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Page last updated at 20:46 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 21:46 UK

Liverpool v Chelsea as it happened

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea Match report


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

2153: Well, after all the gloomy predictions, it wasn't so bad was it? I quite enjoyed it anyway. Many, many thanks for all your excellent contributions throughout the day. Be back tomorrow. It's only ruddy Barcelona v Manchester United. I won't be able to sleep tonight. I just know it.

2153: "As a neutral, John Arne got terrific purchase on that header."
Cen via text on 81111

2146: Your man of the match is Liverpool goalscorer Dirk Kuyt on 7.55. Ricardo Carvalho is the highest rating Chelsea player on 6.03. John Arne Riise is predictably the villain of the piece on 4.52.
Rate the players

2144: "In all seriousness, why didn't Riise just kick the ball? That was an outrageous own goal, don't write them off yet though"
Seb {GoDJ} on 606
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2142: "Chelsea didn't play well and I think Avram Grant make mistakes in the second half. But they've got an away goal. A 0-0 at home and they go through."
BBC 5 Live analyst Mark Lawrenson

2138: I cannot believe that. Avram Grant - who was laughing as the final whistle went - cannot believe it. The Chelsea fans look absolutely amazed. The Liverpool fans are absolutely distraught - not as distraught as poor old John Arne Riise, I would think. As BBC 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson points out, Riise could have cleared with his foot - but instead chose a risky diving header.

2137: FULL-TIME Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

2136: GOAL Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Oh my goodness. Despite the attentions of two Liverpool defenders, Salomon Kalou whips over a dangerous cross from the left and John Arne Riise dives to head into his own net for an absolutely disastrous own goal. Incredible.

2134: Chelsea skipper John Terry gets the first yellow card of the night as he trips Javier Mascherano in midfield. Liverpool go onto win a corner - and Petr Cech makes another good save as Fernando Torres looks to sneak a shot in at the far post.

2132: Rafa Benitez throws his arms in the air as John Terry takes out Dirk Kuyt as he heads the ball clear. Meaty challenge that. Into added time at Anfield.

2130: "Why bring on Anelka and play him on the right? Why not just go 4-4-2?"
BBC 5 Live analyst Mark Lawrenson

2128: Steven Gerrard plays in Fernando Torres but the ball gets stuck under his feet and Chelsea are off the hook.

2127: Nicolas Anelka replaces Michael Ballack. He'll have four minutes to make a difference. Ballack is not happy about coming off. He should have come off a couple of minutes ago but decided to look the other way when his number came up. Nice.

2125: Petr Cech keeps it 1-0. Steven Gerrard hits a stunning dipping volley with his right foot but the Chelsea keeper tips it over.

2125: More Chelsea pressure... John Terry flicks the ball towards goal where Didier Drogba is waiting to toe-poke home - but the whistle goes as Terry is deemed to have fouled Pepe Reina. Ball was cleared off the line anyway.

2120: Ashley Cole gets away with a lunge on Dirk Kuyt on the touchline. The linesman is about a foot away but isn't interested. Several thousand Liverpool fans behind him are.

2117: Liverpool's first tactical change sees Yossi Benayoun come on for Ryan Babel. Like-for-like replacement.

2116: Michael Ballack plays in Frank Lampard on the left but there's no one on the end of his cross.

2114: That interruption as Drogba received treatment actually disrupted Chelsea as they looked to be building a bit of momentum.

2110: Didier Drogba is rolling around in agony after John Arne Riise bumps into him. He'll be stretchered off. No he won't. He manages to walk off all on his own. It's a miracle!

2109: Florent Malouda cuts the ball back brilliantly to beat Alvaro Arbeloa on the left of the box but his shot is deflected behind. Tension mounting...

2108: Michael Ballack heads straight into Pepe Reina's arms from Frank Lampard's free-kick. Might have done better. Well, Chelsea looking lively all of a sudden.

