John Arne Riise celebrates his opener. (Photo: Reuters)
Gerrard: Show us respect Jose
By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports
Steven Gerrard has hailed Rafa Benitez for outsmarting
Jose Mourinho and believes the Chelsea manager should start
showing Liverpool respect.
Liverpool won the battle of the Premiership big guns on
Saturday by beating the champions 2-1 in the FA Cup
The Reds were the better side for much of the Old Trafford
showdown, as Chelsea struggled to break through an organised
Winning captain Gerrard believes Benitez deserves plenty of
the credit for the victory due to the tactics he instructed
his players to adopt.
"All week we've prepared for them playing the diamond," said
Gerrard. "They've been doing that for the last few games.
"We knew our full backs would get a lot of the ball and
that's where we tried to hurt Chelsea - on the flanks.
"Their idea was to hit the two front men and allow Frank
Lampard or Michael Essien up there to collect the bits.
"But I thought we controlled the middle of the park for 60
minutes. Actually, our game-plan worked to perfection."
After the match, Chelsea boss Mourinho was dismissive of his
side's conquerors, claiming Liverpool were not the better
Mourinho also wrote off The Reds' chances of catching The
Blues in The Premiership, but Gerrard disputed the
The PFA Player of the Year added: "This result proves we are
not miles behind Chelsea.
"Obviously they have a better record against us over the
last 10 games, but we've won the two big matches.
"We're progressing. We know Chelsea are a fantastic side
with a lot of money behind them and they can go out there
and buy whoever they want.
"But Rafa's building something here. We're a very strong
team and I think Mourinho should stand up and give us a bit
"And I still think we can improve more, both individually
and as a team. We can all improve."
Carra: Reds closing on Chelsea
By Paul Walker - PA Sport
Jamie Carragher heads for the FA Cup Final agreeing that
Chelsea are a better side than Liverpool but believing that
the Anfield club are beginning to bridge the gap between
themselves and the champions.
The Liverpool defender played a major role in the defiant
rearguard action in the final half hour of the semi-final
showdown at Old Trafford, when desperate Chelsea battled
unsuccessfully to save their double dream.
Liverpool were under relentless pressure by the
champions-elect, but clung onto the lead given them by John
Arne Riise and Luis Garcia.
Carragher said: "We can beat them in cup competitions. But
they are the best team in the league and they are a better
team than us, we are not going to argue about that because
the table doesn't lie.
"But we have cut the gap on them this season and we aim to
cut it again next season, and we are closer. But it is only
in one-off games.
"We haven't got a great record against them, we have only
won two out of 10 but those two wins are the most important
ones. We have won the very big ones, the Champions League
semi and now this FA Cup semi."
Carragher insists that Liverpool were the underdogs, and
added: "We have had a lot of tight games with them, but they
have a bigger squad than us and have more quality. Their
bench is better than ours and that makes a big difference.
"They are ahead of us but we believe we can bridge that gap.
About three teams behind Chelsea are at a stage of
re-building, Arsenal are looking very good, and with the
addition of a few players they could be right back up there.
"Everyone can see that with a couple of new players, just
the same with Manchester United - high class players - we
can all be much closer to Chelsea next time around.
"Hopefully we have laid down a marker for next season. We
want to go closer to Chelsea in the league. It is achievable
but they will bring in a few more players so it will be
"I'm not having a go at them because of their money, if we
were in the same position we would be delighted.
"Beating Chelsea is bigger now for us than beating
Manchester United, because Chelsea are the best team.
"If we can all get these players in it will be a very
interesting Premiership next season."
Carragher also revealed that Liverpool were surprised by the
Chelsea team selection without any width that failed to work
in the first half and allowed Liverpool to grow in
confidence and grab their goals.
He said: "Chelsea have been playing a similar style over the
last few weeks, a diamond shape in midfield. But we were a
bit surprised to see Ferreira in midfield, we thought it
would be Geremi.
"But they did cause us a lot of problems at the end with the
wide men on. They seemed to have six forwards out there.
"We like a bit of width but they've done well with the way
they are playing. It was crazy in the last half hour, it was
very much like the end of the Champions League semi-final
against them last season.
"They even had a great chance from Joe Cole at the death,
just like (Eidur) Gudjohnsen did last season in the European
"But now we are there in the final there is no danger that
we will start to think we have done the hard part, it's
always tough in a final.
"We won the first final in Cardiff and we now want to go
back there and win the last final there."
John Arne Riise, who suffered the agony of scoring a cracker
against Chelsea in last season's Carling Cup final in
Cardiff only to finish on the losing side, made up for all
that with a clever first goal in the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final
victory at Old Trafford.
With potential new Norwegian backers considering a move to
buy into Liverpool, a goal and Cup final appearance from one
of their most famous-ever players hit just the right note.
News of a potential move by a group of Norwegian businessmen
broke on the morning of the semi-final against the West
Riise said: "That goal went a long way to making up for the
fact that I scored in a final against Chelsea last season
and didn't finish on the winning side.
"Jamie Carragher and some of the lads asked me before the
game if I knew anything about the Norwegian takeover
speculation, but I don't.
