UEFA Champions League

April 22, 2008



1 - 1


UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 22, 2008

Anfield, England

Referee: Konrad Plautz

  • 95'

    Well, that has changed things completely! The first away goal in the semi-final saga between these two and it comes in time added on after added on time! It was a horribly difficult ball to deal with, but Riise should have done better, and in one flick of his ginger bonce the tie has turned on its head! Until tomorrow night and a much more enthralling prospect: Barcelona v Manchester United from the Nou Camp. Until then....

  • 95'

    And the whistle goes! Kalou deserves credit for a vicious, dipping cross and Riise had a decision to make on the edge of his six yard box as the ball dropped. Do I kick it or head it, he muses? In the end, he sank low and tried to head it back the way it came but only succeeded in firing it into the roof of the net!

  • 95'

    Right at the end, John Arne Riise has turned a dipping cross into his own net and Chelsea have a precious away goal!

  • 95'

    GOAL for CHELSEA!!

  • 94'

    The ball travelled all the way though a crowd of bodies and found Torres on the angle of the six yard box but his volley lacked power and was straight at Cech.

  • 93'

    Alonso's deep free kick finds Skrtel who clips it towards goal but Drogba gets in the way. From the corner Cech saves from Torres!

  • 92'

    The first yellow card of the evening appears in the 93rd minute as John Terry chops down a marauding Mascherano. Yes, you read that last bit right.

  • 91'

    Makelele tries another ball over the top but it is too long. Their final ball has lacked quality tonight, despite some decent spells of possession.

  • 90'

    Four minutes of injury time begin ..... now.

  • 89'

    Liverpool are content to knock it around now and I think we are staring down the barrel of another one-goal game between these two. At least the 2008 version has been moderately more entertaining though.

  • 88'

    Ferriera sums up Chelsea's approach as the game has worn on - punt it long for Drogba. Nothing is sticking for him at present though.

  • 87'

    Poor play from Torres, who hasn't been at the races tonight. Gerrard's ball found him clean through and onside, but he forgot to take the ball with him and Chelsea got numbers back. A big chance wasted for the home side.

  • 86'

    Anelka to get the equaliser, against his former club? What price....?!

  • 85'

    Anelka is coming on, and Michael Ballack makes way.

  • 84'

    Wonderful play from Gerrard! He and Kuyt swap flicks and his volley was dipping underneath the bar before Cech gets a fingertip on it. Corner.

  • 83'

    Then Torres and Gerrard combine but the skipper can't get to the ball and it runs through to Cech.

  • 82'

    Free kick for Chelsea after Kalou was felled. The from the place kick Terry hooks the ball past Reina as the keeper came out to challenge but for some reason - the ball trickled goalwards - the ref has blown for a non-existent foul.

  • 81'

    Chelsea break into the area again, but can't fashion a shooting chance. Drogba looked like he brought down Riise in the build up but Kalou picked up the ball and tried to find the onrushing Lampard but he couldn't control the ball and Arbeloa gets a foot in.

  • 80'

    Ten minutes left at Anfield and we still await what would be, a HUGE second goal.

  • 79'

    Ginger Norwegian Riise has a punt but Cech saves his daisy cutter very easily.

  • 78'

    The Anfield crowd howl as Cole cleans up Dirk Kuyt but neither linesman nor referee give what was a blatant free kick!

  • 77'

    Drogba looks sluggish to me. He has also lacked support up top to be fair though.

  • 76'

    Poor from Drogba again as Chelsea committed men forward. Then Benayoun hands possession right back to Chelsea but Ashley Cole's cross is rank, and the threat is gone.

  • 75'

    Ryan Babel off, Yossi Benayoun on.

  • 74'

    Drogba is getting alittle frustrated here; Lampard found him with a super lofted ball, his control was good but then Carragher took the ball off him and Drogba hauled the centre-half down.

  • 73'

    Another nice move from Chelsea which results in Ballack freeing Lampard on the left hand side. Lampard's cross was poor though, not giving Drogba or Malouda a chance to make it.

  • 72'

    Chelsea tried to be a bit too cute on the half way line there, allowing Kuyt to win the ball. Then Gerrard's pass aimed at Torres was too strong.

  • 71'

    Things are edging back into the 'tense and nervous' category again, as the last 20 minutes begin. Surely Liverpool won't over commit now and risk conceding an away goal...

  • 70'

    Fabio Aurelio has tweaked a groin muscle we are hearing, and that should be him out for the season.

