Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Barcelona 1 Liverpool 2

Who would have thunk it! But its true. Of course, its far from over. But the second tie being at home, Liverpool will definitely take heart from the precious away victory. They can now literally afford a 1 - 0 defeat at home or a draw. But I think they can even add to this win with another at Anfield.

To add to the romance of this victory, the goals were scored by the two players everyone thought might not even start today. Craig Bellamy and Jon Arne Riise were the two players who were the most likely to get the sack as their team-building trip to Portugal had the opposite effect. Especially at fault was Bellamy, who allegedly attacked Riise with a golf club. With his past record, the media was claiming this was the end of Bell at Liverpool. It may still be, Rafa is not one to take lack of discipline in his squad, and additionally there is money flowing in of course after the takeover, which means Rafa may be able to afford a less volatile player with perhaps the same or better skills than Bellamy. That boy Bellamy even had the cheek to celebrate his goal with a golf swing !!! I dont know if Rafa might have appreciated that bit.

But for the present, these two players might just have redeemed themselves on the field. For most of the first half, Barca were lording over Liverpool and the scousers were barely seeing about 38% of the possession. But they got the goals that mattered as Barca consistently were unable to find the net in spite of all their attacking play. They now play Sheffield Utd and Man Utd at home in the Premiership before Barca comes a-visiting.

Great big whooooop for the Reds!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Things left unsaid (thus far anyway)

While I'm at it, there are a couple more things to talk about. Urgently.

Firstly, a great big whoop of triumph at Saurav Ganguly being named the man of the series for the India - SL series. The big man is back and with a bang. His has been one of two cases of actions being louder than words which has happened over the last month or so. The second being the triumphant return of David Beckham into the Real Madrid first XI.

Looking back, the silence in the face of allegations and harsh criticism of both Gangs and Becks had seemed to indicate that these two stars had given up on their careers. Gangs decided to try his luck in English county cricket while Becks retaliated to the intense pressure heaped on him by the Real board to sign an extension to his contract or leave, by making the in-your-face decision to leave for the MLS. In return, Greg Chappell for the Indian team, and Fabio Capello for Real made similar noises about the door back into the squad being shut for ever for their respective players. Capello was a lot more outspoken about it saying that Becks will never play in his team again.

In both their cases, luck has to some extent played its part. The Indian team started playing really badly, it needed a spark and it looked more likely to come from its erstwhile captain than from the rookies who were tried. This combined with injuries to players like Yuvraj, and the poor form of some of the remaining senior players provided the opportunity of giving another shot to Gangs.

For Real Madrid, a series of dissappointing showings resulted in a clamour from the public to bring back Becks, who had made a mark in the hearts of the fans by his professional nature and his passion on-field. Capello though might have managed to ignore the public outcry, but when his influential players like Raul and Guti publicly commented on the teams need for Becks to be re-instated, he could not ignore it anymore. Another factor, as pointed out by Tim Stannard, in his excellent articles about the spanish league on Football365, is the unerring survival instinct of the Real coach. Capello brought Becks back, and he has been the lynchpin in Real's mini-revival over the last month. Capello even managed to get some credit from it by making the statement that a smart man knows when to change his mind.

Both games are richer for having these two wonderfully skillful players back on the field. For Becks, there may even be a return to the England team as McClaren has reportedly decided to follow Capello's lead and look a lot closer at his ex-skipper. If he looks close enough, he might just find a way to save his job.

As a postscript, my big hope of Liverpool accumulating 15 points before coming up against Barcelona in the CL, has been dashed to bits. First, they were held to a draw by Everton, then they actually lost to a resurgent Newcastle. Thats 5 points fewer then than they could have taken. But its Barcelona tomorrow, fingers crossed for that game.

So many reviews, so little time...

Any stray readers may have noticed tall promises of upcoming attractions on this website, in terms of reviews and criticisms, which have not been fulfilled lately. There is a reason, a valid reason and it is, in the Beatle boys's words "I've been working like a dog". But nuff said about that.

I had been waiting with a great deal of expectation for "Eklavya" to release, since the first trailers started getting aired. It has a cast thats stellar, especially now that Saif and Vidya have definitely emerged as actors, not just stars. And I caught the first day first show (only show really what with US theaters charging twice the money for a single showing of Hindi movies) of this movie last Friday.
The story is pretty much available and known, so I'll get straight to my rants and raves.

