วันพุธที่ 15 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2552


Tuesday 14 April 2009 19:45 , Champions League Quarter Final (2)


Liverpool have bowed out of the Champions League with their heads held high after a dramatic 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Fabio Aurelio and Xabi Alonso meant the Reds led 2-0 at half-time, but Chelsea regained their two-goal aggregate lead early in the second half through Alex and a Pepe Reina own goal.

Frank Lampard was next to score and the quarter-final tie looked over until strikes from Lucas and Dirk Kuyt late on.

Any hope of a remarkable turnaround were thwarted, however, when Lampard scored again on 89 minutes to make it 7-5 overall.

It always looked like mission impossible following Chelsea's 3-1 win at Anfield a week ago. Only once in their illustrious history had Liverpool successfully overturned a two-goal first leg deficit in Europe, and Guus Hiddink's XI were a far tougher prospect than the Auxerre side of 1991.

To make matters worse, a footballing miracle would have to be achieved without top scorer Steven Gerrard, whose adductor injury denied him a place even on the bench.

Despite all this, what seemed at best unlikely looked as if it might just happen after a thunderous first half for the visitors.

Liverpool almost took the lead on 13 minutes when Kuyt found Yossi Benayoun in a position where his silky skills can be so effective. The Israel captain used his instep to flick to Torres, who, with just Petr Cech to beat, fired over.

Six minutes later the opener came after an innocuous challenge down Chelsea's left. Aurelio shaped as if to swing the ball in the direction of a crowd of red and blue shirts hovering on the opposite side of the box, but instead curled it sweetly towards the near post. A stranded Cech had no chance and the travelling Kop started to believe. Whether it was a piece of ingenuity from Aurelio or a ruse straight from the training ground, Chelsea were all of a sudden rattled.

Liverpool were next to threaten when Torres burst down the left before cutting inside to Benayoun, who was thwarted by a late tackle from Ricardo Carvalho.

It wasn't too long before the second arrived, however; and again it came after an Aurelio free-kick down Chelsea's left. This time the full-back did swing towards the hoards, where referee Luis Medina Cantalejo spotted a tug on Alonso by last week's hero Branislav Ivanovic. With Gerrard watching from the stands, the Spanish midfielder seized the ball and sent Cech the wrong way.

With 28 minutes gone, the aggregate score was now 3-3, but Liverpool still needed another goal to progress.

Stunned, Hiddink made a change, swapping Salomon Kalou for Nicolas Anelka. It had little effect. Liverpool almost had a third on the stroke of half-time when Alonso picked out Kuyt at the back post and the Dutchman directed a header back across goal. It was almost reminiscent of Gerrard's goal in Istanbul, the difference being that Cech did what Dida couldn't and tipped clear.

This aside, the Czech was enduring a terrible night, illustrated again straight after the restart when he came to collect a Benayoun throughball only to be beaten to it by Lucas. The Brazilian cut back to Aurelio, who lobbed the ball towards the far post only to see it cleared.

Down at the other end, Reina had been given little to do, but he was about to feel his opposite number's pain on 51 minutes when Anelka drilled a low cross towards the near post. Drogba got the faintest of touches to deceive Reina, and in a bid to recover the Spanish goalkeeper palmed into his own net.

If that changed little about the task facing Liverpool, what happened six minutes later did. For the umpteenth time, the Spanish referee blew for a nothing challenge, this time by Jamie Carragher on Drogba. Alex stepped up from 35 yards and gave Reina no chance with a thunderous strike. The Reds now needed two goals to progress.

They nearly got one of those on 63 minutes when Cech could only parry a low volley from Javier Mascherano. Benayoun pounced but the angle was too acute.

Liverpool began to regain control, though Chelsea nearly had them on the counter when Drogba broke down the right, out-muscling Carragher before crossing to Michael Ballack. The German had the goal at his mercy but his low shot was tame and Reina saved.

Next, Torres almost stunned the Shed End with a blistering turn and shot from 35 yards. Just wide.

Then came a hammerblow for Liverpool, and again it was a lightning break from Chelsea that opened up the Red defence. This time it was Drogba down the left who provided the ammunition for Lampard to tap home. It was over, wasn't it? Maybe.

