It's always a good thing when the team you pull for is playing on the last day of the season. However, not to curse Liverpool before their revenge/revisited triumph EuroCoppa rematch with Milan, but I am getting extremely bad vibes off this game. Why?
—It seems LFC has already told about half the squad that they're gone regardless of Wednesday's result. There's no doubt that the club needs an overhaul—they dropped so many Premiership points they should have banked—but what sort of message is this to send a locker room which has, after all, achieved the ultimate goal of all Champions League sides? Does imminent departure add motivation, or kill it?
[Weird side note: it seems likely I saw Liverpool new boy Leto in the flesh in February—the River Plate/Lanus forgettable. I don't remember him, and can't lay my hands on confirmation he was in the Lanus team. Anyone?]
—There's a white hot rage of need and determination emanating from Milan right now, born of their Istanbul collapse. Hopefully all the pre-game bluster and vengeance-fantasy leaves them tight and rigid.
—Still, on their best day I don't think Liverpool are quite geared to cope with Milan. The rossoneri squad is just monstrous, friggin' Ronaldo counting as a luxury item. I'll see your Cafu and raise you...uh, Steve Finnan?
—Lucky escapes in the Champions League aside, Liverpool haven't exactly roared down the home stretch...and I fear that gets us back to the possible motivation gap again. Milan wants this desperately. No doubt Liverpool taken as a whole cultural phenomenon wants it just as bad, the better to lord over Man United and Chelsea. (Even at its most cosmopolitan, football always comes back to the parochial. Love it.) What lies in the heart of the squad itself? It's been a long season. They have achieved plenty—over-achieved, some might say. Is it a necessity for them? It will need to be.
All the same, I thought the Reds were for it after Barcelona scored first at Nou Camp. They rode the lightning then. Maybe they can once more before the inevitable dissolution.