Avram Grant wants to make history at Chelsea FC – something reliant on them getting the better of their European nemesis Liverpool FC and reaching Moscow.
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Avram Grant spoke for everyone with the blue blood of Chelsea FC in their veins when he revealed his dream of leading the team to a first European Champion Clubs' Cup final. It has become an obsession and they promise to do everything to remove Liverpool FC from their path on Wednesday.
Even though Chelsea gave a jump-start to their bid to reclaim the Premier League crown with Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Manchester United FC, the UEFA Champions League is the trophy they crave most. "The dream of everyone here is to win it," said Grant. "It is the top competition. We have taken a long route to get here, especially me, but our target is clear. We want to be a big club and for that we need to be in the Champions League final. We want to create history for Chelsea."
Their supporters will argue that Chelsea are further down the road to Moscow than are Liverpool, the side who have crushed their ambitions at this same stage in two of the last three campaigns. This time Chelsea have home advantage for the second leg, and they also have an away goal thanks to John Arne Riise's miscued header in the 94th minute at Anfield.
That has led to reported claims from opposite number Rafael Benítez that the London team had all the luck last week. Grant dismissed that, saying Chelsea could have had a penalty before Dirk Kuyt struck the opening goal: "At the end of the game we were the better team and we scored in the last minute. You can say whatever you want but the score says 1-1." Grant is hopeful of having Frank Lampard back following the death of his mother – "he's doing everything he can to be available," said the Israeli – but can otherwise select from a fully-fit squad.
Every recent contest between these English rivals has been notable for its competitiveness and intensity, and free-flowing football has become a casualty. However, Benítez thinks it may be different this time as he seeks a first win at Stamford Bridge having failed in eight previous attempts since taking charge in 2004. "Chelsea need to attack because their supporters will demand it," he said. "You cannot defend at home and lose 1-0 because your supporters will not be happy. We also need to attack so it could be a very open game."
The Merseysiders had cause to regret the failure of Fernando Torres – one of a number of players rested at the weekend as Liverpool came from 2-0 down to draw at Birmingham City FC – to take two inviting chances in the first leg but his manager believes he is ready to make amends and fire the Reds towards a third final in four seasons. "Fernando has a good mentality and is very focused," Benítez added. "For him to be in the final would be a dream. Normally, in these kind of games, you get top-class players face to face. We know that Petr Čech is a good goalkeeper and he made his saves last week, so maybe this time it will be Torres's turn."