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Player Ratings: Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool (7-5 agg)


Petr Cech (2): There is no word to describe just how bad a man once considered world class in his position was tonight. He was so nervous and hapless you'd have been forgiven for thinking he was on Liverpool's side. Shaky from crosses, culpable for the first two goals (could have claimed the cross before penalty award) and left two open goals that could have killed his side's chances either side of half time.

Branislav Ivanovic (6): Conceded a penalty for something that, while bad for the game, everyone usually gets away with. Made some good saving challenges, could and perhaps should have even had a penalty himself. Solid.

Ricardo Carvalho (4): A light but careless shove gave away the free kick that conceded the first goal. His no nonsense defending came in handy from time to time, but he was generally a step or two too slow.  His failure to head away Riera's cross late on was unforgivable and when Kuyt scored, it could have cost the Blues the tie.

Alex (7.5): He was a little careless and slow, particularly in the first half, but the significance of his thunderbolt free kick cannot be underestimated. It was exceptional and it was the most significant goal of the game.

Ashley Cole (6): Lost possession too often early on, but should not have been booked when he was. Was rarely threatened down the flank and handled himself reasonably well.

Michael Essien (6): Showed good energy as always, but in the first half in particular, he showed just why he is best running and shooting - not passing. He gave away the ball far, far too often. Made a vital goal-line clearance at the death and defended well in the second half.

Michael Ballack (6): He was Captain Invisible for most of the game, cropping up late on to miss a great chance but then play a beautifully deft pass to set up a goal minutes later. That one moment validated his presence on the pitch, because no one else in Chelsea's team could have produced that pass at that moment.

Frank Lampard (8): Had a good free kick early on, but his deliveries were poor thereafter and he lacked composure on the edge of the area. That soon changed: late on he scored two - one a little scrappy, one first time, game-killing and delectable.

Salomon Kalou (5): Was a decent wide presence at times and put in one good cross, but was substituted in the first half after Chelsea went 2-0 down.

Didier Drogba (9): An absolute titan. The strength, power and will of two men. The Man of the Match. His effort in the first half could not be faulted - he wanted it more than any of his team-mates and showed no nerves. He had a good free kick and may be credited with the first goal but otherwise played a big part in creating the third and fourth as well. Remarkable.

Florent Malouda (6): Had an awful first half but when given a little more time and space in the second he played a couple of good passes and made some promising runs, but never really got going.


Nicolas Anelka (8): Well, you can only applaud Guus Hiddink's decision to bring him on as early as he did, even if Kalou's substitution was forced due to injury. He was more eager to play directly from the right hand side and his hopeful cross created the first Chelsea goal, he also set up the fourth. Decisive if nothing else.

Franco di Santo (n/a).


Pepe Reina (4): Claimed crosses comfortably throughout the first half. Looked unflappable. AND THEN. Then he made the most unbelievable error of the entire game, palming an innocuous cross, with just the slightest of flicks from Drogba, into his own net. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Alvaro Arbeloa (5): Committed a whole host of fouls and dived to get Ashley Cole suspended, but his work rate up and down the flank was a real asset in the first half.

Jamie Carragher (5): Perhaps should have conceded a penalty for a foul on Ivanovic and generally looked a yard too slow when Chelsea finally decided to force the issue. Drogba in particular caused him a world of problems.

Martin Skrtel (4): Was all at sea when the game became open. Another who was tormented by Drogba and well and truly switched off when the Blues grabbed their third.

Fabio Aurelio (8): Showed quick thinking and an accurate shot to net the opening goal, and his free kicks were a threat all night. His play up and down the left hand flank was tremendous, but Nicolas Anelka began giving him problems later on in the game, detracting from what was otherwise an incredible performance.

Dirk Kuyt (7): Was fairly anonymous, but did help nullify the non-threat of Florent Malouda. Surged into the six-yard box to head home the late, late goal from Liverpool.

Lucas Leiva (5): The entire game more or less passed him by. There is nothing to say. He scored a goal, with the aid of an absolutely huge deflection.

Javier Mascherano (7): Did himself proud, doing his regular defending as well as some running in wide areas. Had a good cross and shot but was sacrificed as 'Pool chased the game late on.

Xabi Alonso (7): Earned the penalty, maybe with a bit of gamesmanship, and stuck it away brilliantly. Made a good saving header as well, but when the game's pace switched up another notch in the second half, he got a little lost.

Yossi Benayoun (7.5): Had a moment of Zidane magic when his swerve and flick put through Torres early on, only for the Spaniard to miss. This, in a sense, summed up his evening: a very good technical showing, efficient in possession and always hinting at being a threat without ever making the difference.

Fernando Torres (5): Had a miss that you'd have expected him to score and almost made up for it with a rasping shot that went wide. Was mostly anonymous, received very little service and had no space to run in behind the Blues. He did send Petr Cech the wrong way for the penalty, pointing in the wrong direction as Xabi stepped up to dispatch, exercising some superb mind games and helping to give his side a commanding lead. A bit of off the ball contribution, as it were.


Albert Riera (7): Did very little when coming off the bench but did provide a good cross that Kuyt headed home late on.

David N'gog (n/a).

Ryan Babel (n/a).

Sulmaan Ahmad,