The competition very different, the players very different and indeed the time very different yet Brendan Rodgers has urged his current crop of Liverpool footballers to take heed from the spirit of the team led by Rafa Benitez who beat Chelsea in the 2005 semi final of the European Cup to get past Zenit St Petersburg in this evenings Europa League last 32 second leg.
Liverpool are two goals down following last week’s defeat at the Petrovsky Stadium where a flurry of missed opportunities from Suarez and co left Liverpool unable to answer the goals scored by Hulk and Semak leaving the Anfield outfit with a monumental task to reach the last 16.
Brendan Rodgers who at the time of the 2005 European Cup semi final was part of Chelsea’s coaching staff recalls the goal with a degree of cynicism “For me, it wasn’t a goal,” however has urged his team to feed of the Anfield crowd in very much the same manner as Benitez’s side did on that May evening in order to overcome the deficit his side face against Zenit.
[quote]For me, it wasn’t a goal…
Brendan Rodgers on Luis Garcia’s “Ghost Goal” against Chelsea in 2005.[/quote]
Rodgers, quoted from the Telegraph, said the crowd effectively gave the goal despite in his eyes the ball not crossing the line and believes that sort of fanatic energy coming from the Kop this evening as well as staying ultra compact in defence will see Liverpool progress in the competition. The Luis Garcia ‘ghost goal’ is one of the most fraught parts of the Liverpool-Chelsea rivalry with arguments over the eligibility of the goal still running to this very day and it is interesting Brendan Rodgers has made his slightly pro Chelsea opinions as abundantly clear.
There is little doubt however the partisan Anfield crowd will be in full voice this evening despite the deficit from the first leg especially after the heavily positive 5-0 victory over Swansea City on Sunday afternoon after back to back defeats against West Bromwich Albion and Zenit respectively.
Martin Skrtel continues to suffer from a knee injury and as such it is expected Jamie Carragher will start agaub, Liverpool in facing Zenit will in defensive terms find themselves tested considerably more than they were against a lacklustre Swansea side this Sunday and Carragher will have to take great motivation from Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match words “Even at 35, in terms of pure defending, he is still the best that we have” in order for Liverpool to have a feasible chance of progressing through to the final 16 of the Europa League.