2106: Frank Lampard lays the ball off to Didier Drogba and then charges into the box for the return but his first touch is far too heavy and it's a goal-kick for Liverpool. Decent move from Chelsea - but they are second best at the moment.

2105: Big shout for handball as Michael Ballack sticks an arm out to block Jamie Carragher's cross. Looks like a penalty on the replays - but I don't think the ref had a great view.

2105: Unbelievable. Salomon Kalou comes on - and it's Joe Cole who comes off. Maybe Avram's forgotten Malouda's playing as well.

2103: "Has anyone seen Malouda tonight?"
Sam via text on 81111

2102: The stretcher is out for Fabio Aurelio, who looks like he's pulled a thigh muscle. A standing ovation for Aurelio as he is taken off. John Arne Riise is on.

2101: Ryan Babel cuts in from the left, flicks the ball up and volleys narrowly wide of Petr Cech's left-hand post from just outside the box. Unlucky.

2057: Didier Drogba is the pantomime villain of Anfield thanks to his unfortunate habit of falling over. Plenty of boos for the Chelsea striker every time the ball goes near him.

2055: "Someone tell him he's two nights late for the Baftas."
BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson after Didier Drogba tumbles over under challenge

2054: Brilliant work from Ryan Babel on the left, who skips past Paulo Ferreira very easily but Ashley Cole is there again to clear and Xabi Alonso's follow-up is deflected behind for a corner. Liverpool threatening a second here.

2050: John Terry accidentally steps on Fernando Torres after Ashley Cole clears. Accidentally? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt anyway. Torres gingerly gets to his feet and he'll be OK to continue.

2046: Off we go again.

2042: "Re 2032: I will not take back criticism of Kuyt. Alright, he got a goal but a stopped clock still tells the right time twice a day."
Anon via text on 81111

2040: "How does a player like Kuyt who seems to have no pace or technical skill score so many vital goals against good teams? It defies all logic but as a Liverpool fan I'm glad he's on the pitch tonight... maybe he should only play the big games and never in the Premier League?!"
Nathan_The_Red on 606
Join the debate on 606

2039: No surprises on BBC Sport's Player Rater. Liverpool goalscorer Dirk Kuyt is the man of the moment on 7.43. Claude Makelele pays the price for his role in the goal as he brings up the rear on 4.93.
Rate the players

2036: Joe Cole ran 5998m in that first half, more than any other Chelsea player. He'll be gutted he didn't get to the magic 6000m mark. Probably.

2032: "How many Liverpool fans want to take back their criticism of Dirk Kuyt now?"
Anon via text on 81111

2031: HALF-TIME Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea

2027: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea
Frank Lampard is caught in possession by Dirk Kuyt on the edge of the box and boy, is he punished. Xabi Alonso backheels to Javier Mascherano, his mis-hit shot loops into the area where Claude Makelele throws himself at the ball but misses and goal machine Dirk Kuyt stabs home.

2026: "There's been less chances in this match than hairs on the ref's head. I simply can't believe it."
nowthennathan on 606
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2024: Dirk Kuyt is suddenly free on the right-hand edge of the box but he squares the ball to a Chelsea player. Ebbing and flowing, this game. Actually, not really flowing. Just ebbing.

2022: Now Liverpool have a corner. Steven Gerrard whips it over towards Xabi Alonso at the back post but Michael Ballack gets in ahead of him with a vital glancing header.

2020: Martin Skrtel concedes a rather soft corner, heading behind under minimal pressure. Poor delivery from Frank Lampard, though. Pepe Reina catches.

2016: Best chance of the match so far. Steven Gerrard stabs a brilliant first-time ball through for Fernando Torres - but he shoots too close to keeper Petr Cech. Good save though.

2013: Didier Drogba and Jamie Carragher tangle in the box - no pen though. Carragher got a touch on the ball in any case and Drogba went over a little bit too easily. Not much of an argument from the Chelsea players.

