Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool FC are more than capable of overturning their 1-0 deficit and is asking the Anfield crowd to "make the roof come down".
Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard believes their UEFA Champions League semi-final with Chelsea FC still hangs in the balance despite the setback of a first-leg defeat at Stamford Bridge.
All to play for
The five-time European champions, who eliminated their London rivals at this stage two years ago en route to a final victory against AC Milan, lost out to Joe Cole's first-half goal on Wednesday, yet while acknowledging that the result might have been better, Gerrard insists his side have the wherewithal to turn the tie around. "Obviously Chelsea have the advantage, the result suits them better," he said. "Of course we'd have liked a better result to take back to Anfield but we weren't too down in the dressing room – it's still game on."
Liverpool struggled to find their rhythm in the opening period in west London, although they improved after the interval and had the better of the play without creating much in the way of opportunities. "Chelsea edged the first half on chances and [Liverpool goalkeeper] Pepe Reina made a couple of good saves, but the second half we dominated possession and pushed forward without creating clear-cut chances," said the England midfielder, who came closest for the visitors only to be denied by a fine diving save from Petr Čech. "The goalkeeper's pulled off a top save from myself - I don't think any other keeper in Europe would have kept that out because I was away celebrating."
'Raise the tempo'
Gerrard, whose team were the last to beat Chelsea in all competitions with a 2-0 Premiership win at Anfield on 20 January, attributes Liverpool's second-half improvement to some tactical tinkering by manager Rafael Benítez, saying: "The gaffer told us to be slightly more positive in the second half - he said we'd kept the ball well enough in the first half without getting it down the sides or really hurting Chelsea. We know we can hurt them a lot more at our place with the crowd behind us, we'll raise the tempo and try and win it. It'll be a really interesting match."
'Make the roof come down'
The support of the Anfield crowd is traditionally a major factor in the hosts' favour on European nights and Gerrard thinks a repeat of the tumultuous noise that greeted the two sides in the 2005 second leg is a distinct possibility. "If any fans in the world can make the roof come down, ours can," the 26-year-old said. "Chelsea know this tie's not over. They've witnessed the atmosphere at Anfield before and know we're capable of beating them there as we've already shown this season. We'd have liked a better scoreline to take back there but we will get on with it. We approach it knowing we need to score the first goal. We're aware Chelsea have a slight advantage but if we score first, it's game on. It's always a special atmosphere at Anfield and let's hope there's one again."