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Hiddink remains wary of Liverpool

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Hiddink pleased with 'deserved' win

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink refuses to write off Liverpool, despite his side's shock 3-1 success in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Blues are at home in the return leg but Hiddink said: "In the next game we have to be very concentrated.

"We can't take it lightly because Liverpool have proven in the past that they can surprise."

Chelsea captain John Terry will miss Tuesday's second leg through suspension after he was booked on Wednesday night.

"John is not there but we have good players to come in," added Hiddink.

We could have scored more - Lampard

Fernando Torres put the Reds ahead after only six minutes at Anfield but Branislav Ivanovic put Chelsea in front with two headers before Didier Drogba scored a third to put the Blues in control of the tie.

Hiddink conceded he was not expecting his team to win so convincingly at Anfield.

"I admit it was an unexpected result but we are very happy with the win and it was well deserved," he enthused.

"Once we had got the equaliser we did not sit back and be content with the draw. We felt we could score more - and that is what we did.

"We pinpointed areas where we could hurt them. The team could smell that and they took advantage.

"We talked about that situation again at the break and made sure we continued in the same way."

Hiddink singled out Ivanovic for special praise.

PHIL MCNULTY BLOG

The Dutchman said: "When you join a club like Chelsea and then find it hard to get games, it can be tough but he has been determined in training and shown a good mentality."

Hiddink was also delighted with the way Chelsea dealt with the threat of Torres and Steven Gerrard.

"We worked hard to stop their weapons - Gerrard and Torres," he commented.

"Michael Essien was the key for us in midfield. Not only did he follow Gerrard everywhere but he was able to be the starting point to many of our attacks.

"We also felt we could have some success attacking at corners, with the way they use their zonal marking. We managed some real benefits from that."

Liverpool's zonal marking system has been blamed for Liverpool's shortcomings in the past but Reds boss Rafael Benitez refused to concede that this was the reason for the defeat.

Second leg will be very, very difficult - Benitez

"We scored first but after that we were never in control," said the Spaniard.

"We conceded a bad equaliser from a set-piece. That was not because of the zonal marking but because players made mistakes to allow people space and time.

"For their first goal there were three players near to the scorer and they were not able to stop him.

"Then something very similar happened for the second. We made bad mistakes at crucial times."

Liverpool have to score at least three goals in the return leg to stand a chance of going through to the semi-finals.

Booking and suspension irks Terry

But Benitez will draw on his team's recent 4-1 win at Manchester United as inspiration.

"We know we have a difficult task in the second leg," he said. "We have to score three times - and that will be very difficult but we must believe we can do it.

"We have scored four at Manchester United, so we know what we are capable of.

"Chelsea did not really surprise us and they clearly believe that this is the competition they have most chance of winning now.

"They have won many away games this season but the way we lost was hard to take."



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see also
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea
08 Apr 09 |  Europe


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