Liverpool V Chelsea
For the fourth time in the Champions League, Liverpool and Chelsea battle it out to progress in Europe’s biggest club competition.
Chelsea are yet to get one over on Liverpool. Twice they have met at the semi final stage and once in the group stages.
The first meeting was back in 2005, when Liverpool’s solitary goal at home in the second leg was enough for them to progress and eventually win the competition.
The following year, having failed to qualify via their league standing, Liverpool were awarded an invite due to winning the competition the previous year. This meant that Liverpool could face teams from their own country, which they did in Chelsea in the group stage. Over the two legs, neither team could manage a goal and both games were goal less draws.
Last year the teams met again in the semi finals. Chelsea won the first leg at home 1-0, then Liverpool won the second at home, 1-0. Liverpool won the tie on penalties.
So with just three goals in six matches, can we expect anything more this time around?
Liverpool haven’t lost a game in seven matches, their last loss was against Besiktas in October 2007. Liverpool are in a good run of form at home, winning their last four Champions League games at Anfield, scoring a huge 18 goals.
Chelsea have only lost one Champions League game in the current competition, that was a 2-1 defeat in the opening leg of the quarter-final, away to Fenerbahce at the beginning of April.
Key Battle – Fernando Torres and John Terry
Fernando Torres has scored in each of Liverpool’s last seven home matches in all competitions. A record that Chelsea will be well aware of. The Spaniard will be closely watched by Chelsea skipper John Terry.
Torres has hit the ground running at Anfield, following his move from Atletico Madrid. Quick, strong and skilful Liverpool will be hoping that Torres can make the most of any rare opportunity that he may get, in what is likely to be a very tight game.
John Terry is a fighter, who reads the game extremely well. He will be hoping to use his head and keep Torres’s pace at arms length. Formidable in the air and in the tackle, Chelsea will be relying on their skipper.
Chelsea will be glad to know that Liverpool will have to play the second leg away. Chelsea play an Italian style of football, rarely throwing caution to the wind on an all out attack. That means that Liverpool will either have to take control of this leg and push Chelsea, or, more likely, Benitez will try and keep both games tight and see if he can nick a goal, maybe even an away goal that could be the differentiator in this close match.