Lucas was having a fine game in an advanced midfield position, and it was his speculative effort from 20 yards on 81 minutes which deflected off Michael Essien and beyond Cech. This made it 3-3 on the night and 6-4 to Chelsea on aggregate.

But only for two minutes, as substitute Albert Riera sent a pinpoint cross into the six-yard box for Kuyt to head ferociously past Cech.

Liverpool went into the dying moments with hope but it was Lampard who ensured Chelsea could breathe the hugest sigh of relief on 89 minutes with a fine sidefooted curler beyond Reina after good work from Anelka.

As disappointed as Rafa Benitez and his squad will be following a mammoth effort, their resurgence in the Premier League means there is still plenty of hope around Anfield that 2008-09 will end in glory.


Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher (captain), Skrtel, Arbeloa, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Leiva, Torres, Kuyt. Subs - Hyypia, Riera, Ngog, Dossena, Cavalieri, Agger, Babel

Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Carvalho, , Ivanovic, Ballack, Lampard (captain), Essien, Malouda, Drogba, Kalou. Subs - Hilario, , Belletti, Di Santo, Anelka, Mancienne, Obi Mikel

Referee: Luis Medina Cantalejo

Conditions: Mild

Attendance: 38,286

Liverpoolfc.tv Man-of-the-Match: Xabi Alonso


18:44 GMT : Match Starts
1 min : Liverpool get the game underway at Stamford Bridge
2 mins : Early defending from Arbeloa who heads out for a throw
2 mins : Mistake from Alex almost gifts a chance to Lucas but the defender recovers
3 mins : Kalou drives a cross into the area but Reina is well positioned to gather comfortably
5 mins : Mascherano looks to break but Benayoun slips and can't collect the pass
6 mins : Drogna goes down under a challenge from Carragher and needs treatment
8 mins : Drogba is back on the pitch and this time concedes a free kick to Liverpool
10 mins : Torres wins possession for the Reds on the right and earns a throw off Carvalho
11 mins : Arbeloa is caught by Malouda and we have a free kick in a good position - can we get a good ball in?
12 mins : Aurelio bends a decent ball into the box but Cech is commanding and clears
13 mins : Golden chance for Torres but he slices the ball wide from Benayoun's pass
14 mins : Lampard drives a free kick goalwards but Reina has it well covered
15 mins : Cole has space on the left but his deep cross is overhit and the ball goes out of play
16 mins : Kalou gives away a free kick for a foul on Aurelio. Another free kick in a good area....
17 mins : But this time the free kick is poor and Chelsea clear comfortably
19 mins : GOAL! Fabio Aurelio: Stunning free kick from Aurelio as he bends the ball home from distance to open the scoring
24 mins : Mascherano brings down Essien and gives away a free kick
25 mins : Malouda's delivery is defended by Carragher and we're able to break
26 mins : Good defending by Inavonic to deny Benayoun after another good Liverpool attack
28 mins : Penalty Scored! Xabi Alonso: Ivanovic brings down Alonso and the Spaniard converts from the spot
28 mins : First Booking: Branislav Ivanovic:
32 mins : A corner for Liverpool now in an incredible first period for the Reds
35 mins : Substitution: Nicolas Anelka for Salomon Kalou:
37 mins : Chelsea have a couple of quick corners and are coming back into the game - but what a start we have made
40 mins : First Booking: Yossi Benayoun:
43 mins : Mascherano's cross is headed behind for a corner to Liverpool
45 mins : Kuyt's header forces a decent stop from Cech
19:31 GMT : Half Time Reached
19:46 GMT : Second Half Begins
46 mins : We're back underway at the Bridge - as things stand we need one goal to go through
47 mins : Cech rushes off his line and into no-mans land, but we can't take advantage
47 mins : Benayoun's long throw into the Chelsea area is well defended
50 mins : GOAL! Didier Drogba: Sloppy goal to concede as Reina loses Drogba's shot and the ball goes into the net
56 mins : Stunning free kick from Drogba beats Reina but flies just inches wide
57 mins : GOAL! Alex : Powerful free kick from Alex levels the scores on the night for the home side
60 mins : Mascherano's shot is saved by Cech and Benayoun can't follow up
61 mins : First Booking: Ashley Cole:
65 mins : Alonso whips the ball into the danger zone but it's too strong for any of his teammates
67 mins : Drogba speeds away and squares to Ballack who fires straight at Reina when he had the chance to completely finish the tie
70 mins : Liverpool looking ready to make a change
70 mins : Substitution: Albert Riera for Javier Mascherano:
71 mins : Shot from Torres from outside the area but it flashes wide of the target
73 mins : Brilliant defending from Skrtel as Malouda charges through and looks for a shot at goal
78 mins : First Booking: Alvaro Arbeloa:
76 mins : GOAL! Frank Lampard: Drogba squares for Lampard to surely kill off our European hopes for this season
80 mins : Ballack smashes another free kick wide of the target
81 mins : Substitution: David Ngog for Fernando Torres:
80 mins : GOAL! Lucas Leiva: Long range shot from Lucas which finds its way home
83 mins : GOAL! Dirk Kuyt: Kuyt heads home Riera's cross - it's on again
84 mins : Substitution: Ryan Babel for Alvaro Arbeloa:
89 mins : GOAL! Frank Lampard: Lampard scores off the far post to surely end it this time
90 mins : Substitution: Franco Di Santo for Didier Drogba:
20:34 GMT : Match Over

