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Reds must attack in Champions League showdown
May 1st, 2007 9:30AM
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TAGS:  england, uefa champions league


TUESDAY: UEFA Champions League Semifinal, 2nd Leg
LIVERPOOL-CHELSEA (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 2:30 pm ET, live)

Liverpool will have to do something on Tuesday it didn't have to do in the second legs of the previous two rounds of the UEFA Champions League: attack.

The Reds won the first legs of their previous two series on the road and coasted to victory against Barcelona and PSV in the second legs at Anfield, but they showed little initial last Wednesday against Chelsea and paid with a 1-0 loss in the first leg of the semifinals.

Liverpool's chances of earning a place in the Champions League final will depend on its ability to take the initiative against depleted Chelsea in Tuesday's second leg.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez blew his top after a meek first-leg performance at Stamford Bridge.

"We didn't play at our level," the Spaniard said, "and I was really disappointed but we are going to play at Anfield and it's just 1-0."

Benitez rested many of his first-team regulars against Portsmouth in their English Premier League game on Saturday so they would fit for Tuesday's showdown with Chelsea. He should start both Peter Crouch and Dutchman Dirk Kuyt up front to put the pressure on the ailing Blues' backline.

Key defender Ricardo Carvalho is out with a knee injury sustained during the Blues' 2-2 costly draw with Bolton Saturday in the EPL. In January, Chelsea traveled to Liverpool and lost, 2-0, with the Portuguese defender sidelined. Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien returns from suspension and should step into the middle of the Chelsea defense in Ricardo Carvalho's place.

Also out are German midfielder Michael Ballack, lost for the season after undergoing ankle surgery, and Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko.

On the plus side, the return of Dutch winger Arjen Robben give Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho several interesting attacking options on the bench.

Probable lineups:
Liverpool: 25-Reina; 3-Finnan, 23-Carragher, 5-Agger, 2-Arbeloa; 8-Gerrard, 14-Xabi Alonso, 20-Mascherano, 6-Riise; 15-Crouch, 18-Kuyt.
Chelsea: 1-Cech; 20-Paulo Ferreira, 5-Essien, 26-Terry, 3-A.Cole; 4-Makelele, 8-Lampard, 12-Mikel, 10-J.Cole; 21-Kalou, 11-Drogba.
Referee: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).

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