In a nutshell: Arsenal v Sparta Prague, Liverpool v Toulouse, Celtic v Spartak Moscow and Rangers or FK Zeta v Crvena Zvezda or Levadia Tallinn.
The BBC is lamenting a tough draw for the British clubs, but you would expect at least three of the four to progress. They may not be easy games (there are no easy games at this level, Clive) but to call it a tough draw might be taking things a bit too far. Sparta Prague are a team Arsenal generally beat comfortably in the group stages. And if Liverpool can’t make it past Toulouse then they don’t deserve to be in the competition anyway. Celtic have man-for-man the toughest draw, but even a below-par Rangers should have what it takes to defeat their potential opponents.
1 The annual ‘will this be Liverpool’s year?’ discussions. It never is and this year is no exception.
2 Every pundit predicts that the three promoted teams will go straight back down. It hasn’t happened since 1998. 3 Alan Hansen maxes out his quote of Liverpool players/old boys for his Telegraph fantasy football team.
I know that Liverpool fans don’t have the monopoly on this song (Celtic fans sing it regularly, as do fans of Ajax and several other European clubs) but it’s still weird to see Man Yoo fans belting out the song associated with their arch rivals. Are they on a wind-up, or did United fans ever adopt this song as their own? Answers on a postcard please (or just leave a comment!).
The business end of the Premiership has been dominated in recent years by the Big Four, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Few teams have even come close to challenging that dominance, but Chelski boss Jose Mourinho believes that Spurs are now strong enough to challenge that group this coming season, and thus create a ‘Big Five’.
With Fergie refusing Liverpool’s Â£6.8m bid for Gabriel Heinze and claiming United would ‘never’ sell to their bitterest rivals, we take a look at a few transfers that have taken place between clubs with a history of hatred.
Put yourself in the shoes of Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez (just don’t complain if you’re not the same shoe size). You’re desperate to break the Chelsea/Man Utd Premiership axis of evil, so you’ve spent big in the summer. You’ve got rid of Luis Garcia and Craig Bellamy and now have the following forwards to choose from for the new season:
Calm down, calm down. TShirts365 have come up with this offering which is guaranteed to look good under even the most flammable of polyester shell-suits. In Spain the Kid is called El Nino, but on Merseyside he’s just La’ like everyone else! The Rafa-lution is a hotbed for t-shirt designs it seems!
There are bound to be a few more twists to this year’s transfer season, especially if someone remembers where they put Carlos Tevez’s ownership papers, but new TV money and the arrival of more glory hunting billionaires means there’s been plenty of action.
Here’s what we think are the ten best deals done so far:
That’s Ajax’s Ryan, not the mediocre Brad Pitt movie of the same name. Rafa ‘we’re working with wingers’ Benitez has reportedly got his man after an Â£11.5 million deal was agreed. The 20-year-old will finalise his move over the coming days.
We recently reported that Premiership legend and Scouse deity, Robbie Fowler, was having trouble finding a new club to ply his goal-poaching trade. Well, it seems all is not completely lost, as lowly League One club, Port Vale have made a cheeky attempt to sign his services.
Last week we took a look back at the greatest ever foreign players to grace the Premiership, but you can be sure that for every Bergkamp there’s a Boogers who’s just as rememberedâ€¦but for all the wrong reasons.
Liverpool have apparently made a bid for Dutch U-21 star Ryan Babel. The Ajax forward is rated as the brightest young prospect in Dutch football by none other than Marco van Basten and has already been linked to Arsenal and Newcastle – whadyareckon?
Harry Kewell takes a photo of Aussie teammate Lucas Neill with a fan in a Singapore hotel’s lobby, prior to the Socceroos depature to Bangkok for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. [Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images]
Rafa Benitez seems rather keen on bringing Argentine left-back Gabriel Heinze to Anfield. All well and good – Heinze is a quality defender who always gives his best. One small problem though: he currently plays for Man Utd and traditionally Liverpool and Man Utd don’t tend to buy players from each other. It’s a hate thing.
So here’s a vid of an advert in which Liverpool-bound Fernando Torres (how sweet that must sound to Reds fans) plays keepy-up with a hand grenade. After that, you can check out a music video, by Spanish pop band El Canto Del Loco, featuring a guest appearance by Torres.
Because he sucked his thumb after he scored and wore a girly hairband, Luis Garcia was portrayed as the archetypal fancy foreign player. Okay, so he did give the ball away a bit too often, but I think he’s an underrated player and he always seemed to score crucial goals, most notably the cracker against Juventus in the Champions League in 2005, the year Liverpool won the trophy. Most Liverpool fans love him unconditionally and will be very sad to see him go to Atletico Madrid next season. Here’s a YouTube video tribute to Luisâ€¦
Fernando Torres is due to fly into Liverpool Airport today and undergo a medical before sealing a Â£27m transfer to Liverpool, from Atletico Madrid. The 23-year-old striker has cut short his summer holiday to ensure the move goes ahead without delay. As part of the deal, the two clubs have also agreed for Luis GarcÃa […]
If, as is rumoured, Liverpool were to sign Fernando Torres, their roster of forwards would look something like this: Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Craig Bellamy, Andriy Voronin, Djibril Cisse, Luis Garcia (who can play up front)