Chelsea vs. Liverpool  3 - 2

Article

Terry backs Grant to stay as Chelsea manager

1 May 2008 17:42

LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea captain John Terry believes that manager Avram Grant's future should no longer be called into question after he guided the Londoners to the first Champions League final in their history.

Terry said he found it "unbelievable' that Grant's position was still being questioned after the Blues defeated Liverpool 3-2 in a thrilling semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Two goals from Didier Drogba and a Frank Lampard penalty ensured Chelsea won 4-3 on aggregate and set up an all-English showdown with Manchester United in Moscow on May 21.

When asked if he thought Grant had already done enough to secure his job, Terry replied: "I would have thought so."

"Results don't lie," he said. "You look at the Premier League table since the manager has taken over and they have been very good. It is for the club to make that decision. All we can do once we are out there and once the manager is in charge is do our best and that's what we have done to get to the Champions League final.

"Avram plays a massive part along with the players, Steve Clarke, Henk ten Cate, the fans and everyone at the club. It is a credit to ourselves and the way we have dealt with things this year because at times it has not been easy.

"I think he (Grant) deserves respect and rightly so. It is the first time in the club's history we have got to a Champions League final - it has never been done by any manager or set of players before and he does deserve it.

"To get to where we are and still question the manager's role at the club is unbelievable. But it is not just the manager, it is the players, and Henk and Clarkie, who have a big role to play behind the scenes. They keep players motivated. We have got such a big squad of players and they manage to keep those not playing motivated and that is a credit to them."

Chelsea face title rivals United in Moscow in the first all-English European Cup final and Terry believes their never-say-die spirit can spur them to glory in Russia.

"It is a great thing for English football with two clubs in the biggest competition in the world - it is a great achievement," said Terry.

"We have got to beat a very good side but once you get there you don't care who you play. We've shown character all year even when our bigger players have been out, the squad players have come in and done well.

"They have kept us in these competitions and in touching distance of everybody else in the league. That's a credit to the football club, that's the way we work. We never let anything get us down and we keep fighting right to the end and we've done that.

"We have a chance in the Premier League and we are in the Champions League final. This is something we have wanted for four or five years and I am very proud of my players."

Article

Chelsea´s Cole hails brave Lampard

1 May 2008 17:07

LONDON (AFP) - Joe Cole on Thursday hailed teammate Frank Lampard after the England midfielder's penalty helped Chelsea to reach their first ever Champions League final.

Lampard, still grieving over the death of his mother Pat last Thursday, slotted home an extra-time spot-kick to put Chelsea 2-1 up against Liverpool and on their way to a 3-2 victory and a Moscow showdown on May 21 against Manchester United.

Cole said: "To even be able to play, put in the performance he did, step-up and take the penalty and score - I just can't put it into words what I think about Frank.

"I have known Frank for a long time and I know what kind of a fella he is.

"I don't think he gets the plaudits he should do. He is a great player and a great man and to do what he did at a time when other things are going on his life, I just take my hat off to him."

But Cole had a warning for his team-mates as they look forward to the first all-English Champions League final in Russia in three weeks.

"We haven't won anything yet," Cole said. "We are all happy and it is an historic moment but we have not won anything yet and silverware is what counts.

"We are very pleased and it is a great achievement for the club and every player in our squad. Now we need to go and win it."

Article

Emotional Grant relishes Chelsea´s European football vindication

1 May 2008 11:47

LONDON (AFP) - Avram Grant let his emotions hang out as he insisted the critics should get off his back after Chelsea booked a first Champions League final appearance.

Grant's side beat Liverpool 3-2 after extra-time in Wednesday's semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge to set up an all-English showdown with Manchester United in Moscow on May 21.

It was an emotional victory for Grant for a variety of reasons. A place in the final of Europe's elite club competition gives him vindication and the respect he felt he always deserved after replacing Jose Mourinho in September.

But, while the final whistle brought joy for Grant, it was also tinged with sadness. The Israeli revealed after the match that he planned to travel to Auschwitz on Thursday to give a speech to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

"Since day one there have been so many microscopes on me. I understand the criticism before I took over but not after. I have needed to prove more than others," Grant said.

"I respect the past but I work for the future and present. We play good football at the right time. It is not easy to play three games like these in eight days and with extra-time as well because Liverpool were rested.

