Cruyff: Everyone now fears Liverpool
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has admitted the club would fear facing Liverpool in the Champions League after their exploits this week.
Liverpool’s season had been threatening to end in disappointment after some disappointing results, but last week’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid was followed by a 4-1 victory over Manchester United and there is now a renewed sense of optimism at Anfield.
Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness admitted recently that he felt Liverpool were the team to avoid in the quarter-finals, and Cruyff has now said that no one will want to be drawn against Rafa Benitez’s side.
“For sure, many of those who feared playing against Manchester [United] don’t want to face Liverpool from now on because of the way their demolished Madrid and then hammered United,” he wrote in his blog for El Periodico.
“They were two convincing and prestigious victories, but each was different.
“Against Madrid, Liverpool went on the pitch to attack and press them. Against Manchester, they went shoulder to shoulder and the game finally turned their way thanks to one incident: Vidic’s dismissal and the direct free-kick.
“Against Manchester United, Benitez felt comfortable with a more defensive team that was always together so that they could intercept the ball and play fast on the break.”
However, while Cruyff is particularly keen to avoid Liverpool, he admits there could be serious problems whoever they face.
“Playing against Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea won’t be easy, especially since Hiddink arrived,” he said.
“Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Porto are put in the ‘if we play them, we go through for sure’ box, but we should be careful of this idea in the dressing room, because no second-rate clubs are remaining.”