Hillsborough can inspire Liverpool to Chelsea comeback
13 April 2009 08:55
Liverpool must overcome a daunting 3-1 first leg deficit if they are to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League and Benitez is mindful of the timing of the match ahead of the 20th anniversary on Wednesday of a disaster that claimed the lives of 96 supporters.
'It's an important week for our fans and the club,' he said. 'We have some players who have been here a long time, and it could be an inspiration for them in this game. The fans will be behind the team because of the game and that we can achieve something now linked with the Hillsborough memorial.'
While the memories of Hillsborough will place this match in its rightful context, Benitez believes an upset is possible. 'We know we can do it,' he said. 'We know they can make mistakes and we can exploit this. We have nothing to lose. They will be under pressure.'
Of those who are likely to start, only Xavi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher also played in the Champions League final of 2005 in Instanbul that saw Liverpool overturn a 3-0 half-time deficit against AC Milan. 'They know how to do it,' said Benitez.
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina added: 'Istanbul should be the inspiration. If anyone can turn this around, it's Liverpool.'
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink admitted that the concession of three goals in nine minutes against Bolton on Saturday was like an 'alarm bell' ringing.
Chairman Bruce Buck also gave the clearest indication on Monday that owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to reinvigorate the Chelsea team this summer.
'I think that if the right player comes along at the right price, and it was a hefty price, and it worked for Chelsea FC, then Mr Abramovich will be willing to invest more money in the club,' he said.
Buck also played down the possibility of Jose Mourinho ever returning. 'I think his time at Chelsea Football Club has passed,' he said.