'Pressure is on Liverpool,' claims Mourinho after Chelsea fail to fire

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Jose Mourinho last night declared that the "pressure" was on Liverpool despite watching his Chelsea side being held to a passionate but goalless draw in the first leg of the Champions' League semi-final here.

Jose Mourinho last night declared that the "pressure" was on Liverpool despite watching his Chelsea side being held to a passionate but goalless draw in the first leg of the Champions' League semi-final here.

Conventional wisdom would claim that it is Chelsea who should be feeling the strain right now, having failed to score, and only having one shot on target against a resolute, disciplined Liverpool. But this is Mourinho and, to his credit, he has had success before in such situations.

"It wasn't the result we fought for," the Chelsea manager said. "We tried to win the game but it is a very good result for the Champions' League semi-final.

"At this moment I feel [there is] more pressure for them and less for us ­ 99.9 per cent of Liverpool people and fans believe they have one foot in the final ­ and they haven't. It will be very difficult for them.

"The result is 0-0 and the result of the game in Liverpool is going to take the team to the final. I think we can score goals and get the result. I'm very confident we will go to the final."

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, smiled when Mourinho's theory was put to him. "I will be in the 0.1 per cent," he said. "We need to play a good game and they are a good team."

In truth, his side's chances took a blow with the late booking of key midfielder Xabi Alonso, who will now be suspended for Tuesday's return leg. "I have seen it and it is not a yellow card," Benitez said "It is very clear." The caution did appear extremely harsh.

Liverpool may at least have Dietmar Hamann available after injury to replace him. "He is training normally and I think that maybe he will be fit," confirmed Benitez.

Steven Gerrard added: "Xabi is a magnificent passer but Dietmar Hamann is nearly fit and knocking on the door. It's set up for a great second leg."

Mourinho drew short of attacking Liverpool's tactics but said: "They defended with throw-ins and free-kicks and slow and slow and slow. This is football. They did not try to play an offensive game."

He added: "It was not an outstanding game. They did their game and they got a bit of luck because we should have scored a minimum of one goal."

That was debatable, given that the two notable saves in the match were made by his goalkeeper, Petr Cech, although chances were spurned ­ most obviously by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

However, Mourinho continued to declare it was Chelsea who will reach the final ­ pointing out that his Porto side had drawn 0-0 at home before winning away to Deportivo La Coruña at this stage last season while Chelsea had won against Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. "No panic," he said. "I trust we can do it.

Benitez was his usual cautious self, although he reasoned: "Before the game if you said to me just a draw is a good result then I would have said: 'Yes'. Before the start of the competition if you said you have the chance at Anfield to go the final I would have said: 'Yes'." But then Mourinho would say the same.

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