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Wycombe 1 Liverpool 2 - FA Cup Semi (Apr 8 2001)

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Wycombe 1 LIVERPOOL 2

Report by Chris Smith at Villa Park



Scorer(s) – Emile Heskey, Robbie Fowler

Half Time - 0-0

Venue - Villa Park

Date - Sun 8 April 2001

Star Man – Gary McAllister













Breathe in deeply..... and then out. Phew! So after an extremely nerve jangling semi-final it's off to Cardiff again for a showdown with the Wenger boys on May 12th. All credit must go to Lawrie Sanchez (arrogant twat that he is though) and his Wycombe side for making a game of it making us sweat for around 75 minutes.


All of the non-reds that I have had the misfortune of meeting today have given me the same old bullshit "Oh you were lucky weren't you?" Why were we lucky? Because we didn't hammer them? I have never heard so much crap in my life.


O.K if they had played us off the park or had a few dodgy decisions go against them then fair enough, but if it wasn't for their excellent goalkeeper (if Nicky Weaver is England class, this lad would be in goal for the all time best XI of all time) and some sloppy play from our boys, then the scoreline would have flattered us a little more.


If Wycombe had threatened to score once apart from their consolation strike then maybe we could have been considered lucky. By 3:30 this afternoon I had heard enough of this bullshit that I could take and really snapped at a really nice lady from work and I think I've offended her.


She's a Shrewsbury Town fan and can identify with the smaller clubs but in saying that Wycombe reminded me so much of my hometown team I almost puked. I hated their lower division chants "come on Wycombe, come on Wycombe" and "come on you Blues" were so amateur-like and lame. I hated all of that specially made semi-final memorabilia, for us it was just another day at the office, but for those face painted idiots - half of which had probably never been to Adams Park in their lives. it was the greatest day in their towns history and I'm glad that we pissed on their chips, so to speak.


I hated the look of amazement on their faces as we began to sing in the pub and I hated the little kids that were allowed to run around in front of the big screen when I was trying to watch the other semi-final. Basically I didn't take too kindly to Wycombe full stop.


I have to say that I was extremely surprised to see Ziege in the starting line up after his comments during the week. If you piss Houllier off then that's usually curtains, just ask Titi Camara. What has happened to Biscan? He hasn't been involved in the first team since the home game with Derby so has GH decided to give him the rest of the campaign off? This wouldn't surprise me as he had already played a full season for Zagreb before joining us and has looked a little weary in his last few appearances.


As for the game itself, after the first 10 minutes I thought we were going to batter them as we came out of the traps like a house of fire, but like I said to my ma' before the game. "If we score early we'll hammer them, but if it gets to about 30 mins and we haven't scored we'll get edgy and start to lose our way" This was certainly the case and for a period in the first half Wanderers were the better side, but failed to threaten our goal in any way. The best chances fell to Owen, who I was certain, would put that away and - despite an otherwise seriously lacklustre display - Christian Ziege's superb overhead kick.


"Seriously lacklustre" is about as nicely as I could have put it. Ziege has to be the least committed player I have ever seen in a Liverpool shirt and seems more than happy to allow the game to pass him by. The only time he does make an effort is when he takes it upon himself to run 50 yards to dive in and deliver a challenge that the 1990 Cameroon team would be proud of. How Houllier could have made such a mistake beats me.


For someone who was brought in as a defender, his tackles are as badly timed as I have ever seen and his positional discipline is non-existent. If we could off load him to Bayern in a straight swap for Lizarazu then I think Gerard would bite their hands off.


The second half continued in much the same frustrating manner, until Stevie G entered the fray. It is quite worrying to think that we had to resort to bringing him on when he needed a rest, in order to beat the likes of Wycombe. As soon as he came on he changed the game completely, his urgency and drive allowed us to adopt a faster, more direct approach which eventually took it's toll on a tired looking Wycombe team.


As with last season with Sami and before Christmas with Emile, it seems that we cannot afford to leave out Gerrard if we want to win games. I still believe that we would have lost to Derby if he hadn't have been brought on, but would we have won the game if he had have started?


When the goal finally arrived it was more of a relief than anything else. I was beginning to think that we wouldn't have scored if we'd had been there all day and the match was destined for extra time. I certainly didn't want to go through penalties again. My mum had lost her rag with Emile and just as the word 'Donkey' had left her lips BANG! 1-nil! I must say that Emile has had a poor run of late, but hopefully that goal will be the catalyst for a return to form and give us that extra spur we need to take us to a cup treble and that CL spot.


It was a little disappointing to see some of our fans 'do an Everton' and run on the pitch after we scored, people must have been laughing at them for getting that excited when we had only scored against an average second division side. Fowler's free kick was sublime and that was the first Fowler special I have seen since we beat the Mancs in '96, hopefully we'll see another couple before the seasons out.


Wycombe's late strike made sure of a tense finish, but in the end we were worthy if not comfortable victors. Sanchez is a big headed git, but I respect him and the hand we gave him at the end was a nice touch. His players certainly earned their lap of honour and they have no need to be downcast. They put in a tremendous battling performance and if the money earned from this cup run is spent wisely then they should be strong contenders for promotion next term.


Another step has been taken towards our cup treble and to be honest I reckon our name is on all three trophies, especially now Spurs are out. I was really starting to worry about those bastards and I'm really glad the Arse beat them because I was sure they'd do us in the final. Besides I couldn't put up with another month of that 'year ending in 1' bollocks!


Hey Mum, put that Champagne on Ice.



TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Jamie Carragher; Nick Barmby (Steven Gerrard), Gary McAllister, Dietmar Hamann, Christian Ziege (Emile Heskey); Michael Owen (Danny Murphy) Robbie Fowler:

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