Firstly, there is a lot going for this movie. The previously mentioned stellar cast is truly magnificent. But unexpectedly, its not primarily AB who runs the show. If anything, this movie is his least showy and screen-grabbing performance of recent years. I have also come to the conclusion that this man is not capable (anymore, i should add) of giving a poor performance. His every move, his every gesture suggests a man at the pinnacle of his craft, be it a quite moment of silent sorrow, or a room-wrecking, studio-shaking expression of heart-breaking grief. Its a great performance, but not his best. I think Sanjay Leela Bhansali still owes AB a Rolls-Royce for his turn in "Black".

From the previous para, it might be apparent that there is a lot more melancholy in this movie than hilarity. In fact the few moments of light-heartedness are provided by Sanjay Dutt as the local police chief, and even those moments are laced with some black humour. Which brings me back to the cast.

The high-point of this movie is its character actors. Let me start with the one who has recieved the least celebrity, Parikshit Sahani, who plays the aging chauffeur to Boman Irani's the Rana of Devigarh (as Sanjay Dutt admirably points out, he is a King only in name and does not have any kingly powers). The casual camaraderie between the aging chauffeur and the aging bodyguard is portrayed subtly and is very believable. Their conversation reflects the slow pace of life in rural India and provides the character actors with a good stage for their skills. Raima Sen is also showing up in some pretty neat performances and here she plays the mentally handicapped daughter of the Rana. Jimmy Shergill and Jackie Shroff play the Rana's scheming relatives with wonderful cameos. I thought Jackie's use of his voice was fantastic, showing that this is an actor Bollywood has wasted. In a scene where he shows his frustration at being the younger brother of the Rana than the Rana himself, the only thing that changes about Jackie is his voice, and it portrays more than his face could have expressed. He has a tendency sometimes to ham, but is kept in rein through most of his performance by an able director. More on the director later, who also manages to draw an eccellent performance from Jimmy Shergill. Jimmy has probably always played likeable guys, but I always felt he has talent. And it shows here. To round out the supporting cast, there is Sanjay Dutt as the police officer who idolizes Eklavya, and comes from an "untouchable" background. And then there is Boman Irani. Boman is a first-rate actor and in a very short span of time, he has managed to wrest the juiciest character roles away from people like Paresh Rawal, Om Puri et al. He is not bad here either, but I felt he went a bit over the top here in a few scenes.

All this rambling i guess basically goes to say the performances are of a pretty high standard most of the time. Vidya and Saif are very good, and between them they probably came up with one of the most sensuous scenes in an Indian movie for a while. And no, they werent even anywhere close to a bed. Saif is excellent with his meaty role, and turns in a performance with a lot of restraint but also convincingly portrays the greyer shades of his character.

On to the other big, big star of the movie - the director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra. This is his first directorial venture since he flopped with "Kareeb". Cant really comment on that since I never see anything with Bobby Deol in it, unless it has Akshay Kumar also (by which I mean I saw Ajnabee). But VVC's comeback is nothing short of brilliant. "Eklavya" has no bigger star than the director. From the opening credits, which is one of the most original sequences in Indian movie history, to the sparse action sequences which use light, shadow and sound to great effect, the intrigue and the atmosphere of the fort, everything is done very well. There is even a sequence which I thought was a tip-of-the-hat to Quentin Tarantino and his Kill Bill movies. But the treatment is very Indian, and some of the decor's used are sumptuous. Notice the tiny details, like the paintings that Raima Sen makes, they show a lot of thought has gone in it.

The only gripe I really have with the movie is its ending. Obviously, I dont want to put any spoilers here, so see for yourself. But, I would still highly recommend this movie, but I'll also add its not for everyone. Dont go looking for a fun time, dont go looking for an action flick with camels. The camels only reflect the slow, melancholic pace of the movie, which is the better because there is a lot to savour about it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Things that make you go "WHA....??"!

I have had a few vodkas in my time, but I dont even know how many vodkas it would take for me to attempt this.

An Australian bricklayer wrestles a 1.3 m shark after voluntarily jumping into the sea with the intention of gitting that them there little fishie. He says its the vodka that made him do it, yes siree.

