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Liverpool and Milan need to recover defeats

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Liverpool and Milan need to recover defeats

Postby Miss Dangerous » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:13 pm

The Champions League is the last chance for Liverpool and AC Milan to win a trophy this season.

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To do so, they will have to reverse first-leg defeats against Chelsea and Manchester United.

It's not an impossible task - both trail by only single goals from last week's first legs and face teams missing key players.

When Milan hosts Manchester United on Wednesday it will have to turn around a 3-2 deficit.

The Red Devils have been decimated by injuries
, particularly at the back. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Gary Neville will miss the match through injury, while Patrice Evra is suspended.

"With the problems we have in defense I think there's every chance we will concede again in Milan, but I think we'll score as well," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "What we have to do is step up a gear, play really well, and make sure we carry a goal threat."

Paul Scholes, is one booking from missing another final. Cristiano Ronaldo, who was below par in the first leg, and Gabriel Heinze also need to avoid being disciplined.

The trip to Italy follows a grueling fightback at Everton on Saturday to win 4-2, extending United's lead at the top of the English Premier League to five points and keeping United on course to repeat its 1999 treble.

The Reds Devils will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 19
, four days before a potential meeting in the Champions League final.

"They are doing well in the championship and have extended their lead over Chelsea so they will have less pressure than they would have had with a bad result," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

"But a Champions League semifinal is something special. It will be a game where we have to play at our best without losing concentration but with the right level of intensity and serenity."

Milan, the only non-English side left in the competition, beat Torino 1-0 in the Serie A on Saturday.

Filippo Inzaghi is expected to start in place of Alberto Gilardino as Milan attempts to make up for its one-goal deficit. Inzaghi should be supported by Kaka - the competition's top scorer with nine goals - and Clarence Seedorf.

Milan captain Paolo Maldini is the only doubt after aggravating his left knee in the first leg when Milan's 2-1 halftime advantage was wiped out by two goals from Wayne Rooney.

Milan won its sixth European title in 2003 beating Juventus on penalty kicks, and has knocked United out of the competition three times, including the 1958 and 1969 semifinals.

In the other semifinal on Tuesday, Joe Cole's goal gives Chelsea the edge against Liverpool.

When the sides met at the same stage in 2005, a 1-0 victory at Anfield saw Liverpool progress to the final and win its fifth European Cup.

To claim its first European Cup, the Blues will need to forget Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bolton that effectively lost them the Premier League title.

"When we lost the semifinal two years ago we beat Bolton two days before to lift the title," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "This time we lost two crucial points against Bolton and we can hopefully go there to win the tie and go to the final."

On Wednesday, Mourinho will be without defender Ricardo Carvalho, who sustained a knee injury on Saturday, and midfielder Michael Ballack, who underwent ankle surgery on Friday.

Chelsea can still land three trophies. The League Cup was won in February and it will contest the FA Cup final.

Liverpool lost 2-1 at Portsmouth on Saturday, but manager Rafa Benitez rested seven players who started at Chelsea, including captain Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Peter Crouch.

"The positive thing for us is that when playing not too well at Stamford Bridge we still conceded just the one goal," Benitez said.

"So if we play at our true level we can beat them. The key against a very good team like Chelsea is showing everything together - ability, being well organized, and showing character."

Source | FOX Sports
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Postby Miss Dangerous » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:35 pm

How Milan need Filippo Inzaghi. Alberto Gilardino has been poor in Europe, Ronaldo is cup-tied and Ricardo Oliveira has failed to settle in Italy. "Gilardino has scored only once in the Champions League so far," said the Milan coach, Carlo Ancelotti. "There is more pressure in the Champions League than in the league and Gilardino is not experienced enough to manage it yet. Inzaghi is in good condition and there's a good chance he could play on Wednesday."

"I'm very happy to hear that everyone is counting on me for the game against Manchester," Inzaghi said yesterday. "I love to feel the trust of the people around me. It helps me to perform better. We will give it our all in this game. We are perfectly aware of our strengths and we will play in front of our fans, who will give us a tremendous support."

Gennaro Gattuso is expected to recover from the foot injury he sustained in the first leg, but Paolo Maldini is still a doubt. Inzaghi, meanwhile, have more incentive than most to eliminate United, having scored two early goals as Juventus lost 3-2 to Sir Alex Ferguson's side in that memorable 1999 second-leg semi-final in Turin. "We will have to play a great game, but we know we can beat them," he said. "These are the games you always want to play."
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Postby Miss Dangerous » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:47 pm

Scholes goes into the second leg of United’s semi-final with AC Milan knowing that a yellow card will rule him out of the final if Ferguson’s side win through.

Scholes has a worrying disciplinary record in Europe and recently served a one-match ban after being sent off in the quarter-final clash with AS Roma.

But United manager Ferguson insists Scholes’s position will not affect his planning — and warned the player his future in the competition lies in his own hands.

“We have to think of the team,” Ferguson said. “And Paul has to make sure he doesn’t get booked, that’s without question. “The advice we gave him in the first leg was not to slide in and make tackles because that’s where he gets all his bookings. “In Europe, they just don’t accept it, sliding in. So if he stays on his feet and tackles properly he won’t be no problem.

“You can’t have a player in the semi-finals of the European Cup and say to him don’t tackle."


Ferguson admits that the long-serving Scholes deserves the chance to appear in a major European final and dismissed any fears that Milan may attempt to exploit the midfielder’s yellow card by antagonising the United man.

“We’re all hoping Paul gets his chance to play in a final,” the manager added. “And I think if he keeps his calm about the game he will be alright, I’m sure of that.

“I don’t see any benefit to Milan trying to wind him up because the second leg will be in progress and only one team is going to the final. And Milan don’t seem to be that kind of side."


The first leg at Old Trafford left the tie delicately poised with United travelling to Italy on the back of a 3-2 advantage.

Ferguson accepts his injury-ridden defence will struggle to deny Milan in their own stadium but he has backed his own side to score at least once next week.

“I don’t agree with the view that it is vital we don’t go over there and concede,” he added. “I think there is every chance we will concede. We just have to win the tie. We don’t necessarily have to win the game but we have to score and I think we will be going there with an attitude to score.

“I wouldn’t say we are favourites but I think we have given ourselves a great chance. A goal lead is a great start in European football and I think there will be good counter-attack possibilities in our side.

“We have got speed in our attack but what we have to do is to cross that line that we had to do in 1999, we had to go to Juventus and win there. We have to step up a gear, there’s no question about that.

“We have to really play well in Milan’s stadium and we have to have the goal-threat. But I think there are similarities between Milan and Manchester United. “We have a rich history and they have an even richer European history than us. We have great players and they have great players in their team. I think it could be any score, I really do."
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