2012: Liverpool are coming back into it now... chances very thin on the ground though. Very much as we expected.

2011: "Liverpool v Chelsea. This is what it's all about. The cream of European football. Or as my Barnsley girlfriend says 'We beat both of them'."
Peter via text on 81111

2005: Joe Cole makes a right mess of that. Alvaro Arbeloa gives the ball away to Frank Lampard and the midfielder chips a pass into the box. Cole seems to be caught between taking a shot first time and taking a touch. In the end he makes a very slight contact and Pepe Reina can collect.

2002: First sight of goal for Fernando Torres. Ryan Babel miscontrols a through-ball but that lets in Torres, whose attempted flick goes wide.

2000: "Kuyt is just utter rubbish. Seriously. All this talk about hard work and crucial goals. He scores tap-ins. His movement and positioning is good but he really is not a very good technical player."
Some_Random_Guy on 606
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1957: Xabi Alonso floats over a long ball from his own half and Dirk Kuyt is through but his first touch is too heavy and allows Petr Cech to block.

1954: "Chelsea have started much better. They're finding their men more easily and pushing up."
BBC 5 Live analyst Mark Lawrenson

1953: Liverpool's first shot is from Steven Gerrard. It's on target but easy for Petr Cech.

1951: A worrying moment for Ashley Cole as Dirk Kuyt nips on to rob the ball - but John Terry saves the left-back's blushes.

1948: The ref's getting involved early doors, demanding Chelsea re-take a corner as he spots a bit of pushing in the box. Might be a bit fussy this one. We'll see.

1946: Jamie Carragher is penalised for leaning into Didier Drogba about 30 yards out. Bit of a harsh decision - but a good opportunity for Chelsea early on. Florent Malouda runs over it, Drogba sticks it straight into the wall. Poor.

1945: Hold onto your hats, we're away.

1943: As the players line up, the Liverpool fans continue to sing You'll Never Walk Alone, completely drowning out the Champions League theme. Shameful. Just joking, just joking.

1941: The atmosphere is really crackling now as the Liverpool fans belt out 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. The home fans are basically ignoring Tom Hicks and just backing the team.

1939: "I'm not expecting a good game whatsoever. I think it will be intriguing, but not exciting. As a player going into matches like these, your first thought is 'don't make a mistake'."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Mark Lawrenson

1935: Chelsea keeper Petr Cech will be wearing full face and head protection again tonight. Not sure if Tom Hicks will be doing likewise.

1931: I get a lump in my throat every time I hear the Champions League anthem. Honestly, I do. Very odd. I'm going to have it played at my funeral.

1929: It's all very relaxed at Anfield as the fans in the stadium sing along to We Won It Five Times to the tune of Sloop John B. I've got a feeling the atmosphere may change dramatically once old Tommy Hicks pops up in the directors' box.

1927: Away from Anfield, your BBC Sport man at the Camp Nou, Chris Whyatt says: "Real buzz building in Barca for the big match. The Manchester United circus has rolled into town, with the Glazier clan and all the big guns on the board watching a relaxed United squad train under a dipping sun at Camp Nou. Oh, and Angus Deayton."

1923: Chelsea boss Avram Grant watches his players go through their paces and as he does so, he idly sings along to 2-4-6-8 Motorway by the Tom Robinson Band. One of those two facts is not true.

1920: The players are out on the pitch at Anfield going through their warm-up. Fernando Torres looks super-cool. The Reds striker is seeking his eighth goal in eight matches at Anfield.