People in Indonesia have reported large swarms of sharks migrating north from the shores of Australia towards the safer waters of the Java trench and the South China seas. One shark spokesman said "Its not safe for us around Australia any more!".

Monday, February 12, 2007

Zed's Dead, Baby!

Jules Winnfield: What does Marcellus Wallace look like?

Brett: What?

Jules Winnfield: What country you from?

Brett: What?

Jules Winnfield: What ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak English in What?

Brett: What?


Brett: Yes.

Jules Winnfield: Then you know what I'm saying.

Brett: Yes.

Jules Winnfield: Describe what Marcellus Wallace looks like.

Brett: What, I-?

Jules Winnfield: [pointing his gun] Say what again. SAY WHAT AGAIN. I dare you, I double dare you, motherfucker. Say what one more goddamn time.

Brett: He's b-b-black.

Jules Winnfield: Go on.

Brett: He's bald.

Jules Winnfield: Does he look like a bitch?

Brett: What?

[Jules shoots Brett in shoulder.]


Brett: No.

Jules Winnfield: Then why you try to fuck him like a bitch, Brett?

Brett: I didn't.

Jules Winnfield: Yes you did. Yes you did, Brett. You tried to fuck him. And Marcellus Wallace don't like to be fucked by anybody, except Mrs. Wallace.

Which movie do you think of when you think of cool dialogues? For me, its Pulp Fiction. This movie has some of the funniest lines ever, and Quentin Tarantino is one of the best script writers ever!

The magic of this movie (which escapes a lot of people who are not so enamored of Quentin's hard-boiled style) is compounded by the fantastic virtuoso performances by a brilliant cast. Though names like Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel are too big to owe Quentin any star-making debts, this movie turned around the careers of a bunch of actors - Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman, and probably the biggest debt is owed by John Travolta.

Pulp Fiction works at many different levels - as a thriller, as an in-depth look at the LA crime scene, and also as a comedy. Scenes like "Zed's dead, baby!" and Quentin himself appearing in the "Does my house have a sign which says 'Dead nigger storage'?" scene are minor compared to the big picture, but stay with your forever. Then there is the great watch story which Christopher Walken recounts to the little kid without holding back any of the details! And who can ever forget the Gimp!

So, on Friday night, after a long day, during which I had to skip out of Happy Hour festivities, had to work feverishly away at some bugs which needed fixing NOW till around 8 PM, then had to hurry down to a little kids b'day party for cake and coke, it was the break I needed to find Pulp Fiction playing on one of the TV channels at 1 AM. Needless to say, the next couple of hours were spent marvelling anew at Quentin's masterpiece. May there be many more.

Follow that up with the classic Hindi comedy, Padosan on Saturday and the cult classic Office Space on Sunday, not a bad weekend for a movie lover. My first time watching "Office Space" in fact, which rather weakens my position as a movie lover. Enjoyed it thoroughly. I don't think any person working in a software company can miss the parallels.

Have to end this with the most famous quote from Pulp Fiction of course -

Ezekiel 25:17. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyrannies of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepperd's the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brothers' keeper and finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.'

Now I've been saying that s*** for years, and if you've ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant, I just thought it was a cold blooded thing to say to a mother f***er before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some s*** this morning that made me think twice.
Now I'm thinking it could mean you're the evil man, and I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here is the shepherd, protecting my righteous ass.

Or maybe it means that you're the righteous man, and I'm the shepherd, and it's the world that's evil and selfish. Now I'd like that, but you see that s*** ain't the truth. The truth is, YOU'RE the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Alan Moore's Classic "Watchmen"

I loved comic books as a kid. I bet everyone did. Superman, Tarzan, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom and countless others which fascinated us as kids. Plus the fantastic Disney comics which I loved - Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Huey, Dewey and Louie stories which were great if you get sick of the super-heroes. Then the comics for teenagers who longed to be residents of Riverdale along with Archie, Jughead and his gang, not to mention Betty and Veronica.

But most of us grew out of it. Lately, there has been a spate of literature from the boys-at-heart authors like Michael Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay) and others who have written books telling of their love for comics. Neil Gaiman has not only expressed his love for them, but has given himself to creating comics with a gusto, and a writer of his caliber comes out with some pretty good comics i hear, haven't read them yet.

