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