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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chelsea And Liverpool Champions League Aftermath

Liverpool's Kuyt: Gerrard refused to settle for 1-0 win

Dirk Kuyt has revealed how Steven Gerrard drove Liverpool onto their 2-0 victory over Inter Milan on Tuesday night. After scoring Liverpool's opener, Kuyt confirmed Gerrard's intention by saying: "We had been patient and worked so hard that when the goal finally arrived I suggested to Stevie that maybe we should try to retain possession and make sure we finished with a clean sheet.

"He just looked at me and said: 'No - we want another one.' Of course, he was proved right, and a good result became a great one when he scored right at the end. We still face a tough night over there, but two goals and a clean sheet against a top Italian side like Inter is something we are all delighted with.

"For me, it was a way of putting a difficult period behind me. I only want to look forward now, and I was so pleased with this."If we can go a long way in the Champions League, maybe as far as last year, it would make up for some of this season's disappointments. It might even help us show our true form in the Premier League

Liverpool boss Benitez admits Euro football easier

Rafael Benitez admits that he finds it easier to influence European games than he does Premier League matches. The Liverpool boss was reflecting after masterminding the Champions League first-leg triumph over Inter Milan on Tuesday, that lifted months of gloom from Anfield. And with his own back firmly against the wall after continued speculation over his future, Benitez can afford a wry smile as Liverpool dare to contemplate a 12th appearance in a European Cup quarter-final if they can survive in the San Siro on March 11.

Benitez said: "In Europe you can approach a game tactically in a different way."In England it is a different style of football and more difficult for the manager to influence what goes on."It is not as simple to influence the game with tactics in England the way it is elsewhere in Europe."

Liverpool boss Benitez: I need to rotate because squad not good enough

Rafa Benitez admits his Liverpool squad still isn't at the level of the top three clubs in England.After victory over Inter Milan last night, Benitez again defended his rotation policy: "I rotate because I want to win. "You can play with the same XI all year long and finish fourth, and that's a bad result. We have to rotate because our squad is not as good as Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United."

Chelsea boss Grant receives death threat

Chelsea boss Avram Grant has been the subject of death threats.The club's training ground at Cobham, Surrey, was sealed off after a member of staff opened the package on Tuesday. A note addressed to Grant claimed the powder was lethal.A police source confirmed that the note to Grant, 52, included the words: "You are a back-stabbing Jewish b******. When you open this letter you will die a very slow and painful death."Death threats of a sexual nature were also made to Grant's wife, Tzofit, a well-known television personality in the couple's native Israel.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: "We were called to Chelsea's training ground at Cobham at 12.15pm yesterday after they received a suspicious package."A white powder contained within the package was analysed by specialists from Surrey Fire Service and was determined to be a harmless substance."Detectives are continuing investigations to identify the source of the package."At the time Grant and Chelsea were in Athens ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League 0-0 draw with Olympiacos.Chelsea were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Ballack backing Chelsea boss Grant's selections

Michael Ballack has backed Chelsea boss Avram Grant's decision to start Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Olympiacos with Frank Lampard and John Terry on the bench. The German said: "John and Frank have been injured for a long time and it was a big game against Olympiacos so it was a decision from the coach."I'm not sure if anyone is untouchable now.

I think they are both still very, very important players for us but you have to be careful after injuries."I know this myself, having had eight months out. It's not an easy time when you come back - you can't play every game straight away."The coach has a lot of experience. He knows what he's doing."

Chelsea's Lampard urges Grant to forget rotations

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has urged coach Avram Grant to ditch any thoughts of rotations. "I don't know how much rotation there will be in the future but it's important we get a settled team in the run-in," warned Lampard."Any good team I've been involved in has had a pretty settled line-up and it'll be down to the manager to find that.

"It's easy to talk about fresh legs, which we have at the minute, but we need to perform as a team."The great thing is that we have a lot of strong players fit and ready to play. If we can perform with all the talented players in our squad we can do what we want to do."