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Page last updated at 22:34 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 23:34 UK

Champions League pundits' view

Mark Lawrenson
By Mark Lawrenson
Match of the Day pundit

Liverpool are very, very dogged, but this Arsenal team doesn't seem able to grind out a result when it matters.

Despite being at home, Liverpool didn't create a chance until Sami Hyypia's header went in.

This is an Arsenal team that has been very, very average over the last few games and the self-doubt crept in for them once Hyypia equalised.

Liverpool celebrate Ryan Babel's late strike
Liverpool had too much for Arsenal over the two legs

Liverpool, from looking like a team that were losing their way very quickly, were transformed and it was all about their endeavour and perspiration.

All of a sudden they started to believe and press Arsenal, and we watched their confidence drain away for the rest of the game.

But I actually thought that the players dragged Rafa Benitez out of trouble.

The way they set up gave the advantage to Arsenal, with the Gunners having an extra man in midfield but they didn't score the second goal when things were going well for them.

The penalty was obviously a turning point, but what was interesting for me was that Kolo Toure - a very, very good centre-back - was playing at right-back, and it's never quite the same when that happens.

He didn't react as he would have done at centre-back. The irony is though that Arsenal should have had a penalty in the last match.

They didn't and that's the way it goes.

Arsenal were brilliant in the first 20 minutes but they were helped by Liverpool's shape, as the Reds were a man short in midfield.

But I don't think Arsenal would have been able to so what Liverpool did. Liverpool just got on with it and dug away - they made Arsenal hurry and once you do that, the Gunners are nowhere near as effective.

Theo Walcott's run was brilliant, so why is he not starting for Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger sees him day-in, day-out and he obviously doesn't think he can trust him in a game of this magnitude.

But when you see his raw pace and power, you think surely you have to try to get him in this team. The best place for him to learn is in the team.

Mark Lawrenson was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live


Graham Taylor
By Graham Taylor
BBC Radio 5 Live summariser

Chelsea got a 2-0 win but in between the goals at either end it was not a good performance.

Chelsea defender Juliano Belletti
Chelsea produced a workmanlike performance at Stamford Bridge

What we saw was a team of individuals and the action from John Terry, when he left the pitch straight after the final whistle, is hard to explain.

Terry - unless he has got an injury - couldn't get off the pitch quickly enough and that's not like him at all.

As a football man myself, I don't know what to make of it - it's a very strange feeling watching this Chelsea team at the moment.

Michael Ballack put Chelsea ahead within three minutes and then they hit the woodwork and it looked like they were going to walk it... but it didn't happen.

It was just individual players - there was no fluidity about Chelsea's performance at all.

Fenerbahce gradually got into the game and they had opportunities, thanks to some very lax Chelsea defending, but didn't take them.

But the crowd were very quiet. The result was there and Chelsea will be happy with that but that was about it.

Graham Taylor was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live




see also
Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal (agg 5-3)
08 Apr 08 |  Europe
Chelsea 2-0 Fenerbahce (3-2)
08 Apr 08 |  Europe
Tuesday football as it happened
08 Apr 08 |  Football
Tuesday's football photos
08 Apr 08 |  Europe
Liverpool Player Rater
15 Dec 06 |  Live Text


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