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Winter is Coming.
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First Leg, First Blood

Mellor, FSP are out, Kewell made a 60 minute appearance in the last reserve match, he may have some part to play. I see Rafa encouraging the boys to score lots, and gain some foothold going to BayArena (thats their ground right?). Gerrard will miss this match from suspension. Morientes is ineligible for this having played for Real already this season (bastards). Here's our lineup as i see it at the moment:

------Dudek-----
Finnan-Carra-Hyypia-Traore
Garcia-Biscan-Hamann-Riise
--------Baros--Kewell-----

of course i think Rafa will probably try to stifle the midfield with a 5 man midfield and play Baros by himself. According to the aggregate scoring system it won't be too smart to lose any goals at home so we'll put some emphasis on defending well.

anyways, if some of you guys have time keep an eye out on the major new sources and bring some info of the leverkusen setup, and we'll see what we're up against.
 

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Going to be tough with the absence of our two midfield general (Alonso and Gerrard) and last seasons CL Top Scorer Morientes, at the moment I would probably take a no score draw- the important thing is we don't concede!

Personally I'd give Anthony Le Tallec a role as an attacking midfielder to support Baros (did we register him for the Champions League?) he has been playing well for the reserves, and with Kewell not fully fit I think he would be a better option, if he's eligable that is. Pack the midfield and maybe sneak a goal on the counter that's the best way to play this IMO.

Team like this would do me:
......................Dudek
Finnan...Carragher..Hyypia...Traore
.............Hamann..Biscan
Garcia..........Le Tallec........Riise
.....................Baros

If Le Tallec isn't eligable, Kewell or Smicer. The last thing I want to see is Garcia behind the stiker and Nunez on right of midfield :yuck:
 

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Winter is Coming.
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Discussion Starter #3
I think smicer might get a role in this where le tallec plays...

don't know SM, don't think rafa would stick a youngster into such an important and albeit physical match
 

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Damn. I didn't know that Gerrard was to be suspended for this match. That is going to hurt. I would say that SM Online's lineup is our best bet with the change of Smicer for LeTallec. I'm a fan of LeTallec and I think he's got a lot of talent and potential but like has already been said he doesn't have enough experience or physical presence for that role in this match.

-Scott
 

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No Morientes, no Gerrard ?! Whoa..are you guys sure about this ? :googly:

Leverkusen has good defense with Juan, Nowotny and Roque Junior on the back and Krzynówek as DM. They're known for tough play which is typical of Bundesliga team. And watch Berbatov and Ramelow, I think they're Leverkusen's best players.

Good luck, guys. Both of us got German teams, let advance together. :)
 

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Winter is Coming.
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Zhuge Liang said:
No Morientes, no Gerrard ?! Whoa..are you guys sure about this ? :googly:

Leverkusen has good defense with Juan, Nowotny and Roque Junior on the back and Krzynówek as DM. They're known for tough play which is typical of Bundesliga team. And watch Berbatov and Ramelow, I think they're Leverkusen's best players.

Good luck, guys. Both of us got German teams, let advance together. :)
yes Zhuge, it's going to be a tough match indeed. We mustn't concede any goals at home. Thanks for the Bayer briefing.. Gunners also have a tough matchup (on current form). Hope you do well against them
 

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Zhuge Liang said:
No Morientes, no Gerrard ?! Whoa..are you guys sure about this ? :googly:
Not to forget no Alonso, Cisse or Kirkland who would all be considered for the first team (it was a Dudek error what cost us last time if memory serves) theres also players like Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor injured who would of played some part due to us only having one fit/not cup tied striker (el Moro) add this to the fact that Kewell, Smicer aren't fully fit- I think it just magnifies the task in hand.

I think most Liverpool fans would take a goaless draw at Anfield in the hope that we can squander something at Leverkeusen with Gerrard back in the team.
 

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Krzynowek plays as left winger I think, and he scored few goals with powerful long range shots this season. Schneider and Nowotny are not the fastest guys in this planet for sure ;) but very experienced.

Bayer came stronger after winter brake, winning three games (9-0 agg.) and losing one away to Bayern 0-2 (actually that looked very similar to Arsenal's defeat in Old Trafford - dubious penalty and second in counterattack).

I don't think you should expect to get good result in BayArena. Just look at their CL home games this season:

5-0 Banik Ostrava
3-0 Real Madrid
3-1 Roma
3-0 Dynamo Kiev

Saw last three, also game in Kiev they lost 2-4.
Without Gerrard and Morientes and meaning inconsistent Liverpool form (especially away games), i'm not sure you are favourites of this pair. Hell knows what LFC will produce on matchday.

