After The Match 


Chelsea-Liverpool 0-0            06.12.05                              CL
Team: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Riise, Gerrard, Hamann, Sissoko, Garcia, Crouch
Subs: Kewell (Riise 60), Morientes (Crouch 68),
Pongolle (Garcia 80)
Not used: Carson, Josemi, Cisse, Warnock
Yellow: Traore (74)            Lampard (75), Carvalho (80)
Red: None
Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)
Shots on target: 4-2
Shots off target: 5-4
Possession: 63-37
Fouls conceded: 18-17
Corners: 3-1
Yellow: 2-1


HEADLINES "We wanted
to finish top."

 Jamie Carragher

0712: Gerrard: Only way is up
0612: Rafa: We deserved top spot
0612: Carragher gets the point
0612: Reds top group after draw


Gerrard: Only way is up

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool are finally ready to embark on a lasting revival and challenge Chelsea's Premiership dominance.

After so many false dawns in recent history, the Anfield skipper is confident the current momentum is a sign of what's to come.

Now he's expecting the Reds to take the final, necessary steps to ensure they're fighting for honours on all fronts.

"We feel as though we're significantly improving in all departments," said Gerrard.

"We're getting consistently good results against the top sides, and I think we're emerging as challengers to Chelsea.

"We did it in Europe last year, and our intention has always been to do the same in the league. There's still a gap to reduce, but I don't think anyone can say we've only done it in the big games now. We're producing it week in, week out and we know that's got to continue.

"In seven, or eight matches against Chelsea there's been very little between the sides. Our problem has been showing that against other sides, but we're a lot better now."

With Benitez planning more changes to his squad this January, with at least three, possibly four signings on the horizon, Gerrard is anticipating Liverpool will go from strength to strength.

"The manager has gone on record saying he intends strengthening in January and that's going to make a difference too," added the skipper.

"There have been times recently when we had a good opportunity to make the final step up and we haven't really taken it, but now everyone's a lot more confident it's going to happen.

"Tuesday night was important for us psychologically. There was a lot of talk before the game about the result not mattering, but the way we performed showed that wasn't how we felt at all.

"It's fair to say there was a lot of bluffing going on before the game, and the fact both managers picked strong sides showed how they really felt.

"We're on an excellent run and we didn't want to let it slip against Chelsea.

"We'll take a lot from the fact they couldn't break us down, and with just a bit more quality with the final ball in the second half we could have beaten them.

"You never know how the draw is going to work out, but I think it's a big advantage winning the group.

"We know it's going to be tough no matter who we play, but there is a lot more chance of playing the best sides in Europe when you finish second."

Rafa: We deserved top spot

By Mark Platt - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez basked in the glory of seeing his side finish top of Champions League Group G and told his players to enjoy the moment.

Liverpool's goalless draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night confirmed their position as group winners and means they'll go into next week's draw for the first knockout round as one of eight seeded teams.

The Reds boss believes the reigning European Champions were deserving of top spot and admitted he was satisfied with the performance of his players, who have now gone nine matches unbeaten - during which time they've also not conceded a goal.

Speaking after the game, he said: "Yes, we deserved to finish top because we have more points than the other teams. We done a good job, kept another clean-sheet and created some chances on the counter-attack.

"It was important for us to control the midfield. However, this became more difficult in the second half when Chelsea started playing long ball but the team worked hard in defence and we must enjoy this moment."

Responding to questions about the Michael Essien tackle on Didi Hamann in the first half, Benitez told journalists: "Watch the video and make your own opinion. I don't want to talk about things that are so clear. I saw the tackle and I saw Didi's leg afterwards but we cannot change things now."

Carragher gets the point


Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher felt the holders had secured an advantage for the Champions League knockout stages after their draw at Chelsea.

The Reds kept a clean sheet against the Blues for a fourth successive time in the competition to go through to the last 16 as Group G winners.

Carragher told ITV: "Before the game it was said it didn't matter but we wanted to win the group. We wanted to finish top.

"We will now play the second leg (of the last 16 match) at home, and that is considered a slight advantage."

Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann was at the centre of controversy when he was caught by a late challenge from Chelsea's Michael Essien - but the German did not complain.

He said: "I am going for the ball and I think he came over the ball and caught me just below the knee.

"The referee didn't see it and you have to get on with it."

Reds top group after draw

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Liverpool held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge to ensure that they went through from Group G as winners.

Both sides had already qualified for the last 16 of the competition before Tuesday's clash, but the game was far from meaningless as topping the group could mean a much easier draw in the knockout phase.

The game was an edgy affair with a number of niggles throughout the match, with Michael Essien lucky to get away with his over-the-top challenge on Dietmar Hamann that could have easily seen him sent off.

Rafa Benitez's side had not conceded in their last eight games and Jose Mourinho's charges could not find a way through in a game with few chances for either side.

A cagey opening saw both sides taking a good look at each other, but a sloppy clearance from Jose Reina led to Frank Lampard having the first chance on seven minutes, but the Spanish keeper palmed his drive round the post.

Steven Gerrard responded for the visitors when latching on to Peter Crouch's knock down, but the Liverpool skipper dragged his shot wide.

The heat was turned up following a shocking tackle from Michael Essien as he ploughed into Dietmar Hamann's shin with his studs showing in a challenge that could have easily broken the German's leg.

Benitez and the Liverpool bench were incensed by the tackle, and by referee Herbet Fandel's decision to ignore the incident - even awarding Chelsea the free kick.

John Arne Riise nearly fired the perfect repost for The Reds when Gerrard slipped him in on the half hour, but his low drive was well saved by Petr Cech's foot.

More niggle crept into the game before half time, with Momo Sissoko catching Eidur Gudjohnsen's ankle, before the Icelandic playmaker flew in late on Steve Finnan.

Chelsea started quicker after the interval, with Arjen Robben's firing into the side netting after Didier Drogba had been allowed to bring the ball down at the far post.

The hosts enjoyed the majority of the possession but were not making Reina work in the Liverpool goal, with Lampard's shot on 66 minutes flying miles over the bar after Damien Duff's lay-off.

Chelsea could not find any way to trouble a well drilled Liverpool backline, with the introduction of Shaun Wright-Phillips adding pep to the attack but it was still not enough to trouble Reina.

Liverpool substitute Florent Sinama-Pongolle could have given The Reds a late lead with his first touch but his brave header going straight at Cech.

Benitez's side held out comfortably in the end to make sure the defending champions emerge from Group G as winners, in so avoiding some of the big guns in the draw.

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Thor Zakariassen