CL: Chelsea v Reds – Benayoun in for Babel

The Liverpool side for tonight’s semi-final with Chelsea sees one unexpected face chosen to start. Rafa Benitez has left Ryan Babel on the bench, starting with Yossi Benayoun instead. Babel on the bench suggests Rafa is thinking of using Babel to make an impact in the second-half if needed.

He still seems likely to go with what has become the usual formation – four at the back (Carra and Skrtel are the centre-backs, Riise and Arbeloa the full-backs) – two in central midfield (Mascherano and Alonso) – and Gerrard, Kuyt and in this case Benayoun attacking, with Fernando Torres up front.

Frank Lampard returns for Chelsea after missing his side’s weekend game following the death of his mother. Drogba starts for Chelsea, with eyes on him to see if he falls down for good reasons or otherwise. Joe Cole has been a thorn in Liverpool’s side before and also starts.

Liverpool have to score tonight – and if they do the pressure goes on Chelsea instead. If there’s a winner on the night then that winner goes through to Moscow, a 0-0 draw sees Chelsea through, a 1-1 draw would go to extra time and penalties, any other draw would see Liverpool through. Liverpool’s lack of goals in recent seasons at Stamford Bridge is a record under threat, this is the first time Fernando Torres has played there.

Chelsea fans will be waving their free flags, with Chelsea staff waving the larger ones to avoid putting too much strain on their supporters. Liverpool fans will be bringing their own flags and banners, if the Chelsea staff don’t stop them, and will wave them all by themselves.

Chelsea: 1 Cech, 5 Essien, 6 Carvalho, 26 Terry, 3 Cole, 10 Cole, 13 Ballack, 4 Makelele, 8 Lampard, 21 Kalou, 11 Drogba
Subs: 23 Cudicini, 7 Shevchenko, 12 Obi, 15 Malouda, 33 Alex, 35 Belletti, 39 Anelka

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 6 Riise, 18 Kuyt, 14 Alonso, 20 Mascherano, 11 Benayoun, 8 Gerrard, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 3 Finnan, 4 Hyypia, 15 Crouch, 16 Pennant, 19 Babel, 21 Lucas

Referee: Roberto Rosetti

13 thoughts on “CL: Chelsea v Reds – Benayoun in for Babel”

  1. God bless those Chavski fans, they’re getting into the spirit of things with their plastic flags. It makes me well up inside to see such a monumental effort, gives me faith in humanity.

  2. Gutted.. Chelski look like their name is on the Trophy!!! :-( Can anyone think of any conceivable scenario, where neither them or the Scum win?

    Does this mean that the long awaited For Sale sign will appear on the Kop tomorrow morning..

    I’m looking for silver linings here….

  3. Lets face it the odds were always stacked against us having any success this season, everytime we put a run together those Yank bastards threw a spanner in the works and 1 of them had to open their fat gobs. Whilst I know they weren’t on the pitch they haven’t helped matters this season so lets all hope they fuck off out of our club and give DIC a chance. No one can balls it up as much as those 2 clowns. Excuse the profanities but I like many of us am pissed off with the whole goings on at our beloved club.

  4. Just like to add at the risk of upsetting afew here …………I for one will be hoping Man U beat chavski having watched them chanting “murderers murderers” throughout the game.

  5. I was totally gutted after the game. Then I heard Hicks visited the dressing room after the game and I felt sick. I am absolutely livid that that c*nt had the nerve to enter that room after all the trouble he has caused this season.

    I hope to god Carra told him where to stick his sympathy and leave our club. What a parasite Hicks is playing games on a night like this.

    Expect big protests now that the season is over. Time for a clean out in this club.

    The focus of all Liverpool fans now is on removing the yank cancer for our great club.

    Well done to the players and well done Rafa – totally proud of you tonight.

    Jim, I am angry (this time) and I apologise for the language.

  6. Gutted for the result, but couldn’t ask more from the boys out there, well done lads… We are the best no doubt about it in my mind… and remember, In Istanbul, WE WON IT 5 TIMES… Your Manchesters and Chelseas can only dream of saying that word…

    Personally, I hope Chelsea win it now, can’t stand Man United winning it, just can’t… PLEASE GOD, DON’T LET RONALDO, ROONEY, TEVEZ AND THE SCUMBAGS WIN IT… LET IT BE CHELSEA AND I’LL BE SATISFIED…

    Liverpool FC… You Will NEVER EVER WALK ALONE.

  7. Strange one!
    just didn’t go our way on the night or over
    the 2 legs. The footballing gods had something
    else in mind?

    Fair play to our lads, kept going til the end.

    I wish Chelsea the best, they gave us a
    good game!

  8. What a game!

    OK – we lost. Someone had to – and sadly we couldn’t get the 2nd goal before they did. But how did we lose?!

    By scoring goals at Stamford Bridge – at last.

    By losing Skrtel – an outstanding defender who would have had Drogba more in his pocket if he’d have stayed on.

    By conceding a penalty – poor touch by Hypia but don’t forget he recovered our position at Arsenal.

    By not getting a penalty – the referee should have had a little bottle when Hypia was fouled by Drogba.

    At least there was no gloating Mourinhuo!!

    And I got the best laugh of my (very recent) footballing life – when Stevie G. shoved Avram Grant back onto his behind when retrieving the ball (and how noticeable it was that no member of his backroom staff even sort to defend him!)

    So roll on next season. All the dreams. All the hopes. And all the disappointments………

    And of course once we get over this evening, it’s time to deal with those issues I spoke of earlier – particularly the ownership issue. But that’s for tomorrow, right!

  9. “@Texas_Dawg: I was looking at the Stars website earlier in the week, I think it said you were 3-1 up in a best out of seven series – is that still the case? Is tonight the possible clincher?”

    Correct, Jim.

    The Montreal/Dallas final is looking less likely though as Montreal has gone down to Philadelphia 3-1 in the series. They must win the final 3 games in order to advance.

    Dallas needs only to win one of the next 3 to be in the semi-finals (Western Conference finals) against Detroit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Stanley_Cup_Playoffs#Bracket

    The TradeSports market currently gives the following percentages of winning the Cup to the remaining teams:

    1) Detroit (37.0)
    2) Pittsburgh (27.4)
    3) Dallas (15.0)
    4) Philadelphia (8.0)
    5) Montreal (3.5)
    6) San Jose (2.8)
    7) New York Rangers (1.2)

    http://www.tradesports.com/aav2/trading/tradingHTML.jsp?evID=73778&eventSelect=73778&updateList=true&showExpired=false

    (The thread above wasn’t allowing me to submit this response, so I’m trying it here, Jim.)

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