"I was interested to read about it, but I know how big
Liverpool are in Norway and it is not surprising for me to
read that there are people interested in buying into the
club from Norway.
"There are 20,000 members of the Norwegian Liverpool
supporters' club, so they would all be very happy if a group
from my country got involved."
Liverpool have declined to comment on the speculation, but
are believed to be aware of the plans being put together in
Anfield sources reckon that such a move has far more
financial credibility than the recent failed moves by a
Spanish group, but there are genuine doubts that the
Norwegians could raise the £500m needed to finance the new
stadium, buying shares and five years of Rafael Benitez's
The move is believed to be led by a financial investor,
Oystein Stray Spetalen with the backing of hotel chain owner
Riise then showed that Norwegians could produce goals as
well as money.
He explained how he outwitted the Chelsea wall, driving his
shot between Paulo Ferreira and Frank Lampard.
He said: "We had been working on the free-kick for the last
couple of days. I said to Steven I wanted to take it.
"I could see that Ferreira thought I was going to put it
round the wall, I could see him moving to his right to
anticipate what he thought was going to be a curled effort.
"So it was a fantastic feeling to score after putting my
effort between the two players on the end of the wall.
"I felt in the hotel before the game that I would score in
"Now it will be my first FA Cup final and I can't wait. I
joined the club after the 2001 final victory and have always
wanted to figure in a final because so many of the other
Riise revealed Liverpool's surprise at Chelsea's tactics,
saying: "We were really surprised that they did not play
with wingers. That was good for us.
"But we knew that when they went in for half-time they would
have to change things because it was not working.
"But in the last 20 minutes Chelsea proved how good they
are, and I was really tired. But now we are in the final,
and we have certainly done it the hard way, beating
Manchester United and now Chelsea."
arguments over Garcia goal
Luis Garcia laughed loud and long because he had scored a
goal against Chelsea that Jose Mourinho could not claim had
not crossed the line.
The little Spaniard, who has a habit of scoring in
high-profile games for Liverpool, memorably netted a winner
against Chelsea last season in the Champions League
semi-final that the Stamford Bridge boss to this day insists
did not go over the line.
Now the former Barcelona man has hit Mourinho where it hurts
again with a stunning goal that proved to be the eventual
winner in the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.
A grinning Luis Garcia said: "All I can say is there was no
doubt that one was over the line, for sure.
"It has been a little disappointing that the issue of that
goal keeps coming up, but I have not let it bother me. Now
I've got another against Chelsea."
The 27-year-old missed several easier chances before his
second-half cracker, and he said: "We knew it would be a
really tough, it is always like that against Chelsea. But we
are in the final and we aim to win another important trophy.
"I was delighted with the finish for the goal I scored, and
it was important because I had missed a few chances before
"All the games we have with Chelsea are close, we lost once
4-1, but the rest are always close and difficult. It all
comes down to scoring when the chances come.
"I must admit when Joe Cole had that chance and missed, it
reminded me of last season in the Champions League
semi-final when (Eidur) Gudjohnsen missed one very late in
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard insists that he will be
happy to forgive Garcia for missing sitters as long as he
keeps bagging crackers like the one that eventually beat
Gerrard, who also feels it is about time that Chelsea start
"respecting" Liverpool more, led his side to a famous
victory at Old Trafford in which the Anfield midfield of
himself, Xabi Alonso and Mohamed Sissoko out-played
Chelsea's trio of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Claude
Gerrard is well aware that Garcia has a reputation for
scoring vital big match goals, like those against Chelsea
and Juventus in last season's Champions League glory run and
also a Merseyside derby strike against Everton.
He missed two sitters at Old Trafford, but then launched a
30-yarder past Carlo Cudicini to put Liverpool 2-0 ahead and
gave them the platform to survive the West Londoners late
Gerrard said: "The funny thing about Luis is that he misses
the easy ones and then scores from 30 yards.
"But that doesn't bother me, not as long as he keeps scoring
goals like he did in this semi-final.
"He has scored a lot of great goals for us in very important
matches, I can put up with that."
for stubborn Reds
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes his side's lack of
mistakes was crucial in their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory
over rivals Chelsea.
"They like to play with the mistakes of the other team and
normally punish them," said the Spaniard.
"In this case, we made one, then they scored and we were
"At the end we worked really hard, created our chances and,
with a little bit more luck, maybe we could have got another
The Reds contained Chelsea's threat for the first hour of
the game as John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia put the ahead.
But Arjen Robben was shortly followed on by Joe Cole and
Damien Duff for the Blues who desperately tried to equalise
after Didier Drogba had pulled a goal back for them.
"Chelsea are one of the most expensive teams in the world
and they have a lot of good players," added Benitez.
"They played well and we were trying to control them but it
is really difficult to control Duff, Cole, Lampard and
Drogba and all the players that they have."
The Reds boss is now looking forward to savouring the
victory over Chelsea and then trying to win his first FA Cup
final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 13 May.
"I am really happy and delighted for the players, the club
and the supporters. It was an amazing game for us," he said.
"The big clubs are always thinking about winning the big
trophies and we are in the most famous Cup in the world. It
is really important for us to win."
