Álvaro Arbeloa is confident that Liverpool FC can repeat the trick of eliminating Chelsea FC in the semi-finals as they have in two of the last three campaigns.
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If Liverpool FC had any nerves before the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea FC, they were not showing them on Tuesday. As right-back Álvaro Arbeloa stressed: "We have been here before twice in the last three years and we have beaten Chelsea before. We know what we have to do. If we can do the same again we will be in the Champions League final."
No matter that Liverpool have not scored at Stamford Bridge in eight attempts under manager Rafael Benítez or that John Arne Riise's late own goal has tipped the tie, finely poised at 1-1, in Chelsea's favour. No matter Chelsea's formidable home record or even that the London side seem to be grinding out results when it matters most. Because, having defeated Chelsea at this stage in 2005 and 2007, Liverpool still hold the psychological edge according to their 25-year-old Spaniard.
"Chelsea know Liverpool are a really good team," he said. "The last two times we won and I hope this time as well. We played really well [in the first leg] and we're happy with our performance. We have confidence. We beat Inter, we beat Arsenal and I think we can beat Chelsea. We just need to do the same things as the other day. We need to take our chances and, why not, we can beat Chelsea here. We know it is really difficult to win here because Chelsea are a really strong team, but no one said it would be easy. We have confidence in ourselves. We have to score one goal. We have players with quality and they can score everywhere. We can win."
Arbeloa broke into a smile when Benítez, sitting alongside him during Tuesday's news conference at Stamford Bridge, offered to act as translator at one point. The defender does not need the help. Since signing from RC Deportivo La Coruña midway through last season, he has quickly made himself at home at Anfield, to such an extent that he has dislodged Steve Finnan from Liverpool's starting XI.
'Take our chances'
Arbeloa certainly has reason to smile. As well as establishing himself in the Liverpool side, he made his debut for Spain on 26 March. His versatility has proven key to Benítez and he said he would even play in goal if called upon. For the moment, though, that job belongs to Pepe Reina. And should this semi-final go to penalties as it did last year, he is backing his compatriot to lead Liverpool to victory. "I think penalties are better for us because we have the best keeper in the world," he said. But Arbeloa does not expect the tie to go that far. "The key for us is to be really strong in defence and take our chances," he said. "If we take our chances we can win."