1912: "Avram Grant is irrelevant tonight really because the players can motivate themselves."
Mike Ingham on BBC 5 Live

1904: Our man in the middle tonight is Austrian Konrad Plautz, a referee so famous he has his own website, from which I can tell you he is a Libra. Librans are traditionally flirty and frivolous, but loyal in marriage. They are also peace loving - so there's an early warning for JT.
Konrad Plautz official website

1853: "Malouda? We might as well give them a ticket to the final."
JayNandha on 606
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1851: "Bold move leaving Hyypia out but personally I think the right one."
UniqueSpecimen on 606
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1844: TEAMS
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Arbeloa, Kuyt, Babel, Alonso, Mascherano, Gerrard, Torres. Subs: Itandje, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun, Crouch, Pennant, Lucas.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole, Lampard, Makelele, Ballack, J Cole, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Hilario, Shevchenko, Obi, Kalou, Alex, Belletti, Anelka.
Minute-by-minute commentary

1841: Reports coming in that Sami Hyypia won't be starting for Liverpool tonight. Jamie Carragher will be in the middle with Martin Skrtel, Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back.

1834: Avram Grant pops his head out of the tunnel at Anfield to have a quick look around before the crowds arrive. BBC 5 Live reporter Mark Pougatch also mentions that given the three Liverpool players on bookings, we may be in for a cautious game tonight. What??? Cautious??? And there I was predicting a 5-4 win for Chelsea...

1826: An extended break there while I munched my way through a BBC curry - which, by the way, is a whole lot tastier than it may sound. May come back to haunt me later though.

1810: Breaking news... Tom Hicks has apparently arrived at Anfield - accompanied by an awful lot of security.

1759: "Has anyone else got that buzz at the bottom of their stomach. Just left home in Blackpool for the game and I have a feeling Dirk Kuyt will answer all critics tonight."
Mark in Blackpool, via text on 81111

1748: "Re 1741: Malouda? MALOUDA? Is Grant serious? I look forward to being proved wrong, but if I ain't..."
Moobabe on 606
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1741: I must break off from second-guessing tonight's teams to bring you actual, real-life news. According to BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Jonathan Legard, Hicks and his crew are on their way to Anfield, all decked out in Liverpool scarves. He just doesn't seem to get it does he? And Legard also says Didier Drogba will lead the Chelsea attack, with Florent Malouda and Joe Cole supporting from the wings. Interesting...
Hicks set to face Anfield crowd

1725: "Not much love for Salomon Kalou? One of our most underrated players. Some days he doesn't really turn up - but he has an uncanny knack of popping up with handy goals now and again. I love you Kalou!"
IlCucchiaio on 606
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1716: The Chelsea fans are pretty happy with that line-up then (see 1641). Not much love going around for Salomon Kalou but he gets the nod largely because Florent Malouda has not quite lived up to his 13m pricetag. I'll get on to Rafa 'n' Avram then and let them know our decisions.

1705: "Re 1620: I'm at work in Anfield and it's already busy around the ground so I don't fancy Hicks' chances of sneaking in!"
Alun via text on 81111

1657: Reports claim that Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is attending tonight's game against police advice. Here's Merseyside Police's official statement: "We can confirm that advice has been given to Liverpool Football club regarding the attendance of the club's owners. However, we are not in a position to discuss any individual's safety. As with any other football event, the safety of those attending has been reviewed. Merseyside Police has deployed the appropriate number of police officers alongside stewards to tonight's match."

1650: "Re 1641: Not a bad team Caroline, although I would like us to play 4-4-2 with Anelka and Drogba leading the line (the latter if fit). Although we have to be wary of Liverpool by all means, we should really give them something to think about. Look at Arsenal's first 20 minutes in the quarters."
Chels' - in the blood on 606
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1641: So it seems the Liverpool team is fairly straightforward, although could we be in for a Rafa curveball a la Zenden in the first leg of last year's semi. A few Reds fans are backing the experienced Riise ahead of Aurelio. Over to the Chelsea fans now. What do you reckon to this: Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Joe Cole, Kalou, Makelele, Ballack, Drogba (if fit).
Pick your Chelsea team

1627: "Re 1605: I don't understand the mentality of playing Kuyt on the right. Benayoun is twice the player he is."
Chris via text on 81111

1620: Intriguing chat here from BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Juliette Ferrington at Anfield: "Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is expected to arrive at Anfield a few hours before kick-off with a police escort due to the ill-feelings towards him amongst the Liverpool fan base. Merseyside police had expressed concern at his presence here tonight but Hicks will be taking his seat on the front row of the directors' box - he is already in the city. Representatives of DIC are also here tonight, police say although they are not in a position to discuss any individuals' safety, the safety of those attending has been reviewed."

