PETER CROUCH: I felt sick as Liverpool tore into Barcelona


Peter Crouch is a columnist for Sportsmail

Looking back at my final words in last week's column, I find myself winning. You may remember that the subject was Lionel Messi and I agreed that it should be on your bucket list to look at him.

I had the chance Tuesday, but turned it down. I was only down the road in Burnley! What did I think? When Liverpool Barcelona scrambled to start an exceptional week for English clubs in Europe, I felt sick.

Not only did I miss the chance to see the greatest footballer of all time, I missed one of & # 39; s greatest sports events as well. I assumed Barcelona scored a goal and in the & # 39; finals of & # 39; a Champions League would cruise – but what Liverpool did to come back was sensational.

It was a privilege to play in a semi-final, but what I saw was miles before the night when I was involved in 2007 against Chelsea. I wouldn't say it was better than Istanbul, because it was a final, but I'll place this statement out there: Beating Barcelona was Anfield's biggest night.

When you thought things couldn't get any better, Tottenham followed in Amsterdam to set up an all-Premier League showdown in Madrid and then, for good measure, Chelsea and Arsenal advanced to the Europa League final in Baku .

It's easy to say on the back of what has happened in the past days, but I believe we are now set for a period of Premier League clubs that will dominate Europe in a style that & # 39; has not been seen since the period 1976 to 1985, when English teams won 11 trophies, including seven European cups.

In the & # 39; peak years of my career at Liverpool and then Tottenham, the Premier League always seems to have an edge in & # 39; the Champions League final and missed only once, in 2010, from 2005 to 2012. Our teams were brilliant then, but what you see now is on another level.

Put it this way: if Tottenham, Chelsea or Arsenal went to play in the Bundesliga, Serie A or Ligue 1, they would come close to winning them. Liverpool and Manchester City would go away with those championships, because they are so much better than all sides in Germany, France and Italy.

You can say that Paris Saint-Germain are a rising force, but they are always fluttering to deceive Europe. Bayern Munich seem to need a lot of work to get back to the levels they beat six years ago, while the lack of competition in Italy hinders Juventus.

Georginio Wijnaldum goes wild after he scored Liverpool's third goal in their dramatic victory

Georginio Wijnaldum goes wild after he scored Liverpool's third goal in their dramatic victory

The strength of our competition, in contrast, is incredible. We are endowed with the money we have in our game, but finances do not guarantee success and I consistently had the question of whether our teams could translate what they did at home into Europe.

I have no doubts anymore. When I look at Tottenham, I see a group that is led by an inspirational manager and writing history. When I look at Manchester City, I see the best Premier League team we have ever seen, which has tainted the Arsenal's Invincibles.

They have a bizarre relationship with the Champions League, one I don't understand, but they will soon win this trophy. Habits of forces sees everyone favor Real Madrid as Juventus to win the biggest prize each year, but, soon enough, City will have that tag.

Arsenal and Chelsea fans have complained about their domestic form, but see them in the & # 39; Europa League, miles ahead of their rivals. Even Manchester United, with their finances, have the power to come back. The two English finals are a sign of things to come. The future has never been brighter.

Colossus Kompany lifted the ball for City

It is strange how you can feel sympathy for a man who did not score the goal of winning the Premier League title, but that was the case with Vincent Kompany.

When he crashed that shot in the top corner against Leicester, I expected him to spend the whole week in & # 39; It would be a limelight, but events elsewhere were so spectacular that he calmed down. It's time to put that right.

Company has provided incredible leadership for Manchester City over 10 years and it would be appropriate if he made the difference in & # 39; the title race. In fact, I believe he is improving as a player, because I can't see aspects of his game that weren't always obvious.

Clearly Pep Guardiola thought that Aymeric Laporte and John Stones would have better options in possession, but I looked at Kompany on Monday, clapped it with confidence against Leicester, and could see the manager's influence.

Vincent Kompany has provided incredible leadership for Manchester City over 10 years

Vincent Kompany has provided incredible leadership for Manchester City over 10 years

He is more willing to take challenging passes than balls with five yards.

I have played against him many times and the best perspective I can give is that I previously made a conscious decision to try to restrain his partner instead of being involved in a tussle with him. He is a man-mountain: fast, powerful and aggressive.

He is everything a central defender should be.

There have been some tremendous figures in the Premier League in his position and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is currently out on his own.

But Kompany's place in the top three that has played in this era has long been assured. He is a colossus.

Nerves will go down for many fans this weekend with the play-offs that don't begin.

It's been a great week for my old clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham, and I hope two more – Aston Villa and Portsmouth – are also successful.

The momentum is with Aston Villa in & # 39; Championship play-offs and they will look to count home advantage against West Bromwich in & # 39; Saturday's first leg of their semi-final. You would think Leeds would move up, but I think they are out of steam at the least possible moment.

Villa is flying though and I want to see Jack Grealish inspire her. He is too good to stay in the Championship, and although many big clubs will look forward to his progress, I would love to see him back in the top flight.



No easy task is required to fill the boots of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, but their understudy stepped up.

It's so important to have people in your squad who can't. Origi is an Anfield hero forever.

Divock Origi stepped up for Liverpool in their exciting win over Barcelona on Tuesday

Divock Origi stepped up for Liverpool in their exciting win over Barcelona on Tuesday


The last match against Arsenal and it would be nice to put a damper in a week. We are desperate to end up at a height and I want to enjoy it.

This is also the last regular column of the season, but don't fear the Crouch fans … I won't be far away.


It has been a case of coming back to my roots the last few days and I have had The Coral and The Stones Roses.

It's been 30 years since the Roses released their first album and it still sounds fresh.

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The success of our teams in Europe, on top of Manchester City's clash with Leicester, has played havoc with my attempt to bring Line of Duty up.

No spoilers, please, I intend to post well this new week.

. (tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) sport (t) football (t) Leo Messi (t) Champions League (t) Manchester City (t) Premier League (t) Liverpool


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