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Champions League: Onyewu and Liege fall to Pool

August 27, 2008
Biological Proof that Oguchi Onyewu is not a superhuman robot.

Biological Proof that Oguchi Onyewu is not a superhuman robot.

In a real heartbreaker, Standard Liege fell to Liverpool in the last minute of Extra Time on Wednesday.  Dirk Kuyt threw a wild leg out to convert a Ryan Babel cross, sending Liverpool into the Group Stage of Champions League at the death.

Liege needed a 1-0 victory, or any draw that included goals (1-1, 2-2, etc) to advance, after holding Liverpool to 0-0 in their previous fixture in Belgium.  The Juliper league champions came out quite strong in the first half, passing the ball quite well, with especially impressive play coming from their playmaker Fellaini.  However, while their defense and midfield looked positive, their strikers never seemed too much a threat, and I’m not sure if anyone ever thought Liege would score a goal in the run of play.

Liverpool had a solid defensive showing just like their opponents, but their offensive play seemed to lack bite for long stretches of the match.  Gerrard was invisible for most of the fixture, and Kuyt, despite his workrate, couldn’t create from the wings (same old story here).  It’s performances like these that show just how much Liverpool need a player like Stewart Downing.

Gooch went all 120 minutes and he and the rest of the Liege backline looked quite on point tonight.  Torres never really got a sniff of the goal, and Robbie Keane was also neutralized by the big American.  Onyewu consistently won headers in the box, and made a slew of key clearances to keep Liege in the game.  However, he was lucky to not give up a penalty in Extra Time, as replays showed a sloppy tackle was indeed a foul inside the box.

My Thoughts: In short, Gooch looked great going toe to toe with a number of Elite attacking players.  He seems to be finally coming into a run of great form since his downhill turn at Tyneside, and this game proved to be a great stage for his performance. Will he move in the transfer window? He’s certainly helped his case with this performance, but be sure Standard won’t let him go for cheap, so it will take a decent offer.  Despite what happens in the next few days, plenty of teams will have their eye on him now.

I expect we’ll see him called up for Bob Bradleys squad in the upcoming WCQ’s, and no doubt he’ll turn in some more quality minutes.

what did you all think??

–psc

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4 comments

  1. Damn it Kuyt! I was pulling for Standard Liege for one reason only – Gooch.


  2. Me too. Sounds like they fought hard though.


  3. I know!! Oh well, at least Gooch played a strong match. Still, I can’t help dreaming of how great a soccer story it would’ve been if Gooch was able to help eliminate Liverpool from the CL.


  4. Highlights of the game are up: http://watchsocceronline.blogspot.com/



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