Bayer and Liverpool are my favourite teams in CL and their domestic leagues, and I wish all the best for both, whichever will make it.

Here is Bayer's site in English: http://www.bayer04.de/en/index2.htm
 

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vol said:
Krzynowek plays as left winger I think, and he scored few goals with powerful long range shots this season. Schneider and Nowotny are not the fastest guys in this planet for sure ;) but very experienced.

Bayer came stronger after winter brake, winning three games (9-0 agg.) and losing one away to Bayern 0-2 (actually that looked very similar to Arsenal's defeat in Old Trafford - dubious penalty and second in counterattack).

I don't think you should expect to get good result in BayArena. Just look at their CL home games this season:

5-0 Banik Ostrava
3-0 Real Madrid
3-1 Roma
3-0 Dynamo Kiev

Saw last three, also game in Kiev they lost 2-4.
Without Gerrard and Morientes and meaning inconsistent Liverpool form (especially away games), i'm not sure you are favourites of this pair. Hell knows what LFC will produce on matchday.

Bayer and Liverpool are my favourite teams in CL and their domestic leagues, and I wish all the best for both, whichever will make it.

Here is Bayer's site in English: http://www.bayer04.de/en/index2.htm
its a tough matchup for you then :)

Those home scores are definitely very impressive. Which means we definitely need to hammer Bayer at home. and keep it tight at Bay Arena.

Thanks for all the insight Vol, keep your ear to this forum when match day rolls along.
 

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Bayer, with all due respect, is not a team made in heaven. Banik and Roma are the teams anybody can beat. Real were such a mess defensively at that time no surprise they scored 3 past them, and Kiev one of the most incosistent or rather consistently underachieving team, esp away.
If we play with heart and smart tactics we have at least a 50/50 chance. We are not up against the skills of Ronaldinho or Sheva, etc. So, it's up to Rafa. If he can show that he can inspire his team and apply the right tactics we'll be fine regardless of who plays (except for THE two of course).
 

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The biggest mistake Liverpool could make is to take the Bayer side lightly. They have some very good footballers who can pass the ball around with relative ease and it's no surprise that they had such good performances against Real in the group stages. A couple of their players also have a deadly shot in them and with Gerrard and Alonso missing, the attacking impetus of Liverpool won't be there. Rafa has his hands full for the game and it won't come as a surprise if Bayer get away from Unfilled with a positive result. Lose the game and you can effectively kiss the QFs goodbye. A scored draw would make it very...very tough to qualify. Best bet would be to hope for a goal-less draw and then hope that Gerrard comes up with some magic in the return leg to sneak in a win or at the least a scored draw.
 

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zico said:
Bayer, with all due respect, is not a team made in heaven. Banik and Roma are the teams anybody can beat. Real were such a mess defensively at that time no surprise they scored 3 past them, and Kiev one of the most incosistent or rather consistently underachieving team, esp away.
If we play with heart and smart tactics we have at least a 50/50 chance. We are not up against the skills of Ronaldinho or Sheva, etc. So, it's up to Rafa. If he can show that he can inspire his team and apply the right tactics we'll be fine regardless of who plays (except for THE two of course).
4-1 against Bayern, who conceded less goals in Bundesliga than anyone else.
If not to count 0-3 loss to Schalke, Bayer scored in last 37 home games, and at least two goals in last 19. Now look at Liverpool away record.

At similar time last year Bayer started a run in tremendous form, winning 9 of last 11 league games and drawing other 2. Thrashing on the way champions Werder 6-2 in Bremen.
It's no wonder they played in 2002 CL Final and were veeeery nearly from 3 titles in last 8 years, throwing them away in last rounds.

You simply underrating them, zico. Win at home or die, I would say to Benitez.
 

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After reading Rafa comments on .tv it seems Neil Mellor is fit for the game. I thought he was out for the rest of the season or most of whats left anyway.
 

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vol said:
You simply underrating them, zico. Win at home or die, I would say to Benitez.
no, i'm not underrating anybody. All I'm saying is that we are not playing worldbeaters but simply a good team. Ok, maybe a very good team, but it's not like we are not a match for them, and have to rely on miracles to have any chance to squeeze past them. I don't think Leverkusen are coming to Anfield thinking we'll be "praying" for a 0:0 draw either. For example, imo Arsenal are at least twice the team Bayern are, yet I rate their chances pretty much 50/50. And i see us and Bayer as a much more equal opponents.
 

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First of all.. a very very tough match.. I've seen lots of Bayer this season.. they're a tough nut to crack defensively.. and have a lot of weapons to attack with..

