MARTIN SAMUEL: Anfield stages perfect riposte to Senor Jorge, as hammer and tongs replace cat and mo
09 April 2009 08:53
To think this was the fixture that Jorge Valdano, former sporting director of Real Madrid, once compared to something odorous on a stick. When these teams reconvene at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday it will be to play the only game in town, so pathetic was Bayern Munich's resistance to Barcelona.
That tie is over and while this one may be clinging to the edge of a cliff by its fingertips, there is still something about Liverpool in Europe that argues against writing them off until the final whistle blows even though they will face a doubly difficult task if Steven Gerrard has suffered a re-occurrence of his groin problems.
As for Valdano's assessment, the world has moved on. He got the bullet at Real Madrid and the remnants of the team he left behind were last seen on these shores getting their backsides kicked by the losers of last night's game.
'If football is going the way Chelsea and Liverpool are taking it, we had better be ready to wave goodbye to any expression of the cleverness and talent we have enjoyed for a century,' Valdano sneered after one of their early encounters.
Shows how wrong you can be. These days, Chelsea and Liverpool have replaced cat and mouse with hammer and tongs and it is Madrid who have come to represent major team mediocrity.