Liverpool meets PSV Eindhoven
Dirk Kuyt gets back to familiar territory with a great chance of scoring his first European goal.
Kuyt played for Feyenoord where meeting PSV was as automatic as taking a breath of Rotterdam air. Kuyt has not scored a goal for Liverpool in international matches but it would be sweet to begin against PSV. With Crouch coming to life, Kuyt may have to share duties with Bellamy. Boudewijn Zenden, Liverpool medio also played for PSV when they won the Eredivisie in 1997 but will not see any action this match because of knee surgery.
Liverpool has hit its stride in the latter part of the season and it has done so in breath taking fashion. On paper it should win easily. But PSV is no pushover and are not an easy team to scored against. They have Jefferson Farfan as their major strike threat but Arouna Kone is missing and so is stalwart defender Alex due to injuries. PSV does have surprise package Edison Mendes whose strike shocked Arsenal in the first leg of their encounter. Veteran Philip Cocu will anchor the midfield.
Sissoko is out so Mascherano should get his first Champions trophy start. Liverpool's attack flows through Gerrard and Alonso, obviously the key for PSV would be to clog up the middle and cut off the lanes. Farfan should pose a threat with his speed and ability to play wide on the occasional counter attacks but there are very few in PSV to finish those chances.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 PSV 0. Dirk Kuyt gets his first European goal and its a big one.
Bayern Munich vs AC Milan
Owen Hargreaves moment to shine as Bommel is suspended.
Bayern is finally clicking and it was their up tempo attack against Real that got them this showdown with Milan. Roy Makaay is breaking records with his speedy strikes and Podolski, no slouch himself is catching up after a long layoff from injury. Missing through suspension will be Ollie Kahn and Mark Van Bommel. This is key, as Bommel's crisp passing was instrumental in Bayern's win against Real. But Ottmar Hitzfeld has been pleased with Hargreaves return and the play of Andreas Ottl in midfield. Michael Rensing fills in for Kahn, signaling the post Kahn phase in Bayern's life.
Carlo Ancelotti's superb trio of midfielders led by Kaka, Seedorf, and Pirlo would win every match against any team in the world on any given day but he has no strike threat to put the cherry on the icing. Alberto Gilardiino is no Roy Makaay.
Bayern finally reverses its poor record at the San Siro.
Prediction: Bayern 2 Milan 0
For those who want to bunk work while at work: www.livefooty.com has the coverage. Enjoy!