And then there is Mr. Alan Moore. Universally considered one of the best comics writers in the history of the art-form. And when we talk about Alan Moore's comics, they are ART. I can vouch for this after completing "Watchmen". Incidentally, "Watchmen" happens to be the only comic which is listed in the Time Magazines list of the top 100 books since 1923 till 2005.

And "Watchmen" lives up to that kind of hype. The story is very literate, complex and layered with hidden meanings. The art work is breath-taking always, and sometimes just plain mind-blowing. The artist is Dave Gibbons, and must be credited for some of the most intricate and impelling art work I have ever seen. The title is taken from the latin "quis custodiet ipsos custodes" which literally translates as "Who watches the watchmen". The implications of this become clearer as the story begins.

The story is set in an alternate reality New York in the year 1985. A death has taken place. A man has fallen through the window of his high-rise apartment. Detectives investigating his death conclude that he must have been thrown and his death is a murder. However, the cops are not the only one investigating this death. The other person investigating the death of Edward Blake is a masked adventurer who goes by the name Rorschach. Masked adventurer - as opposed to a superhero. Superheroes have super-powers. Masked adventurers are costumed do-gooders who rely on their ingenuity and athletic prowess and are basically human in all other respects.

This bit of information takes us deeper into the world Moore and Gibbons have created. We hear about the one-time popularity of costumed adventurers who were feted by the media, the people and the government. But once they had eradicated most big-time criminals, they ended up being considered as nothing more than vigilantes. Finally a law was passed which required that these heroes proclaim their true identities and agree to work for the government or to give up their "vigilantism". Only two of this group still function and both of them work for the government.

Rorschach though has just discovered that one of those two has just died. Edward Blake, better known as The Comedian, has been murdered. Rorschach is also a wanted criminal, since he was the only one of the costumed adventurers who never compromised and continued his vigilante career. He is wanted by the police not just for his status as a still-functioning vigilante, but also for the sheer violence with which he deals with criminals. There is a sense of the psychotic about Rorschach. And his character is perhaps the best among a group of pretty brilliant characterisations done by Moore and Gibbons.

Without detailing much more about the plot, I would like to focus on the structure of the comic (I am trying to avoid the term "graphic novel" as Alan Moore himself does not prefer the term). The comic consists of 12 chapters, at the end of each of them is a non-comic section. These sections are used to fill in the back stories and also to provide more depth to the characters. Besides this, each chapter also contains layered, parallel threads of the complex plot - sometimes chronologically separate as seen in the final chapters. And as if there was not enough going on, there is a comic within the comic which is so compellingly gripping and intriguing that it blows the mind. A single reading of the book will probably not allow the reader to grasp all the information that Moore and Gibbons cram into each frame of the comic.

And that brings me around to the frames. Each and every frame of the comic has a meaning to it. If it shows a man walking down a street, it also shows the newspaper blowing past him with a telling headline, it also shows the reflection of something on the dirty wet street which is important. And notice the smiley face on the cover, with an odd shaped blood stain... the shape of that stain will be reproduced in ways which will be completely unexpected and unforeseeable. There is a fantastic amount of payback to the reader for the time he spends reading this comic. And there are other ways in which symbology is used. Rorschach's mask is made of material on which the dark stain behaves like a fluid, changing its shape with his emotions and Gibbons makes wonderful use of this. And the comic book medium when used intelligently as it has here, has the advantage of merging the book-form and the visual-form. So its a treat for the mind like reading Kurt Vonnegut or Thomas Pynchon, and a treat for the eyes like an Akira Kurusawa or Tim Burton movie.

I guess I have gushed enough. But Messrs Moore and Gibbon have probably opened my eyes to comic books and the force they can have. Already picked up Moore's "V for Vendetta" (made into a so-so movie I haven't seen). Also picking up two other comics which are known as the best in the genre - "Dark Knight Returns" and "300" both by Frank Miller, another great comic book writer. Will also be getting "From Hell" by Alan Moore soon. So keep watching this space for more comic book reviews. And go get a copy of this brilliant work of art. Beg, borrow or steal!!

Footy Brawls

From my favourite website, F365. Great football reporting done with a great big splash of Brit humour. This article had me rolling.

There is so much to admire about football, but too often there are individuals in the game that tarnish its image. The case of Kieron Dyer vs Lee Bowyer fight night was unique in that it was teammates fighting each other on the pitch, while the match was being shown live on TV. It just showed the shambles in which Graeme Souness left Newcastle. John Hartson is another figure in the game who has only brought disrepute to it.

