Sunday, March 22

Foiled yet again

Six wins in eight meetings. And the latest one in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters series tournament.

World number four Andy Murray defeated world number two Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to reach the finals of the tournament and set a date with world number one Rafael Nadal. Nadal disposed Andy Roddick in straight set.

Murray was helped by Federer's 32 unforced errors. Federer has been in a slump eversince winning the US Open title last year, ironically by beating Murray at that time. He has since lost 4 straight to Murray, and has not won any titles.

In the women's finals, Ana Inanovic will be looking to defend the title she won here last year against Vera Zvonareva.

Friday, March 20

Yet another rematch

It's like a match made in heaven.

In the past 5 seasons of Liverpool's involvement in the Champions League, they have been pitted with Chelsea 5 times, once in the group stages and the other 4 times in the knockout phases.

2004/05 - Semifinals, Liverpool won
2005/06 - Group stages
2006/07 - Semifinals, Liverpool won
2007/08 - Semifinals, Chelsea won
2008/09 - Quarterfinals, Hopefully a win for Liverpool.

5 times in 5 years, what are the odds of that? Of course, with English team doing better each year and having more representatives in the Champions League knockout phases than other nations, it's inexplicable that one of them will face the other. And if everything works out well, we might have 3 English teams in the semifinals.

The draw for the quarterfinals:

Manchester United vs Porto
Villareal vs Arsenal
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich
Liverpool vs Chelsea

Pundits are predicting the first semifinals to be an all-English affair, with Arsenal and Manchester United locking horns to be in the finals in Rome. While the general concensus for the finals is a showdown between United and Liverpool. Now wouldn't that be just great?

Of course, Liverpool need to get pass Chelsea, and the winner between Barca and Bayern first. Chelsea has changed manager numerous times since their last encounter in 2004/05 season, with Gus Hiddink being the third manager in charge of their latest encounter. Surprisingly, it was Avram Grant who led a successful Chelsea squad past Liverpool last season, while the self-proclaim chosen one, Jose Mourinho failed in all of his attempts. Grant got the sack last season, when Chelsea decided to go with a world class manager in the form of Scolari, but the celebrated manager only lasted for a few months before he was replaced with Hiddink.

The quarter-finals will take place on April 7-8, with the return legs the following week.

Saturday, March 14

Icing on the cake

It has to be something momentous, something huge, for me to start writing again. And I have finally find the reason to start again. I wanted to write about the Australia Open, but the heartbreak of seeing Federer losing the finals to his arch-nemesis Nadal was too much for me.

But tonight, seeing Liverpool trashed Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford is simply joyful. Especially when it came after the midweek game win against Real Madrid. Just the kind of boost that Liverpool needed after a bad run of results. Hopefully this will give them the motivation to go and win all the remaining matches left for the season.

Of course, it helps to have Gerrard and Torres fully fit and playing at their best. Like it or not, those two are instrumental in making sure Liverpool are back to the top. Problem is, Torres has been struggling with his hamstring injury all season long, and so does Gerrard.

Liverpool will be facing Aston Villa next, and it is important to keep winning to challenge for the title. Anymore stumble, like the ones they did against Middlesbrough and Manchester City, will resulted in a premature end to their title chase. Not to forget, they still have the Champions League quarterfinal to look forward to, and chances are, they might draw another English team.

The season is coming to an end, but it feels like Liverpool's season has just started.