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Gerrard is the key player

May 03, 2005 10:23 IST

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Chelsea will feel the pressure on Tuesday when the Londoners attempt to book a place in the Champions League final.

Carragher says his side can go into the semi-final second leg at Anfield in a relaxed mood because the newly-crowned Premier League champions have most to lose. The first leg ended in a 0-0 draw.

"All the pressure is on Chelsea," he told reporters on Monday. "They have spent a lot of money and expect to succeed in this competition.

"Don't forget their last manager (Claudio Ranieri) got sacked for only getting to the semi-final of the Champions League (last year).

"We have exceeded expectations just getting here and the only pressure on us is the pressure we are putting on ourselves as players," said Carragher.

"You don't know when you will get to this stage of the competition again and we want to get to the final."

Carragher admits Chelsea, who beat Liverpool twice in the Premier League and also in the League Cup final, have been the better side this season but says his team can prosper on Tuesday.

STRONG FAVOURITES

"We have respect for what they have achieved. They have won the Premiership and that's a difficult thing to do but we can stop them in their tracks," he said.

"Chelsea were very strong favourites before the first leg but we got a good result and now they are only slight favourites. We have bridged the gap."

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez added to the mind games by claiming Chelsea would have been deemed to have failed if they did not reach the Istanbul final.

"We must send our congratulations to Chelsea, the manager, their players, the club and supporters and then say sorry about the next competition as we will win," said Benitez.

"If you talk about the money they have spent on their team then they have more to lose than us.

"But if you talk about where we are playing, at Anfield, with the support we have, the tie is now just 50/50."

Benitez said England international Steven Gerrard, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea, would be his most important player.

"Steven Gerrard is the key player for us. He is a fantastic player and he can change the game," he said.

AC Milan or PSV Eindhoven will meet the winners in the Champions League final on May 25.


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