"This was a special day for me. Hard but very special. This is Holocaust day in my country and I will be making a visit to Auschwitz on Thursday.

"My father buried my grandfather with his own hands, as well as his mother and his sister, but he always looked to the future, so this day always has an extra significance.

"He was the most optimistic and strong person I have ever known, so to reach the Champions League Final today of all days was unbelievable."

While the suspicion remains that Grant has been extremely fortunate to inherit a squad packed with world-class players who refuse to accept defeat, no-one can question his record so far.

In reaching the final he has achieved something even his lauded predecessor Jose Mourinho couldn't manage at Chelsea. The Blues had stumbled three times previously at this stage, twice against Liverpool during Mourinho's reign.

Now Grant wants his players to make more history by pipping United to the Premier League title before beating them in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

"We have created history. That is very important but we are still fighting for the title," he said.

"It is strange to have two English teams in Moscow. It could be a great final. We have played all the important games better than the other matches; against Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool."

When Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez reflects on what went wrong he should look no further than his own mirror. Benitez's withering pre-match criticism of Didier Drogba's occasional theatrics came back to haunt him in a big way as the Ivorian scored twice to cap a dynamic display.

Drogba, who pinned a picture of Benitez next to his peg in the dressing-room, scored the opener in the 33rd minute before Fernando Torres equalised after half-time to send the tie to extra-time.

Frank Lampard's 98th minute penalty after Sami Hyypia fouled Michael Ballack restored Chelsea's lead and ensured there wasn't a dry eye in the stadium as the England midfielder celebrated his first goal since the death of his mother last week.

Then Drogba added a third goal seven minutes later with a close range finish from Nicolas Anelka's cross. Ryan Babel's late strike gave Liverpool brief hope of another European miracle but this time it was beyond them.

Drogba admitted Benitez's comments had given him an extra incentive to play a match-winning role. "Benitez is a fantastic coach and I was a bit disappointed but I think he felt his team was not strong enough and Chelsea were going to beat them," he said.

After a tumultuous season at Anfield, Benitez will finish without a trophy for the second consecutive season. Now the Spaniard has to focus on finding the missing ingredient that will turn Liverpool from pretenders to serious contenders for the Premier League

"The scouting department is working. We must win our last two games then try to improve the squad," he said. "You never know. Sometimes one player can make a massive difference, like Torres, or sometimes you need three or four."

Article

Quick Report: Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool

30 April 2008 23:30

LONDON, Apr 30 (SW) - Chelsea are through to the final of the Champions League. At Stamford Bridge, Liverpool were beaten 3-2 after extra time.

Things were looking for for Chelsea when Didier Drogba scored the opening goal from the rebound after an effort by Salomon Kalou.

But four minutes after the hour mark, it was Spanish striker Fernando Torres to level the score after good work by Yossi Benayoun.

Extra time was needed to decide the clash, as last week's first leg had the same 1-1 result.

Seven minutes into extra time, Chelsea were awarded a penalty for a Hyppia foul and an emotional Frank Lampard converted from the spot.

Drogba netted his second of the night in the 115th minute, and it all seemed to be over for Liverpool.

But the Reds gave their opponents one more scare as Ryan Babel got one back in the 116th minute, mostly thanks to a Cech mistake.

Chelsea held on though, and advance to Moscow to face Manchester United in what will be the first all-English Champions League final.

Article

Benítez: We were very close

30 April 2008 21:09

Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benítez said the margins between success and failure in the UEFA Champions League were very fine after his side's 3-2 defeat at Chelsea FC saw them fail to make their third final in four years.

"I think we were very close," Benítez said. "We played well in the second half, had control of the game and created opportunities but, in the end, their second and third goals changed everything."

Article

Chelsea beats Liverpool and reaches the final

30 April 2008 21:08

Chelsea FC finally achieved their dream of a place in the UEFA Champions League final by overcoming Liverpool FC on a night that resonated with high drama and heartfelt emotion. They were taken to extra time, where Didier Drogba scored his second goal after Frank Lampard, making his return to the side following the untimely death of his mother, had swung the tie back Chelsea's way from the penalty spot.

