February 07, 2006


Red & Blue Muppets

by Vincent Lau

All the big talk by the Liverpool players before the game against Chelsea succeeded in nothing except getting their faces plastered in mud pie. At the end of it, instead of disecting their flaws, Rafael Benitez chose to blame Arjen Robben over an incident which was inconsequencial towards the outcome of the game.

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, which is why I never complain of divers since Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy are clear experts at the art. As for Benitez, he should probably have a chat with Gerrard about crazy tackles and Kewell about play acting.

But truth be told, it was an absolutely horrendous match to watch. Liverpool are no where near champion material (bar the fluke of the Champions League and the subsequent delusions of grandeur), and Chelsea while they are without a doubt the most efficient team by a mile, they are no where as near as entertaining as Manchester United were at their prime, and Arsenal at theirs.

Of course the odd Chelsea fan would point to their superior goal difference and their goals-for column, but you have to question the validity of those statistics when their top scorer is a midfielders and half of his goals come from penalties and deflected shots.

And of course Liverpool fans would point to the obvious (dented) Cup in their trophy cabinet, but they forgot that is a cup competition where consistency is not as important as the league. Fresh from the victory in the Champions League during the summer, everybody concerned with Liverpool were shrouded with delusions of grandeur and easily forgot that they were actually quite rubbish in the league.

Arsenal, irrelevant to the title race as they are at the moment can still kick up an entertaining display when they are on form. Henry is of course a genius, and when you throw and in-form Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg, they are nothing short of entertaining. Manchester United, as troubled as their defence is, and as erratic as Ronaldo is, can always be counted upon to provide entertainment. After all, a team containing Rooney and Van Nistelrooy will no doubt score.

But when you look at Chelsea's best player that is Frank Lampard, it is hard to call him the world's best player. When Real Madrid sold Makalele, Florentino Perez described him as 'useless'. "He can't head, he can't dribble, and he can't pass the ball further than 10 feet," said Perez.

Senor Perez aside, nobody in the right mind would call Makalele useless. He is world class in his position, yet I would struggle to describe him as 'entertaining'. The same goes for Lampard. He can shoot, he can dribble, he can deliver a 60 yard pass while looking the other way, but he doesn't entertain you as much as Ronaldinho or heck, even Christiano Ronaldo. In that sense, Lampard and Makalele are the epitome of Chelsea's success. Efficient and world class, but no where near entertaining.

As for the one man team of Steven Gerrard, one distinct word pops to mind. His work rate and energy makes him a BULL. And therefore, Liverpool are best described as that - bulls. Of course, bulls are not very fun, and are only entertaining to watch when they are goaded by their opponents, very much like in bull-fighting. And as we all know, in bull-fights, the bull ALWAYS loses.

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