After The Match 


Liverpool-Chelsea 0-1 (0-0)               Sat Jan 1.                 Premier League
Goals: Cole (80)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Hamann, Riise, Pongolle
Subs: Nunez (Alonso 27), Mellor (Riise 86)
Not used: Harrison, Diao, Warnock
Yellow: Garcia (47), Hamann (90)     Lampard (21), Johnson (84)
Red: None
Referee: M Riley
Attendance: 43,886

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 7-7
Shots off target: 7-1
Fouls conceded: 14-16
Corners: 3-2
Yellow: 2-2





"We have lost
Xabi for five
or six weeks."

                Rafael Benitez

0201: Benitez bids for rebuilding boost
0101: Benitez: Result was unfair
0101: Jose praises super defence
0101: Alonso blow for Liverpool
0101: Goal king Cole sinks Reds

Benitez bids for rebuilding boost

Sporting Life

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has called on the club's board to free up the money which will allow him to strengthen the squad and increase competition as they make the push to reach the Barclays Premiership top four.

The Spaniard's priority is to secure qualification for next season's Champions League, which will bring in critical revenue to help him rebuild.

Liverpool have been linked with a number of players ahead of the transfer window with Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes top of the list.

However, Benitez may yet have to revise upwards his number of targets after losing Xabi Alonso to a broken ankle in yesterday's undeserved 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The Anfield injury list is becoming an ever-growing nightmare with Djibril Cisse out for the season, Harry Kewell six weeks and now Xabi Alonso set for two months enforced absence.

Already this season Benitez has seen Antonio Nunez, Chris Kirkland, Vladimir Smicer, Steven Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Neil Mellor and Milan Baros also sidelined for long spells.

As a result he has spelt out the need for new signings.

"If we have new faces all the players think we need to work harder because they want to play," he said.

"If we do that we have a better possibility of being in the top four. That means more money and more possibilities to be successful. It's like a chain.

"We need to know the finances [are there] and try to do the best for the team and club but for us it is important to be in the top four.

"We need to do some things and I am sure the board and chairman have the same idea."

A trip to struggling Norwich would normally have been viewed as a match Liverpool would be expected to win comfortably but an injury-ravaged squad means a trip to Carrow Road suddenly appears more difficult.

The top three in the Premiership are seemingly about to disappear into the distance, which would leave Liverpool fighting it out with local rivals Everton and Middlesbrough for the final fourth Champions League place.

And although the Reds' season is turning into one, long hard luck story they cannot let themselves be affected by it.

They did not deserve to lose against Chelsea and Joe Cole's late deflected winner was a bitter pill to swallow after referee Mike Riley had someone failed to see two blatant penalties in the first half.

That was after the loss of Xabi Alonso to a Frank Lampard tackle which earned him a yellow card.

But in an effort to breathe new life into the side Benitez will look to Spain for re-inforcements and, besides Morientes, Valencia defender Mauricio Pellegrino and Real Zaragoza's David Villa appear to be possible targets.

On Morientes the former Valencia coach said: "The only thing I can say is that we are very happy that a player from Real Madrid says he wants to come to play for us.

"It means we are doing the right things and we are an important club. And an important player wants to come here. That is good also for us.

"Losing Alonso will not change my thinking in the transfer window. We have a lot of midfield players to cover but I must discover who is fit.

"We will be looking for new players now because it is important we have a competitive squad. Our priority is Norwich, but after that we must find the players we need.

"Norwich will be a tough task. We must recover our confidence because we have played well and still lost.

"But after seeing the team play as well as that, I know and they know that we can beat any team in the division.

"We will win more games playing as well as this."

Benitez hoped to have Baros back from his hamstring injury for the trip to Norwich but that now appears to be doubtful.

Benitez: Result was unfair

ITV Football

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez bemoaned the result after seeing his side lose 1-0 to Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds dominated for the majority of the game, only for Joe Cole to come off the bench and steal the three points.

But it was referee Mike Riley's decision not to award the home side a penalty when Tiago clearly handled in the area that upset Benitez.

He said: "The result was unfair - we played very well in the first half and controlled the game.

"Two things changed the game, first the injury to Xabi Alonso and then the decision not to award us a penalty for the handball by Tiago.

"I have not talked to the referee, I do not like to do that. But after seeing the TV replays there is no doubt in my mind.

"Losing Alonso meant we had to change several players' positions, from then on their goalkeeper was the best player. Only near the end did they have clear opportunities.

"We have lost Xabi for five or six weeks. It seems that we lose an important player every week, it is very difficult. I have not seen the tackle yet, I will want to see it on video.

"But you all know better than me how you play in England, you need to understand and to learn from it."

Benitez was clearly unwilling to point the finger at Lampard, but the Kop had no reservations and abused him for the rest of the game.

Liverpool are now 18 points behind Chelsea and intent on grabbing a top-four spot as their only possible spoils from the season.

