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Alonso wants Chelsea chance

Having missed out on the Anfield semi-final two seasons ago, Xabi Alonso is eager to be part of a Liverpool FC side in "great shape" against Chelsea FC.

Xabi Alonso knows the heartache of missing out on a UEFA Champions League semi-final after serving a suspension when Liverpool FC met Chelsea FC two years ago, but even though he is eligible to start this time around the Spanish international does not have a clue if he is playing on Tuesday night.

'Different options'
On the eve of the match, Alonso revealed Liverpool's lineup is still known only to manager Rafael Benítez as he plots a repeat of their 2005 defeat of Chelsea with the added burden of trailing 1-0 from the first leg. However, the 25-year-old has every faith in his boss and his policy of keeping everyone on their toes until the last minute. "The last few games we have rotated players. We have different options in most of the positions and that's something that's good for us," said Alonso. "I don't know how fresh they [Chelsea] are but I feel that at the moment our team is in great shape."

Chelsea 'favourites'
The midfielder was a frustrated onlooker at the famous Anfield second-leg encounter between the teams in 2005, when he was understandably "really disappointed" to sit on the sidelines, but he is delighted to have another chance to influence the outcome – if selected. "At this moment they [Chelsea] are the favourites," said Alonso. "Knowing that we are so close to the final, everyone is so excited and looking forward to the game." Asked if Liverpool are now a better side than the one that knocked Chelsea out 1-0 on aggregate en route to lifting the trophy in Istanbul, Alonso replied: "That's something we have to show on the pitch but of course we have developed and progressed. Hopefully we will reach the final and win again."

Higher tempo
Alonso insists Liverpool have learnt lessons from their reverse at Chelsea last week and they are planning to begin with a higher tempo than their noticeably sluggish first-half performance at Stamford Bridge. He said: "In the first leg we made some mistakes that we have been working on and will try not to commit again. We will maybe play with a little more intensity and, of course, we know that it's very important not to concede a goal because if that happens the situation will be more complicated. With just being involved in one competition, we are absolutely focused on the [UEFA] Champions League and that's why all our commitment is in this."