On the other hand, we have a selection crisis.. with Gerrard suspended.. El Moro ineligable.. and a handful of players injured.. Rafa doesn't seem to have any choices.. he has to start who he has and hope for the best.. If Didi and Biscan can put in a performance that's similar to the crap we saw at St. Andrews.. we're in for a long night.. I've heard Kewell and Josemi are back in reserves.. and with us having no games till the game in midweek.. I think we have proper time to plan..

I agree with Zico that Bayer are a very good side.. but they are beatable.. even with our patched up side.. we have the fans behind the team.. and a bunch of lads who CAN produce the goods.. I'd expect both Smicer and LG to play.. MAYBE Kewell next to them.. with Baros as the lone striker in a formation looking like this:

----------Dudek

Finnan-Carra-Hyypia-Traore/Riise (depends if Kewell plays)

-----Hamann-Biscan------------

LG-----Smicer-------Kewell/Riise (depending if Kewell plays :))

---------Baros-----------------

If Kewell does start.. I'd have Riise behind him.. and start the game giving it all we've got.. we simply have NOTHING to lose.. as we're not expecting Bayer to be generous when we visit the Bay Arena.. Hopefully, the 2 DMs can hold their ground and support the defenders.. while Kewell, LG and Smicer can add different ideas to our attack..

With that said.. I think Rafa will be cautious in his approach.. with Traore and Riise on the left (as in the last few games).. Kewell and Warnock as subs.. and one of LG/Smicer starting (most probably LG)..

We've had time to plan and rest (10 days since our last game), so lets give it all we've got.. :fero:
 

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Here's a little match preview from me. Nothing personal, just putting up facts and letting you guys judge for yourselves. Enjoy.

UCL0405 group stage records

Bayer Leverkusen Liverpool FC
Shots Wide 53 29
Shots On Goal 40 27
Fouls Committed 121 117
Corners 25 37
Offside 27 32
Ball Poss. (%) 54% 52%
Goals Scored 13 6
Goals Conceded 7 3
Yellow Cards 21 13
Red Cards 1 0

Group A Pld W D L GF GA Pts
Monaco 6 4 0 2 10 4 12
Liverpool 6 3 1 2 6 3 10
Olympiacos 6 3 1 2 5 5 10
Deportivo 6 0 2 4 0 9 2

Group B Pld W D L GF GA Pts
Leverkusen 6 3 2 1 13 7 11
Real Madrid 6 3 2 1 11 8 11
Dynamo Kyiv 6 3 1 2 11 8 10
Roma 6 0 1 5 4 16 1

Similiar to us, Bayer had to qualify for the UCL, although they had less problems getting past their oponents, scoring a 5-0 win at home and winning 2-1 away. They have a great home record in this season's UCL (like us), winning all three matches, although they won their home games with at least 3 goals in every game. Similiar to us too, they have a terrible away UCL away form, drawing 2 and losing 1, losing one match less than us. They have more team-oriented results, with goals spreading well over the squad instead of attacking players only. Their goals mostly come from midfield, which shows, together with their statistics, that they have a really good side in attack. They have a 43% accuracy in their attempts on goal, with a 32.5% conversion rate. We, on the other hand, have a 48% accuracy in our attempts on goal, with a meagre 22% conversion rate. This may be due to the fact that the group they were in were made up of sides generally known for their enterprising approach in games, whereas in our group, all the teams are quite evenly-matched, henced a more tight-looking group statistic for us. A goals/match average of 2.17 in a group consisting Roma, Real & Kiev certainly are cause for caution.

Historically, they have a psychological advantage over us, having performed better generally in the UCL in the last 3-4 years compared to us. Not to mention the UCL0102 1/8 aggregate 4-3 victory over us. Their performaces in demolishing Real Madrid has put them above us, although it is important to note that at that Real Madrid was still in crisis. But having said that, we were not in a worse situation at that time too, and our current predicament isn't sth to be proud of either.

Current Form
In the Bundesliga, they are currently on a WWLWWD (with 14 goals for, 5 goals against) streak. Their last vicotry came at nurnberg in a comprehensive 4-2 victory, with their star striker Berbatov getting a brace. Currently in 4th spot, leading the running for the last UCL spot, with a great home record and a bad away record.

They are generally in a boosting morale coming into the game with only good news coming from the Bayer camp lately. Important players like Berbatov, Schneider and Ramelow have extended their contracts for at least 2 years more at the club, with Rudi Voeller signing in as a sporting director & Landon Donovan returning from America. The manner in which they have achieved their last result has soften the impact of losing Babic for this game, although they have more than able replacements lining up.

