What the papers are saying

Official website: Liverpoolfc.tv


Liverpool are through to the Champions League final in Athens after they produced an awesome performance to overturn Chelsea's first leg lead and win Tuesday's semi-final on penalties on a glorious night at Anfield.

The Reds sealed their place in the final against either Manchester United or AC Milan after Daniel Agger's first half leveller had taken them into extra time and then penalties. And they beat Chelsea 4-1 on penalties with Pepe Reina the hero saving two of Chelsea's spot kicks.
It was a cruel way to go out for Chelsea, but on the balance of chances Liverpool deserved their win because they were the ones who had come closest and controlled most of an epic 120 minutes.

It wasn't just on the pitch that this battle was won. The Anfield atmosphere was simply breathtaking. You could search far and wide and still not find a support to match it. No one does scarves and flags like Liverpool and, combined with the noise; it presented a wall of power that drove the players on to a fantastic prize.

And it will be Liverpool's second European Cup Final in just three years, a throw back to the late 70s and early 80s, when the Reds dominated Europe just as they are doing now.

With what was at stake it was no surprise to see this game start slowly. Jose Mourinho had said his side would come here to attack, but they dropped inside their own half every time Liverpool had the ball and the Reds were finding space hard to find.

Rafa had stated his intention by starting with Steven Gerrard at the centre of the midfield and with two strikers in Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch. And it was Liverpool who did all of the early pressing, without really threatening to test Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.

That was until the 22nd minute, when Daniel Agger scored and sent an already noisy Anfield into an absolute frenzy. It came from a free kick on the left of the Chelsea penalty area. Steven Gerrard fooled everyone when he rolled the ball back to Agger 12 yards from goal and he finished superbly side footed.

We needed a great save by Reina from danger man Drogba just minutes later and Chelsea got on the front foot for the first time as half time approached, but Agger's goal had levelled the tie and it was game on when the sides went in for the break.

The game was on a knife edge. A goal for Liverpool would put them in pole position, but a goal for Chelsea would leave the Reds needing two. Steven Gerrard though wasn't about to stick, he wanted to force the issue and only the timely intervention of Ashley Cole deprived him of a run on goal with the second half just minutes old.

Chelsea responded with a shot wide from Cole, but Liverpool were soon back on the attack and it took a brilliant save from Cech to stop Crouch's far post header after Pennant's cross had picked him out.

Liverpool were looking the more likely and they came desperately close again in the 59th minute when this time Riise's cross found the head of Kuyt; and he rattled the Chelsea crossbar with Cech beaten.

The chances kept coming for Liverpool. Next it was a last ditch deflection that sent Pennant's fierce shot over the crossbar and into the Kop. The Reds were on top, but the question on everyone's lips was would the goal come; and would Chelsea come again.

Liverpool escaped when Carragher deflected the ball just inches over his own crossbar with Drogba closing in, but as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes it became obvious that we would have extra time.

It was again Liverpool who had the better chances in extra time. It took a great block to stop Riise's goalbound effort and all of Anfield thought they'd scored the winner when Kuyt slammed the ball home after Cech could only parry Alonso's shot, but they were cruelly denied by what looked a wrong offside decision. And in the dieing minutes, it took another fine Cech save to deny Kuyt a certain winner.

So it was penalties and it was just like Istanbul with Liverpool's goalkeeper and penalty takers again proving they had the greater strength of mind. Zenden scored, Reina saved from Robben , Alonso scored, Lampard scored, Gerrard scored, Reina saved from Geremi and then Kuyt scored. What a night!

It's the day after the night before and the English press makes satisfying reading for Reds fans across the country.

Here's how the papers saw another never-to-be-forgotten night at Anfield.

Daily Telegraph (Henry Winter)

The Guardian (Kevin McCarra)

The Times (Oliver Kay)

Daily Mirror (Martin Lipton)

The Independent (Jason Burt)

Daily Post (Ian Doyle)

The Daily Mail

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