EPL on Saturday 5-4-2008.
It was a match that Liverpool can afford to lose but Arsenal can't.
The second match in the so called Arsenal-Liverpool Trilogy/Trinity, this match is a distraction from the other two UEFA Champions League quarter final matches involving both teams within a week.
If Liverpool loses this one, no big deal. If Arsenal loses or even draw, they can kiss their EPL title hopes or whatever's left of it goodbye.
So what did Rafa Benetez do in a situation like this? Rotation! He fielded eight non-regular players such as Crouch, Pennant, Benayoun, Riise, Lucas, Plessi (who?), and even Voronin the Potato had a go as a sub.
Arsene Wenger rested some of his regulars too, for what reason I do not know. I thought he still wanted to win the EPL title.
Liverpool totally dominated the first half and had a goal by Crouch to show as well. Suddenly the prospect of this back-up team actually winning the match became very real. Unfortunately Arsenal got one goal back to equalize in the second half.
Later on in the second half Wenger started to field his regulars when he realized his dream of an EPL title is fading by the minute, but it is already too late even though Arsenal threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Liverpool goal.
To further aggravate Wenger's pain, Rafa threw on Torres and Gerrard with 15 minutes to go, trying to steal a win from under Wenger's nose, and would have done so had Voronin did not miss a big chance at goal. Now you know why I call him The Potato. He's that clumsy!
The match ended a 1-1 draw, but it might as well has been a defeat in Arsenal's eyes. Their prospect of winning the second leg of the Champions League match at Liverpool's Anfield this Tuesday may be in doubt, since they could not even beat a Liverpool Reserve team in their own backyard.