It's a big BIG night for everyone involved with Liverpool. I hate the phrase 'must win', because those games rarely are, but this one really is. If Liverpool lose tonight then the game at Arsenal takes on all kinds of significance.
Rodgers is saying he has to deliver a trophy this season. I don't think that matters if you look at recent history. King Kenny did that - got to a 2nd final and steadied the ship. That's what was asked of him - but he was fired anyway! I believe the minimum Rodgers has to deliver this season is C Lge again. Minimum. Trophies are a bonus.
Having said all of that I do wish Bournemouth well. Theirs is a terrific modern day fairytale, all but out of business less than a decade ago, yet now on the brink of the P Lge and an historic night perhaps only hours away. Well done Eddie Howe.
The other semi-final is anybody's. I can't call it I'm just glad to see Alan Pardew taking Cup competitions seriously at last. For some reason he's always placed more emphasis on finishing as high as he can in the league. Perhaps he's on a bonus for a good league finish? All I know is that if he can win a trophy for those fantastic Geordie fans he'll have a place in their hearts forever.
Congrats to Sheff Utd on another memorable night - and it seems Chelsea have really have got the bit between their teeth.
I can't let Thierry Henry's retirement pass without a word. What a player. What a career. He's done - and won the lot. Time and again down the years he'd have me out of my seat marvelling at his ability. How about that wonderful volley at Highbury that beat Fabian Barthez? Or when he sat half the Liverpool defence on their backsides before scoring? Or when he danced round Tottenham's defence, while running full length of the field to score? Memories!
Sadly I also remember him v Barcelona in Paris to make it 2-0 with about 12 mins to go in the C Lge final. Sadly he fluffed his lines, which was most unlike him. Sadly in that moment went Arsenal's best chance to win that trophy. His post match tantrums postponed a move to the Camp Nou for 12 months.
And, I know! There was the handball incident v Ireland. But what was he supposed to do? Had Robbie Keane done it at the other end no one in Ireland would've been complaining. It's like Maradona's 'Hand of God'. I'm still sore about that, but I also appreciate that Maradona had to do it. The opportunity was just too inviting. Did England complain when Michael Owen fell over v Argentina in Japan? Of course not. In every case the real villains of the peace were the officials. They should've spotted them all.
Henry talks a lot about his love affair with Arsenal. I believe he has a deep affection for the club, but it didn't run deep enough to stop him leaving when Barcelona came calling with buckets of cash and lifestyle promises. And it obviously isn't deep enough for him to return now, or start out in management somewhere, with a view to returning to Arsenal to fulfil his 'dream' of managing them one day.
I'm sorry to see him chose television over that opportunity. Just as I am Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher. Our game is being over run by school teachers and manufactured coaches.
At the end of their careers now the top players today have all earned enough to be comfortable for the rest of their lives. They're not hungry. They don't want hassle. The media is the soft option. It's such a pity.
I've worked with Andy for more than 20 years now. Although he's never actually said it, I know that he regrets not having tried his luck in management. It gnaws away at him and he can only ever wonder now. My belief is that he would've been terrific at it. I suspect he feels the same way! But it's too late.
I think Gary Neville would make a go of it as well. And Carragher, who's a real student of the game. I'm not sure about Henry. I suspect we'll never know. What a pity.