After The Match 


Chelsea-Liverpool 0-0                Wed Apr 27.        CL - semifinal (1.leg)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Gerrard, Alonso, Riise, Biscan, Garcia, Baros
Subs: Cisse (Baros 64), Kewell (Biscan 85), Smicer (Garcia 92)
Not used: Carson, Nunez, Le Tallec, Warnock
Yellow:  Biscan (56), Alonso (86)        Cole (58), Kezman (79)
Red: None
Referee: Alain Sars (France).
Attendance: 40,497

                           MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Fouls conceded:




score goals
in Liverpool..."
         Jose Mourinho
2704: Rafa delighted by draw
2704: Jose: Draw was job well done
2704: England duo accentuate the positives
2704: Reds must finish the job
2704: Liverpool hold Blues in first leg  


Rafa 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 draw.

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 Anfield.

"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 ourselves."

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 Bridge.

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 result.

"The result leaves me very confident we will get to the final.

"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 final."

England duo accentuate the positives

Sporting Life

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 first leg.

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 chances.

"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 goal."

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 leg.

"0-0 is a good result because they've got world class players."

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 defending.

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 absorbing.

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 times end-to-end.

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 scored.

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 pressure.

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 Petr Cech.

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 30 minutes.

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.

Liverpool 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 yards out.

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 minutes.

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 target.

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 disappointing night.

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.

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Thor Zakariassen