Benitez and the Blues: the story so far

Liverpool v Chelsea in the Champions League already has a very familiar ring to it, with Rafa Benitez's side having established a clear advantage, that has not been reflected in domestic competitions. As the teams prepare to face each other again tonight, Sam Wallace charts the recent history of a very modern rivalry
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27 April, 2005: Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0, Champions League semi-final First leg

Tactical stalemate and barely a chance in the whole game. Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Cech made a brilliant save from a header from Milan Baros and Frank Lampard blasted a good chance over the bar from six yards out. There was no Arjen Robben for Chelsea and Damien Duff was unexpectedly left out through injury – which meant that Chelsea played without one of their two influential wingers for the first time in seven months.

A debatable booking for Liverpool's key midfielder Xabi Alonso meant that he was suspended for the second leg.

Chelsea: Cech; Johnson, Terry, Carvalho, Gallas; Tiago (Robben, 59), Makelele, Lampard, J Cole (Kezman, 78); Gudjohnsen, Drogba. Substitutes not used: Cudicini, Smertin, Geremi, Forssell, Huth.

Liverpool: Dudek; Finnan, Hyypia, Traoré, Carragher, Riise; Gerrard, Alonso, Biscan (Kewell, 86), Luis Garcia (Smicer, 90); Baros (Cissé, 65). Substitutes not used: Carson, Le Tallec, Nunez, Warnock.

Referee: A Sars (France).

Booked: Chelsea J Cole, Kezman. Liverpool Alonso, Biscan.

Attendance: 40,497.


*Jose Mourinho: "I'm happy with the result. It's a result that leaves me very, very confident we will go to the final. [But] they play at home and 99.9 per cent of Liverpool fans will be thinking they are in the final but they aren't and it will be difficult for them. Anfield is a beautiful atmosphere. I can imagine in the Champions League semi-finals, with the tie at 0-0, it will be even more beautiful an atmosphere and I look forward to it.

"I think we had more chances than I thought before the game. Before the game I was thinking it would be much more difficult to score."

*Rafael Benitez: "It's a good situation. We have very good supporters, they will be with us at Anfield. They had chances but a draw is a good result. If you asked me before the game, I would have said a draw was a good result."

3 May, 2005: Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0, Champions League semi-final second leg

The most famous of all their Champions League encounters. The Kop produced a spine-tingling wall of sound and, from the team, a winning goal from Luis Garcia that, a computer-generated reconstruction later proved, never crossed the line. Mourinho did not wait for the definitive evidence – he called it the "ghost goal".

Already Premier League champions, and 33 points better off than Liverpool, Chelsea lost to a Benitez side that included Igor Biscan and Djimi Traoré among the starting XI. There were remarkable performances from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, who defended Liverpool's fourth-minute lead. It was 68 minutes in before Jerzy Dudek was forced to make his first save in the Liverpool goal. He survived a late miss from Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Liverpool 1 (Garcia) Chelsea 0 (Liverpool win 1-0 on aggregate).

Liverpool: Dudek; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traoré; Hamann (Kewell, 72), Biscan, Luis Garcia (Nunez, 84), Riise, Gerrard; Baros (Cissé, 59). Substitutes not used: Carson, Smicer, Warnock, Welsh.

Chelsea: Cech; Geremi (Huth, 76), Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Tiago (Kezman, 68), Makelele, Lampard, J Cole (Robben, 68); Drogba, Gudjohnsen. Substitutes not used: Cudicini, Johnson, Forssell, Morais.

Referee: L Michel (Slovakia).

Booked: Liverpool Baros.

Attendance: 42,529.


* Mourinho: "The linesman scored the goal. No one knows if that shot went over the line and you must be 100 per cent. But they are in the final and from my heart I hope they win it. The night belongs to them and I don't want to criticise them.

"I felt the power of Anfield, it was magnificent. I felt it didn't interfere with my players but maybe it interfered with the other people and maybe it interfered with the result. But you should ask the linesman why he gave the goal. The best team lost. After they scored only one team played, the other one just defended for the whole game."

* Benitez: "I don't know whether it was a goal or not. But if the goal isn't given it could well be a red card for Petr Cech for the foul on Milan Baros and a penalty."

28 September, 2005: Liverpool 0 Chelsea 0, Champions League, Group G

Four days after this game, Chelsea returned to Anfield and hammered Liverpool 4-1 in a league game. On this night, however, they faced the European version of Benitez's side, which proved a different proposition.

Liverpool had the best of it and were denied two penalty claims. Chelsea looked uncertain as Mourinho switched his formation around. On the touchline before the match he and Benitez had stood together deep in conversation, although any pretence of a friendship was soon to be dispelled.

Liverpool: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traoré; Hamann, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso; Crouch, Cissé (Sinama-Pongolle, 78). Substitutes not used: Carson, Riise, Josemi, Warnock, Zenden, Potter.

Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Essien, Makelele, Lampard, Duff (Crespo, 75); Drogba (Huth, 90), Robben (Wright-Phillips, 65). Substitutes not used: Cudicini, J Cole, Geremi, Gudjohnsen.

Referee: M de Santis (Italy).

Booked: Liverpool Alonso; Chelsea Lampard, Makelele, Robben, Terry.