วันเสาร์ที่ 11 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2552



Rafa Benitez labelled his side's 4-0 thrashing of Blackburn 'the perfect response' to their midweek defeat to Chelsea.

The whole country was waiting to see if Liverpool could pick themselves up from their Champions League disappointment - and they responded in style thanks to goals from Fernando Torres (2), Daniel Agger and David Ngog.

Benitez told his post-match press conference:

"To play a good game, score goals and not concede - it was the perfect response by the players. "It could have been even better because we had really clear chances, but I'm really pleased. "You always need your key players and Fernando was very important here - the first goals opened the game."

The result elevated Liverpool above Manchester United ahead of their game in Sunderland. Benitez added:

"Clearly they are under pressure. Alex Ferguson is always talking, which shows they are under pressure. I know he's nervous, so it's good."

Torres' second goal came from a set piece. Asked if the failure of Blackburn's man marking was the ideal riposte to critics of zonal defending, Benitez added:

"The statistics can be presented in many ways but I think they (Blackburn) have conceded 10 from set pieces with man to man. For us, it (zonal marking) has been good for the last five years."

Benitez admitted his delight after his side added two late goals to increase Liverpool's superior goal difference. "Hopefully it will be vital," he said. "We were trying to score goals because we know anything can happen."

Liverpool did not have to use skipper Steven Gerrard, who was named on the bench after his adductor injury.

On whether he will be fit for Tuesday's trip to Stamford Bridge, Benitez added: "The risk was there but he's got more chances now. The physio will work with him, so hopefully he'll be there."

All info and credit 100% by www.liverpoolfc.net


Saturday 11 April 2009 12:45 , Barclays Premier League


A double-blast from Fernando Torres helped inspire Liverpool to a convincing 4-0 win over Blackburn on Saturday lunchtime.

The Spain international's first-half brace included a sublime volley before Daniel Agger and David Ngog boosted their side's goal difference late on.

It was the perfect reaction to the Reds' 3-1 midweek defeat to Chelsea and further proof that they have the resilience to take this year's title race to the wire.

The mid-afternoon triumph saw them leapfrog Manchester United at the summit of English football before Alex Ferguson's men reclaimed top spot with a narrow 2-1 victory at Sunderland.

All this on a day when Anfield remembered 96 Kopites who died at Hillsborough 20 years ago this week.

The Kop choir conducted a stirring version of their anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone, before the famous stadium was hushed for a minute's solemn reflection. There was a touch of class from the visitors, too, as former Reds defender Stephen Warnock laid a floral tribute beside the Kop goal.

