19 October 2006

Random News and Notes

As always, the day after a Liverpool game, I’ve calmed down somewhat. I’m still not pleased with the performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s worth repeating that a win’s a win, especially away in Europe. Looking at the Champions League tables is also pacifying, as Liverpool and PSV easily sit atop Group C with 7 points while Galatasaray and Bordeaux have 1. Also merits mentioning that two out of the three remaining games in the group stage are at home, while the other is in a stadium where Liverpool has fond, fond memories.

Hopefully, the win will restore some of Liverpool’s confidence for Sunday’s game, which will be one of Liverpool’s most important all season. The Manchester United matches are always one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar, and it’s always a struggle to get points at Old Trafford, but if Liverpool lose this game, they will be 11 points behind United before November. While no gap is too large this early in the season, it will be one tall mountain to climb. As per usual, I’ll do a full preview the day before the game.

Other news:

Champions League Matchday 3 round up:
• Dynamo Kiev 0-3 Lyon
• Steaua Bucharest 1-4 Real Madrid
• Celtic 3-0 Benfica
• Man United 3-0 FC Copenhagen
• CSKA Moscow 1-0 Arsenal
• Porto 4-1 Hamburg
• Lille 3-1 AEK Athens
• Anderlecht 0-1 AC Milan
• Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona
• Werder Bremen 2-0 Levski Sofia
• Inter Milan 2-1 Spartak Moscow
• Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Bayern Munich
• Galatasaray 1-2 PSV
• Valencia 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
• Olympiakos 0-1 Roma

No FA action will be taken to discipline either Stephen Hunt or Ibrahima Sonko after their challenges on the two Chelsea goalkeepers. Which is a good decision. There’s no way to provide there was malice in either of those challenges from the video evidence, and punishing either player on suspicion alone would be a huge mistake and would set an awful precedent. I’m also hopeful we’ll soon hear the end of complaints that goalkeepers need to be more protected. Goalkeepers are already more than adequately protected by the rules. If referees consistently applied said rules, it would go a lot further than creating more rules that may or may not be followed, depending on if the ref is bothered.

• Four British teams are currently in action in today’s UEFA Cup games. As I write this, Tottenham lead 1-0 through a Hossam Ghaly goal at Besiktas, and Blackburn has already beaten Wisla Krakow in Poland 2-1 after goals from Robbie Savage and David Bentley. Newcastle hosts Fenerbache and Rangers travel to Livorno within the hour.

The rest of today’s UEFA Cup games:
• AZ Alkmaar v Braga
• Austria Magna v Zulte-Waregem
• Basle v Feyenoord
• Club Brugge v Bayer Leverkusen
• Eintracht Frankfurt v Palermo
• Liberec v Sevilla
• Maccabi Haifa v Auxerre
• Odense BK v Parma
• Osasuna v Heerenveen
• Panathinaikos v Hapoel Tel-Aviv
• Rapid Bucuresti v PSG
• Sparta Prague v Espanyol

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