Feb 16, 2008

Saturday Summary, Early Edition: Reds Get Embarrassed

Domestic cup competitions are a little like first dates or job interviews; the key is not so much to shine as it is to avoid embarrassment at all costs. Other than that, the goal is merely to make it to the next round without losing one's dignity or sanity.

Today, Liverpool failed to meet these objectives. Reds not only lost to what was supposed to be a vastly inferior opponent--Barnsley aren't only a Championship side, they're a mid-table Championship side--they did so at home and in rather spectacular fashion: on an injury time header. Who knows when the bleeding will stop for Liverpool. By today's indication, it could be a while. A better question might be how much of it Rafa Benitez will be around for. That one should be answered sooner. Maybe even next week.

Liverpool were not the only team to get embarrassed in FA Cup play. Arsenal got shellacked by Manchester United, 4-0. And Arsene Wenger brought his 'A' team to Old Trafford as well. What this shows me is that Man. United can beat Gunners. The five points they have to make up in the standings may not be as big a deal as originally thought--at least not judging by today's game. The two sides meet again at Old Trafford April 12, this time in Premiership play.

Another upset took place in France, where perennial champions Olympique Lyonnais lost to Le Mans. It wasn't a huge upset--nowhere near the magnitude of Liverpool's--as Le Mans is now fifth in Ligue Un. But it could tighten up the league race, as Girondins Bordeaux can move within a point of the leaders with a victory at Monaco tomorrow.

It Italy, Inter Milan did what their crosstown rivals were unable to accomplish earlier in the week, which is beat 15th-placed AS Livorno at the San Siro. Inter did it through a brace by David Suazo, who now has three goals in the team's last two games. Speaking of Milan, they failed to win again today, playing a scoreless tie at Parma. It was an entertaining game though (unlike that scoreless tie they played in West London last week). AC Milan had more and better chances, but Parma had their moments too and some spectacular goalkeeping by Zeljko Kalac kept the visitors level.

Plenty more still to come today, including the Juventus-Roma Serie A clash, three intriguing games in the Primera Division (that would be Espanyol vs. Sevilla, Real Betis vs. Real Madrid and Zaragoza vs. Barca) and Eredivisie action, including Michael Bradley's Heerenveen. And let's not forget about Argentina, where a trio of games are on tap.

Photo taken from TheSun.co.uk without permission.

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