Date:Tuesday May 1 2007
Injury boost ahead of our semi-final clash with Milan: Paolo Maldini will not feature for the Italians but Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have travelled to Italy.
Will it be the repeat of the 2005 final or we'll see the most important derby of history? Liverpool are through and in the cauldron of San Siro only one can survive.
OK, I give up on poetry and drama. The thing is, we somehow have to protect a slender one-goal advantage to take on the Scousers in Athens on May 23. A lot of people think we are doomed because of Gattuso's availability and our makeshift back four.
However, things start to look a little brighter. First, Paolo Maldini will be absent and Alessandro Nesta simply did not look as confident after the veteran had been substituted for Daniele Bonera.
'Paolo Maldini will remain in the team's training camp even though he's not available for tomorrow's game,' Carlo Ancelotti told Milan Channel.
Gennaro Gattuso, another doubt for the game, will most certainly be fit but that's no surprise, unlike the fact that not just Rio Ferdinand but Nemanja Vidic also travelled to Milan. It would be a huge surprise if both of them would be in the starting line-up but even their presence and availability is a huge boost.
That is true of Louis Saha, too. I expect him to start on the bench but it's reassuring that if things go wrong, we still have an ace to play.
Having said that, I firmly believe we should not try to hang on to this lead. Milan are a patient team and a slow pace would suit them perfectly while their sudden changes of rhythm could wreak havoc. The best we can do is try to keep up the tempo, forcing them to play with pace as they are likely to tire in the last third of the games, just as it happened at Old Trafford.
"If we are realistic, we know Milan, on their own ground, will be huge favourites to score," Ferguson said.
"We hope we can avoid that but the safety net is to score ourselves — that is why we will have an attacking emphasis.
"I don`t think sitting on the edge of our box would do me, the team or the fans any good.
"If we are going to do it, we will do it our way. If we are going to lose we will do it our way. Hopefully, it will be good enough."
Reassuring words but dare we believe him? He had promised an attacking attitude before the games at Emirates, Anfield, Stadio Olimpico - and the reality is we had gone to these places to defend. Milan are a better team than Liverpool, we can't expect them to attack 90 minutes without really getting close to scoring.
Of course, I'd be quite happy with an onslaught if we emerged unscathed like at Anfield but it's highly unlikely to happen so please Fergie, tell me you are serious and that you are prepared to lose in our own unmistakeable way. Such an exit would be much more bearable but the most important thing isthat with this attitude, we'll have a greater chance of going through.
Date:Tuesday May 1 2007
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|4. Man Utd||30||17||8||5||25||59|
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