Jose praises super defence

ITV Football

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho hailed his team's defensive qualities after they strengthened their position at the top of the Premiership with a 1-0 win at Liverpool.

Joe Cole's deflected 80th-minute goal extended Chelsea's lead at the top of the table to eight points over Arsenal, although the Gunners had the chance to bring it back to five points with a win at Charlton.

Chelsea have conceded only eight goals all season and Mourinho said afterwards: "We won because of our fantastic defensive organisation and because of a fantastic defensive performance by the team - and some individuals in particular."

But the Portuguese added on Sky Sports News: "I think a draw would be a fair result. We had big chances to score - in the first half through Arjen (Robben) and in the second through Eidur (Gudjohnsen) but they also had some.

"The way both teams fought and tried to win the game means I think a draw would be a fair result. But at the right moment we had that little bit of luck that champions need to have in crucial moments.

"We knew it would be hard to play our possession football because Liverpool press well - they have a good manager and it was difficult to have control of the game. But I think we fought a lot to have this luck."

Captain John Terry said: "You can see by the lads' reaction what a great win it is for us. We kept grafting and have gone and got a result again like we have in the last few games.

"We've got great team spirit - you can see everyone fighting for each other. We want to be first to everything and there's great commitment in the side.

"We knew it would be difficult here but the manager said at half time 'keep going and something's going to happen'. But we've not said were going to win the league just because we've come here and won today. We've got a lot of tough matches to come."

Goalscorer Cole added: "Liverpool have got a lot of world class players and they made it hard for us. We have had a tough Christmas but we knew this result could be significant in the title race."

Cole is frustrated with his lack of first team action but added: "I've got to keep coming on and trying to do my best. I feel I've made a good impression this year but I've just got to try and show what I can do in every game.

"We've got a great set of lads and we all want to fight for each other - we showed that again today. I just want to play and help the lads."

Alonso blow for Liverpool

Sporting Life

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso broke his ankle during the first half of Saturday's 1-0 home defeat against Chelsea and is set to be sidelined for five to six weeks.

The Spain star had to be substituted after 27 minutes after sustaining his injury in a challenge by Frank Lampard, who was booked.

Antonio Nunez was brought on in his compatriot's place, in a like-for-like swap, as Xabi Alonso was rushed away for treatment.

The loss of the 10.5million summer signing leaves Liverpool light on midfielders, given that Harry Kewell is also on the injured list.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez revealed later: "We have lost Xabi for five or six weeks. It seems that we lose an important player every week, it is very difficult.

"I have not seen the tackle yet, I will want to see it on video.

"But you all know better than me how you play in England, you need to understand and to learn from it."

Benitez was clearly unwilling to point the finger at Lampard, but the Kop had no reservations and abused him for the rest of the game.

Goal king Cole sinks Reds


Joe Cole came off the bench to fire a priceless 81st-minute winner as Chelsea claimed a vital 1-0 victory at Liverpool to go eight points clear at the top.

The mercurial midfielder crashed a well-struck drive into the bottom corner of Jerzy Dudek's net to help Jose Mourinho's men to an Anfield triumph they barely deserved.

The Reds made a bright start and had a chance to take the lead after 10 minutes when John Arne Riise mistimed his volley following Luis Garcia's pinpoint cross.

Dietmar Hamann crashed a 30-yard effort high and wide, before a fine move saw Florent Sinama-Pongolle play in Djimi Traore, but his slide-rule effort was well held by Petr Cech.

Chelsea then had a great chance to take the lead when Arjen Robben found himself through on goal, but after cutting inside and rounding Jamie Carragher, his effort was well saved by Jerzy Dudek at the expense of a corner.

Tiago was the next to try his luck after a slip by Sami Hyypia, but his effort was straight at Dudek.

The Reds then suffered a major blow when Xabi Alonso was caught by Frank Lampard's lunge and suffered a broken ankle, a challenge which resulted in the England man picking up a caution.

Chelsea then survived strong penalty appeals when the Portuguese midfielder punched Steven Gerrard's cross away, before Cech pulled off a great reaction save after the ball cannoned goalwards off Antonio Nunez.

The Blues were the first to threaten as the second half got underway, Eidur Gudjohnsen just studs away from turning Damien Duff's cross into the net.

Gerrard then crashed a first-time effort narowly wide of the upright, with Cech scrambling across goal.

However, the Blues started to build up a bit of momentum and struck what was to prove the winner nine minutes from time when Cole latched on to Glen Johnson's cushioned header to power a 25-yard effort into the goal via a deflection off the unfortunate Carragher's heels.

The Reds responded with a Gerrard free-kick which Cech pushed over for a corner, while Garcia should have done better with a close-range with just two minutes remaining.

However, the Reds could not claim the point their play perhaps deserved and Chelsea opened up an eight-point lead ahead of Arsenal's clash at Charlton later in the afternoon.

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Thor Zakariassen