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Winter is Coming.
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here's the pregame news- courtesy of ESPN

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Gerard Houllier has told his Liverpool players they must live and breathe the Champions League each and every day if they are to qualify for next season's competition.

The fourth-placed Reds go into the match against Blackburn at Anfield just one point ahead of the chasing pack, all intent on stealing a march into the final qualifying berth.

Houllier accepts the battle will go right to the last day, when Liverpool are at home to Newcastle, who occupy fifth place.

"I would not like to call the point lead we have a cushion, but it is a lead we obviously want to extend," said the Frenchman.

"Any player here will tell you their wish is to finish fourth. Once you have that desire and dream, it is in your mind and your heart all the time.

"It is in your blood and when you get up in the morning you do everything you can for it."

Houllier added: "If someone in the camp doesn't do that for you, it betrays what we all are trying to do. Now it is just down to the players to keep going.

"I have told them because I know what they want, it has to be in the hearts and their legs for the rest of the season."

Houllier and Blackburn boss Graeme Souness have both tried to defuse any tension for the game following the last league encounter between the two sides in September which ended with Milan Baros and Jamie Carragher suffering broken limbs and created a war of words between both managers about the incidents.

"I have put what happened at Ewood Park totally out of my mind," reflected Houllier.

"But I will say that this is not a good period to be playing a side fighting for survival in the Premiership.

"You could see that when we played Wolves here and then at Leicester last weekend.

"Those teams have, as we have, something to play for. It sometimes makes them play more intent and with more effort.

"We have done well against them this season, also winning there in the Carling Cup, but we say in France, `never two without three' - so let's go for the third one."

Liverpool will wait before deciding whether Michael Owen is fit to play as he battles with a hamstring problem.

"He has a chance, but I will not make a decision yet," revealed Houllier. "If he is not ready, I will not risk him."

Without Owen, Baros looks set to play up front, probably alongside Emile Heskey, who has been given a boost this week by being told he is a near certainty for England's Euro 2004 squad.

Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel is also confident the clash with Liverpool will not turn into a grudge match.

Lucas Neill was responsible for breaking Carragher's leg and Liverpool boss Houllier called the tackle "a coward's challenge".

Neill was sent off and also saw red for conceding a penalty when the teams played in the Carling Cup soon afterwards - both games ended in wins for Liverpool.

Friedel insisted: "There were a couple of injuries in the first game but there was nothing really malicious about it, especially the Baros tackle which was as innocuous a tackle as there is.

"There was an unfortunate incident with Jamie Carragher that was spiced up by people who were not players speaking up after the game. The players were fine with one another.

"To my knowledge Jamie Carragher was as good as gold when Lucas called him to see how he was and to apologise.

"I don't think from the players' standpoint there is going to be any extra heated rivalry, I think it will just be two teams going out there who are desperate for three points."

Blackburn boss Graeme Souness is set to drop Neill for the game for fear his inclusion would play into Liverpool's hands.

Rovers assistant boss Tony Parkes said: "The manager does not want to give Liverpool an advantage if by playing Lucas that is a plus for Liverpool, and he is thinking about what to do.

"What will happen depends how Liverpool see it. We don't want to give them an advantage by making it easy for their team talk and making it a little bit of a grudge match.

"We have to think about it very carefully, feelings ran high at the time but that was all over very quickly and we hope it's forgotten at Anfield, but we won't know until we get there."

Teenage striker Paul Gallagher has recovered from a bout of laryngitis and is included in the Blackburn squad. Barry Ferguson is close to a return but is not back in the squad yet and David Thompson is a long-term absentee.

As well as dropping Neill, Souness may also contemplate giving Lorenzo Amoruso a first start since October as Blackburn look to forget their terrible home record.

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Alright, here's the ON brief.

well we all know that Graeme was a hard tackler in his LFC days, but its been confirmed that those features have rubbed off on to his players as seen in the last league fixture, leading to Carra and Baros out for 5 months both. as if Graeme says, "if yer gonna tackle, do it two footed!"

