Liverpool achieved a 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Champions League, and in celebrating the draw showed to all followers of European football just what has gone wrong with the European game.
Liverpool managed a pathetic 2 shots on target in the whole game, one of which went in, and as such will feel that they have done well at Arsenal. Indeed their supporters celebrated wildly at the final whistle, showing just how low their expectations of their side (who have never won the EPL) have sunk.
The fact is that because at this stage the Champions League is not a league at all but is in fact a knock out cup with the bizarre and eccentric “away goals count double” rule at its heart, Liverpool needed to do nothing more than defend once they have got their one away goal. It made for a poor game.
What is really needed is a European League in which clubs that play proper free-flowing football could play each other regularly, always going for the win, rather than be forced to play games against clubs who will abandon all concept of open progressive football for an utterly negative approach such as Liverpool showed – and indeed often show in cup football.
It is sad that many fans of football in England still reject the notion of the European League – but the reality is that only when it comes will Arsenal find the true stage for their abilities and style. In the meanwhile, while the only meaningful European competition is based on such insane rules as away goals counting double, all we can look forward to is more and more negative approaches as we saw at Arsenal on 2 April.
There is a great opportunity here. How sad that the self-appointed power-brokers of European football can’t see how to take it.
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