LONDON – Roberto di Matteo’s Chelsea side will face Liverpool atAnfield on Tuesday with renewed hope of securing the top fourfinish that would guarantee their Champions League qualification. The two teams will meet just three days after the FA Cup final thatended with Chelsea celebrating a third success in the competitionin four years following a 2-1 victory at Wembley. And while Liverpool have only pride to play for in the rematch, diMatteo’s men were given fresh incentive as Newcastle and Tottenhamstumbled in their quest for maximum points. Had either of those two teams won last weekend, Chelsea’s hopes offinishing fourth in the Premier League would have all butdisappeared.
That would have left the Stamford Bridge club needing to win theChampions League final against Bayern Munich to ensure a return toEurope’s premier club competition – and consign the fourth-bestteam in England to the second-tier Europa League. But Chelsea could yet provide themselves with an insurance policyagainst losing the Champions League final by finish fourth. That would happen if they beat Liverpool and Blackburn in theirfinal two league games and Tottenham and Newcastle failed to defeatFulham and Everton respectively on Sunday. The odds are stacked heavily against them, but Chelsea’send-of-season revival has shown the danger of dismissing theirchances. First, though, they must carry on where they left off at Wembley.
“It’ll be a bit weird playing them (Liverpool) again so soon afterthis,” Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard said. “But we still have two league games to play before the ChampionsLeague final and we want to finish as best as we can. “It will be a lot easier going to Anfield with a win than if we hadlost,” added the England international. Success is breeding self-belief at Chelsea and the prospect ofappearing in the Champions League final is providing addedmotivation. DVB-T2 Digital Receiver
“We will carry the confidence through and hope it carries on in theChampions League final,” said Lampard. “We have one more cup final to go, then who knows? It is nice to gointo the next game – then the Champions League final – with a win.” Chelsea, beaten on penalties by Manchester United in the 2008Champions League final in Moscow, have never won European club’sfootball greatest prize and Lampard said: “It is huge, we have beenclose a few times and everyone at the club – the fans as well – isdesperate to win it.” Temporary Chelsea coach di Matteo, the former Blues midfielder putin caretaker charge after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March,must decide how to manage his squad after a draining run of games. Ramires and Didier Drogba were the goal scorers at Wembley andwhile Ramires seems certain to start at Anfield, Drogba may berested, paving the way for Fernando Torres to start on his returnto his old club. For Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, there is the difficult taskof raising his players after such a demoralising cup final defeat. DVB-S2 Set Top Box Manufacturer
Poor for an hour, the Reds were revived at Wembley by theintroduction of striker Andy Carroll who scored one goal and wasdenied an equaliser only by the heroics of Chelsea keeper PetrCech. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has already set his sights on nextseason when the Reds, who won the last of their 18 English titlesback in 1990, will be expected to improve on a desperately poorleague campaign. “We’ve been fantastic in the cup competitions this year (Liverpoolwon the League Cup prior to their FA Cup final defeat) and theplayers deserve a lot of credit for that,” said Gerrard. However, the England midfielder added: “We haven’t been good enoughin the league this year. We deserve criticism and we need to takecriticism like men. China DVB-T2 Set Top Box
“We need to do better. We’re Liverpool Football Club; we’re notseventh or eighth in the league. We’re better than that.”.