Benitez and Chelsea counterpart Mourinho did not shake hands
after the game but the Anfield manager played down the
He explained: "I haven't seen him because I was saying thank
you to our supporters. I have no problems."
'can't wish' jubilant Reds well
Jose Mourinho fuelled his feud with Rafael Benitez after
Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford to reach the
final of the FA Cup.
The rival managers did not shake hands after the match and
Mourinho once more refused to acknowledge that Liverpool
were worthy winners, just as he had done after the
Merseysiders knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League
John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia gave Liverpool a 2-0 lead
before Didier Drogba pulled one back for Chelsea in a
Mourinho said: "Did the best team win? I don't think so. In
the last 30 minutes we deserved extra time.
"In the first half nobody was better. They had a good start
to the second half but then we dominated the game. I cannot
wish them luck in the final. Middlesbrough and West Ham will
be there and I must respect them."
There was precious little respect for Liverpool, however,
who have now won two of their last 10 matches against
Chelsea, crucially both semi-finals in the Champions League
and the FA Cup.
Mourinho, however, does not believe it is a sign that
Liverpool can challenge for the Premiership title next
He said: "In the Premiership they have no chance. Over 40
matches no chance. Maybe they will surprise me and they can
"But in 10 matches against us they have won twice. In the
Premiership the distance between the teams is 45 points over
two seasons. We beat them in a final, they beat us in two
semi-finals. A psychological advantage? I don't think so.
"In four matches in the Premiership we beat them four
He added somewhat mischievously: "I wish them luck for their
qualification match in the Champions League."
let's go and win the cup
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Steven Gerrard reflected on Liverpool's brilliant
semi-final victory over Chelsea and declared:
"Now let's go and win the Cup."
Goals in each half from John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia were
enough to send the Reds through to the final where they will
face the winners of Sunday's clash between Middlesbrough and
West Ham United.
Gerrard was thrilled with the spirit his team-mates showed
to secure a famous victory, but he has warned it will count
for nothing if they don't now go on to win the final.
He said: "This job isn't done yet. We've another massive
game to play on May 13 and we've got to go and win this Cup
now. It's going to be another tough game but if we perform
as we can then we can win it.
"I thought we deserved our victory over Chelsea. We were the
better side in the first half, in fact I think we were
better for the first hour.
"Then the onslaught came and we were expecting it because
they are a class side. It was disappointing to concede a
goal because that made the job even harder, but we hung in
"We were all feeling it at the end when we went into added
time but the rallying call came from Carra that we all had
to stick together."
through to FA Cup final
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool ended Chelsea's hopes of a domestic Double with
victory at Old Trafford in their FA Cup semi-final.
Didier Drogba missed two gilt-edged chances for Chelsea
before John Arne Riise's free-kick put the Reds ahead.
Luis Garcia brilliantly half-volleyed in from 20-yards to
extend Liverpool's lead but Drogba headed in to set up an
enthralling end to the game.
Chelsea then put their rivals under siege and Joe Cole
blazed a late chance over as Liverpool clung on for the win.
There was some gentle sparring between the two sides at the
start of the match before Chelsea seized the early
initiative and should have taken the lead.
Drogba had a header after eight minutes when Hernan Crespo
flicked on a Frank Lampard corner but the Blues striker
headed disappointingly wide.
Drogba was again the culprit for the Premiership leaders
when, despite a strong suspicion of offside, he was
one-on-one with Reds keeper Jose Reina only to shoot wide
after chesting down Lampard's lofted ball.
Chelsea were made to pay for their profligacy almost
immediately when Liverpool won a dubious free-kick for a
high John Terry foot as he went for a bouncing ball with
But the Reds made the most of any fortune with Riise curling
a 20-yard free-kick through the Chelsea wall and past keeper
Chelsea struggled to break down the Reds at a packed Old
Trafford while Liverpool threatened to add to their lead.
And the Merseysiders were almost helped in their cause by a
rare Terry error when he sold Cudicini short with a header
back to his keeper.
Cudicini and Reds striker Crouch were injured as they both
challenged for the loose ball before picking themselves up
to carry on.
Steven Gerrard pulled a ball back from the byline for Garcia
on the stroke of half-time and he should have done better
than to blaze high.
Chelsea brought on winger Robben after the break and he
almost had an immediate effect when he swung in a free-kick
which Terry headed in at the far post.
But the effort was ruled out for Terry holding down Riise
and it got worse for the Blues when the Reds added a second.
Garcia seized on a poor header by William Gallas and
expertly half-volleyed in from 20-yards.
The Reds were dominant against their off-colour rivals and a
Garcia volley forced Cudicini into a scrambling save.
Chelsea upped their game and started to put their opponents
under more and more pressure with Joe Cole and Damien Duff
And they pulled a goal back when Riise mistimed a headed
clearance and Reina failed to punch the ball clear to allow
to Drogba to nod home.
Robben shot straight at Reina from six yards during an
enthralling spell in the game with Liverpool pinned back in
their own half.
Liverpool had to endure some scary moments with Cole's late
effort but some desperate defending helped book their place
in the FA Cup final on 13 May.