mcgillianaire: (Changing Guard London)
...I arrived in London to settle here permanently. The photos below were taken on the night and subsequent morning of that memorable journey. It was my first flight to Blighty in three years - and I only stayed a night on that occasion - so this was actually my first proper visit in nearly four years. I was over the moon, making childhood dreams come true and all that jazz.


With mum at check-in in Muscat (then Seeb) International Airport. Dad had a separate flight that night to attend a conference in Italy. I think my sis was still in India. You can see bits of my Liverpool jersey that I was wearing in honour of the Champions League Final that was taking place as we were flying towards the Continent. The Mighty Reds were taking on The Rossoneri (AC Milan) in Athens. The pilot was kind enough to give us two score updates along the way. Unfortunately, we lost 2-1.

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mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! JOSE REINA DOES IT AGAIN! JOSE REINA ZINDABAD! LIVERPOOL FC ZINDABAD!

"Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone."
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
Tonight is Liverpool's biggest match of the season and if we win, we will play either Man Utd or AC Milan in the Champions League final in Athens on 23rd May. But! We can also win and still be chucked out due to the away-goals rule. And if we lose, we will end the season trophyless.

After their 1-0 narrow victory in the 1st leg at home last week, Chelsea hold the advantage, but don't rule out the Reds. In recent years, Liverpool has come back from behind and defeated such giants as AC Milan (albeit on penalties) and Barcelona.

The game promises to be bombastic on paper but it could be a scrappy free-for-all if Liverpool manages to slip in an early goal. Chelsea will obviously be looking to capitalize on counter-attacking opportunities as one presumes Liverpool will come out all guns blazing. But who among us knows anything until the match actually kicks-off? Nobody, i presume.

Even for the neutral viewer, the match should be worth watching, if only for the sake of witnessing yet another Steven Gerrard-classic goal. It's matches like these that brings out the best in one of the world's top midfielders. Even if you don't watch it, I most certainly will (Indian Cable TV & Electricity-willing of course). :)

GO LIVERPOOL! YNWA!!

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EDIT @ HALF-TIME: (Liverpool 1 - 0 Chelsea)

Wow! It's even-stevens on aggregate at Anfield. A skillful free-kick slotted home by Danish defender, Daniel Agger, puts us ahead at halftime. No doubt, one of the many tactics devised by Rafa, and practiced to perfection in the training ground. Now I'm more nervous than ever. Every Chelski goal from here will necessitate 2 Liverpool goals just to force extra-time, and 3 goals to go through on aggregate. Can messrs Carra & Agger handle the pressure and carry us through to another glorious night of European glory?

Find out on this journal in less than an hour!

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UPDATE @ FULL-TIME: (Liverpool 1 - 0 Chelsea)

Extra-time! Another update in just over a half hour.

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UPDATE AFTER EXTRA-TIME: (Liverpool 1 - 0 Chelsea)

I hate penalties!!!
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
LIVERPOOL 1 - 0 PSV (4-0 agg)
Valencia 1 - 2 CHELSEA (2-3 agg)
MAN UTD 7 - 1 Roma (8-3 agg)
Bayern Munich 0 - 2 AC Milan (2-4 agg)

3 English clubs and 1 Italian club in the Semifinals. A guaranteed English club in the final (either Chelsea or Liverpool) for the 3rd consecutive year. The top 3 teams in English football. Between them, the four teams have won the European Cup 12 times.

Only Chelsea has never won it before and they will be seeking revenge against Liverpool after losing to us at the same stage in 2005. Liverpool went on to defeat AC Milan on penalties in the final that year and became only the third team to win the greatest European club championship, 5-times.

In that match, Liverpool famously recovered from 3-nil down at halftime to score 3-goals in less than 6 minutes, early in the 2nd half, forcing extra-time and eventually penalties. AC Milan has won the Cup 6-times and under the captaincy of the evergreen defender, Paolo Maldini, will be eagerly anticipating a match-up with Man Utd.

If these results and the performances of English clubs in recent years, particularly Liverpool's, is not enough to prove that their league is of a better standard than the Spanish one, then I don't know what is. Liverpool is good enough to reach the semifinals twice in three years and they haven't even won the league title since 1989! That isn't particularly a proud achievement to brag about, but it also shows the depth of English football in its ability to compete with the best in Europe. All 4 of the top English clubs have made at least the semifinals in the last 3 years. Two have gone on to the final. One of them has won it. Will there be another English winner this year?