It made it all the more sweet that victory came at the expense of a Liverpool team who had proved their nemesis at this stage on two occasions in the previous three seasons and who drew level at 1-1 through Fernando Torres in the 64th minute. Having dispatched one English rival, Avram Grant's men will take on another in Moscow on 21 May where Manchester United FC await. The two clubs are virtually neck-and-neck in the race for the Premier League; now they will dispute superiority on Europe's grandest stage as well.

Article

Emotional Grant relishes Chelsea´s European football vindication

30 April 2008 20:51

LONDON (AFP) - Avram Grant let his emotions hang out as he insisted the critics should get off his back after Chelsea booked a first Champions League final appearance.

Grant's side beat Liverpool 3-2 after extra-time in Wednesday's semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge to set up an all-English showdown with Manchester United in Moscow on May 21.

It was an emotional victory for Grant for a variety of reasons. A place in the final of Europe's elite club competition gives him vindication and the respect he felt he always deserved after replacing Jose Mourinho in September.

But, while the final whistle brought joy for Grant, it was also tinged with sadness. The Israeli revealed after the match that he planned to travel to Auschwitz on Thursday to give a speech to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

"Since day one there have been so many microscopes on me. I understand the criticism before I took over but not after. I have needed to prove more than others," Grant said.

"I respect the past but I work for the future and present. We play good football at the right time. It is not easy to play three games like these in eight days and with extra-time as well because Liverpool were rested.

"This was a special day for me. Hard but very special. This is Holocaust day in my country and I will be making a visit to Auschwitz on Thursday.

"My father buried my grandfather with his own hands, as well as his mother and his sister, but he always looked to the future, so this day always has an extra significance.

"He was the most optimistic and strong person I have ever known, so to reach the Champions League Final today of all days was unbelievable."

While the suspicion remains that Grant has been extremely fortunate to inherit a squad packed with world-class players who refuse to accept defeat, no-one can question his record so far.

In reaching the final he has achieved something even his lauded predecessor Jose Mourinho couldn't manage at Chelsea. The Blues had stumbled three times previously at this stage, twice against Liverpool during Mourinho's reign.

Now Grant wants his players to make more history by pipping United to the Premier League title before beating them in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

"We have created history. That is very important but we are still fighting for the title," he said.

"It is strange to have two English teams in Moscow. It could be a great final. We have played all the important games better than the other matches; against Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool."

When Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez reflects on what went wrong he should look no further than his own mirror. Benitez's withering pre-match criticism of Didier Drogba's occasional theatrics came back to haunt him in a big way as the Ivorian scored twice to cap a dynamic display.

Drogba, who pinned a picture of Benitez next to his peg in the dressing-room, scored the opener in the 33rd minute before Fernando Torres equalised after half-time to send the tie to extra-time.

Frank Lampard's 98th minute penalty after Sami Hyypia fouled Michael Ballack restored Chelsea's lead and ensured there wasn't a dry eye in the stadium as the England midfielder celebrated his first goal since the death of his mother last week.

Then Drogba added a third goal seven minutes later with a close range finish from Nicolas Anelka's cross. Ryan Babel's late strike gave Liverpool brief hope of another European miracle but this time it was beyond them.

Drogba admitted Benitez's comments had given him an extra incentive to play a match-winning role. "Benitez is a fantastic coach and I was a bit disappointed but I think he felt his team was not strong enough and Chelsea were going to beat them," he said.

After a tumultuous season at Anfield, Benitez will finish without a trophy for the second consecutive season. Now the Spaniard has to focus on finding the missing ingredient that will turn Liverpool from pretenders to serious contenders for the Premier League

"The scouting department is working. We must win our last two games then try to improve the squad," he said. "You never know. Sometimes one player can make a massive difference, like Torres, or sometimes you need three or four."

Article

Minute by Minute: Chelsea - Liverpool

30 April 2008 19:58

LONDON, Apr 30 (SW) - The semi final stage of the UEFA Champions League continued with the second leg clash between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC. SoccerWay kept you up to date on the most important events.

Final score: 3-2 a.e.t.

More match information: Here.

Feel free to register or log in and start using the 'discuss' option below to give your opinion on this match!

FULL TIME - Chelsea are through to the final! Referee Rossetti whistles and the Blues meet Manchester United in Moscow.

Minute 121: Actually one minute more as the referee adds another minute at the end of extra time.

Minute 120: Last minute! Less than sixty seconds for Liverpool to score a third goal.

