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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (Agg: 1-1)
Liverpool win 4-1 on penalties

By Owen Phillips

Gerrard (right) leads the celebrations after Daniel Agger's opener
Gerrard (right) teed up Agger's opener
Liverpool booked their place in the Champions League final with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the semi-final second leg at Anfield.

Dirk Kuyt scored the crucial spot-kick to clinch a 4-1 win after Arjen Robben and Geremi had missed for the Blues.

Daniel Agger cancelled out Chelsea's first-leg lead in the first half with a crisp finish from Steven Gerrard's superbly disguised left-wing free-kick.

Kuyt also rattled the bar with a fine header after the break.

Chelsea's best chance saw Didier Droga denied by Pepe Reina and the big striker was also inches away from turning in Ashley Cole's cross after the break.

But Liverpool were good value for their win in a game that had plenty of excitement but lacked real quality.

Within seconds it became clear both teams were happy to go long. Liverpool looked to feed off Peter Crouch and Chelsea were eager to get the ball to Drogba and use the pace of Salomon Kalou on the break.

But after a promising opening first five minutes from the visitors, it was Liverpool who settled and started to get on top in a scrappy match.

606: DEBATE

And Liverpool scored from the first good chance of the night.

Joe Cole fouled Gerrard on the left flank and with everyone expecting the Reds skipper to whip in a cross towards the far post, he slid the ball across the box to Agger who slammed it home first time into the bottom corner.

With the scores level on aggregate, Liverpool stepped off the gas a little and Chelsea began to look lively.

Reina was forced into a decent save from Drogba, who stood firm to beat away the striker's fiercely struck shot following Mikel's through-ball.

Chelsea, playing in their third Champions League semi-final in four years, nearly went ahead just before the break when Essien almost diverted a Drogba header in from a Frank Lampard corner.

Liverpool then had three excellent chances to double their lead after the break.

Jermaine Pennant wriggled his way free on the right and crossed to Crouch but his downward far-post header was kicked away by Cech and John Terry completed the clearance.

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT
Zenden scored 1-0
Robben missed 1-0
Alonso scored 2-0
Lampard scored 2-1
Gerrard scored 3-1
Geremi missed 3-1
Kuyt scored 4-1

And within five minutes Liverpool went even closer. A fantastic cross from John Arne Riise was met brilliantly by Kuyt but his header crashed back off the bar.

A rare Terry error then saw stand-in centre-half Essien bail out his skipper as he launched himself in front of Pennant and diverted the ball over for a corner.

Chelsea then pieced together their best move of the half.

Lampard combined with Joe Cole to put in Ashley Cole and Carragher got ahead of Drogba to turn the cross over the bar from three yards.

Minutes later, Drogba almost got through on goal but was thwarted by Reina and at the other end Bolo Zenden tested Cech with a decent 20-yard strike.

Neither side could force the crucial goal in normal time and chances were at a premium in the extra 30 minutes

Liverpool went closest when substitute Xabi Alonso unleashed a rasping 35-yard drive that Cech could only parry into the path of Kuyt, who turned the ball in before his strike was ruled offside.

In the second period Drogba almost converted Shaun Wright-Phillips' teasing cross and Kuyt had a shot beaten away by Cech in the closing moments.

It came down to a penalty shoot-out, and Liverpool romped home.

Bolo Zenden scored the first and only Lampard was successful for the Blues, meaning Kuyt's sweetly-struck effort was enough to secure Liverpool's place in the final against either AC Milan or Manchester United on 23 May.


Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant (Alonso 78), Gerrard, Mascherano (Fowler 118), Zenden, Kuyt, Crouch (Bellamy 106).
Subs Not Used: Padelli, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Gonzalez.

Booked: Agger, Zenden.

Goals: Agger 22.

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Essien, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Makelele (Geremi 118), Lampard, Joe Cole (Robben 98), Drogba, Kalou (Wright-Phillips 107).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Boulahrouz, Bridge, Diarra.

Booked: Ashley Cole.

Att: 42,554.

Ref: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).



SEE ALSO
Graham Taylor's Euro verdict
01 May 07 |  Europe
Champions League photos
01 May 07 |  Football
Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
25 Apr 07 |  Europe


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