BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 12:32 UK

Alan Hansen's column

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

The Champions League quarter-final between Arsenal and Liverpool was as tight as I expected - now Rafael Benitez's side face an intriguing task in the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday.

Rafael Benitez (left) and Arsene Wenger
Benitez holds the upper hand over Wenger after the first leg

It is certainly advantage Liverpool after the 1-1 draw at The Emirates butthey must avoid falling into the trap of setting their sights on the goalless game that will send them into the last four.

My feeling is that Liverpool, backed by a fervent Anfield crowd, will be too strong for Arsenal but there are certain psychological forces that could be at work and there may be twists and turns ahead.

I well recall the famous or, for us at Liverpool, infamous game in 1989 when were in a position where we could lose our final league match against Arsenal - the only team that could deprive us of the title - 1-0 at Anfield and still win the championship.

Our manager Kenny Dalglish told us to go out and win the game and play in the positive manner that had served us so well that season. He certainly did not tell us to remember that a 1-0 defeat would still do us, in fact, he told us the opposite.

Maybe because we knew we could lose 1-0 and still win the league affected us psychologically and we ended up losing 2-0 to Michael Thomas's last-minute goal and the title was gone.

This is why the message will be from Benitez that Liverpool must play to win and my belief is that they will win. He will be well aware that while 0-0 puts Liverpool through, it only takes one goal from Arsenal to turn it all around.

No-one should make the mistake of thinking this tie is a foregone conclusion. I would never under-estimate the importance of the away goal but Arsenal only need one themselves and they have proved more than capable of doing that.

I think the game will be very similar to the first leg at The Emirates. Liverpool will try to hit Arsenal on the break and the Gunners will pass, pass, pass to try to work openings.

And they may have an even better chance of scoring at Anfield because Liverpool's supporters will not settle for their team sitting back. The adrenalin from the crowd will push Liverpool forward and this might give Arsenal opportunities.

I still think Liverpool will go through but the tie is wide open and Arsenal will rightly fancy their chances of scoring a goal.

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson will want United to maintain their momentum

Chelsea took a couple of real sucker punches to lose to Fenerbahce but I still think they will be too strong for the Turkish side at Stamford Bridge and go through to the semi-final.

They ran Fenerbahce ragged for an hour in Istanbul and will have been scratching their heads at how they lost.

This can sometimes happen when you are playing so well and have not taken your chances. The other team conjures a goal out of nothing and suddenly there is panic in the ranks, while the team under the cosh gets a huge lift.

Chelsea, however, have the power and ability to get the win they need and I fully expect them to have too much for Fenerbahce on Tuesday.

Manchester United's win at AS Roma means we can almost start talking about a semi-final meeting with Barcelona after the Catalans beat Schalke in Germany. This is a genuinely mouthwatering prospect, given the ability in those two sides, but United will be confident they can beat anyone at the moment.

United will feel they have a real chance of the lifting the trophy this year - and rightly so because they have match-winners all over the pitch.

606: DEBATE
Come on Lewis Hamilton!!!

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have got all the momentum and impetus at present. This, as I have said before, is a crucial element in a side seeking trophies, so now it is all about maintaining it.

Ferguson will know exactly how important that momentum is. It is why you will still see him going ballistic on the touchline if he sees any lapses in concentration or silly mistakes, even if United are winning by four goals.

On occasions at Liverpool, we might have had a match that also involved a title trophy presentation just a few days before a game. The Anfield management team told us we had to treat that particular game like the most important of our lives.

If we took it easy because we were celebrating a title, or if we had an eye on a cup final, we would get the rollocking of a lifetime because the staff knew momentum could be lost in a second and the same principle still applies.

Ferguson is the master of these situations and will ensure momentum is maintained - and I fully expect United to do that with a victory over Roma at Old Trafford on Wednesday that will put them into the semi-finals.

Alan Hansen was talking to Phil McNulty


see also
Liverpool v Arsenal (agg 1-1)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Chelsea v Fenerbahce (agg 1-2)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Man Utd v Roma (agg 2-0)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Ferdinand awaits injury verdict
07 Apr 08 |  Man Utd
Wenger refuses to concede title
05 Apr 08 |  Premier League
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
05 Apr 08 |  Premier League
Reds away goal delights Benitez
02 Apr 08 |  Europe
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
02 Apr 08 |  Europe
Fenerbahce 2-1 Chelsea
02 Apr 08 |  Europe
Vidic out for two to three weeks
03 Apr 08 |  Man Utd
Roma 0-2 Man Utd
01 Apr 08 |  Europe


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.