Tricky match here, both sides are mediocre. (forgive my blasphemy.) the only boost we have is Gerrard, and maybe Hamann and hopefully Baros. Owen will undergo a fitness test and may be declared fit, taking the chance away from Baros. Heskey will most likely start. As I see it...

----------------Dudek-------------
Carra-Hyypia-Henchoz-Riise
Murphy-Gerrard-Hamann-Kewell
-------Owen-Baros------------

probably our strongest lineup, with the weakest link in Murphy, and the defense, and maybe Owen, if he decides to show up for the match.

A fixture we could win, but we could have done a lot of things this season.

Bit of a sad note, Arsenal has been defeated by the Scum in the Semi-final 1-0, goal by the fiery redhead. Silly mancs are almost guaranteed a FA Cup this season, and seeing Fergie in such delight has put nightmarish thoughts in my head. Red in the face, jumping in joy, with that ugly smile on his face, one could almost see a trident and horns...

anyways, away from the nightmarish thoughts.

Game is Sunday, Predictions in Paw's thread, and this is our first in 8 cup finals! [insert inspirational words here]
 

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Well played to the lads today - you have to hand it to Heskey, he played well. Diouf also assissted 2 - I always wondered why Murphy was preferred on the right, when he is pretty crap there.

Nice to see Owen scoring twice, and a Heskey goal! If they can play like that every week 4th place will be no problems, and we'll end the Arses' unbeaten run!

Does anyone else think that Arsenal could collapse now, especially if they loose to Chelski during the week?
 

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4-0! :D I tink that was just about the best first half performance I've seen all seaosn from any team. The only one that comes close was Arsenal's first half performance when they beat Boro 4-0. Although I was ecstatic with the score and efforts of Heskey, Owen, Gerrard, Carragher etc, it does make you ask the question: Why the **** can't we do this more often?

Blackburn weren't exactly anything special today, but any team that was on the end of a first half masterpiece like that would concede goals. Heskey and Owen reminded me of how they played for England when we crushed Germany 5-1 and got a hatrick between them. Gerrard was a colussus as usual with Carragher, Diouf and Riise all doing really well.

Diouf, Hamann, Gerrard and Kewell is our best midfield at the moment and to me looks like the best balance we can get. I think Baros is a much better individual than Heskey, but Heskey seems to bring the best out of Owen so that's a close one. Biscan was ok today, and although he regularly loses concentration and makes dangerous mistakes, we've got four clean sheets in our last four league games. Having said that, I'd like to see Henchoz come back in at Highbury.

That's our next game and it's a 12:30 pm k.o. away from home. Time for some revenge after they undeservedly beat us at Anfield. It's a tough one to call, some people are saying they're going to be vulnerable after losing to Man. Utd, some are saying they're going to be liked a wounded lion ready to give someone a pasting. I think the Chelsea match will have a big effect on how they play against us but we know for a fact that they're going to be physically tired. I think we'll have a good chance of beating them. It's Charlton back at Anfield on Monday and we could actually be seven points ahead of Newcastle in eight days or so with a bit of luck. Good to see our home form picking up, only one loss in the last five months.

It's still going to be a tight call for fourth place, imo it'll more than likely go down to the last game of the season against the Geordies and I think we'll pip them.
 

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champdave said:
Does anyone else think that Arsenal could collapse now, especially if they loose to Chelski during the week?
Tuesday's match is crucial. If they react well and go through then the double is most definitely on. The only people that will stop they are themselves, like they did last season. If they lose then who knows... they may throw it away again. I've got a funny feeling we'll beat them at Highbury for some strange reason but knowing us we'll draw with Charlton after that.
 

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Blackburn are relegation fodder this season.Souness is lucky that there are two worse teams propping up the bottom of the table otherwise his side would and should have been relegated.Still they might go down especially is Leicester get a good result tomorrow.

Owen's second goal was extremely well taken.Superb finishing which suggested that some of the confidence might be back.Team should have been up 6-0 in halftime and by the game ended the scoreline should have read 8-0 or 9-0 and thats being lenient on Blackburn.:rollani:

While the fixture list has been harsh on the Gooners,its been a blessing in disguise for you guys,playing 4 of the bottom teams at a stretch to build up team team morale and confidence ahead of the big clash at the Library.

