Liverpool’s Gerrard gives Chelsea the edge in tonight’s clash
4/30/2008 6:15:10 PM -
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has admitted Chelsea are favourites in their Champions League semi-final.
The sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in the return leg following last week's 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Gerrard said: "I'll be realistic and say the advantage lies with Chelsea. They're a very good team and have been very strong at home for a long time.
"But we have shown over the last few years that we are a very good team away from home in Europe."
Liverpool have failed to score away to Chelsea in eight games under manager Rafael Benitez.
But Gerrard added: "We really feel that we are as good as Chelsea, if not better than them. We have certainly been the better team when we've played them this season."
John Arne Riise's own goal in the dying stages of the first leg saw the game swing dramatically in Chelsea's favour.
Avram Grant's side, who have not lost at home in 66 league and cup matches, know a home victory will be enough to put them through to the Champions League final for the first time in the club's history.
But Reds boss Benitez feels that Chelsea's previous exits at the semi-final stage may go against them.
They have lost to Liverpool at the final four stage in two of the last three seasons and Benitez said: "I think they want to win clearly and all their supporters will push and try to support the team.
"The players know it's an important game for them - three years to the final, they will be a little bit under pressure."
Benitez has also has questioned the referee, who will be Italian Roberto Rosetti for his "curious" record.
"This referee has had six games in Europe this season, five times the home team has won and the other was when Chelsea won in Valencia," said the Spaniard. "Maybe that is curious.
"The referee has experience, he is certainly not a bad referee. If he is strong at Stamford Bridge then things will be okay.
"The referee in the first leg was not good in virtually every decision but hopefully it will be different now."