  • 70'

    The flag is up for offside, seconds before Drogba goes twirling to the turf theatrically after a little nudge from lightweight ginger defender John Arne Riise. He is wonderfully talented Drogba, but very hard to like at times. There, I've said it.

  • 69'

    That was a clear sight of goal for Chelsea and perhaps Malouda will reflect he should have smashed it first time rather than cut inside. A chance wasted, but signs that Chelsea are coming back to life here.

  • 68'

    Best move of the game from Chelsea, Malouda finds himself with lots of space on the left, then cuts inside the dive of Arbeloa before Mascherano nips in to get a block on the Frenchman's shot. Corner.

  • 67'

    Ballack has won a free kick, and John Terry heads forward. The German won a flick on from Lampard's fierce delivery but it straight at Reina. Either side and that was 1-1.

  • 66'

    First decent opportunity for Chelsea. Drogba holds up well inside the area, then squares for Lampard and although he gets a toe to poke it in front of Skrtel it is just too heavy and the ball rolls behind for a goal kick.

  • 65'

    From the Liverpool free kick the ball finds its way through to Carragher on the right hand side who volleys back into the area and although the ball brushes Ballack's arm the ref waves away Liverpool's 'handball' shout dismissively.

  • 64'

    Joe Cole is the one to make way for Kalou. I'm not sure about that at all.

  • 63'

    Oh, there's Malouda! He picks up a stray Lampard ball, charges towards the area and Drogba just darts in the wrong direction as the French winger slides a pass towards him.

  • 62'

    John Arne Riise is on for Aurelio. An experienced and reliable replacement to be fair.

  • 61'

    Salomon Kalou is getting ready to come on, most probably at the expense of Malouda, who has been anonymous, while Aurelio is being stretchered off after pulling up a minute ago.

  • 60'

    That Ryan Babel can strike a ball you know. He cut in from the left then and fired a half volley just wide of Cech's far post. A great hit.

  • 59'

    Again Drogba's chest control lets him down as Chelsea looked to break. Its a complete role reversal from the first half at the minute.

  • 58'

    Joe Cole, Malouda, Ballack and Lampard have disappeared in this half. As I say that Makelele floats a nice ball towards Drogba but his chest control is too heavy and the ball runs behind for a goal kick.

  • 57'

    Aurelio hits in straight into the arms of Cech. Poor.

  • 56'

    Ferreira climbs all over Ryan Babel and Liverpool have a free kick wide on the left.

  • 55'

    A Liverpool player is first to every loose ball at the minute and Chelsea are under pressure. Benitez looks like he wants a cushion of two goals to take to Stamford Bridge.

  • 54'

    From a Liverpool corner the ball falls to Torres but he slips when trying to get the ball out of his feet to shoot. Makelele clears. Liverpool look purposeful in this second period so far.

  • 53'

    Drogba is at his dramatic worst tonight, chucking himself everywhere in an attempt to con the ref into giving him a free kick. It seems to be working....

  • 52'

    Ryan Babel has just skinned Ferreira, for the second time in about two mins, Cole got a boot on his cross then Terry blocks Alonso's shot. A crucial intervention.

  • 51'

    The heat is on in this second half and perhaps that's what the game needs - aa bit of passion. There are tackles flying around all over the place and it is getting niggly. Come on!

  • 50'

    A scramble in the Chelsea penalty area sees Makelele clear ahead of Torres, then Terry appeared to stand on the striker as he scampered across. Interesting.

  • 49'

    Torres hits the deck after a strong challenge from Carvalho. The Portuguese is dismissive though, encouraging the Spaniard to get up "quick-smart," I think he said.

  • 48'

    Now it's Dirk Kuyt the right back: he tackles a rampaging Florent Malouda. Is there nothing this lad can't do? Ahem.

  • 47'

    Our British commentator has reminded us that Chelsea's players have just spent 15 minutes in the company of Avram Grant. No wonder they look knackered...

  • 46'

    We're off again...

  • 45'

    Well, that is half time! Chelsea will be devastated - they bossed that first half but couldn't force a chance. Liverpool couldn't get a foothold but could still have scored three! See you in 15 mins....

  • 44'

    That has got the Anfield crowd rocking! Chelsea had umpteen chances to clear but didn't. Even still Makelele could have prevented the goal by getting his head to it at the death. But he didn't, got in Cole's way, then Kuyt blasted the ball between Cech's legs to send the Kop into raptures. A true Sunday League goal.

