So it’s Chelsea again for the third time in three Champions League semi-finals since Rafael Benitez took over the reigns at Anfield four seasons ago. Can you bare the tension again?
The Daily Mail’s John Edwards begins the build up.
There may be a score to settle with bitter Champions League adversaries Liverpool but any mention of revenge has effectively been banned from the Chelsea dressing room.
Anger and resentment still flood most Chelsea thoughts at the mere mention of Liverpool and Champions League semi-finals, after a highly contentious Luis Garcia goal settled the first between the teams three years ago and a penalty shootout separated them last season.
He goes on to quote Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard who seems to have his mind set on the game, and says something about a ‘œgolden carrot’!? Answers on a postcard.
Lampard: “We ended up being knocked out the last two times we played them and those were both very big disappointments.
“But that will have no bearing whatsoever on how this tie goes. All we will have in our thoughts is the golden carrot of getting to the final.”
Matt Hughes of The Times discusses how this upcoming semi-final tie is Chelsea boss Avram Grant’s chance to do something that Mourinho couldn’t ‘“ take the club to a European Cup final.
If Avram Grant can succeed where JosÃ© Mourinho twice failed by beating Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final then the most enigmatic man in English football may earn the grudging admiration of Chelsea fans. Possibly. The first-team coach can at least count on his players for support, with Michael Ballack yesterday pointing out the need to forget past glories and focus on achieving success under their new leader.
The Reds take on Chelsea in the first leg at Anfield on April 23rd, with the return leg at Stamford Bridge on April 30th.