Inspired, Liverpool set about an ambush. The Anfield scoreboard showed just five minutes had been played when Jamie Carragher's long ball was chested down by Torres, who swivelled and sent an unstoppable volley over the despairing arms of Paul Robinson. You'll not see a better goal on Match of the Day this month.

So far, so good in what Carragher labelled the most important league game of his 12-year career.

It should have been 2-0 on 15 minutes when Liverpool found Dirk Kuyt galloping unmarked into the Rovers half. Javier Mascherano was first to join him, but when the pass came, the Argentine laboured in deciding which way to shoot. Robinson saved and Torres fired the rebound over.

Much has been made of Liverpool's defending from set-pieces this week, but it was Blackburn's marking that was put into question on 24 minutes when Agger was given a free header on the back post following Xabi Alonso's dead ball. The Dane's effort was accurate enough but lacked the power to beat Robinson.

The tally of missed opportunities grew on 26 minutes when Kuyt headed straight at the goalkeeper after a beautiful cross from Emiliano Insua, with Yossi Benayoun failing to capitalise on Robinson's spill.

It was down to Torres to once again show his teammates how it's done on 33 minutes when he comprehensively out-jumped Andre Ooijer to head home after another pin-point free-kick from Alonso.

Billy Liddell was the last Red to net a hat-trick against Blackburn back in 1958; Torres now had two thirds of the game to emulate a player some regard as the greatest in Anfield history.

Liverpool came out for the second half eager to add to their lead. Alonso pulled the strings in the middle, while Rovers were unable to cope with the dual threat of Insua and Albert Riera down the left. Mascherano, meanwhile, was everywhere; chasing, harrying and controlling the midfield like a man possession. The Kop echoed their appreciation.

Kuyt was first to try and add a third after Insua found him 15 yards out. The Dutchman worked himself some space but his shot was deflected wide.

Riera twisted and turned his way through the visiting defence on 63 minutes before firing wide. The Reds backline might as well have got out their deckchairs and enjoyed the glorious Mersey sunshine.

Benitez took the opportunity on 74 minutes to rest Torres, denying him the possibility of a hat-trick but ensuring his freshness ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final return at Stamford Bridge.

The first real threat from Blackburn did not arrive until 76 minutes when a low cross evaded the home rearguard and found Christopher Samba alone at the back post. The striker took a touch and looked to sidefoot beyond Reina, but the Spaniard was equal to it on his 200th appearance.

Back at the other end, a third looked certain when Riera drove across the face of goal to substitute Nabil El Zhar. It eventually came back to Mascherano, whose shot couldn't navigate a wall of Blackburn defenders.

The third finally arrived on 83 minutes when Agger marked his return to the first team with a 35-yard piledriver into the top of the Kop net. It was a carbon copy of his goal here against West Ham two years ago and may just give Torres' earlier effort a run for its money in the goal of the month stakes.

The icing came on 90 minutes when Carragher's deep cross was headed back across goal by Lucas for fellow sub Ngog to nod into an empty net.


Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher (captain), Agger, Arbeloa, Riera, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres. Subs - Gerrard, Skrtel, Ngog, Dossena, El Zhar, Leiva, Cavalieri

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Givet, Ooijer, Nelsen (captain), Andrews, Warnock, , Mokoena, Treacy, Dunn, Samba. Subs - McCarthy, Olsson, Grella, Doran, Bunn, Villanueva, Khizanishvilli

