delighted by draw
By Simon Fudge - Sky Sports
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was delighted with his
side's performance in holding Chelsea to a 0-0 first leg
The former Valencia boss saw the Merseyside club
continue to surprise in the UEFA Champions League by
stifling the Premiership champions-elect to just a
handful of chances at Stamford Bridge.
Wednesday's result leaves the all-English semi-final
well poised for next Tuesday's vital second leg at
"We have played a good game," Benitez told Sky Sports.
"The team worked hard and controlled the game, they had
some chances, but at the end, a draw is a good result.
"We had more counter-attacks and they started playing
with long balls.
"We knew what to do against Chelsea, we know they have a
lot of good players who can create opportunities."
The Spaniard thinks The Reds will have the upper hand
next week in front of their vocal support at Anfield.
"The most important thing is we need only to win at
Anfield," he added.
"It is a good situation. We have very good supporters,
they will be with us at Anfield and we need to win.
"We always have confidence and we need to believe in
Jose: Draw was
job well done
Jose Mourinho is delighted Chelsea kept a clean sheet
in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final
clash against Liverpool.
Blues boss Mourinho insists he believes his team will
progress after Wednesday night's stalemate at Stamford
He explained: "I'm happy with the result.
"0-0 is not the result we fought for, we tried to win
the game and created enough chances to win it.
"We had chances - more than I thought we would get
before the game. Before I was thinking it would be more
difficult to create chances.
"But in a Champions League tie, 0-0 at home is a good
"The result leaves me very confident we will get to the
"We will score goals in Liverpool and they will have to
play a different way.
"99.9% of Liverpool fans will be thinking at the moment
they have one foot in the final - but they aren't. It is
very difficult for them.
"Rafael Benitez is a great manager but I think we are in
a very good position."
The Portuguese added: "It was not an outstanding game,
it was a good game with fair play and the teams fighting
for their objectives, trying to win.
"It's a game everyone participating in it can be quite
proud of - but I go home very confident.
"I expect us to win and I'm confident we can score goals
if we don't lose more players because our situation
isn't good with injuries - but I think we will go to the
duo accentuate the positives
England midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard
were both taking the positives out of tonight's 0-0 draw
at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League semi-final
In a game of few chances Lampard wasted the best
arguably the best opportunity of the 90 minutes in the
first half when he blazed over from six yards.
And he said: "It's a shame because it would have been a
nice lead to take to Anfield.
"It was a decent result for us because we haven't
conceded - but we're disappointed we missed a few
"Away goals are costly so that (not to give one away)
was our first aim. After that we wanted to score.
"It wasn't the prettiest of games but there was a lot of
passion out there and the game is finely balanced now.
"Next week we'll be raring to go - it's a massive game.
"We were fortunate to win 1-0 there earlier in the
season and we'll have to be on top of the game to get
the right result.
"Hopefully we'll go up there, defend well and nick a
Gerrard added on Sky Sports: "We defended well tonight.
We know the tie's not over - it's only half-time.
"Ideally we would have liked to nick a goal but
hopefully our fans will lift the roof off in the second
"0-0 is a good result because they've got world class
Xabi Alonso picked up a yellow card tonight which will
rule him out of next Tuesday's second leg at Anfield.
And Gerrard added: "He is a magnificent passer but
Dietmar Hamann is nearly fit and knocking on the door.
"It's set up for a great second leg."
Reds must finish the job
By Frank Malley - PA Chief Sports Writer
Are you voting blue or red next week?
It could not be more delicately poised after Chelsea and
Liverpool battled to a goalless draw in the first
Champions League semi-final between English clubs.
If there is any justice, however, then Jamie Carragher
will get his reward and see the Anfield club through to
the Champions League final.
You have to hand it to Carragher and Liverpool. They
were quite brilliant at Stamford Bridge, carving out a
European performance which was straight out of the glory
days when they were so renowned for their composure.
Carragher was but a toddler the last time Liverpool
contested such a semi-final back in 1985, but no-one did
more to further the Merseyside cause.
Time after time he snuffed out Chelsea attacks with the
precision of his tackling and the vision of his
In many ways he took over the home-bred mantle from a
more subdued Steven Gerrard in a match which might have
been goalless but was never anything other than utterly
Nip and tuck, neck and neck, too close to call.
Pick any managerial soccerspeak you like - there was not
a cigarette paper between these two teams.
Chelsea were more inventive but increasingly frustrated
and eventually perhaps a little fatigued, while
Liverpool were resolute and determined.
It was a wonderful game, not nearly the tight, cagey
encounter many had predicted. Instead it was open, at
In many ways it was one of football's curiosities that
these two sides were even sharing the same pitch so deep
into Europe's most prestigious competition.