  • 43'

    What a shambles of a goal to concede for Chelsea! Kuyt wins the ball off Lampard, Alonso flicks it to Mascherano who completely shanks his shot but the ball loops over Makelele and Kuyt hammers home from eight yards out. First blood to Liverpool!

  • 43'

    KUYT has scored!

  • 42'

    Avram Grant - does he ever smile? - has a little word in Ashley Cole's ear as the left back takes a throw in right by the technical area.

  • 41'

    Chelsea are getting closer to profiting from a corner I reckon. That time Ballack wins a header and though Terry and Lampard were converging Aurelio got rid swiftly.

  • 40'

    Chelsea work another corner.

  • 39'

    Then from the throw-in Cole clearly shoves Kuyt in the back and is perhaps lucky to get away with it. There was no need for it at all.

  • 38'

    A typical little cameo from Kuyt there. Bright and lively to dispossess Ashley Cole but then sorely lacking in quality in the final third. His cross was telegraphed and Terry clears.

  • 37'

    Ooh, Cech was in no man's land there and is grateful to Ballack for nodding behind with Skrtel lurking. Another corner, which is cleared by Lampard.

  • 36'

    Now Aurelio twists and turns on the left flank and Joe Cole's deflection equals Liverpool's first corner of the match.

  • 35'

    Reina claims under no pressure at all from Lampard's. Then as the keeper launches one downfield Cole gets his head to the ball and prevents it dropping nicely for Ryan Babel.

  • 34'

    Drogba does well to get a cross over and Skrtel concedes another corner.

  • 33'

    Kuyt brings down Ashley Cole with a typical 'striker's' challenge and is lucky to escape a caution given the pernickety nature of this ref so far.

  • 32'

    So, an opening half hour in which Chelsea have been by far the better side in possession, but in which Liverpool have had TWO clear-cut chances. Astonishing.

  • 31'

    By Torres's standards that should be one nil - he usually gobbles up chances like that. He opted for an extra touch instead of hitting it early, and that was probably his downfall.

  • 30'

    Another clear cut chance for Liverpool! Gerrard finds Torres and he is clean through on Cech inside the area, but he hesitates a little too long and by the time he strikes for goal Cech is right out to smother the shot.

  • 29'

    It was probably just outside the box that incident, but although Carragher brushed the ball he certainly cleaned Drogba up.

  • 28'

    Drogba goes down in the area this time as Carragher desperately lunged in to toe the ball away from the striker, who was thrusting into the penalty area. He's a lucky boy there Carra.

  • 27'

    This time it is Skrtel's turn to tug at Drogba and concede a free kick. Liverpool's centre halves need to cut out these silly fouls - the Austrian ref is all to keen to blow for a Chelsea free kick.

  • 26'

    And for the first time Chelsea's fans can be heard. Liverpool haven't given their supporters anything to shout about as of yet.

  • 25'

    This is a bit better from Liverpool; they have regained a little composure in the last five minutes, but Chelsea have definitely settled quicker.

  • 24'

    Now the Kop scream for handball after Kuyt fired a cross into John Terry's rib cage.

  • 23'

    Mascherano then tries to find Arbeloa again but Ashley Cole sticks a leg out and blocks his pass.

  • 22'

    JT is across smartly as Arbeloa gallops down the left wing.

  • 21'

    Speaking of which, the Anfield faithful have concentrated fully on the game tonight and there have been no anti-Hicks chants or banners as of yet.

  • 20'

    CROWD WATCH: Rick Parry is sitting three rows behind Tom Hicks, but is giving the American daggers right into the back of his head. Fight! Fight! Fight!

  • 19'

    What was Joe Cole doing there?! Lampard made the most of a wasteful Liverpool pass and lifted a lovely ball into the area but an unmarked Cole neither shot nor passed. He just wafted a foot at it and the ball fell for Reina. You'd expect more from Joey Cole really.

  • 19'

    Lampard swings in a free kick after Carragher was adjudged to have wrestled Drogba down again (he'll have to be careful with this official methinks) but Skrtel heads clear. It's tense. Oh yes, it's very tense.

  • 18'

    then at the other end a Makelele ball rolls across the edge of the six yard box before Reina dumps his - quite considerable - frame on it.

  • 17'

    Babel inadvertently finds Torres in the area after miscontrolling an Aurelio pass. Cech comes out but Carvalho does just enough to man-handle the Spaniard wide.

  • 16'

    Whisper it quietly, but its been a half decent start this. A goal before half time would be nice mind.

