report generating LIVERWEB - Liverpool Chelsea Match Report - 22 April 2008

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Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1

A late own goal by John Arne Riise tipped this tie in Chelsea's favour just as the Reds looked like they would leave Anfield with a 1-0 lead in the Champions League semi final. Dirk Kuyt had fired the Reds ahead in the first half to send Anfield even louder than it was when it started. All was going well until Riise decided to head past Reina and the tie suddenly becomes very tricky indeed.

The sides came out as the crowd boomed out You'll Never Walk Alone and they lined up in front of the main stand before Steven Gerrard lost the toss. It mean the Reds were forced to attack the Kop in the first half and got the game started.

Chelsea started quite strongly and were the first to settle really without causing too much trouble to Reina. The ref showed he was allowing no contact from the off with any slight contact for aerial ball being penalised. In fairness though he was consistent with this both ways.

The Reds did create a superb chance on thirteen minutes when Alonso sent Kuyt clean through but the control just didn't quite allow the ball to come down properly and the chance was smothered by Cech.

A few minutes later and Torres was in but he didn't connect properly with the ball and the chance was gone.

The first half was very cat and mouse to be honest with neither side quite grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. The Reds had better chances but never took them. Chelsea attacking were a little ordinary but looked devoid of ideas at the penalty area.

Drogba as usual went through his full repertoire of rolling around injured before springing up again. He was involved in a penalty shout just before the half hour when he went down like a lead balloon and made sure he reached the penalty area with his fall. It was outside the box and wasn't a foul but he did have a whinge anyway.

At the other end Torres was through but Cech saved well although you certainly expected a goal. Martin Skrtel managed to boot the ball up and out of the ground shortly after this. It seems to be getting a bit of trademark for him and he clearly takes the if in doubt row Z it quote very literally.

The Reds had a half shout for a penalty on thirty nine minutes when Ashley Cole shoved Kuyt out of the way in the box. Every other shove had been penalised but the minute it was in the box it wasn't given.

The Reds took the lead three minutes before half time and sent the crowd mental. Alonso lobbed the ball over the top of the Chelsea defence for Kuyt who after getting control of the ball fired it through the legs of Kuyt. I took a blow to the nose in the midst of celebrating thanks to my mate - Cheers for that one!

Half time came and the Reds went in a goal up and everything was looking good for the Reds.

Chelsea got the game started again and no changes had been made at the break by either side.

Torres went down injured in the box five minutes in to the half when Makelele seemed to trample all over him. Torres was certainly not happy at the treatment he had in the box. He showed most of his frustration to John Terry when he shoved him to one side whilst retreating. No mean feat to be able to shove him as well and it certainly got the crowd going.

It sparked a few minutes of good hard tackling in the game as well which wound the noise up a notch once again. The Reds won that battle quite well.

Ryan Babel went just wide with a volley before the hour mark. At the other end a Chelsea attack came to nothing but in the aftermath Aurelio was down injured. It looked a bad one and he was stretchered off. Sadly of course that means Riise coming on as a one for one swap. I'm never his biggest fan but he just seemed to be on a whole different wavelength all game.

Chelsea slowly started to find their way in tot he game and for me we lost the midfield. They started getting far too much possession and the Reds were simply gifting it back whenever they got it.

First Lampard had a chance which went well wide and then Malouda saw a shot deflected behind by Mascherano after he sold Arbeloa all ends up.

Ryan Babel faded out of the game as the Reds stopped giving him the ball and he was replaced by Benayoun.

With five minutes to go Gerrard forced a superb save from Cech. A dipping volley from Gerrard was destined for the top corner before the keepers hand tipped it over.

As the time wore down it looked all set for a 1-0 win. Torres had a shot well saved at the near post by Cech but Chelsea continued to move forward without ever troubling us.

Deep in injury time they got a throw which Kalou received and crossed in to the box. Now the ball flew across six yards out and was just a case of putting your foot through the ball and clearing the danger. It was best set for a right foot clearance but of course we have a left back who can't kick with his right foot. So Riise decided to stoop down so low that he headed the ball from a few inches off the ground and buried his header past a helpless Reina. Absolutely gutted! You won't see many own goals like that one. It's one that at the other end you would have been proud of.

The full time whistle came shortly after and the Reds were left shell shocked on the pitch. Down but certainly not out. There's intense pressure on the Reds now going to Chelsea but they had pressure at Marseille earlier this season to get out of the group stages and they walloped them. It's not over till the fat lady sings and she's not singing yet!

MotM : Dirk Kuyt - played absolutely superbly all game. He charged clearances down by defenders, scored and created good moves all game.\r\n

Liverpool 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 12 Aurelio (6 Riise 60), 18 Kuyt, 14 Alonso, 20 Mascherano, 19 Babel (11 Benayoun 74), 8 Gerrard, 9 Torres
Unused Subs 30 Itandje, 4 Hyypia, 21 Lucas, 15 Crouch, 16 Pennant
Goal(s) Kuyt (42)
Shirt Worn Home-Red
Manager Rafa Benitez

Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, A.Cole, Lampard, Makele, Ballack (Anelka 85), J.Cole (Kalou 62), Drogba, Malouda
Unused Subs Hilario, Shevchenko, Mikel, Alex, Beletti
Goal(s) OG - Riise (90)
Booking Terry (90)
Shirt Worn Bllue
Manager Avram Grant

Referee Konrad Plautz  Austria  
Att 42180
Venue Anfield
Kick Off Tuesday - 19:45:00
Date 2008-04-22 
HT/FT WD   (1-0)/1-1
Goal Sequence (Liverpool first) 1-0, 1-1
Competition Champions League   SF 1st Leg

Match Stats

Liverpool   Chelsea
55% Possession 45%
6 Shots On Target 3
4 Shots Off Target 0
2 Blocked Shots 4
6 Corners 5
20 Fouls 17
1 Offsides 6
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0

Opposition form summary coming in to the match


Match Programme

Match number 55 of the season

European Match number 13 of the season

European Match number 287 of all time

Champions League Match number 79 of all time

European Cup/Champions League Match number 156 of all time

Match number 5089 of all time (excludes war time matches and Friendly/Testimonials)

Match number 152 against Chelsea

Home Match number 75 against Chelsea

Cup Match number 21 against Chelsea

Home Cup Match number 9 against Chelsea