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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chelsea Vs Liverpool Preview - Scolari and Rafa Optimistic

Rafa Preview

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is confident his side can end Chelsea's 86-game unbeaten run in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

He said: "We have new players, a very good mentality and a lot of confidence, so I think we have enough to beat a very good side like Chelsea.

"We played very well in the first half against Atletico Madrid and we have quality in our squad.

"They are a very good team, and it is clear they are more attacking now."

Liverpool's previous clashes with Chelsea have occasionally been marked by verbal spats between Benitez and former Stamford Bridge coach Jose Mourinho.

Benitez said: "It is always difficult to prepare for a game against Chelsea because they have a lot of good players, but at least you can just think about the game and not about what other people are saying.

"They are a good team. I wouldn't say better than they were before because I don't want to get into a war of words, but they are a more attacking team than before."

Scolari Preview

Chelsea boss Scolari was lavish in his praise of Liverpool, who have won several games late on, and captain Steven Gerrard in particular.

He said: " "These two clubs have the same spirit.They fight until the last minute to win.

"They've won more games in the last minute than us. They have a very good team and it'll be a fantastic game on Sunday. We'll try to win, for sure.

"They are dangerous because they have a good team with good players. They are very organised. They haven't lost a game this season when, sometimes, they were losing in the last five or 10 minutes, they still managed to change those results.

"That's the best thing about Liverpool for me. They changed the results because they played as a team. That's what I want from my team. The respect is mutual. They don't have one magical player. They have a good team.

"I've never played against Rafa Benitez before, but I've watched many games in England when I was with Portugal. I think this is Benitez's best team - competitive, quality, players in good positions and with the idea not to lose going into the last few minutes.

"Steven Gerrard is as important for them as Lampard is for us. Both are very important."

Chelsea hope to have defender Ashley Cole back from the hamstring injury he picked up on England duty.

But Didier Drogba (knee), Michael Ballack (foot), Joe Cole (foot) and Michael Essien (knee) are all out.

Liverpool have been boosted by the news that Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso have recovered from injuries sustained against Atletico Madrid in midweek.

Striker Robbie Keane (pelvis) is still a doubt while Spaniard Fernando Torres (hamstring) is definitely out.

Ref - Howard Webb (Yorkshire)