Find out in Athens this may. Till then, YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE.

SEMIFINALS:
Liverpool v Chelsea
Man Utd v AC Milan
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
LIVERPOOL 4 - 1 Arsenal

Superb victory at Anfield to swap places with Arsenal and move back into 3rd position. They have a game in hand but the pressure's on them to recover quickly from this awesome thrashing.

Big game in Eindhoven on Tuesday.
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
I think that goal just knocked the wind outta my sails... :'(
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
They call Football the Beautiful Game, but last night's game was not beautiful - only the result was! Rafa Benitez & Liverpool FC had never lost at Camp Nou and yesterday was no exception. History repeated itself as The Reds secured a famous 2-1 victory over European champions, FC Barcelona. Ironically, the two goals were scored and set up by the pair who were in the news for all the wrong reasons last week, John Arne Riise & Craig Bellamy.

The Catalan giants will be gutted after maintaining most of the possession and catching Liverpool napping on numerous occasions. There were two key moments in the 1st half that could've put the game beyond the Merseysiders as Saviola was wrongly adjudged offside with only the goalkeeper to beat and Ronaldinho refused a penalty after being blocked in the box.

Liverpool too missed some golden chances, including a Bellamy header in the 1st half & a Kuyt header in the 2nd. But Barca kept pushing forward & towards the end, Deco nearly curled a free kick into the far post corner as the ball passed Reina, spun into the woodwork & away for a goal kick.

90,000+ culers couldn't sway the result as Liverpool head to Anfield with not only a win under their belt, but the crucial, 2 away-goal advantage. It's matches like these that football fans live to die for. And I can already hear the Kop singing the Spanish death knell...

LFC ZINDABAD!
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
In a few hours, Barcelona FC, reigning Spanish Primera Liga & European Cup Champions, face-off with Liverpool FC, European Cup Champions of 2005 and England's most successful football club of all-time. But in an encounter as explosive as this, history will mean very little. In fact, the last time these two teams played each other, Liverpool defeated Barcelona on their way to UEFA Cup glory in 2001.

This time however, Barcelona has the undisputed upperhand and is arguably the best team in Europe. Liverpool meanwhile, are struggling to keep pace with Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League and fairly recently were thrashed by Arsenal within the space of three days in both the FA Cup and League Cup. The FA Cup loss was especially bitter considering The Reds were defending champions.

If last night's thriller between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich is anything to go by then tonight's Battle in Barcelona's 98,787 capacity Camp Nou, promises much more.

Can Steven Gerrard outdo the mercurial Ronaldinho in midfield? Or will Eto, Messi et co. run rampage against Carra, Hyypia and the Anfield boys?

Turn up the volume and rivet your attention to the match of the season on TenSports @ 11:45PM Oman time (1945 GMT / 1445 EST).

Liverpool FC Zindabad!
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
LIVERPOOL 2 - 0 Chelsea
OMAN 2 - 1 Kuwait

What better birthday gift could I have received than watching The Reds DEFEAT Chelski FC 2-0 @ Anfield. Then switching to the Gulf Cup, I witnessed the goal of the tournament as Oman overcame nine-times champion, Kuwait in Abu Dhabi.

On Wednesday, Oman defeated hosts UAE 2-1 and so with two victories in three games, they qualify for the semi-finals. In the last edition held in Qatar, Oman were unlucky to lose to the hosts in the final on penalties. That was the first time they made the final, can they go one step further this time?

18th Football Gulf Cup Scores
18th Football Gulf Cup (Wikipedia)
Gulf Cup Summary (Wikipedia)

====

PS How do you say "Congratulations" in Arabic? Shukran Jazeeran
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
Today is a good day because both India and Liverpool FC won their respective matches against the West Indies and Newcastle United.

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I am also quite amused with the regularity of 400+ totals in ODIs this year. 34 years without a single score higher over 400 and there's already been 4 this year!

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EDIT:
Here are the YouTube links to the goals scored by Dirk Kuyt & Xabi Alonso against Newcastle on Wednesday. The 2nd goal by Alonso is absolutely incredible, as he scored it from inside his own half after noticing the goalkeeper was off his line!

