Liverpool Europe's fittest team: Key observations from football weekend
1- Liverpool Fittest In Europe:
This season, I have twice watched Liverpool get a result which would have been beyond them if they weren’t Europe’s fittest football team. The Champions League 3-2 victory over Paris Saint Germain was courtesy of an extra gear Roberto Firmino and Co found late on. Same thing happened Saturday night when Daniel Sturridge’s late leveller came from Jurgen Klopp’s players digging deep into their energy reserves.
Kop players are literally bouncing off the surface with energy, enthusiasm and execution. Gengenpress has paid dividends as in one game after another Liverpool squeeze the last sweat out of opponents.
2- Bayern Not In Champions League Contention:
Bookmakers who insist on having German champions Bayern Munich as third favourites to lift Big Ears haven’t taken a closer look. Was privileged to catch Robert Kovac’s Bavarians draw one-all with Augsburg, then lose 0-2 at Hertha Berlin. My conclusion was that unless something drastic changes, they are incapable of adding to European titles they won in 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001 and 2013.
New arrivals Serge Gnarby, Leon Goretzka and Sandro Wagner before them, are yet to improve on the team’s attacking threat. Instead, it’s old warhorses Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery and Robert Lewandowski carrying the goalscoring burden.
3- Real Madrid Badly Miss Cristiano:
Julen Lopetegui’s Los Blancos couldn’t buy a goal in Liga Santander this past week. The Santiago Bernabue outfit were listless in falling 0-3 to Seville at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and toothless in drawing 0-0 with Atletico Madrid at the weekend. Can’t recall the last time Real went 180 minutes without a Primera Liga goal. It has to be the Cristiano Ronaldo effect.
4- Leonardo Jardim In Trouble:
Monaco find themselves in bother just 18 months after being crowned Ligue One champions. Friday’s 0-2 defeat to Saint Etienne left the principality club third from bottom. Coach Leonardo Jardim should be worried. His team are playing slow, predictable football. The notion of relegation isn’t too far-fetched.
5- Old Lady Running Away With Serie A:
It’s a familiar story, isn’t it? Juventus’ 3-1 victory over a battling Napoli propelled the Turin club to a league record seventh successive victory and lifted Old Lady six points clear of the chasing pack. Pegging them back is a near impossible feat. An eighth consecutive Serie A title surely portends.