Eric Cantona was of course one of the great mad geniuses of the game, and his attack on Matthew Simmons, a Crystal Palace fan who was mocking him, was also on live TV. But that's Cantona, a man who is now dedicating himself to the upliftment of beach soccer. Nuff said!

But then there is a man like Henrik Larsson, who put it so beautifully to the warring Freddie Ljungberg and Olaf Mellberg - ""You are specks of dust. We all are. The team is what matters." Now that's inspirational.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Weekend Movies and Reading

First thing I did this weekend, I returned the books I had checked out from the library. I tried, but none of the three were keeping me interested enough. For the record, these books were -

) Haunted - Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck is a good writer, he has it in him to deliver a shock. But sometimes, the shocks can just make the reader numb. Ya, so there goes Chuck delivering another supposedly shocking fact, and you dont feel there was any need for it anymore. This book made me feel that way. Haunted, is basically a satire on reality TV like Survivor and Big Brother, except this is a bunch of wannabe writers who are trapped within Big Brother's house. So each one of these has a "shocking" tale to tell. Well, it just got boring.

2) The Return of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell

Henning is a very very talented writer. His books are written in Swedish, and translated into English. I am a big fan of his series of murder mysteries. His main characters are excellent. His stories are very bleak and dark, atmospheric, and he tackles issues which are very relevant. But reading this book, I just probably overdosed on the bleakness. Blame Chuck for this as well I think, coz this is not a bad book at all. But combined with Haunted, it just left me hollow-eyed!

3) Three Witnesses - Rex Stout

My first attempt at a Nero Wolfe book. I guess it was too old-fashioned and archaic in its structure for me to get too much into it.

So, I went down and picked up some more books. My reading list now has the following -

1) Stephen King's latest - Lisey's Story

Just started it, not bad. The reviews are rave, so i'm looking forward to this one. I believe King is one of the most under-estimated writers ever, and though all his books are not brilliant, when he is good, he is very good.

2) Silence of the Grave - Arnaldur Indridasun

Arnaldur is a brilliant Icelandic writer, and his books are crime thrillers in the police procedural style. But his writing style is very good. This book is his second to come out in an English translation after "Jar City", a gripping thriller which started with the killing of an old man, but moves far beyond that scope. I am looking forward to reading this one and will definitely post my review.

3) The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey

This book is highly recommended by several people, its considered an underground classic. In fact this book is responsible for coining the term "monkeywrench" which usually gets thrown into the smoothly turning wheels.

4) Finally, I picked up two graphic novels I have been waiting to read. Both are written by Alan Moore, who is famous for his complex themed comics. The specific comics are probably two of the best graphic novels ever written - "V for Vendetta" and "Watchmen".

Currently, I am absolutely absorbed into "Watchmen" a book so good it sometimes just takes the breath away. I will have to write a separate post for this one. It deserves at least one, maybe more. Just the tag line itself "Who watches the watchmen" grabs you and pulls you into the heart of this story. Just brilliant.

Also watched a few movies this week.

1) Snakes on a Plane - good for a few laughs, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

2) Rear Window - saw this fantastic Hitchcock classic again, brilliant. Based on Cornell Woolrich's short story.

3) In the line of Fire - one of Clint Eastwoods earlier directorial ventures, with John Malkovich playing a sublimely creepy villain.

4) Sholay - eternal Hindi favourite

Not a bad weekend. Also, didnt need to work this weekend after a long time!!


OK the big derby has come and gone, and Liverpool dropped their first points since the double cup whammy from Arsenal. So the potential 15 points we could have taken before the Barca game is now down to potentially getting 13. That's if we beat Newcastle at St. James's Park next week. Well, lets see. Chances of catching up and possibly beating Chelsea to second are now slipping by.

The big news of course is the takeover by the Yanks, Gillett and Hicks. It opens up the possibilities of a lot more cash being available to build the team. A new 60000 seater stadium is part of the deal, and that would increase gate receipts as well. Plus, it brings up the possibility of making more money by staging big games not necessarily involving Liverpool too - Champs League finals perhaps. Only time will tell how the new owners build the club up. I don't think it will be the limitless cash option that Chelski has, but there will be more to splash, and perhaps Rafa can use his scouting network (mostly in Spain) to better use!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Dada's comeback

Alright, lets make it a couple of posts for today then !!