Misc Statistics
- Top scorers: Berbatov 16 goals, Franca 14 & Voronin 12 (all comps from soccernet)

Conclusion
A well-disciplined side, good tactical organization, a little rough and hard but at the same time able to play on the deck like typically any good European side. Uses the width supplied by fullbacks extensively, and plays the current standard flat four backline with a DM playing like an advanced libero. Have replaced the departures of many key personnel featuring in the great UCL0102 final-run in which they lost to Zidane's goal in the final.

Expecting a side trying to slow the tempo of the game down, containing the game in midfield, passing the ball around and trying to be intelligent when on the ball. We need a game-plan that keeps the ball moving quickly and randomly, changing sides often to probe and tire them down. Quick interplays between players and fast release in our passes is significant in opening up their well-drilled defense.

Not sure of a great result, but confident of a hopeful visit to Germany.

:shades:
 

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Watch out for Dimitar Berbatov, he's a fantastic player. A complete striker who is fast, good in the air, can dribble and pass, technically skilled. Will be difficult for your central defenders to control him. And his attacking partner Voronin ( Sheva's partner in the ukrainian NT attack..) is in good form, too.
 

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Rothose said:
Watch out for Dimitar Berbatov, he's a fantastic player. A complete striker who is fast, good in the air, can dribble and pass, technically skilled. Will be difficult for your central defenders to control him. And his attacking partner Voronin ( Sheva's partner in the ukrainian NT attack..) is in good form, too.

Agreed.
 

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Yasir said:
First of all.. a very very tough match.. I've seen lots of Bayer this season.. they're a tough nut to crack defensively.. and have a lot of weapons to attack with..

On the other hand, we have a selection crisis.. with Gerrard suspended.. El Moro ineligable.. and a handful of players injured.. Rafa doesn't seem to have any choices.. he has to start who he has and hope for the best.. If Didi and Biscan can put in a performance that's similar to the crap we saw at St. Andrews.. we're in for a long night.. I've heard Kewell and Josemi are back in reserves.. and with us having no games till the game in midweek.. I think we have proper time to plan..

I agree with Zico that Bayer are a very good side.. but they are beatable.. even with our patched up side.. we have the fans behind the team.. and a bunch of lads who CAN produce the goods.. I'd expect both Smicer and LG to play.. MAYBE Kewell next to them.. with Baros as the lone striker in a formation looking like this:

----------Dudek

Finnan-Carra-Hyypia-Traore/Riise (depends if Kewell plays)

-----Hamann-Biscan------------

LG-----Smicer-------Kewell/Riise (depending if Kewell plays :))

---------Baros-----------------

If Kewell does start.. I'd have Riise behind him.. and start the game giving it all we've got.. we simply have NOTHING to lose.. as we're not expecting Bayer to be generous when we visit the Bay Arena.. Hopefully, the 2 DMs can hold their ground and support the defenders.. while Kewell, LG and Smicer can add different ideas to our attack..

With that said.. I think Rafa will be cautious in his approach.. with Traore and Riise on the left (as in the last few games).. Kewell and Warnock as subs.. and one of LG/Smicer starting (most probably LG)..

We've had time to plan and rest (10 days since our last game), so lets give it all we've got.. :fero:

I'd have Mellor in the side over Biscan.


----------Dudek---------
Finnan-Carra-Hyppia-Riise
LG-Hamann-Smicer-Kewell
-----Baros---Mellor------


Not a great team by any means, but if they play to potential, a win is in the cards.

Carra, Dudek, Riise, Hyppia, LG, Kewell and Baros are all capable of playing very well.
 

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Isn't Voronin a midfielder??
I know he's been scoring loads of goals lately.. but I do think he's a midfielder..

Anyway.. LG's view on the game.. from skysports:

Garcia ready for Leverkusen
by Francisco Acedo - created on 21 Feb 2005

Spanish star Luis Garcia has spoken to skysports.com ahead of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
The former Barcelona star feels Liverpool will need to control their clash with Leverkusen if they want to seal a place in the last eight.
"The key this Tuesday is control of the ball and the success in the areas of Bayer," the diminutive forward told skysports.com.
"It is a big failure if we do not score a goal in any Champions League game.
"It is complicated because both clubs are having similar seasons.
"We want to make our mark in Europe and against the Germans it is necessary to make a great effort and not concede any goals at Anfield - that is a huge objective."
Garcia insists The Reds will not be taking their opposition lightly.
"Leverkusen are not a famous name like Bayern Munich, but they are a team who will be as difficult as any rival," he said.
"The defence is strong and the players in attack are very inventive. For example they won 3-0 at Real Madrid.
"We are mentally ready for the match and with out supporters we should get an interesting result for the return match.
"I am convinced that we will need to score in Germany."
 
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