Monday, April 21, 2008

Liverpool vs Chelsea Champions League

Its the Anfield hothouse for Liverpool vs Chelsea in the Champions League

Liverpool vs Chelsea in the Champions League will have Anfield packed to the rafters, for what the Liverpool fans hope will be another special Champions League night. Chelsea meanwhile will be hoping to come away with a clean sheet, or moreover, a priceless away goal to swing the tie their way come the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Champions League specialists Liverpool, have a major worry over captain Steven Gerrard, who has a minor neck injury, and remains a 50/50 doubt for the game. Otherwise, the ever absent Harry Kewell, and long term injury victim Daniel Agger apart, Liverpool will be at full strength. The loss of Gerrard for the first leg would be a major blow, given the recent form and partnership he has formed with Fernando Torres. Interestingly Gerrard, Carragher and Aurelio are all on yellow cards going into this game, so another means they sit out the second leg.

For Chelsea, Frank Lampard is available after missing games due to his mothers illness, which has given them a major boost ahead of this third Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. However Michael Essien is suspended for this game. Otherwise Avram Grant has a full squad to choose from.

Tactically expect Liverpool to come out of the blocks racing, hoping a high tempo and their fans will quickly kill off this first leg in their favour. Chelsea meanwhile, will hope to survive an early onslaught, and not to be unnerved by the Kop as they were in 2005 and arguably 2006. If they can get to half-time with a clean sheet and a foothold in the game they will be very pleased.

The absence of Essien is a big blow to Chelsea, particularly for the first leg, when big hearts will be required. Liverpool have coped admirably without Daniel Agger, with Skrtel, Hyppia and Carragher all showing outstanding for throughout the season. Expect Liverpool to have a physical back line of Carragher, Skrtel, Hyppia and Aurelio for both legs.

Liverpool vs Chelsea in the Champions league - they don't get much bigger. Footy focus just can't call it! It really could go either way!


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