Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tigers Out For Revenge In Heineken Cup

Leicester Tigers are to face Irish side Leinster in the Quarter finals of Heineken cup following their 62-15 win over Italian side Treviso. The Tigers finished runners up in the pool behind French side Perpignan on the head to head record which now means that a tough trip to Ireland awaits.

On Sunday Richard Cockerill's men hammered bottom club Treviso in the hope of finishing top of pool five, unfortunately the Scarlets couldn't prevent Perpignan from securing a four try bonus point which left both Tigers and Perpignan on twenty-two points, due to the two results between the sides (one Perpignan win and a draw), Perpignan topped the group and with it, gained a home quarter final against Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon.

The result of final pool games means that there will be a rematch of the 2009 final where Leinster edged out the Tigers to claim their first ever European title. Leinster who topped their pool in impressive style which included a 24-8 win over French giants Clermont Auvergne, have had a brilliant couple of years in the tournament which has included a semi final appearance last season in a valiant attempt to defend their crown. Like Tigers before them, Leinster have now become a force in Europe and will be difficult to defeat especially at home. But Tigers have a history with backs to the walls wins in Ireland, in the 2006/07 season, Tigers became the first team in the Heineken cup to beat Munster at Thomond park knowing that they had to win the qualify. Two years earlier Tigers beat this year's opponents Leinster in the quarter final stage to secure another semi-final appearance.

On the news of the draw, head coach Richard Cockerill told the BBC, "The home side will be favourites to win, but on our day we are as good as any of those teams". This underlines the belief that both the team and management have in themselves, they know that they must play at their best in order to progress but they feel when the game comes along they will be up to the task.

Both teams have a winning mentality and know how to win the big games with plenty of bottle to boot. All these factors and more should result in a fantastic match come April ninth with two great teams fighting hard for a place in the last four of Europe's elite competition.   Alesana Tuilagi Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Alesana Tuilagi of Leicester Tigers during the Heineken Cup Final match between Leicester Tigers and Leinster at Murrayfield Stadium on May 23, 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian O'Driscoll;Alesana Tuilagi

Monday, 24 January 2011

King Kenny To Bring Back Glory Days At Anfield?

On Saturday the eighth of January of this year, Roy Hodgson's torrid rein as Liverpool manager came to an abrupt end, with Liverpool in the bottom half of the table and out of the League cup. So who was to be appointed to try and revive the reds fortunes?, club legend Kenny Dalglish.

Kenny Dalglish or 'King Kenny' as he's fondly called by the Anfield faithful, was a huge part of the club as both player and manager between the years of 1977 and 1991 winning major honors including numerous League and European trophies. He has now returned to the club to find it in a much different state to the one he left all those years ago. The glory days have long since gone at Anfield despite winning a fifth european cup six years ago , Liverpool have not won the League since the last Dalglish rein back in 1990!.

So what has Dalglish got to work with?, well he has arguably the weakest Liverpool squad since the fans can remember, his star striker who has been misfiring all season, does not look like his old self and with talisman Steven Gerrard not getting any younger, King Kenny has some real problems. Firstly with the wage bill being so high, Dalglish will be looking to offload some of the deadwood amongst the squad, with the likes of Ryan Babel, Milan Jovanovic and Paul Konchesky the most likely to be cashed in on. Secondly getting likes of Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres to stay will crucial for the future of the club, keeping the two players will be a statement to the rest of Europe that Liverpool can return to the big time stronger than ever.

With the new owners in and the current month being January, new signings are being heavily talked about with the likes Luis Su├írez and Charlie Adam being linked with the club, it is crucial that the squad is strengthened if the reds are going to head up the table and try to return to the glory days of the past. So after four games, Dalglish now knows the task he has in front of him and a huge one at that but if anyone can turn it around at Anfield, it is 'The King', Kenny Dalglish.
  
Kenny Dalglish salutes Liverpool's fans