All English Quarterfinal, Really?

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Two English football teams face with just a few Englishmen on the teams. In what was billed as another all English quarterfinal in the Champions League last week, it was really more like Spain versus an international select team.

Liverpool had just two English players in the starting eleven, Jamie Carragher and a tired or seemingly sick Steven Gerrard, as he wasn’t his usual active self – turns out his old groin injury was acting up. And then there was Chelsea, who had Cole, Lampard and Terry as their English contingent.

Take a look at each team’s starting eleven.

Pepe Reina (Spain)
Jamie Carragher (England)
Martin Skrtel (Slovakia)
Fabio Aurelio (Spain)
Álvaro Arbeloa (Spain)
Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Lucas (Brazil)
Fernando Torres (Spain)
Steven Gerrard (England)
Alberto Riera (Spain)
Dirk Kuyt (Holland)
Petr Cech (Czech Republic)
John Terry (England)
Alex (Brazil)
Ashley Cole (England)
Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia)
Michael Essien (Ghana)
Frank Lampard (England)
Michael Ballack (Germany)
Florent Malouda (France)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast)

The game started off well for Liverpool. Fernando Torres slotted home the first goal early on, and it looked like it could be a route for The Reds. However, Xabi Alsono, who might just be the prettiest passer of the ball, who got lost on a corner kick and a rare starter for Chelsea, the Serbian defender Ivanovic, was able to nod home the ball off a corner kick to tie the match.

Ivanovic was left unmarked again on a corner and again scored with his head. Drogba swept in the ball off a cross to make it three but could have easily scored four or five goals himself – should have actually. He no doubt can kill the ball when he wants to, on the volley or on the run.

But Rafa Benitez is assembling a team that understand his native language it seems, from keeper to forward he’s pulled in more Spanish players than some teams in La Liga have on their rosters.

Who’s going to complain though when you’re winning? As long as he keeps fighting for trophies nobody in England or at Liverpool is going to put up a fuss about how their youth system isn’t developing any players who can play at one of the big four. How many young English players are there these days playing in the EPL? Rooney, Walcott, Aaron Lennon or Micah Richards.

There will come a time when the big clubs in the English Premier League will have to find a place for up and coming young players if England wants England to have any success in the World Cup.

As far as Rafa, he’s just trying to win titles, if the best players are from Spain, he’s going to sign them.

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