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Chelsea v Liverpool preview

14 Apr 2009 11:10:48

Chelsea v Liverpool preview

Chelsea host Liverpool in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final with one foot in the last four of the competition. Guus Hiddink's Blues produced a performance which ranks among the club's greatest European displays as they came from behind to stun Anfield with a 3-1 first-leg win last week. And now Chelsea - whose owner Roman Abramovich is understood to covet the European Cup over all other trophies - will expect to finish off their old domestic foes at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Liverpool, who are locking horns with Chelsea for the fifth successive year in Europe, must have considered splashing out on an Oyster Card for the Fulham Broadway station of the District Line when considering their perennial trips to West London. However, this season they travel to the capital in a far less buoyant mood than previous campaigns following their out-of-sorts first-leg mauling, and it would appear that only the nostalgia of a proven track record for European comebacks is keeping hope afloat. Chelsea's vastly experienced boss Hiddink, though, proved he may well have a rare ability to tactically out-think Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez on the European stage and the Dutchman will have no time for thoughts of the Reds' past Champions League exploits against the likes of Basle and AC Milan. ConcernThe Blues know they would have to concede at least three goals to crash out of the competition, but their defence will be weakened by the suspension of captain John Terry after the centre-back was controversially booked in the first leg. Ricardo Carvalho is expected to fill in for his skipper in the heart of defence, but full-back Jose Bosingwa remains sidelined with a hamstring problem. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba were taken off with time to spare before Bolton made Chelsea sweat in Saturday's narrow 4-3 Premier League victory, and Hiddink will expect the duo, who tore Liverpool to shreads last week, to be well rested. Liverpool are likely to name captain Steven Gerrard in their starting line-up despite the England international remaining an unused substitute in the weekend win over Blackburn. The 28-year-old suffered a recurrence of a groin problem which has caused concerns throughout the season, but Benitez is desperate to pair his star player with Fernando Torres. Influential Argentine Javier Mascherano will return to his role as an anchor in midfield after he was sorely missed in the first leg due to suspension.


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