Minute 119: Andrey Shevchenko comes on for about two more minutes. Frank Lampard goes off and the crowd showers him with a big applause.

Minute 116: GOAL LIVERPOOL 3-2 - RYAN BABEL shoots and Petr Cech makes a big mistake! The Czech goalie should have saved that but doesn't. It's not over yet in London!

Minute 114: Chelsea are just trying to keep the ball to keep Liverpool from attacking. Only six minutes between the Blues and Moscow.

Minute 112: Drogba tries his luck but hits the wall. Chelsea do get a corner kick but nothing comes of it.

Minute 111: Mascherano fouls Malouda and Chelsea get a free kick at about 23 meters from the goal.

Minute 108: If Liverpool don't score a quick goal now, it'll be over for Benitez side. Hyypia wants to achieve that by claiming a penalty, but the referee is right to ignore the Finnish defender.

Minute 106: Fifteen more minutes do Liverpool have to score two goals and make it to the final. It seems like a tough task.

HALF TIME EXTRA TIME

Minute 105: GOAL CHELSEA (3-1) - DIDIER DROGBA scores his second of the night! The Ivorian receives the ball from the right and doesn't hesitate to push the ball past Reina for 3-1. This should be enough for Chelsea.

Minute 103: Sir Alex Ferguson is attending this match to find out which side will be opposing Manchester United in Moscow.

Minute 101: Liverpool still just need one goal to advance. A 2-2 draw would mean an away-goal advantage for the Reds.

Minute 100: Almost an equaliser for Liverpool but Alonso's header is saved by Cech. Meanwhile, Babel has come on for Fernando Torres.

Minute 98: GOAL CHELSEA (2-1) - FRANK LAMPARD converts! Lampard sends Reina to the other corner and can't control his emotion after netting the 2-1. The player's mother passed away last week, which adds even more value to this goal.

Minute 97: PENALTY TO CHELSEA Hyypia fouls and Chelsea get a spotkick.

Minute 95: Chelsea have a goal disallowed! Essien thinks to have scored but four Chelsea players are off-side. A controversial decision though as none of these four players were actually involved, but may have blocked Reina's view.

Minute 93: A Gerrard corner kick is headed only just wide of the post by Hyypia, who did score against Arsenal in the quarter finals.

Minute 92: Ryan Babel is still warming up for Liverpool. Will Benitez bring him on or opt for a less risky, more defensive substitution?

Minute 91: Chelsea have begun extra time with one change. Nicolas Anelka will play the last thirty minutes in place of Joe Cole.

FULL TIME - No decision after ninety minutes as Fernando Torres cancelled out Didier Drogba's goal. In a few minutes we'll start extra time.

Minute 90+1: Only two minutes have been added at the end of the second half.

Minute 89: Steven Gerrard shows how tough this match has been so far, as the Liverpool skipper is down with cramp.

Minute 87: Chelsea get a corner on the left side after a defensive error by Mascherano, but one of the Chelsea players fouls José Reina in the goal area; free kick to Liverpool.

Minute 86: Less than five minutes left at Stamford Bridge, and some added time of course. There's nothing between these two teams at this moment.

Minute 83: We're about to get to the stage where both teams are so afraid to concede a goal, that they'd rather take it easy until full time and continue the battle in extra time.

Minute 82: A Jermaine Pennant cross from the right wing is caught by Cech, just before Dirk Kuyt would have reached the ball. The two clash but neither is affected.

Minute 78: Yossi Benayoun has done his job for the night and comes off for Jermaine Pennant.

Minute 77: Chelsea break through Liverpool's defense but Essien goes on to hit the side-net. He would have done better by trying to get it to a teammate.

Minute 74: Chelsea will want to avoid getting knocked out by Liverpool in the Champions League semi finals for the third time in four seasons, at all costs.

Minute 71: Avram Grant makes his first change with Florent Malouda replacing Salomon Kalou.

Minute 70: Mikael Essien launches his third distance shot of the match, and Reina saves again.

Minute 69: Liverpool continue to attack after their equaliser and Chelsea need total concentration to avoid another goal.

Minute 67: If Liverpool score another, it'll be really hard for Chelsea as they would then need a win to advance. A draw with a score higher than 1-1 would be enough for Liverpool.