1605: Now. I think we can all agree that Andriy Voronin will be lucky to get a ticket for the game tonight, let alone a start. But I want to hear from you Liverpool fans. Would you go for this, the probable, line-up: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Aurelio, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard, Babel, Kuyt, Torres. Or would you include Crouch instead of Babel? Or what?
Pick your Liverpool team

Andriy Voronin and Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges and Andriy Voronin
1555: "Anyone else loving Jeff Bridges deeply touching portrayal of haphazard Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin. Surely his finest work since The Big Lebowski."
Neil via text on 81111

1543: Poor old Joe (see 1440). He won't be texting again in a hurry. His maths has taken one hell of a beating from you lot. Elsewhere, Andy Murray has taken the first set against Italian Filippo Volandri in sunny Monte Carlo. Andy's middle name is Barron. That's all I know.
Live - Murray v Volandri

1530: "Re 1440: Well I'm off to McDonalds for a job. By Joe's reckoning, they must pay at least 10k a week."
Matt, Portsmouth, via text on 81111
Is that where Tom's gone?

1520: "My team talk would be 'lads, don't bore us with another 0-0'."
Vic in Bournemouth via text on 81111

1510: See you then Tom. Bye bye. If I were Avram Grant, my team-talk would be: "Win this fellas, and I promise I'll be off in the summer."

By Tom Fordyce

1450: A new topic, 10 minutes before I hand over to the peerless Caroline Cheese: if you were one of the managers tonight, what would your one-sentence team-talk be?

1440, from Joe in Barnet via text: "Don't get me started on pay cuts. Even if the Chelsea players were docked 50%, they'd still be earning 500% more than me. I work at McDonalds."

1430, from Nathan in Cleethorpes via text:"I support Grimsby, so I'd happily take a massive pay cut to see us in Moscow. Preferably against Liverpool, we have a decent record against them."

1420, from Kieran the student in Maidenhead via text: "50% of nothing would make me happy to support Liverpool in the final."

1410, from JJ in Falkirk via text: "It would depend on how long the pay-cut was imposed for. Yes if it was a week, no if it was any longer, unless I was pre-warned and allowed to bet my life savings on the semi-final as compensation."

1405: Alternatively, if your team failed to make the Champions League final, would you like to see the players hit with a 50% pay-cut?

1355: Here's a curveball to liven up the afternoon session - if it guaranteed your team a place in the Champions League final, would you be willing to accept a pay-cut of 50%?

1350: Here's former Liverpool (and Brighton) striker Michael Robinson, speaking to Simon Mayo on 5 Live: "Being a Liverpool fan, I'm very worried. That Luis Garcia goal could only be scored in front of the Kop, but Liverpool need a bigger advantage.

"Chelsea can lose it tonight, though - if Liverpool win 2-0, I can't see Chelsea scoring three at Stamford Bridge."

1340: And, with that, Paresh slips away to concentrate on the county cricket reports, leaving me back in charge. For another hour or so, at least.

1330: Bolo Zenden played for three of the clubs in the semis. Read his thoughts on the Champions League here.

1328: "My money is on Man Utd to beat Barca (unfortunately). Therefore I will throw a question into the pot - If we are to get knocked out would my fellow LFC supporters prefer to lose in the semi to Chelsea or in the final against Man Utd? Either is unbearable!!!"
From torressimplyawesome on 606

1322: Charles (see 1313) everyone seems to think you've underestimated the British influence in tonight's game.

Dave in Cardiff via text: "How about the maximum number of Alice bands on display - I'm going for four."

