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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said Didier Drogba was a diver ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, but the Ivorian had the last laugh with two goals in Chelsea’s victory.
Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by Tony Donovan to discuss Drogba, Avram Grant’s future, Frank Lampard’s courage and the amazing Stamford Bridge atmosphere.
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He has achieved something no other Chelsea manager has by taking the club to a Champions League final, but there is still speculation Avram Grant will be axed at the end of the season.
With a Premier League title still also a possibility, what more does the man need to do to keep his job?
On a soggy night at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea finally prevailed against Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final after failures in 2005 and 2007.
Didier Drogba was immense on the muddy surface and bagged two lightning quick goals at the near post as the Londoners triumphed 3-2 after extra time and 4-3 on aggregate.
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has returned to training following the death of his mother last week but, even if he wants to, should he play in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool?
Lampard sat out Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United, which came two days after the death of his 58-year-old mother Pat, and in his absence Chelsea produced their best performance for months.
Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Liverpool on Tuesday was all about Avram Grant getting a reprieve from the hacks who only days earlier said his time under Roman Abramovich was almost up.
No question that Chelsea were poorer on the night. Liverpool should have had one or two more goals in reserve for the return leg at Stamford Bridge before John Arne Riise’s injury time own goal gave the Blues a huge boost. It also lifted the pressure from Grant for now, at least.
John Arne Riise’s astonishing own goal seems to have given Chelsea the edge in the first Champions League semi-final.
Liverpool’s Norwegian defender bent down to spectacularly head in deep into injury time and leave the scores at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
Has it reached the stage where a Champions League semi-final is not enough to safeguard a coach’s job?
Avram Grant, whose Chelsea side visit Liverpool in their first leg on Tuesday, is under pressure despite his team stil having an outside chance of the Premier League title.
It was with more than the usual haste that I strode off from the Nou Camp after Frank Rijkaard’s customary non-committal news conference on the eve of Barcelona’s Champions League match against Schalke on Tuesday. Liverpool against Arsenal was being shown on terrestrial TV here in Spain and it was one of those games that you didn’t want to miss.
So I settled down to my usual Reuters expenses supper of a bottle of beer and a Kit Kat from the hotel minibar and wasn’t disappointed. For sheer breathless excitement, intensity and entertainment the match couldn’t be beaten. The game had the Spanish commentators gasping with delight at the football being played by both sides, the commitment from the players and the non-stop support from the fans.
Liverpool’s rivalry with Arsenal now involves 202 matches dating back to 1893 and Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final will, for the neutral, forever rank among the greatest of them all.
Arsenal fans will never forget Michael Thomas’s last kick of the season goal at Anfield in 1989 which gave them, and not Liverpool, the title.
For once a tie between two English sides in Europe brought out the best of the Premier League. A breathless second leg at Anfield has already been hailed as a classic after Liverpool won through 5-3 on aggregate to set up yet another semi-final against Chelsea, which will doubtless be slightly less of a classic.
Still, let’s take a bit of time to let Tuesday’s match sink in. It will be remembered by Liverpool fans as another great European night at Anfield, while Arsenal supporters will see the tie as a whole as a tale of two penalties — one turned down in London and one given in Liverpool.