Thursday’s Papers: Football is the winner

The thing for newspapers with Liverpool not being in the Champions League means there’s a long time between each Reds match, causing a very slow news week.

So much so in fact that the only real newsworthy story regarding Liverpool in this morning’s back pages is in The Times, where Steven Gerrard says he is confident the Premier League title will be coming to Anfield soon.

‘œWe’re so, so close to doing it this season, I believe we can still nick it. But if we don’t and United close it out, we’re going to have a right good go at it over the next three, four or five years and I believe we’re too good not to win it.’
(Read more on this story here)

But in other news, there was a sense that Barcelona’s qualification for the Champions League final last night, going through on away goals against Chelsea, means football is a winner. Barcelona have played outstanding football all season both in La Liga and in Europe. Only the other day they travelled to the Bernabeu and thrashed title rivals Real Madrid 2-6 in their own back yard.

Phenomenal attacking football that has seen the Catalan club score over 100 goals already this season. The Premier League‘s highest goalscorers are us, with only 69!

Chelsea were unlucky last night though. Poor refereeing by Norwegian Tom Henning Ovrebo let them down when they could have added to their 1-0 lead. But it was a truly brilliant goal by Andres Iniesta in injury time that sunk the Blues.

I like this quote from Henry Winter’s (The Telegraph) match report:

Drogba’s reaction was disgraceful, showing what a poor loser he is in contrast to the dignified Hiddink. The heart went out to Hiddink and Chelsea, if not Drogba. They deserved enough last night to be in the final. Hiddink again showed his tactical nous, John Terry was the model of defensive mastery while Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard ran themselves into the ground. Football can be so cruel.

Yep, so cruel. Poor old Chelsea. Oh well.

Sam Wallace of The Independent opens his match report with a summary of Chelsea‘s complete inability to take advantage of the hundreds of millions that have been pumped into them.

Roman Abramovich hurried across the Stamford Bridge turf after the final whistle like a man rushing to the scene of an accident, or rather a catastrophe, and goodness only knows what he found when he threw open the door of the home dressing room. Waiting there for him would have been the wreckage of Chelsea‘s Champions League dream for a sixth successive season, that makes it £679m spent and still no European Cup.

So it’s a good day for football ‘“ Barcelona, the entertainers of Europe right now, are through to the European Cup Final in Rome against Manchester Utd, where hopefully they can ignite some of the style that sees them so comfortably sit at the top of La Liga. And for Liverpool, we can only hope having the Champions League final at the end of May effects United’s mentality and performance in their final four Premier League games.