I think all of you guys should root for United in the FA Cup final cause after all who'd want to see grisly site of Theo Paphitis walking through the streets of London butt naked!:yuck: :D
 

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4-0? No big deal, especially when we play against a defence as porous as Blackburn's.

I'll start a teenie weenie celebration when we beat Arsenal, Man Yoo and the Toon Army by the same scoreline.
 

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Liverpool skipper confident of 4th spot
By Ian Ferris - April 5, 2004

As Liverpool cruised to an emphatic four-nil victory over relegation threatened Blackburn at Anfield, captain Steven Gerrard was not only pleased with the result but the fact it was The Reds fourth consecutive clean sheet in the league.
He told Sky Sports News: "It was emphatic, we played very well.

"But I thought the most important thing was our defending. That's what we try to base our play upon. We know if we get clean sheets we've got the people up front to score the goals.

"If we keep playing like that today I'm sure we can grab this fourth spot."
 

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It was a good result for us. A 4-0 scoreline is unexpected though, as our attackers have been misfiring in front of goal, and credit has to go to where credit is due... Owen, Gerrard, Diouf. Blackburn's defence was porous and they are not relegation material if otherwise, so a week after the disappointing loss in France and not picking up three at Leicester, we have something to shout about, though not many at Anfield agree with me. Did anyone thought that there was silence after our side went three up was due perhaps to disappointment of the entire season which a half cannot erase?

I hope Arse gets a 1-1 draw and goes into extra time and penalty shootout (a win for them will do fine), and be exhausted by Friday? I am hoping for that.

paw;)
 

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10 points out of the last 12, are we finally starting to hit a little bit of consistency this season?
 
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RazorUK said:
10 points out of the last 12, are we finally starting to hit a little bit of consistency this season?
against teams who belong in Division 1, don't get carried away.
 

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To be fair it's well known that teams that still have something to fight for at the wrong end of the table tend to give you a real game.

Still I'm looking forward to playing Arsenal on Friday at this point. A good performance against them will do the confidence at the club a lot of good:)
 
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Arsenal seem to be in a bit of a slump, which is good, if they were firing on all cylinders, and if we were playing Hyypia and Biscuits, we could be on the wrong end of a hiding.
 

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well, I don't want to spoil the party but don't get too carried away,
we tend to get a good result against sides in the bottom half of the table towards the end of every season,
thrashing Charlton in the last fixture of the 2000-2001 season, Ispwich in the 2001-2002, and West Brom last season.. and I guess we all know how we blew it away in the last 2 games vs. Man city and Chelsea, where a draw in both games would've put us in the CL

anyway, hoping this good run of games doesn't end at Highbury, fingers crossed :)
 

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A good run for me is when we hammer Arsenal, Man U and Newcastle 3-0 each at the Library, Old Trafford and St James' respectively.

A good run for me is when we win every game starting the 24th match mark onwards.

Other than that, I will call it a mediocre performance not worthy of me getting excited about.

This is Liverpool FC we are talking about, aren't we? Not Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham or Everton!
 

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Winter is Coming.
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Discussion Starter #18
funny thing, last week I was bored and scoured the forum for treble season posts.

all those years ago... I learned that...

Liverbird was at one point quite a cheerful man ;)

Hou Hou Hou hast done this to you? :howler:
 

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RazorUK said:
10 points out of the last 12, are we finally starting to hit a little bit of consistency this season?
Well in points, yes it looks like it, but in reality we were average at best against Wolves and, although I didn't see the match, judging from reports we weren't anything special against Leicester. That said, I'd rather have four points from those two performances than have nil or one. Also, I've got a sneaky suspicion that we're going to do the business against Arsenal and take all the three points. :) If results go our way we could be five or even seven points ahead of Newcastle this time next week.

Liverbird, I couldn't agree more. I don't think anyone is getting carried away with Sunday's game, but it does make a nice change to see us absolutely annihilate a team for once. A great win and team performance though it was, I said to myself a month or so ago that I'd like to see us get 70 points from this season to salvage a little respect back. To do that we'd have to win all our remaining seven games, I definitely want to see us win or take seven points from the big three games.
 
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