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04/05: Reports:

League Cup Semi Final Second Leg, 25/01/05, 7.45pm
My grandmother
By Matt Rowson

Dudek. Ha. The most basic objective of a goalkeeper is to do what is necessary to prevent the opposition from scoring. Not diving over the ball or shepherding it inside the near post, then. Error prone in the extreme.

Carragher. Liverpool's best defender, we're told. And yet slow on the turn, and liable to make rash decisions.

Warnock. If this is the best that the Anfield academy can produce, heaven help them. Played for Coventry last season, which is all you need to know.

Pellegrino. Moves like an oil drum. An old oil drum.

Traore. Doesn't know what the hell he's doing. Plays as if stoned out of his mind.

Garcia. A f***ing circus clown of a footballer. Liable to get blown over by a passing gust of wind, and appeal for a non-existent foul as he hits the ground.

Hamann. Older than my grandmother. But without her turn of pace.

Gerrard. Must wonder what he's doing in the same side as the likes of Garcia and Traore when he could be with a club who wouldn't play him when carrying an injury. Never smiles. Wonder why.

Riise. Rivals Junior of Derby as the most one-footed player in British football. Would sooner chew his own arm off than kick the ball with his right foot.

Morientes. Was training with Figo, Zidane, Raul, Ronaldo. Now training with Igor Biscan and Djimi Traore. Must wonder what the hell he's doing here. With his hands on his hips and a look of Mediterranean disgust.

Baros. Eyes fixed on his own boots. Never looks up, ever ever ever, and if he did the concept of passing the ball would be completely alien. Also needs a haircut and looks like a girl.

There are others, of course. But they're mostly injured... no Cissé, no Alonso, no Kewell, no Finnan, no Josemi, no Hyypiä, no Smicer, no Kirkland. All crocked. No Nuñez, following his entertaining dismissal at Turf Moor last week. But you can't have everything.

Liverpool have had a chaotic time since we last met, with defeats to United, Burnley and Southampton. They've failed to score in this period, and their performances have decayed from flat to shambolic.

None of which negates the fact that they're a top Premiership side with a squad to match, on a different stratosphere to serfs like us. But we have a shout. A good shout. They are hamstrung by their history... despite their frequent success in this competition, they can't outwardly pretend that the League Cup is anything but a pleasant distraction at best. No such qualms at Vicarage Road, no such pretensions.

Whilst the cup run two years ago was enormous fun, there will be a sense of regret that we failed to beat a beatable Southampton side at Villa Park. We bought our hats and "enjoyed the occasion" and lost to a goal that I still maintain was a foul (by Beattie, on Robbo). And that was that.

Not this time. This time, it's on our patch. This time, we have the luxury of having played our opponents and matched them and lost narrowly and thought "what the hell were we worried about?" And now we get to follow through.

This time, we go at Liverpool like a pack of dogs.

Come on...