Minute 64: GOAL - LIVERPOOL (1-1) - FERNANDO TORRES receives the ball from Yossi Benayoun after a strong effort from the Israeli, and powers the ball past Petr Cech to level the score! Anything is possible now.

Minute 64: First chance in a while. Chelsea's Joe Cole shoots from just outside Liverpool's penalty area but Reina saves.

Minute 61: Benitez is preparing some changes, as both Ryan Babel and Peter Crouch are warming up.

Minute 58: Liverpool spend their time combining on their own half, as Chelsea won't allow their opponents to get anywhere near their goal.

Minute 53: Good attack by Chelsea, which ends with a Lampard shot being well controlled by Reina.

Minute 52: Chelsea survived a few hectic minutes. Liverpool's players must have received quite a speech from Rafa Benitez during half time.

Minute 48: Dirk Kuyt almost levels the score. The ball suddenly ends up at is feet but Cech blocks the following attempt.

Minute 46: The match is back underway, and Liverpool have 45 minutes left to score at least one goal.

HALF TIME - And the first half is over. Chelsea were the better team uptil now and scored a deserved opening goal through Drogba in the 33rd minute. What do you think the final score will be today? Use the 'discuss' option below to share your prediction.

Minute 45+1: One minute has been added to the first half.

Minute 45: Chelsea fans try to disrupt Liverpool's play by continuous whistling. They do actually seem to succeed as the visiting side appear to lack concentration at this point.

Minute 42: Michael Ballack takes it and the ball goes only just wide of the left post. This time he and Drogba didn't need an argument to decide who would take the set-piece.

Minute 41: Yellow card for Xavi Alonso after a tackle on Kalou, and Chelsea get a dangerous free kick.

Minute 36: Liverpool's task hasn't changed for this match. The Reds needed a goal, and now they still need one to at least force extra time.

Minute 33: GOAL CHELSEA (1-0) - DIDIER DROGBA with a great finish! Salomon Kalou first has a shot saved by Petr Cech but his fellow countryman comes down the other side to score from the rebound.

Minute 31: Finally a few calm minutes. Meanwhile, it's worth mentioning that both John Terry and Steven Gerrard would miss the final if they conceded another yellow card.

Minute 26: The distance shot is Chelsea's weapon today. Michael Ballack is next to try from far out, and Cech has to punch it away.

Minute 22: Skrtel can't go on and comes off for the experienced Hyypia.

Minute 22: Another shot from Essien, and Cech does well to control the ball.

Minute 19: Huge chance for Chelsea. Lampard passes to Drogba and the latter goes into the penalty area, but fails to get the ball on target. Chelsea are closer to a goal than Liverpool at this moment.

Minute 16: Free kick to Liverpool from a dangerous position, but Riise doesn't manage to beat the wall. Skrtel meanwhile, is back. At least for now.

Minute 15: Liverpool defender Skrtel injured his foot and is currently receiving treatment. Hard to say whether it's too serious to continue, but Hyypia did start his warm-up.

Minute 14: The match now reached a much higher pace as the ball goes from one side to the other. But most of all it is Chelsea to attack and cause danger near Liverpool's area.

Minute 10: First chance for Liverpool. Steven Gerrard finds Fernando Torres in the penalty area but the Spaniard has his attempt blocked by Cech.

Minute 6: The aftermath of a Chelsea corner kick eventually gives Essien a chance to shoot, but the ball goes high.

Minute 6: The first shot of the match comes from Didier Drogba. The Ivorian shoots from a distance but Reina saves.

Minute 3: It's a rather calm start to this match, as the ball has barely left midfield.

Minute 0: The second leg of the last semi final has begun at London's Stamford Bridge. It's raining so the players better be prepared to get wet.

Article

Chelsea´s Lampard back in training

28 April 2008 13:01

LONDON (AFP) - Frank Lampard is set for a return to action for Chelsea in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final, return leg game away to Liverpool.

The England midfielder missed his side's 2-1 Premier League win over Manchester United on Saturday following the death of his mother Pat from pneumonia last Thursday.

But he is understood to have trained on Sunday and is expected to be back with the rest of the squad on Monday.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 12 +19 32
2 12 +18 26
3 12 +11 24
4 12 +4 19
5 12 -1 19

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
10 12 -1 17
11 12 -2 15
12 12 -3 14
13 12 -4 13
14 12 -7 13