It's definitely better than a similar goal he scored last season against Luton in the FA Cup and marginally better than the one scored by David Beckham over a decade ago.

Liverpool 1 - 0 Newcastle
Liverpool 2 - 0
Better view of 2nd goal
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
AFC ASIAN CUP 2007 QUALIFIERS:
Pakistan 1 - 4 Oman
India 0 - 3 Saudi Arabia

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES
England 4 - 0 Greece
Italy 0 - 2 Croatia

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Sheffield United 1 - 1 Liverpool FC

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I'm glad Oman gave a good account of themselves in the thrashing of Pakistan, and any defeat of the world's most dangerous country is always very welcome. That being said, India didn't fare much better against Saudi Arabia, English coach et al.

Good victory for England against the ageing European Champions, Greece in Old Trafford. Interestingly, nearly half the stadium was empty and that fuckface, Lampard scored. Italy meanwhile, fielded a 3rd string team against Croatia under new coach, Donadoni, and paid the price for it.

Most disappointingly of all however, was the result at Bramall Lane. After going behind to Sheff Utd, Liverpool were awarded a controversial late penalty, with Gerrard supposedly diving.

Either way, a most annoying way to start the new season. Several pundits have predicted us to win the title this year! I hope the injuries suffered by Riise & Carra are not serious.
mcgillianaire: (Malibu)
The 2006/7 season of the English FA Premier League commences tomorrow. The first game features Liverpool against newly-promoted Sheffield United. Unfortunately, I will not be able to watch the match. :( On the upside, Dutch striker, Dirk Kuyt, has signed for us and may even make his debut in tomorrow's game. Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls, Here's to Number 19!

Outside the Shankly Gates
I heard a Kopite calling
Shankly they have taken you away
But you left a great eleven
Before you went to heaven
Now it's glory round the Fields of Anfield Road.

All round the Fields of Anfield Road
Where once we watched the King Kenny play (and he could play)
We had Heighway on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
Of the glory round the Fields of Anfield Road

Outside the Paisley Gates
I heard a Kopite calling
Paisley they have taken you away
You led the great 11
Back in Rome in 77
And the Redmen they are still playing the same way
All round the Fields of Anfield Road
Where once we watched the King Kenny play (and he could play)
We had Heighway on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
Of the glory round the Fields of Anfield Road


YNWA
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea (Riise 9, Crouch 80)


I know the Community Shield victory is nothing to brag home about, but every victory over Chelsea is as sweet as the perfumes of Arabia.

It's rather ironic that the morning's gossip included a potential £15 million bid by Chelsea for Liverpool's awesome Norwegian left-winger, John Arne Riise.
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
Liverpool played a very disappointing game earlier today, but thanks to an 88th minute winner by Chilean super sub Mark Gonzalez, were able to defeat Maccabi Haifa, 2-1 at home.

Crucial away goal for the Israeli club, but since they won't be playing at home, hopefully the Reds can scramble their way into the Group Stage.

(Incidentally, both goals for Liverpool were scored by debutants - Craig Bellamy being the other.)
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool Cheers)
Pepe Reina, Liverpool goalkeeper, was used as a central midfielder against Kaiserslautern during a pre-season friendly due to a lack of fit substitutes.

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[livejournal.com profile] dubaiwalla discovers an interesting website that divides recent Summer Olmypic medal counts by population and GDP. The USA might have won the most (gold) medals in Athens (2004), but The Bahamas, with a population of only 300'000, was the most successful in terms of medals per capita and Georgia, the most successful in terms of gold/gdp.
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)
Liverpool could benefit from Greece's suspension by FIFA with an automatic place in next season's Champions League.

Olympiakos were originally in the draw for the group stages of the Champions League - to be made on August 24.

But this week's announcement has frozen the involvement of all Greek clubs in European competition, and put England's friendly against Greece on August 16 under threat.

If the suspension is prolonged, Liverpool are the highest ranked team in the third qualifying round and an option for UEFA could be to promote the Reds.

A UEFA spokesman said today: "We are still waiting for more detailed submissions from FIFA before we make any comment."

http://www.tribalfootball.com/article.php?id=3525

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