"I'm so excited about the Champions League that I had a dream last night United got to the final. Their opponents? Derby, managed by Gus Hiddink. A policeman came onto the pitch and scored Derby's opener. Hmm. Not entirely sure what this signifies.
Jess via text

1313: Anyone wanting to play Charles' game - there are 10 Brits in the two squads combined.

From Charles via text: "Can I suggest for neutrals the guess the maximum number of British players on the park game. I am going for three."

1258: Brief change of stewardship while sandwiches are sought to keep the hunger at bay - my colleague Paresh Soni will be your host for the next 30 minutes.

1250: Now then - how about the latest spot of politicking from one of Liverpool's under-fire owners?

1240: Hold on a second - we've only gone and started Puerile Hour 60 minutes early, haven't we? Just shows you what nerves can do to a man's faculties. Still, to be honest the novelty was quickly wearing off. If I wanted more of that sort of chat I'd take the bus home and sit on the top deck.

We'll conclude with this via text from Andy in Belfast: "Drogba is a girl and Cech stole my bike helmet."

1230, from daveaylward on 606: "I'm pretty sure my Gran could out-pace Liverpool's central defence. Mind you, she is pretty nippy."

1225, from PuertaRIP on 606: "Don't you mean Voronin looks like a girl?"

1216: We're really hitting our straps now.

From anonymous on text: "Torres looks like a girl and Gerrard stole my bike."

From Anxious Kopite via text: "As John Aldridge said last night on 5 Live - "If we beat Chelsea a third time,we get to keep them."

1209: From kinto13 on 606: "I'm refusing to stoop to such levels of immature banter but... Chelsea are rubbish."

1201: I'll start us off.

"Call yourself a big club? You haven't won the Premier League for 18 years."

"Yeah? Chelsea fans are either Johnny-come-lately bandwagon-jumpers or Terence Stamp."

1159: The final piece of rational analysis for now, from ashalpool on 606: "If Chelsea score first I reckon the game could be a cracker, with Liverpool needing to attack and pick up a few goals. But if Liverpool score first, I reckon they will play counter-attack, making the game slightly boring. But it will be Liverpool attacking furiously in the beginning."

1157: A reminder that we're now just three minutes away from Puerile Hour. Bring out your inner idiot child and join in the fun.

1155, from Bitter Arsenal Fan via text: "I'm still hoping that both teams lose tonight, although I think the laws of football are against me on this one."

1152: We've heard from Avram - now it's time for a little Rafa. Nice open-necked pale pink shirt and dark grey blazer combo, too - like a man attending a low-key christening in early May.

1148, from MUFCStampy on 606: "Really can't choose between them, but as a United fan I would rather play Chelsea in the final. The threat of Torres is far greater than anything Chelsea have got."

1145: Former Liverpool defender and current Israel PFA chairman Avi Cohen has been buttonholed on 5 Live. His chat?

"The press do not like Avram Grant. I don't understand how much criticism can he get. He is doing a good job, he is in two very important competitions in England and Europe and the crowd and the press do not like him. I don't know why.

"On the professional side he is very successful. He gets the maximum from the players. Chelsea drew with Wigan but that is part of the game. Sir Alex Ferguson did not get the same stick when Manchester United drew against Blackburn."

1140, from gjubby on 606: "Someone thought Liverpool were boring.The most exciting Champions final ever Liverpool v Milan, the best FA Cup final Liverpool v West Ham and the most exciting Champions league game this year Liverpool v Arsenal."

1134: Key words in the discussion so far seem to be: "tight", "boring" and "1-0". Worth noting that you can get 500-1 on a 4-4 draw. Any takers?

1131: The eagle-eyed will have spotted that we've entered the period designated for calm rational analysis (see 1000). Here's a little from kanchelskis_legend on 606 to tickle us along:

"A cagey, terse encounter that will finish 1-1, the away goal giving Chelsea the slight edge. Torres to score first."