Referee: Mike Riley

Conditions: Sunny

Attendance: 43,466

Liverpoolfc.tv Man-of-the-Match: Torres


11:47 GMT : Match Starts
1 min : Blackburn kick off attacking the Kop end
2 mins : Prior to kick off there was a minute's silence to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster that takes place on Wednesday. RIP the 96. You'll Never Walk Alone
2 mins : There was also a great moment in which Stephen Warnock carried a wreath of flowers to the Kop end to pay his respects. Fantastic gesture
5 mins : GOAL! Fernando Torres: Stunning volley from El Nino. Great start
6 mins : First Booking: Daniel Agger:
10 mins : It's been a lively start from the Reds. Just the type of response needed following the shock defeat against Chelsea in Europe
15 mins : A lightning break and it should be 2-0. Dirk Kuyt puts Javier Mascherano through and he manages to keep his feet and fire a shot at goal that Robinson manages to beat away. Torres on the follow up... over the bar
20 mins : It's been all Liverpool so far. Free-kick to the Reds to the left of the area. Chance for Xabi to cross...It comes to nothing
24 mins : Xabi flights another free-kick to the far post....but Agger's header is well held by Robinson
25 mins : Kuyt's first-time ball almost sends Riera clear - Liverpool mean business today
26 mins : Ryan Nelsen is down after colliding with Robinson. A welcome breather for his teammates
27 mins : Another Sublime move but still only 1-0. Riera and Insua combine down the left with the Argentine sending over a great cross for Kuyt. The Dutchman's header is brilliantly saved by Robinson with Benayoun crashing the rebound over the top
30 mins : A long ball almost allows Samba in on goal but Reina is there to claim at the second attempt
31 mins : Riera drills in a low cross that Kuyt is inches away from turning home while Masch tests Robinson with a shot from the edge of the area
34 mins : First Booking: Keith Andrews:
34 mins : GOAL! Fernando Torres: A great header from Xabi's free-kick
37 mins : Riera sends over another great cross that Kuyt heads just over. It's been a commanding first-half display from the Reds
40 mins : David Dunn finally forces Reina to make a save with a tame strike from 25 yards
44 mins : It's been a stroll in the sun so far the Reds. Same again in the second half please!
45 mins : There will be a minimum of two minutes added time
12:34 GMT : Half Time Reached
12:49 GMT : Second Half Begins
46 mins : Substitution: Aaron Doran for Aaron Mokoena:
46 mins : Liverpool restart the match attacking the Kop end
46 mins : The Reds are immediately on the front foot with Riera firing a 25 yarder just wide of goal
48 mins : Free-kick to Blackburn...Dunn curls it harmlessly out of play
49 mins : Great ball by Yossi plays Riera in. The winger's cross is blocked. Corner ball...
50 mins : Rovers clear but Liverpool maintain possession
51 mins : It's another corner. Kuyt's low shot deflects wide with Torres inches away from being able to turn it home
52 mins : It's all Liverpool
53 mins : The players in red are first to the ball in everything. Rovers are lucky to be just the two goals down
56 mins : Dirk turns well but drills his shot high into the Kop
60 mins : Substitution: Carlos Villanueva for David Dunn:
61 mins : Insua and Agger have both sent efforts well wide while Torres almost got through when Rovers misjudged Reina's long kick
63 mins : A great cushioned ball from Insua sends Riera racing down the flank. The winger cuts in but arrows his right foot shot into the side netting
67 mins : Substitution: Vincenzo Grella for Tugay :
67 mins : Today's attendance is 43,466
70 mins : Free-kick to the Reds on the right hand touchline. Dangerous position...
71 mins : Xabi takes but it comes to nothing
71 mins : Great feet from Riera almost gets him through on goal but Nelsen makes a great last-ditch tackle to deny him
74 mins : Substitution: Nabil El Zhar for Fernando Torres:
75 mins : Sub Carlos Villanueva fires a long range effort just over the bar
75 mins : First Booking: Xabi Alonso:
77 mins : Best chance of the match for Rovers. Samba finds space at the far post but sees his poked effort well gathered by Reina
78 mins : It's been a somewhat quiet 200th LFC appearance for Pepe today. Hopefully he can mark it with yet another clean sheet
79 mins : Yossi is blatantly pushed to the floor on the edge of the box but the ref refuses to give a free-kick
80 mins : Riera's driving runs sees him hit the byline with Masch seeing is effort deflected after El Zhar was blocked off
83 mins : GOAL! Daniel Agger: A 30 yard thunderbolt!
85 mins : Substitution: David Ngog for Dirk Kuyt:
87 mins : Substitution: Lucas Leiva for Xabi Alonso:
89 mins : Benayoun sees his low shot deflect inches wide. It's been an emphatic win to move us clear at the top
90 mins : GOAL! David Ngog:
13:37 GMT : Match Over