Barcelona lost at home in the Champions League yesterday to FK Rubin Kazan. Who? Exactly. FK Rubin Kazan. Sounds like the name of a magician, not a professional soccer team. Apparently though, that is them on the left and they are a Russian powerhouse that should be feared. I don't know about feared. They were first promoted to the Soviet Top League in 2003 and won it last year and thus qualified for the Champions League. Not bad for their first appearance.
I don't want to take anything away from their win. They did go into the Camp Nou and beat Barcelona on their own turf. Few teams within the past couple of years can boast that accomplishment. However, Barcelona did control the ball for 76% of the game. Barcelona also had 24 total shots, compared to Rubin Kazan's 3 total shots. None of that nerdy stat stuff really matters though. After 90 minutes, all that matters is the scoreboard and not how many total shots a team had. Rubin Kazan only needed 3 shots to score 2 goals-that first goal is a beauty. What a rocket. So who cares how many shot Barcelona had if they can only get 1 goal out of it. Rubin won, they deserve their due. They have proven that Barcelona isn't invincible. With that said, every team has their off games. They will meet again and I'm sure Barcelona will exact their revenge.
It is interesting with Barcelona though. Maybe I am just giving them too much praise and credit. They tied Valencia last Sunday in their La Liga game, and then they come out three days later and lay an egg against a cheap Russian magician. Yet I don't think too many people are questioning the team or worried about the team. Perhaps that is because despite the draw and loss, they are still playing Barcelona futbol. They control the game and wear teams down. They are still confident in their game plan and players. They just haven't been able to capitalize on their chances. Still though, they lead you to believe that everything is still under control, which I believe it is. Unlike this next team.
All is not well in Anfield. When is it time to panic? Has that time already passed? Four total losses already in the EPL. Four straight losses if you combine their last two EPL and Champions League games. That will likely become five straight losses on Sunday when they host Manchester United. It's not as though their losses are "bad". Tottenham is clearly one of the stronger teams in the EPL this year. Sunderland is also a tough opponent. An away loss to Chelsea is almost expected. But you have to win some of those games if you expect to finish at the top of the table.
Perhaps I jinxed them a couple weeks ago when I said Fernando Torres was bringing sexy back and that Liverpool was on the rise. Torres left sexy in the closet with R. Kelly and Liverpool is sinking fast. I know it's still relatively early in the season, but teams just can't afford to get too far behind and expect to make a comeback. In the first three Champions League games, Liverpool has two losses. They have a huge hurdle to overcome in order to just make it into the knock-out stages. Same thing in the EPL. They already have 4 losses. Most of the top of the table clubs finish with 2-3 losses, 6 maximum. Anything more than 6 and you can almost guarantee you will be on the outside looking in.
It's not over yet for Liverpool but something has to change. Transfers? New coach? New lineup? New defense. Whatever it is, they need to figure it out soon. Before they know it, they will be fighting just for a spot in the Europe League. A spot they don't even maintain at the moment.