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Chelsea 04:00 Liverpool

Reds v Blues head-to-head

Last Updated: 21/04/08 3:55pm

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Ahead of their Champions League showdown we look at how Liverpool and Chelsea match up.

EUROPEAN PEDIGREE

Liverpool's continental success is unrivalled in Britain, with their five European Cup crowns eclipsed only by Real Madrid (nine) and AC Milan (six). Rafael Benitez won over the fans in his first season with the famous comeback triumph in Istanbul in 2005 and taking the Reds to final in Athens in 2007 proved it was not a fluke.

The Blues won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998, when they later added the Super Cup, but they are yet to make it beyond the semi-finals of the Champions League - a feat achieved in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Jose Mourinho's departure this season was largely attributed to his failure to land the big prize.

FORM

As is often the case in European competition, Liverpool are hitting form at exactly the right time. Benitez's focus on the Champions League has been to the detriment of his side's league form as he persistently rested key players earlier in the campaign. However, it seems to be paying off as his side seem fresh and in fine fettle ahead of the two-legged semi-final.

Chelsea have had a consistent season, always in touch with the Premier League leaders without being favourites to win the title. However, Arsenal's recent slip has enabled them to go second and emerge as Manchester United's main challengers. In Europe, they were efficient in overcoming a first-leg deficit to beat Fenerbahce at the quarter-final stage.

PLAYERS

In defence and midfield there is little to choose between the two sides, where both ooze quality and solidity in almost every position. In recent seasons Liverpool's quality was undermined by their attacking options when compared with Chelsea's.

However, in Fernando Torres they have Europe's top striker this season while Blues frontman Didier Drogba has been less effective. Chelsea's January acquisition of Nicolas Anelka was shrewd and the depth in quality he brings could be vital at this stage.

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