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ETW: Power & Responsibility Edition

Piqued by midweek events in England and Europe, ETW returns to furiously round up what's been happening at Liverpool FC and elsewhere, replete with links and words.

Another soul corroding serving of ETW for Norwich fans? Yes please.
Another soul corroding serving of ETW for Norwich fans? Yes please.
Ian Walton

Everton may have had an eye on the Man United game on Sunday but the home tie against Palace was the bigger game. Arsenal won the day before to nudge ahead and Everton needed to win to restore their lead. How would Everton players and staff feel in the knowledge that wins over both Manchester clubs may be futile in their hopes for Champions League qualification? Crystal Palace was their most important game and at the end of the season, it may be the game they will talk about the most when before the game Crystal Palace were spoken of the least.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Liverpool must win to either restore or extend two point lead over Chelsea. Right now, that's the only relevance Chelsea have to Liverpool's weekend. Even then, their importance is limited. Liverpool have to win.

Norwich was already a huge game but now it's added some pounds or kilos. I think the Everton result will focus our minds more. On the cusp of something unexpected, rival playing a day before, destiny in their hands, a tricky game before a supposedly bigger game against a bigger name, and...a streak ended. Shame for Everton but Palace now safe so maybe there'll be less punch in their play but Norwich Norwich Norwich.

Top goalscorers against bottom goalscorers in the league. Liverpool's players should know exactly what they have to do and there can be no excuses for failing to secure three points.

DFB-Pokal Semi-Finals

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will do battle in the final once again this season and it will be the fourth meeting between Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. Klopp leads by two to one but some have claimed that it was Pep's victory that came in a match that mattered. This will be an opportunity to see who comes out on top but it's becoming an interesting rivalry.

Dortmund look to be building a bit of form now, they dismantled Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League quarter final and it was a mystery as to how a third goal wasn't scored. To uncover such a conundrum we may need to ask Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Beating Bayern away three nil while Lewandowski watched on the bench was a picture and the Polish international came on after an hour after all three goals were scored. Dortmund's improved form continues with a triumph over Wolfsburg in the semis of the DFB-Pokal. Mkhitaryan redeemed himself by opening the scoring and Lewandowski peculiarly celebrated his 100th goal for the club even though he's happy to move to their fiercest rival on a freebie.

Still, the prolific Colombian striker Adrián Ramos will jet in from Hertha Berlin at the end of the season to replace the Polish goalmachine and İlkay Gündoğan has extended his contract by a year to 2016 so Dortmund can count on his presence next season. It'd probably be a boost to key figures such as Marco Reus to know that Lewandowski is probably the only player leaving. As Tottenham and Liverpool have illustrated, keeping your best players is just as vital as bolstering your squad. Southampton take note.

The next two games will really show what shape an injury-stricken Borussia Dortmund will be in with a home tie against the talented Thomas Tuchel's impressive Mainz outfit and away to Bayer Leverkusen formerly led by Sami Hyypiä. Borussia Dortmund's final opponents are Bayern who recovered from two successive league defeats to crush FC Kaiserslautern 5-1. Five different scorers gave Pep Guardiola's side the pep they need before next week's Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid who were in action in a domestic cup final of their own.

El Clasico Copa del Rey

Gareth Bale won his first trophy in stunning fashion and offers some answers to those who questioned his big game mentality and it's been a solid first season for the Welshman. Things get worse for Gerardo "Tata" Martino who will probably end the season with nothing. Alexis Sánchez and Pedro are surely worth a start? Is Cristian Tello worth a place on the bench? Why not go with Xavi, Busquets, and Iniesta in midfield? These are some quality players in the squad and if Barcelona do not see a need for a player like Alexis Sánchez then Brendan Rodgers should get Suárez and Gerrard to give the Chile international a call. He's the definition of an attacking stud.

Neymar's injury will offer an opportunity for a different attacking solution. Pinto isn't the answer and illustrates the need for a capable number two. A manager may have to rotate that number two every two to three seasons if he's good enough to eventually look for first-team football elsewhere but that's how it goes. Players serve the greater need of the squad and if Barcelona get to buy players in the summer, then two centre backs and two goalkeepers would be essential.

When José Mourinho spoke about this Barcelona team being the worst in "many, many years", many thought the Portuguese managerial titan was being disrespectful and engaging in gamesmanship. Those dissenters may very well be right but it doesn't mean that Mourinho is wrong. Gerardo Martino has a fight on his hands to keep his job and the man from Rosario in leading a Catalan crisis declared that events in Valencia's Mestalla stadium left him "in profound pain" after losing another opportunity to win a trophy.

Carlo Ancelotti (winner of domestic cups in Italy, England, and now Spain) hailed Bale as "extraordinary" and why wouldn't he? The player is a physical beast even by modern terms and he will always bring the oft-used "power and pace" game to the table. Fourteen goals and twelve assists in 22 starts (3 sub appearances) in La Liga. Five goals and three assists in 6 starts (3 sub appearances) in the Champions League. It should not be forgotten that Bale plays in a side that's geared to exploiting the strengths of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale will often play Batman to Ronaldo's Superman, an existence that isn't too bad for now.

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With great power comes great responsibility. Liverpool have the power to create a glorious future that will be heavily tinted in red but only a win against Norwich will open the path to face one of the Sinister Six Premier League rivals with everything on the line.

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