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Anfield Job too Tough for Barcelona?

Avenging a 2-1 Champions League home loss at Anfield might not have been an impossible task for the FC Barcelona team of 2005-06, but it certainly looks a tall order for this year's team, which still contains most of the same players despite its slumping form. All credit should go to Liverpool, which responded positively to going down 1-0 early in the match. Barcelona certainly had its chances, though for the most part Liverpool defended well after a shaky first 20 minutes.

The loss is Barcelona's second in a row, and its third in its last five matches in all competitions. Indeed, 2007 hasn't been kind to the defending Spanish and European champion, which has only three wins, two losses and three ties in eight games in the league since Jan. 1, and is now staring down second-leg deficits in both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Indeed, poor defending is to blame not only for Wednesday's loss but for Barcelona's poor overall form. This may be partly due to the fact that Coach Franck Rijkaard has failed to lockdown a consistent first-team defensive lineup all season. That said, it'll be all about offense for Barcelona in the return leg at Anfield. The big change could be the reinsertion of Samuel Eto'o, Spain's leading scorer last season, in the central striking role.

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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