Alonso wants revenge
Xabi Alonso admits to being spurred on by a desire for revenge as he prepares for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The Spanish midfielder has more than one reason for not enjoying matches with the west Londoners.
Last season a poor tackle by Frank Lampard left him with a broken ankle that effectively ruled him out of the Carling Cup final.
Then when Alonso lined up against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge, a late yellow card for a challenge on Eidur Gudjohnsen meant the 24-year-old was banned from the astonishing second leg that saw Liverpool reach the Istanbul final.
Alonso is motivated by those experiences. He said: 'For me it is a great motivation to play a cup semi-final against Chelsea because of all that.
'We really want to beat them and play in the final, so if we can win it will be a great boost for me in particular.'
Alonso still relives the anguish of having to sit and watch that remarkable Liverpool victory in the Champions League, thanks to countryman Luis Garcia's first-half goal.
'The atmosphere that night was unbelievable. You had to be there to really understand what it was like,' he said.
'I was sat in the stands like all the other fans and you could feel tension in the stadium.
'But we reached the final and we all feel we can beat Chelsea in another semi-final and get to Cardiff.'
Boss Rafael Benitez is also confident. He said: 'It is just one game, anything can happen. It is easier than playing them over two legs.
'When you are talking about one game anything can happen. If you want to be in a final you need very good players, and I am lucky that I do have that. That is why we are getting to finals, now I want another one.
'I like to face the best teams. If you do that then you know you are playing for something important. I prefer these type of games rather than relegation.
'A cup tie is different. This sort of match is down to the very small details, we know so much about them.
'We are playing well, winning games and that gives us confidence. It will be tough but the players know they can do it.
'We know it could go to extra time and penalties, but we have not practised spot kicks. The last time we were facing something like this we did not practise and look what we won!'