Match Preview – Chelsea (h) UCL

John Terry, yesterday

John Terry, yesterday

UEFA Champions League
Quarter Final 1st Leg

Wed 8th April 2009, 7.45pm at Anfield

So on to Rafa’s 23rd meeting with Chelsea since his arrival at Anfield less than 5 years ago. Liverpool’s victory over Chelsea only months ago helped catalyse the departure of Scolari, and Rafa will now have Guus Hiddink to try and tactically out-think.

Chelsea lost last season’s Champions League final on penalties, and Roman Abramovich has continued to make the tournament Chelsea’s number one aim.  Chelsea Football Club have been instructing their supporters to make sure they bring inflatables to Anfield to create a ‘sea of blue’, in a move which will have amused many supporters. The club famously have adopted a strategy of handing out free flags on seats in the past to try and artifically create an atmosphere at the Bridge.

Chelsea expect to welcome back Didier Drogba, while if picked Pepe Reina will be the first Liverpool keeper to play 50 European games for the club.

Steven Gerrard is currently joint top scorer in this seasons Champions League.  He is two goals behind Paul Scholes record of highest ever scoring Englishman in the tournament.

Mascherano is suspended for this game, and both Dossena and Arbeloa are a yellow card away from another suspension. On the Chelsea side, Anelka, Terry and Ashley Cole are all one yellow card away from suspension.

The only time Benitez and Hiddink faced each other was 11 years ago when Hiddink’s Real Madrid beat Rafa’s Extremadura 5-1.

History

Liverpool completed a league double of Chelsea this season, breaking a long held unbeaten Premiership record at Stamford Bridge followed by a last minute double flurry of goals from Fernando Torres at Anfield earlier this year.

In the Champions League, the reds twice managed to knock out Chelsea in the semi-finals in 2005 and 2007, although last season’s semi final went Chelsea’s way when after extra time they went on to the Champions League final in Moscow.

The reds will be looking to avenge last season’s semi-final defeat and Chelsea will be hoping to put the memory of this season’s Premiership defeats behind them.

Betting

Liverpool are only marginal with the bookmakers.

Liverpool 11/8
Draw 2/1
Fulham 11/4

You can get 11/1 for both 2-0 and 2-1 to the reds.

Get a Free £20 bet with Paddy Power when you place a £10 bet.

TV

The match is on live on Sky Sports 2 in the UK. Further information can be found in the forum.

Opposition Links

Chelsea – Stamford Lion on Twitter
Chelsea Football Shirts

Pre Match Forum Discussion

Pre-Match Liverpool v Chelsea Forum Thread here

Discuss this Liverpool story on the LFC Reds Forum or tweet us