Gary McAllister was signed by Liverpool far too late in the opinions of many. He’d been sought after by Liverpool for many years, and by the time he was signed he was coming to the end of his career. The time he did spend at Anfield though saw him inspire Liverpool to their treble, and made him a real hero. Even now he still has a real fondness for the club, which is returned by Liverpool fans.
Now he’s telling the world that the Reds can overcome the odds and beat the Chelsea team that have lost only one league game all season. Speaking to the official club website, Gary Mac said: "Liverpool can do this. They have the history, winning it four times before. Great European nights are never far away with this club, it’s in the blood and I can smell it again. I have been there with them." Liverpool could do with the Scot in the dressing room tonight – these are the kind of words the players will need to hear.
"Chelsea are expected to win because they have been the outstanding side this season but I just have this feeling for Liverpool," he continued. "Something happens to them in Europe and here they are again."
McAllister went on, "If Liverpool score and take a draw or even a 2-1 defeat back to Anfield I believe they will do it. It is definitely an advantage to play away first and Liverpool are delighted with how it has worked out. You will see a different type of Liverpool than the one that got that superb draw in Turin against Juventus in the quarter-final."
Gary gave his thoughts on the tactics that Liverpool would employ: "They will be more offensive, although still only playing one up front, with either Djibril Cisse or Milan Baros alone. Liverpool will be very confident of scoring that vital goal and what Chelsea know and should fear is the vast experience in the Liverpool side."
He’s also aware of how much Liverpool’s season has been upset by injuries, but sees that things are now starting to get better: "Credit to the Liverpool physio who has somehow got most of the injuries sorted out and getting Cisse fit is a boost."
McAllister also gave us a bit of insight into how the Liverpool players are feeling in the lead-up to this game:."When you can field experienced men like Sami Hyypia, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan, Baros and more, you know you have a chance in any kind of game. I still keep in touch with a lot of the players and they are confident."
Liverpool are aiming for their fifth European Cup – Chelsea hoping for their first. As McAllister says, "Liverpool and their fans are used to European success and when you are involved with Liverpool, history tells you these kind of situations are part of their lives. They have grown to expect it, something Chelsea have yet to write into their record books."
Recent history seems to be against Liverpool – three defeats out of three this season, but that’s not the case according to McAllister: "Another omen is Chelsea have beaten Liverpool three times already this season. Records like that are there to be broken. Don’t forget, Liverpool were robbed at Anfield, unlucky at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea only equalised with a few minutes to go of normal time in the Carling Cup Final."
If the Liverpool players go out tonight with anything like the attitude McAllister has shown throughout his career, and also in his words in this interview, Liverpool will win and win convincingly. It’s up to Benitez now to make sure that they have got that attitude tonight.