Attendance: 42,743.


*Benitez: "We worked really hard, played with a high tempo. As a manager, you must be happy."

*Mourinho: "I'm not satisfied but it's a point. Normally the team at home is not happy with a point but I think they are."

6 December, 2005: Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0, Champions League, Group G

Liverpool finished top of the group with this draw, but Benitez called for a Uefa disciplinary investigation into Michael Essien for his tackle on Dietmar Hamann. "It was the worst tackle I have ever received in my life," said Hamann, who was taken under the knee by the Chelsea midfielder's studs. Both sides' benches were on their feet in protest, and at each others' necks, after the challenge which did not even earn Essien a booking. Otherwise the clubs' seventh meeting in a year did not provide much in the way of fireworks.

Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira (Del Horno, 45), Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Essien, Robben (C Cole, 73), Lampard, Duff (Wright-Phillips, 73); Gudjohnsen, Drogba. Substitutes not used: Cudicini, J Cole, Geremi, Diarra, Huth.

Liverpool: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traoré; Gerrard, Hamann, Sissoko, Riise (Kewell, 60); Crouch (Morientes, 68), Luis Garcia (Sinama-Pongolle, 80). Substitutes not used: Carson, Cissé, Josemi, Warnock.

Referee: H Fandel (Germany).

Booked: Chelsea Carvalho, Lampard; Liverpool Traoré.

Attendance: 41,598.


* Mourinho: "I didn't see Michael's tackle. I was telling the Liverpool bench that they were crying all the game. With me referees are always very quick to put me in my place. But other managers can do what they want."

* Benitez: "He [Mourinho] talks too much."

25 April, 2007: Chelsea v Liverpool, 1-0, Champions League, semi-final first leg

Chelsea looked like they would be just too strong for Liverpool after Joe Cole's 29th-minute goal, but still they failed to put this tie out of sight when they were in the ascendancy. Didier Drogba was outstanding against Daniel Agger and Liverpool were relieved they did not take more punishment.

Out of the title race, Liverpool could afford to take it easy against Portsmouth in the Premier League the weekend before the second leg (they lost 2-1 at home). In the meantime Chelsea all but conceded the title by drawing 2-2 with Bolton.

Chelsea 1 (Joe Cole) Liverpool 0.

Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Terry, Carvalho, A Cole; Makelele; Lampard, Mikel, J Cole (Wright-Phillips, 85); Shevchenko (Kalou, 76), Drogba. Substitutes not used: Cudicini, Boulahrouz, Geremi, Bridge, Diarra.

Liverpool: Reina; Arbeloa, Agger, Carragher, Riise; Gerrard, Alonso (Pennant, 83), Mascherano, Zenden; Kuyt, Bellamy (Crouch, 52). Substitutes not used: Dudek, Hyypia, Gonzalez, Sissoko, Paletta.

Referee: M Merk (Germany).

Booked: Liverpool Mascherano.

Attendance: 39,483.


*Mourinho grumbled about what he said was a "ghost penalty" – a handball by Alvaro Arbeloa which was debatable at best.

*Benitez: "If he said it was a penalty, then I'm sure it was.

"You need to score just one and if we can score two we'll be there. We will have the support of our people. They know they are really important for us and I hope we will feel the atmosphere behind us."

*Joe Cole: "It's the first time we've scored against them in Europe and maybe it'll open the floodgates."

1 May, 2007: Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0, Champions League, semi-final second leg

A torrid match that lacked the spirit of the semi-final second leg two years earlier was enlivened by a remarkable penalty shoot-out. Agger hit the equaliser from a smartly worked Gerrard free-kick from the left. After that, neither team was prepared to take the risks necessary to win the game outright, although Liverpool edged it on points.

In the penalty shoot-out, Liverpool dispatched four out of four while both Arjen Robben and Geremi lost their nerve and missed. John Arne Riise had a goal disallowed for offside that probably should have stood, Dirk Kuyt hit the bar. The consensus was that the better team were off to the final in Athens.

Liverpool 1 (Agger) Chelsea 0 (aet 1-1 on agg; Liverpool win 4-1 on penalties).

Liverpool: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise; Pennant (Alonso, 78), Gerrard, Mascherano (Fowler, 118), Zenden; Kuyt, Crouch (Bellamy, 106). Substitutes not used: Padelli, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Gonzalez.

Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Essien, Terry, A Cole; Mikel, Makelele (Geremi 118), Lampard, J Cole (Robben, 98); Drogba, Kalou (Wright-Phillips, 107). Substitutes not used: Cudicini, Boulahrouz, Bridge, Diarra.

Referee: M Gonzalez (Spain).

Booked: Liverpool Agger, Zenden. Chelsea A Cole.

Attendance: 42,554.


*Benitez: "We had confidence because our players practise [penalties] in every training session. Pepe Reina is a player who is good with penalties. Every player and supporter deserves the win – the atmosphere was amazing."

*Mourinho: "We were the best team today, even against a team only playing for the Champions League. In extra time we were the only team who tried to win."

*Jorge Valdano: Former Real Madrid sporting director: "Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium [Anfield] and there are people who will tell you it's a work of art. It's not; it's a shit hanging from a stick."