UEFA Champions League: Liverpool V Chelsea

Rafa Benitez today urged his team to replicate their blistering start against Real Madrid when Chelsea visit Anfield in the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.


Liverpool stunned the Spanish champions in the last round with two goals in the opening 30 minutes. A similar tactic was used when Juventus visited Merseyside in 2005.

Benitez knows it will be tough to take Chelsea by surprise, with the two teams having faced each other in each of the last five European campaigns.

However, the Spaniard is keen to see another high-octane performance from his side as they look to take a favourable result to Stamford Bridge.

“We have played 20 times in the last five years and we know each other really well. That makes it more difficult,” Benitez told his pre-match press conference.

“We will not surprise them because we know each other really well.

“But we clearly have to play with a high tempo if we can because we have the supporters behind us. If we can start the game creating opportunities like against Real we’ll have a good chance but Chelsea are a good team with experience. It will be an interesting game.”

Asked if he was sick of facing Chelsea every year, Benitez added: “You know my idea: I am really pleased to be here playing Chelsea again because it means we’re still in the competition. Hopefully it’ll be the same for the next five years because it will mean we’re still there at this stage.”

Guus Hiddink is the fourth Chelsea manager Benitez has faced during his time in England.

Quizzed on the Dutchman, Benitez said: “I think he’s doing well. He’s a manager with great experience in different countries and with different players. My idea is that Phil Scolari is a fantastic manager but now Guus Hiddink is doing well too.”

Meanwhile, Pepe Reina will become the first goalkeeper to play 50 European Cup games for Liverpool on Wednesday.

Benitez believes his custodian is among the top five in world football.

“Pepe has been fantastic for the club for the last few years,” said the boss. “He’s broken a lot of records and he is one of the top ‘keepers in the world. One of the top five.

“He’s really good in the air, he’s quick. He’s keen to learn and he concentrates. He trains hard and has character – there are a lot of positive things.”

~ by awbroady on April 7, 2009.

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