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Benítez plots Chelsea repeat

Published: Wednesday 28 September 2005, 1.13CET
Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benítez says his team are ready to exploit Chelsea FC's weaknesses when the holders face the English champions.
by Alex O'Henley
from Liverpool

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolChelsea

Goals scored6
 
9
Attempts on target42
 
38
Attempts off target59
 
38
Corners42
 
25
Offsides15
 
35
Fouls committed124
 
172
Yellow cards13
 
17
Red cards0
1

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Published: Wednesday 28 September 2005, 1.13CET

Benítez plots Chelsea repeat

Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benítez says his team are ready to exploit Chelsea FC's weaknesses when the holders face the English champions.

Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benítez says his team are ready to exploit Chelsea FC's weaknesses as the UEFA Champions League holders aim for a repeat of last season's semi-final success against the English champions when the sides meet again at Anfield on Wednesday.

García goal
Luis García's goal proved to be the difference between the teams on that occasion, with the Reds marching on to claim their fifth European Champion Clubs' Cup following a memorable comeback against AC Milan in the final.

Chelsea stronger
Chelsea will be intent on avenging that defeat and go into the match with seven wins from seven Premiership matches, leading many English football experts to declare them champions-elect already. Their squad has been strengthened by the summer signings of Michael Essien from Olympique Lyonnais, Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City FC and Hernán Crespo, who returned to the London club from a season's loan at Milan. In addition, they started their Group G campaign with victory over RSC Anderlecht.

Bold Benítez
However, Benítez, who has guided Liverpool to an opening-night win at Real Betis Balompié and an unbeaten Premiership start, is not ready to concede defeat and says he has pinpointed deficiencies in José Mourinho's side. He said: "It is a new season, with new players and a different moment. They have a better team and have been winning all their games and we know it will be difficult. We know they have weak points and we have an idea how we can beat them. I'm not telling you what they are, but they do exist. It's up to us to take advantage."

Home advantage
He added: "We have two things in our favour - the first is our confidence and the second is our supporters. When we play at Anfield we know how important their backing is."

Morientes out
Liverpool will have to do without Fernando Morientes due to a hamstring problem while midfielder Mohamed Sissoko is doubtful with a thigh injury, but Sami Hyypiä expects another closely-fought contest and is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with either Crespo or Didier Drogba.

Crespo threat
"I think they are similar types of player," said the Finland defender. "Crespo scored a couple of goals against us in the final and we need to make sure that doesn't happen again. For me, it's pretty much the same which one of those two plays, but it is going to be a hell of a fight and we need to prepare as well as we can and not let them score."

Familiar formation
Chelsea boss Mourinho was keen to play down thoughts of revenge and said his side would line up in their usual 4-3-3 formation although Spanish left-back Asier Del Horno will miss out with a thigh complaint. Chelsea are back in Liverpool on Premiership business this Sunday, but according to Mourinho, both teams can progress to the knockout stages irrespective of Wednesday's result.

Close encounter
"It's not going to be three or four-nil," he said. "This is a game between two good teams and unless something extraordinary happens it is going to be another close game. Both teams are in a good situation and even if somebody loses there are still four matches left to get the nine points required to go through."

Essien wish
Midfielder Essien, meanwhile, was already looking forward to deposing Liverpool as Europe's finest. The Lyon old boy said: "Chelsea play like Lyon, so it has been easy for me to fit in. I hope Chelsea can go one better and win the Champions League this season."

Last updated: 28/09/05 23.16CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2201/match=1100278/prematch/preview/index.html#benitez+plots+chelsea+repeat

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