  • 15'

    Lampard hoiks a hopeful ball forward and Carragher and Drogba tussle inside the area. But the ref blows for a foul and the danger is over for Liverpool.

  • 14'

    Ferreira fluffs a chest-down which allows Gerrard to release Babel. He is well held up by Carvalho though and Liverpool have to rebuild from the back.

  • 13'

    First chance of the game! Alonso drifts a superb ball over John Terry and Kuyt was clean through on goal. His poor chest control allowed Cech to get a piece of it though, and then Cole hacks clear. The Dutchman should have done much better.

  • 12'

    Xavi Alonso gets his foot on the ball, but his raking pass aimed at fellow Spaniard (and goal machine) Torres is claimed by Cech.

  • 11'

    Chelsea will be very satisfied with their start. They've had all the possession so far, and have created one or two half chances. Liverpool haven't had a sniff yet.

  • 10'

    The corner breaks to Lampard who tried a little dink into the area hoping to catch Liverpool pushing out, but the ball rolls harmlessly through to Reina.

  • 9'

    Now Malouda does well to cut inside and get a right-foot shot off. Its deflected, and his wins another corner.

  • 8'

    First sight of goal for Stevie G. A Babel ball falls into his path but he smacks his effort straight at Cech.

  • 7'

    Terry does well under a little pressure from Gerrard, then a Cole punt down the field forces Carragher to concede a throw in near the corner flag.

  • 6'

    Chelsea ping it around nicely in their own half before Lampard looks to release Ballack. Skrtel gets there to clear, something he may not have been able to so comfortably if it was one of Chelsea's more spritely players charging through.

  • 5'

    Now Malouda bumps into Aurelio and brings his side's little bout of pressure to a close. A bright start from Chelsea.

  • 4'

    Reina flaps at Lampard's corner and Chelsea now have a throw in on the opposite side.

  • 4'

    Drogba hits it straight into the wall, then Malouda does well to win a corner from the rebound. Early Chelsea pressure.

  • 3'

    Drogba wins a free kick off Carragher, for not much at all. First chance for Chelsea, just outside the area and pretty much central.

  • 2'

    That was a thinly veiled Thunderbirds, kick-off style reference by the way. Torres is flagged offside as Gerrard looks to find him early on.

  • 1'

    Champions League semi-finals, hoooooooooooooo!


    Here come the teams, and as you'd expect, they look pretty pumped for this one....


    I shall also keep you updated on any shenanigans in the stands this evening. No, not argy-bargy between the fans - the possibility of a punch-up in Liverpool's directors' box. Co-owebr of the club, Tom Hicks, has ignored Police advice to stay away from Anfield, and could well be sat next to the man he has recently called on to resign, chief executive Rick Parry. Oooh, tasty.


    Of course, the fact that tonight's game is at Anfield - and not the second leg as in previous semi-finals - could make a big, big difference. Chelsea will contest the second leg at Stamford Bridge, in front of their own fans, and when the margins between the sides are so slender, it certainly matters.


    Tonight represents the third UCL semi-final between the two teams. Liverpool have progressed to the final from each of the previous two - going through last season after a nerve-racking penalty shoot out.


    Right, let's get some stats out of the way eh? This is the fourth successive season in which Liverpool and Chelsea have met in the competition. There have been an overwhelming three goals in the six previous fixtures; Liverpool have won 1-0 twice, Chelsea matching that dazzling scoreline once.


    As for the Blues, the big news is that Didier Drogba is fit, and Frank Lampard takes his place in the starting XI too, now that his mother's illness has stabilised somewhat.


    So, as expected really for Liverpool with Gerrard recovering from a neck injury to take his place alongside his bessie mate, Anfield goal machine Fernando Torres. Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt are back too.


    And the visitors, Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Makelele, Ballack, Joe Cole, Drogba and Malouda. Subs from: Hilario, Shevchenko, Obi, Kalou, Alex, Belletti and Anelka.


    More waffle in a minute but first the teams, starting with Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Kuyt, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel, Gerrard and Torres. L'pool subs from: Itandje, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun, Crouch, Pennant and Lucas.


    Good evening one and all, and welcome to the top table in terms of club football. Liverpool and Chelsea go head-to-head (yet again) in the Champions League semi-finals. Banish memories of their previous, turgid, meetings at this stage in recent years - this one is bound to be choc full of incident, drama and goals. Isn't it?!


    Join us at 19.30(GMT) to see if a Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea finally bursts into life and gives us goals, goals, goals.