THE ROAD TO ATHENS Jimmy Rice 18 May 2007

Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool
Second round, first leg

So much for an easier second round draw. The Gods conspired to hand Liverpool the toughest possible second round tie – reigning champions and everybody’s favourites to once again lift the trophy in Athens, Barcelona. The game was preceded by tales of golf clubs and karaoke, but Rafa and the boys ultimately did their talking on the pitch with one of the club’s greatest ever European victories. It looked like Barca could run away with it early on, Deco’s opener helping to inspire the kind of fluid football for which the Spanish giants have become famed. But if the Gods weren’t wearing red during the draw, they certainly had a Liver Bird on their chests in the Nou Camp. They contrived to make heroes out John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy, the very players at the centre of the pre-match furore, and it was Liverpool who’d head into the second leg as favourites to make the quarter-finals.

[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Deco
[ Download zShare ] 1-1 Bellamy
[ Download zShare ] 1-2 Riise

Bellamy scores at the Nou Camp

Liverpool 0-1 Barcelona
Second round, second leg

A late goal from Eidur Gudjohnsen may have given Barcelona a win on the night, but Rafa’s reputation for masterminding faultless European performances remained very much intact. Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Messi barely had a sniff thanks to the colossal Jamie Carragher and his brigade – including new boy Alvaro Arbeloa, who was already on his way to becoming an Anfield favourite after just two appearances. A special night could have been even more memorable had the crossbar not come to Victor Valdes’ rescue to deny both John Arne Riise and Momo Sissoko in the first half.

[ Download zShare ]

PSV 0-3 Liverpool
Quarter-final, first leg

Liverpool may have been handed, on paper at least, the easiest quarter-final draw, but football’s not played on paper. The Dutch champions had already disposed of Arsenal, and Rafa Benitez attempted to extinguish any complacency by reminding his players that it was PSV coach Ronald Koeman – then manager of Benfica – who shattered their Champions League dreams just 12 months previous. The trick seemed to work. Goals from Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch all but secure our place in the semi-finals with 90 minutes to spare.

[ Download zShare ] 1-0 Gerrard
[ Download zShare ] 2-0 Riise
[ Download zShare ] 3-0 Crouch

From Liverpool,Fiz

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