Let's make showdown a special one, says Grant

Blues bidding to make glorious history to fulfil Roman conquest

Pennant on way out as Liverpool covet Bentley

Jermaine Pennant was officially told by Rafael Benitez yesterday that he can leave Liverpool this summer as the club try to organise their resources to muster a serious bid for the Blackburn Rovers winger David Bentley. Pennant is a long-term target of Newcastle and Benitez is looking, at the very least, to recoup the £6.7m he spent on the player in 2006.

Lucas set to join Mascherano on Olympic break

Rafael Benitez's preparations for next season have hit trouble even before the current one is out of the way, as Lucas has joined Javier Mascherano among those who intend to miss the start of the new campaign to play at the Beijing Olympics.

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0: City fans make point as Torres equals record and earns three

Perhaps every foreign owner should make known his baffling intention to sack the club's much-respected manager at the end of the season – it at least adds some life to these "dead" games. Rarely has such an irrelevant and inevitable away defeat been played out to such a backing sound of discontent from the visiting section.

Sport on TV: The Republic still carries torch for class struggle

In 'Chinese School' (BBC4, Tuesday) we are told that "sports days really are like a small Olympic Games". With excitement building as the Beijing Games draw near – and nary a thought for Tibet or Darfur or torch relays – a thousand athletes take part in the three-day event at Haiyang Middle School in the rural province of Anhui, and there's even a proper opening ceremony. But the obvious difference from the real thing is the school motto, "Be honest". In the Olympic village, such principles won't catch on.

Liverpool's £10m bid for Barry shows their limitations

Liverpool's £10m bid for Gareth Barry is as ambitious as their spending will get this summer – a state of affairs which left their manager, Rafael Benitez, in the course of some ruminations on his worst season at Anfield yesterday, to highlight the financial gulf which exists between his own side and the two who will be journeying to Moscow in three weeks time.

Benitez buoyed by Liverpool's first-leg superiority

Most managers would need to take a deep breath and down a stiff whisky before tuning into footage of the kind of Champions League encounter Liverpool had with Chelsea at Anfield last week, especially the horrifying 94th-minute plot twist. But it was typical of Rafael Benitez that he was tucked up with the remote at his Wirral home within an hour of the final whistle.

So-solid Carew takes giant strides towards goal of fifth place

Braced as they are for a summer fight with Liverpool over the services of Gareth Barry, Aston Villa can today use a game on the other side of Stanley Park as a major sales pitch to their highly influential captain.

James Lawton: Football reverts to true status as Lampard deals with loss of mother who shaped him

If the grief of Frank Lampard over the loss of his mother Pat this week tells us about anything more than the devotion of a young man to the woman who gave him his life and some of his best and most fundamental values, it can only be that the richer, and more rewarding, sport becomes the less able it seems to resist emotionally the intrusions of real life and real death.

Chelsea enter hunt for pair of Inter aces

Despite a European Cup final being in sight, the manoeuvring over the future make-up of Chelsea's squad has begun in earnest. Comments made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a Swedish television station that it may be time for him to quit Italy and ply his trade "in Spain or England" will not have gone unnoticed. The Internazionale striker has long been coveted at Stamford Bridge and, with Didier Drogba set to leave this summer and the Milanese club a likely destination, a deal may be struck for the players to move in the opposite direction.

'It was always against us,' says Benitez of referee

Rafael Benitez hit out at the time added on by the referee Konrad Plautz which allowed Chelsea to score their late, late equalising goal – in the 95th minute – in last night's Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield. He also accused the officials of being biased.

Fulham 0 Liverpool 2: Pennant shines to leave Fulham on brink of drop

Benitez rests key players for semi-final but Liverpool are still too strong

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1: Crouch back in the wings after shining in Part Two

The filling in the sandwich between two Champions League encounters provided plenty of food for thought: the confirmation that Arsenal's league title challenge was over, that Liverpool are strangely vulnerable to set-pieces - and that tomorrow's quarter-final second-leg may just go down to the wire with penalties a realistic possibility.

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1: Crouch ends the race for Arsenal

Draw means Wenger's side look out of the running for title as Liverpool play out second stalemate in four days

Liverpool 4 West Ham United 0: Rampant Torres lifts Liverpool to higher ground

The dark clouds of financial uncertainty might still be swirling around Anfield, but there has been no greater reminder of what hard cash can buy this season than Fernando Torres' second successive Anfield hat trick last night and the powerful statement of intent it delivered in the intriguing fight for fourth spot that lies ahead.

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