This is something especially close to my heart. Saurav Ganguly is back! A man who went from being the most successful captain the country has ever had, to being accused of destroying the morale of the team through his selection policies and also accused of faking injuries. His bad form and inability to get over his technical weaknesses were an added factor. And so Dada went out of the team, and even out of the Indian squad. Initially, he seemed to have lost the taste for a fight. There was a great deal of pressure on him to prove the selectors wrong, and by skipping out of the regional games he seemed to be letting himself down. He decided instead to go to England and play county cricket, but barring a couple of decent scores, his trip was unsuccessful.

At that point, even this devoted fan had lost faith in his ideal. The assumption was that Dada had thrown in the towel. It was expected that he would announce his retirement from cricket soon.

There was a lot of anger and resentment I personally felt at the treatment being meted out to Saurav. I felt, and still feel, that his policy of supporting his team mates through thick and thin, was something which should be respected rather than ridiculed. Some of Chappell's main allegations were that Saurav would overrule the selectors when they wanted to drop out of form players that Saurav had groomed. I expect this list would include the likes of Yuvraj, Zaheer (who was ousted about the same time as Saurav) and Bhajji. But I can understand a captains need to provide stability and time to his team to improve rather than ejecting them out. That fierce loyalty was a characteristic of Dada as a skipper. This stability also meant that the young players were allowed to prosper and gain valuable experience on the basis of which they have proven themselves.

Contrast that with the era of Gavaskar's captaincy, when players like Dilip Doshi were cut out because they would not bow down to the skippers fancies (no puns intended!).

But three innings into his return to One Day cricket, and Dada is again being hailed as one of the best ODI batsmen in the game. Just a couple of months back into the Indian team, and his performances have been decent enough to allow his fans to breathe a deep sigh of relief, and also to sport a goofy grin. Dada's back and all's well with the world.

Busy Busy Busy

Been very busy at work last week or two. Didn't get a chance to update my blog.

Following up on Liverpool's progress. It is now a third victory in a row, as Pool went on to beat West Ham 1-2 away. There was little to worry for Liverpool in this game, even though the Hammers have been busy in the transfer window. Some quality players have been brought in by Alan Curbishley like Kepa Blanco, Luis Boa Morte (who I rate very highly) and Lucas Neill. The latest addition is Matthew Upson, a very hard working defender who I think will have a definite impact on the Hammers shambolic season so far. Blanco got the goal for the Hammers but the Reds were not in trouble anytime in the game.

So that's 9 points out of 9 since the cup debacles. I predicted that they could possibly win all five before their Champs League game against Barca rolls by. Its the Merseyside derby next and this time it will be at Anfield. I think Liverpool will manage a victory over Everton this time around !!

And the transfer window is now closed. Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea did not buy any players at all this January!! That might be a real sign for Jose that Roman Abramovich is closing his chequebook and it may also indicate that Jose might be gone before next season's transfer window opens.

Liverpool themselves have been busy in the window, but the transfers all appear to be targetted at the future rather than the current season. I think that's probably for the best, Rafa is a shrewd manager and believes his current squad can get the best results for Liverpool this season. Realistically, the best league position we can aspire to is second. And the only cup we are still in is the Champs League and with Barcelona to face, it might not be a hurdle we can get past. Although Barca themselves are not performing anywhere near their performances from last year. So making expensive purchases in January may not be the best way to go for us. Except for Arbeloa and Mascherano, the rest of the purchases are all kids and points at Rafa's policy of securing the future.

It has been a dull transfer window though. The flashiest transfers were perhaps Vincenzo Montella's loan move to Fulham from Roma, and Man Utd's capture of Henrik Larsson, the legend, the footballing genius. I think these two will also be the best purchases of the rest of the season. Montella is already proving his worth for Fulham. So is Larsson. The dark horse could be Julius Aghahowa who has moved from Shaktar to Wigan. Julius was at one time a highly rated striker, we will soon see if he can match the feats of Jay-Jay Okocha or Kanu, his compatriots, in the Premiership.

By the way, wanna know who is the English footballer I most resemble ? I always knew I had a great touch for a big man!! LOL!!