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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 13, 2009

Reina: Don't write Liverpool off yet in UCL

Goalkeeper Jose Reina insists Liverpool have the ability to overturn Chelsea's lead and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Liverpool trail 3-1 from the first leg of their quarter-final at Anfield and now need to score at least three goals at Stamford Bridge to turn the tie in their favour.

That is something Liverpool have not achieved at Stamford Bridge in two decades.

But, inspired by Bolton's three goals in nine minutes against Chelsea at the weekend, the Champions League final comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul four years ago and their 4-1 drubbing of Manchester United at Old Trafford this season, Reina says the Reds are far from finished.

"Istanbul should be the inspiration for us," said Reina. "We know that the tie is really difficult, but still we have hope.

"We know already that if anyone can turn this around, it's Liverpool. There is always something to exploit. Everybody, every team, has weak points.

"It's going to be difficult, but there is still hope. We have plenty of things to lose, but already we're losing 3-1.

"The clear favourites are Chelsea and it's in their hands, probably. If we play a fantastic, really brilliant game and they have a bad day, then of course we'll have some chances.

"We have to attack and score three goals. Even if we concede one, we'll have the chance to go to extra-time. We have to attack, that's clear. And we'll go for that.

"We have the game at Old Trafford as a big example. We won 4-1 and no-one expected us to do that. We know already it's going to be almost impossible, but if there's someone who can do it, it's going to be Liverpool."

Coach Rafa Benitez believes his side can pull off yet another amazing comeback but the Spaniard rejected suggestions that it would be better than their victory against AC Milan in the final.

"Istanbul was maybe the best ever final in the Champions League in terms of emotion," said the Spaniard. "It would be a fantastic achievement for everyone, but a final is a final.

"We have to believe and think we can win. We have the experience of Old Trafford. We can score goals away against the top sides. We have to approach this game believing we can do well.

"We know Chelsea really well. It's a question of being ready. If we score an early goal, there might be extra motivation for the players."

Benitez is reluctant to use the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster as a motivational tool but he concedes the emotion of the week could inspire both players and fans.

"It's an important week for our fans and the club," added Benitez. "We have some players who have been here a long time, and it could be an inspiration for them in this game.

"The fans will be behind the team because of the game and we can achieve something now linked with the Hillsborough memorial."

But Benitez is not banking on Chelsea making the kind of defensive mistakes they did against Bolton in the final 20 minutes of their 4-3 win at the weekend.

"They were winning, so they made some mistakes," said Benitez. "But it was a different situation. We know they can make mistakes and we can exploit this.

"The first goal will be important for either side but, for us, it would be a massive difference.

"In football, you never know what's going to happen. At this moment, we have nothing to lose. They will be under pressure because they have to win.

"But, still, we're talking about players with experience in the Champions League and the Premier League. It's a question of whether we can score that first goal. We have nothing to lose."

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