After all, Chelsea lie 31 points ahead of fifth-placed
Liverpool in the Barclays Premiership and have lost just
one league game compared to Liverpool's 13.
The gulf this season has been huge.
But not in Europe. There Liverpool, with knockout wins
over Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus, have resurrected
memories of past glories.
They have won their last five semi-finals in the
European Cup and at times this season it has almost
appeared that history was drawing them to the Istanbul
final on May 25.
True, Chelsea had the better of the attacking play. They
could have scored twice, maybe three times, in the first
half-hour alone with Didier Drogba pulling a left-foot
shot wide when a striker of his expense should have
Joe Cole, too, went close but Frank Lampard blasting the
ball over on the volley from no more than five yards was
the most surprising sight of the night.
Lampard has netted 16 times for Chelsea this season. He
has been the most reliable, most creative midfielder in
the Premiership. The entire Blue occupants of Stamford
Bridge would have put their mortgage on his rippling the
back of the net. Roman Abramovich would have wagered his
biggest oil well.
But the ball flew high over Jerzy Dudek's bar.
Not that it was all Chelsea. The beauty of Rafael
Benitez's preparation was that his side's close passing
game offered a route forward for the Merseysiders,
fashioned a manner in which to relieve the Chelsea
Much of it came from John Arne Riise's work down the
left, always probing and ever-dangerous with his
cultured left-foot. Unfortunately one of Liverpool's
best chances fell to his right and he shot tamely at
Still, it took a spectacular one-handed save by the
Chelsea goalkeeper from a Milan Baros header to keep the
scoreline goalless at half-time.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea picked up the tempo in the
second-half, throwing on Arjen Robben for Tiago and
immediately there was more pace and width.
More urgency, too. Chelsea are dangerous home or away,
sometimes even more menacing when on the break at
opponents' grounds, but they would have preferred a
cushion to take to Anfield.
That they didn't had much to do with a superb tackle by
Sami Hyypia on Joe Cole, but also on a final half-hour
in which Liverpool drew the sting out of Chelsea in the
most professional manner.
European football is all about treasuring possession,
not giving the ball away cheaply. Liverpool did that
expertly, denying service to the dangerous Robben, so
much so that goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was by some distance
the most under-worked player on the pitch over the final
Anybody who thinks Liverpool can book their tickets to
Turkey, however, should think again.
It is one thing containing Mourinho's men with a
rearguard away display, quite another fashioning a
triumph against a team so deadly on the counter-attack.
It could not be more delicately poised.
But the polls say a narrow red triumph is likely next
week. The entire footballing country, apart from a
narrow enclave of west London, would cheer that end.
hold Blues in first leg
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool held Chelsea to a goalless draw at Stamford
Bridge to leave the all-Premiership Champions League
semi-final hanging in the balance.
Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard missed clear chances for
Chelsea in the first half as Jose Mourinho's side
pressed for a crucial advantage.
But Chelsea keeper Petr Cech saved from John Arne Riise
and Milan Baros to deny Liverpool an away goal.
The second half was a sterile affair with neither side
carving out chances.
Liverpool will be the happier side, but they suffered a
blow late on when Xabi Alonso picked up a booking for a
foul on Eidur Gudjohnsen that rules him out of the
second leg at Anfield.
Chelsea lost Damien Duff prior to kick-off when he
failed a fitness test on a hamstring injury, while Arjen
Robben was restricted to a place on the bench.
And they had the better of the opportunities in a
surprisingly adventurous opening period.
Drogba was guilty of a bad miss after 13 minutes,
shooting wastefully across the face of goal after
escaping the attentions of Liverpool's defence only 10
But Riise wasted an even bigger opportunity for
Liverpool five minutes later, forcing a vital block from
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Chelsea continued to look more dangerous and Lampard
squandered the best chance of the night after 21
Joe Cole knocked down William Gallas' cross to Lampard
only eight yards out, and he somehow missed the target
with the goal at his mercy.
Cech came to Chelsea's rescue with a stunning save seven
minutes before the interval.
Steven Gerrard's cross was flicked on by the head of
Baros, but Cech dived acrobatically to his right to palm
the effort away to safety.
Liverpool were lucky to survive a scramble as half-time
approached, with John Terry's shot drifting narrowly off
Chelsea set the pace after the break, and it needed a
brilliant saving tackle from Sami Hyypia to halt Cole as
he drove at the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Mourinho introduced Arjen Robben just before the hour,
replacing the ineffective Tiago.
And Liverpool also made a change after 65 minutes, with
Djibril Cisse replacing Milan Baros, who had had a
Liverpool had kept Chelsea at arm's length in the second
half, and Mourinho attempted to inject impetus by
sending on Mateja Kezman for Cole with 13 minutes left.
But neither side could make the breakthrough and
Liverpool will be content with the draw going into the
second leg on 3 May.