges loyalty to ArsenalTimeline of Chelsea 4 Liverpool 4Bayern v Barca: Man markingKlinsmann takes stock after drawHillsborough remembered: Kenny Dalglish was shining light in Liverpools darkest hour-- 14.35 Jens Lehmann's renewed desire to play in the 2010 World Cup finals after signing a contract extension with Stuttgart, and despite having retired from international football, has met a mixed reaction in Germany. National team manager Joachim Loew: 'We have absolute confidence in all of our four goalkeepers. That's why Jens Lehmann is not an issue now.' Werder Bremen's Tim Wiese, one of those four goalkeepers: 'Too bad, he was a nice guy before he went to Stuttgart. And I am speaking for the other goalkeepers too. He is totally overrated and hyped up." Well, perhaps not that mixed as it goes... -- 14.00 THE HEADLINES THIS HOUR Sir Alex Ferguson: 'Cristiano [Ronaldo] is part of our team, but we cannot focus on one individual because they all have to step up to the plate now.' Should Manchester United fans be more worried about the hostile reception waiting for Sporting old-boy C-Ron in tonight's Champions League match with Porto or the fact that their manager has chosen this moment to start talking like Schteeeve McClaren... Marcos Senna will not be on the pitch to launch howitzers in the general direction of Lukasz Fabianski at the Emirates Stadium tonight due to a twanged muscle in his shooting leg. And Micheal Platini has assured Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine they will not lose the right to do so, even though they appear to have got in the same subcontractors for their stadiums as the FA did for Wembley, such is the glacial pace of progress. -- 13.45 The hulablaoo surrounding Damian McBride's salacious emails and dirty tricks makes you despair at politics in this country. So praise be for Richard Corbett, MEP for Yorkshire & Humber, who is ready to fight the power and restore our faith in his profession. Finding time between whatever it is he does and whatever else it is he does as an MEP, Corbett got together 15,000 signatures from Leeds United fans supporting his bid to have the result of the 1973 European Cup Winners Cup final reversed. Someone's got to do it, eh? So why not someone being paid out of the public purse? Leeds lost the match 1-0 to AC Milan, with the referee subsequently banned due to suspicions over match fixing, which was rife at that time, especially in Italy. 'Following Uefa's recent crackdown on betting syndicates and match fixing, Uefa can now show the whole of Europe that even if a match happened many years ago, cheating and corruption will not be tolerated,' waffled Corbett. Oh the humanity – the Bung, for its part, now wants a review of the 1994 Auto Windscreens Shield final that Swansea robbed off Huddersfield, probably; there was something not quite right about that penalty shoot-out, and we're not talking about Tom Cowan's 'clever' tricks, either... Read about happier times for Leeds United here... -- 13.00 THE HEADLINES THIS HOUR Porto's midfielders have raided the club's kit room for extra shin pads after Alex Ferguson demanded a Roy Keane-like performance from his Manchester United players tonight. So that's a red card for Rooney, then.... Read more here... Rafa Benitez reckons Liverpool can beat anyone after scoring four goals against Chelsea. Two of them after Benitez himself had given up... And Marcos Senna will miss Villarreal's Champions League clash with Arsenal tonight - and a potential semi-final first-leg against Manchester United or Porto - after a leg injury. -- 12.30 Frank Lampard: "Messi is the best player in the world by some distance at the moment, and if you wanted anyone to play against him, it would be Ash." Indeed, Frank. And it's not just Blues fans that wanted to see Messi v Cole. The rest of us would've also enjoyed the Chelsea charmer being given the mother of all runarounds.... -- 12.00 THE HEADLINES THIS HOUR It's only been two months, but already Guus Hiddink has understood the quintessence of English football: GH: "But this was one of those games where players have made a lot of errors. That's why it was very attractive - going from one goal to the other." Kenwyne Jones could be the latest player to contribute to the Agent's Benevolent Scheme run by Spurs and Sunderland. And Gareth Southgate wants to sign Swansea's Jason Scotland to help Middlesbrough out of next season's Championship. -- 11.30 Arsene Wenger has attacked the way the PFA's Player of the Year is drawn up, presumably after Nik Bendtner's baffling snub. AW: "The decisions are all made in February. The players who are rewarded are those who played well until February. If they vote in May, I hope some of my players would be in there." Alex Ferguson, whose players make up 83 per cent of the shortlist, retorted thus: "Arsene can't just talk about the last two or three games." -- 11.00 THE HEADLINES THIS HOUR Chelsea are now 3/1 second favourites to win the Champions League after their 4-4 draw against Liverpool, which the Bung is still not entirely sure wasn't just a very strange dream. Read the evidence here... Shay Given says Alan Shearer was brought in too late to save Newcastle. He's right too. Averaging one point every two games, The Messiah MkII would have needed 80 Premier League matches to reach the 40-point mark. Speaking about his move to Eastlands, Given added: "I feel lucky they wanted me. City could have signed any keeper in the world." And if you forget the snubs from Iker Casillas and Gigi Buffon, he's 100 per cent right. After constantly denying he spat at Brian Horton, Cesc Fabregas will now officially deny he spat at Brian Horton, which is different, apparently. And Thierry Henry says Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lio Messi, confirming once again that footballers know nothing about football. -- GOLD ON A STICK Jorge Valdano, May 2007. "Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct. But, a short pass? Noooo. A feint? Noooo. A change of pace? Noooo. A one-two? A nutmeg? A backheel? Don't be ridiculous. None of that. The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played the semi-final neutralised any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill. "Put a s**t hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it's a work of art. It's not: it's a s**t hanging from a stick." Two years later, and few would argue that Valdano's stick has become a little less odious. However, the real difference between then and now was nothing to do with the managers, and does not reflect the new, exciting face to England's Champions League domination. It was just dodgy keepers. The Bridge blockbuster was only possible because Cech and Reina turned into Horne and Corden (A double act you laugh at, not with). So forget about praising Rafa Benitez's miraculous tactics and defiant oratory. He rested Gerrard, started with Lucas and pulled off Torres with 10 minutes to go. That's about as gung-ho as a Nectar card. Valdano again: "If Didier Drogba was the best player in the first match it was purely because he was the one who ran the fastest, jumped the highest and crashed into people the hardest. Such extreme intensity wipes away talent, even leaving a player of Joe Cole's class disoriented." Drogba was indeed running fast and jumping high again last night. However, he was rolling all over the ground in injury time and kissing the badge of the club he couldn't be arsed to play for earlier this season. In-built badge alarms, which zap the offending pucker-upper with 200 volts, are surely the only way forward. Finally, if Joe Cole was again disoriented, it was no surprise. What the hell was Andy Townsend doing on Steve Rider's side of the table? Is this the first step in AT's move to Linekerland? If so, it would confirm that ITV have truly lost the plot, a suspicion heightened when Clive Tyldesley predicted Guus Hiddink would have some "wische wordsch" for his team at half-time...
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