1125, from bigfatloafhead on 606: "Unfortunately, my girlfriend has designated tonight as the time for our big chat about 'the future'. I wonder if by caving in to everything she says I can get her to shut up by 7:45?"

1115: After his sulky teenager impression last week, you might think Avram Grant has nothing to say for himself. Amazingly, here's four minutes of upbeat Avram magic. Well, four minutes, anyway. Never before has a man relied so heavily on the phrase "this game".

1107, from mcguckinjon on 606: "I've got 6-a-side at 7.30 so I had better get myself sent off sharpish to get home in time."

1059, from handlebars123 on 606: "Chelsea fan here holidaying in Bangalore. Going to be watching the match after midnight, can't wait, no bars open so will be at home, nothing like marching all over Anfield. This is third time lucky!"

1056: The overall head-to-head record, while I remember: 150 matches, 67 Liverpool wins, 52 to Chelsea, 31 draws.

1053, from uptonblue on 606: "Being a Chelsea fan with a wife who is mad about Liverpool and after going through the agonies of the last two semis watching in separate rooms, we have decided that tonight we will watch the game together. God help me."

1051, from JamoYNWA on 606: "I'll be sat/stood up in row 33, seat 28 of the Kop for this evening's shananagins cheering/shouting the boys on. Nerves are shredded already."

1050: Then again, how's about this - Chelsea have lost six of the eight European semi-finals they've reached...

1045: Time to sprinkle a little statistical sauce on this pie - since Benitez took over as Liverpool manager, these two teams have played each other 18 times - and Liverpool have won only five of those meetings.

1040, from The Captain on 606: "My fiancee happily reminded me yesterday that our three-year anniversary is next Wednesday so it looks like I'm missing the 2nd leg. I even suggested a nice quiet pub meal (I know they will be showing the footy there) but she was having none of it."

1032, from TKRedman on 606: "I'm displaying my confidence by going down the Wheatsheaf and watching with three Chelsea mates, wearing my Liver bird shirt and drinking cheap ale."

1030, from john_clarke on 606: "What a time to visit Australia. It's now 7.20pm and it'll be about 5am tomorrow when the match starts. Unfortunately I don't know where or how I'm going to follow the match as I won't have internet access at that time. Aggghhh!"

1020: Some words from former Liverpool manager and boot-room legend Roy Evans, speaking a few moments ago on BBC 5 Live:

"The partnership between Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres is a great one. People have said that maybe Rafa fell on this formation but it has worked really well.

"Torres has been outstanding as a striker. Once he is in the box he knows exactly where he is, he doesn't really need to pick his head up.

"Gerrard, for three or four years now, has been fantastic for Liverpool, making runs from deep and scoring goals that have kept them in big competitions. He takes the team forward all the time and we are very proud of him."

1000: Morning, fans of football - and welcome to a day of knee-shaking tension, fingernail-chewing nervousness and rampant media-driven hyperbole.

With a mere nine and three-quarter hours to go until kick-off at Anfield, and the air already thick with excitement, a small heads-up on the plan for the day.

First things first: I hereby pledge to bring you all the latest news, atmos and banter as rapidly as four human fingers and a thumb can type.

Secondly, to prevent the banter from turning unpleasantly bitchy too early, I'm proposing the following rough timetable for the first few hours of chat:

1000-1100: Your plans for viewing tonight's action
1100-1200: Your calm, rational analysis on how you think the game will go
1200-1300: Puerile Hour. Your chance to be as childish, irrational and na-na-na as you like

Personally, I'll be watching the match round Scouse Steve's flat. His sofa is large, his girlfriend understanding and their pizza warming-up abilities unparalleled.

see also
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
22 Apr 08 |  Europe
Owner Hicks braves Anfield crowd
22 Apr 08 |  Liverpool
Reds 'can halt jinx at Chelsea'
23 Apr 08 |  Europe

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